Bright Ideas

When’s the best time to hold a virtual event?

When’s the best time to hold a virtual event?

Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic on the 11th March. Since then, life has slowly been grinding to a haltAs social distancing continues to sweep across the world, businesses are having to quickly shift their focus from physical to online events to outlast the outbreak and meet the demands of remote working. 

As detailed in our recent blog post, Agile in Action: Transforming Events at Paceimplementing an agile approach for day-to-day services and creating immersive virtual events is a very real and viable way to quickly adapt and join the digital revolution forced upon usBut to get started, we need to answer an important question, when is the best time to hold a virtual event for global audience?  

Day of the week

At this point in our self-isolation, every day feels like a Sunday and all sense of normality feels like a long-lost concept. Whilst the days may seem to blur into one another, it’s still important to consider which day or days of the week would get the most views for your virtual event 

Win with #WebinarWednesdays

It’s long been suggested that Wednesdays are the best day for a webinar, and the hashtag is proof. However, it’s worth remembering how the data is comprised and that it’s also the most popular day to hold a webinar. Audiences may expect you to host it on a Wednesday, so attendance is likely to see a spike. But, if you don’t promote it well enough, there’s a chance your webinar may get lost in the noise 

Go rogue to stand out

Given the current working conditions, and with the hope of differentiating your virtual event from being put into the category of ‘another boring webinar’, choose an unexpected day of the week for your virtual event. We’re not advocating for a Saturday night presentation here. Opting for a ‘kick-start your week’ Monday session or a slightly more playful ‘fizz at four on Friday’, end-of-the-week kind of occasion may work in your favour. It’s a plus because you won’t be competing for virtual attendees.  

Time of day

When it comes to timings of a virtual event, put the most important people first your attendees.  

For example, if you live and work in America, but you’re targeting UK audiences, you may need to get up at an ungodly hour to ensure you’re making the most of the effective ‘power hours’ in the UK, and vice versa.  

Targeting specific audiences or regions

For most territories, hosting a webinar just before and after lunch works well around 11am or 2pm. There is no indication that this will change as a result of the widespread remote working. Keep an eye on your website analytics to see if there have been any shifts in user behaviour to adapt accordingly.    

Targeting a global audience

Things start to get a little more complicated here. The very nature of time zones means that you can’t please everyone. We recommend firstly prioritising your core target audience, and secondly, taking the necessary steps to limit the disadvantage of not being able to attend in real-time, thus making your event more appealing to all.  

If you’re offering live chats as a networking channel for attendees during your virtual event, keep them live or move them into some kind of forum. Those unable to attend can catch up on the conversation and contribute as appropriate in an ongoing discussion. And for all-day virtual experiences, plan the schedule so that keynotes and the most appealing activities are at the most popular times, ensuring you can capitalise on these incentives. 

Follow the data

Ultimately, don’t rely on your assumptions about what works best with your audience. Want help choosing the best time to hold a virtual event? Check out your Google Analytics to find out when users most frequently visit your site and interact with your content. That’s probably when you can expect them to tune in to your webinar.  

Are you looking to a build pipeline or simply boost engagement with your customers during this challenging time? The day and time you choose can make or break a successful webinar when choosing the best time to hold a virtual event. No matter what you choose, it’s important to adapt your timings to the behaviour of your audience. It’s important to always check your analytics as a first step. Our agile marketing methodology has shown the only way to improve your results is to test, learn and build, ensuring a brighter future once this crisis has passed. Interested in more content on Covid-19? Check out our recent blog posts including the ultimate working-from-home survival guide and Staying healthy in the wake of Covid-19 

Zoe MerchantWhen’s the best time to hold a virtual event?
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Driving leads with agile marketing

Driving leads with agile marketing

CMO point of view: Testing agile marketing to drive results

“Those who can best manage change will survive.”

Whether you attribute this paraphrased statement to Charles Darwin or someone else, it’s as relevant today as it’s ever been – particularly for Chief Marketing Officers and senior marketers.

To see why, just look around at unparalleled disruption from Brexit, Covid-19 and environmental factors such as climate change, combined with the pace of digital transformation. Technology and data are the catalyst for keeping pace and adapting. For those of us in the business of marketing technology and the products and services that surround it, campaigns have to be just as fast (and agile) to yield sustainable success.

I know it’s easy to say (or write) that CMOs need to leverage agility at pace. But we all know it’s not that easy to incorporate agility and run effective brand building and integrated campaigns. Sometimes it’s down to not having the right tools, not having the time to research what your competitors are up to, or how to change an internal culture used to waterfall ways of working.

Agile is no longer part of start-up thinking — but it’s being adopted by some of the biggest global players

Transforming all this takes time, and that’s a commodity few CMOs have these days. If this all sounds familiar to you, involving external experts (such as Bright), who specialise in agile marketing, can help you work out the best way to approach embedding new ways of working into your team and the wider organisation without impacting the day-to-day marketing tasks you still have to deliver on throughout transformation.

Getting started with agile marketing

Injecting agile might sound simple, but it involves a change of mindset in your team culture, new processes and sometimes tools or tech. If you don’t have the right skills in your team today, then seeking outside support accelerates that change, minimises risk and avoids the common issues that could undermine the transition. Use a Proof of Concept to research, test and learn what would work best for your organisation and team to start the journey, maintain momentum and embed the right model.

