Category: Marketing

Through the funnel: Marketing technologies becoming priority for b2b media

DragonForceSourceMedia has a new owner and a full war chest to pursue acquisitions. Among its targets: digital marketing technologies that can create a more efficient, targeted buy.

Advanced marketing solutions, including programmatic buying, marketing automation and retargeting, are no longer the domain of tech media but are becoming increasingly important in other verticals as well. “Where are we with tracking people through our funnel?” asked Mason Power, chief marketing officer at iLevel Solutions, during a marketer roundtable at ABM’s recent Annual Conference called “What B2B Marketers Want from You.” “Where are we with tracking people through [b2b publishers’ sites] and connecting the two? That’s what we want to discuss, not space and time.”

This week, Business.com launched a state-of-the-art data platform and content delivery system, designed to offer high-quality content and contextual advertising. The new platform includes advanced display advertising and retargeting, pay-per-click advertising, marketing-ready leads generated through content marketing and sales-ready leads, which connect marketers with active buyers at the final stage of the purchasing process. A video outlining the new services is available here.

“The old media model was to simply connect buyer and seller and get out of the way,” Uphoff said in a recent Q&A with ABM. “The new model uses data to connect the right buyer to the right seller at the right time while nurturing that relationship.”

Praetorian Group, Inc. earlier this year announced a partnership with Drakontas LLC, a software and communications firm geared toward providing solutions for the government sector. As a result of this deal, Drakontas’s DragonForce software will be incorporated into Praetorian’s PoliceOne Network, a news resource and directory for the law enforcement industry. Drakontas will specifically be working with Praetorian Labs, the innovation investment division of the parent company.

DragonForce is an interactive, software-as-a-service (SaaS) package designed to aid in connectivity of law enforcement teams – both tactical and non-tactical. It offers an instant messaging platform, photo and document sharing, tracking capabilities and a collaborative whiteboard-style program. Praetorian’s addition of this software to its PoliceOne Network – which already offers news, training, product research and more to law enforcement professionals – will result in an even more comprehensive user experience.

“Many leading tech companies have incubators, labs or investment funds to better monitor trends, inform future M&A and investments and stay on the forefront of innovation,” Praetorian CEO Alex Ford told ABM. “I think we’ll see more of these types of programs being launched by media companies as they continue to evolve. It’s one thing to launch tech products and websites, but entirely another to become a part of the tech ecosystem of your market and stay on the forefront of innovation. Programs like Praetorian Labs and partnerships with companies like Drakontas allow us to do just that.”

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Are you focusing on your audience’s channels?

I saved a Dilbert strip from May 18. Dilbert begins by telling his female colleague: “You never answered my IM.” She responds: “You should have emailed me.”

“I did. You didn’t answer my email.”
“If it was so important you should texted me.”

They next get to phones and finally he says, “So here I am [in person].”
“It’s premature to get your hopes up.”

Portion of Dilbert Comic, May 18, 2014

Dilbert, May 18, 2014

I thought about that when reading Real Magnet’s recent post (on their thought-leading blog Real Insights) titled The Rise of Channel-Specific Content. Every person has their favorite way of communicating these days. I may reach my nephew by texting, my best friend by email, a former work colleague on LinkedIn, an overseas friend on WhatsApp, and a sports buddy by tweeting. And does anyone talk on the phone for anything but a conference call these days? (Half that time you’re on mute.)

The idea of channel-specific content is that you are tailoring your content to fit that medium. No longer can we be satisfied to put the same message on all these different mediums—you’ll lose people. Writes Real Magnet: “Today, channel-specific content is a sound marketing practice as it shows respect for the way your audience uses the inbox, Facebook, Twitter and other channels.”

They offer three steps for adjusting to channel-specific content:

1. Understand and describe each channel. Tell your audience what they will be getting on each channel—limit the surprises. “…you may use your email list for a weekly newsletter, Twitter for customer service, and Facebook for promotions. Promoting them as such is a form of targeting, as your audience is signing up for the specific content you are providing in each. It also helps build anticipation.”

2. Use your email analytics to find the best-performing content. You’ve been measuring your open rates and click-thrus for a while now. You can do the same with your social media with engagement, retweets, likes and conversions.

3. Develop key metrics on channel engagement, not just message effectiveness. “…marketers are going to need to focus on optimizing each channel instead of each message. Develop and track a set of key metrics for each message that measures how much engagement you are driving in aggregate across the channel. For example, you might track ‘Likes per Post’ on Facebook, or ‘Mentions/RTs per Follower per Month’ on Twitter.”

Ryan Holmes, CEO of hootsuite, which automates your messages for different channels, wrote in a blog post: “Social media ushered in a new era of intimate, personalized marketing. Not surprisingly, consumers have grown less receptive to traditional ‘spray and pray’ mass marketing approaches. (Case in point: When 61,000 people were surveyed earlier this year by Forrester, fewer than a quarter said they trust email from companies.)

“To this end, the latest generation of marketing automation software is finding creative ways to bridge the gap: applying the intimacy, personalization and insights gained from social media on a mass scale…Companies that find ways to integrate social media and marketing automation effectively will be able to reach more customers and strengthen ties with existing ones in the years ahead. Companies that fail to do so risk being left behind as ‘mass’ marketing takes its place on history’s scrap heap.”

