It wasn't too long ago that both B2C and B2B shoppers bought in a radically different way from how they buy now. If we wanted to research a product or service before buying, we went to the provider and asked questions. If we wanted to get an answer from the owner of a company, we went through a sales representative. In fact, if we wanted any information, we had to ask a sales representative.
Who had the "power" in that situation? Not us! That's for sure. The sales rep was the gatekeeper and we had to get everything from them. That situation has shifted completely.
Buyers have changed.
Today, the buyer doesn't even consult a sales representative until they have nearly made up their mind. They have all of the information they need to make a buying decision when they finally speak to a sales rep. Where do they get this information? Surely they talk to friends and colleagues, but most often, they start by doing research online. Today's buyer looks to Google, social media and other online channels to get all of the information they need before making a buying decision.
Again, the power in the relationship has completely shifted. If you buy a car, you could quite possibly know more about the car you're test driving than the car salesman does. If you're buying a component for a machine, you may know more about the component options than the sales reps for the companies do. The bottom line is, you are an educated buyer now.
Are You Providing The Education?
Ask yourself this question:
Would you rather be educated or sold to?
Obviously, you'd rather be educated. Same with every other buyer on the planet. If buyers are more educated than ever, that means as marketers, we have a tremendous opportunity to be the source of their education. We've written extensively about content marketing on this blog, and you absolutely should be doing it for multiple reasons. The biggest reason being that as the educator, you become the trusted source that is there to help your prospects before they have made the buying decision. One thing is for certain. If you aren't there when they are looking, one of your competitors will be.