45 Ways to Improve Your Digital Strategy in 2013, Part Two

The Online Marketing Institute’s Annual List of Top Digital Strategists Share Their Best Advice for Driving ROI in the New Year.

Welcome to part-two of the top digital strategists series. This part is focused on B2B marketing and how to use data to improve your digital strategy. If you missed part-one, read about what top OMI educators had to say about the future of social media in 2013.

To help marketers discover new opportunities for driving ROI, the Online Marketing Institute identified the top 40 digital strategists, and asked them for their best advice for 2013. These OMI online learning center digital educators were selected because they are:

  1. Embracing the latest integrated digital strategies and technologies
  2. Advancing the industry through education — speaking, blogging, and teaching
  3. Driving game-changing results for their clients and organization

B2B MARKETING INSIGHTS

In the second installment of this three-part series,  digital strategists well-versed in the area of B2B marketing share their best practices, predictions for the future of business to business marketing, evaluation of industry trends and share the know-how to deliver thought provoking insight that will lay the groundwork for you to build an effective, holistic digital marketing strategy in 2013.

11. Lead Generation is Nothing Without Management 

“Lead generation was marketing’s focus leading up to online marketing and the web. With modern marketing and sales tools like customer relationship managers (CRM) and marketing automation, lead generation tactics must evolve to the practice of lead management, which extends marketing’s role from the top of the funnel on down. To be effective, lead management requires the right people, framework, process, systems, and a company cultural to have one integrated marketing and sales process.”

- David Lewis, DemandGen International, Inc.

David Lewis is an early pioneer in Internet marketing, marketing automation, and CRM systems with over 22 years experience marketing and selling technology solutions through direct sales channels, online, and distribution channels. In 2007, he founded DemandGen International, Inc. a global consulting firm helping companies deploy and utilize marketing automation and CRM systems. DemandGen has become the trusted advisor to the world’s leading marketing and sales teams combining superior service, business process, and technology expertise.

12. Align Both SEO & Paid Search Efforts with Cross-Functional Marketing Strategies

“In a recent online marketing industry report, one of the interesting findings was that search marketing continues to grow worldwide and that search marketing represents a key channel for digital marketers. Search spend in the United states grew by 13% while ROI steadily improved. Additionally a recent Nielsen report finds that 94% of user interaction in search engines is on organic search listings compared to 4% paid interactions. This highlights that that there is a significant potential ROI opportunity for companies to align SEO with cross functional marketing strategies, especially between SEO and paid search.”

- Warren Lee, ADOBE

Warren Lee is responsible for over ~48 million monthly visits from SEO to ADOBE. Warren manages SEO for Adobe.com, Photoshop.com and the many web properties owned by ADOBE. Prior to ADOBE Warren worked for MOVE inc. where Warren was also an in house SEO manager responsible for keeping Realtor.com the #1 most visited website in the real estate industry as reported by Comscore.

 

13. Generating Qualified Sales Opportunities Requires Multi-Touch Approach

“Your prospects are overworked, busy, and distracted. They receive between 100 – 500 marketing messages per day in their inbox, social media and web experience. It’s unrealistic to think that one email or one social media touch will get their attention enough to make a purchase decision on your product.

Plan to build in multi-touch from the beginning of the campaign. Also, remember to be proactive, calling responders and non-responders alike. Here’s how:

Demand generation is really hard work. You need to plan your campaigns to incorporate between 7 to 13 touches. This often includes email, direct mail and social media outreach as the first touches. And then overlay a tele-prospecting and nurturing stream that can involve another 4 to 8 touches. This can involve several steps, including being re-directed to a more appropriate decision maker, leaving a message, calling a busy prospect back later, sending a follow up email, providing more information, setting an appointment to discuss further, and then finally have the conversation where they will discuss budget, purchase authority, need and time frame.

Also don’t rest your laurels on the inbound responders. Actively triangulate from the email and direct mail to reach the non-responders with a tele-prospecting and nurturing contact stream to engage them in the sales process. Given the right outbound campaign and nurturing stream, you could generate qualified sales opportunities from 10 – 15% of the list. Those are results any marketer would be proud of!”

