Today’s customer has changed drastically. They are increasingly demanding, critical and disloyal. They juggle between smartphones, tablets and laptops and have access to a lot more information than we had 10 years ago. Nowadays, it is the customer who calls the shots and decides where, when and how things happen – whether you like it or not! Are B2B customers really that different from B2C customers? Does this shift in behaviour effect B2B companies the same way it does B2C brands? Are B2B companies in a weaker position to respond to this increasingly exacting customer?
B2C customers are often understood as a group of sensitive, cognitive, affective and sophisticated individuals; interesting yet complex to comprehend. However, in many people’s minds, the B2B customer is not even human – more like a robot programmed to make rational choices.
Enough with the caricature! If you truly believe that for some reason, a superior power removed the B2B customer of all emotion, and that they are individuals free from neuroses unlike the rest of us, then expect to receive that sorry smile from me! Of course, B2C and B2B customers are different in some ways, but to disregard the role that emotion plays in influencing B2B purchasing behaviour is just absurd. Thankfully, the myth of the unfeeling B2B consumer is slowly crumbling, and the emotional aspect of the decision making process is becoming more widely acknowledged. B2B companies such as IBM, Maersk and General Electric are at the forefront of their brand building missions, but most B2B companies still have some way to go.