BrightTALK – 2018 Benchmarks Report

Are the time when we knew the “secret sauce” of the “right” day of the week and the “right” time to promote the webinar over?¬† Maybe ūüôā

One recommendation has not changed, however, over the years: BrightTALK still recommends three dedicated emails over three weeks before the webinar to generate the best results.¬† Reducing the number of emails will limit the webinar’s audience.

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Interesting: the day of the week to promote the webinar does not play a significant role in generating registrations (BrightTALK measures registrations for the webinars rather than CTR or open rate of the email – very reasonable approach).

“Live Tomorrow” in the subject line seems to generate needed urgency (good to test in the future).

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Another interesting point is the wide range of time to host the webinar to maximize live views.  BrightTALK recommends selecting time based on presenter availability (reasonably), as the difference is minimal.

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Financial industry – afternoon webinars might be more successful.

BrightTALK also did not see much difference in the day of the week when the webinar is scheduled.  In the past Tuesday through Thursday were considered more effective; the new data suggest that Monday РFriday is completely acceptable.  Mondays even showed a slight increase in the attendance compared to the rest of the week.

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Marketers need to define the objective of the webinar (awareness?  lead gen?) and collaborate with the wider team on the promotion of an upcoming event (social, etc.)

Regions: presentations in the local language will increase attendance (Latin America example – over 1,000 live attendees tuned in to watch a webinar about WonnaCry Ransomware).

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More interesting points from another BrightTALK webinar…¬† about webinars:

  • As the role of marketing is changing to influence the entire customer journey, many “awareness” tools used throughout the sales process and beyond.¬† Financial Services (as a target audience) are more likely emphasize customer marketing than a search of new logos.¬† Use of the webinars will depend on the objective of the marketing organization.
  • How to increase live attendance?¬† Ask to submit questions in advance.¬† Use social media buzz to generate the interest to questions and speakers.¬† Create a hashtag for the webinar, and promote it in advance.¬† Asking questions in advance increases live attendance.
  • Attracting attendees with a gift card – typically produces more registrants, but does not have a good conversion to pipeline – people are only interested in the gift card, rather than the topic of the event.
  • Creation of videos: understand first what are you trying to achieve and what audience are you targeting.¬† Then, reverse-engineer these objectives into an interesting topic and a story.
  • Measurement of webinar’s success also depends on the organizational objective.¬† BrightTALK ultimately measures bookings and also retention.¬† The objective of generating net new is measured by first touch and multitouch is used for the overall measurement of the program success.¬† Webinars can accelerate pipeline 30% (BrightTALK data).
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ANA – Make Intent Data Actionable

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The event generated an enlightening discussion around intent data and its applications.

Definitions: “intent data” generally includes “first-party intent data” – site activity and marketing automation system activity, and “third-party data” – activity on other related sites.¬† I did not think about activity detected by company’s systems as “intent data,” though it does make sense.

Approaches that focus on organizational intent are better than relying on the actions of a single individual within the organization

The concept of TAM might be evolving (or “diverging” into two independently useful concepts):

  • Total Addressable Market
  • Total “In Market”

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“Predictive” and “Intent” are complementary concepts.¬† Predictive identifies “look-alikes” based on previous sales, with the need to periodically re-train the model.¬† Predictive is also limited to the “last year strategy:” a concentration on a specific vertical will influence “look-alike” pool, for example.¬† However, “look-alike” list of companies which are currently “in market” would be the most useful.

Marketing fads: last year was “predictive” and this year it is “intent.”¬† Ardent supporters of intent ate convinced intent is more useful: “give me the actual behavior rather than a theoretical one.”

