Category Archives: modern marketing

How to Win Big in B2B Manufacturing

B2B Manufacturing win big

B2B manufacturing organizations are having a rough go of it lately due to rampant global competition and a tepid economic recovery just to mention a couple of challenges.  Is it even possible for a B2B manufacturing firm to ‘Win Big’?  Let’s preface the conversation by saying that to ‘win big’ means to grow market share annually in the double digit range along with a healthy profit margin.  Let’s also stipulate that manufacturers, as a group, have the infrastructure, supply chains, production and most other critical production and delivery functions in good shape as a whole. Because manufacturers have been focusing on their products, i.e. the production and distribution for so many years, they are good at it and attaining an edge in these particular areas is very difficult at best.  In most cases, even if a firm is able to gain an edge in production or distribution, it is not perceptible to the market audience.

So, what is left?  Marketing may be the final frontier where manufacturers can gain an advantage.  Manufacturers can win big by being better at marketing their offering.  By marketing, I don’t mean setting up more trade shows, re-configuring the web site, creating a new brochure or coming up with a clever advertisement.  That’s not the type of marketing that will make any difference at all.  [By the way, trade shows are one of the worst marketing activities a manufacturer can do with respect to return on the investment.  More on that in a separate post.]

Here’s how B2B manufacturing can win big with marketing:

  1. Stop pitching products and start helping the people in your target audience.  At this point, many of you who are in manufacturing might say a cuss word and delete the post.  I encourage you to keep an open mind and read on. This stuff has been proven over and over to work and, if used consistently, is the secret to winning big in your market.  Now is where I share the tough love.  The people in your target audience, I mean the ones who will some day buy the thing you are making from you or from your competitor, don’t care about your product, your company, your CEO or you.  They care about what’s in it for them.  It doesn’t matter how much you try to convince them that the features of your product are good for them and superior to all other products on the market.  You have to prove to them that you can help them to relieve pain, help them to be better at their professions or help improve their lives.  It’s like dating and marriage.  You don’t talk about marriage, the house you will live in or how beautiful your kids will be on the first date.  Just to be clear, I’m talking about early engagement with the people in your target audience to position your firm and your brand top of mind.  Of course, your sales people will have to talk about the product features and advantages later in the purchase cycle.  The secret to winning big is in positioning at the top of the sales funnel.  You don’t use that stuff to engage with the broader audience as they first get to know your company.  You win big when you don’t pitch the product at the top of the sales funnel.
  2. Share your expertise.  Many manufactures guard their expertise like it’s the gold in Fort Knox.  If you feel this way about your B2B manufacturing firm’s knowledge and expertise, then I’d like to suggest that you’re living back in the 80’s and 90’s when manufacturing firms could control the information and use that control to their advantage in growing the business.  Now, in the year 2015, there is no such thing as proprietary information.  It’s all out there somewhere, so why not share it freely and be fully transparent. By sharing your expertise freely with everyone in your target audience, you will become perceived as the go-to expert, increase your credibility and, ultimately, gain market share from your competitor who refuses to share his expertise.  Sharing creates a feeling of reciprocity.  What good does reciprocity do?  Here’s how it works; if you have chosen your target audience well, one day they will buy the thing you produce.  They’ll buy it from you or your competitor.  Sharing expertise positions your firm as the first and best choice.  When the day comes around and that person in your target audience is ready to make a purchase, the manufacturing company that has helped the prospective customer to be better by giving the gift of expertise will most likely win the business, even at a higher price point.  What’s that, you’re worried about your competitor getting your valuable information?  Foggetaboutit.  They already have it, compliments of the world wide web.
  3. Focus on the people in the target audience.  Most manufacturers will swear they focus on the customer.  “Customer is king”.  “The Customer is always right.”  “The Customer can fire us all.”  But do they really focus on the needs and wants of the people in their target audience or do they just try to figure out ways to convince them that their widget is the best and call that customer focus?  Do you see the difference? Another common refrain we hear is that the manufacturer (usually sales reps) are out there asking the customers what they want and/or need.  I ask you, is that really customer focus or is that just trying to figure out what else you can sell to them?  Customer focus is when the manufacturer really understands the pain points of the audience and helps them to relieve that pain by sharing expertise even if they never buy anything.  I can see the eyes rolling and hear the curse words flying after that last sentence.  Hang in there. This type of attitude, helping them even if they never buy anything, is deeply engaging with those people in your target audience.  If you act like they will never buy anything from your firm, but help them to relieve their pain anyways, guess who they will call when they have a need to make a related purchase.  That’s right, your firm gets the call and usually gets the business.  That, my fellow B2B manufacturing marketer is customer focus!
  4. Embrace the Marketing function as a highly valuable, strategic partner within your organization.  Your marketers are smart.  They know about how to engage by sharing expertise.  Embrace your marketing professionals and let them be the professional marketers they long to become.  I’m not talking about the marketing function you have right now, those folks chained up by your lack of faith in marketing in the back who set up trade shows, make some brochures and create PowerPoint templates.  I’m talking about creating and embracing a Marketing leader and his team as a revenue generating machine.  Yes, this means investing in the marketing function.  It means finding a marketing leader who understands the strategic and the tactical aspects of marketing, how that function can generate revenue and how to discuss it with the executive leadership team.  Embrace the marketing function that knows how to use modern digital tools for engagement and measurement.  Embrace a marketing team who can drive revenue 10x more than the field sales force and manufacturers reps combined.  It can be done and, in fact, it must to be done to win big.  Marketers are smart and they get it if you would only listen to them once in a while.
  5. Walk the walk when it comes to innovation.  Most B2B manufacturing leaders consider innovation to be about new products or new processes within the production and distribution lines.  There is no area today more ripe for exploiting innovation than in Marketing.  After you embrace Marketing as a strategic function, let them innovate and support that innovation.  When the Marketing leader comes to the next leadership meeting and requests funds for a strategy that does not pitch the product, give it to him!  Listen to him with an open mind and an authentic, innovative heart.  Discard all of that old product culture baggage and try something new and innovative in marketing.

