New Report: Alliance Marketing Trends 2014

The results from our new study on Alliance Marketing are now available! Download it here.

Our 60,000 member B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn conducted the 2014 study on alliance marketing to better understand how B2B marketers are adjusting to new alliance marketing challenges, and to identify new trends and best practices.

Here are the Top-5 Trends in Alliance Marketing (for more details download the report):
  1. Revenue generation (87 percent), demand generation (72 percent) and joint sales engagement (66 percent) top the list of alliance marketing program goals.
  2. Lack of partner commitment is the greatest alliance marketing challenge (42 percent), followed by lack of resources (39 percent).
  3. The top three alliance marketing tactics are demand generation (68 percent), followed by content development (50 percent) and lead nurturing (50 percent).
  4. A majority of alliance professionals (62 percent) expect the number of partners they work with to increase over the next 12 months.
  5. Fifty percent of respondents expect alliance marketing budgets to increase over the next 24 months.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey.

PS: Many thanks to IDG Enterprise for sponsoring this research:

IDG Enterprise |

IDG Enterprise Alliance Marketing Services (AMS) provides leading-edge converged marketing solutions, enabling tech marketers to create, elevate and communicate the value of their partnerships. As a full consultative group, AMS offers a robust portfolio of turnkey solutions that can supplement ongoing alliance marketing initiatives including: research based programs, content development, brand messaging, social marketing services, lead generation and nurturing, custom executive events and more. By leveraging the combination of marketing services expertise with the full portfolio of the IDG Enterprise premium media brands (Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World, CIO, DEMO, CSO, CIO Executive Council, ITworld, CFOworld and CITEworld), the AMS team creates valuable solutions to help our customers to succeed in their alliance marketing endeavors.

For more information visit our website, or contact Michael Latchford at or 508.766.5376.

Developing Your Marketing Analytics Strategy - A 3 Step Approach

Guest post by Glenn Facey

We live in a new age of information superabundance: the burgeoning era of Big Data analytics. Never before have marketers had the opportunity to understand their audiences in such fine, precise, and comprehensive detail. But while it seems that answers to many persistent marketing challenges are rising to the surface in the constant churn of data from social, mobile, and other online activity, the core tenet of Big Data remains as true as ever: In order to gather useful answers, you have to ask the right questions.

Without actionable goals and insights, even the most data-rich, well-supported marketing analytics efforts can go awry. So how do you go about setting the stage for an effective marketing analytics strategy? We’ve identified three key steps.

1) Pair insight from inside and outside

What are you trying to accomplish with your marketing analytics efforts? In order to identify the right goals for your marketing analytics effort, you’ll need to draw on two crucial perspectives.

First, an insider from your firm will help ensure that your approach aligns with the needs and direction of the organization. This individual is responsible for keeping the process rooted in the path and realities of the firm. Second, an outside analyst will provide context through knowledge of related industry verticals — as well as third-party objectivity. With these two figures in partnership, you’re prepared to move to the next step.

2) Identify questions that drive your goals

Now that your company insider and outside analyst are in place, they’ll need to collaborate in order to identify questions that will drive growth for the firm — questions that may be answered through business intelligence (BI) and big data analytics. While these will differ from organization to organization, some common approaches include:

        What is the amount of revenue retained?
        How much revenue did newly converted leads bring in?
        What is the cost savings attributed to more efficient workflows?
        How do we identify which marketing activities contributed to the creation of a given lead?
        What is the percentage increase in our brand awareness?

By explicitly identifying goals and related questions for your marketing analytics, you may ensure that those goals are clear and achievable, as well as make it easier to select the right tools for the task. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of this stage — it creates the guidelines (and sometimes guardrails) for everything that comes after. From defining deliverables to knowing when you’ve achieved your goal and may proceed to the next phase, these questions touch the rest of your work in countless ways. And that brings us to the third key step in your strategy development.

3) Know your tools and prerequisites

You’re almost ready to think about the metrics you need to gather and analyze in order to answer your questions. But first, you’ll need to consider the tools available to you and the “facts on the ground” at your organization — in other words, the prerequisites of a successful marketing analytics effort. The top three include:

        Creating a consolidated data strategy
        Investment in analytics
        Continuous dedication to the effort at the highest levels of the organization

Big data marketing analytics aren’t a grab-and-go goodie bag of answers. They require serious, ongoing commitment from a firm that’s looking to better understand its own thoughtfully forged path — where it stands, and where it’s going. With a collaborative balance of internal and external minds, a robust set of tools and resources, and defined goals driving actionable questions, your firm will have everything in place to not only achieve an incisive understand of its marketing and audience, but the way forward to greater success.

