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Once a week or so , we will try and share 'what's in the news' about Marketing Automation, Digital Marketing and Engagement Marketing... Maybe even Big Data too. How Marketers Can Seize the Mobile Moment CIO A new report by Forrester says marketers and advertisers cannot afford to shun mobile. People are consuming mobile content more than ever. However, only two percent of online shoppers want to see offers from brands on their mobile devices. One of the mistakes marketers make is delivering content that markets products. The smartphone is very personal, and mobile users don't want to turn their device into a billboard for advertisers. Marketers who don't heed this advice are doomed to get abysmal conversion rates. How to Create a Data-Driven Marketing Team Computer World To succeed as a data ready enterprise, companies are faced with the imperative of building a data-driven marketing team that can put massive amounts of data to work. Interestingly, the biggest obstacle to creating a data-driven culture is a lack of leadership. Most people are afraid of data and are afraid of being involved in situations where they don’t know the numbers and don’t understand how the data represents their business. 80 Percent of Marketers Will Increase Digital Budgets in the Year Ahead Direct Marketing News According to the Direct Marketing Association’s “2015 Statistical Fact Book,” four out of five marketers will increase their spend on digital this year and 45 percent will focus on social media marketing as their biggest area of opportunity. Email marketing came in second as it was seen as continuing to deliver exceptional ROI because people continued to respond positively to the commercial messages that reached their inboxes. Most importantly, 77 percent of respondents said they'd likely buy more if their mail was personalized, and 69 percent said they were willing to share more personal information in return for that relevancy.
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Posting for ​ From Summit, I made a blog post from my notes on one of the sessions. Check out the full post here: 3 Reasons for Engagement Marketing Here's the short version, though: Reason #1: Building Your Brand This is an easy one. Engaging with your leads and prospects with useful content establishes credibility for your brand. Being informative, useful, and empathetic does much more for your brand than the shotgun blast that takes lazy aim at a large list with single-target messaging. Instead, the hands-off approach builds credibility for your brand and practically guarantees good vibrations with your prospects right from the start. This harkens back to one of the most basic human characteristics: we like people that like us. Reason #2: Building Relationships with Your Leads All of the above is backstory to this central idea: Engagement Marketing helps you build effective relationships with potential customers at any stage of their buying journey. If they’re teetering on the edge of the top of your funnel, push them over the edge by serving up information that’s useful to them. Use a light touch– they’re not ready for late-stage sales messages yet. Set up some triggers to track how they interact with your emails and website so that when they exhibit further signs of interest, they’re automatically embraced into the next level of your relationship. To illustrate this point, think of the last time you met a good friend for the first time. Did they drone on and on endlessly about themselves, or show interest in your interests, needs, and desires? I’m betting on the latter. Now think about all the shenanigans and high jinks you’ve gotten into with that friend. Kind of worth it, right? Reason #3: Engagement Programs Curtail The Sales Cycle Like I said above, I work with a fairly long sales cycle. I read a recent statistic from an IDG study that claimed most B2B purchase decisions involve an average of 7.5 decision-makers in the buying process. Thinking about conversions and ROI, the faster you can get those 7.5 people to agree that you’re the one, the faster you’ll prove marketing’s value to sales… And that support doesn’t come easily. If you’ve been able to start the conversation early with an informative and useful Engagement Program, you’ve essentially made the sales teams’ job exponentially easier. Your sales team will appreciate having to do less convincing, and this will also free them up to keep turning the crank on their other accounts. Additionally, leads that believe in the value of your solutions tend to buy more. Any sales person can corroborate that story– in fact, for most businesses, it’s not about competing on price but instead about proving value. Be valuable to your leads and prospects at every touchpoint you have with them, and they’ll pay it forward. Literally, though. They’ll pay you. With money. And probably a fair amount of goodwill, too.
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Some key theme for Marketers to think about: Mobile, Global and Local (Mo-Glo-Lo). Lots of data here.
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This document was provided by our LaunchPoint partner, Sprinklr. This contains practical tips for assessing and handling different brand crisis situations from the occasional social media blunder to the disastrous PR nightmare.
