Article | September 1, 2021
The way in which consumers are searching for products online has changed. In recent times, there has been a significant increase in question-based searches from consumers looking for quick solutions to their needs, overtaking direct searches for brand names.
It’s clear the consumer environment is evolving, so what can be done to ensure existing and emerging businesses can keep up?
Nate Burke, CEO of technology, digital marketing, and ecommerce solutions firm Diginius, explains the importance of optimising your products to meet this changing behaviour, while also remembering to build on your brand to become the ultimate business.
Marketplaces are now dominating the online sphere, which results in more unbranded searches being made by online shoppers who are looking for solutions to their queries, rather than a name-brand product. Nowadays, global brands can expect 58% of their searches to be unbranded, while surprisingly, for small and mid-sized businesses, the figure is much higher, sitting at around 81%.
Of course, for many businesses that heavily rely on their brand awareness and branded searches to bring in revenue, this rise might be a cause for concern.
However, virtual and online marketplaces are now considered one of the most effective ways to scale globally, both for established businesses and smaller brands as they account for almost half of all global ecommerce sales.
Whilst these platforms were once a place for small and independent brands, online retail giants such as Amazon and Walmart are beginning to scale their own marketplaces, capitalising on the nearly $2 trillion that is spent annually on the top 100 marketplaces.
The shift in search can be put down to a number of changes in the way we shop, consume media and use technology. Notably, the increasing access to voice search, with Alexa and Google devices now regular features in our homes, has encouraged the rise of question-based searches.
Understandably, competition on these platforms is increasing. So, in order to ensure their products are being presented to the right customers, businesses must work on product optimisation, while also building on their brand to encourage trust and repeat purchases.
Recreating the “boutique” shopping experience online
One way to do this is by aligning in store and online experiences. For example, although the days of exploring treasure trove, boutique shops are dwindling in favour of the online environment, consumers are still looking for those unique, personalised experiences from brands.
In fact, 33% of consumers prefer to buy unique products over mass-manufactured items, which businesses should use as an opportunity for innovation within their product offering – to develop something that the other big retailers do not.
Etsy is the perfect example of how independent sellers have come together on one virtual marketplace platform to provide consumers with just that: the opportunity to find unique, handmade products, combined with the ease of shopping online.
The ecommerce and PPC perspectives
Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. Whilst some of these are guaranteed to be named brand searches, many are following suit with the growing solution-led trend, creating a strong case for brands to focus their efforts on appearing in these results through search engine and product description optimisation.
For example, say a consumer is searching for loungewear. Emotional, descriptive words that create a sense of feel and a tailored result should play into your product descriptions, such as “warm loungewear”, “comfortable loungewear” or “soft loungewear”.
The idea here is to narrow down descriptions to give people exactly what they want when performing these niche, specific searches. And in the era of voice search, ensuring products are optimised with accurate and specific descriptions is crucial.
The same approach is effective for product ads, too. Descriptions and targeting cues must be tailored to customers’ searches in order to generate the best results. While this might sound like a time-consuming task, the use of PPC software and analytics tools can help you to automate, test and adjust activity for optimum performance. For example, through use of dynamic ads, copy can be adjusted to ensure it is directly relevant and personal to each searcher to encourage click through and conversions.
Although Google remains the go-to search advertising platform, we always recommend running ads on Microsoft’s Bing platform too, as often, businesses find they generate better returns and require less budget. This is because Bing is much less competitive than Google, with fewer advertisers bidding for the same keyword, although search volumes remain attractive.
Similarly, with the rise of social media commerce, with Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shopping leading the way, as well as Amazon advertising, businesses looking to capitalise on shifting search and shopping habits have a number of avenues to explore.
And while these tactics can help get products in front of customers in the increasingly competitive solution-led search environment, others, including retargeting, can then help to build brand awareness. This way, brands can capture customers who may have only been in the discovery or research phase when they were served the initial ad, as well as customers who may be ready to repurchase.
This solutions-based environment is similar to that of Ask Jeeves, or, as it is known today, Ask.com. The question answering business was a perfect example of how a search engine can cater to the needs of consumers and provide quick answers to their questions. However, it was launched ahead of its time.
It is interesting to see how this has now come full circle, with consumers needing quick and snappy results on-the-go, and Ask.com being perfectly positioned to cater to this need. AI has somewhat advanced this algorithmic model in today’s Google-led environment, but one could have imagined, in another time and place, that Ask could have been a pioneer in search-led advancement, rather than being the nostalgic afterthought it remains today.
This is also a prime example of the constantly evolving online market. What consumers need today might not be what they want tomorrow. Although unfortunate in the case of Ask.com, businesses that can stay ahead of the curve by paying close attention to changes in consumer behaviour are much better off than those that stay stagnant. And, brands, whatever their size or scale, should most certainly pay attention and align their product descriptions to fit a much more solutions-led environment.
But whilst adapting to changes, it’s important to never lose focus of the brand. Customers will always inherently look for trust in their purchases, and a simple flash offer is not enough to sway them away from a brand that deliver quality and confidence in its delivery.
Although non-branded searches are the trend today, any sustainable business must be backed by a strong brand - that’s one thing that will never change.
