Marketing Strategy

Silverpop Engage Certified

Mon, 30 January 2012

Here we are with just a quick little note to brag about being Silverpop Engage Certified. The sneaky thing about being a marketer in the digital age is just how much technical knowledge you need to have. I’m not talking about being able to write Java code, or write a SQL query (although some marketers likely have to do this too). I’m talking about getting certified in all of the technical tools we mix together on a daily basis to do our jobs. From Excel to Salesforce.com, from Adobe Photoshop to WordPress, from CSS to CMS, we are constantly required to use one of the more diverse kits of technical tools needed by any industry.

I know that engineers and architects get certified in everything from building codes to AutoCAD, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t know if they are asked on a nearly daily basis to be fluent in a new tool. From one marketing tactic to the next, there is always a new piece of management software, syndication software, creative software, Cloud Whozit, and SaaS Whatzit. So, when a vendor takes the time to offer a certification, you know they are in the business of user proficiency and user adoption. Silverpop knows that to beat their competitors at Marketo and Eloqua, they need a legion of loyal fans who are rock-star proficient at using their software to make marketing magic. If I weren’t in the weeds with the system every day trying to prove its value to my company, I might not have even bothered. I found the certification process thorough and useful in learning many corners of the software I might not have explored otherwise. With that knowledge, I just might be more ambitious with my marketing than I would have before. Mission accomplished, Silverpop. You have my thanks for the Certification challenge, and I have this handsome certificate not suitable for framing to adorn my blog and resume.

Posted in: B2B Inbound Marketing, B2B Lead Generation/Management, E-mail marketing, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms | No Comments »
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My B2B Takeaways From the Silverpop Client Summit 2011

Thu, 19 May 2011

spop-summitbanner

 

I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 Silverpop Client Summit. This was my first summit as we are a relatively new customer for Silverpop. First, let me just say that Silverpop put on a heck of an event.

Memorable Event Details

Here’s some things that made the event planning/production itself memorable

  • Any truly great event has great keynote speakers.  Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics fame, and Gary Vaynerchuk of passionate social media fame knocked their keynotes out of the park. It was a nice touch that their latest books were made available for free to all attendees.
  • It sounds stupid, but the endless promotion of the hastag #SPOP11 and displaying the tweets from it up on the big screen was really fun. It was fun to tweet and get your words up in front of a crowd in seconds.
  • A great venue. Hotel Intercontinental Buckhead had plenty of space, and outstanding food and accomodations. The staff was super professional.
  • Fun after hours events at World of Coke and listening to Girlz Girlz Girlz rock it.
  • Very well-planned learning tracks for B2B and B2C customers kept separate.
  • Plenty of networking time between presentations made making business connections very easy.

Now, My Marketing Takeaways

  • Silverpop has an outstanding staff of product strategists and support people that really are leading the field of Marketing Automation Software. I have a much higher confidence level that we made the right system selection after having attended the event and meeting the people behind the product. From the CEO, Bill Nussey to Lead Product Strategist Bryan Brown to product ninja John Field, these guys really have great vision to lead toward the future and understand the problems we as marketers all face in trying to get there.
  • Not only do they know their own product, but I feel way better about how well they understand Salesforce.com. Engage 8.3 is a far superior product to Engage B2B in how well it integrates with Salesforce.
  • I am reassured by presentations from analysts at Sirius Decisions (Meg Heuer) that all of this pain and suffering in trying to migrate to a new sales and marketing model aligned process-wise and powered by marketing automation and CRM tools is defintely the right direction.
  • I also learned that there are plenty of other organizations out there that share the challenges of getting to that vision.
  • I finally have face-to-face connections with support staff at Silverpop, from my account rep, to our product transition specialist and even to the internal marketing team. Every single person is willing and enthusiastic about helping customers adopt and take advantage of the Silverpop platform.
  • Birds of a feather. Holy cow there are plenty of marketing people out there with similar responsibilities and the varied skillsets needed to operate Marketing Automation and Lead Management. The emerging title is Marketing Operations. I didn’t know this discipline existed, especially living in such a small and lean marketing department as I currently do.

