Archive for the ‘Social Media Marketing’ Category

The Future of Digital Marketing According to the Giants

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Guest post by Clayton Wood.

Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft have been making acquisitions that could change the way digital marketing is done in the near future. What seemed to be objects of science-fiction books and shows are now being developed in the real world, and may be used for marketing. These companies have also made purchases that many people didn’t quite think were obvious, but perfectly made sense in hindsight.

But what do these purchases tell us about the direction digital marketing is going? Let’s have a look.

Digital Marketing will be about Heightened User Experiences

The giants are taking a page out of science fiction books to develop technology that will heighten and improve user experience. Virtual reality seems to be one of the hottest trends: Google has Google Glass, Facebook bought Oculus VR (which makes the virtual reality gaming headset Oculus Rift), and Yahoo! bought, absorbed, and shut down Cloud Party. These purchases forced Sony to announce Project Morpheus, their own take on virtual reality.

How Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Sony are changing the future of digital marketingThough these acquisitions don’t tell us much in terms of what exactly these giants have cooking, the firms have made generic statements about what they want to achieve, and these statements focus on heightened user experience.

We also know that whatever it is they are developing won’t materialize within the year—we need to give it a couple of years. We know one thing for sure: although they purchased VR gaming companies, the technological developments we can expect won’t be limited to gaming. These purchases tell us that real-time information delivery, social interaction, immersive content and improved ecommerce experiences are in store for us in the near future.

Take Mark Zuckerberg’s statement when Facebook purchased Oculus VR earlier this year:

Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.

This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.

These are just some of the potential uses. By working with developers and partners across the industry, together we can build many more. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.

Data Tracking becomes a Strong Online Marketing Asset

We know how important data is to any marketing campaign, online or otherwise: without it, you cannot optimize the processes you have in place and improve the overall performance of your business. Google certainly knows this – their Webmaster Tools, Analytics and AdWords platforms belong to the most informative, readily available data tracking technology there is online.

It seems this year, they want to improve their platforms even further. They bought Adometry, a marketing analytics and optimization platform. Google explains that the acquisition “will build on the momentum of our existing measurement and analytics offerings, which include Google Analytics Premium as well as other products,” adding:

Attribution solutions, like Adometry’s, help businesses better understand the influence that different marketing tools — digital, offline, email, and more — have along their customers’ paths to purchase (http://goo.gl/tXTliw). This heightened understanding, in turn, enables businesses to measure marketing impact, allocate their resources more wisely, and provide people with ads and messages that they’re likely to care about.

This shows that digital marketing is likely moving to become more performance-based and accurately measurable. Data is becoming a strong online marketing asset, and marketers will likely devote a lot of effort and resources into analyzing and making the most of consumer data. Companies using performance models for growing channels, such as mobile and video, will soon be a common sight.

Human insights, combined with machine learning and real-time predictive analytics, will pave the way for easier, more data-driven marketing strategies.

Fun and Experience will be the Cornerstones of Most Marketing Strategies

In today’s ever-changing marketing world, it’s not enough to just get the attention of your consumers, you also have to give them something new—an experience. Consumers will be looking for something more than visually entertaining, they’ll want fun and experience.

Groundbreaking marketing creativity and innovation anchored on wearable technology and augmented reality can be expected. This will likely lead to digital marketing without boundaries; one that’s fueled by strategies focusing on fun, immersive experiences.

“Personal” Will Have a Whole New Meaning

Soon, it might not be enough for companies to just know what you want; they will likely also want to know when you’re most likely to want something. At the start of the year, Apple applied for a patent for a technology that would make inferences about the moods of people in real time.

“If an individual is preoccupied or unhappy, the individual may not be as receptive to certain types of content,” Apple explained.

Their solution? Figure out how a person is feeling at any given moment, and use that data to target content—or more accurately, ads—to be delivered at the right place and the right time.

Combining the technology on data tracking and analysis with the innovations in wearable technology, we can expect marketers to combine behavioral indicators—such as the rate of ‘likes’, comments, shares, the applications users open first, and the date, time, location and other specifics of their online interaction—with physical indicators tracked by a smartwatch or some other wearable gadget.

The word “personal” will have a whole new meaning, especially when it concerns digital marketing and online interactions.

Whatever updates and innovations may come, one thing is for sure: the digital marketing of today won’t certainly look the same as tomorrow’s. Companies clearly will be gearing for the future—are you?

