Digital Marketing, Personalization and Friday’s Top 5 Marketing Charts


We aim to bring you the latest tips, strategies, studies and reports when it comes to B2B marketing and sales. This Friday, we want to bring you some of the top marketing charts in recent weeks. A focus on optimizing strategies through personalization and targeted spending and marketing are just a few of the things on marketers’ minds.

The Adobe 2013 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey found that the majority of companies (53%) spend less than 5% of their total marketing budgets on optimization activities. In total, 86% of companies surveyed allocate 15% or less of their marketing budget to optimization activities, while at the other end of the scale only 3% of respondents allocate more than half of their marketing budget to optimization efforts. The data from this study shows that those who spend more on optimization are reaping the benefits in the form of higher conversion rates. Chart – What percentage of your total marketing budget is allocated to optimization activities (including agency fees, professional services, and technology)?

A new study from Accenture finds that digital marketing is going to get more of the overall marketing budget in upcoming years. Nearly 2 in 3 respondents said that they would be devoting at least 25% of their budgets to digital marketing next year (Tweet this!) and 23% indicated they would be assigning more than 50% of their budget to digital next year. However, many of the CMOs surveyed indicated that they feel more difficulty in improving the efficiency of their marketing operations and improving their workforce’s responsiveness to the consumer and digital shifts that are taking place. According to survey respondents, consumers’ experience expectations have the longest-term impact on marketing strategy (65%). Accenture found that CMOs in high-growth companies have found a less turbulent path by improving their digital focus.

Personalization is vital to the success of businesses, yet many companies are failing to deliver cross-channel personalized experiences to their customers. The Econsultancy/Monetate Realities of Personalisation Report finds that while 43% of companies currently deliver a personalized experience on desktops, this figure falls to just 14% on tablet and 13% on mobile. Product recommendations (42%) and on-site search results (40%) are the most common personalization tactics. Using the
data readily available, B2B businesses that can offer personalized experiences will find greater success. Chart – Which of the following channels are you using to deliver personalised experiences?

Ifbyphone’s 2013 State of Marketing Measurement Survey found that marketing analytics, in an effort to determine ROI more accurately, are on the rise. Software solutions, as well as in-house analysts, are just two of the changes businesses are making in an effort to measure their marketing efforts. Marketing tactics vary, i.e. they are online and offline, which causes obstacles to appear when it comes to measurement. When respondents were asked to rate a range of marketing tools for their effectiveness to generate sales leads the marketing channels that were rated most valuable were in-bound phone calls, in-person visits, and email inquiries followed by PPC clicks/website visits. With this mix of online and offline efforts, it makes sense that when asked about their marketing measurement investment priorities, respondents to the survey indicated a preference for investing future marketing budget dollars in emerging technologies that can contribute to a greater mix of online and offline marketing measurement. Chart – Most Effective Marketing Channels for Generating Sales Leads

The 2013 Online Advertising Performance Outlook from Nielsen and Vizu revealed a number of trends taking place in the digital marketing world. In 2013, 63% of marketers state they will increase their online brand advertising budgets, with 20% reporting that those budgets will grow by 20% or more (Tweet this!). Not only are ad budgets increasing, they are shifting to different channels at a greater pace. The report found that budgets are shifting as consumers move into and become more comfortable with the digital realm. 48% of brand marketers will shift dollars from television into online video and 70% will increase spend in both social media and mobile advertising (Tweet this!). Similar to the Ifbyphone study however, many marketers (45%) don’t feel adequately equipped to accurately measure their efforts.


The Future of Advertising From ad:tech San Francisco


Early on in the week, ad:tech took over San Francisco with advertising experts, the latest in digital marketing and over 200 exhibitors. Of course, Business.com was there to be part of it. Advertising has evolved since its early days and has changed drastically over the past few years with various technological advancements that are becoming more widespread. Smartphones, Big Data and local search all play a significant role. The future of advertising changes as new technologies come to the center of the marketing stage. Ad:tech gave us the opportunity to look into the future of advertising and we’ve broken down the key points just for you.

Data Driven Decisions

Jim Yu of BrightEdge began with a shocking, and not well-known fact: 90% of global data has been produced in the last two years. New technologies allow advertisers and marketers to close the loop where it may have been difficult, or impossible, data in the past. Now, those running ads and marketing campaigns can measure and understand which experiences are really working. Marketers want data that can help them optimize campaigns for a greater ROI. As advertisers find ways to more accurately collect, analyze, and report on data, data-driven decisions will become more of a focus. Michael Hummel, co-founder and CEO of ParStream explained how businesses must be able to get real-time data to make optimization decisions with ease in order to outshine competitors.

Local and mobile search are more important than ever. Social media is impacting SEO. As we progress with new technologies and platforms, the advertising world will continue to shift. Data will impact how, when and which content is created as well as how and when it is distributed and across which networks. Advertisements will need to have more content that engages consumers. If you take away something from ad:tech, let it be that the nature of advertising is going through a revolution due to data, engagement and the shift in search. Advertising is about connecting with the consumer. Brian David Johnson, the “Chief Futurist” from Intel, left the room he was speaking in with one thought that we want to leave you with now, “”Change the story people tell themselves about the future they will live in. Figure out how to make people’s lives better.”

