B2b Marketers rekindle the flame of your CFO this Valentine’s Day #ShowMeTheROMI


It stands for return on marketing investment. Quite simply if you want to rekindle the flame with the finance people this Valentine’s you ought to be discussing financial metrics with them; their language. Your number of retweets may be great for spreading a message, creating brand awareness, getting traffic to your e-commerce site even, but Retweets is not a figure the  Chief Financial Officer (CFO) can add to the profit and loss sheet. Retweets, shares, click-through rates, open rates, impressions,  bounce rates are not metrics that will save the board of directors’ jobs at a share holder’s meetings.

Investment vs expense:

Rather than complaining about marketing budgets being cut again, or that CMOs are still the first to go in a “restructure”, how about working to reposition marketing from being a cost to an investment? That’s what marketing should be today, with all of the metrics available to us with the power of digital, marketers should be able to identify what’s driving sales, leads, high response rates, traffic and conversions.


B2b sales/marketing cycle:

As B2b marketers we need to take buyers though the sales cycle, we need to target them with relevant content for each stage of the buying cycle. We do this with database marketing and looking at responses to previous campaigns.

Yes, it can take one or two quarters for sales to be closed, if not longer, however, that’s what we should be aiming to do with marketing eventually and we should be tracking this carefully. If deals are not closing, then perhaps we need to look at targeting our loyal segment  more often for further revenue, with highly targeted bespoke content. We need to take two different approaches when targeting loyal customers vs prospects with marketing campaigns.

Eventually we should be looking at B2b leads generated and opportunities closed, there are sophisticated tools, like Sales Force.com SFDC which can help to track this. Sales, leads, closed deals, revenue generated and profits are metrics that can help marketers to rekindle a flame with the finance people, we need to talk in terms of finance, revenue, to demonstrate return on marketing investment (ROMI) and to continue to receive investment in terms of budget.

The metrics which are represented in the higher end of the funnel above are informative to us as marketers and help us to generate the latter results, providing we are capturing contact data throughout the cycle with marketing communications we should be able to get the final end results of sales, leads and closed deals. I’m not saying that finance have no interest at all in these results, they can help to tell a story, however, their key performance indicators KPIs are based on financial metrics and they’re responsible for budget allocation.


You should place your metrics on the diagram above to determine their relevancy or value, you should also be capturing contact data for follow up at each stage or using your database to take contacts on the sales cycle journey. Learn to love metrics as a B2b marketer, but make sure they’re relevant, don’t swim in  a sea of metrics.

Marketing ans sales alignment 

In order to get some of these financial metrics we will rely on sales, there’s still a gulf between sales and marketing teams in many firms and marketing and sales teams need to work closer together to report ROMI.

It’s not easy

It’s not easy to demonstrate ROMI, it involves using campaign tools, regular reporting, campaign management tools.

There are several ways to align with sales:

  • keep sales well informed in advance before launching campaigns
  • Meet with sales after a campaign/event for a de-brief, feedback
  • Use incentives to encourage sales to report and follow-up on leads if all else fails
  • Regularly meet with sales teams and senior members
  • Communicate to sales and the organisation with regular e-newsletters


It’s not always easy to report ROMI, it takes time, however, every marketer should aspire to report it, with digital marketing this has been made significantly easier. It also involves working closely with other teams such as marketing I.T., sales, data marketers in large organisations, however, off-the shelf campaign management tools can help smaller companies to do this well too. Using good call to actions can help to generate ROMI.

To learn more about reporting on ROMI for B2b digital campaigns in a global context you can read:

Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing an New York FT Press Publication.

Hard copy: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Internet-Marketing/dp/0137064411

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B0045U9W96/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/279-9376293-6540405

Categories: B2b, Budgeting, Global Marketing, Lead Generation, ROMI | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Are your call to actions delivering #ROMI? #LeadGen

What is a call to action (CTA)?

The “call to action” is one of the most important concepts in marketing and promotion.

Simply put, after you’ve established that you have something of value to offer and that you’re the perfect company to deliver it, you want to ask your prospect or customer to take the next step.  You deliver a call to action (CTA). A CTA  is the message which tries to convince a person to perform a desired action immediately —often the next step that a consumer/business should take toward the purchase of your product or service.

On digital communications CTAs are often in the form of attractive buttons. CTAs also offer methods for consumers or businesses  to communicate with a company/ brand or to respond to an advert, they’re interactive.

Why use a CTA?

Omitting a CTA from marketing communications typically leaves the target audience unclear on the appropriate next step, which results in dismal response rates and less than optimum return on marketing investment (ROMI). If you do not use CTAs you cannot take the contacts, interacting with your brand or advert, onto the sales cycle journey. You will lose the opportunity to collect data, build your marketing database and follow up with contacts or convert prospects into sales.

Fluffy CTAs

CTAs are a basic concept, however, I still see companies using them ineffectively.

It is far more easier to get people to click on CTAs on digital marketing content, and there are ways to improve click through rates i.e. by keeping them simple, placing them above the fold, making buttons attractive and using strong incentives or offers like free whitepapers  gadgets or the opportunity to attend an event online or offline.

