Tag Archives: CMO

Are the 4P’s relevant anymore in building products marketing?

26 Mar

Internet Being Left Behind

B2B has changed – the 4P’s don’t apply

Most marketers today know or knew of the 4Ps. They are the traditional marketing mix–product, place, price, and promotion. But these narrow views are increasingly battling with the essential need to deliver solutions.

In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Richard Ettenson, Eduardo Conrado, and Jonathan Knowles outline how B2B marketers need to adopt a new framework focused on solutions, access, value, and education–SAVE.

Having heard Eduardo, the SVP of Marketing and IT for Motorola Solutions, present how they transformed their marketing and in turn their company by utilizing the SAVE method, I wanted to share some of the key points from their article.

In a five-year study involving more than 500 managers and customers in multiple countries and across a wide range of B2B industries, they found that the 4P’s model undercuts B2B marketers in three important ways:

  1. It leads their marketing and sales teams to stress product technology and quality even though these are no longer differentiators but are simply the cost of entry.
  2. It underemphasizes the need to build a robust case for the superior value of their solutions.
  3. It distracts them from leveraging their advantage as a trusted source of diagnostics, advice, and problem solving.

Eduardo explained how Motorola Solutions used SAVE to guide the restructuring of its marketing organization and its go-to-market strategies in the government and enterprise sectors. Along the way the firm identified three requirements for successfully making the shift from 4 P’s thinking to SAVE.

  1. Management must encourage a solutions mind-set throughout the organization.
  2. Management needs to ensure that the design of the marketing organization reflects and reinforces the customer-centric focus.
  3. Management must create collaboration between the marketing and sales organizations and with the development and delivery teams.

Notice how all three of his points begin with Management. This type of fundamental shift must be embraced at the highest levels. Eduardo contributes a lot of success to the fact his CEO fully endorsed and supported this new way of thinking.

It also won’t happen overnight, but as marketers its our job, now more than ever, to help drive the company in new directions and to shape our message both internally and externally.

Creativity in the Building Products Industry

22 Mar

Practice Creativity to Get the Best Results

burst through arrow

“To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

Creativity is a funny thing. People often label themselves as creative, or more likely they say, “Oh, I’m not the creative type.” If you’re in the former category, its time to rethink your creative position.

Especially in the building products industry, creativity is more than designing a great product, putting together a fabulous sales presentation or making your meetings exciting.

Creativity sparks innovation. Have you heard of the artist Henri Matisse? Old age and illness made using his hands more difficult and he became bedridden, but he didn’t let it be a hindrance. In fact, he made a breakthrough in his final years with a new form of art. He found that he could still hold and use scissors, so he cut out colored paper to form beautiful work. He made creativity a choice. He opened his mind to being creative and reached outside of his comfort zone. Are you doing the same thing? Here are some tips to add creativity to your life:

  1. Stretch yourself. Be like Matisse and don’t accept limitations. Set a goal that makes you make choices that you haven’t had to make before. This could be as simple as going for a walk over lunch, meeting in a new spot or rearranging the furniture in your office.
  2. Choose to connect with life and other people. Start a creative network of people that you can share ideas with and provide support to each other. This could be a professional organization in your area, a handful of like-minded people in the office or a new group waiting to be formed.
  3. Change. Think about the rules in your life… Do they need to change? Change can be scary, but it can also be powerful. The building products industry has been doing a lot of things because ‘it’s the way its been done’ but our industry is changing and now is the time to make changes to thrive in the future.

Bottom line – choose to be the best you. Take the best ideas around you and improve on them and don’t hold back for the risk of failing.

For more information, check out Sam Harrison of Zing Zone, a creative author and speaker.

Find time for what matters in the building products industry

19 Mar

Why We Need to Focus on Purpose in Building Products Marketing

Focus on your business, your customers, and yourself

Too often we spend time figuring out how to be more efficient, effective, or impactful in what we do in our lives without determining if what we are doing really matters.

In the rush to check it off the list, or show the boss how great our PowerPoint looks, we don’t ask the really tough question – Does this really matter?

I’m not recommending we all move to Tibet and commune in silence for the next 6 months, but what I am advocating is that as a marketing leader in this industry you need to know how to prioritize what’s key to the business.

