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B2b Marketing News & Analysis

B2B Marketers Unite with National Advertisers #ANAMasters

digital marketing, B2B Marketers United in Merger with National Advertisers #ANAMastersThe technology's there, and the door's open for innovation. But everything is so complicated.

It's an interesting dichotomy for B2B marketers -- where technological advancements are met with increased difficulties in the world in which they market.

"Complexity is exploding," said Stephen J. Liguori, founder and CEO of Liguori Innovation and the global chairman of the Business Marketing Association (BMA), the 17-chapter, 2,500-member network of B2B marketing peers. "B2B marketers have all the opportunities and challenges in reaching their customers in new ways just like B2C companies."

However, Liguori continued, "we additionally work in extremely complex markets and companies. Examples: digitally connecting healthcare equipment in hospitals to support doctors, nurses and patients. Building apps for airline pilots to fly shorter, smoother routes to save money and time. So gaining new skills and expertise to successfully navigate this complex world is critical."

Marketing Challenge: Social Recommendations or Content Marketing?

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Why aren't B2B marketers doing more to generate recommendations for their brands? I mean every B2B marketer (or head of sales, for that matter) understands how important positive word of mouth and referrals are, right?

And these days, it’s easy to leverage social media to amplify favorable comments about your brand, products or content. Yet my experience is that few B2B marketers are making it a priority to generate these “social recommendations” as part of their marketing strategy.

Why is that?

Three Tips For a Bang-Up Blog

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Looking to get the most bang for your blog?

Follow the three-step playbook created by Anum Hussain, a growth marketer for HubSpot's inbound sales division, created after staring down the daunting challenge of creating a new blog HubSpot’s sales acceleration product, Sidekick. 

It's not enough just to have a blog, she said, you've got to create the right one.

Tweets to Treasure: Better Trend Analysis

2014-28-August-Sean Goggins and Ian Graves.jpgThere’s something intriguing about wandering anonymously through the day, going wherever you want, doing whatever you want — no questions asked, no calls from the office.

Too bad that rarely happens anymore.

Thanks to social networks like Twitter, a worldwide broadcast of your every move and mood is just 140-characters away. We've come a long way since 2008, when many of today's most tweet-happy users (myself included) complained about their fears of being followed and argued that the minutia of someone else's life isn’t interesting enough to distract their attention.

Nope, we've learned that Twitter really is the gateway to deeper, more meaningful communication — and allows people to more deeply connect, share resources, share online opportunities and collaborate.

And now researchers at the University of Missouri claim they've found a way to make Twitter even more useful for those who believe there's actually a lot of treasure in those tweets.

5 Ways to Sharpen Your B2B Marketing on LinkedIn

digital marketing, Five Ways to Sharpen Your B2B Marketing on LinkedIn

Raise your hand if you've been told LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B social media marketing

So we've all heard that one.

And here is the thing. It might be true for your company. Or it might not be.

If it is, though, there are a few things you should know — not the first of which is the new marketing features LinkedIn itself produced last week that focus on testing and personalization.

And if your company is investing in it as a B2B marketing platform, here are a few things to know as you take the plunge.

Do Omnichannel Principles Work for B2B?

2014-07-July-Magic-8-Ball.jpgYou may be familiar with the poster children for omnichannel B2C marketing -- Tesco, Macy’s and Nordstrom’s. The companies gained significant admiration for their ability to gain insights from shopping patterns and then offer that same user the perfect pair of shoes, or coupon, whenever they are ready to purchase -- be it in store, in-app or online.  

In the B2B world text messages, in-store shopping and coupons are close to irrelevant. Impulse buys never happen, acquiring a new customer unsolicited is unlikely, and while e-commerce does exist, its intent is entirely different. It’s not surprising that omnichannel is not a hot buzzword in this space.

The question remains “why?” Is it because it’s not relevant or because it’s relevant, but still too complex to generalize? Will omnichannel as a trend carry a significant shift in how we operate in the entire business world in the next few years?

Sales and Marketing Strategies from the #WorldCup

digital marketing, Five Ways Marketers Can Empower Sales With Strong Leads

World Cup soccer is a marketing goldmine. Just ask McDonald's.

So what lessons can we apply from this major sporting event to B2B marketing and sales? Officials at marketing software provider CallidusCloud say record-breaking viewership confirms that quality performance can deliver high returns. And this is a lesson that can be applied to sales and marketing.

Giles House, chief marketing officer at CallidusCloud, said marketers should try to balance the needs of sales when they pass on leads.

House shared five steps every marketer should take to keep the sales team supplied with quality leads.

There's More to E-Commerce than Mobile and Social

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Mobile and social. Invest in them now, right?

