Account Based Marketing for CMOS

| September 18, 2018

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Most ABM programs start by layering on top of current demand gen processes: Pilot: test ABM for a few accounts Segment: Implement ABM for one or more segments (e.g. Enterprise accounts or Healthcare vertical) Focus: Target existing programs (e.g. outbound sales development) on specific accounts.

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Banner Corporation

At Banner, we have been planning media activity for over 25 years. From strategy and insights, planning and implementation, optimisation, campaign management and reporting, our attention to detail is second to none. We have experience covering advanced online campaigns, elaborate out of home placements, mobile and print targeting in emerging markets, in depth demand generation campaigns tracking through the sales funnel and more. We work with and have access to advanced technology but can just as easily work with your systems, specific planning requirements and reporting templates. We are here to make your life easier and most importantly, help you reach your marketing objectives. We’re also part of WPP and the Y&R brands network network, giving us access to specialist capabilities the world over – and access to the full buying power of Group M, with a wide range of services, research and planning tools.

OTHER ARTICLES

No High-Level Fluff: 7 Steps to Build the Best Target Account Model

Article | February 21, 2020

Selecting target accounts can be stressful. You worked hard to build trust across your Sales team, and now comes a project that could ruin that hard-won trust if you don’t execute it perfectly. Guess what? It is not (and never will be) perfect. This activity can’t be done in a Marketing silo. Marketing needs Sales, and Sales needs Marketing to accurately select target accounts. And don’t forget about your Customer Success team! So repeat after me: Selecting target accounts is a cross-functional project. Now, I know what you’re thinking “Sounds great, but building the model is hard and everything I read on the internet is just high level. And I need to know how to actually do it!”

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3 Ways to Create an Account-Centric ABM Strategy

Article | March 31, 2020

Terminus founder, Sangram Vajre’s definition of account-based marketing is a focused approach to B2B marketing in which marketing and sales teams work together to target the best-fit accounts and turn them into customers. Works for me! According to ITSMA, the share of total marketing budgets dedicated towards ABM have increased 73% in 2020. Remember, at the center of all of the emerging technologies is the customer and their rising expectations. As a B2B marketer, you must place your accounts at the center and build your business around them.

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5 Steps for Running Successful ABM Campaigns

