This article was posted as a Guest Blog Post relating to Salesforce.com.
Does your mobile marketing match your consumers’ use of their devices? If you’re like most companies, the answer is “Probably not.”
There are different types of mobile users—regular, super, addicts, all of whom can be affected by mobile marketing in some way. How you reach them depends in part on the individual setups they have—push notifications, for example. Of course, push notifications equals more times opening an app. But push notifications can’t and shouldn’t be random. They should be designed to create an experience and action, as should SMS marketing.
The majority of customers wouldn’t mind more contact from brands using SMS marketing. Those messages get the attention of customers in a crowded world, and they often result in very quick review of a message.
There is a great gap between how much time we spend on our phones, and how much (or little) companies are investing in mobile advertising.
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As marketing and technology continue to embrace one another, it seems inevitable that the future holds great innovations, especially in the field of marketing automation. While marketing automation has made many common marketing tasks like copywriting and strategy computerized, there is a field of marketing jobs that are still to be innovated using technology. As technology evolves, the possibilities of artificial intelligence and marketing automation are real.
Marketing automation is a billion dollar market but despite the money being invested into it, we still haven’t figured out a way to consistently legitimize the data and use it to make action plans. All in all, marketing still relies heavily on the people behind the marketing including our biases, beliefs, opinions, experiences, and education. Since the majority of customers are constantly connected via social media or mobile devices, the influx of data received is often overwhelming. Marketing automation can save time and money while increasing efficiency, but still, when it comes to providing us with information about consumer spending habits and buy decisions, those statistics are often confusing and platforms used can’t strategically recommend action plans.
All of these significant problems have one solution and a grand one at that: artificial intelligence. While it may seem like a notion straight out of a science fiction movie, artificial intelligence is actually used among some of the most profitable companies marketing automation programs including Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. Artificial intelligence is used to turn data into real, marketable experiences that drive traffic and attract customers. Instead of raw data, you get highly personalized content that delivers as if a person with tone, personality, and voice wrote the content. This means that customers and potential customers are more connected to the material and, therefore, more likely to engage and buy.
Natural language, dynamic learning, and hypothesis generation are all traits of a successful artificial intelligence program. Marketing automation uses these programs by adding an intellectual layer to the marketing – this means that content generated is done much faster, more effectively, and cheaper than any employee could ever do. The future of artificial intelligence in marketing automation means that time spent reviewing analytics, writing and scheduling social media posts, copywriting and a variety of other time consuming tasks could be done by your automation program. This frees you up from repetitive tasks and gives you the ability to focus on moving leads throughout the purchasing funnel while establishing important relationships with customers.
Artificial intelligence and marketing automation together is the next logical advancement in the evolution of marketing automation. Driven marketing tools will deliver more personalized content that’s intelligent – already this technology is being used when delivering online customer service chat sessions. Self-service web, voice response systems, and other marketing automation media incorporating artificial intelligence will be coming to a marketing automation system near you. The future is here!
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Today’s B2B companies compete at hyper-speed for market attention. Many struggle with creating and maintaining effective automated marketing campaigns. Here are 10 reasons you may among those who are struggling:
Not creating the right messaging. Automated marketing platforms, though effective in many ways, cannot produce content by themselves (although we have a great way to integrate content into campaigns!) so messaging must still be created in-house or contracted out. Make sure to distribute segmented messaging and be sure to conduct A/B testing as frequently as possible.
Message delivery is scheduled too frequently/too infrequently. Hey, you don’t want to bug them but you don’t want to lose them. Finding the “sweet spot” for message delivery is key to hitting your metrics.
Not segmenting your database effectively. Database segmentation doesn’t mean grouping contacts by industry alone. Examine buyer traits, preferences, and behaviors for grouping opportunities outside the norm.
Nonexistent/inappropriate attribution to revenue. Once leads have been moved through the marketing funnel, which ones produce revenue? What messaging or marketing assets were influential in converting? Many companies still lack the ability or determination to uncover conversion attributes but knowing what drove a sale is key to practicing effective marketing automation.
Promotionless content. You’re investing in content to generate sales, right? Deploy content that has a call to action or offer attached to it. Don’t be afraid to inject an “ask” in a blog post* but don’t overdo it. Keep your CTAs to a minimum and make the content persuasive.
