Archive for 'Marketing'

Upon Further Review …

Today marks the day the NFL Officials get reinstated and professional football games won’t look like they are fixed moving forward (we hope).  It is every fan’s hope that a repeat of the Monday Night “Inaccurate Interception” between Green Bay and Seattle is a humorous footnote instead of something that costs a good team a playoff birth.

Once the dust settled, it was clear the replacement refs didn’t fully understand and apply the rule differences between the NFL and their “regular” gig. They were confused and couldn’t adapt to the speed of the game. All of this got me to thinking about business and how this debacle might relate to you from a strategic marketing perspective.

How the NFL Referee Debacle Relates to Your Business

A few years ago, I met with a chicken wing franchisee that opened up shop nearby.  The owner (who I like and consider a friend) and I discussed different sales growth ideas on several occasions. A few proposals were exchanged yet nothing came of them because she believed she needed someone with “experience growing a restaurant.” Never mind the fact my family ran a privately held restaurant for over 120 years. 😉 Ultimately, she decided to bring in a guy who previously ran a restaurant and supposedly “understood marketing.”

Replacement Marketer … the Results

Two weeks ago, that chicken wing franchisee folded up shop. The guy who “understood marketing” apparently led the business down the same path as his own restaurant … into the toilet. Ultimately, why did the business fold? Just like so many businesses, a lack of sales did them in. What causes a lack of sales most times? Ineffective marketing!

Now, this isn’t meant to be a sour grapes or an “I told you so” post, rather one to help fellow business owners learn from reality.

Industry Experience Does NOT Equal Qualifications or Skill

Much like the replacement officials, bringing in someone who “understands marketingversus a professional marketer threatens the stability and longevity of your business. If you need evidence of the potential differences, look no further than the replacement refs.  Yes, the refs had experience refereeing football games at lower levels. That doesn’t mean they are qualified to be “professional” referees.

Just because someone has “experience” with marketing in your industry does not mean they are good at it or will produce the desired results like someone who lives, breathes and eats the stuff daily.

The Biggest Difference Between Pro and “Replacement” Marketers

The best thing about a “professional marketer” is they can apply proven strategies and concepts to almost every industry. Contrast that with someone who merely has experience in an industry who can only apply things specific to that industry. Stale thinking produces stale results. It’s as simple as that.

A professional marketer can adapt proven strategies to fit your business whereas the so-called “experienced” marketer will attempt to adapt your processes to fit their one trick pony strategy.  HUGE difference.

How to Protect Yourself

Don’t settle for cheaper replacements just to save a buck or two … you could end up like the chicken wing franchisee. Doesn’t your business deserve the best? Talk to a professional marketer today … your bottom line will thank you later.

What’s Your Business Growth Strategy?

Almost daily, I (Roger) get an email or call from a business owner lamenting how they have their “strategy” all mapped out.  What I typically find, after talking with them for 5-10 minutes, is that they have a group of disjointed tactics that they’re planning to test out.  They’re confusing being “busy” doing tactical stuff with having a strategy.

How Marketing is Like Sex

Yep, I said it … marketing is like sex because everybody thinks they’re good at it.  Rarely do employees tell a business owner they’re not good at marketing so the lie only gets reaffirmed in their mind more often than not.

Consider this … even when sex is bad, it’s still pretty good right? Marketing is the polar opposite because it can make you look like a complete buffoon when you screw it up yet you won’t take the hint. You’ll blame it on the market, economy, some consultant, or the timing.

Take some time to read this post right now because it could save you from making a buffoon out of yourself.

What a Strategy is NOT

Let’s be straight with one another … running a business isn’t easy. Being a strategist isn’t either so let’s understand what strategy is not before defining what it is, shall we?

If you go from chamber meeting to chamber meeting then BNI group to BNI group looking for a stockpile of leads while running a Yellow Pages ad and you just overhauled your website to look “prettier,” that’s not a strategy.

If you’re planning to implement SEO and PPC within the next 3-6 months, that’s not a strategy.

If you do a bunch of tradeshows every year, that’s not a strategy.

If you have an outside sales force that’s making 100 cold calls/day, that’s not a strategy. That’s a tactic!

Even if you do everything just outlined, you’re operating tactically.  In fact, that’s what I like to call “Silo Marketing” where you do a bunch of separate tasks in hopes that they somehow deliver a windfall at some point in the future.

What a Strategy IS

A strategy enables you to leverage a combination of marketing vehicles to build your business seamlessly and systematically. A strategy also has a defined timeframe associated so that results can be measured.