Article | July 14, 2021

B2B marketers meticulously craft content plans to include an attractive landing page, a remarkable eBook, and paid ads for maximum engagement. They write the slickest nurture emails, supporting blogs, and over-the-top articles. Nearly tens of thousands of dollars and a couple of months go into the campaign creation, but it stops abruptly. Why? How can this be? The data collected for the eBook was filled with insights that made them shudder. The strategy was executed to perfection but didn't make any sense! Does this situation sound familiar to you as well? You must have faced the same! It often happens in B2B companies when sales and marketing are not fully aligned on their goals, messaging, and targeting audience. When you spread a wide net for lead generation, most of the leads may not be relevant. So, what should we do? Here comes the protagonist of the B2B marketing story: Account-Based Marketing (ABM) ABM curtails the time spent on irrelevant accounts while decreasing overall money spending. In addition, as businesses, after the pandemic, are starting to realize the potential of personalized campaigns, ABM is rapidly becoming the go-to strategy for B2B tech companies. As a result, they are aiming to improve their marketing and sales alignment. Importantly, ABM demands sales and marketing alignment. It ends those hair-tearing, soul-destroying arguments on which leads to focus on. Now both teams have to keep the hyper-targeted focus on specific accounts, which will result in time-saving, the flow of quality leads, and, thus, your ROI will be up. But before going about creating effective ABM campaigns, let's quickly read the factors to consider while implementing ABM. Factors to Consider to Implement ABM Get your Sales & Marketing teams to work together To create an effective ABM campaign, marketing and sales teams must converge and act following a shared strategy. Furthermore, to expect excellent results, teams involved in the campaign should use the same data from diverse sources. Thus, it creates a data-inspired ideal customer profile (ICP). To Identify Accounts For defining target accounts, consider these factors: Revenue potential: Your target audience should fall into your product or service's price line. Best fit accounts: Find accounts and individual buyers who are aligned with your marketing personas. Importance of Strategy: Aim for accounts that match your company's business strategy. Identify if they are your ideal customer or not. Product requirements: Start with the low-hanging fruit, which means identifying accounts that can make precise use of the solution you're offering. To Establish KPIs To know whether you are rocking with your ABM campaigns, it's crucial to decide your KPIs. You can consider the following to confirm it: How many companies match your customer personas? Account and role-specific conversion KPIs such as booked meetings created deals, and purchases completed. The accounts that visit your website or engage with the content types. Thus, you'll have to track KPIs at every stage of your ABM funnel to determine the success of your campaign. Prepare Multi-Channel Content Relevant and engaging content is the root of every marketing campaign. Still, marketers should personalize ABM content so that they can timely reach each target. So, it's essential to keep the process of messaging focused on the account's pain points, budget restraints, and additional demands. It is because your campaigns are hyper-targeted, where you'll need to spread them across multiple content channels to offer numerous opportunities. Doing so will help to gain engagement, and then you can calculate budgets for clicks and channels. In addition, blend touchpoints such as paid ads, blogs, personalized email, text messaging, and multi-touch SDR strategies will help create effective ABM campaigns. Here are effective steps to execute an effective ABM campaign. 5 Steps to Create Effective ABM Campaigns Build your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) As Account-based marketing is more like spearfishing, you need to be conscientious about who you target. It is because this type of marketing revolves entirely around who you reach out to. So, it is imperative that you pick companies that would benefit the most from your product or services and be your top-tier customers if they get converted to purchase your service. Hence, the first and most foundational thing for an effective ABM campaign is knowing who you need to target. Many companies enjoy massive audiences. Therefore, they can increase revenue if they successfully reach them. However, with B2B SaaS companies in marketing, when they try to please everyone, they usually end up pleasing no one. It is because they produce standard messaging that doesn't speak to any group of people. So here, it becomes vital to build your IPC before creating an ABM campaign strategy. Invest in the Right Account-Based Marketing Tools To create successful account-based marketing (ABM) campaign, you need to have the right tools to help your team effortlessly execute your ABM strategy and monitor its progress simultaneously. Here are some of the best tools that you can use effectively: ZoomInfo Using a platform like ZoomInfo helps you quickly search companies based on their industry, number of employees, and current services. Then, you can easily set ABM campaigns based on information collected through ZoomInfo and proceed further to target. SalesIntel SalesIntel is a sales intelligence platform. It provides your sales team with verified numbers of the target account. Using this platform, your team can evade gatekeepers and increase the chances of securing a targeting process. Everstring Everstring's platform enables your ABM team to develop a predictive behavior model where target accounts can be identified and be more likely to convert into sales. Create Relevant Content Now, you have your ICP and personas penned down; it's time to communicate. But how do you make sure that you are effectively communicating with each account? And how to properly showcase the value that your solution provides to drive for their companies? The secret lies in applying information gathered in each stage in the customer journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. For an effective account-based marketing campaign, create content for each of these stages—general product & company information for Awareness, technical details for Consideration, and urgency for Conversion. Every piece of content in each step should be designed to appropriately educate prospects on