Sunday, February 20, 2005
Let’s Get Integratin’
Well, one certainly should hope so after causing such a disruption. What’s perplexing to me is that the marketing behemoth of Microsoft is only just now realizing the value of a strategic, integrated marketing capability. Working at a healthcare sales & marketing company several orders of magnitude smaller than Microsoft, I initiated an integrated, multi-channel strategy last year where previously the sum of “marketing” was equated to running trade journal ads. Under the single umbrella of the Corporate Marketing & Communications department, the team invested the course of the year in creating advertising (print and online), direct marketing, conference & event and other channel tactics linking and integrating initiatives through specially developed microsites and landing pages. More importantly, we built back-end tracking systems, including a prospect database and lead tracking systems into the lead and sales cycle loop so that early stage leads could be properly nurtured to new business wins while capturing valuable segmentation data for future marketing efforts.
What our home-grown systems were able to tell us was not only that our methods were starting to pay off in lead growth but that, startlingly, over time a multi-channel integrated approach could deliver at least 3 to 5 times the growth potential versus a single channel approach — in only one year!
If Microsoft is doing it, other companies are sure to follow. The lesson to be learned is that the sooner companies get started, the sooner powerful results can begin to happen when the right people and processes are in place to hit the ground running. Time to get integratin'.
1Maddox, Kate. “Integrated Departments Promise Efficiency.” B-to-B Magazine. February 14, 2005. pg 1, 49
Saturday, February 12, 2005
More than Lead Generation: Multi-channel Communications Ease a Transition
IBM did the right thing in launching an extensive multi-channel outreach campaign for its customers following the buyout press conference, as reported in the January 10, 2005 issue of eWeek. Rather than allowing jittery customers to “connect the dots” on their own, IBM took the proactive step of applying integrated multi-channel marketing techniques to external communications creating a campaign that included:
- 2,400 IBM representatives taking to the roads to meet with thousands of top customers and business partners
- Launching a massive online campaign
- Contacting still more customers by telephone and email
- Hosting a web conference for customers and partners to air their concerns to IBM executives
The results were nothing short of amazing with only 5% of surveyed customers saying they would change vendors immediately and almost 50% saying they were either completely or somewhat at ease with the deal. This underscores the importance of being proactive in marketing communications to affect the kind of change desired, leveraging as many channels as possible to reach customers and realizing that multi-channel integration can be a powerful tool in areas beyond lead generation.
Interbrand Annual Top 100 Global Brands ranking, 2003
Jeffrey Burt. “IBM troops pave path for Lenovo.” eWeek Magazine. January 10, 2005, pg 9-10
Saturday, February 05, 2005
To Kill A Marketing Channel
Not too long ago I was asked to make a recommendation along these lines with a channel we call "Conferences." The company had participated in at least 6 major industry conferences during the course of the year and at an average of $15,000 — $20,000 to attend/sponsor each, the question became "are these giving us the bang for the buck we want?"
Thankfully, we had been tracking employee development time on each initiative so that this measure plus the cost of the event sponsorship gave us the data we needed for a fairly straightforward Expenses metric. Next, because we captured lead data according to prospects, qualified leads and opportunities, we could determine a cost-per-prospect, cost-per-lead or cost-per-opportunity (with the latter being the most important). While we did a decent job of bringing in prospects, our cost-per shot up dramatically for qualified leads and opportunities because very few initial prospects converted into true new business opportunities.
From a numbers standpoint, it was clear — our Conferences channel was not a good spend of marketing dollars this year and therefore it would likely get little or no resources in the next year. This brings up an interesting point: while it's easy to get caught up the numbers game, we also must consider other less tangible value that a channel may bring. In the case of our Conferences channel, because of the high-level attendee audience in our key demographic, there was value to being seen at such events. It helped position and credential company management as thought-leaders in the industry. Because of the brand positioning value of some of these events, we ultimately chose to attend only one or two of the conferences in the next year.
In the end, be certain you've adequately examined all of the benefits and returns of a channel — both tangible and intangible — before you let the knife fall.