Fintech company injects agility to drive better marketing results

To give you a better idea of this all works, we’ve broken down the true story of how a CMO from a Fintech software and services company championed agile marketing transformation.

Specialising in providing real-time transaction control and enterprise integrity solutions, their sales cycle usually falls somewhere between six and nine months. However, they wanted to accelerate results over a three-month period, and with target accounts in the US and UK, they needed to drive results in both of these territories.

With all this in mind, the CMO wanted to understand if an agile marketing approach was the way to go. Our team needed to prove that it would help the organisation achieve the following:

1. Become more results focused

The agile method of testing, learning and iterating would let the team take more risks, try new approaches and know early-on if their efforts were working.

2. Achieve rapid time to market
‘Sprints’ had helped them get their software to market faster, so they wanted to apply the same approach to their marketing strategies.

[Marketing strategies] need to be scientific. CMOs need to set hypotheses and learn and optimise from every experiment – Zoe Merchant, MD at Bright

3. Become more adaptable
Knowing that software succeeds only when it’s been developed iteratively with a Proof of Concept (PoC), a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or prototype, they wanted the same iterative approach when going to market to cover the expected, and unexpected, over the three-month campaign.

4. Make data-driven decisions
The marketing team needed a steady source of data to quickly understand their performance and validate and share what they were doing.

The end game: 12 high quality opportunities in 12 weeks

On top of these results, the Fintech firm gained a framework that they can use to scale as they grow and build more campaigns. Alongside the results, this is a major value-add from the journey.

The client can now execute ideas, understand their needs, and meet expectations much faster. They get continuous feedback from marketing, sales, and their data, helping them align their teams with results and insight. What’s more, they now feel free to experiment with less risk, and confident that marketing with agility and pace will support their future business goals.

Lydia KirbyDriving leads with agile marketing
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Agile in action: Transforming events at pace

Agile in action: Transforming events at pace

How to create virtual experiences that deliver on business goals

During this current Covid-19 crisis, we’re all at home, all facing the same challenge of having to quickly adapt our business practices and processes for remote working, whilst maintaining communication with our teams, suppliers and wider ecosystems. This all calls for increased focus on marketing, a tool that’s now more vital to your long-term business success than before. To safeguard your pipeline and strengthen your brand throughout the outbreak’s disruption, you need to maintain momentum — business as usual is simply not an option.  Our new reality demands more creative ways to engage, share knowledge and build relationships online.

Rethinking the webinar

Virtual experiences and events have come a long way in the last few years and are now a valuable tool for building and maintaining engagement and driving revenue. But marketers need to think differently and creatively about virtual events today. Don’t just try to recreate a physical experience. Carefully and consistently promote your event, and once you have a captive audience, incorporate networking and knowledge sharing throughout the event. The tools and tactics aren’t important — be clear on the value for the customer, what they gain from engaging in your experience or event. Be compelling. Be a must-attend.

And there’s no reason to hesitate. Marketers can get on with promotion and delegate recruitment for an event long before the technicalities or hosting tool have been determined. Tool selection and testing can happen alongside promotion — so why wait?

Keeping content fresh

Mix up formats or scale events up or down. Blend large, livestreamed keynote speeches with canned content, or intimate expert QA and panel discussions with coaching and interactive working sessions. Whether your event is large or small, informal networking coffee breaks or special interest groups are all possible and make for a more compelling experience. And, you can get more bang for your buck if you record and reuse your event’s content for your social media channels and audiences.

Strive to create a fully immersive experience with storytelling. Asking the audience to play a role and actively participate in the event is a great way to land complex messages. Inviting participants to drive and engage with the content their own way in their own time also raises the likelihood of your content being consumed. 80% of content within an interactive experience is digested and gamification makes delivering messages fun and products and solutions competitive. These experiences can be part of the promotion as well as the event itself.

Now, more than ever, we need to be inventive in how we engage our audiences. We’ve been building an immersive experience to connect with our remote audiences that offers a new, exciting way to digest our content — and gives us plenty of data to continually improve our content.

Adel Du Toit, Head of User Experience and Digital Experiences at Boston Consulting Group

Top 10 ways to cut through the noise

Tick off this list to get your event or experience up and running quickly

  1. Value proposition: Create a strong value proposition for your event. Clearly state that your event is virtual and convey that it’s a good use of their time — what edge will it give them?
  2. Be agile: Test, learn and build on your success to engage and build your audience. Try out new tools and tactics or tackle new markets you’ve not considered before. Get started with an agile approach to marketing
  3. Nurture: Don’t forget to keep your delegates warm prior to the event. Tease new speakers, content or networking opportunities to get them energised
  4. Launch a preview: Show them what the experience will be like to encourage engagement before the event
  5. Don’t get stuck on the tools: You can start developing and promoting an event to gauge interest and engagement whilst you decide on whether you can use your existing tools or will need to invest in new tech
  6. Exclusive access: Use restricted or limited offers of access to subject matter experts or thought leaders in the field as a compelling call-to-action. These can be delivered through one-to-one live video chats and are a proven way to get sign-ups
  7. Book a meeting: If now isn’t a good time to talk, offer a call-back slot with a member of your sales team
  8. Be prepared: Make sure you rehearse. Everyone needs to be comfortable with using the event software and available features. Upskill your team, show you’re available and make sure your event is fully staffed — don’t leave people waiting for an answer in an online chat
  9. Be interactive: Poll your delegates and invite attendees to send questions pre-event to keep things really relevant and topical and avoid the dreaded question-answer lag during a keynote. Blend immersive and video content to maintain pace and excitement
  10. Be data driven: A virtual event or experience opens up data and insight across the buyer journey. Make sure your team knows how to analyse and use data to make informed changes to the promotion, or during the live event, to maximise engagement and conversion.

