Archive

Posts Tagged ‘B2B marketing’

How SAP Engaged Its Best Customers to the Close of $27 Million

October 28th, 2016

What do you do when optimizing customer engagement means transforming the way an entire organization thinks and functions?

Making a transformational shift in any company is a huge undertaking of thousands of details. In the midst of all of those details, you absolutely cannot forget to ensure that everyone, company-wide, is on the same page and focused on a unified value proposition.

When I spoke with Eric Martin, Vice President of Marketing, North America, SAP, the company had just undergone a transformation to account-based marketing, specifically in North America.

“It was a matter of bringing together a lot of existing marketing resources, and creating some new ones, and focusing them on a sub-segment of customers, a small group, that really you could consider the most strategically important customers,” he said.

Read more…

Five tips from a personal care industry CEO for setting (and getting approval for) your marketing budget

September 9th, 2016

When we ask marketers about their biggest challenges, budget issues are usually at or near the top. Ecommerce marketers say size of marketing budget is the biggest challenge to their companies’ ecommerce operations. B2B marketers say lack of resources in staffing, budgeting or time are the biggest barrier to overcoming their top challenges.

Everybody is challenged by the budget in some way.

So to give you a business leader’s perspective on key budget questions: What should you prioritize in your budget? How should you work with the rest of the organization? How do you get your key priorities approved?

I looked outside of the marketing-sphere and interviewed Stuart Benton, President and CEO, Bradford Soap.

Budgeting Advice CEO_Sherpa_DB

Stuart has a unique perspective on budgeting, as he was formerly Bradford Soap’s CFO, and has a perspective on selling products as well from a previous stint as Director of Sales and Financial Operational Planning at Veryfine Products, a $250 million juice company (at the time).

To give you some context, Bradford Soaps is a 140-year-old, $100 million organization with 700 employees that develops and manufactures soap for Dove, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Tom’s of Maine, Dr. Bronner’s, and other brands.

“We make the majority of all the specialty bar soaps in America,” Stuart said.

Here are some tips from our conversation to keep in mind as you set your next budget…

Read more…

Content Strategy Versus Content Volume: How HR tech company, WorkCompass, wrote less content, but increased leads by 300%

January 29th, 2016

Content marketing is a lot of work. Any company doing content marketing has to also run a media business on the side of their regular business.

But what if you could do less writing and still increase your leads by 300%?

That’s exactly what Alan O’Rourke did at HR performance management software company, WorkCompass, with a small marketing team.

According to his blog post on Audience Stack, O’Rourke was having trouble getting his content marketing efforts to pay off.

I tried it for a few months but found I was just sending more content to the same people. More was not better. It was just more. Using basic inbound marketing our audience and reach was not growing.

So what he did instead was create an inbound marketing strategy that focused 70% of his team’s effort on promoting his content, and 30% of his team’s effort in actually creating the content.

The results were fantastic. In fact lead capture (my primary measurement of success) jumped by over 300%!

Fortunately, he mapped out his entire strategy in a nice infographic. He calls it the One Month Micro B2B Marketing Plan — although I’m sure most savvy ecommerce marketers out there will be able to apply the same principles to their own content marketing strategies.

Micro B2B Marketing and Promotion Plan - Audiencestack.com
The Micro B2B Marketing and Promotion Plan from AudienceStack.com

 

So what does this mean for your team?

It means you can at least test slowing down your editorial calendar to produce higher quality long form content to promote over and over again.

P.S. I found O’Rourke’s blog post and infographic from a post on Reddit, where he had promoted it. Now I’m writing about it here, giving him links and hopefully sending a significant amount of traffic his way. So he’s doing something right.

 

You might also like

B2B Marketing: Content strategy results in 50% of qualified leads being inbound [From MarketingSherpa]

Content Marketing 101: Tips on content strategy

Content Marketing: How an energy data company’s content strategy increased leads by 733% [From MarketingSherpa]

Inbound Marketing: Beef jerky company develops content strategy around brand character to increase social media fans 2,113% [From MarketingSherpa]

Fuji Xerox Launches New B2B Product With a Fashion Show

December 29th, 2015

“I think the industry … Fuji Xerox is [in is] a very competitive one,” Steven Caunce, Corporate Affairs Manager, Fuji Xerox, said.