I still find it all too common that billboards,TV advertisements and radio ads omit or use ineffective call to actions. Above the line is certainly not low cost and so I often wonder why and how a company either  is not using a call to action, or isn’t making  the call to action painfully clear on the creative, or hasn’t used a unique call to action to track traffic for that one particular piece of creative. For example, sometimes a company’s main website is the CTA, sending traffic to the main company website domain with offline ads makes it impossible to tell where the traffic has come from, it also opens up a host of other issues too, visitors may get lost on the main website and advertisers may lose conversions, data and leads.

I’ve lately seen billboards promoting company Facebook pages,  as CTAs, and Twitter hashtags, again I have issues here. You may be able to track how many new users have come to your company Facebook page since running an advert, they may find your offer/ advert on your Facebook page, however, they may get lost, the likelihood of that is high.

Twitter hash tags are great for conversations, and I guess advertisers can find out how many  people are engaging in conversations about their brands, but my query is how do you capture data for these contacts, move them along the sales buying cycle? I do love hashtags, but I’m not sure if they’re place is right in the context of advertising and as CTAs, especially if the purpose of the campaign is to drive sales. They may be great as secondary CTAs but I don’t think they work effectively for lead generation.

Effective call to actions:

Using inbound phone numbers, email addresses,  unique vanity/friendly URLS (driving respondents to landing pages) for the purpose of tracking, are very effective  for the purpose of capturing responses, leads and converting contacts into sales. It’s often effective to drive traffic to customised landing pages, contacts cannot get lost on simplified landing pages which clarify the further action users should take upon arrival, they should be optimised to ensure high conversions. Further call to actions should be above the line and offers advertised on media or ads directing users to the landing pages should be easy to find.

If an offline adverts is within a prospect or customer’s reach you could test a QR code as a CTA, they’re encoded with information which can be used to automatically trigger a range of actions on the user’s device when scanned, including:

  • Enabling a contact to view a mobile website or landing page
  • Dial a phone number 
  • Send a Text Message
  • Send an Email
  • View a message or special offer
  • Download contact details (VCARD)

Compelling offers:

In order to get people to follow your CTAs you need to use incentives, e.g. offer discounts, competitions, an event or a free whitepaper.


Responses to CTAs from various pieces of creative should be traced individually and measured for effectiveness. This can be done by:

  • Using and tracking  click to  individual vanity/ friendly urls per offline piece, which should redirect to a main landing page
  • Adding tracking code to your landing pages/ emails to determine which online advert/ email has driven the most traffic
  • Using promotional codes on creative so that when a contact follows up they can use the code either by entering it into an online tool or when speaking to a call centre agent – enabling advertisers to track where the response has come from


Effetcive call to actions and follow up should enable you to capture marketing contact data and enable you to identify the creative that a contact has responded to, you should be able to update your markeitng database with this data, which should be used for nurturing, follow up programs or lead generation


Alternatively, you may not need to nurture a contact, they may buy directly from your landing page or call centre agent, however, data should be captured and stored in any case for follow up, cross sale, upsale opportunities and future marketing.


Effective call to actions measure what’s working (or not working) and which marketing creative is generating the highest return on marketing investment (ROMI). Call to actions should not be an after thought, they should be key to the creative and the user journey. They should always encourage users to provide their data. Repeating the point made earlier, omitting a call to action from marketing communications, or making the call the action unclear, unconvincing, or using ineffective CTAs, typically leaves the target audience unclear on the appropriate next step, which results in dismal results and less than optimum return on marketing investment (ROMI).

To find out more about call to actions, ROMI and  B2b Digital marketing in a global context, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing an New York FT Press Publication.

Hard copy: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Internet-Marketing/dp/0137064411

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B0045U9W96/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/279-9376293-6540405




Categories: Advertising, Lead Generation | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

#B2b #GlobalMarketing localised #BannerAds and #LandingPages

black keyboard

The popularity of web banners may be declining in the US and developed markets, however, in other “emerging” global markets they still work well to drive traffic to landing pages and to generate business leads.

The integrated campaign:

Web banners should always be part of your global marketing integrated campaign, i.e launched with integrated email shots, event collateral, print ads and social media content- the look and feel of all of these pieces should be consistent. They work well in new markets by reaching and engaging new audiences. They can be used to encourage users to click through to predefined websites or preferably optimised campaign landing pages.

Banner ads can also be used on your internal site to highlight key promotions. They can be used throughout the buying cycle. They should increase brand consideration by encouraging visitors to click through to campaign landing pages for further information and the opportunity for follow up.

You should always use an offer to entice a click through. The visitor should be able to find the offer easily on your landing page, think what’s in it for them- you offer them something and they give you their data for follow up.

Media placement

Before engaging an agency to buy media placements on the web, work with partners or your local sales teams to clearly define your campaign’s objectives  the user interest and overall proposition.

Engage a local marketing or PR agency to find out which sites are the best to use for advertising to reach your local target audience. Local media agencies will also be able to advise you on costs and where your competitors are advertising, plus the traffic for various sites.

