A Napier Webinar: Media Training 101

Are you getting your messages across effectively when speaking to the media? Or worrying about saying the wrong thing? Do you know how to engage journalists to ensure they come back for more?

In our on-demand webinar ‘Media Training 101’ webinar, we explore key principles of being a spokesperson and communicating with the media. We cover:

  • What journalists are thinking when they interview you
  • How to prepare for interviews
  • How to get your message across
  • Using presentations
  • What to do when things go wrong

Register to view our webinar on demand by clicking here, and why not get in touch to let us know if our insights helped you.

Napier Webinar: ‘Media Training 101’ Transcript

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Hannah Wehrly

Mike: Hi, everyone, welcome to our latest webinar. We've just been messing about with some of the technology behind this because we're doing something different today, I'm actually joined by Hannah Hannah Worley is our business development and marketing leader. So she runs the theme there. And she's not someone who's normally a media spokesperson. So I thought it'd be really useful to have Hannah on to chime in and come in with some questions, that maybe someone who's perhaps not so familiar with being a spokesperson. Thank you so much.

Hannah: No problem, Mike. Hi, everyone, I'm really excited to be here today. And as you mentioned, you know, I'm not a expert or specialist in PR, or media. So I'm looking forward to learning a lot.

Mike: Fantastic. And I'm looking forward to your questions, too. Okay, so we're going to kick off, we're going to run some media training here. It really is sort of a very brief overview of some of the key points that people need to understand immediate training. I'm very aware of the time I know that, you know, we try and keep this to about 30 minutes as a webinar. So we're trying to do that I've only got about 175 slides to get through. But you know, basically, what I'm saying is, this is a very short overview. Actually, when we run media training with clients, we'll do much longer presentation about the principles. And obviously, we'll also do some interactive sessions where people can actually get to practice what we're teaching as well.

So this is really just a sampler. But hopefully, you know, if you're either gonna give training, to people who've got to be spokespeople, or you're a spokesperson or new to it, this will actually give you an introduction of some of the key things to bear in mind. Obviously, this isn't general media training, this is specific to people who are in the b2b technology sector. So the areas we work in, so typically talking to engineering trade publications, we'll talk a little bit about more general publications. But actually, you know, it's really focused on this kind of editors and journalists, you'll be talking to as a b2b spokesperson. So that's just a bit of background. Hope you're ready to go, Hannah, please chime in with any questions as you have them. And I'll kick off and start going through the slides.

So, I mean, very simply, you know, why are we doing this? Well, you know, I actually really like this, quote, public relations is the art of arranging the facts. So people will like you, trust you, believe you and care about what you're saying. But good public relations is making it as easy as possible for journalists to write stories that they want to cover. So you know, clearly what you want to do is build this relationship with your audiences. But actually, you know, as part of that, you want to make it easy for journalists to write stories. And one of the ways to make it easy is by talking to the journalists or having interviews. So what are we going to try and achieve in this webinar. So what we're going to do is we're going to talk a little bit about what journalists want, talk about preparation, talk about controlling the interview, we'll talk quite a bit about messaging and how to get your message across how to keep the interview on track. And in particular, how to keep the journalist on your side. And lastly, you know what to do when you finish to make sure that the media so your journalist wants to come back for, you know, another discussion or another interview, because they find you valuable helpful, and you're helping them actually write the stories that you want them to write.

Hannah: So Mike, I actually have a question right off the bat. So I'm really looking forward to it. I'm really interested. But if I do an interview with journalists, will that guarantee me coverage?

Mike: Oh, that's a great question. And something everyone should ask. The answer is no. If you want to guarantee something, you've got to pay for advertising in a publication. journalists don't have to cover you there is no requirement for that. Clearly, there is occasionally some sort of agreement with journalists, when, you know, with some publications, you pay for advertising that guarantees you some interviews that will guarantee you coverage, but 99% of the time, no, there's no guarantee. Now, gotta remember, journalists are very busy, they're very time pressured. They're being asked to do more and more as publications fill the squeeze financially.

So there's a really good chance they're going to cover you, they're not going to waste their time, if they don't feel they're gonna get something useful. But to be honest, if you have an interview, and the journalist doesn't find it useful, there's no reason why they should cover you. And actually, that brings us on to the rules of the game, you know, first rule of the game, there's no guarantee of coverage. Second rule, the journalist gets to decide what What is written, you don't get to control this. This is editorial is based on what the journalist thinks important. Another rule, and this is really important is some journalists are very reluctant to share articles in advance, though they won't share the article. And actually asking can be a real issue when it comes to your relationship with a journalist. So don't feel you should go out and always asked to see the article before the editor publishes it. You know, some editors feel that that's, you know, not only trying to influence them to write something that's more marketing and less editorial, but it's also a lack of trust in their ability.

And then finally, probably my least favourite role, particularly when I was a spokesperson, you know, it doesn't, journalists can make mistakes, they do make mistakes, and you've got to accept that and you've got to be prepared to live with that. You can't make mistakes, if you make a mistake, the editor has absolute right to use what you said. So it's really important you get this right. So let's have a look at you know, before we started, so we'd start off by looking at what journalists want. So let's have a look at the role of the media and what they want. So firstly, there are different sorts of journalists. And we've kind of segmented this into basically five key areas. So you've got the mainstream news, people listening to this in the UK, that might be something like the BBC, you know, people listening to this in the US, you know, something like CNN or the New York Times, very broad, mainstream news.

They're interested in things that impact a wide proportion of population. So they're not going to write stories that are very niche, very focused, they have a small audience, business publications a little bit more focused. They're typically, you know, looking at financial management, marketing kind of topics, they can be very good for getting corporate kind of coverage. But again, you've got to make it relevant to their entire readership, trade publications, you know, without doubt, the easiest publications, and generally for most of our clients, the vast majority of publications, they actually have interviews with, they're covering a particular industry. And so they're interested on developments in that industry, if you're in that industry, you're almost by definition, someone that they're interested in.

And so they really care about covering you. So quite often, they're the most common. And then there's two other kind of categories that we've put in this media landscape. They're not really classic media. The first one is bloggers and influencers, you know, and they're very different. They're about getting views. They're about, you know, boosting their ego and b2b. They're about boosting the reputation. So they're driven by very different things. And then analysts are much more driven by technical analysis of companies and markets. And so they want to dive very deep. So again, different from your classic journalist.

So let's go and look at what the journalist one I was, I mentioned that different journalists want different things. But most of them actually want to help you. And I think particularly when you look at trade media, journalists actually want to help you they, they recognise that it's a somewhat synergistic relationship. You know, if they make the sector more interesting and help boost sales, then companies are going to do better, which is going to then subsequently drive their revenue and their readership. So actually, most of the journalists, you'll talk to, if you're a b2b spokesperson, they want to help you and they want to promote either you as a personality, the technology, you've got the products you've got, or even the industry as a whole.

So it's going to be a positive relationship, you shouldn't go in thinking it's going to be adversarial. Of course, they want to, you know, validate their interests. So they'd like their ego being boosted. And they want to write things. So you know, we mentioned earlier, there's no guarantee of copy, but actually all journalists want to write, because that's, you know, what, basically is their job, fill those pages online. And obviously, within that now, increasingly on trade media, there's also wants to create video. And obviously, if you're looking at, you know, more mainstream publications, there may be video content there as well. They want to have a story that, you know, pleases their audience particularly. And I think understanding the audience and the way the journalist thinks about the audience is very important. And they can be biassed. And you know, a great example could be a journalist that is receiving a lot of advertising and their publication from one of your competitors is likely to be more positive about that competitor than about you if you're not spending much money.

But generally speaking, none of the journalists is out to get you. They might favour somebody who they see as fundamentally paying their salary if they're big advertisers, but they're not out to go and get the companies that are not they're actually, you know, actually quite willing to help you grow and support you with the intention that ultimately you get to the point where you want to advertise as well. So don't feel that just because you don't advertise or that the journalist has a favourite. It's not worth talking to the journalists. It always is. And as I'm mentioned before analysts and influencers, they're different. And we're not going to talk about those in any detail.

Hannah: So, Mike, before you move on, I do have a question you obviously spoke about, you know that journalists are not out to get us. I wouldn't say they are, you know, wouldn't think that negatively. But what happens if journalists are creating problems? What do you do, then?

Mike: I love that question. I've actually got a slide on that coming up. So that's great. I think that's really important to remember that journalists can get upset. You know, one of the ways you can do that is by refusing to engage with the journalists, if you just say, no comment to questions, that's one way to get a journalist to be hostile. And so we do have a little slide on dealing with hostility. We don't see it very often. And particularly in the trade media, it's not of the interest of either side to make it a hostile interview. If the journalist is asking questions that you find difficult to answer, it's probably around, you know, either wanting to understand something they don't understand, or maybe even just wanting to show that, you know, they've got deep knowledge about your product or your market. So don't feel it's about you. It's probably more about the journalist. However, if there is a bit of a disagreement, you know, the first thing to do is try and look at where you're agreed.

Go back to, you know, a point where you and the journalist were together. If you feel the questions difficult, you don't feel you can ask it, ask them to clarify it. And often, as the journalist clarifies it, they'll move that question away from you know, what's a difficult topic for you to talk about. But if the journey is ultimately disagrees with you, then you've got to have those facts, those statistics, and those examples that validate what you're saying. So if you're saying, for example, you have a microprocessor, and that's the fastest microprocessor in the world, make sure you've got the facts to back that up. Because if a journalist questions it, you need to provide the facts. Try and avoid what if scenarios. And so if the relationship, the discussion breaks down, try to stick to facts, try not to stick to a supposition or hypotheses, and then be able to reinforce your main point. Be firm, be polite, don't get angry. And I think the worst thing you can do is get upset with a journalist. I think it's entirely fine to, you know, spend time with a journalist to disagree, but never get upset.

You know, the journalist obviously has an ego, some of those aren't going to be honest, have bigger egos than others. And you want to make them feel important. You want to make them feel like you care about them. So be careful not to be confrontational, even if the journalist is. journalists do sometimes use some tactics. And again, we see this less in trade media. But it's sometimes happens, you know, you might see journalists asking rapid fire questions one after another, not really letting you get your answers out. You might see them repeating questions. You know, maybe even you asking accusatory questions, quite often journalists will plead ignorance.

And this is a great journalist tactic, where they'll sort of say, I'm sorry, I don't understand what's going on with here. I'd say it's technology. Can you explain it to me? And they could do that as a test. They're actually doing that to see if you really know and you can explain it. So when a journalist please ignorance, don't think that actually they don't know the topic. Be prepared for the fact that they really do understand. And journalists can sometimes paraphrase, and if journalists paraphrase something you've said, and it's not correct, then again, feel free to re clarify what you're saying. So gently, politely, but very firmly say, actually, what I meant was this and paraphrase in the way you want, not the way the journalist did. Journalists can obviously change direction they can try and get you to answer yes, no questions, typically tied with rapid fire questions. Or, you know, the classic thing and I think if anyone's been in sales, they know that this is the most powerful thing to do. When you're asking questions, just sit there in silence. Don't feel compelled to fill a gap in silence, unless you've got something to say. And if you've got something to say, make sure it's on message.

So lots of things to be aware of, I don't think anything to be afraid of, because actually, there's some best practice in terms of managing the media. And we'll talk through some of the tactics and some of the approaches that make it easier to handle journalists. So the first thing is always in shoot. Sure you have something that's worth writing about. I'm sorry, I can see there's an error on the slide here. So think about it that journalists are talking to you not because you're interesting not because your products amazing, but because they want to write a story and news nice to have something new and interesting. And so always make sure you bring journalists something new that they can talk about that's gonna be of interest their writers. Always treat editors and journalists fairly, always follow up on commitments. If you say I'm going to find something out For the journalists, make sure you do that.

And lastly, I think, never not the competition, not from a point of view of, you know, it's difficult to criticise the competition. But just from my point of view that it's very difficult for the journalist to write negative copy, particularly in b2b trade media. And so they don't want negative information, they actually want something that's positive. So focus on the positive, don't try and be negative about the competitors. So if you're going to use this good practice, one of the most important things with good practice is to prepare for the interview. So you bring content that's useful for the journalist, information that's going to help them. And the thing we like to say to clients when we're doing media training is, Don't forget you're a spokesperson, not an answer person. So as the spokesperson, as the person being interviewed, you should be driving the interview. It's not something where you sit back and just let the journalists ask questions.

So you need an agenda. And you need a single main point, the news that what is the headline of the story you want to write, you can have two or three key messages that support that. And you can have proof points below that, that actually demonstrate that that is all correct, and gives the editor confidence that you're not just making random claims. But it is, you know, really important about having that single main point, a bit like being a hedgehog. Hedgehogs bless them famously don't have very many talents, but rolling up into a ball, so nobody can attack them as a major talent they have, they're really good at it. And they focus on it. And I think the same with, you know, journalists interviews, you should focus on being really good at the communicating the single main point, because that's what you want to get across. And that's what you want the headline to be. Obviously, when you build your agenda, you know, make sure you think about the kinds of questions you'd like to be asked, and how you can answer them and make those answers concise. So we recommend, you know, typically three or four sentences for an answer is generally enough, a long answer is very difficult for journalists to take normally. And lastly, try not to be pretentious, the journalists probably understand your industry jargon, particularly and be in b2b trade media. But actually, keeping the language simple and clear, is much more effective in terms of getting your point across.

Hannah: So Mike, obviously, you've just emphasise the single main point quite a bit there. But I'm interested because does that mean that the interviews just focus on one story? So is one main point meaning one story? Can you like? Establish the difference between that for me?

Mike: And that's a great question. And in an ideal world, absolutely, you would have one interview about one story and you do a separate interview. But another. In the real world, that's not always possible. You know, for example, a trade show, you've got two big announcements, you want to cover them both with a journalist. That way, you've really got to focus on segmenting the interview. So making it clear that you're doing one session on this particular product, where you've got one clear, new set one clear message, and then you're doing another section that talks about a different product. And that's a different story. You've got to remember that journalists are going to write a limited number of stories when they meet you. So don't imagine that just by segmenting into five different sections, you can have five different stories, journalists are not going to do that.

And in fact, they hate that because they see that as you're the interviewee not being able to prioritise. And they don't feel necessarily, they're the right people to prioritise. So you end up basically spreading yourself too thin. So, yes, you can make sure you segment the interview. But really, you know, you shouldn't be talking about more than a couple of key stories with a journalist in one session. Love that question how that was really good. And again, you know, the classic thing is the inverted pyramid. So you know, don't think about detail, think about your main point, make it first, make it clear, and then work down. So you start with what's most important. And he worked down to the least important things, which are the other points, the details, the supporting facts. So, you know, think like a journalist does, because the journalist works from that top down, what's the main point? And then how do I justify it?

Perhaps a quick note on PowerPoint presentations and things. I'm blasting you with a load of PowerPoint slides here on the webinar. You know, not all of these actually would fit perhaps a great journalist briefing. The first thing I would say, though, is that the presentation you give when you're out selling to customers, is not the presentation you need to give to a journalist. They're two completely different audiences with two completely different leads. So when you go to the journalist, the first thing you should do is kick off with that headline or conclusion the key point you want to make and generally speaking, shorts, presentations are better. Don't do anything fancy effects, transitions, music.

You know, that's important. It's obviously, you know, like an all presentations, you don't want to read the bullets, you actually want to go and explain what's going on and try and talk around it. These are quite text heavy slides. And now I'm feeling a little bit embarrassed about my slides and Hannah's taking notes, I can see about how I can improve them. You know, and then don't don't make mistakes do do the basics as well. So you know, one clear basic is don't put anything into a slide presentation you don't want the journalist to write about, that happens when you use the customer presentation. And don't think about it. So write a separate presentation for the journalists, handouts are still useful journalists still like paper handouts, not all of them. But still find that useful. So always have some handouts available.

And also consider how you're going to present slides. Because sometimes journalists meetings, particularly trade shows, for example, can be very informal, you could be around a coffee table or at a bar or whatever. And maybe presenting from a laptop screen is not ideal. So you know, we even see some situations where paper copies are the best way to present. So just think about the environment you're going to be presenting in and make sure you have something suitable for that. So now we can jump to the interview, we're finally there, we're meeting the journalist, let's have a look at what we need to do. And talk about a couple of key things that can help you manage and control that interview. So preparation, we've talked about all of this before.

So start with a conclusion, raise those key points several times, don't be negative about competitors. And another thing I mean, we've seen, you know, occasionally, people say things that are a bit negative about the journalist, some journalists will not be experts in your product, or your market or your technology, they won't actually no, very much. Don't worry about that. They're there to write what you give them. And in fact, the less technical journalist will quite often be a better interview for you, because you're much more able to control that interview. And then lastly, you know, journalists are always interested in things that are broader than just your company.

So do feel free to discuss things like market trends, market trends are very important, and have a more open discussion with a journalist. When you're dealing with questions, you know, I mean, do feel free to, you know, acknowledge your good question. And Do feel free to actually go and rephrase a bad question. So, you know, one of the great techniques is when someone asks you a question that's difficult to answer, to actually come back and say, That's a great question. Thank you for that, that gives you a few seconds, just to think about how you're going to approach the answer. And if someone asks a question that you don't like, it's fine to go back and say, Well, I think actually what the real question is, is this and then rephrase a question that is related, but slightly different.

Hannah: Mike, what about if it's a question you don't want to answer at all? So I get that you have the answer the questions that you don't know the answers to, but what if the question you want to avoid completely?

Mike: So there's a couple of techniques for that? And it's a really good question. It's something that does crop up a lot. And there's two ways. I mean, one way is to basically take it offline. And you see the last bullet, you know, it's a great question, I'm not the best person to respond. Let me take a note and come back. And that might be if you're not super technical, and the journalist has asked a technical question, you can get an answer from someone else. So that's a great way to do it. And actually, you know, sometimes actually plays to the journalists ego, because they feel that, you know, they've been shown to be smart and ask good questions. But we actually have a slide on a technique coming up, called Bridging, which is a very well known technique. And so basically, what you try and do is you respond to the question, but you bridge to another answer.

So I'll give you some examples of this. So somebody might ask a question. And you could say no, or yes, very briefly answer the question. But then you say, let me explain. And then you go to a new key message, and what's important is and then go for key message, or, indeed, look, I honestly can't talk about that. There. You know, for example, sometimes, you know, journalist might try on it might ask you about stock price, you know, where do you think the stock is gonna go? Can't talk about that that's obviously regulated by the SEC. But what I can say is, I'm really excited about this new product, because I think it's very, very important for this particular market.

So using bridging is very important. And actually using flagging as well, which is similar technique, where you say, what's important is this. So you're trying to highlight a point within your answer. And doing these things can take the focus away from what's actually in the question to what you want to say. So, some good examples here is, you know, with bridging phrases, you can look at things like the real issue is or what we're talking about. All these kinds of phrases work really well. And it lets you move from what the journalist asked to what you want to say. And that's a very key part of it. Interview management is being able to do that. Another key part of interview management is making sure you don't make big mistakes. And one of the biggest mistakes is talking about confidential information. And the simple, simple answer that is, just don't talk about it. If it's confidential, it's confidential. Most trade journalists will respect off the record or background, but you cannot guarantee it, and they will always know what you've said. So I would absolutely avoid discussing anything off the record.

Or as background, I would always assume anything you say, Can and possibly will be printed. And also, I think, you know, we've mentioned this very briefly before, but no comment is not a great answer. Because no comment sounds like you're basically been arrested. You're under suspicion for murder, you're completely guilty. There's nothing you can say. So therefore, you're just going to say no comment. Your worst assumptions are true, do not say no comment. So be really careful about this. Feel free to highlight reasons why you can't talk. So you know, legal or competitive or ethical reasons as to why you can't talk about something. So trying to explain why you can't. And particularly with finally, financial information, please do feel that you can say, I can't discuss that that's something I'm not able to discuss. And journalists will understand that. They'll ask the question, you can't blame them for trying. But you need to feel confident to be able to say no.

So we're moving towards the end of the presentation here. We do have a few do's and don'ts. I'm not going to go through these individually, they will be in the slide deck that will be sent to you. But a couple of suggestions as to how to make interviews better, both were things you should do, like being prepared, obviously, and things you shouldn't do. So you know, don't dwell on negatives or mistakes. Don't be negative be positive. So that's really the key things there. Sorry, Hannah, did you have a question?

Hannah: Yes, sir. I was gonna interrupt Mike, because you might be moving on to this. But obviously, you've spoken quite a bit about the interview. But what's the process for post interview? How should we be reaching out to journalists? Should we be thanking them? How much should we be bothering them? Basically?

Mike: Yeah, great question. So we do have a couple of slides on that. And I think looking at, you know, what you should be doing, actually trying to keep contact with journalists is really important. Journalists have a name and I apologise to Americans here, but certain journalists in the UK use the phrase albatross for some American spokespeople. And the reason they do that is apparently the spokespeople they fly over, they make a lot of noise, and they leave a mess. And then they just disappear. And so don't be an albatross, keeping contact with that journalist, build up that relationship. And so you know, if you have a good story, thank the editor. You know, if the editor writes a story, you think it's great, it's really positive. Just saw my quick email, really enjoyed the interview, thank you very much, don't need anything more than that. And it says love that they feel that, you know, at least the person who's a spokesperson has read the story. You know, if you don't reply, they never know if you read it. Of course, you can get bad stories and dealing with bad stories can be difficult. So in general, only try and correct factual information that's wrong. So if there are, if there is factual information, it's almost certainly a mistake. Journalists will probably be happy that you corrected it. So just very politely say you've said this in the interview, actually, your numbers wrong or I wonder if you've cracked it to this. And most journalists were very happy to do that. Other mistakes we made as well journalists, break embargoes, you talk to somebody you say, Look, this is embargoed for another week, they publish it the next day, you're, you know, incredibly frustrated, everybody shouting you because it needs to be confidential. However, it's almost certainly accidental. So generally speaking, our recommendation is to forgive journalists that break embargoes, you may choose not to brief them under embargo next time around, but don't make a big scene over it. Almost certainly, it's accidental. If it's opinions, you know, just remember, editors can write what they want. And basically, when the story is published, it's very hard to change it.

So if the editors opinion is not what you wanted, I think unfortunately, gonna look to yourself. And what you've done in the briefing is simply not good enough to convince the journalist last, lastly, if there's no coverage, lots of things could have caused this. Don't go and ask the journalists why they didn't cover the story. Putting the journalists on the spot is not going to help. The thing to do is keep trying and keep building that relationship with the journalist. So we're going to move to some key takeaways here. You know, the first thing I'd say is, despite all these do's and don'ts, actually, most of the journalists are there to make you look good. That's what they want to do. So you can be a spokesperson It's not that hard, just follow the rules. Jonas can write what they want. So it does and will go wrong from now and again. And so you know, what you need to do is prepare well follow the rules we've given. And in particular practice dealing with the questions that you think might come up that will be difficult to answer and practice techniques like bridging. To be able to move from a question you don't want to answer to a question you do. So that's really covered our whistlestop tour of how to be a media spokesperson. Hopefully, it's been useful, Hannah, I don't know if you've got any more questions.

Hannah: It's definitely been useful. Thanks, Mike. I actually have a difficult question for you. Because, you know, I like to keep things difficult. But have you ever had an interview that went wrong? And if yes, how did you handle it?

Mike: Oh absolutely. So when I was clientside, in the early days of publication called the register, anyone in the IT sector will know that the register very early on was a little bit wild west. And their founder was somewhat willing to make things up. And in fact, he called me up and he said, I need you to tell me the roadmap for this particular product family. I said, Mike, really appreciate this. We'd love to be in the register. I can't tell you that that's not something we're talking to Jonas about. And he said to me, you've got to understand Mike to Mike's is very confusing. You got to understand, if you don't tell me I need to write a story about it. So I'll just make it up. And I said, I understand that. I can't tell you. So you just made it up. And you know, that was a horrible situation. But what can you do? It's how the publication worked. And in reality, did that cause long term brand damage? Not really, it was not a big deal.

Hannah: That's good to know. Thank you. I mean, we have had a couple of questions in the chat. But I just want to get one more question in from me in first, and I have put my bizdev hat on, like, you know, I have to So how does an agency help you with the process that you've described in the presentation today?

Mike: I love that. I mean, agencies are great at helping people. So typically, you know, where you've got a PR agency, you've got people that spend, you know, pretty much all their time speaking to these journalists. So you've got great relationships, great understanding that go way beyond your company. So they may understand things about the journalist that you don't understand, and perhaps couldn't, as a spokesperson. So agencies are absolutely amazing at preparation, they can give you all the details about the journalist, you know, if you want to have a chat with, you know, journalists, I'm thinking some of the journalists we work with, you know, about their model railway, they can tell you about the model, railway and trust, you can get an introduction there. And I've genuinely had a client who was into model railways as well. And they had this most amazing discussion for about 10 or 15 minutes, about model railways, I was sat there, I had no clue what was going on. And never realised that topic was so technical. But it built an amazing relationship. So it was super powerful. So they can help you there, they can help you in the briefing.

So agencies are very good to sit there as a third party, and just be able to come in and say, well, actually, what I think you meant was this, if they feel you said something, which either should be confidential, or perhaps didn't quite, you know, come across with the right messaging. So if you make a mistake, they're there to catch you before you actually fall. And then lastly, agencies are great at following up, they want to maintain the relationship. So they're really good at not only talking to the journalist, but also letting you know what the coverage was, and helping you come back and respond to that journalists. So it shouldn't be that the agency is just there to build their relationship, the agency should be really focused to build your relationship with the journalists to. Great,

Hannah: Thank you. So if I just read you out one of the questions from the chat. So if a journalist doesn't want to share their thought full article before release, will they give you the opportunity to review any direct quotations they plan on using in the story?

Mike: Oh, great question. I love it. And by the way, if anybody's got any questions, feel free to put them into the chat. And we'll try and ask them as we, we just wrap up here. So typically, if a journalist doesn't want to share their article, they probably don't want to share the quotes they're using. And this is very difficult. But if you said it, you said it, and a journalist can put it into the story. And if you feel it's taken a little bit of context, that is really a problem with, you know, how you've built that interview, and how you've built the relationship with the journalist.

So I think, you know, you have to accept that when you're interviewing with a journalist, they can take anything you said, and you've got to accept that that's something they can do. Now, we did say earlier, not all journalists will refuse to show you articles. And often, particularly when it's a technical topic, journalists will actually come to you and say, Look, I've written this up. I think I understand the technical topic. I you know, I think I've got everything, but can you just let me know If there's anything that needs tweaking, and so sometimes you will get the opportunity to input. But generally speaking, where the journalists just simply write it up, you won't see it. And that will include a quote, the journalists will do their very best to make sure it's accurate verbatim. But there's no guarantee they won't make mistakes. Great.

Hannah: And you've just answered another question, which was, what was your view on asking the journalist if you can read the complete story before publishing it? And so you've actually answered that in your answer. So thanks, Mike. I also want to share Don's mention Dawn is one of our senior account managers at Napier. And she said, it's a good idea to use predefined questions. So the client has an idea of what questions will be asked in the interview. I

Mike: Love this. Doran is one of our best media relations people she has such good relationships with with journalists, that she's actually able to talk to the journalist before a meeting. And she's able to then say to that journalists, I really think you should ask this, I really think she has a great example of what an agency can do. So she's putting the questions that you want answered into the journalist mouth. And that is, you know, absolutely kind of ninja level PR. But it's really, really good. And if you can talk to journalists and suggest some of those questions, it definitely works really well. You know, the only challenge is, in some situations, it's quite hard to do that, for example, if you're meeting at a trade show, that journalist is probably bashing through an interview every 30 minutes running from one booth to another, and so they may well forget. So, you know, it's quite likely that, you know, in that situation, maybe not all those questions be answered. But I think it's a great input from Dora. And it's something she does, and it works really well to help get that message across from our clients.

Hannah: So I don't see any other questions in the chat, Mike. So I think we can wrap up. It's

Mike: Great. So you know, I know how to you're a bit nervous about doing this live. I think you've done an amazing job. You are some brilliant questions. Thank you everyone for listening. I will obviously share the slides with the do's and don'ts after the the event and if anyone's interested in you know more detailed media training, or finding out what we do when we run a full media training course. Please do message me my emails on there. And I'd be more than happy to help out. Thank you very much for everyone for listening. I really appreciate it.


Electronics Weekly Introduces Advertising Targeting Executives 

Electronics Weekly has introduced advertising opportunities around the influential 'Mannerisms' blog for electronics companies looking to target top-tier executives in the industry.

The 'Mannerisms' blog is written by David Manners, one of the best-known and most experienced writers in the industry. He covers a range of subjects and isn't afraid to express his views about important topics as well as having fun with his posts. This combination of wit and insight resonates with some of the most senior leaders in the electronics industry, and the blog counts many influential members of the C-suite as subscribers.

Advertisers will have the opportunity to influence this important audience that reads and interacts with David’s blog across print, online and email.

It’s interesting to see Electronics Weekly specifically offering this opportunity as a route to reach executives in the industry. In the past advertisers might have simply chosen news titles (like Electronics Weekly) to reach the senior influencers in their customers' and prospects' decision-making units (DMUs). The broad readership of these titles, however, meant that the targeting was imperfect. The Mannerisms blog, however, seems to have a much higher proportion of these high-value individuals than the site as a whole.

From our perspective, it’s great to see a publication being creative in how it allows targeting. It's definitely a step up from just targeting news by product type! However, it is hard to know who is reading the blog and the emails, so it’ll be interesting to see how this approach is received by advertisers. We definitely look forward to seeing data on the results.

For more information about the advertising packages available, please send me an email.


A Napier Webinar: LinkedIn Lead Gen Tips and Tricks

With so many ways to generate leads on LinkedIn, how do you ensure your tactics and budget focus on the right areas?

In our on-demand webinar 'LinkedIn Lead Gen Tips and Tricks', we share tips and tricks on how to be successful with LinkedIn lead gen. We cover:

  • Organic posting
  • Engaging organically with contacts
  • LinkedIn automation tools
  • How to be successful with InMails
  • Using advertising to generate leads (tips and tricks)

Register to view our webinar on demand by clicking here, and why not get in touch to let us know if our insights helped you.