Engaging Ads

A keynote address during ad:tech San Francisco came from Susan Wojcicki, senior vice president of advertising for Google. Advertising is continuing to change as time progresses. We’ve moved from a push model, where the advertisements viewed by consumers were at the discretion of companies and agencies, to a model where users can choose to see and engage with their ads or not. “Have users say ‘these are the things I’m interested in,'” she said. “Have them raise their hand…When we give them control, they take it…For every one that opted out, two actually added interests.”

To develop a successful advertiser relationship with consumers, visitors must have choice about which ads they see – especially as they become more prominent on the web. Allowing users to identify their interests and wants produces a healthier relationship that will lead to greater loyalty and success. Engagement ads are the future.

Mobile and Local Optimization

Michael Lazerow, the CMO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud claims, “The computing revolution is really a customer revolution.” Over the recent years, a computing revolution has occurred but, it isn’t the only area of business that has evolved. There’s been social, cloud, mobile, community, local, experience and trust revolutions as well. There are more and more smartphones in the pockets of consumers, nearly half of all cell phone users, and they’re using them as more than a way to call or text a friend.

Research is conducted and buying decisions are made from mobile devices. Think it doesn’t impact your business by a whole lot? Think again! Approximately 20% of keywords in a given portfolio are impacted due to mobile and local search. Businesses need to be engaging with customers on every channel. Lazerow points out,”It’s not about where you want to be, it’s where your customers are…Every company has to build communities…how do you build communities where you engage and build assets?” In the future, marketing, sales and product development will become even more integrated.

Were you at ad:tech in San Francisco? What did you learn about advertising’s future?


Internet Ad Revenue for Q1 Hits $8.4 Billing Achieving Record Growth


With the improvement of the economy, online ad spending continues to grow.

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers, Internet advertising revenue hit $8.4 billion for the first three months of 2012, an increase of some 15 percent over the same period in 2011. The figure is reportedly the largest Q1 revenue that both IAB and PC have measured dating back to their first recordings in 1996.

David Silverman, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S., noted “The year-over-year growth between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012 sets quite a milestone. Moreover, a 15 percent increase over the comparable period in 2011 is a solid affirmation the Internet is delivering on its promise to attract consumers and the advertising dollars that follow.”

According to Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO, IAB “Marketers and agencies are clearly–and wisely–investing dollars to reach digitally connected consumers.”

Digital video advertising — which the IAB includes as a portion of display advertising — witnessed solid growth as well, increasing 29% from $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion. As a whole, display spending grew 15% in 2011 from $9.6 billion to $11.1 billion.

Search advertising witnessed even larger gains, increasing 27% from $11.7 billion to $14.8 billion. It continued to represent the biggest proportion of online ad spend: at 46.5%, up from 44.8% in 2010. That increase came at the expense of display, which declined from 37% in 2010 to 34.8% last year.

What’s Your Game Plan to Grow Your Lead Generation?

With the halfway point of 2012, coming up next month, B2B marketers should look at several items in order to be sure they are doing everything possible to increase their advertising sales lead generation. Among them:

  • Let your headlines and content speak – The content you put both on your Web site and emails needs to give customers a call to action.
  • Consider special offers – Buyers like deals, so make them available where and whenever possible.. Also keep in mind who you are sending the offers to so that you’re delivering relevant offers.
  • Make sure forms are up to date – If you have the consumer going to a form page on your site, be sure that it is easy to navigate and is short and sweet if requesting the consumer to fill it out.
  • Utilize social media – It is still rather amazing how many B2B companies are not taking advantage of all social media has to offer. Be sure that you have exposure on the main players such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for starters. If you are on such sites already, analyze the metrics to see how often you are using the sites, what kind of follow rate you are getting, and who exactly is following your company.

As some signs point to a recovering economy, what will Q2 say about your B2B online advertising efforts?

Photo credit: tvads.com

 


Website Redesign Checklist for your Business


[Ed: Guest blogger Andrew Spoeth is an independent marketing consultant specializing in B2B demand generation, with emphasis on social media, marketing automation, and thought leadership strategy. 

Redesigning a website can be a lengthy, complicated process. Done properly, it can give a dramatic boost to your online presence. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure, and pain, of being a part of several redesign projects.

Here is a checklist for website redesign, a series of steps that developers will go through in a successful redesign project.

