Posts Tagged ‘Tony Zambito’

18 of the Best Content Marketing Strategy Guides of 2013

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Content marketing is a hot topic, primarily in the B2B world but increasingly in consumer marketing as well. The number of Google searches for the phrase have increased 400% since January 2011. And as noted here yesterday, 93% of B2B marketers are now using content marketing, with more than half calling it their biggest priority this year.

The first step toward content marketing success begins with (or at least should begin with) creation of a content marketing strategy. But where does one begin? What are the best practices and frameworks for creating such a strategy? What are the critical elements to include, and pitfalls to avoid, in developing a strategy?

Discover the answers to those questions are more here in 18 of the best guides to crafting a content marketing strategy of the past year.

Content Marketing Strategy Guides

Why you need repetition in your content strategy by iMedia Connection

Rebecca LiebAccording to the brilliant Rebecca Lieb, “One of content marketing’s biggest challenges is coming up with new material. One of content marketing’s other biggest challenges is overcoming something you’ve been told not to do since you were small: repeating yourself.” She then explains how to “repeat yourself” creatively in order to drive home a message, without seeming repetitive or redundant.

How to Build Your First Content Marketing Strategy by Search Engine Watch

Jayson DeMersAs the title implies, Jayson DeMers here outlines a solid content strategy-building process based on five questions (starting with “Who Are You Writing For?”) and five guidelines (among them, “Review Your Data to Develop Great Content”).

Content marketing: What is more important than strategy? by GO Marketing

John Gregory OlsonWriting that “A sound strategic planning process is based on consistently applied business objectives that flow through functional areas and support each other,” John Gregory Olson presents a helpful model for planning, and makes a case for the one element that’s more important than strategy.

Let’s Move Beyond The Content Marketing Hype by WCG CommonSense

Michael BritoMichael Brito contends marketers “must move beyond the content marketing buzzword and commit to building a content strategy that will allow you to execute your tactical content marketing initiatives flawlessly and at scale,” and promotes a four-pillars framework for content strategy development.

8 Steps To Become A Brand Publisher by B2B Marketing Insider

Michael BrennerStating that “Brands need to become better storytellers and think and act like publishers,” Michael Brenner showcases his presentation detailing the impact the Web and email have had on traditional print media, and why this means brands need to tell their own stories by creating “content hubs” to earn traffic instead of buying it through advertising.

Experts outline key content marketing trends for 2014 by The Guardian

A half dozen “content marketing gurus” offer their predictions for impactful trends in 2014, among them the importance of taking an “integrated omni-channel approach” not just in terms of devices and formats but also measurable multi-channel online marketing; an increased focus on user experience; and putting the story first (“Brands need to tell a story and it has to be a story that people can care about. The format, channels, platforms, devices and timing of how that story is told will be dictated by what you want your audience to feel”).

The Top 10 Content Marketing Strategy Lessons from the Last 15 Years by Content Marketing Institute
***** 5 STARS

Joe PulizziJoe Pulizzi, the godfather of content marketing, shares 10 key lessons including “Content marketing is the great equalizer…Large budgets don’t always win; actually, the smaller players usually come out on top because they are equipped to move more agilely and quickly than their larger competition”; it’s more productive to focus on using a few channels well than being on all platforms; and being distinctive is a must.

Failing Distribution Strategies Smother Great Content by MediaPost

Laurie SullivanNoting that “The old adage — build it and they will come — doesn’t work for content marketing,” Laurie Sullivan reports on Forrester Research guidance on building a content distribution strategy to overcome the glut on content online.

How to Create a Content Strategy (In Only 652 Steps) by Portent, Inc.
***** 5 STARS

Ian LurieFew writers can match Ian Lurie’s blend of sardonic humor and useful marketing wisdom. While there are not actually 652 steps here, there is a remarkable guide to auditing your current content marketing, setting goals, and then crafting a strategy to meet and exceed those objectives.

How To Develop A Content Marketing Strategy Framework by BloggerBeat

Matthew AntonMatthew Anton presents three dozen questions to ask when creating a content marketing strategy, from questions about the company’s business model (e.g., “Which products make up most of the revenue?”) to analyzing competitors, to determining the driving factors behind customer purchase and loyalty.

