91% of marketing leaders believe successful brands use customer data to drive business decisions (source: BRITE/NYAMA)
90% of the world’s total data has been created just within the past two years (source: IBM)
87% agree capturing and sharing the right data is important to effectively measuring ROI in their own company (BRITE/NYAMA)
These facts say loud and clear companies believe data helps them make better business decisions.
Big Data is a broad term for data that comes from places like web browsers, social networks, census, surveillance and sensors. It’s stored in computer clouds, and searched for patterns, predictive analytics and insights.
According to IDS, in the next 12-18 months, organizations plan to invest in skill sets necessary for big data deployments, including data scientists (27%), data architects (24%), data analysts (24%), data visualizers (23%), research analysts (21%), and business analysts (21%).
But is bigger better?
Here are 10 data experts who explain why little data is the new big data.
“What we track determines where we focus and what we are motivated to improve. Why do people obsess over LinkedIn Connections or Twitter followers? SAT scores, golf handicaps, or even gas mileage? Because they are observable metrics that are easy to compare. Before you obsess over a particular metric, make sure it’s the right metric to obsess over.” – Johan Berger
“How to beat the big data giant? Start by thinking little data, as in David vs. Goliath. The first step in the little data process is to identify key business objectives that your organization would like to have data solve. Make big decisions and eliminate the need to capture and manage the irrelevant data within the 2.4 quintillion bits of digital data generated each day from the big data stream.” – Gary Drenik, Forbes
“Size in itself doesn’t matter – what matters is having the data, of whatever size, that helps us solve a problem or address the question we have. For many problems and questions, small data in itself is enough. The data on household energy use, the times of local buses, government spending – these are all small data.” – Rufus Pollock, Open Knowledge Foundation
“Corporate decision-makers often would be better served if they rely on tried-and-true tools and systems from the world of Little Data, rather than illusions from Big Data. Sampling theory teaches that if the sample is random, one can measure the behavior or mood of the whole by talking to very few people. A sample of 1,500 is sufficient to predict who will win a presidential election. A sample of 200-300 respondents is generally sufficient to predict how much the whole population will like a new product or service.” – Jerry W. Thomas, Decision Analyst
“Big Data is what organizations know about people — be they customers, citizens, employees, or voters. Data is aggregated from a large number of sources. Little Data is what we know about ourselves. What we buy. Who we know. Where we go. How we spend our time. Without Little Data, Big Data has a tendency to become Big Brother. We’ve all experienced that unsettling feeling when ads follow us on the web.” – Mark Bronchek, Harvard Business Review
“Log daily. Reflect quarterly. Plan yearly. This simple model can provide the data and structure you need to take control. Your yearly reflection will provide you the insight needed to make clear, data-driven decisions.” – John Caddell, author The Mistake Bank
“Big data’s little brother is ‘small data’ or traditional KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that help to measure success in companies. Any data, and in particular ‘big data’, only becomes meaningful and relevant in the context of the business success, measured by KPIs.” – Bernard Marr, Advanced Performance Institute
“Little data constitutes the nuts and bolts metrics of running a business. For a Web property, that means getting a handle on issues such as the bounce rate, SEO session starts, social session starts, funnels of how users flow through a property, and page views per session. Too many people lose sight of these simple but critical metrics.” – Peter Varad, Cnet
“So if you’re wondering whether to use big or little data, fuhgetaboutit. Instead you should be wondering whether your company is good at using data period. If it isn’t, then that’s the battle you should fight.” – Pam Baker, Fierce Big Data
1,500 stories are waiting to be seen every time a person visits their Facebook News Feed according to Facebook.
Facebook also says their algorithm prioritizes them to users so they see what they’re most likely to be interested. Do they?
For these 15 brands, the right ad was served to the right person at the right time.
But much of the credit belongs to the brands who are featured. They set measured investments, tested a variety of Facebook ad properties and used the media channel to engage and interact with their Fan base. From strategies that had a specific plan and purpose, they saw a return that exceeded expectations.
Here are 15 case studies that prove the ROI of Facebook ads.
