Becoming a B2B Marketing Digital Native

Last week I participated in a B2B Marketing Summit in Colorado Springs.  The VP’s of Marketing in attendance were from companies such as CA Technologies, Intel, Lenovo, Teredata and Texas Instruments.  Although the travel ordeal getting home made me wonder, attending such events at least once a year is good practice.  Conferences are a great place to develop or reinvigorate your marketing skills.  Here are some of the marketing truths I learned or remembered while interacting with peers:

  • Your company’s marketing should include a brand promise.  That promise should not be “about” your company, but about how you will enable your customer to succeed. (1)
  • Selling your marketing plans internally can be tougher than executing externally.  Execs are scared channels like social media will give away intellectual property.  Ease them along with facts and a task force comprised of both advocates and skeptics. (3&4)
  • If the execs in your company balk at the idea of discussing emerging technologies or solutions they are not ready to sell yet, ask, “How do you feel about our competitors doing it then?” (2)
  • If execs say, “Why do we need to spend more money online, people already know us,” bring numbers in the form of charts, graphs and spreadsheets.  Show them that eMarketing has become more trackable, flexible, targeted, and effective than they ever thought.  (2)
  • Survey your customers and employees about which social media channels they use and what they want to hear from you.  Don’t assume.  Monitor which content resonates with readers, and do more in that vein.  (3&4)
  • Use social listening tools to find positive and negative net promoters.  Enlist the former and respond to the latter.  Create a customer advisory board with responsibility for monitoring and creating social media.  Create an internal network of contributors (versed in your social media guidelines) who are scheduled to provide content on a rotating basis, and to comment regularly.  (3&4)
  • Content marketing (a.k.a thought leadership) works, offering content with real value enhances brand equity, generates interest, and fills the sales funnel.  (5)
  • Thought Leadership is a way of marketing a company by positioning it in the minds of consumers as an expert in customer experience, emerging trends or new technologies. By offering insights that will help customers and prospects grow their businesses, the company becomes known as a consultative, value-added partner rather than a low cost provider – in other words, it’s a differentiator.  (From my presentation)

Keynote speaker Mitch Joel (6) had some messages that really resonated:  “As marketers, we must open our work to review.  You can’t just post and hope – you have to have an online relationship with your readers.”  Joel said that, “If you don’t disrupt yourself, your competitors will”, so no matter our ages, we must teach ourselves to become “digital natives.”  Keep learning, fellow natives!

Credits: Atul Vohra (1), Michael Guillory (2), Michelle Accardi (3), Pam Didner (4), Curtis Porrit (5), Mitch Joel (6)

B2B Mktg Content Usage

About Lorena Harris

Lorena Harris has more than 20 years of marketing leadership experience with large business service companies. Her expertise is in designing research-based content marketing programs for brand building and demand generation. Since earning her MBA from Duke, Lorena has built revenue-generating marketing programs for $B+ B2B service companies such as Fiserv, First Data and Vantiv (financial services), ADP (employee benefit services), Convergys (contact center services) and Donnelly (publishing services). More information available on
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