4 Reasons Why Content Marketing Should Care About Audience Development by Tony Zambito
***** 5 STARS

Tony ZambitoReporting that “60 to 70 percent of content churned out by b-to-b marketing departments today sits unused,” Tony Zambito explains why the biggest problem for b2b marketers isn’t a lack of content, but rather a lack of the right content—and how to fix it by strategically using buyer personas.

A Bigger Megaphone Doesn’t Mean Better Marketing by MediaPost

Laura PattersonLaura Patterson addresses the same topic as Tony does above, explaining how mapping content to the buying journey and customer lifecycle enables marketers to more strategically build out their content marketing editorial calendars.

The Content Marketing Pyramid: Are You Hungry for Content? by Business2Community
***** 5 STARS

Pawen-DeshpandePawan Deshpande presents a remarkably useful model for content planning, the “Content Marketing Pyramid.” At the base of the pyramid is curated content, “which is relatively low effort and lends itself to high frequencies,” with each higher level representing formats which require greater effort and should be used with correspondingly lower frequency.

4 secrets of a successful digital content strategy by iMediaConnection

Miranda AndersonMiranda Anderson suggests four principles to underpin a content strategy, including the idea that all content should have an objective: “We create content because we want our audience to do something — to buy, learn more, or love our brand. Your content should always point back to that core objective.”

5 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Content Marketers by SteamFeed

Ross SimmondsRoss Simmonds helpfully exposes a handful of beliefs held by the best content marketers, among them knowing “when you have an ugly baby” (“This is one of the reason you see so many TV ads about people who work in marketing – Tunnel vision”) and my favorite, “Accepting Best Practice is Accepting Status Quo.” Don’t copy your competitors—be the source they try to copy.

The Top 6 Reasons You’re Failing at Content Marketing by BuzzStream Blog

Daniel TynskiDan Tynski expertly provides “a guide to common errors and pitfalls that beginner content marketers should make themselves aware of,” starting with “problems of scope”—is your goal in content marketing to find new customers, improve search rankings, or up-sell/cross-sell existing customers? “If your goal is to create content that can drive leads or sales, it doesn’t make sense to create content that is too broad or targets large audiences with only cursory interest in what you are selling. Whereas if your goal is brand awareness, or perhaps link-building for SEO, going broad with your content can be an excellent strategy.”

How to avoid creating worthless content by iMedia Connection

Stacy ThompsonStacy Thompson highlights three key elements to take into account in order to avoid wasting your (and your prospective audience’s) time, including relevance: “content that neglects to factor in the preferences of the reader is nothing more than what CMI (the Content Marketing Institute) defines as ‘informational garbage.’”

Building Content Marketing Strategy – 10 Steps by B2B Marketing Insider

Michael Brenner (again) lists and expands upon 10 key steps for developing a content marketing strategy, such as stepping into your customer’s shoes to understand their point of view on what constitutes valuable content, and going mulit-format—maximizing the value of your content by repurposing a white paper as a series of blog posts, a YouTube video, and a SlideShare presentation.

This was post #3 of Content Marketing Week on Webbiquity.

#1: Content Marketing Week Starts Tomorrow!

#2: 30 Remarkable Content Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2013 (and 2014)

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The Top #Nifty50 Men Writers on Twitter for 2013

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

By Cheryl Burgess, originally published on the Blue Focus Marketing Blog

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In 2011, I teamed up with Tom Pick (@TomPick) and his Webbiquity blog to unveil the first annual #Nifty50 Awards. Our goal in designing these awards was to honor the top 50 women and top 50 men in social media. In that first year, we cast a wide net, honoring those whom we felt actively engaged as brand ambassadors on Twitter day in day out, exchanging valuable information, and just generally being good, helpful people. Last year, we narrowed our focus to honor the top 50 men and top 50 women engaging on Twitter on behalf of the tech sector.

This year, we wanted to target a specific group once again, and so we agreed to honor the top bloggers, authors, PR specialists, and journalists on Twitter. After reviewing all of your wonderful nominations over the summer, it’s now time to unveil the winners!

