Consumers Expect Convenience
Tech companies have changed the way consumers think about purchasing a product. Instead of walking into a brick-and-mortar store to purchase an item, why not just order it through Amazon? Similarly, why not order your favorite meals from the comfort of your own home using an app like DoorDash? The same goes for ridesharing apps like Uber and many other convenience-focused platforms—they all work to make the consumer’s life easier.
These platforms provide an unprecedented level of convenience and prioritize building an intuitive and user-friendly experience in their apps, which consumers have come to expect from brands. The question is, do today’s B2B buyers expect the same level of convenience as their B2C counterparts?
Keep in mind that millennials are the largest generation in the workforce today. Tech-savvy millennial B2B buyers have probably used the brands we discussed above—they know how simple and easy a transaction can be. Unsurprisingly, they’re starting to expect this same experience from their B2B purchases, which has accelerated the shift toward business to person (B2P) marketing.
The Impact of COVID-19
When shelter-in-place mandates went into effect across the country, the conveniences of the platforms we discussed earlier shifted from something nice to have into a necessity for many people.
For those at greater risk of complications due to COVID-19, grocery delivery services became a necessary safety precaution. As restaurants closed in many places, ordering takeout became the only way to enjoy a restaurant-style meal. Other shuttered businesses had to pivot to offer curbside pickup as well. All of these shifts have one thing in common—they made purchases easier for consumers.
These effects aren’t going away anytime soon, even after we emerge from the pandemic. Not only have consumers gotten used to these conveniences, but they’ve also experienced a once-in-a-century global crisis that has altered their circumstances personally and financially. We can expect these effects to stick around for a long time.
Research from Accenture claims that new or low-frequency e-commerce shoppers are expected to increase their e-commerce use by 160% in the future. They’ve also increased their use of omnichannel services like curbside pickup, and 35% intend to increase the amount of time they spend working from home after the pandemic.
These statistics demonstrate that the changes consumers have made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are here to stay, and they will undoubtedly influence the way buyers approach the purchasing process in the future—even in the B2B world. The need to shift to B2P marketing has never been greater.
The Shift to B2P Marketing
As you can see, the distinctions marketers make between B2B and B2C marketing are rapidly becoming irrelevant. B2B buyers are people, too—their business decisions involve both rational and subjective considerations, just like everyone else. In a world of increasingly user-friendly and convenience-focused apps, they’re used to a level of accessibility and individualization that traditional B2B tactics don’t provide.
The merging of B2C and B2B marketing practices has led to a paradigm shift toward B2P marketing. B2B buyers increasingly expect the same level of customer experience that they receive in their personal lives. Therefore, to effectively market to buyers who are used to being the center of B2C’s fun and individualized marketing campaigns, you have to start thinking of buyers as people, first and foremost.
B2P marketing focuses on the people behind the buying decisions. What are their purchasing preferences? What do they value? What motivates them? How can your company help them achieve their goals? By incorporating questions like these into marketing strategies, B2P marketing takes traditional B2B practices to a deeper, more personalized, and more effective level.
The B2P paradigm is the basis for any successful marketing campaign in today’s world.