Today we’re coming to you live from the second annual Washington, DC Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit (MAM Summit). We sponsored and supported the MAM Summit last year and are excited to be a part of the event again this year. We’ll be bringing you recaps of a few of the different sessions today and you can also keep up with the happenings over on Twitter by following @mamsummit or #MAMSUMMIT.
This morning I’m excited to sit in and bring you a recap of the B2B & Enterprise Marketing: What’s Working panel. The moderator of the panel is Limor Schafman, President, Keystone Tech Group and panelists include:
This group provided a very lively, engaging and fun session – which ironically was one of the things they wall agreed B2B marketing should be; rather than what it often ends up being, which, according to the panel, is dry, dull and boring.
A few of the highlights/main points from the session include:
- The marketing landscape is different than it was just 10 years ago and we owe this largely to social media. While social media channels serve a purpose, and if used appropriately can be useful, Ken also felt that they often play an integral role in creating disharmony and panic. With the rush to be on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. companies are losing site of their strategy and are just shouting to the masses. One way to combat this chaos is simply to Just. Take. A. Deep. Breath.
- Just because something works for a B2C company doesn’t mean it will work for B2B. Again, Ken pointed out that all you have to do is take a look around Facebook, which is now is replete with long abandoned spots of corporate sites. This could easily be chalked up to the fact that with all the developments in social media and technology it’s easy to get distracted by chasing down the latest and greatest shiny object (SQUIRREL!). It could also be attributed to B2B companies trying to replicate B2C strategies without thinking about the right way to connect with their audience.
- This leads us to probably the greatest piece of information to come from the panel, and I will say this loudly so everyone can hear, KNOW AND TALK TO YOUR CUSTOMER. Not that “spray and pray” was really ever effective but today companies have more information and insight into who their customer is and should be using this information to their advantage. As Bob London and Ken pointed out, every minute you spend focused on social media is a minute you aren’t talking to your customers and we often get so focused on social media that we forget we’re trying to have a conversation with people. Use the data you’ve captured about your audience and create content that will resonate with them. Sure, it might be a lot of work to develop different messages or content for each audience but the results are sure to speak for themselves.
- The group cautioned though that it’s a mistake to think we just need more conversation and to try to cram more through the existing channels and instead we should be focused on making sure the conversation is meaningful. Forget how you are doing on Twitter or Pinterest, it doesn’t matter. To paraphrase from Ken, what you need be doing is focusing on how to differentiate yourself in an ever-rising sea of sameness. Focus on the message and deliver your message and content in the right place at the right time. See above regarding a lot of work but good results.
- Lastly, along those lines, Bob Ragsdale also imparted his wisdom that every marketer needs to not only know, understand and connect with their audience but also be able to boil your message down to a simple 6-8 words. It’s easy these days to get caught up in chasing the shiny objects that companies/marketers can lose track of what their core messaging is. It’s necessary to have the self control to know what your audience is really asking for, know what your core differentiator is and then come hang your hat on it come hell or high water.
There is probably so much more to say and you can catch anything I forgot over on the Twitter stream. All in all it was a great session and I’m glad I was able to sit in and be a part of it. Stay tuned for more recaps from the SpeakerBox team today!
With the evolution of inbound and content marketing tools, it’s now easier than ever for marketers to become more involved with their campaigns. But, how are B2B organizations taking advantage of content marketing? What challenges are being faced in the process, and how effective are these evolving efforts? Recently, the folks at MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute published the infographic below to provide us with some insight.
While content marketing is clearly on the rise, it seems that many programs haven’t yet seen success. Still, that’s not hindering B2B companies from sticking with the concept. Most attribute their lack of success to inadequate funding, but they plan to increase budgets in the future to combat the problem, according to the survey.
Social media also remains a central avenue for content. Companies are still using the traditionally popular outlets such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to get their messages out, but some are also adopting newer platforms such as Google+ and Pinterest. Be sure to check out the full infographic below to get more details on the North American B2B Content Marketing Study.
Over this past year SpeakerBox has made a real investment in inbound marketing, not just for our clients, but also for ourselves. So, excuse me for a moment while I get a little self-promotional and highlight some of the content we’ve worked on this year.