Aside from the competitive B2B space, “selling print devices to large organizations, it’s not a particularly sexy business to be in, so we’re always looking for different ways to try to engage and motivate our customers.”

A prime opportunity to engage customers in this manner is when launching a new product, he said. It’s especially important since the industry is so competitive.

To generate excitement for the Versant 2100 printer, the team at Fuji Xerox created a fashion show featuring a fictional designer, complete with direct mail “lookbooks.”

The creative event campaign Steven and his team came up with generated new sales, inspired the brand’s sales team and accounted for 34% of the Asia-Pacific sales total.

 

Read more…

Crawl, Walk, Run: How Ferguson began customer-centric email habits to generate over $21 million in online revenue

September 4th, 2015

I’ve interviewed around 500 marketers since I started as a reporter at MarketingSherpa. Looking back, most of those conversations are inevitably a bit of a blur, but it’s marketers like Mary Abrahamson, Email Marketing Specialist, Ferguson Enterprises, that truly stand out.

Mary was a first-time attendee at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, and took back what she learned to her office and implemented a transformative, customer-centric campaign that led to her winning Best in Show at Email Summit 2015.

“I learned a lot at Email Summit last year, and coming back [to the office], I felt like we were in an okay place, but we had a lot of room to grow,” she said, explaining that the team began taking steps to refuel their database.

When the team began making changes to view the email program as a whole enterprise, they took what Mary referred to as the “crawl, walk, run approach,” which is where they started off small and went back to optimize later.

The first thing to know when it comes to email relevancy is: there is no email that fits your entire list.

Marketers get requests all the time from different teams and interests to send out an email, and it’s up to the email marketing team to be the stopgap for what goes out to customers.

Read more…

Content Marketing 101: Tips on content strategy

April 14th, 2015

By this point, I think most marketers understand the value and importance of the content marketing channel. It’s well known that prospects for both consumer and B2B marketers are now doing most research on their own — I’ve seen research reporting B2B prospects are now getting 80% down the pipeline before ever raising their hand and letting you know they might be a customer.

content marketing

 

A prospect 80% down the pipeline is likely going to be a more qualified prospect because they are nearing the end goal in terms of making a purchase — and because Marketing and Sales only have to get that last 20% to close the sale. At the same time, it means you can’t just push out marketing messages to names and leads in order to reach the entire marketplace.

The solution to this issue is to have a solid content marketing strategy in place, maybe even making content marketing the centerpiece of the overall marketing strategy.

Having spoken with hundreds of marketers about their content strategies over the years, I wanted to share tips on some of the basics of content marketing with the MarketingSherpa Blog reader.

 

It’s not about selling

One point about content marketing that can’t be emphasized enough is this: It’s not about selling your company, your products or your services. At its core, a content marketing strategy is targeting those prospects in the research phase that have yet to identify themselves as potential customers. You don’t know their names; you don’t have their email addresses in your database, and they might not even follow you on social media.

However, they are conducting research on your products, your services, your marketplace, your competitors and your company. If you can become a resource of basic information and instruction around the general marketplace of your business, you can become a trusted destination for those as-yet unknown prospects.

The two terms to keep in mind here are thought leadership and brand awareness. If you can provide valuable and relevant content to people conducting research on your marketplace, products and services, you can become a thought leader for information in that space.

As people visit, and revisit, your website and other digital outposts (such as a Facebook page or answer to a question on Quora) without being sold to, they will become aware of your brand. When they do decide to take a more definite step and raise their hand to be sold to, hopefully you will be top of mind.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Adding Reddit to the mix

April 8th, 2014

Social media is almost certainly a part of your marketing mix by this point. Facebook and Twitter are the two overall leaders, and B2B marketers are probably at least looking into how to leverage LinkedIn. Then, there are a host of additional social media platforms such as StumbleUpon, SlideShare, Pinterest, Vine, Quora and many others.

