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?

5 Ways to Socialize Your B2B Content to Increase Leads and Sales

As B2B online marketers, creating new, socially shareable content to generate leads and sales is a huge part of our jobs. It’s not always easy to come up with highly engaging tweets or status updates, and it can be even harder to correlate that activity to leads or sales due to a complex B2B sales cycle. However, social content extends beyond the popular social platforms. Traditional marketing materials can easily be converted into socially shareable ones! Here are five types of content to share socially.

1. Slideshare Presentations
Turn the Powerpoint on it’s head! Create short and simple presentations and upload them to Slideshare. In the last slide include a call-to-action for the viewer to get something additional. When they click the link, they leave the presentation and arrive at a landing page with a short form, in order to receive something else of value.

I’m a firm believer that most marketing content should be free and readily accessible without registration, but only until you prove that you can provide value. Once you’ve done this, there’s no reason not to move on to the next step and ask for something in return for your content. Asking for basic contact information is usually that first step.

Slideshare makes it easy to tweet, like or Facebook share links to each presentation. They track the most shared presentations on Twitter and Facebook and will feature your presentation on the home page or a channel page if it is really popular. They alert you with an e-mail that says “your presentation is hot on Facebook.” This is very exciting if you’re a social marketer. It always makes my day!

2. White Papers
White papers have long been used for lead generation. We hide them behind a form and ask for contact information in exchange for sharing industry knowledge. However, how many more people would view the white paper if there was no form to fill out?

It may seem scary to free your white paper from its cage because publishing a white paper is traditionally a lead generation tactic. But putting it in front of the form ensures that more people will see it. The white paper also then becomes a lot more socially sharable. Just include a call to action at the end of the paper that leads to a form where you can collect contact information.

You can also embed the @Anywhere Tweetbox app on Thank You pages to add an even more social element.

3. Videos
Video marketing can be used to directly drive leads and sales. This is a great post by Jay Baer on how to humanize your brand with video.

Include a nice big call to action at the end of the video to drive the viewers to a landing page. This way, you can continue the conversation and, ask for contact info via a form or even get them to buy something directly.

And don’t forget to give viewers the opportunity to share the video socially with a tweet or LinkedIn/Facebook share.

4. Mini-Guides
Think of these as mini white papers. They can be Top 10 type guides that are a little meatier than a blog post, or they can be introductory type guides that introduce beginners to a complex topic.

At ion, our mini guides are about 1-3 pages long, but may be longer if we include a lot of visual examples. The Guide to Online Testing is our longest at 14 pages.

Mini guides can be used in the same way white papers are, but require less time on the part of the content creator. Set up a schedule where you’re creating one full-fledged white paper every quarter, but also producing a mini guide once per month. Depending on how big or small your marketing department is, you can adjust that schedule accordingly. The important thing is to constantly be creating new, valuable, consumable content that can be shared socially.

5. Blog Posts
Blog posts are a great way to generate traffic and interest in your products or services, so don’t miss that opportunity to capture leads from them. Why not add a call-to-action at the end of a few posts to direct your blog readers onto the next step of a long and healthy relationship with you.

Those are my five favorite ways to drive leads and sales with content and social marketing. What are your favorite ways to make your marketing content social?

12 Social Media Tools for B2B Pre-Event Marketing

Social media has enabled B2B marketers with a wide range of opportunities for promoting their events. Whether it’s a webinar or a multi-day conference, leveraging social media can help event organizers extend an event’s visibility, attendance and pre-event conversations.

Using social media to build event attendance

Most larger events have their own web site and most smaller events have a least a landing page with registration (and hopefully those include social sharing functionality), but very few take advantage of the event capabilities of several social media channels or services. If you are running an event, consider promotion in the following areas:

1. LinkedIn Events
LinkedIn Events

Setting up an event in LinkedIn is a fairly simple process. Once your event is created, invite your connections to attend. LinkedIn users will be shown events that match their specific business needs based on the information they’ve added to their LinkedIn profile (Job Title, Industry, etc.), so your event may show up in their recommendations. In addition, your event will become searchable, and people connected to event attendees will see the event listed in their contact’s profile.

