Entries from June 2018

Marketing Speaker Demo Video – Mac McIntosh

Normally I don’t directly promote my own services in this blog. I hope you don’t mind, but this time I’m making an exception. I promise to deliver more business-to-business marketing how-to information starting with my next blog post. Thanks. – Mac

speaking/training servicesWatch videoB2B marketing speaker and training services Do you need an engaging and effective marketing speaker for your next meeting or event? If so, please consider putting me to work.

Here is a quick 5-minute video designed to give you a feel for my presentation style, an understanding of the benefits you and your audience will receive from my sessions. It also includes some brief comments about my presentations from a couple of recent attendees. Please take a look and let me know what you think by posting a comment below. It will be much appreciated!

If you put me to work as a speaker at your next event, I will help your attendees take advantage of proven business-to-business marketing strategies and tactics–including the latest marketing 2.0 tactics–which they can use to drive more leads and sales and to get a better overall return on their marketing investments.

I am well-qualified to present on B2B marketing topics including sales lead generation, lead nurturing and lead qualification; database-driven direct marketing, including direct mail, e-mail and telemarketing; event marketing, including seminars, webinars, workshops and executive briefings; online marketing, including turning websites into lead generation machines and B2B Search Engine Optimization (SEO); and more.

Types of sessions I am qualified to present:

  • Keynotes
  • Breakout sessions (1 or 2 hours)
  • Half-day seminars and workshops
  • Full-day seminars and workshops
  • Multi-day seminars and workshops
  • Webinars or online seminars

If you’d like to learn more, please use my Speaking/Training Contact Form, call me directly at 1-800-944-5553 or +1-401-294-7730, or check out the speaking and training pages on my website, which include meeting planner testimonials and quotes from attendees.

 

B2B sales lead generation is easy: Four rights will get you there.

B2B sales lead generation is easy: Four rights will get you there.

  1. The right prospects to target
    The companies and people at those companies, who appear most likely to buy your products or services.
  2. The right offers
    Compelling calls-to-action designed to generate inquiries that, when qualified, become sales leads. A suite of offers designed to appeal to prospects at all stages of their buying process, from awareness to inquiry to consideration to purchase.
  3. The right media
    Lead generating media like direct mail, email and telemarketing. (letting brand and awareness come along for the ride.) And websites optimized both for the search engines (so yours gets found when prospects are searching) and for engaging the people who visit (generating leads, not just fly by visitors).
  4. The right timing
    Using ongoing, multi-touch campaigns designed to make sure your products and services are in-sight and in-mind when your prospects are thinking about the pains their problems are causing, or are already searching for pain-relief.

I think B2B lead generation is easy.  The hard part is generating more qualified, sales-ready leads, faster and at the lowest possible cost. That’s where real expertise is required.

What do you think?

 

A creative director’s take on marketing strategy and tactics

This is one of a series of occasional interviews with top practitioners on topics of interest to B2B marketing professionals. 

Lead generation is a top objective of B2B marketers. Yet when it comes to messaging, offers, and the tactics for generating those leads, marketers are not always as specific as their agencies need them to be.

Peter AltschulerPeter Altschuler is the Creative Director at AcquireB2B, an agency that specializes in generating, nurturing, and qualifying leads – transforming them from people who are “just looking” into prospects who are “ready to buy.” As creative director, Peter turns business and sales objectives into provocative, compelling, and highly focused lead generation campaigns.

Mac asked Peter about his approach to developing creative strategies and tactics for the agency’s clients, and what follows is taken from their discussion about the essential information that leads to creative brilliance.

Mac: Clients give us all sorts of input, right?

Peter: “All sorts” is a good way to describe it.

But it’s rarely in the form of a brief that you and I rely on to understand what a client expects from any given project.

But we can take their input to create a brief – which I think is vital – just so that we’re all working from a common set of parameters and expectations.

And we do that a lot. But from the creative end, which is your focus, what do you consider the bare essentials that clients have to provide to be sure they get what they want?

And what they need.

Right.

There are ten basic elements and, though they seem pretty straightforward, each one should be, as Einstein said, as simple as possible but not simpler. In other words, as the term “brief” implies, the information should be reduced to its most concise… and precise… form without leaving out anything that’s vital to know.

I want you to give me an example, but first tell me the ten basic elements.

O.K. Number one is the product and, in B2B, that may be the physical item or the core service, or it may include installation, upgrades, maintenance, consulting, training, and warranties. So the product has to be described very specifically.

