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Dirty Data & Your Marketing

Customer and prospect data is the life’s blood of truly effective marketing.  As marketers we acknowledge this, but are we focused more on the size of our databases? Is size really what matters? Ok. It matters a little, but it may be that quality matters more. When your data is old, incomplete, inaccurate (aka dirty), marketing performance and ultimately sales suffer.  In fact, in a recent DemandGen Report, it’s not only sales and marketing that are impacted. Surveyed companies noted that Finance (30%) and customer relationships (54%) are also effected.

So how bad is our data? According to the DemandGen Report, more than 62% of companies rely on marketing data that is 20% to 40% incomplete or inaccurate. Almost 85% of the companies surveyed say they are operating CRM and sales databases that house between 10% and 40% bad records.

What is bad data, exactly? It can be as simple as an email address missing from a record that is otherwise current, duplicate records, incorrect contact information for a company that otherwise meets your ideal customer target… basically, it’s any data that impedes your ability to reach the contact from a marketing and sales perspective.

With 8 out of 10 companies that their lead generation efforts have been effected by bad data, what can you do to make sure that your company is not one of them?

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Top 10 Reasons Marketing People Like to Promote the Awards They Win

Ed Daly, Director Market Management and Pete Davis, Manager, Market Management, in our Cisco Services US Field Marketing Team recently encountered a marketing dilemma – a dilemma I’m sure most marketers can relate to. Fresh from winning a couple of prestigious awards, Pete and Ed wanted to tell the world, but were told by PR that awards are something that are not exactly “press release worthy”.  As we all do, when we’ve experienced rejection, Ed and Pete did a bit of soul searching on the need for marketers to promote awards. The result is this tongue-in-cheek post. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Oh – by-the-way, that’s Pete in the photo with the awards in question.

“We don’t do press releases for awards.”  “No one cares about awards except marketing people.”  “We don’t have enough budget.” Have you ever heard this from the PR team when you’ve won an industry award that you’re really proud of?  You want to shout from the nearest rooftop how cool it is, but you keep getting told no.  You’re not alone.  The Cisco Services marketing team won two IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) for the Accelerate services training and Smart Care partner enablement programs..

 The Smart Care program won the 2010 Gold Award for Marketing Excellence in the category of Developing and Launching New Offerings.  The Accelerate Services Training program won the 2010 Diamond Award for Marketing Excellence in the category of Enabling Sales. This is the first time that Cisco has scooped both a Diamond (first place) and Gold (second place) Award and only the second ever time that we have won a Diamond Award. 

 When we approached the PR team to publicize the win externally, we were given the standard answer, a double whammy in this instance “We don’t do press releases for awards, and no one but marketing cares about awards anyway”.  So we decided to do some soul searching to understand why we feel so compelled to boast about having won these awards…and why no one else seemed to get it.

 And here’s what we came up with.

Top 10 Reasons Why Marketing People Like to Promote Awards They Win:

10.  Standing in the middle of the office shouting “look at me, look at me” wasn’t going down very well.

9. You know, fake it till you make it.

8. Sales is where the rubber meets the road, but marketing is where the rubber meets the sky.

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Offline Marketing Becomes Online Marketing with QR Codes

Originally designed for tracking automotive parts for vehicle manufacturing, QR codes may very well be the next wave in B2B marketing. Funny how technology can sometimes transcend its original purpose…

Although, we, here in the US, may be a bit slower to adopt QR codes,than the rest of the world, it seems QR codes are poised to make it to the mainstream in the near future. Then, it’s only a matter a time before they become a staple in every B2B marketers arsenal.  Here’s a few points to back that up:

  • According to the International Telecommunications Union, there are 2.5 times more mobile phone users than people connected to the Internet. 
  • Smartphone manufacturers are pre-installing QR code readers on their phones. This already includes Android, Nokia and some Blackberry phones.
  •  QR codes are already making creative appearances in music videos – see Kylie Minogue’s “All the Lover’s” video, NHL marketing – see the Detroit Red Wings’ interactive game program, and most notably the giant QR codes in Times Square earlier this year promoting Internet Week 2010.

