Chris Koch

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How Manchester United Revolutionized Sports Marketing

Chris Koch

Sales of family season ticket plans increased from fewer than 500 in 2009 to more than 7,500 in 2012. Ask me which English soccer, uh, football team I would support and I would say Liverpool. According to a controversial poll commissioned by the team, 650 million people worldwide say they support the team. Have a Backstory. But Man U also did something else really smart. Fantasy sports.

6 Freaky, Funny, and Scary Abilities of Computer Organisms

Chris Koch

But in 2009, EEG escaped from the lab and out into the wild, in the form of a an EEG device intended for gamers to levitate, Hans Solo-style, an object in a Star Wars simulation game using only their minds. They are as dependent on the computing environment that surrounds them as living organisms are on their ecosystems. Robots can’t do anything better than a computer except move.

Why salespeople should sell ideas: an FAQ

Chris Koch

That was in 2009. 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.

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What Pisses off the Man Who is the Face of 3D Printing

Chris Koch

From that base emerged MakerBot in 2009, which was co-founded by Pettis and two others. MakerBot , a manufacturer of desktop 3D printers priced at the level of a decent laptop, is the best known of companies producing a product that has already been raised to PC-level stature in terms of its potential impact on business and society. That background is why he was so pissed off at the recent Front End of Innovation conference, where he gave a speech about his approach to innovation. What Caused the F-Bomb. He was talking about the US education system, saying that it is “f ed.”.

Eight reasons to monitor social media and a list of tools for doing it

Chris Koch

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I think that monitoring social media is one of four key aspects of a social media engagement strategy. Social media monitoring is a way to figure out what’s being said about your brand and reveals opportunities for engaging in conversations with customers and influencers. At its most basic, social media monitoring starts with what is known as the “vanity search.” Through one of the popular search engines, you set up a recurring search on key terms that will alert you to relevant online discussions of your brand, your competitors, and influencers.

Why marketers must become the new publishers

Chris Koch

One of the great trends were seeing at ITSMA is increased automation of the lead process. It’s great because the software acts as a battering ram for alignment between marketing and sales. But this trend has an unintended side effect: it exposes our content development processes (or lack thereof). If we now have a system measuring how long it takes marketing to nurture a lead until it is sales ready, we will now also have a measure of whether the nurturing period increases or decreases over time. We accomplish this feat through content. Improvement through relevance. Research the reader.

Six factors driving B2B social media marketing adoption

Chris Koch

Our latest annual survey of 355 buyers of complex IT solutions, How Customers Choose Solution Providers, 2009: The Importance of Personalization, Epiphanies, and Social Media, shows that the door to the C-suite is opening up. We found that usage of social media among IT and business buyers of technology rose 50% over 2008 and finally pushed to majority status—55% said they use social media as part of the technology buying process in 2009 versus just 37% in 2008. For example, in early 2009, 44% of marketers said they were responding to the recession by shifting dollars online.

How Jimmy Fallon Redefined the Celebrity Biography

Chris Koch

English: Jimmy Fallon CES 2009 in Las Vegas, NV (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Jimmy’s Fallon’s career – and much of who he is as a person – can be summed up in eight minutes. Look, I don’t mean that as an insult. Fallon has risen to become a star by doing just one thing: being himself. And that self is on full display in an eight-minute video made in 1998. The Only Job He Ever Wanted.

Want proof that the C-suite is into social media? Here it is.

Chris Koch

And yet our latest annual survey of 355 buyers of complex IT solutions, How Customers Choose Solution Providers, 2009: The Importance of Personalization, Epiphanies, and Social Media, shows that the door to the C-suite is opening up. We found that usage of social media among IT and business buyers of technology rose 50% over last year and finally pushed to majority status—55% said they use social media as part of the technology buying process in 2009 versus just 37% in 2008. There are two rivers of content at conferences. CEOs Use Social Media More than Other Buyers.

Why Twitter is for old people

Chris Koch

Like many, I’m a late convert to Twitter. avoided it for defensive reasons. I’m one of those boring people that eats the same thing for lunch almost every day. So I figured I wouldn’t have much to twitter about. also figured that Twitter would appeal mostly to young people interested in flirting with one another in 140 characters or less. But then I tried it and I realized that the hidden power of Twitter is in another kind of human appetite: learning. Twitter doesn’t just add another one of those annoying Web 2.0 Follow to learn. Think about it. You can just listen.

