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May 14, 2013 @ 2:25PM by Chris McGovern (Subscribe to Chris McGovern's posts)
Seems just yesterday the agency was just 2 years old, and Bill Gates published “Content is King”…including a then-radical forecast: “There isn’t enough depth or interactivity in print content to overcome the drawbacks of the online medium.”
Now, online content is not only still king but queen, knight and roundtable—and table-stakes for driving the L2RM (lead to revenue management) process.
According to Forrester, content marketing is truly a key differentiator, and they recommend mapping your content plan and delivery to buyer journeys. We see this as is a CMO best practice. It’s becoming even more critical as customers take the wheel during the evaluation and purchase process, and use self-directed search to drive their conclusions.
Fueling the Engines
Content today is fueling 3 engines: those powering the buyer journey, rep solution selling, and marketing campaigns. Content in the form of video, mobile, infographics, iPad Keynotes, Prezi presentations, interactive ebooks, curated lists, blog posts—and that old standby, thought-leadership white paper PDFs—is all integral to building brand and trust.
Content nuggets are shared through inbound and outbound content marketing. Automation and email tools, social media, interactive tradeshow kiosks, community portals, SEO, SEM, PPC and more are producing highly traceable, measurable revenue related to content syndication and distribution.
Create powerful, outcome-focused waypoints for each stage of the buyer journey. Make them outcome-focused to support the decision-making process. Customers virtually eat up these content assets…but also socialize by Tweeting, sharing with LinkedIn groups, republishing on Tumblr and Slideshare, and pushing to colleagues across the decision-making team.
On the flip side, many B2B and B2G campaigns suffer from irrelevant, boring content that simply is not driving buyers to open, click and engage.
6 Steps to Creating Content Waypoints That Sell
1. ASK. Do primary research to pinpoint hot customer issues. Interview customers and prospects, or use your web site, enewsletters or email campaigns to push online surveys (using SurveyMonkey, Survey Gizmo, Zoomerang, or others) to determine which content resonates with which decision making titles and buyer personas, at which stage of the buying process.
2. MAP. Create a message map that aligns resonant content with each stage of the buying journey. This can be in the form of a simple Excel matrix that includes the stages of Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Purchase and Retention as the columns; and Questions (buyer pains or needs), Experience (buyer action), and specific Content ideas in the rows.
3. MIND THE GAP. Assess the gaps and develop a go-forward plan and schedule for creating, repurposing, or “borrowing” (with permission) content to fill in the areas where content does not exist. Consider republishing your comarketing partners’ content. For instance, one of our B2B clients is an Oracle partner, and hosts Oracle’s ebooks, white papers and links to virtual content portals, on their own web site. If your channel and reseller partners have compelling videos and educational content, ask if you can republish or link to their content assets. Ask your social-savvy internal SMEs (subject matter experts) to commit to writing one blog post a month for your web site.
4. GET REAL. Realize that only a few of the many ideas or points of view will get picked up by the market and your buyer communities, and break through the noise. Ensure the content is educational, interesting, and even entertaining. Identify an objective for each high-value content asset: does it generate demand, build or reframe your brand, get your POV (point of view) expressed, or create a compelling, unexpected perspective that diverges from the commonplace?
5. PUBLISH. Create your publishing (inbound/outbound) process and updating plan—monthly or at a minimum quarterly, based on your resources. Incorporate new content into your drip campaigns, enews calendar, web sitemap, media relations. Social is content’s best friend, so be sure to implant content into your media editorial calendars (don’t forget content-flagging hashtags like #ebook, #infographic, etc.). Share new content with sales reps and resellers on your sales/channel intranet portals, via enews blasts and sales training updates.
6. MOBILIZE. Last but foremost, make sure your great content is tablet and mobile friendly. According to Vox’s Joe Purzycki, 33 percent of traffic is coming from mobile, and they’re preparing for a world where it’s 50 percent soon.
