Key Insights from B2Beacon Thought Leaders

Joe Pulizzi BtoB Social Media & Content Marketing Expert

Joe Pulizzi

Founder / Content Marketing Institute
@joepulizzi

Joe’s Insights:

  • We should produce content that can be shared and connected by credible sources where your target is engaged in the conversation or content.
  • Social Media should have compelling stories involved
  • We’re seeing a trend of traditional journalists moving towards digital work

Why do we need to take a different look at the content we create? Is it really that important?

We are in a correction at the present moment: a paid media correction. This means that brands are too far underweight in owned content, and we need to bulk up our owned content processes. There are many reasons for this correction. Here’s a few to chew on.

No Technology Barriers – In the past, the publishing process was complex and expensive. Traditionally, media companies spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on complex content management and production systems. Today, anyone can publish for free, online, in five minutes (seconds) or less.

Talent Availability – Journalists are no longer wary of working for non-media companies. In 2012, CMI performed a workshop for 13 technology companies. Each tech company had an open position for an in-house journalist, managing editor or content marketing director. Today, these positions are being filled by journalists who have made the move from the traditional media side. This trend is just getting started.

Content Acceptance – You don’t have to be the Wall Street Journal to have your content be engaged with and shared. Consumers are making a decision on the spot as to what is credible and what is not. According to a 2012 Edelman study, Millenials, now between the ages 19 to 34, actually expect brands to develop content for them, with 80% wanting to be directly entertained through content marketing and three in 10 expecting all other forms of content.

In addition, Sally Hogshead, author of the book Fascinate, says that a company has as little as nine seconds to capture the attention of their customer. That goes for both media and non-media companies. Helpful and compelling content cuts through the clutter. Everything else gets ignored, skipped or disregarded.

Social Media – Social media doesn’t work for most brands without valuable, consistent and compelling information creation and distribution. If brands want to be successful in social media, they need to tell compelling stories first. According to the 2013 CMI/MarketingProfs Content Marketing Benchmarks Study, almost 90% of businesses leverage social media to communicate with customers. This type of penetration means that more organizations are trying to figure out what kind of content to put into those social media channels.

Google – Google’s recent major algorithm updates, Penguin and Panda, show that Google is putting more and more importance on content sharing. From what Google will tell us, content shared from credible sources is key to being found in search. So if you want to be found in search engines today, it’s almost impossible to game the system (sometimes called “black hat search engine optimization”) without a solid content marketing strategy.

All this means that content marketing needs to be taken seriously by the B2B organization now, while any sort of competitive advantage exists in your industry.

Joe Pulizzi BtoB Social Media & Content Marketing Expert

Joe Pulizzi

Founder / Content Marketing Institute
@joepulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is first and foremost a content marketing evangelist. He began using the term “content marketing” back in 2001. Joe founded the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) the leading online and event resource for content marketing.  CMI is responsible for producing Content Marketing World, the largest content marketing event in the world, as well as the leading content marketing magazine, Chief Content Officer.  CMI also offers strategic consulting for enterprise brands such as AT&T, Tyco, PTC, Ogletree Deakins and many others.

Joe co-authored Get Content, Get Customers, which is recognized as THE handbook for content marketing as well as Managing Content Marketing.   Also, look for his new book coming out in September, Epic Content Marketing.

Jeffrey Hayzlet Customer Relationship Management Expert for BtoB Marketing

Jeffrey Hayzlett

Business Celebrity and Marketer / The Hayzlett Group
@JeffreyHayzlett

Jeffrey’s Insights:

  • Customer relationship is the most critical item in the 1:1 connection between brand (the promise delivered) and the customer.   For marketer, it’s about the inception of the idea, all the way through the delivery of customer satisfaction.
  • What to look at to know you’re on track in terms of connecting with customers?  4 simple things.  Measure growth, ability to drive margin, ability to drive customer satisfaction, and brand value
  • Take Risk, Take Risk. The guys that are always the best at what they do are the ones that take the swings.

“Why have customer relationships become so important to B2B marketers?”

It’s always been about that 1 to 1 relation and that’s what marketers are supposed to do: make that 1 to 1 connection between the brand and the customer.  And what I mean by the brand is the promise delivered.  For marketer, it’s always about the inception of the idea, all the way through the delivery of customer satisfaction and that’s what we do as marketers, that’s the whole market framework as a good friend of mine likes to talk about..  So customer relationship is the most critical portion of that.  By having that great relationship and delivering, I want to pay more, I want to do more, I want to be associated

How do folks in the C Suite begin to navigate where and when in the customer relationship you give back vs. making sure you’re putting the right product in front of them?

So it’s always about making choices and that’s what leaders have to do. You need to balance the risk vs. reward and based on that try to figure out what that is, and that’s not a science, it’s a gut.  Now there are some sciences involved in it, in terms of ROI, predictability, you can get into all these different things that you can do: access to your data, customer behavior, etc.  But, by in large, it’s about making choices

In terms of measuring your connection with customers and building that relationship over the long haul, what do you look at as a former CMO to say we are on track, we are off track, and how do you begin to digest this from a quantitative perspective?

4 simple things, Measuring:  growth, ability to drive margin, ability to drive customer satisfaction, and brand value.

How do you measure brand value?

Overall, the things that I did contribute to the value of the company and you know that the company is rising (it’s worth more than it was the year before).  Whether you look at that from a dollars and cents position or look at it from where your brand ranks against others in your area, industry, or category, those are the things you’d have to figure out, and whatever those conditions of satisfaction are, they’re different in every business.

If you were giving advice to directors in Digital Marketing in B2B organizations, over the next 12-24 months what would you say should be on their strategic roadmap that is not?

