Posts Tagged ‘Ardath Albee’
Each year, the #Nifty50 awards honor 50 men and 50 women who actively engage on Twitter. 2011 was the inaugural year. In 2012, the #Nifty50 recognized the top men and women on Twitter in the technology realm.
The purpose of the award is to acknowledge the contributions of honorees to their fields, as well as their level of engagement on Twitter; to encourage interaction with these leaders; and to expand social networks. When the timing is right, the #Nifty50 will be expanded to include an element of social good—the #Nifty50 Kids project, which will provide access to advanced technologies for low-income children.
This year’s #Nifty50 highlights men and women who write—more specifically, who regularly produce some form of business-related online content (blog posts, news articles, videos, infographics, etc.)—and who actively engage on Twitter. The honorees include both full-time (e.g., journalists, authors, or PR professionals) and part-time writers (e.g., bloggers).
Since the first awards, the #Nifty50 hashtag has been tweeted and retweeted nearly 7,000 times, with a total exposure of more than 50 million people, according to Topsy. The #Nifty50 was also featured in the new book by Mark (@mnburgess) and Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess), The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, August 2013) How Great Companies Make Social Media Work – Success Lessons from IBM, AT&T, Dell, Cisco, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, and Domo on building a social culture.
For 2013, we’re pleased to honor 50 women (below) and 50 men (in a post on the Blue Focus Marketing Blog) who are both outstanding writers and content producers and active social media connectors and engagers. Beyond their professional lives, the interests of these women range from the fairly conventional (travel, food, wine, health, fashion, family) to the unexpected (Star Wars, Milk Duds, beer, Swedish fish).
We’re proud to acknowledge these 50 women from 48 different organizations as the top #Nifty50 women writers on Twitter for 2013. You can find and subscribe to or follow the entire list on Twitter here.
(Editor’s note: Though I’d be proud to claim her as a member of my extended clan, I’m fairly certain that Marissa Pick and I have no familial relationship.)
Meghan M. Biro
Anne Deeter Gallaher
Esta H. Singer
Again, you can find and follow the entire 2013 #Nifty50 Twitter women’s list here.
Content marketing represents the most fundamental and widespread rethinking of marketing practices in decades. Unlike other modifiers attached to the discipline (consumer marketing, b2b marketing, trade show marketing, digital marketing), the term “content marketing” doesn’t describe an audience, tactic, or channel, but rather a completely different approach to marketing.
Content marketing turns the dominant paradigm of the last half-century—interruption-based mass marketing—on its head. Rather than interrupting prospective customers with content they generally didn’t want (product pitches) while they were consuming content they did (entertainment or news), content marketing entices targeted buyers with entertaining (consumer) or informative (b2b) content that also happens to reflect the company’s brand messages or product/service strengths.
Disruptive as it is, this philosophical shift has spread widely and quickly: according to recent research, “86 percent of companies serving consumers and 92 percent of ‘business to business’ companies now use content marketing.”
Since content marketing itself is no longer a differentiator, practitioners are asking questions like: how can I efficiently create a steady stream of fresh, relevant content? What types of content are most valuable to my sales prospects? How can content be optimized to support search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? What metrics are most helpful in measuring success and support continual improvement?
Discover the answers to these questions and many more here in more than 30 of the best content marketing articles and blog posts of the past year.
Content Marketing Guides, Tips and Tactics
5 Ways to Clone Great Social Media Content by SteamFeed
Helpfully pointing out that “You likely already have strong content on hand (either on-line somewhere or even stuck in a file cabinet in your office.) Instead of developing new stuff from scratch, riff on/reuse this stockpile of awesomesauce and use it more strategically,” Jennifer Kane proposes a handful of techniques to get more mileage out of existing content, such as “Drill down or spiral off on your content themes…if a piece of your preexisting content has resonated with your audience, consider using it as source material for a more in-depth examination of the topic or to jump off on a sub-topic tangent that will enable you to expand the perception your audience has of your brand.”
