For the past several years, CMOs in business-to-business companies have been consumed with digital channels and technology. They have been focused on launching, connecting and optimizing online content and connection points with customers. And rightly so. All of this stuff is fairly new and has truly transformed the way customers engage with companies.
With that said, in the business-to-business world, digital is only part of a winning customer experience equation. The fact is, B2B buyers spend more than half their buying journey offline. And they value those offline interactions more than the digital connections they make with your company.
While the buzz in the boardroom and CMO circles is all about digital — business is still about relationships. Business gets done when people connect and have opportunities to form trusting relationships. That’s why the so-called death of tradeshows and events has been dead wrong. Face-to-face marketing for companies with complex products, services and solutions will never go away. In fact, according to a B2B Marketing and Advertising Study, which analyzes the investments, strategies, and challenges of Chief Marketing Officers across the US, B2B marketers will spend $26.1 billion on event related marketing investments in 2016.
Why? Because face-to-face marketing is the most effective way customers can secure the confidence they need to make serious buying decisions. It’s also the way companies are able to truly demonstrate subject matter expertise, establish credibility and build lasting relationships with buyers.
So, the question is not whether online or offline marketing is more important. Or even which one is more effective. They both are here to stay. The real question is how will CMOs and CEOs look at the strategies they deploy and the investments they make in a different way moving forward.