their buying journey and push them to the next phase. Here are some content types for the most successful ABM campaigns: Emails to each persona (includes initial outreach, follow-ups, responses, and more) Landing pages that provide information and facilitate actions Thought leadership blog and articles for the Awareness stage Product-specific pages for consideration Testimonials for the Conversion stage Organizing your content in such a framework enables you to find and fill content gaps while creating a comprehensive plan to address each persona in the customer journey. Include Messaging Channels You can use many avenues to engross prospects in an ABM campaign. Any medium that you use to communicate directly can be effectively utilized. So, it's essential to focus on the most popular ABM channels like LinkedIn, Email, and telecommunication. Each method has its benefits and effectiveness to get your message to the right people in the right way. Here, you will understand how to go with it these channels: LinkedIn LinkedIn is the most utilized channel for ABM campaigns because of its messaging capability and enrichment abilities. It consents you to send messages for free. Additionally, you promptly gain all of their professional information when you connect with a contact, including roles and email ids. However, the best part of LinkedIn outreach is you are considered as a person, not a bot, when you reach out to contacts. In addition, you have a profile and a resume, which humanizes you. Due to these factors, LinkedIn is one of the most accurate and up-to-date B2B outreach platforms available, as everyone constantly updates their LinkedIn profile with professional milestone information. Having being beneficial, keep in mind that there are some limitations with LinkedIn—you can send approximately a hundred connections per week. This being said, you can use this channel for the most important contacts on your list. Email Email's largest advantage is that it doesn't have a character limit on initial outreach messages. Thus, you can write as much as you want. However, some trade-offs go along with that freedom. As email being cheap, automatable, easy to use, and can reach thousands of contacts at a time, it's utilized by almost every B2B marketer. But, at the same time, this results in the clogged inbox situation, creating spam filters due to high levels of outreach competition. In addition, this makes consumers suspicious of emails received from unrecognized senders. But the good news is that you can purchase email tools to help manage your email outreach campaigns. These can automate email message sending to ensure that you're constantly optimizing your outreach to prospects. Emails are a must-have for an effective email outreach campaign, which will exponentially surge your reach, make you smarter with analytics, and create an effective ABM campaign. Telecommunication Phone outreach is the most effective channel to outreach. It also gives you a chance to really get to know your prospective customer and their fears and dreams so that you can: Figure out if your product would be a good fit for the customer. Know how to quickly and effectively communicate the value of your product to that customer. Retarget Once you set up accounts with the proper channels that you plan to push people to with your ABM outreach, you can create simple retargeting ads that guide them further through the customer journey. These ads will result in Calls to Action that offer case studies or white paper resources on your solution or industry to give your prospects market insights and real-world examples of how your solution can benefit companies. On top of it, when getting your logo and message in front of prospects again, retargeting ads perform splendidly compared to traditional methods. For example, a recent MarketLand article explained that retargeting ads often have Click-Through-Rates of "0.30%-0.95%, which is 3-10x costlier than the industry average." Resultantly, you must pay close attention to who your audience is that you're serving these ads to, as well as where and how often you're delivering them. It may seem overwhelming at first, but it'll get easier over time. A properly executed account-based campaign will provide the results you want. Doing this will allow you to reap the enormous rewards that retargeting can bestow upon your ABM campaign. Frequently Asked Questions What is an ABM marketing campaign? Account-based marketing (ABM) strategy concentrates resources on a set of target accounts within a market. The campaigns designed are to engage each account, basing the marketing message on the specific attributes and needs of the account. How do I make an ABM campaign? Follow these steps to make an effective ABM campaign: Create a team that is dedicated to ABM only Clear your goals and then make a strategy Find your technology Identify the right accounts Pick the right channels Execute your campaigns Measure everything Choose messaging platform Spread relevant content (messages) Why is ABM important? ABM supports structure marketing efforts and resources on your key accounts to drive the most revenue. Doing ABM will maximize the efficiency of your B2B marketing resources. It will also help build the communication channel with sales to have an aligned sales and marketing organization. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is an ABM marketing campaign?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Account-based marketing (ABM) strategy concentrates resources on a set of target accounts within a market. The campaigns designed are to engage each account, basing the marketing message on the specific attributes and needs of the account." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How do I make an ABM campaign?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Follow these steps to make an effective ABM campaign: • Create a team that is dedicated to ABM only • Clear your goals and then make a strategy • Find your technology • Identify the right accounts • Pick the right channels • Execute your campaigns • Measure everything • Choose the messaging platform • Spread relevant content (messages)" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Why is ABM important?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "ABM supports structure marketing efforts and resources on your key accounts to drive the most revenue. Doing ABM will maximize the efficiency of your B2B marketing resources. It will also help build the communication channel with sales to have an aligned sales and marketing organization." } }] }

