Archive for the ‘email’ Tag

Top 5 2015 Content Marketing Trends from Alinean

I’m catching up on the end-of-year/beginning-of-year blogs and posts. There are some good ones out there including this one from Tom Pisello. Tom spells out 5 content marketing trends to keep in mind. Some of these aren’t new but all worth reviewing. Here are my thoughts on two of them:

Trend 2 – Marketing Overload

As a marketing executive, I get a LOT of email offers on anything related to marketing. I’m still amazed at email overloadhow many emails I get from so-called “marketing experts” trying to get me to look at some of their content. I’m not sure where Tom got this from – “with the average executive receiving over 50 offers each business day” – but I believe it. I delete about 200 emails a day from my work inbox. A very large portion are unsolicited offers. A sampling from this morning include whitepapers/ebooks on creating the perfect persona, database management, personalization, A/B email testing. The list goes on. And I get them every day.

As a marketer, I make a conscious effort NOT to email offers. I tend to roll up our “offers” into a bi-monthly enewsletter. But I make sure the newsletter is not just about my company and how great we are. I put in links to key industry articles and trends from the trade media. I invite partners to contribute articles. Anything I can think of that may add value to the reader. By doing this, I’ve just about done away with single email offers. And I’ve seen our newsletter readership both increase in database size and also in open rates and click-thrus.

Trend 3 – Buying by Committee

This has been happening for a long time. And marketers need to advance their techniques if they really want to address the challenges here and help sales win deals. I don’t think I can say it any better than Tom so I’m just going to paste two of his sentences which are keys to success:

“One size-fits-all content doesn’t cut it when there are so many different perspectives involved in the decision making process.

You have to develop, or better yet personalize content for each stakeholder in an environment where each buyer expects and requires personalization.”

So if you get a chance, glance through the rest of Tom’s trends. And keep them in mind as you plan and execute your marketing campaigns in 2015.

 

Advertisements

Is too much reliance on Marketing Automation a danger?

I recently read this article by Omar Akhtar on “The case against too much marketing automation” and it got me thinking. Although I am a firm believer in marketing automation, here are several points here where I agree. I am inundated daily from vendors trying to sell me the next best thing in identifying web visitors, automated what content people see based on digital footprint, augmenting my database; the list goes on and on. And some of these do intrigue me. But I do question their actual effectiveness.

I’ve been using marketing automation for over a decade now and I’m a believer. My very small team executes more programs and campaigns than I could ever dream of twenty years ago when I first started in marketing. But nothing replaces actually spending time with your prospects and customers. You need to know what drives them. What are their challenges, fears, hopes and dreams. And then how can you fit into their reality. You will never get this from any type of marketing automation.

You need to spend time with your customers. You need to talk to them. Do this whenever you can – at tradeshows and conferences, customer visits, industry events. Whenever you get a chance. How else will you learn about them – what truly drives them? And how else will you see if your value props and messaging resonates?

face to face

So I’m a firm believer in marketing automation but I also don’t see it as a panacea that solves all your marketing needs. And thank God for that or I’d be out of a job! You need to get face-to-face and talk. There is no automation or replacement for that.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Email Marketing – basic metrics review

The recent (October 2012) issue of Target Marketing had a nice, short article reviewing the basic metrics used in email marketing. It’s a nice, concise review of stats many of us use to measure the effectiveness of our email campaigns. Worth the quick read.

Email Marketing in 2012

So I’ve had a couple of interviews with B2B Magazine lately. The first was on the topic of social media. And the latest was on email marketing. Because of that latter article, I have been approached by a reporter at MarketingSherpa, probably the hotbed of leading-edge marketing intelligence, for a deep dive case study. And I’m pretty impressed by that.

I’ve been on the cutting edge of B2B marketing for 20 years now and I think I’m pretty much an expert. Even when I was at the MarketingSherpa B2B summit conference last fall, I listened to many of the speakers and participants and felt like “been there, done that.” To the point where I was critiquing the advice from the “expert” speakers at the B2B events.