Digital Natives: How They Are Changing the Content Marketing Game by Content Marketing Institute
Patricia Redsicker presents six strategies content marketers need to embrace in order to address the information needs and wants of digital natives–those born “between the mid-1970s and the late 1990s, (who) have grown up during our current golden age of digital technology. Now in their mid-teens to mid-thirties, people in this generation came of age knowing how to interact with technology and are comfortable using it to their advantage.” Among her recommendations are focusing on content that builds trust, that efficiently answers simple questions quickly, and that makes content consumers feel valued.
Corporate Content Marketing for Best in Class Results by Creative Marketing Channel
Noting that “Best in class companies utilize content marketing for brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, and customer retention” and that most companies plan to increase budgets in this area, Catherine Lockey answers six key questions about content marketing, such as “How do best in class companies create all of their great content?” The answer to that one is outsourcing; roughly half of all small companies and three-quarters of large firms outsource at least a portion of their content creation efforts.
Seeking Marketing Alpha by Propel Growth Blog
Though the panel discussion this post was written to promote is long past, the thoughts about content marketing shared here by Candyce Edelen are still well worth a read. “The Internet and email make it easier and cheaper to make noise, resulting in a virtual cacophony of marketing claims barraging customers every day – with everyone claiming to be ‘the leading, number-one, unique, value-added, trusted provider’ of ‘robust, innovative, cutting-edge, high-performance, ultra low-latency technology….’ Yawn. How can every vendor be the ‘leading provider’ anyway?”
Content Marketing in 6 Steps by Social Media Today
Steven Van Belleghem lays out “the 6 crucial steps to take in order to end up with a good content strategy,” starting with topic selection (determining what’s at the intersection of your company’s unique internal expertise and the information needs/wants of your market) and proceeding through measuring marketing performance (based on the content marketing objectives you’ve established).
Long Live Content Marketing by Rebelations
Rebel Brown offers practical guidance on how to avoid self-promotion and salesy content that “will send your audiences running” and instead focus on providing value: “For example, let’s say your audience is challenged by performance problems with their applications. Don’t send them a piece of content all about your faster processor, database, system or whatever. That’s obnoxious and pretty blatant self-promotion! Instead, share a piece of content about the key aspects of their infrastructure that they might want to check for problems. Share your expertise to guide them through the process to better understand their issues.”
5 CEO-Worthy Metrics for Demonstrating Inbound Marketing Success by Marketo B2B Marketing Blog
Jon Miller outlines five key inbound marketing metrics to measure and continually improve content marketing success, such as lead generation by content and channel: “Beyond core organic traffic and leads, track lead generation by content asset and source. What sources are driving the most traffic? What kinds of content drive the most leads? The most revenue? It can also be insightful to track how these vary by product line or business unit.”
Noting that two of the biggest challenges content marketers face are “producing sufficient content” and “having enough budget to cover the cost of content,” Heidi Cohen has compiled almost two dozen recommendations for developing content cost-effectively, from repurposing speeches delivered by company executives and soliciting employee contributions to reworking content from your distributors and suppliers.
What Tech Buyers Want From Content by Marketing Interactions
Ardath Albee reveals three key attributes that technology buyers value in marketing content, including freshness: “58% (of technology buyers in a UBM TechWeb survey) said they wanted content that was timely and current (while) only 11% said they’d consider content more than 18 moths old.” If you’ve got older content that is still relevant to buyers, refresh it to keep it current with the state of your industry.
Don’t Forget the ‘Marketing’ in Content Marketing by The Content Cocktail
Christina Pappas shares a seven-step checklist for making sure that your content contributes to company goals, without being too pushy or salesy, among them “Make sure there is an offer or connection to your product in every piece of content…every piece of content you publish should have some tie-back to your company and the solutions you provide to the market. This doesn’t have to be obvious and it doesn’t have to be smothered all over the thing, but it should be there somewhere,” such as links to white papers or other related assets at the end of a blog post or report.
Exploring the Five Cs of Content Marketing at Cisco by IT Services Marketing Association
Sherri Liebo identifies the “5 Cs” that Cisco Services looks at to better listen to customers when creating and sharing marketing content, including Customers (“What are customers looking for?”), Competition (“What is the competition doing? How does Cisco Services compare?”) and Collaborators (“What is happening with our channel and strategic partners?”).
