Thursday, April 23, 2015

B2B Buying Differs for Millennials, Gen X, Boomers

If you want your business-to-business marketing to work across generations, you may need to change things up. Millennial buyers are distinctly different from previous generations, namely Gen X and Baby Boomer purchasers, in their B2B buying preferences, according to a MarketingProfs report of recent IBM research. IBM analyzed data from a survey of 704 people who influence or are responsible for B2B purchasing decisions of $10,000 or more for companies in 12 countries and 6 industries. The study found that, when researching products and services, Millennials (born 1980-1993) want to interact directly with vendors' representatives far more than Gen X (born 1965-1979) or Baby Boomers (born 1954-1964). Gen X buyers rely most on third-party articles/blogs/reviews to research products and servcies, while Baby Boomers rely most on trade shows. But before you send a rep out to knock on Millennials' doors, note that Millennials opt for remote over face-to-face vendor interactions, with some 69% of Millennials saying they prefer e-mail communications compared with only 24% who prefer in-person meetings. And when it comes to the vendor attributes most likely to impress potential B2B buyers, there is another generational divide: Millennial buyers value ease of doing business most highly, while Gen X buyers look for assurances that they'll be satisfied with their purchase, and Baby Boomers prize a vendor's ability to respond quickly. For more details of the study, see

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tips for Integrating Social Media and E-mail

In today's multi-channel environment, integrating social media and e-mail is key to enhancing the digital marketing power of both for business and nonprofit organizations. A recent Entrepreneur magazine article cited six creative ways to get social and e-mail working in tandem, and provided step-by-step instructions to boot! The six tactics include: 1) uploading e-mail subscriber lists to social networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook); 2) retargeting e-mail subscribers/responders with social ads on Facebook and Twitter; 3) letting social networks send e-mails for you via notifications from social communities you join, such as LinkedIn groups; 4) automating e-mail to seek social shares by adding a CTA-share to an e-newsletter or leveraging personal e-mail sharing with tools such as SendBloom to get the ball rolling; 5) collecting e-mail addresses on Twitter and Facebook; and 6) creating an exclusive social group for e-mail subscribers. For the full article, go to

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring-Clean Your Event Marketing for Higher ROI

Part of your marketing department's spring cleaning should be a thorough review of event marketing plans to remove dusty, worn-out strategies and tune up for higher ROI. A recent MarketingProfs post helpfully lays out six drivers of event marketing ROI, and we suggest you check to make sure all are in place and running smoothly. First, make sure that all stakeholders are using the same playbook, with common goals and metrics for success. Executives may want increased lead quality, but an on-site team focused on maximizing contact forms regardless of quality isn't going to deliver. Next, plan how each event will engage its audience in a way that compels action and achieves goals, whether the aim is audience data collection, sales or brand message sharing. Just being there isn't enough. Third, make sure event strategy includes lead-capture best practices; namely, throw out those paper forms and embrace digital apps and auto-uploads for more accurate and timely data collection and database entry. Timely post-show data analysis, data distribution and follow-up with new and potential customers should be a top priority; marketing automation tools for e-mailing coupons, incentives and follow-up messages are one way to boost responsiveness. Also, benchmark results against competitor events and your own past events in terms of leads, sales, social profile, engagement, site traffic, brand awareness, etc., and adjust future strategies. Finally, debrief with stakeholders who were at the event to identify issues behind the data--such as booth location, technology glitches, audience feedback and even inclement weather--and fine-tune plans moving forward. For the complete article, go to

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Study Reveals the 7 Habits of Successful Marketers

If you want to lead the market, you'll need to market like the leaders. There's no arguing with the results: Companies with more advanced marketing and sales capabilities have 30% greater revenue growth than the average firm in their sector, according to a recent benchmarking study by McKinsey & Company. Per a report by The Economist Group, the McKinsey analysis looked at more than 140 leading B2B and B2B2C global businesses and identified the seven marketing and sales hallmarks of the top-tier firms. The seven ingredients of the market-leaders' secret sauce: 1) view marketing and sales as an investment, not an expense; 2) know what needs to be fixed based on detailed marketing comparisons against best-performing peers; 3) target the capabilities that matter most, so that while there may be 40 marketing and sales skills impacting growth and profitability, the best companies focus on improving only about six; 4) don't try to do too much at the same time; 5) tailor improvement in marketing capabilities to current stage of development, whether the performance challenge is growth, profitability or both; 6) think about institutional capabilities and priorities, not just individual skills; 7) have an operating model with specific, measurable goals, embedded in a culture of review, incentive and leadership. For more on the study's "seven habits" of successful marketing and sales, read

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Is Digital Dazzle Blinding Marketers to Mail Power?

