Three Reasons to use B2B Integrated Marketing in 2019

Posted by frank harris on 20/01/19 16:13

integrated-marketing-communicationsDo you understand integrated  B2B marketing?


We are all familiar with the chaos of the modern consumer journey and rising consumer expectations for personalisation and convenience. There’s more content than ever and there are more touchpoints than ever. According to BuzzSumo’s 2018 Content Trends Report, only 50% of all content gained 4 shares or more across all main social networks - half of what it was in 2015.


And we often blame this shifting and fragmented media landscape for:

But the reality is that we must look inwards to understand how those of us in small business B2B marketing, may be contributing to marketing’s ineffectiveness. 


Here are three reasons to make building integrated marketing a priority in 2019.

  1. Your B2B marketing looks inefficient and misaligned

Do the points above sound familiar? A lot of these common B2B marketing challenges stem from lack of alignment and governance. And 65% of the content that marketing teams produce is wasted. SiriusDecisions has found that 60-70% of content goes unused in B2B companies, representing a large amount of waste

  1. Customers don’t care about your silos

Remove marketing silos once and for all, especially the segregation of “content marketing” from the rest of your marketing. Content touches every department: from PR to social to TV to digital. It has become a company’s business asset, IP and product all in one; despite this, we’re still pursuing separate agendas, metrics and technical operations. 


The siloed nature of some B2B SMEs makes it difficult to create a cohesive experience for customers.

Digital marketing fragmented not only the agency landscape but also the marketing function. Now, it’s time to reclaim unified oversight with content operations. According to the SiriusDecisions State of B2B Content Study, only 14% of companies rate themselves as advanced in operations. Effective operations mean increased collaboration across departments and functions, integrated planning, transparency across teams, and a shared vision for what success looks like. Technology can help build a robust operations function when there are the right champions and strategies in place behind it.

  1. We’re contributing to the internet version of noise pollution

Content is overwhelming us all, and it’s being churned out by brands and polluting our working environment.


So, stop creating content without a clear why. According to the ANA, only 25% of CMOs’ digital media investment reaches target audiences,” representing “more than $20 billion of marketing waste.


Content waste is defined as an investment in content that has no strategic purpose or business impact, offers little value to the customer, was poorly executed, or was duplicative.  


What’s causing this lack of strategy and waste? The most obvious answer is a lack of visibility resulting in content duplication, an inability to combine campaign efforts, and challenges maintaining brand governance.


Alternatively, your teams may be working well independently but be missing a major opportunity to collaborate more broadly across the company.


Working towards a holistic programme that aligns disparate production efforts and integrates various work streams across multiple calendars will give savvy brands the upper hand and help break through the noise.

Start 2019 Off with an Integrated Plan

The benefits of building a more integrated marketing organisation are clear. Investing in integrated marketing will:

  • Improve operational effectiveness and efficiency across the marketing organization.
  • Break down silos and encourage collaboration and efficiency.
  • Champion omni-channel marketing in the client organisation.
  • Position content as an asset that should be managed like all business IP.
  • Support the creation of a seamless and consistent customer experience.
  • Start looking within your company and reflecting on where you can improve operations and planning. 

Start by asking one simple question: what is a shared goal your teams can start to collaborate on? Start small but keep your focus on delivering an integrated, measurable, and relevant content experience across all customer touchpoints.


This is not a new idea but to see how you can get your online marketing integrated a start point, why not download my eBook from this link>>>


b2b lead generation

Tags: integrated online marketing, get more leads, integrated internet marketing, b2b behavioural marketing, b2b integrated marketing, integrated b2b marketing

What is Right Time B2B Online Marketing?

Posted by frank harris on 24/09/18 11:15

Right Time B2B Online MarketingThe definition of real-time B2B online marketing is evolving.


The buzz around Big Data and the age of the “multi-channel, empowered consumer” has made marketers believe that a real-time and instantaneous interaction with consumers is the answer to all marketing situations. Yes, real-time is important, but there has been a subtle shift from a purely real-time mode of thought to that of Right Time Marketing.


Right Time Marketing is a sophisticated way to boost customer acquisition and retention, provide seamless customer experiences, and create revenue by understanding a customer’s characteristics, channel preferences and in-market purchase signals. Right Time B2B Online Marketing is built on a foundation of rich customer data and taking the massive opportunity that marketing data presents and getting it right.

The 4 R’s of Right Time B2B Online Marketing

Right Time Marketing matches offline and online data sets to drive right real-time connections with today’s consumers.


Traditional marketing discusses the 4 P’s – Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Big Data is based on the 4 V’s – Volume, Variety, Velocity, and Veracity. And Right Time Marketing has evolved to embrace the 4 R’s –Right Person, Right Channel, Right Moment and Right Answer.

