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Take Your B2B Offense Up A Notch

8 Jul

How to Create Effective Presentations and Repurpose Content

Home Run

I am a big Kansas City Royals fan, and I love the game of baseball. The other day while I was watching a game, I realized just what it was that made the Royals such a relentless team. Although it may be better known for its defense, the Royals are also known for keeping the line moving on offense and putting the ball in play. This had me thinking about how the approach to putting out content can be very similar in strategy.

Today’s B2B marketers are faced with an increasing amount of presentations and content that they have to create in order to match the efforts of competitors. In fact, 76% of marketers will produce more content in 2016 than they did in 2015. With such a high rate of content being produced, your audience is looking for digestible content that will hook their interest and keep them engaged throughout your presentation and their experience with your brand. In this post, I will explore how keeping it simple, having a direct call to action, and repurposing content can enhance your marketing strategies and make you an all-around smarter B2B baserunner.

Getting On Base:

Whether it’s by bunting, hitting a single, or simply being selective with pitches and getting walked, the most important thing is to get on base. Simplifying your message is one of the best practices when presenting, and is sure to get you out of the batter’s box and on to the bag. You want to avoid overwhelming your audience with too much information on one slide. Keep your points direct and simple, allowing only a one point or two per slide to stay on message. This is key because your audience will process information in an organized sequence that will help them to understand your most important points. In fact, during his presentation for the iPhone, Steve Jobs only used 19 words in 12 slides, resulting in one of the most memorable and effective sales presentations, landing him in the metaphorical presenter Hall of Fame. While it is proven that visuals increase retention levels, visuals should only be used to illustrate a point and not just to fill space. It is okay to leave some whitespace, as you do not want to distract your audience from the message’s main takeaway.

Stealing Second:

Any good baserunner will tell you that reading the signs is crucial. Reading your audience is as important as timing the pitcher’s throw to home, and with the average attention span being only 8.25 seconds, you have only a short window to hook their attention. The best way to keep your audience engaged is to end each presentation with a clear call to action. Implementing a strategic ending is crucial and your strategy should adjust to get your audience engaged with your brand. For example, on a webinar I gave recently, I used the last slide of the presentation, which would normally consist of a thank you message, to advertise one of ER Marketing’s whitepapers with information on how to download it. This slide was effective because it stayed on the screen throughout our entire Q&A portion of the presentation, and converted a lot of attendees into people who downloaded and subscribed to our content. By using this slide as a direct CTA, we took a usually worthless slide and converted it to a runner in scoring position.

Taking Third:

Not every piece of content needs to take you from first to third; in fact, in most cases your past content already has you half way there. Since the need to constantly keep turning out content to keep your audience engaged is rapidly increasing, consider modifying and recycling some of the content you used in your presentation. This will add value to your marketing and further drive home your message. Repurposing your presentation can be something as simple as taking information from your presentation to create a more in-depth whitepaper or using video during the presentation to upload short highlights for your company’s website. You can also repurpose titles and headers from your presentation for Twitter posts with links to a related blog your company has written in the past. The combinations are endless.

The Home Stretch:

Home plate is in sight and you’re getting a good lead down the line, but don’t forget to take into consideration whether or not you will need to go back to tag third. When repurposing content, not only is it important to consider the medium that you want to use, but it is also important to recognize that content needs to be optimized for mobile viewing. According to KCPB, mobile digital media time is now greater than time spent on a desktop. It was also found that more people are viewing email on mobile. It is clear that mobile can no longer be treated as a separate channel, because most of your audience will be interacting with your content through mobile digital experience. Keeping a consistent experience with your content on both mobile and desktop will get you sliding into home safely.

While content and presentation curation may seem daunting, just remember to keep it simple and direct in order to drive home your messaging. As George Brett said, “When you get in that situation you simplify the approach…you play as hard as you can, win a game and come back to play another game.”

For your next presentation or webinar turn to these content tips, or visit ermarketing.net.

