Brain Vibe

marketing muses to stay engaged

Death of a Landing Page

Let’s talk landing page optimization.  At it’s essence you optimize for the acquisition – lead capture, purchase.  Why does a landing page only have to be optimized for bottom of the funnel results?

That’s what I’ve been toying with of late for our b2b marketing efforts.  When I’ve bounced this off my fellow marketers they either look at me like I’m crazy, or nod their heads pretending to agree but, they think I’m crazy.

I’m looking at ways to engage the market along their buying process, not my sales engagement model.  Sometimes, people that gather information just aren’t ready to speak with a telemarketer or sales person. Why ruin the beginnings of a great relationship with a hard sell?

So, now I’m looking at our online marketing efforts (ppc and display) and thinking about killing landing pages.  Not in all cases, they are still useful for those that are ready to talk.  But, for campaigns that are aimed as top of the funnel engagement, why bother?

Here is my thinking, if I’m working a campaign that is top of the funnel, why not leverage a portal page design within my company’s website that are content rich with lots of interaction points, including bottom of the funnel captures.  How about designing the entry point to my products, solutions, and services areas so that they have landing page qualities positioning content options based on the visitor need – education, evaluation, community.  I should be doing this anyway, so why not leverage within the context of my online advertising efforts?

If done right,

  • visitors have options to engage with my company to build and deepen the relationship with us, increasing the chances they remain a customer or eventually buy our solutions and services
  • retargeting efforts for bottom of the funnel investment should improve in effectiveness and efficiency
  • I can track visitor behavior and improve my lead scoring providing higher quality leads to sales

The other reason I’m considering moving forward with this is that it provides a more integrated and consistent approach to communicating and interacting with the market.  It forces online advertising to better assimilate and integrate with marketing campaigns, improving overall effectiveness.  It also creates a seamlessness between online ads, social media, and the website.

The biggest push back I’m getting is from inside sales who think I’m going to dry up their lead queue.  I think that is nonsense.  If anything, it should not only increase the quality that is passed, but by building relationships vs. going in for the kill we have the opportunity not to loose leads in our process.  By thinking about the buying process overall, online advertising becomes richer in its ability to attract and interact across a wider audience increasing lead volume and producing a larger and more long term pool of customers for near and long term sales.

Have you tried this out in your b2b online marketing strategy?  Did it work?  Or, am I really crazy?

Filed under: Lead management, marketing/advertising, social media, , , , ,

Social Media, Program or Vehicle for B2B?

Social media is only one way to connect to customer and should be treated as a vehicle, not a program.  There, I said it.  I know it is heresy, but it is the truth.

I was talking with a lot of colleagues and friends in the 30 something range and found that social media for them was more effort than it produced.  They were too busy to tweet.  They didn’t get much value from Facebook other than keeping up with a small group of friends they couldn’t see all the time.  The rest of the time Facebook was annoying and they didn’t frequent it, and now the privacy issues made it even less desireable.  LinkedIn was mostly a way to maintain a contact database with professional colleagues.  YouTube was entertainment.  What they did use religiously was email and texting.  Two things I got out of this were:

1) These 30 somethings were successful professionals with decision make authority and spending capacity both personally and professionally.  Social media has only limited value to them.

2) Social media was hype and comprised only a portion of their communication and social time.  It did not fundamentally change the way they were communicating with friends and colleagues.

One of the things I see companies and marketers do when they get the social media bug is to approach social media as a separate program.  This really misses the point.  Marketers have a multitude of communication vehicles available and instead of thinking about the best way to converse with customers, they think about what is the best new shiny method they can use and focus all their energy there.  Teams are even split by vehicle (social media, email, search, web, online display, etc) making marketers experts in a narrow band of communication.  What’s the point in that?  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be thought of as a great marketer building relationships and business.  I don’t want to be known only for my ability to communicate in 140 characters.

We all know the social media avenues available to us so why over analyze at this point.  Most of us have used them personally and its either become our sole means of touching the world or, on the other hand, we are burnt out or driven out by the social media outlets and the ‘why did I friend this person?’.  In many ways, social media just is and we don’t think about it much anymore.  This is where marketing needs to be.  We shouldn’t think about social media anymore, we should just use it.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who are my customers?
  • How do my customers learn about what I provide?
  • Where do my customers go to learn about what I provide?
  • What vehicle provides the best venue to show my value?
  • What level of trust do my customers have with my product and brand?

Notice that there is not one mention of social media or any other marketing vehicle.  It is all about how to market your company and product the best way to get people interested and to purchase.  Social media may just be that venue either as a leading component, an aspect, or not at all.  It may also depend on the research and decision cycle of the customer for your product.  The key is how you position.

The way to make social media work is through discipline and integration with our existing communication vehicles.  Treating it as its own separate effort will not get you the biggest benefits and return on investment and effort you could.  You need a varied tool kit for marketing that includes social media in it.  It provides lift, it doesn’t provide all.

Filed under: b2b, marketing/advertising, social media, social media marketing, , , ,

Are We Really Conducting Integrated Marketing?

I was thinking about the structure of marketing organizations today.  Maybe it was because of Forrester’s point of view on how marketing organizations need to change to serve brands better.  Or maybe it was because it struck me as odd the disconnect between online and offline marketing efforts.  Regardless, there is something drastically wrong with the way we organize our marketing efforts.

In the end, if we have silos in our marketing organizations of online and offline, how is that really serving the better good of driving awareness, engagement, revenue, and customer value?

