Archive for the ‘lead nurturing’ Tag

More on Content Marketing

You can’t look at any major marketing magazine, blog or website without seeing some talk about Content Marketing. Content creation takes up a good chunk of my time and I’m always interested in best practices and research findings.

Here’s a smattering of recent articles I found particularly interesting:

Here’s one of the charts I really liked from the Eloqua blog:

content marketing statistics

I’m sure we will continue to see content marketing as a discipline evolve and expand as we move into 2013 and beyond.

Trade show leads

Everywhere I’ve ever worked struggled a little with follow up on trade show leads. For marketing, the biggest problem was getting the leads processed, the data cleansed, notes entered and then passed over to sales. Hot leads often failed to get to sales quickly and then hot turns to warm. Or worse, to a competitor.

Besides that, I hate paying those lead scanner rental fees. The bastards rake you over the coals.

Mark talking to a prospect.

Typically at a show, you get your device and use it to scan bar codes of the booth visitors. Some vendors are good enough to let you access the leads on a daily basis. Most make you wait until the end of the show to get them. Then you have to travel home and may not be back in the office for a few days. And even then, you most likely need to manually do data cleansing. If you use a marketing automation system, you then have to upload them. More time delays.

If you have a really good conversation with a prospect, you don’t want to wait that long to get them to sales.

Some companies bypass the delay by directly notifying the sales rep w/ the info. But, unless you are REALLY diligent, you lose the tracking and hence, ROI measurement for the event.

So we worked on a better way. We now use an iPad or iPhone, take a picture of the prospect’s business card, use an inexpensive app to do character recognition and send it to our marketing automation system. There are steps to do data cleansing on the spot (in case there were errors in scan) plus add notes from the conversation. The prospect often gets entered into our system before they leave the booth. And they get the “thank you” email w/ links to relevant content – often while still talking to us. Additionally, the system feeds our CRM system so our sales team gets the leads w/in hours of the booth visit – not the days plus typical of the old system.

Sales is ecstatic with quicker access to leads and more complete (and accurate) information and notes. Marketing is happy with much quicker turnaround, higher quality data and increased ROI. And we are putting ourselves in for an Eloqua Markie award. Root for us!

Lead Scoring

Eloqua is one of the thought leaders in marketing automation. I subscribe to their “It’s all about revenue” blog and enjoy reading it. Their latest post on lead scoring is interesting, especially since I’ve been working on lead scoring at my company over the past few months.

Lead scoring

We have implemented lead scoring pretty much like the Eloqua blog suggests. We use A through D for implicit scoring – does the lead meet our criteria for “target” customer based on company and job role? And we use 1 through 4 for explicit scoring – what activity(ies) did the prospect do? And we have full alignment with sales on this scoring. In fact, we just tweaked it to reflect regional needs. We score differently for AsiaPac and Europe than we do for North America – highlighting the flexibility you can get from a marketing automation system.

The one thing that jumped out at me from the blog post is the role of an inside sales team (or telemarketing or whatever name you may call it). Even if a lead is scored a C3 or other relatively “low” score, the human touch is a great way to not only advance the lead but also get insight into the real lead score. A simple conversation can help you better understand the lead. Should they truly be put in a lead nurturing program or are they really a good lead for sales follow-up?

This stage of the process is critical and takes talented people. It’s also an investment by the organization. For us, we have very limited resources here and, during times of big lead influxes, can become a bottleneck. But, because we have metrics in place and a nice dashboard that all of sales management sees on a weekly basis, when the problem arises, everyone sees it. And there is discussion about expanding this team. One of the biggest pluses of intelligent metrics is being able to not only identify needs but also to justify investments.

So, as the blog post says, lead scoring is not the “be all, end all” of passing leads over to sales. It is a tool and one you need to understand. It definitely has it’s benefits but also it’s limitations. And you need to understand both.

Maximizing leads from events

I invest in several webcasts every year. For these, I leverage some of my media vendors who have my target audience as readers/subscribers. But these webcasts can be expensive. On the low end, I can do one for about $8k. This works for one of my target personas. On the high end, it can run as much as $20k. But this attracts prospects from the high end of my persona food chain.

webcast postcard eo/ir

Both have proven themselves as generating high quality (and a good quantity of) leads. Well worth the investment. Since I pay the same amount no matter how many people attend the webcast, this year I’m looking at innovative ways to increase the viewership. Here are a couple of things I’m doing (some of which I’ve been doing for a while but trying to expand the list):

  • Creating a landing page just for the webcast
  • Post webcast, continuing to promote the on-demand recording for six months or more – as long as the content is relevant
    • Statistics point out, and I’ve seen in my own experience, that live viewership of webcasts is declining. People just don’t have the time in the middle of their work day to join. But viewership of the archived webcast is increasing with people taking time to watch when it best fits their schedule.
  • Posting the event on relevant LinkedIn groups (and other social media outlets that makes sense)
  • When running print ads similar to the webcast topic, putting a call to action in the ad
  • Creating “post cards” that I can hand out at trade shows and conferences, give to the sales team to use on calls, leave in our lobby for visitors, and maybe even use as direct mail pieces.
  • Add a promo and link in signature files for company emails
  • Taking out banner ads on relevant sites and in their e-newsletters promoting the webcast and linking to the landing page.
  • Promoting it in our bi-monthly e-newsletter
  • Putting a QR code on everything we do in the list above to make it easy to get to the landing page

I’ve talked specifically about webcasts but I think many of these tactics can also work for other marketing activities. Anyone have some more ideas on how to creatively promote relatively high priced events to generate more leads? I’d love to hear some ideas!

