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The Edge of the Diving Board

While I strongly encourage a sense of care when clicking the “launch” button or working through other critical items in Marketing Automation like an integration, at some point you really do need to take action.

I’ve seen more than one client get to the point of integrating their CRM with their Marketing Automation platform and … balk. Are you SURE this won’t somehow warp my CRM into something I don’t recognize? Are you positive that my sales reps won’t suddenly get thousands of alerts they don’t understand? Are you telling me that nothing critical will change—and can you guarantee that?

First, this is life. There are no guarantees! But yeah, if you’ve checked and done a decent job at QA, you can be pretty sure that things are going to be fine. And the benefits of moving forward far outweigh the drawbacks of stagnation. If you’re really, really worried back up your data before you do anything. Consider that your own personal set of water wings.

What worries me is when I see a customer poised on the brink of aligning sales and marketing through integrating their CRM and MA platforms and then…they don’t. While a bit of hesitation is natural, when you’ve gotten a pretty good idea that things will work decently you just have to do it. You can’t stand at the edge of the diving board forever. You have to either admit that you will NEVER jump, or you have to go ahead and take that chance.

As with jumping off a diving board for the first time, you might feel a bit of adrenaline and that’s probably a good sign. It’s a sign that you’re still alert, still paying attention, and still moving with a little bit of caution and consideration.

Realize this: if you are not feeling a bit of adrenaline, it means nothing is changing. You know what happens to businesses that don’t change, adapt, and progress, right?

Like all successful companies, yours needs to keep moving forward and taking the next step! 

As I’ve said many times, no one actually dies of marketing. You might feel pretty mortified when you send an email out to a large audience with an error in it (and, eventually, you will. We all do at least once – it’s kind of a rite of passage. Then you send an apology email and you just might get a HIGHER open rate!), but you won’t actually die. Because, hey, this is marketing. Not air traffic control. Not brain surgery. You have to do as much as you can to test before you launch but, once you have, you have to go for it. If you’re worried, triple check your settings before you take the plunge. Also, consider a weekend swim instead of a Monday morning dive! It’s easier to fix things when the office is quiet (or the pool isn’t full of people at swim lessons). 

So after you check that the water really is deep enough to jump, do it! Take the plunge!

Blog Written By: Emily Salus

Emily Salus is the Marketo Practice Director at The Pedowitz Group. She has over 20 years of experience in Marketing, PR and Sales. Emily is a certified Marketo technical consultant, providing Revenue Marketing services and strategy to enterprise clients and best practices and training to the SMB market.

Sore Feet, Coffee Overload and My Favorite MME15 Sessions

It’s true. My feet may never be the same. And, my coffee consumption has reach epic proportions. But, I’m back in the saddle here at TPG and I wanted to share some of my favorite sessions while they are still fresh.

This is a struggle every year. MME is always full of amazing content and frankly you just can’t get to it all. The two sessions I have chosen to recap, were picked for very different reasons but hopefully they will stand out for you as well.

First up, in the “OMG This is Actionable Information” category is Doug Pullman of Russell Investments with his session “Mobile Optimization: Marketing for a Digital First World.”  Doug’s session was brilliant to say the least; he did a bit of pre-work to establish the importance of mobile optimization and then went into a live build of a mobile friendly email.  But wait, here’s where it gets good, he then provided the template, documentation and framework for anyone and everyone in the session to use!

So if you maybe missed this gem of a session, go to http://optimalmethodology.com and check it out.  Not only did Doug do a great job of walking through a technical project in less than an hour but also he built code that (to quote him) even a grandmother could use.  Awesome and inspiring!

Second on my list finds itself in the “Things That Make you Think, How Do I Do That at Home?” category. It is a session by Aaron Cullers of Dell, “Upselling with Gusto.”  In the space of just under 45 minutes Aaron took us on a journey through Dell’s efforts to build a scientific approach (and formula) to determine propensity to buy for their service portfolio, something that only makes sense as an upsell.

What I loved about Aaron’s presentation was not just the idea that upselling is about providing the customer value (instead of just maximizing profit for the business, but also the fact that he built and put into place a formula for doing so.

The pathway to this is through Culler’s Upsell matrix:

Throughout the course of his presentation, Aaron explained how to leverage your existing lead scoring model + purchase history and product development index to give you what you need to conduct a gap analysis.  The gap analysis will help you understand exactly what campaigns to target to what customer and at what time.   Right message, right product and right time, that is the key.

Aaron’s deck is very through and once it’s available on Topliners we’ll share the link here.   In the interim, you should go now and bookmark https://community.oracle.com/message/12953404#12953404 which is where all of the presentations will be posted soon.

These were just two of many great sessions. What did you see that shouldn’t have been missed?

And just because no blog post is complete without some sort of saucy rant… Here’s a Top 5 List of things we are really thinking about post MME15.

