What Works - What Doesn't

Mine the Past for IT Thought Leadership

What Works - What Doesn't

We often think thought leadership requires uncovering some fundamental new truth about the universe, proving it is correct, and showing how to get there. That’s a heavy lift, and it’s not always possible – or even necessary.

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Can You Find the Media Contact on Your Web Site?

What Works - What Doesn't

After many years producing mostly marketing content for vendors, I’m finding myself doing more technology reporting. That means reaching out to IT vendors for their take on industry trends or customer references. That is, when I can find a human being to email.

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Enough About Us! How to Tune Pitch Decks for the Reader

What Works - What Doesn't

Of the hundreds of pitch decks I’ve seen as a trade press editor, too many left me waiting until slide 26 for a clue about the company’s value proposition, or even a clear description of their product or service.

Wrenching Thought Leadership from Tecchies

What Works - What Doesn't

(This post first appeared in Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey (SWMS), which produces research and analysis that helps tech PR pros pitch more effectively. SWMS interviews editors, studies their work and produces research and analysis that helps tech PR pros land coverage and build relationships.

Virtual Event Strategy: Building a High-ROI Annual Plan for 2022

Speaker: David Edwards, Senior Manager, Virtual Events, BrightTALK

While B2B marketers have used events as an effective marketing tool for decades, virtual events have more recently evolved into an essential part of the marketing mix. But the myriad of options can make it confusing to put together a virtual event strategy that positively impacts your marketing goals - not just your budget.

Three Post Covid (Kinda) Cloud Marketing Tips    

What Works - What Doesn't

As we bob between COVID waves, many cloud marketers are trying to figure out how to reach prospects in an ever less predictable business climate.

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Big Workloads, Big Blue, Big Love at Red Hat Summit

What Works - What Doesn't

In the six years since I first visited Red Hat’s user show, open source software has become the default choice for enterprise applications and the cloud infrastructures on which they run. This year’s Red Hat Summit provided a good look at how the open source vendor’s products are evolving and being marketed as it prepares for its $34 billion acquisition by IBM. Open source means users can view and modify the code to fix bugs and meet new needs.

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Over Half of Marketing Content is Trash. Again.

What Works - What Doesn't

News flash (or not): Too much of our marketing content stinks. Who says? More than 250 global technology decision makers surveyed by Forrester Research. 57% said “most of the material is useless.”. 66% said “vendors provide me too much material to sort through”. 60% said they get most of their information from other sources. What’s more, this is the third consecutive year vendor content got such poor rankings. As someone who produces B2B content full time, I’m sorry to say I’m not surprised.

Three Ways Hoarding Your Secret Sauce Hurts You

What Works - What Doesn't

In the past I’ve argued for the value of sharing more, rather than less, of your consulting smarts in your thought leadership content and case studies. Yet I keep running into resistance when I ask for examples of how my clients work their magic with customers and specifics of the challenges they’ve overcome for them.

Nailing Differentiation: Lessons From a Concrete Screw

What Works - What Doesn't

Many of my small to medium size clients, such as regional IT service providers, struggle when I ask them what differentiates them from their competitors. The best they can come up with is often: “We really listen to our customers’ needs.”. Our staff really cares about our customer’s success.”. “We We take a consultative approach, rather than just trying to sell them stuff.”. Sound familiar? It should. These aren’t differentiators – they’re the minimum requirements to keep the doors open.

The Definitive Guide to Account-Based Experience

ABX is the next evolution of ABM & it’s here to stay. Gifting & direct mail can carry you straight to the hearts of your prospects & customers. Find out how easy it is to create data-driven, personalized experiences at scale with gifting and direct mail.

How to Play It Snarky But Safe

What Works - What Doesn't

There’s a lot of talk about the need to make marketing content funny and edgy enough to rise above a sea of “me-too” blather. Yet too many of my clients continue to play it safe – too safe, to my mind, to accurately describe the real business problems they help their customers solve.

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Which Transformation Soup Are You Selling?  

What Works - What Doesn't

With winter coming, it’s time to think about soups. Not as in savory stews, but in the unsavory slop we dish out when we carelessly talk about “transformation.” Blending the various definitions without thinking dilutes the message and leaves prospects confused , rather than wanting to learn more. More than seven years ago (yikes!) I first trashed the term as meaningless jargon and since then tried to puzzle out its various meanings.

Busting the AI/Security Hype Cycle

What Works - What Doesn't

Whenever a buzzword gets hot, you can expect lazy marketers to start pasting it on every product or service in sight. When two buzzwords get popular at the same time, expect double the hype. So it is with the two hot high-profile trends of security and artificial intelligence (AI). Security is a big deal because more than 50 years into the computer age we still haven’t figured out how to protect our applications and data well enough, and the problem is only getting worse.

Blockchain Blues, Case Study Heartache.

What Works - What Doesn't

For those of you who follow this blog, sorry for having been out of touch. It’s been an extremely busy summer and fall, what with time off off touring Iceland and Scotland and then with increasingly strong demand for marketing content. But not all tech categories are as healthy as others, and in some ways, creating quality content is becoming harder and harder.

