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Published on Tuesday 28th of July 2015
In our current highly driven social media society (with nearly 2.1 billion active users) marketing is no longer a one-on-one process. It has now become the art of getting approval from the people that are most influencing your market and your targeted clients. One segment that most SMEs neglect is that of technology analysts.
Why are technology analysts so important? They act as a strategic source of information for the entire industry. Technology analysts provide your clients with accurate statistics, targeted recommendations, as well as reviews of innovative products and services within the industry. These reports are used by your industry buyers to strategically shorten the purchasing process.
How can SMEs "grab" technology analysts' attention? Either they make a big splash through an expensive and flashy marketing campaign (though this is not a guaranteed way to draw analysts' attention) or they build analyst relations through vendor briefings. Most SMEs cannot afford a flashy campaign which is why they rely on the latter. During vendor briefings, IT vendors have the opportunity to present their products and services to technology analysts. If they successfully communicate the innovativeness of their solution, technology analysts may choose to include the SME in their industry report.
There are four major benefits to being incorporated in an analyst's industry report:
- Selling more. Analyst recommendations (and industry reports) shape the thinking of technology buyers. Potential clients will be more likely to consider your firm if you have been publicly recognized by an analyst.
- Building and establishing a company's credible reputation. In today's highly competitive market, it is challenging for young companies to compete against those who have 10 or 15 years experience and a long client list. By using technology analysts and vendor briefings, companies may increase their chances of building a solid, reputable name for their business.
- Achieving more positive press coverage. An analyst quote may strengthen and help shape the thinking of journalists. The media plays an important role in influencing the buyer's action towards a certain product or service. If the solution is represented positively by a relevant journalist's coverage, there is a greater chance that a potential customer will be persuaded to purchase it.
- Improving your products and services. An independent perspective on your company's direction and positioning strengthens thinking and go-to-market strategies. Technology analysts are constantly in sync with market trends and thus they can quickly assess the innovativeness of your solutions and sometimes provide feedback.
Many SMEs are reluctant to approach technology analysts due to two major myths behind vendor briefings:
- "Vendor briefings are only for large companies" - in fact, vendor briefings are for any company size whether you have 3 or 300 employees. The best way to get a briefing is to develop an innovative product or service, demonstrate the market need for such a solution, and provide the required resources to bring the solution to market.
- "Vendor briefings are too expensive" - all vendor briefings are FREE. In order to assess solutions in an unbiased manner, technology analysts do not charge for vendor briefings. The only cost that companies may incur is that of conducting a bad vendor briefing when they are not fully prepared, have insufficient understanding of global markets or fail to differentiate their innovation.
Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Contact us today to leverage the power of technology analysts.
Published on Thursday 18th of September 2014
Picture the world ten years ago. How different was the technology we used then compared to what we use now? The Internet was just starting to become commonplace and smartphones and social media were barely in existence! It is difficult to imagine living in a world like that today. Yet if you had imagined the same thing a hundred years ago, a ten-year difference meant hardly any change in lifestyle due to evolving technology. It is clear that today's technology adoption rates are increasing much more quickly and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. So, how come so many technology companies fail while overall technology adoption rates are accelerating? What is the differentiating factor that makes some successful and others a total failure? The answer is simple: marketing. How can marketing be used to accelerate new product adoption when technology adoption rates are increasing at an unprecedented speed?
Fortunately, there is an answer to this question thanks to a concept conceived at the turn of the 20th century that still applies today. This concept is Everett Rogers' diffusion of innovations theory.
The diffusion of innovations theory seeks to explain the process behind new concepts and technologies and their spread through cultures. The theory states that there are four main elements that influence the new product adoption rate:
- Innovation: an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual
- Communication channels: the means by which messages get from one individual to another
- Time: the time from which the innovation is first known until it is either accepted or rejected by a potential user and the innovation's adoption rate
- Social system: a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish a common goal (an institution, a neighborhood, a nation)
Being aware of these four elements, we can now see how they can relate to technology adoption rates and discuss ways in which we can improve them. Let's examine each element and how technology companies can use marketing to reduce the amount of time it takes for their product to be adopted by their clients.