You have to answer these 3 questions about your brand/company –

  1. Who you are
  2. What you do
  3. Why it matters

Too often companies have lost sight of these 3 salient points. These 3 answers form the foundation of your brand experience, but more importantly they provide you with the answer to the questions – Is this important? Does it matter? Should I be spending time on this?

Because if what you’re doing doesn’t help support at least the answer to one of these 3 questions, you probably should move on. I’m not encouraging you to tell the board at the next quarterly meeting that you’re not doing something, but I am encouraging you to know why it matters, it at all.

It seems so simple, right? If it were there wouldn’t be thousands of business books written every year. Many of them with titles about Getting More Done, First Things First, What Should I Do With My Life, and many, many more.

A quick Google search of the term ‘What’s Important’ returned 1,130,000,000 results. Yes, there are over 1.1 billion results when Google is asked ‘What’s Important’. No wonder we all are tired or overwhelmed or confused or simply ready to move to that Tibetan monastery.

So stop solving every issue. Focus on those 3 fundamental questions and get the important things done (and hurry because you’re late on everything else).

6 Trends in 2013 for Building Product Marketers, Part 2

18 Dec

Tools for providing a better customer experience

Personalize Your Message and Create A Mobile-Friendly Experience

Earlier this week, I discussed 2 of the 6 trends to look for in 2013 by SilverPop, and I’m here to discuss 2 more trends to consider in the new year. With technology changing, it’s important for the building products industry to jump on board before being left behind.

Trend 3 – Personalize Your Message

With mobile devices and smart phones readily available, consumers are utilizing social networks, forums, and online reviews to make buying decisions.

  • Before a customer reaches out to your company: The customer has researched your company and product online.
  • When a customer reaches out to your company for the first time: The customer is already more than half way through the purchasing process.

Since customers are making purchasing decisions before ever reaching out to your company, it’s important to make your content more personalized. Utilizing data and information on where your customer or prospect stands in the buying process can help your company create messaging and dialogue. As a building products marketer, take advantage of the prospects or customers status in the buying process to create messaging for communication like emails that focus on their stage:

  • Prospect – Provide your product details and offer an incentive to transform the prospect into a customer.
  • Recently Made a Purchase – Send accessory recommendations or How-To videos for utilizing the product.
  • Post-Purchase – Update the customer with product information, updates, and new models plus invite them to follow you on your company’s social networks.

Trend 4 – Create a Mobile-Friendly Experience

Consumers can access information about your company easily on their phones. It is estimated in the United States there are approximately 120 million people who own smartphones. By 2016, smartphone ownership is projected to increase to approximately 200 million users, and by 2015, tablet ownership is projected to increase to 133 million.

With more and more people using mobile devices each year, it’s crucial to align your company and brand with these devices. Involve your interactive and design teams in the marketing process. Utilize these tactics to optimize your company communication for mobile devices:

  • Easily Scan Emails and Website – Make your content easily scannable by highlighting main points and adding a call-to-action on the first screen.
  • Utilize Tap Instead of Click – Provide a user-friendly experience by increasing font size, adding spaces between links, and adding buttons for tapping.
  • Provide Call-To-Action Buttons – Add a call-to-action button to simplify tapping for more information and make sure it is prominent on the page so it’s easily spotted when scanning.
  • Simplify Your Conversions – Track one conversion as opposed to three or four conversions. Try tracking the number of people who click on the call-to-action button for more information.

Investing time to create a positive customer experience will change your business in the long run. Check out my next blog post, to learn how social media is now affecting every channel of communication and how marketing departments must change to better deliver increased buyer results. If you missed Part 1, don’t forget to review how you can use actionable data and better listen to your customer to increase your customer’s experience in 2013.