Capture contact data for follow up

Data for some emerging/global markets is still rare to acquire and so ensure you capture visitors’ data. Data-capture forms should be embedded on your campaign landing pages. Keep the data entry fields on the form limited so that you don’t lose the user, it may be the first time for them to interact with your brand. The questions on the form should be in local language and you can capture data in local characters, however, your database should be set up to capture local characters in advance. Test before launching to ensure it works well and to ensure a good user experience.

The journey

Determine hat the user journey should be, make it simple, define what the follow up should look like and how much traffic you expect to click through. Make sure you have resources in place to follow up the data before placing the banner ad, the follow – up piece of marketing content should exist and users should receive it after submitting their data. Ensure trust on the thank you page with messaging and branding – again use the local business language.

Bounce rate

Even if you achieve a high click-through rate and a high amount of traffic to your site for the duration of the campaign, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve achieved your objectives. A high number of visitors can sometimes be perceived as a good thing and some agencies will have you believe you’ve “raised awareness”, but you need to understand the contact’s interest once he or she arrives on your landing page. If you have a high bounce rate (people exit your page immediately after arriving) coupled with high traffic, that’s negative. You want them to stay on your page and follow your call to action. Take users on a journey. Plot what that looks like on paper. Take them to a data-capture form; offer a download, whitepaper, competition, freebie to entice them. Emerging markets have large young populations and so cool gadgets can entice high click through rates, however, they can also drive poor quality responses and so it may work better, for B2b products, to use something like a whitepaper, how-to guide, for example, best practice again is to localise, copy should be in local language, the message should be easy for the target audience to understand and the proposition should be right for the market.

Add contact details on your page like a local phone number to increase trust or live chat software if you have the resources so that you can engage in conversation with visitors in real-time.

Landing pages should be optimised

The landing page should be relevant and targeted to the user in the local market. Ensure call to actions are clear, do not link to your main company website or use a scroll, you want people to stay on that page and to take action, ensure call to actions are above the fold and repeat them on the page.

Ensure call to actions buttons are attractive.

Experiment with using videos on your landing page. Test different landing pages in parallel using an A/B split, one of your banner ads should send traffic to the “original version” of the landing page and another banner ad should send users to an an alternate version. You can tweak the call to action on the alternative version, or the messaging and see how conversions compare to the original version. You should test one variation on the alternative page. Measure results and use the page with the highest conversions for the full duration of your campaign.

Local sites, local content

In some countries, website owners might not accept banners that are not localised or the banner might look strange if it is not in the local language. In any scenario, images should reflect the local culture. Make sure the creative and message is accepted by the local culture, localise your landing page and use colours or images that are culturally accepted. This will increase click through rates and conversions.

Social proof in new markets

Social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, GooglePlus ,Pinterest and LinkedIn are popular worldwide, you can check usage per country for some of these tools by referring to socialbakers.com. Add those social media share buttons to your landing pages so that visitors in new markets can share your content with their peers increasing exposure for your campaign and the likelihood of conversions.

The benefits of effective web banner strategy in new markets includes the following:

  • Can reach global markets
  • Gathering prospect data
  • Piggybacking established, tested popular sites in local markets with established targeted traffic
  • Allowing your business to be compelling to local markets
  • Building brand awareness
  • Improving future campaigns based on data collection
  • Can be creative

Targeting, message and last but not least…

As with any media, make sure that the timing is right. You don’t want to buy banner space during a local holiday, for instance, when traffic may tend to dip, or during a low sales period.

To find out more about B2b Digital marketing in global markets, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing an New York FT Press Publication.

Hard copy: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Internet-Marketing/dp/0137064411

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B0045U9W96/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/279-9376293-6540405

Categories: Advertising, B2b, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Tweet like a pro: How to use #Twitter for effective networking and #BusinessMarketing

How to use Twitter for Marketing

Twitter for Marketing and Networking

Twitter can be a confusing tool for new users; I’ve heard people say, “It’s annoying I can only Tweet 140 characters.” The more you use it the more your experience can potentially improve and great business benefits can be realized.

Start with your Bio:

You’re allowed up to 160 characters for your Twitter Bio, you should use an elevator pitch for your official business account, or if your using multiple Twitter accounts for your company, e.g. one for customer services another for corporate updates, you should state this on your bio.

Profiles should be more personalised for employees’ accounts and a “personality” should be painted/represented. For a business account, you can use a picture of your company logo in the profile picture, remember this image shows up for every tweet you send out and creates brand awareness or recognition on your followers’ timelines.

Company founders or employees may use accounts to tweet about business; again there should be company guidelines here to prevent damage. Employees may want to have a little more fun with their bios, introducing their job roles, but also a bit about themselves, “ humanising” their profiles!  It’s also engaging for them to use a picture of themselves, a headshot, looking directly at the camera and smiling. Keep it authentic, human, real.

The header image can also be used for additional branding or to tell a story about the personality behind the profile.

Location, location

Make sure to fill in the location field in your profile and update it as necessary. You can filter tweets by location from search.twitter.com, and there are Twitter search applications that focus specifically on local updates, such as Twuzzer and Nearby Tweets. This will help people in your location to find you.

Tell a story, what’s your calling?