  1. The Right Person

    Identifying the right person through a combination of internal customer and prospect data, as well as third-party demographic and firmographic enhancement, digital data, and in-market purchase signals.
  2. The Right Channel

    Once the right persona or audience has been identified, marketers must use a multi-channel approach to target today’s consumers. As consumers go from device to device and use as many as 8 channels or more for research and purchases, marketers must continually strive to provide a seamless experience for the customer, however or whenever they decide to interact with your brand.
  3. The Right Moment

    Consumers today are constantly bombarded with marketing messages and advertisements. Cutting through the clutter requires that you serve up the most relevant messages at the right time.
  4. The Right Answer

    By integrating the right data across multiple channels to understand a consumer’s behaviours in the moment, companies can find the Right Answer to meet increasing customer expectations. When targeted to the right person, through the right channel, and at the right moment, every customer interaction is an opportunity to strengthen customer loyalty, reduce churn, and boost revenues.

Data: The Foundation of Right Time Marketing

With the constant influx of bigger and faster data, marketing data solutions have evolved from copy, paste characteristics to dynamic and multifaceted profiles that require input from a variety of constantly fluctuating sources. As potential customers increasingly move to online channels for researching, and buying, traditional offline ways of marketing are simply not enough.

Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) solutions integrate both offline and online data sets to deliver real-time data at just the right moment of opportunity. DaaS is a revolutionary way of mining today’s massive data environment to find just the right data and delivering these assets to a company’s channel systems or digital marketing platforms at just the right time.

The importance of data to drive all aspects of marketing has become so profound that today’s marketers agree that data is at the foundation of successful marketing strategies. GlobalDMA and the Winterberry Group conducted research study that demonstrated marketers’ commitment to data-driven marketing.

Key findings included:

  • About 80% of survey respondents said that data is important to their current marketing activities, and more than half (57.1%) described data as “critical” to their efforts.
  • More than 90% of respondents said that data is becoming more important to marketing efforts, and over three-quarters (76.7%) said that data is growing “substantially” more important.
  • A vast majority of survey respondents (77.4%) said they are confident in the data-driven approach to marketing.

When survey participants were asked to describe the primary focus of their data-driven marketing activities, 68.5% chose “Targeting of offers, messages, and creative content.” When survey participants were asked what factors were responsible for driving their investment in data-driven marketing, the 52.7% stated “Demand to deliver more relevant communications to customers/be more ‘customer-centric.’” In other words – the right message to the right person, at the right moment.


The evidence is clear – Right Time Marketing is the next wave of innovation to change the way industries acquire and connect with consumers. The question is, is your strategy ready to keep up?


To get nearer to Right Time Marketing for lead generation just download my eBook from the link below:


b2b lead generation

Tags: integrated online marketing, online marketing services, online marketing strategy, b2b online marketing, real time marketing, right time marketing

5 Tips for Successful Small Business Marketing Development

Posted by frank harris on 24/09/14 09:02

b2b small business marketing development resized 600

Managing the development and B2B website marketing of your business has a lot in common with conducting an orchestra!

1.  Business Development Is Not Increasing Sales

For those of us involved in B2B website marketing, managing the development of your business has a lot in common with conducting an orchestra. It’s a case of encouraging and leading the various differing components of your business forward, in harmony, to the same point at the same time to produce an extraordinary effect. You need to develop your unique product or service to meet the highest level of customer expectations and you must do so at a price representing fair value and at a cost which generates a fair profit.

2.  Understanding profit does not equal cash

Profitable businesses fail every day. Many small business owners chase growth and revenues forgetting the basic facts of cash management. Profit equals Revenue – Costs but until you have received payment you are in a cash negative position. Ideally you would ensure that you have sufficient cash reserves to meet three to six months of costs. In the early days of a business keep fixed expenses as low as possible, use a virtual office and work from home if possible, keep full time staff to a minimum, pay cash or do without non-essential plant and equipment. This helps if you have a quiet month or even two.

3.  Intuition Versus Fact

Don’t build a business around a product or service you like or you would buy. Undertake sound quantitative research to determine what your prospective customers want and buy then see if you can develop an even better product or service at a price they are prepared to pay. Don’t be tempted to compete on price alone. If company A has been making its product for many years and you realise you could source and sell that product at a good profit for less that’s a good value proposition to you not your customer. The market is less willing to change supply on price alone but if you can offer a better value/service proposition where they get a better product and improved customer service you will have a much greater chance of success.

4.  Business & Financial Planning

There is an old saying “if you don’t know what you want you will probably never get it” and that’s certainly the case in business. A well thought through and documented business plan outlining your core objectives, market analysis, product development, marketing strategies and detailed financial budgets is essential. This is an area where you should consider the use of a mentor or an external consultant to help you get it right. Your financial plan should include linked budgets for P&L, Cash Flow and Balance Sheets. A beautifully bound business plan kept on a shelf is a waste of space it has to be a living breathing document understood and read regularly, reported against monthly and the strategies varied as needed to meet your actual versus budgeted position.

