A Digital and Social Media Solutions Company

BarnRaisers



8 guidelines for great data visualization (with examples) 0

Posted on August 17, 2014 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Data Visualization

  • 91% of marketing leaders believe successful brands use customer data to drive business decisions (source: BRITE/NYAMA)
  • 87% agree capturing and sharing the right data is important to effectively measuring ROI in their own company (BRITE/NYAMA)
  • 40%-60% annual growth increase is occurring in the volume of data available every year; in media intensive sectors and financial services, the increase is 120% (source: Fathom)

The facts indicate company leaders believe understanding data is a critical component to business growth. And more of it is coming at us in ever increasing rates.

Data visualization is the art and practice of gathering, analyzing, and graphically representing empirical information. More and better data visualization tools have come to market from software services like Tableau, Fusion Charts, Google Charts and Visual.ly to help better display data. So, there is no reason business leaders shouldn’t be able to fulfill their data dreams.

But it’s not the data. It’s what you do with it.

Software doesn’t find the insights in the data, people do. Before companies jump into  Big Data, they should be asking: Have we mastered the principles of little data?

To help, here are 8 guidelines for great data visualization.

  • BEGIN WITH BASIC DATA PRESENTED AS SIMPLY AS POSSIBLE: Great data visualization begins with measurements that are readily available, come from a reliable source and are easy to understand. For example, the line chart below for a coffee shop chain uses just profits by key beverage and time. But it shows very clearly what types of drinks are going to be the most profitable and when. It gives all the information the owner requires to order, promote and maximize revenue and profits.

Data visualization - line graph

  • CHOOSE AXISES THAT ADDRESS KEY STRATEGIC ISSUES: If you want data to provide answers, you have to set it up by addressing the right questions. How you choose and define your axises serves as a primary guide. The chart below plots software companies based on based on their “vision” and “ability to execute.” The axises address a key strategic issue that can provide answers like likely winner and losers based on positioning and competitive advantage. The company data is telling because the criteria is clear.

Data visualization - axis

  • PROVIDE A USABLE LEGEND: The definition of the legend plays an important role in motivating action. The data visualization below of expenditures per student for New York state schools offers a telling picture of where education monies are going, what are areas of greatest need and how they might be redistributed.

Data Visualization - Legent

  • ESTABLISH SEGMENTATION: If you want actionable insights from data, it helps to establish segments or groupings that create differentiation. The chart below shows the Top 100 Entrepreneurs, divided into three segments. From this chart, it’s clear that not all entrepreneurs are created equal. If you want to understand what makes great entrepreneurs, the data tells you to focus on the “Rocket Ship” segment and probe into what makes them tick.

Data visualization - rate of change

  • FACILITATE DISCERNMENT WHEN SHOWING A TIME SERIES OR GEOGRAPHY: When showing time or geography, incorporate colors, coding, history or forecasting to provide perspective or context that shows where things are headed. The “stacked graph” below on unemployment in the US by industry (time series) and the cost of chronic disease care (geography) show how how to display time series and geographic data, effectively.

Data Visualization - Stacked Chart

Data Visualization - Geography

  • IDENTIFY CLUSTERS: When looking at many variables, use clusters to show the data in ways that creates groupings that lead to conclusions. The Cluster Analysis below was created to identify the college basketball teams that were most likely to win the NCAA’s based on defense. As you can see, clustering the many variables that were examined helps to clearly show the teams that have the most potential.

Data Visualization - Cluster Analysis

  • TELL A STORY WITH THE DATA: Good data analysts are storytellers. Effective data visualization is often helped with text. Simple headlines or text boxes help explain what the data is saying and the actions that should be taken. This example below from Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, shows how data visualization might be presented to the C-Suite.