 

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Separating Media Usage Fact from Fiction

8 Jun

New Media Usage Surveys Provide Insights into the State of Marketing

dma-response-rate-report-2015

With all the marketing-related tips, tricks, and think pieces floating around the internet, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Whether it’s in the realm of B2B, B2C, content marketing, or any other subset of marketing, you’re bound to find a few hot takes out there claiming everything from “direct mail is dead” to “email is passé” to “data trumps creative.” Most of these opinions are meant to push people in the direction of digital-only marketing strategies.

Maybe some of those opinions are true, and maybe some of them aren’t. The point is that trying to find the truth in an ever-changing industry like marketing can be difficult, especially with so many voices and thought leaders speculating about it. We all want to be the edgiest and latest to adopt new trends, and sometimes that pushes us to take edgier stances on what’s next for marketing.

I recently read through some stats on different marketing communication tactics, and as it turns out, the truth might lie somewhere in the middle of all the rhetoric. (Shocking, isn’t it?) Here are a few of the findings that stood out:

Fact or Faction: “Direct mail is dead.”

Fiction. Direct mail is alive and well. In fact, 69% of marketers are actually holding their direct mail budgets steady or increasing them. (Source: Target Marketing’s 2016 Media Usage Survey)

Fact or Faction: “Print is dead.”

Fiction. Marketers spend 28.5% of their marketing budget on print and direct mail related campaigns. 8 out of 10 American adults said they prefer to read a printed piece than an online piece. (Source: Target Marketing’s 2016 Media Usage Survey)

Fact or Faction: “Digital marketing is more cost-efficient than direct mail.”

Fiction. Here are some numbers about the cost-per-acquisition for various media categories: (Source: DMA’s 2015 Response Report)

  • Direct Mail: $19
  • Paid Search: $21-30
  • Internet Display Ads: $41-50
  • Email: $11-15

So what’s the takeaway? Simply put, marketers need to temper some of their more bombastic predictions about the future of marketing. Moving forward doesn’t mean abandoning the tactics that have worked well for years; it means combining those tactics with smarter, more insightful approaches that integrate the old with the new.

For example, a strong data approach will empower “outdated” tactics like direct mail and print to drive success. But neither an all digital nor an all traditional approach is likely to be the answer—smart marketers need a blend of the two.

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Content Marketing & SEM: Stats Any B2B CMO Should See

5 May

Why Content Marketing Should Be Part of Your Digital Strategy

SEO and Content

Content marketing. Heard of it? If not, you probably haven’t been reading much Navigate-the-Channel. We’ve spoken a lot about how content is an incredibly effective B2B strategy to provide more information to customers at the early stages of their buyer’s journey, establish companies’ trust and expertise, and ultimately, drive more sales.

That’s all well and good, but there are other issues that B2B companies need to consider when it comes to their content strategies. Issues like Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, in which major search algorithm updates will affect the way search engines deliver the highest-quality results to their users. If your website can’t offer relevant content to those users, you can bet that your website will literally be bumped down the page, hidden under a pile of search results from companies that were just a little smarter than you about integrating content marketing into their strategies.

A recent article from Search Engine Land drew my attention because of its insights regarding content marketing and SEM. Here are a few standout facts that B2B companies should read before planning their content strategy:

  • More than 60-70% of content goes unused, meaning companies need to work to better understand who they’re writing for and why by conducting an audit of buyer personas and journeys.
  • B2B companies should prioritize utilizing a Content Management System (CMS) that integrates authors, topics, and keywords. For Adobe, switching to an SEO-friendly CMS resulted in a 307% increase in organic traffic within a year and a 287% increase in rankings on Page 1.
  • Don’t forget design—content needs to capture attention to be effective. Images, video, website design, and aesthetics are important contributing factors when it comes to “moving the needle” and shouldn’t be underestimated.

As Google continues to demand more and more from websites, it will become critically important that B2B companies fill their sites with the high-quality, relevant content users are searching for. You need to make sure that you’ve not only done the research to find out what your audience is looking for online, but that your content is written and created to deliver to those needs. SEO, therefore, is a critical component of your content marketing strategy.