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This document was provided by our LaunchPoint partner, Sprinklr. Contains stats around traditional customer service practices, reasons why brands should incorporate social media into the mix, best practices for social customer care, and advice from customer service pros like Augie Ray and Frank Eliason.
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Note: This playbook was provided by our LaunchPoint partner, Neustar Results from this study reveal that the practices and attitudes of marketers and publishers are aligning with consumers’ privacy concerns. For all the negative connotations around data collection, the reality is much less scary. Below are some key findings from the study, followed by a more in-depth discussion. The marketing industry still struggles to link data to create individual customer profiles. Half of the respondents said they aren’t able to do it. Complexity seems to be the overarching challenge when it comes to data collection. 25 percent said that legal issues are a challenge; 29 percent said process is a main challenge; 19 percent responded having no systems in place was a hurdle.' Traditional modes of data collection are still dominant. 71 percent told us they collect information based on phone numbers, home addresses and IP addresses; 76 percent reported collecting demographic profile data. Interestingly, only 47 percent are collecting psychographic data. Marketers and publishers believe, overwhelmingly, that consumers should know what data is being collected. Approximately 96 percent said that consumers should have complete control and be fully informed about a company’s data collection policy and have the ability to opt-out. Additionally, 89 percent said that a company is either responsible or completely responsible for respecting and protecting consumers’ privacy. Some industry executives (21 percent) believe government constrains companies too much when it comes to collecting data. There’s also an education issue; 23 percent said they’re not familiar with the current legal framework.
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Note: This case study was written by and provided by our LaunchPoint partner, Annuitas. ANNUITAS partnered with PR Newswire to launch a customer-centric demand-generation program. From the very beginning, the goal was to replace PR Newswire’s tactical marketing approach with a strategically driven campaign to help turn more leads into sales and more buyers into long-term loyal customers.
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Note: This survey was created by our LaunchPoint partner, Annuitas. From April 8 to June 15, 2014 ANNUITAS conducted a study to analyze current Enterprise-level B2B Demand Generation Strategies and discover key patterns, including where B2B marketers produce the best results and where they continue to struggle. This survey was unique in that it focused exclusively on the B2B Enterprise (organizations with revenues that exceeded $250M in annual revenue). More than 100 B2B enterprise marketers responded to the study.
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Note: This eBook was created by our LaunchPoint partner, Annuitas. Read about the changing landscape of Demand Generation -- and learn what you need to know.
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Making the decision to ramp up content production and promotion is the first (and in some ways, easiest) step. There’s a LOT to do once that decision is made, and it’s important that you don’t run out of the steam midway through the effort. A good content program is a train that keeps on going, a car that needs constant refueling, the truck that keeps on trucking—okay, enough, you get the point. For content to be a successful element of your marketing, you have to come up with a plan from the get-go for how you’re going to keep this thing running. This is where most companies falter. Everyone gets really excited at first, no one really owns the who/what/when/where/how/why aspect, and suddenly you’re down to producing sporadic content when someone finally remembers you haven’t done anything in a while. Don’t let this be you. I know you can be better than that. And here, I’m going to help you with a few tips to keep you on the right track (apparently I’m full of endless transportation metaphors). 1.  Establish who is / will be involved Don’t get caught in the infinite “it’s not my job” loop. Identify which team members will handle things like writing and designing the content, posting it or distributing it, and creating the follow-up funnel sequences. Make the expectations clear upfront so everyone knows who’s responsible for what. This step also helps you determine what you can handle in-house and where you might need outside help. 2.  Determine who / how outside writers and resources will be managed Make sure you create a plan for this. Someone should be responsible for securing vendors, working with them, reviewing their work and generally managing the relationships as a whole. Try to keep this streamlined—it can be difficult for contractors to have to deal with several people within your organization, rather than just one point of contact. 3.  Make a plan Know when, where and how content will be distributed or pushed. Be sure to create thoughtful follow-up communications where it makes sense, one that keeps content consumers in your nurture loop. 4.  Create clear processes and workflows This is so important. Like, I can’t stress how important this is. You need a simple way of managing all of your content projects and all the elements involved in each one. Luckily, there are so many sophisticated solutions out there for managing content workflow, and you’ll definitely want to use one of them. At LeadMD, we really like using Kapost , which lets us manage task assignments, deadlines and even ideas for everyone involved in content projects. 5.  Create a content-driven culture The people around you have great ideas for content—they just might not be thinking about it that way. Creating a content culture kind of changes your business a bit. Suddenly, interesting little tidbits become fun ideas for an infographic. A random comment could inspire a great blog post. Consistent questions from customers might make a good white paper. You never know when inspiration might strike, and you should not only encourage people to contribute ideas, but give them an outlet to do so. I mentioned Kapost before. One of the cool things in Kapost is that there’s an actual idea hub where people can contribute ideas, and the content manager can review and approve the ones that work. The road ahead might be bumpy, but with clear directions for how to get on your way, you can help ensure your new content program will never hit a dead end. (Just when you thought I was out of metaphors!)
