KPSTRAT can, through its blog, ‘get the right marketing content, to the right prospects, at the right time’…consider ways your professional services firm may leverage Mr. Moberly’s ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’ as an additional – specialized marketing presence!
Not that many years ago, ala pre-internet, pre-email, pre-texting, etc…personal relationship building and firm reputation were the dominant marketing practices relied to ‘sniff and snoop’ out leads as preludes to securing and sustaining clients and retainers.
Professional service firms seldom relied on conventional ‘cold calling’…which, as we know, is dependent on persuasive conversational techniques that generally focus on appealing to human senses known as FUD, i.e., fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
FUD factors were artfully designed to…achieve specific objectives, i.e., emotionally position (call) recipients to agree to setting an appointment for a product-service demonstration which would include strong ‘buy’ (sales pitch) propositions. Today, however, prospective clients are far less receptive to such conventions, due in no small part to their regard as a genuine nuisance.
The art and science of ‘sniffing and snooping’ for leads and prospects remain foundations – preludes to effective inbound marketing…only now through relevant and well conceived online content!
Relevant – useful content provides prospective clients with the option to become known ala inbound marketing…and rationale to regularly visit, browse, read, and develop relationships through a business’s website.
Leveraging Mr. Moberly’s blog in this manner, i.e., utilize blog posts selectively, or, in its entirety or selecting client specific-relevant posts to attract and inform, and translate to advancing relationships.
Inbound marketing is distinguished by…
• instead of devoting time and resources to ‘sniff, snoop, and ‘go get’ the attention of prospective clients externally,
• place emphasis on creating relevant, timely, thought provoking content in on-line contexts that draws-attracts prospects to a firm’s website, and
• addresses prospective clients unique-timely interests, often referred to as ‘pain points’ which legitimately and ethically,
• utilize ‘blog post’ content to motivate – encourage prospective clients to personally engage your firm and/or seek individualized and/or targeted follow-ups.
Supporting survey research…
Gleanster Research, in collaboration with Kapost, conducted a survey in 2015 titled The $958M Marketing Problem Quantifying the cost of inefficiency in your content production processes. Gleanster is a B2B marketing (research) firm, geared to managing each aspect of a B2B ‘buyer’s journey’, with particular-attention to creating marketing content that drives-influences favorable client-customer outcomes.
Companies that utilize Mr. Moberly’s blog as legitimate and professional strategy for executing inbound marketing will recognize each blog posts’ content matters insofar as..
• producing-delivering value to and for a firms’ target prospects.
• nurturing each prospective client’s interests to, among other things, integrate language that favorably influences prospects relationship decisions.
• including headings and narrative (content) that address and qualify any previously asserted objections or questions proffered by prospects.
Inbound marketing initiatives leads to higher level understanding of prospects…to achieve this, however, content should avoid blog post language which a prospect (content reader-browser) may sense-interpret as being unauthoritative, non-experiential, or disingenuous.
It’s imperative that content language and sequencing…elevate prospective clients appreciation of the issues discussed and their relevance, e.g., reflect their experiences and circumstances.
More specifically, the content of a company’s inbound marketing (blog) can and should convey genuineness. This occurs by articulating particular-issues and/or topics known to (a.) be of import to prospects, and (b.) influence their buy – don’t buy decision. The understanding a prospect gleans about a company’s products – services (from inbound marketing blog content) in many instances, manifests as respect to-for a business, due to its relevance (the essence of inbound marketing) to anticipated and foreseeable circumstances and therefore, converting prospects to viable buyers. Doing this also casts the content of a companies’ inbound marketing (blog) as a genuine and lucrative source of exploitable competitive advantage.
It is essential that inbound marketing blog content (language) convey familiarity with various ‘pain points’ a prospect has – may experience, this is achieved by understanding…
• the relevance of inbound marketing (blog) content-language.
• distinguishing which pages (of blog content) attracts prospects and is most queried.
• the role inbound marketing (blog) opt-ins play and influence prospects toward favorable action, i.e., buy!
• circumstances, i.e., what, when, why, how, and where prospects (personal) pain points originate, their time frame to fruition, and adverse effects, i.e., brevity, significance, subject to mitigation, irreversibility, etc.
