Integrate, Author at Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Thu, 03 Mar 2022 20:31:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.2 4 ways to upgrade your content syndication strategy /4-ways-to-upgrade-your-content-syndication-strategy-377098 Tue, 14 Dec 2021 12:00:54 +0000 /?p=377098 Content syndication in today’s new era of B2B precision demand marketing

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If there’s one thing that 2021 has made evident to the B2B marketer, it’s that today’s B2B buyers are leveraging a digital-first approach. Their tactics now involve covert research done on their own time and in their preferred digital channels. They are also experiencing a more complex buying journey, increasing touchpoints and larger buying committees. To compound this even further, recent research by Integrate and Heinz Marketing found that current team structures, processes and technology do not effectively support today’s marketing team goals.

In short, it’s a new buyer-driven B2B world out there, and B2B marketers need to evolve. They need to adopt a buyer-driven, omnichannel Precision Demand Marketing approach that is more connected, agile and precise across the entire funnel.

This includes refocusing top-of-the-funnel efforts like content syndication to be more buyer-driven and effective. While content syndication is a tried-and-true channel in the B2B marketer’s toolkit, it’s also one that marketers have historically invested a lot of time and money in but have often struggled in proving its ROI. Common complaints with content syndication are that it is riddled with poor data quality, disparate and complex systems, and can be difficult to scale.

However, with a strong strategy and trusted and proven third-party publisher execution, content syndication allows marketers to pull the greatest amount of their addressable market into their orbit – all with the precise guardrails of who might be a good fit.

Matt Mullins, senior director of global marketing operations and technology at Tenable, says, “we need to make our demand strategies work smarter, not harder. This means evaluating our tools and tech and finding ways to free up time and budget resources.”

Below are four steps to make your content syndication strategies more effective, streamlined and scalable:

1.    Block bad lead data

Data is the biggest barrier B2B Marketers have when trying to connect with their buyers. Many marketers still struggle to capture, update and maintain clean data, thus putting their relationships with sales and leadership at risk. The challenges of executing high-volume lead gen campaigns while not having a system to process and reject bad leads result in manual work from marketing ops, delays in lead delivery to sales, and poor lead quality.

The solution? Institute data and prioritization efforts to keep data clean and actionable. Prioritize sales enablement and buy-in, leverage tools that reject bad leads to protect and optimize spending, and focus on balancing early funnel leads with sales.

2.    Target with precision

Good data quality and confidence go hand in hand with targeting buyers with precision.

In today’s buyer-driven, precision demand marketing world, B2B marketers need to get even more precise in their targeting by honing in on their ideal customer profile or persona-based marketing.

The solution? Look for tools that allow you to precisely target your ICP while ensuring you only pay for the leads that make sense for your content syndication campaigns. Use buyer and intent signals to your advantage. Get to truly know and understand your customers – and their pain points – so you can create targeted buyer experiences.

3.    Centralize and connect sources

Many marketers can relate to managing campaigns across many sources, channels, and publishers, but few know that there’s a better way. B2B marketers need to break down campaign silos and stop manually managing an increasing number of disconnected channels.

The solution? Focus on a multichannel view of exactly where and when prospects are engaging and then determine which sources work best. Connect those channels to work together to deliver high-quality customer experiences that drive revenue. To gain true visibility into performance, we must centralize demand performance, compare results, and optimize spend.

4.    Orchestrate omnichannel experiences

Finally, B2B marketers need to orchestrate the buyer’s journey by guiding prospects and building meaningful connections with them to generate high-quality leads that will convert.

The solution? Go beyond ABM to activate and nurture across channels to boost buyer confidence and accelerate purchasing decisions. Leverage intent data and signals to target accounts that meet the ICP, then capitalize on those accounts in the market. This account activity drives the deeper persona work at the demand unit or buying committee level.

After this, focus on reaching the individual buyer or executive sponsor by identifying personalized and creative ways for trust-building. Craft unique chatbot experiences, direct mail, or other digital approaches. Apply this to live events as they make a return.

The takeaway

Content syndication remains an important channel for marketers. Although it may have lost its luster in recent years due to bad data, unactionable leads and scalability issues, the opportunity exists today for marketers to update and refine a channel that really works by using Precision Demand Marketing. This buyer-driven, omnichannel approach to content syndication, along with the right technologies that put data governance at the core, is where B2B marketers can thrive.

To learn more about improving your content syndication strategy in today’s new B2B world, please check out this on-demand webinar “4 Ways to Boost Confidence in Your Content Strategy,” featuring Stephanie Swinyer, head of revenue marketing at Integrate, and Matthew Mullins, senior director of global marketing operations and technology at Tenable.

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How to drive B2B revenue and relationships in a buyer-first world /how-to-drive-b2b-revenue-and-relationships-in-a-buyer-first-world-374954 Thu, 07 Oct 2021 11:00:45 +0000 /?p=374954 Five principles for implementing a precision demand marketing approach.