This divide between online and offline is now becoming more fractured as companies search for ways to transform into social media marketing initiatives.  Digital marketing is now being divided.  There is also the fracture of offline between communications and direct marketing.  We seem to be creating organizations around tactics rather than organizations around strategy.  Having centers of excellence with subject matter experts is certainly important.  Flawless execution in the end gets you to your goals.  Although, why start with the ‘what can be done’ if you don’t know what you are driving to do? This organizational divide of marketing enhances and exposes the weakness in our strategic ability.

Companies that have gotten it right and have leading marketing groups have program offices responsible for marketing and campaign strategies.  They leverage field, creative, and internet marketing organizations as internal agencies and services.  Program offices are the glue managing the value proposition, message, and coordinating the tactical strategies of subject matter experts.  Those companies that market in silos tend to stay in secondary market positions and languish chasing their competition.  One silo gets all the attention and creates a lopsided marketing approach.

It is necessary to grow our organizations and shift to take advantage of new technologies and approaches.  I’m just not convinced that creating organizational silos are the right way to make marketing efforts successful.  It may be the easiest way to get things started and track success.  Yet, in the end, a cohesive marketing organization will get you further.

Filed under: CMO seat, marketing operations, marketing/advertising, , ,

Direct Revenue From Social Media Marketing

Now there is proof.  You can generate revenue from social media marketing – and it is big!

CNN reports that an $11,000 indie movie ‘Paranormal Activity’ grossed $7.1M this past weekend and landed in the top 5 with a limited distribution across 200 theaters.  They did it through word of mouth marketing efforts heavily leveraging YouTube and Twitter.

By: Trendistic

By: Trendistic

What is most interesting about this is that the call to action was not a coupon or offer.  Buzz drove attendance.  In addition, as the first attenders watched the film, buzz peaked and carried through to quick conversion.

Now, I also tried to get data on YouTube trends but was only able to grab total visitations, which as of this morning were 1.9M.  However, search stats on Google showed a similar trend as Twitter so I’ll make a leap assumption that YouTube views were probably following a similar curve.

The reason I’m honing in on this so much is that awareness marketing has really taken a back seat as lead generation and direct revenue models have become the rage.  We look at social media marketing and can’t accurately measure the grey area of word of mouth to revenue generation.  So, we adapt social media to fit our tried and true direct marketing efforts – ie. using Twitter to mail out coupon codes.  The reality is that social media does have a place in our revenue generation mix close the point of sale.  It just takes us into a realm outside our comfort zone.

As you consider social media in your marketing mix, consider tests that introduce word of mouth marketing efforts close to the point of sale.  You may learn the trick to leveraging SMM in your specific revenue generation mix.

Filed under: Awareness, marketing/advertising, social media, social media marketing, , , ,

Marketing Analytics: Why Trust the Numbers?

marketing analyticsSsshhh.  Come here.  Let me tell you a secret.  Those numbers you just presented.  The presentation you spent hours on.  The meeting that immediately after you got kudos for.  It was crap.

How do you know?  Remember that presentation you gave showing the incredible lift on sales by the optimizations made in your messaging strategy?  Turns out, there was an article that provided data conflicting with your methodology and results.

The standard slice and dice of numbers to prove the ROI of ad and marketing spend doesn’t cut it anymore.  There are plenty of others out there that are ready to pounce on your methodology and offer a better way of doing things.  They’ve found a way to take a complex methodology and turn it into a turn key solution or service that makes it easier to track and positioned as more accurate. The pitch: You have results instantly and can act on them with new messaging, offers, creative and strategy.  Oh, and by the way – check out that lift!  Even if you used an advanced analytic technique, someone has a better one to sell.

What should you trust?  What should your managers and executives trust?  Well, that’s your job – create credibility in the numbers and be prepared to defend the results.

Sorry, there is no silver bullet in any testing methodology or analytic modeling.  Each serves a purpose and each mitigates one issue better than another.  No manager or executive wants to be burdened with the fine points of the statistical model you use.  Less is more after all, and they only care about results.  The answer to the secret is how you position your results and anticipate questions that may be brought up during the presentation or after as it has had time to soak in.  Assume stakeholders will look to better inform themselves after your presentation.  They want multiple data points pointing in the same direction to confirm or disprove your recommendation.

Regardless of whether the stakeholders understand a test or modeling method, you should.  The strengths help you tell the story of results.  The weaknesses are where the astute will hone in.  For instance, if you use a sampling methodology, be prepared to present your insight in a manner that underscores not just the the positive impact noticed.  Your listeners will always look for the tarnish in your insights and you need to show why sampling was still accurate and the effect of selection was not a contributing factor to a change in results if ignored.  This doesn’t have to be in the presentation, but you need to be prepared to put the question to bed.

The other aspect is presenting enough of the information.  Incomplete data is a deal breaker.  In attempts to simplify, there is often the risk of over simplifying.  Again, the balance is providing enough in the presentation to satisfy the obvious needs for information and having the details in your back pocket.  First, this creates the the right focus for discussion.  Second, being up on the details makes  you look prepared and informed.

In the end, it isn’t just the insight you bring to the table.  It is your expertise in presenting your findings and creating confidence that is sustainable beyond the opinions and guidance of others.  Leadership in analytics is as much about the obvious insights as it is in covering your bases.

If you trust the numbers, make your stakeholders as well.

Filed under: business analytics, marketing/advertising, metrics, , , , , ,

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