1-800-FLOWERS: Began to use its Facebook page during the Valentine’s Day season to extend its social community and help consumers pick and purchase flowers with ease. The flower company used Facebook ads to give fans 15% their purchase and 50 Facebook Credits to be used on Facebook Games. They implemented Shared Stories that allowed friends of consumers see what they were buying. 4,000 transaction are directly attributable to the effort and Likes doubled to 120,000+.
ANA (ALL NIPON AIRWAYS): used a creative grouping of keywords to target advertising to users specifically interested in traveling and Japanese culture and developed ad creative that resonated with their audience. Facebook ads resulted in a 25% CTR. Conversion resulted in positive ROI which is unique for ANA considering their product is not an impulse purchase for most people and Japan is not traditionally seen as a leisure destination.
ARIA RESORT AND CASINO: decided to make its Facebook Page, where it has more than 200,000 fans, the hub of its campaign. ARIA ran a Facebook Offer that included a $110 resort credit plus VIP passes to its Haze nightclub, available to all customers who booked two nights on select dates. ARIA used Premium Facebook Ads and sponsored stories driving to its booking site featuring the promotion. ARIA saw more than 1,500 room nights booked for a nearly 5X ROI.
ARTLOG: A social platform allowed people to connect with the international art scene. The company decided to use Facebook Ads to promote events and sell tickets to art events like exhibitions, tours, and discussions. For $75 Artlog spent on Facebook, it saw $200 in ticket sales
BASEBALL ROSE: Offered artificial roses made from real baseballs and softballs. They spent $200.00 to grow their fan base, and made $1,000 in Facebook revenue from that investment.
BOOKIT.COM: A private booking company for vacations wanted to grow its connections to its Facebook page and engage more with its existing fans. The company promoted a giveaway called “Trip a Day in May Giveaway” where it gave away a free trip each day during the month of May. It also targeted friends of fans and used Sponsored Stories to get more connections. There was a 30% month over month revenue increase in June and a 1400% increase in revenue for the quarter.
CANVAS PEOPLE: wanted to drive brand recognition and establish a presence on Facebook to: 1) Increase fan engagement to build a dedicated Facebook community and 2) drive Facebook fans to purchase directly from
CIL: A Canadian paint company, created a Facebook app and invited people to create more ‘manly’ paint colour names. Notable examples include ‘beer foam'; ‘razor burn'; ‘hockey puck'; and ‘pansy violet’. Over a 45-day period and on a small budget, the campaign generated well over $1,000,000 in earned media exposure, 100 million online impressions and most importantly, a 10% increase in sales.
GRAVITY DEFYER: A shoe retailer, used Facebook ads, promoted and boosted to directly talk to customers and make sure any customer service issues are addressed through the channel. The opportunity for direct response and customer interaction doubled revenue attribution from Facebook in the past 10 months and drove one-fourth of its overall website traffic from Facebook. As a result from their efforts on Facebook, the team saw an average ROI of 450%, with campaigns ranging from 300% to 600% ROI.
HUBSPOT: The all-in-one marketing software platform wanted to promote its brand in a 3-month campaign as a thought leader in the B2B field on Facebook to: 1) Lead fans to its Page and ultimately engage them with other content and 2) drive customer engagement and generate more leads. HubSpot saw a 71% sales increase coming from Facebook and a 15% increase in ROI.
LUXURY LINK: Ran Facebook Ads that offered travel packages for people interested in upscale getaways. They marketed a live chat with a Caribbean travel expert. The ads were targeted at married people interested in Chanel, Fendi official Page, Prada and Starbucks. Here is a sample of the ad copy used: “Get 65% offa luxury vacation. Book your dream getaway today!” 100% increase in sales for travel packages coming from Facebook
NILA WAFERS: showed sales increase of +9% in test market locations among consumers who saw Facebook ads versus a control group of consumers over the course of a five-month campaign. The Facebook ad campaign for Nilla Wafers also was able to reach 11.3 million households through 190 million total impressions (16.8 impressions per household).