2. Facebook Events
Facebook Events
Facebook doesn’t have the most elegant option for managing events, but it can be effective. If your event or organization does not have a Facebook presence, just set up your event in Facebook Events and invite all your friends. Here’s a good guide from Mashable on How To: Organize an Event on Facebook. It’s a year old but the information is still useful.

If your event or organization does have a Facebook Page, you should create the event through that Page. It is a bit convoluted, but start by going to your Page and click “Edit Page” in the lefthand navigation. Click “Applications” in the left hand navigation. Events shows in your list of applications, and click “Go to Application.” Now you can create the event normally, but it is associated with the Page. This event will appear on the Page Wall, and you can still invite your friends, plus send an update to everyone who has liked the page.

3. Eventbrite
Eventbrite empowers you with simple but powerful tools to manage, promote and sell out your event. It’s free to sign up and get started. Eventbrite provides everything you need including custom page templates and the ability to sell tickets. If you sell tickets, Eventbrite charges a fee, plus you will need to link to a Paypal or Google Checkout account to accept payment. Eventbrite will also list your public event in its directory. You can even track your registration page in Google Analytics.

4. Plancast

Plancast Screenshot

Plancast is the easiest way to share events with friends. Just create an account, add an event and invite people to announce their attendance. Once your event has multiple attendees, people can leave comments, invite their contacts, add the event to their calendar and more.

5. Twitter
Twitter can offer limitless value in promoting your event. Here’s some Twitter event-marketing recommendations:

  • For larger events only, create a new Twitter account that you can update all year long
  • Establish and publicize a hashtag for your event
  • Create separate Twitter lists of event speakers, sponsors, attendees and local restaurants and attractions
  • Use Twitter search to find potential attendees and follow them
  • Tweet about event-specific information including sessions, speakers, exhibitors, benefits of attending, etc.
  • Promote your event by running a contest. For example, give away a free or discounted registration for those that tweet about your event

6. Facebook Page

Social Fresh Cruise Facebook Group

A Facebook Page can provide a destination for attendees to engage with event organizers. Organizers can share their pre-event processes and event updates which will help generate interest. Sharing photos, videos, press releases, media coverage, speaker updates, etc. and receiving feedback on those posts will benefit both the attendees and the event organizers.

7. Blog
Social Fresh Blog

Create a blog for the conference and source content from speakers and attendees. Write posts about the conference and answer frequently asked questions. The blog can even extend beyond the conference and be used as a year-round source of information. Social Fresh and Social Media Week NY are good examples of event blogs that generate marketing value.

8. YouTube and UStream Videos
Create pre-event videos discussing conference topics or featuring conference speakers. Consider a live video show a few days prior to the event to share event information, agenda, speaker bios, and whatever other event-related topics you’d like to cover. Invite attendees to ask questions via Twitter or live chat.

9. Community
Building a community around your event may only be viable for the larger conferences like SXSW, but the value it can bring to attendees is worth the consideration. Within the SXSW community, attendees can research and vote on panel sessions, engage in event-related discussions and prepare their schedule. If your event has the resources and a large enough base of attendees, consider putting a community in your event planning agenda.

10. Mobile

There’s a variety of mobile marketing options to consider for your event. You can use pre-event text voting to get attendee feedback, use QR codes on marketing materials like posters and print ads, and mobile apps can be created to provide event details, agendas, locations and other pertinent information.

11. Slideshare
Put together a slide presentation of your conference benefits, topics or speakers and posting it to Slideshare. Leverage it for other uses too including the event blog, Facebook page, etc.

12. Foursquare, Gowalla and other check-in apps
Ignite Foursquare BadgeTwitter 140 Conf. BadgeInternet Week Foursquare Badge
It seems people will do anything for a badge or other check-in reward. Use this to your advantage. See if you can offer something special at the event check-in for those using a location based service like Foursquare, Gowalla or Whrrl.

So what other ways have you used social media for your B2B event marketing?

Presentation: 7 Online Video Tips Every B2B Marketer Should Know

Last week I got a lot of great feedback from my post about B2B online video marketing. In light of this interest, I put together a presentation of the seven video tips to make it easier for everyone to share. Please feel free to download and share with others in your organization who may find it helpful.

