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Agile Strategies for Marketing Engagement - Digital Industry Networks

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Businesses are thrashing with content, social media and professional networks, struggling to find compelling new ways to initiate and progress business relationships. This brief introduces a digital engagement strategy, framework and methodology that enable an organization to quickly establish and rapidly accelerate their ability to engage with target audiences via social channels and the latest marketing practices, through the generation of a Digital Industry Network.

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Agile Strategies for Marketing Engagement - Digital Industry Networks

  1. 1. 1 Innovation Brief . © TechMarketer 2015 – All Rights Reserved. Questions to Andy McCartney andy@techmarketer.biz Agile Strategies for Digital Engagement: “Digital Industry Networks” Progressive and high-growth organizations are continually exploring innovative ways to generate new business, competitive advantage and customer value. Many have responded to the extraordinary change in buying and decision making cycles that are increasingly self-service and incorporate peer sourced information and opinion. Vendors and services providers are attempting to trigger and engage in those digital conversations that occur within their target market segments, hoping to increase awareness, reputation, thought leadership, online connections and lead origination. Being visible and credible in the industry segments across the media networks and channels where your target audience interacts is now a necessity of modern business. Many organizations do not have the understanding or capability to effectively deliver this, and others are simply too slow to execute the precise strategies and tactics that capture the window of opportunity to return wide ranging tangible benefits. Organizations Struggle with Transformation and Agility As businesses attempt to transform their operations and processes around modern customer journeys and 24x7 multi-channel interactions, many struggle with the culture shock and complexity of integrated sales and marketing, automated prospecting and the latest social and data driven engagement practices. High growth businesses must execute at speed to maintain advantage, and are open to emerging mechanisms for increased agility. Larger enterprises are often unable to overcome their own inertia to ever attain first mover advantage, but would also consider credible practices for enhanced agility. This brief introduces a digital engagement strategy, framework and methodology that enable an organization to quickly establish and rapidly accelerate their ability to engage with target audiences via social channels and the latest marketing practices, through the generation of a Digital Industry Network. What is a Digital Industry Network (D.I.N.)? A D.I.N. is tightly controlled multi-channel professional network, comprising a custom configured conversation zone, information sources and communication feeds. Target audiences are able to interact with peers, subject matter experts (SMEs) and industry thought leaders in order to progress their knowledge around a high value trending industry topic. A D.I.N. is agile because it is developed at speed in order to maximize the potential of a fast moving topic, event or threat, where first-to-market movers attract critical early thought leader and share-of-voice advantage. Businesses are thrashing with content, social media and professional networks, struggling to find compelling new ways to initiate and progress business relationships. Being able to rapidly develop online business networks that promote engagement around trending industry topics delivers real first mover advantage when it comes to capturing conversation market share. And as more digitally savvy professionals reach senior decision making roles, there is an expectation for peer sourced information and a new reliance on social channels to assist with buying decisions 1 . These are real and present challenges that are addressed in this research brief. Sample Digital Industry Network 1 85% of B2B buyers rely on social channels – 2013 Forrester Report “How B2B Marketers Use Social Now” Andy McCartney, Chief TechMarketer andy@techmarketer.biz
  2. 2. 2 Innovation Brief . © TechMarketer 2015 – All Rights Reserved. Questions to Andy McCartney andy@techmarketer.biz Who Are the Targets for a D.I.N.? An organization looking to originate a D.I.N. may already be active in social and professional networks. Successful vendors like SAP and VMware already have established large online communities, based around broad subject matters, many being product based. However, a D.I.N. should be focused on a high value trending industry topic, and provide a credible and trusted resource for its participants to engage in peer conversation, ask questions to subject matter experts, access non-promotional content, and easily reach out to service/solution providers for assistance as and when needed. The D.I.N. should consist of a leader, or evangelist, who is the focal point for connectivity and the managing of invitations, content and conversations, as well as the recruiter of key influencers for that