Look at smart options for creating and curating valuable, provocative and nurturing content for all L2RM pipeline stages and buyer personas. To help you on your journey, your marketing partners can create and publish the expert advice, education and information that aligns with the decision-making process and ultimately drives sales.
Apr 23, 2013 @ 8:45AM by Chris McGovern (Subscribe to Chris McGovern's posts)
How to Drive Sales: Creating Productive and Meaningful Relationships
Relationship-based sales are the norm. The first order of business is getting even closer than ever with your sales and channels execs to gain even more insight into the dynamic buying process. Pick their brains during the brief appearance in the office. Invite yourself on a customer site visit. Volunteer for booth duty at the regional trade group meeting.
1. Clarify your elevator speech to be conversational and not sales pitch-esque. Develop a 15-second, captivating first sentence in layman’s terms. It should include one amazing metric, explain what your customers are achieving, and showcase your enthusiasm.
2. Be physically present in the buying community and interact at tradeshow seminars and local industry association events. Offer an agnostic state-of-the-industry update presentation.
3. Get your sales teams to focus on social media engage with potential clients and stakeholders. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to nudge clients through the pipeline.
4. Use CTAs that invite leads to pass the content along to their associates and colleagues to register for webinars and enewsletters. This also softens the beaches for later cross-selling and up-selling to the team of decision makers.
5. Instead of the tired CTA “have a sales rep call me”, invite the reader to contact your business for a free 20-minute strategy session via phone, a 10-minute Webex demo, a personal offsite meeting in conjunction with your tradeshow exhibit (if budgets are tight, use the exhibitor’s lounge), or a 1-hour consultative assessment in your hospitality suite.
6. Optimize your huge exhibit budget by integrating live event presence with pre- and post-marketing offers. After an event, offer a free 4-hour on-site guided advisory workshop to the decision-making team. Invite them to attend your live or on-demand webcast series.
Great offers and content assets based on winning thought leadership coupled with a personal touch, help us better bridge the buying process, and speed a complex sale to a faster conclusion. We’re here to help.
Apr 18, 2013 @ 12:00PM by Chris McGovern (Subscribe to Chris McGovern's posts)
We now know that every year, an incredible 100 million trees’ worth of bulk mail arrive in US mailboxes—700 million direct mail pieces per day. And each day, 100 billion spam emails arrive in virtual mailboxes. This barrage is growing, with the increasing adoption of newer channels like mobile and social marketing.
We B2B and B2G marketers need to sharpen the pitch. We need to ensure our offers, messaging and decision tools are aligned precisely with the buyer’s journey, based on how the buying decisions are made. Our marketing offers need to work harder to position the value of our solutions in ways that are meaningful to buyers, and support the business case they are constructing, as the reps champion contacts to the close.
Pitches can be honed through a two key avenues: 1) Resources and 2) Relationships. Here are some ways Emerging Marketing’s clients are generating higher CTA (call-to-action) responses, and driving interaction that speeds the sales cycle.
How to Drive Sales: Offer Killer Resources
Your content marketing needs to build credibility for your company as a valuable resource and demonstrate expertise. The best content prepares clients for the opportunities and pitfalls waiting around the bend.
1. Offer valuable insight and ideas to overcome obstacles, creating highly targeted experiences and calls-to-action that convert. The more value and relevance you embed in CTA copy, the better the conversion rate. Focus on what the prospect is going to get – “get free demo” vs. “sign up for demo”
2. Create CTA messaging that identifies a challenge, and offers a free white paper, checklist, guide, case study, enews subscription, YouTube channel, SME (subject matter expert) blog, or other content that informs strategy.
3. Leverage your website for higher conversion. Include one CTA on every page. Optimize your prospect Resource Center to make your subject matter expertise easier to find and access—and don’t forget the SEO.
4. Track user behavior to figure out which content in emails or web pages can be deleted or swapped out; use dynamic content substitution to increase relevancy.
