Smart Marketing Blog

Wendy Covey

CEO and Co-Founder
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Recent Posts

Leading During Uncertainty

Uncertainty. There is a lot of that going around these days, as the world reacts to the spread of COVID-19, or Coronavirus. As with other crises both local and global in scope, business leaders need to keep calm, stay informed, and react quickly when policies and plans are needed to protect their employees, customers, and business.  Uncertainty can also present golden opportunities to innovate and grow.

New Podcast Series Launched by TREW CEO

I’m excited to announce the launch of my podcast series Content Marketing, Engineered. In each episode I’ll bring in colleagues, industry friends, and TREW clients to share their experiences and wisdom marketing to technical audiences. My goal is to help you work smarter and produce better results with content marketing. 

What Keeps the VP of Sales and Marketing Up at Night?

Prospecting is one of the most difficult parts of the sales process. Why? The act of prospecting is typically interruptive, performed at the salesperson's convenience rather than the prospects, and too often it occurs too early in the buyers journey. All of this leads to frustration and inefficiency for the salesperson, and a turn-off for the potential buyer.

The TREW Crew's Favorite Ways to Give Back

As the holiday season is upon us, we are so grateful for all the amazing clients and partnerships we have had this year. It's been a busy and successful year at TREW Marketing, and we have so many exciting things to look forward to in 2020.

Q&A from Webinar:  2020 Smart Marketing for Engineers

Thank you to all who joined IEEE GlobalSpec and TREW Marketing for our 3rd annual Smart Marketing to Engineers research findings webinar. Over 500 marketing and engineering professionals registered to learn how to better reach technical audiences, underscoring the importance of continuing to study and learn about this unique audience group.  

The Most Costly Mistake that Trade Show Exhibitors Make

Events are in my blood. My college days at Texas A&M were spent organizing student organization trade shows. During my early career at National Instruments, I planned 50+ trade show exhibits annually, and now I consult with TREW clients on their trade show strategy.

Improve Database Quality By Taking Out the Trash

Content is termed the “king” when it comes to marketing – but I am going to challenge that and say that data might be even more powerful. Without accurate data, your content will never reach its fullest potential. Leads are one of the most common metrics measured by marketing. But if you start to peel back the layers, the TRUE leads are likely to be a smaller percentage after you remove the “trash” that accumulates in your database.

Lots of Qualified Leads, Now What

A recent customer conversation epitomized the power (and potential pitfall) of effective inbound marketing. One of the more marketing-savvy business owners I contacted said that he only reaches out to customers that “raise their hand.” This is certainly the ideal state - customers telling you they are interested in your products and services instead of the other way around. Besides, cold calling isn't fun and can be especially ineffective when your sales model requires highly technical engineers and scientists to sell sophisticated solutions to other highly technical engineers and scientists.

Video: Basics of Lead Scoring

As your inbound marketing efforts gain traction and you start to capture a steady stream of leads, you will likely encounter new issues. The surplus leads may bottleneck in the marketing > sales lead handoff, aging while waiting for review and follow up, or a drop in sales productivity as your high-value resources spend too much time evaluating leads instead of working qualified prospects. At the same time, you have a significant opportunity to monitor signs that a potential qualified buyer is ready to engage with sales.

The ROI of Content Marketing

Technical executives and sales leaders seeking more inbound qualified leads routinely ask me questions about return on investment -- how much and when? These leaders are typically seeking to scale without expanding their expensive direct sales force, replace unproductive prospecting, or cull fruitless outbound marketing investments. They’ve heard of content marketing but haven’t internalized how very different this model is to outbound marketing or prospecting. Content marketing is a methodology to gain awareness, build trust, and shorten the buyer’s journey by creating and publishing a steady stream of quality, optimized content on targeted topics. With content marketing, YOU are the publisher and YOU are creating your own community. With outbound marketing, you pay to get your message out to a community that someone else has gathered. There’s the rub. If we compare the two with a short-term view, it is clear that outbound is a faster way to get leads. The community already exists, and you can tap into it quickly….for a price. The moment you stop investing, the flow of leads stops too. You may also run into issues finding a community that is a fit with your target audience, and need to cast a wider net to find the right fish. This is also not a captive audience, or one that necessarily knows who you are, so you’ll need to work harder to capture attention and draw them to your website and content. You also have way less control over this community. Case in point: with COVID-19, companies who relied heavily upon trade shows are now scrambling to replace those activities in order to keep leads flowing in, whereas companies who already had a strong inbound model are seeing even higher growth during these virtual-centric times. Content marketing is a longer-term strategy. In order to build your community and move up in search rankings, there are several phases of implementation necessary. It typically takes 9-12 months to start to see results, and that is only if certain foundational pieces (such as a strong website and marketing automation) are already in place. Otherwise the ROI starts to be attractive in year two. (To dive into details of content marketing activities by year, from establishing a foundation to optimizing your program, pick up new my book Content Marketing, Engineered – due out May 2020). Once your content marketing program is up and running, here are key quantifiable content marketing metrics that indicate whether your activities are yielding results along the buyer’s journey:Feedback from sales, not only in the form of quantitative data, such as the number of qualified leads accepted by sales, but also qualitative results (“This case study helped me win a big new contract!”) is also very informative. All these data points combined speak to the overall ROI of content marketing. No one-size-fits-all calculator can predict your particular company’s results. Each case is unique and depends on many factors such as the abundance of content already written, the condition of your website and supporting software tools, and the size of your marketing budget. That being said, a 2018 ROI analysis by MIT and HubSpot showed that North American middle-market companies that adopted an inbound content marketing approach and paired it with their marketing and sales automation platform achieved these results in year 1: All companies increased monthly leads by 2.5X or more  More than half saw an increase in revenue 60% experienced lead quality improvement 70% increased their lead-to-customer conversion rate On average TREW Marketing clients have grown revenue by as much as 20% after one year of a full marketing retainer. That being said we have seen clients perform much better than the HubSpot/MIT metrics in year 1, others whose second year was the breakout year for content marketing, and still others fell short altogether.  Are you set up for content marketing ROI success? Here are a few guiding questions to assess your foundation: Do you have a formal marketing plan, with defined personas, tied to business goals? Do you have a strong, differentiated company message and value proposition? Is your website easy to navigate, update, and optimized for search? Do you have the ability to capture leads and manage them through a CRM and marketing automation software? Do your subject-matter-experts have bandwidth to write, or work with a writer? Are you publishing a steady stream of optimized, quality content on your site? Do you have an established process for managing leads? Final thoughts on content marketing ROI from HubSpot Chief Operating Officer JD Sherman: “When you are creating an inbound program you are creating an asset. Like a factory, it’s durable and pays an annuity over time.” If you are looking to adopt a content marketing methodology for your business, order (link: my new book, Content Marketing, Engineered, which guides you through each step of the journey. If you would like more hands-on help, schedule a meeting (link: with a TREW Consultant to discuss your marketing needs.

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