Tag Archives: Marketing

A SWOT for Your B2B Marketing Automation Strategy

20171115 bnr swot 351x200 A SWOT for Your B2B Marketing Automation Strategy

Deep dive: Perform a SWOT exercise for your brand

Now that you have the rough framework of a SWOT, let’s go through the exercise. Grab a piece of paper or white board and explore these concepts. (Note: I really do recommend that you get off your digital device and perform this exercise with a pen, pencil, or whiteboard marker.)

First, what are you going to SWOT? You can choose your company all-up, or a specific division or how you utilize your marketing automation platform. Choose one. We’ll call it “Your Thing.” For each category below, aim to write at least five items in each quadrant.

First, think through Your Thing’s Strengths. What does your company do really well? What evidence do you have for those proof of concepts you create? What garners you excellent buyer reviews or love letters from your customers? Write those things down. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to do this all on gut. Pull from your current marketing copy, as well as from industry analysts and customer testimonials.

Next up is Weaknesses. Now, as marketers, I know that we’re wired to constantly find a positive spin. But let’s get real here. I’m sure you have opinions or at least hunches about what doesn’t work so well with Your Thing. Write those down. Also go back to those customer reviews and feedback – what are the common complaints or issues? What does your customer support team receive a lot of calls about? Write those things down, too. You don’t have to engage in endless brand-flagellation, but do accurately identify your trouble spots.

Opportunities are fun. They can be aspirational – such as places you could market Your Thing, or potential customers you could reach. Also, ID brand expansion possibilities go here. For example, have your customers mentioned something they really want, or have you brainstormed great ideas but not shared them yet? Note those. Reach for the low-hanging fruit, of course – but also include your “stretch” goals ‒ those pie-in-the-sky ideas can’t become reality unless you speak them. This is your space to dream, so do so.

Finally, Threats. What real or potential things could threaten your business? This can be anything from someone stealing your idea (do you have a patent?) to an economic crash that may impact your non-elastic-good market, to a fiery tempered CEO. Some of it you may be able to see coming – other things, you can’t even begin to imagine. But try to think through a few disastrous scenarios and jot them down. And, again, be real. There’s no point in hiding the truth from yourself.

a SWOT analysis for your B2B marketing automation strategy

If you were creating a SWOT for your marketing automation platform (MAP) strategy, a strength could be that you have integrated your MAP with your customer relationship management (CRM) tool.

If you were creating a SWOT for your marketing automation strategy, a weakness is that you’re under utilizing the functions in the platform. This could be not setting up account, demographic and behavior-based segmentation for your lists. It could be not creating automated nurture programs based on those new segmented lists so that you are nurturing decision makers, influencers, tire kickers, and folks wanting to buy today all differently.

One of the biggest Threats to your marketing automation strategy is not using the product, or integrating it with your CRM so that you fail to connect your marketing efforts with sales and see the return on that investment. Another threat could be locking yourself into an all-in-one vendor technology stack that isn’t motivated to innovate, or address your specific needs.

Know what to do with your SWOT

Great work on completing your SWOT for your marketing automation setup or for whatever you choose to examine. Now go stretch your legs for a moment, grab a coffee, and return with your analyst hat on. Look at your list and see what stands out. Circle the big-ticket items. Draw lines and correlations between the quadrants. Jot notes in the margins. Brainstorm – ideas big and small.

The Opportunity in your SWOT for your marketing automation strategy is using your platform across the customer’s journey and across marketing. Are you using it for your branding efforts by nurturing industry and media influencers? Are you creating automated programs for your customers, making sure you help them successfully onboard with your product or service? As they engage more and more, whether attending a customer webinar or Tweeting your praise, you can assign them a lead score for becoming brand advocates and future referrals, as well as priming them for renewals and upsells.

It’s totally OK if you are creating a SWOT just for yourself. It can be a great tool to help you understand more about your brand or simply generate new ideas. But those SWOT results can also be invaluable to your colleagues and boss. I encourage you to share your results – to polish up your lists, remove those potentially thorny items (such as the mention of the CEO’s temper) – and turn your activity into action.

Also, as you drew up your list and made your analysis, I have no doubt your mind started wheeling with ideas. Don’t lose those – whether they be for new products or services, customer opportunities, marketing ploys, campaign slogans, or staff shufflings. The point of the SWOT is to take stock and get ideas going, so harness this energy and good work.

Add SWOT to your regular marketing exercises.

I am an avid fitness fan, and as such I’m accustomed working through many of the same exercises – pushups, sit-ups, and squats – over and over again. It’s not because I always enjoy them; but rather, because they work. Think of a SWOT in this same way. No, I’m not suggesting that you need to perform SWOTs as often as squats, but I do encourage you to try a SWOT at least once a year. You may be surprised at how each iteration garners new insights and helps you nimbly adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Bonus exercise: SWOT yourself

At one of my former jobs, part of the new-hire process included a self-SWOT. We had to assess our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats when we were hired, and then again at our 90-day review. It was a little strange at first, but the exercise proved to be a great mechanism to help me honestly assess my skills – and also to see what changed over the course of a few short months. I encourage you to try this. You never know when you may be able to use these findings, too. You can keep them in your back pocket when you’re preparing for your annual review, asking your boss to include you on a big-ticket project, or pitching for a promotion.

Back to you.

Has a SWOT ever helped you gain valuable insight? Share your experience here.

