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B2b Marketing News & Analysis

10 B2B Marketing Tips from SAP #AdobeSummit

When you get into semantics with marketing, be it B2B or B2C, you lose a basic fact. Marketing is about the ways human beings interact with technology on the web and mobile devices.

Shawn Burns, global vice president of digital marketing for SAP, told this to attendees at the Adobe Summit Digital Marketing Conference in Salt Lake City today. “Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, people interact with technology,” Burns said.

It’s one of the things Burns has realized as he’s managed web strategy, design, development and operations for SAP’s flagship web property: www.sap.com and its 72 country sites in 40 languages.

Here are 10 ways Burns and SAP approach B2B digital marketing.

B2B Email: Newsletters Beat Promotional Marketing

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B2B prospects like email that includes news as well as information about webinars, publications and the chance to attend forums, according to a report by a global marketing firm. And they are more likely to open these email newsletters than those with pure product promotion.

Experian Marketing Services looked at the performance of B2B newsletter email compared with other types of B2B email. It found newsletters had 29 percent higher open rates and 63 percent higher click rates than the promotional mailings for those brands.

"This reinforces the idea that the B2B buyer or purchaser is often more informed and knowledgeable than we typically see in B2C," Shelley Kessler, Experian's manager of reporting and analytics and cross-channel marketing, told CMSWire. "Newsletters allow B2B businesses to inform and educate their prospective customers with a much more thorough approach than a typical promotional mailing alone would do."

A Look at LinkedIn's New Publishing Platform

Linkedin publishing platform

B2B marketers will soon have another way to reach audiences via LinkedIn. The question, though, is when it will launch, who will have access and what it will look like.

LinkedIn has created a new publishing platform for its members, allowing them to essentially blog within LinkedIn and create a following. When members publish a post on LinkedIn, their original content becomes part of their professional profile and is shared with their trusted network, according to a LinkedIn blog post.

LinkedIn members can follow other members that are not in their network and build their own group of followers. 

A caveat: LinkedIn now is only allowing 25,000 members to publish content on LinkedIn through its new platform. "We’ll be steadily expanding the capability to all members in multiple languages over the next few weeks and months to come," according to LinkedIn. You can apply here

Does Your Trade Show Booth Attract Enough Attention?

customer experience, Are You Standing Out at Your Trade Show Booth?

The No. 1 trade show booth at a convention I attended in Dallas in 2008 featured guys with a Nintendo Wii. Back then, the Wii was the rage, and so was this company.

You had to reveal your contacts to get a crack at Wii bowling, if I recall. People were gutter-balling it badly, by the way, but undoubtedly were rewarded with some follow-up email promos.

The company stood out then. Now? Wii is sooo six years ago.

How are you making your marketing stand out at events? It was the subject of a B2B marketing LinkedIn exchange, and CMSWire talked to two of the marketers.

Education Trumps Promotion in IT Buyer Marketing

customer experience, Education First, Promotion Last in IT Buyer Marketing

Courting experienced B2B IT buyers through marketing campaigns?

Don't promote yourself. Well, at least not right off the bat. Offer prospective buyers something educational — and that could be your ticket to actual product promotion.

"Educational works best," said Jonathan Handler, principal of Jonathan Handler and Associates and a specialist in healthcare information technology sales who has experience as an IT buyer. "Especially for experienced B2B buyers. They simply expect educational content."

CMSWire talked with Handler about IT buyer habits after IDG Connect released its report, "Connecting Conversations to Content." This is the third part of a three-part series examining ways to connect IT buyers with the right marketing messages. Wednesday, Erin Bolton told us it's important to use social media, and yesterday, Geraldine Gray stressed the need to show, and don't tell, buyers what makes products great. 

Connecting: Content is the Secret of Marketing Success

Connecting with Bill Sobel

Stephanie Frasco loves few things more than social media. But content is one of them. “Content Is King," she stated enthusiastically. "It's everything … The key to attracting the right customers, the best tool for building relationships with prospects, the most powerful way to convert prospects into sales, the No. 1 way to improve the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, online and off.

"Yup."

Frasco, a social media marketing consultant, is vice president at Los Angeles based Convert With Content. In the past 7 years, she has worked with clients worldwide to help them maximize their efforts from social networking and blogging. 

Through a rather tongue-in-cheek blog called Socially Stephanie, she offers advice like this to B2B businesses:

I want you to absolutely think about blogging within LinkedIn's new publishing platform. Yes, this is hot off the presses. LinkedIn's publishing platform is now open to the public. The possibility of getting in front of LinkedIn's 200 million plus users is exhilarating, but you have to do it right. Create unique content for LinkedIn. Look at it as a guest blogging platform and not a syndication network. Duplicate content doesn't bode well with the Google gods. I know that I'll be spending investing some good ol' blogging sweat equity there, and you should too."

The Key to Attracting IT Buyers? Show, Don't Tell

customer experience, In Marketing to IT Buyers, It's a Show-Don't-Tell World

As a former IT buyer and current consultant for companies using Salesforce and other cloud deployments, Geraldine Gray knows what those in the market for IT products want.

They want to be showed not only what works -- but specifically where it has worked.

"Our customers love to see real life scenarios of product application through third party or user prerecorded webinars," said Gray, principal at Houston-based Endiem

And herein lies the message to the marketer. Show, don't tell. Show how your product has worked well for customers. Get out your rock stars, and turn up the amplifiers.

CMSWire talked with Gray about IT buyer habits after IDG Connect released its report, "Connecting Conversations to Content." This is the second of a three-part series examining ways to connect IT buyers with the right marketing messages. Yesterday, Erin Bolton told us it's important to use social media.