Interesting use cases for intent data:

  • Last year closed lost with “no decision;” are they in market now?¬† Should we call them and check?
  • An intent data user: “I don’t need new clients!¬† I just need renewals!¬† But, if my customers are expected to renew in about 6 months, and it looks like they are in market, I want my reps to call them now!”
  • Trend: account activity spikes with a change in creative.¬† Brands might want to change creative 2-3 times per quarter
  • Intent data use in nurturing: JustMedia re-thought its nurturing approach and created two different nurturing categories.¬† The first category of content is used for “surging” accounts (more product-focused information), and the second category of high-level brand content is used for the rest of accounts, which are most likely not yet “in-market.”

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Interesting: the panel discussed a personalized video approach, which generates significantly more engagement (including IT organizations).¬† I received an email from a campaign discussed during the event just a few hours earlier.¬† Yes, I diligently watched this entertaining video, shared it with a coworker, and saved it in the folder of “great examples” for later ūüôā

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Book – Great At Work

great-at-work-book.pngThe book is interesting not only from the individual perspective but also from an organizational one.  If an individual is more likely to be effective using one approach rather than the other, an organization would be wise to encourage the right approach through its structure and culture.

The research behind the recommendations suggests that many of our typical assumptions are wrong.  Though some of these inconsistencies have been highlighted before (in my observation), some are new and eye-opening.

Very often, if something is not quite “right” at work, our typical answer is to invest more resources – time, from the individual perspective.¬† The research suggests it is not the answer.¬† Based on the analysis of successful employees, the author identified seven principles of “working smarter,” which would be helpful for both employees and organizations.

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1. Do less, than obsess

A focus in general has been encouraged by the industry for a long time.  Now, we have data.  The interesting part is that the focus itself is just part of the answer Рinvesting enough energy into the few selected priorities is needed to succeed.

Interesting: the myth of long hours – research also shows that work beyond 50 hours a week does not make economic sense – productivity decreases.¬† One more data point in the long line of calls for considering human nature (as the fact that multitasking is not theoretically possible ūüôā ).¬† The book was encouraging overly enthusiastic employees to cut their work to 50 hours a week…¬† we would be better of (and more productive) if it would be closer to 40 ūüėČ

This approach also helps with managing work-life balance and improves overall well-being.

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2.  Redesign your work

What can an individual do to bring more value to the organization in his current role?  A person can identify and emphasize more valuable activities and automate or minimize less valuable ones.  The individual can also tailor the role to his strengths and interests to feel happier at work, what will encourage engagement.

3. Don’t just learn, loop

My guess, this principle can apply to any form of focussed learning suitable for a position.  Following the industry news or learning new technical aspects of the job could be very helpful.  However, the author concentrates on the behaviors rather than technical skills.

To start improving a skill, effective learners in the workplace break it into manageable chunks, what I call micro-behaviors. A micro-behavior is a small, concrete action you take on a daily basis to improve a skill.  The action shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to perform and review, and it should have a clear impact on skill development.

An interesting example was the journey of a new manager of the food service in a hospital.  The manager worked with a coach to learn how to encourage her team to bring up new ideas.  Though first attempts were not as productive as desired, in time, the manager was able to encourage her team to bring up dozens of suggestions and make a significant impact to the business by implementing many of them.

4. Passion and purpose

The author is one of few brave and confident voices who suggest not to “follow your passion” blindly, which can lead to financial ruins (excellent examples in the book!), but to find a passion in a current or adjacent area of work.

A great example¬†is a story of a sales executive, tired from his role in a large company, but not quite willing to take a risk of leaving a respected and well-compensated position.¬† After a year or reflection, the executive proposed to take his company in a new market.¬† This move created a “startup” within an established business and was highly beneficial both for the employee and the organization.

Interesting, this approach has a negative effect on work-life balance, as the person is willing (often happily) to spend more energy on work projects and continues thinking about them during his personal time.

5. Forceful champions

Top performers master working with others in three discrete areas: advocacy, teamwork, and collaboration.

Finding supporters of your ideas within the organization is very helpful.

6. Fight and unite

This recommendation might be more useful on an organizational level rather than an individual one.  However, it is possible to implement in a team setting.

