October 26, 2005
Event Wrap-up

MarketingSherpa B-to-B Summit Notes: What's Really Working in Demand Generation Campaigns

SUMMARY: Whew! We're just back from the East Coast leg of MarketingSherpa's B2B Lead Gen Summit (the West Coast one will be next month) and here are our notes for you:

  • Best graphic to add to your email campaigns

  • (Scary) new data on using Case Studies

  • 'Persona' marketing is big trend in b-to-b

  • Merging SEO and PPC marketing - click data

  • Is salesforce.com the end-all-and-be-all?

Also, we learned no one says lead generation marketing (or even just marketing)... the new term is Demand Generation. Here's the full report:
When a marketer from Nortel popped over during a Summit break to show our reporters her lead generation campaign tracking spreadsheets (very nicely done by the way), we knew the B-to-B world had changed.

Why? Because at the very top of her Excel chart it didn't say "lead generation campaigns". Nope. It said, "Demand Generation" instead.

Turns out 'lead generation' is beyond old school these days. (For that matter, so is the term 'Marketing') Welcome to the Demand Generation world.

And what are prospects demanding? According to the Case Study presented by Red Hat's Chris Grams RSS feed uptake is "now higher than opens on our emails." Whoa. More on newest e-media trends further down....

(Scary) new data on using Case Studies

According to recent study data presented at the Summit by Phelon Group's Promise Phelon, the ROI on case studies your marketing department creates absolutely stinks.

"The average case study takes over 60 hours to create and 75-90% of marketing collateral is not used by your sales team," she warned. At most your sales reps may hand out printed case studies without comment to prospects as a low-value leave-behind after a meeting.

Only 46% of executives report their buying decisions are influenced by your case studies. It's better than advertisements at a pitiful 17%. But waaaaay behind meetings with executives' peers at 80%.

And you thought your biggest problem was getting clients to agree to letting you do a case study on them in the first place! (Luckily Promise had loads of hands-on tips for fixing that.)

Case studies aren't a total lost cause. You just have to write and position them differently. What works:

-> Write multiple versions (including one extremely long one), positioned to the job level of the prospect, so folks get the info they care about.

-> Focus on marquee-name clients and forget the small fry.

-> Take the golden-glow lens off your camera and write with more realism. No one trusts gee whiz case studies.

-> Give your sales reps a 'Top 10 Questions Answered' cheat-sheet to use when presenting a case study to a prospect.

'Persona' marketing is big trend in b-to-b

After one speaker early on Day One mentioned he's bullish on persona-based marketing, like dominos the rest of the speakers fell in line behind him.

Personas have been the trend-du-jour in sophisticated Web design circles for the past 12 months (in fact Elsevier's technical book division has a new 800+ page tome on them coming out shortly.)

Now, personas have hit the b-to-b mainstream. Persona-based Web design means the Web team create detailed profiles of fictionalized typical users prior to starting a new or revamped site. The profiles, which include a headshot, psychographic and demographic data, guide everything from copy to navigation to graphics so the site appeals to real individuals instead of missing the mark by trying to appeal to an averaged mass.

As we expected, speaker Bryan Eisenberg of FutureNowInc, a conversion optimization firm that helped pioneer persona-based design, said personas were critical for B-to-B "demand generation" web sites.

What we didn't expect was for every other speaker to say they now used personas too. Turns out personas are not just for Web anymore. Folks are using them for campaigns in every possible media including direct mail, search, email, PR, and marcom material development. Personas work because they help you make creative that's relevant at the gut level for prospects.

Mac McIntosh had the best advice on creating personas that work -- you need to ride along in the passenger seat for at least one sales call In The Field per week from now on. (Yes, he really means you need to go along on 50 sales calls per year -- allowing two weeks off for vacation.)

Best graphic to add to your email campaigns

According to speaker Chris Baggott of ExactTarget, the #1 design change you should make to emails to your house list is adding your sales rep's face and contact info to them.

You'll want to use your CRM system to segment your list by territory, so each prospect and client gets their own individual rep's smiling face on their email. Best spot -- in top left side of the email.

Why does it work? You're turning a virtual mass communication into an individualized touch from a real human being. Plus you're appealing to your sales reps' egos which can't be a bad thing.

