Some weeks ago, we spoke about a study that described what B2B decision makers expect to read on vendor websites. Now, a new study of 352 buyers (predominantly large businesses) from The CMO Council and NetLine shows that the majority of organizations (94%) favors to curate and circulate relevant content in their organization before finally deciding to purchase B2B solutions and services. For years, marketers thought B2B buyers and influencers alike are simply using vendor-related content from time to time.
The study makes clear that there is no real sharing structure to be made out from company to company. However, there are three main patterns that the study highlights in their results:
- From the Middle Out (35%): Execution-level executives search and find content about vendors/products and make the purchase. Senior management gets educated thorugh them why the decision was made.
- From the Bottom Up (30%): Junior or mid-level employees find vendor-related content and share their discoveries with senior management. Then they make the final decision.
- From the Top Down (29%): Senior managers find the content, then share it with lower-level managers for analysis and final purchase.
The same as with the sharing patterns, there are three key personas within the businesses who act according to their own behaviors, expectations and needs.
- Researchers: Primarily focused on new industry reports/research to inform them of advancements in solutions, trends affecting the markets, and opportunities for improvement.
- Influencers: Interested in both thought leadership found in trusted third-party channels and vendor-branded technology specifications, data sheets, and use cases. Their special interest is in summarized content, i.e. infographics, videos, and blog comments.
- Decision-Makers: Want to stay informed through broad research reports and analyst commentary. However, they expect to have access to detailed data to enable better decision-making at the tail end of the purchasing funnel.
The study reveals some further interesting insights. The vendor selection is major to moderate influenced by online content, find 88% of the B2B buyers and more than a third (38%) find that online content provides strategic insights and shapes the purchase decision. The content that is valued the most is research reports and studies (65%), technical spec and data sheets (50%), analyst reports (46%), whitepapers (35%) and posts on trade publishing sites (30%). The power of Google and the vendor website comes out as well: When more than two third state they start their vendor-related content sourcing with search engines and portals, it shows that the best training the marketers is to read the two B2B studies and draw some conclusion out of it for the future of your own content, PR and marketing acitivites. And if you cannot find a solution, we are happy to help…
Another year, Edelman is offering us insights into the trust in companies, officials and their leaders with their Edelman Trust Barometer. This year’s version sampled 27,000 general population respondents with an oversample of 6,000 informed publics ages 25-64 across 27 countries. The study makes clear what the main trust building attributes are.
It also shows that CEOs are regaining trust (43%) since low of 31% in 2009. And there are easy ways to improve the trust scale for CEOs and their companies by communicating clearly and transparently (82%), telling the (sometimes unpopular) truth (81%) and engaging regularly with employees (80%).
The downside of the CEO results is that CEOs still rank second to last out of the most credible spokesperson framework. Those more credible were academics (67%), technical experts (66%), “person(s) like yourself” (62%) and employees (52%).
“CEOs must continue to lead, but to do it effectively they now have to inform and empower employees and academics. So whether it’s discussing possible regulation, supply chain management or the reaction to a crisis, CEOs must work in concert with those who are viewed as being more credible.” Alan VanderMolen, vice chairman, DJE Holdings
The report illustrates also that the trust rust in media decreased by 5% globally to 52% this year. When almost 80% of the responding countries state that the trust in media is down compared to 2013, this speaks a clear language. Although this sounds quite negative, some media sources like online search engines (65 percent), traditional media (65%), hybrid media (54%), social media (47%) and owned media (45%) see some improvement to last year.
The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer is always a good indicator to how much people trust in business and government. And when we see the largest ever gap (14 points) between trust in government and business this year, the leadership teams should try to figure out quickly what the reason for it might be. Although it seems that trust in business leadership improves as it stabalized compared to 2013, it shows that businesses seem to lead government and don’t necessarily need to partner with them in order to gain trust as much as in earlier decades. Thus, it is not surprising that most respondents (84%) think business can pursue its self-interest while helping society. Furthermore, 74% even believe business could be part of the process of formulating regulation in the energy and food industries.
PS: My message to leaders…
Maybe leaders should engage with their employees more and understand what my favorite leaders quote means. “Lead by the power of your employees’ imagination and insights, not the challenges you were given”.
The questions we get asked by management team all over Europe are quite similar whenever it comes to best possible conversion times, or perfect hours and days to posting on social networks, to send out updates and to generate engagement. Although this might be an option to boost your social and web activities, it should be clear to everyone that if we all obey these options, we are challenging our clients more and more in generating engagement.
