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The Future of B2B Search Marketing

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The first B2B Search Strategy Summit was held yesterday in San Francisco. It featured a morning keynote by Gord Hotchkiss of Enquiro and an afternoon keynote by Jay Middleton of Adobe.

Hotchkiss talked about the BuyerSphere Project.

The BuyerSphere project looked at how online strategies became artificially separated from traditional best practices, how they can be more effectively integrated and the part search plays as a major influencer. The study was conducted by Enquiro with input from Google, Business.com, Covario, Marketo and DemandBase.

After hearing from over 4,000 different companies regarding buying practices, what did Enquiro learn? According to Hotchkiss, "We learned that a lot of what we assumed to be true about B2B buying simply wasn't." Among other things, the B2B research found:


  • Emotion plays huge a part in B2B buying.

  • The model of a buying funnel is drastically oversimplified.

  • Although marketers separate online and offline strategies, prospects don't.

  • You have to develop an outside in view of yourself in the marketplace.

  • The Web can hide much of what is happening on the client side.

You had to be there to get all the insights in the morning keynote, but you can get a taste of it by watching my interview with Hotchkiss at SES San Jose 2009.


Gord Hotchkiss, Enquiro at SES San Jose 2009 discussing Buyersphere Project

Middleton's presentation was entitled "The Future of B2B Search Marketing."

According to Middleton, the future of B2B search marketing will evolve beyond tactical lead generation and begin to focus on the customer all the way through the buy cycle. He said that most of today's B2B marketers rely on over-simplified metrics (cost per lead / lead conversion) ad copy (to increase click-through) and landing pages - all in an effort to increase the sheer quantity of leads.

The main takeaways of his afternoon keynote were:


  • Use keywords to seed and inform all Marketing/Sales/Social Media activities

  • Integrate SEM early and consistently in campaign planning and execution

  • Align Sales and Marketing seamlessly

  • Improve end-to-end analytics: Move from cost-per-lead to cost-per-customer


In addition to the keynotes, there half a dozen sessions at the event.

Angela Sanfilippo of YouSendIt, Jon Miller of Marketo, and Ryan DeShazer of GyroHRS spoke at case study session and shared the secrets of their success.

Case Studies can be incredibility effective in allowing you to benchmark against your peers. They can also suggest ideas that you may not even have thought of trying in your marketing campaigns, and they trigger great discussions that can lead to "Ah-Ha" Moments. But, case studies are difficult to boil down into a short paragraph.

Hotchkiss, Patricia Neuray of Business.com, Frederick Vallaeys of Google, and Valerie Bolduc of Microsoft sat in the "Expert Hot Seat" and answered some of the most pressing B2B search questions.

The Q&A was fast and furious. Vallaeys even lost is voice at one point and had to leave the room to get a glass of water. But he recovered and actually answered even the tough questions about a wide range of issues.

Connie Stack of WordStream and Lauren Vaccarello of Salesforce.com spoke in the first Strategy Session on sponsored search.

Stack shared her Top 10 B2B Paid Search Strategies and Vaccarello provided tips on Getting a Real Jump on Your Competition with Advanced Paid Search Strategies.

Lance Loveday of Closed Loop Marketing and Bill Barnes of Enquiro spoke in the second Strategy Session on Landing Page Optimization.

This session reviewed the challenges and approaches that are unique to B2B marketers in developing effective landing pages that drive sales within the structure of a "Quality Score" environment. When your sales don't happen on your website, how do use your landing pages to move prospects more quickly and easily down the sales funnel? Loveday and Barnes shared their strategies for turning poor performing landing pages into winners.

David Lloyd of Cisco and I spoke in the PR session.

PR has to be the most often overlooked piece of the B2B Marketers' toolkit and yet when done right it can be incredibly effective for both large and small B2B marketing budgets. But this is not the PR from your early marketing days. This PR can not only generate buzz for your brand and product but can also improve your search engine rankings and drive more qualified visitors to your site.

And Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing and Jonah Lopin of HubSpot spoke in the Social Media session.

Doesn't it seem like every publication you subscribe to is touting the benefits of Social Media these days? But is it just "The New New Thing" or does it actually have real application in a B2B Search Marketing Campaign? Odden and Lopin talked about the social media applications that are actually paying off for B2B Marketers.

Lee Odden and Greg Jarboe at SES San Jose 2008 serious.jpg
Lee Odden and Greg Jarboe at SES San Jose 2008. (Photo by Kelsey Jarboe)

Meanwhile in South Africa, the USA was earning a thrilling late win over Algeria. What does this have to do with an event that was all about effective tried and true strategies that can be implemented immediately to improve your B2B Search Engine Marketing campaigns, boost ROI and expand your lead generation funnel? You had to be there to see the connections.


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