As someone who has lived his marketing life in the trenches having to deliver results to both sales and the company (meaning revenue), I feel pretty confident in my abilities and look forward to talking to this reporter from MarketingSherpa.

Going Old School

Like many other marketing people, over the past month, I’ve been planning my next activities for the first half of 2012. I work in an industry of rapid technological change and, as much as I like to plan for at least a year, often many of my plans are three- to six-month campaigns. Branding and longer-term messaging I can plan for a year or more but lead generation is usually two quarters out at best. But that’s a topic for another blog post.

For my upcoming campaigns, among the mix is a revival of some marketing old school techniques. In particular, direct mail. Email has become less and less effective. Open rates are sliding lower and click thrus are even worse. Some of my more targeted emails are very effective. But I need to generate more interest than those tactics provide. I segment my audience based on personas. I try a couple of different subject lines and email content. But I am running into several issues. Primary among them are:

    • Just TOO much email – everyone’s inbox is overloaded. We all know the noise.
    • Email not getting delivered – particularly acute in my industry, aerospace & defense, where prime contractors’ servers are blocking a lot of mass generated email.
direct mail marketing

So our marketing group is working with our sales team to develop comprehensive campaign that will involve direct mail. We are targeting by job role and company and will be doing something high-end (dimensional) for our top persona.

Going old school. Despite the cheerleaders around inbound marketing, as someone with a need to create demand for my sales team and a limited budget, I don’t ignore any channel that can do this effectively. I’ll be doing inbound, social, email, content, video, events – almost any other tactic you can think of. But I’ll be throwing direct mail back into the mix this year.

So called experts

While at a recent B2B marketing summit, I took advantage of having several of my company’s efforts (web site, email campaigns, landing pages) critiqued. For the most part, I was happy. But one review (by one of the vendors trying to sell their services) had me just shaking my head.

He was quick to be a critic but never asked about my market, customers or unique issues I had to deal with. Basically, he was not too smart. He had some good comments in general on our stuff but “in general” is not what I deal with. I have a specific audience. And specific needs for my niche. I don’t need some “best of practices” sermon. I like to keep up w/ best of practices but you need to tweak them to meet your specific needs.

I’ve been an independent consultant so I’ve been in his shoes. And he just doesn’t get it. He didn’t listen to me at all.

While I was consulting, I had a potential client (who really wanted to hire me) ask me about what I could do to increase her lead generation. Now, I’m an expert at lead gen. But I asked her to take a step back and think about her target market. I told her, I could generate 100’s of leads in a heartbeat. But I tried to tell her, that’s not what she wants or needs. She needed a limited number of quality leads. She just couldn’t focus down on a targeted segment where we could really get quality leads. 

At the end of the day, I gave her a lot of advice and I’m not really sure what she did or where she went. I feel really good about the engagement because I helped her better understand what she wanted and was trying to do. 

For me, the lesson was do your best and don’t sell out. I could have easily just taken her money and delivered “leads.” But it wouldn’t have helped her business. A more thorough strategic overview would have helped. Plus, a business plan.

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.

Boost Email Engagement

Evidently, the September 19, 2011 issue of B2B Magazine is a lesson in re-using content! Most of the articles are recycled from earlier this year. But it works. And the content is still very relevant.

One of the articles, Using Email to Boost Customer Engagement, has some good points. I was very happy to see that I already do many of these things. But I do like the idea of segmenting by “engaged” versus “unengaged.” I do struggle with the unengaged part of my database.

And, to be truthful, that segment far outnumbers our “engaged” segment. So I’m going to try some of the ideas in this article – change up the subject and content for emails to the unengaged. And try to re-engage them. And if they don’t, cut them loose. They have no interest and I don’t want to bother them with email.

So I’m looking to use the unengaged list to see what the problem is. Is it the subject lines? Content? No match for what we offer? I’d like to know.