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Performance Anxiety and the Modern Marketer

September 30, 2014 For all the change that’s taken place in how buyers buy, it’s no wonder that marketers feel uncertain. It’s not just about learning new skillsets and making sure teams are staffed and equipped with enough resources. It’s about realizing, understanding and then doing something about the new roles that we need to have as marketers and marketing …

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Sales and Marketing: Moving From Content to Conversations

September 16, 2014 Equipping B2B sales teams with the relevant content that helps them have long-term conversations with buyers is hard. Few marketers understand the strategy behind it and even fewer execute it well. It’s an area that’s vitally important to marketers and was the topic of a panel I moderated last week at Content Marketing World in Cleveland. I …

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Content Marketing: Don’t Knock it ‘Til You’ve Actually Done It

July 29, 2014 I’ve seen plenty of headlines lately about why content marketing doesn’t work, why it’s a fad or why it’s a fading fling. But nothing will work – regardless of how foolproof it is – if you don’t actually do it. The complainers and naysayers are quick to point out the shortcomings of content marketing. But what they’re …

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B2B Content Marketing Execution: We’re Not as Mature as We Think

July 16, 2014 B2B Content Marketing Execution: We’re Not as Mature as We Think Today, the Business Marketing Association (BMA), Forrester and the Online Marketing Institute released the results of a survey about the maturity of content marketing practices in business-to-business (B2B) organizations. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I serve as the Vice President of Thought Leadership for BMA …

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Ideation and Brainstorming: The art of team building through agreement

July 1, 2014 What’s better than sitting in a bland conference room, sun beating through the windows and fluorescent lights buzzing while your boss drones on about a brainstorming session? Probably everything. Brainstorming. It always begins with that cliché, “Remember, there are no bad ideas.” Which actually isn’t true. There are lots of bad ideas: The mullet. Parachute pants. New …

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50 Statistics About B2B Sales and Marketing (Mis)Alignment

June 17, 2014 It’s hard to imagine a 2014 topic hotter than Jimmy Fallon right now. I mean, who would’ve imagined that lip syncing would have such a come back? But if there’s one, at least in the business world, it’s how to fix the chasm between sales and marketing so companies quit bleeding leads (qualified or not) and customers. Why …

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BMA14: Where B2B’s Going

Photo caption: Steve Ligouri, (left) president, Ligouri Innovations and 2014-2015 BMA Board Chair and Kathy Button Bell, CMO, Emerson, and 2013-2014 BMA Board Chair kickoff the BMA 2014 conference in Chicago May 28.   Saturday, May 31, 2014 At the Business Marketing Association’s annual conference there were five themes that consistently rang loud and clear. (As a disclaimer, I’m on the …

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Think Inside the Box: Freeing Creativity with Constraints

March 31, 2014 There’s a belief that in order to be truly creative, marketers must unshackle themselves from anything that could hinder their process. Give them their creative freedom. Let them have no bounds. The sky’s the limit. FLY ICARUS, FLY! In other words, we want them to “think outside the box.” But marketers are like toddlers on Christmas morning; …

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7 Ways to Boost Your Business Just by Asking

February 17, 2014 As a small-business owner who’s successfully grown my clientele during some of the toughest economic times (I launched my agency in June, 2001), people often ask me how I’ve done it. I tell them it’s about learning the art of asking. I came across this blog post from Jack Canfield, one of America’s top success coaches, who …

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2014 Content Strategy: Do Less

2014 Content Strategy: Do Less In the latest research from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America, content marketers show that they’re definitely making progress in understanding the uniqueness of the discipline and refining their skills. The results show that 44% say they have a documented strategy and 73% have …

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Content Marketing and Sales Enablement: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

If content marketing is supposed to support the sales cycle, why are so many companies bad at it? Too many companies think the answer comes from the right marketing automation system or other technology that gets content in front of a customer or prospect. It’s not. It’s about sales and marketing not having walked the proverbial mile in each other’s …

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Teach Employees to Tell Your Brand Story

September 24, 2013 “Let me tell you a story…” is one of the most powerful phrases you hear. Yet while people relish this from Hollywood movies and best-selling authors, they often shun it in the board room. They shouldn’t. Some companies are slowly starting to understand the power of storytelling. Cisco uses it to strengthen its brand through The Network …

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The Financial ROI of Brand Storytelling

August 6, 2013 At the Society for Marketing Professional Services annual conference a few weeks ago in Orlando, people who attended my session asked me how to get executive buy-in on storytelling. My response? Talk to them in their language: money. Successful organizations of all sizes (Fortune 100 to small and medium size) are drawing on storytelling to bring their brands to life …

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“Free” Content Marketing?

I sign up for emails from lots of places. Some of them I stick with for years. Some last a matter of days. I was dumb struck by one I received today from a writer I’ve followed for many years. The gist of his email was that content marketing is overhyped. That is doesn’t achieve anything because all content marketing …

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Why Content Marketing and Human Resources Should be Friends

“Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” – Ira Glass Last week Colorado Biz Magazine published an article I wrote about storytelling and why it always needs to start on the inside of a company, rather than through marketing to the outside audiences. I think as a writer, it’s conversations like the one that his article prompted, and others …

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Is Your Content Marketing Scaleable?

One of the biggest struggles between sales and marketing stems from understanding what sales needs to turn a prospect into a customer and what marketing has the bandwidth to produce. It’s a battle that repeats itself regardless of company size or industry focus. To help remove some of the animosity from the relationship, it helps to have everyone on the …

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The 50/50 Split Between External and Internal Branding

Last week I wrote a blog post for the Content Marketing Institute about Why Brand Storytelling Must Start With Human Resources. Based on the responses I’ve received, this definitely hit a chord. A colleague of mine is a CMO for a multi-billion dollar technology company, and we talked about the piece. Interestingly, with this of a global size firm, I assumed …

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Compensation’s Role in Sales and Marketing Alignment

Up to 90% of collateral created by marketing is never used by sales. Fifty percent of B2B sales staff misses their quota. Forty percent of sales people lose their job every year. Some of these stats come from not having the right type of sales person in place. And clearly, we need to do a better job of integrating sales …

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Want to Know What Sales Thinks? Just Ask.

January 4, 2014 I had a woman call me today from a SaaS company asking if I could help her with a problem with which she struggled. The story isn’t new. We’ve all experienced it. Marketing was creating tools that sales never used. That part wasn’t surprising. But the funny part (as in odd, not “ha ha”) came from how …