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The B2B Buying Journey


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The buying journey has completely changed over the last decade due in large part to the Internet and the amount of information now accessible online. Businesses must come to the realization that their prospective buyers are completing up to 70% of their buying journey before contacting them. This stat may be staggering to some, but there’s good news — you still have the ability to influence your audience early on and throughout their entire buying journey. My new eBook takes a deep dive into what a modern day B2B buyer’s path to purchase looks like, the marketing solutions that play into each phase of their buying journey, and how those marketing solutions ultimately influence the buyer’s decision to purchase. This eBook is a must read for any marketer looking for a fresh perspective on the B2B digital landscape and how their business can capitalize on the online marketing opportunities available to them.

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The B2B Buying Journey

  1. 1. Todd Ebert Chief Marketing Officer The B2B Buying Journey
  2. 2. This is the fictional story of Mary the Marketing Director, her buying journey for a new CRM system, and the digital advertising that influences her every step of the way. B2B marketers can use this narrative to understand the path-to-purchase for their own prospects and plan digital marketing campaigns that drive brand awareness, engagement, leads, and ultimately customers.
  3. 3. The Challenge for B2B Marketers How do you ensure that prospective customers know your brand… Before they need your product? During their research? Through the evaluation (RFP) process? …and beyond?
  4. 4. Part soccer mom Part marketing professional Meet Mary the Marketing Director and soccer mom. Like most adults, she spends over seven hours a day surfing, searching, and socializing online. She is almost always “connected” with smart phone in hand. How can the companies that make CRM software capture Mary’s attention? First, they must understand her and other prospective buyers’ online behavior.
  5. 5. 28% @ 6% 24% 7.6 Hours Online Daily Media Consumption 1% Search Email / IM Surf Content Surf Social Media Online Shopping 19% Surf VideoOffline 7.0 Hours @ 7.0 Hours Offline Surfing and searching all day. Like most of us, Mary spends a lot of her day surfing the Web and reading content relevant to her personal life and her profession. She spends over 70 percent of her time online surfing content, watching videos and checking social media. Mary spends about 1 percent of her time conducting searches — a fraction of the time that she spends reading content, but an extremely important 1% since it drives her to other sites with information that answers her questions or needs. The takeaway for marketers is that a combination of display advertising and search engine marketing provides the best opportunity to reach Mary with targeted advertising. Source: combination of statsfrom eMarketer, Forrester and other research studies 22%
  6. 6. One woman, two buyers. While at work, Mary takes frequent breaks to check Facebook, visit her favorite meal planning sites and catch up on child-rearing tips in parenting blogs. At home Mary often burns the midnight oil, staying up-to-speed with the latest marketing trends by reading articles on industry news and association sites as well as email newsletters. Interestingly, as she surfs the web Mary sees ads for work-related products on consumer sites and ads for personal products on business sites. This is an example of “Programmatic Advertising” at work, where technology enables many advertisers to competitively bid on putting their ads in front of Mary [or any of us] on any site she is visiting. They are targeting the buyer wherever she goes instead of the old days of advertising on a single site and hoping buyers visit that site and see their ad.
  7. 7. Mary’s buying journey progresses through many stages. Do I have a problem? Who can solve it? Who should solve it? Do I want to solve it? How? “Buyers do their own research online. On average, they are 70% through the journey before even contacting a sales rep.” The companies vying for Mary’s business need to understand her buying journey in order to reach her with their messages and influence her decision. Mary, and other B2B buyers, are now in total control as they self-educate onlineprior to engagingwith a sales person. Theycan get nearly all the information they need in just a few seconds from their smartphones or laptops. Product details, technical specs, analyst ratings, user reviews and even pricing are only a few clicks away. B2B buying is a much longerand more complex process than its consumer equivalent, with wrong decisions being very costly to both the bottom line and the decision-maker’s career. Should I buy again? Unaware Aware Research Consider Evaluate Purchase Renew Advocate 70% BUY
  8. 8. Mary’s not in the market for a CRM system…yet. Mary recently joined ABC Widgets as the Marketing Director and is focused on building a new website, updating collateral and planning their major tradeshow. She has no budget for a new CRM and no timeto think about it right now. Hence she is unaware of most CRM software brands. Unaware - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - »
  9. 9. Mary notices CRM ads on her favorite sites. Mary is aware of since they have a strong presence across marketing trade publications, conferences and shows, but she is unaware of their many competitors likeSugar, Act!, Insightly, Sage, Base and Zoho. Some of those CRM companies create campaigns to raise their awareness with marketers. They use programmatic display advertising to get their ads directly in front of marketing managers at companies of the right size and geographiclocation. Not surprisingly, Mary starts seeing displayads for CRM companies on the marketing sites she frequents and also on her favorite news, entertainment, and lifestyle sites — pages that are not related to her work life. But she still has no interest in buying. Aware, No Need - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - » Repeated exposure to display ads increases the number of relevant search queries by up to 25%. - Harvard Business Review 85% of consumers don’t mind digital display ads when they are relevant. - Bizrate