How about you? What do you think is the future of digital marketing?

 

About the author: Clayton Wood is passionate about communicating the impact that technology has in online marketing. He is the Marketing Director of SEOReseller.com and managing partner of numerous successful online brands that offer white label SEO and other online marketing services. Clayton can be found on LinkedIn and Google+.

 

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20 Expert LinkedIn Guides

Monday, July 7th, 2014

LinkedIn has made dramatic changes to its platform over the past 18 months, making what was a rather plain but effective business networking tool into a content-rich, visually dynamic, more interactive professionally-focused social network.

LinkedIn RelationshipsAmong other changes, the addition of showcase pages for businesses, expanded content publishing and media sharing capabilities, and changes to group email updates are all designed to make LinkedIn into a business-oriented version of Facebook. Facebook may be fighting back, but time will tell regarding its true intentions and objectives on that front.

Whether your goal is use LinkedIn to find your next job, market a business product or service, or just expand your professional network, you’ll find helpful guidance below in 20 of the best LinkedIn guides of the past year or so.

7 Guides to Using LinkedIn for Career or Networking

Boost Your Brand’s Visibility With LinkedIn’s New Profile Features by Sprout Social

Jennifer BeeseJennifer Beese reports that recent changes to LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature gives you “more ways to manage your professional identity and increase your visibility across the professional social network,” and serves up three helpful tips for capitalizing on the insights gleaned, such as using visuals to showcase “your talents in a whole new way by adding photos, videos, and slideshows to your profile.”

21 Steps to Create an Awesome LinkedIn Profile by jeffbullas.com

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas writes that answering the question, “So, what do you do?” isn’t as simple as it used to be, because “Today we have careers, businesses and life work that didn’t exist a decade ago.” He continues, “LinkedIn has redefined the online version of a resume and having a well organised LinkedIn profile is now essential,” then shares nearly two dozen tips for creating an “awesome” profile including using a professional photo, writing in the first person, and using keywords in all relevant sections.

Making LinkedIn Work for You by NoddlePlace

Sheree Van VreedeSheree Van Vreede presents an excellent infographic that illustrates LinkedIn best practices across half a dozen key areas, including activity, connection requests, sharing updates, and reaching out (“Prominently display your contact information…(and) clearly state your networking purpose on your profile”).

The LinkedIn Recruiter & Job Seeker Disconnect by Winning Impression

Katrina CollierKatrina Collier shares an infographic loaded with stats and guidance for job seekers on LinkedIn. While some of the numbers she shares are specific to the U.K. (e.g, only one-third of British workers have profiles on LinkedIn, and nearly half of those are incomplete), the guidance and best practices are universal.

Four Smart Strategies to Help You Engage With More of The Right People on LinkedIn by jeffbullas.com

Margaret AdamsGuest author Margaret Adams writes, “Once you who you want to attract you will need a plan to make sure you don’t waste your time and your efforts when you’re using LinkedIn,” then offers four tips to optimize use of the professional social network, such as “Be visual…Upload images, videos and presentations to supplement the text you write. This will help to build your credibility on LinkedIn. You’ll demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about and that you can deliver.”

The Secret Benefit of LinkedIn Endorsements by The Social Media Hat

Mike AltonMike Allton delves into the workings and benefits of the Skills & Expertise function in LinkedIn, how it’s connected to LinkedIn Endorsements, how to optimize your skillset for social SEO, and the right way to grow your endorsements (“sift through your own connections and start endorsing the people you know. They will get a notification and many will reciprocate”).

Want a Job? Here Are 6 LinkedIn Tips by MediaPost

Scott GillumExplaining that, “For recruiters, LinkedIn is the largest and most current database of business professionals in the world. For job seekers, it’s a portal into new opportunities, connections and references,” Scott Gillum offers half a dozen tips for job seekers to make the most of the platform, including keeping your past up to date: “Companies go out of business or are acquired all the time. Make sure your resume reflects or notes that change.”

10 Expert Guides to Corporate Marketing on LinkedIn

The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, an infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie PelserBerrie Pelser shares an infographic he calls “a strategic guide full of interviews and tips from marketing thought leaders combined with expert insights from the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions team (designed to help marketers) embrace the vast opportunities that await—increase awareness, influence perception, generate leads, and ultimately drive revenue.” The checklist-style guide enables you to score your brand’s LinkedIn efforts across 14 different areas like sponsored updates, showcase pages, and use of LinkedIn groups.