Deliver Magic Moments with Direct Mail and Corporate Gifting

Digital fatigue is a thing, no surprise there. The good news: you can break through the noise using a new channel! Find out how to get creative and build rapport with prospects & customers offline with strategic direct mail and corporate gifting.

What We’re Doing Wrong in Blockchain Marketing

What Works - What Doesn't

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was “ always explain what you’re talking about. Never assume your audience knows the background – even if they’re experts.”. I’m especially careful to do that now around blockchain, the distributed database technology that assures the integrity of transactions or data without a central clearing house.*

Selling Three Top IT Trends in 2019 

What Works - What Doesn't

Between waves of new technology and political and economic jitters, 2019 will be an extremely noisy marketing environment. Getting and keeping the attention of IT buyers will be harder than ever. Here are three of the biggest IT growth areas I’m seeing from my work with clients, and suggestions for practical messaging that will lift you out of the “me-too” scrum this year. Cloud Migration.

Blockchain Will Be Huge. We Think.

What Works - What Doesn't

Blockchain – the distributed ledger system meant to handle financial and other transactions without the need for banks or other central authorities – will be huge. Those is, if dozens of players with competing agendas can solve multiple complex technical problems, and convince regulators to overturn centuries of rules in everything from finance to utilities. That was my takeaway from this week’s “ Business of Blockchain ” event, organized by MIT Technology Review and the MIT Media Lab.

Four Email Marketing Sinkholes to Avoid

What Works - What Doesn't

I recently finished an email nurture campaign for a major software vendor. It included multiple emails across multiple streams for each step in the buyer’s journey (awareness, education, consideration and qualification.). The writing was the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

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How to Increase ABM Performance with Empathy

Speaker: Brian Carroll, CEO & Founder of markempa

The highest priority for B2B marketers is effective demand generation (increasing lead quality and quantity). However, we can get so caught up in our ABM strategies, systems, tools, and investments that we lose sight of building deep empathy for the people in the accounts. In this webinar, you’ll learn how to go beyond rational-logic-based sales/marketing and adjust your strategy to understand better how buyers feel so that you can connect and help more customers buy.

No Robot Overlords at MIT CIO Symposium

What Works - What Doesn't

The recent 2017 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in Cambridge, Mass. was full of talk about “digital transformation,” driven by everything from artificial intelligence (AI) to blockchain to the Internet of Things. Among the insights, for me, were the current limits and future potential of AI, and how much a real (rather than hyped up) story of digital transformation stood out. Are the Robots Coming for Your Job?

Driving Thought Leadership in Blockchain

What Works - What Doesn't

Kosta Peric of thge Bill & Melinda Gates foundation describes a blockchain-based digital payment platform for the poor. So you’re convinced of the potential of blockchain (networks of encrypted ledgers in which the nodes automatically and continually assure the accuracy of all the data on the chain without the need for a central authority.). And you think you have some deep thinking that will help you ride the blockchain rocket.

Pulling Case Studies Out of Customers

What Works - What Doesn't

One of the more predictable, and sadder, moments in my work with clients comes when I ask for a customer case study to help illustrate all the good things their hardware, software or services can do. Their answer is often an awkward silence, followed by something like “Uh, we’ll have to talk to sales to see if they have anything. But they probably don’t so why don’t you start writing anyway…”.

Five Ways Storytelling Goes Bad

What Works - What Doesn't

Wherever you go in the content marketing industry, people are talking about brand storytelling. You have to tell stories to get customers emotionally involved in your brand. The human mind is intrinsically geared to hearing and understanding stories. Hey, I’m all for storytelling. When my clients go on about how they digitally “transform” this or that, I harass them for real-world examples – stories, if you will — to explain what they’re doing.

Bigger, Faster, Better: Considerations for Scaling Up Your Own Engagement Engine

Speaker: David Pitta, CMO, BrightTALK and John Steinert, CMO, TechTarget

Customer acquisition and growth requires intentional strategy. Join David Pitta, CMO, BrightTALK and John Steinert, CMO, TechTarget as they share their 20+ years of experience in crafting engagement engines at scale.

Do You Want Sales or an Audience – or Both?

What Works - What Doesn't

Give clients “real business metrics,” says, Joe Lazauskas of Contently. Walking the halls of my first Content Marketing World I wasn’t surprised to hear lots of agreement that high quality content is essential to effective marketing and sales.

15 Ideas to Jump Start a Blockchain Blog  

What Works - What Doesn't

Emin Gün Sirer of Cornell University tells the MIT conference how to build blockchains right. Let’s say you want to put a marketing stake in the ground around blockchain (networks of encrypted ledgers that automatically assure the accuracy of data and transactions without the need for a central authority.). You’re convinced there’s real potential , but are not sure exactly where you fit in the market and how it will all play out.

Get Off the Commodity Bus!

What Works - What Doesn't

Do you feel like you’re stuck trying to differentiate yourself in a crowded, “me-too” market like, for example, local IT service providers? Take a lesson from Southern New Hampshire University , maybe best known for the bus they send around the country delivering diplomas to graduates of their on-line programs.

