All posts tagged: lead generation

Four ways agile marketing accelerates company growth

Networks help businesses survive. Getting the clients you don’t know, that’s how businesses thrive 

Marketing acts as a business accelerator by reinforcing sales efforts to push beyond existing networks and generate a new pipeline of quality leads. Your personal network will help your business survive but seeking clients beyond this will enable your business to thrive. Here are four ways agile marketing will help you achieve growth.  

1.  Refine your value proposition 

It doesn’t matter how amazing your offering is, if the messaging to present this to the market doesn’t instantly catch your target audience’s attention, then you’ve lost them without even showing your work. A value proposition is a promise of value and is arguably the most important part of your overall marketing messaging. This needs to be a clear statement that tells prospects why they should invest in you. 

Nobody wants the first thing they read about a brand to be a long-winded evaluation of something unrelated to the core offerings. People want to know how you’ll save them time or money, or where they can find some tasty chicken. And that’s why the following brands have thrived. 

Use Uber and you’ll get a ‘ride at the touch of a button’. Choose L’Oreal because ‘you’re worth it’. Head to the KFC, and you know you’ll leave with a ‘finger licking good’ meal. 

All these brands have spent time clearly defining their product or service offering. They have developed a unique value proposition, branded it, marketed it, and capitalised on it. All things that fall into a marketer’s remit In in the words of Kevin Hochman, brand president and chief concept officer for KFC: “When Kentucky Fried Chicken was at its best and growing the fastest, the Colonel and his values were at the centre of everything we did. … Those values are critical to what makes Kentucky Fried Chicken so great.” 

But what happens when your business has a little more meat on the bones and can’t be served deep fried in a bucket? 

“Marketing is invaluable in helping businesses to explain their services concisely, so that someone easily understands what you do and why they should buy from you – which is of course key to helping your business grow” – Steve Anderson, Managing Partner at Capitalise. 

In short, take time defining the values that make your business such a tempting service – it’s what separates you from your competition. Once established, amplify your value proposition to targeted prospects in a way that resonates with them long after they’ve engaged. In doing so, you’ll remove unnecessary hurdles and instead, give them every reason to invest. 

Read more analysis from industry experts in our eBook:  “Marketing as an accelerator” 

2.  Build a pipeline 

Less is sometimes more – even in the world of business. 

Forrester – a market research company – found that 99% of leads never convert to customers. While high numbers look impressive on paper, sales need revenue, not thousands of cold leads in the top of a funnel. This shift from quantity to quality in the B2B space is what prompted the evolution from lead generation to pipeline marketing and now maximisation of customer lifetime value. 

Rather than focusing on generating new leads, pipeline marketing concentrates on delivering customers. It does this by aligning marketing and sales’ decision making and goals with revenue generation – not campaign diagnostics. 

The pipeline approach is about specifically targeting the customers you want, and those who will benefit from your offering, rather than exhausting your efforts on everybody who owns a computer or email account. Paul Beaumont, Growth Director at Equiteq, views the pipeline as an extension of the value proposition; “once you’ve defined the value your business offers, you can be clear about the clients you’ll market to, and your messaging”.  

It’s also worth noting that when it comes to lead prospecting, the more successful businesses don’t buy their fuel from the pump. They also don’t rely solely on personal networks. Instead, they build and nurture a pipeline to maintain velocity in their sales stream. They keep their database up to date, too.  

According to LeadGenius data, more than one-third of a business’s contacts become outdated each year, with data becoming dormant at a rate of more than three percent each month. While GDPR gave companies a good reason to audit their database, cleaning data is a necessary evil that needs to be completed regularly. Not only does it keep marketing and sales efforts meaningful, it allows you to effectively monitor the health of your sales life cycle and tweak where necessary. 

3.  Establish your brand – inside and out 

While consistency in external-facing work is self-explanatory, internal marketing is just as important when it comes to sales. Why? It’s about recognising the foundations of your business, building a brand on those values and remaining true to these as you grow. 

