BtoB Leading Edge: 10 Sharp Tips taken from the Cutting Edge Demand Generation Virtual Conference
Yesterday’s BtoB Leading Edge, Demand Generation in the Digital Age was a great way to make sure your organization’s demand generation programs are best-in-class. With almost 5,000 registrants, it is clear that B2B marketers are concerned about getting the most out of their demand generation and lead management programs. But with so much on a marketer’s plate these days, not all 4300 could attend this half day event. For those, and as a wrap-up from the event, I wrote up the top tips I took from the show:
Developing clear calls to action was a key point during almost every session during the event. While each presenter’s take on the topic was a little different, it was clear that you need to look at each page of your website and all landing pages and decide if it would be clear to a prospect what their next step should be. Buyer personas help companies develop paths for prospects, helping those who may purchase learn about your product or service and allowing them to consume information at their own pace. Best in class marketers will ‘follow’ the path so they know when sales should begin interacting and what information will be most useful to the prospect at a particular time.
2. You can do a lot even with a small budget
LinkedIn gave an impressive demonstration on how they handled demand generation without a robust marketing budget or unlimited marketing staff members. Instead, they focus on their targets, implement strategic programs, and measure the results to know where they should continue efforts. You should too.
Social media was mentioned a lot during the show. Why? Because it’s here to stay. Gone are the days of relying on your website and SEO alone to drive traffic to your site. Marketers who embrace social media will be successful, and those who do not will be forced to play catch-up as social media is becoming more and more main stream. Three big social media tips from the show: 1. Be thoughtful and dedicated, and monitor your social media results 2. Use it in conjunction with your marketing campaigns to fully integrated marketing programs and 3. Use different social media sites differently, based on the culture of the community that already exists. (This means use LinkedIn differently than you use Facebook.)
4. Direct mail may not be dead
The Kern Organization did an impressive presentation about B-to-B offer strategies that keep your pipeline filled with the best leads. Of course this presentation talked about incentives and email programs, but surprisingly it also talked about direct mail. With many marketers solely focusing on email, direct mail now has the ability to stand out. The trick to deciding if direct mail is right for you is testing and segmentation. This allows you to make sure you are sending the right content to the right people without wasting marketing dollars on those who will be unreceptive to your offers.
5. Offers need to be relevant AND appropriate for the prospect's place in the buying cycle
In demand generation we often focus on creating great content, but the timing of when it is delivered is often an afterthought. Because consumers want to see different information at different parts of the decision process, the asset you choose to present at a particular time may often decide if you make their short list. Look at online buying behavior using a marketing automation or web analytics tool to see what information is useful to a prospect when they first consider your solution, when they are evaluating different vendors, and when they are ready to make a purchase. Then provide appropriate content to those prospects at the right time so they don’t have to do as much hunting and sorting.
6. Testing can allow you to enter a new market with little risk
Denise Hopkins of Experian talked about how you can use testing to try out a new market before launching a full-fledged demand generation program. This is very important as many marketers need to look for new opportunities to grow, but can’t afford to make costly mistakes. Testing allows for success while minimizing mistakes.
7. Incentives can work really well
Some people are very motivated by incentives and will purchase because of the incentives they receive. The trick to using incentives well is to only use them for those that are motivated by them, instead of wasting marketing dollars by giving out incentives to all. You can do this by understanding buyer personas and then using incentives with those personas that are going to be motivated to buy because of them.
8. It’s okay if people who will never buy your product consume your content
While you want to drive the right traffic to your website and landing pages, others who are never going to buy anything from you are also going to download it. By using lead scoring or other lead qualifying methods you can avoid wasting sale's time contacting consultants, partners, analysts, students, and competitors, while benefitting from these non-prospects because they may share your information with those who will ultimately buy. One extra tip: When reporting on campaign success remove these people from your data so that you get a clear picture of the actual campaign outcome.
9. An event doesn’t need to have to trend on Twitter to be great.
On the day of the this event there were fewer than 1000 tweets marked with the event hashtag, far less than what we’ve seen for other online Marketing events, even though the content was packed with great information from well known thought leaders. While use of social media was stressed during the event as part of an integrated demand generation program, it wasn’t used as frequently. I think this may have been because BtoB’s Twitter account is newer and has less of a following, and because they did not promote the event hashtag very much before the event. The benefit? You can search for the event’s hashtag, #b2bexpo, and in a few minutes catch up on the entire show because there aren’t hundreds of retweets and tweets with the same info as others.
The final keynote, Demand Generation the Cisco Way, stressed integrated demand generation programs as the most important point. If you get a chance to watch one presentation recording it should be this one. This presentation stressed the importance of analysis of your database, creating appropriate and targeted demand generation programs, paying attention to full execution of your programs, doing proper reporting, and testing to make changes. The presentation also stressed their is a difference in being data rich and properly analyzing the data. Make sure you not only collect data but properly interpret it.
I think that regardless of how successful you are in demand generation, there was something to be learned at the event. The presentations, thought leadership information and vendor booths from the BtoB Leading Edge virtual event are still available, so you can review at your convenience. And when you do, make sure to stop by Marketo’s booth to see some of the ways we can help you streamline and improve your demand generation and lead management programs. For more on how to improve your demand generation programs, check out this white paper about selecting a demand generation system.