Digital: The State of B2B

According to recent data, digital marketing has overtaken traditional mediums and become some of the most-utilized tactics in the B2B marketers’ arsenal.

Traditional advertising is dead, sort of. While many of the general principles, creativity and strategies of the Mad Men era are still true today, the constantly growing digital landscape has transformed how we apply them, particularly in B2B. As print, radio, TV and direct mail now represent some of the least-utilized channels by B2B marketers, the dawn of digital has arrived.

By the Numbers

Recent surveys from Eloqua, CMO.com and Software Advice reveal which channels are the most-used by B2B marketers:

In-house email marketing                            98%
Search engine optimization (SEO)               94%
Social media (not ads)                                  88%
Trade shows & events                                  87%
Third-party lead originators                       86%
Paid search engine advertising                   82%
Telemarketing/cold calling                          81%
Third-party email marketing                       75%
Display advertising (CPM)                           67%
Third-party webinars                                   67%
Social media ads                                            63%
Direct mail                                                     63%
Retargeting advertising                                60%
Print, radio, TV                                              50%

Social Impact

The perception of social media channels as only having value in B2C is also changing. A Direct Marketing News survey reports that 64% of B2B marketers are using social media. In addition to the SEO benefits that come from updating multiple channels consistently with new original content, B2B marketers are now using social media to effectively reach and influence decision makers:

  • 40% are not yet tapping into the full marketing potential of social media
  • 85% of B2B marketers cite “ generating more business” as the top benefit of social media marketing
  • 83% of marketers cite LinkedIn as the most popular social channel for content distribution
  • LinkedIn surpassed 100 million users and 1 million groups in 2011. Forrester’s B2B Social Technographics® showed that 86% of decision-makers use social media for business purposes.

Creative Re-Revolution

The creative revolution of the 60s is experiencing a second awakening in the digital age for a number of reasons, the first of which is search engine algorithms. As search engines like Google update and alter their algorithms to deliver a better user experience, the days of content farming are dead and a greater emphasis is being placed on new, frequently-updated and original content.

Another reason for the renewed emphasis on creative is clutter. Much more affordable than traditional mediums, digital channels have allowed more companies the ability to afford advertising than ever before. As a result, there is also more clutter. As it was in the 60s, great creative that’s interesting and relevant is the key to grabbing viewers’ attention and delivering your message. Direct Marketing News reports, “Email inboxes are highly cluttered these days. It’s important to make sure your email stands out with a great “from” and “subject line.”

To learn more about digital marketing or to arrange a consultation, email Bob Kent at bk@timmonsandcompany.com.

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Off Target: Why B2B marketers struggle tailoring their marketing to their markets – and how to fix it.

As markets continue becoming more segmented, these strategies can help B2B marketers who are having trouble targeting their marketing.

Unlike their consumer counterparts, B2B marketers are struggling to embrace the targeting of their messages to individual verticals. According to new research by Demandbase and Ziff-Davis, half of the marketing executives who took part in the study admitted they have only a basic understanding of how to target their markets.

Direct Marketing News reports that, “Experts interviewed say the study shines a spotlight on a long-overdue need for cultural change in B2B marketing organizations.” Below are some of the strategies we use to help our clients focus their message on individual audiences.

Bottom-up

One of the best ways to begin crafting a relevant message is what’s often called bottom-up marketing. In addition to being very knowledgeable about the market itself, your sales force often has direct contact with your customers and clearly understand their needs, the challenges they face and the language they use. Harvesting their knowledge is key to developing communications that speak directly and sincerely to an audience.

Whenever we begin new campaigns for our clients, we always try to include the sales force in the discussion to make sure our marketing messages will communicate clearly to their customers. (As a side benefit, including sales people in the creative process will make them more likely to buy into the marketing efforts – as they’ll feel like they helped create it)

One voice, multiple audiences

Another key to successful targeted marketing is developing a brand that has the flexibility to speak to multiple audiences, while still giving all of your marketing communications a singular tone and voice. Though the messages and imagery will change with the audience, the overall look and feel of your communications should all sound like it’s coming from the same place.

One of the clients we work with is Siemens. From healthcare to industrial drive technology, they offer products in hundreds of different markets all across the globe. Their messages and imagery are always vertical-focused, but their brand is instantly recognizable in every market. It’s part of what has helped them become one of the most successful companies in the world.

The benefit of the benefit

The key to marketing effectively to audience is clearly conveying what’s called “the benefit of the benefit.” Products have features, which deliver benefits – which in turn deliver the benefit of the benefit. For example, Tide detergent has a special formula (feature) that gets clothes clean the first time (benefit), which helps parents save time by doing less laundry (benefit of the benefit).

