Remove the Barriers to Strategic Planning in B2B Marketing

As B2B marketers enter the 2012 strategic planning season and begin shaping executional plans, it is important that we get it right. The goal is to create a strategy that survives the full year (and beyond) and gives you a framework for more tactical planning, execution and optimization.

Today, many companies have replaced strategic planning with a set of goals and tactics, without a formalized marketing strategy. Read more of this post

Thought Leadership Marketing is an Oxymoron

Thought leadership is a common marketing topic, but unfortunately thought leadership is not a common outcome of marketing. Part of the problem is that thought leadership marketing has lost all notions of actual thought leadership.

Gartner defines thought leadership marketing as “the giving — for free or at a nominal charge — of information or advice that a client will value so as to create awareness of the outcome that a company’s product or service can deliver, in order to position and differentiate that offering and stimulate demand for it.”

The problem is, knowledge of what a product or service can deliver or its differentiation does not establish real thought leadership. Read more of this post

It’s Not Rational, B2B Marketing Needs to Get Emotional!!

This post was sparked by a spirited, and at times emotional, debate during the #bizforum chat on Twitter yesterday evening. Thanks to @samfiorella for instigating and @chieflemonhead, @MaureenB2B, @PrashSabharwal and @josepf, among others, for a spirited discussion.

B2B buying is complex because the products are complex. Evaluating B2B solutions is hard, and the final decision is not made with absolute knowledge it is the right decision.

I submit as Exhibit A: the numerous regrettable ERP and CRM investments that have been made by large corporations.

In B2B, buyers are incredibly knowledgeable, but they simply cannot be certain. To confidently proceed, they must believe they are making the best decision. At its heart, it is an emotional decision. Read more of this post

Three Questions for Measuring Social, Not Media

You Manage What You Measure.broken dreams, broken heart, broken relationship, broken key

This should be a call to ensure you measure your social media activities, and to measure them correctly.

One of the challenges of measuring social media ROI is the return comes in many different forms. As companies develop social media plans and programs, anticipating the ways social media will deliver ROI is a challenge few have addressed. Most companies quickly implement traditional media measurements, slightly adapted for social media.

Before you continue, ask the following questions: Read more of this post

Five Marketing Changes You Need to Make

CardsIf B2B marketing isn’t dead, it is changing very quickly. But the real change isn’t the marketing, it is how marketing has evolved in response to the evolving buyer.

The biggest factor driving the changes in today’s buyers is the accessibility of information technology has enabled. This change has turned demand creation upside down. In the past, your prospect held the budget cards and you held the information cards. Through the sales and negotiation dance, the cards were slowly revealed one at a time, with you and your prospect jockeying for advantage through the entire process. Read more of this post

Three Principles for the Future of Marketing

The TunnelIn the future, marketing must be valuable. But that isn’t enough.

Earlier this week, Michael Brenner outlined the future of marketing, drawing from last fall’s future of advertising article in Fast Company. It is a great perspective. The question is, how do you accomplish it? How do you, as Michael said, “create communities of customer advocates and evangelists”?

There are three principles to excel in the future of marketing that Michael presented and create the advocates and evangelists Read more of this post

A New Way to Understand Your Social Media Audience

Audience research is invaluable and well developed personas provide a broad array of insights into the lives and minds of your target audience, insights that form the basis for your social media plans.

Then, you put your social media plan in place, including sharing great content from others and creating your own. And you hit a fundamental disconnect. Your planning is based on your target audience, but you are measuring activity from everyone. Here are two questions that are difficult to answer.

  • Is the content you share via social media resonating with your target audience or a random audience?
  • What content is most popular with your target audience?

Read more of this post

Five Keys to Creating Content that Drives Awareness

StartCurrent marketing wisdom says content should be mapped to buying cycles. Yet according to a study from MarketingProfs and Junta42, 78% of B2B marketers say awareness is an objective of content marketing.

Question: Where is awareness most valuable in the buying cycle?
Answer: Early stage research and creation of a consideration set.

Question: Would it be better if prospects where aware of your company when they started the research process?
Answer: “Well, DUH!”

It is time to step back from planning content for the buying cycle and focus on Stage Zero Content. Read more of this post

Social Media Is Not Like Selling Used Cars

What makes you think you have a solution?

MustacheLast week I overheard a conversation about a technical roadblock between colleagues. I immediately jumped in with a solution. Big #FAIL. They did not want a solution from me, and as it turned out, I didn’t actually have a solution. The problem was way over my head.

Luckily, we are friends, or at least colleagues. This wasn’t my first conversation with them. But if we didn’t already know each other, this would be one of the worst ways to introduce myself. Yet this is exactly what social media marketers do every day.

Read more of this post

Three Reasons Mobile Changes Everything in Marketing

iPhone 3GS at the San Francisco Apple StoreThe research about mobile usage does not do mobile justice. Sure, 82% of executives have a smartphone. 49% of C-level executives search on a mobile device.

Yes, mobile is pervasive, but numbers alone don’t capture how much mobile can change marketing.

Many B2B marketers are catching on slowly, distracted by low mobile usage on corporate websites or a limited understanding of how mobile marketing and mobile accessibility contributes to goals. Read more of this post

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