Why Account Based Marketing Solutions Still Need People to Do the Work

download (4)Account-based marketing (ABM) is a personalized, custom approach to a dedicated book of a business. Most SMB and enterprises use this marketing strategy to close new business and up-sell existing accounts. Included in ABM’s structure are a plethora of technology solutions to help scale the work being done. These types of solutions are customer service tools, sales generation tools, sales and marketing automation resources, and the like. While these tools may do the work for you, experts in sales and marketing are still required to help manage, analyze, and execute on what’s working.

Take a high level look at the workflow of how marketing and sales resources use technologies to support their ABM strategies to further align sales and marketing teams to skyrocket growth.

Understand Your Data

Whenever a marketing team runs a social campaign, like a Facebook or LinkedIn ad, there are always results provided at the end of the campaign, showing the target audience and engagement received:

A marketing professional is able to take this data and apply it to what’s producing the most results. A great way to see what’s working versus what isn’t is to create two separate campaigns, called an A/B test campaign, each targeted to a specific audience and look at which is driving the most results – whether that be lead capture forms, website clicks, or engagement (likes, shares).

Use Intelligence As The Foundation To Your Digital Marketing

Once a marketing professional analyzes results from a targeted campaign, they are able to identify which activities are best to activate based on what has been providing the most ROI. If a business is using ABM-strategies to engage current customers, they may include nurture campaigns that are personalized to specific industries. Through analytical insights, teams can create digital campaigns by vertical, including content that is relevant to who they are targeting specifically. This can be personalized newsletters, Facebook ads, or even promoted tweets. Teams are able to create targeted social ads based on what Facebook pages or Twitter handles users like, making their promoted tweets or Facebook posts even more purposeful to an audience.

Execute On What Works

Once campaigns are created via various digital channels, marketing professionals are critical for taking real-time action. If a team creates two separate marketing campaigns on LinkedIn, for example, and discover that one is performing better than the other, your team can pause the lesser-performing ad and double down on the greater-performing one. This is true for campaigns across several different social channels.

 

What to Look for in an Email Marketer

download (3)Email is NOT dead! We repeat: Email is not dead! Email may seem like an archaic method of connecting with customers with new, engaging technologies disrupting markets, but it’s far from being pushed out of the digital space. With more people adapting to mobile – 70% of adults have smartphones; this stat is 85% for young adults (PewResearchCenter) – email is being viewed more, just opened in a different place. According to Experian’s “Quarterly email benchmark report” (Q4 2015), “65% of total email opens occurred on a mobile phone or tablet in Q4 2015, compared to 54% in Q3 2015.” We’ve made our point – email is here to stay.

When working on incorporating email into your digital marketing strategy, look for these skills in an email marketing consultant:

UNDERSTAND YOUR MARKET

Not every email is for every market. Make sure the email marketer you’re working with understands the different audiences you are targeting and how to market to them appropriately. If you’re a talent management agency, for example, and your main markets are manufacturing and industrial lighting, two different emails of content are required to be relevant to both types of groups.

A/B TESTS ARE YOUR FRIEND!

A/B tests are key for testing new methods of engagement with your subscribers. LinkedIn Pulse recently featured a great article by QASymphony that provided a use case of an A/B test. The company created two different emails to drive sign ups, one with a multi-step process, and one with a single-step process:

The company noted that the content was exactly the same aside of the CTA (call-to-action). The results showed that Version B (showed as Variation #1 below) had a 22% higher conversation rate than the two-step process email:

While the simpler, lesser-step process may seem like an obvious result for higher conversion, it’s key to understand how the data affects the sales funnel, per QASymphony’s article. Higher conversions equals higher revenue, and this specific example doesn’t require an increase in marketing spend, simply a shift in strategies.

HOW TO GET – AND KEEP – NEW SUBSCRIBERS.