  • It establishes a powerful emotional connection between your team and your products/services 
  • It creates staff loyalty, as you’ll give them a reason to buy into the company vision 
  • Without that connection, it’s likely your employees will undermine the expectations set by your advertising 

It’s often easier to live and breathe certain company’s values when these have remained mostly unchanged during a company’s history. However, when a company experiences a fundamental change (new management, acquisition, new team structure, etc.) most experience some form of internal resistance. 

Few people like change, and during this time, employees will be seeking direction from senior employees. Seniors on the other hand will be hoping to squash unproductive rumourmongering. These turning points are ideal opportunities for an internal branding campaign to direct people’s energy in a positive direction, to harbour a consistency of thinking across the business and to vividly articulate the value proposition. 

4.  Attract buyers 

If your company is already making the right noise in the marketplace, it’s likely buyers will come to you with interest. But this is just the first hurdle. 

Buyers often make judgements based on first impressions and gut instincts. Expect this and ensure the complexities of your business’s “story” are captured in marketing materials – not just the financial statements. Without presenting a strong narrative, buyers are unable to understand that last’s year numbers were down because a squirrel caused a company-wide blackout, costing the company in downtime –  it happens more than you think. 

Mike Altendorf notes, “buyers will often look for businesses that have an effective and proven marketing strategy and delivery model – but it’s also key to attracting the attention of the buyer in the first place.” 

Another important factor for buyers is the longevity of the business they’re about to buy. This includes having confidence in revenue streams and staff retention. 

A company is far more attractive to a potential buyer when their bottom line doesn’t depend on only one or two large clients. Having a holistic marketing strategy in place shows that you have considered activities that drive growth and new business opportunities. Using an agile marketing approach shows alignment between your marketing and sales team – a task your new investors will not have to orchestrate. A healthy pipeline is equally influential as it will demonstrate movement in the sales stream and pinpoint successful tactics to build on. 

Strong internal branding and communication can also bring confidence to investors, as employees are more likely to be loyal to the brand, rather than to individuals. This is important because potential buyers need to know that key employees won’t jump ship after a sale, and that the business is capable of growing with new management or in your absence. 

Accelerate with agile marketing  

Using our unique capabilities and agile marketing methodology, Bright helps build integrated campaigns and marketing transformation projects that drive success for your business in both the short and long term. We enable businesses to accelerate growth quickly and profitably — triggering a positive impact, without the disruption. 

For more in depth analysis on how you can leverage marketing to enable fast growth, download our latest ebook:  “Marketing as an accelerator” 

 

Martha OrglesFour ways agile marketing accelerates company growth
read more

5 B2B marketing trends to watch in 2021

The disruption caused by the global pandemic has led to some profound changes in our values, attitudes and behaviours to both our personal and work lives. For B2B marketers, this has accelerated the adoption of some existing trends, such as digital transformation and the increased use of data to understand and respond to changes in buyer behaviour, and embedding new ways of working through a more agile approach to marketing. It also helped to create some interesting new trends which we expect to see gain momentum in B2B marketing in 2021.

Customer centricity at the forefront

Most businesses think they know their customer, but there has been a tendency for businesses to focus on what they want to talk about, rather than what their customers want to know or will find most useful. The disruption of 2020 has certainly shone a light on this. Suddenly people were thinking and behaving differently, both in their personal and work lives, and buying decisions were often put on hold. In a poll conducted at our recent ‘Personas and buyer journey’ online bootcamp, we found that only 10% of attendees felt that their existing personas and buyer journeys were helping them hit their sales targets. In 2021, organisations will be focused on truly understanding what their customers want, their business environments and how they can best support them. Customer centricity therefore needs to be at the very forefront of every marketing decision, campaign and communication. Data and martech have key roles to play in achieving this consistently and at pace.

Being data driven is now fundamental

The need for marketing to be driven by data saw a renewed emphasis due to the chaos of the pandemic and the change in behaviours that followed. Marketers now need to be more data-driven than ever. To do this they first need to get better at capturing data. According to a recent report by IDC and Seagate, 44% of data available to organisations goes uncaptured, and 43% goes unused. Organisations also need to get better and distilling and activating data to turn it into actionable insights for the business. While there is certainly a role here for new AI technologies and machine learning to help make business decisions, most organisations need their marketing teams to get better at harvesting, understanding and gaining insights from data which drive improvements and allow meaningful interactions with the prospect or client.

