Top 5 Takeaways from SiriusDecisions Summit 2012

June 27, 2012

The SiriusDecisions Summit is always a professional highlight for me. This year’s event in Scottsdale, Arizona from May 22-24, 2012 brought together 1,500 best-in-class B2B marketers and confirmed that accountable marketing is a key business priority today, even in the C-Suite. I was delighted to hear “Out with the big, in with the boutique!” suggesting that the big agency has fallen out of favor and the B2B boutique agency is now in the sweet spot for targeted marketing collaboration. I couldn’t agree more. Following were my top five takeaways from the new research and insights presented:

1.   Today’s CMO is serious about demand creation.

Results and measurement are soundly at the top of the priority list for the CMO today. 2/1 CMOs surveyed said they would spend an additional 10% of their marketing budget on demand creation. Other options selected, in descending order, were: brand, content, marketing operations, enablement, social, and channel.

2.   Marketers need to prioritize mobile. 

We need to approach all marketing challenges with a mobile-first mindset – today and in the future. According to MarketingSherpa, 64% of business executives are accessing emails by mobile device today.* And Morgan Stanley predicts that by 2015, the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use.** Now that mobile is the fastest-growing access and delivery method for content delivery, it’s time for a mobile-first point of view. I’ve written about maximizing the impact of mobile here, and in a future blog post I may revisit my recommendations in light of these insights.

* The Horrible Truth About Mobile Email
** New Study Shows the Mobile Web Will Rule by 2015 [STATS]

3.   Social media is the #1 skill every marketer should have. 

As buyer journeys and sales needs change, so do the roles of marketers. It’s time to get smart(er) about social media. Other necessary skills identified for today’s market, in descending order, include: customer marketing, marketing technology, content marketing and digital marketing.

4.   There is an alchemy that happens in person with colleagues and       clients!

Mark Emond & Lauren Goldstein

I was up at 5:30 a.m. one morning hiking Camelback with the BNJ team and our client from Autodesk. At the summit, another hiker looked at me and asked, “Are you LaurenOnDemand?” Turns out, Mark Emond from IBM has been reading my blog and was looking forward to connecting at the conference; and he found me at the top of a mountain! This was a good reminder to make yourself findable where your readers are most likely to be—and an affirmation that my blog is making this connection.

5.   The SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall has been rearchitected.

BNJ was one of the early adopters of the demand waterfall architected by SiriusDecisions—the standard for measuring and optimizing demand creation efforts since 2002—and we have found it to be an essential tool in creating common ground among marketers. To reflect today’s increasingly complex demand creation environment, SiriusDecisions has rearchitected the waterfall to include the flows and conversions of all demand that a B2B organization creates, not just the demand that has been sourced by marketing. The new waterfall also singles out inbound marketing, automation and teleprospecting as mission critical, rather than evolutionary components of a demand creation engine. This redesign to reflect a more complete view of the journey demand takes from cold to close, and the different points at which it originates.*The new Demand Waterfall was unveiled at the summit.

The Rearchitected Demand Waterfall

* SiriusDecisions Research Brief: The Demand Waterfall, Rearchitected

The most important and gratifying change, in my opinion, is the distinction made between inbound and outbound marketing—separated to reflect the complexity of today’s reality in which inbound marketing is proving to deliver better leads and faster conversions. 

Thank you, SiriusDecisions, for another inspiring and invigorating dose of B2B marketing intelligence. If we connected at the SiriusDecisions Summit this year, I am grateful—and I look forward to keeping in touch. If we didn’t, I hope to see you at the 2013 SiriusDecisions Summit: my #1-rated conference for keeping your finger on the pulse and your name in the game.

I’d love to hear feedback from others who attended – what were the key highlights for you?

The BNJ Team with Autodesk Client


EXCLUSIVE: Research-Based Insight into the CIO—and how it can Drive Marketing Success

February 9, 2012

For B2B tech marketers, it’s critical to understand the CIO’s mindset, motivators and attitude toward marketing.

