Last week we had the opportunity to learn about the hot marketing trends for 2014 with three leading B2B marketers. "What's Hot in B2B Digital Marketing in 2014" was hosted by our own Rob Fuggetta with panelists Sharon Crost, Lauren McCadney and Rishi Dave. As three of the best and brightest minds in digital marketing, we were excited for these three speakers to discuss the following with us:
1. What's hot in B2B digital marketing in 2014?
2. Why is it a major trend?
3. What should marketers be doing about it?
Sharon Crost of Hitachi- Senior Manager Manager, Social Business
An innovator in social media and visiting professor, Sharon joined us to discuss Local Loyalty. So, what does that mean? Simply put, people aren’t buying from robots or social media spam- people buy from people. "Local" has a wide variety of meanings in digital and social media; it could refer to geography, a topic areas of interest, or a conversation with someone who is influential.
In 2014, customers want to work with influential leaders, not spammers- business today is all about working relationships with prospects and sales, and each experience should be personalized. To do so, the influencers must be identified and advocates must be provided with content.
Lauren McCadney of CDW- Senior Manager, Social Media
According to McKinsey Global Institute, "Big Data: The next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity." Unfortunately, 82% of CMOs are feeling underprepared for Big Data (MarketingCharts.com) and the data explosion. Lauren shares the keys to Big Data Success:
1.What are you trying to learn or solve for?
2. Amassing the right data
3. Finding analytical talent: Buy it? Borrow it?
Lauren explains how each company has huge volumes of data, but is it actionable? Big Data projects can deliver information and impressive Powerpoints, but effectively using this data is crucial to Big Data success.
Rishi Dave of Dell- Executive Director, Digital Marketing
93% of B2B Marketers are using content, but only 42% believes it is effective (MarketingProfs / The Content Marketing Institute.) Rishi believes that companies are struggling with content quality because in the past, content was produced once per quarter, launch or campaign. Today, our open channels with customers require many pieces of marketing material per day, so marketers struggle with maintaining high-quality and engaging content.
While content is one of the best ways to generate qualified leads, it is important to keep in mind that it can take time. Content does not automatically convert leads, but with a constant funnel of content creation, prospects will find you when they are ready to connect.
Facebook announced a new update this week called "Nearby," accessed via the Facebook mobile app: now, in addition to showing which friends have checked in at a particular place, Nearby helps people discover places near them based on their friends’ recommendations.
Seventy percent of consumers prefer to hear about new products from Facebook friends rather than brands, according to a new report by 8thBridge. Therefore, online retailers should incorporate social sharing into the commerce experience.
Facebook's new privacy tools will make it easier for you to pick which of your friends or subscribers can view your personal info, status updates and photos, according to Reuters. It also makes it simpler for you to request that a photograph of yourself be taken down by the uploader.
A day after confirming it had lost the ability to display Instagram images, Twitter has rolled out its own library of retro filters for its Android and iPhone apps. The eight filters are the usual suspects we've come to expect from mobile photo apps, including desaturated, black and white and high contrast.
It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it. This is the mantra that leadership expert Simon Sinek has been spreading since 2009 when he released his book, “Start With Why.” Simon inspires business leaders to hire, sell to, and work with people who believe in what your business stands for, not what you sell. (If you haven’t watched his TedX talk yet, watch it now. It’s incredibly powerful.)
The concept of brand advocacy is heating up in social marketing arena. There are plenty of early adopters that have already implemented advocacy programs for their organizations. At Zuberance, brand advocacy is in our DNA. It's our religion. It's what we believe in. Here’s why we, and fellow marketing revolutionaries, believe in brand advocacy:
1. Creating and leveraging Advocates should be the #1 mission for every company. Marketing is no longer about impressions and clicks. It’s about building a movement around your brand and company, spearheaded by your Advocates. In short, advocacy is strategic.
2. People trust Advocates, not ads. Ninety-twopercent of people trust Word of Mouth. Only 53% trust companies’ websites and 33% trust online ads, says Nielsen. What customers say about you is much more important and influential than what you say about yourself.
3. Advocates are different than fans and followers. Most people like or follow a brand to get discounts or freebies, studies show. Advocates recommend because they want to help others, not because they’re getting coupons, cash, or points. Advocates are your most engaged, enthusiastic, and loyal customers.
4. Advocates are a large segment of your customer base. On average about 50 percent of customers are potential Advocates, according to research by Zuberance and others. If your company has one million end users, you may have 500,000 potential Advocates, a large, highly influential, and under-leveraged marketing force.
