B2B Marketers: Happy Customers & Using Video for Lead Gen

Happy customers are good for business. Although we as B2B marketers know this at the very core of our being, we sometimes get distracted by the latest innovation, and stray from our constant pursuit—customer satisfaction. A recent Direct Marketing News blog post cites some practical tips from CRM provider Insightly’s Lynn Tsoflias to keep customers happy, yielding a better bottom line.

  • Serve the customer. When customers’ needs are met, your business will prosper. B2B marketers who focus on their customers’ revenue and projects will see the benefits for their own companies.
  • Make your first impression count. Use an offer or free trial to introduce your service or product to the customer, then be prepared to support it by educating customers on how the products will benefit them.
  • Simplify the message and the process. Treat B2B customers as consumers, give them a simple product that’s easy to use. Small businesses need to demonstrate the advantages of their product with clear, easy messaging that offers a solution to a time, labor or money issue.
  • Offer customers value before asking for information. Pay attention to their needs and comments. Use critical feedback as an opportunity to improve your relationship with customers. Listen when they complain. When you improve your service or product based on customer feedback, make sure to let the client know they were heard.
  • Understand the different ways customers learn and then create the most compelling media to reach them. Train effectively, with media in a few formats that considers different ways people learn.

Consider all formats when communicating with your customer. B2B efforts should include white papers, email campaigns, videos, webinars and all other efforts to reach customers as consumers.

Consider adding video to support lead generation, sales and marketing efforts. Video is easy to consume, yet can serve greater purposes of demonstrating a product, showcasing your executives at conferences, or giving a tutorial. And from a B2B perspective, its use is on the rise, with 63% of B2B marketers using it on internal and external sites, according to the “Video Content Metrics Benchmark Report, as cited by KOMarketing Associates here. Approximately 70 percent of the profitable B2B organizations surveyed said more of their customers are watching their videos. Video engagement data helps determine lead quality; and video surpasses other content in producing conversions.  Customers are watching videos on company sites and through other channels like YouTube and Google. More B2B companies are producing more videos to reach them, estimated at 27 per year per the study.

It’s worth a refresher for all of us to remember that when our customers are happy and succeed, our company will succeed too.  Using video and other tools that support their goals, B2B companies can continue to keep the customer satisfied.

Image via Schmilblik

Madison Logic Makes the 2014 AlwaysOn OnMedia 50 Companies to Watch List

We’re extremely proud to announce that Madison Logic has been included in the AlwaysOn 2014 OnMedia 50 Companies to Watch list.  We consider this to be a huge honor and a testament to the hard work we’ve been putting forth over the past year.

From The AlwaysOn Network:

This year, the AlwaysOn editorial team has identified 50 digital media companies to watch during the coming year. Representing a wide range of sectors-advertising, data analytics, social commerce, and product discovery-these up-and-comers have solid, early-stage backing and the potential to hit $200 million in revenue during the next few years, indicating substantial returns for their inventors and rapid revenue growth in the short-term.

These companies are providing innovative digital media, social commerce, and analytical solutions for companies with products to sell and the consumers that are looking for them. Watch for these companies on next year’s 2015 OnMedia 100!

Click here for the full list of  the 2014 OnMedia 50 Companies to Watch.

B2Bs: Talk Organic Content to Me

Madison Logic Organic ContentTwo reports came out this past week regarding inbound traffic with one common thread: original content drives inbound marketing attempts. Blogs and articles that speak directly to your customers yield higher relevant traffic, 59% per this chart.

Ayaz Nanji breaks down the top goals, tactics and challenges of Ascend2’s Inbound Marketing in a Marketing Profs summary. More than 270 marketing, sales and business professionals responded, with these highlights:

  • 49% said their most important marketing objective is increasing conversion rate
  • 48% citing improving lead quality and 44% improving lead quantity
  • 46% growing sales revenue
  • 31% improving brand awareness

Obviously, respondents could choose more than one goal. A quick review of this article demonstrates with clear bar graphs some of the priorities. Per 59%, “marketing content creation is one of the most effective inbound tactics”; 54% cite search engine optimization. These tools go together and rely on strong, original content across all strategies: search, SEO, social media, blogging and public relations. However, content creation is also seen as “difficult” to execute because it relies on a clear understanding of company’s message, goals and audience—and can be hard to track in the lead nurturing cycle. An effective strategy can turn this around.

