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B2B Content Marketing

B2B marketing has evolved from its meager origins of sales support materials to a highly nuanced complicated field. The following B2B executives express views which not only provide clarity to navigating the current climate, but are also of immediate and timeless value to other areas of your business.

1. John Hayes, CEO of Com

“…there is going to be a staggering volume of content coming from industrial marketers in 2017.  Even the ones who are doing it poorly plan to keep on spending money to churn out more and more content. And that content is all targeting the same audience.”

Hayes’s advice to stand out from the crowd is to spend more time developing high-quality content rather than publish as much as possible. Quality over quaintly, always.

 

2. Bob Bechek, Worldwide Managing Director of Bain & Company

“…don’t be afraid necessarily to stay in one place and build something significant.”

Wise words from the consulting giant Bechek, which certainly applies to our current marketing atmosphere; rather than jump from one trendy platform to the next without thought, build a cohesive strategy and stick with it before making a decision to discard.

 

3. Diana O’Brien, Chief Marketing Officer of Deloitte

“…thought leadership is an anchor not just to marketing, positioning and content, but it also serves as the fundamental source for our professionals because our people are our greatest asset.”

If you are struggling to develop high quality content, chances are that the people working for you are already capable of producing excellent marketing materials. Enable them to use their voice!

 

4. Pierre Duprat, Vice-President, Corporate Communications of VINCI

“One can speak of the emergence of social media, 2.0 world. It is a vision software.”

VINCI is the world’s largest construction company, and their marketing gurus recognize that the best strategy is investment in future technologies, which will not resemble the world today. And Duprat makes an important point – as we move closer to fully utilizing resources like virtual reality headsets, marketing in the B2B space will be driven by visuals.

 

5. Joel Quadracci, Chairman, President & CEO of Quad/Graphics

“We constantly dare ourselves to think differently … to ask “what if” and “why not?” … to experiment. The worst that can happen is we fail trying. The best is we champion the next breakaway idea that catapults us to the next level of success.”

Hopefully you’ve noticed the theme! B2B execs believe in a willingness to try new strategies and technologies in order to develop the best marketing campaign possible, which can be an important differentiator amongst competition in fields like commercial printing.

 

6. Leon Black, Chairman of Apollo Global Management

“Doing something that is worthwhile in terms of helping others is important.”

Marketing is more than trying to close a sale. In the digital age where there is noise coming from every direction, it is imperative for your marketing to be of actual value for your potential clients or customers.

 

For more B2B Digital Marketing strategies and tactics check out the rest of our site!

Marin recently pulled together information as a report on the State of Digital Marketing for 2017.

From their site:
“Marin Software interviewed top digital marketing managers around the world to discover the trends, opportunities, and challenges they face in 2017. Read the report to learn the current state of the digital marketing industry, plus expert tips and recommendations for success.

Highlights include:
Digital Marketers’ top priorities for 2017
The ROI potential of different mobile marketing strategies
The main reasons marketers miss out on revenue opportunities
How marketers can increase advertising performance by 70% or more
The hottest marketing technologies industry leaders are looking to invest in next”

We grabbed some of the highlights and shared them here:

  • 43% of marketers expect their mobile budgets on search marketing investment to increase between 10% and 30% in 2017
  • On the social side, 70% of respondents plan to increase their advertising budget
  • Marketers on search and social face an ongoing learning curve due to the constant influx of new features and ad products. As a result, many struggle to keep up with the fast pace of innovation *We at Acumen don’t struggle with this by the way

You can download the full PDF report here: http://downloads.digitalmarketingdepot.com/rs/727-ZQE-044/images/MAR_1706_StateDigAd.pdf

What is Content Marketing really? And is a Content Marketing Strategy different than a Content Strategy?

To the second question, NO, there is no difference.

Let us explain our answer to the first question.

There are many definitions given for content marketing, but ours is pretty simple.
The use of any consciously consumed piece of content created to enhance relationships, education and convince with the goal of getting someone to make a decision or take action.
For us this applies to visibility, awareness, lead generation and conversion or sale.

