The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing

b2b-marketing-meaningOur friend Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners has written a lot about the what and the how of B2B marketing, but never the why. In this amazing Slideshare presentation called The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing, and embedded below, he tackles the question of what makes his career in B2B marketing meaningful.

In addition to the ideas expressed, pay attention to the presentation itself. Presented as a notebook with handwritten notes, sketches and more formal type, this comes across as the simple musings of a creative guy (which Doug certainly is). He really captures the right tone and visual style in this piece. And the voyeuristic quality of reading someone else’s notebook makes it even more fun.

b2b-marketing-meaning-doug

The honesty of Doug’s writing really creates a connection with his audience of B2B marketers. While he is working out meaning in his own career, he hopes that it helps others in the field. My favorite line is:

When you were a kid, you never said, “I want to be a B2B marketer when I grow up.”

You definitely need to check out the whole notebook, but here are the seven things that give his work as a B2B marketer meaning:

1. I like helping companies grow.

2. I Like helping our clients achieve success in their careers.

3. I love working alongside talented, engaged, positive people who also love what they do.

4. I love learning new things.

5. I love work that demands creativity.

6. I like honest work that asks me to build a great case for my client.

7. I like figuring out how the business of business works.

Are there other things that give meaning to your career as a B2B marketer?

12 Compelling B2B Social Media Slideshare Presentations

B2B marketers give lots of presentations in today’s work environment, and are always looking for inspiration for new ideas and new ways to present those ideas. Below are a dozen B2B social media presentations from Slideshare from a variety of sources that should help get you thinking before you stand up and give your next presentation. Share your best work with us in the comments.

10 Ways to "Solve" Facebook for B2B
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Dell B2B Huddle UK with Brian Solis
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12 Ways to Leverage Your LinkedIn Profile for a B2B Company

LinkedIn is considered by many to be the professional social network, but since it is based around people and their individual profiles, many don’t realize the benefit their B2B company can get with a well-crafted, active personal profile. Users can develop and strengthen business relationships, receive industry information, demonstrate thought leadership and improve search results for their company website and blogs. The following points below can help you transform your profile into one that supports your company’s online marketing efforts.

1. Descriptive Headline
The default for this field is your current position at your current company. While many change this to a more general statement about themselves, keeping your company name in this statement clearly identifies you as a part of the company. Since many people use LinkedIn as a job search site, but claiming your company as part of your identity, you demonstrate your commitment to company to outsiders.

2. Company Branded Photo
Every social profile should have a photo and LinkedIn is no exception. If you company website has team photos, especially ones with a particular style or background, using that photo on your profile promotes your company brand and visually connects your profile to the company website.

3. Other Website Links
The default category for website links is My Website. Change the choice to Other, as shown below. This gives you a customizable field to enter your company name, or even descriptive keywords, that display as a link to your company website or blog. This also creates a better anchor link, which connects keywords to the link coming from LinkedIn. This will help search results, especially if everyone in your company adjusts their links in this way.
Change category to other.

4. Summary with Keywords
The summary describing yourself, your work experience and your skills is usually thought of as a personal section, however, you can include a company description with keywords that will help people discover you, and your company, will doing searches, both on LinkedIn and on the web. Another option is to use the same descriptive company keywords, but not mention the company in your summary. This still gives you the search benefit, but makes your profile seem more personal.

5. Company Presentations
Connect your Slideshare account to your LinkedIn profile to display uploaded presentations. You can even create a company Slideshare account and upload all presentations, and connect that account to multiple employees’ profiles. These presentations demonstrate you’s and your company’s expertise on the topics you are speaking about. If you are not speaking to groups, and don’t have public presentations, convert some of your client or customer presentations in to general slide decks about the topic or your industry. This is a great place to upload portfolio decks or company overviews.

6. Standardize Company Name
Make sure all company employees list the company the same way on their profiles. This links to the Company profile page, which is both autogenerated and customizable (see #9 below). While this is not a problem for big companies because it is obvious how to list the company, and it usually comes up in a drop down list since it is already in the LinkedIn database, smaller companies sometimes get added a variety of ways. This includes things like having commas in a company name or adding inc or LLC to the name. Use the most common form of the company name so that people can find your company.

7. Full Job Description
In addition to adding a job description that summarizes what you do, add a one or two sentence standard description of the company. This is another opportunity for all your employees that have this information on their profiles to show up in search results for the keywords that describe your company.

8. Connect with Others
Social networking is all about connecting with others, and now that you have a completed profile that represents you as an employee of your company, reach out and connect with other employees, partners, vendors and customers. Now when you meet new contacts at industry events, make sure you ask people to connect on LinkedIn. The more people in your network, the more powerful your connections become.

