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Case Study: Social Media zur Lead Generierung

Eine aktuelle Fallstudie von Breakingpoint (THX to Jeff Bullas) unterstreicht die weitreichenden Möglichkeiten, die das Social Web bei der Lead Generierung offeriert. Im Mittelpunkt der Strategie stehen dabei als taktische Massnahmen integrierte Emailkampagnen und Social Media Ansätze, welche über verschiedene Plattformen angegangen werden. Die Messung der Ergebnisse zeigt vorzeigbare Zahlen…

55% aller Leads kommen von Inbound Web Visits
75% der durch Marketing beeinflußten Pipeline kommen von Inbound Web Leads

Das Fallbeispiel “verordnet” 6 Social Media Schritte, die den Sales Funnel füllen:

1. Erstelle ein Blog, um anzufangen und nimm an der Konversation teil.
2. Setze einen aktiven Twitter-Account auf.
3. Erstelle eine LinkedIn Gruppe (oder Facebook Page, abhängig von deiner Demographie) – Anmerkung: XING Gruppe in Europa ist sicherlich auch nicht verkehrt.
4. Modifiziere Deine Strategie für Pressemitteilungen für Blogger Coverage
5. Promote Social Media Channels auf Deiner Firmen Webseite und in Email Signaturen
6. Messe die Größe der Social Media Accounts und des Web-Traffic

Die Ergebnisse der Social Media Kampagne machen klar, daß es einen starken Zusammenhang zwischen der Nutzung von Social Media Channeln und dem Wachstum des Web-Traffics sowie der Leads gibt. Das Besondere daran ist, daß der Zuwachs des Traffics sich in der Mehrzahl der Leads niedergeschlagen hat. Hier die Ergebnisse nach sechs Monaten Laufzeit:

10,230 Unique Blog Page Views in Q3
280 Twitter Follower
141 Mitglieder in ihrer LinkedIn Gruppe
155% Erhöhung der Unique Visitor

Die Aufsplittung der generierten Leads…

55% Inbound Web
23% Messen
20.5% Email
1.5% Seminare

Durch Marketing beeinflußte Pipeline…

75% Inbound Web
17% Email
4% Seminare
4% Messen

Spot On!
Die Zahlen wirken sehr überzeugend und zeigen die Möglichkeiten, die dem Social Web bei der Lead Generierung beigemessen werden können. Man darf bei der gesamten Euphorie ein paar Dinge nicht vergessen: Die saubere Trennung der Lead-Ursprünge dürfte noch schwierig nachzuvollziehen sein. Und es stellt sich immer die Frage, wieviele der generierten Kontakte man als bestehende Kunden hatte oder ein Salesteam als “Datenbank-Leichen” über Jahre mit sich herumschleppt. Dennoch kann man die Aktivierung solcher Kontakte mittels Social Media als einen fast noch größeren Erfolg im Vergleich zu kostspieligen Outbound-Aktionen werten. Natürlich wäre es wichtig zu wissen, welchen Aufwand an Personal und Budgets man hinter die Anstrengungen gepackt hat im Vergleich zu traditionellen Marketing-Strategien zur Lead Generierung.

PS: Da habe ich Kyle Flaherty (Marketingleiter von BreakingPoint) mal drauf angesprochen. Hier ist seine Antwort

Social Media and Advertising – how to explain an antithesis to C-levels?

social-networks-sepia1Facing the pure intention of social media versus advertising, we have to admit that we are talking about an antithesis – no matter if you can book advertising on a social networks or not. Social Media is conversations while advertising is the monologue from company to customer. And in between lies some undefined (or shall we say unqualified) customer dialogue that we have been through for years of online advertising.

So, how can we explain this type of modern ‘customer engagement setting’ to C-level executives? How can we bring these two anti-poles together? What could have been a better idea than asking to the people that have been through this process of explaining, evaluating and engaging C-levels from both sides – platform owners and brand companies.