Use Social Media to Court IT Buyers

International ICT Expo

If you're not courting IT buyers in social media or online communities, then "you're missing out," said Erin Bolton, director of digital solutions for  MarketStar, a marketing consultancy in Ogden, Utah.

"It's imperative that technology vendors have a social media presence to engage and influence the IT buyer," Bolton told CMSWire. "This presence is critical to reaching buyers at every stage of the evaluation cycle."

CMSWire caught up with Bolton after the release of the IDG Connect report, "Connecting Conversations to Content," that called for those courting IT buyers to dive into social media. Today's catch-up with Bolton starts a three-part CMSWire series.

Connecting: How to Build an Unforgettable Brand

Connecting with Bill Sobel

Julie Cottineau doesn't mince words. "My business is branding. I teach you how to improve yours," she said. Cottineau is the founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build their brands and leverage them as actionable business assets.

Before BrandTwist, she was vice president of brand at Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, overseeing branding strategy for new and established Virgin companies in North America. She also served as executive director of consumer branding at Interbrand and was a vice president and management supervisor at Grey Worldwide in both the US and France. She has been an adjunct professor of integrated marketing communications at Columbia and Cornell universities and is a frequent commentator on brand strategy and innovation.

Connecting: Discover, Curate and Share the Best Content

Connecting with Bill Sobel

New York City-based Rallyverse has been described as the next generation in social media networking. The company helps marketers discover, curate and share content in owned and paid social media.

More specifically, it monitors trending conversations across the social web and recommends the most relevant content for marketers in real time — creating ready-to-publish status updates, tweets and social ads in a simple, visual interface.

Joe Doran is the company's co-founder and CEO. He's a seasoned senior executive with 15 years of experience managing interactive media, advertising and social media solutions in high growth companies like Microsoft and General Mills.

Connecting: Marketers Need to Talk Less, Listen More and Stop 'Selling'

Connecting with Bill Sobel

Wendi Caplan-Carroll understands the power of digital marketing. She has more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing marketing strategies for businesses and organizations in a variety of industries. She speaks regularly about ways small businesses can benefit from tools like email and social media marketing.

Since 2008, she has worked at Constant Contact, a provider of on-demand engagement marketing tools, including e-mail marketing, social media marketing, event marketing and online survey products. In late 2012, she was promoted from senior regional development director for the New York metro area to an area director with responsibility for a multi-state area across the Northeastern US.

More than half a million small businesses, nonprofits and associations worldwide use Constant Contact's online marketing tools to generate new customers, repeat business and referrals.

Connecting: Columbia University's David Rogers on Digital Marketing

Connecting with Bill Sobel

David Rogers is a globally recognized leader on digital strategy and brands, known for his pioneering model of customer networks. Based at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, he is the faculty director of the school's Executive Education programs on Digital Marketing Strategy.

He is also the founder and host of the Center on Global Brand Leadership's BRITE conference, which brings together leaders from media and business to discuss the ways innovation and technology are transforming the ways we build great brands.

His recent research has focused on in-store mobile shoppers, digital marketing ROI and big data. He is the author of three books on brands and digital strategy, most recently, The Network Is Your Customer: 5 Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age. His next book will focus on how businesses adapt and survive in an era of constant digital disruption.

7 Essential Skills for Great Marketers

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Marketers need technology skills — or at least a keen understanding of the technologies that make them better marketers.

“If you're not a digital native, you're not going to go far,” Jim Durbin, vice president of digital marketing at Plano, Texas-based Brandstorming.com told CMSWire. “Technology is already moving faster than any of us can adjust to, so if you can't use technology to make yourself more productive, you're no good to anyone.”

Bennet James Bayer, Global CMO and vice president of strategy for Huawei Carrier Software, also based in Plano, Texas, said technology skills are not the “end-all” for marketers.

But he noted that even someone as experienced as his wife, who managed $6 billion in brands for consumer food products during her career, would probably not be able to work at a junior level without a basic understanding of mobile, social, search and email marketing. 

“I don’t believe it is necessarily technology skills so much as an understanding of the related technologies, how and when to employ them,” Bayer said. “That has changed dramatically.”

Connecting: How to Supercharge Your Social Media Marketing

Connecting with Bill Sobel

If you don't know Bill Sobel, you should. Sobel is the Chief Connections Officer at SobelMedia and founder of NY:MIEG/The New York Media Information Exchange Group. He's has been described as a master connector — someone who opens the door to "an interconnected world of endless opportunity."

Starting this week, you'll get a chance to connect, too, through his column Connecting ... with Bill Sobel on CMSWire. "I'll be interviewing interesting, unique people who have a lot to say about customer experience management and social business tools and practices," he said. Enjoy! Noreen Seebacher, Chief Editor, CMSWire

Come Closer: We'll Share the Secrets of Twitter Success [Infographic]

Sharing secrets.jpgJames T. Noble markets himself as a "business growth consultant." Ask him what that means, and he'll answer simply, "I make businesses bigger."

His London-based company, James T Noble & Associates, has worked with some of the world's largest brands and companies — Disney, Microsoft, 20th Century Fox, Virgin, Coca-Cola and MTV — to market their products and services online. And he boasts impressive results. "Typically, the clients we take on see their businesses grow two to four times within 12 to 18 months."

What does it take to grow a business? Several things: best-in-class marketing execution. Solid business coaching. Oh, and Twitter helps, too. But you have to know how to use it.

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