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Business documents chart and pen on the table.

 

Guest Blogger Contribution by Brain P. Hession, President and Founder of Oceanos

As marketers, we are in constant pursuit of an increase in the number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs). We understand that it starts with a strong top of funnel. The programs we initiate need to produce leads from an audience that can be nurtured into a pool of viable MQLs. If not, conversion rates suffer and, more importantly, we waste resources on misguided opportunities. In response, we have embraced account-based marketing (ABM) as a means to ensure investments are aligned to the optimal audience.

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b2b channel marketing

 

B2B channel marketing definitely has my attention these days. Just like marketing automation changed the way B2B marketers think and act, we are seeing a similar trend in channel marketing with the introduction of the channel marketing platform. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s essentially an infrastructure that channel teams are investing in to help them accelerate and optimize their channel marketing efforts. It’s evolving quickly and it’s a smart move made by both channel marketers and the software providers that build these awesome platforms.

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synchronized marketing
Integrated marketing is a very powerful strategy, but simply integrating your marketing, social media, demand generation, web site, etc. is no longer enough. If you want to succeed in today’s fast-paced, digital environment, you not only need to build on the success of your integrated marketing approach but also enhance it with “synchronized” marketing.

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sales-and-marketing

 

It is easy to see marketing and sales as standalone activities, but they are inextricably connected to each other. Without a solid marketing effort, even the best product will not sell. Without profitable sales, the company will not be in business long enough to build a marketing department or pay its employees.

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integrated b2b marketing solution

 

The world of B2B marketing is powerful and complex.. Businesses everywhere need products and services, and they turn to other businesses to provide them. Companies that are able to create an integrated B2B marketing program can profit, while the firms that fail to take advantage of the integrated opportunities could be missing out on millions of dollars in lost revenue.

So how do you create an integrated B2B marketing plan and profit from the tremendous growth in the industry? A recent case study is illustrative.

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marketing planning

 

Our 3-Phase Approach to Planning a Successful Marketing Campaign

 

Most B2B marketers approach the marketing planning process based on arbitrary “marketing budget” numbers set by management. With that arbitrary number as a starting point, the marketing department then allocates a certain percentage of that number to each marketing team or role. In such a scenario, the event planning department might get 25% of the pie, the web development section another 25%, with advertising and PR sharing the rest of the budget.

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website visitor tracking

 

You’ve invested a lot in a professional website. You’ve committed to a marketing budget to drive traffic and you have a well-designed sales process to convert the new leads that will be pouring in from your contact forms.

And then you wait….While 90% of B2B buying decisions start on the web, research shows as little as 2% of those website visitors make contact on that first visit to your web site. The B2B purchasing process simply takes time.

Can you see the gap? You have an engaging website with steady activity, and a successful lead conversion process for those leads that make contact. And unfortunately as far as your sales team is concerned, the 98% that don’t fill out your contact forms on their visit might as well not exist.

What would it mean to your business if you had a way to know who these visitors were – and to get them into your sales pipeline?

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best-practice-sign

 

Managing prospect and customer relationships can be a huge challenge for many B2B companies. I see it time and time again, the bigger the company and the more people touching the CRM system, the more challenging governance of that system becomes.  It’s really quite simple though.  If this is the tool that glues so many departments together, it’s worth the investment in people, processes and SLAs to govern it to ensure it’s a source of truth for your company.

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email marketing

 

First I hope I don’t offend any plumbers out there!  It was such a funny “like-combination” I just had to use it! But in all seriousness email marketing remains a fundamental strategy for B2B demand generation teams. In fact, many teams are maturing their usage of email to create very targeted campaigns based on where a buyer is in their “buying journey” (aka lead nurturing).  Creating an efficient email campaign that generates new contacts, drives sales, nurtures your prospects, and assists in customer retention can be difficult.  It’s definitely not a one size fits all approach.   However, here are a few helpful tips you can apply to any email marketing strategy.

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