Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Creating Content for the Buying Committee

Creating Content for the Buying Committee

Most B2B sales are not decided upon by just one person. Often a committee of folks is involved, both during the initial decision process and further down the buyer journey, during the purchase process. As many as 8 or more participants weigh in internally before a final “Let’s do it” is heard.

As frustrating as this is for sales, it’s even more frustrating for marketers trying to:

  1. Identify these committee members and 
  2. Serve them relevant content

Unfortunately we usually only get access to just one committee member, the person who is raising their hand. He or she has clicked thru one of our emails, filled out a form, attended a webinar, etc. and made themselves known.   

Let’s call this person the Champion.

Sirius Decisions has identified a total of 4 committee member types:

  • The Champion
  • The Influencer
  • The Negotiator
  • The Ratifer

So how do you send relevant content to these people, at the correct time they need to see it, without even knowing who they are?

You can’t. Not unless they raise their hand too. Sorry.

So, we are left with 2 approaches to ensuring relevant content is sent to the right person at the right time:

  1. Enable the Champion as our “Content Distributor”
  2. Populate Social Media, as well as your own website, with easy to find answers to likely questions from the Influencer, the Negotiator and the Ratifier.

Creating the Personas
The first step is to create personas for each of the 4 committee member types. Ask sales what keeps each one up at night? What do they want answers to? What content tools can you provide that will help answer the question, “What’s in it for them?” Once we know what list of concerns each committee member type has, we can create specific content to address each one of their concerns.

Converting the Champion to “Content Distributor”
Once the Champion has initially raised their hand, the next step is to add them to a nurturing/scoring program that feeds content, directed at them initially. This is typically Thought Leadership content. It’s never about you at this stage, it’s always about what you can do for the Champion. The goal is to provide enough credibility that your company makes it to the short list of evaluated vendors.

Focus on content that is appropriate not only for the Champion, but for the Influencer as well. The goal is to get the Champion to pass your Thought Leadership along to the Influencer. 

Don’t forget, the Influencer is searching on their own, so make this content easy to find on your website as well, along with targeted Social Media, just in case you haven’t converted your Champion to “Content Distributor” just yet.

Content that makes the Champion look like a hero will get forwarded more often than “non-hero” content. So what the heck is Hero Content? “Hero Content” has to be good enough to warrant a “Hey Influencer,  look what I found” reaction from the Champion.

Assuming the Champion progresses through the buyer journey and is engaged with your nurturing content, at some point the lead’s internal Decision Process shifts to a Purchase Process. The trouble is you may not know when this actually occurs. The Champion may have scored very high at this point, but the Purchase Process committee members may not have even weighed in yet.

Based on what you and your sales team know about your own sales cycle, you can send a Purchase Process trial balloon email to the Champion when the time feels about right and see what the response is. Did the Champion click thru to the ROI calculator? Did it appear as if they may have forwarded the email?

If so, now is the time to leverage your Champion to distribute content relevant to the Purchase Decision group. ROI calculators, ROI Case Studies, Financial risk aversion content. It’s all about the money. 

Once again, this group is searching on their own as well. Make sure this type of content is easy to find, not only on your website but on targeted Social Media as well. Hero content works best here too.

Just because we don’t always know who the committee members are, we can use this strategy to convert the Champion to our “Distributor of Content” to those behind the curtain. Content creation should therefore be focused on serving the following committee member types:

The Decision Process
·       The Champion
·       The Influencer

The Purchase Process
·       The Negotiator
·       The Ratifier

This will help define the What. Leverage MA to define the When.

Visit mybrand new website and learn more about marketing segmentation best practices.

Steve Kellogg
-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Automation Best Practices Consultant

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Social Media: Tracking What Others Say About You

With better Social Media reporting tools coming on line, we’re starting to get a much better picture of the extent Social Media plays in converting leads into buyers.

These tools provide insight into the whole other universe of inbound conversations occurring before, during and after our own outbound marketing communications.

And while the traditional funnel model continues to work for our outbound marketing efforts, alas - it no longer fits with the overall buyer journey.

Instead, the buyer journey now looks like a grid, with seemingly disjointed inbound and outbound touch points all playing a role in converting leads into buyers.

Welcome to The Grid

Here is a visual example of how a buyer journey might progress from beginning to end.

