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In the B2B market, an efficient PPC campaign needs to capture and motivate prospects throughout the decision-making and sales cycles; while always understanding that intent and CTR are not always uniquely matched with either the research or buying phase.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Life Events Spark Purchase Behaviors

It is an oft understood maxim amongst marketers that the key to effective marketing is having your brand linked to a life event; because for whatever reason, as consumers, we tend to get itchy in our wallets when our lives suddenly change. For whatever reason, over the course of history, we have associated purchases with celebrations, gifts mark the change in relationships, education, personal growth, or even age. For instance, Dell has been very effective at targeting that 18 year old college applicant niche, becoming the brand that is widely associated with given your children a leg up in their post-secondary pursuits. But the ads aren't targeted to the kids, because what college student has money for anything other than beer; the ads are targeted to the parents, whose discretionary income is just beginning to be tapped by their begging child in residence.

According to BIGresearch, certain media channels are more effective at reaching a particular audience across all major product areas. namely, Internet Advertising is particularly influential in major purchases (home, electronics, insurance, & automobiles) during such life stages as getting married, starting college, getting divorced, expecting a child, and retiring.

It is the longer consideration phase purchases that seem to be more highly influenced by Internet Advertising - why? - research. Believe it or not, consumers are actually shifting away from direct competitive shopping to going through the entire decision making process online and either purchasing off of a website, or going to the local store to buy. Marketing today isn't about getting people in the door, marketing today, whether B2C or B2B, is about qualifying leads - pushing/coaching an audience right to the cash register.

So what the implications of this research on the B2B market?

It begs the questions... how much do you know your audience? Are their certain events that spark consideration in your particular product/service offering? Are you messaging in order to resonate with those events? Are you leveraging that behavior pattern to push/coach your audience to the cash register - so to speak?

With one such client, we tested this very scenario of associating keywords with consideration stages and events, changing the ad and landing page messaging to reflect these associations, and keeping the ad visibility and positioning the same. The results were an increase in CTR of nearly 30% and a 47% increase in conversions. However, each page had a unique CTA, and the conversions were lead generations, not completed sales - the consideration phase for the client is about six months so we still have yet to see the actual impact on sales, but the increases are promising.

The Takeaways
  1. Prioritize the various events that spark consideration in your product/service
  2. Associate and build out your keywords to resonate with these events/behaviors
  3. Target your messaging to these events/behaviors
  4. Create unique calls to action on unique landing pages
  5. Don't try to create one page that has messaging for multiple audience behaviors/considerations - instead, create targeted messaging for each niche that resonates with the audience - it may be a little more work upfront, but eventually those pages will also rank organically for the same keyword-consideration associations, and the leads will roll in.

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