Market Research: Defining the Question

shutterstock_124868014Market research – that elusive, all-encompassing term describing efforts to collect and analyze information about customers, markets, and trends in order to make informed, strategic business decisions.

Sometimes confused with marketing research, in its simplest form market research answers basic, but incredibly important, questions to provide the precise information you need to mitigate the risk associated with important business decisions. But before you answer it is vital to begin by asking the right question.

It is easy to get lost in the never-ending information gathering that becomes the product of an unfocused market research project. Maybe you want to quantify the potential demand for a new product, or identify a new vertical for an existing product. Or maybe you want to better understand your customer.

Whatever your goal is, take time to formulate the question carefully, as this will save copious amounts of time sifting through useless information. Be specific: are you focusing on a particular geographic or demographic area? Are there key qualifications that will help you find the right market?

Keep in mind: you may not know the right question to ask initially, but tailor your research as these points become evident.

Once the scope of the project is established, here are 3 more points to guide your research:

1) When entering a new industry, start with the 10,000 foot view: understand total number of employees and companies, average spending and revenue, and industry leaders. Then quickly drill down to begin answering your question.

2) Verify, verify, verify! – find multiple reputable sources for key statistics. Good places to start: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Data, SEC Data, industry publications and associations.

3) Secondary research is a great place to start, but primary research is a MUST: sometimes you just have to beat the pavement and start talking to people. Start with coworkers, friends, and family, but remember the goal is to speak with real customers about real needs. Surveys are another great way to get feedback, although you need to understand your target prospect or customer intimately before surveying them.

What need does your company have that targeted, thorough market research could solve? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.

OnTarget Partners is a B2B marketing, sales, and research solutions firm that provides Intelligence for Business. Reach us at info@ontargetpartners.com or at (469) 200-4908.

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Content Marketing Minds: God’s Repurposing Plan – Social Media Today

shutterstock_153218306The Holy Bible. It’s not only the most read book, it’s also the most repurposed work ever created.

From booklets to brochures, inspirationals to infographics, sermons to stories, calendars to coasters – what hasn’t been scribed from The Scriptures?

You can look at apps alone. Search for “Bible” in Google Play or iTunes. You’ll be scrolling for eternity.

It’s God’s plan, right? The Father knew we’d need these words every day in every conceivable way. So he created the ultimate masterwork and invited disciples everywhere to give it everlasting life.

And now for a slightly awkward segue.

With apologies to authors Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, their book “Content Rules” has become something of a bible of content marketing. If you’ll open to chapter 5, the book of “Reimagine,” we’ll learn valuable lessons about the “anatomy of a content circle of life.”

“Content Rules” says, “Take a broader view. Create content that can come to life in various formats, across many different platforms, and can address multiple audiences”….

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Source: Social Media Today

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Prospect Education as Lead Generation in B2B

shutterstock_173297999Our B2B lead generation business has changed a lot over the last ten years. Conducting outsourced marketing, sales and research for our clients, we used to focus on quantitative metrics – calls, clicks, conversations, emails/proposals sent, and appointments set. Now we focus on qualitative metrics – decision-maker level, multiple department interest, business opportunity and scope. This produces fewer leads, but of greater quality.

I believe these changes are partly the result of self-educated buyers.

Never before have buyers, influencers and champions had access to more information about suppliers/vendors than they do now. Especially for big-ticket items, much of the decision regarding purchase is made before vendor sales teams are invited to present.

Pervasive and persuasive marketing is critical to success in this environment. Calls and emails will go unanswered or screened. Prospects must learn and understand, generally online, a vendor’s value when the need arises, or the opportunity for sale will be missed. Customer satisfaction is key, also. Poor customer satisfaction will destroy credibility in the mind of the prospect with little searching due to the ubiquity of social media.

Today’s B2B CMO must have a marketing strategy that takes into account the self-educated buyer. A smaller, more solution-focused sales team, coupled with a competent marketing and lead generation strategy, which focuses on prospect education, will yield the results necessary for success.