Above all, not all social media platforms are alike. The user types of social networks are different, depending on whether these are coming with a purchase intent, the idea to keep their friends up to date about their latest spare time activities, or whether they are looking for new job opportunities in career networks. Sentiment, time and openness for your updates might vary from minute to minute.
Mitt Ray summarizes some advice on when could be the best and worst time to publish your updates on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and Tumblr. Take it for whatever it is worth to you…
Obviously, all marketers are ROI-driven – or made to think that way. Not surprising then, the top priority in digital marketing comes to be increasing the conversion rates (47%), followed by increasing/improving brand awareness (46%) and collecting/measuring/using behavior-based data (29%). This is the outcome of the latest study by ExactTarget entitled “2014 State of Marketing”. The report, conducted between October and November 2013, gives insights from over 2,600 global marketers.
Although I would have expected from our conversations with clients that demand generation comes in as one of the top priorities, only 28% of the marketers said acquiring new subscribers, improving channels (24%) and leveraging actionable data is among their main challenges for 2014.
The good sign for publishers, consultants, advertising platforms and marketing service providers is that 98% of responding marketers plan to increase or maintain their digital marketing budgets. The rise in digital marketing spends goes primarily to data and analytics (61%), marketing automation (61%), email marketing (58%), social media marketing (57%), and content management (57%).
It would actually be interesting to have a study that asks marketers what they define as social media marketing. Why? Interestingly enough, only 34% of those marketers find ROI in social media marketing. As of a lack of definition, we cannot argue whether there is a misunderstanding in the definition or in the company’s approach to social media. Still, only 52% think their social media activities will actually pay out in ROI. But when Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are cited as the most popular social channels for the respondents, I doubt that their social media approach is properly understood. At least there are positive signs when the repondents see that Google+ gets more impact with 18% planning to start in 2014.
A recent survey from Wildfire by Google and AdAge asked 500 executives from large companies how they budget, staff and measure their social media business. Over half (50,7%) of the surveyed managers work for businesses with $1 billion or more in annual revenue. It shows that marketers in enterprises are increasingly investing in people for this business topic. 46,5% of companies with revenues over $1 billion have a team of 50 or more employees looking after the social business.
Furthermore, they are not afraid of asking for help when needed: 65,5% use a mixture of agencies and in-house personell to manage social media. This is different to smaller companies with revenues of less than $1 billion a year. These companies tend to have one to five employees for social challenges, and almost two out of three use 62,4% use own resources, and not agencies.
From all respondents, 45,6% of respondents see their social media spendings rising by 10% next year; 15,9% see even an increase by 11% to 30%. Just 29,1% of the managers have a “pure” social media budget. Others managers seem to be getting their budgets from other marketing budgets like traditional media – 23.9% said their budgets are coming from print, television, and radio.
Keeping up the high level of audience engagement is the main issue for marketers. However, most managers are quite confident today about brand damage due to negative postings. This came in last in the concern list. This could have two reasons: Either shitstorms are not as problematic as some social media consultants define or describe them. Or all managers have a strategy in place how to handle these conversation issues.
Not surprisingly for us, finding tactics to effectively measure social media conversations is the second biggest concern for managers. Maintaining a consistent brand message came in third place probably as many companies have challenges in establishing a streamlined culture of social engagement in their company which we realize as one of the main management topics from top level management to “normal” employee.
Retailers managers also see metrics tied to ROI more important than other managers. Still, most companies (58,4%) are tracking content shares as their “most important or important” metric for measuring the ROI of social media. Counting followers comes in second (55,8%), number of page impressions (54,7%) finished third.
It is interesting to see that companies are still quite likely to put social media spendings under general brand marketing or digital media budgets. This obviously gives them more flexibility to shift budgets when needed. However, it also shows that the ROI in social media is not really proven in some companies. Predominantly retailers, followed by technology, media and entertainment companies, seem to be confident that there is a reason for social media budgets and have already dedicated budgets just for social.
The time is now. When Q4 is heading towards December many companies, analysts, experts and specialists start their forecasting for the next year, and what will drive the business. So, what happens in 2014? The first infographic just came out by the guys of WebDAM. The company provides a digital asset management software and just recently aggregated some interesting data in order to illustrate 20 key trends for marketers which will become important to meet the demand of their own business targets.
Five key findings in brief that we think companies should watch out for…
- Email with social sharing increases click-through rates by more than 150%
- CPM is out: Pay Per Click budgets will increase to over 70%
- More than 50% of marketers found customers on Facebook (40% LinkedIn)
- Video landing pages increase conversions by almost 90%
- Client testimonials are most effective as content marketing format
It is one of the findings, we often experience in reality when we advice companies: The employees understand how the digital transformation works. However, the management -especially CEOs and executives- are not seeing the urgency in moving on with the digital transformation. In a recent study of more than 1500 executive people in 106 countries released by Capgemini Consulting in partnership with MIT Sloan Management Review these findings become clear again, although the study writers make clear that the common agreement is that the future is digital.