Or it’s not. But if it’s not, you better enjoy Page 2.

 

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When Selling Building Products, Opt for Simple

21 Apr

Lessons Learned from the 2016 ISC West Show

ISC West

As building products marketers, are we overcomplicating things? Do we consult with people down the channel—including customers and even our own sales teams—to make sure we are delivering the best information in ways that are easy to consume? Most importantly, who can we look to for simplification inspiration in the building products industry?

I recently attended the 2016 ISC West Show, the largest security industry trade show in the United States, with technical reps from more than 1,000 exhibitors and brands in the security industry. While there, I explored and learned about the rapidly growing segment of the connected home and the integration challenges of hardware and software in the security and door hardware industry.

The attendees of the show are typically security dealers. They sell in consumer homes, similar to a lot of building materials products. And, like a window or siding rep, they have to “win the kitchen table” if they hope to sell their product effectively down the channel.

One of the tours that did a great job of demonstrating how to “win the kitchen table” based on their product offering was the Tektronix® Connected Home booth. There, I learned how their integrated system connects the video doorbell to the alarm, the sprinklers, garage door, network-boosting light bulbs, and so on. Obviously, Tektronix is not the only company doing this, but for manufacturers not thinking about what homeowners want, this is where they need to start looking.

What I found amazing was one of the final items on the Tektronix tour, which displayed their “upsell kit.” It’s what a marketer might call a sales rep kit or in-home kit. Over the years, we’ve probably created dozens of these for clients, ranging from somewhat basic to very complex and expensive to produce. You’ve likely done these as well.

The upsell kit Tektronix showed at their booth is their most requested and used of all time. So what makes it unique? Triple fold-out panels with a wiring schematic that integrates all the cool features? Maybe some electronic component that connects via Bluetooth to the reps phone?

Nope. It’s simply a printed image of all the pieces that might normally go into the kit.Unknown

Yes, you read that right. The sample kit doesn’t have physical samples. It has pictures of them and a call out image on the inside flap of the box. It’s very light, so it’s easy to carry. It’s very cheap to produce so dealers can have several of these for all their reps.

These are home security items—technology items. These are items that protect the homeowner’s family. But even with all that, they don’t require a physical sample. I realize they aren’t picking a color or finish, but compared to what most in the building products industry have always done, many might consider it a “fake” sales kit. But for Tektronix, it works well—and suits both their customers’ and sales teams’ needs just fine.

So, I’ve challenged our team and I’m challenging you to think about this when developing your in-home sales kit and other sales enablement tools. Have you talked to the dealers to see what works or why they don’t use one item or another? Have you ever tried a completely different approach? Have you asked why your company does it that way?

And most importantly, have you asked yourself if there is a simpler way to do this? That’s what drove this change in their upsell kit. We can do this too—find things to simplify in our increasingly complex lives, both as people and as marketers.

 

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Lessons From The Builders’ Show

18 Feb

An Open Letter To Trade Show Exhibitors

Dear Friends,

According to the Convention Industry Council, trade shows added more than $280 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012, drawing more than 225 million participants. That’s a staggering set of figures and it underscores the importance these shows play. As marketers, we all know exhibiting at trade shows can be vital to our business—to see and be seen, to market products and services, and to nurture relationships.

Over my career, I’ve had the opportunity to attend a variety of trade shows across numerous industries, the most recent at the building industry’s combined 2016 IBS & KBIS in Las Vegas.

And over the years, I’m struck by one constant of booths, regardless of time, region or industry…

Chances are, your booth sucks. It’s cramped, cluttered, and really boring.

While harsh, it’s also probably true. Worst of all, you probably know it. But take heart because you’re most certainly not alone in this. Everywhere, at every show, are long swaths of cluttered and uninspired landscape—overwhelming collections of shapes and colors, fixtures and messages, all masquerading as brand. It’s as pervasive and inescapable as it is predictable.

