Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Use These Tactics to Weaponize 2019 B2B Data

Targeted, clean data is key to success for business-to-business campaigns. And as they ready to launch their 2019 plans, we urge B2B marketers to take the basic data steps suggested in a recent Martech Today post by Scott Vaughn. Good response and conversion depend on identifying and engaging the right audiences, meaning the right companies and the right decision-makers, Vaughn reminds. To target that right audience requires processes for capturing critical data about prospects, customers and their purchase journey with precision, he asserts, and recommends a strategy of starting with a smaller universe of accounts and roles to more precisely define best targets--and then testing and using advanced strategies, such as predictive marketing and intent-data modeling, to expand to more accounts and buyers. But that kind of data targeting only works if marketers are looking at quality data, so data hygiene is another necessity. When a recent DemandGen survey finds that more than 35% of the data in existing databases is unmarketable on average, avoiding wasted dollars means instituting a "get clean, stay clean" data-hygiene effort for 2019, Vaughn urges. The hygiene regimen should include regularly auditing of data-capture processes and sources, using filters before data can enter the database, and maintaining a cleansing process to eliminate records that are invalid, non-standardized, duplicate or non-compliant. Because today's buyers are leery of brands that don’t treat their information with care and because stringent data-privacy laws are being deployed around the globe, B2B marketers must have a proactive permission-based plan for data as well, warns Vaughn That includes asking for opt-in everywhere and having very visible, clear explanations of how behavioral data, such as website cookies, is used. Meanwhile, prospects and customers have not only come to expect data privacy, they have become used to the rapid, real-time response of the digital market. Yet for many B2B campaigns, it takes two or three days to follow up on a lead or inquiry, or even seven or eight days just to get leads loaded into marketing automation or CRM software! Vaughn proposes a concerted effort to speed data handling by identifying areas where data can be routed faster and reaction time reduced and then initiating sales and marketing training on speedier handling at each stage of the customer journey. Finally, the best data processes won't automatically result in ROI if marketers focus on the wrong metrics. Vaughn reports that high-performing marketing teams use insights with these ingredients: agreed-upon key performance indicators (KPIs); tools that can measure performance; and easy-to-use dashboards that can help all stakeholders (marketing, sales, execs, etc.). For the full post, see http://www.acculistusa.com/weaponize-b2b-data-for-2019-with-these-tactics/

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

2018 Direct Mail Surges in Usage, Response, ROI

Direct mail marketers received lots of encouraging news in the 2018 “ANA-DMA Response Rate Report.” Direct mail improved its usage ranking to tie with social media as the second most-used medium (57%), for example, and continued to deliver the best response rates of any medium. In fact, “snail mail” even improved on its response success by doubling median response rates over last year to 9% for house lists and 4.9% for prospect lists in 2018. Mail’s Return on Investment (ROI) also leaped by 12 percentage points to beat out online display this year. The only negative in the report is that those surveyed continue to doubt the future of direct mail, with 19% saying they plan to decrease usage in the coming 12 months. But if the report participants follow their behavior after previous surveys, which similarly predicted mail declines, direct mail usage will remain buoyant, which allowed it to rise in 2018 despite planned cuts. One drag on direct mail continues to be its Cost Per Action/Acquisition, which is the highest CPA of any medium and puts budget pressure on mail volume, which did decline for both house and prospect lists compared with the 2017 study. However, high response rates, competitive ROI, online tracking and print-tech advances are keeping marketers loyal to “traditional” mail in a digital world. In fact, direct mail usage for marketing campaigns equals or exceeds 50% for most of the 11 industry segments cited in the study. In usage, direct mail leaders were travel or hospitality (80%), nonprofits (75%), publishing or media (71%), and financial services/banks/credit (67%). Only Technology (44%), Retail (44%), and B2B Services (34%) came in below the 50% usage mark. But when it comes to tracking those response rates, marketers have definitely gone digital, with over half of surveyed marketers (53%) saying they use online tracking capabilities, such as PURLs, followed in popularity by the use of codes or coupons (45%) and call center or telephone inquiries (41%). For data comparing response rates by type of format and B2B vs. B2B campaigns, see our website blog post at http://www.acculistusa.com/despite-doubters-2018-direct-mail-ups-response-roi-usage/

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Trade Show Market Preps for 2019 Growth,Trends

