Tag Archives: B2B

What You Need to Know About Content & Influencer Marketing in 2015

New Post on Online Marketing Hub

What You Need to Know About Content & Influencer Marketing in 2015
by christopherjanb
influencer co-created content

Influencer Marketing was a hot topic in 2014 and will continue to gain momentum in 2015 for both B2C and B2B marketers, especially when it comes to content co-creation.

“Why” the warm and fuzzy for influencer content you ask? According to CMI and MarketingProfs, over 90% of B2B marketers are investing in content marketing. Yet, in an age of information overload where 74GB of data are delivered per person, per day (USC), standing out to business buyers can require unreasonable budgets and resources.

Inspired by the need to scale content marketing performance, a growing number of B2B marketers are creating better quality content that gets shared more often, reaches more prospects and grows their influencer network – all at the same time. How so? Through influencer content programs.

Influencer Content Marketing Case Study:
Content Marketing Wonderland eBooks

In 2014 TopRank Online Marketing worked with Content Marketing Institute to create an influencer content program to promote the Content Marketing World conference. The campaign theme of “Alice in Wonderland” aka “Content Marketing Wonderland” borrowed from the conference theme of “Beyond Storytelling”.

The program involved 40+ marketing industry influencers from major brands including: Altimeter Group, Caterpillar, Indium Corporation, charity: water, Bittorrent, Bed, Bath & Beyond, SAP, John Deere, Lattice Engines, Kapost, Progressive Insurance, Boeing, MarketingProfs, ExactTarget, Copyblogger, Red Hat, Facebook, EMC Corporation, Cisco Systems, Tumblr, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Dell, Content Marketing Institute, NewsCred, Kraft Foods and more.

Objectives:
Develop an opportunity for influential speakers to participate in content creation that would promote their presentations, the CMWorld conference and create a useful and infotaining resource for all marketers interested in content marketing. The underwriting sponsor for the program was Curata.

Implementation:
Influencers were drawn from the roster of nearly 200 speakers for the event. Based on criteria, influencers were identified, qualified, recruited and engaged to provide advice according to one of 4 themes (Content Marketing Strategy, Audience Development, Visual Content, Content ROI) that coincided with the programming of the event.

Insights provided by the influencers were compiled according to theme into 4 Visual eBooks. Each eBook was complemented by a long form interview with select influencers and posted here on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog. Each Visual eBook was also supported with an infographic (4 in all) featuring Tweetable quotes from each influencer.

Content Assets Included:

Content Marketing Strategy eBook, infographic, long form interview and blog post
Audience Development eBook, infographic, long form interview and blog post
Visual Content Marketing Strategy eBook, long form interview and blog post
Content Marketing ROI eBook, infographic, long form interview and blog post
All assets were supported with social shares on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ from participating influencers, CMI, Curata and TopRank Marketing.

Performance:
Primary objectives for the program were conference awareness and speaker/influencer exposure measured by page views, and leads for the underwriting sponsor. Leading up to the conference (mid Sept), the eBooks earned thousands of social shares, over 145,000 views on SlideShare and 20,000 page views on TopRankBlog. By the time the conference was held, there were 2,000+ PDF downloads, 800 leads and 200+ event referrals.

All campaign assets remained live for several months after the campaign and the total views, downloads and leads as of Dec 30, 2014 were:

218,971 Total eBook Views:
4,023 Total eBook PDF Downloads:
1,040 Total Leads Captured
The net result of the program was substantial and sustained exposure for the conference, speakers and sponsor leading up to and after the event. Of course TopRank Online Marketing benefitted from exposure through virtually every single content asset, social share and download resulting in numerous inquiries and several ongoing consulting engagements and projects. Overall it was a successful campaign and is the reason we’re producing another conference eBook program for CMI in 2015 – the 5th year in a row.

Along with this case study, I’ve realized that we’ve literally written an eBook-worth of content on the topic of influencer and content marketing.

If you’d like to make working with influencers and co-created content a more productive part of your digital marketing mix in 2015, here are 18 posts to get you up to speed from strategy and planning to winning a budget to tools to performance measurement and optimization.

