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3 reasons the Microsoft-LinkedIn buyout should be on your radar

Categories: Uncategorized

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You’ve probably heard the news by now – Microsoft are buying Linkedin. There have been countless opinion pieces on what the acquisition means for those two businesses. But what could the repercussions be for B2B marketing? We at The Marketing Practice are particularly interested in what it could mean for three core areas – inbound, social and data – and decided to ask the experts for their opinions:

 

“The opportunity exists to provide predictive business solutions based on behaviour and content consumption”
– Rachael Clark, Head of Inbound

 

“More and more businesses use Microsoft’s cloud propositions each day, providing Microsoft with increasing volumes of insight that they can leverage. They will be building a wealth of valuable data into what businesses consume and how they behave. Marry this with LinkedIn’s insight into decision makers’ behaviour, and this could provide Microsoft with the opportunity to predict and recommend business solutions that are bespoke and delivered at the optimum juncture.

 

If B2B marketers are also provided access to this insight, they too can get their propositions in front of potential customers at a point when it will be most pertinent to them. This would unlock huge opportunities for B2B inbound marketing if it were to happen. Once a user has been identified and a proposition married to them, Microsoft will then have the option of reaching them via their vast ecosystem: the Office suite, Skype, search, Windows devices, and now of course Linkedin too.

 

On a more basic level, we are likely to see Microsoft Dynamics go on a feature enhancement drive, integrating information from LinkedIn to deliver ever more personalised communications. I’d like to see Microsoft thinking about how this data could be used to personalise the user’s experience across the full bought, owned and earned ecosystem.

 

The biggest challenges? How they grow LinkedIn’s user base to deliver these opportunities and ensure users feel comfortable about the use of their data. For me, it has to come back to the value exchange for the user. Get that right, and businesses have much more reason to buy in.”

 

“For social, and in particular social selling, the obvious opportunity lies in improving the quality of communication” – Monika Lazarowicz, Social Media Manager

 

“Satya Nadella aims to create a ‘connected professional world’ but in its current state LinkedIn will struggle to deliver this. InMail struggles with spam, the news feed serves up irrelevant inspirational posts, not to mention the pushy yet untargeted recruitment messages. Of course, this is not always the case but I hope that this acquisition will see Microsoft utilise their product suite and engineering capability to improve the overall experience.  For social selling specifically I’d like to see InMail evolve through richer designs, in addition to taking advantage of Microsoft’s network to target individuals (such as Skype chat).

 

LinkedIn provides advertisers with a unique audience, a large percentage of whom are not active on other social media platforms. In order to maintain this unique user base, Microsoft need to ensure that they elevate and evolve what is currently working to provide value to their audience. From our own social listening we know that while marketers are excited about the opportunities this acquisition could bring, many LinkedIn users are worried about how their data will be used across the network.”

 

“We expect to see richer contact insights aggregated within Dynamics” – Dave Kershaw, Head of Data

 

“The acquisition of LinkedIn will be a big boost for Microsoft Dynamics, automating the aggregation of insights across the database. For example, we know that contact X is discussing digital transformation and has engaged with person Y on several occasions (this data could also enrich the Microsoft Cortana AI).

 

LinkedIn have existing integrations with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. With the acquisition we hope to see this integration evolve at pace. One such example would be to refine the LinkedIn Discovery feature by overlaying Microsoft’s behavioural data, providing businesses with users who not only fit the profile but have shown cues that they are actively in market for a given product.

 

Whilst there are some obvious benefits for Dynamics, it does beg the question of whether they’ll maintain the Salesforce integration (or to what extent). I don’t expect them to remove this integration entirely as it would create substantial discord but I can envisage limited features versus those experienced by Dynamics customers. If this were to be the case, it could increase the footprint of Microsoft Dynamics across businesses in the UK who want to make use of these extra features.”

 

Whatever happens, we’ll be keeping an eye on the repercussions of this acquisition. What do you think? Are you excited for the possibilities from the deal? Or are you concerned about the use of data? Let us know!

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Posted by Rachael Clark | June 22, 2016

What is inbound marketing? A quick intro to the hottest topic in B2B

Categories: Best Practice

What is inbound?