Location displacement

The pandemic turned how we live and where we traditionally do things on its head. The requirement for us all to stay at home during national lockdowns and to continue working from home if possible, even when restrictions were eased, led to an increased demand for online experiences. These included the rise of virtual events, interactive tools or gadgets that make your prospects’ lives easier (such as this campaign ROI calculator) and personalised social selling that engages at a 1:1 level. This is expected to continue in 2021 and beyond. In response to this, digital marketing not only needs to be front and centre, but ensuring a seamless omni-channel user experience is now a standard expectation in B2B.

Emotional connection

Emotional connection was a big trend in B2C marketing in 2020 as organisations sought to tap into and reflect the emotions that people were experiencing. A study by the B2B Institute at LinkedIn showed that strategies that appeal to emotions are 7x more effective at driving long-term sales, profits and revenue than those just delivering rational messaging. Research conducted by Google also shows that B2B purchasers are almost 50% more likely to buy a product or service when they see personal value (i.e. an opportunity for career advancement or confidence and pride in their choice) and 68% of buyers who see personal value will pay a higher price for a service. B2B marketers need to become increasingly savvy on how to make best use of content and messaging to build an emotional connection with influencers and buyers in 2021. Those who can create campaigns that successfully appeal to people’s emotions will differentiate themselves from the pack.

Curiosity culture

As our approach to marketing at Bright is based on agile principles, we know that experimentation and failure are the start of success. For example, how do you know for sure if an emotion-led or benefit-led message is more effective? You have to test and experiment in order to learn and build. Of course, your data processes and analytics are the key to understanding what is working and what is failing. As more marketing functions adopt agile marketing principles, we expect to see an increase in curiosity and experimentation in B2B marketing campaigns.

Agile is the key

In fact, adopting agile marketing processes is the key to embracing all of these trends effectively. Understanding how to make proper use of data and research to drive decision making is the backbone of agile marketing. Testing different approaches, channels or messages (emotional vs rational) and constantly iterating and improving is another critical element of agile marketing. Agile marketing builds resilience, helping you pivot and adapt to current trends, and ultimately drive better results from your marketing that support your business goals. To find out how you can adopt agile marketing to better manage disruption during this pandemic, get in touch with a Bright expert.

Zoe Merchant5 B2B marketing trends to watch in 2021
read more

The Social Network

How to use LinkedIn effectively to support your marketing goals

By Nick Johnson, Demand Manager at Bright

You are probably only too aware of the power of LinkedIn as a social network to grow your business pipelineprofessional profile or job hunting prospects at the click of (a few) buttons. It’s the platform for creating engagement.  

But the real value of LinkedIn comes from who you are connected with. Like all good marketing and sales campaigns, the focus should be very much on quality over quantity. This is where LinkedIn is ultimately unrivalled.   

Over the last 12+ months we have been working with our clients on projects ranging from recruiting partners across Europe to building registrations for virtual events in key target markets. The constant here has been using LinkedIn as a key driver for these activities.   

At Bright we take a highly targeted, segmented and personalised approach to this which allows our clients to grow their LinkedIn presence with the right audience, at pace.  

Over the last six months in particular, the results from these projects have improved time and again, resulting in numerous new connections, meetings and attendees. All helping clients progress towards their business goals. You can see how we helped drive 2,000+ attendees to a virtual event for our client TECHNIA in this video case study. 

So, you’ve got yourself 350 new connections on LinkedIn – what do you do next? 

The optimising of a profile, targeting stakeholders from key accounts, building new connections, and starting conversations is really just the first steps of the process. The ultimate outcome is portraying the user as an industry and business thought leader amongst their peers, prospects, customers and wider network.  