Marketing Automation updates

The latest issue (November 7) of B2B Magazine has a couple of interesting articles on Marketing Automation. The first, “Lack of Resources Impedes Marketing Automation Adoption,” reports on the results of a survey conducted in August and September. The survey was conducted by B2B and Aprimo, a supplier of a marketing automation solution. So the highlights are:

  • only 44% of b2b marketers have implemented some sort of automation
  • a scary 11% are not aware of marketing automation
11%? Really? What, do you live under a rock? But maybe the 11% just didn’t understand what was meant by marketing automation. Still, that is a rather high percentage considering how long these systems have been around.
Of the 44% of “users,” here’s some interesting findings:
  • 52% use it for automatic distribution of leads
  • 19% leveraging more advanced features such as lead nurturing programs, closed-loop automation (not really sure what they mean by that) and sales/marketing alignment

An interesting part of the article quotes Jeff Ernst, an analyst at Forrester, who says that “full-featured” automation is only being used by about 5% of b2b marketers. Since the survey had a relatively low 276 respondents who likely are B2B magazine readers and more engaged in this area, I believe Mr. Ernst may be closer to the true number. I would be interested in people’s thoughts on this.

As a side note, a little over a year ago, I wrote a blog article on “Evaluating Marketing Automation vendors.” I’m thinking it may be worth re-visiting that article and updating it. There are several new and impressive vendors in this space.

The second article in the issue is “Marketing Automation Requires Buy-In to a Different Way of Thinking.” This article covers some important things to know about implementing marketing automation and the changes/benefits it can deliver.

Both of these articles are worth the read.

MarketingSherpa B2B summit

I’ve been in B2B marketing for about 15 years. Ever since my MBA days, finding learning experiences that were relevant and applicable to me as a B2B marketer – well, there just weren’t many. I can count on one hand the number of conferences and “training” seminars I’ve been to that actually taught me enough to make it worth  my while. And my company’s money. This conference was four of the five fingers on that one hand. From the first session on day 1, I was engaged and learning. I’ve been on the bleeding edge of high-tech marketing for over a decade but, not only did I learn a substantial amount of new stuff, I also has the “slap in the face” moment of things I know better about but just haven’t spent the time on.

#1 from this conference – the VALUE PROP – the basis off of which almost everything you do depends. It needs to be a clear and succinct value proposition. It has to answer “why should I care about you?” and “how are you different/unique for your competitors?” Here’s a link to one of the many free pieces of content you can get on MarketingExperiments.com:

Do You Have the Right Value Proposition?

So much more to digest from this. Hopefully I’ll get time to spread some more in future posts.

Interactive marketing

I read with interest an article in the latest B to B Magazine on “interactive marketing departments.” It took me a minute to figure out what they meant by interactive marketing. From what I see, it’s a combination of digital marketing, market segmentation and leveraging the tools many marketers now have thanks to marketing automation systems. These tools include not only metrics and reporting but get to the level of one-on-one interactions. I now use Eloqua’s Prospect Profiler to look at a single customer or prospect and see exactly what they have done (emails opened, links clicked, forms filled out, assets they viewed, etc.). This is especially powerful when I’m going after high level people at targeted customers. It provides me with insight as to what content is resonating with a micro-targeted group. In addition, we rolled it out to our sales team. It is a plug-in to Salesforce and now our Account Managers leverage it for better insight and understanding before making a phone call or sales visit.

I did find the Forrester finding that “interactive marketing” is siloed a bit interesting. For me, interactive marketing is not a new marketing discipline with a dedicated team. Yeah, you may have people in your organization who specialize or are experts in it, but looking at and understanding your customer’s and prospect’s online behavior is something I think any marketer would want to know.

And I don’t think “interactive marketing” should be considered in the realm of digital marketing only. To gather a true understanding of your audience, you should look at compiling customer intelligence from a variety of sources including

  • taking notes at trade shows and events
  • getting feedback and reports from sales after calls and visits
  • monitoring social media conversations and blogs
  • if applicable, input for customer service

And any other area where your customers are speaking.

I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has interactive marketing as a role in their organization and how it works. I see it as another tool to help companies with customer intimacy initiatives.

webcast guidelines

After reading several whitepapers, to-dos and watching webinars on best practices, I compiled the short list for those of you who have to do tactical marketing. This is an outline of what you should consider when you are planning webcasts. Please let me know any comments and/or edits. Much of this content I gathered from:

Sources:

The Definitive Webinar Marketing eGuide, December 2009, Quantum Leap Marketing (Sponsored by GoToMeeting

ON24 2010 Webcasting Report: Webcast Benchmarks and Best Practices for Lead Generation, January 2011, ON24

9 Management Practices for Exceptional Webinars: Proven strategies to build a lead-generation engine, MarketingProfs

Webcast Planning Guide

Summary and Goals

Overview of webcast and define the goals.