Consider your audience

Make sure you don’t move your physical event online without taking time to pinpoint your audience’s needs. Be sure to localise your content for your target audience, taking into account language and cultural differences, such as UK vs US English.

Be aware that their attention spans will inevitably decrease once online, but there’s a vast range of interactive tools available for keeping them interested. You can even use real-time data to better understand your engagement rate. During the event, tell your speakers to speed up or change tactics to minimise the risk of audience drop-off.

Making the most of your virtual experience

Now that everyone is at home, there are many benefits to well thought-out virtual events and experiences:

  • Global reach: Your virtual event will instantly become a global event. Plan for that, taking into consideration all audiences that may be compelled to join
  • Intent data: Build profiles based on content users who have engaged with your event to accurately track and predict their buying signals in the future
  • Behavioural tracking: Create more informed sales conversations using your built profiles
  • Lasting content: Host the event for a day, then allow users to access the content for weeks after, all whilst you build your pipeline
  • Warm pipeline: This all adds up to an engaged database of target contacts — just what your business needs to reach your long-term goals

Standing out from the crowd

There’s no doubt that this crisis will have a long-lasting impact on marketing and business in general. In these times of market uncertainty, the ability to adapt and create virtual experiences that are multifaceted and dynamic — not just broadcasted events — will be essential today and tomorrow for ensuring a more sustainable future for your marketing. Many of your peers are already out there pushing traditional webinars, so you’ll have to get creative to stand out and make some noise. In reality, you can’t completely replicate the in-person networking experience, but you can come close by building a global community in your virtual event. Through immersive storytelling, interactive QAs, and fresh content, you’ll unlock engagement and drive business opportunities for a brighter future.

Need some inspiration? Sign up for our Agile Marketing Club to see what an immersive virtual event looks like.

Credit to the fantastic team at TECHNIA for the image from their PLM Innovation Forum virtual event (launching on the 28th April), who had the vision for a sustainable event before Covid-19 forced the events world to pivot.

Outlast this outbreak with more Bright tips. See our guides to Working from Home and Supporting your Immune System.

Lydia KirbyAgile in action: Transforming events at pace
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The ultimate working-from-home survival guide

The ultimate working-from-home survival guide

Outlast the outbreak from your home office

As the Covid-19 crisis continues to engulf the world, it will undoubtedly change the way we work. You and your team are probably working from home already. You may have been given a timeline of two weeks or you have simply been told to stay home for the foreseeable future. Whilst a few days at home is a welcome, relaxing break from stressful commuting and in-person meetings, staying productive can be challenging and long periods of isolation can be damaging to your mental health and overall team morale. To help you stay sharp, positive and productive, follow these top tips for outlasting the outbreak from your home office.

Ensure a productive workday

Get ready as if you’re about to catch the Tube

Shower, eat breakfast and yes, get dressed. Whilst working comfortably in your cosy pyjamas on the couch is the most attractive aspect of working from home, it won’t help you snap into work mode. In fact, you’re more likely to feel tired and groggy. Plus, you’ll want to feel confident calling in to meetings — you’ll probably be asked to join meetings with your camera on, as companies will want to ensure effective communication during this crisis.

Write a to-do list

Once you’re up and feeling refreshed, you’re ready to tackle your to-do list. 30% of remote workers said they feel more productive with a to-do list. Grab a notebook and jot down things to do — work-related and personal — to help you plan your day. But of course, there’s an app for that too, if you’re looking for a greener option to task management.

Try to categorise or sort by morning, afternoon and evening to help you stay productive. Trust us, there’s nothing better than ticking off your list at the end of a day – and what a great excuse for relaxing at the end of the day!

Start working at your normal working time.

If you’re normally in the office at 8.30am, turn your computer on at 8.30am.  Even if you don’t have morning meetings, keeping your normal routine will help you get motivated quickly. The last thing you want to do is start late and end up working late to make up for it. However, you may decide you need to shift your working hours, and that’s fine. This is your chance to set a working schedule that works for you — and your health.

Keep track of tasks and deadlines

Stay organised

Along with that to-do list, it’s important to keep a list of objectives and deadlines for the day or week. You’ll also want to keep a clean desk, desktop and filing system. The latter is especially critical if you’re working in Microsoft Teams or Monday.com in which documents easily get lost without a standardised filing system.

Be active in group chats

Whether you’re using Microsoft Teams, Monday.com or Mural, be sure that you’re visibly ‘at work’. That might mean answering queries, posting a status update on what you’re working on, offering to take on a task, or participating in a public conversation.

Just remember that this doesn’t mean that you have to be furiously working and posting non-stop. You can take breaks. It’s perfectly fine to appear to be ‘away’ during the day. We’re striving to keep our normal working routine here, not turn you into a superhuman working-from-home machine!