5. A few good Franco digs that you came up with on the plane ride home

4. A need for a coffee detox

3. A podiatrist on speed dial

2. A new body clock for the east coast crew who still don’t “know” what time it is, but know that time their bodies “think” it is.

And the number One thing most of us are still thinking is “Why is everything so much farther away than it appears?” It’s Vegas Baby.

Blog Written By: Lauren Kincke

Lauren is an Eloqua Team Leader for The Pedowitz Group. She is an Eloqua Partner Certified Consultant, Certified Salesforce.com Administrator, and has a wide range of experience with various marketing and email automation platforms.

Rise of The Marketing Operations Function Part 1

Who would have thought all this would begin with research on Unicorns?

I recently delivered a keynote at a digital asset management event, and my topic was Unicorns.  Not the fluffy, glittery, pink and purple kind!  No, I’m talking about the kind of Unicorn that is now the heart and soul of marketing operations – the marketing technologist.  (The marketing technologist is called a Unicorn because she/he is such a rare breed.  Just try finding and hiring one!)

As I conducted research on this topic, I became more and more interested in not just the role of the marketing technologist but also in the rise of marketing operations as a transformative function within marketing.  I wanted to get a better understanding from practitioners what they were experiencing in their daily marketing operations world. So, to find out more, from February to April of this year, I interviewed a group of accomplished marketers who have built and currently lead an MO function. (See a list of all contributors at the end of this blog but the companies included Microsoft, Lenovo, MediaMath, TrendMicro, Covidien, Acxiom, McKesson, NCR, Elekta and LexisNexis.)

From these interviews, other research and my practical experience in working with marketing operations groups, I’ve compiled key insights into this five-part blog series. I’ll be publishing one blog per week for the next five weeks.  Topics include:

Rise of the Marketing Operations Function Blog Series:

  1.       What is Marketing Operations?
  2.       How has Marketing Operations Changed in the Last Few Years?
  3.       What is the Future for Marketing Operations?
  4.       What are the Leadership Traits Required for Marketing Operations Leaders?
  5.       What are the Lessons Learned to Share with Other Marketing Operations Executives?

Blog 1:5 – What is Marketing Operations (MO)?

The first blog in the series will explore the definition of marketing operations (MO). Why has MO emerged? What are the roles and responsibilities compared to other marketing functions? How is MO structured and what is its role in enabling sales and marketing alignment? I’ll wrap up with a brief discussion about what I am calling the “Marketing Land Grab”.

The MO function has exploded onto the scene because of a number of factors:

  • Fast-changing technology
  • A need for a more transparent, efficient, and accountable view of marketing
  • Big time pressure from the C-suite for marketing to contribute to the bottom line.

My first exposure to a marketing operations group was in 2008, and I thought it was so cool that marketing had a dedicated group to help manage technology and improve effectiveness. Since then, the role and function of MO have drastically changed, and this blog series will explore those changes and implications for the future.

In talking to marketing operations leaders about how they would define marketing operations, several themes emerged:

  •        One Size Does Not Fit All

o   The Four Types of Marketing Operations Groups

  •        Enter the Left Brain
  •        The Most Common Marketing Operations Functions
  •        Moving from an Organic Structure to an Intentional Structure

o   Drivers of Organizational Structure

  •        Marketing Operations as a Hub
  •        Conclusion
  •        List of Blog Contributors

One Size Does Not Fit All

Based on the interviews for this blog series, the actual definition of Marketing Operations and the roles and responsibilities varied much more than I thought they would.  What was clear was that this function vis a vis other parts of marketing was still being actively defined with changes almost daily.  It was evident that one size did not fit all and that the variations in the definition had to do with company size and Revenue MarketingTM maturity.  As the definitions varied, so did the roles and responsibilities of marketing operations.

From the interviews, four types of Marketing Operations organizations emerged that represent something close to a 4-stage maturity model or a least a “more” capabilities model meaning the MO group takes on more and more responsibility.

As you review the MO types, understand that each type builds on the previous type. The four types of MO groups are Efficient, Effective, Hub, and Accountable.  I found the companies I interviewed for this series had moved through the following stages to arrive at where they are today:

  • Stage 1:  An Efficient MO structure typically focuses on the use and integration of current marketing technologies along with data hygiene.  This type of MO is also an execution arm for campaigns as they “own” the technology.
  • Stage 2:  An Effective MO structure typically focuses on using best practices and key processes to improve overall marketing operations effectiveness.  This type of MO is also focused on data, metrics and reporting.
  • Stage 3:  A HUB MO structure typically acts as the nucleus for disparate groups including all the different parts of marketing, sales, the customer, information technology, and finance.  This type of MO provides insights and consulting to other parts of marketing and the organization that helps to guide and improve business results.
  • Stage 4:  An Accountable MO structure typically includes a much broader set of functions such as demand generation/demand center elements and has Revenue Marketing type of accountability.

