Organic Search Remains King in B2B

B2Binfo

If you are looking for marketing advice, you don’t need to look very far. There are literally hundreds of marketing blogs, websites and platform vendors who offer up various levels of expertise and advice. So no matter whether you are an enterprise marketer or running your own business, you’ll easily find some ideas, strategies and systems that will help you activate your plans. BUT the question remains – with an abundance of information, who do you trust?

It’s often tempting to look beyond your usual marketing consultants or agencies for new ideas. But facts can be skewed or reported from a number of angles, and the grass really can appear greener when pitched the right way.

The challenge for marketers is to look beyond the facts and figures to understand the shifts and movements that are taking place. We need to look for the underlying behaviours that explain the facts and map this to our own businesses in a meaningful way.

Now, I have believed for some time that quality content is a fundamental requirement for successful marketing programs. But in the shift to digital, this need has been amplified – after all, we are know for what we produce. No content = no presence.

So in many ways this infographic from inbound marketing platform vendor Optify confirms my thinking – that organic search (and therefore content) is the most powerful driver of traffic to B2B websites. They analysed 62 million website visits, 215 million page views and over 350,000 leads from small and mid-sized US businesses to identify the trends in B2B marketing in 2012.

BUT the question remains? Does this ring true for your business? Does it match to your experience? And what are the movements that you are observing in your customer base? That’s where you should be looking.


2012 B2B Marketing Trends

The Mayan Apocalypse? No, Just Eloqua’s Early Christmas Joy

OracleExperience

Sneaking a last minute deal in before the holiday break, Oracle announced an $871 million acquisition of marketing automation vendor, Eloqua. Representing a 10x multiple on Eloqua’s annual revenues, it marks the first of what is likely to be a string of consolidations in the marketing technology space over the next 12 months. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2013.

  • A win for Eloqua customers that comes with a catch . This deal looks set to accelerate the Eloqua solution roadmap with Oracle bringing additional focus and resourcing to solution improvements already slated for 2013. That means that existing customers can more readily tap the customer experience functionality that supports front of house operations through Oracle’s existing sales, service, commerce and social foundations as well as the big data and analytics capabilities that are vital to the digital marketer’s credibility. Many Eloqua customers will have made companion investments in Salesforce and will be keen for ongoing reassurance that integration will continue to be supported.
  • Oracle secure a beach head beyond the IT line of business.The acquisition significantly bolsters Oracle’s marketing credentials – adding mature, cloud based marketing automation capabilities to their Customer Experience Cloud offering. Eloqua’s strength has been its strong connection with the marketing departments at its 1200 customer locations, and this provides Oracle’s sales team with a vital beach head beyond the IT line of business. And with the projected shift of technology budget from the CIO to CMO over the next two years, this will be essential to the longer term success of the Oracle’s Customer Experience Cloud and the previous Market2Lead and Vitrue acquisitions.

Why marketers should care

Marketers have fallen behind in the technology stakes – suffering under the weight of outmoded marketing models and outflanked by their fast moving, tech savvy, connected customers. This announcement brings yet another level of change and signals a new wave of consolidation and innovation that will challenge marketers in the year ahead.

On the positive side, the investment in thought leadership and focus on marketing technology coming from the likes of Adobe, IBM and Salesforce is helping to educate and mature the market. This will not only assist CMOs to formulate business cases and justify technology and skills investment through 2015, it also provides fertile opportunity for the marketing automation vendors like Act-On, Hubspot, Marketo and Neolane.

Where next?

Oracle has thrown down the gauntlet to the other enterprise software vendors. Who will blink first?

The acquisition has revealed a gap in the Salesforce marketing offering. SAP is nowhere to be seen. And Adobe and IBM can no longer afford to sit on their hands. Oracle’s bold move may have brought Christmas early to the team at Eloqua, but does it usher in the Mayan Apocalypse for enterprise marketers or represent a new dawn? 2013 is just around the corner.

Eloqua has released a FAQ and an announcement deck that can be downloaded from their blog.

The Long Trail of Digital’s Long Tail

MarketoCaseStudy

For the last couple of months I have been researching the digital marketing automation market – speaking with vendors, watching demos, listening to customers and analysing features, statistics and case studies. It’s a crowded market with a wide variety of feature sets and capabilities.

But if there is one thing that is obvious in all the noise, it is this: while the technology has matured, digital marketing skills, capabilities and processes are comparatively immature.

Marketing automation software delivers impressive outcomes:

  • ROI: Identifying, nurturing and delivering warm leads into your sales funnel gives your marketing a direct line to ROI. This path to revenue provides marketers with the confidence and knowledge to understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to digital marketing investment
  • Accelerate marketing maturity: marketing automation requires a certain level of process maturity in your marketing. For businesses where process has been lacking or alignment with sales has been ambivalent, marketing automation can deliver a relatively quick win
  • Generate uplift through omni-channel integration: many marketers focus on “last click attribution”. But we rarely make single click decisions – especially on more expensive purchases or when we are in a B2B situation. Integrated or omni-channel marketing has been shown to significantly impact revenue and pipeline.

