B2B Marketing Unplugged

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Why Your Website is About to Become a Lot Less Important

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Now and again, you will want to send someone there to gaze upon your wondrous content, pricing lists, shopping carts and references. My agency suit friend, Marc has very sore feet this week. You see, he’s been making the rounds of the holiday parties. His agency has hosted a few, then there’s the ad club, the marketing association stuff, his clients’ parties and his suppliers’ lunches.

Lend a Hand or Shut Your Facebook

B2B Marketing Unplugged

If the disgusting price games perpetrated by Martin Shrleki and Turing Pharmaceuritcals has you looking at hermit caves and little brass bells as a retirement lifestyle, Imprimis Pharmaceuticals is here to restore your faith. Darius has a cool job. He’s the marketing manager for a rapidly growing logistics company that serves the food industry. But the dude didn’t stop there. It gets worse.

Why Your Website Needs a Good Cleaning

B2B Marketing Unplugged

These are more embarrassing than anything, but what about old pricing pages ? This company either hasn’t raised prices in five years or is in some danger of having someone show up with this in-hand for their next order. In some places you might actually be held to old prices if they are considered “published”. Have you been keeping your website content up to date?

Is Your Competition Making Stuff Up? Good.

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Diamonds aren’t particularly rare but the supply is tightly managed by the handful of companies who mine them (DeBeers accounts for about 75% of the production), so the price stays artificially high. It’s all about potential. For just a few minutes you can imagine that your bedroom will look like something in Dwell instead of a depressing mix of unmatched sheets and dog hair. Well it is.

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The Fish in the Barrel Don’t Like it When You Shoot

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Long ago, we discovered that if people are bored enough, excited enough or thirsty enough we can sell them pretty much anything, at pretty much any price. Oddly, security doesn’t seem to add 70% to the price of magazines, carbonated drinks or chocolate bars. This is more than just good old-fashioned price gouging, my friends. We marketers just love a captive audience, don’t we?

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Distance Between Decision-Makers and End Users is Key

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Babies don’t think much about price or packaging, but at the end of it all (sorry), the value proposition around dry, happy babies is shared. One of my favourite business writers, Geoffrey James , once wrote that B2B selling is “not only different from B2C selling, it’s massively more difficult …”. Here’s the whole article. In the consumer world, the distance is pretty short.

Brand Loyalty Begins with Giving a Sh*t

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Related Posts: It’s Time to Get Your Pricing House in Order. I think marketers spend a lot of time and calories talking to people who really don’t give a sh*t. We like to call this awareness building –the first stage in our Journey of Unreciprocated Love. Awareness, it seems to me, is lately about interrupting people long enough to think about your products or brand.

To Everything Spin, Spin, Spin

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Marketers may not have much to do with planning around currency crises or the price of potash, but we should be very careful about assuming the future is a thing we can predict and focus instead on the worldview that may make it difficult for us to respond. 9. It covers a lot of ground in a very short space and leaves brand marketers with 9 things to ponder. 1. You need your geeks.

Why Meaning Matters More than Noise

B2B Marketing Unplugged

” Tesco got caught in this eddy in recent years, when its focus on loyalty programs distracted it from the reality that customers were looking for lower prices and fewer gimmicks. “When everything you do is framed by the question ‘is this product or service worthy of my customer and why?’ it changes everything.”. That customer’s story changes because the business exists.”

Stop Apologizing, Start Measuring

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Shareholders will be looking for a matinee performance over the stock price that went off a cliff in mid-September. There are a thousand reasons to be happy you don’t work for Volkswagen just now. One of them is getting to avoid being part of the orchestra accompanying its Dance Apologetic over the emissions software thing. And boy are they dancing in Wolfsburg this week. Such fun.

Unique Selling Propositions Are a Myth

B2B Marketing Unplugged

He may even be able to command a premium price one day and get smart outfits for his employees. Related Posts: Stop Talking Price, Start Talking Time. My friend Sam was recently turfed out of his cushy corporate job and is currently spending his days taking unemployment lessons at an outplacement firm. Why?” I said. Deploying sheep? Mowing naked? We poured more wine.

