Friday, February 25, 2011

Content is (still) king, and email is (still) a "really efficient" way to deliver it.

By Mark Helfen

At last weeks SDForum Marketing SIG meeting (February 14), speaker Daniel Greenberg presented examples of a carefully designed strategy for internet B2B sales. 

But given all of the technological sophistication available, the monitoring and distribution tools that can be used, a couple of older ideas are critical - content is still king, and email is still a "really efficient" way to deliver that content.

Greenberg is Chief Marketing Officer for Simply Hired. But his presentation discussed strategies he used when he worked (also the CMO) at TrialPay.

Simply Hired is a web aggregator that searches job listings on many web sites - a specialized search engine. This was not the focus of his presentation, and Greenberg gave only a brief overview of the site. The conclusion is that if you are looking for a new or different job you should check it out.

TrialPay's marketing strategy was the topic of the evening. TrialPay "helps online companies sell more by placing advertising around their transactions," and his task was to get more of this business at a minimum cost, with the least human intervention. From his perspective, marketing's budget is decided by how much revenue the marketing strategy delivers, which is a motivation for an effective plan.

Marketing is moving from an art to a science. The web has made things much more measurable, and new tools allow you to measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

But "you still need to be creative. You still need to get into the mind and the emotions of your prospect."

 His methodology is to first map out a blueprint, or funnel, that describes the path to acquiring customers. As you lead prospects through the funnel, analyze why and how many fall out at each stage. As prospects move along, gather more and more information about them, a process of "progressive profiling."

And how do you lead prospects along your funnel? By content, delivered by email. Content could be a white paper, a webinar, a video presentation or another path. But the content must be of "extreme value" to your prospect in his professional role, be highly relevant, and offer something really useful.

Marketing demonstrates creativity by brainstorming ideas to get at the heart of something that will interest your prospects. Meet with some members of your target market and "ask them what keeps them up at night, what are the pains that they are most concerned about addressing."

To get this content, the prospect must give up some information. The cost and time of supplying this information must match the value delivered and not be a barrier. Of course, you build up a profile by collecting information about your prospect over time.

Delivery is through email. Greenberg suggests using one of the email marketing systems that automate the process - "email on steroids." Examples include Constant Contact, Marketo, or his favorite, Eloqua.

The result is a sophisticated, mostly automated process, only touched on in this post. You can get more details looking at his presentation here.


Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant. He can be reached at:



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