Laurie B. Beasley is co-founder and president of Beasley Direct Marketing, Inc. www.BeasleyDirect.com, a Silicon Valley direct marketing agency that has managed search, email, online, and demand generation campaigns for nearly a hundred companies. Ms. Beasley is an instructor of online marketing at UC Berkeley Extension and teaches in the Level 2 Demand Generation Certification program for the Online Marketing Institute.

 

14. Irrelevant Messaging Equals Costly Opt-Outs

“Buyers today have access to an abundance of information to help them make purchases: corporate websites, social networks, review sites and so on. And increasingly all that information is available in the palm of their hand, anywhere and anytime. This means that a buyer no longer has to talk with a sales rep to get the information they want about a purchase. Buyers use their access to this information to seize control of the buying process and delay engagement with sales reps until they know as much (or more) than the sales rep does.

Since buyers engage with sales later than ever, marketing has to step in and take a bigger role in the revenue process, nurturing relationships with early-stage prospects until they become sales-ready. These dialogues must be relevant to the buyer; or else they will opt out or screen out your communications. These must be individual conversations on the buyer’s time frame, not batch-and-blast communications on your time frame.

This is a MASSIVE scale problem. It’s not a dialogue with one person, or a dozen. It’s with hundreds of thousands or even millions of potential customers. And that’s why marketing automation technology suddenly becomes so critical. You literally can’t keep up with the requirements of modern marketing without a technology platform. As Lucille Ball famously demonstrated in the candy factory, attempts to implement these kinds of processes without the right systems quickly collapse into a mess of lost opportunity.”

Jon Miller is VP Marketing at Marketo, is the executive editor of the popular Marketo blog, Modern B2B Marketing, and author of the comprehensive handbook, The Definitive Guide to Marketing Metrics and Analytics. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard College and has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He shares the latest marketing tips and best practices on Twitter using the handle @jonmiller.

 

15. Video Must Deliver Correct Messaging to Move Prospects Down the Funnel

“Before you build a marketing video, think about where you’re going to use the video. Where is the customer in their purchasing journey when they see the video? What kind of information do they need at that stage? Then build the video to deliver the information the customer needs to make their purchasing decision and move to the next step of the sales process. And don’t forget to offer a button or link under the video showing them where to click to move further down the sales funnel after they’ve watched the video. Finally, it’s not how much you spend on the video – it’s whether or not you delivered the information the customer needed to move further down the sales funnel.”

- Leslie Drate, Cisco

Leslie Drate oversees the planning and operations of Cisco social media channels focused on serving the needs of the global Cisco community. Leslie is a 20+ year marketing veteran with a background in website development, ecommerce, and content strategy. In addition, Leslie is an expert on the Cisco video landscape and building effective videos for the BtoB audience.

Leslie shares advice for B2B content in the OMI class, Best Practices for Business to Business Video.

16. Provide Solutions to Your Web Visitor’s Needs to Improve Conversion Rate

“Conversion Rate Optimization is about truly understanding the existing needs and real-world context of your intended audience. Only by aligning the web experience with those needs can a business maximize financial value. So look for unmet problems, not do not try to push your existing “solutions” and products as the false answer to everything your web visitors’ desire.”

- Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners

Tim Ash is author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners, a firm that specializes in improving website conversion rates through landing page diagnosis and redesign, conversion consulting, a/b and multivariate test plan creation, and client training/mentoring. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. Tim is a highly-regarded keynote and conference presenter, and has published hundreds of articles about website usability, best practices in landing page design and tactics to improve website conversion rates, and he is the host of the Landing Page Optimization podcast on WebmasterRadio.fm.

Tim provides more tips for effective conversion optimization in his class, Conversion Ninja Toolbox.

17. Use LinkedIn for Lead Generation

“LinkedIn can and should be any business professionals’ #1 social networking tool. By actively building a network of qualified connections, taking those connects off-line to create real business relationships, adding value to shared Group members, and by investing in your own personal brand, you can count on qualified lead generation on an ongoing basis.”

- Jasmine Sandler,  Author of Branding & Sales: The LinkedIn Way

Jasmine Sandler is a veteran in online marketing. She has over 15 years client experience in helping companies, both large and small, use the web to develop and grow business. She is a published author of “Branding & Sales: The LinkedIn Way,” and has expertise in the areas of using LinkedIn to grow business; B2B social media marketing strategy, and search marketing strategies for sustainable online visibility. Jasmine reveals how to develop an effective LinkedIn strategy in her OMI class, LinkedIn for Personal Branding.

