What Age Is Your Customer?

I can hardly believe we’re only a few days away from wrapping up the BuyerSphere webinar series. It has been quite a journey. Since the beginning of April, Enquiro has been building an amazing package of webinars and research papers which go to the very core of B2B marketing. Experts from Google, Business.com, Covario, Demandbase and Marketo have all contributed their unique experience and marketing advice. If you’ve missed them so far, you can still get the recordings and white papers at www.enquiro.com/b2bresearch.

The final webinar in the series will be – in my opinion – one of the most fascinating and thought provoking. We’re calling it The Rise of the Digital Native: B2B Buying in Flux. Gord Hotchkiss and his panel of experts are taking a look at a very basic but fundamental question: Does age play a role in marketing? What does Enquiro’s latest research show us about B2B buying behavior as it relates to the buyer’s demographic, and more specifically, how and when the buyer grew up?

For the first time ever in an Enquiro webinar, we’re also joined by Danny Sullivan and Rand Fishkin, two very big hitters in the Search Marketing industry. They will be part of the panel along with our own Gord Hotchkiss, Ben Hanna (Business.com), Chris Golec (Demandbase), Matthias Blume (Covario) and Mark McMaster (Google).

As an attendee of the live event, you will get to hear the discussion as it happens, plus be able to send the panel your marketing-related questions. We will also be touching upon the highlights of the rest of the series, so if you’ve missed previous webinars, don’t miss out on this one. To top it off, one lucky attendee will win a BuyerSphere hard copy white paper package, plus a 15-minute search marketing audit with an Enquiro account manager.

The Rise of the Digital Native
Live Webinar
Wednesday, June 24 2:00pm Pacific
Register now –>

The webinar explores:

* The differences between a Digital Native and a Digital Immigrant
* Why the brain gets wired differently in Digital Natives
* How this impacts interactions with technology and the web
* What are the implications for B2B buying
* How the landscape might shift in the next decade

Panelists:
Gord Hotchkiss – President and CEO, Enquiro
Rand Fishkin – CEO and Co-Founder, SEOmoz
Danny Sullivan – Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land
Ben Hanna – VP Marketing, Business.com
Mark McMaster – Senior Planner of Technology/B2B Markets, Google
Chris Golec – Founder and CEO, Demandbase
Moderated by Bill Barnes, EVP Business Development, Enquiro

danny-rand2

Rand Fishkin, CEO and founder of SEOmoz, and Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Land will be special guests at the wrap-up to the BuyerSphere webinar series, June 24.

How Does Your Risk Fit Into My Funnel?

I had the pleasure of producing Enquiro’s recent webinar titled Beyond the B2B Buying Funnel. Being a B2B marketer myself, I’m quite fond of the funnel concept and use it to map things like lead volume vs. position in the sales/marketing cycle. An interview I conducted with Jim Sterne takes a look at funnels of different shapes and how they reveal demand generation ailments and successes.

But where does the funnel fall short? One of the main messages I’ve taken from the material is that we shouldn’t look to the funnel model to imply a clear top-to-bottom progression in the sales process. Gord Hotchkiss refers to new research which shows that buyers are prone to experiencing a “risk gap” which, if not addressed by the marketer, acts as a plug in the funnel.

Risk is a fascinating concept in the field of B2B buying. One of the webinar presenters, Jon Miller, pointed out that a bad purchase decision can cost you your reputation or even your job, while good decisions will often benefit the company more than the individual.

So how does an individual mitigate risk? In-depth interviews with buyers, which were a part of the research methodology, show that buyers gravitate to six ways of dealing with it:

  1. Rely on own past experience and drawing upon company-approved vendors
  2. Listening to word of mouth and experience of others
  3. Asking their existing vendors for advice
  4. Assessing the credibility of the potential vendor
  5. Checking out the vendor online, including on search engines
  6. Weighing price options

Keep in mind that there is the risk to the individual, other individuals involved in the purchase decision, and risk to the organization as a whole. It becomes complex very quickly when risks to the different buyers aren’t the same – and they rarely are. And while companies have ways of giving structure to buying, e.g. through RFQ processes, findings show that the important decisions on a personal level aren’t always necessarily rational. We depend on our own library of heuristic shortcuts to come to decisions which can be irrational. Gord Hotchkiss also talked about these shortcuts, and how they are based on existing belief structures in this post on Herbert Simon’s concept of bounded rationality.

While it may be difficult to market against irrational buying decisions, there is hope, especially if we understand how irrational behavior is linked to risk. Part of eliminating the risk gap includes going back to basic sales and marketing principles, identifying and developing a market before we sell to them. As marketers, it is vital that we understand the specific risk gaps associated with buying from our company, in our industry, and help the buyer bridge those more effectively.

The 60-minute webinar was recorded and is available on demand. In it, you’ll hear Gord Hotchkiss present the new research along with Mark McMaster (Google), Ben Hanna (Business.com), Jon Miller (Marketo), Matthias Blume (Covario) and Chris Golec (Demandbase). The B2B Expert Series of webinars is moderated by Bill Barnes.

Writing and Promoting White Papers – an interview with Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is one of the leading authorities on the topic of writing and marketing white papers. He has written more than 130 white papers for many of the world’s most recognized companies, including Microsoft, Dow Jones, FedEx, Motorola, Monster, Hewlett-Packard and SAP.

In this 17 minute interview, you’ll hear me ask Michael about white paper promotion from a b2b marketing perspective, including:

  • What prompted the book Writing White Papers?
  • Which promotional channels work best for white papers?
  • What is the life span of a white paper?
  • Should companies charge for white papers?
  • What about white paper registration forms?
  • What options are out there for white paper syndication?
  • Where is white paper publishing and promotion headed?

Michael is also the author of the bestselling book, Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged. His work is used as required reading at major universities such as MIT and Johns Hopkins. You can find him on Twitter at @mike_stelzner.

A Picture Says a Thousand Words with Wordle

Shortly after tonight’s second presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama, I stumbled upon a word cloud graphic titled ‘Obama at Oct. 7 Debate‘ on Wordle.  As with tag or word clouds in general, the collage shows words used and their relative frequency with word size.  Wordle, a tool created by IBM Research engineer Jonathan Feinberg, is definitely worth a second look.

While on Wordle, I checked out a couple famous speeches including Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream“, and JFK’s “We Will Go to the Moon.” I also couldn’t resist creating my very first Wordle. The tool allows you to paste text, or enter a blog’s URL.  Here is what you get when plotting my company’s corporate blog, ask.enquiro.com.

Word Cloud of Enquiro's corporate blog, as created on Wordle.net

Word Cloud of Enquiro's corporate blog, as created on Wordle.net