Thursday, November 29, 2018

How to Use Your Marketing Analytics Smartly

How to Use Your Marketing Analytics Smartly

Marketing organizations are on a quest to become more data-driven. As a result, they use, on average, about 16 different technology platforms—but only a few organizations reap the full value of their investment.
What's more, the most recent CMOSurvey.org study predicts analytics will consume 19% of Marketing's budget by 2021. About another 22% of the budget will go to technology. Together, those two investments will account for nearly 50% of Marketing's budget.
Yet, the CMOSurvey.org study reports that only about one-third of marketing organizations use analytics to make program or strategic decisions. And less than 20% of respondents reported that the use of analytics made a significant contribution to company performance.
Despite those increases in investment and advances in technology, "marketers are still challenged to maximize the potential value of analytics," according to the most recent CMOSurvey.org study.
Tom Davenport and Jeanne Harris, in their classic book, Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning, provided a road map for becoming an analytical competitor and using analytics to create value and growth—the purview of Marketing. Marketers should learn to use analytics to address at least five growth opportunities:
  1. Acquisition of more valuable customers
  2. Acquisition of customers who will buy more from you
  3. Acquisition of customers who will buy more of your high-value products/services
  4. Retention of high-value customers
  5. Identification of marketing activities that have the greatest impact on accelerating customer acquisition and improving retention
Move these four analytics capabilities to the top of your list
For a decade, we've known what it takes to fuel growth with analytics. Yet four recurring themes account for the majority of the challenges continuing to thwart the progress of all organizations, including Marketing, regarding analytics:
  1. Lack of quality data
  2. Lack of people (that is, the number of people needed to perform the work)
  3. Lack of skills (the current talent doesn't have the necessary skills to perform the work)
  4. Lack of predictive tools (despite all the technology that is in play, there is still a high need for predictive tools)
By working to improve those four areas, every marketing organization can be smart with its analytics.
1. Collect quality data
Data is the basic ingredient for any analytics. Many organizations continue to be challenged by the sheer volume and problematic quality of data:
  • According to Domo, "over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day." And, it's estimated that 1.7MB of data will be created every second for every person on earth by 2020.
  • According to the Experian 2018 Data Management Benchmark report, "on average, respondents in the US believe that 33% of their customer and prospect data is inaccurate in some way—a figure that has increased from 28% just one year prior." That is not a technology problem. That is a human problem. Almost half of the quality issues are related to human error.
Improve quality-data collection capability with…
  • Basic blocking and tackling
  • A solid data management strategy
  • Good data management processes
2. Incorporate data from a wide variety of sources
Although traditional sources of customer data still dominate, companies are increasing their use of newer data sources, including POS data, transaction data, and research data. Make sure your organization has a data inventory so you can know what data you have, where it is, how frequently it is updated, and who is responsible for maintaining the data.
3. Recruit, train, and retain capable talent
You need the right people to translate the data into actionable insights. Many people may have the technical training for the math, but they may lack the ability to know which data is important and the business skills that help them see the relationship between the analytics and the business.
Developing business-savvy marketing scientists means investing in your analytics people beyond their technical skills. Improve that capability by teaching current marketing scientists how to translate and use the data to tell a compelling business and customer story.
Every marketer needs basic analytics today. Make sure every new hire is analytically inclined. The days when marketers could shy away from the numbers are over.
4. Look for tools to support predictive models
There are two distinct tools that marketing organizations need to be smart with for analytics: One is the set of tools to perform the computations; the other is a set of models that help you understand the impact of an action.
  • Tools. Predictive analytics software can give your company the power to see the future. Selecting a tool is just like buying a bicycle: If you're a novice, start with a beginner's bike—not too many gears, durable tires, and so on. Plan to upgrade to something more specialized, sophisticated, and complex as you gain experience.

    If you're an experienced rider, then you select a bike that will help you achieve your goals. Avid experienced riders might have several bikes—one for mountain-biking, one for road-riding, one for competitive racing, and so on. The same idea holds true for analytics tools. There are numerous resources to help you learn about tools. If you're a novice, be sure the supplier provides solid training in analytics as well as in how to use the tool.