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Data-Driven Marketing: 7 examples of using data as a force for the good

Article | September 10, 2020

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter. You can’t work in the marketing industry these days without constant talk of data. Data-driven marketing. Big data. Marketing analytics. Facebook is worth more than $650 billion, and it’s not because cat pics and grilled cheese sandwich selfies are so valuable. It’s because Facebook is just a big ol’ bag of user data. But I must admit and you might find yourself in the same boat using data doesn’t come naturally to me. I work in marketing because I’m a creative, not a statistician. If you feel the same way, here is an analogy that changed my mind. I was interviewing Wharton’s Peter Fader and Sarah Toms. We were discussing how Electronic Arts used data to improve the product. “When they realized the power of the data that Pete was just talking about, they had a bit of a crisis about identity. They're like, ‘but we're a creative company. How can we now be all data, all the time?’” Toms said. Zach Anderson, the chief analytics officer at Electronic Arts, won over those creative hearts and minds with this analogy: Cooking competitions shows where the chefs are doing incredibly creative things with ingredients that are given to them. So data is really just another ingredient you have at your disposal as you make your creative take on a classic matzoh ball soup or marketing campaign. “Data is actually a good thing that they should be embracing because it allows them to be even more creative,” Toms said. So with that approach in mind, let’s look at a few examples of using data as a force for the good while improving marketing results. Example #1: Focused view of data helps nonprofit that sells through ecommerce identify the best opportunity for revenue increase Data can quickly become overwhelming. So many numbers. How do you find the opportunity? TenbyThree© is a nonprofit that actually sells products. The charity sells baskets created by artisans in rural communities of developing countries to help the artisans pull themselves out of extreme poverty. And it had a whole lot going on with its team pulled in many directions. Where to focus? That focus because particularly important with the rise of COVID-19. TenbyThree mostly sold these baskets in brick-and-mortar locations like Whole Foods Market, Disney theme parks and specialty retailers. But with the pandemic came a massive drop in foot traffic and thus sales, so the nonprofit has tried to increase ecommerce sales through its website. The MECLABS Institute team (parent organization of MarketingSherpa) worked with TenbyThree to determine where to focus its conversion optimization discoveries. This data analysis uncovered an opportunity hidden in plain sight product tags. Each basket sold in stores had a tag with information on how to connect with the individual artisan who created the basket by going to TenbyThree’s website. Very few customers were using this feature. If the tags could be optimized to get more people to use the website’s artisan lookup feature, that increase in traffic would also likely help produce an increase in sales through the website. In The Marketer as Philosopher Episode 2, The Data Pattern Analysis: 3 ways to turn info into insight you can see the methodical approach used to uncover this data insight to help you identify more opportunities in your own data. The episode also teaches viewers how to use a Data Pattern Analysis Tool (you can download the tool for free here). To get more data help, you can participate in a Live Coaching Session with Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute, on Thursday, August 20th 2020, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT. In this Q&A session, participants will learn how to set up and use the Data Pattern Analysis Tool, simplify their data with three key dials, and apply the principles of The Marketer as Philosopher: Episode 2 to their own company. Example #2: Targeted database helps tent maker pivot It would be an understatement to say that COVID-19 has forced businesses to make significant changes. We’re all living it, we all know the impact. But some changes are more difficult than others. When that change is to focus on a new ideal customer, it can be difficult to pivot quickly. Many companies have built their customer base and customer contacts over many years. This is where external data can be helpful. For example, TentCraft sells tents to event producers for concerts. But the events industry halted worldwide in March. While the team always knew they were too narrowly focused on just one industry and should diversify the business, they never got around to acting on it. But as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. Suddenly they needed to pivot their entire go-to-market approach and find a new target customer quickly. The team came up with the idea to turn concert tents into drive-thru COVID-19 testing facilities, but they never sold to hospitals and didn’t know any hospital administrators. The team looked for a way to quickly enter a new market without increasing overhead. They worked with ZoomInfo to get data and insights for hospitals and other healthcare systems. They used the company and contact search to quickly execute a layered approach. The marketing team would start with a broader approach to outreach building an outreach list of 2,000 to 3,000 contacts. Based on open rates, responses and conversations, they learned not only about the specific roles they should be targeting but also what their pain points were. The sales team would use this information to create a more targeted outreach list of 100 to 200 contacts and then tailor messaging and visuals to demonstrate how TentCraft could address the specific pain points. The click-to-open rate for the broader emails ranged from 15% to 28% while the more targeted lists typically ranged from 35% to 45% with a handful nearing 60%. Keep in mind, when you see those numbers, that this was all cold outreach. Because they had phone numbers, job titles and location data, the marketing team was able to supply this information to the sales team