Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What BtoB Marketers Can Learn from BtoC Email Tactics

An interesting article ran this week from eMarketer about a recent Silverpop survey (a solid Atlanta based marketing technology company). We are glad to see the discussion is moving away from "what is the best day to send emails" to questions that truly drive BtoB prospects through the sales funnel.

The idea of "gathering recipient information" is key for most BtoB marketers. While some like David Meerman Scott have challenged those ideas, and with reasonable arguments, it remains to be seen which school of thought is correct in the BtoB marketing world -- maybe both!

Regardless, good info...take a read and let us know what you think.


B2B and B2C E-Mail Tactics

APRIL 14, 2010

Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) e-mail marketers have different targets, but the goals they share mean they agree on the effectiveness of several tactics.

According to a Silverpop poll, both groups consider identifying the best time to send messages the most effective e-mail marketing tactic. They also agree on the importance of including marketing promotions in transactional messages and using surveys to gather information about their recipients.




Several other tactics—including links to social networking sites, triggered offers and behavioral targeting—were less likely to be considered effective by B2B marketers despite their appeal in the B2C segment.

Some differences stem from the specific marketing goals B2B and B2C companies have. While both told Silverpop they were about equally interested in upselling and cross-selling, increasing contact databases and strengthening their analytics, there were also significant differences. B2B marketers were highly focused on moving prospects through the sales pipeline, while B2C respondents wanted to increase customer loyalty.



Many of the tactics B2C marketers found effective, such as incorporating social network links, relate to their customer loyalty goal, shared by relatively few B2B respondents.

“Whether you’re selling cupcakes or copiers, buyers are all individuals who seek out others like themselves for insights and recommendations,” the report said. “Adding the human element through social networking benefits both B2C and B2B marketing programs.”

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Top 20 Most Retweeted Words

I recently attended a Hubspot webinar entitled "The Science of Retweets" that shed some light on a handful of factors that comprise a retweetable tweet (try saying that five time fast).

Some of the tips promised to help your retweetability rate included:

  • Incorporate a link (preferably a bit.ly, which provides tracking and analytic capabilities)
  • Politely ask to be retweeted
  • Limit your tweets to around 115-120 characters
  • Share interesting and compelling content

One of the more interesting tidbits of information shared in the webinar came in the form of a "Top 20 Most Retweetable Words" list. I know, try and contain your excitement. As most serious Twitterer's know, a retweet (often denoted by an "RT") is the sincerest form of flattery on the popular social media network.

However, getting retweeted also significantly increases your visibility, syndicating your tweet across a slew of various networks that you may never had access to before. So, without any further ado, here are the 20 Most Retweetable Words:

1) You 2) Twitter 3) Please 4) Retweet 5) Post 6) Blog 7) Social 8) Free 9) Media 10) Help 11) Please Retweet 12) Great 13) Social Media 14) 10 15) Follow 16) How to 17) Top 18) Blog post 19) Check out 20) New blog post

Happy Tweeting and Good Luck!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March Madness, BtoB Style

March Madness is in full swing and my bracket has seen better days…stupid Kansas.

It got me thinking, which brands would emerge from a BtoB slugfest. Rather than bracketing out the full field of 64 (there’s no play-in game in this tourney), I’ve brought it down to the final four.

  • From the “Hot BtoB Tools” Bracket we have Twitter (beating out Yammer thanks to its superior bench strength)
  • BtoB magazine emerges from the “Media That is Still Relevant” Bracket (winning by disqualification…is there even anyone else left in the field?)
  • The “Corporate Juggernaut” Bracket produces BtoB heavyweight Cisco (they bounced Intuit from the tourney, the pending tax season really took Intuit’s focus off the game)
  • And Cinderella Cbeyond emerges from the “Up and Comers” Bracket (putting their best work out there at just the right time)

Everyone will surely have their own opinion on how the remainder of the tournament will play out, but here is my prognostication.

BtoB magazine comes flying out of the gate against Twitter. The social media darling’s inability to show measurable ROI for BtoB companies leaves it floundering while BtoB scores at will with its strong content and sharp reporting.

