We spend a lot of time talking about marketing transformation here at HubSpot. The concept is that the way people have traditionally shopped for products and services has changed. More and more, especially today, they turn to the internet -- search engines, blogs, and social media -- conducting online research to help them make purchasing decisions.
Because of the changing nature of how people shop these days, marketers must understand that traditional marketing techniques are no longer effective. It's this fundamental idea that lays the foundation for inbound marketing, which is effective today. And if you've always been an outbound marketing advocate and a bit of an inbound marketing skeptic, this week MarketingCharts reported results of the new "2011 Social Shopping Study” from the e-tailing group and PowerReviews. To be honest, it might just be the kick in the butt that convinces you to go inbound...
According to the data, 50% of consumers spend 75% or more of their total shopping time conducting online research. This includes 15% of shoppers who spend 90% or more of their shopping time online doing research.
And from 2010 to 2011, these numbers experienced quite a large spike. In fact, they doubled! In 2010, only 21% of shoppers spent 75% or more of their shopping time on product research online.
Below are some other interesting findings from the study:
- 1 in 3 shoppers (34%) spends a few days conducting online research about information-intensive products such as computers, appliances, and TVs before making a purchase, which is the most popular period of time for shoppers to spend doing online research in 2011.
- More than 4 in 10 of shoppers (44%) start their online product research process with a search engine, looking for top search results relating to the product they're seeking.
- When it comes to using social media for research, 7 in 10 shoppers (71%) either never (49%) or rarely (21%) use social sites to research products and gather information.
Consumers are taking a more active role in what influences their purchasing decisions -- whether you like it or not. Furthermore, as we can see from the comparison of data from 2010 vs. 2011, this activity is increasing at an alarming rate. The takeaway is pretty obvious: as a business marketer, you need to have an effective inbound marketing strategy in place in order to compete.
Your prospects are looking for information in search engines. Are you regularly creating search engine optimized content to help them find you? They're also seeking product reviews. Are you paying attention to customers and prospects online in a way that encourages them to generate positive reviews for your products and services?
They're also spending quite a bit of time conducting research about you before they buy, meaning just having a website isn't enough. Are you present in all of the online touch points they're hitting to help them form a well-rounded opinion of your products or services? Are you using social media to enhance your internet presence?
Successful marketing today requires a complete inbound marketing strategy. How can you improve yours?