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Any B2B marketer who endured 2020 knows our industry has changed forever. Buyers are online and on their own. They now set the terms of how they connect with your brand, which makes it a real challenge to reach them with traditional campaigns and approaches. Siloed teams, inaccurate, invalid data, and broad-brush marketing programs only complicate matters. 

Today, we need to rethink the role of marketing. Whether you’re an event marketer, digital marketer, demand marketer, social media marketer, marketing operations, or revenue team, we all must recognize that we have one process, and that’s the buyer’s process. 

This means that we need to align to the essential functions of a high performing, omnichannel B2B marketing team: target, connect, activate, measure and govern. These five principles serve as a North Star toward a new B2B marketing approach called Precision Demand Marketing that supports a buyer-driven, omnichannel approach that accelerates lead-to-revenue conversions for meeting their businesses’ demanding goals.  

Target.  

It’s important to remember that accounts don’t buy; people do. Today’s B2B marketers need to identify and target with precision their known and unknown buyers, accounts, and buying committees using data, intent and ABM solutions, right when they’re ready to buy. We need to use intent data and data intelligence from first- and third-party sources to identify the buyers and organizations that match your ideal customer profile (ICP) based on criteria such as title, persona, and organization.   

Then, refine and strengthen your lists by adding new customer segments, all to aid in developing display advertising, content syndication, event marketing, digital events, and social media marketing programs. This allows you to consistently reach the right buyers with the right messages at the right time. 

Connect. 

It’s time to knock down silos within your marketing department and connect your data, content, and buyer’s journeys across various channels. These connections give your team the ability to dramatically amplify reach, boost pipeline, and increase conversion opportunities in real-time, all through unparalleled access to thousands of receptive buyers. This allows you to centralize demand efforts and convert exactly the right leads and accounts. 

Activate. 

Activation is about engaging your buyers and meeting them where they are. Utilize cross-channel buyer and account activation across the channels and sources buyers rely on, including content programs, social campaigns, in-person and virtual events, and ad campaigns. Activate engagement with buyers through highly personalized, sequential messaging. Surround your target accounts, convince them to take action, and convert leads at every stage of the funnel.  

Measure. 

If you can’t measure your programs, how do you know what’s working and how do you improve? Invest in measurement tools that help you gain visibility, measure impact and optimize marketing performance across channels. Measure critical areas of program performance to keep track of content syndication, social, and display ads. Then, continually manage and tweak each of your highly targeted programs to optimize performance, refine account-based tactics, monitor budget, track ROI, and defend your marketing spend.  

Govern. 

Getting your data right is at the core of a Precision Demand Marketing approach. Look for tools that make it easy to govern data integrity efficiently and accurately. It’s important to ensure marketable data and compliance for all data generating from demand programs. And consider platforms that help maintain data compliance with all global regulations.  To learn more about Precision Demand Marketing and the five essential functions, please check out our on-demand webinar featuring Jennifer Goode, Director of Product Marketing at Integrate, and Cyndi Greenglass, President, Livingston Strategies.

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ABM tech is on fire, but don’t get burned /abm-tech-is-on-fire-but-dont-get-burned-348830 Thu, 27 May 2021 11:00:36 +0000 /?p=348830 Bring together your demand strategies into a coordinated motion with a buyer-driven, omnichannel Precision Demand Marketing approach.

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It’s an understatement to say that the martech landscape is crowded. In fact, the most recent martech LUMAscape acknowledges over 8,000 solutions and a few thousand may classify themselves as ABM technology players. Why so much hype on ABM? Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating a migration to a digital-first approach, many Sales and Marketing teams turned to “flipping the funnel” and focusing on their target accounts as the path to higher conversions rates and closed sales. But it has its limitations in both its scope and its technology.

Scott Vaughan, recently wrote that ABM shouldn’t be a replacement for your demand strategy, and I would argue that your tech shouldn’t follow suit either. In today’s digital landscape where everything is interconnected, you should take a closer look at how your technologies can come together to maximize your efforts. This means broadening your horizons beyond ABM into something more sophisticated and harmonious – Precision Demand Marketing.

Precision Demand Marketing is about bringing together your demand strategies into a coordinated motion. This means being able to:

  • Target and identify the right buyers, accounts, and buying committees
  • Activate cross-channel demand campaigns to scale and orchestrate personalized experiences
  • Connect to an integrated ecosystem to amplify reach and boost lead conversion
  • Measure performance with visibility across all demand channels
  • Govern incoming and outgoing data from all demand sources for 100% marketability that’s compliant.

Target – Where and when to find your buyers

Most ABM tech companies have targeting capabilities, where they have either developed a user interface or acquired technology to expose any firmographic data points (domain, industry, company size, etc.) for sales and marketing teams to create their ideal target list. The problem is that this utopia of creating that perfect ABM strategy doesn’t exist if the data provided from these platforms isn’t marketable or the accounts aren’t ready to engage. It’s important to score both individual and account-level engagement data, so when the next campaign is ready to launch, marketers have the right targets in place. Some ABM platforms can help you reach your accounts at the right time, but because the data is aggregated at the account level, providing persona-based messaging can be difficult.

