It is a no-brainer that both content and a target_list are crucial elements of a campaign. There are many ways to ‘mix and match’ these elements for desired results. Some companies bet on a ‘content_first' approach. But there are others who stand by a ‘target_first' strategy. There is no right or wrong way in doing this. But definitely, there is a ‘better’ way - and it can be easily derived from your campaign objectives. Here are my views on both approaches. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments section.
Content First Approach:
For most innovation-driven organizations, developing solutions comes first. market_scoping and market sizing may follow instead of preceding it. In such cases, the aim would be to promote the solution / product to the target market as much as they could. So, content creation across various formats takes the driver’s seat for campaigns. Depending on how targets react to content, lead nurturing is planned and executed. This approach is also used for ‘spray and pray’ awareness campaigns.
Target First Approach:
For some organizations, quick wins are of utmost importance. They cannot afford to wait for conversions to happen at its own pace. And they may want to capture all their low hanging fruits as effectively as they can with minimal touch. In such cases, organizations first define their targets and acquire as much intel as they can about them. This may include their current state of business, buying journey, personas involved, available budgets and expiring projects. Interestingly, this is the most crucial effort as the impact of the content, and the campaign itself, is dependent on this intel. The marketing team creates multiple messaging_streams for different types of target profiles. As a result, the targets receive customized content - which better resonates with them. This considerably improves the success rate of the campaigns by delivering higher conversions and better quality leads. I suppose these are the very reasons that make this approach a 'favorite' for deal / account based marketers.
After all, this boils down to ‘reach’ vs ‘impact’ - shallow and wide as opposed to narrow and deep. Honestly, that’s a call that you have to take based on your campaign strategies and your execution capabilities.
But, thinking out loud, making a wide and deep cut is not an impossible task.
After all, you just need a starting point – the thought that this is possible and the intention to make it happen
For most people, sharing their email address is as concerning as changing their kids’ diapers every hour - thanks to the Toms, Dicks and Harrys of the world who spam your mailboxes at the drop of a hat. In today’s context of ‘many mails, nothing sails’, seeing even a thousand ‘unreads’ doesn’t matter. For some, unread mails is still a sore sight – they clean their inbox frequently for their own reasons. The point to note here is that – if the mails that you are writing are not effective, they will be eternally left unread, ‘read-and-forgotten’, deleted or better yet, junked. Now imagine the plight of digital marketing experts who use email marketing as a primary tactic to reach their targets!
Here are the 5 most common email characteristics that Toms, Dicks and Harrys swear by to spam their way to their targets’ inbox or better yet, be permanently blocked.
Caution: Please do not read the links provided in these pointers – they may make you write better and more effective emails!!!
1. You forgot to knock the door!
2. Why is Mr. Obama sending me a coupon?
3. Oh! I’d rather read nursery rhymes a hundred times
4. Excuse me Mr. Trigger Happy sender
5. You are using me for practicing, are you?
Ankush Garg is a Marketing professional with 16+ years of experience in B2B & B2C Digital marketing. He is currently Director Marketing at Pentaur and leads a team of consultants for Marketing Operations, Sales Operations, Demand Gen, Customer Success & Consulting - for Marketo and other clients.
You can ask questions on:
You can ask questions till 29th, August and they will answered on 30th August. Please add your questions in the comment section below.
Social media is no longer used solely for awareness but has also become a critical tool to generate leads. Through the effective use of social media, businesses can get more ROI from their marketing campaigns and activities as compared to traditional tactics such as email campaigns. A ‘sticky’ and memorable social media campaign has the potential to be viral! The best part about viral content on social media is that it is not limited to the platform that the campaign started from. If it has the potential of going viral, it can quickly spread across social media channels.
A good example would be the #ShotoniPhone campaign from Apple that relies on user-generated content to create memories that last! It gives a platform to customers to have their images be featured via billboards across the world. This campaign ensures that it’s solely based on the engagement of users from different backgrounds, with the single point of convergence being an iPhone. Considering Apple is a late adopter of social media and still, does not have a single tweet, still the campaign has been a major success. I checked the trend over the past one week (Aug 18 – Aug 24, 2018) and it had 2 million engagements, close to 50 thousand mentions and 20 thousand unique authors for the hashtag. On Twitter!
This strategy is not limited to just consumer electronics companies. In fact, Maersk is a great example of using such a strategy in the B2B space. Maersk’s entire Instagram account is based on user-submitted photos. All they did was combine smartphone photography, shipping containers (believe it or not!), and the open sea. With just user submitted photos on their Instagram account, they have around 124k followers. Now that is one helluva strategy for a container shipping company.
