MarTech Conference

“Expo+” pass for MarTech conference was quite remarkable! It gave us access to the Expo and one free session of our choice. Thursday Keynote was an excellent choice! 🙂

Scott presented major trends he observes while attempting to maintain the list and classification of marketing technologies.

  • Interesting to see that platform ecosystems allow us to combine “best-of-breed” with platform capabilities. Real Story Group also mentioned that in some cases platform tools are not as well integrated; integrating a different tool might require as much efforts – then… why not chose the best?
  • Blended models of software and service make sense! If the software is powerful, it is fairly complex and requires expert help to generate business benefit as soon as possible.
  • It was a pleasure to know that build vs. buy buttes were over. Now we can have our cake and eat it too with custom apps 🙂

MarTech landscape did not significantly changed. At the same time, the creators of the document we were watching over the years admitted that not all tools were included. (MarTech 2019 with downloadable list)

MarTech tools in local markets/languages? CRM specifically designed for health clubs? And an ability to create “citizen martech” with no coding expertise? Note to self – check https://airtable.com/

Real Story Group gave excellent advice on how to select vendors in the Expo theater:

  • We are at the greater risk of over-buying of technology than buying insufficient technical capacity. Trying to compare features lead to over-buying.
  • We should evaluate usage scenarios which are important for our business.
  • Eco system of the tool is important; particularly user eco-system (user conferences, user events).
  • Never buy technology before trying (I should have asked for clarification – how can you try a tool which needs to integrate with other business systems… before integrating the tool with other business systems, which can be a serious commitment in itself?)

Ann Lewnes made the most profound point during the Fireside Chat: “Customers struggle the most with people and process, not the technology.” Ah, we are human after all… no matter how much we love to talk about AI 🙂

ANA – Funnel Optimization

We did not talk only about the funnel… Though every marketer has a very passionate opinion about the funnel and rising expectations without rising budgets, the funnel performance is a result of many other aspects of the business.

Marketing technology is an excellent scapegoat. We often experience “analysis paralysis” in the avalanche of data, and the best approach might be the most simple option.

What is the trigger to buy? BDRs can ask customers this question and the insight from the conversations might be sufficient. We are dealing with complexity, but the needed insight might not be as complex.

Marketers are not satisfied with the technology they have; do not get the expected value from the technology.

Marketing technology is getting in the way of doing marketing

“We over-engineer our work…” “You can not have 45 KPIs, we need just 4…” “We are flying the airplane by instruments, why not look outside the window?”

Marketers overemphasize the data; sometimes, we are not willing to have a conversation until we have data. At the same time, because we are listening to data, we are plugging any data we have, even irrelevant, trying to make decisions…

If your spouse told you he/she was unhappy with something you did, would you require data?

Collaborate with sales on what is the most important to track. When you bring prospects to talk about their problems/needs, everybody is paying attention. This might be “small” data, but it can make a big difference.

Webinar Benchmark Report – 2019

Marketers watch carefully benchmark reports from different vendors, particularly the vendor they use. DECK 7 simplified our lives and created Webinar Benchmark Report – across several vendors.

The most insightful part of the report (from my perspective) is the registrants conversion to live attendees – across vendors and based on the webinar type.

The report also argues that the success metric of the webinar would be the number of registrants rather than live attendees, as all registrants expressed an interest in the topic and can be followed up as leads.

My guess, the best metric would depend on the company’s objective and specifics of a particular campaign. Webinar might be successful based on the registrants/attendees from specific accounts, or registrants company sizes, or actual engagement with the content, or even happiness of the sales organization with the quality of the generated leads 🙂

Another interesting point: on-demand webinars viewed differently. Viewers can skip sections of the content (lower viewing time), but more on-demand viewers will see the end of the webinar and the next steps.

Great report!

SiriusDecisions – Demand Creation Planning

SiriusDecisions is passionately helping marketers to prepare for 2019 with a few materials some of us find absolutely irresistible.

Marketers sometimes confuse programs with delivery mechanisms. A website or a content syndication effort are examples of delivery mechanisms, which support marketing programs. Delivery mechanisms include digital and non-digital channels (events, DM, etc.). I guess as we observe specialization of the marketing function, we also see a “merge” of digital and traditional delivery mechanisms into each demand-related family.

Interesting: as field marketing specializations persist, the definition of “what each function does” clarifies. Demand Marketing is probably no longer expects to evolve into ABM, but the definition of “Defined Demand Marketing” is definitely evolving. Some companies are starting to separate the roles, but may not yet fully separate the accounts.

SiriusDecisions recommend approaching marketing technologies selection from the perspective of business needs, rather than a specific task. Many technologies have overlapping capabilities, and business objectives consideration could help companies to find the best tool for the task and future needs.

Sample campaign performance report

Webinars, Webinars…

On24 runs a wonderful series of webinars on… how to run webinars. The insight is very useful and typically comes from companies, which are advanced webinar users (and religiously measure the success of their efforts).

How Ericsson is Growing Global Engagement Through Digital Events

  • Ericsson runs over 150 webinars a year; the number of webinars grows about 25% every year
  • Every campaign has a webinar component
  • Ericsson has webinar series specifically for analysts
  • Every physical event has a digital component
    • Challenge is packaging the event materials to be easily digested online
    • Many customers who attend physical events share video recording with colleagues (easiest way to share)
    • Physical events can be also used to prepare a “package” for a certain customer (ABM)
  • Video gets more engagement (no video needed if it is “just me talking,” the video is used when a piece of equipment, etc. could be demonstrated.
    • Ericsson partnered with a video production company
  • Webinars released just on-demand get slightly less attendance; attendees typically would like to ask questions
  • ABM: production webinars dedicated to specific accounts
    • Plan to expend this practice to additional accounts
    • 80% educational, 20% sales
    • Typically producing the webinar together with the customer
      • The customer sends invitations
      • Only employees of the target company can attend
    • This type of webinars get the most engagement
  • The best option for increased engagement: have 2 people to present as a dialog. This approach is less formal and usually preferred by the audience
  • Recommendation to experiment constantly around webinar content and delivery

Lessons from 1,000 webinars – Informa

Informa runs over 1,000 webinars a year in a very organized program (outgrew Excel as a program management tool).

