The Crocodile – big appetite for B2B marketing

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Nominated for nurture and content!

It’s great to be shortlisted in the B2B Marketing Awards, but even better to make the grade in the two areas that everyone’s talking about! The Crocodile’s work for Equinix has just been shortlisted for Best Lead Nurture Campaign and for Best Use of Content in the 2013 awards, with another nomination in the Content category going to our Big Data campaign for EMC.

Companies of every size from every sector are beginning to incorporate at least some element of nurture and automation into their marketing plans, and yet there are still relatively few examples of live and successful campaigns out there. The Crocodile is a notable exception, having been a nominee and winner of the runner-up prize in the Best Lead Nurture category last year.

Content is a fast emerging area of focus across the B2B spectrum with significant overlaps into social media, lead nurture and search. At The Crocodile our ongoing obsession is to link all content activity to results-focused objectives, and to challenge content briefs that don’t make the connection.

Well done and thanks to our fabulous clients at Equinix and EMC – here’s to a big awards night in November!

Topical wins in top Awards

The Crocodile was recognised at 2012 B2B Marketing AwardsThe Crocodile was recognised at last year’s B2B Marketing Awards with trophies in two tough categories.

At a fabulous black tie event in London on the evening of 22nd November, we took home the winner’s trophy for Best SME-Targeted Campaign for our social media work with Ellisons, and the runner-up prize in a brand new and highly topical category: Best Lead Nurture Campaign for our excellent Cyberconfidence for CSC.

There could hardly be two hotter topics in B2B marketing right now than lead nurture and social media, and we have made it our business to build stand-out capability in these two areas, ensuring we develop skills and experience that feed our clients’ results-led agendas.

With so many companies looking to tap the SME sector, The Crocodile’s win in this category underlines our sure touch for unlocking the vast spending resources of the British economy’s primary powerhouse.

It’s great to win prizes; it’s even better to deliver great campaigns that make a real impact on our clients’ business objectives. Our thanks go to the marketing teams at Ellisons and CSC for giving us the chance to do it The Crocodile way!

Equinix appoints The Crocodile

The Crocodile has been appointed by leading global data centre provider, Equinix, to raise its profile and support ongoing lead generation in the UK.

With a $1.8bn turnover, and presence in 30 countries across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific, Equinix is a leading major player in the data centre market, with growth driven by increasing customer demand for mobile data, cloud computing and accelerated IP traffic.

The Crocodile will be helping Equinix generate demand for data centre services across key verticals by supporting a long term nurture strategy onto Equinix’s marketing automation platform.

The Crocodile wins Equinix account

Equinix, one of the world’s fastest growing data centre providers, has appointed The Crocodile to support its UK lead generation programme following a strategic pitch process.

With a $1.8bn turnover, and presence in 30 countries across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific, Equinix is a leading global player in the data centre market, with growth driven by increasing customer demand for mobile data, cloud computing and accelerated IP traffic.  Equinix’s advanced data centre platform is an enabler of these technologies and helps position Equinix as a strategic partner with those companies looking for high levels of interconnectivity, scalability and global reach.

The Crocodile has been appointed to help Equinix raise its UK profile and generate demand for its data centre services, initially across key vertical. The agency will be building content frameworks to support a long term nurture strategy implemented onto Equinix’s marketing automation platform.

“We approached the pitch brief with a very clear perspective on Equinix’s marketing challenge”, explains Adam Wooff, founding partner and managing director of The Crocodile. “Our results-led approach is focused squarely on winning the attention of prospective customers at each stage of the buyer journey, gathering sales intelligence and delivering the assets and information that will help drive consideration and short-listing. We feel very much part of the team charged with delivering on Equinix’s UK sales targets.”

Sarah Wright, Equinix Marketing Director, UK, commented, “Like most companies we need to demonstrate exceptional value and ROI in our marketing spend and that means working with agency partners that can both talk and walk a results-focused approach. The Crocodile’s commercially oriented style is a good fit with the Equinix marketing ethos.”

The Crocodile wins global EMC account

EMC Corporation, the world’s leading information management company, has appointed independent London agency The Crocodile to lead global campaign development in IT Transformation and Big Data, following an international five-way pitch.

The Crocodile has been an EMC roster agency for some years, participating in project-based campaigns at global, EMEA and UK level. The pitch, which took place in late December, has coincided with the creation by EMC of a new internal campaign team with a brief to drive EMC growth in the rapidly developing ‘IT as a service’ market. The win hands The Crocodile a key strategic agency role working alongside campaign teams in Boston and London.

EMC’s pitch brief required a fully integrated results-based approach using digital, social, email and direct mail to drive leads through to sales qualification via an internal CRM platform. Additionally, participating agencies were required to demonstrate clear understanding and experience of the global technology market and the dynamics of both direct and indirect sales channels.