Building towards this longer-term goal takes preparation, a defined strategyengaging content and a consistent approach to networking. This is also something which cannot be turned on and off. There will naturally be peaks and troughsbut at least one of the following elements should be running:

  • Personal brand – promoting you, your company, your products or services and industry thought leadership content 
  • Dream clients and contacts – monitoring and understanding what your key target contacts and accounts are doing in the market 
  • Connections and conversations  keep networking and engaging with your contacts  
  • Community leader  posting in relevant groups for peer-to-peer engagement 
  • Soft selling  interacting by liking, commenting and sharing your target audience 

Yes, it is a lot of work. But it is definitely worth the reward.  

Interested in using LinkedIn to support your marketing goals? Drop us an email at hello@brightinnovation.co.uk 

Nick is a results driven Demand Generation Manager at Bright. He has over 6 years B2B demand generation and business development experience gained working with some of the world’s largest IT and tech companies. Nick has managed projects around the globe, creating engagement across a variety of industries and contacts. He is passionate about how bespoke, highly targeted and (most importantly) agile campaigns can deliver value for his clients. 

Lydia KirbyThe Social Network
read more

3 ways to inject agility in FinTech marketing

How does agile marketing drive FinTech marketing success?

If you’ve taken a look at our Traditional vs. Agile marketing infographic, you’re aware of some of the key benefits of agile marketing — but what’s in it for FinTechs and why now, during such a time of disruption?

Even prior to 2020, opening doors in Financial Services was a common barrier to FinTech’s lead generation success. But now, whilst the world is (still) awash with uncertainty and we’re pivoting on the edge of a recession, hammering home the marketing message agreed on in January 2020’s strategy session just isn’t going to support the pipeline. The world has changed, priorities have adjusted, and they will continue to do so as things settle down and the markets stabilise.

With Agile marketing, you can respond and adapt to what’s happening in the industry – staying poised and ready to optimise at a moment’s notice. The message your target audience will receive from a data-driven strategy is one of relevance, support and benefit to the current climate. The groundwork and elements involved in a full agile marketing mix are invaluable to the success of a campaign and the impact on the sales pipeline.

Here’s how to inject agility into your FinTech’s marketing activity to get more leads and boost your performance in the financial services market.

1.    Fine-tune your value statement

No matter how awesome your tech may be, if your value isn’t clear and focused in addressing the pain points and challenges of your prospects, it’s sure to get lost — leaving your audience feeling unimpressed and disengaged.

To form a powerful value statement, start taking note of the problems you solve and the solutions you deliver for your clients, as well as the benefits your tech and team offer from start to finish. People want to hear about people helping other people — Tell your story and make sure it’s backed up with stats and real-world evidence.

 

2.    Calculate your total addressable market

Don’t let data be the bottleneck to reaching your prospects. Define your target audience, create personas, then build and enrich the data to ensure your FinTech’s marketing efforts reach the contacts you want to engage.

Although at times this step can seem like a gruelling manual task, skipping it will only serve to limit your outreach, leaving you missing out on contacting key influencers and decision makers that may need your firm’s offering. Invest in the time and tools necessary to keep your database up to date and give you room to expand on markets where you’re a little thin on the ground.

 

3.    Embrace the power of content

Yes, content is still king. People don’t buy what you’re selling straight away — they like to browse, research, read a few blogs, or watch a few videos. They want to know that 30-minute call you’re asking for is going to be worth their time, so make it clear what you’re all about. Sharing content that illustrates your employees’ talent, your company’s timely offering and positive testimonials from happy clients can show prospects what they’ve been missing. Their personal data is precious, and they won’t give their email address away for nothing!

Use your data insights and audience personas to brainstorm topics relevant to your prospects’ interests and pain points, then discuss with your subject matter experts from across the business. Each piece of content should have a clear goal in mind.

 

Explore more FinTech marketing tips

These three tips are just the tip of the iceberg to transforming your marketing. If you want to dive in deeper and learn how to fully adopt agile marketing at your FinTech, find out more and get in touch. With a decade of experience in the world of FinTech, we understand what it takes to meet your business goals through stand-out marketing campaigns and projects.