Jim Yu, writing for Marketing Land, provides some tips for ensuring that original organic content is still a strong and effective marketing tool. In 2014, “B2Bs embrace content as a primary form of marketing” with “stellar results” from organic search. Content from the website, blogs, articles, newsletters, webinars all inform and educate throughout many touchpoints a potential customer has when interacting with your product. And the best part is there are more metrics for how this content is consumed and interacted with. B2B content marketing can be measured in web traffic, social media sharing, lead quantity, feedback, awareness and other ways. There’s a more mature acknowledgement that just creating content does not generate a direct sale, but a full product experience. Organic search content has “staying power” helping you build your brand and educate your customers.

And when you’re creating the content, keep it simple! Marketing professionals have the ability to take normal words and mutate them into corporate speak. A recent Ad Age article rails against the practice of using jargon or vocabulary words that would impress our high school Latin teachers instead of direct and simple language that speaks more clearly to potential customers. As B2B marketers, we have to be particularly careful not to speak in acronyms and insider terms.

Image via Jessica Spengler

It’s All About the Leads

2599701755_b91621cbf8_oIt’s all about the leads –any salesperson can tell you this. However, not all leads are created equal. In one of the best movies about sales ever, Glengarry Glen Ross, good salespeople are given the top leads, enabling them to close more business and continue their success. Weak salespeople are given weak leads, precipitating their failure. So what makes a good lead, and How do we generate leads and keep them vibrant to complete the transaction?

First, let’s look at the misconceptions about leads. In a quick list, Emma Vas debunks Lead Myths to help marketers and sales focus on what’s important. Here are some of the kernels of wisdom that come from her demystified myths:

  • Product knowledge is necessary, but sales and marketing do not need the full technical specs to promote something. They will probably get confused and muddle the important features.
  • Rather than tooting your own horn, tell your clients’ success stories.
  • Buyer persona changes. Yes, you must set one up, but be prepared for it to shift over time.
  • Qualifying leads is important. Track leads. Qualify them. Nurture them.
  • Educate the customer and the sales force.

Unless we tackle the myths, we’ll never achieve the goals listed above.

Now, once you obtain your leads, you must qualify them, nurture them, and focus on the strong leads to close sales. (See the similarities in advice?) Marketing and sales must work together to determine what makes a great lead and then apply it through their tactics. Julia Borgini gives three great tips:

1)     Understand what makes a sales-qualified lead. Establish guidelines to identify the strongest leads that can convert to sales.

2)     Start lead scoring.  Standards will help sales and marketing determine which group should work with a particular lead. Even using “cold”,  “warm”, and “hot” is a good start so you can spend your efforts effectively.

3)     Nurture your leads. Citing the long B2B pipeline, Ms. Borgini emphasizes continuous effort, communication, delivering value, so when they’re ready to buy; you’re ready to close.

As a bonus tip, Borgini reminds to always get permission to remain in contact with your leads.

In order to “Always Be Closing” we must always be nurturing, qualifying and communicating with leads.

Image via Toon Bronselaer

Automation for the People

Why is marketing automation on the rise?

69485977_fee90b4443_zAccording to the B2B Marketing Automation Vendor Selection Tool (VEST), produced by Raab Associates, the majority of upgrades made by marketing automation vendors concern analytics. The results are summarized in a recent VentureBeat article.

Although content marketing, social media and mobile are buzzwords in the industry, the growth in adding analytics features is due to increasing automation in marketing. Customers need analytics to continue to improve campaigns and reach; and vendors realize they should bolster this area.

David M. Raab, principal behind the comprehensive VEST, which matches marketers to marketing automation systems, had these observations to offer:

On which new features of this year’s VEST excited Raab: “Those that are still relatively rare, including algorithmic revenue attribution, connections to external data and simulation of campaign flows.”

Whether the “continued expansion of the marketing automation space” is sustainable: “Nothing can continue forever, but I don’t think we’ll slow down for the next year or two.”

For more information on VEST’s analysis, vendor reports and industry breakdowns, the original report can be found here.

Per Stephanie Miller in a recent ClickZ article, one reason marketing automation is such a hot topic is because it makes sense now. Calling it “the most important tool in the marketing portfolio,” Miller urges B2B marketers to get aboard now or miss out on opportunities.

Noting that automation improves lead management, social marketing, CRM integration, and virtually every aspect of workflow, Miller identifies the “key benefit of automation tools is to enhance communications between people and brands to be responsive to need and life stage and available in preferred channels.” Content can be delivered at the right moment, increasing engagement and conversion. Distinguishing between delivering timely emails, marketing automation is defined as “a bigger commitment to tracking, scoring, and optimizing the full multi-channel customer journey.”

