Digital natives who are born from 1981 – 1996 in Malaysia or commonly labelled as Millennial are taking centre stage in decision making roles. According to data presented by MCMC (Malaysians Communications and Multimedia Commission), there are over 36 million mobile subscription with mobile broadband enabled in Malaysia. This represents almost 112% penetration of the total Malaysian Population. According to the statistics department of Malaysia, there will be over 35% of Malaysian population above the age 20 to 39 years old in 2020. (Statistics Department of Malaysia, 2019)

This data points are important indicators that this segment of population who grew up entirely on Smartphone consumption will be influencing and searching for information during their B2B purchase journey. Yong (2019) in her presentation during intrinic connection 3.0 entitled changing media landscape highlighted that 71% of product research starts with the search engine while 64% of the respondents the retailer or provider website and 44% searched through their social media presence.

Further to this insights, over 83% of the surveyed claims that review and comments played a vital role in forming opinions and setting up the initial preliminary feedback of products and services. Take for example, if a Millennial is tasked to source and search for products and services, the natural instinct is to flip out the smartphone and start “searching” on the 6.5 inch screen.

Gandhi, et al., (2019) plainly stated that B2B customers are people too. These people are so used to the simple swipe, slide and pinch behaviour delivered in effortlessly consumer digital experience, they expect a similar usage in Business to Business context.

As this generation takes a pivotal role in influencing purchase in the B2B realm, are we able to provide the sames experience to this group consumers who has been accustomed to quick, effortless online consumer journey?

In this B2B article, I will be adapting and mentioning some insights generated by the research of Gandhi, et al., ( 2019) based on the article entitled “Why customer experience matters on B2B business”.

1)    Mobile Optimised Experience

Its no surprise that purchasers and influencers in the B2B channel will be staring and swiping through their smartphones for the initial touch point in the purchase and information gathering journey. Ask yourself this question, is my website mobile friendly and optimised? This is literally a no brainer or so it seems. This will be one of lowest hanging fruit to tackle and address. Optimising the mobile screen experience is one of those clean hygiene factors a business to business provider can attain.

2)    Balance of Rational and Impulsive Purchase Pattern

Consumers who have been raised in the environment of impulsive buys through targeted offers and discounts will walk a different journey in B2B consumption. No offers, carts, reminders etc will trigger the same type of experience or euphoria.

B2B purchases will involve many stakeholders and the collection of data is just the starting point. The content of reviews and testimonies offer a greater evidence of persuasion curated with sharper angle of communication. While Click Buy offers works way in the consumer world, the business buyers will likely take a more conservative rational approach to purchasing. Logistics, reliability, functionality and Customer service will play a greater role in business to business purchase.

3)    Understanding the 3 type of Business consumers

a)    1-Click customers – These segment behaves like typical consumers. They wish to have similar experience in the consumer type of purchasing journey. I searched, I discovered, I visited and I Purchased. Though its obviously a straight forward transaction type of journey, its relatively an easy B2B product consumable. For example, purchasing stationery items for office consumption or ordering travel and accommodation arrangement

b)    Deep Analytical Customers – These mobile and desktop researchers will be searching and mining the web for information of more complex products or solutions. They will spend time going through articles, write-ups, testimonials, reviews, competitive reviews etc. A journey of market intelligence data gathering begins long before actual contact is made with the intended selling party. Therefore, manage this touchpoints effectively to maximise coverage. Is your website content index correctly? Is it easy to obtain the necessary technical product specification ? How quickly a researcher is able to obtain feedback for inquiries when the scope of information is not available?

c)    Solutions customers – These large account have complex sourcing and solution requirements. They are certainly more complex in nature compared to deep analytical customers. Their commercial requirements needs to address regulatory, security, political, taxation etc aspects. High conformity to governing global standards and its implication may just the starting stage of inquiry journey. These segment of customers journey will require a level of engagement that is thoughtful and relevant. Building this component in the B2B consumer journey requires testing and refinement.

The shifting of Millennial procuring products and solutions in the B2B space is evident from the population data discussed earlier. Screen Size matters contextually speaking and addressing these trends will help navigate through these changes. This write-up does not cover the fuller expects of B2B marketing. It’s a complex journey to say the least. However, building and understanding the screen size journey will significantly sharpen further the approach to present information which will be pivotal in influencing and assisting the decision-making consideration.

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References

Gandhi, S., Jamjoum, A. K. & Heider, C., 2019. MIT Sloan Management Review. [Online] Available at: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/why-customer-experience-matters-for-b2b/ [Accessed 18 October 2019].

Statistics Department of Malaysia, 2019. Department of Statistics Malaysia. [Online] Available at: https://www.dosm.gov.my/v1/index.php?r=column/cdatavisualization&menu_id=WjJMQ1F0N3RXclNGNWpIODBDRmh2UT09bul_id=a0ZQRGIrV3k1R0FJeDBCYnFUZVU4Zz09 [Accessed 18 October 2019].

Yong, S. V., 2019. An Insight Into The Fast-Changing Media Lndscape In Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, Omnicom Media Group Malaysia.

Picture Credit : http://neuromarketingworldforum.com/agenda/march-14/what-are-the-screensize-limitations-of-eye-tracking