Behind The Mind’s Curtain: Part 2

31 Aug

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Guest Contributor: Matt Hillman, Creative Director

As mentioned in my previous “Behind The Mind’s Curtain” post, it’s hard to truly understand what it’s like to be someone else, to see things from their perspective. But as marketers, we’re all bound at the very least to try.

With resources like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the team at Personality Hacker—two practical examples of Jungian psychology at work—we can dive deeper into personality matrixes to better understand what makes this person tick where others might tock. What might energize or engage one set of personalities might, in fact, be toxic to another.

Where the previous blog touched on “Judging functions” of Jungian psychology—true/false vs. right/wrong—we’re going to explore the “Perceiving functions.” These are the ways our psyches literally perceive and process information, whether it’s based on sensory inputs to determine what’s real or based on ideas to determine what’s possible.

(Again, it’s important to note that human psychology is complex, and even people with same personality types don’t share the same environments, experiences, and opportunities, so while the following concepts are true more often than not, they are still generalizations and should not be used as substitutes to research and personae-based insights.)

 

GROUP 1: The Realists

Function: Extraverted Sensing

For Realists, the world exists as it is. They take in information with the senses and deal in the here & now, typically not distracted by “what if” and “it might.” Their minds are drawn to the concrete and the known, valuing facts and empirical evidence.

Look for: pragmatism, reference to statistics, seeking additional inputs

Promote: data, evidence, immediate results

Avoid: possibilities, metaphors, “gut feelings”

Weakness: “it is what it is” fatalism

 

GROUP 2: The Traditionalists

Function: Introverted Sensing

Think of the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and you’re thinking of Traditionalists. What has been gathered through experience, what is truly known, is what matters most. As a result, life’s certainties are not only predictable but comforting.

Look for: deliberate action, careful consideration, leveraging experience

Promote: proven results, comparison, history

Avoid: improvisation, interpretation, “change for change’s sake”

Weakness: resistance to new ideas or systems

 

GROUP 3: The Dreamers

Function: Extraverted Intuition

With Dreamers, everything contains possibilities, whether it’s found in systems, situations or people. The idea of “what if” is pervasive and irresistible, and it drives them to seek new approaches and consider information in different contexts.

Look for: rapid-fire ideation and brainstorming

Promote: possibilities, exploration, potential

Avoid: practicality, statistics, “tried & true”

Weakness: inability to stay focused on single issue

 

GROUP 4: The Perceptives

Function: Introverted Intuition

Working mostly in the subconscious, the Perceptives are always searching for meaning behind the ideas—connections and patterns—that often lead to “a-ha!” moments. They build and explore complex mental models to better understand the world around them.

Look for: heavy use of and appreciation for metaphor

Promote: connection, pattern, symbols

Avoid: details, dwelling on past experiences

Weakness: presuming mental models can provide all necessary insights

 

Understanding how and why your audience processes information is the first step to better connecting with them through your marketing—don’t expect Dreamers to respond to spreadsheet data and don’t ask Traditionalists to “imagine a world of possibilities!” Providing a variety of formats is the surest way to get your message through a broad set, but when space is tight and time is a premium, knowing what type of information your particular audience prizes most can help your marketing cut through the clutter and get noticed.

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The Top 6 Skills a B2B CMO Needs to Be Successful

29 Aug

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The CMO position is finding its way to the head table in many companies. As the hybrid skill set of the CMO become more important to business, the skills that should be prioritized are showing themselves. Although industries may vary, the competencies that are required for success tend to remain the same.

Product Marketing

As you know, most of your revenue will likely come from your existing customer base. Every CMO should understand how to market to a legacy customer as well as outreach to new ones. As aspects of product marketing, CX, UX and visual design are all important skills that your CMO should have available.

Scaling Content Creation

As the rest of your business scales naturally, your content will require a bit more effort. In order to get more quality content going for your brand, you either have to hire more people or outsource to a higher degree. Additionally, the different forms of content – how to videos, eBooks, email blasts, webinars – all require a different set of skills to make. A CMO must be able to determine the types of content that are most effective and work within the company budget to grab the most of it for the least.

