B2B brand strategy is crucial for success. Having a strong brand presence will make your company stand out from the rest. When you think of the top businesses in the B2C space you think Coke, Levi’s, Amazon. The common factor with these three companies is a strong brand. Any consumer could tell you who those companies are, what they do, and most likely when they last purchased from them. The strengths in B2C branding are increased sales and a loyal customer base. [More]
Most major B2B companies are finding success in email marketing. In this scenario we will look at two different approaches to see which fits your email marketing goals. First understand that personalized email marketing is a way to insert data into the main template of an email. Using their name or company name adds personal touches to the email. Here are some ways to differentiate personalized emails from generalized emails: [More]
Creating webinars is one if top ways that marketers are spending their time. According to the content marketing institute, businesses that use webinar are finding it to be the most effective of any form of content marketing.
Digital marketing is not only providing astronomical results for Business to Consumer companies but have shown that Business to Business companies also connect through digital means. B2B companies are capturing the interest of their audiences with creative campaigns to drive user engagement. Although it may be challenging to target other businesses, these 5 companies have mastered the tricks of the trade.
The marketing “hacks” we try to follow have all been proved to work by these companies. From blogging to video marketing and reusing content there are some valuable lessons to learn from the success of the B2B marketing leaders. [More]
Decisions are very personal and so much goes into them, that oftentimes it is much easier to be indecisive. However, indecision does not support goals. Goal setting is crucial in driving productivity. So, how does one make a decision faster and how do we know that is the right one?
Here are the 3 P's:
With each P, we’ll break down a big decision and a small decision. Say the big decision is career-related and the small decision is a consumer purchase. Each decision we make either helps or hurts our approach to supporting the 3 P’s
What is your personal motto?
Ideally, it helps if your motto reminds you of who you are and what you stand for. Some great personal mottos replace destructive thinking with healthy self-regulation. Some mottos are designed to change a habit. Whatever it is, have one. It will drive your day and through driving your day, it will drive your decisions. Say for example, you see yourself as a leader. Your personal motto is all about helping the people and the organization you lead. Because of that motto, on a daily basis you are practicing being selfless. When decision making, you are checking your motivation and asking yourself if you are doing it for your personal gain or for the benefit of others. I’m imagining it’s the latter.
"Seize the day"
An example for a career related decision is whether or not you should start your own business. Say your personal motto is “Seize the day,” then starting a business may work for you. You drive your own destiny and you want to accomplish as much as possible in one day. Now try to apply that motto to a consumer purchase. You are deciding on what to eat for lunch. If you haven’t yet seized the day, then you are probably looking for a fast option and something that will not prevent you from feeling too full.
"Your choices and decisions are a reflection of how well you've set and followed your priorities." - Elizabeth George
Secondly, what are your priorities? You may be trying to make better business decisions, own your own business, or trying to make more income. Or you may be trying to prioritize your health. Whatever they are, it’s important to know and understand all of them, and also know how they rank. As difficult as it sounds, recognizing your priorities helps you make decisions that ultimately make you happier.
Now, let’s apply your priorities to the same big and small decision we had earlier. You are still deciding on whether or not you should start your own business. You’ve listed your priorities as:
Sure, starting your own business may be costlier in the beginning, and you might not make the income right away, but there may be some great opportunities for more income in the near future. You may have to sacrifice some quality time with your family, but you may be able to provide more for them in the future. You will also have some flexibility with when you’d like to work out during the day. As for your consumer purchase, you are still thinking about lunch. Since your current income may or may not support a lavish lunch, you will likely decide to eat something quick and cheap as you value saving your income to provide for your family highest.
After you’ve determined your priorities, then it’s about relating those priorities to being productive. Your ability to be productive is directly linked to your ability to make decisions, which goes for every area of your life, not just work. Being organized and making decisions go hand in hand. Just to approach a task like sorting mail requires being able to make serious decisions. What to answer, what to calendar, what to ignore and what to delete might take more time than you realize.
Establishing routines and creating systems of how you will approach decisions will increase your productivity. Once you understand that there is a task you don’t want to do, for example, an email you can’t deal with right away it’s ok to do it later. You just need to make sure you are actually taking steps to deal with it later, for example, scheduling time on your calendar to address it. Creating themes of the week when you deal with admin responsibilities, whether it’s bills that need to get paid or snail mail that needs to get opened means you are prioritizing tasks that require decisions. The only problem with saying, I’ll do it later is that sometimes later never comes. Sometimes you need to put your head down, focus, and
"JUST DO IT" - Nike.