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Note: This was provided by our LaunchPoint partner, LeadMD. I don’t know about you, but when I’m doing something I think no one else will see, I tend to do things a little…differently.  For instance, I’ll write in shorthand that only I understand. Or I may not actually fold the sheets and towels in my linen closet. It’s my little secret, because I know I’m the only one who has to deal with it. Solopreneurs and businesses under five people tend to be the same way. They do things in a way that works for them, with shortcuts or abbreviations or processes set up in such a way that no one else could easily take over. Because you’ll be doing it forever, right? Well — not if you hope to actually grow your business. Nowhere is this more important than when it comes to your marketing automation system. The most important tip I can give you when purchasing and implementing your MA system is to take the time to set it up right, from Day 1! Here are two other hard truths you’re going to have to accept. Trust me, I’ve seen what happens when these are ignored, and the result is endless lost hours and money down the drain to fix it retroactively. You don’t want to be the person responsible for doing that to your company, do you? I didn’t think so. It’s not about you. As the business owner or the “marketing automation guy/gal” at your small business, it’s tempting to set things up in the way that’s easiest for you, rather than what will scale with the business. This could be an enormous burden later down the line as the business grows and other people have to use the system. So don’t be lazy. Remember, this marketing automation system is not for you, it’s for the business, and the business will have different needs a year from now. Take the time to come up with an implementation plan that takes into account where your business will be in the next few years. If you’re on your own, talk to other solopreneurs for advice. If you’re part of a company, talk to the owner and other employees. And keep in mind that someday you won’t be the only one manning the MA software. Build in room for collaboration and expansion and make it easy for other users to understand. Processes are your best friend. When it’s just you, systems are kind of a nuisance. But as your business grows, it’s the lack of systems and process that will become a nuisance, and introducing new ones will inspire a furor like none other. Nip it in the bud — now. Like a kid in a toy store, you’re going to want to dive right into your new marketing automation system and start playing and building things. Don’t. Instead, start by outlining processes for things like naming conventions, tags and campaign organization. Create clearly identified templates for consistency. Another important tip: Build a process guide for everything you’ve done, so that if someone else has to pick up what you’re doing without warning, there are clear directions for how to proceed. Continue to evolve your processes as you dive deeper, and update your guides. I know it’s hard doing it this way. But just like the chagrin I felt when my closet full of unfolded towels and sheets became an unexpected avalanche of fabric, you know that being forward-thinking and proactive now will serve your business well into the future.
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Note: This guide was provided by our LaunchPoint partner, Cake. Intro:  When it comes to where and how to invest their digital advertising resources, today’s marketers have more choices than ever. From display banners and mobile apps to email promotions to social media campaigns, the options available for engaging with consumers are diverse, varied and continually evolving. But while digital opportunities may be numerous, marketing budgets have limits. Now more than ever, decision makers need ways to quickly assess what’s working and what’s not so they can intelligently allocate available spend. This requires more than instinct and intuition. Data that provides accurate, rich, real-time insight into digital campaign performance is needed. Thanks to the explosion of data generated online, a goldmine of performance-related information is now available to digital advertisers. But with so much to track, organize and analyze, making sense of it all can be challenging. Transforming “Big Data” into “Smart Data” that guides fact-based decision making is the key to digital marketing success. Download the doc and read more)
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Note: This White Paper was provided by our LaunchPoint partner, Cake. This guide explores how multi-touch marketing attribution can increase the success of your digital advertising campaigns.
