When the CEO of all too many B2B companies sits down to decide on the three- or five-year strategy, a select group of executives are typically asked to front up with factual data and strategic opinions: The Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Commercial Officer and the Chief Operations Officer. Equipped with their inputs, the CEO usually feels he or she has enough information to formulate the strategy (perhaps supplemented with external advice). Then, and only then, the strategy is explained to the CMO. Continue reading
It’s not that hard to write a blog post, a Tweet or an article, right?
All you have to do is think about what you want to say, structure it, then start tapping away at the keyboard. At least, that’s pretty much true if you’re a good writer and English is your native language!
Our Danish-based B2B clients, on the other hand, have an added challenge in comparison with competitors from English-speaking regions: producing high-quality English texts when English is their second (or even third) language.
Like all relationships between people, B2B relationships require trust and credibility to work.
In fact, we could liken a prospective B2B buyer to a sophisticated partner who is well-educated, has high expectations and is generally intolerant of mistakes. And like in all relationships, there are certain behaviours that strengthen bonds, and critical mistakes that turn people off.
Take your website, for example. In B2B, missteps can sow enough seeds of doubt in the minds of potential or existing customers to make them lose faith in your brand, question your professionalism, or simply click away from your site. Once you lose that credibility, it can be as hard to get back as convincing a cheated-on lover to trust you again. And the result of lost credibility? Lost sales.
So what can you do to make sure you hang onto B2B prospects?
Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, British comedian John Cleese owes a small part of his fame to the phrase: “Don’t mention the war”. And I’m reminded of that phrase every time I hear a B2B marketing or communication department agonizing over what should or shouldn’t be said in the public arena.
Recently, while visiting one of our customers in the UK, I saw a fascinating sign on a building next door to the customer’s own offices. I was struck by the boldness of the claim – particularly given how unimpressive the sign’s visual idea and execution was. The effect, in my mind, was to create something academics call cognitive dissonance. And that’s a certain something many B2B companies do all too often.
What’s the purpose of B2B marketing? Ask the question of any attentive marketing student and they’re likely to reel off a description that somewhere, somehow, involves increasing demand for the company’s products. But marketing is also about managing demand, too, which may actually require reducing demand – or moving demand away from particular products in a company’s range. That said, it still seems counter-intuitive to create marketing or sales materials aimed at putting a dent in sales…
Company magazines continue to consume a significant proportion of many B2B marketing budgets. Understandably so, as magazines can be a great way to profile the company’s achievements, internally and externally. But many companies have a long way to go before their content can easily be found and consumed online – that is, read, watched, listened to, or clicked on. No wonder it’s easy to question the business case for a magazine. Is it worth applying so much time and budget to a magazine if its long-term reach and impact is limited? Continue reading
Marketing technology firm Software Advice has released a new report on online B2B buyer behavior, detailing business implications for inside sales professionals in 2014 and beyond. The folks at Software Advice run a highly tuned sales machine where fast phone followups are part of the model, so they know what they’re talking about when it comes to getting visitors to move down the conversion funnel. And for the hungry B2B marketer, there are a few pointers worth noticing.
Mark Hanley, president of Massachusetts-based consulting house I.T. Strategies, recently asked me for my opinion on the state of the market for printed brochures. Do printed sales materials have a future or are they on their way out? It’s a great question, and one which is brought up time and time again by marketers in meetings I attend.
A new thought leadership platform encouraging stakeholder engagement and subject matter expertise has been launched by a global B2B technology company. Continue reading