When developing our content program we wanted to touch as many areas of interest for our clients and potential clients as possible. Many members of the SpeakerBox team have contributed to these content items and I personally appreciate the time and effort that has gone into getting this program off the ground. We have been very successful in our first year and I’m looking forward to all of the content we’ll provide our readers in the future.
The links below will take you to the content that exists on our website and you can also find a full list that will continue to be updated in real time on the SpeakerBox resources page.
PR 101 For Startups
Leveraging PR for M&A and Capital Raises
Inbound Marketing: Getting Found with Creative Content
Analyst Relations 101: Influencing the Influencers
The Five biggest Flaws in your B2B Website
No More Hocus Pocus: A Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Acronyms, GSA Schedules and Agencies, Oh My! A Primer on B2G Public Relations
The Blueprint – Social Media and Government
Everything is on the Record: The Pre-Interview Checklist
Our inbound marketing webinar is just four days away,
I'm toiling on the content so we'll have smart things to say.
I'm joined by my fun colleagues, Matt Howard and D.P.,
Who will have a lot more to add than just little ol' me.
What's inbound marketing, you ask? Oh geez, oh no!
It's the way to attract customers these days…say it isn't so.
Give them something valuable, something they can use,
To make their job easier, walk a mile in their shoes.
My friends D.P. and Matt are pretty funny guys,
You'll enjoy the conversation, thinking: "my how the time flies!"
Matt says inbound marketing is like going to the gym,
It's a consistent level of effort, it can't be just a whim.
D.P.'s company is ten years old, and it's really hit its stride,
He's getting to the next level with inbound marketing at his side.
Below are some great links we've found to get you in the mood:
Think of Inbound Marketing as a "New Attitude."
So come join us now on Wednesday, we'll give it all we've got,
To make sure you walk away with something really, really hot!
Thank you, I'm here all week.
--Elizabeth Shea, @eliz2shea
Register for the webinar if you'd like to come:
Wednesday, August 29th, 2:00 pm Eastern Time
D.P. Venkatesh, Founder and CEO, mPortal
Matt Howard, Co-founder and CEO, ZoomSafer
Elizabeth Shea, CEO, SpeakerBox Communications
Resources I enjoyed reading (feel free to add your own!):
72 Fascinating Social Media Facts and Statistics for 2012: By Tom Pick, Business2Community, July 23, 2012.
The Most Important Customer Review of HubSpot You'll Ever Read: By Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion.
Generate More Leads with B2B Social Media: By Jeffrey Cohen, Social Media B2B, March 29, 2012.
Conferences I found centered on Inbound Marketing Strategies (please add your own!):
Content Marketing World 2012 (Cleveland): Sep. 4-5-6
Inbound 2012 (Boston): Aug. 27-30
Inbound Marketing Summit (Boston): Oct. 23-24
Inbound Marketing Summit (New York): Feb 2013
Online Marketing Summit (Santa Clara): Oct 22-25
B2B websites are like Russell Stover candies -- each one is terrible in its own way. (There's an Anna Karenina joke in there somewhere too, but who's got the time?)
Why are B2B websites so pathetic? It's because there's "nothing" riding on them. Sales don't happen (in the literal sense) on a B2B site. There's no shopping cart. So B2B companies are much more wiliing to spend their resources on salespeople (who actually do close deals) as opposed to "passive" marketing materials like Web.
Big mistake, and you probably know why.
B2B websites often matter MORE than B2C sites. If I'm buying a new brand of cracker, I'm not necessarily going to the website first. But if I'm about to spend $60,000 with G&G Consulting, you'd better believe I'll be Googling those suckers.
But wait: If success on the B2B Web isn't about sales, then what's it about? Conversions? Page views? Unique visitors?
We can help you define and achieve the right success metrics for your business. And a great way to start is by reading our FREE WHITEPAPER. C'mon. What are you, scared of success?
The morning program at the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit included a short session dedicated to B2B Marketing. Panelists included: moderator Bob London, London Ink; Erin Bush, Social Media Editor at Neustar; Charles Gold, CMO at Sonatype; Debra Lavoy, Director of Product Marketing at OpenText; and Scott Shaw, Founder and President at Creativerge.
Q: Bob started by asking, "How has marketing changed over the last 4-5 years?"
A: Scott: There are great new tools for measurement and a renewed marketing focus on conversion, metrics and analytics.
Erin: Social is now the first line of brand defense. If people are going to complain, they are going to do it on Twitter first.
