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The Human Side of Digital Marketing

March 26, 2018 | By Rachel Young

  • Even though digital marketing is pervasive, there is a human side to the b-to-b purchasing process that should not be ignored
  • The average number of interactions required to facilitate a b-to-b buying process ranges from 15 to 19
  • To design a marketing mix that attracts and engages buyers, b-to-b marketers must understand the target persona human and non-human interactions

Digital is pervasive; after all, it’s the buzziest buzzword in b-to-b today. Everywhere we turn, marketers are clamoring to adopt the latest digital marketing techniques, often without understanding what “digital” really means. To attract and engage buyers, marketers deploy a plethora of digital content, assets, formats and delivery mechanisms. However, the savviest marketers know that because b-to-b purchasing decisions are ultimately made by real people, there is a human side to digital marketing that must be considered.  The Human Side of Digital Marketing

A buying interaction is the term we use to describe buyers exchanging or receiving information throughout the buying process. An interaction can be non-human, such as when buyers are searching the Internet or browsing Web sites. A buyer can also have a human interaction, such as meeting with sales reps or having a conversation with an industry analyst. Digital content and formats can be leveraged in either types of interactions. Digital formats such as webinars, chats and online forums are used in human interactions. Because digital is pervasive, digging deeper to understand the persona’s buying interactions can give marketers an advantage when it comes to creating the right marketing mix for the target audience.

Data from our SiriusDecisions 2017 B-to-B Buying Study reveals that b-to-b buyers average 15 interactions to complete a simple buying process and 19 interactions for a complex process. The mix of interactions is balanced between human and non-human interactions. Throughout the buyer’s journey, the persona could have multiple non-human interactions while gathering information online and multiple human interactions as they meet with sales reps, engage industry analysts or talk to customer references. Knowing the type of interaction and when it occurs in the buyer’s journey is essential to creating a buyer’s journey map that informs how marketers develop campaigns with programs and tactics that connect with buyers.

To help marketers gain deeper insights into the buying audience, SiriusDecisions routinely conducts research into b-to-b buying behaviors. Our latest series of Buyer Insights Reports are based on the SiriusDecisions 2017 B-to-B Buying Study and provide detailed insights into how buyers in 23 roles and industries wish to buy from vendors. In addition to buying interactions, these reports reveal insights about engagement levels, content preferences and decision drivers. For a sneak preview, check out this short four-minute video!

The Buyer Insights Reports series is an exclusive deliverable of SiriusDecisions’ Portfolio Marketing service. Clients of this service can download the full reports on the client portal, and non-clients can access an overview that includes the available roles, industries and insights.

Buyer Insights Report Series Brochure

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Rachel Young

Rachel Young is a Senior Research Director of Portfolio Marketing at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 20 years of experience in product and solution marketing, demand generation and communications. Follow Rachel on Twitter at @rpyoung_.