So that’s how to win big in B2B manufacturing.  Marketing is the last organic revenue growth frontier in manufacturing.  I know many manufacturers have a hard time getting their arms around the fact that marketing could make any more difference than a line item on the expense side of the ledger.  It’s a hard cultural change in most manufacturing organizations.  My final piece of advice is to do this thing before your competition does it.  First movers will be the big winners.


The 6 Essential Components of Modern Marketing 2.0

You’re under pressure from owners, the board of directors, shareholders, Wall Street and others to grow your manufacturing business. You’ve tried increasing spend on R&D, commissioning market research studies, customer satisfaction surveys, changed out business unit leadership, and any number of other schemes to push your products in order to increase revenue. Nothing seems to work. You target 5% to 8% growth year-on-year, but you only seem to be able to deliver 1% to 3% at best. Your sales team seems to be in a reactive mode and they’re missing deals in spite of the high dollar sales management system you brought in last year.
Times have changed. At one time your products were unmatched in the marketplace. But now, due to massive globalization in all markets, your product has become commoditized easily available from any number of competitors around the globe.

Your customers have changed their buying habits but you haven’t changed your go-to-market model.
This book is about how to match your go-to-market model to your customer’s buying habits enabling growth and taking market share from your competitors with a marketing framework I call ‘Modern Marketing 2.0’.

Why oh Why Can’t I Grow My Business? Here’s One Reason…

Do you ever wonder why your company just can’t seem to grow the top line?  Or, even worse, why you can’t seem to stop the slow and steady decline in revenue.  Your bottom line might be OK since you’ve cut your HR, Procurement, Marketing and any other so called ‘expense’ functions to the bone.  Oh yeah, and you’ve beefed up your sales force and invested more in R&D, all to no avail.  You’re beginning to think adding those sales people was a mistake and R&D can’t seem to put out a product on time as you ponder the stagnation and subtle decrease in the bottom line.