Frankly, a word that tends to cause more confusion than it explains. A word that is often seen as the complete opposite of outbound. What if the inbound definition looked like this:

 

Any marketing activity that gets your audience actively coming to you and in the process shifts their mental dial at least some way from ‘I don’t give a monkeys’ towards ‘I’d love to know more’.

 

This means the audience are making the initial choice of whether to engage with you as a brand. But what would that mean about outbound? Is it the opposite?

No.

We believe there is greater value in speaking predominantly in these terms when looking at the customer journey, that joins inbound and outbound and connects them into one seamless journey. Think of it like this:

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So, how do you get people ‘in’?

  • Through marketing that effectively marries deep audience understanding with market insight
  • Is not constrained by channel norms
  • And starts with “What is the problem we’re trying to solve?”

Fundamentally it’s about doing great marketing. Much of the debate around inbound focuses on channel strategies but our belief is it’s wrong to lead with channels. Lead with a core strategy that answers a business challenge and marries this with deep audience insight. How you use channels should ladder back up to this core strategy.

So who is doing it really well? Here’s one of our favourite examples:

 

IBM: “Let’s Build a Smarter Planet”

IBM no longer wanted to be seen purely as a large blue-chip tech organisation but as an innovator. Smarter Planet unified this ambition, highlighting how businesses, governments and society can capture the potential of smarter systems to achieve huge gains (both economic and societal). Here, inbound is being used as part of, not independent of, a core strategy.

 

Why I like it:

  1. It was a single unified idea (core strategy) which everything filtered down from
  2. It is not constrained by B2B environments. IBM recognised that to become synonymous with innovation, they needed to be ‘famous’ for it
  3. They haven’t forgotten that to be seen as an innovative brand, they also need to behave innovatively. They are in the ‘traditional’ inbound environments (e.g. strong search presence) but they pepper disruptive communications that actively bring people in. A great example of this is their use of Watson. IBM Watson is a tech platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data (source: IBM.com). From instigating a 1-2-1 with Bob Dylan to test his conversational skills to putting Watson head-to-head with gameshow contestants, these unusual and compelling scenarios draw users in and trigger new conversations in the art of the possible. These hooks were followed up with tangible examples via Watson at Work which highlighted how Watson could be applied in environments such as Finance and Healthcare

What you can learn from it:

  1. Focus on one core strategy, not individual channel strategies
  2. It’s a perfect example of ‘show, don’t tell’ communications. If you want people to ‘feel’ a certain way about your brand, telling them to do so is just not going to cut it
  3. Don’t be constrained by channel norms. Combine a strong core strategy with audience insight and almost any channel can be used to deliver your objectives. You may even find a new ‘channel’, e.g. what if Watson infiltrated dating websites with his own profile? “I’m Watson, a great conversationalist and listener”
  4. Don’t forget business decision-makers are people too. They consume mass media and if something is compelling enough, they will end up hearing about it
  5. Think about longer-term gains. This example would have taken time to build. I am sure they continued short-term tactics but they recognised that in order to deliver substantial growth, they needed to think longer term

 

The IBM example shows brilliantly that inbound marketing is not just digital. Fundamentally, inbound is a way of bringing people in to your brand by earning their interest. This could just as easily be an event stand as it could a sponsored update on LinkedIn.

Interested in finding out more? Join us for our Sales & Marketing Forum where we will be discussing inbound and the many questions that surround it.

 

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Posted by Rachael Clark | June 14, 2016

4 steps to maximising your inbound marketing

Categories: Best Practice

Inbound marketing is never easy to tackle. It’s a hot topic in B2B marketing, which is why our upcoming Sales & Marketing Forum on 16 June will be focused on it exclusively. Here, our Head of Inbound shares some expert advice on how to keep on top of it, and maximise its value. For further discussion on the subject, make sure to register for the Forum today.

  1. Identify the broken links in your customer journey

Why: Broken links are all too common between the sales and marketing processes – and it takes just one to sabotage all of your hard work. Picture it as trying to fill a leaky bucket. Yes, you’re getting great opportunities through your inbound marketing efforts. But, an opportunity will be all it ever is if you haven’t captured their details on your website because the form is too cumbersome.

