Live Client -- iBASEt Corporation
iBASEt Corporation was founded in 1986 by Amrik Singh Poonian, and is today a $30M software company with sales offices in Toulouse, France; Detroit, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri and at headquarters in Foothill Ranch, California. The company currently has 360 employees worldwide with 70 developers in India, and the majority of employees in the United States (iBASEt, 2015). The company is a leader in the development, sales and service of manufacturing execution system (MES), maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and supplier quality assurance (SQA) (iBASEt, 2015). Despite being a very small firm by enterprise software standards, iBASEt has been able to attract and keep many of the world's most prestigious aerospace and defense firms including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Parker Aerospace, the United Space Alliance, Astrium French Aerospace, Airbus, L3 Communications and many others (iBASEt, 2015). Despite the company being public, their relatively open approach to reporting results and sales have made it relatively easy to calculate their sales per employee of approximately $120,000, which is at the median level of competitors in their specific market of enterprise software. The company has a very low debt ratio, further signaling tight fiscal controls internally. All of these factors point to a very tightly managed digital marketing communications and marketing campaign strategy budget, which is exemplified in the results of this analysis. What the client has been able to achieve despite budget constraints illustrates what's possible with Cloud-based marketing automation applications that align quickly with how companies choose to operate over the long-term (Rowley, 2008). The heavy reliance on analytics has provided the marketing department with the essential insights need to continually seek new funding of digital marketing campaigns that are multichannel in scope. The reliance on analytics in conjunction with digital analytics has set the foundation for a very rapid ascent of content-driven marketing strategies in business-to-business (B2B) marketing (Geraghty, 2011) that continues accelerating today.
What makes this clients' digital marketing strategies particularly interesting is how engineering-centric the culture of the company is, and how it has often been challenged to create scalable, long-term digital marketing strategies in the past. Based on interviews with this clients' Vice President of Marketing, the marketing departments' reliance on HubSpot marketing HubSpot integration reporting delivered within Salesforce are rapidly changing the nature of marketing within the firm. The Marketing VP also mentioned how useful analytics are in defining the goals, objectives and direction of marketing clearly to engineering teams that dominate the company. In defining the value proposition of marketing, the Marketing VP at iBASEt mentioned that the first objective is to use digital content to drive greater awareness and dominance of the iBASEt brand across keyword searches on Bing, Google, Yahoo and other search engines. The secondary goal is to define marketing campaigns and strategies across the majority of the website, offering informational e-books and white papers, in addition to advanced videos that can help prospects see the deep value that iBASEt delivers. The combined use of a wide variety of digital channels has proven to be more effective in attracting, selling and serving B2B prospective clients (Freundt, Hillenbrand, Lehmann, 2013). iBASEt balances these digital strategies with just a few offline events including tradeshows, as the digital or online strategies are inherently more measurable and therefore can be improved much faster than tradeshows that often have very long planning horizons, high costs, and inherently lack the ability to track performance of (Hadjikhani, LaPlaca, 2013). Analytics are the foundation of the digital marketing campaigns at iBASEt and where possible with the cooperation of the Vice President, Marketing and his staff, they results are presented in this analysis.
In August, 2014 iBASEt completely revamped its website, choosing to standardize on the WordPress platform for its ease of customization. At the same time, HubSpot was added in as the inbound marketing system. Both the website and the cloud-based HubSpot content marketing system are integrated with Salesforce, as is evident from the structure and URLs of following landing page for a recent e-book the client offered. Please see Figure 1 for an example of a recent iBASEt landing page.
Figure 1: Recent iBASEt landing page (source: www. ibaset.com)
The inclusion of offers that are gated by landing pages are often debated...
One theory of content marketing strategy is to provide prospects with unlimited access to content and allow as many downloads as possible, with the propagation of content being the primary priority (Singh, Gordon, Purchase, 2007). Countering this approach or strategy to content marketing is the belief that all valuable content needs to be gated and used to drive active prospects (Latusek, 2010). The belief that only the most qualified will opt in for the specific downloadable assets is often argued from the standpoint of the relative time and cost associated with producing each content item (Hadjikhani, LaPlaca, 2013). This debate is further exacerbated in B2B marketing where thought leadership and the continual sharing of information to specific personas or groups and audiences of potential customers is the most critical focus that marketers concentrate on, especially in attempting to create their own unique B2B marketing brand (Gagnon, 2014). This debate is very salient for the client, iBASEt, as their sales cycles are exceptionally long and often require an intensive amount of content to generate interest, trust and eventually the opportunity to demonstrate the application to a prospect's engineering team. In evaluating the following four web pages it is essential to keep the context of a very engineering-centric culture needing to clearly and convincingly communicate the value their software delivers:
First Page: Supplier Quality Management (http://www.ibaset.com/products/supplier-quality-management/) -- This page is critical to the future of the company yet it has a very bland "hero" image or branding image across the top, and also has very generic-looking images down the remainder of the site. There isn't a focus on using HubSpot as effectively as possible on each page as well; there are for instance no recent e-books or other informational content shown on this specific page. From the many secondary research sources used for evaluating the company, it's clear that Supplier Quality Management (SQM) is a core future focus of the company and essential for their cloud-based product development strategy as well (iBASEt, 2015). Yet this page offers little in the way of any compelling content and has some very static, boring images as well. Figure 2 provides an overview of the page:
Figure 2: iBASEt Supplier Quality Management web page
(Source: www. ibaset.com)
Recommendations for this page include the following. First, the images need to be replaced and made more aligned with the aerospace and defense markets the company sells into. Second, there needs to be more focus on how to integrate social media into this page and all others included in this analysis. While traditional marketers are often quick to say that social media including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and others aren't important to the overall marketing strategies of a B2B companies, research shows that every one of these social networks makes a contribution to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of a given blog post or content piece, and also appeals to the current generation of engineering managers and students just transitioning into the workforce (Debi, Sharma, 2013).
Second Page: Medical Products (http://www.ibaset.com/industries/medical-devices/) -- This page is also critical for the future success of the company as the CEO and President have often both mentioned that medical product's is essential for the growth of iBASEt into tangential markets (iBASEt, 2015). To view this page please see Figure 3. The trouble with this page is that it looks unfinished and has no real integration into the existing marketing strategies, all of which are heavily focused on product quality and cost of quality data for aerospace and defense manufacturers. The design of this webpage is too generic to be of value to any marketing strategy as there is again no strong call to action (CTA) to drive prospects to opt in and download a white paper from HubSpot.
Figure 3: iBASEt Medical Devices Industry web page
(Source: www. ibaset.com)
The medical device industry page is also still using generic icons, which further underscore the nascent nature of this page's development. Clearly the client needs to put more time into defining the overall structure of the page, and urgently needs more compelling CTAs to drive content downloads. One of the most fundamentally critical aspects of any content marketing program is to create an effective strategy for enabling downloads while at the same balancing the appearance and balance of a website's design (Iyer, 2002). There is also no customer references on this page as well, which the client has a wealth of in the aerospace and defense industry. What's needed is more of a focus on how to make this page as strong and unique as the ones on aerospace and defense and industrial equipment.
Third Page: Library (http://www.ibaset.com/library/) -- Rudimentary in its structure and lacking any differentiated images or…
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