7 LinkedIn Marketing Tactics Designed To Boost B2B SEO Performance by KoMarketing

Derek EdmondWriting that “LinkedIn has historically been overlooked by SEOs in favor of other social media platforms, primarily due to the fact that links in profiles and discussions aren’t really ‘SEO friendly,’” Derek Edmond explains why recent changes by Google have increased the importance of LinkIn for organic navigation, and present seven tips for making the most of that, such as “In addition to the deeper cross-link into the organization’s website, B2B marketers should incorporate applicable keyword targets with descriptive product and services copy.”

Best LinkedIn Company Pages of 2013 by LinkedIn on SlideShare

This short presentation showcases the top 10 LinkedIn company pages of last year, explains what makes each of these pages stand out, and offers general guidance for creating an optimizing a brand’s presence on LinkedIn.

5 easy ways to master content marketing on LinkedIn by iMedia Connection

roger_katz-2Writing that “brands must creatively combine paid, owned, and earned media to fully realize all potential points of contact with consumers” (i.e., embrace the web presence optimization model), Roger Katz supplies a handful of useful tips to “kick start your brand communications and content marketing strategy on LinkedIn,” like utlizing relevant LinkedIn groups by “asking questions, answering questions, sharing discussions, and measuring your results using tracking tokens and Bit.ly links.”

LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates by Brent Carnduff

Brent CarnduffBrent Carnduff explains what sponsored updates are and why they are worth looking into, then walks through a detailed step-by-step guide to creating sponsored updates, selecting content to promote, targeting your audience (by geographic region, skills, and “more targeting options” such as “schools…LinkedIn Groups, gender, or age”), and measuring results.

A Guide for Optimizing Your LinkedIn Company Page by B2B Inbound

Greg ElwellGreg Elwell provides detailed guidance on how to optimize a LinkedIn company page, but in terms of visuals and text (e.g., use the maximum number of characters allowed; include plenty of white space and bullets; and “Sprinkle keywords throughout your description and write it for the user and what’s in it for them”).

9 Ways to Get LinkedIn Company Page Followers by Green Buzz Agency

Victoria IpriWant more followers for your company page? Victoria Ipri passes along nine helpful tips, like getting your employees involved, sharing your LinkedIn page on other social media sites (“Are you using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other SM platforms? Share your LinkedIn Company page on these sites to hit as many followers as possible with your request. Ask your employees to do the same”), and adding your LinkedIn page URL to your commpany email signature.

7 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Company Profile for B2B Conversions by Ignite

To make the most of the strengths of LinkedIn as a platform for B2B marketing, Ross Wilson recommends optimizing the “About” section (“Most companies simply copy and paste the “About Us” section from their website onto their LinkedIn profile. However, this strategy is a mistake for those seeking to network on LinkedIn”) and featuring your employees (“People want to see the faces that are behind your brand”) among other tactics.

Top 10 Tips from Best LinkedIn Company Pages [SLIDESHOW] by LinkedIn Official Blog

Lana KhavinsonLana Khavinson shares 10 tips from top company pages (yes, it’s from 2012, but most of the tactics still apply!), among them: creating banners that show the vibrant nature of your business and culture (like Aurecon ) and “post content that interests your followers and less about how great your company is” (like Xactly).

Adding a Linkedin Group to Your Company Page by Social Media Tutorials

Jacob CurtisJacob Curtis writes that adding a group to your company page on LinkedIn shouldlead to “an increase in traffic and engagement between the two,” and steps through the process for adding any type of LinkedIn group that you manage or moderate, including networking or community groups; resource or information-based groups; and employee or training groups.

3 Guides to Optimizing LinkedIn Company Profile Pages

LinkedIn Creates Product Pages In Bid for More Content-Marketing Dollars by AdvertisingAge

Cotton DeloIn this short article, Cotton Delo reports on LinkedIn’s experiments with product pages, and notes that “LinkedIn has already made it clear that urging brands to promote the white papers and links to thought-leadership pieces that they’re currently publishing on their company pages to a wider audience is the way it intends to grow its ad business.”

