1. Content Marketing Principles and Practices

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    Subtitle: Lip Service or Disciplined, Consistent Execution? A research briefing on Focus Marketing website called Best Practices in Content Marketing presents summary recommendations, a set of principles really, for conducting content marketing. Executive Summary “A content marketing strategy involves the creation of content for the purpose of engaging and establishing relationships with current and prospective customers, and subscribes to the belief that delivering high-quality information to prospects at the right stage of the buying cycle drives profitable action. There are several stages of a content marketing strategy each with many elements to consider before moving to the next. In this guide, Focus Experts Ardath Albee, Joe Chernov, Barbra Gago, Doug Kessler, and Stephanie Tilton have suggested their top tips and best practices for each stage of the content marketing cycle.” I highly recommend the briefing, the full roundtable discussion transcript, or the on demand recording of the full program. (I especially like that Focus offers MP3 and transcript versions,...
  2. Keeping PowerPoint in Perspective

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    A recent New York Times article — We Have Met the Enemy and He is PowerPoint — is the latest in a (seemingly) never-ending series of articles deriding the tool. This is a good opportunity to move from the “cool” perspective of bashing PowerPoint, to consider it’s significant possibilities — even for content professionals. For over twelve years we have recommended a different perspective. Rather than view PowerPoint as a bullet-oriented presentation tool — it’s initial purpose — we suggest viewing it as a business graphic development, and even general communication tool. Training organizations have long embraced PowerPoint as a foundation for e-learning. Where would marketing webinars be without PowerPoint? As a production tool for general business people, nothing beats it and that’s why it’s so pervasive. But what of more “professional” users? A Tool for the Content Marketing Professional Consider the following marketing and sales content requirements facing most...
  3. Second Voice Vignettes for Telesales and Prospecting

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    As a sales professional, telephone selling is a key element of my sales job, especially in the critical, initial stages of prospecting and engaging new customers. For many sales people this is a frustrating, time consuming, low probability of success activity. Here’s an approach that significantly improves your odds, provides value to your prospects, gives you important feedback and, for now, will clearly differentiate you from other sales people. I’ve been thinking about the binary nature of sales prospecting and cultivating initial customer relationships. Consider, with most sales calls: We either connect, or don’t Leave a voicemail, or not Send an email, or not The prospect answers, or doesn’t Is willing to talk, or not Is interested, or not Is willing to meet, or not Is the right person or not, etc. Of course, the odds of a favorable outcome for each option don’t favor us. But what if there...
  4. Creating Relevant Content

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    The shift from building content about a company and it’s products and services, to building content that speaks to specific interests of target audiences, raises the issue of content relevance. What makes content relevant? How would we gauge the degree of relevance of a content item? This shift is being driven by new customer buying processes enabled largely by internet availability of information traditionally provided by vendors. As buyers begin their buying process with online research, content becomes more critical than ever before. Content is what helps companies get discovered during this research process. Used properly, content can help companies discover potential buyers before they decide to contact vendors. Search engine optimization (SEO), internet syndicated articles, and marketing automation technology (among others) have changed the marketing game. Buyers are not interested in vendor products and services until quite late in their buying process. At the start, they are primarily interested...
  5. e-Marketing Strategies for the Complex Sale

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    When we look back at the past decade, I believe we will see a significant inflection point in the transformation of B2B marketing and selling. The rhetoric of the internet has become the reality of the internet. The web, along with digital media, web 2.0 technologies, and the proliferation of wireless and mobile computing have resulted in the long-awaited convergence. Even user adoption rates, traditionally the regulator on the velocity of technology impact, are accelerating noticeably. Of course, not all is perfect. We tend to implement new technologies using old processes and methodologies. True breakthrough occurs when we re-engineer these processes based upon the new technologies. To paraphrase an old line, to ask, “given my business, how should I use these new technologies?” is fundamentally the wrong question. A more helpful question is, “given the capabilities provided by new technologies, how should I design and run my business?” Ardath Albee...
  6. 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...
  7. “The How” – More effective execution around webinars and event marketing

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    I have been asked to instruct an upcoming Marketo University course on event management as part of Marketo’s Revenue Rockstar Roadshow in Boston. The course will cover how to leverage Marketo’s programs & “my tokens” functionality to best manage lead generation events, both offline and online/webinars. By using a set of database-driven templates to manage all event web pages, emails and rules, you (marketers) can spend less time on event setup and operations, and more time focused on event promotion  — and therefore, getting more out of your events.  And this return on event investments (success rates and new lead acquisition) is rolled up into a single, management report compiled in real-time. Moreover, this approach means you can more easily incorporate best practices into your event and webinar programs.  When it comes to marketing, most of us know what we should be doing, but effectively operationalizing it (and ensuring it sticks) is where most companies fall short...
  8. Pre-produce content so it’s there when you need it (like when the Earth shakes)

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    Yesterday’s earthquake presented one of our customers with an example of the importance and impact of creating and managing modular video assets. We work with our customers to help them create content like publishers in order to accelerate their customers’ buying process, and one of the key fundamentals is pre-producing content across a variety of topics (not to mention – roles, buying stages, industry and other factors), so that “it’s ready when you need it.” Our customer Building Engines is a software-as-a-service for managing real estate operations. Natural disasters such as an earthquake have significant ramifications for a building manager including the need to notify and update tenants across multiple communications channels, track and manage these communications, and for operations staff to file incident reports. With the news of the earthquake reverberating on Tuesday, Building Engines was able to leverage their content to contribute to the conversation, share and generate attention. As background, we...
  9. 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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