Opinions, best practices and research into B2B marketing strategy and practices

Marketing technology and the challenges it brings for B2B

Considering the rate at which technology is advancing, it’s a fool’s errand to try to stay in front of the latest developments. Most marketers are more concerned with staying on board with the latest, but that can be pretty confusing too when there are so many concerns on the table. A vocabulary rich in buzzwords won’t get the job done, nor will a whole suite of sophisticated marketing tools that nobody knows how to use properly.

So, for the small- to medium-size business with limited marketing resources, what are some concerns to focus on? Continue reading

B2B and the tourism industry: A strong digital strategy can make the difference

Antique Barometer

After experiencing a dramatic slump in 2009, the global tourism industry is steadily regaining momentum. With revenue increasing at an annual rate of 1.5 percent, the tourism industry is estimated to be worth USD 1.15 trillion globally in 2012. However, according to data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization, this upturn is more evident in some areas than others. For the tourism industry a strong B2B online presence plays a vital role in marketing a particular destination. With competition fierce, what can a B2B strategy do to capture a greater share of the tourist spend? Continue reading

Adobe, Inc.’s Voice of Industry

One example of an owned-media Voice of Industry activity is Adobe, Inc.’s CMO.com (www.cmo.com). Branded discretely with a small Adobe logo in the top right corner, the site offers “digital marketing insight for chief marketing officers”, including news items, trend articles, announcements, information about marketing analytics, resources and marketing-specific web sites, blog marketing, and other information about key players in the digital marketing space. The site carries articles, reports, surveys, statistics and commentary from industry experts and other digital marketing resources with a relatively long “shelf life”. Continue reading

Is your IT department (and SharePoint) standing in the way of your B2B marketing success?

B2B marketers and communicators I talk to are worried about their IT department. On the one hand, they know the useful role IT plays in many different ways to enable the company and to keep things on track with respect to compliance, security and so on. On the other hand, they see IT’s push for standardization across systems as something that stands in firmly in the way of keeping up with competitive, up-to-date marketing practices. And they’re right – the traditional IT department agenda and processes do present challenges for doing a good job as a B2B marketer.

One of the evils out there, seen from a narrow standpoint of best-practice communication, is our dear friend SharePoint. And that’s particularly the case if your company is running SharePoint 2007, for example. Here’s what I learned in a recent conversation with a medium-sized pharmaceutical company running SharePoint 2007:

  • SharePoint 2007 makes it difficult to provide an “electronic magazine experience” such as that of, for example, our Wordspin (www.wordspin.dk) publication
  • SharePoint 2007 does not enable content rating and tagging without significant customization, and even when enabled it is not intuitive or user-friendly.
  • SharePoint 2007 does enable the use of rich media from multiple sources but it’s again far from user-friendly.
  • SharePoint 2007 cannot support the use of unique visual identities such as those that might be required in a more flexible “brand as a publisher” world since the Corporate Communication department typically demands strict use of standard SharePoint templates, unless otherwise agreed. In other words, visual creativity is too limited.
  • SharePoint 2007 can only be reliably used with the Internet Explorer browser (!)
  • SharePoint, in general, takes too long to make changes to – particularly in comparison with a tool like WordPress. And fast changes are in the nature of the marketing task, no matter how well planned things may be.

SharePoint 2010 goes quite a way to solving issues like those above, but let’s face it – it is still a corporate-size, tough-to-work-with solution administrated by the IT department. If yours is like most companies, don’t count on getting cutting-edge (ouch, propaganda word!) marketing capabilities or fast re-programming unless you have a high-priority business case.

B2B marketers need to be thinking how they can manage IT department requirements and expectations while trying to sneak their way past with new, non-corporate-standard tools wherever they can. At least when it comes to content marketing needs, IT departments need to allow greater flexibility and autonomy than elsewhere in the organization.