Sound familiar?  To use a few old and tired cliche, maybe it’s time to take a fresh look or think outside the box or take off the blinders.

I recently visited a manufacturing company here in Colorado struggling to stop a slow decline of revenue. I’ll call them Acme to protect their anonymity.  Acme is a private company with annual revenue of about $300 million dollars.  Their management team desperately wants to grow the business but they just don’t know how to engage in the modern buyers world of the Internet.

I spent a week with them but only needed a few hours to really see what was going on.  Their problem is similar to many (or even most) manufacturing companies.  They don’t understand how to go to market in the 21st century.  Their marketing machine is working like crazy as if they were stuck in the 90’s when trade shows were the main event, so to speak. They don’t understand how to break through the noise and get the attention of their target audience.  They are a me-too product and perceived as a commodity by their customers and prospective customers and have no idea that this is the perception.

I was able to isolate the problem to two major problems; centralized control and archaic marketing.  The strange thing is that the industry Acme serves, pharmaceuticals, is growing rather well compared to other manufacturing sectors.

Their old style marketing looks like this:

  • A cost to the business
  • A group of people in the back cubicles who manage the brand, create brochures, set up trade shows, send some emails, and do what the product and sales people tell them to do.
  • No idea about effectiveness of generating revenue, leads or opportunities.  The CMO tells the CEO about clicks, views, likes, exposures, cost per this and cost per that.  All useless information for the executive team.
  • An old poorly maintained database kept as an Excel spreadsheet.
  • A one-way website hosting nothing more than digital brochures and an e-store that sucks up more revenue than it brings in.
  • Messaging is about product features without any real knowledge of the positioning, value proposition or perceptions of the marketplace.
  • They do whatever the sales or product people tell them to do without any thought, question, planned strategy or tactics.  We call this ‘seat-of-the-pants’ or ‘ad-hoc’ marketing.

My recommendation is to modernize their marketing function.  I promised them that if they follow this advice about restructuring the marketing function and bringing in a lead marketer who understands how people buy, how to engage with the target audience and how to scale marketing activities with technology they would be in double digit growth territory within 18 months.

They brought in a tech savvy, business savvy and 21st century marketing savvy CMO and put him on the leadership team as a senior adviser.  He brought in marketers who were able to fully operate modern marketing technology.  They aligned the sales and marketing people under one leader with uniform goals and an aligned reward system.  The new CMO immediately updated the fundamentals of positioning and messaging.  The hardest part of the culture change was convincing the leadership team to stop pitching products and start educating their audience.  Twelve months later their marketing department looked like a modern marketing function and their revenue was ticking up to an 11% annualized rate.  Here’s an overview of their Modern Marketing 2.0 team:

  • They had a commitment from top leadership to consider Marketing as a revenue generator, a revenue engine for the business.
  • They had a written, dynamic and current marketing plan.
  • The CMO and the Marketing function was embraced as a strategic partner providing high value in aligning modern marketing strategy, tools and teams to the business goals.
  • They were metrics obsessed to ensure it is known what works great, what works OK, what does not work and what has failed in order to optimize and iterate for optimum spend and absolute growth.
  • They had a high value, clean and comprehensive database from which to market, cross sell, up sell and analyze via relevant and timely messaging.
  • The website is designed to have a conversation with visitors by delivering relevant dynamic content tailored to the visitor.
  • Conversations were commonly about strategic positioning, value propositions that resonate, and messaging about the customer’s needs not the company and its products.
  • They funnel large numbers of qualified leads who are ready, willing and able to buy to their friends assigned to the sales function.
  • They produced high value, useful, helpful marketing material, events and activities engaging early in the purchasing process.
  • Everyone (marketing and sales functions) understands the technology and are able to fully leverage technology for efficient and scalable teams and activities.

This could be your company, but the question is, “is it a description of you now or a description of you in the future?”

