Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Disconnect Between Marketers and IT Buyers

Great article from MarketingProfs, "The Disconnect Between Marketers and IT Buyers." Lots and lots of good charts all pointing how marketers still need to better align their content creation plans with the actual needs of IT buyers.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Repost: Four Cutting Edge B2B Social Media Marketing Best Practices

I like going back and reading some of my old posts. This one, from 2010, seems to stand the test of time.

How much do you think B2B marketing has changed in just the last four years...?

Original post:

Four Cutting Edge B2B Social Media Marketing Best Practices

Tuesday morning in Chicago, I was perched atop a 38 story building listening to four top corporate marketers talk about how they have responded to the twin challenges of a recession and the impact of social media. No, I didn't parachute in to some secret industry confab- I was attending the BtoB Magazine NetMarketer breakfast being held at the Hotel 71.

And lucky for you, I took some notes...

Belinda Hudmon- Director, Interactive Marketing, Broadband Mobility Solutions, Motorola

60% of sales for the Broadband Mobility Solutions group are in the government, enterprise and telecom markets. That's a heavy B2B focus. And like any good B2B marketer, she says that her main focus is to accelerate the sales cycle and support the customer relationshiplifecycle. I couldn't agree more.

In order to do this, she and her team have spent a great deal of effort modeling the interactive experience and developing content for each stage of the buying cycle. Motorola's strategic planning even includes developing personas for each market segment at various stages of the buying cycle.

Based on data Motorola collects from their web analytics and surveys, Belinda says that:

  • 68% of decision makers go to vendor sites for buying information
  • 66% of decision makers go to search engines for buying information
  • 69% of decision makers go to social networks for buying information

She points out that unlike in the past, they have been tracking and optimizing "off-corporate site" content to develop links and traffic.

As an example of this, they created an "shared experience" website to support event marketing that aggregated content related to a trade show along with corporate info and online product demos. The online demos drew 50% more activity than the in person demos at the show.

Belinda also gave a informative presentation at the Boston NetMarketing Breakfast, as profiled by my colleague Marc Hausman.

Steve Norman- Marketing Leader, Private Company Services, PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Steve presented a case study of his work. The recent financial crisis and recession has created a market for distressed banks, called FDIC assisted transactions. These transactions occur when medium sized healthy banks buy all or parts of bad banks that have gone into receivership at the FDIC (which is the government bank regulator). PWC is very interested in providing consulting and accounting services to the banks doing the buying.

The challenge is that PWC hasn't traditionally marketed to mid-sized banks and the transactions in question tend to coalesce rapidly and move quickly to completion. Speed is important. Identifying leads and moving them ASAP into a sales environment is the key to capturing these deals and driving revenue.

Stripping out any superfluous activity, Steve designed a lead generation program by creating and distributing content on American Banker magazine, in house webinars, amicrosite/landing page along with a Google AdWords program and an keyword optimized section on He can now identify hot leads by the number of hits across those sites and by driving traffic via email and Google to the landing page.

Recently, he had 500 attendees to a webinar, of which 50% were individuals not previously known to PWC. Using polls and surveys during the session, he was able to qualify those most likely to buy and pass them along to the sales team internally. The ROI? Due to the high fees involved, closing one deal pays for the entire program.

Kristin BockiusSLG Relationship Marketing Manager, Microsoft

In the interest of openness and transparency, it's probably worth pointing out that Microsoft is a client of Strategic Communications Group and we worked with Kristin from the beginning to develop, execute and improve the program she presented.

The challenge when marketing to state and local governments is varied and disparate nature of the market. Although 40% of Microsoft's revenues come from the big four states of California, Texas, Florida and New York, that leaves a massive amount of clients and prospects to be communicated with across 46 states.

Due to the challenge of reaching out to this market, it became clear that social media was going to be a central part of any marketing plan. Rather than attempt to build a complicated social media platform right off the bat or just tactically start "doing stuff", she began by developing the strategy that all activity had to support one main brand, "Bright Side of Government." Due to the sheer number of products Microsoft offers, its important to give government IT professionals an organizing idea and position Microsoft as helping them interact with their peers, share best practices and learn how to better support their government entities' missions.

As Kristin rolled out the social media program, the following channels were created...

