Peter O’Neill here with some comments about being truly effective at content marketing. Did you know that B2B buyers say that 70% of the content they read and study before making a purchase decision is actually found by themselves; as opposed to being given to them by marketing or sales? At Forrester, we like to talk about the new interaction model of need-match-engage, where the buyers now initiate the interaction and spend a major part of their buyer journey doing their own research before calling in potential suppliers.
Content marketing has therefore become much more than product and solutions collateral, campaigns, mailings, and fulfillment. B2B marketers have to be great at being found by buyers in their early research phase (the phases we call discover and explore). In a way, successful marketers will “fool” their buyers into consuming their thought-leadership and educational content in stages 1 through 5 — while hardly realizing its source. And the most successful marketers will learn how to mix their brand "scent" into that content without appearing to be selling — to the extent that buyers will count it as part of their 70%.
Now here is some more “earned media” for Cisco. As usual, full disclosure rules require me (Peter O’Neill here) to note that Cisco invited me to its latest Partner Velocity conference in Cannes last week. As they told, the agenda was truly in my sweet zone of research: the challenges of B2B marketing including channel marketing. This annual worldwide conference was held in Las Vegas last year but the last one I had attended was the previous European event two years ago in Barcelona. As I wrote then, I continue to be truly excited by what I saw and heard at the event.
Cisco is the ONLY tech vendor that holds an event of this strength exclusively for marketers – the marketers who work for its business partners. I’ve been on vendor/partner marketing advisory councils but this one was a marketing training event and which IT vendor besides Cisco thinks it is good enough at its own marketing to be able to hold such an event for others? I had some really great conversations with marketers across the globe – I collected business cards from South Africa, Nigeria, Dubai, Lithuania, plus across Europe and North America. It is interesting to hear that marketing has similar issues (getting enough executive support, proving its value, lack of resources) all over the world.
Two things I noted especially at this year’s event:
This week, Colt launched its Ceano cloud services for SMBs with a particular focus on the reseller channel that actually services these businesses. As this announcement combines the business strategy of a telco provider with an innovative channel strategy, Forrester analysts Dan Bieler and Peter O’Neill have again combined (as in their previous blog on Cisco) to discuss their impressions:
Peter O’Neill here and welcome to another “Letter from Germany” post where I highlight something important for you about B2B marketing in Germany. Last week I attended the first Lead Management Summit in Munich, an event organized by the business media publisher Vogel Business Media together with DemandGen AG, the European arm of that worldwide consulting group. More than 150 attendees were treated to an agenda jam-packed full of user experience stories enriched by each speaker with their own set of useful anecdotes. Two highlights for me were:
Thomas Dueker, AEB GmbH(supply chain logistics software vendor). In discussing how he optimized their lead management process, Thomas also said he didn’t like to use the word “lead” too much. He remarked that he sees it as “too American, too much about selling, too quickly.” Remember my note in a previous blog about differing expectations in European marketers? His system identifies “marketable and relevant contacts” and feeds them “quality content with minimum sales messaging.”
I (writes Peter O'Neill) have just published the Organization report for our lead-to-revenue playbook. My colleague Lori Wizdo is writing most of the 12 reports that form this Forrester playbook, but I get to write a few and we are both excited that Laura Ramos, now back at Forrester, will contribute the Business Case report.
In my report, “The Skills And Structures For L2R Success,” I have avoided suggesting a standard org chart for L2R process management because our client inquiries on this topic show that one size definitely does not fit all. Instead, I have focused on how to organize a team to design and manage a buyer-centric L2RM process. And I discuss the many new job titles, roles, and responsibilities that are now appearing in marketing organizations as more and more enterprises adopt an L2R strategy. I also consider the important interfaces to many other departments that are needed to ensure L2RM success.
“Letter From Germany” Feb. 2013 – Marketing Automation Is Hot In Europe This Year
Peter O'Neill here with the latest edition of my (somewhat) regular blog in which I highlight important information for you about B2B marketing in Germany. This time, I have exclusive details for the German market on marketing automation; the data is taken from the survey used in my upcoming report entitled “European B2B Marketers Will Invest In Automation In 2013.” The report will have two pieces of research for Forrester clients:
1. Data from our Q4 2012 US And Europe B2B Marketing Tactics And Benchmarks Online Survey.
2. An update to our list of innovative marketing automation vendors that have headquarters in Europe.
Many of the leaders at international marketing automation vendors we speak to have been wary of seriously setting up in Europe, as they believe firms in that region are late adopters of marketing automation. But we have important news for them: It’s now high time to show more presence in Europe! Our survey shows that the rate of investment is actually higher in Europe than in the US for nine of the 10 categories of marketing automation about which we asked. In the graph below, we show the aggregate of those planning to implement the technology or expand/upgrade their system.
