Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category


Jan

13

Excitement around the mobile web was palpable at 2012 International CES. While consumer electronics hardware and product launches dominate headlines, CES has quietly become a must-attend event for digital media and marketing professionals, many of whom were in attendance this year for the first time.

With dozens of sessions on mobile content and marketing at Digital Hollywood and other CES conference tracks, the Las Vegas Convention Center was abuzz with discussions about delivering quality mobile experiences to consumers while efficiently capitalizing on the channel for marketers.

What follows is a summary of insights from some of the best minds in mobile content and marketing who appeared on panels I attended throughout CES.

“Mobile technology is enabling an important and disruptive transition in content distribution, and interactivity, as content becomes aware of users and consumers have a greater ability to interact on multiple devices and from any location,” said Jeff Demian, research strategy and business development director at Intel Labs.

Creating contiguous experiences and measuring behavior were recurring themes throughout the week, as marketers prepare for the onslaught of a multi-screen universe and the need to create compelling, tightly integrated content while catering to the unique characteristics of each platform and device.

Content and Revenue

Saul Berman, global strategy and change leader at IBM spoke about the consumer experience needing to be additive, and in so doing, how it forces the “devaluation and revaluation of content.” In other words, changes in distribution and payment models may result in less revenue per eyeball in the short-term, but leveraged across an entire publishing enterprise, can become an even more valuable asset over time.

Murray Solomon, vice president, digital business development at Time Inc. validated Berman’s assertion, saying early indicators suggest its all-access model of providing both print and digital versions of its 21 publications at a single subscription price is paying off. Bryan Moffett, vice president, digital strategy and sponsorship operations at National Public Media noted how more than 100 million streams of PBS Kids content on the iPad didn’t cannibalize its web streams, and that with ten to 20 percent click-through rates on the iPad, digital is “leading the conversation and resulting in big radio sales.”

Daniel Tibbets, vice president, digital media, Bunim/Murray Productions, says it’s the quality of content that matters most. “Product decisions need to be made on the basis of what consumers want, and their needs to be treated in a way that is unique to each platform.”

Mobile Advertising

Although today’s banner ad paradigm is understandable, display on mobile won’t be effective for long, as consumers demand a deeper experience. Andrew Maltin, CEO of mobile development studio MEDL Mobile, says ”the most engaging apps are technologically advanced and highly interactive.” Cameron Fiedlander, vice president and director of creative technology at Designkitchen/WPP Group notes “we’re seeing mobile formats evolve into deeper, more socially-driven experiences, making mobile display much less relevant.”

Steve Yankovich, vice president of platform business solutions and mobile at eBay, points out that “consumers will dismiss ads altogether if they get in the way of their intent to do something else.” The solution is to have better contextual and geo-fencing capabilities. According to Time, Inc.’s Solomon, “there is no reason why an immersive advertising experience with applications is not also possible in the same way which ads are viewed as valuable content to magazine readers.”

Context Matters

While the need to create a great product is always implied, context may be even more important in mobile.

“If content is king, then context is queen,” says Ashley Swartz, senior vice president marketing at Digitas. “Mobility gives content creators the ability to know more about their audience, and to include the audience in unique ways that before now were not possible.”

Consumers want to pick up the experience where they left off on different devices, and marketers need to be ready to accept them at those nonlinear entry points, while at the same time moving them through a story line or a funnel that ultimately results in some desired action.

Lori Schwartz, chief technology catalyst, North America at McCann Erickson says the near future is going to be all about “long-tail narrowcasting and less about broadcasting. “If you can build a community of uber-influencers down that funnel, it’s possible to create micro-franchises around brands.”

The Year of Big Data

Notwithstanding a slew of legal and regulatory concerns, also on the minds of mobile marketers is the use of real-time data and how it can be used to create relevant brand experiences. While panelists were quick to coin phrases like “the year of big data” and “data is the new creative,” few specific solutions were offered.

On the contrary, caution was urged when considering integration of social graph data into applications. Schwartz suggests pulling data from social media APIs into a custom solution a brand can control for its own brand experiences, rather than integrating in ways that could leave brands vulnerable to the decisions of social media platforms in the long run.

Martez Moore, executive vice president, digital media at BET Networks, says media and brands “need to be very thoughtful about how to integrate third party data that could potentially cannibalize their CPMs were providers to leverage that data too.” Instead, Martez says BET uses social to market, promote and engage traffic, which results in the ability to sell ads at a premium around shows like 106 & Park.

Production Trends

From the production standpoint, the industry is embracing HTML5 as a baseline when developing across platforms, but recognizes there are still gaps in functionality that must be addressed. In the meantime, hybrid approaches are emerging and native apps for iOS and Android are still best when it comes to creating feature rich experiences. While some, like eBay, still develop for Blackberry, Sol Lipman, senior director, mobile at AOL says the BlackBerry PlayBook has “fallen off a cliff statistically for AOL.”

On the issue of whether to develop on multiple platforms concurrently, Lindsey Turrentine, editor in chief, CNET Reviews, points out “these are difficult choices and you have to be very smart about how to proceed. We started with iOS Native hybrid HTML5 approach.”

Swartz suggests building with an eye toward reach and ubiquity, but to do so with a dose of pragmatism. “It’s expensive to develop and promote an app in a world where 60 percent will open it once and never go back, and where app discovery is still an issue for lesser known brands.”