Focus on your health

Schedule breaks

To build on that point, studies show that workers take fewer breaks when working from home. Perhaps it’s the fear of not being there to answer an email or IM. No one wants to look like they’re slacking. But you need to give your mind (and eyes!) a break from your computer screen every now and then, just as you do in the office. Set aside a few minutes a day to do yoga, make a cup of tea, read a book or go for a walk to clear your head.

But not all breaks are healthy. Mindless online shopping or Facebook browsing won’t help you focus later. See these tips on how to avoid taking unproductive breaks.

Don’t forget to eat

I know, sounds impossible right? But in reality, working from home can throw off your normal eating schedule. When you get so buried in a task at home, odds are there isn’t anyone there to invite you to lunch. Schedule an hour’s lunch break every day. Put it in your calendar if you need to, to remind you and your co-workers.

And during this crisis, it’s more important than ever to avoid junk food and binge-eating that can be detrimental to your health. Nutritionist Natalie Burrows offers top tips for eating well to support your immune system and prevent infection.

Get outside (if you’re not self-isolating!)

If you or someone you live with is showing symptoms of Covid-19, WHO recommends self-isolating in your home for at least 7 days to prevent the spread of infection.

If you’re healthy and not showing symptoms, you’re probably practicing social distancing — but that doesn’t mean you can’t leave your home.  As you won’t be walking to work or the Tube, your body will miss that little bit of exercise! Stretch your legs with a quick pop to the shop or a walk around the neighbourhood. To stay in peak health, be sure to get a bit of fresh air and vitamin D when you can.

Studies actually show that walking alone can boost your immune system dramatically. Men and women who walk at least 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week had 43% fewer sick days than those who walked once a week or less.

End your day at your normal working time

Surprisingly, studies show that working from home often leads to longer working hours. But shutting off at your normal time is important for your health. Just because you don’t have to commute, doesn’t mean you need to continue working. If you normally end at 5.30pm, sign off and close your laptop. Being available 24/7 won’t help you stay productive or impress your manager – it will only make you more tired, grumpy and ineffective, or worse, susceptible to illness.

Tips for managers

Trust your employees to do the work

This extended period of working from home will test your team’s ability to stay self-motivated and meet deadlines – and your management skills. Whilst it will undoubtedly be tempting, this is not the time to start micromanaging. Your team will need some time to adjust to working from home – balancing a work schedule from home with daily family life isn’t easy!

Plus, studies show that you have nothing to worry about. Remote workers tend to work a full shift and take fewer breaks. They actually end up working 1.4 more days per month than office workers on average! They’re also less likely to get distracted, and most find it easier to complete creative tasks when at home.

Communicate clearly online

So, how do you stay involved and in control as a manager but avoid turning into a burdensome micromanager? State objectives, tasks and deadlines clearly in your task programme. Assign and tag your team members to each task and be sure to answer queries as quickly as possible.

But whilst written communication is important and efficient, this is the time to focus on encouraging face-to-face communication as much as possible. Set up daily Scrum stand-ups, especially if your team is used to working in an agile way, and be sure to use video. This will help you provide key context, answer queries and avoid miscommunication.  If video calls and stand-ups are new to your team, send across helpful guides to let them know what’s expected from their participation.

Use the right tools

We’ve mentioned a few communication tools and software that we use, but you really have your choice of software for your team’s needs. Microsoft Teams is the perfect tool for chatting and collaborating, and Monday.com is handy for planning, tracking and assigning tasks. We’ve recently adopted the sticky-note app Mural for streamlining daily meetings and stand-ups. All are visually intuitive, simple and easy to use.

Boost team morale

Work hard, play hard — even at home! This extended period of time away from the office calls for a focus on keeping the team spirit alive and well. Plan virtual coffee breaks, lunches and games to bring the team together as often as possible (without overloading their calendar of course!). It’s important to open up time for chatting and banter, not just meetings. Here at Bright, we’ve set up Bright Olympics to play a few short games and chat over coffee to stay in touch.

We’re all in this together

The Covid-19 crisis is affecting us all. Businesses are now under tremendous pressure to keep things running smoothly but setting up remote working and ensuring productivity is a challenge for both management and the team. By following these tips, we hope you’ll be able to find and provide some much-needed security for your company in the year ahead. If you need help adopting new ways of working to support your newly remote team, schedule a virtual coffee break with the Bright team today or get started with an Agile Hub.

With extreme disruption across global markets from Brexit, Black Monday and the Covid-19 crisis, marketers who find new ways of working with agility and pace are more likely to thrive and survive during such uncertainty. Watch our webinar, a knowledge-sharing event about agile marketing transformation:  Explore the future of B2B marketing trends: agile marketing survey findings and QA.

For more tips on outlasting the outbreak, check out our latest post on Transforming events at pace.

Lydia KirbyThe ultimate working-from-home survival guide
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Getting started with agile marketing

Getting started with agile marketing

Agile Hubs are your key to unlocking integrated, sustainable marketing transformation

Digital transformation has been in the spotlight for nearly a decade and it remains well entrenched in the average business agenda today. But what about your marketing? How can it adapt to keep up with a changing business whilst meeting market demands?

