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April Key Findings: 2013

B2B Marketers See Lead Conversion as Higher Priority than Branding

B2B-Online-Marketing-And-NetworkingToday’s B2B marketing environment has never been more challenging: tough economic times and increasingly savvy and reluctant buyers continue to turn up the heat on marketers. According to interviews with more than 1,700 B2B marketers cited in the latest B2B Marketing Benchmark Report published by MarketingSherpa, the top challenges facing marketers today are generating high-quality leads (74%) and generating a high volume of leads (49%). When asked to rank the effectiveness of B2B marketing strategies, marketers indicated their dissatisfaction with just about all tactics listed. Website design, management and optimization ranked highest with an anemic 31%, as SEO ranked 29%, email marketing 26%, tradeshows 20% and all others less than 19%. An interesting shift was indicated from surveys conducted in years past as marketers said they now prioritize lead conversion (57%) over branding, reputation and awareness (45%). “Marketers (and the marketplace in general) now see the importance of supporting sales conversion as a Marketing and Sales function, and not just a job for Sales alone,” says the authors of the report. However, the report indicated that marketers lack resources and struggle with knowing how to accelerate sales pipeline performance. (

Big Brand Twitter Data Finds Gold-Nugget Insights for Business

how-to-use-twitter-hashtags-to-boost-your-job-search-c87159b685While Twitter is the fastest growing social network — up 40% in the last half of 2012, many businesses are still struggling to figure out how to build awareness, get more effective engagement with followers and generate leads using this tool.  A recent study by Buddy Media of user engagement data from the Twitter posts of more than 320 of the world’s largest brands, found a number of gold-nugget insights into which tactics are bearing fruit. Here are some highlights of the findings. Ninety-two percent of interaction with a brand’s tweets are through clicking links. And tweets with image links have twice the engagement rates as tweets without images. The brands that posted with two or less hashtags received twice the amount of engagement as those without hashtags. Interaction with brands on Twitter is higher (30%) from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and tweets containing less than 100 characters get more (85%) engagement than longer tweets. More than three quarters of the engagement with a brand is through retweets. So, ask for the “Retweet” (get 12 times the retweets), but spell it out in lieu of abbreviating it and your retweet rate will be 23 times higher. “Each business and brand on Twitter has a unique voice and audience,” says Daniel Zeevi, social media scientist, “keep testing and refining your methods and strategy to determine what works best. (

Waterless Fracking?

waterless frackingCould there be a viable alternative(s) to water in the hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) process, especially in deserts and other arid environments where large deposits of shale gas exist? Yes, say a number of experts and engineers. In fact, gas and oil companies have been using carbon dioxide in similar operations on a limited basis for years. Yet, now, as fracking helps free abundant natural gas and oil from U.S. shale deposits, causing a huge shift away from coal and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, alternatives to water are getting closer attention. Especially in China, which is believed to have 50% more natural gas than the U.S. Wyoming is currently using carbon dioxide in fracking because the state already has carbon dioxide pipelines. Economics alone could justify building similar pipelines in other places, according to Robert Dilmore, a research engineer at the U.S. National Energy Technology Laboratory. A push from governments to put a price on carbon could give utilities incentive to capture it from power plant smokestacks, for example, in China where most of its shale gas is found in arid regions. Some experts note that carbon dioxide would not only eliminate the need for millions of gallons of water per well, it would also cut large amounts of wastewater produced in the fracking process. While challenges lie ahead for carbon dioxide fracking, its advantages are being seriously explored and scrutinized. (

Sit at Your Own Risk!

sit at your own riskSedentary lifestyles have long been associated with poor health. However, a growing body of “inactivity research” indicates sitting for long periods of time at work, added to the leisure time we now spend interacting with mobile devices, may pose more health threats than previously thought. In fact, “chair disease,” as it is being called, may be a greater health risk than smoking.  Those who sit the most have a 112% increased risk for diabetes and a 147% increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Surprisingly, experts also are finding that despite popular belief, we can’t erase the damage by going to the gym three times a week.  A study of TV habits in Australia found that for every hour of sitting and watching TV after age 25, one loses 22 minutes off expected lifespan; a person watching TV six hours a day could reduce lifespan by up to 5 years. Attempts to redesign workstations haven’t made much headway against the increasing number of neck, shoulder and lower back problems among workers, says Karin Griffiths, a health science faculty member at the University of Sydney. “The problem is nearly everything can be done from a desk — communications, research, file retrieval and even meetings.” Ergonomic desk chairs and even standing desks aren’t helping. Another researcher, Nicolas Gilson with the University of Queensland, says, ” We need to radically change the way we operate at work — changing posture from sitting to standing and moving during work tasks.” Gilson discourages internal email on the same floor, and suggests people stand while on the phone and hold meetings while standing or walking. ( and


