1. 7 reasons an internal slide library is an imperative

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    PowerPoint management isn’t sexy, but it is a productivity and effectiveness enhancer. In many organizations PowerPoint is a lingua franca. It is a primary way knowledge is captured and shared. Where are slides created in your company? Marketing (marcom, product marketing, field marketing), multiple vendors or contractors, training, field sales and pre-sales, executives — almost everyone creates slides. How well are they shared? How easily can you find the slide(s) you need. Everyone manages PowerPoint. Most manage it poorly. PowerPoint is typically managed as a document. But we are often looking for specific SLIDES. We want the most up-to-date slide version. We also want shows that closely fit our specific presentation situation. Custom assembly, while necessary, requires time, effort and knowledge. What if we can access and leverage the best versions for each situation? In repeated buyer surveys, purchasers want more visual content. They prefer whitepapers with more visuals. Content...
  2. No Marketing Momentum? What Now?

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    Competitive athletes know that momentum can make all the difference in winning games.  You develop momentum by either executing a well thought out strategy or making a spectacular play that shakes up the competition.  When you have momentum you play your game and emphasize your strengths.  When you lose momentum, you have to figure out how to get it back by making adjustments.  Marketing momentum in a competitive environment has many similarities.  You can develop it through a well thought out strategy followed by focused execution. Depending upon spectacular big events to develop marketing momentum is risky and hard to do but not unheard of.    The big difference between sports and B2B marketing is timing.  Games are over in minutes or hours.  Marketing takes months to deliver outcomes. Understanding marketing momentum is important to developing a marketing strategy.  Marketing activities build upon one another to develop and sustain momentum.  Multiple...
  3. Got “content” challenges? Apply the problem-cause model

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      Serious practitioners of content marketing inevitably face significant content challenges. But sales professionals do as well — especially to conduct effective change conversations with customers. Surveys, as well as client discussions about top content challenges, reveal the operational nature of the underlying causes of many of content related problems. Operational Issues However, I seldom see content strategy guidelines address operational issues. This is a major shortcoming of current thinking. Content strategy and planning for content marketing is a different and complex task for most newcomers. But if you look at the challenges early practitioners have faced, you will want to figure this out quickly. One of the most useful models we use we call the “problem-cause model”. Like many powerful ideas, this idea is simple. But work with it and you will experience important insights that will help with your content strategy and execution. Problem-Cause Model Explained In this...
  4. To lower video costs while volume grows, change your process

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    Over the past year we have had the privilege of working with two large software companies: SAP and PTC. I’ve heard a common refrain from each that is applicable to organizations that want to lower their cost of video, even as their requirements scale. The refrain is: true value and productivity gains come from redesigning the workflow processes that software enables. Consider the alphabet soup of video assembly and production tools available to us all: Adobe, Brainshark, Camtasia, KnowledgeVision, Visible Gains and many, many others. We’ve realized value and some productivity gains from applying these software tools. Yet, we still haven’t solved the cost/volume dilemma. For this, we’ll need process change. Traditional Video Production Process So let’s look at the underlying process of traditional video production. Say to anyone, “we need to make a video,” and what images come to mind? Cameras (of course), lights, video editing software, maybe a...
  5. Four Lessons You Should Learn from Publishers

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    Content marketing would be easy if it didn’t require a steady stream of fresh, engaging, relevant content.  It’s not that developing great content is new.  It’s creating the volume and continuous development required that is new. A number of companies confront this problem by hiring a staff of writers.  As their salary line goes up they may find that it is still difficult to keep up with content needs.   Skilled story tellers still need a story.  They look to subject matter experts, some of the most knowledgeable and busy people in the company, to provide stories or knowledge.  After resolving availability issues, subject matter experts often feel the need to explain their world to a writer so that the writer can tell a story.  This requires a lot of time for SMEs who have incredibly limited availability to begin with. Unfortunately, this also doesn’t always work well.  What often happens...
  6. Content Marketing Discussion With Marketing Made Simple TV

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    This week I had the privilege of joining Joe Pulizzi of Junta42 and Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners on an online video discussion hosted by Jeff Ogden‘s Marketing Made Simple TV online show. Takeaways and Insights Content Strategy — This is the starting point and essential first step for an effective and efficient content marketing initiative. We must get this right or we will experience weak and misaligned work products, delayed and inefficient execution, and limited results. There are clear and agreed upon models for content strategy. Disciplined work is required. Operations Model — Content strategy must extend to define an operations model that deals with new requirements of content marketing, especially for a constant stream of buyer-relevant and useful content that applies to the entire buying journey. This impacts the scale of content and operational resources. Execution is a major challenge and risk. One (of many) reason is an...
  7. Content Curation in Practice

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    My day started like most days. I opened and read email, a few blogs and checked out Twitter streams. An article about recent research results on content marketing spend caught my eye. As I glanced at it (how seldom we really read things these days) data about the surge in video use and planned growth caught my eye. So, what did I do? I copied the URL and forwarded it to colleagues with a note, “this is interesting, you should read this.” We all do this, don’t we? Then my brain fired off a content marketing principle: acquire.  Always be acquiring ideas and inputs for new content. We call this content curation when content originates from a third party source (this link is an example of one use of curation). I copied the link into our content inventory (you have one of these, right?). I added the requisite information about...
  8. New Thought Leadership Metric for Buyer Driven Markets