I think they should be putting something aside that says we are going to take a lot of risk and try something that is going to be a little different than the way we have done things in the past, whether it’s a new campaign, a new idea; something that will create a little distance, a little risk within the company or in terms of risking with the brand.  As I say on stage, “no pain, no gain.”

In terms of the customer buying, how has that changed over the past year or so and as it relates to how marketers need to adjust their program.

I think with today’s digital world, we go through the same buying decision or buying cycles, but faster.  I think the internet is a big part of it, access to information, social media, etc.  A woman used to go to the store with her friends and try on a dress and come out “what do you think? What do you think?”  Now she goes to the store by herself and takes a picture of herself  and sends it to more than the 4 friends.  She sends it to 8 or 10 asking what do you think, and she gets the feedback.  So the intensity of that, you’re still doing the same exact thing, but it has increased or exponentially gotten bigger or better, depending on how you look at it.

Any other advice for our digital marketers out there in the B2B world?

You know I keep telling everyone, take risk take risk.  The guys that are always the best at what they do are the ones that take the swings.

Jeffrey Hayzlet Customer Relationship Management Expert for BtoB Marketing

Jeffrey Hayzlett

Business Celebrity and Marketer / The Hayzlett Group
@JeffreyHayzlett

Jeffrey Hayzlett is a global business celebrity, business owner and former Fortune 100 c-suite executive. From small businesses to international corporations, he has put his creativity and extraordinary entrepreneurial skills into play, launching ventures blending his leadership perspectives, insights into professional development, mass marketing prowess and affinity for social media. He is a well traveled public speaker, the author of the bestselling business books, The Mirror Test and Running the Gauntlet, and one of the most compelling figures in global business.

Mike Kawasaki BtoB Customer Journey & B2B Sales & Marketing Expert

Mike Kawasaki

Global Marketing Program Director / Agilent Technologies
@MikeKawasaki1

Mike’s Insights:

  • Sales has undergone a dramatic transformation and this gives further urgency to the Marketing transformation
  • Increased pressure (from greater complexity and time-constraints) has shifted customer needs regarding ‘product knowledge’
  • Marketing needs a better metric for C-levels to better demonstrate its value.

1. Sales has undergone a dramatic transformation and this gives further urgency to the Marketing transformation. Specifically, there are fewer Salespeople who have to be more strategic and focus on a handful of large accounts to hit bigger quotas. Therefore, Sales is not attending to smaller orders or lower-priced products and Marketing must fill this gap.

2. Increased pressure (from greater complexity and time-constraints) has shifted customer needs regarding ‘product knowledge’. Specifically, customers no longer have the time to become technical experts on your products. Instead, they’re truly looking for solutions. They just want assurance that your solution is right for their needs and that it works but don’t want to talk about your product or how it works. Therefore, Marketing has to “build trust at scale” by surfacing assets such as case studies and the credentials of the people behind your products.

3. Marketing needs a better metric for C-levels to better demonstrate its value. Sales has orders, R&D has new product releases, Manufacturing Supply Chain Gross Margin has a clear metric.  However, Marketing is typically measured on metrics like visitors or leads that only represent a fraction of what Marketing is really contributing. For example, activities around Sales enablement and content marketing that happens early in the customer journey are lost.

 

Mike Kawasaki BtoB Customer Journey & B2B Sales & Marketing Expert

Mike Kawasaki

Global Marketing Program Director / Agilent Technologies
@MikeKawasaki1

Mike has a passion for leading sales and marketing breakthrough initiatives that positively transform business results. He is focused on B2B Sales and Marketing, with emphasis on International Marketing.

Chris Golec BtoB Online & Digital Marketing Expert

Chris Golec

Founder & CEO / Demandbase
@cgolec

Chris’ Insights:

  • B2B Marketing priorities vary by company size (large enterprise = repeat business; SMB = lead gen; mid-market = both) and by industry (high-tech vs. manufacturing)
  • On average, 85% of visitors to a B2B company site have zero chance of doing business with that company. So, B2B Marketers should focus data analysis and program optimization on what their customers (including legitimate prospects) are doing, not what the total audience is doing.
  • On average, 90% of visitors from a given vertical (eg. healthcare) to a B2B company site do not find content on that site that is tailored to their vertical. So, B2B Marketers should customize the site experience to surface the right content for visitors.

 

Chris Golec BtoB Online & Digital Marketing Expert

Chris Golec

Founder & CEO / Demandbase
@cgolec

Chris Golec has built three successful technology businesses in the last 14 years. He thrives on innovation with a relentless focus on customer success and bottom line results. As Founder and CEO of Demandbase, Chris’s mission is to fundamentally change the way businesses attract, sell and retain customers online. Today, hundreds of enterprises have adopted Demandbase’s technology to change the way they sell and market to their customers.

Prior to starting Demandbase, Chris founded Supplybase to help global manufacturers collaborate with their supply chain to bring new products to market. Supplybase was sold in March of 2000 to i2 Technologies as part of the $9.4B software merger with Aspect Development. Before becoming a software entrepreneur, Chris held multiple sales, marketing and engineering positions with GE, DuPont, and GM.

Liz Miller Business to Business Marketing & Media Relations

Liz Miller

Vice President, Marketing & Thought Leadership Programs / CMO Council
@lizkmiller

Liz’s Insights:

  • Customers are king. They are at the center of every single one of our processes. We have shifted from a product base economy into a content base economy because customers are looking for richer experiences similarly what they are looking for in the B2C marketplace.
  • The reality is we are moving in this age of intelligence. So we are beginning to realize key points of data where we can turn into intelligence. A shift we are starting to see is the relationship from the CMO and the CIO bond together.
  • Important in the year to come is how is our customer engaging with our content online? Do they value what we are putting out there? Do they value other pieces of content out there?
  • Brands need to do a content assessment; understand what content is performing, how people are engaging, where people are engaging. Chances are more people are valuing content that they are finding from 3rd party independent sources than they are from your website.
  • If you are not thinking about content and how that tracks to the buying journey. If you don’t understand how those two things interconnect you probably are not going to be around in 24 months.
Liz Miller Business to Business Marketing & Media Relations

Liz Miller

Vice President, Marketing & Thought Leadership Programs / CMO Council
@lizkmiller

Liz Miller brings a varied career that spans over 14 years in the Sports Entertainment, Retail, Health, Beauty and Personal Care spaces. Miller has extensive experience in media relations, marketing communications, brand building, marketing program strategy and implementation, event planning and live entertainment event production.