Content Marketing Strategy vs. Content Strategy

We say there isn’t a difference.
But what do others say?

Some say that content marketing strategy is understanding who your audience is, creating your message, have a brand guide and implementing it.
Some say that content strategy is more about channel strategy and the types of content that goes on those channels.

While we agree that both should exist, we also believe they are one in the same and that it goes beyond the content.

What is Content?

Content is a tool to communicate.
That’s it.

We dare you to argue with us on this. We always win!

Content Marketing Strategy

When we create a content marketing strategy we do these things:

  • Ask you questions about your business
  • Ask you questions about your customers
  • Look at your customer data & behavior
  • Research the market using search engines
  • Research your customers using search engines
  • Research the market using social media
  • Research your customers using social media
  • Identify how your targets consume online
  • Develop a channel strategy
  • Develop content for each channel
  • Optimize content with each channel
  • Track, measure and monitor behavior
  • Continuously optimize

This is how we think content marketing should be done and we’ve seen it work again and again.

Contact us if you want to learn more or contact us if you want to debate our ideas.

Adobe is currently developing a program that can sample your voice and recreate the sound with undetectable accuracy!

What is Adobe VoCo? (Project VoCo)

“When recording voiceovers, dialogue, and narration, wouldn’t you love the option to edit or insert a few words without the hassle of recreating the recording environment or bringing the voiceover artist in for another session? #VoCo allows you to change words in a voiceover simply by typing new words.”

Adobe states it pretty clearly in their statement above.

Whatch the video below to see how Adobe Project VoCo works.

Adobe VoCo

Concerns About This Platform

Some journalism, risk and ethical experts are concerned with the development of this voice reproduction and manipulation product.

  • Faking statements to draw more journalistic attention.
  • Tricking people into taking action. Think the Nigerian email scams on a much more realistic scale with spoofed phone numbers and someone on the other end that sounds exactly like your mom!
  • Financial Security. Some firms use voice print technology as a security screen.

These are just a few of the concerns they have with Adobe’s Project VoCo.

But Adobe states that they are taking measures to allow for validation within the files that would detect if something was real or not at a commercial level. *but this still leaves it open against the average Joe / Jane

Competitors to Adobe VoCo

While audio manipulation is nothing new. Making it easy / simple is. And making it “Good” is as well.

Google’s Deepmind has a product titled WaveNet that is also constructing and simulating speech constructs.
You can view more of that here: https://deepmind.com/blog/wavenet-generative-model-raw-audio/

While Google isn’t recreating the voice of a specific user, they are certainly constructing a highly intelligent speech modeler that if coupled with mimicking technology could be indistinguishable as being computer generated or human to the typical ear.

Project VoCo & Voice Mimicking Use Cases

As Adobe points out, it can easily be used for audio books, podcasts, and voice over talent.
For us this is extremely valuable as a customer service application.

Imagine an intelligent system that knows what you purchased, what your issue is, collects your personal profile information, can detect your emotion from your voice pattern and engages with you in an efficient and emotionally connected way.
And the whole time the person on the phone thinks they are speaking with an actual human being.

This takes the workflows we create today to a whole new level!
Coding in emotional triggers, PII (personally identifiable information) gets tied to your emotional profile.
I have to admit this is pretty exciting stuff.

While not available for use yet, we are working on projects like this to make how we interact across business applications more efficient and profitable.

Check out some of the comprehensive ways we are working in content marketing by Clicking Here –> http://acumenstudio.com/content-marketing-agency/

Mobile video is changing everything.
We’ve gone from passively consuming video to interacting with it in deeper, more personal ways.

Twitter is a place where people come to see what’s happening. It’s always been mobile, and always been live. That’s why we’ve seen video take off on the platform – creating a new world of opportunities for brands.

