Wednesday, September 2, 2009
It's been quite a while since I last posted and I apologize for the lack of content. Alot has happened over the past few months; new position at a new company (www.cmdagency.com), which has taken the vast majority of my time but things have been going really well. I'll be getting back to the contributing to the blog over the next week and look forward to hearing from you again regarding your thoughts on the ever changing world of business to business marketing and marketing auotmation. Keep you eyes out for a upcoming post on integrating marketing and the affect of social media in the space.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Last night I attended a Social Media event and found it AMAZING how many people not only attended but also engaged... I was one of those people who have had a LinkedIn profile before people started asking "are you LinkedIn?" Now it seems almost commonplace to have someone come up and ask not only whether you are LinkedIn but also how do you use it? The overwhelming growth of soocial media is just staggering.
One recent event that I wanted to spot light was the Sirius Decisions Summitt, where the same experience I discuss above happens but you see very different audiences than those events where people are there to discuss social media. The recent conference built on an already important concept of not just aligning sales and marketing but also driving adoption of technology. For those of you that have read my blog in the past these are both concepts that have been discussed.
Here are a few past posts that may be of interest:
Marketing Automation -From a Sales Perspective
The 5 Keys to Lead Nurturing - #1 Customer Buying Process
At a time when most marketing and sales executives are searching for ways to accelerate the speed of their pipelines, the SiriusDecisions Summit once again helped to provide some direction on how best-in-class BtoB organizations are still driving demand and closing deals.
The Summit, held last week in Scottsdale, AZ, drew a packed house of leading executives from both sales and marketing teams, and helped to introduce several new concepts and terminology which will help to shape the priorities around sales and marketing alignment.
Providing a look ahead to the changing needs and priorities for sales and marketing over the next five years, SiriusDecisions Managing Director and Co-Founder
- Investment in demand creation has increased every year for the past 8 years, according to SiriusDecisions data, and is expected to continue growing through 2015;
- With metrics for best-in-class companies showing almost 50% improvement in conversion rates, and significantly decreasing their cost per lead on closed deals, SiriusDecisions projects the penetration of marketing automation systems will expand dramatically over the next five years from less than 10% in 2005 to more than 50% of BtoB marketers by 2015;
- As the marketing mix continues to shift at BtoB organizations, SiriusDecisions expects web-based marketing initiatives will drive more than 70% of inbound leads by 2015, growing from 55% of leads in 2009.
Neeson predicted that these changing dynamics will force BtoB organizations to migrate from single, “one and done” marketing tactics to an “integrated, multi-dimensional” model. “As companies move to having more of a digital relationship with prospects and customers, new resources and skill sets will be required in order to be successful with a portfolio approach to marketing,” Neeson said.
As an example of the new approach, Neeson pointed to the need to design campaign and “message maps” which match the “demographic triggers” and “buyer journeys” of specific markets.
In a separate presentation titled “The Dynamics Behind the Demand Waterfall,” SiriusDecisons VP of Research Tony Jaros offered insights into accelerating the later stages of the pipeline. Jaros suggested companies avoid turning to financial levers and discounts too quickly and look at “information voids” which may be causing deals to stall. He pointed to tools such as online configurators, gap templates and feature/functionality side-by-side comparisons as stimulus offers which can successfully match the desire of the prospect.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I wanted to pass along an interview that was recently posted on the Funnelholic Blog. It's a great interview that is worth the read! Steve Woods provides some insight into a number of current issues many B2B marketers are facing. Hope your March ended on a high note!
Thought Leadership Interview #12: Seeing the Trees in the Woods: Eloqua’s Steve Woods on What Matters in Marketing
The following innovations have made marketers better: scoring, lead nurturing, marketing automation and lead management. Whether you like it or not, Eloqua Corp. is one of the reasons we are where we are today. The company has spent a lot of time and money educating the market, creating a marketing automation install base and helping launch the lead management revolution. I couldn’t in my right mind do a thought leadership series and not have Eloqua represented. And by the way, I got a great interview out of it.
The interviewee is Steven Woods, co-founder and CTO of Eloqua. As you’ll see from this interview, he’s one of the smarter guys in the business and has written great stuff on topics related to demand generation and the current transitions within the marketing profession. His book, “Digital Body Language,” explores demand generation and the current trends in marketing. He regularly writes on his blog, which has the same name .
Steven is also deeply involved with the Eloqua user community, with whom he regularly interacts through the discussions on his Eloqua Artisan blog.
This is a GREAT interview worth reading more than once.