Napier Webinar: ‘LinkedIn Lead Gen Tips and Tricks’ Transcript

Speakers: Mike Maynard

Hi, everyone, and welcome to our latest Napier Webinar. Today's webinars can cover LinkedIn and talk about LinkedIn lead generation tips and tricks. I would ask if anybody has any questions or anything they'd like to ask. If during the webinar, you can just put that into the chat, put it in public is probably easiest. And I'll try and answer those questions at the end. Okay, so we're going to start the webinar and look at how we can generate leads on LinkedIn.

So I have to say, I mean, one of the things that really struck me when we first started putting this webinar together was really the range of opportunities you've got on LinkedIn for lead generation. So, you know, LinkedIn is well known as a source of leads for a lot of b2b companies. And so we want to talk about why LinkedIn is so good for b2b lead generation. And then talk about really the two main ways there's organic ways to generate leads, and there's paid. And obviously, inevitably, the paid gives you a lot more in terms of things like reach and also features. But we don't want to roll out these organic lead generation tools as well. We'll go through we'll look at you know, some of the key ways that you can generate leads with both these, these approaches. And then we'll follow up with just a couple of tips and tricks and ideas that hopefully will help you make your lead generation campaigns a little bit more effective.

We'll also talk a little bit about how maybe you can help and summarise the webinar, and then obviously, cover your questions. So what I'm going to do is I'm gonna go straight into this and start talking about why LinkedIn is so good for b2b lead generation. Well, one of the primary reasons that LinkedIn is so good for b2b generation is It's big. It's really big 900 million accounts 100 and 80 million in the US. So great penetration into the workforce in the US, and covering globally, about 58 million different organisations.

So LinkedIn has got great penetration, both for small and also large accounts. LinkedIn supports 26 languages, which helps make it truly go global, and claims that about 16% of us users actually log into the platform every day. That's a very high percentage for something that's really a business tool. Having said that, I mean LinkedIn is around, it's been around for a long time. And private message conversations are still growing very rapidly 25%, year on year, in 1922, sorry, 2022 versus 2021. So we can see that actually, the engagement on LinkedIn seems to be going up, as well as the usage of the number of subscribers.

There's various claims from LinkedIn as well in terms of performance. So you know, one of the things they claim is that sponsored content is typically twice the performance of email. I think one of the things we will talk about here is is that as we go through the webinar, we'll see that results can be very different depending upon what you're trying to do and who you're trying to target. And so, trying to take broad metrics can be dangerous on LinkedIn, it can either lull you into a false sense of security thinking you're doing amazing, where there's opportunity to improve.

Alternatively, it can make you think the campaign's terrible. And actually, in practice, it's targeting a very tricky audience to reach. So I think, you know, looking at benchmarks is going to be difficult. But we'll talk about this as we go through each of the different activities. One of the things that LinkedIn has also done recently, is its launch newsletter subscriptions. They've been around for a little while now. But they're still generating a lot of subscriptions. So 150 million subscriptions to newsletters in the first quarter of 2023. Newsletters are a great way to drive engagement, but they do require quite a lot of work and effort from your side. So we're not actually going to talk too much about newsletters. But again, in terms of building a database, sometimes users are a great way to do that. So LinkedIn is great. And actually, you know, one of the things that quite often you hear about LinkedIn is Oh, no one in Germany uses LinkedIn. It's not true, it's certainly the case that the level of engagement in Germany is lower than some countries.

But actually, there are more LinkedIn users and there are users of zing, the other popular business networking platform, the users on zing, probably a still more engaged than LinkedIn. But definitely LinkedIn is doing very well in Germany. So don't imagine that LinkedIn doesn't reach globally. However, it is true that LinkedIn has very different levels of penetration. In different countries, I talked about the US being very strong. But maybe Japan, for example, is much weaker in terms of penetration. And in fact, there are some issues with LinkedIn. One of the competition. So next year 2024. The forecast is that LinkedIn will do just over $9 billion in display advertising, which represents about 50% of all business to business display advertising spend next year. So a huge amount of competition. There's also some requirements as well for audience size. So you can run campaigns with just 300 people. But LinkedIn recommends 50,000 people to allow the the algorithm to work efficiently.

Now, if you're producing something that has a very large audience, this is clearly not an issue, you'll be very keen to reach as many people as possible. But if you're targeting a very small and niche audience, then quite often you'll find that hitting a large number is difficult. So you either have to compromise on the targeting, or you have to accept that the algorithm is not going to be working as effectively as it could be, because you don't have that large audience size. And honestly, LinkedIn generates on average, about seven minutes a day per sorry, so minutes per visit, on average, seven minutes is not bad, it's a reasonable amount of engagement. But that just, you know, looks pretty poor when you compare it to something like Tik Tok or Instagram, where people are spending, you know, roughly an hour and a half an hour on each of those platforms. So LinkedIn has some great engagement, but it's not quite the same as you know, something like a tick tock today. The real thing though, about LinkedIn, I'm sure everyone listening to this webinar is going to be familiar with it is the targeting. And so the targeting can actually pick a huge number of different activities. So you can target people through Sales Navigator and also through advertising. And you can target you know, things from location, through to company to industry, job roles, seniority, job title, you know, groups that people are members of, and you can also do retargeting on LinkedIn. And this ability to target particularly around firma graphics and demographics.

So details of the company they work for, and details of their job role is super, super powerful. You know, if you've got a product that you know, sells to retailers that employ over 1000 people, and is bought by IT managers and IT directors, you can build that audience within LinkedIn. And I think this is what's really driving LinkedIn and making it you know, more and more, the place where people choose to spend their advertising budgets. So what we're going to do is we're going to start off and we're going to look at organic lead generation. So this is how he generate leads without actually spending money on advertising. Now, clearly, the cynical amongst us, and perhaps the more realistic are gonna say, Well, you know, LinkedIn is not going to want you to do this. It's not going to be a great approach. But actually there are some things you can do that are very effective. One of the most common things is create Seeing connections. And you probably see this a lot with people reaching out to you, and offering to connect, and you look at them and you go, I don't know who you are.

And actually, if I look at, you know, my recent connections, I just pulled this off my personal LinkedIn fi nominee who does growth and marketing, I've got somebody that helps growth hungry agencies, I've got somebody who's doing some health, and I've got someone who's going to cycle 30,000 35,000 kilometres around the world in February. I mean, Ben respects you absolutely amazing. But I know you're probably trying to approach me for sponsorship, I mean, it's probably not something that's really a business opportunity. And I think this is one of the issues with these organic connection requests, is that people do actually look at them. And if they don't personally know the, the person that's approaching, they can feel a bit spammy.

So if you do that, you do need to write a great message. And I've not dug into these messages, most of the messages I think you receive, you know, along the lines of, we're both interested in an extra we connect. And it's something very vague, like, we're both interested in agencies or marketing or something, it's not really very compelling. So if you want to create connections, I would certainly recommend making things as personal as possible. Another way to generate leads is look at who you who viewed your profile. So if you have the premium accounts, so paid accounts, you can actually have a look at who's come along and looked at your profile. And, you know, this can be good, it can actually identify people who could be relevant customers. But you know, more and more, it's people who are likely to pitch you to try and sell their services. So as you can see here, I mean, I've had a few profile views over the last week. But actually, you know, the main people viewing my profile, are people looking to sell me things. So Daniel is back again, you know, he's a copywriter, he clearly wants to find agencies that he can sell his services to. So it's not always a good source. But certainly, if you have a premium account, it's definitely worth checking in, you know, on a fairly regular basis, just to see if there are any interesting visitors looking your profile.

And lastly, posts are really important, you can post on both your own personal page and company page. And those posts can link to pages off of LinkedIn. So here we see something where Schneider has posted on to their company page, and the link through is to a webinar. And so what they're trying to do is get people to sign up for the webinar. So very simple lead gen campaign. Very straightforward. I pictured either for a couple of examples, because I think a lot of people on the webinar will actually know Schneider. And hopefully, there's nobody on the webinar from Schneider. So if I say anything negative, they won't get upset. So posting is really simple. Couple of things you need to be aware of, in general, the algorithm fail favours posts on personal pages over company pages.

So you'll almost always see a higher number of impressions, if you post on an individual's page, rather than a company page. So if you're you're posting on the company page, it's really good idea to encourage your sales team to amplify your posts by posting either something of their own word, or at least at minimum reposting your company page post. The one thing I would warn people here is there are some platforms available that are designed to give you know pre prepared posts. So basically text an image, people can just click and it gets uploaded into their LinkedIn or other social platforms. These can be effective, but they can also be disastrous. And one of the problems is, is if you have multiple people in your company connected to a customer or prospect, which is very likely that customer or prospect sees these individuals in your company supposedly posting their personal views, but they're word for word the same. And it then begins to start looking very inauthentic and becomes less effective. So I would say that trying to automate this can be kind of difficult on a company wide scale.

Events. I think events are possibly one of the most underrated things on LinkedIn. Anyone can listen to event. And that event doesn't even have to run on the LinkedIn platform. LinkedIn has a great platform if you want to run a live event. It works really well. But you know, absolutely. events don't have to run there. So we can promote our webinars for example, on to which are held on our own webinar platform. We use something called webinar gate But actually, we can promote that on LinkedIn, you can see here, there's a couple of promotions of one of our previous webinars that I've cut and pasted from, from my own LinkedIn feed as well as other webinars I've visited. And of course with events, you can actually share them organically as well. So you don't have to pay for promotion. So it can be a purely organic, so completely free way to generate leads. And certainly, if people are not using events on LinkedIn, this is I think, one of the great secrets and definitely well worth looking at.

And lastly, their emails. And again, like looking at the people who view your profile is a little bit of a cheat, because you do need to investigate, invest in a paid account. So like a Sales Navigator account. But when you have very highly targeted campaigns, one of the most effective ways to reach people can be through personal LinkedIn, in mail messages. So this is very much like creating sales, emails, writing one to one emails, or taking a template and tweaking it for each person. And we're talking here in the you know, 10s of contacts, typically, that make this work worthwhile. But having an email that's personal, that's not standard that comes from an individual can actually be a very effective way, we've run a number of campaigns for clients, where we've, you know, effectively hand crafted emails out to contacts and had some very, very good response rates, the one thing you do need to do is you need to consider whose account you're going to use. And obviously, what you want to use is use the appropriate accounts. So if this is a, an email that is highly technical, you might want to use same engineers account on apps engineers account. If it's something that's much more obviously sales, then perhaps one of the sales team would be better or the, you know, account manager for that particular customer. But obviously, if we're doing that, and we're having either a marketing team or agency, that individual has to be prepared to give up their LinkedIn credentials and control of their account, which can always be an issue. So that can be a challenge with these accounts, these these campaigns.

But it's certainly something worth looking at in mails can be very effective, particularly if they're personal and genuine. Now, one thing worth mentioning is LinkedIn automation tools. And so you know, here we have a tool called expanding, which basically reaches out automatically to engage people, and that's through contact requests and messages. But as you can see here, there are lots of these systems. And these systems all claim to allow you to automate and make your LinkedIn outreach more effective. And they do.

There is however, an issue that people need to be aware of using automation on LinkedIn is actually against the terms of service. So if you actually run an automated campaign, you can end up ultimately having your accounts closed down and banned. And I'm talking for experience because we did some testing of LinkedIn automation tools. And I received a message basically saying, If you don't stop using the tools, we're going to close your accounts. So you do have to be very careful on that. There are two key types of tools in terms of automating the outreach. So one will work in the cloud. So that will sit there and run it, it's great. It's very easy to use. It's not anything that's intrusive, the other work in your browser. And so literally, it will be automating things in your browser. The ones running in your browser are much less likely to be detected by LinkedIn as automation, but obviously require you to open up LinkedIn run the add in etc, etc. So they can be more of a pain to run, really down to you to choose. But I think these tools are getting smarter and smarter. And we're getting better at avoiding LinkedIn penalties. The last one to mention is tools like LEM pod, and LEM pod is really focused around trying to get more likes and comments on your posts. We again tried LEM pod and what happened was we got way more likes and comments on our posts, and virtually no increase in views or genuine engagement. So if you want to have a lot of you know, fairly bland and meaningless comments, getting involved in one of these, and they tend to be called pod pods, these group of people where people automatically comment on each other's posts.

You know, they do look good, they do make it look like your posts are engaging. Although if you dig a bit deeper, you realise that actually a lot of people are posting exactly the same thing. And it's not very exciting. But it's unlikely to actually improve your results or certainly from our testing. We didn't feel that So we got any more genuine engagement or genuine reach. So those are the options when we look at organic. So several different things you can do. And as I say, you know, don't underestimate things like if you have very targeted campaigns using InMails. And certainly my recommendation for everyone is, if you have webinars and events, make sure you use the LinkedIn events page will now move on to paid lead generation. So obviously, this is what LinkedIn wants to do. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft would love a bit more money. As we saw, Microsoft stands to get about 9.2 billion. In terms of display advertising on LinkedIn, that's a huge sum. But actually, there's many more ways you can spend your money on LinkedIn. So the first option is sponsored posts and other forms of sponsored content doesn't have to be a post.

And that's really the simplest option. You take something you post normally, you pay to promote it, you get a little promoted tag. And you can reach people who are outside of your followers. Now, the first thing to say is that when you post organically on LinkedIn, it doesn't necessarily mean that only the people who are followers or connected to you will see it. So when he posts a standard post organically on LinkedIn, if it gets a lot of engagement, LinkedIn will actually show it to people outside of your direct network. So straight to second degree connections, and potentially further. So actually, you know, using organic doesn't stop you reaching a new audience. But obviously, organic tends to focus, and tends to be shown to people who are your first degree connection, so either people following the company, or connected to or following the individual. And that can be crudely seen as basically talking to your own fan club. So the results might look good. But whether it's actually making a material difference to your business, clearly is a questionable. And so there's a number of other paid options we're going to talk about when we talk about lead gen ads, document ads, and InMails. So the first one is a lead gen ad. And it's really simple, we have a post that can look just like a standard post. And when someone clicks on it, rather than going to a landing page, this post will then route through to a lead gen form that is actually embedded within LinkedIn. So it will pre fill all your details.

So you can see here, it's prefilled. With my details, interestingly, picking up the last thing I added to my my CV on LinkedIn, which is my role at Eurocom, rather than my Napier row, but it will pre fill all those contact details. And it will also allow you to ask additional questions. And you can see here, I mean, I know this is in French, but obviously you can, for example, you can talk about what role you're in, what industry you're in. And whether you'd like to receiving those, you can get some explicit opt in as well. So it gives you a lot of flexibility. And the idea is because you're in this, you know, gated or walled garden, where you stay within LinkedIn. And also everything's auto filled. The idea behind lead gen ads is that will be much more effective than running a sponsored post that routes people to an external landing page outside of LinkedIn. So the theory is that this should generate a higher conversion rate than a standard landing page. Document ads are very similar, but what you do is you basically tease a document. And at some point, you actually ask the person to register it. So here you can see a document ad we've run, we get to a point where it says Click the button to learn more to unlock the document, you click the button, and you go through to a lead gen form again. And so this is a very simple way to teach people with a couple of pages of content, and then hopefully persuade them to register, because they've seen some of the document. If you had a standard, you know, PDF behind a lead gen form, the person who's filling the form has no idea of the quality or the usefulness of that document until they actually fill in the form. And so the theory behind this is that people when they've had a taste of a document, if it's good quality, there'll be more likely to give up their contact details. And in practice, it seems to typically work you know when we've seen this, in general document ads can generate is a better conversion rate than standard lead gen ads.

But one of the things I will say is, with all LinkedIn campaigns, there is a caveat that it depends on your audience. And it depends on what you're trying to do and what you're offering. Message ads are interesting message ads are basically sending an InMail. And LinkedIn stats say that that's in mail is likely to be open about 38% of the time. So typically, you know, as good as some of the best email mailing lists. But the problem is, is a lot of quite spammy services use in mails. So the message ads can feel or be seen as a bit spammy. And also, we have the focus and other inbox. And a lot of the paid message ads will actually sit in the other inbox, and basically go there and die and not be seen. So it can be, you know, an effective way. But in general, we see the performance has been quite poor. And it's the cost per message is quite high, certainly compared to email, it typically isn't something we see a lot of clients running campaigns with. Conversation ads are a lot more fun. And this shows someone building up a conversation ad. And you can hopefully see on the right hand side in the image, you create a message that's put in as a message to an individual that feels much more like a typical LinkedIn message. And I think one of the the issues with message ads is people make them you know, much more pitchy, and much more salesy, whereas actually having a conversation being much more relaxed. So you can insert, you know, various fields in so for example, the individuals company name, who put in or job title, whatever. And what it allows you to do is basically create a conversation sequence. So you can have responses to click on, the person clicks on the response, you then send a follow up message, they can then click so you get this conversation, conversation out ads work in general, way better, the message ads, the people who click on them tend to engage, it tends to be a much more flexible way of doing things.

Because you don't have to do that complete sell in the first message, you can walk people into the process very gently. And so they tend to be much more effective. And that's fantastic news. Unless you're running campaigns in the EU. LinkedIn restricts a number of features in the EU. And one of the things it doesn't allow you to do is run a conversation ad in the EU. And this is around GDPR legislation. So unfortunately, you know anyone targeting Europe is going to have to find a different tactic. But if you're out there targeting America, or many other countries around the world, we'd absolutely recommend playing around with conversation ads. They're very, very effective. So when we run all these ads, we actually have to build an audience to reach reach people. And this is, I think, one of the most critical things about LinkedIn advertising. Its LinkedIn superpower, the way you can build the audience. But it's also one of the challenges. So if we look at how we build an audience, there's lots of different ways we can do that we can actually save audiences and reload them. We can use LinkedIn standard audiences. So we can say, Yeah, we just want to reach HR professionals. We can target people by location. We can target people by language. Note that you need to actually generate local language ads if you're targeting different languages other than English. So if you're running a French targeted campaign, the ad should be in French. You can target based on saved audiences.

So things like retargeting and look alike audiences. You can use, of course the firma graphics and demographics, that key LinkedIn superpower. And you can also use something called Audience expansion. Audience expansion, I always think of the most controversial feature on LinkedIn. It's really interesting. What LinkedIn does is it takes the audience you define, and it tries to find more people like that audience. So there's several things you got to think about. The first is, how does your budget match the size of audience. So if your budget is much, much smaller than LinkedIn is telling you you're likely to spend, then clearly expanding the audience probably makes no sense. But you also need to think about how important it is to be specific about the audience. So if you're looking to target a very, very specific audience, you know, your product is for example, only bought by CEOs because it's a CEO membership club, for example. And so, people have to be a CEO, and they have to be in a particular industry, then clicking audience expansion is probably not a good idea, because almost certainly what's going to happen is LinkedIn might try and target, for example, other roles within the C suite, or people in different industries, neither of which you'd accept into your CEO club. So you need to think about whether it makes sense. In general, we see a lot of clients not ticking audience expansion, because they want to be specific about the audience. They know who they want to target, they don't want anyone else. But equally, we see some campaigns where all this expansion has been used, and actually has generated really, really good results. So it's one of those things where you absolutely need to test to find out whether it works or not for your particular campaign. You can also optimise an audience. So once you've created your audience, you've created your campaign.

And you'll notice I'm skipping over the details on how to do a lot of this, your campaigns running and here you can see a simple document ad test that we ran,you can click on something called demographics. And this is an awesome thing to do in LinkedIn, this was a test that we did, and deliberately put some things in that revealed some very interesting results from LinkedIn. So we ran this campaign. And I should just go back one, it was all about developing a marketing plan. So developing a better marketing plan in less time. And if you look at the demographics, you look by job function, and there's a range of other options, but generally speaking, job function is is one of the bigger ones. Company is another big one. There's geographic ones as well. If you look at what we've got, we've got a lot of people in engineering, a lot of people in sales. And actually, this is really interesting, because this is a marketing plan, how many engineers really write marketing plans. And so what this revealed was that, actually, LinkedIn doesn't exact match job titles. So we had sales engineering as a target. And that also matched against people who had engineer as a job title, clearly not what he intended. So when you're optimising an audience, you need to look at the demographics. And then you need to go and typically make exclusions. So a great example here would be, you know, where we were targeting people, we obviously wanted sales, we don't want engineering, so we can target that as an excluded job function. We didn't want operations, so we can exclude that. We didn't want it so we can exclude that. So you can see it's very easy to pick and choose what you want, based upon what you see actually happening. And it's important, because LinkedIn, when you build an audience doesn't necessarily deliver exactly the audience you expect. And that can be for a number of reasons, you know, it can partly be the propensity of people to log on and use LinkedIn in different roles. It could be the way LinkedIn does some matching and job titles a great example. Or it can simply be that your know your job, your your audience specification is broad, and it's therefore bringing in people that you didn't intend to, or don't want in your audience. And I think, you know, to this, it's really interesting to think about how you measure performance. And we talked about audiences. And one of the things about audiences is very crudely, the more precise you are about the audience, the more you're going to pay.

So a simple example is if you specify a job function, typically your cost per click is going to be less than if you specify a job title. And this is a very crude rule. But it definitely seems to be borne out fairly consistently in practice. And so if you want to be super precise, then you're actually going to pay more to reach that audience than if you're going to be broad. But the question is, is what you need in terms of leads. So if you really need people who fit this very precise definition, and anyone outside of it is never going to be a good quality lead, then you should be paying more. However, if you can broaden your audience and still receive good leads, then making it broader will probably give you a better ROI. But the most important thing to say is the only way you can really measure your lead generation campaigns, is by looking at how many good leads whether you define that as an SQL and MQL or have some other qualification. It's important to look at the primary measurement of being a lead because it's so easy to move the cost per 1000 the cost per lead cost per click. And do that by reducing the quality of leads or increasing the quality of leads. And so you look at the number the number is going down but the quality is going up. So, absolutely. It's all about what leads you're getting, how good they are, and whether you believe they're ultimately going to convert to customers. You know, the CPM CPC, they're useful but they only tell you part of this or, and that is really due to the fact that you can be very precise on LinkedIn and get exactly what you want. Or you can be broad and get, you know, something that's close ish, but not always what you really need, but at a lower cost.

And one thing to mention about this is, we see quite a lot of clients doing very targeted campaigns, you know, they've got 500 people in the world 2000 people in the world that they really care about, because they want to sell something to a very specific person. And this is made more difficult if you actually run geographic campaigns or language campaigns. And when you have small campaigns, it does mean it can be very, very hard to optimise, because you're only generating a small number of leads, you might be generating a lot more clicks and a lot more impressions. But you're generating a small number of leads. And so it's hard to get that data. So sometimes it is very hard to optimise campaigns. But you shouldn't feel alone, because one of the reasons LinkedIn says you need to target 50,000 people is because that's really where it needs to get to, to make its own internal algorithm effective.

So again, you know, larger audiences will get more effective targeting, because LinkedIn will learn better, the sort of person that clicks and engages and fills in a form. But it does need a reasonable volume of people, and therefore it needs a very large budget. So again, if you're super targeted, the LinkedIn algorithm probably isn't gonna do a lot to help you, it's really not gonna be able to learn based on a few 100, or a couple of 1000. Contacts. So that's a very quick whistlestop tour of things you can do to generate leads on LinkedIn, hopefully, it's produced some great ideas, we've got a couple of tips and tricks, some of the things we've we've learned through, you know, some painful experiences that we think are really useful sharing. So the first thing is, is LinkedIn offers something called the LinkedIn Audience Network. Now, this sounds great, and it sounds like it must be a really business orientated network. What it is, is LinkedIn is going to run ads on other sites to people, it believes that interested in your in your ads. So that's either through your targeting, or through audience extension. But actually, if you have a look, and I've downloaded the list, and you have a look at where these ads are placed, they're not necessarily placed on sites where people are thinking about business. So Rotten Tomatoes, you know, Natasha's kitchen, apartment therapy, I'm sure they're all great sites. But it's a very different situation to someone being on LinkedIn and being in a business frame of mind, versus, you know, wanting some apartment therapy and wants to do up their apartments. So you need to think carefully, whether you want to hit that audience network or not.

The reality is, is again, because those impressions are quite cheap, and they're targeting your audience, it can be quite effective. So you might see things like the click through rate go down, but the cost per click go down as well. Because the overall cost of saying, so it's really worth, you know, experimenting, if you have the budget to see if LinkedIn Audience Network will help. And one of the things you can do is you can go to the LinkedIn brand safety section in the LinkedIn advertising tool. And that will actually let you control where ads on the audience network is shared. So if you want to be a bit more specific, you can actually get some control over where ads are shared. And certainly, you know, if you have a very small audience and and significant budget, then audience network can be great because it will take you a long time to spend that money on the LinkedIn platform, because you're waiting for people to come back. And actually there's a small audience, you might see that, you know, some of those very rarely visit LinkedIn. So your niche network can be a good tool. But test it, find out and make sure you monitor it. And be aware it's probably not appearing on necessarily the site you'd expect your ads to appear on. My next step is don't bid the recommended amount.

So typically, people click on the maximum delivery. And it's basically saying Knock yourself out LinkedIn user algorithm give me the best results. And that can be quite effective. It does need a significant amount of data to really optimise those. So again, for very small campaigns. It might be worth considering cost cap on manual bidding. They might produce worse results they might produce better. But the trick here is when you click on something, so manual bidding for example, it will give you a recommended bid. In our testing, we found that actually changing that bid and just bidding you know, as low as you can $1 or something. It was then tell you what the minimum bid is, in many situations, putting the minimum bid in, will give you the same kind of results, but at a much lower cost. So don't always feel like you've got to go into manual bidding and use the recommended, we will absolutely say, if you don't want to use maximum delivery, and that is something you might want to consider on small campaigns to test, then when you go to manual bidding or cost cap, make sure that you put the lowest value in first, just to test it if you're not spending a budget, and you'd like greater reach. So LinkedIn is not showing your ads, because it feels you're not bidding enough, then obviously move that bid up. But as a first step, you know, putting in that lower amount, you might find you can get a bargain.

I alluded to this before, but I think it's really important. Job Titles are not matched exactly, or in some cases even closely on LinkedIn. And this is obviously necessarily think about it, people typing their own job title, they can put whatever they want. There's a huge range of titles. But problems exist. And so engineer can match as a job title with people who have sales engineer, for example, that's not good, you don't necessarily want that. So you may be targeting technical engineering decision makers and get loads of salespeople and vice versa. And the way to do this, as I mentioned before, is to use the demographics, and then use exclusions to eliminate any spurious matches. I lost last tip, and I think you know, one of the best is to build retargeting audiences. So using engagement to build an audience. And you can actually create some really good retargeting audiences with relatively little budget. You know, one of the best uses is if you know roughly who you want to target, but you're not sure. So let's say for example, you know, it's it's in engineering, and it's in this industry, but we're not quite sure what sort of engineers, you don't want to spend all your money on lead gen, which is inherently an expensive form of advertising on LinkedIn. So one of the ways you can do it, and one of the very effective approaches is to run some kind of engagement ads, so maybe a content ad to see if people will click on it and engage with it. The people who click them become your audience. They're your retargeting, and it's because they've been interested in the content you've offered for free. And you can then offer them some more content, using Lead Generation ads. And this two step approach, particularly where you're not exactly sure of you know, who's in your audience.

So you can use the engagement to find out who's interested. And that can actually ultimately result in lower cost per lead than just running a single lead gen. You can also retarget on a number of other things as well, not least on people who visited your website. So if you have LinkedIn tracking, you can actually run LinkedIn ads to people who visited pages on your website. So I would always look at building an audience. The one caveat to that is you have to build an audience of at least 300 people to run it may not be an issue on your website may be an issue if you've got limited budget, and you're trying to run content ads, and then lead gen ads. So just be be mindful that you need a significant budget to run that two step process on LinkedIn.

So hopefully, this has been helpful. It's been slightly longer than normal for one of our webinars. And I think I've covered quite a lot of different lead gen opportunities. One of the issues I know is people are going to say, well, this is just too much, or I haven't got the resources, or I really need more information. So we actually have, you know, three levels of service to help people out and help clients with LinkedIn. We run bespoke training. So we sit teams down, and actually run through how they can build LinkedIn campaigns in house. We obviously do campaign reviews, where clients are running campaigns, and want to know how they can improve them. And we also offer lead gen campaigns or service as well as all other LinkedIn campaigns. So if there is something you want to know, or to find out, you know, do feel free to contact me.

So lastly, let's look at what we see. You know, the key messages from this, I mean, the first thing to say and I'll get back to this is, there's a reason why half the display advertising budget is being spent on LinkedIn is a great source of leads is a great, great place to advertise. It can be expensive, but it can also generate very good quality leads. And so measuring the quality of the lead is super important. We mentioned that there are many different ways to generate leads, and depending on what you're doing, and if it's a content offer, for example, what that content offer looks like, you know, one or other of the different approaches might make more sense. Audiences are clearly critical. But ultimately, you know, you need to Keep testing. And I think this is super important with LinkedIn is there's so many options and so many variables that if you're not testing, you won't be optimising. So you will be missing out.

And lastly, I think this is the most important thing is in LinkedIn, particularly, I think you have to measure what matters, which is the leads and the leads that are actually of good quality. Rather than trying to measure it, you know, some of them are vanity metrics, like click through rates, they're an indication of whether things work and whether the ads engaging. But ultimately, what you care about is the cost per high quality lead. And you have to be pretty ruthless about focusing on that, that and just measuring that metric, if you really want to understand what's working, what isn't. So thank you very much for listening. I appreciate your time, we do have a little bit of time that we can actually cover some questions.

So I'm gonna check with questions. Okay, so Okay, we have a question here about LinkedIn events, which is great question actually love this. So if you use LinkedIn events presuming the registration process is handling outside of your website, and CRM? And the answer is no. So LinkedIn live webinar, basically, if you're running that, that's on LinkedIn, but as soon as you promote a webinar, or anything else, where you manage it with your own platform. So for example, this webinar here, as it says, managed on webinar geek, and then you run your LinkedIn events, promotion, but that event links through to your registration page. So it's only if you're using the LinkedIn live feature, that you'd need to actually upload data from LinkedIn into your system. Otherwise, it will almost certainly feed in directly, just as you'd normally do for any other event. Okay, if anyone's got any other questions, please feel free to ask. I do have one here, actually, which is about lead gen ads, which a great question.

