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3 PR Trends You Need to Adopt in 2018

28 Dec


With the holiday season in full swing, it might not seem like you have enough time to add one thing to your to-do list. It’s not too early to start thinking about your public relations strategy for 2018. Devoting some time to it now can help your company get off on the right foot once the new year rolls around. Below are three trends that should be on your list to implement in 2018.

  1. Integrate PR to understand multiple business goals

Few other tools are as effective as getting the word out about a company than PR. Whether it’s time for your company to recruit for new talent, market a new service or communicate the latest news to investors, PR is structured to do so efficiently. These goals don’t stand separated within a company though. Instead, they all work together to achieve a better, more successful industry leader. Make sure that your PR strategy is looking at how all those pieces fit together in the big picture.

  1. Think of thought leadership and branding as company-wide

Many companies consider their thought leadership and branding as initiatives that are focused solely on executives. However, it’s vital to the success of the company and its brand to look outside the executive suite for leaders. Implementing a companywide approach can protect it against loss if an important leader resigns unexpectedly. Other thought leaders might also possess the ability to target different demographics, extending the company’s reach.

  1. PR needs to specialize

PR is comprised of many different styles. PR for events takes a different approach than crisis management, for example, and launch PR is handled differently than media relations. Investing in specialists to handle these vital challenges ensures that your company is always presented in the best light.

In 2018, your company’s PR is going to be more important than ever. By hammering out the details now, you will be able to develop a strategy that incorporates these trends while delivering results.


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10 Interesting Digital Marketing Stats to Ring in 2018

21 Dec


1. 84% of millennial B2B decision-makers regard their mobile device as a critical tool – and 76% of older B2B buyers agree.

Google has already declared mobile to be mandatory for search—as of 2018, the tech giant’s mobile-first index will view sites through the eyes of the mobile user, and will rank them accordingly. Bottom line: if your mobile and desktop sites differ greatly, you could suffer a penalty on your desktop Search Engine Results Page.

2. 64% of senior employees make the final decision on B2B purchases – but 81% of non-senior employees influence their choices.

Traditional B2B marketing strategies might need to rethink their target audience when it comes to who the influencers are. Senior-level managers are looking to the younger generation when considering B2B buying decisions—and the majority of those influencers are non-C-Suite employees.

3. In the B2B marketing space, LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform.

While it’s true 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn, more than 66% regard the platform as the most effective social media tool in the B2B marketing space.

4. Instagram has the highest social media interaction rate.

At 22.53 interactions per 1000 followers, Instagram takes the lead in social media engagement. Facebook pulls up second place at 5.99, with LinkedIn following behind at 1.09. Twitter comes in at 0.86.

5. For 85% of B2B marketers, quality content and a commitment to metrics is critical.

The majority of B2B marketers regard content quality and efficiency as top priorities for their digital marketing campaigns, and nearly half consider metrics and optimization to be crucial for success.

6. Millennials make up more than half of B2B researchers.

In just the last few years, millennials have been part of a major shift in the B2B researcher demographic. In 2012, B2B researchers were pretty evenly distributed across all age groups. Over two years, a dramatic shift took place: 18 to 34-year-olds made up more than half of all researchers, amounting to an increase of 70%. And the number just keeps rising.

7. Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms.

With more than 300 million daily Instagrammers—80% under age 35—B2B brands could be missing out. Just 33% of B2B brands have an Instagram presence.

Considering joining? You’d be in good company. Instagram has more than doubled its users to more than 700 million monthly actives in just two years, and its growth rate is skyrocketing. From December 2016 to April 2017, in just four months, its user base grew another 100 million followers. Take a look at these stats:

October 6, 2010 – Instagram Launch

February 26, 2013 – 100 million users acquired over 28 months

March 25, 2014 – 200 million over 13 months

December 10, 2014 – 300 million over 9 months

September 22, 2015 – 400 million over 9 months

June 21, 2016 – 500 million over 9 months

December 15, 2016 – 600 million over 6 months

April 26, 2017 – 700 million over 4 months

How do these numbers compare to other social platforms? Instagram has more than twice the user base of Twitter, and it’s fast headed for the billion-user club alongside the likes of Facebook (1.8 billion), WhatsApp, and Messenger (combined 1.2 billion).

