Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Use of Social Networking within the Marketing Department

We've just launched an initiative within our Marketing department amongst our new graduate hires. We've asked them to run a project looking at the way our marketing community communicates/shares with each other internally. Our sense is that leveraging Social Networking internally we will increase our understanding of how best to apply it to external marketing activity.

Initially we've asked them to look at some of the social networking technologies that are not broadly used within our marketing communities today (eg Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, Wikis, Internal and External Blogs, etc) and combine that with the way that they expect to live in the digital world. Hopefully they may be able to come up with a few pointers for us all that would be more engaging (from their perspective as well as ours) than email and Conference Calls.

Are there lessons that this team could learn from your own experiences and approaches? Are there additional tools or communities that they should link to?

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Which is Best - Nurture by email or telephone?

Someone asked me a question the other day to which I felt I wasn't able to give a good answer (happens all too often!). So I thought I'd solicit the opinions of this community.

We were discussing approaches to response management (a.k.a. Nurturing) within marketing questions. So you run the marketing activity and a bunch of people "raise their hand" . Perhaps they go to your website and they download a white paper in exchange for some contact information.

The question was: What is the most appropriate next touch? Should you pass the contact information to a telemarketing resource to engage by phone, or should you contact them via email?

My own views on the appropriate answer to this question continue to evolve. What would your answer be?

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Monday, 5 November 2007

Sharpen your Axe with RSS

I heard a great line a while back comparing RSS with email.

Email is for chopping wood. RSS is for sharpening your axe!

OK - so as marketeers you know you need to stay fresh with the latest marketing approaches and techniques. But you're too busy to spend time surfing.

Does that sound a little like you?

So do you use an RSS reader? A what? What's that stand for?

Does that sound like you too? It certainly was how I felt until just a few months ago when I discovered that this was a tool that keep me current, help me expand my network and save me time.

If you still need convincing, I suggest you start with this fabulous CommonCraft video which explains RSS in a simple and really compelling way.

So you're interested, how can you get started? These steps may help. I've also included all the key feeds I currently look at - perhaps you may wish to use it as a starter set yourself.

Which RSS Reader?
I would suggest Google Reader if you want something online.
Personally I've had some stability issues with this - but there are several other alternatives (eg Bloglines).

For myself I prefer a desktop based reader as it pushes the updates straight to me - I use GreatNews

Having downloaded/installed your reader, you can add RSS feeds as you come across them, or take my starter set. In order to do this download the following OPML file and then import it into your
reader (eg in GreatNews this is Tools - Import Feeds from OPML/XML). Here's my RSS Starter Set
You may also want to find an aggregator source to identify RSS feeds for other specific interest areas such as Syndic8

Now delete all those Newsletters that are in your inbox - you won't be needing those anymore!

I'd be very keen to hear from other marketers on what feed sites they link to in RSS

Friday, 2 November 2007

Lead Nurturing - 7 Steps to Improve Campaign Yield

Yesterday I was invited to present to around 70 UK B2B marketers at a breakfast seminar organised by Fox Parrack Singapour in Berkshire, UK. It was a great event with lots of thought-provoking content.

David Fox opened the session with an overview of market trends around lead generation in the age of the empowered consumer. Lots of good data from Marketing Sherpa, Google and several others around the shifts to pull-based marketing and the impact that will have on us all as marketers, as well as consumers.

Zina Manda from Mardev (the database marketing division of Reed Elsevier) then did a super job looking at some of the challenges around getting an appropriate balance between Push and Pull marketing

I've posted my talk called From Click to Cash. Here I tried to provide a "warts and all" overview of the journey I'm on in IBM to improve the yield from campaigns. As you'll see from the deck I've boiled the challenge down into 7 key focus areas

  1. Developing a Service Level Agreement with the sales organisation to ensure they are hungry for what your planning to serve them
  2. Capturing all the campaign responses into a single view, whether produced online or offline
  3. Aligning your nurturing offers with the buying process
  4. Scoring the consumers of your nurturing offers according to their activity
  5. Developing a set of "blueprints" for each response type to help you plan the key nurturing steps from initial response to sales-ready lead
  6. Ensuring the salesforce have visibility of all the valuable insight that's been gathered through your nurturing, and not just the basic contact info
  7. Establishing a set of end-to-end measurements from response to closed sale (and beyond) to allow you to identify improvement areas

The material seemed to be well received and I'd really welcome any additonal comments here, as I passionately believe this is an area that all of us in marketing need to focus on MUCH more.

A couple of further observations. I referred to some of the research sources, blogs etc that I'd been using to develop my thinking. Spookily both I and the preceding speaker referred to some of the excellent work being done by Brian Carroll in his publications and B2B Lead Generation blog. It was great to find a fellow marketer who had been similarly influenced by his thinking. I suspect Brian may see a small uptick in hits to his blog from the UK in the next week or so, since none of the rest of the audience were familiar with that work.

It also re-inforced that within the marketing community we are not using the resources that are freely available in the Blogosphere (hate that term) sufficiently. And furthermore only a handful of yesterday's audience had yet recognised the practical assistance that tools such as RSS readers can provide to us. I'll make this a topic for my next post.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Each morning our piece of the world comes through the door

Here are some of the key documents, blogs and websites that I have used recently that have really helped me get an insight into the issues and potential challenges surrounding lead nurturing and progression:

I found that googling Laura Ramos at Forrester unearthed a number of insightful pieces including a paper titled– How mature is B2B Lead Management in which they had benchmarked 252 B2B companies and established that only 9% were at best practice. For most of us, we were creating leads that we were passing onto the sales teams (usually too early), and the sales teams were tending to cherry-pick those that they felt they could close quickly. All the rest was leaking out of the buying funnel. There is also a Forrester Marketing Blog that Laura and a number of her colleagues contribute to.

Another name that keeps on popping up is Brian Carroll, CEO of Intouch. His ebook Start with a Lead offers some practical pointers that help remind us that nuturing a client from initial interest through to sale takes a sustained effort, not just a series of disconnected tactics. Brian maintains a regular B2B Lead Generation blog.

Another great resource to dive into is Jon Miller’s Modern B2B Marketing blog. Of special note here is the Big List of B2B Marketing Blogs where you will find the opportunity to learn from and engage with good, bad and ugly truth-seekers in this arena.

That's where I started on this journey - along with a few a few vendor websites such as Marketing Advocate and Vtrenz and a handful of newsletters from the likes of MarketingSherpa and MarketingProfs.

There's so much information out there that's just a click away - and most of it is free. On its own this won't solve your lead management challenges of course, but at least you'll sense that there's some others who are thinking along similar lines as yourself.

What free sources do you use for inspiration on the topic of B2B lead nurturing? Please post a comment and let me know.

And Finally - and for not obvious reason whatsoever, each post will be headlined by a an extract from a song. The only prize is your own smug satisfaction. Post #1 was pretty obvious – Start! By the Jam. Today’s is much more obscure, but also from the Jam - News of the World.

Monday, 18 June 2007


My challenge is one that faces most marketing departments, I believe. How do we ensure that the business gets a better return from our marketing investments. Specifically I'm focussing myself on improving our marketing peformance in 3 areas
· Establishing a framework for nurturing prospects that are not yet ready to engage with our sales force, yet have a real business issue that that needs exploring
· Ensuring that the lead management processes deliver - so that opportunities are handed off to the sales force at the appropriate point, and that the opportunities are highly valued and followed through to successful closure
· Exploit the use of Web2.0 and other pull-based digital techniques to enhance prospect/client dialogues - not to get caught up in the hype, but to deliver real value
I'll explore the themes in future postings - we all have a day job so I don't expect a new post every day. But if this is an area that interests you I look forward to hearing from you and learning from you.
In my next posts I'll share with you some useful articles that I've found around this topic on the web. Stay tuned...