I’ll be the first to claim bias. Being in the business, I can’t help but gasp a bit when I hear that budget cuts have caused a need to eliminate marketing; however, I don’t think my reaction is based on me taking offense. Instead, my reaction is based on the business impact for the integrator. In today’s network-rich, social-media-using, self-researching, Google-obsessed society, who thinks it is a good idea to stop telling your brand story online?
Buyer Behavior Changes Mean that Marketing Must Stay
I talk about this all the time, but I don’t think I can share this stat too often. Did you know that 70+% of a purchase decision is already made by the time a customer picks up the phone to call a vendor?
This means people are starting their buyer’s journeys online – for everything from cars and vacations to electronics and (yes) audiovisual integration.
Did you know that 76% of buyers’ very first course of action when they want to buy something is to search online? This begs the question: When they search, do they find you?
Marketing and Search Aren’t Just About Buying, They’re About Learning
Buying what integrators sell isn’t the same as buying at retail. There are many phases to buying an integrated system. This has often erroneously put integration firm business leaders in a lull of believing that they don’t really need to market – as long as their sales folks are out there, they’ll be fine.
But digital marketing and search aren’t just for people who are ready to buy. These tools are also tremendously important in supporting the buyer’s journey early on. When a company is starting to learn about a topic, its employees are looking for solid sources for education. On average, a buyer engages with more than 10 pieces of online content before they buy. If you aren’t marketing, then chances are good that buyers aren’t finding you.
The marketing that integrators need to do today more than ever: getting online to answer the most pressing questions from potential clients. This means using your website and social media outlets.
When someone visits your company website, what value are they getting by spending time there?
For many companies, the website is just a digital brochure. It talks about the company, the owners, the office locations, and maybe some of the products and services. Many websites do nothing at all to help educate clients on industry trends or how to get more from the equipment they’ve already invested in.
Fire Your Marketing Team at Your Own Risk
In the years to come, the use of search, social, and content to aid the buyer’s journey is going to only increase.
For integrators, this means more energy needs to be put into creating content that aids the buyer through the process, as well as easy vehicles to stay connected thereafter.
Although it may seem like an immediate bottom-line improvement to fire your marketing team, I beg you to consider how your customers shop – and to instead challenge your marketing team to better support the sales process. —Dan Newman, Cofounder of V3*Broadsuite