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Social Media Marketing: An early look at how marketers can use Pinterest

March 2nd, 2012 8 comments

There are many valuable social media platforms for marketing: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ being the most well-known and popular. But, arguably the hottest and most talked about platform right now is Pinterest.

From its website: “Pinterest is an online pinboard. Organize and share things you love.” At least a little bit confusing from a marketer’s standpoint, right?

 

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I recently had the chance to speak with two self-described Pinterest “power users,” who also happen to be marketers with some ideas on how practitioners should approach the social platform.

Jessica Best, Community Director, emfluence, a digital marketing services company, and Tiffany Monhollon, Senior Manager of Content Marketing, ReachLocal , an online marketing company, provided their insight on Pinterest.

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Content Marketing and SEO: The world doesn’t need another blog post

February 23rd, 2012 7 comments

What is the most powerful way to improve your search engine optimization?

“Content creation works the best, but takes the most work,” Kaci Bower, Research Analyst, MECLABS, said. Take a look at the data from Kaci’s research in the MarketingSherpa 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition.

 

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“Content creation stands apart in the cluster of tactics, both for its difficulty and its effectiveness. Good content creates buzz and attracts links,” Kaci said. “For this reason, marketers who commit to the effort required in creating quality content can improve their SEO positions.”

 

So what makes good and effective content?

This is one of the most common questions I’m asked by marketers. Keep in mind, mine is a skewed sample. If I made plumbing fixtures, I would probably always get asked, “What makes good and effective plumbing fixtures?”

So I was very interested by Kaci’s data that, yes, marketers really do struggle with this. I’ve noticed that, when they become aware of this opportunity, marketers tend to fall in the same common trap — they focus on things, like blog posts or Facebook pages.

Instead, let me suggest you …

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Public Relations: 5 tactics for getting your message to the media

February 21st, 2012 No comments

Several weeks ago, my B2B newsletter article — Public Relations: Getting corporate data out of subject matter experts heads and into quarterly trend reports increased media coverage 261% — was a case study featuring Commtouch, an Internet security services company based in Israel.

Commtouch’s marketing team was able to leverage its internal subject matter experts — in this case, data analysts — to create valuable content and grab the attention of traditional media and influential bloggers in its field.

Like many MarketingSherpa interviews, I had more good information than could fit into the article. The source for the article, Rebecca Steinberg Herson, Vice President, Marketing, Commtouch, provided five excellent tactics for getting your content marketing material out into the wild.

Without further ado, here are Rebecca’s very actionable tactics:

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Email Summit: Integrating mobile, social and email marketing channels

February 14th, 2012 5 comments

The MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2012 audience was treated to Brian Solis, author of The End of Business as Usual: Rewire the way you work to succeed in the customer revolution.

He opened with the idea that the real marketing challenge is the culture of the organization, and he provided a phrase he uses to describe this:

“Digital Darwinism is the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than your ability to adapt.”

Another big idea he offered was “social media is the new normal.” He continued that, “Social media is different than other media channels before it. Here, it’s about relationships, recognition, engagement, value and help.”

As you might guess from this set-up, the intro of Brian’s talk focused on social media and the mobile experience, and he offered many data points, such as:

  • More than 350 million Facebook users access the platform via mobile devices
  • Daily mobile social networking grew 58% in 2011
  • Accessing social platforms via mobile browser is up 25%
  • Accessing social platforms via mobile apps is up 126%

And given these numbers, Brian offered a chart that illustrates that the “connected consumer” isn’t limited to a certain age group:

 

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Brian said, “My mother uses Facebook more than I could ever hope to use it. I may have to opt out of her feed.”

The mobile and social introduction led into the main theme of the keynote: integrating all the channels including social, mobile and email.

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Top Takeaways for Small Businesses from Email Summit 2012

February 10th, 2012 4 comments

Editor’s Note: Email Summit is attended by hundreds of marketers every year from a wide range of companies —solo entrepreneurs all the way up to Fortune 50 stalwarts. So to give the small- and medium-sized business readers of this blog some actionable advice from this year’s Summit, we’re giving Rebekah Henson, Education Marketing Associate, AWeber, a chance to provide the SMB perspective. In full disclosure, AWeber sponsored an SMB-focused special report from MarketingSherpa, is a sponsor of Email Summit, and the editor of this blog used to root against Chris Webber (no relation).

 

“The customer is king.” That’s been the overarching theme of Email Summit 2012. From the first words of Dr. Flint McGlaughlin’s keynote on day one, promising not to teach us new things but instead to teach us to see things differently, the focus of this year’s Summit has been all about valuing your customers.

That is right up every small business’s alley. Speakers from all different backgrounds and business sizes spoke on panels and presented on their findings, but you can easily apply several key takeaways from the week no matter how big or small your business happens to be.

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Email Summit: Mobile marketing panel on the complex sale

February 9th, 2012 No comments

Day one of the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2012 opened with Sergio Balegno, Director of Research, MECLABS, and Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS, the parent company of MarketingExperiments, with an emphasis that this is a research-based event driven by the 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, featuring W. Jeffrey Rice, Senior Research Analyst, as the lead author.

The afternoon kicked off with two sets of breakout sessions featuring both direct sale and complex sale tracks.

I was able to catch a complex sale presentation, “Mobile Marketing Panel: Integrating mobile campaigns for the complex sale.”