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Increase Your Website Traffic with These Killer Marketing Hacks

20171115 bnr killer traffic hacks 351x200 Increase Your Website Traffic with These Killer Marketing Hacks

Key takeaway. If you want to instantly drive higher engagement, more shares, and greater traffic to your website, maximize your impact by testing headlines that are focused on the impact to the reader.

Drive Traffic through Guest Blog Posts

A popular strategy for getting significant increases in website traffic is guest blogging. With this strategy, you identify influencers in your business, create relationships, and write high-value posts for their blogs.

For example, let’s say that you sell software that leverages the Internet of Things. Find influencers in that space who share your target market. These people may have large or small audiences, and both are good. Once you identify these individuals, you can start creating relationships, commenting on their content, and connecting through social media. You can pitch guest blog posts, which will allow you to get in front of their audience, present amazing content, and hopefully entice readers into learning more about your company ― usually through some type of lead magnet.

But let’s back up and first uncover how to pick the best influencers for your brand.

Finding the right influencers. Does your target market spend time on Twitter? If so, check out tools such as Followerwonk, which is an advanced Twitter analytics tool that allows you to search Twitter profiles and bios by keywords. You can also use tools such BuzzSumo, which can be used for finding the right content topics.

Pitch a guest blog post. Once you identify a list of the right influencers, check out their sites. Do they have blogs? If so, they may already have guidelines established for accepting blog posts, and they may be published on the website. If they don’t, send a quick email and ask. Once you find out, send a carefully crafted pitch.

Capturing maximum results through a lead magnet. Once your blog post is accepted, you will likely get a bio section, which highlights the author of the post. Don’t waste this space! Instead of linking to your site, set up a landing page with a lead magnet. This could be an eBook that addresses your target audience’s largest pain point, a great infographic, or some other high-value piece of content. The goal? Capture each piece of traffic that you get and start nurturing the visitor through the sales funnel. After all, once someone new arrives at your site, you don’t want that person to get away.

Similarly, you can also allow others to guest post on your website to drive greater traffic. When others create content, they share it with their audience, which helps you bring new people to your site.

Key takeaway. A guest-posting strategy can help provide large spikes of traffic to your website, but it’s also part of a long-term traffic-building strategy. The more content you post on related sites, the more traffic that will trickle into your site, even after that initial spike, which provides long-term results, leads, and sales.

Leverage the Power of Visual

Visual content is starting to get a lot of attention from marketers, and for good reason ― it provides a large impact. Check out these stats on using images, graphics, and videos in content:

  • 37 percent of marketers said that visual marketing was the most important form of content for their businesses.
  • Video content is expected to represent 74 percent of all Internet traffic in the near future.
  • Four times as many consumers report they would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.

The data is impressive, but how does it relate to images and driving more traffic to your brand? Humans are visual beings and can absorb that type of data much faster and easier than other types of information. As a result, they prefer it ― and share it. This translates into greater interest and more website traffic.

A great place to start with creating visual content is developing infographics to share via social media. If you’ve started to forge relationships with influencers, you can reach out and ask them about what they’re working on. Then see if you can contribute an infographic that would make their next blog post stronger. As a result, they would likely share that infographic, which would be credited and linked to your site, driving greater traffic. There are some really fun tools out there that make creating video a both a snap and affordable: GoAnimate, Moovly, VideoScribe. Tools like Canva or Vizualize can help you make engaging visual infographics as well, for little to no cost.

Key takeaway. Examine your existing strategy and ask the question “How can I make more content visual?” Take a look at your existing content an see if you can just repurpose it into a different, more visual format. Then look for different strategies and tools to help you create those types of content and increase your website traffic.

A Few Last Words

The above strategies will help you increase your website traffic while advantageously planting seeds to continue to nurture that traffic in the future. But it’s key to remember that creating traffic is not a sprint ― it’s a marathon. Some of these methods, such as guest posting, will give you initial large spurts of traffic, but the longer you work at these tactics, the greater long-term traffic you’ll build.

Plus, it’s critical to keep in mind that, while having lots of traffic is excellent, when you let that traffic slip through your fingers, it becomes pointless. Instead, entice readers to take that next step, such as exchanging their email for a high-value piece of content. That way you’ll convert more traffic into leads and ensure that your business will thrive in the future.

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B2B Marketing Trends for 2018

20171121 bnr 2018 trends 351x200 B2B Marketing Trends for 2018

Or, as CEO Jack Welch once said:

An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage. 

The more you know about your customers, the more of an advantage you have. And the more you can adapt your messaging, your products and services, and your sales and customer support to those customers, gives you more advantage still.

There are plenty of ways to do this.

Some ways are low-tech, like simply talking to your customer service staff and your sales reps. Or ‒ ahem – actually talking to your customers.

Then there are medium-tech ways, like setting up a simple listening station or doing customer surveys.

And then there are the high-tech ways.

These usually involve one of the bigger buzzwords and trends of the last few years: Big Data.

And increasingly, these high-tech approaches also involve the “scary” big new trend: AI ‒ artificial intelligence.

None of this is going to go away. In fact, our job titles are more likely to go away than Big Data, AI, and super-sophisticated customer knowledge systems are likely to go away.

Marketers are increasingly data-focused and data-driven. At our best, we are data conductors – maestros who can stand in front of our analytics dashboards like conductors stand in front of their orchestras, leading our data feeds through our campaigns and strategies, skillfully balancing the different inputs to create something truly artful.

