A New Study Seconds That Emotion Should Have a Strong Place in Your Marketing

Participate in a Community of Character. Honor Veterans. Reach Out to Friends. Take a Real Look at Self-Care. These are just four of the month of constructive suggestions provided by long-time SIPA member PaperClip Communications to their audience of “hard-working campus professionals” in their November Support Calendar.

Each item on this wonderful calendar—located on their Free Resources page—links to follow-up ideas, tutorials and resources. “PaperClip Communications knows how difficult and uncertain this time is, and we’re happy to offer these complimentary resources [their bold] to help our colleagues during this crisis,” they write on the homepage.

Back in March and early April, many organizations moved quickly to build COVID-19 microsites to accompany their regular website. While many of those produced huge bumps in traffic, they also created a new vibe—we care about you, your health and how you are coping. Stephanie Williford of SIPA member EB Medicine has talked about the pushback she got when their COVID site first appeared behind a paywall. They quickly moved it in front.

These are emotional lifts at a time when we all still need it most. It’s also smart business. A new report from global B2B marketing agency Stein IAS, In Search for the Emotionally-Qualified Lead (EQL), seconds the notion that emotion-charged marketing remains very important in B2B buying decisions.

“In an age of purpose and now a time of crisis, human emotion is front and center,” Reuben Webb, chief creative officer at Stein IAS, told MarTech Series (MTS). “This is a B2B revolution that’s been building for some time. In embracing digital marketing and marketing technology, many B2B marketers, have placed over-emphasis on such measures as Marketing-Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales-Qualified Leads (SQL). At Stein IAS, our view is that another measure—the EQL—may be the most meaningful measure of all.”

Of course, it’s not just B2B. A quick look at Chesapeake Family’s homepage shows emotional connections through photos of families, kids trying to learn at home, and even a penguin. It’s just that B2B heartstrings are a little more of a surprise. According to MTS, a major study by Google and Gartner indicates that, while the average B2C brand has an emotional connection with between 10% and 40% of consumers; seven out of nine B2B brands have emotional connections with more than 50% of their customers.

Two years ago, at a SIPA Annual Conference, Rick Wilkes, OPIS director of marketing, talked about the importance of emotion in marketing.

“I think emotion is underrated in any kind of marketing, particularly with websites,” he said. “On the new OPIS site you see a refinery at sunset, and that’s the best a refinery is ever going to look. You’d be amazed in stock photography how many fuel places are within sunsets. It’s very soothing. So it’s a big bold image [and the words,] ‘Buy & sell oil & gas products with CONFIDENCE’—and the confidence is the emotional hook there.”

OPIS has had that up for a while so it’s obviously working—including the words, “OPIS delivers pricing and analysis you can trust…” “A successful brand is based on a connection that includes trust and an emotional bond which fosters a long-term relationship,” said Nick Hague, head of growth at B2B International. Indeed, with Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman finding that a whopping 95% of all purchase decisions are made subconsciously, it’s clear that B2B brands cannot afford to forget the importance of emotion.”

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing,” said the famous “Marketoonist” Tom Fishburne, quoted on the site Instapage. They write: “Does it feel like marketing when you watch a poignant advertisement and connect emotionally with the subject? Does it feel like marketing when you read a genuine positive customer review of a kind waitstaff and great service?

“Emotional connections happen because we’re human, and we’re built for these connections, wired for them, and rely on them to live a rich, meaningful life. Despite our significant advances in science and technology, human emotion (mainly our subconscious) will always be core to our DNA. Marketing by appealing to raw and genuine human emotion is essential, smart, and pays off.”


Exclusivity, ‘Wow,’ and Valuing Products Are Keys to Price Hikes and Upsells

Elizabeth Green (pictured), CEO of Brief Media—a leading publisher in the veterinary medicine field—once delivered a dynamic keynote at BIMS titled Disrupting Goliath: Tales of a Small Cap Media Innovator. “I’ve spent my entire tenure as a publisher watching Goliath,” she said. What she learned helped her to build one of the top brands in the field.

“Adapt and choose an unconventional strategy, and the tables flip,” Green told us, meaning David can come out ahead. During tough economic times around 2010, she raised the cost of print ads 20%. The strategy worked. Their print advertising dollars went up 40% the next year. “We went to see our clients to explain why,” she said. “The key was the exclusivity and valuing of our products. If you value them, [your customers] will value them.”