The Fallacy of Influence – Lee Odden
8 Things You Need to Know About Influencer Marketing – Brian Larson
How Content Plus an Influencer Network Can Grow Your Business – Emily Bacheller
The Hidden Value of Influencers in B2B Content Marketing – Lee Odden
How to Get Executive Buy-In for Your B2B Influencer Marketing Program – Brooke Furry
Customer & Influencer Research in Social Media – Lee Odden
Influencer Marketing and Content FTW! 7 Steps to Co-Created Awesome – Lee Odden
9 Tools to Discover Influencers in Your Industry – Lee Odden
Influencer Marketing in 5 Simple Steps – Jesse Pickrain
The Power of Influence in Content Marketing – Lee Odden
Content and Influencer Marketing is A Powerful Way to Grow Your Business – Lee Odden
5 Tips on Crowdsourcing Your Brand’s Influence – Nick Ehrenberg
Influencer Outreach – 5 Ways to Fail – Lee Odden
How to Incorporate SEO and Influencer Content – Lee Odden
How a Shift from All SEO to Social & Influencer Content Boosted Page Views by 500% – Lee Odden
B2B Marketing Innovation: Tips On Creating Social Influence in B2B Marketing from Alan Belniak of PTC – Lee Odden
The Truth About Influence in B2B Marketing from Master Strategist Paul Gillin – Lee Odden
New Report: How Content Co-Creation With Influencers Beats Information Overload – Lee Odden
If that isn’t enough, here’s info on an upcoming presentation on influencer and content marketing I’m giving for the fine folks at BMA Colorado on February 11th, “Create Demand and B2B Marketing Influence with Co-Created Content“.

In the presentation, I’ll talk about best practices and how we’ve worked with organizations like Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs and LinkedIn to leveraged influencer content programs to attract and engage business buyers.

Some of the takeaways include:
– How influencer content creates solutions for multiple audiences
– How to identify, qualify and recruit the right influencers
– How co-created, modular content is planned, collected, assembled and repurposed
– How to inspire co-creators to help amplify your content
– How to use the Attract, Engage, Convert model for influencer content performance optimization
– Best and worst practices when working with influencers on an ongoing basis

Of course, if you’re not in Denver, then here’s a variation on that presentation that I’ll be giving at the B2B C2C conference in Scottsdale, AZ on February 17th, “B2B Content at Scale – How to Create a Competitive Advantage by Crowdsourcing Marketing Content with Influencers“.
| http://ift.tt/faSbAI

For more including images see:
https://omhub.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/what-you-need-to-know-about-content-influencer-marketing-in-2015/

The What You Need to Know About Content & Influencer Marketing in 2015 page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

How to Tell a Compelling B2B Story Using Comics

New post on Online Marketing Hub

How to Tell a Compelling B2B Story Using Comics
by christopherjanb

Maybe you’re wondering: Why on earth would you use comics in B2B marketing?

True, it’s not a format you regularly see in the wild, but comics have two great things in their favor: They’re a visual medium and they’re heavily geared toward storytelling.

In popular culture, comics are having a renaissance. Amazon noticed the popularity and acquired Comixology, a cloud-based digital comics platform, this year because people – adult people – like comics. They enjoy absorbing stories and information through visual content in comic-book format. And that makes comics an ideal vehicle for B2B brands to use to engage audiences. Brands like Google and Moz are doing it successfully.

Three key elements of a successful B2B comic
But how do you go about identifying compelling stories for a B2B audience that will translate well into the visual medium?

It all comes down to three things: truth, suspense, and human connection.

A story told in a comic format doesn’t need to feature spandex-clad heroes. You can find suitable protagonists almost anywhere within or outside your organization. All a successful story needs to have are those three elements – something reinforced at Content Marketing World this year:

Truth
Storytelling & the Next Level of Content Marketing. @shanesnow @kellykingman @CMIContent #CMWorld #CMWorld2014 http://ift.tt/129MrTr — Creative Compound (@creativecmpd) September 10, 2014

Storytelling secret: Build suspense: anxiety about what will happen. Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty. @tpldrew — Jake DiMare (@jakedimare) September 9, 2014

When #ContentMarketing fails, it’s because there is no human connection in the stories you are telling. @TonyZambito #CMWorld — Brad Young (@byoung07016) September 8, 2014

Or, as storytelling supremo, Kevin Spacey, put it at CMW:

Authenticity
Conflict
Audience
A good comic-book story, like any story, needs these three things. Truth (authenticity) makes your story believable, suspense (conflict) makes it interesting, while adding a human connection (audience) enables readers to see themselves and make an emotional connection.