5. Ask contacts for minimum data (consider email only), then test progressive profiling for longer buying cycles, using staggered incentives in exchange for more contact data. Give the gorilla the banana.0
Feb 20, 2013 @ 5:05PM by Chris McGovern (Subscribe to Chris McGovern's posts)
“Be careful what you wish for,” as the old saying goes. I recently asked members of a LinkedIn group I’m in for their predictions of B2B trends in 2013, and they did not disappoint. Marketers from around the world chimed in with their forecasts — to say nothing of opinions. Read on for a rundown of what these savvy salespeople think will be essential for the success of B2B organizations in 2013.
Content, content, content
The importance of content was discussed more than once, but just creating content for the sake of content was (properly) frowned on:
“I think we’ll see a mind-numbing increase in content — the vast majority of which is pure fluff,” – Jeff S.
Producing better-quality content will differentiate a company from its competition. But, it’s not just a matter of putting words into a blog – even properly researched keywords. Your content needs to speak to your audience and provide useful information, not just meet an SEO metric. Information your readers value will keep them coming back and establish you as a thought leader. The less-obvious advantage of such a strategy, though, is that good content marketing can help with your sales process by progressing them further through the sales cycle before they even contact your salespeople.
“I think that because B2B typically has a longer sales cycle, marketers will need to think like publishers (content marketing) in order to educate their audiences. We might see more company blogs, podcasts, and other online content focused on moving customers deeper into the funnel.” – Faye O.
This thing called social media
Of course, no discussion of the future of B2B marketing would be complete without talking about social media, from platforms (“I am excited to see Google+ Communities,” “2013 is the Year of LinkedIn Advertising”) to their application (“I think we’ll see B2B marketers and company leaders getting far more serious about strategic use of social media”).
Perhaps, though, the most practical advice came couched in a little humor.
“The best time to get on Twitter was 3 years ago — the second best time is now (ancient Chinese proverb).” – Jeff S.
Back to basics
For all the different ideas and opinions bandied about — and there were many — perhaps the biggest topic of discussion was the importance of fundamentals in any B2B marketing plan. Those sentiments were summarized nicely by Amanda D.:
“I think 2013 is going to be a year of getting back to basics. Think smaller, more relationship building … particularly for B2B.” - Amanda D.
In a similar vein, people stressed the value of personal contact. It’s tempting to think of social media as a replacement for traditional sales tactics, but it’s important to recognize that it’s a new tool – not a replacement for anything you’ve done before.
“I’ve been actually making appointments and actually meeting with prospects and clients. Do you remember the days when you actually met and had to create a relationship in real time!” – Chris C.
“What might be ‘new,’ is the end of the generalized ‘me too’ thinking on social media and digital marketing, and the slow appearance of a more cool-headed approach to these tools.” - Olivier R.
I couldn’t agree more. If we don’t take care of the basics (audience, message, offer, life cycle), how can we hope for the latest and greatest technology to fulfill its potential? You can load up a car with GPS, Siri and all manner of other cool new things, but if the car doesn’t have a working engine, it’s not going to get you where you want to go.
Thanks to all who participated in our impromptu B2B roundtable. And for those who would like assistance executing any of the suggestions discussed here — or simply putting together a marketing plan — by all means contact us here at Emerging Marketing. We’d love to help.0
Feb 8, 2013 @ 8:38AM by Chris McGovern (Subscribe to Chris McGovern's posts)
It’s hard to believe we’re already more than a month into 2013. The holiday decorations have been taken down, certain (no doubt well-intended) gifts have been exchanged at the store, and wishing someone “Happy New Year!” at this point would be more laughable than affable.
And then there are the resolutions. Whether you’ve kept your New Year’s resolutions or not — or even if you’re not a big fan of them to begin with — it’s still not too late to adopt a few new resolutions to improve your business’s social media in 2013.
Here are four social media strategies business to business companies can implement to hone their online presence, increase efficiency, and engage their customers and prospects:
1. Clean up your LinkedIn profile. Virtually every person and business now has a LinkedIn profile, but guess what: LinkedIn accounts are like those digital Tamagotchi pets that used to be the rage with kids — without ongoing care and attention, they die (or at least start looking that way).