ROSEWOOD KENNEL: Breed German Shepherds. They spent just $30.00 growing their fan base before they sold their first puppy. Each puppy goes for $1,350. They saw a 4400% ROI
TOUGH MUDDLER: The 12-mile obstacle course events company wanted to use Facebook to spread the word about its series of obstacle course challenges that take place in different cities around the world. They saw a 24X increase in sales in just two years, with Facebook being the primary advertising and engagement channel for the company; a 5-10X return on advertising spend on Facebook and a 5-8X higher click-through rate (CTR) for ads in news feed vs. traditional ad displays.
VAMPLETS: A small business that makes baby vampire dolls introduced Facebook ads as a new channel for driving revenue. Despite a fairly small Facebook ad budget of $250 per month, they’re generating an additional $1,000 in revenue, directly tracked to the ads themselves. This gives them a positive ROI of 300% and shows how cost-effective Facebook ads can be, particularly when you’re going out to a more unique or targeted audience.
Does your business use Facebook ads? Do you have a strategy and plan for them? Do these case studies convince you of the ROI that’s possible if you do?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable measurements, agreed to beforehand, that reflect the critical success factors of an organization. They differ depending on the type of business, but, for any business, they are the actionable scorecard that keeps their strategy on track as this video from Erica Olsen of OnStrategy shows
KPIs are metrics tied to a target. For B2B marketers, KPIs should be the five or six most important metrics that measure the success of their strategy to increase and accelerate commerce transactions between businesses.
More often, these days, that strategy involves digital marketing and tactics like website optimization, search engine marketing, content marketing, email marketing, webinars, videos, ebooks, podcasts, social media and social selling.
What KPIs should B2B Marketers consider to keep their strategy on track? Here are 17 essential KPIs for B2B marketers,
SALES REVENUE: A KPI scorecard start with the primary measurement that determines success. Sales revenue is often considered #1. It may be obvious but it also shows offline and critical business requirements are integral to any KPI scorecard.
PROFITS: But not all B2B customers are equal. Some may generate strong sales revenue but also involve a lot of costs to maintain. That’s why, to some B2B businesses, sales revenue is important, but profits are more important because they provide a stronger measure on the health and viability of the business.
WEBSITE VISITS (SESSIONS): A visit is one individual visitor who arrives at a web site and proceeds to browse. A visit counts all visitors, no matter how many times the same visitor may have been to the site.
WEBSITE UNIQUE VISITORS (USERS): A unique visit tells which visits from previous item are visiting the site for the first time. The website can track this as unique by the IP address of the computer.
MOBILE VS. DESKTOP VISITS: According to Marketing Land, mobile devices are responsible for 30% of website visits and 15% of online orders. And growing. So understanding what devices prospect use to access a website and the experience they have on a mobile device is now important.
BOUNCE RATE: The percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page). Bounce Rates are considered a measure of a website’s relevance because, in most cases, if a website is relevant, visitors will view more than a single page.
SALES LEADS: The identification of a person or entity that has the interest, authority and budget to be a customer. From a measurement standpoint, this might be determined by someone who subscribes to a newsletter, downloads an ebooks or attends a webinar. Or the total of people who do these and other related activities.
QUALIFIED LEADS: Like profits may be more important to some businesses than sales; qualified leads are more important than leads. A qualified lead with need, budget and buying authority; who meets the customer profile or Buyer Persona and has a buying horizon that falls within your business plan. The criteria for a qualified lead is often debated withing B2B companies. That’s why making “Qualified Leads” a KPI is productive because the definitaion of the KPIs have to be agreed-to before it can be measured.
COST PER ACQUISITION (CPA): How much is it costing you to acquire each lead? How many leads are generated by each one of your marketing efforts, and what’s the value of those leads? Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is a metric that helps connect the value of marketing with results. It help determine if there is Return on Investment (ROI) for the initiatives being undertaken.
TRAFFIC SOURCES: People like to do business with people they know. If marketing effort generNow that you know CPA in general.
COST PER CLICK (CPC): If paid advertising is used, CPC is the actual price paid for each click, Cost-per click is important because it: 1) quantifies how much has to be invested to generate interest, 2) can often be tracked to a specific keyword and ad that generated the click and 3) can be changed up or down to optimize results relative to investments.
