Marketing automation tools are making their ways into the business world, not only for large enterprises but also for small companies some solutions have proven to be promising, and not only since IBM bought Silverpop. However, which tools are the right ones for your business? At least we get some advice now from TrustRadius‘ “Buyer’s Guide to Marketing Automation Software”. They did a report based on 400 in-depth reviews by authenticated end-users of marketing automation products combined with the results of more than 10,000 comparisons performed on the TrustRadius’ website.
The report looked at software solutions that include various demand generation capabilities like email campaign management, landing pages,or even lead scoring. However, the analysis out those providers which just offer one aspect of marketing automation (i.e. only lead scoring). In their focus were those tools that “help to automate and scale repetitive marketing tasks and the analysis of those efforts.”
These were the findings they came up with…
Small Businesses (Up to 50 employees)
Small companies gave quite positive and high ratings with at least a 4 out of 5 (average was 4.3 out of 5 – better than the average in the midsize and enterprise companies). Then TrustRadius ranked the products via two factors: a) average user rating and b) how does the product serve the business segment (determined by the number of comparisons made by organizations of that size).
The leading 3 solutions were HubSpot (4.8, 69% of comparisons by small businesses), Act-On (4.7, 53%), plus Infusionsoft (4.3, 96%). Other solutions like Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, and Silverpop also got good ratings. Still, they ranked lower as they had a smaller proportion of small business comparisons.
SMB Businesses (From 51 to 500 employees)
The average rating in the midsize company category was 3.9 out of 5. The report shows that a higher demand goes alongside bigger companies and more complex requirements for marketing automation tools. Here, the trusted vendors are Marketo (4.2, 60% midsize category) and Pardot (4.0, 58%). Act-On, Eloqua, and HubSpot also got positive ratings.
Enterprise Businesses (500+ employees)
The average rating for enterprise marketing automation products was 3.8 out of 5. Eloqua showed up to be the top marketing automation software for enterprise companies (4.4, 59% enterprise focus). Act-On, HubSpot, Marketo, and Pardot also performed well according to users, but they had a smaller proportion of comparisons from enterprise customers.
Tell us about your findings. Which tools do you use and what has proven to be successful for you? All insights can help other companies make faster decisions.
Content marketing seems to be the new hype in the business world. But wasn’t it there before? Case studies, whitepapers, corporate brochures, corporate publishing, etc. – did we not have all of this before? Maybe the B2B world was better trained in this topic than the B2C folks.
The guys from Curata now train marketers with a step-by-step content marketing marathon infographic. It will make marketers understand what it needs to become efficient in content marketing, to have the right pace at producing versus curating content, to achieve the perfect help and support from your fans and get to the finish line.
Good luck – and don’t forget to drink some water!
Based on some research from the guys at Nielsen, Pew Research and ExactTarget, the two companies Financesonline.com and Ruby Media Corporation published some interesting facts and figures that are highlighting the different usage of social media and mobile by men and women.
According to the infographic, in general women are more likely to do networking and use social media for relationship, sharing, entertainment and self-help. Men are more fact-driven and look after deals and information, and on the mobile site are more open to scan coupons and QR codes. Men are using social media predominantly for business (27%) and just (13%) for dating. Whereas women are much lower engaged in these two topics with business coming in at 22% and dating only at 7%.
The infographic makes clear that on Facebook, photos and videos (54%) and entertainment or funny posts (43%) are of interest for women, while only 39% and (35%) of men are viewing them. Women are more active in sharing on facebook as well: 50% share with multiple people (men only 42%).
A recent benchmark report by Pointroll based on the analysis of over 100 billion ad impressions in 2013 states that bigger banner ads perform better in digital advertising campaigns. The bigger ad formats, like the Rising Star, which was introduced by the IAB in 2012 has a 70% click-through rate (CTR) than smaller traditional banner formats.
Furthermore, the interaction rate of the Rising Star banners showed a significantly higher average interaction rate. While the Rising Star formats came in at 1.98%, traditional formats just achieved 1.08%. The video completion rate also performed better with 53.44% finishing to watch the video full length whereas the traditional formats came in almost 10% lower.
Although in-stream ads are critically discussed on their performance at all digital events, the report shows that in-stream video ads delivered a 4.5x higher CTR on average than their Flash ads competitors. Moreover, they achieve a 2.7X higher CTR when compared with rich media ads. The later when carrying video content showed a 22% higher average CTR compared with those rich media ads without video.
