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Carter Hostelley News & Analysis

Are Your Execs Hindering Your Social Media Success?

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I've written often about the challenges B2B marketers face in turning the crank to generate social ROI. Specifically, how important it is to build quality social channels, set the right social media goals and create compelling content -- and how mobilizing your employees and brand advocates can help you get social traction much more quickly.

But maybe there's more to it than that.

SugarCRM Jumps on Customer Journey Bandwagon

Halfway through the first day of SugarCRM's SugarCon conference, the company announced a new iteration of its platform, Sugar 7.6.

Features that seem have impressed the crowd (hat tip to Jeremy Cox, Mitch Lieberman and Brent Leary among many others) include the customer journey mapping and advanced workflow.

How Social Selling Helps Your Company Grow More Profitable

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Social selling will transform the way sales teams do their jobs.

At least that's what a lot of people have predicted over the past few years. They claim sales reps will use social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to identify and engage prospects — and, most importantly, close more deals.

But according to a recent survey by PeopleLinx, only 31 percent of sales reps today use social media in their selling process. And if my experience is any indication, many of these early adopters don't understand a significant point.

The fact is that social networks are best used for networking — not selling.

True or False: Social Media Marketing Works

As someone who earns a living helping B2B marketers make social media work, I was surprised by a recent claim from Forrester Research. Marketers use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to engage customers and prospects, Forrester noted. But then it added: it’s not working.

That's not the case, based on my experience.

B2B Marketers: Think More Like Brand Marketers

2014-24-November-Think.jpgYou’d think there would’ve been more people like me at the Brand Innovators "mega-trends" in digital marketing conference. In fairness, the event was targeted at top digital marketers who work at leading consumer brands and agencies. So what was a B2B marketer like me doing there?

I wanted a glimpse into the future of B2B marketing.

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?

Should You Use LinkedIn to Build a Network or an Audience?

2014-27-August-LinkedIn-Head.jpgI’m not sure how to use LinkedIn anymore. I’m on LinkedIn all the time as a social marketer, and over the last year or so I’ve noticed some big changes to two basic aspects of how I think about LinkedIn … and they've left me scratching my head about my own approach.

Shift Your Thinking About Content Marketing

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For B2B marketers, there’s no question that content marketing is a key initiative. And these days, it seems everyone is sharing his or her content marketing best practices, promising marketers that if they could simply do X, Y and Z, then success is all but assured.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can never win at content marketing using best practices alone. 

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?

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.

Transforming Social ROI From a Myth Into Reality

Transform Social Marketing ROI From a Myth Into RealityHere’s a question I still get way too often: “What’s the ROI of social media?” It’s usually a B2B marketer that’s doing the asking, someone seemingly resigned to spending valuable time and resources on social media without really understanding why. Or it's a marketer that totally gets the value of investing in the company blog, Twitter profile and LinkedIn groups but still needs help convincing their “old-school” CMO or CFO that investing in social media is worth it. 

Aren’t we marketers now experts at calculating the return on all our online marketing initiatives? Why is social media such a tough nut to crack?

11 Ways to Boost Traffic to Your Company Blog

It’s official. I no longer need to explain to B2B marketers why a blog is an absolute must have. If you're a B2B marketer then chances are good you can already recite the many reasons why a blog makes sense: SEO, content marketing, fuel for social media, etc. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Hubspot and the Content Marketing Institute, I can eliminate “blog evangelist” from my job requirements.

So all is good in the land of B2B blogging, right? Far from it. Beyond the typical questions I get (e.g., what to write about and how often to post) a larger question is emerging:

How do we generate more traffic for our company blog?

Is Employee Advocacy the Next Big Thing for Marketers?

Is Employee Advocacy the Next Big Thing for Marketers?It started with a simple question: “What’s the next big thing marketers need to focus on?”

I asked Mike Edelhart who runs the Pivot conference -- a conference for senior marketers on the leading edge of the social media revolution. I expected Mike to respond with the usual suspects: big data, mobile, customer experience, media-specific social platforms, etc. Instead he replied, “It’s all about turning employees into a powerful force to advocate the company’s brand.”

B2B Marketing on Twitter: Turn Listening into Social Insights, Influence

At dinner the other night with a group of B2B marketers (sounds fun, I know) the conversation moved between discussing food delivery startups and ride sharing services, to all SaaS pricing, marketing automation and demand generation, all the time.

Now imagine you sell to B2B marketers and happened to be sitting nearby and listening in. Wouldn’t you have loved to pull up a chair and join our conversation? Sure you would. And maybe you’d have also wondered how to influence me or someone else at the dinner to recommend your company.

B2B Marketers: Identify and Mobilize Your Brand Advocates

Do you think that only consumer brands such as Apple, Harley Davidson, Starbucks and Trader Joe’s have customers passionate enough to recommend their products or services without being paid or otherwise incentivized? Every company has brand advocates, even those that sell to other businesses.

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