Tag Archives: B2B

Content Marketing Best Practices for 2017

13 Feb

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With 2017 here, it’s time to take a look at the content marketing best practices that should guide your strategy development for the year. By keeping these guidelines in mind, you can better achieve your marketing goals for the year.

  1. Marketing with a purpose

Of course your primary goal with marketing is to generate sales, but have you narrowed  down exactly how you are hoping to do so? What is the purpose of the content that is on your website? Once you define the emotions that you want your content to bring out in the visitors that come to your website, then you’ll need to be purposeful about making sure that it does exactly that.

  1. Video dominates

Content marketing encompasses a range of mediums, and the video portion is poised to expand once again. Instead of simply focusing on making viral videos this year, hop on the livestreaming trend. Sites like YouTube and Facebook make it easy to connect with visitors as an event is unfolding. Posting the video to your website afterwards ensures that the information is there as a resource later as well.

  1. Storytelling reinvents content marketing

Content marketing has always been about telling the story of how your product or service can address a need or desire that your visitor has. The way this is achieved can vary from informative to entertaining. Combining elements into a story format helps draw your visitors in. Intersperse the content with details that are relatable to those people who are most likely to benefit from what you have to offer. Sketch out a problem, grapple with trying to find different solutions and finally introduce your product or service. These points provide your audience with the connection they need to recognize that you offer them a viable solution.

  1. Content goes mobile

2017 isn’t the first year that content has gone mobile, of course; however, it’s likely that this will be the year that more content is digested by users on their mobile devices. This means your content has to meet several criteria. Not only does it need to be formatted to be easy to skim, it also needs to be engaging enough to make on-the-go users want to view it. In fact, your whole website needs to be mobile friendly or else your audience will go elsewhere.

Combining these four best practices for content marketing in your strategy for 2017 will set your business up for success. At ER Marketing, we develop strategies that deliver the results you envision. Are you ready to make 2017 the year your business scales success? Contact ER Marketing and explore their core competencies to find out how they can help.

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Consolidation and Convergence: B2B Marketing in 2017

5 Jan

 

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Many industry experts agree; the idea of collective data will be a driving force moving forward into 2017. Proprietary data and walled gardens for individual publishers aren’t cutting it anymore, there is new content daily and new iterations of the same data thousands of times per day.

Consolidation and convergence giants such as Forbes have been ahead of the curve in the B2B market, with most smaller publishers consolidating in the B2C market. However, smaller brand data collectives with an emphasis on the B2B market are now a viable option, with platforms aggregating data from CRM platforms and industry analysts alongside traditional publishers.

The Takeover of Account Based Marketing (ABM)

2016 saw some very interesting changes in B2B, mostly because of the takeover of account based marketing. ABM was not a new technology; however, 2016 was the year that it became viable for the average business to use.

The market for ABM is now in its consolidation stage. Marketers are not looking to purchase a separate dashboard for each product, especially when networks are converging and providing more data in one place at once.

Where is Business Truly Converging?

The convergence of ABM platforms is all about sales and marketing teams converging as well. There is less of a gap between the two disciplines, as well as a new outlay of business specific metrics that are creating a shorter distance between acquisition, visibility, and revenue. 

The marketing qualified lead (MQL) went the way of the dinosaur in 2016, and experts are still debating what the replacement metrics will be in 2017 and moving forward. Some of the metrics that are being tested include target account engagement level, brand exposure, opportunity for acquisition, and campaign sales funnel depth per target account.

Will Ownership Be Socialized?

In 2017, the notion of owning data may also move in favor of the collective pool of data that is useful to all partner companies. There are already efforts to develop a Universal ID standard that will be used to identify different audience profiles. The precursor for these developments was proven to be profitable in the B2C market, prodding the big budgets associated with B2B to move on the issue in 2017.

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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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Damn you B2C Advertisers

13 Oct

You Make Our Life a Living Hell

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No offense, I love being tricked into thinking a Twinkie will make my day better, or that breakfast at Taco Bell really is a good decision, but you still get to live in a carefree life of old school advertising.  Simply tell enough people and somebody will respond. It’s media math. Get that cost per thousand down and hope that some of us zombies will follow. Easy (assuming the company has enough media budget) and no one is getting fired because someone ordered a pizza and didn’t like the cheese-stuffed-crust. The customer will move on or try another option. Easy.

In the B2B world, our decisions have to be a bit more calculated.

For example, we have a client who is a large multi-national manufacturer.  They sell into several industries. Our task: launch a product that cost around $10 million dollars and is an optional product to the buyer. Bonus points – there’s only about 100 people who could actually buy the product (heavily regulated industry) and we already know who they are. Now that’s a challenge. And one where your margin for error is pretty small.

I don’t mean to diminish those Twinkies ads – given my waistline, they must work, along with running to the border. But as a longtime B2B marketer (and converted CPG advertiser), I think it’s time we stand up and be proud of the incredibly challenging and rewarding work of B2B.

In B2B, we work to educate and inform businesses about solutions to problems that our clients’ products or services could solve for them. Real solutions to real business problems.

I challenge us as an industry to remember those business buyers with real problems are also real people. The same people buying Twinkies, tacos and pizzas.

They order a $50 item off Amazon and in most cases they can have it tomorrow. And they can track the process at every step on their phone. They bring that experience to work with them, so let’s talk to them as real people who don’t want to hear why you can’t deliver on time or with a quality customer experience for that $50,000 purchase.

I call this the consumerization of B2B and its rapidly changing the expectations of clients and customers alike. Are you ready for this? Just remember that B2B can’t be boring to boring and it has to be people to people. And remember, it’s all the B2C advertisers’ fault.

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