Archive for the ‘social media’ Tag

B2B marketing more fun than B2C?

complexity-signSo I came across this article in Advertising Age recently and I was instantly drawn to it. Entitled “Why B-to-B Marketing is more fun than B-to-C,” I just had to read it. Having spent most of my career in B2B, I’ve sometimes been envious of the B2C world. Usually, they get to use all the new stuff first. Social media. Mobile. I’m sure there are dozens more examples I can’t think of yet. It just always takes time for these things to migrate into the B2B world, especially if you are in a conservative industry like I am. In the defense industry, it’s a struggle to do much in social media since most sites are blocked at my customers sites.

Anyway, I did agree with many of the points Ruth Stevens makes in the article. Longer buyer cycles, many people involved in the purchase decision, just the overall complexity adds a challenge. And one that is fun to tackle. So if you get a chance, read the article. It’s short but rings true.

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More on Content Marketing

You can’t look at any major marketing magazine, blog or website without seeing some talk about Content Marketing. Content creation takes up a good chunk of my time and I’m always interested in best practices and research findings.

Here’s a smattering of recent articles I found particularly interesting:

Here’s one of the charts I really liked from the Eloqua blog:

content marketing statistics

I’m sure we will continue to see content marketing as a discipline evolve and expand as we move into 2013 and beyond.

Marketing is Dead – or Not

Ya just gotta love headlines for a blog article like this one:

Marketing is Dead

From the Harvard Business Review, this blog by Bill Lee argues that “traditional” marketing is dead. Of course, I really think his headline is mostly for provocative purposes and to drive readership and stir passion. And you know what? It worked! Just look at the hundreds of comments already submitted. A very interesting read for a Marketing aficionado – although I did lose interest at about comment 50.

But, getting back to Bill’s article, I did find some of it valid – and much of it not so much. Here are my thoughts:

  • Point #1:

“Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead”

Obviously, this is just an opening statement and (hopefully) Bill really isn’t that dumb. These modes of communications are still valid and, depending on your audience (B2B or B2C) and industry (for B2B), still incredibly important. Also, in the B2B world, your audience isn’t just customers and prospects. It may also be investors, potential employees, etc. And for these audiences, these channels often work well. Not a valid statement – even a stupid one.

  • Point #2:

“…CEOs have lost all patience. In a devastating 2011 study of 600 CEOs and decision makers by the London-based Fournaise Marketing Group, 73% of them said that CMOs lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient business growth, 72% are tired of being asked for money without explaining how it will generate increased business, and 77% have had it with all the talk about brand equity that can’t be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognized financial metric.”

Now this (although I haven’t checked the numbers and validity of the study) does make a little sense to me. I have seen a lack of some CMOs understanding the business and using “branding” as a catch-all for wasteful and unmeasured activities. However, I don’t think it’s nearly as widespread or dire as this so-called study reports.

  • Point #3:

“Third, in today’s increasingly social media-infused environment, traditional marketing and sales not only doesn’t work so well, it doesn’t make sense. When you try to extend traditional marketing logic into the world of social media, it simply doesn’t work.”

Wrong. And wrong in SO many ways, I’m not even sure where to begin. I guess a good first start would be to point out any of the many companies (IBM, Cisco, Eloqua, HubSpot, etc.) who leverage both “traditional” and social media well. I think I could write my PhD dissertation on this. And this is where Bill goes over the line from “scandalous” headline to get readers to downright stupidity.

  • Point #4:

“In fact, this last is a bit of a red herring, because traditional marketing isn’t really working anywhere.”

OK, well Bill, it is working very well for me. Along with all the new arrows I have in my quiver including social media. Wrong again.

From this point on, the article actually gets better. And touches on many “traditional” marketing techniques to get there. Among them are:

  • Restore community marketing – remember all those user groups many of us already do?
  • Find your customer influencers – duh, all talented sales and marketing teams look for power and influence – and always have
  • Help them build social capital – what he means by this is “customer champion.” Again, see bullet above. Been doing this for decades.
  • Get your customer advocates involved in the solution you provide – again, same as the two bullets above. And been doing it for decades.

When it comes right down to it, this whole new “social media” and “inbound” marketing thing is nothing more than a new (sometimes better) way of doing what marketing has always done.

Comments are welcome, as always!