CLICK THROUGH RATE (CTR): The number of clicks an ad receives divided by the number of times the ad is shown expressed as a percentage (clicks ÷ impressions = CTR). A good click though rate depends on various factors such as channel (Paid search, Display, Facebook) and position. But good click rates usually begin in the range of 1% to 3%.
CONVERSION RATE: The percentage of users who take a desired action is the conversion rate. The desired action can take many forms, varying from site to site. Examples include sales of products, membership registrations, newsletter subscriptions, software downloads, or just about any activity beyond simple
page browsing. Conversion rate is one of the most important metrics in digital marketing and, in marketing, essential to determining return on investment (ROI)
MACRO CONVERSIONS: Because conversion rate is so important, a number of conversion activities might be tracked to understand the buying process. A macro conversion the primary conversion on a website, for example a completed online order or a completed lead generation form.
MICRO CONVERSIONS: Smaller engagements such as a newsletter sign up or a user watching a product video and micro conversion. Taken together, macro and micro conversions enable an understanding of a customer’s buying process.
CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE (CLV): The dollar value of a customer relationship, based on the present value of the projected future cash flow from the customer relationship. The value of knowing CLV is that it is is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI): A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. ROI is the measurement that reveals how well a business is being managed. ROI is a calculation. Here are most often used calculations.
If you are a B2B marketer, do these KPIs provide the actionable scorecard to keep your business on track? Is there anything that is left out? Or you would want to consider?
90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual (source: Unbounce)
65% of the population are visual learners (source: Unbounce)
In the last 2 years, search volume for “infographic” and “infographics” has increased by 800% (source: Google Trends (chart above))
Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.
Infographics have been around for many years. In newspapers, infographics are commonly used to show the weather, as well as maps, site plans, and graphs for statistical data. Modern maps, especially route maps for transit systems, use infographic techniques to integrate a variety of information.
The increase in the number of easy-to-use digital tools has made the creation of infographics widely available to everyone. Social media sites allow for individual infographics to be shared and spread around the world.
Here are 15 B2B case studies. They show how content marketing drives ROI with B2B businesses who:
Know their audience
Don’t create content for the sake of creating content
Use specific content solutions to impact different stages of the buying cycle
Integrate internally with their teams
ADP: Developed a content marketing campaign to connect and engage with their target audience on a ADP solution using white papers and a diagnostic assessment tool. The campaign generated over $1 million in new sales opportunities with several deals closed within the first 3 months of launch.
CISCO: Has long been engaged in social media activity, often running campaigns alongside its ongoing engagement strategy. To demonstrate the extent to which this has impacted the company, it launched a new router using only social channels and saved an estimated $100,000.
CROWE HORWATH: the public accounting firm used 48 pieces of content in 4 different topic areas, this campaign targeted C-level prospects in financial institutions with $1 billion or more in assets across the buying cycle. Content tactics included: executive briefs, case studies, infographics, checklists, Q and A, and Brainshark video. 778 contacts were engaged with a 70% open rate (vs. 10%), 2 engagement worth $250k in revenue.
DEMANDBASE: A B2B marketing cloud, helped B2B marketers make the right content technology investment by using a white paper, infographic, webinar, Slideshare and a live presentation to spotlight tools that can maximize the power of content. The results of the campaign generated 1,700 leads, 125 webinar participants, 5,000 views on Slideshare and $1 million in new business.
FISHER TANK: Makes giant, above-ground welded steel tanks. With clients in the fuel industries, waste water, pulp & paper and other industrial and municipal areas, projects tend to be big (multi-million dollar) and take a long time to sell (12 months and longer). For more than 60 years, the company has made its sales primarily through cold calling and referrals from existing clients. So it took some moxy to launch a content marketing strategy online. The plan including sprucing up the website, integrating a blog and social sharing, and offering some valuable content by free download. The campaign increased web traffic by 119%, traffic from social media by 4800%, lead conversions by 3900%, quote requests by 500% and new qualified sales opportunities by $3.4 million.