Black squares are Inbound touches and Red squares are outbound touches. We see this person bouncing all over the place, but ultimately ending up a buyer.

If we try and convert this buyer journey example into a linear roadmap, it would look like this:

We can track all the outbound activities just fine, the disconnect continues to tie in the value of all the inbound activities into one holistic view that can be leveraged for reporting.

Our colleagues in Germany will have an even tougher time, as Germany has recently banned the business use of FaceBook Fan pages and Facebook "Like" social plugins because the data collection infringes on Germany’s data protection laws.

So, while we can’t road map the collective social media activities of a single individual yet, we can definitely track how and where our products and brands are being perceived within the social media framework.


  • Get insight into the overall sentiment of your brand as well as those of  your products/services within the social media universe. Overall, is the conversation mostly positive? Mostly negative? Mostly neutral?
o   Use this to focus on keeping your +/- ratio extremely high for each product and each brand.
  • How does this sentiment compare to your competitors? Where is your company in the “love-fest” pecking order within your industry?
o   Use this as a benchmark in elevating and keeping your overall +/- ratio higher than your competitors.
  •  How much share of overall “voice” is your company receiving within your industry compared to your competitors? In other words, how much buzz is about you vs. the competition. (This could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether the sentiment is mostly positive or mostly negative).
o   Use this as a benchmark in increasing and keeping dominance in your overall share of voice within your industry.
  • Which “megaphones” are people using to communicate? Facebook? Twitter? Blogs? Forums?
o   Use this to help identify where resources should be focusing their social media efforts.
  • Where specifically are the most influential conversations coming from? Are there particular blogs, forums or groups that are being particularly influential?
o   Efforts can then be made to encourage the positive and repair the negative.

So how do you track and measure all this?

One of the better tools I’ve used that can provide these insights and more is Radian6 which was recently purchased by SFDC.

If you only care about Twitter, they just announced Twitter Web Analytics, a tool that helps website owners understand how much traffic they receive from Twitter and the effectiveness of Twitter integrations on their sites.

If you want insight into ALL of the recommendations above, Astadia is offering a complimentary Social Media Assessment Summary, for a limited time.

All you need is:
1. Your Company Name
2. The name of the Competitor you want to compare your share of voice to
3. The name of the product or service you want to get sentiment on

Click here to request this complimentary Assessment Summary

Controlling what content is received along with when a lead receives it through outbound marketing is easy. Controlling where leads go to find useful information and what they read about us from others during the sales process is next to impossible to control.

We can still influence the outcome however by (1) incorporating the whole grid in our marketing efforts and (2) by beginning to incorporate the insights listed above.

Visit my brand new website and learn more about Social Media Marketing

Steve Kellogg
-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Automation Best Practices Consultant

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

5 Lead Scoring Myth Busters

Having researched countless lead scoring programs for various clients, certain patterns tend to appear over and over. A few very lucky clients get it right the first time, but this is extremely rare.

Some clients enable a simple lead scoring program initially, then if it fails to meet the expectation of sales, they leave it on a shelf and abandon the idea. Successful clients actively tweak their scoring program continuously, adapting to changes in their industry, their products, and the shifts in behaviors of their leads.

Myth #1: Lead Scoring Works Immediately

Successful lead scoring programs take time to develop. On average 3-6 months to test, evaluate, tweak, etc, often even longer. It is very common to see either very low scores or very high scores come through when you first fire up the program. This is normal. Go back to sales and refine the scores further, each time getting closer and closer to accurately scoring explicit and implicit criteria. You really need to evaluate it for the entire length of your average sales cycle to fully vet it. So if your average sales cycle is 2 years, be very patient as you diligently continue to refine it.

Myth #2: Lead Scoring is for Everyone

If sales’ only criteria for accepting a lead is if there is breath showing on a mirror, then sales will ignore lead scoring. In fact they will resent any efforts to throttle back non MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads). Some sales reps are desperate for any lead, whether they are qualified or not, so taking the time to develop a scoring program for them is not typically worth the effort. Also if the sales cycle is extremely short, say less than 30 days, it may not be worth it to develop a lead scoring program either.