Maximizing leads from events

I invest in several webcasts every year. For these, I leverage some of my media vendors who have my target audience as readers/subscribers. But these webcasts can be expensive. On the low end, I can do one for about $8k. This works for one of my target personas. On the high end, it can run as much as $20k. But this attracts prospects from the high end of my persona food chain.

webcast postcard eo/ir

Both have proven themselves as generating high quality (and a good quantity of) leads. Well worth the investment. Since I pay the same amount no matter how many people attend the webcast, this year I’m looking at innovative ways to increase the viewership. Here are a couple of things I’m doing (some of which I’ve been doing for a while but trying to expand the list):

  • Creating a landing page just for the webcast
  • Post webcast, continuing to promote the on-demand recording for six months or more – as long as the content is relevant
    • Statistics point out, and I’ve seen in my own experience, that live viewership of webcasts is declining. People just don’t have the time in the middle of their work day to join. But viewership of the archived webcast is increasing with people taking time to watch when it best fits their schedule.
  • Posting the event on relevant LinkedIn groups (and other social media outlets that makes sense)
  • When running print ads similar to the webcast topic, putting a call to action in the ad
  • Creating “post cards” that I can hand out at trade shows and conferences, give to the sales team to use on calls, leave in our lobby for visitors, and maybe even use as direct mail pieces.
  • Add a promo and link in signature files for company emails
  • Taking out banner ads on relevant sites and in their e-newsletters promoting the webcast and linking to the landing page.
  • Promoting it in our bi-monthly e-newsletter
  • Putting a QR code on everything we do in the list above to make it easy to get to the landing page

I’ve talked specifically about webcasts but I think many of these tactics can also work for other marketing activities. Anyone have some more ideas on how to creatively promote relatively high priced events to generate more leads? I’d love to hear some ideas!

MarketingSherpa B2B summit

I’ve been in B2B marketing for about 15 years. Ever since my MBA days, finding learning experiences that were relevant and applicable to me as a B2B marketer – well, there just weren’t many. I can count on one hand the number of conferences and “training” seminars I’ve been to that actually taught me enough to make it worth  my while. And my company’s money. This conference was four of the five fingers on that one hand. From the first session on day 1, I was engaged and learning. I’ve been on the bleeding edge of high-tech marketing for over a decade but, not only did I learn a substantial amount of new stuff, I also has the “slap in the face” moment of things I know better about but just haven’t spent the time on.

#1 from this conference – the VALUE PROP – the basis off of which almost everything you do depends. It needs to be a clear and succinct value proposition. It has to answer “why should I care about you?” and “how are you different/unique for your competitors?” Here’s a link to one of the many free pieces of content you can get on MarketingExperiments.com:

Do You Have the Right Value Proposition?

So much more to digest from this. Hopefully I’ll get time to spread some more in future posts.

webcast guidelines

After reading several whitepapers, to-dos and watching webinars on best practices, I compiled the short list for those of you who have to do tactical marketing. This is an outline of what you should consider when you are planning webcasts. Please let me know any comments and/or edits. Much of this content I gathered from:

Sources:

The Definitive Webinar Marketing eGuide, December 2009, Quantum Leap Marketing (Sponsored by GoToMeeting

ON24 2010 Webcasting Report: Webcast Benchmarks and Best Practices for Lead Generation, January 2011, ON24

9 Management Practices for Exceptional Webinars: Proven strategies to build a lead-generation engine, MarketingProfs

Webcast Planning Guide

Summary and Goals

Overview of webcast and define the goals.

Target audience

Define the target audience (TDMi/job role) and goal of the webcast.

Topic, abstract and email invitation

When naming the webcast and developing the abstract and email invite, remember WIFM – “what’s in it for me” from the prospect’s point of view. As with whitepapers, titles such as those below resonate well.

  • 7 secrets to winning more business
  • Top 5 common mistakes and how to avoid them
  • New breakthroughs in …
  • How to evaluate and choose a …

Use compelling language such as:

  • In this fast-paced 45-minute webinar, discover…
  • Are you frustrated with/by…

Because webcasts are the promise of future benefit, consider offering something tangible and immediate like access to a whitepaper.

Promotion plan

Look to promote using both Mercury and 3rd party resources. Third parties can include co-sponsors, partners, guest speakers, etc.

Type Your company 3rd Party (media group, partner, etc.)
email blast
banner ad on website
enewsletter sponsorship/article
ROS promotions
blog postings
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn Groups

Leverage webcast for new content tidbits

Look to use registration questions to provide content for webinar. For example, for storage, asking what challenges are you facing – would make a good slide for attendees.

Plus, look to use registration questions and webcast poll questions for content (article, podcast, etc.).

Post Promotion

Promote the recording as long as the content is fresh and relevant.

Interesting Industry Statistics

  • Webcasts are a low cost-per-lead method with high prospect engagement
  • Average registrant-to-attendee conversion rate is 58%
  • Months of December, June and October have the highest registrant-to-attendee conversion rates (79%, 68% and 63% respectively)
  • Significant number of attendees participate in polls and surveys
  • Integration with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can augment participation and stimulate conversations
  • Recruiting an outside speaker or co-sponsors significantly increases attendance
  • Many attendees tend to join about 5 minutes after the start time – start a minute or two late
  • Attendance increases with reminders sent the day before and an hour or two before the webcast
  • Surprisingly, Mondays may be a good day since Tuesday through Thursday is crowded

Social Media – Why do IT people still fear it?

