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The New Core of Business: B2B Marketing & Social

IDG Connect

B2B Marketing Budgets to Increase in 2015

More than half of B2B marketers plan to increase their marketing budgets this year, with the average budget increasing by 6%, according to a new report by Forrester Research.

The survey based on 132 B2B marketers found that 51% of marketers plan to increase budgets this year, 30% plan to keep budgets the same as last year, while 8% plan to decrease budgets. However, it looks like the confidence in marketing has increased compared to last year’s findings. The same report delivered last year found only 32% of B2B marketers expected to raise their marketing budgets, 45% planned to keep budgets the same, and 22% said they planned to cut their budgets.

The research also found that marketing budgets will make up 7% of revenue on average, compared with last year’s average of only 4%. While the marketing programs that will be allocated the largest budget are in-person events (14%), followed by digital marketing (10%) and content marketing (9%). These represent a decline from last year findings. With events share declining by 6%, and digital marketing and content marketing decreasing by 3%.

It could be considered this decline demonstrates marketers spreading their budgets across more marketing programs to strengthen their efforts. But the overall increase shows a promising future for the B2B marketing landscape.

Marketers Believe Mobile is the Core to Their Business

If you haven’t started introducing mobile, it’s looking like 2015 is the last call to get started as more marketers are seeing its importance. According to Salesforce’s 2015 State of Marketing report marketers (71%) view mobile marketing as the core to their business.

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Software Marketers Blaze Trails in Data-Driven Marketing

IDG Connect 0811 Software Marketers Blaze Trails in Data Driven Marketing

Technology is changing marketing in a hurry, and some CMOs have acknowledged that the unrelenting pace of the transformation intimidates them.

In a survey conducted by Forrester Research and Erickson Research, 85% of 117 CMOs surveyed said their responsibilities had changed significantly in the past few years. Amazingly, 97% of respondents only expected the pace of change to accelerate. The change is coming so fast and so furious, in fact, that 34% of the CMOs in this survey described the changes as “overwhelming.”

There’s one group of CMOs, however, that seems undaunted by the pace of change, and that’s software marketing executives. Because of their comfort with the world of technology, software and tech marketers, in fact, are far ahead in embracing marketing technology and the data-driven, customer focus this technology enables.

A study we conducted last year at my company, Bizo, before it was acquired by LinkedIn, provided some insight into just how far software marketers are ahead of their peers. Software companies have long been pioneers in B2B digital marketing. They were among the first to build websites back in the early days of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s. They blazed trails with display advertising and were among the first to see the value in search advertising, content marketing, and social media. Even when they made missteps, such as jumping on the MySpace bandwagon, the experience of these early adopters allowed them to quickly grasp the significance of other social media launches, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

The Bizo special report, “The Data-Driven Marketer,” indicated software marketers are also leading the way in adopting data-driven marketing practices. In The Data-Driven Marketer survey, Bizo queried more than 850 marketers. The responses showed that the subset of software marketers is far ahead of all respondents in virtually every aspect of data-driven marketing.

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11 – 94% of Business Emails go Missing – A Global Breakdown

IDG Connect

Email marketers have spent years building best-practice expertise to deliver the most effective email campaigns possible. However the age old challenge of not being able to reach subscribers’ inboxes continues to be a problem for marketers worldwide.

In 2013, 100.5 billion business emails were sent and received every day. The sheer volume of email traffic and the growing sophistication of spam tactics have contributed to the issue marketers now face to stay at the top of consumers’ inboxes.  We have already seen the impact of spam emails on high profile brands such as Apple and Dropbox, as well as authentic looking emails pandering to the concerns of the public off the back of topical news stories, in order to build trust and falsely obtain users personal credentials. Mailbox providers are therefore constantly redefining their filters to help prevent these kinds of messages getting through which in turn, forces legitimate email senders to become equally as sophisticated to improve their own inbox placement.

Recent research conducted by Return Path (Inbox Placement Report 2014) of more than 492 million commercial email messages sent across North and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions, shows that one in six commercial messages do not reach the subscriber’s inbox. This is consistent with last year’s findings, which indicates that while marketers have a basic understanding of how to keep out of the junk folder, there is still more to learn on further maximising inbox placement.

According to the results, 11% of commercial messages simply go missing while 6% are marked as spam. This presents a significant problem for marketers who value and rely on the long-term customer relationship that email marketing can build. If messages go missing completely, businesses risk losing customers; failing to reach the inbox simply means failing to reach the customer. The financial impact here is great, for example, if 50% of messages are unsuccessfully delivered, that equates to 50% of the email marketing campaign budget being lost as well.