• possessing capability to capture and analyze relevant data points of blog visitors – prospects in terms of differentiating goals, pain points, needs, and interests.
There is, of course, automated software available that differentiates data in ways to aid inbound marketing bloggers elevate their understanding and cater to prospects – leads needs and ‘pain points’. Also, business and sales intelligence software can capture relevant behaviors exhibited by prospects-leads insofar as their interaction with inbound marketing blogs to facilitate marketing-sales preparation for subsequent calls, meetings, and other, more conventional activities.
Effective inbound marketing blog content, coupled with automated marketing software…
Provides strong competitive advantages as the software captures relevant prospect information which, in turn, can be favorably leveraged, as opposed to merely being used as an entrée for engaging in conventional cold calling. This occurs also when inside sales are largely passive. Instead, inbound marketing…
• provides marketing – sales persons with more relevant information and rationale to engage and talk with prospects in conventional sales call contexts, as necessary, and it also
• allows sales persons to have sufficient and client (lead, prospect) specific information to advance anticipated buying conversations.
Inbound marketing blog objectives are to produce better leads…
For sales professionals, wasting time to engage low-quality leads is often a quick way to undermine – adversely affect one’s motivation. Cold calling of course, is a good example, i.e., recipient (potential prospect) has absolutely no interest in, nor attach any relevance to a company’s products and/or services. On the other hand, when quality content is developed – available in advance, ala inbound marketing blog, to marketer’s audience, it is likely to manifest as trust for prospective buyers and the company they have queried.
Inbound marketing blog content also gets your company recognized as the ‘go-to’ resource…
Prospects can-will be drawn to your company’s products and/or services as the inbound marketing blog content…
• can be invitational, i.e., pull in customers at every stage of their buying journey, particularly when prospect relevant – specific content is integrated which they have not – been unable to acquire elsewhere.
• should be developed to aid prospective buyers better understand the company’s products and services without being subjected to conventional cold calls by a sales representative, activities most prospects prefer does not occur.
• can effectively ‘prep’ prospective buyers through respectful – informative content that contributes to their…
– sales – need readiness, and
– familiarity and appreciation for the company’s market space, niche, services and products.
More specifically, a company can leverage its ‘inbound marketing blog’ content-language to actually-attract the interest of prospective leads, with some already being or approaching a position of ‘buy readiness’.
Too, when a company has established, through its inbound marketing blog content, that it is a go-to ‘thought-practice leader’ and its products and/or services will be a reliever of certain ‘pain points’ felt – experienced by prospective clients. Such perspectives will produce more leads and referrals from existing clients and, also favorably affect (client) retention rates.
Effective inbound marketing (content) elevates company performance…
Properly executed inbound marketing tactics are 10 times more effective in generating leads than conventional outbound (marketing) techniques. As marketing professionals know, when sales are performing well, i.e., more sales being closed, sales quotas are being consistently exceeded, delivering strong revenues, an entire company wins.
Effective inbound marketing content can truly be a contributor to those outcomes by, among other things, allowing marketing-sales professionals to devote more of their energies to actually-closing sales, which obviously is a better use of their skill sets and time.
So, in this context, inbound marketing content can actually-help salespersons arrive at a ‘close point’ with prospects more efficiently, more quickly, and more respectfully. Content also serves as a prelude to – foundation for sales representatives to building stronger – enhancing customer-client relationships, rendering them more receptive to ‘buying in and buying up’!
The product-service clarity and attractivity produced by relevant and trusted inbound marketing driven by (website, blog) content, are attributes-features which can position a company’s (a.) products-services, and (b.) its marketing-sales teams to become more effective and successful, long after the content has been published. However, since inbound marketing strategies and content must evolve and manifest at accelerated paces, it is vital for the content providers to sustain familiarity with the newest, as well as over-the-horizon trends. In other words, content providers who sneeze, may well lose.
What are these newest trends? There are some obvious ones you will hear every now and then, such as a social media strategy or providing quality content which have already been discussed here.
