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The ultimate differentiator for businesses isn't product or brand. It's the one thing that can't be copied or stolen: relationships with customers.
Retail has long known that. Astute retailers covet their relationships through personalization and targeting and approachable, consistent, authentic salespeople.
That's because, as people, we know how to form relationships really well in the physical world. We can see each other's face, we can hear voice rising and falling, we can see body language. Only we aren't doing that in the digital world.
Rather, marketers are simply using digital as another distribution channel when what people really want (it's a basic human need) is what they get in the physical world from businesses: a relationship.
Therefore digital marketing, by focusing on distribution of messaging rather than forming relationships, is lost in translation.
If you follow marketing and digital related blogs and news sites, then it won’t come as a surprise to you that marketing professionals and CMOs are expected to show how activity achieves business results.
As marketing professionals, we need to have an in-depth and real time understanding of how we contribute to our organizations’ or clients’ revenue. In addition, we must also be able to have an ongoing conversation with our sales teams that is revenue focused, far away from “the feeling” that our campaigns are generating good results and increasing brand awareness.
As spending on digital takes a greater share of the overall marketing budget, greater scrutiny is being brought to bear upon the CMO to justify these investments. Attributing revenue to a specific channel or combination of channels, rather than just attaching it to the “last click” is a challenge that is beyond the capabilities of most.
A good approach to doing this is to create your own marketing dashboard.
It used to be a difficult task to find examples of B2B companies achieving success in social, however as the channel has matured more businesses have been able to drive awareness and sales using various social platforms.
A survey published this time last year found that a majority of businesses (64%) were using social media as a marketing tool, so it’s likely that this number has increased today.
That research found that the most popular reasons for using social were for brand awareness (83%), encouraging social sharing (56%) and gaining trust and followers (55%).
Like most people in the UK I loved the Olympics and the Paralympics; however I particularly enjoyed the Paralympics.
One of the programmes that I enjoyed the most was The Last Leg, so I was particularly pleased when Channel 4 brought this back. If you have not already seen it, it really is a must watch!
One of the features on the last leg is called #isitOK. Here the audience are asked to tweet questions that they would like the hosts to answer, using the hashtag #isitOK.
In homage to this programme I have decided to shamelessly plagiarise that format, including some of the most interesting questions I have been asked recently.
A few months ago we received an interesting piece of research from OC&C Strategy consultants which investigated how UK retailers are well placed to outperform their overseas counterparts in the battle for online supremacy.
It was estimated by 2020 there would be an incredible sevenfold increase in non UK sales.
Within the report, the ‘jewels of Britain’s retail e-mpire’ were highlighted. This was based on the volume of consumer searches from international territories.
A number of advertisers across the network were included on this list so we decided to take a look and see how the affiliate channel was aiding internationalisation in the ecommerce market.
As a frequent attendee of marketing conferences I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard speakers tell their audience that SEO is incredibly simple, it’s just about having great content.
Not while this may be true in theory, many businesses are understandably sceptical about whether they have the necessary manpower or expertise in-house to regularly produce high quality content.
So at our Funnel event yesterday, which is part of the Festival of Marketing, it was refreshing to see Search Laboratory’s John Readman back up his words with a relevant B2B SEO case study.
SEO is very important for B2B businesses as 21% of all traffic to B2B sites comes from search engines, with around 90% of that portion coming from organic search.
With defiance and playful glee, the statement “it’s not ‘big data’, it’s just data” bursts from the mouth of Parry Malm, Account Director of Adestra.
This room full of marketers and B2B sales people, here for Funnel 2013, are clearly in for an entertaining and iconoclastic lesson from this erudite digital marketer.
Parry Malm compares the currently in-vogue use of the term 'Big Data' to that of ‘Web 2.0’ a couple of years ago. It has created a spike of intrigue that certain web cowboys can exploit for their own benefit.
What the term 'Big Data' has done succesfully though is help to put data on the agenda at last.
But what does 'Big Data' really mean and how do you get value from it?
Yesterday over 1,500 members of sales and marketing teams from B2B companies around the globe attended Old Billingsgate conference centre in London for Econsultancy’s Funnel event, part of the inaugural Festival of Marketing.
The agenda for the annual multichannel conference included speakers from Barclaycard, Adestra, Microsoft, Pardot and Dell.
Obviously it’s not possible to condense all the different tips and recommendations from the whole day into one blog post, but here's a selection of the most interesting points.
If you attend any sales or B2B conference then it’s difficult to avoid hearing someone mention ‘the rules of engagement’.
But, David Klanac of Pardot argues, it is actually a very relevant phrase. It’s the nature of the marketer’s job to follow the changes wrought by proliferation of media.
David was talking at FUNNEL, part of the Festival of Marketing, and gave his seven tips for lead nurturing.
The first step for Pardot was to actually ask the B2B consumer "what steps do you take to research and purchase a solution?"
This question is important because the tactics for buying have changed. When Google started in 1998, only 26 million web pages were indexed, ten years later in 2008 this figure stood at one trillion. With all that content it’s hard to get found. Nevertheless, consumers try, searching two or three times on Google before considering the purchase cycle.
So, what are David's seven tips for nurturing leads?
How can marketers get consumers to love their brand? It’s a long and difficult process that requires a complex system of tools and tactics.
Yet at Econsultancy’s Funnel event this morning Silverpop’s John Watton managed to summarise the process in just 20 minutes, succinctly laying out the basic premise of behavioural marketing and how it can benefit businesses.
Watton began by describing the relationship he has with a wine merchant in the Chiswick area of West London, which is a neat metaphor for the principles behind behavioural marketing.
Though there are a huge number of shops that Watton could go to for his weekly wine fix, he chooses to return to the same shop due to the relationship he has with 'Bob' the shopkeeper.
It's never too early to get your house in order for next year.
This morning at FUNNEL and the Festival of Marketing, I listened to Adam Sharp from clevertouch, marketing automation specialists.
Adam outlined how the marketing department is changing, and what you need to be thinking about to prove that the marketing team is the place where fundamental change can be driven within the organisation.
Until recently, the development of marketing technologies has occurred at a high enough pace to preclude a new definition of marketing.
But now, we feel the new discipline can be defined in broad terms, with digital pervading pretty much everything you do as marketers.
Next week the Festival of Marketing debuts in the city of London, with conferences, events and parties all hung off the core tenets of Econsultancy’s Modern Marketing Manifesto. At the festival we'll add the detail to the manifesto. Which brands are doing precisely what? And is it working? How have benchmarks moved?
If you haven’t seen the festival line-up, check out the website, and if you haven’t read our manifesto, check that out, too. We’ve had great feedback on our new definition of marketing, with many of you ‘signing’ in agreement by commenting on this post.
As part of this search for feedback, we recently surveyed around 700 Econsultancy users and assayed what level of agreement they show with the ‘pillars’ of the manifesto.
Although we had already incorporated your opinions into our draft, we wanted to find out how precisely the final treatise hits the nail on the head, or if indeed we’ve missed the nail and struck a thumb.