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7 Steps to Help B2B Marketers Get Up to Speed on Social Media

June 9, 2013 by Wendy Marx

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This post originally appeared in a slightly different version onFast-Company-logo.

Who cares if 25,000 people follow you on Twitter if you’re not engaging with any of them?

Amazingly, many B2B marketers still don’t get social media.

A recent CMO Survey reported that while B2B social media spending increased 9.6% last year, the majority of B2B companies failed to integrate social media into their business practices.

“The biggest challenge is that many companies view social media as a cute promotional activity rather than a strategic marketing activity,” says Christine Moorman, director of The CMO Survey and T. Austin Finch senior professor of business administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

According to Brian Kardon, CMO, Lattice Engines, “We’re in the ‘silo’ stage, where most social is generally segregated from the rest of the organization.”

A big problem is that most B2B companies don’t understand that this rapid-fire media requires a combined technology and business approach. Rather than strategizing how to engage with their followers, many companies leave the heavy lifting to “some kid out of college who tweets but has no knowledge of business processes,” says Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing at Kinvey.

B2B companies pay a price for the lack of integration. A 2011 global survey of senior B2B and B2C managers found a significantly high correlation between financial performance and social media integration, says Steven Van Belleghem, author of The Conversation Company, and former managing director of InSites Consulting, which fielded the survey.

So where does that leave marketers? Here are 7 steps to take to help you increase your social media effectiveness:

1. Understand why social matters. “Social media is becoming a real competitive advantage for the companies that do it well; the gap is widening between the companies that have been organizing around social media and those that have not,” says Kardon.
2. Create goals. What do you want to achieve from your social media? Do you want to track sales, monitor customer complaints, grow brand equity? Do you want to push or pull?
3. Get top management buy-in. “You need a champion to get people from across the organization to pay attention and act,” says Moorman.
4. Give social media a home. In our experience and that of many experts, it belongs in marketing so it can be integrated with other marketing channels.
5. Structure your social media team. The need to prioritize what to do and get it done quickly has disrupted the traditional setup of the marketing organization,” says Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, CMO, Mindjet, which has developed “scrum teams” comprised of design, media buying, development and all the other resources necessary to executive a strategic campaign. Regardless of the approach, however, there has to be a built-in workflow system linking social to customer service, sales, operations and other business processes.
6. Train employees. Don’t just assume they get and feel comfortable using this media form.
7. Get accountable. Establish an accountability system that demonstrates social media’s impact on your objectives.

Social media is not an indulgence. Companies that fail to take these steps will find themselves outflanked by their competitors.

How Can You Improve Your Social Media Results? Take a second to complete this form to reserve your  *free* social media consultation.  

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Filed Under: b2b marketing, b2b social media, Blog, Insights, organizational structure, social media | Leave a Comment

How PR Can Help B2B Start Ups

May 22, 2013 by Wendy Marx

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This post originally appeared in a slightly different version on Fast-Company-logo

PR Done Right Makes a Difference, From the Start

Recently, I attended NY Tech Day where 400 hungry startups sought to garner some love, along with media and VC attention, at their respective booths.

The zealous self-promotion raises an interesting issue: How do you make your business stand out in a sea of entrepreneurial energy? How do you get people to care about your company?

Consider these facts:

- A survey of CEOs found startup companies that engage in PR are 30 percent more successful in securing early funding than those that don’t.

- Well-known VC firms are diving into the publicity game, with firms like Kleiner Perkins, Andreessen Horowitz, and Sequoia hiring in-house PR talent.

One simple reason startups and their financial backers are entering the PR arena? Publicity done right works. Over the years, my B2B PR firm has launched many startups. We’ve found PR can truly make the difference in attracting new customers, increasing revenues–and catching the ultimate brass ring–funding.

Don’t for a second, however, think PR for newcomers is a slam dunk. No one cares about the latest whiz-bang product or service released by an unknown company unless it does something amazing. And most new products or services won’t knock your socks off. This is where public relations shines. A good PR person can properly position your product or service–or yourself–so people care. Great PR–and yes, there is such a thing–transforms a product or service into something meaningful.

