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Momentum – new per­spect­ives on demand gen­er­a­tion


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Demand gen­er­a­tion is the num­ber one focus of an ever-increasing num­ber of mar­keters. Faced by ever higher quarterly tar­gets, they need to deliver pre­dict­able res­ults from their activ­ity. But, all too often, the tra­di­tional six week B2B cam­paign is simply fail­ing to deliver.

In this white paper we explode the myth of the tra­di­tional sales fun­nel. We show how it is now time to move to a per­petual trigger-based approach. One recog­nising that dif­fer­ent cus­tom­ers will need dif­fer­ent inform­a­tion at dif­fer­ent stages.

Today, this inform­a­tion can be triggered by eas­ily observ­able cus­tomer beha­viour using mod­ern mar­ket­ing auto­ma­tion sys­tems such as Elo­qua. The res­ult is a more per­sonal, more rel­ev­ant and ulti­mately more effect­ive way to gen­er­ate and nur­ture demand.

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Momentum – new per­spect­ives on demand gen­er­a­tion

  1. 1. Momentum New perspectives on demand generation Momentum 1
  2. 2. Today, more than ever, the need for every company to deliver profitable sales is critical to their enduring success. Both management and shareholders are demanding tangible bottom line results within a reasonable timescale (or unreasonable depending on your point of view). They want to know that the business is attracting new customers in the most efficient way possible and then growing them into profit-generators for the company. And, of course, they want to keep costs down. Within this context, marketing’s role is changing fast. The days when the discussion was primarily about awareness or brand building are over. While both are still needed, it’s on the hard metrics that marketing is increasingly judged. Today, return on investment ultimately means sales. And this, in turn, means marketing not only creating demand but managing that demand across company boundaries. It means both supporting the initial sale and helping to manage an ongoing profitable relationship with the customer. Momentum 2
  3. 3. Saying goodbye to hit and run marketing All sales are processes. Sometimes completed in minutes, sometimes years. Typically, for business-to-business technology purchases, the timescale is measured in months. The challenge for marketers is to sustain impetus throughout the process in the face of competing demands for the customer’s attention, budgetary pressures and changing market conditions. This is even more important when you consider that one of the main barriers to success today is not the competition but rather a ‘no decision’ by the customer. Sadly, the way in which marketing campaigns have been traditionally planned and run mitigates against success. Too often, these campaigns have been ‘hit and run’ affairs depending on the right message reaching the right person at just the right time. But increasingly there is no single right message. The right person is often a group of people with conflicting agendas. And the right time regularly falls outside the boundaries of the campaign period (and outside the quarterly targets that drive so many technology companies). It’s time for a rethink With the move to primarily digital communications underpinned by advanced marketing automation platforms, it’s now possible to look at marketing in a very different way. No longer do we need to restrict ourselves to the single big idea that resonates with just 20% of the audience. Nor do we have to think in terms of discrete six week campaigns that throw leads over the wall to sales and then move on. It’s now possible to tangibly demonstrate that marketing is an intrinsic part of creating, converting and maintaining profitable customers in a way never before feasible. We can now develop and adapt our messages to prospects throughout the sales process. We can equip and motivate customers to become advocates for our products and services. And we can maintain a campaign for as long as there is product to sell and customers to buy. We call this Momentum. Momentum 3
  4. 4. The laws of Momentum The Momentum approach aims to relentlessly move sales towards completion. It looks to trigger the most appropriate communication or action at every interaction with a prospect or customer. To be clear, this is not a substitute for creativity, strategy and insight. But it is a better way of harnessing them to best effect in pursuit of a sale. And it never gives up. The underlying principles of the approach form three laws of Momentum. The first law of Momentum: A sale in motion tends to remain in motion. A sale at rest tends to remain at rest. The most difficult task in generating sales is to get the whole thing moving in the first place. This is why so much traditional marketing focuses on the very initial events in the sales chain – awareness, interest, hand-raising etc. While this is of course important, maintaining sales momentum is just as critical. Sadly, it is also too often overlooked. This is why conversion rates remain so low for so many companies. It is not that the wrong people were targeted. Or that the leads were of ‘poor quality’ (the traditional salesperson’s lament). The issue is more commonly that all the effort was focused at either end of the process ignoring the critical part in the middle. Momentum programmes take a different approach. They are less front-loaded – they don’t, for example, exhaust the budget in the first week of the campaign with a massive traditional media spend. Instead they gain strength with automated, immersive communications. Momentum programmes seek a deeper level of engagement, creating high value communications and tools that help customers achieve their aims at any given stage of the buying cycle. And each communication either moves customers along to the next stage or recovers Momentum 4