Top B2B marketing posts for 2009 (hint: social media)

Chris Koch

Thank you so much for your comments, links, and tweets this year. I’m happy to say that traffic to my blog has quadrupled (I’ve gone from a D-list blogger to a C-list, I think) in 2009 thanks to you. Who says B2B marketers are lagging in social media? If they are out there, they aren’t reading this blog. Of the top ten posts on my blog this year, only one did not involve social media. Though I’m supposed to be an objective researcher, I have to admit bias here. think the social media phenomenon is the most exciting and important thing to hit communications in my lifetime.

Why B2B marketers need to embrace deal marketing

Chris Koch

Honestly, why do we think that sophisticated B2B buyers are going to follow our brands on Twitter or become our fans on Facebook? The answer is we don’t. Even if we believe deeply in the power of social media, we all have that gnawing feeling deep in our guts that says that there’s little reason for a busy, intelligent person to want to receive frequent updates about our brands when those brands produce complex services and products with two-year sales cycles. Once again, the answer is they don’t. The research confirms it. We don’t follow brands, we follow deals. Deals. We can’t do deals.

Why B2B marketers hate social media

Chris Koch

In a recent post, I offered some hard research data to support the growing importance of social media to B2B. But this time I want to address the legitimate concerns that ITSMA clients give us when we talk about the wonders of social media. The case for social media isn’t just about showing how buyers are flocking to social media. It’s also about addressing the very real concern that in a time of stretched budgets and lean staffs, social media becomes yet another channel to manage. What’s really different with social media? The End of Control. Social media is different.

Why B2B marketing will become more visual, vocal, and mobile

Chris Koch

The mobile phone has long been an object of affection and obsession for people who like to talk incessantly. But now that mobile phones have become computers that happen to ring, they have become irresistible. There’s something about having this little device in our pocket that makes it so much more personal— dear, even—than any phone or laptop. Desktops? haven’t loved a desktop since my Mac Classic; besides, you can’t even really call them desktops anymore because we do everything we can to hide them from view under our desks, so no love there.). More than smart. Even the words are visual now.

How to create B2B social media policies

Chris Koch

One of the cornerstones of a social media strategy is having a clear set of corporate social media guidelines or policies. The best documents don’t just tell employees what not to do; they also tell them what they should be doing to further the marketing goals of the company. Here are some recommendations based on a cross-section of social media policies from B2B companies, including social media policy examples from some leading B2B companies. Thanks to Kent Huffman for giving me a great starting point for this post): Invite employees into the process. This [Choose. Separate opinion from fact.

Social media strategy for B2B: what’s required and what’s optional

Chris Koch

Despite all the breathless hype about social media these days, what I hear most from B2B marketers is frustration. Most of the marketers I talk to are trying to reach a few top executives in big organizations who make buying decisions about big, complex products and services. For these marketers, the pool of customers and prospects is small and many of them do not want to engage publicly in social media or are simply ignoring it altogether. For these target executives, peer relationships are everything, but for now anyway, most of those relationships are happening offline. Engage. Manage.

Social media strategy for B2B: what’s required and what’s optional

Chris Koch

Despite all the breathless hype about social media these days, what I hear most from B2B marketers is frustration. Most of the marketers I talk to are trying to reach a few top executives in big organizations who make buying decisions about big, complex products and services. For these marketers, the pool of customers and prospects is small and many of them do not want to engage publicly in social media or are simply ignoring it altogether. For these target executives, peer relationships are everything, but for now anyway, most of those relationships are happening offline. Engage. Manage.

Want to understand your customers’ business needs? Give them an award.

Chris Koch

Like most marketers, I spend most of my time desperately seeking to understand my target audience (B2B marketers) and delivering content that they find relevant and engaging. It’s a struggle. But once a year around June, my life gets a little easier. That’s when I get to sit back and watch the submissions for our Marketing Excellence Awards (MEA) roll in. It’s a beautiful thing. Marketers from around the world tell us in great detail about the campaigns and programs that have netted them the most business results. Everybody wins with the MEAs. You have to check it out. Where is the innovation?

Where should your corporate blogs live?