Seeing customers now and print ads have certainly waned, but raising prices—at times—and focusing on upsells should not. Here are five examples:

  • Ask with confidence. “Renewal time is also a great time to upsell or raise prices,” Dan Fink, managing director of Money-Media, said on his SIPA webinar last month. “If you have a great product and people are engaging with it, you really need to raise the price. If you can’t do that, you have a content or product problem.”
  • Offer add-ons. Coleman Report publisher Bob Coleman once told me about one of his upsell opportunities—where a customer could purchase a data report for $95 or access to the whole database for a little more. I said, “Wow,” which was just what he wanted to hear. “There are two parts to my philosophy of the upsell: The wow factor—someone telling me that it’s a good deal—and if it doesn’t cost me anything extra. Also, with webinars, Joseph Coleman would reach out to attendees to confirm and try to upsell with transcripts and unlimited access. They get about 20% conversions.
  • Build on something that suits the times we’re in. Knowing the state we’re in, Netflix recently announced that it would be raising prices for its monthly subscriptions in the U.S. A standard plan will go from $13 to $14 per month, while its premium tiers will go from $16 to $18. Greg Peters, Netflix COO and chief product officer, said that as the company invests more into both content and tech developments, they’ll “occasionally go back and ask [customers] to pay a little bit more to keep that virtuous cycle of investment and value creation going.”
  • Make it easy. In a webinar a few years ago, Adam Goldstein, publisher of Business Management Daily, spoke about their webinar upsells. After signing up for one, customers are offered an upsell to a season pass. On their website you see this language: “Save 90% on a complete year of training webinars. If you bought all our webinars offered for the year individually, you’d pay $39,400. What gets even more expensive (and dangerous) is when labor law mistakes you could’ve prevented end up in court. But for just $1,599, you can access all our webinars and get your team the HR training they need to be compliant with the law.”
  • Entice with content and gentle urging. “We use our own content to promote upsells,” said Joe May, marketing director at Pro Farmer. Snippets of grain reports and online videos might bring audience in. A free download might lead to a $29 report. And the report might lead to a trial membership for Pro Farmer. This way they can catalogue people over time—if they signed up for two free trials, Pro Farmer will ask, why don’t you give us a shot?



‘You Can’t Move From Want to Need on Guesswork’; the Rise of Data and Culture

Lucy Kueng, senior research associate at Reuters and internationally renowned expert on digital disruption, has published a new ebook titled Transformation Manifesto: 9 Priorities for Now. It delves into how publishers can change for the better in the aftermath of the pandemic. She wants to help them “seize the opportunities presented by the undeniable crisis we face, because those opportunities are truly huge.”

Let’s go over some of these priorities, paired with upcoming sessions at our big annual BIMS event featuring the SIPA Sales & Marketing Leadership Summit, Dec 2-4.

1. Move from nice-to-have to ‘must-have’: triple down on data. “You can’t move from want to need on guesswork,” Kueng writes. “You can only shift… by diving deeply into understanding customers and how you can become more important to them… Triple down on data, not just on the volume flowing into the organization but on the caliber of discussions around that data, on the insights derived from it, the hypotheses you develop and test.”

BIMS session: Keynote: Audience Data: Creating Inclusive Connections to Grow Your Business. Data journalist Sherrell Dorsey, founder and CEO of The Plug, will share how she has leveraged data integration at The Plug to forge meaningful connection with her audience, attracting thousands of subscribers, several hundred paid members and over $500,000 in equity-free capital.

2. Seize the moment to do clean-up work that’s overdue. You have cover. In the same way we have been cleaning out our homes of its junk, Kueng wants us to do the same with our business—and stop doing things that aren’t successful. But also she wants us to pivot in the way we do age-old processes. “Remote working clearly offers opportunities to rebalance fixed costs.”

BIMS session: Marketing Pivot: How Are Publishers Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic Now? How are publishers pivoting in this new environment? What marketing ideas can help you turn this pandemic into opportunity? Hear from Charity Huff, CEO, January Spring, Stacey Bailey, VP, Chartwell, Inc., and Jeson Jackson, marketing & customer experience manager, Education Week.

3. Your culture is unfrozen. There will never be a better time to change it. “Culture is incredibly efficient – it works as an internal protocol that silently influences actions and decisions,” Kueng writes. “Ensure digital voices (often younger and more diverse) have equivalent ‘voice time’ and that they are heard first.”

BIMS session: Keynote: From Media To Intelligence: How National Journal Became a Premier Insights Platform. Kevin Turpin, president of National Journal, will discuss National Journal’s evolution from a trusted 50-year-old media organization to a premier insights and intelligence company. This presented a huge culture change for them! He will provide insight into how his organization stays relevant and forward-thinking.

4. Take extravagant care of your teams. “Remote working is often a boon for productivity when tasks are known. [But] it is bad for innovation and setting up new things (and finding a workaround for this is the challenge right now)… Ramp up communication as much as possible. Gather everyone together more often. Remind them that they are part of a cohesive organization”

BIMS session: Power Panel: Operating in the New Normal. A panel of B2B executives share their views on leading in the “new normal,” including: return to work and balancing legal concerns and workplace liabilities of the COVID era; balancing in-person and remote workflows; morale and productivity; business lines they’re prioritizing for growth.