Data Visualization - Executive Dashboard

  • CREATE AN ACTIONABLE SCORECARD: The data dashboard your company creates should be based on Key Performance Indicators. KPIs  are one of the most over-used and little understood terms in business development and management. They are too often taken to mean any metric or data used to measure business performance.The role KPI’s play is much bigger and more important. In fact, KPI’s are one of the most important guideposts for any business. Every business should have them. Here’s one of the best definitions I’ve heard: KPI’s are an actionable scorecard that keeps your strategy on track. They enable you to manage, control and achieve desired business results. The KPI dashboard below for a call center is simply laid out, easy to understand for decision making and incorporate a little from each of the previous critical components.

KPI Dashboard

If your business needs help using data to make better decisions and ROI, consider BarnRaisers, because that’s what we do. Or, considering taking a Mini-MBA from the Rutgers Business School Executive Education where I teach Measurement and ROI.

Do these key components help you see how data visualization can help your business?

 

12 experts tell if Native Advertising is or isn’t here to stay 0

Posted on August 03, 2014 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Native Advertising

Native Advertising is not a new idea. Advertisers, publishers and marketers have created numerous offerings that blend branded advertising with editorial content. In the past, there have been media properties like advertorials and e-zines. They had their day in the sun and then faded into the sunset.

Is Native Advertising, like its predecessors? Or isn’t it?

Native advertising is a concept encompassing both an aspiration as well as a suite of ad products according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). This aspiration is advertisers and publishers aspire to deliver paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.

The suite of ad products is:

  • IN-FEED UNITS: Is in a publisher’s normal content well; is in story form to match the surrounding stories and allows for an individual to play, read, view or watch without leaving to a separate page.
  • SEARCH ADS: Present their content in a format and layout that is readily available to organic search engine results and links to a page like the organic results.
  • RECOMMENDATION WIDGET: Is a form of native advertising where an ad or paid content link is delivered via a “widget.” A common recommendation widget unit is integrated into the main well of the page, does not mimic the appearance of the editorial content feed, links to a page off the site.
  • PROMOTED LISTING: Is found on sites that typically do not have a traditional editorial content well, they are designed to fit seamlessly into the browsing experience, are presented to look identical to the products or services offered on a given site.
  • IN AD: Is placed outside of the editorial well, contains contextually relevant content within the ad, links to an offsite page, has been sold with a guaranteed placement so the agency knows exactly what content will surround it,
  • CUSTOM/CAN’T BE CONTAINED: There is no limit to the possibilities when an advertiser and publisher work together on custom units.  This group includes examples that don’t neatly fit into one of the above groups, or, as in the case of custom playlists, are too platform-specific to warrant their own category but need to be on a marketer’s radar as native advertising options.

The IAB is conducting a special E-course on Native Advertising in August. There will be three different courses; one on August 5, 12 and 19. I’m teaching this E-course.

But is Native Advertising going to stick around? 12 experts tell us if Native Advertising is or isn’t here to stay.

