The Crocodile – big appetite for B2B marketing

Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Helping loyalty go local

The Crocodile is proud to be working with Nectar as they bring the largest loyalty programme in the UK even closer to Nectar collectors – in local shops and businesses. Nectar points can now be collected using the same Nectar card and account, making it quicker and easier than ever for collectors to enjoy great rewards.

Nectar appointed The Crocodile to produce all business-facing assets, such as point of sale and in-store displays, as well as the main go-to-market creative concept ‘Pop in for points’. The Crocodile also developed the integrated consumer-facing launch campaign, incorporating highly targeted DM, outdoor posters, print and display ads, email and e-newsletters.

Speaking to Marketing Week, James Frost, Nectar marketing director, said: “[Nectar Local] brings Nectar right to people’s doorsteps and gives local businesses the power of a national loyalty programme. It also continues our mission to allow people to collect points at more and more places.”

The Nectar Local pilot runs in Portsmouth from 4 November until May 2014 and will then be rolled out across the country.

More information on Nectar Local is available here.

Are you (anti-) social?

A recent article by brand consultant and entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, described B2B social media as “an incredible gateway to create a relationship that can lead to conversion” and “the modern evolution of a cold call”, but proving its value to the wider organisation is often a hurdle to businesses adopting a truly integrated social strategy. Admittedly in B2B, the added value of a single Facebook like, a retweet on Twitter or a Pinterest pin can be hard to quantify but let’s open our minds and consider the bigger picture.

In 2012, the UK had the second highest proportion of social networkers in the EU, according to the Office of National Statistics, and this networking undoubtedly blurs the lines between personal and professional. Harnessing individuals’ online presence as employees of your organisation is as important as your business itself being well represented. The benefits are long-term, and by that we mean revenue. (A US study The Impact of Social Media on Sales Quota and Corporate Revenue, reported by Mark Fidelman on Forbes.com, revealed 78% of salespeople using social media outsold their peers between 2010 and 2012.)

The business
Company pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are an extension of a company website, but more than that they help with SEO and facilitate real-time, two-way dialogue with target audiences. This dialogue, often managed by Marketing, isn’t about preaching to customers and prospects, but about sharing rich content and nurturing engagement. At any one time, the audience includes current customers, almost-customers and don’t-know-it-yet customers who are getting to know your business and brand more and more with every post or tweet. It’s these small, but significant, interactions subconsciously striking chords and keeping your business at the forefront of customers’ minds that could influence a purchasing decision. Being in the right place, at the right time is as important as ever, and it’s at that time – when a lead generated through social media gets passed to Sales, or a conversion tracks back to a social referral – that the value of the preceding social groundwork speaks for itself.

The employees
Beyond the Marketing team, there’s a brand ambassador and a lead generator in every employee within your organisation – whether they’re online networking for business, pleasure, or both, they’re representing your business, 24/7. From a company perspective, arguably the most beneficial of an individual’s social networks is their LinkedIn profile. That LinkedIn Summary and those Endorsements and Recommendations contribute to the professional reputation of the individual and simultaneously strengthen your business proposition. An ‘all-star’ profile strength is the aspiration but its not just about bragging rights; a strong professional profile speaks volumes when using LinkedIn for business development. More and more, sales prospecting begins on LinkedIn making cold calls a thing of the past. In a relatively small amount of time it’s possible to build a fairly detailed understanding of a prospect organisation’s structure to inform a conversation and break the ice. In Ten Tips for using LinkedIn for sales prospecting, Anna Bratton, Strategic Accounts Business Development Executive, EMEA at Salesforce.com says: “It’s not simply a case of digital stalking. Personally, I’m always open with the people I call about having looked at their LinkedIn profiles…it shows I’ve gone to more trouble than 90% of the other salespeople who call them every day.”

Sales prospecting, lead generation, customer service, brand awareness, stakeholder engagement, SEO…the opportunities brought by social media to the B2B marketplace are many and varied. Banish the thought that LinkedIn is just for job hunters. Dismiss the idea that social media is just ‘something that Marketing does’. It’s time to start taking advantage and open the gateway to new lead generation.

Second chance for Facebook posts

We’re big fans of Facebook for B2B marketing here at the Crocodile. It might not seem as immediately relevant to business marketing as LinkedIn, for example, but it’s worth remembering that each target audience member is an individual as well as a professional. With the right nurture strategy in place, engagements on Facebook can lead to MQLs.

Last week, Facebook changed the algorithm that determines which stories appear first when a user logs in or opens their Facebook app. Now, businesses that have good audience engagement can expect even more people to see their most popular posts.

Essentially, the change gives a post a second chance of being seen if a user didn’t get to it the first time they looked at their News Feed.

Google reported that a trial found: “Previously, people read 57% of the stories in their News Feeds, on average. They did not scroll far enough to see the other 43%. When the unread stories were resurfaced, the fraction of stories read increased to 70%.”

