Marketing Driven Revenue
In the last 5 years, the definition of success for a marketing organization has changed. Back in 2014, success was defined by the amount of leads the team delivered. In 2018, all we talk about is marketing's direct impact on the revenue of a business. As the landscape of how, where and when buyers consume information changes, so does the relationship between the teams responsible for their impact on overall business revenue. With more information available at a buyer’s fingertips, over 70% of the purchase decision process is complete before a potential buyer engages with a sales person. Specifically, in long sales cycles, marketing can look a lot more like sales enablement, delivering digital information long after a sales person begins engaging with a prospect or opportunity. Because of this change, along with the rapid advancement of technology and the increased availability of data, the systems and processes marketing teams utilize in order to better connect with potential buyers have expanded, evolved and become more technically complicated.
Defining Marketing Technology Success
For many marketers, the challenge has been how to wade through the massive amount of technology being marketed to us. B2B marketers know how to define a customer journey and buyer personas. We know how to align that journey to a messaging strategy and what an acquisition funnel looks like. The missing link has really been: when will the technology catch up, and how does that change the way in which we architect the customer journey and messaging framework? How does it change the way in which we define a buyer persona? Ad Tech platforms are saying a lot with infographics and buzz phrases, but what is actually important when attempting to build a comprehensive, revenue generating, content distribution system? How can such a system be constructed to convince media teams to stop talking about impressions, clicks and click-through rates and empower them to have the business impact conversations they should be having? The days of the broad, dated "media mixes" are dying — no amount of publisher direct buys or page takeovers can save them — and rising from their ashes are comprehensive, revenue-generating ad-tech stacks.
About a year and a half ago, out of frustration, we started compiling criteria we could use as a "media" team to change the conversation and the process we engage in both internally and with our clients. Since creatives and strategists are so smart, we wanted to build a system equally as smart that could prove or disprove strategic findings in the market, without needing to continually dismantle the ad delivery system and start over. We wanted to build something to digitize and make actionable everything in a demand framework that was strategized, and use the ad tech system to test the persona, audience, messaging strategy and creative.
The Next Advertising Buzzword
Account Based Marketing? People Based Marketing? Everything Based Marketing? Whatever you want to call it, all B2B companies are having the same problem when it comes to connecting with their target market.
- How do you identify businesses that fit within your ideal customer profile?
- How do you reach individuals within those businesses who fit your target persona and get them to engage with you without wasting your entire budget on the wrong people in the organization?
- Once individuals have become identified leads, how do you re-engage them with the right content at the right time to accelerate them through the funnel?
- Finally, and most importantly, how do you measure and deliver all of this information to understand how much you have spent on each target, what accounts are engaging, and what content they’ve engaged with and be able to centralize all of this information seamlessly so that it can be actionable for sales teams to use in real time to close deals and generate revenue.
A top-down view of this ladder is: How does a unified Sales/Marketing organization maximize efficacy and generate the highest possible ROI for their company.
Do You Want To Make Money?
Everyone from startup marketers to enterprise-level advertisers is familiar with AdRoll. We have always been a fan of self-serve programmatic ad platforms, and when we heard the AdRoll team was investing in a B2B solution (RollWorks), we were excited to dig into a product that we knew would be approachable for the mid market. We were hoping to find something that would bring enterprise-level technology and integration down to earth for "Growth Phase" companies exploring solutions for gaining digital advantages within their respective industries. Compiling our knowledge (and in an attempt to get past the buzzwords), we narrowed down a list of technology evaluation criteria that we knew would help us find the best partner to solve the client pain points we had uncovered, and get to the ultimate goal of making them more profitable. They fell roughly into 5 categories:
- Does the partner have their own first party data that will allow for a reach advantage over other partners?
- Can we actually reach the targets? (Match Rates)
- How transparent is reporting?
- Account level reporting? How much money am I spending targeting each company?
- Individual Target level reporting? How much money am I spending on each nurture target?
- Placement Transparency? Where are my ads serving?
- Attribution? Conversions? Sophisticated on-page audience data capturing and segmentation?
- Dynamic Creative
- Can we scale our messages and personalize them to each company/persona?
- Through what channels can we extend a connection to our target audience?
- Web Display?
- Does the partner own the tech or are they white-labeling someone else's?
- Is there a two-way integration with Marketing Automation and/or CRM platforms?
- Look-a-Like Account Prospecting?
- What does this data model look like?
- Self-Serve Platform?
- Does the platform allow us to segment data and map the customer journey to target audiences?
- Is the cost approachable for the mid market?
- When you add in platform fees and markups does the CPA still make sense?
- What are the estimated CPMs and how do they compare?
- How transparent are fees?
The Dirty Deets
We eventually narrowed down all of the evaluated partners to 3 and then 1. There is obviously not a one-stop solution to becoming the Elon Musk of digital advertising. However, as in most industries, the road block for most companies comes in the form of under-utilizing technology for fear of disrupting the way things are currently done. In my experience, the people who are deep down in the middle of the problem are often the people who uncover solutions and create companies around those solutions. Those people are really good at understanding what the problem actually is because they live it every day. The people that make up the RollWorks team are those kind of problem-solving people.