The Marketing Journey to a Modern Manufacturing Marketing Function

Marketing journey

The Marketing Journey to a Modern Manufacturing Marketing Function

Suppose you’re a brand new VP Marketing for Acme Corp.  You arrive on the job and after assessing your inherited Marketing function, you realize Acme is marketing like it’s 1999.  As a progressive marketer, you know 1990’s marketing won’t cut it in this modern age.  As you embark upon your marketing journey to update the Acme Marketing Function to a Modern Marketing 2.0 powerhouse, picture yourself on a marketing journey through the hallways or cube maze touching base with each of these offices.  These may not be actual offices, but they are all critical epicenters within any organization that must be embraced and made real in order for Modern Marketing 2.0 to deliver revenue and cement your Marketing function as a revenue engine at Acme.

Who knows, maybe your success places you in line to be the next CEO.

What is a Modern Marketer?

modern marketing

Modern Marketing in Manufacturing

It’s great to see a discussion about defining the duties and responsibilities of a person we might call a Modern Marketer or performing in a job defined around modern marketing.  This blog post on the HBR Blog Network addresses one aspect, the analytical marketer.  I would add other components as far as the definition goes.  A modern marketer should have experience and knowledge in these areas:

Perhaps not a comprehensive list and I’d love to hear from you, my readers regarding your definition of a modern marketing in manufacturing.


How to Convert Content Marketing to Revenue – The 7 Pieces of the Puzzle

Originally published December 5, 2013 on the Content Marketing Institute blog here.
convert content marketing to revenueHow to Convert Content Marketing to Revenue – The 7 Pieces of the Puzzle

It’s not easy to convert content marketing to revenue.  According to the B2B (North America) Content Marketing 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends survey published by CMI,  88% of B2B marketers are using content marketing (down from 93% in 2014) and only 6% consider their efforts as “very effective” (down from 9% in 2014).  Although we are not sure what the term “very effective” means to those responding, it is safe to assume that revenue generation influences whether or not the effort is effective at some level.  In the B2B world of marketing, if our content and associated content marketing efforts are not generating revenue, then we should fix it or stop the effort altogether so budget and resources can be diverted to those tactics that are generating revenue.

The framework I am presenting is highly effective and measurable.  I present the solution to converting content to revenue as 7 pieces of a puzzle rather than a linear series of steps because the process is best viewed in a linear fashion, but not necessarily executed in a linear fashion.  If you put together each piece of the puzzle with the whole in mind, you will generate revenue with your content.  I have employed this framework at a global electronics manufacturing company resulting in growth rates of 20% to 30%.  It works.  For every piece of content you intend to create, you should visualize how it will churn through the 7 Pieces and out the revenue end.

Caveat:  Basic Content Marketing 101 presumes you are creating content that is relevant and useful to your target audience so they can do their jobs better because of the content your organization is providing.  This 7 Piece framework works based on this premise.  If you produce a bunch of content masquerading as education, for example, that is really a product promotion, it won’t work.  To put it bluntly, if your content is crap, this process will not work.

Puzzle Piece 1 – The Fundamentals.  As mentioned above, this won’t work without effective content, an effective creation process or having the tools necessary for distribution and measurement. The first fundamental task is creating effective content.  It’s not all that easy as we see with only ‘9% very effective’ CMI survey result.  Those companies who excel at content marketing that generates revenue have worked hard to gain executive sponsorship, a ‘content’ based culture in the sales and marketing organizations, and resources supporting a content marketing strategy.

The second critical fundamental piece that must be in place before this process is effective is a proper marketing plan.  Make sure you have written a proper marketing plan for your business before proceeding.  Every step in this process requires that you have a thorough understanding of your business and the target market.  There is a lot of information available about how to create effective content as well as an effective supporting environment.  A great place to start is on the CMI website.

The third critical fundamental piece is a proper toolset.  You will need to have the following apparatus in place for this process to work efficiently and effectively:

1.      Website
2.      Marketing Automation Platform (MAP)
3.      CRM integrated with the MAP
4.      Alignment with sales around lead management, definitions and who does what when

From this point on, I’ll assume you have a good content creation machine in place, a written marketing plan, and a robust toolset in place.  Now you and are ready to move on to the next piece.