Myth #3: One Size Fits All

I have clients that have multiple lead scoring programs running simultaneously, one for each product, geo or BU. Keep in mind this took several years to get to this stage and was done only after fully vetting their first successful lead scoring program. When setting up an initial lead scoring program, I recommend scoring on general interest first – Not by Specific BU. The advantages of doing it this way are:

    • Vetts the process with Key Players
    • Builds Confidence/Buzz
    • Gains Momentum
    • Build out Specific BUs once Success Achieved

Myth #4: Lead Scoring Generates More Leads

It always surprises me how prevalent this misconception is, especially among sales. It is often the reason sales reps ultimately ignore your lead scoring program. The truth is, just the opposite occurs. Sales actually gets fewer leads; but they tend to be of higher quality and further in the buying cycle. Make sure sales understands that lead scoring does not guarantee a lead has an open PO ready to sign, or have their checkbooks out, it only provides a pecking order of who to call first, second, third, etc. That’s it.

Myth #5: If Sales Looses Confidence in Lead Scoring – Game Over

This almost always happens when the mistake is made to launch an initial lead scoring program to the entire sales organization out of the gate. Sales heard about this cool thing called lead scoring, marketing is anxious to provide immediate value, so the lead scoring program is launched quickly. That’s when the trouble starts. Sound familiar?

If this occurs, don’t give up, but don’t re-launch an edited version to the whole sales team. They are already circumspect and if there are still any edits to be made, then it will be very difficult to get full buy-in moving forward.

Instead work with 1 or 2 sales champions and really get them involved in making the tweaks. Have them evaluate the last 50 closed deals and look for explicit similarities. Are they sharing a specific job role or title? Look for similar behaviors as well. Visits to certain web pages, attendance at specific webinars, etc. If you look, patterns will emerge. Make sure your next generation scoring program is incorporating these.

If you are new to lead scoring or need a Lead Scoring “Do-Over”, consider the following tips, depending on whether you have many leads or few leads:

We Have Many Leads in CRM

  • Start with an Inactive Lead Nurturing/Scoring Program
  • Pros:
  • Converts dead or “junk” leads
  • Doesn’t disrupt current lead flow processes
  • Cons:
  • Takes full sales cycle to provide value
  • Leverage nurturing to drive scorable behaviors – don’t just leave it to happenstance

We Have Few Leads in CRM

  • Score Everyone Often
  • Focus on recency of behavior, rather than frequency of behavior
  • Give sales visibility to all scored leads (not just MQLs)
  • Build Fast Lane for Ready to Buy Leads
  • Work closely with your “sales champion” throughout testing phase
  • Leverage nurturing to drive scorable behaviors – don’t just leave it to happenstance
Lead scoring is marketing's gift to sales. It can be an extremely powerful sales enablement tool. But it rarely works correctly out of the box and requires continuous course correction once it does work. Having that expectation helps make the lead scoring journey worth all the trouble for the entire enterprise.

Visit my brand new website and learn more about lead scoring.

Steve Kellogg
-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Automation Best Practices Consultant

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Friday, July 8, 2011

What Happens When Everything is Relevant?

Right now, adopters of marketing automation have a leg-up in that our messages are presumably more relevant than those still incorporating batch & blast messaging. We have the advantage of right time, right message, right person workflows.

But as marketing automation adoption continues to skyrocket, what happens when everyone’s messages are relevant? Now what? Competition for attention becomes even more challenging.

Even now, my inbox is already full of relevant messages. For example, I am a member of at least 20 LinkedIn Marketing Automation groups and continue to receive extremely relevant discussion topics all day long.

So how can you get your marketing email to move to the front of the line?
  • Urgency
  • Importance
All other things being relevant (excuse the pun), we tend to focus on those messages that are (1) Urgent, then (2) Important.

An email from my bank suspecting fraud on my account is both urgent and important. I would stop everything and take action.

An email reminding me I only have 30 minutes left to register for a popular workshop is urgent and worthy of my immediate attention as well (assuming it is relevant and important).

An email inviting me to a webinar 5 weeks from now may be important but it is not urgent.

Many studies indicate that people wait until the last minute before taking action. I recently helped a client with a webinar registration test in which over 55% of the registrations were submitted within 24 hours of the event, despite the initial invitation and reminder emails being sent 2 weeks prior. Leveraging the last minute is a sure-fire method of getting your message to the top of the list and “forcing” action.

