Today’s consumers have found the power of self-education. Before the internet and social networks, companies controlled the buying process, and buyers had rather limited means of obtaining purchasing and product information: direct mail, advertisements, sales people. Digital marketing has changed the relationship between prospect and company and has placed today’s buyer into the driver’s seat. Today’s buyer is adept at multi-tasking across channels — engaging with email in one moment, a website the next, and then flitting over to social media.
Companies not embracing this digital marketing reality are either defunct or will be left behind by competitors. In fact, 57 percent of prospects complete their research before ever engaging with Sales, according to a 2011 study by the Corporate Executive Board and Marketing Leadership Council. Many industry thought leaders believe the number, in 2014, is much higher. These leaders feel that B2B prospects complete between 70 percent and 85 percent of their research before engaging with Sales. This is both a blessing and a curse for companies: a blessing because prosumers are self-qualifying, and a curse because up-to-date information must be readily available at the stroke of a hashtag.
The name of the game today is immediacy, and that immediacy comes through digital marketing. Potential buyers want information now, and in a variety of formats. Email alone is not enough. A Facebook presence alone is not enough. Inbound marketing efforts alone are not enough. The key to staying viable with consumers is to simultaneously offer consistent information across all marketing channels.
ISince decision makers and influencers and more likely to find you before you find them, digital marketing is more crucial than ever. The vast digital marketing topic might sound daunting, but we have broken it down for you to include.