The game between Cisco and Cbeyond is hard-fought. Cisco previously served as an assistant coach to Cbeyond, building Cbeyond’s 100% IP-based network almost 10 years ago. Cbeyond took those early lessons and turned in the upset of the year, defeating Cisco in a triple-overtime, instant classic.

That leaves the finals pitting BtoB against Cbeyond. The game was one for the ages. I won’t tell you who I think wins, but suffice it to say Cbeyond is one of my clients…sorry, BtoB.

Everyone’s got a bracket, what does yours look like?

In the immortal (and at times annoying) words of Dick Vitale, “It’s March Madness! It’s awesome, baby!"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Still lacking a crisis communications plan?

The new decade started with the planet’s most famous and well-known athlete facing unrelenting press coverage for his off-the-course activities.

If you didn’t see that news, you may have been wrapped up in the coverage of an automaker that ran into its fair share of negative publicity. In a year’s time, Toyota went from fan favorite (last February, Consumer Reports named the Toyota Prius Touring the best overall value among 300 cars in its 2009 Annual Auto Issue) to facing one image crisis after another, including a major recall and suspension of sales of several popular models.

Yet while Tiger and Toyota clearly dispel the old belief that there’s no such thing as bad PR, they are better examples of the adage that “failure to plan is planning to fail.”

While I can’t speak to Toyota’s or Tiger’s crisis communications plans before or after their infamous falls from grace, surveys have shown that a majority of BtoB marketers don’t have up-to-date crisis plans in their communications toolboxes.

As recently as 2007, a story in BtoB Online stated that about 53% of marketing executives had experienced a business crisis resulting in negative news coverage, declining sales or reduced profitability. But just about the same number (57%) said their company did not have a crisis response plan in place.

Although a BtoB technology company’s crisis is not likely to make Entertainment Tonight the pages of People or even fall into the “disaster” category, there are plenty of reasons, including many financial ones, to be prepared to communicate in the event the unexpected happens.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Evolution of Content: Analytics, Location and Video

The PRSA Georgia Technology SIG recently invited Renu Kulkarni, executive director of FutureMedia at Georgia Tech, to explain how Georgia Tech is helping businesses prepare for the future explosion of digital media and communications with its FutureMedia initiative. FutureMedia partners with universities, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and industry to create a robust “open innovation ecosystem” that builds upon the existing the efforts at Georgia Tech and the state of Georgia.

In her presentation, Renu explored new paradigms of how content is created, distributed and consumed. We all know that social and digital media is revolutionizing the media landscape. This surge of user-generated content in a Web 3.0 world (yes, 3.0) is changing the way companies reach target audiences.

For the time in history, Pepsi did not run television spots during this year’s Super Bowl. Instead, Pepsi diverted millions of advertising dollars to social media. Companies like Pepsi are moving from exposure to engagement. Granted, Pepsi also has the brand recognition worldwide to evolve past marketing exposure. This evolution requires changing one’s mindset and success metrics from a traditional audience exposure model—demographics, impressions and segmentations—to an emerging consumer insight focused model—behaviors, interests and actions.

FutureMedia predicts that the evolution of content will involve immersive consumption—distributed through the cloud and created by collaborators. Today, we are in a state of mobility, but the future involves analytics, location and video. At present, more than 1 billion videos are uploaded to YouTube per day.

Following the FutureMedia presentation, PRSA Georgia Technology SIG participants were invited to go “behind the scenes” at Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and view demonstrations of university research on digital, social and mobile technologies. This was fascinating to view the research in action.

At GTRI, I viewed the “Foundations for the Future” demonstration of how Georgia Tech researchers and working with government to improve K-12 technology in our school systems. Foundations for the Future uses the latest telecommunications technology to interconnect K-12 schools for collaborative learning; educational facilities (zoos, museums, libraries, etc.); and Internet-based resources.

In our demonstration, we saw how Georgia students could remotely access the Philadelphia Philharmonic to get French horn lessons or converse with an underwater research diver to complete their biology requirement. Foundations for the Future also explores virtual worlds (think: Second Life) for K-12 educational applications, and I witnessed how the presenter’s avatar could explore a virtual plant cell—a training game to captivate a classroom that was raised on the Wii.