5. Advocates are your most valuable customers. Advocates are even more valuable than loyal customers. Many frequent fliers don’t recommend the airlines they fly. Advocates, on the other hand, boost your sales, help you keep customers, and defend your cherished brand reputation.
6. Advocate marketing should be authentic. True advocacy cannot be paid for or manufactured. It can only be earned. In fact, studies show paying people for recommendations actually decreases the likelihood that prospects will buy.
7. Advocates are more influential than “Influencers.”Influencers (professional bloggers, media, industry analysts, celebrities) have large audiences. But only 22% of people trust bloggers compared to 92% for Word of Mouth, says Nielsen. A positive blog post may cause a temporary spike in awareness or social chatter, but nothing is more influential, trusted, or lasting than authentic advocacy.
8. Advocate Marketing is more cost-effective than traditional marketing. Traditional online marketing programs generate less than 1% conversions. On average, Zuberance Advocate Marketing programs deliver 10% or higher conversion rates. A company could fund an ongoing Advocate Marketing program for an entire year for about the cost of two full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal.
9. Advocate Marketing should be an ongoing program. Advocate marketing isn’t a short-term promotion or campaign. Most marketers would never abandon efforts to build and cultivate relationships with influencers after a few weeks or months. The same should apply to Advocates.
10. Advocate Marketing is not only for “passion brands.” Advocate marketing programs are delivering compelling results in low-passion categories like anti-virus software, windshield repair services, file transfer and collaboration services, and more. Every company has Advocates. The key is making it easy for Advocates to recommend your company, brand, and products.
Are you a believer in the power of advocacy? If so, share your thoughts here.
Twitter is finally learning a lesson from Facebook: If you can’t buy it, build it. In the coming months, Twitter plans to update its mobile applications to introduce filters for photos that will allow people to share altered images on Twitter and bypass Instagram, the popular mobilecentric photo-sharing network, according to people who work at the company but asked not to be named as they are not allowed to discuss unannounced projects. The filters on Instagram make photos look like they were shot with 1960s Kodachrome or with 1890s sepia tone film.
The biggest recent gripe by brands on Facebook (as well as George Takei and Mark Cuban) has been the fact that fans don’t see all of their posts. Now, it appears that users can fix this. A reader tipped off sister site Inside Facebook, showing that some users can select to see notifications on desktop and mobile each time a page posts. By opting in to receive notifications whenever a page posts something, users can then see every post — answering a major problem for users and pages alike.
Not only did President Barack Obama beat challenger Mitt Romney to win reelection, but he shoved pop star Justin Bieber off the top of the charts for most re-tweeted Twitter tweet ever. The tweet, “Four more years,” with a photo of the president hugging first lady Michelle Obama, was sent about 8:16 p.m. Pacific time as the major TV networks were calling the race in Obama’s favor. In three hours, the message had been re-tweeted about 455,000 times, easily shattering the previous record of 223,000 set by Bieber in September.
Yelp, Foursquare is gunning for you. The social network is adding to its iOS app and website a fairly minor yet hugely significant feature: Ratings. With the addition, Foursquare says its service will tell users where people actually like to go, not just the places they’ve visited.
Hurricane Sandy was devastating. It took the lives of 113 people. An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people will be left homeless. 8,000,000 people were without power from South Carolina to Maine (and many still remain without power). Amid the chaos, four major retailers somehow saw Hurricane Sandy as a marketing opportunity. Perhaps the potential dollar signs clouded their common sense and sensitivity for fellow Americans.
Fun fact: Customer acquisition is the top priority for B2B companies according to BtoB Magazine.
Here's an even funner fact: Each energized Brand Advocate will bring a company three new customers. The best part? You don't have to pay them!
First, what do we mean by an “energized Advocate?” This is a highly-satisfied customer that authentically recommends your brand, product, or service, whether it’s face-to-face, on social networks or third party review sites, via email, etc.
Advocates Deliver $567 Million for an Enterprise Software Company
In their book, Answering the Ultimate Question, How Net Promoter Can Transform Your Business, authors Richard Owen and Dr. Laura L. Brooks stated that, on average, each Advocate for an enterprise software company will bring in about one-half of a customer via referrals (the actual number was .54). The average customer spend within this industry is $1.05 million. In other words, 1,000 Advocates would bring in 540 new customers, generating a whopping $567 million for the company.
