"Is content marketing – the marketing methodology that entails disseminating free special reports, white papers, e-books, blog posts, and other useful content to potential customers – overrated?
Sales expert Robert Minskoff seems to think so.
“Go ahead and blog, tweet, and post,” says Minskoff. “But be very aware that there is still a large segment of the buying population that places very little importance on that type of content."
Content marketing is not new. It's been around since the beginning of time...well, beginning of marketing. And it is part of the mix...not the entire enchilada.
People buy from people. Few, if any, are going to make a major purchase without some human interaction because we want to meet, get to know, see if we trust the people that are going to be providing the solution.
How are you using sales, a function of marketing, along with your content marketing efforts to drive sales?
Technology is not a miracle cure...having seen numerous installations of CRM and marketing automation fall short of projected goals over years. The reasons vary, and this article hits on the most common, seem to be a lack of effective processes in existence prior to selecting the technology - because the mistaken belief is that the technology will create more effective processes.
What's your experience been? Any key take-aways you would like to share?
SiriusDecisions determined that marketing should deliver stimulus offers and sales enablement offers to push new and stalled opportunities through the pipeline more quickly.
This is the second in a two part series in pipeline acceleration by the author - and I scooped the first part just moments ago.
This post focuses on Stimulus offers - tactics extended to prospects in order to educate and encourage them to increase the velocity of the buying process. The author references three types - informational void, customer proxy and financial.
Again, what I like about this post is that the focus is on sales and marketing working together to identify the cause and providing the best solution. Some buyers slow down when they need information or clarity (informational void), so you respond with that information and clarity. Others are concerned about commitment or switching (customer proxy) so sales and marketing work together to deliver appropriate solutions. And then there are those financial issues that may require more than "dropping your price." (Could you motivate the buyer with payment options or added value offers?)
So how does your sales and marketing team work together to address and solve these issues? Or do you need to talk to them about how they need to start addressing those issues?
At a unique gathering of data-analytics leaders, new solutions began emerging to vexing privacy, talent, organizational, and frontline-adoption challenges. A McKinsey Quarterly article.
An interesting read - especially right at the start when the author explains that senior leadership's expectations are out of whack. Data can help different types of organizations differently...so don't read the articles and assume that's what will happen for your business.
Focus on quick wins (does this sound familiar) and rack 'em up. Opportunities will continue to present themselves so pick them wisely.
Ownership of data is another hot button. Seek permission or ask forgiveness? Personally, I like to not upsetting my audience so I suggest seeking permission. Might that put you at a competition disadvantage? Only if you let it...working with the customer can generate long-term benefits that overcome the short-term benefits your competition might realize by grabbing and using whatever data they can.
But when they encounter a problem, the audience will most likely be quick and harsh to judge.
What do you think about this article? Is data analytics over-hyped? What's your strategy for acquiring data - ask permission or seek forgiveness?
How the two departments can cowrite valuable insight for buyers.
Talking with sales is a great place to get content...how to's, what to look for in a solution, checklist on how to compare products etc. And so is your customer base.
But the key to great content strategy is know when to use what you have, with the right segment of your audience and at the right time in their buying process. That insight can also come from sales and the customer base...as well as testing.
Overcrowded. That was probably the most common remark to my latest marketing technology landscape. Well, aside from more colorful exclamations that decorum prevents me from repeating. And the truth is that this graphic, even with nearly 1,000 companies represented, was far from complete. There are hundreds of great companies that weren’t included: AppNexus, AdColony, Addroid, […]
Marketers are suckers. They won't budget money for research in order to better understand their audience, their market, their competition...but they will spend millions on tech that allows them to push more stuff out into the world in the hope that it will hit or be found by a highly qualified buyer.
What would your answer be to this question - "Would you rather spend $100,000 on understanding your audience so you can offer a unique, valuable solution or $100,000 on technology that will help you push out more content via social media?"
Last week I got a call asking me to write a Direct Mail Trends Report …what I expect to see in 2014. I started to make a list and pretty soon it was almost as complicated as an actual direct mail program. Sorted out simply, the top items on my [...]
Early today, I had an interesting conversation with a younger digital marketer that was making the case that direct mail even more dead now thanks to postal rate increases.
Email is cheaper, faster, easier....
Which explains why my Inbox is filled with crap. (Yes, I have terrible mail in my mailbox - there bad/ineffective direct mailers too.)
It's just that I meet more direct mail experts that are motivated by improving campaign performance in areas like orders placed, average order size etc. And I tend to meet more digital marketers that point to open rates, and click through rates...and how email is cheaper, faster and easier.
Facebook purportedly connects marketers with customers, but it's more of a display ad portal than a customer engagement channel, writes Forrester's Josh Bernoff.
I disagree with the author...Facebook is not failing marketers...marketers are just using the channel incorrectly and are expecting performance that is not realistic.