Discovering and communicating this key understanding is often the difference between a campaign’s success or failure. When one of our clients, EIC Solutions, needed a campaign for their thermoelectric air conditioners in the military market, we emphasized the benefit of the benefit. Used for cooling IED detection electronics, their air conditioners have almost no moving parts (feature) that helps them stay operational in sandy theatres of war (benefit), which helps keep troops safe from roadside bombs (benefit of the benefit).

Solve the problem

The first question you should ask in targeting your communications is, “What is the problem my product/service will solve in this market?” Brian Leary, co-founder of CRM Essentials says, “B2B marketers tend to focus on their products and services and how great those are, but today’s customers don’t care. They want to know about solutions that address their challenges.”

True marketing success occurs when you understand the problems your customer is facing, and then deliver them a solution that effectively solves that problem. When Alconox wanted to enter the UK veterinary market, we developed a campaign that emphasized how their cleaner, Tergazyme, could help veterinarians avoid disease outbreak by eliminating disease-causing prions.

If you’d like to see how we can help tailor your communications to speak clearly to a specific market, contact Bob Kent at bk@timmonsandcompany.com

 

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B2B Digital Marketing: Diverse Channels, Valuable Content

How taking a multi-channel digital approach to your content marketing efforts can deliver measurable marketing effectiveness and visible ROI.

With today’s tightened marketing budgets and growing emphasis on quantifiable results, companies are increasingly looking for marketing strategies that deliver measureable ROI. Direct Marketing News reports, “Marketers are asking agencies to create marketing platforms that address strategic goals, rather than simply designing campaigns.” Digital mediums enable clients to operate effectively within their budgets while delivering real results that are actionable, quantifiable, and help to create and foster customer relationships.

Don’t sell, start a conversation

Christa Carone, CMO of Xerox Corporation says what’s needed is, “a cross-media approach to more relevant and customized programs that are less about selling to customers and more about engaging them to start the sales cycle.” By using different digital channels and mediums, you can create multiple points of contact with customers to begin the sales process, gauge customer interest/lead quality and develop new relationships.

Guide them to conversion

Well-planned digital strategies seamlessly lead customer from awareness to conversion. While traditional marketing sometimes starts and stops with brand awareness, the wide range of digital channels allows companies to continue the process and help generate, cultivate and qualify leads – delivering conversion-ready customers directly to their sales force’s doorstep.

In B2B, content is king

Direct Marketing News reports, “Creating buzz and building engagement in the B2C world takes many forms. In B2B, one approach tends to trump all others when it comes to spurring interaction and word of mouth among customers and prospects: content marketing.” Giving your audience original, valuable content that’s interesting and relevant opens the door to a relationship while simultaneously positions you as the authority on the that subject matter.

Creativity still counts

While many companies are less likely to spend millions for “Mad Men” era awareness campaigns, they’re still looking for creativity in their digital communications that cut through the clutter and are innovative and appealing to their industry.

Maximize your channels

The key to maximizing your spend is spreading your communications out through a diverse range of channels. Mike Volpe, CMO at marketing software provider HubSpot says, “B2B companies also need bold creativity, collaboration and cross-channel integration.  A customer doesn’t see them as different channels, they just want to have a relationship with you. They want you to know that you’ve sent an email if they call you on the phone.”

Analyze data and adjust

Perhaps more than any other medium, digital channels enable companies to track their initiatives’ effectiveness, analyze the results and take action. Smart digital marketers are constantly evaluating their results, doubling down on channels that work and cutting channels that don’t deliver – with effective measurement being the key to success.

Maria Poveromo, senior director of PR and social media at Adobe says, “If you don’t measure your efforts, you can’t prove your impact,” Poveromo says. “If you can’t do that, you may not have the resources and means to delight and engage your audience. But if you do measure, you could trigger a virtuous cycle whereby engagement leads to business value, which in turn leads to increased investment, which leads to better content and more engagement and so on.”

Firsthand Success

EIC Solutions is a leading global provider of thermoelectric cooling solutions for military and industrial applications. When they wanted a campaign designed to increase brand awareness and generate higher-quality leads, we employed a multi-channel digital strategy, and the results speak for themselves:

In the period from January to April 2012, EIC’s website visits rose by 40%, requests for quotes rose by 20% and orders rose by 15%.

To learn more about how an effective digital strategy could help improve your marketing’s effectiveness, contact Bob Kent at bk@timmonsandcompany.com

 

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Keystone Technologies Inc. launches website with new brand and enhanced features.