CIOs today play a vital role within their organizations as change agents—not just functional heads. They care about solutions that will help propel the business forward, and if you can connect with these decision makers, you have a truly valuable high-level ally.

But to engage buyers like the CIO and move them through the sales cycle, you need to stay focused on all the things that make them tick (and what things turn them off). That’s where building an in-depth CIO buyer profile, or persona, really pays off.

Revealing what matters most

Recently, my organization created research-based buyer profiles for the CIO and several other decision makers and influencers by:

  • Interviewing the audience (buyers and potential buyers)
  • Drawing on publicly available and paid research reports
  • Interviewing sales teams (who often have the closest ear to the buyer)
  • Applying plenty of quantitative and qualitative analysis
  • Employing social listening

The result is a concentrated view of the CIO that you can capture at a glance—a poster that acts as a reliable sense-check for every marketing initiative (snippets of this are featured in this post). It highlights how and why the CIO thinks and responds when approached by tech partners, as well as an intimate summary of the CIO’s general mindset (in the first-person):

“These are exciting times. There’s huge opportunity for me and my team, but also a fair amount of risk. Some days I’m drinking from the fire hose, trying to keep up with the challenges of my new role and the information needs of my company. Now I have a revenue number to hit and my responsibilities are global! But I love that I have greater visibility within the company and can make a greater contribution to helping our company win in the marketplace. I feel it is my responsibility to leverage our business needs into more transformational processes and innovation. I expect my technology partners to be reliable, accountable, innovative and to make my team look good.”

Just the facts, please

Important highlights of the CIO buyer profile include questions and issues CIOs keep in mind when considering tech solutions in their roles as  business strategist, functional head, and transformational leader. Good insights, but what can you put into practice? Here’s a peek at one of the most useful do’s-and-don’ts lists in our CIO profile:

       CIO Communication Preferences

  1. Technical, data-driven facts
  2. Credible blogs and news pertaining to partnerships, who’s investing, new trends and technologies
  3. White papers that outline decision points and content that illustrates the implications of those decisions
  4. Case studies that detail a complex issue and how it was solved
  5. A way to measure the potential impact of the solution on my unique environment

“I ignore marketing language that makes promises but fails to quantify how or why. Don’t market down to me. I also ignore generic emails from people I don’t know and anything that isn’t factual or analytical in nature.”

Can’t do the deep dive? Two ways I can help.

1. Email me at laureng@bnj.com to request your own copy of the research-based CIO profile featured here.

2. See my quick guide to building B2B buyer profiles in a pinch. Even simply tuning into resources like CIO.com’s Top Ten Tech Predictions for 2012 will help you keep CIO concerns and views top of mind. What will it mean for your CIO prospect if:

  • The global economy looms larger?
  • The CFO and CMO become key collaborators?
  • Virtualization goes viral?
  • Consumerization of IT explodes?

I’d love to hear how buyer profiles are shaping your marketing efforts. Please share your comments!



Ignite the Pipeline: Personalized, Integrated Communications Drive Revenue for B2B Enterprise Organization

February 8, 2012

Ready to be a marketing rockstar?

There’s buzz in the air at this year’s Online Marketing Summit in San Diego (#oms12) and everyone is striving toward the same end game: Igniting their marketing!

The annual congregation of digital marketers in San Diego to evolve their practice shares the same casual, friendly community I’ve enjoyed in the past, but the event’s explosive growth from 500 attendees in 2010 to nearly 1500 this year represents an industry that is growing up fast. As a digital native focused on B2B demand creation, I am delighted that OMS attendees understand the value of  leveraging buyer insights across channels to produce relevant, measurable experiences!  As evident in keynote address and draw for my session “Ignite the Pipeline: Personalized, Integrated Communications Drives Revenue for Nuance Software” the thirst for advanced strategies that push the bounds of marketing technology to design multi-channel, measurable experiences is alive and well at OMS.

The wide array of conference tracks and sessions makes one thing clear: there’s no silver bullet. Search, social, conversion,  content, email, A/B testing, and marketing automation are all important pieces of the mix. But to truly connect with prospects and customers and move them through the sales funnel you need insights and integration. PERIOD.