One platform that probably isn’t on most marketers’ radars is Reddit. Marketing tactics on Reddit are not readily obvious, and the platform’s users are not there to be marketed to and don’t welcome any interaction that feels like marketing.

Should you consider Reddit in your social media strategy? If so, how should you approach the platform?

To answer these questions, we reached out to two experts in marketing on Reddit: Brent Csutoras, Social Media Strategist, Kairay Media; and Greg Finn, Internet Marketer, Cypress North.

Here is the result of that discussion.

 

MarketingSherpa: It sounds like a key challenge to marketing on Reddit is the platform’s policies toward that activity. Briefly cover what marketers should know and understand about these policies.

Brent Csutoras: It is very important to first understand that Reddit is not a single community, but rather a platform to either join existing communities or to create your own communities. Each community is made by a Redditor who then can add moderators and who makes the rules for which everyone in the community must follow. It is super important before trying to submit any content to Reddit to understand the moderators and the rules for each Subreddit you intend to submit your content to.

For instance, some Subreddits will not allow certain domains to be submitted to their community, some like “TodayILearned” require content to be at least two months old, and some like “/worldnews” do not allow news about the U.S.

As to the challenge of marketing to an audience who is by nature against the concept of marketing, it definitely takes someone with a long-term goal and general interest in Reddit to balance the line between being a valuable member of the community, while at the same time, trying to submit your own content.

Greg Finn: The biggest question to ask when participating in Reddit is: Are you contributing? That’s essentially what you should be asking yourself before beginning any type of “marketing.” One of the lines in Reddit’s User Agreement is:

“Cluttering Reddit with junk or spam reduces the quality of the Reddit experience.”

Make sure that you are going into the site with the mindset of increasing the quality of content shared. Also, while not blatantly obvious in the user agreement, you should not be too promotional with your content. Reddit moderators will swiftly ban users that only submitting their own content or commenting with their own links. Treat it like a forum and build credibility in a specific Subreddit, add to the community, then start marketing.

 

MS: Beyond the key challenge addressed above, what are some of the unique marketing challenges (and potential advantages) faced when marketing on Reddit over other social media platforms and other digital marketing channels such as email and paid search?

BC: I mentioned earlier, how individuals really need to make sure they understand the rules of each Subreddit they are submitting to in order to have any real chance at long-term success.

Another challenge that people might now understand is that Reddit has a lot of anti-spam elements at play on the site. New users to a Subreddit, and in some cases, new domains, can find themselves being auto-filtered or even silent-filtered, where their submissions might show as submitted to them, but are actually hidden from all other users until it becomes approved by a moderator.

Lastly, it is really important to understand Reddit’s voting algorithm, which, to put it simply, values the combination of the first 10 votes the same as the following combination of the next 100 votes, and then 1000 votes, and so on. This means that what happens during the first 10 votes of your submission are super important. Choosing the right Subreddit, knowing what type of content the moderators support, and selecting the best title when submitting are key to making sure your first couple votes are positive.

GF: The biggest challenge is undoubtedly the volatility of the community. There are dozens of unwritten rules that exist and can kill your promotion on arrival if you don’t follow along. If using images, submit with Imgur. Videos? Use YouTube. Follow along with the community, learn the inner workings before giving it a try.

One of the biggest challenges is the sheer competitiveness of Reddit these days. You need quality content, a killer title and a dash of luck to strike it big.

 

MS: What are some actionable tactics or tips for marketers looking to add Reddit to their digital marketing mix?

BC: Start by identifying the Subreddits you really want to participate and submit to, followed by learning what works in the Subreddit, both from the community’s acceptance and support, and from what the moderators are going to approve and support. Make sure to fully understand the rules of the Subreddit prior to submitting any content.

Never submit something that doesn’t fit into a Subreddit. It will almost always get removed, which can result in you having filters applied to your submissions and possible having your account silent banned.

You simply do not win on Reddit with brute force.

Lastly, you have to be a Reddit user first and foremost, to really understand how to be an effective marketer within Reddit.