Strong distinctions are also being drawn between developing for mobile phones and tablets, with several describing the iPad as the more engaging experience. Chrisophe Gillet, product manager at Fanhattan, describes mobile as “a start and stop experience,” where users get the information they need and then put their device away,” whereas tablets “have become more of a companion device due to their more comfortable form factor.”

Mandar Shinde, director, mobile monetization at AOL also sees tablet co-browsing as a big phenomenon, citing 50 percent more browsing traffic in the evenings, presumably while consumers are also watching television. The complexity and lack of tools for accurately tracking the integrated viewer behavior across devices was also raised as an issue yet to be resolved.

Growth Through Collaboration

Top of mind for agency executives has been improved collaboration and breaking down silos that prevent marketers from achieving their goals and giving consumers the best of what the medium has to offer. “We’ve been living in the construct of television versus digital for too long,” says Schwarz. It would be a mistake to cannibalize television for digital. We need to look at it more holistically.”

So how do we do we get there? Alexandre Mars, CEO, Phonevalley and head of mobile at Publicis Group suggests all of the agency stakeholders – creative, digital, media and mobile – need to be part of the conversation. Only then will everyone get the budgets required to achieve the goals of marketers and to create more powerful experiences for marketers.

Yahav Isak senior vice president, project management at Digitas Health, says “everything is digital — it’s really more about understanding the different channels of digital marketing and how they can best be integrated.”

According to Tibbets, “the only thing we are limited by is bandwidth and our imagination to create amazing immersive experiences.”

 

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Posted in Advertising, Conferences, Content, Data, Entertainment, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Mobile, Social Media, Technology


Oct

27

Warrior-Preneur Ann EvanstonOne of the joys of independent consulting is the opportunity to learn from a wide range of companies and the many solutions providers who stand ready to serve them. For startup CanaryVoice, we identified that social media savvy moms are likely to embrace its unique voicemail greetings service, leading us to explore the “momosphere” and participation in the BLP CONNECT! conference where “warrior-preneur” and marketing consultant Ann Evanston gave an inspiring keynote on “The Power of Connecting.”

Her request for audience feedback on the meaning of “connection” elicited a wide range of responses, including: growing relationships, personal converstions, face-to-face meetings, follow-up, support, cameraderie, resources, interest and attention. According to Evanston, connection means “creating an energy that draws people to you.” Pull not push marketing. Inbound, not outbound marketing. Energetically, YOU are what creates your brand, which is distinctly unique from the product you sell. YOU make your brand unique and special, and as such you can program marketing activities to create an energy that attracts customers to your brand.

While the emphasis of Evanston’s talk was geared toward an audience of women entrepreneurs and guiding their use of social media, every marketer can benefit from thinking more about ways to energize and connect with their audiences, no matter what the product or the size of the marketing budget. If the word for 2010 was “authentic” and in 2011 we are talking about being “transparent,” the word for 2012 will be to “humanize” your brand, according to Evanston.

So how do you go about humanizing, connecting and energizing your brand? Here were my take-aways from Evanston’s motivating talk:

1) Create polarity in your marketing. Ho-hum marketing is average and safe — be brave, be memorable and be yourself!

2) Understand that multiple “buying types” exist and that you need to appeal to all of them while being ready to refine your pitch once you determine which buying type you are dealing with. Diversify how you connect by creating different ways to tell your story.

3) Think with abundance, not in scarcity mode. Doing so will help you attract like-minded people who want to do business with you. You will create connections you never thought possible, that will lead to an even greater number of customers, referral partners and promotion opportunities.

4) Let go of the fear. Fear of success, fear of the money you can really make, fear of polarity, fear of that first Tweet. Don’t let fear hold you back from getting the things done you need to do to drive your business forward.

5) Create a step-by-step plan comprised of systems and processes that develop revenue…and, of course, give Ann a call to help!

There is nothing more powerful than the energetic connections an entrepreneur can make when she tells her story with authenticity, honesty and fearlessness. Whether it’s in a selling situation, a speech or social media marketing, let go of the fears that are holding you back. There is a world of partners, customers and advocates out there just waiting for you to make powerful connections that will help you grow your business.

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Posted in Advertising, Blogging, Brand Marketing, Conferences, Events, Internet, Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Media


Jul

21

Every marketing tactic has unique properties that influence the value that can be assigned relative to its cost. Whereas Part I addressed ROI on a macro level, this post focuses on how to value the most common marketing and communication programs on their individual merits.

Online Advertising
Even though display advertising can and should be measured through to a conversion (easy to do in Salesforce), expectations for clicks should be within those of industry averages (.2-.5%), with even lower expectations set on driving leads. The possible exceptions would include programs specifically geared toward capturing contact information prior to authorizing the download of a research paper or other thought leadership piece.

Key metrics: Impressions (eCPM)
Clicks (eCPC)
Leads (eCPL) – may include leads attributed to the campaign that did not come from a click
Sales (eCPA)

Benchmarks: Compare CTR against industry averages and past campaigns to reflect engagement
Compare CPM against other publications with comparable audience reach/composition
Compare lift in awareness against competitors (third party) during the flight periods

Recommend: Track site visitors and associated leads by traffic source

Print Advertising
Print advertising, while more expensive and less measurable than online ads, should be considered in any ROI analysis. Measuring the impact of print ads can be accomplished with a specific call to action or program (custom landing page, guarantee, contest, promotion, etc.), but its effectiveness is more often relegated to the level of confidence management has in a publication’s ability to reach a qualified audience.