Here are a couple video stats

  • 220x increase in video views on Twitter over the past 12 months
  • 6x more video shares than photo shares on Twitter
  • Click below for all video stats and case studies

Download the Full PDF Here: http://acumenstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Acumen-Studio-Video-on-Twitter.pdf

These 7 Online Marketing Trends for B2B Companies and Business Owners Are Game Changers

In the Internet age, there is no such thing as stagnation; the digital landscape is constantly evolving. Rather than be intimidated by new marketing practices or dismiss them as trends which aren’t built to last (don’t be the guy who thought Facebook was just a fad!), prepare for the future and determine which specific approaches can help your business explode in 2017, leaving your competition in the dust.

  1. Data Visualization Tools – marketers are obsessed with all things data, but if they can’t explain what the data means, then what’s the point? In order to explain with quantitative information who your business’s customers are, why they want your product and when, and what needs to be said to them to build a relationship, data visualization tools are starting to be used to interpret large amounts of numerical information. This is a huge opportunity for you as a business owner and marketer to tap into possible new customer segments as well as build upon your current foundation. Just remember, in the words of Orbitz Media’s Andy Crestodina, “You don’t have to be big to use big data to make better decisions.” (not sure if you want to link out to other pages or not, but I like the quote)
  2. Dense Content – in a world where every business has a Facebook page, constantly sharing updates and posts, it has become enormously difficult to get your message to stand out in crowded newsfeeds. Savvy marketers have realized this, and now make every word of every line in their content count, providing instant value for their customer. In other words, don’t post for the sake of posting; post something worthwhile, something that will help!
  3. More Live Video – people have been screaming for more live video for years. And with the diversity of platforms which make videos available, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram, among others, there is no doubt a specific medium exists for your business to share your message with your audience. This is where using search and social data to determine where your possible customers are is crucial for executing a video strategy which will actually provide ROI.
  4. E-mail Marketing Isn’t Dead – e-mail is about to make a massive comeback, and if used wisely, will enable tremendous growth. Now that many marketing automation platforms integrate with most others, as a marketer you can use behavioral insights from your social and content campaigns to develop customer-centric messages which will resonate with your audience and lead to a substantially higher conversion rate.
  5. The Referral Model – don’t be scared of online customer reviews! Rather, monitor reviews and actually respond to them. In fact, if you invite your customers to review your business, you’ll not only get a chance to improve your customer service but also see increased traffic to your website and/or physical location, leading to more sales!
  6. A “Post-Fact” World – marketers have known for a long time that emotions matter when making purchasing decisions, but now the rest of the world has caught up. Instead of relying on statistics and data alone to make the sale, you’ll need to frame these insights in a way which will make your customer feel a specific way.
  7. Content Becomes More Than “Content” – as noted earlier, lots of businesses haven’t tapped into the full potential of content, and simply use it as something just to say they have it. Smart business owners and marketers will now use their content to solve customer support problems, develop engagement with employees to enhance retention, organize the sales process, among a wide variety of other uses.

In short, there are a lot of different ways a business can use new tools and trends to effectively market themselves. In order to understand what the correct route to take is and which platforms are worth spending time on to spur growth for you, follow our blog for more updates as we tackle pressing issues in the digital space. Or just leave us a note! We’re always happy to lend a helping hand.

Private Equity Firms are marketing online more and more, but few are doing a decent job of it and even fewer are seeing success from it.

Our experience has shown there are several key reasons for this.

  1. They Don’t Have the Skills In-House
  2. They Don’t Have a Strategy
  3. They Don’t Take it Seriously

These reasons should make sense to everyone, but as it relates to digitally marketing private equity firms the typical strategies that most marketers speak on are more aligned to consumer marketing, or where the company needs to have a high public visibility.
For Private Equity Firms it is more important to gain the intelligence of how your targets behave online to create a personalized approach and identify how and where they seek advice.

This is a story of how one Private Equity Firm Won Big Online
A Private Equity firm who focused primarily on B2B manufacturing companies wanted to increase dealflow but felt they had exhausted the personal and professional network of the team.

So the question was, “How do we get ourselves in front of new deals?”.

They Took to the Streets

The Managing Directors of the firm started calling on anyone they had met in the past who could potentially refer them to deals. Attorneys, CPA’s, Money Managers, etc.

