Crazy, unthinkable b2b ideas brought to you by Shoedazzle.com

Background: Shoedazzle is a smoking hot internet site.  Basically, you pay a monthly fee and you get to pick between a variety of  shoes and now accessories allegedly curated by Kim Kardashian and other stars.  In August they hit 13 million members. I told my wife about it and she asked to check it out.

Now maybe it’s because I don’t sign up for women’s apparel sites but the site and registration user experience was thought-provoking for me. That’s right, thought provoking.  Before I go any further, think about this:

B2B people always say: “b2b is different that b2c”

YET:

B2C is always five years ahead of B2B aka five years later b2b adopts progressive b2c ideas

OH AND:

The same people that buy on Shoedazzle are business buyers. (I know this from the Facebook “like” box on the shoedazzle site which had some of my b2b colleagues on it.)

AND LETS FACE IT:

Great UX is great UX

IN SUMMARY:

B2b marketers should try to stay on top of b2c marketing and advertising techniques and get ahead not behind.

Let me walk you through my user experience than provide some commentary.

Step 1: Homepage
Question #1 for any marketer is “what do I want the user to do?” In this case, they want users to go through a multi-step registration process known as the style profile.  That is what dominates your eye site.  Make no mistake, this is a registration profile that will determine what shoedazzle wants to sell you.  Shoedazzle presents the profile as a way for the site to deliver customized offerings and advertises the fact that it will be painless: “Membership is free and effortless” (love that) .  Now, think about how present ourselves in b2b: “We need you to fill out this form because you want this piece of content.  I need all of this data for my database to make it easier when my inside rep calls you.”


Step 2: The personal style profile
The personal style profile “quiz” is not an ugly series of drop downs, but instead a set of multiple choice graphics which you click to represent your likes/dislikes.  It’s more fun, visually appealling, and made my wife really believe they could figure out what to send to her. PS I still have not given up any information to shoedazzle yet.

Step 3: Initial Registration
Check out the easy registration.  In b2c, it’s all about getting your email address. Guess what? In b2b: It’s all about getting your email address.  So why make it hard to get? If it’s the top of the funnel and the beginning of the relationship, then can’t we move from free to email address and THEN to more data?

BOOM. I’m in and now have access to shoe choices. When we order one, we are then prompted to add more data to our account.

Why did I just show this to you?

1.  That was fun — Why the hell do b2b websites think they have to be so boring? We roll around talking about how b2b marketers have to compete for buyers time, isn’t fun and excitement a pretty good emotional trigger to hit?

2.  Rethink reg pages and profiling — If you ask me if I advocate moving to Shoedazzle’s model of the graphical profile, I am not sure yet.  Truthfully, I went to the site tonight randomly, and I just started re-evaluating.  In other words, I am not sure yet…but I do believe in thinking outside the box.  I enjoyed helping my wife click the boxes…it was fun which is very unlike b2b where you make me look at any ugly box, type in a bunch of seemingly meaningless data which I make up sometimes, and sometimes make me scroll through a list of 12 roles to choose for myself or sift through and choose from an industry list that I am pretty sure doesn’t have my industry on there.

3.  Shoedazzle costs as much if not more than a license of ZenDesk or a GoogleApps license– Have you heard of the consumerization of IT?  Then why can’t we talk about the consumerization of IT marketing?

4.  Build your list, even if you sacrifice some data initially — go to any progressive b2c website and many hit you with a pop-up box asking just for your email.  They want that email and they don’t pussyfoot around.   Eventually, we want more data, but right now, can’t we make some sacrifices to start the relationship.  I am sure some inbound marketing clone will tell me: “Create great content and they will come back”.  Really? Is that why the core features for marketing automation systems is email marketing functionality?  According to a preso by email expert, DJ Waldow, popping up a request for email grows list exponentially.  Funny or Die moved to a pop-up box and gets thousands of new emails daily.  Companies have seen 75-80% growth in email subscriber optin lists as a result of the pop-up box.   Check this preso out for more.

5. More on the home page: Remember when you first signed up for Twitter? — Let me help you.  Twitter wants you to sign up for their service.  There is not much else to do on their home page but register. By the way, three fields total on the reg form.