If not centered around a specific promotion or product launch, investment in trade publications is best kept to special issues tied to your industry, which is often tied to a specific industry event.

Key metrics: Impressions (eCPM)

Benchmarks: Compare CPM against other trade pubs with comparable audience reach and composition
Compare lift in awareness of the company during the flight periods

Recommend: Create CRM lead source for “print advertising” and train Sales to associate related opportunities

Paid Search (SEM)
Search engine marketing serves both awareness and a demand generation objectives. However, paid search will always drive some number of unqualified leads and a process must be devised to manage them without becoming a distraction for Sales. While sometimes a nuisance, the value of SEM for awareness, as a defensive measure against competitors’ efforts and the occasional opportunity to land a substantial new client make paid search worthwhile to continue testing and measuring for its effectiveness.

Key metrics: Impressions (eCPM)
Clicks (eCPC)
Leads (eCPL)
Sales (eCPA)

Benchmarks: eCPL against past SEM campaigns
eCPA against total ad spend

Recommend: Track site visitors and associated leads by traffic source.

Event Sponsorship
Regional and vertical event sponsorship can create great awareness and meaningful interaction with qualified prospects. While practically speaking there will always be impressions made and conversations had that will be impossible to track, Marketing must develop a process for entering information from business cards obtained at events into the CRM system.

For this to work optimally, sales leadership must take a proactive role in ensuring opportunities from events are captured as thoroughly and accurately as possible. For example, a conversation with a former client where no business cards are traded but it results in securing an RFP needs to somehow be attributed to participation in the event. Or when a lead captured at an event gets passed from one rep to another it needs to be entered accordingly.

Key metrics: Potential audience – Reach/Frequency of the event’s advance promotion efforts
Actual audience – How many people attended the event?
Share of Voice – How well were we “heard” at the event?
Conversations – How many people did we “touch” during the event?
Leads – How many new contacts/leads were put into the CRM system (eCPL)?
Opportunities – How many new RFPs were generated from new or existing clients (eCPL)?
Sales – How much booked revenue from our participation in the event (eCPA)?

Benchmarks: Survey company representatives afterward to compare against other sponsored events
Compare revenue between regional event investments (holds regional sales reps accountable)
Compare revenue between vertical event investments
Compare regional events to effectiveness of vertical events

Recommend: Create a lead source option in CRM for each sponsored event and track qualified
leads/opportunities accordingly

Hosted Events
Investment in a company’s own custom events arguably attract a more highly qualified audience because the invited guests are its most important clients and prospects. For this reason, it is less likely new business cards will be obtained for entry into the CRM and it will be more difficult for Marketing to measure the effectiveness without direct input from Sales about new opportunities obtained as a result of client interactions during or immediately following the event.

Key metrics: Potential audience – How many people did we reach with the invitation (Sales must help)
Actual audience – How many people attended the event?
Opportunities – How many new RFPs were generated from new or existing clients (eCPL)?
Sales – How much booked revenue from our participation in the event (eCPA)?

Benchmarks: Survey company representatives after each event to compare against all sponsored events
Compare revenue derived from our own events against each other

Recommend: Create a lead source option in CRM for each sponsored event and track qualified
leads/opportunities accordingly

Webinars/Conference Calls/Podcasts
Webinars can be used for a combination of awareness, thought leadership and lead generation. Similar to custom events, webinars generate a highly qualified audience since the company typically controls the guest list. Although costs increase when partnering with another entity, so does the size and potential to reach new prospective clients. Unlike live events, it is much easier to track the effectiveness based on the number of people who register and attend the event.

Key metrics: Potential audience – How many people were invited to the webinar?
Registrations – How many people signed up to attend the webinar?
Attendees – How many people actually attended the webinar?
Opportunities – How many new RFPs were generated from new or existing clients (eCPL)?
Sales – How much booked revenue from our participation in the event (eCPA)?

Benchmarks: Compare growth in attendance over each webinar
Compare growth in sales over time, including impact of different topics or marketing partners

Recommend: Import event registration information into CRM and track leads accordingly

Conference Speaking Opportunities
Part event marketing and part public relations, speaking at conferences cannot be overlooked for its value in the marketing mix. The challenge with measuring speaking opportunities is that we often have no way of knowing the actions taken by audience members who were positively influenced by something our executive says on stage. If the speaker interacts with a prospective client, their information should be passed to a sales rep and recorded in the CRM, yet this easier said than done since the CEO does not (nor should he be expected to) think about ROI measurement from marketing at this granular level. Therefore, it is beholden on everyone in Sales to be mindful of where every lead comes from and to track it accordingly.

Key Metrics: Number of qualified speaking engagements secured (monthly/quarterly/annually)
Number of leads that can be directly attributed to speaking opportunities

Benchmarks: Number of our speaking opportunities compared to prior period (monthly/quarterly/annually)
Frequency of individual competitors appearing on stage during comparable periods

Recommend: Create a lead source for each event where we speak and track qualified leads accordingly
Hold PR firm accountable for number of speaking opportunities

Public Relations
The ability to consistently secure editorial coverage will build awareness, lift overall industry perception and increase sales as described above. But the more quantifiable metrics are the number of editorial placements, and to a lesser degree the type of placement (mention, roundup, feature, etc.) and how prominently a company is featured therein.