 

Natalie Burrows is a driven agile marketing manager with a flare for FinTech and large corporate projects. With 8 years’ experience working in FinTech and Financial Services, she’s focussed on breaking the mould with new ideas and driving business outcomes.

Lydia Kirby3 ways to inject agility in FinTech marketing
read more

Smashing the 1,000-attendee target for your next virtual event

The latest in the Bright agile marketing in action webinar series went live on 23 June 2020 and it was a hit! We brought together the best and brightest in strategic marketing to explore what it takes to create ground-breaking virtual events. Joining us for a discussions were CMO, Ghassan Sultan and Marketing Project Manager, Lisa Granton, key players at TECHNIA, one of our top clients. Together, we explored how they managed to smash their 1,000-attendee target at the recent PLMIF 2020 event. So, what’s the critical success factors for creating a virtual event that scores leads and builds your brand?

Agile marketing powers virtual events

Our webinar poll discovered that 96% of organisations have moved their events online. The global work culture has changed in response to Covid-19 and it’s not just a temporary fix. Your next event will be online, but it has to stand out from the crowd. To do this effectively, your event must capture the needs and goals of your audience and provide the tools and information they need to readily adapt and keep pace in a changing market.

So, where to start?

Embrace agile marketing

As the Bright team discussed in our webinar:

“Marketers need the ability to adapt, move at pace and be resilient to changing markets and organisation dynamics – this has been critical during Covid-19 and will continue to be relevant as we prepare for Brexit,”

In short, agile marketing is the common-sense approach to optimising what you have and experimenting with new tactics, tools, messaging and channels to reach your campaign KPIs.

When creating virtual events, an agile way of working allows you to bring together a cross-functional team to test, learn and continually improve your strategies, messaging and tactics throughout the event lifecycle – driving engagement and leads before, during and after your live event. Using valuable data insights to understand what works for your audience and what doesn’t, giving you the power to create an event that makes a lasting impact and builds your reputation in your industry.

The TECHNIA success story

TECHNIA came to Bright with a bold vision. They wanted to change the way events were delivered, capitalise on high-value content and reach a global audience. Ghassan walked us through TECHNIA’s goal to transform how they host events and attract a large audience. What started as a costly physical event turned into an ambitious vision for an innovative knowledge-sharing virtual event.

Ghassan’s vision for TECHNIA’s PMLIF 2020:

  • Target 1,000 global attendees
  • Capitalise on existing digital content and try new channels
  • Be 100% sustainable in line with TECHNIA’s #GoExplore movement
  • Cut time and budget from £100,000 in 4-8 months to £10,000 in 4-8 weeks

It was clear that such a brilliant event demanded extraordinary KPIs. Always ready for a challenge, Bright jumped at the opportunity to engage and drive leads from global tech leaders throughout the event lifecycle. We helped create a multi-channel marketing strategy, delivering key messaging for different target audiences through different media across the three-month campaign.

“Transitioning from physical to virtual really takes effort and your team is vital to success,” said Ghassan. “Bright’s agile marketing approach seamlessly integrated with our team. Thanks to the regular stand-ups and strong data insights, we were able to quickly change tactics to reach 2,000 attendees – an incredible success!”

Critical success factors to creating a compelling event:

  • Setting clear, strong KPIs
  • Testing and iterating messaging
  • Providing quality on-demand content

TECHNIA’s marketing manager, Lisa Granton, also highlighted the power of data-driven decision making and communication to drive success:

“Throughout the agile marketing process, we received constant feedback on what was working and what wasn’t, and the Bright team responded with great energy to perfect our messaging. We were able to keep developing and improving throughout our campaign.”

For more details, see our TECHNIA Virtual event success case study

What is the future of TECHNIA events?

Agile marketing is a different way of working and we have seen its tremendous power to transform teams and encourage cultural change. After the success of the PLMIF 2020 virtual event, TECHNIA noticed a dramatic change in their ways of working and how they approach creating future virtual events. “We found we were less focused on large, far-reaching strategies and more focused on starting small – setting short-termed goals and daily tasks to effectively reach our long term, big KPIs.”  It’s safe to say the next PMLIF event will be crafted with agile marketing.