Great inbound marketing content occurs – exists when a company’s content providers…
Integrate and publish the highest-quality content, premised on customer – client centrism, i.e., relevancy, timeliness, trusted for its accuracy, expertise, and consultative tone. Each contributes to your company and its marketing and sales department building and strengthening its reputation.
Strive for – achieve a reputation for being experts in their field, intangibles which collectively can convert to valuable, revenue generating, and competitive advantage assets.
As this is achieved, there are measurably higher probabilities a company will attract higher numbers of site visitors, browsers, and content readers who, in turn, may ‘evangelize’ on behalf of the company, based in no small part to the quality of the content and respectful manner it is being messaged. Doing this also paves the way for inbound marketing (blog) content being experienced in additional levels for prospects, often without a requisite to engage additional-other product-service promotional or marketing channels or communication mediums.
• Companies that consistently embed high quality content in inbound marketing blog posts and make it readily available to prospective leads through open source sites, prospects and clients will assume a stronger rationale for distinguishing-selecting your company as its primary buying source among competitors,
• Doing this, also positions sales representatives to build-enhance their own credentials and reputation by playing a personal role in developing the content for its inbound marketing blog posts.
• Sales representatives may also become more receptive to promoting the company’s client entrée content through their own social media – professional networking and association profiles. Doing this can benefit the company’s reputation and the reputation of individuals in both a sales and consultancy context through the lens of prospects and buyers. This of course, presumes some ownership of particular-aspects of the content.
Writing blogs for ‘inbound marketing’ content…
First, and foremost, designing – writing inbound blog posts with content soundly aligned with the principles of inbound marketing, i.e., currency, relevance, and informative to primary groups of prospects, may include, for example…
• how-to guides.
• step-by-step guides.
• lists of experiential tips.
• industry insight that recognizes – reflects the interests of the firms’ target audience
• testimonials from current – former clients and customers.
• executing blog posts to be leveraged as ‘a talking head’ insofar as hosting and/or providing information about upcoming webinars, product-service demonstrations, etc., all-of-which of course must reflect current – future interests, concerns, ‘pain points’ of prospects
• publishing blog content on social media platforms.
• utilizing blog content as segue to interact with other content within the firms’ industry sector by sharing, commenting, and/or merely referencing as another potential resource.
• designing-building new and relevant content based upon customer successes through case studies and associated ‘lead-up’ stories, etc.
Attract higher quality leads through inbound marketing…
Company’s still dependent conventional paths for converting buyer leads to sales would find it prudent to avoid inadvertent messaging that their ‘cold callers’, are now, as a consequence-of introducing – executing inbound marketing, less important and/or less significant players. To be sure, there are natural fluctuations in both marketing and sales, something which conventional, but experienced ‘cold callers’ still may be positioned to mitigate – tasked to engage, e.g., the more challenging prospects.
By doing this, conventional ‘cold callers’ may find intellectual comfort in acquiring operational level familiarity with the consultative – inbound marketing approach. Here, it is incumbent – essential to dig more deeply, i.e., into a prospect’s interests in order to surface issues, topics, and/or pain points that can be legitimately and effectively leveraged to ‘kick start’ a successful ‘buying’ transaction.
Inbound marketing, five trends to watch…
The guiding principle of inbound marketing (blog post content), as a technique, is to acknowledge that today, large – growing percentages of prospective customers and buyers seek – search for specific products – services online via a mobile device, not desk-bound computers or laptops. This reality changes the calculus somewhat, in terms of how companies have been conventionally engaged in a perpetual ‘chase’ to identify and develop leads and prospects.
A good example of this is found in the words of Hubspot’s former Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Volpe, in which he very succinctly described the techniques and principles of inbound marketing technique as…
“don’t interrupt what your prospective buyers want to consume, instead, be what they want to consume”.
There are numerous credible – respected voices in the marketing and sales sector that argue ‘inbound marketing’ techniques, when properly executed, can be substantially more effective insofar as generating leads compared to continued reliance on conventional (outbound) marketing techniques. No argument here!
But, how did this shift to ‘inbound marketing’ occur and why so suddenly? One reason is, in the current (online) B2B marketing and sales blog content space, numerous practitioners are purposefully shifting away from the time-honored practice of seeking – chasing – searching for, and hopefully finding prospects through either (conventional) mass marketing and/or cold calling.