How to use these elements in your story
In B2B marketing, there’s no point in putting together a bunch of comic panels that dress up your company or product as super heroes, capable of making miraculous things happen (and I’ve seen at least one B2B comic that has done this). Apart from the problem of insufficient room to address the who, what, where, when, why, and how of it all, there’s an added challenge – customers are afforded only minor parts if they are incorporated at all.

Shaping your story for comics doesn’t have to be difficult. Here’s what you need to consider:

1. Starting with human connection

The comic (regardless of its layout) needs to keep its audience in the forefront of what’s happening. One way of doing this would be as content expert Ann Handley suggested: “Make the customer the hero of your story.” Turning a case study into a comic would definitely benefit from having the customer portrayed as a hero – the main protagonist.

Consider this: 71% of business executives don’t like content that seems like a sales pitch, according to The Economist. You can’t just make a comic about a product or brand: It needs to be about people first, everything else is secondary.

2. Adding suspense

Like any well-portrayed hero, your main character should be better, stronger at the end. This dynamic shift brings suspense to the story, showing the benefits of the journey.

Showing the journey means being unafraid to examine the challenges faced by your story’s characters. Imagine a brand creating a comic about managing project risk – ideally it would show what happens when risk is not properly managed, including the impact on finances and personnel.

3. Sticking with the truth

The comic does not need to be a blow-by-blow account of real-life events (though it can) – what’s important is that even if your panels have a hero in spandex, the story feels real. It needs to bring in that element of authenticity that Spacey discussed. Without authenticity, the story will be viewed as insincere and irrelevant, driving people away from your brand.

Base the comic on events happening within or outside your organization. Embellishment can work, but as Mark Twain once said, truth is stranger than fiction.

Bring your stories to comics
If you’ve got a compelling story involving your brand that features your customer as the hero, uses drama, and is based on the real world, then you have the formula for a good comic – a few panels on a web page or a strip to illustrate a case study – and a good way to share information that is valuable to readers and that can help them make better decisions.

If you’d like to know more about the process of creating a B2B comic, check out our free eBook How to Make Comics in B2B Marketing (we won’t ask for your details).

If the comic storytelling from Content Marketing World intrigues you, see and hear even more on podcasts from the experts and speakers at CMW. Check out our Video on Demand portal.

The post How to Tell a Compelling B2B Story Using Comics appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

For more on this article including images see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/how-to-tell-a-compelling-b2b-story-using-comics/

The How to Tell a Compelling B2B Story Using Comics page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Special Corporate Web Marketing Package for Christmas…

Welcome to the new special offer web marketing package for Corporate Companies for Christmas!

This special Corporate Web Marketing Package is available from now up until 31/12/14.

6 Months Web Marketing for £500 per month.

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That’s a total of just £3,000.

The Special Corporate Web Marketing package for Christmas would consist of:
6 Months of Local, Regional & National SEO services;
6 Months of Social Media Management;
& 6 Months of Advertising via the MA Consultancy & WelshBiz Websites, Blogs & Network of Social Media Accounts with over 200,000 followers.

To subscribe to the special Corporate Web Marketing package or to discuss your web marketing requirements further please call: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com .

You might also like these other Christmas Marketing Offers.

The Special Corporate Web Marketing Package for Christmas page was written “By Mike Armstrong”

Special SME Web Marketing Package for Christmas….

Welcome to the new special offer web marketing package for SME’s for Christmas!

This special SME Web Marketing Package is available from now up until 31/12/14.

6 Months Web Marketing for £200 per month.

IMG_0154.PNG
That’s a total of just £1,200 (or you can buy the package for just £1,000 if paid for upfront in one payment!).

