Building a solid marketing team and ensuring the company is on the same page with prospect and customer communications is essential for B2B marketing success.
In the 3rd interview of this week’s series on B2B Marketing Innovation, Monetate’s Rob Yoegel takes a deep dive into working with a team to create compelling content for more effective B2B marketing. From marketing on a shoestring budget to practical tips on being more innovative with B2B content, Rob gives a great overview on the importance of innovation for B2B marketing success.
Please tell us about your role at Monetate and the kind of B2B marketing work you’re most excited about there.
I oversee all content marketing initiatives across multiple platforms and formats to drive sales, engagement, retention, leads, and positive customer behavior. We have a team, both in marketing and in other areas of the company, which has so many incredibly talented people who contribute to the success of our business.
I get excited when I talk to a member of Monetate’s leadership team, a software engineer, someone in sales or professional services, or a colleague in marketing about a new strategy, content initiative or another project. Everyone believes that the story we want to tell is not about Monetate, but the value in website testing and optimization, dynamic content delivery, and helping our customers create the most relevant digital customer experience possible.
At the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum you’re participating on the “Content Saves the Day: Trailblazing Content Case Studies” panel. Can you share some of the takeaways you plan on presenting regarding content on a shoestring and creating compelling content?
Monetate’s success at content marketing is the direct result of building a team of very smart and talented people. Everyone talks about brands becoming publishers. I believe that’s not enough. Brands need to do more than what publishers traditionally have done, or ultimately they will become what many publishers have become today: obsolete and irrelevant.
Brands that think that just hiring an unemployed journalist to create content is a content marketing program are dead wrong. There are so many other variables, including buy-in throughout the company and a sound knowledge of search, social, analytics, and the specific market/industry you’re trying to serve that will have a profound effect on whether or not you’re successful or not.
You haven’t even started once you’ve committed to content marketing. It is critical to develop personas and start creating content for them, where and when they want it. The media business has forever created content that they think people will want to read. That’s not how content marketing works. Content marketers need to create content their prospects and customers want. This can be a tough pill to swallow for any journalist. Another key is the commitment to social media. There truly is not a social media ‘off-switch’ nor can any content marketer expect someone else to do it. Distributing content on Twitter, SlideShare, Facebook, LinkedIn, and responding to blog post comments, etc., is the responsibility of the content creator.
Compelling content will come from throughout an organization. If content marketers don’t think outside their own department or even worse, believe they can or must do it all on their own, they’ll likely fail. For instance, our services team works directly with our clients and contributes so much, whether it’s blogging, interviews, ideas, or just critical input on how to tell a story. I really believe the most successful content marketers will be those who see their entire organization as members of their team.
Let’s say you were in an elevator, met someone on the 1st floor going to the 35th and you were asked, “What is a good definition for B2B marketing?”. What would you tell them?
I think B2B marketing is no longer about one business communicating to another business the benefits of its product or service. Rather, it’s now about telling a story and creating a one-to-one relationship between someone whose business or career can benefit from the product or service, as well as the knowledge and experience within that organization that contributed to building that same product or service. Right before the elevator doors open, I would add that it’s not a one-way message, and a vendor must expect to constantly get input and feedback from their customers.
There’s a common belief that it’s tough to come up with new B2B marketing ideas, but as you know, innovation exists within B2B as much or more as it does with consumer marketing – just in different ways. What’s your process for coming up with new and innovative ideas for your B2B marketing efforts?
Like I mentioned earlier, once you accept the fact that everyone’s opinion matters (personally, I can say this isn’t easy to do!) and that one person doesn’t have all the answers, you will never run out of ideas. I love to study what works in b2c and try to adapt it to what I am doing. While there certainly are differences between how to market to consumers compared to a company’s decision-makers, business people are still consumers sitting behind desks and will likely react to the same emotional drivers.
Developing a solid B2B marketing plan takes research, and understanding of the customer goals, pain points and journey. What are some of the most common myths or mistakes you’ve seen with B2B marketing planning? Any tips on how to be more successful?
The first has to do with not understanding who your prospects are. Again, that gets back to developing personas and revisiting them often. It’s also crucial when developing these personas that you talk to people actually in those roles at an organization as well as have an ongoing dialogue with your sales team members who are on the front lines talking to them every day.
I also think b2b marketers can easily forget that all organizations are not created equal. Consider a sports analogy. A basketball team typically plays two guards, two forwards and a center at one time. When a team puts out on the floor three guards, and two forwards, or another combination, its opponent has to adjust the strategy and come up with a slightly different game plan. B2B marketers need to do the same thing. Every organization is not made up of the same individuals; for instance, while the persona of an Email Marketing Manager may actually exist at most organizations, in some companies email may be the responsibility of someone totally different. React and adjust.
With all the hype in the business marketing media, it’s tempting for companies to chase trending B2B marketing tactics like social media and content marketing. How do you decide what the right B2B marketing tactical mix is for your business?
I think there’s a big difference between a trend and the “shiny new object.” It takes a smart marketer to identify a trend and determine if it fits their business or not. What you don’t want to do is implement something just because a competitor is doing it or for another reason where there is no return on the investment.
Other the other hand, I see more and more marketers latching on to something that they may perceive as a trend that hasn’t proven to be successful for any business, or they have no way to measure its impact within their own organization. I think smart marketers are able to distinguish the two. There’s certainly something to be said about taking risks, and the mantra of testing everything is quite valuable when implementing a new tactic, strategy, or even that shiny new object.
There are many resources online and off to leverage for practical and innovative information about modern B2B marketing. Of those resources, blogs can be particularly useful. What are your 3-4 favorite B2B marketing blogs?
Although not specific to B2B, I try to keep up with Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert. Michael Brenner’s Business2Community website aggregates some great B2B content covering marketing, social media, branding, and more. Of course, I read and contribute to the Content Marketing Institute, and love going through my Tweeter stream a few times a day to see what others are suggesting that I read.
I rely a great deal on the quality of the people I follow on Twitter. I have no problem sacrificing a larger Twitter following in exchange for counting on the 60 or so people I follow to keep me informed of some of the great ideas and thought leadership and don’t Tweet their FourSquare check-ins or what they’re having for dinner.
Please share your advice for other B2B marketers out there on how they can be more innovative.
- Think of your entire organization as your marketing department.
- Listen to your customers. And remember there’s truly a difference between hearing and listening.
- Make sure your prospects and customers know there’s actually a person/people on the other end of the content that you publish.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks. It’s OK to occasionally be first and fail.
- Continue to learn from what others are doing and network, network, network.
Rob, thanks for your tips on creating compelling content for more innovative B2B marketing.
If you’re looking for even more insight on making your business more innovative, be sure to attend Rob’s panel discussion at B2B Marketing Forum: “Content Saves the Day: Trailblazing Content Case Studies” Thursday, October 4th at 10:45am.
Also be sure to check out the TopRank session on 360 degrees of optimization with search and social media marketing: “Integrating Content, Search & Social to Optimize the Funnel” – Friday, October 5th at 8:15am.
We’ll be releasing an eBook soon that’s chock full of B2B Marketing Innovation tips from B2B marketing champions like IBM, SAP and Silverpop, so be sure to check back!
What’s your best B2B Marketing Innovation tip?
We would love to hear from you. Share your best B2B marketing innovation tip and you will have a chance to win two of the best books on content marketing: Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman and Optimize by Lee Odden (hey, that’s me!).