So somebody has asked about lead gen ads. And they've asked whether the lead gen is always better than rooting people to a landing page. I mentioned that, you know, it should be better it usually is. The answer is it's not always better. And it's a very interesting situation where every so often we see, generally, because there's a reason for having a much more detailed landing page. So you're putting content on there that people care about, then sometimes the landing page can be more effective than a LinkedIn lead gen ad. So certainly don't feel if you're generating leads on LinkedIn, everything has to lead lead to one of the LinkedIn forms, it can lead to your own landing page. But I would think about, you know, whether it's important that you have that that landing page with the extra information, or whether the campaign is likely to work better if you have a much more simpler and straightforward process. So, again, you know, I think the answer is it's really something you want to test. But it's a great question there. We have another question here, which is another fantastic one. So I understand it does depend on budget and audience. But how long would you recommend running a paid lead gen campaign for?

So obviously, the issue here is that people have different habits and how they use LinkedIn. So some people will be going back and checking LinkedIn, you know, depending on their role, maybe daily, certainly a lot of people in marketing or on LinkedIn daily. Whereas perhaps if you look at the, you know, engineering sector, you know, some of those engineers, if they're not looking for a job, they may only be on LinkedIn, once a month, for example. So I think it's really important to understand your audience, and monitor the results. And generally, what we see is if people run lead gen campaign, or indeed any LinkedIn campaign for a longer period of time, then what happens is the results tend to drop off as people tend to see the same ad over and over again. So you can then look at either refreshing the ads, or doing another campaign. But typically, what we see is clients running campaigns for generally the one to two month timeframe. Anything more than two months, you're almost certainly going to see the people who are frequently on LinkedIn seeing too many of those ads, and dropping out. You can also do things with exclusions so you can build audiences around people who've engaged with your ad, and then exclude them from seeing the ad in the future. So that helps a little bit with the drop off but it's not super useful. Um, but generally speaking, there is definitely a timeframe.

The other thing to mention is, of course, it depends on budget. So if you, you know, if you have the campaign that targets, you know, 100,000 people, and you've got a $5 a day budget, you're gonna run that campaign for a very long time before you see it starting to drop off. But if you've got $100 A day budget, and you're targeting 300 people, that campaign is probably going to drop off very, very quickly in terms of performance, you're actually almost certainly not going to spend the budget, but it's going to, you know, saturate, and it's not going to be as effective. So I think it's a real balance.

So thank you very much for all your questions for listening to the webinar. If anybody does think of a question afterwards, or they just want more advice on LinkedIn, my email address is on the screen. So it's Mike at Napier b2b dot com. And I'd welcome a chance to have a chat with you about LinkedIn and how you can use it. Thank you very much and have a wonderful Christmas.


What is the Importance of Data Enrichment in B2B

Mike Maynard and Hannah Wehrly address the benefits of data enrichment, the recent acquisition of Clearbit by HubSpot, and how data enrichment can enhance marketing campaigns and increase campaign success.

They also discuss how survey findings aren’t always the reality of the B2B industry, how marketing automation can help marketers and sales work together, and how it can aid social media and KPIs.

Listen to the podcast now via the links below:

Transcript: Marketing Automation Moment Episode Eleven - What is the Importance of Data Enrichment in B2B

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Hannah Kelly

Hannah: Welcome to the market automation moment Podcast. I'm Hannah Kelly.

Mike: And I'm Mike Maynard. This is Napier's podcast to tell you about the latest news from the world of marketing automation.

Hannah: Welcome to the Marketing Automation Moment Podcast. I'm Hannah Wehrly. And I Mike Maynard. And this week we discuss Hubspots AI trends marketers report,

Mike: the acquisition of data enrichment company Clearbit, the best part automation KPIs, how marketers and sales can work together by using marketing automation platforms,

Hannah: and how market automation can help with your social media. Hi, Mike, welcome back to another episode of Market automation moment. How you doing?

Mike: Well, it's great to be back. It's been a while since we've talked actually I've done a lot of travelling, and we've had a few technical problems as well.

Hannah: We definitely have Well, I'm really excited about our conversation today. Because although we have got, of course, a little bit to talk about with regards to AI. We've also got some really interesting elements to talk about today. So I'm just going to jump right into it and HubSpot have actually released an AI trends for marketers report. Now this was really interesting, because I have to say, I don't think I agree with all the data, because hospital actually reckons that AI gives marketers 12 and a half hours back per week. Now that sounds wonderful in theory, but actually in reality, I don't think that's quite true, especially when it comes to b2b Tech and the line of work that we're in. I mean, they've stated that 48% are using AI to conduct research 22% to get ideas and 32% to learn how to do things. What do you think about this?

Mike: Yeah, and I think a lot of people are using AI now. I mean, we use AI a lot. You know, I used it this morning. To give people a definition of something is great for certain tasks, but the HubSpot report, it seemed to make claims without really backing up and I think this is where I became a little bit nervous, particularly, you know, when it started talking about 12 and a half hours per week as the likely timesaving?

Hannah: Absolutely, I mean, one thing that came across, which was quite interesting was that 37% are using AI to automate time consuming tasks with regards to SEO. So things like keyword mapping, and ternal link building, and actually to support them in building their content strategy. Now, it's interesting, because as you said, you know, you use it this morning, of course, as elements to this, but what are the risks and advantages of using AI to support SEO?

Mike: Well, I think, you know, AI is great as a tool. I mean, you know, I personally love what Microsoft had done in calling their AI tools that copilot something to help. It's interesting to see that 37% of marketers are actually automating time consuming SEO tasks with AI. I'm not entirely sure 30% of marketers are really particularly active doing SEO. So it does make me wonder quite what the sample was. And I think we need to take away some of the numbers. You know, the claim that marketers spend five hours a day on menial tasks, I think was HubSpot word. And that, you know, using AI is going to automate that away to be only two and a half hours. I'm not sure many of us marketers are putting on our, you know, inputs to our annual appraisals, that actually more than half our day is menial tasks. And equally, I think some of the numbers are quite high. Having said that, without doubt AI is super useful, and is really being deployed by a lot of marketers today. So I think let's forget about the numbers somewhat. And maybe let's talk about how people are using it. And you mentioned earlier, some stats on ideas, and research. And I think this is what marketers should be doing. They should be focusing on, how can I help? And what can I use it for rather than necessarily trying to tally up exactly how many hours a day it saves?

Hannah: That’s a great point, Mike. And I really like that, you know, as a marketer myself, I don't look at my tasks as Oh my God, I need to save two hours, but being able to get that insight, that inspiration sometimes, that's really where AI has come to help.

Mike: Uh, definitely, I mean, the whole blank play paper syndrome where, you know, if you're not careful, you can be sat there for a whole day staring at a piece of blank paper and not knowing what to do, whether it's, you know, SEO, keyword research, or whether it's, you know, trying to come up with some content. I think AI could save, you know, a huge amount of time there. And it's almost a bit pointless to try and work out exactly how much I think it's much better to go and actually change the way we work because, you know, let's be honest, looking forward. Nobody's gonna care about what you did a year ago. People are actually going to care about you being efficient and effective and using the tools today. So I think let's focus on finding the use cases, rather than trying to come up with some artificial quantification that perhaps isn't so useful.

Hannah: Absolutely, you're completely right. Mike, I actually want to move the conversation on a little bit because a couple of days ago, you sent me an article. It's something really interesting. And I'd love to get your thoughts about. And it's that HubSpot has actually just announced an acquisition of clear bit. Do you want to talk a little bit about what this means?

Mike: So this, I think, is super interesting. And it's really frustrating. I mean, some of the older listeners will remember something called Plaxo, which was like, a way to update your contacts. And that company kind of fell by the wayside. But now, it seems to be the hottest area in martec is actually data enrichment. And so HubSpot, clearly, they've got this philosophy of being a single platform, people buy everything from them. So they need a data enrichment facility. So they bought Clearbit to do that. But also, it was only a couple of months ago that Apollo to IO, got some more investment, I think it valued the company at something like one and a half billion. We're seeing more and more of these data enrichment companies becoming hugely important in b2b. And I think what HubSpot has done is really buy someone so that they're able to offer that within that HubSpot package, which is their philosophy in their approach. Many other people using other marketing automation platforms will tie in different systems. And they'll pick the best system for the data they need.

Hannah:

I think absolutely. And actually just want to take it back a step back and go back to basics, and maybe just for our listeners who aren't as advanced in market automation, what are the benefits of data enrichment? Like what can this do for you as a marketer?

Mike: Well, I know you're an expert on this, because you do a lot of data enrichment for our business development, the hammer, so thank you for asking me. But I think you know, the main thing that people are doing is they're taking data that is either incomplete. And let's be honest, most people, they look at their marketing, automation databases, they know that maybe they got the address, perhaps they've got the name, right. Hopefully, they've got the company, right, maybe they've got the job title, but company size, postal address, maybe mobile phone number, all of those things are typically missing on a fairly large number of accounts. And so what data enrichment offers is the possibility of actually adding that data automatically. And in fact, what typically happens is once people set up a system, what you do is you maybe simply put in the email address for somebody, wait a couple of seconds, and then the data enrichment system will then fill in all the other details. So whether you're entering contacts into a database for marketing, or more likely sales into a CRM, it really saves time, because it fills out all those forms, or those name and phone number and fields that take a long time to complete. And I know you've been working on trying to use this in Napier's marketing as well.

Hannah: Oh, yeah. I mean, I'm so enthusiastic about this, because I have a basis for our database where I have to have the set fields filled in from the get go. Otherwise, I can't sleep at night. So knowing that this can be done automatically. I mean, I love this. And it's definitely I'd say a point in HubSpot corner because it's gonna save marketers so much time, but also the benefits of it. And personally for me as well, you know, being able to not have to do all this research to get that data is going to be so beneficial.

Mike: Absolutely. And I think the question is unclip is a good a good system today, can HubSpot keep that data fresh going forward. And as HubSpot adds more and more features, they're spreading themselves broader and broader across more and more functionality in their tool chain. The challenge is to be great at everything. And obviously, some of their competitors will say, well, actually, what we're doing is we're allowing you to bring in best in class vendors. And I think it'd be interesting to see who wins. I mean, both sides have fairly compelling arguments as to what they're doing. Both sides have great strategies. And ultimately, I think both HubSpot and also the marketing automation vendors that effectively recommend you use a third party data enrichment. So they'll both actually be great solutions going forward.

Hannah: Absolutely, completely agree, Mike. And I think this is a good segue into our next part of the podcast because focusing on data, I want you to have a conversation around the best marketing automation KPIs. So, for example, if we take NAPEO the kinds of things that I look at when we run a campaign are things like landing page conversion, so you know how many people are visiting our page and actually filling in the form? You know, for us, we look at our website traffic, but we know only a real small percentage of that website traffic is actually relevant to Napier. So it'd be good to get your insight and what you think are the most important metrics to look at. So for example, is cost per lead a good metric to be measuring. What about customer lifetime value? Where should marketers be focusing their efforts? When looking at market automation KPIs?

Mike: Well, obviously, I mean, you're a smart marketer, you're not looking at the kind of vanity metrics so much, you know, things like impressions and click through rate, and you're really trying to measure things that are closer to our business objectives. And I love that about what you do. And I think people should really You take a leaf out of your book and be looking at that, I think it's very difficult. You know, landing page conversions is really interesting when you look at conversion rates, for example, typically, somebody's running a campaign, they might run a campaign out to their database, which could have a large percentage of existing customers, and also have quite a few prospects that have already been warmed up. And you might see quite a high conversion rate on your landing page, where people are willing to enter data, frankly, you know, they've got an email from you, they know, you know, their email address, they're happy to put it in again, you're probably auto filling it to make it easy. I think the risk is, then when you then roll that campaign out to a broader audience where you're trying to bring in new prospects that you want to nurture, that conversion rate is going to go down. And so I think trying to look at individual metrics and apply them across a whole campaign is very difficult. What you need to do is start looking at what you're trying to achieve, and then how much it costs you to achieve that. And that typically will involve, you know, splitting campaigns into different phases or different stages. Because as I say, you know, it's very different mailing around database versus, say, running a Google ads campaign to drive people to your website, and your landing pages. What do you think about that?

Hannah: Oh, I completely agree, Mike. I mean, we've fallen trap before where we've been like, no, we want to achieve this conversion rate, or we want to get this open rate from our emails, but knowing the difference of what the goal of your actual campaign is, before you get started, is so important to your success. Otherwise, you're just setting yourself up for failure. I mean, we have a monthly newsletter that goes out to our database, and we got a 16% click through rate last month. So for us, that's absolutely amazing. But if it was perhaps going out to people who don't know the name of your name, I wouldn't ever be aiming for a click through rate that high?

Mike: Absolutely, I think it's pick the metrics and pick the goals based upon the audience you're reaching, and the campaign you're running. And I think it's about you know, trying to understand what's realistic. I mean, within our newsletter, for example, we have a lot of journalists who subscribe to our newsletter, that's fantastic. I love the fact they do that. They're quite often quite engaged on the newsletter. And maybe what we care about is actually a subset of our total newsletter audience, which are the prospects, or perhaps we also care about our clients as well, because if we're sending our clients newsletters, they're not clicking. That's not a good sign. Clearly, we don't understand what clients are interested in. So I think it's about picking those metrics and working them out. I mean, the one thing I don't like is people coming up with industry benchmarks, they're always useful as a start. But almost invariably, your campaign is different from everybody else's. So again, you know, use them as a guide, but don't use them as gospel.

Hannah: Don’t use them as gospel, what a way to end that's a brilliant like, I mean, let's move on. Because, you know, my role, I sit half in marketing, I sit half in sales. And we talk, obviously a lot about marketing in this podcast. But I'm really excited just to give sales a moment to shine like we deserve. And this is focused on using market automation to support sales. So I mean, a lot of automation platforms have the capability for things like pipelines, so we can track the deal, the stages our deals are at, we have visibility of what marketing is doing, which is amazing. We know what communication is going out. And we can actually see exactly what our prospects are viewing on our company's website. And for me, I think it's not talked about enough. I think companies know it's there. But you know, we talk about all the time that sales and marketing need to work together. And sometimes I think Martin automation is that glue that does it, because we get such an insight as a sales people to see what marketers are doing what we're communicating. But also marketing can come to sales and say, what should we be talking about? How are your deals going? Is there anything I can help you with? I can see that this there's this many in the pipeline? I mean, are you as passionate about it as I am, Mike?

Mike: Well, I really love the fact that marketing automation brings it together. And I think, you know, it's interesting, you have two types of solutions. I mean, internally, we use a SharpSpring platform. And they're the sales CRM is integrated in with a marketing automation system. However, you know, a lot of our clients, for example, use Marketo and Salesforce, but either way, you're able to share data between both the sales view and the marketing view, whether it's the same platform or a different platform. And I think there's a lot of data marketers can provide to salespeople that's going to help them engage when they call the customer, you know, whether it's what's been downloaded, whether it's what's been viewed on the website, or perhaps it's even just what we've sent to the prospect and they've not responded to. And to me, there's kind of two things. I mean, one is marketers need to provide that data. And I think marketers are getting better at that. And the tools are definitely getting better at you know, encouraging that sharing of data. But also, I think there's a need for marketers to help salespeople and explain what they're sharing. And I've seen with some clients, you know, salespeople get a lead list of URLs, they don't really know what they are what they mean. And that's really not a good way to do it. So I think it's not just about the technology and what the technology can do. But it's about, you know, really engaging and talking between the two different departments. Obviously, at Napier, you know, we're small, we've got a department of one that includes both sales and marketing. So I assume your communications are pretty good. But clients with big departments in marketing and sales, that communication is much more difficult. And I think helping sales understand what information you're giving them. That's super useful.

Hannah: Oh, definitely, Mike. And I think the one thing I would add to that as well is that there's simple ways to do that. And there is the function of dashboards of a mouse automation platform. So you know, have a talk of sales, see what they're interested in and see what we could help them, but then provide a platform where they can quickly just go in, have a look, see what the updates are, without constantly having to have that conversation. So I think it's two levels, I think, absolutely explain what it is have a discussion about, you know, what sales should be looking at, but then also provide that really easy access so that they can sometimes just go in quickly before a prospect call?

Mike: Yeah. And ultimately, it's all about qualifying leads. And I think this is always the big battleground between marketing and sales is, when do you handle lead over to sales? And how does sales qualify it? And I think today, we're moving away from what was the case 510 years ago, where pretty much marketing through these leads across the sales, they weren't necessarily particularly well qualified. And sales just looked at them when they're all terrible. And clearly, the truth was somewhere in between. So things like scoring, but also more importantly, nurturing and assessing work. Contacts are on that customer journey. I think that's super important to improve that quality and that conversation between marketing and sales. Because we know, you know, and I don't want to be the hippie here. But when marketing and sales work together, it's always better for both sides.

Hannah:  Oh, absolutely. And it's a great point, Mike. And it really is all about education.

Mike: It definitely is. And I think if anybody wants to understand how to do that, talking to you is a great education. Because you're doing both sides, you see the issues from both sides, you see the the challenge of how do I qualify leads from a marketing point of view? And then from a sales point of view? Am I actually gonna get any money out of this? And that is often quite a very different question.

Hannah: So whether it's an MQL definitely is unique perspective to have, I would say. So just looking at time, Mike, I'd like to move on to our insightful Tip of the Week. Now, this is more, you know, maybe a basic tip. I'm sure a lot of our listeners know this already. But I think it's always something great to drive home. And that is that some market automation platforms, not all, but the majority do have the capabilities to support your social media platforms. So this is things like scheduling posts, so Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn in advance, but also have social listening tools. So you can look and see when your company is being mentioned, when you should be commenting, you can track topics. And I think, you know, as a company, perhaps for Napier, we've not use it to its full capability. But it can be a really great way to ensure that everything is being tracked on the platform to see how your campaigns are being successful. What do you think about the social media capabilities?

Mike: Yeah, I completely agree. I mean, actually, I know you're running a lot of social campaigns organic, and paid social campaigns, and you're tying them into our marketing automation. So I think that's really important. I think the other thing that people need to remember is that marketing automation platforms can understand when traffic comes from social media. So you're not just you know, looking at social media, and using those on platform metrics, you know, things like likes and shares and clicks. But you're also able to take the data and work out how many of those people that click through, actually then convert to leads. So tying social and marketing automation together, it's great because you can be more effective on the social platform. But you can also understand much better what's going on and work out which of those posts are really driving the leads and the things that are going to move the needle in the business. What do you think?

Hannah: I mean, that's a great point, Mike. I mean, sometimes social media in the best way it can feel a bit like a slog, you know, we have to be active, we have to have a high quality of posts, but being able to have that data to look in and say okay, case studies perform really well. But this one where we're too salesy, doesn't work at all, it just saves so much time for the future and understanding what's going to be successful.

Mike: Yeah, for sure, I think, you know, social media, it can feel like a slog, but also, if you can actually see real results coming from it. And not just as I say clicks and likes, but actually leads and opportunities. I think that really helps, you know, understand that it's worth the effort. Absolutely. Well, thanks so much for your time today, Mike. It's been another fantastic conversation. Thanks, Hannah. And I look forward to talking to you next time.

Hannah: Thanks for listening to the marketing automation moment podcast.

Mike: Don't forget to subscribe in your favorite podcast application and we'll see you next time.

 


International Press Cuttings Bureau Ceases Print Monitoring Service

We were sad to hear the news that The International Press Cuttings Bureau (IPCB) will cease its print monitoring service at the end of this year.

Although there is still a market in print, it's clear to see that the cuttings market is getting harder. This is, in part, due to competition from companies that only track online coverage, such as Meltwater. The online-only publications have the advantage that it's much less labour intensive than monitoring print coverage.

As a company that was launched in 1920, we are sad to see IPCB closing their doors on the print market, as it has been a service we've used for our clients over the years.


A Napier Webinar: 5 Reasons Your CEO Rejected Your Marketing Plan

As a marketer, it can be hard to get your first draft of a marketing plan signed off by management. In fact, in a recent survey we undertook, over 50% of respondents shared that management either asked for cuts or changes to the proposed strategy and spending.

So how can you make sure that your marketing plan doesn’t get rejected?

In our on-demand webinar '5 Reasons Your CEO Rejected Your Marketing Plan', we explore the reasons why CEOs often reject marketing plans and share tips and tricks on what to consider when building one. We cover:

  • How marketers can fail to understand available budget
  • Why presenting measurable business results is vital
  • How to explain how leads will turn into business
  • How to change the mindset of thinking and planning in silos
  • The importance of getting support from the sales team

Register to view our webinar on demand by clicking here, and why not get in touch to let us know if our insights helped you.

Napier Webinar: ‘5 Reasons Your CEO Rejected Your Marketing Plan’ Transcript

Speakers: Mike Maynard

Well, good afternoon, everyone. And thank you for your patience, waiting for the webinar to start. And it's always kind of stressful when you go to log on to a webinar and suddenly find that your internet is down. But fortunately, I managed to get some internet connection. And hopefully some of you are still around.

So thank you for your patience. And what we're going to do today is we're going to talk about marketing plans. And I think marketing plans are very interesting. So I'm just going to start and go straight into the presentation, obviously aware of your time. And, you know, let's talk about how people think about planning. And I think there's a couple of ways that people view planning. So people see it in a somewhat different ways. So there are definitely people that see it in the military way of you know, proper planning and preparation is what it's all about. And if you don't do that, you lose your performance.

So I think there's some people who absolutely love planning, and they're really into it. And those people probably don't need to listen to this webinar. There are some people who see it as the TPS report from office space, you know, that actually plans get written, nobody ever takes any notice of them. And they're kind of pointless. And that's a bit disappointing, I think, you know, generally, having a plan definitely helps. But sometimes there can be a fairly time wasting, pointless exercise of writing and rewriting plans. And this is what this webinar is about. It's about trying to avoid the problem where you have to keep generating the same marketing plan with slightly different parameters, until your CEO eventually signs off the marketing budget. And then hopefully, we're not going to end up like that, will Britain where whatever we do, the computer says no, or in this case, the CEO says no.

So let's have a look at what we're going to talk about. So today, we're going to discuss, you know, several things. We're going to talk about understanding the available budget. We're going to talk about measurable results. And clearly, I think, you know, particularly as we enter times that are tougher economically, we're going to see more and more pressure as marketers to deliver results that are tangible. But what you need to deliver is think about business results. And we'll talk about that. We'll talk about explaining how leads turn into business and really telling a story around your marketing plan. We'll look at how to change the mindset of thinking and planning in silos into a mindset of thinking holistically. And lastly, we'll look at the importance of getting support from the sales team.

So let's have a look. Why should we plan? So there's a couple of things here that talk about planning. So behind him we see like lots of people running off in different directions vectors, I think Elon Musk was the person who said that people are vectors, the organisations are some of the vector the messages. If everybody's running in the same in different directions, then actually, somebody's got to run really hard and push hard to get the company moving forward, because everybody's going in different routes. If we can get everybody moving the same way, it's much easier to move forwards and plans are great to get people aligned and moving in the same direction. And this has been studied.

So the organisational behaviour and human decision decision processes journal, as a mouthful, actually published articles way back in 1990, where they actually demonstrated that plans produce better results in organisations. So definitely organisational situations, plans produce results. And lastly, planning lets you focus on what's important. And I think more and more in marketing, what's important is showing those business results that help the business grow and succeed. And so what we're going to do is we're going to explain how to build those plans, and how to use them to actually drive you know, more engagement from the senior management or particular CEO, and ultimately more budget, which is, you know, typically what marketers are looking for.

So, why was your marketing plan rejected? You know, why is your CEO or Lisa Simpson sat there, crying, feeling upset because the marketing plan hasn't met her expectations? And I think this is really crucial. You know, it's all about looking at how we meet the CEOs expectations, or whoever's assessing the marketing budget. And that requires, you know, a little bit of psychology and understanding about, you know, what the person needs and what's going to excite them and interest them.

So let's try and avoid our CEO crying over a marketing plan. And let's look at these five reasons that we feel marketing plans get rejected. Well, the first one, this is a classic marketing mistake that hopefully people don't make as marketers is ignoring the audience. So whether you're providing your plan to the CEO or the CMO, they care about different things to you. And actually, the CEO and the CMO probably care about different things themselves. So it's about trying to understand what their priorities are. It's about understanding how much time they have available, if you're submitting a marketing plan to a CMO, they're almost certainly going to spend a lot longer looking at than if you submit a marketing plan to a CEO, who's inherently busy and has a much wider remit. And so we strongly recommend, you know, creating plans for your audience.

So for the audience, that's going to sign off the budget. And this quite often results in two marketing plans being produced. One is a plan for the department that really focuses on how things are going to be executed, and how the results are going to be achieved. And the other is a plan for senior management, that really talks about the benefits of the marketing approach, and why the investment is going to generate a return for the business. So think about the audience, that's really important. The next step is to think about the detail of what your boss cares about. I mean, if it's, if you're talking about a CEO of a publicly funded company, probably number one concern is keeping their job. So keeping a job is really, really important as a CEO. And that basically means delivering on those quarterly results.

When times are good when revenues coming in CEOs can be much more relaxed. But at times like now, where we're seeing a lot of pressure on businesses, the economy, whilst not terrible, it's certainly not great. CEOs are much more concerned about revenue. And it's not just you know, how much are we going to sell. And I think this is important, it's about understanding the different ways you can drive revenue. So you could clearly drive more revenue, ultimately.

But actually, what might be more important is having a shorter time to revenue, is there anything you can do in marketing, that can actually speed up the conversion of a prospect to a customer, if you can do that and bring revenue in sooner? Certainly, in tough times, that can be a very compelling reason to invest money in marketing. I think you can look at things like customer acquisition, how much does it cost to acquire a customer? So what's your CAC or customer acquisition cost? Or how can you increase the lifetime value of the customer how can make customers more valuable, talking about things like this. So these are business metrics, rather than marketing metrics, it really helps CEOs and non marketing specialists understanding and equally, you know, whilst you might be submitting your budget to a CMO or CEO, I'm sure that your chief financial officer will also be looking in and trying to investigate, you know, whether it's worth investing the money in marketing or not. And so therefore, clearly speaking in their language makes a lot of difference.

It's not just speaking in their language, I think, you know, as marketers, sometimes particularly people from a sort of PR background, like words, they like to write things, reality as your audience doesn't have time to read things. And so I think, you know, looking at how you can actually tell people what's going to happen using pictures and diagrams is really important. I mean, one of our favourites is talking about positioning. And if you look at, you know, brand positioning, one of the easiest things you can do is actually position a brand on a perceptual map.

So, here's an example, where we're talking about a very simple thing. So we've got two axes, reliability and support, which we, you know, assuming are two of the major axes of this particular company's market. And you can see, there's a mix of companies around, and that company is doing okay. I mean, the support is not great. The, the reliability is not fantastic. But you know, we're not far off. I mean, we're actually pretty competitive. But what the marketing plan is, is to move that to a perception that a were more reliable, and actually just inching ahead to be the most reliable of these four companies. But particularly focusing on our support and selling our support. So that ultimately, we're going to have a situation where we own and occupy a space in customers minds, that's gonna really make a difference, because they're going to see us as the people to go to, if they want some a supplier they can trust they want somebody who's got great support, and good reliability. So pictures are great, and using various marketing models and frameworks is strongly recommended. The second reason is unexpected surprises. I mean, budget planning is hard.

And so you need to make it easy for the CEO. And really, you know, One of the things that, you know, I'm sure everybody's doing is pre wiring these discussions. So you're going out, and you're finding out what the expectation is. So how much budget is expected to be allocated to marketing? Now, all too often we see marketers going out and saying, Well, I expect there's going to be, you know, amount X allocated to marketing. So I want to put in a little bit more of that, let the CEO cut it down, it'll all be fine. And generally, that leads to marketing plans that are designed to be cut. And that's fine if you'd like rewriting your marketing plan and wasting time doing that. But in reality, there is flexibility in those budgets, yes, there is a number they're aiming for. But there's also an opportunity to identify actually finding additional budget, which can often be moved around. And I think more and more, as we see the customer journey, you know, extending more into the marketing area, and less into sales, marketers should be thinking about how they can access more budgets.

So what can they deliver, that that creates a compelling return, that means that CEOs are prepared to move budget from one area into marketing. And a great way to do this. And this is a secret, you know, anyone who's a client of Napier, or has had a quote from us, we'll be very aware of this, it's choices. And choices make a huge difference. So, you know, setting you know three different levels of budget is the classic way to do it, is generally a really good way to help avoid rewriting plans and actually present three choices. And then your CEO or your CFO, whoever's looking at it, can then pick the choice that they feel is most appropriate. And typically, what you'll find is, most people make a choice plus, so pick a level of activity. And then quite often, they'll pick some extra activities, they want to bundle into enhance, that they like from one of the more expensive options.

So definitely feel free to, you know, look at rather than writing a marketing plan with one option for the CEO, give the CEO three different options, three different levels of expenditure and three different returns. And that's a really good way to speed up this process and avoid the back and forth. A classic reason for getting marketing plans rejected is lack of support from other parts of the business, in particular, from sales. So, you know, we all know CEOs talk to salespeople before they talk to marketing.

So salespeople actually want good marketing, great marketing makes their job easier salespeople know that. But you need to involve them, you need to engage salespeople. And I think more and more we are seeing that. And it's much better than maybe you know, 20 or 30 years ago when I started and sales and marketing didn't really speak together. And actually now it's much better sales and marketing and much more closely engaged. And activities like Account Based Marketing help encourage that. I apologise the animation doesn't appear to have worked on this slide.

But the fourth reason is not explaining the benefit. As marketers, we're all too keen to use terms and to use metrics that we're familiar with. So we're talking about engagement, we're talking about cuttings, we're talking about followers, MPs, content awareness, website, traffic, blog posts, reach clicks, click through rates. That's not what the CEO cares about. You know, if you look at what the CEO cares about, they care about revenue, as we talked about, we talked about customer lifetime value, they care about margin and profit, they care about share of wallet from their customers, how many customers they've got, they care about sales and opportunities, competition, return on investment and reputation. And so by taking the things that you talk about, and moving them into more business orientated language, you can massively increase the the chance of your proposal or your plan being approved the first time round. And so within that, we're trying to actually leave the CEO through effectively a process of what marketing is going to do, how marketing is going to change things.