Linkedin Showcase Pages Create New Points of Discovery by iMedia Connection

Tom EdwardsFollowing up on the post above, Tom Edwards provides more detail on product / showcase pages, delving into what techniques and content work well by using pages from HP, Adobe, and Microsoft as illustrative examples, though he concludes that “This new showcase option will need to be carefully considered though when deploying…(brands will need to determine) which products have enough content to support the audience in addition to further segmenting the brand’s following into subgroups.”

New LinkedIn Company Page Features You Should Be Using by Oktopost

Valerie LevinPointing out that “When conducting online research, B2B prospects will often judge a company’s credibility based on its website and social presence, particularly on LinkedIn,” Valerie Levin explains how to take advantage of four key LinkedIn company page features, including showcase pages, news feeds, and customized link preview images: “We’ve all had the experience of posting an update to LinkedIn that includes a link, only to find that the preview image that appears just isn’t that relevant. Now, LinkedIn enables you to customize this picture.”

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The Worst Social Media Business Blunders

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Guest post by Larry Alton.

Businesses and celebrities are supposed to be professional, so why are there constantly mistakes being made, sometimes by even the largest of companies? Well, the answer is because there’s a human behind those Facebook post and endless tweets.

social media failsFrom bad grammar to getting visibly frustrated and engaging in flame wars, there are lessons to be learned from the social media faux pas of others. If you were on the fence about hiring a professional social media manager, these might push you over the edge.

1. Justine Sacco, Africa and AIDS

It’s going to take a serious blunder to knock Sacco out of first place probably (hopefully) for many years to come. She was a well-known New York PR Rep, yet for some strange reason felt the urge to tweet (as she boarded a flight to South Africa) “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” Although she vehemently backtracked and apologized, she was fired and hasn’t really been heard from since.

2. Dr. Phil, teenage girls and sex

Poor Dr. Phil, this probably wasn’t really his fault since he was just trying to make do with Twitter’s short character limit. However, when you’re a middle aged man who tweets, “If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no @drphil #teenaccused.” To many, it sounded like he was rather interested in having sex with a drunk teenage girl and wanted to make sure society thought it was okay. Of course, he was really just trying to open a dialogue (and for the record, Dr. Phil has assured everyone it is not okay) and it backfired.

3. Epicurious and the Boston bombing

Trying to drum up social media attention by making use of one of the biggest tragedies on American soil in recent years is never in good taste, especially when a brand has nothing to do with Boston or marathons. The social media post, “In honor of Boston and New England, may we suggest: whole-grain cranberry scones!” Many thought this was insensitive at best.

4. NYU Lecturer, fat people and grad applicants

Geoffrey Miller is a lecturer at NYU who seems to have serious fat phobia. He wrote (out of the blue), “Dear obese PhD applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation. #truth.” The good news for NYU is that he was a visiting professor. He later apologized, calling himself idiotic and with bad judgment.

5. Home depot, monkeys and racism

Perhaps it was a massive oversight and/or lack of knowledge of racist history and slurs, but Home Depot tweeted a photo of two black men and one man in a monkey mask drumming at a college game day event hosted by Home Depot. The post read, “Which drummer is not like the others?” Apparently somebody clued in the Twitter manager and it was quickly taken down, but screenshots had already been saved. In what was probably the best move, Home Depot chose to keep quiet on the matter.

There are many others, but these top the charts (for now). Here’s to better judgment in social media for the rest of 2014.

Larry Alton—–

About the author: Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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The Six Most Irrational Social Media Concerns of Brands

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Note: the following is an excerpt from the book The Social Employee by Cheryl and Mark Burgess. Reprinted with permission.

The first step toward transitioning to a culture full of empowered social employees is to address some of the most common concerns brands face when considering going social. The following lists the most common concerns surrounding social media, as well as why these shouldn’t be concerns at all.

The Social Employee - book by Cheryl Burgess and Mark Burgess1: Fear

There’s nothing quite like good, old-fashioned fear. Everyone has heard Franklin Roosevelt’s famous Depression-era quote, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It’s remarkable how often these words go unheeded. In truth, fear often arises out of lack of knowledge, but brands can’t afford to be ignorant in any era. Fear of social media will likely result in paranoid, overprotective, and ultimately misguided business decisions. Even worse, it will make a band seem out of touch and unwilling to see the writing on the wall.

