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B2B marketing as media: Six ways to think like an editor

Reputation to Revenue

B2B marketers in great numbers have jumped on the content marketing bandwagon and embraced the idea that marketing needs to be more like media. We have to focus on providing "readers" and "viewers" (i.e., customers, prospects, and other stakeholders) with interesting and useful material on a regular basis as the starting point for creating and sustaining interest in our products and solutions.

Customer references and solutions marketing: Building blocks for business impact

Reputation to Revenue

B2B marketers focused on high value solutions know that customer evidence is like gold. Great products may sell themselves based on features or price. But when you're asking business buyers to invest serious money in a complex solution, typically involving a customized mix of products and services, they need to know you've done it before and that other customers have derived real business benefits.

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Four levels of B2B content sharing: Publishing isn't everything

Reputation to Revenue

Consistently creating engaging content is one of those programmatic challenges that strikes fear in the hearts of many B2B marketers looking to take more advantage of social media. Indeed, there are four levels of content sharing that B2B marketers should include in their social media mix. Four Levels of Content Sharing. Effective curation is not simple. anxious to share the content wealth.

Sustainability best practices can guide social media too

Reputation to Revenue

Jon Hampson, Environment Director, for Capgemini UK , gave a great presentation last week on the top lessons for building sustainability programs at large corporations. Listening to Hampson recount the impressive strides Capgemini has made in reducing the company's environmental impact, though, I couldn't help but think about how relevant his lessons were for B2B social media, as well.

150 Content Marketing Tips

Drive traffic—and leads—with these tips for SEO, social media, content optimization, email marketing, and more.

Marketing to key accounts: It's all about the relationships

Reputation to Revenue

I was interviewing a Key Account Manager for a large tech firm the other day, and was struck by her comment that she wanted the firm's marketing people to be much closer to her customer. This is a large global account we're talking about, with a big account team and numerous multi-million dollar deals worldwide. Sales people tend to be extremely protective of their accounts. That's a no-no.

Strengthening thought leadership marketing: Five steps to excellence

Reputation to Revenue

I've just had the privilege of helping judge  ITSMA's Marketing Excellence Awards , and was impressed in particular with the submissions in the Thought Leadership Marketing category.  As recently as five years ago, thought leadership marketing was mainly the province of the top consulting firms. Few other B2B firms took it seriously. Boy, has that changed! Engage and empower internally.

Social media and thought leadership: The virtuous circle for B2B marketing

Reputation to Revenue

As B2B marketers invest more money and time in both thought leadership and social media, they risk missing a great deal of potential benefit they can achieve by bringing the two together in a holistic way. All too often, at least in my experience in the tech sector, marketers investing in thought leadership view social media primarily as a channel for disseminating content.  Make sense?

HP backs solutions rhetoric with org change and investments

Reputation to Revenue

 . Everyone talks about "solutions" these days but few seem to invest in the changes necessary to move beyond the rhetoric. For example, truly developing, marketing, and selling integrated B2B solutions typically requires both a strong focus from the top down and a new alignment from the bottom up. Far too often, companies talk the solutions talk but fail to walk the walk. They don't invest in new mechanisms to work across business units, new ways to connect with customers, and new skills for selling higher value offerings. Walking the Walk. But you need to know what matters to clients.

Content Marketing 2016: Staffing, Measurement, and Effectiveness

We surveyed 2016's content marketing leaders on their biggest issues, hurdles, and goals.

Why is customer-centric marketing still more talk than action?

Reputation to Revenue

Michael Shrage’s recent Harvard Business Review post, Great Customers Inspire Great Innovations , got me thinking: Why, amid so much evidence of the power of customer-centric business, are so many companies still mired in inside-out operations? Why do we hear so much talk but see so little action? As Shrage notes, even this approach (which is typically more talk than action) is not enough.

The four engines of B2B marketing success

Reputation to Revenue

A friend recently had the good fortune not only to take over marketing for a successful B2B firm, but to do so with a mandate to build a new strategy that ensures a much greater impact on the business. He's a bit like a kid in a candy store: he's got budget to spend, executive support for a more ambitious marketing program, and a relatively clean slate upon which to draw the new strategy. 

Two cheers for Eloqua's Content Grid

Reputation to Revenue

Actually, I think Eloqua's new Content Grid is fabulous: it crams a complex story and a lot of information into an easy to understand infographic on a critical topic for B2B and solutions marketing. Nice job, folks! My small beef is with the definition of "content marketing" that underlies the grid. Indeed, I make a decent part of my living these days helping companies make this happen.

Editorial strategy: Why do B2B customers need your information?