I mean, hopefully, as marketers, we all understand the importance of credibility. And here we've got you know, David, who's about to slay Goliath. And, you know, he followed the classic sort of hero's journey. Start off as a shepherd went to see his brothers who were fighting in the war, heard about Goliath, you know, and things were getting worse and worse, he volunteers to fight Goliath. That's not good. The armour doesn't fit him. I mean, this is this is really bad, you know, the guy is struggling, and then he comes out the other side by using his slingshot and ultimately defeating Goliath. And I think when you tell a story, you know business contexts, just saying we're going to do this, it's going to be awesome is often a very bad thing to do. You know, quite quite honestly, you need to be honest about the journey and what you've got to do. And if we're in a situation where, for example, we have low awareness, we need to get new customers, we're going to have to build awareness, that's going to be a downside for the business, there's going to be investment required without immediate return. And being really clear about what you're doing, why you're doing it. And telling the story is really important.

And you know, just as David and Goliath way back when was an ancient story based on that, I mean, equally, it's very much the same story, when we look at, you know, my modern source of literature that I like, like Monsters, Inc. So these classic storylines are being replayed, over and over again, successfully, don't be afraid to use them, to walk your audience through the process, and tell them how you're going to have to invest and how you're gonna have to work, those tough times, that are ultimately going to produce the good results at the end. That story is very compelling. And whilst we're talking about stories, don't think in silos. Ultimately, with the people who are allocating the budget, they don't think in silos, they think in terms of business results, and they really don't care whether your PR departments is different to your email team or your paid search team. They want to know how you're going to bring marketing together and impact the business.

So when you're telling that story, make sure that story cuts across those silos. And avoids that technical difference that frankly, nobody at the senior executive level is really worried about, they don't want to hear about all the technical issues and who does what they want to understand how you put together a plan that's coherent, that's holistic, and delivers results. And we mentioned models before, when we talked about presenting ideas. We talked about the perceptual map. Napier uses a model is a very, very simple model that to walk people through campaign ideas. And literally, we start off with a situation analysis determined, we move on to focus which looks at the audience and the messaging, we look at deliver the tactics we're going to execute. And then lastly, we move on to enhance which are the metrics that we're using to tweak the campaigns and keep that marketing engine firing at optimum efficiency. It's a very simple structure, you don't have to use it, you can build your own structure. This is actually based on slightly more complex structures from PR research.

But I strongly recommend as you walk people through marketing plans, you have a structure that, you know, builds on each section. So again, you're telling this story or explaining what's going to happen. So those are our five reasons. And hopefully, you know, you've looked at things, you're going to move ahead very quickly, you're going to, you know, very quickly, take notice to the audience, understand what they care about, you're going to avoid unexpected surprises, you're going to make sure you've got support and buy in from sales, you're going to explain the benefit in the language of the audience. And you're going to tell it as a story. So a logical sequence that makes sense. And by the end of it, the audience believes is definitely going to happen, deliver that ROI that you really want. But things can still go wrong. And one of the things that can happen is your CEO didn't read your marketing plan. I've kind of alluded to this before, your CEO is a busy person, he or she needs to have something that's short, sharp and clear. So make sure that as you create these marketing plans, you're not burying things in lots of words, you're not using lots of jargon and technical terms, you're being very clear about the business results you're going to generate and how you're going to do it.

So to summarise how to write a great marketing plan, you know, go talk to your friends and sales. Hopefully, they're friends already. Build a structure, do some situation analysis, some strategy, some tactics, and then talk about the results. Make use of models for illustration, so people can actually see as well as read what you're trying to achieve. Make sure everything you talked about is measurable business objectives, rather than marketing objectives. And lastly, put it all into a story arc. So things flow very smoothly and very clearly. And if you do that, hopefully you'll find that your marketing plan gets approved first time. And particularly if you put those three levels of pricing and or costs in that I mentioned, I think you'll find that it makes it much easier for the people allocating budget to decide where to put that budget. It also gives you good feedback.

If your SEO is always picking the lowest level of budget, you know that you're not convincing them that you're going to deliver, you know, tangible and impactful business results. So think about how you talk about results. Well, I hope you found this interesting. And I hope it inspires people to write marketing plans differently. If you do have any questions, obviously, please feel free to put them into the chat. If you would like any help or any information from us, we're always very ready at Napier, to talk about marketing plans, whether that's right at the start helping people structure those plans, or whether it's later on, you know, reviewing plans and giving inputs and helping people look for efficiencies. So thank you very much. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your patience earlier when my internet was down. And please do feel free to post some questions into the chat.

Okay, so I do have one question here, which is building on these metrics. So what type of metrics do you focus on in a plan? And I think the answer is, as you build that plan, you want to really focus on trying to talk about the metrics that are closest to the business, and inevitably furthest away from what you're actually doing.

So I think in marketing, you know, most people understand that there's some easy metrics, you can get things like email opens, clicks, advertising, click through rates, they're really vanity metrics, they don't really measure impact on the business, they can be a good indicator of relative performance. So they can be great for AV testing. But they're not necessarily the right metrics that you want to use, when you're talking to someone who's really thinking about the business as a whole, rather than marketing. So it very much is, you know, revenue driven, reputation driven. People in PR, you know, I would say, don't sit here and go, This is a disaster, you know, I've got to talk about, you know, decreasing the, the time to sales, the time to revenue, I've got to talk about increasing customer lifetime, how do I do that with PR. Now, reputation is also very important as well. So talk in those kinds of terms. And if you want to, either in the marketing plan you share with your CEO, or more likely and an internal marketing plan, you know, build those models where you talk about, you know, click through rates and number of registrations and things like that, to try and get to that goal. But I think it's always important that you start from a business goal, rather than from a marketing metric. So great question. I love that.

What else do we have? I don't have any other questions here. So I'm not sure if anybody's got anything. If you do have any questions, please feel free to, you know, contact people at Napier. Or just email me directly my email Mike at Napier b2b dot com is on the slide there. So please feel free to email me ask me some questions and I'd love to see some of your marketing plans. Thank you very much everyone for listening. I hope you found it useful. And I hope it helps you get the marketing budget you're looking for, for 2024 Thanks very much.


AEEmobility Information Hub Continues to Grow

Franz Joachim Roßmann and Klaus Oertel, two experienced electronics and automotive editors, have worked together to pioneer a new path in the media landscape, with the development of the Information Hub AEEmobility.

Designed to target automotive electronic developers and e-mobility specialists, the hub provides readers with a unique way to gain knowledge and information, with all content categorized and tagged to support readers in finding information relevant to them.

The hub focuses on providing relevant content from the developer community, including a media review with summaries and evaluations of articles from companies and industry magazines, webinars, whitepapers, videos, technical books, podcasts, presentations, and blog posts.

Klaus Oertel, Co-Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder said: "We examine interesting and relevant publications and content for developers, whether in industry magazines, on company websites, conference presentations, or on social media. We write a summary and provide an evaluation of the content, linking to the original source. This saves the reader a lot of time and provides them with a quick orientation. This is a unique offering in the industry".

Co-Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder, Franz Joachim Roßmann added: "We deliberately avoid online advertising to ensure readability. Our readers appreciate that our pages are completely ad-free."

Partnership packages are available for companies, and unique content is also being created and featured on the homepage of AEEmobility.

We always love to see a publication doing well, and it's great to see that AEEmobility has grown since being founded a year ago. We look forward to seeing how AEEmobility will continue to evolve moving forward.

 


New Event Food Manufacturing Live Announced for 2024

The Engineering Network (TEN), has announced the launch of a new event, Food Manufacturing Live, which will take place on 1st May 2024.

Hosted at the National Motorcycle Museum at the NEC in Birmingham, the event will focus solely on the engineering aspect of food manufacture, covering all aspects from design engineering to installation, commissioning, and maintenance and repair.

TEN’s Manging Director Luke Webster said: “Food Manufacturing Live is unique by being 100% focused on the engineering aspect of food manufacture. From a visitor’s viewpoint, every single participant is an expert in their chosen area of technology in engineering for the manufacture of food and drink. From an exhibitor’s viewpoint, our format tears up the rulebook by recognising the obvious: exhibitors want to invest less, have a level playing field to sell from and be able to take part with the minimum of time, resources and materials”.

All visitors arriving before 11am will receive a complimentary breakfast and drink, and early birds will also receive a free pass to the National Motorcycle Museum.

It’s always exciting when a new event is launched, and the events focus on engineering for food manufacturing is a unique approach to take. We look forward to learning more about Food Manufacturing Live as additional details are released.

For more information on the attend, and how you can register, please click here.


A Napier Webinar: The Top 10 Marketing AI Tools

Although AI can be over-hyped, today, you can get real benefits from the technology. In fact, there is a wide range of marketing tools available now that use AI to help you complete tasks in less time, with better results.

In our on-demand webinar 'The Top 10 Marketing AI Tools', we explore the AI tools marketers have available to them, and how different tools can support different areas of marketing. We cover:

  • What AI can do
  • The risks of using AI
  • The top 10 marketing AI tools
  • How tools can support different areas of your marketing
  • The future of AI tools

Register to view our webinar on demand by clicking here, and why not get in touch to let us know if our insights helped you.

Napier Webinar: ‘The Top 10 Marketing AI Tools’ Transcript

Speakers: Mike Maynard

Hi, and welcome to the latest Napier webinar, I hope you're looking forward to finding out a little bit more about some of the AI tools that we use. And that we've seen our clients use successfully, it'd be great if someone could just pop a note into chat just to let me know that everything is working, okay. And that you can hear me. So someone could do that, that would be brilliant. I'm actually presenting this from home today.

And we'll crack on and we'll start talking about some AI, and some of the tools that that we've used.

Okay, so first, let's look at the agenda, what we're going to talk about.

So we are going to start by covering you know, a bit of an overview about what AI can do.

And make sure that, you know, everyone's you know, at the same level, what we think the expectations are. But also we're going to take a breath and make sure that we know, you know, what actually isn't practical.

So, you know, I think there are some things happening with AI and some hype that is perhaps over egging the ability of AI to do things that we want it to do.

We're going to talk about GPT models. Now. GPT is the model underlying chat GPT, but also used by a lot of other tools. So it's very important to understand that, once we've done all this, we'll get straight into the top 10 AI tools, which I know a lot of people are very keen to see. So what we're going to try and do is we're going to try and cover what we think are the most important tools that people can use today in marketing. So this isn't going to be a webinar that in two years time is going to be relevant. This is about what you can use today.

But lastly, we will look forward and we will wonder what is next and what's going to happen.

So let's start and let's start by thinking about what AI can do what we all kind of know what AI can do. We've all heard the stories, you know, AI is great with chat GPT giving advice.

It was certain whether I should give up my career in marketing or not. So I decided to keep going on. But you can ask chat GPT all sorts of things. You can also use generative AI to create images. And I thought that Spaceman dancing and orange is an image that the world really needs. So we can actually do more than create images, we can create videos, this is a training video here. And it's actually created by an AI avatar. So what we're seeing more and more is companies using AI to create avatars. For things like training, this can be really effective, because all you have to do is feed the text into the AI system. And it will generate a high quality recording of someone presenting some training material. So that's clearly good. And I think you know, as avatars will start seeing more and more going forward.

Images again, I mean, we had to put a couple of images in. So here's some ketchup bottles created by Heinz that basically is AI versions of ketchup bottles for bottle a campaign. We thought that was fun. And of course, you know, we've mentioned chatting before, but chatbots are a particularly big area for AI. And a lot of companies are deploying AI chatbots. And I think those of us that have used them have sometimes been really impressed. And sometimes we're really frustrated by the ability of AI to actually deliver the answers we need. And I think this is it is that, you know, there's some really cool stuff that's going on with AI, it certainly does a lot of amazing things. But sometimes there are things that it doesn't quite do.

So let's take a breath.

AI is really good at taking content and putting it together. And people have called it the ultimate plagiarism machine.

If you happen to be super geeky, like me, it's a stochastic parents or a parent that repeats things, based upon probability. But the problem is, AI is not that creative, much of the content is very similar. And I think this is something that we're all beginning to realise, you know, the first time I saw AI generated content, I was blown away, I just could not believe how good it was. And I thought, you know, this is it's the end for content generation, you know, we can't tell the difference, but very quickly, you begin to spot AI content, you begin to get a feel of what's AI generated and what's not.

And perhaps I think, you know, one of the best examples of this is, you know, could AI generates a Shakespeare sonnet? You know, let's have a look at the first line, Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Well, no, AI is not going to do that, because a summer's day is 24 hours long, and you're five foot six. And I just can't do that comparison, because I'm very literal. So I think what's going to happen is, we're going to increasingly see that at the top end, where people want high quality, very creative content, AI is going to continue to struggle. Of course, at the low end, where maybe people have been using low cost content farms, just to churn out material that covers a particular subject. Absolutely. I mean, I can see AI taking over from that sort of low quality, mid quality content. But at the moment, we're not seeing AI really generate things that are truly creative, unless you have someone spending a lot of time doing what people call prompt engineering.

So actually asking the AI to generate specific things. So what I think is going to happen is AI is going to have a role, but it's going to have a role in certain areas. And let's have a look at another thing. You know, one of the things that AI is great to do is to give you ideas, and perhaps ideas for marketing campaigns. So I asked it for a couple of marketing campaigns make a marketing plan for an electrical infrastructure manufacturer. And here's its ideas, you know, goes from market analysis and target audience all the way through to actually sending a sales goal of 20%. And you can see that it's not quite perfectly it thinks of infrastructure as being construction rather than electrical infrastructure. And fundamentally, it looks ok, you think, well, that's quite good, it's really thought about it.

But then I asked it to generate a marketing plan for a semiconductor manufacturer. And you can see it's incredibly similar. In fact, it's a very formulaic marketing plan that's going to come out and look similar to every industry. So clearly, we have an issue that AI is not generating something creative. I'm intrigued, it thinks the electrical infrastructure manufacturer is going to get 20% sales growth. You know, that's an interesting number, it seems like a reasonable number. But you know, without knowing the the amount being invested, or the current market share, that's hard to know. And then the semiconductor manufacturer is going to get 15% market share increase. So effectively 50% growth in the first year, why it's 15% or not 20%, who knows, he seems to be random numbers plucked out there. But then given a sort of veneer of authority, by the confidence in which AI tends to present text. So I think we need to be careful about thinking AI can do everything, because sometimes it's just not great.

I mean, there are also other challenges as well, you know, particularly around the fact that AI fundamentally is taking things that's been trained on and reciting them again. So copyright plagiarism, or an issue, we've talked about bland content, some of the data is out of date. Obviously these AI models take a long time to train. And whilst open AI is building models that can be continuously trained. A lot of people are still using the AI models that were trained on a certain date. And so we see this classic art. So you know, that says that chat GPT was trained on a particular date doesn't know anything more recent I'm sure we've all seen that. And ultimately, you know, the thing that everyone's worried about is hallucinations and inaccuracy. And this you know, the researchers think appears to be an issue.

That, actually AI makes stuff up. And it's inherent in the way AI works. So these neural networks work. And here's an example. There's many, many different examples. But here's an example where two lawyers and law firm were fined because they got chat GPT to write a submission, and chat GPT that just literally made up some cases that didn't exist. So it's very easy to use check GPT you see that very confident presentation of what you think of facts, but unless you check them, it's very risky.

So AI has got some drawbacks, but it still has that potential. And I think, you know, we need to look at how people are using AI, in different tools, to, you know, give you the potential of AI without giving the downsides.

So firstly, let's try and understand, you know, what AI is doing. And we're gonna look specifically at the text based models. So this is GPT. So GPT was created by Well, she wasn't created by open AI. But the most recent models were created by open AI. And they are a neural net. So basically a network of connections that tries to mimic how we roughly think the brain works.

The most recent ones are GPT, four, or GPT, 3.5, if you don't want to pay for it, the cost to create these models is huge, you know, potentially 100 million dollars or more in terms of energy and compute time to build GPD for so they're very, very expensive, very complicated. So we're not seeing lots of people create these models, some people are beginning to, but many applications use the standard models. And so many of the AI text applications will use GPT models. And so what we're seeing is underlying, effectively the same brain the same model, but with a different wrapper on it. And so a lot of what we see in tools is people placing wrappers around it, to make it easier to use the API or to make the API deliver better results.

So now we know that, you know, sometimes we're looking at the same thing, just with a different cover. Let's go into what we really care about. And let's go and have a look at the top 10. So this is an absolutely subjective, completely unreasonable and probably not entirely accurate selection of the top 10 AI tools that we felt should be featured in any marketing toolbox.

So the first one is chat GPT. Now, a lot of people talking about chat GP to generate content. And that is exciting and getting chat GPT to write blog posts and things like that is pretty cool. But that's not why we're excited about chat. GPT. I mean, really, there's a couple of things that chat GPT is great at, it's great for helping you answer questions, explaining things. It's fantastic for summarising content. So if you've got meeting notes, you want to summarise it is really good at that. And it's fantastic at analysing data.

And this is something maybe people aren't aware of is chat GPT actually can do some incredible things. So I'm going to try and demo this, and we'll see how this works with with our webinar tool. But hopefully I can do a quick demo of chat GPT doing some analysis.

So what we've got, oops is we've got chat GPT here. This is a painful version. And I think if you see this and you hate Excel, and let's face it, most people in marketing do, you'll suddenly see why people pay for chat GPT. So in the GPT, four model, there's something called advanced data analysis.

And what I've done is I've enabled that advanced data analysis, which lets me upload files. So I'm going to upload a file.

And then I'm going to ask it to do something. So this is a file taken from our Google Analytics data. So it's Google Analytics data. And I'm going to say which sources produce the highest engagement time and have at least one conversion. So those you know, Google Analytics, you know, that typically you set a goal and objective, which is the conversion, and you can measure things like time. So this is gonna say, which sending traffic that not only converts to something we think is valuable, but also has the highest engagement time.

This is something you do in Excel. And as I said, typically people are not super excited about trying to do these sorts of analysis in Excel. And so what it's doing is it's going to churn through it's going to try and work out the data set. You'll notice I haven't told it anything about the data. So what it's doing is it's reading the data. And it's trying to understand that you can see here chat GPT tries to understand the data. And then hopefully, in a couple of seconds, it's going to give me an overview of what are the most engaged sources. So what's driving web traffic to our site that is very engaged when it's on our site, but also creates a conversion.

So here we go, sorry, I can't make GPT run any quicker, it actually tells you how it's going to do it, it's going to do some filtering and sorting. So you actually understand how it's working this out, which again, is really useful.And we just have to wait a second.

And here we see chat, GPT has done the analysis. And it's found out what sources produce the highest engagement time. And this is kind of interesting, because actually being is producing slightly longer engagement than Google, whether it's enough to actually be significant is something we need to dial, dial down into, and find out. But you know, first thing we've learned from here is actually being produces traffic that stays slightly longer on our website than Google.

 

And then we've got, you know, systems that are sending out our press releases, we've got referrals from websites, we've got some direct traffic, etc, etc. I can stop this going now. And I can also show something else. So what I can do is say, well, actually, you know, I love the fact Excel draws graphs, but I don't like Excel. So I'm just gonna see if I can say, create a bar chart of the top 10 engagement times. You can see again, it's going to sit there and work for a little bit. And then all things being equal, we should be able to see the top 10 engagement times.

And chat GPT is not being quick today, which is not helping in the webinar.

And there you go. So you've now got a bar chart, you can cut and paste into a presentation, you haven't had to do anything complicated, you've literally just got to tell it what it wants, and chat GPT produces it. So hopefully, this has given a few hints into what Chappie GPT can do. That is a bit beyond the standard chatting.

We have some other applications as well. So you know, one of the things we really like is the tools that place wrappers around the GPT model to make it easier to generate content. So chat GPT tends to generate, you know, very similar very bland content, you can write longer queries, but products like Jasper, or writer or Freezy, they all have a structure. And I will just very quickly show you that structure now from Jasper. So if I jump into Jasper, you can see that Jasper here I've logged in. It offers a range of different templates. And so obviously, you can type into chat GPT, you can ask it to generate different pieces of content. But if for example, I wanted to generate some Google ads, I can click on ads, I can click on Google ads. And what it's going to do is it's going to be able to generate some different content. So I could, for example, say marketing, AI tools webinar, and it pulls best for b2b marketers to use. And you can have any sort of tone of voice you'd like.

I'm going to actually pick something I've custom done, which is tone of voice that is similar to our website. This is one of the things that's really neat about these writing tools is they can match your tone of voice. We could have some examples, but I'm just going to click generate content. And in a second, you'll see that we've generated both headlines and descriptions, all compliant with Google in terms of number of character counts, and just a little bit easier and quicker than trying to use chat GPT to do the same thing. As I mentioned, you know, these these are typically tweaked versions, the GPT model anyway, so they're basically the same content, but it's just going to make it easier for you. And if you're looking to try these writer is one of the ones that has a really good free trial and free tier. So it's a very easy thing to try.

Okay, we've done a couple of demos let's actually crack on and try and look at some more of these tools and move a bit quicker.

Grammarly is a tool that actually has some AI in it. And I'd also recommend trying Hemingway, which is an online tool as well Hemingway app.

And what it does is they just help you write. So sometimes we have to write ourselves, check GPT isn't gonna do it, nor is Jasper nor is writer, but we make mistakes. So how can we fix mistakes? Grammarly is obviously great. Hemingway is really good at aims to make content more readable and more impactful. Based upon the way Hemingway wrote. However, it doesn't necessarily mean it picks great content.

So you know, a little bit of Charles Dickens here. And you can see that Hemingway just basically highlights the whole lot saying it's hard to read. It is true how that Dickens isn't necessarily the easiest thing to read. And maybe in business, we want to do this, but obviously use these tools, with a little bit of common sense.

However, they are great for using if you have written something, and you just want to get it checked.

The next one is Dall-E. You know, we all need a picture or an image every now and then, even if it is a bitmap image of a painter painting a painting, as I've asked for, here, from Dall-E. And one of the interesting things as well as Adobe is really getting into AI for image generation. And if you have a design team, Adobe, Firefly is a fascinating product to use. It can do things like, you know, effectively expand a photo beyond the frame. You know, obviously, it's making it up. It's trying to imagine what it is. But it's got some incredible capabilities that I really recommend using. So definitely look at Dall-E as being, you know, or stable diffusion or Firefly as being a tool. One thing to bear in mind, of course, is that there is a risk of copyright breaches in the images just just as there is in text when you generate. And actually I mean, the CEO of the company that runs stably fusion.

He actually said they don't know how many copyright images they've used and absorbed into their model, but they know it's in the hundreds of millions. So there's a huge amount of copyright material in there. And there's a real question of what happens if you do get some content that uses copyright content.

Also, in the US, it's been decided that AI Generated Content can't be copyrighted See, can't own the AI generated image in other countries that something's still going through the courts. And I think we're going to see a lot around copyright as we go forward with AI.

The next one, I've picked his Salesforce Einstein partly because our Head of Business Development and Marketing Hanna loves that little cartoon Einstein they use both on the page and in their promotion. But actually, I think it's indicative indicative of what's happening with a lot of tools. So they are applying AI in Salesforce, to do all sorts of things. So this is an example of actually a prediction of what the engagement is going to be like on an email you send. So it's actually predicting whether people are likely to open the email or click on the email, and how effective it's going to be. You know, the other thing that people are using a lot of AI around is scoring leads and CRMs to try and decide whether people are showing intent based on their behaviour, whether it be clicking emails or behaviour on the site. And then rank who are the most likely contacts to become customers. And I think, you know, this is something that's going to be embedded. Basically, it's every CRM and marketing automation platform we see going forward.

I mentioned chatbots. I mean, we all love or we hate, you know, a good Chatbot. You know, chat base is one that's very heavily involved in using AI to have an automatic chat bot. So it's drift. That's another very popular platform. But we're also seeing marketing automation platforms. You know, HubSpot, for example, has put a lot of effort into its chatbots and other platforms beginning to offer this chatbot functionality. So I think more and more, we're gonna see chat bots being deployed. I did find an article on the top five AI chat bots, in b2b. When I was doing some prep for this. It was written about 18 months ago, so it's a little bit old. And interestingly, I think four out of the five websites had actually taken the AI chatbot off the site. So one of the things we are seeing is training these chat bots is difficult. And I think the tools to train the chat bots. There'll be something that's developed over the next, you know, couple of years. But at the moment, it is hard to deploy an AI chatbot in a b2b situation where you've got complex products and lots of things to cover.

Chatbase seems to be one of the hot b2b marketing tools at the moment. And it's all about trying to understand which of your accounts are showing intent. And looking on the public internet as well as on your marketing, to find out which accounts seem to be doing things that suggests they could be a customer. And it's a great way of prioritising your accounts. And we were talking about this earlier in our podcasts that Hannah and I was, we're recording. And if you don't subscribe to the marketing automation moment podcast, and you use marketing automation, I'll just put a little plug in for that podcast. Now. Of course, one of the issues tools is that inevitably, marketers focus on the contacts that are labelled as either in decision or purchase phase. So almost by definition, they're going to have a higher conversion rate because they get more focus. But even so, having said that, tools like six cents seem to be pretty good at identifying, you know, which accounts are likely to buy, and which you can probably leave and just nurture in the background.

Contents, obviously another area. And we've talked briefly about generating content. But there's some fantastic AI tools, market news and surfer SEO, the both use of SEO, both use an AI to identify opportunities. And here you can see, basically, market news has tried to look at, you know, opportunities for generating content to rank for search terms around telescopes. And what we're seeing now is actually more and more of these tools are important, because they do so much analysis of the competition, and actually helps you generate content where you have a reasonable chance of ranking highly. So these tools, I think, are going to become more and more popular as we go forward.

Once you've got the content, you've ranked high in SEO, you've got someone on the website, you want them to convert. And there are a number of tools that will sit on your website and help people to convert by popping up when they think someone is interested and ready to engage. Our favourite is path monkey is actually run on the Napier website. And it's great for website engagements. And it also generates some good leads. So we've actually seen, you know, potential customers come through path monk, because something's popped up and said, you know, would you like some more information about this. It's a very complicated tool in terms of, you know, the way it works the way it tries to analyse customer journeys through the website. But in terms of ease of use, it's really easy. You just create what they call micro experiences. And then Pathmark tests, the different micro experiences to see what works, at what point. So it's a very, very easy way to do it.

Once once you've done all these you go on the website, people are now wondering, I think you know, where are we going to go next, what's going to be the number one AI tool for marketers. And this might be a bit controversial. But we've rated Google ads as number one. And the reason we've rated Google ads as number one is Google has put a lot of AI behind Google ads. But it's all kind of hidden, you get these recommendations, Google will run the headlines, the descriptions that it reckons works best.

And it's all kind of magic in the background. And I think this is where AI is going to go is there's going to be more and more AI and systems. But it's going to be less obvious. It's just going to be sat there doing things helping you be more efficient.

And you know, the interesting thing with Google is there's clearly some rules, and whether they've been worked out through experience or whether they're rules that the Google engineers have put in, you know, that they're pretty obvious, you know, longer headlines are better. And if you run Google ads, you'll find the closer you can get to that 30 character limit, the more Google's gonna like that headline. So, you know, it's interesting to see what what happens, you can kind of read those rules and make them simplistic, but there's a lot of AI going on in the background, to test different headlines and find out what works. So we really, really like Google ads, we think it's an indication of where AI is gonna go. And probably a lot of you are happily using this AI without worrying about it.

Now, of course, we've had our number one, our winner, the number one of the top 10 of marketing tools. But those of you who sat on a presentation will know that a Napier we always like to do something to give you a little bonus. So one of the things we wanted to talk about is building your own AI tool.

Putting around AI. So this is all about trying to use AI to create things that are going to be more human. And so what we've got is we've got an example here, where we will have a look. We go to our spreadsheet. And initially we've just got a few contacts in here that I've put in. But actually, if we unhide, these rows, you see, we've got a huge number of contacts. And our boss has told us, I want to know the industry, the employees and the CEO of each contact. Now there is an extension, that will actually take chat GPS API, and interface it into Google Sheets. So we've configured this extension, and we could do some cool things. So we can type in briefly identify the industry and then obviously, just like any other spreadsheet, we give it a cell to look at.

Hopefully, it's gonna tell me the industry, technology electronics. So that's not bad, it's pretty good. We can also do things like say estimate, number of employee per company. And again, we'll give it the company name. Hopefully, it will tell us roughly how many employees are there. It's interesting, actually, it's come back with 137,000 employees written out not very helpful if we want to process and sort.

So what we can do is, we can actually do a more detailed inquiry and say, provide it as a number without commas. And that should just give me the number of employees. And it does. And then lastly, we can actually say, who is the CEO of this company. With any luck, Tim Cook will pop up here.

And there you go. So you can see that this is a fantastic use of chat GPT. And obviously, once we've done this, we can just drag it down. And we are loading data.

And we can see there's some errors coming up. But slowly, what it will do is it will populate all the chat GPT answers here. So if you've got data processing, it can be really, really useful to actually go out and get data and find information, just simply by using chat, GPT and a spreadsheet. So hopefully that save some people some time in the future. If you're interested in it, you just need to Google GPT for sheets, instal it on your Google account, and it will work.

So hopefully a nice little tool if people are going to do some data analysis of customers.

The last thing to say is what's next? So I think the biggest question is what's going to happen to generative AI performance, we saw an unbelievable leap in performance in the space of about six months, with chat GPT. And now we've seen, you know, perhaps a few months of stability. The question is, you know, can AI keep getting better and better? Or is it only going to sit at the current level? And I don't have the answer to that. There's lots of arguments to say it can get better. There's lots of arguments that say, you know, we're using basically all the training data that's available, and the performance will stall and it won't keep getting better, I suspect we're going to see the rate of increase slow down. It's been crazy over the last few months. But I think equally, we're going to see some ongoing performance improvements. So these AI tools are going to become better and better.

