15 Feb

B2B marketing rule #1 – Sell or die

The focus in our B2B marketing world on marketing technology, social media and other tools and tactics is astounding. This is not an article to poohoo the value that can deliver; this is about looking at whether or not we are losing our focus on what actually underpins everything from the sales pitch to the lead generation campaign; persuasion.

Sounds like selling to me…and it is. The most fundamental thing we still need to do is get the right people’s (many, not one) attention and demonstrate the difference we bring.

Educating or persuading?

For years now, there’s been a lot of talk sharing your knowledge freely.  Oceans of content are being produced, often by dedicated content management agencies, employing former journalists, who these days are being laid off faster than they come out of University.

The core idea is sound; people crave information to make buying decisions, to a large extent so that they can rationalise their purchase decision. So if you want to be considered, you have to have a voice for those who are seeking. Nowhere more so than when they buy on behalf of a company, in Business to Business or B2B.

What’s important is not to confuse educating with marketing.

The purpose of education is to help you make better choices. The purpose of marketing is to make people choose you over someone else. So in other words, ONLY if education leads to changing someone’s preference is it a marketing activity and worth doing. You can be smart with that and play a long game, with a long lead of informative content, but it should only exist in the context of a clear marketing outcome.

In the end, it’s not about giving people more options, but fewer.

23 Feb

A million mistakes and three tips

I’ve changed a few flat tyres in my life. The first time, it was all stress and chaos because I couldn’t  find the tools. It had never dawned on me to me to look for these tools before that time of crisis really. That would be like reading the manual.

The second lesson I learnt was that  you don’t jack the car up before you’ve loosened the nuts…you do that and that wheel just moves when you put the pressure on and you end up putting the car back on the ground, loosen the nuts and jack it back up…in the dark, in the rain.

Once you’ve  changed a few tyres it’s easy of course and you quickly forget how hard it was before, and how many mistakes you had to make before it got that easy. Maybe not everyone has to learn the hard way.

A million mistakes

I’ve made a million mistakes in doing what I do and you simply forget. That’s until you see someone around you about to make the same mistake. Suddenly you hear yourself say: “Have you considered loosening the nuts first?”  I’ve realised that there are some really common traps in my world of marketing that are easily avoided and make a big difference in getting to a better result, much faster.

Three things I learned

    1. Outcome vs output – Don’t start anything before you really understand what it is that you are trying effect. Don’t  expect to get the right request from your customer/boss. They will typically ask for an output, not an outcome. You’ll probably give them what they want, but not what they need. So why not Have the hard conversation first and you’ll probably find that you come up with something far more effective (and often far more creative) than what you started out with.
    2. Iterate & collaborate – I don’t believe that anything gets done right by one person, the first time very often. I’ve tried. The power of people reviewing, refining, commenting is incredibly powerful and won’t take anything away from you, so try it.

Steal like an artist.image source: SWSX Schedule 2012

  1. Steal as much as you can – Then make it your own. Whatever you are about to do, it’s probably be done many times over. So tap into it.

Did I miss anything?