Infographic: Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Full-Service Demand Generation Agency

Why Hire A Demand Gen AgencyLike any “build or buy” decision, whether or not a full-service agency makes sense for your company depends on a myriad of variables – notably budget, of course – but also how the scale of your objectives balances against the breadth of available in-house resources and expertise.

Agencies aren’t for everyone. But in the right situation, especially given the complexity of today’s modern marketing, the right agency partner can be the key to your company making the most of your demand generation investments.

Check out the infographic below for tips on deciding whether a full-service demand gen agency is the right move for your organization. Click on the infographic to view full size. Read More »

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Programmatic Ad Buying: What Does It Mean for B2B Marketers?

You could make the case, as I will, that of all the new technologies to enter the marketing technology landscape of late, the two with the potential to have the biggest short-term impact for B2B marketers are Predictive Analytics and Programmatic Ad Buying. Both leverage the power of Big Data, and both offer the ability to dramatically change the way that B2B marketers target, segment, and engage with prospective buyers.
Andrew Fischer
A few weeks ago in this space I talked to Brian Kardon of Lattice Engines about the predictive category, and now I thought it time to explore programmatic. For insight, I turned to Andrew Fischer, a seasoned entrepreneur in both digital media and enterprise software and currently CEO and Co-Founder at Choozle, a Denver-based start-up making waves with their “simple end-to-end digital marketing platform.”

(HS) Hi Andrew. Let’s start with a definition. What do people mean by “programmatic ad buying”?

(AF) Simply put, programmatic ad buying is the automation of media buying and selling. The traditional media ecosystem – one characterized by vast operational complexity and superfluous middlemen – has been ripe for both disruption and what the analysts call “disintermediation.” Programmatic buying removes those complexities and middlemen, and then leverages data to allow both marketers and their agencies to more efficiently apply advertising dollars on scalable, yet highly targeted campaigns. Read More »

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Are Agencies the Future of Marketing Automation?

I was intrigued to read a recent post by David Raab, a leading analyst in the marketing automation space, on his blog, “Customer Experience Matrix,” in which he writes about the role that agencies play in the sale and management of marketing automation systems (bold emphasis mine):

“It seems that just about every (marketing automation vendor) now touts special features to support marketing agencies that resell the system to their clients or operate the system on the clients’ behalf. This isn’t exactly new but what once seemed like a niche strategy now looks more like a standard approach. It’s always been obvious that agencies were a sensible channel for marketing automation vendors to pursue, but I’m beginning to wonder whether agencies might turn out to be the primary channel for such systems, excepting only direct sales to large enterprises.

If this happens, the reason will be that agencies provide the missing skills that have prevented so many companies from taking full advantage of marketing automation systems by themselves. Vendors have been knocking themselves out for the past five years trying to educate marketers to run their systems. Perhaps having agencies run them is the real solution instead.”

You’d probably assume at this point that, as the co-owner of a technology-driven B2B marketing agency, I’d applaud the notion that firms like ours are becoming a primary sales channel for marketing automation. But, actually: no. Even though marketing automation is indeed a primary business driver for Spear, I’m not convinced that the particular scenario that Mr. Raab predicts is in our future.

Here’s why: Read More »

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Failing at Paid Search? Maybe You’re Just Measuring It Wrong.

The lack of an appropriate and complete tracking system is one of the most common errors, or omissions, that B2B marketers make in setting up a paid search program.
Paid Search Tips
It’s easy to see why. Google, for example, provides basic tracking services – impressions, clicks, cost per click – automatically and at no charge as part of their default set-up. Going beyond that basic set-up, a critical step in being able to gauge the true success of any search campaign, requires a modest investment in time and resources that most companies figure they can live without.

The foundation of a strong search campaign is knowing what you want to achieve. Are you trying to generate downloads, registrations, page views, sales leads, qualified leads, sales? How are you defining that goal: Is someone filling out a registration form, hitting a particular page, meeting certain qualification criteria? Your search campaign should measure:

1. how many of those desired actions are taking place
2. how much each desired action is costing in the aggregate, and
3. which precise keywords are generating those actions at the lowest cost.

Keep in mind that you may have separate goals for certain parts of the program. For example, you may wish to measure the performance of “branded terms” – the name of your company, product names, names of competitors – based on impressions, or even ad position, whereas more generic terms will be measured on Cost Per Lead or Cost Per Qualified Lead. Read More »

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5 Sales Tips My Kids Learned from Watching Shark Tank

Confession: at our house, we watch a LOT of reality TV. One of our favorite series – and one of the few reality shows that’s also family-friendly – is ABC’s Shark Tank. I love the brash personalities, the high-stakes negotiation, and seeing entrepreneurs achieve their life’s dream. Our children love the banter, the friendly insults, and watching people get rich.

shark tank selling tipsBut there’s another side of Shark Tank that I appreciate, and that is: it’s great sales training. The entrepreneurs who appear on the show are all pitching a product, a service, the Next Big Thing. Some of them are good at it (selling, that is), and some are well, just plain awful. As someone who’s attended a few sales training classes in my day, I have yelled advice at the TV a few times during the show (often along the lines of “TAKE THE DEAL FOR PETE’S SAKE”), much to my kids’ embarrassment.

Here are the top 5 sales tips my kids have learned from those outbursts:

1. Know your facts.

There are two things that impress the sharks. One is sales (revenue). The other is someone who knows their numbers – revenue, margins, manufacturing cost, cost of customer acquisition. Even the greatest salesperson in the world can’t close if he/she doesn’t know the facts. And nothing deflates buyer confidence more than a lack of knowledge. It sounds like you’re just making stuff up. Read More »

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