Activate – Unify your demand campaigns

ABM has been the B2B buzzword for a few years now and, traditionally, has been associated with single-channel display advertising efforts. Today, a number of platforms are great at enabling marketers to build campaigns based on a singular channel, whether it’s content syndication or events. However, if you’re looking to execute in multiple demand channels at the same time, most of the ABM platforms fall short. “Speed to Market” is crucial to get your message in front of your prospects in different environments, so jumping between platforms hinders that efficiency. True cross-channel activation should be about sequencing your demand strategy effectively by understanding how they consume content and how one channel influences another. This allows for the flexibility to quickly react to buyer’s needs, invest where needed, and orchestrate connected buying experiences with less waste.

Many technologies, even outside of Martech, are able to connect your systems together. Data can be retrieved from essentially any platform (social, webinar, or forms) and send it to MAPs, CRMs and, more recently, CDPs (Customer Data Platforms). It’s important to connect across your Martech ecosystem, including your data, technology, and consulting providers to streamline your demand efforts and allow you to execute more effectively. Most ABM platforms have several connectors to and from various MAPs and/or CRMs, but if the data sent through is siloed and unstructured, having automation in place can cause numerous headaches.

Measure – Defend your spend

Analytics are vital to what adjustments are needed both during and post-execution with your strategy.  It’s crucial as a successful B2B marketer to not only measure KPIs per channel but represent how the performance across multiple or all channels are in symphony. However, this is where most ABM platforms fall short. Many ABM platforms today report only on the channels they are activating and cannot report on the entire multichannel impact. They lack the ability to, in one environment, combine multi-channel TOFU (Top of Funnel) metrics to the KPIs aligned to the buyer’s journey, applied against bothindividuals and accounts.

Govern – 100% marketability with compliance

Governing and being compliant with your promotional methods and data make up the most important pillar in Precision Demand Marketing. Data governance is at the core of being able to effectively target, activate, connect, and measure. One wrong outreach or data exposure to someone not privy to such information can decimate your organization. Most ABM platforms who are data controllers understand the importance of data security and will receive SOC2 compliance to showcase to customers. However, data security and data marketability, meaning the cleanliness of customer data, don’t always go hand-in-hand, so leveraging a technology that does both is hard to come by.

To be sure, most ABM technologies accomplish one, maybe two, of these pillars well, but they fall short on the whole. In order to execute on a Precision Demand strategy, it’s imperative to bring these components together. But before you start burning budget on your tech stack, keep the following points in mind:

  • Know what platforms compliment your existing solutions or can replace a number of solutions altogether.
  • Prioritize your platforms wisely. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to implement an ABM web personalization tool before identifying your target accounts.
  • Last but not least, it is crucial that your data is as marketable as possible before bringing in new technology! Bad data becomes more noticeable as you start to personalize experiences and the work put into getting your data right in your MAP and CRM will prevent countless headaches downstream as you add more ABM solutions.

The past year has shown us how technology can help us adapt to a new world, including in B2B marketing. Market shifts will continue to happen, and our strategies will need to evolve alongside the changing environment. ABM will continue to play an important and complementary role in our omni-channel demand strategy, but just be sure to not let it consume it.

Keep Calm and Tech on!

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Using intent data to deliver results in 2021 /using-intent-data-to-deliver-results-in-2021-346270 Wed, 24 Feb 2021 12:00:44 +0000 /?p=346270 Intent signals bring precision to today’s B2B marketing strategy.

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The following article is based on a conversation between Colby Cavanaugh, VP Business Development & Alliances, Integrate and Kate Athmer, VP of Growth, Bombora.

Hope is on the horizon that 2021 will be a substantial improvement over 2020 in nearly all aspects of business and everyday life, including the world of B2B marketing.

Last year, the pandemic forced a digital awakening for B2B marketing as tried-and-true tactics like in-person events and conferences were eliminated seemingly overnight. This shift altered the B2B landscape significantly and, perhaps, permanently, as we’ve all been forced to adapt, evolve and grow in a new world.

Today more than ever, interactions are digital. Buyers are doing their research on their own time, at their own pace, and all online. And, no doubt, Zoom fatigue is real – in fact, the last thing anyone wants to do is to schedule another Zoom call with a vendor. Meanwhile, on the vendor side, staying top of mind is harder. This tension has dramatically altered the process of connecting businesses with buyers.

Faced with these new realities and ever-tightening budgets, many marketers are turning to a buyer-driven B2B marketing approach called Precision Demand Marketing (PDM). Using digital signals from
buyer behaviors, and with solutions like intent data provider Bombora brings us, marketers can tailor the buying experience to meet the changing needs of their prospects to get the results they need.