Return Path has discovered that being ranked as a ‘good sender’ by ISPs is no longer enough to guarantee inbox placement. We have seen that most countries across the globe are struggling to achieve at least 90% inbox placement rates, including developed markets such as the UK and US.

emailmarketing markeitng b2b email 11   94% of Business Emails go Missing – A Global Breakdown

Our research shows that Eastern European countries particularly struggle with messages going missing. Senders in Romania and Luxembourg are seeing 50% of their emails failing to reach the inbox, while in Poland this figure reaches a staggering 90%. This means that a significant portion of their audience doesn’t receive any intended commercial email. Email messages that go missing are harder to identify and diagnose, however, the first step in being able to correct the problem and boost inbox performance is knowing where the problem lies.

 

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Top Tips for Improving Your Business Through Social Selling

IDG Connect

 Top Tips for Improving Your Business Through Social Selling

Dale Roberts is VP of Professional Services at Artesian, the innovative developer of social intelligence software. He is also a keynote speaker, blogger and author of Decisions Sourcing: Organisational Decision Making for the Agile and Social Enterprise. Prior to joining Artesian, Dale worked with some of the largest European and US businesses to build analytic and performance management solutions in his role as European Services Director for market leader Cognos, now part of IBM.

Dale discusses his top tips for embracing social selling and explains why smart businesses are putting social insight at the heart of their sales strategies.

We are in the middle of an online and social revolution that has not only changed the way we buy a holiday or book air travel but how we buy for businesses too. Figures show that three quarters of business buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions. The wave of cultural change is being felt beyond consumers as business buyers connect on professional social platforms and check rating sites when considering a wide range of purchases from electronic goods or employer liability insurance to exhibition space.

The pace of change is dramatic, with typical business buyers opting to delay their first engagement with a seller until they are 57%[1] through their purchasing decision. What this means is that more than half of the sales process has now disappeared, taking with it the influence and control that professional sellers previously had.

Businesses must recognise this change and implement social strategies within their sales and marketing departments to transform the way they engage with customers.  To make this effective, sellers have to adopt new habits and the following tips will help them to stand out with the new connected buyer:

# 1 Spend your day more effectively

According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, sellers spend only 39% of their time carrying out role specific tasks, eg. selling. Other activities, such as reading and answering emails, searching for information and internal collaboration are pulling them away and whilst email is a valuable communications tool it can also slow progress towards closing a sale.  Sales people and managers can start by assessing how much time they are giving to direct communication and research and restructure their day to focus at least 60% of their day on selling.

#2 Use social tools to support sales effectiveness

Gathering information is a necessary activity, but it’s possible that too much time is being spent on this and not very effectively. Traditional sales intelligence focused on data about people and businesses is limited. Sellers must have access to topical, timely and, if possible, behavioural information, most usefully derived from user-generated content, social media and/or news. If customers are using social networks, sellers should be connected too, so they can communicate with them in the space they occupy and build credibility. Buyers are also more likely to engage with someone they recognise through social networks.

#3 Refine your social listening

The Internet is immeasurable and Google searching or casual browsing for relevant information is not only time-consuming, it is also like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack. Social intelligence tools are designed to sharpen this process so sellers receive insight that they can use effectively, whether that’s product announcements or managerial shifts, legislation or the impact of political change. The tools tap into social and user-generated content in real-time, and deliver it instantly so that sales people can leverage it to engage with buyers intelligently and at the right moment.

Read all 5 tips… 

Marketing News Roundup: Facebook News Feed, Personalisation & Email Still the Most Effective Tactic

IDG Connect 0811 Marketing News Roundup: Facebook News Feed, Personalisation & Email Still the Most Effective Tactic

These are my top pick of marketing stories from the last week. I will be focusing Facebook’s update to its news feed, what data marketers use for personalisation and email marketing still the most effective digital marketing tactic.

Update to Facebook News Feed

Facebook has announced that it will be making changes to its news feed so users will see less promotional content. Mentioned in a recent blog post, the company is responding to a survey it held of users. The findings found that Facebook users view the news feed too promotional with a lack of context. And with Facebook’s declining popularity it’s important for the company to listen to its users.

