Friday Oct 18, 2013

Oracle and Eloqua Welcome Compendium’s Content Marketing

Compendium LogoYesterday, Oracle announced its acquisition of Compendium, a cloud-based content marketing provider that helps companies plan, produce and deliver engaging content across multiple channels throughout their customers' lifecycle.


Why? Because every part of the above paragraph speaks to where modern marketing is and where it’s headed.


Customers have now been empowered, thanks to the Internet and particularly social, with access to almost limitless amounts of information about companies and products. This includes the especially influential voices of friends and objective acquaintances that have experience with the product or brand. With mobile, this info is available instantly in the palm of their hand. All of this research and influence mind you, is taking place long before a prospect will ever engage with the brand itself or one of its sales reps.

Marketing Sales Funnel

So how does a brand effectively insert itself into these conversations and this flow of the customer journey?


Now, more than ever, marketers must deliver relevant and engaging content across multiple channels and throughout the entire customer journey to be useful, helpful, and influential. Compendium has a
data-driven content marketing platform that lines up relevant content with customer data and personas so brands can accelerate the conversion of prospects.


Now think about combining that with the Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud, part of Oracle's comprehensive CX solution. Marketers will be able to automate content delivery across channels by aligning persona-based content with customers' digital body language. Better customer engagement, improved sales lead quality, better return on marketing investment, and higher customer loyalty. Now we’re talking.

Eloqua Compendium

Does data-driven content marketing have an impact? Compendium customer CVENT is a SaaS company specializing in meetings management tech. They wanted to increase leads & ad performance on their blog and dramatically increase their content. They also wanted to manage the creation, workflow, promotion and distribution of that content. With Compendium, CVENT created over 9,000 content elements, and sales-ready leads grew 325%.


So Oracle Eloqua helps you target audiences, know buyers, and automate multi-channel marketing campaigns. Compendium lets you plan, publish, manage and measure content across content types and channels. Now kick it up yet another notch with Oracle’s Analytics, Big Data and Social solutions, and you’re using your marketing dollars to reach the right people in the right place at the right time with the right content.


And as if that weren’t enough, your customers will love you for it.


@mikestiles

Friday Aug 16, 2013

Can Robots Do My Marketing For Me?

robotDoes the boom in marketing automation enterprise software mean we can put some sort of marketing Skynet into place and let the machines completely take over?

Yes.

Okay well, maybe not 100% yes. But boy we’re getting closer.

In days of yore, marketing automation was a way to add to your email list and send batch emails out to said list, loosely categorized. Today, marketing automation is an increasingly essential part of any CRM platform, allowing marketers to gather reams of data pulled from a variety of sources (including social), crunch the numbers, intimately know who the prospect is, know where they are in the buying cycle, know what kind of content they respond to, and distribute messaging to them in precisely the right place at the right time and in the right way.

If you thought little saucers that vacuum your floor while you’re away were cool, marketing automation should blow your socks off.

But if sales is about relationships and the best relationships are one-on-one, how do the robots scale that into a marketing engine? The answer is, they’re actually getting better at it all the time. And corporations are believers. BtoB tells us 46% of B2B marketers use marketing technologies right now. 62% are “strong” or “full” adopters of marketing automation, compared to 40% in 2012. In 2014, it’s expected to be 81%. Focus Research says it has the fastest growth of any CRM-related segment in the last 5 years. The biggest issue with adoption, at 32%, is budget limitations and poor integration with sales. Which is sad, because the crumbling silos being brought on by the socially-enabled enterprise are pulling Sales and Marketing closer than ever before.

Still, we’ve come to know most of the research and decision process is over by the time a prospect talks with Sales. So being the source of the info they get, and leaving a trail of happy customers behind who will recommend us on social is critical. iMedia shows 93% of B2B buyers use search to start the buying process, 37% post questions on social.

The opposite of effective marketing automation is irrelevancy. Gathering data but not using it leads to irrelevant content being served, proving you don’t know the prospect and apparently don’t care. If I’ve shown interest in a product, why are you talking to me about a different one? Why are you desperately trying to close me when I just started info gathering? I’m an existing customer, why are you talking to me like I’m a new prospect? Gartner projects that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship without talking to a human. Try living in that world with no marketing automation.

If you are anti-robot and Skynet and the machines taking over, there’s still good news for you. Marketing automation is a means of learning about your audience; figuring out what kind of communication they should receive, and when, and where, and how. But the communication must still be crafted. Content is still the 800 lb. gorilla. Marketing is still as much of an art as it ever was. Your content must win applause and smiles and satisfaction. If it doesn’t, it’s perceived as expertly timed, precisely targeted…spam.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Friday May 10, 2013

Social Marketing Secrets from My Parking Problem

booted carAs marketers, and specifically as social marketers, we’re often guilty of not putting ourselves in the shoes of the consumer. As masters of over-thinking, we work feverishly to figure out what will “work” with our target market, without ever stopping to think about what works on us.

That’s right, we’re not only marketers, we’re consumers too. We are somebody’s target. Does it not follow logically then that the kinds of things that are effective on you might also be effective on your brand’s audience? That your desires, reactions and behaviors might also be theirs?

I was reminded of this when I recently had a (gasp) positive and effective experience being marketed to. It wasn’t social. In fact it was quite guerilla and old school. But it holds core lessons for social strategy.

I’ve been paying daily to park in a lot with an “in by 9am” rate. Problems include spaces sometimes not being available and the price going up to $20 on days when events were happening downtown. There’s no in and out, so I can’t leave for lunch and come back without paying again. And it’s not covered parking, so everything from the summer sun to inconsiderate birds wreck their havoc.

Then the daily rate went up. That’s when I started getting cards on my windshield, something that normally makes me quite irate. But…the card was about a special $50/month deal in a nearby parking deck. Brilliant!

Here’s a business that knew what area competitors were doing, identified a resulting pain point for the competition’s customers, offered a proposition of real value that spoke to that pain point, and presented it at exactly the time and place where the pain was most top of mind. Score.

I assumed the special $50 rate was for one or two introductory months. But when I emailed that question to the deck, they responded (right away) that the rate was good for as long as I renewed. Game-Set-Match. Guess who had me as a customer but lost me. Guess who won my business, has me feeling good about their brand and telling this story.

All of the elements of this success are available to you via the social-enabled enterprise. With an integrated platform you can do (at scale with marketing automation encompassing paid, owned and earned) what my parking deck did; watch the competition to see if they’re giving you an opportunity, listen to potential customers who post their desires, deliver your proposition of real value to them when and where it will be best received, respond quickly and positively to potential customer inquiries, and leverage opportunities for customers to share with friends how happy they are with you.

See? You had the secret to effective social marketing with you all along.

@mikestiles
Photo: Samuel Rosa, stock.xchng

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