Maybe you want to listen to their thoughts…

Blake Chandlee, vice president and commercial director EMEA, Facebook (recorded after the DMEXCO panel ‘social media and advertising’) – sees the biggest challenges in the evolution from their traditional management roles of strategy and investement thinking towards a new business world called ‘social networking’.

Tony Douglas, Innovation Manager, BMW Group – advices to make senior management aware of the potential that social media offers, and knows off the trial-and-error process companies might be going through.

“Firstly you have to get the channels on the agenda that means you have to convince/demonstrate to senior management that the channels are relevant i.e. they are a valuable addition to the marketing communication mix. Just because you have a new channel does not mean you have more budget so you have to prove that this “new” channel is better than some “old” one only then will you get a shift in budget.

Social media and “advertising” are two very odd bed fellows…you cannot do a traditional banner campaign in social media it does not work you need to target and get your context and content right. “Targeting” is also a new science so you have to educate the C-level on what this is. The content is not one size fits all as is often the case with ATL content….here we are talking a mass of niches. However the really tough bit you have to be social now that can be a real challenge. I think it’s fair to say that not many professional marketers have been schooled in how to be social (in marketing). This is new ground for many marketers and brands and like all new stuff it takes time to adapt and learn.

So start early, start small, learn by doing and adapt quickly and if you demonstrate success and a greater return on investment you’ll find those obstacles and challenges will disappear. They are disappearing in the BMW Group.”

Tim Meier, Brand Manager, Bacardi – focuses on the customer dialogue as the main point for his argumentation.

“Generally speaking, it is necessary to enhance top management understanding of social media as a qualitative target group related dialogue communication opportunity. Any figures to measure social media ROI need to be accompanied by the level of qualitative consumer references. In how far are you able to define the GRP level of a positive brand related post from a celebrity/opinion leader? Social Media will certainly emancipate as an equal part of the marketing mix to support future brand campaigns on the image level. Nevertheless you´ll be rewarded with additional coverage if you´re doing a good job and offer a consumer relevant content.”

Spot On!
It would be interesting to get some more views on how we can help making C-levels understand the values of social media quicker, better or more accurate. If we don’t do it, your customers might become the teachers of modern successful customer engagement – but this might be painful for your companies brand. So maybe you and your company are in the same process of evaluating social media and advertising. Wanna share your knowledge with us…

Looking forward to it.

News Update – Best of the Day

daily1Do you know how many Tweets we have for now worldwide? 5 billion (in the form of a reply to another user)! Caroline McCarthy (CNET) wrote about a company called Gigatweet that has been measuring the service for some time now… and sometiomes you ask yourself: Do we really have to waste the bandwidth by sending out so many Tweets?

SMB’s are quicker adopting social media, a study by Internet2Go, an Opus Research advisory service, and MerchantCircle finds. The main findings for me are…

– 45% have a presence or profiles on Facebook and Twitter to promote their businesses
– 79% have annual marketing budgets of less than $5,000 with the 44% spending “less than $1,000” annually on advertising and marketing
– 75% said they monitor online reviews of their business

Fantastic commercials – men are so simply but ey… we are clever, aren’t we… Well done, Jim Beam!

News Update – Best of the Day

daily1Display advertising is facing a new era. Nicholas Carlson posts a great picture gallery with intelligent comments on the ‘Evolving beyond the banner ad‘.

The advertising industry is shifting more and more budgets from offline to online. One big reason is the massive adoption and hype around Facebook, Twitter an the likes. A paper called “Community and Social Media Study” shows that customer reviews rank No. 1 for increasing sales and customer engagement. Nevertheless, US marketers are decreasing budgets in Q2 2009

AXE has a run in terms of acceptance for commercials – and in general, the creative work is really funny… – and even bad taste can be great taste…

Ad Effectiveness – Mixing Apples & Eggs?

Sometimes you read a study and think: “Ah, this is interesting information”. So, you write about it in a News Update.

And then, you stumble upon it again, and think twice about the research. This happened to me with the ‘Ad Effectiveness study’ conducted by Forbes. And browsing through it again, my feeling was that the title of this eMarketer article reflected the result, but the study itself mixes apples and eggs in some way…

Still, the main statement of the study remains an important trend in online marketing, and is an even more important praise for the work of online publishers (yes, probably a bit self-referential for Forbes).