-Ed

Ed Trachier is Founder & CEO of OnTarget Partners, a B2B marketing, sales, and research solutions firm that provides Intelligence for Business. He can be reached at 469-200-4901 or at trachier@ontargetpartners.com

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Crossing the Chasm: The New Obstacle for B2B Buyers – Marketing Interactions Blog

shutterstock_172035236I’ve come to the conclusion that evolution is lopsided. Especially when it comes to B2B marketing vs. sales. It seems to me that either one or the other is evolving, but much of the time it doesn’t seem to be both. At least not within the same organization.

The best marketers are on a quest to get to know their buyers. They’re doing the hard work to create personas, develop content strategy and execute content marketing in a way that moves the needle by building relationships.

On the other side, salespeople who are in tune with their markets are spending the time to do research on prospects, learning how to apply the content that marketing is developing to supporting relevant dialogues with customers. And with all of this in hand, they’re adding value to keep the progression established earlier in the buying process moving toward the decision to buy.

Then there’s everyone else. What the heck happened?

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Source: Marketing Interactions Blog

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A Billion Dollar Bracket is Really Just Great Marketing

By now, we all have heardshutterstock_174334949 about Warren Buffet’s backing of the quest for a perfect, billion dollar bracket. The finance guru understands that the odds of guessing this bracket are estimated to be 1 in 9.2 quintillion. And yet, 15 million people logged in and filled one in! Why?

The contest plays to our basic instincts of greed (the largest reward must be better) instead of the realistic payoff. It also uses Buffett’s name and stature to lure willing participants.

What I think is awesome is what Quicken Loans, the backer of this contest, gets in return.

For $10 million (paid to Buffet for “insurance” against the billion dollar payout), Quicken Loans receives access to 15 million prospects, replete with accurate and up-to-date contact information, plus the build-up in name recognition across the country, all while associating themselves with an immensely popular tournament and the billionaire Buffet.

Branding and contacts? Sounds like a great marketing campaign to me!

-Ed

Ed Trachier is Founder & CEO of OnTarget Partners, a B2B marketing, sales, and research solutions firm that provides Intelligence for Business. He can be reached at 469-200-4901 or at trachier@ontargetpartners.com

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Spring is in the Air for B2B Marketers

shutterstock_9470866On March 20 of this year, Spring 2014 started. Technically, at exactly 12:57 p.m. ET on March 20 – a precise and fixed point in time defined as when the center of the sun passes directly over the Equator.

This is a magical time of the year when winter relents and things grow.

So it is with B2B marketing as well.

It seems to me that buyers and influencers warm up with the weather. What needs to be done in 2014 and beyond is top of mind, and things must now progress, in the minds of B2B prospects.

April, May and June tend to be strong months for B2B marketers. We are past the planning stages, and in full execution mode. Well planned marketing programs roll out like thunder, reminiscent of the storms that come at this time of year.

Marketing pipelines bloom like the flowers in the fields. Their yield is an abundance of sales qualified leads that begin the procession to closure.

Good times are here; spring is in the air.

-Ed

Ed Trachier is Founder & CEO of OnTarget Partners, a B2B marketing, sales, and research solutions firm that provides Intelligence for Business. He can be reached at 469-200-4901 or at trachier@ontargetpartners.com

Posted in: Market & Competitive Intelligence, Markets, Targets & Territories, Pipelines and Forecasts, Prospecting & Qualifying, Strategic Marketing | no comments

OnTarget Acquires 3Forward

 

OnTarget Partners

Good partners are hard to find.

Ten years ago, when we re-branded OnTarget, I wanted to make sure our new name matched our internal delivery model. We chose “OnTarget Partners” because we truly believe in partnerships with our clients and associates.

A couple of years ago, several local clients kept mentioning another D-FW B2B firm called 3Forward. I researched their website and called the owners. When I invited them to lunch, they must have thought I was crazy!

These guys were doing great work for their clients, and I was hearing (a lot) about it. I had to know what were they doing, and why was I running into them all the time.

It turns out the owners of 3Forward were a lot like the owners of OnTarget. We got along very well. After several discussions, we decided to partner on a couple of small deals. Things went well.

Dan Hudson and Matt Smith have created something amazing, in my mind a sales program and consultancy that delivers value to B2B CEOs, sales leaders and marketing executives by improving lead creation, increasing sales effectiveness and managing through a company sales transition. Our partnership grew.

Today, I am very proud to announce OnTarget’s acquisition of 3Forward. Dan and Matt are joining the Advisory Board of OnTarget. Here is the press release.

A big thanks to Dan and Matt for all you guys have done for OnTarget and me. You two are awesome. And maybe I am a bit crazy.

-Ed

Ed Trachier is Founder and CEO of OnTarget Partners. He can be reached at 469-200-4901, or via email at trachier@ontargetpartners.com.

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OnTarget Partners LLC Acquires 3Forward – Press Release

Dallas, Oct. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – OnTarget Partners LLC, a global B2B marketing and research firm has acquired 3Forward, a B2B sales consultancy and outsourcing company, based in Dallas, Texas and with offices in Frisco, Texas. Terms of the deal were not released.

3Forward, which will now operate under the OnTarget brand, helps B2B companies find and create business leads, increase wins and accelerate sales. Together, OnTarget and 3Forward create a full-service B2B marketing, sales lead generation, and research firm.

Ed Trachier, CEO of OnTarget stated “We are very proud to have worked with 3Forward to support our client’s needs regarding sales planning, execution and lead generation. We have successfully implemented multiple campaigns together this year, and believe this acquisition is a natural conclusion for our partnership”.

ABOUT ONTARGET PARTNERS LLC

OnTarget is a privately held marketing firm specializing in B2B marketing and research. The fully integrated B2B marketing systems leverage competencies in technology, business processing, software, and analytics sales to add value for investors, marketers and sales executives. For more information, please visit www.ontargetpartners.com and follow us on Twitter: @OnTargetPartner.

Media Contact:
Debra Waring
469-200-4900
dwaring@ontargetpartners.com

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Lead Nurturing in B2B

Lead nurturing in B2B marketingis important.

It’s always great to get a referral, phone call or email with an inquiry from a qualified prospect, and a few days/weeks/months later have a signed agreement€ but it doesn’t always happen that way.

In many instances, a lead isn’t converted into a client or customer shortly after first contact due to deal flow (time to close). It is imperative for good marketers to focus on three areas: capturing the lead information, creating a lead pipeline, and nurturing the lead through our (closing) process. We, as marketers, need to focus on each of these areas, and as a result, we can transform a nurtured lead into a client.

The key is for the marketer to remain on the lead’s radar and follow up with the lead as agreed. First, capture the leads contact information in your CRM. Put in good notes about your conversation and what next steps are.

Second, do what you said you would do! If you promised a whitepaper or case study, send away. If you said you would call back in six weeks, make the call. Drip campaigns are useful to building solid nurturing pipelines.

A solid sales pipeline requires a powerful nurturing for a lead pipeline. Happy hunting, and happy nurturing!

-Ed

Ed Trachier can be reached at 469-200-4901, or via email at trachier@ontargetpartners.com.

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The Importance of Mapping Accounts in B2B

Ed Trachier Founder and CEO OnTarget Partners

Ed Trachier
Founder and CEO
OnTarget Partners

Every B2Bmarketer and salesperson has the requirement of mapping their accounts. By mapping accounts, we understand the decision makers, champions, and influencers that can motivate and purchase from us.

Account mapping allows the clear delineation of the “who” in the purchasing decision: “Who is involved in making things happen with regard to the solution I am marketing and /or selling?”

Most effective marketers realize that account mapping is the crucial first step of the proactive marketing process. By understanding the who in the equation, one can target the right contact with the right market message.

Salespeople generally rely on marketing to map accounts, but in cases where this support is not available, good sales people map the accounts themselves.

The terminology of account mapping may be different from company to company. Some organizations call it contact research, prospect research, contact discovery or target research. Regardless of what it is called, it is a critical step used to maximize success of B2B sales and marketing programs.

As Phil Knight says, “Just do it!”

-Ed Trachier

Ed can be reached at 469-200-4901, or via email at trachier@ontargetpartners.com.

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Posted in: CEO Marketing, Corporate Research, CRM Data Cleanse, CRM Integrations, Sales 2.0 Strategies, Sales Leads, Sales Methodology | no comments