But even if it stalls, I mean, even if we look at the worst case, and we're at PKI, at the moment, nothing's gonna get better. Hopefully, you've seen that AI tools can be very helpful. Hopefully you understand that you're going to have to experiment and try different things. And if you want some information on any of these tools, or you want me to go through how we did some of the demos, you know, feel free to contact me. But the last thing I think is, you know, even with the abilities that AI has today, AI is going to be embedded everywhere in different marketing tools. I don't think we're anywhere close to having an AI Marketing Robot, you just say go creating a campaign. As you can see, they tend to be very formulaic from the eyes at the moment. But in terms of you know, accelerating what you do, making things easier, you know, just that example of the spreadsheet where we found the industry, incredibly useful thing to do. So, AI is going to be everywhere. I think people use it, they're going to get much more out of their marketing than people who don't

Don't use AI because they're going to have that little help. The ideas, the content creation, the suggestions about you know, where the leads are coming from, all of that is going to boost. So hopefully, I've excited you about AI, you feel like, you want to try some of the tools. What I'm gonna do now is open up for questions. So I'm really interested if anyone has any questions, and they'd like to cover them on the call, please feel free to put them in the chat. And I'd be very happy to answer any questions and cover anything you'd like me to address.

So I'm just going to have a look at the chat. Okay, so we have a couple of questions. So the first question is, that is a great question. So it's really good. It's from Rachel. And it's, you know, we've seen some great AI tools. But the reality is, is most people don't have time to experiment with hundreds of different tools. So what are the top three tools that people should use at the moment?

I think that's a really interesting question. It depends upon what you're trying to achieve, and what your objectives are. So if you're somebody who's very heavily into content, I would absolutely look at some of the AI tools that help you with SEO, help you, you know, identify the keywords, generate content, find those opportunities for content. And they'll also help you write the content as well, they're starting to introduce generative AI in there. I think if you're somebody who processes a lot of data, I would probably at the moment, LOOK AT chat GPT. So chat, GPT can not only do the data analysis, I showed you, you know, pulling information out of big data files, but chat GPT can also help you in Excel, you know, enrich data. So I think, from data that that would be really important. And then the last thing is, I think if I was, you know, more focused around marketing automation, or CRM, then probably what I'd be doing is I'd be spending time looking at the AI features that my CRM platform or my marketing automation platform had.

Because I think, you know, we are going to see a lot of different features. I mean, Salesforce announced that Dreamforce that they were introducing Einstein one with all these features, including, you know, the AI lead scoring, and within a couple of weeks act on was talking about very similar AI lead scoring in their their tools. So I think it's about you know, using the tools you have, and not necessarily, you know, going out and trying to find lots of other tools.

And have one other question here.

Okay, really simple one. Will there be a recording of the webinar? Yes, absolutely. We do always make a recording of our webinars. So our webinars are on demand. So if anybody has any thing they'd like to look at, again, you will be sent a link with the information of how to access the on demand webinar.

So I'm very aware of time we try and keep these webinars to about 30 minutes or so we're run over time now. So what I'm going to do is, I'm gonna call it a day, I'm gonna say, hopefully, I've helped you understand some AI tools. If anyone does have any more questions, or think of anything that they haven't asked yet, please do send me an email, email addresses Mike at Napier b2b dot com. And I'd be really happy that walk you through how to set up some of these tools, or just chat and answer questions. So thank you very much. I really appreciate your time. And good luck. I hope AI helps you do your job. In less time you get maybe a little bit more break or a longer weekend over the next few weeks from using AI thanks very much.


Future Horizons Shares Report into State of Semiconductor Market

As B2B technology marketers, it's important that we stay up-to-date with the trends and outlook of technology markets. It's always great to be able to share positive news, and so we were delighted to receive the opportunity from Future Horizons, to share an extract from its report on the state of the Semiconductor market:

Executive Overview

August’s WSTS Blue Book showed Q2-2023 sales rebounding strongly, up 4.2 percent vs. Q1, heralding the end of the downturn and welcome news for the beleaguered chip industry.

The really good news, however, was that the downturn bottomed one quarter earlier than previously anticipated. This pull-forward only added a modest US$11 billion to Q2’s US$ 244 billion sales but this was enough to swing Q2’s growth from minus 5.0 percent to plus 4.2 percent.

A small change in the numbers at the start of the year makes a huge difference to the quarterly growth rates and hence the final year-on-year number.

Market Detail

The market turnaround was driven by a dramatic change in the Asia/Pac region, with 5.4 percent month-on-month growth, followed by the US (plus 3.5 percent), Japan (plus 2.1 percent) and Europe (plus 1.8 percent).

On an annualised basis, Q2-2023 was down 17.3 percent vs. Q2-2023, with Asia/Pac down 22.6 percent, the US down 17.9 percent, Japan down 3.5 percent with Europe, the only region showing year-on-year growth, at plus 7.6 percent.

The near-term market outlook is starting to look a lot stronger, driven by the positive impact of the inventory burn, stronger than expected resilience in the global economy, especially in the USA, and a seemingly robust demand boost from the emerging AI market.

Forecast Summary

Looking ahead to the second half of the year, the overall industry consensus has now (mostly) acknowledged a likely double-digit decline for 2023 vs. the ‘positive growth’ positions predicted this time last Year.

Future Horizons stood alone in the crowd when we first published our 2023 double-digit decline forecast 15 months ago in May 2022, likewise too when we stood by that number at our January 2023 Industry Update Webinar when all others, bar one, were predicted a very mild downturn followed by a sharp V-shaped rebound in 2024.

The stronger than expected second-quarter results will now push our 2023 forecast beyond the bull end of our January 2023 forecast scenario, but our longer-term concerns, re the still ongoing uncertain economic outlook and the excess CapEx spending, show no signs yet of abatement.

Over-capacity is the industry’s number one enemy, depressing ASPs and condemning the industry to low dollar value growth. An economic slowdown will nip any recovery in the bud.

 

As one of the most respected semiconductor industry analysts across the globe, Future Horizons report provides some fantastic detail on what's currently happening in the semiconductor market. Future Horizons will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday 12th September at 3pm BST, covering the full report, with an update to their outlook for 2023-2024. Registration for the webinar is currently open, and be accessed here. 

For any further details, please reach out to the Future Horizons team. 


Eve Holland- The View of a Student Joining Napier for Work Experience

Napier recently hosted Eve Holland a student from Havant College, who joined us for a week to experience the world of B2B PR and marketing.

Find out how she got on during her week of work experience placement and the key things she took away.  

As encouraged by my college, I ventured into the business world and secured myself a summer work experience placement at Napier. I had no idea what to expect but was pleasantly surprised when I received an email the week before outlining my entire itinerary for the week. Sufficiently organised and supported by the Head of Business Development and Marketing, Hannah, my time here has been both informative and enjoyable. I have received constant support and contact with everyone working at Napier, whether that is online via teams or in the office. They have kept me busy by providing tasks to write in various formats, attending teams calls with team members, sitting in on weekly training sessions and interacting with other members of the team.

What have I got up to?

During my week here I have completed a variety of tasks such as researching Napier’s competitors, writing case studies and press releases with the support of the team. I have also practised creating content, such as writing an article on B2B formatting, designing landing pages on SharpSpring and writing social media posts. I also had the opportunity to join Mike and Hannah on a trip up to London for a business meeting and a Turtl event. Throughout the week I have also been given guidance on creating my LinkedIn profile and expanding my contacts within the industry both from Napier and beyond.

What have I learnt?

By being surrounded by hardworking people in a new industry, I have expanded my language and knowledge of the B2B world, purely by being in the presence of people who have expertise within it. For example, the term lead generation is thrown around often, a concept I never knew until this week. I have also learnt skills that can apply to the wider world, such as strategy vs tactics, establishing the difference between the two. In terms of industry skills, I have spent time navigating CRM software such as Sharpspring and the process of creating and editing a podcast through programs such as Squadcast, descript and audacity. I have also encountered Turtl’s interactive, analytical software that is super effective for creating visually exciting content to personalise to any audience. With Napier’s Creative Services Manager Rob, I’ve also been able to develop my skills and knowledge on different Adobe software, learning new features and programs I didn’t know even existed, something I will definitely be playing around with in my own time!

What has been the most interesting?

I have found my day out in London to be the most interesting part of my week as I was able to see the interactions between different industries within B2B. Turtl’s event fascinated me as I got to hear how different businesses and industries use their software and interpret the tool in different ways to market to different audiences, known and unknown. I found the whole day to be an enlightening experience as I was able to speak to multiple people, many of whom were strangers, about my future, whether that regarded university, career choices or life generally. I received varied pieces of advice that have really opened my mind to the possibilities of my future.

Do I see a future in marketing?

I enjoyed my week in the B2B industry and could see myself doing this in the future. Marketing provides an opportunity to implement varied and exciting tactics, and I particularly enjoyed the side of the role that involves graphic design, social media, podcasts and journalistic writing.

Thank you, Napier, for a great week introducing me to the world of marketing!


How to Launch a New Online Publication

Steve Carr, Creator of the online publication Talking IoT, shares insights, and advice for anyone considering to launch a new online publication. 

So, you're thinking about launching your own online publication? First things first, it's essential to define your purpose and understand who your audience is. At TalkingIoT, we're all about educating individuals and organizations on the power of IoT and helping them make the most of it. We wanted to create something truly unique that would align perfectly with the needs and interests of our target audience.

We're genuinely passionate about the transformative potential of IoT. Our mission is all about empowering people and organizations to harness this technology for their benefit. We firmly believe that education is the key to unlocking the full potential of IoT. That's why we've created a comprehensive hub of resources on our website, covering everything from platforms and components to applications, use cases, and emerging trends. Our goal is to equip our readers with valuable insights and expertise, keeping them informed and up-to-date with the latest developments in IoT.

But let's talk about how we got here. Our journey began with a vision to bridge the gap between the immense potential of IoT and the knowledge needed to leverage it effectively. We knew that IoT is a complex and rapidly evolving field, and there was a need for a resource that could empower individuals at all levels of expertise. So, we set out to build a platform that would provide the necessary education and guidance to navigate the intricacies of IoT.

To create a standout publication, it's important to conduct thorough research in your chosen field. We immersed ourselves in the world of IoT, studying existing resources, identifying gaps, and understanding industry trends. We also assembled a team of passionate individuals who shared our vision. Our contributors, including both individuals and companies, brought their deep understanding of the industry, and their invaluable insights and expertise form the foundation of TalkingIoT.

Developing a strong brand identity is crucial. Just like us, you should create a captivating logo, choose consistent colours, and select fonts that reflect your brand's tone and personality. Craft an engaging "About" page that effectively conveys your mission, values, and the unique expertise you offer. These elements will help differentiate your publication, make it memorable, and establish credibility within your chosen market sector.

Investing in a user-friendly website is a must. At TalkingIoT, we prioritized intuitive design, easy navigation, and mobile responsiveness. Organize your content into categories, implement a powerful search function, and deliver a seamless user experience. We've spent a lot of time building a website that prioritizes the user experience, ensuring that our audience can seamlessly explore and engage with the vast knowledge we've curated.

Crafting a content strategy that resonates with your audience is key. We've created an array of resources, including articles, guides, case studies, and even a podcast. It's important to launch with a substantial content library to ensure meaningful engagement. We started with over 100 articles and 250,000 words, focusing on answering the top trending questions in IoT. Consider the formats that effectively communicate your message and engage your audience. We make sure each resource we create provides valuable insights and practical knowledge, enabling our audience to make informed decisions and effectively leverage IoT in their personal and professional lives. By offering a variety of formats, we ensure that our audience can engage with IoT topics in a way that resonates with their preferred learning style.

Once your publication is ready, it's crucial to effectively promote and market it. Utilize social media platforms, engage in email marketing, and optimize your website for search engines. Collaboration is also key. Like us, you can collaborate with third-party contributors, participate in industry events, and even try guest blogging to expand your reach and establish authority. Building a community around your publication is vital for long-term success. Encourage reader engagement through comments, discussions, and feedback. Provide opportunities for readers to contribute their insights and share their stories. Building an email list is also a great way to stay connected with your audience and keep them informed about new content and special offers.

Embarking on the journey of launching an online publication is an exciting opportunity to share knowledge and establish yourself as an authority in the field. So, start by defining your purpose, conducting thorough research, and creating valuable content that resonates with your target audience. Build a user-friendly website and establish a strong brand identity that reflects your unique perspective. Promote your publication effectively, engage with your audience, and remember that launching an online publication is an ongoing process that requires dedication, adaptability, and a commitment to consistently provide value.


Mike in the News - Business and Marketing Advice

Our managing director, Mike, has been sharing his advice in several articles recently. He has been asked by a number of journalists to give advice about marketing and business. Some of the highlights include:

Keep an eye on this blog for more of Mike in the media!


Napier Shortlisted For 2023 Electronics Industry Awards- Vote Now!

We are delighted to share that Napier has again been shortlisted for the Electronics Industry Awards (EIA) in the 'Most Outstanding PR Agency’ award category, and has also been shortlisted for the Instrumentation Excellence Awards (IEAs) in the category of ‘PR Agency of the Year’.

As a team, we love the work we do and strive to design, develop and implement award-winning campaigns for our clients. Voting is now open for both awards, and we'd like to ask for your support in voting for Napier. It only takes a few seconds to cast your vote, and can be done by:

Thank you so much for your support, and we'd also like to congratulate several of our clients who have been shortlisted for award categories this year.

Good luck to everyone shortlisted, and we look forward to attending the award ceremonies later this year.


EETech's Industry Tech Days to Partner with electronica

EETech has announced that this year, its virtual event, Industry Tech Days will partner with electronica as 'Marketing Sponsors'.

As a five-day free digital conference and trade show hosted on the All About Circuits website, the event hosts live sessions, keynote forums, and provides technical content for electrical engineers and electronics industry experts across all areas of the electronics industry.

With previous years regularly generating 40,000 unique visitors in its own right, the electronica tie will no doubt be a huge draw and boost this considerably, as electronica undertakes promotion for the event.

Dates for this year's show are still to be announced, and we look forward to hearing more about the event as further details are released.

 


Successful Spring Restart for European B2B Fairs

In this guest blog post, the editorial team at publishing house TIMGlobal Media share their views on the successful return for European B2B fairs so far in 2023.

The expectations for the first industrial fairs in 2023 were quite high. LogiMAT, HANNOVER MESSE, and Interpack in Düsseldorf, as well as MECSPE in Bologna or the upcoming SPS Italia event in Parma, are some of the highlights in a diverse portfolio of industrial events.

Industrial exhibitors continue to rely on direct dialogue with their customers and the intensive exchange of personal conversations to find solutions for individual problems. The first events of 2023 have also shown that international visitors from the Americas and Asia are back to meet their peers.

Across all the different industrial sectors present at shows, companies are looking for answers from three areas. What are the solutions to the shortage of skilled personnel and talents? How can supply chains be strengthened and organised more resilient for the future? What measures need to be taken to control (energy) costs and make the necessary contribution to the industrial transformation of society and industry?

To find exciting new answers and deliver solutions to our readers, for us as a B2B publisher, trade fairs are still an important place to discover new products, and trends and to talk to experts from different sized companies from start-ups to global groups. Without this diversity of information, it would be much more difficult to gain an overview of many different technologies and to identify the topics that are relevant to our industrial readers in their daily work or that will soon become important for them.


Will AI Kill Your Website?

Ian Poole, Editor and Owner of Electronics Notes shares his views on how AI could affect website traffic and content marketing in this guest blog post.

There is a lot of talk about AI and chatbots like ChatGPT, as well as AI-based search that's being introduced by Bing and will be introduced by Google.

There is a lot that is unclear about how this new search technology will affect the Internet, but what is clear is that it will revolutionize the Internet and provide a cataclysmic change to the way we all use search and websites.

It will undoubtedly present an existential threat to many websites and it is clear that in a year's time, many of the popular websites we have come to rely on will have ceased to exist.

It will also have a major impact on search marketing, and many of the currently held views will have to change.

We've already started to see small changes. Over recent years, there has been a growing trend for search engines like Google to improve their search experience. One major element has been in giving a short answer at the top of search results, albeit with a link to the website for further reference.

This provides many people with the answer they want, so there's no need to go any further to find out any more.  This has resulted in many top websites seeing significant falls in traffic, mine included. This is not the only reason by far, but it has been a significant reason for large drops in traffic seen by many sites.

AI takes this a huge step further. Already ChatGPT, and other websites like phind.com give extensive and complete answers to queries. I did a search on Phind asking what a superhet radio is and it returned a 700 word answer giving a very good summary. Sadly, it did not reference my Electronics Notes website which is ranked number 3 on Google behind Analog Devices and Wikipedia, but interestingly Phind used a few video descriptions as the sources for its answer.

Having answers like this is far more convenient for the searcher who only has to perform the search, and there is then no need to go to a website that may or may not provide the answer that is needed. Using the traditional approach to perform a search, the search engine would provide a variety of websites that were appropriate and the user would visit these and synthesise their own answer. With AI all of this will be done, and only very few people will need to visit any websites.

In their recent presentation in May 2023, Google showcased what their new AI-based search will look like - it is expected to be launched later this year, but no date has been given.

Again, this new technology presented a much fuller answer to the queries, and as a result many people will not want or even need to go any further. Interestingly Cathy Edwards from Google who was giving the presentation stated that Google will put lots of links to relevant websites so people can easily click through. She said they wanted to keep the overall ecosystem strong and healthy. But let's face it, who is going to click through to a website when they already have the answer!

It is interesting that even Google, which says that the introduction of AI to search will have a huge impact on the Internet, cannot predict the outcome and the effect it will have on websites.

However, one conundrum for the search giants is that they rely on a vast number of independent expert websites from which to draw their search answers. However, if they kill them off because they don't refer visitors to them, then ultimately the answers they give will not be able to draw on such a wide field of expertise and information and they will be less informed.

Leaving aside the problems for the search giants, the main issue is about the existential threat posed to all websites by AI-based search.

With many publishers already finding it difficult to return profits from their digital outlets through advertising, this will be the final straw. News publications in particular have had to put paywalls in place in order to try to gain sufficient revenue to keep their sites viable.

Many smaller publications will not have this option and it is certain that very many will go to the wall.

The issue is particularly important for websites that rely heavily on search for their traffic. In fact, many websites keep a very keen eye on all the Google search algorithm updates and many report huge changes in traffic as a result. So, it is very important to them.

The main challenge is to know what to do. At Electronics Notes we have been trying to prepare for this, and we are experimenting with a variety of new ideas. Although the outcome of these cannot be confirmed until after the Google AI-based search engine is released (most sites get the majority of their search traffic from Google), one of the clear messages is that all websites will need to rely less on search traffic and more on other sources.

In order to maximise what little traffic might come from search engines, all the pundits say that the best options are to have high quality content that is well written and properly optimised.

Although it is difficult to predict what will work and what won't, it is clear that all websites should look very carefully at what will happen in the near future. Also, the concept of content marketing might need to be updated. Whatever the situation, a good, well thought through plan is needed to ensure that the effects of this cataclysmic change can be weathered, and hopefully they might even bring some benefits to websites.


A Napier Webinar: Will AI Take Your Marketing Job?

AI tools like ChatGPT have received a lot of attention lately. From social media to blogs, AI tools and the capabilities they have is being discussed everywhere you look. But will AI tools truly change the way we approach marketing? Could they even take your job?

We address this in our on-demand webinar 'Will AI Take Your Marketing Job?', as explore the advantages of AI, but also the limitations marketers can face when using these tools. We cover:

  • AI technology for marketing
  • How to take advantage of AI
  • How good at marketing is AI today?
  • Overview of the best AI tools
  • What the future might hold

Register to view our webinar on demand by clicking here, and why not get in touch to let us know if our insights helped you.

Napier Webinar: ‘Will AI Take Your Marketing Job?’ Transcript

Speakers: Mike Maynard

Hi, and welcome to our latest webinar from Napier, where we're going to ask whether AI is going to take your marketing job. So it's great to see a lot of interest for this webinar. And what we're going to do is we're going to do a very quick whistlestop tour through AI. And look at how it's affecting marketing, and really trying to understand the implications for people who are involved in marketing.

So, in terms of our agenda, we're firstly going to ask whether we should worry about AI. I mean, maybe it just isn't that big an issue. We'll then do a little bit of a dive into what AI actually is, and what we mean, when we talk about AI. And in particular, I think a lot of the hype at the moment has been around generative AI. So we'll talk about that. We'll discuss whether AI works, I think that's very important. Depending on who you talk to, there'll be very different views about the quality of the content that AI generates. We'll spend a little bit of time talking about chat GPT. And then other writing tools. Obviously generated text is one of the areas where AI has been incredibly successful. And this is very broadly applicable across a wide range of different marketing disciplines.

So we'll take a look at some chat GPT. And writing will give you a little word of caution about some of the issues surrounding AI. We'll look at what I can do that's beyond, you know, generative AI. So this is going to look at some of the things that you can do with AI, that perhaps is going to help speed up other aspects of your job other than creating content. And lastly, a summary. And I would very strongly ask anyone who's got questions, please put them in the chat as we go along. And we'll deal with all the questions at the end, if that's okay. So firstly, I mean, there's obviously been a lot of hype about AI. We've all seen, you know, the news about how massively important AI is. But the question is, you know, should we worry. And I guess, you know, one of the things we can look at is the impact on jobs. And AI, according to Goldman Sachs could replace equipment of 300 million jobs. And if we look about what they were saying, it was saying that the report that they wrote was saying about a quarter of the work tasks in the US and Europe could be replaced. And interestingly, the US and Europe are in line to get hit worse than most other areas in the in the world. And that's because there's far fewer manual jobs. And obviously, AI is not going to take over manual jobs at the moment, although robotics is doing a good job of, you know, coming in and doing similar disruptive things to manual jobs.

But I think what was interesting was as part of that report, when the BBC reported it, and they talked to some experts in AI, and they pointed out that actually, it might not be a case of fewer jobs, it might be the face of the case that there's more competition, so you've got competition from other people, and competition from AI. And here we see a professor suggesting the journalists will face more competition, and that will drive down wages. And the analogy they gave was the introduction of GPS, and platforms like Uber, and that actually resulted in lower wages for taxicab drivers. Not fewer drivers. In fact, if anything, it resulted in more drivers over a period of time. So it's going to be very interesting. But clearly AI is going to have a very big impact on what we do. And that might be in terms of reducing the number of jobs it might be providing competition to what you do. And that competition clearly can drive down wages. Now, I'm actually okay. Because I don't know if people listening to this webinar know but one of my hobbies is short track speedskating. And I asked chat GPT about short track speed skaters, he gave me an excellent response, listing some of the best short track speed skaters ever. But of course, I had a bit of an ego. So I decided I was going to tell chap GPT that I should be one of the best short track speed skaters in its list. Now, this doesn't happen every time if you want to go and try it sometimes check GPT claims and it's never heard of Mike Maynard and however much I try and persuade Chet GPT that I am a good speedskater It completely blanks me. But other times it comes up with his completely made up story about this Canadian short track, speedskating called Mike Maynard, who, as far as I can tell, never existed only exists in chat, GPS, memory, and yet, you can see, chat GPT has very confidently given details about my career as a Canadian short track speed skater.

And I think this is something that's very important before we, you know, really rush into AI, and all get panicked, AI makes mistakes, and actually AI probably makes worse mistakes than people do. Because AI is always incredibly confident. And so whilst Unfortunately, my career as a Canadian is short track speed skaters entirely false. The reality is, is that AI is not going to be able to completely replace humans, because there's a risk that AI gets it wrong. And in fact, there's even a term for this, it's called hallucinations. So AI is hallucinating something that really didn't exist. So now, hopefully, we're a little bit less worried. Although we've been told it can impact jobs, we know that AI is not perfect.

So let's have a look at what AI is. And basically, AI or it's also called machine learning is really simulating human intelligence. And typically, what it does is it uses a neural network. So you feed this network data, the network is modified based upon the data. And then it can process new data in the same way. And the reason we do this is it's modelled on a very simplistic understanding of how the brain works, where the brain house neurons, and those neurons are connected together. And those connections are made stronger or weaker, depending on our experiences. And that's what learning is, very crudely speaking. So neural networks attempt to replicate this mathematically. And basically, a neural network is a number of nodes or neurons, as they will be in the brains. And there's input layers, output layers, and then there's a hidden layer in the middle. And there can be multiple hidden layers. So if we look at chat GPT, one of the big things that chat GPT did was when moving from GPT, to GPT. Three was they massively increased the number of hidden layers, and that gave a much more powerful neural network. And all you're doing is you're feeding numbers, which represent anything from text to images in one side. And the other side is outputting numbers, which can then be turned back into text and images.

So it's a very abstract thing. And this is one of the challenges of neural networks and machine learning is that actually, when you build a neural network, you don't have a deterministic understanding of how it's working. And so it can be very hard to know exactly what's going on. And this is one of the reasons why you have these hallucinations. And they're very difficult to deal with if you're building a neural network. So that's all very technical. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to get my friend Shrek to explain it. And Shrek had a conversation with Donkey and talked about ogres and tried to explain that Ogres are like onions. And it's not that ogres make you cry, or ogre stink, or indeed that they go brown in the sun. Really, the thing is, is layers, onions have layers. Ogres have layers.

So they both have layers, and layers in Shrek mind was complexity. And that is exactly the same in neural networks. So basically, a neural network, the number of layers is very important that impacts the complexity. Although not everybody likes onions as Donkey pointed out, and probably not everybody likes layers as well. And one of the things we're talking about is why those layers make it difficult to build these complex neural networks. So let's get into what a neural network can actually do. I mean, we've had a very brief theory around how it's built. But let's see how we can use AI. And so AI that creates things is called generative AI. And what you'll see is you'll see throughout some of these slides, you'll see images and most of the images in the slides from now have actually been created using generative AI. So I've used darly, which is an image generator a lot of people are familiar with. Obviously, there's other ones like stable diffusion, and you can see it generates some interesting images as we go through But although we've generated images, it's interesting, this looks at funding for European AI startups. And if you look at it, the vast majority of startups have been funded around text generation.

And the reason for that is, it's now relatively simple to generate text that is more or less equivalent to human quality text. And that text can be used in a very wide range of different applications. So you can, for example, create blog posts or articles from Ai generated text, you can also generate sales emails. And you know, something that people involved in PR may have seen is there's already PR systems offering to do AI pitches to journalists, I'm sure journalists have seen it as well and feeling terrified about the onslaught of spam they're going to get from machines, which of course is going to be one of the challenges is that creating volume with any of these AI tools, whether it's volume of text or volume of images, is trivial. It's the quality that really matters. So anyway, most people are focused on text. And a lot of startups are focused on tax because they're using the same model as chap. GPT. So, for those of you that don't know, there was an organisation formed called Open AI, very crudely formed to make sure that AI didn't do bad things to humans. And, and they created these GPT models started with GPT.

One, we're now at GPT. Four. And these models are basically what's called large language models. So they're very big neural networks that can actually create text. So a large language model is a neural network that's typically been trained with large amounts of data has many parameters. And it basically does self supervised learning. So you feed it data, the neural network kind of learns from that data. Or, to put it more simply, what the neural network does, is it takes a lot of data, so a lot of text. And it tries to use that text to predict what the next most likely word is if a human was replying. So if you put in a query, the neural network is trying to predict the next most likely word, and then the next one on the next one. Interestingly, though, if you do that the responses sound very automated. So actually, what happens with neural networks, and this is exactly what happens with chat GPT is it will produce the most likely word around about four out of five types. And then one out of five times approximately, it'll produce something that's, you know, likely, but not the most likely, and that produces a much more natural response. But crudely speaking, chat GPT, and any of these GPT based models, they're returning what they think or what they aim to be the average response.

So one of the first things to say is, if you're concerned about your job, and whether AI is gonna take it, if you're above average, you've actually got an advantage over AI, so you should feel confident. So hopefully, at least half of the people listening to this webinar are now feeling a little more relaxed, a little more confident about the situation. So large language models are very important and a chat GPT. And the GPT models that underpin it are probably the most talked about models, in terms of AI today. So one of the issues we've had is that open AI has gone from being open as it named suggested. And actually, it was designed to be a nonprofit to being a company for profits, basically driven by the success of chat GPT. So we know how GPT three was trained. And in fact, there's a table here on the slide that explains exactly where that data came from. So if you look at it around about 85% of the data that was used to change, chat GPT was from the web. So that's something called common crawl, which is a database of text from the website, from websites online. It's something called Web text two, which is a smaller database of website information, and Wikipedia. And those three things formed about 85%. And then about 15% of the training data came from books, there were two book datasets, book one and book two. As you can see, whilst AI people create very, very clever neural networks, they're not great at branding and naming. And this was the GPT three training set. And it allegedly cost around about $12 million in terms of computer time to train GPG, three GPT four, as I say, open AI has now become for profit, they've not revealed how they've trained GPT four. But Sam Altman, who's the CEO, has actually said it was probably over $100 million to do that training. And this is very interesting, because anyone who's used chat GPT and asked for up to date information will have found that chap GPT says, oh, no, I was trained about a year ago. And I don't know anything that's more recent. And obviously, any of these neural networks, it's difficult to keep retraining them, because the cost of doing that is incredibly high. So you're talking $100 million. That's compute time.

And obviously, a lot of compute time actually is electricity to power those computers. So it's not necessarily particularly environmentally friendly. And it's not cheap to keep retraining. So it's likely moving forward that what we'll see is we'll see a lot of these large language models being trained on a periodic basis, rather than being continually trained. If anyone's use Bing, and use the chat tool on bing, bing does something slightly different in that it actually runs a web search and feeds the data into the chat into the GPT engine, which then produces the Bing chat output. So we're seeing basically, what would be if you like the first half of a page of big results actually being presented as pros, rather than being presented as a list of websites. So it's really using that GPT engine as much as possible to present results, rather than necessarily to go find that information. That's different from asking Chet GPT a question where it relies on its training. So hopefully, we've not gone into too much detail on AI and what's happening with AI. Let's look at how it can be used in marketing?