I think it all has to do with control. And I think many businesses suffer for it.

The November/December 2010 issue of Baseline Magazine had a few articles on social media in the business environment. I passed them along to my firm’s IT department. I’m sure they are intelligent and all, but they really lack any sense of reality. They block Twitter (I use TweetDeck which they don’t block since it’s not a website but rather a desktop app) and Facebook. The irony is, I’m in marketing and not only do we have a Twitter account and Facebook page, but I’m partially responsible for posting to both. And I can’t see them from work. I have to wait until I get home to do my work.

I’d like to think they have a real business reason for blocking so much (it’s not only social media) but I really can’t fathom one. All I know is my perception of the IT department in my own company is that of a group of out-of-touch people living in the 1990s. I’m sure it’s not correct, but it is my perception. I especially love the irony when I see someone using a company-issued cell phone to access FB because they can’t get to it on their laptop.

For more on the Baseline issue, check out the story below:

http://www.baselinemag.com/c/a/Business-Intelligence/New-York-Life-Learns-to-Love-Social-Networking-719406/

The importance of blogging

OK. So I haven’t written a blog entry in 4 moths. Yuck! And here I am trying to show my employer how important blogging is. What a hypocrite.

I could claim “I’m too busy” – yeah, right. How long does it take to really write an article? Especially since it doesn’t have to be long. In fact, most people like nice, short entries.

Anyway, one of my 2011 resolutions is to stay consistent on my blog. It may not be every week but it won’t be a month between entries. I’m starting today…

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing II

A while back, I wrote about the whole “inbound vs. outbound” marketing thing.  I still don’t get this “us vs. them” argument that many marketers are spouting. In fact, the division really is just a way of categorizing marketing techniques. Yes, I agree, “inbound” methods tend to cost MUCH less (especially if you are doing print or direct mail initiatives). And for that reason, over the last five years, my marketing budgets tended to include fewer “traditional, outbound” marketing techniques. But I still did (and do) outbound marketing – especially when it makes sense for the target market I’m going after. For example, you can’t reach many C-level people through email as they have an admin who filters it.

For me, this whole inbound/outbound argument is irrelevant. It’s a continuum. As a marketer, you want as many arrows in your quiver as you can get. For some targets, direct mail still works. Print ads can help you with awareness and thought leadership. Social media can create powerful communities. In fact, if done correctly, any of these outlets can be used for community building, awareness, education and thought leadership, lead generation, etc. As a marketer, your job is to decide what your goals are and then figure out which methods are best to reach your target audience and deliver the results you need.

Recently, I listened to a webinar put on by BtoB Magazing (#BtoBWC for you Twitters) that included SiriusDecisions and Eloqua as presenters. It was a very good webinar, by the way, and I have immense respect for both organizations. But one comment that I noted was that many more people were coming through the web than ever before due to inbound marketing. I agree that almost every marketer is leveraging the web to the max – primarily due to limited budgets. But to ascribe all web visitors to “inbound” marketing is wrong. I often used outbound methods (email in particular, print and banner ads, trade shows and direct mail) to DRIVE people to a landing page. And many times, you can’t track it despite your best efforts.

I use integrated, multi-faceted campaigns to meet my needs. For example, in a recent campaign when my goal was to get software developers to download our SDK and kick the tires (and become a sales qualified lead), I negotiated with the vendors and got several print ads for almost free. Ends up that many magazines are hurting for ads and will give you a good deal if you are doing several things with them. So I took advantage of the print ads to build awareness of my firm and our offering (I did have a call to action to visit our landing page just in case), followed up with a couple of staggered emails to the readership promoting various things (whitepapers, video tutorials, webinars, the download) and even worked in a conference or two. My thought was to “soften” up the audience first with the print and emails to make them more receptive to our message. And it worked.

So I think you need to evaluate every arrow you have in your quiver, figure out the ROI based on your goals and then put together your plan. And don’t worry about the whole “inbound vs. outbound” thing.

Social networks

Good eWeek article on social networking in the workplace:  tinyurl.com/y9qd6v5

The highlights:

  • Pros of social networking outweigh the cons
  • Risks to data and company image are significant and should be addressed
  • Don’t block social networks – train employees, enforce rules and, where applicable, leverage technology controls

My take is that social networking is a great tool for organizations. From marketing to sales to customer service to PR, the list goes on and on for those groups that can benefit. So, just like many other tools employees can use, it needs reasonable controls and constraints – often common sense – in order to insure safe practices. Firms that outright block use of social networks are just sticking their heads in the sand and leaving big doors open to their competitors.