Chris Koch

Earlier this year I surveyed B2B marketers about their approaches to corporate blogging. Their strategies take two basic approaches. Onsite. These marketers take a direct role in finding and supporting internal bloggers and in helping them develop content. The blogs are an integrated part of the corporate marketing strategy and are usually hosted on the corporate website. Most say that they try to suggest topic areas that fit with the company’s overall thought leadership strategy. Offsite. They do not set up or tend corporate blogs. But I’d like to hear your opinions. Brand respect.

Why your marketing to CIOs may be irrelevant—and what to do about it

Chris Koch

That means understanding not just the top 10 IT drivers for 2009 as predicted by Gartner or Forrester. When I covered CIOs for 13 years at CIO Magazine, I found that it was very difficult to generalize about the profession, beyond a handful of universal problems such as alignment with the business and the complexities and the voracious needs of the IT infrastructure. If I learned anything in those years, it was that CIOs really are a diverse lot. And that has big implications for marketers. It means understanding different CIO roles, skills, aspirations, and business contexts.

We’re missing the real social media revolution

Chris Koch

We’ve all heard a lot of debate lately about whether social media is an evolution or a revolution. Lots of statistical analysis about the relative growth rates of Facebook and Twitter and the slowing of uptake for both. Look at it this way and social media inevitably becomes evolution, as social media researcher Josh Chasin convincingly argues here. But I think we lose sight of the revolution by looking at social media in isolation. Social media is tightly tied to something that is undergoing a revolution right now: media. The destructive side of revolutions. This is no evolution.

I’ve moved to a new domain

Chris Koch

No, my house hasn’t been foreclosed on, I’ve just graduated from a free wordpress.com blog to my own hosted site. The old domain is [link] The new one is [link] If you wouldn’t mind re-subscribing to my RSS feeds and e-mail feeds through the new site and bookmarking the new site, I can retire the old one with honor. I’m still on Wordpress (though with a new, more flexible free design or “theme&# called Room 34 Baseline ) and am continually amazed at how intuitive and easy to use it is and how good the support network is for something that is free. So thank you.

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What are your best practices for "recession marketing?"

Chris Koch

Okay, so I’m not an “A-list&# blogger. But I’ve been at it long enough that I’ve earned the right to call in a favor now and then. My web analytics tell me that there are at least 100 people who care enough to let me into their e-mail boxes before deleting me. So I’m going to go all Chris Brogan on you (I mean that in a nice way) and talk to you directly and ask you to be part of my community and talk to me. If nothing else, do it because you feel sorry for me. And he wants me, Mr. Research, to find them. But we’re looking for something more human.

B2B 2

What are your best practices for “recession marketing?”

Chris Koch

Okay, so I’m not an “A-list&# blogger. But I’ve been at it long enough that I’ve earned the right to call in a favor now and then. My web analytics tell me that there are at least 100 people who care enough to let me into their e-mail boxes before deleting me. So I’m going to go all Chris Brogan on you (I mean that in a nice way) and talk to you directly and ask you to be part of my community and talk to me. If nothing else, do it because you feel sorry for me. And he wants me, Mr. Research, to find them. But we’re looking for something more human.

B2B 2

Why marketers must become the new publishers

Chris Koch

One of the great trends were seeing at ITSMA is increased automation of the lead process. It’s great because the software acts as a battering ram for alignment between marketing and sales. But this trend has an unintended side effect: it exposes our content development processes (or lack thereof). If we now have a system measuring how long it takes marketing to nurture a lead until it is sales ready, we will now also have a measure of whether the nurturing period increases or decreases over time. We accomplish this feat through content. Improvement through relevance. Research the reader.

Why your marketing to CIOs may be irrelevant—and what to do about it

Chris Koch

That means understanding not just the top 10 IT drivers for 2009 as predicted by Gartner or Forrester. When I covered CIOs for 13 years at CIO Magazine, I found that it was very difficult to generalize about the profession, beyond a handful of universal problems such as alignment with the business and the complexities and the voracious needs of the IT infrastructure. If I learned anything in those years, it was that CIOs really are a diverse lot. And that has big implications for marketers. It means understanding different CIO roles, skills, aspirations, and business contexts.

Want to launch a new product or service faster? Do some research.