Unless you’re a large company with a well-known brand and reputation and it’s already clear what you stand for, the best way to get relevant followers is to tweet information relevant to your product, industry and market, using hash tags for keywords relevant to your target market. When people search hashtags, they’re likely to find your tweet and follow your company or account.

As an employee or person tweeting, again you should stand for something, tweet messages that represent what you’re about, what you stand for again you can use hashtags, my main purpose on Twitter is to liaise with entrepreneurs, small business owners, authors, digital markets and B2b marketing professionals. My aims are to generate business partnerships, leads and to learn. My tweets are based around a theme. You can also be humorous, or use competitions to engage follower and potential followers.

As an author I also use Twitter to learn from authors, the marketing industry, to speak to journalists and to promote my book.

To increase followers and to take advantage of the wide reach of Twitter, your Tweets should not be protected, see more about that here.  Sorry to state the obvious, but what you put out on the “Twittersphere” should not be confidential to your business or potentially damaging in the long term. You may want to develop company social media guidelines if you have several people Tweeting for your brand.

Tweet frequently

Search.twitter.com and other social media search engines, such as Social Mention, sort tweets by time, with the newest information up top. If you want people to find you by conversation topic, you’ll need to use relevant keywords in your tweets, and use them often. I’ve noticed people who tweet the most, with relevant terms tend to get large amount of followers.

Be creative:

Share pictures, share videos, try Vine.  You should also add call to actions to these mediums so that you can capture data for marketing follow up e.g. an email address.

Your own hashtag:

 You can create your own hashtag. I’ve seen this done well for company events. The organiser creates a hashtag and anyone attending that event can participate in the conversation, before, during or after. During the event, it’s quite engaging to display tweets relating to a hashtag on a screen, tools like visibletweets present tweets related to a hashtag in a creative way. Before the event you need to promote the hash tag on your entire event collateral.


My personal aim is not to get millions of followers; it’s to get relevant, quality followers who will benefit from following me and vice versa.  Building your network is the most challenging and time‐consuming part of using Twitter.

Expanding your network doesn’t happen immediately; you need to commit and take the time to use Twitter effectively.  I’ve heard of people buying followers, my question, why? Other than having a large number of followers to boast about, does it really benefit the user?  Besides, this breaks Twitter’s rules.

By tweeting messages relevant to my above audience, I’m able to attract followers who help me to achieve my goals and vice versa, we’re likely to have common goals, and so the true benefit of social media; collaboration, is realised.

I also follow people who fall within my above target audience. There are dozens of directories of Twitter users online, including Twiends, WeFollow, and Twellow. Add yourself to as many directories as you can find under the proper categories, and you will begin to see some users following you from these sites.

Follow strategy:

If you’re a company, follow those who follow you, follow your customers, prospects, thought leaders, the competition, partners, industry bodies and media contacts.

As a person, follow business thought leaders, competition, industry peers, news outlets and accounts that will help you with your line of business and objectives.

Twitter will also recommend followers based on your follower list and who they follow, there’s a smart algorithm at work.

You can also import your email lists, this may include your partners, customers and prospects.

Twitter handle everywhere:

Be sure to promote your company Twitter follow widget on your website, blog, add your handle to your business card, PowerPoint slides, adverts,  pens, notepads- you get the idea. That way you get followers who are genuinely interested in interacting with your company.


You can cleverly segment your followers or the accounts your following by using the “list” function on Twitter this help you to organise tweets by categories, e.g. media, authors, companies, customers. By segmenting audiences, you’re able to narrow down the content you want to follow most closely, in a simplified view. Lists can be used in a number of different ways. Create one for your co-workers, event attendees or your customers etc.

Meaningful conversations/interactions:

Twitter is like a networking event you would not walk into a networking event and start screaming out sales promotions. What you would do is engage with people and update them with useful/valuable information or Tweets. As well as promoting my products, events or promotions, I like to share valuable free information with my followers. One of the  biggest mistakes of social is to make it all about you. The focus should be on being useful, inspiring or entertaining with occasional tweets that promote your own material or talk about personal things.  Saying that, Dell and other companies do have accounts purely for promotions, however, they make that known and people follow specifically to benefit from sales promotions.

Using replies or mentions are great ways to interact with followers, be it customers, potential partners or suppliers.  To truly engage with Twitter you should be doing quite a bit of this as opposed to solely tweeting, again, this is how you can really leverage the power of this networking tool to achieve your aims. Perhaps suggest a follow Friday #FF, recommend someone you follow to your followers.

Twitter enables the opportunity to speak to anyone, anywhere in the world, providing they have a Twitter account – it’s a powerful networking tool! You can also send direct messages, although sometimes people do not respond, as it’s common for users to set up automated “thanks for following” messages and so this function is sometimes perceived as spammy, what a shame. Nevertheless try your luck!

Retweet/ favourite 

When you see a tweet relevant to your business e.g. breaking news or relevant to you as a person, you can favorite it or retweet it, this is also a way to engage with others, to let them know you exist and that they can follow you! They will look at your recent tweets (another good reason to keep tweets public and relevant) your bio and make the decision whether or not to follow.

