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What’s Next for B-to-B Marketers?

25 Oct

As we have noted before (see, 1, 2, 3), there is a lot for b-to-b firms to think about in planning and enacting their marketing strategies. In particular, they need to strategize for the future.

With this mind, look at the slideshow below from MarketingProfs:

“The theme of the 2014 MarketingProfs’ B2B Marketing Forum was ‘Marketing For What Comes Next.’ Lee Odden of TopRank decided to ask some of the brightest minds in marketing to make predictions about where marketing is heading. What he got ranged from realistic to ridiculous, but all were packed with insight.”

 

 

Resources for Small Businesses

23 Oct

As we have written about several times before (see 1, 2, 3), small businesses have numerous resource opportunities that they need to know about and utilize.

Here are more resources, this time, provided by the UPS Store for Inc.:

“Small business owners are always busy and looking for a way to save money. That’s why The UPS Store has done the research and hand-selected valued partners to provide you with exclusive offers on the products and services that you need most.”

These resources are divided into several categories:

  • Accounting and Bookkeeping
  • Business Planning
  • Communication Tools
  • Financial Services
  • Human Resources
  • IT Support
  • Marketing Services
  • Merchant Services
  • Reception Services
  • Record Storage
  • Telecommunications
  • Web Site Services

Click the image to access the resources.
 

 

Social Media Use Growing for SMBs

11 Oct

With the immense popularity of social media, more and more SMBs (small and medium businesses) are now utilizing such media. It’s not just for the big firms anymore.

According to BIA/Kelsey’s most recent “Local Commerce Monitor” (July 2014), which is ongoing research on the advertising behavior of SMBs), about three-quarters of the firms said they are using social media to promote their businesses — “more than any other category of media.”

BIA/Kelsey reported that:

“Facebook dominates SMB usage, with 55.1 percent of SMBs reporting they have a Facebook page for business use, and 20.0 percent reporting they have run a Facebook ad or promoted post. At the same time, strong showings by other platforms, including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter’s promoted tweets, indicate the social space is highly robust for SMB marketing. SMBs reported spending 21.4 percent of their total media budget on social media in the past 12 months.”

“The survey covers over 35 different media and platforms used by SMBs for advertising and promotion. These media fall into 10 top-level media categories: online (e.g., search, display ads, blogs); traditional (e.g., direct mail, newspapers); mobile (e.g., search, SMS, display); local coupons (print and online); social (e.g., Facebook, Twitter); video (e.g., Web site videos, YouTube); broadcast; local directories (print and online); giveaway items; and community sponsorships.”

Here is an infographic summary.
 

 

Social Media Etiquette Tips for Business

9 Oct

It is not just consumers (people) who need to understand and utilize the proper style and good manners with each social media format. This is also true for businesses! Proper style and etiquette will enable us all to make our desired points while still being civil and polite while doing so. :-)

As Jennifer Landry, a Web journalist who specializes in articles about business management and the current social media landscape, notes for BLUE by Cox Communications:

“Of course, you can’t employ the same methods for the different social platforms. Each site offers users a different experience. Twitter users want quick and casual communication while Linkedin users expect professional and well researched conversation. In order to get the most out of these sites, you’ll need to make sure that you understand what users expect from each platform and how to mold your posts to suit that need. In general, the posts that do the best are ones that either entertain or inform others.”

“Besides following the basic style of each social site, you must make sure you follow the unwritten etiquette rules. While they might seem like common sense, you’d be surprised how often companies do not follow them. If you can understand and implement the information from the infographic below into your campaigns, you’ll be more likely to attract new followers to your profiles and keep your old ones interested.”

Here is a good infographic from Landry’s article.
 

 

Good Versus Bad B2B Clients: An Infographic

29 Sep

Whether B2C or B2B in nature, there are both “good” and  “bad” customers. Good customers have reasonable expectations and do not seek to take advantage of their sellers (and vice versa!). Bad customers can make unreasonable demands and try to squeeze sellers so they don’t make a profit.

Geek Powered Studios, a Web design and SEO firm, offers some very insightful observations on this topic with regard to the B2B arena:

“Even though every client is different, the best-case scenario for any business partnership is one that’s beneficial for both you and the client. You get to do what you do best, so they can gain more business doing what they do best. At the end of the day, you both want their company to be successful. But that can be tough to achieve if you’re always working against each other.”

“As you take on more business, you’ll learn the needs and preferences of each client and their industry. You’re also going to meet a wide variety of client personalities – from the ones who don’t check in for weeks to the ones who micromanage your every click. There will be clients who listen to your suggestions and provide feedback, but there will be others who are never satisfied and expect to be #1 overnight. Some clients may even threaten to drop their contract and just do it themselves, but they should keep in mind that only 11% of businesses who do their own SEO in-house are satisfied with the results.”

Here’s an infographic on good versus bad B2B customers from Geek Powered Studios.
 

 

B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks

10 Sep

Starfleet Media recently conducted a study on content marketing – The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation:

“While there was already good research out there on B2B content marketing (kudos to the Content Marketing Institute, in particular, for their outstanding work over the past 5 years), we found that there remained a number of unexplored areas that warranted further investigation. We believed that capturing the right data – from hundreds of marketers with first-hand experience – and gaining actionable insights into these areas, could benefit not only our company, given our purview, but countless others, as well.”

What exactly does content marketing entail? According to the Content Marketing Institute:

“Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.”

Key findings from the Starfleet Media report have been summarized by MarketProfs. Click the image to see the summary.
 

 

General Electric: Becoming Quicker and More Agile

27 Aug

When annual sales approach $150 billion, it becomes harder to be agile and flexible in anticipating and responding to the evolving marketplace. This is something that even star companies such as General Electric – whose slogan is “GE imagination at work” — must face.

In GE’s case, it is embarking on new ways of doing business. As Bloomberg Businessweek’s Richard Clough reports:

“GE has enlisted tech entrepreneur Eric Ries to help develop FastWorks, based in part on his bestseller The Lean Startup. As detailed in the 2011 book, Ries’ lean startup philosophy is designed to help companies foster innovation and hasten product development by building imperfect early versions, releasing them to customers, getting feedback, and then ‘pivoting,’ or adapting the products when necessary. Now GE is adopting that playbook to speed the rollout of products ranging from lightbulbs to gas turbines to refrigerators. The company has already trained 40,000 employees under the new initiative, one of the largest in GE’s 122-year history.”

Click the image to read more from Clough.
 

 

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