GF: Far and away, the most valuable tactic is to go niche. Every marketer is looking for the homerun, but you can easily hit .400 while driving the right mix of targeted traffic to your site. Reddit has individual sections called Subreddits that are niche communities around a specific topic. These Subreddits have the most potential as you can get your content in front of a (smaller) group of highly targeted users.

Local business? Look for a local Subreddit near you and scope the scene.

Got a book about parenting? Head to r/parenting.

Manufacture crockpots? Try /r/slowcooking.

There is a Subreddit for everything. Seriously, take a look. Jump into a community that fits your niche and start participating. The numbers won’t be overwhelming, but the quality will.

Read more…

Content Marketing: Come in with an idea, leave with a blog post

April 1st, 2014

Two previous MarketingSherpa Blog posts, “Content Marketing: Interviewing internal resources,” and “Content Marketing: Making use of internal resources,” covered meeting the challenge of infusing the knowledge of your internal experts into your content marketing strategy.

Marketers, particularly in the B2B sphere, are regularly told that there is a wealth of great insight and knowledge to be mined for content within the enterprise walls. The challenge is turning that knowledge into content that can be shared.

The first post in this series looked at the popular tactic of interviewing those internal experts and turning the interview material into blog posts, e-books, podcasts and more. The second post in the series offered lists of tips and ideas from three content marketing sources.

Today’s post provides three interesting approaches to take in meeting this content marketing goal:

  • Thinking like a publisher and developing an editorial process
  • Gaining buy-in at the highest levels to improve the process
  • Implementing an interesting tactic dubbed the “blog closet” can provide a wealth of internal expertise for sharing

Kari Rippetoe, Content Marketing Manager, Marketing Mojo, explained how her team takes a publishing approach to content marketing with an editorial process:

We rely heavily on internal resources to create our content!

I’m the content marketing manager for a digital marketing agency, and we create a variety of content including blog posts, webinars, infographics and guides.

Our staff has expertise in a lot of different areas of digital marketing, and we want to showcase that expertise through our content. In fact, content creation is a big part of our culture here. So, almost the entire staff contributes regular blog posts and periodically present webinars.

When I first joined the company, there was an “editorial” calendar of sorts in place for the blog. In fact, the only real purpose it served was to assign blog post deadlines to each writer. This was done without any real interaction with or input from the writers. In addition, writers would run up against their deadlines with no idea about what they were going to write – resulting in last-minute scrambling to get something written.

So, I implemented the following:

  • Regular editorial meetings with the writers to determine topics in advance, so they have more time to think about what they want to write.
  • True editorial calendar tracking not only due dates, but topics, keywords and special holidays/events to keep in mind.
  • Editorial review process to ensure quality of content.

We’ve seen dramatic improvements in the efficiency of content creation on our blog because of these process changes. There is a lot less stress on the writer and me, as the editor of the blog, to get the content written, reviewed, published and distributed.

 

Brandon Gerson, President of Business Development, Mak & Ger, provided an agency perspective on the importance of making internal content a process that begins from the top down:

This is a challenge that our agency faces on a regular basis while trying to create content for our clients.

Interviews work well, but it is best when they can create their own content.

The challenge is that we are trying to do our job, which requires their help, but they have their own job to do, and thus, by working with us, they are not getting their work done.

Here is the best way we have been able to remedy this …

Take a top-down approach and work with the CMO to make an organizational commitment to generating content.

This helps each department allocate a certain amount of time and employees towards generating content. Ideally, this can be a team effort that can occur on a Friday, when productivity levels are low anyway. A few members of a department can get together and share ideas and turn it into bullet points. We then have a dedicated person email these bullet points to our agency partner, who then works to turn their bullet points into blog posts.

We position this as not only a way to help us create content for their marketing, but also as a camaraderie, brainstorming, team building time where new ideas can formulate.

It can be a hard sell initially, but when it works well, it adds a lot of value to all involved.