1. Government Star YouTube channel for user generated content
2. @Microsoft_gov twitter account for information distribution and stakeholder engagement
3. Bright Side of Government blog as a platform for more thought leadership type content
4. Bright Side of Government digital dashboard to aggregate content from various social media channels into one entry point
5. Bright Side of Government Facebook page to distribute content into this important social network

Lastly, in an announcement picked up by several news organizations, Kristen unveiledGov2Social, a Web site where visitors can find state and local government officials using social media. Here is a clip from Government Technology magazine:

Microsoft is counting on users to input their government's social media usage on the website in order to populate it. It's been seeded with as many as 500 pieces of information and is now open for visitors to add more or edit existing entries.
Kristin Bockius, social media marketing manager for Microsoft SLG, said the company believes the website will fill a niche for those who are seeking a directory of social media activity in the state and local government. "We really want to use this site to show how many SLG agencies as well as individuals are using social to reach out to citizens," she told Government Technology on Tuesday.
When the website is populated with enough data, it will be possible to analyze what the top 10 states and cities are for social media, and so forth, Bockiussaid, "so you can start to figure out what sort of agencies it does and doesn't work for as well as who's the best at it."

In future weeks, the website will add podcasts, analytics, examples of highlighted case studies and best practices, Bockius added. The company may also add data on social media usage to the website for the federal government and worldwide governments.
And to be included on the site, a government doesn't have to be a Microsoft customer. "It doesn't matter what tools they're using," she said. "We're just trying to get the word out and trying to get people to use the social media and highlight some of these cool ways they're doing it."

Jody Yeganeh- Senior Director of Marketing, Lawson

Lawson is a distributor of maintenance and repair supplies. Yes, like fasteners and screws. But with $400MM in revenue and publicly traded on the NASDAQ, Lawson is a very successful distributor. Judy's role is to support a massive cadre of 1300 independent sales representatives. These sales reps are generally deep in the trenches, meeting with buyers on loading docks, shop floors and repair departments.

While objectives like brand presence, web traffic and engagement across a variety of channels is important, supporting the sales force (and the huge catalog of products available) with engaging content is a key challenge. Customer videos, product demos, etc are routinely created that are valuable content to the buyer while supporting Lawson's main messaging of "Smarter Maintenance" and "Think Beyond the Bin."

Segmentation is a key part of the process to make sure the right kind of content goes to specific sub-groups of buyers. Jody says listening is important- Analyzing web traffic, Google alerts and email response rates tell her how successful a video is doing.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Is Friday the Best Day for Press Releases?

Interesting blog post here:  Could Friday be the Best Day to Publish Your Tech Startup’s Press Release? Benn Stancil — Chief Analyst at Mode

PR people have been arguing about this forever. Online, stories are posted anytime, so the day of the week might not be that important. However, a lof of publications still have mid-week deadlines, which means that the reporter is likely going to be busier those days working on stories.

However, it's also interesting to note that the data in the above story is from when Crunchbase publishes a funding announcement, which is obviously 1-3 days after company sends out the press release. The author didn't really address that lag.

Still, interesting to read a data-driven analysis about public relations results.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Measurable Business Results? Uh, How about Revenue and Growth.

A new report on content marketing is out. It shows marketers feel they are doing a good job creating content, but are having trouble tying their efforts to measurable business results.

Uh, how about revenue and growth?

Source: Content Marketing Trends: Goals, Distribution Channels, and Budgets

Content marketers have fairly clear-cut objectives, but the majority are falling short of meeting them, details a new report [download page] from OneSpot and 614 Group. The survey finds that B2B marketers are largely focused on lead generation, echoing other research on the subject, while brand engagement is the top objective among B2C marketers. For the time being, though, a slight majority feel that they’re not meeting their content marketing objectives, and most feel that they’re underperforming when it comes to the business results of their efforts.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

How Do Enterprise Buyers Research New Software?

Marketers often have a hard time explaining the value of content marketing. I hear sales focused teams ask "why do we have to write all of this stuff?"

Well, one of the many, many reasons is that prospects evaluate various sources when making a buying decision. Everyone starts with a google search and gets deeper from there.

Your company needs to be creating or influencing the creation of as much content in the chart below.

Source: How Do Enterprise Buyers Research New Software?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Is Marketing Branding?

Often I talk with clients about the connection between branding and marketing. Almost all the time, there is a great deal of confusion. I bet you, reading this, are a little confused.

This article, Where Marketing Ends, Branding Begins from Kiss Metrics, is a very good, easy to understand overview.