According to Ghassan, PLMIF2020 will also be hybrid. Taking the lessons they’ve learnt on how to deliver a successful event, they’re planning to create a roadshow of small, local physical events followed by a large global virtual event.

Learnings from the webinar Q&A

How do you engage sponsors?

Create sponsorship opportunities, tailored to your partners and get them to help promote the event. TECHNIA saw wave after wave of partners getting involved in promotion and Bright provided a toolkit of engaging messaging for easy promotion by partners.

How do you nurture leads?

Divide your team into two, focussing one on attracting leads and hitting your target with high-level messaging, and the other on nurturing leads through email, LinkedIn and other keep warm tactics.

How do you evaluate what platform works best to support a large virtual event?

Pinpoint your goals – do you want to make your virtual event look and feel like a physical conference with booths and networking opportunities? Or do you simply want to share knowledge and create dialogue with your audience? Once you’ve shortlisted your options, speak to reference clients and leverage their experience with the different platforms to make your choice.

You also have the option of building your own platform! If like TECHNIA, you know what you want and you have the skills and resources, build a platform that suits your needs.

How do you drive people to attend the live event on the day and not the on-demand?

TECHNIA advertised that they would be sharing content during the live event that hadn’t been viewed or discussed before. Combined with the multi-channel campaign we ran and Bright also provided a toolkit of eye-catching comms to help the TECHNIA sales team invite attendees to their virtual booths.

Where can I find additional resources?

Have a read through our top tips for creating a stand-out virtual event:

 

Want to learn more? Watch the full event today, on-demand for viewing at your leisure. And if you’d like to have your say in the conversation on agile marketing or virtual events, join our Agile Marketing Club Meet Up group. See you there!

Lydia KirbySmashing the 1,000-attendee target for your next virtual event
read more

Agile Marketing in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive

The Bright webinar, Agile marketing in action: Adapting to survive and thrivewent live on Wednesday, 29 April, 11am and safe to say we loved the experience! The virtual event attracted marketing professionals across a diverse range of industries, and it was a brilliant opportunity for us to drive the conversation on all things agile.  

So, What is Agile Marketing?

The session kicked off, after brief introductions to speakers, by defining the term agile, exploring the success of agility in a broader sense in relation to efficiency, pace, innovation, and reduction of issues and risks. Three core values and principles from the original manifesto were then drawn upon in more detail: 

  • Customer focus – spotlight on the buyer journey and how to engage and interact along the way 
  • Experimentation – using a test, learn, iterate approach to generate data-driven insights and results 
  • Minimal viable approach – using short, adaptive strategies to demonstrate success 

Given the current circumstances affecting businesses across the globe, it was important to mention the COVID-19 outbreak to set context and avoid the overused term ‘unprecedented circumstances’, from dominating the conversation. To do so, we explored why agile marketing is no longer a nicety but now business critical and how this ability to adapt to market disruption is crucial for companies of all shapes and sizes.  

We also discussed the challenges our clients and most other marketers are having to deal with at the momentincluding frozen budgets, organisational paralysis and poor change managementThat said, we are starting to see the most forward-thinking firms focus their attention on lead generation and client retention activities to ensure pipelines don’t fall off a cliff. This means they can build momentum and new business to safeguard their businesses and meet revised sales targets for later this year.  

Sian Heaphy, Agile Lead at Bright shared the results of our recent Future of B2B Marketing Report diving into the detail of the survey we undertook and its key findings as well as exploring what these insights actually mean for marketers now. Summing up with the benefits of agile marketing supported by the survey findings and the long-term, tangible benefits we uncovered for teams that adopt an agile way of working  

“It’s given teams greater flexibility, transparency and control over their project tasks. They’re more empowered to collaborate, experiment and react quickly to change when their ideas are validated through the test, learn and iterate approachcritical success factors for resilience.” – Sian Heaphy   

Next, Adrian Brooks, Change Lead at British Medical Association (BMA) talked about his experience of introducing agile marketing to take a new proposition to marketThis lively discussion detailed the BMA’s journey to inject agility and pace into their marketing practices, barriers to adoption (and how they overcame them) and the results and long-term benefits achieved through the adoption of agile marketing 

The session ended with an interactive Q&A, with Adrian and Sian fielding questions from the audience. There were lots of thought-provoking questions we didn’t have time to cover so we’ve created a complete Q&A below for reference.

