Prosumers, which you have probably already guessed means something along the lines of professional consumers, have a lot in common with ordinary consumers. In particular, they share the fact that for the most part they are also human beings and, as such, share a common tendency to want to be respected, informed and entertained when someone intrudes into their busy life.
Prosumers, or the wallet holders in the B2B markets, are not the catalogue and discount jockeys that business history tends to portray. Supply chain relationships are key to every successful strategy and that makes the relationship between buyer and seller one of exploring value adding opportunities, not the adversarial price plus inducement recipe that may exist in some parts.
The other reason the prosumers are very important is that for ever consumer product to be offered to the market, there are probably dozens of B2B transactions that have been concluded to make that offer.
So how do our prosumers want us to engage with them? Well according to the Huffington Post there are a number of factors that are very similar to the consumer interface and a number that are significantly different.
At its most simplistic the balance is that consumers want to be predominantly entertained in a possibly informative way, while prosumers want to be informed in a possibly entertaining way. Consumers want ideas and challenges; prosumers want solutions and certainty.
The prosumer purchase is part of a jigsaw of purchases that must come together for the whole to work. The A380 (a product of some 4,000,000 parts) was delayed for two years partly because the wiring looms were not long enough and did not meet; the French and German buyers who specified the purchase were probably not the most popular people on the planet and no doubt the lawsuits roll on.
To be attracted to your content that prosumer will have to be quickly assured that it is relevant and authoritative at the correct technical level; that somewhere within there may be a solution to a problem, or an innovation that could become an opportunity. The prosumer also needs facts and figures; not just the metrics of budgetary justification but the scientific and technical facts and figures that let them adjudge relevance quickly.
Respect, response and reliability are major components of B2B relationship building; typical supply chain buy cycles are considerably longer than in consumer markets, anything from weeks or months in food to several years in an industry like aviation. That means a lot more opportunity for a prospect to drop out of the sales funnel and even more opportunity for a competitor’s content to attract attention.
Of course these are not new insights to anyone who works in B2B, but they are important to content producers who are leading the way in developing native strategies for B2B channels and media. The online world has become awash with content clamouring to be noticed and that will inevitably spill over into the more technically differentiated prosumer world.