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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.

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.

Lead Generation Checklist

You spend a lot of time, energy, and money doing lead generation to capture leads but it's how you manage them that makes the difference between success and failure.

The lure of cheap content in B2B marketing

Reputation to Revenue

An article in MediaWeek on content mills like Demand Media and got me thinking about the dangerous lure of cheap content in B2B marketing. The goal of the content mills is to crank out a huge volume of search-oriented content for the web as cheaply as possible and sell advertising against it. The mills themselves are mainly a B2C issue (at least for now!).

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?

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.

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.

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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? That led directly to Intel’s breakthrough creation of the microprocessor."

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.

How to Leverage Content Marketing to Power Your B2B Marketing Automation Funnel

Generate more leads. Better leads. Engage customers, increase upsells, boost revenue and save precious time -- these are the benefits of marketing automation. And content fuels it all.

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. An even higher number of the best performing CEOs, 95%, stressed the point.

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 can provide deep insight into both their own companies and emerging issues in your markets. 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.

The B2B Demand Gen Marketing Playbook

To build integrated, data-driven programs, demand gen marketers need diverse, compelling content at every stage of the buyer's journey.

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"

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.

A Content Formula for Complex B2B Organizations

Content Marketing is essential for anyone who wants continued success and growth.

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. And you see it when marketers hand off the first hint of a "lead" (e.g.,

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]. I 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?

Six Key Steps to Successful Marketing Automation Adoption

Selecting a Marketing Automation platform can be a daunting task. With so many options out there, your success with Marketing Automation depends on selecting the platform that best fits your needs.

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. Some of the advice is even good.

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). 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.

8 Ways to Create More Effective Lead Generation Programs

Explore key areas you should focus on with your content syndication strategy in order to help you get the attention of your target audience and build trust.

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. Quite natural." James Joyce Textorized image by maxf.

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!

Why B2B Content Strategies Are Paramount for Generating Quality Leads

Generating demand and ensuring the consistent flow of high-quality, actionable leads is what makes B2B marketers successful.