1. What are the three trends you see emerging in 2009?
I think the overarching trend is a shift in marketing to thinking of things in terms of a buying process rather than a sales process. This is really fundamental to engaging with today’s buyers as, given the information resources available, they truly are in control of their own buying process. As part of that, we’ll likely see lead scoring begin to evolve a little bit in 2009. Historically, as marketers, we’ve typically used lead scoring to identify when a buyer is ready to engage with sales. This is important, but it’s only one stage of the buying process. Using the same techniques we’ve used in lead scoring - of looking at buyers’ digital body language to understand their level of interest - we’ll now begin to understand exactly where in the overall buying process they are.
Similarly, throughout the year, I believe we’ll continue to see marketers deepen their thinking about lead scoring. There’s a tendency, for example, when we start thinking about lead scoring, to mash together information on the “who” (right executive, right company, right revenues) with the “how interested” (right activity and interest level). This doesn’t allow us to differentiate between an uninterested CEO (right “who,” but not interested) from a keenly interested summer intern (wrong “who,” but right level of interest). Obviously these are very different people, and I think we’ll see a continuation of the trend in marketing to ensure that these two dimensions of lead scoring are looked at separately.
To enable all of this, we’re already seeing a trend toward a clearer emphasis on data management in marketing, which I suspect will only increase throughout 2009. Marketers realize that to score leads, route leads, personalize communication,or understand market segments, they need clean underlying data – whether on title, industry, revenue or location. Standardizing and normalizing the data continually, whether it comes from Web forms, lists, uploads or a CRM system, is quickly becoming a mandate that we’re seeing today’s best marketing leaders give their marketing operations teams.
2. What are the biggest challenges for 2009?
Obviously we’re all experiencing a tough economy. Buyers are more hesitant and more thoughtful. The challenge for today’s marketer is to ensure that potentially good opportunities are not discarded because there isn’t a buying event happening at that very moment. Putting energy into marketing campaigns focused on lead nurturing and mid-funnel activities is critical in order to ensure that you stay top-of-mind until there’s a buying event.
The silver lining of the economic turmoil is that there is less emphasis on the big budget outbound campaigns, so there is more time that can be focused on ensuring that lead nurturing campaigns are well-tuned, data is managed correctly, leads are scored and routed well and a clear analysis picture is in place.
3. What are three metrics that B2B marketers should care about and why?
B2B marketing is interesting in that it involves long buying cycles, multiple people and numerous campaign touch points. Although it’s possible to analyze the effect of a marketing campaign on revenue, often the length of the buying cycle makes the analysis nonactionable. Instead, coming to an agreement with sales on an objective definition of a “marketing qualified lead,” and then analyzing marketing efforts against that definition is both relevant to revenue and also very actionable.
With that in place, you have a good base upon which to map the buying phases that are higher in the funnel. From raw inquiry through to MQL, whether you have one or a few intermediate steps, you have a good structure to analyze.
I always suggest to marketers that they adopt a similar discipline to sales or finance in analyzing and reporting their numbers. If you know the stages in your buying process, you can adopt a “balance sheet” and “income statement” view of the world. What is the current state, or phase of the buying process, of leads in your marketing funnel? That’s a “balance sheet” view. In the last quarter, what motion in the funnel (up or down) have you driven? That’s your “income statement” view. With that discipline in place, you shine a new light on your marketing effectiveness.
4. What are the top oversights marketers are making regarding lead generation?
A lot of marketers are very focused on net new names, whether it’s a new list to be purchased or an initiative to drive new interest. This overlooks the value of existing names in your database. If you focus on the middle of the funnel, with people you already know, and work to understand their interests and communicate to them in a relevant way, you can often drive more revenue more effectively than through a continual focus on net new names.
5. What will you prescribe to marketers to carry out effective lead generation?
First, think in terms of your buyers’ buying process – we’ve talked about that one at length. Second, map your information assets to the phases of the buying process to understand where you offer valuable information and where you need to develop more information assets. Third, set that information free – your prospects will acquire information somewhere, whether from you or from your competitors, so you might as well become the source they trust.
Fourth, don’t be shy about asking for a very small amount of information reciprocity; if you give them a valuable information asset, you can ask for a few pieces of information in exchange. However, build a modular profile that you can progressively add to over time. Each time you interact with a prospect, ask two or three questions, no more. By progressively profiling, and not asking the same questions multiple times, you can build a good set of information on each potential buyer without ever asking them for more than a few pieces of information.