That’s the vision, at least. Getting there will require a lot of practice. And lots of technical skill.

Some of us may have to improve those technical and data management-type skills.

3. Mobile

I know, I know. Every year people say: “This is going to be the year of mobile.”

I’m not saying that. I say that, if you’re smart, 2018 will be the year you become genuinely mobile-first. So, when you block out big projects, large campaigns, and messaging strategies, you don’t think about the desktop. You stop seeing people receiving your messages on a desktop.

You see them holding a phone in their hand.

You build for that, and then circle back to expand and adapt the mobile version for their desktops.

4. Video

“Video is eating the Internet.”

This is another trend, like mobile, that’s been rising for years. But in 2018, video will probably tilt from a “nice to have” to an essential part of your content marketing program.

Fortunately, video is not as hard to do as it might first seem to be.

Want an example of a completely Oscar-worthy B2B marketing video? Watch Conductor’s hysterical video, SEO and Content Go to Couples Therapy.

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Real-Time Personalized Messaging Is the Future of Marketing

20171108 bnr realtime mobile personalization 351x200 Real Time Personalized Messaging Is the Future of Marketing

But wait: There’s more. Way more. We don’t have to stick to emails anymore. Social media messages can be personalized and sent in real time. So can text messages, website notifications, and the almost futuristic beacons.

All of this is happening now. Over a million beacons will be installed in US stores this year. We’ve got the technology to share what the Gap screen lady knew, and the types of messages we can send are getting better ― and harder to ignore.

Companies like Google get this. Retail beacons can work with any Google product or service. They can even send data to partner applications. And they’re also working on which channel delivers these messages. Interestingly enough, they’re relaunching Google Glass, too.

While the technology around real-time personalized messaging is cool, fundamentally it’s not the technology that actually makes this work. … It’s us. It’s how we respond to messages.

Going all the way back to the time of mid-century advertising legend David Ogilvy, marketers knew that when you sent a message mattered. And timing still matters.

The old-school catalogers had a formula that considered timing. It let them pick which people on their list they were going to mail a catalog to.  The term they used, “Recency, Frequency, and Monetary” (or “RFM”, as some of you know all too well), referred to how recently a customer had purchased, how many times they had purchased, and how much money they had spent cumulatively on those purchases.

Think of it as the very first version of an algorithm for targeting the right customers.

But that was just a formula. Human-to-human interactions are much more sophisticated. Ask any sales person if timing matters … or even any savvy pre-teen or teenage kid. As humans, we know very well that there are good times and bad times to ask for things.

A simple example of this in modern marketing is the welcome email. Welcome emails get crazy-high engagement rates. The only other kind of email that gets higher engagement rates is a transaction email or a birthday email. And birthday emails are another example of a well-timed, personalized message.

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New Relationship Marketing Hub Aims to Goose Conversion Rates

Optimove this week released a new version of its relationship marketing hub.

sales conversions New Relationship Marketing Hub Aims to Goose Conversion Rates

Optimove 6.0 lets users automate targeted marketing campaigns for new visitors as precisely as they can for current customers, the company said. It combines Web analytics with look-alike data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence from its retention ecosystem to make accurate predictions of future spend before customers make a purchase.

Based on those predictions, Optimove 6.0 segments visitors into micro-categories and indicates which campaigns are most likely to lead to conversions.

The aim is to capture more of the 98 percent of people who visit a website but do not make a purchase, the company said.

“Our own data shows that 94.3 percent of active website browsers do not purchase in the first five minutes of browsing,” said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“Improving relevancy through context via [artificial intelligence] is the only way to invoke engagement,” he told CRM Buyer. “Engagement is the factor that drives conversion rates or sales. The only metric that matters is conversion rate optimization.”

What Optimove 6.0 Does

Optimove 6.0 reduces the conflict between the often-siloed customer acquisition and retention teams, whose approaches to lowering per-acquisition costs and keeping customers for the long term are often in opposition, according to the company.

That conflict leads to losses when teams move from one CRM application to another.

After integrating both lifecycle tools into a single CRM solution, marketers will see conversion sales increase by an average iof 25 percent, Optimove claimed.

Customer acquisition and retention teams “sit in different departments,” Wang noted. “In many cases, you multiply this by each channel — for example, Web team vs. contact center vs. mobile.”

Optimove 6.0 is limited in that it “is an approach to optimizing sales rather than a solution in and of itself,” said Michael Jude, research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

It “targets specific customers to specific marketing and sales approaches,” he told CRM Buyer. “All of that underlying sales collateral has to be produced, market tested and so on.”

Improving Conversion Rates

Improving customer conversions by 25 percent may be too ambitious a goal, Constellation’s Wang suggested. “Improving conversion rates by 10 percent is good enough. Twenty-five percent is extraordinary.”

The global conversion rate of visitors to e-commerce websites worldwide was 2.48 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to Statista. That was down from 2.94 percent in the preceding quarter.

Conversion rates
depend on many factors. A store selling high-end electronics won’t have the same conversion rate as one selling US$ 10 tee shirts. One with a loyal list of, say, 100,000 buyers will have a better conversion rate than one buying cold traffic off Facebook.

Conversion rates “are very situational,” Frost’s Jude observed. “I might be selling buggy whips, for example, and, if no one is really buying such things, the market might be saturated already.”

