Upcoming Events
Event Date Location

Digiday Brand Summit

04/27/2014 - 04/29/2014 Nashville TN

Event Marketing Summit

05/07/2014 - 05/09/2014 Salt Lake CIty Utah

Digiday Programmatic Summit

05/14/2014 - 05/16/2014 New Orleans LA

Internet Week New York

05/19/2014 - 05/25/2014 New York NY

Digiday Agency Innovation Camp

06/24/2014 - 06/26/2014 Vail CO

Content Marketing World

09/08/2014 - 09/11/2014 Cleveland OH


Subscribe To Latest Posts

Marketing 101: How to get started in lead generation

B2B Lead Blog

The challenge for anyone in B2B content marketing is to not only to create content that would impress the most experienced reader, but also to have some content that appeals to someone new to the industry.

For that reason, here is a beginner’s look at lead generation with links to many additional resources so you can dive deeper where you would like to. I’ll focus on some fundamental questions you should answer as you craft your lead gen program.

Experienced lead gen marketers reading this: What did I overlook? Please add your own advice in the comments section of this blog post.

Question #1. What do your potential customers want?

Getting leads isn’t as easy as it sounds, if it sounds easy at all. No potential customer wants to wake up in the morning and become a lead for your company.

Continue reading

Too Many Value Propositions Don’t Talk About Value

IDG Connect 0811 Too Many Value Propositions Don’t Talk About Value

By Bob Johnson, VP & Principal Analyst

Think about the challenge to create meaningful value propositions. They are most often me-too single words or one-liners that simply get lost in the competitive noise and do little to motivate behavior.  Vendors need to fix how they create and package value propositions beginning with understanding what a true value proposition should be.

One of the better definitions I’ve seen is from Knowledgence Associates.  A value proposition isa customer-focused description of value that demonstrates your knowledge about the customer’s experience or challenge, your specific offer to address it, underscored by what differentiates your offer from any other.

Value propositions must be defensible, sustainable, differentiating and quantifiable. They should articulate how the vendor is able to deliver needed, distinct value or impact if a buyer invests in a particular solution. It is hard work to create an effective set of value propositions. So, many marketers simply make standard product or service statements, using buzz words that are in common use within a market and tout them as value propositions. A word that often is touted as a value proposition is the word “agility.”  But the reality is that a single word that describes a feature or a capability does not make it a value proposition.  What are the challenges or goals that a prospect or customer has that agility can address?  What about your offering leads to improved agility? What does the prospect have to do to get there? What are the tangible improvements they gain along the way? The value could impact how people are allocated, how processes take place, the types of insight a solution provides that leads to clear action steps.

Continue reading

Turn a Prospect into a Quality Lead

IDG Global Solutions

Business card information or the download of digital content is often times not enough to judge the quality of a prospect.  If you can determine a person’s Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing (BANT) then a marketer delivers a truly qualified prospect to sales.

In an interview with IDG Communications Director Howard Sholkin, IDG Connect General Manager Andrew Sambrook explained the value of skilled telephone qualification and how BANT can help turn a lead into a customer….

Introduction: The 7 Principles of Content Optimization

IDG Connect 08111 Introduction: The 7 Principles of Content Optimization

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 

Forget 2014 Marketing Predictions – Instead Focus on Marketing Imperatives

IDG Connect 0811 Forget 2014 Marketing Predictions – Instead Focus on Marketing Imperatives

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.”

Read full article 

Avoid Common Lead Generation Mistakes

IDG Connect 0811 Avoid Common Lead Generation Mistakes

By Bob Johnson, VP & Principal Analyst

With hundreds of lead generation and nurturing programs on-going at any one time, IDG Connect has seen some common challenges that you can avoid. Here are some that we see most often with some overall comments on several.

  • • Too many custom registration questions
  • • Sending out follow-up email immediately upon first asset touch
  • • Lack of offering related content assets that have a higher degree of relevance
  • • Viewing lead generation as a destination rather than a journey
  • • Using asset randomly without alignment with audience preferences
  • • Focus on lead quantity versus quality
  • • Failure to use previous campaign learnings to modify subsequent campaign approach
  • • Overuse or reliance on too few assets
  • • Use of assets that are too old
  • • Program criteria is based on a “Narrow Focus” mentality

Every time you ask a custom registration question you risk individuals opting out. The very best custom questions are those that offer a value exchange. That is, I am answering this question so you can provide me value such as better tailored insight, comparison to my peers or something else they do not have.

The average delay buyer’s prefer between emails is about nine business days. But often we see vendors wanting to make sure they reach out again quickly, not matter what asset they present. That is wrong and views lead generation as a pursuit rather than a journey together where confidence and interest combine to build engagement intensity. Let me know your thoughts on some of mistakes you’ve seen and ways to avoid them.

