Wednesday, June 27, 2012

As in Your Career, as in Your Marketing Programs: Consistency is Key

Often in business to business marketing one will hear a discussion about a “Big Idea’ for a marketing program, and you would know (as a regular reader of this blog) that of course I would offer up an opinion.
Big ideas are great!  They are fast, fun, engaging, and potentially deliver a big return on marketing investment. 
While it is great to have a “Big Idea” that cuts above the b-to-b marketing clutter, what is even more important is a consistent (maybe some would say traditional) and “back to basics” marketing program made up of:
  • compelling, “prospect oriented” marketing material
  • a clear business brand
  • a clear understanding of how your products/services solve your prospect’s pain
  • a consistent business message that tells a story about the company, its products/services, and how they add value, what they stand for

Keyword = Consistency
Consistent efforts and elements must cut across all marketing and communications programs, otherwise a “Big Idea” isn’t going to be that big, or that valuable.
In other words, it’s boring but true:  b-to-b marketing programs must deliver consistency.  That means being consistent in all programs (website, direct marketing, social media (yes! Consistency in execution is KEY in social media) collateral, signs, etc) by focusing on the compelling business needs for target markets.

More on Consistency:
Funny enough, this article in Inc magazine about careers also hits on consistency, but more in the vein of “personal productivity” and career planning, but the lessons ring true in marketing.  
Check out point 1, if one is consistent in one’s career efforts (or in marketing efforts), we can measure effectiveness.  As the article asks, how can we measure effectiveness if what we are measuring isn't performed consistently?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Fast Look at the Awesome Power of Google Analytics

There’s a lot to know about Google Analytics, a powerful website analytics package available for free from the Google team. 

I’m a big proponent of teaming with SEO and Web experts when it comes to managing a business to business website and setting up Google Analytics tracking.  They know the ins and outs of this powerful, ever changing web analytics technology tool. 

That said, there’s a lot of power in knowing the basics about Google Analytics.

Quick! What’s Your Average Time on Site!
Any company’s web marketing team should know right off the bat these key metrics, tracked by Google Analytics:
  • most popular pages visited by your web visitors (top pages) by visitor type
  • how people get to the site (referring sources)
  • the number of pages visitors look at before leaving (page views)
  • how long visitors stay on the site (average time on site)
  • how many visitors fill out a form or download a report (conversion rate)
  • percentage of visitors who land on site and jump right off (bounce rate)

This is marketing-mission critical data to monitor weekly, monthly and quarterly, to see how successful the website is in achieving marketing goals. 
The data also provides a fairly accurate picture of your visitors and helps reveal where the site performs optimally, and where there’s a breakdown that needs improvement.
A Word About Social

A big advantage of setting up Google Analytics is measuring the impact on social marketing programs.
When set up appropriately (by somebody smarter than me!), Google Analytics Advanced Segments reveal:
  • which social media websites referred visitors (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc)j
  • how those visitors behaved once they got to your site (in terms of number of pages viewed, time on site, whether they “converted” or filled out a form, etc.
  • how social media visitors behave when compared against visitors who discovered your site through other  means (like paid search)

 There’s even the ability to measure which articles on your site are most commonly shared and which social buttons are being clicked to share them (for example, a Facebook Like).
Looking Deeper
We’re just skimming the surface here.
For a recent Google Analytics “primer” see this post from some well-respected folks I follow on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Best Strategy is the One You Don't Understand.

My 16 year old son shared this humorous video with me, because he knows what I do in my work life.

Years ago when our boys asked me what I did for my job, I told them "Mom slings baloney for a living" which isn't really true, but sometimes the content one develops for high tech clients (press releases, brochures, ads, web copy, direct mail) sounds a lot like the gibberish these folks spew out in this hilarious "College Humor" video.

It's worth a view!

We've covered this topic before over here at the BtoB Blog. Reminds me of the Bulls***t generator described in this post…

Watch for a particularly inspired section when these five-hour energy drink infused hipsters talk about fostering "alpha-based b-to=b consumers, radical transparencies, multi-staged engagement with absolutely NO brand-cuffs.”

(Wouldn't you want to get hired over at Elephant Dungeon Enterprises!!! It wouldn't be a long engagement, though. Each start-up mentioned in this video didn’t last for more than 10 minutes. Hee hee.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Enter (Again) the Case Study

After a few decades in the marketing communications racket, a person can learn a thing or two.

What’s amazing about the experience is no matter the sector – whether technology, professional services, financial services, manufacturing, or nonprofits – the issues many b-to-b marketing programs face are the same.

One commonality is the challenge of developing sales and marketing content that speaks a prospect’s language.  This topic has been addressed numerous times in this blog.  

Many businesses need to spend time assessing what their customers or prospects want out of their service or products.

That way, a company’s web content, social media content, sales collateral and other materials can address head on how their product or service solves their unique problems.

Look at it this way:  a prospect doesn’t want to suffer through an executive's view of “strategic content” that showcases service or product features. They want to know how a firm’s products or services deliver value to help solve real business problems. 

The Case for Case Studies

Marketing studies show that B2B marketing and sales professionals rank case studies as top marketing content in lead generation and lead nurturing effectiveness.
Case studies are powerful because they put a laser focus on the business benefit achieved by the user of a product or service.
More than any other type of marketing collateral, real case studies showcasing a real customer and real business benefits deliver value to any prospect. The “user perspective” content (think “testimonials”) fuels all marketing programs including:
  • Direct mail offers
  • Social media content
  • Blog posts
  • Website copy
  • Webcasts
  • Speaking presentations, industry trade associations
  • Award nominations

Nothing New, Just Forgotten
I started out my career in marketing communications many moons ago simply writing “user case studies” for tech clients, so this is nothing new. It takes time and effort, for sure. 
What’s new to me is how so many b-to-b brands get off track and forget this simple truth: folks want to hear about “what’s in it for me” and a case study is a fast way to get them to listen.