Are Your Clients Changing Faster Than You?

In the ever-evolving landscape of business-to-business (B2B) interactions, clients across various industries have been evolving the way they engage with brands and make purchasing decisions. With a new generation of decision makers who have grown up with a tablet in their hands rising through the ranks, this prompts the question: have companies adapted their marketing enough to keep up?  

“More caution in B2B purchasing since choice is not with personal funds.” 

The intricacy of B2B lies in the fact that decision-makers represent organizations rather than themselves. They make purchasing choices on behalf of their companies, not with their personal funds. Consequently, B2B decision makers tend to be more cautious than their direct consumer counterparts. Considering this, we often address B2B clients impersonally, occasionally creating a sterile interaction of one entity conversing with another.  

“A few years ago, technology was the issue, but a lot has improved.” 

Companies have made significant strides in engaging with their B2B clients, leveraging technology to maintain a consistent presence even when sales teams operate remotely. A few years ago, technology posed challenges, but substantial improvements have happened since then.  

However, with the mainstream of companies having now adopted a similar digital toolkit, audiences are flooded with information, and differentiation is becoming more critical than ever. Impact now hinges on whether the content truly engages with, and meets the needs of their specific audiences. 

Moreover, understanding how different groups of decision-makers access information is crucial, especially considering the rise of a younger demographic. 

The B2B Content Conundrum: Text-Heavy and Jargon-Laden 

When examining B2B content, a common challenge persists: it remains largely impersonal, un-emotional, text heavy and laden with industry jargon. 

As we explore ways to enhance communication, we must address this issue head-on. The preference for emotional messages and storytelling over cold facts, even in a B2B environment, has been extensively examined, as demonstrated by research from the B2B Institute.

Although all age groups are constantly adapting to new technologies, there is still a difference in how they use and trust it. A nuanced approach considering individuality and circumstance is obviously needed. Research from GWI shows that there is a difference in age in how people search for information and what sort of engagement they prefer. 

A study from GWI* shows the preferred way of brand research by generation: 

GenZ  1997-2007 Millennials   1983-1996 GenX  1964-1982 Baby boomers 1948-1963 
51%  Social networks 51% Search engines 56% Search engines 61% Search engines 
49%  Search engines 48% Social networks 40% Consumer reviews 43% Consumer reviews 
Value most: collaborator Value most: peer Value most: practitioner Value most: expert 

“Boomers are more likely than the average to say they do not trust influencer recommendations; they prefer expert opinions. This contrasts with Millennials who trust influencers and value peer recommendations”  

These preferences have significant implications for communication strategies, influencing who delivers the message and how it resonates with them. 

“The oldest Gen Zers are now 27 and they are the best educated generation so far!” 

The oldest Gen Zers, now 27, represent the best-educated generation to date. They determine content relevance in just 8 seconds, that is 4 seconds less than Millennials. This speed underscores the need for concise, impactful messaging. **  

      “GenZ only needs 8 seconds to decide if content is valuable to them.” 

Mobile-Friendly Content: The New Norm 

Regardless of age, mobile devices dominate content consumption. Crafting mobile-friendly content—short-form, visually engaging, and easy to navigate—is paramount. 

Yet, B2B content can be jargon heavy, with lengthy text. To effectively engage younger decision makers and stay aligned with evolving user preferences, it is logical to customize B2B messages accordingly and keep in mind who they listen to and where they find information. 

After all, why would someone who is enjoying dynamic, engaging formats on social channels not like it when doing business? 

Who will boldly test the waters and tailor their approach to resonate with younger decision makers? As the tides shift, those who adapt swiftly will steer the course toward success. 

For more please get in touch.


* GIW Zeitgeist &core data ’21 % Q1’23 & Science of people 
** Instabrain -Sarah Weise