B2B marketing budgets are rising, but ad pages are declining. This ongoing shift away from traditional advertising creates an expertise gap that publishers should be looking to fill more aggressively with a broad set of marketing services.
Content, of course, lies at the center of this shift – which is good news for publishers. In Ad Age’s annual BtoB marketing outlook survey, 52.5% of marketers said theyplan to increase total marketing budgets in 2014, the first time since 2011 that more than half of B2B marketers expected to spend more than the prior year. Three-quarters said they planned to spend more on content marketing,
The findings are in line with other recent studies. A study by Econsultancy and Adobefound that content marketing was a top priority among 44% of B2B marketers, clearly outdistancing other digital marketing activities. Forrester, in a joint study with the Business Marketing Association, found that that 59% of B2B marketers plan to increase content marketing expenditures in 2014 and that B2B marketers overall expect to spend what analyst Laura Ramos called a “fairly sizable” 12% of budgets on content marketing in the year ahead.
“As buyers rebuff conventional outbound approaches like email and sales calls, marketers must capture their attention through inbound approaches that offer more enticing fare — like benchmarks, social interactions, videos, and games — instead of the conventional product pitch,” Ramos wrote.
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.
Partnership may change how billions of online ads a day are measured, covering display, video, mobile and any future areas Google moves into.
SAN FRANCISCO — Google signed a major advertising deal with comScore to help the world’s largest Internet search provider win more business from big brands like Kellogg.
Google is integrating comScore’s Validated Campaign Essentials, or vCE, measurement technology into its DoubleClick ad business.
The combination will let advertisers and publishers track online ads in near real time, allowing them to change things on the fly if campaigns are not performing as expected. The addition of vCE will also help Google share more data with advertisers about what types of people see their ads and what their interests are.
The deal, which has been in the works for almost a year, may affect billions of ads a day, changing the way agencies and big companies run and monitor campaigns. This is part of a broader push by Google to attract more big brands, which have traditionally spent most of their money on TV.
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.
The name of the game for web publishers is engagement. It’s not enough to optimize for search and drive traffic to your website. The real trick is convincing visitors to stay once they get there.
There’s a longlist of tactics web publishers can use to improve engagement metrics such as time on site and pages per visit. Here are three under-the-radar tools that give editors more options for promoting editorial content and encouraging audience interaction.
The ReadrBoard widget lets readers post “reactions” to an article or individual paragraphs and images within a post. A drop-down box, which appears when a reader rolls over the ReadrBoard icon, prompts the reader with a simple question: What do you think? Readers can choose from a set of predefined reactions, such as “love it!”, “great idea,” or “for real” – which are customizable by the publisher – or write in their own response.
The goal is to make it easier for visitors to quickly comment on a post as they’re reading it. “It’s very hard to get people to form a complete thought in order to add a comment at the bottom of a story,” ReadrBoard co-founder Porter Bayne said in a Skype interview. “Our goal is making it easier for people to engage.”
Publishers benefit from instant feedback and a dashboard that summarizes the reactions for each post and how many views each reaction receives. About 10-15% of readers across the 50 or so sites currently using the widget view the reactions, and about 0.5-1% post a reaction. Of those, 65% click on a predefined choice and 35% type in one of their own.
Bayne said publishers using the widget have seen, on average, an increase of about 10% in time spent on their sites.
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.
IDC VP Karsten Weide expects a revolution in the way display ads are bought over the next several years. By 2017, real time bidding (RTB) spending may reach almost $21 billion worldwide. Weide spoke with IDG Communications Director Howard Sholkin…..
IDG Communications Director Howard Sholkin spoke with IDC’s Karsten Weide about real-time bidding (RTB). mobile and video growth. Learn what RTB direct sales is and what regions show the most growth in RTB in advertising/marketing. Weide also shares predictions for the 2017.
Native advertising is a new term but its roots are in advertorials, sponsored content, and the broader term of custom publishing. Former Network World CEO and long time editorial executive, John Gallant, provides guidelines for native content that attracts readers.
Gallant spoke with IDG Communications Director Howard Sholkin…….