Tag Archives: business to business marketing tips

Twitter to swim with the big fishes in business marketing

Most of the Twitter users who use it to promote their small business expect their company’s use of the popular microblogging tool to increase during the next six months, according to a recent survey by MarketingProfs.

The informal survey revealed that the practice of using Twitter as a business tool is gaining acceptance as an important piece of social media marketing. According to the MarketingProfs survey, 84% of respondents say their company’s use of Twitter will increase, with 46% saying the increase will be by a “significant” margin.

Twitter as a business tool

Twitter as a business tool

Compared to other social media tools, Twitter ranks second only to company blogs in perceived value. Company blogs and Twitter still rank ahead of LinkedIn and Facebook.

“This data shows that Twitter users, typically early adopters, no longer think of Twitter as just a personal networking tool, but as something that can provide real value for their company or business,” said Ann Handley, chief content officer for MarketingProfs. “Much like Facebook, Twitter is now moving into the business mainstream.” Additional Twitter research from MarketingProfs revealed that Twitter users are primarily motivated by the learning and immediacy components of the application. (MarketingCharts)

Twitter as a business tool

Twitter as a business tool

Vendor/client relationship in real life, sad but true

It’s something we’ve all have to deal with at one point or another – a not-so-balanced vendor/client relationship. If you’ve ever struggled on either side of the equation, you’ll appreciate the sad but true scenarios played out in the video below. Enjoy!

Eyetracking study reveals enlightening online tactics

Enlightening eytracking study

Enlightening eytracking study

Want to know whether your homepage layout is effective? Or if readers prefer short paragraphs over long ones? And if your ads are in the best place to be noticed by your audience?

Take a few minutes out of your day and read over the latest findings from Eyetrack III (via ProBlogger and the Direct Creative Blog). Their research could give your team a better idea of where to start and what to fix when it comes to your Web site design.

You can check out the full article for a complete overview of their findings, but here are some of the main points:

Headlines first, then pictures. When people first land on a page, they tend to look at dominant headlines before looking at pictures. Headlines located in the upper left of the page got the most attention.

The first few words in a headline are most important. A headline will grab less than a second of a visitor’s attention and it appears that the first few words need to be the most eye-catching. People scan the first couple words before deciding to read on.

Use large type for scanning, small type for closer reading. Smaller type is harder to read, so visitors have to focus when they want to find out more. As always, large type should be used for headlines to allow for easy scanning.

Short paragraphs have a better chance of being read than longer ones. Long paragraphs, especially on the Web, look difficult to read. Short paragraphs are more appealing.

Ads in the top and left portions of a homepage get the most attention. Our eyes tend to look at the upper left of a page when we first arrive on it.

Bigger ads are better. Bigger ads have a better chance of being seen. When ads are also placed next to popular content they’ll generally get more attention.

Don’t drop the price, fatten the offer

Yes, everyone is well aware that we’re in a recession and customers everywhere are looking for a great deal. But relying on that fact alone is the wrong reason to start reducing the price of everything you sell.

Instead, during these lean times it’s best to fatten your offer, according to Judy Kirkland from Echo Point Marketing partners in a Business Management Daily post.

The problem is, she says, is that when you “only focus on price you’re vulnerable to any competitor who undercuts you by a couple dollars.”

When you “fatten your offer” with something extra, you’re giving customers an added reason to buy from you.

Don’t have the money to add anything extra to the sale? No problem. It’s easy to find “extras” in things you’re already doing for your customers.

For example, the Wyndam hotel print ads offering to make sure your favorite snacks and beverages are in your room when you arrive. Since the hotel already stocks mini bars with a variety of snacks, allowing guests to make requests requires little to no extra effort on the hotel’s part.

Or the kitchen remodeling company that offers an added concierge service to help clients clear out their cabinets. The company had been doing it for years until they started positioning the service as an added bonus for signing a contract promptly.

Whatever your product or service is, odds are you can find something “extra” to help fatten the offer.

Think about giving customers added content with their purchase, such as a white paper or tip sheet. And what about offering free customer service for the life of the product?

In what ways does your company “fatten the offer” when selling their product or service? Any ideas to share with the rest of us? Leave a comment and let us know.

Taking direct marketing back to the future

While many marketers continue their search for the next-best, latest-and-greatest media tactic to get the word out about their product or service, others are holding their ground and staying true to traditional methods.

Direct marketing is making a comeback and now considered the “new black” in the marketing world, despite the opportunity new marketing methods like social media may bring to the table.

In a recent column at BtoB Magazine, Scott Hornstein, president of marketing, Hornstein Associates, and CMO, Wired Assets Data Corp., shares his expert insight as to why you should be putting what’s left of your budget into direct marketing.