Don’t’ Fake Urgency

You can’t always create urgency when there really isn’t any. Don’t fake it whatever you do. We all hear the radio commercial that makes an offer to the next 20 callers only, that runs every 2 hours.

Making it Important

If you can't make it urgent, try and make it important. I know everything we marketers send out is extremely important (at least in our eyes) but it may not be perceived that way by the recipient (shocking I know). One way to help sell importance is to make it scarce.

You’ve developed an eBook that contains information rarely seen before. Your offer is a complete paradigm shift, a game changer. You’ve figured out a way to put a square peg in a round hole. Make your message important by including scarcity when possible.

If there is no urgency, and your message is not particularly earth-shattering, at least make it convenient. This is one reason video is so successful. It’s easy and requires very little effort. If I’m confronted with 20 relevant messages, I’m definitely responding to the one that requires the least effort to respond to first.

As an early marketing automation adopter you may not need to leverage these tactics now, but you will. Better to leverage them now.

P.S. So what happens when down the road, everything becomes relevant, urgent, important and convenient? I’m not sure what we do. Maybe we put down our devices and pay attention to the person next to us?

Visit my brand new website and learn more about marketing automation

Steve Kellogg
-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Automation Best Practices Consultant

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Priceline is Following Me...Literally!

Several months ago I needed to book a hotel in Hollywood, CA near a client. I had never used Priceline before so I’d thought I’d give it a try. They found me a good deal at a hotel “nearby”. Long story short they ended up booking me into a hotel in Century City, which is nowhere near Hollywood.

As soon as I got the confirmation I called them and requested a refund, but despite 30 minutes of wrangling with the “manager” they refused to budge. I ended up paying for 2 hotel rooms that night. The hotel in Century City from Priceline and the hotel in Hollywood that I ended up booking on my own. Lesson learned – I will never use Priceline again. Ever.

Yesterday I needed to book a hotel in Palm Springs, near another client. I went online and did the usual searching, using Kayak, Travelocity, Expedia, etc.

Within 20 minutes I was shocked to receive an email from Priceline.com offering discounts on hotels in Palm Springs on the same days I was planning on being there. How did they know I was looking for a hotel in Palm Springs? How did they know which days I was going to be there?

As a marketing automation and Best Practices consultant I would be the last person to toss up the Big Brother argument for cookie tracking, but wow, this is the first time I’ve ever felt like Big Brother was actually watching me – stalking me almost.

If the email was from a company I would actually consider doing business with I wouldn’t mind, in fact I’d probably appreciate it, but what made this so unsettling is every time I even hear about Priceline it always reminds me of the money I lost.

Cookie Tracking
There has been a lot of discussion lately about cookie tracking as it relates to privacy issues vs. relevance.

In fact, in the EU, there is a new law which goes into effect in May that now requires websites to obtain a user's consent before even being allowed to install a tracking cookie. Yikes.


Marketing Automation and cookie tracking in particular make it easier to send “hey we just watched you online and boy do we have a deal for you” emails.

As more and more companies test these waters, it will be critical to everyone's success to make sure to also include as part of the process,  confirmation of a good relationship with the target just prior to sending the email. Otherwise we all run the risk of facing the same restrictive legislation the EU is about to face.

Key Takeaway
If the current state of the relationship is monitored, sending the right person the right message at the right time can be extremely effective in fostering a deeper, more personal relationship.

If the relationship is not considered, then it's like the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend who won't stop following you. They’re stalking.

Visit my brand new website and learn more about data management.

Steve Kellogg
-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What To Do When Your Webinar Ends in Disaster (A True Story)

After months of planning, preparation, content creation and all the other hard work that goes into creating a compelling webinar, the XYZ company (actual company name witheld) was finally ready to launch their very first webinar event.

The speaker was lined up, the slide presentation was finalized and the webinar vendor selected.

Thanks to some great marketing Best Practices work on our part (sameless Astadia plug :) there were 3 times as many registrations as the company ever expected. The virtual room was packed and everyone was ready to get started. Customary housekeeping announcements were made (be sure to mute your phone, there will be Q&A at the end, etc).

All was going brilliantly until about 10 minutes prior to the end of the webinar when a faint conversation started in the background on the webinar conference phone line. One of the participants forgot to mute their phone and his conversation with one of his employees was getting louder and louder.