Each Advocate Brings You 3 New Customers
Using .54 as the base case for advocacy, we add 2.5 new customers. Why? There are four additional factors that were not accounted for in Owen and Brooks’ original estimate.
1. Advocates are highly effective “sales people.”
Living in the era of social media, we all know that people trust their peers more than advertising (92% vs 24% in fact, according to Nielsen). Plus, 89% of people say online reviews influence their purchase decisions, according to the eTailing Group. Parallels, a desktop virtualization software company, got a stunning 30% sales conversion rate – about 60X higher than traditional online conversion rates – when Advocates shared offers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and via email.
2. Advocates are frequent recommenders.
In many high-interest categories like restaurants, travel and tourism, and media and entertainment, Advocates refer many more than four prospects. (This was the assumption in the Owen and Brooks analysis.) For example, think about the incredible hotel you stayed at during your recent trip to New York and how many friends and colleagues you raved to afterwards. In fact, 28% of Brand Advocates recommend their favorite brands and products once weekly (source: Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates, Zuberance).
4. Empowered by social media, Advocates reach thousands of prospects.
Since Owen and Brooks conducted their study in 2008, the adoption and use of social media has skyrocketed. Facebook’s Paul Adams states in his book, Grouped, that one Advocate recommendation reaches 10,000 people if it’s passed along only three times.
Depending on the size of your Advocate army and customer lifetime value, energizing your brand’s Advocates may boost several millions of dollars in sales. And since you don’t need to pay authentic advocates, the cost of acquiring customers via advocacy is dramatically less – about 50 percent less in many cases – compared to traditional marketing programs like paid media advertising. Now is the time to turn your Advocates into powerful and inexpensive customer acquisition machines.
WEBINAR: "Marketing is Dead": Do You Agree?Watch the recordingby clicking the orange “Play” button in the player below.
Marketing author Bill Lee triggered a firestorm of controversy when he declared recently in a provocative Harvard Business Review blog post that traditional marketing – including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications – is dead.
What do you think? Is it time to sound the death knell for traditional marketing? Is traditional marketing still alive and well? Are paid, owned, and earned media merging?
Traditional marketing- including advertising, public relations, branding, and corporate communications- is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.
The way that marketing is perceived by customers has dramatically changed. Buyers aren’t paying attention. They’re increasingly doing research on their own through online resources and social media before ever engaging with your brand.
According to a Corporate Executive Board study, 57% B2B customers buying decisions are complete before they engage with the supplier. By then, they don’t need to consult with any sales people. Instead they want to know what their peers and other customers think of the company.
CEO’s have lost all patience with CMO’s. 73% say CMO’s lack credibility and ability to generate sufficient business growth. 72% are tired of being asked for money without explaining how it all will generate increased business. 77% have had it with all the talk about brand equity that can’t be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognized financial metric.
The traditional marketing approach to marketing and sales doesn’t make sense especially in today’s connected world. Employees, consultants, partners, etc don’t come from the buyer’s world and they don’t share the buyer’s interest. This is not a promising arrangement to persuade people. Social media makes it easy for prospects to connect with buyers.
Stop trying to persuade buyers. Get skilled at getting your customers to persuade and influence your buyers using four pillars of new marketing:
Marketing (which encompasses everything from product, price, place, promotion) is not only alive and well, it’s core to a business’ success. In short, marketing isn’t dead. Marketing is everything.
Everything is with, not instead of. While some things might become antiquated or less powerful, they’re still very relevant.
Some brands in the pharmaceutical or finance industry, for example, have to live in the domain of creating a level of persuasion because they're regulated by law or have products that have incremental difference to their competitors.
Advertising is not dying. In fact, it’s not on life support, it’s not sick, and it probably doesn’t have the sniffles.
Just because you trust your peers more than advertising, doesn’t mean you can’t see an ad. I don’t need peer reviews to decide to switch toilet paper. Some brands need to put the message into the general zeitgeist of the world that their product now has variance on it- it’s now on sale or has a new feature.
Brand advocacy programs are absolutely critical. However, the challenge we face is that if they’re successful, it takes a lot of work. It’s the difference between dropping a bomb and doing hand to hand combat door to door. Brands must be prepared for the success that will come with engaging Advocates.
If you want to inform a large audience about your brand, advertising is still very much alive (as is marketing, thank you very much). Saying that marketing is dead is like saying that product development is dead and that branding is dead. It may get a lot of clicks, but there's no substance or truth behind it.