You can also request people to retweet your tweets, by simply adding, “please retweet” to your tweet this may work well, for example, if your promoting a large industry event or breaking news.

Listening, learning, searching:

You should see Twitter as an opportunity to learn. You can learn about what people are saying about your company, the industry or topics related to you as a professional. You can do this quite simply by using the Twitter search function to find information or following tweets on your timeline.

Traffic, Leads, business, follow up, engagement:

 You can link to the below from your Twitter profile:

  • Your blog
  • Company website
  • LinkedIn Profile
  • Product landing page
  • Twitter landing page

This is your opportunity to do more with Twitter, to go beyond the 140-character “limitation”, to capture contact information and to develop relationships for sales or for business development/networking purposes. Don’t waste this opportunity.

You can also post links in your Tweets, which is common, taking the follower to more information, whether that’s a product update, news, a blog or anything from the above list. Twitter will automatically shorten a URL, but there are tools like bitly.com, that offer URL shortening, redirection services with real-time link tracking.

Twitter management:

Twitter’s user interface isn’t the easiest to use to manage your social interactions.  There are many popular web aps to help you to manage your twitter account, Hootsuite helps to create various streams from Twitter all in one place i.e. mentions, tweets, tweets from lists, and scheduled tweets. Yes, you can schedule tweets. If your managing multiple social media accounts, Hootsuite can be great for social media management.

So off you go, tweet like a pro! What would you add?

Categories: Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Your simple Localisation checklist for #GlobalMarketing

So your company has decided to market globally?

In the Middle East some countries’ weekends start on Friday and end on Saturday; Sunday is the first day of the working week. In Saudi Arabia, the weekend is Thursday and Friday. In some North African countries, weekends are Saturday and Sunday, and in the remainder of East, West, and South Africa, the weekend is on Saturday and Sunday.

In the Central Eastern Europe and Latin America , Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) regions, India, and China, weekends are the same as in Europe and America. This is an important consideration when executing campaigns because you might get a low response rate if you email someone on a weekend or organize an event on a week- end!

If respondents use mobile email devices, you do not want to send them an email in the middle of the night, because they may use their mobile devices as alarm clocks. If you wake them with the sound of a message, you might have an adverse impact on your brand. Working with different time zones and weekends can affect your workweek, so you might want to work with local agencies and partners, although campaign management tools enable you to “schedule” campaigns to go out automatically. Therefore, you can set up a campaign to go out on your weekend or while you are asleep.

Campaign Considerations

As you can see, there are a number of considerations when managing localized campaigns in global markets. There are general considerations you should make each time you launch a campaign, although of course you will learn each time.

Here’s a checklist for global marketing. You might keep this list in mind as your check list before considering, planning, or executing local campaigns and communications in global markets:

Drop date:

You must consider your drop date (e.g., the time and date an email arrives in a contact’s inbox or direct mail lands on their desks). Dates for Christmas or other festive seasons, local new years, or bank and national holidays need to be known because they differ in different regions and the target may or may not be at work on those days. For example, the Chinese New Year, a major holiday, differs from the western calendar New Year, as does the lunar Islamic calendar year, although the latter isn’t typically recognized with a long holiday.

Strap lines or taglines

Strap lines or taglines for your business or brand are difficult to translate and can lose or change meaning in local cultures if literally translated.


Images need to have a local look and feel. So that you don’t offend local cultures, avoid images of people if you lack local insight. This includes all images used online and offline.


Colour has different meaning in different cultures. Red, orange, and gold are positive in Saudi Arabia. Red is also a popular colour in China. In India, yellow and green are considered lucky. Make sure colours present well on desktop and mobile browsers/screens.


Symbols, images, and icons can be reused in multiple campaigns. Start to build a “marketing library” in-house bank of images. This is cost-, resource-, and time-effective and helps to build consistency throughout messaging as recipients will begin to recognize consistently used images, but be careful not to overuse an image. You still want to use innovative imagery.

Exchange rate

Currency exchange rates can be expensive, and leads don’t want to research conversion rates. Therefore, don’t sell in dollars, pounds, or euros on a local website.


Incentives or offers are welcome but must be tested for responsiveness. For example, a free USB key in developed economies might not generate a high response rate in emerging or other global markets. Offers don’t need to be merchandise. They can be events, physical or virtual. Make sure the response isn’t just for “free stuff.” Your overall message is key.

The overall proposition

A proposition is the overall products/service/solution that a company markets to the contacts to meet a problem they have. You should tailor your proposition for the market need and take into account the unique needs of the companies in the industry.  Understanding local market needs should help you to create strong and relevant propositions. This is key to your overall campaign.

To find out more about B2b marketing in global markets, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing a New York FT Press Publication.

Hard copy: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Internet-Marketing/dp/0137064411

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B0045U9W96/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/279-9376293-6540405

Categories: Global Marketing, Localisation | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

5 Ways to grow your B2b #EmailList for #GlobalMarketing purposes

Email marketing

Email marketing alone is a powerful medium, combined with other communication channels, as part of an integrated campaign; it’s even more effective.

With all of the benefits of email, such as measurability, low costs, low risks, interactivity and being environmentally friendly, it’s also accepted and well received in various global markets as a marketing channel. If highly targeted, relevant and localised, it can generate high response rates and return on investment.