For example, a marketing strategy may involve the following:

1) You create a special report entitled “The 5 Things You Must Know Before Buying Your Next Widget That Can Save You Thousands” which you offer to new prospects free of charge. You also repackage that report as a video and a podcast to reinforce your message.

2) You then develop a lead capture form on every page of your website so that prospects can get your report in exchange for their contact information and permission to follow up.

3) Their registration to get the report feeds an auto-responder follow up sequence in the background that also triggers telemarketing efforts at pre-determined intervals to prevent leads from slipping through the cracks.

4) You then rent and mail to targeted lists (email and/or snail mail) to promote your special report on your website.

5) Next, you craft a press release announcing the availability of your lead magnet on your website which you distribute nationally.

6) Maybe you run radio, TV and trade journal ads promoting your lead magnet on your website.

7) You print up special business cards that promote your lead magnet and how to obtain it on the back of the card.

8) You team up with complementary businesses to promote your lead magnet with the ability to pay a commission or exchange services should someone buy from you.

9) You write and distribute articles, documents, white papers and produce short online videos promoting your lead magnet that you spread across the web.

The nine steps outlined form the baseline of a marketing strategy because everything builds upon one another versus just doing a few separate tasks that merely serve to make you look busy.

The timeframe to implement such a strategy can be anywhere from a couple of days to 6 months depending upon where you are today. Ditto in terms of when you’ll likely begin to see tangible results.

Strategic Questions to Ask Yourself

Here are some questions to answer that will help you formulate a strategy versus a tactical silo effort.

What are your lead generating offers? Who are the best targets for those offers? How are you reaching them now?

How many leads are generated via the following, and how much does each cost per month (whether it’s time, money, or barter)?

  1. Internet (website, SEO, PPC, banner ads, etc.)
  2. One-on-one interactions (BNI groups, referrals, cold calls, social networking, mobile, etc.)
  3. Education (white papers, case studies, buyer’s guides, etc.)
  4. Public / Media relations (press releases, articles, features in the news)
  5. Events (trade shows, lunch-n-learns, seminars, etc.)
  6. Advertising (sponsorships, radio, TV, crusty Yellow Pages, ValPak, etc.)
  7. Sales literature (brochures, business cards, slicks, etc.)
  8. Partnerships (JVs, endorsements, affiliates, etc.)

How many leads does it take to close a deal? Is that number increasing or decreasing?

How long do you have to follow up until they buy? Is that time period increasing or decreasing?

How much of your initial follow up is automated?

What’s a typical first deal worth? What’s the upsell process? How many people take the upsell?

Need Help?

Should you need help piecing everything together, please give me (Roger) a call at (502) 394-0460.

Improve your B2B marketing techniques

Improve your B2B marketing techniques

People are finally beginning to sit up and notice the business-to-business (B2B) marketing movement. More companies are turning to specialist B2B agencies for strategic advice, marketing ideas and creative services to reach and woo C-suite clients.

In Asia, the distinction between consumer marketing and B2B marketing is less clear. Many marketing directors and corporate communications managers are still outsourcing various marketing support projects on a piecemeal basis to advertising, event or public relations agencies for example, instead of seeking the services of dedicated full-service B2B agencies.

Is it surprising then that these companies feel their marketing needs are not optimally met?

Many traditional agencies have their roots in consumer marketing and do not have the experience needed to develop comprehensive B2B marketing programmes.

A few important characteristics distinguish B2B marketing from mass marketing, and can make all the difference to any B2B marketing effort.

1. The power of many

In consumer marketing, your target is an individual.

In B2B marketing, you could be targeting any number of people along the decision-making chain, some of whom may not even be located in the same country as you!

It is always useful to find out who is the ‘real’ decision maker. Is the purchasing or sourcing manager as important as the business-planning manager or the chief financial officer? In some companies, the human resources manager commissions services that have traditionally been the mandate of the office manager and vice versa.

Many B2B marketing professionals simply target the ‘C-suite’ but fail to realise that sometimes, it’s the CEO’s secretary who makes the ultimate decision on whether or not they should order products or services from your company. Either that, or he/she could be the ‘gatekeeper’ who foils any number of your marketing and sales attempts.

When the buying decision affects several departments such as IT, operations and finance for example, you should be looking at different ways to present your company’s credentials to a group of people, each with different concerns and expectations!

Being able to identify different groups and their interests, and combining them with tailored communications and a powerful database system, can result in a much higher rate of return.

2. The power of one

Every one of your employees that comes in contact with your customer is your “brand”, whether you are selling multi-million dollar commercial warehouses or consultancy services.

So it is crucial that your walking-talking brand ambassadors believe in your corporate values and what you are selling.  Get your agency to give them customer-centric brand messages and sales tools to use, and ensure they are trained to make each customer feel as if they are the most important customer ever.

