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Web Experience News & Analysis

The Year B2B Marketing Stops Playing Second Fiddle to Sales

2015-07-January-Honkytonk.jpgAs a career-long B2B marketer, I notice and appreciate the way consumer brands speak to (or attempt to) speak to me. It’s easy as B2B marketers to get caught up in our own world, our own language, our internal nuances and what we “feel” will resonate with audiences. And often, the pressure to sell more or drive leads takes precedence over doing our research and really nailing the message.

Which is why, with every company I join, the first place I start is the story. Who are we talking to? Are we speaking their language? What do they really care about? And what challenges are we going to help them overcome? The bottom line: you’re never going to pass the class if you don’t first do your homework. So as we embark on another year, here a few reminders of B2B marketing strategies you can’t afford to leave on the table.

Got a Good Story to Tell? You Should - If You're a Marketer

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For some, marketing about products is so five minutes ago.

Today is the day of the story for marketers. Tell good stories and people will listen. When people listen, credibility rises. When credibility rises, you may have a customer.

Storytelling's hot -- Entrepreneur Magazine deemed 2014 the year of the story.

David Aaker is a strong believer of the storytelling concept for marketers. Aaker, vice chairman of Prophet, author and branding expert, told CMSWire that marketers must realize not everyone's going to be initially attracted to a brand. 

"People sometimes are just not interested in what you're offering," Aaker said during a phone interview with CMSWire. "So you find out what they are interested in, and you get involved with that."

A Sneak Peek at DAM's Roadmap for 2015 and Beyond

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It’s that time of year when we look back at the accomplishments of the past year and look forward to the possibilities the future holds. This post started with a simple question asked of more than a dozen vendors: What innovative new features and technologies will you offer in 2015? The response was overwhelming. Vendors walked me through their 2015 technology roadmaps and shared their visions of where the digital asset management (DAM) and Media Asset Management (MAM) industry is heading beyond 2015.

2014 Action Item: Did B2B Marketers Become More Agile?

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It was just a year ago that B2B marketers had a clean slate, the whole year in front of them.

Now it's over. 2014's gone. No second chances.

We caught up this time last year with industry insiders about some absolute must-dos for 2014. Starting today, we catch up with some of them again to see, well, if B2B marketers DID the must-dos.

We begin with Carla Johnson, president of Type A Communications out of Parker, Colo. Johnson's message last year to B2B marketers was to become agile.

"Why, how and what marketers need to perform in our roles has never changed so much or at such a significant rate as it is now," Johnson told CMSWire last year.

The Shared Goal of Customer Experience #Gilbane

Last month I attended the Gilbane Content and Digital Experience conference in Boston. I’ve written before about my appreciation of smaller, specialized conferences. At these smaller events, you really feel a connection to the other exhibitors and attendees. Everyone’s there out of specialized interest, and you leave feeling that you’ve had a chance to have conversations with some of the most innovative thought leaders in the field. And if J.Boye in Aarhus takes the cake as my favorite conference in Europe last year, Gilbane was its American counterpart.

What's New in January for Open Source CMS

WordPress, the Goliath of free and open source content management systems (CMS), closed the year with the release of a new version named in honor of yet another musician.

Version 4.1 — aka "Dinah" — honors singer and pianist Dinah Washington, one of the most popular black female recording artists of the 50s. She was posthumously inducted to both the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Matt Mullenweg, the founder and CEO of WordPress' parent company, Automattic, and a musician himself, blogged that the new version "helps you focus on your writing" and that the new default theme, appropriately named Twenty Fifteen, "lets you show it off in style."

Mullenweg said the blog-focused theme is designed for clarity and has "flawless language support" through the use of Google’s Noto font family.

Writing is work — and this version aims to make it easier through something called a distraction-free writing mode. When you start typing, all of the editing tools disappear, "letting you focus solely on your writing." The tools "instantly return when you need them," Mullenweg explained.

Not sure if this will actually make writing any easier, but it's a novel option that perhaps some of the platform's massive user base might find worthwhile. For the record, WordPress powers more than 46 percent of the World Wide Web, according to BuiltWith, which monitors such things.

What else is new in free and open source CMS this month? Plenty.

The Washington Post May License its CMS Platform

The Washington Post's team of developers and engineers have done such a stellar job of building out a new content management system (CMS) that it's now considering licensing it to other news organizations, according to a recent article in The Financial Times.

The FT reported that the paper has been approached by other publications about licensing the software.

Just How Much Must the CMO and CIO Work Together?

Forrester Research says a strengthened relationship between the CMO and CIO will be paramount for companies' success in 2015.

Shocked? Neither are we. This executive relationship -- and how it must be tightened, glued, bonded and sealed -- has been bandied about before. 

Marketing and information technology leaders reached by CMSWire agree the CIO-CMO is an important relationship in the executive scheme of things.

But just how important depends, they say.

"While there is no doubt that the CIO-CMO relationship is key to success in the digital age, the same applies to relationships across the C-suite," said Ian Cox, a London-based author who was a finalist for the British Computer Society’s CIO of the Year award in 2011 and was also ranked among the top 100 UK CIOs for 2012 by CIO Magazine.

3 Focuses for Mobile in the Year Ahead

2015-05-January-Mesmerized.jpgDigital marketers: 2015 is here, and it’s time to play catch up. For the past 10 years, we’ve been trying to keep pace with the latest innovations, strategizing and re-strategizing to implement the next great personalization feature or web design technique. But that period of innovation has ended and, moving into 2015, we find ourselves in a new period of digital transformation. By fully implementing these innovations in the coming year, marketers can help companies transition into fully digital-first business.

Where should we start? Mobile.

The Scoop on Pinterest Analytics and Engaging Pinterest Followers

It's easy for people to spend time on popular social media platforms — and, increasingly, the platform of choice is Pinterest.

The growing use of the image sharing social media platform has created a high quality of influence on retail and branding. And that means it's essential for marketers to learn the basics of Pinterest Analytics.

Examining repins and researching follower interest with Pinterest Analytics can make Pinterest engagement more meaningful, help you increase online activity and enhance the digital experience for your customers.

Bring Your Employees to the Customers

2015-05-Customer-Interaction.jpgCustomer communities: they seem like such a great idea. Get your customers together to let them help each other and to help you gauge their mood. Build it, tell people about it, publish some exclusive content and watch the magic happen.

Except it isn’t that easy. If your product is exceptionally challenging or complex you will get a lot of participation in support forums, but that will attract the frustrated and angry. What every vendor wants is a collaborative conversation with their customers that drives loyalty and innovation. The one thing that almost never fails is getting employees active in the online communities.

Bill Rogers Is Out at Ektron, Sources Say

It's a new year, but the Ektron story is far from over.

Multiple sources confirmed today to CMSWire that Bill Rogers is no longer CEO at Ektron, the company he founded. The move signals the end to the Rogers family era for the 16-year-old web content management systems (Web CMS) provider.

The Rogers' brothers -- Bill and Ed -- had worked together at the Nashua, NH-based company for a good chunk of its 16 years. Ed, who served as chief operating officer, was fired in 2011 and went on to found Akumina. Bill was Ektron's CEO all the way through last month's major investment by Accel-KKR.

However, speculation was high that Rogers would be ousted, and sources today confirmed to CMSWire that Ektron officials told the 200 or so employees of Rogers' departure earlier this week.

It is unclear as of now if Rogers was terminated or left on his own terms. CMSWire's email and text to Tim McKinnon, Ektron president, were not immediately returned.

CMSWire's Top 25: The Hits of 2014

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Another year has come and gone — and with it, an amazingly diverse selection of stories from CMSWire staff writers and contributors. Over the past 12 months, our team has worked hard to inform, entertain, inspire, provoke debate and encourage discussion about a wide range of B2B topics.

Before we make the usual predictions about how much more we expect to accomplish in 2015 (which we do) or how we expect CMSWire to become an even better source of information for everything related to digital experience, marketing, social business, big data and more (which it will), we'd like to step back and collectively say the most important thing possible.

Thank you.

Thank you for reading our content, posing thought-provoking questions and participating in our webinars and Tweet Jams. We appreciate your support, your informed discussion and all the many ways that you, our readers, have helped make CMSWire a go-to source for industry information.

And now, a selection of some of the stories and authors you enjoyed the most in the past 12 months.

CMSWire Top Contributors 2014 - Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer

3ef26a4.jpgTjeerd Brenninkmeijer predicted that 2014 would be "a great year for Web Content Management" one year ago and from this vantage point, it looks as if he was right. Tjeerd's passion for all things digital experience and 14 years of business experience keeps him in demand as a speaker at conferences and in demand as a writer on CMS related topics. 

A Look Back: Still Searching for Optimal Customer Experience

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You couldn't escape talk about awesome, amazing, remarkable customer experience (CX) in 2014 — or, for that matter, related terms like customer satisfaction, customer focus, customer service or customer-centricity. It is, after all, the Age of the Customer — a reality that has caused businesses everywhere to embrace CX as a business goal.

But like the mythical 10 pounds we collectively vow to lose on New Year's Day, the customer centricity of most companies, as evidenced by their delivery of memorable customer experience, rarely evolved from a concept to a practice this year.

And no matter how hard companies tried — with new technologies, new programs and even new names ("customer success," anyone?), the dream of seamless, engaging, excellent cross-channel customer experiences often remained an illusion.

  • Why is it cheaper if I order online for in-store pick-up than if I just buy it off the shelf at the store?
  • Why do so many companies make me wait more than 30 minutes to speak to someone who might have the authority to resolve my problem?
  • Why are call center representatives unable or unwilling to understand when you plead "I cannot hear you – please adjust your headset?"
  • Why can't anyone listen to what I am saying?
  • Why are so many of my interactions with companies simply frustraneous?

Why, indeed?

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