So even though your marketing budgets are being scrutinized and cut you can still grow your business. First, you’ll need to grow and store a high quality list of companies and contacts with email addresses for your new markets. This is pivotal to your email marketing strategy; there are two ways you can do this, organically or through acquisition.

Growing your email list organically

Localised sites

Email addresses and data can be organically acquired and captured via online channels such as localised websites, landing pages, banner advertisements on localised third party sites and popular local social media sites. Your sites or landing pages should request email addresses and opt-in permission on forms.

You can run campaigns on all of the above sites offering incentives for people to follow your call to actions, which should lead visitors to completing data captures forms. As a starting point forms should be brief, so as not to lose the contact, capturing the most basic information like: company name, contact name, email address, email marketing opt in permission and mobile number. Incentives such as localised free whitepapers or cool gadgets, like iPads, can be used to persuade contacts to provide their data for follow-up. Emerging markets have huge young populations and so cool gadgets, as incentives, work well; however, you want to ensure you’re capturing relevant, quality data too for further B2B marketing, not just contacts who want to win a prize.

You can test different offers by measuring the number and quality of responses captured in comparison to others used for different campaigns. Quality can be measured by tracking the number of leads generated from responses with call centre follow up, by reviewing the companies captured, and measuring responses to follow up campaigns.

As the data captured is self reported you’ll want to ensure the validity of data, you can do this by asking contacts to enter their emails twice, using automated format checks, or by sending confirmation links to the emails entered, checking to see if emails are valid.

Local tradeshows, sponsorships and conferences

Although online marketing works well in many global markets, traditional marketing is still very popular and together they complement each other and helping to create ROMI.

Whether you’re hosting, exhibiting or sponsoring a local event, they offer excellent opportunities, which shouldn’t be missed, for you to grow your database in global markets. With physical, live events, you’re already interacting with an audience who are interested in what you have to say; perhaps they’ve liaised with your sales team. Data captured at events therefore, is of high quality relative to other forms of data capture.

You can also accept business cards. Pre-event data can be captured by using localised registration sites when marketing your events. Alternatively, if you’re sponsoring the event, the organiser may be able to provide you with the data.

Virtual events also work well, you can capture data via registration pages for webcasts, which are great for offering contacts in global markets a chance to attend your events virtually; they’re also lower risk for you in comparison to physical events.

Above the line and print media

Advertising in localised magazines, brochures or on billboards are also a tool, you should ensure that call to actions drive contacts to online localised landing pages with data capture forms requesting email and opt in permissions, or to call centres, short phone codes can work well depending on the market, again use incentives to drive this behaviour.

Sales teams

Sales teams working with local markets will capture data for accounts perhaps via popular account management tools like Sales Force.com (SFDC), provided their contacts have given their email opt in permissions; they can be targeted with marketing messages.

Acquiring lists

Data brokers

Just 10 years ago it was difficult if not impossible to buy business marketing lists for emerging markets with email addresses; email lists are more common today for emerging markets and can be purchased through international data brokers or brokers based in local markets.


Quality sometimes needs to be validated for purchased lists. If you’ve purchased a list which has delivered a high bounce rate, you should probably not purchase from the same data broker in the future or request a refund. You may be able to request sample data and test it before purchasing an entire list for emerging markets.

Cleaning lists

Acquired lists for global markets can be “cleaned” by call centres in local markets, or by using call centres who hire agents, that can speak local languages, to improve and ensure accuracy.

Call centre agents can call contacts:

  • Checking for inaccurate, undeliverable email addresses and duplicate records
  • Checking for typos or spelling errors
  • Checking for obsolete records or data
  • Removing/flagging competitor contacts

All of the above depends on the brief to the call centre; the primary objective with this exercise is to increase reliability, relevancy and quality of the database. This will save you costs of wasted marketing efforts and time by reducing inaccurate data.
Emailing a contact in a new market on a newly acquired list, perhaps as an unrecognised company, may seem out of the blue for them, even if they’ve subscribed for “third-party email,” so you need to bear this in mind with your initial messages. If you’ve grown your database organically, contacts are likely to be more receptive to your messaging and familiar with your company.

You might get a quicker return on investment if you purchase a permission-based contact list for a new market instead of creating an integrated campaign to acquire home-grown or organic data which is typically built over a longer time-frame. If you have the budget you can do both.

Storing data for global markets

You’ll need to develop and maintain a database for new markets. In some markets you’ll collect data for contacts and companies in local languages, with local language characters i.e. non-Latin; your data warehouse should be capable of storing local language characters if that’s the case.

This consideration needs to be made at the planning stage of your business strategy; you’ll also need to involve IT to support this request or work with an outsourced international data management vendor to do this for you.

To find out more about B2b marketing in global markets, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing an New York FT Press Publication.

Hard copy: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Internet-Marketing/dp/0137064411

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B0045U9W96/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/279-9376293-6540405

Categories: B2b, Email Marketing, Global Marketing, Localisation | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

So you think your company’s ready for #b2b #GlobalMarketing?

