Raising Campaign Effectiveness via Mobile

January 28, 2012

There are 3 key steps in raising email campaign effectiveness via mobile devices.

Mobility is playing an increasingly important role in reaching prospective customers for companies.  Studies show and my own recent customer data indicate that 9% to 30% of web (not campaign) global views are done on mobile devices – and one would expect campaign performance to follow suit.  However, companies on the B2B side are missing strategies  to reach these mobile devices – a key question to ask is, ‘are the campaigns sent actually viewed by an end user?’  Consequently, campaigns not optimized for mobile devices may not get viewed due to poor display or performance – no conversion means no revenue and that is a conundrum to avoid.

To my surprise, some of the B2B marketing automation toolset vendors in my studies do not have a deep level of mobile capability– in fact I have found a few vendors that have no ability to check the rendering (display) of email campaigns on different platforms, different email clients, or different devices.  Consequently, what may look really great to a creative marketer may make no sense to an end user, and therefore no conversion happens!

STEP 1 – inventory how large your mobile audience is.  Tools like Litmus, polling subscribers, adding a link to your campaigns specific to a mobile version to see how it works, adding a mobile option to the subscription page, looking at your Google Analytics statistics are just a few ways to start.

Step 2 – Optimize content for the device experience– flash does not usually work on all mobile devices.  Studies show that 70% of mobile searches are within 1hr of need, compared to 1 month on the desktop. Mobile users have different priorities, operate in a different context, have more distractions and less time.  Litmus may be a good solution here as well.

Step 3 – Measure campaign performance.  Companies like ReturnPath which is more on the B2C side versus pure B2B has tools like Campaign Insight and Campaign Preview, when combined allow an end user to see which campaigns are working and why in addition to checking for rendering.

There are other strategies that can augment mobile devices such as an SMS strategy, though that kind of advertising is specific to a mobile phone vs. a tablet device.  Take a measured approach when considering a campaign strategy that reaches mobile devices.

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Wow, what a Year!

January 4, 2012

Wow, what a year!  As 2012 revs back up, I want to take a moment to reflect and share some brief accomplishments of my company that started the second half of last year.  It was an exhilarating ride that only gets better each day!  Here are a subset of the highlights.

  • My B2B client base expanded to 6 different companies – helping them predict their revenue by tying their marketing investments to new revenue activities at an executive level.  These companies were global in nature with headquarters throughout the US with revenues ranging from $50M to $15B+ spanning a range of industries.  I am very grateful for the opportunity for my company to help them!

 

  • Forrester Research cited my company in their first report on best practices for business to business key performance marketing indices (KPIs).  This was very exciting for me!

 

  • I spoke at a number of engagements including presenting with one with one of my customers showcasing how we established KPIs for her business by working through key process elements.  We also spoke at the leading demand generation conference on this same topic.

Interesting observation across my 2H11 experiences – each of my clients had a different set of sales and marketing technology choices around marketing automation (as an example Eloqua, Marketo, Manticore, Leadformix) and CRM/data sourcing (Zoominfo, Jigsaw, Data.com, Dun and Bradstreet) leading to very different outcomes in segmentation, data quality, campaign effectiveness, and overall marketing ROI.  There was a strong correlation to those first working on their business strategy, then selecting their technology to support the strategy, in terms of sales and marketing ROI effectiveness.

2012 looks very promising so far – there is an underserved need at an executive level of connecting marketing to new revenue – in large part because there are so many technological combinations and a varying skillset of people.

Thank you again to my clients!  Good luck to all in 2012!


Marketing ROI through automation

November 11, 2011

There are 3 system components to getting effective marketing ROI leveraging marketing automation:  Content, Process, and Data.  Think of ROI as a 3 legged stool – the automation (seat) is supported by 3 legs of Content, Process, and Data.  The stool falls over if any one element is missing.  Let’s dive in.

 

Content:  Must be relevant for the segment of audience we are going after, and built to keep the segment engaged over a period of time.  Lead nurturing, or the art of keeping in front of a prospective buyer with their permission is the key stage leveraged here.  The example I use in presentations is think about the JetBlue or other airline emails you receive at home – the content is relevant as the emails focus on your local airport and they keep in front of you on a regular basis even when you are not considering an airline purchase.

Process:  Can vary depending on organization size and structure and is most acutely needed when handing off sales ready leads to the sales organization from the marketing organization.  Processes need to be built for the ‘not now, maybe later’ buyer where sales has a clear disposition path of these inquiries.  Processes need to be considered a ‘system’, not a ‘handoff’ – the prospect to customer conversion experience must be seen as one whole, not as two parts with a handoff.

Data:  Quality makes the difference between good conversions and so-so conversions.  This area is often overlooked, particularly around field integrity and processes that eliminate duplication in entries.  In some clients, I’ve seen up to 60% bad data in their database.  Marketing campaign effectiveness is directly proportional to database quality.