I was joined by Kirk Englehardt (GTRI), Lois Rossi (Manheim), Jillian Depuma (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta) and Steve Burns (CNN iReporter), among others.

For more information on GTRI, visit http://www.gtri.gatech.edu/, and for more information on PRSA Georgia, visit http://www.prsageorgia.org/.

Leads for Less with Social Media

The below article from eMarketer reports on HubSpot's most recent research report that finds social media, blogs and search engine optimization more cost-effective for lead gen. Interesting is that this is one of the first studies that show that "for business-to-business firms, LinkedIn was most effective for customer acquisition."

Here is the article release earlier this week...

Pull marketing tactics such as search, blog and social media generate cheaper leads than more traditional outbound efforts, according to data from inbound online marketing platform HubSpot.

The “2010 State of Inbound Marketing” report indicates that spending on lead generation is 60% less among companies that devote at least one-half of their budget to inbound marketing, compared with companies spending at least one-half of lead generation dollars on outbound tactics. The average cost per lead from inbound marketing was also significantly less.

Unsurprisingly, for business-to-business firms, LinkedIn was most effective for customer acquisition. Business-to-consumer companies did better on each of the other sites, with the best results coming from Facebook, where nearly seven in 10 had found a new customer.

Read the full article out at: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007534
Source: emarketer.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is It Time To Give Twitter More Respect?

In reviewing this report we find little impact with regard to BtoB or BtoC organizations. However, in the Fortune 500 many companies sell in both environments (think Microsoft, GE, etc.). Regardless, Twitter scores one here.

Study Finds Twitter is the Fastest Growing Social Media Channel Among Fortune 500

The Fortune 500’s use of blogs, online video, and podcasts continues to increase, but Twitter was the social media channel of choice in 2009.

This was among the key findings of the study, “The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of Blogging and Twitter Usage by America’s Largest Companies,” conducted by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Research Chair of the Society for New Communications Research and Chancellor Professor of Marketing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Eric Mattson, CEO of Financial Insite Inc., a Seattle-based research firm.

The study examined the 2009 Fortune 500 in an attempt to quantify their adoption of social media tools and technologies. This is the second year that Barnes and Mattson have tracked social media adoption among the Fortune 500, and theirs is the only statistically sound longitudinal study of its kind.

Click here for the full findings...

Source: Society for New Communications Research Update - February 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Is Digital the New Traditional?

Well here it goes – my first blog post for Arketi. A recent OMMA article highlighting a survey on the shift from traditional to digital spend has got me interested. The survey’s findings are truly not that surprising, but it’s the meaning behind them that got me thinking. For instance:



Survey: 46% of companies plan to increase marketing budgets in 2010


My thoughts: While many expected marketing spends to increase following the large budget cuts in 2009; I wonder about the 54% who do not plan to increase. Is this because their companies weren’t affected by the economic downturn (not likely), that they still haven’t rebounded (perhaps) or that they don’t see the value in marketing (problem)? If the answer is that marketing isn’t valued, those marketers need to find a way to get a seat at the executive table. We, as marketing and communication practitioners, must constantly remind key stakeholders that it is marketing that will help ensure a company’s brand is relevant to its customers.



Survey: 28% of marketers are shifting some of their marketing budgets from traditional to digital


My thoughts: Often a more cost-effective approach to reaching customers, digital marketing provides the opportunity to reuse assets in multiple areas. For instance, investing dollars in a YouTube channel means that a company is beginning to use video. These videos can be cross-used in many ways – from social media releases, to calls-to-action on a website, to becoming viral through distribution on Twitter. Whether companies spend a lot or a little on digital channels, the key is that they get their feet wet. Try video, try dynamic emails, try social media. Wherever your customers are, that is a great place to begin.



To read OMMA’s recent article and see more survey findings, click here: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=122018


Monday, February 15, 2010

Tips for a Successful Technology Analyst Briefing

As a former research director of the Strategic Service Management Practice at the Aberdeen Group I wanted to share with our blog followers some insight for companies interested in building a successful industry analyst relations program.