Well, the first thing is, is there's been a lot of issues with using AI. And whether that's Amazon realising that they took all their prejudices, when they were hiring, and programme them into the AI they used as a recruiting tool, all the way through to CNET, using AI to generate articles on personal finance, and getting a lot of plagiarism identified in that article, or in those articles. So there are problems with using AI. And a lot of people have tried to use AI and failed. But what I'd like to try and do is I'd like to try and investigate whether you can spot AI. And so what we do is we've got a n, two images of the dog here, and I've popped up a poll. So you should see that in your right hand side. So please go to the poll on the right hand side and tell us which one is real. One of the dogs is real. And one of the dogs is generated by AI. And we'll run this for about another 10 seconds or so if you can put your your votes in.

So thank you very much everyone. This this is very interesting, because the one thing we can say is that people are certainly struggling to work out which dog is real and which dog isn't. So 45% think the dog on the left is real. And 55% think that dog on the right is real? Well, the good news is, is that the hive mind of everybody on the call has actually identified the right dog. So just 55 to 45% we actually got the answer, right. So that's good news. But clearly, it's not obvious which one is real and which one isn't. We can do a similar thing if we look at text. So what I'm gonna do is I will get a pull up again for the text. If you can just have a quick skim here. There's text on the left text on the right, so two columns. And one of the columns is real text and one of the columns is AI from chat GPT and I will give everyone about 45 seconds to read the text and try and predict which one is real and which one is AI.

That's great everyone's voting, we've got about another 15 seconds for people to finish reading and work out, which is which.

This is very interesting, we're a little bit more confident here. So 58% of people actually has gone to 6040. Now it's gonna last voting 60% of people think the text on the left is AI. And 40% of people think the one on the right is AI. And I can tell you, I put this search term into Google. And so one of these is actually the top result in Google. And the other one is AI generated. And the good news is, again, we've got this right, so 60% of you thought that the left one was AI. And you've got that absolute right, the left one was AI. This reflects exactly the results. I've done this same test three times now. And generally speaking, it's about 55 to 60% of the audience, know which one is AI generated, whether it's the image or the text, but you can see that the quality of AI is actually very good, it can fool a lot of people. To be fair, the quality of the human text in this example, perhaps isn't the best quality, but it was at the top result. So now we know it can fool people it can work. Are people using AI in marketing? And the answer is absolutely. I mean, for sure. I think anyone who's been on LinkedIn recently has seen some LinkedIn posts that are maybe less well written or they'd expect, and they're clearly AI generated. But if you look at it, some people are doing some really good work. So on the left hand side, there's an example of an agency.

There's using AI to generate backdrop images. And also, what we're seeing is particularly around programmatic ads, a lot of focus on AI for generating headlines, and body copy, to make it quicker to generate ads. So we're definitely seeing people use this both in terms of releasing products, and also using more general products to drive AI. So this is not coming, this is something that's actually happening now. So let's have a look at some of the tools you can use. So, chat, GPT, I'm sure most people on the call will have at least seen it. It's really good. Because you can do an awful lot of things with chat GPT, it's not great if you want long form or detailed copy. So if you want it to write an essay, it's not fantastic. It can often be a bit simplistic. You know, if you ask it for an agenda, it's probably going to have, you know, opening, it's probably gonna have closing, you know, and a prep two or three bullets that are related to whatever the agenda is for. But it's not necessarily hugely insightful, but it is great, fun and great for generating ideas. And so we asked him to write 10 Google Ads headlines, promoting a webinar that discusses whether AI will take marketing jobs.

And you can see it's actually produced, you know, a really good selection of, of headlines there. So I think it's, you know, clearly able to write good effective headlines, you might not want to use all of them. So future of marketing with AI question mark, probably not the best headline. But certainly in terms of removing writer's block and speeding up the process, we can see chat GPT is really, really effective. And it's definitely a tool that can be used for many different content creation projects. I mentioned it can also be fun as well. And so here we have a press release in cockney rhyming slang, promoting a webinar that discusses if AI will take marketing jobs, so Iliev and generate a Cockney style, sort of East London, press release, great fun, not quite sure how you'd ever use it. But again, it can be kind of amusing. It's also excellent writing songs as well, if you want to get some fun, some song lyrics written. So chat GPT is great. It's probably not great in terms of writing in depth articles. And if you think about it, what chat GPT is doing is it's trying to predict the next word. It's not really thinking in terms of structure of an article. And so what's happened is there's a number of different products that are now available that are designed to help people write long form content. And so two of the most well known are writer and Jasper and what they do is they introduced this concept of structure. So, you know, very simply, you can go to the tool you can say, I want to write an article about out whether I will take marketing jobs, initially, the tool will produce a list of bullet points. So the key points you want to make, you can then edit those bullet points. And then what it will do is it will write paragraphs or sections around each bullet. So you basically build a structure by working with the AI tool. And then you produce the content. And this produces much more engaging and interesting content, then you get if you just asked chat GPT to produce an article.

So the question is, do people actually read it, though, so we decided to try it. And what we did was we actually posted a range of content on our blog. So we posted content that was written by experienced writers. So basically, some of our PR pros, we posted content that was written by people who don't normally write. So typically our design team, and we posted AI articles. And we measured the time on page for each of these articles. And you can see this kind of a grouping. And the orange ones are to the, to the left, or the least time on page. And the red arrows to the right tend to have more. So clearly, the red is typically better quality than the orange. Now, interestingly, if we actually look at what those arrows mean, the inexperienced writers performed worse than the AI generated content. Now, to be fair, we didn't take raw AI generated content, we use Jasper, it was an interactive process. So we were guiding them the AI. And we also sub edited the content afterwards to make it read better. So in fact, because of the editing and the interaction, it took us almost as long to generate the AI content as it would just write from scratch.

But doing that work makes the AI content more effective, more engaging, than someone like a designer writing and our designers are not, you know, terrible writers. I mean, there's some good content there. And experienced writers starting from scratch still, on average did better than AI. But you can see that whether an experienced writer starts from scratch, or starts with an AI, it's actually getting very close. And I think that's very important. One of the things I would say is these numbers would probably be very different if we just use the raw AI output, because in long form content, there's always sections that really don't read well. And the AI models, the large language models are still progressing. So today, it still does need sub editing. And as I say, to do a good job, it takes about as long as writing an article from scratch. So it's not quite there in terms of accelerating, although if you have writer's block or don't know how to start, it's absolutely fantastic. One thing that is worth mentioning is we left our blogs up for a couple of months before telling anyone they were AI generated, and no one noticed, which I think, you know, certainly, you know, highlights the fact that the quality of the article was pretty decent, it wasn't a poor quality article. Of course, one of the challenges we have is whether these AIs are actually able to do what they're doing. And what they're doing is they're taking the information they're given.

And they're using it to learn and then they're regurgitating it as outputs. And here you can see, I mean, this is an AI generated image that still has a Getty Images watermark. So this article talks about Getty Images, claiming that stability, AI unlawfully scraped millions of images from their site. And obviously, pulling in copyright images is a breach of copyright. And anyone who's dealt with Getty will know that Getty is incredibly proactive and protecting its copyright. So there is a huge risk of using this content. And the same thing happened with CNET, where plagiarism was found in the articles that they wrote using AI. So in terms of protecting a brand, I'd say that using AI is potentially a very high risk at the moment, because of the potential to actually include copyright material. It's stable diffusion, for example, their CEO, was asked whether they used any copyrighted images in their training. And his answer was, well, we're pretty sure it's in the hundreds of millions of copyrighted images, but we can't be certain how many so clearly, you know these these tools are very definitely trained on copyright content. And there is a real potential risk and that this is something I think that companies looking to rush into using AI needs to be very careful about and particularly with images because quite often with things like watermarks, you know it can be easy for able to track that. And I think we'll see more and more lawsuits around ownership.

Another thing worth mentioning is whether you actually own the content. And this is fascinating because there has been one court ruling in the States. And that first court ruling, which was a lower court, so it's not necessarily going to stand. It says that if you use AI to generate content, you don't own the copyright because you didn't create it. So if you use AI, you can't claim copyright in the US at this stage. With anything you create, there hasn't been anything to set precedents in the UK. And I'm sure this is something that's going to play out in the courts over many, many years. But you know, looking at AI, there are certainly going to be issues around law, and around IP, that are gonna take a long time sought out. But the good thing is, even if we're not gonna use AI as generative AI, it could do more things than generate images and text. So AI can have an opinion. And this is something we tried at Napier, we wanted to see whether it could predict more effective or less effective headlines. So he asked it, whether get your free sample or free samples will be more effective. And actually, the answer that chap GPT gave was really very good. I mean, it was very clear. It used sensible logic. And it did pick get your free sample, which is more likely to perform better on Google ads, than free samples.

Obviously, it does depend on a lot on context. But, you know, it's great, you can ask chat GPT and get an opinion on the quality of headlines. You can also take the pain out of data analysis and, you know, people I know, hate these, this sort of stuff, you know, is a click through rate of 1% better than 2%. If the sample sizes are 1000 2000, you want 95% confidence. So this is a statistically significant difference. So are we saying that there's a 19 out of 20 chance that the click through rates are genuinely different, and 2% is better. And it's not driven by randomness. So we can ask chat GPT lists, and chat GPT loves this because it can produce lots of lots of content. And it will come out and it will walk you through the process that you need to do for analysis. And you can see it's got the formula, it's got the calculations. But most importantly, the last sentence says, with 95% confidence, we can conclude that the click through rate 1% is better than 2%.

So this means that if you're a B testing, you can actually have you know, a very easy way of testing to see whether your two ads one is better than another. And that's a really important part of a b testing, because a lot of ads get picked as being better, although in fact is randomness. And you could be going down the wrong routes. So it could do analysis. It can also do things like answer complicated questions. So one of the things you can do is you can get a plugin for chat GPT that sits in Google Docs. And so here we have an extract of a spreadsheet. And this spreadsheet had a bunch of customer names. And we just asked chat GPT to identify which of the following industries communications, industrial automation, security, agricultural or other is served by this company. We then give it the next cell we drag it all down and chat GPT very quickly will categorise the industries. As you can see on line seven, it's not perfect. It's categorise something as other because it didn't know. But basically check GPT has done a very good job of categorising the majority of companies. So if you're looking for example, to run a campaign, you want to cluster by industry, chat. GPT is a great solution. If you've got this Excel, if you've got the sorry, Google Docs plugin, Google Sheets, plugin, sorry. And you also are probably using AI anyway in marketing. So whether it's programming, programmatic advertising, whether it's text to speech or speech to text, whether it's editing, spoken content, or video content, whether it's recommending content on your website, or even chatbots. Typically, AI is now becoming embedded in a lot of tools. And we actually think this is going to be one of the things that's going to be a big trend.

The interesting thing is the general AI models, the GPT models, they weren't really well, they weren't actually probably better than specialist advertising language models. But they can be embedded easily into tools. So they almost disappear into the background. And you've kind of got this wizard or helper that's going to help you use either, you know, Google ads or whatever. and optimise it and make it better. So we see this as being a big trend. And it's certainly something to watch with any martec tool you're using, because I'm pretty sure they're looking to invest in integrating AI. Some other uses of AI one is summarising, you know, in marketing, we all have a lot of content. And Microsoft, if you're a Microsoft company, they've already said that they're going to produce tools to summarise meetings, and produce different summaries of meetings. So it's definitely something that that's happening, a lot of people are using it. And you can actually also have tools that will write summaries of web content. So if you're writing newsletters, for example, there's tools like glass that will pull in multiple articles from the internet, summarise them and create your newsletter automatically. Generally speaking, these generative API's are very good at summarising.

So they do tend to produce pretty reasonable summaries, although again, they can't be relied on to be perfect. It always needs a proofread. And certainly, you know, if you've seen some of the experiments where people have asked for summaries of books on which the AI's had been trained, then often book summaries are not so good. So definitely summaries are something we think is going to happen. editing video, is another thing that looks like it's gonna happen. If you look here, this is a tool called Content fries. And what it does is it takes long form videos, and it pulls out highlight clips. So that's really exciting, really interesting, and could potentially help with repurposing quite significantly. And you can even have artificial people. So this avatar is called Emma. And we're using her for some outbound marketing. Now, although she is a real person in real life, she never says any of the things. She says in our videos, we literally type a script, and we get a, you know, very realistic human moving and talking with the words that we type in. So AI powered avatars, I think are going to become a very big thing. And I'm pretty sure that you'll start seeing a lot of videos coming into your inbox, that are AI avatars that look like that they've recreated a personalised video.

But in reality, the AI is generated, and it's all been automatic. And then lastly, I mean, as an agency, we're always on the lookout for threats. And there are tools that claim to effectively replace agencies. So digital first is an example which claims you can log in and create an execute marketing plans in seconds. We have tested this, I would say it's a long way from creating and executing marketing plans. With AI. It's not very creative. It's very limited in what it can do. But certainly, I'm pretty sure that they're working hard to find ways to actually help drive campaigns. And I certainly think if we look forward in AI, things like Google search campaigns, increasingly, what we'll see is a lot of AI acceleration around that. That's a fairly formulaic approach. And I think what we'll do is we'll we'll see for a lot of campaigns, you know, some of the keyword research being done by AI, and also some of the ad content being generated by AI, at least the first pass. So, in summary, we think current AI technology has its limitations. But it is going to be massively important. If anybody is working in marketing, they should be looking at AI and looking at how they can use it.

If you're talking about creativity, I mean, just be above average, and you'll be okay. So, you know, hopefully, we should be able to all manage to maintain our jobs in marketing, by introducing creativity and innovation. But I think, you know, imagining that because AI doesn't completely replace you, it can be ignored, it's completely wrong. And using AI to accelerate work is definitely something that needs to be done. Obviously, be careful. And particularly Be careful if you're taking AI generated content, that you're not plagiarising either images or text. And today, you know, I'd be really clear on this. Napier is not using AI to generate content. And there's a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, you know, if you look at our business, we're not at the content farm kind of level, we're at the higher quality level. And it's probably the case that AI is not quite at that level yet.

In terms of is offering the ability to write deeply technical specialist articles for our clients. And I say yet rather than it won't be, but also, we wouldn't want to expose our clients to risks of being seen to have taken content from other copyrighted sources. So, you know, please use AI, please make it part of your day. But the good thing is, is I asked Dali, to create an image of a robot holding a sign saying you're fired. And it didn't quite manage to make you're fired. It was honestly the first attempt it came back with. And so I feel that although AI is definitely something that's going to change our jobs, as of today, it's still got some limitations. And I think the future is still bright, particularly if you're creative and innovative in marketing. So thank you very much for listening. I very much appreciate the time you spent. I'd be really interested to know if anyone has any questions. So if anyone's got any questions, please type them into the chat.

Okay, I've just got one question. So the question has been asked whether the Add In for Google Sheets is free, or if it's a paid for it. And so obviously, chat GPT has a couple of options. Most people know about the fact you can access check GPT for free. And you can pay for an upgrade that gives you access to the new model, the GPT four model, which produces better content. There's also something called an API the interface for computers to talk to. And this is what the Add In for sheets actually uses. And that API is also paid for. But the cost of using it is pretty small. So unless you're dealing with huge datasets, it's a pretty trivial cost.

So it is paid for, but it's not expensive. And I think that's something we're gonna see a lot of with AI is that using AI more and more, I think will become paid. But the reality is, is those AI queries don't cost a lot to run. And so the actual cost won't be too big. Well, thank you very much for listening. Everyone. Obviously, if anyone does have a question, and they haven't. Oh, actually, I've got got one other question here. Are writer and Jasper free? Or is there a charge? Both writer and Jasper are companies and they are paid for products? They do have free trials. And I can't remember exactly what the deal is. I think Reiter has a free tier. And Jasper has a free trial if I'm right. But but don't quote me on that. But they're, they're definitely paid for tools, if you want to use it. And I've also got one last question here about whether I'm aware of any ad or campaign done by AI that's been super successful? And the answer is I'm not, it's not something we've particularly looked for. I'm sure people have done campaigns out there.

I know recently, there was a I think it was a Sony, or it could have been a Canon photography competition that was actually won by an AI generated image. And it was won by a photographer who generated the image, specifically to highlight the potential impact of AI on photography. So I really appreciate everyone listening. I think I've probably still got a couple of questions that might be coming in. But what I'll do is, if anyone's got any questions that I haven't covered, please feel free to email me. And what I'll do is I'll send an email back and if I do have any coming through on chat afterwards, I'll send those through as well. Thank you very much for listening. I hope this was useful. And as I say, please send me an email, Mike at Napier b2b And I'd be happy to answer any questions. Thank you.


150 Lead Generation Tips and Tricks

Generating leads is one of the key goals of many marketing teams. We’ve worked on many lead-generation campaigns and have found that it’s possible to optimise them in many different ways. In fact, we have 150 ideas that will help you run better lead-generation campaigns in the future!

Strategy

A great strategy is the basis of all great campaigns. If you think carefully about how and why your lead generation campaign will work, you're much more likely to see positive results as opposed to simply pushing out another campaign that looks much like the previous one.

1.      Focus on quality over quantity

The well-known 80/20 rule, which asserts that 80% of outputs result from 20% of all inputs, applies to lead generation campaigns as well as many other things in life. It’s important to understand the campaigns that generate the best results and invest time in making them even better. If you make the 20% of campaigns that generate the best results more effective, it's a much better use of your time than trying to get less effective campaigns up to par.

2.      Be topical

If you're able to be agile, creating lead generation campaigns around topical issues is always going to help increase conversion rates. Fortunately in B2B, the news cycle can be quite long, so you don't typically have to respond overnight. However the quicker you can provide content offers that address changes in legislation or hot topics for the industry, the more effective your lead generation campaigns will be.

3.      Create offers for different buying stages

We all understand that prospects move through a series of stages before they buy. The simplest model is AIDA (awareness, interest, desire, action) but you probably have your own sales funnel or customer journey. At each stage, the needs of the audience changes, so build a model where you have different content that you offer to meet the needs of the prospect as they move towards becoming a customer.

4.      Build personas

Great lead generation campaigns understand the need – or needs -  of the customer. Building personas is one of the most effective ways to understand your audience, from what motivates them to the challenges they must overcome. Use personas to understand what your audience cares about and to create solutions that will generate leads.

5.      Understand the different members of the DMU

Almost nine out of 10 B2B purchases are made by a decision-making unit (or buying committee). Too often we see lead generation campaigns focusing on only one member of the DMU. The best campaigns engage several key members and group leads together by creating a rich picture of the team making the purchase decision.

6.      Understand the customer journey

Building a strong understanding of the customer journey will help you identify the points at which your audience is ready to engage, and the information they need at each of those stages. Although it is possible to use a simple sales funnel model to create lead generation campaigns, the best results are achieved when you precisely target the right information to the right prospect at the right time.

7.      Use scarcity

One of the best strategies to engage an audience is to create the impression of scarcity. Whether it's a limited time offer, or you require people to “qualify” for the content or programme you’re offering, creating artificial scarcity is a great way to drive action.

8.      Promote offers on product pages

Sometimes lead generation campaigns are seen as separate from other marketing activities such as the company website. This is a mistake! Make use of your website and other marketing channels to promote your lead generation campaign. In particular, offering lead generation content on product pages can not only increase the performance of the campaign, but often provides information the prospect is looking for but can’t find, helping them make a buying decision.

9.      Use your blog to host lead gen offers

Blogs are a fantastic place to promote lead generation campaigns. Typically, when someone is reading your blog they are researching or learning, which is an ideal mindset for your offering of helpful content. Driving traffic to your blog is expensive, whether you use SEO or other tactics, so make sure you take advantage of this traffic by promoting your content offers.

10.  Create content that follows on from blog posts

A great way to offer relevant content at the end of a blog post is to generate “follow on” content from those posts. This might be a white paper or ebook that goes into more detail than you could within a blog post. This type of content offer performs well on the blog as the best performing blog posts will  identify the topics that are of greatest interest to your audience.

11.  Use emotion

It's a bit of a cliche that, even in B2B, we are still marketing to humans. However, the desire to follow corporate style guidelines and not say anything controversial sometimes makes our lead generation campaigns a little dull. Don't be afraid to use emotion in your campaigns to grab attention and make prospects understand the importance of what you're talking about.

12.  Solve problems or help people get promoted

This is perhaps the best, and possibly simplest, tip to improve your lead generation campaigns. If you want someone to register on a form (therefore generating a lead) you should either solve an issue they are struggling with or offer information that will impress others in the organisation. Put simply, if you can help someone solve a problem or get promoted, your lead generation campaign has a good chance of succeeding.

13.  Make your brand stand out

When building a strategy for a campaign, it's important to stand out from the competition. This can be as simple as using a particular colour palette, or as complex as building a campaign that allows you to “own” a key issue within the industry.

14.  Learn from your mistakes (and successes)

When you are planning the strategy for a lead generation campaign, it's always useful to review campaigns you have run in the past. Look at what worked, and what didn't, to find out what you can learn from previous campaigns. Most importantly, identify where campaigns failed in the past and don't make that mistake again!

15.  Ask for referrals

Don't be afraid to ask for referrals in your lead generation campaign. Whether it's giving someone the chance to share content with a colleague, or using telemarketing to ask if there are similar or partner companies that could be approached, referrals are a great way to get new leads. This is particularly important for Europeans, who tend to be less willing to ask for referrals than our American colleagues.

Martech Tools

Using the right tools makes lead generation so much easier. If you have the right marketing technology, and it’s set up correctly, it will make running your campaign simpler and easier.

16.  Have the right tools to track your leads

Make sure you're able to record and track leads in your CRM. You need to go beyond just capturing leads and monitor them throughout the nurture and sales processes. If you can't track leads accurately through their life cycle you won't know the impact that your campaign has had on the business, so any metrics you generate will only tell part of the story.

17.  Keep your marketing database up to date

If you're not updating the marketing database, you'll obviously not have the information you need to analyse your campaigns. Spending time making sure the database is updated, and using automation tools to save time, are critical for any lead generation campaign.

18.  Segment your database for better targeting

Personalization is crucial, and that is much more than just putting the recipient’s name at the top of an email! By segmenting your database, you'll be able to send more relevant messages, whether you're trying to get a contact to become a lead, or nurture that lead to become a customer.

19.  Link your tools together (CRM, marketing automation platform, social, etc)

Today it's possible to link your marketing technology tools.. By sharing data between the tools, you’ll build greater insight about your contacts and also have more information about the touchpoints for those prospects. Some systems offer capabilities for multiple channels - for example, marketing automation platforms - while others have built-in integrations. If integrations don't exist there are middleware platforms like Zapier and Make that will integrate your systems.

20.  Use reporting to improve performance

All too often campaign reports are just used to show that money has been well spent. This is crazy! Make use of the data in your reports to understand what worked, and what wasn't so successful. Spending a little time analysing your reports rather than justifying the expenditure (which I hope you already have) is a great way to ensure your next campaign is even more successful.

21.  Use the mobile apps for the tools

Many tools offer mobile apps that can allow you to quickly access data about campaign performance when you're not in front of a PC. Setting up those mobile apps means you'll always have information at your fingertips, something that your boss is bound to notice!

22.  Make use of automations

It's much easier to think of ideas for campaigns than to execute the campaigns themselves. With the many different channels and tools, most organisations have ideas for far more campaigns than they could ever run. Fortunately, today’s marketing technology systems offer a wide range of automation features and making use of them is one way to increase the number of campaigns you're able to run.

23.  Build campaigns around goals, not the capabilities of tools

When your organisation has spent a large amount of money on a marketing technology tool, such as a marketing automation platform, it's often tempting to try to make use of all the features that are available. However, you don't get leads by using features, you get them by executing well-designed campaigns. If you build your campaigns around specific goals, you're much more likely to generate results than if you attempt it using only the latest shiny feature in your favourite tool.

24.  Research to allow multi-channel campaigns

We all know intuitively that sending your marketing messages through a single channel is much less effective than a multi-channel approach. Use your marketing tools to research the different channels used by your audience, and to deliver your message across as many of these channels as possible. Although it’s a cliché, “omni-channel” is the way all good marketers should be thinking.

Working with Sales

The Sales organisation can be a great resource when designing and running lead generation campaigns. More importantly, they will probably be the ones who are most vocal about whether or not the campaign was successful. Working closely with sales is essential to creating a great lead generation campaign.

25.  Ask Sales what leads they want

Assuming your leads become qualified, they'll be passed to your business development representatives or Sales team. Ask then what they are looking for before you start planning the campaign. If you involve them up front you'll have a much clearer target, enabling you to be far more precise in the way you design the campaign.

26.  Target key accounts (ABM)

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Is a very effective way to target your marketing spend to the organisations that are likely to have the biggest impact on your bottom line. Even if the campaign is designed to address a very broad audience, it's often worth using ABM tactics to target a proportion of the campaign budget at segments likely to generate the best results.

27.  Agree a marketing-Sales SLA

Always make sure you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the Sales team. Clearly define what is meant by “marketing qualified” and “Sales qualified” leads (MQLs and SQLs) and make sure the process for nurturing and handing over ,the leads is understood by both sides.

28.  Group leads by opportunity (or company)

We all know that the vast majority of business-to-business purchases are made by a group of decision-makers rather than an individual. If you can group relevant leads from a single sales opportunity, or even group them by company, you'll make it much easier for the sales team to piece together who is involved in the decision-making unit. This will make their sales process simpler and more effective.

29.  Review progress frequently with Sales

Everyone hates when a campaign has been completes and suddenly Sales says the leads do not meet expectations. It is therefore important to have frequent informal check-ins with the Sales team to avoid the embarrassment and frustration of finding out after the campaign is completed that you were targeting the wrong audience.

30.  Filter out the rubbish before it gets to Sales

This should be simple. Any good lead qualification process will ensure that irrelevant or erroneous contacts are filtered out. However, we often see leads that are obviously gobbledegook get passed through to Sales. Ensure you have a robust process to validate contact data and qualify leads.

31.  Promote big wins among the Sales team

We all too often hear negative stories from Sales about lead generation campaigns. Like most things, bad news is far more likely to be passed on than good. Make sure you highlight the successful campaign you ran. Don't be frightened of running a little internal marketing to promote the successes: getting Sales to buy in to following up relies on them believing that there will be a benefit to them and the company.

32.  Make sure you work with channel partners too

It's not just about your direct Salesforce. Your channel partners are a vital part of your Sales organisation, so make sure you talk to them, too. Frequently we see the needs of channel partners being somewhat different from those of the direct Sales force, so don't assume they will be the same.

Choice of Channels

In today's digital world there are numerous marketing channels you can use to generate leads. Here are some tips on how to decide which channels to use, and how to customise the content f each channel.

33.  Use social media to warm leads up

Particularly if you are running an issues-based campaign, social media can be a great way to warm up leads and make them aware of a particular topic. If you have a strong following, social media can be an incredibly cost-effective way to reach a large audience. You can then follow up with lead generation on social, email or other channels to drive the lead into your basket.

34.  Make the messaging match the channel

Although your communications will have to match the company voice and style guide, you need to tweak the way you say things for each channel. A corporate landing page may need to be much more formal than a post on Facebook or Instagram. Think about your audience’s mindset on each channel and make sure the style of your content is optimised for the way they're thinking.

35.  Use social for retargeting

Paid social is a fantastic tactic, particularly when you use it for retargeting. Think about using audiences that have already engaged with your content on the social media platform, as well as retargeting those who have visited your website.

36.  Multi-channel is more effective than single channel

When considering different channels, it's important to think about how you can use multiple channels for each campaign. As well as increasing frequency, which is therefore likely to increase effectiveness, multi-channel campaigns make it more likely that you are using all recipients’ channel of choice. Not everybody is active on LinkedIn, but an equal number of people don't respond well to e-mail direct marketing. Picking multiple channels makes it more likely you will engage with each contact in a place where they are receptive to your messages.

37.  Email might look good, but beware of talking to your “fan club”

Often the most effective lead generation channel is an organization's own database. However, because people on the database have probably volunteered their contact details, there is a good chance that you are simply talking to your “fan club”. Don't compare the results of emailing your own database to other channels and tactics without understanding the inherent bias: you need to reach new audiences, which is not something you can do with your existing database.

Email

Email is a great way to generate sales leads, whether you are trying to activate dormant contacts in your own database or using a third party database to engage with a new audience. Email is also usually a critical part of any lead nurture campaign.

38.  Recipients are vanity, leads are sanity

Like many aspects of digital marketing, it's easy to get seduced by the numbers. Particularly when running e-mail campaigns, it's often easy to focus on the size of the database to which you'll be sending emails. Quality is always more important than quantity. Make sure you focus on relevant contacts and build analysis around those results rather than the number of emails you send.

39.  Write great subject lines

If recipients don't open your email, your campaign won't work. The subject line is crucial, as a poor subject line will be quickly deleted without the content being read. Great subject lines grab attention and make the recipient want to read more, but don't try to be too clever: the subject line should reflect the information offered in the email.

40.  Use AI for inspiration

Artificial intelligence tools are beginning to have an impact on a wide range of marketing activities. We recommend making use of these tools to generate inspiration for your e-mail subject line and copy. However, don't rely on AI tools to write everything: today AI generates derivative text that can sound bland and boring. Also, if you're using AI to create images, be careful around issues of copyright.

41.  Have clear CTAs

Having a clear call to action is crucial for any e-mail campaign. It's not just about putting a link in the text and a button to click: you need to make sure that the CTA communicates exactly why the recipient should click through, and what benefit they will get.

42.  Don’t waffle in emails

Your audience is busy. Don't imagine that they have time to read long emails that give complex and detailed explanations of what you're offering. A great rule is to have only one message and one call to action per email. If you want your lead generation campaigns to work, less is more!

43.  Use HTML and plain text

Don't use only one format for your emails. HTML Is great for including eye-catching images and laying out text in a logical and readable way. But HTML looks like an e-mail from the Marketing Department. Including plaintext emails, particularly if the “From” address is a real individual, can make your campaign more authentic and produce better results.

44.  Remember the from address matters

Email recipients use the ”From” address as one of the factors to determine if they want to open and read an email, or just delete it. Research shows that having a From address from a real person is likely to increase open rates and engagement. Try to avoid generic email address like “Sales”, which might discourage recipients.