topic. He or she should not be perceived in any way to wear a sales or vendor hat, but to be an impartial, driven and qualified catalyst for a valued industry networking group. What is the Value to the Originator of the D.I.N.? Whereas SAP and VMware spent years investing and cumulating online communities, a D.I.N. rapidly establishes a highly focused, engaged and managed network of targeted professionals who are motivated, impacted, and influential. Spammers and competitors can be locked out, enabling originators to develop relationships via quality conversation and information provision. By following the framework and methodology below, owners of digital industry networks are able to realize several business development benefits oriented around the selected industry topic and related market segments: Branding and awareness Thought leadership, reputation and credibility Growth of network and contact database Demand generation and lead origination Lead nurturing via pain diagnosis/solution discovery Well-crafted conversations and the subtle offering of non- promotional content such as industry surveys, risk/reward calculators, SME video/audio interviews, infographics and breaking news alerts, all provide top and middle of funnel accelerators. For conversion, conversations can be directed offline as needed by the evangelist, and any sales and business development personnel who are in the network. Superior Velocity and Conversion? Monitor and benchmark the quality-oriented metrics of leads as they progress through the funnel. Motivated and impacted D.I.N. participants are often regarded as ‘AAA prospects’, with high velocity through the stages of inquiry, research and qualification, and up to10x waterfall conversion compared to other sources. Benchmark D.I.N. sourced leads against other channels and sources to compare how many inquiries it takes to close 1 deal. A well aligned, devised and nurtured digital industry network may be regarded as the holy grail of modern business, displacing cold calls, promotional campaigns, traditional business development and many face to face engagements. Review the framework and methodology below to guide your D.I.N. initiatives. Sample D.I.N. Topics  Exploring Point of Sale Data Breaches  Cuba’s Digital Infrastructure Opportunity  2015 Healthcare Legislation CPA Threats  Berlin Growth Cluster Feb 2015 Launch Rapid Growth of Target Market Network
  3. 3. 3 Innovation Brief . © TechMarketer 2015 – All Rights Reserved. Questions to Andy McCartney andy@techmarketer.biz Digital Industry Network Framework and Development Methodology To be successful with a D.I.N. it is necessary to execute many of the tried and tested practices of modern marketing, from audience insights to decision journeys to content mapping to social engagement to data driven optimization. To be agile it is necessary to streamline this process, to select a high value industry topic for your target market, and to apply accelerated growth practices to establish the desired degree of network participation, activity and authority within weeks. A framework has been developed to focus on the key success drivers, which are oriented around four categories: Context – Ensure the selected topic is high value/impactful for the targeted audience, and aligns with organizational goals and markets. Community – Select appropriate config- uration of social channels and information sources, and ensure the evangelist, influencer and participant combination is synergistic within the context of the chosen topic. Cadence – Determine the optimal frequency and types of conversation and content that resonate with the audience. Agility - Apply appropriate growth resources to reach network effect tipping point, in both network size and engagement levels. A ‘1 month methodology’ has been created that stages the D.I.N. development process into 4 steps, as follows: Insight – Perform research on topics, value, audience targets and network community structure. Design – Formalize design of community, channels, content, calendar + growth mechanisms. Prepare – Create target lists, invitations + initial content assets. Launch – Execute invitation campaign sourcing contacts from house lists, existing networks and social channels (e.g. LinkedIn). Execute week 1 welcome track, establishing value and education of topic/network breadth. Conclusion In today’s highly competitive markets, agile competitors are able to leapfrog laggards for mind and market share. It is now imperative to grasp the full array of emerging business, social and technical models to enable customer value and competitive advantage. D.I.N.s allow organizations to reduce and divert budget away from telemarketing, advertising and other promotional activities to the more compelling ROI of originating and nurturing business from high-value target market industry networks. Develop business relationships using the power of industry knowledge and a desire to share opinions, content, experience and your network of qualified connections. This is the new era of collaborative business development. Digital Industry Network Framework2 Digital Industry Network Methodology2 2 For more information about the framework and methodology, refer to the TechMarketer D.I.N. content on Slideshare

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