Marketers are often proficient at diagnosing and patching holes in a funnel. We spot places where potential customers drop out of the buying process and fix or add touch-points accordingly. But what about the potential buyers who we don't even know about? According to Ed Breault (LinkedIn | Twitter), CMO of Aprimo, there is an entire "dark funnel" of people who are looking to buy a product in your category, who never make it onto your radar. According to Ed, using predictive data to illuminate this dark funnel can lead to stunning results.
On this episode of Marketing Trends, Ed sits down with Ian to discuss how to illuminate the dark funnel and engage those potential customers with compelling content. He also discusses conversational marketing, ABM, and much more.
5 Key Takeaways: - Be a listener. "People love to talk and if you're the listener, you've got the advantage because you're collecting the data." - Identifying your "dark funnel" is crucial. It allows you to target the people who are in the market for your product who might not have otherwise considered you. - You can illuminate your dark funnel by using intent data and third-party data. - The best content fits a "how, now, wow" framework. Content should usefully show how to do something, offer commentary on what's happening right now, or blow people's minds with amazing experiences. - ABM campaigns are difficult to scale, and you shouldn't try to scale them too much. They are supposed to be limited and targeted.
Bio: Ed is a “full stack” marketer driving both the art and science aspects of marketing. As Chief Marketing Officer, Ed leads Aprimo’s marketing strategy and operations including all paid/owned/earned media, brand experience, product marketing, content marketing, PR, demand generation, and the rebirth and growth of Aprimo.
Notes & Quotes:
Ed's Background - (1:15) - Ed studied business and MIS in college, but after a stint in consulting he found himself gravitating toward the field of marketing. - "Everything you say can and will be used against you. So use your words wisely. People love to talk and if you're the listener, you've got the advantage because you're collecting the data." - Ed Breault - "Always have that mindset and mission to always be a student about whatever it is that you're doing. That's a mental model that helps you." - Ed Breault
The Dark Funnel- (9:30) - "The dark funnel" is a term to describe those people who are in the market for a product, but haven't registered intent by filling out a lead form or doing any similar activity. - For Ed, finding people who are in the dark funnel is really important. He wants to make sure that Aprimo is on their radar so that they don't go through the buying journey without considering them. - Intent-data such as web searches can help identify people who are in the dark funnel. - Third-party data can also be helpful in identifying the dark funnel. - For a market like Aprimo's, intent-data leads very naturally into an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy. - "You have to get the best available data possible and then you need to have a continuous test and learn mindset." - Ed Breault - Using intent data and identifying the dark funnel is not a one-and-done process. It requires constant exploration and tinkering.
Building Compelling Content - (18:45) - "You can't just create content for content's sake. It really should be based on data, and what your objective is. Unless you've got a clear objective for content, don't do it." - Ed Breault - The best content fits a "how, now, wow" framework. Content should either usefully show how to do something, offer commentary on what's happening right now, or blow people's minds with amazing experiences. - It's crucial to deliver the right content at the right time to the right person. This requires an "atomic" level of personalization, and a robust technology infrastructure to deliver.
Conversational Marketing - (25:30) - "When I see conversational marketing, what makes it timeless is humanizing communications." - Ed Breault - Conversational marketing is all about removing the barriers and friction that stand between a potential customer and the conversation they want to have with your brand. - One thing Aprimo uses in conjunction with conversational marketing is "microcopy." - It's important to balance conversational interactions with deeper content that can engage audiences for longer periods of time with more in-depth thinking. - Rather than artificial intelligence, conversational marketing is all about creating "augmented intelligence."
Account-Based Marketing - (31:30) - One of Ed's favorite campaigns was when he used insights from predictive demand to run an ABM campaign that signed up 100 accounts in 100 days. - ABM campaigns are difficult to scale, and you shouldn't try to scale them too much. They are supposed to be limited and targeted. - Your ABM campaigns need to be synced up with your sales team and their cadence and rhythm.
Pardot Lightning Round - (35:15) - Favorite one-day getaway: Cycling for a hundred miles - Most fun app: LinkedIn - Favorite book or podcast: Henry Rollins podcast - Hidden talent or passion: Punk rock music, including thrash metal - What are you most excited for about the future of marketing? Today's technology innovations with machine learning and artificial intelligence that are helping to create a frictionless experience.
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