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Posts tagged ‘B2B’


22 ROI Examples of Content Marketing showing Hard Business Results

content marketing hard business resultsIn the end CEO’s prefer to see clear results. Hard business results. They want to see the ROI of Content Marketing.

In this article I show you those hard business results using 22 examples of companies that used content marketing, and which had clear business results. These are not business results in terms of brand lift, social following increase,  or  whatever vanity metric you can come up with.

I will show you real cases, providing you with real numbers, where content marketing is increasing revenue for both B2C as B2B companies.

Before we jump into those 22 cases of hard cold business results of content marketing, first a little intro on the business value of content marketing. Read more »


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 »


When Content Marketers Lose Contact With Customers

content marketing

Content marketers behind bars, locked away from customer contact…

When Tammy Cannizzaro, Director of Marketing at IBM, wrote about “The Content Wars“, she talked how increasingly difficult it will become to ignite and connect with your buyers:

  • She talked about how people consume content in a different way. Only the best brands are finding ways to engage prospects by creating exceptional online experiences.
  • Prospects are jaded about marketing, she says. They are target of too much messaging. Only when your content mimics a conversation with your customers you will create meaningful engagement.
  • Only the exceptional will stand out. Your content needs to be relevant, differentiated and compelling.

Although she touches the very basic foundations of what modern marketing is all about, I couldn’t keep thinking about what’s going to happen when everyone is fighting for the attention of that same customer, all with these same tactics. Read more »


Bi-directional Vision alignment of Company and Buyers

vision alignment

How do you align with your buyers vision ?
Image source : Flicker @ Thomas Hawk

So many solutions are available to B2B companies today.

Increasingly products are being industrialized to be cheaper to produce, and cheaper to sell. In B2B, and in high value goods, pricing is less important. Value is more important. But value is increasingly brought by more and more competitors. Competitors with cheaper prices. And in the end price pressure comes back.

That’s got to end one day. One day your value doesn’t cut it anymore.

Where do you differentiate when market values and prices are converging? When your market is becoming a “red ocean” again?

B2B companies don’t buy your products. They buy your vision. 

Recently I had to choose a new website builder. After a short RFI procedure, three companies where selected. Pricing was ranging from low to mid to high.

Which company did I buy from?

  • Not the company with the best product.
  • Not the company with the best account manager.
  • Not the company with the best price.

I bought from the company that had a vision that aligned with my vision.

Or, their vision aligned with my vision.

How do you align your vision with the needs of your customers?

This might sound like a sales technique.

It’s not a sales technique.

  • Deloitte wants to excel in everything they do.
  • IBM wants to lead in IT technology that brings value to their customers
  • Cisco’s vision is to change the way people work, live, play and learn
  • Philips made simplicity part of their vision.
  • Apple made design and usability their vision.
  • Amazon made ease to buy and choice their vision.

These are the visions of these B2B and B2C companies.

Read more »


What should happen if you remove Marketing from Social?

removing the marketing department from social media

Source : Flickr @robpatrick

What would happen if your marketing department stopped being active on Social Media? Or what should happen?

When companies develop their presence on social media, it is usually the marketing department taking the lead by creating accounts on social media networks, a social media policy, a digital marketing strategy…

Then they become active on these networks by answering their questions, inspiring them with great content, and listening to their needs.

Smaller companies have only 1 or 2 people developing these social relations, larger companies have whole teams of “conversation managers”.

Limited presence

Although I understand the approach, and support the approach, these teams can only be present at a limited amount of networks, or “circles” as I call them.

  • They just cannot be present in all the social places where your customers, partners, suppliers, investors, or competitors are present.
  • They just cannot be aware of all the different domains of expertise that are required to have a holistic approach to social networking.
  • They just cannot be authentic about every topic they are involved with on these networks.

I probably can think of a number of others reasons, but you probably get what I mean.

Now think of a small company, let’s say 10 people. What’s the impact of one, usually part-time, marketing person, on all of this? You guessed it. Not a lot. He/she just doesn’t have the time to do a descent job with social media.

And now imagine a bigger company, 1000 people. Here you’ll have a team of, I don’t know, 20-50 people working in marketing and being part-time or some full-time occupied with social media. Again, the impact is minimal.

Taking away the marketing department

My point is, I don’t think social media is the sole responsibility of the marketing department. Oh yes, they play a guiding role in aligning the efforts with the company strategy, and making sure all the mechanics like a policy, processes, training, tooling, etc… are available.