Puzzle Piece 2 – Distribute and Make it Find-able.  Content will not significantly drive revenue by just sitting on your website.  I suspect many of those companies who deem their content marketing efforts less than very effective are creating good content, but only parking it on their website hoping for improved SEO.  Don’t get me wrong, good content parked on the website will improve SEO, but it is not enough by itself to measurably affect revenue.

Content distribution must be integral to your marketing strategy and tactics.  The content you create must be used extensively with both outbound and inbound tactics.  Your outbound ads must promote the content and your inbound tactics like pay per click (ppc) must promote the content.  Stop promoting your products!  Instead, promote your content!  Promoting content is a far better way to engage with your target audience than telling them about your product or service.  Sorry, but it’s true, your audience perceives your product or service as a commodity.  The sooner you embrace that idea, the sooner you can start generating 20% and 30% growth rates.  Offer your content via all outbound channels where your target audience congregates; emails, print ads, email ads, digital ads, direct mail, social media, etc.  Inbound SEM ads should also promote the content.  This idea of promoting content in place of product is sometimes hard for the organization to understand. You are likely to get strong pushback at this point.  This is where the preparation of your organization comes into play.  You must have strong executive support and a content marketing culture or at least a strong understanding in place.  Otherwise, your product managers and sales people will freak out and possibly hinder your content marketing strategy.  They may even force you back to a product based strategy and back to those dismal growth numbers of 1% to 5%.

Puzzle Piece 3 – The Conversion Point (landing page).  It is imperative that all outbound and inbound activities drive to a custom landing page.  DO NOT send them to a regular web page!  Even more importantly, DO NOT send them to your home page!  Once they take the action step (click or typed URL), they should be directed to a custom designed landing page.  The landing page must be designed specifically around the offer of the content.  If you send them to one of your regular web pages, you lose, especially if you send them to a product page.  The more relevant you can make the landing page, the better chance you will have at earning their engagement.

You’ll have to make some decisions about how they acquire the content once they are on the landing page.  Will you gate it or offer it with just a click?  The harder it is to get the content, they higher will be your abandonment rate. Conversely, the easier it is, the more broad your reach.  I love to give away content for free without any strings attached because it gets wider exposure and still builds awareness and credibility within your target audience.  The three components of your landing page are:

1.      Offer the asset.  This should be perceived as the main function of the landing page.
2.      Tell them about your value proposition or what you do.  We want to offer content they find valuable and we want the visitor to connect the goodwill generated by the asset to the brand offering (awareness + credibility).  Present the offering as a side panel, not as the main focal point of the landing page.
3.      Make it easy for them to find out more about your company.  You want them to think to themselves, “who is this company giving me this valuable information? I want to know more”.  Always give a visitor the option to ‘raise their hand’ and make a direct connection.

Remember, your outbound ads and your ppc ads should both drive to the landing page.  Do not fill the landing page with product based information.  The last thing you want is for your visitor to feel like they were victim to a bait and switch tactic tricking them by offering valuable information, but directing them to a product page.

Puzzle Piece 4 – The Call to Action Step.   Although the CTA is integrated to Piece 3, it is important enough to merit its own section.  This is where the quality of your content matters.  If you have created something that is of interest to your target audience, they will take an action to learn more.  You have to tell them what you want them to do!!  In the digital realm, it usually involves a click.  Again, you have to tell them to “click here to get the paper” or “Register here” for example.  Don’t leave it up to the reader to figure out what they’re supposed to do.  If it isn’t really easy, you might lose them.  If you don’t make it clear about what you are offering and how to get it, you’ll lose a great deal of effectiveness.

Puzzle Piece 5 – Qualification. At this point, a person from your target audience has clicked or responded to the CTA in your ad, arrived at your custom landing page, has been delighted to easily obtain a useful and helpful piece of content, put your brand top of their mind, associated value with your brand and associated your company with a particular offering.  Additionally, they may have explored your website, shared the content via their social media channels, forwarded the email or even requested a contact action from your sales team.  At this point, it is important to decide what happens next.  Are they a marketing qualified lead (MQL) that is sent over to the sales team for direct action?  Are they sent to a nurturing program? Are they left alone until they see your next great piece of content?  Each of these choices are valid actions and will depend on your particular business practices.

