In case you haven’t heard, Peyton Manning announced that he’s retiring from the NFL a few weeks ago. While people might one day (hopefully) forget the fact he starred in a variety of Papa John’s commercials, he’ll always be remember for changing the game of football. His hurry-up offense forced the NFL to implement a rule change and his knack for reading the field and calling his own plays is legendary.
Like Peyton, the Internet changed the game of sales and marketing. In the past, marketers had all the power in the buyer/seller relationship, but that’s no longer the case. Web-based tools, websites, social media, search engine optimization and pay-per-click ads let us reach our target audiences at a fraction of the cost of more traditional methods like television, radio or print advertising. All of the power that marketers once held has shifted over to the buyer.
How Buyer Behavior Changed
Your buyers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. Think about all of the things that they can do now on the web that they couldn’t do before:
They can ask questions and get immediate answers.
They can shop and compare different offerings and service providers.
They can read third party reviews and have conversations with complete strangers using social media or other online forums.
They do all of this on their own terms and on their own schedule.
Think about how you purchase products and services today. Do you begin your research by opening a fresh page on Google or Bing? Aren’t you becoming more familiar with researching solutions online and getting opinions from others before contacting the supplier? Your prospects are acting no differently. Like a team playing against Peyton Manning, it’s up to you to change your approach to match this new behavior.
Changing Your Marketing and Sales Approach
Businesses of all sizes (and in all industries) simply must adapt their marketing and sales approach to reflect new buyer behavior in order to stay competitive. The companies who are unable to adapt to this new pattern of buyer behavior will likely have a tough road ahead, like a running back who keeps pushing the ball up the middle with no success.
Inbound marketing thrives in this new business environment because it aligns your marketing messages and tactical execution with the way prospective buyers want to purchase products and services from you in today’s digital marketplace. If you’re looking to gain an advantage over your competition in the foreseeable future, you should be utilizing and measuring the impact of Internet buying behavior on your marketing strategy and tactics. This will in turn help you grow leads, increase sales and grow revenue.
In the end, the Internet may have made a game-changing impact on today’s marketing and sales environment, but you can adapt to it with inbound marketing.