Here are The Marketing Automation Alert’s best marketing automation-related articles curated today, Monday, 1/28/13. Receive a daily summary of The Marketing Automation Alert directly to your inbox. Subscribe here (your privacy is protected). If you find this valuable, please share by using the links below:
IBM Connect starts today, and as a B2B marketer you’ll want to be aware of announcements, reports and interviews coming out of this conference. A quick prelude…
IBM Connect starts today in Orlando. And the story here for IBM is about the chief marketing officer and that high-ranking executive in human resources. For marketing it means reaching customers and prospects.
Talking to people here it’s clear that adoption of social technologies still has a way to go. I spoke to one person who helps people in the company adopt social technology. She said one executive said he has an “open door,” policy. He emails people about what he is working on and he pushes out three videos per week. But when asked about using IBM Connections, he says he does not want to blog. A bit of misunderstanding on his part that she could correct but still a clear example of still prevalent misunderstandings.
The article focuses on the creation of effective B2B, and captures the essence of the content marketing struggles that which many B2B marketers face. We need to get out of the knee-jerk reaction of creating white papers, and focus on what content is required for which funnel stage for which persona…
Are B2B marketers rising to this challenge? Forrester’s Q4 2012 US And Europe B2B Marketing Tactics And Benchmarks Online Survey provides us with an answer. As we make clear in this report, there is significant room for improvement. Here are some significant shortcomings that we highlighted in the responses from 328 B2B marketers:
- B2B marketing content works for lead nurturing but nothing else.When asked about the effectiveness of content marketing among 16 separate marketing tactics, the rankings range from No. 15 in the awareness phase to No. 5 as a tactic for lead origination; it’s in third place for lead nurturing but drops back to No. 6 in the customer retention and expansion phase.
- B2B marketers create most of their content internally.The majority of the content produced is created internally either by the marketing department (44%) or by other employees (14%). Organizations that create their own content with only internal staff tend to remain fixated on their product and solution.
- They still struggle with personas.Just 35% of these B2B marketers reported using personas to guide their content creation. This sounds familiar to me, as I spend many inquiries discussing personas and answering the question “Do we really need to spend time on creating personas? It looks like a lot of work.” with “Yes, of course.”
Yet another quick round-up on how to generate B2B content. Content gen continues to be a struggle, especially if the thought leaders are not you and/or a part of your team. Quick synopsis…
1. Improve Culture of Employee Buy-In
It’s really a matter of creating a “content culture” at your company, where employees from multiple departments are excited to contribute to the company blog.
2. Repurpose Content
Use your blog posts to flesh out your next TOFU content offer. Use eBook or whitepaper excerpts as blog posts. Film webinars and post the videos on the blog, or embed a slideshow comprised of the PowerPoint your boss used at the last conference he spoke at.
3. Post a Weekly Round-Up
Dedicate one post a week to linking outstanding content published by other companies. Feature 5, 10 or even more articles that could be interesting to your buyer personas.
4. Think Like a Reporter
Reporters routinely spend around 75% of their time conducting research. Content creators can cut back on the time commitment without losing quality. Content creators already have the raw material necessary to create more content. The key is effectively storing your research.
5. Round-Up Social Media Insights
Screen cap some powerful insights from your Twitter feed about the latest changes or topics in your industry. Inform the featured social media users that they were quoted, and let them take care of the social sharing for you.
6. Kill Two Birds with One Stone
We all have a content creation problem, and for B2B marketers, the solution might be in their sales or customer service teams’ inbox.
Not a pretty situation for B2B Marketers. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to download the report from our scoop last week…
Almost all B2B companies suffer from contact databases that are “unreliable” (64%) or “questionable” (34%), according to a new study from NetProspex. The study examined hundred of millions of B2B contacts over the past year, evaluating database health across 4 best practice areas – record duplication, record completeness, email deliverability, and phone connectability. Using standardized scores for each component, the study arrives at a data health scale, with 98% of companies scoring on the lower end of the scale, and just 2% having “functional” databases.