Through email marketing, we attempt to create an individual connect with each email - through social media, we can connect with every person who likes, follows or comments for each post published .
Almost all businesses have social media handles. However, a majority of them have a presence just because they "need to be“. Many of them try to use social channels but fail to realize its true potential. The key as we can learn from Apple, is that it’s better to focus your efforts on a limited number of social media platforms. Utilize the rest of your efforts to listen to and engage your audience. Do not try to conquer all social media platforms as managing them all will only dilute your engagement levels. Remember to be social, not just do social.
I will expand on this topic in my next post. Stay tuned!
Engaging an agency, or in better words a marketing partner, for your marketing needs could make or break your business. Here are 4 must dos if you want a successful engagement with your marketing partner.
This 4 step approach has helped all the startups and small enterprises that I’ve supported not only to identify their marketing partner but also refine their marketing strategy in line with their business needs.
Feel free to share what worked best in your engagements.
A few weeks back, I was at a B2B marketing panel discussion – “So, what’s going to stick on the Marketing Dartboard?”. Content being one of the core elements of marketing it was obvious that it had to be discussed at length. One of my senior colleague in the panel, who is quite passionate about content marketing believed that the long copy is back in the business – that triggered this blog. I would love to hear your thoughts. Here’s what I think…
Until now, in content marketing we all believed that “less is more”. We are inundated with content across channels – social, blogging platforms, innovative content delivery apps and what not. This combined with the increasing attention deficit – “less is more” – still feels perfect.
Look at most of the B2B company websites and you’ll see flashy stock images (a few will haunt you as well), punchy headlines, phrases and just a few sentences as the copy – this is changing. There was a notion that no one reads pages and pages of content, instead everyone likes to surf through it, picks only nuggets which gave rise to the “snackable” content. So content marketers started coming up with just the nuggets and direct to lengthy documents as required (which they believed no one reads) – this notion is now proving to be false.
So what’s driving the long copy?
My senior colleague at the panel discussion gave the example of how everyone is flocking to Medium – an online publishing platform developed by Evan Williams (Twitter co-founder and former CEO). This platform was developed with an objective of publishing writings and documents longer than Twitter's 140-character maximum. Launched in 2012, currently it has over 60 million daily active users. According to this research, articles on medium with 6-7 minutes read time is the sweet spot which can get you 20% higher ‘claps’/recommends. 6-7 minutes of read time translates to ~ 1900 words. According to medium read time is based on average reading speed of an adult – roughly 275 WPM and they add 12 seconds for each inline image.
Before I go ahead and profess about what’s driving or why long copy, I must admit that, whether to use long or short copy solely depends on the content type and the channel you deploy it in. For example a whitepaper must be long enough to be credible while a social media message copy must be brief and catchy for it to be consumed on the go.
I believe there are three primary reasons that’s driving the long copy:
We’re seeing long form writing making a comeback and that is evident from the popularity of publishing platforms like Medium. Having said that, I believe short copy still has its place in the form of sponsored ads and social media that teases the audience richer and deeper content. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Gamification has become an increasingly popular technique over the years, including in the B2B space as well. B2C marketers have derived great value from gamification to drive engagement levels with their consumers. NASSCOM Community Member - Sameer Murdeshwar, recently wrote a post on an overview of what Gamification is all about – it is a great read! While browsing through the NASSCOM community, I was pleasantly surprised to find real-time feasible working gamification models across the site. The NASSCOM Community strategists, administrators and moderators have done an excellent job planning these models to improve engagement across the community.
Here are a few thoughts around how community leads may have come up with these gamification models – in a step-by-step approach.
The continued success of the model depends on continuous innovation and improvisation, of course – I believe the team is already doing this to enhance our experience. I’d be stoked to connect with the core NASSCOM team to know more about how they achieved this level of Gamification and confirm my observations. Long way to go!
Sales and Marketing cannot be aligned without the (respective) Operations - Sales Ops, Marketing Ops & Customer success Ops teams being aligned.
In most companies, the Sales and Marketing teams seem to get the most attention, budgets and resources. For too long, they have worked in separate silos, with different priorities and KPI. Although they are the under-appreciated cogs in the corporate machine, Operations are the actual driving force to build a frame work to support the corporate mission to that deliver value, sales and profits.
