Showing posts from September, 2010

Tech Media Publishers looking more Like Interactive Marketing Firms Every Day

Tech Media publishers have seen an exponential shift in buyer behaviour, recognizing that the B2B buying decisions these publications support are now Internet driven, and that buyers are in control of the buying cycle like never before - seeking trusted sources of diagnosis, advice and recommendations.

As well, the Tech Media publishers have seen a dramatic shift in B2B vendors, who are looking for innovative ways to break through marketing fatigue to attract, connect and engage ever more skeptical and frugal buyers.

The age of Internet fueled buying decisions means that traditional print publications just don't meet buyer or seller needs.

In the recent BtoB magazine article, "Tech Media Evolution a Bellwether", the major technology publishers were examined to understand how quickly the shift to interactive marketing was occurring. Looking at the top three technology publishers:
IDG generated 43% of its revenue from print in fiscal year 2008 and 39% in fiscal year 2009. T…

Do White Papers Still Engage? They do if they are Interactive!

New digital marketing channels have made it more efficient than ever to broadcast marketing messages to prospects, but are the current strategies effective at connecting with and educating ever more skeptical and frugal buyers?

The good news is that today's buyer wants to be engaged, with 9 out of 10 actively relying on vendor provided information on their way to making a purchase decision. Using this content, buyers are taking control of the buying cycle from direct / channel sales, making the content that marketing delivers more important than ever in driving shorter sales cycles and increasing the number and value of transactions.

Unfortunately, most of today's buyers suffer from Information Overload as a result of current "carpet bombing" marketing strategies. Today's buyers have more sources of information than ever including traditional, on-line and social media sources. For example, the typical buyer receives over 20 e-mail marketing messages a week, up 32…

IDC: Tech Marketing Budgets Up, But Lag Revenue Growth

Enough being done to prove returns and drive even more investments in 2011?

IDC has just completed their annual Tech Marketing Benchmarks Survey, and the news is good for tech marketing teams.

The latest survey (completed 9/10) reveals that large technology vendors have increased their marketing budgets by 3.7% in 2010 compared to 2009 levels. This is quite a change from 2009 budgets, which declined 8.3% compared to 2008. This increase in marketing budgets is welcomed by stressed marketing executives who dramatically cut spending, campaigns and staff during the Great Recession.

The bad news for marketing leaders is that although the 3.7% growth “snapback” is significant, the average large tech vendor’s operating budget is still below 2008 spending levels.

Shift to Digital
Marketers are still being asked to do-more-with-less, and this is driving a significant change in go-to-market channels. According to IDC, tech firm advertising spending using traditional (print and broadcast) media …

Is Marketing Too Busy? The Forgotten Sales Professional

A recent Content Marketing Institute article by Jennifer Watson, The Audience Content Marketers Can’t Afford To Ignore – But Almost Always Do  got me thinking ...

Marketers are struggling like never before to meet the needs of a changing market. More new channels than ever, buyer Information Overload, Frugalnomics driven by two recessions in the past decade, Internet fueled buying decisions.... With so much to work on, its easy for marketers to forget a very important audience, sales professionals, and where marketing meets sales, sales enablement.

As defined by Forrester, "Sales enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer's problem-solving life cycle to optimize the ROI of the selling system."

The good news is that sales enablement programs have become more formalized, and investmen…

One-size-fits-all whitepapers ineffective due to Information Overload? Fight Back with ZDE Smart Papers

B2B buyers are, quite simply, not all the same. However, the bulk of marketing activities that B2B technology vendors use involve the same information, in the same way, over and over to prospects as different as Joe’s Barber Shop and Exxon Mobil. This results in a slower buying process and the continual carpet bombing of buyer inboxes with the same static, mass-distributed whitepapers that every vendor sends out.

So, how do you make whitepapers more effective, more relevant, more ONE-TO-ONE? How do you connect with buyers and make sure your message resonates to them personally? How do you ensure your content won’t get filtered out?

By creating content that is dynamic, adaptive and personalized with SmartPapers, changing the way white papers engage buyers.

Ziff Davis Enterprise (ZDE), a leader in innovative enterprise IT media and engagement solutions, announced today that it has partnered with Alinean to launch SmartPapers, a dynamic white paper platform that adapts content based on r…

Forrester: Understand and Drive Outcomes for Sales & Marketing Success

In a recent Forrester Sales Enablement blog post, Dean Davison reminisces about his years of selling technology solutions, and how today's successful best practices are so different than those of years past.