Instead, there is a clear movement toward strategies that endeavor to foster customer-centric relationships, which focus on (a.) going to, (b.) reaching out to, and (c.) engaging prospective customers through high-quality online (blog post) content, ala inbound marketing, ala customer centric content and narrative that individually and collectively translate as (d.) valid sources of information, (e.) provide insight and perspective to queried products-services, (f.) elevate the customer-client experience.
An essential component to developing and sustaining respectful customer – client experiences that carry a higher probability of translating to buyers, is, as already noted here numerous times, applying inbound marketing techniques. Inbound marketing acknowledges the importance and expectation that marketing and sales teams, will remain current insofar as identifying and assessing points-areas of relevancy to prospective clients and integrating-executing same at the leading edge of new trends.
More specifically, those firms executing inbound marketing, are obliged to distinguish – quantify its relevancy to their firm and its products and/or services insofar as adding value, competitiveness, and delivering benefits to the client-customer experience in the near term. For example, some new-trending marketing-sales initiatives, irrespective of industry or sector, may be over-rated insofar as prospective customer-client reaction, conversion, impact, the trends’ longevity, obsolescence or irrelevance in the near term when compared to trends known for their sustainability.
Businesses dependent on online marketing and sales and have effectively implemented inbound marketing techniques will invite prospective customer-client relationships built upon the credence, legitimacy, and trust embedded in their blog inbound marketing content and narrative.
Accordingly, Tenfold considers this the most promising – important for companies to recognize about their prospective customers and clients in the near term are…
1. 50+% of search queries globally occur through mobile devices…
Google routinely announces that growing percentages (50+%) of their search queries globally take place on mobile devices, i.e., smartphones, tablets, etc. There is no reason to doubt this percentage will not continue to rise. Too, online search queries using mobile devices should merge well with inbound marketing principles and techniques.
There is of course, one proviso. That is, a company’s home – landing pages and the client-customer centric – specific content prospective buyers-clients expect, desire, and will be repetitively seeking, are obliged to …
• accommodate – be user friendly to mobile devices and fully reflect the principles of inbound marketing, i.e.,
– be content rich by including descriptive narrative, photos, and video, etc.
– be seamlessly accessible, viewable-readable, and actionable through smaller screens of mobile devices.
Moreover, each facet above plays an important role in SEO (search engine optimization) for a companies’ marketing and sales units. Search engine algorithms, it’s now suggested, are favorable to mobile device friendly sites. This makes it all-the-more essential that the functionality of inbound marketing merge as seamlessly as possible with any-all mobile devices and their users.
In-light-of this search query factoid, inattention to or the absence of this operational factor is all-but-sure to diminish prospective lead numbers, quality, and effective – broad exposure of a firm’s products and services.
2. There are four key pieces of content to inbound marketing, i.e., presentation, infographics, video, and interactive content…
Quality, relevance, and independently conceived-developed content are meaningfully significant preludes – foundations to inbound marketing. When authentically executed, site visitors – prospects will readily recognize the content as worthy, legitimate, and informative. In turn, inbound marketing practitioners are prudently obliged to recognize that prospective customers-clients…
• have devoted personal time to engaging in, probably multiple search queries, with the expectation they will find precisely what they were seeking, and
• may not, after arriving at a site, and assess, usually at ‘keystroke speed’, its content to be unworthy and insufficiently informative to devote more personal time.
– content writers should be especially sensitive to prospects interpreting content as excessive, irrelevant, or repetitious to advance a firm’s SEO objectives-rankings.
Again, survey data clearly suggests that prospective clients-customers now engage in online queries by preference and will likely do so via mobile devices. So, company marketing specialists should assume how their posted content, be it in the form of blog posts, white papers, or product-service marketing, is perceived – interpreted at first glance.
For example, has each piece of inbound marketing material been developed and written to include verifiable origins, interactive features, and video, each of which are deemed essential attributes to inbound marketing narrative.
Tenfold leaves little doubt that one of the most important and relevant categories of inbound marketing content lies with infographics or embedded presentations.