We have been able to get one client to commit to this approach with their sales team and it has produced some great content that has helped all of their closing rates. In addition to blog posts, we have been able to create white papers, numbered lists, e-books and other assets that they now use to nurture their prospects further down the funnel and it has worked well for the entire organization.

Read more…

Ecommerce: 10 case studies to help you excel in content marketing, social media and website optimization

November 26th, 2013

Shopping from your seat is a beautiful thing.

Customers relish the convenience and ease of online shopping, but those on the other side of the screen know the process isn’t so effortless. Ecommerce can present itself as a multidimensional demon, frightening marketers with shopper abandonment and confusing consumer behavior.

However, there are plenty of marketers who have slain the beast on their way to success. Our MarketingSherpa reporters know this because they have penned many of these marketing heroes’ tales of triumph.

Let’s take a look back at the lessons we learned from these 10 ecommerce case studies.

 

Case Study #1. Ecommerce: Edible Arrangements’ countdown ad lifts same-day orders 8%

Lesson: Don’t assume your company’s existing features or services are on the customers’ radar.

The basis for a stellar marketing campaign doesn’t have to revolve around a new service, product or feature. Your company could have a pre-existing item that could use some additional awareness. Take Edible Arrangements’ same-day delivery service. Kaitlin Reiss, Vice President of Ecommerce, Edible Arrangements, told MarketingSherpa the service was the company’s “hidden gem.”

“A lot of people don’t realize that we have same-day delivery, even though it is not something new for us, so we realize that we will need to do even more to promote it,” Reiss said.

The hub of tasty fruit bouquets utilized simple promotion through a variety of channels to increase both email open rates and its same-day orders, too. Are your company’s pre-existing services being promoted to its greatest potential?

Doubtful. Despite the fact that those features may not be new to the company, it could be new to consumers.

 

Case Study #2. Ecommerce: Moving beyond shopping cart abandonment nets 65% more checkout conversions

Lesson: Targeting customer abandonment is worth it.

We’ve all been there. Perusing products on the Internet when the phone rings, it’s time for dinner or the dog is barking for a walk. No matter what it is that pulls us away from the computer, distractions are inevitable.

As an ecommerce marketer, understanding and reeling your consumers back in is crucial for garnering conversions. Many ecommerce companies have found success recovering customers through abandonment emails.

The case study above examines how Envelopes.com targeted category, cart and checkout abandonment with emails sent less than a week after the customer left the site. The campaign lifted the company to net 65% more checkout conversions.

Examine why your ecommerce site isn’t earning those sales. Is it internal, or could it just be the busy lives of your consumers? Sometimes, all it takes is a little reminder.

 

 

Case Study #3. Email Marketing: How an ecommerce site eschews discounts in favor of eco-friendly content

Case Study #4. Ecommerce: How Wine Enthusiast increased organic traffic 154% with content marketing

Lesson: Content can help you connect with consumers while building trust, too.

As an ecommerce marketer, you’re not face-to-face with your consumers — your computer screen is. Establishing trust and connecting with them is a feat of its own. In these two case studies, ecommerce companies utilized content to increase traffic and awareness of their brands to stand out in a crowded Internet space.

PoopBags.com – yes, you read that right – built an email marketing strategy on eco-friendly content. As a biodegradable bag for pups’ – er – business, the brand developed email content emphasizing environmental causes, charities and pet-related issues.

“It makes it easy to bond with people … knowing that we write about things that are so important, and we care passionately about, makes [writing email content] pretty easy to do,” Paul Cannella, Owner, Poopbags.com, told MarketingSherpa of the company’s content strategy.

Retailer Wine Enthusiast also put content into play to earn trust with consumers. The company’s website features wine reviews, articles and videos to help build an audience. The content helped yield a 50% increase in monthly email opt-ins.

“We put time into creating helpful content that helps people either make a buying decision or entertain them,” said Erika Strum, Director of Internet Marketing, Wine Enthusiast Companies. “Even if they aren’t making that purchase in the moment, we feel that they will come back to us as a great source of information.”

Do you have something to offer your consumers other than a great product or service? Look to content to form valuable trust and relationships in your market.

