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Posts tagged ‘listening’


Marketers flawed in listening to customers

listening process

When was the last time you listened to a customer?

When was the last time you spoke to a customer? Or let me rephrase that: when was the last time you listened to a customer?

Everyone knows you have to listen to your customers.

Practically the entire business of marketing revolves around customer insight.

The logic is simple: if we can understand them more clearly, then we can better connect with and serve them, with timely, relevant, useful and helpful information.

I love to use the word meaningful content, and so meaningful content is what is needed to connect with them.

Marketers are fooling themselves

Tell me honestly: when was the last time you really listened to customers?

I am not talking about a customer satisfaction survey, a net promoter score, a market research report. Not even a focus group session or formal ITIL “voice of the customer programs”. 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 »


How to build Epic Content as an Organization? 5 Key Tactics Explained

Image: courtesy of Intelsat.

Image: courtesy of Intelsat.

Successful organizations take on a content strategy as a centrepiece of their activities. It’s not an add-on. It’s strategic. Getting buy-in from the organization can be difficult, but doable. More difficult is getting people motivated to build that strategic content.

How do you get an organization to take on content as a strategic part of the business? Here are 5 key tactics that help building a culture of content.

How do you create a culture of content creation and education, internally and externally?

1. Find out what your colleagues care about?

When people do their job well, they get praised. Or get a raise. Or get promoted.

That’s what drives people.

A great way to make content creation a company wide activity is to embed it into what they care about.

  • Service engineers care about solving a customers’ problem 
  • Project managers care about delivering a project on time, within budget, above customer expectations
  • Training managers care about good feedback from trainees
  • Customer support care about how they excelled in helping customers 
  •  …

Find out what makes these people ‘tick’, and let them write it down. Let them know that you expect this from them. Help them in “airing” their personal success stories, insights and helpful stories. And if they do, praise them in public. Read more »


Failproof Listening method for Laser-sharp Content Marketing

listening to customers

Image source: Flicker @digitalmoneyworld

A turkish proverb says “If speaking is silver, then listening is gold”.  We all know that proverb.

We have so much to say, because it’s important, isn’t it ? No-it-is-not.

But I am in marketing, so my  objective is that my customers listen to me? No-it-is-not.

But I want to speak since I have lot’s of stuff to tell my customers on how to make their business better, more efficient, lower costs, if they buy our products or services !

Our customers would be foolish to “not” listen to us, right? No-it-is-not.

How do we marry these 2 principles of listening and wanting to speak ? Yes you can!

First you listen

brian solis-listeningRecently Brian Solis posted this image on Flickr.

The intersection between listening to what buyers want, and talk about what they want, that’s exactly what you need to do to have him listen to you and start engaging with you.

Before buyers want to listen to you, as anyone in sales knows, you need to understand what makes your buyer ‘tick’: what is currently a top of mind issue today that you can solve?

Only when you can speak to him using the exact same words that he would use to describe his issues, then he will be listening.

So the trick is knowing what to talk about. And the only way to find out is to listen to “his world”. Now often, customers know their issues, or at least feel that somethings not right, but even more often than not, they don’t have a solution. In many cases it’s already hard for them to describe their problem.

So if it’s already hard for them to describe it, how on earth are you going to speak to him?

The answer, my friend, is by UNDERSTANDING HIS WORLD.

Read more »


The Ultimate Content Marketing Implementation Plan: Pragmatic, Powerful, and Guaranteed Success


Content Marketing Implementation Plan

Atomium in Brussel by night, or at 5 am…
(picture soure :

If you are interested in a Content Marketing, implementing it, thinking about it, or living it, then this is for you. I can tell you, this is for you because I’ve been pondering about this post for a long time.

Ever when I started this blog, I wanted it to be a blog which give my fellow marketeers information, education and advice coming from real life experiences. That’s why this blog is called B2B marketing experiences in the first place. No bullshit, just usable stuff. I don’t need to see my blog post on Huffington, Financial Times or whatever other big and famous website. I don’t want to use high level talk and difficult concepts or difficult words. No bullshit, just usable stuff.

Imagine what happened this morning when I woke up at 5am.

Yes indeed, ^é#@!, too early. I could not sleep anymore. My mind was spinning like hell, thinking about this blog post. And here I am sitting behind my computer writing this blog post. It’s exactly 7 am. I never thought I would be doing this, because I am usually not an ‘early bird, rise-n-shine’ kind of guy.

I need to get this out of my head, this is powerful stuff.

How to Implement Your Content Marketing in a pragmatic, do-able way, which is acceptable to your organization, which educates your organization on how to do it, which delivers quick win’s and is built to be embedded for ever in your organization? Now that’s a mouthful.

So this is what kept me awake. But I think I’ve cracked it. And I-me-personally, I think it’s powerful. Maybe arrogant, yes, but if it’s useful to you, you probably don’t care.