Chris Koch

I helped host an ITSMA round table this week and a near universal complaint from our B2B technology clients was how difficult it is to launch new services in a fast, efficient way. One client summed it up by saying that there are two points of resistance in the process of bringing new things to market. The first comes at the beginning of the process—the “why” battle—where everyone takes pot shots at the new idea. The second comes after everyone signs off on the new offering and they are suddenly confronted with all the things they need to do to make it happen—the “how” battle. Tweet This Post.

Want to launch a new product or service faster? Do some research.

Chris Koch

I helped host an ITSMA round table this week and a near universal complaint from our B2B technology clients was how difficult it is to launch new services in a fast, efficient way. One client summed it up by saying that there are two points of resistance in the process of bringing new things to market. The first comes at the beginning of the process—the “why” battle—where everyone takes pot shots at the new idea. The second comes after everyone signs off on the new offering and they are suddenly confronted with all the things they need to do to make it happen—the “how” battle.

Want to know which social media tool to bet on? Look at their relationship models.

Chris Koch

We’ve all been reading a lot about the social media horse race. Will it be Facebook or MySpace? Or will it be Twitter by a nose? For marketers trying to figure out where to put their resources into social media marketing, the horse race looks more like a crapshoot. These brands all start to sound the same and there are so many variables at play—the usual business stuff like VC funding, marketing, strategy, management, funding, M&A, etc.—that that it’s hard to know where to place your bets. We need to dig deeper to start to make meaningful comparisons. What is a relationship model? Engage.

Want to know which social media tool to bet on? Look at their relationship models.

Chris Koch

We’ve all been reading a lot about the social media horse race. Will it be Facebook or MySpace? Or will it be Twitter by a nose? For marketers trying to figure out where to put their resources into social media marketing, the horse race looks more like a crapshoot. These brands all start to sound the same and there are so many variables at play—the usual business stuff like VC funding, marketing, strategy, management, funding, M&A, etc.—that that it’s hard to know where to place your bets. We need to dig deeper to start to make meaningful comparisons. What is a relationship model? Engage.

The information gap between marketing and sales—and how to fill it

Chris Koch

I’m hearing a lot from clients and researchers about how vast swaths of salespeople need to be eliminated as companies transition from selling products to services and solutions. The estimates range from one third of the sales force, according to these academics, to as much as two thirds. It’s portrayed as a DNA thing—some are born to do consultative selling and to have “executive-level conversations” and some are not. Hogwash. Now don’t get me wrong. I do think there is a gene for sales. Great salespeople truly are born, not made. Why salespeople can’t make the cut. Information.

B2B 2

The information gap between marketing and sales—and how to fill it

Chris Koch

I’m hearing a lot from clients and researchers about how vast swaths of salespeople need to be eliminated as companies transition from selling products to services and solutions. The estimates range from one third of the sales force, according to these academics, to as much as two thirds. It’s portrayed as a DNA thing—some are born to do consultative selling and to have “executive-level conversations” and some are not. Hogwash. Now don’t get me wrong. I do think there is a gene for sales. Great salespeople truly are born, not made. Why salespeople can’t make the cut. Information.

B2B 2

The five components of a successful thought leadership program

Chris Koch

Recently, I was asked by a former ITSMA client to help put together a plan for a thought leadership program for a B2B technology company that sells both products and services. It forced me to think about all the components necessary to build and sustain a thought leadership strategy. Here are my thoughts on the big pieces. Please tell me what I’ve gotten wrong or left out. 1. Research the need. Most people start with strategy. But starting with strategy assumes a need that may not be there. Doing research first allows you to set goals using reliable, objective data. What do you think?

B2B 2

The five components of a successful thought leadership program

Chris Koch

Recently, I was asked by a former ITSMA client to help put together a plan for a thought leadership program for a B2B technology company that sells both products and services. It forced me to think about all the components necessary to build and sustain a thought leadership strategy. Here are my thoughts on the big pieces. Please tell me what I’ve gotten wrong or left out. 1. Research the need. Most people start with strategy. But starting with strategy assumes a need that may not be there. Doing research first allows you to set goals using reliable, objective data. What do you think?

B2B 2

Four reasons to stop measuring marketing

Chris Koch

It’s time to declare marketing metrics a failure once and for all. ITSMA research has long showed that when we do it at all, we do it poorly. It’s difficult to parse out the contribution that marketing makes to a sale and it’s even more difficult to get salespeople to spend the time figuring out/checking the box/giving credit in the quest to determine whether marketing played a role in making the sale. So we should just stop. We should be measuring revenue and what Julie calls the Cost per Order Dollar (CPOD). Period. Stop apportioning blame. Measure CPOD instead. Create a unified lead process.

