What the slow death of B2B publishing means for marketers
MARCH 4, 2011
In our recent survey, How Customers Choose Solution Providers, 2010: The New Buyer Paradox (free summary available), nearly 60% of respondents said that idea-based content plays an important or critical role in determining which providers make it onto their shortlists. Marketers always struggle with what to do next. There so many channels out there and so little time. Try all of them.
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.
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.
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.
Stop doing PR. Start doing visibility.
NOVEMBER 12, 2010
Thanks for the great comments on last week’s post, “Is the Era of PR Over. Okay, so if the traditional model for PR is failing, what do we do instead? Most journalists have discovered social media as an important research tool. And research shows that even the stodgiest C-level executive does at least three web searches per day. Every company needs a guard dog or two to be around in case of a PR disaster. But it does mean removing PR people from their traditional role as gate keepers between subject matter experts and influencers and customers. Outreach. Gatekeeper. Placement.
Should we stop marketing to the CIO?
OCTOBER 12, 2010
Technology marketers have spent the last 25 years trying to get and keep the attention of the people with their hands on the technology tiller inside multi-billion dollar organizations, CIOs. And for nearly that long, pundits have been predicting that the CIO role would become extinct, and that the strategic decisions about technology would be subsumed into the business. Those pundits have always been wrong. But this time, they may finally be right—at least about certain types of CIOs. For marketers, this diminished relevance of certain CIOs means two things, I think. What will happen to CIOs.
Is the era of PR over?
NOVEMBER 5, 2010
Among the many interesting ideas thrown around at ITSMA’s annual conference this week was that the era of PR is over. As in dead. Don’t do it anymore. First, let’s define what PR means from the perspective of the customer (i.e., a journalist) and the customer’s customer (i.e., the readers of the journalists’ publications). Looked at this way, there are only two types of PR: Guard dog PR and placement PR. Let’s look at each in more detail. Guard dog PR. These are the internal corporate PR representatives. Then they get plenty of the wrong kinds of attention. It’s called being human.
13 questions about social media and thought leadership
OCTOBER 1, 2010
Earlier this week I participated in one of MarketingProfs’ TechChats (just do a Twitter search on the #TechChat hashtag to find the dialogue). It’s a warm-up for the great dialogues we’ll be having at MarketingProfs’ SocialTech conference later this month in San Jose, where I’ll be speaking about social media and the B2B buying process. If you’re in B2B marketing, you gotta go to this thing. All the top social media pros will be there and the focus will be all B2B. I can’t wait. So they are all here for your enjoyment.) Please add your thoughts! Q. Let’s get back to the basics. link]. Q.
There is only one objective in social media: create learning networks
JANUARY 8, 2010
There is too much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth about social media objectives and strategy these days. We all assume that our organizations are unique and that we must devote great sums of time and money to figuring out what our particular motivation is for social media and how we will carry it out. We’re wired as humans to believe that we are each unique and different—indeed, this perception shoulders the bulk of our self-esteem. And yes, we are all unique. little. But in most things, we’re the same and we can usually acknowledge that. Not in our businesses, though. That’s it.
Do too many cooks spoil the blog?
JULY 28, 2010
Image via Wikipedia. Companies who want to add their voices the blogosphere have a decision to make: Do we allow individual employees to be the dominant force in our efforts, or do we keep the focus on the company by creating group-authored blogs? In part, this is an issue of control. Some companies have decided to let a thousand flowers bloom—i.e., Multi-author is part of traditional branding.
Have you created a waking dream for your customers?
JULY 16, 2010
For example, in the three categories I’ve looked at so far (there are six categories altogether), we have one company using analytics to predict customer buying patterns (and this ain’t diapers or laundry detergent, ladies and gents—we’re talking six-figure jumbles of complex products and services here). From marketing event to marketing retreat. One example stands out for me. Very cool.
Why serious games are a serious form of thought leadership marketing
JULY 9, 2010
Image by Getty Images via @daylife. I’ve been looking at the growing connection between gaming and thought leadership this week. know, I know. It’s hard to utter thought leadership in the same breath as video games, avatars, and conversation balloons, but all of these pieces have converged. Turns out that video games have a role in making the complex (i.e., Think about it. Games destroy complexity.
Where is your mobile marketing center of gravity?