Reputation to Revenue

  A new report from the always excellent Project for Excellence in Journalism got me thinking a bit differently about thought leadership and content marketing and marketing as media. We all know that social media is increasingly central to how we get our news and information. The main finding in this new report is that Americans use different media for different types of information.

Four steps to strengthening B2B customer connections

Reputation to Revenue

  IBM's hot-off-the-press 2010 CEO Study confirms again what solutions marketers already know: getting closer to customers is a strategic priority. An overwhelming 88% of large enterprise CEOs told IBM that getting closer to customers is a top business strategy for the next five years, placing it at the top of the list. Isn't this just Marketing 101? Well, sort of. The CEO imperative makes sense.

Study: How Much of Your Content Marketing Is Effective?

745 marketers told us how effective their content marketing is. Between November 5 and November 17, we surveyed 601 marketers with an 18-question online survey. A few weeks later, Adweek sent the questionnaire to 144 additional marketers. As the survey was answered by nearly our entire population target, the calculated margin of error was approximately 1 percent. Here's what we learned.

Lessons from IBM's CIO community program

Reputation to Revenue

Everyone selling high value solutions wants to engage C-level executives.  They're the ultimate decision makers. They They can provide deep insight into both their own companies and emerging issues in your markets. They They can give you the most powerful references and testimonials.  Of course they're also the hardest to reach.  Gaining justification for their business direction and intuition.

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Marketing lessons from the Grateful Dead

Reputation to Revenue

Crazy week last week, but it was hard to resist the HubSpot webinar, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead -- at least for me and 800+ other Dead-loving marketers. Along with loving the music and concerts, I've always thought the Dead's freewheeling, performance-oriented approach represented a great example of American entrepreneurship. Lots of people never liked them, and that was fine.

Master narratives and framing the debate with B2B marketing

Reputation to Revenue

Years ago, when I was a lowly graduate student at MIT, I learned an essential lesson about communications while taking a course on "framing" the news. The lesson, as my professor Bill Gamson so ably taught, was that he who frames the terms of the discussion is halfway home with a public debate before it even begins.  Politicians understand this the best. It's critical with B2B marketing, too.

Aligning marketing and sales.with what?

Reputation to Revenue

Marketing folks in B2B are obsessed with aligning marketing and sales. It's a longstanding pain point, and it always comes to the fore in a down economy. The problem, at least from my humble perspective, is that the discussion tends to rotate around the idea that marketing needs to align more fully with sales. Has the discussion really changed?  Witness the seemingly endless number of "sales 2.0"

Content Methodology: A Best Practices Report

If you're concerned that your organization's content marketing isn't as effective as it could be, this report is for you.

The urgency of B2B content marketing

Reputation to Revenue

 Yesterday I wrote about "marketing as media"  in B2B and the challenge of becoming a top source of information and ideas for your customers and prospects. Today's new s from American Business Media adds another note of urgency: Business magazine revenue was down another 24% in 2009 from 2008, and total pages declined almost 29%.and and 2008 was a pretty bad year! Photo credit: back_garage.

Marketing as media: Are you in the top five?

Reputation to Revenue

 B2B marketers are getting used to the idea that we have to think of ourselves more as media organizations and publishers than pitchmen and promoters. We need to understand our audiences better, produce more compelling and engaging content on a regular basis, and facilitate ongoing conversation around issues and ideas that matter most to them. Now that's a challenge! buyers) of B2B information. 

TL in 4D: Four dimensions for thought leadership success

Reputation to Revenue

B2B marketers know that thought leadership is essential, especially when selling high-value solutions. Business buyers tune out most traditional marketing, but they are always looking for new ideas. Perhaps not surprisingly, thought leadership topped the list when ITSMA recently asked marketing leaders at big tech and IT services firms which tactics will be more important in 2010.

More evidence that give-to-get is the key to success

Reputation to Revenue

It's pretty much a cliche to say that marketing today is all about give-to-get. You provide customers and prospects with new ideas, new experiences, and new connections in order to earn their attention. You keep at it until they open up to a conversation that, over time, can lead toward an actual sales opportunity. The answer was the supplier  most proactive in helping you  [emphasis in original].

Staffing and Launching Your Content Marketing Program

Brand voice? Editorial calendar? Approval workflow? Learn how to craft the crucial parts of a content marketing program. In the third installment of our five-part playbook series, discover the necessary steps to execute a content marketing program.

Reengineering the white paper, part 1

Reputation to Revenue

Several months ago, I began talking with colleagues Bob Buday and Tim Parker about "reengineering the white paper." Our basic idea was that, although white papers have flooded the Web for years, and more and more companies are investing in them to help demonstrate expertise and thought leadership, the reality is that most of them are pretty bad. they are developed and marketed the right way.

Aren't we past random acts of "selling"?