In summing up the definition of Marketing Operations, here are a few quotes from MO practitioners on the way they define marketing operations

  • Danny Essner, MediaMath – “Marketing Operations is really managing the systems, data, and processes to make a scalable revenue machine as efficient as possible.  Working with sales operations, and, of course, sales, together we are the revenue machine for the company.”
  • Mark Maurits, Microsoft – “MO is the function that is accountable for driving efficacy on both sides of the balance sheet – both improved marketing results and cost reductions.  The MO group is like a factory manager who is responsible for having the right tools and resources in order to get the product out on time and with quality.”
  • Ashleigh Davis, TrendMicro – “The Marketing Operations function gives structure, process, accountability and a foundation for digital marketing.  It provides project management, tools, practices, data strategy, finance, and budgeting.”

Enter the Left Brain

We all know how marketing is adopting a more analytical, technical and data-driven capability, and we understand the reasons for it. No matter how good the reasons are, it’s still disruptive dynamic and is creating many challenges for the Revenue Marketing organization.

“Today, left-brain activities are viewed as a ‘specialty’ in marketing.  As marketing continues to transform, the traditional, creative right-brain set of activities may become the ‘specialty’.”Michael Ballard, Lenovo

“The best definition for Marketing Operations is anything the rest of marketing does not want to do!”Randy Taylor, LexisNexis

Marketing Operations is the nerdy, left brain processes of marketing!”  — Ashleigh Davis, Trend Micro

Michael, Randy, and Ashleigh are referring to the challenge of marketing having to fully incorporate left-brain thinking and activities into a traditionally right-brained group. The task of merging two such dissimilar approaches into marketing is part of what is driving the ever-changing structures, roles and responsibilities within marketing.  This dynamic is both real and persistent, and it needs to be proactively managed.  As the role of MO continues to emerge we will see changes in roles, compensation plans, goals, and team structure.  Deciding who does what, determining skills gaps and ensuring a plan for hiring, training or outsourcing will be a key element in adding this left-brain capability to marketing.

Michael Ballard of Lenovo summed up this change in marketing by saying:

“I think the definition of MO is completely different now. You know if you asked me that question five years ago, I would define it as the person who oversees the budget and the calendars and all the paperwork. Today it’s really an IT department. You’re managing a cloud infrastructure, and the role of the marketer in MO reflects how the role is changing. Traditionally, marketing was the right brain, creative folks like Mad Men. Today, we have to use a lot more left brain than our right brain, and we’re now trying to be more data scientists.”

Most Common Functions in MO
While there was a fairly wide-ranging set of MO functions and capabilities present across the interviewees, I also found a comment set that remained consistent with all the companies interviewed.

Technology Capability

  • Use, Optimization, Integration, Awareness, Recommendations
  • Partnership with Sales Operations
    • Data Management Capability
  • Hygiene, Use, Optimization, Insights
    • Measurement, Analytics, Reporting Capability
  • Metrics
  • Reporting
  • Analysis and Insights
  • Budgeting
    • Process Capability
  • Segmentation
  • Lead Management
  • Campaign Effectiveness
  • Best Practices
    • Execution Capability
  • Campaigns
  • Testing and QA
  • Project Management
    • Collaboration Capability

See the end of this blog for a discussion on this topic.

Here are two practitioner examples that encompass a more standard definition of Marketing Operations.

Mitch Diamond of McKesson – “There are three key components of MO at McKesson that we manage.  The first is the technology infrastructure to enable marketing functions.  This includes the marketing automation system, the database and the database strategy.  We also manage CRM…while this is unique, it really helps us better align with sales.  The second key component we manage is the analytics and metrics processes for the department, and this is really critical so we can benchmark our performance and can continuously improve.  The third key component is managing and optimizing key processes such as campaign execution, lead management and budget tracking.”

Randy Taylor, LexisNexis – “The MO group at LexisNexis is responsible for all marketing technologies including implementations, administration and integration with marketing and company toolsets.  We use a Project Management Office, we ensure budget compliance, we manage all marketing vendors and we are responsible for the lead management process from capture through assignment.”

Here is a practitioner example that encompasses more than the standard definition of Marketing Operations.

Chris Willis, Elekta – “The MO group at Elekta encompasses both the more traditional elements of marketing operations such as optimizing and integrating technology with the more demand generation elements of campaign effectiveness.  I love getting into the weeds of our campaigns to figure out how to communicate more effectively with our clients, improve engagement and conversions.  Once our marketing communications group has a better handle on the power of the technology for building campaigns, I believe that these demand generation elements will shift out of marketing operations and into the marketing communications group.”