in real-time when emails were being opened and links being clicked. This helped the teams prioritize, move to conversation quicker and shorten the sales cycle. Over $600,000 in revenue disappeared in March alone, but during the first two months of this pivot the company booked more than $2 million in revenue, and April was the biggest revenue month in company history (during a pandemic with the core revenue shut off). They are now 12% ahead of last year’s pace. In the first month of the pivot, they went into contract with more than 100 healthcare facilities which, remember, is an industry the tent maker had no prior experience with. This pivot was reactive. And while it has worked out thus far, the mindset in the company has now changed. “A big takeaway for our team is that we need to always be pivoting to new markets, new products, features and partners. That means pairing speed and agility with execution,” said Matt Bulloch, President, TentCraft. Example #3: Test data shows the benefits of value sequencing for HR software There may be many elements of appeal in your company’s value proposition. But your customer may not be ready to receive them all at once. That’s why effective value sequencing is so important. Where in the customer journey should the customer be introduced to different elements of your company’s value? Data can help show you the way. David Richter wanted to use marketing data to discover how to position his company’s brand and the messaging used at each stage of the marketing funnel. Richter works for CIPHR, a software platform that serves HR departments. “It’s a crowded market, and in any one year we find ourselves competing with upwards of fifty different vendors. In terms of functionality, it’s incredibly rare that any one provider has a distinctive edge over the entirety of the market. If functionality does get developed that is a game changer, then it’s quickly replicated by other similar providers,” said Richter, Director of Marketing, CIPHR. The one thing that sets CIPHR apart, according to Richter, is its attitude to integrating its people management platform with specialist, third-party tools. Since larger competitors have strategically acquired complementary businesses, they are less incented to integrate with third-party tools they don’t own, Richter says. However, Richter had concerns about leading with this “connectivity” in marketing communications. “Connectivity is the USP (unique selling proposition) that CIPHR has hung our hat on in our marketplace and the position we want to build a strong brand around,” he said. “The trouble is that, at the initial point of engagement, most HR professionals, when looking for an HR system, aren’t thinking about what it can integrate with.” Including terms like “API” or “integration” in subject lines cut the HR SaaS platform’s email open rate in half. Approximately two-thirds of all sales leads are generated through CIPHR’s website, so getting the messaging optimized for conversion is essential. To prove to the senior leadership that CIPHR should tailor the focus of its messaging through each stage of the sales cycle, Richter’s team decided to try different messaging on various landing pages on the website. The landing pages were only used for PPC traffic from the same, exact match keywords with the same ads displayed to generate the click. Landing page headline #1 — Generic HR Software with benefits message, e.g., “HR Software that reduces admin and helps you to work more efficiently,” converts traffic to inquiry at 14.1%. Landing page headline #2 — HR Software with connectivity message, e.g., “HR Software with brilliant connectivity,” converts traffic to inquiry at 10.2%. Landing page headline #3 — Connectivity message with no mention of HR Software, e.g., “Connect your people data throughout your organization,” converts traffic to inquiry at 6.4%. Armed with this data, CIPHR’s leadership is now happy to lead with relevant, product and benefit-led messaging on the website (pre-engagement) that positions connectivity as the differentiator. “We now also have a strong lead nurturing campaign to educate leads about the benefits of connectivity,” Richter said. Example #4: Online meditation school’s A/B testing on blog doubles student enrollment rate If you engage in A/B testing, you can learn from real customer behavior to serve your customers better while improving results. Here’s an example. “In building our platform, we have seen immense success from using a data-driven approach for most of our marketing decisions,” said Kyle Greenfield, Founder, TheJoyWithin.org. “One example is how we used Google Optimize testing combined with heatmap and flow data from Hotjar to improve our blog layout.” The online school for meditation, happiness, and personal empowerment discovered that less than 1% of blog readers were signing up for a free meditation course. The bounce rate was between 79-81% even though most readers were spending three to five minutes on the site. The team tested two elements of the blog's layout the sidebar and one inline internal ad placement. The team tested a new approach to be more direct about different options new students have on the platform. They moved away from a banner ad with the headline “Discover a Clear, Modern Path to Bliss” coupled with a list of potential benefits. The new approach was a direct question to the user, asking “How Can We Help?” coupled with a one-sentence explanation of what was offered, and three possible paths: “learn how to meditate,” “increase my happiness,” and “manifest my dream life.” They tested different variations of this idea, and ultimately found that making the message clearer and more direct, with fewer graphics and design elements, resulted in better conversion. This change was combined with testing of the placement of the inline ad. It began as a top-line insert before the post. But the team discovered that users were more engaged when the ad was placed a few paragraphs into the blog post. The previous data informed this decision, since the team knew users were already reading the content and scrolling down the page. With this change, the team was able to more than double student enrollment rates and reduce bounce rate by 12.5%, to 