Social Media has had a significant impact over the last decade. It has been the driving force of news stories, celebrity statuses, made somebodies out of nobodies, and has changed the way in which businesses do business. There have been substantial studies and research done over the subject matter, as well as numerous success cases to provide evidence that social media impact is influential in the business market. This paper is intended to provide facts and present a case in to evaluate what is the impact of the Social Media in the purchase decision process in B2B.
Before businesses turned to the internet for business marketing, they relied on a number of ways in order to attract consumer attention. Buy advertisements in the local paper, television, billboards, or other media outlets. In Business to Business transactions, much precedent is placed on the goal of brand awareness and knowledge of the market. Business to Businesses transactions are much larger than transactions of Business to Consumer business. When Business to Business want to market to other business, their methods have always been done differently than Business to Consumer marketing. When the transition to marketing online, a Business to Business is based on the strategy methodize by the consumer base. The Business to Business marketing efforts are geared towards working directly with clients to customize their needs. In order to provide these much research and analysis needs to be put in place along with collaboration from other businesses. A process of decision making is implemented in each purchase that Business to Business transact. Along a chain of committee, many factors help to influence the decision making process. With the rise of social media influencing the way that businesses and consumers do businesses, it is obvious that social media is a driving force in B2B buying transactions.
The paper will be presented to the professionals of a B2B Marketing Conference of 2013, with the aid of backed research and input from other B2B professionals, and marketing strategists. This table is presented to reflect the various sources that will be referenced and used throughout this proposal in order to give supporting evidence of the question at hand.
|Resources to be Referenced||Valuation|
|Customer Communications Management in the New Digital Era
Professors Simon Hudson, Martin S. Roth, and Thomas J. Madden (2012)
|A valuable sourced referenced throughout the proposal, with statistics gathered through research and studies backed by
Center for Marketing Studies
Darla Moore School of Business
University of South Carolina
|The use of social media in B2B marketing and branding: An exploratory study
Ross Brennan and Robin Croft (2012)
|Apart of the Journal of Customer Behavior, their own extensive research into B2B and social media brings much accreditation and validity to the proposed question.|
Contemporary Marketing 2013
Louis E. Boone, David L. Kurtz
Up to date Marketing textbook that uses useful and modern knowledge of the marketing ideas and strategies. Providing useful information on B2B relations and processes.
|Survey based on data from businesses, corporations, and B2B buyers and marketers. Much validity is placed on the information gathered from marketing and research specialists.|
|A Guide to Understanding the B2B Buying Process
Inbound Sales Network
|Basic B2B buyer process information, useful in charges and images for the proposal.|
|CEOs On Social Media: Do As I Say, Not As I Do
|Written in the Business Insider, much credibility is placed on its facts and statics of online usage by businesses.|
|B2B Buyer Survey Reveals Impact Of Social Media On Vendor Selection Process
Matthew S. McKenzie
The New Breed of B2B Buyer
|As a contributor to the B2B Content Conversion Conference, their credibility in providing accurate information in regards to B2B buyer statistics is very useful for this paper.
As a contributor to all these Market Related to B2B, the input of this article is useful in helping to scope out B2B buyer behavior.
B2B Marketing Magazine
B2B decision buying process has long been touted as a long drawn out ordeal that goes through a system of checks and balances. Most of the process involved the use of “interruption marketing”. Before the emergence of social media influence, buyers would typically rely on the company’s reputation and other means of making decisions. Times have changed and no longer are just the bare minerals of word of mouth from companies cutting it, now there are new factors that have changed the purchase decisions of B2B buyers.
B2B Buying Process of Yesteryear.
B2B transactions were often would rely on communication from other companies “go-to” person as a means of getting information on products of other companies. As Boone and Kuntz (2013) have pointed out the B2B buying decisions reacted to several factors including, external, internal, interpersonal, product specific, environmental, and organizations. The process has always been complicated with a formal organization made up of several members in order to make transactions with another entity from a minimal or extensive relationship.
The usual buying process followed a rudimentary system that involved a lot of time and wasted energy that left buyers searching for shorter process with better results. The process was a slow, arduous and costly process that usually cost more than the B2B buyers were willing to pay.
