Tag Archives: B2B Marketing

The Sweet Reward of Saying Thanks

22 Nov

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During the holiday season, we often jump from Halloween right to Christmas or New Year’s and simply view Thanksgiving as the day we eat too much – and for me, watch the Dallas Cowboys game. (I’m still a Chiefs fan, but when you grow up before cable TV you liked the team you could watch.)

It’s unlikely you start your customer communication with politics or religion. The subjects are too volatile for most businesses to discuss. That’s why, as a business, it seems like Thanksgiving is the one holiday we should focus on.

At our house, every month, we get a box of Cheryl’s Cookies. They usually don’t last long, especially with kids, but they are just cookies. Very good cookies, but still just cookies. Unlike our B2B clients, where customers spend thousands, sometimes millions of dollars, these cookies cost us less than $20 a month.

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We recently received an overnight envelope at our house from Cheryl’s. It clearly  wasn’t our  normal box so I opened it (a highly valued activity at my house). What  did I find? A very simple  message: Thank you. No sales message. Not a coupon for  a repeat order. No offer to upgrade. A  note that simply said, “Thank you.”

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Thankfully, they also sent a small box that included a single cookie.

So what does this have to do with B2B or building materials marketing? It  was a reminder to me that we sometimes forget to simply say “thank you” to  our customers, our clients, our employees or other people we interact with  during our work life.

Why do we overcomplicate the process of simply saying “thank you” during  this time of the year? Is it because we don’t care about our customers? I don’t  think so. Is it because we are a business and businesses aren’t “warm and  fuzzy?” Possibly or have we simply forgotten that regardless of our roles or  interactions, we are still just another human whose plate is too full, whose day  isn’t long enough and who might just be taken for granted? There may be  something to that.

Yes, we are in Business to Business marketing, but we are still people to people and the old adage that you do business with people you know, like and trust remains true.

This year, don’t forget this simple act of a thank you to the people in your life. While trying to cut that single cookie into four equal parts for my family was not easy, we certainly appreciated the message and your employees, co-workers and especially your customers will, too.

So as we start the holiday season, I want to, along with the entire ER Marketing team, say thanks to you – our friends, our suppliers, our employees, our readers and especially our clients.

 

 

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Social Influencers for Every Industry

17 Nov

Try These Tips for Selecting the Right Social Influencer

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Social media influencers can play a critical role in your marketing strategy. Partnering with the right one can give you access to the influencer’s blog and social media channels, and connect you to a precise audience segment that your business otherwise may not be able to reach.

However, there’s a misperception that collaborating with social media influencers is only for consumer brands – fitness, fashion, video games – not B2B industries such as building products.

Partnering with the right social influencer can amplify your message with key audiences – regardless of industry. So how can your business identify the right social influencer? Try these tips:

Ask for Analytics

All major social media sites have robust analytics programs that social influencers can access. Before you commit to an influencer based on their subscriber count, have a conversation about their audience. Serious social influencers regularly review their stats to focus their efforts on top demographics. They know who’s visiting, what they like and how they respond. In the same way you request a report from a TV station before an ad buy, ask for a similar report from a social influencer. Not only will their response show a true mastery of their audience, it also will showcase a business sense that will help reach your target audience.

Look for Consistency

The size of the audience that follows a social influencer is one thing – reach is quite another. For instance, the YouTube view count to subscriber ratio is an important metric that shows the difference between a live marketing channel and one that may be too general. Look for social influencers who maintain a consistent view count for all posts, not influencers who seem to lose their audience and gain it back intermittently.

Find Subject Matter Experts

You’ll find your niche in the world of social influence by looking for people who’ve mastered their craft. Social influencers usually connect their rates to the audience size. If you find someone who’s early in their platform development but knowledgeable about the subject matter, you may be able to secure a discount for their services.

