Monday, July 31, 2006

Blogs and podcasts effective b-to-b lead generation tactics

Not a surprise to us at Arketi at fact, our podcast ( is the most popular page on our website and in truth we really don't even promote our podcasts.

As an additional data point supporting this article, our client Oversight Systems' blog ( on Sarbanes-Oxley drives more visitors to their website then any other source.

Leaning: B-to-b markerters would be smart to start playing with and using blogs and podcasts sooner rather then later.

Blogs and podcasts cited as effective lead generation tactics for b-to-b marketers

Jul 31, 2006

Blogs and podcasts are among the top five most effective lead generation tactics for business technology companies, according to an annual survey by MarketingSherpa.

The research company last month polled 1,900 business technology marketing executives by telephone and online.

The top five tactics cited were free trials, Webinars, white papers, blogs and podcasts.
This year's survey results marked the first time blogs made the top five.

Source: Carol Krol (

Friday, July 21, 2006

Some times you feel like a nut…

You have been staring at a blank screen for 30 minutes to no avail.

A document is in its 11 iteration between using “global” v. “worldwide” or “product solution” v. “product offering”

It has felt like 3:00 p.m. on Friday for the last hour and a half.

Anyone who has been in the workforce for longer than 2 weeks has faced one of these scenarios. You’re quickly approaching that “wall” with no escape in sight. The proverbial “frozen in headlights” doesn’t do this feeling justice, you aren’t waiting for impact. No, you’re moving toward that inevitable collision, all the while making a face you’d image a fly making just before being mowed down by the windshield of an open-throttled ’67 Mustang – a red one.

Getting past said wall is the tricky part. Finding the inspiration to persevere in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds has defined the human race since its earliest days (or so the movies would have you think). While not over-dramatizing the point there are a number of ways to get back on track, here are a few that have helped me.

  • Step away for a moment. Whether you go for your smoke break, walk up and down the stairs or hit the gym over lunch it will help get you away from whatever is under your skin for a little while. Depending on your activity of choice there are actual benefits you can achieve. For instance, your body produces endorphins when you exercise. These little chemicals are responsible for the “runner’s high” that so many people swear by…though I have yet to experience. For me it’s just pain.
  • Look to something that impresses you. Nothing gets my brain back on track better reading writing that knocks my socks off. For me it’s about encouragement, I want to be able to piece together something that meaningful, concise or brilliant. For others it’s a song that seems like it was written just for them. Whatever it is that blows your hair back, make sure you have a sampling of it with you at the office. A book of impressive passages, your MP3 player or even a picture.
  • Beer. Bear with me here. You can’t come up with that truly original idea. Your blank screen has been staring back at you for so long that you are beginning to see a face in the pixels. Assuming this image is not alcohol-induced and your office is open to it, think about having a drink. Nothing crazy, we aren’t talking about shots of tequila, but a little something to get the creative juices flowing. In the timeless words of my thesis advisor “it helps get the ideas floating around.”

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Marketing Budgets Up 46% for Q2

Talk about mixed blessings! Budgets are up but spending is down? I was very dissapointed to read that the budget to spending number for PR/AR was so off. Consistantly one of the best values not spending what's budgeted for PR is just sick in my view.

Seriously, I suspect that this picture will change in Q3 and Q4 as "catch-up" spending takes hold. It would kill me to think that marketers are "less than confident about the effectiveness of marketing on their bottom line"...given today's bank of marketing knowledge, tools and talented people if there are marketers that feel this way they should simply get out of marketing.

Have a read for yourself.

Budgets are up but actual spending is off?

By Ben Macklin - Senior Analyst

Marketing research consultants Blackfriars recently announced that they have set their marketing index to 146.

What does this mean?

It means that based on a survey of 137 senior business executives between April 3 and June 1 2006, Blackfriars estimate that marketing spending is budgeted to be 46% higher in Q2, 2006 than average 2005 quarterly spending.

At the same time, Blackfriars released the Q1, 2006 marketing spending by category:

Carl Howe, principal at Blackfriars, comments on the survey findings as follows:

"Our data shows that marketing budgets and spending have gone pretty much nowhere but down over the last three years. Actual spending in Q1 2006 was about 54% of an average quarter in 2003. And while Q2 planned budgets are up significantly, the real question is not whether companies will under-spend those budgets, but rather how badly they are going to under-spend them."

The data indicates that businesses are either achieving their business objectives from their existing marketing spend, or else they are less than confident about the effectiveness of marketing on their bottom line ie they are more confident allocating resources to sales or technology or other elements of the business.

So what is the importance of marketing? Carl Howe gives a lesson in marketing at his blog.

Here is a summary:

Marketing's role is to identify what customers want and to serve those customers at a profit. So if businesses are under-spending on marketing they are not indentifying the right customers as much, they are providing less of what customers want and they won't be as profitable as they could be. So if you are 'under-spending' on marketing, you are doing your business a disservice. According to Blackfriars' predictions the US economy is likely to suffer a downturn in the next 12 months as a result of marketing under-spending.

There seems to be something a trifle odd about the concept of 'under-spending'. At what point does a company know when it has reached its optimum marketing spend – when it spends what is bugeted? I would have thought a more useful measure is whether one's business objectives have been achieved, either in the short or longer term. If this is true, then the relationship between what is bugeted for, and what is actually spent is, in isolation, (without taking account of how the overall business is doing in terms of revenues, growth, profit etc), not that revealing.