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Use the Salesforce workflow engine to supercharge your marketing automation in this presentation from the Marketo Summit 2014. Presented by Delinda Tinkey and Charlie Liang.
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How do you know if your organization is ready for B2B Marketing Operations (MO) 2.0? This paper will help you determine if your organization is ready by asking questions like: What does that organization look like? What are its primary pain points? What is its vision for the future? What pressures are driving it to consider undergoing substantial change? THE CURRENT STATE OF B2B MARKETING OPERATIONS Marketing Operations is still finding its way into the enterprise, but it has certainly made has made significant strides in the past three years. Consider: In Silicon Valley, less than two-dozen companies had formalized Marketing Operations functions in place in 2005; that number today is likely in the hundreds. Even smaller upstarts, such as Big Band Networks, CyperSource, Iron Key and InsideView, have recognized the value of Marketing Operations by investing in dedicated staff. At least a half-dozen MO-related special interest groups have arrived on social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Plaxo and Yahoo Groups. Conferences, such as ad:tech, eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit and Predictive Analytics World, have added Marketing Operations to their agendas. The Marketing Operations Cross-Company Alliance (MOCCA) has grown to more than 500 members and the Marketing Operations Future Forum, which was just formed in April 2009, already exceeds 300 members. Even in a bad economy during the winter holidays, a search of MO-related job openings uncovered several dozen opportunities. The first courses on the discipline of Marketing Operations were offered through the University of California system and in Asia (Hong Kong) in 2008. The UCSC Extension MO course is expected to become available online in January 2010. A CHECKLIST FOR YOUR COMPANY To see if your company is a good candidate for B2B Marketing Operations 2.0, check all the characteristics listed below that apply. My company invests a significant amount in marketing resources (headcount and/or budget). My company’s marketplace is dynamic and highly competitive. My company’s marketing has evolved into a complex and multi-dimensional function. A diverse mix of programs and resources are funded to reach a breadth of audiences (segments, sales channels, internal and external stakeholders, etc.). My company faces government and regulatory compliance pressures. My company’s marketing processes have evolved to the point where they are no longer well coordinated or even well-understood. My company values best practices but lacks process, technology and metrics to achieve them. My company is pressuring marketing to assume a more strategic role. Within my company, many believe that marketing must deliver greater value for the company’s investment. If you checked half or more of the above statements, your company is a great candidate to benefit by leveraging the power of B2B Marketing Operations 2.0. WHERE DO YOU FEEL THE PAIN? If your company is feeling some pain, you’re probably acutely aware of it. Arriving at an accurate diagnosis, however, requires a careful examination. Before reviewing the checklist below to identify localized pain points, first consider the general health of your marketing effort. Does marketing currently receive wide recognition for its strategic leadership and bottom-line contribution? Is marketing in complete alignment with your company’s strategic goals and other key functions? Can marketing clearly measure its success and demonstrate ROI to your executive team?MO 2.0 is specifically designed to address these corporate pain points: A Marketing team focused on firefighting and tactics rather than on strategy. A Marketing team experiencing difficulty measuring ROI and demonstrating value, causing it often to be on the defensive, needing to justify marketing accountability to C-level executives and investors. Marketing success tied to other groups that have different, or even conflicting, goals. A corporate environment that fails to support collaboration and consequently loses opportunities for synergy. Employee defections that jeopardize continuity, place institutional knowledge and expertise at risk and contribute to high customer churn. Marketing processes that too often constrain internal efficiencies and effectiveness instead of enabling them. Poor coordination of shared processes across functions. Difficulty assimilating and integrating programs, systems and resources obtained from corporate mergers or acquisitions, leading to leading to duplication, momentum loss, lack of focus and resistance to change. If you resonate with two or more of the above statements, your organization may be in enough pain to be ready to embrace B2B Marketing Operations 2.0. WHAT’S YOUR VISION OF MARKETING’S CONTRIBUTION? In a perfect world, marketing operates as a very creative, fast-paced, results-driven function that stays close to the customer and its other stakeholders. It is not only aligned with the enterprise’s strategic agenda but also helps define it. It leads the customer experience and innovation processes. It is well integrated with other corporate functions and takes full advantage of the power and discipline of a strategically designed B2B Marketing Operations 2.0 