The Special SME Web Marketing package for Christmas would consist of:
6 Months of Local SEO services;
6 Months of Social Media Management;
& 6 Months of Advertising via the MA Consultancy & WelshBiz Websites, Blogs & Network of Social Media Accounts with over 200,000 followers.

To subscribe to the special SME Web Marketing package or to discuss your web marketing requirements further please call: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com .

You might also like these other Christmas Marketing Offers.

The Special SME Web Marketing Package for Christmas page was written “By Mike Armstrong”

Business Car Leasing in South Wales, from @PrestigeWales

If you’re looking for prestigious Business Cars to Lease in Cardiff or Newport, South Wales then try the fantastic offers available from Prestige Lease Wales.

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To see the fabulous Business Cars to Lease in South Wales (& Residential) please follow the link.

If contacting Prestige Lease in Wales please use the Code Twit11.

Their tel is: 01633 214910

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The Business Car Leasing in South Wales, from Prestige Lease Wales page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

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Business Car Leasing in South Wales, from Prestige Lease Wales!

If you’re looking for prestigious Business Cars to Lease in Cardiff or Newport, South Wales then try the fantastic offers available from Prestige Lease Wales.

IMG_6083.JPG

IMG_6066.JPG

IMG_6024.JPG

IMG_6065.JPG

To see the fabulous Business Cars to Lease in South Wales (& Residential) please follow the link.

If contacting Prestige Lease in Wales please use the Code Twit11.

Their tel is: 01633 214910

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The Business Car Leasing in South Wales, from Prestige Lease Wales page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

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Should your B2B Business be using Facebook?

New post on Online Marketing Hub

B2B Marketing on Facebook? Yes! So Say IBM, Volvo, Salesforce & Lattice Engines
by christopherjanb

It goes without saying that Facebook is most commonly associated with consumer marketing since it’s hardly a place for industrial engineers to talk about the latest manufacturing process or for enterprise software companies to promote side by side feature comparisons.

But behind those companies are people – both on the brand and the buyer side of the B’s in B2B. B’s are people too and those people use Facebook to connect with peers socially. They may not look for product spec sheets for manufacturing hardware on Facebook, but they can get an idea of the people behind the companies they buy from as well as a more personal look at companies outside of nuts and bolts, hardware and software.

Enter our experts in B2B Marketing who use Facebook to do just that. At MarketingProfs B2B Forum last week, Joel Book from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Katie Keating from IBM and Amanda Maksymiw from Lattice Engines came together for a panel on B2B Marketing and Facebook.

The panel moderator was John Haydon from Inbound Zombie.

First up was Joel Book @JoelBook, Principal, Marketing Insights at Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget). Joel talked about his client, Volvo Construction Equipment of North America and how they have been using Facebook for B2B. If you haven’t heard of Volvo CE, they compete with CAT, Deere and other manufacturers of heavy equipment.

Volvo’s multichannel strategy for acquisition, selling and service of customers includes:
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Trade Shows, Remarketing Email, Volvo Construction Dealers, volvoce.com, Monthly Email and more. But Facebook has been particularly effective. Said one Volvo executive:

“For Volvo Construction Equipment, Facebook has been the number one social media technology for posting equipment as well as promotions and generating leads”
In Spring of 2013 Volvo CE started using Facebook ads to engage prospects by providing links to content which sent traffic to volvoCE.com. There they could convert to email subscribers. After that, Volvo began targeting existing customers with Facebook ads.

Targeted Facebook Ads were very successful for Volvo CE. Some of the targeting options focused on Facebook users with interests in the kinds of equipment Volvo CE customers buy as well as construction equipment brands that are competitive to Volvo CE.

Volvo partnered with Lego to create a Lego Technic L350F toy targeted towards individuals with specific interests in construction equipment. Promoted on Facebook and elsewhere, this was a big PR success and created brand awareness as well as adding 1,200 names to their prospect email list.

A few tips on Facebook Marketing for B2B companies from Joel:

1. Create a “social profile” of your best customers using a tool like Active Audiences from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, then use that profile to identify and target prospective customers with direct response ads using Facebook Custom Audiences.