In my OMS presentation, I shared a truly integrated account-based marketing model that allowed Nuance Software to:

  • Engage 46% of their most important customers and prospects
  • Drive over $6M to their pipeline
  • Deliver a 19-to-1 ROI on their marketing investment
  • Enable sales with personalized tools to support prospects and customers engagement

Please check out the attached slideshare presentation.

Related Post:

Three Reasons Why Account-Based Marketing Should Be a Priority in B2B…And 5 Steps for Getting Started


Two Major Building Blocks for Social Media Success in B2B Demand Generation

January 25, 2012

There’s no doubt that social media is an important part of any B2B marketer’s job. However, we need to be more cognizant about the prerequisites of a great social strategy. Social strategy is NOT defined by the social channels you choose for engaging  your audience. More importantly, it’s about ensuring your content strategy is stellar and aligned with buyer needs.

To build a successful B2B social media strategy, there are two major building blocks that all organizations must adopt:

1.      Think like a publisher

2.      Be a thought leader

In a recent Forrester survey, senior analyst Kim Celestre points to some misalignment between where marketers are spending the most time and money, and where tech buyers are spending the most time.

The chart below provides a great proof point. Many marketers are focusing their attention on high visibility social channels like Facebook and Twitter. Buyers are using other social networks, such as user forums and communities. In an interview with B2B magazine, Celestre shares:

Marketers need to understand customer social behaviors. We found that 86% of business technology buyers use social media during work. Business technology buyers are very social in how they interact with peers and go to online sources to get information. So knowing that and diving deeper to get an understanding of customer preferences will help the technology marketer start getting really strategic.

Chris Koch, Associate Vice President of Research and Thought Leadership for ITSMA (IT Services Marketing Association) summarizes the requirements for successful organizations:

For social media to get anywhere in B2B, companies must undergo a culture change in which they become as good at creating ideas as they are at creating products and services and at servicing customers.

In his latest blog post, Seven Prerequisites for Social Media Success—That Have Nothing to Do with Social Media Koch provides some compelling qualitative and quantitative data that supports the role of these two building blocks. Of his seven prerequisites, three in particular resonated with me:

1.      Social media participants contribute very little to conversations. Research from the Online Community Research Network shows that fewer than 10% of people in online communities ever say anything. And fewer than 2% take a leadership role in starting conversations. Therefore, if you want compelling and relevant content – it’s critical to have a content leader or practice who can think like a publisher and develop a strong editorial calendar.

 2.      ITSMA research shows that 66% of buyers seek information themselves rather than waiting to hear from providers. They seek that information through search. 79% of C-level executives do at least three searches per day. They are more likely to encounter your content through search than through the social media channels themselves. Again, this points back to the importance of content being well-targeted and relevant—and therefore easily found when doing a search.

3.      The business case doesn’t exist for social media, but it does for thought leadership. When [ITSMA] asked buyers last year how important good ideas are to the buying decision, 58% of executive-level buyers (people buying more than $500,000 worth of IT services) said that they are important or critical for making it onto the short list of providers. Buyers were then asked: If a provider brings you a good idea, would you be more likely to buy from them? 30% said yes. And, of that 30%, 54% said they’d consider sole sourcing the project. Social media are great for developing those ideas and for making them available to many more people. But first you have to have an engine for creating the ideas.

The bottom line: Organizations (and B2B marketers) need to focus on content, thought leadership and engaging B2B tech buyers in channels where they go to consume information. Marketing can help by understanding the buyers and the  thought leadership topics relevant to those buyers. Additionally, they can drive the editorial calendar and help orchestrate content development to delivery upon content requirements.

Market well!

Related links:

Roadmap to Buyer-Centric Marketing in B2B

Seven Prerequisites for Social Media Success—That Have Nothing to Do with Social Media

2011 Social Technographics® For Business Technology Buyers


Take 4 Steps Back for 1 Giant Leap Forward: The Buyer-Centric Marketing Model

June 3, 2011

One Lady Leaping

Take these four (often overlooked) steps to attract savvy B2B buyers and increase pipeline efficiency.

