Ignite | A B2B Marketing Blog

The Next Big Thing for Marketing: a Duckbilled Platypus that can Play the Keytar

By Charles Simpson | January 29, 2015

Growing up, one of my favorite Disney attractions was the Country Bear Jamboree. I’ve always loved bluegrass. I’d also long loved animals. As a child, convincing me to watch an animatronic bear play a banjo was an easy sell. It was such a potent blend of two things I enjoyed. Most people feel the same way about peanut butter and chocolate, pizza and beer, and bacon with anything.

I’m also seeing similar levels of enthusiasm around the rise of the “Chief Data Officer” or “Chief Digital Officer” (CDO). Finally, information systems and marketing can combine forces seamlessly through a C-level manager that can bring all the disparate parts together. There’s such brilliance and potential in combining two things that are so incompatible! No more language barriers. No more silos. No more poorly defined IT requirements. No more competing for resources or finger pointing when things go hopelessly awry.

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Posted in: Digital Marketing, B2B Marketing

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Using Social Media to Drive Lead Generation

By Lori Sullivan | December 04, 2014

There are countless motivations behind using social media for business. It’s a great way to connect directly with customers and prospects. It’s an excellent source for reputation management and customer service. It’s a powerful tool to utilize when promoting your own unique, valuable content.

Many businesses spend their time and money driving people to their social sites, attempting to build their following. They even use traditional marketing methods to drive traffic to their social sites. Building a following that is engaged with your products or services is extremely important, but to build solid social media ROI for your business, let’s take your social strategy one step further.

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Posted in: Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Social Media

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The New Power Couple: Digital Marketing & PR

By Lori Sullivan | October 17, 2014

We don’t need to reiterate the difference between marketing, advertising and public relations. We’ve are trained in the distinctions our entire academic lives. I heard it nicely placed into perspective once:

You see a beautiful girl at a party. You go up to her and say: “I am very rich. Marry me!” That's direct marketing.
You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a beautiful girl. One of your friends goes up to her, points at you and says: “He's very rich. Marry him.” That's advertising.
You're at a party and see beautiful girl. You get up and straighten your tie. You walk up to her, pour her a drink; you open doors for her, pick up her bag after she drops it, offer her ride and then say: “By the way, I'm rich. Will you marry me?” That's public relations.

Though there is a difference in the three, marketing, advertising and public relations all share common goals. They hope to develop a strong combination of: 

  • Awareness
  • Authority
  • Trust
  • Influence
  • Sales
  • ROI

Unlike a digital marketing team focused exclusively on search engine optimization (SEO), social media or digital advertising, PR professionals can put all of these into play, allowing for a complete view of a brand. This also allows for the crafting of multi-channel campaigns designed to influence prospects. This influence is extremely valuable, and conjuring influence is a skill that comes naturally to PR practitioners.

The ability to integrate digital marketing and public relations has never been more important. Digital marketers can use PR to build brand awareness, earn online authority, build website traffic, generate content and get media coverage.

In the past, public relations has revolved around pushing a message out to a targeted audience to build awareness and drive sales. Now, with the rise and implementation of inbound marketing, it’s all about pulling people into your brand or business website.

Based on the methodology of bringing prospects to you rather than you going out to find them, inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads and costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing.

What fuels this inbound philosophy? Content. In our digital world, content = currency. It’s how we earn media. It inspires action, connections and, ultimately what matters most, sales.

PR practitioners are naturally good at content creation & SEO. Why? They are skilled writers and storytellers. They can use those skills to have a direct impact on website traffic and overall marketing efforts.

So, why are content & SEO so important? They are in demand. They drive the entire inbound process. Now, 72% of PR agencies offer content and SEO services. Content creation, outreach/engaging with influencers and social networking strategy (aka content) are the most in-demand marketing services. With marketers consistently increasing budgets for digital marketing efforts like content creation, it is time for PR to step into the mix. 

A PR-based content/SEO process* looks like:

  1. Do something newsworthy (product launch, news story, new research)
  2. Create something valuable (blog, infographic, whitepaper, case study)
  3. Promote something that’s shareable (social, media relations, website content)
  4. Gain something that fulfills your business goals (leads, customers, followers, sales)

*via “PR Strategy for Digital Marketers” from The Cline Group (SMX West 2014)

Content creation is easily the largest struggle for marketers today. When creating content such as blogs, whitepapers, case studies, video, how-to’s and sales sheets, it is important to focus on producing unique, valuable and shareable content that appeals to your target audience. In short, it’s about quality not quantity.