Among the factors impacting conversion rates, according to Invespro, are the following:

  • Product type
  • Product cost or average order value
  • Traffic source
  • Type of Device
  • Platform
  • Location

Optimove’s Hurdles

“The challenge for Optimove is how they will ultimately embed themselves in the business process,” Constellation’s Wang said. “You need to orchestrate the process in order to deliver better personalization.”

Optimove has done a good job with personalization, and machine learning is where it will differentiate itself from the competition, he suggested.

Ultimately, what will drive differentiation, Wang remarked, is not the algorithms “but the type of customers a business has.”
end enn New Relationship Marketing Hub Aims to Goose Conversion Rates

Richard%20Adhikari New Relationship Marketing Hub Aims to Goose Conversion RatesRichard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
Email Richard.

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How to Create a Killer Marketing Plan and Spare Yourself a Scare

20171031 bnr how to create a killer MarketingPlan to spare you a scare How to Create a Killer Marketing Plan and Spare Yourself a Scare

I’ve loved Halloween since I was a kid. Back then, I loved dreaming up a costume, sometimes months in advance, and coming up with a plan for the night. And I still love the holiday. I love the fun. The frightful elements of surprise. And, of course, those sugary treats.

Planning for a successful All Hallow’s Eve has odd parallels to creating a successful marketing plan. You’ve got to do some preparation to make sure everything is just right – from the look and feel of campaigns to the route planning to the execution.

Let’s dissect the components of a killer marketing plan so you won’t be caught by surprise. Don’t be afraid – this process isn’t scary. The real horror show would be not having a plan.

Starting down the wrong path

Before we embark, a word of caution. It’s tempting to plan your “costume” first, and your logistics second. But don’t go too far down the path too quickly. You’ll want to have a general sense of your plan before you put the finishing touches on the costume, and, as we know, the devil is in the details. For example, do you know where you’re celebrating? An indoor party is different than traipsing outside through the streets. Who are you celebrating with, colleagues or kids? What’s your budget? All of these things may affect your costume choice.

If you put your marketing plan lens on, you’ll see the parallels. Your Halloween party location is akin to your marketing channels. Your cohorts are your audience. And your budget is, well, your budget. Before you polish up that perfect campaign copy, be sure you have the lay of the landscape.

Elements of a successful marketing plan

Marketing planning: tales, timing, and tactics

First, you need to think big picture. What do you want to do, and where? This includes initial ideation and tactical planning. What exactly is your ghoul … that is, your goal? Plot it out in concrete terms, for example, “launch a new product,” or “run a contest.” Put that stake in the ground.

Casting your vision

If you have initial ideas for your costume – your vision – it’s OK to sketch those out in loose terms. A skeleton outline, of sorts. Just don’t spend too much time here, because things may change as you work through the rest of your plan.

Next, consider your timing.

What is your launch date? Put together a rough workback schedule leading up to that date.

Another time-related decision is the duration of your campaign – when it will start and expire. These parameters are key, and timing really is everything. (Also, here’s a hint: marketing automation can help you launch your campaign at just the right moment on the customer journey.)

Who are you trying to reach?

Think through whether you want to address new or existing customers, or perhaps those former customers who have ghosted you who you want to re-engage. These are people you’d like to put under your spell.

Where will you go?

Consider the channels where you’ll promote. This is the logistical part of your campaign – your route planning. Consider tried and true routes that you know yield lots of proverbial candy, as well as some newbies to add to the mix.

What’s your budget – and resources?

How much mummy – er, money – do you have to spend? What’s your budget?

Also, how many hands are on your deck? How many newts are in your cauldron? Think about resourcing and capacity planning, both from your in-house staff and third parties.

Set yourself up for success

Before you track the results of your campaign, you’ll want to have an idea of your objectives. These should be noted in your marketing plan before you start it – so if you haven’t put some benchmarks and goals into your plans, go back and do that first. It’s important to make sure your goals are measurable and attainable so you’re not haunted by regret later. Remember the industry acronym “SMART” – set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.

Remove the cloak of darkness and get everything out into the daylight. How will you tactically measure the results? What tools will you use? Where and how will you share those results – to current colleagues as well as in an archive for future? It’s always good to keep a record of what you do – especially if it was a monster success. (Note: Act-On can help here.)

Don’t forget to hand out the tricks and treats. It’s important to surprise your audience – wow them, delight them, and offer goodies. This may be where you weave in loyalty programs, customer rewards, discounts, and offers, or contests.

Finally, pull your thoughts together and let your team know what the plan is. You know the adage: Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them. Clarity is the charm. In a marketing plan, this takes shape via the Executive Summary – or abstract – at the beginning. As well, close with a conclusion summing up all the parts.

Then get buy-off, by circulating it to your boss, your colleagues, and whomever else is a key stakeholder. Bewitch them with your brilliant strategy and you’ll avoid the boos.

Creation and design

Next comes the fun part: creating the look – the “costume” – and trying it on for size.

As I mentioned, the creative phase is often where we want to jump first. Once you have a full picture of the overarching plan and parameters, it’s time! Look back to your skeleton notes from above. Now that you have more bones in the plan, are you starting to see a better picture of the finished product?

Now’s the time to cut loose and turn that pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern – to start to write, design, create. Try it on for size – i.e., test it with your colleagues. And remember to bury any elements that are dead on arrival.