18. Set Goals to Determine Success

“In marketing, there are so many different ways to measure success. Before launching a campaign, the most important thing you can do is establish clear and concise goals. Every business is different and so is every campaign; you must determine what success means for your business. Let’s put it this way: if you’re not willing to tie your own bonus to your campaign goals, then it’s probably not a good measure of success.”

- Tami Dalley, Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Tami Dalley is the Senior Director of Analytics and Insights at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and oversees the company’s analytics and insights team. A self-proclaimed “fanatical explorer,” Tami has more than a decade of industry experience in deep-dive web analytics, usability consulting, competitive intelligence, landing page design and multivariate testing. Tami’s work has been honored with the Search Engine Strategies Award for “Most Effective Use of Web Analytics” as well as the HSMAI Gold Arian Award for “Outstanding Search Marketing Strategy.”

Tami explains how to effectively measure attribution and digital success in her OMI class, Changing the Way We Measure Success.

19. Utilize All Departments to Gather Data

“We have all heard the adage, ‘In this organization, everyone is a salesperson.’ Now it’s time to take that a step further – ‘…everyone is a data gatherer.’ Anyone that touches the customer in anyway or is out there designing products or following your industry from within your organization has access to data that can impact revenue. Therefore you need to learn how to efficiently gather, store, analyze, share, and act upon such data.”

- Joseph Zuccaro, Allinio

Joseph Zuccaro is the Founder and President of Allinio LLC, a marketing automation professional services firm helping organizations plan and implement web-based technologies to better gather, store, analyze, share, and act upon data that maximizes marketing ROI and drives higher revenue. He has over 25 years of experience in marketing, sales, and business development with B2B product and service companies, including angel-funded, pre-IPO and post-IPO technology companies. He is a fervent believer in properly measuring marketing and the need to relentlessly make marketing provide calculable value to sales and management.

In his OMI class, Setting Up a Lead Management Process, Joe demonstrates how to setup a lead management process that takes into account everything from your target personas, value propositions, content, and what you want to do with leads to get them ready for a sales person

20. Your Data Is Important!

“Customers have control and the fundamentals have changed. Barriers to entry are minimal and competition can enter and win quickly, thus customer relationships become your largest asset. Data becomes the “introduction, enabler, and insight” into those relationships.

- Thad Kahlow, CEO, BusinessOnline

Thad Kahlow is the CEO of BusinessOnline and is responsible for the entrepreneurial leadership of all operations. His visionary leadership style has helped propel the company into the online marketing spotlight; making BusinessOnline one of the nation’s leading digital agencies. He focuses on the alignment of business goals and customer needs so clients can make business decisions guided by information that matters. Thad has presented at numerous industry and executive conferences including the DMA, HTMA, AMT and Online Marketing Summit, and is published in leading trade and business publications like iMedia, ERA and B2B Magazine, and was one of the original founding members of the SEMPO institute.

21. Make Digital Data Actionable

“The trend in marketing teams at retailers is an understanding of what first-party data means in a digital context, and how they can use it more efficiently. Take something like ‘site retargeting’ for instance: during the last 24 months many CMOs have realized that a visit to their site creates data, and with the right tools they can use that easily for their own needs.  Retailers will embrace Big Data and look for tools such as Programmatic Marketing Platforms to help them capture it, and make it actionable for their advertising and beyond.”

-Dax Hamman, Chango

Dax Hamman is the Chief Revenue Officer at Chango, the leading company in Search Retargeting, and is based in Chicago and Toronto. Prior, Dax founded and led the global iCrossing media group, developing the concept of ‘performance display’, an innovative planning strategy that drove significant ROI from display advertising for some of the world’s largest and coolest brands. He has 13+ years in the digital space with experience in just about everything online, including media, usability, creative, technical management and affiliate marketing. He writes and speaks extensively, particularly on new and emerging techniques within the digital media space.

Dax shares more advice for improving data and analysis in his class, Measuring What Matters: Analytics Tips for Success.

22. Expand Your SEO Plan for Longevity 

“Now, more than ever, how users interact with your brand online impact how important your brand is viewed by the major search engines like Google. If you want more natural traffic from search engines, it is vital to be strong with your PR plan, social media plan, site usability, content relevance and most of all… user engagement. Search engines continue to utilize more and more factors to prioritize which brands/sites are displayed when an Internet user does a search. Because search engines like Google are using more factors, a strong search engine optimization (SEO) plan will influence more factors and do so in a way that’s more balanced than ever before.”

