The most common frustration I see, and I see it daily, comes from marketers who can't figure out why more people won't buy their product. This particularly afflicts b2b marketers, who ostensibly have rational customers.
Have you ever visited a B2B website and come away unsure of what the company actually does? If so, you are in good company. Many B2B websites are verbose, yet vague and confusing.
What company do customers feel most connected to emotionally? According to new research from Google and the CEB, customers are more emotionally connected to B-to-B brands, and it’s not even close.
Given the ample warning and increased transparency Google provided in advance of Penguin 2.0, it surprises me that B2B search marketers still blew up the forums about being penalized for link spam after it hit.
Content marketing has changed the ways that businesses sell to a B2B audience.
Discussions about customer experience often focus on consumer-facing (B2C) companies, but what about organizations that sell to businesses (B2B)?
Last year, research firm ITSMA surveyed the budgets of major B2B companies. The single largest budget item -- representing 16% of average spend -- was collateral.
In the 80s, in the days of Michael Milken and Gordon Gekko, the rule on the street was “eat your young.” Nice guys finish last, hold your information, keep the rules to yourself, and win at all costs -- no matter who you have to trample.
Technology often leads too much change, but with digital transformation the consumer, rather than the technology, is in the driver’s seat, and this matters.
The most common question B-to-B marketers ask me is: “How do I use social media to get more leads?” And the answer is:...
Selling solutions allows companies to differentiate themselves in commoditizing markets and to benefit from economies of scope across multiple profit and service capabilities. For customers, these solutions offer better value than the products and services that went before. After all, who would not prefer a "solution" to their business problems rather than simply buying services and products?
The trends that are rocking B2C companies are just as relevant to the B2B world: multiplying customer touch points, changing customer behaviors, massive floods of big data. And like their B2C counterparts, B2B companies need to put the customer at the center of everything they do.
Mobile and social channels are heating up. In fact, the second-annual Bazaarvoice Social Marketing Survey shows unequivocally that social media is now considered an essential component of executive marketing strategy.
“There is now no such thing as b2b,” Rick Segal, worldwide president-chief practice officer at GyroHSR, New York, told attendees at the B2B Marketing Europe conference in Berlin this week.
It’s possible Apple will become more enterprise-centric in the future, but I doubt it. Why? Because Apple doesn’t seem to target markets in the way other companies do. It targets people. It focuses on users. And Apple lets them decide how and where they’ll use its products. This sounds simple, but in my experience very few companies think this way.
At last week's national Business Marketing Association (BMA) conference in Chicago, three marketing executives from three well-known B2B brands each made an interesting comment: "In the 3M scheme of things, marketing wasn't even a second-tier priority. It was fourth or fifth tier at best. But in the future, marketing needs to lead 3M." -- Jeff Lavers, Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Communications, 3M. "Emerson didn't even have a CMO before me. They didn't believe they needed one."-- Kathy Button Bell, CMO, Emerson. "We're announcing a marriage at GE. We're not sure how they'll get along, but IT and marketing are about to become married. We're combining the two functions." -- Beth Comstock, CMO, GE. Wow! Three iconic B2B brands, each rethinking the role of marketing within their organizations. Is this a wave?
Although the deals tend to be bigger, in scope and revenue, and because of it, B2B sales tend to have a longer cycle. More decision makers are involved on the side of the prospective customer organization, while subject matter experts tend to get involved on the selling side. More people on both sides of the agreement include legal counsel for contract reviews, and teams who will be responsible for the implementation of said purchase. At least one hopes they will be in the loop as execution is where a company realizes its return on investment.
Twitter's usefulness as a small business marketing tool is about to get an upgrade. According to a post on OPEN Forum by Mashable's Adam Ostrow, Twitter is planning to launch some new features later this year that should greatly improve the way business's use the service.
Anyone responsible for B2B demand-generation programs—whether on the marketing or sales side—knows that self-reported data from prospects must be taken with a grain of salt. Whether it is titles or contact information, or the often ‘loaded’ questions about timeframes for purchasing, buyers regularly enter data that is not wholly accurate because it serves their purposes at that moment in time. And that means quite a bit of the data we collect (especially from prospects that are earlier on in their buying processes) is riddled with errors.
A couple of years ago, a business-development guy at Bloomberg named Bo Moon was getting crushed in his fantasy-basketball league. So while commuting from New Jersey into Bloomberg's Manhattan offices, Moon and a car-pool colleague, Jay B. Lee, started wondering what would happen if the company applied its core expertise, the supply of real-time financial analytics to Wall Street traders, to sports statistics. (And while spending hours stuck in New York City–area rush-hour traffic, they had plenty of time to ponder.) After all, in many ways fantasy teams are similar to stock portfolios, with players as the assets. If Bloomberg could analyze a stock via every imaginable statistic and performance graphic, why couldn't the company do the same for athletes? With fantasy sports now a $4.5 billion industry, wouldn't there be demand for a Bloomberg product geared toward that market?
