Lee Odden

B2B Marketing & Innovation: What’s Missing? Share Your Best Tip

B2B Marketing Innovation“There’s a common belief that it’s tougher to come up with new marketing ideas for B2B than for consumer products. But most experienced marketers know that innovation exists within B2B as much or more as it does with B2C marketing – just in different ways.  Please share a tip on how companies can come up with new and innovative ideas for their B2B marketing efforts.”

That’s the question I posed to some of the top B2B marketing professionals for the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Innovation eBook project that TopRank Online Marketing is working on. The B2B Forum is coming up fast in Boston Oct 3-5 and there’s more interest now than ever, in how to innovate.

Companies ranging from IBM to Silverpop as well as thought leaders including Ann Handley (of course!), Christopher Penn, Amanda Maksymiw and Paul Gillin have shared their hard won insights about how companies can breathe some fresh ideas into their B2B Marketing efforts.

We’ll be publishing a series of interviews with these B2B marketing digerati and a retro style eBook to go along with the B2B Forum tagline: “This is Not Your Father’s B2B” complete with retro business guy photo.

But why should the conference speakers have all the fun when it comes to sharing B2B innovation insights? Surely there are thousands of our readers in the B2B marketing space that are testing and implementing new and innovative marketing tactics.

That’s why I’d like to use this post as a call for entries that describe B2B Marketing innovation tips and examples.  Looking at the client roster at TopRank, there are many examples we could use ourselves (McKesson, Marketo, Vocus, StrongMail, PRSA and others) but let’s see what Online Marketing Blog readers can come up with.

The incentive for sharing your nugget of B2B Marketing Innovation will include a copy of Optimize AND a copy of Content Rules to be awarded to the top 10 tips as judged by the staff at TopRank Online Marketing.  We’ll also pick the top 3 and include them in the B2B Marketing Innovations eBook which will be promoted here, on our social networks, through the MarketingProfs website and community, and to the attendees at the B2B Forum in Boston.

So, what are you waiting for?

Leave your best B2B Marketing Innovation tip in the comments below including your name and a good email address so we can contact you about winning two of the finest content marketing books around. We’ll also want to reach you in case your tip gets picked to be included in the eBook.

We’ll take your entries until Wednesday September 26th, 5pm Central. Winners will be announced the following day. You can do it!

While we’re on the topic, if you’re in the Boston area, be sure to check ou the B2B Forum on Oct 3-5.

Congratulations to these B2B smarties who won a copy of Content Rules and Optimize. 

  • Lynn O’Connell – @omdirect (Included in B2B Marketing Innovations eBook)
  • Scott Williamson – @scottwmarketing (Included in B2B Marketing Innovations eBook)
  • Joe Yeager – (Included in B2B Marketing Innovations eBook)
  • Rick Marteen
  • Kelly Kerr – @kannkerr
  • Michael Best
  • Laura Crest – @ljcrest
  • Amber Bosland – @psugirl28
  • Bruce Vernon
  • Blue Hat

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Innovative B2B marketing: that is a challenge!

    My bright idea is to perhaps infuse some interactive, social media fun in the marketing – perhaps a game or a contest give-away . I’m pretty sure that the business prospect has already been surveyed to death.
    In the end, it is a person reading your message, and pulling them in/attracting them with some sort of interactive *fun* might inject some life into the marketing.By the way, I already own Content Rules and Optimize, so no prize needed should I qualify:)

  2. The most important thing is to always remember that B2B customers are people first, B2B buyers second. So many bad B2B promotions look like they were created for robotic buyers. No one — no one — is going to be inspired to buy by a laundry list of product features or a shot of the factory. Speak to their dreams, their plans and hopes, and even their fears. Show them how your product or service will help their company, but also show them how it will make their job easier! It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a traditional campaign or using the latest social media channels… the message has to appeal to real people and the actions you request need to be things real people do.

    Start with the human buyer in mind — put up their photos if you need to — and the right creative message will follow.

  3. B2B Marketing has to be more innovative in the way direct selling is handled. The old “cold call” ways are putting companies that still do sales like this a step or 12 behind. It is the marketing departments job to arm their sales force with the best ammunition they can. It cannot be, “better price” without proof of quality. Little things like emailing your lead an introductory video of your product with a few captions of the product in use grabs their attention. I am not talking about a 5+ minute video, but a 2 minute or less introduction and successes. By setting the stage before the sales rep arrives at his / her prospective account, the marketing department has already gave them a leg up. They have set the w’s for the meeting. This is a simple, and relatively new way to do sales and business. It is like the old days when you would snail mail information, then it formed into an email. Now we have the option of showing the product in use and outline how it can help the company you are meeting with well before the meeting. If done right, the prospect will be talking about the product well before the meeting ever takes place. @scottwmarketing / #scottwmarketing

  4. My suggestion is to stop focusing so much on getting Likes and start focusing more on getting people to “share” your posts. This is especially true for your own employees! Likes barely get noticed, but sharing the updates makes a bigger splash and is more likely to get noticed and hopefully, shared with even more people. Simple, but it can make a big difference! Email: [email protected]

  5. Hello all! As the overall field of marketing shifts to become more about two-communication, relationships and trust, it makes sense that B2B marketing should follow. I think Twitter is a great way to display industry know-how while also fostering relationships. Following and interacting with other businesses and business owners can open doors before meeting key decision-makers and can increase your chances of closing sales as well.

    (My email is amber (at) eyeflow (dot) com. Thanks for the chance to win!)

  6. Here’s my tip. Quit trying so hard to sell, and help the people in your industry instead. Be a thought leader. DuPont Nutrition and Health has done just this by launching BakeryPerformance.com. They have facilitated conversations with leads and customers. They have exposed their SME’s to demonstrate thought leadership. The innovative approach here is that DuPont is developing a Voice of Industry by shifting away from pushing their products to discussing solutions to industry level issues. And their effort has brought DuPont new business. DuPont was one of our first customers to implement Three Voices™ strategy as described in our book “The Death of Propaganda”.

  7. One of the biggest hurdles in marketing, we see, is
    having the sales bandwidth to handle the influx of inbound leads created by
    marketing. Whether it is 600 webinar registrants or 1,200 white paper
    downloaders… sales does not have the bandwidth to do a proper and timely follow

    Marketing feels discouraged and frustrated.

    Sales feels overwhelmed and frustrated.

    One of the biggest hurdles in sales, we see, is when
    calling, 90% of B2B follow-up dials go to voicemail. Sales, now, feels discouraged
    on top of overwhelmed and frustrated. They are ready to talk with people, not

    So, our innovation tip is this: Take the voice of your
    sales team and record them leaving friendly follow up messages. Have North
    American based callers dial each person, one at a time, and ask reception for
    the targets voicemail or navigate through the dial-by-name directory to find
    it. With the goal to deliver the voicemail only, they can follow-up on the
    entire list in a day. Next day, send a follow-up email referencing the
    voicemail for a one-two punch follow-up.

    Sales can now spend their time where it’s of most value – building
    relationships and uncovering needs with the new leads that are interested,
    without taking time away from speaking with current leads already in the

    It’s a win win. Leads generated from marketing are
    properly followed up and in the ideal window of time. Marketing can be sure
    their hard work is not in vein. Leads who are interested raise their hands.
    Sales can be sure they are talking to the most interested prospects.

  8. Bruce – I cannot seem to get your email address to work. Do you have an alternate address?