Material on the internet stays forever, so as an early influencer builds their audience, your sponsored content would continue to reach new followers. Subject matter mastery drives new followers to an influencer. In fact, if your brand is somewhat established, you may give a social influencer the boost they need to attract new audience members, which would benefit you both.

B2B or consumer, there’s a social influencer who can help connect you with your audience. The right one will amplify your message with precise audience segments your business otherwise may not be able to reach.

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Millennials Want an Internal Communications Renovation

13 Sep

Effective B2B Marketing Starts from Within

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Guest Contributor:
Whitney Riker, Account Executive

Let’s face it: the building industry is in a rebuild phase. A shift in workforce demographics and the housing market is forcing even the largest corporations to take a second look at their business strategies to adjust. Marketing is a major player in your business strategy, but building product marketers who want to be effective in their marketing strategies need to take a look within. After all, effective marketing starts inside. Build your toolbox to execute a better plan.

Picture a Different Landscape Before You Break Ground

As a Millennial, I can say in true Gen-Y fashion, that I am sick of hearing about us. Nonetheless, my generation is the largest and the building industry will have to adjust.

  • In 2014, 28 million people entered the workforce
  • Survey says these workers have close to zero interest in LBM
  • Millennials have been assured from early age that their opinions matter (good luck ignoring them)

Is your organization prepared for the changing workforce? Start by building an internal communications plan.

  1. Envision: What do you want internal communications to do for your company?
  2. Strategize: Where does it stand right now, and what needs improvement?
  3. Evaluate: How soon would you like to reach your goals and how will you get there?

Use these questions to start building your strategy—simple or complex—so you can adapt to the changing workforce. Have a plan you can realistically stick to so you can track your progress and re-assess your approach.

Now That You Have a Plan, Fill Your Toolbox

A strategy can’t be executed without the right tools. So take a look inside and see what you have in your toolbox for communicating internally. Are they the right tools for your Gen-Y employees? Consider that Millennials value time and communication to be on their terms. Most of their day-to-day conversations take place digitally and that expectation won’t go away at work. There are many technology platforms that make it simple and easy to improve internal communication with this generation. Don’t be overwhelmed—just pick one and stick to it. Consistency is key here:

  1. Implement company chat software like, Slack, Yammer, or HipChat
  2. Use cloud tools like Google Drive for documents and spreadsheets
  3. Choose one platform where email, calendars, documents, processes can be shared

Ask your team for their feedback. How can we work together to make communicating with each other better? Trust me. This goes a very long way. Without these channels, brilliant ideas and helpful criticisms can go dark and that’s the last thing you need.

The Nuts and Bolts of Millennial Communications

Don’t lose sight of the big picture. If all else fails, remember the golden rule: Treat others how you would like to be treated and…

  • Make your communications engaging and fun
  • Use visuals to make what you’re communicating more entertaining and effective
  • Maintain transparency to establish trust
  • Avoid communication overload

It’s one thing to open effective communication channels internally and use them; in fact, it’s vital to your organization’s success in the changing environment. It’s another thing entirely, however, to really inspire greatness by leading your team. How you walk in the door everyday, how you speak to your employees, your tone…need I go on? All of this is a form of communication. Internal communications should involve, motivate, and inspire. Take a look at how you are communicating that with what you do, not always what you say.

Building Effective Marketing Starts from Within

So, while we’re all sick of the “Millennial talk”, you can’t avoid the effect they’re having on the workforce, and the building industry is not immune. Take this opportunity to renovate your internal communications so you are better equipped to handle a new kind of workforce. Once you have a plan, build up your toolbox and remember: you can’t just talk the talk—inspire leadership by communicating with your actions, too. Building effective marketing always starts from within. Execute a better plan today.

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Google’s Continued Mobile Evolution

26 Aug

What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Google’s Latest Updates

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Guest Contributor:
Corey Morris, Director of Digital Strategy

We’re getting closer to the day when we no longer separate or distinguish traffic by     device type—when the word “mobile” as an adjective becomes a thing of the past.       Google has been and continues to push forward changes intended to enhance the mobile user experience; consequently, it has become the standard for many web designers to take a “mobile-first” design approach. This week’s announcements are not likely a big surprise to most, but as digital marketers, we do need to take note of them.