Two is the objective, and the objective is never to sell more stuff.

I thought it kinda is.

Ultimately, sure, but getting to that point requires intermediate steps. Like increasing or establishing awareness in a particular industry vertical, generating qualified leads from companies of a certain size or location, attracting more visitors to a product offer page, persuading existing customers to purchase a complementary product or add-on, or using a discount to attract more prospects who are ready to buy.

Each of those seems to have two parts.

They do because, otherwise, they’re too generic. They’re simpler than possible, to go back to Einstein. Without the second part, there’s not enough focus. It would be like an ad for Coke that says, “It’s refreshing,” but doesn’t have an image that indicates who finds it refreshing – a family at the beach, for instance; describes how it’s refreshing, like poured over ice or drunk through a straw; or suggests when it’s refreshing by showing a guy wiping his brow as he takes a gulp.

Got it.

Number three is the audience, which makes the objective even more precise.

How so?

By clarifying exactly who you want to reach. If you’re selling office supplies in bulk, the office or purchasing manager is a better target than the head of finance, even if the message involves cost savings. That’s because the finance executive doesn’t buy supplies. He or she probably doesn’t even get them from the supply room. The executive’s assistant does that. But…

But?

But if you’re introducing a new product like, I don’t know… digital paper that transfers what you write into text in a software application, then you probably want to target the end user. If the user wants it, they’ll ask the office or purchasing manager to stock it – an item the manager would never consider buying if there wasn’t a demand from employees.

Makes sense. But how to do reach those users?

You’re a step ahead. That’s number four. The media. Once you know the audience, you have to pick the best way to reach it. That could be email, postal direct mail, digital or print ads in specific publications, video (which could be part of an email campaign), or billboards.

Billboards? For B2B?

Sure. Like between a convention venue and the main hotel to attract attendees to a tradeshow booth. Spot TV can do the same thing. Or maybe Apple wants to persuade public transit commuters to read the Times or the Post on iPads and uses busboards and subway posters.

But there are nuances.

Aren’t there always?

Yeah. If the medium is email, what other medium matters?

The device?

Yes! It’s essential to know where the email will be read – on a phone, tablet, laptop, desktop – so that the creative can be modified appropriately. There was an interesting study released in August of 2015 that showed that desktop views of email increased and mobile views decreased in B2B categories. But in fashion, a B2C category, the opposite happened.

So the media have secondary considerations just like objectives and audience.

What’s five?

The fifth essential is the primary message. What’s the one thing, more than anything else, that you want the audience to receive? Or let me rephrase that. What’s the one very specific thing that you want the audience to “get.”

I did a campaign years ago for a company that used a knowledge base, which is like a database on 3-D multi-media steroids. A database can hold alphanumeric data in tables. A knowledge base can incorporate audio, video, graphics, as well as text and numbers and store it in an unstructured repository. Don’t look so worried. That’s as technical as this gets.

Good.

To get across the point that databases were limited, the first ad showed a picture of Bo Diddley’s trademark cigar box guitar, and underneath it was the headline “Databases don’t know diddley.”

Clever. I like that.

And it worked great. The first two sentences of the very short body copy established the difference between data and knowledge bases, and the inquiries poured in.

The client, to be honest, thought the appeal was too narrow. They wanted to make a big, blue sky statement about the future of information management, but we pointed to examples from earlier campaigns that fell flat, and that I had nothing to do with, by the way…

Of course. I assumed that.

… and that helped us talk them out of it. What’s kind of interesting is that item six, a unique selling proposition or USP, was incorporated into that primary message.

Their USP was that their technology could store and retrieve any type of information – this was a few years before Google – and no one else could claim that at the time. But, even if someone could, it wouldn’t matter if my client claimed it first.

I’m not sure I follow.

There’s a classic story about a beer brand that gave a tour to its agency’s creative team, and the copywriter was fascinated by the process they used to sterilize bottles using steam. The writer wanted to focus on that as a differentiator, but the brewery said that everyone sterilized their bottles the same way. Didn’t matter, the copywriter said, because the brand’s customers didn’t know that bottles were sterilized or that it was a common practice. So the agency promoted the beer as cleaner and healthier because the bottles were sterilized, and sales went up.

But couldn’t every other brand make the same claim?

Yes, but if they were the second or third or fourth, they’d look guilty of me-too-ism and might be perceived as copying from the now higher profile brand, instead of coming up with something better of their own.