Executing your plan

Contrary to its grim name, this is the go-do phase. Be sure you know who is on the hook to do what. Make sure your plan names names. Assign tasks and deadlines to teams or individuals. Be clear about the expectations of who’s responsible for what by when. Don’t let your team get caught in a spiderweb of confusion and mixed messages. (Read this for more reasons on why you need a clear workflow process.)

Measuring success: How much loot did you score?

Once you execute your plans, it’s time to start seeing how they performed. In Halloween terms, this is where you count your candy.

We all want to succeed, to score a lot of loot. But remember that you learn from failures, too, so don’t let them spook you. If you come across some dead ends with no candy, you know you shouldn’t try them again next year.

Not so scary after all

I hope these tips help you feel more confident in creating a marketing plan. I wish you success on the journey – and candy-haul – ahead.

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The Marketing Strategy for Building Your Audience First

blog title rethink podcast robert rose 351x200 The Marketing Strategy for Building Your Audience First

This transcript has been edited for length. To get the full measure, listen to the podcast.

Michelle Huff: Can you tell us more about yourself and Content Advisory?

Robert Rose: I am currently the chief strategy advisor with the Content Marketing Institute. And that’s a whole lot of mouthful of words to basically say I help with strategy, and run around the planet, and work with companies ‒ usually larger brands ‒ to help them figure out the operationalizing of content marketing. And within that the Content Advisory is our group that works on that. And we basically focus on two things. One is education: corporation education, working with clients to hold workshops and advisory days to help them understand the process and function of content marketing. And then secondarily to do consulting around a number of things including content strategy, technology acquisition, training, as well as marketing strategy and those kinds of things.

As far as I go, I’m an old guy in marketing. I’ve been around for 30 years and discovered this whole content marketing thing quite by accident by doing it while I was a CMO of a software company. And then I met this guy in 2008, Joe Pulizzi, who was trying to form this thing called the Content Marketing Institute. And he said, ‘Hey, when you’re done with this software company, you and I should work together.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s funny you should mention, dot dot dot.’ And then he and I ended up writing a book together, our first together. And the rest, as they say, is history.

What is Content Marketing?

Michelle: How do you describe what is content marketing? And how have you seen it evolve since Content Marketing Institute started?

Robert: Content marketing has always been around. We’ve been doing it for hundreds of years, is our contention. In fact, the namesake of our podcast is This Old Marketing, where we bring up old examples of content marketing that have been around for 50, 60, 100 years.

The key difference is that what digital has brought is the ability for us to create content at all parts of the customer’s journey that create value for that customer. And so, instead of only creating content for customers after they become customers and sending them a magazine, or a loyalty letter, or something like that, now we can create the media that we want to be on and that we want our customers to consume, and aggregate our own audiences. We can build our own audiences because we have the technology and the tools to be able to do that.

What do you mean by “killing marketing”?

Michelle: You’ve authored three marketing books. The latest is Killing Marketing, which you co-authored with Joe Pulizzi. What do you mean by killing marketing? It’s a very provocative title.

Robert: I hope so. Hopefully, we’ll sell a few books. Here’s what it came from. There’s a wonderful line that’s attributed to Mark Twain that, apparently, he never said, but it’s attributed to him anyway. And the quote is basically, it’s not what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that gets you into trouble. We ask the question at the beginning of the book: What if everything we know about marketing is actually what’s holding us back?

The transformation of digital has really meant we’re just trying to continually do more and more and more and more of the same thing that we’ve been doing for 60 years. We’re running more and more campaigns, we’re running more and more tactics, we’re creating more and more content, we’re creating more and more advertising, we’re creating more and more, with less and less budget, and we’re expecting a different result. And that obviously is the definition of insanity, but it’s also this idea of something that is an opportunity for us to change.

The book opens up asking: What if all of that is just wrong? What if we wipe the slate clean and we said: What if we started with content? What if we started with a story? What if we started by building an audience? And then letting that audience help tell us how to market the products and services we want put into the marketplace.

That’s just a fundamental upset of the marketing that we do today. It’s not that different, but it’s just a different order and different kinds of activities that we do, to really get back to what Drucker would have told us the original remit of marketing is anyway ‒ to create a customer. And so that’s the idea of killing marketing. Killing the marketing we know to make room for the marketing that we want to create.

What is the difference between a media company and a brand?

Michelle: That makes a lot of sense. You also talk about in the book ‒ maybe this is part of the building the audience ‒ but you say the lines between a media company and a brand no longer exist. How do you better describe that? Or what do you mean?

Robert: It’s something Joe said ‒ and I absolutely agree with ‒ is that the difference between a product company and a media company is there is no difference any longer. The business model is the same, which is building an audience. If you look at the newest media companies, what we define as media companies. There are four that come to immediate mind. You’ve got Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple. So, let’s just look at them in order. You’ve got Amazon, an online book store that became a retailer like Walmart, that is now going to spend $ 6 billion creating original content. Because why?  Because they’re trying to become an integrated media and product platform. Because they know that if they have an addressable audience that they engage and that they entertain, they’ll buy more stuff, and they’ll buy more stuff from them. Apple, same thing. They said they’re going to invest $ 2 billion into new original content for their streaming platform.