  • Models. Every marketing organization should have a library of customer-centric models to help understand and anticipate customer behavior and identify when customers are at risk. Build models for all stages of the customer lifecycle. Predisposition to purchase, attribution and mix, and customer vulnerability models should be in your library. Refresh your models as new data becomes available. Update every model at least annually.
There's no going back
Analytics and martech are essential tools for Marketing. They are essential to being a nimble, effective, and customer-centric organization. Together, analytics and martech pave the way for Marketing to serve as a strategic member of the organization, to manage and measure marketing performance, and to facilitate customer, market, and product decisions.
Sometimes, knowing what to do is not enough to successfully execute a project. But you can get help to better integrate analytics into your everyday processes to achieve your goals.
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If you need help with your email, web site, video, or other presentation to promote your company, product, or service, please give me a call at 440-519-1500 or email me at john@x2media.us.

X2Media can help you target your content and get your message to the audience in a way that it not only seen and heard, but remembered.

Until next month. . . .remember. "you don't get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression."
Always make it a good one!!

From X2Media I would like to thank you for your time.
John E. Hornyak
X2Media, LLC 

Six Tips to Ensure Your B2B Content Marketing Efforts Are Not Wasted

Six Tips to Ensure Your B2B Content Marketing Efforts Are Not Wasted

Content marketing can be the backbone of a successful business. Crafting useful and informative content that appeals to your target audience and helps them resolve their pain points is precisely what can help you sell your offerings.

Surprisingly, however, not every business focuses its efforts on content marketing. According to the latest content marketing research from MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute (CMI), only 37% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.
The same study found that 38% of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy that isn't documented, and 25% of B2B marketers don't even have a defined strategy for their content marketing efforts.
If you are a B2B marketer who places a high value on content marketing, and you have a strategy to support your assets, you are already ahead of the game. But are you taking the right steps to ensure that none of your content marketing is being wasted?
Here are some actionable tips that will help you make your content marketing efforts pay off and help you effectively achieve your goals.

1. Build your content strategy around your mission statement
Creating and marketing content is not rocket science, yet a lot of marketers often lose sight after a while and have a tough time getting back on the right track. That is why you should build your content strategy around your mission statement: You will have a guide that you can easily follow.
Your content marketing mission statement will capture the essence of your content strategy and help you create high-quality content that converts. It will point you in the right direction and help you deliver real value to your readers.
Accordingly, your mission statement must be focused on your target audience's needs and pain points—not on your products or services.
Include your mission statement on your website so your customers can easily see it. It goes without saying that you should always deliver on your promise and consistently provide quality and compelling content that your readers will find useful.
2. A content calendar is a necessity