The right data. The right buyer. At the right time.

By incorporating digital signals, like intent data within PDM, marketers can learn specific buyer pain points and precisely target buyers as they research possible purchases. To do so, it’s important to get in front of prospects early––as they’re entering the market. After all, according to Bombora’s Company Surge® reporting, only 15% of buyers are in the market for your solution at any given time.  Intent data provides insight into your prospect’s interests, so you can determine how and when you engage. Intent data, such as Company Surge® scores, provided by Bombora, identify which businesses are actively researching your product and services more than usual, signaling when and what they want to hear from you. It can be a powerful tool that offers clarity, focus, and precision to your B2B marketing efforts, but it’s also important to use intent data in the right way.

People are often not clear on where to start, so they stall out on their precision marketing efforts because there are just too many choices, too many things on the menu. We recommend starting with intent data to prioritize your target accounts. This helps you be more focused and efficient with your budget and resources in channels like content syndication. Pull a list of your target accounts, figure out which of them are showing intent and then generate leads only at those target accounts, with content syndication. Then you can prioritize incoming leads based on the level of intent, and then route them to nurture programs based on the topics they are researching – or straight to your business development representatives (BDRs) if their level of intent is high enough! 

Just remember, when using intent data at the beginning of the process, you’ll need to watch the time that passes between the scoring and your follow-up outreach. It’s a dynamic market (especially in these times) and Company Surge® scores can change weekly.

Prioritize your targets

Target account lists can and should come from many sources – whether you’re expanding your current customer base, entering a new market, or looking at expanding into new verticals or geographies, having a focused list of target accounts is important in driving your strategy. Use intent data to prioritize your target account list and understand which buying groups might be in the market for your solution.

Remember, there’s no more marketing funnel/marketing process, sales funnel/sales process; there’s only one process: the buyer’s process. Making the buying experience a great experience by engaging with your buyers early in their research and discovery phases and providing them with content that maps to their research and pain points is a critical piece of getting off on the right foot.

Discover the value of third-party data

Marketers have long benefited from first-party intent data in marketing automation systems. Today, third-party intent at the account level is also invaluable, especially in terms of inbound leads and website traffic when first-party intent isn’t available.

First-party can provide powerful signals, but often prospects are well into their buyer journey by that time. First-party intent shows us when buyers have been on your website and maybe if they downloaded a white paper. With third-party intent data, you can measure intent in places where marketers are doing their initial research on third-party websites.

Third-party helps you catch people earlier in the process when they’re just researching ideas or challenges before they get to the point where they’re researching vendors. Reaching buyers before they zero in on specific providers is critical, of course. By doing so, you can help ensure you’re on the short list of brands they are considering. 

Acquire contact data in a compliant way

While it’s important to understand which accounts might be receptive to your message – eventually you’ll need to reach prospective buyers and get opt them in.

Integrate helps you do just that. It helps you take your best content and leverage it to go where buyers are doing their primary research and opt them into your communication channels. It also helps you ensure compliance with privacy policies and provides the capability to ensure your data is complete and marketable.

It’s important that you apply intent wisely, not only for better engagement but also to ensure positive impact across other marketing efforts or channels.

Honor the buyer-seller relationship and improve outcomes

As a marketer, your mission is to help people get the information they need at the time they need it, and then promote your message as you go. Marketers should use intent data to inform content development, particularly as they determine the topics of interest to early-stage pipeline prospects. 

Using a solution like Bombora’s Company Surge® reporting to track changing levels of intent is the key to keep interactions relevant versus using a one-time Company Surge® report to power evergreen campaigns for months or even the year. B2B marketers who run always-on Company Surge® reporting can target a significant number of accounts they would otherwise have missed with traditional content syndication. Those with multiple offerings can target appropriate content based on specific intent signals rather than a general message encompassing all products and topics. For instance, marketers can proactively leverage Company Surge® activity to understand if buyers are shopping competitive solutions and then they can develop content and run campaigns to combat losing the account.

While the marketer may be the same, buying groups and journeys are different. This allows a company to meet buyers where they are, with tailored content and topics. They’re actually engaging existing customers and prospects specific to a product and then nurturing them that way.

The road forward is paved with intent

As marketers use intent data, they can measure positive impact through to revenue. You can begin by focusing on lead scoring. Use Company Surge® topics to identify audiences. Leverage scores as a means of prioritization in marketing automation and leverage Company Surge® topics to tailor the buyer experience.

You’ll find intent data provides the opportunity to improve buyer interactions across a multitude of channels. It also allows for optimization, thanks to improved targeting capabilities and conversion. It brings precision to your marketing. And that should serve you well throughout 2021 and beyond.

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Building connections between siloed channels, technologies and teams /building-connections-between-siloed-channels-technologies-and-teams-343653 Wed, 11 Nov 2020 12:34:37 +0000 /?p=343653 Integrate CMO Deb Wolf shares her views on the challenges facing today's marketers and the ways they can be overcome.