  1. What native advertising has done is take the old advertorial model and given it a big shake up… what we do now is create content that doesn’t necessarily talk about the brands, as this is not what connects with readers. – Inez Albert, APAC
  2. We believe native ads are quickly becoming the de facto ad format on mobile and increasingly moving into desktop. – Doug Anmuth, J.P. Morgan
  3. Native advertising is one of the most promising ways of engaging consumers with brands. A recent native advertising test by Hearst within Harper’s Bazaar produced a click-through rate of up to 1.5% compared to the industry average of 0.1% on traditional online banner ads. - Alex Attinger, Digitalbox
  4. Native ads can be effective if there is a solid strategy behind them and the ads are measured appropriately. With many large websites making a majority of their revenue from native ads, it looks as if they are here to stay. – Alison Blumer, Ine.
  5. Native Advertising is really advertising that is disguised within the context of editorial content, and studies have shown that consumers believe that such advertising is misleading. – Ari Brandt, MediaBrix
  6. With native advertising old things are new again, even if the “new” is evolving and developing at an incredible speed. – Kim Davis, Ripley PR
  7. Brands spend massive amounts of money on paid media. Instead of trying to convince an audience what the brand wants them to do, the advertiser should instead invest that same money in creating content the audience finds useful. – Sam Ford, Peppercom
  8. For native advertising to work and engage relevant users, advertisers must deliver valuable content that indeed deserves to match the form and function of a site. – Stefanie Mosca, MNI
  9. It has been found that the less an advertisement looks like an advertisement and the more it looks like an editorial, the more readers stop, look and read. – David Ogilvy
  10. Native advertising is a disruptive technique that is positioned to change the advertising business model. For content marketers, native advertising has unique implicatons. It opens up a method of content distribution many marketers have ignored, making it a potential key to getting more eyes on your content. – Mark Sherwin, Content Marketing Institute
  11. The basic rules make sense but where does native fit with muck-raking, awkward, scurrilous, investigative journalism? Native surely won’t want to be associated with highly controversial stories. – Raymond Snoddy OBE
  12. Brands will need to increase their budgets and plan better campaigns. Publishers will need to better integrate native ads so the ads do not interrupt the reader experience and are honest, ethical and transparent. Consumers will need to warm up to the new form of advertising which is meant to be helpful and engaging. - Danny Wong, Blank Label

Do you believe Native Advertising is or isn’t here to stay? Will you be attending the E-course on Native Advertising from the IAB?

6 case studies prove Social Selling ROI 0

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Show me the ROI

Social Selling  is the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, to answer questions and offer thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. It’s about discovering people who may eventually be interested in what you’re selling – then making yourself useful to them.

Last week, we published, 27 surprising facts about salespeople who are Social Selling. It was to give an overview of who’s doing Social Selling, how is being used and what are the results. This week, we’re telling some of the stories.

Case studies range from Fortune 500 companies to start ups. Size doesn’t matter. Steps to success always include:

  • Listening to social media for key topics that indicate an unmet need or pain point
  • Giving out relevant content or advice without worrying about getting something in return
  • Demonstrating the wherewithal to stay connected

Does Social Selling “Show me the money?” Here are 6 case studies that prove Social Selling ROI.

  • AT&T:  Put together a new sales team to re-build business relationships with a Fortune 100 company in Atlanta. They decided to take an entirely new approach that heavily favored building relationships through social media. They had to try something new.  Relationships with a key client had suffered in the past five years, creating strain and sales had dried up. With training from Mark Schaefer and support from our internal team, they began implementing a content strategy aimed at strategic “persons of interest” from the former customer. Inside of 18 months $47 million in brand new business was awarded to AT&T, directly attributable to social media outreach.
  • IBM: Traditional ways of finding B2B customers for hardware and software products – telemarketing and email – were not producing the same results when applied to selling web-based services such as cloud computing and data security. IBM launched a program called “intelligent listening” within social media to learn what conversations about cloud computing were going on, what trends and issues were being discussed, and what the hot-button topics in the field were for users. Sales reps could simply check an RSS feed, find some content that fit the context of any discussion they were seeing, and upload them to social media and also to their new individual rep profile pages within the IBM site. The result was 10 orders the first day, and orders for product during the quarter that were 4X higher than during the same time the year before.
  • INCONTACT: A call center software company, trained half their team to learn and engage with customers through Social Selling using LinkedIn and the marketing automation software, Eloqua. Within a year, the half of the team that was trained saw a  122% increase in revenue for those sales reps using LinkedIn; 157% increase in revenue for those sales reps using LinkedIn & Eloqua. Now the entire company is trained in Social Selling Here is a brief video to explain the story.