Looking specifically at Pages – the profiles that organisations can create and manage – Google reported “an 8% increase in likes, comments and shares on the organic stories they saw” under the new algorithm. The ‘second chance’ means that more people will not only see but also engage with the post.

How do you increase your chance of a second chance?

The change only benefits posts that make it into News Feeds in the first place. So, this is another great reason to post stories and content that your audience will want to engage with and share.

At the heart of Facebook, an algorithm called EdgeRank determines which stories a given user will see. EdgeRank is an equation with three key factors: Affinity, Weight and Time Decay.

• Affinity grows when people repeatedly interact with your brand

• Weight grows when people engage deeply with your brand by spending more time on their interactions with you

• Time Decay is a negative factor in which posts are less attractive the older they are

EdgeRank gives businesses that engage with their audiences a significant advantage on Facebook. By regularly posting content that relevant people feel compelled to ‘like’, comment on and share, you will increase the likelihood of making it into their News Feeds, then into the News Feeds of their colleagues and industry friends.

In addition to the mid-term benefits of increasing your EdgeRank, you could also be building a strong foundation for your search engine performance in the future.

Facebook looks increasingly set to take on Google search with Graph Search, a Facebook specific search engine designed to leverage the data acquired from over 1billion Facebook users. Graph Search makes the people, places, photos and other content on Facebook more easily discoverable. So improving your business’s EdgeRank today could well improve your future organic search performance too.

Look out for more on Facebook’s Graph Search in upcoming posts here on Crocbites.

Proof of social media’s ROI

Marketing budgets are a constant challenge. Allocating the right amount of money to the right area, as well as being able to justify the overall spend, has never been more important or more challenging. In a down economy businesses are understandably reluctant to increase spending in any area without definitive proof of ROI, let alone invest in new areas like social media.

The rise of the social web and the corresponding changes in buying behaviour have happened concurrently with the economic downtown and the squeeze on marketing budgets. The result is that many businesses, particularly in B2B, have completely overlooked new inbound marketing techniques that offer significant, quantifiable results without the need for a large capital outlay.

The content, conversation and on-going interaction that make up an effective social media strategy create an online experience that keeps customers in your orbit, drive consideration and set you apart from the competition. Sharing interesting, relevant and useful information will hold the attention of your existing customer and help you attract new ones.

Social media is proving to be a powerful source of revenue for Crocodile client Ellisons, delivering an online uplift of 70%. Facebook is now the 3rd biggest referrer to the Ellisons website after Google and Bing. Through running regular competitions and special offers to drive engagement and using a strategy designed to drive traffic Ellisons has achieved:

  • 71% increase in online sales over six months (against a 50% target)
  • 44% increase in the number of customers ordering online
  • Incremental ROI of 1534%
  • 36% increase in website traffic
  • Enhanced customer service
  • New levels of customer insight

As marketing moves away from a quarterly campaigns approach towards a continuous dialogue, social media can help you tune in to what your target market is talking about, nurture prospects through the buying cycle and deliver valuable repeat custom. If you’d like to find out how a social media strategy from The Crocodile can benefit you, contact us here.

Mimecast appoint The Crocodile

Mimecast, market leader in unified email management in the cloud – and one of the top ten fastest growing technology companies in the UK  – has appointed independent London agency The Crocodile to a wide ranging marketing account.

Key tasks for the agency will be to work directly with the Mimecast marketing team to deliver integrated lead generation campaigns and support an automated nurturing programme.

Standout creative was the key factor in a three-way pitch, with The Crocodile’s ‘Think EaaSy with Mimecast’ proposition providing the ideal messaging platform for Mimecast’s Email-as-a-Service offer.

Says Adam Wooff, managing director at The Crocodile: “We’re delighted to be working with the Mimecast team. It’s great that they saw how a strong but simple creative idea had the potential to drive results for them. The Crocodile is well placed to help Mimecast continue on its rapid growth trajectory, delivering new prospects, creating marketing assets that motivate partners and ensuring global brand consistency.”

Gavin Bisdee, Marketing Director at Mimecast, commented: “Mimecast is seeing rapid expansion, recently surpassing 5,000 customers and a million users worldwide. We attribute our significant growth to our unique email management platform and the ongoing shift from on-premise to cloud-based email systems. The Crocodile met our criteria for a dynamic agency we could work with to further strengthen Mimecast’s position as the leading supplier of cloud-based email archiving, continuity and security for Microsoft Exchange and Office 365.”

Take a look under the search engine hood

Search engine optimisation (SEO) has always been reliant on the location and frequency of keywords within a webpage, but as the Internet continues to grow and develop that isn’t all there is to it.