Not getting personal enough with your markets. Providing effective content is more than simply distributing helpful content, it’s knowing who your customers are. Take the time to research closely each market segment. Connect marketing and sales to create a customer persona.
Don’t just blog. While blogging remains a key component to building trust and getting found by search engines, content marketing extends to video, case studies, webinars, and more.
Blend channels effectively. If you’ve got social, Web, search, email, deploy them in a cohesive way. Integrate messaging through multiple channels so, when prospects find you, they can connect in multiple ways easily.
Be consistent. B2B buyers expect consistency from their vendors. This is true when it comes to content delivery. If buyers have signed up for a newsletter or email updates, make sure to deliver them using a rigid schedule.
Know your SEO. Search engine algorithms change frequently. Tactics that have worked historically are becoming less relevant. Stay on top of the latest updates and adapt your search marketing practices to match how SERPs are now calculated.
*For a look at a highly effective MA platform, schedule a demo!
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Consistently high ranking websites will often profess hard-core search engine optimization, gleaming content creation and white hat link building techniques will not only assist in perfecting search positioning, it will make your overall internet marketing strategies increase significantly. There are even more sustainable inbound marketing strategies and tactics, however, that are often overlooked, unused and simply scoffed at when marketing professionals begin their mass campaigning – tactics that can increase other vital areas while obtaining worthwhile targeted leads. Some of the most undervalued, overlooked and most use-able internet marketing tactics we’ve found to still work wonders are highlighted below.
Sure, you may not have interests in Zoosk, care about free cellphones or have the desire to play Pawn Stars using numerous Facebook applications. The Facebook ad system is, by and large, one of the best platforms to get your word out to the masses on a targeted level. Instead of slapping up your advertisement to the entire Facebook world (terrible for click-thru rates, by the way), you can target your advertisement to those who have verified they like your particular niche. You can target specific areas, age ranges and even cities. Having this platform for internet marketing purposes is a gift; hopefully when Facebook’s stock takes off the platform will be left alone since it makes the company literally millions a month. This platform is perfect for B2B lead generation, too, and for obvious reasons.
Since geo-targeting advertisements means plenty of repetitious ads will be shown, rotating advertisements to refresh your ‘pitch’ or angle will prevent user disinterest while harvesting the traffic you seek. Selecting mobile B2B users as well as regular computer users will get people on the go.
Emailing Isn’t Dead
Many fear their domain-based emails will soon be moot to the overall marketing scene considering millions of social media users have @Facebook or other social media email addresses to save time while fighting spam. Fear not, my friends: there will always be millions of old-school internet practices while include emailing friends since attachments haven’t been perfected in other social platforms. Also, when speaking of email addresses, consider these thoughts:
New TLD’s will soon be added, making .com, .net and .org the most prized possession around.
Hosting companies will always offer, and improve, emailing standards and techniques to accompany domain purchases.
Emails are as valuable as phone numbers; once you have aged contacts who never change their email addresses, you have addresses with value. Not that you would sell them, right?
Email lists are easier to cross-implement into social media campaigns as you’ll already have contacts to invite, friend or network with.
Email marketing efforts are being recreated, perfected and still show positive numbers even to this day. Although a future filled with virtual everything is imminent, emailing will still jump on board even if the platform changes to audio emails. Spend your email marketing dollars wisely, build long-term lists and keep everyone on your list engaged in activities your website promulgates while your list continues to grow.
Video InStream Marketing
After loading your chosen video, you may see an annoying advertisement for something irrelevant to the new Nickelback video. That annoying advertisement, however, is video marketing gold for those who use InStream services. Considering over 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute to YouTube, and millions of more videos are added to other sites, in-video marketing definitely takes the cake as back-burner goldmines for savvy internet marketing professionals. Advertising using keywords via YouTube is effective, although the CPC rates are higher; using InStream video marketing ads, you could experience roughly 66% lower CPC rates while still reaching the masses.
Since you’ll only pay for legitimate views to your video, and often times the ads can be set to popup several times throughout the snippet, you’ll potentially have higher website visitor-ship resulting from these in-video ads. And, much like any other paid advertising platform, your ads will only appear to targeted areas, people and ages you specify.