Why Marketing Needs to Fix the Customer Experience

B2B Marketing Unplugged

When we aren’t on the defensive, we can ask for ideas about making our products better and we can test messages and features and pricing. We’ve spent the past two weeks feeling sad about the state of customer experience management (CEM), so it’s time to lighten up a little and talk about why marketers should care. This is why I think marketing ought to own CEM. Namaste, my friends.

Ask Customers What They Want to Say, Not What You Want to Hear

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Another investigation revealed that a steep decline in add-on sales in a particular region had nothing to do with price, as our customers suggested, but everything to do with the departure of two popular sales people. Here’s a riddle: what smells a bit like a barnyard and gobbles? We marketers love to gobble data. We’re really not all that picky. And don’t get us started on overlays.

Just Because It’s Content, Doesn’t Mean It’s Good

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Perversely, even in the face of a shortage of content creators, we seem to think it should be priced liked a packet of ramen noodles, instead of the difficult, skilled trade that it is. It must have been about June when Linda called. “Do you know a good B2B writer?”, ” Not true. Linda has at least some of them locked in a closet. We’ve been cranking it out for years.

The Agony of Defeat: Why Lost Business Reporting Isn’t Helpful

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Sales people, however, can elevate that to truly masterful storytelling when it comes to their results. . I don’t think I have ever heard a sales person credit their big win to an efficient lead nurturing process, a great brand, fabulous sales materials or even competitive pricing.  Do you get the Win-Loss report? You really ought to get yourself on that list. told you this was fun.

Ten B2B Marketing Opinions from 2014

B2B Marketing Unplugged

No Cookies for You: How to Get Sales to Talk Value Not Price. If you said I was too lazy to write something original, despite the gobs and gobs of time off I am currently enjoying, you would be correct. Here are ten posts from the past year that I kind of liked and hope you do too. . Twitter Truth #2: Sometimes You Need to Shut Up. Time to Bring Down the Curtain on Green Theatre. Elizabeth.

No More Random Acts of Marketing

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Just in case nobody told you, the thing marketing is supposed to do is solve problems like not enough customers, a lack of awareness about a product and pricing that causes eczema. If you’ve worked in marketing for more than a week, you’ve committed an RAOM – a Random Act of Marketing.  It can take many forms. But these are not reasons for RAOMs, they are excuses. How will we know?

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Border Collies are Loyal; Customers are Satisfied

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Or this is where the pricing that got the signature on the sales order turns out to not to have included a few things it really ought to have included. Here we are at the Loyalty phase of our Journey of Unreciprocated Love. This is the Unreciprocated Love part. Let’s imagine we managed to get that bit right and we’ve crossed the line. Some of them are bad things. Customers are satisfied.

Stop Talking Price, Start Talking Time

B2B Marketing Unplugged

If you’re struggling with a sales team that can’t seem to stay out of the pricing discussion, try training them to talk ROTI and flip the whole thing to a value conversation instead of a price conversation. Every Wednesday, I rearrange the colour-coded pens and precisely aligned office accessories on my colleague’s desk. It’s a thing to look forward to. My email is not on file.

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Preference and Its Pylons

B2B Marketing Unplugged

We clap on and on about our great customer service and low prices but we don’t always remember to mention the problem we are solving. If we don’t arm them properly, they will go straight to price and, you guessed it, Feature Puke. Marketers can sure get in our own ways when we try to create preference. Our prospect, on the other hand, never forgets the problem they need solved.

Resentful Client, Cringing Agency Part Two

B2B Marketing Unplugged

The difference here is that you can have the conversation while you sip a glass of wine instead of while you’re gluing a Fisher-Price guy’s head back on. Last week we looked at three of the six reasons we end up breaking up with our agencies and throwing all their clothes and magnet collections on to the front lawn and driving over them a bunch of times. 

No Cookies for You – How to Get Sales to Talk Value, Not Price

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Last week we looked at why we need to do a bit of work on our pricing to help insulate the P part of things from the L part of things and come up looking pretty good despite having mucked up the budget and let sales have its way with revenue. What you end up with is the Pocket Price. Except that nobody actually asked them to match or beat a competitive price. No problem.

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Four Ways to Get Sales Off Your Back and Out Selling

B2B Marketing Unplugged

So while you wait for your Overlords to approve the creative they’ve had for weeks, and for the product roadmap you know will be revised, and for the three price promos stuck in legal, here are four quick and easy things you can do to help the squirrels. Last week I gave you a small song to sing at the end of the quarter as the inevitable fingers seek to assign the inevitable blame.