There’s no doubt that organisation-wide transformation takes time, but marketing often seems to be preoccupied with business as usual or last on the list. Perhaps that’s because there are multiple forces at work in marketing that you’d have to bring into the transformation process. These typically include driving efficiencies, controlling costs, developing insight to drive continual improvement, and making effective use of emerging technology whilst improving your customer experience. And, whilst you make changes to your ways of working, you still need your marketing to demonstrate ROI, realise value in the short term and meet your business goals – smooth marketing transformation is therefore vital to the business as a whole.

It’s a lot to manage, think about and plan for all at once. So, where do you start? It is possible to transform your marketing to drive results that support your business goals, all whilst maintaining activity, but it’s a complex process. Having worked with many companies who are embarking on change, we know how important it is to approach this in a systematic, yet adaptable way – through testing, learning and building on success.

Driving results whilst changing at pace

Introducing Agile Marketing Hubs – your personal resource of marketing expertise and innovation. It’s where your in-house team, suppliers and specialists come together to work as one, strong, fully blended team of experts to effectively embed agile ways of working into your culture and operations.

Through hands-on experience in agile delivery of your marketing content, you’ll see greater productivity, energy and collaboration in your marketing team. Agile hubs are the answer to complex marketing transformation and a proven alternative to restrictive traditional techniques or reactive, ad-hoc and unstructured ways of working.

Demonstrating the value of your marketing

As you continue to work in an agile way, continually learning, building and improving, your team will begin to naturally work together more efficiently and effectively. You’ll also enable more cross-collaboration between different stakeholders and teams in the business – encouraging valuable knowledge-sharing and proving the power of your marketing to drive business goals.

Our tech and consulting clients in high growth and large enterprises have all reported seeing the following benefits from adopting an Agile Marketing Hub:

    Faster time to market   Data-driven decision making
 Proving marketing ROI at pace    Productivity and up-skilling
   Clear KP and objective settingScalable agility and innovation

 

In our recent survey, 75% of those who have been practicing agile marketing for more than a year had a better understanding of the power and impact of their marketing. It’s clear that these benefits increase exponentially with prolonged practice of an agile approach.

Fired up to ignite agility in your marketing?

As your company undergoes digital transformation or needs to rapidly adapt in uncertain times, your marketing needs to keep pace with the market and maintain daily operations. This is a complex challenge that requires time and resources as well as constant support from business leaders and marketing experts.  Many struggle to get started and simply lack the tools, support or know-how to embed agile ways of working into their marketing.

With Bright’s Agile Marketing Hubs, you can ignite agility and ensure seamless, integrated and sustainable marketing transformation – with the tools, tactics and concepts you need to drive better results and meet business goals.

Ready to get started? Get in touch to set up an Agile Hub for your marketing today.

Download our report on the Future of B2B marketing to find out the latest insights in B2B marketing and how agile plays a role in transforming the future of marketing.

Sian HeaphyGetting started with agile marketing
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What is Agile Marketing?

What is Agile Marketing?

It’s not just a buzzword – defining what agile marketing is, what it means for B2B and why it works.

This is the era of Agile. The ascendancy of experimentation and strategic thinking. The reign of data-driven insights. No matter your industry, everyone seems to be ‘going Agile’. Truth is, following the tech and internet revolution and the rise of Silicon Valley, every industry has had to shift to a more tech and data-driven mindset. And marketers are no different, what with our constant need to be customer centric at the forefront of market change.

But what does it actually mean to be agile in the B2B marketing industry? How do you apply an agile approach to your marketing? Most importantly, why would you leave your proven, traditional marketing techniques behind for new ways of working?

Breaking it down

To put it simply, agile marketing is exactly what it sounds like – the application of agile methodology across your marketing. However, that doesn’t give us enough to apply it effectively. In fact, you need to consider your organisational goals and how to drive the change in behaviour that’s needed for embedding a new way of working with your people, process and technology. Agile has a lot of its own lingo, so let’s take a deeper look at the key terms you’ve probably come across, and how they all work together to form an agile marketing approach.

The Basics

Agile Methodology

In 2001, visionary software developers wrote the Agile Manifesto, highlighting the vital importance of discovery and experimentation in software development. To help others build better, more customer-centric products, they detailed the need for “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change over following a plan.”

Agile ways of working

Adopting an agile mindset demands redefining your marketing operational model. Where traditional marketing is restrictive, agile emphasises the freedom to be daring in your concept creation and tactics. Rather than spending months planning a solid campaign strategy, an agile marketing team takes a minimum viable approach to take an idea to market as fast as possible in order to test it with the target audience. This of course requires greater collaboration and more effective communication across teams. Don’t worry though, the hard work pays off in the end – with a noticeable boost in efficiency and productivity.

Data vs. insights

We could write an entire book on the importance of being data driven. In short, there’s a clear difference between simply gathering data about your target audience and using that data to your advantage. The most important aspect of an agile marketing approach is to turn your data into actionable insights – really dig deep into who your audience is and what solution they need, to help you build marketing strategies that make an impact.

 Sprints

Having adopted agile ways of working, your marketing team will start running campaigns in short bursts – usually within two or three-week intervals called ‘Sprints’. In Sprint 0, you’ll set up data tools to continually gather insights, and create content needed for the campaign. In Sprint 1, you’ll send it all out and test it with a specific section of your audience – say, your followers on LinkedIn. Then, in Sprint 2, you’ll take what you learnt in Sprint 1, iterate, and test again. And so on and so forth.