LinkedIn Ads And Mailings
Serious internet marketing professionals appreciate the value of LinkedIn’s professional network since they can display feature-rich advertisements to those who would most likely view them. Since professional networks such as this are slightly higher for advertising costs, you will definitely have much better luck marketing your services throughout the million-plus different networks.
Internet marketing pros that have LinkedIn accounts can network with individuals who, in turn, give you permission to trade insights, email your offerings and also gather close contacts with their permission. You can extract their contact information and send them periodic newsletters that fall within their interest category or simply keep in touch and grow a close business relationship with them.
Stepping outside the norm to give other platforms such as emailing, InStream marketing, Facebook Ads and LinkedIn the chance to work for you will prove equally beneficial to that of your SEO, content marketing, video campaigns and even landing page pushes. Never count out what isn’t popular because that particular internet marketing strategy is making someone money, and that someone could be you.
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I was shopping with my wife recently in a home furnishing store. While my wife was thumbing through every item in the store I had my head buried in my new iPhone 5 pretending like I was listening; however, a catchy poster caught the corner of my eye. It was eye-chart on acronyms – Acronym 101 to be exact.
I couldn’t resist and had to take a picture, which I’ll share with you. It reminded me, maybe people in the marketing industry need some help with new acronyms being introduced to them. This article summarizes a few key acronyms floating around these days:
MAP = Marketing Automation Platform. Marketing automation is fairly new technology that helps companies improve and automate many aspects of the lead management process including lead generation, lead nurturing, lead distribution, lead qualification, marketing campaign measurement and more. A cornerstone of marketing automation is the ability to do more with less.
LMA = Lead Management Automation. The process of streamlining every aspect of lead management including how leads are sourced, how they are qualified, how they are handed off to sales and how return on investment is measured.
RGS = Revenue Generation Software. Software such as that from Lead Liaison that provides a set of features and capabilities for sales, marketing and executives to help drive revenue faster for their business. RGS typically includes sales prospecting, marketing automation and lead generation components.
CRM = Customer Relationship Management. CRMs have often been thought of as an accounting system for leads, contacts, accounts and opportunities. Many businesses use a CRM to keep track of sales activity. Popular CRMs include Salesforce.com, SAP, Oracle and others. MAPs and CRMs are complementary and not competitive in nature – don’t confuse the two. They are very different technologies.
SaaS = Software as a Service. Software that is accessible via a web browser vs. installed on a desktop computer. The majority of CRMs and MAPs are SaaS-based. SaaS software is attractive to many businesses because zero installation is required and software updates are transparent to end users.
ROI = Return on Investment. A measure of the return based on what’s invested. If marketers are not measuring ROI of their campaigns then they’re not proving their worth and identifying where they can improve their campaigns. It’s essential marketers know which lead sources, programs and campaigns are effective and which are not.
RPM = Revenue Performance Management. A systematic approach to identifying and measuring the drivers and impediments to revenue.
The methods that successful companies use to market their products are constantly changing. New technology, increased opportunities for exposure and the popularity of social media sites has forever altered traditional marketing. Here are five great modern tips to get the most out of your marketing.
1. Use free social media sites to increase your exposure
There are so many great free sites like Facebook and Twitter that are quickly gaining in popularity. It is important that every business has an effective presence on all of them regardless of their target demographic. People of all ages and all walks of life use some form of social media platform to stay in touch with the world. In order to market a business using social media, a company should host a contest, promotion or create a catchy post that is intriguing enough to draw visit to its page. A business can then use their social media page to direct the potential new business to a predetermined landing page that will best represent the consumer’s interest.
2. Prove that your company is an expert in its field
Building a company’s credibility is essential to converting new leads into new customers. By providing free, relevant and informative blogs or articles in your field of expertise, it will establish your business as a reputable source. A company can also re-post and comment on articles from 3rd parties to make sure there is a consistent flow of useful information.
3. Take advantage of marketing automation
Fortunately, there are now online businesses that specialize in marketing automation. These companies understand exactly how a business can get more out of their campaigns than they would have if they used traditional marketing methods. By using marketing automation, these professional marketers can provide lead generation, lead scoring and lead nurturing that is automated and unbiased. Marketing automation software defines criteria specifically for your company that is designed to determine which leads will have the highest chance for conversion, so it is easier to identify which leads are worth nurturing.