How you make this happen: Take a look at the four key stages in the customer journey outlined below. Inbound fits in to the first stage, but its effectiveness is dependent on the stages that follow. Identify which stage is causing an issue, and make any relevant alterations.

 

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  1. Make your reporting actionable

Why: Too often reports are churned out without the ‘so what’ being considered. We’ve had this many views on a blog… but so what? What do we want to do with this information? Does it match our objectives? The abundance of available data perpetuates this issue – and wastes huge amounts of time and resource pulling in stats that won’t deliver business gains.

How you make this happen: Keep it simple. Think about the objectives of your activity. What do you need to know to find out if it’s on track?

Take this example. Your business has an objective to deliver £10 million in pipeline in the next six months. To succeed, you firstly need to identify the marketing objectives that will get you there and plan your activity accordingly (see below for an idea of how to do this). 

 

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Next, consider what ‘good’ looks like against each of those metrics and set benchmarks for success.

Finally, look at how you need to set up the report to demonstrate this. This may involve tracking your most visited pages for insight on what your audience are consuming on your website. You can then use this knowledge to turn these interested visitors into known users by gating the content to these pages. 


  

  1. Start with the business challenge and audience insight

Why: Always remember, “There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe). Having a channel or content strategy is a sure-fire way to do a lot of ‘stuff’, but half of it won’t be needed. Do you need a content strategy? A social strategy? A search strategy? No. You need a single core strategy. How you use content or channels can, and should, all align to this.

How you make this happen: Start in the same way you would anything else – articulate the business challenge. Research and develop your audience personas and their core responsibilities through the likes of social listening or market research. Consider how you will address the business challenge, and build a strategy from there. Don’t think of your inbound strategy as a selection of channels or feel constrained by what you think a channel can do. If you understand the audience well enough, almost any channel can be used in a way to deliver your objectives. However, also realise that you don’t need to be on every channel to deliver your objectives. Avoid diving head-first into creating a presence for yourself on new platforms without a complete audience understanding. Like these guys.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr_EtMhM3fg

 

  1. Focus on integration

Why: Like any other activity, inbound needs to be part of an integrated journey. By relying too heavily on one area (e.g. calling), you are opening yourself up to risk.

How you make this happen: Look at your marketing mix from a 70:20:10 point of view. Focus 70% on what has worked well to date, 20% to optimise that activity (e.g. different methods of targeting within an existing programme) and 10% to entirely new testing (which may be introducing inbound, but could just as easily be something else).

105432_TMP_SM_Social-Graphics_Blog_70-20-10.jpgThis really just scratches the surface of the possibilities and misconceptions about inbound marketing – if you’d like to dive further into the subject along with other senior sales and marketing professionals, remember to register for the Forum while spaces still remain.

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Posted by Rachael Clark | June 7, 2016

B2B marketing in Germany: a unique opportunity

Categories: At the Barn

In February 2016, The Marketing Practice opened a new office in Munich, Germany. The office is headed up by TMP Germany’s Managing Director Andreas Bernhard, former Head of Product Marketing at a TMP client. We caught up with him to get some of his insights.

Andreas Bernhard

Why did you decide to start TMP Germany?

I saw a big opportunity for the German market. There are specialised agencies in Germany for telemarketing, direct marketing or creative services. When I was working with TMP as a client I realised that there is no agency in the German market that can offer the same breadth and depth: running a demand generation programme end to end, from the business case calculation, data development, direct mailings and social media, all the way to inside sales. We can take responsibility for the entire value chain to the ultimate outcome of qualified sales opportunities in the pipeline.


Why did you think the TMP offering would fit with the German market? How is it different?

We deliver programmes with our clients that focus on their outcomes: pipeline, closed business, developing new opportunities in existing accounts. This is the big differentiator – we consider the full picture, not solely the creative or some part of the value chain.


This is what marketing leaders really need – at the moment, they are either working with many specialised agencies, or they are bringing some functions in-house but still outsourcing others. Nobody wants to work with too many agencies: they want to focus on the marketing strategy and accomplish their objectives, not spend their time coordinating. TMP is solving that challenge in the UK, but no agency was yet offering that kind of end-to-end support in the German market.