Demand for meetings and events is projected to rise worldwide next year, pushing the global market up by 10% and boosting attendance numbers in North America by 14%, according to the "2019 Meetings & Events Future Trends" report from Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT). But trade show marketers clients will still need to address new attendee expectations if they want to catch that market wave. In fact, the CWT report found that attendee experience was the concern that was top of mind for planners, including delivery and tracking of attendees through innovative applications of technology, use of unique venues, and more engaging and interactive content. Along those lines, Ryan Gould, vice president of strategy and marketing services for Elevation Marketing, recently posted about five key trends affecting 2019 attendee experience. First, he urges marketers to commit to an experiential, customer-centric booth design that goes beyond square footage and demo stations to address comfort, engagement and interaction, with a focus on a big first impression. One way to enhance experiential booth design is to create a multisensory experience, with unique lighting design, touch-panel interfaces, gamification, interactive displays, and even scent marketing that uses attractive aromas to capture visitors. Think it's nonsense? The respected Harvard Business Review concludes that amplifying the sensory qualities of your exhibit is a top way to get attendees connecting with your brand, notes Gould.When it comes to multisensory options, Virtual Reality (VR) has earned a big buzz in the trade show market. In fact, Gould points out, studies show that 53% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand that uses VR than one that doesn’t. Plus, proliferation of VR platforms has increased affordability, with VR app Google Cardboard now available for as little as $10 as an example. Since it's exhausting to spend a day walking a trade show, exhibitors who offer lounge areas are luring attendees into their booths and keeping them there for extended periods of time (including a sales pitch, of course). Savvier marketers have been adding charging stations along with comfy lounge chairs to further draw visitors. A trade show booth with a single flat-screen TV for presentations is now behind the technology curve. With technology advances, you can transform the entire space using multiple screens and unique lighting elements to direct visitors to specific displays or products. Use of 3D projection mapping can further transform a space, turning a whole wall into a 3D video image or projecting a personalized image on a prop, statue or other surface. For more on forecasts of the 2019 meeting and event market, see our on-site post at http://www.acculistusa.com/trade-show-marketers-need-to-prep-to-ride-2019-growth/

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Targeting, Value Win for Performing Arts Marketing

Performing arts marketers face many challenges in competing for attention and share of wallet in a noisy multi-channel marketplace. AccuList USA recently found some good basic advice on winning audience response in a blog post by Dave Wakeman of the Wakeman Consulting Group. Wakeman noted that creating a sense of scarcity is key to performing arts marketing--even lacking a hot-demand show like the current musical "Hamilton." Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd! Offering all tickets prior to marketing-generated demand undermines that desired sense of urgency, but marketers can still use the secondary ticket market, such as StubHub or TicketsNow, to produce a feeling of scarcity, he advises. Performing arts marketers also need to define the audience target of a show/event and then tailor a value message that appeals specifically to that audience. Targeting and creative messaging will be very different for a family show, a political commentary, a well-known classic, or a one-off by a famous author. New attendees will need a different approach than members and donors. Certainly, many shows don't have the time for the sort of traditional agency advertising that waits for reviews to come out and then creates ads around positive lines from those reviews. Plus, that kind of reactive, critic-centered promotion can miss a more persuasive value message to win over the target audience. Finally, Wakeman notes that in today’s market, people often aren’t just going to "see a show." They are likely looking to make a night of it and are attracted to events with multiple value offers. He lauds the successful audience-building efforts of the Chattanooga Symphony & Orchestra, which promotes multiple ways to engage even for those without a dedication to the symphony. Pairing a wine tasting, art show or discussion group/lecture with a performing arts event may be just what it takes to attract a new audience or convince an existing audience to try a new entertainment option. See our on-site blog post at http://www.acculistusa.com/scarcity-targeting-value-woo-performing-arts-audiences/

Monday, November 5, 2018

Many Publishers Not Fully Mining Audience Data

Business periodical marketers come to AccuList USA for help with audience building via multi-channel campaigns, but as data experts, we'd like to remind them that their audience data offers other revenue streams worth mining. Most publishers know that targeted audience data is key to competing for ad dollars; for improved subscriber response via personalization; and for better targeted content marketing. A recent Adweek article by Jason Downie suggests several other ways to monetize audience data. Downie urges publishers to build “off-the-shelf” audience segments that can be sold directly to advertisers, for example. Consider how a seminar promoter could use a business magazine's data if the publication built an audience of people interested specifically in his topics or proven seminar buyers; the advertiser would be able to enjoy the benefits of tapping not just a business-engaged audience but a strategically targeted set of potential buyers more likely to convert. Audience segments can also offer insights that can be further monetized. For example, analytics could show that seminar attendees are four times more likely to share content online. That makes them online influencers, and since influencers are extremely valuable, the publisher can demand a higher CPM. Additionally, an audience segment can open the door to new advertisers and marketers, including non-endemic spending. A business publisher's analytics may show a subscriber segment visits golf sites as well as the magazine site, for example. The publisher can now woo clients looking to target "golfers." Another way publishers can take advantage of data is in the RFP process, according to the Adweek article, noting that the average publisher spends up to 1,600 hours per month, or 18% of revenue, responding to advertiser RFPs. Publishers can develop a customized response to an advertiser RFP, starting with first-party data to build out the RFP-requested audience and then enriching that database with third-party data appending. Digital campaigns can expand targeting by adding lookalikes. Author Downie advises running a portion of an ad campaign without audience or contextual targeting to identify additional audiences, interests, actions and behaviors of those who respond well to the campaign but were not included in the initial targeting. Still another option for publishers with high-quality audience data is to sell it as "second-party data," either directly to another company through a second-party data exchange or through a programmatic data exchange. And, of course, subscriber lists can be monetized as "third-party data," earning regular rental revenue on the open market and via data brokers. For more detail, see http://www.acculistusa.com/many-business-publications-fail-to-fully-mine-audience-data/