In years past, an accepted measurement of ROI from public relations investments was to calculate the advertising rate for the comparable amount of space secured. Today, systems offered by companies like Vocus, United Business Media and PR Newswire offer monitoring across all media with sophisticated scoring to measure things like:

• Type of media
• Type of coverage – feature story, profile, mention, round-up, etc.
• Quality of coverage –positive, neutral or negative
• Consistency, frequency, message saturation and diversity of coverage
• Share of voice against competitors

Depending upon the size of company and the importance it places on editorial coverage, it may be worth investigating third-party PR monitoring services, but often management is satisfied with simply being mentioned consistently in key trade publications and business press.

To the extent that editorial coverage secured can be directly attributed to a lead or a sale, that information should be captured in the CRM. This can be as simple as adding “editorial coverage” in the lead source field, to indicate when a new opportunity comes from any form of editorial coverage.

Key Metrics: Number of editorial mentions in trade and business press (monthly/quarterly/annually)
Number of leads that can be directly attributed to editorial coverage

Benchmarks: Number of editorial mentions compared to prior period
Number of editorial mentions of competitors in comparable time period

Recommend: Hold PR firm accountable for quantity, scale and frequency of trade media placements
Hold PR firm accountable for number of placements in trade analyst coverage
Create lead source for major editorial coverage and associate web and sales leads accordingly

Social Media
While a social media presence is not always a high priority for B2B marketers, it is advisable to at least maintain a Twitter handle, a Facebook page and a LinkedIn company profile, which need to be updated consistently in order to remain credible. Social media activities are relatively low cost to maintain (an hour or two per day of a junior level marketing staffer or intern). While it may be difficult to directly attribute revenue to the social channel, it is highly measurable in other ways and can be a big driver of awareness and thought leadership.

Key Metrics: Frequency of blog posts, Tweets and LinkedIn and Facebook status updates
Number of Twitter followers and Facebook “Likes”
Traffic to blog page

Benchmarks: Compare by channel to frequency of key competitors’ audience size and frequency of updates

Recommend: Report amount of hours spent and frequency of communication by each social media channel

Website Traffic and Analytics
A company’s website is the transom across which leads that cannot be attributed to a specific program will make their way into the company’s sales process. Monthly or annual benchmarks for traffic and leads should be established, but more importantly just looking at and discussing site analytics can lead to great marketing opportunities.

Key Metrics: Monthly unique visitors
Number of leads via the contact form
Source of traffic and leads

Benchmarks: Compare recent traffic and lead patterns to those immediately following the launch of a new site

Recommend: Monthly reporting of unique visitors and leads

Client Communication
Communicating with clients and prospects via e-mail is relatively easy and inexpensive and a newsletter can drive leads by introducing new products, promoting a hosted event or just serving as a trigger to remind a buyer to include the company on its next RFP. Whether completion of a lead form is tracked from a click or you rely on reps to indicate that a client mentioned having received our email, leads from dedicated mailings and newsletters should be tracked in the CRM whenever possible.

Key Metrics: Size of mailing list and frequency of sending to the list
Email open rate and click rates
Lead forms completed as a result of clicks from within newsletters

Benchmarks: Compare size of mailing list, open rate and CTR trends over comparable periods of time

Recommend: Report on frequency of client communication, open rate and number of leads generated

Product Marketing and Collateral
While not an obvious marketing program expenditure, marketing typically spends an inordinate amount of time on product positioning, differentiation, launch promotions and collateral. For the most ROI-obsessed marketers, a field for “product marketing and collateral” can be created in the CRM as a place for sales reps to track when a particular sales deck, individual piece of collateral or knowledge they obtained from a product specialist resulted in their winning a piece of new business.

Key Metrics: Number of man-hours spent on product marketing related programs
Number of opportunities cited by reps as being the result of product marketing initiatives

Benchmarks: Compare growth of new opportunities from product marketing over comparable time periods

Recommend: Identify a new vertical (Education) or product (Brand-DR Connect) and measure product sales

Instilling ROI Values in the Organization

To avoid the traditional tension between sales and marketing, align their objectives from the beginning under a common value proposition and goal. Marketing can take on planning, implementation and measurement of programs while Sales is recognized as the catalyst for winning deals. Account management (operations) also has a role in retaining customers and increasing their lifetime value.

Avoid Sales not entering leads through training and by making the lead source a required field in the CRM. Sales should also be discouraged to attribute leads to a marketing activity just because they want to “help” Marketing. Incentives should be focused on encouraging an honest assessment of where leads come from and enlisting everyone on the team in tracking our ROI so we can make more intelligent decisions about where to place our marketing dollars based on real experience about what works and what doesn’t.

Summary

Key recommendations for measuring return on investment from marketing can be summarized as including:

• Enlist Marketing in refining metrics and benchmarks and determining specific goals
• Make lead source a required field in the CRM and frequently update lead source picklist
• Enlist PR firm in defending their value for media relations activities and reaffirm goals
• Train Sales about the importance and how to properly account for marketing-related leads
• Regularly analyze deal size by source
• Undertake win/loss analysis to determine LTV measurement

Multiple touch-points with an audience, at varying costs and at varying scale and quality will influence each sale, make it difficult to attribute revenue to any single marketing program. Attempting to create a common unit of measurement or scoring system across programs, while possible in theory, would be a futile effort since integrated marketing by its nature is designed to leverage the combined effect of all programs rather than any individual component.