Why? When did this happen? When did it become okay to develop a trade show booth as if someone pitched the idea “You know what people will want to do after spending thousands of dollars and traveling hundreds of miles? To stand inside our 4×9 brochure!

Sure, it sounds ridiculous, but it’s the reality we’ve all seen time and again—and sadly, what we’ve come to expect and attendees to accept. Throngs of people shuffling past a booth, each scanning over it and moving on. And that’s after you’ve spent—what?—tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of marketing budget, ostensibly to get exactly their attention.

So now that I’ve pointed out the obvious problem, let me point out the not-so-obvious remedy. The secret, the greatest missed opportunity, comes down to a simple idea that the majority of exhibitors overlook which is…want a hint? Here you go: International Builders’ Show, Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, International Consumer Electronics Show, SHOT Show, Club Industry Show, Nightclub & Bar Convention & Trade Show…

Notice anything in common? They’re trade shows. And what is a show? It’s an event, a spectacle, something to witness and enjoy. It’s active, not passive—and that’s the key. If you were invited to “dinner and a show” you’d naturally expect to be entertained, and yet at trade shows, we invite people to come see us and then reward them with opportunities to stand around and read something. Where’s the spectacle? Where’s the pizazz?

Face it, contemporary trade shows are overgrown ice trays of bland inactivity. But there is hope, bright morsels of brilliance among the milquetoast masses.

As recently as the IBS/KBIS in Las Vegas, I found a few who got it right and as a result, got noticed—some with every chair filled and some with onlookers clogging the aisle (drawing even more to come and see what the buzz is about). Others would do well to follow their lead.

CertainTeed

IBS Certainteed

If you have the budget, go big and use celebrities. CertainTeed brought in HGTV star Mike Holmes for an appearance and photo opp, plus constructed a climbing wall. What does a climbing wall have to do with their products? It was lost on a lot of people. But see the woman in the foreground…she’s capturing it on her phone, probably sharing it with others. She’s sharing images of a B2B trade show booth unsolicited. Money shot, indeed.

GAF

IBS GAF

Don’t have big budgets for big talent? Go traditional and use models and simple RTW giveaways. Your own team is paid to be productive experts, but hired talent is paid to be charming, inviting, and generally attractive. At the GAF booth—just inside a major entry point—a smiling woman with a bubbly personality was getting grown men to register to win stuffed animals. And it worked; in the few moments it took for me to grab this picture, two men asked where to sign up.

Plastpro

IBS plastpro

I walked by the Plastpro booth a few times and each time I did, people were standing-room-only to watch a pro install a door. To most people, this would be a punchline, but to attendees it was interesting, valuable, and yes, entertaining. The presenter was upbeat and personable…and he presented, not simply talked. I’ll admit, I stuck around and learned how to square a door much easier than I used to (and I’m not even the target audience).

Okay, so it’s great if you have the resources for a 30×40 booth with big events and headline talent and boxes of prizes. But what about the 10×10 along the back wall? What about those who spent a third of their marketing budget just to get it all to the show?

Bad Dog Tools

IB baddog

For more than 10 minutes, I watched two men at Bad Dog Tools do nothing but demo their product and answer questions. No brochures, no giveaways, no models. Yet people were constantly lined up on two sides of the booth to watch drill bits bore through everything from rasps to brake discs. Bad Dog Tools could have made a video of it and had it looping while two of their salespeople sat on bar stools and watched attendees shuffle by and not stop, but instead they made the product the show. Brilliant.

What’s the takeaway? Don’t settle, make a spectacle. Create a booth that’s a destination, or at the very least, an interruption. Remember that people can get information about your products or services at your website, so use your trade show booth to interact with them in a way you can’t otherwise—and in a manner that doesn’t feel like you’re pressuring them to buy a timeshare.

And here’s one final thought to consider…

“People will pay more to be entertained than educated.” –Johnny Carson

So come on, marketers. Show us what you’re made of.

Sincerely,

Matt Hillman

ER Marketing, Creative Director

hillman

 

 

 

 

 

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