At our recent Big Picture event, Hanne Tuomisto-Inch, Head of B2B Marketing at Google, shared the latest Google/Millward Brown Digital B2B Path to Purchase Study research, based on data from 3000 buyers over the past two years. While this research focuses mainly on B2B, some of the key trends will also apply for B2C marketers.
Here are the key findings and what they mean for your 2015 communications plans and priorities:
1. Digital has overtaken TV
This is a significant tipping point for marketers in terms of the mediums and channels used in campaigns. While TV advertising is by no means obsolete, there is a need to deliver more integrated campaigns across a range of digital channels and formats – social media, search, web, mobile and iPad apps, video etc. – to enhance traditional advertising. A recent example of a big consumer brand evolving its marketing strategy in this way is Marks and Spencer. The 2014 Magic and Sparkle Christmas ad campaign sees a departure from the more traditional standalone TV ad with celebrity endorsement to a more integrated approach, spanning TV, web, social media and offline activity.
2. Huge shift in B2B buyer demographics and purchasing
In 2014 46% of B2B buyers are aged 18-34 – up from 27% in 2012.
This means that the majority of B2B buyers, having been born in the 1980/90s, are digital natives. This obviously has a significant bearing on how you market to this audience. It is no longer an option of whether or not to have a mobile optimised website and strong social media presence, but a necessity.
81% of non C-suite employees influence purchase decisions
While 64% of decision makers are C-suite, 72% of the purchase influencers are younger than 45 years of age.
This has inevitably impacted the ‘path to purchase’ and the purchase funnel. B2B research is continually more self-directed, with 57% of the decision making process completed online before the sales team are involved.
3. 90% of B2B buyers use search in the research process and look at 12 different suppliers before engaging
However, for 60% of those prospective customers only one or two brands actually reach the consideration stage.
While traffic to B2B sites has more than doubled in the past two years, 75% of buyers will only visit your site once to make a decision. This means you only have one shot to impress. Reviewing and enhancing your site’s information architecture and user experience should be a key priority for 2015. We’ll look at how you can evolve your web strategy later in this blog series.
Optimising your website for mobile is also key.
4. 42% of buyers use mobile specifically to do research for business purchases
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We have seen a huge shift in the way mobile is used, with 3x growth in B2B mobile queries in 2014 compared with 2013. In 2014 there has been a 91% increase in people using mobile early in the path to purchase and 24% growth in purchasing. B2B websites now need to offer the full mobile experience with end-to-end purchase capabilities – not just a one-off landing page. VMware is a great example of a B2B brand with a really robust mobile strategy.
5. 70% of mobile users watch online video specifically for business purchase research
This is a significant increase, up from 29% in 2012.
Almost 50% of these users are watching 30 minutes or more of video as part of the decision making process.
In terms of the content, the majority of users are watching product features and ‘how-to’ videos.
To strike a good balance of video content, you should be offering a mix of ‘hygiene content’ (i.e. content that answers questions and provides solutions) and ‘hero content’ (i.e. the storytelling pieces and advertisements).
Adobe does this very well. The ‘Woo Woo’ video campaign, launched earlier this year, is a great example of a B2B brand achieving viral success with a creative video concept rolled out across key digital channels.
- B2B marketers need to evaluate and evolve their marketing strategy to communicate more effectively with a younger, more digitally engaged audience.
- Video and mobile increase buying potential significantly so a robust video strategy and mobile optimised site are key for 2015.
- Majority of B2B buyers will only visit your site once or twice in the consideration stage so effective, tailored messaging and a great user experience are essential.
You can view Hanne’s full presentation on Digital Tipping Points for 2015 below. This research was presented exclusively in the UK at the recent Big Picture event.
Check back soon for the next instalment in the series: Defining the Journey to Demand Generation Success.