Moving toward a buyer-centric marketing model is an essential strategic requirement in B2B marketing today.

As marketers, we have a tendency to indulge in marketing strategies that focus on OUR priorities, our key messages and our current content assets first. A buyer-centric model naturally prioritizes the buyer’s business challenges and the questions they need answered to make a purchase.

And there’s good evidence that the buyer-centric model is working. At the 2011 SiriusDecisions Summit, Athena Varmazis—American Express Director of Corporate Payment Solutions—provided a great case study that proved the success of adopting a buyer-centric marketing approach and technology solutions to support nurturing communications.

Before adopting this approach:

  • Precious resources were being utilized to call on cold leads and provided limited visibility into lead quality
  • Marketing qualified leads were converting to sales at a rate well below average

After adopting the buyer-centric approach:

  • They increased the quality of leads
  • They closed a significantly higher percentage of leads

So instead of kicking off strategic marketing discussions with defining messages, tactics, marketing channels and assets you want to promote, take four steps back and start with the buyer!

Step 1: Identify and segment the audience: Who are the buyers (and influencers) of your solution?

If you’re connecting with your customer base—or trying to convert a known prospect base—you likely have the critical information in your marketing database (e.g., the decision-making and/or job roles). Plus you can always consult your sales team for information that can be analyzed to determine “who” this audience really is.

In B2B tech marketing, it’s typically important to consider variances in your business-oriented buyer vs. the IT buyer. It’s also important to identify any key influencer types, or researchers.

If you’re just getting started with segmentation, consider limiting yourself to 2-3 key target segments for a particular initiative. You can always expand once you’ve mastered these!

Beyond identifying your core audiences, sub-segmentation within these audiences will enable you to target your content and messaging to be as relevant as possible.

Sub-segmentation will vary greatly depending on your top-level of segmentation, but may include variables like vertical, organization size or geography.

Step 2: Develop personas

Now that you’ve identified your key audiences, you need to find out what they care about and how to speak with them for best results.

Ideally, we’d always have the time and budget to commission formal persona research, complete with focus groups and well-targeted online surveys. But you can also collect information to inform personas by:

  • Reading the blogs and other media your audience reads
  • Joining the LinkedIn groups they are active in
  • Talking to your salespeople (they are the closest point of contact with your audience, after all)

Step 3: Define the buyer’s journey

The key purpose of the buyer’s journey is to reveal the questions that the buyer (or influencer, or researcher) needs answered in order to make or influence a buying decision. Typically the buyer’s journey can be broken into four quadrants, and should address the key questions your buyer will have.

  1. Discover: “What issues am I dealing with?”
  2. Consider: “What options do I have to solve this (these) problem(s)?”
  3. Evaluate: “Which of these solutions is best? What are the core benefits and disadvantages of each?”
  4. Advocate: “What will my TCO or ROI look like? What are the best practices for this type of solution?”

Step 4: Map content to the buyer’s journey

Almost there! Next you need to do a thorough review of all content assets to determine which quadrant (discover, consider, evaluate or advocate) they best serve.

Although this can seem daunting at first, you’ll find it’s much easier to “know” what kind content will be relevant to your audience after completing persona development and defining the buyer’s journey.

Additionally, it will become clearer which specific content assets will match each of the personas within the audiences you’re targeting.

Note: Following the content mapping process, you’ll often see glaring “gaps”: quadrants without relevant content. Consider these gaps your roadmap for new content development.

Now, go full steam ahead with your campaign work—and you’ll find you’re already a GIANT STEP ahead!

Related links:

The Buyer’s Journey Diagram for B2B Demand Generation (and More)

How Busy B2B Demand Generation Marketers Can (Still) Use Personas

5 Steps to Building a Rock-Solid Content Roadmap for B2B Demand Generation


Jay Baer Interview, Part 3: The Realistic Social Media Cost and Commitment for B2B Demand Generation

April 22, 2011


Jay Baer Interview, Part 3 from LaurenOnDemand on Vimeo.

