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Posts tagged ‘marketing automation’

18
Feb

The rise of Smart Content Marketing

smart content marketingContent marketing is changing from an art to a science. That’s what I talked about at an event a few days ago.

The event is called Trends Night, and is organized by STIMA, the largest independent marketing industry organization in Belgium.

The event featured a couple of excellent speakers like Bart De Waele (@netlash), Hakim Zemni (Insites Consulting, @hakimzemni), and Norm Johnston (Mindshare, @ntjohnston).

Admittedly, no big international names, but what they said was pretty interesting. You can find their presentations on Slideshare:

And I spoke about:

Content marketing is becoming smart content marketing. And in general, marketing is transforming from an art to a science, or something in the middle if you will. 

Here’s why… Read more »

3
Oct

Aligning Marketing and Sales Systems: Building the Right Foundations

 

Too busy to build foundations, Too busy because of the wrong foundations...

Too busy to build foundations, Too busy because of the wrong foundations…

Many B2B companies haven’t integrated their marketing and sales systems.

You have tools for marketing planning, events, webinars, email, PR, marketing automation, websites, document management, CRM, ERP, … Your customer services department also has its own systems, also containing customer touchpoint data. And the finance department is also sitting on similar data.

The effect? Dispersed contact databases, standalone CRM implementations and Excel import-export nightmares. These situations are more the rule than the exception.

We all know we need to integrate these systems. But how do you move towards integrated systems, to the benefit of the business? Read more »

29
May

Killer Content along the Buyer’s Journey: A Practical Guide to Monetize Your Content

killer content along the buyer's cycle

The Mafia at Cleveland’s Hotel Statler. Photo: http://markwadestone.wordpress.com

Content can be actively used to move buyers through the buyer’s journey. Organizations need to visualize this journey. Visualizing this journey allows them to better understand which content they have and which content they are missing. Visualizing the content along the buyer’s journey also allows you to actively move buyers to the next stage in their journey.

Not so long ago Eric Wittlake (@wittlake) wrote an article why you should stop mapping content formats to the buyer’s Journey. He explains how marketers tend to map formats to certain stages in the buying cycle.

 

This post will learn you how you can:

  • use a practical method to create the right content along the buyer’s journey
  • how you can actively drive buyer’ss through the buying cycle, with content
  • how you can link content with marketing automation
  • understand which data the method produces to show real marketing ROI 

To understand the role of content in this, you first need to understand the difference between content formats and content itself. Read more »

26
Feb

Digital Marketing Trends in 2013 – 5 trends you need take very seriously

Digital Marketing Trends

Image source: http://blog.peerindex.com/

Last week I attended a marketing event which makes a descent attempt to provide insight into marketing trends of tomorrow.

Although many of these trends are relevant, sometimes they remain a bit fuzzy of what to do with these trends as a marketer…

What do you make of these as a marketer?

 

As usual, some of this stuff is hype, other stuff is over the top, other stuff is real.

But, if you ask me, these are the trends you DO must take VERY, VERY seriously in 2013: Read more »

11
Dec

SEO and Search are useless

Image source: Flickr, @anthonylkdking

Imagine you are perfectly happy with your solution. Imagine that you have a business in which the solution is providing you with a descent return on investment.

There’s no need for you to change.

Now imagine that you are a vendor with a solution that will provide more return than any other existing solution on the market.

You are creating comparisons, providing ROI tools, and doing all the right things to attract buyers with your content.

They are not searching

SEO will not help you, because they are not searching.

When they do search, you are there. But unfortunately, they don’t search, because they don’t need you. They are happy with what they have.

He/She’ll be blind for everything you have to say.

So what do you do?

The perfect world

If they are not searching, they are exploiting their current situation.

They are not aware that there’s something better out there, because basically they don’t have a problem.

But then the day comes.

The day they start being slightly unhappy, and realize that the world they are in, is not perfect. That the solution they have is not perfect.

That day they become receptive. They are willing to listen. And when they are ready to listen, you must be speaking.

When the day has come

Your buyer realizes that there is more out there. He want’s to know more. That’s the day he starts being receptive to e-mails, conference invites, whitepapers and webinars. Read more »

6
Nov

Marketing Automation vendors: revealing strengths and weaknesses

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/azmarshall/

Long sales cycles and complex purchase decision-making challenge B2B marketers to find the most qualified prospects and to build relationships long before the first sales call.

In this environment, automation is essential to achieving a high level of demand generation maturity, and many marketers turn to lead management or marketing automation providers to meet this need.