70%. Example #5: Incubator generates 300 leads to help the fight against hunger For marketers looking to do good in the world, sometimes they overlook a data basic your website should have a landing page with the ability to capture data from those interested in helping the cause. For example, Not Impossible Labs (NIL) describes itself as a one-of-a-kind technology incubator and content studio dedicated to changing the world and making the impossible possible for individuals faced with a range of problems (what it calls “absurdities”). Most recently, NIL tackled the absurdity of hunger, made all the more pressing by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, NIL began working with Salesforce and Postmates on a prototype platform to feed insecure people at scale. The incubator created a text-based service that connects people in need of food with pre-paid, nutritious, to-go meals from nearby restaurants. A child or family in need of food can text “hungry” and the solution connects them with nearby restaurants with extra food that would likely go to waste. In March of 2020 when the pandemic hit the United States, NIL was in the midst of deploying programs across the country to serve some of the 42 million people, of which 15.9 million are children, who go hungry each year. How did they make it possible or should I say, not impossible to fight hunger? A marketing landing page. Verndale and Sitecore offered pro bono help to create a landing page on the site to capture information from visitors in a form connected to a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to store the data. “We kept everything simple, from messaging and experience design, to providing several frictionless pathways to get involved. More conversion points created more opportunities to engage,” said Ross Lucivero, Manager Director of Verndale's Los Angeles office. NIL was able to gather data on approximately 300 leads who were ready to give, partner, spread the word, nominate a new city or get involved in their local community. “The newfound capability to capture individual leads as well as scale our ability to re-engage audiences is a game-changer,” said Joseph Babarsky, Director of Strategy & Partnerships, Not Impossible Labs. That re-engagement relies on the ability to have the data about who has visited the landing page previously and then present another marketing message to them a call-to-action on the Not Impossible homepage for those who have visited the Hunger campaign page but had not converted through a form submission or donation. “This customized prompt re-engages informed visitors and drives them back to the campaign environment to take action,” said Liz Spranzani, EVP of Technology, Verndale. “If you have an open mind the seemingly impossible can become possible. You can see this proven time and again through the work Not Impossible Labs has done to help individuals with a range of disabilities and, of course, with their hunger project,” said Paige O’Neill, CMO, Sitecore. Example #6: The inner workings of a customer review site Most discussions I’ve seen about data use in marketing focuses on categorizing how the data is collected. First-party data is collected by the company itself, and third-party data is sold to you by a company that aggregates data from many other companies. In addition to how data is collected, you should also consider how customers experience data. I would categorize that data in two ways data you control and data you don’t. The data you control might be in your advertising or your website, like “Nine out of ten dentists recommend Brusha Brusha toothbrushes.” The data you don’t control can be shared in the press or social media, and especially on review sites. One example is a site called Best Company. “The entire mission of Best Company is to harness data to improve the decision-making process for consumers across several industries. As a company, we believe we are changing the world for good by empowering consumers to make the best possible decisions with their money. We are a truly independent and impartial review site, promising accurate rankings and honest reviews and refusing to reward unmerited ranks for money,” said Rebecca Graham, Content Manager, Best Company. What this means for your company is that customers’ product and service experience is also part of your marketing. The more you can control and optimize the experience, the more you can optimize this type of data for your brand. “When reviews are available for all to see, companies practicing business with high value and integrity will naturally emerge as reputable leaders, whereas less trustworthy companies drop lower in rank,” Graham said. You can also learn from these websites as well. They provide valuable customer intelligence about how your brand is being perceived by real customers as well as opportunities for social proof and third-party credibility you can leverage in your marketing. “For example, on business lender Lendio's reviews page, prospective clients can see breakdowns of the star ratings on 400+ verified customer reviews, including the ratings of sentiment criteria like value for your money and customer service. Lendio, which currently has an average of 4.7/5 stars from customer reviews, can leverage the data referenced above by sharing on social media and through content marketing and email marketing copy,” Graham said. So pull out your company’s value proposition, take a look at how you express it in your marketing, and then see where customers agree and disagree. Where can you learn from customers to express elements of value in your marketing that customers are experiencing but you’re not communicating well? For example, Cotton Mask Co. discovered that its face masks were especially helpful to hearing aid wearers by monitoring customer reviews, and pivoted its marketing accordingly. But also, take a good hard look at the reviews and determine where your brand falls short. Is it because customers assume your company has a certain element of value that isn’t part of your stated value proposition? If so, change your marketing to clarify. Or is it just that your company is not living up to its value proposition? In that case, you have the data to show