Now that Tom and I have compiled our lists, the word that keeps popping into my head is “community.” This isn’t just a list of 50 men who work in isolation; these are people who share strong social bonds with each other, who would be just as happy to celebrate the success of one of their colleagues as they would be for themselves. These thought leaders understand that the greatest product of a good idea is more good ideas, and it’s great to see that their generosity and thought leadership in online communities is being recognized.

I’m happy to say that I have had the privilege of experiencing this generosity firsthand. As we were writing our book The Social Employee: 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 (McGraw-Hill, August 2013) (@SocialEmployee) late last year and early this year, we were honored to receive excellent contributions from people like Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar), David Armano, (@Armano) David C. Edelman (@DavidEdelman), and Kevin Randall (@kevinbrandall) —just to name a few. These wonderful wordsmiths truly enlivened our own content, and we couldn’t be happier to see them make this list.

So without further ado, here are the 2013 #Nifty50 Men! Feel free to celebrate their achievement by dropping them a line on Twitter, and don’t forget to check out the Webbiquity blog for the 2013 #Nifty50 Women!

Vala Afshar @ValaAfshar

Vala Afshar

David Armano @armano

David Armano

Jonathan Becher @jbecher

Jonathan Becher

Sander Biehn @sanderbiehn

Sander Biehn

Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

Michael Brenner

David Brier @davidbrier

David Brier

Michael Brito @Britopian

Michael Brito

Terry Brock @TerryBrock

Terry Brock @TerryBrock

Mark Burgess @mnburgess

Mark Burgess

Chris Carragher @cjcarragher

Chris_Carragher_N

Dan Cristo @dancristo

Dan Cristo

Dino Dogan @dinodogan

Dino Dogan

Mike Edelhart @MikeEdelhart

Mike Edelhart

David Edelman @davidedelman

David Edelman

Mark Fidelman @markfidelman

Mark Fidelman

Sam Fiorella @samfiorella

Sam Fiorella

Jez Frampton @jezframpton

Jez Frampton

Nis Frome @nisfrome

Nis Frome

Sean Gardner @2morrowknight

Sean Gardner

Glen Gilmore @GlenGilmore

Glen Gilmore

Andrew Grill @AndrewGrill

Andrew Grill

John Hagel @jhagel

John Hagel

Arik Hanson @arikhanson

Arik Hanson

Kent Huffman @KentHuffman

Kent Huffman

John L. Kennedy @johnlkennedy

nifty50_Kennedy.fw

Jure Klepic @jkcallas

Jure Kelpic

Bryan Kramer @bryankramer

Bryan Kramer

Simon Mainwaring @simonmainwaring

Simon Mainwaring

TJ McCue @TJMcCue

Nifty50 TJ McCue.fw

Billy Mitchell @billymitchell1

Billy Mitchell

Jacob Morgan @jacobm

Jacob Morgan

Tom Peters @tom_peters

Tom Peters

Howard Pyle @howardpyle

Howard Pyle

Erik Qualman @equalman

Eric Qualman

Ajay Ramachandran @ajay

Ajay Ramachandran

Andreas Ramos @Andreas_Ramos

Andreas Ramos

Kevin Randall @KevinBrandall

Kevin Randall

Ron Ricci @RonRicciCisco

Ron Ricci

Tony Riches @tonyriches

Tony Riches

Alex Romanovich @alexromanovich

Alex Romanovich

Ted Rubin @TedRubin

Ted Rubin

Neal Schaffer @NealSchaffer

Neal Schaffer

Dan Schawbel @DanSchawbel

Dan Schwbel

Gary Schirr @ProfessorGary

Gary Schirr

Brian Slattery @BrianSlatts

BrianSlatts.fw

Andy Smith @kabbenbock

Andy Smith

Brian Solis @briansolis

Brian Solis

Bill Strawderman @marketingbard

Bill Strawderman

Todd Wilms @toddmwilms

Todd Wilms

Tony Zambito @TonyZambito

Tony Zambito

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Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess) CEO and CMO of Blue Focus Marketing, author of The Social Employee – How Great Companies Make Social Media Work, published by McGraw-Hill, in summer 2013.  She is a social branding consultant with expertise in social business and social media. She is an expert blogger for AT&T Networking Exchange on social media. Proud to be an invited contributor to the Wharton FOA’s Advertising 2020 Project. Active Member of the Wharton Advertising 2020 Contributor Community.