MO Structure – From Organic to Intentional

A key theme that emerged from the interviews is how the MO function is changing from being organically occurring to being intentionally designed.  Michael Ballard of Lenovo talked about moving from being organically grown to intentionally designed:

Michael Ballard, Lenovo – As our marketing team matured and became more sophisticated, we realized that we needed dedicated people in clearly defined roles.  Not having a clear structure in place caused a lot of confusion. Now we have dedicated people for dedicated channels. So we have a dedicated inbound manager, dedicated outbound manager, dedicated marketing operations, and so on. We also have dedicated agencies for each of those channels. Our MO group is responsible for database management and quality, use and integration of our marketing automation system, analytics and managing all integrations and applications across marketing.  Having clearly defined roles across marketing and having clarity for the MO function has allowed us to be much more effective and allows more time for more innovation in marketing… something we love to do!”

Across the companies interviewed, I observed several either organic or intentional MO designs:

  •  The umbrella organization was called “Marketing Operations” and included an MO team and a Demand Generation team.  The umbrella MO organization reported to one executive.
  • The umbrella organization was called the “Demand Generation Group or/Demand Center” and included a DG team and an MO team.  The umbrella DG/DC organization reported to one executive.
  • The MO team and DG team were separate, was run as peer and complementary organizations and report to the same executive.
  • In whatever structure, MO worked closely with or also managed sales operations.

Even more interesting than the structure was identifying the key drivers for the current MO structures.  Three primary drivers emerged: having or not having key MO skill sets in marketing, executive experience in and support of the value of MO, and marketing goals.

Collaboration & the Hub Concept

Like many aspects of modern marketing, the ability to collaborate, align and influence is key to Marketing Operations effectiveness.  Every interviewee talked about collaboration, alignment and influence as key components to their success.  They identified key stakeholders and worked with these key stakeholders to improve both marketing and sales effectiveness.  Key stakeholders mentioned included other parts of marketing, sales, executives, finance and IT.  Of particular importance was working with all the disparate parts of marketing in a flawless collaborative process and aligning with and enabling sales as partners.  Danny Essner (MediaMath) called the result of this collaboration the “revenue machine.” Other practitioners referred to Marketing Operations as the hub between sales and marketing that enabled synergy and results.  Nearly all the interviewees stressed the importance of sales and marketing alignment for success.

Patrick Phelan of Acxiom has a background in data, consulting and sales and used this to forge a strong working relationship with sales.“I’m so thankful that for the three years I spent working for a small management consulting firm that was focused on sales strategy and sales leadership.  This experience helped me make Marketing Operations the hub between our marketing and sales organization.  For me, understanding the business problems that a large sales organization is facing helps me be a better business partner.  I can work with sales to understand the problems and then use the power of Marketing Operations to help shape new solutions.”

Conclusion

It’s clear that Marketing Operations is a dynamic, fast growing and essential part of today’s B2B marketing organization.  It’s also in a state of flux as marketing attempts to keep up with both the new marketing technologies and the resulting changes. In talking to these companies about the role of Marketing Operations, everyone was excited and passionate about what they were doing and saw their key roles as being a change agent and a leader.  They also thought it was a pretty cool place to be – today and in the future.

I’d like to thank all the contributors for this blog – see below.  The next blog in this series is 2:5 – How Has Marketing Operations Changed In the Last Few Years?

Blog Contributors

Marketing Operations Blog Series Contributors:

  1.  Ashleigh Davis, TrendMicro, Manager, Marketing Automation Operations
  2.  Rachel Cruz, Medical Device Manufacturer, Senior Global Operations Manager
  3.  Michael Ballard, Lenovo, Demand Generation and Operations Manager
  4.  Danny Essner, Media Math, Demand Generation and Marketing Operations
  5.  Mark Maurits, Microsoft, Senior Business Program Manager
  6.  Patrick Phelan, Acxiom, Senior Manager Global Marketing Operations and Technology
  7.  Mitch Diamond, McKesson Business Performance Services, Director of Sales and Marketing Operations
  8.  Randy Taylor, LexisNexis, Senior Director Marketing Operations
  9.  Margaret Hamner, Director of Demand Generation, NCR
  10.  Chris Willis, Elekta, Marketing Operations Manager

Blog Written By: Debbie Qaqish

Debbie Qaqish is a Principal and Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group. She is the author of Rise of The Revenue Marketer, a doctoral student, avid CrossFitter and is passionate about all elements of Revenue Marketing – especially the leadership required to drive transformation.

Contact: Debbie@pedowitzgroup.com or http://www.linkedin.com/in/dqaqish

3 Ways to Listen to Prospects & Collect Actionable Data

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey wrote: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

If there’s a more accurate description of how most marketers operate, I haven’t seen it.

Listening is critical to success in this new era of informed consumers and ROI-focused revenue marketers, where every purchase is carefully considered. Buyers are more discerning than ever; they’re looking for hyper-relevant content that responds to their exact needs and stage in the buying cycle. How can marketers hope to answer that imperative if we’re not listening to understand what our buyers are doing, thinking, and saying?

One of the best arguments in favor of listening is that it allows marketers to find out what problems their prospects really think are important. Marketers must listen, and listen carefully, to determine if they’re solving the problem they think needs solving or the one their audience actually needs solved.