  5. 5. them if they begin to slip backwards. Ultimately, Momentum programmes build up a head of steam before the leads get anywhere near a salesperson. This means that not only are they easier to convert, they use up less of a salesperson’s valuable time. The second law of Momentum: The force of Momentum is equal to timing x relevance x persuasion. The aim of any Momentum programme is to generate a powerful forward drive towards a sale. Importantly, the drive should increase at every interaction (rather than degrading as it does in traditional campaigns). The secret lies in harnessing timing, relevance and persuasion in a highly personalised, highly individual way. In a Momentum programme we communicate at the right time for that individual customer. We talk about the right issues with them for exactly where they are in the buying process. And we talk in the right way to move them from their current stage to the next one. The critical difference versus traditional approaches is that we don’t leave this simply to chance and intuition. By underpinning these programmes with a sophisticated marketing automation platform, we can trigger individual communications based on customer behaviour driving more personal, more relevant communications. This may involve triggering an invitation to a webcast after a customer downloads a white paper. It could mean reconfiguring your website with new information when visitors are showing purchase- ready behaviours. It could even trigger a call from a salesperson when a decision appears imminent based on existing behavioural modelling. The result is the ability to communicate to every customer on a one-to-one basis in a way that shortens the time to sale. Momentum 5
  6. 6. The third law of Momentum: Every buying action has an equal and opposite reaction. No technology buying decision is entirely simple. Even the spontaneous purchase of a USB memory stick carries with it concerns ranging from its reliability and speed to how it will look when handed over in a meeting. Likewise no buyer is a blank slate waiting to be filled by our messages, waiting to buy what we suggest. They need persuading. Persuasion is not simply a matter of presenting the best features and benefits we have to offer. Crucially, it is about overcoming the inertia and scepticism that pervades almost every sale today. Throughout the buying cycle, customers will move towards and away from a purchase decision as they take on more information, speak to knowledgeable contacts and are affected by the mood of the market. Interestingly, many traditional funnel-based models fail to take this into account. The implication of the funnel is of one-way traffic as the universe of prospects is whittled down to actual buyers. But what about the ones who don’t make it? Sure, many of these may simply not be in the market (or at least not at that time). But a significant number will relapse to an earlier stage in the process. Or will stall, unable (or unwilling) to move forwards. And some, of course, will select another brand. Momentum programmes explicitly recognise the reality of today’s non-linear sales cycle. They understand that many sales represent an ebb and flow of motivation, that different kinds of persuasion are appropriate at specific times. And they are able to adapt and deliver more appropriate communications in real-time. Crystal balls and bread-crumbs There was a time, not so long ago, when a marketer’s first idea that a sale was likely Momentum 6
  7. 7. would come at the second or third meeting for B2B and, often, only when the till rang for consumer purchases. Today, the internet has changed all that. Now we can watch in real time as customers go through the decision making process. We can tell where they are in the world, where they came from online, how long they spent on each part of a site and what they did while there. These digital bread-crumbs build a picture of the sales process based upon real-world observation. The end of the hunch Traditionally, marketers have relied on a combination of intuition (the focus group of one), what their competitors did (risking death by sameness) and customer feedback in research (which has often been proved wildly inaccurate). Now, however, we can build a picture of what actually happens with real live customers. We can test our ideas against this picture in real time and quickly determine the results. And we can adapt our approach as circumstances change, testing and investing our way to optimum results. Essentially, a Momentum programme offers a more accurate, more dynamic way of marketing to customers. One based on empirical evidence and where success can be measured throughout the programme and beyond. The campaign is dead, long live the campaign Traditionally, many of us involved in marketing have viewed our activity as a series of relatively discrete campaigns. Of course, they may fit within a longer term programme designed to build the brand over time. But, the six to eight week campaign has become the default for many marketers. There are, of course, problems with this approach. While it might work for the Momentum 7
  8. 8. big splash of a consumer product launch, for almost everything else it is generally left wanting. Traditional campaigns rely heavily on timing, the right message hitting the right contact at just the right time. Now, for B2C commodities this is less of an issue – a large proportion of the buyers will be active in any six week period. But as soon as the lead time is measured in months we see a very different picture emerge. The old way For a B2B or considered purchase, only a small fraction of buyers will be active in any one six week period. To illustrate this, take something like a new high-end colour photocopier. For the purposes of this illustration, let’s say that there is a universe of 10,000 potential buyers. However, they replace such a piece of equipment every four years. This reduces the universe to 2,500 buyers in any given year. There are 8.6 six week periods in a year. So, in any campaign period, the universe has shrunk to just 290 viable prospects – under 3% of the total – and that’s before we even get to response rates. Of course, with traditional campaigns, you would still need to communicate with all 10,000 companies to stand a chance of talking to the magic 290. Also, with a traditional campaign, you would generally still be restricted to a single message and all the problems inherent in a linear funnel approach. This is a very rough example. It makes many assumptions that are not accurate. Sales are generally not split evenly over a year for example. The initial universe may be far larger. There may be external circumstances that mean significantly more buyers will be in the market at any one time. But regardless of the exact numbers, it’s easy to see that short, fixed term campaigns can severely limit the opportunities for success and diminish your overall return on investment. Momentum 8
