Our perspective at VantagePoint

Understanding programmatic advertising: An infographic

Programmatic advertising: it sounds mysterious, automated and possibly a bit complicated. The truth? Yes, it is all of those things. But it’s also a cost-effective way to use digital advertising to target your audiences.

The traditional digital advertising method has been to HOPE the person you want to reach happens to read the trade website that people in their industry sometimes visit. While that method is still important and effective, programmatic takes things a step further. Programmatic places your digital ads directly in front of your target demographic wherever they are on the internet: trade sites, shopping sites, hobby sites, news sites — even mobile apps.

The result is that your advertising can be more effective, be more engaging, convert better and cost less. It’s somewhat complicated to explain, but thanks to our brilliant Media and Sourcing Director Pamela Wilcoxson, we’ve come up with a programmatic advertising infographic to help make it simple.

And if you decide programmatic advertising is for you, don’t forget to include this key, but increasingly missing, element in whatever you do.

VantagePoint Marketing Programmatic advertising infographic


Formulas for success: Use these 2 calculations to defend budgets & prove marketing ROI

During your company’s budgeting process for 2018, did you find yourself feeling nervous about being able to measure and report on the success of the previous year, or to defend your ask for the coming year? That’s common—especially if you find yourself in the same ol’ marketing routine.

As data becomes increasingly available and easier to manage, a good goal for 2018 is to focus more resources on areas where you can make a measureable impact — and in turn be able to confidently report on that impact next year at this time.

Here are two areas where some number-crunching might prove beneficial.

1)      Demand generation/customer penetration

Often, we see companies put a lot of effort into gaining corporate approval for a particular account, but then put very little effort into driving demand or finding new opportunities within that new account.

Consider creating a demand generation program targeting the individual decision-makers.

The following table can help predict profit impact of a program, which can then help you determine the right marketing budget to allocate toward it. This also helps you set your objectives, so you know what to measure against throughout the campaign.

# of decision-makers who can be reached% who will purchaseAverage product costTotal projected salesProjected profit (% of sales)

% that will purchase: This number should be variable across the rows, representing different potential conversion rates (I typically use 1-10%, depending on the call to action and the marketing environment)# of decision-makers: This number should be constant across all rows, and should be based on a list you know is available

Average product cost: The average price a customer actually pays

Total projected sales: Column 1 x Column 2 x Column 3

Projected profit: Multiply total projected sales by your profit margin

In the example provided above, if you invest $75,000 into the marketing program and target only a 1 percent conversion rate, you get a 166 percent ROI. I’ll take that — how about you?

2)      Lead Generation

Salespeople depend on quality leads, and a well-crafted lead generation program can make reaching sales quotas more realistic — and less stressful for everyone.

To determine how many inquires/leads your company needs to achieve those sales quotas, try gathering the following data (examples included) and running the math:

  • Sales quota – $5,000,000
  • Average selling price (ASP) – $10,000
  • The Rule of 45 (45 percent of people who inquire will be a sale for someone)
  • Your company’s closing rate – 20%
  • Percent of leads that the sales team is responsible for, as opposed to marketing  50%

Sales quota divided by ASP gives you total number of buyers you need. Divide that number by .45 and then by your closing rate. This gives you the total number of inquiries/leads you need. Finally, calculate the percentage for which marketing will be responsible.

$5,000,000/$10,000 = 500 buyers; 500/.45/.2 = 5,555 total leads; 5,555 x .5 = 2,778 leads

Once you have that number, you have the target you need to hit with your marketing plan. (Keep in mind that these leads will be spread out over the year, so if you don’t have enough leads in the pipeline from the previous year, you’ll want to add more to your goal.)

Luckily, there are many lead-generating tactics that are fairly easy to predict based on past performance and industry averages, such as trade shows, sponsored webinars, digital advertising and gated content. Often, a cohesive lead generation campaign driving traffic to the same landing page is a successful solution.

I know it can seem scary to document measureable goals because then it’s pretty evident when they’re not reached. That’s bound to happen occasionally as you test new methods and tactics — but the good news is that you’ll know what’s working and not working. And won’t that knowledge be helpful going into 2019 and beyond?

