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Posts from the ‘Communication’ Category


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 »


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:

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

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.


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 »


What it takes to become a Digital Marketer

digital marketer

What does it take to become a digital marketer?
(image :

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 »


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:


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 »


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

content marketing

Image Source :

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 »


The Concept of INTERNAL Content Marketing for Employees

internal content marketing

Image source:

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 »


SEO and Search are useless

Image source: Flickr, @anthonylkdking

Imagine you are perfectly happy with your solution. Imagine that you have a business in which the solution is providing you with a descent return on investment.

There’s no need for you to change.

Now imagine that you are a vendor with a solution that will provide more return than any other existing solution on the market.

You are creating comparisons, providing ROI tools, and doing all the right things to attract buyers with your content.

They are not searching

SEO will not help you, because they are not searching.

When they do search, you are there. But unfortunately, they don’t search, because they don’t need you. They are happy with what they have.

He/She’ll be blind for everything you have to say.

So what do you do?

The perfect world

If they are not searching, they are exploiting their current situation.

They are not aware that there’s something better out there, because basically they don’t have a problem.

But then the day comes.

The day they start being slightly unhappy, and realize that the world they are in, is not perfect. That the solution they have is not perfect.

That day they become receptive. They are willing to listen. And when they are ready to listen, you must be speaking.

When the day has come

Your buyer realizes that there is more out there. He want’s to know more. That’s the day he starts being receptive to e-mails, conference invites, whitepapers and webinars. Read more »


The Online Elevator Pitch in Marketing

Recently I bumped into a video on Youtube in which they explained how to draft your Elevator Pitch.

It made me immediately think about how we marketers build our messaging.

Too often I see advertisements, promotional e-mails or websites, which just don’t make sense, because they try to convey way too much information, which makes the message “fuzzy”.

Or if the message is very short, it is a 2-layered message which is difficult to “decode” on the receiving end.

Everyone wants to have a great Elevator Pitch. But how do we get that concept into our marketing?

How do you do that?

How do you leave a powerful and impactful impression?

If you ever wanted to defend your great idea, or your great new product, you know how difficult it can be synthesize your message to the core, which means “killing off” your favorite parts of the full story.

Most people talk way to long, write too much, and bring to much level of detail. They don’t know when to give little information, and when to give more.

Creating an elevator pitch is about “killing your darlings”.

And so is creating a strong message to your target audience: “kill your darlings”. Weed out everything you don’t need. Go back to what really counts for the end-user.

The online Elevator Pitch

We live in a digital world, where photos, images, audio and video have become really important. Just look at the success of Pinterest, Slideshare or Instagram.

And online, people will only give you a few seconds of attention.

You literally only have a few seconds to pass on your message, to make a good impression, and make them want to know more.

A few seconds.

Read more »


A practical “power guide” to Video in B2B

image source :

Sometimes all it takes is to have a little idea that solves a problem. For a while now I realized that video in B2B should become an integral part of the marketing mix of B2B companies.

Out of experience I know that creating video is time consuming, expensive, and usually little people actually view these videos because as soon as they see it is an ultra-polished video they abandon. Yet another advertisement video…


And that’s where this little idea comes into play:  creating video in B2B is not expensive, difficult or cumbersome ;-)

That little idea

Which video’s have the biggest effect on people ? Often marketers look at themselves when they need answers, and although that’s not always a good idea, in this case I think the answer is pretty straightforward:

  • Unique videos: because of the graphical style, scenery or unique setting, they become special.
  • Authentic videos: because of the setting, the people, and the topic, it is overly clear that the contents is special.
  • Funny videos: we all know the effect of those.

Now each of these 3 video’s can be produced expensively, can consume a lot of time, and might have not enough effect. Unique video’s are viewed and shared, just because they are unique. But that does not mean the video will position you as a thought leader, or that it will bring you leads. The same goes for funny videos: people might even not get what you are trying to communicate, it’s just funny and they’ll view and share.

But what really resonates with people is AUTHENTICITY. Videos that help them solve their business issues, or provide them with information they need to make better business decisions.

What would happen if you start producing videos about customers that are actually using our products, in which you interview them and let them tell how they are actually using your products, and how it is helping their business? These videos are simple, non-glossy and little polished recordings.

And that’s exactly what this post is about : how do you create these type of authentic videos?

Study: Strategic issues for communication management until 2015

The European Association of Communication Directors just published its annual report

It provides insight into communication and PR professionals (survey from 2200 communication professionals from 42 countries in Europe), and has titled it:



Challenges and Competencies for Strategic Communication

Why am I covering this report?

The reason I am covering this report is because

  • It show the biggest challenges for marketers and communicators today.
  • Because it comes from a descent source
  • Because it has data from previous years that allows to spot trends.

Key take-away’s from the European Communication Monitor 2012

  • Most important strategic issues: Need to address more audiences with limited resources
  • Ethical challenges: Six out of ten PR professionals faced moral problems within the last 12 months
  • Barriers to professionalization: 84% state that top management lacks understanding of communications
  • Integrating and coordinating communications: Shaping multiple identities is more relevant today
  • Practice of strategic communication: Operational work takes 37% of a typical week
  • Social media: Large gap between perceived importance and real implementation in most organisations
  • Development and qualifications: Management and business knowledge needed, but training is missing

Read more »