The boundaries between your personal and professional brands are getting thinner every day. Whether we like it or not, we all have a personal brand. Some may flaunt it more consciously than others, but at some level most of us want to make a good impression. Continue reading
Recently, an industrial client asked a question I had never considered before: What is the value of a company’s visual identity? The request came as part of an acquisition process, and he was involved in discussions aimed at determining this value, partly as a component of the acquisition price, and partly to assess whether to continue with or drop the acquired company’s visual identity.
While coming up with a definitive answer to the question is probably beyond any consultant’s capability, I was able to help him think about the issue – and some of those insights are shared below… Continue reading
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
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
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
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.
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
Like all relationships between people, B2B relationships require trust and credibility to work.
In fact, we could liken a prospective B2B buyer to a sophisticated partner who is well-educated, has high expectations and is generally intolerant of mistakes. And like in all relationships, there are certain behaviours that strengthen bonds, and critical mistakes that turn people off.
Take your website, for example. In B2B, missteps can sow enough seeds of doubt in the minds of potential or existing customers to make them lose faith in your brand, question your professionalism, or simply click away from your site. Once you lose that credibility, it can be as hard to get back as convincing a cheated-on lover to trust you again. And the result of lost credibility? Lost sales.
So what can you do to make sure you hang onto B2B prospects?
Habits don’t form overnight — especially the good ones. Just think about how long it took you to start flossing your teeth every day (and chances are you’re not all the way there yet). For the average person, it takes about 66 days for a behavior to become habitual, and even then, that’s doing it daily.
You can imagine how difficult it can be to get in the habit of creating content. Yet the benefits of doing so are numerous. Companies that blog at least 11 times a month get almost three times the traffic as those that blog only once a month. Content also contributes to three times more leads than online advertising.
If that isn’t enough motivation to pick up a content habit, I don’t know what is. Here are seven steps to jumpstart your efforts: Continue reading