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...