"Facebook teases marketers with the idea that it will connect them to customers through social. But if you’re posting on your page, Facebook only shows that post to one in six of your followers and that proportion is getting smaller day by day. Its algorithms prioritize updates from members and on that basis, you’re likely to lose out."
Marketers know this going in...so, don't like, don't buy it.
I installed Fluff Busting Purity to block all ads because I got tired of the same "Buy our technology solution" based on my marketing experience. Well, guess what, I am not in need of any 5, 6 or even 7 figure CRM/MA/BFD solutions for my work.
On a recent project with a client, the research came back loud and clear - their audience uses Facebook but ignores ads. As one clearly explained "I am there to socialize with family and friends, not make buying decisions."
Heartbroken, the client reluctantly elected to listen to their audience and not invest money in FB ads. (Yes, they have a Page and they use FB for the social media platform it is...but ads aren't going to be in the cards until their audience decides to behave differently.
What about your business? Or more importantly what about your clients? Is FB a viable advertising channel or are you expecting much more than it will deliver?
One concern is the potential for damaging your relationship with the customer - it does feel like privacy has been lost and that the brand is stalking you.
Another concern is that most retargeting feels very cold and tech - versus that personalization we're all struggling to achieve. So it would be nice to see a more creative, fun presentation that acknowledges the fact that you are retargeting the customer?
Oh, if you have ever been retargeted AFTER buying the product...raise your hand! (Mine is in the air!) How? Cookies on the computer, not the person!
Mobile market research and mobile surveys have become a hot subject in the past year. Researchers are finally coming round to the idea of doing some of their customer research and insight creation using mobile devices. Slowly but getting there!
But do you know who likes mobile surveys even more than market researchers? Consumers. They are more mobile now than ever before and the shift from computer browsing to smartphone browsing (and shopping, using social networks, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, etc.) has happened faster than anyone thought possible.
Mobile is no longer an afterthought, it should be a goal from the start. In this article we explore the enormously exciting benefits of people taking part in research on mobile devices. A thrilling journey into new insights, what they mean and why they matter. Research at the speed of 3G (and soon even 4G)!
Would love to hear from others in the wonderful world of market research because my BS Meter is ringing off the hook on this one.
First, let me draw a line of distinction between a customer satisfaction survey that asks "How was the experience you had 10 seconds ago at the ABC Store - Excellent, Good, Alright, Not so Good, Horrible" and a more in-depth survey that addresses a wider array of questions/topics.
And I see the value to what the author lists as (5) Bring the elephant into the room.
But as some will attest, quick doesn't always mean quality.
When the author writes (4) "Mobile research frees respondents from long, tedious and boring questionnaires. It means that they can experience surveys with rich content that use images, sound and video.", I wonder about how mobile research "frees" researchers from long, tedious and boring open-ended answers that can provide so much clarity. (And for those thinking "Fine, include open ended questions, please take a moment and think of the participant's experience.)
Don't get me wrong...I am not suggesting the mobile research is wrong or bad or both. I am suggesting that it needs to be carefully thought out, executed and analyzed. It can be part of a larger research agenda but I struggle with making mobile research the sole channel for gather input/insight.
What about you? Am I way off the mark? Any first-hand experiences that you can share?
How marketing can enable and support sales through pipeline acceleration programs: rapid entry, intra-pipeline and last mile.
This is the first in a series of two posts (I will also be scooping the second post). What I like about this post is that it addresses very practical ways for sales and marketing to work together on turning qualified leads into buyers.
The three types of pipeline acceleration programs can be described here - rapid entry, intra-pipeline and last mile - are topics seldom discussed in most businesses. For example, rapid entry programs are targeting highly qualified and desirable prospects and this requires a great deal of time and effort before and during the process - these tend to be driven by a sales associate rather than a well designed marketing and sales effort.
Then there are the intra-pipeline programs that address qualified leads that get stuck in the pipe and need to be jump-started to get them moving again. As the author writes "When planning the program, leverage account executive feedback, augmented with feedback from existing customers on their own purchase cycle experiences."
So what is your organization doing about pipeline acceleration programs? You have qualified leads in the line...how will you identify those that need the extra effort to get them through, get them through faster?
According to a recently published B2B Website Usability Report surveying buyers, social media and blogging have little influence on the B2B buying process. Only six percent of the respondents claimed social media impacted their B2B purchases “a lot” and a meager 22 percent said they were interested in vendor blog content. Conducted by Dianna Huff […]
Shock! Dismay! You mean to tell me that [ex] the buyer of 7-figure software solutions for a mid-sized corporation isn't checking out your company's Pinterest boards or Facebook Page (which is filled with either pictures of the last company party OR auto feeds from the company blog)?!
"The study found that a lack of social media presence rarely impacted the B2B buying process, with 30 percent of respondents claiming it was important, but not a deal-breaker, and 37 percent saying social media wasn’t a factor."
