1. 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...
  2. 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...
  3. 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...
  4. 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...
  5. Repurpose Content, Important, Not a Panacea

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    The tactic to repurpose content is a hot topic right now among marketers as they look to reduce content development time, effort and costs. Our company has repurposed content for customers for over fifteen years, and developed several techniques. But first, a warning. Repurposing content is not a panacea to creating the right content the right way the first time. We suggest, if you can repurpose content, it wasn’t designed and created to be targeted and relevant in the first place.  This is why a content strategy that develops a content engine to continuously create content like publishers is so important. If content is not relevant, remarkable or compelling, repurposing won’t necessarily make it so. If content is all about the vendor and their products, it can be difficult to repurpose into effective customer educational content that is high demand today. Think of house renovations. This works well when it’s...
  6. A Content Engine Drives Lead Management

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    I was walking my dog past the school playground recently and watched a dad with a young child playing on the monkey bars. The boy could barely jump up and reach the rungs, but seemed paralyzed at the distance between the rungs to begin his navigation. Then I heard him command his father: “swing me, Dad, swing me.” The father gave the boy a gentle push and, using the momentum created by the swinging, the boy navigated his way across the remaining bars. However, whenever he ceased his momentum and stopped on a rung, he was unable to restart. He dropped to the ground to return to his father for a lift and a swing. This got me thinking about lead management. We know that initial inquiries begin to go cold within hours. But too often our follow up connections are “one and done:” a phone call, landing page, white...
  7. Think Like a Publisher

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    Marketing automation for lead nurturing raises the stakes and the complexity of the content creation process. To feast this voracious beast, we recommend you think like a publisher. Why? Buyers want to view relevant content based upon their: role, specific needs or issues, stage of the buying process, industry, alternatives, and information purpose (attention, general education, customer stories, vendor point-of-view, vendor capabilities, proof points, technical explanation and more.) To create physical documents to respond to this requirement would require hundreds, perhaps a thousand documents (4 variables for 5 factors is 4 to the 5th power). Daunting, if even possible. Business publishers need content to be available immediately when buyers, or their sales staff, require it. But budgets are tight and quality standards must be preserved. Volume and the ability to tailor content — perhaps even personalize it — really ups the ante. Business publishers need to shift their thinking from...
  8. Create Content Like a Publisher when Creating Webinars – Two Customer Examples

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    Over a year ago in this space we outlined “7 ways to take your webinars to the next level,” which was so well received it led to an interview for Blog Talk Radio and multiple guest blog posts. Over the past several years we have been applying this create like a publisher approach to webinars, and the impact for our customers has been significant. The two customer examples show how changing the way you execute webinars can have a substantial impact on the results you get from lead generation webinars as well as fuel content creation for multiple purposes including lead generation, lead nurturing, sales enablement and thought leadership. Anthelio: “A Physician Portal Approach to Patient Information Access” How Anthelio created content like a publisher: Anthelio’s audience is difficult to get to committ the 45 to 60 minutes during the work day for a live webinar, so an on-demand microsite with short video segments is a more effective...
  9. Marketing Automation – 10 Points on What to Do First

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    I was recently asked – “We have 3 months until we turn on our marketing automation system (in this case, Marketo). What should we do before we set it up?” First off, don’t wait for anything to turn on marketing automation. You don’t want to wait one more day because the moment you turn it on, it’s going to provide you with visibility into who is engaging your web site and you’ll begin building an activity history that will later be associated to an individually named prospect (as soon as they click on one of your emails). OK, so now you have your marketing automation turned on, what’s next? To help you ensure that you fulfill on the promise of marketing automation and meet the expectations of your management team, the below list are must-have components of anautomated lead management and lead nurturing program powered by marketing automation. These are not optional.  If...
  10. Applying a publishing process to training content

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    At Marketo University yesterday I presented a training program around how companies can apply Marketo’s recently released program management functionality to get more out of their events. My recommended approach to program management entails creating a “master event program template” which contains all of the rules and data-driven email and landing page templates. This saves time and operationalizes best practices around events, while creating a program performance report that measures event success. The original request from Marketo was to create materials for Marketo University – a training point production. Our “Create Like a Publisher” process says, however, that content creation should follow a programmatic approach, and consider multiple purposes when making the time and resource investment to create content. Said another way — rather than repurpose content after the fact, which is inefficient, create it right the first time. So in following this create like a publisher process, we created: a 30-minute on-demand...
  11. Why Consistency and Standards are So Important – Production and Program Management

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    I recently reviewed with our production team the importance of why we have consistency and standards around the practices and processes of our business. By way of background, some of the areas for which we have developed and manage standards include processes to: Create content like a publisher – creating content for multiple purposes and audiences through a single process (e.g. content for lead generation, lead nurturing & sales enablement) Produce webinars and all the various forms of content that results from it Produce vignettes – video-like content easily tailored for multiple audience Produce software demos – so that they are much more engaging and re-purposable than most Outsource automated lead management programs – Design, implement, on-board customers and operate the program Conduct content inventories & assessments – to align content to buyer roles, interest and stage; and identify content gaps and priorities Now to “the Why” – why standards and consistency are important. For...
  12. Applying Digital Body Language to Webinars

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    Digital Body Language (the phrase coined by Steve Woods of Eloqua) has become a key principle of B2B Digital Sales & Marketing. This involves using web behavior around content consumption to learn more about customers – their issues, interests, stage of the buying process and more. With automated lead management programs, it is used to score prospects and to deliver relevant content based on their interests and stage in their buying process. Webinars are a key component of nearly all B2B sales & marketing organizations’ lead generation programs. But companies are missing a significant opportunity to learn more about their audiences when they employ the generally practiced webinar format. When you conduct a webinar, what do you really know about your audience? Hopefully, you know their name, email address, perhaps organization and maybe role. You know they have a general interest in the topic, but not much more. How can we apply...

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