1. 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...
  2. 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...
  3. 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...
  4. 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...
  5. 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...
  6. 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...
  7. 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.  
  8. 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...
  9. Why Create Content Like a Publisher?

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    When you hear the phrase “think like a publisher,” what does this mean to you? Why think like a publisher? How would you explain this concept to your colleagues or managers? Perhaps most importantly, what would you do differently if you and your organization were to create content like publishers? For most people I speak with, they have a good, level one understanding: They can “become the media” and leverage the internet to “publish” content Acting like a journalist, they embrace blogging to varying degrees of discipline and success They know content must be more about buyers and their “problem to solution journey”, than traditional vendor focus collateral By sharing ideas to help buyers understand their problems, options and recommended approaches to solving those problems, content can capture attention and identify prospective buyers, educate them and begin to build the critical trust factor Ideally, storytelling is embraced as a key...
  10. Content Marketing Support Resource

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    I’ve just completed reading Rebecca Lieb’s new book, Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher – How to Use Content to Market Online and in Social Media. I’m immediately buying copies for my people and to use with customers. It’s a terrific introduction and summary of the principles and top level practices. This is book for people who want or need an initial understanding of Content Marketing. I read it in a couple of hours on a plane ride. This makes it a good book to share with senior executives and others to help explain “why we’re taking this approach to marketing”. We all need that. We’re all working with a few who “get it,” surrounded by far too many who don’t. Given the significant mind, strategy and budget shifts required for organizations to pursue this course, making the case for content marketing is the first challenge proponents usually face. Given the “dabbling”...
  11. Content Publishing vs. Traditional “Point Production” Process

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      People regularly ask me to clarify the differences and reasons for adopting a content publishing process rather than the traditional point production process. The publishing process is at the core of our Leveraged Content Supply Chain ideas. Here is a simple list of reasons. We believe organizations face new content requirements that a publishing oriented creation process best addresses because: Content must be relevant to each buyer and their situation, vs. “one size fits all” Content must educate, create a vision and inspire vs. pitch features and benefits This means a dramatic increase in the volume of content to create which breaks down with traditional approaches We must reduce the burden on subject experts (SMEs) and change their role in creating content Content creation must become a planned asset development and maintenance process vs. an event driven, “one-and-done” approach Content creation is moving from centralized, “professional” creators to “new...
  12. Ready or Not, Here’s Your Content Challenge

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    To capture attention and deliver value, your content challenge is to be relevant to your buyers and readers. It might be cliché to say buyers are inundated with information, but I don’t see organizations really committing to strategies that deal with this reality. While many have changed the way they market over the last three to five years, I don’t see corresponding changes in the way they create content. I call the traditional approach a “point production” method. Sometimes this is referred to as “one and done.” I put the emphasis on “one” — one blog, article, webinar, whitepaper, video, etc. If we are committed to creating relevant content that works for our organization and our readers, it must be created to speak to a specific individual, specific interest or issue, buying stage, industry, competitive context and other relevance factors. Not all of them together. If we believe it’s important to make our...
  13. Content Governance in the Content Marketing Era

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    Today’s content marketing requirements and opportunities are straining traditional corporate thinking, policies and processes. How has your company adapted policies and procedures to accommodate the “democratization of content creation” with the shift from centralized, “professional” production processes, to a distributed or (hopefully) agile creation process? A common occurrence we experience when creating video vignettes for companies provides a good example. This involves the internal review process that is based on traditional thinking, policies and procedures. First, some context. We typically create content for our customers, to address their buyer’s journey: their issues, challenges, opportunities, options, etc. This content is educational in nature. Hopefully it delivers insights bordering on  “thought leadership“, with some degree of a “point-of-view.” Relatively little of this content presents an official corporate offer. Our process begins by interviewing our customer’s subject experts to acquire the language they typically use when talking with customers about customer business issues. We expect these experts know...
  14. Customer Interviews for Marketing and Selling Content

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    At our recent sales and marketing breakfast we had an excellent conversation on customer — and video — interviews. As a result, I suspected that most B2B marketing professionals don’t have a successful framework for thinking about, much less acquiring, effective customer interviews for marketing and selling content. Follow on conversations with organizations large and small confirmed my suspicions. What’s the ‘Job’ of Recorded Customer Interviews? What do you call them? Success stories? Testimonials? Case studies?  What is the “come from” behind your approach? What is your primary intent? To have your customer tell your prospects things about you that you can’t (or shouldn’t) tell yourself? Or are you “coming from” a perspective of “helping buyers make effective buying decisions” by getting your customers to share insights that address specific buying questions — by role, issue, buying stage, solution alternative? What is the “job” recorded customer interviews are expected to do? How do these expectations differ...
  15. Content Marketing Best Practices from Joe Pulizzi

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    Hubspot Inbound Now Video Interview also a Case Study In How to Create Content Like a Publisher Whether you are new to content marketing or an advanced practitioner you can learn something from the recent Hubspot Inbound Now interview with Joe Pulizzi of Junta42 and founder of the Content Marketing Institute. Anytime I can hear or read Joe’s insights it’s a worthwhile time investment. The Hubspot process is an excellent example of thinking and creating content like a publisher: Be a resource for new ideas and insights Acquire content by interviewing subject experts Use audio and video as acquisition methods (more than just interview) Transcribe the audio Offer the content in multiple formats for consumption convenience: text, audio and video Amplify — in this case they blogged about the interview for another distribution method Promote — others will help you do this   Inbound Now #16 – Content Marketing Best Practices...

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