Why Sales Doesn’t Use Most Marketing Content

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Their brains are full of prices, discounting rules, open-ended questions and golf handicaps. If you have read the venerable children’s book, Paddle to the Sea , then you can understand how frustrating it can be to get a piece of content out the door. In Paddle, a boy carves a wooden guy in a canoe and releases it. Joanie’s paper took her about two weeks to write.

Lost Squirrels: Putting Sales Where it Belongs

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Waiting for pricing from marketing. Now I know that what we consider a pricing document, most Sales Squirrels consider a starting point for negotiating with us; and I know that sales materials and scripts aren’t actually necessary if you know the product. Mostly statistics just annoy me, but every now and again I am absolutely gobsmacked by one. Like this gem I picked up from Sirius Decisions at a marketing conference: sales people spend only 18% of their time in front of customers. You read that right, folks. Setting up the fantasy football league – 2%.

This Old Website – 7 Unfortunate Realities

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Today we spend our time gaming the search engines, creating tour guide avatars, crawling the latest tweets and share prices across the bottom and asking our visitors if they want to fill in a helpful survey. At about the same time, I figured out how to make Word automatically substitute “Winged Angel of Death” any time I typed the CFO’s name.  Even the ones you forgot about. Sorry.

It’s Time to Get Your Pricing House in Order

B2B Marketing Unplugged

May I suggest you spend some time now getting very intimate with your pricing? The Sales Squirrels view pricing somewhat differently. So the price book our product managers worked so hard to build and defend is really just a lovely guideline. The first thing we ought to do is to raise our prices. If you haven’t raised your prices in more than a year, it’s time.

Finally, A Marketing Book That Helps

B2B Marketing Unplugged

The Drag Race is your basic American Graffiti scene but with companies squaring off over qualitative comparisons such as features, price or other directly comparable attributes. Interesting things happen when we tidy up. So naturally I stopped cleaning and sat down to read the Playbook. The deal is this: there are five ways to attack a market. Not four. Not six. ” Oh dear.

How Marketing is Pushing Customer Service Under the Bus

B2B Marketing Unplugged

First floated by Paul Samuelson, this theory held that consumers, by right of their choice in the marketplace, were ultimately the sovereign beings who determine what is produced and the price at which it is sold. In 1958 John Kenneth Galbraith famously took on the economic doctrine of Consumer Sovereignty.  The truth is that very, very few companies are truly serious about customer service.

Small Business Website Woes? Get it to The Geek

B2B Marketing Unplugged

You are the agency that proposes fifty Flash pages for the low, low price of just $20,000. Did you know that almost half of Canadian small businesses don’t have a website? Maybe you did know that but did you know that of the half that do have sites, many of them are complete rubbish and haven’t been updated for months or even years? There are lots of well-documented reasons why small business websites are such a sorry lot: other priorities; too busy. no idea how to build or maintain a site. not enough money to hire an expert. fear of screwing it up. You know who you are. And she’s stuck.

Don’t Let Your Campaign Sneak Up on Your Sales Teams

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Bill: In fact, I was wondering if you could tell me the ballpark pricing on that baby. Squirrel:  The pricing is, um, flexible. I’d really have to come in and discuss your needs and properly fit the right, um, version for your business. On each page, resist the urge to celebrate your strategic genius and instead use call-outs to show the Squirrels the things they need to be aware of: price, call to action, offer details, the nearly invisible mousetype at the bottom, regional variances etc. Do you know what happens when you startle a squirrel? Glad you liked it.

All Together Now: Blame Marketing

B2B Marketing Unplugged

The price strategy. Who doesn’t  love the end of the quarter? Time to kick back with a nice drink and celebrate a job well done! Pardon me? You didn’t make your numbers? You missed the revenue target? You pooched your opex? The finance people are closing in like Dementors? The Sales Squirrels are running in ever-diminishing circles? You know what’s next, don’t you? Something has to be sacrificed to appease the God of Sales Awards Clubs. On South Park* they blame Canada ; in the real world, they blame marketing. BLAME MARKETING. Times have changed. Sales is a lazy bunch. HECK NO!

