Tag Archives: b2b marketing

2 Tips for rescuing your sinking B2B marketing strategies #ConvRoadTrip

Ever feel like your B2B marketing results are headed for disaster? One of the best ways to avoid failure is to learn from those who have already made a gazillion Sinking shipmistakes but have lived to tell the tale. As a freelance writer and B2B marketing strategist, I enjoy taking a break from my regular routine to find out what’s new in the world of digital and content marketing. So, last week I spent the day at the Toronto stop on the Unbounce North American Conversion Road Trip tour.

I was especially inspired by April Dunford‘s presentation entitled “Marketing Strategy Hacks: What to do when all your marketing results are complete crap.”  I completely identified with her explanation that sometimes the strategies and tactics that you develop just don’t pay off. And it can be extremely frustrating if you’ve seen those same strategies work out with other companies or clients that you’ve worked with in the past. So, it was refreshing to hear her recommendations on what to investigate first when you discover that your results are tanking, despite your best efforts. I’ve provided a summary of her tips below. Enjoy!

Dunford suggests that there are two ways to hack your marketing strategy when things go sideways:

1) The easy way is to look at your target “buyers”

2) A more advanced approach is to look at your market

1. Have you been targeting the wrong customers all along?

Dunford told the audience that she once had a huge ephiphany when investigating why her hyper-optimized and targeted B2B marketing campaigns just weren’t working. She decided to look at every channel to figure out where things had gone wrong.

One day, she spent a morning with the inside sales team and discovered that one of the sales reps was calling prospects and asking to speak with the head of sales, rather than the Chief Information Officer (CIO) – who they thought were the ideal customers for purchasing CRM software. She soon found out that Sales executives were far more interested in learning more about the product that the CIOs they had been targeting. It was at that moment that she realized her team had been spending millions of dollars to reach the wrong buyer. That revelation helped to get her team’s campaigns back on track and convert more leads into customers.

2. Your target market will change over time

Dunford explained that marketers can expect your target market to shift as the market shifts.

In order to determine your ideal target market and positioning, she recommends that businesses consider the following:

1. Who does your value proposition resonate with the most?

2. Who is the easiest target market to reach?

3. Who influences the purchase the most? In some cases, this person is the better target – even if they are not the end-buyer.

4. Are your competitors underserving an untapped market?

To demonstrate that sometimes businesses simply target the wrong market, Dunford showed a photo of a sandwich board outside of the restaurant“Eggspectation” in Toronto which read “Try our burgers.”  She pointed out the irony of the sign and the fact that if she wanted a burger, there are lots of burger joints in the city. She said she’d never “eggspect” a burger at a restaurant that specializes in making eggs. Cue the laugh track ;)

How to test your market positioning

1. To determine if your prospects “get what you do,” Dunford suggests to test if your messaging sets you apart versus a similar but competitive product.

2. Concerned that your value proposition is week? Dunford recommends to conduct interviews or surveys to ask your customers why they love your product? You can then compare their answers against your current messaging. If it’s way off, then you can make tweaks to tell the right story.

3. To avoid the dreadful “me too” messaging/product trap, you can interview prospects and current customers to ask them what sets you apart from competitors. Dunford was once told by a prospect (whom she was pitching) that her database software was more of a “data warehouse.” This helped her company to re-position their product in a much less competitive market. 

4. Finally, if you’re concerned that your competitors are eating your lunch, you can interview/survey your customers post-purchase to find out why they bought from you. Perhaps there is a different market that would be more likely to buy from you based on their answers.

Do you have a tip to help save sinking B2B marketing campaigns? Please share in the comments section below.

Image: By USN [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Why It’s Ok to Promote the Competition Via Digital Storytelling

When I played competitive soccer growing up, our club coaches would sometimes share their best players up an age group if they were short on numbers for a game. The same rules can apply to digital storytelling.

I often link to competitive blogs, videos and presentations when doing content marketing for my business. You may think that it’s wrong to send your social media followers and blog readers to competitive stories or websites but I see it differently. Here are my main arguments for why you should promote the competition via digital storytelling:

  • Focus on growing your market. As a small business owner, it’s in my own best interest to grow my market. If my competition is contributing to the conversation about digital storytelling and B2B marketing, then I feel that it is necessary to share links to their stories with my potential customers and followers. The more that your customers and industry are informed and interested in your services, the better it is for everyone. This leads nicely into my second point about collaboration.
  • “Collaboration is the new competition.” This statement has been discussed a lot lately in blogs, keynote presentations at events and social media. What this statement means is that we can no longer work  in silos. We all need to collaborate on occasion in order to complete a project or achieve a goal. In fact, I’ve personally started reaching out to other professionals who do the same kind of work as I do in order to find partners for future projects. So, by promoting your competitors, I believe that you are leaving the door open to attract future collaborative efforts.
  • Your customers will thank you for it. I often share competitors’ blogs, research and whitepapers  with my current and potential customers. If there is data out there that will help your customer to succeed, then it doesn’t matter who the information came from. Yes, there’s a risk that your customer might leave you for the competition – that is always a risk. But if you put the customer’s needs first, you are setting yourself up for success.
Have you ever collaborated with a competitor or like-minded business? If so, please share your story in the comments section below.

Image source: iStockPhoto.com

Lead generation: the best way to predict the future is to create it

Earlier this week, I read an article from the Harvard Business Review which talked about the fact that our economy’s growth is reliant on the tools that are available to measure its success. To date, those tools have not kept up with the demand for growth in our economy. What I loved most from this article was the quote from Alan Kay that stated that “the best way to predict the future is to create it.” While this is a wake-up call for our governments, it is also a great reminder for small business marketers to be utilizing cost-effective tools to impact the growth and success of their bottom line.

B2B marketing tools that generate leads for a brighter future

Lead generation is the cornerstone of success for any small B2B technology business that relies on revenue from client relationships. I am still amazed that so many small B2B technology businesses do not take advantage of the free tools that are readily at their disposal to create awareness of their products online and generate new leads. According to comScore, roughly 24 million Canadians visit social networking websites like LinkedIn and Twitter on a monthly basis* – that’s about 72% of our population. In addition, time spent on blogs in Canada increase by 58% from 2009 to 2010.

Free webinar coming soon

With the rise in consumption of these tools, content creation and corporate storytelling has become imperative for Canadian businesses in the technology space. I recently created a presentation for small technology B2B businesses to explain how they can tell their ongoing corporate story online to generate new leads and inform potential customers about their core strengths. Stay tuned for an announcement about a free webinar for this presentation.

In the meantime, I’d like to gather a little bit more feedback about what businesses would like to learn about in this space. Please send me an e-mail to (andreawahbe1@gmail.com) or post a comment to this blog if you’d like to share your questions or if you’d like to be informed about the webinar.

Good luck to everyone who is creating their own future!