Business to Business

  • 64% of B2B marketers who indicate greater adoption of modern marketing practices still say that email is their most important digital activity. Interestingly, social media (42%) follows email, though it trails by a relatively large margin. PR, blogging, and customer case studies (31%) and search marketing (28%) remain in the mix, while webinars and virtual events have become more important over time, cited by 28% of respondents. (
  • 40% of U.S. online time is spent on just three activities: social networking, playing games and emailing. Mobile internet activity is different, however, with the dominant share of time (42%) spent on email, and just 11% on social media. (
  • Blogs, social media and organic search are the least expensive marketing channels. SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound sourced leads have a 1.7% close rate. 65% of B2B companies report that they have acquired a customer through LinkedIn. (
  • 86% of business technology decision makers use social media for professional reasons. (
  • Only 24% of small businesses have integrated social media in a structured way in their business and only 49% of small businesses consider social media marketing effective. (

 Brand Strategy

  • U.S. consumers rate 61% of brands “okay” to “very poor” in terms of customer experience they provide. (Forrester Research; 617-613-5730)
  • Nearly all shoppers (95%) have bought private-label products in the past year. More than half say they’ve increased their use of private-label products in categories such as dairy products, household paper goods, frozen vegetables, dry foods and bottled water. (
  • Eight in 10 U.S. consumers (80%) feel very strongly that making a purchase does not give the company permission to market to them via email. (RegReady; 301-990-9668)
  • Four in 10 online shoppers (40%) make more purchases from companies that personalize the shopping experience across all channels than from those that don’t. (MyBuys 650-544-2400)
  • Almost a third of Americans (32%) are unaware that companies “listen in” on social media conversations. (NetBase; 650-810-2100)


  • Six in 10 (61%) Americans describe themselves as knowledgeable about energy issues, including sources of electrical power and energy efficiency, according to results of a new Harris Poll. This is relatively unchanged since 2009 when 59% of Americans described themselves as knowledgeable about energy issues. (
  • While only four in 10 shoppers are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products, more than eight in 10 appreciate when the manufacturer bears the burden of producing environmentally friendly packaging. (Better Homes and Gardens)
  • The average price of a solar panel has declined by 60% since the beginning of 2011 and while these price drops are beneficial for solar consumers, the sharp fall in prices, due in part by a global oversupply, has put a serious strain on solar manufacturers worldwide. (
  • Today hydraulic fracturing is used in about nine out of 10 onshore oil and gas wells in the United States, with an estimated 11,400 new wells fractured each year. In 2010, about 23% of the natural gas consumed in the United States came from shale beds. (
  • According to research from Cornell University, beef production requires a ratio of energy expended to protein content of 54:1, compared with just 4:1 for chicken. (


  • American children get about 25% of their total vegetables in the form of potato chips and french fries. Adults eat an average of four servings of french fries a week. (
  • 80% of U.S. teenagers are eating diets that put them on a clear path to heart disease. (
  • Sugar sweetened beverage consumption was linked to 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 44,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 deaths from cancer. (
  • Women who used ibuprofen or acetaminophen two or more days a week increased their risk of hearing loss by up to 24%, depending on how much they took according to research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. (
  • More than a quarter of Americans (26%) have government based health insurance, including Medicare, Medicaid, and military benefits. (Gallup; 202-715-3030)
  • More than four in 10 adults age 55 and older (44%) have asked a doctor for information about vitamins or supplements. Three percent of vitamins taken by US adults are in gummy form. (AccentHealth; 813-349-7100 & Church & Dwight; 609-683-5900)

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