Innovation: What does your product bring to the table that isn't already there? In order for your innovation to create a buzz, it must present something new worth talking about. This is where a good positioning strategy can make all the difference. Your product must be perceived as new and special, whether it is a breakthrough innovation or not.
Communication channels: As a tech company, you must be able to identify the channels that your target market listens to. What blogs do they visit? Are they a member of a certain social media group? Do they go to a particular professional meeting or conference? You must learn how to use these and other channels to spotlight your innovation effectively if you hope to increase your technology's adoption rate.
Time: Thanks in large part to the Internet, modern communication channels have allowed for faster communication than ever before. To boost your new product's adoption rate, your marketing strategy and execution must be able to communicate your product's value as clearly and concisely as possible or risk being rejected by potential clients who are accustomed to instantaneous communication. Time is money. If clients don't understand your product within 5 seconds, they will move on and not look back.
Social system: Today, a social system encompasses more than just physical examples such as neighborhoods, offices or schools. More and more, there is emphasis on online social systems like review sites, forums, wikis, video/photo sharing sites, social networks and other digital communities. These are very powerful tools that can easily spread messages in a very short amount of time. You must choose your target market appropriately and decide how to incorporate these online communities into your customer acquisition strategy, all without ignoring the potential of traditional social systems.
The bottom line is that for a successful adoption rate of your new technology, you must invest in marketing that addresses all four of these factors. Technology is changing our world and is evolving at an ever-increasing pace. To be a technology manufacturer winner, you must find a way to keep ahead of this pace.
Contact Direct Objective Consulting to discuss your marketing challenges and learn how you can take advantage of the four elements of the diffusion of innovations theory and use them to boost your new product's adoption rate.
Published on Monday 30th of June 2014
July 1st is not only Canada Day but also the day Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) comes into effect. The law has been described by some as the most stringent anti-spam legislation in the world. The CBC recently reported that according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), most small-medium businesses are still unprepared to apply the new legislation. Prepare for the implementation of CASL by following these 5 steps:
- Verify whether you have received express consent from your Canadian contacts
CASL deals with two types of consent:
- Express consent (expires only when an unsubscribe request is received): a recipient explicitly asks to receive your commercial electronic messages (CEMs);
- Implied consent (expires after 24 months): a relationship exists but the recipient has not explicitly asked to receive CEMs.
- Ensure that all your electronic communications are compliant with CASL
Every CEM you send must:
(1) Be sent with consent of the recipient;
(2) Clearly identify the sender; and
(3) Provide an unsubscribe mechanism.
- Define a plan to gradually build express consent from your Canadian contacts
You have a period of 3 years to ask for express consent from your existing business relationships. Implement a plan to gain their consent to ensure you can continue to send them CEMs.
- Keep a database to monitor express and implied consent
Keep a centralized database to keep track of your contacts and their levels of consent. You must be able to prove consent by providing the following information:
- What type of consent was obtained;
- When it was obtained;
- The context in which it was obtained.
- Educate your team about the DOs and DON'Ts of CASL and enforce new policies
It is critical that your employees be fully aware of the new CASL regulations, their implications and risks. Learn more with our CASL DOs and DON'Ts document.
Published on Tuesday 25th of June 2013
With summer having officially arrived, it’s time to take a look at some of the marketing tactics and trends in B2B lead generation before we all start taking it a little easy at the beach. In a recent survey by Chief Marketer, we can find several insights into how marketers are tackling lead generation and the current trends in attracting new clients.
According to the results, 41.5% of respondents were focusing primarily on finding new customers in 2013, with 43.6% focusing on current customers, but still hoping to build awareness among potential customers. It is clear that in the current market, B2B lead generation is hot. For companies that are planning on staying stagnant with their customer base, with little efforts on creating new leads, there is great potential for them to lose out to companies that are more aggressive in their marketing tactics.
