Marco Marketing is one of Verb’s customers. They are in a business called trade marketing, with hundreds of employees helping sell consumer products through all channels, including retail stores across Latin America, serving about 30 very large customers, many in the tech industry, each with a lifetime value in the millions of dollars.
The reason for the extraordinary lifetime value of their customers is that Marco Marketing just celebrated their 25th anniversary, and some of their customers have been with them since they started in 1995. They have a presence in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, among others). The impact of the pandemic has been deep across all the countries where they operate.
A critical threat
You can imagine that the combination of trade plus coronavirus was a critical threat for Marco Marketing. To mitigate the risk, they worked very hard last year to put out many innovative projects to keep their people safe and current projects moving, as well as get new customers. That is why they were willing to innovate in their marketing approach, including a leads campaign on Facebook. Global Marketing Manager Ixchel Angeles said, “Let’s try with $1,000 per month: if you can use Facebook to get us 40 leads in 3 months, we’ll be happy.”
So we created that leads campaign for them, with a series of five ads that used video to ask a carefully selected target in each country, “Are you ready to open back up?,” and offering a consulting session for people who signed up.
Here’s what went down the funnel with each round of experiments.
First round in June, we set a $50/day budget for each country in the campaign, including Brazil, and got 90 leads at over $7 per lead. The customer said, most of these leads are too small for us to sell anything to them, but the quantity looks good compared to our Google Ads, so keep going.
Second round in July, we set a $700 budget for the entire campaign across all countries. Facebook bet the entire lot on Brazil and blew the lid off the campaign with 239 leads at less than $3 per lead. The customer said that 6 of those leads were right on target to sell to them. If they get even 1 of those, the ROI could potentially be over $300 for every $1 invested on Facebook.
Third round in August, we set a specific budget for each country and let Facebook decide how to apply it during the month. We got 110 leads at over $7 per lead split across the different countries. Our grand total after the 3 months was over 400 leads, 10 times what the customer expected, at less than $5 per lead.
We told Ixchel we wished we could run the same type of campaign for our business at Verb, where we get perhaps a dozen leads per year at a cost of hundreds of dollars each. She said, when you are 25 years in business, you’ll get it.
Two big “ahas.”
Number one is, we never thought that it was possible to get as many B2B leads from Facebook. Not even Facebook thought that, judging by the crazy how-to guide to download the leads, which has six steps, five options, and gets you a spreadsheet with the lead information (for anyone at Facebook reading this, I’d rather get a notification on new leads than on the birthday of my elementary school classmates).
Number two “aha”, how different to us humans is the Facebook AI. When we looked at the chart of leads for each of the 90 ad variations we put out as part of the campaign, we said “oh, there’s one clear winner with 70% of leads.” When the Facebook AI looked at it, it said “I can get 4 more leads if I show this other ad to 1,600 more people.”
In the end, one of those leads from our experiment converted to actual sales for our customer, so we agreed with them that Facebook paid ads, including Instagram, are an efficient way to generate B2B leads. To replicate the same experiment in your business, you need a cost-effective way to process a potentially large number of leads, and you need to apply the basics of paid social ads, including accurate targeting, a compelling offer, relevant messaging, and creative video. Be open-minded and let the AI do its thing. We learned these principles and how to apply them at BizHack Academy and they have served us well: their courses are worth every penny. Learn more about using Facebook to your advantage in our interview with BizHack’s founder Dan Grech.
Would it work on LinkedIn?
Of course, you could also run a similar experiment on LinkedIn. Cost per lead will probably be higher, but you might feel more comfortable with that platform’s personality. Just remember that whatever B2B profile you are targeting is made up of people who do other things besides work. If you find what those distinctive things are for your target, you’ll have the key to not just better paid social, but to every digital marketing and communications strategy, including SEO, PR, email, events, and everything else.