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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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How HCSS Used an Interactive Contest to Increase Web Traffic 800%

December 9th, 2016
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Pretty often with complex B2B products and services, it can be difficult, even for customers to show off the intricacies and value of the entire process.

With more than 4,000 construction companies and 45,000 end-users on HCSS software, the company was looking for a way to leverage clients’ stories and turn them into usable and compelling content.

 

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

October 28th, 2016
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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.

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Startups 101: How and why a green retailer chose to bootstrap instead of accepting venture capital

August 26th, 2016
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If you’re an entrepreneur running a startup and begin to find some success, you will likely face a crossroads:

  • Should I bootstrap, funding the business myself with personal savings and/or ongoing revenue?
  • Should I procure funding and give away ownership interests to a venture capitalist or private equity firm?

To help you make this decision, we interviewed Brian Fricano, Founder/CEO, Sustainable Supply. He is an entrepreneur who has weighed the pros and cons of each option and made this decision for his own startup.

Brian and his wife launched Sustainable Supply seven years ago as a business with a social mission. “The core of what we were trying to do was sell products for commercial buildings that save water and save energy,” Brian said.

Profitable from day one

They started the business without any outside funding, according to Brian.

“Bootstrapping has forced us to be profitable from day one,” Brian said.

Without a cushion of outside funding, the company had to be creative, and launched with a “drop shipping” model, in which products are shipped directly to customers after they purchase and not to a retailer’s warehouse.

“We signed up dozens of suppliers that were willing to drop ship on our behalf, so we were able to become a virtual distributor, never taking possession of inventory,” he said.

Not only did the drop shipping model allow Sustainable Supply to start operations without the need to invest in inventory, it also tied into its social mission by reducing the carbon footprint and pollution generated from shipping products twice (first to the retailer, and then to the customer).

Success brings offers of capital

Sustainable Supply was successful, and was named the fifth-fastest growing retailer on the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing companies. This attracted the attention of venture capitalists interested in investing in high-growth startups.

This decision has worked for his company for two reasons. First, Brian would have diluted his ownership if he accepted the investment.

“Our growth after that has [grown four times over] since we made the Inc. 500 list. Had we brought on investors, we would have given away too much too early in the process,” Brian said.

Sticking to its social mission

In addition, his company has a social mission. Its tagline is “Build. Work. Green.” While there are a few exceptions, most venture capitalists are focused on growth and profitability, and less concerned with a social mission.

“Each venture capitalist has its own specialty, not a lot are specialized in sustainability…there’s not a lot out there that have a social component to them,” Brian said.

You might also like

Inbound Marketing: Medical startup increases website traffic 600% year-over-year with content marketing

Email Marketing: ‘Go Green’ campaign lifts revenue $30K for bookstore chain

Watch more interviews from the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2016

How a B2B Tech Company Generated 650% ROI with a Retro-Cool Direct Mail Campaign

August 12th, 2016
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“We have a pretty small market at Intronis, it’s manage service providers, mainly in North America,” said Richard Delahaye, Senior Director of Marketing, Intronis in his interview at the MarketingSherpa Media Center at Summit 2016.

He explained that the sales staff wasn’t able to get many conversations going from that group with traditional methods like phone calls and emails. They needed something special to differentiate them from all the other phone calls and emails their prospects were likely getting.

Inspiration came from an old school method: a direct mail campaign.

Delahaye and his team were told to think big, but also keep the customer in mind. So after one idea – which unsurprisingly never came to fruition – to give a car away with every purchase was vetoed, he decided to look for a tech gadget that would especially appeal to their customer base.

“I landed on possibly the oldest, but maybe the greatest tech gadget of all time. Which is, you can now get an Atari game console for about 30 bucks, so that became the core piece of the campaign,” he said.

Customers would receive a box with the Atari, with a note on top that encourages them to “open up for some office fun, courtesy of Intronis … unfortunately, not all technology is this retro-cool. You need to upgrade your cloud service storage.”

