Tech Marketers Using More Owned Media This Year

It’s true. According to IDG Research’s 2014 Tech Marketing Priorities study, tech marketers are using more “owned media” in their marketing than ever before.

Tech marketers using owned media -
IDG Research – Tech Mkt Spending

What is owned media?

Generally speaking, owned media (or marketing channel) are all the channels that a brand controls, like websites, corporate blogs, newsletters, etc. It also includes the social media channels you use, like Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn (though some may argue that this is really only partially-owned media).

B2B marketers use owned media to target their brand’s existing community and/or current customers. They’re mainly built and used to foster long-term relationships with a community.

3 benefits to owned media

  1. B2B marketers prefer owned media to earned or paid because of the control it gives them. They’re in charge of everything from creation to publication and sharing, and don’t need to rely on anyone else for anything.
  2. B2B executives like it because of the cost efficiency it gives them. Because they have full visibility on the entire process, they’re better able to calculate costs, budget the right amount of resources, and ultimately calculate the ROI much easier than with other kinds of marketing channels.
  3. Marketing creatives like owned media for its flexibility, versatility, and portability. A single piece of media can be used in different ways, sparking new pieces of media or ways to spread the word about the information. They can extend their brand’s presence throughout their website and beyond so that it exists in multiple places.

Start with your own owned media

Once you get past that tongue-twister, it’s time to get started with your owned media channels. Prepare your online digital marketing assets so that when you’re ready to branch out into paid and earned media channels, you’ve got the destination to point everyone to.

Lead Management for B2B -

Do a website audit

  • Are all your web pages up to date? Do they match your current product offerings and marketing messaging?
  • Do all the images on your website include ALT text to take advantage of SEO?
  • Do you have an updated keyword/phrase list for your B2B business, market, and products?

Decide on your content channels

Not every type of marketing is right for every B2B brand and market, so decide on the ones that are right for you.

Find the right resources

That means tapping the right internal resources to plan and write your content, as well as external resources to help out as needed.

Grow your B2B brand with owned media

Tech marketers are spending more than ever on marketing, and are expecting to increase it by another 22% this year. Before you expand your marketing channels, take a look at your existing owned channels first. Concentrate on polishing them up and you’ll have an easier time growing your B2B brand. Owned media tends to be overlooked as marketers get distracted by the shiny new thing. Stay the course on this one, re-invest your marketing budget, and you’ll be setting your B2B brand up for more growth in the future.

How are you handling your owned media channels? Got any tips you’d like to share?

Make Social Media Part of Your B2B Lead Management Program

In the beginning social media was for connecting with your audience, and listening in on their conversations. Now it’s being used for customer service, technical support, and lead management.

Don’t believe me?

Take a look at the latest CMI Benchmark Report: you’ll see that 92% of B2B companies are using social media, and that doesn’t even include blogs.  The reality is that any lead management program must include social media. We simply spend too much time on it to ignore it.

Social media in lead management

According to the MIT Sloan Management Review report Moving Beyond Marketing, they found that 58% of B2B companies think social business practices have positively impacted their business outcomes.

Why is Social Media Important for Lead Management?

Sharing is an integral part of social media, as well as lead management. That’s how you build trust and relationships.

Social media for lead management
HubSpot | Social Media Lead Management

Getting Started with Social Media for Lead Management

There’s a lot of information out there about how to use social media for your B2B business, yet I’ve found that all of it can be boiled down into four essential activities:

  1. Interacting with prospects and customers, not just peers or competitors.
  2. Posting regular updates, whatever the frequency.
  3. Sharing content from your followers and other influencers.
  4. Reading the content that your followers shares as well.

In a post on the subject, Marketo stated that “At least 58% of marketers who have been using social media for three years or longer state that it has helped them boost sales.” That shows that it’s working for them, and also that it’s not a quick fix type of strategy. It takes time and effort to plan and use effectively.

Incorporating these four activities into your marketing planning and execution will go a long way to increasing website traffic, reader engagement, and generate more leads for your B2B business.

1. Interact with your audience

It’s very easy to publish your content and think you’re done. That’s what many B2B companies do, and it’s not going to get yours noticed by anyone. One simple way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is by interacting with your followers on social media. That means responding to comments on the corporate blog or site where a guest post is published. That means answering questions from followers on Twitter, or thanking followers for sharing your latest infographic on Instagram.

2. Post regular updates

Whatever your frequency, just make it regular. Some high-profile digital marketers post once a month, while others do it once a day. What matters is that it works for you and your market. Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer help you schedule those messages in advance, helping you maximize your time. Other tools like CoSchedule or WP Editorial Calendar will help you stay on top of your blog writing, so you don’t miss a date.

Pro tip from Mack Collier (@MackCollier),, Social Media and Marketing Strategist,  “The more 101-level the content, the more likely it is that readers will share opinions.”

3. Share content from your followers

Yes, those lessons you learned as a child about sharing still apply. Share content from your followers, and you’ll see that they’ll share yours as well. Always give attributions for that content, so the authors/creators get their share of the love as well. Only share content that moves your marketing vision forward, reinforces your current messages, and helps you tell your story. No sense in sharing content that’s outside of your sphere of knowledge, right? Give context for the content you’re sharing as well, so that your followers will better understand it and how it relates to your story.