Miller began her career in Sports Entertainment, focusing on the promotion of soccer and family sports events, with the Continental Indoor Soccer league, at both a national league level and later at the local team level. Miller later transitioned to Marketing and Sponsorship Development thanks to her involvement with Forum Boxing, a boxing promotion organization owned and operated by the Los Angeles Lakers and Dr. Jerry Buss. Thanks to her stints in the sports industry, Miller has had the opportunity to produce and market live television events including network, pay-per-view and cable sports franchises, execute media relations campaigns involving multiple sports franchises and individual athletes, as well as market both adult focused and family focused live entertainment events.

After a brief engagement with a Marketing and Process Management consultancy, where she published and publicized two books authored by the agency CEO, Miller turned her focus to the Beauty and Personal Care space.

Miller joined Jan Marini Skin Research as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations, tasked with juggling duties as personal publicist, corporate public relations executive and marketing leader and strategist. Miller guided the company from a small voice in the professional skin care market, into a respected presence in the consumer beauty and health markets. Miller focused on building relationships with celebrity clients, planning physician education events, launching consumer education programs, and recreating the overall look and feel of the brand. Miller secured placements in publications including InStyle, US, OK! Magazine, Glamour, Lucky, Shape, Marie Claire, Jane, Men’s Health & Fitness, Stuff, Vogue, Tatler, Harpers & Queen, the Advocate, Playboy, Maxim, Extra Entertainment news and E! Entertainment Television.

With Global Fluency, Miller oversees the daily operations of the Chief Marketing Officer council, a global affinity network of top brand marketers, and the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network. She also works with the agency’s consumer focused accounts, having worked with clients like Radiesse (BioForm Medical), the City of San Jose, El Camino Hospital, and Mobile Campus.

Matt Preschem Expert in BtoB Digital Marketing & B2B Marketing Strategy

Matt Preschern

SVP and Enterprise CMO / Windstream
@MPreschern

Matt’s Insights:

  • What you are seeing today is customers will interact with your brand in one-way or another. They will come in multiple ways; your website, through google search, interact with your call centers through the phone or by live chat, interact with you through social media, etc. As a brand, it is to have the customer experience be authentic and consistent across all interactions.
  • The skill makeup of a marketing function – you continue to need the creative minds of the organization (big band thinking) married with the science of marketing of analysis and analytical thinking.
  • Move from a data discussion to insight discussion. Then from an insight discussion to what type of actions can we take that drive real impact, business results.
  • The company buying journey – The notion of the marketing funnel which was introduced 1880’s is old.  What we are seeing today from a marketing and buying behavior perspective we do not interact particular in the digital space in a linear fashion. We go up, we go down, we go backward, we go forward.  What is required is to understand every person, every decision-maker as an individual. It’s moving from brand activation to customer activation first. What is the mindset of those individuals as they move through the journey and market to that as opposed to what we want them to know about us.
  • Your marketing needs to be much more precise and move to a one-to-one and not to a segment or to a company.
  • The rate and pace of what is expected for B2B Marketers is only going to increase so unless you embrace digital interactions your competition will.
Matt Preschem Expert in BtoB Digital Marketing & B2B Marketing Strategy

Matt Preschern

SVP and Enterprise CMO / Windstream
@MPreschern

Matt Preschern is a seasoned marketing and business strategy professional with more than 20 years of experience in strategy and transformation consulting, marketing strategy, brand positioning, demand generation, analytics, digital marketing, and communications. In September 2012, Matt received the BtoB “Top Digital Marketer” award.

Matt joined Windstream Communications in August 2013 as SVP and Enterprise CMO, where he is responsible for  brand management, advertising, strategic marketing, product development and marketing, pricing and channel marketing.  In his past role as Vice President of Marketing for the NA Consulting Services organization at IBM, Matt was actively engaged in IBM’s growth plays, such as Analytics/BAO and Smarter Commerce. Matt works closely with many CMOs across industries in response to various front-office digitization efforts of our clients, including Bank of Montreal, Bell Canada, Equifax, Toshiba, and others.

Rand Fishkin BtoB Content Marketing & Social Media Professional

Rand Fishkin

CEO / Moz
@randfish

Rand’s Insights:

  • A big digital marketing opportunity is to purposely invest where others aren’t investing. Be the exception to the rule – that’s how you become exceptional.
  • Look at channels that other people are NOT – google+, pinterest, community building, user generated content, educational content, free tools. Better returns than in channels where everyone else is and less costly, lower customer acquisition and higher ROI.
  • Today there are many more influential decision makers as companies, brands, continue to grow their culture and represent their product.
  • Make sure your brand awareness and educational content  is known not only to the client, but to the right client in the right platform.
Rand Fishkin BtoB Content Marketing & Social Media Professional

Rand Fishkin

CEO / Moz
@randfish

Rand Fishkin is the CEO of SEO software company; Moz. He co-authored the Art of SEO from O’Reilly Media, co-founded Inbound.org, and was named on PSBJ’s 40 Under 40 List and BusinessWeek’s 30 Best Tech Entrepreneurs Under 30. Rand is an addict of all things content & social on the web, from his blog on entrepreneurship to Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and FourSquare. In his minuscule spare time, Rand enjoys the company of his amazing wife, Geraldine, whose serendipitous travel blog chronicles their journeys.

