What Apple Pay Means To Data-Driven Marketers
By Brian Anderson, Associate Editor
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard about Apple and its recent announcement of two new smartphones and a watch. But one of the other announcements that has been making a lot of buzz is Apple Pay, a payment service designed to give iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch owners secure mobile payments with Touch ID capabilities.
While this is all for the greater good when it comes to payment security, this has the growing potential to influence data security as a whole — ultimately turning the data-driven marketer’s way of life on its head.
So is this a good thing for the B2B industry, or could this cause more problems? In my opinion, it will be a generous mix of both. No matter what, marketers have to be prepared for the possibility that they might be relying on a lesser amount of buyer data further down the line.
I cannot imagine B2B data security evolving to the point where absolutely no information is exchanged between initial engagements and when a deal is closed. It seems that there will always be some type of obtainable data, especially when it comes to collecting buyer behavioral data.
However, this level of security can still have an impact on the amount of data that is available to B2B organizations. Transactional data, as seen in the retail industry, would not be available. Also, this type of security could also make an impact on a prospective buyer’s willingness to share information. Would a buyer still be willing to fill out a form on a landing page if they know it’s possible to get what they want without sharing that information? Only time will tell.
In the end, security is a concern to all marketers — whether it’s a B2B company or a retailer. It is entirely possible for data security similar in likeness to Apple Pay to become more prevalent in the B2B landscape. This means that marketers need to continue to adapt their marketing strategy in preparation for changes in how data security is managed.
Let The iCloud Hacking Be A Reminder: Perform A Data Security Checkup
By Brian Anderson, Associate Editor
The recent iCloud hacking received a ton of press coverage, primarily due to the celebrities that were involved. However, there is a bigger underlying concern that every B2B organization should be monitoring — is your data ever really secure?
Short answer: Definitely not.
While the B2B industry continues to innovate and grow, we as a community need to understand that these hackers are innovating the way they do “business” as well. Constant vigilance is vital, and it’s the only way companies can prevent large-scale data breaches. So now is a great time to have a data security checkup!
Data breaches have plagued the B2C landscape throughout much of 2014, with Target, Neiman Marcus, Ebay and Home Depot among the recent targets. But this doesn’t mean that the B2B scene hasn’t seen its fair share of data security issues.
Companies like Adobe, Drupal and Evernote have experienced attacks, while email services such as AOL and Yahoo have been targeted as well (side note: here’s a site that visualizes the number of breaches dating back to 2004).
This isn’t the first time Apple has ran into data security issues either. The company’s developer portal was hacked in July of 2013, and roughly 275,000 third-party developers may have had their contact information stolen.
There are security solutions that specialize in B2B data security, including software-based or hardware-based solutions, which can be leveraged. Each solution has different offerings, and whether a particular solution is right for a company all depends on the company in question.
So take some time out of your busy work week to see how your data security is holding up, and make sure to fill in any loopholes. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
Snapchat Positioning Itself As A B2B Content Distributor
By Brian Anderson, Associate Editor
B2B marketers have become more adept at distributing various types of content on mobile devices, as they offer the ability to targeted prospective buyers with almost-instantaneous messages. As a result, B2B buyers are increasingly relying on their mobile phones to view work-related content. According to Demand Gen Report’s 2014 Content Preferences Survey, 44% of B2B buyers frequently use their mobile phones to access business-related content.
Snapchat, the mobile app that allows users to send vanishing messages, is making a push into the mobile content space with Snapchat Discovery, a new feature that intends to provide users with bite-size pieces of content — whether it be snippets of video or daily editions of news publications. The feature is set to be unveiled in November according to the Wall Street Journal.
Snapchat has been courting a handful of media companies since the beginning of August, looking to coerce partnerships that will bring valuable content to the mobile app — and ultimately make the mobile app more appealing for advertisers.
At the moment, B2C companies such as GrubHub and Taco Bell utilize Snapchat for offering personalized promotions and discounts to its customers. However, a mobile app with these new content features can be very useful for B2B marketers that are targeting an “always on-the-go” audience. Here are my three reasons why:
Offer Highly Relevant Content, Received Instantaneously: The new Discovery feature will provide content much like the app’s messaging service, where pressing your finger on the screen will display the content for a certain period of time. Marketers could potentially use the feature to provide highly targeted content that is relevant to the prospective audience, while the disappearing feature gives users a stronger urge to engage with it.
Advanced Engagement, Without All The Work: Snapchat is an easy mobile application to use, and content marketers will not have to adapt significantly in order to produce effective content for Snapchat circulation. In the end, the buyer’s attention span is growing shorter and Snapchat can help B2B organizations shorten their message while still making an impact.For example, curating any video content your company has created in the past can give content marketers an easy way to design a new message for a specific audience — that can then be effectively presented to that audience in an appealing manner.
