Penton Marketing Services Delivers Largest Marketing Business-to-Business Study

Penton Marketing Services, a division of Penton Media, announced today the release of “Truth from the Trenches,” the largest marketing business-to-business survey conducted this year.  The study was designed to explore the pain points marketers are experiencing as they develop their online marketing strategies.

Respondents spanned a broad base of industry sectors and represented 15 distinct vertical markets that Penton Media serves.  From developing websites, search marketing, social media and lead optimization strategies, the survey reveals that many marketers are less than satisfied with their current digital marketing efforts.  Findings include:

  • 81% of marketers find online marketing moderately to extremely challenging
  • 77% of marketers say their site is not that effective in generating sales leads
  • 74% of markets have not implemented a social media strategy
  • 80% of companies have no resources and no budget devoted to Website analytics

“What we wanted to explore were the real pain points, expectations gone unfulfilled, frustrations and realities marketers struggle with on a daily basis,” said Kim Paulsen, SVP and executive committee member for Penton Marketing Services.  “This study reveals both the gaps we uncovered and the strategies you can use to gain ground and turn marketing buzzwords into real tools for success. We are confident that this study will be a great tool in your quest for successful marketing implementation.”

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12 Most Important Things We All Can Control

There are so many things in life that we simply cannot control (as is especially clear right now, around the 10 year anniversary of 9/11), but what about the things we CAN control?  As human beings, we have the power of reasoning and choice, both of which give us substantial control over our own life situations… we just need to be reminded of this from time to time.  Following is my reminder list of the 12 Most Important Things We All Control:

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‘Maturity Curve’ Shows Strong Revenue Gains for Companies Deploying Revenue Performance Management

Earlier this year, Marketo conducted a global study of customers that reported some pretty astonishing findings. The study calculated that by using Revenue Performance Management (RPM), our customers had the potential of generating more than $2.53 trillion in incremental revenues over the next five years.

That huge number reflected a 40 percent increase in revenues that Marketo’s customers could deliver as a consequence of deploying RPM. Talk about a data-point that focuses one’s mind (and hopefully actions)!

The study assessed how over 250 Marketo customers (nearly 19 percent of our current customer base) are faring by using the company’s full range of revenue-building solutions. According to the survey, Marketo’s customers are registering tangible business results across the revenue cycle, including:

  • 22 percent increase in qualified leads generated by marketing
  • 21 percent increase in qualified leads converting to sales-accepted opportunities
  • 17 percent increase in sales win-rate
  • 12 percent increase in average contract value
  • 7 percent improvement in length of sales cycle

The study also found a sharp increase in marketing productivity as a result of deploying our RPM-related solutions.  On average, Marketo customers ran over 46 percent more programs and campaigns after a year of using Marketo. The top 20 percent of customers had doubled their programs, and 49 percent of customers had increased programs by 75 percent.

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CMOs Struggling To Keep Up With The Digital Revolution

In a wide-ranging survey of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers from 64 countries and 19 industries, IBM’s 2011 Global CMO Study revealed that a large portion of CMOs, while excited at all the changes happening in the marketplace – are ill-equipped to deal with and manage it. 

Back in July I shared with you the results of the State of Marketing Report from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council which revealed that “Social Media And Integration is Chief Among Marketers’ Priorities.” Then in September it was the results of a study conducted by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business that showed that “CMO’s To Increase Spending On Social Media But Integration Still Lacking.”

And today I want to share some of the results of the aforementioned IBM 2011 Global CMO Study which revealed four (4) key challenges that CMOs feel unprepared to manage:

  1. The explosion of data. It goes without saying we are ALL swimming in a sea of data. It’s all around us and the key will be not only managing all of it but measuring it and gleaning

    the right information from it. Yes the operative word is “right.” One CMO survey put it very bluntly “At this moment, I don’t know how our marketing department will cope with the expected data explosion.”
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Context, Content and Caring

A recent blog post by Brian Solis calls out a systemic issue we are faced with every day as marketers – the issue of understanding consumers. Brian points to a serious lack of understanding that brands have for the context in which their consumers live.

You see folks, there once was a time when businesses believed that they were in business because they had a product – not necessarily because there was a market for this product. And, there once was a time, only shortly after businesses believed their product was enough, that marketing was called upon to cater to the people who consumed. But, what catering to the consumer meant – at least at that time – was to put pretty pictures and nifty words on a poster and hope it would make people want the product.

The issue with this approach was that brands would broadcast to their consumers all the things they thought their consumers wanted to see and hear.

Now, with the advent of social media platforms and quick adoption rates, marketers, businesses and brands rejoice. There is a direct view to the consumer and more of what “we think they want”. This plethora of information has been taken in and more than one brand is taking the opportunity to talk to their consumer. But that’s the problem, isnt’t it? The dialogue isn’t really dialogue.

I recently gave a presentation at Social Media Masters in Toronto. The premise of my presentation was to share that brands must become human again. We, as marketers and business owners, must allow brands to become human again. Taking notice of the social media chatter is only one part… It empowers us to better understand the context in which our consumers live, but it also gives us the opportunity to see the type of content that genuinely engages them. It is this engagement that gets us one step closer to real dialogue. And real dialogue is the beginning of creating human brands.