9. Company Summary
Most of the information on the company profile is pulled from personal profiles with this company name, but you should complete it by adding a description and the company logo. This description is similar to the one used on employee profiles, but may be a sentence or two longer and add a bit more depth to it. This is a chance to include additional descriptive keywords or even industries that you serve. If you understand how your current customer describe your business, or how they found you in the first place, this information helps craft the summary that helps others find you online.

10. Follow Companies
A recent feature is the ability to follow companies. This is a fully public feature, so before you follow a competitor or customer to keep up with employee changes and other company updates, be aware that this is announced to your network, and it shows on a list on the company page. You should definitely follow your own company to keep up with employee changes and promotions. This is less important in a smaller company.

11. Join Groups
Groups are ways for people with similar interests to connect on LinkedIn. These are usually industry specific, and are frequently started by companies, maybe even competitors. So long as the discussions are open and helpful, it is worth joining any relevant groups. Start by reading discussion topics and understanding how the group functions. Add helpful information based on your industry expertise and knowledge. With a company-based profile, others in the group will know what you do without you having to respond in a salesy manner.

In addition to discussion topics, people post and comment on news articles and blog posts (maybe even this one). This is a good way to get industry specific news in a filtered manner. Group activity is emailed to you, so you can keep up with a group without constantly going to the site. And if their are many industry groups that you want to join, you may want to divide and conquer with other employees with multiple people joining all the relevant groups, but set responsibilities for who keeps up with which group and forwards information back to the team.

12. Answer Questions
These are category based discussions threads that are not connected to Groups, all though the approach is the same. Read answers to understand how people respond, especially look at answers that have been selected as the best answer. This is another chance to demonstrate your knowledge and your company’s expertise and thought leadership, frequently to people outside your industry. And just like within groups, your profile represents your company and what you do.

Share any other tips or successes you have had with LinkedIn from a company perspective in the comments below.

SlideShare Adds Branded Channels For B2B Companies

SlideShare the online presentation sharing site has made a big play in the past six months to attract B2B users and companies. We have talked about SlideShare several times on Social Media B2B including how to leverage SlideShare for B2B Lead generation.

The service has now added another feature in hopes of attracting business users: Branded channels. As a B2B company you can now have a branded channel that customers and those interested in your information can easily follow. As I understand SlideShare channels work very similar to the way channels on other sharing sites such as YouTube work. All of a company’s presentations on SlideShare can be shared through the company channel. The core benefit of this is that instead of trying to promote each presentation you upload, instead you can consistently promote subscribing to you SlideShare channel and they will see a new presentation as soon as it has been published.

Think of this as e-mail list opt-in for all of your presentations and whitepapers.

Do you plan on creating a branded channel for your business?

B2B Social Media Lead Generation Using SlideShare

Online platforms have a long track record of providing advertising as a business model, but few have implemented direct lead generation functionality as part of their business models. Enter the team at SlideShare.net who recently announced the launch of two new business services. The first service, AdShare, allows users to promote their presentations on SlideShare by paying a pay-per-click rate.

The second service, and the focus of this post, is LeadShare, a service that lets you embed a form in your slide show to capture potential leads. The form can go anywhere in your presentation and, depending on the amount of information you are looking for, leads cost between $1 and $22. If, for example, you only want a name and e-mail address, then you would only pay $1 per lead.

See the full presentation from SlideShare for additional information on these service.s And below we offer tips for improving LeadShare results.

Leveraging Great Content For Permission Marketing

Traditionally, when a web-based service opens up an opportunity for lead generation the flood gates open up with every consultant, reseller, and others pumping out hit-you-over-the-head sales content that floods the community with a bunch of noise. SlideShare’s new service provides a good opportunity for some B2B businesses, but only if they can create some killer content.

Here is a list of a few ideas to improve your SlideShare lead generation strategy.

1. Content Is King – To generate leads you need interesting presentations and content. Look at the most popular presentations, regardless of industry, and do an analysis of the traits they all share. Then work to incorporate those traits in all of the presentations you share.

2. Don’t Rely Only On Views From SlideShare – Sure, SlideShare has 20 million visitors, but you have a network of blog readers, twitter followers and Facebook fans. Don’t rely on SlideShare to make sure that the relevant people in your network know about your presentations. Tell them yourself!

3. Do A Speech – Many people look at slides on SlideShare following a presentation they liked at a conference or local event. Speak offline and then share your slides on SlideShare. If you don’t have any speaking opportunities, create them. Speak to a video camera in a meeting room that you have access to and post the video and slides on your blog. Video helps to add deeper context to your slides.

4. Solve A Potential Customers Problem – Identify common problem that your customers share and then develop slides and content targeted to them solve the problems for free. If your customers continually have problems with e-mail marketing for example, then develop a series of presentation to help them improve. Solving problems builds trust and trust allows for a dialogue in permission marketing.

Be smart, think about the leads you are looking for and most importantly be relevant and interesting.

Will LeadShare change the way you use SlideShare?