B2B Marketing Archives - Page 4 of 6 - Klaxon

6 Key KPIs for B2B Content Marketers

When you set out on a content marketing journey, it helps to set your key KPIs at the outset.

The first question you should yourself is: “What are we trying to accomplish?” This will help you to think through an effective content marketing strategy in the first place. After all, as the old saying goes, ‘what gets measured gets done’.

But setting your KPIs is one thing, actually measuring the impact of your content marketing is another. This is where you need a well defined analytics plan. This will help you get to that actionable information you need to optimise the performance of your content marketing campaign.
Here are our 6 key KPIs for B2B content marketers:

1. Return on Marketing Investment (aka ROMI or ROI)

What? Essentially reporting if the value generated by your campaign exceeds the cost of running it.
How? Simples: (Revenue – Cost) / Cost

2. Cost Per Lead

What? Basically how much it costs to acquire a lead.
How? Marketing spend / volume of leads from each tactic.

3. Site Traffic to Lead Ratio

What? Essentially how well your website converts traffic into leads. Overall this is an important metric, but you can get more of an in depth view by considering these 4 metrics too:

> unique visits to your website
> marketing qualified leads from website conversions
> conversions per site visit
> conversion by source

4. Organic Search

What? Essentially the volume of traffic to your site referred from search engines. There are 4 primary metrics you need to monitor:

> % of leads that come from organic search
> % of leads that come in using branded key words
> % of leads that come in using unbranded search other terms
> number of customers you acquire via organic search

5. Social Media Reach

What? How many customers are you acquiring with social platforms? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ etc. 

6. Mobile Traffic

What? We live in a mobile world. Thus it is important that you know the amount of traffic coming in from mobile devices. You need tools that enable you to report on mobile conversions.

Once you’ve got to grips with these top line metrics, you can begin to get a little more granular with your KPIs. You can explore how to increase your contribution to revenue, or in layman’s terms, improve your performance. Sound’s good right? 

But it all comes down to setting KPIs that are easy to measure and that means they should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound.

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

The Week’s Most Popular News Stories

See below for this week’s top news stories on B2B marketing as voted for by our followers on Twitter.

1. Video: Paid Media Investments Can Yield SEO Value

Investing in advertising might feel like we’re simply buying people’s time and attention, but there’s far more to it than that. Done right, advertising can show returns in many organic channels, including SEO. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand shows us how.

2. Why You Need a Social Media Calendar

Now that you know that your social media marketing plan requires a stellar content strategy to support it, you may find yourself overwhelmed. Creating and publishing great content can be a lot of work, so you need to get organized and figure out a schedule that works for your business. When you’ve got a content calendar you can commit to, social media marketing becomes a lot less daunting.

3. B2B Channel Marketing Strategies: 12 Data & Content Takeaways

Panelists at Business Marketing Association Minnesota‘s February event, “Strategies to Win: The Evolution of Channel Marketing” all agreed that the level at which their company leverages data in its marketing channels has increased significantly in recent years. Marketers are leveraging consumer data to identify trends and better craft B2B buyer personas. Increasingly, these personas are targeted with inbound content marketing tactics to bring them along to a purchase decision.Look out for next week’s most popular – brought to you by Klaxon!

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

The Evolution of the Buying Cycle

A sales funnel is a marketing system. It’s the ‘ideal’ process you intend your customers to experience as they go from Prospect to Lead to Customer to Repeat Buyer.  A well-defined, carefully measured sales funnel can be one of the most powerful tools a business has at its disposal.

Why I hear you ask?

Because if you understand the metrics within your sales pipeline, you’ll have access to the information you need to create more opportunities, generate more leads and encourage existing customers to purchase more.

But what should you measure?

Measuring your pipeline provides the raw information you need to enable you to proactively manage your sales process to ensure you get better results.

However take note, selling itself is changing! 

The role of sales is changing as buyers do more and more pre-purchase research online. What does this mean? Sales is gradually being pushed further towards the bottom of the buying journey. This does not mean sales is less important –  the sales team is still needed to provide a personal contact point and to close business. Their ability to carry this out is increasingly reliant on aligning with marketing as well as being actively involved in the digital buying process.

Let’s look at the stages of the sales cycle and the changes which are apparent.

Sales pipeline

Recognition of needs stage – uncovering customers’ problems and offering solutions used to be a quick and simple process. Why? Because there was less choice for customers and their problems were not so complex. Today’s problems are a different story altogether; customers’ needs are deeper, more systemic and more about value.