8. 89% of marketers use content marketing as their strategy, and 62% report that it’s more successful than just one year ago.

More than half of marketers regard effective distribution as the reason for their success, with 93% of B2B marketers using email as their primary distribution channel. With 54% of all emails accessed via mobile device, it’s easy to see how mobile content optimization will be critical in 2018.

9. 71% of B2B researchers begin searching Google with generic search terms.

That’s right—in today’s competitive marketplace, ranking for certain keywords has never been more difficult.

So how are searchers getting to your site? According to Google Think, they are looking for a product first—not for your brand—and generic paid search is huge when it comes to the initial path to purchase for industrial/business brands.

What does this mean for your business? In short, it means that your potential customers are reaching your brand much later in their journey, so you have to be prepared to present value to them earlier in the process—well before the initial contact and sale. Bidding on your brand terms is no longer enough, as decision making is taking place prior to brand awareness. If you pinpoint where you might be part of the conversation early on and throughout the search process, you’ll be in a better position to make a connection that turns into a sale.

10. Just 50% of B2B organizations have a responsive website.

What does this mean for your business? A new year is fast approaching and making an investment in your site’s responsiveness could give you a competitive edge in the market. Check out our latest blog on digital marketing trends for 2018 here.

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5 Best Practices for Choosing the Right Trade Show Technologies

19 Dec

People hangout together at coffee shop

Trade show marketing just isn’t what it used to be. It seems like just yesterday that trade shows depended on paper registration, hard copy promotional materials, and exhibit booths featuring static displays of data and graphics. Thankfully, times have changed…for the better.

These days, trade show marketers and exhibitors have countless cutting-edge technologies at their disposal. Applications and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions improve everything from the initial registration experience to digital marketing, data analytics, lead retrieval, and real-time customer engagement. Once inside the event, technology extends to advanced audio-visual solutions like kiosks outfitted with touch screens, video walls, and high-definition 3-D displays. And for those looking to stay connected, venues and events are equipped with mobile device charging stations and mobile event apps. The technology is seemingly endless.

With so much technology readily available, ensuring a good ROI on your trade show technology investments can be a tricky process. Here are a few best practices to consider before making the leap:

1. Step outside your comfort zone.

It’s easy to stay on board with the technology solutions you’re familiar with. The trouble is, once you’re comfortable with a certain platform or application, it can be difficult to move on to something that might be more beneficial to your business.

Keep in mind that today’s event attendees have the most cutting-edge technologies available to them 24/7. By virtue of their smartphone and the mainstreaming of the wearable internet of things (IoT), consumers are constantly surrounded by innovation. Embracing new technologies is no longer an option—it’s a necessity for businesses that want to stay relevant both at trade show events and in their digital marketing plans. Consider incorporating high-definition LED video walls, high-top charging stations, and mobile event software to keep attendees interested and engaged. To get the most from your technology investments, leverage Big Data in the form of lead retrieval software and beacon software designed to extract value from behavioral data to further enhance the attendee experience.

2. Choose a reputable event technology solutions architect.

When selecting an event technology specialist, focus on finding a firm that offers solutions architects who will work with you to design and customize services that best suit your needs. Be sure the firm includes field technicians to provide initial installation support and training to ensure that you’re up-and-running well in advance of the event date. Lastly, confirm that the firm offers ongoing tech support should you need help during event hours.

3. Get social.

These days, the value of a prominent social media presence can’t be overstated.  Be sure your displays and exhibits have a social networking component that helps attendees share trade show news and information with their contacts.

Ultimately, social media sharing by attendees will help your business grow its social media following long after the event has wrapped up.

4. Go for the WOW factor.

Don’t be afraid to use technology to create excitement and reinforce your brand. Today’s beautiful 4K and LED displays can be linked up to create a video wall for storytelling, product or service highlights, special events, and key marketing messages. Consider offering interactive kiosks that showcase project videos, games, and contests while telling your brand’s story.