So, let's get back to basics and focus on the communication channels used by our target audiences rather than focusing on the channels and the technology that marketers can't seem to stop talking about. It's about the customer.
It's about the audience. It is not about the channel or the technology.
If you push out the best offer ever through a channel your audience doesn't use, no one that matters will hear it.
Dealing with disgruntled clients is part of what it takes to run a business. But it can be draining. Here are a few ways to deal with these unhappy folks.
This article offers great advice...so print it out and post it somewhere that's easy to reach because when a situation arises...and it will...you want to follow the advice rather than react to the (all too often) sudden, surprising anger of the client. Slow deep breath...count to 10...slowly release...
Many data-related projects end up as big disappointments. And, in many cases, it is because they did not have any design philosophy behind them. Because many folks are more familiar with buildings and cars than geeky databases, allow me to use them as examples here.
A very good article to read...and to get you thinking about your data strategy. What do you need to answer? What data will help you answer those questions? Where can you get the data - fast, easy, accurate, affordable? Where will it be stored?
Hoarding data is not the answer...have a strategy!
The Internet was supposed to be The Great Disintermediation Machine, collapsing the relationship between marketers and customers from this: To this: And indeed, that disintermediation has happened in many businesses. E-commerce is now over a trillion dollars a year. While some of that goes through Internet retailers like Amazon, much of it is direct with […]
This has been a concern of mine for some time...I have always believed that the process should be human and technology should be introduced, when and if appropriate, to strengthen weaknesses in the process.
And we all know how easy it is to communicate effectively with another person when you are working your way through intermediates. Well, n this case, those intermediaries are tech. Ad blockers and other browser plug-ins are referenced in the article as examples.
Bottom line, people buy from people so perhaps we should remember to include human interaction in the process? What do you think?
This infographic includes data drawn from B2B Marketing's 2014 Professional Development Benchmarking Report.
Forgive a moment of self-promotion, but I am extremely happy to see that the 5 most important marketing skills in 2014 are among my top areas of expertise. Market insight, audience segmentation, aligning marketing with business goals and objectives, marketing planning and strategy, sales and marketing integration, measuring and reporting - sounds like a Day at Work with Pat McGraw. ;)
This information does raise the question about training and development. What's your company's approach to T&D? Will it give your company the edge it needs to grab market share in 2014 and beyond?
The Super Bowl was an early peak on the calendar for social media marketing. In what new ways will brands use social platforms to connect with customers the rest of the year?
I feel ill.
First, the purpose of marketing is to sell the organization's offerings - and if social media isn't the place to do that, get out of it and stop wasting money on it. If it is the place, figure it out and start showing the results in regular reporting.
Second, here's a great approach for wasting your resources.
""Brands are finally starting to gather lots and lots of data from different places, and trying to use it to market in a smarter way is going to be a huge trend," says Aaron Everson, president and chief strategy officer of Shoutlet, a Madison, Wisonsin-based company that makes social media marketing software."
You don't want to collect data - you want answers and insights into specific areas so develop a data strategy so you know what you want to learn and what data you need to gain the insight. Sifting blindly though a pile of data is going to lead to too much garbage and clogged pipes that don't allow the flow on information and actionable insight.
Finally, can we put the Oreo Super Bowl 2013 tweet to rest? And can someone remind me again - what business objectives did it attain? Sales? Awareness for more than 24-48 hours outside the marketing community?
Many marketers have buyer personas that they're not using -- mainly because they're simply unusable in a B2B complex sale situation. Find out more about creating useful B2B buyer personas.
Buyer personas are a company-wide initiative - they help everyone deliver a more consistent, relevant, valuable experience to the customer. (Which is also why you want to have everyone using the CRM so that the customer's interactions are documented).
Best part of the article: "If we build personas in this way, then they become instrumental in the development of our content strategies and marketing programs. But there’s another bonus to be had from the intentional development of buyer personas as a tool.
They’re useful to customer service, to salespeople, to lines of business, to product development and R&D. And, if you involve them in the process, they’ll have an investment in helping to apply them to the business in ways that count."
Brand, loyalty, and positioning aren't what they used to be.
Interesting...but the author does seem to make a case for the importance of building loyal customers into brand advocates that write those reviews that influence new buyers to purchase a brand.
As for positioning, if positioning is done properly, won't that be one of the key factors that appeals to the user and winds up as a key factor in the reviews?
And lastly, do we have a handle on how many buyers are driven solely by reviews? And do user reviews count for more than expert reviews (or vice versa)? Personally, I am not influenced all that much by the comments of strangers on the Internet. And with some organizations being accused of writing their own positive reviews or negative reviews of competitors, I wonder why so many would be influenced by the reviews of strangers vs. friends, families, colleagues etc.
What's your reaction? Do marketers need to rethink these concepts?