It’s interesting that that so many place such a high value on influencing this group of influencers but get many of the basics wrong. These may seem basic but in fact, of the hundred or so of these that I participated in at Aberdeen, probably less than 10% stood out as effective.

video


When correctly engaged analysts can play a major role in the course of bringing a product or solution to the market. Analysts can help technology companies better understand complex markets, avoid costly mistakes, pinpoint competitive threats and evolve offerings to better match buyer’s requirements. In my experience these are five "must consider" components for the all-important analyst briefing:

1. Understand the importance: Treat the briefing like a million-dollar sales call. Act as if you’re dealing with your biggest prospect throughout every phase of the briefing.

2. Over-prepare: In addition to a polished, on-point presentation, it vital to ensure the right people are present for the briefing. The presentation should deliver a specific, tailored message to the analyst. Testing the proper technology, especially if conducting a remote briefing, is highly suggested. Web conferences are great but it never hurts to have a packaged version of the presentation available to email, just in case.

3. Be interactive: Build in question breaks, so you allow opportunities to engage the analyst in discussion. This also prevents analysts from multi-tasking and forces them to focus on your presentation.

4. Be honest: Most analysts are trained to see past the vendor pitch. Genuine dialogue is appreciated by the analyst. Installations that do not go as planned are okay; analysts understand that no installation is perfect.

5. Follow-up: Ensure action items resulting from the briefing are handled in a timely and effective manner. Provide a list of customer references to the analyst, because they will ask for them. But don't stop there. Analysts appreciate hearing about new product launches, significant customer wins, or if a product or solution is gaining traction. Providing analysts with a steady stream of news releases on relevant topics can help your company keep this important group of influencers in the know, and can spark valuable conversations.

Analysts have much to offer technology companies, but it is up to the company to have a presentation that is rehearsed, researched and anchored with customer experience if they want to capture analyst mindshare.

To view this video and more at from Arketi on Arketi's YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/arketi

Monday, February 08, 2010

My name is Sami, by-the-way...

We marketers get so excited and up in arms about our message, our value proposition, our differentiator and the rest. We create interesting ads to portray these messages in ways that will delight our audience. For most marketers, almost all of their focus is on customer acquisition... finding and selling that next customer.


Regardless of our best intentions, one thing that most marketers forget is that the actual customer experience in the field is the best marketing! The old adage of "word-of-mouth is your best advertising” is more true today than it was ever before. And, of course, bad word-of-mouth is your worst nightmare, particularly in the age of Facebook and Twitter. Anyone want to guess the damage to Toyota’s brand, as measured in billions, based on their recent car mishaps (and PR/marketing mishaps on how they handled it)?


So, what exactly started me on this tirade? Well, I recently called a PC manufacturer (ok it was DELL) regarding an issue with a laptop. Recently thereafter, in preparation for their service technician coming on-site, I receive an e-mail from their support department that looks like this:



Dear [Action.Contact First Name] [Action.Contact Last Name],




In an effort to increase your satisfaction with the support you have received, please take a moment to review the following information regarding your recent call on [Action.SR Created Date] regarding service request # [Action.SR Number].


Dispatch # [Action.ISP DPS #] In order to perform the necessary service, …


No, I didn’t change the above to protect the innocent – that is the actual dumb e-mail letter template, complete with ugly colors, ugly fonts, etc. and all of my actual information missing, including my name (my wife has never called me Action.Contact First Name, to my recollection.]


I am willing to bet that the marketing folks never reviewed or approved this e-mail letter, and that their marketing department is worried less about my actual customer experience than selling me another DELL. Well, I have news for them – I am not buying another DELL due to my customer experience with their products and service. I don’t think this situation is unique to DELL… it plagues all of us marketers. We need to pay more attention to delighting our current customers so they will buy more and get their friends to buy more, rather than focusing most of our attention on new customer acquisition.


Oh, by the way, DELL… My name is Sami.


Sami Jajeh


Arketi Group