  10. 10. Good creative captures Mary’s attention. Aware, No Need - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - » Over many months of seeing their ads Mary has developed an affinity for brands whose ad campaigns are highly creative, even though she’s not actually interested in buying at the moment. The CRM companies are using a technique called persona targeting to reach Mary. This involves using key firmographic and demographic data to target your ideal customer profile – for example, people in marketing roles at companies with over 100 employees in the manufacturing industry. This approach enables companies to get their message in front of a highly defined audience of prospects, instead of wasting budget on a general campaign that hits many people who are not their target customer. Building brand recognition increases the likelihoodthat your product will be included in the consideration set when a prospect actually has a need and starts researching solutions. High-quality creative increases ad viewing time six times (5.8x) and nearly doubles purchase intent (+93%) vs. low-quality creative. – MarketingLand 60% of marketers believe data is essential to improving their advertising effectiveness and reaching the right audience. – eConsultancy
  11. 11. Six months have passed and a need arises. Mary is now developing her marketing plan and budget for next year. Her big challenge is that the CEO expects the marketing department to deliver and manage a pipeline of leads for the sales team. She knows that she will need a CRM to make this happen. So, Mary starts by searching broad terms like “top challenges with CRM implementation” and “what to look for in a CRM solution.” She clicks on a lot of links and reads a lot of articles on marketing trade association sites, blogs, and company sites. Exploring - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - » 93% of B2B purchases start with online research. - Fierce CMO
  12. 12. Exploring - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -» Mary checks out some brands she recalls. Now that Mary has done some research she starts noticing lots of displayads for CRM brands includingsome new ones she hadn’t heard of before. She is quite busy during the workday so she rarely clicks on the ads or reads about the products. But many nights after she’s put the kids to bed she logs on to catch up on work. In this case she wants to continue her CRM research so she “googles” some of the brands she remembers from the ads she saw earlier in the day. This is an example of behavioral targeting which is also called search retargeting. Specialized companies [like MultiView] see in their data that Mary has searched phrases about CRM and read articles about CRM. They know she is likelyto be in the buying journey for CRM and serve her ads accordingly. 3 out of 5 online buyers say they notice ads for products and services they looked up on other sites. - 38% increase in branded search activity for prospects exposed to a display ad. - comScore During The Day Later That Night
  13. 13. Mary builds her list and a new contender emerges. Mary has explored a lot of content about the benefits and challenges of implementing a new CRM. And now she starts deeper searches like “top CRM companies” to identify products that would work for her smaller sized company. Her goal is to narrow down the list to a handful for deeper consideration by her boss and the head of sales. And then ultimately to issue the RFP to a few of them. During this time she starts seeing ads for Base, a different CRM brand she hadn’t considered yet. So, she clicks on their ad and visits their site. The product meets all of her criteria and is priced lower than others she likes so she adds it to her list. Mary is now being reached by a form of behavioral targeting called competitor conquesting. This is when companies target their ads to people who have searched their competitors’ branded keywords and/or visited competitor websites. Researching - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - »
  14. 14. Mary narrows down her list. Mary has to get an initial recommendation to her boss so she does some more specific research on terms like ”CRM case studies,” ”CRM comparisons” and “CRM ratings.” In addition to organic links, she clicks on several ads on the page that sound like they have the information she is looking for. She reads the content and then does additional searches to dig deeper and deeper. She’s now pretty well educated about CRM and has narrowed down her consideration set to a handful of brands. Mary is being reach by targeted search engine advertising where companies bid against each other to have their ad show up on a search results page for the key phrases buyers use to find information. It’s important to note that Mary clicks on several of the search ads of the brands she recognized from having seen their display ads. More on this later in the book, but in summary, the combo of display and search is proven to drive a higher response from buyers. Researching - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -»
  15. 15. Evaluating - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - » What’s on Mary’s mind? Throughout her research, Mary visits many CRM vendor websites. Most of the time she leaves without filling out forms or downloadingcontent. But, time and time again, Mary sees specific ads for Act! software after visiting their site. One ad even reminded her to downloadan ebook that she had clicked on but never completed the form. TheAct! brand is now definitely top of mind for Mary, and she’s gone back to their site several times after seeingtheir ads. Mary is now being reached by site retargeting, a techniquethat tags peoplewho leave a company’s website and shows them that company’s display ads as they surf their favorite sites across the web. This approach helps you stay top-of-mind with interested prospects and reminds them about your unique value proposition. 98% of website visitors do not convert on the first visit. Users exposed to site retargeting spent 50% more time on site than the average site visitor and also consumed more pages. Website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert on your site. -
  16. 16. Validating - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -» Mary does some reputation checks. At this point, Mary is ready to issue an RFP to two contenders: Act! and Insightly. But before doing so she searches for information about the reputations of the companies themselves and their products. She enters in keywords like "Insightly reviews" and "Act! reviews" to find out what kinds of experiences customers have had with each company. She also searches “Insightly News” and “Act! News” to learn about any recent changes in their organizations. Mary finds largely positive reviews about each company but also notes some specific questions that she will include in her RFP. It is important to note that you should always pay to advertise on your own brand name [like Insightly does] so that you show up in the first search results page and do not allow your competitors to take that prime spot.