With the importance of lead generation highlighted, the focus then shifts on to the marketing tactics: how are these companies planning to drive customers to their business? The top trend continues to be email marketing, with 86.7% of respondents planning on using email campaigns in 2013, up from 80.3% in 2012. Whether it be newsletters, promos or simple correspondences, email marketing continues to dominate the landscape as one of the most effective methods of generating leads.
The use of social networks in marketing has also continued to be a favourite among companies for B2B lead generation. With 67.5% of marketers intending to use social networks in 2013, up 10% from 2012, companies are turning to sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to increase brand awareness and build new client leads.
The biggest gainer in 2013 was content marketing, with 60.2% of respondents planning on focusing on web copywriting to bring in clients, up 14% from 2012. The importance of strong, search engine friendly content on web pages and blogs is essential in order to get your name out there and generate traffic to your site.
However, while each of these marketing tactics can be effective, there is no comparison to when you combine them together into an integrated B2B lead generation marketing strategy, creating a cohesive voice and plan that is sure to attract clients. A business that employs consistency across their email campaigns, social media feeds and website content, using the same style, layout and content voice among all marketing tactics will always be more successful than those that lack cohesion.
Wondering what marketing tactics will make your B2B lead generation more effective? Don’t hesitate to contact us and see how we suggest to address your marketing challenges.
Published on Tuesday 27th of November 2012
We all know the value of a business blog, but do we take advantage? In a recent study about the State of Inbound Marketing, marketing software company HubSpot reported 57% of businesses using company blogs have acquired a customer from a blog-generated lead; an increase of 11 percent since 2010. Also, corporate blogs were ranked by 55% of the respondents as the lowest inbound marketing tactic to result in “below average cost per lead” (see figure below).If this September is anything like the last one, a lot of organizations are going to be ramping up their B2B marketing efforts. Last year, when the end of summer came around, the search volume for business-to-business marketing in the United States started to increase, reaching its apex near the end of September. In Canada, we observed similar results, as you can see in the charts.
When it comes to marketing, there’s no question business blogging is effective. It drives clients to corporate Websites and companies gain new customers from blog-generated leads. These days, blogs along with other social media tactics, can play a crucial role in your company’s online presence.
Despite this, company blogs are only effective when they’re updated regularly. Content is authentic and business blogs provide real value to readers making the consistent updating of your company blog as important as ever.
HubSpot’s study reveals most company blogs publish at least monthly, if not weekly. Unfortunately, most businesses lack the time and resources for regular business blogging. This is where Direct Objective can help. By meeting with the Direct Objective staff once a month to define blog goals, companies can reap the benefits of blogging, yet free themselves from the task of actual writing it.
Together we can explore blog ideas, ensure blog posts respect company guidelines, customize the blog to be SEO-friendly and most importantly, attract new prospects.
Does your company blog need updating? Consult with us to see how we can help.
B2B Marketing B2B Marketing Strategies Pull Makreting Strategies New Marketing Strategies Content Writing Services
Published on Wednesday 31st of October 2012
Every year on Halloween, people of all ages turn off the lights, cuddle up on the couch and watch their favorite horror movie. While Halloween only happens once a year for everyone else, I am faced with horror stories all year long. On a weekly basis, I meet with companies that are living their very own nightmares as a result of their own marketing inexperience. While I am the first to agree that business-to-business marketing is no easy task, I am also the first to admit there are always ways to try and avoid problems. So for this Halloween, we here at Direct Objective have a little treat in store for you, so turn off the lights, cuddle up on your office chair and get ready for our very own Business-to-Business horror stories... candy not included.
Chapter 1 - Marketing Without Measuring
Companies spending large amounts of money on marketing should live by one word: measuring. If marketing initiatives are put in place without the ability to measure key performance indicators, then why bother? Make sure that the right plan is in place in order to fully reap the benefits of your marketing initiatives and not fall victim to the Marketing Grim Reaper.
