The classic role of marketing in the past existed solely at the top of the sales funnel. Marketing campaigns were typically designed to increase awareness and generate interest, the sales team would then take over. But that has fast changed as buyers are spending more time doing their own research on products/services that they are interested in. Today, most B2B buyers are already 57% of the way through the buying process before they first connect with a rep. Majority of buyers have already identified their problem and know the solution. Research has shown that buyers are not influenced by sales tactics anymore. With consumer behaviour changing, marketing teams are realizing that their role throughout the buyers’ journey has also changed: They need to play a bigger role further down in the buying cycle.
The key contributors of change are being felt across industries and business around the world:
Increased Buyer Confidence
Marketing in the 80’s meant TV and radio ads feeding consumers with only the product information brands wanted them to know about. It was the only way how buyers would learn about them. The story today is different. With the internet, search engines, digital content, and community sharing, consumers no longer rely on what brands have to say about themselves. The web has become a transparent medium of honest consumer opinions for any business or product. Buyers are in control now. They are actively researching and forming their own opinion about a company.
Low Sales Interaction
A buyer’s journey has three stages: awareness, consideration or and decision stage during purchase cycle.
Studies show that all of these phases are happening in the digital landscape and the buyer’s contact with sales is minimal during the whole cycle. With most purchase decisions made with little to no influence by sales, marketing’s role to drive interest and offer relevant decision making content becomes critical. In other words marketing has to be present at the point of decision.
Digital/Remote Sales are up
Global online sales has significantly increased post pandemic. Experts estimate that 80% of the sales cycle occurs in digital or remote settings. This is happening at home on a desktop computer, at a coffee shop on a laptop, or at the airport from a mobile device.
Content is perhaps one of the first touchpoints for a buyer before the final sale. Blogs, e-papers, infographics, videos are playng a strong role in providing value to the sales process. CRMs and marketing technologies are becoming an important to collect intelligent customer data for sales to get a close look at their buying pattern.
Yes, the role of marketing is no longer limited to just attracting customers. Marketers need to adapt to this change by building a better customer experience. Digital marketing has the power to influence consumer behaviour and needs to do more to engage them and build their trust for a better brand experience.