About the Author:
Glenn Facey is the VP of Business Development and Marketing at Claraview, where he achieves business growth through his deep cross-functional experience in consulting, sales, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, marketing, organizational effectiveness, and working across organizations to ensure that business value is delivered to the organization.

Crossing the Divide: The Art of Closing the Sale

We see it again and again: professional services sellers misread the real desires and priorities of their buyers, and consequently stumble in the art of closing the sale.

The Hinge Research Institute conducts regular research on the professional services marketplace. For our most recent study, we set out to examine how successful providers cross the perception gap between buyers and sellers. In cooperation with RAIN Group, we studied over 1500 matched buyers and sellers and analyzed 42 factors that distinguish the sellers who ultimately close deals from the also-rans.

The top three factors that correlated with successful sales also predicted buyers’ satisfaction with the purchasing process and intent to continue buying services from the seller. You can think of these three factors as a checklist to meeting professional services buyers’ true expectations.

1. Educate me with new ideas or perspectives

Producing educational content for your audiences pulls a lot of marketing weight -- and it contributes to sales, too. Say you’re a small accounting firm that works primarily with small businesses. You might write an ongoing blog about news around small business taxes, along with longer free guides or ebooks on topics like deducting a home office.

This may feel an awful lot like giving away your knowledge for free. And that’s because it’s exactly what you’re doing. By educating your audience with substantial, useful, and search-optimized content, you raise your visibility online while simultaneously raising your credibility with potential buyers. This kind of content helps folks get to know you, so that buy the time you’re closing the sale, the client feels that they already understand both your firm and its capabilities.

2. Collaborate with me

Many sellers will tell you that buyers are looking for a “trusted partner,” but that’s one of those phrases that gets tossed around so often it becomes vague and not particularly useful.

At the beginning of a relationship between buyer and seller, as you’re closing the sale, buyers report that they want to see a willingness to collaborate. They want a problem-solving dynamism in the relationship. Conversely, they don’t want a my-way-or-the-highway attitude from a seller, with rigid offerings and little willingness to find a tailored, cooperative solution to the buyer’s problem. Work with clients to solve their problems -- or chart a path toward the solution -- in a way that leverages both your strengths and the buyer’s in unison, creating a new and unique capability set.

3. Persuade me that you will achieve results

If you’ve produced educational material, your buyer may have learned to see their problem in a new light, or seen how your firm thinks about similar problems. If you’ve shared your collaborative flexibility, the buyer has seen that you’re willing to work toward the right solution for them. Now, they’ll want to see that you can carry out that solution.

There a number of ways you can make this clear. Case studies and client referrals are two effective methods. More broadly, it’s important to cultivate your reputation for results. By refusing to overpromise in one engagement, no matter how tempting, you avoid the risk of tainting your reputation...and you better position yourself for winning the next engagement.

The art of closing the sale isn’t a matter of magical hard-sells -- in fact, it isn’t a matter of “saying the right thing” at all. Instead, it’s a matter of managing buyers’ perceptions of your firm. Your knowledge and credibility, your willingness to collaborate, and your reputation for follow-through -- when these attributes of your firm are visible to the world, you’ll find increasingly that buyers come looking for you.

To read the full results of the study, download a free copy of the new book Inside the Buyer’s Brain.

About the Author: Elizabeth Harr is a partner at Hinge, a marketing and branding firm for professional services. Elizabeth is an accomplished entrepreneur and experienced executive with a background in strategic planning, management, communications, and alliance development. She is the coauthor of How Buyers Buy: Technology Services Edition and Online Marketing for Professional Services: Technology Services Edition.

Marketing Automation Trends - Download the Report

Marketing automation is a hot topic as more B2B marketers are adopting the technology to generate more and better leads, improve marketing productivity, and increase conversion rates. But what are the current trends, challenges, and success factors for marketing automation?
Download the Marketing Automation Report
* Required

We conducted a comprehensive survey, leveraging the combined wisdom of over 50,000 B2B marketers in the B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn to get answers to questions like:

  • What are the biggest barriers to marketing automation adoption?
  • What marketing automation benefits do marketers expect?
  • How do marketers evaluate marketing automation vendors?
  • How do marketers measure ROI of investments in marketing automation?

We received over 900 survey responses and distilled the survey findings into an easy to digest, information-rich report - you can download it right here.

Enjoy the report!