B2C Lessons that Can Improve B2B Brand Experiences

15 May

I recently read The Experience Effect by Jim Joseph.  It’s about creating just that, an ‘experience effect’ that will drive consumers to a brand.  As I read Jim’s book, it seemed to me that many of his lessons on B2C branding translate to the B2B world. A strong brand offers many benefits to business.  It can make it more difficult to be displaced by a competitor, get you invited to the discussions by the customer, justify price premiums, even attract top talent.

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Focus or Fail – Tips to Keep Your Eye on the Target

8 May

Focus: a point upon which attention, activity, etc, is directed or concentrated.

A common challenge we marketers confront is keeping a laser-sharp focus.  We may do this some of the time or even most of the time, but, to maintain focus requires awareness and conscious action. I’m not talking about loosing short-term focus because of office distractions like incoming emails, phone calls, or text messages. Although, those are interruptions we need to address because they break our concentration and ability to get our day-to-day work done. I’m talking about maintaining a long-term focus on our goals.

Hypnotic artworkHere are some useful tips I find helpful to keep my focus.

#1 SET ACHIEVABLE GOALS

It’s better to do a few things well.  Don’t sign up for something you know you cannot possibly accomplish given the resources or timeframe. Break down larger goals into smaller chunks. You will feel less overwhelmed and more in control and able to keep your focus.

#2 MAP IT OUT 

Now that you know where you want to go, determine what you need to do to achieve the goals.  Determine the programs, actions, tasks, owners, contingencies and timelines that map to a specific goal.  Make it Visual. Put this information into a project plan tool or excel spreadsheet.

#3 REVIEW YOUR PROGRESS 

Review your goals to plan often. Are you on track? If you’re not, figure out what you need to get back. Ask yourself often if what you’re doing is contributing to achieving those goals you set.  If it’s not, stop doing it. A quick review of progress at the end of each day and a detailed weekly review process will help you stay focused on your plan and goals.

#4 ENVISION SUCCESS

What will it look like when you achieve your goals?  Visualize your success and the path you’ll take to get there.  Athletes do this all of the time to get them ready for a big competition. This exercise will help to focus your mental energy in the right places.

#5 MIX IT UP

Once in a while, kill the routine.  Doing things differently can be reinvigorating and gets the creative juices flowing. You’ll be better able to focus on your work and goals when you feel energized.

#6 CELEBRATE

Celebrate the small successes as well as the big ones with your team. Talk about what you did that resulted in success and how to keep it going.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share that help you remain focused?

6 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Marketing Consultant

1 May

More companies are hiring marketing consultants today as demand for products and the economy fluctuates.  Help is needed but, many organizations aren’t able to bring on full-time staff that they may need to lay-off in a downturn or require help on a project basis only. Consultants bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences that can fill this need. Continue reading

Repurpose Existing Content to Create PowerPoints, Videos and Reach More Customers

24 Apr

Wouldn’t it be great to have your own Content Marketing staff, a team of writers that could meet your every content need?  For the majority of us, there is no Content Marketing staff.  Content development most likely falls under someone in marketing that already has a full plate of responsibilities or maybe it’s outsourced. One way to effectively extend marketing resources and the value of content is to repurpose it in different mediums.

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Do the 4Ps Work in the B2B World??

17 Apr

Anyone who studied marketing knows the 4Ps.  Even those who didn’t can recite at least 3 of the 4; Product, Price, Place (a.k.a. Distribution) and Promotion.  The 4Ps were first talked about in 1960 by Jerome McCarthy and later published by one of the most famous marketing scholars, Philip Kotler in 1967.  Back in those days it was Mad Men, a consumer marketer’s dream.

 

For the last fifty years, these 4Ps have been ruling the marketing world but, business marketers have always been doing things differently than our consumer colleagues. The 4Ps model was never a good fit for B2B because business to business sales processes are complex, many are typically involved in the decision-making and products tend to be more sophisticated, very different from the consumer world.

Today, a lot is being written about finding better models for both consumer and business marketing. For B2B marketers, this is an opportunity to define a unique model that works and better fits business marketing than the traditional 4Ps. Why do we even need a model?  Models help marketers put context around the most common challenges we face and provide a framework to address complex business issues.