If brands have anything to fear, it’s not social media, but losing touch with customers. Marketers need to remember that just because something is new and different  doesn’t mean it’s bad, or even dangerous. And in all honesty, social media isn’t even that new anymore. It’s time to face the music. Brands should be aware that “I haven’t done this before” only works as an excuse the first time they use it. Afterwards, they’ll just start to look rigid and stubborn.

2: What If I Do It Wrong?

Many Brands express misgivings as to how they should enter the social media fray. What if the wrong platform is chosen or organizations are not properly structured to accommodate these new technologies? On the surface, this may seem like a legitimate concern. As we’ve already discussed, social media certainly isn’t a static entity. But no technology is. Using the same logic, brands shouldn’t use computers simply because they continue to change as well.

The point is this: just because something is constantly changing doesn’t mean a brand is unable to adapt right along with it. Whether it’s with social media or not, brands can’t avoid risk. All things considered, we believe in the old adage that there’s safety in numbers. Countless brands are struggling with transitions into social business models at this very moment, and they are all learning from each other. It’s better to jump in now and learn through trial and error with everyone else than try to wait it out. If the latter is chosen, the competition will have a clear advantage over the more reticent brands.

3: Social Media Policies Don’t Offer Concrete Metrics or Proven ROI

This May have been true at one point, but as you will see from our success stories in the following chapters, pioneering social businesses do indeed measure investments in social media against real returns. Even the value of contributions from individual social employees can be measured, and tremendous results are being seen. As Dion Hinchcliffe and Peter Kim say in Social Business by Design, unlike the early days of social media, results are not the problem managing the richness and sheer scale of outcomes presents the greater business challenge.”

The social media versus ROI debate has actually become somewhat of a punch line in marketing circles. As much as business culture can have its own memes, the ROI conversation has certainly become one. For our favorite example, we suggest checking out “The Social Media ROI Conversation” on YouTube.

It’s important to note here, however, that even though brands are finding proven ways to measure the ROI of social endeavors, it is generally agreed that ROI, in some ways, is beside the point. When talking about social business, the discussion refers to building a culture of empowered, engaged social employees who are as confident working collaboratively as they are working independently. Social business then, is a long-term game plan for corporate sustainability, accountability, and transparency. The benefits of social business grow exponentially- and will continue to be felt for generations to come. Thinking simply in terms of ROI is, quite frankly, far too narrow a view when experiencing nothing short of a cultural revolution.

4: Inertia

When thinking of inertia in business terms, think of a brand’s forward movement, or in this case, the lack thereof. It’s far too easy for brands to dismiss global changes in the business world as fads, or as somehow inconsequential to their individual enterprises. Dismissive brands are content doing what they do, and have no desire to go beyond that, despite the many indicators suggesting that perhaps they should.

To a certain extent, there can be no talking sense into brands or executives who stubbornly cling to such a mindset. The truth is that the inertia mentality has been dangerous to businesses long before social media came along. Time and time again, brands have been dragged kicking and screaming into the future. Even though a fierce resistance was initially shown, most have been happy with the results. The most successful brands year in and year out are the ones ready to challenge the status quo. These are the brands that don’t accept the idea that business as usual is god enough. In order to foster a culture of engaged social employees, brands must disavow the dangers of inertia directly in their mission statement-and then make sure they put their money where their mouth is.

5: Lack of Internal Structure

To many of the unindoctrinated, the idea of social businesses sounds like pure anarchy. Without a clear organizational hierarchy, wouldn’t the whole enterprise simply descend into chaos? Let’s put it this way: If a brand lacks leadership, it doesn’t matter how elaborate-or sparse-its internal structure is. Without leadership, brands will lose the confidence of their employees, and if this happens there will be much larger problems to worry about. Social business is not an argument for abandoning a structured approach to organization and collaboration. Instead, its an argument for enriched interaction, stickier connections, and more organic collaboration. In other words, social business is about putting your employees first in order to expose and promote pockets of expertise and skill sets that tend to go unnoticed in traditional command-and-control models.

As the case studies in this book demonstrate, social businesses still maintain clearly defined roles for their employees. However, the difference is that these new social employees have much more freedom to maneuver within these roles, and they are better connected to the enterprise as a whole. To some brands, this approach might reflect the fear of losing control we addressed in Chapter 1. We think it’s more important to focus on the upside of this new approach. Social brands put more trust in their employees than previous business models have allowed the to. The wonderful thing businesses are finding is that employees are almost categorically rewarding them for this newfound trust.

6: Ambiguity

This issue may actually turn out to be the root of all other concerns we previously listed. Sure, everyone has heard the term “social media” as nauseum at this point, but its exact meaning and application remain elusive. Social media in business extends far beyond networking platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. As the brands in our case studies demonstrate, going social affects every aspect of business, including the way a company structures itself, communicates internally, and communicated externally. the sort of brand engagement the public sees-external social branding-is only the tip of the iceberg. If brands are afraid that the concept  of social business is too big of a pill to swallow, we encourage breaking social initiatives down into more digestible pieces and tackling them one step at a time. No one can go social overnight.

Mark BurgessCheryl BurgessCheryl and Mark Burgess are the principals of Blue Focus Marketing and co-authors of
the best-seller The Social Employee: How Great Companies Make Social Media Work.

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14 Brilliant B2B Marketing Strategy Guides

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Much has been written about how the internet in general, and the explosion of content marketing in particular, has changed the nature of b2b marketing. In less than a generation, information has gone from being scarce to overabundant. Today’s b2b buyers are typically 70% of the way through their purchase process before they contact a vendor’s sales team.

B2B brand emotional connectionInformation proliferation means buyers are better-informed than ever about potential approaches to solving  problems, and the related product and service alternatives. But the increased availability of data means vendors are also more knowledgeable about what matters to buyers, how they conduct research, which content resonates with prospective customers (and what types of content fall flat), how to refine and act on key measures and metrics, and most importantly, how decisions are ultimately made. The old “sales funnel” model is giving way to more sophisticated analytical frameworks.

How should b2b marketers adjust their strategies to keep up with this evolution? What types of messages matter most to today’s buyers? Which long-held beliefs of b2b marketers need to be discarded? What do elite marketers do well that their more average counterparts don’t?

Find the answers to those questions and others here in more than a dozen insightful guides to b2b marketing strategy from the past year.

How To Market For the Top Four B2B Business Growth Strategies by g2m Solutions

Sarah PernSarah Pern examines “four major business growth strategies identified by the Ansoff Product-Market Matrix and shows you how to develop marketing strategies that are aligned with achieving the business goals you want.” For example, recommended marketing strategies for the business growth approach of market development include market research to help develop rich buyer personas, and awareness building using “online advertising…PR, SEO, Social Media, attending exhibitions, sponsoring events” (basically all of the elements of the web presence optimization framework) plus outbound tactics.

How To Do It Right: Demand Generation by Forbes

Patrick SpennerPatrick Spenner brilliantly makes that case that b2b marketers should focus on “improving the connections among stakeholders at customer organizations” rather than those between the supplier and individual stakeholders. He astutely notes that personas are often created as isolated individuals, with the connections between the different stakeholders who make up the B2B customer buying team left unexplored and unaddressed.

New Study Shows That Most B2B Marketing is Talking Past Customers by Ideas@Work

Glenn TaylorGlenn Taylor reports on the disconnect between what B2B companies tend to say about themselves and what potential customers want to hear (that is, what types of messages contribute most to perceived brand strength. He advises vendors to take the “opportunity to dig into your positioning and try to tell your story and the ‘why’ of what you do. Statements like ‘driver of innovation’ or ‘leader in our field’ are over done and past their prime. Most marketers cannot deliver on these and almost no customer believes them.”

4 Ways Elite Social Brands Separate Themselves From The Pack In B2B by MediaPost

John_LeeJohn Lee details four practices used by the most successful social brands in B2B, such as using measurement to drive integration (“Lack of measurement is the number one reason that social fails…Nearly 90 percent of brands measure volume and engagement (likes, followers, etc.), but only 31% measure it against revenue”), and developing individual strategies for each social media platform.

B2B Marketing Trends That Will Shape Your Strategy by Anders Pink

Steve RaysonNoting that B2B marketers have been gradually shifting effort and budget from outbound to inbound marketing channels “as buyers increasingly manage the early stages of the buying process without contacting vendors by reviewing websites, talking to peers in the industry and reviewing resources. This allows them to often filter and shortlist without ever talking to a sales rep,” Steve Rayson details eight strategy-shaping trends, including changes in buyer behavior, SEO, and corporate websites, along with the growth in content marketing and social media.