 

Case Study #5. B2B Ecommerce: Redesigned online form increases quotes 67.68%

Lesson:  Your website must align with the way people shop online.

A website is never a finished product – it’s forever evolving. After all, it has to. Think about what would happen if you kept your website the same year after year. You couldn’t do that and be successful. The Internet is constantly changing as is the way customers expect to shop online. Failure to take this into account with the structure of your website has the potential to lead to your company’s downfall.

Take our case study on Company Folders, a company that provides businesses with custom folders. Prior to its marketing efforts, the company’s website was out-of-date and had a quote form that wasn’t conducive to the ease-of-use online shoppers expected.

By redesigning the website and online form, Company Folders experienced a 67.68% increase in total quotes.

The old online form: 

 

The new online form:

 

Company Folders CEO Vladimir Gendelman explained to MarketingSherpa how crucial it was for his company’s website to keep in the consumer in mind.

“In order to tackle this, and do all this, we had to think just like a customer would,” Gendelman said. “A redesign is not just like making [the website] look pretty. It is about making it extremely easy for [website] function.”

 

Case Study #6. Ecommerce: Adding trustmark boosts sales conversion 14%

Lesson: Small changes can lead to big differences.

Optimization doesn’t have to involve some huge website overhaul. Even the seemingly smallest of things can make a huge difference for your company and our case study on Modern Coin Mart certainly demonstrated that.

The self-described “Modern Coin Superstore” added a simple trustmark to its ecommerce site to ease customers’ anxieties about the purchasing process. A tiny graphic produced monumental results, boosting sales conversions to 14%.

What can you as an ecommerce marketer take from this? Don’t think you have to exhaust yourself to yield impressive results – even small changes can lead to big successes.

 

Case Study #7. Social Media Marketing: How a small ecommerce site attracted 293,000 Facebook fans

Lesson: Social media fosters marketing by the consumer.

What’s on your mind? Facebook gives its users a platform to speak their minds, share their photos and  promote your products. Yes, promote your products.

It may not be what Mark Zuckerberg initially had in mind, but Facebook can offer huge boosts to your company. It’s so simple for a customer to take a photo of your product, which provides your company with a testimonial, review and super sharable content that is free.

Does the product or service you’re selling suit the Facebook realm? In other words, is it sharable? Could it be? This can lead to impressive results. Look at our case study on Diamond Candles, a company that features rings beneath the wax of its candles. By utilizing customer-contributed photos on its Facebook page, Diamond Candles upped conversion rates and attracted more than 290,000 new Facebook fans.

For minimal effort, your ecommerce site has the potential to produce maximum results. Determine how your product can start a conversation in consumers’ social networks and then capitalize on it.

Read more…

B2B Marketing: How Cisco transformed its marketing strategy to better serve customers [Video]

August 13th, 2013

“You’re not the people we want to sit down with,” Karyn Scott, Director of Enterprise Marketing, Cisco Systems, Inc., said during her B2B Summit 2012 presentation, echoing the voice of her target customers.

 

 

Years prior, Cisco’s reputation had perpetuated sales, but it was now losing sales on the margin.

According to the MarketingSherpa 2013 Marketing Analytics Benchmark Report, 42% of software companies relied on gut instinct for its non-analytical decision making, which is exactly what the team at Cisco was doing. When Karyn and her team began to investigate, they discovered the company’s target customers found only 3% of what the sales team had to say was useful to them.

The marketing strategy had to change.

The above video excerpt from B2B Summit 2012 underscores the importance of identifying customers and Karyn’s team’s goals to strategize marketing around customer motivations.

Once Karyn’s team identified their audience, they had to completely rebuild their strategy to create a relevant sale.

In the above video excerpt, you’ll see how the marketing team equipped the sales department and gave them the supplies they needed to make convincing sales, help the customer and incorporate a two-way conversation into the overall strategy.

To see the rest of Karyn’s presentation and see how she integrated role targeting into marketing strategy, watch the entire free presentation. See her metrics, what her sales team had to say and the new ways Sales appealed to diverse customer segments.

Read more…