Although it is useful to understand which marketing programs drive new business most efficiently, and the marketing organization can use the key metrics and benchmarks contained in this report to make future recommendations, ultimately management and investors should be more concerned with the cost to acquire a qualified lead (eCPL) and the most effective rate at which to drive awareness (eCPM).

How we make decisions about future expenditures is dependent on our personal experience, recommendations based on others’ experience and our belief in the audience composition of a particular program as described by sales people presenting new opportunities we may know little about. Sometimes the risk of not participating in a program can be as much a determining factor as there being a high likelihood for something positive to come of the investment. No matter what the program or how it was selected, there is always the need (and likely the ability) to test and verify.

The primary reason for tracking the return on marketing investments is to make better decisions about where to make subsequent investments based on the success of prior decisions. However, there are no guarantees that any investment in marketing will result in acquiring a new client or maintaining an existing one. The metrics, benchmarks and recommendations contained in this post are merely guidelines and observations based on my experience. I would appreciate your feedback, as I continue to understand and share insights on this important topic for B2B marketers.

Return to Measuring ROI from B2B Marketing: Part I

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Posted in Advertising, Brand Marketing, Demand Generation, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Automation, Sales


Jul

21


Unlike consumer marketing, where sales from advertising expenditures are a direct operating expense and measuring conversion rates and lifts in retail sales are resident to the business model itself, measuring the sales impact from B2B marketing initiatives is often a more challenging task.

My clients often ask, and this post seeks to answer:

• How do we determine the overall impact of our marketing investment?
• What return on investment we should expect from individual marketing initiatives?
• What benchmarks can be established to compare the effectiveness across our programs?

When measuring the impact of marketing, it is important to do so in the context of the larger corporate agenda. If the stated company objective is to grow revenue while maintaining high customer satisfaction, the related marketing objectives might be to increase awareness while better educating existing customers about products and services they aren’t currently buying. Only from this understanding can sales, marketing, product and operations align under a common value proposition that gets everyone on board with measuring the impact of the company’s external marketing and communication investment.

What to Measure
“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count;
everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.”

– Albert Einstein

Measurement of B2B marketing effectiveness is a relative one, and somewhere between hyper-obsessive measurement and doing nothing, there lies the opportunity to monitor how a company’s investment in marketing is affecting the bottom line.

The best unit of measurement for B2B marketing is cost-per-lead because it holds Marketing accountable to driving new inquiries at some measured cost while giving Sales a familiar metric by which they can also be held accountable. Ultimately a cost-per-sale analysis should be applied, but a cost-per-lead metric is the most common metric by which sales and marketing can share responsibility for their combined efforts.

Since all marketing programs will reach some percentage of both current and prospective customers, applying a CPL metric removes from the equation events that are out of Marketing’s control, such as competition, objection handling, timing, etc.

Actions a target audience may take along the sales funnel that can feed an ROI modle are:

• Impressions
• Clicks
• Leads
• Conversations (at events)
• Inquiries (by phone ormail)
• Qualified meetings
• Opportunities (RFPs)
• Sales
• Retention
• Lifetime Value (LTV)

There is wide variance in the types of B2B marketing programs available, and an equally broad range of ways to measure their associated impact. Whether considered individually or collectively, B2B marketing programs can be justified and evaluated by their:

• Cost
• Potential to drive revenue (or other rationale made by management)
• Size of audience
• Quality of audience
• Measurability/accountability

Marketing Spend as a Percentage of Revenue
According to a 2008 IDC study, on average B2B companies spend 2.8% of revenue on marketing (ranging from .8% in the services sector to 5.8% for IT companies). Spending levels depend largely upon the stage of the company and its strategic need to invest in awareness initiatives. The study showed marketing programs represented 61% of total marketing spend, with an average of $293,000 of program spend and $16.8 million in revenue for each corporate marketing staff member.

Return on Investment Benchmarking
Ultimately, a company needs to ascertain its ROI from marketing in order to assure shareholders that the expense is warranted, and to more intelligently make investments in the future based on the results experienced in the past.

While every marketing investment will return a different result, at a macro level we can calculate is how the overall amount invested in marketing (entire spend and salaries) relates to revenue. For example, spending roughly $500,000 to generate $20 million in revenue (2.5% of sales put toward marketing), would be a gross ROI of 3900% (ROI = Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment/Cost of Investment).

Such a gross metric, while interesting, is not that useful for making decisions about where to invest in specific marketing programs. On an individual basis, my rule of thumb has always been that it’s reasonable to expect an average gain of 10x the amount spent, or an ROI of approximately 1,000% from any single program. Some will generate more and some less, but using this as a basic metric provides a starting point from which to create historical benchmarks.

Measurement by Objective
While ultimately, the goal of any organization is to drive sales growth, the process typically begins with marketing programs that drive awareness and leads, each of which have unique properties when it comes to measuring ROI.

Awareness (CPM)

Awareness among customers and prospects, and — more importantly — their attitudes and feelings toward the company, is an important metric by which to determine the impact marketing is having on sales. It is also somewhat difficult to measure.

At one (very expensive) extreme, custom research companies can develop custom panels of would-be customers who can be studied year-over-year to show trends in industry attitudes toward your brand. In the online advertising industry there is another less expensive, and potentially more effective, solution is offered by Advertiser Perceptions, which measures awareness, attitudes and perceptions about specific media vendors by marketers and the agencies that represent them.