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Building connections between siloed channels, technologies and teams

Oftentimes, when we visualize the perfect buyer’s journey, we’re looking at it from a marketer’s perspective, imagining what we’re trying to achieve with our initiatives. But, ultimately, the definition of the perfect journey is in the eye of the buyer. The buyer doesn’t really care about your programs, your channels or what technologies you’re using, they’re just trying to get enough information to make a purchase decision.

We recently spoke to Integrate CMO Deb Wolf about the perfect buyer’s journey and the obstacles marketing teams face when trying to deliver the ideal customer experience. In the lightly-edited conversation below, you’ll find Wolf’s specific tips for building connections between siloed channels, technologies and teams, as well as the reasons why this is so important today.   

Q. As a B2B buyer yourself as well as a seasoned marketer, could you share your thoughts on the perfect buyer’s journey? 

A. When we buy marketing technology or services as a customer, we want to understand the mission of the company we’re doing business with, we want to understand their products and their functionality. We want to understand which customers actually use their solutions and what value they gain from them.

There’s a natural progression of the information customers are looking for and it’s not linear. Just like any B2B purchase, we may have 16 to 20 potential people who are involved in the decision process and we all have different needs. My perspective as the approver of the buying decision is different than that of the user of the system. They’re going to look for more details on the functionality, whereas I’m going to look for more value. And what procurement needs, or our privacy people or security people need, are entirely different than what we need as the users. 

So tailoring the experience to whoever it is that’s looking for information about your company is what makes it perfect for that buyer. As marketers, we need to treat our buyers the same way we’d want to be treated.

Where are we failing to make connections?

Q. Can you describe some of the different silos that we see in marketing today that prevent us from delivering the ideal buyer journey?

A. Silos tend to exist across four different areas in marketing: channels, technology, data and your own team. They’re ultimately interwoven, but I think it really starts with the teams and the way in which we work. 

Marketing teams have many specialists and few generalists. Event marketers plan events. Demand generation professionals drive leads. PR folks have been focused on earned media. And few, if any, of those marketers are looking at that entire buyer or account journey. 

We don’t really have a role within the marketing organization whose job it is to build a horizontal buyer’s journey. That has to be done through a collaboration across teams in order to create the experience we’re trying to provide. There are few people who are really thinking about the impact that the entire experience leaves on our potential customers. 

If we think about our demand channels as swim lanes — with each different specialist area in its own lane — it seems like sometimes our teams are in a race against each other. Everyone wants to be the first to have a conversation with the customer, the first to get credit for driving the lead, etc.  

Nine times out of ten what you’ll hear from marketers is they have this desire to delight the customer with the right content in the right channel at the right time. And they can describe what they think of as the ultimate buyer’s journey. But they lose their way when it comes to executing it.

There’s so much technology involved. That’s one of the other challenges. Each of those channels is associated with a different part of the marketing technology stack. Many marketing organizations can have upwards of 50 to 60 different pieces of technology in their stack today. 

When you ask a marketer what’s core to their system, they’ll tell you it’s a marketing automation system. But they’ll also tell you that their comms team is using a different piece of technology to monitor coverage, their event organizers have technology they use for registering people at events and scanning badges on the floor. 

The biggest challenge is all of the data that this technology creates. Data comes from all of those different siloed technology channels, and campaigns and, at the end, a marketing operations person has the goal of trying to make sense of it all. 

When we think about all of these silos, you can sum them up as the way your team operates, the technology from which they’re operating, the channels across which they’re driving, and then, ultimately, the data that it creates.

How did we get here? 

Q.  So how do you think we got here? How did we get into this position where we have all these silos?

A. My theory is that we have a lot of high performing marketers that are just driven to succeed — it’s one of the natural traits that you see across the marketing persona in any of the different areas that we’ve talked about. 

So, typically what happens is you end up having a marketer who thinks: “My job is to do this. I have budget aligned to do this. And, ultimately, I live in a world where I’m heads-down on trying to accomplish that thing, so I can be successful.” 

Part of this disconnect between disciplines stems from marketing teams being decentralized — they could live in business units, they could be regionally based, and now we’re all living remotely. So the discussions that used to happen over a water cooler don’t even happen over a water cooler anymore. I think this starts with our teams, and how we align work and think about getting work done.

Q. That makes a lot of sense. So what are the consequences of this situation for the buyer?

A. When I think about these poor buyers, they’re really focused on one thing and one thing only, and that’s finding the right solution for the problem they’re trying to solve. 

In the past, a traditional B2B sales engagement had buyers working one-to-one with the salesperson and it was very personalized. Salespeople would answer questions and get buyers the kind of information they needed. But now, marketing has filled in a lot of that space. 

But so many times, we are not providing buyers with the kind of information they want, which means that, ultimately, they’re not going to believe in our brand. This is a brand experience from the moment they start looking at your organization. And if you can’t provide them with a great customer experience, I’m not sure that they think you’re going to be a very good vendor for them to deal with. 

