Thursday, January 22, 2015

Poor Map of B2B Buyer Journey Leads to Lost Sales

If inbound marketing fails to guide the buyer’s journey with relevant content, traffic and leads fail to become sales. Business-to-business marketing faces a special challenge because a purchase may involve a team of prospects--each with different personal and professional concerns--points out a recent Hubspot blog post by business consultant Ed Marsh. When B-to-B marketers don't have one decision-maker to woo, they must build content for the role and concerns of each prospect "persona" at different points in the buying process. Plus, marketing must choreograph segues between personas to prevent sales from slipping through the cracks, creating a "series of 'yeses' that keeps buyers moving" to the close. Marsh suggests what he calls a "3D corporate buying journey" framework. Start with a good understanding of your prospective buyers' industry--the hand-offs, push-back and analysis to which projects are subjected--and get the details by conducting real interviews with each persona at target companies, he advises. When you do so, make sure to get the objections on the table so your content can address them. Then map the buying process like a GANTT chart, a linear process that is full of interdependency, precedent and constraining factors. Note the hand-offs and create content for a smooth transition. This requires content that helps your prospects sell on your behalf and that overcomes finance, legal, production, HR, IT or other departmental hurdles by resonating with each discipline. For the whole post, see

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Are Facebook, Twitter Brand Marketing Wastes?

Facebook and Twitter are wastes of time and money for brand relationship marketing, concludes a report by Forrester Research. As a story in Fast Company magazine highlights, a recent Forrester study found that posts from top brands on Twitter and Facebook reach just 2% of their followers. Engagement was even worse; only 0.07% of followers actually interacted with posts. Fast Company cites this conclusion by Nate Elliott, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester: "It’s clear that Facebook and Twitter don’t offer the relationships that marketing leaders crave. Yet most brands still use these sites as the centerpiece of their social efforts—thereby wasting significant financial, technological, and human resources on social networks that don’t deliver value." So what's a better digital bet for relationship marketers? Try e-mail, which gets delivered more than 90% of the time compared with the 2% delivery of Facebook posts, Elliott advises. "If you have to choose between adding a subscriber to your e-mail list or gaining a new Facebook fan, go for e-mail every time," he writes. For the article, see

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Over Half of Online Display Ads Unseen, Per Google

Online advertisers potentially throw away half their budgets paying for display ads that go unseen, per a new Google study. Business Insider recently reported that Google's analysis of its own display ad platforms found a whopping 56.1% of all impressions served could never have been actually seen because they were served outside of the browser window. Of course, if advertisers buy on a cost-per-click basis they are not paying for those lost impressions, but expected response is slashed regardless. What are the factors determining viewability per Google's study? Page position is an obvious issue. Google found that the most viewable ad position is right above the page fold (the lowest point on the page before a user has to scroll) rather than right at the top of the page as many advertisers assume. Above the fold is still not always viewable, but it’s the most likely place for an ad to be seen. Another factor impacting viewability is ad size. Bigger is better, and vertical ads garner the highest viewability rates, probably because they stay on the page longer as a user scrolls. The targeted content vertical also makes a difference to viewability. Sites associated with the most captive engagement levels—reference, online communities and games—have far higher viewability scores than content about food and drink, news or real estate, for example. For details of Google's online ad viewability statistics, see the Business Insider article at

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It's Full Speed Ahead for Mobile Coupon Use

Coupons are forecast to be mobile marketing's rising stars this year and beyond. As pointed out in a recent Target Marketing Magazine blog post by mobile industry veteran Greg Hoy, mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times more often than print coupons and mobile coupon users, set to reach 53.2 million in 2014, are forecast to post double-digit growth rates annually through 2016 per Business Insider stats. In fact, eMarketer has predicted that by 2016, mobile coupon users will represent nearly 83% of all digital coupon users, notes Hoy. So it would be a smart business-to-consumer marketing strategy to either initiate a mobile coupon program, or beef up existing mobile coupon efforts. Make sure that tablets are front and center in any plan, urges Hoy, noting that, according to eMarketer 2014 estimates, 80.2% of mobile coupon users redeemed with a tablet, compared with 75.4% using a smartphone. Look for other digital channels allowing easy access to coupons via mobile, too, such as mobile apps, daily deal and group buying sites, e-mail and social networks. Where appropriate, test geo-targeting; retailers are reporting high redemption rates from geo-targeted SMS-delivered coupons sent to shoppers close to stores, Hoy notes. Finally, consider using mobile coupons to boost loyalty programs, suggests Hoy, citing findings of a 2014 Bond Brand Loyalty poll that a better loyalty program would lead 6 in 10 millennials to switch brands and two-thirds to change when and where they shop. Targeted mobile coupons may be just the reward to tip the loyalty scales for mobile-savvy millennials. Read the complete post at

