If you are concerned about the expanding demands to create digital content for prospects and customers, your feelings are well founded. The surface of the communication bubble continues to expand in every direction, driven by fragmented audiences, expanding buying team size, new rich media formats and social media.
You simply can’t be everywhere you want to be without content creation costs consuming an ever greater portion of your marketing budget. However, you can optimize what you spend and the time you invest by paying attention to how you create content. I suggest you do it based on the seven principles outlined below.
The Time is Now
The timing has never been more relevant. If you truly want to maximize alignment with your audience needs and be relevant to buying team members, you have to get better LEVERAGE out of team efforts. Otherwise forget it – the communication bubble will consume you. Content creation will take up a greater percentage of budget dollars. Sales and channels will continue to complain about what you create. End result: your customers will find what you offer less and less relevant.
Continue reading for the 7 principles
Mobile advertising is twice as effective as desktop among the general population and up to four times more effective when targeted towards affluent consumers, a global study from BBC World News has claimed.
The study also found that more affluent consumers around the globe were more connected to the internet via mobile than less affluent users, with 39 per cent accessing the internet via mobile devices at least once and hour – 18 per cent higher than the general population.
In addition, more than half (51 per cent) of affluence consumers use their mobile phone for business, compared to 40 per cent of the population. A third of affluent consumers agreed that brands need to be on mobile if they wish to be considered modern and dynamic – 15 per cent more than the general population.
Furthermore, high income earners were found to be marginally more positive towards advertising on mobile (19 per cent) ahead of desktop (18 per cent). For sites where content is free, 41 per cent said they would be happy to see ads on mobile websites.
The words “International Data Group” conjure up an old era of computers that took up entire rooms with data-punching experts wearing white coats. And it’s not a coincidence that the International Data Group, or IDG, was founded in 1964 near Boston. But what started as a research firm turned into a series of tech trade publications (e.g. InfoWorld, Computerworld), consumer tech pubs (e.g. PC World, MacWorld), and events that spanned the globe. Now, the private company is looking toward a data-driven, mobile future.
“I think mobile will be fascinating in two areas: How do you gate that content and use that channel to deepen that relationship with readers? And from the advertiser’s perspective and with responsive design, how are you going to leverage video and native ads on those platforms?” said Michael Friedenberg, who ascended to IDG CEO last summer, and spoke to me recently via Skype.
IDG has been slowly moving its U.S. publications from print to digital, moving InfoWorld in 2009and more recently PC World went online-only, with an emphasis on charging annual subscriptions for tablet editions. While newer tech blogs such as TechCrunch and Engadget have gained prominence — and borrowed from IDG’s playbook of mixing content with events and research — IDG continues to plug away quietly. The company has turned its focus to programmatic ad sales with its Tech Media Exchange, and continues its global ambitions by focusing on the emerging MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey) area.
While many people wrote off tech trade publications as obsolete in the digital era, IDG continues to expand, diversify and find new ways to serve the tech industry.
Below is an edited version of my interview with Friedenberg, with audio clips for some of his answers.
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By Bob Johnson, VP & Principal Analyst
I’ve heard the same refrain over and over from organizations who invest in marketing or sales automation:
• It has been hard to implement
• The return has not been as large as hoped
• Adoption is slow
We are continually blinded by the new, shiny object in the corner. And the light from this particularly source is extremely bright. Did you know that according to IDC, there are over 20 categories of marketing automation technology? Can you imagine the time and effort it takes to review each area, let alone adopt one or more?
I suggest you make a full stop on your automation investments, take a step back and change your view that the technology investment is the most critical consideration. It is not, rather it is more important to consider your existing processes and how they need to change. Otherwise, you’ll make investments in technology and just shoe horn them to onto your existing processes.
Look at your content creation, management, and demand generation processes from both an inbound and outbound perspective. Consider how you interact with the customer, how they interact with you, and how that will change. Understand from that where the gaps are relative to your processes, emphasis, and steps.
I’ve read through many predictions for the coming year about marketing and sales, but feel that in reality making predictions is meaningless unless marketers address several foundational requirements. So predict all you want, but what really is important is a few key imperatives.
We are overrun with talk about content marketing, the importance of challenger sales techniques, and the impact of big data on marketing to and reaching the customer. Stop listening and get busy with a focus on three imperatives because without them nothing else matters. These imperatives come down to three words: alignment, relevance and research.
1. Alignment is about how well your value propositions, offering and approach match buyer preferences. From our research we see value propositions are frequently miss-stated, missing or misaligned with what buyers consider important (up to 30% of digital assets fail to touch on them). According to Lisa Dennis, President of Knowledgence Associates and author of the book360 Degrees of the Customer, marketers have a very inconsistent understanding of value propositions and need to think of several success keys:
“Buyers too often mistake features and functions for value propositions,” according to Lisa. “After assessing thousands of pieces of content and working with technology vendors for over 15 years on value proposition development, it’s clear that we need a reality check on what a value proposition is and what it is not.”
Many technology value propositions are not distinct, are thinly veiled advertisements, and generally end up sounding the same. “The key is to map your value propositions to your differentiators, ones that actually matter to your target audience.” Dennis continues, “in every workshop we do, we see that how teams define value tend to be generic, not defensible and worse yet, can’t be quantified in any way. The best value propositions are formed from an outward-in perspective – how the buyer would see it, how they would describe it, and why it is important to them.”
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By, Gerry Murray
Are IT Buyers so self sufficient that sales people will no longer be needed? Much was made in 2013 of the notion that IT Buyers make a large percent of their decision before engaging with sales. Every major market research company had its own number but they all ranged north of 50%, a scary thought especially if it represented a rising trend.
As shown in the figure below, enterprise IT buyers actually rely very heavily on vendor input for enterprise solutions. Buyers can make categorical decisions like “we need a new CRM or billing system.” But they need a great deal of information from marketing, sales and technical sales in order to complete their decision making processes.
Finding the Right Mix of Marketing and Sales Engagement
Q. What percent of your decision for an enterprise-level purchase when multiple vendors are competing for your business has been made by the time you first speak with a salesperson?
Source: IDC’s 2013 IT Buyer Experience Survey, n = 193
The implications for supporting customer journeys is significant. For purchases that are low cost, familiar and low risk customers want to be as self sufficient as possible. And sellers need them to be because it costs too much for even telesales or online chat to support these transactions. At the other end of the spectrum of course it gets far more complex and that translates into opportunity for vendors - if they are truly aligned with the buyer’s journey.
One of the most important value adds that most sales and marketing lacks is the need toeducate customers on how to buy as much as what to buy. For costly complex purchases, customers need guidance on:
- How to evaluate the strategic priority of the solution as well as the technical and business benefits
- How to build consensus across line of business, corporate IT and other key players in the decision making process
According to our latest IT Buyer Experience research, marketing and sales teams that provide this insight early and often will help buyers make their decisions up to 40% faster, putting them ahead of the competition and ahead of forecast.
For more information on this and related research please contact me at email@example.com.