APRIL 30, 2010
Both are winners of the 2009 ITSMA Marketing Excellence Awards —the 2010 Awards deadline is June and anyone can enter). Top 10 Mobile Trends of 2010, Part 1: Design & Development (readwriteweb.com). For marketers considering creating mobile device apps, the bar has been set very high. mean, c’mon, a free app that gives you voice directions to your destination? On the surface, yes.
In social media, no one knows you’re an introvert
JUNE 25, 2010
Image via Wikipedia. Two interesting posts this week on how our personalities affect our online behavior. First, Paul Dunay (did I mention that Paul is my favorite B2B blogger yet today?) expresses shock that he turned out to be an extrovert on the Myers-Briggs personality test and wonders if you need to be an extrovert to be in social media. and, of course, came up with a theory. Doubtful.
The power of self-regulation in customer relationships
JUNE 18, 2010
Simple things seem to be the most powerful, don’t they? think that’s one of the reasons that when people write about an archetypal business, they often use bicycles. Image via Wikipedia. Clear, simple product that everyone understands, right? Everyone knows what a bike shop does. They sell and fix bikes and they offer accessories. The bowl of quarters. He sees it entirely as a service business.
Integrating mobile into B2B marketing
MAY 27, 2010
Great conferences have impact that lasts long after the day (or two or three) that they occur. MarketingProfs’ B2B Forum is one of those conferences. For example, the Twitter stream from this thing (#MPB2B) is still going strong weeks later. You should check it out; it’ll give you a great list of B2B marketers to follow. CK kicks butt and takes names. Cohen on Vimeo. Tweet This Post.
Why Tut would have been buried with his iPhone
MAY 7, 2010
Sure, sure, I know it’s Apple and Apple is to the ’10s what Sony was to the ’80s. But there must be more to the fact that the iPhone/iTouch are the fastest growing technology launch in history (and the iPad so far is on pace to outdo them both). Now of course you know that the iPhone and iPad are popular because of the way they look. They bring out our primitive attractions to the bright and shiny.
How to build emotional engagement in B2B marketing
APRIL 2, 2010
I got a really interesting question last week through my Skribit box: How do you use emotional engagement when talking about dry technology? This may be the ultimate question in B2B, especially as we struggle to integrate social media into the overall marketing mix. Most of the things we sell are about as emotive as army ants. Where are thepeople and the stories? It’s the same in B2B. Respect.
There is no social media strategy, only marketing strategy
FEBRUARY 24, 2010
Image via Wikipedia. I’ve been working with my colleagues at ITSMA on another survey on social media for B2B marketers that I hope you’ll take by going here. As we put together the questions, we struggled with the issue of social media strategy. B2B marketing lays the path to a sales discussion and supports relationships with existing customers. Social media is no silver bullet. What do you think?
How much do you “charge” for your content?
JANUARY 29, 2010
Image via Wikipedia. Okay, so it’s difficult to actually pull money out of buyers for your marketing content (though there are rare exceptions: McKinsey has been doing it for years with the McKinsey Quarterly). Yet while generally we can’t put a price tag on our content, we do charge for it. The price is the forms we make people fill out to download white papers or sign up for events. Privacy.
Why the volume and quality of interactions with customers has to pass for social media ROI
JANUARY 22, 2010
Image by LollyKnit via Flickr. wish I could say that social media leads to sales. really do. But I can’t. And I haven’t encountered anyone else who can either, have you? So when we think about social media ROI, we need to make a leap of faith. There have been research attempts made to uncover and evaluate methods for measuring the ROI of PR. But you’re not going to like them. Value of earned media.
I don’t want to lose you!
NOVEMBER 12, 2010
Here’s why this sucks. have to shut down the original carcass of my blog at wordpress.com because it has been dead for more than a year now and it’s starting to stink. noticed the other day that it comes up right next to my new website in Google search when you’re looking for my blog. Trouble with that is, I stopped posting on that blog more than a year ago, so it makes it look like I have given up on blogging. For better or worse, that is not the case. Just go there and click on the RSS button or fill in your email and you’ll be good to go. But I hope you will stay.
Why Lead Management Automation Really Matters
OCTOBER 22, 2010
We should care more about lead management automation in B2B marketing. Maybe we don’t care enough because we’re focusing on the wrong reasons for doing it. It isn’t because the software for automating this stuff has improved, or because it’s available through the cloud so you don’t have to deal with those people over in IT. No, there’s something bigger going on here. And that is a huge change in the buying process. In part it is being driven by social media. Indeed, research by Forbes and Google found that 80% of C-level executives perform at least three web searches per day. What do you think?