After creating your blog and learning the blogging basics necessary for making your blog effective, you need to create a content marketing plan that will guide you toward your goals. That plan should include a content calendar to give you clear insight into what, where, and when you will publish.
A content calendar will help you stay organized by detailing every piece of content that you will create in a certain period of time. It will help you schedule your content creation and distribution, helping you to stick to that schedule to maintain your blogging consistency.
Your content calendar will both save you time and prevent you from being repetitive by giving you a clear view of the topics you will need to tackle each month.
If you're not publishing a lot of content, Google Calendar might be just the right platform for you. But if you're publishing a lot of content, use a tool to help you seamlessly manage all your content marketing tasks. For example, Asana has a great editorial calendar feature that can help you stay on track with your content and increase productivity in your content marketing team.
3. Prepare a content brief
A content brief is an essential part of your content creation process because your content writers will use that brief as a guide to deliver high-quality content that compels your readers to return or take action.
Your content brief should contain information about your vision and everything your brand stands for. It should contain the goals, purpose, and objectives of your content so your writers can fully understand what you want to achieve. Include information about your target audience as well, because, after all, you're crafting content for them.
Also, address important specifications in the brief, such as the voice, tone, and style you want your content to have, to help your content creators inject your brand's personality into every single word they write.
All of that is especially important if you outsource your content creation and need to help the writers understand who you and your audience are so they can perfectly tailor the content to your and your readers' needs.
4. Establish and keep track of your KPIs (key performance indicators)
If you don't define your KPIs, how will you know whether your content marketing efforts are paying off? Your KPIs are metrics that will help you measure the success of your content marketing strategy. They will help you see how your content is performing so you know whether you are hitting your targets.
Define the key metrics that will show you where you stand with your goals and objectives, and track them regularly. For instance, you can track your blog subscriptions, time on page, bounce rates, conversion rates, traffic, page rank, sales, revenue, and anything else directly related to your defined business goals.
Once your KPIs show you that you've achieved a certain goal, you will know what you're doing right and what you may need to focus on a bit more.
5. Get feedback from the people it's intended for
Many B2B marketers mistake criticism for negative feedback when, in fact, it represents constructive feedback that can help them learn and improve. Feedback from your target audience is the best source for improvement, which is exactly why you should encourage your readers to give you their honest opinions regarding the quality of your content.
Enable comments on your blog and social media channels, and encourage discussions that you will also take part in. Take every piece of feedback into consideration to help you make better decisions that will lead to higher engagement and customer satisfaction.
Email is one of the best ways to gather customer feedback, but social media and comment boxes on your blog are also useful. When collecting feedback, explain why it is important and how you will use it.
And, most important, show your audience that you are effectively listening to them and that their feedback provides your business with great value.
6. Identify optimal content channels
It's not the smartest idea to distribute your content on every possible channel. Your target audience certainly doesn't use all the available channels, so there's no point in wasting time and effort marketing your content on platforms that won't bring you results.
Instead, identify the content channels that will help you reach the right type of audience and expand your customer base. Where do your target customers spend most of their time online? Which channels do they prefer for reading the type of content that you create or plan on creating?
Once you figure out what those best lead-generation channels are, you can focus your content marketing efforts there.
Those six tips may seem a bit basic at first, but they are essential for helping you achieve content marketing success.
Start with your mission statement to develop an effective content strategy. Then create a brief and content schedule to serve as a guide, and measure the performance of your content by keeping track of your KPIs and collecting constructive feedback from your readers.
All the while, share your content on the right social channels, where you will regularly communicate with your followers and entice them to check out your blog to see what else you have to offer. Capture their attention and keep engaging them, and you will hit the bullseye with every piece of content you produce.

Flip It, Turn It, 'Bop It!' The Traditional Marketing/Sales Funnel Is Out, So What Really Works?

Flip It, Turn It, 'Bop It!' The Traditional Marketing/Sales Funnel Is Out, So What Really Works?

If you have kids, you may know the Bop It! game. If you don't... picture a portable gaming unit (a joystick of sorts) that tests your reaction time when performing a series of commands. Those commands are in random order, and players need to respond correctly and as quickly as possible, or they're out of the game.

