Earlier today Forrester’s Marketing Tech analyst Lori Wizdo opined about Oracle’s acquisition of Eloqua. It can be found here and is a must-read if you currently or plan to leverage tech as part of your marketing mix. But one passage really resonated with us:
Winner: The spirit and soul of the 21st century B-2-B marketer.
The CMOs and marketing leaders I talk to all seriously get it. They know they need to completely change their engagement model (what they used to call marketing) to be audience/buyer/customer centric.They know that driving sustained, predictable, profitable revenue growth means that lead value, velocity, and volumes are maximized; and that this has to be done more efficiently and effectively. They get that this complex set of interrelated goals requires an integrated, holistic process automation approach that spans the marketing, sales, and service organizations of a B2B enterprise. And they know they don’t have that. They know they need to meet this tough challenge with a mixed automation toolkit that only makes a challenging job harder. Hurray! A knight in shining armor riding a white charger with bright red livery is coming to the rescue.
We love this passage for it reflects much of what we have been discussing over the past year, in particular:
- Engagement model is what marketing is all about
- Marketers must deliver value as defined by “sustained, predictable, profitable revenue growth
- The way to achieve the above is to manage a “integrated, holistic process automation approach that spans the marketing, sales, and service organizations”
- This inherently recognizes the increasingly blurred distinction btw the Marketing, Sales and Customer Service functions in most companies. It comes back to the concept of engagement where-ever they are in the non-linear funnel.
The only thing we would quibble with is the B2B distinction. We feel this applies equally for B2C marketers.
Below is an excellent infographic entitled “The B2B lead-gen Manifesto”, published by a landing page technology platform, Unbounce. Along with the infographic, Unounce published some great Key Success Factor (KSFs) Nuggets for B2B marketers looking to step up their game via Content Marketing summarized here. But we strongly encourage you to click over to check it out.
First, some somewhat surprising stats:
- 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales
- Nurturing leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads
- 85% of people would rather provide an email for an ebook vs. paying with a tweet
- Companies that use Twitter get 2x the number of leads per month
- 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices
Next, some KSFs:
- Principle #1. Thou Shalt Create Content that helps people achieve greater success for their business and will be willing to share their personal data for.
- eBooks and whitepapers: Help to establish you as a thought leader which can lead you the acquisition of customers.
- Blogging: Your lead can be in the form of an RSS subscriber.
- Videos: Add a CTA at the end.
- Infographics: Highly shareable content can give you greater brand exposure. Couple them with some surrounding content (like this post) and link to a landing page to generate leads.
- Webinars: Leverage well-known experts and co-marketing to bring in special guests from other companies to add to the desire factor.
- Principle #2. Thou Shalt Optimize Your Lead Gen Pages. The simplest rule to learn here is that every lead gen form – or the page it’s on – can be better. This is where A/B testing and conversion rate optimization come into play. If you’re part of an in-house marketing team or agency, you can break up the optimization workflow between your team members. Things to test to achieve higher conversions on your B2B lead gen pages:
- The size of the prize: Match the perceived value of your giveaway with that of the level of data you’re asking for. I.e. don’t have a form with 10 required fields for a 5 page eBook.
- Try before you buy: This is a proven technique used repeatedly in B2C circles (think of Amazon’s “Look Inside”), so why not use it for your B2B campaigns? Add trust to your page by offering a totally free preview of the best section.
- Social proof: If you’re advertising a webinar, show a live count of registrants to encourage herd mentality. Also get your Marketing Manager to reach out for customer testimonials.
- A/B test your pages: Continually come up with new hypothesis to test against your original page.
- Principle #3. Thou Shalt Market After the Conversion. Confirmation pages are a highly neglected conversion hotspot that should be taken advantage of while your lead is at their warmest. This is known as post-conversion lead generation.
