How Manchester United Revolutionized Sports Marketing
APRIL 3, 2014
Ask me which English soccer, uh, football team I would support and I would say Liverpool. Not for any defensible reason; it’s just because that’s where the Beatles are from and because I know next to nothing about that kind of football (I think they made us play it once in gym class when I was in 7 th grade). Have a Backstory. But Man U also did something else really smart. Fantasy sports.
How social media muteness endangers your company: The crisis at McKinsey
JULY 29, 2011
McKinsey recently learned a difficult lesson about what happens when the world takes your thought leadership marketing seriously—and when you lack the ability to respond in the moment through social media. The trouble started when the McKinsey Quarterly published an article in early June entitled How US health care reform will affect employee benefits, based on a survey the firm did about what will happen to employer-sponsored health care insurance coverage when the President’s health care law goes into effect in 2014. textbook example of pragmatic thought leadership. And so it did.
6 Freaky, Funny, and Scary Abilities of Computer Organisms
JUNE 18, 2014
I intended to write this blog about some of the amazing, helpful, and scary things that robots can do today, but even a quick look at the information out there demonstrates that robot is already an archaic term, like calling a car a horseless carriage. They are as dependent on the computing environment that surrounds them as living organisms are on their ecosystems. Make humans shed tears.
9 attributes of the best thought leadership content
SEPTEMBER 29, 2011
Some time back, I blogged about the attributes of a thought leader. Lately, I’ve been talking to B2B marketers about the content delivered by these thought leaders and asking, What defines good thought leadership content? Here’s what I have so far. Surely, you have a suggestion that will get us to ten attributes? Visionary. It’s best to address a problem before customers realize that it’s a problem. Provocative. The best thought leadership pieces are bold and attack conventional wisdom. Differentiated. No “me too” ideas allowed. Relevant. Timely. Has a narrative. Demonstrates mastery.
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What the slow death of B2B publishing means for marketers
MARCH 4, 2011
This cartoon making the rounds online captures the frustration journalists have with their online plight--and reveals the opportunity B2B marketers have to fill the content gap. Marketers always struggle with what to do next. There so many channels out there and so little time. But if you step back and think about where the real opportunity is for B2B marketers, it is idea marketing.
Why Companies Must Hire for Potential, Not Skills
FEBRUARY 28, 2014
One of my former bosses said she literally fished my cover letter and resume out of the trash. Frustrated that HR wasn’t sending her the right people for a writing job, she demanded that they turn over the submissions that they had already discarded. Where’s the Flexibility? Companies Can’t Always Get What They Need Off the Street. Here are two reasons why: Schools can’t keep up.
Is ghost writing in social media right or wrong?
JUNE 18, 2012
This week, I posted the first of what may prove to be a series of controversial blog posts on the SAP community network (known to members as SCN). The posts won’t be controversial so much for the content itself (although I hope that that happens eventually) as for the way I’m presenting it. I’m going to channel other people’s ideas, not my own. You can read the entire post here. It introduces me to the community and explains what I’m planning to do. They may not like it and you may not either. Others call it ghost writing. Social media is biased toward English.
7 reasons why social media success has nothing to do with social media
OCTOBER 7, 2011
This week I was asked to speak on a panel about social media to a group of B2B marketers in financial services. It was great getting the perspective of marketers outside of technology. But they call it “financial services” for a reason: They have all of the same struggles as technology services companies—with the added complication of tons of regulatory requirements. But when the panel was over, I realized something scary: Most of the success factors we wound up talking about had nothing to do with social media. Social doesn’t happen in B2B without a culture change. 30% said yes.
6 ideas for sifting the mobility chaos
MARCH 12, 2012
For about 20 years (sad to say I was a journalist for even longer than that) it seemed that every white paper that crossed my desk began with some variant of this sentence: “As the world becomes more global and interconnected, businesses need a way to see through the complexity. Hire us.]“ “ But now the ubiquitous opening sentence seems to be: “Businesses are awash [drowned, buried, you get the idea] in data. Hire us.]“ “ Last week, I went looking for some good ideas on mobility. My destination? New Jersey. See if these ideas do anything for you. Far from it.
Four reasons to hate thought leadership
FEBRUARY 4, 2012
You may have noticed that I’ve changed the name of my blog. I’ve changed it for two reasons. First, because I’ve left ITSMA and joined SAP , where I will focus on marketing the good ideas of the many subject matter experts there. I’m going to share my experiences in helping to build an engine for developing and disseminating good ideas for SAP (with names changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike). I won’t be focusing on B2B marketing in the broadest sense anymore; I’ll be narrowing things to idea marketing (and the role that social media play in it).
