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B2B marketing tip #275: Less is more

B2B Marketing Tip of the WeekWe all collect data as part of the lead nurturing process, but are you really using it? Look over your online forms, analyze your marketing database and speak with the recipients of this information within your company.

Find out what’s absolutely essential, then pare down your online forms so they’re fast and simple for respondents to complete. The less you ask, the more inquiries you’ll generate.

5 Questions: Building a strategy that is practical to implement

Thanks to the crew at 5by5 Design for featuring my advice on practical marketing planning in this month’s guest blog.

Read more as I answer 5 questions on how to build a marketing strategy that’s also practical to implement.

  1. What’s the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan?
  2. What’s the best way to keep strategy on track as you implement ideas?
  3. What are some of the common reasons companies have a hard time connecting a strategy to practical implementation?
  4. How do you keep a team engaged throughout the process?
  5. What trends have you seen in developing and implementing marketing plans?

Read the full article.

B2B marketing tip #274: Good question

B2B Marketing Tip of the WeekWant to gather good information to support your marketing strategy or campaigns? Ask your question correctly.

Use open-ended questions to gather qualitative information and personal impressions:  “What does your process typically involve?” or “How would you describe the impact of our product on your business?”

Use closed questions to gather quantitative data and easily compare responses:  “Do you prefer email, telephone or mail communication from us?” or “Which one of the following choices is most appealing to you?”

B2B marketing tip #273: If in doubt, alphabetize

Business-to-business content is chock full of lists: services offered, product features, customer benefits and more. Make your content more digestible—and memorable—for customers by grouping long lists of items into sub-categories, with clear category names.

When there’s no logical way to present your lists, always alphabetize your content to make it quickly searchable for your audience.

B2B marketing tip #272: Campaign 101

B2B Marketing Tip of the WeekCreating a campaign takes time—but few outside the marketing team really understand what the process entails. Take time to educate key stakeholders—especially sales—about the steps involved, the time required, and why they exist.

Go a step further and meet proactively on a quarterly or monthly basis. Identifying upcoming needs and goals can reduce the number of “urgent” project requests and keep marketing plans on track.

B2B marketing tip #271: Keep your brand in tune

Maintain the health of your visual brand with an annual design tune-up. Examine your last 12-18 months’ of communications side-by-side. Look for consistency, compliance with your design guidelines and opportunities to keep the brand contemporary and fresh moving forward. Consider asking your lead agency or an outside partner to provide an objective perspective.

B2B marketing tip #270: Social influence

B2B Marketing Tip of the WeekInstead of Tweeting and posting for the masses, target the most influential online personalities in your market space.

Follow these bloggers, analysts, media and customers to learn their voices and key issues, then start a dialogue by commenting on, liking and respostingtheir content. Slowly introduce your solution into the conversation—but avoid a sales-focused approach.

B2B marketing tip #269: Elevate your status

B2B Marketing Tip of the WeekThe lowly status report can be a great tool to boost your credibility with internal stakeholders. Give yours a fresh look with your target audience in mind, using the same critical eye you would with an external campaign.

Try to deliver the key message in the subject line or first sentence, and use a graphical format (such as green, yellow and red color-coding) to make critical items apparent immediately.

Lastly, demonstrate your commitment by communicating progress updates before stakeholders need to ask for them. A proactive telephone call or email, even if the news is bad, can save a lot of heartache down the road.

B2B marketing tip #268: Get professional about strategy

B2B Marketing Tip of the WeekEven the most experienced marketers can benefit from outside perspective. Consider hiring a professional facilitator to run your next strategy session. An outside consultant can provide an objective viewpoint, keep discussions focused, and give internal leadership a chance to fully participate.

B2B marketing tip #267: Selling vs. helping

B2B Marketing Tip of the WeekMarketing supports your sales efforts—but marketing itself is a decidedly different tactic. Leave the selling to sales, and focus your marketing content on help and education.

Help your customer solve a problem or learn a best practice. You’ll start building a positive relationship, and sales can take it from there.

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