4. Reading the content your followers share

Begin the relationship by asking ‘How can I help?’ instead of ‘What can I sell?’ – Paul Gillin (@pgillin),, B2B Social Media Strategist

Social media is a two-way street, it’s a way to communicate with your audience, so if you’re simply firing off messages in one direction, there’s no point in continuing. Just like you expect your followers to read your content, it makes sense that you’ve got to read theirs too. You’ll find new content to share and curate, possibly new ideas for content yourself, and create new relationships with your audience.

Incorporating social media into your lead management program takes time and effort, however it can pay off for you. You’ll see increased website traffic, social shares of your content, and a notice a deeper relationship with your audience.

Deeper relationships with your B2B audience - social media for lead management

What’s Julia Been Reading?

As part of my end-of-year newsletter culling, I also research and add new newsletters to my To Read list. Out with the old and in with the new, right?

The same goes with my Twitter feed. I look at the content I’ve been curating, people I’ve connected with, and generally the information that’s inspired me in some way. So I thought I’d share some of that inspiring content with you. So here you are, the

What’s Julia Been Reading?

list. These are in random order, so click away and start reading!

What have you been reading lately? Anything interesting?

Trends in B2B Marketing for 2015

We’re fast-approaching the end of 2014. You know what that means: trend watching posts galore! Here’s my view on how I think 2015 will shape up for B2B marketers.

B2B Marketing Trends 2015

1. Marketing as education

Buyers, especially B2B buyers, need to have as much information as possible before they can make a purchasing decision. Remember, it’s not just one person making that final decision on whether to go with you as their vendor. There may be 3, 4, 5 people involved, at various management levels. Growing their business is their number 1 priority. They want to understand how your product helps them do that.
Produce marketing content that answers their questions, shows them how to overcome the obstacles they face in growing their business, and solves their problems. It builds credibility with your audience, attracts new readers to your content, and positions you as the thought leader in the market.

2. Simplifying the marketing process

Gone will be the days of isolated departments in any B2B firm, where Marketing ignores Sales, and vice versa. In order to optimize their workflow, Marketing will follow their CMO’s lead and start breaking down all of those information silos. Reaching out across departments, and even geographic locations, teams will start to work together better, integrating their specific insights into the overall marketing message.

We will see a more conscious effort to bring disparate groups to the table to learn how to collaborate across screens, channels, and moments of truth to deliver ONE experience to customers wherever they are in the lifecycle. – Brian Solis

3. The rise of the HUMAN in marketing

DJ Waldow of Marketo told Lee Odden that “…we’ll begin to see more marketers incorporate human-speak into their messaging – videos, pictures, humor, and human!” B2B brands in particular will continue this trend, as they’ve (mostly) realized that they’re still talking to people when they sell to their customers. Just because they sell to an enterprise-sized customer doesn’t mean there aren’t any humans in there reading their content.

4. Learning how to connect better with an audience

On the heels of remembering that’s it’s humans that read their content, B2B marketers will understand how to better connect with their audience. Tim Washer from Cisco Systems says that it’ll be the year of humor in digital marketing. While technology brands still tend to be the domain of the young, they’re finding themselves in more positions of authority and power, and one of the easiest ways to reach them is with a “clever laugh” or the “vulnerability of silliness”. That’s what earns their trust and loyalty, which is what we’re looking for as marketers, right?

Get to know your marketing audience

5. Really getting to know your audience

Lizetta Staplefoote calls this “micro-targeting”, but I just see it as a getting to know your audience better. Commit to developing better buyer personas and avatars, and really dig in to the needs and motivations of your audience – don’t forget to find out about the needs and motivations of their companies as a whole too! B2B marketing has to hit both the individual and the enterprise as a whole in order to be successful. It’s what makes B2B marketing a little more tricky, as you’ve got to serve more than one audience.

6. Understanding how technology + marketing play together

As a Geek, I love this idea, proposed by Jason Miller from LinkedIn. Sure, it’s important to produce quality content for your marketing campaigns, but understanding how the technology of digital marketing works, and how it can affect it is going to be important too. As Jason said, “The ability to understand how front end web development and coding can affect, enhance, and optimize a content strategy will become a necessity for marketers instead of a nice to have.”

7. Increased focus on security

Technology brands are continually thinking about security and privacy when it comes to their own products. They understand that any slip-up can lead to significant monetary and reputational damage to them and their brand. Forrester’s 2014 Technology Trends found that brands lost a minimum of $10 million for every data breach, and that’s often the starting point. Whether it’s Apple’s iCloud photo hack, or a retailer losing the credit card information of millions of customers, the fact is, any kind of security breach reflects negatively on the brand. As consumers we’re starting to get a bit jaded with these breaches, however even though they’re not as common in the B2B world, the threat is still there. Protecting your customer’s data is now an essential part of the relationship building with your B2B audience.