Chapter 2 - Branding is NOT Forever Young
The branding of your company is not something where you should cut corners. While a substantial investment into your online content, signage and logo is definitely recommended, remember that over time, as the industry around you changes, so should your branding. Allocate an annual budget for revamping your website, marketing material and even your logo if necessary to avoid being viewed as the Mummy of your industry.
Chapter 3 - Marketing Tactics are not Automated
So your company wants to invest more in various marketing tactics, while this is a step in the right direction do not think that merely setting it up is enough. Integrate and Automate your tactics to ensure that your social media, email campaigns, SEO, PR and other campaigns are aligned accordingly, not doing so would be the equivalent of getting lost in a haunted house. Avoid it and plan ahead!
Chapter 4 - To go International or not to go International
Every year, innovative products are developed, successfully tested in local markets and 7 years later there is still no attempt to break into the international arena. In today’s business market, the world has become a global village, easily accessible to all who want to. Cut down your time-to-market by daring to enter the international market, you’ll find that it’s a lot less trick and lot more treat.
Chapter 5 - International Expansion Needs International Experience
Breaking into the international market is great, what is better is having someone that you trust with the knowledge on how to capitalize in that market. Above all else, make sure your company is ready for a new market, that you are attracting new leads in that market and then let your senior salesperson takeover. Remember, if the sales are not there... R.I.P.
So there you have it, your very own guide to avoiding B2B Marketing Nightmare mistakes, now turn on the lights and get back to work!
Published on Wednesday 17th of August 2011
If this September is anything like the last one, a lot of organizations are going to be ramping up their B2B marketing efforts. Last year, when the end of summer came around, the search volume for business-to-business marketing in the United States started to increase, reaching its apex near the end of September. In Canada, we observed similar results, as you can see in the charts.
The summer months, in comparison, are much more relaxed. Many people take their vacations and put off major B2B marketing projects until the fall. This means the competition is lower at that time. But when this September comes around, what are you going to do to stay ahead?
The Slowdown and Marketing Strategy
The economy has experienced another slowdown this summer. Is it time to halt your B2B marketing? Make no mistake, this time it will be most challenging for the companies that target federal clients. Private businesses have mostly recovered since the last economic crisis. A good indication of this is a recently released report by Gartner: Quarterly IT Spending Forecast July 2011 that claims that dispite of the economic climate worldwide, IT spending forecast has been revised up from 5.6% to 7.1% quarter over quarter. That means no cutting back on B2B marketing and instead adopting an aggressive marketing strategy to get ahead.
A report published a few years ago by BMO Financial Group investigated how Canadian businesses were affected by the global economic recession. It indicated that the most successful and least impacted organizations all had few things in common: they were always seeking to expand into new markets and unknown markets; they were refocusing their customer bases and getting rid of non-core business; and they were not afraid to forego the familiar and embrace the risks that can ultimately lead to further success.
Therefore, use these times to go on the offensive. Ramp up your B2B marketing, introduce new products, and spend a lot of effort making sure they’re in your customers’ minds. By taking a weaker economy head on, not only can you plow through the tough times, but you are ideally poised for rapid growth the moment there is an upswing.
This coming September, your competitors might be considering all of the above. Don’t fall behind, call Direct Objective to grow your customer base and expand into less familiar B2B marketing tactics or strategies.
Published on Monday 6th of December 2010
A very interesting 2010 is wrapping up, and the marketing industry is facing some major changes moving forward. 2010 was nowhere near as financially tough for many as 2009, but the recovery, while starting to show signs of hope, is still hampering firms. In response to the economic downtown, as well as new, emerging technologies, companies have undergone a major shift from the old marketing regime in a process we’ve coined New Marketing Evolution.
We’ve identified 5 major consequences of New Marketing Evolution to consider as we head into 2011.