6. What three Web 2.0 applications, cutting-edge technologies or lead generation sources do marketers HAVE to consider to be successful?
Of course, no technology is going to work magic. There are always a lot of people, processes and content elements to think about when shifting your marketing to be focused on the buyer’s buying process. However, a good demand generation platform that can provide the right nurturing, score leads across not just “who” but “how interested,” manage your data and provide a good analytics framework. I would of course recommend Eloqua for that, but everyone should make his or her own decision.
In terms of social media, the social media sources that work differ from business to business, so it’s hard to pick a specific recommendation. The best recommendation is to dive in and begin listening and learning, and evolve your strategy as you know more about where your customers and prospects, as well as influencers in your industry, have conversations. To that end, I would say the simplest way to get started is to begin listening to the online conversations using Twitter and Google blog alerts. From there, if you have knowledge to share with your market, begin writing about it on a blog of your own as well as joining the conversations on other blogs, if only to better understand where the discussions are happening in your industry. Once you get your feet wet, you’ll quickly be able to see which venues are relevant for your audience, and which aren’t.
7. What do you hope for in B2B sales and marketing for the new year?
I think that marketing is in the middle of an incredible transformation toward becoming a discipline that presents objective metrics to executive teams and boards of directors, in a similar manner to finance, operations and sales. I think that the ability to truly understand marketing’s affect on the pipeline will also begin to remedy the imbalance in compensation that exists today between great salespeople and great marketers. So, my only hope for the year is that this transition continues at its current pace, and we take some bold steps towards a new way of thinking about the discipline of marketing.Written by Craig Rosenberg - The Funnelholic
Friday, March 27, 2009
Global top marketers report that their budgets and staffs are holding up fairly well despite the recession, but they are feeling more pressure to sharpen their focus, grow market share, show ROI and prepare their organizations to meet digital marketing and measurement challenges, according to a new report from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I recently saw an interview with Craig Rosenberg on the Digital Body Language (www.digitalbodylanguage.blogspot.com) Blog that I wanted to pass along. For those of you that are not familiar with the concept of Digital Body Language, Steve Woods, founder and CTO of Eloqua, introduced this concept through a book he recently wrote. A great read if you have not had a chance to read it.
Here is copy of the exchange between Steve and Craig:
Friday, February 13, 2009I had a great chat the other day with Craig Rosenberg, better known as "The Funnelholic", based on his popular blog The Funnelholic (and of course to all of us on Twitter as @funnelholic). Craig is a great guy, fun to chat with, and smart as a whip when it comes to the challenges of managing the top of the funnel.
Our conversation ranged across a number of topics, from the evolution of social media and its B2B marketing applicability, to measurement and the challenges of today's CMO. I got a lot out of our conversation, and I hope you will too.
From my conversation with Craig Rosenberg, the Funnelholic:
Funnelholic: This is a complex question not only for me but for everyone. As I mentioned in my post, Fear of a Twitter Planet (http://www.funnelholic.com/2009/02/04/fear-of-a-twitter-planet-the-11-things-i-know-about-the-twitter-phenomenon/), if I could give the state of the union on social media, I could achieve “internet fabulous” status. I am not there yet.
But your question has a number of interesting elements to it. First of all, is the 1-to-many model bad? Yes, platforms like Twitter are becoming 1-to-many, but that is the whole point. I never thought of a Twitter as a place to house my 1-to-1 connections, although as a result I have had a number of them. To me Twitter is a new broadcast platform. Let me put this in perspective, I spent a year getting hundreds of readers to my Funnelholic blog (http://www.funnelholic.com/), 5 years getting 600 connections on LinkedIn, and a year getting 600 members to my LinkedIn group “Friends of the Funnelholic.” It took me 1 month to get 1,000 followers on Twitter and growing. My buddies in audience development are saying that blogging is dead and sites like Twitter is where it is at. From a promotional aspect, the 1-to-many benefits are great.
Whatever 1-to-1 communication that is lost will be picked up by someone. The Internet runs like a free market -- if there is demand someone will fill it. Facebook continues to have great 1-to-1 relationship capabilities, and LinkedIn has a ton of potential in this area.
As far as b2b marketing and social media, there is the promotional aspect I mentioned above. I can see marketing automation software watching b2b buyers’ social media behavior and incorporating this into scoring and sending customized, relevant tweets or messages.
Steve: Many B2B organizations are getting involved in social media, but as they do, the media shifts and becomes much more commercialized. There have even been recent reports of teens leaving Facebook. Do you think that there will be a clear distinction between purely “social” social media sites and sites where there is more commercialization as we evolve? Or will these lines remain blurred?