What do you see as being the key benefits of a Munich office for TMP’s UK clients?

The big advantage for UK clients is that they can now drive not only a UK agenda but also a far more effective European agenda. You have the local competence, coupled with the consistent methodology from the UK. Plus, from the Munich office we are not only seeing business in Germany, but also in the Netherlands and France. So this base gives us the opportunity to take the same approach into further European markets and drive the same standard of outcomes.


What has been the most interesting project so far for TMP Germany?

That would probably be our demand generation work with Salesforce. Salesforce had huge growth objectives in the Mittelstand market, which covers more than 50,000 companies. It’s traditionally been a very difficult market for companies to break into, especially from the US. We needed to get an effective programme up and running in a very short space of time, which had the right tone and positioning for a unique audience, and could deliver hefty pipeline targets. We developed a programme to deliver end-to-end nurture from the first interaction all the way to an outcome. This covered target group segmentation, data management, content, campaigning, and much more.


Could you explain what you mean by the Mittelstand market?

The Mittelstand would be called the SME market in the UK or the USA. But even the Americans refer to the German SME market as the Mittelstand, because it is not only the size of the companies, but also a very specific mindset. These companies are the engine of the German economy. They are innovators but at the same time very mindful of their investments, so you have to make a strong case to convince them that you can sell to them. And that makes the Mittelstand fun to work with.


What has been the most interesting lesson for you so far about setting up TMP Germany?

When you are working across various locations you have to really think about how you are integrating your business functions. It is almost like business process outsourcing delivery, where we have certain functions in the UK and others in Germany. To orchestrate all of that is challenging. However, because the UK office acts as a knowledge hub, we can take advantage of that in Munich to deliver better outcomes than we could in isolation.


Secondly, in Germany we benefit from being much closer to our clients. I spend around 80% of my time in front of my clients, and that kind of intimacy bears a lot of potential for both the client and the agency. We’re expecting to see the same kind of benefits for UK clients from our new London office.


What do you see as the biggest differences between the UK and German markets for B2B?

I think that the UK is slightly ahead in applying modern marketing methodologies, while German marketers are more concerned with technology processes. There’s also a lot more competition in the UK, and that creates new knowledge and approaches. In Germany, where everyone is so specialised, that knowledge-sharing community is somewhat disconnected.


And finally, what would be your key advice for anyone considering expanding in Germany?

Get a native speaker with international experience. As silly as it may sound, I have seen so many UK businesses without native skills, and it just doesn’t work out. You need to build up trust, and language builds up trust. There are cultural differences between the UK and Germany, and you have to make sure this doesn’t become a sticking point.
The personal element must not be underestimated. Overcoming the cultural differences is the key thing to consider when you’re expanding internationally.

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Posted by Dan Squire | May 31, 2016

Culture shock: how I learnt to stop freelancing and love the job

Categories: At the Barn

When I moved to the UK from South Africa, I was convinced that I wouldn’t trade in my freewheeling, freelance lifestyle for anything (except, maybe, large sums of money). But time, boredom and an unkind Rand-to-Pound exchange rate forced me to revise my outlook, so I got a copywriting job in a large company. I should have been happy about finding a real day job, in my chosen field. There was a killer canteen with a whole counter just for cake, spacious parking, and even a swanky staff shop. I was spoilt. And I stuck it out for one whole week.

The work wasn’t particularly difficult, the schedule wasn’t exceptionally punishing, and the people were actually quite nice – my manager was like a Disney Princess in skinny jeans. But it wasn’t right for me. By the third day of driving into work, in tears, I realised that I wasn’t doing myself, or my new colleagues, any favours by pretending I wanted to be there.

 

Born free(lance)

In the aftermath that followed, I convinced myself that I had simply worked alone for too long, and was no longer fit for office life. Like a house pet turned feral, too much time had passed for me to be safely reintroduced into polite society.

Fast forward a few months and I’m back in an office, working as a copywriter at The Marketing Practice. The work is challenging, the schedule is packed, the expectations are high, and I couldn’t be happier. There are the obvious perks: great coffee, free food, a charming pub next door and a bucolic village setting.