The Process

Test

So, how do you test, learn and iterate the agile way? By taking your concept to market as fast as possible, you’ll gain valuable time for measuring its effectiveness with your target audience. Did anyone click on your ad? How many responded to your emails? Did you receive any negative feedback about your content or design?

Retrospective

At the end of each sprint, you’ll take a hard look at those actionable insights. Taking note of what worked best with your audience and what failed to impress will help you gain a better understanding of your customers’ needs and what you need to do to reach them in the next Sprint.

Iterate

If you’ve learnt that your concept is working – great! Keep going and expand it to a wider audience. If it isn’t, change it up with a new image, subject line, USP, etc. In this iteration phase, you’ll make all improvements needed to get the results you want in the next Sprint.

This is an infinite cycle of continual testing, learning and improving that you can use throughout your campaigns and projects.

The Benefits

Agility

It’s clear that an agile marketing team is more efficient, effective and empowered. With an agile mindset, your marketing team will work more collaboratively to produce and experiment with new ideas that are more daring and innovative. What’s more, they’ll gain the skills to spring into action when needed, ready to adapt their campaigns and strategies accordingly.

 Keeping Pace

Injecting agility into your marketing, is the key to keeping pace – or keeping up- with constant change in the market and the ever-changing demands of your customers. Without a doubt, this is one of the best benefits to adopting an agile marketing approach – the ability to accurately identify and take advantage of opportunities in the market for business growth and brand development.

Fit for purpose

With an agile marketing approach, you’ll see better results and improved performance. What’s more, it’ll become fit for purpose – perfectly aligned with your business goals.

The Future is Agile

There you have it, a clear breakdown of what it means for B2B marketing to be agile. As our world continues to become more digital and tech-focused, the agile approach will continue to evolve with the market, steadily gaining momentum in its influence.  Adopting agile marketing and data-driven ways of working will become essential to success in B2B marketing.

Want to learn more? Check back next week for detailed look on Getting Started with Agile Marketing!

 

 

Lydia KirbyWhat is Agile Marketing?
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2020 B2B marketing: 5 trends to watch

2020 B2B marketing: 5 trends to watch

Ensuring a bright 2020 by keeping pace with market change

If you’re active in B2B marketing, you know that change in the tech and consulting industry is nothing new – and nothing to fear. Within the past decade, we’ve seen digital disruption and transformation drive market change in service and product delivery and impacting how we go to market and reach our target audiences effectively.

In B2B marketing, we’ve dramatically changed how we plan, manage and run campaigns – whether it’s putting data insights to work by injecting agility or using personalisation to keep up with shifting markets. The rise of digitally native audiences has also forced B2B marketing to move much of its activity online.

Now, as we enter a bright new decade, we’re about to see even more changes – our ways of working need to evolve to maintain pace and engagement, and use data and insights effectively to build relationships and convert the right people at the right time.  To help you prepare, we’ve gathered the top five trends in B2B marketing this year.

1.    Agile marketing will take charge

Centred around collective, cross-functional and collaborative working in which projects are completed in short periods called sprints, agile marketing lays the foundation for continually testing and iterating your marketing ideas – proving what works and what doesn’t to ensure better marketing results, business outcomes and overall ROI.

But agile working isn’t just about process and technology – there are cultural considerations to bring your organisation along on the journey. McKinsey research found that companies who adopt agile ways of working simultaneously achieve greater customer centricity, faster time to market, higher revenue growth, lower costs, and a more engaged workforce. Learn more about B2B agile marketing.

Why it will matter in 2020

B2B marketers are under more pressure than ever to demonstrate results from marketing investment, and this is expected to drive a rise in agile marketing adoption in 2020. Firms will need to understand and apply new ways of working to align and meet business goals whilst keeping up with ever-changing markets. Agile marketing brings the best of entrepreneurial thinking, start up ways of working and allows enterprises to innovate at scale.

If you aren’t already, this is your chance to really understand your buyer journey and make sure your marketing is driving revenue at every stage of the client lifecycle. By becoming more agile in your approach, you’ll take advantage of the latest trends and market changes to place your customer at the centre of your business.

2.    Partner experience comes of age

Partner experience (PX) has long been a neglected area of marketing. If you want to continue to grow and maximise every revenue opportunity available, then looking at your channel strategy is crucial. The key is to treat your partners as a proper audience – understand their user journey and what they need at every stage.

With an enablement perspective, you can exploit new market opportunities and unlock revenue through your channel. Injecting agility into PX is a great way to start small, such as a partner accelerator or incubator for select partners to supercharge their sales and marketing efforts; or territory specific partner acquisition campaigns to onboard more partners where you need them most. You can test, learn and build on success to create a solid and scalable PX experience.

Why it will matter in 2020

Forester predicts that marketing decision makers will rank improving partner experience on par with improving customer experience in 2020, and both will rise to more than 50%. That’s a significant shift that matches the speed of change we’re seeing in the tech industry. Injecting agility is critical if organisations are going to keep up with competition and build more channel share.

Give your partners the experience they need to support and sell more of your tech and services, and don’t be afraid to stand out and make better use of video, immersive and social prospecting to accelerate traction within and for your channel.