Regardless of your business practice, you must consciously decide what happens next.  Your work as a modern marketer is not over at the point of click or the download.  Assuming you are fishing in the pond where your target audience resides, I suggest only two options:  pass them to sales as a MQL or send them to a nurturing program.  This is where your marketing automation platform is a critical component of the content to conversion process.  Throughout the nurturing process, your contacts will be receiving more great useful information (content) and getting to know your company and the associated offering through regular website visits.  As they visit and interact with the content, you should be measuring that activity ideally with some type of lead scoring program.

Success of the qualification step depends on close alignment with the sales team.  You should have an agreement in place specifying the point at which any of these contacts should be considered ready for a call.  Your decision may be to just let the contacts decide for themselves when to proactively reach out to your sales team.

Puzzle Piece 6 – Pass the Contact Information to the Sales Pipeline. If your content is educational and you’ve complied with all the best practices of offers, ppc, landing page, etc., you’ll be flooding the top of the funnel and the sales team with qualified leads as well as filling the nurturing funnel with tons of future buyers.  I would like to re-emphasize the importance of collaborating with sales on each campaign.  They need to understand what’s happening and why it’s happening as the leads start flowing into their in-boxes. Those contacts that do not qualify are sent to a content based nurturing program.  While in the nurturing program (where you offer them even more great content you’ve created) they are engaging more deeply with your company and its value proposition.  As they engage, you are increasing awareness and credibility in their minds.  When the day comes around and they finally are ready to buy what you offer, your firm gets the call because of this awareness and the credibility you have achieved.

Step 7 – The Purchase – The final step is, of course, the purchase and, hopefully, many future purchases.  After the contact is passed along to the sales funnel, content can be used to move them along in their decision process towards a positive outcome for your firm.  Sales people should be trained how to use your ‘later funnel stage’ content to help close more deals.  Late stage content is where you talk about your products, case studies, application notes, etc.

Keep in mind these seven pieces of the puzzle for each and every piece of content you create. You should never create content without having a plan for conversion clearly specified. Effective content marketing is heavily interwoven with the marketing strategy and tactics as well as the sales process.  Cultivating your target audience so they become life-long customers is all about engagement.  You want them to place your brand and associated offering top of mind and with a great deal of credibility.  If you are able to achieve this position in their minds, when the day comes around and they are ready to purchase the thing you are offering, your firm gets the call.  Competitors who are not using this type of framework may get a call, but they will have minimal credibility and only be used for a price comparison.  This 7 Piece framework makes your firm the winner of market share and accelerated revenue growth rates.

Your Firm can Win because of The Greatest Communication Revolution in 570 years!

Gutenberg printing press

We’re in the midst of the biggest communication revolution in the history of the world.  The internet is revolutionizing our access to information and it’s affecting your business every minute of every day. The last communication revolution started 573 years ago when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. His invention, like the internet, revolutionized how people got access to information and the amount of information that was available.

Because of the revolution, your buyers have access to instantaneous in depth information.  The access to information is causing a secondary revolution, the buyer’s revolution.  Your firm and your sales people no longer control the critical information.  Your customers don’t need to call you any more to get information. This fact should have a dramatic effect on how your business goes to market.

Buyers behavior has drastically changed and it is critically important for business people and especially marketers to understand the difference between buyer behavior to day compared to buyer behavior 10, 15 or 20 years ago:

  1. In a study by Sirius Decisions, a leading business to business research firm, they found that on average buyers don’t reach out to suppliers until they are 70% through their buying process. This 70% phase is where your firm can gain an edge.  As an example, back in the 1990s, buyers would have to engage at the 10% point. At the 10% point, your firm would know there was a need, have a point of contact and get a chance to send in their crack salesman to make the sale.  Typically, the best salesman got the sale.
  2. The days when your firm and its sales people controlled the information are long gone.  The information is available with a quick Google or Bing search on anything, anytime, anyplace.  Your buyers are investigating your offering, your firm and your competitors without your people ever knowing about the investigation until it’s too late and you’re fighting a price war.
  3. Buyers don’t care about your firm, your products, your service or your CEO.  They care about WIIFM (what’s in it for me).  This is a subtle but hugely different way to approach sales and marketing.

