Here are The Marketing Automation Alert’s best marketing automation-related articles curated today, Thursday, 1/31/13. 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:
Featured Marketing Automation Article #1…
A great article if you’re in the throes of a marketing automation implementation. Nick Panayi is director-global brand and digital marketing for CSC, and they finished a complete marketing automation implementation last year. The secret to his success was not the technology, but these three points. We’ve summarized them, but you’ll want to click-through…
Success Driver No. 1: Establish a common lexicon. Do yourself a favor: Before you start doing anything else, do a small test. Ask some key folks in sales, sales ops, corporate marketing, field marketing, IT and a few others to jot down the various stages of the sales funnel, with clear definitions for every stage. Inevitably, you will get significantly more than one answer. Then, build a slide or two proposing a common taxonomy. I recommend starting with the baseline sales funnel taxonomy from the IDC Marketing Council or SiriusDecisions, and then making as few adjustments as possible where your business processes demand it.
Success Driver No. 2: Over-communicate. Don’t forget that many constituents who will help you make this successful don’t have a common understanding of what marketing automation is and why you should invest in it now. Pull together a short deck and go on a “mini-road show” to meet with key people from every function that will contribute to and/or benefit from the marketing automation project.
Success Driver No. 3: Hire the smartest people you can find. The best, most technologically sophisticated marketing ecosystem won’t do you much good without well-thought-out business processes and skilled, new-generation marketers who know how to take full advantage of the technology. Eloqua, as powerful a platform as it is, cannot do the thinking for you.
Featured Marketing Automation Article #2…
No one covers the marketing automation marketplace better than David Raab. Here’s his take on the potential direction marketing automation vendors will (should) take moving forward. His post should make you pause and think about future marketing technology investments. A summary of his article…
For marketing automation vendors to continue to grow, they need to support other activities within marketing, such as advertising, deeper analytics, and administration.
–Advertising: closer integration with paid search systems and integration with ad buying systems (demand side platforms, or DSPs) and data marketing platforms (DMPs).
–Deeper analytics: better attribution techniques for measuring the contribution of individual marketing messages to the final disposition of a lead (i.e., did they become a customer); better matching of leads to sales, relying on advanced algorithmic techniques that find near-matches and non-obvious relationships (such as businesses with multiple locations or operating under different trade names); and predictive modeling for lead scoring, content recommendations, and offer selection.
–Support for administration: better tools for marketing planning, budgeting, project management, approval workflows, and content control (user rights, change tracking, version control, integration with external repositories, etc.). It also means more precise control over user rights in general, so companies can add more users to the system and still limit their activities to their own job.
Another trend will probably be continued incursions into the marketing automation space by vendors from adjacent areas, including CRM, web content management, email services, social, and Web advertising. All will share the same fundamental goal of emerging as the central system for the entire marketing department.
More good news about B2B marketing. The report is available for $49, but here’s a topline excerpt from the article covering the report…
Marketers plan to markedly increase spending this year and are as bullish as in 2011, according to a study by BtoB, which presented findings along with marketer reaction during a webcast Tuesday.
The report, “Outlook 2013: Marketing Priorities & Plans,” found 49% of respondents planned to spend more this year, up from 40% in 2012. Only 10% said they planned to cut their budgets.
Digital marketing will gain the most, with 67% planning to increase such spending, according to the online poll, conducted in November, which drew 366 b2b marketer respondents. Other areas projected to see increases include social marketing (cited by 54%), events (42%), mobile (35%) and direct mail (35%).
Sherpa delivers excellent case studies, but this is one of the better ones as it relates to marketing automation. We’re including the summary below, but you’ll want to click-through to read the whole article…
Sometimes, a complete overhaul of the Marketing-Sales process is a better option than making smaller, incremental changes. Seeking to create a “high performing” and aligned buyer’s cycle from lead gen to closed deal, the marketing team at AvidXchange undertook that exact challenge.
This case study looks at a yearlong effort that created a formal testing and optimization program, upgraded the company’s technology, and even dramatically improved Sales-Marketing alignment.
Sometimes marketing relevancy is closer than you think. This article brings together five components that are within the marketer’s reach, and together adds stronger validation to the function. Here’s a summary…
Is marketing a science or an art? According to Adobe’s Jeff Allen, marketers need to make sure they have a foot firmly in both camps. In order to change the perception of marketers as “colour pickers”, Allen highlighted five points that his audience should put on a checklist to make them more effective at proving their worth…
1. Become a data guru
Marketers need to employ an effective attribution model so they know what contributed to positive results, as that’s ultimately the only way to repeat a successful outcome.
