Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Levaraging Social Media Tools for Marketing

Leveraging Social Media Tools for Marketing is a trend that has continued to blow-up in 2008. I think in business-to-business selling we will see this is not just a tool for leisure anymore- but instead a tool to build communities around enterprise level business deals. Having a Facebook like collaboration tool to build relationships with prospects and exchange vital information during evaluation periods is now convenient with tools like a prospect portal. What makes this even more intriguing is that tools like the prospect portal will seamlessly integrate with your CRM System and Marketing Automation tools.

Here is an article discussing the recent trends:

Turn Your Online Social Network Profile into a Marketing Weapon

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tough times: Turn to Marketing Automation- Optimize Marketing Spend & Maximize Conversions Rates

Marketbright is the leading On-Demand marketing solution, providing a platform to easily manage all of your demand generation activities in one solution. With Marketbright, you get a highly automated system that will help your company increase sales. In these times where the business landscape is volatile, it’s significant how quickly and effectively campaign resources are allocated and deployed.

Marketbright allows you to maximize conversion rates and optimize marketing budget spend with:

• Self services campaign execution
o Empower Marketing to implement and manage campaigns
o Deploy campaigns faster with user friendly toolset
o Gather instant feedback on campaign performance

• Real-time lead scoring and nurturing
o Deliver highly qualified leads faster with real-time lead scoring on profile and behavioral data
o Pass leads directly to leading CRM systems
o Nurture less qualified leads through additional marketing contact

• Campaign to cash optimization
o Eliminate lost or stale leads with closed loop process from campaign initiation to sale
o Measure campaign effectiveness by tying specific lead source to revenue
o Optimize marketing spend around successful campaigns

Now more than ever, Marketing must find new and innovative ways to leverage changing market and product conditions. Marketbright has the solution to consolidate your efforts on to one easy-to-manage platform, and for you to measure the results with sophisticated marketing analytics. We hope to prove the value add of our solution for your company going into 2009.

I would be more than happy to walk you through step by step how easy yet powerful the Marketbright solution is. I think it is more evident than ever that the companies that will continue to be successful are the companies that stay focused with a solid plan to deliver to a targeted marketplace.

Looking forward to hearing back from you very soon. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Please email me at or directly at (650) 249-6385.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Encouragement for marketing in bad economy

My Dad, who owns a graphic design firm (Ross Luthin Creative) and is heavily involved in marketing sent a letter with the following quotes I thought relevant to my blog so I thought I would share them.

A lot of companies have chosen to downsize and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets. Steve Jobs

If you're attacking your market from multiple positions and your competition isn't, you have all the advantage and it will show up in your increased success and income. Jay Abraham

Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing. John D. Rockefeller

Graphic design will save the world right after Rock 'n Roll does. David Carson

Let us all remind our colleagues and clients that great design and wise marketing will be the light that leads the winners through this murky economy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Marketing Initiatives for 2009

When entering the new year, many marketers are looking at where to shift their budgets to optimize ad spend and best drive Contacts to Customers. When you are thinking about your plan of attack for 2009 I urge you stay focused on what works.

Marketing is a science, an understanding. Once you understand the framework, you spend wisely, track everything and bring innovation to your marketing efforts. If you do this you will survive through any market change. Again, I will repeat myself stay focused on what works!

When doing this it's essential to stay involved with social media, as this is a perfect community for you to lean on peers for best practices and road maps to what is working for other companies. Build relationships not only with the companies that are ready to buy now, but also the companies that may not be ready to buy in the near future. If you do this, I promise you that when the current marketing meltdown is over you will have more business then you can imagine.

Now is the time to capitalize on what works, and relationships will always be the underlying common factor to successful businesses.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

8 Tips to Improve Your Company’s Lead Generation

Improving the process of lead generation and the overall quality of leads generated is a constant goal of both B2B and B2C marketers. According to BtoB magazine – Interactive Marketing Guide 2008, marketing professionals report spending growth for lead generation, or referrals, will increase 30.9% over last year, beating out all other categories of spending except rich media/video. Lead generation involves getting access to information on qualified consumers interested in your particular product or service and in the end, isn’t about generating more leads; it’s about generating actionable leads that drive sales. Optimizing the lead generation process and activities translates to improvement in lead quality, ultimately shortening the sales cycle. Using the 8 tips described below will give you actionable ways to improve your lead generation - resulting in more and better leads, more deals, more revenue.

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1. Define and clarify what constitutes a “qualified” lead within your enterprise. This puts marketing and sales on the same page with regard to both the sales process and the each group’s goals. As new technology increases the amount of leads generated online, the quality of the leads has seriously deteriorated, creating a need for effective lead ranking, or scoring. The discussion between marketing and sales to set parameters and decide on what constitutes a qualified lead provides the basis for an effective lead scoring system and allows marketing to be able to focus on producing more targeted leads. It is really the process, not the number, which provides the value of lead scoring. Once “qualified lead characteristics” are established, sales and marketing can work together to manage and nurture leads. It also allows marketing to get the “A-identified” leads into the hands of the right sales people at the right time to increase conversions through rapid response.

2. Have an integrated, multi-step, multi-touch marketing plan.

B2B marketing and selling is all about carefully building relationships with potential customers. Clearly communicating value and solving buyer’s frustrations and needs constitutes effective B2B marketing campaigns in today’s marketplace. Astute marketers know that to reach new prospects, no single marketing channel or strategy can be left untouched. Yet keeping track of the multiple email blasts, traditional media coverage, content to bloggers, social networking sites, tradeshows and SEO marketing, etc., becomes a complex management task. And funneling and filtering the leads generated by these activities requires multiple people and departments within the enterprise. Consider being judicious in the number of email reach outs you send to prospects – make sure different departments are not sending out emails to the same prospects without a concerted marketing effort. Aim for quality, not quantity. Otherwise, your opt-out rates will increase. Don’t measure marketing success by the number of leads produced. Measure how your ideas spread online or how many prospects are actively engaged with your brand. Create, manage and coordinate your messages across all channels for a consistent customer experience. It all gets back to the old Marketing 101 mantra - right target, right message, right timing, right channel.

3. Enhance your landing pages and call to action on each page.

When your future lead clicks on a search or paid ad online, the resulting landing page should be exactly what the prospect was looking for and provide them a compelling offering (webinar, whitepaper, demo, etc.). The value of the offer increases with an accurate, concise description of what the prospect will receive. A relevant landing page delivering content that solves the visitor's problem induces the reader to, not only consider the offer, but to pursue it. And a strong call to action that clearly shows how they can “act now” provides the incentive for lead capture, in turn allowing your company to continue the dialogue and nurture the lead.

4. Refine your surveys and registration forms.
Develop and implement productive online surveys that capture relevant prospect data and furnish quality leads. Review each of your lead generation forms, create and use more than one. Aim for capturing limited information on the initial contact and keep it short and sweet You can ask for more info as the dialogue progresses. And provide value when capturing data. Data capture is not an event, but a process leading to conversion to a customer through nurture marketing. There needs to be an exchange between you and the prospect to understand who they are and how you can meet their needs.
Additionally, the Interactive Advertiser’s Bureau (IAB)’s “Lead Generation Data Transfer Best Practices” Oct. 2007 report suggests that all personally identifiable information (PII) be received and transferred in encrypted and secure formats. However you get your information, it’s preferable to get permission to use it. If you don’t get permission in the first action, then try to get it on the next interaction. It helps to give recipients a clear indication of what you’ll be communicating, ensure prospects that data will not be abused and deliver on your promises.

5. Test, Test, Test
Search engine optimization (SEO) and Pay per Click (PPC) advertising to generate leads are labor-intensive activities with ever-increasing demands for personalization and message optimization. Evaluating the best use of these activities for your enterprise requires much experimentation. Even simple sequential A/B testing when used often and repeatedly can yield valuable results. Yet testing needs to be a consistent habit leading to cumulative tests over time – a one-shot test will tell you very little. Reliable test results give marketers a concrete means of demonstrating marketing effectiveness to upper management and increases your company’s knowledge base. Not testing leaves marketing in the dark – make sure you test extensively to get the lead results your company desires.

6. List segmentation is critical.
Using segmented lists for your online campaigns is crucial for your target (or niche) marketing promotions – which in turn can increase lead generation capture, conversion and retention rates. Personalization of campaigns to suite the needs of specific market segments is becoming even more important as competitive pressures mount in all industries.
List segmentation comes in infinite forms – by demographic factors, by offer, by day of week sent, by time of day sent, or by subject line - to name a few. An approach can be simple or sophisticated. One example – Varying the campaign offering by sending executive level information to executive titles vs. technical information targeted for technical level titles. This concept of message matching is based on the theory that contacts only pay attention to relevant information that matches their needs. Segmentation driven campaign personalization and customization allows marketers to delivermore focused campaigns, which help to build more targeted lists and boost response rates. By segmenting your lists, testing and retesting, you can improve the quality of your lead generation results.

7. Broaden your on-line lead generation measurements with accurate and reliable campaign analytics/metrics.
Having some form of campaign/email marketing analytic reporting or metrics is essential to understanding how and where your marketing dollars are generating sales for your enterprise. In this environment of constantly shrinking marketing budgets, improving campaign ROI is the bottom line. To gather precise information about campaign effectiveness, marketers need to tap into the full spectrum of metrics available in email marketing. Once armed with a broad range of rigorous on-line lead generation measurements, any company can optimize their campaign spend and gain a competitive advantage.

8. Automate, Automate, Automate
As primary marketing tasks have shifted from using traditional marketing techniques (direct mail, print, TV, radio and trade show advertising) to using on-line marketing strategies, the process of marketing has rapidly become technology-centric. Lead generation capture, processing, filtering, selling and delivery tactics are inherently labor intensive activities and shifting much of the prior manual workload to automation systems saves both time and resources. Additionally, automating a part or all of the lead generation process reduces complexity and makes work-flow more efficient as contacts, leads, prospective clients, and sales professionals interact. The possible interactions and subsequent actions that are created have a variety of potential outcomes, both productive and counter-productive to customer acquisition. This ever-increasing number of scenarios generates critical opportunities to mishandle an inquiry that reduces or destroys its potential value. Application of marketing automation systems can help to appropriately manage these scenarios and reduce risk.
Marketers can also stay competitive with other firms already using sophisticated, multi-step, multi-campaign lead generation programs through use of automation. And better collaborate with their sales team to groom and close prospects. The biggest premium to be gained from marketing automation comes from the ease of gathering and analyzing performance metrics for marketing campaigns. This analysis can be used quickly to enhance subsequent campaigns, provide the best possible message to each customer at the lowest cost per communication, while fulfilling the promise of the closed loop marketing vision.

Sign up for an educational webinar on December 4th at 11:00am (PT)

(Content property of Marketbright, Inc.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dreamforce 08' Wrap Up

Dreamforce 08' was truly memorable.

Not only was it enouraging to talk to hundreds of people about their companies plans to move forward in these rough times, but it was also a great time to collaborate and share ideas. My company Marketbright went into to Dreamforce with a clear vision to continue recent momentum and differentiate as the market leader in the automated marketing field. I am confident we achieved this, and even surpassed our goals and expectations.

It was also encouraging to talk to companies about their innovative technologies and forward thinking plans. focused on the future of cloud computing, and they led way by hosting a first class conference.

By the way the Foo Fighters and the election made it all the more exciting!

Friday, October 24, 2008

How To Overcome A Recession: Have A Plan

In times where budgets are being cut and job security is scarce, companies are looking for ways to optimize their spend in all facets of business. As I talk to a variety of marketing executives on a daily basis, the one thing that is common in thought is the importance to strengthen relationships with customers and partners and continue to build new relationships.

In order to do this it is immensely important for marketing and sales to deliver the right messaging to the right person, and do this at the right time across the right medium. B2B selling relies on providing an information conversation that is appropriate to the prospect. In doing this you must have processes and standards in place with as much automation as possible to make these functions more efficient and seamless. The last thing you want to do is downshift your marketing efforts in a bad economy. I realize that the first budget being cut in many organizations will be the marketing budget. That confirms the importance of being efficient as possible with strategic planning.

The International Journal for Research In Marketing recently reported on Marketing in tough times. The study finds that firms entering a recession with a pre-established strategic emphasis on marketing; an entrepreneurial culture; and a sufficient reserve of under-utilized workers, cash, and spare production capacity are best positioned to approach recessions as opportunities to strengthen their competitive advantage.

"Those firms with a strategic emphasis on marketing have already put in place the programs that help them derive value from their marketing activities"

The companies that have the best strategic planning in place will likely start winning the business that traditionally they lost to competition that may be cutting marketing activities, have poor planning or simply no longer exist.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Marketing in the Meltdown Webinar

Marketbright will present this timely and highly specific web clinic on utilizing Web2.0 marketing technology that will help companies reduce expenditures on Marketing programs while increasing the flow of leads.

Attendees will learn:

- How to maximimze your Google AdWords program
- How to create inexpensive, yet far reaching online events
- Email is cheaper than stamps
- Optimize campaigns to reduce advertising waste
- Tips to get your webinars and white papers promoted at nearly no cost

October 24th, 2008 10:00am (PT)
Sign up at:

Thursday, October 16, 2008


As many may know by now via email, Linkedin, or just word of mouth I now work at Marketbright. I am excited about Marketbright and the direction the company is heading. I am going to be shifting my blog to focus on B2B marketing, as this is the topic that I live day in and day out at Marketbright. Upcoming posts will include my thoughts on topics such as Lead Management, Best Practices for optimizing B2B marketing campaigns, Marketing 2.0, Post Click Marketing and many more relevant topics.


Jon Ross

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"Malware" made it into the dictionary!

I find it fascinating that is took this long, nevertheless "Malware" made it into Miriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition 2008.

Malware: software designed to interfere with a computer’s normal functioning.

Billions of dollars later, malware is finally getting some recognition. My questions is how did it take so long? This current wave of malware attacks has continued to reach all time highs year after year, yet it has been somewhat ignored by Corporate America even with the catastrophic growth levels.

Dave DeWalt, President and CEO of McAfee was recently quoted: "The current trends, only six months into it, is that we are seeing doubling from 2007 to 2008 in the amount of malware we receive".

Don't be fooled though, this problem goes much deeper than just recent times. We all remember nearly a decade ago the famous love letter worm that phished millions of people for up to 10 billion dollars. I guess that wasn't enough to draw Miriam Webster's attention. Other words were though.

Try the also recently added phrase "Mental health day": a day that an employee takes off from work to relieve stress or renew vitality. I do agree we all need a mental health day every once in a while, but are you kidding me?

1 in 8 internet users have been attacked by malware, and the sad thing is that some of the biggest internet giants are serving ads on these malicious pages infecting the users. They choose to ignore the issue, and it just so happens that online ad revenues are hitting historic levels as well. What a coincidence!

Atleast the unlucky and scary word malware finally made it to the dictionary, a tiny step to making the internet a safer and a more open marketplace.

Until next time, I wish you luck towards a safe journey through cyberspace.

-Jonathan Ross