6.  This is for fun, but is there something here? — As I mentioned previously, I don’t know where I am going to take this, but I learned a lot from this experience, and I look to b2c for inspiration not to “poo-poo” it as irrelevant.

Thoughts?

PS I am not crazy

PPS Yes it is Friday night

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

The Power of the “Tweetable Moment”

Background: I just did my annual “You Bought a List, Now What?” webinar with Netprospex. Literally, spur of the moment, I made up a phrase: the “tweetable moment.” More background: Part of the presentation includes ways to create remarkable content. At Focus, we ask our writers include “aha!” moments when creating content. Well, I’m changing that to “tweetable moment.” PS, that got tweeted. I used it again tonight in my preso at the Sales 2.0 Conference, and then Lisa Gschwandtner brought up the term “tweetable moment” a couple times afterward. I realized: It’s on. Write that down.

Webinars, PDFs, blog posts, social media, guest posts, videos, slide share presos – the overall content itself can be shareable, but are you creating “tweetable moments”? Definition: Sound bites that are begging to be re-quoted in 140 characters or less – memorable and consumable. Frankly, I don’t think about and devise sound bites, and I am not sure the true master of the tweetable moment does either; truly tweetable moments come out naturally. At any rate, a “tweetable moment” is like adding a dash of Tapatío Hot Sauce to your content. Shake well and season to taste.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Confession: I Am a Marketing Automation Fanboy

OK, after all that mid-life crisis talk about moving beyond marketing, here I am with a marketing automation post. Oh well. David Raab gave me a sneak peek at his new marketing automation study and subsequent tool. Initially, I was hesitant to write about what David shared with me since I don’t pimp, and I just made a big, melodramatic case for The Funnelholic to move beyond marketing. But I decided, what the hell? I am who I am, so bring the marketing automation tool on!

Truth be told, I am an unabashed fanboy of marketing automation. I am also an unabashed fanboy of the word “fanboy.” I primarily use it as an insult, so note my self-deprecating sense of humor remains intact. I love the concept of marketing automation. Marketing automation is the bomb. (For all my older readers, that is a good thing.)

We just asked a question on the benefits of marketing automation on Focus. There is great stuff there, but for me it’s pretty simple: Every part of the organization has an automated platform to run on and to optimize their business. Finance, sales, supply chain, HR – everyone but marketing. Frankly it was embarrassing. Yes, there are flaws with marketing automation, but there are flaws with ERP and CRM systems. This is about having a platform to manage, organize and measure. You may think this is backward, but failed marketing automation implementations are good for the business. It has spawned guys like Carlos Hidalgo, who is focused on helping marketing organizations lay the groundwork for a process that happens to be managed by marketing automation. That is good for the marketing department.

In my job leading the Focus Experts Network, I am meeting a lot of independent analysts. Technology guys like Michael Krigsman, Richard Stiennon, Bob Egan are go-to thought leaders for end users and vendors who need to understand their respective technology landscapes. Marketing automation doesn’t have many of these folks, but David Raab is one of them. David, along with Adam Needles and Carlos Hidalgo, wrote the awesome Focus Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation, and when we needed an Expert to talk about making the marketing automation decision in an upcoming webinar, we chose David. Most marketers I talk to know they need something if they don’t have it. The next step will be to figure out the right fit for their organization, as there are a lot of vendors. And for that, I think David’s vendor selection application is a must-have for buyers in the consideration phase, and the price makes it a no-brainer.

Because, yes, I want you to buy marketing automation. Full disclosure: It does nothing for me. Seriously, I own no stock, nor am I an analyst, nor does Focus benefit at all. I want this for you, not for me. That, my friends, is what fanboys do. Viva marketing automation!

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Mid-Life Crisis Averted: The Funnelholic Is Here to Stay

What an amazing couple of weeks it’s been since I wrote my midlife crisis post, “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” and asked the question, “What should I do with my industry-specific blog now that I want to create different content?” on the Internet love of my life, Focus.com. Besides blog comments from friends and strangers, my angst went global (I got email from Sweden – Daniel Wood, who is a great sales and motivation blogger).  I spoke to people at length. Just yesterday, I was talking on the phone about my midlife crisis with Gary S. Hart, who is a sales blogger as well. The consensus is to keep The Funnelholic brand. Whether you delivered the message via phone or Web, thanks to everyone who gave your input.