Well, if it's not those two surging platforms that are doing the trick for your organization, why put so much stock in them?

EPiServer’s third annual 2014 e-Commerce Survey of e-commerce practitioners, conducted at the 10th annual Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition, the world’s largest e-commerce event, revealed that mobile and social may not be as "surging" as they seem.

For instance, 64 percent of those surveyed claimed less than 20 percent of their business sales came through mobile transactions. But mobile ranked as the top priority in regards to future investments for those surveyed. 

Similarly, 93 percent of those surveyed said transactions are made through their website rather than their social site. However, social ranked third in terms of future investment areas for those surveyed.

EPiServer's message? Put your money in what's working now.

Good News for B2B Marketers to Share with the C-Suite

Marketers are usually a paranoid bunch, we've come to learn. Will I go extinct? Does my work even matter?

Bizo says it does. Its annual State of B2B Lead Nurturing Report revealed 60 percent of marketers deliver at least 20 percent of B2B company revenues — and almost 25 percent contribute more than 40 percent. 

"Marketing organizations everywhere are taking on more influential roles when it comes to supporting company revenue growth targets," Jennifer Agustin, senior director of marketing at Bizo, told CMSWire. "Data like this supports the idea that marketing is more accountable than ever, and can play a more active and strategic role in the way companies are run."

How to Set Social Media Marketing Goals

2014-26-June-Goal.jpgI have a lot of conversations with B2B marketers. And you know what? They’re all struggling to figure out what the right goals are for social media.

I’m not saying they don’t know what they hope to achieve (hint: leads). It’s just that these smart marketers seem unsure of themselves when it comes to setting measurable goals for social media. No wonder there’s still confusion about Social ROI!

So what’s going on?

B2B Marketing and Twitter: Strong Marriage, Legitimate ROI?

customer experience, B2B Marketing and Twitter: Strong Marriage, Legitimate ROI?

Dag Holmboe trekked along the 26.2-mile running route from Hopkinton, Mass., to Boston for the 2014 Boston Marathon in April.

Meanwhile, Holmboe put his Twitter analytics engine to work.

Holmboe, CEO and founder of Klurig Analytics in Boston, had a deep interest in the Twitter sentiment around the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.

He's done about a handful of them now, including the 2013 race when two bombs were detonated around the finish line, killing three and wounding close to 300.

Not deterred, Holmboe, 55, came back this year again and completed this year's race, finishing in three hours, 23 minutes and 42 seconds.

Meanwhile, his Twitter engine was picking up stats on the #BostonStrong and #BostonMarathon hashtags while analyzing top words, top tweeters and sentiment both positive and negative.

5 Types of Influencers B2B Marketers Need to Engage Now

2014-29-May-Horse-Race.jpgYou've seen the stats: 60 to 80 percent of the buying process is done before anyone wants to chat with your chomping-at-the-bit sales reps. To make matters worse, more people than ever are now involved in the process of buying complex products. So where does that leave you?

Most likely trying to craft a never-ending stream of content marketing to influence this very process. And that helps, for sure.

But let’s be honest. You need to do more than turn your brand into a publisher … especially as most publishers are having their own issues these days. With that in mind, there’s another approach to influencing the buying process while also supporting your could-be-better content marketing efforts.

Start engaging the influencers.

Carsten Wierwille: Improving CX Through Better Design

Connecting with Bill SobelCarsten Wierwille is the kind of guy who tweets that his autocorrect turns "happiness" into a "happy mess" — and that the early bird gets caught by the bird.

He sees things a bit differently, as he should: he's vice president and general manager at frog, a global product strategy and design firm.

He manages frog's operation in the US, aligning creative passion with client goals. He has more than 15 years of experience in digital design, technology and innovation strategy, and has worked extensively with clients in a variety of industries including automotive, financial services, telecommunications and media.

B2B Marketing Needs Durable Systems of Engagement

2014-19-May-No-Sales.jpgAnyone looking to sell IT technology business-to-business (B2B) has it pretty hard these days. Decision-making processes have become more complex and more people have a say.

A recent Text100 study reported (registration required) that on average, six people (in Germany, seven) with very different functions are involved with purchasing decisions. Two-thirds of the companies surveyed said that once the decision had been made, the purchase still had to be signed off by the board. At the information gathering stage, decision-makers use numerous offline and online channels to do their research. This stage now lasts longer and more resources go into preparing and justifying decisions.

The study, which surveyed 1,900 people from around the world, asked questions about the influences that affect B2B decision-makers as they consider purchasing IT solutions.

Please Stop Tweeting #mute

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If you long for the sounds of silence, even on social media, then Twitter's new mute button may be for you. Of course, an account feature that allows users to shush a user — or a brand — creates some new marketing challenges. But back to that in a minute.

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