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David Hoskin - B2B marketing strategy and content
Opinions, best practices and research into B2B marketing strategy and practices

David Hoskin

I've helped B2B companies create and implement international marketing and communications strategies since 1999. I've been fortunate enough to work with some great companies and highly talented individuals during the years. But the game's changing fast. Although my aim is always to create pragmatic solutions that produce measurable results, there are always new challenges to overcome. I studied engineering and music and I have an Executive MBA (with Distinction) from Henley Business School, University of Reading (UK). Here on Integrated B2B, I want to share my personal opinions and perspectives on the changing face of B2B marketing. I hope you join in the conversation, too.

Is an MBA worth the effort?

Is an MBA worth the effort?

1500 hours of after-hours work. That’s what it took to complete my MBA. The only thing remaining now is graduation and the party! As valuable as the actual studies have been, in many ways, it’s all about the party. But more about that later.

Now all that hard work is over, I want to reflect on the journey. Why did I do it? Do those reasons hold up three years later? It’s probably too early to tell, but let me look into the crystal ball and see what the future may hold.

For others considering an MBA, this may help put some decision-making criteria into perspective. This is by no means a definitive list of what to think of if you’re considering an MBA when you’re well into your career. But I hope it does give some ideas to help make up your mind. Continue reading

What is a Marketer CEO? (Part 2)

What is a Marketer CEO?

In a previous post, I introduced several characteristics that define a Marketer CEO, as revealed in my study of marketing’s contribution to B2B company performance.

Continuing the discussion, I’ll explore more of these characteristics within themes of marketing performance and market strategy.

Marketing performance

With so much discussion among marketers about marketing metrics, you may expect this to be top of mind with CEOs, too. Marketer CEOs do have strong expectations of how marketing should perform, but perhaps not in the way you’d expect. Continue reading

What is a Marketer CEO? (Part 1)

My recent study of B2B CEOs revealed three types of CEO, each determined by their orientation towards marketing. One of these types, the ‘Marketer CEO’, believes strongly in the strategic impact of marketing.

For B2B marketers, understanding the views of these CEOs can provide vital direction that will better equip them to meet the CEO’s expectations and contribute most value to the business.

In the study, Marketer CEOs were identified by their own admission of their belief in marketing. Each of these CEOs was then analysed according to a number of parameters describing his or her impressions of the company’s capabilities and priorities. Continue reading

What the B2B CEO really thinks of marketing

What the B2B CEO thinks about marketing

The role of marketing in B2B companies is often debated. For every story of marketing’s contribution to growth, there are probably another two or three of marketing fighting tooth and nail for budget, resources and, not least, mindshare from the B2B CEO.

After years of being part of this debate, I decided to find out what the B2B CEO and executive management really think about marketing. Over the last several months, I’ve conducted extensive research into understanding their opinions.

There is a growing amount of research into marketing’s contribution to performance at B2B companies. But while the academic research is fragmented, really only touching the surface, the practitioner research often seems to be a celebration of marketing and, indeed, quite removed from reality.

Like it or not, reality is the CEO. No matter how good the B2B marketing department thinks it is, it won’t get far without his or her blessing. Continue reading

Not just another B2B case story

Does your B2B case story allow you to speak the truth?

How often have you read a B2B case story and thought that you’d seen it before, just from another supplier? Same old, same old.

I’ve seen it often. You realize that what you’re reading is another product brochure disguised as a customer case story.

I was recently involved in what could have been a very interesting story, covering the journey traveled by the company and customer. It was a journey describing a strong, long-standing relationship and the use of market-leading technology (sorry about the propaganda), careful attention to detail, and excellent customer service.

But, most interestingly, it also covered how the company solved unexpected challenges that arose during the implementation of the solution. Continue reading

The CMO as the new B2B superhero

When push comes to shove, it’s hard to find a CEO of a B2B company who sees marketing as the go-to function for business performance. Marketers are constantly challenged by their executive management to demonstrate the effectiveness of their efforts.

Does that mean the CMO role at B2B companies is redundant? And what can marketing do to move itself from a support function into the company’s upper echelons? Continue reading

An organization with 8000 leaders

Durban's CBD

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

Lessons in leadership from the savannah

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

Telling B2B stories: Mention the war!

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.

Continue reading

Which channels work for B2B lead generation?

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