The most unusual & insightful marketing predictions EVER

I am what many may refer to as a pop culture savant. How else would you describe someone who co-wrote a trivia book entitled Off the Top Of Your Head? The book was essentially a release for myself and two friends (Tim Stanton and Rich Romig) who grew tired of firing one pop culture trivia question after another at each other and decided to put pen to paper.

Don’t bother Googling the book – it never went anywhere past the manuscript stage but it was cathartic to my co-scribes and yours truly for sure. I can tell you we did submit it to Games Magazine to gauge their interest and were told it was “too difficult.” We took a lot of pride in that response.

But that was then, as in a thousand or so years ago and this is today which leads me to the most unusual & insightful marketing predictions EVER. Continue reading

Opportunity’s Knocking And Marketers Are Not Answering

“Someone’s knocking at the door, somebody’s ringing the bell, someone’s knocking at the door, somebody’s ringing the bell, do me a favor, open the door and let ’em in.”

Being the pop culture savant that I am, the first thing I thought of when I read the headline “Global Study Shows Marketers Missing Digital Opportunity” was the opening lines to the Wings’ song “Let ‘Em In.” See in addition to being a marketing, advertising and branding fanatic, I am also one prone to invoke and evoke otherwise trivial tidbits into my everyday lexicon.
I readily admit I am far from normal, whatever normal is these days. But hey, that’s just me.
The aforementioned headline is from a press release I read on businesswire.com and was in reference to the results of a global study, The State of Online Advertising, conducted by Adobe. As I began to read the release I saw a quote which was highlighted that reaffirmed my inner channeling of Mr. McCartney.
It was from Adobe CMO Ann Lewnes and it went something like this:
“Digital marketing has created a remarkable opportunity, but it comes with higher expectations from consumers. They expect a story tailored specially for them, a level of trust and transparency with the brands they do business with and, most importantly, a great experience. Brands delivering anything less will ultimately be ignored.”
Consumers are the ones knocking at the door and Mr. & Mrs. Online Digital Marketer are not answering the door.
Why?
Well in the first place, part of the answer lies in Ms. Lewnes quote. “They expect a story tailored specially for them…”
The word “expect” alone is powerful insomuch as no longer do consumers hope for a personalized experience, they expect it – they demand it. And Ms. Lewnes went on to say “We now have the technology and know-how to target relevant and personalized marketing messaging and media to our customers. Shame on us, if we don’t deliver on that.”
Shame, indeed.
Looking at Ms. Lewnes quote in its entirety tells me that, more than anything else, consumers want a relationship with brands. And with that relationship is an expectation that said brand will maintain “a level of trust and transparency” at all times. Else, as she puts, risk being ignored.
The Effect Or Lack Thereof Of Online Advertising

From the Adobe study:
As you can see from the chart, there is quite the prevailing thought among consumers as to the effectiveness of online advertising and in particular web banner ads. The gap is very wide in the US and Europe when it comes to how effective consumers view online and banner advertising compared to what the marketers entrusted to create them believe.
David C. Edelman, global co-leader, Digital Marketing and Sales Practice, McKinsey & Company didn’t pull any punches in talking about banner advertising and it’s impact on consumers saying:
“Banners have brought much of the worst characteristics of advertising – being intrusive and manipulative, catching one’s eye with hyperbole, and using surreptitiously-captured information – into the digital space. Consumers realize they are now in control and won’t accept it.”

You tell em’ David. Consumers are driving the bus Mr. Kramden (another trivial reference) and marketers need to realize they’re along for the ride.  Oh marketers can and should reference points of interest along the route, AKA content, but make no mistake about it – the driver will decide when to stop and smell the proverbial roses.

Ok, enough metaphors.
A Matter Of Trust
No, I won’t reference the Billy Joel song of the same name, but I will reference this, also from the Adobe study:
Notice a trend?
Consumers are skewed toward the left side of the chart which is home to the non-digital/traditional world whereas marketers place more value than consumers do on the digital side of the ledger.
Could the reason consumers do not trust digital – websites, blogs, social media – be because of the content they are reading and ingesting? Could this content simply be not very good? Not relevant? Too salesy?
Nah.
No brand would ever do that, right? #sarcasm
You Are So Annoying
Ah to annoy. Something my wife tells me I do to her all the time.
But I digress.
In the world of marketing and advertising, annoy is most definitely a four-letter word for we surely do not want to annoy consumers.
As per the study, here’s the most annoying marketing and advertising methods according to consumers: (in descending order):
  • Phone calls from marketers
  • Pop-up ads
  • Ads before online videos
  • Text message ads
  • Ads in applications/games
The least annoying types (starting with the least):
  • Advertorials in newspapers and magazines
  • TV commercials
  • Product placements in movies/TV shows
  • Google search ads
  • Traditional mail advertising
I don’t know about you but to me the most annoying by far are ads that appear before online videos, especially those you cannot skip. Nothing will turn me off faster to a brand than making me sit through your commercial or video before getting to what I really came to see.
Sources: Adobebusinesswire.commarketingcharts.com, Google Images
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading global provider of on-demand email and cross-channel marketing solutions, and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing. He can be reached via TwitterLinkedIn or Email

When It Comes To Inbound Marketing Time Is Definitely Of The Essence

A couple of months ago I wrote a post titled Curiosity May Have Killed The Cat But Complacency Will Kill The Marketer. In that particular post I told of the dearth of retention marketing by quoting a survey which revealed that 60% of the B2B and B2C companies surveyed devote less than 20% of their marketing budget to customer retention.

