- Buyers are overwhelmed with content and desire experiences
- Buyer behavior is changing rapidly and requires BIG insights
- Buyers are on a quest to be demand fulfilled
- Buyers are developing complex networks that collaborate
- Buyer decisions models are transforming
- Buyers are seeking to further their intelligence, not read more content
- Buyer values are changing significantly
This final article looks at how buyers desire above all else – a rewarding buyer experience and how businesses today and in the future will need to focus on enhancing as well as humanizing the buyer experience. (Image "people not numbers" by Kenny Madden © All rights reserved)
Buyer Trend: Buyers desire rewarding human experiences
The concept of Experience in business has undergone a roller coaster ride during the past ten to fifteen years since it was first introduced. Both the terms customer experience and buyer experience taking on different meanings in this time period. For buyers in general, there has been a slow but progressing convergence of desiring B2C like experiences in B2B market worlds. Without question, the rise of the Internet and Social Technologies has shaped and reshaped our concept of Experience in general. I believe we are at a pivotal moment in business history with respect to buyer behavior and experience.
This pivotal moment is centered on the idea that buyers desire human experiences in the business world and see experience as a two-sided coin. The two key principles of experience in the modern Social Age are:
- Contextual: the overriding foundation of customer and buyer experience is engaging existing customers and prospective buyers in relevant contextual experiences – whether they are in social mediums, conversations, or interactions.
- Learning: rising as an essential component of experience in business is the growing expectations on the part of buyers that undergoing an experience also mean they will learn from the experience. Knowledge and practical intelligence will be gained by entering into the experience.
Buyers today are redefining the meaning of business experience. Consequently, integrating their business experience into how buyers are reshaping their human experience in general as a result of the Social Age. Buyers not only want to “feel good” about the business experiences they undergo, but now also have a higher expectations they will take away knowledge they did not have before.
The seven buyer trends in this article series point to what I call The Buyer Circle of Experience. As they reshape their definition of what a business experience means and integrate it into their human experience, buyers are expanding their circle of experience in a business context. The totality of their humanized buyer experience including what has been covered in this Buyerology Trend series:
- To undergo rewarding and fulfilling experiences
- To be understood qualitatively – in human terms and not data terms
- To enable their quest to fulfill knowledge needed; not be seen as object for demand generation
- To enhance collaborative experiences with expanding buyer networks
- To be enabled to make informed decisions that align with organizational decision models versus generic buying process views
- To grow their intelligence and in essence grow their knowledge and practical wisdom in their respective areas and beyond
- To foster the ability to meet shared corporate values, in addition to needs, as part of the business experience
What Must CEO’s, CMO’s, and CSO’s Do?
A place for C-Suite leaders to start is to rethink their own concept of what experience – customer and buyer experience – means in today’s Social Age. Guiding the organization to adopt a two dimensional view of experience – contextual and learning – as opposed to one dimensional views. It will take hard work and deep customer and buyer understanding to turn B2B business engagement into humanized social experiences. This becomes a new imperative for the C-Suite. Undergoing think shift - viewing every interaction as one that must become an engaging and fulfilling experience and represent a learning experience for existing customers and prospective buyers.
The implications affect every area of businesses – talent, training, functions, technologies, operations, marketing, and sales. It will test the resolve and capabilities of business leadership as we know it today.
In the future, buyer expectations for experiences that engage them contextually and provide learning opportunities will grow. The open systems of new social technologies fueling the rise in humanizing the buyer experience. Buyers will be looking to integrate their business experience into their personal human experience.
As the millennial grows into leadership, we will see metamorphoses take place around the concept of business, organization, leadership, and shared values. This will drastically affect our notions of what is thought of as a business experience. We may very well begin to see a narrowing gap between the business experience and the human experience happen sooner than we think.
Key questions to ponder for the future are: What is your organization doing today to rethink experience and what it means? How capable is your organization of providing both engaging as well as learning experiences? How will your organization be impacted by this evolving trend?