At the other end of the spectrum, surveying your own customers is an easy and inexpensive barometer of perception. An adept management team should also have an instinct for whether the company’s marketing is resonating with customers based on their direct feedback from the sales channel. If sales are going up and customers are echoing certain brand values and calling for products and features by name, then something about the company’s marketing is clearly working.

Leads (CPL)

I’ve found marketing to drive demand generation in the B2B space less important than the “air cover” a national sales team can benefit from as they seek to ensure their prospects have heard of the company and have a basic understanding of how it’s different from competitors whom they may perceive to all “sound alike.”

Leads are a viable metric for determining the relative effectiveness of all marketing programs, and wherever possible a contact form should be used to obtain for more information. However, lead-generation as a marketing objective is likely to be inefficient for a high-end sale because it is more likely to attract smaller, unsophisticated advertisers when the company has likely already identified and is pursuing through its national sales force.

Sales (CPA)

Fundamentally, all marketing activities exist to support revenue. Marketing’s impact on sales can be felt at many levels – from positioning to equip sales reps with the right words and collateral, to sponsorship and advertising, editorial coverage, promotions and event marketing – done with the intent of driving revenue.

Unfortunately, it’s harder to measure the impact of great sales collateral and a well-differentiated positioning strategy than it is to track a click-to-sale ratio. These intangible measures can only be captured through the close alignment of sales and marketing to ensure market feedback is systematically incorporated into future iterations of product marketing and corporate positioning.

Retention

Conventional wisdom says it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Therefore, some emphasis should always be placed on cost-effectively generating new opportunities from existing clients and sales management should undertake a periodic customer retention analysis to determine the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer.

In Measuring ROI from B2B Marketing: Part II, I will take a closer look at the differences between different B2B marketing tactics and how each can be measured for their relative effectiveness.

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Posted in Brand Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Automation, Online Marketing


Sep

24

comscore logoThis week comScore and ValueClick Media released a white paper I co-authored titled “When Money Moves to Digital, Where Should It Go? Identifying the right media-placement strategies for digital display.”  The study was based on over 100 campaigns run on the ValueClick Media network and used comScore’s Action Lift reporting methodology to evaluate the impact of various display placement and pricing strategies on site visitation and search behavior .

                       Read the press release.                        Download the paper.

While cross-media and search vs. display has been studied previously, to our knowledge this is the first quantitative analysis of the view-through effectiveness of various display placement strategies (Audience Targeting, Contextual Targeting, Retargeting) and pricing options (Premium/CPM, Efficiency/CPC). And while the study is by no means exhaustive, and may even raise more questions than it answers, it validates the efficacy of display advertising and provides direction on which placement strategies to deploy to drive advertiser performance, whether measured by brand or direct response metrics.

Here are a few of the key findings:

  • Retargeting works extremely well and should be considered for both direct response and branding initiatives
  • Some placements create new traffic while others find audiences that are already engaged with the subject
  • Marketers in different industries take advantage of the strategies differently
  • All multi-strategy marketers increased site visitation above the norm
  • Advertisers who used three or more placement strategies tended to have one metric in which they disproportionately beat the norm

While the study was exclusively on placements across the ValueClick Media network, it was not sponsored research, but rather done in partnership with comScore. Regardless, the campaigns were all sold and delivered on a single network, so a different network or analysis across an entire campaign may have shown different results.

That said, the data tells an interesting story about ValueClick Media. Most surprising to me was the lift, however small, driven by the RON baseline, something we attribute to the impact data and optimization is increasingly having on the ability to predict the performance of every impression — a huge validation of our technology. Contextual pricing probably skewed high due to inclusion of campaigns run on our more exclusive vertical networks. And the data suggests we just may be undervaluing our audience targeting and retargeting inventory.

Laurie Sullivan did a great job of recapping the results of the paper in her MediaPost article published today. I will be presenting the research with Anne Hunter on Tuesday at the IAB MIXX conference in NY. Our workshop is up against sponsored content from Google/AdMob, Yahoo! and AOL, so I’m eager to see what audience we attract. Whoever comes, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone during Advertising Week in NY!

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Posted in Ad networks, Advertising, Behavioral Targeting, Display Advertising, Marketing, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Research


Nov

14

UCMORecently I spoke to a group of undergrads in the communications school at my alma mater, the University of Central Missouri — something I always imagined doing but wasn’t sure how or when it would happen. As it turns out I was speaking at the Integrated Marketing Summit in Kansas City two days before UCM homecoming. I didn’t know what to expect when I reached out with an offer to share some insights from my career with the students, but the idea was warmly received by Tricial Hansen-Horn, public relations professor in the UCM Dept. of Communication.

My comments centered around things I’ve learned throughout my career that I would have like to have known sooner or felt would be relevant and helpful to these young people who are about to walk out of the halls of UCM and into the “real world” as I did nearly 20 years ago. 

Key points of my talk included:

  1. Learning to cut bait sooner and the art of saying “no” (including a rare public display of my “no card”)
  2. The art of “pitching,” the perception of public relations and the radical shifts in PR over the past 10 years
  3. The difference between product and service businesses and the importance of scale
  4. Partnerships and the value of imbalanced ownership 49/51%
  5. The importance of salesmanship and how to ask for (and get) what you want
  6. The importance of relationships and distinctions between friends and contacts
  7. Knowing what you want and creating a mission statement for your life 
  8. Why knowing yourself and your core values matters most
  9. The importance of learning to think critically
  10. Life is short, so thrive

While my talk was in the spirit of “giving back,” I did so knowing the fulfillment I would receive from doing it, something made even more meaningful by the feedback I’ve recived from both students and faculty who have followed up with me since then. The process was also cause for an introspective look at my career accomplishments, not judging good or bad, but rather taking a moment to reflect on several years of hard work and the value of those experiences. In sharing them I hope to have inspired a few of the students who turned out to hear me speak that rainy morning in October and that you too will consider doing the same and seeing what it does for you.