Today I want discuss another form of marketing, one that has become extremely important since the digital age was thrust upon us – inbound marketing.
There are many definitions of the term inbound marketing but I happen to love this description/definition of inbound marketing, courtesy of Trust Media:
“Inbound Marketing is a marketing strategy where businesses implement tactics to ‘get found’ by customers. Inbound Marketing involves creating and providing valuable content for your customers, promoting your remarkable content, building customer relationships, and overall ‘pulling’ the customer toward you. Inbound Marketing strategies create brand awareness, improve Search Engine Optimization, create thought leadership, develop valuable customer relationships, establish credibility, and build trustworthy reputations.”
You may have your own favorite definition of the term, but I think most people would agree with the basics of the above description/definition of inbound marketing.
Now, I highlighted the phrase “overall ‘pulling’ the customer toward you” because at the end of the day, this is the ultimate goal of inbound marketing. If your goal is to “ pull your customer toward you” in order to sell them something, then time is definitely of the essence.
Follow The “Lead”er
Way back in 2007, if someone used the word “pinterest” you would have thrown the flag at then for misspelling and only the cool kids had iPhones, Dave Elkington, the CEO and founder of a company called InsideSales.com, along with Ken Krogue, the president and co-founder, wanted to know the answer to a question that sales professionals had pondered since the beginning of time – Internet time that is.
What Dave and Ken wanted to know was how and more importantly, when sales pros should respond to sales leads coming directly via inbound marketing.
After discovering that no research had been done on this topic, they decided to do it themselves. They reached out to  James B. Oldroyd, a professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
“Because so much money was migrating to Internet marketing efforts, we knew there would be significant interest around the topic of lead response rates, timing and effort, and there influence on the outcome of a lead,” says Elkington.
Krogue recognized the changing tides and shifts that were occurring in the world of marketing, “quickly realizing the industry was migrating away from the old way of doing business (outbound) cold calling to the new digital marketing environment, centered around web leads.”
Don’t Take Five
The most dramatic finding from the 2007 study had to do with the time it takes to respond to an inbound, marketing generated lead.  “The study revealed that the odds of making contact with a new lead are extremely high if you call within the first 5 minutes of submission,” said Elkington. “The odds drop off dramatically by the first 30 minutes.  Specifically, a rep is 100xless likely to make contact if the first call is made 30 minutes after submission. The odds of making contact drop by 3000x if the first call is made 5 hours after lead submission.”
“We call it the ‘wow effect’ as in wow, that was fast! You are impressive.” says Elkington, referring to the reaction a person has when contacted so soon after submitting a lead.
But according to Elkington the most interesting data had to do with qualification behavior. Qualification is defined as the rate at which the lead contact is willing to set an appointment and enter the sales cycle.
The study revealed that the odds of qualifying a lead dropped 21x if the first contact is made 30 minutes after lead submission.
The study, entitled How Much Time Do You Have Before Web-Generated Leads Go Cold, was presented at Marketing Sherpa’s 2007 annual summit. Krogue can still remember the reaction he got from Ann Holland, the founder of Marketing Sherpa.”I told her about the survey results and the first words out of her mouth were: “Do you really have what you say you have? She couldn’t believe it.”
That Was Then, What About Now?
Since the survey findings were released and over 100,000 downloads later, one would think the number of businesses/companies would now “get it” when it comes to the need for a rapid response.
Not so, according to Krogue who says they routinely conduct audits of businesses but “the bar is still set pretty low” and that many businesses are still “not responding fast enough nor are they persistent enough.”
There also may be the case of businesses not even realizing what’s going in their own company and that some are under the misconception that their company is not as bad as others. Krogue gives an example of a national sales exec at a U.S. based insurance company who raved as to the efficiency and proficiency of their sales team when it came to web based leads.
Sure enough, after submitting a lead of his own as a test, Krogue did not receive a follow up contact until six days had passed – hardly the optimal five minute time frame to say the least.
In Closing
According to Elkington B2B companies spend anywhere from $30 to $200+ on each marketing generated lead while B2C firms typically spend from $2-25 for each hot lead.  He says “if a CEO realized the amount of money they were throwing down the drain in terms of wasted leads and lower close rates due to no-follow-up, slow-follow-up and low persistence,  they would shake the tree and turn things upside down.”
I think it’s time to shake the tree and turn other things upside down in all sorts of other ways when it comes to inbound marketing, wouldn’t you?
Think about your own personal experience. If you go so far as to enter your contact information online via a form let’s say, all under the guise of wanting to learn more about a given product or service, aren’t you going to be more receptive to talking about it while it is still fresh in your mind?
I know I would be.

Thanks for your time…