Last Thursday I attended B2B Marketing University in Atlanta that was sponsored by Silverpop. It was an interesting concept – invite your target audience to an educational seminar in which there are NO product pitches whatsoever (having it at a top-notch hotel and feeding attendees doesn’t hurt either). Genius. Certainly companies and backgrounds were mentioned but it seemed done more so from the standpoint of establishing credentials.
Over the course of three hours I took five pages of notes, front and back, which I’ll be sharing on this blog. Although I’m no longer in B2B Marketing, it was important for me to be there to learn what the “big boys” are talking about and see how this translates to Small/Medium Businesses (SMB). It is ESSENTIAL in this day and age to stay updated on trends that affect a business owner’s market. One of the speakers even uttered my mantra: “change is the only constant.” Companies that resist change and evolving are going to quickly get left behind.
A few themes developed for me as I was reviewing my notes, and instead of writing one gi-normous post I’ll write a future post on “Tips and Information for SMB.” So below are a few of the trends that everyone should become familiar with, according to Silverpop and its comrades:
• The buyer is changing – companies/freelancers are shortlisted before they’re ever called
• Social media is critical to making buyer decisions. So why should a business owner have a blog, submit articles to content-sharing sites, have a Twitter account? Because if he/she doesn’t and their competitor does, it’s an easy decision for the buyer.
• If you can’t be “found” easily, it sends up red flags. When I google a company and can’t find it, it screams out “sketchy” to me.
• There is a fundamental shift focusing on raw leads to managing buyer dialogue to nurture sales-ready relationships
• A trendy new term is “inbound marketing.” Inbound is the ability to 1) Get found and 2) shape community dialogue (this is done via a blog, social media site, etc)
o A fictional example, but one that people can identify with is Dunder Mifflin’s failed “Infinity 2.0” social media project from the popular TV show The Office
• Static websites are dead; websites need fresh, relevant information for SEO purposes. What does this mean for people who have to continuously pay webmasters to update? I don’t know. But for those who don’t have sites yet, keep that in mind.
• Trending words are “manage,” “manage,” and “manage.” Manage the process. Again, back to entrepreneurship 101 of having a proactive not reactive business model.
• Change is the only constant. Get onboard and stop resisting/whining. I tell my husband this all the time as he hates FaceBook, LinkedIn, etc.
• More ROI pressure is being put on vendors. Example: I gave you a $1, now how much is your service giving back?
• Marketers have to adapt, but it is not completely out with the old, in with the new
• Buyers want relationships
o I disagree. I think the word ‘relationships’ is getting old, fast. Buyers want a company with personality. They don’t want you to be their best friend and you shouldn’t like that. But you should stand for something, know how to communicate that, and show up (meaning, be found). • Trend: do to your customers what you’re doing to them. If they mention you on twitter, you do the same. If they comment on your blog, you do the same. Mirror
• Lastly and very important, the difference between “Email Marketing” and “Marketing Automation:”
-EMAIL MARKETING: is more B2C
-MARKETING AUTOMATION: B2B or Complex sales process