infrastructure.The MO 2.0 infrastructure layers into the marketing function the processes, technology, guidance and metrics required by an efficient operation that delivers outstanding value on a consistent basis. Such an MO 2.0 infrastructure enables informed decision-making, accountability, sustainability, visibility, teamwork, strategic thinking and repeatable best practices execution.A marketing organization is ready to think seriously about embracing MO 2.0 when it feels internal and external pressures to make systemic changes because it has not been delivering on its vision and has consistently failed to achieve its operational goals. The CEO considers the CMO/Marketing VP to be a valued strategic partner. Marketing is fully aligned with other company functions and stakeholders. Marketing efforts accelerate new product adoption, strengthen customer relationships and increase market penetration rate. Marketing leverages metrics and dashboards to measure and track results, and continually improve them. Dashboards rapidly and accurately inform decision makers. Metrics are aligned with corporate goals and increasingly drive marketing expenditures. The marketing team is energized and highly effective. Employee and customer loyalty are consistently high. High return on marketing investment is clearly recognized companywide. Unless you’ve checked at least half of the above statements, there is a large gap between your vision and your current reality. Your company is ripe—or more than ripe—for MO 2.0. Characteristic Organizational Pain Desired Vision Substantial marketing investment (resources, programs, budget) Unmanageable complexity, difficulty demonstrating ROI, Marketing on defensive Marketing optimizes resources to deliver substantial ROI Leverages processes, technology and best practices to spur productivity, knowledge sharing Utilizes dashboards and metrics to make informed spend decisions Is recognized by C-team for its accountability and ROI contribution Dynamic, competitive market No, or disappointing, growth, super-growth, high customer churn, high employee turnover Marketing aligns with other functions to take responsibility for: Nurturing sales funnel Revenue targets Innovation process New market penetration Customer experience Under media or regulatory scrutiny for: Shareholder confidence Supplier to government High-profile industry Compliance pressure, impact of change on SOX compliance, media magnifying glass Marketing partners with Quality, Finance, IR to meet compliance requirements Maps key processes Documents best practices Applies LEAN, Six Sigma and other methodologies Demonstrates ROI through KPIs, dashboards, etc. M&A integration challenges Actual or Pending Duplicated efforts, loss of continuity, “everything needs attention” syndrome, difficulty getting buy-in for change initiatives Marketing leads M&A and other change initiatives Communications leadership “Walking the talk” More tactical than strategic Firefighting, CYA behavior Marketing is valued strategic partner to CEO and C-team Some or all of the content contained in this white paper was contributed by Gary M. Katz, CEO of Marketing Operations Partners (www.mopartners.com)
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Good tips to help prepare you for tomorrow.
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Big Data is rock’n the Marketer’s world. It is signalling a wake-up call that marketers need to be more metrics driven, more technically savvy and more process oriented. At the top of the food chain, CMOs are taking on responsibilities that traditionally belonged to CIOs. And at the middle management level, marketers are being required to be more technical and metrics oriented. The days of just fishing for eyeballs or operating based on one’s gut instinct are long gone. It is no longer acceptable to just look at demographics or psychographics or just count eyeballs. Instead, marketers need to focus on the numbers — people’s tribes, their behaviors, their interests, their online behavior — both in terms of surfing the website or a mobile app or transacting with a page or shopping cart.. Most marketers would agree, however, that they are not prepared for the incoming Big Data wave: they lack resources, lack data know-how, and they don’t know how to get started. According to a study from The Economist Intelligence Unit, only 24% of marketers use data for actionable marketing insight. Furthermore, in that same study almost 50% of marketers cited a lack of capacity to analyze big data. Some companies are increasing their budgets for Big Data analytics. The problem is that there’s no road map for getting these marketers up to speed. Rather than focus on the bells and whistles (the technology) of big data, here’s are 7 steps a marketer a marketer can take to get out of their comfort zone and jump into the Big Data World: Understand the definition of Big Data, which is usually defined by the 3Vs: Volume or the amount of data involved Variety or to how the data is structured Velocity or the rate at which it is generated and analysed Subscribe to and learn from few key bloggers, who can teach you the ropes: SemAngel Blog by Gary Angel: Gary brings over twenty years of experience in decision support, CRM, and software development. Gary co-founded Semphonic and is the President and Chief Technology Officer.  