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Posts from the ‘Communication’ Category

30
Apr

9 Key Change Management Essentials for Epic Content Marketing

change management essentials for content marketing

What change is needed in an organization to be successful with content marketing?

Answering todays marketing challenges is a daunting task for most of us.

Not only is marketing increasingly becoming a digital environment, marketing itself is changing. Buyers demand value on top of existing products and services. They want you to inspire them, educate them, and entertain them.

Embracing a content marketing culture is the first step towards becoming a social business. It is the first step to creating marketing that people actually want.

It requires great, or small changes, depending on your current corporate culture:

  • from outbound to inbound
  • from self-centric to meaningful
  • from classic to digital
  • from art to science

Here are some of the key change management essential ingredients you need to take into account when changing a company towards a content marketing culture:

  1. assess your marketing maturity
  2. corporate and leadership alignment
  3. embed openness and authenticity
  4. embrace new customer centric processes
  5. employee activation and skills transfer
  6. internal communication
  7. quick-wins planning
  8. content quality gate-keeping
  9. embedding the change

Read more »

3
Feb

Should you invest in Native Advertising as Marketer ?

native advertisingI’m looking at it and I just don’t quite get it. Banner ads don’t work, and yet marketers still keep investing in it. According to a recent article in Smart Insight click-through rates remain impressively low with “banner blindness” as a key reason for ignoring ads.

One day, someone needs to explain me why a marketer doesn’t get fired by the CEO for spending thousands of ad euros and reporting a conversion of 0.2%. But let’s keep that discussion for another time.

Native advertising. They are the latest addition to digital advertising land. Named as the “disruptive” technology that will change the advertising business model. It is considered the fresh air that the beleaguered publishers need.

They seem to be more efficient, according to recent research from IPG Media and Sharethrough:

  • Consumers looked at native ads 52% more frequently than banner ads.
  • Native advertisements registered 9% higher lift for brand affinity and 18% higher lift for purchase intent responses.
  • Consumers looked at native ads more than the original editorial content.

Some feel as native advertising is the same as advertorials or article marketing.

It’s not. 

OK. So what is native advertising? And do you need to use it your marketing mix? Read more »

18
Dec

Which Content is Most Relevant to Your Buyers?

yodaProviding enough relevant content to buyers is one of the biggest concerns of marketers today, according to a recent study of CMI.

But how do you know which content is relevant to your buyers?

Showing business value is not differentiating

Building buyer insight is an important activity of marketers, resulting in buyer persona descriptions, or buyer insight maps as I often call them. Based on that buyer insight, content is created that shows the business value of your products or services.

The problem is that your competitors are doing the exact same thing. Read more »

12
Nov

The Shocking Truth about Sharing Company Secrets

sharing company secretsA few days after I had trained some people about sharing on social media, I received an email from an account manager.

He was afraid we would be sharing too much details about what we do with customers. He was afraid we would give away to much information to competitors. And I heard the same remark of CEO’s holding back on press releases about customers wins because it could hurt the business.

This is an often heard dilemma: you make great new customers, you create fantastic webinars for customers, you do thought leadership speaking slots, and make customer cases. But by sharing this content publicly you are afraid you are providing valuable information to competitors. And that might hurt your business.

I do understand these reasons, I used to think the same. But companies that keep thinking like this will soon be gone. If you don’t want that, you’ll have to make a cultural shift to being open and authentic.

Let me explain you why… Read more »

8
Oct

A Motion to Kill Content Marketing

The word "content" in Content Marketing deserves more credit. Will you vote ? (image from  Amsterdamnewspolitics)

The word “content” in Content Marketing deserves more credit. Will you vote ? (image : Amsterdamnewspolitics)

Whenever I talk to fellow marketing managers about Content Marketing, I feel as if the word “content” in itself just kills the whole conversation.

When the word content is used, people think of text. They think of paper, copywriting, layout, online and print. Some are more informed, and know that content marketing is more than the output of content creators.

Content marketing is all about providing customers with answers to their questions. The format in which these answers are delivered to them is irrelevant. By providing these answers, you lift your brand to become a company that is seen as a go-to-resource for knowledge and insight. By providing these answers you become a trusted party to which they’ll turn to when they have a problem, a question, an opportunity.

And doing that, my friends, is scary stuff for marketers. Read more »

31
Jul

The Necessary Evil of Advertising in B2B: A Contradictory Experiment.

1920 Experiment : Karl Krall (on the right) tried to detect the thinking radiation he assumed to flow between the dog and the human. (source: http://www.weirdexperiments.com)

1920 Experiment : Karl Krall (on the right) tried to detect the thinking radiation he assumed to flow between the dog and the human. (source: http://www.weirdexperiments.com)

This isn’t a blog post about how good content marketing is, and that you should stop advertising. Quite the contrary.

Allow me to explain: advertising had been shifting to online. It’s been shifting online for a while now. The most obvious reason for that is that people spend more time online. However, B2B marketers out there know that click-through rates are terrible. Leaderboard banners, skyscrapers, and what-ever-they-look-like-banners, get click-through rates below 1%.

And still online advertising seems to be growing, according to Google. There must be people who can explain that contradiction. I can’t.

Whatever.

It’s clear that online advertising just doesn’t work. Ask anyone you know which on-line ad they still remember, while we all spend hours per day online. The answer will be zero.