Should sales enablement be owned by sales rather than marketing?
SEPTEMBER 24, 2010
I’m wondering if it’s time to take sales enablement away from marketing. What do I mean by sales enablement? heard a great definition from my former ITSMA colleague Jeff Sands the other day: Sales enablement is helping salespeople be more credible with customers. We all know how sales enablement got started in B2B. Marketers helped salespeople put words to the insanely complex products and services they were trying to sell. Sales enablement used to mean brochures. But then the internet came along. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say, “and then everything changed,” because it didn’t.
Why our thought leadership is broken
SEPTEMBER 17, 2010
All of our talk about marketers becoming publishers is incomplete. We can’t just become publishers, we also have to become advertisers. Let me explain. For centuries, publishers had an uneasy, co-dependent relationship with advertisers. wall existed between publishers and advertisers. Publishers (the good ones, anyway) gave some of the most prominent pages in their newspapers and magazines to advertisers in return for a lot of cash, access to a targeted group of customers, and editorial independence from advertiser influence. What’s the point? But that’s only part of the answer. Check. Check.
Will you tell me what you think of my blog?
AUGUST 20, 2010
I'm going on vacation for two weeks so my blog will be going dark for a little while. thought this would be a good time to ask you a big favor: Will you answer a few questions about my blog so I can make it better? have an easy survey tool provided to me by the good folks at FUSE that specialize in automated online surveys like the one that you are (I hope) about to take (special thanks to Charles Martin at FUSE and Joe Saylor for giving me a chance to try it out). Another great characteristic of these surveys is that they don't sound like you need a lab coat to take them. Thanks.
B2B social media lessons from Steven Slater and Mark Hurd
AUGUST 13, 2010
At first glance, Steven Slater seems like a total crackpot—cursing out a passenger on the intercom and snagging a few beers on the way to a fun-house exit on the inflatable emergency slide (admit it, haven’t you always wanted to slide down that thing yourself?). But we’re in the era of social media now, so there are breadcrumbs in the forest that lead us to a fuller explanation of who Slater is and why he did what he did. Social media fills in the background to the blowup. Thanks to the site, we discover that Slater has loved flying since he was a kid. Even the mighty leave a trail.
15 qualities of a good social media voice
AUGUST 3, 2010
When people ask about how to use social media tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, I suspect that they are really asking about how they should sound in those tools. After all, the tools themselves are dead simple. You need a second hand on your watch to track how long it takes to set up a Twitter account, for example. But developing a social media voice is a more complicated proposition. good starting point is to create a social media policy for the organization. But these policies are more like guardrails than signposts. Relevant. Lack of relevance is a ticket to deletionville. Generous.
13 qualities of a good social media voice
AUGUST 3, 2010
When people ask about how to use social media tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, I suspect that they are really asking about how they should sound in those tools. After all, the tools themselves are dead simple. You need a second hand on your watch to track how long it takes to set up a Twitter account, for example. But developing a social media voice is a more complicated proposition. good starting point is to create a social media policy for the organization. But these policies are more like guardrails than signposts. That means we need a new standard for ourselves. Grammatical.
Six ways that marketing needs to lead the organization in social media
MAY 14, 2010
That’s why at ITSMA we’re calling 2010 The Year of Marketing Transformation (sound the bugles!—a Social media creates the need for marketing to lead within the organization. At least that’s the conclusion we reached at ITSMA recently when we did our social media survey (there’s a free summary if you’re interested). Now what do we mean when we say that? We mean that within the organization the leadership of social media is falling to marketing. We think that’s because social media is seen primarily as a tool for marketing. But think about it. Remember that marketing can’t do this alone.
How Facebook’s privacy disasters will change B2B marketing
MAY 21, 2010
Have you ever noticed that your Facebook profile page looks like one of those horrible qualification forms that we make our customers fill out? If you go to Facebook and look at your profile, your immediate reaction is going to be that it’s asking for too much information. Social media is beginning to teach us that long qual forms are going the way of the dodo. I’m still looking to pin down incontrovertible evidence of this, but anecdotally I hear from people that when they get rid of qual forms for their content the amount of engagement increases exponentially. come at a price.
It’s official: Marketing owns social media management. Now what?