Because that’s how we sell – we sell to the value of solving a problem and resolving a pain for our prospects. It’s marketing’s job to uncover that value and lead a prospect down the right path – while arming sales with key information about what your prospects want.

Every digital interaction contains a rich set of data that are part of the message (just like the body language and social cues of face-to-face conversations) that can help marketers find out if their content is resonating for their audience. Existing marketing technologies allow marketers to replicate in digital interactions the active listening that takes place in person.  

These tools allow marketers to listen for three main kinds of communication:

  1.     Behavior

What are prospects doing? Are they clicking our emails, viewing certain web pages, spending time on other pages? Where do they bounce out of our content?

In this category, marketers use metrics like clicks, views, time spent on site, and behavior flow (captured through tools like Google Analytics, Marketo, Eloqua and others) to find correlations and connections between what prospects are doing and how we could better answer their questions and solve their problems.

  1.     Interest/Resonance

What are prospects thinking? Is our content resonating with them and guiding them through the buyer’s journey? Are they signing up for our email newsletter or sharing our content on social? 

Marketers can turn to email tracking (Yesware, ToutApp, HubSpot Sidekick, SalesLoft and others), marketing automation systems, social analytics tools (Twitter, Facebook, TweetStats, Unified) and A/B testing software like Optimizely to identify exactly what’s resonating and change out what’s not.

  1.     Sentiment

What are our prospects saying? What words do they use, and are they the same words we use in our marketing? What problems do they want solved, and are we solving them through our content?

This area is an explosive growth category when it comes to marketing technologies – there are blog comment moderating systems like WordPress and Disqus; social media monitoring tools like Radian6 and Meltwater; pulse-takers like Google Alerts; and interactive content platforms like SnapApp (disclosure: my company),  ion interactive, PollDaddy, SurveyMonkey and others. These technologies facilitate real connection with buyers and allow marketers to ask straight questions and get a straight answer.

Based on these three categories, marketers can now use technology to collect better insights on the front end and create structured data on the back end to influence strategy and make better decisions. To get the most out of a shift toward listening, marketers must make this data collection programmatic.

The first step here is to set your goals and start small. What metrics correlate with buyers and sales alignment and move the needle for your sales process?  If you want to make your content resonate for your audience, A/B test subject lines or newsletter content and make incremental changes based on the results. 

As marketers, we only have a few chances to say the right thing. Our prospects have so many reasons not to pay attention – we need to listen to their needs, speak their language, and give them reasons to say yes.

snapapp2.png          Blog Written By:

          Seth Lieberman is the founder and CEO of SnapApp, a content marketing platform that gives marketers the power to generate leads and drive revenue by creating, publishing, promoting and                   measuring interactive content that works across the web, email, mobile and social. Seth is a serial entrepreneur who has started three companies and four kids. Two of his companies have been acquired but none of his kids.

          Photo Credit: Josh Felise via Stocksnap

Improving The Way You Track Traffic With Google Tag Manager

Google strives to create solutions that make Analytics and Conversion Tracking easier to use and more accurate.  From the advent of Google Analytics to the advances in AdWords Conversion Tracking, Google’s tools have always been at the forefront of innovation and practicality.  Most of this analytics data has been made available through the use of tags: snippets of code placed on a website to track data.  Google Tag Manager, released in 2012 makes editing, updating, and managing your tags easier and results in faster page loads and can improve the visitor experience.

Due to the variety of websites, content management systems, and HTML, some tags have difficulty tracking information as accurately as desired.  Furthermore, some websites require direct changing of the code to make these tags report accurately.  Google Tag Manager focused on taking care of this issue.  Google Tag Manager is a free tool which makes it easier for marketers to add and update vital website tags with just a few clicks and without having to edit the website code.  This helps you avoid having to go to your development team every time you need to add something to the back end of your site.

Google Tag Manager was originally released in 2012 as a solution in which all website tags could be kept in one place.  Google Tag Manager upped the ante in late 2014 with a major update which now includes access to the Google Tag Manager API.  Any variety of tags, including tags that come from non-Google entities and providers, can be tracked in Google Tag Manager.

Prior to configuring Google Tag Manager you need to ensure that the Google Tag manager code shows up just below the <body> tag on all of the pages of your entire website.  If place the code below the <body> tag within the website header, this should apply it to your entire website. Once the Google Tag Manager code is installed, you can simply add every relevant tag (remarketing, AdWords conversion tracking, Analytics, etc.) in a container within Tag Manager. 

Don’t forget to go to your site after you have installed Google Tag Manager and have published it and make sure that it is firing on your site. You can use an extension that I have found to be helpful called Google Tag Assistant. Once you are on your site, you can check your tags using that extension. 