  • 6 – 8 weeks cycle
  • Webinar registrations:
    • Majority of webinar registrants are coming from email
    • On24 promotes registration for the next webinar during the live event
    • On24 successfully tried LinkedIn for webinar registrations (less than $40 per registrant)
  • Case studies are a popular content type (strong registration)
  • Informa is seeing growth in a discussion-based webinars
  • Polls tip: if you can do a poll, where the audience will most likely answer a question in a certain way, and later in your presentation, you could show that this approach is wrong, it is a very powerful tool
  • Twitting during the live webinar brings additional registrants
  • Pre-recorded webinar:
    • polling is not possible
    • but a good option for multiple presenters with busy schedules
  • Webinar engagement correlates with a higher lead acceptance by sales (On24 data)

Expanding webinar program globally – Invidia

  • Nail down your process before global expansion
    • centralized calendar
    • process with clear timelines
    • central location with support materials
    • Templetize… everything!
    • Perfect the process and then share with regions
  • Regional events might require an additional week of preparation (translations, etc.)
  • Train one regional group at a time, and move to the next group when the first one is comfortable
  • Internal newsletter “Webinar Wednesday” – bi-weekly communication sent to the group of people interested in webinars in addition to Slack channel update
    • webinar best practices
    • tool changes
    • program update

How SFDC uses webinars

  • Why webinars are successful:
    • People are more comfortable providing their information in exchange for attending a webinar (information is valuable and they are accustomed to “register” for events)
    • Sales are more likely to follow up on webinar leads than some other type of leads (webinar attendees spent time listening to the company’s content)
  • SFDC uses a Webinar Brief, which is required 5-6 weeks in advance but promotes webinars only about 15 days in advance
  • Master webinar calendar is shared through the entire organization
  • Speakers are encouraged to promote webinars to their contacts
  • Sales are encouraged to promote webinars (marketing and sales promotional emails are used)

ANA – Breaking through with your CFO

event.pngWhile trying to connect with sales and negotiating with IT, marketers also need to convince a CFO that the dream initiative makes sense.  Based on the conversation at the last ANA Business Marketing event, the interest from finance is increasing.  Anecdotally, a financial representative is more likely to be present on a QBR an agency presents to the company this year compared to previous years.  Depending on the company size, it might be a CFO or another representative from Finance.  The question is the same: marketers need to present the case to the financial function of the company, and this function becomes more and more involved.

One of the first recommendations is actually “connecting” with the CFO, scheduling regular meetings, and learning CFO’s understanding (or misunderstanding) of marketing.  The conversation during the event suggested that this misunderstanding might be unexpected, and needs to be clarified first.

SiriusDecisions addressed a similar topic in its Think Like a CFO to Prove the Impact of Customer Engagement webcast.  During this presentation, a SiriusDecisions CFO explained marketers “how to speak his language,” and also gave a few very practical tips for justifying customer engagement initiatives.

cfo.PNG

Data is important for CFOs; smaller organizations, which may not have access to data science resources, could reduce the cost of the analysis by partnering with local universities.

cfo-2.PNG

SiriusDecision webcast is an excellent example of a framework to use and a case study presented by the CFO himself 🙂

SiriusDecisions Forum – Building an Audience-Centric B-to-B Content Engine

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Ah… we somewhat know our personas, but not enough (based on the consensus of the forum’s audience).

But…  we have so many personas and programs!  We need to prioritize personas by programs.

Key issues:

  • B-to-b organizations understand that modern buyers seek more and higher-quality content than ever before
  • Very few b-to-b companies understand their buyers’ decisions process and thus struggle to create the right content at the right time for their buyers
  • With an audience-centric approach, organizations have an opportunity to deliver better-quality and higher-impact content while increasing scale and efficiency.

Though smaller companies (<$100M) produce about 80% of content internally, larger organizations (>$1B), produce about 53% of content internally.

The unfortunate situation is that advanced organizations do not distribute all created content (activate = distribute).  Just adding a piece of content to the website is not “promotion.”

activation.png

Top reasons why the content is not used: findability and relevance.

Some organizations found success with the “content amnesty week” when any content can be easily re-surfaced without any questions asked about its original purpose and justification.

CXO Buyers indicate that previous experience with the company is the most likely reason behind the selection of the vendor (the experience does not require a previous purchase; it might be a webinar attendance, etc.).

preference.png

CXO opinion:

  • Analyst reports are the most effective (Gartner, etc.)
  • Content provided by a rep is very influential in the vendor selection
    • Successful sales reps use more content than unsuccessful ones
    • Packaged demos are effective when promoted by sales
  • CXOs engage in human and non-human interaction with the company at the same rate throughout the buying process (education > solution > selection)
    • Live webinars are considered “human interaction”

Interesting point from the audience:

  • “Look at the sales data: what is helping sales?  Very useful data, but a lot of work to find it.”
  • “Understand why deals were lost.  In some cases, the culprit might be pricing or product features rather than content.”

Content strategy is the biggest pain for the organizations and usually absent.  When internal stakeholders demand: “We need more content!” the reasonable question is: “What are you trying to accomplish?”

SiriusDecisions provides Content Transformation Roadmap.  The recommendation is to try content transformation without…  telling anybody (if it is the easiest approach  🙂 ).  “Just do it!”