Four reasons to stop measuring marketing

Chris Koch

It’s time to declare marketing metrics a failure once and for all. ITSMA research has long showed that when we do it at all, we do it poorly. It’s difficult to parse out the contribution that marketing makes to a sale and it’s even more difficult to get salespeople to spend the time figuring out/checking the box/giving credit in the quest to determine whether marketing played a role in making the sale. So we should just stop. We should be measuring revenue and what Julie calls the Cost per Order Dollar (CPOD). Period. Stop apportioning blame. Measure CPOD instead. Create a unified lead process.

We need an app for that

Chris Koch

I’ve been working on a report for ITSMA clients this week about analytics and it got me thinking about the proverbial bigger picture of B2B marketing. We know from our research that we in marketing don’t do much with analytics—i.e., using data to determine and predict customer buying patterns. Only 50% of marketers in our survey said they had analytics programs, and of these, few were focused on predicting behavior; most were simply reporting past behavior. Even rarer is the ability to carry those analytics all the way through to a sale. But we need to start doing that. Lead scoring.

We need an app for that

Chris Koch

I’ve been working on a report for ITSMA clients this week about analytics and it got me thinking about the proverbial bigger picture of B2B marketing. We know from our research that we in marketing don’t do much with analytics—i.e., using data to determine and predict customer buying patterns. Only 50% of marketers in our survey said they had analytics programs, and of these, few were focused on predicting behavior; most were simply reporting past behavior. Even rarer is the ability to carry those analytics all the way through to a sale. But we need to start doing that. Lead scoring.

16 best practices for creating customer councils

Chris Koch

I was researching the ITSMA archives this week to see what we’ve written about customer councils over the years and discovered some great advice that I pass along here: Research what customers would like to see from a council—make a few calls to lead customers before getting started. Vet potential members careful to make sure they are all genuine peers. Create a set of common objectives as a basis for collaboration, such as: Knowledge creation. Market change. Policy change. Organizational change. Consider bringing in a partner to coordinate/facilitate the council. No selling—ever.

16 best practices for creating customer councils

Chris Koch

I was researching the ITSMA archives this week to see what we’ve written about customer councils over the years and discovered some great advice that I pass along here: Research what customers would like to see from a council—make a few calls to lead customers before getting started. Vet potential members careful to make sure they are all genuine peers. Create a set of common objectives as a basis for collaboration, such as: Knowledge creation. Market change. Policy change. Organizational change. Consider bringing in a partner to coordinate/facilitate the council. No selling—ever.

How old-school data capture is poisoning marketing and what to do about it

Chris Koch

As social media becomes more prevalent in marketing, we’re going to have to rethink how we gather information from prospects. We’re starting to see social media have a positive impact on driving traffic to websites and on lead generation. In our recent Web 2.0 survey, (all ITSMA clients can download this executive summary ), we found that “increased web traffic&# was the most frequently cited benefit of Web 2.0 efforts so far (by 67% of respondents). Increased lead generation” was farther down the list—24% are seeing it. for at least that long. think the inherently casual (social!)

Three steps for B2B marketers to build a personal social media presence

Chris Koch

In my last post, I hope I convinced you why you should establish a personal presence in social media even if your company hasn’t done so yet. That was the why of social media. This time, I’d like to concentrate on the how. I’m going to attempt to explain it by humbly offering my own initiation into social media as a guide. When I despair at ever mastering all the social media tools that exist out there, I remind myself (as I hope you will) that at its core social media is all about communication and that marketers are all expert communicators. Monitor. Pick an RSS tool. Pick blogs to follow.

Five reasons why B2B marketers should be in social media even if their companies are not

Chris Koch

To be successful with social media marketing, we are going to have to become social media guinea pigs. We are accustomed to creating programs and campaigns and then standing back and observing them. Social media will demand involvement that is much more personal. That’s why it’s important for us to start building our expertise in social media today, even if social media isn’t yet at the top of our marketing agenda (and our research shows that among B2B marketers, it is not). Here are five reasons why you need to get good at this stuff before your company does: Social media is real time.