Google Tag Manager simplifies the task of managing the pixels that fire on your website, because the container of your tags fires asynchronously to webpage loads.  Due to this, your website will load more quickly than if each of the tags were housed directly on your site.  One of the other paramount advantages of Google Tag Manager is that it keeps track of which tags should fire on the site and rules for when those tags should fire. 

Due to Google Tag Manager being asynchronous, it does not block other website elements from rendering when the tag executes.  This way, both the website and Google Tag Manager can work together seamlessly, while enhancing the end user’s experience.  It’s a complete solution for anyone and any website, and as is the case with all of Google’s web analytics product line, it’s free to use. 

Blog Written By: Jake Goeckeritz

Jake Goeckeritz is an Inbound Consultant at The Pedowitz Group. He has become Google Certified and is working on his Marketo Certification. You can find him teaching his Enterprise clients about Paid advertising or Organic avenues. He loves anything that can drive traffic and better your ROI. When he isn’t working at The Pedowitz Group he is either outdoors or watching sports.

7 Things To Do at Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit 2015

With Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit right around the corner, I’m starting to get questions about what attendees should do while they’re there. Since I’ve been to ALL the Marketo Summits, even that early one where there were about 200 of us in attendance, I thought I’d provide my list:

1)    Consider University Day: Marketo’s University Day on Monday, April 13, promises to provide even more courses that look at different aspects of the technical use of Marketo. If you’re a hands-on Marketo user, try to sign up. This even invariably sells out, so plan early. Did I mention that 3 of my team members from The Pedowitz Group will be teaching? Go introduce yourself to Jeff, Elizabeth and Caitlin!

2)    Become a Marketo Certified Expert: Why become a certified expert? It acknowledges your level of experience with Marketo, looks great on your resume, and can further your career – there are lots of companies out there looking for qualified Marketo users! Or show your current employer just how great you are!

3)    Attend the sessions: Look at the scheduled sessions in advance and make a plan for what you HAVE to attend, what would be nice to attend, and what you will try to make if you have time. This is your opportunity to see what others are doing with Marketo, get inspired, and learn how to implement new ideas in your organization. Don’t forget to check out The Pedowitz Group’s own Caitlin Culbert at “Using Technology to Maximize Social Media Performance” and Jeff Canada at “5 Use Cases of Predictive Marketing”.

4)    Spend some time with the vendors: Of course The Pedowitz Group will be there again with our coaching corner (sign up for a slot and find out what it’s like to work with one of our consultants!), but there will be other partners there as well. They just might have a solution to a challenge you’ve been facing. Take the opportunity to find out!

5)    Attend the keynotes: Last year it was Hillary Clinton for one of the keynotes. This year it’s Ariana Huffington and Salman Khan. These should be great talks, so don’t miss them!

6)    Duh, Go to the Parties! Once again, The Pedowitz Group will be hosting the “after party” with a number of partners. We heard great feedback about this party last year, so attend if you can. Then there’s Marketo’s gala. This is always fun, so even if your feet are tired and your throat is sore, make sure you get there. Last year it was at the Exploratorium, this year it’s at San Francisco’s historic City Hall! Too much fun! (You can sleep later).

7)    NETWORK! It’s an amazing experience to be in a room, whether it’s a classroom, a party, a session or just talking between sessions, with other like-minded, knowledgeable, powerful marketers and Marketo users. This is especially stunning if you’re the only Marketo user at your company or a member of a small team. People will understand what you mean when you say “flow step” or “constraint”. Make new friends, soak up knowledge, connect, and take advantage of the amazing brain power provided by the attendees and presenters at Summit. There’s nothing like it!

I guess I have an 8th: come find me and introduce yourself! I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

Blog Written By: Emily Salus

Emily Salus is the Marketo Practice Director at The Pedowitz Group. She has over 20 years of experience in Marketing, PR and Sales. Emily is a certified Marketo technical consultant, providing Revenue Marketing services and strategy to enterprise clients and best practices and training to the SMB market.

It’s All About The Core

I bought new running shoes last weekend. While talking to the physical therapist who owns the specialty running shop I go to and telling him I was working my way back to running with a trainer, he said “it’s all about the core.”

Naturally, I thought of using marketing automation. Here too, it’s all about the core. Your core for MA is best practices and metrics. If you don’t have that, all the running you do won’t get you the results you want!

In order to work on your MA core, focus on the following areas:

1)    Best practice usage – it’s not just about using your MA platform. It’s about using the right features in the right places to get the ease of use and value from your investment. Make sure you’re not just using the platform in any old way, because they are strong and flexible tools, but that you are using all the best practices that are provided by the vendor, consultants, and partners. This way you’ll get the biggest bang from your buck!

2)    Train your team right – In order to use the best practices, you need to provide your team with the skills and knowledge to put them in context and use them effectively. Invest in educating your team on the platform and in processes and strategies that will make the difference to your business and help you get ROI from your MA platform AND from your employees.

3)    Focus on reporting from the start – if you have nothing to measure against and no measurable goals, you’ll never know if your investment is making a difference. If you’ve never done reporting, or haven’t really used it, start by taking some baseline measurements selecting a few simple metrics. Use those to compare future results against and make your reporting more and more sophisticated over time. You don’t have to have a ton of metrics to start making incremental changes so you can make good, metrics-driven marketing decisions for your budget and resources.

Before you get fancy, focus on your core. Once you’re running smoothly, you can train for more complex and sophisticated goals!

Blog Written By: Emily Salus

Emily Salus is the Marketo Practice Director at The Pedowitz Group. She has over 20 years of experience in Marketing, PR and Sales. Emily is a certified Marketo technical consultant, providing Revenue Marketing services and strategy to enterprise clients and best practices and training to the SMB market.

These are a Few of My Favorite Things (in Marketo)

I love helping my clients find creative ways to solve business problems and achieve their revenue marketing goals through the use of Marketo. However, the road to revenue marketing success can sometimes be bumpy, complicated, and downright scary. When I can’t think of a solution to a complex business process, it feels like a dog bite or a bee sting. But, then I simply remember my favorite things and I don’t feel so bad. With this month marking the 50th anniversary of one of the best movies ever made, The Sound of Music (which was almost called ‘Love Song’), I asked my brilliant colleagues at The Pedowitz Group about some of their favorite things that help them through the storm (specifically with Marketo, I mean, it’s no schnitzel with noodles, but it’s still good stuff).

Caitlin Culbert – Revenue Engineer

One of my Favorite Features in Marketo is the Mass Approval of Emails and Landing Pages. This feature is not commonly known, or is widely missed by many of my clients, but it’s a big time saver and can help make updates in a quick way. So, as users, we all know that when you update a Marketo Template all the emails and landing pages using that template now show a draft version of the changes you created, but the changes are not live until you approve them. I know when I update a small item, such as the footer, I want to make the update in the template, so I don’t have to make changes to my 16 email nurture stream one-by-one. But one you make the update you still need to approve the emails – and you can do this in a mass way. Go to Design Studio – Click on Emails and you should see ALL your emails populate on the right – highlight the emails that you were trying to update by holding the CTRL or SHIFT key to select multiple – right click and select approve. TIP: Make sure you only approve the emails you are meaning to approve!

Emily Salus – Marketo Practice Director

Many people would like to be able to see the details about who did something using one of the Marketo “Leads by” reports. For example, not just seeing leads by month, but seeing the actual people who were added in January—and then having that report be sent in a subscription. The super sneaky way of doing this is to go to one of the “Leads by” reports that you want, select the line that’s interested (say leads by month and January) and then use “drill down” by email address. Save the report. Now you have a “Leads for January with email address” report. While smart lists are the way to go for most reports where you want to see WHO, not just the number of people who did something, using the drill down by email address gives you another tool for getting what you want. And unlike smart lists, you can subscribe to them.

Whitni Freeman – Revenue Engineer

So I have two- the first are all the “negative” filters/triggers available in the palette for smart lists. Now I’m no “negative Nancy,” but you can build some great nurturing efforts relying on these. Additionally, they are a great way to target the portion of your database that isn’t interested in you.

The second one is the program/template library. The amazing thing about this tool is that you can import full programs (and templates) already built out, saving you time and ensuring that you pay attention to details that you might forget. It’s also a great way to see how Marketo thinks about building things (because they built them!). While there are certainly great ones for lead scoring and lead lifecycle, there are also great templates for how other types of more “marketing” efforts should happen – think webinars and email sends. While the templates need work to make them specific to your organization’s needs, look, and processes, they can definitely save you time and help you remember all the details. I recommend importing the ones you like, customizing them for your needs, and then using the “customized template” as the template for your org for all related efforts. Consider creating these templates for any marketing efforts you do regularly – again, it can save so much time having something that all you have to do is clone and populate a few spots.

Melody Holcomb – Associate Revenue Engineer

Use the Campaign Inspector

One of my favorite features in Marketo is the nifty Campaign Inspector. This allows you to view ALL your Smart Campaigns in one place. You can filter Campaigns by Status and Type, find Campaigns by Trigger/Filter or Flow Actions, search and/or sort Campaigns. It has come in handy when I’ve had to find several campaigns. It made finding these campaigns easier and faster. This is also a good way to catch any campaigns that have errors.

Another neat trick is to use tokens for Meta tags in your landing pages. This makes it easier to remember that you should have Meta tags for your landing pages. Add tokens for your landing page title, description, and even keywords all at the same time when updating the rest of your tokens and simply pop them in or if you are cloning an existing tokenized program you can make the edits at the top-level and all of the changes are updated instantly. Think scalability!

Finally, get creative with your token defaults (=edit me}}). One of the coolest ways we’ve seen a default for a token used was for webinars that automatically synced with Marketo. When using unique links for leads to join a webinar, you can put in contact information should the link not work. E.g. “=edit me}}” was “Error, if you do not see your unique URL to this webinar please contact abc@defg.com or call 1-999-999-9999.” So if a person had trouble joining a webinar, the information to contact support was right there in front of them.