After all, video is a leading platform for businesses to introduce their brands and attract leads. Too, video descriptions – explanations can provide viewers with large amounts of information more quickly than most written (blog post) content which carries a higher probability of virality, thus making video a key component in every content-based (inbound) marketing strategy. Of note, according to HubSpot’s 2016 State of Inbound Marketing report, YouTube, Facebook, live streaming, Snapchat/Instagram video will become the preferred content distribution channels of (inbound) marketers throughout 2017, and for the foreseeable future.
3. Email Marketing’s Last Stand?
A significant, and likely growing percentage of marketing specialists consider conventional (mass) email marketing may soon disappear from even conventional marketing repertoire. Marketing experts widely view mass emailing as a much-overrated marketing strategy – technique, not unlike cold calling.
Both are reasonably simple for recipients to disregard and/or delete either. Of course, there are refinements and tweaks being made to email marketing techniques, so, in some circles, email marketing is still considered a reasonably lucrative strategy worthy of even more refinement. Presumably, as some email dependent marketers suggest, if mass email marketing is done correctly, excellent or at least good ROI.
However, email recipients are more discerning, selective, and concerned about ‘opening’ emails with – from dubious origins. This of course, begs the question, can email marketing remain lucrative – valid undertakings for some company’s and not others? Probably yes, but, if they are, email marketing campaigns will need to focus on…
• innovative and interactive content that actually-engages recipients on levels above the classical-conventional. email.
Creating-integrating persuasive story-telling and visual content, e.g., video, presentations, GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) and other features to entice-engage recipients which could lead to innovations – changes in how email recipients perceive ‘the from’ source when they are unfamiliar or is recognized as originating from an obvious marketing initiative.
However, email marketing may benefit from automation, i.e., (a.) tools that will make emailing campaigns substantially more efficient, (b.) integrate personalized content, (c.) utilize smart tracking analytics, and (d.) enhance the entire lead generation process. Tenfold projects the coming year will define the future of email marketing.
4. The narrowing gap between marketing and sales…
Product-service marketing and sales are often characterized, and perhaps correctly so, as opposites, insofar as their roles in – contributions to business (sales) performance and outcomes. In recent years however, such perceptions of opposition have variously diminished, due in part no doubt, because growing numbers of even conventional marketers have acquired an operational familiarity with the concept – trend known as smarketing.
Smarketing refers to levels of integration between the sales and marketing processes. Tenfold believes smarketing will come to fruition for many companies in the near term as a component to the inbound marketing movement.
Tenfold’s estimates suggest that companies with effective smarketing strategies in place, will likely generate 208% more revenues from marketing efforts compared to conventional marketing efforts.
A key competitive advantage to be gained for companies to engage in smarketing, lies in the lead generation process.
That is, a closer collaboration between marketing and sales will enable substantially clearer and more comprehensive portraits of (prospective) customer’s – buyer’s (personal, individualized) buying journey. This, of course, allows businesses to identify and possibly assess with greater specificity, each stage of a customer’s specific (buying) journey. Inbound marketing content therefore, can and should be tailored to reflect each buyer’s persona and thus produce more, and higher-quality leads.
A clear sign that the inbound marketing movement has become variously permanent and irreversible, is witnessing – monitoring the increased value, driven – achieved by-the-use of marketing and sales automation and acceleration tools. These are CRM (customer resource management) platforms, which allow marketing and sales teams to…collaborate more efficiently and monitor prospects and/or customers throughout, what is known as the ‘sales funnel’ until fully maturing, i.e., buying, are in relatively high demand now and sales data suggests demand for these types of CRM platforms are steadily rising.
One only needs to review the annual reports of companies such as Salesforce or HubSpot and it quickly becomes evident ‘where and how’ these company’s growth rate in recent years progressed.
5. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics…
The application of AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning will likely become the most influential of near term trends that will revolutionize the way companies approach and practice marketing and sales. The goal is to generate AI-based solution sets that automate routine marketing processes while provide ‘deep dive’ entrée to insights, recommendations, and actions that emerge from AI and machine learning. By doing so, it is likely more efficient – effective marketing forecasts will occur, in large part because there will be more reliable customer behavior analysis available at will.