Last September, LinkedIn updated its company pages allowing businesses to easily add images, better communicate their products and services, and more conveniently update statuses. Make sure your company is properly utilizing all of the latest features these powerful tools have to offer.
Also, consider how your employees’ profiles represent your company. Are they consistent in how they present the basics such as your company name, mission and products or services?
Make 2013 the year that your LinkedIn company profile (as well as those of your employees) represents your business and industry the way you want it to.
2. Start a blog. Here in the brave new year of 2013, it might seem ridiculous to advocate the oldest form of social media. But, if a B2B company doesn’t have a blog yet, that in itself is ridiculous. That’s because blogs offer many benefits, from SEO benefits to a cultivated company voice, to the opportunity to be a thought leader in your industry.
They’re also a means of maximizing the effectiveness of your employees’ hard work. Think of it: If a salesperson writes a useful, informative email to assist a client, how many people does that help? Just that one client. Now, what if that information were presented in a blog? You become a hub of information and answers. Over time, people could actually be visiting your blog for industry information rather than searching Google for it.
Show off your company’s skills and know-how: Let 2013 be the year of your B2B blog.
3. Stop automating content. Let’s officially declare it: 2013 is the year that automated content dies. If your social media is automated — if you have an automatic news feed-based posting tool or something similar — it basically amounts to Internet filler, and people will know it. More importantly, they won’t follow an automated feed since they’ll have no expectation of learning anything.
The term “social media” is not an accident. “Social” implies interaction, connection, and engagement. (There’s a reason it’s not called “automatic robot media.”)
2013 is the year you should let automated content die —interact with people and they will interact with you.
4. Host Twitter chats. For those unfamiliar with a Twitter chat (also known as a TweetChat), it’s essentially a Twitter activity that happens at a regularly scheduled time — say, every week or every month — for people to discuss a topic of common interest. Considering how simple they are to set up (you just have to decide on a hashtag for the chat and let people know to use it), they offer tremendous potential for connecting with existing and potential customers.
Consider hosting Twitter chats built around topics specific to your business or industry. Conversations can also be archived so they can be searchable via Google. Just remember to remind potential participants about upcoming scheduled chats and topics so that you’ll have a good turnout.
Embrace Twitter chats in 2013 to communicate with existing and potential clients about your business and industry.
The year in preview
The year is young, and the sooner you roll up your sleeves and integrate these strategies into your social media battle plan, the sooner your company can reap their benefits, both in 2013 and beyond. If you need assistance implementing any of these ideas — or with creating a marketing plan in general — feel free to contact us. We’re here to help.0
Dec 4, 2012 @ 10:03AM by Chris McGovern (Subscribe to Chris McGovern's posts)
The following is an excerpt from our clients newsletter to staff;
We continue to expand our Marketing & Sales efforts, and the metrics show that we are making measurable progress. We have booked thirty (30) new customers so far in 2012, and we have garnered one-hundred-seventy-eight (178) formal new Leads. The pace of these new Leads is running 200% above the rate in 2011! The new Leads have fueled many new quoting opportunities, and we are currently juggling enough new business to
support growth of 30% or more in 2013. Realistically, we will not win all of these new opportunities, but we expect to generate more new opportunities as 2013 unfolds. The net result is that we can achieve a record setting year in 2013 even without the benefit of any
significant improvement in pricing.
Dec 1, 2012 @ 12:05PM by Chris McGovern (Subscribe to Chris McGovern's posts)
2013 Business To Business Marketing Trends And Predictions, it’s that time of year…
What do you think the trends will be in business to business marketing for 2013?
Tablets will be huge, duh! Search and content marketing will dominate marketing spend. Really? Come on people; tell us your one hot business to business marketing trend or prediction for 2013.
