Welcome!

API Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Cloud Best Practices Network, Rishi Bhargava, Kevin Benedict

Blog Feed Post

The B2B Funnel is Now a Sieve

Leaky_bucket

The buying process has gotten messy for B2B marketers. This easy access to information means that engagement one second can turn into disinterest in the next. Every new channel puts a hole in your funnel. (Although I've never liked the funnel construct, it's appropriate for making the point.)

Marketers who don't integrate new channels into their content marketing strategy will find they have a very leaky funnel. I'm not talking about using them, I'm talking about considering how they all work together.

If you want to plug the holes, it's time to consider:

Consistency of Story

Given that only 32% of enterprise B2B marketers consider their content marketing effective, they need to pay attention to what they're doing with the 17 tactics they use, on average. Forty-one percent are creating more content than they did last year but the question remains as to what it is and why they're creating it?

Many of them don't have a documented plan which leaves me to wonder how they manage it all. But I'd wager that this is an indication of why consistency across channels is lacking. If you're relying on memory or hoping that everyone is publishing to the idea of the plan, good luck.

The problem I see is that in lieu of a strategy, marketers use different channels for different things. One example I've seen a lot is a really well done blog and a Facebook page that's about the company's favorite sports team and silly contests. If you're a buyer and you encounter a really thought-provoking blog post and then click through to the silly Facebook page, what are you left thinking?

The other is a conflict of personas. You may have a blog focused on IT professionals and a LinkedIn Group for line of business. But somehow there are cross links that make no sense but were done for SEO purposes. I've seen horrendous crimes done to content in the name of SEO. This can also happen with hyperlinks on phrases that link to product pages on the website with no context. Who do you think you're fooling? I just read a buyer research study that found buyers are hesitant to click on links when they don't know where they'll go. Why do you think this is?

Marketers need to think about the impression made by all the channels in use where prospects and customers may encounter their company. What will the overall impression be if they run into your company on the channels you publish in most? When's the last time you looked at it from the outside, from this perspective?

Depth of Relevance

I was reviewing content for a potential project the other day. The content was solid, focused on industry trends that mattered to their prospects, but it felt off. It took me a bit to put my finger on it, but I finally figured it out. The company had taken the idea of journalism to an extreme. They were trying to be so unbiased that their content was dry, it was like straight reporting and it was stiff because they weren't actually taking a stand or speaking directly to anyone.

The company is actually really interesting and has SMEs galore that are willing to contribute content. But they don't know how to talk to their prospects with any tone, voice or personality. If you stripped away the company brand, the reader would think the content was provided by an association or news publisher. And that's not the lasting impression you want to leave.

To get to depth of relevance you not only need to know your buyers intimately, but your brand's personality. Instead of brand guidelines, why not create a brand persona that can help your company become more relevant in information, as well as in style?

Formats Don't Matter More than Information

One of the first things I hear in a lot of content conversations is about the type of content the marketing team wants to create. We need a white paper or an eBook or an infographic, etc. This is the wrong place to start.

Start with the idea. What topic and for whom? What will they get from it? What do you want to accomplish? How will it work within your storyline?

These are the questions to answer. Then you can define a suite of content to develop around the idea complete with a distribution plan and how you'll connect the dots across channels. Remember that the expectations in channels also vary. Instead of one content asset, start thinking in terms of content hubs.

If you don't want to lose your audience, you need to move format to the end of the list. It's not the most important element. The information is.

Social Does Not Mean Broadcast

I think we've forgotten how to actually "be" social. There's a big difference between broadcasting and engaging. The lazy way out is to post title and link...repeatedly. Or to post title and link when channels including LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ allow you to add much more narrative. Yet, we tend to treat every social channel with the brevity required by Twitter. Why?

What a missed opportunity. Although this would also mean we'd need to think about how to be meaningful - and who has time for that?

The Point

The point is that marketers are putting a lot of investment into channels they don't own, but they're not applying the effort to make them pay off. Buyers have a choice. It's often represented by the back button and then the ignore trigger that has them scan right past your post. Once they start avoiding you, will you be able to win them back? If their experience with your brand across channels is reminiscent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you've got work to do.

The best approach is to think of everything you publish as a form of Natural Nurturing. I wrote about it in my book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, in 2009. This is not a new concept. Every time your content comes into contact with your audience you have an opportunity. Squander it and your funnel becomes a sieve.

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
Is the ongoing quest for agility in the data center forcing you to evaluate how to be a part of infrastructure automation efforts? As organizations evolve toward bimodal IT operations, they are embracing new service delivery models and leveraging virtualization to increase infrastructure agility. Therefore, the network must evolve in parallel to become equally agile. Read this essential piece of Gartner research for recommendations on achieving greater agility.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.