Bill is the President of Customer Reference Forum and Executive Director of The Summit on Customer Engagement. For the last nine years, his conferences have drawn leading customer engagement and advocacy practitioners from top global firms as well as dynamic smaller firms. In addition to its widely respected conferences, Bill and his team at Lee Consulting Group provide workshops, consulting, research and other educational and community building services to help clients reinvent customer relationships and achieve dramatic growth. Bill is the author The Hidden Wealth of Customers (Harvard Business Review Press, June 2012), which has been featured in Forbes Online, Fast Company Online, Marketing Magnified (CMO Council), CRM Magazine and other publications.
Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image - an award-winning Digital Marketing and Communications agency (although he prefers the title, Media Hacker) and author of Six Pixels of Separation (Business Plus, 2009). He has been called a marketing and communications visionary, interactive expert and community leader. He is also a Blogger, Podcaster, passionate entrepreneur and speaker who connects with people worldwide by sharing his marketing insights on digital marketing and new media. In 2008, Mitch was named Canada's Most Influential Male in Social Media, one of the top 100 online marketers in the world, and was awarded the highly prestigious Canada's Top 40 Under 40. Most recently, Mitch was named one of iMedia's 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators in the world. His next book, CTRL ALT DEL will be published in May 2013.
Rob Fuggetta is the world’s leading expert on brand advocacy. Fuggetta is the author of the ground-breaking new book, Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force. Published by John H. Wiley & Sons, Inc., a major business publisher, Brand Advocates shows how companies are leveraging Brand Advocates to build their brands and businesses – and how you can too! Fuggetta is the Founder & CEO of Zuberance, a social media marketing company that powers Brand Advocate programs for top consumer and business brands. Prior to founding Zuberance in 2008, Fuggetta was the Chief Marketing Officer at Genuity, a Verizon spin-out. He also was formerly a partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary high tech marketing and communications firm in Palo Alto, where he co-led the global Apple account.
1. Give you referral leads and help you sell products and services, serving as a virtual salesforce.
Anytime Fitness Advocates have shared 16,167 offers on Facebook, Twitter, and via email. Anytime Fitness is seeing a 20% conversion rate from Advocate offer shares (5X higher than average).
2. Write highly positive reviews of your products or services, boosting your online ratings.
Anytime Fitness Advocates have written over 7,250 glowing reviews and stories which are displayed on Anytime's Facebook page. Advocates have also published their reviews on Yelp which has increased positive reviews by 30% in the past five months.
3. Create glowing testimonials about their experiences with your company or products.
Outright Advocates have written 1,463 stories, some of which are showcased on Outright's website. Of the Advocates who shared their story, 53% chose to share on Facebook.
2,440 Advocates for the VoIP provider, Ooma, have opted in to answer prospects' questions. Each question is getting an average of 2.3 answers. Ooma is seeing a 50% click-through-rate among prospects who get questions answered by Advocates.
5. Share your content and offers with their social networks, driving referral leads, clicks, and sales.
Outright Advocates love to share educational content such as a video about their Tax Resource Center. 43% of people in Advocates' networks clicked through to watch the video.
6. Help you launch new products.
Outright energized their Advocates to help launch their new iPhone app. Advocate sharing drove the app to the Top 25 in the app store.
7. Create better ads than your high-priced ad agency and more compelling copy than your most skilled wordsmith.
One Anytime Fitness Advocate described the club as "the Cheers of fitness clubs." Another Advocate wrote, "This club provides the keys to your future success...guaranteed!"
8. Defend your cherished company and brand reputation from detractors.
Auto-windshield repair company, Safelite, boosted ratings on SuperPages.com from 2.35 to 4 stars by energizing their Advocates to write reviews. Advocates gave Safelite an average of 4.9 out of 5 stars!
9. Alert you to competitive threats and market opportunities.
Outright Advocates alert the company when people post incorrect information about their software on the web.
10. Give you profitable ideas and produce feedback.
Outright created a Facebook group exclusively for their Advocates to provide feedback such as input on a new tagline.
Facebook Cuts Off Reach Generator - AdWeek
While Facebook recently rolled out the ability for advertisers to target customers in their CRM databases, it is cutting off the ability for big brands to make sure a page post hits a majority of their fans through the Reach Generator tool. “We are simplifying our offerings for advertisers, who can now achieve reach goals through Promoted Posts, a recently launched product which gives businesses the increased flexibility to hand-select and boost posts in the News Feed,” said a Facebook spokesperson.