Interestingly enough, the report shows that longer videos performed better than shorter ones. The 30-second video ads got 55% more clicks on average than 15-second video ads. However, the 15-second videos had only a 6% higher completion rate than 30-second spots.
One of the main problems is that just 60.4% of the delivered and analyzed impressions of the report were “viewable” according to the IAB standards. The viewability rates were different by vertical. The employment and sports media outlets delivered the highest rate (72.6%). The community publishers performed at the end of the publishers (58.4%).
This is one of those secrets that is discussed in every single seminar we do: How does Google rank websites? Why does my website not rank higher than my competitors? What could be the best SEO strategy so that Google ranks us under the first three results?
The Google’s algorithm is one of the biggest secrets in the marketing world. The 200+ ranking features make it very challenging to find the right web strategy of your content and website structure. So, what’s the best way to develop a “Google-loves-us” strategy?
Neil Patel has created a nice infographic that illustrates the main components of the Google algorithm. Let’s see what he comes up with…
The main challenge to drive more traffic via search lies in understanding the holistic approach of Google’s algorithm. Obviously, it is about the final user that works with the website, reads the content and shares it through their own social communication platforms. Over are those days when people though the “link-in-link-out” game will solve the SEO war, when companies got paid for building link farms, and people got money to bring more links in. In the end, the user decides on what they need, and finally the Google Algorithm reflects that.
Some weeks ago, we spoke about a study that described what B2B decision makers expect to read on vendor websites. Now, a new study of 352 buyers (predominantly large businesses) from The CMO Council and NetLine shows that the majority of organizations (94%) favors to curate and circulate relevant content in their organization before finally deciding to purchase B2B solutions and services. For years, marketers thought B2B buyers and influencers alike are simply using vendor-related content from time to time.
The study makes clear that there is no real sharing structure to be made out from company to company. However, there are three main patterns that the study highlights in their results:
- From the Middle Out (35%): Execution-level executives search and find content about vendors/products and make the purchase. Senior management gets educated thorugh them why the decision was made.
- From the Bottom Up (30%): Junior or mid-level employees find vendor-related content and share their discoveries with senior management. Then they make the final decision.
- From the Top Down (29%): Senior managers find the content, then share it with lower-level managers for analysis and final purchase.
The same as with the sharing patterns, there are three key personas within the businesses who act according to their own behaviors, expectations and needs.
- Researchers: Primarily focused on new industry reports/research to inform them of advancements in solutions, trends affecting the markets, and opportunities for improvement.
- Influencers: Interested in both thought leadership found in trusted third-party channels and vendor-branded technology specifications, data sheets, and use cases. Their special interest is in summarized content, i.e. infographics, videos, and blog comments.
- Decision-Makers: Want to stay informed through broad research reports and analyst commentary. However, they expect to have access to detailed data to enable better decision-making at the tail end of the purchasing funnel.
The study reveals some further interesting insights. The vendor selection is major to moderate influenced by online content, find 88% of the B2B buyers and more than a third (38%) find that online content provides strategic insights and shapes the purchase decision. The content that is valued the most is research reports and studies (65%), technical spec and data sheets (50%), analyst reports (46%), whitepapers (35%) and posts on trade publishing sites (30%). The power of Google and the vendor website comes out as well: When more than two third state they start their vendor-related content sourcing with search engines and portals, it shows that the best training the marketers is to read the two B2B studies and draw some conclusion out of it for the future of your own content, PR and marketing acitivites. And if you cannot find a solution, we are happy to help…
Getting personal data is something most companies strive for. However, consumers are very careful with sharing their information with marketers. Most of them (62%) fear that marketers don’t obey the rules of data privacy. This is the main finding of a recent report from SDL, based The report was based on data from a survey of more than 4,000 consumers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Not surprisingly, younger consumers are not that frightened about the way marketers work with their data than older consumers. In the UK, just 48% of the 18-24 year old respondents worry about it versus 63% of the 45-54 year olds. The US is less open with data sharing in the younger generation. 59% of the respondents between 18-29 years worry about data privacy. This compares to 71% of the age group 45-60 years.
There is also a big gap between what data people share and what not. Data about age, gender, and income is more openly shared with marketers. Respondents made clear that they are less open to share the name of their spouse, lists of family and friends, and obviously their Social Security number.