Jay Baer sums up the true cost of social media—and the commitment it takes to get results.

In the last part of our interview, Jay Baer spelled out the true cost (and worth) of social media for B2B companies. The short story is: nothing is really “free” and results take time—but it’s worth it.

Watch Part Three of our interview now or skim the highlights below.

LOD: All of this social media we’ve talked about…it’s fast and easy right? [Laughs.] What’s the best advice we can give to our B2B clients to help them embark on social media with a realistic context?

JB: It’s not inexpensive; it’s just different expensive. You’re trading production dollars or media dollars for labor dollars.

Social take a long time. You’re winning hearts and minds one at a time. It takes a long time for the benefits to show themselves. You don’t just do social media for a quarter or a year; you’re going to be doing some form of social forever.

LOD: It’s persistent, it’s not a campaign.

JB: There’s no expiration date on social media.

LOD: Any final tips for B2B marketers?

JB: At its core, social media is more important for B2B than it is for B2C. You have fewer customers, so the opinions of each of them are magnified in their importance.

Also, B2B is typically highly researched, so the opinions of existing customers matter a lot; and the B2B purchase cycles are influenced at a very high level by search. And search and social are like the Lone Ranger and Tonto!

Many thanks to Jay for his time and his insights!

Related Links:

The Now Revolution

Convince & Convert—Jay Baer’s blog

Jay Baer Interview, Part One: Three Social Media Must-Do’s for B2B Demand Generation

Jay Baer Interview, Part Two: “Let’s Video the Making of a White Paper” for B2B Demand Generation


Jay Baer Interview, Part 2: “Let’s Video the Making of a White Paper” for B2B Demand Generation

April 22, 2011


Jay Baer Interview, Part 2 from LaurenOnDemand on Vimeo.

Jay Baer explains how to succeed with content marketing in B2B—and who’s doing it right.

In the second part of our interview about how to succeed with social media in B2B, noted author and blogger Jay Baer had plenty to say about best practices for B2B content marketing. Perhaps the most surprising opinion I heard from him is that nobody’s doing everything right—yet.

Watch Part Two of our interview now or skim the highlights below.

LOD: What is the best way to get the most out of your content?

JB: I think understanding to what end you’re creating the content is the first thing. For whom are you making that content? And most importantly, what do you want them to do after that content is consumed? Mapping content to questions in the buyer’s cycle and to desired calls to action is essential, otherwise it just becomes this cops and robbers/Three Stooges routine.

LOD: We’ve definitely gotten a lot of requests like “We need 5 videos and 2 whitepapers.” Great, but what are we trying to do? How do we move people through that buyer’s journey?

JB: Let’s make a video of how you make a white paper. Right? Synergy.

LOD: Who’s doing a good job in B2B? Who should we look to for best practices?

JB: You know, I wouldn’t say there’s anybody who is the B2B case study, but there are a lot of places that are do it kind of well, right?

IBM does the culture side really well and the content creation; they have 100,000 internal bloggers at IBM. Social is a part of everybody’s job there. It’s really a mature approach.

HubSpot, the inbound marketing software guys, are just MASTERS of content creation and content optimization. Every day is a webinar, every day is a blog post, every day is a eBook, I mean it’s just mind-boggling the amount of content they create every day…and their lead generation is insane as a result.

And then you’ve got companies that are doing really well with the community side of it: ExactTarget with their 360 community, SAP’s community network…people are actually activating customers instead of just collecting them. That’s obviously a smart way to go to get your customers to not only interact with the company, but with one another.


Coming up in Part Three:
“What’s the best advice we can give to our B2B clients to help them embark on social media with a realistic context?

The Now Revolution

Convince & Convert—Jay Baer’s blog

Jay Baer Interview, Part One: Three Social Media Must-Do’s for B2B Demand Generation


%d bloggers like this: