“Buyer Personas and The Marketing Funnel – Its a confusing World”

Forrester Research: The New Marketing Funnel

What’s the right way to think about “buyer personas”? I’m discussing that topic in a series of guest-blog posts at Acooze.com, content marketing consultants from Melbourne, Australia.

… if you’ve studied content marketing at all, you’ve seen the sales funnel or the marketing funnel. This is traditionally how marketers are given to think about how customers progress on their journey from someone who doesn’t even know about you to being a customer.

About a year ago, Forrester Research published a new version of the funnel…. As you can see, the funnel has become a bit more complex.

My article this week walks you through the growing number of complexities that are being faced as marketers delve further into the world of marketing automation.

Read more here to see and understand the current state of “the marketing funnel”.

I’m @johnbugay

Understanding Buyer Personas: The Human Side

The Human Side
The Human Side
Reposted from @acooze:

What’s the right way to think about “buyer personas”? I’m discussing that topic in a series of guest-blog posts at Acooze.com, content marketing consultants from Melbourne, Australia.

Building and understanding buyer personas is important because as you understand the personas you’re dealing with, you can begin to understand their pain points.

Then you need to create benefit statements that correspond to those pain points. Benefits statements become the key messaging units of the content. But first, you’ve got to begin creating and then mapping the various personas.

Different people in your target accounts are going to have different concerns. And accordingly, they’ll be searching for answers to different kinds of questions.

I thought I’d provide example that shows you how marketing and sales can work together to craft useful personas. Then discuss how “content” could map to those personas…

Read more: The Human Side of the Buyer Persona.

I’m @johnbugay

@ Clayton Kendall for a day

I’d like to thank the good folks at Clayton Kendall, who had me in for a “work-for-a-day” kind of second interview. I’ve applied for an Email Marketing Manager position with them, and I was one of three candidates to be invited back for a day. I was given several “tasks” to do, which involved providing some marketing strategies and other written tests. I think I did well.

I’ll let you know!

@johnbugay

Caution: Heavy Lifting on the IT Side of Marketing

Alan Pringle @scriptorium has put together an article that could have been subtitled, “The Technical Side of Content Management: 11 Questions to Ask”.

When IT is MIA, content strategy crumbles.

Based on “hard experience”, he makes the following personnel-based observation:

Among those authoring content, have at least two tech-savvy employees who are the main points of contact with the IT department. These technical liaisons collect information about performance issues and other problems and then work with the IT group to solve the issues. Don’t play the I’m just a writer and don’t want to be bothered with the technical details card and leave all the heavy lifting to the IT group.

He notes, “Having a primary IT resource for content processes is a logical approach, but there needs to be a secondary resource who is more than just a backup in name only. The secondary resource should be well-versed in the tools and participate in basic maintenance to develop a working knowledge of the system.”

At this point, I just want to point out the line on my résumé where it says I was “marketing liaison with MIS/IT”. I’m a guy who can handle the heavy lifting on the IT side of the Marketing house.

Do you know someone who needs help with that?

I’m @johnbugay.

Out of a corner: “Learning a lot”

Jim Fixx's Second Book of Running
Getting out of a corner
I used to be a runner. I don’t run anymore, but I still walk, because I’m a lot heavier now than I was when I was 20. I’ve still got good, pain-free knees, and I’d like to try to keep them that way. But one part of my methodology seems to be the same now as it was then: whenever I wanted to learn how to do something, I bought a book about it.

That’s how it worked when I started running. I wanted to know “the right way” to do things.

Back then, there was a “Complete Book of Running”, by a writer named Jim Fixx. As the graphic nearby shows, Fixx then went on to write a “Second Book of Running”. Here’s the problem, though, as he stated it. If you’re going to write a “complete book” of something, there ought not to be a need for a “second book”. Thus, his foreword carried the title “Out of a Corner”.

He needed to explain the need for this second book in the light of his first. That’s how it worked then, and that’s how it works now. I need to explain my way out of a corner.

One of the first things I did, upon entering the ranks of the “available” (in a business sense), was to start a blog, “Learning Eloqua”. After all, that’s what I do. In another part of my world, I’m a team-member of a highly-regarded and widely-read theology blog, Triablogue. I’m accustomed to waking up at 3:00 AM and pumping out a fully-developed, well-thought-out blog article by 4:30 AM.

But in the process of “Learning Eloqua”, I stumbled upon (can’t get away from it) a lot of other things that I needed to learn. I stumbled upon Twitter, and through Twitter, I have been tripping over things left and right.

One of my deepest sorrows (in a business sense) is that, by the time I figured out that I needed an Eloqua certification, I was no longer in a position to get one. So it was to my great joy that a similar kind of certification, a HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification was available for free through Hubspot’s website. (HT: Brenda Stoltz at Ariad Partners).

Now, in this case, “free” doesn’t mean “cheap”. There are nine hour-long video lessons, and a 50-question test (which I have not yet attempted) in order to become certified.

So far, I’ve been able to bring myself up-to-date with web (keyword) optimization, blogging (in a business sense), and as I write this, “social media”. On tap are “content with a purpose”, “the anatomy of a landing page”, “the conversion process”, “closing” and “cultivating delighted customers”.

Looking at Eloqua’s Topliners community, I can still see that there are many gaps in what I (and apparently many others) still need to know. But I’m nudging things forward.