In addition to a refreshed brand, Keystone’s new website features an advanced content management system and a sophisticated product catalog and information architecture.

As a leader in the ballast and lighting industry for over six decades, Keystone Technologies Inc. designs, engineers and manufactures reliable ballasts and advanced lighting products. When they wanted a refreshed brand and website that delivered their customers the same level of satisfaction as their products, they turned to Timmons&Company.

Refreshed Brand

In the ballast and lighting industry, Keystone has a reputation for providing high-quality products, ballast expertise and unparalleled customer service. Their brand, however, had fallen behind the times. Our first step was to refresh their brand in a way that spoke better to their target audience and reflected their reputation as a premier lighting solutions provider. In addition to updating their logo, we created a clean, sophisticated look and used beautiful, luminous imagery to match the sleek design of their products.

We also decided to use simple, bold copy (such as “Light Made Right”) to emphasize their company’s responsiveness and straight-shooting brand persona. Through the copy and by adding “Since 1945” to their logo, we used their six and half decades of experience to strengthen their brand while paying homage to their family-owned heritage.

Simple, Yet Comprehensive Content Management

With over 390 total products, one of Keystone’s main goals with their new website was implementing a content management system (CMS) that allowed their staff to easily update their web content to match their constantly changing and expanding product catalog. Keystone needed a system that was both simple and intuitive for their staff to use but was also advanced enough to enable intricate editing and file uploading. We recommended they build their new site in Drupal, a feature rich, open source content management platform, which delivered the right balance between user-friendliness and advanced content editing tools.

Traditionally, if you had over 390 products, all of which have varying electrical specs and competitive product cross references that are linked across multiple databases, even making the smallest manual update would be a painstakingly laborious process. The Drupal CMS made this process easy, allowing Keystone web administrators to make one, or many, updates that would then be automatically synched across the entire site while preserving the cross referencing and information architecture.

Customer-Driven Search Capabilities

One of the biggest goals of the new site was to increase user satisfaction by making it easy for their customers to navigate their massive product catalog and quickly find the products they were looking for. To achieve this, we created a faceted search capability – enabling their customers to apply over 10 filter options and, in a matter of seconds, narrow their catalog down to the specific group of products that meet their visitors’ exact specifications. This feature is a huge improvement for Keystone and takes their site from being merely an informative resource to a fully functioning, interactive product catalog for both their customers and sales representatives.

In addition to the faceted search, we also implemented an advanced keyword search that searches not only product names and descriptions, but every data field available – down to the most minute electrical spec. Those results can then be further filtered using the same faceted system mentioned above to give users yet another fast and intuitive way to get the information they need. We also made an interactive version of their printed product catalog, improving the navigation and user experience of a resource that was previously difficult to translate to a digital medium.

 

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How B2B Content Marketing Should Be.

Six tips that can help you start or improve a content marketing effort to deliver tangible ROI.

Content marketing is a growing trend in the world of B2B. A 2011 report shows that almost half (48%) of all marketers have implemented content marketing as part of their strategy. In a Marketingsherpa B2B benchmark report, the most-effective tactics for B2B search engine optimization (SEO), social media and site optimization all involved content marketing initiatives. Likewise, two reports from Optify and Econsultancy reported that 84% of B2B marketers plan to increase their investments in content marketing while 90% believe that it will grow in importance over the next year.

Effective content marketing requires a lot of time, resources and planning. Having implemented content marketing strategies for several of our clients, here are a few tips that can enhance your initiatives’ impact.

1. ROI Starts with an I

Content marketing is an Investment , and a significant one at that. Allotting the appropriate (and often large) amount of time and resources required to create meaningful, relevant content for your audience will exponentially increase the effectiveness of your campaign. Don’t expect results with an inadequate or unreasonable investment. Do it right, or don’t do it at all.

2. Understand Your Audience

Before you can create relevant content, you have to know who you’re talking to. Demographics are fine, but you need to know more than simply who your target audience is, you need to understand them – their thinking, their motivations, the challenges they’re facing. Knowing and understanding these characteristics can be the difference between generating content that really resonates or peddling spam that no one will read.

3. Be Relevant

Relevance is the key to content marketing. Now that you understand your audience, you need to deliver useful content with actionable information to get and maintain their attention. Content marketing should provide the reader with something valuable and reward them for taking the time to read it. Your content should be more objective and industry-focused instead of solely self-promotional. If your content is not relevant, useful and interesting, you’re wasting your time and your audience’s time.