5. Timing is the rarest of strategic skills. Now is the time. “Agility, innovation, optimism—these were the most critical traits for now, according to 22 CEOs surveyed in September 2020. This is a rare reset moment. COVID-19 has been a crisis on so many levels but it is also a huge opportunity: to rethink, to innovate, to shed things that need to be let go of, and to build for the future.”

BIMS session: Executive Discussion: Why Innovation Fails and How to Fix It. 80% of innovation managers believe that customers do not know what they want and have needs that they cannot express. This gets to the root cause of the problem with current innovation processes and why the majority of new products fail. Tony Ulwick, founder & CEO, Strategyn, will give you a framework to understand your customers that unite the entire organization around a common language of the customer.


Longer Campaigns, Late Signups and More Interactivity Mark New Webinar World

In 2019, webinar platform ON24 handled 86,802 webinars, roughly equating to an average of 7,200 webinars a month. But in April 2020 alone, they hosted 19,294 webinars—roughly more than 640 webinars a day. Remote work has meant more watching and some new rules.

“We believe these figures represent the new ways in which people engage with online content, which is why we have updated our report to show you the trends at work,” said the Executive Statement for their ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report: COVID-19 Special Edition: How Businesses Drive Digital Engagement in a COVID World. Download here.

Here are some key findings and numbers from the report:

Webinars are becoming more interactive. More webinars are taking advantage of engagement tools to connect with their audience. Those tools include resource lists (offered by 69% of all webinars in 2020), surveys (38%), social widgets (21%) and polling (18.8%). That still seems a little low for where polling should be—always popular when I’ve seen it used. “Data shows that in 2019, top performers incorporated more multimedia elements into their webinars. These include PowerPoint slides (91%), Q&A sessions (88%), polls (78%) and surveys (73%). Around one in five (22%) also offered training certificates.”

Run your webinars around the middle of the day. The best time for a webinar is one fitting in with your audience’s schedules, but as a rule, lunchtime to early afternoon works well. If in doubt and you’re in the U.S. and covering multiple time zones, shoot for at 11 a.m. PT (2 pm ET).

Use longer campaigns that go right up to the webinar and maybe even 10 minutes in. “Longer promotional campaigns translate to more registrants,” they write. More registrants signed up at short notice in April 2020 than in 2019. Without travel, virtual events can now be signed up for at any time, so that thinking might be carrying over to webinars. Plus there’s just so much on our mind all the time now. The longer promotion cycle can not only increase registration rates but can “increase the likelihood of converting registrants into attendees. Promotional emails shouldn’t just be reminders though. Hit the ground running by including supporting content and building up excitement ahead of your webinar.”

Mid-week promotional emails perform best. Data from April 2020 matches previous benchmark reports in its indication that emails sent on Tuesday (21%), Wednesday (22%) and Thursday (21%) are the strongest performers. Monday (18%) is fairly close and then comes Friday (13%) and weekends (5%).

Try not to panic. Based on their April 2020 data, 75% of registrants sign up in the week of the webinar, compared to just 43% last year. The percentage of day-of sign ups has almost doubled, from 10% in 2019 to 19% in 2020. In 2019, 57% signed up eight days or more before; in 2020 it’s 26%. They write that “webinars are increasingly functioning like on-demand TV.”

Promote afterwards. “One-third (34%) of attendees accessed the on-demand version only, demonstrating the need to make webinars available to audiences on their terms.” Here’s the number that surprised me: 95% of these on-demand-only attendees register a week after the live event. That may suggest getting a couple testimonials from the live event to feed the marketing afterwards. However, the on-demand viewing time averaged just 29 minutes.

Create a content hub. These really worked for COVID-19 resources and stories, so it makes sense that people would be getting accustomed to them. “Right now, professionals are interacting almost exclusively with digital channels. Rather than letting your webinar lead to a dead end, give prospects and customers access to bingeable playlists of content and drive inbound leads.”

Webinars are becoming more visual. More than half (55%) of all webinars in April 2020 incorporated some type of video in their events, a massive jump from 2019 (38%). “This suggests practitioners have become increasingly comfortable with the use of video technologies over recent years, but recent events have taken this important integration to the next level.” Half (50%) of respondents just used a webcam to record video, while 7% used their phone and 2% used a hand-held video recorder. “In fact, 8 in 10 claimed that adding video to their webinars is easy.”

One last note: The average viewing time for webinars in April 2020 was 54 minutes, down slightly from 56 minutes in 2019. Be careful of Zoom fatigue.

Again, download the report here.


