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Generation "O" Marketing Blog
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01/18/11


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What to look for when selecting a List Provider

Permalink 07:29:15 pm,
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Categories: Welcome, News, Background, On the web

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So you decided to give List Providers a try. You maybe turning to list brokers to get some butts in seats or generate some registrations for your demo or webinar. But you may have also figured out that there is not much of a difference between the conversion rates of an “event” lead versus a lead you purchased through a “list”. You may have also noticed that a good list can generate just as many leads and “closed won” opportunities to your organization as most events or online generated leads, while costing hundreds less per lead.

Good move! Marketing is a numbers game even if we do not want to think about it that way. That is why we are all tracking open rates, click rates, conversion rates, etc. That is why we are keep nurturing and scoring the leads we generated. Statistically speaking lists can be just as affective as any other lead generation activity. But to turn your lists into registrants and sales leads you will need to find a reputable list provider.

Lets see what you should look for:
• Is the company just a list broker or they work the database themselves? This is important because if they do not utilize their own database then they are not marking bounces and their records are stale and may contain many bad data. You need a list provider who is working their own database and have a dynamic database with new data going in and old and bad data moved out.
• You need a list provider who understands what makes a list good versus carnival. A good list provider will scrub your list to fit your marketing and sales needs rather than give you everything under the sun.
• You want a list that is checked for accuracy. When a broker wants to sell you millions of records than chances are that one third of it is outdated or carnival information generated from the web. You need unique records with unique email addresses that will not bounce back. They can only clean millions of records if they have the technology to check for accuracy and if they verified the records by working their data.
• Look for a list provider who will give you a guarantee. Some offer 75%, 80, or 90% guarantee, which means that if you get more than 10-25% bounces than they will replace the bounces for you. A good list provider offers 100% guarantee for the first 30 days you own the list. They would only do that if they are confident in their data. And they are only confident if they use the data and remove bad data from their database.
• Cost is important because to get the number of clicks, open and conversion rates you need thousands of targeted records. If the leads are a $1 each (even though it seems cheap) you are looking at a cost of $100K for 100K records. If a list is too cheap 1c to 10c than you are taking a chance that it is not guaranteed, that you will not get double checked records, most likely a large percentage will not be unique records, and with which you will have a very high bounce rate that will hurt your sender score. The best is somewhere in the middle from 20c-55cents per B2B records.

If you are looking for a reputable list provider than check us out at http://generationomarketing.com/ListsandDatabases.html . We offer B2B lists with 100% guarantee, we double check our B2B lists, we use our B2B database for lead generation campaigns for our clients, we collect B2B bounce backs from our clients and update our records thus have the latest information available, our B2B records are between 20-35 cents per records with a minimum 5,000 records purchase. With any questions or info on our Consumer Records B2C you can also contact us at 949 945-7862 or visit our store at http://store.generationomarketing.com/ and browse by profession or industry for pre packaged B2B lists.

Permalink 07:06:31 pm, Categories: News, On the web

If you have been tracking your lead generation activities then you probably noticed that there is not a substantial difference between the conversion rates of an “event” lead versus a lead you purchased through a “list”. Why is this? Why are leads you got from a tradeshow and paid thousands of dollars for would not be more qualified, convert better, or faster than an ordinary lead from a “list”?

If you think about it we all assume that the tradeshow organizer is attracting the type of leads we are looking for. When in fact all they do is target a certain industry or profession and tell them about the educational opportunities they may have during these events. These leads are not specific to your organization; they are specific to the tradeshow organizers’ target market.
We also assume that those attend an event are interested in your product or service since they attended an event that is related to your product or service. However the lead may have an interest in furthering their education through an event but most likely not attending to buy or learn about your product or service, or at least not immediately.

Which means that you would have to nurture your tradeshow leads the same way as you would nurture the leads you get form a list. And not only you have to nurture them but you would also have to harvest additional information about them since you are only getting limited contact info about your tradeshow lead.