Target audience

Define the target audience (TDMi/job role) and goal of the webcast.

Topic, abstract and email invitation

When naming the webcast and developing the abstract and email invite, remember WIFM – “what’s in it for me” from the prospect’s point of view. As with whitepapers, titles such as those below resonate well.

  • 7 secrets to winning more business
  • Top 5 common mistakes and how to avoid them
  • New breakthroughs in …
  • How to evaluate and choose a …

Use compelling language such as:

  • In this fast-paced 45-minute webinar, discover…
  • Are you frustrated with/by…

Because webcasts are the promise of future benefit, consider offering something tangible and immediate like access to a whitepaper.

Promotion plan

Look to promote using both Mercury and 3rd party resources. Third parties can include co-sponsors, partners, guest speakers, etc.

Type Your company 3rd Party (media group, partner, etc.)
email blast
banner ad on website
enewsletter sponsorship/article
ROS promotions
blog postings
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn Groups

Leverage webcast for new content tidbits

Look to use registration questions to provide content for webinar. For example, for storage, asking what challenges are you facing – would make a good slide for attendees.

Plus, look to use registration questions and webcast poll questions for content (article, podcast, etc.).

Post Promotion

Promote the recording as long as the content is fresh and relevant.

Interesting Industry Statistics

  • Webcasts are a low cost-per-lead method with high prospect engagement
  • Average registrant-to-attendee conversion rate is 58%
  • Months of December, June and October have the highest registrant-to-attendee conversion rates (79%, 68% and 63% respectively)
  • Significant number of attendees participate in polls and surveys
  • Integration with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can augment participation and stimulate conversations
  • Recruiting an outside speaker or co-sponsors significantly increases attendance
  • Many attendees tend to join about 5 minutes after the start time – start a minute or two late
  • Attendance increases with reminders sent the day before and an hour or two before the webcast
  • Surprisingly, Mondays may be a good day since Tuesday through Thursday is crowded

Social Media – Why do IT people still fear it?

I think it all has to do with control. And I think many businesses suffer for it.

The November/December 2010 issue of Baseline Magazine had a few articles on social media in the business environment. I passed them along to my firm’s IT department. I’m sure they are intelligent and all, but they really lack any sense of reality. They block Twitter (I use TweetDeck which they don’t block since it’s not a website but rather a desktop app) and Facebook. The irony is, I’m in marketing and not only do we have a Twitter account and Facebook page, but I’m partially responsible for posting to both. And I can’t see them from work. I have to wait until I get home to do my work.

I’d like to think they have a real business reason for blocking so much (it’s not only social media) but I really can’t fathom one. All I know is my perception of the IT department in my own company is that of a group of out-of-touch people living in the 1990s. I’m sure it’s not correct, but it is my perception. I especially love the irony when I see someone using a company-issued cell phone to access FB because they can’t get to it on their laptop.

For more on the Baseline issue, check out the story below:

http://www.baselinemag.com/c/a/Business-Intelligence/New-York-Life-Learns-to-Love-Social-Networking-719406/

Lead generation vs lead nuturing

For over ten years now, I’ve been a high tech B2B marketing manager responsible for both lead generation and lead nurturing – primarily because I am responsible for delivering revenue. However, during a recent webinar (“Driving Demand in the Demand Center” put on by BtoB Magazine and featuring speakers from SiriusDecisions and Eloqua; check out #BtoBWC on Twitter), one comment caught my attention and got me thinking. It was suggested that you have one person focus on lead gen and one on lead nurturing.

I don’t think you can really do this until your organization reaches a certain size but this structure does appeal to me. I know I (along with my colleagues) struggle with the time needed to develop and implement campaigns for both lead gen and nurturing. And the needs are different. With lead gen, you are investing budget, educating prospects, filling the funnel, qualifying leads and passing them to sales. With lead nurturing, you already have qualified leads – they just aren’t ready to buy yet so you need different content and marketing techniques to keep them engaged until they enter the buying cycle.

Lead nurturing is critical to driving a much higher marketing ROI. You already have invested budget in getting these leads into your system. Often, they have cleared all the requirements you have to be qualified sales leads – they just aren’t ready to buy yet (maybe no budget; maybe need to get management on board; etc.).  So you need different content and activities to keep them engaged and interested in you. Also, lead nurturing can be used for cross-sell/up-sell opportunities to existing customers. Again, this is another way to drive revenue with a much smaller budget than is needed for initial lead gen.

Anyway, I’d be interested in what others think about these two areas for marketing and how they handle them. Please feel free to comment here or shoot me an email at greg@dm2-consulting.com with your thoughts!

Have one person focus on lead gen and one person focus on lead nurturing

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