This piece from MediaPost reviews data released by Google from an ongoing study on how marketers are utilizing the various channels since the start of the pandemic. Since lockdowns and work from home rules remain mostly in place, and have been for six months, it may not be surprising to most readers that online marketing channels are busting at the seams in terms of growth and usage among buyers.
Mercator Advisory Group covered this eventuality in a member report as far back as late 2018, when the move towards consumer experiences for B2B e-commerce was already underway. Now it is being accelerated by COVID.
‘B2B buyers are finding that online video and online search have become more important to find the information they need. In fact, 64% of buyers have increased their use of online video, and 51% of B2B buyers have increased their use of search.…Marketers have doubled their use of digital during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with sales and offline marketing channels. Their use of online marketing has increased by 88%, and of that total, 45% began using digital for the first time during COVID-19.’
At the time of the indicated report, we found that a surprising number of sellers had not yet formed a comprehensive e-commerce strategy. The demographic change in the workplace literally demands this adaptation. The results of this study suggest that lacking e-commerce capabilities now will be an existential threat, since buyers want online support and an easy experience.
‘Google’s study also suggests that companies must be there for buyers….Some 81% of buyers want to have some level of vendor or salesperson support when they are ready to make a purchase. Three-quarters of buyers say self-service is important to the purchase decision. Some 82% want a user-friendly website, while 74% want an optimized mobile experience, 70% want online or app-based chat, and 66% want one-click checkout.’
To reform the old adage, we’ll say let the seller beware.
‘The level of dissatisfaction is even higher among millennials, who are increasingly key stakeholders in business purchase decisions. Nearly half of 25-to-34-year-olds reported that B2B website experiences delivered below expectations in the past month.’
Overview by Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group