The internet is ever-changing. Functions that were easily identifiable a decade ago have evolved and, aided by technological innovation, today’s internet allows for greater interactions and user participation. Needless to say, this has implications for clients’ behaviour. As far as internet marketing is concerned, clients have now become more involved, and their increased participation has led to a more user-focused approach on the part of marketers looking to reach their target audience. The connection between clients’ behaviour and today’s online marketing lies in the fact that the internet keeps evolving, marketing tools keep changing, and as technologies which can access the internet advance, clients have become more knowledgeable.
It is therefore not surprising that because the static web 1.0 has given way to a more interactive digital space (web 2.0), clients are more involved, and wield greater influence in the internet world. This has resulted in a shift in the way online businesses have outlined their strategies, especially in relation to internet marketing.
The way clients have evolved over the last decade has a lot do with technological innovations, the changes that have taken place within the internet, and their implications on marketing. E-commerce is an example of the changes influencing client behaviour. With a more open internet where almost everyone can establish an online presence, B2B marketers have found that reaching their target audience requires a deliberate plan. According to research, B2B customers carry out online research before making purchases. As such, a B2B online marketing strategy is incomplete without businesses taking advantage of social media, targeted advertising, and websites that rank high on search engines, with an aim of appealing to potential and current clientele.
Against the backdrop of these changes, we take a detailed look at some ways clients have influenced online marketing today.
Clients have Greater Access to Information
As a result of the wide variety of choices available on the internet, B2B customers are presented with different products and brands on a daily basis. This has affected B2B online marketing, changing the way businesses work to get the attention of their target market. B2B online marketing is now a more deliberate process, with the clients at the centre of it all. Businesses have to pursue a more personalised strategy in attracting clients who are now more interested in the value that a certain brand can provide them personally.
This has increased the pressure on businesses to satisfy clients, which has led to a more interactive approach to marketing where content creation is a key strategy. About a decade ago, information was not as personalised. The ‘’one size fits all’’ ideology has given way to a more targeted approach. Businesses have websites with regularly updated blogs that provide relevant information to different categories of cleints, giving credence to the fact that today’s online marketing involves a need to build a relationship with the clients.
According to Brendan Wilde, online manager at www.freeparking.co.nz/web-hosting/ the increasing demand for value by clients has significantly influenced the way online marketing is done today and has changed various aspects of the strategy in businesses, the most notable is the idea that ‘content is king.’’
B2B online marketing is not simply about providing information from the marketer’s point of view. Rather, marketers now understand that to stand out, there is a need to be digitally present where clients can find them, and must be relevant to clients’ needs. Since these requirements differ, considerable attention has to be paid to the target audience. Although marketers still have the ability to sway clients, it is a two-way relationship as online marketing is highly susceptible to clients behaviour.
Clients Have a Wider Influence on the Information They Get, Thanks to Social Media
Today’s B2B customers do not only have access to information, but the internet has also provided them with the opportunity to create content, facilitated by their use of social media and their presence in online communities. As such, they also play a critical role in providing information concerning products and brands – a function that used to be the sole responsibility of businesses a decade ago. This is exhibited in the fact that the internet has now evolved into a more interactive space for users. It is arguably the case that they have a greater influence over the marketing strategy of a business than was the case a decade ago, because their input and opinions on products have a wider reach, and are sometimes more likely to be trusted than the marketer’s brand message.
Since B2B businesses try to boost their brand by maintaining a presence on these online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, this means the messages that marketers pitch concerning their products is information that can be easily verified. Customers can, therefore, give feedback concerning products which can be directly accessed by prospective customers.
While this works to the advantage of the clients, and sometimes the marketer (when satisfactory reviews or recommendations are given about a product), the disadvantage that this change presents for online marketers today is that the narrative of the brand or product can be written and influenced by a dissatisfied customer whose message could greatly affect the standing of that product or brand.
Clients are More Responsive to Inbound Marketing
B2B customer behaviour, enabled by technology and changes within the digital space, has indeed evolved. As opposed to the use of traditional advertising techniques, including emails which are now mostly regarded as spam, B2B online marketing now involves the use of high-quality content, infographics, and personalised emails, which clients respond to better. The emphasis on valuable information and client-focused content has given rise to a crop of clients who are more conscious. It is, therefore, a more profitable strategy to pull customers towards products, rather than simply making them aware of them by using outbound marketing techniques. As such, clients’ reaction towards advertising has had an effect on how online marketing is carried out.
Considering that nothing stays the same where the internet is concerned, we may not be able to accurately predict what the future holds. Despite this, one thing is certain. As the internet evolves and customer behaviour reacts, B2B businesses must continue to adjust their online marketing strategies.