Fore more blogs on lead nurturing, click here

Lead Nurturing via Telemarketing

IDG Connect 0811 Lead Nurturing via Telemarketing

By Bob Johnson, VP & Principal Analyst

Telemarketing is changing rapidly to stay relevant during the B2B purchase process. The often-used idea of turning a telemarketing team loose on a list of B2B names and phone numbers is less effective as prospects hide behind voicemail and are quick to hang up if the initial message burst they hear is not relevant. Telemarketing centers must get the message and evolve to a new model focused on:

  • Targeted communication with relevant offers of content
  • Conversations that are multi-point to nurture during the exploration and decision making process, and
  • Agents that apply specific skills to engage and nurture at multiple touch points

To provide a sense of how the role of telemarketers has changed, I ask for insight from John Moran, General Manager of IDG Direct communications center. His team of 120 individuals is based in Dublin, Ireland and covers some 50 countries with agents that speak over 30 languages. Use his ideas and tactics to help you evolve your telemarketing and inside sales efforts.

  1. BANT (Budget Authority, Need and Timing) opportunities have increased importance and often require nurturing or several agent-to-prospect conversations over a period of time. Success is greatest among those individuals who can build some type of rapport with the prospect.
  2. Rapport comes from using different conversational elements that are familiar to prospect. The key elements are:
    • Accent: A familiar, local or pleasant accent offers the strongest instant bond. For example, within Germany there are multiple accents and hearing one that is familiar builds an immediate level of comfort for the targeted contact. It is often hard to match accents with audiences so if a second method that can also have success is hiring call staffers that are accent neutral.
    • Phrases: The use of phrases can add certain informality to formal conversations so long as they are on topic or in some way relevant. For the listener, the use of phrases can be refreshing to hear especially when delivered at a comfortable pace.
    • Words and Tone: Agents need to avoid being apologetic in the words they use, for example saying “I know you are busy and am sorry to bother you” immediately puts what your agent has to say on the back burner. Rather, agents must show a sense of confidence and have sufficient passion in tone to convey that what they are about offer is valuable and will be helpful to the targeted contact as they move through the buyer’s journey. The bottom line is that you have to be engaging and turn each point of contact into a point of value.

The contact or telemarketing center is no longer a once and done operation. Leads are often now desired that match target accounts and are sales quality. That means it is all about communication excellence, a “communications center” that uses both telephone and online mediums including chats, blogs and social media communities. Both the approach of telemarketers and their delivery cuts through the competitive noise helps persuade an individual to participate in an active dialogue. If you are going to get the so called “hooks” into a prospect, rapport is a necessity. According to Moran, “you must pay attention to all three (accents, words and phrases) if you are going to nurture. By doing so, you can tap into emotional elements where the person understands you more easily, listens closely and becomes comfortable with a greater degree of engagement over time”.

Contact John Moran for more information.

For more great blogs on lead generation, click here 

Leading Prospects from Content to Sales

IDGE Leading Prospects from Content to Sales

Are you looking to create an impactful content marketing strategy that results in high levels of engagement? This white paper explores the evolving role of content in marketing strategies and the IT purchase process — and how making the right moves directly impacts success.

This white paper will provide insight into:

  • The role content consumption plays in the purchase process for major technology products and services.
  • Creating distinctive and high impact content marketing campaigns that create high levels of engagement with IT decision-makers, driving awareness, trust, and, most importantly, sales.

And more…!

Download Whitepaper

WP COVER Page 1 294x380 Leading Prospects from Content to Sales

Survey: 46% Of Marketers Have Content Marketing Strategy, Only 25% Track Social Media Results

Marketing Land

A new survey from content marketing provider Skyword found that nearly half of the respondents polled have a formal content marketing strategy, but only 25 percent are measuring the results of their social media content marketing efforts. Conducted by Unisphere Research, the survey included 217 participants from the readership base of CRM Magazine and EContent Magazine, reflecting a variety of industries and business sizes.

The survey covered a number of content marketing trends, focusing on how organizations produce and distribute content. According to the findings, the number one reason marketers are implementing content marketing initiatives is to engage customers and prospects, with 68 percent of respondents claiming it is their primary goal.

While 46 percent of the survey participants report their organizations have formal content marketing strategies, 37 percent claim they are working on developing content marketing programs.

For the organizations leveraging content marketing programs, 48 percent say their efforts are resulting in engagement with customers and prospects, and 41 percent are seeing an increase in brand awareness.

View charts and the rest of the article… 

B2B Lead Gen: Why You Need Partners and Multiple Channels

B2B Marketing

There’s been considerable debate in recent weeks about the use of partners, including telemarketing firms, in the B2B lead-generation business. TechTarget, one major B2B lead-gen provider, took an aggressive stance against the practice.

I’d like to explain why I disagree. Let’s start by considering the various forms of communication that are prevalent today. You engage in a “conversation” via email. You ask two simple questions of the person you’re corresponding with, and you get one answer. So you have to go back and ask the second question again.

Now, think of the challenge of relying exclusively on the accuracy of personal data that an individual enters into an online registration form. Are they really giving you their specific job title or their precise budget authority?

Compare that scenario with a live telephone conversation between two people in a business context. Yes, many people at work don’t answer their phones and many actively screen calls to avoid unwanted calls. But on the other hand, we maintain that in a B2B context, telephone contact lends itself to the delivery of branded marketing messages, whilst accurately verifying business data that is typically the key goal of a B2B telemarketing call.

 Continue reading…