Wednesday, March 05, 2014

5 Challenges that B2B Marketers face and how to overcome them

In a recent post over at the Content Marketing Institute, they summed up a study of small business B2B marketers use of content marketing in 2014.

There are a bunch of charts but I wanted to focus in one only one of them here:

bar chart-b2b marketer challenges

I will tackle the top 5 and offer up some solutions:
  1. Lack of Time - I think I can use this as the reason for any challenge I have at work.  When I hear this response I start to dive into the whole "being productive" vs "being busy" issues.  When I am being productive I can attribute a completed task to a larger project that has a direct correlation to revenue.  If I am being busy then its harder to do that, if not impossible.  So I would say you don't need more time, you need to look at what you are already doing and determine if its important enough to continue.
  2. Producing Enough Content - enough for what?  If I get one whitepaper done and it generates enough leads and revenue to hit my target then have I produced "enough" content?  I would take the approach of matching content needs to the steps of your buyers process.  I usually see this issue related to blogging (btw this is the hardest form of content marketing there is!).  If you are thinking about creating a blog with daily posts then you need to have passionate writers in your organization.  A corporate blog will die within one month without this.
  3. Producing the Kind of Content that Engages - Now we are getting somewhere.  This should be the number one challenge.  To do this you need to have a few good sources within your company that really know your customers.  Preferably even some customers themselves.  Then from their pain points you can start to develop content.  I am not saying it will be 100% effective but it will at least come from a place where you know your customer already needs something.  Learn from your mistakes but make sure you make a few.
  4. Producing a Variety of Content - I agree that the same content type could get repetitive but I want to fall back to the concept of engaging content as being the key issue.  If your audience is busy and like to download and print out whitepapers and read them over a lunch break at work then keep producing them.  Sometimes the new flashy thing isn't the answer.  Also dip your toe in the water with a new content type first before investing in it.  You may love to watch videos but that doesn't mean your audience does (or can).
  5. Lack of Budget - Sorry folks but this is a poor excuse.  If you have a Subject Matter Expert(SME) under payroll then its your job to translate that knowledge into a digital format so your customers can consume and/or interact with it.  Is your SME a crappy writer?  Then put them in front of a camera. Not comfortable on video?  Do a webinar.  Find a way to get that knowledge out there to generate leads and interest from your target audience.
What have your challenges been?  How have you overcome them or have you at all?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

If you can do only one thing in digital marketing, do this

I get asked all the time what are the most critical things a marketing manager needs to do first when thinking about digital marketing. If I can sum it up in one sentence it would be:

Find a way to map your customers interaction with your company from beginning to end.

Now for some definitions:
  • Map - everyone leaves a digital trail and it will be your job to find it. A good map uses practical understanding to explain important visual points.  You need to figure out how to measure as much as you can, from any angle. Your measurements are your map.  For example, how many people are calling your company from your website?  A simple solution is to create a unique phone number to track this. The best solution is to have all those calls automatically feed into a CRM solution for ultimate tracking. 
  • Customers - these are the people you know and the ones you need to get to know. I categorize them as anyone who takes both explicit and implicit actions with your company/brand.
  • Company - why do you need a definition of this?  Sometimes people think their company only consists of the places (both digital and in meat space) that they have defined. Today its a different story, your company consists of Rick from Accounting who lists his place of employment on his Twitter bio then goes out and mocks a customers rant. That's part of the deal, like it or not. 
  • Beginning to end - this is also referred to as the funnel. Each business has its details on this but generally you need to be able to figure out your customers journey so you can track it along the way. Remember that tracking isn't controlling, it's just understanding your customer and how they decide to buy from you. 
So why do I consider this the most important thing to take care of with digital marketing?  It's simple, if you cannot create metrics around your customer journey, then you will never know if you are having an effect on it.

Want to run a Google AdWords campaign to get more leads?  Great, but can you map that all they way to revenue?

Are you in need of better conversion rates on a landing page?  Then make sure you know how many people get there and how many people fill out that form.

You get the idea.  This is the most fundamental piece of digital marketing that I can think of. Without it all the other bells and whistles won't make a measurable difference.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

What to say when being interviewed by an Online Marketing Manager

Interviewing for a job is fun isn't it?  Who doesn't love those long silent moments after having talked for hours about yourself when you want to just stand up and scream "I can do this job can't you people see that??"

So what if one of the people who is interviewing you is in charge of Online/Digital Marketing?  What do they want to hear from prospective candidates who want to join that team?  Here are my top 4 things to make sure you say in that interview:

  1. Online/Digital Marketing is central, and you get that - Some may disagree with this but I have a news flash for you - no matter what market you are in digital marketing should be the core of all your marketing strategy, oh and its 2013 not 1982 so get over it.  Tell them you understand the importance of all digital channels in the marketing mix, even if you are not an expert in any of them specifically.
  2. Metrics, Numbers, ROI - If it can't be measured its not business.  Talk about always ensuring a ROI on activities.  An Online Marketing Managers life is numbers and spreadsheets so if you sound ambivalent about tracking numbers then they will think you don't get modern marketing techniques.
  3. Content is king - this one depends on the type of position you are interviewing for but in general most people responsible for online activities are always hungry for great content.  It could be for the website, a campaign or social media.  Show that you are willing to be their ally in the fight to create great content.
  4. Flexibility - the online landscape is always changing.  You may have 10 years experience, but if the target audience wants more video content and you don't even know how to keep your thumb out of a picture of your kids make sure you are ready to learn new things.  Oh and here is a bonus tip: Learn more about Video, it grows in importance daily...
What kind of experiences have you had?