– Brent Payne, Loud Interactive

Brent D. Payne, of Loud Interactive, started doing ‘SEO’ before it was even called ‘SEO’. He’s an internet marketer with over a decade of experience and proven success. He cut his teeth in online marketing as a vendor for Amazon.com where he became Amazon’s second largest electronics vendor by driving demand to Amazon from search engines. Brent is esteemed as one of the top SEOs in the world. He speaks around the world (just Google ‘SEO presentations’ to find them) at online conferences and has held online marketing roles at prestigious companies such as Tribune Company, where he grew Tribune’s search engine traffic from 500,000 visits per day to 1,700,000 visits per day in just 3 years.

23. Use Analytics to Increase Conversions

“The best kept secret of digital category brand leaders, has always been knowledge of the high ROI of Analytics. Nothing fuels the bottom line more than increased user conversion and retention rates through smart analyses, segmentation and targeting.”

- Morgan Vawter, Piston

Some say Morgan Vawter ’s first word was “Internet.” Since then, she’s demonstrated an uncanny knack for deciphering the complexities of the web. At age 16, she was selected to enroll in college two years early at the Georgia Academy of Mathematics, Engineering & Science. After graduating from Oglethorpe University, she spent years as a web analyst and Internet marketing consultant for Shell Oil, Qualcomm, and Cox Communications, among others. Now at Piston Agency, Morgan focuses on business analysis, strategic development, optimization, and multivariate testing, synthesizing multi–channel data to uncover insights and increase ROI for clients. When she’s not optimizing for Piston’s client set, you can find her leading sessions on the future of Analytics at Conferences such as ad:tech, WebVisions, Digiday and the Online Marketing Summit. It’s only complicated if you’re not a prodigy.

24. Integrate Your Search, Social, and Content Strategy

“In 2013 the smart marketers will be the ones merging the powers of social media, public relations and SEO and packaging an effective content strategy. The brands that optimize, socialize, visualize and publicize fresh content are the ones that will see the best ROI and monetize. Digital content that is fresh, visual, mobile and social will win the newsfeed race.”

– Lisa Buyer, The Buyer Group

Lisa Buyer

When it comes to relationships, Lisa Buyer believes the connection between social media, search, and public relations is exponential. As the founder of three media companies and CEO of The Buyer Group, Lisa is ambitious about the influence of public relations on social media, SEO, and SEM, and she continues to share her innovative approach with clients, peers, and associates.

 

25.The Future is Uncertain: Prepare for Success

Search Engine Optimization Prediction:
Penguin/Panda have created a brand new world… where good design (usability, site speed, etc.) and quality content will a greater focus for search engines than traditional use of keywords & inbound links.

Analytics Prediction:

Fueled in part by the election and Google’s Universal Analytics capabilities, predictive (convergence) analytics will make strides this year as platforms and consultants gain the attention of the executive suite (particularly CMOs) as sales projections and marketing ROI tighten up. Attribution tracking will also greatly improve and adoption will flow down from enterprise to medium-sized businesses.

Conversion Optimization Prediction:

Marketers will focus more on conversion optimization than ever before. Tools, once again, come to the rescue, enabling businesses of all sizes to easily create, implement and manage landing page & conversion optimization programs.

With a background in integrated marketing, Kent Lewis left a public relations agency in 1996 to start his career in search engine marketing. Since then, he’s helped grow businesses by connecting his clients with their constituents via the Internet. In 2000, Lewis founded Anvil Media, Inc., a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine and social media marketing for Fortune 2000 companies. Under his leadership, Anvil has received recognition from Portland Business Journal and Inc. Magazine as a Fastest Growing and Most Philanthropic Company.

Kent reveals best practices for social media analytics in this OMI class, What to Measure in Social and Why.

The Online Marketing Institute is honored to have the same industry experts leading various online learning center classes and crash course programs throughout the year, share their best advice on what to do in the ever-changing online marketing environment.

OMI is committed to bringing forth the insight of industry leaders. Look for the full list of courses from these top digital educators on the online learning center’s class topics page.

Read our next installment on overall digital marketing: Read Part-Three Now