What do most people get wrong?
Misconception #1: Branding is marketing / advertising / promotion / anything to that effect.
Misconception #2: You are the ultimate authority when it comes to your brand.
Misconception #3: There exists a formula for success when it comes to branding.

Do yourself a favor and read the rest of the post...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Is your email marketing as successful as you would like?

Is your email marketing as successful as you would like? Probably not, eh? We all know that great content and constant testing are keys to success, but what does that really mean?

This interview with noted author Jonah Berger offers some suggestions. Read here: Jonah Berger's 6 STEPPS for Success Applied to Email Marketing

So what are the six steps?

  1. Social Currency 
  2. Triggers 
  3. Emotion 
  4. Public 
  5. Practical Value 
  6. Stories

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Lead Generation? You Are Not Doing It Right.

Lead Generation is the Most Important Thing for B2B marketers. Are you doing it right? Probably not.

Spending all day on social media and getting no results should tell you something. Are you integrating marketing with sales? Are you creating compelling content that is targeted to specific issues?

Learn more by reading this fine post...

5 Keys to Revolutionary Lead Generation - The Cogent Coach

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Do You Know What Your Online Media Mix Looks Like?

Most non-marketers have no idea how to think about their marketing efforts. 

"Let's write a press release!" is not an analysis of your marketing, or lack thereof...

Need a quick primer on the different kinds of content that you need to be producing?

Here you go:

Paid, Earned, Owned and Shared Media – What’s Your Online Marketing Media Mix? - Top Rank Blog

Thursday, June 12, 2014

16 Leadership Lessons from a Four Star General

This a really good post about the leadership lessons learned by General Stanley McChrystal. I haven't read his book, but this links to a quick round up.

16 Leadership Lessons from a Four Star General

In the end, “there are few secrets to leadership.” 
It is mostly just hard work. More than anything else it requires self-discipline. Colorful, charismatic characters often fascinate people, even soldiers. But over time, effectiveness is what counts. Those who lead most successfully do so while looking out for their followers’ welfare. Self-discipline manifests itself in countless ways. In a leader I see it as doing those things that should be done, even when they are unpleasant, inconvenient, or dangerous; and refraining from those that shouldn’t, even when they are pleasant, easy, or safe.

Monday, June 09, 2014

15 Types of Content That Will Drive You More Traffic

Need more traffic? Who doesn't, right?

Leaving aside the issue of targeting your key audiences, this article is a very good breakdown of all the different content types you should be evaluating...

15 Types of Content That Will Drive You More Traffic

Content type #1: Infographics
Content type #2: Meme
Content type #3: Videos
Content type #4: Guides
Content type #5: Book reviews
Content type #6: Opinion post (a.k.a. “Rant”)
Content type #7: Product reviews
Content type #8: How-to
Content type #9: Lists
Content type #10: Link pages
Content type #11: Ebook
Content type #12: Case Study
Content type #13: Podcast
Content type #14: Interview
Content type #15: Research and original data

Read the whole article for everything you need to know (almost!)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

THE US 20: Twenty Huge Trends That Will Dominate America's Future

A little old, but I think everyone should read this. You need to know all of these trends in order to plan for the future.

THE US 20: Twenty Huge Trends That Will Dominate America's Future - Business Insider

It is a long article (with tons of awesome charts), so here is a quick summary.

  1. The Bay Area Is Now The Center Of The Universe
  2. The Sharing Economy
  3. The Texas Growth Engine
  4. The Great Congealing Of Cities And Suburbs
  5. Rise Of The Robots
  6. Energy Costs Have Stopped Growing
  7. Renewables Are Surging
  8. Wearable Technology
  9. Everyone's Living Alone
  10. Everyone Dates Online
  11. Stagflation
  12. The Future Of Housing Is Renting
  13. Obesity Is At A Crossroads
  14. The Gun Control Debate Is Over And Guns Won
  15. The War On Drugs Is Over And Drugs Won
  16. Old Hollywood Is Dead And Old TV Is Dying
  17. The Education Bubble Has Burst
  18. Teacher Evaluations
  19. The Unintended Consequences Of Obamacare
  20. The End Of Men

You can argue about some of these trends, but you have to acknowledge that something important is happening in each area.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Why marketers should keep sending you e-mails?

Why? Well, because it still works, duh...