In the olden days of say 1990, when we made a considered purchase (as opposed to an impulse purchase), it went something like this:

  • Pull out the Yellow Pages, look up Copiers and take down a few phone numbers.  “Hello, Acme Copiers, I need to get a new copier for my office.  Could you tell me about the latest technology in copy machines?  Yes, that sounds good.  I’ll see your salesman John, a copier expert, first thing Monday morning”.  This would be repeated 2 or 3 more times and more meetings with a sales person would be scheduled. In this scenario, you engaged directly with the company at about the 10% point.  The copier company and the salesman controlled the information.
  • Today, in the modern age, when we make a considered purchase, 98% of us go immediately to a web search.  We search for office copiers.  We may click on an ad or we may click on the organic search results.  We explore web sites. We might download specifications, technology white papers, attend a webinar or print out an infographic.  These actions are repeated by most of the decision influencers. The investigation does not require any direct interaction with the sales team.  We might even make up a short list of final contenders without ever directly contacting any of the firms.  We get the information we want without having to deal with the company or the salesman.  In most cases, the buyer is incognito as far as the company knows.

Many firms are still selling and marketing like it’s the 1990’s.  The problem is that the buyers are making purchasing decisions in the modern information rich age.

The savvy firm whose people understand how to take advantage of the ‘new buyer’s revolution’ can gain a significant edge over those firms stuck in the 1990s.

This is the secret to gaining an edge:
You’ve got to engage with the prospective customers during this 70% investigative phase.  The engagement needs to offer the buyer something they value.  They don’t value product brochures or anything that tells them about your firm which is what most companies are doing.  The buyer values WIIFM.  They value the firm that helps them do better.  Offer educational or entertaining information created by your experts and sharing your expertise.  By engaging in the early phase of the buying process with helpful, useful information, you will gain two significant and critical components; TOMA and credibility.   If you are able to accomplish TOMA and credibility, you will get a place in their minds. When the day comes and they are ready to make the purchase, your firm will get the call first and already have a privileged position on the short list.  The rest will be hopelessly fighting to catch up.

There is a window of opportunity now open.  Most firms don’t understand the new buyer’s habits as it relates to their firm.  The firms that are able to leverage this incredible communication revolution and the buyer’s revolution will win in their market space.  Winning means strong growth rates of 10, 20 or 30%. You’ve got to be first or second in your market space to take advantage.  As soon as your competitors learn about your success, they will level the playing field once again.

Learn how to grow your manufacturing business with Modern Marketing 2.0

Grow your manufacturing business with a new way to go to market – with marketing!

Grow your manufacturing businessYou’re under pressure from owners, the board of directors, shareholders, Wall Street and others to grow your manufacturing business.  You’ve tried increasing spend on R&D, commissioning market research studies, customer satisfaction surveys, changed out business unit leadership, and any number of other schemes to push your products in order to increase revenue.  Nothing seems to work.  You target 5% to 8% growth year-on-year, but you only seem to be able to deliver 1% to 3% at best.  Your sales team seems to be in a reactive mode and they’re missing deals in spite of the high dollar sales management system you brought in last year.

Times have changed.  At one time your products were unmatched in the marketplace.  But now, due to massive globalization in all markets, your product has become commoditized easily available from any number of competitors around the globe. Your customers have changed their buying habits but you haven’t changed your go-to-market model.

This ebook is about how to match your go-to-market model to your customer’s buying habits enabling growth and taking market share from your competitors with a marketing framework I call ‘Modern Marketing 2.0’ designed by manufacturing marketers for manufacturing marketers.

Get the Manufacturer’s Growth Manifesto

Have You Ever Heard of Marketing 2.0?