Specifically, in the B2B SaaS marketing and sales world, sales and marketing alignment (aided by Ops) is necessary to:
Operations is the link between Sales and Marketing that allows alignment to happen.This Sales-Marketing alignment works ONLY and ONLY when the involved teams of Marketing Ops, Sales Ops and Customer Success Ops work together.
So how do we define these Ops teams:
Marketing Ops team – Mops focusses on evaluating marketing performance, strategic planning, selecting and implementing the right marketing technologies (stack). Mops team also makes sure the defined processes are running fine and campaigns reach their objectives.
Sales Ops team – Sales Ops creates, implements and optimizes the process, data and applications that support the sales team. They also help mould the base that feeds into Marketing, Finance and customer success.
Sales OPS can work with marketing team to fine tune brand messaging and content because sales ops team owns and has access to troves of prospect / customer behavioural data. Sales Ops team collaborates with marketing operations team to improve the ROI by helping prioritise quality of leads and sales productivity by nurturing prospects to customers.
Customer success Ops team –– CS Ops develops customer relationships that drive an emphasis on product adoption, encourage Renewals/Expansion, upsells, & cross-sells, generate customer advocacy, usage, reduce churn and increase CLTV. (Customer Lifetime value)
A new term – “Revenue Ops” has come up in the recent years.
Revenue Ops: In a survey done by LeanData and Sales Hacker, more than 70% people defined Revenue Ops as an alignment of Sales, Marketing and Customer Success Ops. In some cases, Revenue Ops is merged with Sales Ops and led by the same Sops VP/Senior Exec.
Source: “State of Revenue Ops 2018: Survey of B2B Sales & Marketing Professionals” by LeanData and Sales Hacker
When these three operations teams are working together like clockwork, then higher marketing efficiency AND higher ROI is made possible. Revenue grows faster with higher margins, cost per qualified lead is lower and conversion rate and deal size is higher. Over time, this can evolve into ABM – Account based Marketing.
Some factors that can help with alignment are:
So Operations is that secret sauce that makes and allows alignment to happen.
Fortunately, at Pentaur, we have all three Operations teams working with multiple clients – Marketing Ops, Sales Ops and Customer Success Ops. This helps the teams work together and share best practices and wherever possible, we ensure that alignment does happen!
What are some of the other ways, alignment can happen?
Originally posted on: LinkedIn
Businesses, especially startups, need quick and early wins to sustain, invest and grow. A significant focus is placed on low hanging opportunities for such needs – these opportunities are typically characterized by high value, low acquisition / conversion cost and a shorter closure duration. For these very reasons, this is one of the favorite play fields in Growth Hacking.
When we try hunting for these low hanging opportunities, it is easy to lose track and take at all the wrong turns with the amount of information we are churning – often leading to nothing but frustrations and futile results. To beat that, here are 3 golden rules that we’ve learnt over the years that works wonders in identifying such valuable opportunities.
Identifying the right market space for quick wins
Amplify the ‘word of mouth’ effect in the target market
Targeted Marketing Campaigns will do wonders
This set of 3 golden rules will apply to most engagements. However, depending on the type of business environment you may have to consider different tactics and approaches. I'd recommend getting in touch with a growth hacking specialist to fine tune your engagements for better results.
All said, it is important to note that such low hanging opportunities can only be a part of the pipeline and not the pipeline itself. A synergized sales and marketing effort would add much greater value to win such opportunities.
Feel free to share your thoughts on identifying low hanging opportunities for your business / organization.
Gamification has evolved beyond just another buzzword over the past few years, with its impact felt across education, business and our day-to-day lives. Its elements - levels, badges, and leaderboards, are frequently used in marketing and workplace sectors. Enterprises are no longer asking about whether it is worth applying it for their business and are now looking for ways to best leverage it to their advantage.
The concept is not new – even before structured phases of gamification were defined in the industry, gaming principles have been used by businesses for decades. A popular example would be the airline industry where leading players have been offering frequent flyer programs for added benefits to loyal customers. This has been replicated in other industries with the goal of increasing interaction and consumption that leads to a tangible benefit such as coupons, previews or discounts. Schools and offices apply it as well, where a sustained process of achievement ends in the form of a degree, bonus or promotion.
These examples, though mapped over many years, demonstrate elements of simple game design but lack features that can create a more engaging experience. Today’s enterprises are leveraging SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) as a perfect convergence of technologies to drive innovation and accelerate outcomes of their strategic goals. To drive interest and increase the potential of gamification, enterprises are molding their techniques based on fundamental principles founded on behavioral science, a recognition that games are a critical communication and entertainment medium, and an unwavering focus that places each customer at the center of their strategy.