At the Cisco Live EMEAR 2013 event in London this week, Cisco brought a new down-to-earth dynamism to the table. The vision how Cisco is intending to empower its clients in an evermore connected world is becoming clearer. In this blog, Forrester analysts Dan Bieler and Peter O’Neill discuss their take-home messages from the event:
Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) is empowering its high-end channel partners.
Dan.HCS, Cisco’s hosted collaboration suite, allows carriers to offer cloud-based as-a-service solutions, comprising unified communications, telepresence, and contact center, as well as a range of communication features under the Jabber brand. In EMEAR, BT, Telefonica, and Vodafone are already selling HCS, primarily aiming it at their multinational corporation (MNC) customers. They've hinted at scaling down HCS in the future but it remains to be seen whether HCS is the right solution for smaller carriers and SMBs.
Peter.They also need to think about being more attentive to the needs of midmarket system integrators and MSPs. That means they must provide different price configurations that are attractive to SMBs. Positioning themselves only to the national telcos is quite restrictive and doesn’t match the increasing demand we are seeing for these solution across the market. But of course, if they want to compete in the SMB segment, they’ll compete with Google and Microsoft and their pricing strategies. The best way to run two pricing strategies is to use two brands.
Effective content marketing is now critical to B2B marketers’ success because useful content accelerates potential buyers along their journey, writes Peter O'Neill. This raises a serious content challenge for B2B marketers. Their content should be available and compelling across all touchpoints in the customer life cycle — from the awareness phase (from the vendor’s point of view) through to the phase that Forrester calls customer retention and expansion.
Are B2B marketers rising to this challenge? Forrester’s Q4 2012 US And Europe B2B Marketing Tactics And Benchmarks Online Survey provides us with an answer. As we make clear in this report, there is significant room for improvement. Here are some significant shortcomings that we highlighted in the responses from 328 B2B marketers:
B2B marketing content works for lead nurturing but nothing else. When asked about the effectiveness of content marketing among 16 separate marketing tactics, the rankings range from No. 15 in the awareness phase to No. 5 as a tactic for lead origination; it’s in third place for lead nurturing but drops back to No. 6 in the customer retention and expansion phase.
B2B marketers create most of their content internally. The majority of the content produced is created internally either by the marketing department (44%) or by other employees (14%). Organizations that create their own content with only internal staff tend to remain fixated on their product and solution.
This month, we have been studying the returns from our Q4 2012 US And Europe B2B Marketing Tactics And Benchmarks Online Survey of more than 328 B2B demand management marketers in the US and Western Europe. We asked a total of 34 questions, covering the revenue acceleration tactics that marketers deploy and in which lead-to-revenue process phase; how effective these tactics were in terms of conversion rates across the L2R processing; and several other questions about resources. We also asked about their progress in adopting various systems of marketing automation software. Lori Wizdo presented some of this data in her Webinar on November 20which Forrester clients can replay. Data highlights and curiosities include:
· US marketers prefer tradeshow and print. US-based companies have a 50% larger allocation on this spend item compared with European companies. They also allocate 30% more for print advertising.
· Top-performing marketers spend differently. Companies with better-than-planned revenue growth, or where marketing contributed more than 50% to the sales funnel, mixed the 16 possible tactics differently, with the biggest differences in their usage of trade shows, SEO, and social marketing for lead origination.
· B2B marketers prefer to create their own content, mostly for lead nurturing. Even more, the data shows them stuck in the product marketing comfort zone, and their marketing content fails to deliver at all in the awareness phase.
· Email campaigns can work, if done well.We asked if they “send out individualized mails based upon prospect-specific data and behavior.” While 30% said yes to this, among the top performers, it was 48%.
One of the most enjoyable tasks as a Forrester analyst is reviewing all of the Groundswell awards submissions. And we know many of you also look forward to seeing the innovative approaches that other B2B companies use to listen to and engage with customers. This year, we received 45 entries and we judged submissions across seven categories: Listening, Talking, Energizing, Spreading, Supporting, Embracing, and Mobile.
Earlier in November, we announced the winners and then presented a Webinar to Forrester clients where we discussed the awards process, criteria, highlights, and named all the winners. And we described why they won their awards as well as featuring many other entries that we thought warranted an honorable mention.
Download this podcast to hear more from Kim Celestre, Zachary Reiss-Davis, and myself about the Groundswell B2B Awards (it runs for around 45 minutes):