Research: B2B Buyers Want Content by Social Marketing Forum
J-P De Clerck summarizes findings from Base One’s Buyersphere Survey regarding the content needs of business buyers. While the study focused on Europe, its findings are more broadly applicable, such as that “87% of…buyers look for advice before buying…The first source when doing so: Web searches. With 71% of respondents who look for information, searches are by far the main source of information.” Among other findings:
- • Business buyers are most active in sharing content on forums, LinkedIn and blogs;
- • Younger members of the buying team are most likely to read white papers and blogs, and attend webinars; and
- • Buyers “who are working in IT were more likely to have downloaded whitepapers (36%) or read blogs (28%)” than those in other industries.
J-P has also launched a blog, Content Marketing Experience, focused exclusively on content marketing issues and guidance. His post Five Reasons No One Shares Your Content is spot on and well worth a read.
Content Marketing: 3 tips for how to get started by MarketingSherpa
Daniel Burstein dispels three myths than hold content marketers back or prevent them from getting the support they need within the organization, such as “‘We don’t want to give away our secrets.’
If you can’t give potential customers enough information about how you do what you do (whether that is fixing plumbing leaks or improving marketing performance), then why should they trust you with their business?” And McDonald’s “secret sauce” is (shhhh)…Thousand Island dressing.
4 secrets to successful content marketing by iMedia Connection
Writing that “the digital world allows us to measure just about anything, including three factors that help marketers gauge the success of their content: click-through rates, time spent on content, and shares via social media,” Jacqueline McDermott Lisk outlines strategies for producing high-quality content that will both improve these statistics and drive business results.
Because not all “leads” are ready to turn immediately into buyers, Shelley Pringle outlines a four-step process for converting those leads into customers over time. The process starts with understanding your prospects’ buying cycle and creating content for the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel.
Marty Weintraub presents “11 timeless content creation examples that have always worked,” among them demystifying myths (“Nearly every sales process is up against some level of customers’ misconceptions and other informational obstacles. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and address these sales impediments head on”), covering industry events in real time, excerpting white papers (a great content idea), and interviewing industry experts.
Content Marketing and SEO
10 Reasons Why You Need an Optimized Content Strategy Now by iMedia Connection
Krista LaRiviere, CEO of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs, explains how recent Google algorithm changes (including more emphasis on social signals, the clampdown on low-value backlinks, the Google +1 button, and freshness updates) now make optimized, user-focused content more important than ever for search rankings.
How to create search friendly content by Bing Blogs
This post explains how to create optimized content more efficiently by creating a template or repeatable process for content development, and presents seven tips for discovering tinely topics to write about, incorporating keywords, using hooks to capture readers’ attention, and more.
Noting that “From an SEO viewpoint, the interest in great content is to attract links, where as a lot of what Google is looking to eliminate are examples of where content is used to build links”—particularly in the wake of its Panda and Penguin updates—Kieran Flanagan steps through an approach that puts business objectives first, with links and shares tracked but not viewed as the primary goal.
Infographics, Images and Video
5 Content Marketing Ideas Worth Stealing by jeffbullas.com
Jeff Bullas recommends five content marketing techniques for obtaining and retaining the attention of your prospective buyers by going beyond text: “Sometimes you need some inspiration and you need to try some new ideas and different media that may provide a nudge to try something different and creative outside your comfort zone…Images and photos are much more likely to be shared than an article or a white paper. Videos or infographics will be shared at high velocity compared the the humble ‘written word’ that have been with us for millenia.”
Infographics can be great for generating re-posts and inbound linke—if done properly. Slavik Volinsky explains what works (e.g., start with a great idea and great distribution plan: “To create a great distribution plan, approach your industry’s ‘big minds’ and ask for their feedback with full intention of listening & improving the infographic”) and what doesn’t.
The History of Content Marketing [Infographic] – Corporate Storytelling is Not New by Content Marketing Institute
Content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi presents a fascinating history of content marketing, from cave paintings and 19th-century “customer magazines” through the emergence of corporate blogs, business video, microsites, and the proliferation of content marketing sites, books and resources.
