What are marketers reading this summer?

The Fourth of July is just around the corner and for many of us, that means the official beginning of summer. With the new season come thoughts – or perhaps mere dreams – of lazy days ahead. Perhaps camping, road trips, flights to far away places, and time to catch up on some summer reading.

What have you got packed away in your carry-on? Or on your Kindle? Or iBook?

We’ll put the question to our #B2Bchat Twitter audience on June 27. Tune in at 5:00 p.m. Pacific to discuss this and several other questions such as:

Q. What is your preferred book format and why?

Q. Do you engage with authors via social media? Which authors are best at it?

Q. What are the hottest marketing books out at the moment?

Q. Which older marketing titles are must-reads for B2B marketers? Why?

Q. Which non-marketing books have taught you lessons that you’ve applied to your marketing career?

iStock_000020443823XSmall

Pushing the Right Buttons to Viral Video Success

This video crossed my radar this morning and I think it’s brilliant. I wonder how many “push the button” spin-offs this will create?

How to Demonstrate the ROI of Social Media

As social media marketing matures from “something we have to do”, to “something we have to do well”, the question of social media ROI begins to rear its ugly head. But for the strategic marketer, the question may not be as intimidating.

Join us for our latest online discussion with leading B2B marketers as we tackle the question: How to demonstrate the ROI of social media.

Q. Does your organization / your client have lead gen. targets for social media?

Q. How do you calculate the ROI of social media marketing?

Q. Do you currently measure the leads generated from social media? What is the best way to do so?

Q. How does the typical CxO perceive social media?

Tune in to #B2Bchat on Twitter: Thursday, April 12 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 8:00 p.m. Eastern

How to Turn Followers and Fans into Leads (and when not to)

One of the most evident goals of a social media program is to grow the fan base. Publish great content, develop a voice, reach out to others in social networks, rinse and repeat.

But as social media becomes more accountable, marketers look for ways to generate leads throughout the process.

So how do you best turn fans into leads? Should they be considered in the same sentence? How do we separate followers from potential leads?

In our latest session of #B2Bchat, we dive into these questions and more. Join us on February 2, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific to discuss How to Turn Followers and Fans into Leads (and when not to).

Q. What is the definition of a sales-ready lead?

Q. Do you enter your followers and fans into Salesforce.com (or other CRM)?

Q. How do your social media followers fit into lead generation?

Q. What is the transition point between being a fan to being a lead?

Q. What’s the quickest way to turn customers into followers?

Photo by Lawrence Barnes

Balancing the Demand Equation: a Twitter Chat with Adam Needles on his new book

There’s a brand new book that’s making waves in the B2B marketing community. Balancing the Demand Equation, by Adam Needles, addresses the strategy and tactics needed to succeed in modern business to business demand gen.

Adam Needles is the Chief Strategy Officer at digital demand generation agency Left Brain DGA, and for our upcoming #B2Bchat, we’re joined by the author as he answers questions related to B2B marketing, demand generation, and his hot new book. Join us this Thursday, October 5 at 5:00 p.m.! To learn more, be sure to follow @abneedles and @b2b_chat.

(Update: Two lucky #B2Bchat participants will receive a free copy of Adam Needles’ new book, Balancing the Demand Equation!)

Here are some of the questions we’ll cover:

Q. How is the role of B2B marketers changing within their organizations?

Q. What are the biggest problems faced by B2B marketers today?

Q. How do you define “demand generation”?

Q. What are the different buyer types?

Q. What do you mean by “demand process integration”?

Q. How can you best market to inactive buyers?

Q. Content marketing… examples of a company that has nailed it?

Q. Which B2B case studies would you recommend?

Q. What are people saying about your new book, Balancing the Demand Equation?

 

“Dear B2B Marketer: Your world is changing, and here’s the field guide that shows you precisely how to adapt.” – Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs and Co-author of Content Rules) on Needles’ new book.

Balancing the Demand Equation is now available on Amazon.com.

 

 

Social Media and Email: Two Separate Worlds? #B2Bchat

Email marketing and social media marketing – two core marketing channels – were born approximately a decade apart. And among most B2B marketing organizations, social media and email are still handled as two separate entities.

Chris Hosford, in his recent article in BtoB Magazine, points out that social and email interactions depend on each other much more than is commonly acknowledged. Should there be a stronger push towards the convergence of social media and email as it relates to customer and prospect communication? What are the best ways to leverage the two mediums in tandem?

Join other B2B marketers for a lively Twitter chat on Thursday, September 8 (5 p.m. Pacific, 8 p.m. Eastern) as we dive in to the following questions, and more!