APRIL 16, 2010
We just completed our ITSMA survey on social media. I’ll be reporting some of the major findings here and at ITSMA.com over the coming weeks. But one finding sticks out. Marketing owns social media management. That’s right. It’s our job. In our survey, we asked, “In your company, is marketing the catalyst for social media being used by others in the company (product development, HR, etc.)?” 68% of our respondents said yes. Will social become a silo within marketing? This has big implications for how we organize marketing. And to business people, that all represented value. Do you?
How to establish a voice of authority in a blog
APRIL 9, 2010
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how to get others to blog. But it’s not enough just to support bloggers. For them to be successful, we need to help them establish their voices in a blog. The way that we establish trust and relationships with buyers is through authority. We want readers of our SMEs’ blogs to see them as experts. But you can’t establish that authority by putting a link to their LinkedIn profile on the blog. You have to establish authority through the writing voice that your SMEs use in their blogs. If that’s the case, great. Stop reading. SMEs need an angle. Show your age.
How to get others to blog
MARCH 26, 2010
One of the biggest challenges for B2B social media marketers isn’t creating content, it’s helping others create content. Marketing is the default head of social media management in most companies. And while marketers can create some social media content, they can (and should) rely on their subject matter experts (SMEs) to create most of the stuff that’s going to build trust and relationships with customers. It’s no surprise. Creating content such as blogs is hard. That’s why marketers have to step in and help out. Here are some ways to do it: Send them what interests you. Filter research.
Social media isn’t enough. We need a marketing transformation.
JANUARY 15, 2010
At ITSMA, we’re calling 2010 the year of marketing transformation. We’re going to offer more specific on how marketers should make this transformation backed up by selected data from the 2010 survey at our webcast, The Year of Marketing Transformation: ITSMA’s 2010 State of the Profession Address on January 26. During one of the first few days I went to work at CIO magazine in 1995, I had what we called a “vendor visit”—one of many I would have in the coming years. The idea behind the visits was to avoid having us journos become isolated in our ivory tower. And why not?
Social media raises the bar for customer intimacy
MARCH 12, 2010
Social media is raising the bar on customer intimacy. Though it has become a generic term, customer intimacy was first coined by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema who worked at CSC/Index back in the 90s when I was a thought leadership marketer there. Rooted in Michael Porter’s timeless work in business strategy, Treacy and Wiersema took it a step further with their three “value disciplines.”. The theory is that every company competes in three disciplines: Customer intimacy. These are companies that go out of their way to build close customer relationships. Operational excellence.
When does content need to be mobile?
MARCH 5, 2010
We got a question this week from an ITSMA client asking about developing a business case for creating mobile applications for their website content. said that I haven’t seen any of those business cases yet. And I don’t think I ever will. We’re seeing mobile be part of an integrated approach to social media, not as a standalone. In fact, I’m working on two case studies this week of websites that have mobile applications, but the mobile applications are a small part of the whole. And they both lead to content that benefits from being mobile. Continuity. Timeliness. But not until then.
How social media will change lead generation in B2B
FEBRUARY 26, 2010
The era of the sales process beginning with a lead is over. The number of B2B buyers who are ready to buy as soon as they engage with our marketing is small—and social media will make it even smaller. We have to come to terms with the fact that there is a stage of the buying process that comes before the buyers we are pursuing are ready to become leads. We call it the epiphany stage. This is the stage that occurs long before any discussion of products, services, or RFPs—indeed, it occurs before customers have even begun to think about a purchase. This is where social media comes in.
How to squander your leadership in social media
FEBRUARY 12, 2010
Social media experts often chide marketers about control. The experts say that in the new era of social media, marketers need to stop delivering tightly-scripted, one-way messages and start engaging in uncontrolled, transparent conversations with customers and prospects wherever those conversations happen. That’s why a change in the policies of perhaps the leading voice for social media, Forrester , has bigger implications than it may seem. Owyang’s blog is one of the most highly trafficked, most influential social media blogs today, as it was when he was at Forrester. Openness? Transparency?
How much do you “charge” for your content?
JANUARY 29, 2010
Image via Wikipedia. Okay, so it’s difficult to actually pull money out of buyers for your marketing content (though there are rare exceptions: McKinsey has been doing it for years with the McKinsey Quarterly). Yet while generally we can’t put a price tag on our content, we do charge for it. The price is the forms we make people fill out to download white papers or sign up for events. Trouble is, we take a one-price-for all approach to our content. That has to change. In many cases, we’re charging too much for our content and in other cases not enough. Privacy. Intention. Hierarchy. Access.