Consider the term “Certified Pre-Owned Car.” I’m old enough to remember when the term didn’t exist. You simply bought a used car. It didn’t give you a lot of bragging rights. The geniuses who created the terminology “Certified Pre-Owned Car” turned the negative connotation into a positive. Suddenly, a used car had to meet certain standards and criteria. Better yet, it often came with a warranty. Of course, all those goodies were folded into a car’s price. But at least you received something solid for your money. You didn’t worry that the car was a clunker, and you could take pride in your “like new” car.

Let’s look at another example–this from a startup called lettrs (a client of my agency, incidentally). The company recently launched an iPhone app it positions as a “post office in your hand” that lets you write and send digital and postal letters directly from your phone, turning the iPhone into a mobile writing desk. The positioning and analogy turned what could have been just another app into something immediately understandable and compelling. Most of the press coverage highlighted the digital-post office positioning, as this Mashable piece illustrates.

So before you start hawking your new venture, develop your messaging and positioning. This will help you stand out and help make your product memorable and engaging. After all, you can be just another has-been company, or you can Think Different.

 

Filed Under: b2b marketing, B2B PR, B2B Public Relations, Blog, Startups | 1 Comment

3 Crucial Steps For Content Marketing Success

December 6, 2012 by Wendy Marx

Everyone in marketing tries to do it. What most folks don’t realize, is that very few do it well.

What are we referring to? Content marketing, of course. Otherwise known as branded content, brand journalism, or business story-telling, among other monikers.

It’s apparent a phrase is popular when it spawns its own lexicon. Or when mega brands like Coca-Cola embrace it. The soft drink empire recently revamped its website in homage to content marketing.

You can tell “content marketing” has entered the list of marketing terms when you find any number of conferences devoted to the topic. Take the example of the all-day content-marketing event given by the Content Marketing Institute in cooperation with Target Marketing and Publishing Executive. The event, titled Content Marketing World NYC, brought in a plethora of content marketers (and those seeking to become content marketers). It was also chaired by two content marketing industry elites: Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose. The two co-authored one of the foremost books on the topic, along with other accomplishments.

You may be wondering to yourself, “OK, so what’s so great about content marketing?”

Advertising, it seems, has lost much of its effectiveness. We live in a world where the average person is bombarded by some 3,000 brand impressions a day. According to research firm Altimeter Group, advertising needs to function together with other media, including company–created content and user-generated content. Content marketing in its most fundamental definition, is content a brand owns or publishes without any media buys, according to Altimeter.

That of course is the baseline. In order to be truly effective, content marketing, as Pulizzi and Rose stressed at the Content Marketing World event, must tell a story that allows people to engage with a brand. Moreover, it can’t be a one-time wonder but should be a long-term commitment, or as Rose phrased it, “Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.”

In fact, a marathon is the perfect analogy. Besides being a time-consuming process,  it also requires some heavy lifting. It’s no surprise that a survey by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs discovered that only roughly a third of over 1,400 B2B marketers surveyed said they believed their content marketing campaigns effective.

Here are 3 key elements from Robert Rose to increase the effectiveness of your content marketing:

 

  • Tell a story. A story is a natural way to grab people’s attention. It draws you in and captures your emotions as well as your mind. What’s more interesting – a list of facts or a story that weaves the same elements into an engaging narrative?
  • Implement a strategy. Like any effective program, content marketing must be supported by a solid strategy. A company should understand its audience, business needs and what will appeal to its various market segments. According to Rose, the reason why most content marketing doesn’t succeed is that many companies dive right in without a strategy. Once you have a strategy in place you need a replicable process to produce your content.
  • Use channels to tell your story. No longer can you tell your story exclusively on your website. As Rebecca Lieb and Jeremiah Owyang observe in the Altimeter report on The Converged Media Imperative: “Brands are challenged to intercept this elusive customer and cut through the media clutter, regardless of whatever channel or medium consumers are engaged with.”

 

What are you doing to accelerate your Content Marketing? I look forward to hearing from you.

Filed Under: b2b content marketing, b2b marketing, B2B PR, B2B Public Relations, Blog, content marketing, Insights | Leave a Comment

5 Ways to Create a Successful, Integrated B2B Marketing Campaign

November 20, 2012 by Wendy Marx

How can you convert a humble, sales-focused company into a B2B marketing dynamo?