Russ Glass

CEO / Bizo
@glassruss

Russ’ Insights:

Building customer relationships has always been important, but now technology has enabled us to be more connected. Plus, it has become more of an expectation than in the past to have a great relationship with your customer just to keep up and stay competitive. The best marketers start building great customer relationships while their customers are still prospects. The marketing technology stack can help marketers get the right message to the right people at the right time by harnessing and integrating the data held in marketing automation software, CRM systems, data management platforms, and other systems in the marketing stack.

Customers that are most valuable are the ones that are advocating for your product. If you don’t have those successful customers out there talking about the success of your service, you won’t grow your business. Email, social media, and other digital formats have given customers a megaphone to either advocate for – or denigrate – your business. You have to be able to harness to the voice of your advocates. And you have to be able to address the concerns of your detractors and satisfy them.

Data is critical and will become even more critical in the future to enable marketers to understand their customers. Data will give them insight into who their customers are, what they care about and potentially even more importantly who their best customers are. Data will enable marketers to target messages to prospects and customers wherever they go online. And data will also enable marketers to understand which of their programs are working and which are not, so they can invest more in what’s working and stop doing what’s not.

B2B buying decisions are much riskier than B2C – mistakes in a purchase for an individual can be career limiting. That’s why B2B marketing is so complex and challenging. You’re not trying to convince somebody to spend $1 on a Coke. Someone’s job is on the line when they’re buying your B2B product. The best B2B marketers know this and understand the value of a strong brand message at the top of the funnel and consistent reinforcement of relevant reference clients and their success stories.

The buyer’s journey has changed. Forrester Research found that as much as 90% of the buyer’s journey is complete before he or she reaches out to a salesperson. That means that marketing – via email, search, display, and host of other tools – is responsible for communicating with that potential customer before the salesperson even has a crack at them. Marketing is significantly more important than it ever was in the past and more than any other department, is becoming responsible for the customer relationship.

Being multi-threaded is an opportunity in the buyer’s journey – have multiple relationships with the prospect company. The best and most forward-thinking B2B marketers make sure their message is reaching the entire team of potential buyers at every point in the marketing funnel – even when that buying team is not currently in the market for your product. That’s because you need them to know your name when they are getting ready to buy.

Russ Glass

CEO / Bizo
@glassruss

Russell Glass is the CEO of Bizo, an online B2B marketing platform.  Based in San Francisco, he founded Bizo in 2008 and has led the company’s growth to over $30 million in annual revenue run rate in four years.  Mr. Glass is a serial technology entrepreneur, having founded or held senior positions at four venture-backed technology companies.

Prior to Bizo, Mr. Glass led the marketing and product management teams as a senior vice president and general manager at ZoomInfo, a business information search engine, where he honed his B2B marketing skill-set and developed his love for data.  In 1999, he founded and led AGEA Corp., an interactive notification software company, until selling it to Avalon Digital Marketing in 2003, where he served as Vice President of Enterprise Solutions. Mr. Glass is a graduate of Duke University.

Sandra Zoratti Business to Business Precision Marketing Specialist

Sandra Zoratti

CMO / Dispersive Technologies
@sandraz

Sandra’s Insights

  • In order to have loyalty you need to engage your customers and to engage your customers you need to be relevant and develop relationships. You can develop relationships using online channels IF you have the insights to understand how to connect through those channels and how to be reverent with content.
  • Big opportunity today with unstructured data is to capture sentiment and do social listening to capture the voice of the customer around social media.
  • Listening is your compass or guidepost that tells you where to go and what your customer’s concerns.
  • Earn your way into the conversations and have an ongoing dialogue on customer’s terms that help figure out how to keep them engaged and deepen your relationships with them.
Sandra Zoratti Business to Business Precision Marketing Specialist

Sandra Zoratti

CMO / Dispersive Technologies
@sandraz

Sandra Zoratti is an award-winning author, speaker and accomplished business leader. She was honored with the Colorado Business Marketing Association’s Marketer of the Year, 2012. Sandra is a sought after speaker, social media influencer, and business expert because of her real-world experience in successfully building, growing, launching and marketing new business opportunities around the world. Recently, Sandra built and launched the data-driven marketing practice called “Precision Marketing” from the ground up and has numerous proof points of its’ success around the world using insight-driven targeting, content and metrics as chronicled in her book on the topic. (Amazon: Precision Marketing: Maximizing Revenue Through Relevance.)

Sandra’s career includes experience at blue chip technology leaders such as IBM, Westinghouse, Ricoh and Avery as well as setting up her own marketing practice. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration. You can find Sandra on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and her website sandrazoratti.com.

Tom Berger

Director of Internet Marketing / Iron Mountain
@BergerTJ

Tom’s Insights:

The importance of making an exceptional first impression with the customer:

  • The marketing pendulum has swung from staying ahead of the competition to staying on top of customers’ needs and building relationships.
  • It’s incredibly important to create that great first impression then build on it. After you have that solid foundation, when problems do arise it’s much easier to address them and you have that transparency because the relationship has already been forged.

What makes a good first impression?

  • Make the effort to ‘over service’ from the beginning. Starting out with superior service, a customer experience manager who makes sure the customer needs are met outside of technical help. (Demandbase is an example of a technology provider who does this well.)
  • Do not wait to bring out the superior service, the white glove treatment.  If problems do arise feline it’s much easier to address them and have transparency because the relationship has already been forged. If this isn’t done, it makes your customers question “Why haven’t I been receiving this level of service all along?” It’s potentially one of the reasons I’m leaving! It seems simple, but many organizations are not yet set up this way.