  • INDIUM:  Social Media in manufacturing is a rarity. Several of their engineers (17 or so, and 73 blogs.) write blog articles to share their expertise with customers, prospects and people who have questions about the technical applications related to solder. They shifted from traditional white papers to blog articles, supported by extensive measurements. Video is part of the mix too, to develop high value conversations, and this rolls over into trade show attendance. The video highlights key points for success and insights. SEO improved significantly. Leads increased significantly while trade-show costs  decreased 75%.
  • HUBSPOT: Focused social media on solving customers’ problems as a way to earn leads. For example, HubSpot is first to release guidebooks their target market needs to create success. When something changes in online marketing, HubSpot is there with a guide to manage the change. They share the best advice, fast and have earned a reputation as THE educational resource for the market they serve. They give knowledge and advice (content) away free and make sure it’s the very best stuff possible. This (now) famous software start-up exploded onto the scene in 2006. Two years later they hit $2.2 million in sales and $52 million 4 years later.
  • LOGMYCALLS: A call tracking service, practiced  a“150 Blog Posts in 50 Days” effort. “With a company our size, the commitment has to be significant in order to produce 3 unique and useful blog posts a day,” says Inbound Marketing Manager, McKay Allen. “After all, we also produce 2 original marketing webinars each week, monthly case studies, a variety of marketing White Papers, and some humorous and awesome marketing call tracking videos.” The result of this original and relevant content: An 400% increase in leads within 90 days.

Do these case studies prove the ROI of Social Selling to you? Could your organization benefit from Social Selling training?

27 surprising facts about salespeople who are Social Selling 0

Posted on July 20, 2014 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Social Selling

Social Selling is the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, to answer questions and offer thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.

Social selling is not hard selling. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s about discovering people who may eventually be interested in what you’re selling – then making yourself useful to them. For salespeople, especially in B2B industries, its purpose is to establish relevance to prospects rather than interrupt their daily lives with cold calls and sales pitches.

It’s not a buzzword. It’s a real way for generating revenue and results. Here are 27 facts about salespeople who are Social Selling.

  1. IBM saw an Increase of 400% in sales in a Social Selling Pilot Program (source: IBM)
  2. 98% of sales reps with 5000+ LinkedIn connections achieve quota (source: Sales Benchmark Index)
  3. 90% of C-suite executive say they never respond to cold calls or email blasts (source: Harvard Business Review)
  4. 89% of customers begin their buying process with a search engine (source: Fleishman-Hillard)
  5. 86% of IT buyers use social media in their purchase decision process (source: IDG Connect)
  6. 82% of B2B decision makers think sales reps are unprepared (source: SiriusDecisions)
  7. 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  8. 75% of customers say they use social media as part of the buying process (source: IBM)
  9. 75% of the sales people said they have not received formal training from their company on how to use social media (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  10. 74% of B2B marketing companies use Twitter to distribute content (source: Content Marketing Institute)
  11. 72.6% of salespeople using social media outperformed their sales peers (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  12. 61% of US marketers use social media for lead generation (source: IBM)
  13. 57% of the buying process is done before sales contact (source: Corporate Executive Board)
  14. 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media (source: MediaBistro)
  15. 54% who used social media tracked their social media usage back to at least one closed deal. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  16. 50.1% of sales people who report using social media state that they spend less than 10% of their selling time using social media (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  17. 50%-70% of the buying process happens before salespeople get involved (source: Forrester)
  18. 50% of identified sales leads are not ready to buy (source: Gleanster)
  19. 42% Follow or Like a friend or brand; 79% are motivated to do this in order to learn more about the brand (source: Fleishman-Hillard)
  20. Over 40% said they’ve closed between two and five deals as a result of social media. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  21. Social media users were 23% more successful than their non-social media peers. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  22. Today’s sales process takes 22% longer than 5 years ago (source: SiriusDecisions)
  23. 15% of non social media users missed quota 15% more often than their sales peers using social media (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  24. More than 10% of the respondents said; “Yes, It directly contributes to my closes.” (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  25. You are almost 5X more likely to schedule a first meeting if you have a personal LinkedIn connection (source: Sales Benchmark Series)
  26. Marketers spend an average of 4-6 hours a week on social media (source: Social Media Examiner)
  27. B2B marketers who use Twitter generate 2X as many leads as those that do not (source: Inside View)

If a picture helps explain some of these statistics, below is an infographic from Inside View.