But let me tell you why B2B marketers still need to keep on advertising, on- and off-line… Read more »

17
Apr

What it takes to become a Digital Marketer

digital marketer

What does it take to become a digital marketer?
(image : http://conqueranycourse.wordpress.com/)

This is my story of what it took to become a digital marketer… 

My story is not unique

My story is not unique. Hey, I’m sure if you Google a bit, you’ll find other people like me. Truckloads full of them.

But what I want to share with you is what it took for me personally to get to a level where I felt that I knew enough to start with digital, social and content marketing.

And then actually start doing that across the organization. And getting results.

A massive request for change

When I became convinced that digital, social and content was the way to go, the first step was to convince my management. Change was needed. Lots of change.

And that’s what we’ve gone through the last 2 years. And when looking back, the change that I was asking was massive: Read more »

22
Mar

Your inbound marketing can be copied. Unless you understand your Company DNA

inbound marketing hubspot - company dna

Image source: @bredanieuwsnl

Ever since I became ravingly enthusiastic and truly convinced that traditional marketing is dying, and replaced by a new type of marketing, I have been following Hubspot.

This company acts on this new type of marketing.

This new type of marketing throws away manipulation, spin-wizzards, and interruption in its marketing strategy. This new type of marketing is about authenticity, being human and open, and being relevant to your audience. They embrace and understand the digital and social world that companies and people live in today.

Although the company was founded only a few years ago, they are already seen as one of the thought leaders in this area of new marketing. Their marketing is impressive, educating a whole new fleet of young, and not so young anymore, marketers of today.

They preach inbound marketing, or content marketing if you will.

“You must do inbound marketing to survive”

More and more marketers I meet start seeing this as the answer to their problems. They see it as a solution to problems like:

  • advertising is not working anymore, or not as it used to do.
  • buyers become very informed and lead the buying process.
  • search engines and social media are changing the way companies buy.

And Hubspot keeps on pushing out and impressive array of content, which keeps building on these thoughts:

  • YOU NEED TO BUILD EPIC CONTENT
  • YOU NEED TO DO DIGITAL PERFECTLY
  • YOU NEED TO DO SOCIAL PERFECTLY
  • IF YOU DON’T DO THESE THINGS, YOU WON’T SURVIVE

This inbound model is about attracting and converting buyers further into the buying cycle. And to be honest, the model really makes sense. I myself am a big believer and defender of this type of marketing. And I really admire Hubspot for what they are doing, and what they mean to B2B companies. Every B2B marketer should check them out.

In essence, you are building content that creates trust from your buyers. Trust that cannot be overthrown by competitors.

But what happens if all B2B companies start following this model?

Imagine that all companies go through this learning cycle, and become great in building content, spreading content digitally, and engage with their audience on social media.

  • They all listen to their buyers’ needs.
  • They all answer the content needs of their buyers along the customer life-cycle.
  • They all have “conversations”. 
  • They all build trust through “giving”.

What happens then?

Read more »

5
Mar

If Content Marketing is about being open, how do I hide my imperfections?

content marketing

Image Source : http://commons.wikimedia.org/

If content marketing and social media is all about being open, how do I act when some parts of my business are not perfect ?

Isn’t content marketing about showing that you understand the business of your customers, and helping them to better understand what your products or services mean to their business ?

But if you are fully open and honest about your offering, doesn’t that show your imperfections?

Won’t that show your weaknesses?

The chance is high that at a certain moment you bump into a weak point in your offering.

What do you do ? You try to hide it ? Or do you try to “bend the truth” ?

The effect of hiding imperfections

If you hide your imperfections or weaknesses, 2 things can happen :

  • Customers buy your products, and because you didn’t inform them enough, they are disappointed about what they’ve bought. You’ve just harmed your brand.
  • Customers see your weaknesses, and assume you don’t have an answer to the competition. This weakens your position, and as such it weakens your brand.

How to act?

Competitor attacks, product weaknesses, product issues, customer service issues, … all these can be your imperfections.

Read more »

5
Feb

The Concept of INTERNAL Content Marketing for Employees

internal content marketing

Image source: http://workasone.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/delete-dilemma/

This post explores the idea of using Content Marketing to increase internal efficiency of employees.

Employees of B2B companies are under pressure. Everyday everyone of us must consume a massive amount of content. We need to interpret that content, rework the content, and deliver output to others.

The number of information channels we need to manage is increasing every day. Not only the classic channels like e-mail, phone calls, or paper mailings are putting us under pressure.

Society itself drives us to join the social media networks around us, for private use, but increasingly employees need to be active on professional social networks.

The effect of this to many is an overflow of information, where employees are missing crucial pieces of information which they need to function within the organization, project or strategy.

The concept of INTERNAL content marketing

The basic principle of content marketing is to have methodic approach to understanding the business issues of buyers. It is also about providing insight and answers to their business issues through creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to a clearly defined target audience, with the objective of driving sales.
OK, let’s cut that sentence short : understand buyers, provide answers that help them through content, to sell more.

Everyone in your company has special needs when it comes to content.

They have different interests, and will only listen to what helps them in their daily work. They might see the general broadcast messages of the management that tries to get them aligned with special programs or strategies. But as in many companies, there are so many programs and strategies being communicated that they’ll only listen with “one ear”, or miss it all together.

What if we would apply the principles of content marketing to the benefit of an internal organization?

Read more »