Potential For Innovative Display Advertising: New content channels also bring new opportunities for advertising — particularly display advertising. While advertising brings new revenue to Snapchat,highly targeted display ads can be utilized to nurture target prospects in a non-disruptive manner. With Snapchat’s vanishing message features, B2B marketers will not have to worry about display advertising negatively affecting any buying decisions.
Marketers Need To Get Involved In Social Selling
By Brian Anderson, Associate Editor
Social selling has grown popular in the B2B landscape, despite the fact that it is still in its infancy compared to other strategies and tactics. But social selling isn’t limited to the sales staff. To be successful, the marketing team needs to play a role in providing the content to start — and continue — social sales conversations.
While diving head-on into new strategies can be a good thing, it’s important that everyone within an organization have a firm understanding of the new approach.
In the latest installment of the Social Selling Hour (#SShour), representatives from BroadSuite and ArCompany highlighted ways companies can utilize social selling workshops and programs to educate the marketing team — along with everyone in the organization — on how social selling works and ways they can get involved.
Here are three ways social selling workshops can help marketers become social selling superstars:
- Provide Early Exposure: Not all marketing execs are social savvy. Hosting a workshop is a great way to ease in attendees on how much social media can affect their company’s bottom line — without over-complicating the learning process.
- Allow For Easy Refresher Courses: Social media is a fluid environment that is always adapting to new platforms or updates. Workshops can be useful for attendees who have an understanding of their social networks, but could still use a refresher lesson to make sure they’re maximizing their ROI.
- Tap Into Unseen Potential: Workshops can be an effective way to educate attendees on unfamiliar social media tips and tactics, offering new ways to social sell and raise brand awareness.
Check out the Google+ Hangout of this past week’s Social Selling Hour, and be sure to follow the event hashtag (#SShour) for news and updates on the next installment.
Yo: The Three Ways Yo App Can Potentially Affect B2B Buyer Engagement
By Brian Anderson, Associate Editor
A recent Wall Street Journal article caught my attention the other day, covering a new mobile app that has been making the rounds on the Internet over the past couple of weeks. The app in question is Yo, which has the sole feature of sending the word “Yo” to any other user of the app. Why it’s making headlines? Because many people are labeling it the “World’s Dumbest App.”
However, this “dumb” app just received $1.5 million in funding, and the company is now valued between $5 and $10 million. The app has roughly 50,000 active users, and has been downloaded over two million times.
As the WSJ highlights, apps like Yo have the potential to “be bigger than Twitter.” Here are three different ways that Yo-like apps can be leveraged by B2B marketers in the future:
1.) It Offers Push Notifications Without The Commitment
Push notification tools are a great way of getting your message in front of prospective buyers. However, many push notification tools require sharing your phone number and opting in to the service—which many prospective buyers are not willing to share. With apps like Yo, prospective buyers do not have to worry about sharing their personal information and marketers can gain their prospective buyer’s attention quickly.
2.) It Takes Personalization To A Whole Other Level
Smartphones are the gateway for B2B marketers to get their company’s message to their audience. Mobile devices are personal items to their users, so marketers have to tread lightly when communicating via that channel. With apps like Yo, marketers can engage leads on a more personal manner. This ultimately makes the customer relationship more than just a potential business deal. If I were to receive a random “Yo” from a company like Marketo or Salesforce, that would definitely keep them top-of-mind — especially if I’m researching a new solution.
3.) It Has A Ridiculous Amount Of Potential
The simplicity in apps like Yo leave its potential up to the imagination of the B2B marketer. The WSJ reports that the funding it has received is going to help add a number of different improvements for the next version of Yo — reportedly rolling out in a few weeks. One new feature is the ability to send links along with each “Yo” you send; any B2B marketer would love to serve up their latest piece of content directly to an individual prospect. It can kick any content marketing campaign up a notch.
In the end, how stupid is Yo? Back when an up-and-coming social network that limited users to 140 characters per post was making headlines, I thought that was the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. Now that silly social network is expecting to make $950 million in revenue by the end of 2014.
Oftentimes it’s the silliest ideas that make the biggest impact on the world.
Three Reasons Why LinkedIn’s Acquisition Of Bizo Is Spot On, And the “X Factor”
By Kim Ann Zimmermann, Managing Editor
As Trip Kucera noted in his blog for Aberdeen, sometimes acquisitions make you scratch your head in wonderment, but LinkedIn’s acquisition of Bizo isn’t one of those times. “It really helps further define LinkedIn’s position from a pure media platform to a marketing solutions provider,” he told me in a conversation following the announcement.