It seems that loyalty programs are still a great hook for marketers. In order to being able to join a loyalty program 49% of respondents were willing to share personal information with brands. Furthermore, free products and services in exchange for data still gets 41% sharing personal data.
Still, the fear of being tracked gets people away from sharing their data online, especially when it comes to in-store tracking. Most respondents (76%) with smartphones replied they are not happy with retailers’ tracking their shopping tours as they do not understand what the intention of the tracking effort will be.
Trusted brands are in a comfortable situation: 79% of respondents stated they are more likely to hand over personal data to those brands they have purchased from before. Obviously, this changes in percentage from country to country with the UK being most hesitant about sharing information Almost one third would not share any information with marketers. The report is a good indicator on what kind of structured data is easy to generate, but also shows the challenge of getting sensitive data from consumers.
Is it really still the phone number and the email address? Well, at least contact information should be easily accessible on B2B vendor websites. This is the main finding of a recent report from Dianna Huff and KoMarketing Associates.
The study, based on a survey of 175 B2B buyers, states that the majority of B2B buyers (68%) find the vendor’s address and contact information is mission critical information. Thus, 55% make clear they’ll leave the website if it isn’t accessible. For most B2B buyers (81%) want to contact vendors via email in the first place, phone comes in second place (58%). Furthermore, it is not only about accessibility. Credibility of a vendor’s website establishes for 51% of the respondents when contact or about information is displayed.
From a content perspective, 43% of buyers see pricing as a “must have” content on vendor websites. Having worked with different b2b vendors in the last years, we know that the challenge for them is the indirect sales when partners have different levels of pricing models that often cannot be displayed public; however separate logins can handle that challenge.
90% of buyers expect to see product/services information on vendor websites. They also want to see about/company information (61%), marketing collateral (37%), and testimonials (36%). Although social media becomes more impact in our daily business, only 24% try to find social media add-ons (24%) or look for blogs (22%).
Although the contact form is the most common way to get in touch with the vendor, only 39% like to use it. This is critical as buyers usually do not take too much time to stay on vendor websites.
Especially when getting bored or when they click out of a website, buyers tend to leave. Another mismatch that makes people leave is when video or audio plays automatically (93%). Animated ads, like crawling banners or pop-ups are also a NoGo for 88%, and a bad positioning about company offers makes 83% move to the competitor sites.
The findings of a study by Demand Metric and Netbase sound positive – but not on a second glance. Although most marketers seem to have understood why they need to work with social media analytics tools, they still haven’t figured out how it helps them to find the social ROI. At least, 61% of responding marketers use social media analytics tools, and of those 53% started working with the tools in the last two years.
The study based on 125 marketers (70% B2B-focused, 13% B2C and 17% split) shows that marketers find social analytics tools most valuable for helping with campaign tracking, brand analysis, and competitive intelligence. 60% of the reponsing people use social media analytics tools for campaign tracking, brand analysis (48%), competitive intelligence (40%), customer care (36%), product launches (32%), and influencer ranking (27%).
It still surprises me that the majority of respondents (66%) states that social media analytics tools are most valuable to help assess and quantify the degree of engagement. Is there more in it like understanding where engagement of the company is needed, leveraging content for production and curation, spoting the mentality and value of influencers, identifying engaged communities or platforms, or detecting features and traffic of personal brand advocacy? Obviously, most marketers are still far behind in understanding how to use and leverage social media analytics tools.
Although most marketers see the opportunities to leverage the social ROI, most are still in their infancy in converting data in findings, and leveraging social media in their daily business. The findings show that most of those marketers (70%) still cannot quantify their social media ROI. The question is why they cannot do so? Do you have any ideas or experience where the main challenges are? Is it a problem of resources, of technology misunderstanding, or simply not clear which social KPIs make sense to meet the overall business targets? Let us know what you think…
Probably you have been one of those social media complainers in your career of tweets and status updates yourself already. If not, maybe you have heard of some of these types from your customer service unit or your sales team. Be aware: Complainers are everywhere, not only on your website or social hubs!
Some studies show that most big companies still do not take social media complains from the social web serious. Comments on brand’s blogs, Facebook or Twitter profiles stay uncommented, or are just a given option to calm the user down and then make them forget about their issue if it is not too complex. Most customers take this personal and just turn to competitors. The revenue of these customers gets lost.
But how can you differentiate between the types of complainers? How can you know who to take serious, and who not? Which typer of complainers should you respond, and how? The guys at ExactTarget have created a nice infographic that helps you structure complainers from