The clear benefits of lead management automation should have B2B marketers jumping to purchase it.

However, back in 2009 this Forrester study reviewed a number of vendors in this area, they saw an underachieving space. Market penetration was low (between 2% and 5% of B2B firms have invested selling to <25M$ companies).

Forrester named some reasons for the slow market adoption:

  • Heated competition battling to grab share: because of the “big CRM players” beginning to play in this field, buyers hold back their investments because they believe they have the functionality already in house through their CRM system
  • A massive amount of new players entering the playfield all with different backgrounds claiming to have similar functionality. These claims keep B2B buyers running from demo to demo and scratching their heads over which offering will best meet their needs.
marketing automation vendors come from different markets

MAS vendors come from different market. Image source : Forrester

 

Today, looking at the recent Gartner report of June 2012 the CRM market as a whole, of which this industry is very much part, enjoyed a strong rebound in 2011 with revenue reaching $11.9 billion in 2011, a 12.7% growth from 2010.

Read more »

16
Oct

5 Dangerous Threats to Your Content Marketing Success

Source : Flickr, by papilly

Lately there has been a lot of attention going to Content Marketing. Although it’s one of my favorite subjects, blindly going for a content marketing strategy can be dangerous.

Forgetting the core reason for a content marketing strategy

When developing your content marketing strategy, you start developing a process to position content along the buying cycle, or even better: along the complete customer life cycle.

Every piece of content needs to drive the buyer further down the buying cycle, or increase the satisfaction level of existing customers. Having a good content creation process that inherently has checks built-in to make sure the right Call-To-Action (CTA) is assigned to each piece of content.

These CTA’s are developed to progress your buyer through the buying cycle. Marketing automation techniques like the ones I described in this post can be used to automate some of your work.

So when implementing content marketing: don’t forget what you want to do with your content. In the end, you are doing this to do business!

Read more »

3
Sep

Does Marketing Automation solve your “too much data” problem?

I still remember the time when I started thinking about how to automate a number of the marketing activities in the company I work for. The term marketing automation was unknown to me, little did I know.

As a marketer I had the following challenges:

  • We had many incoming “interactions”, but we had no way of tracking these interactions and actually do something with them beyond responding to these interactions. With interactions, I mean we had people mailing us, visiting our website, participating to webinars, showing up at tradeshows, etc…
  • We had no way of identifying all of these interactions (well, not always).
  • I had no way of storing the marketing intelligence that these interactions brought me (now that’s where the challenge began).
  • We had no way of actually converting these interactions into leads, or at least “micro-convert” them further along the buying cycle.
30
Apr

How to avoid your marketing automation failure?

Many marketing organizations are looking into marketing automation.

Why? Because year after year they need to do more, with less.

By automating tasks, and by adding a number of intelligent marketing techniques, they think that their marketing operations will be easier to manage, and in the end their lead generation will run better.

But one should not jump into this technology too quickly.

What is the promise of marketing automation?

The promise of marketing automation sounds great.

  • integrate your website with your e-mail engine
  • automate the registration, confirmation and post-processing of webinars
  • set-up lead nurturing campaigns
  • get to know your prospects better and better through progressive profiling
  • automation of e-mails (website, webinars, events, …)
  • decrease manual segmentation, manual lead input, manual lead management, etc…

It cannot go wrong, or can it?

When considering marketing automation you should not jump into this technology without being ready, because you can fail at it.

In a great blog post on BrightCarbon, Joby Blume talks about what he considers the lessons learned after “his” marketing automation failure.

Read more »

27
Mar

Basic marketing questions to answer when building a website

http://www.flickr.com/photos/drachmann/

This post is about which basic marketing questions you need to answer before you can start building your website. And why growing companies need to build a team of specialist when designing or re-designing their website.

Your first company website

Let me share a story that might sound familiar to some people. When smaller companies start their business, they are very much focused on creating good products or services. They often build a website themselves, because money, time and knowledge reasons drive them into that scenario. Or if they lack knowledge to do so, they outsource but with minimum costs.

Then the company grows, and becomes more aware of their brand strengths, more products are being put in the portfolio, and they start taking marketing more seriously. They start creating a marketing plan, build marketing collaterals, some advertising, some PR, and often in B2B tradeshows and conferences are part of the mandatory marketing “menu”.

Your company has grown, but not your website

Although this is a perfectly natural way for smaller companies to grow their marketing, let me list a few things that clarify my point:

Read more »