Category Archives: Insights

Lucky Seven B2B Marketing Trends for 2015

Posted on: December 10th, 2014 by Erica Harbison No Comments

At McBru, we pride ourselves on staying on the cutting edge of tech B2B marketing trends and breaking new ground in strategy and execution approaches to drive impactful business results for our clients. Part of that means keeping our eyes and ears tuned to underlying shifts in the technology market and marketing worlds. The other part is simply being creative, forward-thinking and trying new things to see how they may work.

As we get ready to give 2014 a hearty pat on the back and bid it adieu, we asked our team of expert marketers what they see taking on increased importance or prominence in 2015:

Kerry McClenahan

Tech B2B adoption of marketing automation platforms such as Eloqua, Marketo and our personal favorite, HubSpot, is on the rise. We think 2015 will be a crossover year in which it will become more common than not to include marketing automation in the mix. Why is this so? Marketing automation tools provide insights that help optimize marketing program performance and they help maximize budgets in a couple of ways: They introduce efficiencies into deployment of marketing programs, which can mean fewer resources are needed, and they provide closed-loop intelligence to inform allocation of budget into the programs and channels that are driving revenue. What smart tech B2B marketer wouldn’t want that tool in their arsenal?

Bill McRae

As social media and content marketing become more and more extricably linked, building and executing a comprehensive content strategy will become increasingly critical for tech B2B marketers. Developing a pipeline of relevant, useful and entertaining content will become a vital part of every tech company’s marketing agenda. Some companies will try to develop this content strategy expertise in-house; others will rely on the pros—such as McBru—for help in developing the content itself, distributing it through appropriate social channels, and delivering metrics and reporting to measure the ROI of content strategy campaigns.

Erica Harbison

With the increasingly shrinking earned editorial landscape, we believe 2015 will be the year “Go Direct” truly takes off with companies embracing the 360 degree world of:

  1. PR relationship nurturing, plus
  2. Direct content publishing on their owned platforms (website, forums, blogs), plus
  3. Direct content distribution and influencer engagement (social media, e-newsletters, etc).

Mastering all three is the way forward for B2Bs who want to continue to stand out and influence current and prospect customers.

Taylor Long

Since going public in 2013, Twitter’s business advertising platform has added several ways to grow followers and drive engagement, clicks or conversions by promoting high-value content. We ran a test campaign for our enterprise storage client this fall to see what the ROI would offer. We were impressed by the variable targeting and performance-based payment options Twitter allows, but the best part of the test was seeing the impressions and clicks blow our goals out of the water! Due to our campaigns amazing results, we predict Twitter’s advertising platform will grow in popularity for B2B brands in the coming year.

Anna Reinhard

It seems like the word of the year in the marketing world was mobile. And in 2015 we will continue to see mobile devices proliferate. As this happens, marketers must optimize content for mobile. This means incorporating mobile ads, responsive websites and emails formatted specifically for mobile viewing. At McBru, we’ve already jumped on the mobile-friendly trend by making our very own website mobile optimized.

Sarah MacKenzie

Visual content continues to drive exceptional results online. Social media channels are constantly evolving visual content capabilities to provide the most value to their audiences. Twitter is at the top of the list with recent changes—users can now upload native video as well as multiple photos in one post. Looking forward, visual content won’t be slowing down any time soon. Social media channels will have to constantly adapt to keep up, which is great news for consumers looking for new ways to absorb visual content.

Jessica Polley

If you want to rise above the noise on social media, be prepared to allocate strategic advertising spend into your business plans for 2015. Forrester reported earlier this year that brand interaction on six of seven top social networks achieved an engagement rate of less than 0.1%. Organic Facebook posts are now down to 0.073 percent; Twitter posts at 0.03%. As noise increases, content is seen by fewer and fewer followers, so social advertising will continue to play an integral role for brands to capture mindshare. Dominating the social ad sphere is Facebook, whose ad products continue to improve in sophistication. As other platforms evolve their ad offerings, including Twitter and LinkedIn, spending there will increase, too.

Big Data Analysis meets the Liberal Arts: Will Lit Crit Ever Be the Same?

Posted on: June 13th, 2014 by Bill McRae No Comments

As a tech B2B writer here at McBru, I write a good deal about Big Data, the enormous information flows derived from sensors, social media feeds, and device-to-device communications. For example, in an average airplane there are more than 50,000 sensors constantly monitoring everything from electrical flows to air quality. These sensors create between 5 to 6 petabytes of data per flight (a petabyte is a million gigabytes), and sifting through this information to detect patterns and anomalies is the job of big data analytics, a major new frontier for technical research.

But not so many years ago, while in university, I studied French and English literature and read hundreds of novels, scores of poems, and piles and piles of learned treatises on my way toward a graduate degree. We didn’t have the concept of big data back then, but I can see now that I was acting as my own big data analytics solution as I powered through all those pages in search of “actionable intelligence.”

So I shouldn’t be surprised that cutting-edge literary theory has embraced big data analytics to render new insights into the old-school study of literature. I have chanced across a number of articles recently that describe how the established literary canon has yielded new secrets after being processed through the algorithms of big data analysis.

  • In “Shakespeare’s Data,” in May’s hardcover edition of Wired magazine, Clive Thompson describes how two PhD students at the Stanford Literary Lab fed the content of 2,958 19th century novels through a series of big data analytics tools. One interesting pattern to emerge was that, as the century progressed, words describing action and body parts became more prevalent. The researchers concluded that increasing urbanization during the 19th century brought people closer together physically and people’s bodies and actions were increasingly difficult to ignore. Seemingly, after the industrial revolution, no one was far from the maddening crowd.
  • In The Data-Mining’s The Thing: Shakespeare Takes Center Stage In The Digital Age from Fast Company, Neil Ungerleider writes that the “same techniques used by businesses to analyze web content and by marketers to target audiences […] have big ramifications for Shakespeare–and have helped settle long-standing academic arguments.” Officials at the Folger Shakespeare Library fed portions of the Bard’s plays through rhetorical analysis tools and data-mining technics to discover distinct linguistic similarities between the tragedy Othello and Shakespeare’s comedy plays. In particular, the comedy Twelfth Night recycles a number of linguistic conventions and themes found in Othello.
  • Shakespeare, Herman Melville and today’s hip-hop artists were on the mind of data scientist Matt Daniels. He wanted to determine how the vocabulary of hip-hop artists stacked up against these two giants of literature. Using a research methodology called token analysis, Daniels compared 35,000-word data sets from the writings of Shakespeare, Melville, and 85 hip-hop performers (he used the first 5,000 words of seven of Shakespeare’s plays, the first 35,000 words of Moby Dick, and 35,000 words from the lyrics of published songs by the 85 performers in question). The biggest vocabulary? Somewhat surprisingly, the rapper Aesop Rock came out on top with 7,392 unique words used within his data set. Melville was certainly near the head of the class, with 6,022 unique words, while that slouch Shakespeare was closer to the middle of the pack with the use of 5,170 unique words in his data set.

Big data analysis will probably never dislodge more traditional literary theory from the classroom, but it can help tease out unexpected patterns and linguistic relationships and offer insights into language and themes that are invisible to more conventional critiques. And it’s kind of cool to realize that every book in your library is in fact, for better or worse, a big data flow.