4. SEO-optimized? Yes. Keyword-saturated drivel? No.

Original, relevant content is the key to raising your search engine ranking, not keyword-packed paragraphs of meaningless messaging. While you should optimize your content for search engines (such as using the right industry & market language your audience is looking for and understands), avoid the temptation to create content full of buzzwords and nothing else. In fact, doing this may even have the opposite affect as search engines like Google continue to update their algorithms – often penalizing companies who try this with a lower rank.

5. Create Content for Every Customer Category

One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is its ability to help lead customers through the sales funnel. By creating relevant content for each stage of the sales cycle (awareness research, consideration, purchase, loyal customer, at-risk customer), you have an automated strategy that’s helping drive sales. Content marketing can also be used to maximize the time and effectiveness of your sales force by qualifying leads. For example, someone who clicked on an eblast, visited a microsite and downloaded a case study is a better candidate for a sales call thaen someone who was less engaged with your content.

 

We implemented a content marketing strategy for VWR International to help increase the readership, promotion redemption, sales and end-user value for several of their publications.

 

 

Contact Us to learn more about content marketing or to discover how we could develop an initiative for you.

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Direct Marketing: Catalogs Still Sell.

How this traditional marketing medium is still delivering tangible ROI in an overwhelmingly digital landscape.

With the wide range of new media channels available and media spending trends shifting toward digital, it’s sometimes easy to forget how some of the most traditional marketing mediums can still be the most effective. Though it represents one of the simplest and oldest forms of direct marketing, catalogs are still a reliable way to target existing customers, build brand loyalty and engage with new customers.

In fact, B2C industry leaders like IKEA, Jos. A. Bank and Procter & Gamble as well as B2B leaders like Siemens and VWR are still using print catalogs as an integral part of their media mix.

With millions of products in hundreds of divisions distributed all over the world, Siemens uses catalogs to give their customers a clear understanding of their offering, like this catalog we created for their motors.

Build Brand Loyalty

Unlike other mediums, catalogs have a much longer “shelf life,” often hanging around customers’ homes or desks for days and even months. According to Direct Marketing News, “Catalogs usually reach those consumers when they’re relaxed. As a result, they’re more willing to spend time with a catalog, thus more likely to consider purchasing the advertised products. Additionally, time spent with a catalog in hand can help drive brand engagement.”

In addition to their massive product catalog, VWR distributes industry-specific catalogs, like this publication we create for life science laboratories.

Integrate with Digital

For most companies, catalogs are one part of a larger marketing effort. One of the newer benefits of catalogs is their ability, through smartphones and tablets, to enable users to connect to additional content and marketing – further driving brand engagement. This year’s IKEA catalog, (which will be distributed to 211 million customers) is the first to contain pages that, when a customer takes a photo of them with a smartphone, unlocks additional digital like more product information and color options.

Scanning 2D bar codes is another way to drive engagement. For our B2B clients, we’ve done product catalogs with QR Codes that link directly to product demonstration videos – adding a digital element to a static medium. This trend is expected to grow as according to Forrester Research, 65% of 2D barcode users are between the ages of 23-45.

As one of the leaders in the medical device market, ConMed had us create this catalog to show their wide range of products for multiple surgical indications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimize Costs, Maximize Effectiveness

Anyway you look at it, the costs of producing, printing and mailing a catalog are high, especially when compared with digital mediums. However, there are ways to reduce those costs while maximizing a catalog’s effectiveness. Catalogs are least effective as broad marketing methods. Digital mediums and direct mail are your best bet for achieving the widest reach. When sent to a select, targeted database however, catalogs can be very effective. Also with the proliferation of tablet use, we’re seeing a growing trend in companies distributing their catalogs digitally – eliminating the expensive printing and postage costs associated with the medium.

Known industry-wide as a grower of high-quality "plug" starter plants, Gro’n Sell had us create both the print and digital versions of their seed catalog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drive Sales

The bottom line is that catalogs are very effective at helping companies market directly to their customers and drive sales:
• Home furnishings company Serena & Lily attributes 65%-70% of their sales to printed catalog marketing
• Jos. A. Bank’s sales from their digital and print catalog are up 39.3% in 2012
• VWR’s elements catalog generated $1,149.170 in advertising sales, exceeding expectations by nearly 15%.

Contact Us to learn more about how a catalog could help drives sales and increase brand loyalty for your company.

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Digital Marketing: Launch into Awareness

How a multi-channel digital approach to one client’s product launch drove record website traffic and brand awareness.

EIC Solutions Inc. is a world-leading provider of thermoelectric cooling solutions. As their strategic partner, they turned to us when they needed to get the word out about their new product: the ThermoTEC™ 3200 BTU thermoelectric air conditioner.