1. The definition of marketing, transformed: During the last 2 years, the marketing industry has undergone a significant shift. The mindset of the potential clients has changed and if you or your company continue employing the old methods, you may quickly fall behind the curve. The key changes:
Old Marketing Regime
New Marketing Evolution
5-year marketing plan
Real-time, here and now: Marketing strategies, technologies, and techniques are evolving every day, so companies are now sticking to a 6-12 month outlook.
Customized to the prospect: If you’re pitching a one-size-fits-all package to a potential client, odds are that they’ve seen it before, they can do it themselves, or they can find a better options by searching Google. A customizable, personal option is the way to make leads stick around.
Spend big bucks
WOM (Word-of-mouth): Why spend thousands on an ad campaign that you’re not even sure can reach the right people? B2B marketing strategy based around word-of-mouth saves money and can drive real, relevant leads.
Controlled sales environment
Welcome to the Wild West: Whatever your business, there are likely twenty others just like you, hungry for your business. Just like the Old West, you need to constantly stay on your toes and constantly adapt.
Push marketing (Tell me what I need to do)
Pull Marketing: Businesses are bombarded with marketing every moment of their lives. This isn’t the death of the cold call, but the new marketing strategy is: don’t interrupt me, I’ll call you when I've done my research.
Use of traditional offline media
Use online and offline media: Integration is a key for the success of marketing campaign. Combining the power of online marketing with some of the proven traditional media may yield the 1+1=11 effect. Just make the proper planning.
Automated process: There’s an app for that. Just like about everything else, marketing automation software has become extremely prevalent and it allows you to do more with less.
No ability to measure
What is the ROI?: Calculating return-on-investment has become more sophisticated and easier, paradoxically at the same time. Invest in the marketing activities that would make an impact on your sales.
2. The competitive landscape is more spirited than ever, for three reasons: (A) the economic situation leads to less buying power, thus decreasing the number of potential consumers or clients, (B) a smaller world approach brings a lot of new competitors from international markets that were not present in our market before, and (C) the high pace of changes and the consolidation of technologies creates inherently new competitors, both direct and indirect. For example, the introduction of Apple's iPad imposed competition not only on eBook readers, but also on laptop, notebook, wireless phone, and portable entertainment devices. And in the first quarter of 2011, iPad will have its own breed of competitors; already, just two weeks ago, HP released the Slate.
3. Internal pressure to use fewer resources and deliver faster: Marketing budgets usually shrink or almost disappear in slow economies, but the need for good leads to fill your pipeline is still there. You just need to work harder with the limited resources you have in hand. Look again at the table above and notice how new B2B marketing strategies are designed for efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
4. The new marketer must master technology and create original content: While a lot of marketing is performed online nowadays, there are a hefty amount of tools that can be used to research, measure, and automate the marketing process. You need to learn them quickly, master them, and on top of that produce creative content. Here is the shift in the approach:
Old Marketing Regime
New Marketing Evolution Approach
Authentic and valuable content
Monologues and speeches tone
Share, interact and collaborate
Integrated strategy across channels
No data, no worries
Prospect data should be analyzed and drive improvements
If you’re not producing creative, original content through a company blog, or a Twitter account, or a sales presentation, or any other part of your marketing campaign, then why should a client listen?
5. Delivery = ROI: After you’ve spent time developing and implementing a well-targeted, carefully-researched, meticulously-refined marketing solution, you’ve only just begun. It is not enough to just spend time on delivering marketing activity; you must listen to your target audience, collect and analyze marketing results, deduct what the return on investment is and how it can be improved for future marketing activity.
Marketing Evolution may have created a more competitive and constantly changing environment, but it has opened the door for customization, unique interpretation, inspiring interaction, and creativity. New technologies and techniques allow new B2B marketing strategies to build closer relationships with clients than ever before. How your company evolves with New Marketing Evolution is up to you.