Content Marketing and SEO: The world doesn’t need another blog post by MarketingSherpa
Advising marketers to “focus on the message, not the medium” Daniel Burstein (again) offers half a dozen suggestions for taking content beyond blog posts and white papers, like creating a mobile app or a useful online tool “Like the ESPinator from ClickMail Marketing, which helps email marketers choose an ESP that helps them best fit their needs.”
The future of content marketing by iMedia Connection
Rebecca Lieb reports on research showing that larger, more sophisticated content marketers are gradually “lessening their dependence on text-based channels” and focusing more on video and images. Interestingly, she also notes that “Search, email, blogging, digital PR, and even (brace yourself) advertising have, and will continue to have a place at the table as content marketing grows in importance,” or in other words, that web presence optimization will get more attention.
7 Rules For Writing Awesome Content by Small Business Trends
Lisa Barone presents seven writing rules to help in crafting content that will inspire customers to act, including telling stories (“If you want to improve your writing, stop lecturing to people and to start telling them stories”); experimenting (“Improve your writing by experimenting with new mediums [videos, infographics, contests, polls, Twitter chats] instead of getting caught in the same pattern of content”); and to avoid generic messages, “write as if you’re writing to one reader.”
Is Content Marketing The New Advertising? by Forbes
***** 5 STARS
Michael Brenner shares a highly bookmark-worthy infographic that positions 16 different content formats along the dimensions of attention required from the audience and ease of implementation. For example, social media generally requires little attention from the audience (being very short form), and also little effort, while something like an app, telecast or interactive game is at the other end of the spectrum on both dimensions.
How You Can Use Infographics to Tell a Story by Social Media Club
Mireille Massue offers six steps for creating a compelling infographic (such as making it sharable by submitting it to Infographic Directories); nine resources to learn more about infographics; and (of course), an infographic outlining eight steps to create an infographic.
The 6 Best Slideshare Decks on Content Marketing by B2B Marketing Insider
Michel Brenner (again) passes along half a dozen noteworthy slide decks about content marketing, from experts like Rand Fishkin, Joe Pulizzi, and Rebecca Lieb and Charlene Li, whose Winning Content Strategies presentation notes that “77% of Internet users do not engage with online advertising. A shift from ‘push’ to ‘pull’ marketing is imperative to brand survival.”
Expert Copywriting Tips
Harvard Lesson: Verbs Beat Adjectives by Neuromarketing
Roger Dooley, commenting on one of the toughest sales jobs of all—”selling” yourself to Harvard Business School, where nine out of 10 applicants are rejected—concludes that verbs sell more powerfully than adjectives. Verbs persuade more effectively because they “require actual examples of the behaviors or characteristics in question…These specifics will increase the credibility of the copy, in addition to providing more information than when the adjective-driven shortcut is taken.”
Using Great Storytelling To Grow Your Business by Fast Company
Former McKinsey consultant Kaihan Krippendorff outlines two approaches for producing more compelling content (or presentations): using LOTS (“language of the senses…When telling a story, share with us what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear. When you trigger a sense in someone, you bring them into the story with you”) and building on your story spine–a structured approach to use in opening a presentation or throughout a longer document.
25-point Web copy checklist: How to write for Google by Success Works
***** 5 STARS
Heather Lloyd-Martin provides a remarkable checklist for creating content that will appeal to human readers and search engines alike, from starting with a customer persona and keyword/topic research to crafting a compelling title and meta description to effectively “sell the click” to searchers.
Copywriting: How to improve headlines on landing pages and blog posts by MarketingSherpa
Adam T. Sutton, noting that “people are busy. You need to write a headline that convinces them to ignore distractions and pay attention,” outlines four attributes of value to consider when crafting headlines along with five tips for writing attention-grabbing headlines, such as front-loading (start with the most valuable phrase, e.g. “Get Paid to Take Online Surveys” is a much better headline than “We Can Help You Get Paid to Take Online Surveys”).
Write the Best Titles for Content Marketing: A 10-Point Checklist by Content Marketing Institute
Roger C. Parker recommends 10 questions to ask when writing headlines, such as “Does your title clearly promise a desired benefit?,” “Did you emphasize your intended readers in your title?” (for example, “C. J. Hayden’s ‘Get Clients Now: A 28-day Marketing Program for Professionals, Coaches, & Consultants’ targets readers by occupation”), and “Does your title include the keywords readers use searching for information online?.”