Reputation to Revenue

  Sigh -- another random call this morning from a telemarketer on behalf of a large tech company:  Caller: "Hi, this is [name] from [company name] on behalf of [tech company]. noticed you downloaded some research. Did you find everything you need? Me: To be honest, I don't remember. Caller: Well, it would have been in the last 30 days, or maybe the last two months. 30 or 60 days ago?

Rite Aid impresses with active customer service

Reputation to Revenue

Little things really do add up. Like many people, I have several prescriptions with Rite Aid Pharmacy. Refills are easy; you just call the number on the bottle a few days before a prescription runs out, tap your way through the automated voice prompts, and pick it up the next day. Nothing earth-shattering, but it's convenient and a good, simple use of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology.

The power of video: Outsourcing reality show illuminates the buying process

Reputation to Revenue

About a month ago, the good folks at the Outsourcing Institute asked me to contribute some  "lessons" for services marketers based on their web-based reality show, The Transaction. No cash involved, but it sounded like an quick PR hit for me while helping out a great organization.  When I checked out the series, however, I realized this was a much bigger deal. Endless

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2016 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study

To build a world-class marketing program, it's crucial to compare yourself to the best performers - but competitor data can be scarce.

Bad service blowback - United Breaks Guitars

Reputation to Revenue

Lots of companies are still nervous about participating in social media; they fear negative comments, among other things. The reality, of course, is that if you're providing lousy products or service, the bad comments are coming anyway, and with an ever larger megaphone. Four days after posting the video, and 1.3 Obviously the damage is done. Thanks to Marketing Pilgrim for the pointer.

Blog as hub, site as spoke

Reputation to Revenue

David Berkowitz  ( @dberkowitz) from the digital marketing agency 360i had a nice article today about building your brand with social media He used the example of launching the agency's new Social Marketing Playbook  earlier this month (which is well worth a look). The With the blog as a hub." For readers at small companies or consulting on their own, the idea of the blog as hub is nothing special.

Words and meaning: The power of alignment

Reputation to Revenue

Suzanne Lowe from Expertise Marketing has a great piece in her June newsletter on the importance of developing a common lexicon for marketing and business development in professional service firms.  Shouldn't the term "marketing be understood to also include targeting and segmentation? Pricing? Client loyalty? In many professional firms, marketing does not mean these latter terms, only the former.

The joy of tweets: Twittering Rocks on Bloomsday

Reputation to Revenue

Normally I write about B2B marketing, thought leadership, sustainability, solutions, and other allegedly useful and important things.  But sometimes you just have to stop and revel in the joy of sheer creativity.  Today, June 16, is Bloomsday , the fabled day in James Joyce's pathbreaking novel Ulysses. For Quite natural." James Joyce Textorized image by maxf.

Content Marketing Playbook: Strategy and Roadmap

Every brand’s content roadmap is different; each path to success is unique to that brand’s story, perspective, assets, and goals. But there is an overarching approach that’s proven to work—one we’ve refined after helping hundreds of brands reach their content marketing goals and after speaking with some of the brightest minds in the industry.

The hard questions about social media for B2B solutions providers

Reputation to Revenue

The skepticism about social media for B2B is pretty much gone by now. It's still pretty new for a great many companies, but the combination of legitimate success stories, overwhelming hype, and the desperate search for new ways to reach customers when the old ways work less and less has convinced all but the most recalcitrant among us that social media is at least worth a try. Photo credit: OCLS.

YouTube as corporate home page?

Reputation to Revenue

BooneOakley, a North-Carolina based agency, has gotten a lot of attention in the last few days by essentially shifting its corporate site to YouTube. Embedded links in the main video connect viewers to additional company information, including a cute video thanking the Obama family for naming its new dog Bo after the company's initials. Modernista! Surely the world has changed more than that! 

Permission marketing turns ten

Reputation to Revenue

Seth Godin today marked the tenth anniversary of his hugely influential book, Permission Marketing. And this was all years before anyone ever heard of blogging , YouTube , Facebook , or Twitter. Thanks Seth! P.S. You can still get the first four chapters free at

Put everyone in marketing? Yes, and with a social spin

Reputation to Revenue

Harvard management guru Rosabeth Moss Kanter last week suggested: "In a Recession, Put Everyone in Marketing." The idea, of course, is that you can't just keep cutting costs endlessly, and your employees are your most important asset. When times are tough, everyone needs to contribute to growth. Great. If we give them a social spin, the possibilities become a lot more interesting.

B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

25 B2B marketing thought leaders answer the question "What do you expect to B2B marketers to be doing more of or differently in 2016?" The results are amazing insights around content marketing, achieving business results, alignment, employee advocacy, new technologies, customer experience and more.