True Influence October 2018 Blog Round-up
October Blog Round-up — Marketing technology is continuously gaining momentum – and pushing up the price tags of martech companies – as more companies recognize the financial benefits they can generate by adding a marketing platform to their mix.
Companies can also reap rewards by forming content syndication partnerships, which helps them improve their sales by building brand awareness through increased exposure to their content.
One of the latest partnerships is between True Influence and Edgewave, a cybersecurity firm that recently added the content syndication program ContentLEADS to its marketing strategy.
Leading other online news, True Influence partner Marketo was sold to Adobe for $3 billion more than it was previously valued.
Both suggest that marketing technology will continue to grow and evolve, giving B2B businesses that take advantage of the latest tech the edge they need to slay the competition.
FROM OUR TRUE INFLUENCE BLOGS:
There was quite a bit of online coverage – Odessa American and Berkshire Hathaway’s Business Wire were among the media mentions – of the cybersecurity company Edgewave adding True Influence’s content syndication program ContentLEADS to boost its sales and expand marketing efforts.
In the wake of numerous costly cyberattacks – Yahoo, Facebook and Google among them – cybersecurity is growing as fast as martech, and a union between the two makes perfect sense.
Through True Influence, Edgewave will bulk up its sales team and expand its marketing efforts to generate more qualified leads, focusing on company growth and increased profits.
“ContentLEADS helped take the content that we created and connect it with millions of possible prospects,” said Tom Beck, VP of marketing at Edgewave. “We immediately saw a surge of qualified, inbound leads for our sales team to nurture through the pipeline and convert to revenue. We consider True Influence to be a partner who plays a key role in driving our sales and profitability as we expand our footprint and establish market leadership in the cybersecurity industry.”
ContentLEADS is focused on providing educational, informative content to B2B buyers at a time when they are actively researching a purchase, helping to establish companies as authorities in their field and give them an edge over their competition.
As part of True Influence’s line of marketing products, ContentLEADS works in synergy with InsightBASE, which identifies accounts that are researching a product or service so there is a heightened awareness of which companies will be receptive to content that will help them make a more informed purchasing decision.
Content Syndication Leads Give Your Marketing A Jumpstart
As more companies began taking advantage of our own ContentLEADS program, we continued our focus on the benefits of content syndication this month with several blog posts addressing different aspects of the new trend, including how syndication can instantly expand marketing efforts, how to choose the right content syndication partner, and from True Influence CMO Kay Kienast, how to ensure that the most effective content syndication assets are being employed by your partner.
Because content is such an important part of a business’s marketing strategy – Kienast pointed out a Forrester report from 2017 that said almost half of B2B marketers (43 percent) lost business because they didn’t do their homework and delivered content that didn’t match customer needs – finding a content syndication partner that understands what target audience will be receptive to your content in vital.
“It’s a real challenge, and it all boils down to the marketing fundamentals of knowing who your customers are and what they need,” Kienast wrote.
True Influence has learned through its ContentLEADS program that providing the most beneficial content as a prospect travels through all points of your sales funnel – not just the beginning – is the most effective way to develop a lasting relationship. Content that is delivered at the right time will help establish your business as an expert in your field, and will show potential prospects how partnering with you can benefit them.
Content syndication partners should take the same approach to content as most B2B businesses do. Content is provided as information to potential prospects, not offered as a sales pitch. Content is education and should be seen as an asset to the recipient, not to your business. Ultimately, however, if the content is effective, profits won’t be one-sided.
Content assets should do three key things, Kienast said, in order to ultimately benefit both sides of a business partnership:
• Initially, content should showcase the benefits of your product or service to a potential prospect.
• Content should show how other businesses are using your product, and how it compares to other similar products on the market.
• At the end of the funnel, content should include “details of how your product can address specific pain points, including case studies and ROI analysis, for prospects who are ready to decide.”
ACROSS THE WEB:
With Adobe’s purchase of True Influence partner Marketo for $4.8 billion came questions regarding the price tag, since the company was last purchased for $1.8 billion by Vista Equity Partners just two years ago.
According to a blog post appearing Oct. 11 on the website Adexchanger, Marketo’s high-end price tag may be a sign of things to come for marketing technology companies, given the importance the emerging technology plays in a business’s overall success.
“The intrinsic value of the business was more than Wall Street said it was,” said Jason Holmes, Marketo’s former COO.
While Marketo saved money by hiring a new team of executives after the initial Vista sale – “It’s a formulaic process, but based on data and they get results,” Holmes said – some key acquisitions made by Marketo following the sale increasing its overall value, making the $3 billion additional dollars a worthy investment for Adobe.
Other martech firms are looking at deals with similar price tags, and buyers and investors are confident of a payout, given the room marketing technology has for growth.