“Working with EMC plays to our core strengths as an agency,” explains Adam Wooff, founding partner and managing director of The Crocodile. “We bring informed strategic focus and cut-through creativity to the table, along with a clear perspective on the mix of activities that will genuinely impact the buying behaviour of EMC’s customers and prospects. These days there’s simply no room for tokenistic marketing – anything we do has to prove relevance, tie in to sales activity and make a measurable contribution.”

Chris Blaik, senior director, Global Campaigns at EMC commented, “The Crocodile has a proven track record in not just building world class, award winning campaigns but an ability to truly understand the go-to-market priorities of our business and channel, crucial to driving value in today’s end to end environment”

The most important question in marketing

The best B2B marketing strategies no longer stop at the door of the sales department. In fact, marketing professionals should be insisting on shared ownership of revenue objectives with sales colleagues. We believe the starting point for that process is the simple question: How many sales do we need for business success?

To help you make the most of your B2B marketing, as well as making the role of marketing clear, we’ve put together a bite-sized guide:The Slide One Principle. Find out about our approach to asking the most important question in marketing.

Behavioural economics: The seven principles

Thought I would share something I was reading from the clever chaps at nef (the new economics foundation). They have summarised behavioural economics and contrasted it with neoclassical economics where the assumption is made that humans are rational and maximise their individual self-interest. Cue puff on pipe and re-adjustment of wide-rimmed spectacles.

The pursuit of better B2B marketing models that positively influence buying behaviour often requires pulling ourselves out of our self-contained, safe little bubbles and trying to view the world through a different lens.

The seven principles:

  1. Other people’s behaviour matters: people do many things by observing others and copying; people are encouraged to continue to do things when they feel other people approve of their behaviour.
  2. Habits are important: people do many things without consciously thinking about them. These habits are hard to change – even though people might want to change their behaviour, it’s not easy for them.
  3. People are motivated to ‘do the right thing’: there are cases where money is de-motivating as it undermines people’s intrinsic motivation, for example, you would quickly stop inviting friends to dinner if they insisted on paying you………no really you would!
  4. People’s self-expectations influence how they behave: people want their actions to be in line with their values and their commitments.
  5. People are loss-averse and hang on to what they consider ‘theirs’. This can lead to what could be described as irrational decision making to avoid any perceived loss.
  6. People are bad at computation when making decisions: people put undue weight on recent events and too little on far-off ones; they cannot calculate probabilities well and worry too much about unlikely events; and they are strongly influenced by how the problem/information is presented to them.
  7. People need to feel involved and effective to make change: just giving people the incentives and information is not necessarily enough.

Next time you’re writing a brief or planning next quarter’s activity consider things such as point 5 and how this could support free trials instead of discounts or how point 1 could influence a social media strategy. We should all also constantly remind ourselves of point 2 – it’s crucial to deliver clear strategies that will genuinely effect the greatest change in customers’ buying behaviour – at The Crocodile we never lose sight of this.

Read the full paper – nef Behavioural economics: seven principles for policy-makers.

The surprising role of technology and data in creativity

I was intrigued recently to come across an idea that has been used by an English school in Brazil that asked children what they wanted to be when they grew up.

They took the responses and created photo business cards for the children. The result – more kids had a clearer focus of their aspirations and their parents were more enthusiastic about them learning English and signed them up at the English school.

Applying a creative approach to the information available, and making it personal, made all the difference.

With all the different ways marketers can collect and use data these days – it’s when we team it with clever creative thinking that we see the most effective results.

You should never overlook genuine creativity if you want to truly capture your audiences’ attention. Here are two ideas I’ve seen done recently that have managed to surprise, and achieved results.

Intel made it personal brilliantly with their museum of me. What a thrill to walk through your own gallery that is simply all about you. With your permission, they collect all your photos, friends and information from your Facebook account and turn it into your very own personal gallery. Then they take you on a 3D journey through your gallery room by room. All your pictures and thoughts are used to take you on a compelling journey of your life.

(Take a look)

With a more down to earth approach, KLM caught our attention recently delighting passengers with little acts of kindness to brighten a traveller’s day. Using Twitter and Foursquare the team were able to find passengers travelling with KLM, and from their public profiles they could find out a little bit about their life to help them choose an appropriate personal (carry-on sized) gift to brighten up their day. Like an apron for the passenger on route to a food blogging conference, a Spanish dictionary for the traveller on his way to Spain, or the Dutch souvenirs for the couple going back to Singapore. This creative way to reach audiences proved a real smile is better than a virtual smiley icon….oh, and it generated 1,000,000 Twitter impressions!

There may not be much that feels genuinely new these days. But there are certainly new ways of doing things to surprise and delight – it just requires a bit of creative thinking, something we at The Crocodile have a bit of an obsession with!

Key social media marketing trends for 2012

No. 1 – Localisation.

Over the next few weeks and months we will be searching out and commenting on the outlook for social media marketing in 2012. This post will be looking at The Crocodile’s own prediction that localisation will be a key trend.