Change of Marketing Environment
In the last few years, the environment of internet and social marketing has changed significantly. Innovations in technology are the reason of the changes in digital marketing, where the consumer is put into the driver seat and help power the markets. Social media has changed the way businesses practice marketing and think about the impact of marketing. Over time, the channels of communications have changed. More users are logging on to the internet at t rate of 2 billion internet users in 2011 alone.(Hudson, Roth, & Madden, 2012) The use of the Internet has exploded, partly due to social networks and communities. The U.S alone has accounted for over 200,000,000 users, and that is only 13% of total world internet users. In social media, 65% of online adults on social networks. With the number one networking site, Facebook at over 1 billion users world-wide. Twitter and LinkedIn with over 200 monthly active users.
However, the change in the marketing environment is not only left to social networks. The Internet has become the go to resource for consumer and business information during a buying process. Over 73% of the population use the internet for searches related to goods and services. It is likely that 50% will buy from a brand they follow on Facebook, compared to 67% of Twitter followers. Not only will it affect their buying decisions, but 79% of Twitter users would recommend to a friend as would 60% of Facebook users. (Hudson, Roth, & Madden, 2012)
With the changes in the marketing environment it has profoundly changed the buying process of B2B in a way that is being taken notice by several large organizations. Social Media and Digital Marketing have vastly changed the playing field, with more players added to field, the B2B buying game is strategic play on play action. In the Digital World, most B2B’s have adapted with, 93% of internet sales are B2B transactions. (Boone & Kuntz, 2013) The purchase decision process of B2B has moved toward transaction marketing. A recent Forrester and Marketing Profs’ B2B Marketing Budget Study suggests, B2B brands are spending more time and resources on Social Media outlets, giving Blogs and Social Media more attention than traditional marketing and advertising approaches, such as Print Advertising, Conferences, TV and Radio.
Marketing in Social Media
Gone are the days of traditional marketing that solely relied on newspaper ads, flyers, trade shows, and other “archaic” means. Now is the rise of social media that are making significant moves in the business market. Social media has become such an integral part of society that consumers and the prospect will not take a business seriously without the presence of profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. Nearly a billion Facebook users, equating to over 73% of the Internet-using population, Business Insider equates that,
- 94 % of Businesses use Facebook
- 82% of Businesses use Twitter
- 92% of Corporations are using social media in one way, shape or form
- 55% of B2B buyers use social media to help make purchase decisions. (Business Insider, 2012)
Social media influence in marketing is constantly growing today alone 65% of online adults use social networking sites, and companies have used the information to set up profiles in order to engage with these potential consumers. According to Facebook, the average user has 130 friends on the social network, and when people hear about a product or service from a friend, they become a customer at a 15 percent higher rate than when they find out about it through other means. (Hudson, Roth, &Madden, 2012)
Social Media Role in Buying Process
According to BuyersSphere, 71% OF B2B buyers get their product information off doing web searches and 32% directly from social media sites. (BuyersSpehere, 2012) Social media plays some factors in a buyer’s decision, with the constant need of IT buyers using the internet, such as, White Papers, blogs, and offline events. Blogs being the top rated source of information of social media besides suppliers direct website. (BuyersSphere, 2012) It is common sense that the landscape of B2B buyers are changing, with the changing of the older buyers to the new generations, they are turning towards popular social networks in helping to make better economic and market-based decisions. The process has changed the standard 8 stage model of steps in the decision making process. One of the biggest changes of social media influence is the initial stages of recognizing the problems and advice on solving the problem. Initial searches on the internet can attest to taking the places of word of mouth information and advises, more than 66% of B2B account for this change. The later stages that are impacted including searching for potential suppliers or vendors which nearly 47% of B2B buyers did, and selecting the overall suppliers, with a majority 94% using social media for this stage. (Demand GenReport, 2012) The new breed of B2B buyers are more market and social media savvy, they a have pool of resources at their disposal at any time. There understand all the risks involved when making purchasing decisions thanks to that of blogs, relationships built online with other B2B buyers, and consumers. Not only has the outlook of the B2B perspective changed, but the suppliers as well, with over 79% the website of the vendor’s influenced their decision along with other web sources. (Demand GenReport, 2012)