View my photos from UCM homecoming

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Posted in Business, Education, Marketing, Philosophy, Public Relations, Sales


Oct

15

IMSAfter speaking at the Integrated Marketing Summit last week, I attended sessions on the burgeoning field of demand generation, marketing automation and CRM, something I’ve been studying for awhile but was brought home for me in a big way during talks by James W. Obermayer and Debbie Qaqish. I’ve been tracking ROI on marketing spend for a long time, but the tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated, allowing marketing professionals to monitor and take action on the “digital body language” of leads we acquire from various marketing and communications programs. By collaborating with sales to score leads and undertaking segmentation and nurturing campaigns to communicate with them effectively through CRM programs, there has never been a more opportune time for marketing to earn its place at the revenue table.

James W. Obermayer, executive director of the Sales Lead Management Association, began his talk with a simple question: “Isn’t it time you take credit for the wealth you’re creating in your corporation?” We as marketing professionals are the most creative minds in our organizations. If we are not accountable to sales, if we do not know the revenue goals of our organizations and the quotas of the sales teams we serve, how in the world can we know the number of inquiries necessary to achieve success?

According to Obermayer, good performance marketing managers know their goals, create demand, count every inquiry (and every dollar), manage data (CRM), qualify and nurture leads (by channel), repeat wins and remove losers, and they read and follow James D. Lenskold’s book “Marketing ROI.”

He also offers four ways to ensure that CRM programs do not fail:

1) Management has to want it

2) Sale mangers must be on board

3) Sales people need to be trained

4) Marketing has to use the system

Debbie Qaqish of The Pedowitz Group was equally inspiring. Her premise: the role of marketing changes radically with marketing automation tools. It will take a few years and maybe even creation of new analytical roles within your organization, but when sales and marketing partner to deliver qualified leads which are scored, nurtured and closed based on reading the digital body language of our prospects, marketing will be better respected and more highly valued among the ranks of sales leadership and executive management.

10 Best Practices for Demand Generation Marketing

1. Map the Buying Process

a. Crosses marketing and sales. Line up assets to meet how people buy. Buyers do research online, long before a sales person is even remotely engaged.

2. Track and report on “metrics that matter”

a. Conversion and revenue

b. Not “cost per lead”

c. Act and sound like a VP sales

3. Build a Marketing Funnel System

a. Similar to a sales funnel

b. See CSO Insights report

4. Build a common language of leads

a. No fuzzy definitions – lead scoring

b. Quantify definition of a high quality lead

5. Build a common lead management process

a. Life of a lead is everybody’s job

i. Each step is a conversion point we’re trying to improve up to closing

b. How does a marketing qualified lead get passed from marketing to sales?

i. Follow up within x hours or it’s going to another sales person

6. Institute Service Level Agreements

a. A seat at the revenue table is not done in isolation. One process, respected by sales through an agreement.

7. Involve Sales

a. Build Sales Champions for the lead management program

b. Build field focused campaigns

c. Are leads qualified? Are they ready to buy?

8. Create a regular communication cycle and feedback loop

9. Trending, Tweaking, Trying

10. Educate, educate, educate

Change the conversation with your executive team. Think marketing operations. You are a lead production house contributing to revenue. The structure of marketing team will change. You need analytical people – somebody thinking about the campaigns and how to improve upon them daily. Testing is key, and like database work, the job is never done. Just keep at it.

Kansas City Star article about the Integrated Marketing Summit

My pictures from the Integrated Marketing Summit

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Posted in CRM, Demand Generation, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Automation, Sales


Sep

23

advertising week logoHeard around Advertising Week: “You still call it behavioral targeting?” “Thank god congress is preoccupied with healthcare.” “Don’t order business cards, we’re going green.” “Part of the charm of Advertising Week is that events are NOT all in one place.”

 OMMA Keynote - The State of the Agency Business – An Analyst’s View

Jordan Rohan, Founder and Managing Partner, Clearmeadow Partners

It was refreshing to hear Jordan Rohan focused on anything other than lead generation, and his analysis of the agency business seemed on point. He says a confluence of events has created the current state of declining agency profitability. A complex media environment, characterized by “social distraction” and “mobile distraction,” will only help to accelerate this trend because it increases the complexity as people multi-task on top of multiple media usage. In today’s environment, agencies need to act less like a steward of the brand and more like an intermediary to all brands.

Case in point, social media usage is on the rise, but pricing is low:

Facebook $.60 CPM

MySpace $1.36 CPM

…and portal traffic is flat and prices are falling:

Yahoo! $8.44. CPM

Microsoft $9.68 CPM

AOL $13.58 CPM

Innovation in agencies – Risks taken, when successful are considered innovation, yet the economic incentives are not in place for agencies to take risks. Cited RGA work for Nokia and CPB work for Microsoft, Burger King as examples of risks taken and work done across platform that is working well.

Venture capitalists are reluctant to invest in people businesses where assets walk out the door every day. When a people business turns into something that can exist on its own, suddenly the money appears.

