The New York Times
When Ronan Farrow, the young human rights lawyer with a Hollywood lineage, debuts as an MSNBC host on Monday, he will have some prodigious computing power backing him up.
MSNBC has struck a partnership with Vocativ, a digital news start-up, to provide the new program — “Ronan Farrow Daily” — with up to three taped video segments a week. Vocativ mines the Internet for exclusive news and other content with data-collection software traditionally used by governments and corporations.
Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, said Vocativ’s marriage of big data and conventional reporting was an innovative approach to journalism. “It is an additional tool for us,” he said. “And who knows where it is going to go for the entire NBC News group.”
News organizations are in a mad rush to team with new companies that they hope can give them an edge in finding story leads. In forming alliances, they are also seeking to attract younger viewers who are more likely to get their news from sites like Twitter and Facebook than from the evening news.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
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Are media and marketing executives finally committing to innovation as a growth strategy? More than half of senior-level execs responding to Econsultancy and Jordan Edmiston’s 4thannual Media Growth Study (pdf) agree that their top-selling product in 2017 hasn’t been invented yet.
That’s a clear sign not just of the disruptions taking place in the media sector, but also the opportunities that exist for companies to create new markets or build new business models.
“We are focusing on disrupting ourselves, before we get disrupted,” one respondent from a large B2C publishing company said as part of the survey of 339 senior-level executives globally.
Despite this clarion call for innovation, however, most media companies have yet to formalize an innovation process. Only 31% of executives have a defined innovation program for generating new product ideas – even though 71% said launching new products or services would be a top growth driver over the next two years.
Other top growth drivers include expanding market share within existing markets (64%) and making an acquisition (38%). While just over a quarter of executives (27%) cited investing in new IP or technologies as a growth driver, the response rate jumped significantly from last year’s 11%. The report’s authors attribute this jump in part to a growing emphasis on automation, including programmatic buying and selling.
Nearly half of revenue of 550 leading media and entertainment companies comes from digital sales
For traditional media companies fighting to stay on top in the internet age it may no longer be a case of forgoing analog dollars in favor of digital pennies just to stay ahead of the pack. Media and entertainment companies say that 47 percent of their overall revenues currently come from digital products, according to a new report by professional services firm Ernst & Young. Further, they project that by 2015 a majority of their income, or 57 percent, will be generated from digital sales.
“The media and entertainment industry has been on a digital journey for quite some time, but when you drill down into the data in advertising, in social media, in film and in broadcast and cable, you see that the digital transition isn’t this thing of tomorrow to keep in the back of the mind, it’s here,” John Nendick, Ernst & Young’s global head of media and entertainment, said.