The results show that those company executive who have the digital transformation on their agenda almost four out of five executives (81%) believe that it will offer their company a competitive advantage. They also see that it will become a critical development to their organization within the next two years. Still, nearly two out of three (63%) see that the velocity of technology change in their organizations is not moving fast enough.
Not surprisingly, many employees are becoming more and more impatient with the development and progress compared to their upper managers. This stays against the fact that 53% of the CEOs think that the pace of the digital evolution inside their company is “right”, “fast” or “very fast”. Especially, the middle managers and staff employees think that the progress isn’t enough toward a digital realm. Just 25% of managers see the pace is right. One of the comments in the report blamed that the management was guilty of “complacency, [and] ignorance of modern technology”. And another one stated “Clueless management”.
The study’s authors categorized four different stages of digital transformation:
a. Beginners: Have been slow to adopt, or are skeptical of, more advanced digital technologies like social media and analytics.
b. Conservatives: Have deliberately hang back when it comes to new technologies.
c. Fashionista: Very aggressive in adopting new technologies, but do not coordinate well across departments.
d. Digiratis: Have the vision, and are willing to invest what it takes.
The reasons for the slow adaption for the modern digital challenge is made obvious: Time. When 53% of CEOs and executives say that the “don’t have time for this right now,” it sounds like a normal common excuse when things are not familiar or understood in the importance for the future development of companies. They (52%) simply don’t know how to do that, or are resistent to move on “this is the way we’ve always done it”.
When the study finds that 65% of organizations have just begun to step into the digital transformation process, it shows that most managers have not yet understood where the world of mobile and social media is getting us in the future. And when only 15% of respondenting CEOs and executives can be considered “mature” adopters of digital technologies, it reflects our view of how we experience the top management that comes to us and wants input on how to change the company towards the digital realm. And whent he study authors conclude that just some companies rank in the same category as a Starbucks or Intel, which are kind of top notch in digital transformation, we might still see potential for even them to become better. It is one thing, to have a chief digital officer at Starbucks that also enables customer mobile engagements. But it is another thing to make all employees follow the rules of the digital transformation. The challenge is on…!
PS: Study can be read here.
dmexco 2013 is over.
The growth trend of the digital marketing show is impressive and continues to write a promising history.
Visitors: 26.300 – increase by 16% compared to 2012
Exhibitors: 742 – means over 164 exhibitors more than 2012
International attendance: approx. 25% of visitors and of exhibitors
Satisfied visitors: More than 80% were happy with the event and exhibitor presentations
Future of Digital Marketing
1. “The era of digital marketing is over. It’s almost dead. It’s now just brand building.” Marc Pritchard, P&G http://bit.ly/15eHlWR (Tweet by Armando Alves) – Watch Closing Keynote Day 1
Future of the Moment
2. “Twitter is a reflection of our individual and shared moments, which is why it gives all of us, including brands, the opportunity to engage and to act. In short, it allows us to be in the moment.” (Quote by Katie Stanton) – Watch Closing Keynote Day 2
In another year as a co-moderator of the dmexco conference program, it was a great honor to moderate
the “Women Leadership Table” for the second time – this year Denise Colella (Maxifier), Noelia Fernández Arroyo (Yahoo!), Anne Frisbie (InMobi) and Ashley Swartz (Furious Minds) attended. Thank you ladies, you were smart and know why analytics, mobile, social, and content seed the future of brand success.
The moderation of the panel “Realtime Branding” (Social Media) was a great pleasure for me. Here we had Sarah Wood (Unruly), Surjit Chana (IBM), Brian Goffman (LinkedIn), Holger Luedorff (Foursquare) and Markus Spiering (Flickr/Yahoo!) at the dmexco bar table. Learnings? If there was a network with a limitation of 50 words, they would be able to manage it perfectly. Just watch the debate until the end to get their expert view on what you as a marketer should invest in to leverage social media.
The challenges for brand marketers haven’t changed massively since 2012. Big Data is still rocking and not yet fully understood in companies in terms of how to make use of it in the future. In case they are seeing the benefit, they still need to hope for a value chain between publishers, agencies and the LUMAscape players to cope with the evolution of adtechnology – and some will still try to find an agency to manage the data for them. Marketing and cloud services might become a new opportunity to analyse and measure the data for a clever strategy between going to market with long-term “content strategy” (community, monitoring, pull) and the short-term “campaign” (banner, SEO, push) approach – whether in social commerce, mobile or social. The digital future will remain exciting – stay tuned.
