Chris Koch

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.

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.

Trending Sources

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. I think they need to be convinced. Please tell me if you think the following does the job: Relationships are what matter in selling.

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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.”

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Research the need. Most people start with strategy. But starting with strategy assumes a need that may not be there.

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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. Research the need. Most people start with strategy. But starting with strategy assumes a need that may not be there.

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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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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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).

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Apple’s marketing arrogance

Chris Koch

It’s marketing 101: don’t hold your needs above those of your customers—and don’t defy the expectations that you set with them. Apple has violated both of those rules this week, and I’m sure they could care less—Apple long ago concluded that their products are so much better that customers will overlook the arrogance with which they treat customers.