Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category
Monday, August 20th, 2012
We believe effective Marketing Communications must travel through a disciplined six-step process if it is to have impact:
1. Research – How Do You Differentiate?
Jack Trout, the well-known marketing author, said it simply: “Differentiate or die.” In a market where you’re fighting for position, differentiation is critically important. You may need to conduct branding research to identify the key message drivers that will persuade potential customers that Avtron is the answer.
2. Don’t tell me what you do; tell me what you do BETTER. Once you’ve identified the sweet spot and made a commitment to stay there, you now have to make sure your message is correct and compelling. The job of marketing is in many respects to move your message from a “nice to have” to a “have to have.” Often, companies take a “me-too” message to market and don’t delineate exactly how they are better. Soft messages like this don’t resonate with their sweet spot and are easily ignored. Our next section will discuss in more detail what we can do to ensure our message is compelling and on target for our sweet spot.
Are you satisfied that your messaging is comparative and differentiated?
3. Market only to the Sweet Spot. Marcom must be directed only and completely to the company’s “sweet spot,” those customers that find the company’s products and services irresistible. These are customers that always seem to buy, take the shortest amount of time to decide, with the fewest sales resources required, and are willing to pay higher prices for what you sell. They can be described with specific, detailed demographic attributes that can be used when targeting others. They make up what marketers call your “Ideal Customer Profile.”
It is difficult for companies to remain true to their sweet spot. They often operate programs that are close, yet just outside, for a variety of reasons.
• “The advertising rates were very low for this new publication.”
• “The sales force said we HAD to be at this show.”
• “We’ve always been in this catalog before.”
All these are reasons to suspect a company is not marketing to its sweet spot with discipline.
Do you have this defined numerically?
4. Create Your Lead Funnel Calculator.
It’s easy to say you want to grow 20%. But in marketing terms, what does that MEAN? How much activity is needed to generate that 20% growth rate? Because we believe that “marketing is math,” we convert overall growth goals into very specific and measurable levels of lead activity, based on average sale size, close rate and other sales funnel metrics.
5. Find efficient ways to Encircle Your Audience with Lead Generation, Lead Nurturing and Customer Retention. Now that you’ve identified your very best potential customers, and you’ve identified a message they truly care about, your task is to encircle your audience with that message with consistent programs that are measurable and accountable. Build programs that are measured in years, not months. Research over many years show that programs characterized by isolated campaigns, efforts that stop and start, carry no cumulative brand-building effect and force the marketer to start over in building awareness with every start. Further, build programs that encircle your audience with precision accountability, by measuring the cost/lead of all your programs, and wringing the efficiency out of those that don’t meet the metrics. Finally, rely on blended campaigns that don’t over-rely on one technique, in that elusive search for the “magic bullet” tactic (if only I had a new brochure…).
50% of marketing today is online, so is your program integrated enough?
6. Create “Click-to-Close” Lead Tracking through Marketing Automation Tools (Hubspot or Pardot) that measure both the volume and quality of incoming leads. Marketing executives today are moving beyond just tracking clicks and lead flow, but are now able to use software tools to track outcomes of our marketing activity. These tools allow us to create programs tied to search engine intelligence and give us the insight we need to understand which emails turn into the most quotes, which trade shows have the best traffic quality, and which our customers truly come from.
Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
We all learned a few basics about lead conversion (such as creating true “opportunities,” not just leads) long ago, but we forget them occasionally over time. We came away from a recent B2B Lead Conversion Roundtable with a few updates on what leading organizations are doing today:
Respond quickly to sales inquiries – within 5 minutes.
Be persistent – it often takes eight or more call attempts to get through. Two to three tries probably won’t be effective at uncovering opportunities.
Use LinkedIn to research who you are calling before placing the call.
Use split testing of voicemail messages. Just as with the A/B testing we do with paid search, develop two scripts for your voicemail message and track the call-back rates on both versions.
Capture direct dial numbers in your lead forms. If you dial a direct number when following up a lead, your response rate will be 300% higher than when calling a general number.
Call at the best times of the day – you are 150% more likely to reach someone between 8:00 and 9:00 am and between 4:00 and 5:00 pm than during other times. You are 80% more likely to contact someone on a Wednesday or Thursday.
Call first, then follow up with an email – that’s the best contact sequence scenario.
Make sure you are showing up as a local phone number on the recipient’s caller ID display if you can. Blocked ID numbers are not effective.
Monday, July 2nd, 2012
“Note to readers: this is a parable. No frogs were hurt in the writing of this story!”
Years ago, a curious scientist decided he would study a particular group of amphibians to see what it was that allowed them to jump so well. After several days of study, he decided to take his experiments to the next level. He selected one of the more lively specimens and placed it on the end of the table.
“Jump frog! Jump!”
Immediately, the frog leapt clear across the table.
“Very nice!” he said and scribbled a few notes in his experiments log book.
Grabbing the frog, he proceeded to remove the left front leg with a scalpel. After tending to the frog’s open wound, he again placed the critter at the edge of the table.
“Jump frog! Jump!”
Although the frog didn’t make it to the other side of the table, the jump was still rather impressive. The studious scientist jotted down a few more lines in his journal.
Once more, he grabbed the little amphibian and removed the other front leg. Again, he placed the little fellow at the edge of the table.
“Jump frog! Jump!”
Again, the frog managed to jump a reasonable distance across the rectangular table, but not quite as far.