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Content Marketing Generated a 5,100% ROI for Health Care Innovator Optum

July 27th, 2016
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The promise of content marketing is that all that’s needed to provide value is creating high-quality material that gets noticed. The material then does all the pre-selling for you so your company closes more deals with greater efficiency.

No need for cold calls, pushy sales tactics, or throwing money at direct mail.

But the question since the beginning has always been, “does it ROI?”

According to Karen Thomas-Smith, VP Provider Marketing and Reference Management at healthcare giant Optum, it absolutely does. She led a team in a pilot program at Optum that completely turned the company’s traditional campaign-based strategy on its head.

“We literally flipped all the roles on their side,” she said.

“We don’t even want to talk about campaigns. We want to first look at a list of all the content, all the topics we need to be talking about, then build a campaign.”

It worked. Swimmingly.

Thomas-Smith’s strategy generated $51 for every $1 spent on her pilot program, alongside the following results:

  • 12 million impressions
  • 10,000+ downloads of gated content
  • $120+ million in sale pipeline

Watch the video to see the full strategy below:

Time Stamps:

1:00 – Quick look at the preliminary results

2:20 – Background on Optum

3:16 – Evaluating the team based on a marketing maturity model

6:00 – Why content marketing is important

8:15 – Aligning the organization around content

12:32 – Building customer personas

17:36 – Creating a content strategy

20:36 – How Optum takes care of their client champions (for content)

22:25 – Creating compelling content

25:45 – How Optum maximizes its content production with content nuggets

28:00 – The overall content machine and how it works

31:25 – How marketing works with sales in Optum’s model

33:43 – Optum’s four lead nurturing phases

37:45 – Optum’s results to-date

38:19 – Thomas-Smith’s top takeaways

You might also like:

Content Marketing: Healthcare B2B generates 9 million impressions through multi-channel effort

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

Red Bull Media House’s Advice for Successful Content Marketing

Content Marketing: Targeted persona strategy lifts sales leads 124%

MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 | Aria, Las Vegas | April 10-13

How maurices Increased ROI by the Strategic Use of Omni-channel Marketing

May 27th, 2016
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“The real challenge is that the path to purchase isn’t just a single step anymore,” said Ali Wing, Chief Marketing Officer, maurices.

The clothing retailer has addressed this in two ways, Ali said.

  • Putting in place attributions in order to organize which channels receive credit
  • Transitioning analysis of those attributions from a transactional approach to that which includes well-rounded customer data

“We’re attaching customer data so we get a long-term value in understanding the customer we’ve acquired, versus the transaction we just acquired,” said Eric Bibelnieks, Vice President of Enterprise Analytics, maurices.

 

Many marketers struggle in a transition of this nature with understanding which data points are important when it comes to understanding your customers, and Ali has a specific approach that helps her and her team.

“I don’t care as much about absolute precision in any one of the channels. I care about a criterion that I consistently apply and then watch for patterns, because patterns tell us more than the nominal amounts in any one of the channels right now,” she said.

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From 0 to 233,000 Members: 7 steps to running an effective LinkedIn group

March 4th, 2016
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LinkedIn groups are one of the many helpful aspects of the professional community available on the platform. It can help you to build connections, get questions answered, share your expertise and demonstrate thought leadership.

With this in mind, I started the B2B Lead Roundtable Group to be a community for people to learn and discuss the many facets of B2B lead generation. However, over time, I noticed that our group discussions started to look more like Twitter feed. Discussions became overrun with blogs, articles and other content sharing and hyperlinks but there was no discussion happening.

B2B Lead Blog Conversations

 

It was time for a change. As I was researching I came across Eric Blumthal and his group “Sales / Marketing Executives Forum” which boasts over 233,974 members and was voted “Best LinkedIn Group for Sales / Marketing Executives” by several publications. And this group is 100% discussion, no link sharing.

Read more…