There’s nothing like being forced out of your comfort zone to give you new ideas and inspiration. And what better way than rapid immersion in not just another business environment, but another culture?
This was the opportunity I was given on a recent visit to South Africa together with a group of business leaders from Denmark. Just a few hours after stepping off the long flight from Europe, we were released into Durban’s Central Business District. It’s a far cry from the sterile, grayscale business district of a northern European city. Colors and sounds line the pavements. People swarm over intersections, dodging the taxi vans, busses and occasional car. It’s an eclectic mix of cultures where urban dwellers dominate, but there are still plenty of people with obviously strong tribal roots.
For the next few hours, we explored the district, interacting with people to learn about their businesses and lives as best we could, sometimes in English, sometimes through an interpreter, and almost always with wild hand gestures. Continue reading
B2B customer case stories follow a fairly simple format of explaining how a product or service solved a specific customer pain. But they don’t necessarily communicate that a company is innovative, or encourage customers to innovate with them. Yet there are good reasons why a repertoire of innovation-focused stories can draw in new customers or stimulate new ideas among existing ones. So why not use them to inspire innovation?
Today’s markets are increasingly demanding evolution, not just adequate performance. And employees are being encouraged to seek out opportunities for incremental or radical innovation. In response, businesses could take the opportunity to highlight case stories about creativity involving their products or services. Continue reading
I had the privilege of spending four days in the South African bush recently. The occasion was a leadership development course together with a group of business leaders from Denmark. Although the purpose wasn’t leisure, for me as a wildlife junkie, there are certainly worse things to do than spend three hours a day on safari!
The course was facilitated by Pete, Mick and Steve from Leading with Humanity. Their mission was to force us to reflect on leadership in business through the power of nature. They knew we’d be put way outside of our comfort zones; that we would feel vulnerable and insecure. And they loved it!
But it’s not only the boundary-breaking exercises that make you take a close look at leadership behaviour. Even more telling was the immersion in nature. Witnessing the wild’s dilemmas first hand is a transcendental experience that reveals an honest reality. The competitive coexistence of the vast array of species in the bush is a worthy aspiration for all walks of life. Learning from it will surely benefit any leader’s performance. Continue reading
Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, British comedian John Cleese owes a small part of his fame to the phrase: “Don’t mention the war”. And I’m reminded of that phrase every time I hear a B2B marketing or communication department agonizing over what should or shouldn’t be said in the public arena.
Recently, while visiting one of our customers in the UK, I saw a fascinating sign on a building next door to the customer’s own offices. I was struck by the boldness of the claim – particularly given how unimpressive the sign’s visual idea and execution was. The effect, in my mind, was to create something academics call cognitive dissonance. And that’s a certain something many B2B companies do all too often.
SAP’s Mette Tang seemed relaxed and well-prepared as she addressed an expectant audience at one of our Think International seminars on November, 2014. In her role as Customer Experience Director for enterprise software giant SAP’s Customer Office EMEA, Mette is responsible for a customer loyalty program that leaves most other programs far behind in terms of maturity and sophistication. Her presentation was aimed at describing the SAP Listens program both as it is today and where things may lead in the future.
Choosing which channels to bet on is something that, quite literally, keeps many marketing and communication professionals awake at night. US-based Software Advice, an online marketing software broker with access to thousands of B2B buyers around the world, has recently published its annual B2B Demand Generation Benchmark report. The report surveyed 200 business-to-business (B2B) marketing professionals in order to understand which channels, offers, content types and technologies they were using to fuel their demand generation programs—and which they found most effective. Continue reading
While many business owners will argue over the fact that social media is better served for B2C companies, B2B companies can still take advantage of these platforms to connect with their customers, as well as take prospective customers and convert them into clients. It’s true that B2B may have a smaller audience to cater to on social media, but there are several ways to reach new audiences, one of which is by sponsoring social media contests. Continue reading
It’s three years since we last held a Think International event. Over the course of about four years, we held a series of these events in various venues around Copenhagen. They were well attended by B2B marketers and communicators from across corporate Denmark, and ever since the last one in 2011, people have been asking when we would start them up again. The time has come! Continue reading
What’s the purpose of B2B marketing? Ask the question of any attentive marketing student and they’re likely to reel off a description that somewhere, somehow, involves increasing demand for the company’s products. But marketing is also about managing demand, too, which may actually require reducing demand – or moving demand away from particular products in a company’s range. That said, it still seems counter-intuitive to create marketing or sales materials aimed at putting a dent in sales…