The question becomes can we be everywhere our audience is or will we have to choose the channels we do best? The quick answer would be yes, we have to try to be everywhere. Real Magnet isn’t so sure: “…marketers will begin limiting messages to the channels in which they work best, in order to make sure that every message contributes meaningfully to its channel’s engagement.”

Stay tuned.

By Ronn Levine

Two studies: Marketers will boost digital ad budgets

In the first quarter of 2013, ABM polled 74 marketers about their expectations for future B-to-B advertising. Separately, Forrester Research polled 56 marketers in the third quarter of 2013 on the same topic. The results showed some deep parallels. Here are some responses to similar questions posed in the ABM research, called The Value of B-to-B, and the Forrester research, called Q3 2013 North American B2B Marketing Budget Online Survey, reported in a white paper called Focus B2B Marketing Budget Gains On Business Outcomes To Succeed In 2014. The Business Marketing Association (BMA) was a partner in both studies.

MARKETER BUDGETS ON THE RISE

Both research projects asked marketers to estimate their future budgets:

ABM Value of B-to-B Marketer Budget Expectations

Forrester Research Marketer Budget Expectations

Both surveys show that ad budgets are on the rise. The later research shows a smaller forecasted rise, so the trendline is for continuing growth in marketer budgets, although perhaps at a decelerating pace.

DIGITAL SPENDING A PRIORITY

The two studies also asked marketers about their priorities for future spending, that is, detailing areas in which they expect to increase and decrease spending:

ABM Value of B-to-B Marketer Focus Areas

Forrester Research Marketer Focus Areas

Here too we see similar trends: Digital ad budgets are on the rise across the board. More marketers plan to decrease their traditional print advertising than plan to increase it.

One major difference: Forrester found little support for face-to-face events (30 percent plan to decrease spending vs 21 percent planning an increase), while ABM found much more support for events (only 9 percent planning to spend less, with 38 percent planning to spend more).

RESEARCH FIRM FORRESTER URGES MORE SPENDING ON RESEARCH

One major “key takeaway” not supported by either research study: Forrester emphasizes that “CMOs must focus budget choices on customer engagement,” including “thought leadership.” Deep into the report, Forrester explains this takeaway: “Forrester believes that the survey reflects more conservative responses than we will see play out in practice.” Unsupported by its own results, then, Forrester advises CMOs to prioritize regional shows over national, to optimize digital and social, and to focus content creation on thought leadership.

“Thought leadership” means “CMOs will need to concentrate content marketing efforts on independent customer-centered research.” Or in other words, independent research firm Forrester advises CMOs to spend more on independent research, based on no actual research.

In related news, McDonalds top execs urge consumers to eat more hamburgers. Also, Rolling Stone Magazine says “Like a Rolling Stone” is the greatest song of all time.

By Michael Moran Alterio

Beyond the white paper: content marketing that truly engages

When trade publishers think of marketing services and creating content for clients first thoughts are often custom newsletters, white papers and webinars. But, have you considered video? What about an app? And do you truly know the role of each of your content pieces and how it pushes a sale down the funnel?

During a recent ABM event, business-to-business marketers and agencies met with publishers to discuss the best types of content and how they help the ultimate goal of making a sale.

It’s no surprise that newsletters (and other content that require registration) lead the content marketing mix, noted Kevin Nalty, b-to-b marketing consultant, at the ABM and ISBM Brand Consortium last month. Nearly all of business-to-business marketers use content marketing for lead generation and almost half of b-to-b marketers choose lead gen as the number one goal.

“But is it fair to measure leads alone?” asked Nalty.

What about measuring how well you educate? How well you inspire? How well you entertain? These measurements, while not as concrete as leads, can also push a sale down the funnel, explained Nalty.
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What LinkedIn means for b-to-b marketing — and publishers

In a post on TheGuardian.com, writer David Benady endorses LinkedIn as the “first port of call” platform for business-to-business marketers. He writes that b-to-b marketers overlooking the social network could be missing a huge opportunity. While it’s clear that LinkedIn is becoming a major game changer in publishing content for professionals, the platform has also silently built up other offerings for b-to-b marketers, including advertisements and lead generation, the same services trade publishers today offer their clients.

“There are a lot of tactical things that we do for marketers: brand awareness, lead generation, consideration,” said Jonathan Lister, vice president of marketing solutions at LinkedIn, in the eMarketer report, “Marketing on LinkedIn.” “The marketers who find the most success with LinkedIn are the ones who understand that we can help them engage with members all through the business lifecycle and touch them at all points of their decision journey.”

At an upcoming ABM event, LinkedIn executive Dan Roth will talk about how the company serves vertical markets — and where it wants to partner, rather than compete, with publishers. Here’s an overview of LinkedIn’s services, and how they may affect publishers.

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The dos and don’ts for dot-com ads

by Mark Sableman, ABM’s Information Policy Counsel6a00d8341c639653ef017d3bfefa27970c

Internet and mobile advertising is subject to the same rules as anything else, the Federal Trade Commission recently assured us in a detailed 53-page booklet. To be fair, online advertising is subject to ordinary advertising rules, but there are always twists to how ordinary rules are applied on online. The new FTC guidance focuses on those online twists.

Anyone involved in online ad clearance should read the FTC’s “.com Disclosures” booklet carefully. The booklet is generally designed the way the FTC wants online ads to be designed: with plain language text, clear headings, useful hyperlinks and conspicuous disclaimers. Here are a few key points:

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