4. Use referrals and testimonials to convince new clientele
A happy customer’s testimonial or referral is one of the easiest ways to obtain new business. By posting and promoting positive comments from past clients, you are allowing an unbiased objective opinion to speak on your behalf. It is important to solicit or even offer discounts to customers who are willing to sell your services. Another beneficial idea is offering existing clients meaningful incentives for referring new clients.
5. Personalize each message as much as possible
By using marketing automation to better understand the online history and personalities of potential leads, a company can cater each message to appeal to a specific segment of their target market. Automated programs gather, summarize and categorize information on potential leads and utilizes it for a personal touch to each a lead nurturing campaign.
An effective marketing campaign takes precise planning in order for it to be directed at the right people at the right time in the right manner. Following these five steps will make it easier to understand potential customers, appeal to their interests and convince them of your company’s value. Once a business obtains a lead’s attention, the marketing efforts have to be relevant and compelling in order to secure the deal.
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Learn how your sales department drives marketing strategy. Marketing and sales departments provide essential functions for company success. Marketing creates awareness and sales creates revenue. Each department has a distinct role, but in order to maximize effectiveness the two must operate in tandem.
So how can your sales force support your marketing people?
Through feedback from customers and prospects.
Certainly the marketing department can obtain feedback through focus groups, A/B testing, and other market research techniques. However, the feedback received by your sales force is invaluable, and should be used to shape your marketing strategy.
The marketing strategy primes the sales pump through the delivery of value-based messaging to your markets. The sales department operates under the umbrella of that messaging, but has a closer relationship with your customers and prospects, and has access to the real-world application of your products.
A reciprocal relationship exists that shouldn’t be overlooked. The reciprocal nature of the relationship provides opportunities for the sales department to support the marketing department. After all, without sales there is no product to market.
Your sales group can provide evidence of the success or failure of those messages. But what feedback provided by your sales staff can help the marketing department develop effective campaigns? There are five critical questions for marketing to ask sales that will help build a successful marketing campaign:
5 Questions Marketers Can Ask Sales
1. Is exposure adequate within each territory? – Ideally, the selected channels should reach targets frequently through effective channels in order to support the sales effort. “How did you hear about our company or product?” sheds light on whether the appropriate channels are being used effectively.
2. Do the markets understand the product clearly? – Messaging should express benefits, image, offer, and value. “Which features or benefits of our product are important to you?” can allow your marketers to understand if the messaging is clear.
3. What are the obstacles to closing sales? – Sales people receive valuable feedback from prospects about buying decisions during sales calls. “What can I do to make your buying decision easier?” often exposes overlooked objections that can be categorized for analysis by the marketing department.
4. How is the competition being received by your markets? – Your sales staff has the ability to determine how effective your competitors’ marketing activities have been. “Who else has a product like ours?” provides feedback about the competitive environment your company is working in. The marketing department can use this information to develop messaging that positions your product within the marketplace.
5. Are customers receiving the benefits they’ve been promised? – By checking customer satisfaction, your sales people can share with marketing whether the messaging is appropriate. “Is our product providing the solutions you need?” reveals how the product is being received in the marketplace. Sharing responses with marketing provides real-world feedback that will support or contradict your messaging.
By training your sales staff to generate feedback that will improve marketing, your company can develop messaging that is responsive, timely, and effective.
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The social media craze among consumers has many B2B marketers thinking about their social media strategy. Often times, email marketing is compared to social media as part of the analysis. Should B2B marketers do one or the other? This raises the question of email marketing vs social media, which one is better and which one should you use? The answer may surprise you.
In the past few years, the focus on email marketing has been dwarfed relative to the focus on social media. It’s taken B2B marketer’s mind share aware from the email marketing. Nielsen recently published e-mail’s share of time declined 28%, putting it in third place, while social networking, the leader, climbed 43%. With so much attention on social media, email marketing strategies have suffered. Its important B2B marketers do not forget to make investments in email marketing though.
42% said they prefer to receive ads for sales via e-mail compared to just 3% who said the same for social-networking sites and 1% who preferred Twitter.