Localisation means moving away from a one size fits all global approach and adapting social communication to suit different audiences. An example would be targeting a specific offer or discount at customers based in a certain region. You wouldn’t advertise a great offer available in Spain to a customer in the US so why treat social communications any differently?

Localisation can also mean the consideration of different social tools and approaches for different countries and cultures. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are by far the most popular social networking sites in the Western world but barely register in China where sites like QZone and Baidu dominate.

In Japan, Facebook lags behind sites like Mixi and Gree but Twitter is hugely popular, perhaps because in Japanese it is possible to express the equivalent of 260 English characters, an increase of over 85% on Twitter’s 140-character limit. Conversely, in the Philippines a staggering 93.9% of the country’s online population (roughly 25% of the overall population) has signed up to Facebook but only 16% have embraced Twitter*.

Something else to factor in is the different ways people use social networks. Understanding different behaviour profiles is key to the effective planning and delivery of social marketing activity. This infographic from GlobalWebIndex gives an overview of the global state of social networking in 2011 and shows how users differ in their use of social networks around the world.

What’s great about localisation is the focus it puts on the individual. Ultimately social media is all about the individual and the key to success is to engage with people on a personal and meaningful level. In this new hyper-social world what’s needed is a totally organic and flexible approach that can be adapted on an almost a case-by-case basis.

This might seem daunting, particularly to any time poor B2B marketer lacking resource and struggling to define success metrics, but there are plenty of tools out there to help. The key is to spend time getting to know your audience – wherever they may be – and to adapt your communications accordingly.

Have you got your own forecasts for social media marketing in 2012? If so we’d love to hear them. Watch this space for further predictions.


Why ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’ is still relevant today

In 1999 a group of authors, intellectuals and journalists came together to write a thesis on the need for businesses to adapt to a more communicative network of customers. The Cluetrain Manifesto, written by Rick Levin, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger is a set of 95 ideas and observations on the way businesses and their consumers interact.

The manifesto’s call to action was for all businesses operating within a “newly connected marketplace” to stop faking it and start talking to their consumers as individuals and humans. The authors took a predictive look at how businesses could use the Internet to focus on their customers’ real needs rather than deploying marketing for purely financial gain.

Over ten years later and The Cluetrain Manifesto is still impressively relevant, yet many B2B organisations still struggle to realise the importance of many of the fundamental ideas put forward.

The most successful marketing is now gained through the implementation of free flowing, personalised strategies. The focus has moved away from campaigns aimed at ‘target markets’ and onto communicating with individuals. Consumers are looking at marketing in a different way too, focused on the value of communications to them and not necessarily the product being sold.

What is interesting about this personalised style of marketing is that consumers are increasingly aware of their power as an individual, demanding so much more. Consumers can insist on answers to questions from people that previously hid behind a hierarchy or marketing mask. Simply being told by a company that their product is the best just isn’t enough, and if a product isn’t living up to expectations then get the product designer out to talk about why!

Over the last 100 years advertising and marketing has shouted at consumers, insisting their product is a necessity. However, as the Internet has opened up conversations, consumers have been able to find more value and openness in talking to each other. As these communities formed they began to unravel business jargon and speak to each other in their own, more accessible voices. The Cluetrain Manifesto established that in order for B2B marketing to succeed in this world of honesty they needed to drop their jargon and corporate mystique. Thesis 15 of The Cluetrain Manifesto states:

In just a few more years, the current homogenised “voice” of business – the sound of mission statements and brochures – will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.”

~ from Thesis 15, “The Cluetrain Manifesto” (1999)

The reason that even today this approach is still not being fully embraced by B2B companies is perhaps that this seemly-disorganised way of marketing cannot be controlled. The success of this style of marketing is in the freedom of its voice. By tentatively – rather than wholeheartedly – moving towards this method of marketing, companies are in danger of unwittingly stifling its success, leading to even more of a reluctance to proceed, creating a cycle of ineffectiveness.

In order for B2B businesses to flourish through evolutionary and fast-paced marketing they must have transparent and credible values that are not there to hide behind, but are there to shout about. Instead of worrying about potential customers seeing the inner workings of their business they should have great pride in their companies, employees and products, sending them out into the world to be advocates of the brand.

The communities are out there and they want to talk. This open communication cannot be stopped and B2B companies can truly be invigorated by grasping the opportunity to fully open up and join the conversation.

Our top five Cluetrain Manifesto ideas to boost your marketing:

  1. Converse with your customers, don’t just talk at them
  2. Deliver communications in a human voice – drop the jargon
  3. Try not to control the conversation – its power is its freedom
  4. No tentative toe-dipping – go for it and open up your business!
  5. Be accessible, proudly allow your employees and products to be brand advocates

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Crocbites is our running commentary on the trends affecting B2B marketing, alongside our own insights and independent viewpoint formed from working with global brands turning marketing budgets into bottom line benefits.

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