How Do Potential B2B Buyers Find You?
There are hundreds of articles, blogs and papers on the subject of finding B2B prospects. The conversation goes something like this: “Let’s find out where our prospects hang out and sell them something.” This is the essence of push marketing. On the other hand, we practitioners of pull marketing (or inbound marketing, if you prefer) know that it is almost always better to be the one found than the one doing the finding. (I’ve written a bunch of blog posts about pull marketing – you can see one example here.)
There are all kinds of ways for B2B buyers to find you, including:
- Walking past your trade show booth.
- Doing a Google web search for a particular category of product.
- Seeing your banner or sponsored ad at a website.
- Running across your company on a social media platform.
- Learning about you from a friend or colleague.
- Reading reviews from online rating sites.
- Seeing your ad in an online magazine or content syndication site.
- Receiving a requested (opt-in) or non-requested email.
- Hearing or seeing your ad on a broadcast medium (e.g. radio).
Every company and industry is different in regards to how they attract prospects. The point is that you need to understand the best ways to let the buyer find you. As whatis.techtarget.com defines it, “Pull marketing is an approach designed to draw customers to a brand through search engine optimization (SEO) and other non-intrusive methods. The ultimate goal is to strengthen consumer awareness of a brand and products and foster demand.” I actually prefer to think of this as “fulfilling demand” instead of fostering demand, but good B2B marketing can meet both objectives.
Depending on your B2B marketing level, you may not be in a position to generate the required amount of leads and revenue from pull marketing sources. If this this the case, by all means be as aggressive as necessary with push marketing techniques, but build a strategy for converting more of your budget and time to pull marketing/inbound strategies that will generate more revenue at lower cost.
The below chart is from a Hinge Marketing article titled, 7 Rules for AEC Marketing. It discusses specifically how buyers in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry find the companies they do business with. Note that in the AEC industry, buyers are not listing push marketing media like emails, ads, and trade shows as their source of information about who to do business with, but rather, they peruse company websites, talk to colleagues, and search online.
How AEC Buyers Find Products and Services
Source: Hinge Marketing, July 2015
So what’s the key takeaway? Simply this: find out where your best prospects find purchasing information and do whatever you can to make sure that B2B buyers find you instead of your competition.