Marketing Automation Helps Nxtbook Identify Prospects

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Marketing automation is helping Nxtbook Media connect with publishers and catalogers looking to take their print editions digital.

The Lancaster, PA-based company is working with Pardot to qualify leads generated through a variety of sources, to gauge where they are in the sales cycle.

About 65% of Nxtbook's customer base is magazine publishers, with well over 90% of those publishers being B2B (the digital edition of Chief Marketer's print magazine is produced using Nxtbook).

The challenge for publishers, of course, is how to make money with those digital editions, notes Marcus Grimm, marketing director of Nxtbook. "With the advent of apps and the iPad, that is getting easier, as B2B firms are becoming more successful getting sponsorships for digital editions."

The sales cycle for Nxtbook depends on the type of magazine, and the frequency of the publication, says Joy Curtis, Nxtbook's marketing coordinator. The need is more immediate if they're talking to a publisher looking to take a print magazine completely digital, while a cataloger looking to produce an annual digital edition has a more leisurely timetable.

Likewise, the price point varies. A typical digital edition of a print magazine is under $1,000, says Grimm. "It depends on the types of services required—since the iPad came out, we're seeing publishers doing more highly designed publications, so it could be $7,000 to $10,000 an issue."

One of the main challenges for Nxtbook is finding out what prospective customers really need. "If a prospect comes in and are looking at competitors X, Y and Z, they might not even know what their goals are yet [for a digital edition]," says Curtis. "We use content marketing as part of that education process, because we don't want our sales people wasting their time."

Nxtbook works with Pardot on its marketing automation programs and Salesforce for CRM, to keep the brand in the sights and on the mind of prospects on a regular basis. Names for Nxtbook's prospecting efforts are collected from a variety of sources, including trade shows and online marketing efforts.

"We've come to realize that leads from different sources come in at different points in the sales cycle, so we segment them out from the get go," says Curtis. "We're able to [ramp up our efforts] quicker if we get signs that a lead is heading up."

Marketing automation with the help of Pardot has also helped Nxtbook refine its marketing programs. "With our drip email campaigns, for instance, we discovered that by the end of a campaign leads are pretty accustomed to our emails and aren’t responding as well. So we tightened our drip schedule and rearranged the order in which some of the emails appear," said Curtis.

Since deploying Pardot with Salesforce, Nxtbook has slashed its Google AdWords spend by 90%. "We're getting an inside look into which search terms get people to our site, and which terms lead to new business," noted Curtis. "As such we can be smarter about how we get web leads, and we don’t need to spend as much on AdWords."

Salespeople are assigned to a lead fairly early in the process, says Curtis, noting the Pardot system helps them identify through a point system where a lead is in the sales cycle. Points are assigned based on activities such as trade show interactions, or whitepaper downloads.

A whitepaper download is typically an indicator of someone being fairly early in their buying process. "And we've learned along the way that paid Google leads don't perform as well as we'd like them to," Curtis notes. "But if people take the time to call in, they convert at a higher rate."


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