Here is what I decided: The Funnelholic stays, and I will write about whatever floats my boat.  The entire process became a real awakening for me about why I blog. It’s because I love it. If I lose some readers, I have to live with it. If I started writing about things I don’t care about, then The Funnelholic would fail anyway.

Here’s what I’ve learned from the whole episode:

  1. If you have no passion, then your blog will suck. It was cool to discover that people really like reading The Funnelholic. I have loved creating content for this blog, and I continue to love writing on it. That may be the most important thing I learned: people can feel your passion.
  2. If you have no passion, your “social-media” presence will suck. The comment above is also true about your social media bearing. As Focus.com builds, you can see people who love what they are doing answering questions with gusto. If it pains you to write or talk about it, find a new career path. You’ve lost your passion.
  3. Writing helps you solidify your ideology. I have all this stuff in my head about business, marketing, sales and so forth. Writing about it – on The Funnelholic, as a guest blogger elsewhere, on Focus.com – helps me coalesce my thoughts and properly organize my beliefs.
  4. The personal online brand revolution is on. I built a brand, and the brand has a following. That was cool – and it’s something I shouldn’t start again from square one. Steve Woods and I talked about this idea years ago. He said: “There will be a new type of talent, an Internet free-agent superstar.  In some cases, companies may hire because they want that person associated with their brand.”  Interesting. I am not Chris Brogan, but I’ve got something.

Thanks to everyone for their kind words and thoughtful advice.

I remain (and will continue to remain) yours sincerely,

The Funnelholic

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Is it time to close (or perhaps rename) this blog? This question has been in the back of my mind for the past few weeks. I tried to create a provocative title for this post, but the real question is: What should I do with The Funnelholic? The issue at hand is that I believe I have a lot to offer beyond just the sales and marketing funnel. Here is an example: I have learned a lot about the startup business from helping build Tippit and now Focus – I want to share these tips. Moreover, with my new role at Focus, I have been reading a ton of customer service, HR, and business-building content that I want to discuss and share. Is The Funnelholic capable of expanding beyond the funnel?

Here is another scenario I thought of: What if, for my next job, I want to be hired as a CEO (for example). Would being The Funnelholic help me or hurt me?

Just so everyone knows, I have written about how I came to the name this blog on the Annuitas Blog awhile back. In a nutshell, my CEO Scott Albro came up with the name. I had wanted “Funnelnomics,” but it was taken by my friend Suaad Sait . Scott said, “You need something that represents you, more fun and loose, it should be something like ‘The Funnelholic.’ I bought the domain name that day, started blogging, and it was on.

It was a great name: totally memorable and well-suited for my personality (irreverent, a bit edgy). Just the other night, I went to the Content Rules awards dinner, hosted by Eloqua at Foreign Cinema, and met Ann Handley for the first time. I said, “I’m Craig Rosenberg.” No reaction, no recognition. Then I said, “The Funnelholic.” “Ooooh!” she said. Like it or not, The Funnelholic is my brand.

But is it my brand, or have I typecast myself? I feel like a television star trying to break out of his medium to make it in the movies. What do I do now that I want to talk about more? I want to talk about business, not just demand generation and marketing automation. This whole “soul-searching” process has led me to these questions:

1. What should I do with The Funnelholic? Now that you know what you know, what is your recommendation? Should it stay or should it go? At the Content Rules dinner, I asked my table-mates the same question. My table had PR people (but primarily knowledgeable social media-ites) Mandy Mladenoff, Abigail Snyder, Jesse Noyes, Tyler Willis, and Lisa Loeffler. They thought I was crazy (literally). Their vote was that the brand stays and the writing can evolve. What do you think? Please submit your opinion.

2. What is the best practice for naming a blog? Should you use your name, or should you give the blog its own unique name? Could I have avoided typecasting had I gone with my name? Give me your input.

The real question is: Now what?