Deb: B2B sales are increasingly complex. Story-telling is still critical. Create a clear, compelling story to orient your company in same direction. Sales may know the customer better than marketing – but it’s not their job to digest the information and create messaging for the company.
Charles: Prospects are educating themselves. Make it easy for a prospect to see how your company’s product or service will fit at their organization.
Q: What is the future of marketing automation?
Charles: Marketing automation is tablestakes, though most companies have under-implemented the technology. There’s so much you can do with the technology but only so much time to do it.
Deb: Marketing automation is an enabler and an amplifier – but it isn’t for the faint of heart.
Q: How do you manage the pressure to create content generated by marketing automation adoption?
Erin: Frequently hears, “we want thought leadership." Her response, "great, what are your thoughts?” It's important to create content that is interesting, relevant and substantive.
Deb: Dislikes content marketing – would rather call it substance or value marketing. Marketers now trying to bring prospects into the ecosystem and establish credibility.
I'll be interested to compare this to the B2G session this afternoon.
- Katie Hanusik
It's not unusual for us to begin working with a B2B (or even B2G) company that either is not using social media tools at all or has the channels set up but doesn't know what to do with them (much less have the time or personnel to manage them). Companies often wonder why they should even bother with social media and will having a Facebook or Twitter page really make a difference?
According to the infographic below, which is from InsideView, the answer to that question is a resounding YES!
Selling Through Social Media to Close More Leads InsideView
Even though social media clearly is providing results for B2B companies and helping them close deals, a few things in particular jumped out at me from this infographic.
- No Google+. Could this be because Google+ is no longer alive and kicking?
- Companies with an active blog are seeing 67% more leads per month. Like all social media channels, blogs take time to develop and nurture, but having somewhere to share content and develop thought leaders is incredibly important.
- More than 1/3 of global buyers surveyed use social media to engage with their vendors. This means that you can't just have a Facebook or Twitter page -- you need to be present. You need to monitor these channels and engage with your customers.
- 55% of survey respondents search for info on social media. That means, if you aren't there they can't find you and you are losing an opportunity to engage with your customers.
- Lastly, along with your customers already being there, so is your competition. And if they aren't yet, they will be soon.
So has social media helped you close more leads? Or, are you just now entering the wild world of social?
Whether you were waiting for it or dreading it, Facebook has started rolling out its new Timeline feature for brand pages. Up until now brands and people have been able to opt out of switching to Timeline, but as of March 30 this new profile will become the default.
Rather than waiting until the 30th and just letting Facebook switch your brand page over on it’s own, why not make the switch proactively? Doing so will prevent Facebook from deciding how your page will look for you or leaving you with a gaping hole at the top of your page.
To prep for your switch, there are three easy things you can do:
1. Update your ‘about’ section
One of the aspects of Timeline for brand pages is that the about section will now be more front and center. So with its new spotlight, this is a great time to refresh your ‘about’ section to make sure it accurately reflects your company. Also, make sure to include a link to your website and keep it short enough to fit in the space provided… not many people click on the ‘see more’ link.
2. Choose a ‘cover photo’ (and a new profile picture, if you need to)
So you already have a profile picture, but with Timeline you need a cover photo. Your cover photo is a larger image that spans the top of your page and works in conjunction with your profile picture. It can be whatever you like, but whatever you do…choose one! Timeline looks pretty funny without a picture!
From the pages I’ve seen so far, brands have left their profile picture as their logo and used to cover photo to showcase the most important aspect of the business. This way, whenever you post something, your logo is still associated with it. However, if you do decide to use your logo as your cover photo, don’t forget to choose a profile picture that is different!
Also, it’s important to note here that Facebook has set a stipulation on these photos for brands: they cannot include a call to action of any kind—no discounts, sales, contact info, or suggestions to ‘like’ pages, ‘share’ info or visit websites or blogs.
3. Organize your information, review your timeline and EDIT
The switch to Timeline will put thumbnails of your photos, apps and likes at the top of your page and allow you to pick which of them is most important to you to have displayed. So be sure to organize these in a way that makes the most sense for your company.
Also, before you actually switch, Facebook will let you preview your Timeline to make sure it displays your company information the way you want it to. Here you have the option to edit what is seen, so take a close look! Also, you can move items of importance up to the top of your profile by adding a ‘pin’ or highlight them where they are by adding a ‘star.’
