The majority of B2B companies have not conducted primary research focused on their customers’ needs and challenges in the last 12 months, as the sector struggles to humanise their communications in an era of brand storytelling, according to new research.
A new report by global marketing and communications agency, Allison+Partners reveals that whilst B2B marketers wish to evolve their brand strategy in favour of more human connection and conversations to engage with their audiences, they struggle to put this into practice.
As empathy, trust and care become increasingly vital brand currencies, particularly during these uncertain times, more B2B brands will look to follow suit and talk more
“human”. Businesses that are able to adapt quickly and execute against timely events are the ones that survive and thrive. The survey, which included input from 400 marketing directors in the UK and Germany, found that:
• B2B marketers know the value of humanising their brand but are finding it difficult to put into practice. Almost all (97%) of respondents believe it’s important to humanise their brand, but only 26% have managed to do so already. Nearly two-thirds (65%) say that they have either struggled to do so or don’t know where to start.
• Marketers are struggling to understand their audiences in order to truly connect with them. A significant proportion (45%) of B2B marketing decision makers, have not conducted primary research focused on their customers’ needs and challenges in the last 12 months. It’s perhaps no wonder then that 35% say they struggle to understand their customers’ journey from awareness through to purchase.
• Customers are all treated the same, and not as the individuals they are. Only a third (36%) of marketers say it’s important to tailor communications to specific stakeholders, showing how their products and services might relate to their role. More than half (57%) have not yet created personas or audience segments for targeted campaigns, whether from primary or secondary research.
Commenting on the research findings Jill Coomber, Managing Director of Integrated Marketing, Europe, Allison+Partners said, “As an industry, marketers are famously resilient in the face of adversity, and are recognising the need to evolve again in light of the global pandemic. B2B marketers have realise that the notion of people buying from people isn’t only a B2C approach and are increasingly putting this at the heart of their own brand messaging. There’s a general consensus that what worked a year ago, won’t necessarily worktoday. This report demonstrates how to take those next steps.”
Heike Schubert, General Manager, Allison+Partners Germany added, “Our research suggests that there’s a sizable appetite for B2B brands to revitalise their marketing strategies. Of the marketers surveyed – they understand that talking ‘human’ goes beyond just the latest industry trend; and is in fact crucial for business success and longevity. As a result, we really emphasise the need to invest time and effort in listening to customers and understanding their behaviour as we continue to counsel our clients during this difficult time.”