Evaluation of options stage – nowadays the customer has carried out the comparison process before a sales person is engaged. How? Modern day customers’ have access to over 20 times as much data during the research phase. Comparing what your business and your competition are offering is made much simpler; customers’ of today are seeking value. 

Resolution of concerns stage – we live in an era partly driven by difficult economic times and uncertainty, and so customers are increasingly becoming risk-adverse; they don’t want to make a bad decision. What does this mean? Buyers’ need more reassurance from sellers than ever before. Today’s risk-reduction process is more complex and more sophisticated; sellers need to overcome this if they want to close a deal.

Previous customer concerns were focused around quality, reliability and price. These concerns have changed; quality and reliability are now a given, customers’ expect you and your competition to perform (arguably you become more of a commodity). The differences between products are less important but the differences in how they are being sold are becoming paramount.

Today, buyers don’t want a salesperson telling them what they want or need; they’ve already gone online and informed themselves. consequently selling has become more difficult than ever and the buying journey is more complex than ever before.

You need to start paying close attention to the buying cycle, learn how your customers want to buy and start aligning your selling techniques accordingly. Lead your organisation to new heights of success by rethinking your sales cycle.

To find out more around this topic, get in touch; we would be delighted to talk. You can also leave your top tips in the comments section below.

This Week’s Most Popular News Stories

See below for this week’s top news stories on B2B marketing as voted for by our followers on Twitter.

1. B2B brands: failing to formalise marketing messages: Are you leaving your story to chance?

Nearly three-quarters of B2B companies do not have a formalised marketing messaging process for employees to follow, according to a new survey by Corporate Visions. Shockingly, 10 per cent of the 500 B2B marketing and sales professionals surveyed admitted that they weren’t sure what their organisation does. Lack of formal marketing messages has resulted in one-thirds of brands focusing their own story, rather than their customers in campaigns.

2. Stay on top of new business demands and opportunities in 2015: Cloud-computing, mobile and security

Cloud, mobile and security top the list of technology trends in small business again for the coming year. But this is no business-as-usual report; these trends come with refined twists that pack a wallop. In other words, it’s not just about using cloud and mobile; it’s about data convergence and reimagined work. Here’s what you need to know about cloud computing, mobile and security to stay on top of new business demands and opportunities in 2015.

3. The Engagement Pyramid: Turning media planning upside down

If you’ve worked in or studied marketing, you’re probably thinking back to Philip Kotler and the Marketing Funnel. The funnel is how most of us were taught to think about our customers’ journeys. Most of us agree that in a world of four screens and constant digital content proliferation, the funnel is busted — yet, we still plan media against it in the same way we always have. We prioritise reach to get to engagement. But here’s the rub — reach is cheap. It’s the engagement that’s valuable. And — to add insult to injury — reach isn’t as cheap as it used to be. With today’s fragmentation, we are paying more and more money to reach less and less of our target audience. Worse, increasingly data shows we aren’t as good at defining our target audience as we think we are.

Look out for next week’s most popular – brought to you by Klaxon!

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

 

The Week’s Most Popular News Stories

See below for this week’s top news stories on B2B marketing as voted for by our followers on Twitter.

1. Do marketers need an automation eduction?

Technology is at the heart of everything digital marketing is achieving today, but there are still some subjects that are beyond a subset of marketers. Automation is one such topic where there is evidence of a knowledge, that is according to research by marketing technology provider Adestra, which revealed more than a quarter of marketers have never heard of marketing automation. In an era when customer experience is at the heart of everything a marketer does, automation has become an important way of leading consumers through the different stages of research, conversion and then on to satisfaction.

2. After acquiring mobile email startup Acompli, Microsoft launches Outlook for Android and iOS

Microsoft today launched Outlook for Android and iOS. The former is available (in preview) for download now on Google Play and the latter will arrive on Apple’s App Store later today. The pitch is simple: Outlook will let you manage your work and personal email on your phone and tablet as efficiently as you do on your computer. The app also offers calendar features, attachment integration (with OneDrive, Dropbox, and even Google Drive), along with customisable swipes and actions so you can tailor it to how you specifically use email.

3. Stop Procrastinating: It’s Time To Address Mobile SEO

I know, I know. We’ve been hearing it for years now: “This year is the year of mobile!” But for the first time in all of those years, I think we’re truly seeing mobile revolution for marketers. But mobile traffic isn’t isolated to just retail e-commerce sites. Whether your organisation is B2C, B2B, non-profit or other, there’s a place for your company in mobile.

Look out for next week’s most popular – brought to you by Klaxon!

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

This Week’s Most Popular News Stories

See below for this week’s top news stories on B2B marketing as voted for by our followers on Twitter.