May 23, 2011 @ 2:43PM by Chris McGovern (Subscribe to Chris McGovern's posts)
Tags: Marketing Your Business
Marketing mistakes are inevitable, but can ruin a company’s brand reputation. And we know that even the most seasoned marketing experts fall prey to mistakes that are easily avoidable. Emerging Marketing wants to share 4 common marketing mistakes your business should avoid when planning your initiatives for this year.
Not working as a team. Are the results you are seeing from your marketing campaign in line with what your sales team needs? It is mandatory that your teams or departments work together to ensure that your campaigns are delivering measurable results.
You can’t manage marketing ROI when you don’t measure your marketing leads. It’s important to analyze and benchmark the performance of your marketing channels regularly, ensuring that they are delivering the sales and marketing results that you desire. This allows you to know what components of your marketing program are working, and what you should consider trashing or refining. You can track the results by asking your clients for feedback.
Focus on customers’ needs. Do you know who your customers and potential prospects are, and what product or services they need from you? Research should be done to determine the performance of every marketing effort.
Keep timing in mind. Bad timing can result in missed opportunities. Make sure that your initiatives are in sync with the potential customers company events. Also keep in mind that a marketing campaign should always be launched when the audience is ready, not the material.
What common marketing mistakes can you think of? Tell us about your experiences.0
Apr 6, 2011 @ 1:53PM by Chris McGovern (Subscribe to Chris McGovern's posts)
Tags: Marketing Your Business
Networking can be an effective strategy used in building your social capital or advancing your career. Conversational skills can help you to expand your business horizons or land you your dream job. But how can you make new connections and maintain previous relationships? It takes more than just passing out business cards or creating a social media profile.
We at Emerging Marketing have generated five tips for becoming a networking master.
You only get one first impression. Be sure to dress the part. An inappropriate or sloppy outfit can affect your first impression. Find out what the dress will be at a particular event and put your best foot forward in the looks department.
Prepare an elevator pitch. Show up ready to sell yourself. Bring cards with your contact information. If you reference your social media savvy in your résumé, have your blog and twitter pages on your business card. If you’re a writer, have samples on hand or create an online portfolio and hand out links to your website.
Take notes. When you collect someone’s business card, write notes on the back about where you met and a few details about the conversation. Your notes will help you remember the person 24 hours later, and you can repurpose these details to personalize your follow-up letter, e-mail or LinkedIn invite.
Be personal. Posing questions can help you hurdle the small talk. And remember, everyone likes to talk about themselves. Plus, the more informed you are, the better. Try to ask questions outside of the typical, “What do you do?”. Have 2 questions that will get them talking like, “Where are you from?” and “What was it like in Iowa?”. Only use the last one if they answered Iowa.
Listen. The faster you and your networking partner learn what you need to know about each other, the faster you’ll establish a valuable relationship. Listen to what they’re saying, don’t just wait to talk and be sure to follow-up the next few days.
Do you have any networking tips you would like to share?0
Mar 29, 2011 @ 2:43PM by Chris McGovern (Subscribe to Chris McGovern's posts)
With more than 600 million active users worldwide, Facebook has quickly become the world’s most popular social networking service. With numbers like these, your company’s Facebook fan page should be an integral part of your social marketing. But with everyone and their mothers (literally) on Facebook, how can you stand out from the pack?
Emerging Marketing has developed a list of 3 tips for optimizing your company’s Facebook page.
1. Post and share as company, not as an individual. This will give your page a certain discretion and make your fans interact with the brand and not an individual.
2. Keep your fans in the loop! Facebook is a great way to update your followers on what’s going on at the company. Have a new-hire announcement? Introduce them on Facebook! Win a new client? Ask people to like them! Get your fans involved in your company activities.
3. Be human. Your Facebook page will be more active once people realize there is a human behind it all. So start conversations, take pictures and comment on your fans posts. You will find that people enjoy getting a peek inside your company walls.
Now we want to know what you think. How have you optimized your company’s Facebook page? What have you found to work, and what just doesn’t?
Let us know, the first three responses will get an Emerging Marketing coffee mug!2
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