B2B Marketers Need Strong Trade Show and Online Presence to Succeed

In one of yesterday’s posts, I highlighted some key decision-​making points that marketers must address in the B2B purchase cycle. In addition to determining what to include in their marketing content, merchants must also consider how to reach key decision marketers. The TriComB2B and the University of Dayton School of Business Administration study covers this topic as well.

Here are the top information sources for B2B decision makers when they are researching a potential purchase:

  • Technical data sheets (online) 65%
  • Informal contacts in the industry 54%
  • Website 52%
  • Technical data sheets (printed) 52%
  • Product catalogs (online) 37%
  • Case studies with 3rd party resources 36%
  • Trade publication (online) 27%
  • White papers 25%
  • Trade publication (print) 23%
  • Product catalog (print) 22%

Digging deeper into the numbers, researchers discovered that while informal contacts in an industry play a huge role in influencing potential buyers, marketers can improve their position by connecting with prospects at specific points in the purchase process. For example, OEM sales reps have the greatest influence when prospects are searching for solutions (26%) and evaluating the options available to them (30%). For distributors, the touch point with the most value is the procurement stage. Not surprisingly, trade shows have their strongest influence on clients who are actively searching for solutions to problems that have been identified. For over half, 55%, of decision makers, trade shows are the place to find products and services. Savvy marketers should maintain a visible presence at trade shows and distribute collateral that differentiates them as a unique solutions providers.

Marketers also need to beef up their online presence. In the B2B arena, almost half of surveyed respondents click on online ads to gather information. Just over half of these individuals have also clicked on online video. About 31% of this audience regularly follows industry blogs and 46% following industry-​specific discussion forums. For now, it seems that B2B clients are highly motivated to obtain in-​depth information during the research and pre-​buying process. To reach these buyers, marketers need to make technical data available online and offline and be prepared to answer questions in depth, both at trade shows and on online forums.

[Source: The Considered Purchase Decision. TriComB2B and University of Dayton School of Business Administration. 2011. Web. 19 Sept. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.