Marketers today have to be data-centric, technically proficient and also creative:

  • What we do as marketers today has transformed into something that’s much more sophisticated.  We need to understand the customers’ goals, meet them at the right point, at the right time, with the right message is extremely valuable – but also very difficult to do.
  • We have to be data-centric, technically proficient and also creative. All of these must work together to make sure we’re hitting the right people at the right time with the right message in the right way. And on the right network. So,  the data provides us insights on the buying signals of our customers. Being technically proficient allows us to work with marketing automation tools, CRM systems, and social networks and connect the dots. The creative piece is how we use all these tools in our arsenal to reach the right customer with the right message at the right time.

What metrics are you looking at to inform success or failure from program or campaign?

  • Attract – Inbound referrals from social networks, organic traffic, and also how people are being attracted to third party networks for our content (like TechTarget). We need to answer the question, How are people are finding us?
  • Engage – We want to see what pieces of content are engaging and leading to conversions. When you couple this with the organic piece of how people are finding us, you gain an understanding of which content should be promoted more to get it in front of more eyeballs.  And then by the way we segment, we can pivot this by the stage of the buyers journey that the piece of the content is targeted to. So we can see how it’s working, and if it is moving people from one stage to the next.
  • Conversion: Our conversion metrics, since we’re B2B, are around driving marketing qualified leads and how our MQLs are converting to closed deals. So we follow a Sirius Decisions model of tracking leads to closed revenue. We monitor and improve on this religiously through perpetual optimization programs.

To get more complete data, extend the reach of your content beyond your own walls:

  • In your own marketing and CRM systems you have a very limited view. You typically only know the individual who raised their hand. But the buying process is not taking place in one spot. There are other people out there who have not yet identified themselves to you directly. We need to reach out beyond our own digital walls to other content distribution networks, who can provide data to help fill in more information on account activity. One example of this is TechTarget.
  • With this aggregated data, we can then weave together a more holistic view of an account. There are multiple people going through the buying process with different roles and it’s important to make sure you understand their needs and are able to reach each of them.

Optimize the connections between your centers of excellence:

  • In a large enterprise, you might have many centers of excellence: social, search, optimization, digital marketing, content, and inbound marketing. And they mostly work well, independently. Where the focus needs to be, is on optimizing the connections between our centers of excellence.
  • We need to reach a point where search informs social, and social informs search, both inform optimization and nurturing, and help with customer focus and customer programs. We all talk about it but I’d challenge how much this is actually happening. Everyone does a great job in the individual centers of excellence, but optimizing the digital connections between each group is critical for success.

What’s on the Roadmap for 2014:

  • Responsive Design:  We don’t get to decide what device our customers use, they do – this is true for all forms of content. There is no point in creating content if it’s not going to provide a great user experience when it is consumed. So improve the customer relationship and user experience, start here.
  • Optimization should scale broadly: At Iron Mountain (and most B2B organizations) we put a LOT of emphasis on optimizing for prospects and customers pre-sale through landing pages, etc. In 2014 we should all try to broaden this to a larger testing pool incorporating all touch points in the customer lifecycle. Customer support touch points, the customer on-boarding process. Optimization should scale broadly across the organization to give the best customer experience and thereby improve our success.

Tom Berger

Director of Internet Marketing / Iron Mountain
@BergerTJ

Tom Berger is Director of Digital Marketing for Iron Mountain, a Boston based FORTUNE 1000 company. Iron Mountain is a leading provider of storage and information management, assisting more than 156,000 organizations in 32 countries on five continents with storing, protecting and managing their information.

At Iron Mountain, Tom is responsible for driving the web marketing strategy which includes search marketing, optimization, web demand generation, and e-commerce. With over 18 years of experience in digital marketing, Tom has global experience working for agencies in Taipei and Hong Kong as well as high-tech B2B enterprises such as Ciena and SafeNet. Tom is the recipient of the CIO Web Business award and the Golden Bridge Award for B2B Campaigns. Tom is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and resides in Maryland with his wife and three kids.

Eduardo Conrado CMO Expert in Business & Technology Marketing

Eduardo Conrado

Senior Vice President - Marketing and IT / Motorola Solutions
@conradoeduardo

Eduardo’s Insights:

In the past B2B marketers would focus on the product.  Now we are learning a better emphasis is centered on the customer. Today, the customer drives not only product requirements but also what the solutions look like, the way we engage with them.  This is done via the customer personas and we know these are not one size fits all.  Marketing and all functions of the company will center around the customer. The buyer’s journey, the way we design our go to market approach, and the way the marketing teams design strategy all focus on the customer’s needs.

At the the end of the day your customers aren’t really looking for a “product” they are looking to solve a problem, or address an opportunity. So, if you start with that mindset, “What are they trying to solve?” you can get on a more strategic level with the customer, Rather than  being a product provider. It’s similar to Marketers looking at Agencies. You’re looking to someone who can help you be more strategic. And the customer is looking for you to do the same – take them to a better place, with a different approach, a different mindset.

The shift that IT has to make is the move from systems of record, or the back office, to systems of engagement, the front office. Moving forward from there, data will be readily available in a consumable format with dashboard view of not only the business but also the customer.

What is coming up in the next two to five years?  We’re talking about employee engagement, customer engagement, and sales enablement – that is key.  Then there is the concept of the marketing technologist, using IT as an asset to provide more accurate information on customer needs. It’s not a traditional place for marketers to play.  It’s much more process-driven much more architecture, and it’s an evolution of marketing the duality of creative and technology.  Five to ten years from now, I’m not sure the CMO, the agency landscape, and the way marketers are minted out of MBA schools will be the same.

Eduardo Conrado CMO Expert in Business & Technology Marketing

Eduardo Conrado

Senior Vice President - Marketing and IT / Motorola Solutions
@conradoeduardo

Mr. Eduardo F. Conrado has been Senior Vice President of Marketing and IT at Motorola Solutions, Inc. since January 07, 2013. Mr. Conrado served as Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Motorola Solutions, Inc. since January 4, 2011.

