Maximizing Marketing Spend with Attribution Models

February 20, 2013

Note: This is a guest post by Ashley Verrill.

Once upon a time, marketers just played the quantities game. Pay for the biggest audience you can afford – whether that’s a billboard, newspaper advertisement, radio or otherwise – and trust that increased sales after the fact resulted from that investment. Well, times have changed. Today’s marketer can target prospects to an increasingly granular degree and measure return on spend to the cent.

But this ability raises another issue. With so many options available, it’s difficult to know where to prioritize your spend. Which channels move your ideal customer down the sales funnel fastest? Which content produces the highest quality lead, and does it matter where we measure this success in the customer journey?

Marketing automation solutions reviewer, Software Advice, created this video guide recently to help guide businesses along this uncertain terrain. Analytics expert Laura Patterson describes step by step how to create an attribution model. This method maps channels and content along your customer journey, then identifies those with the highest rate of success for moving contacts to conversion.

LauraPatterson_Video

Click to Play

About Ashley Verrill
Ashley Verrill is a market analyst that writes for theSoftware Advice. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in myriad publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice in 2012, she worked in sales management and advertising. She is a University of Texas graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

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Your Content Focus: Narrow vs Wide

February 19, 2013

After getting your first content marketing pieces out there, the question usually revolves around “what’s next?”. Startups who are strapped for cash and resources want to know if they should go wide, trying to reach more industries or segments, or if they should narrow their focus and create additional content materials to go deeper into the segment they have already started to work with. In established companies the question is similar, but it often is a question of where to focus their resources to get the best results.

When asked about the narrow vs wide focus in content marketing, my first question is always “what is your goal?”. Do you want to generate leads to the top of the funnel or do you need to close deals that are being worked on right now? Do you need to test whether your message is on target (based on your buyer personas) or do you need to get prospects through the marketing funnel and further qualify them?

These are simple, but important questions. I’ve seen lengthy discussions arise because the marketing team is not in sync. Some want to go after additional industries so that the message can be spread out and the company name (or product) can become known elsewhere. Others don’t want to “abandon” leads they have already generated and argue for more nurturing campaigns with content that will guide those leads down to eventually close a sale.

So how do you solve this? I believe it is a matter of understanding a few important things before making a decision, such as:

  1. How long is your sales cycle?
  2. Who are the decision makers and all the personas involved?
  3. What content has already been created?
  4. Which content pieces were successful in the past and why?
  5. What is the profile of your ideal customer?

Number 5, although the last one, is typically the first thing your company should know. This sounds obvious but for startups it might take them a while until they figure out who exactly is their ideal customer, which can change from the day they set out to actually sell the product until they close their first few deals.

If you have a relatively short sales cycle, then developing content focused on driving leads down the marketing funnel to help close deals might be the best bet. If, on the other hand, you don’t expect deals to close within the next 6 months, then you can afford to verge off track for a bit and create content for other industries/personas/segments and come back later with additional content for existing leads.

Whatever your decision, make sure you understand what and why you are doing it and have some metrics in place to tell you what is working and why.


How to Build a Lead Scoring Program

June 7, 2012

By Ashley Furness, guest blogger and Software Advice market analyst

Every company wants high leads volume – but not prioritizing those opportunities can leave sales wasting time on leads that will never buy, while the best prospects fall through the cracks.

Fortunately, an effective lead scoring program can address this problem. Below is a two-part video series from Software Advice that outlines tips for creating such a program. In it, VisionEdge Marketing President Laura Patterson demonstrates how to use “fit” and “behavior” metrics to rate your leads. Then, what to do with the scores once they are determined.

To measure fit, she recommends using questions that help decide if the potential buyer is a match the company and its products. This can include queries such as: Is it in the right market? Is it the right kind of company? Is this person the decision maker? Do they have the right kind of problem? Does our product solve that problem?

Behaviors, on the other hand, are observable actions that show where the prospect is in the buying process. To create these metrics, first map out your buying process pipeline – from first contact, for example, to fills out online quote form. Next, decide on metric behaviors for each one of the incremental buying process actions.