For B2B marketers, gamification can be an important tool to achieve their goals, measure ROI on marketing investments, and enable sales to drive business growth. The following four applications are where B2B marketers are focusing on –
To conclude, businesses now think differently about how customers and employee engagement can be enriched to boost revenues and trim bottom lines. Gamification provides a reason for customers to visit websites and influence buying behavior, and gives employees new ways to obtain feedback on job performance and acquire skills to take on more responsibility at work. It can also connect customers and partners, and make them feel respected for providing feedback. In today’s hyper-engagement economy, time and attention have become increasingly valuable. People are more likely to engage in activities that are truly rewarding with opportunities for them to learn, grow, socialize, be recognized and rewarded. The principles of gamification, evolved from human psychology, behavioral economics and game design, can further help marketers increase return on effort and investments in such an economy.
It’s been close to two centuries since Washington Irving terrified us with “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” where a headless horseman frightens poor Ichabod Crane. Circa 2018, digital versions of headless apparitions continue to torment us online.
A headless man pointing at the screen – How many of you remember seeing such a picture? Or a better question would be: How many instances can you remember seeing or using them in the past – One? Two? Or more? I am guilty of using such images on so many occasions that I’ve lost count.
Every day when you log into LinkedIn and Twitter, we come across these images from business-oriented social media handles. Scroll through the posts and then try to recall the posts you remember skimming through. Which ones do you remember? Regular text and graphs vis-a-vis posts with generic stock images.
While visual content works great to capture our attention, most of us have over-exploited the use of stock images. Some organizations follow a guideline which dictates the use of one generic image accompanying every post - be it a happy human face, executives shaking hands, an abstract image of our favorite ‘headless people’.
You will get similar suggestions when looking for best practices and tips to make social posts more visually appealing. Most guidelines recommend the use of a high definition, well-polished, human-centric imagery to stir human emotions. What we end up doing instead is converting every post into obvious marketing material. Most human minds have learned to skip such posts and go to the next one. These posts end up losing their true essence instead of stimulating human emotions.
It is absolutely fine to have a non-HD image as long as the image conveys what you want to say. It is fine if you use a screengrab of a graph from a presentation or a website to add value to your post. I am not completely disregarding the stock images and their usability, but use them wisely. Make it relevant and useful to the audience. Else you are only going to lose their interest. A need for information dissemination through the image is critical for the success of the post.
If you still want to have that human connect and stir human emotions, add a meme. Make your audience smile, or even better get them to laugh. Adding humor once in a while is a great way to give your social handles a human touch and pique their interest.
All in all, ask your social media leads to stop behaving like a team of over-professionals. They are there to create a connect with the consumers directly and to generate awareness of your brand.
What do you want your brand image to be? A business that truly cares about humans or a business that poses to be human-centric. The choice is yours!
Growth hacking continues to be a hot topic, more so in the world for startups. While there are many strategies to achieve the desired growth objectives, here are the top 3 tips from my mentors that delivered great results.
Start with the 80:20 approach for quick wins vs pipeline build
Focus more on the opportunities that are closer to winning. Early wins give a strong morale boost to your teams as well. (Identifying these low hanging opportunities is a topic in itself. Know more from my blog here). Of course, building your pipeline for larger engagements concurrently is critical too. Give the focus a 80:20 split for closing deals vs pipeline build. This would eventually reduce to 50:50 once you start reaping the benefits of pipeline building efforts.
Question the conventional approaches on all fronts
What worked once may not work again and copying someone else’s as-is definitely will not help achieve the fullest of your potential. Don’t be afraid to question the current approaches - in fact question everything. Innovation and improvisation not only applies to the product but to other functions as well. Reinvent the sales, marketing and delivery approaches for identifying better engagement models and improving them in line with your business goals. It is of paramount importance to find the right mix of these functional approaches for your engagements too.
Don’t take your focus off the end-result
Revenue growth would ultimately define your success. Often startups get locked in particular stages – be it product innovation or trying to achieve breakthrough in tough-sell opportunities. It is of paramount importance to follow the Fail-fast models while rapidly experimenting. Remember the ‘Law of Diminishing Returns’. Defining metrics to help decide when to move on to the next opportunity or sales stage is a good starting point for this approach.
There are many insightful growth hacking success stories that you may want to consider for your engagements. You may find some here >> https://growthhackers.com/growth-studies
Could you recall what Growth Hacking practices worked or didn’t work for you? Share in the comments section below.