Mr. Conrado was responsible for global marketing, including commercial value propositions, product positioning, pricing, and the publication of systems roadmaps in cooperation with engineering division product management teams. Mr. Conrado served as Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Global Business & Technology Marketing at Motorola Solutions, Inc. and also served as its Vice President of Global Marketing and Portfolio Management.

Mr. Conrado was responsible for the annual portfolio management cycle, including ongoing review of market dynamics, current investments and business performance to recommend adjustments in engineering investments. In addition, Mr. Conrado heads the media and industry analyst relations, and brand management and marketing communications efforts for Motorola Networks. Prior to this position, he was Senior Director, Business Operations, Marketing and Quality for Motorola Networks’s network infrastructure business in the Latin American region, a position he held for three years. Mr. Conrado has worked in multiple areas within Motorola including: Paging, Joint Ventures, Satellite Products, and Mobile Devices. He joined Motorola in 1991.

He served as Vice Chair of Business Marketing Association from 2011 to July 1, 2013 and serves as its Director. He serves on the board of directors for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Business Marketing Association (BMA) and on the advisory board of Thunderbird School of Global Management. He holds bachelor’s degrees in Industrial Engineering and Operations Management from Texas Tech University; an MBA from ESADE in Barcelona, Spain; and a Masters of International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird).

Michael Brener B2B Content Marketing Strategy and Digital Marketing Expert

Michael Brenner

Vice President, Marketing and Content Strategy / SAP
@BrennerMichael

Michael’s Insights

  • At SAP, we are trying to move away from helping our sales people sell to helping our buyers buy. We are looking at conversion rate – not just the kind of content or assets we produced but things that are being used and kind of things that are getting used that are then driving conversion for our customers.
  • It is up to us as marketers to get out and be on the forefront of educating early before we bring them into a sale conversation
  • Buyers are expecting more from us early. Also, they are expecting value in each stage of the buying cycle.
  • When developing a strategic roadmap, focus on delivering content that customer is actually going to read (have an editorial mindset) and deliver on the pace of change that customers are requiring fast enough.
  • Have a Transformation agenda that includes here is where we want to be, here are the steps to get there, and here are the stages.
Michael Brener B2B Content Marketing Strategy and Digital Marketing Expert

Michael Brenner

Vice President, Marketing and Content Strategy / SAP
@BrennerMichael

Michael Brenner is the Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP where he leads content strategy and serves as the managing editor of the company’s award-winning Business Innovation thought leadership blog site. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.

Charlie Peters Information Technology, Marketing, & CRM Professional

Charlie Peters

Senior Executive Vice President at Emerson / Emerson
@Emerson_Charlie

Charlie’s Insights

  • Customer buying journey has changed due to speed.  Speed is the BIG change. Speed creates opportunity for the most dynamic organizations that can stay out in front of it.
  • Marketers need to start thinking more about 1) search approach and how to keep up with the changes and understanding it from a customer’s perspective, 2) Marketers have to become digitally transaction capable and that has to be tightly integrated with your frontend of search, social process and backend support process, 3) mobile is key in two ways; most transactions and engagements will increasingly be from mobile devices and 4) Brand becomes increasingly important, having a clear representation of what your product, company or service stands for.
  • Bottom line – Know what your brand stands for and amplify your brand, leverage mobile, and embrace the digital marketplace.
Charlie Peters Information Technology, Marketing, & CRM Professional

Charlie Peters

Senior Executive Vice President at Emerson / Emerson
@Emerson_Charlie

Charles A. Peters was appointed to senior executive vice president in 2000 and is responsible for helping Emerson and its business units develop innovative global business models and strategies that build the company’s capabilities to support and create value through its customer relationships. He also oversees Emerson’s information technology, marketing and customer support programs that provide a foundation for implementing these initiatives. Peters has served as a management member of Emerson’s Board of Directors since 2000.

Peters joined Emerson in 1975 as an engineering cooperative student at its Browning business in Maysville, Ky. He moved to corporate planning in 1978 and later served in strategic planning positions at several Emerson business units, including Skil power tools. In 1986, Peters was named president of the Harris Calorific welding equipment business.

Peters went on to hold several corporate positions at Emerson, including vice president of strategic planning, vice president of development and technology, and senior vice president of growth programs. In 1998, he assumed operating responsibility as the business leader of the industrial components and electronics business, and was promoted to executive vice president.

Peters received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University. Peters lives in St. Louis and is married with five children.

Tony Uphoff

CEO / Business.com
@tonyuphoff

Tony’s Insights

  • It’s not only more important to build customer relationships than it’s ever been, but it’s also more complicated than it’s ever been. There are so many choices. And the market is so fragmented, so verticalized, the platforms have so many different systems, so many options and opportunities. And, in this digitally-centric world customers have access to so much information by the time they engage with you they’ve formed a pretty definitive point of view.
  • Regardless of your business model, if you’re in B2B today, you’re in the e-commerce business. When we talk about the idea that “marketing is connected to revenue” – that’s not just a slogan. Whatever your distribution model is, you need to market as if you’re in e-commerce, because the customer expects it.
  • We need new terminology on the marketing funnel.  The idea of it as a a linear journey with a beginning and end no longer works.  I believe it’s more of a continuum with related purchases and in some cases, even going backward.
  • I try to spend 30% of my time getting in front of customers with the sales team.. first I like to think it helps the business, but I know it makes me smarter and I learn things that I would not learn from just looking at data.

“Why have customer relationships become so important to B2B marketers?”