Take for example Lincoln Financial Group, a historically, sales-based organization, which made a complete, 180-degree turn over the last year. The financial services, insurance, and annuities business – over a century old – stormed out with an innovative marketing campaign that transformed it into a major media and marketing player. Among other accolades, the corporation was recently named Communicator of the Year by the Business Marketing Association of New York.

Credit Jamie DePeau, the company’s CMO, who joined the team around a year ago from TIAA-CREF. She clearly brought a strategic marketing focus with her. Although Lincoln had already begun heading in a new direction before DePeau grabbed the reigns, DePeau introduced the integrated marketing mindset to PR, advertising, and social media.

Earlier, Lincoln Financial had done research indicating that the more control people have over certain aspects of their lives, including their finances, the better they feel about their life’s direction.

Lincoln Financial, in cooperation with its agency, gyro, used findings from that research to develop a “Chief Life Officer” campaign. It aimed to empower consumers by appealing to their optimism and ability to take charge of their lives. In past times, Lincoln, which offers its products through intermediaries like employers, advisers, and agents, had targeted the middlemen instead of the end user: the consumer.

“On launch day, our new campaign promoted everyone to CEO of his or her own life. A position we refer to as the “Chief Life Officer,” said DePeau. “It recognizes the fact that our lives are in many ways like a business. We’re in charge of making major decisions, managing our finances and keeping morale positive. The primary message is that you’re the boss of your life, and Lincoln Financial is here to help you take charge.”

After the launch, DePeau initiated additional research. To Lincoln Financial’s surprise, consumers, especially women, were more optimistic about their ability to influence their future than Lincoln had expected. In fact, the MOOD of America Survey showed that about 75% of women said they were optimistic about the future compared to 66% of men.

Based upon these findings, Lincoln Financial created an integrated campaign of PR, advertising, social media, as well as educational content, all geared towards Lincoln Financial and women.

“We tend to believe that because we’re speaking to the business or consumer community, our advertising doesn’t have to be emotionally driven,” said DePeau. “You must incorporate the emotional component, plus help educate the consumer, instead of merely talking to them.

“While others in the category tended to use fear in their advertising, we believed the time was right to try a different, more optimistic approach.”

Integrating public relations, social media, and advertising, the campaign featured a video of women of all ages showing how they take charge of their lives. It also provided educational content to help women do just that. The PR was driven from the research results. The Chief Life Officer ads carried on the “take charge, optimistic theme,” which was restated through social media.

And how has the integrated campaign turned out?

After having been released for four months, brand awareness is up, according to DePeau, and among the consumers aware of the campaign, all key attributes that influence consideration and purchase behavior have increased by double digits.

5 tips from Jamie DePeau on creating a successful integrated marketing campaign:

1. Research-centric approach: “The entire time we researched our target audience and watched our competitors to make sure we completely understood American’s attitudes after 2008 and expectations for their financial services partner, plus how to significantlydifferentiate a financial services brand from it’s competition.”

2. Emotion first: Appeal to people’s emotions as well as logic. Finance is an extremely emotional and personal issue. “We weren’t afraid to initially approach it with emotion and then provide tools and education after the emotional appeal.”

3. Integrated campaign: PR and internal brand communications are just as crucial as advertising.

4. Media partnerships: Initiated focused, vertically cohesive media partnerships that lengthened reach while experimenting with new media channels.

5. Inside out: “Internal branding started first and our November 2010 launch was focused on employees. We wanted to get employees across the country engaging with the new campaign and turning into brand ambassadors for Lincoln.”

 

PS - Do you want to grow your marketing database? I’ve recently partnered with lead generation expert Jeff Ogden to offer an exciting new program to help you do this. Check out this brief video below to learn more.

Filed Under: b2b marketing, B2B PR, B2B Public Relations, Blog | Leave a Comment

B2B Marketing Sales Leads Launches!

