Posts Tagged ‘b2b’

Social Media Marketing: A look at 2012, part 1

February 2nd, 2012

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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B2B Marketing: 7 tactics for implementing marketing automation from a fellow brand-side marketer

December 15th, 2011

In the B2B marketer’s toolbox, marketing automation software is more like industrial equipment than a simple screwdriver. It’s a capital investment, and it does some serious heavy lifting.

There are many automation vendors out there with a wide range of price points and features to fit the needs of marketers of all size of prospect list and complexity of sale. One thing that remains the same across all these options is there are some key elements to fitting marketing automation into any sales cycle that every marketer should keep in mind.

Jason Striker, Digital Marketing Manager, ICM Document Solutions, presented “Marketing Automation for Misers – Strategies for implementing an effective automation program on a tight budget” to the audience at the recent MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2011 in San Francisco, and he offered a solid blueprint for doing just that for marketers with any budget size .

Here are seven tactics Jason gave our Summit attendees that I’d like to share with you:

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Lead Nurturing: How much content is enough?

November 17th, 2011

Optimizing the entire funnel is a B2B marketing goal and challenge – lead capture starts the process, and handing (hopefully) qualified leads off to Sales completes it.

When the sale is very complex, the middle portion of nurturing and scoring leads can be lengthy, and a big part of those efforts is having a sound content marketing strategy.

We’ve written about content marketing quite a bit in our case studies and articles, offering tactical advice. And just a few weeks ago on the MarketingSherpa Blog, MarketingSherpa Director of Editorial Content Daniel Burstein published a post explaining why the value of your content is more important than the length of any one content piece.

Is one whitepaper and a few articles enough?

Daniel provided a great set of guidelines for creating solid content, but how about total volume? How much content do you need for a sound lead nurturing marketing strategy?

I spoke with Brandon Stamschror, Senior Director of Operations for the Leads Group at MECLABS (the parent company of MarketingSherpa), to get his reaction to some follow-up questions from a webinar he hosted on lead nurturing.

One question covered content marketing: “How do you know when you have enough educational content? Is one whitepaper and a few articles sufficient in most cases?”

Brandon’s response was immediate, “I would say no. One whitepaper and a few articles is not enough.”

He says you ideally want to create enough content to fill a “content calendar” aligned with your buyer’s persona and walks that individual through the stages of the buying process.

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B2B Marketing: How good data can solve big problems

October 27th, 2011

Problems in your marketing can be tricky to identify. They might seem isolated, but they can also have a single root cause.

Brian Carroll, Executive Director of Applied Research, MECLABS, believes a central problem for many B2B marketers is a lack of effective data.

“Everything connects to your data,” Carroll said. “Your data represents relationships, and that’s the hub.”

Carroll touched on this issue at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2011 in San Francisco this week. He described how seven of the most common problems that B2B marketers face have their roots in poor data optimization. We’ll go through each of these below.

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B2B Marketing: Focused top-of-the-funnel campaign fills day-long workshop in target market

October 25th, 2011

Marketing and Sales alignment is always a hot topic. When the two business functions are working together marketing efforts are more effective and Sales’ job becomes easier.

At the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2011 in San Francisco this week, Michelle Mogelsen Levy, Associate Vice President Marketing Programs, ECI Telecom, presented a case study on a successful quick-hit, top-of-the-funnel effort that had the side benefit of getting already close Marketing and Sales teams into even closer alignment.

Sales’ challenge for Marketing

Sales at ECI Telecom came to the marketing team and asked for support to penetrate a brand new geographic market in a very limited time frame – under 30 days – and fill the top of the funnel with high-quality leads.

The resulting effort was a proprietary workshop in Sweden, a new market Sales was targeting. Marketing’s challenge was finding a way to get relevant prospects to the event with an eye on being cost-conscious. And the goal was to register 20 participants for the eight-hour workshop.

The strategy was an inbound effort combining Sales leveraging its connections through email and social media with Facebook posts and other outreach, and Marketing taking advantage of the existing database along with reaching out to anonymous web visitors from Sweden. Turning unknown website visitors into known visitors was a key goal in the effort.

ECI Telecom went out and found a vendor that was able to provide a tool that allowed for segmenting Web traffic and delivering relevant messages to those visitors, and allowed for real-time intelligence on site visitors and behavior. Read more…

Marketing Metrics: Is the emphasis on ROI actually hurting Marketing?

October 21st, 2011

In speaking with many, many marketers over the past year, two words — well, actually one word and one acronym — stand out in my mental word cloud when thinking about marketing in 2011: revenue and ROI (return on investment).

The first is a term more commonly seen in financial reports and tossed around the conference table during company meetings. The second is another financial term.

And I’m not just dreaming that these words have infiltrated marketing. Research from the 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report found that 54% of surveyed marketers think “achieving or increasing measurable ROI from lead generation programs” is a top strategic priority for 2012.

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I know I’ve written about Marketing proving its worth within the company in terms of revenue generation or measuring ROI more than once over the last year.

Menno Lijkendijk, Director Milestone Marketing, a Netherlands-based B2B marketing company, says the emphasis on ROI in marketing should be reexamined.

Menno’s main point is unimpeachable — return on investment is a financial term with a specific definition that has a very specific meaning to the C-suite in general, and particularly to the CFO. His concern is, not only is the actual ROI of some marketing activities overemphasized, the term itself is gathering too much marketing “buzz.”