You’ve probably heard of Web 2.0 or Sales 2.0 which generally means a newer, updated, more effective framework.  I’m introducing Marketing 2.0 defined as: 
  • A revenue generator.  A revenue engine for the business. 
  • A strategic partner providing high value in aligning modern marketing strategy, tools and teams to the business goals. 
  • Metrics obsessed to ensure it is known what works great, what works OK, what does not work and what has failed in order to optimize and iterate for the absolute growth. 
  • A high value, clean and comprehensive database from which to market, cross sell, up sell and analyze. 
  • Maintains a website designed to have a conversation with visitors, deliver relevant dynamic content tailored to the visitor. 
  • Strategic positioning, value propositions that resonated, messaging about the customer’s needs. 
  • Tactics that funnel large numbers of qualified leads who are ready, willing and able to buy. 
  • Producing high value, useful, helpful marketing material, events and activities engaging early in the purchasing process. 
  • Understands technology, fully leveraging technology for efficient and scalable marketing activities.

If you’re not there already, it can be a very difficult journey.  The rewards, however, will be huge!
Check out this Prezi for a bit more detail about the Journey to Marketing 2.0. 

    The Marketing Revolution – 5 Ways to Embrace the Fear

    marketing revolution

    There’s a marketing revolution happening.  Technology is disrupting our world of buying and selling.  We’ll never buy something in the same way we bought 10 years ago.  As a Modern Marketer, this is a scary thought. I suspect CEOs and CFOs are just as scared about the future of their firms.  The playing field is flatter and more level than ever.

    • Barriers to entry are falling like dominoes.
    • Commoditization of products and services is accelerating.
    • International shipping rates are normalizing.
    • We can buy anything at anytime from anyplace in the world from our phone.
    • Technology is accelerating at an exponential rate.
    We’re all buyers and we’re all participating in the revolution.  As Manufacturing Marketers, we can embrace the revolution or we can hope it goes away.  Newsflash!  The marketing revolution will happen with us or without us.  Changes won’t slow down, but will continue to accelerate. Control of the message and perceptions of our target audience is non-existent unless we adapt and adapt quickly.
    What’s a Manufacturing Marketer to do?
    The good news, no, the great news is that there has never been a more exciting time to be a marketer!  We’re on the cutting edge of the buying revolution.  There has never been a time in the history of marketing when we had such a fantastic opportunity to listen to and communicate with our target audience.
    If you’re scared of the changes and not sure how to embrace the revolution, you’re not alone.  Here are a five things you can start today to turn fear into excitement:
    1. Learn, learn, learn and learn more.  Set aside at least one hour every day dedicated to educating yourself about technology, business disruptions, new ideas, and more.  There has also never been a time in the history of humanity where information is so easy and abundant.
    2. Participate in the discussion.  Talk to thought leaders in the marketing space and in your particular industry.  Debate.  Put your critical thinking hat on for the discussion.  Use your social media tools (blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, et al) to comment, share and be active.
    3. Test, test and test.  It’s OK to be a critical thinker.  Not only is there a ton of information out there, but there is a ton of bad information out there (and a ton of great information).  If something looks interesting, test it in your own lab.  Consider your business as a laboratory for testing marketing strategy and tactics.  This mindset leads to innovation and creativity.  Some things will work and some will not. What better way to participate in the conversation than sharing success and failure of your tests.
    4. Get out of the office.  Attend conferences, panel discussions, trade shows, seminars, etc.  Talk to your colleagues within your industry and other circles.
    5. Collaborate with your vendors and suppliers.  Vendors and suppliers are an excellent source of information.  Attend their webinars.  Download their content.  You could even (cringe) talk to their sales people.
    Bottom line advice, don’t sit on the beach and watch the tidal wave come to you.  Embrace the revolution.  Set a goal to learn something new each and every day.  Use your business as a modern marketing laboratory.  It’s not scary.  It’s exciting!
    Good luck and please, feel free to call me or comment.  There is no time like the present to begin!