2. Use Facebook Custom Audiences to target and attract prospective email subscribers. 68% of B2B brands say email is “core” to their business. And more B2B brands are discovering that Facebook is their top source for attracting new subscribers.

Next up was Katie Keating @ThingsSheSaid and Engagement Strategist at IBM. Katie manages all corporate social media channels for IBM, including Facebook. Her advice for B2B marketers on Facebook:

Visuals are essential. Show things behind the scenes, people, clients, and products. These are all important for driving engagement.

Think like a B2C – How do people experience your brand if they can’t touch it? For IBM it’s through their employees. IBM is spending effort on empowering employees to be brand advocates on social networks.

Try new tactics – IBM has tried things like Facebook chats and influencer research. They actually created a tool to mine influencers in India and engaged with them. This was all organic.

Let your audience “exhale” with content that’s just for fun. B2B Facebook content needs to break from products and services. Use Facebook ads to make sure you’re reaching target audiences.

On IBM’s Facebook page, they share the company’s history of innovation and behind the scenes content. Facebook post performance is closely monitored and if a post resonates organically, IBM will support it for further amplification with Facebook ads.

Last up is Amanda Maksymiw @amandamaks Content Marketing Manager at Lattice Engines, which sells predictive analytics to mid market and enterprise companies.

The Lattice Engines product is a new thing, predicting who your next customers will be, so a lot of their content is educational.

Lattice Engines’ goal with Facebook: Humanize the brand to attract and retain talent, drive engagement with Lattice Engines brand, retarget influencers, prospects and customers. Facebook ad targeting is based on interests of buyers and competitors.

Along with posting content on Facebook are offers such as the opportunity to attend a webinar.

The Lattice Engines company Facebook page is very employee focused. They engage with Facebook fans through images, conversations, text and video content.

A few tips form Amanda for B2B Marketers on Facebook:

Create and share a blend of personality and professional content. Post pictures of employees and content efforts.
Post pictures with short text – it leads to higher engagement.
Hone targeting and retargeting skills to grow, engage and convert your audience. Target based on email addresses, (custom audiences) location and interests.
So it sounds like a “human to human” approach beyond the business side of B2B actually has some legs when it comes to social networks like Facebook. Like any effort to connect with business buyers in new ways, it makes sense to experiment. See what is already happening in a B2B context in your industry, amongst competitors and early adopters within your own company. Decide what your goals are and be committed to both understanding the targeting options within Facebook as well as the type of content that will connect with business buyers when the situation is not all business.

Are you using Facebook as part of your B2B marketing mix? What lessons have you learned?

B2B marketing on Facebook?:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/b2b-marketing-on-facebook-yes-so-say-ibm-volvo-salesforce-lattice-engines/

Should your B2B Business be using Facebook?
Posted “By Mike Armstrong”

B2B Marketing on Facebook?

New post on Online Marketing Hub

B2B Marketing on Facebook? Yes! So Say IBM, Volvo, Salesforce & Lattice Engines
by christopherjanb

It goes without saying that Facebook is most commonly associated with consumer marketing since it’s hardly a place for industrial engineers to talk about the latest manufacturing process or for enterprise software companies to promote side by side feature comparisons.

But behind those companies are people – both on the brand and the buyer side of the B’s in B2B. B’s are people too and those people use Facebook to connect with peers socially. They may not look for product spec sheets for manufacturing hardware on Facebook, but they can get an idea of the people behind the companies they buy from as well as a more personal look at companies outside of nuts and bolts, hardware and software.

Enter our experts in B2B Marketing who use Facebook to do just that. At MarketingProfs B2B Forum last week, Joel Book from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Katie Keating from IBM and Amanda Maksymiw from Lattice Engines came together for a panel on B2B Marketing and Facebook.

The panel moderator was John Haydon from Inbound Zombie.

First up was Joel Book @JoelBook, Principal, Marketing Insights at Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget). Joel talked about his client, Volvo Construction Equipment of North America and how they have been using Facebook for B2B. If you haven’t heard of Volvo CE, they compete with CAT, Deere and other manufacturers of heavy equipment.

