Richard Fouts

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Richard Fouts
Research Vice President
2 years at Gartner
23 years IT industry

Richard Fouts guides digital marketers on best practices for evaluating and deploying emerging digital marketing techniques to ensure marketers make fully informed decisions about their marketing investments. With extensive experience in brand management and marketing communications ... Read Full Bio

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Three Investments B2B Marketers Should Consider Right Now

by Richard Fouts  |  February 14, 2013  |  5 Comments

Marketing investments that throw a positive jolt to other areas are particularly interesting.  And they often surprise even the most savvy veterans.

Let’s start with retention. You’ve heard the statistics. A 2% increase in retention can create the equivalent of a 10% reduction in costs. Some studies show a 5% increase in retention improves profitability by 25 to 100%. But what marketers often forget: retained, happy customers, especially those willing to advocate, become a cost effective resource for new customer acquisition.

One senior marketer I spoke with about this observation said, “Once we achieved improvement in retention, through some focused investments on keeping the customers we already have, we began mobilizing them into our advocacy marketing program. Six months later we saw a 30% increase in new customer acquisition.”  

Inside sales, outside sales. Marketers that turn up investments in areas such as SEO, SEM, and social marketing inevitably see an uptick in web site visitors – who download white papers, watch webinars, pick up data sheets; even review pricing information. Many are considered qualified to buy, because they align with the marketer’s firmographics (or segmentation model). But -  in cases where the project is not yet budgeted, these leads require further nurturing, best conducted by an inside sales team. Once these leads reach a high enough score, they are turned over to a salesperson, who is delighted to add a highly qualified prospect to his or her sales funnel. The result? A more appropriate, and more cost effective treatment of leads – and a higher producing outside sales team.

Organizations that follow this model, also known as Revenue Performance Management (RPM) find they can increase the quotas of outside sales people due thanks to inside sales nurturing.

Inbound, outbound. In our survey of digital marketers last year, nearly a third of those in the most mature state strongly agreed that their inbound marketing programs were generating more qualified leads than their outbound programs. They also noted the lower cost of Inbound leads. But outbound marketing is hardly over. Often there’s no faster way to build awareness than a paid media campaign, even if it does behave in a more traditional in-your-face, interrupt style fashion. But these marketers also tell me that these inbound  inquires are being driven to landing pages, white papers, webinars and other assets that were initially designed for outbound programs.

Hence, inbound investments improve the ROI of assets that were initially developed for outbound.

Are you witnessing similar observations in your own marketing? What other types of marketing investments  echo the natural synergy between retention and acquisition, inside and outside sales, or inbound and outbound marketing?   

 

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