B2B purchasing processes have been changing. The Internet serves up an abundance of information that customers want to know about products. Purchasing staff members can now collect information and select products by themselves without waiting for proposals from salespeople. As online customer journeys become more complicated, a consistent 360-degree marketing approach is increasingly important to capture customers. The Fujitsu Journal team reports on the latest examples of digital marketing promoted by Google and Fujitsu.
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Changes in B2B Purchasing: About Half of Purchasing Decisions Made Online
With the spread of mobile devices, users can now access the Internet from almost anywhere. A survey by Google found that people use various devices to access the Internet more than 150 times each day, and such people are not limited to general users.
Google independently conducted a customer journey survey of B2B purchasing staff members in 15 business sectors from April to May 2016.
The results show that the largest number of respondents chose "The Internet" in response to the question, "What information source do you think is most influential when making purchasing decisions?" In particular, 71% of purchasing staff members answered that they use the Internet during the recognition phase.
In a conventional B2B customer journey, purchasing staff members receive a proposal from a company's sales representative, conduct purchasing negotiations, and then make a purchase. However, nowadays, the Internet is frequently used in all phases--recognition, comparison and examination, and purchasing decisions. Search engines such as Google are used to compare and examine products and services.
After searching and finding products of interest, customers check the details on companies' websites. Thus, it is increasingly important for companies in the B2B industry to develop a mechanism by which they can be found by customers using search engines and to direct customers to their websites by casting a wide net.
Changes in Purchasing Processes Found by an Independent Survey
Another survey revealed three facts about changes in B2B purchasing processes. First, in B2B purchasing, purchasing staff members do some research using the Internet before contacting sales representatives. This indicates that the Internet has already become an important customer channel.
Second, a high percentage of purchasing decisions are made using search engines and companies' websites. In other words, both of these elements are important touch points in the process of purchasing decision-making, and effectively approaching customers by using these touch points is an important task.
Third, even in B2B purchasing, more than 20% of purchases are made on smartphones. This indicates that mobile devices will become more important in B2B in the future.
How to respond to these changes in user purchasing processes is an important key to successful digital marketing.
Four Key Points for Business Growth
In recent years, user behaviors--from consideration to purchase--tend to involve multiple devices, such as PCs, tablets, and smartphones. In other words, since a single person uses multiple devices, it has become difficult to track purchasing behavior on a user-by-user basis.
Another problem is that valuable data is scattered among multiple departments within companies. As a result, data that should be tracked on an individual user basis is kept apart and used only in one department. Scattered data makes it difficult to identify and correct business issues facing the company as a whole, which prevents optimal actions from being taken.
There are four key points to solving these issues and driving business and sales growth.
The first is to grasp all data by combining the data scattered among different departments and complicated customer journey data. The second is to grasp the big picture of the customer journey based on data and to derive insights from that data, not just monitoring and collecting data. The third is to democratize data and insights by distributing data throughout the company so that everyone can see it and understand the insights. And the fourth is to take actions that lead to profits and sales based on these democratized insights.
To aid companies in realizing this kind of data utilization, Google announced Google Analytics 360 Suite in 2016, which is the rebranding of Google Analytics Premium as a marketing platform that supports companies in utilizing data and solving business issues.
The Analytics 360 Suite enables seamless collaboration with Google's advertising platform and large-scale database. In addition, Google further provides support for speedy business improvement via AI based on accumulated data.
Implementations Using Fujitsu Private DMP and Analytics 360 Suite
Aggregating and integrating the various pieces of data in enterprise systems into a private DMP (Data Management Platform) enables companies to prepare a data usage analysis environment. By visualizing aggregated data on a dashboard, data can be shared among all parties involved in marketing.
Fujitsu is implementing digital marketing that is optimized for each customer by building its proprietary private DMP and linking it with Analytics 360 Suite. Lead information and each customer's needs can be identified by combining marketing automation activities obtained online with Analytics 360 Suite web access data using BigQuery and loading the combined data into the private DMP alongside offline data.
Going forward, Fujitsu and Google will work more closely together as partners in the field of digital marketing to assist customers in digital marketing initiatives in the large B2B market.
Mitsuyoshi Yasohara B2B Executive Manager,
Advertising Sales Division,
Google Japan Inc.