But whether there is any relevance between budgeted spending and actual spending, the fact remains that actual marketing spending has been relatively flat over the last two years. One positive sign that Blackfriar's reveals is that online marketing continues to grow strongly as a proportion of overall marketing spend.

If return on investment (ROI) is the primary criteria for businesses to advertise and market then paid search provides the highest ROI among online advertising platforms, according to an American Advertising Federation survey of 140 US advertisers.

Business Blogging Still Bogged Down

I don't like picking fights with analysts but I think that James has this 100% wrong (see his article below). I would suspect that the "distance between 5.8% and 70%" could be as short as 3 years. I think we will see an explosion of b-to-c blogs between now and the 2006 Holiday Shopping Season. Then in early 2007 the bandwagon is going to get very full.

Also we are already seeing smart b-to-b marketers blog, and I think even more will join in during the rest of 2006.

"A year ago eMarketer looked at the business of blogging and said that blogs were a one-to-few medium, and they were not practical for most businesses," says James Belcher, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the new report, The Business of Blogging: A Review. "But over the past year many things have changed, including our opinion."

Small and mid-size companies might lead this charge (check out our client Oversight Systems' SOX blog at for a good example of this) but I suspect the big guys will jump in right behind them. The lawyers might clench their teeth but in this battle I am going to pick the blogisphere over the legal eagles.

And James I think it's all going to move much faster then you suggest in the article below.

Is Big Biz Ready To Blog?

By James Belcher - Senior Analyst

A new report by JupiterResearch says that 34% of large US companies now have a corporate blog, and that another 35% will have one by year-end.

These robust numbers contrast sharply with existing data about corporate blogging. The word "blog" seems inescapable these days, and there is plenty of buzz following the term. Personal blogs now number in the millions, and some public-facing bloggers now wield considerable influence—and some even make money. However, when it comes to businesses blogging, the reality is far behind the hype. Socialtext features a wiki detailing the number of Fortune 500 firms that blog, on an ongoing basis. The current tally: 5.8%.

A 2005 study by eMarketer put the percentage of all large North American businesses that blogged at 4%. The percentage of large firms blogging has not changed much in a year.

Why is this? Why, when blogging is so hyped, and millions of individuals now have their own blogs, is corporate blogging so rare? PR firm Makovsky & Company recently commissioned Harris Interactive to find out. Harris Interactive asked 150 Fortune 1000 senior executives for their opinions on blogs. Only 30% of the respondents even had a thorough understanding of the term "Internet blog." This may shed some light on Jupiter's numbers; many businesses may think that their discussion forum, e-mail newsletter, intranet bulletin board, or other communication constitutes a blog.

More tellingly, almost 8 in 10 respondents believed that their company should have policies about company-sanctioned blogs—and 40% believed they should have policies about blogs that didn't even have anything to do with the company (presumably being written by the firm's own employees). These numbers suggest the top barrier to blogging for businesses: loss of control.

After years of meticulous branding, carefully arranged PR messages, and committee-developed corporate-speak that offends no one—especially lawyers—successful blogging requires ceding message control internally to a single, real voice, and externally to commenters whose feedback may not always be positive.

It is not unthinkable that 70% of large US businesses will blog eventually. However, there's a great distance between 5.8% and 70%; not just in percentage points, but also in business philosophy.

For more information about business blogging sign up to be notified when eMarketer's report The Business of Blogging is published in July.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Sinful Shameful Act (you know you want to read more)

I apologize. I am 100% guilty of the cardinal sin of blogging. In order to keep readers coming back for more, blogs must be regularly updated. Alas, I have been conspicuously absent from the blogosphere for near 3 months. Credit must be given to my fellow Arketi blogger for keeping the ship sailing. I, though, have brought shame upon myself.

In hopes turning my act of neglect into something useful I bring with me advice for the corporate blogger.

  • Schedule time to blog. Humans are creatures of habit. My biggest problem was that I didn’t have enough time to blog. Although that is mostly true, I cannot say that I did not have a single spare moment. Indeed one purpose of a blog is to share your thoughts as they arrive, but setting aside regular blogging time will allow you to focus on the task at hand and not on the 7,463,186 other things you have to do.
  • Look at the inspiration that surrounds you. Most people spend somewhere between 40 and 60 hours a week in the office. In that time there are bound to be lessons learned, taught and stumbled upon. Be they meaningful, trite or relatively amusing they are all likely blog-worthy. Just be careful not to name names or repeat the inappropriate joke told by the person in the cubicle next to you. It may be your last blog entry.
  • Have a rainy day blog. There will inevitably be a time when you know you SHOULD update your blog, but you just can’t do it. Be it writers block, a tight deadline or vacation there is bound to be a time when the blog entry will not happen. In these instances you can rely on a rainy day blog. Be it about best practices or the best spot for a business lunch, have a timeless entry in your back pocket to help keep up with postings.
  • Follow your industry’s (and the world’s) current events. I don’t mean to sound like a high school teacher encouraging my students to change the world (here’s to you, Mr. Leavy). But the fact remains, knowing what goes on in your industry will give you fodder for your blog. Besides, if you expect to get anywhere in your career you need to know what is happening now and what is on the horizon. Pick up the WSJ, your trade publication of choice and even your local newspaper – yes they do still exist – because you never know what your competition is doing just down the road.

I hope my blogging faux pas will serve helpful to your adventures in the blogosphere. I just hope I can follow my own advice and not come back 3 months from now groveling and asking for your forgiveness…again.