So, how do we capture the power of the QR code for B2B? Here are a few thoughts on how QR codes can bridge the gap between your offline and online marketing: Read More »

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Cisco Accelerate! Webinar – Follow Up Q & A with Ardath Albee – Part 2

Cisco Accelerate! Program

This is Part 2 of our Q & A follow up to the Cisco Accelerate! webinar, “Content is Marketing Currency” with Ardath Albee. Read on to discover more great ideas from Ardath on how to get started with content marketing. We hope this additional information is valuable to you. Didn’t get a chance to read Part 1 of this Q & A, check it out here. You may also want to read Ardath’s recent guest post on this blog, You Need to Know What You Don’t Know About Your Prospects. If you have additional questions, please feel free to post them to the comments section.

Q. What tools do you recommend to measure the effectiveness of emarketing and digital marketing as a whole?

AA: The best tool, in my opinion, is marketing automation integrated with CRM. If cost is an issue, consider that there are two companies offering free versions of marketing automation that can get you started and help you prove value. Loopfuse is one and is the other. The limitation is in the number of contacts and emails, but you could choose one target audience and test the waters with a full nurturing program to determine the value to your company. The best part is that there’s no time limitation on either of these free versions. You can upgrade to a full version once you’ve proven contribution to revenues.

 Barring the use of marketing automation, there are various analytics programs available, like Google Analytics – which is also free and only requires a snip of code be placed on your website or blog. Another is Active Conversion, which can get you closer to individualized metrics – they have a free trial and start as low as $299 per month.

Q. Is there any B2B company that you believe has successfully executed a content marketing strategy with measurable success?   

AA: Yes, absolutely. The easiest way to see this for yourself is to look at the marketing automation companies. 

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Cisco Accelerate! Webinar – Follow Up Q & A with Ardath Albee – Part 1

Cisco Accelerate! Marketing Enablement For PartnersOn August 19th, Cisco hosted our first Accelerate! webinar, “Content is Marketing Currency” with Ardath Albee. Accelerate! is our new marketing enablement program for our partners in the US and Canada and Ardath Albee is a B2B content strategist and CEO of her firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. We had so many great questions from partners during the webinar, we could not address them all. To make sure our partners receive maximum value from the webinar, Ardath graciously agreed to answer the questions in written format. In fact, her answers are so detailed that we have to split this information into two sections. Read on for Part 1 of our follow up Q & A with Ardath Albee. Part 2 will be posted later this week.


Q. How do you overcome the challenge of encouraging people to share information, because often they feel like they are giving away valuable information for free?

 AA: Today’s digital, self-education world is driven by information. If you don’t share information your prospects find valuable, they’ll find it elsewhere—leaving you out of the conversation. In the IT marketplace, you have an advantage. It’s not likely that your prospects can implement technology in the best way to help them achieve business objectives without the help of a partner/vendor. That’s you.

 Instead of thinking about the sharing of information as giving something away for free, think about it in these ways:

  • By exposing the complexity of the problem and its solution, you prove you’re an expert that will bring value beyond the product or solution you’re selling.
  • By exposing the complexity of the problem and sharing best practices and information that helps them understand that complexity, they realize that they cannot solve the problem by themselves in the most efficient of effective way.
  • You’re not publishing how-to guides that teach your prospects how to do what you do, you’re showing them how to think about solving the problem and what they need (your company) to get the outcomes they want.
  • Selling is a confidence game. Use the information you share to help your prospects build the confidence they need to make a buying decision because you’ve helped them to mitigate the perceived risk of taking on change.
  • The content you share is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. There’s much more where that came from. So what you’re trying to do is get them interested enough to choose you to get beneath the surface issues.

Q. Do you have any good tips on how to drudge up good content? Any thoughts on how to come-up with those great content ideas? ­

AA: I monitor what’s going on in specific markets like crazy to find out what’s appealing and what’s not catching on. Tools you can use include Google Alerts, LinkedIn Groups, Twitter hash tags, industry portals (IT Business Edge, InfoWorld, etc.), industry blogs, and more.

What I’m looking for are core ideas that I can build content around based on the expertise of the client I’m working for. There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank page with a cursor blinking.

But, you also have great resources within your own company. Consider the following:

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