The presentation below is a case study of one of Marketo’s own omni-channel campaigns. It reveals that the digital long tail is indeed, a very long trail. But careful planning and management can, with targeted content, deliver value across your marketing programs – not only for your digital work.

Interested in marketing automation? If you are interested in my upcoming marketing automation report, contact me here or sign-up for access to the Constellation Research Library.

 

Reduce Marketing Risk with ADMA’s Compliance Hub

ADMA Compliance Hub

With recent changes to Australia’s privacy legislation, marketers now face a slew of regulatory responsibilities or risk significant fines of up to $1.1 million. Marketers and advertisers have been given 15 months to comply with the recent changes – and the Association for data-driven marketing and advertising (ADMA) has launched the ADMA Compliance Hub to assist in the process.

Part of the ADMA Knowledge Lab, the site contains:

  • News and updates
  • Video and whitepapers
  • Categorised forms, best practices
  • Webinars and guides

ADMA Compliance Hub

Covering a broad range of marketing compliance topics, the Compliance Hub is a welcome resource for time poor marketers. A quick review of the Online, Mobile & Social section revealed checklists for cloud computing, a group buying code of conduct and a model social media policy. And while the data and privacy section is top of mind for Australian marketers at present, sections on competitions, voice and email will come in handy as 2013 marketing activity shifts into high gear.

For companies new to the Australian marketplace, the Compliance Hub will be a welcome resource. Access is available to all advertisers and marketers until February 2013 – and then it will be closed off and available only to ADMA members.

Space Invaders to Angry Birds: Social Selling and the Transition from Open Networks to Closed Communities

I recently spoke at the Social Media Plus conference in Philadelphia. My topic was “social selling” – but rather than just taking a simple route and providing a case study, I thought it would be more interesting to try something different. I wanted to tell the story of my work with SAP’s Premier Customer Network – an unfolding story of our efforts to become a “social business”. But how best to do so? What would resonate?

My colleague, Anand Ramachandran had recently created a presentation using Angry Birds as a metaphor – and on reviewing this, I knew I had a hook. If social media/social business is a “game changer”, then clearly that game is Angry Birds. And the deeper I looked, the more I found.

Here is the presentation – together with a speaking track to fill in the gaps. It looks at what it takes to move from the business simplicity characterised by games like Space Invaders to a complex multi-stakeholder sales process – which is closer to Angry Birds. Along the way I discuss sales process, people enablement and the benefits of connecting open networks with closed communities.

Joining the Customer Collective Advisory Panel

The Customer Collective is an independent, moderated blogging community focused on sales and marketing executives. Its sister site, The Social Customer focuses on customer service practitioners. Both of these sites operate under the SocialMediaToday umbrella and take contributions from bloggers, writers, thought leaders and practitioners from all around the world. You can automatically share your blog posts via RSS or write exclusive articles directly for the community. It is a great way of sharing your knowledge with a broad, yet business focused audience.

I was recently invited to join the advisory board of The Customer Collective/ The Social Customer and am excited to be joining a respected group of marketing and sales practitioners. Be sure to check out their blogs and Twitter channels for razor sharp insight and quality conversation!

Ardath Albee
Ardath Albee

http://www.marketinginteractions.com
@ardath421 on Twitter
Ardath Albee is CEO and B2B Marketing Strategist for her firm Marketing Interactions. She is an expert at creating contagious content and e-marketing strategies that engage prospects-from initial attention until they’re sales ready. She has a unique ability to develop content strategies that work hand-in-glove with overall corporate and product positioning to deliver hard hitting e-marketing programs and tools that compel customers to buy. Ardath is the author of the popular book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, recently released by McGraw-Hill.
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Dave Brock
Dave Brock

http://partnersinexcellenceblog.com
@davidabrock on Twitter
Dave Brock is President and CEO of Partners In EXCELLENCE, a global consulting company focused on helping organizations achieve the highest levels of performance in sales, marketing, customer service and business strategy. He helps individuals and organizations develop and execute strategies to outPerform, outSell, and outCompete their competition. Dave is an internationally recognized speaker, writer, and thought leader in leadership, sales, value propositions, marketing, strategic alliances and partnering, business strategy and management.
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Charles Green
Charles Green

http://www.trustedadvisor.com
@charleshgreen on Twitter
Author, speaker, teacher, blogger. Founder/CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates co-author The Trusted Advisor author Trust-based Selling MBA, ex-general management consultant Helping build trusted business advisors.
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Paul Greenberg
Paul Greenberg