Content Marketing 2016: Staffing, Measurement, and Effectiveness
We surveyed 2016's content marketing leaders on their biggest issues, hurdles, and goals.
Is “social media campaign” an oxymoron?
DECEMBER 2, 2011
If you had asked me a few years ago whether the traditional marketing campaign had any place in social media I would have scoffed. Just more evidence of marketing’s old-fashioned, ADHD-driven, love-’em-and-leave-’em approach. would have had only slightly less disdain for the audience for these campaigns. Fly-by-night opportunists hoping to win your Facebook sweepstakes. Win or lose, after the contest is over, they’d ditch you as quickly as a toddler dispatching a fistful of broccoli. After all, “engaging” is one of the four components of social media management. Then HP did something cool.
The last of the anti-social marketing tactics
NOVEMBER 11, 2011
Taglines are the last bastions of a classic, one-way marketing messaging strategy, preserving marketing’s perceived right to tell customers what to think. In truth, customers have never listened, except in a few cases of companies with the budget muscle to pound the tagline into customers’ heads over and over again though mass marketing and TV. And yet we keep spending hard-earned shareholders’ dollars creating these shallow soundbites that are supposed to protect our brands, even though the transparency of the internet, and now social media, have rendered such defenses useless.
The five stages of social media grief—have you passed through them yet?
JUNE 15, 2011
Image via Wikipedia. Social media (along with skimpy marketing budgets) are causing a transformation in marketing to a degree that we haven’t seen for a lifetime. But in our rush to embrace the new, we haven’t taken adequate time to honor the painful transition we are experiencing. Think of me as your grief counselor for good ol’ message-based marketing. Denial. This can’t be happening—not to me.”
How to measure influence in social media marketing
MAY 6, 2011
Image via Wikipedia. Measuring influence is the new obsession in the social media world—adding another layer of anxiety to the dark cloud of existential dread that is marketing ROI. Social media present us as individuals seeking status within a community, which is something that humans have been working at since our days as monkeys. But we need validation that it is happening. The monitors.
Study: How Much of Your Content Marketing Is Effective?
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Does integrity make you a social media loser?
OCTOBER 14, 2011
In three plus years of tweeting, I’ve picked up what I perceive to be the general etiquette for engaging on Twitter. I’ve also done research asking B2B marketers how they engage and how they educate their employees and SMEs to engage. I’ve rolled all that up into an approach that I doubt constantly. I don’t seem to be alone. Lots of people seem to be having Twitter identity crises these days. Another popular blogger, Mitch Joel, worries that he sucks at Twitter because he doesn’t follow everyone back. Do you? Integrity is one of my few talents and I’m afraid it’s wasted on Twitter.
15 things marketers should stop doing and thinking in 2011
DECEMBER 28, 2010
Here’s a list of things I wish we would stop doing and thinking as of December 31 st : Social media. Social media cause people to waste time at work. Companies have a long and pointless history of resisting new forms of communication. From Facebook to email to putting telephones on employees’ desks (remember, the telephone started as a “consumer” communication technology, too), companies think that every new wave is going to lead to gajillions in lost productivity. Dude, this stuff isn’t heroin, okay? Guess what companies, people wasted time at work long before Facebook came along. Mobile.
Why Brand Journalism Must Die
APRIL 10, 2014
There is no such thing as brand journalism. I was a journalist for 25 years, so I should know. know what you’re thinking, “Oh here goes the burnt-out old journalist on a self-righteous rant about the sanctity of his beloved profession” (some prefer not to put journalism in the rarefied company of the medical or legal professions and therefore call it a trade; if you’d seen my SAT scores you’d probably agree). But really, what people refer to as brand journalism really isn’t journalism or anything close to it. It’s marketing. “It’s just an analogy!” you retort. That is marketing. It is branding.
Eight attributes of a thought leader
FEBRUARY 18, 2011
Social media are growing up. The initial thrill of connecting to a bunch of peers that we’ve never met is giving way to the desire to get something useful out of those connections. Interesting research from Edelman shows that there has been a decline in trust in “people like myself” and “regular employees.” Meanwhile, trust in “credentialed experts” and “company technical specialists” is rising—we’re getting so desperate we even want to hear from the CEO. Clearly, there’s a growing hunger for thought leadership in social media. Relevant experience. Presence. Rapport. Curiosity. Synthesis.
How to use social media for B2B
MARCH 19, 2010
Image by HubSpot via Flickr. want to do something ambitious and I’m hoping you’ll help. I’d like to create a guide for how to use social media in B2B that does not involve talking about the specific tools—as least not in the top line. think it’s important to try to do this if we’re going to get social media integrated with the rest of marketing. Here they are: Monitor. Engage. Manage. Monitor.
3 ways to link marketing to revenue without metrics
MARCH 18, 2011
I’m looking forward to our annual ITSMA spring road trip. This time, I’ll be speaking about how to tie thought leadership to revenue, starting in Santa Clara, CA next Wednesday, and in New York and Newton, MA the following week. Hope you can join us. Now, you may think that because I’m using revenue and thought leadership together in the same sentence that I’m going to reveal some secret way to measure the link between the white paper you published last month and the complex solution sale you make six months from now. Alas, no such magic metric exists. We’re focusing on the wrong things.
4 Reasons Why Facebook Stinks for B2B Marketing
AUGUST 5, 2011
Recently, I was preparing a workshop on social media for an ITSMA client. The marketer in charge of the company’s social media effort gave me a clear edict: “Look, I don’t want you focusing on Facebook, okay? We don’t see the value of it for B2B and we want it off the table. Every time we talk about it, we have an endless argument that leads nowhere.”. Seemed a bit harsh, but I had to admit that I had been harboring my own doubts about the value of Facebook for B2B for a long time. I’m not saying that B2B companies shouldn’t be on Facebook. think every company should be on Facebook. Why not?
The prerequisite to effective social media: the idea organization
MARCH 25, 2011
At the first of ITSMA’s series of road shows this week in Silicon Valley this week (there’s still time to sign up for New York and Boston next week!) I confirmed something I’ve been hearing in my research on idea marketing over the past month: idea marketing requires a deep commitment not just from marketing but from the entire organization. Eric Wittlake makes this point in a blog post this week and I heartily agree. But then this got me to thinking, without a commitment to ideas throughout the organization, all these dollars we’re starting to spend on social media will be wasted.
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2011: The year of personal brands
JANUARY 28, 2011
This is the year that the personal brand begins to do battle with the corporate brand. think we need to let the personal brand win—especially in B2B. Featuring big pictures and bios of your subject matter experts on your website is a good start, but it is the equivalent of paid search. It’s relevant but still a step removed from the truly personal connection. We need the equivalent of organic search, where our people rise to the top on their own, independent of their corporate affiliations. Then as marketers, we create a virtuous cycle that links these personal brands to the corporate brand.
How to write blog posts from a white paper
MARCH 23, 2012
If you’re a corporate marketer like me, no doubt you’ve been put in the situation I faced this week: you have a white paper that an external content person created for the company and now you need to make that content social. It’s an important part of social media management. Let’s face it, there are some B2B executives who wouldn’t read a white paper even if you threatened them with lima beans (what, you like lima beans? Eeewww!). ITSMA research shows that buyers want the whole menu of content—not just a white paper here or a video there. decided to write down the ways. Conversational.
Marketing’s golden opportunity in innovation
APRIL 22, 2011
Innovation is becoming more external to companies and more social. When Netflix’s internal engineers struggled to get more than incremental improvements in the company’s movie matching algorithm, the company put the problem to the internet and crowdsourced a 10% leap in accuracy (of course, it didn’t hurt that they offered a million dollar prize). Even funding for innovation is becoming more external and social. website called Kickstarter lets anyone—not just venture capitalists—fund innovation projects featured on the site. Social media management and innovation. Move beyond brand stewardship.
I have seen the future of B2B marketing. It’s on Forbes.
NOVEMBER 7, 2012
I’m sure I don’t need to introduce you to Forbes’ “BrandVoice” program (used to be “AdVoice). The guy who manages the platform at Forbes, Lewis Dvorkin, (if he also created the platform he’s a freakin’ genius) recently wrote about its power to disrupt traditional journalism , citing my new employer, SAP, as one of the companies that sometimes get more hits for the stuff it posts than Forbes’ own journalism. He concludes that journalism (what little is left of it) is safe from the assault of brands like SAP. Reinforcing the no-pitch rule. But hey, I’m a known crank. This Makes My Teeth Itch.
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Why Can’t Companies Be More Like the Iroquois?
SEPTEMBER 15, 2014
English: Flag of the Iroquois Confederacy, Hiawatha Belt Français : Drapeau de la Confédération Iroquoise (Photo credit: Wikipedia). If ever there was a cooperative organization that had less reason to endure until today, it is the Iroquois League. Each tribe had its own language, customs, and culture. Caught on the Wrong Side. Why Can’t Companies Do This? This has got to stop.