Why marketers should keep sending you e-mails - McKinsey & Company

E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined. 
That’s because 91 percent of all US consumers still use e-mail daily, and the rate at which e-mails prompt purchases is not only estimated to be at least three times that of social media, but the average order value is also 17 percent higher.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Complete List of Evergreen Content Ideas for Your Blog

Looking for an excellent and comprehensive overview of how to create evergreen content? Well, look no further.

The Complete List of Evergreen Content Ideas for Your Blog - buffer

Why evergreen content? Check out this chart...

More from the post:
The best way to guide this process, according to Hubspot, is to keep in mind this vital question: 
Will people still read this and think it’s interesting a year from now? That’s the goal of evergreen. Evergreen content must hold its relevancy over time or else it risks losing its value. 
The Big Question—will this content endure?—is thankfully something you can control, to a degree, by taking steps to ensure that your evergreen content is set up for success. Keep creating amazing content, and follow these guidelines to make the amazing timeless.  
 3 keys to creating evergreen content
  1. Be the definitive source 
  2. Write for beginners 
  3. Narrow your topic

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In 9 Of 10 Industries Search Tops Lead Generation, Social Shortens Marketing Cycles

Read this very detailed look at marketing analytics.

First Touch: In 9 Of 10 Industries Search Tops Lead Generation, Social Shortens Marketing Cycles - MarketingLand

In a new paper, Bizible analyzed data from the more than 480,000 leads that have been tracked through its Salesforce marketing analytics platform to provide insights on how marketers should be thinking about attribution modeling and why the traditional last-click model is broken. 
When looking at last touch only, Bizible found that search accounted for 41 percent of the leads generated. Yet, when considered by first touch, search, in fact, drove 56 percent of the leads. 
Furthermore, the combination of search first touch and search last touch was the most productive sequence for lead generation, accounting for 37 percent of all leads from first/last touch combinations.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

10 surprising social media statistics that might make you rethink your social strategy

Think you know all about social media? Think again. Check out the ten facts below, but make sure to click through and read the whole article.

10 surprising social media statistics that might make you rethink your social strategy - TNW

1. The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55–64 year age bracket.
2. 189 million of Facebook’s users are ‘mobile only’
3. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18–34 than any cable network
4. Every second 2 new members join LinkedIn
5. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
6. LinkedIn has a lower percentage of active users than Pinterest, Google+, Twitter and Facebook
7. 93% of marketers use social media for business
8. 25% of smartphone owners ages 18–44 say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them
9. Even though 62% of marketers blog or plan to blog in 2013, only 9% of US marketing companies employ a full-time blogger
10. 25% of Facebook users don’t bother with privacy settings

Monday, March 31, 2014

Startup City: The Urban Shift in Venture Capital and High Technology

This report seems to align with what I'm seeing here in DC.

Startup City: The Urban Shift in Venture Capital and High Technology - Martin Prosperity Institute

The key findings are as follows. 
Bay Area still on top: As a whole the San Francisco Bay Area — which includes greater San Francisco and Silicon Valley — accounted for more than 4 in 10 of all venture capital dollars invested across the entire United States. 
The city of San Francisco leads the way: San Francisco proper now attracts a larger volume of venture capital investment than Silicon Valley. East Coast Acela Corridor ranks 2nd: The Boston-New York-Washington corridor on the East Coast has emerged as the second major center for venture capital investment. 
New York City is a rising startup hub: Metro New York is now the nation’s third largest center for venture capital. Nearly 80 percent of the metro’s venture investment was invested in the city itself. 
College towns attracting venture capital too: College town tech hubs like Austin and Raleigh-Cary in the North Carolina Research Triangle have long been magnets for venture capital, but Boulder, Ann Arbor, and Lawrence, Kansas attract considerable venture capital on a per capita basis as well.  
Talent matters: Venture investment tracks the geography of talent, especially the percentage of adults who are college grads and the creative class. Eds and meds don’t matter for tech: While many states and cities have pinned their hopes on education and medical centers, our research finds little to no significant statistical associations between eds and meds employment and venture capital. 
Tolerance does matter: We find venture capital investment to be associated with several markers of the diversity of metros, including their shares of immigrants and gays.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

2014 Mobile Marketing Trends

Nine Mobile Marketing Trends for 2014: The Year of Turning Ideas into Marketing Magic - inMobi Blog

This was posted back in December, but I think all of the trends are important this year.

