B2B Monday Myth: When Sales Are Down, a Quick Fix Is the Answer

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Posted on April 24, 2017 at 12:17 PM

B2B marketing strategy

The Myth: A Quick-Fix Marketing Campaign Is Necessary When Sales Numbers Are Down.

The Truth: A Slow-Burn B2B Marketing Strategy Will Foster ROI in the Long-Term.

Imagine: it’s Q2, and you look at the numbers. And the numbers aren’t looking good. If you end the year like this, it is bad news. Panicked, you call your marketing department, and give them this message: Do whatever you can, right now, to get my sales numbers up.

And Marketing executes a last-ditch, quick approach to try to get your company back on track. It may even yield good results. In the short term.

But the truth is, if you implemented long-term marketing strategy in Q1, you should expect a slow burn instead of an immediate increase in ROI. Especially with marketing plans that rely heavily on content marketing. If you put your time into a quick execution to boost immediate numbers, you’re wasting it. Instead, you should spend that time working toward larger, long-term successes.

There are several elements that take time to develop – many that require testing – in order to be done well. So you have to ask: what are the steps for implementing a successful long-term B2B marketing strategy?

Step 1: Know Your Goals and Objectives

The purpose of your campaign is to increase ROI over the long haul, not just in the immediate future. Converting leads right now will increase your sales in the short term, but long-term thinking will set the wheels in motion for greater successes year after year. Outside of sales, what are you looking for? Know exactly what you want to achieve from your campaign. You cannot expect to implement this strategy in a day and have leads knocking the door down. Brainstorm how you can sustain this campaign in the over one year, two years, three. And remember, a lot of your strategy will hinge on building relationships over time. Continuous engagement with your brand puts you on a steadier path to conversion.

If you are a bigger company, it might benefit you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture for your marketing strategy. Reworking your brand may be the key to sustaining leads for longer.

Step 2: Do Your Research

Your strategy will be useless if you haven’t taken the time to do proper research on your target audience and how your message will be best conveyed. Utilize market research initiatives to find out more abut who you plan to target, what they want, where they are in terms of the sales funnel, what messages resonate with them, and their preferred media and marketing channels. By doing the research, you will be putting the right message in front of the right people at the right time.

Step 3: Implement, Evaluate, and Fine-Tune

Your slow-burn campaign will be a long-term commitment, meaning the creation of a pipeline with organized divisions of labor and clear deadlines is vital to staying on track. When implementing a long-term strategy, you want to make sure it is as effective as possible. That’s why it’s important not to underestimate the value of keyword evaluation, website analytics, and A/B testing. Note that sales are far from the only KPI (key performance indicator). It’s important to align your KPIs with the goals you set in Step 1. If you’re measuring the wrong thing, it may become an obstacle rather than a boon. You may also need to accept that not all measures of success can be supported by hard data.

Taking the time to create a strategy, research your target audience, and detailed evaluation may seem like a lot of work. But it’s worth it in the long run. While you may not see an immediate increase in sales, these steps will ultimately foster long-term success that all company stakeholders will benefit from in the end.

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A Rose by Any Other Name? 4 Signs It’s Time To Rename Your Manufacturing Company

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Posted on April 21, 2017 at 17:38 PM

rename your manufacturing companyIs your B2B company suffering a failure to thrive? Don’t underestimate the power of your name. And when it comes to rebranding, don’t underestimate how detrimental a bad name can be, either. B2B companies are quick to list reasons why their businesses are stalling – limited marketing budgets, saturated markets, changing demands – but rarely do they associate a bad name with a stalled out company. It’s just a name, right? The thing is, even though you are selling to another business, you’re still marketing to another human being. And words have meaning. (You know, the whole pen mightier than the sword thing? Yeah, that.) So how do you know if it’s time to rename your manufacturing company? Here’s a cheat sheet.