2. Learn. Then document learning
Allen said that marketers need to get smarter around testing, so they can use data to negate gut feelings and hunches. Fight the HIPPO!
3. Become automatic
An effective way of altering people’s opinion of marketing is to become predictable in the kind of result that is delivered to the business. Ultimately it’s about becoming automated, so people know what they will get back – marketers need to be able to show upfront the return on dollars invested.
4. Master targeting
One of the most important weapons in the marketer’s arsenal is segmentation. By drilling down into customer data marketers can identify the segments that are most valuable to the business, often among demographics that hadn’t previously been considered. The more detailed information you have, the more detailed the segments become, which in turn will have a massive impact on your conversion rate.
5. Stay a marketer
Though digital marketing is increasingly data driven, Allen said it’s important for people to remember that marketing is both a science and an art. The most effective marketers find the perfect balance between being a scientist and a creative.
We’ve been saying that Google+ needs to be a part of your content marketing distribution strategy, and this article supports that thesis. It’s time for Google+, and the article’s intro captures it nicely…
If you’ve spent the last two years skeptical of dedicating another 30 hours of your social effort to Google+, it’s probably time to reconsider that decision. And the reason is simple: Google has productized the relationship between your company’s bloggers’ content and their G+ profiles – it’s called Authorship.
It’s the next version of what content creators have referred to as ‘rel=author’ for the last year or so. The good news is you used to have to specifically engineer your click-through links to make it all work, but now it’s just one lovely Google+ form to fill out. According to the hardcore SEO experts, there isn’t yet a straight line to higher search placement, but how far behind can that be?
Nice cheat sheet of sorts to help you with your use of Twitter to support your overall inbound marketing efforts. Here’s a quick summary…
1. Interact and Engage with Your Audience: The real value in using Twitter is the opportunity to develop relationships with your audience. So interact with people, reply to their tweets, ask questions, and start building new relationships.
2. Monitor Conversations and Relevant Keywords
Monitoring keywords is a great (and easy!) way to find targeted people to follow, offer timely advice, and stay on top of industry trends. Get started by monitoring the following types of keywords, in order of priority:
- Brand Mentions
- Links to Your Site
- Pain Points
- Related Businesses and Competitors
- Interests of Your Target Audience
3. Grow Your Audience
Find New People to Follow
To start growing your audience, find and target new and influential people to follow. You can find these users by 1) monitoring keywords and conversations 2) reviewing the followers of people and businesses in your industry and 3) reviewing lists that other related Twitter accounts have created.
Add These Twitter Users to Lists
Once you start finding new people to follow, I recommend adding those accounts to a segmented list within your social media management tool. For instance, if you identify 20 key influencers or 20 potential customers and add them to a list, you can easily focus on consistently engaging with just those users over a certain period of time.
More Activity Leads to More Followers
As a general rule, the more you Tweet, the more followers you’ll have, the more you engage with the people you follow, the more likely they will be to follow you back. Effective Twitter marketing takes time—you can’t automate it.
The 10 tips for YouTube Channel optimization outlined in this infographic will lead to more video marketing exposure, engagement and transactions.
A sample social media event marketing check sheet to help you plan and execute a social strategy around your marketing events.
Interesting take on content marketing. Not the “marketing meal” metaphor, but the recommended social media points of distribution based on where the visitor’s sales funnel location. A synopsis…
1. Binge Content
Content binging happens when a person quickly consumes snippets of massive amounts of content. With this audience in mind, make sure you’re serving a binge content course in your content marketing meal plan, so people can quickly consume snippets of your content at any moment in time.
2. Taste-Test Content
Using tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube, you can create and share samples with your target audience for them to try anytime they want. Never underestimate the power of content samples and taste-testing.
3. Consumptive Content
The main course of your content marketing meal plan is consumptive content. You need to make an effort to create high quality content on your blog, in ebooks, in online presentations, in podcasts, and so on.
4. Preferred Content
Once your target audience has consumed your content main course, you need to continue to deliver high quality content that meets their expectations for your brand. The goal is to ensure your content becomes the audience’s preferred content.
5. Required Content
Loyal content consumers are likely to talk about your content, share it with their own audiences, and even buy from you. This leads to the fifth course of the content marketing meal where your content is not just preferred by your target audience but it’s required. In other words, they won’t accept anything else, and they advocate your content (and your brand) to anyone who will listen.
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