When these three areas are tackled, marketing ROI can be measured and improved upon.  Focusing on just one of these elements risks not getting the right return – leads that are hung up in bad processes can not be fixed with good content or good data.  Think of ROI as a system and not as individual pieces and you’ll be on the right road of success.


Leveraging your Salesforce.com Investment

October 13, 2011

As you’ve seen in previous posts, customer needs and revenue trajectory dictate technology decisions for the companies providing services.  As mid-sized companies contemplate how to get their sales teams more productive and get revenue quicker, they have a variety of marketing automation choices – Pardot, Infustionsoft, and now Marketo.  After listening to Marketo’s newest offer and watching a detailed demo, and contrasting it to the capabilities that some of my clients have, I am really impressed with Marketo’s offer.  I am not compensated by them in any way nor by any other marketing automation vendor.  Here’s why I’m impressed:

  • After studying a variety of models at high and low ends, the integration with Salesforce.com is key.  Marketo has perfected a native connection that makes it easy for companies to do this integration.  From my client experiences and my own, other automation systems lack in this area.  They’ll claim they have the functionality but it isn’t as clean as that of Marketo’s.
  • At $750/month,  it’s competitive with other offers – but what’s nice is if the company grows and has more need, there is no rip and replace needed in this cloud based solution.  A configuration change is needed in the cloud.  Now while I’ve not actually deployed this Spark software, it is my sense that with the upgrade, more business processes will be needed to be defined.  This is a category of ‘good headaches to have’.  The other lower end solutions do not have this capability.  This makes Marketo an ideal ‘try before you buy’ scenario.
  • Ease of use – the 4 step process makes this system incredibly easy to use so for a marketing shop with few or limited resources, this is definitely a solution to be aware of.
  • On the fly lead scoring which enables more leads to flow to sales depending on definition criteria.

Some other things to be aware of regarding Spark:

  • Marketing campaigns only get measured on first touch, not last touch or multi touch like the ‘Marketo Classic’ offer has.  This may impact how one allocates their marketing budget.  First touch allocation is common in about 45% of companies according to numerous industry surveys.
  • There is limited PURL capability or personalized URLs which are more prevalent in the ‘classic’ version.
  • There is a limit of 30,000 emails per month.
  • Emails are sent through Marketo – not through your company.  Email deliverability rates are high for Marketo but it’s an area to pay close attention to that not many in the industry know or study.

I think this move for Marketo is the right move and wish them luck tackling this new market!


B2B Freemiums

June 30, 2011

Recently, I had a dialogue with a colleague in Silicon Valley who asked me about my experiences with B2B Freemiums as she thought through new distribution models for her product.  It made me reflect for a moment about some of my more recent experiences about giving away an aspect of my product in the hope of getting more revenue.

Let’s assume we can tie the Freemium to actual revenue production – meaning the systems are built to track and trend that soon to be customer activity from download of software to close of revenue.  With no systems in place, you may as well nix a Freemium strategy in terms of measuring its success!

In my experience, a large majority of my inbound unqualified inquiries (meaning people with interest in my product offer) came from the Freemium offer, although the product offer itself had more B2C characteristics than a traditional B2B sale.  My conversion rate was in line with industry rates that appear to range from 1% to 13% depending on the source.  Here are 5 examples I dug up that could be considered a B2B benchmark for Freemiums:

  • Evernote 5.6% conversion rate on their two year user cohort, but note that the conversion rate on new users is much lower, likely SMB or consumer users.
  • Logmein 3.8% conversion rate, likely SMB users.
  • Heroku 1-2% ratio of paid-to-free users when it was about 50,000 apps in size
  • MailChimp –13% of users paying.  Having competed against MailChimp, their users are likely SMB and consumers.

So let’s say you had 2,000 inquiries/month, of which 2.5% used a Freemium at an average sales price of $10k/month – $500k/month revenue = $6M/yr on a very reduced customer acquisition cost if customers are able to buy via the web.

So that’s pure math…but let’s ask 4 key questions as you develop your B2B Freemium strategy:

1.  Will your buying entity see value in a freemium?

Companies are not as price sensitive as individuals. How large is your average selling price and your buying entity?  In the examples above, I do not have clear average revenue metrics, but by experience, an upper limit of value was in the $30k/yr range or lower – which may be in line with many cloud based applications.

2.  Can you get away with low acquisition and support costs?  Meaning, no support!

3.  Can you use the freemium as a low cost inquiry or cost of acquisition vs. traditional means?  If one were to look at customer acquisition costs, sales cold calling is very expensive/ineffective, targeted marketing less expensive, freemium is the least expensive.

4.   Companies do not virally spread a freemium offering and word of mouth is key.  How will you get others to talk about your freemium outside your community?  Freemium is all about scale, so you’ll need to assess the potential customer segment size for such an offer.

I think it is definitely worth testing the Freemium concept in a B2B environment.

What has your B2B Freemium experience been?