If you find a good list broker they can generate a list for you that would be even more targeted than the event attendee list you would get from a tradeshow. They can give you 10-20 different attributes including employees, revenue, industry etc. so you would not have to spend the time harvesting this information. Once you have most of their attributes and your focused target audience, then you can provide educational materials to these leads that are specific to you and “talk” to the leads based on the information you already have.

Most list brokers guarantee their list to some extant and you can get records for cents instead of hundreds of dollars per record. If you interested in learning more about what a reputable quality list can do for your organization then contact us at lists@generationomarketing.com or at 949 945-7862 or visit us at http://generationomarketing.com/ListsandDatabases.html

07/07/10

Permalink 05:08:55 pm, Categories: News, On the web

I know that this blog will upset those drinking the marketing automation / nurturing Kool Aid but I think we need to be honest about this subject. Are there any benefits marketing automation can provide? Absolutely, the matter of fact we address most generally known benefits in a recent webinar called “Intelligent Email Marketing AKA Marketing Automation”. You can get the recorded version of this webinar here http://budurl.com/SmartEmailMarketing. However, is it really such an instant life saver as the industry is making it out to be? Not by my opinion. I come across more and more frustrated marketers who are disappointed with their marketing automation system and nurturing successes. I thought that since there are a lot of disappointments and even more misinformation out there perhaps we should start separating the facts from fiction and view this subject in a different light. Lets review the most commonly given reasons to implement a marketing automation system.
ROI
Several marketing automation system providers, analysts, and even industry organizations are reporting ROIs but it is hard to master a conclusion. Currently it is virtually impossible to have a correct reporting system no matter what the marketing automation system can do. Actually many of these systems have surprisingly limited capabilities and no customizable reports so they can’t provide much insight regarding returns, but even those that have a great reporting module can’t give you a correct ROI and closed loop reporting. This is because in addition to time, the numbers are also dependent on internal processes, decisions, and other systems connected to the marketing automation system.

Thus, my suggestion would be that when you sell these tools to your upper management you don’t give this as one of your reasons to buy, rather explain that these systems are becoming necessary like webex, salesforce.com, peopleimport, etc. It is a necessary tool for marketers in getting all the marketing data organized and monitored so that you can base your decisions on some facts. In addition, you can add that if it would help increase closing deals even in just a small percentage then that can translate into revenue.

Valuable Collected Information
While I agree that a lot of great information can be gathered through a Marketing Automation System since it tracks visitors on your website, landing pages, forms, clicks, opens, etc. I am less and less inclined to believe that marketers can or are doing anything at all with all of this collected information. Most industry experts say this is because of lack of education. Marketers are just simply not aware of what they could accomplish and those who are using the systems have difficulties embracing the systems. Have these experts been on the web lately? There is no shortage of information about marketing automation and there is certainly no shortage of marketers gathering information and attending webinars, trainings, and events to learn more about it. And as to embracing the technology, while many system providers would like to think that marketers just don’t get it because they are not technical enough perhaps marketers aren’t the problem. Even if that was true and all marketers would be technically challenged, wouldn’t it be the system providers’ job to create a user friendly system marketers could use? If they created it for us to use and we can’t use it, then wouldn’t it make more sense that perhaps they weren’t developed correctly? Marketers are able to use other technical devices thus I would imagine that if the marketing automation system was designed differently then the marketers who supposedly are having problems would not have those problems.

The truth is that the valuable information most of the time is not used because marketers are short on time! There is no time to plan, to wait, to analyze, to compare, to adjust, to do anything other than trying to keep our heads above the water. In addition, marketers are smart and are cautious of magic solutions. What sounds too good to be true often is too good to be true.

I am sorry to burst any bubbles but marketing automation does and will not solve all the problems marketers are facing or what some of the system providers claiming it can solve with an array of collected information. The industry made marketing automation to be automagic that will instantly change everything for marketers and the qualified leads that will make sales happy, will just fly in. This is not the case. It is not automagic. What you need to think of instead is that this is a tool that if set up correctly, used and managed correctly, can speed up and automate many of your marketing processes. It can help you track and translate collected information that can get you CLOSER knowing which of the thousands of people in your database MAY BE interested in your products or services.

