Last Thursday’s WSI – Google Partner breakfast in Toronto took 100 of the city’s creative marketers – through the latest trends in Digital Marketing with insightful reviews both by Google’s Alec Humes and WSI’s Dan Monaghan. Part of the meeting reviewed the latest observations and reminders of some of the key elements of making sure your digital and integrated marketing are tweaked for success.
Mobile & IOT
Starting with a key statistic by Gartner – forecasting 4.9 Billion Internet of Things (IOT) devices are expected to be connected by 2015 (Gartner, Nov 2014) – set the mobile tone. Also knowing there are 4.8 Billion Google searches run monthly in Canada – and that in 2013 – 80% of businesses did NOT have a mobile capable web-site: raises a major flag for change. Dan further highlighted that WSI observed over 46% of Fortune 500 companies STILL do not have a mobile presence or mobile enabled site. Note that we are in June 2015, not June 2012! What makes it even more remarkable is that everyone in digital marketing knows that Mobile is a major new parameter in Google’s search engine algorithm! All told, there are clear and distinct opportunities for catch-up in the market. Given that Canadians check their smartphones on average of 150 times per day – failing to have a solid presence on mobile – is a serious missed opportunity.
ZMOT [Zero Moment of Truth]
With mobile and interconnected devices becoming increasingly important, so too does the concept of the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). ZMOT is the time between stimulus (marketing awareness) and research (consideration / preference) that a consumer acts upon before making a decision, being persuaded or making a purchase. With mobile devices in every consumer’s hand, information on any product, service or offering is available immediately – hence the “Zero” moment of truth (zero time between marketing stimulus and consumer internet research). In fact, 79% of consumers use a smartphone to help with their shopping (Winning in the Zero Moment of Truth, 2012, p10). In a world in which millennials prefer watching YouTube over television – the importance of mobile readiness, and mobile marketing is obvious. Interestingly, Alec called out that today consumers average 11 ZMOTs for every purchase made – meaning that consumers research their choice 11 times or with an average of 11 reference points before purchasing. This should make most marketers feel an urge to improve their content marketing, and blogging efforts. Even if 90% of purchases are still made offline – these online ZMOTs drive the offline purchases. Ultimately, it means that if your firm is not embracing a mobile ready site, with mobile accessible content, and a mobile marketing approach – then your competitor is winning on that ZMOT instance, and probably stealing your deals!
Related Topic: Buying Cycles are Faster now … but are they shorter?
Beyond the mobile perspective, there were many additional Google “aha” moments. Most of us are already aware of and have occasionally used Google Trends. However, it was interesting to note that Google has a great little screen saver that you can freely download – providing various trends of interest. If you are going to have a screen saver on, at least it might as well bring you interesting tidbits of information and trends that might spur your next creative campaign!
Another discovery nugget was Google’s consumer survey tool providing a low cost means of gathering insights from a human audience. This can be found at Google.com/insights/consumersurveys/.
My third ‘aha moment’ was the Google.ca/Think site – with an incredible wealth of information available for free, to anyone who seeks it. Think includes an assortment of useful information and research. There is a Google Ads section with various ad videos. This resource also includes, infographics like the “Top 3 Tech Trends Canadian Marketers should watch in 2015,” various research reports, case studies, and a series of articles such as:
How to build Google Insights Toolkit
5 Reasons to go deeper with Choice based ads
Marketers: Thinking beyond reach and frequency
Mobile Search Moments: Canada
Marketing Strategy is Key
Following Alec, Dan Monaghan opened with another immensely important observation about marketing leaders. A common mistake in today’s marketing is that, “Business leaders often choose tactics before strategy.” Even though the most important and relevant trend in modern marketing is the transformation to digital marketing, social selling and mobile everywhere – marketing leaders are too often focusing on the latest shiny digital toy or tactic. Instead we should start out by mapping the customer needs and journey then establishing a strategy that helps serve that buyers journey. That is where marketing strategists are key.
Dan raised important insights from WSI’s work with many customers around the globe. A key example was the question about how much bad SEO (Search Engine Optimization), can cost a company. The answer being that a poor or misguided approach could result in an SEO contractor purchasing black-hat site links. It would definitely increase a site’s backlink volume, but at the cost of damaging the brand’s site relevance, and Google rank. Not only would the wrong approach have cost money (contractors costs for example), but it would then also cost significantly more to delink potentially thousands of bad links, and the time hassle of having to have such links disavowed (another Google feature). Getting your SEO strategy done correctly the first time, with professionals who knows what they are doing with white hat SEO, SEM, content marketing and backlinking techniques – can save an organisation considerable time, money and aggravation.
Still NOT A/B Testing?
Many marketers and companies already have web developers either working for them directly, or as contractors. These people do a great job of maintaining the site, keeping it relevant, and running the company’s web presence. Although true an astounding 65% of web developers NEVER test their web site content! That means that A/B testing to optimize your marketing conversion is never even a consideration. Again that leaves us with significant effort, development work, and perhaps even efficiency – but having missed a focus on marketing effectiveness. One Hubspot Insights report showed that less than 33% of marketers ran either A/B or multivariate testing on their online marketing efforts (Hubspot Insights, p4, 2013).
Returning to the mobile theme, Dan closed with some great examples of geotargeting. What if Mercedes Benz ads started showing up on a user’s phone as soon as their smartphone registered that they had just walked into a competitor’s dealership? After getting over a bit of creep factor, the consumer might find it interesting for comparison purposes while in the consideration phase, and might even appreciate receiving relevant ads, content and information – at that Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).
On geotargeting, Dan shared how Papa John’s monitors twitter conversations for words associated with hunger. If the tweeter is within a geotargeted zone (within a few blocks of a Papa John’s), then they might receive a discount offer on a Papa John’s pizza. Get the customer when food is on their mind, when they are within range, and use the promotion to draw them in! Brilliant use of social selling in B2C, applied with a smart strategy for leading the prospect through the buyers journey – to a nearby Papa John’s.
Key Digital Marketing TakeAways
A clear note from the meeting was that mobile and IOT are here and growing as major trends. More firms need to start taking heed, OR have their clients take the ZMOT of least resistance – right to your competitor’s purchase agreement!
To sum it in a catchy theme, Google’s advice to marketers is to be:
Thanks to both WSI and Google Canada for hosting the Google Partner breakfast. Keeping abreast of the latest trends in digital marketing is always an exciting discussion.
Article by Charles Dimov