But the major differentiator comes down to something that gets the spotlight in corporate brochures, and yet is often lost in the shadow of looming deadlines and delivery pressures… culture.

 

Principles or profit?

Every effort has been made to ensure that I feel like part of the team here. Time has been spent making sure that I understand not only what the company does, and how, but also why. They’ve kindly accommodated my wanderlust and considered my working preferences – although I notice I am still waiting for my hammock-desk to be erected.

It’s the importance of this cultural fit that is also reflected in one of, what I think, is The Marketing Practice’s most attractive qualities: their fussiness.

One of the best (and worst) parts of being a freelancer is the freedom to say ‘no’ to clients and projects that are not compatible with your own beliefs and values. But ask any freelancer if they prefer principles to payment and you’ll see an expression I like to politely call ‘conflicted’. Creative freedom is all well and fine, but rent doesn’t pay itself.

During one of my induction sessions, Clive McNamara (TMP Founder and CEO) explained that The Marketing Practice’s approach to taking on new clients was as discerning as it was towards taking on new staff. Only companies who share TMP’s values and objectives make the cut. There are few agencies who have the luxury, or the gumption, to be so choosy about finding the right fit when it comes to clients, but the effect on the work and the environment is obvious.

Every word in every message, every action, and every meeting has a purpose and point. Nothing is done by halves. The employees here don’t just feel obliged to deliver results – they feel personally accountable for them. It’s a completely different mindset to ‘churning out’ work to meet deadlines and then fluffing the numbers come award season.

Company culture is so much more than some waffle on your website, or an abstract word cloud in a CI guide. It’s the energy and the essence of an organisation, it’s the meter by which big decisions are measured and hard asks are answered. Your company’s culture can’t be defined in a snappy campaign, a vision statement, or a cute photo montage at the back of internal newsletter. It has to be lived, by everyone, every day.

And hey, when it’s right, it’s right.

 

When it's right, it's right.

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Posted by Jade Mitchell | April 28, 2016

Social selling: beyond the hype

Categories: Best Practice

A short guide to starting the conversation with your prospects

 

Ever noticed that if you repeat a word enough it loses its meaning?

Well it’s happening to social selling. Social selling. Boastful selling. Social smelling.

Social selling is everywhere right now: from blogs to boardrooms. So does that mean it’s just another meaningless buzz phrase?

Certainly not. If you can understand and execute social selling, you’ll build a network of prospects that’ll turn your competitors green with envy. It’s just a question of knowing how.

 

What is social selling? Really?

Buyers are choosing to talk to sales people later in the buying process than ever before, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t talking about you. The conversation has simply relocated.

92% of B2B buyers start their search online.

Social selling is a way of making sure you’re still part of that conversation. Done well, it opens up the opportunity to influence prospects before they’ve even started doing their research.

 

How to use social selling to build your pipeline

Our step-by-step guide reveals how we’ve made social selling work in a B2B world. Discover how to develop social sellers within your business, engage C-suite executives and measure the ROI of your social activity. Get the free guide

 

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Posted by Fran Gibbons | April 11, 2016

Welcome to the Funnel, by Jason Miller - Review

Categories: Best Practice

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Turkey on the menu, KISS playing in the background… the ingredients of a Saturday night for some, the foundation of ‘Welcome to the Funnel: Proven Tactics to Turn Your Social and Content Marketing up to 11’ for Jason Miller.

 

His motto is: ‘If you can inject your personality into what you do and the message you share, you’ll be one step ahead.’ In a world where prospects are increasingly in control of how they consume content across the buying cycle, marketers are playing catch up, and an excellent ‘Big Rock’ (piece of content) can be a game-changer.

 

The book is all about practical tips to improve content programmes. For example, Miller reminds you that spending time on a whitepaper (‘Big Rock’) can result in demand generation gold through a stream of smaller pieces of content (the ‘Turkey slices’), because that one piece of content can inform an entire email campaign later in the year.