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The Chianti Segmentations: A New Look at An Old Tedium

B2B Marketing Unplugged

As I drained the bottle, I added categories around price sensitivity, likelihood for more share of wallet and overall growth potential in their industries. I hate market segmentation. understand why we need to do it, but for B2B marketers, it’s a tedious, often fruitless waste of time. Consumer marketers get to play with demographics, psychographics and other juicy factors. We get something called firmographics, which sound more like control top hosiery than a useful way to view a market. Happily, we have wine to help us. Yes, the whole thing. Has anyone seen the corkscrew?

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Friends Like These or Why Most Trusted Advisors are Neither

B2B Marketing Unplugged

They are the ones with courage to utter “yes, your arse does look fat in that” Or tell you your website sucks or your pricing is screwed or your strategy crawled out of a bottle of Ritalin. Is trusted advisor the theme of the week? have at least half a dozen emails, voice mails and other rubbish asking to be my trusted advisor on everything from social media to something called talent optimization ( which is either bagpipe lessons or a hit squad for employees I don’t like). May I suggest that if you do either of these things, you need to reevaluate some life decisions.

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Trout on Strategy is an Acquired Taste

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Telling them about the half-price sushi across the street or sending in a sales guy who”s behind on quota both come to mind.  He sums it up rather well: “If you don’t have a point of difference, you’d better have a low price.”. Product, pricing, distribution, advertising – all the activities that make up the marketing mix must be coherently focused on the tactic. There are plenty of ways to clear a room full of marketers. But the most effective has got to be the S Word. Simply mumbling “…but is this really on strategy?” will guarantee they avoid you for weeks.

Fight Them in the Cafés, Not on the Beaches

B2B Marketing Unplugged

They may just be looking for the exit but there’s a better chance they are texting someone in their vast network to find out where to buy the lame thing their lame boss just told them to price out. Do people say bad things about your company online? mean really bad things? Ugly things? Hurtful things? Do they Tweet endlessly while they wait for your customer service line to pick up? Are you getting Epic Fail awards for your shipping challenges? Reading about your products a little too often on Facebook? See,” they bleat. It’s not just teenagers and bored day traders doing this either.

Brand Longevity Tips from Mick and Keith

B2B Marketing Unplugged

That includes your social media team, concert program designers and the guy who sells your over-priced coffee mug. What do you call someone who pays $300 to watch a bunch of old men prance around the Air Canada Centre? Well this is a trick question. If you said a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, you would be right — most of the time. And this band can still play. Keep it Classy. Related Posts.

12 Days of Holiday Reading for Exhausted Marketers

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Two things to read about B2B Pricing: Start with this white paper from the good people at B2B International and then spend a little time on the Vendavo blog. Content Marketing Metrics & Measures Social Media Stupid Ideas Websites B2B International B2B marketing B2B pricing bizmarketer content content marketing Content Marketing Institute direct marketing Elizabeth Williams email Jessedee linkedin Marketing Sherpa MarketingProfs metrics Mitch Joel PowerPoint Precision Thinking ROI Six Pixels Slideshare strategy Velocity VendavoHappy Holidays, everyone. Always worth the time.

Seven Spring Break Diversions for Marketers

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Move on to pricing and technical specifications. Hooray! It’s Spring Break! Time to reconnect with your kids by imposing them on an airplane full of people or dragging them off to grandma’s or holding a Dora marathon in the comfort of your home. No kids? Well you can keep busy during a quiet week at the office while your co-workers’ kids experiment with shredders and glue sticks. Dedicated marketers can be forgiven, however,  if their minds wander away from picking Goldfish crackers out of the humidifier and consider more grown-up things. Oh, right. That would be teachers.

Why We Need to Stop Writing Plans and Start Making Them

B2B Marketing Unplugged

What if they drop their pants on price? So did you take my advice and text your 2012 marketing plan to your boss ?  Well, maybe next year. Maybe next year, instead of wasting our time fiddling about with PowerPoint, we will do something much more valuable for our Corporate Overlords, like coming up with meaningful responses to changing conditions. In ketchup circles they call it anticipation. COGS will remain constant. Competition will fail to innovate. Sales will discover hidden trove of Pixie Dust and drive 30% conversion. Billing systems will become adequate. What about if CAGR is 5%?