He outlined three reasons:
1) LinkedIn has become the default contact list for nearly everyone in business, making the accuracy of LinkedIn’s database extremely high. Just think about how many times a day you receive a message about someone updating their profile because they’ve changed jobs. LinkedIn’s continuously updated database only strengthens the targeting capabilities of Bizo’s programmatic platform.
2) LinkedIn, which started as a platform for people to network and find new jobs, is now a solid publishing platform, allowing professionals and experts to share their voice with their peers. “LinkedIn is now using these strengths to connect B2B companies with their target audience,” Kucera noted.
3) Programmatic advertising budgets are seeing strong growth compared to other forms of advertising and marketing. According to Aberdeen’s research, leaders will be increasing their programmatic advertising budget by 9.1% over the next twelve months. Kucera noted that Bizo has also been strong proponent of integrating digital advertising with multi-step/channel lead nurture via integration with CRM, marketing automation and web content management (WCM) systems.
The “X Factor,” according to Kucera, will be how LinkedIn uses the Bizo acquisition to transition from a pure media company to a supplier of services to the marketing department. He notes that going from a publisher to a publisher that is also an advertising aggregator and demand-side platform provider is “no small feat.”
I would argue that LinkedIn had already been heading in that direction before the Bizo acquisition. In its latest quarter, revenue from Marketing Solutions products totaled $106 million, an increase of 44% compared to Q2 2013. Marketing Solutions revenue represented 20% of total revenue in the second quarter of 2014 and 2013.
Improve Your ROI: 5 Content Metrics You Need to Track Today
By Dayna Rothman, Director of Content, Captora
Rothman will be presenting “Content Marketing for Demand Generation ROI: Create, Track, and Optimize Your Content Strategy” at the Lead LifeCycle Series, #LLCSeries. Register here to save your seat!
In today’s fast paced, multichannel world, content marketing is how brands can get their message heard through the noise. In fact, 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that create custom content and 80% of decision makers prefer content marketing to traditional advertising. Clearly, marketers are on board. But, shockingly, only 27% of marketers are effectively tracking content metrics. So, how do they know what is working and what isn’t working?
Although increasingly difficult to measure, content marketing can be tracked through your sales funnel, from reach and engagement at the top of your funnel to revenue and closed/won deals at the bottom of your funnel.
Let’s take a look at the top five content metrics you should be tracking today. And to find out more, make sure you sign up for my Lead Lifecycle Series webinar on July 21, Content Marketing for Demand Generation ROI: Create, Track, and Optimize Your Content Strategy.
1. Program Performance
You need to know how your content is performing in all of the different programs you are running—from emails to your database, sponsored email programs, content syndication, paid search, or social programs. Hopefully, you are using content as fuel for your lead generation programs, so you have to track what works best. You will likely find that your content performs differently depending on the channel and the audience. For instance, your early stage eBook might work great on Facebook but isn’t performing so well on your content syndication programs. Track what works best and constantly test and optimize. If you are using a vendor, make sure they are providing you with these crucial metrics.
2. First Touch and Multi-Touch Attribution
These metrics are critical for tying content marketing to pipeline generation and customer acquisition. First-touch attribution tracks if a content asset is the first marketing activity that brought a new lead into your system. Multi-touch attribution shows how all of your content works together by tracking the different content assets that move a lead through your funnel to become a customer. If you have a marketing automation tool, you can track these metrics by running custom reports.
3. Downloads and Lead Quality
Your content should be generating leads for your company, and good leads at that. As a content marketer you need to assess not only how many leads you are getting through your content, but how many good leads you are getting — meaning how many leads fit your internal definitions. It’s great that your new E-book has been downloaded 300 times, but if none of the leads fit your marketing-qualified definition, then it’s time to reassess the type of content you are creating.
4. Competitor Benchmarking
Know what your competitors are writing about and benchmark your content to determine what is performing best in an absolute and relative sense. By keeping an eye on competitors you can also determine if there are any gaps in your content strategy that you need to address. A solution like Captora can help you do this efficiently. And of course don’t underestimate the power of listening and keeping tabs on what your industry is talking about.
5. Social Sharing and Engagement
What assets are being shared and engaged with on social channels? These metrics give you a good sense of how sticky your content or message is with your audience and the reach and share of voice you have. You will also quickly learn what sort of content is gaining traction on what channels. Most of the social platforms, like Facebook have good insights into content performance, or you can use your marketing automation tool or another analytics tool to track social sharing and engagement for your content on social.
What other metrics are you tracking? To learn more about content marketing for demand generation ROI, be sure to sign up for my webinar!
Dayna Rothman is Director of Content for Captora, a marketing cloud solution designed to discover, engage and convert new buyers by intelligently and automatically using existing content to scale targeted campaigns across multiple channels.