5.  Respect all Stakeholders

A successful entrepreneur understands that the stakeholders in a business are not just the shareholders. The stakeholders include employees, suppliers, customers, shareholders and advisors and they are vital to the success of failure of your business. Spend time with each stakeholder, respect them, listen to their ideas, take their ideas, discuss your plans and your position with them. Take them on your journey as partners. Keep them honestly and openly informed and they will join your team and give you their full support. Again many businesses fail because they don’t earn the respect and support of their stakeholders. 

Building a successful company is hard, it requires a lot of commitment and courage as well as a little luck and of course having a great product and team. Watching your idea become a product and a product generate revenue that becomes a successful company makes it all worthwhile. Working with your stakeholders and mentors, following and constantly updating your plans and finances will go a long way to ensuring success. To get that business you need a great marketing strategy.  Check yours out by a comparison with my views as expressed in the eBook below:-

A Guide to  Small Business Marketing in 2014

Tags: b2b website marketing, integrated online marketing, small business marketing consultant uk, get more sales

10 things not to use in B2B email marketing subject lines

Posted by frank harris on 31/07/14 08:23

b2b email marketingWriting an email subject line requires creativity as well as careful analysis of what customers respond to.

It’s not easy coming up with varied topics that get reader’s interest while not becoming monotonous or relying on sales and promotions.

Luckily there are a huge number of case studies that help to give those involved in B2B email marketing inspiration by revealing the type of content and tactics that will increase engagement. But that doesn't mean that the subject line can be neglected in favour of the email content.

Responsys director of strategic services EMEA Jon Stanesby said that the subject line is crucially important, so shouldn't be seen as something that can be altered at the last minute.

The subject line should come first and then other elements should follow as it’s absolutely vital to impress here.

To help, I’ve come up with 10 things that should be avoided to ensure you don’t carelessly harm your KPIs.

None of these rules are written in stone and it’s up to marketers to test their own campaigns to find out what does and doesn’t work for their own customers.

  1. Personalisation

In a recent Econsultancy survey 94% of businesses stated that personalisation is critical to their current and future success.

However too much personalisation in email, such as using the recipient's name in the subject line, can have a detrimental effect according to Stanesby if they are of cold call nature.

Personalising subject lines too frequently also diminishes the effect and is best avoided.

2.  Overt requests for donations

Research by MailChimp found that subject lines that make a request for charitable donations have a negative impact on opens, thus reducing clickthrough rates.

The word ‘donate’ was found to have the most negative impact, while ‘helping’ and ‘fundraising’ were the least damaging. However the latter two words can of course be used in a wider variety of contexts.

3. 'Last Chance'

MailChimp also found the phrase ‘Last Chance’ had a hugely negative impact on open rates.

Obviously people don’t like to be reminded that they’re missing out on something they’ve already been emailed about.


Nothing says spam quite like a capped subject line. It makes it difficult to read and is unlikely to have the desired effect of grabbing the reader’s attention.

As you can see in this example, nothing says “I’m dodgy” quite like a capped up subject line offering a ‘LEGIT LOAN @ 3%’.

Sadly it seems that Gmail also feels that Apple and Advertising Week Europe are worthy of the spam bin!

b2b email marketing

5. The words 'confirm', 'join' or 'assistance'

Baydin identified seven words that were unlikely to provoke a response from recipients. They were confirm, join, assistance, speaker, press, social, and invite.

6. Vague or uninteresting subjects

Communications blog AWeber found that clarity boosts open rates.

It tested clear, concise subject lines versus more creative versions across 20 subject lines and was sent to more than 45,000 subscribers.

The results are not that surprising as the creative examples were often vague or uninteresting, so did little to grab the reader’s attention, so the clear subject lines far outperformed the creative versions:

b2b email marketing

7. Too many characters

Stanesby said that though the rules change between different industries, generally firms should avoid long subject lines.

20 to 30 characters is plenty because consumers won’t read more and most of the wording will likely be cut off on the screen, particularly on mobile devices.

Indeed the effect is magnified on smartphones, and with upwards of 40+% of emails now being opened on mobile devices it’s an issue you can’t ignore.

It’s not possible to narrow it down to a specific length as there are other factors that play a role, however data from Mailer Mailer indicates that the sweet spot is somewhere between four and 15 characters.

8. Exclamation marks!!!

I’ve failed to come across any research that proves that including several exclamation marks in a subject line is going to put the recipient off as it has the look of spam.

In fact a glance at my inbox shows that brands are more than happy to use exclamation marks, as well as caps and the word ‘free’, which is often cited as a blacklisted term that is sure to trigger spam filters.

b2b email marketing

Even so, I’m going to stick my neck out and say that using more than one exclamation mark looks spammy and should be avoided.

9. Trickery

Adestra found that consumers are not fooled when marketers add in ‘FW:’ or ‘RE:’ to the subject line to give the appearance of familiarity.

In fact the respective click rates were 47.5% and 42.6% lower than average. So don’t try to outsmart your customers as it’s underhand and they’ll likely see through it.

