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Posts Tagged ‘B2B marketing’

Wearing Ten Hats? Can’t Decide Which to Put on Next? Read This.

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Going into 2009, we all are looking for good ways to plan next year’s marketing campaigns. Determining your top priorities is a big challenge when you do this planning. Fortunately, prioritizing your marketing campaigns can be done in less time if you follow a brief set of guidelines.  

Judah Phillips, in an insightful post at Web Analytics Demystified, asserts that the primary criteria for prioritizing web analytics work is: “Is revenue at risk?” Analytics in support of revenue-generating tasks has to be at the top of your list, so when deciding what information you need right now, ask yourself first if any revenue will be at risk if the task is not completed.

This method works equally well for other aspects of your marketing work. Karen Gedney, writing at Click-Z, echoes this viewpoint for email programs. She suggests that, when setting priorities for an email marketing campaign, make sure that everything you spend generates revenue, “and your marketing priorities will arrange themselves.”

If you’re at a small to midsize organization and wear multiple hats, setting priorities is more complex. You may have several priorities on your plate, all of which are revenue-generating. If you sit down at your desk in the morning and have to choose whether to make email, PPC campaigns, social media, PR, analytics, or designing a print ad a priority today, what do you do? The scores of you marketers at start-ups, non-profits, and other organizations where wearing five hats is the norm know what I mean. The more varied the range of tasks you need to prioritize, the more criteria you need to use to determine your top priorities.

Here are five tips for setting priorities in a multi-faceted marketing practice:

  • At least half of what you do in a given week needs to be customer-facing. That means focusing on getting your email campaigns out, tweaking your PPC ads, drafting those print ads, and writing those white papers. You are in the business of communicating your company’s or organization’s message to your clients, and all your work needs to focus on that goal. You may have a lot of work to do that is internal to your company or department, but you must keep the primary focus of your department, namely, communication with customers, in mind.
  •  Do whatever absolutely needs to happen every week first. If you always send out an e-newsletter, work on that early in the week. If a print ad needs to go out by Tuesday, make sure it’s done by the week before. Optional activities, like adding materials to your social media campaigns, will need to be done later in the week. Otherwise, you are always playing catch-up.
  • “Will this shake things up?” At least one thing you do this year should.
  • Incorporate metrics into everything do in such a way that it seldom becomes a part of your to-do list on its own. Part of every email campaign is to check your metrics the evening of day the campaign goes out, and then again one week afterwards. Every morning, you need to watch your web traffic. Every day, you need to see how your PPC campaigns are performing. If you make measurement a part of the whole in everything you do, it isn’t an onerous separate task you need to schedule. This makes scheduling and prioritizing that much more straightforward.
  • Do one thing you really like every day, and one thing that is relatively dull. Don’t schedule all dull days, or you will start to get burnout. At the end of a day doing your least favorite thing, write an article, or design an ad. (Or insert your favorite task here).

Organizing all the tasks before you can seem daunting at first, but it’s actually quite a doable process. Setting your top marketing priorities can be one of the most useful things you can do towards the end of the year. It’s an ongoing process, as well, especially when you are wearing a lot of hats. Thus, starting out with a good list of priorities will pay off throughout 2009.

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Christina Inge is the marketing manager for Spinwave Systems, a Westford-based tech company specializing in energy management solutions. She also serves as marketing and public relations coordinator for the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell. She has over ten years’ experience in communications for both B2C and B2B audiences.

  

The Holidays Can be a Great Time for B2B Email Marketing

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

With the holidays fast approaching, those of us in B2B marketing are probably wondering what kinds of email messages to send to our customers. We are not, after all selling a product that is going to make an appropriate gift, so there is little need for holiday promotions—indeed, they would seem a bit odd for a company selling data center services or enterprise software.

Chris Marriott at iMedia Connection suggests that B2B marketers maintain their visibility during the end of the year with engagement-heavy messages. He suggests sending surveys as one idea that will help your company gain awareness as inboxes get crowded with seasonal offers. The question of appropriate B2B email campaigns for the holiday season is also addressed in a blog post by Mark Brownlow at Email Marketing Reports. Quoting Linda Bustos, the post urges B2B marketers not to cut back on their standard messaging schedule at this time of year. Instead, marketers should keep their frequency the same, but change their message to a more lighthearted, less information-filled content model. Bustos suggests sending a Season’s Greetings message, as well as a lighter-on-content version of one’s usual newsletter.

End-of-year satisfaction surveys and seasonal messages are all great ways to round out your email program as 2008 closes. Nonetheless, I’d suggest looking at your audience and overall messaging strategy before cutting back on substantive content. Winter is a traditional time to regroup, think, and plan. If you’re in the technology space, your messaging likely includes a lot of educational content. Throughout the year, you produce white papers, podcasts, application notes, and other documents that your audience turns to in order to be well-informed. If they are technical staff, keeping up-to-date on new developments is important to them, but they often lack the time. When they are crazy-busy, your audience may only glance through all the technical documents you offer. Many of us take advantage of the slower time of year to do a lot of the reading we simply don’t have time for when business is hectic.

The quieter B2B environment during the holidays may provide just the opportunity for your audience to sit down and actually digest some of your more substantial reading. This may be the perfect chance for you to send out that longer white paper—now, when your audience might actually read it while sitting at their desks, instead of putting it away for later. There are fewer interruptions at the office over the holidays, and not everyone is partying 24-7. Test out at least one mailing this holiday season that contains an offer for a white paper or other educational document. In your email message, emphasize the key points in the document, and home in on the benefits of the topic. Underline how much can be learned from the white paper—if your readers are in the mood to expand their knowledge, they’ll respondyour message will stand out.

Although, for your audience, it might be best to keep most of your emails light over the holiday season, bear in mind that you might have an opportunity to reach out with great content that could be lost in the shuffle at a busier time of year.     
 

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Christina Inge is the marketing manager for Spinwave Systems, a Westford-based tech company specializing in energy management solutions. She also serves as marketing and public relations coordinator for the New England Quilt Museum. She has over ten years’ experience in communications for both B2C and B2B audiences.

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The views and opinions on this blog are solely those of the contributors and do NOT necessarily reflect the official opinions of the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association.