In the recent blockbuster movie Batman Vs. Superman, without knowing each other well, Batman and Superman fought their way through dramatic turn of events only to realize how they could be each other’s greatest allies. Let’s see how this reflects sales and marketing in real world. 10 years ago, sales was essentially looked at as a person driven engagement – there was a notion that without a sales person, nothing can be sold. From low value items to large value items, customers were used to meeting a person to buy something. And marketing was only seen as a market prepping engagement. In fact, sales and marketing were like the Batman and Superman doubting each other of creating complications and chaos in the world.
Then came Wonder Woman in the movie, who changed the way Superman and Batman looked at themselves and how their coming together is more important for a better world – just like how technology helped effectively align sales and marketing. The lines between marketing and sales are being redrawn and in some cases they are fast diminishing with advanced tools and channels powered by technology. Nevertheless, contrary to the notion of 2 discrete departments, we are witnessing significant overlap in sales and marketing functions where they are addressing the market opportunities as a unified business unit - now comparable to the ‘Justice League’ that is addressing the chaos brought in by monsters from different realms.
In the B2C space, especially in retail space, Big Bazaar has one floor staff for roughly every 412 sq. ft. of floor space. They rely on marketing for driving traffic to their stores and for increasing customers’ at-the-floor purchases. On the other hand, Flipkart and Amazon focus on the same objectives but execute with a huge technology arsenal - with no stores or sales person. Yet the turnover for both these models is staggering. The role of technology and the way sales and marketing function together are so obvious in the B2C space which buries the discreteness six feet under.
In the B2B space, sales teams are using a number of apps and tools to keep their targets engaged and have in turn taken over a significant portion of the marketing function as well. On the other hand, in addition to prepping the market for favorable sales environment, marketing function leverages evolving technologies to take over the initial sales cycles – most often till consideration stages. For high value deals, they collaborate with the sales team to cover the last mile as well.
In summary, the alignment between sales and marketing only seems to improve with technology – just like how Wonder Woman made Superman and Batman come together for a greater cause. What more is in the store is only to be explored – of course, I am not referring to the next movie.
Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences on the evolving ‘Justice League’ – the sales & marketing alignment. And ya, if you like this post, give a thumbs up
AdWords was launched by Google approximately 18 years ago with an objective to provide a platform for people to promote their business online. With the Mobile becoming the next big marketplace for showcasing your products you will have to shift and adapt to the ongoing advertising and marketing trends. AdWords has become the next big thing for advertising in today’s digital world, and you must be well aware of this term if you have been dealing with an e-commerce business.
Just as the trends in marketing have evolved over the years, so has the advertising techniques on Google as well. Marketers are now able to connect with customers by posting advertisements on Google. With the passage of time, Google has introduced newer platforms for advertisers such as Google Marketing Platform, Google Ad Manager, and Google Ads. These have made it easier for brand owners to showcase their products to the audience and get more leads for sales.
AdWords has been quite popular among advertisers and brand owners, and there is good news for all.
AdWords has now become Google Ads
Google Ads has the potential to offer a massive range of advertising techniques to business owners by tying up with other apps and partner sites. This enables marketers from across the globe connect with people anywhere while they make use of the Search engines, watch YouTube videos, explore with Google Maps, search for apps on the Google Play Store, or for that matter browse content over the internet.
For businesses that are comparatively small in size, Google Ads will serve an excellent opportunity to start with online advertisements. With the help of Google Marketing Live, new campaigns are about to be launched soon.
Google has set out to build an active collaboration with the various marketing teams, and for this, they have unified their DoubleClick advertiser and Google Analytics 360 Suite into a single entity- Google Marketing Platform. This will enable you the option of planning and optimizing the digital media platforms connected to your business.
Along with the Google Marketing Platform, Google is also about to launch Display & Video 360 which brings together the features of Campaign Manager, DoubleClick Bid Manager, Studio and Audience Center. This will enable the creative and media department to work in proper coordination and come out with the best digital marketing campaigns.
With the new features rolled out by Google Ads people will be offered more transparency in the way they manage the entire process. This will also offer viewers the choice of viewing the ads that they are interested in the services that they would like to have. The features will be available for use to all by the next month and people will be ready to welcome a change in the Digital Marketing strategies.
If you have been thinking of embracing Digital Marketing for your business and would like to benefit from this recent evolution of Google ads you can ask for assistance from us. We, at Swadesh Softwares have been working diligently to provide the best Digital Marketing services to our client over the years to generate leads and boost sales.