When the CEO of all too many B2B companies sits down to decide on the three- or five-year strategy, a select group of executives are typically asked to front up with factual data and strategic opinions: The Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Commercial Officer and the Chief Operations Officer. Equipped with their inputs, the CEO usually feels he or she has enough information to formulate the strategy (perhaps supplemented with external advice). Then, and only then, the strategy is explained to the CMO. Continue reading
Standing in the center of the B2B marketing universe, you can be forgiven for having the distinct feeling that the job of the B2B marketer, already large and complex enough, is expanding at an alarming rate. Core skills and disciples, once easy enough to grasp and maintain, are moving further away from you at an accelerating rate, on their way, like the distant galaxies in Stephen Hawking’s famous Big Bang theory, to one day disappear completely from sight. Continue reading
Key to any CEO’s agenda is the need to constantly reconfigure the company’s capabilities to cope with a changing playing field and to lend extra strength to crucial functions within its business model and value chain. Continue reading
“Don’t rock the boat” seems to be an unshakeable rule in many B2B companies. Strangely enough, companies who adhere to the status quo are often the ones to be left behind when the boat is rocking at industry level. Ask Nokia or Sony Ericsson, for example, why Apple was able to not just rock but almost overturn their boats… Continue reading
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.
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…
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” These magical words are usually attributed to someone famous – perhaps Einstein, Mark Twain or a long list of others depending on who you believe. In any case, there’s plenty of truth in the idea, I think you’ll agree.
I thought again of those words when I attended a seminar held by DABF (Danish-American Business Forum) and found the happy ending to a business fairytale I think of almost every time I see someone trying to go against the status quo in an organization. Continue reading
Marketing technology firm Software Advice has released a new report on online B2B buyer behavior, detailing business implications for inside sales professionals in 2014 and beyond. The folks at Software Advice run a highly tuned sales machine where fast phone followups are part of the model, so they know what they’re talking about when it comes to getting visitors to move down the conversion funnel. And for the hungry B2B marketer, there are a few pointers worth noticing.
Mark Hanley, president of Massachusetts-based consulting house I.T. Strategies, recently asked me for my opinion on the state of the market for printed brochures. Do printed sales materials have a future or are they on their way out? It’s a great question, and one which is brought up time and time again by marketers in meetings I attend.
As a CMO, have you ever had to stand by and witness a smaller, more aggressive competitor win the marketing race against your own, market-leading company? And yet be able to do little about it?
Toward the end of 2013, I met the CMO of a medium-sized company at a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was (figuratively) pulling his hair out over being caught, as he saw it, in a competitive situation that he and his team were almost powerless to influence. And he was having difficulty seeing a solution that could support top management’s strategic objectives. Continue reading