In 2020, with the disruptions to normal life from the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working, social distancing and uncertainty were persistent themes. This led to an acceleration of change driven by new devices and platforms that catalysed consumer-led change in categories such as grocery, media, retail, travel and financial services. This has also created changes in business spaces where marketers with a focus on B2B lead generation will need to re-evaluate KPIs, messaging and channel selection.

Our partner GWI undertook a landscape study together with forecasters Lucie Greene and Jason Mander, on the changing behaviour of 17,000 knowledge professional workers. The study captured a scaled global snapshot of business in 2020, at a time of dislocation, and when speculation about a new normal was just that- speculation.

Fortunately, there are some certainties confirmed by the data, for example, a subset of professional workers embracing working from home with a considerable blurred line between life and work. The GWI study named this subset of professionals aged 21 to 40, the BETAs, characterised by having high technologically dexterity and a work view through the lens of their activism, which they bring to work. Continuous change will characterise our future and consequently, business planning must become dynamic and innovative.

The lifestyle of present-day challenges the marketers and marketing decision makers to think creatively about their target audiences. Technology has more influence than anything else within the BETA group’s mindset. The on-demand, mobile-centric and easy-to-use nature of consumer application has radically shaped the expectations of businesses, with high demands on time-management and productivity.

Consider tools like Stripe, MailChimp, Basecamp, Shopify and Slack which, as a result of the developing market, have started to evolve their brand identity with language, added convenience and attractive UX design.

At Mobile Journey, we understood this immediate change and developed new KPI models for our b2b clients. In the past – we only had a handful of b2b related publishers that didn’t only require premium rates, but also provided limited business ROI models.

After the rise of this remote-working lifestyle – it gave us a chance to look into a new space of diversification. The mass volume of users can now be identified by publishers, behaviour and interest. There is more than 20+ data sets available for verifying a potential lead.

We understand that there are changing expectations of the target audience and new channels to verify present-day decision-making leads.

Now, how do we reach them?

The central role of the smartphone has one of the greatest potential impacts on work-life balance. More than any cohort of professionals which has gone before, the BETAs are highly attached to these devices.

It’s not that BETAs are significantly more likely than other groups to use a smartphone for work; BETAs do have a slight lead, but the numbers are comparable across all cohorts – where 65%-70% of all professionals say they use one for work.

The distinguishing factor is that BETAs are the most likely to use personal smartphones for work. Over half of BETAs globally do this, compared to 40% of the professionals aged 41-50 and close to a third of professionals aged 51-64. There is differentiation even among the BETAs themselves: the younger the BETA, the more likely they are to utilise a personal phone for work-related purposes. Conversely, the older a professional becomes, the more likely they are to make use of a company-provided smartphone only.

The prominence of smartphones for BETAs is presented elsewhere in the GWI study too. Over 70% of BETAs say that their smartphone is their most important device in day-to-day life, compared to 50% among the 41-64 age group.

Across the 35 online activities tracked by GWI – spanning everything from checking social media and visiting business news sites, to watching videos – BETAs are more likely than any other cohorts to do all of the activities via a smartphone. BETAs are also significantly more likely to do these 35 activities via a mobile exclusively whereas PCs and laptops remaining much more prominent for other cohorts.

On average, BETAs in fact carry out 14 of the 35 online activities on their smartphone only; in contrast, the equivalent figure among the older professional groups is just 8 online activities.

These trends help to explain why BETAs estimate spending 3.5 hours on their mobiles each day – peaking at 4 hours amongst the 21-30 age group. Other older professionals report spending just under 2 hours on these devices, whilst this decreases to 1 hour and 20 minutes among the 51-64 age group.

To frame this differently, BETAs spend an extra 550 hours per year on their smartphones; and if an average workday contains 8 hours, that’s the equivalent of BETAs devoting an additional 68.5 working days to their smartphones.

Across all metrics relating to mobiles, there are year-on-year increases among BETAs which are expected but nevertheless substantial. A prime example is that, compared to 2019, BETAs now spend an extra 20 minutes per day on their phones. The number of BETAs that say a smartphone is the most important device in their day-to-day life is up by almost 10 points.

It is clear that there are substantial opportunities to reach B2B decision makers via Smartphones. The decision-makers that make up the BETA group are spending more time, doing more activities and merging personal time with professional time all through a Smartphone.

With this in mind, how can marketers best strategise to reach leads?

The three strategy take-aways for reaching your b2b lead:

  1. BETAs place a strong focus on self-improvement, self-evolution,
    and innovation; they demand of themselves both personally and professionally, and they want to be trend-setters embracing new ideas and solutions. They are highly engaged with online learning, highly conscious of how they manage their professional identities, and highly attracted by the concept of entrepreneurialism.
  2. Appearances matter for BETAs. In the decisions they take, they are disproportionately influenced by the desire for respect, recognition and status among their peers.
  3. BETAs want to be risk-takers but are a little more risk-averse than they might realize or choose to let on. They want to make bold decisions, they want to adopt new solutions, and they want to demonstrate an innovative mindset (sentiments which are being fostered and promoted further through the challenges presented by the pandemic). However, they also want to be safe and reassured in their decisions; they want to stand out only once they are confident in their choices, with input from experts and trusted recommendations being a central way to achieve this.

At Mobile Journey, we continually push the boundaries in technology and services to deliver best-in-field performance. Want to find out more how we’re innovating B2B marketing for our clients? Contact us now.

Sources: GWI – Work in BETA: The Rising B2B Decision Makers