Volvo’s multichannel strategy for acquisition, selling and service of customers includes:
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Trade Shows, Remarketing Email, Volvo Construction Dealers, volvoce.com, Monthly Email and more. But Facebook has been particularly effective. Said one Volvo executive:

“For Volvo Construction Equipment, Facebook has been the number one social media technology for posting equipment as well as promotions and generating leads”
In Spring of 2013 Volvo CE started using Facebook ads to engage prospects by providing links to content which sent traffic to volvoCE.com. There they could convert to email subscribers. After that, Volvo began targeting existing customers with Facebook ads.

Targeted Facebook Ads were very successful for Volvo CE. Some of the targeting options focused on Facebook users with interests in the kinds of equipment Volvo CE customers buy as well as construction equipment brands that are competitive to Volvo CE.

Volvo partnered with Lego to create a Lego Technic L350F toy targeted towards individuals with specific interests in construction equipment. Promoted on Facebook and elsewhere, this was a big PR success and created brand awareness as well as adding 1,200 names to their prospect email list.

A few tips on Facebook Marketing for B2B companies from Joel:

1. Create a “social profile” of your best customers using a tool like Active Audiences from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, then use that profile to identify and target prospective customers with direct response ads using Facebook Custom Audiences.

2. Use Facebook Custom Audiences to target and attract prospective email subscribers. 68% of B2B brands say email is “core” to their business. And more B2B brands are discovering that Facebook is their top source for attracting new subscribers.

Next up was Katie Keating @ThingsSheSaid and Engagement Strategist at IBM. Katie manages all corporate social media channels for IBM, including Facebook. Her advice for B2B marketers on Facebook:

Visuals are essential. Show things behind the scenes, people, clients, and products. These are all important for driving engagement.

Think like a B2C – How do people experience your brand if they can’t touch it? For IBM it’s through their employees. IBM is spending effort on empowering employees to be brand advocates on social networks.

Try new tactics – IBM has tried things like Facebook chats and influencer research. They actually created a tool to mine influencers in India and engaged with them. This was all organic.

Let your audience “exhale” with content that’s just for fun. B2B Facebook content needs to break from products and services. Use Facebook ads to make sure you’re reaching target audiences.

On IBM’s Facebook page, they share the company’s history of innovation and behind the scenes content. Facebook post performance is closely monitored and if a post resonates organically, IBM will support it for further amplification with Facebook ads.

Last up is Amanda Maksymiw @amandamaks Content Marketing Manager at Lattice Engines, which sells predictive analytics to mid market and enterprise companies.

The Lattice Engines product is a new thing, predicting who your next customers will be, so a lot of their content is educational.

Lattice Engines’ goal with Facebook: Humanize the brand to attract and retain talent, drive engagement with Lattice Engines brand, retarget influencers, prospects and customers. Facebook ad targeting is based on interests of buyers and competitors.

Along with posting content on Facebook are offers such as the opportunity to attend a webinar.

The Lattice Engines company Facebook page is very employee focused. They engage with Facebook fans through images, conversations, text and video content.

A few tips form Amanda for B2B Marketers on Facebook:

Create and share a blend of personality and professional content. Post pictures of employees and content efforts.
Post pictures with short text – it leads to higher engagement.
Hone targeting and retargeting skills to grow, engage and convert your audience. Target based on email addresses, (custom audiences) location and interests.
So it sounds like a “human to human” approach beyond the business side of B2B actually has some legs when it comes to social networks like Facebook. Like any effort to connect with business buyers in new ways, it makes sense to experiment. See what is already happening in a B2B context in your industry, amongst competitors and early adopters within your own company. Decide what your goals are and be committed to both understanding the targeting options within Facebook as well as the type of content that will connect with business buyers when the situation is not all business.

Are you using Facebook as part of your B2B marketing mix? What lessons have you learned?

B2B marketing on Facebook?:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/b2b-marketing-on-facebook-yes-so-say-ibm-volvo-salesforce-lattice-engines/

B2B Marketing on Facebook?
Posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Content Marketing for B2B businesses!

