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Archive for the ‘B2B Marketing’ Category

What You Can Learn about Automated Personalization from Google’s Hilarious Mistake

October 4th, 2017
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Embarrassment. It’s a common emotion I hear from marketers after reading or watching a MarketingSherpa case study.

“The work these marketers are doing is amazing! And my marketing program is a mess. I’m overwhelmed by data. I don’t have enough resources to monitor social. My website doesn’t load fast enough …”

Today’s blog post is basically our way of saying:

Hey, it’s OK if you’re not a perfect marketer

Because no one is. Even here at MarketingSherpa, our reach is further than our grasp. There is so much more we’d like to do to improve our own marketing.

Which is why there was more than a little schadenfreude when we received an impressively erroneous direct mail piece from Google trying to use its hoards of data to personalize a message to us that would convince us to buy AdWords.

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Momentum Marketing: How to get the ball rolling toward a purchase decision

September 12th, 2017
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“An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

Those words probably sound familiar to you, as Newton’s first law of motion (the law of inertia). As a marketer, you can think of them as a physics-level explanation of a psychological phenomenon — customer behavior.

Rare is the customer who will go from zero to purchasing your product. That is, the impulse purchase.

For all other customers, they will tend to stay at rest until you get that ball rolling in the direction you want it to go.

Building momentum with intermediate payments

How do you start building momentum? Well, there are two other crucial payments from the customer that you should earn. And we’re calling them out by name in today’s MarketingSherpa blog post because, while your company may be doing them on some level already, these intermediate payments often get overlooked and under-resourced in favor of the granddaddy of them all — the fiscal transaction.

But all three of these payments require a value exchange, not just the fiscal payment. So make sure your company is providing unique value in order to earn all of these payments.

Payment #1: Attention payment

In the discovery phase, your ideal prospect shows some interest or has a felt need for your product. Sometimes this is front of mind, and they are particularly interested in the topic in their daily interactions.

Other times, it’s very subconscious, and they don’t even realize they were ever considering purchasing your product or even your product category until they come across your message.

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Marketing 101: What is a squeeze page?

August 25th, 2017
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Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

A squeeze page is an interstitial page with a form. In other words, if you link to a piece of content your prospective customers want, this is the page they get first. This page asks them for more information before they can get that content.

The squeeze page is the tollbooth on the expressway of information

Squeeze page is not a neutral term. It is pejorative, indicating disapproval with the process of “squeezing” people for information before giving them what they want.

Other more neutral terms for squeeze page are gate, content gate, gated content, information gate, or simply — lead form, lead gen form or lead generation form (although, not all lead forms are squeeze pages. Some are simply on landing pages that describe services and are a way for potential customers to ask for more information).

The information on the lead form is usually used for some type of lead nurturing or sales follow-up effort — ranging from subscribing people who fill the form out for an opt-in email list, setting them up with a drip campaign, following up with a sales call (or emailed sales pitch), or a combination of these tactics. (However you end up using information filled into a squeeze page, make sure you clearly communicate that to prospects before they fill out the form on that page, supported by a link to a privacy policy as well.)

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B2B Marketing: Using behavioral data to create a customer-centric website

July 12th, 2017
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“DLT is a value-added reseller. We work with the public sector, pairing some of the leading technologies and software solutions in the industry and helping to deliver those into the public sector,” said Tom Mahoney, Director, Marketing Operations, DLT.

The company helps to eliminate the obstacles to getting cutting-edge products and services into the hands of the government employees who need to be using it.

In the spirit of eliminating obstacles, DLT decided to do just that with its own customer experience by optimizing the company’s website and content.

When looking at the website, Mahoney said he and his team asked themselves, “Was it performing for us, was it delivering the message we wanted to deliver and was it easy to use?”

Mahoney pointed out that if the website isn’t working for you as a marketer, then it is definitely not going to work for your customers.

“We couldn’t even find or access the type of content that we wanted to be seeing, and we had built it,” he said. “We had to take stock of that, step back and ask ourselves what the website is meant to do and how can we make the experience a little more optimal?”

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4 Lessons About B2B Inbound Marketing from a Sunday Morning in the Coffee Shop

June 6th, 2017
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I was in Starbucks the other day, and in walks an older gentleman. I couldn’t help but notice that people kept focusing on him and chatting him up — in line, while waiting for a drink, etc.

I could overhear the conversations a bit, so I asked someone sitting near me, “Was that guy in the NFL or something?” He responded, “Yeah, that’s Rocky Rochester. He was defensive tackle for the New York Jets in Super Bowl III.”

He happens to sit by me, and we strike up a conversation. He notices I’m wearing a Hofstra shirt, and he says, “Hey, we used to practice there.” Then, when I notice his Super Bowl ring on his finger and mention it, he does something that simply shocks me.

He just hands it to me. So, I’m sitting there, holding a ring from Super Bowl III. The Super Bowl of Super Bowls. Broadway Joe. The Guarantee.

I share this story because inbound marketing was on the top of my mind in that coffee shop on Sunday morning — we were putting the finishing touches on the MarketingSherpa Inbound Marketing for B2B Quick Guide  — and I realized this story was the perfect analogy for effective inbound marketing. Often, we get so focused on data and metrics, technology and automation that we overlook everyday human interactions like this.

However, normal human interactions are what we should be trying to emulate with our marketing, especially inbound marketing.

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Avoiding 3 Common Mistakes in B2B Social Media Marketing

May 26th, 2017
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It’s difficult being caught between the “soft” marketing art of social media and the world of hard B2B metrics. That’s where many B2B social media marketers have found themselves, but as social media evolves, it’s coming into its own as a true driver of company revenue.

There are mistakes to be made, though, if you don’t evolve social to its full potential. These mistakes can not only hurt your credibility in the company but also overall respect for social media as well.