Facebook has gone, I don’t know how long it’s been, 10 years since basically denying that they were a media company, and finally having to cop to it and saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to develop new content to engage, and we’re going to launch this Watch platform, and it’s going to be awesome; it’s streaming video.’ And they’re going to invest a billion dollars, they just announced two weeks ago. A billion dollars into new original content for our Watch platform. And then finally you get to Google with YouTube that has said they’re going to invest up to $ 6 billion in new content, too.

All of that on its face is like, yeah, of course, I get that, I get why Google is doing that, I understand why Facebook is doing that, I get why Apple’s doing that. If you look at the cost, where they’re applying the cost of that, it’s not new products. They don’t look at these as new products, they look at these as marketing costs, to get to the direct attention and trust of an audience. And from that they can offer all kinds of products and services.

Now if you flip that around and you go all the way back, and you go to product companies, and you look at a company, like Lego for example … Lego is one of the best turnaround stories that you’ve heard in years. In 2002, 2003 Lego was a bankrupt, ready-to-go bust bricks and toy company. They transformed themselves into a media company, getting into the amusement park business, getting into the feature film business, getting into the television business, and really transforming themselves into a content company that also sells bricks and little toys. They have now completely reinvented themselves.

What we’ve seen is the power of the new marketing ‒ the new creating value in a business is: How do I get your attention, and keep it, and build trust with you over time? Content is one of the best ways to do that. And if I can create content that develops trust, engagement, and attention from you, well now I can sell you anything I want to. And now I don’t have to buy television ads. And now I don’t have to buy interruptive-based print ads. Now I don’t have to buy radio. Now I don’t have to buy ‒ because I am the media. I am what entertains you. Instead of trying to interrupt you with what is going to interest you, why don’t I just become the thing that interests you? And that is a powerful new way to look at the way we operate our businesses.

I like to say today, content marketing is not a marketing tactic, it’s a business strategy that marketing people happen to perform. And it’s that fundamental, I believe, to the business because it is part of the new business model.

What is technology’s role in your marketing strategy?

Michelle: How do you think marketing technology fits into all of this? And how does it fit into killing marketing and rethinking marketing’s approach to marketing strategy?

Robert: I think there are two things to talk about there. One is the overwhelming amount of technology that exists for marketers today. As I’ve been telling marketers in my workshop these days: You can’t dream it. In other words, if you dream it, I guarantee you there’s a software company that does it. So just stop. Just stop trying to think of stuff that you need because you don’t need it.

Because the way most marketers are making decisions about technology right now is quite frankly they’re saying: ‘Oh, that company does something really cool. We should probably be doing that.’ And then they figure out a way that their strategy should meet the features and benefits of that new technology. And quite frankly what it leads to is a misuse of technology.

Your company, of all companies, knows this all too well. I think I saw some statistic that most marketers use between 4 and 6 percent of the features in a marketing automation solution. And that’s just sad because marketing automation solutions like yours are extraordinarily capable today.

And that is what segues into the other piece of this, which is: When we look at building audiences, what are the technologies that we start to see out there that are really relevant? Now, I’ll issue a challenge. I’ve written on this before. No one’s taken me up on it yet, and so I’ll take the opportunity now that I’m on your podcast to issue a challenge to you, that none of the marketing automation solutions are building audience-development tools. And it would be the easiest thing in the world for marketing automation to do this, to build not leads, not moving leads through a funnel, but building an audience, and assembling data, and valuation of audiences.

I think it’s an incredible opportunity for marketing automation. None of them that I know of have done it yet. And I think it’s an incredible opportunity because it quite frankly is the closest thing to an audience-development tool that even exists out there for marketers.

Take that for what you will. It’s either a wonderful endorsement of what you guys are doing or a big old challenge that you can run the gauntlet with.

Michelle: I love it because in many ways they’re very similar. It’s just how you think about the approach.

Robert: Right. They’re not leads. They’re audiences we deliver value to, and build data-rich profiles on, building wonderfully data-rich profiles, looking at their content consumption, measuring what they do, looking how they build over time with progressive profiling.

All of the things that fit wonderfully into the marketing automation bucket of value also fit so wonderfully into the audience development of value. The challenge is that, quite frankly ‒ and this is a marketer’s challenge as well ‒ we look at the process of marketing automation as a simple way to spam people, and drip them through, and shove them through the pipeline as fast as we possibly can. That’s the mistake.

I love the fact we call it ‘lead nurturing,’ but our main goal is to shove them through the pipeline as fast as we possibly can. Why don’t we actually nurture the leads? Let’s actually nurture. Let’s actually take that ‘nurturing’ word at its face.

How can we learn more about you and Killing Marketing?

Michelle: Excellent. Well, I love this conversation. I think all your talk tracks around the stories behind killing marketing and the premise is very compelling. Where can we buy a copy of Killing Marketing? And how do we learn more about you and about CMI?

Robert: Well that’s very kind of you to segue into that. For Killing Marketing we have the website killingmarketing.com, where you can download a free chapter, get the video, see the trailer, and sort of understand if you’d like to buy it. And then of course it’s available in all your favorite bookstores.

For more on me, you can visit thecontentadvisory.net. That’s where I centralize all my thinking, and have our team, and what we’re doing from an audience-development and audience-evaluation standpoint, as well as everything we’re doing on an education, consulting, advisory, and stuff like that.