The meetings should allow and encourage “fighting” over the topic – lively debate with controversial suggestions and immediate criticism of proposed approaches.¬† This type of discussion encourages innovative solutions to appear and evolve through the discussion.¬† However, when the decision is made, the entire team should unite behind it and implement agreed-upon solution without “re-negotiation” attempts.

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7. The two sins of collaboration

This principle was the most surprising for me.¬† Th author clearly showed that the collaboration might not be always effective.¬† In some cases, it may not increase the success of an effort but just increase time.¬† In other cases, the collaborative project may not have enough of “unifying goal” and resources to be successful and doomed to fail.¬† The author suggests selecting carefully when to get involved in collaborative projects and when do not.

An interesting example: a firm drastically encouraged collaboration.  Some teams benefited (based on the number of successful deals) and some did not.  The reason was unexpected: less experienced teams benefited from a more experienced advice, though experienced teams did not, and just wasted time on soliciting less knowledgeable opinions.

This is an interesting topic: collaboration might be beneficial for company’s¬†less experienced members, but not as much for more experienced ones.¬† From the perspective of the individuals who would less likely benefit from the effort – the participation in a collaborative project might encroach on “do less, then obsess” principle. ūüôā¬† ¬†How to encourage the right type of collaboration on the organizational level?¬† We will probably see an interesting debate in the industry for years to come ūüôā

BMA – GDPR

GDPR.PNGMost marketers in the room knew exactly when GDPR will take effect, but was not exactly sure what will it mean for the industry.

GDPR concerns the entire industry, not only companies selling product and services to the European Union (“…if you have a form on your website, somebody from EU can fill it out…”).¬† Though most marketers¬†in the audience were marketing to EU and, sometimes, were operating under stricter guidelines in US also.

Some of the actions marketers took in preparation for GDPR:

  • Legal re-wrote privacy policy “… if you give us your information, this is what we will do…”
  • Removed inactive contacts from the database
  • Formed data quality cross-functional task force (demand, ops, sales ops)
  • Verified subscription management (option: add a “snooze” button to stop receiving communications for a specified period of time)

Questions discussed:

  • What to do with the data entered by sales?¬† All data has the same requirements.
  • What to do with database contacts, which do not have explicit permission?¬† You can ask for the permission now.
  • Meeting attendees thought that a part of GDPR was pushed to 2019
  • How to handle the requirement to keep data on European soil in the age of Cloud?
  • Can you rely¬†on IP for “Country” form filed?¬† No.

Concerns and speculations:

  • Is the regulation “more bark than bite?”
  • “I am a demand gen guy; the regulation is not after me – they are after spammers…”
  • There are two aspects:
    • GDPR: legality of collecting the data
    • ePrivacy: how do I use the data
  • BRIC countries might follow GDPR…
  • Are the same rules coming to US?¬† The public is concerned about the recent Facebook issue…¬† Would California be the first state to entertain stricter rules?
    • Europe is traditionally more concerned about privacy, and US is more lenient.¬† Most likely US¬†won’t follow GDPR quickly, if ever.
  • “We are a global¬†company, we are following stricter guidelines across the board already…”
  • Some known companies are following double opt-in even in US
    • Double opt-in would generate more engagement…
    • Google (business accounts) is more likely to deliver emails to inbox if engagement is better
  • Legitimate Interests Assessment (LIA) was also a concern
  • Marketers need to have “consent,” but how often do you need to get consent?¬† We probably have a couple of years…
  • EU US Privacy Shield is a related regulation

“Now you can not receive a concent in exchange for an eBook..”¬† European community now is inundated with opt-in emails… What to do?¬† We need to have compelling, interesting materials… and possibly combined¬†concent seeking online effort with a phone-based approach.

“We need to just play by the rules…”

“It could be a blessing – conversion rates will go up!”