Davison's outlines the significant advancement of how buyer's changing needs have driven changing sales techniques over the past 30 years, advancing from Product Selling, to Solution Selling, and now to a new required technique of understanding and driving customer outcomes:

Product Selling:  The sales organization sold products based on "feeds and speeds". Technology solutions were new and exciting, and sales lived on the cutting edge of technology. Customers bought "products."Solution Selling: Rather than buying products, customers looked for solutions - usually a functional combination of hardware and software to solve a technical problem. Acronyms such as ERP and CRM were common, and the services industry exploded. Customers bought "solutions…

Frugalnomics: Business Productivity and Cost Reduction Remains Top Concern for IT Executives

A recent survey of CIOs and IT executives reveals that Frugalnomics, a focus on austerity via business and IT cost savings, remains strong. In a survey of CIOs, CTOs and senior IT executives by the Society for Information Management, 172 U.S. companies cite "business productivity and cost reduction" as their top business concern. The spendthrift focus is the second consecutive year that business productivity and cost reduction has received the top priority by such a wide margin.

“The insights from the study confirm that the economic downturn is continuing to cause a significant shift in IT
priorities,” said Jerry Luftman, former SIM Executive VP and Executive Director of Graduate Information Systems Programs and Distinguished Professor of Information Systems at Stevens Institute of Technology, who has conducted the annual research for the last 10 years. “It is essential to recognize how organizations are leveraging IT during this prolonged economic conundrum, as well as prepar…

Leaders indicate Growing Investment in Smart Digital Content

The migration of B2B marketing budgets from traditional marketing vehicles toward digital channels continues according to a study by Booz & Co. Survey results indicate that over the next 2 to 3 years, 67% plan to increase spending on social media, and 64% continue to increase spending on digital and online marketing.

Leaders are growing the digital investments more than laggards, highlighting that growing digital strategies is a substantial best practice of these firms.

Most important, is that the Leaders indicate the importance of a dialogue with buyers.

Today's buyers are challenged, suffering from Information Overload and Frugalnomics, and are changing buying cycles through Internet fueled decisions. In order to break through, leaders are recognizing the need for smart and engaging value-added content.

The survey highlights this, with Leaders  growing investments over laggards in:
innovative marketing activities around e-platforms;engaging clients through social media, and; de…

The End of Marketing as We Know It: Overcoming Buyer Challenges with Interactive Smart Content

The past decade has seen an exciting and dramatic increase in new digital marketing channels including Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, search engines, webinars, virtual trade shows and more. These new channels have made it easier than ever for marketers to reach out to prospects, and marketers are certainly taking advantage of the available efficiency. For example, the typical B2B prospect receives an average of 20.3 email pitches per week, up 32 percent from 2006 according to sales and marketing research firm SiriusDecisions.

With marketers who seem more focused on gaming the channels themselves than in the value of the dialogue being created, buyers are now inundated with more product related and meaningless offers than ever. As a result, buyers now suffer from Information Overload. Reaching out has never been easier, but making meaningful connections has never been harder. The question any marketer needs to ask - Are your marketing efforts adding to the clutter, or driving a valuable dia…

Measure to Manage - Driving Sales Enablement Success

Selling B2B solutions certainly has changed over the past decade, and these changes are only accelerating, driven by significant customer challenges:
Information Overload- Buyers are inundated with more marketing pitches and sale calls than ever, and suffer from a severe case of information overload. The right messages and tools are needed to break through and reach overloaded prospects;Frugalnomics - Reeling from the impact of two economic downturns, the last one particularly severe, executives are demanding more scrutiny on every proposal and buyers now demand quantifiable poof of bottom line impact and value from each investment;Internet Driven Buying Cycles - With more information from more sources available than ever, buyers are engaging sales teams later in the sales cycle, and are taking control of the buying cycle more than ever, creating a disadvantage for those firms who don’t engage with a compelling dialogue early and often.Transferring knowledge to sales representatives, a…

Marketing Budgets on The Rise. Sign of Economic Recovery, or Head Fake?

In perhaps a great sign that the economy may be in better shape than many are realizing, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business bi-annual marketing spending report reveals that marketing budgets are back on the rise. The latest survey in August 2010 indicates that CMOs are anticipating dramatic marketing spending increases of 9.2% over next 12 months. This represents a dramatic turnaround from last year where annually spending growth was indicated to be only 1.1%.

Although this growth is significant, many organizations are simply growing back to normal, recapturing some of the budget cuts over the past 2 years.

In looking at the allocation of spending increases, it should come as no surprise that Internet Marketing spending is expected to increase the most, with 13.6% annual growth expected. This is followed by growth in spending on new product introductions (9.1%), new service introductions (7.2%), customer relationship management (8.3%) and brand building (8.3%). On the decline, with negativ…

IT Budgets into 2011 - Robbing Peter to Pay Paul?

Gartner Executive Programs midyear survey indicates that IT budgets are growing at a paltry 1.1% in 2010, essentially flat in 2010.