Michelle: Awesome. Loved the conversation. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Robert: I did too. Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

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11 Powerful Quotes for Marketing Inspiration

20171101 bnr marketing quotes 351x200 11 Powerful Quotes for Marketing Inspiration

The demands on marketers can feel crushing ― you must be creative, innovative, and possess the superpower of transforming strategies into concrete results. It’s a tall order to fill, even for the most talented of marketers. At times, you may hit a rough spot. The marketing inspiration well may run dry. What then?

A dose of inspiration is often the ticket. And not just from anybody, but from some of the most brilliant minds in history ― such as Steve Jobs, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Walt Disney. Here are 11 inspirational quotes to rev you up and get your inner marketing genius back on track.

“ 1. It’s better to be a pirate than to join the Navy.” ―Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was constantly working to think differently about the products that he created. For example, when introducing the iPod, he didn’t talk about portability or how music could be taken anywhere. Instead, Jobs kept it simple and described the product as “1,000 songs in your pocket.”

Look at what your competitors are doing and then ask, “What would happen if we took the opposite direction?” This approach will help you start thinking differently about your marketing strategies.

“2. Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” ―Seth Godin

Companies of the past would create a product, develop an amazing design, and then eagerly release the product, hoping that it would become a hit. Godin recommends taking this classic crossing-fingers strategy and re-engineering it.

Marketers can speak with their customers, learn about their burning pains, and listen to them talk about the existing solutions on the market. What do they love, what do they hate, and what is missing? These valuable nuggets of information can be shared to create innovative products that customers will embrace. Discovering these preferences also makes marketing easier because the knowledge helps you truly understand customers’ needs.

“3. Even when you are marketing to your entire audience or customer base, you are still simply speaking to a single human at any given time.” ―Ann Handley

As marketers, we break our customers into segments, create accurate personas, and work hard to truly know them. But when writing content, Handley argues, there’s something important you must do: Speak to customers as if they were individuals. Don’t communicate like you’re giving a presentation or like you’re addressing a group ― but rather like the audience members are your friends, you’re having coffee, and you have something really amazing to tell them. Use this marketing inspiration, and your writing and marketing programs will instantly become more effective.

“4. I don’t know the rules of grammar … If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.” ―David Ogilvy

Ogilvy built an advertising empire that continues to thrive long after a single lifetime. He left us with some amazing nuggets of wisdom, and one of them is to use the language that our customers use daily. Every customer has a pain point ― something that burns like crazy and needs to be solved. Your product is the solution, but to effectively market and sell that solution, you need to start talking like your customers.

What websites do they visit, what books do they read, and what forums do they participate in? Find out and start making a list of the exact language they use to describe that problem, then use that language for your marketing inspiration, and your success will be amplified.

“5. Social media allows big companies to act small again.” ―Jay Baer

Large companies are incredibility powerful, yet they have a major challenge ― they often feel “too big” to their customers. This can alienate customers and make them feel like the big guys don’t understand them. Social media can change this and gives large companies the ability to act small at scale.

No matter the size of your organization, use social media to engage with your customers, learn their greatest challenges, and provide answers to their problems when they need them most. When developing a social media strategy, think in terms of “How can this strategy make us feel more accessible and available to our customers?”

“6. It’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than by doubling your traffic.” ―Bryan Eisenberg

Do you want to drive more sales? If so, you aren’t alone ― this is a goal of many marketers. But when creating strategies to meet this goal, you may start thinking, “We need more traffic to the website to generate greater conversions.” Eisenberg points out an important strategy: Shift thinking away from traffic ― and concentrate more on conversion rates.

This single shift in thinking could transform your company’s business. Once conversion rates increase, then you can go after more traffic, with each visitor who arrives having a higher chance of conversion.

“7. Do one thing every day that scares you.” ―Eleanor Roosevelt

Marketers tend to be bold, creative, adventurous, and ready to try new strategies … but it’s also easy to get stuck in “safe mode.” Maybe you have a few tried-and-true marketing strategies, and they work great. You pay attention to new ideas, but you’re hesitant to try anything truly different. When you stay open to groundbreaking marketing strategies and aren’t afraid to test ones that scare you, you open up the possibilities of discovering something amazing.

“8. If you’re not failing now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything innovative.” ―Woody Allen

Failure is not fun. It feels terrible, like you wasted time and now you have to start over. Resetting this “always avoid failure at all costs” mindset, however, can be a game changer for marketers.

Avoid thinking about failure as a personal hit, and instead think of it as an experiment ― or a test. You didn’t try a new marketing strategy and fail. Instead, you ran a test and discovered that approach does not work. So, you test another tactic. The greatest geniuses in history failed ― and they failed frequently. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

“9. The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” ―Tom Fishburne

A century ago, marketing was easy to recognize because it felt like marketing. But today, there’s content marketing, social media, and so many other avenues for understanding customers, all of whom prefer to be spoken with rather than to. They don’t want to talk about products; they want to talk about problems.

Brainstorm ideas on how that next marketing campaign can feel less like marketing and more like a friend is reaching out to serve as a valuable resource.

“10. I suppose my formula might be: Dream, diversify, and never miss an angle.” ―Walt Disney

Walt Disney’s newspaper editor told the aspiring cartoonist that he wasn’t creative enough. Disney was also fired from the Kansas City Star because the editor said that he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” We can laugh at this now, because Disney clearly demonstrated this wasn’t true. But here is the point for marketers: If you ever make a marketing mistake that feels really big ― don’t worry. Diversify, and try a new angle to come up with innovative strategies.