First, and most importantly, Google officially published that in January 2017 they will begin evaluating popups and interstitials (aka “interrupters”) to determine whether or not they are too obtrusive to the user experience. If they determine interstitials are in fact too obtrusive, the website will not rank as highly. There are still ways to do interstitials, but it will need to be carefully executed to ensure the mitigation of risk. This is not a blanket statement or policy against popups and interstitials, but one that is focused directly on user experience. There are many tactics for utilizing them that sites currently employ that will not be impacted by this update as they don’t pop up until multiple pages have been visited or after a long enough delay, so as not to negatively impact the initial experience after landing on a mobile page from search results. Note that Google will be looking for this when indexing pages and judging the experience of users coming from a search results page.

We know that the initial experience for a user is important to Google (and should be important to us as well as webmasters), as Google does factor page load times into search rankings. There have also been debates in the past about Google’s use of stats on users bouncing back to the search results page quickly after clicking on a result as a negative factor for rankings (I won’t get into the heated SEO debate on that in this article).

The second and less significant update posted by Google this week is encouraging. With the “Mobilegeddon” event being far enough into the past, Google is now going to remove the “mobile-friendly” tag from mobile search results, as nearly 85% of sites qualify. This is a minor move and continued evolution of mobile becoming the norm in search results.

To read Google’s full announcement, click here.

If you missed my article last week about the significant Google AdWords change to text ad formats (also driven by mobile usage), you can read about that topic here.

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Go for the B2B Gold

11 Aug

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The Olympics Inspire B2B Excellence

The Olympics has become one of the most anticipated events throughout the globe. You may even have favorite athletes or events that you always enjoy watching. With such stories of triumph, unity, and humanity the Olympic brand is personal and inspirational. From watching some of the games with my family, I realized that they can teach B2B marketers a thing or two when it comes to creating a long-lasting brand and engaging audience experience.

According to Sponsorship Intelligence, the Olympics not only wins on appeal, but scores higher than many other global brands on values such as inclusiveness, inspiration, and excellence. The games strive to bring the world together through sport, and its overall movement is for a higher purpose—going above and beyond consumer expectations.

Although the colorful rings are one of the most recognizable and beloved logos, branding doesn’t just stop with a logo. Branding is essential because it shows the development and thinking behind who your company is and why people will connect. These days people are bored of perfection, and throughout the Olympics there is a healthy amount of achievement, as well as humanity. A powerful moment in Olympic history that captured hearts across the globe was Jamaica’s first-ever bobsleigh appearance, and although they went medal-less, their story was so inspirational that it even led to a Disney movie.

During the Olympic games, the moments that have been most memorable for fans have showcased the personality of individual athletes, their “brand,” like Carl Lewis or Michael Phelps—it’s the people who define the movement for fans. It’s important to realize that while you may be marketing for business-to-business, there are people who are making the decisions within each interaction and are who you need to build relationships with. By doing so, your business can create its own legacy.

Whether it’s watching Michael Phelps win eight gold medals in 2008 or fans being inspired by the 2012 London Olympics to get out and get active, the Olympic brand tells a story of inspiration that virtually anyone can relate to. Most importantly, the experience for both fans and athletes from around the world is unforgettable. As B2B marketers, we need to strive to create shareable moments, just as the Olympics did with record-breaking tweets during London’s 2012 opening ceremony. Engaging with your audience across your brand’s many different channels to reflect your brand’s true personality—and for transparency—results in winning the gold.

So whether you are a marketing giant, or a triumphant underdog, this year’s games serve as a great source of inspiration for both branding and customer experience. Take heart like an Olympian, and bring your brand center-stage with inclusiveness, inspiration, and excellence.

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