The ranking position of pages searched by an Internet user is decided by what happens off the page, in the form of links from other sites. The complexity of SEO is getting those links to form organically. The emergence of social media marketing has helped to define a new era of SEO by creating an appealing and natural way for these links to evolve. However, if your content fails to attract these natural links your social media can’t do its job.

So what can be done to enhance your social media and effective SEO? Content, content, content. The more valuable the better. Your content needs to tune into the needs and wants of your target audience. Before you begin writing for SEO understanding your audience is key. Simply asking “What creates value for my customers?” can help to focus your online marketing efforts.

Understanding search engines
Most of us use search engines everyday yet many don’t understand the basics of how they work. Taking a look under the search engine hood and discovering what makes the engines tick is the best way to focus your SEO and achieve the rankings successful businesses need.

Search engines use three techniques to rank your web pages.

1. Crawling
Search engine “spiders” are perhaps the most widely recognised search engine tool, they effectively “crawl” around the web sifting through content. These computer codes find information on a web page, “reading” it as they go and following the links from your pages to others.

If your site isn’t “crawable” then your ranking capacity is already disadvantaged. As search engine spiders crawl the links of your site, they make copies of the pages – and using additional analysis – give your site a score for the page, and the association of the page to certain words.

The search engine spiders regularly return to re-evaluate your content but if it can’t see your content, or doesn’t understand it, it will fail to index you correctly. So with this in mind easily accessible and fast-loading code is vitally important.

2. Indexing
The job of the crawling spiders is to not only browse but to also store the content in a database.

This indexing system allows searches to become faster and more efficient, constantly checking how relevant content is to the search terms being used.

3. Ranking
The most important element of search is the way in which the relevant results are delivered to users. These occur through complex and closely guarded algorithms. That said they follow a set of rules that allow your content to battle with other content to satisfy a user’s keyword search, delivering what the search engine feels is most relevant.

Effective SEO copywriting

So what can you do to make sure that you’re making the most of your web pages? Well, complicated as it sounds, search engines are relatively simple in their needs. All they require is for the information to be delivered to them in a way that they can understand. The complications arise when you’re trying to deliver keyword friendly and searchable copy with genuine reader appeal. This is where the SEO Copywriter can add significant value to your site. Ensuring that the balance is right is vital to success, of course you have to have research your keywords and phrases, that’s SEO 101, but you also need to remember that the search engines aren’t your customers. Ultimately copy needs to sell and persuade, not just tick the search engine boxes. Do both and the results can be staggering.

Here are our top tips for ensuring your content is optimised:

1. Use research tools
There are many SEO tools and a lot of SEO software available online to help you find the best keywords; Google’s Keyword Tool is a great place to start. You can also give your SEO a boost through Sponsored Ads, paying for design and usability to give you a great start.

2. Be specific
Keywords are key but keyword phrases are just as important, base your keyword terms on geography and specialty, as well as synonyms.

3. Research the popularity of search terms
Pay attention to popularity of search terms associated with your businesses or sector. You can also enhance the success of your search terms by behavioural-targeting and using long tail keywords (a keyword phrase used when the website wants to refine searches to the web page, or when the user is searching for a specific term)

4. Make sure you’re relevant
Your search terms should be highly relevant to your service, product or end goal. Keyword relevance measures how well your keywords match what a potential customer is searching for. By analysing your keywords through online tools you can replace poor-performing keywords with more relevant ones, keeping your web pages featuring highly.

5. Build up content resources
Keyword phrases and search terms are what are valuable to your potential users; use them as a foundation for your content. It’s essential that your content is up-to-date and fresh. Regularly reviewing your content helps search engines pick-up on the date of when a page was last updated, and can give you an opportunity to review and tweak your keywords and phrases.

6. Link, link, link
Search engines are able to analyse the popularity of a site through the number of links back to it. Using this analysis, the ‘spiders’ can discover how pages are related to each other, and in what ways, and because trustworthy sites tend to link to other trusted sites this method provides a vital cycle of sharing that can provide a great way for search engines to identify useful sites.

SEO doesn’t, or shouldn’t, stifle your content. The most effective SEO is when creativity and these tips build a foundation together, creating an easily searchable and valuable site. Getting these simple steps right is a great basis for reaching your target audience more effectively now and in the future.

Can B2B be soft and cuddly?

Question: What do PG Tips, Travelodge, Birds Eye and Comparethemarket.com have in common?
Answer: A love of cuddly toys.

With varying degrees of success an increasing number of B2C brands are choosing to adopt cute, stuffed animals as the face of their brands. Since hitting TV screens in January 2009 as the ‘face’ of price comparison website Comparethemarket.com, that cheeky meerkat Aleksandr Orlov has become nothing short of a marketing phenomenon.

Comparethemarket.com is now one of the most popular UK price comparison sites, hundreds of thousands of people follow Aleksandr on Facebook and Twitter, and now the brand is cashing in on ‘pester power’ in the run up to Christmas, giving meerkat dolls away to anyone who buys insurance through the site and flogging 5,000 talking Aleksandr dolls at Harrods.