Qualified Leads
Marketers who drank the Kool Aid and sold the “miracle” to sales and upper management are now facing a very difficult time. Why? Because there is no guarantee that leads who open two emails instead of one will be more qualified. There are no guarantees that a lead with a collected lead score of 99 is any better than a lead with a score of 42. And there are no guarantees that your company’s sales people can make the most of what you have collected and be able to close more deals. It is all based on assumptions and most marketers will not get the chance to make changes based on collected information and turn the assumptions into something more. Marketers are told that they will be up and running with their marketing automation in a week, they are told that they will be able to swift through their database quickly, score everything and provide qualified leads to sales. So marketers figure that in a month or so they would be able to provide qualified leads to their sales department. But when marketers present this magic solution and tell sales that they will be receiving qualified leads, sales is thinking of leads that are ready to buy, which are actually opportunities. However, when sales make those calls they do not feel the huge difference scoring or nurturing up till that point have made and the “Marketing Qualified Lead” battle will start immediately and when it does, most marketers know, that it is their war to lose. Thus, a word of caution to those who think that by implementing a marketing automation system, they will be able to provide instant qualified leads to their sales people.

In addition, even systems marketers are able to use will have issues. Some are better than others, some are a better fit for your organization than others, but even a perfect system could not satisfy the expectations that the industry had painted. I am saying this because these systems are not stand alone solutions and what you can do with them depends on many things the systems have no control over but people tend to attribute it to these systems anyway.

Am I saying that nurturing is irrelevant? No. We all know that it is becoming harder and harder to get to people whether it is through phone, text, email or any other marketing channel. We can agree that Email is still one of the best ways to get your message in front of leads and it continues to be necessary. I am saying that the result this technology has the capability to create is not instant and in some cases never achievable because of things that are above the system’s control.

Should you still consider them? Absolutely! Just keep in mind that it will not give you all of the results it reportedly can give you, what it will give you will not be instant, and you may not be able to provide your sales people with opportunities. However, since more and more companies are using sophisticated technologies and those who adopt them earlier than later can rip the benefits for the time being it is working, you should lead rather than follow. Marketing Automation is one of these technologies. It is relatively new since reportedly only about 5% of companies are using it, which means that you don’t have such stiff competition just yet but that will change in the next decade as MA will become the norm and most companies will be nurturing their leads. Then you will have to implement it anyway since you will have to compete with your competition but by then the benefits will be less substantial. So what I am saying is that Marketing Automation is becoming a necessary evil and most likely you need to consider it but you need to know what and how much to expect from it immediately and perhaps sell it differently to upper management than how they sold it to you.

Industry and Market Conditions
The industry and the market conditions are also changing. The list of system providers is becoming endless and some have started to merge or be acquired. Email open and click rates are steadily declining since as more companies implement marketing automation the more saturated those inboxes are getting. Recipients are less and less forgiving of received emails and reporting senders in a much higher rate. Even educational materials, which is the backbone of nurturing, are starting to be looked at as spam. Not to mention that the idea behind “nurturing” is to “create a relationship” with a lead, but many of today’s leads are not looking for a relationship, nor do they stay with companies long enough to be nurtured. Again, am I saying that you should not utilize a marketing automation system? No, I am saying that perhaps you want to look at the reasons of getting one differently. Today you have to keep in mind that email marketing and nurturing is a numbers game and you will need more email addresses, send less frequent emails, and be prepared that it will not be easy and no system can change the rocky road we, marketers, are all in for. I am saying that when you look at these systems do not buy them simply for “lead nurturing” or in the hope of getting “instant qualified leads” because you will be disappointed. Get it because currently you can still rip some of the benefits email marketing can offer, get it because it can speed up and automate many marketing processes, get it because in time you can use the collected information it documents for you, get it because it is a tool for you to have your data organized, monitored and help you make decisions.