That’s it for now. I reserve the right to add to this post. It’s what I could come up with as I sit in the airport to return home after my first visit to Atlanta. My mind is mush and my motivation is high. Thanks for a great conference!

Posted in: B2B Inbound Marketing, B2B Lead Generation/Management, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Marketing Strategy | No Comments »
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Measuring Client Satisfaction: One Net Promoter® Score at a Time

Tue, 15 March 2011

Marketing is many parts listening and one part using what you’ve heard to affect change in your organization. It is amazing what a simple client survey can do to validate what you do as an organization and give you the confidence to make changes that will positively affect the customer experience.

For the past year and a half, Hudson has participated in the Inavero, Best of Staffing™ awards sponsored by CareerBuilder. It is based on sending surveys to all of our clients that essentially asks a simple question – How likely are you to recommend us to a friend? The answer to that question, rated on a 1-10 scale speak volumes to how well we’re doing as an organization. If a client rates on a scale of 1-6, they are detractors, 7-8 are passives, and 9-10 are promoters meaning they would likely give us word of mouth recommendations. Inavero also collects the primary reason for the rating and anything we could do better with our service.

From a marketing perspective, the survey is golden because it gives us great client testimonials to put in our marketing materials. It helps us with our search engine optimization for people who might be looking for the best IT staffing agencies, or one of the best staffing firms for client satisfaction  (: shaaaaameless linkbuilding right there baby :). It also gives us something to validate our quality to prospective clients and candidates. Here you can see one of the ways we address the survey in a web video from our CEO (a quick little production I did with a Flip cam):

 

 

From an organizational perspective the survey has even more benefit. It opens a communication channel with clients and helps to rescue relationships that may have ebbed in recent times. For a group spread far and wide like ours, a positive satisfaction rating gives employees a sense of pride. The direct feedback can also inject innovation into the service offering based on great ideas from clients. Overall, I’m convinced that periodic client surveys are a great way to build the quality of a staffing firm. After all, success is built one promoter at a time.

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld.

Posted in: General, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Marketing Strategy | No Comments »
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B2B Client Attraction Websites

Tue, 15 February 2011

You do a little bit every day to move the needle. In 2010, Hudson did a lotta bit every day to try to move the needle. One of the things we examined were our Client facing websites for Hudson North America. In the staffing and professional services business what you try to sell most is trust. Trust that our people are the best at what they do, and trust that we have been there and solved your problem before. The problem is that most clients are skeptical when you talk about yourself all the time. “We’re the best this”, or “Look at all about us”. What they want to know is “How can you help me?”; “Do you understand my problems?”. So, we made a simple shift from talking about us, to trying to identify with client problems. We then featured some key case studies that prove that we can solve the kinds of problems that clients have.

These were baby steps of progress in 2010. Have a look at my Hudson Microsites 2010 Portfolio entry to read more details about the redesign project. I thought it was a good time to post it and get any comments from the market. We are learning, and embarking on further redesign work to continue to push our sites to help our clients address their business issues.

Hudson Financial Solutions Home Page 2004-2009
Click to view 2004-2009 home page

Hudson Financial Solutions Home Page 2010+
Click to view 2010 home page

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Marketing Strategy, Projects, Staffing SEO/SEM, User Experience Design | No Comments »
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Diving into the Sales Lead Flow

Thu, 03 February 2011

riverIn the beginning of 2011, I have made a transition in my Interactive Marketing responsibilities. It is a shift that I have advocated for as I have tried to help elevate the value of my expertise to my company, and elevate the stature of marketing within our organization. My long term survival theory for marketing in a predominately sales organization (as opposed to engineering, manufacturing, etc) is to “get closer to the money”. This means that we need to focus our marketing activities on things that directly assist the sales team. Not that branding, marketing communications, social media, PR and the like don’t indirectly help the sales team; they do. It’s just that the more time you spend in the direct path of a sale through B2B Lead Generation and management, the more familiar you get with your sales team, the buying funnel for your customers, and better ways of adding value to the sales process. Without this as my primary goal and responsibility for my first few years, it was easy to be “disconnected from the money”

So far, my instincts have been correct. I have spent the last 3 months really diving into our CRM system – Salesforce.com. I have actually been trying to get all of the mechanics set up for how leads come in from marketing activities, get classified by sales, and ultimately get pursued for business. Much of this has to do with attempting to get the sales team and the marketing team to only use Salesforce. We are working on using it to setup and track campaign activities. When we build email lists, no more spreadsheets. It’s Salesforce queries. When we pass leads to sales, we try hard to only interact within Salesforce.  So far, this has brought up more questions than answers.

