With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us – along with some calories and cash – it’s a good time to look back on some of the best B2B marketing reads from November, not only from the True Influence blog archives, but also from around the web and fresh off the press.
Not only did we seek out information-packed posts that will help elevate your B2B prospecting, but we’ve also pulled in some stories that showcase the dangers of relying on predictive analytics, as reflected by the results of the presidential election.
From True Influence
True Influence Reports Strong Revenue Growth and Increased Profitability for Q3 2016
The third quarter of 2016 was the best one yet for True Influence, which reported a 52 percent increase in profits compared to the same period in 2015.
“Our extremely strong Q3 2016 results are a sign that True Influence has reached a scaling stage in our evolution,” said company CFO Kim Spaulding in a Nov. 1 press release. “We have surged ahead with technological innovation, team growth, and reaching customer targets in addition to making considerable revenue gains.”
With technological advances putting the power in the hands of the buyer, B2B marketing is not only more challenging, but also a vastly more important part of the entire process of doing business. Analytics have made determining a potential prospect easier, although marketing has to be specifically targeted to each prospect in order to have the right impact and get the results you want.
Marketing was what led to Donald Trump’s surprise win in his bid for the presidency, according to members of the American Marketing Association, including True Influence CEO Brian Giese.
Trump took advantage of key marketing tools, while Hillary Clinton relied on predictive analytics, which led her to neglect some regions of the country that she assumed would vote blue.
“Predictive intelligence” led to Clinton’s loss, said Giese. “The Clinton campaign relied on predictive analytics to make assumptions about how people voted. Instead, they should have the used machine-learning approach and intent signal® monitoring to pick up shifts happening in key counties and states that their polling methods missed.”
On the web
B2B businesses are faced with unique challenges, and here’s what experts in the field have been talking about this month:
Analytics has transformed the process of lead generation, giving the marketing department the tools it needs in order to generate leads.
By using analytics to track a prospect’s intent, B2B marketers can reach out to the right person at the right time, making a sale more likely. Having that knowledge in hand is key to “striking gold” when it comes to the increasingly difficult task of generating B2B leads.
And generating B2B leads is a tough business.
For almost 75 percent of B2B marketers, improved lead generation is the top goal for the coming year.
But according to the experts, that means bringing together all of a business’s departments – sales, research and development, customer service and any other department that may at some point impact the customer experience – to ensure that all parts of the business are working together to create a cohesive product or service that can be marketed with the same precision.
In addition to not working as a team, there are a wealth of different things that can prevent B2B marketers from generating enough leads to keep the sales department happy.
Some top mistakes, according to a post from the Business to Community website, include having a tired database full of outdated information, a failure by marketers to make the best use of available data to read prospects’ intent signals, a lack of understanding regarding your customer base and a failure to hit the “magic number” when it comes to calls to action. Too many, and your prospect sees them as furniture and they go unnoticed, not enough, and you run the risk of them forgetting about your product or service completely.
Making sure that your company has a solid identity and any interaction you have with potential prospects provides them with information that’s educational and valuable is one of the best ways to secure leads.
Sales & content marketing
According to a post by Laurence Minsky and Keith A. Quesenberry appearing on the Harvard Business Review website, social selling could be the best way to revive B2B sales, which have seen such a dramatic shift away from outbound marketing that at least 1 million B2B marketers could be replaced by analytics within the next four years.
Using social media as a networking platform allows marketers to interact with potential prospects, answer questions, provide educational information and develop a relationship that can guide marketers through a sale and establish relationships that last well beyond it.
Content marketing can be one of the most successful marketing tools you have in your arsenal, if you use it properly, writes Chuck Frey, who heads the content marketing at a digital agency, in a post appearing on the Content Marketing Institute website.
Content is what tells customers about your business, and is ultimately what sells it.
“For brands, it’s no longer a question of how you can use content to enhance the consumer’s perception of the brand, it’s a necessity. Content is the gateway into a brand’s soul, and when done right, it provides insights into the customer’s wants. It’s a brand’s job to understand the emotional needs of their customers and provide solutions that enhance their lives — not just sell them products,” says Jillian Hillard, Electrolux’s director of brand marketing, small appliances.
Our friends at Marketo took a look at ways businesses can damage their brand by making the wrong social media decisions. Not every tweet will be the knock-it-out-of-the-park success that Oreos saw with its “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” tweet the night of the Super Bowl blackout in 2013, but most posts or tweets should be focused and offer real – valuable – information. Sales pitches have a place, but social media is not it.
Looking to the future with anticipation of change is also important, according to Brian Fanzo, a digital marketing strategist with almost 100,000 followers on Twitter.
“I believe too many are creating strategies focused on where their audience is today and locking in a mindset that not only doesn’t embrace change, but forgets to factor in where their audience will be tomorrow. It’s not about being on every network; rather, I believe you must be listening and learning how and why others are on social networks you haven’t explored yet,” he said.
How predictive analytics failed Clinton
The American Marketing Association wasn’t alone in talking about how predictive analytics were the downfall of Hillary Clinton as she sought the White House top spot for the second time.
The presidential election proved that data is not infallible. According to this story appearing in the New York Times, because data is static, the margin of error can be surprisingly large.
That’s true for predictive analytics when it comes to business, as well. There is plenty of room for error when making assumptions based on past performances.
Putting so much emphasis on predictive analytics shows how crystal-ball data can be faulty.
“State polls were off in a way that has not been seen in previous presidential election years,” said Sam Wang, a Princeton professor who co-founded the Princeton Election Consortium, one of the forecasters that got the numbers completely wrong.
For the holiday season, there are plenty of business-centric books that are designed to make you a better businessperson, leader and motivator, no matter what line of work you happen to be in.
“Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations”
This book by best-selling author and Duke University professor Dan Ariely looks at how motivation is something we use in virtually every aspect of our life, shows us how easy it is to derail it and reminds us of the big payoff that comes when motivation propels us to accomplish our goals.
According to author and sales trainer David Hoffeld, CEO of the Hoffeld Group, almost half of all salespeople fail to make their sales quotas each year because they make the wrong moves in their quest to make those elusive sales. Hoffeld has harnessed how to make buyers more receptive to you and your product with tips on influencing people, although in this case, rather than winning friends, you’ll be earning sales.
Graphic designer, brand consultant and author Brian Johnson looks to some of the top companies in the world for tips on how to ensure that every aspect of your brand – from its mission statement to the typeface you choose – offers the same message, ensuring a sense of cohesion that breeds familiarity, and makes success more likely.
University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari steps out from the sidelines and offers his tips for team building that help talented individuals excel, advice that can be as successful in the boardroom as the basketball court.
“Commit to each other, be about each other without sacrificing your goals, and by doing this you can achieve all YOUR dreams and more,” he said in this new release he penned with co-author Michael Sokolove.
Author Laura Klein outlines how to not only build a new product, but also how to build a product that better meets consumer needs with a step-by-step process that merges empathy for the product users and analytics that determine exactly who those users are and how to target them successfully.
“This book should be mandatory reading for anybody making product decisions,” said Eric Ries, author of “The Lean Startup.”
No one wants to fail at a new venture, but it happens – a lot.
This Halloween release by Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital, reveals how both success and failure can be part of the business process, and how to get back up after a failure rather than allowing it to consume you. This read will not only help you be better prepared for the unexpected, but will also help you overcome those challenges when they arise.