I would underscore it’s not only more important to build customer relationship than it’s ever been, I would argue it’s also a bit more complicated than it’s ever been, too. There are so many choices. And the market is so fragmented, so verticalized, the platforms have so many different systems, so many options and opportunities – it’s almost overwhelming to the customer. Also, we’re coming through a phase where a lot of companies think of customer management almost by providing deal terms. Deal terms are a subset of creating a customer relationship but they are not a customer relationship in and of itself.

The other big challenge facing many of us in this digitally-centric world is that customers today have access to so much more information than any individual sale rep has. They can go on LinkedIn networks, your web site, peer groups, etc. so by the time they engage with you they’ve formed not just an opinion, but likely a pretty definitive point of view. Stats are showing 60% and upwards of the decision making process is done before engaging.

How have you seen the buying journey evolve, in terms of what’s actually happening with these organizations. How are they interacting, how are they collaborating, how are they making decisions to buy (let’s say enterprise software), and what does it mean to marketers?

It’s always been a collaborative process, but we now have more data and it’s always complex. We now have more understanding through companies like Sirius Decisions, but also a tremendous amount of web data and digital data through digital advertising providers, analyst companies, agencies.

We always knew it was a collaborative purchase process. And stats showing upwards of 23 influencers involved in average enterprise software purchase.

It’s difficult to wrap your head around that. You hope you’re targeting a company hitting them with sales resources and doing a marketing programs, but are you reaching 20-25 individuals? Understanding the individual buying personas, what motivates them.  CFO, CEO, CRO – classic Strategic Selling. What we’re talking about is applying Strategic Selling methodologies to Marketing. How do you figure that out, the classic scenario of the user buyer vs financial buyer. Not a new concept, but now how do we think from a marketing point of view.The access to information that buyers have today is truly remarkable. Today, the buyer may know more than any individual sales professional.

How does leveraging the insights from the data we connect support, building relationships w customers at scale. What are you doing, what to do you WANT to be doing. What does the roadmap look like to connect with your customer in a more intimate way by leveraging data?

At Business.com we serve two customers:

  1. The Audience Customer who comes to Business.com looking to acquire knowledge, products and services to run their small to medium business
  2. and the Solution Provider Advertiser who wants to contextually engage with prospective customers via performance marketing products and services.

We think the best way for us to serve the advertiser is to know more about the audience buyers. and the best information we can provide – we’re tracking with a proprietary system at not just the individual level but at the company level and then we can rinse and repeat. For example, Kelly from ABC Company comes on the site – we can see where Kelly comes in, how often, what you look at what you download, if you fill out a lead form.

We use this data to understand two things:

  1. Make sure we’re providing an ever better experience for that audience member, so that we become a daily habit for their content consumption.
  2. Share those insights with the marketer.   We know marketers are awash in data – there’s too much data . They are increasingly turning to us for performance marketing made easy.

We take our audience insights and turn them into buying personas. So people can understand the different types of buyers and what that table looks like at companies where there are multiple influencers.  We’ve launched a Monthly Pulse piece where we take buying trends and data that we’re seeing and share it with the advertiser and the marketer. What we’re seeing is our customers have plenty of data, they’re trying to see what the pattern is, what’s scaleable.

Last question: If sitting down with a marketing leader in any organization large and small what should they be thinking of in the next 4-5 months?

First, I’ve been advising companies to get back to customer councils – put together groups to sample digitally but also get on a call or get together in real lift. Treat this like a marketing advisory council. When I meet sales reps or marketers I always ask, “How much time do you spend in front of customers who actually spend money with your company?” It’s a leading question, because I know it’s the smallest percentage of their time.

Second, Get serious about content marketing – really understand it. Content Marketing is not easy to do well. I recommend you surround yourself with people who really know what they’re doing. And you don’t dabble, you have to take it seriously, and have it aligned with your sales efforts. There’s nothing worse than if you read my content marketing but then you engage with Sales and it’s asynchronous. That’s where companies break down, when the sales manifestation isn’t in line with the content marketing.

Any other advice for our digital marketers out there in the B2B world?

Trade shows and conferences are still viable medium for engaging with your customers. They work because you get to be face to face and say to someone “Does the world look to you like it does to me?”

I try to spend 30% of my time getting in front of customers with the sales team.. first I like to think it helps the business, but I know it makes me smarter and I learn things that I would not learn from just looking at data.

Tony Uphoff

CEO / Business.com
@tonyuphoff

Tony Uphoff, is CEO of Business.com. Over 30 Million small-to-medium business leaders rely on Business.com to acquire the knowledge, products and services they need to run and grow their businesses. Prior to Business.com, Uphoff served as CEO of UBM TechWeb where he led the transformation of a declining print-centric business into a fast-growing digital media, live event and marketing services powerhouse. He was President of VNU Media’s Entertainment Group and Publisher of The Hollywood Reporter, leading the group through a rapid expansion via digital media and live events. Uphoff was the founding CEO of Beliefnet, which was sold to News Corp in 2007. He also served as Publisher of InformationWeek in the mid-90’s, growing the brand into the largest in the history of B2B media. Uphoff served in several key management positions at Ziff-Davis during the company’s rapid growth in the early 1990’s. Uphoff has been named “Folio Forty C-Level Visionary” by Folio Magazine, “Top Media Innovator” by Mins B2B and is regularly named in the Top 100 business media execs by B2B Magazine. Uphoff is acknowledged as an industry expert on media, marketing and technology and is a regular speaker at industry conferences and leading business schools. Uphoff serves on the boards of NTN Buzztime, the HIMSS Media Group and as a Trustee of Linfield College. He also serves as a Business Mentor at Mucker Labs Accelerator and on the advisory boards of the data company Connotate and the cloud-based radio ad platform company Jelli. Uphoff regularly blogs on Media, Marketing and Technology trends on his blog Uphoff On Media.