The majority of website traffic will visit a site once and never return. If you trust that your website will do all the work of converting a lead, the harsh truth is that you are wrong. Traffic visiting your website is not likely to buy. According to an analysis by WordStream, only 2-3% of first time website visitors will convert.
There’s a ton of mediocrity in lead generation- both in-house and outsourced. However, there are many things good insourced operations and lead generation companies do well. While lead generation is not brain surgery, there are plenty of moving parts in a well-run lead generation machine. Failure to perform and organize all of the moving parts could lead to poor results.
Here is DECK 7’s top 5 checklist for lead generation to see where your company stands:
Let’s define a Lead. Does every team in your organization share the same definition of what a lead is? A universal lead definition (ULD) clarifies what a lead is to everyone in your organization:
It fits the profile of your ideal customer.
it has been qualified as sales-ready.
it spells out the responsibilities and accountabilities of Sales and Marketing.
it makes Marketing and Sales more efficient.
TARGET, SEGMENT and TEST. How frequently does your team analyze lists? Bear in mind that there’s no such thing as a good list, and remembering that more expensive lists are not always more useful than cheap ones. The only solution to keep your team productive is to make sure your data is fresh by cleaning it regularly. Analyzing points that indicate tendencies to buy, and continually testing to optimize segmentation efforts.
In one situation, we consulted with a client that was about to mail 750 $20 “lumpy” packages. I asked if they had tested the list for validity. They had not. They believed they had paid a lot of money for the list that it must be accurate. We offered to test the list for free and discovered that over 50% of the list would have gone to the wrong targets. Many of the company names had no contact associated with the record. The mail house would have mailed those packages anyway.
There is some disagreement on the value of research. Some argue that you should just pick up the phone and make the call. Others believe that cold calling is not needed and ineffective. The biggest reason for this is that lists are not always accurate. Why else would someone in the lead gen business get multiple calls and emails from lead gen firms every week and a multitude of calls over time from the same firms? What should you do that is different or unique? Employing a 4 x 4 research approach is to spend a total of four minutes looking at four different data sources:
The prospect’s website.
The contact’s LinkedIn profile.
The topics of the prospect’s twitter feed.
A general online search to see what appears.
Oftentimes your lead-generation efforts can only improve with the amount of times your prospects are being contacted, whether through phone or email. Establishing multi-touch campaigns can help identify what leads are more likely to be ready to take action and when.
Are you getting maximum return on marketing programs? Lead nurture programs done well triples your B2B sales lead generation marketing ROI. Often underutilized, lead nurturing done well can increase your lead rate from 5% to 15%. With effective list management for every lead you generate you should also generate one “pipeline.” A pipeline is normally a prospect that is just one or two additional actions from being converted to a lead. Typically 20-25% of the time pipelines do become sales qualified leads. Also, you will likely want to identify what we call “nurtures.” Nurtures are the right company and the right contact, just not yet the right time.
If any of these areas might have some room for improvement, DECK 7 can help get your organization where you need to go. Contact us today.
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Maturing Digitally? Marketing isn’t what it used to be. Today, Digital Marketing is Marketing. It must be. A company will find any way possible to get its information out to those it wants to see it. Finding the best way to influence people to give the best experience. The fastest way to garner that attention is digitally.
Adobe has graced us with this survey for the past seven years. A large part of digital marketing is knowing what to prioritize and understanding the trends but always looking ahead and preparing for the future. In 2015 the survey found that having a range of options for companies and staying competitive was the standard with digital marketing. Although, still true now,in 2016 the focus for this went more in depth
Digital marketers from North America and Europe, about 735 of them, responded to the survey. They use various tactics and strategies when handling their digital marketing. No firms are created equal, each one has its similarities and differences.
THEN AND NOW…WHAT’S WORKING.
Then is 2015 versus today. A person would think not much has changed but digital marketing has only grown. The differences are actually quite great. Going back a few years, digital marketing was about content and experience, companies waited for the return on this and although, however small, it was there, it became wasteful. The time came to increase what was being done. No more waiting for the return, the decision to go after it became the focus.
Mobile applications have become almost necessary and with a 27 percent increase companies are understanding the relevance. Adaptive websites have gone up 14 percent. The area that continues to grow and many people seem to appreciate without realizing it is the automation of web content which is based on you, this is up 22 percent. The more money a company has to spend the better.