1. Programmatic Buying

2. Wearable Technology

3. Improved Location Targeting

4. Mobile Ad formats

5. Mobile Big Data

6. Mobile Video

7. Rising Mobile Currency

8. Mobile Messaging

9. App Marketing

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Becoming Twitter: A Beginner’s Guide To User Acquisition

Check out this article. It is an excellent overview of how to generate users.

Becoming Twitter: A Beginner’s Guide To User Acquisition- Nate Desmond

Before you can seriously pursue user acquisition, you need an amazing product. Specifically, you need to reach product-market fit. Oversimplified, more than 40% of surveyed customers should say they would be “very disappointed” without your product. Until you have achieved product-market fit, you only want to attract enough customers to test your product improvements. Extra customers just means more frustrated people.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

10 Reasons You'll Never Raise A Dime For Your Startup

LOL. Pretty spot on overview of what not to do when fundraising.

10 Reasons You'll Never Raise A Dime For Your Startup- Forbes

1.) Your Leadership Skills Are Lacking
2.) Your Team Falls Short
3.) No Traction With Customers
4.) No Proven Business Model
5.) Your Approach With Investors Is Wrong
6.) Pitching The Wrong Investors
7.) You’re Not Coachable
8.) Lack Deep Domain Expertise
9.) Failure To Understand ‘Lean’
10.) Blindness To See You Need To Fix All Of This

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Little Snow Day Reading

Wow. We have been having a lot of snow were in DC this winter. Being a hardy midwesterner, I'm not supposed to notice these things, but...

The good thing about cold winter weather is that it is great for staying inside and reading all about technology, marketing and business. Here are five pieces I recommend you read...

10 Tips for Improving Your Mobile Advertising Campaign - Mashable

50 Top Tools for Social Media Monitoring, Analytics, and Management - Social Media Today

Want a Viral Reddit Post? This Data Scientist Says He Knows How- In The Capital

A Wonderfully Simple Heuristic to Recognize Charlatans - Farnam Street

Why marketers should keep sending you e-mails - McKinsey and Company

Monday, February 24, 2014

Are You Sleeping Correctly?


The bottom line: understand that sleep is highly individual, and to ensure that you can fall asleep when you need to, train your brain into knowing when it's time to turn the lights off.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Is DC becoming more of a technology and startup center?

Is DC becoming more of a technology and startup center? Seems to me that there is a a lot more activity than there used to be.

Washington area pops onto tech radar as alternative to Silicon Valley - Washington Post

“Silicon Valley is the hub of the tech industry. I would say you ignore it at your peril,” said Joe Payne, who sold Eloqua, his Tysons Corner-based software company, to Oracle last year.

But the Washington region is creating a selling point in stability and predictability. Take Tim Sullivan, who in 2004 was seeking West Coast investors for cybersecurity company Fidelis Security Systems. Venture capitalists in California insisted that he move there, but he declined and found East Coast investors for the company, which has since been sold to contracting giant General Dynamics.

Sullivan, who now heads a cybersecurity company with a Chantilly office, said he’s never had trouble finding qualified engineers in the Washington area, and he thought turnover would drive his costs higher on the West Coast. “If people feel like the venture’s not working out, they may not stick it out and they may look to the next hotter venture,” he said.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Here Are The Hottest Companies In Tech Right Now, According To Goldman Sachs

Here Are The Hottest Companies In Tech Right Now, According To Goldman Sachs - TechCrunch

I think we’ve established by now that what happens in Vegas actually never stays in Vegas. And, as you can see by the agenda obtained by TechCrunch that’s embedded below this post, the Goldman Sachs Private Internet Company Conference scheduled to take place in Sin City over the next two days is no exception.
The Goldman Sachs conference for private web firms is one of the most high-end and hush-hush events in the tech world. It’s essentially like the Hackers Conference or dinners at Sheryl Sandberg’s house or Fight Club, except for tech executives who are likely to soon go through an IPO or big M&A deal. If you’re on the invite list, you’re in pretty good company — and the first rule is that you don’t talk about it to others.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Is Your Business Failing at Content Marketing?

I like this article from 6 Reasons Companies Fail at Content Marketing, by Dave Kerpern. Do yourself a favor and evaluate your content marketing strategy after reading the article.

 Here are the six reasons:

  1. They have no subscription strategy. 
  2. They fail to inspire brand evangelists. 
  3. They still keep their content creators in silos. 
  4. They place traditional marketers in content roles. 
  5. They overlook internal marketing goals. 
  6. They miss out on opportunities to partner with traditional media.