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Focus Funnel Expert: Ardath Albee of Marketing Interactions

Today, we’re delving deeper into the Focus Experts’ Guide: Sales and Marketing Pipeline and Funnel Models, so I’d like to introduce another of the industry thought-leaders who contributed to the Focus Experts’ Guide.

Meet Ardath Albee, CEO and B2B Marketing Strategist at Marketing Interactions. Ardath brings over 20 years of business management and marketing experience to help B2B companies with complex sales create e-marketing strategies, using contagious content to turn prospects into buyers. She shares her insights on the Marketing Interactions blog, and is the author of the book eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale.

The Funnelholic: Explain your approach to the funnel.

Ardath: I approached the funnel from how the buyer might experience it. If organizations are truly going to achieve customer-centric orientation, they need to start thinking from the buyers’ perspective, not their company’s.

The labeling of a buyer as a contact, lead, prospect, marketing qualified lead, sales accepted lead, etc., is a company construct that emphasizes our interests in selling to them, not theirs in buying from us. What might make an interesting experiment is to overlay the buyer perspective funnel on top of a company perspective funnel and take a look at how the stages line up. We might learn something.

The Funnelholic: Besides your own, were there any other funnels that resonated with you?

Ardath: Several. I really enjoyed Mike Damphousse’s take on the demand-gen cloud as a funnel. There’s definitely a lot more going on these days than there used to be, and “harnessing the chaos” is definitely now within marketing’s purview. That said, I think “managing the demand-gen cloud” is a tall order. We need to embrace it, learn from it and proactively work to engage in all the channels that our prospects spend time in, as Mike discusses, but control is firmly in the hands of buyers.

The statement that the funnel “is a living object that changes as business conditions evolve,” made by Christopher Doran also resonated with me. We would all be well served to pay attention to how fast our marketplaces are changing to make sure we change in parallel. Barbra Gago’s funnel focused on community to the point of involving all customer-facing departments within the organization; that got me thinking about some new opportunities. I also liked the fact that she went beyond purchase, as did Matt Heinz and Matt West, to loyalty, lifetime value and evangelism. I actually found something unique to consider in all the funnels. Each of them had points I found well worth considering.

The Funnelholic: What did you learn from the exercise?

Ardath: That designing a funnel is challenging. Especially — as a practicing marketer — to separate the strategic from the tactical in order to draw the funnel to support a specific perspective. And, not being a graphic designer, it was frustrating trying to determine just how to depict my funnel so that what I visualized in my head would get my point across to the audience.

I think I created and discarded five or six funnels before I landed on my final version. It made me think about the process from different angles and also challenged me to look for a new way of presenting a funnel that might help others look at the concept of a funnel differently.

The Funnelholic: If everyone needs to create a funnel to model their business, what are best practices for creating it?

Ardath: That’s a tough question. Here are a few insights from my experience that may be helpful. I’m just not sure they should be called “best practices.”

Play. Allow yourself to toss out a number of ideas that are not traditional for your company.

Start from a blank page. Trying to change the funnel you already have by working within that construct will limit your ability to envision things differently.

Make sure each section of your funnel makes a logical transition. If you see gaps, insert another stage to fill them.

Describe your funnel in 100 words or less. You made us do that, and it caused me to really think about what I needed to say to get my point across. If you can’t describe your funnel so that people understand it in 100 words or less, go back to the drawing table.

Invite people with various perspectives to participate. I drew my funnel by myself. After seeing other Focus Experts’ funnels, I realized there were a few things that I hadn’t considered that I’ll now incorporate into my funnel.

Consider your funnel’s application. Once you have your funnel, take a look at your processes and determine how they might be modified to smooth the transitions from one stage to the next — or better connect them. If you’ve flipped your funnel on its head, this could be a really enlightening exercise.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Confessions of a Funnelholic

Yes, the book and subsequent movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic” inspired the title, but I couldn’t resist.