On the flip side, B2B companies must ensure that their corporate brands are strong enough that their customers don’t leave when their brand ambassadors do.

3. Target the head, not the heart

Validating and even quantifying one’s value proposition is crucial for any B2B company. Unlike B2C marketing, it is always about appealing to the head, and not to the heart (or eyes or ears, for that matter).

Your B2B marketing agency should help you answer tough customer questions such as, “Tell me why I should choose your company over your competitor? What value can you add to my bottom line or business plans? How much do you understand about my company’s needs? How will your products or services help our company get ahead?”

In mature B2B sectors, where the offering from company to company is almost homogeneous or ‘commoditised’, the value proposition is less about the core product or service and more about the ‘value-add’ or enhancements. The challenges are different, because the central question is often, “Can you do this at a better price than your competitor?”

4. Corporate brand, product brand or CEO brand

I often advise against building personality brands in any company, unless it is the founder. It is important not to let personal egos get in the way of building corporate persona, which will certainly outlive the former.

I also advise that B2B companies focus on building and protecting their corporate brands versus their product brands. Vista can fail for instance, but Microsoft should not.

Corporate brand building certainly comes in handy when closing new business deals for B2B companies – people are more comfortable recommending a new supplier, vendor or consultant that their bosses have heard about, versus one that is relatively unknown.

That is not to say that the lesser known brands will lose out on all opportunities, as long as they can prove that they can deliver. They are less likely to be considered however, if the risk of failure is too high i.e. when the products and services affect the company’s viability (productivity, legal standing, reputation etc.), if the value of the contract is very large, or if the ultimate decision maker is a good friend of your competitor (it does happen!) for instance.

5. Make me look good in front of my boss

This may seem like an odd suggestion but I sometimes ask clients how they can make their target customers look good in front of their bosses.

For example;

a. Can you package your products or services in a way that helps your contact’s business and shows him or her to be making a positive contribution to their employers? The closer you do this to the bonus period or your contract renewal time, the better.

b. Do you need to provide tools that help your contact/s present the validations for their recommended vendor ie. your company?

c. Should you prepare documents that demonstrate the value that your company can bring to other departments at your contact’s organisation?

d. Should you offer to help integrate your products or services into your customer’s organisation?

e. Are your ‘green credentials’ in line with your customer’s business sustainability efforts as a B2B vendor?

6. It’s not showing on TV

B2B customers don’t automatically turn on the television when they want to find a supplier. Often, one of the first sources of information they turn to is a search engine. Increasingly, B2B marketing is very much about Internet marketing and helping to raise a company’s profile and search engine rankings. The Internet instantly makes your competitive pool global. A company in India could offer business secretarial services that are almost identical to yours, only cheaper.

It is critical to constantly think of new ways of creating credible customer-driven content, online distribution channels, search terms, Internet links etc. in B2B marketing.

Traditional mass media has little or no relevance. That is why the B2B channel mix will look very different and may comprise:

* Search engines

* Niche websites such as LinkedIn

* Industry related online marketing

* Industry listings or online forums

* Accreditation with respected organisations

* Industry endorsements

* Case studies

* Client referrals and testimonials

* Thought leadership articles

* Awards

* Certifications

* Media relations and press mentions

* White papers and research studies

* Customised demonstrations

* Low-risk pilot tests

* Trade shows

* Trade directories

* Industry spokesmen

* Industry rankings and awards

* Industry publications

* Customer events

* Corporate videos and podcasts

* Executive bios etc.

Often, B2B communications output is best tailored to each target customer. Make sure your agency can also create great PowerPoint decks inhouse, so you can customise them for your corporate presentations.

7. There is a season for everything

Always gear your B2B marketing towards your customers’ planning cycles.

There are different financial year-ends in different countries, and it is important to make your business pitch at least three to four months before your customer’s year-end, to ensure your company has a chance of making the vendor shortlist for next year!

8. The grey line

Unlike consumer marketing, where you can offer seasonal sales and gifts in exchange for certain purchases, such tactics are not always viewed as ‘ethical’ in B2B marketing.

A token of customer appreciation worth 200 US dollars to someone who just signed a multi-million dollar contract may seem trivial in comparison, but it may be hastily returned if the customer’s corporate policy limits ‘lavish’ gifts beyond say, 100 US dollars. Don’t risk embarrassing your customers by forgetting to do a bit of discreet checking first.

What I have listed are just some important aspects of B2B marketing. Ultimately, it really helps to work with a B2B marketing agency that understands your B2B decision makers, decision influences, business needs, stakeholders, sources of information and available channels, and that is also able to add a good dose of creative thinking!