She was awarded Wharton Future of Advertising’s MVP and praised as a “brilliant strategic thinker in the social media space.” Huffington Post honored her as one of 40 global women “Passionistas” for her “great business expertise and timeless blog posts.”  Also,  Huffington Post “Top 100 Business, Leadership and Technology Twitter Accounts You Must Follow.”

She was featured in Fast Company and Business Insider.  Invited speaker on “Expanding Your Social Influence” at the AT&T Networking Leaders Academy Annual Conference. She is a four-time winner of the Twitter Shorty Award in Marketing [The New York Times hails this as the Oscar of Twitter], named Top 75 Twitter Women, 2012 Top 100 Branding Experts on Twitter, and a 100 Top Marketer on Twitter.  Cheryl is a syndicated blogger. She is the co-founder of #Nifty50 Top Twitter Women and #Nifty50 Top Twitter Men. Google+

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Nine Expert Marketing Strategy Guides

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

January is a great time to take a step back from day-to-day tactics and ask the Big Questions; or in cliché form, to look at the forest rather than the trees.

Who are (really) your best customers? Why do they (really) buy from you? How has the way buyers in your market make procurement decisions changed? How can your organization utilize social networking principals and tools to improve operations across departments? What is the secret to success (really!)?

Find the answers to those Big Questions and more here in nine expert marketing strategy guides from the past year.

Why Social Is So Disruptive to Traditional Marketing by Social Media Today

Judy ShapiroIn the spring of 2009, the notion that digital would account for the majority of marketing budgets within just a few years seemed like a laughable proposition. Traditional media still accounted for more than 90% of spending at that point. Yet just 30 months later, IDG reported that the shift was official, and digital would account for more than 50% of marketing spending in 2012.

Judy Shapiro points out this rapid shift and explains what fundamental changes in marketing practices she believes are required for success in this new realm, writing that “It’s clear we can’t simply apply new social technology to the old marketing mix and expect it to work anymore than we can apply wings to a car and expect it to fly.”

Why You Should Ignore Your Competition (And How You’ll Still Win) by FixCourse

Brad SmithBrad Smith contends that marketers should ignore best practices, competitors, popular platforms and the like, and instead find and capitalize on untapped and underutilized tactics and opportunities. He then lays out a 5-step formula for “arbitrage marketing” to help identify and implement such tactics.

7 Burning Questions for B2B Marketers in 2012 by iMediaConnection

Tony ZambitoWriting that “good questions help you to focus and to get to the heart of what matters most,” Tony Zambito presents seven key questions marketers need to ask in order to hold onto and attract new customers, among them “How Do We Create A Better Buying Experience? With distinctive differences between products and services narrowing substantially, experience-centered marketing and relationships will be the coveted playing field to win on. When was the last time your organization reviewed processes, systems, departments, and the likes to determine whether they added value to the buying experience?”

Stop Talking About Social and Do It by Nilofer Merchant

Nilofer MerchantNilofer Merchant explains how social media has affected all areas of the enterprise, not only marketing and PR but also product development, supply chain management, finance, sales, service, and HR (“‘Human Resources’ have changed when most of the people who create value for your organization are neither hired nor paid by you”). She presents a quick visual model of social business along with three three thought-provoking exercises to help corporate leaders think strategically about this transition.

5 Ways New Buyer Behaviors Are Impacting B2B Sales by iMedia Connection

Tony Zambito (again) argues that, contrary to the “buyers are in control and don’t need sales” mantra, b2b sales professionals are still quite essential. However, buyers’ expectations are changing and therefore the way sales people do their jobs needs to change as well, for example: “Buyers already know about your ready-made solutions found in their researching. What they seek is skills and knowledge in advising them on how solutions—modified, customized, and most definitely altered—will help them to achieve the specific goals and outcomes they seek.”