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    The new realities of B2B marketing has made thought leadership, and the development of big ideas, an important differentiator.  The new realities are also driving a change in buyers’ expectations.   Buyers want relevant and actionable content that enables them to turn big ideas into operating realities. The traditional role of thought leadership developers has been to focus on the research and analysis that yields the important big ideas.  Turning those big ideas into relevant actionable content to meet the buyers’ expectations isn’t what they do.  That job actually belongs to the people in marketing and sales that drive revenue.  These, “revenue drivers,” are closest to the customer, online or in person, and have disciplines for communicating with customers.  They understand the need for relevant actionable content, how to develop it, and the best ways to deliver it. The Hand-off The problem is with the hand-off from thought leadership to the...
  9. Video — the second best way to create for content marketing

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    Content marketing has created a content conundrum. Content marketing is fundamentally about creating buyer relevant, education oriented content, that supports the buying team as they progress through a buying journey. With this shift from vendor to buyer orientation comes great pressure on traditional content production methods and costs. Blogs have emerged as the best way to create for content marketing. They are foundational to this endeavor.  We know from blog work this content must be created consistently. One customer commented, “I need a constant stream of fresh content.” This implies not only frequency but scale.  Of course, this has huge implications on resources, development times, content quality and costs. But what do you do next? White papers, webinars, or any other of the Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing Playbook that lists 42 ways to connect with customers? Where do you focus? Where do you invest your scarce time, effort and...
  10. Create (More) Video Without A Camera

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    The traditional video production process and techniques have a clear role for many video purposes. This approach requires specific skills and tends to be inherently expensive, time consuming, and doesn’t scale efficiently. When you shift the purpose for video from entertaining or promoting to explaining, proving and educating, different criteria should dominate. To address these new criteria for video a different approach that leverages a different process and technique is required. The driving principle of the new approach should be to leverage every project, subject expert, previous asset and resource to create content extensions and re-usable assets. This is in service of the ultimate objectives of quality video with lower costs. A key technique is to create core, re-usable assets. This starts with images, animations, audio, video, but also includes modules of communication elements that are capable of being re-configured into new content programs. Plan for content extensions. Extensions are...
  11. New Criteria for Video

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    Let’s make a video! What images immediately come to mind? Gotta get a camera, lights, green screen, Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro, etc.? What about skepticism? Is it worth it? Will it work? Will the useful life be longer than 4 months? What distractions and un-intended costs will you face? And, what are the true costs? Traditional Video Thinking I’d like to introduce you to a different way of thinking about video. Most people think: Duration — videos should be short, people’s attention is very limited Style —  videos must be flashy, high impact, people want to be entertained Resources — video requires someone who knows how to do this, and is willing to do the “non-linear” (whatever that means) editing Website — we’ll put videos on our website Video quality is always a factor in people’s thinking and expectations. We find it useful to think in three broad...
  12. Best Practice B2B Resource Center as a Hub for Relevant Content Delivery & Lead Nurturing

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    A B2B web site resource center is a key hub for any B2B marketer looking to transform their web site from a billboard which prospects view but bounce off – never to return again – to a trusted resource where prospects engage over time as they move through their buying process. This can be an important vehicle for delivering relevant content, and through this capturing useful information about prospects that is used to manage the ongoing nurturing of these prospects in order to accelerate their buying process. We saw an opportunity to develop a best practice framework for B2B web site resource centers by examining existing resource centers from best in class companies such as Marketo, HubSpot and Eloqua; online publishers such as newspaper web sites; and other sites that manage large volumes of content (e.g. recipe sites). With our company’s location in Waltham, MA – we are privileged to...
  13. Selling to On-Demand Buyers

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    Most of us are well aware the world of B2B buying has gone through fundamental shifts in the last five to ten years. Why hasn’t the way we sell fundamentally changed as well? We all feel the perception from buyers that, to them, all vendors and their products look pretty much the same (undifferentiated value). We know too well the difficulty of identifying and engaging new prospects in sales conversations (generating leads). Our CRM monitored sales process reveals protracted buying timeframes (longer sales cycles and higher costs). I am amazed that for many senior executives I meet, a deeper appreciation of the implications of this transformation hasn’t occurred and isn’t translating into different strategies . If you are a CEO, CFO or VP of Sales with over twenty years of experience, you come from an era of thinking about B2B marketing as famously described by John Wanamaker: “Half the money...
  14. 35 Days to Great First Sales Meetings

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      35 Days to First Conversation — do the math For prospects who actively engage your content, assuming a two day lag in viewing, here is a possible sequence to your first call appointment (elapse time not work days) (“your mileage may vary”): Day 1 – send initial invitation touch with vmail call Day 3 – prospect views email content Day 5 – send Touch #2 automatically, no call Day 7 – prospect views content Day 14 – send Touch #3 mail, vmail call Day 16 – prospect views content Day 23 – send Touch #4 mail, vmail call Day 25 – prospect views content Days 25, 26, 27 – email & call to request introduction conversation Day 35 – have first introduction call For a detailed, comprehensive explanation of each step, download this document.  
  15. Move Beyond Concept to Create Content Like a Publisher

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    For marketers who have embraced the publishing mindset in support of inbound and content marketing strategies, execution has emerged as the new barrier to success. You understand the need to think like a publisher. You have shifted content focus from vendor and product collateral, to customer educational content. You blog, create whitepapers or e-books, conduct webinars and even dabble in videos. Linked-in and Facebook pages (and now Google Plus) have led to YouTube and Slideshare channels. You have a Twitter account and are learning about new social media platforms every week. Keeping up with demands for content is daunting. Think like a publisher tells us what to do. But can it help us understand how to do it better? You bet. Understanding the deeper implications of what it means to think — and create content — like a publisher can lead to a new operational model. With a fundamentally different...

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