There's no denying that digital advertising offers a low-cost way to quickly reach millions of eyeballs and score a high volume of clicks/leads. But we like the caveat recently provided by a Target Marketing Magazine blog post by Carolyn Goodman, president of Goodman Marketing Partners. Goodman argues that the "digital mystique" should not blind marketers to the enduring value of snail mail in delivering actual buyers. As she points out, marketing experience proves that mass media vehicles (like online ads) will tend to drive higher lead volume, but they'll be lower quality leads (lower conversion to sale); meanwhile, targeted media (like direct mail) will tend to deliver lower lead volume, but the leads will be higher quality (likely to purchase). The weak net response for digital ads is further impacted by today's noisy online landscape, she notes. As any recent Internet foray shows, digital ads are often lost in sites' excess ad clutter, poorly targeted delivery, retargeting frequency excesses, and other annoyances. Thus, while The New York Times quotes the claim of Jon Swallen, chief research officer of Kantar Media North American, that "the cost efficiencies of digital advertising enable many marketers to buy more for less," many of Goodman's startup clients are asking about putting marketing dollars into direct mail. Goodman quotes one CEO's simple explanation: "Our board no longer has the patience for our slow pace of growth because we tied our marketing investment to the digital advertising landscape. We get lots of clicks, but very few buyers." To read the full post:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rev Direct Mail's Offline-Online Conversion Power

In the age of paperless digital communications, why bother with old-fashioned direct mail marketing? Well, even digital giant Google uses direct mail in some ad campaigns! The tech leader's strategy acknowledges direct mail's advantages even in a digital world: Direct mail can drive traffic to a website as well as a brick-and-mortar location; direct mail still leads other channels in response rate and cost per lead; and, as other marketers go all-digital, direct mail actually stands out in mailboxes and makes a guaranteed connection that cluttered, filtered e-mail inboxes and online ad spaces cannot claim. Still, direct mail ROI is no slam dunk. For ways to optimize online and offline conversion for direct mail, take a look at a recent DirectMarketingIQ article by Katherine Halek, print strategy adviser with the Texas-based printer Signazon. Here are a few key points: First, and foremost to our mind, use a highly targeted mailing list to reach the customers most likely to respond. Next, have your creative stand out in the mailbox with an eye-catching accessible format (such as a postcard), a larger-size piece, or an unusual design (such as dimensional or shaped mail). Always include a QR code so smartphone users (over 64% of Americans) can scan and go direct to a landing page. But also print a simple, memorable URL for those who don't use QR codes. If possible, time mailings to coincide with real events, such as a sale or show, for extra response impact; the mailer can include a discount coupon or gift offer, for example. A single mailing won't create brand awareness, so make cumulative efforts by mailing more than once and combining mail with followups via other channels. Finally, use mail's unique in-home physicality to make a personal connection, turning database information into personalized salutations, content and offers. For more tips, go to

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Staying on Top of E-mail Trends That Deliver ROI

Marketers are expected to spend $2.3 billion on e-mail marketing this year, and emerging e-mail trends can mean the difference between stellar marketing ROI and wasted dollars for many moving forward. Our thanks to Liga Bizune's article for MarketingProfs, which highlights six e-mail trends likely to define success in the next few years. Her list includes 1) planning for the triage effect and creative challenge of wearable technology like smartwatches; 2) adapting e-mail to the continued charge of mobile marketing, with its triage, creative and content impacts; 3) proximity and geolocation opportunities for hyper-targeting and smart automation; 4) the arrival of video as a standard e-mail engagement and sharing technique; 5) embrace of transactional e-mail, which delivers four times more revenue than promotional e-mail, via detailed list segmentation and optimized, timely delivery; and 6) greater use of predictive analytics for behavioral marketing, allowing for automated, triggered, targeted and re-targeted messaging throughout the sales funnel. For details on each trend, go to