  17. 17. Validating - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - » Mary hits the road. While waiting on responses to her RFP Mary attends the annual Direct Marketing Association tradeshow. During breakfast at the hotel, she is reading articles on her phone and is surprised to see an ad from Act! that directs her to visit their tradeshow booth for a demo and free gift. She is charmed by this coincidental encounter, given that the brand was already on her consideration list. She did not know that Act! would be at the show, so she makes a note to stop by their booth and chat with their product manager. Mary is now being reached by a type of display targeting called geo-fencing. This is where you can target users at very specific geographic locations, such as industry association trade shows and conferences.
  18. 18. Mary's getting ready to buy. Mary has received proposals from both Act! and Insightly. She feels like the pricing is a bit high for both, so she searches "Act! CRM pricing" and ”Insightly discounts" to see if any customers have posted information about their prices online. That way she’ll have some bargaining power to get a better deal just like she did when buying a Ford Fusion a few months prior. This is a great example of search behavior that indicates a person’s strong intent to buy. Smart advertising companies [like MultiView] use this type of signal to trigger relevant display ads that can influence the buying decision. For example, Act! could have influenced Mary by running display ads touting a research study that showed they are the best value for the money. Per an earlier slide, this is another example of paying to advertise on your own name, albeit in the 2nd position since ZoHo is making an effort to steal prospects interested in Act! with a “free” offer. Purchasing - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -»
  19. 19. Mary finally buys, but her journey is not over. After months of research, numerous proposals and rounds of competitive pitch presentations, Mary signs a contract with Act! for their CRM software. Several months later Mary has the system deployed and is using it to power her email marketing campaigns. Again, she starts seeing Act! ads as she surfs around the Web, but this time it’s for a different product. In this instance, Mary is being targeted specifically by Act! as part of their customer upsell campaign. They are using CRM data targeting to display their ads to current clients [and prospects] in their database, helping them drive interest in additional products. Renewing - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -»
  20. 20. It’s time for Mary to renew. Mary has had a successful year using the Act! system to fuel her email campaigns, and the sales VP she works with is happy that the CRM enables him to stay on top of his pipeline. The Act! contract has come up for renewal, so Mary researches online and visits competitor websites to make sure that Act! is still competitive with the latest features. Once again, she starts noticing that CRM ads show up on her favorite websites, which means that Mary is now being behaviorally targeted by other brands. Ultimately Mary decides she has received strong ROI from the Act! system, so she signs a two-year renewal and agrees to do a testimonial video for them. Advocating - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -»
  21. 21. 100% of potential buyers research solutions and companies online Your competitors are online trying to capture the attention of your prospects You Must Be Present To Win! Prospects complete 70% of their buying journey before making contact with vendors In summary…
  22. 22. Now Mary Develops Her Own Digital Marketing Plan for ABC Widgets
  23. 23. Mary’s plan covers the three pillars of digital marketing. As described in the previous section, Mary is a savvy marketer who successfully built and executed an initial marketing plan, including a new website, several major tradeshows and, last but not least, a new CRM system to power her email campaigns. Now that she has accomplished all of that, Mary is expanding her strategy to cover all three pillars of a best practice digital marketing plan: owned media, earned media and paid media. Mary is particularly excited to ramp up her paid media strategy. Towards that end, she adds the powerful combination of digital display advertisingand search engine marketingto influence potential buyers across the entire purchase journey for her products. She knows that this strategy will drive awareness with prospects, draw them to her website and enable her to capture leads for follow-up and nurturing that she can pass on to the Sales team. OWNED MEDIA Website Blog Social Pages Email EARNED MEDIA PR Mentions Social Shares Reviews PAID MEDIA Display Ads Retargeting Ads Search Ads Social Ads
  24. 24. Display Advertising Brand Awareness Engagement & Affinity Lift for Other Marketing Tactics Mary gets results with the digital marketing “power combo.” Search Advertising Website Visits Calls Form Fills + 38% increase in branded search activity for prospects exposed to a display ad Over 200% avg. lift in clicks for branded and category search terms compared to those who did not see display ads [for certain verticals] Source: comScore
  25. 25. She “Must Be Present to Win” at each stage her customer’s journey. EXPLORING RESEARCHING EVALUATING VALIDATING PURCHASING Display CampaignJourney Search Campaign
