Marketing technology and IT services is difficult work. You need as much intel as you can for choosing the most enticing value proposition, and deciding the right time to engage prospects depending on their readiness to buy.
So let's look at how technology and IT marketers should approach the challenge of expanding every stage of the funnel.
Technology and IT Marketing Is Like Directing A Good Movie
“The ending is really the most important part of the movie. If the first hour and 20 minutes is terrific and the last ten minutes stinks, everybody walks out of the theatre and says: 'That was a lousy movie!” -- Larry Cohen
Cohen is a horror and science fiction director, producer and screenwriter. He gets it absolutely correct with the idea that endings are what make or break movies.
IT and technology marketing is like directing a movie. Endings are also what makes or breaks marketing campaigns.
If your content is great and you’re filling the top of the funnel, but none of the leads close, do you look at the marketing campaign and called it a success? No. Because people don’t remember how many leads you generated, they remember if you generated the best leads.
A long buying cycle means you’re creating a long movie that better work. It means you need to keep the end in mind.
Just how long is the marketing cycle in IT and tech? In our State of Pipeline Marketing report we surveyed over 100 IT and technology marketers and found that 42% have marketing cycles longer than 60 days. This is the marketing cycle only, which means the entire journey from brand discovery to sales-closed may be upwards of 90 to 120 days.
Measure ROI Accurately
Knowing the return on ad spend should be easy. But calculating return is difficult for a number of reasons.
Distributing credit is difficult technically and politically. As we’ve recently written, certain marketing attribution models give more credit to certain parts of the marketing org and this might be unethical. In other words, distributing credit is office politics that must be done with careful attention to balance and accuracy.
Use this guide to help determine whether a particular attribution solution actually meets all of your marketing needs, from multi-touch and omni-channel to anonymous first touch and view-through conversion capabilities.
At a certain point, an organization is spending on every marketing channel possible. This makes distributing revenue credit difficult from a technical perspective.
Tracking each touch point is a challenge when you're investing in every channel possible and tracking tens of thousands of leads. Marketing becomes unpredictable. When will they close? How qualified are the leads? Should I reinvest in this campaign?
By measuring ROI accurately you’re making marketing more predictable. And compared to other investments like the stock market, predictability is king. This reminds me of my favorite scene in The Wolf of Wall Street.
In the scene a senior stockbroker, played by Matthew McConaughey, explains the keys to success in the broker business, “Nobody, I don’t care if you’re Warren Buffet or Jimmy Buffet, nobody knows if the stock is going go up, down, sideways, or even [expletive deleted] circles - least of all, stockbrokers.”
The job of marketing forecasting and prediction should be nothing like the depiction of stockbroking in The Wolf Of Wall Street. Understanding the marketing funnel shouldn't be like understanding the stock market. There should be accuracy and confidence.
But Is Predictability Necessary?
Attribution is necessary. Why? Because your competition is also investing in countless channels and generating thousands of leads each month. The companies who can measure ROI accurately develop two major differentiators.
These companies can:
1) Understand where the best leads come from
Marketers who choose to track anonymous touchpoints, either via their own websites or referral sources, can identify where their best leads come from. In turn they can move budget towards these these referral sources or create more of the content that’s working.
Knowledge is power. In this case, knowledge is a marketing budget that goes farther than your competitor's budget.
2) Know which touchpoints are accelerating or slowing conversion rates.
Full transparency into the funnel gives companies a special ability to understand where leads are not converting (a problem) or where leads are converting (an opportunity). In both cases, companies can address where conversions are getting held up, or where there might be opportunities to move more budgets to campaigns or channels that are converting well.
Focus On Bottom-of-Funnel Conversion Rates
You can engage in a few tactics to improve bottom-of-funnel conversion rates.
For example, email drip campaigns with free trial offers or content such as case studies are good tactics. Highly focused content is another option. In IT and technology products, prospects prefer to do as much research up front as possible. This is an opportunity to grow demand by having content such as “help desk” articles or industry specific articles.
Help desk articles are SEO how-to pages that show up in Google search. These are highly specific, technical questions that only your target audience asks -- meaning they are qualified buyers.
How effective is this SEO strategy? According to the State of Pipeline Marketing report, SEO ranks in the top 3 channels that drive the greatest impact on revenue for IT marketers.Choosing the right metrics is important because we optimize for what we measure. When deciding how to measure marketing success, remember that you should have metrics for engagement, leads created, sales opportunities generated, and finally revenue.
The Metric IT Marketers Use To Measure Marketing Success?
They use opportunities generated. One of the best indicators for marketing success in IT and technology is the ability to deliver qualified sales opportunities.
Our data shows IT and technology marketers favor bottom-of-funnel metrics to measure their own success.
By distributing revenue credit to important touch points, you can see the velocity of a marketing campaign’s ROI. Marketing is now predictable.
IT and technology companies will spend millions of dollars on martech next year and with that comes the requirement for accountability and a high chance for success. This is done through marketing attribution and a focus on bottom-of-funnel conversion rates. Knowing these two tactics is the key to becoming a talented pipeline marketer.
2015 State of Pipeline Marketing
Get the inside look on sales alignment, attribution, top channels, and more.