8 steps and 3 tips for getting the most from annual planning

Getting ready for a new year is a behemoth task for many marketers — and sometimes one that gets pushed until after the ball drops on New Year’s Eve thanks to shifting budgets or other operational priorities.

If planning for 2018 is still on your to-do list as January approaches — or if you just want to have another look at what you’ve already laid out — here 8 steps and 3 tips to inspire fresh thinking and help you prepare for a successful year to come.

Plan the work

There’s little good planning that comes from off-the-cuff ideas. Taking the time to think strategically about the year ahead and planning for needs and challenges is critical to ensuring goals are accomplished.

So, where do you start? Here’s an 8-step process for tackling a successful strategic plan:

  1. Start with the goals.
    What are the business goals, and what (reasonable) marketing objectives can help achieve them? For example, if the goal is growth, then generating leads might be the focus. If it’s to demand higher prices, then improving perceived value in the marketplace might be necessary.
  2. Review your audiences.
    In the B2B space, it may seem like audiences don’t change much over the years, but don’t put too much stock in that. Each year, review your target audiences and update your list of which value propositions matter most to each group. Also take some time to validate your persona of each group. As millennials enter into new roles, technology changes or various industry regulations add new pressures, things might change.
  3. Plot out what you already know.
    At this point, you should know what major tradeshows, product launches, annual sales meetings, training events or special anniversaries are planned for 2018 and even early 2019. Gather those dates into one spreadsheet, and pre-schedule internal planning meetings 3-4 months before each event.
  4. Consider each key “bucket.”
    Considering your goals and audiences, think through each category of marketing initiatives to see if any specific needs come to mind. Buckets to consider are branding, trade advertising, collateral, sales tools/support, training, digital and programs (i.e., customer acquisition, customer penetration).
  5. Review your current resources.
    What does your company have already that can be leveraged in terms of websites, social media, sales kits and other items? What can be improved? What can be expanded? What’s missing?
  6. Think about the bigger picture.
    Now that all the necessities and low-hanging fruit have likely surfaced, review the goals and audiences and determine where there might be other opportunities.
  7. Cross-reference the budget.
    Use historical data to assign budgets to each initiative on the list and compare that to your department’s budget. If you can’t get the funds to cover all that you want to accomplish, strike a few of the lower impact ideas from the list.
  8. Schedule and prioritize.
    Take that spreadsheet where you’ve plotted out key events and start to add in the other initiatives from your list. Not everything can be accomplished in first quarter, so place things throughout the year in a way that makes sense for workload, seasonality and potential for impact. Remember, you don’t need to have everything figured out from the beginning. As long as you know you want to pursue a lead generation campaign, for example, you can schedule when to start thinking through the details.

Of course things will come up that you can’t predict — that’s the nature of what we do. But having what you can predict mapped out ahead of time makes blocking and tackling the things you can’t foresee much easier.

Making it work

Once you’ve laid the groundwork, you may find that some of the things you’re planning are starting to feel a little too familiar. It’s all too easy to fall into a rut of offering the same kinds of solutions for the same kinds of challenges, over and over again.

But as our audiences’ attention spans get shorter and our marketing environment gets more complex, we certainly don’t work in a copy/paste kind of world.

So how do you know when to mix things up? Try these tips.

  • Identify areas where results aren’t where you’d like them to be.

Are your e-newsletter open rates falling?

Is there a message you’ve been trying to communicate that people don’t seem to understand or remember?

Do you have a program that used to be really successful but hasn’t had the same engagement levels lately?

  • Consider format. Maybe your message is valuable, but people aren’t interested in how it’s being presented to them.

It may sound like stepping back in time, but maybe your sales channel would read the newsletter more if they could take a printed copy with them on the road or pass it around to dealer counter staff.

A copy-dense brochure may be right for some people, but a more visual infographic with the same data points might be more appealing to others.

If your customers are accustomed to receiving the same kinds of promotions from you on a predictable basis, it’s time for a new approach to reengage your audience.

  • Take a closer look at content. Maybe the format is the right choice, but the content itself isn’t where it needs to be.

Can you use animation to liven up your videos?

Could you utilize neuromarketing principles to make your copy or design more effective?