Using a highly-coordinated, multi-channel digital strategy, we delivered a 60% rise in their website traffic and doubled their single day-traffic record two days in a row. Here’s a snapshot of how we achieved this:

The Right Message

As Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote in their famous book Positioning, “The easiest way of getting into someone’s mind is to be first. It is very easy to remember who is first, and much more difficult to remember who is second.” Using this principle, we developed creative that emphasized the product’s unique market position as the world’s first and only 3200 BTU thermoelectric air conditioner.

The Right Strategy

We took that product positioning and developed a two phase campaign: a “teaser” phase before the launch to generate buzz and a 2nd phase advertising that the product was available. Our strategic digital media plan included placing these communications with trade publications and relevant industry websites. We also marketed directly to EIC’s existing customer database.

The Right Channels

To get the word out, we created press releases, web banner ads and email blasts that drove traffic to a newly created microsite. This not only gave us multiple touch points with their customers, but also allowed us to track where customers came from and learn more about their habits. Once at the microsite, visitors could sign up to receive more information – helping to grow EIC’s marketing database.

The Right Results

A massive success, the campaign significantly drove EIC direct traffic up that month nearly 60% higher than any other single day in their history. This coordinated effort also yielded two consecutive record-breaking days for their web visits, nearly doubling the previous record.

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VP of Strategic Planning, Neil Samuels

Timmons&Company VP of Strategic Planning, Neil Samuels, discusses the thinking behind three taglines and how they support a brand story.

Posted in Ad Agency Philadelphia, advertising, Advertising agency, Advertising Agency Philadelphia, advertising company, advertising company new jersey, advertising company Philadelphia, brand building, Brand Management, brand marketing, branding, Branding Process, Copywriting, General, Marketing, Marketing Company Philadelphia, Marketing Message, Marketing services, Slogans, Strategic Planning, Strategy, Timmons&Company | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

B2B Marketing Strategy: Diversify with Digital

How to use a multi-channel digital approach to deliver enhanced marketing effectiveness and visible ROI.

With today’s tightened marketing budgets and growing emphasis on quantifiable results, companies are increasingly looking for marketing strategies that deliver measureable ROI. The June 2012 issue of Direct Marketing News reports, “Marketers are asking agencies to create marketing platforms that address strategic goals, rather than simply designing campaigns.” Digital enables clients to operate effectively within their budgets while delivering real results that are actionable and help create relationships.
Using our multi-channel digital strategy, one of our clients increased their website visits by 40%, requests for quotes rose by 20% and orders rose by 15%.

Don’t sell, start a conversation

Christa Carone, CMO of Xerox Corporation says that what’s needed is, “a cross-media approach to more relevant and customized programs that are less about selling to customers and more about engaging them to start the sales cycle.” By using different digital channels and mediums, you can create multiple points of contact with customers to begin the sales process, gauge customer interest/lead quality and develop new relationships.

Guide them to conversion

Well-planned digital strategies seamlessly lead customer from awareness to conversion. While traditional marketing sometimes starts and stops with brand awareness, the wide range of digital channels allows companies to continue the process and help generate, cultivate and qualify leads – delivering conversion-ready customers directly to their sales force’s doorstep.

Creativity still counts

While many companies are less likely to spend millions for “Mad Men” era awareness campaigns, they’re still looking for creativity in their digital communications that cut through the clutter and are innovative and appealing to their industry.
Analyze data and adjust

Perhaps more than any other medium, digital channels enable companies to track their initiatives’ effectiveness, analyze the results and take action. Smart digital marketers are constantly evaluating their results, doubling down on channels that work and cutting channels that don’t deliver.

A Digital Success Story

EIC Solutions is a leading global provider of thermoelectric cooling solutions for military and industrial applications. When they wanted a campaign designed to increase brand awareness and generate higher-quality leads, Timmons&Company employed a multi-channel digital strategy, and the results speak for themselves:
In the period from January to April 2012, EIC’s website visits rose by 40%, requests for quotes rose by 20% and orders rose by 15%.

Contact Us to learn more about how an effective digital strategy could help improve your marketing’s effectiveness.

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Timmons&Company Founder, Rich Timmons

Timmons&Company Founder, Rich Timmons, relates the story behind the firm’s reputation as “The Marketing SWAT Team.”

Posted in advertising, Advertising agency, Advertising Agency Philadelphia, advertising company, advertising company new jersey, advertising company Philadelphia, brand building, Brand Management, brand marketing, branding, Branding Process, Marketing, Marketing Company Philadelphia, Marketing services | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment