Tag Archives: staying focused

Making it count

Before you open your email, look at your to do list for the week ahead, and elevate the trickiest, hardest, most daunting job to the top of the list.

Why? The impact of getting something sticky done on your day, and your week can be incredibly empowering and motivating.

The caveat is that has to be something that will add value to your business. It has to lead to a sale, better embed you with a customer, improve a process or make a saving. Do it first and do it well. Avoid distractions like meetings and email and tick one important task of your list. Remember do work that matters.

So, is it the invoicing, the difficult sales calls or that proposal that need your attention this morning?

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Blog Gold 2010: Going social

In this post from February I suggested that there is natural suspicion and confusion about the importance and return on time spent on developing your online brand using ‘social media’.

At the time of writing there were high profile news stories involving Manchester United banning their players from Twitter and Coca Cola issuing guidelines on Twitter use which demonstrated just how nervous leading brands are about the interactive and uncontrollable nature of the medium.

I think the problems start with the terms of reference. ‘Social media’ and ‘social marketing’ are, I feel, misleading titles for the technology that allows you to build contacts, links, friends, followers and fans on the major networks. The reason the name concerns me is that social marketing typically refers to campaigns built around public awareness, public information and or public safety. And the use of the word social may imply it is for fun, personal and informal. All in all, this doesn’t make it the best moniker for a technique trying to entice professional business.

And as a result, companies are left naturally pondering whether there is a return on investment to be made from social media, or if it is just a gimmick afforded by technological advancement rather than meeting a business need.

But, the simple undeniable truth is that the Internet is here to stay. It is the first resource for buyers (B2B Marketing’s Buyersphere research proves this), suppliers, customers, job seekers and anyone researching a purchase or looking for a recommendation before making a purchase.

Sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube attract users in their millions for strong psychological reasons, namely the need to belong and share. They have helped relaunch old brands, affect reality television, and recently play a role in elections. Because they attract millions every day, they are deemed high volume and if for no other reason than to assist your search engine optimisation prospects, you should create a profile (with a link to your site) on every single one of them.

In social media, there are a great number of experts queuing up to offer advice. These typically fall into two camps. They either tell everyone they should be doing it or instruct most people not to bother.

There is, however and obviously, a third option which involves careful and coordinated use of some of these resources designed to achieve set marketing objectives and deliver against key performance indicators. Social media can be used to engage with and provide superior customer service, provide product advice and updates, or to help engage new customers. Used thoughtfully, you can achieve high visibility, achieve business credibility and drive traffic to your website and aid conversion. Check out this post from September 2009 if you are starting out now.

Think strategically, start small, and don’t spend a whole amount of time on it. That way, going social can be effective for you.

Original posted 16 Feb 2010. Image courtesy of Capacity Marketing

B2B Marketing Principles 10: Ultimately, think consumer!

The driving force behind this blog series has been to expose the common challenges that affect and afflict B2B marketing. It is clear that planning is critical to succeeding with a B2B marketing campaign.

You must, as a B2B marketer, understand your target audience, understand what they need rather than what you have to sell them, understand the complexity of selling to specifiers as well as users, create a value proposition to differentiate yourself from other providers, use all data you have as fully as possible, create ways of measuring how your business and its brand is performing, use eye catching, interest-grabbing creative campaigns and adopt the latest, and most relevant digital and online marketing techniques.

Interestingly, this often means rethinking your complicated marketplace and your complicated customer with their complicated needs and complicated multi influencer, multi specifier team dynamics, and your complicated product/service solution. But that’s unnerving so we tend not to.

Maybe we should ignore everything that has come before on this blog about why B2B is different to B2C and approach your challenge from a different perspective. As mentioned right off the bat in B2B Principles 2, we are entering the people-to-people era of business communications.

Approach it from a consumer perspective. You are a human being working within a team providing solutions to another human being or a team. Regardless of what it is you’re promoting, rethink the value proposition you give to this person or team. Are you the fastest, the widest choice, the most customised, the expert, the biggest, the specialist, the best quality, the best service, the best after sales care?

It would be great to hear what you think. Please leave your feedback on the blog, contact me on Twitter @renepower to engage further.

Going social

There is natural suspicion and confusion about the importance and return on time spent on developing your online brand using ‘social media’.

Recent high profile news stories involving Manchester United banning their players from Twitter and Coca Cola issuing guidelines on Twitter use demonstrate how leading brands remain nervous the interactive and uncontrollable nature of the medium.

Even the terms of reference – ‘social media’ and ‘social marketing’ – are themselves misleading titles for the technology that allows you to build contacts, links, friends, followers and fans on the major networks. (In marketing circles, social marketing typically refers to campaigns built around public awareness, public information and or public safety).

Companies are pondering whether there is a return on investment from social media, or if it is just a gimmick.

The simple undeniable truth is that the Internet is here to stay. It is the first resource for suppliers, customers, job seekers and anyone researching a purchase or looking for a recommendation.

Sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube attract users in their millions for strong psychological reasons, namely the need to belong and share.

The plethora of experts queuing up to offer advice fall into two camps. They either tell everyone they should be doing it, or telling most people not to bother. I believe elements of social media can be useful to everyone and every type of business or organisation.

Careful and coordinated use of some of these resources can give you untold visibility, help give you and your enterprise credibility, help you engage with customers, prospects and suppliers, and drive traffic to your website and aid conversion. Check out this post from September 2009 if you are starting out now.

Think strategically, start small, and don’t spend a whole amount of time on it. That way, going social can be effective for you.

Comfortable in your own skin

Has your business rushed to diversify in the last twelve months because of the economic downturn? Has your management team realigned business objectives into new areas? Has your company overstretched in a bid to simply stand still?

Experience tells us that some recession innovators do ultimately stand the test of time. But what companies like Apple also have, and continually refine, is a compelling proposition, an unwaivered strategic vision and a serviceable market. Without these, most companies and brands can not last long term.

Most of us do not work for an Apple. But we should follow their lead and create and work to the same strategic framework in order to ensure durable long term business success.

This means we have to be bold, we can’t pretend to be something we’re not, we can’t try and land business we have no experience of delivering well, we can’t diversify into sectors we have no expertise in, and we can’t enrol new recruits without giving them the agreed destination and the map of how to get there.

In essence, we need to be comfortable in our own skin. Are you? Is your business?

Marketing lessons from the Football League

Football clubs in the UK often come in for a rough ride from the business community due to their lack of strong commercial focus and acumen. At the lower end of the spectrum clubs are getting into financial trouble due to their falling gates, spiralling costs and lack of qulity sponsorship agreements. At the higher end, top clubs are over-spending on players to try and compete at the top level.

I think it is interesting that the recent round of FA Cup games demonstrated how clubs across the leagues in the UK have come to prioritise the tournaments they enter, and to that extent show how clubs are now considering the bigger picture and the longer term.

There were expected to be a number of dicey ties for a number of struggling Premier League clubs including Burnley, Sunderland Bolton and Wigan but all sailed through as their opposition picked teams bearing in mind important league games.

Fielding weakened teams is nothing really new in the modern game, whether it is to win a league, gain promotion or even fight to stay in a league. It shows a commercial and strategic focus which provides a powerful lesson in staying fixated on your business goals, whatever type of business you are in.