What else would you like to know when it comes to B2B Online Video?

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?

Presentation: Using Blogs, Facebook and Events For B2B Lead Generation

Most of the questions I get about B2B social media are centered around lead generation. In 2009, I did several presentations on the subject and received valuable feedback from listeners at those events and readers of this blog on the topic. I have but together a presentation that addresses B2B social media lead generation using blogs, Facebook and offline events. The presentation below also includes audio that is synced with the slides that describes these examples in more detail.

I hope these ideas and examples are useful to you as you compose your lead generation plans for 2010. What else should be included in this presentation? Do you like these embedded slides with audio? Would you like to see more presentations on SocialMediaB2B.com?

9 B2B Social Media SlideShare Presentations Worth Watching

In the world of business-to-business companies presentations with slides have become a staple for internal and external meetings. Because many of us rely on slides, we often need inspiration and help putting together the perfect deck. Recently I have become a fan of SlideShare.net, a site that allows users to upload and share their slide presentations with others. I have found it a great source for presentations on a wide variety of topics.

Today, I wanted to share with you some of the best B2B social media slide decks on SlideShare in hopes that they can be educational, and perhaps helpful, when you have to put together your own social media related presentations for management and other internal groups.

1. Dell B2B Social Media Huddle By Neville Hobson – This presentation mixes solid usage facts with larger strategic concepts that could be useful in selling social media internally, but also for creating a sound strategic framework.

2. B2B Social Media Marketing Techniques: Measuring the Impact from Creation to Closed Deal By Kyle Flaherty – Kyle outlines clear points for developing content that creates engagement that can lead to measurable results.

3. IBM Case B2B Social Media By Tim Washer – These slide walk through the IBM Mainframe case study and showcase the results created when B2B Social media is executed well.

4. LaPointe: B2B & Social Media: Performance, Measurements, and SEO Benefits By LIFT Summit 09 – Social media, tied to SEO and examples of good content, make this a useful presentation for helping to understand the bigger role of social media for inbound marketing.

5. B2B Social Media and Twitter – an Interview with Ann Handley of MarketingProfs By Andrew Spoeth – This presentation includes an audio interview that provides valuable insight from Ann Handley of Marketing Profs. Worth listening to to understand how Ann balances her time and uses social media for her business.

6. Community with Social Media and Web 2.0 – A Cisco Product Launch Case Study by LaSandra Brill – Cisco provides a great walk through of how they marketed a specific hardware product using social media. Often you see many examples of social media at the corporate level, it is helpful to see one that is product specific.

7. Building the B2B Business Case for Social Media By Christina Kerley – From influencer engagement to connecting social media to CRM, this presentations highlights the high-level B2B social media issues that companies will be dealing with in the coming years.

8. B2B Social Communications Case Studies – Intuit By Business Development Institute – I saw this case study presented live this past fall. It serves as a great example of leveraging social media to reach small business owners and the business results that can be translated from this type of program.

9. Social Media Strategy and Execution for Branding, Engagement and Recruiting By Polly Pearson of EMC – We can often forget that current and perspective employees are an important audience for social media. This presentation from EMC focuses on the employee relations aspects of social media.

Did you find these presentations helpful? Are there others that you have found helpful or provided inspiration?

Presentation: 10 Examples of B2B Facebook Fan Pages

Last week we published a post 10 Examples of B2B Facebook Fan Pages and it was very well received by our readers. Since one of the goals of Social Media B2B is to educate people about the value and benefits of social media in B2B and provide advice on how to get started, I have converted that post to a slideshare presentation. Now, as you are talking internally about your social media plans for 2010, here is an easy reference to use to discuss Facebook Fan Pages.

The presentation includes some introductory bullets highlighting some of the benefits of having a Fan Page; 10 examples of Facebook Fan Pages including a link, number of fans and a brief explanation of why the page is notable; and a summary page of the 10 examples. Share this presentation with your colleagues and your boss to start the conversation about what you could do with a Facebook Fan Page for your company.

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?