So, without further ado, Confessions of a Funnelholic:

  1. I hate to say this, but I see similarities between The Funnelholic and the “Shopaholic”: The young writer’s financial column becomes very popular not because of her tremendous financial acumen but because her writing is “accessible.” She avoids complicated, esoteric language and gives her readers insight into the complex world of finance. While I feel like I have sales and marketing acumen, I have tried to make The Funnelholic casual and readable, which I believe has been one of the keys to success for this blog.
  2. I stole the “Thought Leadership Series” Idea: One of the biggest traffic drivers for me has been the Thought Leadership interviews. I didn’t come up with the idea. I stole it from Jon Miller at Marketo and his Modern Marketing blog. I have no apologies, and Jon’s not mad at me. If there is one rule the Internet has created for marketers, it’s “if it works, steal it.” When marketers are coming up with their campaigns, I always tell them that part of their strategy should be to take anything that works for their competitors. Is an Adwords campaign working for a competitor? Copy it, make some minor tweaks and go.
  3. I write everything myself: Some people in my company don’t believe I write everything, but I do. This isn’t much of a confession. The confession is that I leverage Tippit’s editorial staff to help edit and provide writing ideas.
  4. I work for Tippit: Tippit CEO Scott Albro and I are big believers in third-party thought leadership. When I decided to write the blog, we agreed that The Funnelholic would not be an adver-blog for Tippit. It has worked, but the only negative has been the fact that no one knows I work for Tippit. Well, I do. But there is a greater point here: Today’s buyers leverage the Web to educate themselves (given), but their preferences are for third-party, non-partial thought leaders to turn to, not datasheets. Buyers listen to trusted advisors not sleazy sales pitches. We made the right move.
  5. I create titles first and work backwards: It sounds crazy, but it’s true for two reasons: First, I think like a demand gen guy, with a subject line, a.k.a conversion, first. Second, I have a notepad, write down ideas as I do lead gen all day and fill it with knowledge later.
  6. I read techcrunch: It’s my vicarious thrill.
  7. I am having fun again writing posts: Man, I got serious for awhile and had to bring back the fun.
  8. My posting schedule has become inconsistent and it’s bad. Folks, my traffic has been affected big time. All those blog tips on writing blogs are right. You have to do content at least twice a week.

Thanks for indulging me.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Marketers Re-“Joyce”: Thought Leadership Interview #15 with Market2Lead CMO Kevin Joyce

It’s amazing the type of talent and, ultimately, content being driven from the marketing automation industry. This is a real market with real competition brewing. Net-net, I love having these guys come on The Funnelholic and “spit game.”

This post is no different. Kevin Joyce is the CMO of Market2Lead Inc. , one of the vendors vying for marketing automation supremacy.  He is clearly experienced, with 26 years under his belt. He also has marketing automation chops — for seven years Joyce has worked with many companies on their demand-generation strategies and on marketing-automation solution selection and deployment, particularly as CEO at Rubicon Marketing Group.

Good work Kevin! Here’s his interview:

1.    What are the three trends you see emerging in 2009?

  • Greater acceptance of social media by B2B as a means to increase brand equity: I believe in the last few years many B2Bs were waiting in the wings to see if the blogosphere could really have an influence on their business outlook. There was some awareness that it was good for Search Engine Marketing results, but it seems many corporations didn’t understand how the added transparency of social media could affect them. Perhaps it came from the sneaking suspicion that they were losing control of what was said about them. No amount of traditional PR budget could clean up nor even catch up to a runaway controversy. I believe that in 2009 “the wisdom of crowds” will take center stage and marketing at B2B firms will start to learn how and why to influence opinion leaders (amateur journalists) via social media vehicles.
  • Greater adoption of marketing automation: I believe we are watching the marketing-automation industry “crossing the chasm.” The early majority will start to flock to this software to help save marketers time and make them more productive. The target market will move from being the high-technology early adopters to the more mainstream finance, healthcare and media companies. The number of consulting organizations that offer services around these products will blossom. It will start to get easier to hire marketing employees who have experience with one of these systems.Adoption will also increase in the existing customer base. The number of marketing users per instance of the software will grow as existing firms expand their use of the systems and marketers get more familiar with the power at their finger tips. It’s rather like buying a new 46-inch LCD TV with a manual as thick as the tax code. At first you just turn on the TV and watch it, but after a few months you start paging through the manual and figure out how to turn on a few “automatic” features that make your overall viewing experience increasingly better.
  • Marketing operations comes of age in B2Bs: I don’t believe that right brain, creative, marketing communications managers are going to wake up anytime soon with greater analytical powers. We enjoy their strong right brain creative talent — that mastery of transforming 1,000 words into a single image and knowing just how to distill complex messages down to a crisp sound bite. I wouldn’t try to change these people a bit. But there are increasing demands on the marketing organization to become more analytical when it comes to demand generation. What is the ROI of campaigns, how many qualified leads did you deliver from that unbelievably expensive trade show and your dimensional door drops? Yes, marketing automation provides the tools to collect and present the data but humans still get to analyze the data and make better business decisions as a result. Marketing operations will become more prevalent in an effort to centralize many of the left brain activities in marketing — reporting, budgeting, planning, project management, marketing technology management, data quality stewards and so on.