But what does this mean for business page advertising? By eliminating the advertising from its news feed, advertisements will just appear on right column of any page on the site and in the right column on the sites search results. In its blog, Facebook says that Pages will still be important as ever. It also plans to increase its investment in Pages by building new features such as messaging, customised industry pages and video and photo content.

Marketers Use Personal Data for Personalisation

Personalisation is becoming a popular topic amongst marketers. As vast amounts of content is being continuously produced, marketers have begun to see the need to personalise. Over five in 10 marketers agree that the ability to personalise content is a fundamental to their online strategy according to Econsultancy’s recent report.

The report found that 65% of marketers are using personal data such as name, gender and location to personalise their web experiences. Which isn’t surprising as this is the most common personalisation seen across web content. Other forms of personalisation marketers are beginning to adopt is user preferences (45%) and purchase history (38%).

The report also discovered which personalisation has the most impact on ROI. This showed that while personal data is the most commonly used personalisation, 70% of respondents find purchase history has had the biggest impact on ROI.

This demonstrates that while marketers are using the common types of personalised content this always doesn’t mean it’s the best. It could be considered that consumers expect basic personalisation from their web experiences but its marketing’s job to enhance the experience by offering additional personalisation.

Check out our recent top tips blog post to help create an effective personalised marketing campaign.

Email is Still the Most Effective Type of Digital Marketing

While there has been many digital marketing tactics added to marketing’s tool belt, email is still seen as the most effective digital marketing type. In fact, 54% of marketers see its effectiveness in Ascend2 recent digital marketing strategy report

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Top Tips: Creating Effective Personalised Marketing Campaigns

IDG Connect 0811 Top Tips: Creating Effective Personalised Marketing Campaigns

04 12 2014 creating effective personalised marketing campaigns Top Tips: Creating Effective Personalised Marketing Campaigns


Julie Hesselgrove is group president, Communication and Marketing Services at
Xerox. Julie has over 30 years’ experience and in that time has seen industries evolve and adapt to meet changing customer demands. Today, she believes that the biggest challenge facing organisations across Europe is their communications infrastructure. Julie’s passion for innovation and improvement is put to good use in her current role – leading and developing a team with considerable market experience – to deliver solutions that will help our clients overcome their biggest marketing challenges. 

Julie shares her top tips on creating effective personalised marketing campaigns.

 

As consumers we are bombarded with marketing messages every waking hour. Our commutes, our choice of shop, the TV we watch, the devices we use; everything is a marketing channel.

As a result we are increasingly adept at ‘tuning out’ marketing noise. It’s an act of self-preservation. Which means capturing our attention and cutting through the noise relies almost entirely on being engaging and personally relevant.

On the whole, consumers are spending more in the UK. Which means that the opportunity for returns from personalised marketing is real. Creating satisfied customers equates to improved conversion, increased retention and higher customer spend. In other words, a win-win.

To create a truly personalised campaign, as ever, the devil is in the detail. But the good news is that personalisation is now more achievable to marketers than ever, thanks to new abilities to track, measure and respond to consumer interactions in real time, while deploying data analytics to get a real understanding of traction. Here are five steps towards giving your communications that personal touch.

1.       Live in the now
In the age of the ‘always on’ customer, the expectation is that every web page, mobile or tablet interaction, and piece of printed communication will acknowledge the customer’s real-time preferences. As a consequence, the focus is on real time interaction management – creating content in ’the now’ that responds to the customer’s current actions – not just historic preferences.

Using data analytics will help you move from being descriptive (based on past transactions) to being contextualised and predictive (based on what’s happening now). But also consider creating pre-written content to push out when your customer’s circumstances change to build a more intuitive personalisation that responds to the customer as if in a conversation.

2.       Think digital
One of the biggest challenges for many businesses is embracing the digital business model and changing cultural norms within the organisation. We still see companies that are too comfortable with monolithic, legacy systems that are difficult to update. Moving to more agile, customer-centric platforms creates an ecosystem where the business does not have to own all parts of the system.

3.       Outsource the process
More and more large organisations are turning to third-party experts to handle the huge amounts of data that they now need to act upon. Through outsourcing they are able to make short-term gains by reducing costs, replacing platforms and helping a business unit solve problems. For the customer this translates to a more seamless and agile communications experience.

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Customer-Focused Teams Are Secretly Daunted By Data Demands

IDG Connect 08111 Customer Focused Teams Are Secretly Daunted By Data Demands

One of the top goals for business leaders today is to better understand, engage with and retain their customers[i]. This involves making the most of the ever-growing volume of customer data available to build integrated, three-dimensional profiles of customers and to identify patterns and trends. Many firms turn to the roles closest to the customer to deliver this insight.

