Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently predicted the collapse of the marketing funnel. It no longer takes time for buyers to go from research to discovery to awareness all the way to purchase, she argued. The advent of digital and mobile means that the whole process is happening much faster.
Her statement got me thinking about the path to purchase for B2B tech buyers. Yes, for some technology investments the path to purchase can still be a lengthy process, lasting months or even years, partly because of the capital investment involved. But the advent of cloud tech is already shortening sales cycles and this trend is only going to increase.
Good news for PR
This is good news for PR, because it means we have a greater opportunity to influence and engage buyers at every stage of the sales process and demonstrate the kind of business impact that will turn heads at C level.
Today’s tech buyer’s journey is typically 70 per cent complete before they even reach out to speak to sales. And today’s tech buying process usually involves several people from multiple departments, all of whom are using multiple information sources — and channels — at each stage of the buying process.
Technology brands need to make sure they are easily found by buyers wherever they are looking for information. Media coverage is a great way to attract new links to the top of the sales funnel, especially if it includes backlinks to the website, but by applying the PESO model your PR strategy can do so much more.
Content for every stage of the buying process
The PESO model provides a practical framework for maximising the value of PR’s storytelling and communication skills. It comprises earned, shared, owned and paid media, all of which are important touchpoints for the B2B tech buyer.
Many of our most creative campaign ideas have snowballed into entire programmes that involve media coverage, social and advertising, as well as providing content for our clients’ own websites. PR is at its best when it helps its clients to attract the customer, but then also provides an ecosystem of content so that they can research, investigate and ultimately buy.
Cohesive campaigns like this can bring multiple elements of your marketing together, delivering a better, faster return on investment as well as the consistency that many brands crave in our fragmented media world.