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Zoo Marketing Increases Conservation, Digital Stress

Significant changes are occurring in zoo marketing, per several recent reports. Consumers' rising concerns about conservation and ethical treatment of animals have been a driving force. As the public loses its appetite for viewing animals in cages, zoos are initiating a new stress on realistic exhibits and conservation--and their marketing is reflecting that shift. A Platform Magazine article on the new wave in zoo marketing, noted to its PR-pro readers that the winning zoo marketing strategy seems to lie in finding the middle ground between promoting conservation and creating entertainment. Many zoos do this by creating exhibits that mimic animals’ natural habitats. For example, the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington, promotes exhibits for jaguars, penguins and grizzly bears, which have won exhibit design awards. Meanwhile, the Houston Zoo not only advertises the fact that it shares part of the money from each ticket with conservation programs but plans to build a new exhibit to showcase the Texas Wetlands, which have a large variety of animal and plant life. The Platform article also cites Zoo Atlanta's strategy for merging consumer experiences and conservation by promoting its contributions to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) with new animals’ births that help "maintain healthy, genetically diverse and self-sustaining animal populations within North American zoos." However, one marketing challenge for nonprofit zoos like Zoo Atlanta is stretching "our limited advertising budget," Vice President of Marketing and Membership Tracy Lott acknowledges. And digital media investments are one way her zoo stretches marketing resources. For zoos following Zoo Atlanta's lead, Search Influence, a digital marketing agency, suggests key steps to digital success. Efforts need to begin with planning, with an emphasis on defining member/donor/visitor profiles and segments for targeting. Then local prospects, loyal members and tourists can be sent the different messaging that will resonate and drive response. Next comes a polished website to showcase attention-getting content and provide a platform for sales and donations, supported by a traffic-building investment in search optimization and paid search. Third, zoos need a curated content-marketing strategy for website, social media and paid digital advertising to promote unique draws, from exhibits and events to conservation and education. Leveraging that great content requires a targeted digital advertising strategy. Since 90% of time online is spent outside of search, mainly on Facebook, Instagram and other social platforms, one focus should be social media ads with enticing video, graphics and messaging. These ads can be targeted by interests, location, family status, buying behavior and more to boost response. Finally, to maximize ROI, marketers need analytics with defined KPIs per platform, including use of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. For the full post, see http://www.acculistusa.com/todays-zoo-marketing-embraces-conservation-digital/

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Industrial Marketers Expanding Direct & Digital

We have a long track record of helping warehouse, industrial and back-office product marketers via data brokerage, predictive analytics and multi-channel direct marketing, and the good news is that many industrial marketers were inspired to expand investment in 2018. According to the "2018 Budget Trends in Industrial & Technology Marketing" report published by engineering.com, industrial marketing budgets in 2018 are expected to hit "the highest levels of growth (45%) and the lowest reported levels of shrinking budgets (4%), of any of the last five years." More than half (54%) of manufacturing marketers expect their budget to be larger in 2018. But expanded multi-channel spending still needs to be smart spending. As data brokers, we can't overemphasize that successful B2B direct marketing--including direct mail, print catalogs and e-mail campaigns--starts with quality, targeted data. Marketers can boost response by using predictive analytics and buyer profiles to target--and then opt for the rental lists of active product inquirers/buyers that our proprietary list research finds to be top performers in each vertical. Targeting the right message to decision-makers in the buying process is also key; with product and industry factors affecting whether to select a chief engineer, purchasing manager, warehouse manager, human resources chief, or C-suite executive in mailing lists. While direct mail continues its response leadership, there's no denying that most B2B buyers are digital shoppers today. Research by Acquity Group finds 94% of B2B buyers say they conduct some form of online research before purchasing a business product, for example. Forrester Research has found that 59% of B2B buyers prefer not to interact with a sales rep, and 74% find buying from a website more convenient. That makes digital catalog sites into essential sales tools, requiring a good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy given that 73% of global traffic to B2B companies comes from search engine results. But most successful B2B marketers also invest in paid digital efforts. In fact, a 2015 study by Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, and Fathom found that manufacturers ranked search engine marketing highest among paid marketing options in terms of efficacy (52%) and promoted social media posts came in second (39%). For social media ads, B2B marketers see video as a top response tactic, which is why manufacturers in the study ranked YouTube as the most effective social media site, followed by LinkedIn ads. For more, see our blog post at http://www.acculistusa.com/industrial-marketers-bet-more-on-2018-direct-digital/