10. Bad content marketing or marketing bad content

Adestra also found that certain forms of content marketing can actually harm open rates.

For example, using the word ‘report’ saw opens drop by 23.7% while CTR fell by 54.8%. The same is true for ‘webinar’ with the stats dropping by 16.6% and 70.7% respectively.

Conversely if the content is good, people will consume it. So 'news' (+34.8%, +47.7%), 'bulletin' (+15.8%, +12.7%) and 'video' (+18.5%, +64.8%) work well.

Those are my tips on negativities with regard to email.  To view the positives of what to do then download my eBook from the link below:-

12 Core Components of a  “Five Star” B2B Email

Tags: integrated online marketing, small business marketing consultant uk, online marketing specialist, b2b email marketing

B2B Website Marketing - The Next Generation of Apps

Posted by frank harris on 21/07/14 11:36

b2b website mobile marketing Apple’s App Store is 5 years old. Apps have come a long way in such a short time. The number of apps for smartphones and tablet computers are said to be well over a million and growing by the day. Apps are becoming the latest ‘must have’ feature for companies in B2B website marketing wanting to catch the attention of their customers and secure sales.

So, what makes an effective app?

The most effective apps are usually those which either generate regular income or help build brand awareness. Apps should be useful, enjoyable and entertaining to the user. Whilst most apps are free to download, industry analyst Juniper Research predicts that by 2016 mobile apps will generate revenues of $52bn. The exponential growth in smartphones and tablet computers means that more people are using handheld devices instead of a PC or laptop. And we will be using even more apps in the future – for both personal use and in the workplace.

So, what will be the next generation of apps?

Remote controlling your life

Already in development are apps which can transform your smartphone into a ‘remote’ control. Wireless sensors placed within your home, car, bicycle and even shoes can ‘communicate’ to your handheld device to pass on information. Remote apps will be the norm and technology such as Near Field Communications (NFC) can bring a host of mundane equipment to life via your phone. Need to fill your bath or turn on the heating in your car? Do all within a matter of a few clicks – no matter where you are.

You will also be able to pay via your smartphone thanks to NFC technology. Apps such as Google Wallet and the iPhone’s Passbook are just some of the apps transforming your handheld device. In Sweden, cash transactions account for just 3%. In the UK, airlines have begun updating their ticketing system to allow people to swipe their handsets at the check in desk.

Interlinked entertainment

With apps such as BBC’s iPlayer, you can already watch television on your handheld device and some apps let you record programmes on your digital box at home. Thanks to the smartphone, your physical location is becoming less and less important.

Soon you will have one app that looks after all your entertainment accounts (iPlayer/Sky/Cable/Netflix etc.) allowing you to watch what you want, where you want, through your chosen device. The app could synchronise all of your devices so that if you only watch so many minutes of a particular programme, it will store this information in order for you to continue watching where you left off from, on any device.

Location is everything

Augmented Reality (AR) will change the way you look at things. AR is a live look at the world with computer generated information enhancing the image. Point your smartphone camera to a street, or even an exhibit at a museum and your phone will provide on screen details that include reviews, background information and money off vouchers.

AR’s interactive capabilities provide businesses with an amazing array of possibilities. Businesses can now bring their products and services to life – at home, on a train or even off a sheet of paper. It could give you a chance to see how a sofa fits into your living room or try on clothes without going into a fitting room!  Juniper Research predicts that over 2 billion AR apps will be downloaded by 2017. The future definitely ‘looks’ different.

Stuck at a train station you’ve never been to before? Your phone will automatically find a coffee shop on the concourse or give you the directions to a hotel in line with your past personal preferences.

Enterprising apps

Over the next few years, businesses will move away from using PCs and laptops to provide staff with tablet computers. Already Windows phones make it possible to be on the move and work on programmes such as Word. Within a few clicks staff can access inventories, risk assessments, CRM data, competitor intelligence etc. Such mobile computing power could revolutionise the office and drive productivity.

The ‘bigger’ effortless future

As your handheld device is with you whenever you are out and about, it will gather data on your location and ‘compound apps’ will personalise all of your devices. Information on your preferences such as your train to work, the coffee chain you frequent will all be stored and linked. This vast bank of information, known as “Big data”, will also link with people who have a similar interest to provide a more networked effortless world where your device does the ‘thinking and looking’. Think how social media is linked across many networks now, just imagine the power of compound apps and how they could change our lives.

With apps the possibilities are endless. One note of caution however – figures show that as the number of apps have increased, their lifespan has decreased. Research has found that only around 20% of users return to an app after the first day of downloading it and the average app has a less than 5% chance of being used for greater than 30 days.

So there’s a glimpse int o this new world.  For the present you need to ensure your B2B website marketing is fully optimised.  Get up to speed by downloading my eBook on this from the link below:-

Website Content Optimisation

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, b2b website marketing, integrated online marketing

25 Email Tips in Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 27/05/14 08:21

25 email marketing tipsEmail is one of the best ways to find new customers, sales or create loyal followers. Small business marketing can gain a lot from email but many ignore it losing opportunities. Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your current customers and one of the most efficient ways to convert leads to customers. Having a quality email list is important when it comes to conversions and ROI from campaigns. Growing email list takes time and effort so here are 25 tips to make your email marketing better.

