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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


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New Expectations for CMOs

IDG Connect 0811 New Expectations for CMOs

In a new CMO report from Deloitte and Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, the 5 new CMO expectations were discussed. The 5 expectations were:

  1. Take on Topline Growth
  2. Own the Customer Experience
  3. Dig Into Data-Based Insights
  4. Operate in Real Time
  5. Master the Metrics that Matter

Are CMOs ready to face these expectations? Not really, but they’re getting there. 53% of CMOs feel the pressure to enable revenue growth, but they struggle because they don’t completely own the conversion path. This has been one of the bigger problems that CMOs are facing; they have to work across functions in order to get things done. This comes into play with the customer experience, too. CMOs now own the largest share of the customer journey, but they need to work with product and service teams in order to create an optimal customer experience across all channels. There’s no doubt that CMOs are feeling the pressure of the digital era, but with that comes big opportunity for growth and the ability to reach all of these high expectations.

Continue reading…

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.

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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.

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Seeking a Lead on News, Network Turns to Data-Mining Media Group

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.

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Busting the Myth of Sales Disintermediation

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 Busting the Myth of Sales Disintermediation

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?


Sales disintermediation Busting the Myth of Sales Disintermediation
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:


  1. How to evaluate the strategic priority of the solution as well as the technical and business benefits
  2. 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 gmurray@idc.com.


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 

Your top-selling product in 2017 probably doesn’t exist yet

eMedia Vitals

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.

Continue reading… 

The Real Meaning of “Sales 2.0”

IDG Connect 0811 The Real Meaning of “Sales 2.0”

Louis Gudema investigates the origins of “social selling” and tracks down Nigel Edelshain who coined the term “Sales 2.0” in 2006

“Sales 2.0”, which is often called “social selling”, is one of the hottest topics these days, for example:

And I’ve written about Sales 2.0 on my blog. In writing that piece, I discovered that there is an actual, identifiable individual who is recognized as the first person to use the term: Nigel Edelshain. He created the term “Sales 2.0” in 2006.

While Sales 2.0 has come to mean social selling, in 2006 Facebook was still being used almost exclusively by college students, LinkedIn had only about 10 million members (today it has over 250 million), and Twitter and YouTube were less than a year old. I was curious about what Nigel meant by “Sales 2.0” and what prompted him to create the term, so I tracked him down, talked to him about it, and discovered he had something else in mind altogether.

Nigel says, “One day I was selling and I thought, ‘You know what, selling really sucks!’ (At this point he laughed; Nigel laughs a lot – he’s a very easy going guy.) ”It really sucks, what we do. Every sales person gets beat up. Every sales person is half miserable. They experience a lack of respect. They don’t really have a process. They’re told to cold call, and that doesn’t really work and it’s just getting worse. So I was just looking for a name for that, and since I’m a pseudo-geek I was aware of Web 2.0 and so I thought, ‘Hey, Sales 2.0. Wouldn’t that be cool?’”

Continue reading…

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