Recent research undertaken with PwC[ii] reveals that nearly two-thirds of European and just under half of North American mid-market firms believe their marketing teams have the best skills to extract insight from information, and around half (46% and 57% respectively) say the same for their customer service and insight teams.

Yet conversations with marketing leaders reveal that the teams in question are far less confident about their ability to achieve this.

One study[iii] found that a third of executives believe that being able to use data analytics to extract predictive findings from big data is the top skill required of their marketing professionals. However, just under half admit their own team lacks this skill. Another[iv] discovered that an overwhelming 82% of marketing leaders feel unprepared to deal with the data explosion, and only 59% say they have the skills to analyse and understand customer behaviour across all channels.

Despite this clearly recognised skills gap, only one in five marketing professionals is expected to receive formal training in data analysis this year[v].

In short, many firms could be passing data to teams that are ill-equipped to do it justice. Missing out on rich customer insight is just one of the risks. Our research found that marketing teams are increasingly given free access to sensitive and confidential customer information in order to extract intelligence, but are rarely held accountable for keeping it safe.

We discovered that less than one per cent of mid-market firms think teams such as marketing and customer insight should have a responsibility for information protection. Many (39%) place this responsibility firmly at the door of the IT security manager.

This is all the more worrying when you consider the fact that marketing departments are often at the forefront of flexible working practices[vi], allowing staff to work from home or while travelling – often without providing adequate guidance and support.

We found that one in three marketing professionals works from home two-to-four days a week, more than most other job roles. A third undertake confidential or sensitive work while travelling on public transport; one in four throw documents into insecure bins away from the office – and 48% send or receive work documents over a personal email account, at times using an insecure wireless network (12%). However, just a third of the employers surveyed provide secure remote intranet access for marketing professionals working from home, or offer guidelines or policies on how to handle sensitive information.

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B2B Marketing: Where Are We Now?

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 B2B Marketing: Where Are We Now?

Often, the more you read, hear and write a word the less it begins to mean. Its cadence and calligraphy repeated ad infinitum become little more than shapes and white noise. The word ‘digital’ has dogged the marketing profession for the last few years, used in every event, article and plan to complete exhaustion. However despite its repetition, it seems we’re still only just unpacking what ‘digital’ will mean for the B2B marketing community. In fact, according to the 2014 Marketing Perspectives report, 9 out of 10 marketers believe the digital revolution is still gearing up – when it’s actually already here.

Over the next year marketers expect to see even more disruption from a younger generation, completely at home with on-demand technology, dominating the buying market. This disruption will grant even more power to those making purchase decisions as they obtain more information and make more knowledgeable choices. This empowered consumer is set against the challenge of an increasingly fragmented audience as the volume of marketing channels continues to grow.

However, there are two sides to the digital coin and this proliferation of channels and digitally savvy consumers provides marketers with an unprecedented opportunity to know their customer. With increasingly diverse demographics, marketers need data analytics to better understand the behaviour of the digital native, or ‘millennials’, as well as an ageing population and everyone else in between. Marketers are able to use the real-time insights from a huge range of digital channels to their advantage.

It’s no surprise then that web and customer analytics have been identified as the most important disciplines for marketers to master. The ability to mine data for crucial customer insight is a skill set that businesses prize, not just in the marketing function. But despite this, many marketers lack the competence and skills in data analytics that would help them incorporate insights from digital and mobile channels into their overall marketing mix.

Despite the recognition that mobile and on-demand media is changing the marketing landscape, marketers are still not confident with developing mobile strategies and activating mobile-ready campaigns. In fact, 1 in 3 marketers say their organisation’s mobile competence is below average or poor. This needs to change quickly if the brand wants to capture the attention of a mobile driven marketplace.

The Marketing Perspectives report by SAS and Marketing Week reveals that B2B marketers are more digitally inclined than their consumer focused counterparts, reporting more use of social, location based and mobile marketing. Thirty-five per cent of B2B marketers fell into the ‘SoMoLo Maven’ category (those who invest more, have greater skill and confidence in social, mobile and location marketing) compared to 19% of B2C marketers. However, with empowered buyers and digital natives driving change, the requirement for real-time data analytics skills is only set to grow. And yet, many still struggle with it.