But in essence, everyone in the marketing department should be aligned with a number of objectives which could look like this : Read more »


Which social media network brings most success in B2B ?

Source : Flicker @cuppini

Source : Flicker @cuppini

2013 is almost there. What will 2013 bring? most probably another social media network.

Who knows, they come and go as Marcus Sheridan from @saleslion wrote about it on his blog. (by the way, I am a big fan of his work, check him out if you don’t know him).

Looking at the big ones, which ones will bring you the most success in B2B? I have seen many blog post about this subject: Facebook is better for this, LinkedIn is better for that. Twitter is only useful for this and that…

When developing a social media strategy, many companies start thinking which social media networks they should start developing. Developing means to create a presence, invest in time and maybe money to fuel that network with relevant content, and then organize actions to grow your follower base. Companies start hiring “conversation managers” that monitor the conversations, trigger the discussions, answer questions, be helpful where they can, and get the conversations going.

Should we do Facebook ? LinkedIn ? Whatever network ? 

It’s definitely an important question. And on the other hand it’s not an important question. It’s even a simple question.

I’ll tell you : it doesn’t matter. It’s not up to you or me to choose which network you will develop. If your customers are there, you better be there. It’s as simple as that.

But how do you know if your customers are on that particular network? Mmmm, difficult question, that much I agree.

Then maybe we should  jump on every network that sticks its head above the ground?

Should we be on LinkedIn?

hubspot-linkedin-graphicIn the case of LinkdedIn, there should be no doubt : if you are in B2B, you need to be on LinkedIn.

Almost all B2B professionals are on LinkedIn, using it for personal branding reasons, personal networking but also increasingly to find information.

Linkedin is changing from a pure B2B networking site, towards a site that is positioning itself as an information portal: updates from your contacts, the companies you are following, and more recently thought leaders like Richard Branson or Pete Cashmore.

Read more »


Where do B2B buyers get the information that make them buy?

One of the key concerns of B2B marketers today is breaking through the “marketing blindness” of buyers:

– Buyers don’t click on web-banners (they don’t even see them anymore)
– They don’t see advertisement anymore
– They skip TV commercials when they can
– They don’t open your e-mails or direct mailings.

That’s why I am so happy to get my hands on reports like these, the 2012 Buyersphere report, giving me an answer to this key question:

How do you reach your B2B buyers?

We marketers live in an amazing time: we have the ability to contact our buyers directly through social media or e-mail marketing, there’s “super intelligent” marketing automation software that targets buyers with laser precision, etc…

But does that mean you reach your buyers? I am not talking about communicating with your buyers.

I mean REACHING them, so they really feel happy to get their hands on the information you are giving them. So they position your brand as useful, knowledgeable, and trusted. And in the end put they you on their shortlist and buy from you.

But what information do they want? Where do they search for it? Who needs what kind of information, and when?

Buyer behavior mysteries revealed

The 2012 Buyersphere survey is designed to bring answers to these questions based on the actual behavior of B2B buyers. It is based on surveys o B2B buyers in the main countries in Europe, but I like to think that they are valid to other parts of the world as well.

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?

How do you act as B2B company in social networks?

One of the first questions that almost immediately pop-up when you as a B2B company start using social networks in your marketing and communication is : how do we act on these social networks ?

Keep it human

Don’t start a Google+ page that is managed by “administrator” or “Your Company Name”. Instead, posts should be done in the name of real employees of your company.


Cut the crap

If you were to engage in social media, here is some behavior that you most probably not want to do, like the metaphor I used before where I see social networks as a cocktail party:

  • Do you go into the middle of room during the party, and shout “BUY MY PRODUCTS”?
  • Do you let them know that you had great fun during a tradeshow presence?


I really do not care that my B2B contacts or B2B suppliers, who you are trying to market and sell to me, had great fun at a tradeshow they participated to. Really, your customers don’t care.

Read more »


How on earth will Twitter create useful opportunities for my B2B company?

Many B2B companies struggle with what to do with social media. They start creating a page on Facebook, Google+ or any other social media platform. And usually also a Twitter account.

But I’ve seen many B2B companies using it as an extension of their public relations, in which they just tweet about their press releases, new product launches, their promotions, etc…. Now that’s something you should not doing on Twitter.

Does my B2B company need Twitter?

If you are still asking yourself that question, you urgently need to dig into the topic of social media (you can start already today by reading this blog). Twitter, and social media in general, is being used  heavily in B2B by journalists, analysts, but also your customers. They stay up to speed on trends, companies, and news, and educate themselves using social media.

Read more »