The good news is that the second half of 2010, projections are in line with Gartner’s survey in the fourth quarter of 2009 when CIOs reported IT budgets would increase, on average, by only 1.3%, and spending outlooks are more positive than earlier surveys. More good news is that 2010 is far better than 2009, with a weighted global average reduction in IT budgets of 8.1% for 2009, showing that a spending recovery is in place, but marginally.

Infrastructure vs. Operations
However the most important trend from the survey is not positive spending growth, it is that CIOs are paying for needed infrastructure upgrades via cuts in operating budgets – essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Mark McDonald, group vice president and head of research at Gartner Executive Programs indicates that "CIOs plan to increase capital expenditures (CAPEX) by 3% this year and pa…

SaaS Solutions Becoming the Standard for Marketing Solutions

A recent survey conducted by Big Blue Moose, a digital media consulting firm, found that an overwhelming majority of respondents are using SaaS products for their marketing efforts. Of the 105 people who responded to the online survey--72 percent of whom said they were in a marketing function--over half said more than 50 percent of their digital marketing tools were delivered as SaaS.

As with other business units, marketers are turning to SaaS solutions to help reduce the total cost of ownership of their marketing applications, drive cost predictibility and improve scalability / agility.

Read more: Survey finds increased SaaS use in marketing - FierceContentManagement

Forrester announces Sales Enablement Conference focused on Selling into the New Economy

We were excited to hear that Forrester's first Sales Enablement Conference will be focused on Selling into the New Economy.

As sponsors of the conference, Alinean is greatly looking forward to participating and helping sales enablement professionals understand how the new economy is driving significant changes in buyer sentiment, and how addressing such changes will mean the difference between taking the lead, or being an also-ran.

If you are a sales enablement professional you have to attend this event to learn how these changes will drive demands and shape investments.

From our research we know that two economic downturns in the past decade have permanently changed how B2B solutions are bought and sold, forcing all stakeholders to focus on quantified bottom-line impacts. Alinean has coined a term to capture this change - Frugalnomics.  We feel that those companies that recognize and address this fundamental Frugalnomics market shift with the right sales effectiveness enablement i…

"Big Ideas" still Trump ROI in driving Marketing Strategy

A recent Forbes Insight research survey indicates that despite the impact of two economic downturns in the past decade and current economic pressure to deliver bottom-line results, Marketing Executives are still more focused on the "big idea" , left brain creative to drive marketing strategy, vs. the quantified ROI, right brain impacts.

When marketing executives at larger firms were asked, what attribute is most important to marketing strategy,
58% indicated that it is a core "big idea" that guides all of our marketing initiatives, while only 40% indicated that it was "tools and metrics that measure ROI and ensure accountability for outcomes" that drives marketing strategy.Interestingly, perhaps because of closer accountability to bottom-line results, small / medium business marketers(those with budgets of less than $1 million) favored metrics to drive strategy, at 58% compared to the "big idea".

Measurement is Driven by Frugalnomics
Measurement is…

Demand Generation In the Face of Frugalnomics and Internet Fueled Decisions

Formally defined, Demand Generation is the use of targeted marketing programs to address four key objectives for B2B marketers:
Building awareness of a company’s products and services; Establishing relevance to a prospective buyer/end user;Supporting validation for the purchase; and Mitigating customer concerns.Successful demand generation programs are uniquely challenged today, and must address a changing landscape where:
Economics are driving more decisions;The Internet is fueling a prospect driven buying cycle, and;Prospects are faced with information overload resulting in shorter attention spans than ever.Frugalnomics Changes Everything
According to Forrester analyst Scott Santucci, "Go-to-market models always change during periods of disruption, and this economic downturn has been deep, long, and might not even be over. The more buying organizations are a forced to do-more-with-less they adopt different business patterns.” We term the current shift Frugalnomics, where two succ…

Sales Enablement Effectiveness?

Because of Frugalnomics, an environment where buyers now demand bottom-line value from every investment, B2B sales teams are challenged more than ever to deliver expected results.

IDC research shows that because of frugal buyer sentiment, 62% of B2B vendors need more leads in order to generate the same amount of sales, and 72% indicate an increase in sales cycle time over the past 6 months.

Sales enablement seeks to address these challenges, providing the practices, resources, training and tools needed to help fight Frugalnomics. According to sales and marketing analyst firm SiriusDecisions, “Successful reps know that establishing credibility and providing value to a prospect or customer throughout the buying cycle is the difference between closing the deal and losing it. Sales professionals must ask the right questions, gather data and coherently identify need in the context of an opportunity, then be equipped with the proper tools as the opportunity progresses.”

Sales Enablement Ine…