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IntegratedB2B - B2B marketing strategy and practices
Opinions, best practices and research into B2B marketing strategy and practices

Powering up your value proposition

Is it time to get clearer on exactly why customers should prefer your company?There can be many attributes for which a product, service or entire company wants to be known: Fastest, cheapest, best quality, most features, most reliable, perfect for a specific situation, trusted, great customer service and more – the list of possibilities is endless.  Continue reading

How to flesh out your B2B buyer personas

Know your personas

Buyer personas have been used for years to help marketers hone in on what causes purchasers to make positive buying decisions. They are basically character sketches that lay out your target prospect’s background, demographics, objections, challenges, hobbies, and interests. B2C buyer personas are relatively straightforward. What does your target prospect do for a living? How does he spend his time? What car does she drive? Where do they work? But, that is not the case for B2B.

B2B buyer personas are a tad more difficult. Now you have multiple people in charge of buying decisions, usually stakeholders or board members. So, how can you possibly create an accurate persona when you’re trying to nail down several different personalities, lifestyles, and habits? Continue reading

Customer centricity: The ‘easy’ way to better business performance

Make it easy for your B2B customers

In a B2B environment that is becoming increasingly competitive, there is growing interest in what actually drives business performance.

I was recently presented with some research by Professor Moira Clark of the Henley Centre for Customer Management, which concluded that making it easier for customers to do business is a sure-fire way of improving the bottom line. This takes the notion of customer experience one step further, and she claims that more companies are beginning to bring this line of thought into their strategic planning.

Essentially, it’s about having a customer-centric approach, and the research suggests that customer centricity in B2B drives business performance. The great challenge facing B2B companies, however, is how to change the business to become more customer-centric. For many, it may seem an unrealistic task. Continue reading

Buzz Watch 2/5: Advocacy Marketing

In my previous post, in an effort to clear up some of the confusion in the way new terms are being used in the industry, I discussed what Account-based Marketing (ABM) was all about. This time, I’ll attempt to define advocacy marketing.

Advocacy marketing generally describes the idea of promoting (advocating) a product or service, typically where people or brands act as a third party to encourage prospects to buy. The overarching aim is to create trust in your product and your brand, based on the principle that people tend to trust the opinions of those they perceive to be similar to themselves – or to be independent experts in a specific field. Advocacy marketing can be used both to acquire new customers and increase loyalty with existing ones. Continue reading

Build a great B2B corporate website: a model for aligning strategy with content (part 2)

This second article of a two-part series discusses two of the four strategic pillars of building a B2B corporate website. In the first article, we looked at Strategy and Value Proposition. This time, we look at Brand and Offerings. Continue reading

Build a great B2B corporate website: a model for aligning strategy with content (part 1)

Align your website and company strategy

How often do your colleagues complain about your company’s website? Like many website managers of B2B companies, you’ve probably had conversations with people who are reluctant to use it in their daily business. It could be that it doesn’t truly reflect the company today. Or maybe the content doesn’t support the negotiations salespeople have with customers and the conversations Executive Management have with key stakeholders.

But that’s not how it’s meant to be. At the very least, the website needs to support the business; at best, it should drive business opportunities. So how can you achieve that?

As with any marketing or communications initiative, website planning involves some level of strategic planning. But rather than being an academic exercise, it must be a targeted, pragmatic approach that aligns your online presence with the company’s strategy, brand, offerings and value propositions – what I’ll call the four strategic pillars of the B2B company website.

Long before even beginning to consider a website structure and content, these four strategic pillars need to be defined and documented. Don’t leave a strategic stone unturned until you’re sure. Not only will you save time creating and building your website, but you’ll be confident that you’re making good decisions about architecture, design, usability and content. Indeed, this strategic planning will be the foundation for the website’s success.

Continue reading

The CMO’s opinion isn’t always appreciated

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

The Big Bang Theory of B2B marketing

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

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