Ready? I am sorry, this is what you call a #longread…

So here it goes… Read more »


Content Marketing is not the task of Marketing

i want youAdvertisement overload and content overload are causing buyers to be blind for outbound marketing. Marketers these days are turning to content marketing as a way to break through the blindness and information clutter.

Because of the abundance of information out there, buyer behavior is changing. As Michael Brenner, @B2BMKTGInsider, one of my favorite marketers likes to put it :

“Buyers wait until they have completed 60-80% of their research before reaching out to vendors”.

Buyers turn to their “circles of trust”, on and off-line. Vendor information, social Media and word of mouth remain the major sources of influence to buyers according to the Buyersphere 2012 report.

Source : Buyersphere 2012

Source : Buyersphere 2012

The millennial effect, which describes the way the generation born after 1980 who never knew a time without internet and mobile phones, turn to social media networks for information and advice. People from this generation are slowly becoming the decision-makers of the future.

The shift of power to buyers

All these changes are causing a major shift of power:

  • from site centric to user centric: buyers where informed where they go, today buyers have access to information on-line and through their networks, where-ever they are.
  • from brand image to transparency: companies can no longer hide imperfections or bad behavior. They need to be open, authentic and transparent. If not they get heavily punished by the public opinion (see this Toyota case).
  • from the sales guy to the buyer: buyers these days often know more then the sales guy, because they have lots of sources of information before they buy. Buyers have very detailed and specific questions, which sales people or organizations will need to able to answer.

Read more »


Want great products? Start thinking out of the box

bic pensEverybody knows you should be listening to your customers. Give them what they want, right?

And we all think we are doing that: because we have sales guys in the field talking to customers. Because we have marketing people doing desk research, going to conferences, having discussions with customers and what not. And the management team is having important meetings with key customers, and key staff that are knowledgeable.

They know what your customers want, isn’t it?

And then what happens? We all jump into product brainstorm sessions, in which you have lots of people venting their opinions about what customers want. We use the input from sales, marketing and the management team to influence the product or service we want to create.

In the end, this is what you get: Read more »


Putting a stop to Advertisement Blindness

Experiments have shown that online advertising and print advertising are increasingly less effective. We have become blind for advertisements.

The Benway and Lane experiment

The term “banner blindness” or advertisement blindness was coined by Benway and Lane as a result of website usability tests where a majority of the test subjects either consciously or unconsciously ignored information that was presented in banners.

They used eye tracking camera’s too monitor where people look on a screen. The experiment showed that we do see the ads, but we do not take them into account. Jacob Nielsen did a comparable experiment back in 2007.

We have become extremely well trained in filtering out everything we don’t want on a web page. And that even includes Google text ads.


Eye tracking camera’s monitor where people look on a screen. Banners and even Google text ads are not looked at.
Image source :

Read more »


No level of customer churn is acceptable: make it so !

image source: Wikipedia

What would happen if your business ran out of viable customers? What if the pipeline of new blood permanently dried up?

The continuous rotation of campaign taglines, creative messages, and clutter-busting noise helps to keep a baseline level of acquisition activity. OK.

And somehow along the customer life cycle, we loose them. They churn, churn, churn.

I think the starting point of doing business should be:


The cost of acquiring new customers

Companies today are using advertising, promotions and lead generation campaigns to attract new customers. All these tactics take a big chunck out of your marketing budget. I’m not going to repeat that acquiring new customers is more expensive, we all know that.

So we use these tactics to attract new customers, because we know they work.

The problem with these tactics is that they are not working anymore, or not working as good anymore as they used to do:

  • 86% of TV viewers admit to skipping advertisements.
  • 44% of direct marketing doesn’t get opened anymore.
  • 99,9% of on-line advertising is not clicked upon.

Additionally, sometimes your budgets are cut because of a multitude of reasons, giving you even less arm-length to reach our to buyers.

Why do companies churn?

Usually companies switch because of the following reasons:

Read more »


How to maximize the effect of your marketing materials?

B2B marketing organizations create many marketing materials, or execute different types of outbound marketing activities.

As explained in some of my previous posts on the increasing ineffectiveness of marketing materials, for example press releases or advertisements, today’s marketers need to adapt their marketing strategy to fit the needs of today’s buyers who are on-line and make use of search engines and social media networks.

What can you do to make your marketing materials effective?

  1. Make them relevant: without a listening process, you have no clue what your customers want. Of course your marketing materials need to look good, but the materials and the content of the materials need to be what your customers want.
  2. Make them authentic: today’s buyers can smell unauthentic materials from miles away. The golden rule is: don’t write anything down unless you immediately can proof it. Don’t inflate numbers, not even when your competition is doing this, because your customers will trust you more because you promise realistic gains.
  3. Set your content free: too often we are afraid that the competition might steal our ideas of get access to our marketing materials. But at the same time your customers AND Google have no access to it. Set it free, on several platforms, and promote it on all social networks your customers are using.