3.    Personalisation at the heart of B2B

Personalisation has been a marketing buzzword for years and the concept of creating personas to form better buyer journeys shouldn’t be new to you. However, we’re about to see increased personalisation in B2B, specifically with a fresh look at how we’re maintaining continuous communication and opening up meaningful dialogue with our key audiences and clients.

Why it will matter in 2020

Gartner research shows that organisations that have fully invested in all types of personalisation will outsell companies that have not by 20% in 2020.  B2B marketers need to step back and think about how they can become more relevant to their key audiences to drive engagement and build relationships for the long term. This must be approached strategically with a willingness to rapidly test and learn in order to be credible and authentic.

Often, marketing can be heavy handed – rushing in with a sales message on a first communication (no one likes a pushy first date!). By using data and insight about the organisational state and target audience, you will be able to craft and deliver relevant, timely and engaging comms. Don’t rush building a credible relationship – be authentic. Senior decision makers have no interest in continuing dialogue with shouty, salesy firms that don’t effectively demonstrate that they have something of value to offer in exchange for their attention.

4.    Predictive analytics will become a key driver to success

One way to support your personalisation techniques is with better data insights from predictive analytics. Predictive analytics is the concept of using your data insights to measure marketing activities, identify trends and predict opportunities to create unique, tailored experiences across each stage of your client buyer journey and throughout their client lifecycle.

You probably have data sat within your existing systems and tools that isn’t being effectively used to identify intent and accelerate your buyer journey. Gartner predicts that profitability will replace customer experience as the CMO’s No. 1 strategic priority in 2022. Using data and insight to make strategic decisions and to drive agility and pace in your go to market strategies will be key to understanding marketing performance and contribution to business goals and profitability.

Why it will matter in 2020

Forrester says that 89% of marketers will use more predictive analytics in 2020. To keep up with the competition, the best thing you can do this year is to make your marketing more data driven.

Evaluate how you’re obtaining, measuring and analysing your data and most importantly, if you’re making the most of your data insights. Then, adopt an AI and predictive analytic tool to deliver insight that will support driving marketing effectiveness and align with business goals to demonstrate success at a business contribution level through marketing performance.

5.    Automation and integration will start to drive autonomous marketing

Automation tools help marketers schedule and publish content, manage teams and analyse data from multiple sources in one, centralised place. With the proliferation of marketing tools, more streamlined integration will enable better insight and allow marketers to focus on maximising the client experience at every stage of the buyer journey.

Manual tasks are starting to become more easily automated, giving you more time to devote to value-adding activities, such as writing longer-form content and offering greater customisation of your services. Find out more about B2B marketing automation.

Why it will matter in 2020

Evaluating and integrating your existing toolset will create quick wins and allow automation to run sequences autonomously to improve conversion rates and engagement with your key audiences. And, automation isn’t just for external marketing – internal comms will benefit from applying the tools, tactics and automation internally to drive and measure employee engagement.

Marketers need to adopt new ways of working to make the most of your marketing technology. With an agile approach, you’ll zoom in on areas of underperformance to drive improvements, and overperformance to understand and repurpose successful automation into other areas of activity.

In summary

2020 will be the year for progressive transformation within B2B marketing. Traditional marketing just won’t make the cut going forward. By understanding how best to adopt agile marketing as a new way of working, streamlining processes and combining the right tools and tech, you’ll be able to adapt and drive change whilst putting your data insights to work to build stronger, clearer marketing strategies for an ever-evolving market.

Want to understand how to get started with agile marketing and transformation? Get in touch with our marketing experts.

 

Zoe Merchant2020 B2B marketing: 5 trends to watch
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Making the most of your martech stack

Making the most of your martech stack

How to optimise your existing marketing tools and empower your team to use them effectively through agile ways of working

The world of martech (marketing technology) can be quite a murky place. What tools are out there? Which ones are best for your needs? And how do you make them work for you to achieve your goals? Let’s wade through the muck to find the answers.

Picture this: You’ve got data spread across your organisation in various CRMs, data lakes and even a few Excel sheets. To put it plainly, your data has more duplicates than an identical twin convention – but you know there’s valuable customer and prospect data hidden deep within, just waiting to be utilised. If only you had the tools to get it all in order, you’d be the marketing Rockstar of your organisation!

And so begins your quest for the latest and greatest martech tool, suffering through demos with approximately 34 different sales reps. They make each tool look better than the last and you agree that you would like to use every single one. But, here’s the catch – you don’t actually need them. Well, not all of them at least.

Fix before you buy

Like the old adage that your mother used to say, “we have food at home” – or in other words, take a look at what you already have, then decide what you really need. So, before you go on that endless hunt for a new marketing tool, make sure you’re really making the most of your current tools and take a real look at the goals you want to achieve. To do this properly, there are two crucial places to start: data and education.

Get your databases clean, up to date, and most importantly, compliant, before deciding on your next steps, or you risk falling into the same pitfall as many organisations before you. You’ll take your bad data from one tool to the next which then won’t deliver any tangible business benefits, because guess what? The data you’re feeding it is terrible. You’ll need a solid foundation to clean your database – clear targeting criteria and personas.

The next step is to make sure your team is using your marketing tech properly. Take marketing automation tools for example – we love them for the power they give us to run campaigns, send emails, create landing pages and much more with great ease. Their downside? That power is available to all your colleagues, and the temptation to abuse it is strong – why not send this email to a few more personas? Will it really hurt the click / open / bounce rate? Yes, yes it will.

