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Marketing: Trading in Fluff for Buff

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”

-- Coco Chanel  

 I love that quote by fashion maven Coco Chanel. In today’s B2B marketing world, challenges can’t be addressed using outdated marketing tactics – hoping they will magically open new opportunities along with new revenue and ROI.

Growing trends in customer buying behavior and the technology used to make purchases are driving major changes for the role of marketing. As marketers, this gives us a fantastic opportunity. We can transform from what has sometimes been seen as simply “fluff” (and what many sales executives see as a cost center) into a revenue-generating center. Read More »

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The Customer is King at Cisco Live

Last week, I was at Cisco Live in Orlando, Florida where I experienced first-hand the magnitude of opportunity and marketing value that lies in interacting with the customer.

This year’s Cisco Live theme is “What You Make Possible,” and this relates well to today’s B2B marketers and their customers. The message that resonates with customers today is not what “we the company” do, but how we help our customers succeed and thrive long term. As marketers, this means exercising foresight on our customers’ behalf, as well as advocating near-term solutions to help drive their success.

As a marketer, implementing these B2B best practices is the best way to enhance this focus on customers: Read More »

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Seven Important Takeaways from the 2011 MarketingSherpa B2B Summit

Last week, I attended  the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit in Boston. The line-up of speakers was fabulous including Jay Baer, Kristin Zhivago and numerous experts from MECLABS; all of them providing fascinating information on how to optimize the B2B lead generation funnel.  Here are a few things that resonated with me:

The biggest challenges for B2B marketers are 1) generating high-quality sales leads, 2) providing a sufficient volume of leads to sales, and 3) accommodating lengthening sales cycles. No real surprise there. I’m sure all of us experience these challenges.

What is surprising is that B2B marketers don’t appear to be adapting new marketing practices that can help to address these challenges. According to research from MarketingSherpa, 61% of marketers send all leads directly to sales but only 27% of these leads are actually qualified.  68% of marketers have not identified a sales funnel, 79% are not scoring their leads and 65% have no nurturing campaigns in place.  Clearly, there is an opportunity for us to address  the premature handoff of leads to sales,  identify and articulate a lead funnel  that we can support with marketing , and begin to develop lead scoring and nurturing processes. 

The value proposition is the essence of marketing.  Your value proposition should address two key questions: What does your company do? and Why should a buyer that meets your ideal customer profile buy from you and not one of your competitors?  It’s important to include at least one key differentiator in your value proposition that identifies what makes your solution or service unique and better than your competition.

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Marketing Collateral & The IT Buyer

As a technology marketer, do you ever wonder how (or if) the marketing collateral you work hard to create is used by IT buyers in their purchasing decisions? What influence does this material actually have?

According to a report by Eccolo Media (Eccolo Media 2010 B2B Technology Survey Report, www.eccollomedia.com), the quality, format, length and topic of marketing collateral substantially affects the purchase decision. The delivery channel through which assets are made available is also a factor.  

Here are four points that I thought particularly interesting from this report:

1)  A wide range of collateral types are used by decision-makers and influencers during a technology purchase, but not all are created equal in terms of influencing power.

Data sheets  were the most frequently utilized type of collateral by IT buyers (83%), followed closely by white papers (76%), case studies and success stories (67%), videos (59%), and podcasts (40%).

Interesting side  note – The use of video and podcasts/audio content continues to grow significantly with an increase of 8% for each of these vehicles over the prior year results.

What are the types of collateral that influence a purchasing decision the most? Read More »

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Dirty Data & Your Marketing

Customer and prospect data is the life’s blood of truly effective marketing.  As marketers we acknowledge this, but are we focused more on the size of our databases? Is size really what matters? Ok. It matters a little, but it may be that quality matters more. When your data is old, incomplete, inaccurate (aka dirty), marketing performance and ultimately sales suffer.  In fact, in a recent DemandGen Report, it’s not only sales and marketing that are impacted. Surveyed companies noted that Finance (30%) and customer relationships (54%) are also effected.

So how bad is our data? According to the DemandGen Report, more than 62% of companies rely on marketing data that is 20% to 40% incomplete or inaccurate. Almost 85% of the companies surveyed say they are operating CRM and sales databases that house between 10% and 40% bad records.

What is bad data, exactly? It can be as simple as an email address missing from a record that is otherwise current, duplicate records, incorrect contact information for a company that otherwise meets your ideal customer target… basically, it’s any data that impedes your ability to reach the contact from a marketing and sales perspective.

With 8 out of 10 companies that their lead generation efforts have been effected by bad data, what can you do to make sure that your company is not one of them?

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