Two weeks ago on TechCrunch I posted “The Facebook Imperative,” which posed a simple question, “Why isn’t all enterprise software like Facebook?” It was the next iteration of the question I asked in 1999 that spawned salesforce.com, “Why isn’t all enterprise software like Amazon.com.” If you have read my book, Behind The Cloud, you are well aware how that one question launched a company, and a movement. Its been an exciting decade. But the real excitement is just starting.
Dell Computer's Enterprise Technology Center was never meant to be a marketing vehicle, so the staff was pleasantly surprised last year to learn that the community site had touched millions of dollars' worth of new business for Dell. “Customers have come into the briefing center and asked to meet DellServerGeek or SANPenguin,” said Administrator Scott Hanson, referring to Twitter handles used by two of the site's four full-time administrators. “The relationships we're building [with enterprise IT professionals] feel like they're going to last a lifetime.”
Here is something that product managers and strategic marketers know first-hand: new product introductions and market roll-outs often carry large, and daunting, expectations. A poorly-executed product intro can cost jobs, upward professional mobility, and even millions of dollars and damage to an entire product family’s brand image in the market
Social Media marketing is rapidly earning a role in the integrated marketing mix of small and enterprise businesses and as such, it’s transforming every division from the inside out. What starts with one champion in any given division, be it customer service, marketing, public relations, advertising, interactive, et al, eventually inspires an entire organization to socialize. What starts with one, a domino effect usually ensues toppling each department, gaining momentum, and triggering a sense of urgency through its path. And, it also marks the beginning of our journey through the ten stages of social media integration. But where do we start?
It's a simple formula: Recession requires more tactical spending. This year's budget = + online spend + social activity + lead generation campaigns - brand investment. When the dollars get tight, spend shifts to more tangible, less expensive marketing programs with the promise of shorter-term returns (or at least lower costs). Not that there's anything wrong with saving a few bucks wherever you can get the job done more efficiently. But when saving money becomes the goal instead of a guideline, something big always suffers -- and it's usually the brand.
I spend a great deal of time working within the B2B sector, among other things, and social media is a growing and or pervasive program within a comprehensive, integrated communications and service strategy. In almost every scenario I’ve encountered, executives, marcom and service executives, and brand managers have generally assumed that social and interactive activities and programming were ideally best suited for consumer applications. However, as we recently explored, in Social Media, it’s not just business, it’s business-to-business.
Businesses are made of people, many of them in the middle. While everyone loves to talk to the C-level, the shift in the way people at all levels work, select and recommend service providers, and get things done is more notable in the thick of things, so to speak. Technology has made it even easier for people to connect with peers, collaborate, and get and give direct and indirect (through search) feedback. There's a reason why social media has put a spotlight on being human - brands forgot how to tell stories. Along with a "me, too" characteristic of many B2Bs always in search of benchmarking and way to validate their value props, companies forgot (more likely stopped funding) media integration. This first set of considerations presents some difficulties in the connected world we live in.
Businesses that want to create long-term sustainable growth will be increasingly moving towards connected company status. That is the place where being social benefits the business by providing insights, strengthening relationships with partners and customers, and building and connecting a community with common grounds and needs. In many organizations, the listening post resides within the marketing group. As we discussed yesterday here and on Twitter, customer service should co-own the space and collaborate to develop big ears during customer conversations and interactions. In many B2B organizations, the customer support role is much expanded and works hand in hand with operations.
In 2009, I'd like to say we've all been inoculated from taking the viral metaphor to its extreme, but I've found the strain quite resistant in marketing circles. The "V word" is still cropping up with colleagues, clients, prospects and at industry events all too often. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that a Jupiter Research report last year found that only 15% of advertising labeled "viral" is actually successful.
As a B2B marketer, thought leadership is one of the most valuable assets your brand — or you — can attain. In down economies, prospects conduct even more research leading up to the purchase. This means B2B marketing professionals must help educate prospects in the early stages of the buying cycle; doing this well can help frame their buying process and establish your brand as a trusted advisor that understands their problems and knows how to solve them. Therefore it's more vital than ever for your organization to be viewed as an industry leader and trusted resource for all key stakeholders: customers, media, analysts, investors and everyone in between.
These terms, often used interchangeably, are different approaches to how you nurture your prospects. While they often imply use of email and online marketing, they have been used to improve the success of marketing efforts long before today’s marketing technologies were available. The increase in the terms usage is due to marketer’s ability to better implement these programs, due to email, website monitoring and web analytics, campaign tracking, and campaign optimizing allowing for A/B email and landing page testing.
Forrester released new details associated with its latest research survey that links business buyers and their process of researching solutions to Social Media. Forrester interviewed business buyers to learn about their social activity, in this case, more than 1,200 technology buyers in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. with 100 employees or more in seven major industries. According to the responses, Social Media isn't only limited to consumers or B2C. In the real of business-to-business research, analysis, and decisions, data points to peer-to-peer influence and collaboration in Social Networks and blogs...