Jennifer Tow is an experienced B2B marketing consultant who specializes in
advising professional service firms and companies targeting niche markets.
She is the founder of Manifesto, a Hong Kong-based marketing consultancy,
that helps turn strategic marketing advice into creative solutions and
results, for both international and Asia Pacific clients. Visit
www.manifesto.com.hk for more marketing advise.

4 Great B2B Internet Marketing Strategies

4 Great B2B Internet Marketing Strategies

If you operate in a business-to-business environment, you can still apply what are traditionally considered consumer-oriented internet marketing strategies to reach your targeted market. However, you will need to customize each strategy in order to maximize its effectiveness with your particular customer base.

Here are 4 Great B2B Internet Marketing Strategies to Get Your Started

1. Education. The first B2B internet marketing strategy is to educate your prospects. When new visitors arrive to your web site, they are most likely looking for valuable, informative content that answers theirs questions and alleviates concerns. By providing your prospects with the tools they need to make an educated and informed decision, you are paving the way to a potentially rewarding long-term relationship. At this point, your goal should be to help your prospects make their own decisions, without beating them over the head with a blatant sales pitch.

2. Establish Communication. Another important B2B internet marketing strategy is to open the door to two-way communication with your audience. The goal at this stage is to educate and/or entertain your customers, while inviting them to participate in a dialogue with you by providing opportunities to make contact, leave comments or otherwise contribute to your web site community.

However, you will also want to make sure that you don’t go overboard with this. Too frequent or forced communication is a bad thing. So, when you do communicate, carefully evaluate the frequency and duration of each contact. Remember, a little bit of a good thing can go a long way!

Besides, you can always use follow-up methods like eNewsletters and personal e-mails to keep things moving forward once communication has been established. This, in turn, leads to the next B2B Internet Marketing strategy:

3. Stay in Touch. Once you’ve connected with audience, you won’t want to leave them hanging. Regular eNewsletters and/or e-mail training series (eCourses) are great ways to provide value and stay in front of potential customers. Again, you don’t want to bombard your potential customers. Instead, you will want to reach her at regular and pre-defined intervals. Further, each e-mail should include a short description of the topic and a case study or scenario that brings it to life. Providing a brief assessment or conclusion at the end of correspondence is also helpful.

4. Collect Feedback. In order to measure the overall success of your internet marketing strategies, you will need to collect feedback from your visitors. This feedback is invaluable in terms of helping you improve on your product or service. Surveys and questionnaires are great ways to collect this type of information. To improve participation, you may want to offer some form of incentive such as a free report or other valuable giveaway in exchange for their time and opinions.

This last B2B Internet Marketing strategy is very important because not only will it illustrate opportunities for improvement – it will also highlight what you are already doing right!

Trish Lindemood is a marketing consultant, business writer and entrepreneur who teaches other business owners how to grow and market their business online with content creation and promotion.

Have Questions? See what Content Marketing can do for your business!

Paid Article Marketing ? Why Is Massive Article Submission One Of The Most Popular Article Marketing Strategies?

Paid article marketing is actively used by many internet marketing gurus on a regular basis. Why? –Because they are so busy with creating and promotion new products and services that they are not able to spend time for massive article submission on a regular basis. The problem is that when there is delay in submission your competitors can easily beat you within a few days or weeks in certain niche. So let’s talk below about massive article submission more deeply.

Why Is Massive Article Submission One Of The Most Popular Article Marketing Strategies? 

Here are top 2 reasons why massive article distribution is the major part of paid article marketing: 

1.    Paid article submission saves you time and helps to gain hundreds of quality backlinks within 24-48 hours.  

Massive submission of articles to 100 or more article marketing directories is quite affordable for every marketer. But when you think about the value you get for the cheap and quality service then you realize such kind of paid article marketing saves your time for other important projects and helps you to easily get hundreds of backlinks overnight. 

2.    Massive distribution can increase your sales overnight. 

Just imagine what if you affiliate product site would have gained 100 high quality backlinks from various higher pagerank article directories? Of course, you would likely make one or more sales overnight. 

Conclusion: 

You can use paid article marketing service either on forums like DP (here you will find cheap and quality service) or on special sites which offer professional article submission, or as a cheaper option – Isnare article directory that distributes 5 articles to thousands sites for only .

Want to Increase Sales Through Article Marketing?

Download FREE “Insider Article Marketing” Report and Instantly Copy-And-Paste A 0/Day Secret Article Profit System That Stuffs Your Bank Account With 24/7 Cash In Just A Few Days From Now – Guaranteed! Read more at http://www.articleinsiderprofit.info.

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