There’s Nothing Like a BIMS 2020 Quiz to Test Your Industry Knowledge

Like many others, we pay tribute to the great host Alex Trebek with this challenging, 8-question BIMS 2020 quiz (Dec. 2-4). One other similarity with Jeopardy at BIMS is that we’ll give you loads of answers and welcome all your questions! See how you rank here with your peers!

1. A talent scout for what popular TV reality show recently told BIMS keynote speaker Sherrell Dorsey that they use her platform The PLUG to stay informed on emerging start-ups across the nation.

a. Extreme Makeover

b. Kitchen Nightmare

c. Shark Tank

d. The Bachelor

On Day 2 of BIMS, Dorsey will deliver a keynote titled Audience Data: Creating Inclusive Connections to Grow Your Business. Register here for BIMS 2020.


2. Events expert Robyn Duda recommends doing all of these for your events, in-person or virtual, except what:

a. Look to other industries for positive examples.

b. Diversify your speakers.

c. Reach out beyond your usual audience. Talk to the people who are not coming to your events.

d. Start with a solution and then you’ll get at the problem.

Duda will be moderating an events panel that includes executives from Financial Times, Winsight and Emerald.


3. “The ____________ is the distillation of your message. Make sure you’re asking the customer to do what you want them to do,” said Jeson Jackson, marketing & customer experience manager, Education Week.

a. sale

b. offer

c. open rate

d. content

Jackson will speak with Charity Huff, CEO, January Spring, and Stacey Bailey, VP, Chartwell, Inc., in a session titled Marketing Pivot: How Are Publishers Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic Now?


4. “What we did was roll out three new featured weekly segments on topics that we don’t traditionally write about,” said Angela Kornegor, executive director, MedLearn Media, adding that they’ve driven traffic up 40%, and laid groundwork for more sponsor and advertising opportunities, and a new subscription model. Which is not one of their new weekly segments?

a. Thoughtful Thursdays

b. Frontline Fridays

c. Stay at Home Kids

d. The Saturday Post.

Kornegor will be on the panel for the session, Sales Leadership for Content Companies: Surpassing Your Sales Goals.


5. Staying with sales… According to a study last year by ValueSelling Associates, the most important skill for a salesperson connecting with new prospects is:

a. conducting research to identify target prospects who are decision makers.

b. getting an introduction via referral.

c. face-to-face networking.

d. Using social media to build personas.

Leslie Laredo, president, Laredo Group and Academy of Digital Media, will moderate a SIPA track session on Pricing Meets Opportunity: Case Studies in Success.


6. One big source of revenue that Kevin Turpin, president of the National Journal Group, implemented in their makeover was ____________________. “[Our members] knew the content but needed a workable format. We’re actually very good at that… Your customers have to feel like, ‘I pay a premium price point [but] they’re always there for me, they solve my problems, they ask to help.'”

a. newsletters

b. data products

c. presentations

d. sponsored content

Turpin will deliver the keynote talk on Day 3 of BIMS titled From Media to Intelligence: How National Journal Became a Premier Insights Platform.


7. Matt Bailey, lead trainer & founder, SiteLogic, is speaking about what when he says, “It can become its own science. It is the critical part that a lot of people forget about in this type of lead marketing or content marketing or even dealing with the funnel.”

a. the conversion

b. the landing page

c. A/B testing

d. the homepage

Bailey and Lauren St. Clair, group marketing director, Diversified Communications, will present the session Lead Gen Technology: Keeping the Engines Fueled. Also, Jim Sinkinson, partner, FiredUp! Marketing, will lead The Ultimate Copywriting Bootcamp: Emails and Landing Pages. So you will leave BIMS 2020 with full copywriting, landing page and lead gen knowledge.


8. Lydia Richards, our professional sommelier for Cocktails and Connection, was asked, “What wine region of the world do you have a particular expertise or love for and why?” She replied, “I think there are so many amazing regions around the world (both known and emerging—English bubbly, anyone?), but right now I’m all about _____________.”

a. Portugal

b. Chile

c. South Africa

d. Spain

Richardson will lead a spirited discussion and tasting at 4:30, Dec. 2 in our Cocktails and Connection. Register here for BIMS.



1.c – Shark Tank


3.b – offer


5.a – conducting research to identify target prospects who are decision makers

6.c – presentations

7.b – the landing page

8.d – Spain. “Right now I’m obsessed with wines from the Canary Islands (Los Bermejos in Lanzarote), learning more about the Sierra de Gredos/Vinos de Madrid region (Las Moradas de San Martin and Commando G), and, of course, Galicia (Guimaro) are some of my personal go-tos,” Richardson said.



1-3 right – You have to register for BIMS 2020!

4-6 right – You have to register for BIMS 2020 and lead a forum!

7-8 right – You have to register for BIMS 2020 and come to Cocktails and Connnection on Dec. 2! But stay humble.