Understood.

From there, creatives need to know the benefits and then the corresponding features – items seven and eight. The benefits tend to be more important to the people who want a solution to a problem; the ones who want to know if it will be more efficient, cost-effective, durable, and so on.

Purchase initiators, short listers, recommenders, and decision makers would be in that group. For researchers, evaluators, and influencers – the people who want to know how it works, whether it will integrate with or replace other components, and so on – the features are probably more important.

For copy and art teams, though, both are important if they’re creating materials for all of those different individuals. The need to know what to say and what to show based on who’s expected to read, watch, or listen to the information.

The content?

Yeah, that’s the current catchall name for what used to be called collateral or sales aids or marketing literature, depending on your generation, and it’s all been used in B2B marketing and sales for more than a hundred years. It’s only since the Internet put buyers in charge of obtaining all that information, instead of having marketing and sales departments dole it out, that it’s now seen as something new. The media and formats are new, but the relevance and variety of the information – content – hasn’t changed much.

OK. Is there anything else? I think we’re only up to number eight.

Nine is competitive information. We need to know what other vendors are saying and doing to be sure that we don’t wind up with me-too-ism, that we don’t just do a better job of saying and doing the same thing as the other guys, and that we understand what the competition thinks is important to the market so that we can find an area they’re ignoring or aren’t tapping into very well. If we know all that, we can create something that stands apart and endures for as long as the market stays stable.

What do you mean by “stable”?

These days, new products and services appear much faster than they used to. They could be disruptive entrants that offer something entirely new or improvements to existing offerings or more aggressive pricing of those offerings. Or even new regulations from government that affect how a product can be used or if it can still be used at all. Government isn’t a competitor, but it can have a pretty big impact.

So the creative strategy should incorporate a plan B and, probably, C and D to anticipate potential what-if situations and be ready with an alternate approach that can be launched in close to real time.

Like real time marketing in B2C – the kind that responds to things like a blackout during the Super Bowl using Twitter.

That’s a great example, though B2B may not need to respond quite that fast. But B2B does use marketing automation to respond immediately in other ways like sending instant replies to website inquiries or email responses. And that kind of responsiveness itself can be a competitive advantage or part of a company’s brand USP.

And we’ve done that kind of thing for clients for years now. It’s a great way to motivate companies to create repositories of messages, offers, and content that can be distributed as soon as a response or inquiry is submitted.

Just as long as everything is coordinated in terms of style which, conveniently, is the tenth and final item on my list. If we don’t understand the look and sound and feel that conveys the brand’s or product’s character, we risk confusing the audience.

It’s hard to think of a B2B example that everyone’s familiar with, so I’ll cheat a little and use two B2C firms – T-Mobile and Apple. T-Mobile blares at you with bright magenta color schemes, attacks on competitors’ pricing and contracts, and outrageous and often profane statements from its CEO. Apple relies on visual minimalism using an abundance of white space, it acts as if it has no competition, and its public statements are either well-planned in advance or, under Tim Cook, very measured when the company has to respond to situations like the bending iPhone 6 Plus.

If we created an Apple campaign full of multi-colored backgrounds crammed with products and long blocks of text, the reactions from each Apple user on the planet would be massive. And if we did a T-Mobile campaign that veered toward Apple’s style, well… people might think that the CEO was sacked or that the company was sold to Cupertino.

Or the account was given to another agency.

That, too.

Peter, thanks so much for taking the time to elaborate on the ten essential elements of a productive marketing brief.

It was my pleasure.

Readers, join the conversation!

Please add your comments by clicking on the word “comments” in the line below the Share button.

 

Lead generation tactics e-book

04Successful B2B marketing includes using a broad range of tactics.

This “recipe for success” guide gives you the knowledge how to drive lead generation with:

  • Relationship marketing
  • Direct marketing
  • Online marketing
  • Events and tradeshows
  • Educational events
  • Additional tactics

Lead generation checklist included

Get a head start with the included Sales Lead Generation Checklist to maximize results.

Download my 24-page e-book with proven B2B sales lead generation tips and techniques. I recommend it to my clients and I hope it is thought provoking for your lead generation programs.

Lead generation tactics: A recipe for success.

 
Need help with B2B lead generation, marketing and sales?
For more information, please call Mac McIntosh at +1-401-294-7730, send him email at or visit www.sales-lead-experts.com