Various platforms exist to give marketers the best advantage. Although not cheap by any means, these platforms combine many of the necessary tools to assist the processes for marketers. If you’re in to be the best, using a platform may be the only way to go.
SLOW AND GROWING
As digital marketing matures marketers must follow suit. Considering a company “Advanced” in its skill set is difficult, especially when things are ever changing in this world. To be at the advanced level a company would need to be close to having all its data integrated, strong tech skills, automated, and follow best practices. In Europe the number of marketers that consider themselves advanced is only 7 percent. North America isn’t too far ahead with 19 percent. The process towards progress is slow but growing.
The three areas that are preventing a greater advancement are money, people, and resources. Marketers just don’t have the budget. The resources that are needed just aren’t available. Lastly, bodies, the people that should be testing the strategy or process just aren’t there.
Things are getting better though with time and effort. Marketers are able to separate themselves from each other and with that grow into a business they are pleased with. Who wouldn’t be happy to have a positive outlook for the future.
DID YOU SAY DATA?
Data is extremely important to marketers. The more data you have the more you are heard in the digital realm. Numerous companies are using digital marketing driven by data to deliver content. Worldwide the amount is actually around a third. If you don’t have data, then you aren’t being seen or heard as much as you could be.
THE ESSENTIALS FOR MATURITY
As Adobe completed the survey they found that there are four essential elements that are tell-tale signs of maturity. All are important and all are necessary. These elements are data-driven marketing, mobile, customer experience, and cross-channel marketing. Put these components in one business and it strengthens and grows.
Marketing to others requires data that is driven towards those specific people. Analytics becomes handy with this component. It becomes necessary to know who your audience is, why they are interested, and what they are doing.
This creates successful marketing.Companies will continue to implement more tactics to find out even more information in the years to come.
Companies are all about data-driven capabilities. Definitely seeing budget increases occurring in the coming years. Things of importance have changed for these companies and the focus is heading there, this includes predictive marketing.
Companies want you to visit their websites and use their mobile apps but that isn’t all they are after. Most companies use somewhere around 50 various tactics to modify their marketing directed at you. In the survey about 69 percent of companies said they use CRM data, even real-time based on analytics, to find out what they can about their customers.
When marketing to a customer a company wants them to have the ultimate experience to increase the interest then love of the brand. In a flash a customer can be lost and companies understand the importance so they work diligently towards preventing this. They want to build on the loyalty not destroy it in a heartbeat.
According to the survey, 92 percent of companies plan to invest in content marketing to improve it. These improvements are all for the customer. Businesses are realizing just how valuable the customer is and will be in the future. Again, this takes understanding the customers and building on them as individuals and groups that like similar things. Every single person today, for the most part and especially in the future, will have their own web experience.
SEE HOW THESE ELEMENTS ARE COMING TOGETHER TO BALANCE EACH OTHER OUT…
Mobility has created a new world for many. Some people have become less mobile with it while others do even more. The future of mobile technology is increasing as capabilities grow. Companies want you to download their apps when you visit their websites when previously you would need a computer to have a real view and the mobile view was awful. Times truly have changed. More focus is being given to mobile sites and applications.
A computer isn’t always at hand but a smartphone is with 92 percent of users having one. Why wouldn’t a company want to focus on building a mobile application? This makes content delivery to a customer faster. Many companies plan to increase their budget when it comes to developing or improving their mobile sites and applications. This is a plus for the customers and businesses.
Marketing to customers should be done on many devices and platforms. This brings in cross-channel marketing. Every company needs to look at their marketing and how they deliver it to the customer. A company needs to go where the people are.
The channel options are innumerable but they do include website, apps, mobile, and email. These are the main channels that are focused on even though many other companies are finding even more creative ways to get their name out to customers and potential customers. Where companies cringe is when people move onto the next site, no one stays put, everyone is on the move and looking for something. This is where the retargeting takes place. The person can come back or continue to move on. Connect to the customer and they should stay. This is where analytics comes into play once again. Understanding the customer and reaching them in all channels possible.
PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE IT BELONGS
Organizations realize that budgeting for digital marketing is at the forefront. The future is now and creating solid relationships with customers must begin somewhere…why not now? Using and developing key marketing tools is the beginning. Investing in the areas that need to improve, more companies are realizing just how important this is to the growth of their business. Want a mature digital marketing plan? Then follow these key elements.