New post on Online Marketing Hub

When do B2B Tech Companies Need Content Marketing? Inspiration for 2015 Marketing Planning
by christopherjanb

Speaking at both a B2B Marketing and a Public Relations conference in the space of a week has yielded some insightful discussions. Many of those conversations have focused on the transition from where the B2B companies are today – a mix of tactics directed squarely at the C-level customer – and where a content marketing strategy might take them.

With my involvement in the B2B marketing space, I get to talk to a lot of marketing and PR professionals about marketing and communications programs. The desire to “do more” and innovate marketing isn’t unique – it’s pretty common across the board, especially with 2015 planning under way.

In the B2B technology world, traditional digital marketing tends to focus directly on the customer as defined by sales. Investments are made in advertising and editorial in the appropriate publications, speaking and sponsoring at the right events and creating a mix of owned media such as white papers, case studies and reports in the hopes that a C-level executive will find, read and be inspired by them.

That’s a tough hill to climb.

Creating a mix of content assets that describe a tech company’s products and services is not content marketing in the way that we practice it today.

Content Marketing is Strategic
Content Marketing is an approach and commitment by a brand to understand the specific needs of a target audience segment and to plan, create and promote content that addresses those needs. Content Marketing programs reaches, engages and inspires buyers as well as those that influencer buyers. The editorial plans that drive a strategic approach to content marketing include specific goals right along with the ability to adjust and optimize program performance.

What many B2B companies are doing with their marketing and content is to execute tactics – create a blog, videos, microsite, articles, and other content without necessarily connecting those tactics to an overarching business goal (outside of hoping for leads).

Content, media and advertising directed only at the C-level buyer misses two important points:

Every other B2B technology company is doing the same things, going after the same C-level executives, creating information numbness
Actual users of the technology are more influential on C-level decisions to buy than most B2B vendors think
There are so many B2B technology companies with terrific products and services following “the way we’ve always done it” marketing, it represents an huge opportunity for education and change. Differentiation of message and means to connect with B2B tech buyers isn’t just aspirational, it’s a necessity. Identifying, qualifying and engaging internal and external influencers is also essential.

When is it the right time for a B2B technology company to commit to a content marketing strategy?
Right now of course.

Guided by a strategy that answers why, for who and to what end, tech companies can plan and implement content programs accountable to how buyers discover, consume and act on information that will lead to engagement and sales – even advocacy.

For example, a white paper authored with an industry analyst for the B2B company can be joined by an eBook c0-created with customers and influencers that serves as a resource for the industry. Not only are thought leadership objectives served with such an eBook, but so are customer acquisition and advocacy as the eBook is customized for specific customer segments and repurposed across channels from social networks to email to paid search ads.

I’m a firm believe in content marketing as a “right now” strategy, but I’m even more bullish on the notion of co-creation and what I like to call “Participation Marketing”. With co-created content marketing, not only do you create a higher quality content asset that participants are inspired to help promote, but you create an experience for the customers, influencers and prospects involved with it.

This is exactly what we do with conference eBooks. Over the past 3 years, we’ve not only connected with over 100 Fortune 1000 marketing executive decision makers, but we’ve created memorable experiences by co-creating content that helps advance our mutual goals. This type of approach is entirely transferrable to B2B companies that engage in industry events.

Informing buyers and constituents about your technology solutions isn’t enough to be competitive in the B2B space. Humanization of B2B content is essential to differentiate and create more relevant and meaningful experiences.

What I love about working with tech companies in the B2B space is that they often have great products, an impressive roster of customers and important insights about those customers. More often than not, they also need someone with a strategic perspective that can pull all those important ingredients together to create content marketing strategy.

Creating such a strategy and introducing creative ideas from other industries and engagements is exactly what I find so compelling. As B2B companies undergo their planning for 2015, I hope posts like this one provide some perspective on the role that a content marketing strategy can play in the marketing mix for next year and beyond.