File this under “make partnership, not war.” On the other hand, it wasn’t too long ago when the CIO had the CMO’s agenda at the very bottom of the pile. Goes around, comes around. Regardless, the article points to why the two need to work together…
It’s time for couple’s therapy. Start with finding some common ground because pounding on the past and harping on differences just isn’t helpful. Six things to consider…
1) Both CIOs and CMOs know how to get things done.
2) They both rely on making good technology decisions to help them make an impact on the business. And they become dependent on that stable of providers.
3) They both love the next new tech toy or gadget and like showing them off.
4) They both have huge suggestion boxes nailed to their virtual doors because everyone is a self-appointed expert in their field.
5) The leadership team thinks they can produce magical results within their current constraints – because they often pull it off.
6) And they both don’t sleep through the night. Their jobs are never actually done. They could always be doing something more.
To help small businesses tackle the daunting task of developing a social media presence (without feeling overwhelmed), Intuit has created a “Path to Social Success in 2013” infographic.
The obvious point to the article: customer centricity. Of course. Not the heaviest article on marketing automation, but if you needed a reminder, here’s the main point…
However, while technology is an integral part of the marketing mix, it can’t be the sole ingredient. “If it’s not backed up with a solid belief in customer centricity that goes beyond the process and the data, then marketing automation might just become another solution that just starts kicking out automated triggers without regard for the customer themselves – the changing needs and all the nuances associated with that,” says Wilson Raj, SAS global customer intelligence director.
Another excerpt from the BusinessBolts report (see the earlier scoop/post) that points to the SEO benefit derived from a continuous content marketing strategy…
According to a survey from BusinessBolts.com, 74% of small businesses are using content marketing to grow and promote their business. The majority of small businesses are reportedly attempting to develop content that will boost SEO and social media initiatives without any additional advertising costs. The survey revealed that marketers have seen significant benefits through content creation, even with minimal effort; 45% of survey respondents also claimed using content marketing has helped lower advertising expenditures. Small businesses reported that the most widely used forms of content marketing include articles (74%), blog posts (64%), and social media (49%). Content creation formats like articles and blogs engage potential prospects and drive traffic without a high expense, reported BusinessBolts.com.
Simplicity. The author’s 8 steps are simple and direct. If you’re looking for a KISS method for social media strategy, here it is. Summary…
With all the new tools and platforms constantly emerging, it’s very easy to get fall into the trap of thinking about social media through a tactical prism instead of a strategic one. The best social media strategic plans are tools-agnostic, and set forth objectives and metrics that supersede any particular social venue.
Step 1: Build an Ark
The first step in the process is to create a cross-functional team to help conceive and operate the rest of the strategy.
Step 2: Listen and Compare
Your customers (and competitors) will give you a good guide to where and how you should be active in social media, if you broaden your social listening beyond your brand name.
Step 3: What’s the Point?
The best social media strategies are those that focus (at least initially) on a more narrow rationale.
Step 4: Select Success Metrics
What key measures will you use to evaluate social media strategy effectiveness?
Step 5: Analyze Your Audiences
What are the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your current or prospective customers?
Step 6: What’s Your One Thing?
Your product features and benefits aren’t enough to create a passion-worthy stir. So what’s that one thing?
Step 7: How Will You Be Human?
Your company has to (at least to some degree) act like a person, not an entity.
Step 8: Create a Channel Plan
Only after you know why you’re active in social at all, and how you’ll measure social media strategy success should you turn your attention to the “how” of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the rest.
We completely disagree with the basic tenet of this article: Content Marketing is one of the members of the Marketing Automation Supply Chain. One doesn’t get done before the other: it’s a concurrent process. Regardless, the author’s point…
It helps to understand the basic goals of each system:
- Goal of Marketing Automation: “Market to whom you know”
- Goal of Content Management & Content Marketing: “Use content to market to whom you DON’T know”
With those goals in mind, the decision criteria for content management vs. marketing automation come into focus.
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