6 lessons on how NOT to market to customers
JULY 22, 2011
Here’s the kind of pressure that social media puts on us: After not posting anything to my blog in nearly six weeks, I feel compelled to offer an explanation. Isn’t that sad? Hey, but that’s how it is. Social media are like a school of sharks; keep moving forward or sink lifelessly to the bottom. Well, I have an explanation, or an excuse, and a damned good one at that. broke my hip about four weeks ago (my bike slid from underneath me on a rainy morning on my way to work). Since I can’t resist that new hip smell, I opted for the stainless upgrade. The answer is: nothing. He’s a colleague.
Why salespeople should sell ideas: an FAQ
MAY 15, 2012
We all know the increasing importance of ideas in B2B marketing. But idea marketing doesn’t start and stop with marketers. For the program to be successful, those ideas must find their way into the hands of salespeople. And I’m not sure that salespeople share the same passion for ideas as we do. think they need to be convinced. Please tell me if you think the following does the job: Relationships are what matter in selling. Why should I start selling ideas instead? Relationship selling skills matter more than ever. It is an additional tool. But why are ideas so important now?
How do you know when you’ve reached the next level in social media?
APRIL 8, 2011
I was thrilled to run a social media workshop this week with a large B2B technology and services provider (and ITSMA member). The great thing about the experience was that this company is already doing social media. In other words, I didn’t have to spend any time defending the honor of social media and explaining why they should be doing it. This was all about the how. But even the how was different. This company has established a highly visible presence in social media—indeed, it has won an award for it. That got me thinking. Exactly what does that mean? There is cultural permission to speak.
Content Marketing Playbook: Strategy and Roadmap
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Where is the utility in mobile apps for B2B?
DECEMBER 10, 2012
Mitch Joel has a nice post on HBR this week about bringing utility to marketing and social media. As is often the case, his advice pertains more to B2C than B2B, as I point out in a comment: “Utility” is a clear, succinct way of putting it. I am concerned about the B2B side of things, though, for complex technology solutions in particular. For customers in this realm, I think utility has long meant access to their peers and to expert advice during the purchasing and post-sales processes. Perhaps we need to wait for the second coming of Second Life for that. Are you?
How to make social media add up to thought leadership
DECEMBER 16, 2010
Back in the eighties, when newspapers were only beginning to disappear, I worked for a local paper in a very competitive (journalistically, anyway) part of the world: the moneyed, New York City suburban area of Fairfield County, CT (Greenwich, Stamford, etc.). Among the five different newspapers that covered the same turf as I did was the New York Times, which had a section called “Connecticut Weekly” on Sundays. In this section, the Times would do something that drove me insane with envy and jealously. neighborhood might get really angry and stage a rally protesting development, for example.
We need a chief marketing analytics officer
FEBRUARY 11, 2011
There’s lots of talk out there these days about the need for a technology guru within the B2B marketing department. Paul Dunay makes the case for one in this post, and Scott Brinker has been beating the drum for this for some time. Maybe I’m splitting hairs here, but I wonder about the long-term need for a marketing technologist. In the short term, I think marketing has a lot of catching up to do in terms of technology. Most companies do not yet have closed-loop lead management processes supported by systems, for example. So we need some important systems installed in the short-term.
The Worst Source of Work Conflict
JUNE 9, 2014
I have two attributes that set me up for conflict with my current colleagues at SAP. First, I worked in small companies for my entire career leading up to 2012, when I joined SAP, which is a huge company, and like any huge company, has its share of bureaucracy that was absent from my previous workplaces. Second, I spent most of my career as a journalist, which trained me to be vigilant about whether what people say is what they really mean – especially when it comes to marketing, which is the function I work in in SAP. Institutionalizes the memo mindset. Culturally clueless. Americans?
B2B Marketing Trends for 2016
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Social media’s Hallmark Moment: the Twitter Auto DM
MAY 13, 2011
I take a perverse pleasure in reading my Twitter DMs, 99% of which are of the automated variety, looking for the heartfelt sentiment that goes out to me and thousands of other close personal friends every day from people I’ve started following. I try to imagine the impulses that motivate the writers behind these parsimonious hanging chads of fake individualized attention. Technology is wonderful isn’t it? It allows us to divide the equivalent of a single “Have a nice day” into thousands of infinitesimally smaller investments of effort and goodwill. hope you enjoy that.”. What do you do?”