why the marketing department should get involved in the customers’ product and service experience to improve it. Since consumer reviews platforms provide data to customers when they are considering a purchase decision, it is important for brands to understand how they operate. So I asked Graham for a bit of an inside look at Best Company. There’s some she couldn’t share (like how their algorithm works), but I hope the below mini-interview helps you get a better understanding of how this data about your company ends up online and a little more about the companies that put it there. MarketingSherpa: How do you make money? What is your business model? Rebecca Graham: Our two revenue streams come from: 1) Lead generation for affiliate partnerships 2) Business Suite subscriptions. Like many sites, we may be compensated through affiliate relationships with the companies on BestCompany.com. But we do not have any relationships with companies that guarantee or impact their ranking or score and we never will. A basic profile is free for any qualifying company in the United States. The purchase of our B2B Business Suite reputation management product can't bump up your brand's rank, but it can provide traffic-based insights regarding your profile page as well as enhance it for improved visual aspects and thoroughness, such as featuring product images and videos, adding an FAQ section and highlighting how you stand out from your competitors. MS: How do you get reviewers? How do you verify them? RG: Best Company receives thousands of review submissions each week. Every review that is submitted goes through a very thorough moderation process to ensure its accuracy prior to it being published on BestCompany.com. Reviews are generated in four ways: 1) Organic and direct traffic, i.e., from users visiting our site 2) BestReviews, our review generation process in which we collect reviews from customers on behalf of the company. We offer fully managed email and phone review solicitations for companies with customer contact lists as well as a custom form for companies to utilize for outreach themselves. 3) Reviews from charity and fundraising groups 4) Reviews solicited from our members ALL reviews, whether organic or company-solicited, are subject to our review moderation process, which include email address verification and analysis via our fraud threshold algorithm (the details of which we do not divulge in order to prevent companies from trying to “game” the system). Furthermore, Best Company reserves the right to reject or remove reviews that violate our standards, which includes content that does not relate to the company or company's service being reviewed, appears to be incentivized, or contains false information. We also encourage consumers to resubmit reviews with their most up-to-date experience with a company. MS: How do you ensure your data isn’t manipulated by companies to make themselves look better? RG: Here are a few of the protocols we have in place to ensure accurate claims regarding the data on our site: Companies are not given a numbered rank until they have at least 10 reviews on their profile. Badge accreditations are only made available to companies meriting them (such as #1 ranked company or a position in the Top 10) A company cannot hide or delete negative reviews from their BestCompany.com profile Best Company believes the moderated reviews published on its site to be valid unless proven otherwise by the company with factual evidence of false information, moderation errors, or duplicate reviews. More information regarding disputes can be found here. Example #7: Independent financial adviser cites his sources to build credibility This next example is a bit of a different take on using data in marketing, but I thought it was worth bringing to you because I’ve noticed the marketing industry has a rampant problem with crediting sources. There are so many bold-faced marketing claims that shout and brag. But why should anyone believe those claims? Alec Tuckman shared with me the story of a seminar he was conducting about stock market performance. He was frequently challenged by an attendee. “Not wanting to make him look bad in front of his spouse, I did not get confrontational or upset, I simply pulled out a thick notebook full of Wall Street Journal clippings I have compiled over the last five years,” said Tuckman, owner/operator, Wealth Management Partners of Los Angeles. Every one of those articles was supportive material for the statements Tuckman made about the market. While he didn’t get the business from that particular attendee, Tuckman felt that it gave him instant credibility. “Data is the best marketing tool,” he said. “Being able to cite a credible, well-known source gives you credibility.” But don’t just cite any data, or you may end up hurting your brand’s credibility. “Make sure the data is from a reliable source. I wouldn’t recommend quoting something you read from a friend on Facebook IM when you’re trying to prove you are an expert on a particular subject like the stock market. Make sure you are sourcing material from credible sources like Kiplinger’s, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Bloomberg,” Tuckman advised.

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At Banner, we have been planning media activity for over 25 years. From strategy and insights, planning and implementation, optimisation, campaign management and reporting, our attention to detail is second to none. We have experience covering advanced online campaigns, elaborate out of home placements, mobile and print targeting in emerging markets, in depth demand generation campaigns tracking through the sales funnel and more. We work with and have access to advanced technology but can just as easily work with your systems, specific planning requirements and reporting templates. We are here to make your life easier and most importantly, help you reach your marketing objectives. We’re also part of WPP and the Y&R brands network network, giving us access to specialist capabilities the world over – and access to the full buying power of Group M, with a wide range of services, research and planning tools.

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