Conclusion
Before you buy, know what you will use the system for. If you need leads and that is your main focus than you would be better off with a cost per lead program where someone else is doing all the work and you pay only for leads delivered to you. See our program description here http://generationomarketing.com/leadgen.pdf . If you decide to get a system you may want explore options in outsourcing its management, see such options here http://generationomarketing.com/OutsourcedTurnkeyPrograms.pdf If you only need to be able to send large number of emails, then look for the cheapest email blaster that can support that function. If you have trouble justifying these systems to upper management start with an inexpensive marketing automation solution. There are some smaller companies like NetResults, Acton, or Pardot that offer most of the features as the bigger organizations but cost much less than the systems offered by the leaders in the industry. You can find more systems here http://generationomarketing.com/sponsors.html .

If you are looking for more, have the time, and a management who understand that this is a long term investment, if you have a large database, the means to keep it updated, and with whom it make sense to keep in touch, and you want a system that can track and collect activities, a system that can send large number of emails, and provide you with information you can use a year from now, then buying a more expensive and more capable marketing automation system is a good fit for you.

In that case, do not look at the ROI based on reporting but look for other benefits discussed earlier. The collected information is nice to have but keep in mind that you will not be able to make decisions for a while. A sufficient amount of time will need to pass in order to collect enough information to test and analyze in order to make changes. Do not promise qualified leads to sales! Call it a new lead assignment process if you have to, so the only difference they will know is how they will be getting the leads and what to look for on the records. Be aware of the market changes and if you buy a system buy it for more than just for the “relationship building”. Brace for system issues, and know that not all the things you see during a demo will be achievable in your particular instance because your instance will depend on your organization, its processes, other systems, and people. But most of all do not take everything you hear on a demo for face value. When you are making a selection, it is good to involve a third party consultant who can paint a more realistic picture for you so you will know what to expect. When selecting a consultant, look for one who is not only working with one or two providers or too involved with system providers in general. When a consultant or agency’s business is solely reliant on the marketing automation system providers you will less likely get an objective suggestion. Feel free to contact us with any questions at info@generationomarketing.com .

12/06/09

Permalink 07:32:39 pm, Categories: Welcome

Why marketers and their companies should consider virtual events? The benefits are endless, virtual events are innovative, engaging, exciting, dynamic and most of all cost effective. There is no travel cost, travel time, booth set up, giveaways, shipping, paper collaterals, and the month’s long logistics and management of an event to deal with. Virtual events can be set up within hours and gives marketers the opportunity to create even instant events to adapt to the fast past corporate world and its needs.

If your CFO is like most CFOs than they will also appreciate that these events are measurable. While leads and related information collected at live events often end up under cubicle tables, information from events ran through a virtual event platform can be analyzed and shared with upper management. The system collected data tracks each attendee and what they do. Marketers can make changes to their events based on these collected information and optimize their next event accordingly. Registrations and live attendance at a physical event is declining and virtual events are proving to be top branding and lead generation tools instead. Unlike in person live events virtual events can be recorded, used as nurturing collaterals, and the on-demand version can be used for extended lead generation through downloads.

Because of the cost of in person events, the costs per lead of these events are generally the highest for marketers. Cost per lead for in person events can be several hundred dollars for a tradeshow lead versus as low as $5 per lead for a virtual event. The quality of leads not only can compete with in person tradeshow leads but most of the times virtual event leads are actually more qualified since many qualification type questions can be answered even before the events take place and the leads are not shared with competitors.

More leads can be generated also because attendees who would not be able to attend an in-person event because of budget, geographical limits, time, etc. are able to attend an online event that has less of these restrictions and limitations. No geographic limitations are also important for companies who are committed to decrease carbon and travel, as well as for companies who have a mobile and virtual workforce. No geographical restrictions also give companies the opportunity to have many of their experts speak during these events because while these experts can devote an hour to speak virtually they can’t travel two days for an in person event.

