Five Myths in Marketing to Business-to-business Purchasers

This summer, world-wide Google searches on mobile devices surpassed those on personal computers for the first time, Amit Singhal, head of search at Google, said at the Recode Mobile conference today.  This is an important milestone for the way that people access the internet, especially for business.

See this blog post on the Digits section of the Wall Street Journal for a little more discussion on the subject.

“Google now sees more than 100 billion searches a month. The company said in May that searches on mobile devices outnumbered those on desktop computers in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan.”

I’ve been fascinated with how buyers of business products and services are online, in social channels, on YouTube, going to events, and evaluating options on their iPads and smartphones.  The purchaser’s journey looks a lot more like a trumpet than the linear models that we usually use as a graphical representation of the journey.

Understanding the customer journey across the many touchpoints is essential to the success of any marketing program.  B2C marketers are much more prepared than B2B marketers to engage their multi-touchpoint customers with a multichannel approach.

There have been interesting shifts in B2B marketing in the past two years.  “While this may not come as a surprise, the way things are evolving might serve as a wake-up call for some brands. That’s because over the past two years, there have been some rather interesting shifts, not just in how B2B buying decisions are happening, but also in who’s responsible for them,” says Google execs, Kelsey Snyder and Pashmeena Hilal in this piece at

Snyder and Hilal report that Google partnered with Millward Brown Digital to find out what is changing in pusiness-to-business purchasing habits. Google and Millward Brown surveyed approximately 3,000 B2B researchers were surveyed about their research and purchase habits as well as their use of digital (specifically, search, mobile, and video).

The results debunk a number of widely held beliefs and have major implications for B2B marketing strategies:

MYTH #1: Millennials aren’t making B2B business decisions

MYTH #2: B2B marketing should target the highest-level executives

MYTH #3: Branded searches should be the focus of your search strategy

MYTH #4: Not many B2B researchers use mobile

MYTH #5: Video is watched solely to gain awareness

For the Realities of these Myths and other commentary on their research, we invite you to read the Snyder-Hilal piece.  The insights of the research reveal the most important thing to be thinking about is whether or not you’re marketing to this changing audience.

B2B influencers are likely younger than expected, and you need to make sure you’re reaching them where they are and providing them with the content they’re seeking. That means stepping up the intensity in your search, mobile, and video efforts. Delivering content-rich mobile and video experiences is now critical to successfully reaching your B2B customers and moving them through the path to purchase.

If you would like help adapting your messaging and redirecting your execution strategy, please give the consultants of Ballard Consulting a call.  Our team combines in-depth customer insights with practical expertise in marketing communications to help our clients create sustainable growth.