1. How to Apply Statistical Significance in Business Marketing

Some tests are easy to analyse. Is Superman stronger than Charlie Brown? Maybe we know the answer going into it and just need to prove we’re right, or maybe the data is heavily skewed in one direction. But some tests are harder to analyse. Depending on the application and purpose of the analysis, analysts can be comfortable with a wide range of confidence intervals. But in business, when was the last time you were 95% confident that something was true?

2. The Year of Data-Driven Marketing: How to make it work for you

You know you need good data to inform your business decisions, but do you know where to find it? If you’re already investing in your social media strategy, you’ve got more valuable business intelligence at your fingertips than you may realise. Using social media data, you can tweak your marketing and sales operations to stay on top of consumer trends and ahead of your competitors.

3. Russia’s Internet: Clicking Away

America may be the land of the free, but Russia is the land of free Wi-Fi. From the airport express train to cafés and bars across Moscow, getting online is easy and on the house. This is one reason why, in recent years, only in the Arab world has the number of internet users grown faster than in Russia. Today the country boasts the largest online population in Europe. Hence the optimism among Russian internet entrepreneurs. But are social networks the gateway for digital marketing in the future? Digital marketers of Russia express their views.

Look out for next week’s most popular – brought to you by Klaxon!

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

How to Sell Marketing Automation to the CEO

Marketing Automation

You could argue there are only two things any b2b marketer needs to worry about:

1. will my marketing plan deliver the targeted return on investment?

2. am I on top of the latest trends, technologies and the competition to ensure next year’s plan is successful too?

I know that rather simplifies what we do as marketers, but it’s likely how your CEO will view your contribution to the business.

Are you reaching your targets and how are you affecting the future success of the business?

In recent years a strategy that has helped with both of those questions is marketing automation; essentially the use of technology to personalise each interaction with a customer based on their behaviours.

You see automation all the time in consumer marketing. Just log into Amazon and look at the products it recommends for you. They are all based on your search history on Amazon.

But there are real opportunities through automation for b2b marketers too.

For example if a visitor to your website reads a blog post on optimising server speeds, you could promote a white paper on load balancing in the related posts section. You could also flag this contact to your inside sales team for follow-up if the visitor has achieved a suitable lead score.

The more closely linked your marketing automation platform is to your CRM, the more accurate this behavioural targeting will become. Also you will build a much better picture of your target audience too, fuelling your sales team’s ability to follow-up and close.

But it doesn’t stop there, for example you could employ a retargeting campaign too.

Retargeting enables you to target digital advertising based on what customers are searching for online. If you ever wondered why facebook is showing an advert for a product you searched for in Google the previous day, that’s down to retargeting.

But marketing automation is not always as simple as it sounds. There are lots of choices of automation products, ranging from Oracle Eloqua and Marketo at the top end, to more SME focussed products such as Act-on and Hubspot – read reviews on all of the marketing automation platforms on G2 here.

The complexity and high cost makes choosing a marketing automation platform fraught with pitfalls.

It can be costly to change direction if you choose poorly too. This is why your CEO might not be so keen to jump into automation without careful consideration.If you are faced with the need to convince a CEO to buy into a marketing automation project, here are four key benefits to help you sell in your project:

1. Increased efficiencies

Marketing automation often comes with a hefty price tag, but delivered well can actually save time and increase efficiencies through improved marketing operations. Imagine multiple marketing transactions taking place concurrently, in a targeted way without a marketing manager having to be physically involved. That’s essentially automation.

With the ever-growing number of channels we use in marketing this can save a considerable amount of time. Not only that, but you can more easily deliver a consistent message and creative execution across each channel too. Assuming all of your creative is planned well in advance.

The initial costs may be high, but the overall increase in efficiencies should quickly pay off and save money. That’s a tick in the box for the better bottom line.

2. Improved attribution

With marketing automation you get a much clearer picture of which tactics are and which aren’t working. You are more easily able to attribute sales to campaigns and ultimately assess the value of each marketing tactic.

Want to know if the leads from a trade show have converted? Check. What about enquiries from a web form? Check. This new level of attribution will enable you to tell your CEO which 50% of the marketing / advertising budget is working, saving time and money in the future.  If you know what works, simply repeat those tactics in next year’s plan.

3. Better customer profiling

Marketing automation platforms enable you to collect a lot of data on your target audience:

– What are their core demographics?
– What content are they reading online?
– Which assets have they downloaded?
– How long have they spent on your site?
– Who else from each account has engaged with your campaign?

The list goes on and it’s incredibly valuable. This data creates a picture of your audience you can use for lead scoring, passing on to sales only those leads that are of a certain quality.

Marketing automation powers the single view of the customer that’s so valuable to marketing and sales professionals alike.

4. Improved alignment of sales and marketing

Marketers are often accused by sales teams of not providing adequately qualified, or a great enough volume, of leads for them to achieve their targets. This is evident when you see sales managers working on separate CRM’s than their marketing colleagues.

An effective automation platform brings the two teams together much more closely since it creates that single view of the customer. If you are a sales oriented organisation – and what successful b2b company isn’t – then it’s crucial that sales and marketing play together nicely. An automation platform might just be the silver bullet to this age-old challenge.

What does this mean for your CEO? Likley increased revenues and lower costs.

I’m sure there are many more benefits to using marketing automation, but these address the key issues any high performing CEO cares about: customer experience, revenue and ultimately bottom line.

If you would like to know more about how a marketing automation platform could help you to grow you business, please get in touch. You can also share your experiences in the comments below.

5 Content Marketing Lessons from Dr. Seuss

Dr Seuss Lessons for Content MarketingThere is a special spot carved out in one’s heart for childhood memories. As children, we are taught lessons of right versus wrong, good versus evil, and other poignant life lessons from storybooks and nursery rhymes. These lessons are taken with us into our teenage years, into adulthood and can even serve as guiding principals in one’s line of work.

As marketers this rings true. So it is with a creative license, that we bring you five Content Marketing Tips for Success courtesy of Dr. Seuss.

1.) “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So … get on your way.” (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)

Lesson: Educating readers and customers through content marketing is a necessity in today’s marketplace. Traditional marketing has lost its impact, given that consumers are becoming increasingly busy, block out noise, and are no longer interested in being sold something. As a marketer, you must be adding value, and if you have not started yet – now’s the time!

2.) “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads.” (We Can Do Better)

Lesson To avoid hypocrisy, the moral of the story is to keep content simple and brief. Today’s online world is extremely overcrowded, so capturing readers’ attention will be the biggest challenge.

3.) “Step with great care and great tact. And remember that life’s a great balancing act.” (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)

Lesson: Providing valuable content takes time. It is important to find a balance between quality and quantity. Sacrificing quality for quantity will have consequences in the form of lost readership and ultimate defeats the purpose if your content is not offering value.

4.) “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)

Lesson: In order to generate quality content, while not spending copious amount of time producing it, it is key to pay attention to competitors, expand one’s reading library, while also listening and continuously engaging with one’s target audience. Identifying organisations that have done the majority of the research and legwork for you, will be a life saver and can also offer valuable lessons that one can take away and replicate on one’s own.

5.) “I meant what I said and I said what I meant.” (Horton Hatches the Egg)

Lesson: When striving to bring value to readers,authenticity is a key ingredient for successful content marketing. Customers value honesty and if one is unable to remain true to their brand, readers will see through this and become disinterested.

These lessons from Dr. Seuss have been applied over the years time and time again, while also providing its readers with hours of enjoyable entertainment. Using these lessons as guiding principles in your daily life whether as a marketer aiming to bring value to one’s customers through content marketing, or as a small child learning to try new food (Green Eggs and Ham), Dr. Seuss can always be relied upon.

Image courtesy of Brandi Korte

 

The Importance of BANT Qualification

The primary objective of any b2b marketer is delivering qualified leads to the sales force.BANT qualified lead

You may or may not agree with that statement. But when I speak to any marketing director and the question of measurement  is broached, the conversation always boils down to leads. Typically two questions:

> What’s the cost per opportunity?

> What’s the cost per acquisition?

Frankly I appreciate that.  As an agency we want to be evaluated based on hard metrics. Sales leads are surely where the buck stops and are the ultimate measure of the success of a campaign – although there are other good measures too… 

But one word is missing here and that word is qualified.

What constitutes a qualified lead is up for debate. There are numerous models for establishing a marketing qualified lead and for lead scoring too. In my opinion perhaps the most simple model is BANT qualification, which stands for:

1. Budget

2. Authority

3. Need

4. Timescale

Does your prospect have an appropriate budget, the authority to sign off on a purchase, the need for your product or service and finally a timescale in which they must make a decision?

If you can ‘qualify’ each of these then you are well on your way to understanding if your lead is worthwhile pursuing i.e. he / she is a qualified lead.

It’s not a particularly complex model, but ever so useful. Sadly in this past week I have been chasing a project, via a partner agency, where the lead was not BANT qualified. He had neither the budget or the authority.

The result?