45.  Know your DKIMs from your SPFs

Email systems use technology to validate that an email server is entitled to send messages on behalf of the domain in the From address. There are two main technologies: DKIM and SPF. If you don't set up your systems correctly, there is a much greater chance of your emails ending up in spam folders.

46.  Use email templates and standard formats

There is no need to continually design custom layouts for every marketing email you send. Your recipients won't remember the layout of an email you sent them three months ago! Use standard templates and formats to speed the creation of your campaigns. It won't affect the performance, but it will allow you to run more campaigns and therefore generate better results.

47.  Don’t always reinvent the wheel

You'll often want to send similar campaigns to different audiences, or achieve the same results as a campaign that you ran a couple of years ago. Don't be afraid to reuse or refresh existing content. If it worked well previously, it's likely to still be effective today.

48.  Newsletters still work

Although it’s one of the oldest email marketing approaches, newsletters are still very effective. We often see campaigns falter because an organisation does not have sufficient resources to create compelling nurture sequences. Although it's always better to have a custom nurture process, if you have nothing else, adding your contacts to your e-mail newsletter (with permission if you have an opt-in policy) can be surprisingly effective.

49.  Consistency wins

Although we have all seen the odd campaign that has been disproportionately effective, the reality is that there is rarely a campaign that works like magic. The organisations that have the best lead generation results are usually the ones who work consistently to create and deliver campaigns. Consistent output almost always trumps an incredibly creative one-off campaign.

50.  Multiple emails are better, but there is no magic number of emails

Like almost any aspect of marketing, repeating the message increases effectiveness and delivers better results. Most email lead generation campaigns will see better results with several emails rather than just one. However, there is no “right” answer to the ideal number of emails in a sequence for lead generation. The best number will depend on what you want to communicate, as well as the behaviour of your audience. Tracking campaign results against the number of emails is a great way to ensure you get a better understanding of what works for your audience.

Retargeting

Retargeting is an incredibly powerful tactic that can be used to great effect in lead generation campaigns. Being a little more creative with retargeting can produce a dramatic improvement in your results.

51.  Don’t always insist on a registration immediately

Most campaigns designed to generate leads will root the contact directly to a registration form as the first step. If you have a great content offer, this can be the best approach. However, sometimes it can be better to demand less at the start: for example, offering a video on social media, and then retargeting the people who watch it, will enable you to focus your budget on an audience that cares about the issue you're discussing.

52.  Retarget people who have visited key parts of your website

Visitors to your website are a fantastic resource for any lead generation campaign. Make sure you consider whether visiting a part of your website indicates a level of interest that could result in the contact becoming a lead. Also, don't forget to retarget people who visit your landing page but don't complete the form: this is a surprisingly effective tactic as people are more likely to fill in a form on second and subsequent visits to the landing page.

53.  Use retargeting on social

When thinking about retargeting, Google is often the go-to place. Although Google can offer a great channel for display advertising to your audience, don't forget social media. In particular, LinkedIn can be very effective for retargeting as people are in a business frame of mind when they are on the site, although advertising costs on LinkedIn can be quite high.

54.  Test lifetime in retargeting audiences

When creating a retargeting audience, you're able to specify the length of time that contacts are targeted. Your buyer’s journey should help inform the optimum lifetime, but it is always worthwhile checking by testing different lifetimes. Sometimes, however, you will be limited in what you can select if you have a small audience, as a short lifetime might make that audience too small to target on the platform.

55.  Exclude audiences to be more accurate

When creating a retargeting audience don't forget to consider who should be excluded. This could be people within your organisation, or you might be able to use behavioural information to determine other segments that will not generate high quality leads.

56.  Don’t rely on audience extension or similar audiences

Most platforms offer the ability to create look-alike or audience extension segments. If you are a B2B company with a specific audience, it is highly likely that the algorithm to identify look-alikes will be far too broad. Although it is possible to use these features successfully, most of our clients find the performance of campaigns that use them to be very disappointing.

Google Search Ads

Don't forget search advertising as a way to promote your content! Search engine marketing can generate leads through content offers, particularly if your content relates to popular searches. There are some simple ways you can use search advertising to drive more leads.

57.  Do promote content offers with search ads

Probably the most common way of generating leads is through content offers. Don't forget search ads when deciding your strategy to promote this content: if it solves a problem or answers a question, there's a great chance that people are searching around these topics, so maximise your results by running search ads.

58.  Target your competitors’ brands

A great approach is to target searches for your competitors’ brands. If you're trying to persuade the audience to switch supplier, then engaging them when they're searching for information about your competitors’ products is a great way to do this. Don't forget, you can't use competitor trademarks in the advert text (although you can bid on searches for trademark terms).

59.  Answer important questions

Search is a great way to identify the questions your audience is asking. Using search intelligence, you can find common search terms that relate to the questions your content can answer. If you do this, don't forget to advertise on search engines around the questions you are answering.

60.  Long-tail searches work best

The more specific the search terms you bid on, the more effective your campaign. However, these long tail searches often have relatively low search volumes, so be prepared to run your search campaigns for a longer time. We see some “evergreen” campaigns on search that consistently generate leads quarter after quarter.

Direct Mail

Direct mail sounds like it should have been eliminated as a tactic with the advent of the Internet, but in many ways it's more effective than ever.

61.  Postal mail is not dead!

It's easy to forget that postal mail is still a valid tactic for marketing and lead generation. In particular, it's great for reaching out to dormant contacts on your database or as part of an account-based marketing campaign. Direct mail, particularly creative and eye-catching direct mail, works well because so few organisations use it in a business-to-business context. Sending physical mail stands out and can actually generate great return on investment if it is well targeted.

62.  Find out where your recipient is sitting

After the pandemic, remote working has become more common than ever. If you're sending postal mail, you really don't want it ending up at head office if your contact is based many miles away. So make sure you understand where your contact is based before sending.

63.  Be creative

Physical mailers can be expensive, and postage is a significant cost. It makes sense to invest time to be highly creative and generate mail pieces that really grab attention. One of our best physical mailers involved sending a pebble from the beach with a story around it. Ask us if you'd like to know more!

64.  Invest in quality for key prospects/customers

Account-based marketing tactics allow you to focus your budget on the targets and customers who make the biggest difference to your business. Where you do identify those most important contacts, it really is worth spending the money to send high quality mailers rather than low-cost postcards or other low-impact items.

Trade Shows

Despite webinars becoming incredibly popular during the pandemic, there is still huge demand for face-to-face trade shows and conferences. Attending an in-person event can be very expensive as an exhibitor, so you need to make sure you optimise the number of leads you generate to ensure a great return on investment.

65.  Use give-aways to gather leads

We all love a bit of free swag! It's always good to have something to offer in exchange for a badge scan or business card. Branded giveaways have been proven to work over decades. We recommend giveaways that will either sit on the recipients desk or be played with by their children as being the most likely to continue to remind them of your brand.

66.  Business cards are still useful

People still carry business cards! Although badge scanners have largely replaced business cards as a way to gather leads during events, some people still prefer to leave a business card, so make sure you have a glass jar or something similar to collect them.

67.  Scan in business cards

It's easy to forget about the pile of business cards you collect at an event. However, there are lots of apps that will scan in business cards to your phone and provide an uploadable file for your CRM or marketing automation system. Make use of these tools and scan in business cards as quickly as possible so you can ensure your nurture campaign runs in a timely fashion.

68.  Competitions can gather lots of leads

You've probably seen many trade show booths that have some sort of prize draw. Although it's true that sometimes these competitions generate lower quality leads, having a competition can increase the number of contacts and generate good qualified leads if you primarily offer it to the people who are already on your booth.

69.  Make sure Sales people don’t “steal” leads

Salespeople can be sneaky! We've seen many of them put the business card or contact details of the best leads from an event into their pocket rather than feed it through the Marketing team. Making sure the Salespeople see that your follow up process is effective is crucial to gaining their confidence and make sure they don't slip away with the best leads from the event.

70.  Have follow-up emails prepared before the event

If you generate leads at trade shows, you'll want to nurture them with follow up emails. Make sure you generate these emails well in advance of the event. If you leave it to the last minute, inevitably the event itself will absorb all your time and you won't get the emails written, resulting in less effective nurturing because your campaign will run some considerable time after the contact details were collected.

71.  Invite trade show contacts to engage with other content

The previous tip mentioned nurturing the contacts you gather after the event. At the time, it can be hard to record exactly what any individual was interested in, so encouraging them to engage with additional content after the event will not only help qualify the lead, but also provide more information about topics that interest them.

72.  Badge scanners are a good idea

Exhibition organisers charge an extortionate amount for the privilege of using badge scanners. Don't try to cut corners: if you want to generate leads, the most effective way is to scan someone’s badge and you have little alternative but to pay the price demanded by the organisers.

73.  Get guest speakers where possible

If you're running your own event, guest speakers are generally more effective for attracting attendees than your own team. Guest speakers give the appearance of independence and credibility, significantly enhancing the impression given to potential attendees.

74.  Involve customers to provide testimonials

At events, having customers speak and talk about successful projects with your organisation is incredibly powerful. Don't feel that you can only use customers who had the perfect experience: often tales of how you helped them overcome problems can be the most compelling stories to potential customers.

75.  Make events fun

You're running an event because you want to sell something. But don't forget that the emotional response to the event is incredibly important. Make events fun and enjoyable, and your customer will be more likely to buy.

76.  Make events and webinars educational

Your customers’ time is extremely valuable, so make your events and webinars as educational as possible. If they feel they gained value from attending, they will be much more open to sales conversations if they felt the event worthwhile.

77.  Send multiple invites

You might think your event is the most important thing in the world, but prospects and customers probably don't think the same way. They might not reply to the first e-mail they receive about your event or webinar. In fact they might also ignore the second! Send several invites and reminders before the event to maximise attendance.

78.  Promote events on multiple channels

Like other marketing campaigns, events should be promoted across multiple channels. Think about who you want to reach, and which channel might be most effective. For example, if you want to attract existing customers, then getting sales people to share the event on social media is likely to be highly effective. However, organic social media is less likely to reach an audience that is not already engaged with your brand.

79.  Partner to attract new prospects

To increase attendance, think about partnering with complementary suppliers. It's amazing how often this approach benefits both sides because, although you're both working in the same market, you probably have very different customer bases.

Content

Most generation campaigns rely on content offers that are gated behind forms. Getting the content right is critical to the effectiveness of this type of campaign, so make sure you check out these content tips.

80.  It’s the title (and cover) that matter most

We often see huge amounts of effort being put into the generation of high-quality content, and then little attention being paid to the title and design of the cover. Don't forget that this is typically the only part of the content your audience will see before they fill in the form,  so spend time thinking about what would be the most attractive title and how you can make the cover more enticing.

81.  Test different titles

Experimenting with different titles, and running AB tests, can make a huge difference to the conversion rate of your landing page and forms. Don't be afraid to test several versions of the same content with different titles to determine which one works best.

82.  Talk in your customers’ language

When generating content, it's so easy to write in a way that's attractive for people who work in your organisation. But in practice, your customers probably use slightly different language and tone, so try to make sure you write using their terminology rather than your own.

83.  eBooks beat white papers

The white paper has been incredibly successful for a very long time, but testing shows that conversion rates are higher for ebooks.

84.  Research is valuable

One of the most effective forms of content is a report based on research you have done. Your customers will want to know how others doing the same job in different organisations think, so survey research around attitudes in the market you are addressing can produce content with exceptional conversion rates.

85.  Tools and calculators get engagement

Content doesn't just have to be presented as written text or by video. Although lead generation calculators and other online tools can sometimes seem a little simplistic, they do get great engagement and can be great sources of leads. It can be time consuming and expensive to do the programming work to create a calculator, but often the results are well worth it.

86.  Webinars are still great

During the pandemic there was a huge rush to produce webinars. Although demand for webinars has fallen due to some organisations producing poor quality online events, the large number of webinars that are available, and the option to attend face-to-face events, mean that webinars still work. Even if the performance of your webinars have fallen, it's likely that the quality of engagement and return on investment makes the time to produce them very worthwhile.

87.  Offer content to follow-on from the webinar

Just as physical events offer content that follows on from your webinar, valuable content is particularly important for subsequent webinars because people are probably attending to learn something more, and therefore will be open to engaging with additional materialabout the topic.

88.  Keep webinars short (<45 mins)

It's hard to stay focused on a webinar for a long time. Most of our clients find attendees start to log off somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes after the start. Although some people will continue to watch the webinar for well over an hour, we recommend aiming for around 45 minutes as this seems to be the optimum length.

89.  Double-down on the best-performing content

It's vitally important to monitor what content generates the best results. You'll probably find a small percentage will generate the vast majority of leads. Don't keep creating completely new content; repurpose the best performing content as source material for different channels, formats or just new versions of the content you know works best.

90.  Try different formats

Most companies focus on a small number of formats. For example, you might be highly invested in the company blog or prefer to create only white papers. Try to avoid such a narrow focus: having a wider range will allow greater reuse of content, which will save you time, and also mean you are more likely to be engaging every member of your audience in the format they prefer.

91.  Video can be gated

With many companies posting their video content to sharing sites or leaving it ungated on their website, you might think that gating video is a bad idea. If you have the right video content - for example interviews with board level executives of your customers - then gaiting video might not only be possible, it might be the best way to generate high-quality leads.

92.  Worry about design

Although tools exist to create content in different formats without requiring any design expertise, you should be very conscious of good design. Great design not only makes the content more attractive and encourages people to read it, it also makes consuming the content simpler and increases the likelihood of that your audience will remember the message.

93.  You can gate content that is publicly available

Just because information is available in the public domain, it doesn't mean you can't gate it. One of the best lead generation campaigns one of our  clients ran was a collection of publicly available blog posts packaged up as an ebook. If you can make the content more convenient to consume, then it's definitely worth considering using publicly available information for lead generation.

94.  Create teaser content

It's important to try to show your audience what they will get if they register for your content offer. Creating short teaser content, particularly on social media, is a great way to increase interest in your content and therefore improve the conversion rate of your landing page and forms.

95.  Test which format is most popular

Just because you like a particular format, it doesn't mean your audience will like it, too. It's important to test different formats to see which one is most effective. Does your audience prefer white papers or ebooks? Is video preferred over written content? Although you can use rules of thumb, your audience will be slightly different from everyone else’s and testing is the only way you will really understand their preferences.

96.  Use snippets to promote content

When creating teaser content, don't overthink it. Quite often the table of contents and first chapter of an ebook, which takes virtually no effort to produce, is great teaser content. Think about how you can use snippets from that content as a teaser rather than having to create something new.

97.  Promote your offers in other content

If someone is reading, watching or listening to your content, then it's likely they are open to more. So promote within your content. Perhaps the best place to do this is in podcasts, where you can generate leads by offering things such as ebooks to download.

CTAs

Whether it's a social media post or an email, one of the first steps in lead generation is a call to action (CTA). Getting the call to action right is critical to ensure your campaign generates the results you want, and keeps your boss happy.

98.  Make sure your CTA is visible (above the fold)

Although it sounds obvious, it's easy to let your call to action be hidden below the fold. This is particularly common with emails that might look great on a desktop, but hide the CTA when viewing on a mobile. Make sure you check that your call to action is clearly visible on all devices.

99.  Be clear - not clever - with your CTA

When writing a call to action, it's not the time to be clever or witty. A clear call to action will always outperform one that is more confusing, no matter how clever the language you use.

100. Make your CTAs stand out visually

Make use of visual cues so that your CTA stands out. In particular, think how you will draw your audience’s eyes to CTA buttons through placement, design and colour.

101. Start the CTA with a strong verb

It's a bit of a cliche, but it does work. Starting your CTA with a strong verb, which can be as simple as “download”, is a great way to improve the performance of your campaign.

Forms

In most cases when you're collecting contact data, you'll need a form. The design of the form can have a huge impact on the conversion rate of your landing page, so follow these tips to maximise the number of leads you generate.

102.  Limit the length of your forms, particularly for lower-value offers

In general, the shorter the form the higher the completion rate. This isn't always the case, as some research has shown that for high value items, a longer form can perform better. In most cases, however, reducing the number of fields is a good thing so consider whether you can eliminate any fields from your forms.

103.  Don’t just use the default text on the submit button

The submit button is a call to action. Make use of the text on the button by having a strong verb and sell the benefits of submitting the form. Leaving the button with the default “submit” text will reduce the conversion rate.

104.  Don’t space the form out too much

Although design is important, too much space can have a negative impact on forms. If you space the fields out too much, the form looks bigger and your audience will be less likely to complete it.

105.  Use progressive profiling

Marketing automation systems and most form managers can do progressive profiling, where once you have the answer to one question the system automatically adds a new one. By getting your prospects to fill in multiple forms, you increase the information you gain about them without ever making them face a form with a large number of fields. Progressive profiling can therefore enhance your data as well as increase conversion rates.

106.  Auto-fill fields

If you know information about the contact, don't make them type it in again. Auto-filling fields reduce the amount of work to complete the form, and therefore increases conversion rates.

107.  Hide auto-filled fields

If your systems offer the capability, it's a good idea to hide the auto-filled fields. This reduces the length of form that your audience sees, making them more likely to complete and submit it.

108.  Use hidden fields to send more data

You can gather more information than your contacts enter on the form. Hidden fields allow you to gather additional data: a great use of this is to harvest the Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters from the URL, which means you have information about the source of the lead added to the contact records.

Landing Pages

Most lead generation campaigns route the audience to a landing page where they need to fill in a form. The design of the landing page can have a huge impact on the results your campaign generates.

109.  Use dedicated landing pages

The first tip is always to use a dedicated landing page. Routing your contacts to pages that are not designed specifically to convert with a form fill will reduce the performance of your campaign because they have much lower conversion rates than dedicated landing pages.

110.  Landing pages should only do one thing

Generally, the purpose of a landing page is to get someone to fill in a form and submit it. When designing a landing page you should only have one objective, and typically it's form completion. Although it might seem helpful to have other information available to landing page visitors, this approach will reduce the conversion rate and make your campaign less effective.

111.  Don’t use too much text on landing pages

Landing pages should only do one thing. Too much text will distract from the goal. Keep your text succinct and clear, and always remember that overcomplication is a bad idea.

112.  Use the thank-you page to make a second offer

When someone submits a form on a landing page they are typically routed to a thank you page where they can download or view the content. This is an ideal place to promote related content, particularly if you have a form with progressive profiling so you can gather more data about the contact.

113.  Make your headline action-based

Tests show that landing page headlines are more effective if they're action based. A very simple example of this would be changing a headline from “Marketing Ebook” to “Download Your Marketing Ebook Today”.

114.  Have clear subheading

Subheadings can expand on the page headline, and generally landing pages perform better if they have a subheading. Like all content on your landing page, make the subheading clear and succinct.

115.  Include an image

A landing page that just has text is not very inviting. Adding images will, in general, compel the viewer to linger and increase conversion rate. Typically landing pages have an image of the item that is being offered, for example the ebook. A good image, which requires good cover design, makes a big difference as the content being offered feels more tangible to the visitor.

116.  Use bullet points

Keeping the text short is important, but bullet points arre more effective. Bullet points make it easy for the visitor to see what is being offered and the benefit of sharing their contact details to secure the item. We always recommend using bullet points on landing pages.

117.  Make form visible

Don't put the form at the bottom of your landing page. Making the form visible above the fold will increase the conversion rate of the landing page. It's not always possible to have the form immediately visible on mobile, but think about the designed to ensure that visitors don't have to scroll endlessly to find it.

118.  Have a text and visual CTA

On the landing page it is important to not only have a clear call to action in the text, but also to have a visual CTA that really stands out. Sometimes we see the clever use of arrows to highlight the form that needs to be completed, although you should match the visual CTA to your brand.

119.  Remove distracting navigation

We mentioned previously that a landing page should have only one purpose. Removing distracting navigation content from the template allows the visitor to focus on the content offer and the form, resulting in better performance of your landing page.

120.  Make sure your landing page matches the CTA that drove the prospect there

This seems obvious, but if you're running several different campaigns with many landing pages and promotions, you might have a mismatch between the advert, blog post or other item that drives the person to the landing page and the content on the page itself. Always try to ensure the landing page matches the CTA that brought the person there in the first place.

121.  Encourage social sharing of landing page

You should make the landing page as widely available as possible. Any “free” promotion of the landing page is a good thing, so encourage visitors to share the landing page on social media profiles to increase traffic and leads.

122.  You need several landing pages

Don't feel you only have to create one landing page. Visitors coming from different sources may need slightly different landing pages, and optimising the page to their needs will maximise your conversion rates. Just make sure that each landing page does only one thing.

123.  Use social proof

Even if you are a well-known brand, “social proof” is likely to improve the performance of your landing page. Make sure you include customer testimonials, relevant certifications and other credentials that will provide reassurance that you are a reliable supplier and have delivered successful projects to existing customers.

124.  Use SEO

Increasing the distribution of your landing page is a good thing, so make the page visible in search engines and think about SEO. Having the landing page rank well in organic search can dramatically increase traffic and therefore the number of leads you generate.

125.  Support all devices

Don't assume your audience will visit the landing page from a desktop or laptop computer. Make

sure you support all devices, particularly mobile phones.

Website

Your website should be one of your best lead generation tools. Here are some ideas to increase the number of leads you generate from the prospects who visit your website.

126.  Use popups and (not too intrusive) promotions

Don't be afraid to use pop ups and other promotions on your website to generate leads. You obviously don't want to overdo it and spoil the user experience, but having these types of promotions on your website can be a great way to generate leads.

127.  Offer gated related content on web pages

Offering related content is a great way to help website visitors. If the content is behind a registration wall, it's also a great way to generate leads.

128.  Promote your newsletter

Newsletters are one of the best ways to nurture contacts, and a good newsletter is highly valued by recipients. Don't forget your newsletter when building pages on your website, and make sure that there are multiple promotions and ways to sign up to receive these regular emails.

129.  Make sure forms are on key pages

Forms shouldn't only live on landing pages. Make sure you have forms on key pages that coincide with the best performing blog posts or other content.

130.  Use SEO to drive traffic

Obviously, you'll be using search engine optimization to drive traffic to your website. Understanding the search terms that are being used to drive people to particular pages can lead to helpful insights about which content to promote. Also don't forget to optimise for organic traffic that is searching for problems your content can solve.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an amazing lead generation tool and we believe it's worth a separate section of these tips and tricks. The ability to target people based upon company and job role makes it an excellent platform for lead gen, but you need to get LinkedIn right as it can be costly.

131.  Use LinkedIn lead gen ads

LinkedIn lead Gen ads are fantastic. They generally produce better conversion rates than your landing pages will. However, the ads can be expensive in terms of cost per lead, so use them for your most valuable prospect companies or job roles.

132.  Don’t worry about LinkedIn guidelines

You'll see many different guidelines on LinkedIn, and often the best advice is to ignore them. Like many platforms, LinkedIn wants to maximise its revenue, so suggestions such as the minimum audience size should be 300,000 people are somewhat self-serving. In fact some of the best campaigns we've seen on LinkedIn have targeted an audience of just a few hundred. Small audiences mean more personalisation and relevance, which often produces better results.

133.  Understand LinkedIn data you can use

LinkedIn offers you a range of demographic and firmographic information that you can use to target your campaign. It's important to understand the data you can use and its impact on the audience you reach. Experimenting to understand what it means for your particular industry is invaluable.

134.  Know how LinkedIn does matching

LinkedIn doesn't always exactly match the criteria you enter when selecting an audience, particularly when it comes to job title. In fact, LinkedIn groups different jobs together, so putting in one job title will result in the campaign targeting people with different, but usually similar, job titles.

135.  Review the demographics of people who engaged

When running a LinkedIn campaign, you can review the demographics and firmer graphics of the people who have engaged with the campaign. It's essential to make sure the people who are viewing and clicking your ads are the ones you really want to target. This is particularly important as LinkedIn doesn't always deliver exact matches to your criteria.

136.  Link your marketing automation tool to LinkedIn

Many marketing automation tools offer a direct connection to LinkedIn. It's always worth setting this up to avoid the need to manually upload the leads you generate. Let's be honest, uploading leads probably won't be your top priority, and at some point there will be a delay, but getting the contacts into a marketing automation system will impact the effectiveness of your nurture campaign.

137.  Use personal networks

Although advertising on LinkedIn is incredibly powerful, don't underestimate the value of organic LinkedIn posts. If you have salespeople with great networks, it's worth spending the time to explain to them the value of posting about your campaigns.

138.  Make it easy by sharing canned posts with the Sales team

One way to get access to your Sales team’s great networks is to write the posts for them. There are systems available that aim to make it easier to share “canned” posts, but often sending them as emails is a better way to ensure the salesperson sees and acts on the content you've created for them.

Testing

We've mentioned testing several times in this blog post, and it's vital that you test to understand the behaviour of your audience and what works best for them. Here are our tips to help you develop a better testing strategy.

139.  AB test often

Try to make testing apart of all campaigns. The more you test, the more data you'll gather, and the more you'll know about your audience.

140.  Ask different people for ideas

Marketing doesn't have a monopoly on the best ideas. This is particularly true when testing. It's always worth asking other people, particularly the Sales team, for their ideas and trying them out. Even if you don't think an idea will work, it can be worth trying: you might be wrong, but even if you're right you might learn something from the test.

141.  Have a plan for testing

When you run tests there should always be a reason for doing it. Each test should be designed to answer a question or find something out. Make sure you have a clear plan for your testing. It will not only make the process easier, but it will help you analyse the data at the end of the test.

142.  Never think you have reached perfection

It's easy to think you've understood your audience and have the perfect campaign, but people change over time. Even if your campaign is performing brilliantly, it's important to keep testing as attitudes and behaviour can change. You might even be able to improve the performance of what you think is the “perfect” campaign.

143.  Remember different personas respond differently

When testing it's important to make sure you run separate tests for different personas. Different personas have different needs and interests, and will not behave in the same way. Each of those personas is also subject to change.

144.  Measure quality as well as quantity when testing

Don't be a slave to the numbers when you are testing. Simply counting the number of leads might not be the best measure of the performance of your lead generation campaign. So include qualitative metrics that measure how good the leads are, as well as volume metrics that count the number.

145.  Focus on the outcome, not on vanity metrics

With any campaign it's important to focus on the impact to the business wherever possible by measuring the value of business done with the leads you generate. Even if you can't, use metrics that assess the quality of the lead. Relying on vanity metrics like impressions, clickthrough’s and even form fills can be misleading.

Steal Good Ideas

However good your organisation is, you won't have all the good ideas. We strongly recommend looking at what the best in class companies are doing and make use of this intelligence to inform how you run your lead generation campaigns.

146.  Monitor your competition

Make sure you also keep an eye on your competition. You don't want to blatantly copy their campaigns, and copies are likely to be less effective anyway. However, you should understand your competitions’ strategy and when you see a great idea executed, it's always worth thinking about how you might do something similar.

147.  Ask customers (or Sales) what information would help

Your customers probably have some of the best ideas for lead generation campaigns - even if they don't know it! It's always worth asking customers what information would help. If you can't talk to customers the Sales team is the next best alternative.

148.  Spy on Google Ads

Because of transparency requirements, it's possible to see the Google ads being run by your competitors. This is a great source of ideas as well as competitive intelligence.

149.  Use social to monitor offers

Many lead generation offers are shared on social media, so monitor what your competitors and customers are talking about.

150.  Use an agency for ideas

Our last tip is the one we naturally think is most important: use an agency! Agencies bring a unique perspective because they have run lead generation campaigns for many different companies, and therefore have lots of data, experience and ideas.

Hopefully, you've seen this in the tips and tricks we've shared in this blog post.

 


A View of the Electronics Supply Chain in 2023

We were delighted to receive a guest blog post from John Ward, Senior Director at Commodity IQ, (part of SupplyFrame), who shares some market analysis and data insights on what the future of the electronics supply chain looks like in 2023. 

Recession risks have subsided somewhat, and central banks are advancing in controlling inflation. Still, electronic component lead times are improving faster than prices as demand deteriorates in some markets, inventories are at historical highs, and new disruptions could emerge with a further intensification of the Russia-Ukraine war and China’s continuous COVID-19 challenges.

In early May 2022, Supplyframe predictive intelligence identified the sharp downturn in consumer electronics, PC, and smartphone demand by analyzing the engineering design actions, demand sourcing signals, and contract pricing for specific electronics components widely employed in these sectors like DDR4 DRAM in PCs. We are still experiencing this downturn and weakened hyperscaler and enterprise server demand.

The Supplyframe Commodity IQ solution – which provides always-on, holistic electronics supply chain analytics and analysis  –  has revealed that the electronic components value chain is getting some pricing and lead time relief for the first time in several quarters. However, price reductions are still hard to achieve despite lower demand and lead times. While inventories may have peaked in some categories in Q4 2022, electronic component lead times remain more prolonged than historical norms, and specific semiconductor devices still have factory lead times of over 48 weeks.

Nevertheless, there is reason to be optimistic. Commodity IQ operational metrics reveal that component availability has largely improved, and prices have stabilized across many commodities and sub-commodities, particularly for passive components. Additionally, Commodity IQ data exposes opportunities for enhanced supplier negotiations, better-timed sourcing events, and 360-degree supply chain visibility.

Commodity IQ forecasts for the first quarter of 2023 point to an 8% decline in the number of rising lead times and commodities with part allocations for active and passive components.

Similarly, according to the Commodity IQ Price Index for Q1, the number of component pricing dimensions will be reduced by 14%. Moreover, and unsurprisingly, global electronic component demand and sourcing activities quarter-on-quarter in Q1 will be down by 2%, while engineering design will be off by 20% – further evidence of demand erosion.

Component inventories, while bloated for some components like memory and small case-size ceramic capacitors, for devices like automotive-grade microcontrollers and FPGAs remain far below the Commodity IQ Inventory Index baseline. For example, microcontrollers/microprocessor distribution and supplier inventories in December 2022 were nearly 50% lower than in December 2021. Analog ICs, microcontrollers, and discrete ICs (especially power MOSFETs) will remain constrained and high-priced in Q1 and beyond.

What does the future hold?