  • Do we have the right fields setup in Salesforce for data capture?
  • Are we right to spend lots of time implementing the Leads module separate from the Contacts module?
  • How exactly does a salesperson classify the many contacts at a client, when only one of them is the purchaser, but many others are the influencers?
  • In an industry like staffing, where needs arise over night, is there any true sales funnel at all?
  • When should a lead be assigned to our sales team for follow up?

After the campaigns go out the door, and the responses come back, I’m  finding that getting in the middle of lead management is a lot of work. I actually care now whether sales is pursuing and documenting a lead that we pass them. I want to see the activities get documented so that I can track where the best leads are coming from. I want to understand the nuances of the sales relationship so that I can help formulate additional nurturing tactics to turn the lead into a sale.

This is just the beginning of my learning. It’s almost like marketing is becoming a part of the sales team. If I have learned anything so far, it’s that sales is hard work – really hard.

photo by: milowinningham

Posted in: B2B Lead Generation/Management | 1 Comment »
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Just Changing the Subject – 2 Different E-mail Marketing Results

Thu, 27 January 2011

Today I paused just a second to check on the effects of some of our email marketing. First, I stopped to applaud ourselves for converting a registrant for a webinar that we are sponsoring. It was someone who didn’t register the first time we sent the email subject to the outside list, but did respond the second time we sent the exact same email.

Converting from an Outside List
I must admit I was skeptical when the only thing we changed in the invitation was the Subject Line. No content change whatsoever. This was to an outside list that we purchased from a vendor called Accuity. To date we have found that response from outside lists that we pay for has been poor. No surprise there, right? It’s not like the people asked for more spam. Of course, the hope always is that you can provide people in a highly targeted audience something of value that they want to interact with.

So, I opened up our Silverpop EngageB2B system to have a look. Sure enough, the first time we sent email to the list with a subject line of Basel II & III: Are You Prepared?, this busy financial executive, didn’t even open it. 1 week later, when we sent the exact same email with a different subject line (Basel Webinar – Earn 2 Free CPEs!) that catered more toward earning professional certification credits, the person opened the email and registered for the webinar.

Silverpop EngageB2B Activity Insight Window showing results of 2 different email subject lines

Silverpop EngageB2B Activity Insight Window showing results of 2 different email subject lines

What we never know, of course is whether the person converted because of a better subject line, or because we sent the email on the right day at the right time.

Causing an Unsubscribe
For some reason, I also noticed today that our Silverpop system not only tracks unsubscribes, but gathers comments from people as they do so. I took a look at the report and figured anyone who bothered to comment, must have been really aggravated. So I saw this comment on the report:

EngageB2B Unsubscribe Reasons Report

EngageB2B Unsubscribe Reasons Report

I looked at the user’s Activity Insight and easily spotted why the user unsubscribed. We sent 4 emails over a one month span regarding the same IT Project Management webinar, varying only the subject line. The last email put him over the top, and caused him to unsubscribe.

EngageB2B Activity Insight showing 4 different emails, the last causing an unsubscribe

EngageB2B Activity Insight showing 4 different emails, the last causing an unsubscribe

I would have to agree with his assessment, that we spammed him especially if he wasn’t a good target for the content. This whole inquiry leaves me wondering more about human behavior and email marketing. On the one hand, repetition is good, because he finally took the time to open the email. However, the end result was not so good, because we’ve lost the privilege to send email to him again. I don’t feel good at all about badgering someone to the point of an unsubscribe. Yet, as an e-mail marketer I know that it’s all part of the game.