OMMA Keynote – How Dunkin Does Social

Frances Allen, Brand Marketing Officer, Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.

“Winning every trip, every day.” Not taking customers for granted.

Social values must reflect brand values. Fostering a relationship with passionate customers, a group defined as much by a sense of common brand values as a love of the products. Relationships take time, effort and commitment. Brands that make investment in relationship over time will win. There will be hard days, yes, but in the end it will be worth it.

Social strategy:

1) Hearts & minds – Facebook “Fan of the Week” and “Coolata”

2) Motivations and behaviors – “Dunkin’ Run” application to order for groups

3) Place and context – Create Dunkin’s Next Donut – (TV, radio, outdoor, online and in-store)

4) Communication

Set realistic expectations.

Perception becomes reality.

Be true to yourself.

OMMA Keynote – Nick Brien, President & CEO, Mediabrands

A marketing revolution: a new art, a new science

We’ve always lived in a social world, but now we have more control, the ability to customize, the ability to create new channels and to connect.

62.5% of people using the Internet globally say they are actively involved in social media.

Social means business transformation:

Social media / awareness

Social marketing / advocacy (sell something, utility)

Social business / reinvention

Agencies continuing to conduct business under reach/frequency models do a disservice to the medium:

1) Kill the hierarchy

2) Engage community power

3) Master the art of response

4) Create content

5) Embrace ingenuity

MIXX Keynote – The End of “Digital” Marketing?

Nikesh Arora, President Global Sales Operations and Business Development, Google

Before it was called a “car,” it was the “horseless carriage.” Before it was just a “teevision,” it was the “color television.” Similarly, during our careers we will just call it “marketing.” Sometimes you don’t realize you are going through a revolution until you step out of it.

1.7B Internet users, 2B mobile users worldwide.

In any new technology, advertising comes later in the cycle:

Technology –> Content –> Users –> Advertising

We’re still in the early part of the cycle in advertising and marketing.

Mattel Barbie television ad in 1959 – 10 years after – cut and paste from radio jingles vs. Audi ad dramatically showing car driving up ski ramp created exclusively for television

1981 – story for newspapers delivered electronically vs. TwitPic of USAirways plane in Hudson

Everything is localized down to you – Android video app combining camera phone to data

New generations of information created by you

Marketing is the new finance, with a sample size of {all}

All advertising is engaging – bidirectional media

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Posted in Advertising, Events, Marketing, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Social Media, Technology


Aug

5

la_skylineThe Los Angeles Business Journal article referenced in my last post came out yesterday and I thought Charles Proctor did a superb job profiling the current state of the technology industry in Los Angeles. The article, entitled “Special Report: Plugged In, Charging Up” goes into great detail comparing employment trends in the technology sector in Los Angeles with that of Silicon Valley, including how our diversified market helped LA recover faster from the dot-com crash and the way aerospace engineers transfered their expertise to industries like computer science and medical devices in the post-Cold War era.

Carrying the technology industry in 2009 is a robust games industry, alternative fuel vehicles and renewable energy and digital media and marketing. I’m quoted as saying “This is a major media location and it has a big, big talent pool,” said Tony Winders, a vice president at Westlake Village-based ValueClick Inc., a publicly traded Internet advertising company. “So the tech community settled in here as a hub for the digital advertising business.”

It was fun being asked to contribute to this piece, but even more encouraging to read an article with some quantifiable details about how well our local technology community is faring these days. Hats off to Mr. Proctor for his thoughtful, quantitative analysis, and A BIG THANK YOU to Nicole Jordan for the introduction.

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Posted in Community, Economy, Friends and Colleagues, Marketing, Online Advertising, Online Marketing


Jul

23

onlyinla2Preparing for an interview yesterday with a prominent Los Angeles business journal, I didn’t have to walk more than five feet from my office to get some great insight on the evolution of marketing in Los Angeles, reminding me once again what an amazing and experienced team of digital media professionals I get the pleasure of working with each day. The reporter was interested in my thoughts about why LA has increasingly become a hub for marketing companies in recent years, and my colleagues Matt Boyd and Brian Stone had plenty to add to my understanding of the topic. Thanks guys!

The short answer is that LA has always been a hub for marketing activity because it’s a major media market and home to the largest and most diverse creative community in the world. Digging a bit deeper, at least from a digital perspective, in the mid 9os, smaller agencies were building out online advertising expertise that today is now dominated by large agencies like OMD, Initiative, Carat, Starcom and Mediavest — in many cases as a result of acquiring those smaller, more specialized shops.

Another reason marketing has  found success here in recent years is that the Internet is no longer the exclusive domain of technologists, as was the case for the Silicon Valley during the dot-com boom years. The tools are now fully in the hands of creative and media professionals all over the world. Also, unlike the financial and tech focus of San Francisco, LA is home to some fairly recession proof industries, including entertainment, games and (at least compared to domestic manufacturers) some innovative foreign automotive brands. 

Another thing LA has going for it is a thriving marketing community which frequently circles its wagons around the popular thinkLA organization. The Los Angeles Advertising Agencies Association, the Ad Club of Los Angeles and the Magazine Representatives Association merged to create thinkLA in 2006. Since then, it has successfully brought us together as an industry and I’m particularly impressed by its “Only in LA” campaign to promote Los Angeles as a center for creative thinking and innovation in marketing and media.

We’ll see how much of these thoughts make their way into an article and I will report back when it’s published next month.

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Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Uncategorized


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