2.    What are the biggest challenges for 2009?

Accelerating the rebound from the recession: It’s easy for CEOs to cut marketing budgets during a downturn if they don’t understand where leads come from. This is especially true if marketing executives have been unable to paint the picture that 10% of the business closed last quarter came from marketing spend in the same quarter, an additional 30% came from marketing spend that happened in the prior quarter and 60% was influenced by marketing activities in the two quarters before that! Without this clear linkage, a CEO can cut marketing’s budget and see sales in that quarter drop only 10%. “Woo hoo! What did we spend all that money on marketing for?”

Of course, the next quarter, the results will be down 40%, but the marketing budget cuts will have been six months previous and a distant memory. “So why are the results so bad? It must be the economy.” The following quarter, the results are even worse and someone realizes that the competitor is actually doing well. “Time to put some money into marketing and the results had better increase by more than 10% this quarter as a result.” Right! So, our biggest challenge is to demonstrate the linkage between the opportunity funnel and marketing investments and to be able to show CEOs how every dollar they put into marketing impacts the business and how long it will take to see those results. For B2B companies with long sales cycles, marketing activities are not a light switch that can shine abundance on an empty sales funnel. So we must analyze Q1 results and determine exactly when the marketing influence took place for each and every deal that closed, and then project that forward so we can prepare our CEOs for the realization that the marketing cycle is probably twice as long as the sales cycle and that recovery needs to start now.

3.    What are three metrics that B2B marketers should care about and why?

I am going to ignore the obvious ones, such as total net new leads by lead source, and mention three others that may not be so obvious.

  • Form completion rates by unique form: You need one chart showing the weekly historical trend for all of your major forms on the Web site (info request, newsletter sign up, free trial, download, partner sign up, PPC form, etc). Web leads can be very economical and are usually a good indicator of interest. I find it fascinating that so many people focus so much attention on getting more visitors to the Web site and so little attention on the “last mile” —getting the visitors to complete a registration form. Form completion rates can vary depending on the offer, but in many cases it will be a lot easier to double the form completion rate than it is to double the number of visitors to a Web site!
  • Marketing conversion rate by lead source: This one might produce results that will freak people out, but it’s very important. What is it we all want to do in hard economic times? Cut the 20% of marketing programs that are not working. It’s usually easy to recognize the campaigns that are pulling their weight but much more difficult to determine what is the bottom 20%. One way to really measure the efficacy of campaigns is to figure out the lead-conversion rate by lead source. (A lead conversion happens when a salesperson elects to convert a lead into a contact/account and is usually a good measure of lead quality). Remember that you will want to have a good handle on your average lead age before it converts so that “young” campaigns don’t get dinged simply because the leads haven’t had time to mature to a conversion-ready state.
  • Responses by contact/lead type: Marketing spends a lot of the budget on generating out-going touches. It’s nice to be able to measure the incoming responses and codify them based on the type of person that responded: Net new lead, existing lead in system, existing contact but not a customer yet and lastly customers. By graphing the responses you get each week by contact/lead type you have a rough idea of how much you are spending on marketing to your installed base (loyalty marketing), on nurturing prospects, or on net new lead generation. The results may surprise you!

