Ask the Expert: John McTigue on Why Lead Nurturing is a Necessity

August 27, 2015

Young Marketer Smiling on Phone

John McTigue is executive vice president at Kuno Creative, an agency that specializes in inbound marketing. McTigue approaches lead nurturing, a key element of inbound marketing, with a data-driven focus appropriate for a former Shell Oil Company research geoscientist, which he was back in the 1980s.

Today, McTigue is drilling for the best ways to help his clients get the most from their lead nurturing. He says that an always-on lead nurturing program is a necessity for marketers, because buyers – ourselves included – delete most email, use TiVo on their TVs to skip ads, and send phone calls straight to voice mail.

“We’ve become really good at using those filters, and it’s not the way we want to be sold to,” McTigue said. “We want to do our own research. We’re going to do our homework first and figure out what the best solution is for us, and we’ll contact the salesperson when we’re ready. As a marketer, you have to understand that, and you have to be there when they’re checking you out.”

Read on to gain more insight from McTigue, who in this brief Q&A outlines first steps marketers should take in developing a lead nurturing program and what’s critical to make such a program continue to perform at a high level.

John McTigue

Q&A with John McTigue, Executive Vice President of Kuno Creative

LinkedIn: What’s the best metaphor for explaining lead nurturing?

John McTigue: The best approach is the advisor-student relationship, where the salesperson or the person responsible for the lead nurturing communications is trusted and viewed as someone who knows what they’re talking about.

LinkedIn: How do you get marketers to understand that the buyer’s journey has changed and, as a result, lead nurturing is a necessity?

McTigue: Two ways. I say, look at the way you buy. Look at your own situation. You throw away every email that comes across your desk. You turn your TiVo on so you don’t have to watch TV ads. You send all the phone calls to voicemail and never call them back. This is the way we all behave now. We’ve become really good at using those filters, and it’s not the way we want to be sold to. We want to do our own research. We’re going to do our homework first and figure out what the best solution is for us, and we’ll contact the salesperson when we’re ready. As a marketer, you have to understand that, and you have to be there when they’re checking you out. You have to be on all the time, 24/7. You have to be monitoring everything that’s going on, and you have to be the best team in town in terms of content. And then, if that doesn’t work, I show them the data, all the statistics, all the surveys that have been made. Everybody agrees that sales has really changed, and if you don’t change you’re going to lose.

LinkedIn: What are the first steps for implementing a lead nurturing program?

McTigue: I ask our customers some pointed questions like, who are your customers? What do they want? What are their frustrations and pain points? Do you know who they are and how they shop? What is their criterion for success, and what are their goals? Do you know any of that? Usually they don’t, so you have to start with buyer persona interviews, and you have to put together solid profiles of who your customers are and what they want. Once that’s done we start mapping out content. What’s the best content that will appeal to those buyers at each stage in the buyer journey?

LinkedIn: What’s critical to making a lead nurturing program work?

McTigue: Nowadays, the differentiator is personalization. The more targeted the email, the more personalized the communication is in nurturing, the better. Our data shows that you get much higher conversion rates, much higher email open rates and click-throughs than you do without personalization. The way this works is that for each campaign we run there is a champion, so it might be me. I at least help write the original eBook or host the webinars, so I’m involved in every aspect of it. And then the nurturing emails are written in my voice. They’re with my style and focus on things that I’m interested in and written in the first person. Those personalized emails convert much higher than just kind of your standard email blast.

For more thought leader interviews and tips on how to boost the effectiveness of your lead nurturing programs, download The Sophisticated Marketer’s Crash Course In Lead Nurturing.

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