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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.

Continue reading… 

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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Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

IDG Connect 0811 Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

In January 2006 Twitter didn’t exist, blogging was mocked, and Facebook was for students. Over the following five years social media took off, but still many people questioned the importance of social networks in the B2B space. Now in 2014, its usefulness has been proven over and over again and it continues to gain momentum. In fact, as content marketing gradually grows in importance, social media is playing an even more significant role.

Summary

New research conducted in November 2013 by IDG Connect shows that 86% of B2B Information Technology (IT) buyers are currently using
social media networks in their purchase decision process. Social media is not only important for companies, but it is now a necessary investment and crucial element of any go-to-market strategies. And findings suggest this is only set to increase over the next couple of years.

  • 86% of IT buyers are using social media networks and content in their purchase decision process
  • Social media is used most often in the general education stage of the buying cycle
  • 89% of IT buyers prefer educational content to promotional content in their favored social media channels
  • 62% of IT buyers are most interested in seeing e-seminars (virtual events) from social channels
  • Product/Service reviews are the content types that IT buyers prefer to see links from via social channels
  • In two years, social, peer-generated content will have greater weight versus editorial and vendor content in making IT investment decisions

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Screen Shot 2014 01 13 at 4.39.11 PM Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

China Interview: Insight for Western Marketers

IDG Connect 0811 China Interview: Insight for Western Marketers

As the Alibaba IPO has reminded international businesses afresh of the vast potential in China, we catch up with Tait Lawton, who hails from Canada but has been working in People’s Republic for over a decade. He founded the Nanjing Marketing Group  to help Western companies get into the marketplace and now provides some useful insights for marketers worldwide.

Following the highly publicized Alibaba IPO have you noticed an increase in Western clients looking to target China?

We’ve noticed a steady increase overall, but not a large jump around the Alibaba IPO necessarily. Tough to say.

Has the attitude of Western clients looking to target China changed in the time you have been based there?

I’ve been helping Western clients with Chinese marketing for five years. I’d say they have the same basic concerns, but are more willing to accept our advice when it comes to tailoring their campaign more to the Chinese market.

We prefer to plan the China marketing campaign anew from the ground up as opposed to using more of a one-size-fits-all globalization strategy, and more people are willing to accept this now. Tough to say if it’s because of a change in the overall mind set of Western marketers or it’s just because we have more people that have been reading our articles on our blog and other websites.

How does the way Chinese consumers use technology differ from the way technology is used in your native Canada?

They haven’t gone through the same process of adoption. Since China developed so quickly, lots of people in China have just skipped whole stages of technology that Canadians, Americans and other Westerners are used to. For example, some years ago I was surprised to see that my girlfriend’s family never used a VCR and instead just went straight to using DVDs. Now, of course, people may be skipping VCRs, DVDs and even streaming on laptops and just go straight to streaming on mobile devices.

What’s most relevant for our digital marketing efforts is that there are plenty of internet users that started using the internet on mobile devices. Mobile marketing is essential. Sometimes people ask me “do you do mobile marketing?”, and I’m like “well, ya. 100% of the marketing we do is relevant to mobile. All of our SEM, SEO and social media services are relevant to mobile.”

People in China also use QR codes a lot. You’ll see QR codes for Weibo and WeChat campaigns on subway ads, restaurant menus, everywhere.

What do you think Western businesses most misunderstand about China?

For one, they may underestimate the competition and the amount they should invest to be successful. China is very competitive and for most market entry cases we see, there are Chinese competitors that are entrenched and willing to invest much much more than the foreign company planning to enter China. Chinese companies are very confident in their business opportunities and willing to invest in branding.

And Chinese advertising is not cheap, nor is marketing talent. Great Chinese marketers can make as much money as great marketers in USA or other places.

Continue reading…

How to Develop Digital Content – 4 Analyst Insights

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 How to Develop Digital Content – 4 Analyst Insights

With digital content so widely consumed online it’s important to create relevant and interesting content for your audience. These four insights from our Principle Analyst, Bob Johnson, will help you build a content strategy that works for your brand.

1. Do You Have a Digital Content Strategy?

Today many are clamoring for a content strategy. The trouble most organizations do not understand that it is a lot harder to implement than it is to conceptualize. Read more >

2. Do You Follow these Five Senses?

What does your content tell you about the people who consume different assets? Is each asset a good listener, does it have a sense of taste, can it smell a buyer from non-buyer, does it see where the buyer’s interest lies and can it feel the readiness of a buyer to engage with sales? Read more >

3. Do Misuse Your Content?

You spend so much time, money and effort on creating digital content but too much of that effort goes wasted as we see multiple issues. See you if stand out from the crowd by thinking about your content against these common mistakes. Read more >

4. Do You Organize Your Content Effectively?

As you focus on how to organize your digital assets on your website, you face a multitude of options. But when you ask buyers how they prefer to see content organized, they speak very clearly that they have a primary preference. Read more >

Tune Audiences Into Your Marketing Video Initiative

IDG Connect 0811 Tune Audiences Into Your Marketing Video Initiative

With video consumption on the rise, audiences today expect to able to receive information that is easy to digest and also engaging. It is predicted that by 2016, 1.6 billion people will be watching video online, and the growth of video traffic on the web will rise from 57% to 69% by 2017. As a result, a million minutes of video content will cross the network every second in 2017.

Given the eminence and influence video content will have over the next few years it could become one of the marketing department’s most powerful tools. Videos can be shared as compelling content that can help attract new customers, encourage existing ones to upgrade to a new product or spread product information quickly and efficiently.

