Monthly Archives: January 2013

Excerpts from Peter Bernstein’s article – Thanks for the quotes!

My thanks to Peter Bernstein for a great article. It’s always good to have a discussion with someone else that remembers what the taxi line was like at Comdex in 1986. Jacob Javits Center..wow, not a good time.  And yes, we have both been around the block..uh..twice!

Optify Report Says Google Dominates B2B Search and Twitter Outperforms Facebook on Lead Generation

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In the statement announcing the study, Doug Wheeler, CMO of Optify stated that, “Google has long proven to be the uncontested leader in the search market, and as our research shows, that authority will only continue into the foreseeable future.”

He further noted that, “With such a clear domination of search, we believe that marketers should diversify their marketing programs beyond organic search. It will come as no surprise if Google decides to monetize elements of its organic search data such as referring keywords, access to analytics or other, currently free services, leaving marketers no choice but to adhere to its terms.”

Wheeler had me with the word “monetize.” In fact, it prompted a call where I asked him for more insight on the findings. He congratulated me that my previous article was on the right track. He noted however, that Optify had hard data that the situation is “worse than you thought.” He went on to caution that the trend of an increase in “not provided” because you did not pay, and hence traffic was blocked, is laying the groundwork for what I have characterized as Google being a not insignificant (and possibly not inexpensive) tollgate on the Internet.

Back to the issues revealed by the study. Reality is that because of Google’s dominance, and the seeming lack of a disruptor, as Wheeler explained, “You are likely locked into Google as a customer and they are going to make you pay for the data.”
In short, traffic information at a high level is interesting and you need it, but the underlying data and analytics behind it are what are very valuable to marketers always on the search for more perfect data to fine-tune their efforts. And, because they are intrinsically valuable they will be something you have to pay for. You probably do so sooner rather than later.

It also means according to Wheeler that, “Because social media as we found is not great on referrals, content marketing and SEO are going to be harder work than ever before, and Google is likely to continue to adjust its algorithms.” He did say that such adjustments are not just based on locking in customers and positioning them to pay for value added, but also because the goal of business intelligence is to hopefully make tools continuously smarter and hence even more valuable for you the marketer and by extension Google.

I also wanted to share a few of Wheeler’s words of advice if you are putting together a marketing program. He said the study uncovered the fact that, “Things that bring traffic to your site are not highest converters.” Concentration does need to be on diversity with the understanding of:
What brings traffic to your site? What gets them to opt in so you can further engage them? Realization that social media may be valuable for getting awareness, and consideration, but it has yet to prove itself as a means for conversion.

Wheeler in fact stressed the fact that e-mail is the way to convert people. He said, “Use others to opt in, but convert using email. Work the funnel.”

FORBESThe industry began taking notice in 2011 when Google rolled out a consumer privacy update which discontinued access to keyword information and website analytics packages. According to a recent study by digital marketing software company Optify, more than 57 percent of websites run Google Analytics, accounting for about 30 percent of all searches and nearly 40 percent for B2B sites. What does this mean? For any user logged into Google services, the search terms they enter are excluded from the referral information. While seemingly benign at first glance, the change negatively affects thousands of sites and companies that daily rely on this data.  See the full Article

Digital Marketing BS Detector! Ever want one of these? :)

I was reviewing a post from Uri for the Optify blog on the 5 Questions every marketer should ask before running a digital marketing campaign and couldn’t stop laughing when I saw this video he included from an episode on the Adobe TV site. I started laughing – probably to keep from crying. I am sooooo guilty … I throw around buzzwords and even after 25+ years of slinging it in the tech space I still have to be reminded.  I am sure many of you wished you had your very own digital marketing bs detector.

 

I really wish I had one that worked on the plumber, water heater, air conditioning and electrician guys!

Digital Marketing Q & A with Matt Heinz

matt-heinzMatt Heinz started Heinz Marketing 6 years ago and is now one of the most well-known marketing gurus in Seattle. Matt and I had a chance meeting in the hallway at Market Leader one day and have stayed in touch since.  After running into each other at every marketing function in Seattle for years, we decided to do some business together and recently I had him come in and evaluate the marketing and sales processes at Optify.

As we rolled out our 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report I was very happy to have Matt request a Q & A on the report and the data that we had gathered. Here’s how Matt kicked off the article.

Report: Analyzing 62 million web site visits for B2B marketing best practices

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62 million visits. 350,000 leads. More than 600 B2B sites. That’s a lot of data. Pull together a report based on what it says about marketing best practices – what channels are working, which lead sources work best, which social channels are most important, etc. – and we’re talking some seriously valuable insights for B2B companies and marketers of all shapes and sizes.

Having access to that data, of course, is the hard part. Unless you happen to operate the Web and marketing systems for those 600+ B2B companies.That’s where Optify comes in. I highly recommend downloading a copy of their 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. Lots of great best practices, some which you’d expect but plenty more that were surprising and counter-intuitive to me.