4.    What are the top oversights marketers are making regarding lead generation?

The primary oversight I have seen over the years is in finding the balance between creativity and science in lead generation. If you head to either extreme the campaign will not live up to its full potential. Successful demand generation requires a balance of both art and science. The art is in the communication, the science is in list segmentation, the measuring of campaign efficacy and heuristics. It is nearly impossible to find individuals who have both communications creativity and analytical leanings, so firms have to marry these individuals in program teams to get the best results. Some firms look to agencies to provide the creativity whilst they in-source the analytical element; for other firms it is just the opposite. Driving a balance in these skill sets in program teams is what’s most important.

5.    What will you prescribe to marketers to carry out effective lead generation?

Don’t get too hung up on “lead source.”A lead comes to your Web site from a referring link because of some successful PR, and he or she fills in a form to download a white paper. So what is your “lead source” field going to say? Is it the offer name, the form name, your Web site or perhaps the referring Web site URL? Further, this person is the research assistant to the director of the department and only one of 10 people that will be involved in the final purchase decision. All 10 people will each have five interactions with your firm before the deal is close, for a total of 50 interactions. So what makes the very first interaction, the “lead source,” that important? It isn’t, and neither is the most recent interaction before the opportunity was created. What is important is to understand the mix of interactions that happened, and in what order and by title so that you understand how prospects that eventually become customers want to engage with you. If you get too hung up on looking for the lead source, you miss the bigger picture!

6.    What three Web 2.0 applications, cutting-edge technologies or lead generation sources do marketers HAVE to consider to be successful?

Of course I have to answer that marketing automation software from Market2Lead will be the most vital addition to any marketing department! As I mentioned in response to the first question, I feel marketers also have to engage with social media because that’s how prospects have already chosen to engage with them. So kick your blog into high gear and start learning about feedburner, chicklets, RSS, Twitter and so on because the conversation has started without you. Lastly, consider the many tools for cleaning up your data, presenting a centralized view of your marketing data and stopping poor quality data from entering the system. There are many products out there to help with data hygiene; it’s time to start using them and stop making excuses for data odor!

7.    What do you hope for in B2B sales and marketing for the new year?

I think it’s a fantastic time to be in marketing. When I left engineering for marketing some twenty years ago, my poor mother feared that my career had taken a turn for the worse! I am more excited to be working in marketing now than ever before because the number of tools at our disposal has exploded in the past five years. The possibilities for measuring our influence on business outcomes have never been greater. I hope this is the year we attract more left brainers into marketing because the tools and processes exist to make marketing more measurable and successful — we just need the people and the skills to fulfill the dream!

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Recessionary Marketing 101 Taught by Charles Schwab

Sorry about being gone a week – I have been inconsistent lately and I apologize.

I look for inspiration everywhere, and I found some on a billboard overlooking highway 101: The Charles Schwab  “Do Something About It” campaign. It was great timing for me to see this ad; a couple weeks ago I did a Webinar with Netprospex and, as usual, I was ranting about the importance of understanding new-age buyers and how they are unduly affected by the recession (broke, no budget,yadda yadda). I got a couple comments from the crowd like, “Did this guy’s dog die?” and, “Do buyers really think like tha?t”, etc. I realized that I wasn’t entirely making my point: The buyer has changed, and the recession is bad, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should cry about it.  You need to embrace the change in the buyer’s environment and craft your message accordingly.

Enter Charles Schwab’s  “Do Something About It.” Here’s what I like about the campaign:

1. It captures the current mind-set of the consumer.
2. The “it” inspires.
3.  It needs no other explaining; when you see it, you know what they’re talking about.

I actually wrote about seizing opportunity in this time of economic crisis in a previous post, When the blood flows in the streets, it’s time to buy real estate. Again, my point was that the economy is terrible, but the opportunity is great.

As a matter of fact, my buddy recently sent me this quote from Rhonda Abrams in USA Today:

History bears me out. When times are bad for the economy, it can be a great time to start a business. In fact, 16 of the 30 companies that make up the Dow industrial average were started during a recession or depression. These include Procter & Gamble, Disney, Alcoa, McDonald’s, General Electric and Johnson & Johnson.

So, go do something about it.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter