For companies in any industry, deciding how to distribute budget money can be a difficult task. For marketing agencies, that decision can be even more stressful because success is riding on whether or not you choose the right avenues to focus on.
Thanks to advances in today’s technology, ERP tools can identify how customers find a website and what pages they look at before becoming a customer. These tools hold a lot of power for agencies, as they can now see what avenues lead to customers, and then allocate funds as they see fit.
A new study from IEEE Engineering360 about the Industrial Buy Cycle takes a look at how respondents search for information. As you can see in the image above, supplier websites are listed as the most utilized information source at 78 percent. Supplier websites are followed closely by general search engines such as Google and Yahoo! at 70 percent and then online catalogs at 66 percent. Referrals from colleagues also ranked pretty high at 53 percent.
What each avenue in this top half has in common is that they all require minimal effort by the customer. If they want to find out about a specific company, for instance, they’re more likely to just go to that company’s site directly or search for it on Google. By using these avenues, they can quickly get information, without having to take the additional steps of downloading a white paper (28 percent), signing up for e-newsletters (19 percent) or seeking out blogs about the company (5 percent).
That common factor is important to keep in mind when agencies determine their budgets. Shockingly, social media ranked the lowest out of all the options at 3 percent. In my opinion, this could be because social media posts are more fragmented, so it would take a potential customer more time to get a full picture of the company.
Whatever the reason, this is important information for agencies to be aware of. There’s no point in investing money into creating a bunch of videos or cranking out printed buyer’s guides if they’re not going to actually attract interest and get consumers to the point where they become actual customers. All aspects of marketing, from running a successful campaign to determining marketing budgets, come down to knowing the customers. Figuring out how to advertise in places they’ll actually be looking is step one.