4 Signs That It’s Time to Rename Your Manufacturing Company

  1. Your name is too plain. Basic names only work when you 1) are the first company in the field, and 2) have years to establish yourself, like General Electric. But imagine if a company like Amazon had been named GeneralOnlineRetailer.com. They would have been hard-pressed to stand out in the online boom of the 1990’s. (Amazon has an interesting naming story, by the by.) Take note of your competition and your standing before you choose a name like “Universal Plumbing Standards Corp.”
  1. Your name is meaningless to anyone but you. Initech, anyone? We understand that there are some names that have inside meaning or a rich personal history for your B2B company. But what does that mean to an outsider? It’s this logic that lead Quantum Computer Services to change their name to America Online, which directly translates their product and elicits an emotional response. Unless your name resonates your brand positively on an emotional or literal level, it’s just white noise.
  1. Your name is hilarious… and not in a good way. We’ll just glance at Analtech, who despite a near 50 year legacy, is rebranding to iChromatography – which not only explains what they do, but keeps those pesky web filters from blocking them in search.
  1. Your name is scandalous. It’s no surprise when a company like ValuJet has to rename and rebrand to AirTran after their crash in 1996. But if your business, innocently (and coincidentally) enough, happens to be called Lewinsky Auto Supply, it might suffer simply from association.

The right name for your brand will both value your heritage and leverage your position. Think it might be time for you to rename your manufacturing company? Drop us a line.

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B2B Monday Myth: Working With Influencers Is Irrelevant for B2B

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Posted on April 17, 2017 at 14:38 PM

influencers for B2B brands

The Myth: Only B2C Brands Can Benefit From Working With Influencers.

The Truth: Influencers May Play a Different Role, But Can Be Equally Valuable for B2B Brands.

When someone says “influencer,” perhaps you the imagine a Kardashian promoting weight-loss tea on Instagram. This type of strategy surely can’t work for your B2B brand, can it? As it turns out, there are a number of strategies to help your business identify proper influencers (even if they aren’t Kardashians) and have them play a beneficial role in advocating for your company. Here’s a quick guide:

What Are Influencers for B2B Brands? And Why Work With Them?

Let’s start out with a definition we can all agree on. An influencer is, simply put, a person who has the power to influence many people via social or traditional media. This comprises everything from bloggers, vloggers, and Instagrammers, to industry analysts, thought leaders, and writers for trade publications.

The relationship between influencer and brand is symbiotic. It’s easy to see why you’d want to work with one: you have a product or service you want to market; influencers have a built-in audience. But influencers have their own brand they need to uphold – themselves. A large part of this image relies upon fresh, relevant content that keeps their followers interested and informed. From simple product mentions to expert interviews, with the right strategy, your brand could be a source of reliable, non-advertorial content that influencers value. Or they may produce it themselves based on what they learn from you. It varies from influencer to influencer.

Keep Your Niche In Mind.

Consider working with micro-influencers, who may not be the most popular, but hold the most knowledge, expertise, and influence within an industry or particular vertical. These are individuals who have probably gained their influence organically over time. They value their audiences enough that they want to provide them with good information. And because of that, they are seen as trustworthy. Your company can work with thought leaders, industry analysts, bloggers, or writers for trade publications. It’s important to note that these micro-influencers are authentic advocates. And while their audience may not be huge, you can bet it’s very interested in the niche. So you’re getting quality over quantity.

What Your Influencer Wants.

Not everyone is motivated by the same incentive. Some will operate for as little as $50 and a gift card. Others get paid in the millions. And everything in between. This person has valuable industry insights. No matter what you offer to pay them, they will not promote a product or service they don’t believe in. After all, they have a reputation and industry cred that they’ve built up over the years. The key is to let them know how you’ll contribute to that credibility and reputation in a positive way. What’s even more important is that you do your due diligence before partnering with someone.

Think Long Term.

Remember that working with an influencer is about building a relationship, which takes time. This is not a one-time transaction. B2B brands usually work with much more complex products, so your influencer needs to have a full understanding of your industry and your products before they begin advocating for you. Before you enter into a partnership, get to know the influencer as well as you can. Invest some time – it will be worth it. And above all, makes sure you communicate openly and authentically, every step of the way.

There are a multitude of ways you can work with an influencer,  whether you have them share or collaborate on content, speak at your event, or blog about your product. When you work with micro-influencers within your niche and approach them with a long-term relationship in mind, you set your company up for success.

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