Are you missing opportunities to capture new subscribers? Free tools like SumoMe provide pop-ups for websites to capture email addresses. If you’re tweeting about a blog post, press release, or the like, have a pop-up appear to prompt users to opt-in to your newsletter. SumoMe offers features that allow you to customize how and when the pop-up appears: in the middle of the screen, bottom right, every fifth time a visitors clicks to your site, etc.

Your email marketing tool, like MailChimp, can break down which subscribers are opening and clicking on content within your emails so you can see what content is driving the most engagement. Make sure to curate content that’s resonating with subscribers, showing them that you’re paying attention to what they want to read.

 

Is Predictive Intelligence the Frontier of B2B Marketing

download (2)In the last century, the world saw a massive revolution of innovation.

Beyond modern marvels such as digital advancements and the evolution of the smartphone, artificial intelligence is gradually changing society and how people navigate their lives. Machine learning is gradually being integrated into nearly every aspect of life.

It’s already used in machine translation, email spam filters, ATM check depositing and facial recognition – and that’s just what an average person uses day-to-day.

Predictive intelligence is making businesses more efficient, effective and successful. B2B companies deploying predictive intelligence for marketing activities are closer to the holy grail of understanding each individual customer – and personalizing all content to their needs and interests.

Technology not far from artificial intelligence is making a significant impact on the marketing industry. In fact, 86% of marketing executives have already indicated they have seen a positive return on investment in marketing technology and predictive analytics. The future of B2B marketing will focus on predictive analysis and intelligence, and have a major impact on lead scoring and content targeting.

The Transformation of Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is essentially a points system used to determine where your prospects are in the buying journey. The idea is to look at customers uniquely for a better understanding of what they looking for, what you can provide them with – and if they’re likely to make a purchase.

Manually scoring leads, with this helpful guide, can be an excellent introduction to the strategy of fully comprehending customers. Assigning this responsibility to your B2B marketing team brings consistency, reliability and focus to a personalization approach.

Beyond manual lead scoring lies predictive lead scoring. This is a proactive way to accelerate the sales process by determining which customers are ideal based on past behaviors and purchasing history.

This takes into account other technologies, such as CRM or marketing automation, and demographic information to predict whom sales and marketing should be nurturing closely. Still done semi-manually, this method uses the insight from traditional lead scoring and blends it with modern ways of working.

In terms of the future of B2B marketing, predictive lead scoring using predictive intelligence is yet one step further. This is even more accurate than basic lead scoring, because of its correlation between patterns discovered in both a company’s first-party data and general third-party trends.

It has also become the standard for most companies, especially technology-based businesses. A 2014 study revealed 90% of users agree predictive lead scoring provides more value than traditional approaches. The comprehensive nature of looking at customers holistically and integrating that insight into how you communicate with them can fast track your marketing efforts.

Given that artificial intelligence can predict the status of hundreds of prospects in a matter of minutes, marketers have everything to gain by using this technology.

A recent Gartner study concluded that predictive intelligence is a must-have for B2B marketing leaders. Just as marketing automation is being adopted widely within the marketing industry, predictive lead scoring is likely to follow.

The immediacy of reaching customers, understanding their needs and effectively determining their value to your company has created a necessary place for predictive intelligence in lead scoring.

The Power of Personalized Content Targeting

Predictive intelligence, an important component of predictive analytics, is also critical in learning which pieces of content to target to which customers. After predictive lead scoring reveals where each customer is and might be headed in the buying journey, you can glean insights from predictive analytics for establishing the tone, material and style of content each prospect will respond to most fervently.

An algorithm that determines the factors influencing a prospect can also pull the appropriate content. Just as you would send additional white papers to a manually-scored lead with interest in more in-depth material, this algorithm identifies the many customers to whom whitepapers would apply.

Sending the right content is just as important as creating it in the first place. Predictive analytics also leads to informed idea generation and content development.

Using predictive analytics in your content marketing takes careful consideration, but can be done successfully if you know the right data points to use and what to integrate into your existing strategy.