Q. Do you collect social profile info for your customers/prospects?

Q. Does your email audience expect you to communicate with them via email?

Q. What are the best ways to get your social media audience to opt in to email communications?

Q. What are the best tools for bringing together social and email communication?

Q. Why are social media and email traditionally treated as silos?

Q. For the B2B marketer, what are the similarities between email and social media?

Q. Does an opt-in mean the same thing in social media as with email?

The Definitive Guide to Marketing Metrics and Analytics: Key Take-Aways

I recently got my hands on Marketo’s latest white paper, titled: The Definitive Guide to Marketing Metrics and Analytics.

Here are some of the gems I found in the 70-page paper and which I cover in the video above.

  1. Define targets for each of your marketing campaigns as you plan them. Consider setting a ‘best possible outcome’, ‘worst case scenario’ and ‘most likely outcome’. Express these targets in terms of number of leads, amount of incremental revenue to be generated, or in terms of anticipated ROI.
  2. Keep 10% of your marketing budget for ‘Marketing R&D’. Experimentation can lead to new best practices. Acknowledge that you are experimenting with some of your programs and detach those from revenue targets.
  3. Don’t Measure Just for the Sake of Measurement. Before you invest time and resources in measuring a data set, you should know what you would do if the answer turned out to be X or Y.
  4. Define Distinct Stages in your Customer’s Buying Cycle. Especially in B2B, with longer sales cycles, you need to acknowledge the fact that there are several stages in the buying cycle. Marketing’s work will not only generate leads, but also help move leads forward through these stages. This requires fixed definitions – understood across the marketing and sales organization – based on business rules.
  5. Marketo's Demand Generation Funnel (simplified)

  6. Measure Flow, Balance, Conversion and Velocity of Leads. Once you have lead stages defined, the following metrics will be most important: Flow (# of people entering the stage), Balance (current inventory in that stage), Conversion (% of names, on average, that make it from the previous stage) and Velocity (time it takes, on average, to complete the stage).
  7. Aim to knowing the answers to these crucial questions: What would be the expected ROI if your marketing budget increased by 10%. What would be the impact on sales closed? Alternately, what would be the impact on sales if the budget was decreased 10%? Questions like these test marketing’s maturity.

This paper is a must-read for marketing executives that are aiming to improve their departments’ efficiency and accountability.

Blogging in the Social Media Ecosystem

Funny image about blogging

Photo credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Okay, so you’re sold on the value of having a blog for marketing purposes. In fact, as a B2B marketer, you have probably been at the blogging game for three or four years now.

But how have social media changed the way you blog? Are you getting everything you can out of your corporate blog? What are the latest tips and tricks needed to turn your blog into the backbone of your content marketing strategy? Do your Twitter and Facebook followers read your blog?

We’d like to hear from you in our upcoming live Twitter chat, June 23, 2011. Follow the #B2Bchat Twitter stream starting at 5:00 p.m. Pacific where we will discuss Blogging in the Social Media Ecosystem.

Questions will include:

Q. How do you come up with good topics to blog about?

Q. How often should you blog?

Q. What are the most useful blogging plugins?

Q. Should your blog content feed into your social channels, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn?

Q. How would you describe a good blog commenting strategy?

Q. What are the best ways to leverage existing blog content with social channels?

Share this on Twitter

Marketing to Influencers [#B2Bchat]

“Being good… is different than being worth talking about.” – Andy Sernovitz


Imagine you are tasked with, or involved in, a major purchase decision for your company. Where do you go to for information? Whose advice do you seek and which recommendations carry weight?

As marketers, we understand value of word of mouth. Word of mouth is in our nature, and it’s powerful. How can we harness the opportunities before us to generate buzz, positive word of mouth, and new business referrals?

In our upcoming episode of #B2Bchat, we’ll look at B2B marketing as it relates to influence and word of mouth. Questions will include:

Q. What are the best ways to identify influencers in your industry?

Q. Do referral programs work? How?

Q. Brand advocacy: is it different in B2B?

Q. How can you (ethically) turn influencers into brand advocates?

Join us for the one-hour session, June 2 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific / 8:00 p.m. Eastern where we dive into the topic of Marketing to Influencers!

Content Marketing: How Companies are Doing It [Infographic]

Why do companies pursue content marketing, and how are they doing it? A new Infographic from Marketo and ColumnFive Media reflects the growing importance of content marketing, and gives us some insight into the specific tactics being used today.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Companies with over 1,000 employees use an average of 9 content marketing tactics. Some of the most popular include social media, articles, newsletters, case studies and blogs.
  • 54% of marketers use Facebook to distribute content.
  • The two biggest challenges when it comes to content marketing are: producing engaging content (36% of respondents) and producing enough content (21% of respondents).
  • B2B marketers allocate approx. 26% of their total marketing budgets to content marketing

Content Marketing Infographic

The data for this Infographic came from Marketo’s Content Marketing Cheat Sheet and the 2010 B2B Content Marketing white paper on benchmarks, budgets, and trends from MarketingProfs and Junta42!