In additional to being great content creators, PR people are also masters of successful promotion. After creating quality content, promotion is key. Get noticed by the people who matter by guest blogging, publishing engaging social media posts and even garnering real-world recognition through interviews, editorials and events. When it comes to promotion of content, it’s all about connecting with and engaging the right online prospects and showing your expertise.

Not only are PR practitioners good storytellers, they are also impressive writers. Search engines reward us for writing valuable content with which people engage. When it comes to crafting a multitude of content, PR people also excel at writing “evergreen” content, or content that doesn’t expire, which is vital in fueling a content repurposing strategy.

It’s not all about how PR can help digital marketing, though. Through the rise of web analytics and data-driven decision making, digital marketing now allows PR to:

  • Become more targeted through precise online targeting options and multi-channel campaign integrations
  • Track the customer decision journey and campaign influence and engagement like never before
  • Get more data for campaign measurement than ever before leading to better optimization of future campaigns and more accountability for PR efforts

PR practitioners, of course, can and do apply their skills to jobs in various roles across countless industries. Within digital marketing, having a PR background is huge benefit and something I personally utilize every single day whether I am working on a new digital campaign or in a new business pitch. If you are a PR practitioner who is dedicated to a non-traditional PR career, take a couple minutes to discover how your PR skills shine through in your daily tasks.

Want to see if your digital marketing strategy is effective? Use our free checklist!

Download the Digital Checklist  

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Posted in: Digital Marketing, Public Relations

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Marketing Automation: Shifting from Beginner to Intermediate

By Lori Sullivan | October 10, 2014

Check out an excerpt below from our recent beginner-level webinar on marketing automation technology (MAT). Next week, we're shifting the marketing automation conversation a bit. Join us next Thursday, October 16 for a FREE 30-minute webinar called "Marketing That Teaches."

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Posted in: Digital Marketing, Marketing Automation, B2B Sales

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Your Customers Are Getting Smarter (An Excerpt from Affect | A Newsletter by FitzMartin)

By Lori Sullivan | September 23, 2014

Our monthly newsletter, Affect, offers business-to-business sales and marketing insights, trends and helpful content that is applicable to your business. Check out an exerpt from the latest edition of Affect, written by our director of client growth, Charles Simpson.

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Posted in: Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, B2B Sales

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Marketing Needs More Data Artists (An Excerpt from Affect | A Newsletter by FitzMartin)

By Lori Sullivan | August 22, 2014

Our monthly newsletter, Affect, offers business-to-business sales and marketing insights, trends and helpful content that is applicable to your business. In the latest edition of Affect, our director of client growth, Charles Simpson, outlines why data and data-driven decision making must be an integral part of your marketing department as well as how to spot the qualities of a "data artist" in your team members.

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Posted in: Digital Marketing, Web Analytics, Inbound Marketing, Data

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A Marketing Automation Technology (MAT) Primer

By Lori Sullivan | August 08, 2014

Dissecting the mystical powerhouse behind killer digital marketing ROI

Marketing automation is a technology used to simplify and automate repetitive marketing tasks across numerous digital channels. It creates huge efficiencies for marketing teams, so it’s no surprise that marketing automation has seen the fastest growth of any CRM-related product segment in the last five years.

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Posted in: Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation

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For Better or Worse, Your Web Analytics are Neither Good nor Bad

By Charles Simpson & Lori Sullivan | August 01, 2014

The more we teach others about how digital marketing works, the more we are reminded that one can’t truly understand how to interpret web analytics if they have a simplistic approach to evaluating results. 

What we mean by “simplistic” is this: the tendency to look at a data point, number or result on a particular day and only ask, “Is this result good or bad?” 

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Posted in: Digital Marketing, Web Analytics

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The SEO Process

By Lori Sullivan | July 21, 2014

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the top channel for sales conversions and a top lead generation source, with 25% of marketers finding it produces a below average cost per lead. When it comes to digital best practices, SEO is number one on our list. Whether it is optimizing a website from the ground up or using analytic data and keyword research to improve an existing site’s SEO, we put the utmost importance on optimizing all digital content to foster organic growth and drive sales through online search.

SEO consumes an average of 9% of marketers’ overall time, however, only 9% of companies have a full-time SEO expert or blog lead. Brands may lack time to put into the SEO process, the intricate skill set or a definitive strategy. Knowing that 75% of online users do not scroll past the first page of search results, we can all agree that it is necessary to put SEO best practices into action.

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Posted in: SEO, Digital Marketing

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