“These are the times that try marketers’ souls. On the other hand, this is not the time to hide or be timid. It is the time to be effective, and to redeploy the majority of what’s left of your marketing budget into direct marketing for one very good reason: The strategy is, at its core, measurable and ROI-driven.”

He says there are six critical factors that will lead to direct marketing success:

  1. Integrating direct marketing into your overall media mix. Your customers don’t all hang out in the same place, so reinforce your message across a variety of media tools.
  2. Integrating a healthy dose of customer care. “Our carefully crafted brands can be blown up in three minutes of poor customer care.”
  3. Invest in database quality. The success of your marketing is only as good as your list.
  4. Account for everything, but report only key metrics. Pay attention to what matters most.
  5. Measure performance and set aggressive standards. “Each direct marketing effort should achieve at least a 10% response rate.”
  6. Measure the expense to revenue ratio. If it’s over 25% you’re spending too much, go back and fix your process.

What do you think? Should we take another look at the tried-and-true marketing methods like direct marketing because they are so measurable and ROI-driven? Are economic tough times forcing your organization to trend this way?

Please leave a comment and let us know.

B2B buying behaviors, more irrational than we thought

If you’ve ever been searching for research on business-to-business buying behaviors, it can seem like you’re stuck in a maze full of an overwhelming amount of information on consumers around each turn.

To ease our frustration, Marketo and Enquiro Research teamed up to perform some research of their own to discover exactly how businesses make complex purchases.

Yesterday, Jon Miller shared some initial findings from their research at the Marketo blog. Here are a few highlights:

Despite popular belief, business buying is not rational. B2B buyers are self-taught and use a trial-and-error process in their decision making, helping to simplify complex decisions. Instead of dealing with just one irrational decision maker, marketers must deal with an entire group of irrational decision makers, making the buying process that much more complex.

Emotions play a big role. After a purchase, a B2B buyer may not experience the full benefit of their purchase directly or may not be recognized for making the decision and making a poor decision can put that buyer’s job security at risk. Fear drives most B2B buying decisions. “B2B buying is all about minimizing fear by minimizing risk.”

So, it turns out that what we once thought was a strictly linear buying funnel is actually a buying process that may not be logical or rational at times.

Check out the full post for even more great information, including Enquiro’s advice for managing B2B buyer’s perceived risk.

Stop wasting marketing dollars and start getting creative

To get a clear picture of how much money marketers waste each week all most people have to do is simply take out the trash.

Every week marketers send out thousands upon thousands of pieces of direct mail. If they’re lucky, some will get a quick second look by their recipients before they end up in the garbage or recycling bin. Along with the money, marketers time and effort are also being taken out with the trash.

When most people find direct mail in their inboxes, the immediately classify it as “junk” and quickly dispose of it. To really catch your audience’s attention, you have to find a creative way to get noticed and make people take a second look.

Because we all receive multiple pieces of junk mail daily, it takes a truly creative approach to stand out from the crowd. Will V. at The Better Response Blog recently tacked the issue and shared some ingenious examples of direct marketing that isn’t a waste of money.

Two dollar bill DM campaign, The Better Response Blog

Two dollar bill DM campaign, The Better Response Blog

The first example is of a piece by the Seattle Art Museum to promote the Life Liberty and Pusuit of Happiness exhibit. The marketing piece took the form of a two dollar bill, something most people don’t see everyday. Will admitted he’d likely read it before throwing it away. At least it’s a step up from landing directly in the trash, without so much as a slight glance.

“The point I am trying to make is we should always try to create a piece that no one else is creating. Part of marketing is to stand out and not be typical. Being typical will not catch any attention and is a waste of money. This may be a thought that is always in the back of our minds, but we don’t always factor it into our marketing initiatives,” Will says.

Will showed another good example of a direct mail campaign that not only stood out from the crowd, but was “highly personalized.” As part of a sensory-based direct mail campaign, Proximity London crafted a letter made entirely out of chocolate. Yes, real chocolate.

I don’t know about you, but receiving a chocolate letter in the mail would catch my attention close to 100% of the time. Before I devoured it, you could bet that I would also be spreading the message and showing the piece to everyone in the office.

We’re not expecting you to go out and print your next direct mail piece on chocolate, but if you do just make sure I’m on the mailing list. What we’re saying is that it’s time to start getting really creative with your marketing.

“Do not send out postcards because your competitors are sending out postcards. Send out something you know your competitors will not be sending out. Remember, you are not just competing with your competitors’ pieces, but with the 50 gazillion other pieces who are not even from the same industry,” Will adds.

Ask yourself truthfully if you would stop and read what your company is mailing out. If you think it’s going to land in the trash, it’s time to rethink your idea. Stop wasting your marketing dollars and start grabbing people’s attention.

What creative techniques have you used recently in your marketing to grab your audience’s attention? Or, have you been the recipient of a cool piece of direct marketing? Let us know about it …