Marketing automation addresses business challenges such as:

  • creating a single marketing database from all the different customer reach channels, such as landing pages and call centers
  • nurturing leads through continued contact
  • predictive scoring, communicating at the best times for the audience to receive and respond to the messages
  • collaborating with marketing and sales for a steady stream of messaging that converts to sales.

Emphasizing the journey, marketing automation makes communication and workflow seamless, allowing all the branches of marketing and sales to work together for the same result.

In other news, LinkedIn is now offering its SlideShare platform for free. The popular tool for sharing presentations, documents and infographics will now make available to its free users premium features, such as analytics and private uploads, which were formerly reserved for SlideShare Pro subscribers. SlideShare will release a new feature to its current and new free users every month. Pro users will get all the same access to premium features now, but will no longer pay for it.

And the reason for the timing, might be similar to marketing automation, these free tools will help SlideShare grow its base of users, enable easier interactions across all parties, and help campaigns reach their audiences.

Image via re_birf

Madison Logic Selected to Inc 500/5000 for the Second Straight Year

We’re extremely proud to announce that we’ve been selected to Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 list of the nation’s fastest growing private companies for the second straight year. Congratulations to all the companies that were selected.

Here’s to a Madison Logic three-peat in 2015!

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Madison Logic Inc. 5000 Profile

Marketing Automation, Lead Generation, Behavioral Data…Where is the B2B Industry Heading?

3677296594_59af8b8f2e_zMarketing automation – Y/N?

Ayaz Nanji, MarketingProfs author, recently posted an article outlining findings from an Ascend2 study around marketing automation efforts and strategies. One of the key findings, as pointed out by Nanji, was that “nearly half of global marketers (45 percent) say the lack of an effective strategy is hampering the success of their marketing automation efforts.” The study also found that the top reasons for utilizing marketing automation is to improve marketing productivity (45 percent), increase sales revenues (44 percent), lead generation (42 percent) and lead nurturing (41 percent). We personally found the statistics around lead nurturing extremely interesting. At Madison Logic, we strongly believe that intent data (behavioral data) will soon take the place of lead nurturing. This statistics and others provided in the survey fuels an array of unanswered questions that many B2B marketers will eventually have to confront.

Zak Garner recently discussed a similar topic in his article, Predictive Intelligence: The Fuel for Successful B2B Marketing. Garner explained that predictive intelligence will be the next best thing in B2B marketing as it will provide marketers with “data, insights and recommendations they need to understand today’s disjointed buyer’s journey and drive measurably better sales results.” Below are some of the top ways Garner says that marketers can use predictive analytics to buffer and improve lead nurturing.

  • “Call center: Create call scripts tailored to your prospect using company and category intelligence and improve lead qualification rates.”
  • “Marketing automation: Route prospects to the right campaign and ensure communications are properly personalized based on company size, industry, job role and level of interest in your products.”
  • “Advertising: Only advertise to key companies and adjust messaging and landing pages based on purchase intent and company attributes.”
  • “Retargeting: Stay visible to your prospects after they reach your website. Tailor messaging according to the intent they show at your website and across the rest of the B2B web.”
  • “Social media: Only target ads to prospects at key companies when they are on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.”
  • “List acquisition and lead generation: Educate and nurture prospects from key companies while building your database with net new contacts.”
  • “Website personalization: Make each visit as useful as possible by integrating audience data from predictive intelligence scoring into your content management system, personalization and testing tools.”
  • “Sales calls and conversion: Help reps prioritize the right prospects and arm them with the intelligence to secure meetings and RFPs and close deals.”

Another noteworthy article this week comes from Ad Age’s Kate Maddox. Maddox revealed that ad spending for the 100 largest B-to-B marketers approached five billion in 2013, with Internet and TV display surpassing newspaper and magazine. However, Maddox noted that smaller B2B companies (those not in the top 100) saw a decline.

With new technology and strategies, the B2B industry is in a hurricane of change. If you want to make sure you are staying ahead of the storm, reach out to a Madison Logic representative today.

Image via Corey Leopold

The Power of Intent | B2B Syndicate

Welcome-to-B2B-Syndicate_searchMadison Logic was recently featured in the latest issue of FIPP’s Magazine World, under their B2B Syndicate brand.

Below is an excerpt of the article, entitled “The Power of Intent.” 

If big data is the ‘new oil,’ then perhaps the new ‘rocket-fuel’ for B2B brands is intent data, which is being used to drive efficiency through reaching and engaging with professionals who are ‘in the market.’ The B2B buying process is generally long and collaborative, and intent is an increasingly important factor in building, as well as nurturing and keeping relationships with B2B customers…”

Click here to view the article.

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