A lot of B2B buyers today have become highly consumerized. They expect the B2B buying process to be like the B2C buying process, only it’s not. When you look at B2C and you think about how advanced we’ve gotten in understanding the buying needs of the consumer, then you try to mirror that in the account needs or the B2B buyer needs within a larger decision-making process, I think we’ve failed the buyer altogether. Ultimately, it leaves a bad taste in their mouth and a bad first impression of your brand.

First steps toward building necessary connections

Q. So, do you think marketers want to break down those silos that are causing these disconnects?

A. I do. When you ask marketers what they’re trying to achieve today — and we just did some research in the August timeframe — the one thing they’ll tell you is that they have more data than they know what to do with. They say: “Don’t give us more data; we have data coming out of every part of every piece of technology that we have. How can you help us piece that data together?” A better buying experience, that’s what we’re really trying to do. We’re trying to get as much information to those buyers as we can, so that we provide them with that optimal experience. 

Most marketers are pretty brand savvy, so they want the relationship that a potential customer has with their organization to be very positive. But what’s holding them back are these organizational structures that we talked about, the technology that we talked about, and this mindset that focuses on single channel execution. 

Rather than thinking “I’m driving this campaign or event or webinar” they need to think “I’m part of this customer journey. I need to help the customer achieve what they want to achieve.” And that requires a lot more work cross-functionally to bring technology together in a place where you can actually understand the performance of specific campaigns and activate an omni-channel buyer’s journey. It’s only then that you can provide those buyers with the next best thing to do. When you’re pulling so much data out of so many different types of technology, it’s hard to activate anything and move them along the funnel. 

A new definition of success

Q. So how can marketers begin to break through? What are the steps that they need to take?

A. First, this is about getting your data together and really understanding who you’re even marketing to. If you have incomplete or inaccurate data from any of these different campaigns, and we get a lot of that, that’s the first problem you need to solve. 

I think a lot of marketers are dealing with marketing databases that are somewhere in the range of 40% marketability — meaning that only 40% of the records have all of the information you’d want to know about a buyer in order to be able to market to them. If you don’t have all that, if you have incomplete and inaccurate data, that’s no way to make a first impression. 

Nobody wants to get an email or an invitation to an event that says “Dear D. Wolf.” What about my first name? It’s so impersonal. That kind of information is key as a first step in starting off a great customer journey. 

Q. What excites you about the opportunities for a great buyer’s journey?

A. One of the most important and interesting things about what’s going on in marketing teams today is the future of marketing work. What are the roles that we don’t have today that will be more focused on the entire buying journey? You’ve seen this with things like account based marketing. Five years ago, we didn’t have an account-based marketing manager — that title did not exist in a marketing team. 

And today, you’re starting to see roles that originate maybe in demand gen, but really touch an integrated function across all of the different channels that we’re using today. That’s one of the super exciting things I’m seeing. What is it going to mean for the future of our teams and the future of people that are just coming into marketing today? 

Perhaps it won’t have occurred to them to think about marketing more from a specialist standpoint and they’ll asking questions like: 

  • How do our top-of-funnel demand marketers expand their efforts into mid funnel? 
  • How do they use all their channels to digitally nurture? 
  • How do they quit thinking about email as the one way to get in front of their prospects and move them along the funnel? 
  • How do we use things like intent data and the buying signals that buyers are giving us? Today, we score these leads based on who the person was and what they did, but this is just two dimensional scoring based on what the marketer thinks. 
  • How can we start using the signals the buyer is giving us to actually point us toward how these campaigns should be run — to infuse more intelligence into what we’re doing from a marketing standpoint? 

Those are all super exciting because we’re going to have to conquer and figure out and understand and experiment with our marketing and see where we go. 

Q.  It seems like one of the challenges might be the psychology of that very driven specialty marketing person who really wants success and wants all the budget to come to their area. 

A. Today, we KPI our employees based on a lot of output, like “how many events did you complete? How much press did you get? How many demand campaigns did you run?” But what we’re really more interested in is the outcome. 

You can’t look at the outcome in one single channel; the outcome is a revenue-based outcome for the organization. And so you have to look at all of it together, and it shouldn’t be done retrospectively, as it is today. Today, you’ll have a marketing ops person who takes all these different channels and pulls them together to get some picture of what actually happened in this account that closed. 

Instead, we should be looking at marketing success metrics like how many accounts we got to and what the outcomes were across those accounts. How many new buyers did we bring in? How did we expand business? These are new outcomes that you can’t answer just by looking at channels or technology. You have to change the mindset of the marketer. 

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Building connections between siloed channels, technologies and teams
7 life lessons on leadership during COVID and beyond /7-life-lessons-on-leadership-during-covid-and-beyond-342734 Mon, 26 Oct 2020 11:30:23 +0000 /?p=342734 Jeremy Bloom, the founder and CEO of Integrate, shares key takeaways from conversations with extraordinary individuals.