  1. Document the reasons you’re redesigning the website.
    Having these listed will act as a compass through the lengthy project. When things get stressful, you’ll want this reminder.
  2. Test the old site, e.g. with an online intercept survey.
    How easily can users find key parts of the site? Other testing methods include focus groups and eye tracking. For the survey, get enough data to make it statistically relevant. The qualitative, descriptive feedback from one-on-one sessions with customers is also very valuable.
  3. Conduct a baseline analysis of the old site.
    A baseline analysis is a document which sets the bar by which the future site will be measured. It should detail how the old site has performed over the past year, including key performance indicators like visitors, bounce rate, conversion rates, pages/visit, etc.
  4. Set targets for the new site.
    These should be actual numbers and be based on the baseline mentioned above.
  5. Hire a design company.
    Choose a company which has experience in your industry and has demonstrated success in the past. Do they ask you the right questions? Do they understand your customer? Do they deliver on budget and on schedule?
  6. Map out the new site’s architecture.
    Work on a whiteboard or a blank piece of paper. Use one box per web page, starting with the home page on top. Draw lines between the pages to show logical connections. An alternative process, called Card Sorting, starts with cue cards. Create one cue card per web page, lay them out on a large table and start grouping and arranging them.
    When mapping out the architecture, remember to keep the site compact, i.e. don’t create too many levels. This is bad for usability and bad for search engine optimization.
  7. Do keyword research.
    Consider words being used by your customers, at conferences, etc. Take a look at your old site’s analytics to determine which keywords have been bringing traffic from the search engines, especially traffic that converts into real business. Also consider third party tools like Google’s Search-based keyword tool, Seo Book’s Keyword Suggestion Tool. And don’t forget Google Trends.
    How long should your keyword list be? That depends on your business model. But in most circumstances, a list of 20-30 is a great start. If you are not sure, then contact an SEO consultant to help out.
  8. Audit all of your existing online collateral.
    This includes all old and existing web pages, online brochures, podcasts, etc. Make a list in Excel and leave a couple of columns for notes and an instructions, e.g. ‘keep’, ‘keep but edit’, or ‘throw away’. B2B sites should also make room for columns to describe the type of buyer that web page appeals to, e.g. technical buyer, economic buyer, and when in the buying process that web page would best be viewed, i.e. Phase I: Awareness of Problem, Phase II: Researching a Solution, etc.
  9. Write content for the new site.
    Each page should have a clear purpose, give an opportunity to continue, and be optimized for 1-2 keywords identified in number 7 above.
  10. Create wireframes, mock-ups, etc.
    Carried out for the most part by your design company, this is where your combined knowledge of the target market turns into a creative and user friendly design which works.  Have the design company give you at least a couple of unique designs for the home page to choose from.
  11. Test the mock-ups for usability.
    Let some customers loose on these mock-ups. The pages only need minor functionality for now, e.g. be able to click on a couple of key areas. Make note of how easily and quickly key parts can be found.
  12. Fix, adjust and iterate
    Based on the results of your tests, iterate until you have a design which you can live with for the next 2 – 3 years.
  13. Build out and populate pages.
    A lot of this may be handled by the web design company. Take all of the freshly written content and place it in the built pages. When choosing file and folder names for pages, consider using the keywords you identified in the keyword research stage above.
  14. Organic optimization (SEO)
    You’ve already written the content and used the right keywords. Now is the time to take it further by ensuring that each page’s title, description and header tags do the same. Include links between pages. Interlinking is great for usability and great for search engine spider ability.
    Don’t forget to create a sitemap. There are two types of sitemaps, one which is on your site and visible to the user, and one which is visible only to the search engines (an XML Sitemap).
    And, don’t forget inbound links coming to some of the old site’s pages. Put a redirect in place for each of those so the new visitors, and link power, know where to go.
  15. New inbound links
    A site redesign is a great time to think about an inbound linking strategy. Build relationships with like-minded sites and blogs to attract keyword-rich links. Also consider submitting your site to respected directories such as Business.com and DMOZ.
  16. Testing. Try to break it before the site is launched.
    Get a large group of people you trust to poke around, find broken links, etc. Use various browsers, operating systems, look at it on a smart phone.
  17. Add tracking code to each web page.
    This will ensure you can measure what’s happening with the new site. For tracking software like Google Analytics, it will be a fairly easy process, i.e. same tracking code on each page which can be applied in the footer.
  18. Launch day. Flick the switch, uncork the champagne.
    Don’t forget to take a screen shot of the old site.
  19. Post-launch monitoring
    Make a schedule and force yourself to note the key stats at regular intervals after the site is launched. For the first few days, do it every day. After that, weekly. If you have budget, do a second intercept survey (see #2 above).
  20. Take the time to create a Content Development / Maintenance plan.
    Use a calendar and map out when you’ll be adding new content. How often will the ‘latest events’ section be updated? Who will update it? When will you review the product descriptions? Or case studies?
  21. Keep a journal of this whole process

This website redesign checklist was adapted from a post on Marketingfinger.com.


Should You List Your Company in a B2B Online Directory?


As the leading B2B online directory, we hear this question a lot at Business.com.

To help you understand how to evaluate an online directory, the number of listings in different directories you should manage and how to prioritize submissions, we’ve put together this handy directory submission checklist.

Have a look if you’re curious about the role directory submissions play in your overall B2B online marketing program.