Seeing what content receives the most engagement and is most worthwhile to your prospects helps you tailor future content to those interests. Even with predictive analytics on your side to help you gain incredibly beneficial insights, it still takes a human to use the insight wisely and proactively.

Marketing professionals who work based on data, emotions and customer connections are the whole package in targeting content most effectively.

 

Mobile App Marketing 5 Success Stories to Draw Inspiration From

images (2)By 2018, less than 0.01% of all mobile apps out there will be commercially successful. That’s what Gartner says – and we’ve got no reason to doubt the forecast. With the proliferation of mobile app development tools & the rise of “citizen developer” initiative, building mobile software has never been easier. Code quality & application performance aside, the main reason why companies fail to crack the App Store and Google Play charts is poor marketing. If you have a brilliant idea for an app, you’d better forget about Rovio’s overnight success and spend some time (and dough!) on marketing.

Top Earners (iOS developers who generate at least $ 50 thousand in revenues – 12% of the App Store’s registered publishers) have $30 thousand as an average marketing budget and devote 14% of project time to promoting their project. In case you’re a startup & barely raised funding through Kickstarter, your app can still be a hit – as long as you choose the right marketing strategy. Here are some app marketing success stories that prove you can do more with less.

Marketing done right: top 5 app success stories

    • Stay.com. Although building an application for Android first is not a major trend yet, that’s what the guys from Cutehacks did. Stay.com enables users to create personalized travel guides, store them on a smartphone and use the data offline. The app uses first-hand information provided by best baristas, chefs and media personalities from all over the world, so you can feel at home no matter what city you stay in – and save some money on roaming. Cutehacks spent nearly 6 months simultaneously developing the Android and iOS versions of Stay.com, and here’s what they learnt. First, you can’t ignore the Android look of an application. iOS-inspired layouts will probably alienate Android users – after all, the App Store and Google Play have totally different UX/UI policies. Although Cutehacks delivered a good-looking app that easily handled different Android resolutions, they received tons of negative reviews from devoted Androiders. Second, there’s memory and performance. Back in 2012 (and that’s when the Stay.com app was launched), the size of an Android application was device-dependent, so Cutehacks had to do some major re-coding. Finally, they found out Facebook APIs were unstable and poorly documented and spent quite a lot of time searching for developer tips on Quora and Stack Overflow. It sounds like everything Cutehacks did went wrong, but it’s far from being true. The guys successfully implemented the ACRA tool, enabling users to send failure reports every time the Stay.com crashed. They also used Trello to enhance project management (and poor management is the reason why approximately 30% of all IT projects fail). But what makes their story worth citing is the timely changes they made to Stay.com once they discovered users weren’t happy with the current Android version. If you want to succeed, you should pay attention to user feedback – and follow the App Store/Google Play developer guidelines, of course;
    • Languages. Jeremy Olson, a tech-savvy college student from North California, launched the Languages translation app back in 2013. He was no stranger to mobile software development: his Grades app (enables students to track their grades throughout a semester) generated favorable reviews from both tech experts and general public. However, Grades didn’t bring any money, so Jeremy went for a more commercial project. The demand for translation application was – and still is! – really huge, so it was an easy option. Besides, there was no affordable translation application that worked offline on the market back then (takeaway #1: consider timing & demand for your product). Jeremy’s team went a long way to validate the app idea, determine desirable functionality and create great UX. However, the very first thing they did was define customer personas. Jeremy and his confederates were quite familiar with the translation experience, so they didn’t have to talk to potential users in person (although that’s how Zappos’ founder validated his business idea). A customer (or buyer) persona is a purely fictional character who possesses characteristics of your target audience. Olson chose several factors that influenced a person’s decision to purchase the program, including his age, occupation, language proficiency and the environment where Languages would come in handy. The team created three detailed personas, thus covering the majority of key characteristics of their target market. Creating a buyer’s persona is a key success factor to launching & promoting a mobile app – and most marketers still keep personas in a closet for whatever reason or simply don’t know how to use them;