1. Make it easy to register - Don’t ask for too much information (first, last name and email is enough) or have long and cluttered forms.

Make it ‘single click’ i.e. people enter their name and email in the registration box and they click ‘Register’. Once confirmed, they are on your list.

Also allow people to register to your email list using social media. It’s easier for them and you get to connect with them there too.

2. Offer incentives - Make sure the benefit is shown clearly in the registration form/box. Are you going to help them with something, do they get free eBooks, etc.?

3. Positioning the registration box matters - Where you place the email registration box affects the volume of registrations, e.g. at the bottom of your articles – if someone reads your whole article they are more likely to want to read more from you…..

4. Tell them what to expect and when - Don’t overpromise otherwise your email marketing efforts will fail.

5. Make it personal - If you use software to send out the emails customise your messages.

6. Make text easy to read and scan and use alt tags for images - Don’t expect people to read every email. Assume you have a couple of seconds to grab their attention so ensure your titles and format makes them easy to read and scan.

Use headings and short paragraphs. You set the ALT tag for images as most email clients do not show images by default.

7. Use social media to get more subscribers - Use Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to get more subscriptions. Don’t be afraid to ask your followers to register but also explain the benefits.

8. Don’t overdo it - Sending volumes of emails will not necessarily generate better results. Give recipients options to change their subscription preferences to get more emails from you.

9. Send data they need to read in the email - Your objective is to achieve conversions not more visits.

10. Most emails are now read on mobile - Emails should be mobile friendly. So, test all campaigns against all major mobile devices.

11. Monitor results and take corrective actions - Whatever campaign you run, monitor - email open rate, click rate, unsubscribe rate, conversion rate etc.- take remedial action and re-run until you get the desired results.

12. Watch your competitors - Register on your competitors list and see what they do, what kind of emails they send out, how often, what they promote etc. Don’t copy or mimic but stay ahead of them.

13. Make it easy to unsubscribe - Don’t hide the unsubscribe button. It’s better to have them unsubscribed rather than have you on their spam list.

14. Create a content marketing strategy - Content marketing is not the same as social media marketing or email marketing. Plan what content you’ll send out in the next few months and ensure that it has purpose and meaning.

15. Use email for cross selling and up selling - Important in B2C.

16. Include social media profiles - Add social media buttons in your newsletter so that your subscribers can share content and connect with you.

Mistakes made in small business email marketing

17. No email list - There is no excuse for not maintaining an email list for your online business or website.

18. Having a list but not emailing - Many benefits are gained from communicating with your subscribers and if you can’t do it get someone to do it for you.

19. Not offering incentives for signups - If you have a content driven website the incentive to signup is the content itself but if you are selling goods or services then give incentives to sign-up.

20. Buying email lists - If you think that you can have success by purchasing emails you’re wrong. Grow your email list naturally and don’t buy email lists.

21. Not asking for email verification - List quality is important for email marketing success not quantity. Request email verification and get less subscribers rather than be loaded with inactive email accounts.

22. Not following best practices - To send bulk emails you need to follow best standards, e.g. have your address in the email together with an unsubscribe button, send both an HTML and text only version.

23. Don’t use “Outlook” for sending bulk emails - It’s a mistake to send emails without using a vendor. People think they can use Outlook or Gmail for bulk emails but this is not recommended. Use a professional service that will protect you from making mistakes. Most email marketing companies have free packages for small businesses so cost is not an issue.

24. Not doing A/B testing

  • What time/date converts better

  • Where does the sign-up box bring in more subscribers

  • Are plain emails better than ones with more text, headings, images etc?

  • Which Subject titles have the bigger open rates (long vs short etc.)

  • Do images produce more clicks?

25. Not asking users to add you to their contact list - Ask subscribers to add you to their contact list to ensure your emails are not considered as spam.

Email is still one of the most effective ways to contact and engage with customers. Small businesses MUST have an email marketing strategy and take advantage of the many benefits a successful campaign has to offer. Find out more from my FREE whitepaper:-

10 Rules for Successful  B2B Email Marketing


Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, integrated online marketing, email marketing, b2b web marketing

10 Small Business Marketing Budget Pitfalls to avoid

Posted by frank harris on 25/03/14 20:13

small-business-marketing-budgetsRegardless of industry, those in small business marketing struggle to track budgets. Even the savviest marketers have difficulty to gain an accurate picture at any given time. What they plan, committed and spent changes daily. Plus, the information is dispersed across people, emails, spreadsheets and finance systems.