Is happiness the secret of success? by CNN

Shawn AchorShawn Achor demonstrates how happiness not only correlates with positive life and business outcomes (which one might expect), but can actually produce such outcomes. Writing that “A decade of research in the business world proves that happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%,” he also provides a practical series of steps anyone can use to retrain their brain to be happier–and quite possibly more successful as well.

Who is Your Ideal Client? Do you know? by Bourn Creative

Jennifer BournAny effective marketing message or content development program starts with the target audience in mind. A common exercise is creating personas, or conceptual representations of an ideal sales prospect, reader, subscriber, repeat customer, etc. But such personas often aren’t created effectively or completely; Jennifer Bourn here explains how to do it right, and how doing it right leads to higher growth, easier sales cycles, and higher profitability.

Why Media Buyers Are Switching to a Smarter Planning Framework by iMedia Connection

John Manoogian IIIContending that “P.O.E.M., or Paid (vs) Owned (vs) Earned Media, is a strategy framework that buyers and planners use to segment campaigns and channels…but (today), thinking in terms of Paid / Owned / Earned will break the back of your media team and send money leaking out of your strategy,” John Manoogian presents an alternative model he calls “M.A.S.S.” media, for channels that are Measurable, Authentic, Scalable and Social.

6 Steps to Inbound Marketing Success [Infographic] by B2B Marketing Insider

Michael BrennerMichael Brenner presents a six-step guide for inbound marketing, starting with strategy creation and the recognition that content marketing is an investment, not an expense and progressing through generating “more (website) traffic through effective blogging, social media, SEO and paid search, effectively converting that traffic into leads, and perhaps most important, measuring everything to support continuous improvement.

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39 More (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Insights of 2011

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The notion of using social media for business has gone from cutting edge to commonplace in an amazingly short time. And for those laggard firms still resisting social media, recent changes by Google now make it all but imperative.

Of course, there’s no single cookie-cutter approach to social media marketing that works for every enterprise. And many companies that jumped in early experienced failures and disappointments, pulled back, and then re-approached social media from a more strategic angle.

Best Social Media Guides of 2011While certain aspects of social media have stabilized (e.g., Facebook is the largest social network and is unlikely to fall to any “Facebook killer” application anytime soon; Google is going to keep trying to build its own social network until it manages to create one that attracts more users than lawsuits), many practices are still evolving. What’s the most effective way to grow a company’s social influence? How widely within an organization should social media tasks be distributed? How can an brand establish trust online? What are the best practices for sharing content on each major social network? What common mistakes and pitfalls should be avoided? Is it really possible to measure social media ROI—and if so, how?

Find the answers to these questions and more here in more than three dozen of the best social media guides, insights, rants and reports of the past year.

Social Media Marketing Tips and Tactics

Social Media, What Matters Most for Marketers by iMedia Connection

Noting that the “trend in digital information sharing (on social networks) is still a huge challenge for many companies,” Rick van Boekel advises marketers to develop a strategy, stay involved (or stay away), and integrate efforts among other guidance for marketing success in social media.

Practical Reasons Why Businesses Need Social Media by Social Media Today

Austen Mayor articulates both qualitative and quantitative justifications for social media investments. Among the hard numbers he lists: according to a social media industry study, 72% of companies active in social media report higher website traffic, 62% say it has improved search engine rankings, and 48% say it has increased sales.

Why Aren’t You Promoting Your Social Profiles? 10 Ways to Make it Happen by The Social Media Chef

Chris TomkinsChris Tompkins supplies 10 methods to help “promote your social media profiles OUTSIDE of logging in to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter,” such as adding your social media profiles to company email signatures, business cards, advertising and all marketing collateral.

Stop shoving social media down my throat by {grow}

Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer explains why be believes it is NOT a good idea to force “social media down the throats of employees at every level of the company,” contrary to advice given elsewhere. People bring different skills to the job. As Mark concludes, “Being adept at social media is NOT EASY for everybody. And we should be able to live with that human diversity.”

50 Social Media Marketing Tips and Tactics by Jeff Bullas

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas lists “50 synergistic social media marketing tips and tactics to market your content and ideas and help them to spread to a global audience,” divided into six platform categories: blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Slideshare.