MarTech

The best CMOs often come from a coding background. However, the CMO will usually not be employed as a front line coder. What is the balance here? The CMO should understand the language of the people who will be in the trenches handling business. Marketing is becoming more aligned with tech, and the successful marketing departments of the future will incorporate a great deal of overlap with the IT department. The CMO must understand what to prioritize within this overlap while understanding how difficult it is to translate marketing concepts into technical executables.

Agile Marketing

The main job of the CMO is to get rid of as much uncertainly as possible in the marketing process. As a data driven position, the CMO should naturally know how to manage shifting timelines and priorities. With a mastery of agile marketing, a CMO will basically be able to apply these shifts in real time. The result should be quicker deployment of marketing campaigns, a higher flexibility to make changes during a campaign, and a more effective cost for campaigns.

Account-Based Marketing

Even with digital automation and AI taking the reins in many aspects of the B2B sales funnel, there are more people than ever involved with each sale. Account based marketing keeps track of the money through this ever lengthening chain of command. One of the major priorities of any CMO should be to ramp up the sales velocity. The CMO should lead efforts to target many decision makers through multi-channel outreach at one time. This requires a close eye on each account from a perspective of personnel and finances.

Learning to Manage the Millennial Generation

Millennials are moving into managerial and executive positions, and the successful CMO will have to learn this new generation. Their motivations are different. There is no moving around them – they are the most qualified applications in most cases. Millennials have a natural ability to combine the soft skills of marketing with the hard skills of technology. As the older generation fades out and is replaced by this generation, a good CMO will learn a more sensitive, environmentally friendly and less hierarchal method of management.

There are certainly a bevy of skills outside of these top 6 that a CMO should learn. The market will change, and with it, the skills that should be prioritized. However, a mastery of these will certainly give a leg up.

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Better Manage Your Metrics

24 Aug

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Guest Contributor: Wade Callow, Digital Marketing Specialist

Fair warning, I find my job very interesting, so this article can be a bit technical.

 

Understanding Cost-Per-Click in Your B2B Paid Search Campaign

There are a variety of important metrics to consider when optimizing your B2B paid search campaign, each with its own meaning and optimization techniques. One paid search metric that is often highlighted – no matter if you’re using Google or Bing, your B2C or B2B, or if you are client side or agency – is the Cost-Per-Click metric, or CPC. Perhaps because it directly correlates to the dollar amount spent on each keyword, CPC is often seen as one of the most important factors in a paid search campaign, and as a result, CPC improvement is often pursued by paid-search managers.

To truly understand how to improve CPC, a paid search manager must first understand how CPC is calculated. For the sake of this article, let’s first describe major factors that go into Cost-Per-Click and then we’ll provide a few tips on how to improve it.

The Elements of CPC in your B2B Campaign

Maximum Bid

Bid is the first and easiest factor to understand. It’s as simple as inputting a single number to an ad group or a keyword, and AdWords won’t rise above it. So, if you set a max bid at $2, you won’t get an average CPC of $11. Setting a maximum bid is easy, but determining a max bid that meets your goals can be a bit of a challenge, especially in the beginning when you don’t have the data to justify your decisions. You want to have significant clicks without overspending; you want a balanced max CPC that’s going to give you ROI without breaking the bank. For more on determining your max CPC read here.

Competition

Competition is another huge determining factor on CPC, and because AdWords is an auction based service, competition can vary from keyword to keyword and market to market. Simply put, the more advertisers bidding on a single keyword, the more competitive it will be. The more competitive a term, the more expensive it will be, driving up your CPC.

Higher-volume keywords will be much more competitive, and thus, more expensive. Most high-volume keywords also convert at a higher rate, justifying the cost. If a high-priced keyword is converting and providing significant ROI, it’s probably worth the price.

Quality Score

The final factor for determining CPC is the Quality Score. Quality Score allows for the most manipulation in your AdWords account. Google rewards high Quality Scores with lower CPCs, so improving QS is imperative, especially if you don’t have the daily budget to force your way to the top of the page.