You can bet those numbers are even higher in B2B sales. When’s the last time you were attracted to a B2B solution by browsing Twitter? My guess is you probably haven’t. Moreover, unless you’re in marketing you probably don’t spend much time at all on Twitter or Facebook while at work. But you probably spend time managing your email. Awareness of solutions commonly start from email marketing campaigns.
Email marketing has significant benefit over social media for B2B companies; especially when email marketing is used on conjunction with marketing automation software. Marketing automation software includes email marketing capabilities and enables B2B marketers to execute intelligent campaigns that are highly relevant to buyer’s interests. Email marketing does have some clear advantages vs social media.
Advantages of email marketing over social media:
For example, email marketing allows:
1) more personally relevant emails to be delivered by: – demographics like age, gender, geography, company size – visitors interaction with marketing assets – time since previous interaction – position in lifecycle – new customers/prospects are sent different messages from old customers/prospects – follow up on a website interaction like a search or specific page visit
2) greater overall response as responses occur over 12-48 hours rather than 1-2 hours more typical of Twitter and Facebook
3) offers and content can be inserted dynamically into emails
4) responses measured at the individual level of a campaign or offer
5) better follow-up on customer interest via lead nurturing
Advantages of social media over email marketing:
Social media marketing has its own set of benefits relative to email marketing. In particular, raising awareness and collecting customer feedback, something email marketing cannot do (unless you’re using surveys). Here are the top five benefits B2B companies will get from social media marketing.
• Increasing brand awareness • Educating potential consumers • Creating visibility • Building thought leadership • Gathering positive online reviews
Each marketing strategy has its own benefits, so which one is better? The answer, neither. We do not recommend B2B companies use one strategy over another. We suggest using both together. Email marketing should be integrated with a social media strategy to increase engagement with customers.
Use both email marketing and social media:
In this case, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts. Social media and email marketing should be viewed as complementary strategies to deepen prospect and customer relationships (vs. maximizing outreach). Take the first step in integrating both marketing channels together by adding social media icons to the bottom of your email marketing messages. Next, procure a marketing automation software package, which integrates closed-loop email marketing, to deliver capabilities mentioned in #1 above and elevate your email marketing capabilities to the next phase.
Marketing automation offers automatic lead qualification (lead scoring), lead distribution, lead generation, lead tracking, landing page optimization, and more to automate manual marketing processes, generate more qualified leads, shorten sales cycles, and further deepen your B2B relationships. It also augments traditional email marketing by closing the loop. Most email marketing systems create a “black hole of activity” after an email is opened and initial click-through. Closed-loop email marketing ties past, current, and future web visits together with email opens to build a more accurate profile of a sales lead and presents hot leads to sales in real-time.
To learn how Lead Liaison’s revenue generation software can help you with your marketing automation, email marketing, and social media marketing needs contact us.
We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How do you judge email marketing vs social media for B2B marketing?
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What are the fundamentals of strategic marketing? Chocolate and milk, salt and pepper, popsicles and hot weather – it’s easy to find two items that complement each other. Strategic marketing requires two items that also go well together. In an era driven by the internet, marketing has become a different animal. Marketing is no longer about creating fancy, high-gloss fliers or spending thousands of dollars at the next tradeshow. It’s about the digital age and adapting to new buying behaviors shaped by the internet. The digital age has fostered the creation of two fundamental and complementary items that should be the core of every Strategic Marketer’s toolbox, a website and a database. As more and more applications leverage the internet as the backbone for communication companies have greater dependency on their website and database as their most valuable asset.
The first fundamental of strategic marketing is a company’s website. A company’s website should be easy to navigate and look professional; after all, prospects will judge a company based on the appearance of its website. Also, a website is the primary landing page for prospects. It’s critical that a company’s website be laced with targeted and brief (no more than four form fields) landing pages to convert unknown visitors into known leads. Finally, prospects may find your company on Facebook, LinkedIn, partner sites, press releases, blogs and more; however, they’ll eventually come to your company’s website in the final stop of their journey. It’s imperative strategic marketers use B2B visitor tracking technology and proper lead management automation to capture the 96% of all unknown website visitor traffic that goes undetected (never fills out a form). Make sure to capitalize on marketing expenditures by capturing, tracking and managing leads using technology from companies like Lead Liaison.