I asked Doug Wheeler, CMO for Optify, to help me dig into more detail on some of the report’s findings. See the Q & A

From an Article in Website Magazine written by Amberly Dressler.

“Surprisingly, organic search, the number one drive of traffic, is at the bottom of the conversion-rate list, second only to social media among the sources with lowest conversion traffic,” read the report.

And while the report states that only 5 percent of B2B traffic comes from social media, Twitter outperforms Facebook in terms of lead conversion by more than a 9-1 ratio. Why does Twitter convert so well?

“I think it’s because it’s an accepted form of communication, almost like email,” asid Wheeler. “It’s just a different style, so people respond to it more instantly. They wouldn’t bother communicating with you if they didn’t want to respond, that’s my pure, opinion.”

The full report is available for free download.

“In reading this report, you might discover that you are doing better or worse than the published benchmarks and discover areas of potential for your marketing activities,” said Wheeler.

— Quote in Website Magazine!

Optify 2012 Benchmark Report: Google and Twitter Crush Competitors

Today we announced our Optify’s 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report.  Optify’s study analyzed over 62 million visits from more than 600 small and medium-sized B2B websites (only US-based .com sites with 100 to 100,000 monthly visits) from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 to determine the primary trends for online B2B marketing and share tips for B2B marketers and digital marketing agencies.

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If you don’t have time to download and review the report, we’ve developed an awesome infographic representing our key findings called Search and Deploy! Love that name :)

 

 

 

A summary of our key findings includes:

• Unlike more traditional market share reports such as the latest from ComScore, stating a 67% Search Share, our report shows that over the last year Google has increased its share of the search market to 90%+ (and growing) in the B2B sector. Bing was revealed as a distant second with approximately 5% of searches leading to B2B sites.

• Organic search is the strongest driver of known traffic to B2B sites with 41% of the traffic. In addition, Google is responsible for over 35% of all traffic to B2B websites making it the single most important referring domain in 2012.

• Blocked data continues to be a huge issue as “not provided” exceeds 40% of all organic visits from Google. Combined with visits from branded search terms, known keyword data from organic search continues to drop, leaving marketers with less than 40% of referring keywords.

•  While companies increased their investment in social media marketing, social media represented a small fraction of traffic and leads to B2B websites in 2012, contributing an average of 5% of all traffic and leads. Within social media, Twitter crushed Facebook in conversions 9-to-1 in lead generation campaigns.

• Email isn’t dead or even dying!  Email still shows high engagement rates with an average 2.9% conversion rate (well above the 1.6% overall average). This is a trend that keeps increasing as more B2B marketers leverage email for lead nurturing as well as lead generation.

Last night, Google announced their Q4 earnings – Google Profit Rises on Year-End Advertising Gain – demonstrating their dominance in Search and Advertising.  While Google’s earnings announcement surpassed analyst estimates, IMHO Google has continuously proven to be the uncontested leader in the Search market, and as our research shows, that advantage will certainly continue into the foreseeable future.

With such a clear domination of search and their obvious intent to eliminate keyword information (i.e. ‘Not Provided’), I believe it’s critical that marketers should immediately diversify their marketing programs beyond organic search to include content marketing, retargeting and especially focus on opt-in emails. Furthermore, it will come as no surprise if Google decides to begin monetizing more elements of its organic search data such as referring keywords, access to analytics or other, currently free services, leaving marketers no choice but to adhere to its terms.

If you are a digital marketing agency and the trusted advisor to your clients, please feel free to share out our information and encourage your customers to diversify their digital marketing strategy now!

Over the last week, I was able to speak on several press briefings regarding this study and expect to see the press coverage hit today.  As we see published articles and links, I will share the good news.

Thank you!

Stand out from your competition by ‘fitting in’ with your clients

Every prospect and client relationship is a little different. However, despite their claims to the contrary you know clients can also be very much the same. Realize when a client is shopping for a vendor YOU can look the same too!

When a prospect interviews you for your business, how do you stand out from your competition? Show them how you fit in! Understand their process and how to incorporate your services and REPORTING into their environment.

1. It’s about THEIR brand

I would venture almost every client will ask you for examples of your reports or how you will demonstrate results. This might sound obvious to some but really – use their brand in your reports and communications…even the examples. After 25 years and countless interviews with agencies, you might be stunned at the number of vendors who didn’t get this one.

They are proposing to use your team to accomplish marketing tasks, programs and reporting as an extension of their team. The temptation will be to spend time and energy on how to move your brand into the organization – including splattering your logo all over the reports and analytics and converting all the reports to PDFs to preserve your brand.

In most cases, your work will need to be integrated into their reporting structure, so it is considerably more helpful to put THEIR brand on the reports. At the very beginning ask for the prospects company presentation or just copy the logo off their website to start. Upload their logo and show them how you can give them branded reports. Optify can do this for you.

It’s ok. Your ability to win and move a client from a project to a longer-term retainer isn’t based on someone seeing your logo. It’s about providing content value and results – becoming indispensable to the marketing teams planning and execution.