So, marketers find it difficult to make the most of their budgets and build credibility in the eyes of finance. Here are the 10 most common problems that marketers face:-

1.    Lack of Internal Collaboration

One marketer attempts to develop the perfect marketing plan, even though multiple people own areas of the marketing budget. Also, it’s hard to reconcile budgets across teams making the final budget untrustworthy.

Marketers often perceive planning as a top-down process with one person owning the entire budget. But really everyone spending marketing monies needs to be involved in the budgeting process. Otherwise, you end up with a plan that never becomes reality, and is inaccurate.

2.    Planning Based on Last Year’s Budget

As you’re constantly busy, you rush through the planning process by tweaking last year’s budget instead of starting with this year’s goals.

Start your plan by answering the question, “What are we trying to achieve with marketing investment over the next year?”  Clarify this from the corporate viewpoint and a strategic marketing perspective. Then put in place a plan that supports those objectives. In other words, focus your investments where it makes most sense.

3.    Spreadsheet Hell

Marketers often create massive workbooks using Excel. It’s not uncommon for one person to create a budget spreadsheet with multiple tabs and unwieldy number of columns.

While this person understands the details, anyone else would be confused because they weren’t involved in creating the spreadsheet. Countless spreadsheets creates problems, and don’t offer the integration, visibility, or control needed to justify spending.

This creates confusion and frustration within marketing, and results in poor financial reporting for either the Finance or Marketing Director, who control the purse strings. Also, you waste time with spreadsheets etc. instead of strategically on the plan.

4.    Planning the Budget with Finance

You need alignment between marketing and finance when it comes to the budget. Problems arise when finance assigns a couple of line items to marketing, and marketing builds its plan around the finance framework. This satisfies neither.

Fitting marketing spend into finance’s reviews is stressful for marketers risking mistakes being exposed and loss of credibility. Without collaboration, marketers find it difficult to answer finance’s questions.

Marketers should build detail within the finance plan but keep it separate from their stand-alone budget.  Thus, marketing can show that marketing is budget conscious and supports the company’s goals.

5.    Hiding the Plan Frustrates Good Decisions

You can have the best plan in the world, but it’s meaningless if no one sees it. Without access to the plan, marketers cannot understand what they should be doing to achieve the company’s goals.

Your marketing plan needs to flow into the day-to-day execution of the marketing business, informing what people are doing on a daily basis. That means it needs to be seen by all, so they can see their part in the plan and budgets.

6.    Not Knowing what you’ve Spent so far

When you lack access to the data, you’re unable to associate expenditure with the marketing programmes currently running. You then struggle to share this information with external decision-makers in a format they’ll understand. So, you’re challenged to make better use of budgets, justify spend and secure additional funds based on actual performance.  

It’s tough to reallocate budget where it’s most needed when you’re not clear if the money is available. Yet many marketers lack this clarity because they pass the budgeting plan to finance and then rely on them to tell them current expenditure. You need to understand expenditure against plan at any given time.

7.    Unable to Communicate the Plan and Progress it

Marketers are seen as having a poor grasp of their budget. With so many programmes at any one time, it’s difficult to reconcile and show progress. One way to counter this is to better communicate the plan – to your entire team, so you can execute against it.

8.    Failing at Forecasting

Forecasting isn’t just for sales. Yet marketers find it difficult to accurately forecast their future marketing spend. By tying invoices and purchase orders together with marketing programmes, you can provide accurate forecasts on your marketing spend.

9.    Struggling to prove ROI

Proving ROI is critical to illustrating the value of marketing’s contribution to the company, especially with the data now available. Pulling together costs and data for ROI analysis is a time-consuming and manual process. You need software that helps you connect cost data to your marketing programmes for ROI reporting.

10.     Adapt or Flounder

No matter what you do, your marketing plan will never be perfect. Design a budgeting and planning process that builds in agility. Look what you’ve spent to date so you can reallocate funds to what works, and stop investing in what isn’t.

Adapt your plan based on what happens as the plan. Evolve your overall budget as you go - stay open to change and move investments around as needed.

That’s my tips on budgeting.  To be really successful why not download the eBook from the link below:-

How to make your  Marketing  MORE Successful

Tags: b2b website marketing, online marketing companies, integrated online marketing, small business marketing consultant uk

How to Improve Response Rates in B2B Email Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 04/03/14 08:59

b2b email marketing resized 600For most UK marketers, email has been a key element in their digital arsenal for years, and its adaptability is one of its key strengths.

But B2B marketers face growing pressure to integrate email with other marketing efforts, including social media, search engine optimisation (SEO) and direct mail.

The explosion in UK mobile use is the other major influence on planning, since email can now reach UK consumers virtually anywhere and at any time. The downside is that companies and internet marketing consultants must rethink email strategies and formats to make the most of smaller screens and behaviour patterns of consumers on the go.

Those involved in B2B website marketing very much value email as a contributor to overall ROI, leads, acquisition, customer knowledge and engagement, yet email still suffers from underinvestment to some degree.