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The New Breed of Marketers: the Digital Native

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 The New Breed of Marketers: the Digital Native

The rise of the digital native and empowered consumers is transforming the marketing landscape, and marketers are responding to this change in very different ways. Many marketers lack the digital skills to fully adapt to this rapidly burgeoning breed of consumer and its always-on culture. They can build websites and design banners for example, but are they able to optimise the design and improve targeting? First generation digital marketing may have been achieved, but they now need to accomplish digital marketing 2.0.

Under pressure to deliver ROI against limited budgets, many tend to choose channels or approaches that have been tried and tested before. Whilst this gives them confidence to generate results, it prevents them from truly engaging with a millennial generation moving fast into the social and mobile arena.

But, as a new breed of consumer takes centre stage, so too does a new breed of marketer need to emerge. As millennials take up position on both sides of the buyer- supplier relationship, the current and future marketer needs to learn new skills and master a different set of tools. Understanding data analytics will be the key to success.

The behaviour of the millennial demographic is distinctly different from its predecessors in many respects. A strong relationship with technology, social media and a willingness to impart personal information in exchange for better services, are some of the most defining traits. Digital natives expect to converse, interact and purchase as, when and via the channel that they choose. In return they expect marketers to remember their likes and preferences; to understand them. Understanding and assimilating these differences and the behaviours that accompany them is crucial if marketers are to survive the digital revolution.

The always-connected nature of the millennial generation is a behavioural gold-mine for marketers – providing both the means to engage and a source of information to guide that engagement.

Assailed with marketing messages from an early age, these empowered buyers are experts at filtering out irrelevant, poorly timed or boring marketing campaigns. Social and location data is providing the means for marketers to connect with millennials in a way that is instantaneous, personal and relevant.

Effective digital marketing relies on big data analytics and real-time decision-making. These twin pillars help businesses to identify, understand, hone in on and engage their customers by providing them with crucial and timely customer insight. Coincidentally, they are also two of the weakest areas amongst marketers today according to research of nearly 600 marketers, which is why many are struggling to engage their customer in a digitally driven world.

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Wearables: When Technology & Popular Culture Collide

IDG Connect 0811 Wearables: When Technology & Popular Culture Collide

Something very special happened at last month’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. Will.i.am, one of the world’s biggest pop stars, launched his new smartband wearable device, the i.am.PULS – and the worlds of music, fashion, technology, mainstream and enterprise culture well and truly collided.

“I’m an ideas guy,” he said, and it’s true that will.i.am has been extremely busy in recent years investing in game-changing technologies as well as producing award-winning music. A true innovator, he contributed to the massive success of Beats headphones and developed the concept behind Ekocycle, Coca-Cola’s sustainable living brand.

This is a man whose vision of the future, as he explained on-stage with Marc Benioff earlier this year, has been influenced heavily by the pace of innovation in technology. Echoing Facebook’s mantra that technology’s evolutionary journey is only “1% finished,” will.i.am argued that the tech landscape will be “unrecognisable” in ten years’ time: “The thing on your wrist that talks to a phone…is not the future, it’s a starting point.”

The next revolution in connected devices

Shipments of wearables are projected to reach almost 112 million units in 2018, up from less than 20 million this year (IDC). As wearables proliferate, they will add to a vast universe of interconnected, smart devices. And when the inevitable take-off of wearables does arrive, the opportunities for brands will reach a new stratosphere as they look to own the customer journey.

Wearables are set to provide marketers with the purest view of the customer yet, in terms of the volume and immediacy of the data gathered. The rise of mobile and social prompted talk of always-on marketing, and the proliferation of wearables will further enable marketers to deliver the right message to the right user at the right time. Even better, because wearables are, by nature, deeply integrated into a daily lifestyle, marketers have an opportunity to learn more about their users than ever before.

Imagine what this could mean for your brand. How might you exploit this massive opportunity to improve customer service and make marketing messages more relevant?

Data, data, data

The key to cracking wearable tech for marketing lies in – you guessed it – data. If Mark Zuckerberg’s law (the rate of increase for social sharing) is accurate, in 10 years there will be more pieces of content shared every day (95 billion) than we currently share each month (89 billion).

Of course, as marketers we’ve been talking for a few years now about the importance of data in digital marketing. The challenge comes in tracking, filtering and measuring this data so that you have a true single view of the customer. The need to effectively leverage your customer data – including social data – is only going to increase as the number of consumer devices increases, and as wearables move into mainstream adoption. This will be crucial to providing the deeper levels of personalisation that customers now expect.

 

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