Funnelholic: First of all, I haven’t seen reports of kids leaving Facebook. All I see are kids (and by kids, I mean from preteens to 20s) using Facebook and using it ALL the time. I watch the twentysomethings in my office and they live in Facebook -- that is, message their friends, trade links and videos, sign for events, etc. In many ways, for that generation, Facebook is more important than Google.
Commercialization is the biggest problem for social media. For all the traffic and frequent visits, Facebook and LinkedIn should be making billions of dollars but they aren’t. And Twitter hasn’t even shown the market that they have any plan for making money (except probably by getting bought). In your first question, you asked about scale. To me, the ability to commercialize is the biggest impediment to scale. If these organizations can’t figure out how to make money, then social media can’t scale. So, the lines have to blur, but visitors will resist if their social media platform is ALL commercial. If anything, LinkedIn and Facebook have risen quickly for a lot of reasons, but one of them may be their ability to keep the spammers out. The trick: make money without intruding on user experience.
Steve: As marketers continue to refine their ways of measuring their success at the top of the funnel, will we see more standard CMO reporting on their successes (similar to the standard reporting that sales, finance, and operations usually does)? What do you think those CMO metrics will be?
Funnelholic: For the record, I believe marketing will always have fuzzy math. No one can argue that brand and thought leadership isn’t vital to corporate sales success, yet it will and always remain difficult to quantify. And furthermore, the fact that today’s buyer takes 29 touches before they buy means marketing will have to continue to perform a lot of activities that aren’t specifically recorded in ROI. An example: you “buy” a whitepaper lead from an online media source, you begin your marketing automation processes and after watching 2 webinars, talking to a sales rep, reading your blog, etc., it ends up becoming part of the pipeline. As sales is selling, marketing is still working in providing sales tools, pushing the latest article about the CEO, and so on. These are critical elements to one’s marketing department and not easily quantifiable.
That being said, I think the key metrics are:
1. Cost-per-opportunity. Opportunity means pipeline opportunity.
2. Total pipeline dollars created by marketing programs
By focusing on these two metrics, marketing has essentially done “their” job. If sales isn’t doing theirs (closing business), marketing should not be punished. Also, by focusing on cost-per-opportunity and pipeline dollars, it gives marketing flexibility to spend on important, but less-quantifiable, activities that are critical to the marketing funnel.
We can’t ignore ROI. By ROI I mean, marketing spend that turns into real revenue for the organization. The problem with is ROI is that marketers are at the mercy of the sales team. It’s one of the metrics that aggravates the “Sales is from Mars, Marketing is from Venus” dichotomy (http://www.funnelholic.com/2008/11/18/sales-is-still-from-mars-and-marketing-is-still-from-venus/). But I realize it is a reality, so if you must, keep one thing in mind: Time. If ROI is measured too early, than marketing will fail. This is the reason we put marketing automation into place in the first place is that buyers take a LONG time. (especially now). Nurturing has to be factored into ROI, so if you are watching ROI, make sure you watch it over time because it will grow.
What is most important is that marketers have moved away from the “look what I made” marketing strategy of judging oneself by beautiful design, copy, cool booth design at trade shows, etc. Those days are not over (as long as they convert), but aren’t the way to prove your value. The numbers are.
Steve: People still buy emotionally. As we push towards ever-increasing measurability of our marketing efforts, how do we avoid not investing in some of the marketing programs that are less measurable, but might generate the emotional hooks that motivate buyers.
Funnelholic: Well since the theme is social media, I will give this question a “LOL” -- laugh out loud, for the uninitiated. I talk about this above. Everyone assumes as a demand-generation guy, I don’t see the benefits of the entire non-quantifiable marketing mix. Well I do, and this why in the above I believe in creating metrics that can incorporate these types of elements. Here is what I believe every marketing department should have in place in 2009:
1. An optimized lead-management process: This includes humans AND marketing automation. None of your marketing elements will work as well as they should without both. So to recap, these are the elements:
a. A lead-qualification team: In place to convert and qualify leads before reaching sales
b. A marketing automation system: Designed to support the lead-qualification process with a coordinated nurturing program. (Nurturing in my mind begins the minute a lead enters your lead-management system.)
2. An aggressive lead-generation process: This is designed to feed the lead-management process and should include a diverse portfolio of lead sources. You should buy from a variety of different sources to feed your marketing funnel. Your ultimate gauge should be conversion and whether lead sources help you achieve your cost-per-opportunity goals not just CPL. These sources include online media sites, Google Adwords, and so on.
3. A diverse offer set: Offers support all of the processes above, and they include whitepapers, webinars, online video, etc. All of your prospects have different preferences for “how” they like their marketing, so make sure you have something for them
4. Branding and thought leadership support: Marketing departments should include blogging, social media, speaking engagements, and PR. By the way, there are marketing vehicles that incorporate a number of your marketing goals. For example, webinars are a great way to achieve all four goals above: quantifiable lead generation, nurturing, thought leadership, and branding.
I think trade shows should come out of the sales budget. They don’t drive leads and cost a lot of money. They are really good for face-to-face contact with current customers and to create business development deals. Print is dead, too, and shouldn’t be part of one’s mix anymore.
Steve: As marketers focus on responding to buyer interest at the top of the funnel rather than large outbound campaigns, the need for different skillsets in marketing is growing. Where do you see the biggest change in marketing skills/roles in the next 5 years?
Funnelholic: Metrics has changed every business in the organization and marketing is the big one. I have already seen marketing departments start to have more “geeks” in the organization. There are essentially three kinds of “geeks”:
1. SEO/SEM geek – Everyone has one now, and I don’t blame them.
2. Lead management geek – As the marketing automation revolution continues on, it has created a new role in the organization to manage these processes
3. Metrics geek – A lot of times, the person who does No. 1 or No. 2 above also does overall metrics, but the point is, a lot of organizations have a metrics and optimization functions now.
I’m using “geek” as a term of endearment here, by the way, not as derogatory. All in all, every marketer will have to be metrics-centric to survive. I am seeing more and more, consumer-focused Internet marketing folks getting jobs in b2b organizations because they can bring the type of rigor that is needed to be compete.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I hope all is well getting ready for Turkey Day! I wanted to pass along a recommendation for a "must read" book that comes out in February. Richard Rosen, a world renowned marketing strategist is publishing his first book called Convergence Marketing - combining brand and direct for unprecedented profits. I've known Richard for quite some time and he has been a great inspiration for many of my foundational concepts as it relates to integrated marketing and direct marketing principals. I've always been impressed with his work and I'm sure will be equally impressed with the upcoming book. It is being published February of 09 and can be found at at most books stores. Here is a link to Barnes and Nobels:
I've also included below a summary of the book:
A revolutionary marketing methodology that dramatically increases demand
In today's world, customers get to decide how and when marketers can reach them. Marketers must understand consumers and engage them early in an empathetic dialogue with respect to their specific concerns. In Convergence Marketing, Richard Rosen introduces Brand-Interaction™ Marketing, a sophisticated convergence of brand marketing and direct marketing developed with more than 20 years of experience, customer knowledge, and business school analytics. Today's global market demands nothing less than this fully integrated approach, wherein all online and offline channels, direct marketing, and brand advertising work together, in design and function. Brand-Interaction Marketing is the key to shifting marketing communication efforts from a cost-based to a profit-driven model.
Richard G. Rosen (Portland, OR) is founder, President, and CEO of AlloyRed, an advertising agency that specializes in building brand-interaction prior to sale. He speaks to and consults on convergence marketing with clients around the world.
Have a great holiday!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
It's also been an interesting (and concerning) couple weeks. While the Presidential Election has taken the vast majority of the local and national media attention things that affect us everyday folks continue to get worse. E-mails from colleagues who have been layed off, press releases on company downsizing and many of my fellow agency friends calling concerned about their customers cutting budgets have become almost a daily occurrence.
There has never been a more important time for you as an individual to focus on how YOU can provide value within your organization (if you are on the client side) or for your clients (if you are on the agency siide). This means taking a step back and asking yourself; "If I were not here what affect would it have on my company and/or clients? What value would they NOT get with my absence?"
There was a recent article "Recession Data On The Value of Marketing Through Downturn!" that gives some historical perspective on how marketers have been affected during other economic downturns. You can find it at:
I also wrote an article on this in the Sales Lead Management Associations e-newsletter:
It was on "Creating Opportunity in a Down Economy". I touched on the importance of lead nurturing, marketing accountability, understanding your customers buying process and overall effective marketing in a down economy.
Both I feel do a good job of communicating the fact that this has happened before and if you look at this as an OPPORTUNITY you will come out of it much better than you went into it.
Additionally, I hit on marketing accountability multiple times in my blog as well. Just search for marketing accountability and you should find plenty of content to help you become more accountable and thrive in this kind of an environment. Just want to do my part! Good luck!