Welcome to B2B@Google
We’re in an amazing, unique time in the market. Technology is transforming the way we as individuals operate, the way we’re engaging with each other and the way we’re engaging with brands. As consumers, we all want technology to do more for us.
That has a huge impact on us as businesses and marketers. How are we engaging with our audience? It’s completely changing. We’re at a point in the market where there’s real opportunity to innovate, to make giant leaps forward in communicating with our customers and our prospects.
Is your business ready? We want to help you grasp these opportunities by igniting your creativity, igniting your technology, igniting your customer data and igniting your brand to transform your business. Our aim in gathering together experts from the B2B arena is to share with you the fuel and the spark you need to do that.
We’ve brought together a range of thought leaders to inspire change in your organisation. A few of the ideas we’re presenting might seem counter-intuitive or – in some cases – even controversial. Be open-minded; put your day-to-day thinking to one side. Think expansively and be willing to take on new ideas. It will be worth it; my belief is that marketing is in a unique position to take creativity, technology and customer insight to drive innovation across business. Thanks for coming on this journey with us,
Director, B2B & Branding, Google
The power of data
How can Google help businesses? There’s one thing I’m thinking about this year: the power of data. Data is helping businesses to explode in ways physical assets couldn’t allow. Take Uber for example; Uber’s use of datasets – rather than taxi fleets – is how it’s produced revolutionary changes in its industry. My contention today is that data is becoming even more powerful in marketing. It’s connecting marketing directly to the cost of sale and to the bottom line in a way that could never have been possible before.
People say, “How has marketing changed as the result of the internet?” We don’t think it’s changed that much. From our perspective, the simple function of marketing is getting the message out there to the right people at the right time. Fundamentally, that’s still what it’s all about.
What has dramatically changed is the world of media – both in production and consumption. Just think how often you take and share a photo, or consider that over 300 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Media production has been entirely democratised. Meanwhile, consumption has rocketed; many of us use multiple devices at the same time, while Google now handles 100 billion searches per month.
How do you achieve your marketing goals in a world of near infinite media production and consumption? Today, the way to get to people at the right time in the right place and with the right message is through the use of data.
In Google search, people are writing their intention in a little white box. Reaching the right people depends on combining Google datasets with your own customer data and third-party data. But the hardest part is integrating it all so that it can be used in real time to make the best marketing decisions for your business across search, display, video and more. Technology is the way to achieve this, and that’s why we built the DoubleClick platform. In short, we believe your ability of your business to capture, manipulate and then use data is your core competitive advantage.
Country Sales Director, Google UK
The digital tipping points in B2B
Compared with just two years ago, we’re seeing notable tipping points in B2B buying habits. According to Google B2B Industry Head Hanne Tuomisto-Inch, the real shifts are in who the decision makers are and how they’re using digital during the purchase process. For B2B marketers, the key things to know are that decision makers are getting younger, influencers are more important than you may have thought, mobile plays a role through the whole purchase cycle and video usage is skyrocketing.
Today almost half of B2B decision makers are 18 to 34 years of age – a 70% jump from two years ago. Of course, it’s not just one decision maker but multiple individuals – on average 5.4 people – who participate in a B2B purchase. The C-level audience remains very important, with 64% having final buying authority, but 81% of non-C-suite employees influence purchases and one in four possesses final purchase authority. Brands need to tailor their messaging and marketing mix to reach a younger demographic and should resist the urge to focus only on the person signing the cheques. Instead, they must look at the entire purchase process and all the people involved, then create marketing to influence the influencers.
Research shows that 57% of the purchase cycle is completed before a B2B buyer even speaks to a salesperson. The process is largely self-directed and the digital purchase journey is becoming longer and more intense. Search remains the leading source of information, appearing in 90% of purchase journeys. On average, a B2B decision maker performs 12 searches, a six-fold increase over two years ago. In this context, measurement and attribution are more important than ever. Using a last-click model, for example, means brands will miss out on 11 of these 12 interactions.
“B2B products and services are so complex. Video offers a simple way to consume complexity.”
Meanwhile, people are considering fewer brands than before; 60% of B2B decision makers research only one or two brands before contacting a salesperson, and 75% visit a brand’s site just once before deciding whether to add it to the consideration set. To thrive in these circumstances, businesses need to invest in a strong brand strategy as well as a website that instantly provides excellent content and user experience.
From 2012 to 2014, time spent on digital has surpassed time spent on TV. Mobile and video are the key drivers behind this, and they’re as essential in the B2B arena as they are in the overall digital landscape. Today, 42% of B2B decision makers use mobile to research purchases, while there’s been a threefold increase in B2B searches in the past 24 months. It’s not only at the top of the funnel where mobile plays an important role, though. In the same period, the use of mobile to complete the entire purchase journey has grown 91% and B2B purchases on mobile are up 24%. With these trends in mind, it’s increasingly vital that a brand’s mobile presence makes it easy for customers to complete all the activities they want to achieve, from initial research all the way to final purchase.
Video is a big story in B2B, with 70% of decision makers now using it in the purchase process – up 40% from two years ago – and nearly half watching 30 minutes or more as part of their research. What are they looking for? They mainly use video to answer their questions. Successful “hygiene content” includes product demos, how-tos, professional reviews and even ads. But marketers must not neglect the top of the funnel; creating great “hero content” is instrumental in getting into the consideration set.