Going global with your B2b marketing and sales can be a great way to grow your company’s bottom line, however, there are many considerations before doing so.

An open mind:

Each new market is unique, with business practices that differ from companies in your own market. For example, time zones will impact working hours.

Is your company open to new ideas? How bureaucratic is your company? To implement marketing in a new market may require change management, organisational restructures, recruitment, and training. Senior managers should have international experience and knowledge (perhaps having worked or lived in an international market or worked directly with one). This is a core skill for future leadership in today’s global economy.

Cultural sensitivity:

Cultural sensitivity and awareness is also critical to successful global business prosperity; lack of sensitivity and understanding can be hugely damaging to relationships and therefore the bottom line.

Think Globally, Act Glocally

Being a global firm involves adapting to local country trends— glocalizing. Localization is the process of adapting or creating a marketing campaign for a specific country or region. A successfully localized campaign will appear to have been developed within the local culture or with the local market in mind. Remember, localization is not translation! The aim is not to deliver a literal interpretation of your message in the community, but to communicate it within the cultural awareness of the country and culture.

When launching any marketing campaigns in a new country, you have to spend time on localization so your campaign will be understood by local customers and won’t offend local culture. You must not only focus on what you want to communicate but also how it will be received in the marketplace. You will be required to invest part of your budget and time in localization because misunderstanding of local cultures can cause reputation damage and poor return on marketing investment (ROMI). Your local sales force, partners, or local marketing agencies should review any written copy or artwork to ensure that it will be understood and that it won’t offend the target audience. If your business does not have local partners, you might want to invest time in researching reputable marketing agencies with a target region that will have considerable understanding and knowledge of the local market. You might involve them when conceptualizing the proposition, incentive, and campaign. While translation technology now exists, it provides only literal conversion and does not take into consideration audience or culture sensibilities.

Business-to-business (B2B) case studies show that it’s not necessary to change your business brand name (e.g., Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, HSBC, Boeing) to succeed in new markets. However, you might localize sub-brands, service names, products, and definitely marketing campaigns and communications. Various consumer marketers have  localised exceptionally well over the years, and we advise you to learn from them and follow and adopt best practices. In some cases, global brands carry more prestige with new markets because some local markets consider imports to be better than locally produced products/services, and they benefit from the “country of origin” effect. Failure to research local cultures can prove costly and may force a company to withdraw from a region.


Before entering any new market, you need to consider whether you go it alone or work with or though partners or channels; the latter may be a way to lower investment and risk.


Public relations is an important tool  when entering global markets. It can help  to introduce your firm and build a reputation. It’s important to understand how the media works and to build relationships with the media or with media buyers. If your company can also afford media sponsorship (i.e., to sponsor a program), this can also be an effective way to establish your brand.


Consider co-branding. This can be done with online or offline campaigns. A local partner may already be recognized and established, and joint marketing can be an effective way to quickly raise awareness of your brand and build trust at a low-cost. If the partner’s brand is new or unrecognized, but is designed with local cultural understanding and insight, it may also benefit your brand, making it stronger and more trusted by local businesses. It’s important to ensure the co-branding will strengthen your brand values and what your company stands for. Be careful which partners you choose and associate your brand with to ensure that they adhere to your brand guidelines. It’s an extremely good idea to approve any collateral that they may create and provide them with brand guidelines. Ensure they have a trusted brand, or are a trusted company, so that you don’t damage your own company’s reputation.

Going global can be extremely rewarding, however, considering the above points before doing so could improve your success rate and lower your risk/costs. To find out more about B2b marketing in global markets, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing an New York FT Press Publication.

Hard copy: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Internet-Marketing/dp/0137064411

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B0045U9W96/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/279-9376293-6540405

Categories: B2b, Global Marketing, Localisation | Leave a comment

How #SocialMedia marketing supports B2b events in #GlobalMarkets

One huge event “The Egyptian Revolution:”

Now this deserves a blog of its own, and i promise I’ll write one. This was certainly not a B2B event, but I just wanted to mention that, based in Cairo, i experienced how social media supported this huge event. Some people attributed the whole uprising to social media, namely Facebook and Twitter, others thought the mass protests could happen without them, or that at least people would eventually take to the streets. The latter is correct, the uprising was on the horizon, however; i believe social media played a huge role in orchestrating the mass protests; the decision the Government took to “shut down the Internet” demonstrated their concern.

The tactics –                                                                                                      

As a marketer I was obliged to analyse the tactics. Weeks and days before the first mass protest on 25 January 2011, i was invited to an event page, by a friend on Facebook, inviting me to participate in a mass protest.

I felt butterflies in my stomach when i realised that over 80K people were attending, bearing in mind the uprising in Tunisia had just occurred in the previous weeks.   The nature of this campaign was viral; the page was forwarded from contact to contact. Each day i monitored the page and the attendee numbers increased by thousands.

The 25th January came and people took to the streets in the masses, shortly after the government ordered all internet and mobile service providers to stop their services.

Social media landscape and usage in global markets:

The number of attendees to this event demonstrates the high usage of social networks in Egypt. Facebook is extremely popular in many emerging markets. It’s the most popular social network site world-wide, along with other social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube.

