SiriusDecisions Says: Combine Social Media and Web Site Optimization to Maximize Marketing Returns

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To attract today’s more demanding and sophisticated buyers, SiriusDecisions says that a combination of social media and Web site conversion optimization (WCO) is the way to go.

Our 2010 research shows that 58 percent of initial b-to-b inquiries are Web driven, so our projected increase to 71 percent in 2015 simply can’t be ignored.

Three predictions: A) Reality shows will eventually replace all of scripted TV; B) Every film will eventually be a sequel or based on a TV program most young moviegoers have never heard of; and C) By 2015, more than 70 percent of initial business-to-business (b-to-b) inquiries will be generated on the Web. While avid followers of TV and cinematic trends might make a case for the veracity of A and B, “C” is an actual prediction by SiriusDecisions that’s based on the company’s extensive research.

The prediction by SiriusDecisions, the leading global b-to-b sales and marketing research and advisory company, is particularly noteworthy because the Web is increasingly leveraged by prospects through each stage of the buying process. However, SiriusDecisions has found that WCO is most effective in driving inbound marketing success when coupled with a sound social media strategy.

Put in its simplest terms, think of inbound marketing as placing a bowl of food on your deck in a residential area, knowing that the bowl’s content literally “feeds a need” and the location is a likely stopping point for hungry or at least curious animals. Now transfer that experience to a Web site where the visitors are potential buyers and the content is valuable enough to have them self-identify.

Now, add to this marketing mix a “secret ingredient” – social media – and SiriusDecisions says you’ve got the two cornerstones of an effective inbound strategy.

“A sound social media strategy is key to driving this inbound interest, and coupled with WCO, will attract, engage and qualify targeted visitors,” notes Jonathan Block, vice president and head of SiriusDecisions’ Reputation Management Strategies service. “Our 2010 research shows that 58 percent of initial b-to-b inquiries are Web driven, so our projected increase to 71 percent in 2015 simply can’t be ignored.”

Mr. Block further observes that as b-to-b marketers have recognized the benefits of better understanding and meeting the information needs of their audiences at key buying cycle stages, organizational approaches to using social media and Web site optimization have had to evolve.

Jay Gaines, research director at SiriusDecisions, adds that organizations tethered to the traditional are bound to fall behind those companies backing up their social media efforts with a coordinated, enterprise-wide strategy, and then complementing those efforts by leveraging WCO (e.g. search engine optimization, dynamic delivery of content and offers, progressive visitor profiling).

Mr. Gaines says that savvy marketers will know the answers to:

--    How inbound marketing impacts the way the demand waterfall is managed, and how it will continue to evolve

--    How social media and Web site optimization can be used throughout the cold to close process, and integrated with other marketing/sales tactics

--    How a balance between a centralized social operations function and decentralized execution will drive social media success

--    How high-value content aligned to the information needs of buyers is a key element of WCO

--    How SiriusDecisions’ four-step approach guides companies through the process of building an effective content asset architecture to rev up a results-oriented inbound marketing engine

--    How social media and WCO play an important role beyond the demand waterfall (depicts journey to conversion-rate success) to drive customer retention and loyalty

This timely topic will be addressed in detail by SiriusDecisions analysts at two of the company’s upcoming quarterly forum events, set for Nov. 30 and Dec. 2 in the Greater Boston and San Francisco Bay areas, respectively. Mr. Block (jblock@siriusdecisions.com) and Mr. Gaines (jgaines@siriusdecisions.com) can also be contacted directly to discuss how the one-two punch of social media and WCO can deliver powerful performance for your organization.

About SiriusDecisions                                                                                                                
SiriusDecisions is the world's leading source for business-to-business sales and marketing best-practice research and data. SiriusDecisions Executive Advisory Services, Consulting Services, Benchmark Assessment Services, Learning and Events provide senior-level executives with the sales and marketing operational intelligence required to maximize top line growth and performance. The unique combination of thought leadership, benchmark data, analytic tools, best practices and access to a peer and analyst network allow SiriusDecisions clients to quickly receive the critical insight they need to make decisions effectively. For more information about SiriusDecisions, headquartered in Wilton, CT, visit: http://www.siriusdecisions.com.

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GEOFF HILTON
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