You're asking, What exactly does this have to do with marketing?
Well, Bop It! reminds me of the many new go-to-market (GTM) strategies that have emerged because of the need to move away from the antiquated linear marketing and sales funnel, as originally defined by William W. Townsend—soon to celebrate its 95th birthday. Sales and marketing teams are trying all different approaches, but whether they flip the funnel, turn it, or "bop it" (the choice of nine-year-olds), the traditional funnel doesn't properly reflect how most B2B GTM's run.
The main issue? It doesn't encompass the way buyers behave, the way purchasing decisions are made, or the way customer engagement should be designed. Buying cycles for today's complex global enterprises are more multidimensional and spiral-like, with a continuum of purchasing decisions made over the customer's lifecycle. Typically, the initial sale is just the beginning: 80+% of organizational revenue actually comes later.
That's because in today's digital marketplace, where more is sold "as a service," companies can "try and buy," thus leaving most of their lifetime value on the table for future purchases.
Particularly in the case of software, businesses can purchase fewer licenses and test-drive a product or service without making a long term or expensive commitment. Many industries are shifting to a Cloud-like services model that allows this.
Moreover, with everything from human interactions to business transactions being measurable, the "trial model" empowers buyers to require tangible ROI before expanding.
It's not bad news, though. There is a way to win in this environment.
The Bow Tie: A Funnel for Continuous Marketing
So, in this world, where customers start small and grow, what does it mean specifically for marketing? Most marketing activities today occur before the sale, versus after the win, which right off the bat creates a major disconnect between investment and generated revenue. Instead of thinking of customers as "exiting the funnel" once a deal is signed, marketers should model the entire customer lifecycle in terms of a "Bow Tie" Funnel" to optimize for and sustain revenue growth.
The Bow Tie methodology—essentially an infinity loop for marketing efforts wherein a customer is always treated like a prospect—ensures that marketers, together with Sales, are providing value and engaging at each stage of the relationship: before, during and after the sale.
That's a fundamental concept ingrained in account-based marketing.
Opening the doors to new customers is important, but so is widening the door for existing customers. In a sense, marketing needs to prepare or trigger the next sale, similar to the Nir Eyal's model of hooked triggering events for user adoption and habit creation. Marketing needs to think about the customer lifetime value holistically—from initial sales, to loyalty, to expansion via upsell, and ultimately to renewal and through this cycle again.
Post-Initial Sales Approaches: The Right Side of the Bow Tie
Marketers who don't use the Bow Tie typically focus solely on the left side—creating awareness and measuring interest levels. However, there are several key post-sale areas that marketers should capitalize on.
For example, when a new customer need is identified via a sales interaction, data analysis or marketing insight, marketers can take customer relationships to the next level, create growth opportunities, and eventually turn them to brand evangelists.
Below are a few Bow Tie right-side opportunities to explore, allowing marketers to "trigger" the next revenue generating customer event:
  • Implementation: Larger and more complex deployments often need consulting and professional services after initial setup. Be on the lookout for opportunities to offer support, mainly in the form of marketing created education and guidance.
  • Renewal: Automatic renewals may be easier for rebilling, but manual renewals provide an opportunity to cross-sell or upsell. Use the renewal process as a way to offer new services.
  • Expansion and upsell: Happy clients make the best referrals. Harness your successful client relationships as the basis for expansion suggestions. Suggest additional offerings during the account evaluation, or mention other departments within the organization that could also benefit from your solutions.
  • Cross-sell: Identify opportunities to share complementary products to what customers are already using or evaluating, and thus expand the deal.
Programs to Implement to Trigger the Next Sale
There are some real-world tactics that can yield impressive outcomes for your business:
  • Send educational newsletters from Sales. One of our customers continuously educates prospective buyers and stays top of mind by sending monthly newsletters via account executives. It's important to take a consultative approach to content to gain trust as an adviser. Also use third-party content, such as analyst reports and industry blogs, that are rich in information; they, too, can lend credibility.
  • Prepare for upsell. Another customer identified an upsell opportunity, but, instead of abruptly springing it on the buyer, created an educational campaign that started a month beforehand. By placing a strong focus on trend education rather than on the product, the company was successful.
  • Host webinars focused on specific stages. Successful marketers run webinars for groups of existing accounts that are at the same stage of the Bow Tie Funnel—for example, "have purchased Product X and are looking to roll it out globally." This approach allows you to be very targeted with webinar content, providing immense value to customers.
  • Provide knowledge-sharing opportunities. Provide opportunities for customers to talk to each other in the vein of a dedicated customer community. Whether via customer forums or informal one-to-ones, peer interaction can go a long way. One of the ground rules is to stay on the sidelines: Facilitate the discussion, but don't run it.
  • Send end-of-year summaries. Some companies routinely communicate value and ROI to customers; that's the hook for the next sale. Organizations that create end-of-year campaigns to demonstrate the success of the past year and plans for the next are frontrunners in earning the customer's trust.
Beyond the Bow Tie
To evolve into a high-performing GTM team, marketers can enlist other tactics. The first includes formulating a different engagement model with Sales, something talked about a lot in forming ABM strategy: Instead of handing off leads to Sales, Marketing needs to be fully involved in the sales process.
Harnessing customer data is also key to value-driven marketing. Because we know so much more about customers than prospects—such as key stakeholders, their business goals, challenges, usage patterns, and more—it's imperative to incorporate this data into marketing campaigns to make them more personalized, relevant, and effective.
Finally, because people buy from people, position a dedicated contact on the front lines. Customers already have a relationship with the account and/or customer success manager, so that person must be at the forefront of every marketing activity: People interact with people—not just with a brand.