You’ve all heard if Facebook was a country it would be the, what’s it now, the third most populous? It has the user base; this makes it ideal for “reach,” for marketers for a start.  People in emerging markets enjoy using social media to communicate, learn about the latest trends, fashions, and updates in this global village. Also, people in emerging markets are better connected, as governments and service providers are investing in advanced internet connection speeds and mobile internet.

Content can be communicated in local languages and the conversations can take place in local languages, which is an advantage of many of the leading social media tools.

As  marketers, it’s vital to research the popular social media platforms used in individual countries , when i was last in Tunisia and Libya (before their uprisings), i could not access YouTube.   In China, for instance, Facebook is not the most popular social networking site, in terms of users, Renren leads. Individual emerging market countries may have their own local preferred sites and so it’s important to research and understand a country’s social media landscape before planning your strategy, engaging with a local agency can help, each country is unique.

Planning, aims and objectives:

There’s a lot of hype and confusion about social media, the plethora and growth of these platforms can be intimidating.  I’m a solid believer in marketing process e.g. CRM.  I also believe that for any medium to work for  you always start with SMART objectives or aims and in accordance plan your metrics, otherwise how do you measure success and results?

Prior to communicating you’ll need a plan messages/event timing/location and how you will integrate with mixed media e.g. email shots. The messages may be in local languages, if this is the case, whoever manages the social media communication will need to be fluent in that local language.  You can find out what languages Twitter supports here.

Pre event:

Social media can be used to drive registrations from social media sites, however; and you can do this by directing fans on your page or followers on Twitter to a customised event registration website, capturing registration data, profiling registrants and storing data for follow up.

It’s not always advised, for small, highly targeted events to seek to drive registrations through social media. Your company database and email list may be the better alternative.

You can also encourage any visitors to your event website to join your Facebook fan page, or to follow you on Twitter, or to Tweet using a customised hashtag, by promoting these channels on your event site.  A hashtag for your event enables people to search content and stay informed prior to the event.  Again this should be promoted by you on related content, i.e. emails, the event website and print.

Once people have become fans on Facebook or are following you on Twitter, you can then engage them in ongoing discussions pre-event, perhaps by using a competition (using a third party app for Facebook) or questions to encourage feedback.

Prior to the event you may want to post YouTube videos messages from your speakers or general manager to your Facebook Fan Page and to Twitter (perhaps using Vine) to educate, create hype, re-tweets, comments, shares and feedback.

During event – keep them engaged:

During physical events, you can keep people updated, in real time, by Tweeting or updating your status on Facebook.  For example you may want to advise them of any last minute changes, seminars which are about to begin or lunch.

As people may not be checking updates via their own devices, you can project all the event related content on to a screen at the main venue.  Related Tweets, which use your hash tag, for example, during the event, can be projected onto a screen through various tools such as “Visual Tweets,” this allows you to filter out related tweets using the customised hashtag, and display them in full-screen in creative ways.

The aim here is to keep people discussing your event on social media and to engage your live audience. This is quite entertaining.  As the organiser you may also Tweet your own updates in real time, for example “seminar x starts now #ThisEvent”.

You can also ask people for their feedback, live, during the events or when the day has ended, you can receive feedback in real-time and make improvements; this may help, in particular, if it’s a two day event.

For virtual events, you can remind people that they’re about to start by Tweeting or updating your fan page on Facebook and sharing the event link.  In some  countries, people can be keen to sign up/register for virtual events, but may not always attend, as these are still relatively new to some countries and so it’s good to remind.

Post event –follow up:

The aim and objectives of your event should include generating sales leads, once the event’s over you can capture lead data, via social media networking sites, by encouraging fans and followers, who attended, to get in touch via email or by completing a short form, or calling a number. The short form may use qualification questions, to filter out people who aren’t ready to buy, for example you may ask the contacts  if they have “BANT” a budget, authority to purchase, a need a and project timeframe, along with their contact and company details.

Videos of the event can also be posted to social media sites, to your YouTube account for example or on Facebook, showing highlights of the event, keeping the buzz going – you can also add a call –to- actions to capture leads as people can follow up months later.

A link to all your event presentations or videos of seminars can also be communicated on social media sites, you can also allow visitors to share your presentations, from your event site, on their own social media accounts, which can be tracked and measured by social media sharing tools, and this is also an opportunity to capture new prospects in  – again, just ensure you add call- to- actions to your presentations.

You can also request feedback. Feedback can be brutally honest, social media is an excellent tool for learning; provided we “listen” we can learn and make improvements.

Lastly it’s always fun to share pictures of the event after on your Facebook page allowing fans to comment on and share their photos.

The usages and benefits of social media for events are countless, however, a word of advice fail to plan then plan to fail, know what you’re aiming to achieve; the social media sites your audience use and the languages they use for business. Good planning comes off of the back of solid analysis.  Local agencies can assist.

To find out more about B2b Digital marketing in global markets, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing an New York FT Press Publication.

Hard copy: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Internet-Marketing/dp/0137064411

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B0045U9W96/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/279-9376293-6540405

Categories: B2b, events, Social Media | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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