With global macroeconomic and political uncertainty in the foreground, we have entered the new year with positive signs for normalizing supply-demand balance and reduced pricing and availability pressure. For H2 2023, excluding memory devices, the forecast is for 85% of semiconductor pricing dimensions to be stable and the remainder to move squarely in the buyer’s favour.

Extended lead times will endure into the year's second half for semiconductors, including programmable logic devices and passive components like automotive-specific resistors. Yet, as world economies exhibit remarkable resiliency in the face of inflation and threats of recessions, Q3 2023 lead times for all electronic components are forecast to ebb dramatically from Q3 2022. Nearly 60% of lead time dimensions are projected to decrease in Q3 versus about 1% in Q3 2022, and none are expected to increase in Q3 compared to a massive 73% in the same quarter of 2022.


A Napier Webinar: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Using B2B Customer Journeys

A key component of any successful B2B technology marketing campaign is the analysis of customer’s behaviour and the process they go through when choosing products and services. Customer journeys allow you to map these behaviours and provide a tailored marketing and communications plan to quickly move the customer from awareness to opportunity.

Watch our on-demand, 'A Practical Guide to Understanding and Using B2B Customer Journeys', where we discuss what customer journeys are, and cover:

  • A simple four-stage model to getting started with customer journeys
  • Example customer journey maps
  • How analysing customer touchpoints delivers tangible results
  • Why different personas follow different journeys
  • Designing campaigns to accelerate customers along their journeys

Register to view our webinar on demand by clicking here, and why not get in touch to let us know if our insights helped you.

Napier Webinar: ‘A Practical Guide to Understanding and Using B2B Customer Journeys’ Transcript

Speakers: Mike Maynard

Hi, and welcome to the latest Napier webinar, where we're going to talk about customer journeys. So customer journeys are really, really interesting and an important part, I think of any approach to marketing. But maybe the interesting thing to do is to take a look at, you know what some people say about customer journeys. And so what I'm going to do is I'm going to pick Drake. Now, obviously, you know, maybe maybe r&b stars are perhaps not your useful, or most used quote for information about marketing. But he's got a lot to say about journeys. Sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination, this is very true.

The customer journey, experience treats teaches you an awful lot about the company that you're working with. But I think more importantly, sometimes the journey is actually really amazing. And as Drake says, you know, sometimes you'll look back from that journey or wish you could go there again, because of all the experiences. And I think this is this is really important is that, when we think about, you know, the companies that we're promoting as marketers, it's really important to remember that you are not just promoting the product or the service. But actually, it's important to make sure that whole journey towards becoming a customer is a journey that people can enjoy. And they find useful and helpful.

Because ultimately, that's what's gonna make you know what your product is today. So it's going to be really important to actually, you know, build good and effective customer journeys, because a lot of the way customers perceive, you know, b2b companies today is around, you know, how they experience going from, you know, just sort of starting to talk to the company all the way through to becoming a customer. Anyway, we're gonna move on and have a look quickly at, you know, the different things we'll talk about today in the webinar, and then dive into customer journeys themselves. So today, we're going to do a little bit of history, you know, where does this concept of customer journeys come from, it's actually a relatively new concept just over 30 years old. We're going to talk about the sales funnel, which actually, I guess was the original customer journey, and why it was always wrong. We're going to talk about a concept called the buying journey DNA very closely linked to customer journeys, as the kinds of things you need to think about as you build your customer journeys. And within that, particularly, we are going to look at buying styles. So what people are how people approach buying particular b2b setting.

One of the things I think, you know, a lot of people associate with customer journeys is customer journey maps. And customer journey maps are really interesting. It's kind of a graphical visual representation of the sequence of steps that someone goes through in terms of starting out as a prospect going all the way through to becoming a customer, and hopefully staying with you as a customer throughout the product or service lifestyle. So we'll have a look at mapping and give some examples. And lastly, we're talking about next steps.

So the kinds of things you can do after listening to this webinar, to hopefully help improve your marketing campaigns. So let's start off with a brief history of customer journeys. As I said, customer journeys are a relatively new thing. They were actually first introduced in a book called service wisdom that was published about 34 years ago, by Chip Bell, and Ron Ron's empathy. So these two guys, were really looking at customer service, rather than necessarily marketing. But they came up with concept of the journey. And they said, the goal of customer journey mapping is to create and retain a deep understanding of the customers experiences, while he or she is traversing the path taken between having a need and getting that need met. So they were very focused on this mapping on this, this idea of, you know, really drawing this graphical representation.

And really, it's all about, you know, getting inside of the customer's head, understanding what they're seeing and feeling and understanding their experiences. So I love that. I think that's great, you know, really trying to understand the experiences. And so let's just talk about what actually a customer journey is. And so, a customer journey from our point of view, this is a Napier definition. I mean, there's lots of different definitions, but we see it as experiences a customer has, whilst moving from awareness of a product through purchase, to the time the customer no longer interacts with the brand or products. So very simple, similar to the definition of, you know, going from from having a knee to having the need met. But I think it's really important. I mean, from our point of view, customer journeys. It's not just about what you do as a brand. You It's all the experiences that the customer has, it's definitely something that is more than just what you can influence or control.

And particularly, you know, things like word of mouth information is a key part of a lot of customer journeys, and shouldn't be underestimated. The next thing to say, is a customer journey is not just about, you know, making someone move from being a prospect to a customer, it's not just pre purchase, it actually matters, what happens after the purchase. So, you know, customer journeys is not just related to sales and marketing, it's also related to the whole customer experience. And then lastly, you know, customer journeys, customer journey maps are often used interchangeably, the map is a visual representation. And the journey itself is what the customer experiences. So customer journeys, you know, I think, a fairly obvious thing, you want to track how the customer feels, or how that what they experience, from, you know, this point where they first start moving from awareness, all the way through to when they no longer interact with you. Now, historically, that was very much something that people used to talk about the sales funnel. So this is sales funnel, this is actually the sales funnel, used by Salesforce, and they talk about, you know, going from awareness of the company to interest to evaluation, they need to negotiate the price, then you just close the sale by making a payment, and then you repurchase and that's kind of their, their concept. It's great. There's lots of, you know, really clear stages in there.

But I don't think we ever really believe that people flow through that funnel in a nice smooth manner. So, you know, once someone starts evaluating, it doesn't mean they're going to move straight on to negotiating price. And actually, I think, you know, a lot of people with complex and expensive software products like Salesforce, they may well evaluate, and then go back and be interested, and then come and evaluate again, the following year, you know, very often we see, you know, even hear clients talking about, well, we're looking at, you know, this CRM package or this other SAS package, but we're not gonna do it this year, we're gonna look maybe next year, we're too busy, or we haven't got the budget or whatever the issues are. So if we're to be honest, we never really believed a sales funnel. It's a great model. You know, and the idea of moving people from one stage to the next, I think, is super important, you know, someone's in that interest category, getting them to really evaluate, it's important if they're evaluating, getting into start talking about negotiating a price. I mean, that is super important. It's not really reality. And this is certainly something Forrester thought.

So Forrester famously produced this kind of crazy funnel, where they tried to emphasise the fact that buying decisions are complex. And so what you see is you see the funnel, not not being a one way, route, and also not being a single route. So people can go back in the funnel, and they can also take choose to take different routes. And I think this is much more realistic. I mean, that the this diagram, I think, was very widely cited when it came out. And it really made a very clear point. But the reality is, is that people don't take funnels, they take journeys, and those journeys can take different routes as you go through. So what makes up a journey? What what is the DNA behind the journey?

Well, this concept of the buying journey, DNA was introduced by a guy called Lewis, who wrote a book about why how customers buy very much about b2b purchases. And it talks about several things that make up the buying journey DNA. So behind the buying journey, there's elements. So the first element we look at the top is triggers. So triggers are what start the journey, what caused people to begin that and that might be having a need. Or it might be some marketing information that exposes opportunities, or indeed, highlights that there's a need that the customer wasn't aware of. So we have a trigger that's important that starts the journey that's different from the journey itself. And it's something you've really got to focus on. The next item that Louis put in was steps, steps are the customer journeys, we normally talk about it. So they're the stages of the journey. And it's really important to understand those steps. But equally, I think, you know, it's important to realise the journey and the whole DNA of the journey is not just about a sequence of steps. And particularly in b2b, that's the case. And we're talking about the steps later. And particularly when we look at some journey maps. He said you got to consider key players.

And the key players are the personas basically, that would create the people who buy the product or influence the purchase or, you know, part of the decision making unit. Or if you're an American, you probably call it the buying committee and So these these key players are really important. And actually, these key players will often follow different journeys. So, for one product, you don't necessarily have one definitive journey, it could be different depending upon the persona. We're talking about buying style. And effectively Lewis position, the buying style is having two axes, people either believe that they've got choice, or they go for value. And they want a solution or a product. And we'll talk about that, because I think this is really important. Quite often, there's some trendy marketing approaches, which is just well, we have to sell solutions. Actually, you know, if we look at this, not everybody wants a solution.

There's value drivers or the value proposition that companies offer. And it's really important to understand, you know, what drives the reasons pushing people to buy. And then correspondingly, the last item is buying concern. So the things that will stop people buy. And this is really interesting, because I think if you look at value drivers, you can have a product that produces obvious value for a customer. So let's say you've got a product that reduces waste in the manufacturing process, it cost 10,000 pounds, it will save the customer, customer 20,000 pounds, there's, you know, an immediate return on investment, you know, first year you're actually going to get a 200% return, it's clearly a good thing. Surely everyone's going to buy it. And the answer is no, not everybody will buy it. And there'll be reasons why maybe they don't buy it, you know, and one particularly good reason might be that there are alternative products that might be cheaper, that have a better ROI. Or, alternatively, there might be a different approach to saving that waste, that doesn't require investing in a product, it might be changing the manufacturing flow. And so addressing buying concerns is very important. So this is all together, all the things you need to consider when you're thinking about a customer journey is not just the steps, what we're going to do is we're going to focus on a couple of these. And the first thing we're really going to focus on his buying style, because I think this is particularly interesting for business to business, because a lot of people assume that, you know, conventional wisdom is always the way to go. So what happens is that people have different approaches.

And Lewis said it can be mapped on two axes. And one axes is whether somebody is looking to choose between multiple suppliers, or they've got something that drives them to buy from only one supplier. So typically, they're buying on value on price. And this is this is very interesting. And I think, you know, a lot of people when they're talking about marketing, they look at price driven customers, we all see that in our markets. And they think, oh, no, we really got to work hard, you know, convincing the customer that our price is the cheapest. And actually, that's really hard to do. Because the mindset of a value buyer is there is only one supplier that can provide what I need, I need the cheapest price, only one supplier can provide the cheapest price, they are typically quite closed in the way they approach supplier selection. And actually, it's usually far better to look at buyers who consider they have a choice and market to them because they're much more willing to consider multiple vendors. Unless, of course, you're prepared to be the lowest price supplier. On the other axes, it's really interesting. And Lewis said something about today, you know, I think most marketers are like, Oh, you shouldn't sell products, you should sell solutions. And actually, you know, Louis said no, there's two sorts of buyers. You know, one source knows they've got a problem, they got a need. But they don't know what's going to satisfy that need. They don't know what they want. And the other type of buyer is they've got a need, and they know exactly what they want. You know, and this, this might be a case of, you know, somebody who needs a particularly in an M five nut and bolt, they know what they want, they know what they're gonna buy, it's not necessarily a solution sell. But equally, you could offer you know, products to customers that are looking to attach wings to aircraft where you know, they have a need, they may not have a defined solution, so the solution cell could come in there. So I think it's important to remember that and remember that there are customers who believe that they want value, typically something bought on price, or something that they know is going to deliver a certain level of quality at a certain price and people who want products.

And, you know, Lewis actually went on and he talked about, you know, these different approaches and how they might approach buying. So he talks about Starbucks as being you know, somebody knows they need a product they want value If so, if you know you want a cup of coffee, you're going to potentially go to Starbucks, you know what you're going to get, you know, the price is what the price is going to be. And it's going to be better than, you know, some sort of more sort of bespoke coffee shop where perhaps the coffee might be better, but you're actually going to pay a lot more money. So he talks about that product value kind of axes there. And if someone believes they've got choice, but they want a product, then typically they're going to have a sort of select approach. So they're going to look at the suppliers and offer the product, they're going to put the list of products that are available in they're going to kind of rank them. And this is where, you know, you'll see a lot of, for example, technical sales being done on data sheets, where it's important to get all the information that the customer needs, because they know what product they want. And they know they know the matrix is going to meet all the specs is going to meet. And they just want to sort and select you need to be in that shortlist. If you don't provide the data, they won't be able to so on select easily, you won't actually be one of the suppliers that they consider. If they believe they've got choice, and they've they've, they need a solution.

So they're looking for it, they're going to search and choose this is really interesting. And to me, you know, a lot of this is around, who are the suppliers that people trust and view as being the ones to go to so a lot of this is driven by brand, because they're not going to know exactly what they buy until they start interacting with the different brands. So I think searching shoes is very much a brand different driven thing. Obviously, there will potentially be some shortlisting there. But it's much harder to shortlist solutions than it is to shortlist products. And lastly, and this is a very trendy term in the service industry, which is trusted advisor where a client will come to a supplier, you know, maybe maybe it's a law firm or an accountant. And whenever they have a problem with that particular area, they will just ask for the solution and asked what they should do. And this is something where if you can have a client that is feels they can only buy for you because then you're the only supplier they can really trust you've got this relationship, you've worked with them a long time, you know, the customer believes you're the only one supplier can provide what they need, then you can become a trusted adviser. And that's really interesting. But clearly it requires the customer to not only be looking for a solution rather than a product, but also to believe that they have no choice in terms of where they go. So it has interesting implications on service businesses and b2b.

So these buying styles are very important, as I've talked through them, you'll realise that not only is how you approach the customer, and the way you sell to them very different, but also their journeys very different. You know, if you believe there's only one supplier, you're gonna go straight to that supplier classically in the trusted advisor. If you've got a law firm that you always work with that says the firm you trust you feel they know your business, there's not really going to be any supplier selection, you're just going to go to them and talk to them about your next problem. So that's a very different customer journey, to maybe somebody who believes they've got a lot of choice, and then still looking for a solution, they are going to search and choose amongst brands, and they're gonna have a process of evaluating different brands to see who they believe is going to be the best one to provide the solution. So we've understood that different buying styles have different journeys, same with different personas. So the reality is there can be many, many customer journey maps for selling one particular product. Typically, most people limit the number of customer journey maps they produce, mainly to manage complexity.

And also because the customer journey map should really be very, very detailed, the more detailed you can get it the more effective it is. And clearly it becomes exponentially more difficult with the more personas and buying styles you consider. So let's have a look at a customer journey map. Well, I mean basically a customer journey map can be whatever you want, it can be as simple and complex as you like. But what it needs is it needs the steps or the touch points that you have with the customer. So you need to know what is happening to influence that customer and good customer journey maps will also consider things that are not directly related to your brand. So that might be word of mouth information. Or it might be you know viewing content on a trade publication.

Obviously, you've got those steps those touch points those touch points will then generate actions from the prospect. So you need to know what should happen as a result of each touch point. Mosca customer journey maps also include emotions, so most people want to understand how the customer is feeling. And that can be based upon the challenge they're facing the need Have that's got to be met. Or it can also be emotions that are driven by the touch points. And a lot of customer journey work is done around existing customer journeys, and trying to evaluate where customers are less happy. And then look at ways to, you know, change that. So at that particular touch point, they become slightly more happy. So, emotions are very important. pain points, obviously, a very important is where the customer has a need or a pain point, you really need to understand that and how well that customer understands the need is very important.

And lastly, solutions, you know, as part of the customer journey, you're providing that solution, you might want to also include that in the map as well. So, lots of different things you can put in the map. But there's actually no right format. There's some conventional styles, but you can do really whatever you like, whatever makes sense, in terms of mapping the customer journey, so you can see an example here. But what we'll do now is we'll actually go through, and we'll have a look at a couple of customer journeys that have been created, you know, so you can see some examples. So here's a simple customer journey. It's interesting, you know, the journey has been put into funnel like stages, there's four stages, we can see with the four colours. And what we can see is actually, this, this indicates emotional state, by the line, this line goes up, the customer feels happier. And we can see at each stage, we've got the various steps within each stage. And so we're tracking you know, how well they're doing. And this customer journey, also insert some eventually quotes that what the customer might be thinking.

So, you know, what we can see is, you know, obviously, this person is trying to go to see a film, they're going to a cinema. And you know, step two, their question is, can I find somebody that's closer I don't really want to travel, we then see some issues with travel. So we can see lots of different things as the customer flows through. And this is quite a simple map, and actually, will quite often use maps like this, to work with clients. So here's an example of a customer map that's based on something we did with a client a little while ago, you can see that we've categorised the interactions into basically four stages or phases. And each phase where you've got information about what the customer might be thinking. So for example, I don't know, the mega core offer for station infrastructure and and what they're going to supply us. We'll talk about, you know, the content that will supply. And we'll talk about the touch points. So the channels we're using to reach the customer at the start.

So where customers might have low awareness, we want to drive awareness, you can see well, it using lots of different channels. So you know, we might be posting video on YouTube, we might be doing Google ads, we might be doing ads in publications, all sorts of things to drive touchpoints, because we're going to have to reach quite wide, we don't necessarily have an engagement with that customer. And then you'll see with this customer journey map, we move through and we get much more focused and effectively this is, you know, one of those classic customer journeys that you'll often see with b2b where we're trying to, you know, create content, use that content at the awareness stage to generate a prospect, and then nurture that prospect with a sequence of emails and maybe some Google ads as well. Other customer journeys can look very different. And I mentioned things can be very different. This is a customer journey for a software as a service products. Zendesk, which is a support desk product, and they show the customer journey as a cycle. Obviously, with SAS, there's typically a renewal period, quite often annual renewal. And so it's very important to make sure that you understand that customer journey, and you understand what can cause that customer to either reorder and remain a customer to actually just pick and choose another product or maybe not reorder and then come back a bit later. So perhaps a lapsed customer coming back.

So very different style, and very focused on the different touch points here. You'll notice that this one doesn't include things like customer, emotional state, or anything else. It's very simple, very straightforward, but equally a very clear model and it makes it clear what you have to do to ensure that the customer engages with you and ultimately reorders and remains a customer one of the things I would say is that real customer journeys have an awful lot of touchpoints and so we can see here this is a simple PowerPoint template created by slide salad that they're you know offering as a off the shelf customer journey. I'd always caution against trying to use customer journeys that are off the shelf, almost certainly your journey will be very different to other businesses. And the emphasis on different steps will be very different. But if you want, you can pull off the shelf customer journeys like this. Interesting though this is even itself with all these steps is quite limited. You know, for example, there is no concept of word of mouth.

So there's no idea of the customer, you know, asking either friends or colleagues or anyone else what's happening. And even in b2b Word of mouth is hugely important, and completely omitted from this. So beware if you get those off the shelf journeys, because often they can miss important stages as well. So we've talked about journeys a lot, and we've mentioned how complex they are, and how many steps are. And I think one of the challenges that you know, b2b companies have is, we still tend to think about, oh, we're going to run, you know, an email nurture campaign to move people through the customer journey. And that actually, is often the wrong approach. If you're looking to move someone through an entire customer journey, I mean, for a start, you need a product that is bought in a fairly short timeframe.

And a lot of products actually take a fairly long timeframe to buy. I mean, we have, you know, clients that have products that are large capital investment, that can take years in terms of the customer journey, trying to create campaigns that run over years is just not the right thing to do, you'll never get the timing right, you'll never be able to understand exactly where the customer is. So you need to simplify. And one of the ways you can simplify is actually simplifying down into it to less steps, there's touch points of the customer journey. But actually, a better way is to use something called micro journeys. So here we can see, and this is a consumer example. But it's equally applicable. We've got a customer journey where someone is basically flying on an aeroplane. And we're looking at one element of that customer journey, which is the check in. So if we go and expand here, we can actually see that the customer is checking in. And there's multiple routes through this journey. So we can actually understand that in more detail. And what we can do as marketers is look and see, well, how can we make this journey more effective?

You know, and you can see, actually, maybe this has already been done, you know, there was a route to check in with a mobile app. But also, there's additional routes here where the airline sends either an email, or an SMS, or maybe a call. So help the customer check in, remind them to do it. So you know, quite often, you'll see, you know, different customer journeys being looked at like this, and then people looking at adding extra routes. So if a customer doesn't take one route, there's a parallel route that's going to take them through the maybe includes a little nudge from the company that they're interacting with. So, you know, micro journeys are great, because it then makes this large and potentially quite long term customer journey more manageable.

They're still quite complex. And it is okay to simplify. And the reality is, is no matter how hard we work, we'll probably never perfectly replicate the customer's experience in any customer journey. So, I mean, my advice is to balance you know, getting accuracy and detail alongside making sure that you've got a customer journey model, which is, you know, close enough to reality, but also simple enough for you to be able to, you know, optimise and manage it. And this can be an iterative process. If you've not looked at the customer journey for your customers before, you might start with something fairly simple. And then iterate. Once you've identified the problems in that that journey at a fairly high level, you may then dig a bit deeper produce a journey that is a little more divided up into more steps, and then look and optimise again. So iteration as well, in terms of improving the customer journey is a great idea.

So what do we do next? Well, I think you know, the first thing I'd say is think about customer journeys. and not think about customer journeys, just in terms of a funnel, I need to move on from one stage to another, but gain the customers perspective. They are complex, you've got to remember that. And so you might have to simplify certainly in the early days. But really just try and get into that customer's head that mindset and really understand what's stopping them moving from one step to another. And if there's anything you can do as a marketing professional, to help them move forward. Obviously the way to do this is to ask customers, the best source of information on customer mindsets is the customers themselves. I would say you know me Make sure you think about personas and buying styles. Which buying style do you generally work with, and do different personas involved in the decision take different journeys.

And this is super important. I think it's one of the areas where your customer journeys, you know, a really a dramatic level up from, from simply thinking about the sales funnel, is it's much easier to think about these different personas and different buying styles. And when you've got your journey, definitely split it into micro journeys, don't try and boil the ocean all at once. Just try and take a little segment of the journey and try and optimise it. And then you know, when you've got that micro journey, analyse the stages and look at, you know, not just where opportunities are lost. I mean, obviously, we want to look at where prospects drop out and maybe go to another supplier, see if there's anything we can do. But also look at where progress slows.

And this is something that we're really focused on as an agency is making sure that we can help clients increase the velocity of prospects through the journey. And the reason we're worried about that is that if you can get the prospect to the end of the journey before anyone else, the prospect will be bought, or will have bought with you before they're ready to buy with anybody else. So you're going to win that sale. So don't just look for losing customers or potential customers, but also look for where that's progress through the journey slows down. And look if there's anything you can do to increase interaction, and make it you know, easier for the customer to buy and stay with you. So that's really what I wanted to talk about in terms of customer journeys, it's I think it's covered a lot of what we need to know.

And hopefully, it's going to give you a bit of a basis in terms of how you can go and build your own customer journey. And look to optimise it, obviously now what we can do is maybe look to take some questions. So I'm just gonna check the chat and see if we've got any questions from people. Okay. Okay, so we've got a great question here. How can someone easily spot a weak point in the customer journey? And what are the typical methods to solve this, which is really interesting, I mean, in business to business, quite often, this weak point is something you can pick out with data. You know, and a classic example of a weak point might be, you've got a particular, you know, nurture, campaign or email that you send out at a certain stage in the journey. And that triggers a higher than average level of opt outs, or a lower than average level of interaction. And it's really where you've got these items where you're actually not hitting your average level, you've got to ask, well, is that because of where people are in the journey? Or is that because what I'm sending is not the right thing. And quite often, you know, what's being sent is not the right thing.

So I would definitely say, you know, look through the journey, look at the data. And that usually gives you a good, good insight into where your weak points are. Okay. Okay, we're being asked about micro journey. So the next question is, can we give an example of a micro journey? It's another great question. I love this. And, you know, a really good example might be if you're selling components that have data sheets, so a lot of our clients will have components that might be a semiconductor company, they have a datasheet, that gives you information about that product. And typically, what's going to happen is someone's going to be interested in a product, they go to your page, they'll download the datasheet, they'll do some evaluation. And from that datasheet, they'll then decide whether or not to purchase perhaps, an evaluation board if they need an evaluation board to develop, or maybe a sample if they just want samples to test the product. And quite clearly, you know, there's a micro journey there. And that whole process of buying a product, if you think about a product that needs you know that there's maybe a a complex part like a microcontroller. You know, there's a whole big journey for around that. But just the step from datasheet to development kit is a very small micro journey.

And so thinking about you know, how many data sheets you get downloaded versus how many development kits you sell, and looking to optimise that ratio, so increase the number of development kits per datasheet is a great example of improving the performance of a micro journey. Okay, and we'll do one more question. And the question is, if the customer journey goes beyond purchase, how important is customer satisfaction in the journey? And I think this is this is really interesting. You know, ultimately, customer satisfaction as a metric pretty much determine is that analogous to how well the journey has gone for the customer. So if the customer is happy, generally they've had a good journey. That's not always the case. You know, you can have a customer journey that has lots of, you know, potholes and mistakes. aches and errors. And if you fit fix them, you can still end up with very high customer satisfaction. The reality is is fixing them may not have cost your customer satisfaction, but it's cost you money in terms of time and effort to fix the problems.

So, customer satisfaction is very important. And ultimately, if you look at customer satisfaction, the higher the level of satisfaction, the more likely people are to give word of mouth recommendations. And word of mouth can be very simple. You know, if you look at, you know, a b2b situation where you're selling to a big organisation, and quite often there are multiple projects you could sell into whether you're selling software or components or whatever. And what you want is people already using your product to be, you know, at least positive about the product, and if not, if not, maybe ambassadors and going out saying everyone should use this product. So high level of customer satisfaction, we'll get that high level word of mouth, which will increase your chances of winning future projects. So great question, you know, customer journey.

The satisfaction is really important. high customer satisfaction, though, doesn't always mean that you've had a great customer journey. It doesn't mean the end of the journey has been good. But it could it could still mean that there's problems in the journey. So don't think the two are the same. Well, thank you very much, everyone, for listening. I hope you found this webinar useful. If you've got any questions, please do send me an email. My email is Mike at Napier b2b dot com. I'd love to talk about it. We love working with clients, helping them build customer journeys and then optimise those stages within the journeys. And I hope you're able to build journeys and use it to make your sales processes more effective and ultimately increase the performance your company. So thank you very much


SPS Expands into America

SPS, the Smart Production Solutions trade show, organized by Mesago Messe Frankfurt, has announced that it will be expanding into America, premiering an 'Automation Sector powered by SPS' as part of IMTS 2024, before hosting a stand-alone trade show to be held in Atlanta in 2025.

As an extension to the trade show in Nuremberg and its associated events in Italy and China, these new events will support and accelerate the exchange of knowledge of the industrial automation sector between the USA and Europe, addressing current challenges in areas such as supply chains, logistics, staff shortages and cost pressure.

The 'Automation Sector powered by SPS' will take place at IMTS from 9th-14th September 2024 in Chicago, and will showcase the smart and digital automation solutions for industrial manufacturing.

Following this event, Mesago Messe Frankfurt's U.S. sister company Messe Frankfurt Inc, will hold an independent industry event in Atlanta every two years under the name 'SPS - Smart Production Solutions,' of which the first will take place from 23rd-25th September 2025.

“The Automation Sector at IMTS expands IMTS’ appeal as a must-attend event for businesses that want to increase their manufacturing efficiency through automation,” says Douglas K. Woods, President at AMT, which owns and produces IMTS. “By working with SPS – Smart Production Solutions, IMTS 2024 will have even more exhibits featuring advanced motion systems, vision and imaging, data analytics, systems integration, artificial intelligence, and cloud and edge computing.”

"We are delighted to enter into this cooperation and offer the global automation industry a high-quality platform to intensify cross-border business relations," commented Martin Roschkowski, President of Mesago Messe Frankfurt. "A fast exchange of knowledge is crucial in today's world, and we are convinced that this new concept will meet the needs of the industry."

It's a significant move for SPS to expand to America, and it will certainly be interesting to see how the American market reacts to the events, as it provides some fantastic opportunities to take networking and sharing of knowledge to the next level.

For further information on the events, please click here. 


Electronic Specifier Welcomes Two New Members

Electronic Specifier has welcomed two new members to its editorial team, with Kristian McCann joining as Editor, and Harry Fowle as Editorial Assistant.

Kristian joins the team with a background in working at several different publications and news media organisations in Helsinki, Brussels and London. Kristian has a keen interest in the dynamics of geopolitics, news and how this relates to technology, and enjoys discussing tech and its latest developments.

Harry also joins the Electronic Specifier fold, with a passion for all things geeky, from the latest video games to researching the newest tech trends. He has a passion for writing which stemmed from his interest in History, which he studied at University.

Congratulations to both Kristian and Harry on their new roles, and we look forward to working with them.


New Engineering and Manufacturing Awards Announced for 2023

The Engineer, Eureka!, Manufacturing Management, Machinery and New Electronics publications have come together to launch the Engineering and Manufacturing Awards, which will showcase the very best that UK engineering has to offer.

Covering all areas of the industry from design, manufacture, production and management, the awards feature a range of categories to allow entrants of all sizes and capabilities to showcase their excellence. Categories include Engineering Consultancy, R&D Product, Production Innovation and Design Team of the Year; with entrants having until 24th February 2023 to finalise and submit their entries.

Here at Napier, we were delighted to hear of another award which will celebrate the fantastic work that is undertaken in the engineering and manufacturing sectors. We look forward to seeing the fantastic companies and entrants who get shortlisted, and the winners at the awards ceremony, which will be taking place on 19th May 2023, at the London Marriott Hotel at Grosvenor Square.

 


Alan Burkitt-Gray of Capacity Media to Retire

Alan Burkitt-Gray has announced that after almost 50 years as a journalist, he will be retiring in April of this year.

Having joined Euromoney back in December 2000 as Editor of Global Telecoms Business, which has since been merged into Capacity Media, Alan has been Editor-at-Large for the last few years.

Alan has been a staple in the telecom industry for several years, and he will definitely be missed.

We wish him all the best for his retirement and future travels.