5. Make sense of the data.  

All the data in the world isn’t going to help your business if you can’t extract value from it. Explore machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) software-as-a-service (SAAS) to gain valuable insight into your trade show attendees. Not only will this allow you to gather leads and generate demographic data, it will help improve the customer experience at trade shows and in your business over the long haul.

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Is the B2B Market Finally Improving Its Overall Sales and Marketing Messaging?

30 Nov


Dun & Bradstreet reported that most B2B buyers are happy with the communications they are receiving from the marketing and sales teams of companies they patronize. According to this report, 51% of buyers say that communications have improved in recent years, with 24% complaining of worse service.

Of the buyers that reported a positive increase in service, 41% of them said that these communications were more important to business then before.

One thing is for sure – buyers continue to raise their expectations for communications. If you have not prioritized advancing your efforts in this field, now may be the time to heed some of the tips below.

First, make sure that your representative has done basic research about the prospect before making the call. At the very least, your representative should have the full name of the contact, the job title of the contact, and a basic understanding of the relationship between your two companies. Calls usually go much more smoothly if your representative has more detailed information about the prospect, such as recent projects and partnerships, a working knowledge of recent news items about the prospects, and the scale of business to be potentially conducted.

Secondly, make sure that your representatives call at an appropriate time for your prospect. Sometimes, there is no way to know when the busiest time of the day for a prospect is. However, one call should take care of that problem. Once this has been determined, the information should be kept in notes for other representatives who call out to that business.

If it is obvious that your representative is calling from a list, giving a robotic script reading and generic terms of business, your close rate falls immensely This is also a very quick way to lose any standing that your business may have had within your prospect’s industry. Make sure that your representatives know how to think on their feet and present a personable voice over the phone. Even if they are following a script, give them the leverage to have a real conversation if the interaction moves in that direction. If you do not have the talent in-house for this to work, consider email blasts instead of phone conversations for your initial outreach efforts.

Lastly, do not try to climb the totem pole within your prospect’s hierarchy to quickly. If you are cold calling, then your representatives will likely run across gatekeepers rather than decision-makers. These gatekeepers should not be trampled over, as many of them actually help executives make decisions. Your representatives should have a script based on the job title of the person who picks up the phone. You may also be able to find out a great deal of information about the decision-maker from the gatekeeper.

Your sales and marketing messaging will improve over time if you analyze the shortcomings in your current workflow. However, follow the tips above to start on the right track. Remember that communications should be a priority in your business from 2017 forward – prospects are no longer putting up with anything less than a fully personalized, genuine conversation about business.


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Salesforce Simplifying B2B Facebook Marketing?

16 Nov


Perhaps unjustly, Facebook has never been known as a hub for B2B lead generation. This is not for lack of potential – plenty of companies use Facebook for surfacing contact info. However, following up on that contact through automation and CRM systems required a bevy of tools that were disconnected and independent of each other. No longer – Salesforce Lead Analytics for Facebook brings the sales funnel together.

The Salesforce tool innovates by working simultaneously across Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), Facebook itself and the Facebook Audience Network, which is the official name for the Facebook ad platform. Users of the Salesforce Lead Analytics tool will enjoy a data stream that connects the first interaction of the customer all the way to the purchase. Users will also be able to connect data from upsells and resells. The dashboard will showcase the most important performance metrics that marketers need to improve campaigns, such as leads generated and total views, as well as sales performance related to ads. In addition, the proprietary Salesforce Einstein AI will give a marketer a score for each prospect after that prospect finishes with a lead form.

There is plenty of other data for marketers to pick through with this new tool. Some of the other featured data includes a Pardot score rating, ad spend for campaigns, click through rates, campaign ROI and qualified leads that each campaign generates.

Salesforce is not done here. Alongside the Lead Analytics tool, the company is also bringing out the Einstein Account-Based Marketing tool. This tool will automate the connection between the sales and marketing staff. The data in both departments will now be easier to marry, streamlining execution time.

These new innovations from Salesforce have definitely come under duress. Its main competition in the CRM landscape, Microsoft, has greatly strengthened its position in the market through its soon-to-be acquisition of LinkedIn. Although Salesforce has tried to block the acquisition, the effort will likely fail. However, these new tools certainly bolster Salesforce’s position in the market, especially since they are currently on the cutting edge of technology here.


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