“Respondents were by far the least happy with ad networks, with half saying that the results did not meet expectations” (…) “Ad network spending is all about demand fulfillment while direct-to-publisher display is much aligned with the traditional advertising goals of demand creation,” said Forbes.com president and CEO Jim Spanfeller.

However, it has to be said that ‘ad networks’ is not a tactic for generating conversion. It is a supplier that offers ‘cheap space’ by bundling platforms into offers in most cases. Platform owners have a much deeper understanding of their target group and can definitely do a better consulting in terms of converting their target group into potentials for their clients. Absolutely, I agree with that statement, having done this for years…

BUT: Taking my view on the study, the set up of the study is in some way irritating. When the marketing executives were asked on budget allocations the results were these…

…and what they see as most effective tactics for generating conversion? Site or page sponsorship and SEO were considered the most effective ways online.

Thinking about the answering options (and bearing in mind my brand theme ‘tools, tactics, trends’) that were given to the responding marketers though, these options need to be separated from each other…

The question, I was asking myself is… Is viral marketing really an ad tactic? In my eyes it is not. It is a strategic communication tactic which integrates viral ads as some relevant online marketing tool.

So, this study set up seems to be a comparison of apple and eggs. Viral marketing is done in social networks. It is the way in which brand awareness other marketing objectives can be increased. Viral ads is the tool that may be spread like a computer virus by the users. It cannot be influenced like banner or text ads. Nor can it be bought. So, it is a modern marketing trend with little historical definition or proven success.

And, maybe such a study should think about: What can be bought by marketers, and what cannot in our times of social media.

Spot on!
The following summary is meant to make clear what steps have to be done first by marketers to create the conversation results their bosses appreciate… and it is a guideline for the chronology of setting up an online marketing strategy.

1.) Tactics
At first, marketers have to think about the tactics they can choose from…
SEO, e-mail and e-newsletter, site and page sponsorship, corporate web TV or viral marketing.

2.) Tools
Then, they have to decide on the tools that can be used to make these tactics efficient…
good texts (I am missing this most interesting option), banners, or viral ads.

3.) Trends
And finally, we have options that might create powerful conversion…
The use of ad networks, behavioral targeting and pay per ‘x’ models (x=impression, unique user, sales, click etc.)

If the online industry continues to publish studies that mix apples and eggs, it is no wonder that 57% of respondents said they still spend less than 25% of their marketing budgets online.

It is still early days in online marketing, it seems…

B2B Study: Marketers Strategies and Spendings for 2009

A recent study from Marketing Profs and Forrester Research amongst 300,000 marketing executives and other management professionals, conducted in late 2008, offers insight in the latest b2b marketing strategies, budgets, tactics and attitudes.

The key findings are that marketers have three deeper needs for the future: measuring effectiveness becomes increasingly important (i.e. webinars and search provide great tactical benefit), understanding customers deepest needs and wishes, plus exploring and learning from best practices for daily business implementation is crucial.

The report makes clear that top marketing business decision makers are relying much more on digital marketing tactics. With a high percentage of respondents saying that their company web site (91%) and email activities (81%) are the top media used for their tactics. Still, it is interesting to see that a lot of marketers work with traditional tactics like public relation (72%) and tradeshows/conferences (70%) as very important lead generation tools.

With the increasing importance of web 2.0 and social media platforms and tools for customers, companies are changing their media mix from ‘[more costly] traditional media and toward [less costly] new tactics’. Nevertheless, the marketers knowledge on tactics for the new social media platforms is still in an ‘infancy’ status.

In average, the budgets are still spend in an ‘old-school’ manner with tradeshows/conferences (20%) and TV advertising (18%) leading the marketing mix spending, followed by inside sale/telemarketing (16%) and print advertising (13%) – the leading field only interrupted by one digital marketing activity: direct mail (14%).