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73% of CEOs Think Marketers Are Not Effectiveness-focused

I read a fascinating global study on what CEOs think of Marketers, by the Fournaise Marketing Group. Some of the interesting findings for me are:

  • They keep on talking about brand, brand values, brand equity and other similar parameters that their top management has great difficulties linking back to results that really matter: revenue, sales, EBIT or even market valuation (77%)
  • They focus too much on the latest marketing trends such as social media, because they believe they represent the new marketing frontiers – but can rarely demonstrate how these trends will help them generate more business for the company (74%)
  • They are always asking for more money, but can rarely explain how much incremental business this money will generate (72%)
  • They bombard their stakeholders with marketing data that hardly relate to or mean anything for the company’s P&L (70%)

The average tenure of a CMO is still less than two years. largely because of the issues identified above.

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Let’s take back the word “Friend”!

Facebook has done an amazing thing – they now own the word “friend”!  The problem is that they have devalued the word while adding value to their brand. Let’s take back the word “friend” and fill it with value again!

How many of you use “air quotes” when you say so-and-so is your Facebook “friend”?  That’s exactly my point.  The word now, more often than not, just means that you exchanged a keystroke with someone.

To be clear — I am not saying that connecting through Facebook is a bad thing; I’m saying that few of us actually take the time to connect in the ways that a real friend would.  We are missing the chance to use social media as a tool that facilitates real relationships and instead using “friends” as points in a popularity contest.

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The Impact of Influence on Social Media Measurement

Analysts love metrics. Specifically, metrics that can be easily selected, tracked and added, which when aggregated provide the raw data resources to create benchmarks and predict how the audience may behave in the future. To analysts – at first anyway – Social Media seemed God-sent because it allowed direct access to that audience and provided immediate and unfiltered feedback. No longer did we have to run costly focus groups with representative samplings and impose those findings on the whole. We now have access to the entire community and the ability to solicit feedback from the entire group.

So why is measuring Social Media still such a debate?

We’ve all seen the statistics on the growing number of people that continue to flock to social channels to share their experiences and opinions. According to a JC Williams Study, 91% of those surveyed indicated that customer content is their primary decision criteria. In a similar study, Marketing Sherpa reports 87% trust a friend’s recommendation over a critic’s review. We all know this; what we don’t know is how to effectively quantify its value to the business.

Marketers have begun to map how Social Media influences the sales cycle, yet it’s that influence that business executives and marketers struggle with. Blogs, Social Networks, Mobile Check Ins, Product Reviews, etc. all have an impact on the sales cycle. It’s been estimated that 1 word-of-mouth conversation has the impact of 200 TV ads but there’s an evolving threat to the purchase decision beyond simple social commentary. We are now beginning to understand the importance of the nature of the engagement that consumers have with each other, the product and the brand’s employees. These relationships directly (those your customers are engaged in) and indirectly (those that are being observed by others) form an impression that has more influence over the sales cycle than user-generated content.

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Emotional marketing: brand interactions

Over the past few days, I’ve been working on a presentation I’ll be sharing with some folks here in Toronto at the upcoming Social Media Masters event. My focus: emotional marketing. We know that people seek to repeat activities that will make them feel positive emotions (happiness, calm, joy).

Why is this important to marketers today? Because, quite frankly, we’re not always great at creating experiences that generate positive emotions. Let’s face it, the last time you bought toothpaste, how special did you feel? Better yet, did you feel anything?

You want to be memorable, to make someone feel something for your brand. So memorable, in fact, that your consumer should want a “second date”. There are three potential outcomes for any interaction between your brand and your consumer:

  1. A neutral experience:

This is just general bad practice. Sure, you may be lucky enough to be in an industry like toothpaste where it’s a basic necessity but you’re still on a slippery slope. From a consumer’s perspective, a neutral experience results in an I-could-take-it-or-leave-it state of mind. These experiences are not too difficult to put together – the basic premise: don’t screw up and have a reasonable or acceptable product or service.

If all you want to do is compete on price, then knock yourself out!

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Digital Darwinism: Who’s Next?

This is the first part in a short series to introduce The End of Business as Usual

Change is inevitable, but it is rarely easy. Among the greatest difficulties associated with change is the ability to even recognize its need at a time when we can actually do something about it. Sometimes, when we finally realize that change is inevitable, the vision  or energy needed to push forward in a new direction is elusive. Or worse, when competitors recognize the need for change before us, we are by default pushed into a precarious position where our next steps become impulsive rather than strategic.

If you follow technology as avidly as I do, we can agree that the volume of emerging technology is both awe-inspiring and overwhelming. As new technology makes its way into into everyday life and workflow, certain devices, applications, and networks disrupt the norm and begin to impact behavior. It is this disruptive technology that over time, influences how people work, communicate, share, or make decisions. The question is at what point does emerging technology or new behavior become disruptive? And more importantly, what systems, processes, and protocol are in place that recognize disruption, assess opportunity, and facilitate the testing of new ideas? The time to answer these questions is now.

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