The bottom line is, I’m still “Learning Eloqua”, and I still hope to work with that blog. Lord willing, I’ll have an opportunity to work for an Eloqua-using company, on an Eloqua-using team. But if not, wherever I go will find me “learning a lot”, in a mode of continuous improvement.

Back when I was learning to run, there were a couple of “running” songs that would go through my mind. “Running on Empty” and “Running Against the Wind”. Sometimes it still seems like that. Some things don’t change.

Keep on moving forward, in spite of the obstacles.

Where are the “marketing automation” experts in Pittsburgh?

Sitting this one out
Sitting on the sidelines

This is a serious question. Just two months in to a job search in which I’ve focused on offering my skills in the specialized field of “marketing automation”, I cannot say that I have found any marketing automation practitioners among the ad agencies in Pittsburgh.

I follow some very active discussions about it on LinkedIn and Twitter.

But it seems as if very few people in Pittsburgh even know what “marketing automation” is, and fewer still know how to excel at it.

While things like “marketing automation”, “inbound marketing”, “content marketing”, and “demand generation” are setting the rest of the marketing world on fire, it seems as if very few marketing organizations and fewer ad agencies in Pittsburgh even know what it is.

Take a look at the websites of three of the largest ad agencies in Pittsburgh:

http://www.brunnerworks.com/

http://www.marcusa.com/

http://www.engauge.com/

You won’t find “marketing automation” or the other terms on these sites. And yet, it should be “bread-and-butter” for these folks. Especially if they want to consider themselves as “thought leaders”.

“Marketing automation” is as important a discipline as there is now. And yet there are still agencies who are leading with their prowess on “SEO”, even though changing Google algorithims are rendering that discipline obsolete.

Eloqua and Marketo are probably the leading solution providers in this space. Eloqua had an IPO about a year ago for $12 per share, and Oracle bought them in December for $24 per share at quite a premium. Marketo had an IPO on Friday, opening at about $13 per share, and closing at $23.

Neither of these is an earth-shattering amount in the billions, but these are only two of probably several dozen “marketing automation” solution providers who are elbowing each other for market share. Their success portends a trend.

And it’s not so new that folks can’t have heard about it. Especially not if they’re having extremely successful IPOs.

Much of Pittsburgh seems to be sitting out this hugely important technological development.

I received the following recommendation yesterday

Yesterday I received the following recommendation from our “Success Manager” at Eloqua — a person whose job it is to help their clients understand this complex system:

“I had the pleasure of working with John as the Marketing Advisor for his account as he took the lead for his company’s use of Eloqua in late 2012. During our bi-weekly meetings, John would come to the table with thoughtful questions and having done thorough research about campaigns and solutions he wanted to implement. He displayed an intense desire to take segmentation and personalization in the company’s marketing to the next level. He understands that this is a critical component to driving revenue from marketing investments. He dove in head first to learn best practices in marketing automation and how they could [be] applied to the unique business model in which he was operating. I would recommend John to bring his now critical skill set of content + strategy + understanding your buyer + technology to any business.”

This recommendation is from my connection Sarah Hums of Eloqua (now Oracle), and may be found at http://www.linkedin.com/in/johnbugay.

I was laid off again yesterday

And today, as they say, is the first day of the rest of my life, again.

Most recently, I was unemployed roughly from June 2009 through February 2010. That was a difficult time to be unemployed. The economy was a wreck, and would remain so for a couple more years. (Some will say it’s not much better, and that’s true).

I’m up early for the day – it’s about 1:50 am as I write. I hardly know where to begin. I’m thinking “Dun & Bradstreet” lists; I’m thinking “Eloqua” – I’m tagging this post “Eloqua” because I consider that to be the primary job skill I’ve picked up in the last few years. My hope is that it’s not an insignificant one.

Eloqua is “database marketing” and “marketing automation” rolled into one. I’m a member at http://www.ritesite.com – which I haven’t used for a while. I’ve been told “LinkedIn” is now a fabulous resource. I’m going to check it out. My hope is to morph this site into a job search site. Whatever that means.

For those of you who have come here, looking for news about my wife and her struggle with CMML leukemia, I guess you could say “no news is good news”. There is no sign of the recurrence of the disease. There are some annoying things going on.

For a while I had a series called “Vampire Bride”. She was getting blood transfusions on a fairly regular basis. As it turns out, with blood transfusions, iron accumulates in your body, and it can be damaging over time. So now they are “bleeding” her – taking a pint of blood out each week, (and I think they need to do this eight times), because the iron levels in her blood are too high. (What about “Geritol”?)

Plus, her immune system is brand new. So she has NO immunities built up. And so, she has managed to catch virtually every cold and bug that has come down the pike this winter.

Very high on my list of concerns will be to provide health care coverage for her. She’s a veteran, and she’s in the VA system, but moving to the VA system would force her to lose her current medical team – Dr Rossetti, Dr Jalil, and their whole group at West Penn Hospital. They saved her life, literally, and Beth is still in need of this ongoing type of treatment. They are familiar with her case. My hope would be to see it through.

On my end, it’s a whole different world. Eloqua is a whole new “job skill”. “Marketing automation” is a whole new world. The world of “social media” is completely new, since the last time I looked for a job.

For now, “job-one” is to craft a quasi-kind of plan, which can go out the door once the bullets start flying.