What Determines Quality Score:

  • How relevant your keywords are to your ad group
  • How relevant your ads are to your keywords
  • How relevant your landing pages are to your keywords and ads
  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
  • Historical AdWords performance

Tips for Improving Your B2B Campaign

Keywords: Keyword research is the foundation of paid search and finding the right keywords is how a successful campaign begins. When looking for keywords, you need to find ones that are relevant to your goals. If you’re selling garage door services, the “DIY how to install a garage door” term isn’t going to get you anywhere because that is the users intent is not to get their garage door serviced, but to service their garage door themselves. Finding keywords that match your audience, have a relevant amount of search traffic and a justifiable competition level are where you should start. Don’t neglect high competition keywords or low volume keywords if you think they fit, you can always remove them later down the road if they aren’t performing the way you’d like.

Structure: Once your keyword research is completed and you have an extensive seed list, organize those keyword into similar groups. Try to match a common term or common theme. If you have keywords that don’t fit any group, make them their own group and watch your search terms report closely to add more as they appear.

Ad Copy: Once you’ve placed your keywords into ad groups, ad copy should reflect your keywords, either by dynamically inserting keywords into the headline or by reflecting the theme of your keyword. Just make sure that your keywords are reflected in some way on the ad. Since Click-Through-Rate is important to Quality Score, placing the keyword in the headline has proven to be the most effective for good click-through rates.

Landing Pages: Similar to ad copy, your landing page should reflect your keywords. If your landing page isn’t focused to your ad group your quality scores will suffer. Landing page speed is also a factor, so even you have a great page, if it isn’t loading quick enough for Google – or even worse, your customer – it will cost you.

Ad Rotation: Make sure you have several variations of ads running on a constant rotation. If one isn’t performing the way you’d like, pause it and replace it with another. Do this until you find ads that have high CTR and convert well.

Negative Match: Too often, an underutilized aspect in AdWords, negative matching allows you to point out certain keywords to Google that you don’t want your ad to show up for. This is especially important when using broad match and broad modified keywords as Google will show an ad to anything it associates with your keywords. Removing irrelevant terms through negative matching eliminates wasted spend and improves CTR.

Low Competition/Long Tail Keywords: Finding low competition keywords through keyword research and the search terms report is another way to help your CPC. Low competition keywords, while generally lower in volume, are almost always lower in cost. Finding low competition keywords that are relevant to your campaign and still produce a decent amount of traffic is a great way to balance out your overall CPC. Long Tail keywords (keywords longer than 2 – 3 words) are great low competition keywords as the people searching them generally know exactly what they are looking for, leading to higher CTRs.

Summing Up

Cost-Per-Click is easy to manage in any paid search campaign but optimizing it is often much more complicated than it seems, especially within the nuances of the B2B market. A manager must first understand everything that goes into the metric before they can improve it and even then it can be difficult to get it where you’d like. While they are all similar, B2C, B2B and E-Commerce all have their own auctions and search landscapes, so understanding your market is just as important as understanding your metric.

It’s also important to know that, while CPC may be important, it’s not the only metric and shouldn’t be treated as such. Once CPC has decreased, another metric may dive into the red and you’ve to fix it. It’s a teeter-totter effect that can be remedied by paying attention to all of the metrics and how they correlate. Every AdWords manager should be working towards improving everything for every metric, not just one. Always work to better your keywords, your ads and your landing pages. Always be testing for something better. Paid search campaigns are never over. There’s always room for improvement.

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Businesses of Every Type Must Tap Into the Power of Social Media

22 Aug

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Though it is hard to believe, at one point in time social media was considered to be a fad that would eventually pass like other trends. The exact opposite occurred. Social media has exploded in popularity year-by-year. If you own or manage a business and are not on social media, you are missing out on a fantastic opportunity to connect with clients as well as business partners.

Social Media Provides Client Insights

Social media is essential to establishing client personas, determining what clients desire and discovering how they feel about your brand. People tend to be brutally honest on the internet. Though some people use their real names on social media, they are inclined to tell the truth as communication occurs from behind the comfort of a computer screen. So establish a profile on the top social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Gauge how your clients respond to particular posts. Do some digging into the information provided by your company’s followers. You will gradually uncover important information that helps you better understand the people and companies you provide products and services to. Armed with this information, you will be able to make sound business decisions.