The panel was moderated by Meghan Lockwood, Research Analyst, MECLABS, and featured these presenters:

  • Josh Herman, VP of Product Strategy, Acxiom Corporation
  • Kate Williams, Independent Consultant, currently consulting for T-Mobile
  • R.J. Talyor, Director of Product Marketing, ExactTarget
  • Nick Fuller, Director of Strategy and Analytics, eDialog

Attendees were presented with a few data points to set the stage:

 

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All four panelists provided the audience with case studies. I will highlight one of those here.

Josh offered a case study on mobile advertising and the mobile CRM handshake.

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Social Media Marketing: A look at 2012, part 2

February 3rd, 2012 2 comments

Yesterday’s blog post featured the thoughts of Larry Drebes, founder and CEO of Janrain, a social user Web management platform, on the social media channel and marketing over the next six to 12 months.

Today we have insight and advice from Loren McDonald, Vice President of Industry Relations, Silverpop, an email and marketing automation vendor.

Loren will be joining us next week at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2012, and will participate in the innovation panel Wednesday afternoon, February 8th.

Social media marketing is an important channel for both B2B and B2C marketers, and Loren offers up a valuable perspective on the topic and some actionable takeaways to maximize that channel over the rest of this year.

This chart illustrates Silverpop research on where all marketers are utilizing social media:

 

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Here are Loren’s thoughts on social media marketing:

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Social Media Marketing: A look at 2012, part 1

February 2nd, 2012 1 comment

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a popular blog post on using social media profiles for login on third-party websites rather than the more traditional form field registration. The post featured research from Janrain, a social Web user management platform, and some additional commentary from Larry Drebes, founder and CEO of Janrain.

That topic was very specific and applies to one marketing issue — gathering data from website visitors.

Janrain’s research found that Facebook is the clear favorite for social login at 42%, followed by Google at 29% and Yahoo! at 11%.

 

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In preparation for the innovation panel Wednesday afternoon, February 8th, at next week’s MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2012, I also had the chance to speak with Larry about the social channel in more general terms, and to get his take on where it is heading and what marketers should be thinking about over the next six to 12 months.

Tomorrow’s blog post will feature the thoughts of panelist Loren McDonald, Vice President Industry Relations, Silverpop.

Here is the result of my conversation with Larry:

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Lead Scoring: CMOs realize a 138% lead gen ROI … and so can you

January 26th, 2012 1 comment

In last week’s blog post, I looked at the importance of lead nurturing. Some readers wanted more, so this week, I’ll dive even deeper into the complex B2B sale with a few data points and some very actionable tips on lead scoring.

First, let’s look a few data points from the 2012 MarketingSherpa B2B Benchmark Report, featuring Jen Doyle, Senior Research Manager, MarketingSherpa, as the lead author.

This chart shows the value of scoring leads based on a survey of CMOs:

 

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Here is commentary on this chart from the report (italic emphasis is mine in the quote):

 

Once organizations establish lead qualification practices and define the criteria for a qualified, sales-ready lead, they need lead scoring methodologies to accurately and precisely identify qualified leads. Lead scoring is the process of adding and subtracting points to a lead’s value over time based on various lead attributes or demographics, and behaviors.

Lead scoring is one essential component of an overall funnel optimization strategy; however, the above chart analyzes one of the key benefits of only implementing this one feature. On average, organizations that currently use lead scoring experience a 77% lift in lead generation ROI, over organizations that do not currently use lead scoring.

 

Okay, so lead scoring is clearly a good B2B marketing practice, but the next data point isn’t so positive. Our research, through a survey of 1,745 marketers, found that 79% of B2B marketers are not engaging in lead scoring.

This week’s B2B newsletter article – “The Complex Sale: Lead scoring effort increases conversion 79%” – is a look at how Bersin & Associates, a human resources and learning professionals research and consulting firm, implemented an entirely new lead scoring program over 2011.

I interviewed Paula Reinman, Senior Vice President Marketing, Bersin, to learn the process Marketing and Sales at the company went through to create and implement a lead scoring program that fit in with the existing marketing automation software and CRM environment.

I think if you take the time to read the case study, you will take away a solid sense of implementing lead scoring, but as they say in New Orleans, this week I’m offering some lagniappe, a little something extra from Paula in the form of six lead scoring tips.

Hopefully these will help either improve your lead scoring activities, or even spur you to set up a program of your own if you aren’t currently engaging in lead scoring.

Here are Paula’s lead scoring tips:

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Marketing Analytics: What the heck is ‘cross-channel management?’

January 24th, 2012 2 comments

Technology and language have a strange relationship. Technology pushes the limits of what we can do. Language lags behind, trying to explain what we’ve done.

For example, take “cross-channel management.” Or is it called database integration? Or multi-channel management? Or a unified customer database?

All these phrases strive to describe a similar technology — one in which a company centralizes all its customer data and makes it actionable. The vendors appear to differentiate themselves in their language and their features.

But marketing teams are reaching the limits of their databases and they need more than snappy jargon. They need clarity.

Nearly 90% of email marketers say integrating email data with other data is at least a “somewhat significant” challenge, according to the MarketingSherpa 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, written by W. Jeffrey Rice, Senior Research Analyst, MarketingSherpa. And just last week, we published a case study about a credit union that replaced its database to push its email marketing forward.

To help clarify this topic, I spoke with Kristin Hambelton, VP of Marketing at Neolane. Neolane provides “conversational marketing technology” (which is another phrase you can add to the list).

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