Posted in: B2B Lead Generation/Management, E-mail marketing, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Marketing Strategy | 4 Comments »
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7 Year Anniversary at Hudson

Wed, 26 January 2011

Hello blog. Where have you been? Actually, where have I been? It has been a very long time since I have spent much time writing what’s happening at work. In February 2011, I will celebrate my 7th anniversary at Hudson, a professional staffing and recruiting firm based in Chicago, IL. I have now worked from my home in Webster, NY longer than I worked in the Chicago office. I blame the vast changes in the internet over the last 7 years for keeping me so busy, and so invested in one company. When I started this blog to try to figure out social media in 2007, Facebook wasn’t even on the radar. Last year I posted a grand total of 4 times on my blog. This was largely because my focus at work has changed from Social Media to SEO, then to Lead generation and CRM. But, also because Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter have made me lazy and distracted from long-form discussion.

There aren’t enough hours in the day after our economic downturn and staff reductions. There’s so much to figure out and learn. Instead of taking 20 minutes to write, I use that 20 minutes to read. I realize this has taken me out of the game. Writing takes practice. Writing forces you to digest what you’ve learned and replay it in a way that is at least meaningful to yourself and hopefully meaningful to others.

There you go. My first blog post of 2011, on my 7th anniversary at a job that has taught me everything I know so far about this medium, and how much more I need to learn. C’mon Kris. You’ve got to keep writing :)

Posted in: Blogging, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Social Media | No Comments »
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Marketing Campaign Diagrams – Not for the Faint at Heart

Mon, 22 February 2010

I have spent since the beginning of the year working with my teammates here at Hudson on putting our first true B2B Lead Generation campaign into the market. The first is a bit of a misnomer, because we’ve done plenty of webinars, email blasts, tradeshows and breakfasts in the past. What we haven’t done is hook these activities into a CRM for tracking of leads with the sales team and a marketing automation system to really turbocharge the messaging, calls-to-action, follow up and lead nurturing.

We all know the feeling when we’ve been “nurtured”. We sign up for a webinar. 1 minute later you get a contact from a sales person. After the webinar you get follow up emails on additional offers and additional whitepapers on the subject you were interested in. What you don’t realize is all of the pre-thought, strategy, and setup that goes into that orchestrated series of events. Let me tell you, it’s not for the faint at heart. After countless hours with a full-time consultant building our strategy and integrating automation systems it all comes down to a diagram. To be able to visualize all of the steps and how they will work together you need a campaign diagram, so says our vendor Silverpop. I’ve built plenty of information architecture diagrams in my career, but never anything like this. Apparently these are notoriously complex exercises, since Silverpop themselves had a contest last year to find the most convoluted marketing campaign diagram.

My Piece of Convolutedness

cloud-lead-camp-diagram4

Here’s my rookie effort at a campaign diagram (page 1 only). This was at its very worst. I have since revised the diagram many times to simplify and better communicate how we will be setting up all of the assets in our different systems. Nonetheless, you have to go this far if you want to pre-plan an automated campaign. This has been an awesome learning experience. I’m very much looking forward to the campaign launch and finding out how effective each little block in the diagram will or will not be. Stay tuned.

Posted in: B2B Inbound Marketing, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Marketing skills, Marketing Strategy | 1 Comment »
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Keeping Customers Positive with Social Media

Tue, 09 February 2010

I was listening to a B2B Blogging Lessons Learned podcast today with Kip Bodnar over at Social Media B2B. Toward the end of the podcast there was a discussion of the use of Social Media CRM for sales people, and what the rise of information on the web about your customers means. One of their points was that all of the personal information about you online can deepen the relationships salespeople have with their prospects and clients. I have an excellent personal experience where this has happened to me.

OptiJob’s Doug Kerken Sold Me then Followed Me on Twitter

I went through an extensive vendor evaluation at the end of 2008 to choose an SEO/career site portal provider. I received quotes from a variety of providers at my request, and by the recommendation of our recruitment ad agency. One provider was Optijob, and the salesperson was Doug Kerken. Long story short, Doug won the business based on an excellent product, a fair price, and an extremely flexible attitude to customize the product to meet Hudson’s career site needs.

Somewhere during the sales cycle Doug (@DKerken) connected with me on Twitter. Not LinkedIn (til later), not Facebook…Twitter. By doing so, Doug opened up a whole different line of communication. First off, Doug and I have never met in person. Yet, by following his personal Twitter account where he mixes business and pleasure tweets, I get to know him much better. Yes, Doug is a sales guy through and through. He is cool to chat with on phone calls, and he makes a lot of promises about the product, that some other poor schlep has to implement because Doug promised it. BUT, Doug is also keeping me very positive about his company. He’s keeping the relationship warm, and he doesn’t need to take me out to lunch bother me with “just catching up” calls to do it. He simply reacts to a tweet of mine every once in a while and that’s enough to keep him top of mind.

Positive Customer Service and Accountability

If we have a service issue with OptiJob I can reach out to him on Twitter, both of us knowing that a public slam would be bad for the company’s reputation. This keeps him accountable to service our account. Better yet though, I know that Doug is monitoring my Twitter stream and anticipating our needs. That’s good consultative selling, and he didn’t have to do a thing.

What’s the Moral of This Story?

The lesson for all salespeople is not to think of social media in terms of will it get me a lead this afternoon. Think of it as another way to interact with and listen to customers and prospects on a personal and professional level. For every salesperson I hear from who says they don’t have time to understand social media, I only need to point them to people like Doug who build successful, positive business relationships through the channel. Next time you decide to spend another 2 hour lunch with one prospect, think of how much more scalable you are by keeping 20 prospects interested through Twitter. I’m just sayin…

Posted in: Marketing Strategy, Social Media | No Comments »
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SM2day Conference Rochester – My Top 5

Fri, 13 November 2009

I spent my Wednesday at a Social Media conference in Rochester called SM2Day. The event was the brainchild of Ana Roca Castro of Premier Social Media. She brought in a very exciting slate of guest presenters including nationally recognized Social Media advocate, Chris Brogan and local CMO Rockstar Jeffrey Hayzlett. Here is Ana’s nice little story using tweets and an app called whrrl to tell how she got the conference together.

More stories at Memorial Art Gallery
Powered by Whrrl

My head is spinning at everything I learned before, during and after the conference. Here’s my top 5.

  1. Chris Brogan is the real deal. He has obviously honed his craft in a couple short years. He is an entertaining and humble speaker who spoke passionately of the need for brands (and more impoortantly the people behind them) to engage in conversation not target marketing. Does anybody want to feel targeted? I’m now subscribed to his blog and probably anything else he creates.brogan
    Blurry iPhone shot with me, Chris and my signed copy of Trust Agents.
  2. Jeffrey Hayzlett really believes in Social Media marketing for Kodak. From his complete support of Jenny Cisney’s efforts as Kodak Chief Blogger/Social Media Manager, to his team’s published thought leadership within the Kodak Social Media Guidelines, to crowdsourcing product names via twitter, Jeff is passionate about Social Media to drive marketing at Kodak. We also found out a few other things Jeff is passionate about too like hunting, and Diet Mountain Dew.
  3. Eric Majchrzak at Freed Maxick & Battaglia CPAs is making it happen with Social Media and SEO. He actually has a Twitter account for a CPA firm, and a forthcoming billboard that will post the tweet stream.
    lamr1
    He is also showing impressive ROI from his efforts by being able to attribute revenue to his website and increasing it steadily year over year.freed-maxick
  4. Niki Black knows the ins and outs of the legal implications of Social Media on companies. Social media guidelines are a must. She provided some good resources on how to craft a good policy. When her presentation becomes available I’ll post here.
  5. When you go to conferences and sit next to smart people like Matt Ray, you pick up extremely useful information. For instance, my iPhone battery was running low from all the in-conference tweeting I was doing on #SM2day. He suggested I turn off 3G to conserve battery. I didn’t know you could do that. I also hadn’t yet heard the news that I could tweet to LinkedIn. These are minor things, but it shows what hanging out with like-minded people will teach you.

I’m looking forward to the presentations from the conference being available online because there was some really useful content from ALL of the presenters.

Posted in: Marketing Strategy, Professional Networking, Social Media | 3 Comments »
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This is my Life as a 37 year old husband and father of two and my Work as Executive Director of Marketing at Bennett International Group in Mconough, GA relocating from home in Rochester, NY.
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