He provided an example of a comment left on an online video of his that referenced “intangible ROI,” something he (rightly) says does not exist.

“There is no such thing as intangible ROI. The whole definition of ROI is that it should be tangible,” Menno says.

He continues, “This term — ROI — is now starting to lead a life of its own, and is being used by email service providers to explain to their potential customers that doing business with them will give them great ROI on their marketing investment.” Menno also mentions email providers are not alone in using this sales pitch and cited search marketers, social media markers and other agencies.

“There is more than just ROI, and the real value of marketing may require a different metric, or a different scorecard, than just the financial one,” he states.

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B2B Marketing: Finding ideas from the ‘wrong’ case studies

October 20th, 2011

I am going to take a shot at a B2B marketing taboo that I and my colleagues encounter on a regular basis. I certainly do not expect universal support, but I freely invite you to speak your mind in the comments.

While at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit in Boston last month, Jay Baer tore the robes off of this taboo and forced the audience take a good look at it. Here’s what he said:

“I have done a fair amount of speaking at B2B conferences and every once in a while someone comes up to me … they say ‘well, that was great, but you use some examples that are B2C.’ Get over it! I’m going to use some examples in this presentation that are B2C. I am going to offend your territorial sensibilities. You’re making way too big a deal out of this.”

Baer was speaking about social media marketing. I agree with his sentiment (although “get over it” is not the exact phrase I’d use) and believe this concept applies to channels beyond social media. Read more…

Customer Relations: Bringing power back to Marketing during the B2B buying process

October 18th, 2011

“Marketing is broken…”

In an event packed with quotable, Tweetable comments from marketing experts, the above, from Kristin Zhivago’s keynote, “The Buyer’s Funnel and Your Political Power: Joined at the Hip,” may have been my favorite sound byte from the East Coast swing of B2B Summit 2011.

(Though I also loved her idea of “drinking from the fire hose of truth,” but I digress…)

According to Zhivago, customers’ wants and needs are unknown, and as such, Marketing is making assumptions on how to market to different segments. We’re expected to communicate with customers, but are often removed from the conversation by Sales. Essentially, the customer relationship is regularly outsourced to Sales, relinquishing control of our most crucial job function. Think about it, if your CEO asked, “What does the customer want?” would she ask you or someone in Sales?

And the answer to that question has never been more crucial. Thanks to the continually growing importance of easily accessible information on the Internet to buyer decisions, customers have been forced into a position of power, and are more in charge of the buying process than ever before, leaving companies to struggle with this shift in power.

More than 80% of customer questions are answered before talking to a salesperson. Their information needs are being met by other customers, not company authorities.

In short, if you can’t answer customers’ questions both internally and with your marketing, you’re abandoning your position of authority in your organization and undercutting all of your marketing efforts.

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What is B2B?: Discovering what the customer wants by understanding your Buyer’s Funnel

October 11th, 2011

If you could break it down to its essence, what really is B2B marketing? It is not, as the name suggests, one business marketing to another or one business buying from another. If you look up the definition of a business, after all, it is an organization.

An organization of people. In the end, people choose to buy, or not buy, from you. When I’ve worked with enterprise sales organizations, they’d often talk about the deals as the “Bank of America deal” or the “Walmart deal” when they really should have called them the “Hannah, Fred and Bill deal.” After all, Hannah, Fred and Bill are the ones making the buying decisions, not a multinational corporate entity that exists only on paper in a P.O. Box in Delaware.

So to truly succeed in B2B, you need to make it P2P. Even more so than consumer marketing, where a customer may buy a product off the shelf with no interaction at all with the people in your company, B2B is very people-oriented. Everyone from sales executives to customer service reps to consulting teams interacts with the real people in your customer organizations … except, perhaps, marketing managers.

If you’re in marketing, you tend to have among the least interaction with your customers. And yet, you are the ones responsible for the messages you’re sending to those customers. How can you bridge that gap? Check out this video A/V Specialist Luke Thorpe put together about Kristin Zhivago’s keynote at the East Coast swing of MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2011 – “The Buyer’s Funnel and Your Political Power: Joined at the Hip” – along with my quick interview with her after the Summit wrapped …

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B2B Social Media: Jay Baer discusses social media ROI and Facebook likes [Video]

October 6th, 2011

Quick checklist, B2B marketers. Do you have:

  • Customers?
  • Prospective customers?
  • Employees?
  • Competitors?
  • A story to tell?

Then, according to Jay Baer, “Congratulations, you have the raw materials for social media.” And he makes a good point. After all, some B2B marketers think of social media as more of a consumer marketing tactic, and many B2B marketers think they can’t learn anything from their B2C brethren.

But at last week’s MarketingSherpa B2B Summit in Boston, Jay made a very convincing argument for B2B social media. But he didn’t just aim to shift the audience’s paradigm; his keynote was replete with actionable advice, including ideas on how to tackle one of the most daunting tasks of all, measuring social media ROI.

He also talked about search and social going together like peanut butter and jelly. Jay gave the audience examples on how they could be a “digital dandelion,” spreading their content through the digital world like dandelion seeds on a windy day.

After his keynote (and once he was finished signing books for his marketing groupies), videographer Luke Thorpe and I cornered Jay on the expo floor and peppered him with a few questions about some of his more eye-opening ideas …

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