Social Media Boosts Brand Awareness

Social media outlets are free to use. All you have to invest is money in a social media manager’s wage or salary and possibly the cost of a freelance content creator. The return on this minimal investment is astounding. People who follow your company on social media, read your posts, share your content and subsequently visit your website will have a heightened awareness of your brand. Customers who are aware of your brand are more inclined to be loyal across posterity. According to a study recently conducted by The Social Habit, more than half of Americans who follow businesses on social media are more loyal to those companies.

Social Media Content Improves Web Traffic and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Post high-quality, keyword and key phrase-laden content to your social media platforms on a regular basis and it will spur traffic to your website. This content will also enhance your search engine ranking. The key is to provide helpful, insightful content on your social media platforms that inspires people to share with others. This style of content will prove intriguing enough to inspire visits to your website and generate legitimate interest in your company’s offerings.

A Look at the Competition

Take advantage of social media for more than connecting with prospective clients. This important platform also clues you in to what your competitors are doing. Use this information to make prudent business decisions. Perhaps you will find out your competitors are using keywords or key phrases that will also benefit your SEO push. Maybe you will spot a new offering or price point on a competitor’s social media page that you can implement.

Social Media is a Tool to Establish Legitimacy

Businesses that use social media to provide meaningful information that helps customers solve problems, save money or improves their lives in another manner garner widespread respect. People will view your business as legitimate and worthy of their business if you provide insight or assistance with your social media posts. Customers who consider a business to be legitimate are inclined to purchase its goods and services. So post with care. Do not hesitate to outsource content creation to specialists who can provide intriguing content that positions your business as a legitimate industry authority.

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Six Must-Haves for an Effective Blog Post

17 Aug

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If you are suspicious that blogs are little more than personal diaries published on the web, it is time to reconsider your stance. Blogs are a severely underrated content marketing method that serves as an important bridge between businesses and clients. Yet posting any old information to your blog will not suffice. The content and frequency of blog posts matters a great deal. Here is what you should focus on when crafting your company’s blog posts.

Post With Regularity

If you post a blog entry once per month, it will be difficult to gain momentum and make a meaningful impact on your target audience. However, posting at a high frequency is also a mistake. The last thing you want is to flood your blog with entries that the bombards visitors with information. Try to post content to your company blog at least once per week. Develop a posting routine and your most loyal readers will look forward to blog entries with great anticipation.

Provide Unique Insight

The key to getting blog content to go viral is quality. Take a look at the blogs of your competitors and make sure you’re not writing content very similar to them. If you are not a good writer or are lacking inspiration, outsource the writing of blog content to professional content creators. Post a steady stream of interesting entries to your blog and readers will share those posts with friends, family, colleagues and others. Your company’s exposure will expand with each share.

Make It Personal

If your blog sounds like it was written by a random employee who is faceless and unremarkable, people won’t feel a personal connection to the content. Blog posts written from the first person perspective develop a rapport with readers. This is your opportunity to share insights, opinions, thoughts and unique information about your industry. Use your blog as an opportunity to show that your business has a human side. This approach will help readers identify with the author’s voice and be inclined to return for additional visits even if they aren’t a current customer.

A Dialogue Instead of a Monologue

Interact with those who post comments to blog entries. This does not mean you have to respond to every single comment. Pick out the best comments, provide a short but meaningful reply and it will make a massive difference. Such author responses will inspire people to read your posts in-depth, reply to the content with regularity and check out additional blog posts to find out if you have offered more insight through comments to replies.

Tone Matters

A dry, formal and overly-structured blog post won’t generate much interest. When in doubt, err on the side of being conversational and informal. The blog content should be helpful, relevant and intellectually stimulating. So don’t use complex words or write about in-depth subject matter most readers can’t grasp. Provide content that has true mass appeal. Use simple language, be direct and aim to connect with as many people as possible. This way, your audience won’t feel bored or intimidated.

Shift Your Perspective

If you have writer’s block, take some time to shift your point of view. Put yourself in the position of a prospective client. Think about what your audience would like to read. Then write it. Provide your audience with such high-quality content and they will return to your blog for more information in the coming weeks, months and years.

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