“11. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” ―Henry Ford

Marketing is changing fast, and the customers we serve are constantly evolving; demands and needs are always in flux. Marketers who want to keep up must refuse to stand still.

Sign up for a few brilliant marketing-related newsletters, keep up with changes that are happening ― and commit to learn something new each week. Select a few topics you’d like to master and commit to continuing to learn, which will make you invaluable at both your trade and your company.

Finding Inspiration in Your Work

There are days when marketing feels like play ― it’s fun and exciting ― but on other days it’s just hard. You must have a split personality, one minute thinking like a savvy marketer and the next like a specific customer persona. Great creativity is required, as is the boldness not to fear starting over when a strategy isn’t working.

Tapping into the genius of marketing legends helps you break through when you get stuck, digging deeper and forging new paths and strategies. Find your favorite quotes, post them for marketing inspiration ― and turn to them the next time your creative well runs dry.

Do you have a favorite marketing quote? If so, please share it!


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ZTE, JD Form Strategic Partnership For Marketing

ZTE and JD Group announced the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement in New York under which the two parties will work together in mobile terminal development; online and offline channel sales; and brand marketing.

Cheng Lixin, chief executive officer of ZTE’s terminal business unit, said that mobile technology ecosystem and consumer habits have changed tremendously. By cooperating with JD, ZTE will provide more innovative mobile devices to Chinese consumers.

At the same time, ZTE launched its dual-screen foldable smartphone Axon M for the global market. Once this new product is available in China, JD will be its exclusive online debut channel. JD will participate in the software customization of Axon M and implement customized development in accordance to the dual-screen feature of this product. In addition, JD will use its big data analyzing capability to help ZTE target customers accurately and provide various solutions in marketing, channel, and product sectors.

ZTE and JD already reached a strategic cooperating relationship in December 2015. The two parties realized cooperation in marketing and post-sales service.

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6 Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Campaigns

blog title team planning 351x200 6 Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Campaigns

You also may pivot your marketing messages and copy accordingly. Do you know how to talk to your customers?

3. Leverage trigger marketing.

So, you know who to talk to – and where. How about when?

If you can meet customers with your campaign at the right moment in the buyer’s journey – you’ll likely see more success. This is the concept of “right message at the right time.”

Trigger marketing – sending emails or campaigns at specific points in a customer’s engagement lifecycle – can significantly increase your chance of success.

To set up a trigger campaign, you first need to identify the key points in your customer’s journey, such as discovery, enrollment, first purchase, and/or renewal. Then add additional layers and next steps. For example, after discovery, assuming you can know the customer looked for you and visited your website, you can send them a follow-up: “See anything you like? Come back and visit us.” Or, if you have an existing customer who’s just made a purchase, follow up 30 days later with a reminder.

Marketing automation can help with that (more on that in a moment), but as you can also see, a robust CRM system can be an advantageous tool in trigger marketing.

4. Measure your marketing strategy results – track success.

So, let’s say you’ve conceived, created, and launched your campaign. You’re up and running. Great!

How’s it going? Do you know?

To find out, you must keep tabs on your efforts and formally track them.

This might look like a simple chart (think Excel tables) or a fancier dashboard. Whatever the case, you need to be sure to record what you’re doing – pull the info out of databases and your head – to document it for the future and share with colleagues.

I advise you to limit the pool of info you’re tracking to the few key barometers – KPIs – that really tell the story of your campaign. Endless data is available these days, but make sure you’re keeping an eye on the right data and checking it over and over (apples to apples) regularly.

And write it down! Our memories wane. If you don’t track and document information, it’s like that proverbial tree that falls in the forest … no one will know. (They can guess, but they won’t know for sure.)

5. Test to see how well your marketing campaign is performing.

Another key part of concepting and marketing is testing. Don’t forget to build tests into your campaign plans.

You need to measure what is working – and what isn’t.

Tests can be trying and tiring, but they’re also very valuable. There are myriad things you can evaluate:

You can test what channel works best. You can test how your web pages are doing, or see how your emails are performing. You can test time of day you publish content – or day of the week.

Tactically, this can look like A/B testing, such as trying different headlines, page designs, or subject lines if email is part of a campaign. It can also look like trying different or new channels or even targeting a new group of potential customers.

One word of caution: Try to control your tests so there aren’t too many things being evaluated at one time. Just like high school science class, you need to limit the number of constants and variables to glean true insight.

Also, testing isn’t a one-and-done affair. Testing should be done continuously. Don’t rest too long on those laurels. Keep testing – and tracking – to be sure you know what’s working.

6. Toss what doesn’t work.

Once you’ve started testing and tracking, it’s time to take stock. Step back and assess: Is it working? If so, bravo and great job. Time to rinse and repeat.

But, if not, you need to be confident enough to toss it. It’s OK to ditch things that aren’t working and try something new. Remember, you can learn from failure almost as much as – if not more than – success.

See how marketing automation can help.

The good news is Act-On software can help considerably when you’re applying these tactics.

We can help you with targeting, such as segmenting your lists. We can help you set up trigger-based emails. You can also use Act-On to tailor messaging once you’ve targeted your audience and determined the key triggers. And you can use our products to help you track success and report out to your colleagues or clients.

To learn more, contact us to speak to a rep.

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