Executives + Technology + You = Results

June 22, 2011

In the B2B world, Executives and teams that master the art of technology in the revenue acquisition process fare 5x better than those that do not according to research from SiriusDecisions – this post is to help executives better communicate and understand what your teams face with their new technology investments in Salesforce.com, databases, and marketing automation.  It also helps those doing the technology work in these areas on how to better communicate with their executive team.  Based on an informal poll of 6 B2B global companies, executives want and demand ‘more’ faster and cheaper yet they have no fundamental understanding of the complexity of their own data and lack an understanding of technology.  On the working side of salesforce automation, database management, and marketing automation, the workers that are knee deep in the technology process often say how out of touch their executive leadership is with ‘data reality’.  Those that bridge the gap will recognize more revenue quicker and cheaper than those that are unable to recognize and effectively bridge this gap.

To best avoid this grand canyon gap between executive knowledge and the workers involved in this technology, here are a few approaches that could work:

  • Roadmap with achievable technological milestones – set realistic expectations BEFORE investing in technology because the tendency of executives is that if you buy something shiny and new, it should pay off immediately which is an incredibly incorrect assumption yet it is how they operate.  Often times there is a significant lag between purchase time of a new revenue generating technology and actual results.  Technology is never a silver bullet.  People are the silver bullet.  People make the technology work.  People drive process.   It’s best to have the people set the executive expectation as to what to expect and when
  • Benchmarks – workers and leaders should actively seek outside benchmarks (ala SiriusDecisions) or actual ‘live people’ testimonials from other companies who have experienced similar implementation challenges so it’s not just your own viewpoint when explaining to an executive why a technology integration is taking as long as it is against the ‘more’ quicker/cheaper executive standard.  Often times when executives hear from other data points outside their own company, it’s additional validation for them.  Outside 3rd parties can take the heat off you yet effectively bridge to an executive in communicating this gap.
  • Metricswhat does your Executive know about your prospect database, which is the lifeline to future revenue for the company?  Does she/he understand it’s relevance is to the target market, what old names are vs. new names are, what a stale database is, what opt in or opt out is?  Executives understand metrics and KPIs.  Workers – you need to translate the health of your database into consistent, understandable executive metrics – the risk of poor data is like a bad sight on a rifle – if your rifle sight is off by an inch, you’ll miss your target by a mile.  If your data is bad, it won’t matter how many people you have on your sales and marketing team, it won’t matter what technology you have to nurture contacts – you have to have a discipline around an area that likely never sees sunlight in your organization.

I see this process as a journey, not a destination as technology is always changing, thus giving people new opportunities to learn and apply their learnings to their company and to their prospect’s buying cycle.  What experiences have you found helpful?


Implementing Executive Change: 4 Risks/Opportunities – B2B CMO view

June 15, 2011

Executives are paid to take calculated risks and make decisions.  Recently, I spoke to an officer of a $1B company seeking to make some large changes across their company, specifically by repositioning the marketing organization toward a strategic contributor to the revenue generation capability.  Within this situation, this company was considering significant process and technology augmentation – and realizing there were so many priorities to focus on without clarity on what to focus on first.  In 5 companies I’ve talked to in the last few weeks, this situation of a marketing team and leader not knowing where to focus first is extremely common in all sized companies!  Everyone wants to make quick, visible change and not risk the huge time commits for larger change.   In preparation for the conversation, I outlined 4 risks in making this kind of transition.  Specifically, achieving true marketing ROI, Process, People, and Technology.  I’ve summarized this below bolding the largest risk areas.

Situation

Risk

Opportunity

Improve measurement system for  Marketing ROI Cultural sensitivity to process overhaul and alignment; CEO/GM/Sales change management Changing Marketing to strategic business contributor (revenue, new sales, new customers) from ‘Arts & Crafts’ department
Improve process Underestimating commitment required for lead flow, content, data integrity, cross functional coordination Cleaning up processes to maximize marketing contribution to bottom line
Improve people skills Underestimating new skillset needed Retool existing people to compete in 21st century
Improve technology Silver Bullet mentality at Executive levelRelying 100% on outside vendors to guide on journey/pitfalls as they rely on self serving models or cookie cutter approaches Leveraging technology instead of people to drive revenueOperational experience in vendors

Of the four risks, achieving marketing ROI through executive alignment is the single biggest risk.  Specifically, the clearer one is on the single objective of the newly repositioned organization (ie  source revenue to X%, predict what sourced revenue will close, drive faster conversion by Y% on sales cycle by enabling sales, upsell existing clients, etc.), the higher probability the organization as an entire entity will succeed.  It is critical to understand the overall business objectives and where the new revenue will come from – get out of the marketing box and understand profitability by region, by channel, and by product.  Study the reports that are seen at the executive level, know how sales teams are compensated.  The other risks around Process, People, and Technology are tactics that typically fall behind the first objective.  Too often marketing leaders get sucked into the latest technology trends (which are constantly changing thus adding to the confusion), wrapped around their own proprietary language (MQLs, SQLs, etc) and then thrust the proprietary language upon sales or the rest of the organization, or have marketing team members that are not keeping current with the latest and greatest technology.

Change is never easy for any organization.  How have you been able to successfully implement change?