Marketing Metrics 101 for B2B Startups

I think people are finally coming around to the idea that good marketing requires good measurement.  I’ve seen online B2C startups use Dave McClure’s Startup Metrics for Pirates as a starting point for measuring what marketing is doing.  For those of us selling to businesses however, particularly where there is a sales team involved and a pipeline to track, the world is quite different and Dave’s metrics don’t cover everything you need to track. Here’s how I’d construct a basic set of marketing metrics for a B2B startup (and a single slide that I would use to present them): Think about the goals before you start The main goal of tracking marketing metrics is to get a measure of ROI or program effectiveness so you can make sure you are spending more and more on things that drive revenue and less and less on things that don’t. A good set of metrics will allow me to predict that if I spend $1 on a certain marketing tactic, I’m likely to get $X of revenue in Y days. A good set of metrics will also give you a feel for inside and outside sales effectiveness and overall sales pipeline velocity as well. Rocket watcher b2b marketing metrics View more presentations from April Dunford. 1. Pipeline Measurements # of Targets– sometimes referred to as “suspects” this is anyone in the universe who is on the receiving end of your marketing. Sometimes it is helpful to track the number of companies in your universe of targets in addition to the number of individuals, especially when you are targeting a niche and want...

Vertical Marketing 101

I had two conversations last week with CEO’s about marketing to a vertical segment (such as retail banking, healthcare, or manufacturing).  It got me thinking about my experiences doing vertical marketing and what did and didn’t work.  In my mind, great vertical marketing comes down to executing well in three areas – Messaging, Content and Sales Enablement.  Here are a few tips: 1/ Messaging – Taking a horizontal product and putting a light coat of vertical paint on it is rarely effective because customers won’t find it credible. The best products for a specific segment were designed from the ground up for those segments.  That said, in my experience it IS possible to take what is essentially a horizontal product and market it to a vertical successfully if you are prepared to go very deep into specifics of how the product addresses the unique needs of the market.   If you value statements are things like “lower costs” and “ease of use” you aren’t there yet.  If you start getting into things like how your product can help companies be compliant with their industry regulations (such as HIPAA for healthcare in the United States, Basel II/III for banking in Europe, FERC regulations for energy companies in the U.S., etc.), how your product can deal with a particular problem common to the industry (such as managing a large number of part time employees in retail apparel or reducing carried inventory for manufacturing), you are getting closer.  Not only do you have to illustrate this in your messaging, you will need to prove your deep understanding of the segment in your...

Can B2B Products be “Social Objects”?

A couple of weeks back I attended MeshMarketing and Hugh MacLeod of Gapingvoid was the keynote speaker.  In his talk he discussed “social objects”.  By his definition a “social object” can be a thing a person or an idea that people talk about.  Hugh talked about working at an ad agency where customers would ask them to get people talking about products like it was as easy thing to do.  His comment was (I’m paraphrasing) “Getting people talking is magic!  They were asking us to perform magic but their perception was that we were just pulling a lever.”  His described how people talk about things they are passionate about and how creating that passion in customers is about more than mere features and functions. “It’s not about features or what you build, that’s important,” he re-iterated “it’s about how people talk about what you produce that matters.” This isn’t a new concept for traditional marketers.  One of the folks on the panel I moderated (Barry Quinn from Juniper Park) gave the example of car companies sponsoring Formula 1 racing as a way to get people socializing around a brand.  However, that thinking has historically come after the product is delivered.  After it’s released, traditionally companies just had to pay the ad agency to pull the “make people talk about it” lever. I’ve seen some products coming to market where the social aspects are a key design point, particularly on the B2C side but I haven’t seen much evidence of that type of thinking in B2B.  Rypple (case study here) is a great example.  But frankly, for B2B, those products...