IT TAKES BALANCE
No one said digital marketing would be easy but it’s worth it. Creating a plan that includes all elements, a company will see success when implemented correctly. Building a relationship with customers and seeing them for their worth is what it’s all about. You may learn a lot about them in the process but that’s beneficial to you and them. This creates success on the road to digital marketing maturity.
FOUR ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS FOR DIGITAL MATURITY
ABM delivers the highest Return on Investment of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic. Read how these 3 A’s define why ABM is the way to go.
ABM accelerates the sales cycle.
It is rare in a complex B2B sales cycle, that the buyer is one, isolated individual. Purchasing decisions can and normally do involve over a dozen decision makers. So, why risk pursuing one path?
Because ABM actively targets all of the influencers and decision-makers in a company, ABM deals move faster and get stuck less.
ABM tightly aligns your sales and marketing teams, AND aligns your customer experience.
Often times there is a disconnect between sales and marketing teams. Account Based Marketing requires sales and marketing to focus on the same accounts with specific and common criteria. Once all key stakeholders-execs, SDRs and marketers are completely committed to ABM as a long-term strategy, there is nothing but potential for success.
Because sales have accounts they care about the most, ABM can help marketing focus their resources on these accounts specifically. Through creation of account profiles that identify account objectives, decision-makers, buying process/ responsibilities, media/ channel preferences, company initiatives, impactful trends, needs, and high value propositions, marketing and sales teams can work together to create specific content and strategy.
As for customer experience, ABM delivers the consistently relevant experience that customers demand. The highly personalized approach means that all interactions are aligned across channels and highly targeted to maximize relevance. Your company reads as one unified, compelling story.
ACCOUNT PENETRATION AND EXPANSION
ABM guides intelligent account expansion at existing customers.
Demand Metric published in their December 2015 Report, over half of the low maturity segment members have been using ABM for less than a year, while over half of the high maturity segments have been using ABM for two or more years. Employing ABM is a long-term investment but once alignment happens, account penetration and acceleration are just around the corner.
The perception that ABM is just for acquiring new clients is false. The most mature segment of ABM users is becoming equal or greater from cross-selling and/or up-selling to existing clients. For ABM users with substantial customer bases, this cross/ up selling motive could easily eclipse prospecting as the motive driving ABM use.
We all know that it’s easier to retain revenue and sell to existing customers than it is to land new customers; Account Based Marketing aligns more of the marketing department’s efforts onto these kind of high ROI activities. In fact, the High-Performance ABM Capabilities Benchmark Report of December 2015 found that while the primary motive driving less mature ABM programs is prospecting for new customers, as ABM maturity increases, the motive swings dramatically toward cross/up selling to existing customers.
While cross-selling and up-selling is the way to go, bear in mind the most successful ABM strategies normally include a wide range of content formats and channels, such as display ads, website content, emails, phone scripts, etc.
ABM is a powerful combination of people, processes, and technology that allows marketers to land the big fish by focusing on quality over quantity. ABM is a strategy that targets a full 100% of time, resource and efforts on the named accounts your company decides as having the greatest potential. ABM deal sizes are bigger and research shows that the systematic discipline of ABM significantly out-performs the more ad hoc or unaligned approaches of the past.
high performance abm capabilities benchmark study report
We’re almost in Q4 2016 and it’s getting to that time when we take stock of what’s worked and not worked for us this year before we begin to make our plans and set budgets for 2017.
Here are 7 trends from 2016 that promise to be winners in 2017:
UGC VS. STAFF CONTENT
Companies are getting increasingly better at finding ways to source their content rather than develop their own content. As of the second quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.71 billion monthly active users, and a fair share of them generate content on a weekly basis. Similarly, though obviously not at the same scale as the Facebook platform, companies are encouraging their users to generate content by promoting the use of company managed blogs and forums, customer and prospect surveys, social media channels, and guest contributing editors to create content for their audiences. If your plan for 2017 is to create all of your own content, perhaps now is the time to think about ways you can get your users to create your content for you as well.
THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL
General purpose content for all audiences no longer works. We are inundated with content every day and content marketers realize that to capture mindshare of their audience, their content needs to stand out from the crowd. How do you do that? One of the most effective ways is by creating and promoting specialized content. Through 2016, we’ve seen that specialized content has come to mean content that is localized,segmented and personalized. We still see campaigns, specially on the B2B side, where content in English is used for lead generation campaigns in countries across Europe or the Far East where content in the local languages would be far more effective. The companies that have seen far better results – by a factor of 10 or more – are those that localized their content. Second, audience segmentation is a strategy that successful marketers use for their content for everything from drip email campaigns to retargeting to specific ad groups. Finally, personalization – this takes the specialization down to a further level, where content is not only in a language that I’m most comfortable with, the messages are specific to my buying “persona,” but that also the content is personalized to me specifically based on my ‘intent data.’
VIDEOS AND PODCASTS AS STARTING FAVORITES
Video has been one of the biggest winners in the past few years, and now podcasts seem to be making a powerful comeback. With increasing download speeds and the ubiquity of mobile devices, video seemed sure to emerge from being one of the most promising media formats to being an extremely effective and popular one. Adding to the appeal of video, is the ease of downloading podcasts and viewing at a convenient time for the user, and we have another winner in the making. In 2016, marketers have found that both videos and podcasts are now powerful formats to engage the different segments in their audience.
QUALITY VS. QUANTITY
Every year we lament the abundance of poor content – either because it was created without an understanding of the audience, or that some marketers use the spray and pray method of content marketing. Either way, we see tremendous volumes of content daily and that volume is only increasing. This also means that poor quality content is receiving even less attention than it used to and poor content or even average content does not provide the ROI that marketers would hope for from their campaigns. A quick and easy way for you to guage the quality of your content is to look at the responses from your audience – this could be the number of likes it receives on social media or the open and click rates if you’re using email marketing. So for 2017, an important consideration would be to focus on the quality of the content you are looking to produce rather than look to increase the volumes and different formats of content you are producing to meet the demands of your omni-channel outreach.
PAID VS. ORGANIC REACH
It was a good time when we could focus only on SEO, or bring in an outside firm to do the heavy lifting, and sit back and watch the leads pour in. Then came social media, and with it the fascinating potential of our content going viral overnight based on the hordes of users that flock to the most popular social media platforms daily for news. Unfortunately, that’s a trend that’s on the decline with the choices for organic growth providing limited potential for 2017. For example, Facebook has recently severely limited the visibility that companies can achieve through organic reach itself. To achieve the same levels of reach, other platforms as well are providing more paid options and forcing marketers to increase their usage of paid promotions to achieve the same visibility. For 2017, this means perhaps factoring in an increase in the budget for the paid component of social media promotions, and also upgrading your content marketing strategy to look for alternative channels of distribution.
INTERACTIVE VS. STATIC CONTENT
One-directional, ‘static’ content has its best years behind it. Even with increasing levels of specialized content being produced in 2016, and we expect this to increase in 2017, there is a limit to how much personalization can be done on the content production side, aka by the marketers. Enter interactive content. By creating content that is wrapped within interactive tools like a quiz or a diagnostic questionnaire or a game, users can now tailor the content they see based on their real-time responses. This ‘gamification’ of content is one of the hottest trends of 2016 and we expect it will continue to grow meteorically in 2017.
No discussion of marketing trends for 2016 would be complete without at least an acknowledgement of the strides ABM has made this year in terms of the growth of the tech to support it, the media fanfare created to promote it, and the increase in the adoption rates of the ABM approach by marketers. While the success of the adopters of the ABM approach is still mixed, there is no doubt that the ABM approach has valuable suggestions for even the most traditional demand generation marketers amongst us. With the increasing levels of specialized content being created, ABM approaches demand even further personalization of content for key accounts - both prospective accounts and well as existing customer accounts. The strong growth of ABM in 2016 as an approach being put into practice by the best marketers around us will continue to grow in 2017 with the advent of new tech that supports ABM.
As you make your plans, the seven trends here can be considered to see how they can help make your plans more robust for 2017. Some marketers will ride the wave of these new trends, while some will deliberately choose to buck the trends and try different methods to innovate. There will be winners and losers on both sides. The future tends to look a lot like the past – and so by an increased understanding the trends of 2016, we hope you will be better equipped as you move into the new year.
TOP 5 CONTENT MARKETING TRENDS OF 2016 SO FAR
THE TOP 7 CONTENT MARKETING TRENDS DOMINATING 2016
THE BIGGEST CONTENT MARKETING TRENDS IN 2017
7 CONTENT MARKETING TRENDS YOU SHOULD BE FOLLOWING