The audience soon realized that the conversation he was having was a very personal HR discussion with an employee about their prolonged illness.

"Do you need to take an extended leave of absense?"

"What is your overal prognosis?"

 It was extremely uncomfortable for everyone to have to listen to, even briefly.

Now, normally the moderator would have simply done a "MUTE ALL", however she couldn't because the presenter was calling in remotely on the phone and of course that would have muted him as well.

Since this was their very first webinar the moderator never thought that simply having the presenter dial in as an attendee would be an issue. Obviously a lesson well learned and never repeated.

But it's not what this company didn't do that is the point of this post, it is what they did to recover from this that set them apart.

Despite numerous attempts to get this person's attention and get him to mute his line, it quickly became clear the only solution was to stop the webinar. Since there was only 10 minutes left, it didn't make sense for everyone to have to hang up and redial back in, this time with the presenter able to mute all.

Instead, the moderator apologized profusely, ended the webinar immediately, and made a promise to make it up to everyone.

Here is exactly how the XYZ Company did that:

  1. They called each and every attendee and personally apologized for the dissruption
  2. They sent out an email with an invitation to a live "encore" presentation to be held within 2 days
  3. They automatically entered all attendees into a contest, giving away a new iPad2 at the end of the encore presentation to one lucky winner
  4. They also offered a comprehensive, on-site technology cost-audit, no matter where the customer was located - all at no charge
The good-will the XYZ Company generated by their actions as a result of this disaster did more than any webinar content ever could in building a positive lasting impression.

So often we hear about companies who seek to hide or flat out deny obvious product or service glitches, but in this case, the XYZ Company turned what was a total disaster into an incredible opportunity to build both trust and value.

By the end of the encore webinar, many that attended were ready to buy.

Those that didn't buy either complimented the XYZ company to other colleagues or sent complimentary emails to the XYZ Company directly. Some even blogged about the experience, including me.

The original webinar was meant to communicate how great the XYZ company is. But it was the actions they took after the disaster that proved it.

Chances are, you may never have to expereience anything like this, but I encourage you to actually embrace disasters if and when they occur.

Social Media is the collection plate of horrible experiences, which is why so many companies are reluctant to jump in. They are afraid of negative comments. But if actions really are the best content, then what a perfect arena to join and actively look for opportunities to build trust, in part by repairing trust in front of others.

Visit my brand new website and learn more about social media marketing.

Steve Kellogg
-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

How Many Invitation Emails Does it Take to Get a Webinar Registration?

To help answer this question, we (Astadia) recently had a chance to reconfirm initial tests we performed several years ago, but with some interesting new results.

We wanted to know:
  • How many webinar invitations do people ignore before finally signing up?
  • How many webinar invitations will people tolerate receiving before unsubscribing?
  • How long or how soon before the webinar do invitation(s) work best in generating registration signups?
Here are the results:
  • 2 weeks out = 21 submissions – Subject Line: Register Today
  • 1 week out = 55 submissions - Subject Line: There’s Still Time to Register
  • 3 days out = 34 submissions-- Subject Line: Last Chance to Register
  • 1 day out = 37 submissions -- Subject Line: You Have 24 Hours Left to Register
  • Day of Webinar = 46 submissions -- Subject Line: You Have 30 Minutes Left to Register
Key Takeaways:
  • 19% of registrants waited until the day before the webinar to register
  • 24% of registrants waited until the day of the webinar to register
  • 43% in total waited to within 24 hours of the webinar to register
  • Adding urgency to the Subject Line increases conversion
  • There was no spike in unsubscribes whatsoever throughout the entire invitation process. In fact the unsubscribe rate remained below industry averages.
While these results only reflect what worked best for this particular client, I'd love to hear what metrics you have captured and what timing is working best for you.

NOTE: We were unable to test invitations sent further than 2 weeks out as the webinar content didn't get finalized until then.

Visit my brand new website and learn more about content marketing.

Steve Kellogg
-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Building a Nurturing Fast Lane

Nurturing programs do a great job of building relationships, from tire kicker all the way to ready to buy leads.

There are those rare leads however that are impatient and are ready to buy sooner, sometimes much sooner. Your nurturing pace is too slow for them and they are ready for contact NOW.

