You’ve got a great SAP business and you’re proud of what you deliver. Now you need to communicate your awesomeness to the world, and how you can help them achieve their goals and solve their problems – this is where marketing comes in!
If you are an SAP partner who is looking to learn more about marketing or review the fundamentals, then this post is for you!
I bought my first car back in 1998. After a lot of research, I decided on an energetic, buzzing Daewoo Lanos. It served me well, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it!
This was what my first car looked like (Image by OSX (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Back then, the Web wasn’t as widespread as it is today, and my research methods included reading newspaper ads, visiting car dealerships, and pouring over the various brochures that I took home. While I did ask friends and acquaintances (and the occasional stranger) for their opinion, such discussions were few and far between.
The Web has revolutionized the entire buying experience
Fast forward about 17 years – I drove my Daewoo to the ground and it was time for a second car. In this case, most of my research was done on independent car-review websites and message boards, where I was able to read hundreds of opinions from the comfort of my home.
- For safety ratings, I went to the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- For car reviews, I googled “car review”
- For end user reviews, I visited enthusiast forums to understand how actual owners felt
By the time I walked into an actual dealership, it was simply for a test drive and to get a formal quote. I already knew what I wanted – I didn’t need a sales rep to tell me what I already knew.
The Web is a buyer’s primary source of Information and inspiration
Today, a Web search is the first thing people do when searching for information. With a few keywords, people can easily get the information they need on almost any topic.
When I bought my first car 20 years ago, the vendors’ publications were indirectly or directly involved in the quantity and quality of information I received.
The second time around, the Web was a key tool for gathering information, and the reality is that in 2017 it’s the case for many people making notable purchases.
Information is available from many different sources
There is a lot of information out there, and it can come from many sources and viewpoints; it can be detailed or high-level; it can be an opinion or educational content.
Buyers are educated
This easy access to information is creating buyers with a better understanding of their needs and options available to them. Buyers are making better-informed conclusions.
Buyers rely less direct communication with vendors for information
Buyers no longer need to communicate directly with vendors for information. In fact, by the time a vendor is contacted, the buyer’s will likely have already drawn her or his conclusions.
How can you adapt to this new reality?
As a sales and marketing professional, how can you adapt your strategies to this new reality, so that your message continues to get across to buyers? Here are a few tips:
Optimize your website
Make your website an informative, customer-centric experience:
- Ensure that you include content that responds to the needs of your buyers in each stage of the buyer’s journey
- Design the layout of your website from the buyer’s point of view – or make it easy for them to find the information they need, with as few clicks as possible
Make your website visible to search engines by employing search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) techniques. Ask yourself – is it easy for buyers to find me?
- Does your content include the terms your buyers use when search for an offering like yours? Does your Website appear when they use these terms?
- Can you apply other strategies so your company increases its chances of appearing higher in searches?
Create amazing, customer-centric content
- Create customer-centric content that speaks to buyers in each of the stages of the buyer’s journey.
- Establish yourself as empathetic and relevant by providing valuable information that helps buyers with their problems. Your focus isn’t necessarily to push your product on them right away, but rather to let them know that you want to help them achieve.
- Educate your buyers – most buyers want to make the best-informed decision they can, and helping them do this will reflect positively on you.
- In addition to your website, make your content available in other places where your buyers frequent – message boards, industry or technology blogs, or social media pages for example.
Buyers now regularly and primarily consult the multitude of sources and viewpoints available on the Web to get information, and you need to establish a presence there and strive to be an influential voice.
Traditional marketing activities still play a role in getting through to buyers, but the Web is a new channel that you need to leverage – it’s a great way to make yourself known, interesting and viable to those buyers who go there first.
Continue reading: Part 15 – Your buyers’ journey
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