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Digital Strategy

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.

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.

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.

For the 18 years that I (John Bracamontes) have done work online and in the digital marketing space, not once had I ever submitted work to be recognized as a job well done.
My opinion was that the work spoke for itself, because I drove leads, and leads meant new sales, and new sales meant higher revenue for my clients.

 

“Why Would I Need An Award To Show Greatness?”

 
Is how I thought.

I’ve seen over the years other agencies share in the successes of their teams and genuinely promote how great their clients are, which began to soften my perspective on the benefit of awards and recognition for the work outside of its result.

I realized that uniting with a sense of pride on what you do for others, recognizing the value and celebrating together is massively powerful.

So this year, Acumen submitted one entry in the St. Louis Business Marketing Association’s B2B Marketing Excellence Awards.

That night the team was recognized for the work we did (and do), we had fun and celebrated together, celebrated with others and set a precedent for the future of the agency.

No longer will we hide our wins and pride for the value we bring to those who choose to work with us!

And Thanks to Kopytek.com for being such an amazing group to work with!

At this point you should already realize that social media isn’t just a place where friends and family connect, share photos and like posts.

Social has become a repository of knowledge, similar to the search engines, but more affinity driven by relationships and trusted sources.

If you want to know who to use for internet law, who can help you with an ESOP or what company is building quality apps, then social is a great place to get real feedback and reviews from people who have ACTUALLY used those services or know their work.

A B2B Social Media Strategy

Understanding how your target customers are using social media is key to gaining visibility, providing education to and engaging with these targets.

  1. Customers are asking their network for recommendations
  2. They are qualifying your company on social media
  3. These targets are educating themselves on your products & services

Has Anyone Heard of this Company?

A go to question asked by many business owners, executives, directors, buyers, managers, etc.
This is very powerful.

If an executive reaches out to their network asking for personal feedback on a company and one of their peers responds with good things to say, then you are on your way to landing new business.

While not every business will get a personal recommendation, if you have been marketing yourself well, then someone will at least know of you and respond with something like “I’ve seen this company and they look like they know what they are doing.”.
This is the next best thing, because you have built a small amount of social capital and trust with this target.

This stage of discovery is very important and completes the infinite loop of growth through marketing, which you can see clearly in our content marketing funnel (which is more of an hourglass), where past customers become salesmen for your business.

Who Are You Really?

Once a customer has been made aware of your business, whether it was from a referral on social media or they got nothing on social and asked the wise search engine Google, they will absolutely look your company up on social media.
Again this is a critical B2B Social Media step.

While the majority of B2B product & services companies are served well on LinkedIn, it is important to understand that these same customer targets have social profiles on many platforms and will look to find you where they are at in the moment (this could be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest in addition to LinkedIn).
Plus, you will have a more diverse result in the search engines with a cross-platform social media presence. More results, Knowledgegraph inclusions, image results, Twitter feed, etc.

These customers will look to see if you are a legitimate business and size you up to see if you are a good fit.
Questions like “Are they too big?”, “Are they too small?”, “Do they think like I think?”, and many more. This is where being clear on your own brand and business is important, because it will qualify buyers for you in a very efficient way, driving better leads into your sales funnel.

At this point two main things will happen.
A customer will contact you via phone, form submission or email (they will find this info on your social profiles, if you have built them out completely).
Or the customer will educate themselves more on a specific product or service.

How Will Your Product or Service Help Me?

This is what most businesses think of as soon as they hear B2B Social Media or Social Media Strategy.
And rightfully so, because it is so critical.

Customers need to understand:

  • What problem you solve
  • What you sell / solution you provide
  • How it works
  • Why it fits their needs
  • Why you are better or different
  • Your process

Social Media is a great place to get this clarifying, compelling and enlightening content in front of prospective buyers.
These customers are comparing you to your competitors and the more you can educate them, the better chance you have of winning that business.

While you will want this content to primarily live on your website, social is the channel you will distribute this educational material to ensure it gets seen and gets the buyer back to your site where you can convert them or reach back out and communicate in other ways.

Types of B2B Content for Social Media

  • Blog Posts
  • Whitepapers
  • Ebooks
  • One Sheeters
  • Video
  • Infographics
  • Research Papers
  • Webinars
  • Case Studies
  • Podcasts

Depending on your product or service the mix of B2B content types will differ and the tactical strategy for each channel can be tailored as well.

B2B Social Media Research & Tactics

As with any marketing you should conduct research to identify key information to that will guide the marketing efforts. B2B Social Media is no different.

Our recommendation is to take the research beyond social as well by using Google search query data (the keywords) and pair it with social media research on your target customers social platforms, including the less thought about forums and groups such as Quora and LinkedIn groups.

Creating an inventory of who your target prospects is very important and taking this even further by identifying the stakeholders in those companies and engaging with their personal accounts on social will drive massive results.

This leads us to a few specific tactics that we recommend for a superior B2B Social Media Strategy.

Following and engaging with the business accounts of your prospective customers, the individual accounts of the decision makers of those businesses and the same for your current customers will create much-needed visibility, awareness, affinity and trust with the organizations that you want to do business with.

  • Like, Comment & Share Posts
  • Favorite, Reply & Retweet
  • Like & Comment using Video

This exposes you to the businesses you want to work with and gets your customers talking about you more, while at the same time you are indirectly getting in front of other potential customers who also engage with the same companies you are targeting.

This works like a charm and very few businesses are doing this!

You can learn more about our approach to social media here: http://acumenstudio.com/social-media-marketing-agency/

How Do I Know If It’s Working?

To be 100% Honest, this isn’t easy for most businesses.
Tracking, monitoring, analyzing, measuring and reporting to identify an ROI on your B2B marketing and social media efforts takes using platforms that can help you measure impact, attribution, and sales.
Most businesses are not equipped to do this (as are most marketers!).

You will either need to educate yourself on using platform specific social media analytics, social media tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, SproutSocial, etc. or hire an agency to help you with this.

What we can tell you is that social media for B2B companies Pays Off BIG!

 

Download a Social Media Case Study Below to Learn More

Or, You can give us a call now at 866-357-7422 to talk.

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