Forrester: 5 Stages Of Social Media Growth by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Gavin O’Malley reviews research from Forrester on the five stages of social media maturity that corporations typically pass through, starting with the dormant stage (“one in five companies still don’t use any social media. These companies tend to be highly conservative, heavily regulated, or just not interested, according to Forrester”) then progressing through “distributed chaos” and additional steps before reaching the optimization stage.

A quick guide to 5 social media platforms by iMedia Connection

Linda IrelandLinda Ireland offers helpful tips to marketers on going beyond the basics to take advantage of the unique strengths of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and LinkedIn (e.g., “If you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn is a great way to identify, connect with, and build stronger relationships with potential customers by interacting with them through LinkedIn Groups and providing responses to the questions they post on LinkedIn Answers”).

Social Trust Factor: 10 Tips to Establish Credibility by The Marketing Nut

Pam MooreFrequent best-of honoree Pam Moore explains the importance of the trust factor in encouraging brand engagement and offers 10 tips for increasing your social trust factor, such as developing a consistent online brand persona, hanging out with the “right” people in your business social networks, and taking the time to cultivate relationships.

Social Media Marketing – 10 Inspiring Infographics by Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas shares some interesting social media statistics (e.g., Tumblr is now attracting over 90 million unique visitors every month; StumbleUpon drives over 50% of all social network traffic) as well as helpful how-to’s (e.g., How to Twitter and LinkedIn Boot Camp) in this intriguing collection of infographics.

How to be a rock star on 8 social media platforms by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS

Kent LewisKent Lewis packs an incredible amount of useful information into this concise post, which outlines tactics for marketing success, illustrated with real-world examples, for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, SlideShare, Quora and Foursquare.

Don’t Let Legal Keep You Out of Social by Social Media Marketing Magazine

Glen GilmoreGlen Gilmore reviews some high-profile examples of social media legal cases, which, he writes, “have largely been related to cases of egregious misconduct.” He then explains the basic legal and regulatory risks associated with social media, and presents a plan to minimize such risks in business social media use.

Busting Social Media Myths and Avoiding Common Mistakes

Five Social Media Myths You Need to Know by frogloop

Allyson KapinCommenting on Facebook’s dominance and huge market reach that, “while it maybe true that your organization needs a better Facebook strategy, it’s also important that you dig a little deeper into social media stats,” Allyson Kapin debunks five social media myths. Though her focus is on fundraising and social media use by non-profit organizations, much of the material here applies more broadly.

Beware Best Practices, They Can Kill Productivity, Innovation and Growth – Adopt Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter by Forbes

Adam HartungFor those executives who still block or limit access for their employees to social media sites and mobile devices, Adam Hartung reminds readers that personal computers were once looked at as productivity destroyers (PCs were viewed as toys that lacked the robustness of mainframe applications by some CIOs back in the 80s) and warns that “best practices” (e.g., “We need to control employee access to information” and “We need to keep employees focused on their job, without distractions”) are a dangerous myth.

Four Common Social Media Mishaps by iMedia Connection

Erik DeckersErik Deckers advises against, among other social media faux paus, socialcasting, relying on a single network, or, interestingly, “Putting a B2B company on Facebook or a B2C company on LinkedIn…People go to Facebook to chat with family and friends, not to buy industrial adhesives. People go to LinkedIn to connect with people who can help them do their jobs better, not share their love of your white chocolate macadamia nut brownies.”

Ten Myths About Social Networking For Business by Forbes

Neal RodriguezNeal Rodriguez provides “a comprehensive guide to social networking misconceptions—each accompanied by a tangible action plan that you can take right now,” such as “Myth 4: You have to spend hours a day on Twitter” (he recommends using Tweetchats—not a bad idea, but not right for everyone).

B2B Social Media Guides

Top social media platforms for businesses by iMedia Connection

Kent Lewis outlines the benefits of social media for B2B businesses, the challenges such vendors face in social media, the essential elements of a B2B social media program, and the best platforms to utilize (blogging, LinkedIn and Twitter are obvious; Facebook and Quora somewhat more questionable).

