Not once, not twice but three times. I have heard it, read it and said it a thousand times, content is king.
While business results are the single most important measure of our success, we do admit that we get excited about awards around here. It is always nice to be recognized, and we have lots and lots of beautiful trophies that we proudly display just outside our conference room.
Like so many people, I am greeted each day by hundreds of emails. Many are from well intentioned companies that would like to help me solve problems, innovate processes and make more money. In other words, to help me be more successful.
As a generally optimistic person who is always hopeful that the newest, greatest thing that will take us to the next level is just a click away, I open and read. From time to time, something sounds so good that I will click through to a website to get more information. After all, M/C/C is in the marketing communications business, and we want to use the best tools available to help our clients be successful.
Continue reading “The Good and Bad of High-tech Marketing Tools” »
Making a perfect match of agency and client is a little bit of Match.com, The Bachelor and the old-fashioned happenstance meeting. That is to say it’s one part science and one part romance with a just little touch of pixie dust.
There is no doubt that happy, long-lasting agency/client relationships are a lot like a marriage. And, in my experience, clients and agencies kiss lots of frogs before finding the right match.
The challenge for all marketers, B2C and B2B alike, is to stay with the audience as marketing accountability keeps the pressure on to find new and better ways to reach the market.
Luckily, it is hard to find anyone who doesn’t reference an online video they’ve seen recently. YouTube blazed the trail, coaxing users in virtually every category to consume video content. By 2015, Facebook’s video traffic grew to 4 billion views seemingly overnight and has since doubled to 8 billion. Running ahead of Facebook is Snapchat with 10 billion daily video views.
I am a big fan of HGTV and all of its home improvement shows. It is pretty amazing what can be accomplished in an hour. You can take a run down, unlivable home and turn it into a thing of beauty. Even better than the finished project is all the money you save in the process.
While I find these shows interesting, informative and entertaining, there is a very big gap between what I see happening on TV and what I can accomplish myself using the same techniques and tools. The truth is there are many, many barriers to success, such as:
- Lack of Training – it is difficult to pick up a tool and go to work without proper usage training.
- Lack of Experience – practice makes perfect, and I can’t get enough practice if I am a DIYer.
- Cost – to make the expense of high quality tools cost-effective, I must be able to use them every day.
Instead of doing it myself, I use what I have learned to work better with my experts. I know what I want, have an idea of what it takes and have become better informed as a client. As a result, my outcomes are much better.
The demand for high-quality leads continues to be a priority for many marketers. Based on a Corporate Executive Board (CEB) study, 57 percent of research is done online before contact is ever made with a company.
Marketers are increasingly using content to attract prospects, position their company and align their products and services with solutions to industry problems that lead to a sales contact. If 57 percent of the research process is completed before contact is made, it is not a question of question of, “To gate or not to gate?” Rather, the questions we should be asking are:
- How much content should be public (ungated)?
- What type of content should be ungated?
- What kind of content should be gated?
In our experience the most important factor in the decision to gate content is based on the value of the content offered. A well-executed strategy includes mapping the customer journey and providing appropriate content along the way. In the earliest stages of the journey, content should be made available for anyone to access. The ideal scenario is to provide open access to quality content to establish credibility and value with your prospect and then lead them to the next chapter, or the next content level, where they have access to higher value content in exchange for contact information.
Native advertising is one of those industry terms that is much discussed and has many meanings to many marketers. A detailed list of types and examples of native ads is helpful, but let’s keep this simple.
Think of native advertising as paid contextual placement that blends in with the editorial
content of the website or publication. Native ads provide information and insight into a product or service. They are generally viewed 53 percent more frequently than display ads, according to a study by IPG Media Lab using eye-tracking technology. This style of advertising is effective with consumers. But, it is particularly useful in B2B and technology categories that have long sales cycles as well as complex review and decision processes. In these scenarios, at least 60 percent of research is conducted before any contact is made with a manufacturer or supplier. The key to attracting attention and interest during this research phase is providing access to high-value content: information that your audience finds so worthwhile that they link to it, reference it or share it socially. It helps them identify and include your company’s products or services in the evaluation process.
In today’s digital world, the tables have turned. B2B marketers have all the advantages of consumer marketers and more – and it is about time.
B2B marketers have long been challenged to find effective methods to target narrow, highly specialized audiences. Relative to large and broad consumer audiences, B2B audiences are fairly small in numbers and have traditionally been difficult to reach.
But there are no more excuses. According to the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) 57 percent of research is done online before contact is ever made with a company. It is marketing’s job to influence that journey and lead customers to a contact. B2B marketers need to do the hard work of identifying the steps a prospect needs to take to go from interest to action that ends in a purchase. So often, the purchase cycles in B2B markets are long and complex. Prospects need to be educated on a product, solution or benefit of a new process. Sometimes this requires an in-depth technical briefing on your product or service. Prospects may also need to build confidence that you are a leading provider they can trust with a critical business process. In most cases, they need some combination or all of these messages to be communicated at different touch points along the way.
John Wannamaker is famous for saying, “Half my advertising is wasted; I just don’t know which half.”
It took a century, but in today’s digital world that sentiment should no longer be true. Yet there are still some barriers to determining what is working and what is not in a modern online advertising program.
The first barrier is not establishing goals for advertising campaigns.
You cannot know what is working if you don’t know exactly what you need to accomplish. Do you want your prospects to learn more about your company, product or service? Do you want them to identify themselves and provide contact information? Do you want them to buy something on your website? Determine the steps a prospect must take to go from initial interest to a purchase. Sync these steps to actions that may be taken on your site. Create your messages and link your ads to those pages on your site. Then track how well your ads are working to move a prospect through these steps.