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Whether we’re getting glimpses into co-workers’ and clients’ homes on video calls or home-schooling our kids between meetings, the COVID pandemic has brought home one important fact: We’re all humans who face similar challenges, whatever the image we present in the office environment. 

This insight, as well as the desire to bring together a far-flung team suddenly thrust into working from home, led Integrate founder and CEO Jeremy Bloom to initiate weekly virtual town-hall meetings featuring special guests with a wide range of experiences. Beginning in March, Integrate staffers heard from the likes of high-tech CEOs, highly-competitive athletes, a professional rock climber, a Minneapolis-based police officer, a neurosurgeon and even Bloom’s sister, whose life was captured in the movie, Molly’s Game

In this interview, we’ll hear from Bloom about the surprising insights gleaned from these town hall meetings, and how they can be applied to better cope with the “new normal,” both personally and in our roles as businesspeople. 

Q: What is it that you would like our readers, in particular, to know about you? 

A: My name is Jeremy Bloom and I’m the founder and CEO of Integrate. We are a B2B enterprise marketing SaaS company and we’ve been around for nearly 10 years. We’re helping B2B marketers advance their thinking and ability to generate new business, new prospects and new customers at scale, on a global level. 

We have almost 300 employees around the globe and an amazing roster of customers, world-class businesses, world-class marketers like Adobe, Microsoft, Salesforce,  Verizon and the like. We’re really excited about what we’re doing and we focus on delivering happiness to our marketers, which is really one of our biggest goals.

Q. I know you have quite a storied history as well, as an entrepreneur and leader in this space. So, outside of your immediate role as CEO, how has your perspective been shaped?

A: I think we’re all shaped by our experiences. That’s really how we grow, through our successes, but also the inevitable adversities of our past. I spent most of my teenage years, and my early and late 20s, as a professional athlete. I knew at the age of 10 that I wanted to ski in the Olympics and play in the NFL, so I was on a path to pursue these two athletic goals and dreams from a pretty young age. 

And I was able to accomplish both of those goals — I skied in the Olympics twice for the United States and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and spent some time with the Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

So through my teenage years and my 20s, my perspective was shaped by playing on a football field or skiing on a ski slope. I think that prepared me for entrepreneurship in several ways. First and foremost, one of the hardest parts of being a CEO and of being a founder is managing your own psychology.

When you’re a founder or CEO, especially in the early days of a startup, but really any day, you’ll go through a period of 24 hours where you’ll wake up in the morning, and you’ll just be certain that your company is going to be a huge success and you couldn’t be more excited about what you’re doing and where you are. 

And then right around lunchtime, you’ll get several emails and a phone call that will make you think that your company is not going to last through the month. These huge emotional swings can happen daily. And our ability to manage through the ups and downs, to keep a level head about ourselves, and separate the signal from the noise often defines our ability to be successful or not. 

I learned in football and skiing that some days you win, the next day you lose. Some days, you’re the best in the world and another day, you can’t make it to the top job. Some days you win by 40 points. Other days, you get beat by 60. So you’re always on this emotional roller coaster. You’re always experiencing really high highs and really low lows, and developing the mental muscle to be able to handle those emotional ups and downs is critical. It really applies for all of us, because life throws curveballs and ups and downs, especially if you’re a founder or CEO, because the spotlight can often be quite, quite big and bright.

Q: From a professional standpoint, how do you quiet those voices and make decisions, especially at a time like this where the challenges are so immense? How do you keep a level head and move through these things with a sound mind and be confident in your decisions when there’s so much noise around you?

A:  We have to be able to see the forest through the trees. We have to zoom up to a higher elevation and look out of the telescope of life rather than focusing on what’s under the microscope. 

Oftentimes when these experiences happen in our lives, we are analyzing every single inch of a problem and we don’t have a long-term perspective, because we lose that in the emotional state of chaos. So when chaos hits, I like to remind myself to ask questions, to gather all the information first. We very rarely, in that state of chaos, have all the information. So we need to keep our composure and ask questions and seek to understand the key factors that are contributing to us being in this situation. That’s the first step. 

Then once we’ve gathered all the data, then it’s time to plot the plan. We need to talk to other people about that plan, we need to seek information from others. And then we need to build the plan, and then we need to execute. 

There’s this gravitational pull in moments of chaos that compels you to go fix it — to go do the game plan before you have the game plan. This is a huge mistake because oftentimes, we’re running in the wrong direction to fix the problem, because we don’t even understand it.

Q: We’re in a time where business goals, strategies, and even on a personal level – everything has shifted so drastically this year. So from your perspective as a leader, how do you ensure that you’re still able to meet those goals and pivot so quickly? 