  26. 26. Mary’s got the whole digital buying journey covered. Mary plans to use search engine marketing and several display campaigns to build brand relevance and affinity with her target audience as they traverse the buying journey, readying the path for when they need her product. Mary will use a persona targeting campaign to reach highly defined segments of potential customers based on their industry, company and professional role. She will also start a behavioral targeting campaign to reach prospects who are actively researching her types of products and competitors. Last, but definitely not least, Mary will implement a site retargeting campaign to stay top-of-mind with people who have visited her website and left without converting. And alongside each of these campaigns, her prospects will see search engine ads tailored for each part of their buying journey based on the types of keywords they searched. Being a savvy marketer, Mary uses custom ad creative and finely-tuned search engine ad text for each campaign. This cuts through the clutter and captures the attention of her prospects, delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. Intent Targeting Persona Targeting Behavioral Targeting Site Retargeting
  27. 27. You can have marketing that is more engaging and effective, establishing a truly one-of-a-kind presence in your industry. Build your name. Win new business. Enhance relationships with your customers. Expand your possibilities with decades of proprietary, first-party B2B data, best-in-class technology and an intense dedication to creativity. Tell us your goals, and we’ll work with you to create a tailored marketing solution that goes even further. About MultiView From Fortune 100 enterprises to technology startups, I’ve spent twenty-five years with my sleeves rolled up leading B2B marketing teams that drive growth. As CMO of MultiView, I’m marketing products that help other B2B marketers connect with more customers. I believe that marketing is the biggest key to success in today’s hyper-competitive market, and companies who don’t understand that fact will ultimately fail. When I’m not working, I’m a Snapple drinking, chili pepper growing, craft beer loving, volleyball coaching, bad golfing, Longhorn cheering husband and father. I’d love to connect with you on Twitter – you can find me @ToddEbert. About Me CONNECT WITH US 972-402-7070
  28. 28. Additional Information
  29. 29. I investigated the product, brand or company through social media or message boards I typed the company Web address into browser and navigated to the site I searched the product, brand or company using a searchengine I clicked on the ad itself Why is this True? Because when you’re watching TV or reading an article on your favorite website, you are focused on that content. You notice the ad but are not in the mood to stop and go check out the brand. So you make a mental note [consciously or unconsciously] to review it later. Then when you have time you go to Google / Bing and type in the brand name or URL to learn more. Responded to Online Display Ads Did not respond to Online Display Ads 2/3 of Online Users Have Taken Action Based on an Online Ad When Display Ads Drive a Response, it is More Likely to Take the Form of a Search as it is a Click Response to Online Display Ads Source: Forrester / iProspect The Digital “Power Combo” Gets Results
  30. 30. Why is this True? Because when you quickly scan a page full of search results, your mind instantly recognizes the brand you already know and draws you to click that result. It all happens in a micro-second, the same way you notice a new product on a crowded grocery store shelf after seeing its TV commercial numerous times. Avg. Click Lifts for Branded and Category Terms Compared to Those Who Did Not See Display Ad Increase in Display Activity Drives Significant Improvements in the Performance of Paid & Organic Search Source: comScore The Digital “Power Combo” Gets Results
  31. 31. Buying Journey Searching (PPC) Surfing (Display) Not Consciously Looking For Solution Problem Definition – Text ad on the SERP for general/industry keywords Persona Targeting – reach your defined target audience so they recall you when a need arises Self-educate by researching, reading industry pubs, research reports, blogs, assoc. content, etc. Decision to Change - Text ad on the SERPfor possible solution and options keywords Contextual Targeting – reach prospects who have read content relevant to your products so they consider you Build consideration set by searching industry key wordslike “CRM software”, visit competitor sites, read industry content, etc. Considering Options - Text ad on the SERP for comparative and competitive keywords Search Retargeting – reach prospects who have shown buyer behavior so they see your value proposition Search long tail keywords like “CRM system price comparison”, download whitepapers, issue RFPs, etc. Validating Options - Text ad on the SERP for product specific and product review keywords Site Retargeting – reach prospects who visited your website so they keep you top-of-mind during the decision process Search reputation keywords like “Hubspot reviews”, check referrals, and signal readiness to buy Confirming the Choice - Text ad on the SERP for company review and action/purchasing keywords Search Retargeting – reach prospects evaluating the competition so they see your distinct advantage Evaluate ROI, check alternative solutions and competitors, etc. RenewConfidence – Text ads on the SERP for competitor keywords CRM Data Targeting – display your ad to your customer list so they build affinity with your brand and see your other products Exploring Researching Evaluating Validating Purchasing Renewing Few Mins/Day Several Hours/Day Reach Prospects at EVERY Stage of the Buying Journey