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Most Direct Mailers Opt for Medium-Sized Pieces

Wondering about direct-mail creative trends for 2015? Don't be surprised if mailers stick with medium-sized creative pieces and still pump out a good share of No. 10 envelope packages. At least that's what you would expect based on a Who's Mailing What! study of mailing patterns through 2013. As recently reported by Direct Marketing IQ, direct mail pieces with medium envelope/package sizes have dominated offers received by Who’s Mailing What! since 2010, averaging 71% of mail offers each year. One-third of these medium-sized pieces used a No. 10 envelope, and Retail Traffic Builders were the top users of medium sizes for the years reviewed. In contrast, larger-sized mailings—ranging from 2.5"x20" to 11"x14"—were used for about 26% of the offers received each year, per WMW. Those larger-sized mailers were most used in the Catalog and Retail Traffic Builders (brochures) categories. Keeping it small (3"x9" or smaller No. 7-3/4 or No. 9 envelopes) appeals to a minority of direct mailers, with just 3% opting for smaller-sized mailing pieces. For more detail, go to

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Embattled 2015 Ad Spending Still Seen Up by 5%

Welcome to 2015, marketers! Here's a bit of encouragement for those cautiously emerging from squeezed 2014 budgets: There's spending growth ahead, albeit tempered by continued financial pressures. The New York Times reports that senior ad agency executives are saying that, despite continued rough sailing for advertising budgets in 2015, they foresee steady growth in worldwide ad spending of 4.8% to 5% compared with 2014. The forecast came at the 42nd annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, with executives attributing improved spending to factors such as gains in digital ad sales, mobile ad spending, and improving economic conditions in markets like India and the United States. But ad executives certainly didn't paint a rosy scenario for those seeking marketing dollars from embattled corporate budgets. As Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, the world's largest agency holding group in revenue, summed up to the NYT, "The biggest challenge we face as an industry is convincing clients to focus on the top line rather than reducing costs," and to get them to realize that ad spending is "an investment, not a cost." For more ad executive comments, read

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Predict Your Marketing Plan Fate (Sans Crystal Ball)

It's that scary time of year when many marketers finalize plans for 2015 success, and Halloween celebrates a very different kid of future insight via black magic, spirit guides, tarot cards and the like. Now Marketo brings together those two disparate seasonal themes with "What's in the Cards," an infographic of the three factors most predictive of a marketing plan's fate, based on interviews with 400 marketers. Planning Secret No. 1: "Write Your Marketing Destiny," meaning generate a documented plan of action, clearly stating strategy and tactics, with stakeholder buy-in and individual accountability. You'll be joining 66% of marketers interviewed, who use a shared planning document to dodge the most deadly marketing failures, including constantly changing directions and priorities, lack of coordination within the marketing team, and lack of coordination between marketing and other teams. No. 2: "Add a Mix of Techniques and Channels," ranging from e-mail, social and pay-per-click to offline events. Get the right mix by analyzing audience preferences and behavior and then, of course, testing and measuring. No. 3: "The Right Calendar Makes You a Mind-Reader." Two-thirds of marketers interviewed stressed the importance of a marketing calendar, ranging from high-tech online tracking to simple whiteboard. Top calendar requirements cited were easy movement of activities, tracking of tentative vs. confirmed activities, filtering by attributes (channel, product, audience, segment) and a view of the metrics per program. Share Marketo's infographic Halloween treat with marketing team members by going to