  9. 9. The alternative is a perpetual programme of activity. One that exists for as long as there are products to sell and customers to buy. Perpetual Momentum Markets change. Products change. Perceptions change. In fact the number of things that change during a campaign often outnumber those that remain static. Sometimes these can be small, hardly registering in the greater scheme of things. Sometimes, however, they can fundamentally alter the foundations a campaign is built upon. Traditional campaigns tend to simply plough on, ignoring all but the most serious changes in circumstances, taking the hit on their effectiveness. Momentum programmes, however, are designed to adapt, to roll with the punches and capitalise on fresh opportunities. The easiest way to see the difference is to consider the underlying ethos for both the traditional model and Momentum. The traditional model focuses on linear planning – first this, then this, then this. One thing inexorably leads to another. There may be different ways of getting customers into the process (or the funnel if you will) but the elements are largely sequential. Momentum programmes are different. They rely on triggers – if behaviour A then action B, if behaviour X then offer Y etc. Each trigger is designed to move a customer closer to making a purchase. Each targets a change in behaviour within the context of a customer’s current behaviour. This means that we can be incredibly personal, engaging the customer about what’s on their mind right now (not where they happen to be in an artificial process that we have overlaid onto their decision). This also means that we can change the programme far more fluidly – if we begin to see a behaviour that is outside expectations, perhaps as a result of an event in the Momentum 9
  10. 10. market, we can quickly deploy triggers to bring that new context within the bounds of the programme. This means we can capitalise on change rather than becoming victims to it. The other critical difference is that Momentum programmes are designed to run for the lifetime of a product. This is possible because to a very large degree the process is automated, pulling the right triggers from a bank of communications assets and delivering the most compelling messages and offers on the fly. Each programme has a learning phase where triggers are tuned and refined and where new assets are created to maximise opportunities. After that, it is tracked via a marketing dashboard which, combined with regular reviews, is used to determine if additional assets are required – eg in response to an external event. A tale of two campaigns Let’s go back to our photocopier example. How would the marketing differ between a traditional approach and a Momentum programme? The traditional approach In the traditional approach we would probably have a microsite at the heart of our activity. A site that delivers on the product’s value proposition, gives further information such as comparison charts and which delivers a strong call to contact either a reseller or the vendor. The budgets aren’t huge so we’d run a limited online advertising campaign with the real heavy lifting being done by search and email. In week one the site goes live as does the advertising and search. The first email is sent out to our database with our lead message driving to gated content sitting behind a registration form. We have individual URLs on everything we deploy so we can track where our responses come from. Our direct salespeople send tailored messages to their named contacts and we may also provide resellers with templates and tools that Momentum 10
  11. 11. they can use at this time. And telemarketing begins at letter A and works down with salespeople pouncing on anyone who shows any interest in anything. Two weeks in we send our second email with a new version of the core message and upweight the advertising to coincide. We may use a new offer to encourage response and back it up with reseller SPIF activities. The direct sales team start a series of road- shows or mini-events at key resellers. Week three sees our third email go out. Depending on results, we may decide to buy in more data to expand the universe of prospects. Search continues – although we’d review the terms and add, amend and delete as appropriate. Reseller events continue from weeks four through to six. They are supported with further emails from the vendor, direct sales and local resellers. Week six arrives and everything stops. Campaign over. Job done. The responses are totted up and lessons are (hopefully) learnt for next time. Of course some campaigns are more sophisticated than this but as a template this is reasonably typical of a classic B2B programme. And, for the most part, it works (up to a point). The Momentum approach The first difference the Momentum approach brings is the increased focus on delivering useful content and creating ongoing engagement rather than going all out for short-term sales leads. This approach ensures that the programme escapes the limitations of the traditional hit-and-run six week campaign. So, the initial planning looks at what content is available and what needs to be created or adapted to the overarching message. It’s likely that some form of microsite (whether a community site or portal) will still be at the heart of the programme. But, importantly, it will adapt to its visitors, serving different content depending on who they are and what they do on the site. Crucially, Momentum 11