While lead scoring programs monitor and report on these, anyone who indicates that they want contact immediately, should get contact immediately – like in the next 5 minutes. Lead scoring programs are fast, but not that fast!

The Nurturing Fast Lane

it’s surprising how many leads actually take action if you give them the opportunity to request contact immediately, where it makes sense. We all know that just slapping a Contact Me link on your website usually produces nada, but presenting a way for impatient leads to make contact at the end of an engaging asset often yields better results.

Try adding a Contact Me Now link at the end of every asset in your nurturing program. For example, a link at the end of an entertaining video, an informative whitepaper or a relevant case study. Add this fast lane option to the end of each asset you deliver, even if it’s just an email.

It often relieves friction if you give them a choice of how they want to be contacted. Something like this:

Yes I want to learn more:
BTW: This usually also gets you a valid phone number if they choose that option. Expect roughly 75% of responses to want email contact vs. phone contact, but hey, its better than wanting no contact!

Rely on form notifications to get this into the hands of sales immediately. Time is of the essensce. An immediate repsonse is always ideal. Sales love talking with leads who are engaged right now.

If you don’t have a fast lane built into every nurturing touch point, try adding it. I’ve seen results anywhere from 0.5% to 3% response rates! The more interesting, informative, relevant and sometimes entertaining the content, the better the conversion. The story of our lives.

Visit my brand new website and learn more about lead nurturing.

Steve Kellogg
-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

How to Make Supply Chain Management (and your product) Funny

Killer content must be:

  • Relevant
  • Interesting
  • Informative
  • Entertaining

Entertaining? Yes, according to the new book "Content Rules" by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman.

I couldn't agree more.

Think about it, as more and more companies adopt marketing automation, more of the content we all start receiving will be relevant. Geez, when everyone is relevant, now what? Now how do you get their attention?
Get ahead of the curve as an early adopter of marketing automation by ensuring your content is interesting, informative AND entertaining.
So question #1 is which content should I focus on making entertaining? The answer is, which content is currently converting the best? (For those who have adopted Revenue Performance Management, which content is producing the most revenue?
I took a poll of our own Astadia marketing content and here's what I found.

Video outperformed all other types of content by a large margin. In fact the least-watched video still outperformed the best viewed non-video asset by a mile. In addition, we found that:

  • Those watching a video watched more than 1 video
  • Video links got higher SE results than whitepaper, case study or other asset links
Which of your assets currently work the best? Is it video as well?

So why are videos so popular? I think for two main reasons:

  1. They take very little effort to watch (unlike Case Studies or Whitepapers)
  2. Smart Phones make it very easy to watch video, and Smart Phone useage is exploding
So how do you make an entertaining video? Here's a perfect example:

  • COMPANY: Kinaxis, Inc. A Supply Chain Management Company
  • CHALLENGE: Tell potential customers how simple their Supply Chain Management Solution is to implement
  • POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Write a white paper or a case study.
  • FINAL SOLUTION: Create a funny video instead:



 Once you've watched the above video, check out the follow-up video. It's even funnier!


I would very likely forward these videos to friends and colleagues (just like I'm forwarding to you).

As more and more B2B companies begin to "see the light" and adopt marketing automation, it becomes more important than ever to stand out. Being relevant won't be enough anymore - it's probably not enough now.

I highly recommend reading Content Rules. It's an excellent tactical how-to guide in creating your own killer content.

Visit my brand new website and learn more about content marketing.

Steve Kellogg
-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Share the IT Love This Valentine's Day

Sending flowers or candy to your IT Department may not be on your love radar this Valentine’s Day but you might want to consider it. Why? Read on:

According to a recent survey by Alterian, 67% of marketers experience friction with IT in both selecting and implementing social or online marketing tools.

So why all the friction? Well, look at your requests from IT’s perspective. When IT receives your request, they have to consider:
  • Reliability issues
  • Duplication of existing processes or effort
  • Compliance issues
  • Incompatibility issues
  • Security issues
You can’t blame them, since they will usually end up owning and maintaining your requests ongoing. Unfortunately, this usually means delays in implementation, push back in functionality or outright refusals to move forward.

