The right vendor depends on your own personal requirements

Marketing Automation vendors are not one-size-fits-all. It is important that you choose the right vendor for your specific business requirements as B2B companies have more complex and longer buyer journeys and more people involved in the buying process. Your Marketing Automation platform selection should focus on finding the best fit with your business plans, resources and company culture. There are several ways to navigate the selection process, including a formal RFP (Request for Proposal) for shortlisting vendors to running in depth demonstrations. Here are six steps that will help you in this process.

1. Define Your Business Goals

In order to know what a Marketing Automation vendor should be able to deliver in terms of features and service, it is important to clearly define the business challenges or opportunities that you are facing. Describe the gap between the current situation and the desired state.…

If your creating B2B content for social, have you stopped and asked yourself what your audience actually uses social for?

You create content, you publish it and you promote it on social media. Create, Publish, Promote, Repeat. Yet have you ever thought to consider how your audience are actually using social media whilst they are at work? Are they using it to relax during a tea break? In which case humorous and easy to read content will do best. Or are they using it to learn more about their industry and discover new trends, in which case detailed thought leadership and posts providing industry specific stats will go down well.

New research from Pew Research Centre asked over 2000 American adults how they use social media at work, to discover what people are looking for when browsing during working hours. The results are interesting, and show how no one reason dominates.

The most common reason was…

What are the ideal roles for an effective data analytics or business intelligence team?

Creating teams within a business is a complex task, one that involves a wide range of skills, some of which are hard to quantify. Should you put similar people together in the hope they'll 'get each other', be more productive and 'get on great'? Or should you mix lots very different people with different skills sets together so they can combine their strengths and cover one another's weaknesses?

These questions come down to management style and company culture, so we can't offer any great insights there, as it will be different for everyone and, to some extent, set in stone. But where we can offer insights is in how to structure a data analytics team to get the best results from your employees. This article is based on our summary of this guide from Google  exploring the ideal Analytics organisation…

How to engage your audience by optimising every feature of your email

Every email that you send to your clients has distinct elements. There’s the subject line, of course, as well as  headline and body, to name just a few. And every single one of those elements has a distinct role to play in emails that are either engaging and often read versus those that quickly land in the “trash” folder.

Take the body of an email: If your customers feel like they’re reading a generic piece of information that’s crafted for everyone, and not specifically for them, they’ll be turned off. That points to the importance of data gathering as a part of the email-crafting process. The more you know about customers beyond that email address—who they are, how old they are, what they like and don’t like—the more likely you can create sub-groups of emails that offer benefits and reasoning…

A good relationship with your agency is key to creating solutions to your marketing efforts, both yourself and the agency are happy with.

As an extension of yesterday's post, today we are looking at the top challenges of working with an agency.

The work comes from Clutch who surveyed 500 respondents all of whom work in companies with over 500+ employees for their 2016 Enterprise Marketing Survey. They asked marketers, "What is the biggest challenge of working with an outside agency?”.

Unsurprisingly "communication" came top of the list, with 18% if respondents claiming it to be the toughest thing about working with an agency. Whether there is a lack of, or complete miscommunication, it is something that has to work for a successful business relationship. On the agencies behalf, it…

How a watermelon got 500 times more views than the President of the United States: Why Live Video offers a massive opportunity for brands willing to be creative

Live video streaming found its footing nearly a decade ago when sites like Livestream and Ustream emerged. However, back then, brand marketers felt lukewarm about the technology — bandwidth was limited, audiences were extremely niche, and the stakes of live broadcasting seemed too high.

But now, with Facebook pushing the option to its huge user base, YouTube announcing the integration of mobile live streaming on its platform, and news outlets like Wall Street Journal, NBC, CBS, and Fox News trying their hand at it, brands are having a hard time resisting this now-viable marketing avenue.

In fact, a recent poll found that 44 percent of executives live-streamed an event in 2015, while another 20 percent plan to try it by the end…

A true omnichannel strategy makes the most of offline not just online

Consider the main ingredients to a sale when a customer is in your place of business. You have product placements that suggest what a customer should buy, education on the products and services you are selling, the ability to experience your brand firsthand, and most important, people available to educate buyers and make a sale. All these make up the customer experience, and digital is just another component.

Clearly, bricks-and-mortar businesses that aren’t yet capitalizing on their digital channels were successful before the internet took over their industries. There are reasons for that success, and those can give you an edge over your internet-born competitors.

Digitizing Your Offline Strategy

A successful online strategy shouldn’t be a matter…

Which digital marketing activities you should keep inhouse or outsource?

The companies that continue to move to a more integrated digital model while managing their Digital Transformation process, may be left wondering which activities are best to be outsourced and which are preferable to keep in-house. It is very common for companies to outsource at least part of their digital capability, but this is likely to affect how well they can move to an integrated model. But what are the particular disciplines most suited to outsourcing and what is preferable to keep in-house?

The ‘Slow Burners’ vs. Campaign Based

When we think of digital marketing activities, there are many that need to be managed, but let’s consider the following eight key disciplines covering paid-owned and earned media and managing the customer experience should sit within an organisation:

1. Email marketing 2. Social Media 3. Paid Search 4. SEO 5. Display advertising and retargeting 6. Content Marketing 7. Customer / User Experience 8.…

84% of companies hire at least one agency for a marketing or advertising service.

Not only this, but companies are choosing to hire 2 if not 3 agencies across the multiple disciplines.

Clutch highlight that this is hardly surprising given the vast amount of disciplines and channels the average CMO is having to work across.

Given this, it makes sense that they are choosing to hire multiple agencies, as well as their own in-house teams to tackle the multi-channel campaigns targeting multiple audiences, sometimes across different sectors.

Data: Survey of 500 respondents who work in a marketing role at companies with at least 500 employees. About half come from companies with 1000+ employees. 88% are manager level or higher Source: Clutch Enterprise Marketing Survey Date: Aug 2016 …

The 20 core skills needed by today's digital marketer from A to Z

We love providing marketers with the best possible advice on digital marketing at Smart Insights. That’s what gets us up in the morning (no, seriously, it really is. Okay, well that and a coffee). Advising marketers about best practice across a huge range of topics all day means we spend a lot of time thinking about the knowledge needed by marketers today. As we’ve discussed before, we believe that a great marketer should be part artist, part scientist, and should be ‘T’ shaped - that is, they have deep expertise in one area and a good basic understanding in others.

Image source: Distilled

All well and good, but what would today's perfect marketer look…

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