I hope these tips get you started with Timeline or at least help make the transition a little easier!
On Friday, I attended MarketingProfs Virtual Marketing World. The morning session, hosted by Jo Roberts a Product Marketing Manager at MarketingProfs, was entitled, “Five Traditional (Gasp!) Marcom Methods that (Still) Deliver Today.” As a long-time marketer, I was interested to hear what “old-school” techniques have new-found caché.
The program focused on three types of tactics: offline communications such as direct mail; paid media; and in-person encounters such as tradeshows, training and experiential/field marketing.
Direct Mail (DM):
Some marketers forgo direct mail as increasingly expensive, wasteful and hard to measure. However, direct mail has seen a resurgence, particularly with marketers trying to reach a local audience. How are these marketers using DM? Well, 35 percent of marketers use DM for direct sales, 29 percent to encourage Website visits and 14 percent to promote a specific offer or content resource (CMO Council, 2011). Need some additional tips to enhance your DM program and engage your prospects?
- Make them curious
- Give them content that matters, and don’t be generic
- Appeal to their emotions
- Make it personal
- Send fewer, better quality mailings
- Lastly, target them with multiple channels. Follow up on DM with email, events, even a personal call.
Paid media expenditures are up, and B2B advertisers are allocating a greater percentage of their overall budget to paid media in 2012. While traditional advertising vehicles like television and outdoor are anticipating only modest growth this year, mobile advertising and online video are expected to grow by 44 percent and 22 percent respectively in 2012 (MagnaGlobal Advertising Forecast, 2012).
Contrary to popular thinking, tradeshows continue to be popular and represent about 20 percent of the typical B2B marketer’s budget (MarketingProfs, 2010). This makes tradeshows the top line-item for most marketers. The reason? Tradeshows work. Attendees at B2B tradeshows are 34 percent more likely to make a purchase than people who hear about the product through other channels. (Advertising Research Foundation, 2008). But, the devil is in the details for in-person events. The booth, staff and materials you bring all matter. Find ways to stand out, whether you opt for a sponsorship, a VIP reception or an exclusive QR code for event attendees that unlocks a special promotion or content resource.
Experiential and Field Marketing:
Experience is the single biggest factor impacting brand choice. Purchasers point to first-hand product experience (76 percent) and a unique customer experience (72 percent) as the major influences on purchasing decisions (Jack Morton Worldwide, 2009). And it’s not just about brand awareness, in-person experiences/events build better long-term relationships and are the most effective content marketing tactics (78 percent) followed by Webinars (70 percent) and case studies (70 percent) as noted in a 2012 MarketingProfs Content Marketing survey.
Though training is a bit different than the other tactics on this list, staff and reseller training is critical for a company’s go-to-market strategy and a marketer’s best friend. As Jo noted, especially for companies that sell through the channel, “training is a force multiplier that extends brand influence and product reach.”
I’d be interested to hear if anyone else is reinvigorating their marketing plan with a new infusion of traditional tactics. Please share your experiences!
Finally, I wanted to put in a plug for another virtual conference -- the 2012 SmartCMO Virtual Forum, hosted by VivaCreative on March 1. They’re hosting a unique event featuring marketing execs from the NFL and The Recording Academy, speaking about marketing the Super Bowl and Grammy Awards, respectively. In addition, two marketers from SAP will be discussing experiential and content marketing. Should be a great event.
- Katie Hanusik
(photo credit: The Foster-Jones Group)
"Hey, come on over... I just want to talk to ya..."
In my younger and more formative years, I did quite a bit of Web consulting.
Sometimes, when we were first starting out with a client, he/she would say something like: “Okay, off the record, what do you really think of our current site?”
Now the first thing to remember in this situation is that invariably, the person asking was intimately involved in the design and development of the offending site. So you have to tread carefully.
I like to use what they call a “compliment sandwich.” You start with something positive, then slide in a carefully worded critique, and then finish it off with more positive kudos. So it ends up something like this:
“Links mostly work. The site makes me want to vomit. Good fonts.”
Fact is, in the B2B and B2G world, there are a LOT of bad websites. And not all of them get to benefit from my tactful analyses (example: “Your site makes me increasingly convinced of a godless universe.”)
So we've written up a little white paper for you that reveals the 5 keys to a great business website.
It's quick, easy to read, and FREE.