B2B Marketers Need To Step Up Emotional Connections by MediaPost

Laurie SullivanB2C marketing is often perceived as emotion-based, while B2B buyers decide based on facts and logic. The reality turns out to be quite different though; Laurie Sullivan reports on recent research which found “Emotional connections are much more ‘intense’ for business-to-business clients compared with B2C…Between 40% and 70% of customers feel emotionally connected to brands like Oracle, Accenture, FedEx, SAP, and Salesforce, compared with between 10% and 40% for CVS, L’Oreal, and Wal-Mart.” B2B marketers need to become more adept at presenting the professional, social, emotional, and personal value of their products and services.

Everything We Thought We Knew About B-to-B Marketing Is Wrong by Forbes

Scott GillumExpanding on the findings reported in the post above, Scott Gillum reveals that “The company customers say that they are most emotionally connected to is…Cisco.” B2B purchases involve professional risk, particularly for the internal champion, and Cisco is very good at reducing risk for buyers. Furthermore, “Cisco is able to create…’personal value’ consisting of four parts: professional, social, emotional and self-image benefits.”

6 Persuasion Techniques: Science in B2B Marketing by Ideas@Work Blog

Vann MorrisFollowing up on the post above, Vann Morris describes half-a-dozen techniques for tapping into B2B buyer emotion, such as liking: “Research shows that we are more likely to say yes to people we like, and we tend to like people who are similar to us, people who complement us, and people who cooperate with us toward a common goal.” Creating the vision of that “common goal” (and the buyer’s emotional attachment to it) is a powerful marketing technique.

7 Tactics that Are Working for B2B Lead Generation Today by CustomerThink

Louis FoongLouis Foong shares seven tactics that work in b2b marketing today, among them lead scoring using behavioral data (“For example, when a prospect signs up for a free trial, you should attach a higher score to that behaviour than when a new subscriber gets added to your email newsletter list”); progressive lead profiling (asking for new, additional information each time a specific prospect converts); and social retargeting (“If a prospect is just about floating at the top of the funnel, gated content won’t work—you need to give away something valuable, easily, with no strings attached. Gated content will work for prospects that are already quite convinced that your company has the knowledge to educate them on specific problems they are challenged with”).

The Myth of the Infinite Selling Universe by DemandBase

Ardath AlbeeThe always-insightful Ardath Albee exposes the myth (often used when raising venture capital) that the pool of prospective buyers for a company’s product or service is infinite; why this myth is dangerous (“it costs more to generate more leads. It costs more for salespeople to spend more time following up with more leads. This increases the cost per opportunity.”); and suggests how marketers should focus their time on the small set of ideal prospects.

Five Ideas on the Business-to-Individual Concept for B2B Marketers by MarketingSherpa

David KirkpatrickReflecting discussions with industry experts including Brian Carroll and Brian Solis, David Kirkpatrick offers “five lessons on why you should be marketing to the individual, even as a B2B marketer,” among them: “Creating relationships should be a philosophy, not just a marketing strategy”; relevance matters; and the customer is now completely in charge of the buying process, so b2b vendors must “make it easy for those prospects to conduct self-discovery and self-service…provide content and tools that enable those potential prospects to make the decision to buy from you.”

5 Buyer Behaviors Reshaping B2B Marketing by iMedia Connection

Tony ZambitoFrequent best-of honoree Tony Zambito delves into five buyer behaviors that marketers need to be aware of and respond to, including that buyers embrace collaboration; they want to be involved in the co-creation of products and services; and “buyers want less content – yet desire smart content.”

B2B Marketing’s Measurement Problem by B2B Digital Marketing

Eric WittlakeWriting “It is called a complex sale for a reason, but B2B marketers keep trying to fit it into a simplistic measurement framework: where did we get that lead?,” Eric Wittlake explains why simple B2B marketing metrics are not just ineffective but also misleading, and offers recommendations on how to “more effectively measure the impact of marketing on your business.” (We would agree that a new breed of marketing metrics is needed to understand cross-channel impacts.)

The Forgotten Stars of B2B Lead Conversion by Business2Community

Christabelle TaniWarning about the dangers of forgetting the “less glamorous but vitally important tactical elements that do a lot of the the hard, relentless work of attracting and converting visitors to real leads,” Christabelle Tani outlines three simple yet vital components of lead generation, including social proof (“evidence that other human beings are advocating your company and what you sell”) and their role in each stage of the sales funnel.

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