Once you have these metrics and create a scale for each, your team can decide what scores trigger marketing or sales action.

This content was provided by Software Advice.


Inbound Marketing Analytics 101

December 14, 2011

HubSpot does it again, taking content that is not necessarily new or revolutionary and putting it in a nicely formatted eBook that makes reading it a pleasure.

With “An Introduction to Inbound Marketing Analytics“, you get an overview of what to measure and why. Especially useful for small companies and those who are just starting out with their marketing programs and need some help identifying key metrics, the eBook is packed with good advice.

HubSpot Inbound Marketing Analytics eBook

Inbound Marketing Analytics Overview

In the eBook you will see metrics for the following marketing tactics:

  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing
  • Lead Nurturing & Marketing Automation
  • Your Website & Landing Pages
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Paid Search
  • Business Blogging

The benefits of analyzing your marketing performance according to HubSpot are:

1. Identify what’s working.
2. Identify what’s not working.
3. Identify ways to improve.
4. Implement more of the tactics that work to improve marketing performance

Agreed!

Get your free copy of the “An Introduction to Inbound Marketing Analytics” eBook.

Introduction to Marketing Analytics eBook


Marketing Automation Catching On Fire

February 16, 2011

According to the recent report by Marketing Sherpa, “CMO Perspectives on B2B Marketing Automation” (offered for FREE by Marketo until March 1st), “the majority of CMOs have either implemented, are in the process of implementation, or are at least considering implementation of marketing automation software“.

34%: Our marketing automation software is partially implemented

19%: Our marketing automation software is fully implemented

17%: We have not began implementation but plan to

30%: We have not began implementation and don’t plan to

This is probably good news for the vendors, which are competing in an increasingly crowded market. Some have even suggested that marketing automation market is floundering, but it is such a new market and offering that is innevitable to have doubts, especially with these many vendors in the space. With time, a shake out is likely (in fact, the recent acquisition of Unica and Aprimo may point to consolidation) and the evolution of solutions will ensure marketing automation has a place in most marketing organizations, much like CRM is now standard for sales departments.

A Marketing Automation Timeline

So let’s take a look at the marketing automation companies in play today (mostly US based in this case) and when they were founded. Interesting to note that the majority of the players only came to existence not even 5 years ago. This nascent industry still has lots of growth to do.

Timeline of Marketing Automation Vendors

You may spot some companies that were not considered to be “marketing automation” players just a year or so ago. That points to the evolving nature of the market, and the key functions of lead nurturing, scoring, and automated triggers becoming part of email marketing and other marketing solutions. Marketing Automation Software Guide published a B2B Marketing Automation market map that shows a few other players I ignored for the timeline above, like SAP and Oracle because although they do have marketing automation capabilities it is not their core business (and I don’t agree with tagging Salesforce.com as a marketing automation solution).

Investment in Marketing Automation

Another interesting factor to consider in the marketing automation industry and why it seems to be catching on fire is the money that is flowing towards some of the key players. Just a few marketing automation companies have already raised over $170 million dollars combined. Whether they will all be around a couple years from now is still to be seen, but it does make for a highly competitive environment. With cash to burn, these companies are focusing on growing the customer base first, with hopes that revenue will follow.

Total invested in Marketing Automation vendors

The marketing automation infographic above (click to enlarge) shows the top players in the MA space that have raised over $1 million dollars. Also interesting to note that if you break down the fundraising of each of the above vendors into a timeline (like I did below), most of the investment has been made in the past couple years.

Marketing automation funding timeline

You may have to click to enlarge the funding timeline infographic above.

Note: I used publicly available data and wasn’t able to find Eloqua’s Series A, so I deducted based on valuation of their second round.

The Marketing Automation Market

The Marketing Automation market is at an interesting stage. Companies are fighting for customers, trying to educate the market, and we may be seeing the beginnings of consolidation. Based on the investment figures above it seems is catching on fire, but at the same time there’s fierce rivalry and still a lot of room to improve… what will happen? I don’t know but it promises to be really interesting!

What do you think ?

P.S. Let me know if I missed any MA company in the graphics above or if I got incorrect data. I’d be happy to fix the infographics for benefit of everyone.


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