 

Beyond content, Miller aims to remove the stereotypes which act as a blocker to excellent content marketing; this extends to ‘thought leaders’. We’re all guilty of thinking that writing as a ‘thought leader’ simply means writing top-level as a self-prophesised expert in a certain field. Miller breaks this down further – he says a thought leader can be:

  1. Industry-focused – writing the news, shaping trends and the market(s) you serve
  2. Product-focused – giving a business a means of getting from A to B, sharing ‘best practices, strategic roadmaps’, etc.
  3. Organisation-focused – reflecting ‘your company’s vision, innovations and uniqueness’

The barriers are also broken down in the relationship between content and social as he details ‘the 4-1-1 rule’: ‘For every one self-serving Tweet, you should Retweet one relevant Tweet and […] share four pieces of relevant content written by others’.

 

All in all, it’s a good book with some simple tips if you’re looking to establish a content programme. Miller’s words will surely resonate with every marketer in 2016 as our industry struggles to keep content relevant, exciting, and socially viable. But they have quickly become second-hand as the industry moves beyond the buzz of ‘content marketing’ into more considered, precise marketing tactics.

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Posted by Bryony Smithers | March 21, 2016

B2B marketing is done with the ‘57% of the buyer’s journey’ statistic

Categories: Best Practice

104990-004_TMP_Sales-enablement-presentation5.jpgIt’s surely one of the most used statistics in B2B marketing over the last couple of years. Sirius Decisions started it by declaring that 57% of the B2B buyer’s journey was complete before engaging a salesperson. In 2013 they added to it, claiming 67% of the buyer’s journey was done digitally. Google and others have since added their own estimates.

At Sirius Decisions’ 2015 summit, they admitted it might be time to ‘retire’ the statistic. But since then, I’ve seen more people than ever reference it. Marketers need to realise it’s not just about it being misleading. It’s about the fact it could be doing harm.

I worry that misuse of the 57% statistic creates a sales and marketing divide.

Too many times it’s used to suggest marketing’s responsibility for the sales process has increased. So we scrabble around, trying to work out how we can use marketing automation to nurture opportunities. Spending a fortune on new platforms, new personas and new content. Forbes’ claim about the ‘death of the B2B salesperson’ starts to ring true.

But we’re over-complicating it. Yes, automation can be very valuable. But not at the expense of the salesperson. We forget about the other truism in B2B marketing – the whole “it’s not business-to-business, it’s human-to-human” thing. A horrible phrase, but take it alongside the rise of digital and social, and what we’re talking about is a reframing of the sales and marketing relationship, and of the role of the salesperson. Not the rise of one at the expense of the other. Engage properly with sales, and they can be an integral, human part of your digital demand generation machine.

There are three more important reasons why we’ve had enough of the statistic:

  • It’s fundamentally flawed. This is the big one – I think a lot of B2B marketers instinctively realise the statistic just doesn’t make sense. Social has actually increased the importance of the salesperson. Now, engaging a salesperson isn’t about taking a phone call and giving up a couple of hours to run through some creds and case studies. It can be about connecting on LinkedIn and casting an eye over their blog. Connecting over Twitter at an event. Having a quick Skype call to run through a demo.
  • It doesn’t make you look good. In fact, it can make you look behind the times. Digital has moved on so far since the days when its importance in the sales cycle had to be justified. B2B marketers’ use of digital has had to move on too – too much B2B marketing isn’t properly integrating digital channels. You used to be able to get away with a few landing pages, some form captures and a handful of LinkedIn posts to support a campaign. It was a ‘hygiene factor’, while traditional demand gen was responsible for most of the commercial results. Not any more.
  • It’s no longer needed. Any marketer that still needs to justify their focus on digital and social to their business is facing an uphill struggle. Stats aren’t going to get them anywhere, if their business is missing the blindingly obvious. This isn’t to say that we don’t have to justify digital spend by showing returns. In fact, quite the opposite – it’s not enough any more to justify digital investment with theory; it should be tangible.

The topic of digital and sales integration is explored further in this report about the 3rd era of demand generation.

If you would like to discuss the topic further, I'd love to hear your thoughts  you can contact me here.

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Posted by Matt Harper | March 2, 2016

The Marketing Practice opens its doors in Germany

Categories: At the Barn

Photo credit: Moveandstay.com


PRESS RELEASE:

The Marketing Practice (TMP) opened its first office outside of the UK on February 5th 2016.