B2B marketers are now publishers

8. Marketers & brands become publishers

No, I’m not talking about marketers suddenly publishing books, but rather the idea that they’re publishing content, regardless of the type of content it is. Ann Handley thinks we’ll push those boundaries even further, and focus on empathy and customer experience when it comes to marketing. That means creating content that’s useful, helpful, and in tune with your audience.

9. The rise of the Marketing Technologist

The successful brands today are ones that have embraced the idea of being a “marketer in a digital world.” We’re now wedded to our smartphones and mobile devices, and can do so much while on the go. Work and play are now done almost exclusively online, so if you’re not on board with the idea of a digital world, you’re in trouble. The Marketing Technologist will be able to integrate the digital world we live in with the marketing strategies that have worked in the past, and come up with a new marketing outlook that works well today.

These are just a few of the trends that I think will continue on into 2015, and continue to influence the way we do B2B marketing going forward. We’ve all got our own perspectives on how things will play out, so I’m curious to hear what you think will be the trends that we see next year. What ones have you noticed now that you think will hit it big next year? Let me know in the comments.

Lead Generation Metrics – Here’s How the Top Performers Do It

Peyton Manning just passed Brett Favre for the all-time pro football touchdown passes record. Rafael Nadal has only one loss at the French Open in the last 10 years…ONE! Wayne Gretzky has the most career points ever in pro hockey, at 2,857. Lionel Messi scored 79 goals for his club team in 2012, the most ever by one player in one year. Martina Navratilova won six Wimbledon singles titles in a row.

Lead generation metricsWhat’s with all the sports stats? Well, it’s easier to talk about top performers in sports than in the B2B business world. We don’t often get a glimpse into their inner workings and stats, so it’s hard to compare them.

Top performers however, always know where they stack up against their competitors. They may SAY they don’t care about the records, or that they don’t KNOW where they are in the chase, but don’t believe them. These athletes know EXACTLY where they are in the chase. They’re not driven by them, but they certainly know how they stack up against their fellow athletes.

This is one of the reasons that they are the best at what they do. Sure, they’ve got natural talent or skill, but they work hard to make sure they’re ready to take on all comers. They want to ensure that in any competition, THEY come out on top.

Translate this idea of “measuring up” in the B2B business world, and you end up with metrics. To understand how your business is doing, look at your metrics.

Lead generation metrics

Let’s take a look at lead generation metrics. In order to know if your marketing programs are effective, you’ve got to start measuring them.

In sports it’s much easier to get those metrics, as there are times, scores, and championship wins. It’s obvious who the top performers are. In the B2B world, it’s a little more challenging to get that information. While you may not know what your competitors are up to, you can definitely take a look at your own programs and see how you’re doing.

The Lenskold Group recently did a survey where they asked B2B marketers about their programs’ effectiveness. What they found out about the top performers was interesting.

Top performers measure their marketing ROI more than the rest

By a margin of almost three to one, the top performing B2B companies in the survey measured the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing programs more often than the rest. They wanted to see how much they were earning for every marketing dollar they spent.

To use the sports analogy, they wanted to see how much they improved for every hour of training they spent. Did all of that training time rWin awards with these B2B Lead Management Best Practicesesult in more wins, goals, or championships?

For a marketing team, it’s the same thing. You want to know if your efforts are being rewarded with more leads and sales. Whether it’s by using modelling and statistical analysis of your numbers, a comparison of pre-campaign numbers and post-campaign results, or just basic tracking of open and click rates, the fact is START MEASURING.

B2B companies that track their marketing stats are growing more than those who don’t

The top performers are acutely aware of their marketing stats, and how it’s affecting their business (41% vs 19%). In fact, the numbers show that these companies are growing at a faster rate than their non-measuring competitors.

They understand how their marketing activities affect the company’s bottom line. This gives them a greater investment in their work and planning, so that they truly believe in their actions. This belief has a tremendous impact on their individual work, and if everyone’s pulling in the same direction, then the company grows more easily.

Top performers use both traditional tracking methods, as well as marketing automation apps

In order to save time and effort, the top performing companies are using marketing automation (MA) apps to track their efforts. Everything from content views to response inquiries and participation in consuming content like webinars. They’re tracking it all through their MA apps and are saving a ton of time doing it.

Lead gen metricsThe one area that these tools are helping is mainly in the tracking of sales conversion. Often it’s difficult to track the conversion from initial engagement to lead to final sales conversion, as these metrics can be held by different teams in your company. An MA app helps with this as everyone’s looking at a centralized repository of those metrics, and upper management can pull reports from them at any time.

Start tracking your marketing efforts now, and see your B2B business grow

Marketing in today’s B2B world is changing. First it was simply a matter of getting a website out there. Then it was using social media for customer service. Now it’s content marketing and lead management. The evolution continues. And just like those pro athletes who compare themselves to their competitors in order to see how well they’re doing, you can do the same. Use those stats and metrics to evolve and change your B2B marketing programs to maximize their effectiveness. Grow your business by measuring.

What stats are you using to determine your marketing effectiveness? ROI? Lead conversions? Hit the comments and let me know.

Lead generation metrics - Julia Borgini