Before Aleksandr there was PG Tips’s tea-guzzling Monkey. Now joining the ranks are Mr Sleep and the Zzz squad and Clarence the chilled out polar bear. The cuddly toy marketing strategy, when executed well, can create a deep connection with a brand and a rich dialogue with customers across multiple channels. Which leaves us asking is there any room for soft and cuddly sentiment in the B2B world?

There is undisputed value in establishing a dialogue with customers, yet no one has much interest in thinking about let alone talking about insurance or frozen food. Introduce a quirky Russian meerkat or a cool-as-ice polar bear, however, and you have yourself something worth tweeting. But could sensible, rational IT directors have their buying-behaviour swayed by a knitted monkey?

At The Croc we’ve had some success with anthropomorphic characters. Mr Click, a character we created for longstanding client EMC, embodies ease of use and brings a friendly face to a crowded unified storage market. The challenge was getting the balance right between appealing to fact and logic as well as emotion. All too often B2B brands overlook the emotional aspects of the brand, and how it can deliver an enduring ‘stickiness’ that can establish a level of depth and connectivity with target audiences.

As is the case for any good campaign, cuddly toy or not, it’s crucial to know the right touch points to reach buyers and how to tickle them. It’s also important to remember that in the B2B world buying cycles can be long and arduous. Lightness of touch can ease the pain and give a brand a boost in a competitive marketplace but remember to think long term not flash-in-the-pan.

Simples!

Free bite-sized guide: Reconnecting Sales and Marketing

The landscape of B2B marketing is changing. Marketing can no longer stop at the door of sales, and collaboration is now essential for success. It’s about time that B2B marketers started realising that marketing works best when it shares the commercial objectives of the business – and can make a measurable contribution.

To help you navigate the changes taking place in the B2B marketing sector we’ve put together one of our bite-sized guides entitled Reconnecting Sales and Marketing. From prospect generation and lead nurture, to lead scoring and onto converging data into single lead profiles, this paper is a starting point for B2B marketers getting to grips with one of cialis online pharmacy the most important current issues for the profession. We hope you enjoy it.

Winning marketing in 2012

With the 2012 Olympics only a year away, businesses have a great opportunity to inject some exciting and relevant fun into their campaigns.

Official Olympic partners are already rolling out campaigns but there are great opportunities for all businesses to benefit in 2012. Tapping into the excitement may be an attractive prospect but how can you ensure your campaign doesn’t end up breaching the stringent rules protecting the Olympic brand?

How to avoid ambushing the brand
Although encouraging marketers to utilise the values and spirit of sporting excellence is a great way to keep marketing relevant and topical, be careful not to overstep the mark.

The logo
The 2012 Olympic logo, Olympic rings and anything similar to either are reserved for Olympic partners only.

The brand colours
Colour combinations of the Olympic rings, the Olympic torch/flame and athletic images are also banned.

Advertising and affiliation
It is prohibited to use any advertising, marketing or sales promos in conjunction with any images, words, sounds, designs and marks of the Olympic brand. Also be aware that it is illegal to endorse, affiliate or claim sponsorship with the games, 2012 Olympics, Team GB or the International Olympic Committee/Olympic movement.

Wording
Mottos, word combinations that suggest affiliation with the games, and using various combinations of words surrounding the Olympic brand are all prohibited.

Phew! And there are many more. To ensure you don’t fall at the first hurdle (sorry, it had to be done) here are the Brand Protection guidelines.

A few things you could do…

Be original
Simply plastering the Union Jack over your marketing material and using clichés like ‘Be on the winning team’ will guarantee you get lost. Think differently. The games are about pride, determination and collaboration. Your thinking needs to embody those values.

Be big and bold
The Olympics will show the world that the UK is front-runner for innovation and energy. With an opening ceremony directed by Danny Boyle we can be sure the games will be nothing short of spectacular. Marketing teams should follow suit with campaigns that are adventurous and innovative. Don’t hold back, I am sure Mr Boyle won’t!

Take advantage of the extra footfall
According to an article by MarketingWeek outdoor advertising is set to increase as the Olympics get nearer. Be sure to follow the guidelines set out for advertising to gain the greatest value.

Get excited!
The last London Olympics were held in 1948, so let’s get excited about what they mean to the country, the economy and of course our sense of national pride. The games are a great example of global marketing for the whole country, something marketers can only learn from and engage with. We’re really looking forward to seeing some great campaigns springing up this year, let’s see who comes out on top and who ends up being disqualified. Happy 2012 marketing to all!

Disclaimer: Please note that this post should be used for reference only and should not be used as definitive legal advice.

Image courtesy of The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd.

Crocbites

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.

We also produce free bite-size guides to download.
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