As figures below show, email marketing remains a vital element of modern B2B and B2C marketing programs. More than four out of five internet users check their email first when they go online for business each day, and nearly three-quarters check email six or more times per day. Email messages generate 15 to 20 times the response rate of traditional paper direct mail—while costing much less and being more environmentally friendly.
Email and social media play well together. 81% of marketers are now using social media to expand the reach of their email content, as businesses that combine their email and social media efforts see faster list growth and higher click-through rates than those using email alone.
With that in mind, what are the best practices for combining email with social media marketing? What are the most effective tactics for growing a relevant opt-in subscriber list? How can marketers determine the best frequency for their email campaigns? Write subject lines that increase open rates? Avoid common mistakes that make their messages less impactful?
Find the answers to these questions and many more here in some of the best email marketing guides, articles and blog posts of the past year.
Email Marketing Tips & Tactics
How Uncoordinated Emails Can Kill Off B2B Prospects by MarketingProfs
Frequent best-of honoree Ardath Albee explains how email programs can go wrong when a customer or prospect receives email messages from multiple departments for different purposes, and the efforts are improperly (or not at all) coordinated–and how to avoid losing subscribers as a result.
Common HTML Email Design Mistakes by In The Box
Noting that “While HTML emails may appear to be miniature web pages, they possess a unique set of quirks and limitations,” Chelsea Rio details six common email html mistakes (e.g. over-reliance on images, particularly large images) and how to avoid them–assuring that what you intend is what your readers actually see.
20 Tips for developing a Successful Email Marketing Campaign by Web SEO Analytics
Dimitris Zotos provides 20 helpful email marketing tips here, from using A/B testing (to test styles, colors and fonts in order to optimize your subscription page) to having clear policies about privacy and sending frequency to adding sharing buttons to make it easy for readers to share your content.
5 cardinal rules of email etiquette by iMedia Connection
Writing that “businesses need to be mindful of a few best practices before engaging via email, as it is a very personal channel and one misstep can cause a customer to hit the unsubscribe button,” Craig Fitzgerald presents a few simple email etiquette rules such as respecting frequency: “You don’t want to over-saturate email inboxes, but you also don’t want consumers to forget about you.”
6 Tactics to Determine B2B Email Frequency by Mass Transit
Adam Q. Holden-Bache passes along six methods for determining the right email frequency for your audience, so that you maximize potential returns without over-communicating and alienating your subscribers. For example, check your metrics: “If you see open/click rate drop-off and lowering conversation metrics, that will tell you that recipients aren’t responding to your campaigns. If you see steady or increased activity from your emails, then its likely you’re campaign schedule is at worst at an acceptable level.”
5 Tips To Dive Into Email Metrics by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Reporting that “when trying to communicate with prospects, organizations are using e-newsletters most (72%) vs. social networks (48%) and blogs (46%),” Nathaniel Cramer advises email marketers on how to take action based on common email metrics list open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates.
The State of Email Marketing (Infographic) by Constant Contact
***** 5 STARS
Discover why email marketing remains popular, based on hard data: 74% of online adults say email is their preferred form of commercial communication. 83% report that email is the “first tool they check when going online for their business each day.” 72% say they check their email six or more times per day. And “even Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that email is the first thing she checks in the morning and the last thing at night.”
How to Write Effective Email Subject Lines
How to Write Better Email Subject Lines by The Lunch Pail
Pointing out that “Email marketing is only as strong as its open rates,” Patti Renner explains the “5 C’s” or great email subject lines and throws in some additional tips, such as keeping it short, avoiding redundancy (e.g., “If your From line includes your business name, your subject line doesn’t need to repeat it”) and using acronyms and jargon carefully.
The 4 Words That Will Get Your Email Opened by Copyblogger
Sean Platt reveals what these four words are, what kind of results they can generate, why they are so effective, and how to support those words in the body of your email message, no matter what type of product or service you sell.
Best Practices for Integrating Email and Social Media Marketing
5 Email Marketing & Social Media Musts For 2011 by iMedia Connection
Curt Keller offers some outstanding guidance on how to integrate email and social media marketing activities, such as “Run through your social media presences with a magnet, grab every comment that praises your brand to the high heavens, and stuff them in your next email: either as a section or as the focus of an entire newsletter.”
Email Plus Facebook Marketing: Fresh ideas from FreshPair by MarketingSherpa Blog
Daniel Burstein interviews Lindsay Massey, Marketing Director at Freshpair about integrating Facebook and email marketing activities, because as Lindsay notes, “We look at email and social as great complements to each other, and we definitely don’t see email as ‘dead.’ After all, how does Facebook notify you that you have new comments or messages? Email!”
How to Grow and Manage an Opt-In Email Subscriber List
10 Effective Ways to Get More Email List Subscribers by KISSmetrics
Sherice Jacob provides 10 tips to maximize the quality of subscribers on your email list, not just the quantity. Included on her list: make your submit button interactive, encourage readers to forward your newsletter, and offer special deals to new subscribers. Not included (thankfully)–displaying an annoying pop-up box to new site visitors.
21 Awesome Ideas to Grow Your Email List by HubSpot Blog
Michael Redbord lists almost two dozen “ideas for offers that can help dramatically increase the size of your email list and lead conversion volume,” such as education (eBooks, whitepapers, buyer’s guides), free stuff, and online tools (e.g. ROI calculators, “grader” apps).
You Bought a List… Now What? by iMedia Connection
Gary Halliwell shares five tips for effectively using and managing a purchased list for B2B marketing purposes, starting with effective planning: “List buying should be part of a larger strategic plan. Lay out the full plan on a whiteboard, and include everything from initial touch-point, to sales accepted lead, to closed deal. Define the metrics that help you track success of your campaign over a reasonable amount of time.”
The 7 High-Converting Places to Add Email Sign-Up Forms to Build Your List by Social Triggers
Derek Halpern identifies seven places (well, six places plus, in Derek’s own words, “The Dreaded Lightbox Pop-up…The Lightbox sign up form is a GREAT way to grab emails. However, depending on your niche, it may not work. In some niches, the light box pop-up can KILL your conversions because it’s annoying.” Pop-up boxes suck.) to add an email signup form in order to maximize subscriptions.
Mobile Email Marketing Tips
Mobile Email Marketing – What You Need To Know by Modern B2B Blogs
Contending that “Originally thought to be more effective for B2C markets, mobile email marketing is fast becoming an effective way to communicate with B2B prospects and boost lead generation,” Maria Pergolino outlines four key best-practice areas for mobile email marketing, including formatting (it’s “best to send critical email marketing messages as text instead of html allowing the email to be readable on any mobile email client”) and design considerations.
How to Create Mobile Friendly Emails by Site Reference
Misti Sandefur reports that “31% of people view their personal emails on their mobile phones,” and that figure is increasing. She then provides seven tips for creating mobile-friendly emails, from creating a mobile-specific template and keeping subject lines short to sticking with single-column, left-aligned text.
Since its inception, the B2B Marketing Zone has been the one place to catch up on all the latest posts from the leading B2B bloggers, writers like Brian Carroll, Chris Abraham, Ambal Balakrishnan, Ardath Albee and many more. Over time, the site has evolved and added new features to enhance its value to readers.
The latest addition: Aggregage, the platform that powers the B2B Marketing Zone (or BMZ) has added a robust personalization engine. Readers can now sign-up and have content from the site personalized based on their interests.
To check it out, sign-up using the “Personalize Your Content” button at the top right of the BMZ home page, as shown here.
The BMZ always features great, fresh content from the leading B2B bloggers. The home page is updated daily, plus it’s easy to search posts by blog, topic category, date, company mentions and more.
Now, personalization makes it even better. Curators find the best sources of content. The BMZ then uses social signals from sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and delicious as well as clicks and views. The algorithm that determines what makes it to top of the front page of the site looks at attributes like average values for the source , who is providing the signal, reputation and influence, and other factors.
What’s changed is that now the BMZ enables you to sign up and provide your Twitter and LinkedIn info. The personalization engine will then examine your activity on these sites and what kind of content you share. It uses that data to evaluate your interests as well as to cluster you with other like-minded readers based on interests and sharing. You can further control your interests via the Subscription page.
The personalization engine “learns” about you over time and combines three pieces of information to predict what will be most interesting to you:
- • Social signal score – are other readers finding this content interesting?
- • Topic match – does the subject match your interests?
- • Like sharing – are other individuals similar to you sharing this content?
The engine then uses these signals to both personalize the ranking of posts on the site when you log in, and to produce customized Daily and Weekly newsletters for you.
The goal of the BMZ has always been to make sure readers don’t miss the best and latest content from the leading thinkers and writers in the world of B2B marketing and sales. Now, with personalization, there’s even less chance that you’ll miss a post that is really important—based on what it is exactly that’s important to YOU.
Social media, content aggregation and curation, user-generated content and other developments have dramatically changed the B2B buying cycle over the past few years. Marketers need to think like publishers not only to improve their company’s visibility in search (which is where 93% of B2B buying cycles now start) but also to address the differing information needs of buying team members, at different stages during the decision process.
This evolution has changed life for sales reps as well. Prospects often don’t surface until much later in the buying process than they did just a few years ago. Buyers are better informed (and expect sales reps to be better informed about their industry and likely challenges as well), and often need only a few key questions answered (most critically, price) by the time they contact a sales person.
How can B2B organizations, marketers and sales professionals adjust to, and thrive in, this new environment? Find out here in some of the best blog posts and articles of the past year offering strategic guidance and insights for B2B marketing and sales executives.
B2B Marketing Trends, Tips and Strategies
The Top-10 B2B Marketing Trends for 2011 by Everything Technology Marketing
Holger Schulze laid out these ten predictions in January 2011. For the most part, the predictions were on target. And also, for the most part, these predicted areas of focus (e.g. social media ROI, lead quality, content marketing) will remain priorities in 2012.
Just What Do Marketers Do, Anyway? by MarketingProfs
Barbara Bix and Olga Taylor craft an intriguing case for focused market research and targeting using the example of a violin virtuoso playing in a subway for $32, after having sold out a concert with $100 tickets just days before. Bix and Taylor explain that “Quality and price are important, but only in front of the right buyer, at the right time and place,” then provide guidance on determining those attributes in order to maximize profits.
You’ve Got New Visitors at Your Site. Now What? by MarketingProfs
Contending that “Only by creating rich experiences—in the form of content, features, interactivity, and the like—can businesses convert visitors into more than just passing window shoppers,” Gretel Going details a process for creating the right kinds of content based on buyer types, stage in the buying process, and differing content preferences, utilizing an array of different formats from ebooks and webinars to video and mobile apps–in addition to great web page copy.
B2B Websites NOT Great At Demand Gen by Business2Community
The insightful Ardath Albee picks up on the theme of the post above, noting that while B2B marketers expend great efforts on SEO and social media marketing to attract visitors to the websites, research shows that their websites are then often “ignoring the very audience they worked so hard to attract.” This post details a conversation she had with Craig Rosenberg about B2B website usability, effectiveness and conversion rate optimization.
Is Youtility the Future of Marketing? by iMedia Connection
Frequent “best of” contributor Jay Baer writes that “The difference between helping and selling is just 2 letters. But those letters make all the difference. Your company needs to become a YOUtility. Sell something, and you make a customer. Help someone, and you make a customer for life.” He illustrates the concept of YOUtility with real-world examples and explains how any company can do this.
Because “getting to the top of the search results requires work and the understanding of not only what tactical methods you need to use to get there, but also what foundation you need to build and have in place to be most effective,” Rania Kort outlines three high-level strategies for optimizing a company’s presence in search.
101 awesome marketing quotes; A presentation by Thewebcitizen
Ilias Chelidonis shares 101 marketing quotes from a HubSpot presentation, such as “Remarkable social media content and great sales copy are pretty much the same–plain spoken words designed to focus on the needs of the reader, listener or viewer” and “Make the customer the hero of your story” (so true).