Check any third-party vendor to make sure they are GDPR compliant

Event sponsors were also interesting:

hh.PNGHushly is able to “reclaim” a portion of site visitors who typically abandon the site with an innovative approach.¬† Leads generated are “human-verified” and GDPR/CASL compliant.¬† Hushly website has an interesting comparison of different vendors from the compliance perspective.

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Activate specializes in demand generation.  Activate site features a useful infographic indicating that opportunities and SQLs seem to be the measure of marketing success (replacing MQLs), what was already common in the industry.

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Direction #1: Lead quality: The target gets even smaller
While lead quality will continue to grow in priority for sales and marketing leadership (the days of lead quantity are officially dead), the threshold for meeting lead-quality expectations will go ever higher and include ALL of the following:

  • Interaction across multiple channels (at least 2 among web, social, telephone)
  • Engagement with various forms of content
  • Clear visibility into BANT criteria, especially buying timeframe, as well as willingness to get on the phone with sales in the near term

Book – The Startup Way

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I enjoyed the previous Eric Ries book, Lean Startup (listened to it at least twice), though I waited a couple of years to start.¬† The book was recommended a few times based on my reading interests, but I did not think it was relevant to me.¬† At that time I typically worked for large sleepy companies.¬† I thought my “skunk works” navigation of political and operational networks within a large organization was dramatically different from a startup approach.¬† “Startup” concept felt frightening.¬† When I finally picked up the book, it felt very relevant and had a following within slowly moving enterprises on high levels.¬† Though…¬† nothing seemed to happen.

The Startup Way is the inspiration (and an instruction) to everybody on the inside of an average enterprise.  This volume explains how to take the ideas of Lean Startup and make them work within a large company.   The approach makes sense even it the company has been organized in the most inhospitable way for anybody with a slightest entrepreneurial thought.

But Рtimes are changing, and changing fast.  Companies need to innovate their way to a continuous existence and find a reliable methodology to do it consistently.

I guess the most challenging task in a multi-billion established business, sometimes, is to actually articulate (or understand?) basic concepts from these books.¬† You might hear an MVP term, while people who discuss their “MVP” might have an idea of what it means (though rarely read the book), and an entire project team happily describes a “Phase 1” of a defined and impossible to change¬†multi-million project as an “MVP.”

The Startup Way has many interesting examples showing how internal teams avoided similar misunderstanding.

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One of the critical approaches is metered funding.  The idea should not receive an additional funding unless it has not proven itself in customer tests.

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A concise summary of the book is available at Your Exec.  This resource also has interesting examples of PPT templates.

Interesting book!

Yummly

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Though I do not cook and typically avoid trying exotic foods as much as I can do it politely, a friend invited me to an industry event at Yummly.¬† Wow – meeting a friend was a pleasure, but learning about a popular food app at the edge of IoT and a blend of potential b-to-c and b-to-b marketing was a treat.¬† The food was also fantastic!¬† Even for picky eaters ūüôā

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Interesting: Yummly is piloting an app, which can recognize food items available and potentially recommend recipes¬†including these items.¬† The ultimate objective is the connection of a refrigerator¬†content, stove operation, and a desire to prepare a meal as easy as possible.¬† A scan of the foods available can generate a recommended recipe (based on highly customizable¬†preferences), a selection of the recipe¬†can potentially pre-heat an oven… and a text message can remind a novice “cook” that a forgotten dish is ready.

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As Yummly’s audience is wide and geographically diverse, the company has a fantastic source of data based on the usage of its apps: what is the most common meal to cook for Valentine’s day?¬† Or, what is the most popular side dish in the fall in South Dakota?¬† Yummy¬†has not shared the data with potential partners yet, but it might be an interesting opportunity in the future.¬† Yummly already has partnerships in food¬†delivery areas.

Future of cooking seems to be wonderful!¬† Leaving an event, the attendees were delighted with a very useful shopping bag – my husband loved it.¬† He is the cook in the family ūüôā

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