Q&A

How would you implement agile as a way of working in a traditional environment? 

The key is to start small. You aren’t going to become an agile marketing team overnight. Find a pilot project (proposition development and / or go to market campaigns work really well for a pilot) where you can test a hypothesis using new ways of working.  

Work with an experienced partner (like Bright) and select a handful of your team to work on the pilot and establish an agile marketing hub (3-5 members is a good number) and get them bought into the vision and what you’re trying to achieve. Give them the support and resource they need to run the pilot independently from other activity, taking into account any BAU work they are responsible for.  

I see in the research and the Future of Marketing Report the biggest barrier to getting started with agile marketing is lack of buy-in from leadership – do you have any tips on overcoming this? 

At BMA we were lucky that at a project level, the leadership team was very supportive. We were working on a new proposition targeting a new market so from the get-go the project ethos was to be different and try new things. There was some resistance within the senior leadership due to the new ways of working suggested so we had to build the business case and confidence for this. Demonstrating why being agile and adaptable would help us get better results and help the in-house team get experience. 

BMA had a multi-pronged stakeholder management approach – engaging with the members, steering committee and senior management at a formal level and at a 1:1 level with key people. Regular reporting and transparency on project progress was really critical to generating their buy-inAgile focus on data and the ability to provide them with insight at every stage to demonstrate the learnings and value we were generating on a week by week basis was invaluable to getting engagement and buy-in. 

What tools do you manage each sprint?  

Tooling is a question we see a lot, and it was one of the biggest barriers to adopting agile marketing identified in our survey. 

From a project management perspective, there are a number of ways to get started. Trello is a great tool to get started with to build a simple Kanban board that you can use to create your sprint backlog and monitor progress throughout the sprint. 

For a lot of our projects we use Monday.com which offers the same benefits as Trello but is a much more robust project management tool where everyone can easily understand status and prioritiesIt’s also accessible anywhere by the team which has been important as project team hubs are working remotely.  

From a physical perspective at its simplest, creating a workspace in your office where you can create a Kanban board using a white board or post-it notes can be just as effective. In the current climate this isn’t possible, but it can be a great way of bringing the team together in one area to collaborate.  

The key to successful sprint management is to make sure that whatever tool or mechanism you’re using to track sprints is being utilised by the team, so you get the visibility you need to understand progress. 

Collaboration tools are also key for successful agile hub and management whether you’re using Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype or any other communication tools, creating a virtual area where team members can interact, collaborate and communicate is critical. 

We also use Mural for many virtual creative ideation sessions and to capture retrospectives at the close of each sprint.  

Did your sprint targets vary or were they quite consistent over time? How many targets were identified for each sprint? 

The short answer is yes. It’s important to create an overarching goal or KPIs for the project or campaign as a whole and then break it down into specific goals or KPIs for each sprint that will move you towards achieving the project goal. 

The great thing about agile ways of working is that it’s data-driven, so you can regularly review your metrics and update and change as you progress. It’s about finding what works and optimising to help you achieve your goal(s). 

Culture – I find that is the major challenge, genuinely the hardest piece. Any suggestions? How do you get people to buy into the process? 

At BMA, they had a very traditional ways of working with siloed teams, so breaking down that culture was really difficult. It was the biggest challenge/barrier to success. We had really fixed ways of working. One of the ways that we started to break this down was to bring managers into the agile hub so we could talk about the process and resources required in real terms. What was needed at each stage and who would be responsible for it. And giving managers that clarity on how the different elements worked together really helped to break down these ingrained ways of working.  