10 rules for entrepreneurial survival by TECHdotMN
Getting your attention by opening his post with “If you’re an entrepreneur, there’s something wrong with you. You have a genetic predisposition for risking it all…You are a masochist who is mentally prepared to run an ultra-marathon with an invisible finish line. Yet, you are confident in the pursuit of your destination,” Lief Larson of Workface goes on to list 10 survival rules for entpreneurs. For example, #8: “There are no shortcuts. There is only one right way to do things: the right way. Dig your heels in and be prepared to endure. ‘Overnight success’ can take years in the making.”
Why lead generation and branding aren’t mutually exclusive by iMedia Connection
Chris Chariton shares five ideas on how “sales and marketing can work together to generate leads and build the brand as part of the same effort.” Among her ideas is increasing your company’s “findability.” As Chris notes, “pushing information out to customers and prospects is not nearly as effective as it once was. Instead, you have to make sure they can find you when they’re looking” (which is why web presence optimization is crucial).
Addressing Changes in the B2B Buying Cycle
No One Wants To Read Your Whitepaper. Let’s Hope They Recycle It. by Marketing Automation Software Guide
Writing that “I have no interest in reading a War and Peace-style sales pitch — and, let’s face it, that’s what most whitepapers are these days…Companies need to find new and more direct ways to reach the buyer 2.0 without going all Tolstoy on them,” Lauren Carlson recommends alternatives focused on providing the information that buyers need, when they want it, in forms that are more digestible and engaging.
The Future of Buyer Relationships by Business2Community
Tony Zambito outlines seven aspects of changes in the buying cycle brought about by social media and the explosion of user-generated content, including the importance of building an online reputation, understanding how social algorithms work, and producing real-time content.
The Blurry B2B Buying Process | New Breed of B2B Buyer #2 by Chaotic Flow
Joel York offers his insights on reaching “the new elusive B2B buyer” who seeks to engage with sales “only when there is clear value to be gained, not just to get information.” He demonstrates the imperative of marketing automation through some interesting variations of the traditional sales funnel model.
Five Ways B-to-B Marketers Need to Change Their Game by Biznology
Citing dramatic changes in the typical B2B sales cycle – “Buyers don’t really want to talk to vendors until somewhere akin to 70% of the way down the road, at the stage of writing RFPs and getting quotes…Business buying processes are getting longer, and—most important—involving more parties than ever before. The so-called Buying Circle in large enterprise B-to-B—the influencers, specifiers, users, decision-makers—comprises as many as 21 people, according to Marketing Sherpa”—Ruth Stevens challenges marketers to “think differently” and use these specific techniques to maximize impact with buyers.
B2B Sales Trends and Strategies
Salesmen are Dying and Other IT Trends by IT Marketing World
Tom Pisello details changes in the B2B buying cycle resulting from the immediate access to vast amounts of information now available online. It isn’t exactly “death of a salesman” but it does mean death to the old way of selling. Pisello concludes that “Advanced ROI business case tools and training should be provided to direct and channel sales professionals to help them advance from traditional product / solution selling, to the value selling buyers now demand.”
Gartner: 5 Questions for Anyone Selling Technology by Inflexion Point
Bob Apollo shares five questions posed by Steve Prentice of Gartner in a presentation on the use of technology to drive business innovation, along with his interpretation of what those questions mean to those focused on selling technology-based products or services in a B2B context.
5 Ways To Influence B2B Group Buying Decisions by Social Media B2B
Noting that B2B purchases are normally group decisions, Adam Holden-Bache suggests “five things to consider as you create social media content targeted at B2B group buyers,” including highlighting the value of your offering (based on buyer roles) and showing how it will integrate with the buying company’s existing tools, systems and processes.
Future Trends: 2012 Online Marketing & Technology Predictions by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
This post opened with Holger Schulze’s predictions for 2011, and fittingly closes with Lee Odden’s prognostication for 2012. He challenges marketers to think how their audiences will be consuming information in the coming years (evolving online and device technology) rather than narrow concepts, then presents seven compelling reports and infographics outlining “key technology, social business and digital marketing trends for 2012 and beyond.”