Many organizations are afraid to abandon their traditional events and go virtual. This is because they are unsure how attendees would feel about it, skeptical about the security, access, user interface, and do not know how to sell this new and still largely unknown form of marketing program to upper management. However, all data suggests that attendees consistently respond favorable to virtual events. They find it interactive since they can network with attendees and presenters, they can exchange ideas, download content, attend and leave presentations as they like, and get a personalized experience. They also report that they network more successfully since it is easier to walk up to an avatar than to a live person. In addition, virtual event platforms are completely secure and most organizations offering virtual events are handling all the software, hardware, and interface related matters, which is included in its cost.

Marketers who are new to Virtual Events should consider including Virtual Events in their 2010 marketing programs. Just like webinars, Virtual Events offer cost effective way of branding, nurturing, and generating leads. But because of their additional capabilities they can compete with live events and offer far more than webinars. Virtual Event cost start at $1,000 and a fully managed Virtual Event with attendance generation for up to 200 registrants would cost less than $5,500. Not many marketing programs can provide marketers with 200 pre-qualified leads, recorded content that can be used as a marketing collateral, and on-demand lead generation option for as little as $5,500. If you are interested to find out more contact us today at info@generationomarketing.com. For more information you can also visit www.generationomarketing.com/VirtualCollaboration.html

11/18/09

Permalink 03:53:03 pm, Categories: Welcome

When is it a wise option? That would depend on several things such as tools, budget, average deal size, company size, timeframe, resources, size of database, complexity of systems and programs, and future activities planned.

In order to manage your email marketing in-house you would need a CRM system, your web and CRM system integrated, and a marketing automation system implemented. You would also need additional employees with experience and knowledge of email marketing, analytical and technical skills, which is hard to find in marketing.

The marketing automation companies will show you all the bells and whistles you could use but the success rate of marketers embracing marketing automation systems are quite low. This is because buying a system will not guarantee success. Many marketers find themselves in a difficult situation because after they sold the systems to upper management, they have a problem showing results.

The cost is also hard to sell to upper management, especially if the average deal size is low and many closed deals would have to be made to cover the cost of the system. In addition to the cost of the marketing system, marketers will find that they either have to hire additional employees or have to allocate budget for a consultant. To manage a successful email marketing program, someone will have to manage the system setup, lead processes, program activities, analysis, and know all of the latest best practices information.

There is a notion that outsourcing the “management” of the marketing automation system reflects badly on the marketer. Thus, marketers often times are afraid that by engaging a consultant for “managing” the system and some programs, would imply that they themselves do not have the know-how or would be lacking the experience they were thought to have.

Marketers of larger organizations with budget, access to consultants, time, and a large enough average deal size will do well when buying, installing, and managing a marketing automation system. However, if you are a smaller company or a department that struggles to get a budget for a system, don't have dedicated experienced people who could manage the system, can't get a consultant, have a low deal size than perhaps a turnkey outsourced email marketing option would be a better choice for you.

It is much easier to sell an outsourced email marketing program to upper management. This is because you are not purchasing a system, changing processes, or needing additional funds for management. Outsourced email marketing can be sold as a “lead generation” or “lead nurturing” program, the cost is much lower, no management required, no technical or analytical skill required, and you can test the waters to see if you would be ready to make the leap to manage email marketing in-house.

Whether you are in the market for marketing automation or need to outsource your email markeitng activities, give us a call us at 949 945-7862 or visit us at www.generationOmarketing.com


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This blog is directed toward marketing professionals and marketing minded individuals. We will discuss the changes marketing in general is going through, difficulties we are facing in our profession, give suggestions regarding various topics, share info regarding upcoming events, summits, seminars and other good stuff. In today’s fast forward era we do not always have the time to use our creative thinking skills so go ahead and take advantage of reading and responding. We are looking forward to have you be part of this new blog.

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