Archive for the 'email marketing' Category

Email Marketing Still Going Strong; Social Media Not a Threat

MarketingSherpa just released its 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report with information gathered from over 1,400 marketers. The biggest trend to come from this year’s report is the effect (or lack thereof) that social media is expected to have on the future of email marketing. Some of the highlights are listed below. email

 What’s gaining importance?

  • Competition with social media for recipients’ time and attention (a 48% increase from last year – in 2008 only 23% of marketers said it was important, compared with 71% this year)
  • Getting people to opt-in to lists (a 10% increase)
  • Measuring and proving ROI of email campaigns (an 8% increase)

Conversely, delivering highly-relevant email content has decreased in importance by 6% and email deliverability has decreased by 5%.

Email marketing budgets are still steady overall…

  • Business/financial services saw the biggest increase in email marketing spend, with 51% increasing budgets in 2009; 38% of technology companies increased email marketing spend
  • The industries with the biggest decreases in budget included publishing/media and hospitality/travel (18% decline reported for each)

Social media’s impact on email marketing…

  • 81% agree that social media has extended the reach of email content to new markets and over three-quarters believe that this has helped increase brand awareness (check out an article from B2B earlier in the year on tips how to do just that)
  • However, social media is not aiding in lead generation – 57% of marketers say they can’t prove that social media has helped them generate more qualified leads and 43% don’t think it’s helped grow their email list
  • Social media has not “killed” email marketing – yet. When asked how marketers share something from the Internet with others, 78% said they email them the link. Only 22% said they share it through social media tools.

It will be interesting to see if these metrics change next year, although other studies also support the claim that email is here to stay despite the increase in social media usage. A recent survey of SmartBrief on Social Media readers found that 59% say email use has stayed the same despite the growth of social networks and an ExactTarget 2009 Channel Preferences Study found that 75% of online consumers prefer to receive permission-based promotional messages through email—up 3.6% from 2008.

 — Posted by Melissa Coyle


Unsolved Mysteries: The Lead Gen Disappearing Act

A big part of my job is lead generation. Clients turn to me when they need to “stoke the pipeline” and bring in qualified leads to hand over to their sales team. In a perfect world, the sales team contacts leads immediately, makes sales and exceeds the company’s revenue goals. However, despite the intentions, there are times when no sales seem to close and the campaign is automatically deemed a failure in the eyes of management or the board.

Let’s face it; the lead generation process is not rocket science. You embark on a campaign (maybe direct mail, a tradeshow or email marketing); you identify the appropriate media outlets in which to run promotions; you present a compelling offer (perhaps a webcast, free trial or a whitepaper); you capture leads when prospects register for the offer (custom landing page with name, title, email, etc.); and then you send the leads to sales, sit back and watch the magic happen – right? Wrong.

All too often there is some kind of misconnect that happens as soon as marketing hands off the leads to sales – I call this the “disappearing act”. I’ve run programs that have generated 500+ leads, only to learn that the sales department has only received 20 (or worse, none at all). Sometimes it’s because someone has decided a lead isn’t “qualified” – but no research has been conducted or even an exploratory phone call logged to make this determination. Instead, the judgment has been made simply by looking at the company and title. Sure, sales needs to prioritize the list somehow but imagine how many prospects fall through the cracks this way!

While generating high quality leads is the number one priority for B2B marketers (69% compared to “generating PR buzz” at 33%), the biggest challenge has always been getting sales to follow up on leads. A webcast (eMedia: “Lead Generation for the Complex Sales Cycle”) I attended today enforced a great way to help with this very issue. If you haven’t already, develop a “universal lead definition” so sales will know how to prioritize the huge list of leads you’re about to give them. For some clients, we do this based on an upfront qualifying question asked during the registration process. For others, we do web research to see if the company falls within the client’s target zone and rank the leads based on this. Whatever your criteria is, sales will be much more excited with a prioritized list and is more likely to follow up with 100 Tier A leads first, followed by the 200 Tier B leads and 300 Tier C leads, versus if you just hand them a raw list of 600 names.

And, don’t forget about the leads post-campaign. Develop an ongoing lead nurturing program and reach out to them on a regular basis with simple monthly email updates, new product features, etc. You never know when a lead might turn into an opportunity.

Source: eMedia's “Lead Generation for the Complex Sales Cycle” Webcast, Sept. 29, 2009

Source: eMedia's “Lead Generation for the Complex Sales Cycle” Webcast, Sept. 29, 2009

That said, it’s important that management and boards remember that marketing is not the only accountable party when it comes to lead generation. Yes we identify, design and execute the campaigns. But it’s up to sales to follow through on each and every lead to determine whether it is qualified or not, and update their progress in the company’s CRM tool so metrics can be applied and the campaign can factually be deemed a failure or success. And if the leads are qualified but still no sales are occurring? Well, then it’s likely a larger business issue and some market research should be conducted to determine if the product/service is something the audience actually wants and needs.

Whether you’re a marketing or sales person reading this, remember that we’re all on the same side and answering to the same authorities. Good money is being dished out to execute these lead generation campaigns, so let’s help each other be successful and push the leads down the pipeline.

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

Latest trends in B2B marketing

MarketingSherpa has just released its 2009-2010 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. You can download the 9-page excerpt for free or purchase the entire 200+ page report for $447.

Though I’m not convinced the full report is worth its hefty price tag, there are a few good tidbits of information:

  • The majority of B2B marketers are optimistic that the economy will recover in the remainder of the year
  • B2B is ahead of B2C when it comes to adopting social media strategies and tools, including social networks and company blogging
  • While B2B marketers plan on increasing investments in programs like webcasts, search, website improvements and social media, they are majorly decreasing spend in other areas, especially tradeshows/face-to-face events and traditional advertising
  • There is still a noticeable breakdown in the marketing-to-sales process – the majority of B2B marketers do not have a process for nurturing leads that aren’t sales-ready, do not have closed-loop tracking from source to conversion, and do not have a process for handing leads back to marketing
  • When it comes to a company’s website, B2B marketers struggle most with clear and compelling messaging, efficient/regular updates and optimizing the site for search

The full report contains more detailed info breakdown of marketing budgets by program, industry and company size; average leads generate by program investment; outsourcing key marketing functions; effectiveness of different email tactics; analysis of PR effectiveness; case studies; and more.

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

Is Email a Recession Proof Marketing Tool?

Just got off another interesting Webcast put on by Marketing Sherpa (@marketingsherpa) and Exact Target (@exacttarget), as part of their Email Marketing Intelligence Webinar Series. I’ll briefly share some of the highlights from their Email Benchmark Study…may prove surprising for many B2B marketers out there!

  • Email marketing and social media are the ONLY marketing tactics that are expected to increase in 2009 – online or offline
  • Online ad spend is expected to decrease by 43% this year
  • When it comes to email lists, size does matter – the biggest priority for email marketers in 2009 is growing their lists, but 1 in 5 B2B marketers are finding this harder and harder to do
  • When it comes to optimizing their email lists, only half collect the lead source and use it!
  • Segmentation can increase open rates and click-through rates by as much as 2x
  • It’s predicted that SMS integration/optimization will be the “next big thing” when it comes to email marketing this year

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

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