I see the results of this quite often in a registration form. Marketing wants a simple registration form to download a whitepaper. IT wants to incorporate the company’s existing registration process to comply with all the concerns listed above. So marketing ends up with something like this:

Download your complimentary Whitepaper here:
If you don’t already have a login, you have to create a new account, which often includes creating a new username and password. This is usually emailed to you. So what should have taken less than 15 seconds ends up taking 5-10 minutes. Geez, all that just to get a whitepaper?

IT is happy. Marketing is unhappy. Leads are very unhappy. Win/Loose/Loose.

I recommend a compromise.

For these types of activities:
  • Trial software downloads
  • Customer Portal access
  • Support access
  • Etc.
 Use IT’s existing form process.

For marketing-specific assets, such as: 
  • Whitepapers
  • Videos
  • Webinar/event registrations
  • Etc.
Use Eloqua’s built-in form/landing page functionality.

Now, where it gets tricky is where the form field values on the marketing form are different than on the IT form. For example if you want to ask a lead scoring question such as Job Title on your marketing asset form, you’ll likely use a picklist. This same question may also exist on IT’s form but it may be and open text field. So you’ll have to go through each form field for both forms and make sure they are all in sync. You’ll also have to consider form update rules – which field from which source overwrites existing values in CRM.

So make an effort to share the love with your IT Department this Valentine's Day. They don't get much recognition so you'll win big points. And acknowledging their own pain can help you alleviate some of your own.

BTW: Check out Scott Brinker’s Chief Marketing Technologist post about shadow IT. He makes some interesting additional recommendations.

P.S. In February of last year, I wrote a blog called Share The Love This Valentine’s Day which was about sharing the love with sales. To be honest, I think sharing the love with IT is actually the priority, otherwise you won’t have enough form submissions to give sales the BIG love.

Visit my brand new website and learn more about Data Management.

Steve Kellogg
-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's Wrong with This Picture?

I was surprised when I saw the results of a recent Email Benchmark Survey from Marketing Sherpa. It shows the effectiveness of email marketing at achieving objectives. The top 3 were:

  1. Increasing website traffic
  2. Building Brand Awareness
  3. Increasing Sales Revenue

I realize that these may not have initially been the goals set out for email marketing, but the trouble with these top 3 is that they are all typical results of batch and blast email marketing.

 #1. Increasing Website traffic – I'm surprised this was #1. While generating known visitors back to a website is always good, it would not likely be #1 for those who have adopted marketing automation. Email recipients have likely been to the website at least once. So generating the same eyeballs to your site is probably not as ideal as generating net new eyeballs to your website.

Email is not the best solution for this. Social media, Blogs, PCC and organic search will get you further every time obviously. Don’t get me wrong. Getting someone to click through an email to a specific, relevant landing page with a form on it probably counts as increasing website traffic, but increasing website traffic wouldn’t be my #1 objective. Yet it was the #1 most successful email objective in the survey.

#2. Building Brand Awareness – Yikes, this is #2? Someone once explained to me that even though 80% of their emails never get opened, the brand awareness that emails generate from exposure to the FROM and SUBJECT lines were effective at building brand. Can you imagine telling your CEO, "Unfortunately most people won't open our emails, but at least they see our name." You might as well start clearing out your desk. Marketing automation practitioners would likely focus on sending more relevant messages that actually increase opens and subsequent click through rates.

#3: Increasing Sales Revenue – A worthy objective but the measure of success may be suspect. Sending an email to sell a widget might generate a temporary lift in widget sales but as soon as the widget emails decrease, so do widget sales. This is a common B2C scenario. In B2B, it obviously takes more than email to drive sales. There’s usually a whole host of assets that contribute: webinars, white papers, video, tradeshows, etc. And of course the holy grail is an accurate method of attributing revenue across all marketing touches.

So what might this survey look like if B2B marketers who have adopted marketing automation were to respond?

Top B2B Marketing Automation Email Objectives: Align with the goal of the CEO. How?
  1. Use email to drive form conversions
  2. Use email to drive segmentation (through topic click throughs and/or progressive profiling)
  3. Use email as feeders to nurturing and scoring programs
  4. Use Autoresponder emails to fast track the next call to action
What are your top 3 email objectives in 2012?

Visit my brand new website and learn more about Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)

Steve Kellogg
-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant

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