BMA Atl Recap: Google Wows B2B Marketers with “Zero Moment of Truth”

The BMA Atlanta had the pleasure of having Ashley Kuhnmuench, account executive for B2B markets, of Google at our April 14 luncheon at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Buckhead. Ashley presented to a rapt audience “The Business Buyer of the Future:– Engaging Your Audience at the Zero Moment of Truth.” She shared, to a capacity crowd, Google’’s perspective on Procter & Gamble’s “First Moment of Truth,” which describes the first few seconds in a store aisle, when a marketer has the most influence to convince a customer to choose their brand. But B2B buyers are different; they don’’t walk in the wind turbine store to compare solutions off the shelf.  Online research has forever changed the B2B sales game.

One of the most gripping segments of the presentation, in this blogger’’s opinion, was the display of four industries impacted by the amount of online research customers do before a purchase: Auto, Travel, Real Estate, and B2B.

Rise in online research for industries including B2B

This slide displays the increases in search volume for these industries. Before a face-to-face meeting with a sales rep, buyers research online to be informed and make smarter purchasing decisions.

B2B markerters, Ashley went on to break down how the B2B is not engaged at the in-person First Moment of Truth, but well before, at the online “Zero Moment of Truth” or ZMOT.

Here are some highlights:

  • Since the recession, 62% of B2B buyers say they spend more time researching products and services online during the procurement process.
  • 25% of B2B buyers say they are more likely to change vendors than before the recession.
  • Don’’t forget integrating your marketing: offline messages (TV, radio, print, etc.) can be critical variables influencing decisions.
  • With the senior decision makers, there are a variety of offline media touch-points that drive them to search.
  • There is a new “Moment of Truth” to optimize for across all categories.
  • Research shows the internet is now an essential resource for gathering business intelligence and making business purchases.
  • Google has seen significant adoption of online video in numerous B2B categories with 68% of C-level execs view work-related video at least once/week on business websites.
  • Digital is most effective for marketers, with search and websites leading the way.
  • Use Google Trends to stay attuned to insights about your customers, industry and competitors
  • Executives regard flexibility and quick decision-making as more important than developing so called “strategy” decisions about longer-term activities
  • 49% of C-level executives search on a mobile device
  • Mobile is exploding. Mobile internet use expected to pass desktop by 2013.

So what’’s the “Zero Moment of Truth” action plan for a B2B marketer? Ashley closed with the five P’s:

  • PULSE: Monitor and mine the wealth of consumer insight.
  • PACE: Speed beats perfection. Test, learn, iterate. Fast.
  • PRECISION: Be evermore relevant and targeted. Add value.
  • PARTICIPATION: Treat consumers like friends. Invite them in.
  • PERFORMANCE: Measure outcomes. Tinker. Quantify. Unite.

She suggested, as B2B marketers, that we have to keep the digital world in context–not see it just as a set of additional platforms to add to a marketing plan for blasting a message to drive consideration and purchase intent–but rather as a powerful set of ZMOTs ready to be optimized.

Google will introduce a new free ebook, ZMOT, that will “introduce you to a critical new point in the decision making process with personal stories, best practices and new research.” Reserve your copy:

My favorite BMA Atlanta meeting, so far. Thanks Ashley.