Can you embed videos into your e-marketing to encourage higher click-through rates?

Can you get more specific and appealing with your CTAs and offers?

As marketers, we need to stay on top of what’s working, what’s not and when it’s time for a change — and annual planning is the perfect time to give this some serious thought.

The Tech Bus is Coming: 3 Ways B2B Marketers Shouldn’t Get Left Behind

I came across an excellent resource while browsing MarketingProf — an animated infographic that details trends in marketing automation, artificial intelligence and machine-learning, and how these emerging forms of technology are becoming more heavily utilized in B2B marketing environments.

While the content is bent more towards account-based marketing, the takeaways are relevant for all B2B marketing efforts in my opinion. The infographic is well worth reviewing in its entirety, but below are some of the facts and figures I found most interesting:

  • Influencer marketing is the fast-growing customer acquisition channel, rating higher than organic, paid search and email marketing. While influencer marketing (in some form) has been prevalent on the B2C side since as long as advertising has existed, it’s beginning to mature as a strategy with the use of social media, and it’s still a relatively untapped opportunity for most B2B marketers.
  • 88% of marketing leaders either use, or plan to use, marketing automation. Truly, if marketing automation isn’t a part of your plans as you look ahead to 2018, you’re in the vast minority — and you’re running the risk of being left behind by competitors. (See a recent marketing automation success story for one of our clients here.) On a related note, that risk is amplified even further when you consider the following:
  • 52% of customers polled wanted companies to personalize communications to them, or risk the customer switching to another brand — with a startling 65% of buyers/purchasers in businesses feeling the same way.  The takeaway is clear: personalized marketing communication has moved from a novelty that could give you a leg up to table stakes in the eyes of your customers.

For more statistics on newer tech relevant to B2B marketing, including AI and machine learning, see the infographic here, and sound off below on what important forms of emerging tech were left out of the graphic.

4 Things B2B Companies Can Learn from Publix Holiday Commercials

Christmas time is finally here! But I bet you’ve already realized that from the countless advertisements surrounding you, including the commercials that have been playing on TV since before Thanksgiving. In this onslaught of Christmas commercials, it’s easy for companies to get lost in the crowd with just another fa-la-la-la message. But some companies have learned to leverage more than the trees, presents and festivities that come with the season. Publix stands out as a prime example of how to tap into the meaning behind the season, which it does year after year in its advertising — and B2B companies can learn a thing or two from its heart-warming messages.

Why do Publix’s holiday advertisements stand out? For me, it’s the sentiment they elicit. All Publix commercial have a few things in common: they tell a heartwarming story, are centered around families, have a genuine approach and always have a happy ending. Here are four ways you can apply that winning strategy from Publix commercials to the B2B world at Christmas and beyond.

Tell a story. We all know this one. Rather than just showing off a piece of foodservice equipment, tell the story behind the ways it’s used. For a Christmas twist, show how a hospital uses your equipment to cook Christmas meals for families whose loved ones are sick and won’t be home for the holidays. Or maybe advertise the mail carrier stopping by the local coffee shop you supply after a long day of delivering presents.

Family ties. Don’t be afraid to leverage that your business is family-owned and operated. You can tie this into the holidays by sending out a Christmas card to current customers and prospects. It’s a kind and personal gesture to let them know you appreciate their business. Save a copy of each Christmas card and after several years, compile them into a piece that reflects how your company has grown or how it remains true to its family values.

Testimonials. Nothing is more genuine than a testimonial from a happy customer. Sure, you can toot your own horn all day long, but the music will sound a lot sweeter coming from someone else. As you grow your portfolio of testimonials and begin to advertise these, new customers will take notice and recognize you as a trustworthy company they will be happy to do business with.

Deliver on what you promise. Publix stories always have a happy ending. It’s important for you to deliver this happy ending to your customers each and every time. If you advertise delivery in a certain time frame, make sure you fulfill that promise. Following through on your promises is a sure way to get yourself on the nice list. 😉

Have you found inspiration in other holiday advertisements? Share your takeaways in the comments below. And while you’re looking to B2C for inspiration, check out what glasses maker Warby Parker can teach you about branding.

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