Looking forward to the next dmexco in Cologne, September, 10. and 11., 2014 – CU there!
Sometimes studies bring some flashback to your mind. This time it was some study results that reminded me of two of my four moderations of the dmexco Night Talks.
In a recent country comparison study by Adobe half of the respondents made clear that digital advertising is distracting, invasive and annoying – in the UK less than in Germany and France though. The study which asked 1,750 marketers and 8,750 consumers across the UK, France and Germany, shows that two out of three users find TV campaigns still more important than online ads (US 66%, UK 70% and Germany 67%). Consumers even responded online ads were “annoying” (US 68%, UK and Germany 62%), “invasive” (US 38%, UK 45% and Germany 17%) and “distracting” (US 51%, UK 44% and Germany 31%).
There is still some negative perception of digital advertising that the repondents described in their feedback. However, web ads came in the top three preferred advertising tactics in the UK. In France print magazines (31%), billboards (24%) and TV ads (23%) were the leading three categories. For Germany, print magazines were also the leader with (28%), billboards (23%) and window displays (21%) came in second and third. In the UK 39% favoured print magazines, 23% TV ads, and 12% websites.
Some weeks ago, I have been interviewing Mark Phibbs, VP Marketing EMEA at Adobe on the dmexco hot chair in Cologne. Nice seeing some statements on the study from him:
“Some digital advertising is failing to hit the mark. While digital provides great promise, often it is not being delivered in an emotionally compelling or targeted way.”
The storytelling boom was again also highlighted in this study. Even in the ad world content plays an important role. 68% of UK users responded that ads should tell a unique story which mentioned John Lewis and Guiness as good examples. One of the main ingredients should be the humour factor of the story. Funny is the driver for happiness, and outplaces “sexy” ads (92% thought so).
“We think online advertising can learn from traditional advertising in three ways. Is it beautiful and eye-catching? Is it integrated? Do consumers have control over it? Creative agencies have had decades to get traditional advertising right. It’s not wholly surprising that online and digital isn’t resonating to the same degree – not only is it still relatively in its infancy as an advertising channel, but the digital landscape and the corresponding opportunities for brands are constantly changing,” said Phibbs.
The study also made clear that targeted banner ads based on programmatic buying in Social Media like i.e. in Facebook could be “creepy” (76%). Even more, 49% would like a dislike button in Social Media for it. Again this reminded me on my last dmexco Night Talk moderation in Munich when I could ask Scott Woods, Commercial Director Facebook DACH, how it can come that I get banners for social networks 60+ years old people. Facial recognition (do I look so old)? Bad programming? Bad automation or bidding process? Maybe the people behind? The answer was “Well, technology can only do what it is capable of!” Fair enough… It seems we will have to live with that weakness for some time.
The management view of the future workplace is still not yet fully evolved to a real social workplace. The main concerns are still loss in productivity and security concerns which still don’t give employees access to social tools. This is the main findings of a new study commissioned by Microsoft. However, employees (40%) still believe that there isn’t enough collaboration in the workplace.
The question managers asking themselves remains whether social tools help foster better teamwork, or not. And whether here lies the disconnect between employees and the management, and where companies should have a look at when they want to detect the reason why employees brought their own technology and software to the modern workplace. Via social networks and testing them out, employees found tools to share content, communicate across business borders and grow business through networking.
The report with nearly 10,000 respondents in 32 countries states that 34% think their company underestimates the benefits of social technology. The misperception of management versus social tools becomes more obvious when 37% believe they could perform their jobs better if management gave access to the use of social tools.
“Freemium products let employees try new tools in small groups before the IT department even knows about them. Work is becoming more global and less routine. People are more dispersed than ever and there’s a stronger need to stay connected regardless of location. The workplace is changing, and that’s causing tension.” Microsoft’s Brian Murray, Director Enterprise Strategy, Microsoft.
Although the perception of employees remains positive about the value of social networks, management stays resistent to change their attitude towards social workplace. Probably as they are backed up by Gartner reports concluding that 80% of enterprise social networks won’t deliver real business value. The Strategy Web would argue that most managers have never thought about getting a deeper insight in a social business strategy, hene the social workplace opportunity.
The question is whether it is just easier for managers staying away from a cultural change and all it’s implications like new technology, training and management coaching? But maybe some managers want to answer this question after reading through this infographic…