Spot On!
The report reflects in some way the economic crisis when the executive summary is talking of reducing spending and focusing efforts on a narrower segment of their target markets. Meaning… the so called ‘watering can’ marketing strategy is vanishing and marketing strategy will be focused much more on the digital ‘1-to-1’ as well as ‘1-to-many’ approach. The real (or potential) customers, their environment and the people influencing them has reached the marketers mind – so social media is not too far away for them to understand, and offers great opportunity to learn much more needs and wishes.

Report: Marketers web-strategy not listening to SMB needs

The latest report from Bredin Business Information (BBI) finds that SMB’s will not become customers with the common marketing strategies: Marketers are going online while small and medium-size companies are still living the offline world of direct mail and tradeshows.

The two surveys by BBI, conducted in late January and February, combine the findings of 50 leading marketers and 741 SMBs. While marketers were asked about their outreach and research efforts for 2009, the SMBs had to give some insight about their online and offline media preferences, top business issues and brand ratings. The findings show that both sides don’t go and-in-hand to reach their targets.

The marketers world
What marketers know…
SMBs rely less on traditional marketing tactics but that’s one of the top ways they like to receive product and service information.
What marketers do…
Marketers’ spending will increase spending on every online tactic (especially microsites and resource centers, social networking and webinars) but decrease budgets in direct mail, print advertising and trade shows – only PR and telemarketing will increase.

The SMB world
What SMBs rely on offline…
– 43,6% newspaper and magazine articles
– 43,5% direct mail (including letters, postcards and catalogs)
– 32% radio/TV ads
– 27,4% phone calls
What SMBs rely on online…
– 72% online referrals (friends and peers) most popular information source on products and services
– 57% search engine marketing
– 44,5% educational websites
What SMBs favorite in social media…
– 19.7% Facebook
– 15,6% LinkedIn
– 11,3% Twitter

“Marketers are clearly reacting to the difficult economy by using offline tactics much more selectively. They are also moving online aggressively, to reach SMBs efficiently and learn how to get the most from new media opportunities. (…) However, our survey of SMBs indicates that business owners are not nearly as enthusiastic about many online formats for business purposes – such as social networking – as marketers are.” said BBI CEO Stu Richards

Spot On!
The high percentage of marketers more focused on winning new customers than keeping current ones surprises… : 48% balancing their acquisition and retention efforts, 32% concentrating more on acquisition and 20% focusing more on retention. In my experience it is easier keeping clients and trying to meet their needs. Marketers should try to face the difference between customers who really ‘live and communicate the web’, and those that don’t. Going online will be the future, sure, but step-by-step with training the customers the benefits of receiving the information online. Today in some industry sectors, marketers can still put into question the high priority of moving online (3,5 on a scale of 5) and slowing down offline tactics (2,6 on a scale of 5) if the target group is not ready for listening online.

Study: Agencies moving to slow for consumers?

If we can believe in a recent study ‘Beyond advertising: Choosing a Strategic Path to the Digital Consumer‘ by IBM Institute for Business Value, then ad agencies are years behind in catching up to digitally savvy consumers – although consumers are moving their media consumption online more quickly than anybody could have expected.

Now, despite the difficult economic climate there are some good news for the digital industry: IBM’s study states that interactive, measurable formats will be expected to account for 20% of global ad spending by 2012. The interviewed CMOs said they will increase interactive and online marketing spending in 2009 while 63% while 65% will decrease on traditional advertising. Generally speaking, the same trend that we acknowledged from the latest CMO report.

So, what are further interesting findings? Between 2007 and 2008 the proportion of consumers answering they used social-networking tools went up to 60% (from 33%). It even doubled for for online and portable music services to 46% and almost tripled for mobile internet. And believe it or not, the access to mobile music and video quadrupled to 35%.

Seeing these numbers, it is surprising that 80% of the interviewed ad executives forecast the industry to be at least five years away from being able to deliver whatever might be necessary in terms of cross-platform advertising, encompassing sales, delivery, measurement and analysis.