Blog Written By: Jeff Canada

Jeff Canada is a Revenue Engineer and Marketo Consultant with The Pedowitz Group. He has almost 10 years of experience in Marketing. Jeff is a certified Marketo Expert and trainer, 2 time Marketo champion, and all around Marketo nerd. When he isn’t helping clients optimize their marketing programs you might find him wandering the streets of San Francisco.

Are You Assessing Your Social Media Environment?

Everyone should conduct a social media assessment for their business. The importance of a social media assessment is that before you build a social media strategy that aligns to your business, you need to evaluate:

  •  Where you are. What is your current social environment like?
  •  What to do next. Understand what you want the plan to be based on data. Don’t guess.
  •  Define your KPIs. How will you measure your plan? How do you know if social initiatives are working?

According to the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 84% of marketers saw increased traffic with just six hours a week invested in social media and 85% of B2B buyers believe companies should present information via social networks. (Iconsive). Marketers will spend $8.3 billion on social media advertising in 2015 (NewsCred) and 78% of companies now say they have dedicated social media teams, up from 67% in 2012. (i-SCOOP).

Ask yourself:

  •  Do you know what platforms are working for you?
  •  Do you know what presence you have in the social sphere?
  •  How does your social activity align with the rest of your marketing plan? Best  practices?

Typically, companies think they don’t need to pay attention to Social Media, and responses to the most common objections:

Argument: “Our audience is on not on social media”

Response: Don’t be fooled, according to the 2013 Forrester Report,”The Social Behaviors of Your B2B Customer”, everyone is on social media.

Argument:  “Social Media is only used for help, not sales”

Response: Social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversion rate (Source: HubSpot) and approximately 46% of online users count on social media when making a purchase decision

Argument: Social does not seem to show my ROI (HubSpot)

Response: In 2013, 52% of all marketers had found a customer via Facebook, 43% of all marketers had found a customer via LinkedIn, and 36% of all marketers had found a customer via Twitter.

The bottom line is that there really is no argument. Make a plan, assess your social media and. engage your prospects where they are.

Blog Written By: Caitlin Culbert

Caitlin is the Marketo Team Lead for the East at the Pedowitz Group working on the services team. She is a Marketo Certified Expert, Marketo Certified Instructor, Certified Salesforce Admin and HubSpot Full Funnel Certified, working with Best Practices and strategies in Marketing Automation, Technology Optimization, Social Media, Inbound and Outbound campaigns.

Visible Results

I’m now almost 9 months into working with my personal trainer, following physical therapy. While I’m going to spend the rest of my life attaining goals, I can now see visible results.

Last week, I asked my trainer how long, on average, his clients stay with him. The answer is more complicated than an average, though. He said that either people are short term “6 weeks and I’m good to go, right?” or stay with him forever (or as close to it as they can).

Once again, not-work life imitates work life.

I have talked to many marketers who think a couple weeks (or days!) of learning about marketing automation and Revenue Marketing and they’ll be “good to go”. Others realize that new processes, team building, skill building, alignment, and change management all take time.

At The Pedowitz Group, we have many long-term clients who work with us year after year. They continue to move ahead, pursue excellence, and see more and more visible, and financial, results from their efforts. Unfortunately, I also see clients get a running start and…believe they can do the rest all on their own.

Sometimes they can. Sometimes they are truly motivated, will continue to look for best practices on their own, will have enough buy-in throughout the organization to keep going and will end up extremely successful. More often, though, their speed of progress begins to slow, and they wonder why they just are not as far ahead as they thought they’d be—and they need that personal trainer again.

As in fitness, so with Revenue Marketing: you make more progress, faster, and become stronger and more effective for it if you keep up the pace of change. The path to success is faster if you make consistent progress than if you go on and off your trend towards a more efficient and effective marketing and sales organization.

Every time I talk to a client, or someone who has really embraced the power of marketing technology, change management, and Revenue Marketing, I’m amazed at how much they have accomplished with their diligent, consistent progress. And the revenue results speak for themselves.

So rather than starting your gym membership for the new year and 6 or 8 weeks later stop, disappointed that you haven’t lost 25 lbs. and sculpted your whole body, consider a life-long, or even just a year-long, plan. And do the same for your marketing efforts—because they’ll be fit and trim and pay dividends too, as long as you keep at it.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to benchmark and measure your successes (and failures!) so that a year later, you can really see how far you have come. Now those are visible results.

Blog Written By: Emily Salus

Emily Salus is the Marketo Practice Director at The Pedowitz Group. She has over 20 years of experience in Marketing, PR and Sales. Emily is a certified Marketo technical consultant, providing Revenue Marketing services and strategy to enterprise clients and best practices and training to the SMB market.

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