According to a new study, one of the biggest roadblocks for B2B business salespeople using outbound marketing techniques is fear – the fear of calling new prospects on the phone.
Based on the results of the study by ValueSelling Associates, conducted by Selling Power and recapped in a post appearing Oct. 16 on Mediapost’s website, although almost half of all B2B sales people have trouble making cold calls (49.1 percent were afraid to pick up the phone), they didn’t see email as a viable replacement for making that call. Only 23 percent of the 160 sales professionals who took part in the survey believed email was an effect method of contacting potential prospects.
Email was outranked in the survey by referrals (77 percent), phone (46 percent), trade shows (30 percent) and social media (29 percent), while webinars ranked near the bottom of the list, at 8 percent.
According to the survey, sales reps doing outbound prospecting face the following challenges:
• Maintaining organized and consistent outreach – 59.6%
• Giving up cold calling too soon – 52.9%
• Fear of cold calling – 49.1%
• Finding and accessing the key decision making regarding the purchase – 42.3%
• Unskilled at prospecting through social media – 37.5 %
• Not adequately researching a prospect before making contact – 34.6%
So, what does this say about outbound marketing – trying to sell a prospect on your company’s product or service through traditional advertising – as opposed to inbound marketing, which uses content as a technique to attract your target audience to your business.
As we learned in the True Influence blog about content syndication, email is seen as an extremely effective tool to reach potential prospects if you are providing them with something of value (content) rather than using email as another form of cold calling. Statistics from eMarketer survey found that email had a return on investment that was 122 percent higher than social media, online ads and other lead generation channels for information, making it one of the best ways to share content – a key marketing tool that can establish your business as a leader in your field – with potential prospects.
Also of interest, for B2B companies using an effective marketing platform, information about a company’s key decision maker would already be in the sales rep’s hand, erasing at least one of the top concerns for sales reps. Additionally, cold calling would be less terrifying if platforms could determine where in your company sales funnel a potential prospect was. Calling the right person at the right time – which is what True Influence’s platform InsightBASE allows – strengthens the likelihood of making the sale.
It seems fairly clear that marketing trends are moving away from outbound marketing, and cold calling will eventually be obsolete, ending the fear sales reps have of picking up the phone.
And while marketing technology is fast becoming more refined and better at targeting potential protects, B2B businesses still need to have an intimate understanding of their customer, writes Kate Howe in the Oct. 21 blog post that appeared on the marketing website The Drum.
Howe asks an interesting question. As tech-based tools such as account-based marketing, artificial intelligence and data-driven personalization continue to grow, is all that tech getting in the way of marketers developing an understanding of their customer?
We now know that data is one of the best tools available for getting to know potential prospects, and it does provide an opportunity to determine why type of content is most valuable for potential prospects, establishing your business as an expert in your field and deepening trust.
Despite its tech-based roots, there is an intimacy to account-based marketing that requires more understanding of not only your target audience, but also your target audience’s wants and needs.
There are still hurdles, however, especially when it comes to data analysis. Martech harnesses a wealth of information, but if you aren’t able to use that data to develop a vision that guides your marketing strategy, it won’t be of much use.
However, if you understand what your data is telling you about your customer base, tech doesn’t erode creativity. In fact, it provides an opportunity to generate more creative spark. Tech does much of the legwork in tracking prospects for marketers, which allows them to put more focus on developing innovative, personalized content that will ultimately be more effective.
Businesses have come to expect a personalized experience during their buying journey, and tech makes that possible.
In turn, personalization generates emotion, which according to a report from the Financial Times Commercial Insight Group and the ad agency gyro (Howe is CEO of gyro’s UK office), “confident optimism” is what B2B businesses are seeking when they look for business partners.
That can be established through relevant content that establishes expertise along with factors that showcase what you as a business partner can do to help improve your prospect’s business.
“Today’s B2B customers expect to receive the same personalized experiences they will have come to expect in their everyday life,” Howe wrote. “Just as B2B technology has become more accessible, B2B marketing must now evolve as B2C has, though the challenge remains the same for both – establish an emotional connection with the consumer.”
While inbound marketing is gaining more traction among B2B marketers, there are times when outbound marketing can be equally effective, as the industrial brand ErectaStep found with its playful ad campaign bringing to life the creators of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.
The campaign, revealed in an Oct. 25 story from Adweek, the B2B company, a maker of modular steps that counts Dow, Boeing and NASA among its prestigious list of clients, is the first national TV campaign for the company.
The company’s agency of record, RED7, put together the irreverent work, which including a 2-minute online version as well as a 30-second commercial airing on stations including CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery and MSNBC, which makes industrial steps seem fun, a tough act for many similar brands to follow.