Communication is really important and giving members of the team clear roles and autonomy over their tasks is really powerful, empowering the teams to make their own decisions. With any change you’ll find members of the team who are open to it (and can become great ambassadors for these new ways of working) and others who see it as a threat. Communicate the vision, what you’re trying to achieve and what role they can play in delivering that (and provide the training and support needed to help them) is a great way to start bringing them on that journey.  

If you missed our webinar but like the sound of what you’re reading, fear not, as the recording is now available! View the Agile in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive webinar today, join our Agile Marketing Club Meet Up group and keep an eye on our social channels for announcements of the next webinar, coming soon to a home-office near you!  

Sian HeaphyAgile Marketing in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive
read more

Unlock agility with LinkedIn

Why you should be on LinkedIn now more than ever

The outbreak of Covid-19 has forced the majority of the world to work from home, children to be kept out of school, and trips outside to only be taken once a day for exercise or when collecting and delivering essentials. This is new for all of us and it has unnerved a lot of people into thinking that their marketing actions need to stop until all this is over.

But now more than ever, marketing is critical. It’s the one survival tool at your disposal capable of seeing your business through to the end of this crisis and ensuring success in the years to come. If you’re looking for a simple, cost-effective way to hone your marketing focus, LinkedIn is the place to be. By increasing visibility across the top networking app for business, you’ll keep customers engaged with your brand, stay in touch with partners and suppliers, and build pipeline through steady lead generation. What’s more, the number of users is increasing, with more professionals than ever jumping on to share news, knowledge and business tips for success in times of market disruption.

So, we know LinkedIn is the place to be right now, but you’ll still need a proper strategy to make the most of all this tool has to offer.  Now certainly isn’t the time to fire off connection requests and LinkedIn ads without a second thought. There’s a lot to take into consideration when formulating your messaging.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Don’t ignore COVID-19

It’s here, it’s affecting everyone, and it will have an impact on business for years to come. It is already changing the way people live, work and interact. Acknowledge that and acknowledge the hardship in your messaging. Don’t act like it’s just business as usual. This crisis should unite us.

2. Outline how you can help right now

Pitching what was useful back in January when we were all devising our 2020 strategies won’t be of any help or interest right now. Make that mistake and you’ll find yourself reposted with #marketingfail. Take some time to creatively rework your proposition as a benefit in the immediate term and clearly explain how your service will help companies get back on their feet.

3. Do your research

If you’re struggling to answer the point above, then you need to go back to the research stage. Don’t stop building pipeline but do reassess your target accounts and verticals quickly.  Take the time to fully understand the impact this global crisis will have on your clients’ target markets, then tailor your messaging and service to ensure you’re offering support they need. Retaining existing clients is key to future revenue, so make sure they feel reassured and well managed.

4. Stay relevant

Give your audience the useful tips and how-to guides they need to easily get started with your service or product. Be there as the helpful thought leader of that space when you respond to connections or jump in forum threads, the one they turn to when they need further guidance or support throughout this crisis. And, now that we’re all at home, turn your content into interactive virtual events to inform, engage and inspire your LinkedIn network.

5. Be personal

This is an opportunity to build relationships and contact prospects you haven’t been able to reach — consider Account Based Marketing (ABM) to help open up dialogue. With everyone working from home and social distancing, people are now more responsive to an invitation to discuss over a virtual cup of tea (or coffee) and intro video calls. Plus, you’ll have plenty of common ground to discuss and knowledge share in how to combat the impact of COVID-19.

From individual professionals to global enterprises, LinkedIn is the number one social media tool for business right now, and your key to surviving this period of massive market disruption. By researching the impact, pivoting your message accordingly and creating engaging content, your LinkedIn marketing will offer a viable opportunity for interacting with your prospects and supporting them through this time.

Adapt your marketing to survive and thrive

At Bright, we’ve been helping our clients quickly pivot their strategies and adapt their messaging on LinkedIn and other social media channels. Watch our immersive webinar as we explore ways to ignite agility, boost leads and perfect communications throughout this challenging time.

Lydia KirbyUnlock agility with LinkedIn
read more

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?
read more

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
read more

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
read more