Similarly, it should come as no surprise that companies are collecting massive amounts of data about the entire prospect identification, marketing, and conversion processes, which have become extraordinarily valuable intangible asset – competitive advantage commodities, particularly, the data related to customer and client browsing – buying preferences and their journey, as a whole.
Collectively, these data create better understood and exploitable competitive advantages, ala ‘commoditizable’ intangible assets. Numerous companies are now sufficiently advanced to aggregate this data for developing AI-generated and specialized insights and solutions, to further unravel a prospect’s ‘buy – don’t buy’ (decision) process and/or journey.
AI will not only be used to distinguish which prospect behavior – data warrant collection and analysis, it can also automate other marketing-sales processes, particularly the various types of interactions which are broadly repetitive.
One example of change to this specialized arena are ‘chatbots’, largely attributed to Facebook Messenger. ‘Chatbot’ is short for ‘chat robot’, a computer program that simulates human conversation (or, chat), ala communication with human prospects-customers, etc., that occurs via artificial intelligence and machine learning. Chatbot applications are now being developed in which two ‘chat bots’ can communicate with each other simultaneously.
Currently, some 34,000 chatbots have been designed-created to improve – make more efficient customer relationship building experiences, vis-à-vis the marketing and sales journey. While this happens to be one of the more noticeable outcomes of utilizing ‘chatbots’, indeterminate potential remains for applying new – specially developed AI throughout the sales and marketing space, e.g., automated content recommendations, customer service and segmentation, ad targeting, and sales forecasting, to site a few.
However, the actual number of marketing specialists using some form of AI currently, is thought to be fairly-low. To our knowledge, little hard-specific survey data is available. However, projections clearly point to, and we can logically assume, substantial increases in marketing strategy adaptations using AI and machine learning are forthcoming. One looming question is, how will conventional sales and marketing practices may be affected in terms of people centric interactions in-light-of increased use of – reliance on AI developments? Will it translate to less employment and fewer positions available? Or, will AI developments in the marketing and sales sector prompt a ‘bounce’ into more productive – efficient ways of engaging prospective customers, their conversion to buyers, and conducting business in general?
While either outcome is difficult to predict with certainty, it is prudent to recognize, in a creative destruction context, there will be steady rises in dependence on and intensity of AI throughout the sales and marketing sector. This transition will likely translate as certain (conventional) marketing jobs will become variously obsolete. To be sure, there will be new types-categories of sales and marketing positions developing, for those receptive to emerging marketing and sales innovations.
Through these lens, it is not constructive to characterize AI and machine learning, irrespective of their application or sector, in adverse contexts. Marketing and sales, individually or collectively, are neither stagnant un-receptive to changes in consumer habits. Sales and/or marketing practitioners would be well advised to consider the adage ‘adapt, or go out of business’. This means practicing the art and science of ‘forward thinking – forward looking’ and apply same as a marketing and sales strategist. More specifically, anticipate new trends and what the future has in store.
We wish to extend our genuine thanks to the following sources, as each contributed to the development of this blog post.
Tenfold Marketing Blog Inbound Marketing in 2017 – 5 Trends to Keep Your Eyes
Facebook Messenger chief says platform’s 34,000 chatbots are finally improving user experience https://venturebeat.com/2016/11/11/facebook-messenger-chief-says-platforms-34000-chatbots-are-finally-improving-user-experience/cebook Messenger chief says platform’s 34,000 chatbots are finally improving user experience
Tenfold Sales Blog Prospecting Sales Tips: Timing, Content and Best Practices https://www.tenfold.com/sales-prospecting/prospecting-sales-tips-timing-content-best-practices/
Tenfold Sales Blog Ingredients Of A High-Performing Sales Culture
The $958M Marketing Problem Quantifying the cost of inefficiency in your content production processes (A collaboration of Gleanster Research and Kapost) http://resources.kapost.com/rs/kapoststd/images/$958m-marketing-problem-quantifying-the-cost-of-inefficiency-in-your-content-production-processes.pdf
20 Stats That Prove the Power of Sales and Marketing Synchronization https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/stats-that-prove-the-power-of-smarketing-slideshare#sm.0000lw1iaa107er8qiw18aimsshig