    • Flappy Bird. The viral game hit iTunes in 2013, but it wasn’t until early 2014 when the app gained immense popularity. Dong Nguyen, a Vietnam-based independent developer who built Flappy Bird over a couple of days, said he managed to achieve the so-called virality through addictive gameplay. However, some tech experts (including Michael Silverwood of VentureBeat) believe it wasn’t the case. In order to understand how the game topped the App Store chart in the first place, we need to get a better insight into Apple’s ranking algorithms. There are several factors that influence an application’s chart position, including the number of installs received for the past few days/hours, reviews and retention. Instead of spending huge money on user acquisition, GEARS Studios decided to focus on reviews. By the time Flappy Birds reached #1 on iTunes, it was getting over 400 reviews per day. It went on to receive 700 thousand reviews in a couple of months, and that’s almost 200% more than Candy Crush got after a year. It looks like GEARS implemented a “dark pattern” – a rate button displayed every time a user ended a game session and wanted to start anew. The button was located a place where the play button would normally be; users tapped it by chance and were transferred to the App Store rate page instead. Pretty soon writing reviews of Flappy Birds became a trend, so GEARS Studios simply removed the button with another application update. We do not encourage you to trick app users. The lesson to be learnt here is that application chart performance is not always determined by the number of downloads;
    • Clash of Clans. Coming up with a great & 100% unique idea for an app surely increases your chances of success – but there’s nothing wrong with being a little cliché, too! There are hundreds of strategy games out there – with heroes, monsters, fairies and precious stones. Supercell, a previously unknown mobile software development company from Finland, decided not to reinvent the wheel and… simply built another one. In 2013 Clash of Clans was reportedly generating $ 4 million in daily revenues through in-app purchases – a lot more than an average freemium has ever earned. Supercell surely did their best to create beautiful layouts and addictive gameplay. Yet, it’s the right choice of app monetization tools that made Clash of Clans an instant hit. Basically, the game is all about monetization, but Supercell tactfully keeps it under the pushy line, so users who cannot (or don’t want to) spare a few bucks on virtual currency can still enjoy the game – they simply wait for another level-up a little longer. Once you download the game, you enter the tutorial stage and receive tons of gems for free. You spend the gems on upgrades, gold and magic elixir that protects you against goblins’ attacks. Everything is really cheap, so you keep on spending and go broke pretty soon. As the gameplay evolves, the prices skyrocket, and your buying behavior has already been formed! There were Clash of Clans users who spend up to $ 20 thousand on precious stones when the game was in its prime. The viral application maintained its top-grossing status throughout 2015 and beyond; in the ever-changing world of mobile applications, longevity is hard to achieve. In case you want to replicate Supercell’s success, make sure to develop a solid and well-thought-out monetization strategy;
    • CheckPoints and List Bliss. Todd and Mark DiPaola, the founders of inMarket, believe building a mobile app is similar to building a house: before you start, you should “put some time into thinking about what the rooms are going to look like”. The CheckPoints shopping app enables users to check in in almost any store nationwide and get instant rewards like digital coupons and discounts. The inMarket network now has over 46 million users; back in 00’s when the CheckPoints was at an early development stage Todd and Mark were struggling to decide on the app’s functionality. With List Bliss, they kept it simple. The app allows users to easily create shopping lists by scanning barcodes for different products and share the list with family and friends to check nothing’s missing. InMarket kept the set of application features focused and easily fixed the bugs at launch. We all know Feature Creep kills an app’s performance; you’ll be surprised to learn it has similar effect on marketing. A good marketing campaign should clearly (but briefly) outline the benefits of a product and deliver the message to target audience using as few words as possible. After all, a “fresh” smartphone holder doesn’t even know he needs a better shopping list. How on earth are you going to market your arguably cool & sexy app stuffed with features when you basically have 10 seconds to win users’ attention? Avoiding Feature Creep is a key factor to planning (and launching) a successful marketing campaign.