Planning season is continuing to heat up around marketing departments at technology organizations and many of you are looking for insights to justify your planned activities or perhaps inspire some of your upcoming marketing activities. Marketing Sherpa has recently released its annual B2B benchmarking report that I would encourage you to invest in. The report is probably the most comprehensive of its kind and addresses everything from trade shows to outsourcing and lead generation trends. There are several focus areas for technology marketing that may aid your marketing planning development.
I have listed some of the highlights below.
So the good news is that there is a lot of optimism for the upcoming year as many respondents of this study suggest that feel as thought there has been a turning point in the economy and there expectations for their business. This is good news for marketers trying to secure budgets and renew their limited marketing activity from the past two years. As the Marketing Sherpa study suggests, the expectation of better days ahead will mean a change in marketing objectives and the strategies required to achieve them for 2010. Those organizations that have learned to be efficient marketers on a lean budget will apply the lessons learned during these difficult times to become even more effective in the future.
Sales and marketing continue to debate quantity of leads over quality. Of course each of these department have performance measures that create this ever ongoing dialogue. Online search activities have become an ideal solution to balancing lead flow because, in many cases, the spigot can simply be opened or closed to control volume. The more complex challenge is controlling lead quality. This requires a much more strategic approach to optimizing not
only web pages for SEO, but in the case of paid search, carefully aligning the sequence of PPC keywords, ad listings and landing pages.
Tech Buyers are still consuming content at a rigorous pace, so whatever you are planning on doing, ensure you have outlined a smart content development process to feed into the various mead and outlets relied up on by these tech buyers. The chart below outlines the changing use of information resources by technology buyers in the past six months.
Aligning marketing and sales is still essential to creating a productive new business pipeline. As this chart demonstrates, many marketing and sales organizations are collaborating at minimum level by mutually engaging in best practices like defining what a sales-ready lead is – but few are developing a more complete process for sales to hand leads back to marketing for re-engagement and continued nurturing.
The website has also become an extremely efficient platform for integrating and automating the lead generation process. As a result, the role of a company’s website has been elevated from simply a spoke in the marketing mix wheel to the hub of the marketing strategy. While many website capabilities are being managed at a high level, or clients were at least doing a good job of managing them, the report suggests that system integration which enables the flow of leads generated on a website to the CRM system was a weak point.