http://the56group.typepad.com/
@pgreenbe on Twitter
In addition to being the author of the best-selling CRM at the Speed of Light, Paul Greenberg is President of The 56 Group, LLC, a customer strategy consulting firm, and BPT Partners, LLC, a training and consulting venture that has quickly become the certification authority for the CRM industry. His book, CRM at the Speed of Light: Social CRM Strategy, Tools, and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers, now in its fourth edition, is in 9 languages and been called "the bible of the CRM industry". Paul is also the co-chairman of Rutgers University’s CRM Research Center and the Executive Vice President of the CRM Association. He is a Board of Advisors member of the Baylor University MBA Program for CRM majors, a unique national program. He is a core member of the Board of Advisors for the Center for American Progress, the leading policy thinktank in Washington D.C.
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Gavin Heaton
Gavin Heaton

http://www.sap.com/communities/pcn
@servantofchaos on Twitter
Gavin is the author of Servant of Chaos, one of Australia’s leading marketing blogs and is the co-publisher (with Drew McLellan) of the ground-breaking collaborative marketing book series, Age of Conversation. Gavin has worked in agencies (leading the global digital strategy for McDonald’s), but is currently holed up on the client side where he is the Director of Social Media for the SAP Premier Customer Network, North America. In what little spare time is left to him, he works with young people as president of local non-profit organisation, Vibewire.
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Jill Konrath
Jill Konrath

http://sellingtobigcompanies.blogs.com
@jillkonrath on Twitter
Jill Konrath is an internationally recognized author and B2B sales strategist. She’s a popular speaker at sales meetings, conferences and kick-off events where she shares fresh sales strategies that actually work in today’s business environment. SNAP Selling, her newest book, soared to #1 Amazon sales book within hours of its release. Her 1st book, Selling to Big Companies, was named a “must read” by Fortune Magazine and has been an Amazon’s Top 20 Sales Books since 2006.
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Mike Merriman
Mike Merriman

@MerrimanMzinga on Twitter
Mike Merriman has a varied background in product development, product management, customer service, strategic consulting, and industry research with over 20 years of leadership experience. As Mzinga’s Director of Strategic Services, Mike applies this broad background to assist our clients in mapping their business goals to specific community and social media initiatives to maintain competitive advantage.
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Natalie Petouhoff
Natalie Petouhoff

http://www.drnatalienews.com/
@drnatalie on Twitter
Dr. Natalie serves as the Chief Strategist for Social Media, Digital Communications and Measurement at Weber Shandwick, with a world-wide practice role spanning client work, practice development and thought leadership. Dr. Natalie’s focus is to consult with clients on their strategy for social media, marketing, PR, customer service and integrating them using organizational change management, new technology deployment and social media analytics, measurement and ROI.
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Anneke Seley
Anneke Seley

http://www.sales20book.com/wp
@annekeseley on Twitter
Anneke was the twelfth employee at Oracle, the designer of OracleDirect, the company’s revolutionary inside sales operation, and one of four people recognized as an early innovator in Oracle’s Innovation Showcase. She is currently the CEO and founder of Phone Works, a sales strategy and implementation consultancy that has helped over 350 large and small businesses across industries increase sales productivity and results. Anneke is the coauthor of the best-selling book on the new culture of selling, Sales 2.0: Improve Business Results Using Innovative Sales Practices and Technology.
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Even in B2B You Have to Think Like a Rockstar

Business-to-business marketing can often appear dull and boring. The messaging is subdued, the social media is lacklustre and personality? What personality, right?

Now, there are always excuses here – government regulation, brand guidelines, tone of voice or particular assumed audience needs. But these are merely excuses – not reasons. We should instead see them as challenges – for to succeed in B2B marketing, I believe we need to think like rockstars.

How does this work? Mack Collier has put together a great deck on the subject of rockstar thinking. He calls out four key points – but let’s think about these in a B2B framework:

  1. Rockstars are fans too: remember, rockstars don’t necessarily love their own music. But they do have inspirations, musicians and artists they respect. Pay homage to your inspirations – learn from what they do and bring their work and focus into the work that you do.
  2. Rockstars shift control to fans: if you are a rockstar what do you like to do? Yep – hang out with other rockstars. Think about ways that you can elevate your advocates – and empower them in unexpected ways.
  3. Rockstars find the bigger idea: what mission are you on? How are you improving the lives of people. How are you changing the planet? What is the difference you are making. Sure you can throw money at a problem, but what can you DO to change the game. Think about it, then DO IT.
  4. Rockstars embrace their fans: in the B2B world there are many stakeholders. How do you celebrate them? What can you do to recognise their help and their efforts? How can you answer their questions faster? Think about stepping out from behind the shadow of your brand to provide unexpected value.

B2B can be exceptionally funky – and can prove a fertile opportunity for out-of-the-box thinking. Do you have examples? I’d love to hear of them!