Naturally make sure each rep has pre-approved sending that name any email (you can let reps use "Do Not Email" flags in your CRM system to facilitate that), and any replies aside from routine bounces go to the rep directly. And don't forget to send the rep a copy of the email when it goes out. Merging SEO and PPC marketing - click data

If you're a regular MarketingSherpa reader, you'll know how much we love eyetracking study data. So we were psyched when speaker Gord Hotchkiss of Enquiro featured plenty of colorful eyetracking 'heatmaps' showing how human eyes view Google results.

Initially there were no surprises -- most people's eyes spend most time on the so-called 'Golden Triangle' in the upper left corner of results. Hardly anyone looks at the PPC ads at the right. (Yes, there's data on how this changes a bit depending on where in the sales cycle the user is.)

But, the most-viewed bits of the results screen are not always the most clicked. Instead, business users make click decisions on relevance, which in turns seems to be more based on the words than their position. In the exciting search marketing age of the 21st century, as long as you're in the top six results what really matters most is your copywriting.

Biggest action item: Review the title tags for each and every page of your site that shows up on a first-page search result (or that you hope will show up someday.) Are your most high-impact words in those tags?

Hint - get rid of 'it', 'the', and 'and' as well as dull jargon, and marketing hype. And don't waste space by repeating your company name ceaselessly. They already get that from the hotlink.

Coolest SEM side-note: Are you struggling with lengthening sales cycles and/or educating your marketplace? Contextual ads (aka Google AdSense) are usually far cheaper per click than search ads and are viewed by prospects in that mid-way mode.

These prospects are not actively searching for info, instead they're reading articles or blogs related to your topic. Consider copywriting these ads as educational and branding placements, instead of strictly direct response tools.

Is salesforce.com the end-all-and-be-all?

Perhaps the most scribbled-down-tip of the entire Summit was when speaker Jackie Kiley of Sybase advised everyone to *never* put suspects, inquiries, or unqualified leads into the salesforce.com system (or whatever salesforce.com wanna-be you're using.)

Fact is, the minute names hit SalesForce they hit the laps of your sales reps who then are judged on performance from then on. If you put anything in the system that a rep probably can't close, then they look bad, they waste invaluable time, and soon they begin to distrust *all* the leads you give them.

Once sales doesn't trust your leads, you're completely sunk. Time to look for a new job. (Reason why high-tech CMOs change jobs every 18 months or so...?)

Most surprising CRM factoid for us was how incredibly prevalent salesforce.com was among Summit attendees (75% of whom worked for companies with well over 100 employees).

Everyone was either already using it, or strongly considering switching. Nobody was totally in love with it ... many swapped war stories of programming tweaks to make it work better for them. Mainly they wished the salesforce.com R&D staff paid more attention to marketer's needs (not just sales.)

That said, the pain marketers experienced integrating competitors' non-ASP CRM systems made salesforce.com look golden in comparison. Should be an interesting marketplace battle over the next 12 months.

Podcasts & Business-to-Business PR

Just as we were writing these notes for you, our editorial inbox got pinged with a formal announcement "IBM corporate announcing support for podcasting."

Summit speaker Sam Whitmore of Sam Whitmore's Media Survey forecast this is no big surprise. When only a handful of attendees indicated they listened to podcasts, Sam said, "By next fall these numbers will reverse. Almost all of you will be listening to podcasts."

Unlike the two-steps-forward-one-step-back progression of wikis, Sam said blogs, RSS feeds, and podcasts are the main forces driving the future of b-to-b PR. Not only do media often pay more attention to these than they do traditional releases, but your end marketplace are picking up on them as well.

Which, Sam noted, adds up to more work on already-overloaded marketing departments. Not only do you need to consider using blogs, RSS feeds, and podcasts to get out your own messages, you also need to track (and react to) what the blogsphere et al are saying about your company and products.

The good news is, it's better for creating personas and understanding your prospects at a gut level than any focus group could be. The bad news is, even if you use easy tracking tools, you may have to spend hours reviewing the resulting reports.

Will your 2007 budget include a salary for a new media research, measurement and interaction staffer? Quite possibly.... Useful link related to this article:

Want to attend the West Coast leg of this Summit Nov 17-18th? You can get info and/or reserve tickets at (877) 8795-1717 or: http://www.sherpastore.com/c/a.pl?1148&p.cfm/2167

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