Turn B2B Buying Into a Social Experience by iMedia Connection

Tony ZambitoTony Zambito outlines the changes social media has brought to the B2B buying process and identifies four areas where buyer expectations have changed that B2B marketers need to be aware of and address. Another outstanding post from Tony is The New Social Buyer Ecosystem, which delves into the concept of social Buyer Circles and their implications for marketers in engaging social buyers in the B2B realm.

YouTube Tips and Tactics

YouTube etiquette for 2011 by iMedia Connection

Daisy WhitneyDaisy Whitney provides excellent tips for making the most of YouTube, such as paying special attention to the crucial first 15 seconds of every video you produce; entering your keywords in rank order; and uploading a custom thumbnail image for each video rather than relying on the YouTube default selection.

6 Best Practices For Small Business YouTube Marketing by OPEN Forum

Todd WassermanTodd Wasserman shares advice from entrepreneurs who’ve been successful with YouTube marketing on best practices for the platform, including buying ads, finding your niche, using technology such as Hot Spots to test the effectiveness of your videos, and tracking ROI.

YouTube It; You Rank for It – Improve Your YouTube Rankings by iMedia Connection

Chris Adams of gShift LabsChris Adams of gShift Labs explains how to optimize video rankings in YouTube, the factors that affect ranking (beyond the obvious) and the importance of analyzing and acting upon YouTube metrics regularly.

Search and Social

When search meets social by Econsultancy

Nick JonesDue to the growing importance of social signals in search results, Nick Jones writes that “2011 marks the year when social media has shifted from being nice to essential…Social elements play a huge part in the traffic generated, but also…citations and “votes” in the form of Tweets and Likes go a long way to indicating to search engines that this content has value and deserves to rank for relevant keywords.”

How Social Media Affects Content Relevance in Search by Mashable

Shane Snow explains why and how Google and Bing are incorporating social signals into the search algorithms, how these changes may help newer businesses, and which previously helpful SEO tactics are now much less important. The key to success in this new world is creating highly sharable content and building a network of influencers who will share it.

Social Media Monitoring and ROI Measurement

10 Measures of Social Media ROI for Your Brand by SocialTimes

Neil GlassmanNeil Glassman presents his “ten measures of social media marketing ROI,” though ROI purists may quibble with some of his entries, e.g., raising the quality and quantity of job applicants by creating a “social culture.” But it’s an intriguing list nonetheless.

Forget Social Media ROI by ClickZ

Heidi CohenThe brilliant Heidi Cohen contends that only a third of companies are attempting to track social media ROI; outlines three reasons why such calculations are difficult (e.g., “Social media interaction tends to happen outside of the purchase process, either before or after”); and presents as alternatives five social media metrics she believes really do matter.

Social Media ROI for Me-Too-ers versus Innovators by SocialSteve’s Blog
***** 5 STARS

Steve GoldnerSteve Goldner uses a graphical social media activity scale to explain the differences in tactics and related ROI measurements between “Me-Too’ers” (focused on basic activities like setting up social profiles and adding sharing buttons to their websites) and “Innovators” (integrated social media efforts, formalized social media relationships).

Things We Should Ask The ROI Question About Before Social Media by UnMarketing

Scott StrattenScott Stratten makes a concise yet blistering argument against obsessing over social media ROI, noting that social media is held “to a higher level of judgment than most things in business,” then questioning the ROI of things like meetings, logo-emblazoned coffee mugs and employee commute time.

5 Ways to Measure Social Media by ClickZ

Ron JonesFrequent best-of contributor Ron Jones recommends measuring a number of different metrics within categories like Awareness/Exposure (the most basic level), Influence, and Engagement (e.g., number of shares, mentions, comments and retweets).

The ROI of Social Media ROI by iMedia Connection

Scot WheelerScot Wheeler presents a helpful diagram for evaluating social media while also noting that “ROI is not always the best way to evaluate the value of social media engagement to an organization…Often, when management asks for the ROI on social media, what they are really asking for is the value of social media engagement to the business.” He then describes the usefulness of awareness, buzz, reach and sentiment as measures of social media value. Also worth checking out is Scot’s follow-up to this post, The Four Principles of Social ROI Measurement, in which he contends that “the accumulation of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ and the generation of engagement are not ends in themselves.  These are tactics which are meant to prime a growing and engaged users for eventual transactions, but which are no more directly measurable in terms of revenues generated than is PR, print, TV or radio advertising.”