For more on this B2B Content Marketing Article or other content marketing see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/when-do-b2b-tech-companies-need-content-marketing-inspiration-for-2015-marketing-planning/

The Content Marketing for B2B businesses page posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Business to Business Content Marketing

New post on Online Marketing Hub

When do B2B Tech Companies Need Content Marketing? Inspiration for 2015 Marketing Planning
by christopherjanb

Speaking at both a B2B Marketing and a Public Relations conference in the space of a week has yielded some insightful discussions. Many of those conversations have focused on the transition from where the B2B companies are today – a mix of tactics directed squarely at the C-level customer – and where a content marketing strategy might take them.

With my involvement in the B2B marketing space, I get to talk to a lot of marketing and PR professionals about marketing and communications programs. The desire to “do more” and innovate marketing isn’t unique – it’s pretty common across the board, especially with 2015 planning under way.

In the B2B technology world, traditional digital marketing tends to focus directly on the customer as defined by sales. Investments are made in advertising and editorial in the appropriate publications, speaking and sponsoring at the right events and creating a mix of owned media such as white papers, case studies and reports in the hopes that a C-level executive will find, read and be inspired by them.

That’s a tough hill to climb.

Creating a mix of content assets that describe a tech company’s products and services is not content marketing in the way that we practice it today.

Content Marketing is Strategic
Content Marketing is an approach and commitment by a brand to understand the specific needs of a target audience segment and to plan, create and promote content that addresses those needs. Content Marketing programs reaches, engages and inspires buyers as well as those that influencer buyers. The editorial plans that drive a strategic approach to content marketing include specific goals right along with the ability to adjust and optimize program performance.

What many B2B companies are doing with their marketing and content is to execute tactics – create a blog, videos, microsite, articles, and other content without necessarily connecting those tactics to an overarching business goal (outside of hoping for leads).

Content, media and advertising directed only at the C-level buyer misses two important points:

Every other B2B technology company is doing the same things, going after the same C-level executives, creating information numbness
Actual users of the technology are more influential on C-level decisions to buy than most B2B vendors think
There are so many B2B technology companies with terrific products and services following “the way we’ve always done it” marketing, it represents an huge opportunity for education and change. Differentiation of message and means to connect with B2B tech buyers isn’t just aspirational, it’s a necessity. Identifying, qualifying and engaging internal and external influencers is also essential.

When is it the right time for a B2B technology company to commit to a content marketing strategy?
Right now of course.

Guided by a strategy that answers why, for who and to what end, tech companies can plan and implement content programs accountable to how buyers discover, consume and act on information that will lead to engagement and sales – even advocacy.

For example, a white paper authored with an industry analyst for the B2B company can be joined by an eBook c0-created with customers and influencers that serves as a resource for the industry. Not only are thought leadership objectives served with such an eBook, but so are customer acquisition and advocacy as the eBook is customized for specific customer segments and repurposed across channels from social networks to email to paid search ads.

I’m a firm believe in content marketing as a “right now” strategy, but I’m even more bullish on the notion of co-creation and what I like to call “Participation Marketing”. With co-created content marketing, not only do you create a higher quality content asset that participants are inspired to help promote, but you create an experience for the customers, influencers and prospects involved with it.

This is exactly what we do with conference eBooks. Over the past 3 years, we’ve not only connected with over 100 Fortune 1000 marketing executive decision makers, but we’ve created memorable experiences by co-creating content that helps advance our mutual goals. This type of approach is entirely transferrable to B2B companies that engage in industry events.

Informing buyers and constituents about your technology solutions isn’t enough to be competitive in the B2B space. Humanization of B2B content is essential to differentiate and create more relevant and meaningful experiences.

What I love about working with tech companies in the B2B space is that they often have great products, an impressive roster of customers and important insights about those customers. More often than not, they also need someone with a strategic perspective that can pull all those important ingredients together to create content marketing strategy.

Creating such a strategy and introducing creative ideas from other industries and engagements is exactly what I find so compelling. As B2B companies undergo their planning for 2015, I hope posts like this one provide some perspective on the role that a content marketing strategy can play in the marketing mix for next year and beyond.

For more on this B2B Content Marketing Article or other content marketing see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/when-do-b2b-tech-companies-need-content-marketing-inspiration-for-2015-marketing-planning/

B2B Content Marketing page posted “By Mike Armstrong”