A: I think back to a guest speaker that we had at one of our town halls by the name of Carrie Garten. Carrie was a synchronized swimmer in the Sydney Olympics. She described jumping into the pool for the Olympic finals and, in the first 10 seconds, making a devastating mistake. She had to figure out a way to keep her composure, because she still had five minutes left in the routine. 

She was able to do that, and not make any more mistakes, but ultimately it hurt the team. She got pretty emotional talking about it, even 20 years later. But she said it taught her to be dynamic; it taught her to be able to think quickly on the fly and react to different situations. She talked about how she uses that in her life now as a senior executive. 

Another guest speaker we had was Brandon Marshall, an all-pro football player, one of the most physical receivers ever. He suffered from bipolar disorder and had to be open with his coaches and, later in his career, with the fans, about the fact that he really struggled with this. 

When you’re a professional athlete, showing any kind of weakness is really scary because you’re taught to show no vulnerability and you’re taught that the best athletes are the strongest. So, Brandon had to be brave to do that. I often think about those two people and their journeys and how they had to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Q: Could you share your perspective on broaching those types of conversations about mental illness and other things that aren’t discussed very openly? How do you embrace that level of empathy with your workforce, the people who look up to you and trust in you?

A: Empathy and compassion are critical to any successful team and so is trusting one another. I think trust is built on two things — authenticity and vulnerability. In the absence of both of those, human beings have a difficult time trusting one another. 

What Brandon did, or what Carrie did, putting themselves out there by speaking about a time that was very disappointing and sad for them, builds both authenticity and vulnerability. It creates this experience where people trust them more, and want to help, and want to be part of their lives and part of their journey. These are powerful ways that everybody can use to build great and powerful relationships with one another — to speak with authenticity and to never be afraid to be open about our fears and areas of vulnerability. 

Q: How do we humanize the workplace to foster better collaboration as well as trust and authenticity? 

A: The world has gone through such a difficult year. And it probably would have been a lot easier if we all went through it together and weren’t separated by our political beliefs or racial differences or gender differences, those types of things. 

The approach we’ve taken is to lean into things that would normally be off the table to talk about or uncomfortable. One of the things that we leaned into was the Black Lives Matter movement. We talked about the importance of racial equality, the importance of Black lives, specifically, things that I think we would have previously avoided — not because we didn’t think that the topic was important, but because it wasn’t the politically correct thing to do in an environment with lots of different people. We even brought a police sergeant onto the town hall, Justin Pletcher, who lives five minutes from where George Floyd was murdered.

His perspective on what it’s like to be a police officer in today’s world was incredibly enlightening. He brought forth so many profound ideas to advance policing in a way that makes it more equitable. We just need to have these uncomfortable conversations and make it okay to be around people that disagree with you. 

We’re all living in a kind of echo chamber where we only follow people on social media that share our own beliefs and any time somebody contradicts our beliefs, we just unfollow them or block them. That’s not the way the world should work. We should be open-minded to new ideas. This doesn’t mean that we have to believe them, but we should be okay with accepting the fact that people see things differently.

Q: As a marketer, I’m curious about your perspective on the key traits that are most important for marketing leaders right now. 

A: Being a marketing leader is all about getting to know people, getting to know your audience, getting to know your customers, being part of the conversation. We’re starting to see it more and more on social media, where brands are having real conversations with people. They’re playing a role in the content. I don’t know if you’ve seen the Ocean Spray story, where a TikTok video inspired a response by the drummer from Fleetwood Mac, then Ocean Spray surprised the lip-synching skateboarder by giving him a truck full of Ocean Spray. 

This is not just humanizing marketing, but humanizing everything. You look at a company — for example, at integrate, we have 300 people —  and oftentimes you look at the job title and reduce that person to playing that role. But at the end of the day, we all have one job — to be human. I think humanizing leadership, humanizing the conversation, humanizing all aspects of business, is a trend that will continue to accelerate. We should all spend more time thinking about how we can bring more human-first leadership to our organizations. 

Q: Could you talk about brand values and a company vision and what role they play in a company’s success. How important are they?

A: I think it’s important today, and it will be more important tomorrow. And more important the next day and the next day after that. When you look at the Millennial generation, when you look at Gen Zs as a generation, they orient towards life experiences over money. They focus on culture over opportunity. They focus on philanthropy. Gen Zs are showing signs of being one of the most philanthropic generations that we’ve seen in many, many decades. 

So if you’re a business and you want to attract the best people, then you have to be a company with a mission that’s bigger than profits, that’s bigger than just revenue. We were inspired by Davis Smith from Cotapaxi — an outdoor adventure brand. He’s built a very successful company as a B Corp. That means that you give a percentage of your profits to a cause that’s important to you. He inspired us so much that we’re now doing the discovery and due diligence for Integrate to become a B Corp. You have to have a bigger social mission than just, hey, we’ve got to grow revenue, we’ve got to grow margin. Those things are important, absolutely, but they’re not the only thing that’s important. Having a bigger purpose is paramount.

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