Right from the first day, and first meeting demonstrate how your service will integrate well and fit in. This brings me to point 2.

2. The data and reports should help explain the clients whole-marketing story

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Remember, your data needs context.

One of my favorite sci-fi series is Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. There’s a part of the story where the universe most important people all gather around a computer known as Deep Thought as it delivered the long awaited (7.5 million years) answer to life, the universe and everything. They were confused to learn it was “42”. Unfortunately, they then realized that it was going to take approximately 10 million years for a new system to deliver “the Ultimate Question”..bummer ☺

There are a number of important lessons here, but for our purposes – remember, it doesn’t help to just deliver the answer. Don’t forget to understand and deliver an answer that brings clarity to the client’s whole marketing story. Every client must understand the information they’ve been provided and how it fits in to their overall strategy. As you look to deliver value, the data, analytics and reports should have context and explanations.

Tell the prospect upfront that you will work with them on fully understanding their marketing plan. This is especially important when balancing the strategy and expense, timing and return-on-investment (ROI) of inbound marketing, establishing important keywords and investing in Adwords (PPC) or email. As you know, not every program generates results all at once and clients must understand how to consistently show the achievement of short-term and long-term goals with their programs. Show them examples of ‘how’ you’ve provided this value to other clients.

By integrating the client’s brand into your reports and understanding how your results fit and then demonstrating the value of your results as a whole, you and your team will stand out from the crowd.

Doug Wheeler, CMO of Optify, To succeed in 2013, companies need to focus on tying cross-channel campaigns including offline events such as direct mail, tradeshows and city tours, with online experiences and find ways to measure the impact of these cross-channel campaigns.

Published in econsultancy.com

 

— Prediction: Continued Growth in Integrated Marketing Suites for 2013

For your Agency, Efficiency + Consistency = Scalability & Profitability

So keep dreaming with me, and let’s walk hand-in-hand on this post. You have your business, and to get started you call or email every person you know. You get 3 or 4 or may 5 clients because you’re good, and because your friends/colleagues/clients trust you, and most importantly because you can really help them sort out their digital marketing priorities to get the most for their money.

I’ve been there – where you are now – all the dreams, all the highs and all the lows, all the challenges, all the sweat and all the fears of running your own company. I advise against it, but I’ve even put a 2nd mortgage on my house to start my first company :)  Optify works with digital marketing entrepreneurs every day who are living the same – special dream.

You have your business, and to get started you call or email every person you know. You get 3 or 4 or maybe 5 clients because you’re good, and because your friends/colleagues/clients trust you, and most importantly because you can really help them sort out their digital marketing priorities to get the most for their money. Uh-oh, just that quickly, YOU’RE OUT OF BANDWIDTH. You don’t have enough time in the day, even working 90 hour weeks, to service all of your clients. What are you going to do? How can you scale the business?

If you’re like 90% of the other digital marketing firms we work with, you’re not going to hire a bunch of professional marketers at high salaries. Nope. You’re going to hire a couple of communications majors out of the local university with 1-3 years of experience on 1099 contracts for $16-20 per hour. And somehow, they need to be able to deliver services to clients and look experienced doing it (at least if you hope to keep your clients).

Sound familiar? Maybe I’m just guessing. Or maybe I’ve had this discussion 25 times in the past quarter with agency partners of ours.

Good news! We’re creating software and aligning our product here at Optify to meet those requirements. Optify is continuously building a digital marketing software suite to address your specific needs as a digital marketing agency.

Efficiency

Take a person with 2 years of experience, give them a few hours of training on Optify, and you begin to standardize delivery of services at 60-80% of the professionalism that you would provide yourself. Just that fast, you can extricate yourself from services delivery – especially reporting. Instead, focus on what you do best – bring on clients and manage relationships.

Scalability

What do you get from standardizing all of your employees/contractors and all of your delivery on a single platform? Well, see if these sound familiar:

  1. Anyone on your staff can create an email or Twitter campaign with an optimized landing page for far better lead conversion rates for clients.
  2. Your entire team can provide some baseline SEO services and expertise on a page-by-page basis.
  3. Your monthly reporting for clients can be standardized on a single platform based on data from a single system, saving you 4-5 hours per month per client (i.e. more gross margin per client).
  4. Whether you hire team members with some search engine optimization skills or digital marketers with a background in email/database marketing, they can all provide any service with a high degree of professionalism.

Efficiency + Consistency = Scalability and Profit. Questions? Contact me or a representative at Optify and we’ll show you the way.

crystal ball“Doug Wheeler, CMO of Optify, says more companies will be using cookies, logins, or machine-based identifications to personalize the experience for each of their customers.”

I strongly believe in presenting dynamic content based on the prospect and their interest as well as their domain.  Then, retargeting to deliver the content they’ve demonstrated an interest for.

Here’s the Article: The Customer Experience Crystal Ball: Predictions for 2013

— Yeah, I said that – check out my quote in 1to1Media

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