  12. 12. the microsite will not be the only place where content is stored. Distribution will depend on the type of content we are dealing with. So, white papers will be held on the core site but will also be syndicated through publisher portals and made available on sharing sites such as Slideshare and Scribd. Likewise video will be streamed on site but also be distributed via YouTube, Vimeo and the like as well as being used in video ad units. We may still use email to drive people to the site. However, because the site is built on a marketing automation platform such as that from our partners Eloqua, we have many more options about what happens next. By establishing behavioural triggers, we can automate what customers see and when based on direct observation of what they do. So, to go back to our colour copier. First we create and/or adapt content that will engage our audience starting from an assessment of what will help customers most rather than what we want to tell them. All written content is keyword rich and all video is tagged for searching. The basic list could include: • A research paper on using colour effectively in the workplace • A free ebook on creating more immersive business documents • ome video content (eg a quick sales overview, a five minute set-up S guide and a short case study from a happy user) • nd an online ROI tool to help customers establish the likely cost A of ownership We send our first email with an un-gated offering of the free ebook. At the same time we initiate search activity and syndicate excerpts from the book to publishers. The programme begins generating response and customers come to the site. Those that come from the email activity are instantly known to us because their Momentum 12
  13. 13. identity is tagged. So we can see how they use the site and what content they engage with. This means that we can use this insight to trigger further communications – eg once they’ve downloaded the ebook we might offer them the research paper. And, exhibiting buying signs – such as completing the online ROI tool – triggers an alert to their assigned account manager to call them as a priority. Of course, those prospects that come from other sources such as search or advertising will be unknown. Importantly, however, this doesn’t make them unknowable. We still track their engagement with the site (on their initial visit and any subsequent visits). And we can still serve them with relevant content based upon their behaviour. However, should they subsequently offer their identity (eg by signing up to download the research paper) we can then associate all of their previous activity with them. Again, this can then trigger a sales call or an email with additional relevant offers. You’ll notice that, apart from outlining a planning phase and a start point, we are not talking about what happens in week one, two, three etc. That’s because with a Momentum programme, each new communication is triggered by a previous activity (or lack thereof). This means that prospects are communicated with based on their individual place within the sales cycle (not where a rigid plan says they should be). This also allows prospects to enter the programme at any time (even months after it has started) and still receive relevant communications (both push and pull). This is of critical importance when you consider our earlier critique of traditional models where a large total universe of potential buyers is inaccessible because of timing. It would be easy to see a Momentum programme as a simple case of set it and forget it. While the automation involved does make ongoing management a lot simpler than it would otherwise be, to get the very best from the programme requires periodic adjustments. This may be to add and refresh content (eg to add the latest product review or a new case study), to revise scoring based on feedback from sales or to incorporate Momentum 13
  14. 14. customer generated content (in our copier example, this could be to host a gallery of great document design for example). In fact, the programme’s flexibility means we can continually adapt to changing circumstances, capitalising on new opportunities as they arise. The above is only a limited example of what’s possible. The key take out is that with Momentum you can adapt and refine your activity throughout the programme, tuning it for ever higher results and using triggers to deliver the most appropriate communications. Three ways to buy Most traditional demand generation campaigns follow a project-based model – the client pays for the campaign as a discrete item. This, however, is not always the best option for your business. While it benefits from predictable costs, it leaves a lot of flexibility on the table as the campaign will tend to follow a fixed shopping list of deliverables. To begin to see the full benefits of the Momentum approach, we generally recommend the subscription model. This involves paying a monthly fee for all your demand generation activity. We agree up front what the fee covers and also include a set amount for trying, testing and evaluating new approaches to deliver improved results. We then review the performance of the campaign at regular intervals, adapting and finessing the activity throughout the programme. Finally, for those clients who want to link their investment directly to results, we offer a cost-per-lead model. Under this model, we agree with you the criteria for a marketing qualified lead that can be passed to sales (or to your channel partners). We agree the value of each of these leads. And then we do whatever it takes to get you as many of them as possible. While the cost for an individual lead will tend to be more expensive than under the subscription model, you have the reassurance that Momentum 14
  15. 15. you will only pay for what you get. Plus, we then take on the risk of experimentation. No single model is appropriate for every client. We are happy to talk to you about your individual requirements and advise on the best option for your business. We believe that Momentum offers today’s marketers a more effective, more dynamic and more accountable way to generate high quality demand. To discover more, visit, call Michael Wrigley on +44 (0) 20 7349 2266 or email him at Momentum 15