“Hmmm, interesting,” the scientist mumbled, penning more words into his rather copious notes. Clearly, he was getting somewhere.
This time, the scientist removed the left rear leg, bandaged the wound, and placed the frog as he had the previous times.
“Jump frog! Jump!” he bellowed loudly.
Although the effort was clearly visible, the little frog could only manage about a third of the table, flopping sideways, landing dangerously close to the edge of the table.
“Fascinating!” He attacked the notebook with a couple paragraphs on his observations.
Finally, the scientist removed the right rear leg of the frog.
“Jump frog! Jump!”
“Jump frog! Jump!” he commanded.
The frog didn’t move.
After several additional demands that the frog make another jump, the frog remained motionless on the table. After sufficient time had passed, the scientist returned to his notebook and scribbled the following: “After the removal of the last remaining leg, subject frog suddenly goes deaf and no longer responds to verbal commands.”
How does this story apply to the analytics behind your marketing automation efforts?
Ask yourself: When I look at the data, what do I see? Is it possible I’m missing the obvious? What don’t I see that I should because I’m too close to the data? Might there be some valuable information that is missing, information that would change or improve my view of progress?
Like the scientist in this little story, it is all too easy to head down the right path, but jump to the wrong conclusion, even when our approach and methods are reasonably thorough.
Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
The cat-and-mouse game we all play with Google took a dramatic turn earlier this year when the search engine’s programmers made a variety of changes to its algorithm known in the industry as Panda (Panda 3.3, 3.4 and March50-Pack). Google’s programmers, in an attempt to serve up the most relevant pages to any search, have tuned its algorithm to present results based less on keyword usage and more on overall semantics and context on the page. In fact, many sites have seen their rankings decline during April as the algorithm has taken effect, as it has penalized pages it says are over-optimized and guilty of “keyword stuffing.” It’s a reminder to us all that our web environments need to be targeted to create a great experience for the user first, and search engines second. If you haven’t done an SEO site audit in a while, it’s likely time for a fresh review. If you’re seeing an unexplained decline in your rankings, that review now carries a greater sense of urgency!
Monday, June 11th, 2012
A story: recently an engineering magazine editor told me that top-of-mind awareness is more importantthan ever before today because everyone is so short of time. What did he mean? When he was an engineer 20–30 years ago and needed to buy something, he explained, he’d put together a big spreadsheet listing the specs and features of 20 products. He and his colleagues would look at the matrix and select the product that best fit the application. Today, he said, there’s no time for that type of analysis; people just think, I need this — which two companies that make that come to mind? Purchase decisions are increasingly driven by top-level awareness, and you’d better be at the top of the list if you want your share of the business. We see that with some of our own research. When we ask customers to rank their methods of seeking information when buying products, colleague referrals typically top the list. We didn’t truly understand the context of that response until this editor’s comment put it in perspective – colleague referrals are likely driven by the same time pressures to which he referred.
What does this mean for branding and lead generation? If you think of conducting a Google search when researching a potential purchase, the role of strong brand awareness makes even more sense. The first page of results provides 10 links (more when you consider paid search, of course). Think of your personal habits – are you more likely to click on a link from a recognized company or one you’ve never heard of before? Most of us click on those we know and trust, and studies bear this out. Even in the antiseptic, graphics-free world of Google search rankings, the strength and impact of branding is clear.
Getting to the first page of a Google search, the focus for so many marketers, is certainly important. But the editor’s story reminds us that everything works better with a better brand. Are you one of the two top-of-mind companies in your industry?
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
Our agency saw a dramatic increase in our online video production last year, and many clients have recognized that video offers and content often generate the strongest response to web and email programs. However, one company recently took the video concept too far when it emailed a news release to editors that consisted ONLY of a video! No text, nothing for the editor to review, revise, and edit. They expected the editor to listen to the video, type a transcript while listening to the audio, and create a new product news item. Sometimes marketers do the darndest things!
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
Alignment is a challenge for every organization. From our experience as marketers, we all know that alignment between the B-to-B sales and marketing departments is rarer than a snorkeling vacation in Lake Erie.
Forrester Research recently studied the problem and gave us some data to back up our anecdotal evidence. In its report, “B2B Sales and Marketing Alignment,” only 8% of companies said they have “tight alignment” between sales and marketing.
What’s the barrier? The greatest obstacles, survey respondents said, was long-term thinking by marketing vs. short-term thinking by sales (58%); different goals and measurements (46%); and not enough time (45%).
Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
We all intuitively sense Google’s presence in our daily (computing) lives, and this infographic does a tremendous job of conveying Google’s online dominance graphically. http://www.wordstream.com/articles/google-earnings
Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
B-to-B marketers are paying more and more attention to the stats and data coming from HubSpot and other marketing automation tools. In fact, more of our clients are planning marketing automation reviews or implementations in 2012 than ever before, with most using or leaning toward HubSpot and Pardot.
Recently, one of our clients took some of the results of HubSpot’s A/B testing to heart on a basic question many of us face: What web button text is most likely to lead someone to click? Is it Submit? Register? Or does it even matter? HubSpot’s advice to us, based on their clients’ testing, is that Click Here generates the highest clicks and lead conversions. And, in one instance, it was true: one client boosted clicks on an offer by 31% in a month – just by changing the button text to Click Here.
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
Read it now for valuable marketing news, ideas and tips: