Monday, 24 November 2008

Demand Generation Summit - the Movie!

My last post referred to the Demand Generation Summit at the beginning of this month. As I was saying in my presentation on the day, it's essential to plan for how you will build upon an activity to maximise the return.

In my opinion, the Demand Generation Summit itself provides a super case study example of post-event activities that many of us could leverage in our own campaigns. We all know that marketing events are expensive - venues, lunches, visiting speakers etc. There are 2 questions that frequently come up in event planning:

  1. How can we ensure that the event is the beginning of a conversation and not the end of it?
  2. How do we engage with people who weren't able to make the event, or that we don't engage with until after the event has happened?

Against Question 1, the organising team have created a Linked-In group. Great move - people who attended can join, people who are referred by colleagues can join, people who stumble across it on Linked-In can join. YOU could join - as the time of writing this there are 73 members. Next step is to really get a dialog going within that group - that is more difficult of course because it requires people to participate rather than just observe.

To answer the second question, BrightTALK was one of the sponsors and the presentations were professionally captured and edited on video and are now available from a separate Demand Generation Summit webinar site, along with the slides. Congratulations to all those involved - I think they've done a great production job. Check it out!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Demand Generation Summit - London November 4th

image Yesterday I had the honour of speaking at the first Demand Generation Summit held at Altitude in the Millbank Tower in the heart of London. The event was organised and sponsored by Banner, Google, Eloqua, BrightTALK and MarketOne. Details of the event can be found here.

A few observations from the day...

I think the team did an outstanding job in the preparation and execution of the event - list cleansing, audience generation, pre-event materials, venue selection, catering , agenda were all very thought through and flawlessly executed - hats off to everyone involved.

Amongst the attendees there was a clear desire to exchange ideas and opinions. At one level I think that many of the attendees found it a positive cathartic experience to recognise that the challenges around aligning marketing with sales, creating appropriate content, nurturing conversations, and measuring ROI are shared amongst all of us in the B2B marketing community. We may all have distinct challenges within our own individual organisations but the fundamental issues are very similar.

There is a significant opportunity to continue the dialogue amongst the attendees, and indeed build a community to encourage further discussion and exchange. On the back of the summit a Linked-In group has been setup called the Demand Generation Network. I'd encourage you to join and participate - could be fun and develop into a truly valuable resource.

Several people asked for copies of my slides, and so I've posted them on slideshare. As I said yesterday, I'd hope that you can use some of the content to assess what your current state of health is around conversations with pre-customers (still not comfortable with that word!) and to help you identify those areas that are under your control and those areas where you need so influence other parts of the organisation.

I'd very much appreciate any feedback - either here or in the Linked-In Group.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Using LinkedIn as a Lead Generation Tool

A friend recently asked me "We all periodically do this LinkedIn stuff - but what's it actually for?" Linking up with past colleagues and friends has some value, making yourself available to the advances of recruitment agencies may or may not interest you. But is that it?

However I'm increasingly seeing people use LinkedIn as a way to generate new leads - primarily by creating and joining LinkedIn Groups and developing a profile for your "personal brand" by answering and asking questions within those groups. There's a good article on this by Prashant Kaw over on the Hubspot blog

If you want to keep tabs on the conversations within the groups without having to remember to go to LinkedIn you can have an email delivered to you on a regular basis with a summary of the most recent topics being discussed in the groups. Unfortunately there's rather too much of the "Fabulous marketer seeks work in the Des Moines area" type in many of the groups but there are some useful connections to be made here.

Which LinkedIn Groups do you find the most valuable as a B2B Marketer? What have been your experiences?

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

An Organic Gardener's Guide to Lead Nurturing


Yesterday I spoke at a seminar organised by B2B Marketing magazine. Rather than use the traditional analogies of dating/marriage that we all use to describe the nurturing approach, I used the topic of vegetable gardening (it's the new rock'n'roll!).

Marketing campaigns produce seedlings, but that's only the start - we need to feed, weed, water, prick out etc at the appropriate time. We also need to ensure that the sales teams want to eat vegetables and are not just red meat eaters. You get the picture?

So my 9 tips for a bumper marketing crop have now become:

  1. Grow the right stuff (Align marketing activity with Sales)
  2. What's growing and What isn't (Record all your Responses in a client contact-centric view)
  3. Follow the instructions on the Seed Packet (Develop "nurturing blueprints" of standardised processes to develop a relationship from an initial response)
  4. Apply the right Feed at the right time (Align your nurturing content to the stages of the buying cycle)
  5. Are the nutrients being absorbed? (Implement activity-based scoring)
  6. Make it easier with a little machinery (Automate the most appropriate processes)
  7. Share your knowledge (Integrate your marketing insights with the CRM system)
  8. Monitor Progress Regularly (Measure key indicators)
  9. Apply plenty of Mulch (Refine and keep learning)

You can find the complete presentation on Slideshare.

Flickr Photo credit:

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

7 Starting Points for Marketing Automation

I just read a fascinating piece by Chris Koch at the ITSMA on some suggestions regarding key marketing processes that you should look to technology to automate. Chris suggests the following which seem to be an excellent place to start:

  • Get a single view of the customer. Collect data from multiple places to improve analysis of individual customers.
  • Model the behavior of the customer so you can predict which ones are the best to do business with.
  • Collect and manage conversations about you online and offline.
  • Contact customers when and how they want to be contacted.
  • Organize marketing content so that it can be targeted at a specific customer, delivered at the right time and in the right context. Automate the delivery of content that supports different customer interactions—call center, sales call, for example—and different events that occur, such as high number of transactions.
  • Improve interactions with customers on your Website. Can you make your site respond to the customer’s actions and history on the site?
  • Better measure and manage marketing activities.

I can't overstate the importance of getting a single view of the customer. Without that it's very difficult to get the management information you need to tune your demand generation and lead nurturing. Today you may have multiple marketing activities engaging with any individual customers, and many of these touches may be from external agencies and business partners. If you can take a customer-centric, rather than just a tactic-centric view of the activity (either in your existing CRM or elsewhere) then this is the first step towards seeing your activity from the client's perspective. Investment in this now will pay dividends in the future.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Coming on September 22: Email vs. Phone vs. In-Person Meeting? Four Viewpoints

Reading Brian Carroll's blog this morning I see an interesting debate coming up later in the month. What's most effective when maintaining and developing relationships with clients - email, telephone, face-to-face?

I often wonder about this one myself: is the telephone too intrusive when someone's only downloaded a whitepaper? Is it really a question of the tone used? does email force us to be too structured and miss other clues? Can we afford face-to-face for developing relationships? Do our sales colleagues have the skill or motivation to develop relationships rather than close deals?

Will be interesting to see the arguments from 4 distinguished bloggers...

Details here.

Monday, 8 September 2008

5 Ways to make B2B Lead Management more Effective

Catching up on some reading today I came across this article from the ITSMA - an interview with the excellent Brian Carroll. It offers the following common sense advice to improve your lead management:

  1. Create a marketing funnel
  2. Create a universal definition of a lead
  3. Use the phone
  4. Ask about goals - don't sell
  5. Define lead nurturing - and the right people to nurture

All good stuff - you can read the full article here.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

50 Ways Marketers Could Use Social Media


I recently came across this list from Chris Brogan that looks like a one-stop IDP on Social Media for IBM Marketers! Frankly there are many aspects here that I simply don't understand - but it's clearly full of some crackerjack practical ideas for us marketers. Jeremiah Owyang at Forrester has then taken this list and grouped them under 5 objectives which I think helps the list become even more practical. These objectives are:

  1. Listening: Gleaning market and customer insight and intelligence
  2. Talking: Engaging in a two way discussion to get your message out (and get messages in)
  3. Energizing: Letting your customers tell your prospects on your behalf (viral, word of mouth)
  4. Supporting: Getting your customers to self-support each other
  5. Embracing: Building better products and services through collaboration with clients

Powerful Stuff - check it out.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Announcing Project Dogfood - an innovative approach to Event creation


Was just reading the following post from the excellent David Meerman Scott on his Web Ink Now blog entitled OK smarty-pants, why don't you show us? Announcing Project Dogfood!


As part of the event preparation for the New Marketing Summit in Boston in October, he and his collaborators (Chris Brogan and Paul Gillin) have opened up "the development of the event Web site to your scrutiny, advice, and comments. The main thrust will be a revamp of the New Marketing Summit site to transform it from the current one-way placeholder "brochureware" into a social media driven interactive site."

I think Project Dogfood is a great Web 2.0 experiment that will be interesting to follow...

Monday, 23 June 2008

Expanding Your Sales Outside of Core Clients

If you want to grow your business, you either need to sell more to people who've bought from you previously, or identify more people to buy from you. I think that's obvious.

Equally obvious is the requirement to identify growth markets and invest in those.

But if you're the marketing exec responsible for an existing mature market, and your sales force would rather just develop opportunities from within their existing clients. You're already struggling to get someone in sales to pick up the leads that you're generating outside of the core clients.

Sound familiar? Have you got experience with these challenges? What did you do? What were some of the challenges?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Notes from IDM B2B Marketing Conference - London (April 8th)

The Fifth Annual IDM B2B Marketing ConferenceYesterday I attended the 5th annual B2B Marketing Conference organised by the Institute of Direct Marketing.

To be honest, much of the day was a little disappointing. However as always there were a couple of interesting elements outside of the opportunity to network with peers. For myself the highlight was a presentation from Rob Watt at Avenue A / Razorfish who opened my eyes  a little more to the use of cookies in marketing campaigns. His fundamental question was "would you consider paying a £300 cost per thousand (CPM) for display media?" Of course not, I hear you say. But he then went on to expand upon how, if you could use cookies and other digital techniques to target your customers and prospects, and ONLY your customers and prospects, then all of a sudden this starts to become a really good deal.

We all appreciate that cookies can be used to track return visits to our websites in order to pick up additional behavioural information from repeat visitors without having to present additional annoying registration forms.

But consider the following: our prospects are blending their work and home online personas. Increasingly people will look at Facebook and SkyNews and the website for their favourite football club during the day, and similarly will look at their work-related sites during evenings and weekends. The two spaces are not as distinct and separate as was the case just a few years ago. And Rob's contention was that to place "work-related" advertising (provided it's relevant, of course) in front of this person within Facebook or the Liverpool website, would not be considered inappropriate.

So here's the thought. If I capture a "pool" of cookies for my prospect from my digital activities (web, RSS, podcast, widgets etc) and then pass this cookie pool over to one of the adserving networks, I can ask for my display ad to be served whenever the adserving network detects the presence of that specific cookie, irrespective of the specific media. So in other words, the adverts are triggered by cookie presence rather than by media selection. I hadn't come across this concept before, and it seemed to me to be very powerful.

And furthermore, once you have a critical mass of prospects being targeted in this way, you would be able to do some propensity modeling to infer what web titles your target market is spending time in, and hence use this to refine your overall media planning.

Sounds to me like a really interesting approach. Anyone got any experience of doing this?

Thursday, 14 February 2008

50 Networking Thoughts Everyone Should Read

One area I am trying to focus on at the moment is increasing my network and networking skills. This morning I stumbled across this excellent list of 50 tips to improve your networking from RainToday.Com. Some are really obvious, but I'm sure everyone can find a few helpful takeaways amongst them. My own personal favourites include

  • Come to every networking event with three great questions ready to go. Be sure they begin with, "What's the one thing?" "What's your favorite?" and "What was the best part about?"
  • When you read an article you like, email the author. Tell him what you liked about it and introduce yourself. He'll usually write back.
  • Have an awesome email signature that gives people a reason to click over to your website. Just be careful not to have too much information included.
  • Every time you meet someone, write the letters H-I-C-H on their business card: how I can help. Then think of five ways to do so.

Read all 50 here

Monday, 11 February 2008

Are you a Marketing Fundamentalist?

I've often spoken about how I feel that the 2 qualities that I consider that the best marketers possess are PASSION and CURIOSITY.

Passion is infectious - if you feel strongly about something then it's obvious. You talk with enthusiasm, you're excitement shines through, and you inspire others.In my work life my two main passions are lead nurturing and social networking. Lead nurturing has become a passion because I realised that a focus on improving the dialog that we have as marketers AFTER we've run the event or sent the email campaign could have a profound effect on our performance. And my passion for social networking is driven by the hope that technology could finally be used to help unite people both at work and in their broader lives.

If you can't find something in your job to get passionate about, then perhaps you should think about trying some other job - your days must just drag along with monotony and mediocrity

Both of these passions have been developed as a result of Curiosity. Twelve months ago I did not feel as excited by either of these areas. However by exploring what is possible and taking an informed view on  what could work for me (and what couldn't right now) by passion is stronger. Consequently I feel I could not operate without RSS and the world of Blogs, but am less enthused (for now) about Twitter, Facebook and SecondLife - however I will remain curious.

Last week I came across this 5 minute video featuring Seth Godin via a colleague. For me, what he says about Curiosity resonated very powerfully.

By the fact that you're even looking at this, I guess your demonstrating that you're at least somewhat curious!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Are you a Pico-Marketer?

I recently stumbled upon a couple of ex-colleagues, Roger Warner and Stan Woods who are now running a Marketing/PRgroup called Velocity.

There was a great article the other day on their blog on Pico branding which is well worth a read (as is the rest of their blog). The net of it is that today's marketer needs to focus on participation in the little projects as well as the big mega-bucks corporate campaigns. In other words it's about capturing peoples interest via the "new" channels that they will be passing by - blogs, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, FaceBook etc, and using that to drive them towards some of your more polished content. Here's a quote from their article

Pico-branding is not about building grand audience destinations (like the mega-bucks web site of yesteryear), because if you spend lots of time and money building it there’s no longer a guarantee that they’ll come (there’s every chance they’ll be polishing their Facebook profile instead).

No, Pico-branding is all about building smaller, more discrete stopping points across all of these new online outlets, with the aim of capturing your audience’s attention and either complimenting (and informing) what they’re doing or diverting their interest towards a destination that you do own (ie, something from your Mega-brand bucket of work).

A good analogy is with the board game Monopoly. Everyone knows it’s a bad strategy to invest in only one area of the board. Too random and not enough traffic. A better way to generate cash is to buy lots of smaller properties at all of the places that people visit regularly, as well as investing in the big stuff: so, collectively, a bunch of houses on Whitechapel and the Old Kent Road can add a great deal of strategic, money-making value to those expensive hotels on Park Lane.

I think this is an area that we need to focus more attention on . As reported in Wired some while ago  - "Attention has become the scarce resource of the information economy". While we continue to invest in large scale activities - large events, plush web presences, etc let's spend a little more time figuring out how we can attract people to these investments. The mantra of "be where the people are looking" has been espoused for some while, but often this only translates to a plan to increase Google search word investments. Don't get me wrong - buying Google words is a powerful tool and warrants a significant part of our spend. But there is much more that we can do, and much of it requires focus more than it does cash.

My own experimentation in this space with this blog has been quite instructive (for me at least!). I use Google Analytics (a free tool) to analyse the traffic that is coming to my blog. I'm frankly astonished by the huge amounts of insight it provedes about the audience coming to my site and where they're coming from.

In an effort to drive up traffic I've tried a few things. From my analysis here are some personal tips:

  • Blog comments drive visitors. Use Google to find a few Blog sites that have a broad readership in your subject area. Comment in those blogs and link back to your own content. Technorati can also help here to find the sites with the greatest influence. This can drive significant traffic, provided the comments you make are relevant and authentic. This has been the biggest contributor of new visitors to my site.
  • Social Bookmarking. By tagging entries appropriately in, Digg and other social bookmarking sites, I was pleasantly surprised to see an uptick in visitors coming from Delicious in particular.
  • Twitter. Personally I'm not a serious user of Twitter. I haven't figured yet how I can use it to add value to what I do, rather than act as another interruption. But I know many people are passionate about it. Signing up with Twitter and "following" a few people who are interested in some of the same areas as myself has also brought quite a few new readers to my site.
  • Linking all your activities. By trying to have my mail closing, my linked-in profile profile, and any other elements of my online presence all point towards the blog allows additional traffic to be driven with no incremental effort.
  • Keep at it. If I don't blog for a few days I can see the traffic start to tail off. So frequency is clearly critical

I guess I should also do something on Facebook but simply haven't got around to it yet.

Of course this is only the beginning of the journey. Having brought people to your page you need to provide a reason for them to come back. But that's a topic for another day.

What has worked for you? Please share.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Advice to all Marketers - Do it Wrong Quickly!

I was reading and interview today with Mike Moran, the author of the Book "Doing it Wrong Quickly". Mike also writes the Biznology blog that I regularly follow.

This particular quote resonated with me

"Marketing has traditionally been a high-risk endeavor. If you tape a series of TV commercials and buy the time up front, and then the ads bomb, it's a disaster. You don't undertake that kind of risk lightly. Instead, you constantly try to mitigate that risk by testing spots with focus groups, getting buy-in with all the key execs, hiring consultants to provide feedback, and making sure you have the best minds in the ad agency working on doing something that gets attention.

Succeeding in marketing on the Internet, however, in many ways requires the exact opposite behavior. You can write the copy for a paid search ad this morning, try it out on Google, and see by lunch time that no on is clicking. It cost you a couple of hours and a few dollars and then you tweak the copy and try again. You're not stuck with your decisions, they cost very little, and you know immediately whether they are working. Internet marketing demands that you experiment to get the best possible outcome.

You can imagine, however, that years of avoiding risk can make this kind of change a difficult proposition. Many marketers avoid risk automatically without knowing why, so it's wrenching for them to change their behavior. In the book, I spend a couple of chapters working through marketers' personal objections, and objections they'll run into when they try to float this approach in the rest of their organization."

However anyone working in a large marketing  organisation will know it's difficult to take risks. We try to control our Brand message with a religious fervour (quite understandably), but as a result end up with a Brand image that is not all that we want it to be.

So here's the challenge: How do we take more risks in our marketing communications without damaging the positive aspects of our brand image?

Friday, 4 January 2008

50 New B2B Marketing Blogs

blogger-publishing-in-progress I've written before about how we as marketers need to stay fresh on the latest new thinking in B2B Marketing. Of course the world of blogs is an obvious way to do this and when used in conjunctions with a decent RSS reader it can be done really easily.

Those nice people at Marketo have just compiled a list of another 50 new B2B Marketing blogs bringing their total up to 138.

Even better, they've even published the OPML to make it even easier to follow all of these in one easy go.

Please let me know which of these blogs you find particularly useful.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Ring Out the Old, Ring In the New


I was reading extracts from the Tapscott and Williams' fabulous Wikinomics book just before Christmas (Chapter 1 is available for free online), and much of it has been on my mind ever since.

Wikinomics does a great job (in my opinion) of setting out the difference between the old corporate business model and the new collaborative model which is evolving. I've tried to paraphrase the key points below about the key attributes of the different models:

Old World

  • Knowledge is Power (It's your key corporate or career differentiator - so protect it all costs)
  • Hierarchical Management Structures (use organisation charts to to define teams - and expand to matrix management when that becomes too rigid)
  • Command and Control management system. Heavy emphasis on measurement and reporting, especially when the going gets tough)
  • Bestowed authority. (I'm the manager, so I know best.)
  • Routes to success
    • Employ brighter people than your competitors
    • Protect intellectual capital
    • Focus on customers
    • Think global, act local
    • Execution excellence

New World

  • Community is Power. A united community will be stronger than any individual
  • Collaboration. Openly sharing the knowledge we have and collaborating to apply that knowledge will deliver greater innovation
  • Self-Organisation. Teaming together because we buy into a common vision allows us to reach outside of the conventional hierarchical structure.
  • Earned Authority. Authority comes from the value you contribute,not from the rank you've been assigned
  • Routes to Success
    • Being Open
    • Peering
    • Sharing
    • Acting Globally

I particularly like these 4 suggested routes to success in the New World, and will aspire to apply them to my behaviour at work in 2008.

Happy New Year - I look forward to working and learning with you in 2008.