Article | September 1, 2021
Ads, AI, and social media have become the holy trinity of sales. Perfecting all three will help you become an unbeatable sales master whose path leads only to excellence. The road can be bumpy when you’re just starting out, but even the greatest masters were once apprentices. Patience, resilience, drive, and the following tips will help you reach your goals and supercharge your sales. There are numerous tactics for boosting sales, some more effective than others. Unless you’re just starting out, it’s safe to say you’ve already used some tried-and-true methods to keep your sales high. But times are evolving; new technologies keep emerging; consumer behavior and needs keep changing; all this is pushing you to transform as well.
Article | September 1, 2021
Competitive analysis is a phenomenon of understanding your competitors’ approach in the market. It elaborates on their product, sales, and marketing strategies. By doing this, you expand the horizon of your market research and meet customers’ requirements.
Competitive analysis is an effective method to advance your marketing tactics and build a strong presence by making your businesses stand out from competitors in terms of every aspect.
Significance of Competitive Analysis in B2B
As per the report of Hinge Marketing, businesses that conduct competitive analysis perpetually grow up 70% faster than brands that don’t. Therefore, competitive analysis is highly advantageous to grow a business and reach desired outcomes. It provides valuable information such as qualitative and quantitative data, products strategies, marketing arrangement, customer-centric approach, technological planning, various perspectives, etc.
Appropriate and thorough competitive analysis helps in delivering positive ROI by enhancing sales and brand recognition.
Let’s take a look at some robust strategies to do competitive analysis in B2B.
Top 7 Steps of Competitive Analysis
There is no certain formula. Yet, some steps are indispensable to do competitive analysis in B2B which help in building brand image and make your business journey easy and profitable. Here are some most crucial steps.
Categorization of Competitors
One of the most crucial steps of the competitive analysis is to know thoroughly about your competitors. There are different types of competitors such as potential, direct, indirect, replacement, etc.. Therefore, it is essential to identify your competitors’ types before finding out their marketing strategies.
Advanced Technological Adoption
To stay in the competition, you must be aware of technological advancement. Different competitors adopt different technologies for different purposes such as artificial intelligence, marketing automation, account-based marketing, augmented reality, programmatic advertising, etc. You should discover what kinds of technologies are utilized by your competitors. Incorporating these advanced technologies enhances your marketing approach and allows you to provide a fantastic experience to your target audience.
Search engine optimization is the need of the hour in this digital era. There are different practices of SEO that help in enhancing your Google visibility and organic searches. With the help of SEO analysis, you discover different keywords, hashtags, website rankings, etc., that your competitors utilize to gain business objectives.
Marketers use different channels to promote their products or services as they find a diverse audience on different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, website, blogger, LinkedIn, etc. Therefore, it is crucial to find out which platforms they are selling their products and receiving positive responses. Also, make a note on how those platforms are performing as per the audience’s expectations.
Evaluation of Sales Strategies
A sales strategy is a plan for establishing your products or services in the market for your target audience. It includes the buyer’s persona, sales process, product positioning, methodologies, etc. In addition, evaluating the sales strategies of your competitors provide you a detailed understanding of how they are introducing their products and making profits.
Evaluating Audiences’ Engagement
Undoubtedly, your calculative approach will help you make your marketing approach better, but ultimately you need to understand your audience thoroughly. Your competitors are creating their strategy according to their audience. Therefore, doing a profound research on your audience will undoubtedly give you favorable insights. You need to keep important questions in your mind while evaluating audience engagement.
How are your competitors approaching the audience?
How is the audience responding to their products?
What Kind of queries does your audience have?
Positive and negative feedback
What are the requirements, responses, suggestions coming from the audience?
Analysis of Content Strategy
Analyzing your competitors' content strategy will make you know how your competitors are implementing their content strategy to attract the audience. What kind of content do they use, like blogs, infographics, videos, etc.? What is the frequency of their content posting? Do they take any technical support to advance their content strategy?
Essential Tools for Competitive Analysis
Some most prominent tools can help you analyze your competitors’ approach in B2B marketing by providing valuable information, statistics, channel analysis, audience engagement rate, etc. Some of these tools are Quick Search, BuiltWith, WooRank, Google Adwords, and SEMrush.
Competitive analysis is an important part of your marketing strategy that makes your presence steady in the market and gives you sustainable development. There are certain practices of competitive analysis that have been mentioned above. You can implement those tactics in your strategy to reach what you are looking for.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different kinds of B2B marketing research?
There are different B2B marketing research types to give you intended outcomes. They include brand research, client research, market research, client persona research, etc.
What are the required skills to do competitive analysis in B2B?
Competitive analysis in B2B is a meticulous task which requires technical skills, analytical thinking, perseverance, problem-solving, time management, critical thinking, etc.
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Article | September 1, 2021
Search engines are incredible. You pop onto your favorite one, type in a few keywords, and magically the search engine has scoured the entire internet to find the most relevant content. Except it’s not magic, of course. It’s algorithms and a lot of ideas from a lot of brilliant people. And we’ve started to wonder: With all the brilliant minds behind them, to what extent are search engines using artificial intelligence? Thanks to those same search engines, I was able to find some great research explaining how search engines use artificial intelligence.