Approximately half (51%) of UK brand marketers polled by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) UK said email marketing accounted for no more than 10% of their 2013 marketing budget. Yet one in every five respondents said they devoted at least 40% of their 2013 budget to email.

What are the easiest things you can do - without adding significant costs - to improve email response rates right now? First, focus on increasing the number of “sends” for a singular offer. The majority of B2B marketers are still relying on one-time email sends to a specific audience for a specific offer. This is no longer the recipe for success. Three to five sends to the same group of recipients promoting the same offer is going to yield the best results.

The key is to have each send build on the previous one. Creating a sense of urgency related to the offer and its availability is what makes this method successful.

Next, utilise pre-headers - the text that is displayed at the top portion of your email right above your graphics - in a more sophisticated way. Often, marketers use pre-headers for “add to safe-sender” lists or “display Web version” links. Using pre-headers for offer-related information will improve overall email open rates by more than 17%.

Marketers can and should view pre-headers as extensions of subject lines rather than just a throwaway portion of the email message. Pre-headers continue to grow in relevance as the use of mobile email explodes because pre-headers have increased visibility on mobile devices.

Another area that is simple and yet often underused is styled “alt text” (alternative text). More than 67% of all email messages receive block images by default. However, in many cases, instead of seeing the images that are included in the email, the recipient will see alt text, which is copy controlled in most cases by the email sender.

We, involved in B2B website marketing, have the option to use styled alt text, allowing for the alteration of the text font, colour, size, style and weight. This styled version will display in the majority of email recipient inboxes instead of the images that are most often not getting displayed. Testing the copy and styling in this area is important because more recipients may ultimately see this information.

Lastly, consider time adjusted email deployments. The time of day that emails are sent matter more than ever in driving email performance. Acquisition email campaigns that are delivered in the afternoon see a 26% drop-off in performance compared with those delivered earlier. Thus, setting your send schedule based on the time of the recipient is critical.

The optimal window for performance is to have your acquisition email delivered between 5:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. To focus on just one time point for all your sends is doing your campaign a massive disservice.

These are just some ideas for B2B email marketing. To understand more about how email works in digital marketing, download our latest eBook from the link below:-

Where are we with  Email Marketing?

Tags: b2b website marketing, integrated online marketing, b2b marketing consultants, small business marketing consultant uk, email marketing

SEO Tips and Legends for Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 25/02/14 08:01

SEO in small business marketing resized 600To say SEO has “changed a lot” would be the understatement of the decade. Just take a look at how Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates shook the world of SEO. As an internet marketing consultant along with those in small business marketing and SEO agencies worldwide, we stopped our link-building and keyword-obsessed ways and swapped them for a long overdue focus on quality content.

But does that mean that SEO is just to pump out high-quality, keyword-optimised content? Far from it. In fact, SEO has changed so much in the past several years that many marketers aren’t sure what’s outdated, what’s important, what will actually improve small business marketing performance, and what’s simply a wasted effort.

The tips and legends below are the most common areas and assumptions about how SEO works. We can therefore discredit them for you, so that as someone involved day to day with small business marketing, you’re not wasting a single moment on things that simply don’t matter for SEO in 2014.

Let us consider the following 14 tips and legends to get you up to speed:-

  1. The idea that you need to submit your website to Google in order to appear in search results (or rank) is nonsense. While a brand new site can submit its URL to Google directly, a search engine like Google can still find your site without you submitting it.

  2. While there’s a strong correlation between search results placement and clickthrough rates, ranking is not the supreme end goal that it used to be. It has been shown that being near the top of pages 2 or 3 have equally good click through rates!

  3. SEO is something to hand to IT. No they look after software and hardware NOT marketing.

  4. More links are better than more content. When businesses hire someone to do link building, they must focus on link quality as linking is not a numbers game. Focus on having relevant and diverse sources that link to relevant pages. Content can be used for webpages, blog posts, and lead generation offers, content types that will bring more links with them over time.

  5. Having a relevant, compelling meta description can be the difference between a searcher who clicks through to your page and one who clicks elsewhere.

  6. Have a social media strategy and think of it as part of your search optimisation efforts - the two should not be working as silos.

  7. Your SEO efforts should be a holistic composite that focuses on quality throughout on-page optimisation, off-page optimisation, user experience, and conversions.

  8. Keywords do not need to be repeated verbatim throughout a piece of content. There is no ideal number of times that you should repeat a keyword on a page. However, ensure your keyword(s)  are included in your page title

  9. Think of the content structure on your webpage as an outline; a tiered approach to presenting information to users and search engines. The  title tag of your headline has little to no influence on your overall SEO. It really doesn’t matter what header tag you use, as long as you present your most important concepts upfront and closer to the top of the page.

  10. Your homepage content should be long enough to clarify who you are, what you do, where you’re located (if you’re local), your value proposition, and what visitors should do next.

  11. Don’t strive to have lots of pages on your website concentrate on the quality of that content. The aim should be to publish what is most relevant.

