Although tracking involves data loss—especially in online to offline conversions, even with coupons—Lee says tracking does help eliminate some of the ambiguity inherent in marketing to B-to-B prospects who are humans, but represent businesses and are not consumers.
5. Focus on needs-based vs. product- or service-based keywords, Engelsman says. He says different types of keywords aid different stages of the buying process.
For instance, client Edmund Optics—a Barrington, N.J.-based optics, imaging, and photonics technology supplier—thinks of needs-based keyword searches as passing through the following stages:
- Informational research, "aspheric lenses";
- Resource recommendations, "aspheric lenses manufacturers";
- Competitive research, "cost of aspheric lenses";
- Ready to purchase, "germanium infrared aspheric lenses"; and
- Post-purchase/customer service, "aspheric lenses spec sheet."
For Edmund, each stage has value—including the post-purchase/customer service step, especially considering 80 percent of its business is driven by repeat customers, Engelsman says. If a customer has a bad experience, this stage represents the opportunity to turn it into a good one.
6. When operating internationally, be careful about making search behavior assumptions. Choi says, for instance, the biggest search engine in China isn't Google—it's Baidu. And while 457 million Chinese citizens logged on in 2010—an increase of 73.3 million—online conversions for offline events are very common. To illustrate the difference in conversion behavior, he says 80 percent of Chinese Web users view bulletin board sites, more commonly known as forums in the US, to search for product information. Then 64.5 percent of site users attend offline events organized by the BBS administrator.