The second fundamental of strategic marketing is a company’s database. Much too often strategic marketers let a company’s database go “stale” – leads rot, become out of date, incomplete and untouched. In fact, 73% of all companies have no process for revisiting leads. Moreover, with only 3-5% of inbound leads being classified as “sales-ready”, most leads get touched initially then never again. Shockingly, 70-80% of the other inquiries (leads that are not “sales-ready”) are latent demand that will buy within two years, but are typically lost, ignored or discarded by companies.
Better lead management is a necessary fundamental of strategic marketing and starts by profiling a database (using lead scoring), segmenting a database and nurturing a database. Strategic marketers must make sure to think of their database as the most valuable resource the company has and think of their database as their baby. Keep it clean, bring it in for checkups and make sure to nurture it over time. Don’t ignore your baby! Take care of it, give it structure, don’t forget about it and it will continue to give back to you and your company.
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Revenue Generation Software may be the best thing you’ve never heard of. It’s a sales and marketing engine that’s loaded with fuel, ready for the ride of its life. Now is the right time and right environment for marketing technology to step up. In this article we cover why there’s a red hot market for marketing platforms like Lead Liaison’s and a huge opportunity for marketers to continue to reap rewards of these emerging solutions for years to come.
Three primary events are lighting fire to the space:
• Marketing budgets are on the rise • The technology is extremely disruptive • Data is finally easily accessible and abundant
Firstly, marketing budgets are on the rise. According to Gartner, In 2011 B2B marketing budgets as a percentage of revenue were three times higher than IT budgets. Gartner reported marketing budgets at 10 percent relative to IT budgets at 3.6 percent. In 2012 marketing budgets will grow faster than IT budgets according to Gartner. IT budgets will grow 4.7 percent, all marketing budgets are predicted to grow 9 percent and high tech marketing budgets are expected to increase 11 percent. Looking five years out:
By 2017, a CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. – Laura McLellan, Gartner Group
Secondly, Revenue Generation Software is a disruptive technology. It forces companies to think about what matters most – revenue – and how they generate and measure performance around it. It gets companies to think about the transformation of a sales cycle into a revenue cycle. It brings sales, marketing and executive teams together to map out their processes for driving revenue. Marketing platforms that drive and measure revenue are here to stay.
Thirdly, marketing data is growing at a rapid pace. Compounded by changes in buying behavior – sales and marketing is forced to change the way they traditionally operated to better interact with data and prospects. As marketing databases grow there’s an opportunity for better transparency and usability of that data. CRMs make good use of data for sales people by acting as a system of record for the pipeline and the funnel; however, there is no equivalent for marketing. A layer of technology around marketing data helps to analyze data and create automated processes. With Revenue Generation Software businesses can finally leverage data for the benefit of driving marketing insights and measuring downstream prospect/client activities against their marketing spend.
Here’s a snippet from Ajay Agarwal, managing director at Bain Capital Ventures’, that highlights four primary causes of data growth. Ajay talks about how the web is a catalyst for the availability of data which fosters the perfect environment for marketers to leverage software as a service (SaaS) solutions like Lead Liaison.
Primary Causes of Marketing Data Growth – Ajay Agarwal
As more and more businesses across all sectors of the economy move to the web, this kind of data — and a massive amount of it — is finally available.
• A web business can mine thousands of signals from its prospects based on the hundreds of actions a consumer might make on a website (checking a price, looking at an image, reading a review, typing in a detailed search query, etc.). • The holy grail of closed loop marketing is finally here. With sophisticated technology and analytics, marketers can link spending on customer acquisition directly to a set of downstream customer actions — whether those actions take place on the web, on a mobile device or in a physical location. • Consumers with smartphones are conveying their intent while scanning QR codes, downloading mobile coupons or simply walking into a store with their location-aware device. • Social networks are providing a new source of demographic data that, combined with Facebook’s Open Graph, offer marketers a new treasure trove of information.
Ajay further explains, “I am excited about this next wave in enterprise technology. Marketing will finally emerge from the backwater and will give rise to several multi-billion dollar companies.”
Want to learn more about this explosive marketing technology and why Revenue Generation Software is red hot? Please, let us tell you.
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