I recently came across a new model that was proposed by Solutions Insights a marketing consulting firm located in the Boston area. They provide consulting services promoting a customer-solutions focused business model. The model Solutions Insights proposes is appropriately named OVER; O = Offering, V = Value, E = Experience and R = Relationship.  

Below is Solutions Insights chart defining OVER and comparing it to the 4Ps:

Chart comparing the 4Ps marketing model to Solutions Insights' OVER model

Solutions Insights OVER model comparison to 4Ps

 I think it’s a pretty good one for B2B marketers. What do you think?

Resources:

The 4Ps Are Out, The 4 E’s Are In, by Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Ogilvy and Mather

The True 4Ps of Marketing for B2B CEOs, by Michelangelo Celli

Solutions Marketing:  The four Ps are OVER, by Solutions Insights

Is Gut Marketing a Good Idea?

10 Apr

Is following intuition, a hunch, or a feeling a good business decision? Steve Jobs said when interviewed that he made decisions based on his gut.  He didn’t believe in market research and he didn’t believe most people knew what they wanted.  Copernicus Consulting & Research points out in the Marketing Frey Blog, that an argument could be made against the need for marketing research where technology is changing so rapidly or not yet invented that if asked, a customer won’t identify the need or desire for it. For most of us, our products or services aren’t as break-through as the personal computer or Apple’s iPad.

 

Businesswoman deciding which door to openYou may favor an intuitive decision-making style not a fact based style.  But, the question you need to ask is how can you make the best decisions for your business to achieve the most optimal outcome whatever your decision-making style?

Don’t get me wrong.  I do believe in intuition. It springs from our knowledge, skills, and expertise. Intuition may be the start of a great new product, improvement or customer service program. But unless you are the next Steve Jobs, you need to do more than run with your gut. Take it to the next level.

I advocate using research and facts to support your intuition. A lot of information is available that doesn’t cost anything except for the time it takes to do some digging to find it.  Look online for free information on markets, competitors, trends, and customers.  Use your intuition and follow it up with facts to achieve the greatest results.

Do you make decisions in your business based on your instincts?  Do you use research to back them up?

Resources:

Steve Jobs:  Did Going From the Gut Really Work?, Copernicus, The Marketing Frey Blog
Follow Your Instincts.  Improve Your Business.  Blog by Brown & Company
When It Comes to Marketing, Your Gut is Still Not Smarter than Your Head.  by Kevin Clancy and Peter Krieg
How Do You Make Your Decision More Data Driven Rather Than Gut Instinct, by Charles Feltman

What March Madness Reminds Us About Business

3 Apr

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is over.  Like past tournaments, this year’s excitement and nail-biting game endings didn’t disappoint. March Madness is entertaining but, to be a winner it takes a combination of the right leadership, players, strategy and desire. Much like what it takes to succeed in business. Here are my top picks for winning on the court and in business.  Any others you’d include?

Basketball game, player shooting a basket

1.  The coach hires a staff that compliments his style and addresses areas where he is weakest.  The best leaders know they don’t know everything and find managers whose skills fill those gaps.

2.  The coach recruits players that believe in his vision and have the right mix of talent and skills to fill the position. The recruit may not be able to fill the position 100% on day one but, the coach sees the ability and desire for growth.

3. Everyone knows the contribution they make to the team and works together to achieve team goals.  There may be stand-out performers but, they recognize they can’t do it alone.  Winning requires every player on the team.  

4.  Individual performance is elevated because coaches focus on developing a player’s strengths.  After all, those strengths are the reason he was recruited.  

5.  Practice, practice, and then practice some more.  I worked for someone who told me that he always over prepared because there was nothing worse than finding yourself in front of an important customer or your boss under prepared. He anticipated questions, objections and various scenarios and prepared responses for them.

6.  Play Your Game with Flawless Execution.  Play to your strengths and what you do best.  If you’ve prepared, your execution will be flawless.

7.  Believe You’re a Winner.  If you believe in yourself, your talents and that you can win, you will do everything in your power to make that a reality.

8.  It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over.  How many times has a team come back from a ten point half-time deficit to win the game.  Too many to count. Fight the battle.  Don’t throw the towel in before the game is over.

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