October 2, 2012 by Wendy Marx

Noted Demand Generation Expert Jeff Ogden and Award-Winning PR Veteran Wendy Marx Launch B2B Marketing Sales Leads

Trumbull, CT, October 2, 2012 – Jeff Ogden, noted demand generation expert, and award-winning B2B PR maven Wendy Marx have teamed up to create B2B Marketing Sales Leads, a unique 90- day consultancy guaranteed to drive marketing ROI through an integrated demand generation program.

B2B Marketing Sales Leads is a two-part program. The first part focuses on driving traffic to a landing page through a hub-and-spoke approach using multichannel content created by B2B content marketing experts. The second part of the program is a sales qualification process. Leads are nurtured through an email campaign and scored for readiness to buy. You receive warm, qualified leads for conversion.

With B2B Marketing Sales Leads, you can:

  • Confidently Generate Qualified Leads: The custom-designed hub-and-spoke model ensures you get leads within 90 days. If you are not happy with the program, you can get a full refund within 30 days.
  • Easily Qualify Leads: The lead nurturing program lets you focus on the most profitable leads.
  • Intelligently Fulfill Leads: You receive a hierarchy of warm, qualified leads for faster conversion.

About B2B Marketing Sales Leads

Ogden, creator of Find New Customers, was named one of the 50 most influential people in lead management in 2011 by The Sales Lead Management Association. In addition, Ogden’s blog, Fearless Competitor. was named the #1 B2B Blog of 2012 by BuyerZone. Marx, founder of Marx Communications, an award-winning PR and marketing communications agency, is an expert blogger on B2B PR and marketing best practices forFast Company and was named to the Nifty Fifty Top Women of Twitter in 2011.

To learn more, please visit http://b2bmarketingsalesleads.com/

B2B Marketing Sales Leads is a guaranteed step-by-step approach that ties marketing to sales leads. Structured around a single-issue call to action, it guarantees generation of sales leads within 30 days. It can transform your business into a lead machine through a coordinated campaign that combines social media, press releases, email marketing, websites, pay-per-click ads, blog posts and other contributed content.

B2B Marketing Sales Leads is integrated with all major marketing automation programs such as Marketo, Eloqua, and Act-On Software. It can also be integrated with Salesforce.com for companies that are not currently using marketing automation.

“I’m tired of boring websites, crappy content, and mind-numbing ‘me, me, me’ product information, and I bet you are too,” said Ogden. “Unfortunately, prospective buyers are bored too, which is why salespeople lack enough qualified leads to make quota. B2B Marketing Sales Leads helps small- to mid-sized businesses implement and deploy world-class lead generation programs.”

“Doing random acts of marketing – a bunch of strung-together marketing tactics without a plan or focus – is a recipe for disaster,” said Marx. “It wastes money and time, and it fails to generate the sales opportunities your people really need. Our Hub and Spoke approach is highly focused, helping you identify that one key pain to address, that one market segment to target, and that one call to action that delivers an effective solution.”

Contact B2B Marketing Sales Leads by visitinghttp://www.b2bmarketingsalesleads.com or send an email to info at b2bmarketingsalesleads.com.

About Find New Customers

Find New Customers was founded by Jeff Ogden in 2009 to address the growing needs of salespeople to change the ways they attract, engage and win new customers. Since then, it has helped companies such as Keyedin, Protegrity and others to develop and implement world-class demand generation programs. Find New Customers has also done professional content development for Marketo, Genius.com, Aplicor and Silverpop. Ogden is the creator and host of Marketing Made Simple TV. To learn more, visithttp://findnewcustomers.com and sign up there for free weekly marketing tips.

About Marx Communications

Marx Communications is made up of B2B PR specialists that help companies craft the right message, cutting through the multichannel clutter so it can be heard clearly by a receptive audience. Founder Wendy Marx, winner of two regional Gold Mercury awards from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), helps companies and executives grow their thought leadership as they grow their sales. Over her career, she has helped numerous B2B startups to become well-known industry brands, including marketing gurus Peppers & Rogers Group and TheStreet.com’s equity research shop. Her firm’s clients are regularly interviewed by CNBC, Barron’sThe New York Times, The Wall Street JournalBloomberg BusinessWeek and other major media worldwide.  To learn more, visithttp://www.marxcommunications.com 

Filed Under: b2b marketing, B2B PR, Blog | Leave a Comment