Over recent years, the agency has won multiple awards for its pan-European campaigns for clients. In Germany TMP has an especially strong track record, with successful demand generation programmes for Atos, Canon, Salesforce and HP Enterprise Services. These have delivered outstanding results: every €1 spent by Atos on marketing leading to €284 incremental order entry.

Germany was chosen as the location for this move due to its strategic importance for TMP’s existing clients – the result of the size and growth of its IT and technology industry. The move to Germany is the next stage in TMP’s ambition to deliver groundbreaking B2B marketing across Europe.

TMP’s Germany practice is headed up by former client Andreas Bernhard and is based in Munich. The team will begin with three members and work hand-in-hand with the agency’s existing team of native German Inside Sales executives in the UK.

“It’s an exciting venture”, TMP chairman Clive McNamara reported. “TMP’s model has already proven successful in Europe. TMP focuses not on just pure lead generation but the entire sales cycle. We provide a holistic offering for demand generation, account-based marketing and pursuit marketing, which brings us into a unique position in the German market”.

Germany boasts the fourth largest economy in the world and the largest in the Eurozone. The German technology industry alone is worth more than €800bn every year.

If you’d like to find out more about TMP’s work in Europe, please contact Paul Everett at peverett@themarketingpractice.com

 

Photo credit: König Büro Management GmbH

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Posted by Dan Squire | February 26, 2016

Metrics and chill? How closed-loop reporting can help you seal the deal

Categories: Best Practice

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There is an ever-increasing number of marketing channels, and with that comes an abundance of campaign data for B2B marketers to contend with. This abundance makes it harder for marketers to achieve closed-loop reporting from campaigns. Symptoms of this could include:

  • Producing content that gets views, but doesn’t contribute to long-term goals (e.g. clickbait)
  • Gathering data about leads but not passing it on to the people who need to know about it
  • Waiting until the end of a campaign to report on ways to improve, and missing out on that feedback when you needed it

In summary: you might be able to report on everything, but you need to make it actionable. And the quicker you can action it, the better.

Let’s take an example. You’ve been posting useful content and keeping track of your interactions on LinkedIn for six months. You need to justify the time spent on social media, so you show your manager a report that shows your interactions have gone up by 5% month on month. That’s great, but how much better could you be doing? Is 5% good? And what’s the commercial value of that 5%?


There are a few simple ways to make that report even more compelling.


If someone comments, you reply, connect with them, or send them an InMail inviting them to your next event. Perhaps they never respond to your InMail – if the response rate is very low, you know to rethink your nurturing approach. On the other hand, perhaps they start a conversation with you, come to an event, download a whitepaper or set a meeting. Now you’ve proven which responses work and which don’t work, so your success is repeatable and more efficient. Not only that, but you have a much clearer idea of how to engage prospects when their first touchpoint was on LinkedIn.


Apply this feedback approach to any other marketing practices – content marketing, email, events, digital advertising, sales enablement – and the principle works pretty much the same. It all comes down to a few main actions:

  • Think about metrics in terms of their business value in a wider context (lower engagement on social media may not be an issue if that engagement is with the right decision-maker and delivers pipeline)
  • Frequent communication between delivery teams about what their insights and goals are
  • Constant re-evaluation of your strategy based on data-backed reporting

Here’s an example from TMP.


We recently ran two concurrent programmes for the same professional services client – a demand generation campaign and a thought leadership campaign for the C-suite. Salespeople on the demand generation programme gave feedback about which subjects were engaging prospects and which weren’t. They also wanted more support to articulate the company proposition in those areas. In response to this feedback, we re-evaluated our content marketing programme and aligned it with what the sales team needed and reported, making it more relevant and stand-out in the mass of content found online. This approach helped us deliver 120% of our lead target over a nine-month period.


We are also trialling a new approach for capturing feedback from our Inside Sales team more quickly and efficiently than ever before, and feeding that back to our planning and content teams. For more information about how to integrate your sales and marketing teams, see our Sales & Marketing Charter.

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Posted by Dan Squire | February 17, 2016

The Marketing Practice generates demand and builds customer relationship programmes for clients including Atos, AXA, Canon and Oracle.

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