Study: B2B Marketers Should Start Engaging Prior to Meetings, Events

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Companies exhibit at meetings and events -- including trade shows -- because they hope to secure new clients and customers. A new study, however, suggests that meetings and events are more effective when B2B marketers treat them as icing instead of cake.

Titled "Group. Mind. Set. How Group Dynamics Impact B2B Decisions," the study was conducted by B2B Marketing magazine in partnership with B2B marketing firm gyro. Together, the two sought to determine how group dynamics impact companies' buying decisions. Based on a poll of more than 100 global decision makers, their study concluded that in 97 percent of cases, group members already have a preferred vendor in mind before the purchase group is established -- including, for example, at a meeting or exhibition.

Additionally, the study found that:

• In 84 percent of cases, buying groups contain one individual who acts as a champion for the winning vendor.

• In 83 percent of cases, vendors are more likely to buy from a business whose culture and personality match their own.

• Content, research, and expertise are the most likely way to influence decision makers prior to the formation of a buying group, more than two-thirds of respondents said.

• Feeling their needs have been understood is the biggest feeling driving the buying group, according to 89 percent of respondents.

• Perceived arrogance from a vendor has the biggest negative impact on groups' buying decisions, according to more than half of respondents.

What the findings boil down to, according to B2B Marketing and gyro, is this: B2B marketers should use content marketing and other means to make a positive impression on the members of buying groups -- especially the group's central influencer -- prior to buying events like meetings. Then, at buying events, marketers can seal the deal by appealing to buying groups' emotions.

"Influencing the five-plus people in a B2B buying group requires, now more than ever, the perfect balance of feeling and precision," said Christoph Becker, global CEO and COO of gyro. "Decision makers not only need to be targeted correctly using the powerful precision tools of today, they must also feel something. They need to feel a connection with your brand, your offering, and your culture. That is the true way to impact B2B decisions."