Do these facts about sales people who are Social Selling surprise you? Does your company engage in Social Selling? Do you think your company could be getting better results?

Social Selling Infographic

30 hard facts on content marketing to drive ROI 0

Posted on July 06, 2014 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant, and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action.

How important is content marketing to profitably running a business?

The marketing decisions any company on the internet has to make is how to invest between “owned,” (a website, video, CRM system), “earned,” (communications that commented, liked and/or shared) and “paid” (ads – search, display, banner, native) properties. Anything a company can do is going to fit in one of these areas.

What sort of return should your company expect from content marketing investments in these areas? Here are 30 hard facts about the content marketing to drive ROI.

OWNED

  • 93% of B2B marketers report to using content marketing in their marketing mix (source: Custom Content Council)
  • 90% of consumers find custom content useful and 78% believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them. (Inbound Writer)
  • 86% of B2C marketers include content marketing in their marketing mix (source: Content Marketing Institute)
  • 81% create content for social media (source: Custom Content Council)
  • 73% of B2B organizations have a person dedicated to overseeing content marketing strategy (source: Content Marketing Institute)
  • 61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. (Custom Content Council)
  • 58% of B2B marketers are planning to increase their budgets on content marketing in the next 12 months (source: Content Marketing Institute)
  • 55% of B2B marketers are planning to increase their budgets on content marketing in the next year (source: Custom Content Marketing Institute)
  • 40-40% are expecting to increase their output for web updates, SEO content and social content next year (source: Custom Content Council)
  • 30% of B2B budgets are currently allocated to content marketing (source: Custom Content Council)
  • 28% of B2C budgets are currently allocated to content marketing (source: Custom Content Council)
  • 43.9 billion was spent on custom content spending on production and distribution last year (up 9.2% versus the previous year) (source: Custom Content Council)

EARNED

  • 97% of websites with blogs see more indexed pages on search engines (source: Content+)
  • 82% of consumers trust a company more when the CEO/leadership team are active social media users (source: TopRank)
  • 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI for their inbound marketing (source: HubSpot)
  • 70% of people want to learn about product through content rather than traditional advertising (source: Business Intelligence)
  • 67% more leads per month on average are generated by B2B companies that blog than non-blogging firms  (Social Media B2B)
  • 50% of buying decisions are made because of word of mouth (source: Content+)
  • Roughly 50% of marketers struggle with producing enough content, and producing content that engages (source: Content Marketing Institute)
  • 23% of all time online is spent on social media and blogs (source: Content Marketing Institute)
  • 10-20% of website content drives 90% of it’s web traffic; 0.5% of that content drives over 50% of traffic (source: Inbound Writer)
  • 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day (AOL)
  • Top 3 reasons people follow brands on social media are interesting content (Content+)
  • Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links (Content+)

PAID

  • 79% of marketers report that their organizations are shifting to branded content (source: Forrester)
  • 77% of business buyers prefer different content at various stages of the product research process (source: SalesForce)
  • 72% of Marketers think that branded content is more effective than magazine advertisements (source: Content Council)
  • 69% say it’s superior to direct mail and PR (source: Content Council)
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads (source: Business Marketing Insider)
  • 62% of companies outsource their content marketing. (Mashable)
  • three content marketing tactics that deliver the highest ROI are featured articles (cited by 62% of marketers), video (52%) and white papers (46%) (source: eMarketer)

To understand the anatomy of content marketing, below is an infographic from Content+.

Do these facts convince you content marketing could change your ROI?

 

  • About

    BarnRaisers is a full service digital marketing consultancy and agency. We build brands with proven relationship principles and ROI.



↑ Top