Explaining “social media ROI” AGAIN. And again. And… again. by The Brand Builder Blog

Olivier BlanchardOlivier Blanchard serves up an entertaining and informative rant about the continued inability or refusal of many social media professionals to explain the ROI of social media, writing “As annoying and curious as it was, back in 2009, when so many so-called ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’ couldn’t figure out how to explain, much less determine the ROI of anything relating to social media, it is inexcusable today.” He explains the basics of social media ROI measurement, though conceding in the end that “Not all social media activity needs to drive ROI.”

14 Top Tracking Tools For Your Social Media Stats by Abnormal Marketing

Fiona McEachranFiona McEachran takes a look at 14 social media monitoring tools, ranging in price from free to “don’t ask,” including Trackur, Webfluenz and BackType.

Social Media Facts, Stats and Research

INFOGRAPHIC: How Much Does Social Media Really Cost? by Scribbal
***** 5 STARS

Mariel Loveland presents an outstanding infographic detailing the internal and external costs of social media marketing along with the expected savings or return in various business areas, drawing on both statistical and anecdotal data.

The Business Impact of Social Media [Infographic] by ReadWriteWeb

Klint FinleyKlint Finley reports on research regarding social media use in Forture 500 companies covering priorities, success measures, rationale, and brief profiles of successful social media use in big companies (Coca Cola, jetBlue, Dell, Red Bull and others).

Facebook, Twitter Shares Outpace Other Social Buttons by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Laurie SullivanLaurie Sullivan highlights research from BrightEdge showing that “Web site pages displaying the Twitter share button get seven times the social media mentions compared with those that do not…(yet) nearly half of the largest 10,000 sites on the Web still don’t display any kind of social sharing links or buttons.”

10 Intriguing Insights on the State of Social Media and Blogging by Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas (again) summarizes 10 key insights from Nielsen research on social media, among them: Facebook dominates the “time spent online” metric—Facebook users collectively spend three times as many minutes with Facebook as they do with Yahoo, and four times as many as with Google. Nearly a quarter of total online time is spent with social networks and blogs. And women outnumber men on eight of the top 10 social networks—but guys are in the majority on LinkedIn.

Social Media Bigger And More Influential Than Ever, Reveals Q3 Nielsen Report [INFOGRAPHIC] by All Twitter

Shea BennettShea Bennett shares more takeaways from Neilsen research, such as that “40% of social media users access content from their mobile handsets,” with users over the age of 55 driving much of this growth. Social networks and blogs are visited by more than three-quarters of Internet users. And Tumblr is among the fastest-growing networks, tripling its user base in 2011.

Social Media Report: Q3 2011 by Nielsen Research

Want to draw your own conclusions from the research cited by Jeff and Shea above? Here’s the source.

9 Social Media Infographics You Must See by DreamGrow

Mart ProomMart Prööm presents a fascinating collection of infographics, with stats and findings ranging from the percentage of U.S. adults who use social media every day (65%) and the top buyers of social media monitoring tools (43% are social media managers, 19% are agency professionals) to the leading social networks for small business (78% are on Twitter, 75% on Facebook) and a simple process for creating a social media strategy.

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Best B2B Marketing and Sales Strategy Guides and Insights of 2011

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

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.

Best of 2011 - B2B Marketing and Sales StrategyThis 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 SchulzeHolger 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 BixBarbara 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

Gretel GoingContending 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

Ardath AlbeeThe 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

Jay BaerFrequent “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.

3 Tips on How to Use Search Engine Marketing Effectively by ePROneur

Rania KortBecause “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 ChelidonisIlias 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

Lief LarsonGetting 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 CharitonChris 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

Lauren CarlsonWriting 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 ZambitoTony 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 YorkJoel 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

Ruth StevensCiting 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 PiselloTom 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 ApolloBob 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

Adam Holden-BacheNoting 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.

And Finally…

Future Trends: 2012 Online Marketing & Technology Predictions by TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Lee OddenThis 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.”

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