Mistake #1. Keeping social media siloed

Social media marketing can be a lot of company and product updates, customer service fielding and not much else — if you let it.

Take the word “social” to heart and reach out to co-workers in other areas to broaden the value social media marketing has — not only for customers but within your company as well. Including other teams in social media efforts will also help internal understanding about its value.

For example, there was a time when the people in positions that like to quantify things in their relation to the bottom line — data teams, CFOs —  were seen as the enemy.

Baseline measurements are important, and as social media has evolved, it’s gotten easier to understand how it relates to the bottom line with real, non-“fluffy” numbers to show.

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Measuring the Effectiveness of Social Media Campaigns in B2B for Internal and External Results

April 5th, 2017
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“You have to find something that you can measure,” said Brian MacDonald, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, in the MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 Media Center.

“Fortunately for us, in the software business one of the big things that we can measure, especially for the audience I usually go after, is all about them trying software,” he said.

MacDonald explains that if someone downloads a software trial, that tells the team where the prospect is in the buying cycle: “We know that if they’re going to download something, they’re probably pretty serious about it.”

Brian and his team were able to actually link trial downloads people had made to actual social media campaigns that they had run.

“That was really the key — finding the call to action that’s linked to something that’s gated, and we know that they took action,” he said.

By including downloads at key social media touchpoints, Brian and his team were able to measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns.

Aside from just metrics, it was also vital that Brian and his team keep up a continuous feedback loop with customers.

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5 Inbound Marketing Hacks Your B2B Company is Missing Out On

February 6th, 2017
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There’s a common misconception that B2C marketers get to have all the fun. Learn how to kick off your B2B marketing shackles and grow your business with these five inbound marketing hacks, taken from six proven case studies with your peers.

Hack #1. Cannibalize your content

When it comes to content marketing, robbing Peter to pay Paul isn’t going to get you fired. It might even get you promoted.

If robbery and cannibalism harsh metaphors for you, consider it recycling. Saving your marketing team’s environment one piece of content at a time.

When your social media team creates a cool and valuable infographic, don’t just let it die after it moves down the Facebook wall. Shock some electricity into it, call it reborn, and send it out in an email send. Build a blog post around it. Heck, build a white paper around it and drive downloads.

A great example of this tactic is what SAP was able to do in building a full complement of industry-specific white papers, infographics, blogs, surveys, presentations and email promotions for its 19 industries.

While the customer-focused team at SAP wanted the content to be specific to each industry, within that industry, they wasted nothing and converted information to appeal to people’s different preferences for digesting information.

Read the full case study: Inbound Marketing: How SAP drove 9 million impressions with targeted content campaign

Hack #2. Remember that you’re talking to a person, not an entity

When developing campaigns, remember that while you technically cater to businesses, you’re actually talking to one, or maybe just a handful of people.
In other contexts, they’re B2C consumers, and are beginning to expect that type of human-to-human communication from you as well.

Take Nextiva, a cloud-based communications company, that deals with companies that range from “your local mom and pop shop to fortune 500 companies with thousands of employees,” according to Max Anderson, Video Producer, Nextiva.

The company dedicated itself to stellar customer service as a way to set it apart from competitors, which they found difficult to do over the phone. So Nextiva decided to break the barriers of traditional B2B customer service and began recording personalized videos.

1 customer responses

“In today’s digital age, it has become increasingly hard to provide a level of face-to-face interaction, and we have found that our video responses have helped bridge that gap,” Max said.

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How a Healthcare Software Company Used Behavioral Marketing to Exceed Lead Targets by 400%

January 30th, 2017
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As marketers, when we hear the term “personalization,” we’re conditioned to think, “Hello [recipient name], I really looking forward to sharing with you some ways that [company name] can best serve you.”

Though these methods may have increased opens and clickthrough a decade ago, they are no longer capable of working magic on their own. In short, customers have figured us out.

We all know that email can be effective at driving demand. The challenge is knowing exactly how to craft our emails in such a way that they are immediately relevant to our prospects.

How deep should you segment? How do you figure out the right message to send to each segment?

In this interview at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, Jeremy Mason, Director of Demand Generation, SCI, will discuss his takeaways from how his team redefined their primary buyer personas and launched a triggered email nurturing program based on prospect depth, role, readiness and behavior.

SCI Solutions, a Seattle-based company that offers software to hospitals and other medical facilities, is faced with an impossibly crowded marketplace. The contact information for every buyer is easily available, and open rates across the industry are less than 1%.

To combat this, Jeremy and his team combined the most effective aspects of persona-marketing and trigger-based marketing to create a truly individualized behavioral marketing plan. Read more…

How PR Newswire Created a Customer-Centric Demand Gen Engine

January 13th, 2017
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In today’s digital landscape, the buyer is in control and is more sophisticated than ever before. In fact, according to Forrester, 93% of B2B buyers prefer to transact online when they have decided what to buy.

After publishing this week’s B2B case study featuring cyber security firm SecureWorks’ transformation of its demand generation, I realized how vital a clear, built-out purchase path can be for both marketers and consumers.

With that, I decided to reach back to a Media Center Interview with Ken Wincko, SVP of Marketing, PR Newswire, who spoke at last year’s MarketingSherpa Summit on the topic.

 

To effectively engage and target buyers, Ken and his team developed a sophisticated buyer-centric go-to-market approach that employs tailored content aligned to key segments and personas across the entire customer lifecycle.

It starts, he said, with recognizing that customers have options and that it’s very easy for them to make choices on their own.

“What we’ve really focused on is becoming buyer-centric, and to focus on [buyers’] core informational needs,” he said. “What are their challenges? Where are the opportunities for them?”

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