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B2B Marketing and the Emerging Anadromous Buyer - Parables From Patagonia

Jennifer Wagner
Sr. Product Marketing Mgr., Oracle Marketing Cloud B2B

Wading in the riverbanks of Bariloche, Patagonia Argentina, I had my first fly fishing experience. It ranged from several hours of nothingness, to continuous catch and release of beautiful rainbow trout. As every angler will claim, “I caught a big one!” I did, and a lot of them. I learned that these fish are anadromous, migrating from the ocean to breed in fresh water, making them highly adaptable to changing conditions. My challenge was to read the myriad of data accurately to anticipate their behavior and precisely execute the correct response. When I’m asked about the changing B2B marketing landscape, I compare the new, emerging B2B buyer to anadromous fish.

The first hour I spent just looking at the horizon and waiting for the fish to come to me. Not a single bite meant there were few fish in the river, or so I thought. One look across the water and I watched my relatives reeling in sizeable fish. To catch some fish, I realized that this was going to require some serious technical applications of reading data, real-time pivoting, accurate timing and precision.  

So, I began to develop strategies to read changes in the water and execute tactics for every different scenario. As a fly fishing evangelist, I encourage strategic thinkers to try the sport, and sharpen their skills of taking in changing data and improvisational tactics. With equal passion, I’ll tell any B2B marketer that now is the time for you to fully understand the new anadromous buyer and likewise, adapt.

What’s changed?

As a marketer, you’ve likely observed that customer journeys are dynamic. The B2B marketplace has a myriad of buyer personas with diverse appetites for product detail, contact with a sales rep, and many other attributes. More importantly, there is increasing variability in the modality, timing and preferences across any single persona.

  • Non-linear customer journeys mean that B2B marketers need an integrated marketing platform from sales to service that’s highly adaptive to the individual buyer journey.
  • Buyers are shifting away from a “find the lowest price” approach to “find the best fit through product discovery.” 
  • Marketers need cross-platform data sharing that picks up buyer cues as they engage on multiple channels. They don’t want to drop the lead by intervening too soon, or too late.
  • Corporate accounts have multiple buyers, any of whom may have slight or very different roles and personas.
  • Marketers need the ability to collect and interpret individual journey data to make relevant suggestions and select appropriate content while connecting this data to a corporate account and interpret it in that context.

Key Rewards For Focusing On The Experience

At Oracle, we know that customers value good experiences. Gartner reports that 81% of brands expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. Because the touchpoints of the buyer experience are now more complicated, what a B2B marketing strategy must now achieve is more complex. Some marketers give up and stick to what they know. Successful marketers use tools that enable them to address B2B buyer needs by shaping shifts in temperament, preferences and timing.

The results are in the sales numbers. If your sales team is pursuing leads like I was chasing fish, you will lose and your competition will have won. Thus, what kind of B2B marketing successes do we see from our Oracle Marketing Cloud CX customers? They are:

  • Implementing data strategies that provide Sales with a full view of customer interactions and preferences, enabling them to select the right approach and content for that buyer.
  • Benefiting from increased web as a % of sales activity by eliminating the customer data disconnects by ditching CRM and eCommerce systems that operate in silos.
  • Individualizing the buyer experience by replacing tone-deaf ABM tactics with best practices that only offer customers meaningful content using nuanced timing and channel placement. They’re ready whenever and however the customer wants to engage.

Much like the fly fisherman’s plight, the B2B marketer must have the ability to manage the iterative process of determining the best content and timing and repeatedly delivering it with precision. You cannot rely on luck when dealing with anadromous creatures. They have an infinite variety of preferences and the conditions they react to are in constant flux.

How well are you positioned to address this new B2B buyer?

Read More - Oracle Attains Highest Score for Current Offering and Strategy Categories in The Forrester Wave™: B2B Marketing Automation Platforms, Q4 2018

Get your copy of the Forrester report here.




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Comments ( 1 )
  • Kasper Tuesday, January 22, 2019
    Nice post, refreshing to read this stuff about B2B. I definitely agree.

    Best Regards
    Kasper from: https://ucommerce.net/
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