The Internet Empowered Buyers Paid Marketing Has Never Bought So Little

The Internet has given consumers so many product options, and so many opportunities to research and consider, that paid advertising has never been less effective.

Sales wins have never so dramatically been awarded to companies that respect buyers, by differentiating and making the choice simple, by respecting the fact that buyers drive the Buyer’s Journey, and providing helpful content to help them research and consider.

90+% of the time, when a person attempts to make a purchase over $100 (B2B or B2C), that Buyer’s Journey heavily utilizes the Internet, for most of the winding and arbitrary journey.

What’s interesting to note is that they don’t want to see ads, or read biased sales copy found in brochures and on many websites. They don’t want to take sales calls. It’s only at the very end that this changes, a little. 

For most of the process of making a purchase, they don’t want to hear from you. 

This is important to note, even if your product would help them, and is the best option. They’re the decider. They want information so that they can make the choice they believe will best suit their needs. 

We say it often, but your desire to sell a product or service, and a customer’s desire for a solution only seem like intersecting desires. In truth, you want to sell them your product, whether it’s the best option for them or not, and they want to research, consider, and select the right option for them. These are different things. 

Even if your product helps them, if they aren’t seeking you out, you’re marketing without consent.

How sick is it to force yourself on a person, in any way, on the grounds that what you want will be something they happen enjoy, also? They need what you have, and you’re going to show them. Pretty disgusting, right? 

There’s no need for buyers to be sold, today, and yet, digital ads – both informational and sales-focused – have never been so pervasive. At a time when people want, more than ever, to not see ads, there are more ads than ever. It’s insanity. 

The best a company can do is produce helpful content that consumers discover along their journey. Oh, and that journey is 80% done when they do want to hear from you, or listen to you talk about yourself. They’ve basically already decide. 

Salespeople have moribund careers. Again, all the data support this. Buyers have all the power. All of it. 

While it’s true if you publish objective content that is helpful, it’s still you and your biased voice producing it – value and objectivity are self-evident. If you’re not pushing brochures or sales copy – talking about yourself – you’ll be appreciated, and you’ll come out as a thought leader. 

80% of the buyer journey or sales cycle is completed online, before a buyer ever even contacts you (Dialoguetech).

Whereas, since time immemorial, sales used ‘AIDA’ (attention, interest, decision, action) to guide closing on leads, Hubspot – the unquestioned inbound marketing experts – define this journey as Awareness, Consideration, Decision.

In 1955, A Ford salesman might pressure you into a car you didn’t really want. There were 3 automakers, and there was nowhere to get information that wasn’t seller-centric. 

Today, that’s virtually impossible. You can go to review sites of every variety. Forums. You can search hashtags. You can read studies on unlimited aspects of vehicles. 

Next to this quality, helpful, objective, content, ads are less than useless. They are ‘noise’ when you’re trying to get a ‘signal’. 

How many ads did you ignore today? How many options do you have for any need or pain-point? Sellers have no influence, until the very end of the Buyer’s Journey, at which point it’s largely irrelevant, because buyers have effectively made their choice.

They’ve are doing their research, and it didn’t include your ads or brochures. The ‘Buyer’s Journey’ has been forever altered.

We’ve all seen the film Glengarry Glen Ross. Citing the age-old 4 steps involved in the close “Awareness, Interest, Decision/Desire, Action”.

That’s dead; that model is dead. Hell, you can’t even lure a buyer into a one-on-one with a salesperson anymore. Nobody is having it. Internet options and information killed all that. 

Sales Cycle or Buyer Journey Prior To The Web 2.0, Dynamic (Viral) Social, Or User Generated Era (2010)
Sales Cycle Or Buyer Journey Today (Post 2010)

A 5-figure B2B Buyer’s Journey or Sales Cycle, used to be:

  • 20% Awareness
  • 80% Interest-Desire-Action (Talking to Salespeople and reviewing biased sales copy)

Today, it’s more like:

  • 10% Awareness
  • 80% Consideration Or Research (Unbiased reviews; recommendations, and 3rd party publishers of every variety)
  • 10% Talking to Salespeople

The Buyer Journey is almost entirely buyer-driven; note in particular that the Research and Consideration stages aren’t even present in the old model, and how small the role played by Salespeople is in the new model.

Again, the information required for the conversion is almost entirely had by the time a lead contacts you.

The take-home from this is to stop using the 2% click-through rate with ads, and instead create content. 

Stop believing you have more influence than you actually do, or weaponizing marketing by showing ads to 100 people – interrupting them – to get 2 clicks (and a ‘click’ is not a sale; conversion from those clicks are a whole other down-step from that 2%).