The ever-present Facebook like button has seen growth of 34 percent since February in terms of being published to external websites. One would think that 34 percent is a fairly solid growth rate, but it placed Facebook behind Google Plus, AddThis,Twitter, StumbleUpon, and LinkedIn. And all of those social networks were dwarfed by the performance of the Pin This button from Pinterest, which saw growth skyrocket by 637 percent.
As the update stands at the moment – you can effectively enhance your Twitter profile by including a background header image around your profile pic. Great for brands and enables individuals to get a bit more creative too. Simply select to update your Profile using the iPad App and select your Header image.
A kick ass product or stellar customer service can be major factors in driving word of mouth. But let’s take a step back and look into the mind of a brand advocate. By getting a deeper understanding of their motivations and personality traits, we can tap into their wants and needs more effectively, forming a mutually beneficial relationship between brands and their best customers.
Thinking of going to a nice restaurant? Before you decide, you probably go online and read reviews of the place from other customers. Online reviews of restaurants, travel deals, apps and just about anything you want to buy have become a powerful driver of consumer behavior. Unsurprisingly, they have also created a powerful incentive to cheat.
Exciting news! Today we launched a new solution that empowers employees to act as Brand Advocates (click here to read full press release). The employee advocacy solution enables companies to systematically identify enthusiastic employees (“Employee Advocates”) via customer engagement and social media listening tools and energize them to spread positive brand messaging via word of mouth and boost sales via Zuberance’s hosted advocacy applications. The solution also allows brands to track employee advocacy results and ROI in real-time.
Employees: A Powerful, Untapped Marketing Force
Employees are a powerful, untapped marketing force. Employee Advocates are employees who are willing to recommend their company and its products or services to others without the company paying or providing incentives for their recommendations. Employee Advocates are uniquely qualified to serve as Brand Advocates because they are highly credible, trusted sources for information about companies and their products or services.
Empowered by social media, Employee Advocates can collectively reach thousands to millions of people on the social web. Companies may have hundreds of thousands of potential Employee Advocates, depending on the size of the business. Large corporations such as Walmart (2.2 million employees), IBM (436,000 employees) and UPS (400,000 employees) may have massive “Employee Advocate armies.”
Zuberance’s employee advocacy solution makes it easy for companies to unleash the power of their Employee Advocates to recommend their company as a place to work, helping firms attract qualified employees and lowering hiring costs. Employee Advocates can also evangelize the company’s products and services, helping spread positive messaging and generating referral leads and sales. They can also defend their companies from negative messaging and social media ambushes.
Zuberance’s new employee advocacy solution is ideal for mid-size to large companies across multiple industries and verticals including retail, technology, healthcare, automotive, transportation, travel and hospitality and more. There are more than more than 10,000 firms in the U.S. alone with more than 1,000 employees, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The employee advocacy solution is a perfect complement to Zuberance’s award-winning brand advocate solution, which leverages Customer Advocates as a marketing force.
Overview of Zuberance Advocacy Solution (both Brand Advocacy and Employee Advocacy)
These days, the consumer decision journey is more fragmented than ever. Shoppers have an abundant amount of online resources to help them decide which product to purchase and where. With so much information at their fingertips, trust and authenticity are key factors of influencing purchases.
About.com recently conducted a study (featured in eMarketer) that found that there are 10 primary trust “elements,” or cues, that brands must establish in order to engender trust, including accuracy, expertise and transparency. 84% of respondents felt that brands needed to prove themselves trustworthy before they would interact with them.
In a social media context, the #1 way (at 41%) that brands can build trust with customers/prospects is allowing them to see reviews from people in their social networks.
Now, I know what you're thinking...How can I get more positive reviews on social networks?
By finding and activating your best customers- your Brand Advocates! Your Advocates won't just write any review. They'll write reviews that are oozing with enthusiasm and excitement. Parallels, a desktop virtualization software company, has energized its Advocates to create and publish reviews on Amazon. The average of star rating was 4.7/5 stars which boosted Parallels' star rating on Amazon from 3.5 to 4.5.
But wait! Advocates' advocacy doesn't stop at just reviews. As Lauren McCadney, head of social media for CDW and a Top 2012 Digital Marketer would say, “A review created by an Advocate is only one manifestation of advocacy. This is just the start of a relationship with Advocates, not the end.”