- For webinars: People get busy, forget, or have to attend meetings, so they inevitably miss webinars. In the case of Dan Zarrella’s world record breaking webinar (31,100 regis.trants) – 65% of registrants didn’t show up. But don’t let this be the end of the story, you now have a list of business leads, so follow up with a recording and invite them to your next event
- Give a bonus: To make people feel extra special, give them something else after they convert, such as another eBook.
- Social sharing and following: The confirmation page is the place to put your sharing and follow widgets, it removes clutter and distractions from your landing page.
- Principle #4 – Thou Shalt Embrace the Mobile Market
- Make your CTA buttons big enough for fat fingers
- Don’t send ANYONE to a homepage: All that nudging and stretching on a smartphone is annoying and makes people hit the back button
- Keep your forms short: Tolerance for typing on mobile devices is low
- Click to call: If your prospects need a little handholding, have a clickable phone number as well as the form
- Principle #5. Thou Shalt Nurture Your Leads. A common marketing expression is that you should sell the fire, not the fire extinguisher. In other words, use a soft sell approach. You can do this via email by sending useful content to your leads to keep them engaged and looking at you as a subject matter expert. Over time this will create the persuasion required to turn a fence-sitter into a customer.
For most New Market Entrepreneurs in the Tech space, it is religion that success is about building great product that both delights and solves real problems. Until you do that, then nothing else matters. That’s why most start-ups in their early days are staffed 100% with product-focused people. But after version 1 is built, there seems to be a divergence of opinion.
Some will argue you never need anything else because good product will go viral and your users will become your sales and marketing minions… for free! Others have the opinion that once the product is right and the concept is proven from a business model perspective– it’s time to fill the marketing tank with VC cash to fund the evangelization phase of the company’s development. We’ve seen countless examples of both scenarios working great and also flaming out miserably.
But because we are Entrepreneurial Product and Marketing guys we think there’s an important yin/yang to this equation where both work hand-in hand. We have shared our thoughts where great product has marketing built-in via intuitive social sharing features. We have also echoed the important ideas of people like Steve Blank and others who passionately share the agile development philosophy that product and customer development is continuous:
For Product and Marketing-driven Entrepreneurs, there is inspiration: The Secret Behind Pinterest’s Growth Was Marketing, Not Engineering, Says CEO Ben Silbermann…
Pinterest, which CEO Ben Silbermann describes as a tool that helps people find inspiration, is now the third-largest source of referral traffic on the Internet.
But growth wasn’t easy for the company, Silbermann told a rapt audience at Y Combinator’s Startup School at Stanford University on Saturday.
The way Pinterest grew had little to do with Silicon Valley wisdom. It was about marketing — mostly grassroots marketing — not better algorithms.
In 2010, three months after Pinterest launched, the site had only 3,000 users. But some of them were active users, and those people loved the site — and both of those categories included Silbermann himself.
“Instead of changing the product, I thought maybe I could just find people like me,” he said.
So Pinterest started to have meet-ups at local boutiques, and to take fun pictures of people who attended them, and to engage with bloggers to do invitation campaigns like “Pin It Forward,” where bloggers got more invites to the site by spreading the world.
Silbermann said he realized the strategy might just be working when he heard people at a meetup having real conversations with each other about their creative projects, rather than the BS that might come from a superficial relationship on Twitter or Facebook.
“A lot of people in Silicon Valley didn’t get, and I don’t know if they still get, Pinterest,” Silbermann said. “The fact that it made sense to someone is what really mattered to me.”
Still, Silbermann added that he himself thought for a while that the secret to Pinterest’s growth woes would be finding some undiscovered Stanford grad student to build a better algorithm.
But ultimately, Pinterest didn’t need better engineering, said Silbermann. It needed better distribution.
Every month we find ourselves in similar product vs. marketing conversations with clients, consulting prospects as well as among ourselves over our own start-up projects. In web tech, product and customer experience is indeed king. However, we see time and time again that ‘distribution’ is no less than Prime Minister if not the wealthy benefactor funding the king.