And on top of that, marketing automation tools will happily put restrictions in place to stop unnecessary email sends that may hurt their bounce rates. Suddenly that great tool you had doesn’t look so shiny and bright when you have one hand tied behind your back because the new marketing intern sent the quarterly newsletter to your entire database. How can you avoid this? To quote a mid-90’s Tony Blair, ‘education, education, education’.

Inject agile into your marketing

A simple solution is to adopt agile ways of working.

With a test, learn and build approach, your team will gain the skills and know-how for using and optimising your tools properly and effectively. With an expert team you can trust, you’ll make the most of your existing tools while testing new tools with ease. What’s more, you’ll learn to integrate and maximise the value of your automation tools across your business as a team – streamlining marketing activities and delivering reports with clear KPIs.

It’s easy to assume that the perfect martech mix is only achievable with the latest top tools on the market.  However, the more you invest in your current marketing tools with greater support, knowledge-sharing and training within your team, the more value your users will get out of your system – making it more effective and better performing. A winner all round. Rock on, Rockstar.

Want to learn more about agile marketing? Check out our agile marketing hubs.

Lydia KirbyMaking the most of your martech stack
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A favo(u)rite game: Localising content for British and American audiences

A favo(u)rite game:  Localising content for British and American audiences

In 1773, the Americans dumped 342 chests of British tea into the Boston Bay. In 1775, they thought they had seen the last of us when they sent our Redcoats home.  Yet, in 2019, they’re still speaking the Queen’s tongue…or are they?  While we may seem to speak the same language, the truth is that there are many surprising differences between British and American English and they are a powerful force in affecting meaning.

But if you’re not a linguist, why should you care about the differences between British and American English? Because while Content may be king, Localisation is queen, and she rules with an iron fist. All marketers must learn to localise their content in order to connect with British or American audiences.

Localisation is the art of adapting your messaging to the language requirements and cultural preferences of your intended audience. In truth, it’s the key to generating leads in cold marketing and a simple way to make an impact in a new market. Decide against localising, and you risk damaging your global brand. The last thing you ever want to do is break the connection between your audience and your marketing message.

For example, try telling an American that you’d be happy to discuss your offer in a fortnight’s time once they’re back from holiday, or that they can avoid the queue by filling in the timetable attached – pip them to the post, mate! Not that you would ever write either of those sentences, but you get my point – use the wrong dialect in your messaging and you’ll only succeed in confusing your audience.

To help you drive better marketing results, we’ve gathered the following comprehensive list of the differences between British and American English. Consider it your go-to guide for localising your content with ease.

Looking to further improve your marketing results and performance? Check out how we achieve results at pace through agile marketing.

Lydia KirbyA favo(u)rite game: Localising content for British and American audiences
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What successful business events really look like

What successful business events really look like

‘Let’s do an event.’ Four words that often send a shiver down my spine. I have worked in the marketing for more years than I care to mention. From supplier side to client side, there is nothing quite like the buzz of seeing something that you have been tirelessly planning for months, come to life. I’ve been involved in planning almost every type of event – sell-out club nights, corporate team building, extravagant weddings, even more extravagant barmitzvahs, concerts, residential conferences and private dinners. But still, when a client says to me ‘let’s do an event,’ it unnerves me.

Don’t do an event for the sake of it

Firstly, business events should never be done for ‘event’s sake’. Without a clear, measurable objective, they run the risk of being an expense with no real demonstrable benefit (I’m sorry but profile raising is not enough).

Do you want to make new connections and cultivate warm prospects? If so, then a well-thought out recruitment plan needs to be laid out before you even set a date.

This will give you the best chance of getting the type of person that you want there to actually attend, and in turn, make the investment worthwhile.

What are the takeaways?

Holding an event to demonstrate your expertise is ultimately the reason why anyone goes to any event. I don’t go to see my favourite band at a concert because they’re average, I go because I think they’re great at what they do (I have deliberately not named them to prevent any weakness in my logic being attributed to personal taste).

However, for a successful business event, there has to be more than just telling everyone how good you are at something. Whilst some people will turn up to the opening of an envelope, the ones that you want to meet probably won’t.

So there needs to be a draw: an easily identifiable, well-positioned message that explains what people will get out of attending. This message will vary, depending on the type of person you want to attract.

  • Are you aiming to teach them something? If so, make sure it’s something they don’t already know inside and out.
  • Are you going to introduce them to their peers? If so, think about whether they will actually want to meet their peers in your chosen setting.
  • Or are you simply going to ply them with free food and drink in the hope that it is enough to make them want to part with their money, and give it to you?

Do it right or don’t do it

All this boils down to having an iron clad business objective and creating an event that is pitched at the right level, to the right people, in a setting that will appeal to them.

Once you have this down, and everyone who needs to be has been included in the concept (which is another blog post altogether), it’s time to plan.

This is the part that makes me happy –a thorough plan, a strict timeline and a smooth project flow. I like a good 12 weeks to plan an event to ensure that all logistics have been covered – venue, catering, invitations, AV – but all too often, the most important part is overlooked.

If you don’t have the right people there, it doesn’t matter how good your canapés are.

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Lydia KirbyWhat successful business events really look like
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