The problem seems to be the agencies according to study co-author Saul Berman, IBM global leader, strategy and change consulting services. Agencies need to identify and keep pace with the value shift in order not to loose out the same way the music industry did, he summarizes.

“To succeed — especially in the current economic environment — media companies will need to develop a new set of capabilities to support the industry’s evolving demands which include micro targeting, real-time ROI measurement and cross-platform integration,” said Saul Berman, IBM Global Leader for Strategy and Change Consulting Services, and co-author of the new study. “Now is the time for companies to move quickly to become more effective with their assets and build for the future.”

Spot On!
Watching the last decade, companies and agencies followed their customer audience and pushed their budgets to more interactive, measurable formats such as the internet and mobile (gaining 20% of the overall spend). This is not surprising as digital advertising enables advertisers to measure more effectively campaign success to prove the value of their budgets.

In terms of platform owners it shows that these need to identify new opportunities to monetize new consumer experiences before it is too late like the music industry has shown. The options are obvious: value of content, visual goods sales, value-added services plus hardware or software offerings.

For this study IBM conducted 70 interview sessions with global industry execs and surveyed more than 2,800 consumers in Australia, Germany, India, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.

News Update – Best of the Day

There is a lot happening on Twitter and some companies might ask if their competitor already uses Twitter in the means of some corporate communication, service tool or some thing else. Andrew Kinnear created a wonderful list on ‘Consumer and Business Brands on Twitter‘. And if you are an exec and want to see some cases on how to engage as a top manager with your target audience on Twitter, just check out this new service called ‘exectweets‘.

This years Media Summit 2009 reveals some very interesting insight in the question ‘Can the Media Business Solve a Problem It Can’t Define?’

Budgets for recruitment low in recession times? Well, here is how some companies solve the issue by using Twitter at ‘Businesses Turn to Twitter to Cut Recruitment Costs‘. See some interesting aspects on the Pros and Cons on an still unproven option.

Twitter Ads: Thoughts on the test

Now, there has been a lot, a lot, a lot of thoughts and talk lately on how Twitter will be making money. Finally, Twitter is experimenting with a new revenue model as Techcrunch tells us…

First, it seemed like a nice idea to promote their own service (i.e. widgets and search), which I thought is the case. This well-placed add-on feature makes it easier to work with Twitter, especially heading towards their search site, when you are not using any of the helpful Twitter apps. And there were also some good thoughts on Twitter becoming a search engine and as how this will be a driver monetizing their business. But Overture (now controlled by Yahoo), has patented placement of text ads on a search results page. So, this was probably a difficult pitch.

Now, back to what is happening, see the black box on the right hand side on ‘Widget’…

It is obviously really a ‘simple’ test for some solid revenue stream generating business, we all are familiar with via Google text ads. But can this be an appropriate test to recall on revenue models?

The two test objects, Twitter search and the above mentioned Twitter widget link, belong directly to the Twitter concept. It offers some immediate navigation benefit to the user. This is what users are after for a long time. Thus, ‘Twitterati’ will click on the links and appreciate the easy way accessing their search service. So, the results Twitter sees with the test don’t reflect in any way potential click rates on text ads as these are dependent on results.

Isn’t there a difference if you promote some internal service or feature, or if you run a promotion from some external party or company? In my experience, in terms of text ads, and those generating results, we can definitely say, there is a huge difference on the click rates. Hence, on the conversion rate clients will find the difference as well. Editorial focus is not comparable to advertising, reaching out for awareness, right? And as clicks is the interactive currency ‘No. 1’ for marketers and convergence their need, according to yesterdays CMO report, the test sounds like comparing apples and oranges.

Spot On!
Nevertheless, the test is worth some thought. And just imagine Amazon and Twitter are getting engaged, the business model becomes clear based on some semantic web thoughts: connecting Amazon’s product catalog by connecting tweets and related products. Someone talks about a film and gets an offer from Amazon in the text ad. Or maybe Yahoo could be the new ‘Who is buying Twitter at last’ as they could compete in the long-tail market. In general, Google could finally face a competitor here…