No new business. But not just that, a lot of wasted time, disappointed partners and above all else, time not spent on servicing our existing customers. Very frustrating.

Next time an opportunity comes our way I will be doing my homework properly and using the BANT model.  As should all b2b marketing professionals who are thinking of passing leads to their sales force.

 

What Skills do B2B Marketers Need to be Effective in 2014?

Customer Insight

The world of B2B marketing is in a constant state of flux.

Hardly an earth-shattering statement, but one you would be hard pressed to disagree with. Advances in technology and innovative new business models mean B2B marketers today work in a more complex and dynamic environment than our predecessors. How you perform today is as much to do with keeping up-to-date with the zeitgeist, as it is rolling out a tried and tested marketing plan. If ever there was a need to write a personal development plan, it’s now.

What does this mean for the sills required by Joe B2B Marketer to be effective in 2014 and beyond?

1. You must understand how to measure ROMI

Marketers at all levels must get to grips with measuring return on investment. Open rates, click through rates, event attendance and reach are no longer good enough. What’s the impact on sales pipeline and how do we as marketers positively impact these numbers?

The good news is technology makes this easier to achieve, but also this means marketers need to get closer to sales. Make 2014 the year you learn how to be friends with the sales director.

2. You have to get to grips with digital marketing

The effect of new technologies on marketing has been transformational. Changing not just what we do, but how we do it.  2013 was without a doubt the year digital grew up and social media began to show real value.

But do you know your social channels and how to work with them properly? Do you understand how to integrate digital marketing into everything you do? B2B marketers need to get smarter at using social media yes, but also marketing automation, website analytics, conversion tracking, mobile apps and so on.

As a marketer in 2014 it’s time to truly get digital.

3. You must know your data protection laws

More technology invariably means more data. More data means more regulation. More regulation means more careful data management. It is essential marketers understand their responsibilities in this space.

But it’s not just about the legalities. Are you cleaning your data regularly, segmenting it effectively and using it to create personalised brand experiences? There is without a doubt a huge opportunity for marketers here, but let’s not forget about the opportunities of using data from multiple sources too a.k.a. big data.  An understanding of the new European Data Protection Regulations should be high up on your list of skills to acquire too.

4. It’s time to get creative with your integrated marketing

Typically when we think of creativity we consider the creative execution: messaging, branding / design and media channel selection. There is increasing scope for creativity in each of these areas, but marketers should remember the crucial role they play as the bridge between customer and business. Let’s not forget to look for creative approaches to managing that relationship through new channels and business models too.

5. Yes content marketing is important and you need to do it well

2013 was the year of the content avalanche. B2B marketers looking for fresh sales leads ramped up the volume of content being produced. With the increased volume it became apparent that if a channel existed, a marketer would use it; the field of dreams scenario.

Every single marketer using a content strategy needs to work out how to rise above the din that is content marketing. Otherwise the ROI is likely to be somewhat slow to appear. Marketers must learn how to create content that is engaging, educational or entertaining, preferably all three. Optimise it to attract eyeballs and distribute it well to gain maximum attention. On top of that you must know how to measure the impact of your content strategy. Google Analytics anyone?

6. The value of events is increasingly important, but embrace the change

The landscape for events is evolving too. With new technologies come greater opportunities for before, during and after show experiences and also entirely new event formats. What can you do to embed digital tactics into your event?

With research indicating 70% of a buyer’s information search is now completed before they contact a vendor, event marketers need to tailor their campaigns to the correct stage in the buying cycle.

7. There will always be a need for partnerships

The age-old pitch from agencies that “we like to be a partner to our clients” might seem like a broken record, but it is worth considering for driving up effectiveness.

Agencies need clients but it should never be a one-way street. Client side marketers need to know how to get the best from their agencies (note this is unlikely to be by beating them up).  At the same time agencies really should be a partner to their clients. Invest time to understand your clients’ businesses, hire and retain staff and incubate new team members. Reward clients with excellence in consultancy and execution; they deserve nothing less.

8. Get to grips with using emotion in B2B marketing

In B2B we generally sell based on rational data: product specifications and speed tests for example. Business buyers only really care about the features. But is that accurate?

Your customer is a person, not a machine. People use emotions in decision-making and even more so when making big-ticket purchases. Consumer marketers know this and use emotion heavily in their communications, but this might just make the difference for B2B marketers in 2014 too. Learn how to get in touch with your emotional side in 2014 and apply that to your marketing and communications.

Let me know if the comments below what you think are the key skills marketers need in 2014 to be effective.

(A version of this article first appeared on the B2B Marketing Magazine Blog.)