Marketing Professionals Need for Adaption
With these changes in the landscape of B2B purchase decisions, in order for a marketing professional needs to reach them there are few adaptions that need to be made. BuyersSphere pointed out that even though,
“Every marketer wanted their campaigns to go viral a more realistic aim is to work to understand how buyers share information to maximize the secondary effect of your communications.”(BuyersSphere, 2012)
With that in mind, marketing professionals must not only understand the consumer purchasing behaviors, but the B2B buyer behaviors as well. How B2B buying process works is through several channels of communication. They share over 90% of information with other B2B, and use email as their prime source of sharing information. Email marketing is the biggest ways to impact B2B process. It is easy to access, read, and share with others. Younger buyers look to social media as their main source of information and collaborations, so marketing professionals must be on top of social media strategies and marketing. The new B2B marketer must make new ways to adapt to the new B2B buyer by developing better measures that help compensate for the B2B salesperson’s loss of control over the flow of information. (B2B Marketing Strategy)
Marketing professionals need to come with tools in order to help measure, and move the buying process along for B2B buyers. Develop a way to track online searches and actions, and behaviors in order to customize the way they market to the new generation of B2B buyers. Monitoring behavior is the best way that marketing professionals can strategize to reach B2B buyers, the buying process is simplified with the use of social media, but it also allows B2B buyers to recess their information and actions again because they have so much useful information available.
Mr. John Obrecht
February, 24, 2013
Dear John Obrecht,
Throughout the last decade, there has been a shift in the way that B2B buying process has been done. With the explosion of the influence of social media in digital marketing today, it is without question that it would have an impact on purchase decisions of B2B buyers. As I’m sure you may know, B2B transactions account for more internet sales than B2C transactions. So B2B presence on the internet is worldwide. B2B buying decision process has evolved due to a new generation of buyers, other environmental factors, and the transition of more businesses utilizing the internet.
I propose a 1500-word article based on the backed research of several reputable businesses, and B2B strategist focusing on the impact of the Social Media in the purchase decision process in B2B. The change of buying process thanks to Digital marketing and media, how the stages of the buying process has been influenced, and the way that marketing professionals must now adapt to reach B2B buyers. The article, Digital Marketing: Social Impact of B2B Purchase Process, will hope to bring to light the changes B2B buying process has undergone, and more ways that social media is changing the way businesses work. In sharing this article it will open more doors for discussion and more ways that the B2B buyers and Marketers build a better relationship to make the right buying decisions for the company.
Thank you for this opportunity
Yours in writing.
A Guide to Understanding the B2B Buying Process. (2012). Inbound Sales Network. Retrieved from http://www.inboundsales.net/blog/bid/49600/A-Guide-to-Understanding-the-B2B-Buying-Process
BuyersSphere. (2012) Base One. Retrieved from http://www.baseone.co.uk/beyond/Buyersphere%20report%202012.pdf.
Boone, Louis E. & David L. Kurtz. (2012). Contemporary Marketing 2013. CenageBrain.
Brennan, Ross & Robin Croft (2012).The use of social media in B2B marketing and branding: An exploratory study. Journal of Customer Behavior. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=c66ba81f-f122-4e14-a009-e88bdc795920%40sessionmgr104&vid=2&hid=121
Hudson, Simon, Martin S. Roth, & Thomas J. Madden (2012).Customer Communications Management in the New Digital Era. Center for Marketing Studies Darla Moore School of Business. Retrieved from http://mooreschool.sc.edu/UserFiles/moore/Documents/Marketing/Center%20for%20Marketing%20Studies/Customer%20Communications%20Management%20in%20the%20New%20Digital%20Era%20January%202012.pdf
McKenzie , Matthew S.(2012). B2B Buyer Survey Reveals Impact Of Social Media On Vendor Selection Process. Demand GenReport. Retrieved from http://www.demandgenreport.com/industry-topics/marketing-analytics/1702-b2b-buyer-survey-reveals-impact-of-social-media-on-vendor-selection-process.html
Olenski, Steve.(2012). CEOs On Social Media: Do As I Say, Not As I Do. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/ceos-on-social-media-do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do-2012-7
York, Joel. (2012). The New Breed of B2B Buyer. B2B Marketing Strategy. Retrieved from http://www.b2b-marketing-strategy.com/the-new-breed-of-b2b-buyer/