Short videos can even be used as an alternative to lengthy text descriptions, telephone calls and face-to-face demonstrations to help a customer chose the right product for them. James McQuivey from Forrester Research believes that one minute of video can be equivalent to 1.8 million words. Video can provide easily accessible, on-demand information that is also engaging to a wider customer base.

Creating video content that is audience-tailored and accessible across multiple devices can keep digital marketing initiatives on the road to success. One quick and easy method of content creation is screencasting. Screencasting software records everything on your screen from applications and mouse clicks to your audio commentary. Screencasting technology is efficient since little investment is required for equipment and unlike working with video cameras or other videography equipment, very little training is needed.

To make successful screencasts, there are a few factors any marketer should consider:

Know Your Audience

With any video marketing initiative, understanding what makes your audience tick should be a priority. One video might be the right hook for a particular viewer, however could completely miss the mark for someone else.

Continue reading… 

Managing Marketing Assets in Today’s Digital Economy

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Managing Marketing Assets in Today’s Digital Economy

Samantha Warnes, Senior Solution Consultant of Digital Asset Management & Customer Experience Management at OpenText, looks at how organisations need to re-examine the creation, collaboration, production and distribution of digital media to deliver a richer digital marketing experience.

In today’s connected world, marketers are expected to manage content that caters to a richer digital experience. Digital assets have to be available, agile and consistent. Gone are the days when business departments could operate in silos. Now different units have to work with marketing to make the most of content across every distribution point – regardless of whether that is online, physical, over mobile, or even print.

However, ensuring that marketing content – regardless of size or format – is agile and can move at the speed required, means rethinking how digital assets are managed. Organisations need to automate the management of all assets, across all available mediums and consider the following five key areas:

1. Collecting: In the creation and storage of marketing assets, content should be collected and automated to provide a single, authoritative system for all types of marketing media. The result should be a digital asset management system without silos, massive email files, or guesswork as to the correct asset needed for a specific marketing purpose.

2. Managing: The ability to organise, categorise and apply appropriate rights policies to link related assets ensures rich marketing media can be managed efficiently.

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Media Advertising Sees Largest Growth in Over a Decade

IDG Connect 0811 300x141  Media Advertising Sees Largest Growth in Over a Decade

Media Advertising

Media advertising spending will see its largest growth in over a decade, according to Neustar’s Media Intelligence Report for Q2 2014. Companies are focusing more and more on the data that they can collect, and they are trying to use that data for their marketing. However, half of marketers reported that they’re still having trouble linking the data to actionable insights.  Some of the other areas of interest in the study were social, video, and mobile. Social is the only channel that performed above the indexed average for reach efficiency, and video and mobile are becoming a more normal buy. The three areas that Neustar advises marketers to work on for the upcoming year are mobile, video, and attribution.

Inbound Marketing

Ascend2’s Inbound Marketing Research Summary Report takes a look at what’s next for inbound marketing. Currently, 90% of companies are integrating social, search, and content for inbound marketing purposes, and most of them are doing it successfully. For the next year, the most important objectives for inbound are to increase conversion rates and improve lead quality. One of the challenges of inbound is the lack of an effective strategy, which will begin to change as more companies adopt inbound as a top marketing priority.

 

Read more…

Digital Marketing Strategy: The Importance of Language

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Digital Marketing Strategy: The Importance of Language

There’s no doubt that we’re living in an increasingly multilingual society. It actually takes 20 languages to communicate with 80% of the world’s online population. However, according to a report from Common Sense Advisory (CSA), content in English has dominated the web “while companies have catered to Anglophone markets and the enormous spending they generate”. Despite this, English isn’t in fact the only prime language of ecommerce.

When it comes to business, people like being marketed to in their native language and, more often than not, that’s not English. We’ve commissioned a year-long study into the behaviour of the millennial generation (aged 18-36) looking at how their behaviour is forcing businesses to adapt their digital marketing approaches. A key focus for us within this has been the impact language has on marketing techniques. We surveyed 1,800 millennials and found that 32% of the millennial generation in English-speaking markets actually prefer a language other than English. What’s more, 46% are more likely to make a purchase if information is presented in their preferred language. These findings are supported by the CSA’s report which highlighted that 75% of online shoppers are more likely to buy products from websites in their language and 74% are more likely to purchase from the same brand again, if the after-sales care is in their mother tongue.

More so than any generation previously, it’s the millennials who are causing the biggest headache for marketers. They’re far more demanding than their predecessors and expect content to be delivered to them across their preferred device, channel and more importantly, in their preferred language. Figures like those above demonstrate just how language needs to be an integral part of any global digital marketing and customer experience strategy. If you don’t have this factored in then you risk alienating a significant proportion of your target audience, reducing the likelihood of driving brand advocacy and sales.

But how can marketers easily deliver high-quality multilingual content to their customers? It often seems particularly difficult to accomplish this in such a fast-moving, multinational market where millennials interact online and through social media. Digital marketers need to implement solutions that will enable them to translate potentially high volumes of high quality content into multiple languages, and deliver this at speed.

A great example of a business committed to offering its customers this service is B2B travel providerGTA, part of the Kuoni Group. GTA is growing fast, with already thousands of customers in 185 countries worldwide and processes over 21,000 bookings per day in more than 25 languages online. The company has recognised the importance of localising its content – tens of thousands of hotel and ground travel descriptions – to its global customer base, particularly as it continues to grow exponentially. It aims to deliver a seamless and personalised customer experience by addressing cultural differences.

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