IBM:developed a social sales program for their inside sales team. They identified their target audience and monitored social media platforms for relevant topics and conversation. The company trained their sales team to nurture online relationships and drive prospects to team members’ websites. As a result of this focus on social sales and personnel training, IBM saw a 400% in sales.
LINKEDIN: Had to be converted to social selling. After the release of tools such as Sales Navigator and TeamLink, LinkedIn’s own sales team began seeing significant results. Ralf VonSosen, the company’s head of marketing for sales solutions notes, “We started seeing a 50% increase in leads to meeting conversion rates.”
LOGICALL: A company that focuses on inbound and outbound customer management solutions, uses content assets such as emails, microsite and ebook, Logicalis developed a thought leadership effort that supported sales teams by enabling custom messaging based on the prospects interaction with the campaign. With a target audience of about 2,000, nearly $8 million in new pipeline business was closed.
MAERSK: Danish shipping company Maersk first began using social back in 2011 to raise brand awareness, gain insight into the market, increase employee satisfaction and get closer to its customers, It focuses on the stories that emerge from within the business, such as how it is helping fuel a boom in the sale of Kenyan avocados and where its staff come from. Its presence on each network is tailored to that platform, so for example on LinkedIn it promotes job vacancies and publishes articles about the work culture within the business, while on Instagram it encourages followers to post photos of its ships using the hashtag #Maersk. Maersk now has more than 1.5m Facebook fans (of which around 15% are customers) and 12,000 Twitter followers, as well as active accounts on Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Google+ and
OPENTEXT: A software solution for enterprise information management, created a personalized new customer onboarding site offering a variety of assets (white papers, checklists, product pages, ebooks, case studies) and content to welcome new clients and provide upsell, cross-sell opportunities. The campaign also included a two phase nurturing program. 1,700 new contacts were identified along with 31 new opportunities worth $1.8 million.
OPTUM: A health services business, created an integrated marketing campaign to support the launch of a new solution, support sales and build thought leadership. The content marketing mix included: advertorials, display ads, email, direct mail and a campaign website. The successful campaign earned a 23.5 lead to conversion rate, 475% increase in website traffic, 2,500+ resource downloads, 28% increase in YoY blog followers and $52 million in contract value of new business with less than $ 1,000,000 invested.
RS COMPONENTS: The electronic product distribution company created a specific social hub, spanning four different languages, having the purpose of being a collaboration and engagement hub for Electronic Design Engineering. One of the centrepieces of the site is the free tool store, which includes a free design tool that’s been downloaded more than 60,000 times and the site itself gathered more than 45,000 members within its first 12-month period.
SAP: The global strategy was aimed at enabling cross-cultural information to be efficiently shared around the company. SAP Latin AmericaOne year after implementing this strategy SAP Latin America had more than 100,000 fans and followers (an increase of 900%) and achieved a 17% interaction rate across the region, while a campaign featuring a social app targeting specific buying centers drove more than 12,000 visitors and a 15% engagement rate. has four Facebook pages, four Twitter feeds and two LinkedIn accounts. These profiles are split out by language (e.g. Portuguese and Spanish) rather than country and aim at achieving a split of 20% promotion material vs. 80% of interesting, engaging content for its community.
SHIPSERV: It’s difficult to imagine the maritime industry getting to grips with social media, but Shipserv one of the leading industry marketplaces, proves that in can be done very successfully.As part of a wider marketing strategy and customer engagement strategy, various social approaches were taken, resulting in greater site traffic, alongside increased brand awareness and lead opportunities.From an initial $30,000 social media marketing investment, it’s estimated the overall results achieved would have cost more than $150,000 through traditional media.
XEROX: Created a targeted “Get Optimistic” campaign to connect with 30 top accounts and partnered with Forbes to create a magazine that offered relevant business tips. 70% of targeted companies interacted with the microsite, readership increased 300-400% over previous email campaigns, added 20,000 new contacts, generated 1,000+ scheduled appointments, and get this: yielded $1.3 BILLION in pipeline revenue.
Do these case studies convince you of the value for content marketing for B2B businesses. Do the trends below help you with direction with your business? Does your B2B business need to learn how to use content marketing effectively?