But don’t let the CTO title fool you. Gary is the the brightest consultant I have worked with and can take complex techn issues and break them down into easily digestible and understandable. chunks for markets Analytics Blog by Justin Cutron: Justin is currently the Analytics Advocate at Google, so he has a boatload of knowledge. In his blog, he breaks down digital analytics for businesses. Customer Analytics blog by the SAS’ companies – This blog is for anyone who is looking for ways to improve the business of marketing and communicating with customers, which includes everything from multi-level marketing to social media campaigns. Big Data Hub by IBM: This blog is filled with case studies, videos, etc. from key players at IBM and beyond. Business Analytics Blog by Tim Elliot: Tom is an Innovation Evangelist for SAP. This blog contains his personal views, thoughts, and opinions on business analytics. Get your organization big data ready: Tear down your organization’s silos and engage multiple departments Give team members homework — tell them to read the blogs mentioned above. Think about how you will link your current data infrastructure to your project (that means a business analyst, and IT guy, etc. should be involved in the meeting) Know and recognize that Big Data is a team sport Work with  framework your organization agrees on, such as: Define Your Goal Understand your resources Review key segment’s Journey Confirm you are capturing data during each phase Establish benchmark Create a small measurable deliverable (test) Track over time Establish toll gate reviews Expand program Tweak your programs as needed Define the desired outcome and the one question you want to answer Yes, narrow it down to one (primary) question Answer the question and move on Understand your inputs by breaking down your customer(s) journey Identify the different sources of data, such as social network behavior, information from third party lists, mobile usage, downloads, etc. List out different types of potential metrics you could track: Information related specifically to the customers transactions (or actions) Information related to a segment’s usage patterns Information related to the overall marketing program In some respects Big Data is just an extension of database marketing, a popular term in the 1980s and 1990s because it focuses on leveraging customer information to segment an audience and develop personalized campaigns. The biggest difference now is that we can leverage unstructured data (video for example) and implement just-in-time programs. I am a big believer in learning by doing. If a Marketer really wants to be figure out how to integrate big data into their business processes, they need to have on-the-job training. (And to that point, I actually believe this is important for the CMO as well as the Business Analyst, although the latter might get more in the proverbial data weeds!). If marketers don’t do this, they will lose their admission ticket to be in the marketing world.
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Contrary to what you might have heard, rumors about the Marketing Funnel’s demise are greatly exaggerated. The Funnel is alive and well. And it should be leveraged extensively by Marketers. It provides a consistent and universally understood (and somewhat accepted) framework. The funnel does come in a variety of shapes and sizes and colors – with different twists and turns. Despite this variety, few Marketers really leverage this powerful model. The funnel enables Marketers to have an almost universally understood visual representation of various customer touch points, and makes it easier to track and score a person’s behavior. The Marketo funnel provides a good (although, not the only) framework and consists of six key stages: Awareness: This is the universe of people who know anything about Marketo no matter what social network they participate on, what articles they read, etc. Inquiry: This is when we finally know something about the person; we know at least their their name and email address. Prospect: This is when the individual has taken some sort of action. Lead: Finally This person is treated as a lead and can be shared with a sales organization. Opportunity: The sales team has accepted these leads and added them to their pipeline. Customer: The person becomes a customer and they are passed on to a new revenue cycle for upsell and retention. Of course, each of these stages include multiple marketing tactics and scoring approaches.It’s important, though, to understand the difference between a contact (or a prospect) and a true lead (someone who has explicitly engaged with the company). Obviously, the relationship does not end after an individual becomes a customer. At that point, you can upsell or cross sell them.You can determine the value of a customer based on the different products they purchase, if they adopted your product sooner than others or if they are part of a referral program, etc.  As Seth Godin points out – “Customers are traditionally undervalued, and prospects are all treated the same.”Godin continues:“Once you see the funnel, it’s easy to understand how valuable your existing customers are, and easy to think about how you want to spend time and money in promoting and building your site. Most Marketers are running a flat campaign. Embracing the funnel changes the way you treat people. And treating different people differently is what consumers demand.”Having a model like the funnel and a good marketing automation tool enables you to measure and understand the cost of each interaction. Sharing this information with the rest of your organization helps build a Marketer’s credibility in a company, especially with the CFO.The funnel also provides a learning framework for Marketers to test out different messaging and creative at each stage of the funnel. This gives Marketers the option to fine-tuning his current program.Since I started my first big marketing job in American Express in 1992, I have heard lots of critiques of the funnel. Marketers love the catch phrases, such as ‘The Funnel is Dead.’ Well, I disagree. It’s advantages have has evolved since 1898 when E. St. Elmo Lewis developed a model which mapped a theoretical customer journey from the moment a brand or product attracted consumer attention to the point of action or purchase. (St. Elmo Lewis’ idea is often referred to as the AIDA-model – an acronym which stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action). Let’s address some of the funnel naysayers’ concerns, most of which apply to any marketing or sales model: It fails to take into account the ‘feedback loop between existing customers and prospects.’ Whether it is the funnel or another framework (such as a Life Preserver Ring of unique  ‘Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action areas’), there always exists the challenge of tracking all the interactions among people (customers and prospects ). It’s always difficult to uncover each discussion about your brand online. The funnel is too linear. According to these critics, the primary problem with the funnel is that the buying process is no longer linear. Well, I was always taught that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  Most of the companies I work with, however, do have the majority of their customers follow more or less a linear process. They can be broken down into the different stages described in the Marketo model above. If fails to track retention or repeat business. I must confess this might be the weakest part of most funnel models. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the simplicity of the Funnel’s approach. Most frameworks do not go into any great detail about ‘Retention’ or ‘Lifetime Value’ anyway. The bottom line is that good Marketers constantly score their customers over time. American Express might be the masters at this. They leverage all their great Cardmember spending data to model, score and customize online and offline programs. It fails to paint a pretty picture, nor does the word funnel doesn’t sound great. I never did judge a book by its cover or a person by their name. If this is what a Marketer is worried about, then they are focused on the wrong things. There are many powerful Six-Sigma names and diagrams, for example, that don’t convey a powerful image such as SIPOC (Single Point of Contact), DPO (Defects Per Opportunity), PD (Proportion defective) It fails to take into consideration the powerful feedback loops between existing customers and newly arriving prospects that search and social media have wired up. I beg to differ. If you have some of your word of mouth programs coded properly you should be able to track shares, referrals and other types of influencer programs. It fails to consider some products, such as iPhones, where marketing is integrated into the product. I think it comes down to how you set up your programs. You should be able to track cross-sell and upsell, and even referrals from within a product. With Flurry, for example, you can track your customers behavior when they use a mobile app. It tracks the big 3: taps, tasks and transitions. The Funnel fails to capture all touch points. Over time, a good Marketer should be able to define these, however. They also should ensure they are in learning mode so that they can constantly update their list of sources. This means they should be tracking referral links, surveying their customers and analyzing where their competitors get their leads from. And then there’s the McKinsey Consumer Journey (see below) which attempts to demonstrate that the buying process is not linear and that several steps repeat themselves. For the real digital practitioner, however, it’s too simple to say someone goes from Bond to Buy: . While brands may put the decision maker, the Customer,  at the center of the McKinsey Customer Journey, the above excludes the importance of the experience the Marketer and the company are having with the customers. Life is not all about the transaction. For example, at Marketo, our energy goes into building relationships with Marketers as well as connecting Marketers together. In addition, you don’t have to be a customer to recommend a product. I am probably the biggest promoter of Tesla, but I can’t afford one. I have only tried it via a Freemium ride provided by a neighbor and have read great reviews about it on Edmunds.com. Does that mean I can’t recommend the vehicle to others? Obviously not. In sum, CMOs and their teams need to know that the funnel is alive and kicking. Rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated. The Funnel is an easy to use, easy to remember approach to tracking individuals who interact with your brand – either directly or indirectly. It’s simplicity is what makes it special – and it provides the most universally understood way of thinking about an individual’s interaction with your brand. It works not only in a B2C environment, but also in a B2B environment. Marketers should always feel free, however to add their own creative twist on things and rename all or parts of it.  Long-Live the Funnel.
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