While some seemed promising and the likelihood of deals in the future would likely come, they would also come slowly and with no predictability.

They Attended Conferences and Trade Shows

Another easy idea was to get in front of company owners and board members at trade shows and conferences. This too is great and can build trust quickly with potential targets.

The problem with this is that it is not scalable and again can result in slow acquisition.

What About Marketing?

For some reason many Private Equity Firms don’t participate in marketing.
Maybe it’s the rules that you must deal with from FINRA and the SEC.
Maybe it’s a belief that it doesn’t work.

But this firm decided that it was worth a try.

After looking at options and talking to many different agencies, they decided that digital marketing would be their best choice.

They came to this decision based on the fact that they could start finding businesses who were actually looking for growth opportunities which are closer to converting as deals and they could target and track the people and companies they would like to do business with.

What were the results?

The firm decided to optimize their website for search and for conversion.
They started doing content marketing focused on drawing in new business opportunities directly from owners, boards and deal makers.
They used paid ads and retargeting to stay in front of their prospects.
They tracked and measured the activity to identify high value contacts.

All of these actions resulted in 20% higher deal flow volume than their record year and a 25% reduction in time to close on those new inbound deals.

This resulted in Millions of dollars in new revenue and a greater profile / status as a solid firm in that particular sector.

You can read more on Private Equity Marketing here: http://acumenstudio.com/private-equity-marketing/

We’ve worked on many campaigns for business coaches and consultants over the years, giving them digital marketing strategies, doing audits and market research.
In every engagement we both commented on how similarly we solved problems for organizations.
Most of the time organizations look for help in times of transition or change, to fix issues that continue to come up, or they need to add new skills to their team.

How do Marketing Agencies & Business Coaches Handle Organizational Development?

Let’s touch on each of the areas listed above.

Manage transitions

Moving into a new phase of your business typically generates anxiety.
Both Marketing Agencies and Business Coaches will ask about the challenges you are up against and can help you zero in on what and how to change to go beyond them.
For the marketing agency this could be adding to the content mix for generating greater visibility and for a business or leadership coach this could be creating an 90-day action plan.

Fix recurrent issues

Sometimes the same problem keeps happening over and over, but every thing you do to try and fix it doesn’t work.
For a marketing agency you may find yourself creating standard reports if the issue was discovered to be inaccurate data transformation.
For a business coach this could mean delegating weekly meeting governance to someone other than the department head when a meeting is continually dominated by the same person and nothing gets accomplished.

Add new skills

A good example here is the need to master complex subject matter or pursue new strategies.
For a digital marketing agency this could be training an in-house team on how to execute an ongoing SEO program, or taking over the role completely.
For a business or executive coach this could mean teaching a new manager better negotiation skills to deal with stressful confrontations in the workplace.

In many cases, caveats will obviously apply.
Also beware of the agency or business coach that has overly rigid and inflexible processes.
While sometimes these sound great (because it makes things seem easier), the result many times is a sub par outcome.

If You are having a complex issue with your Digital Marketing then contact us today by filling out the form at the bottom of this page or calling us at the number on the top of the page.

Have you heard the back and forth on how Data is marketing’s savior or how Data is way overvalued in Marketing?

On both sides of the debate, there are many opinions and strong feelings about how important it is to decision making, composition, design, user experience, etc.

Here’s the thing…

Everything is Data!

Seriously think about it.

  • The reason you don’t or do like a specific food… DATA!
  • That feeling you get in your gut when you know something is right or wrong… DATA!
  • The Best Practice you tout as being so knowledgeable on… DATA!

Emotions, likes, dislikes, associations, beliefs, etc. are all crafted from experiences and historic data that form these things for you as a person or business.

You can take that data at face value or read in between the lines to solve problems, create efficiencies, innovate, become self-aware, understand an audience, etc.
This information is extraordinarily important as it concerns decision making or creation at all levels, in all environments across all mediums.

See how we use data in our approach to content marketing here.