  12. Microsites and other domains owned that link or redirect back to your site will not help SEO. It’s like having an election in which you vote for yourself a thousand times, which only counts as one vote.

  13. Google will know if you have bad site links. Google knows (everything). Don’t try to fool them - especially post-Panda, -Penguin, and -Hummingbird, or you will be penalised.

  14. SEO has evolved from simply getting found to improving how users engage with your content. SEO is so much more than optimising for search engines. You need to optimise for users first and foremost, so they actually click through your listing to your website and then stay there.

So hope you like the tips.  To understand SEO more in 2014, what you should and shouldn’t do why not download the FREE eBook from the link below:-

The Past,  Present, and  Future of SEO


Tags: SEO for small business, get more traffic, website marketing strategy, integrated online marketing, small business marketing consultant uk

5 Tips from a B2B Marketing Consultant

Posted by frank harris on 29/01/14 08:40

small-business-marketing-consultantNo one doubts that the fundamental rules of customer engagement have changed. Customers rely on information from many sources and engage with each other to discuss your brand – often long before you have any contact with them.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t want or need to engage directly with your company. In fact, customers are engaging more deeply with brands than ever before.

The challenge for B2B marketing consultants is to find ways to engage effectively with customers across channels in a seamless, truly conversational, way.

1.    Get to Know Your Customers Better

You must understand your audience in detail – their roles, responsibilities, needs, and wants – i.e. personas.  Personas enable you to get into the mind of customers and prospects in B2B lead generation.  And when you understand your audience’s world and motivations, you can create content that engage them more deeply.

So, start by defining a persona for each of your target buyers and influencers. Give each a real name, a title or position, tasks they need to accomplish, relevant demographics, problems, needs, and wants. Include a narrative that describes the flow of that person’s day, including their skills, attitudes, environment, and goals. Use these on your engagement platforms to track site visitor behaviour and gain insight for optimising your digital marketing efforts.

2.    Understand that Relevance has a Finite Life

Relevance is a key driver of engagement.  However, when it comes to relevance, timing is essential to effectiveness.  Relevance has a shelf life – what is interesting to a prospect or customer now, may not be as interesting or relevant later. Over time, interest wanes and so does relevance.

But if we capture the latest behaviour of our prospect and then trigger an interaction based on that behaviour in a timely way, we deliver a relevant comment or opportunity while interest is still at a peak.  As a B2B marketing consultant I know that being timely and relevant can improve engagement and help prospects move farther along the buying process.  Look for an engagement platform that lets you automate much of the process and triggers the conversation forward with relevant responses

3.    Create a Normal Conversation

There’s a natural cadence to a normal conversation. Each party remembers what was talked about previously and the next conversation picks up where you left off.

To have intelligent, engaging conversations across channels, you need to keep track of the context. If you have siloed channels, the conversation is staccato, rather than a single conversation that builds on the last interaction.

You need to collect, store and mine customer intelligence across all channels. Behaviours, job title, interests, attitudes, all need to be accessible in other channels to continue the conversation wherever it left off.

There are three essential elements for creating natural conversations with prospects:

  1. Customer intelligence – collection of information in one central place.

  2. Moments of opportunity – your turn to speak by identifying these moments throughout the customer engagement lifecycle.

  3. Automated interactions –ensure a timely response by automating the engagement flow, so relevant content gets provided at the height of interest.

4.      Take Personalisation to the next Level

Personalisation increases conversions and sales. But many in B2B lead generation still haven’t moved beyond personalising email with the customer’s name.  Personalisa¬tion is one of the most under-used strate¬gies in marketing.

Start with data collected about your prospects and customers. The data includes interest level, keywords used, preferences, behaviours, needs, wants, and more.

Then model scenarios for what content or offer to present next in the customer lifecycle that would be most relevant based on this data. Technology can help you automate your scenarios to personalise the experience and deepen the engagement.

5.    Measure Engagement Value

Measuring open rate, clicks, and traffic to your site are metrics that show digital marketing performance from a volume perspective. But two-way conversations and customer engagement with the brand can’t be measured using quantitative methods.

You need a way to measure engagement so you know what’s working, so track and measure engagement. You can do that by assigning a value or points to interactions throughout the customer lifecycle. These interactions are your conversion goals and should be indicative of revenue, e.g. signing up for a free trial demonstrates a certain level of engagement so assign it a value.  You can begin to see trends that you might not see only looking at volume statistics and trends.

In the age of the empowered customer, it’s clear that the nature of b2b marketing is changing fundamentally. Traditional marketing is fast losing its effectiveness. Today, online customer engagement is mandatory. Delivering relevant, valuable interactions that earn prospects’ and customers’ interest and trust is the new way to build your brand. So find out the tools needed to launch and measure a B2B Small Business  Online Marketing Campaign by downloading a recent eBook of mine from the link below:-

6 Tools to Launch & Measure Online Marketing Campaigns

Tags: internet marketing for small business, small business marketing, integrated online marketing, b2b marketing consultants

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