12 Quick Content Marketing Tips and Trends

What Works - What Doesn't

The frigid cold along Route 128 the other morning didn’t keep a standing-room-only crowd from Schwartz Communications’ Breakfast Roundtable on content marketing (using information shared on the Web to drive sales.) Featured speakers were Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at online marketing site MarketingProfs , and Brian Halligan, CEO of inbound marketing software vendor HubSpot. Among the ideas and tips they tossed out for making the most of your blogs, Tweets, emails, videos, etc.: .

Buyer Intent Data Guide: How to Find Prospects Already Looking to Buy

Collecting and understanding buyer intent is a must for any marketer or salesperson looking for a higher success rate in reaching active buyers. Throughout this eBook, we’ll explore how to monetize intent data, where it's sourced from (and which sources you should be wary of), as well as how to best utilize it within your outbound campaigns in order to drive more pipeline each month.

Time to Kill the Press Release?

What Works - What Doesn't

While writing a press release for a client the other day, I got to thinking about what I was doing. Dangerous idea, thinking too much. Because the more I thought, the less reason I could find for a company to issue a traditional “press release.”     What with the long decline of the trade press, there is less “press” out there to “release” information to.

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How Much Rope Should You Give a “Corporate Reporter?”

What Works - What Doesn't

Companies have been hiring ex-journalists for years as PR people because they knew how to tell a story and how to work with their fellow ink-stained wretches. For those old enough to remember ink.). Marketing automation vendor Eloqua has gone a step further and hired Jesse Noyes , formerly a business reporter for the Boston Herald , as a “corporate reporter.” His goal, he says, is “to drill down within the company and the industry to find the stories that too often go untold.

Just Say No To "Social Media Press Releases"

What Works - What Doesn't

To succeed, the “social media press release” must focus more on content than Web bling.         Catherine Marenghi , senior PR manager at Cognizant Technology Solutions (a client of mine) read my recent post asking if it’s “Time to Kill the Press Release? because it’s too stilted and vendor-focused, and asked what I thought of the Social Media Press Release (SMPR) template.

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If You MUST Write A Press Release, Do It Better

What Works - What Doesn't

At Schwartz Communications’ breakfast roundtable on content marketing last week, attendees were asked to rank which channels they used to get the news out about their company. Plenty of people use “blogs,” “Twitter,” “Facebook,” or “LinkedIn” but “press release” barely registered. That led one attendee to ask why. Her employer, a B2B electronics manufacturer, regularly uses press releases that have been optimized for search engines.

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5 Conversion Rate Optimization Mistakes to Avoid and How to Fix Them to Get More Leads

Speaker: Jen Dewar, CEO of Jalydew

Brand awareness and website traffic are great, but bottom line: you need your marketing programs to generate sales leads, and you need those leads to turn into new customers. There are many things you can do to increase leads and customers without increasing your marketing spend. Join Jen Dewar, CEO and Principal Consultant at Jalydew October 20th, 2021 at 11:00 am PDT for an insightful look into how to optimize your conversion rates.

What B2B Readers Want, Circa 2010

What Works - What Doesn't

I’ve had a great opportunity recently to learn what B2B customers want in content by – shock of shocks – asking them. The impetus is a competitive analysis I’m helping do for a publisher, which includes asking readers about everything from what they read, how they get it (print or online) to how they use content to do their jobs better.

Skill Set For Content Marketing: Number Crunching and A Gut Feel

What Works - What Doesn't

Back when the earth was young and so was I, feedback on my writing came from a grizzled, chain-smoking editor throwing a story back at me and growling “What the hell does this mean? Clean it up.” Now that I’m doing content marketing for clients, the feedback is a pop-up suggesting I tweak the title or juice up the metadescription.

Selling Your Weaknesses in B2B Content Marketing

What Works - What Doesn't

I’ve long argued that admitting your product or service isn’t the right hammer for every nail is an effective way to sell. The folks at marketing automation software vendor HubSpot seem to agree, judging from a recent blog post on “Seven Reasons Social Media is Bad for Marketing.”.

Stop the WordPress Madness!

What Works - What Doesn't

One month and hundreds of dollars worth of development help ago, I began consolidating my Web site and blog onto WordPress, the popular blog, Web site and content publishing system. My new site still isn’t up, I’ve lost dozens of hours of productive or leisure time (and will lose more) and my output of marketing posts (the aim of the whole exercise) is lower than ever.

A Master's Guide to B2B: How Listening to Your Customers Can Grow Your Business

Speaker: Adam Dorfman, Head of Product Growth at Reputation & Michele Bettinazzi, Customer Experience Manager at PeakMade Real Estate

Improved marketing conversion, happy customers, and faster growth - that’s only three things that can be accomplished by just listening to your customers. Customer feedback is an extremely invaluable tool to keeping retention high, attracting new business, and improving the general operations of your business. The question is - how do you capture all this? Join Adam Dorfman, Head of Product Growth at Reputation & Michele Bettinazzi, Customer Experience Manager at PeakMade Real Estate, for this essential discussion on the ins and outs of brokering the optimal customer interaction.