We live in two worlds: the physical and the digital.

In the digital world, we spend more time in some spaces than others:

👉 Gaming
👉 Streaming services
👉 Social media, namely Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram
(see Hootsuite’s Global State of Digital if you disagree)
👉 Online communities, think Reddit, Quora, Slack, podcasts, etc.
👉 Google for one-off information
(66% of Google searches result in zero clicks – meaning they get all the info they need on the SERP)
👉 Work apps, like Google, Microsoft Office, Teams, email, etc.

First, what are the common threads?

👉 Entertainment

People use social media, gaming and streaming services for primarily this reason.

👉 Education

People use social media, online communities and Google for this purpose.

👉 Engagement (community)

People use gaming, communities and social media as their go-to engagement channels.

👉 Utility

I can’t do my job without work apps or I need to get on Amazon to buy diapers.

Second, what’s the intent?

Said another way, what is this person trying to get out of being inside this channel?

👉 Passive consumption

A person watches videos or movies, scrolls social feeds or peruses community threads.

👉 Active consumption

A person needs information on a topic, wants to buy something or is playing a video game.

In passive consumption, the person wants to be entertained and educated.

They may want to engage, but after having passively consumed content.

For example, I’m perusing Reddit and find a good thread I want to participate in, so I add my two cents. My initial intent was passive, but now I’ve become active.

In active consumption, a person wants to engage or get something out of a specific need.

Now, as a B2B marketer, how does your company fit inside this landscape?

How are you taking advantage of where your buyers not only spend their time online, but also *how* they’re consuming content?

Most B2B companies we work with are not doing much in the digital world where people are spending most of their time.

Read that last sentence one more time. It’s worth it.

In the digital world, most B2B companies:

  • Create content for their website
  • Repost content from the website on their company social media pages
  • Use Google Ads to generate leads
  • Blast their email list with product promos

First, consider your website. It’s not that you shouldn’t care about your it. Your website is your greatest marketing conversion asset going into 2023. But, your website should not be the main arena where your content is created. It should be secondary to the channels where people are spending most of their time in the digital world.

Let’s do an exercise.

Go into Google Analytics and look up the average time spent on your website.

One minute? Two? Sheesh, maybe five to seven minutes?!

Now, take a step back.

The average U.S. adult spends six to eight HOURS online every day.

And they’re on your website for a minute or two. Like, in their whole life. Not every day.

Now, consider your company’s social media use. Going back to why people spend more time in certain digital spaces than others: For social media, it’s entertainment, education and community. Furthermore, social media is primarily a passive consumption channel. This means you need to have a GREAT reason why someone should stop scrolling through puppy videos, their friend’s vacation pictures or their community’s job updates to actually STOP scrolling, PAUSE to consider if the content is worth reading and then CONSUME it.

I know of very few companies who are doing this. Be honest about whether your company’s social media use fits into the way people want to consume content in the channels they’re in.

Finally, let’s take a look at Google Ads.

Go into Search Console.

For the majority of B2B companies, the top one to three results is the company name.

This means, most people are not finding you in Google by searching [thing your company does].

They’ve likely already heard about you through word of mouth (by far the most common thread for B2B industrial companies we work with) and went to your website to get more information or convert on a form.

So, why are you bidding on keywords like [thing your company does], if no one is finding you this way now? The most reasonable justification is: But, we want them to find us by searching thing your company does.

Fair.

Let’s go through another scenario.

I need a new CRM provider for our company. I already know three to five options because I heard about them on a marketing podcast, people in my network use them or they do great content marketing and I follow their activities.

Next, what am I going to do?

Likely, go to my network and online communities to see what others have to say.

Then, I’ll go to Google for basic information, like pricing and features. And finally, if I feel like it’s worthwhile, I’ll convert on a “Request a Demo” form.

“But Mary, we sell commodity products. Not big enterprise deals.”

Also fair.

So, you’re using Google to compete with likely five to 25 other companies who are bidding on the same commodity keywords you’re bidding on. Now, it’s a price and delivery game. Who can get it to me the fastest and the cheapest?

If that’s the game you want to play in 2023, by all means.

How can you shift your digital strategy?

If you want to win in the digital world today, you need to critically think about where your buyers are spending time online AND what they hope to get out of those channels.

If you’re truly not sure where your buyers spend time, ask them. Seriously. Call up five to 10 customers in the next few weeks and ask them the following questions:

👉 How does our product fit into your day-to-day?

👉 What problems does it solve?

👉 When you’re in the market for a similar product, how are you researching options? If they say “Google,” probe a bit and ask what keywords they’re using or if they already know providers who sell that product.

To shift your digital marketing strategy in 2023, you need to ask yourself the following questions about your buyers:

👉 Where are they consuming?
The channels

👉 How are they consuming content?
Passive or active

Now: How do you respond? Will you continue to do things your way because it’s the way it’s always been done?

Or, will you take the leap and shift your strategy to market and sell your product the way buyers want to buy.