Kevin Espinosa

Social Media Manager / Caterpillar, Inc.
@kevingespinosa

Kevin’s Insights:

  • The goal of the customer relationship, especially from the social media perspective, is to build a relationship through listening, promotion, thought leadership (NOT advertising), and customer support. In doing all of these things, you build loyalty from your customers.
  • Everything we do is based off of the data we collect and analyze from each campaign, paying special attention to social listening, where it is happening, etc.
  • Create a customized, digital, journey that is going to take your customer to the point of sale before any interaction with an actual sales representative. The sales representative’s role is to finalize the journey.

Kevin Espinosa

Social Media Manager / Caterpillar, Inc.
@kevingespinosa

Kevin is a graduate of Bradley University and has held many positions at Caterpillar Inc such as Lab Engineer testing product components, Dealer Service Operations to improve their day to day operations, Project Leader in Software development, Dealer Account Manager for dealer business systems, 6 Sigma Black Belt, CRM Analyst developing contact center best practices and processes, and Web Service Manager responsible for cat.com, eBusiness Platform Manager responsible for developing the marketing platforms, and now Social Media Manager.

He has experience in Dealer Service Operations, Customer Relationship Management, Call Center Operations, Multi-channel Marketing, SEO/SEM, and Social Media. As mentioned, Kevin is currently the Social Media Manager responsible for developing a comprehensive strategy, organization, supporting platforms, and processes for Caterpillar.

Dan Staresinic

Vice President Communications, U.S. / Siemens

Dan’s Insights

  • Most people aren’t paying enough attention to the depth of analysis of their personas, and in leveraging them as the integrated foundation for their entire marketing communication program.
  • The analogy of product requirements for R&D is personas for Marketing. Those marketing organizations willing to invest heavily and put hard work into identifying their buying centers and defining their buyer personas are the ones that win.
  • Anyone can create a basic, demographic-based persona – you know, the kind you build by creeping LinkedIn profiles – but very few are willing to invest the time and resources to build deeply insightful buyer personas. When you make an investment, you will know more about your buyer than your competitors do, maybe more than anyone does.
  • The next big area is demand type, and how everything changes depending on what demand type you’re dealing with. The way you use personas, the way you target, the way you communicate, how you decide when a lead is ready for sales.

Dan Staresinic

Vice President Communications, U.S. / Siemens

Dan Staresinic is vice president of communications for Siemens Industry Sector in the US.  This unit of Siemens strives to enhance its customers’ manufacturing competitiveness with its automation technology, industrial software and technology-based services.

Dan’s early career was spent in manufacturing operations, supply chain management and new product launch roles with Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Motorola.  He eventually transitioned into consulting, marketing and sales with Commerce One, Deloitte, and UGS PLM Software (acquired by Siemens in 2007).

Dan’s role at Siemens is focused on helping one of the world’s great industrial products companies to also be a best-practice B2B marketing and sales organization.

Matt Senatore

Research Director / SiriusDecisions
@mattsenatore

Matt Senatore’s Insights:

  • In its most basic definition, ABM is a strategic approach that aligns resources against a set of defined, targeted accounts. Regardless of the goal or approach, the focus must be on bringing relevance based on specific insights within those targeted accounts.
  • There are different models for account-based marketing: large strategic accounts where a one-to-one approach is typically utilized; named accounts as well as industry/segment accounts where a one-to-few/one-to-many approach provides scale based on matching of similar challenges and opportunities and lastly customer lifecycle, which focuses exclusively on existing customer that receive differentiated outreach for ongoing usage and relationship nurturing.
  • While ABM can help produce significant benefits, you can’t just ‘flip the switch’ and begin doing ABM. Successful ABM requires: commitment to customer insights, readiness to engage different customers uniquely, willingness to take a different approach to content development, pledge to interlock sales and marketing and a willingness and ability to measure results different.

Matt Senatore

Research Director / SiriusDecisions
@mattsenatore

Matt Senatore brings more than 15 years’ experience in strategy, marketing and account management on both the consulting side and the client side.

Prior to joining SiriusDecisions, Matt was vice president of global marketing at Casewise Systems, a b-to-b software company specializing in business process improvement and enterprise architecture solutions. He was responsible for strategic marketing planning and execution of comprehensive global and country-specific marketing activities, including branding and positioning, content creation, digital media, customer marketing, communications, demand generation, events, analyst relations, and agency and vendor management initiatives.

Matt also spent seven years at PepsiCo in a variety of roles, including customer marketing, innovation and channel marketing. He worked hand-in-hand with the sales organization to develop annual account-based marketing strategies and plans designed to drive revenue, profit and customer advocacy.

Lorna Breault-Snyder

Lorna Breault-Snyder

Director of the International Customer Engagement Centers / Schneider Electric
@lornabrosnyder

Lorna’s Insights:

  • Customers should dictate the content you develop and publish, not the other way around. Connect with customers to get the data needed to refine the types of content delivered at all points of the buying journey.
  • Listen closely to what customers tell you are the types of content they want and respond accordingly. For Schneider Electric their education content proved to best serve and engage customers. Let engagement metrics demonstrate which content best serves each particular audience segment.
  • Providing a variety of content, draw customers in with bite-size content to get their attention and introduce yourself as a trusted resource for their more in-depth research and evaluation.
Lorna Breault-Snyder

Lorna Breault-Snyder

Director of the International Customer Engagement Centers / Schneider Electric
@lornabrosnyder

Lorna Breault-Snyder is the Director of the International Customer Engagement Centers at Schneider Electric. Lorna oversees Schneider Electric’s Energy University, a free, online education resource that offers users a number of informative vendor-neutral courses.

It has become a leading resource for organizations looking to improve their energy efficiency. Lorna worked with a team of Instructional Designers and Curriculum Developers to an industry leading content marketing initiative.