Building Products Marketing Transformation And The Empowered Customer

6 Dec

Leading Marketing Transformation

Customers are more informed than ever and marketing needs to evolve to match those smarts

Earlier this month I heard from Christine Jacobs, Director of Demand Programs at IBM North America. She spoke on marketing transformation – how marketing is changing and how marketing departments need to focus on social, content and ROI to meet the growing demands of customers. She focused on the need to make digital mainstream and shared that 40% of IBM’s marketing spend is now digital. Here’s what I took away from her presentation:

Social is the way of the future

  • Christine talked a lot about social engagement and pointed out that for many organizations, this is a key area of under-preparedness. Recently there has been an explosion of data and social media and most companies aren’t prepared to tackle these changes.
  • It’s time for marketers to redefine the customer. We’ve talked about the need for personas in the past and Christine touched on this too. Instead of looking at customers as one buying group, we need to focus on micro-segments so you can build experiences and make marketing more relevant. In fact, each micro market needs specific objectives. As building product marketers, we need to appeal to the empowered customer through a differentiated experience.
  • So how do we do this? Social media is on-demand intelligence and engagement. We need to be listening. Social media should help guide media buys, social media strategy and so much more. Especially for CMOs, social media will be a key engagement channel moving forward. Are you ready?

Content and assets should align to the buyer’s journey

  • How do you create, package and distribute your content today? We need to provide a seamless experience for our customers across all touchpoints, whether they’re paid, owned or earned.
  • The best way to do this and prepare for the future? Embrace new technologies through testing. Testing can be a great way to try out things like text ads, retargeting visitors from your website, targeting niche audiences in LinkedIn, mobile marketing, etc.

ROI: Measure impact by applying the science of analytics to your marketing

  • Analytics are the future of marketing. There are a finite set of KPIs. Make sure you are measuring business outcomes (not volumes) and move from the historical to the predictive.
  • The best thing about analytics? You can optimize all the time, on the fly and operate in real time to ensure you’re making smart business decisions.

So what does this mean for your marketing department? Make sure you understand your customers in real time and anticipate their needs. Where do you start?

  • Enhance
  • Extend
  • Redefine

And work with your CIO. The CIO and CMO are the power team of the future. When looking at your 2013 marketing plans, consider: are you ready with a plan for social, content and analytics? Because if not, it’s time to reconsider. For more information on marketing transformation visit IBMconnectedcustomer.com or IBM.com/smartermarketing.

Facebook Offers New Features for Building Product Marketers

4 Dec

Building product marketers: Measure Facebook ads

Facebook Now Offers Targeted Ads, ROI Tracking Tool, and CPM Bidding Tool

Last year Elton discussed why social media ads might be something to add to your mix. With high print advertising rates and smaller marketing budgets, it’s important for building product marketers to consider the new tools Facebook has to offer. It’s worth a look at these options to see if they fit into your marketing strategy. Recently Facebook added three new features including:

  • Targeted ads
  • A ROI tracking tool
  • An optimized CPM bidding tool

New – Facebook Targeted Ads

  • Targeted ads allow advertisers to target customers by uploading their emails, phone numbers, or Facebook user IDs. Building product companies can target their advertisements to the list of customers they have along with target prospects. This allows marketers to connect with contacts and build stronger customer relationships. Building product marketers are able to target segments with a personalized message based on whether they are a customer or prospect. In addition, this provides companies a new way to gain Facebook fans from current customers and gain leads from prospects.

New – ROI Tracking Tool

  • The tracking tool allows companies to track conversions to their external pages and measure results like sales, leads, and downloads. Marketers are able to see how ads perform after clicking on the ad and being driven to the company’s landing page. With the new tracking, marketers can monitor segments that positively respond to certain messaging to gauge future ad messaging. Building product marketers can track the results by adding the code on the post-click landing page like a thank-you page.

New – CPM Bidding Tool

  • Facebook allows marketers to manage their campaigns with CPM, cost per thousand impressions, bidding tool by setting an advertising goal. By entering whether your company wants more Facebook page likes, sales, leads, etc., Facebook will adjust the CPM ads to target those who are more likely to achieve this goal. If the goal were to gain more leads, Facebook would show the ad to your target audience of prospects rather than the audience that is likely to like your company page.

With the new features Facebook offers, it is simple to measure the campaign return on investment in one platform. By not taking advantage of the latest ad technology, you could be missing the chance to build a stronger relationship with customers or gain new prospects. As Elton mentioned in a post earlier this year about utilizing social media ads in the building products industry, it is a small risk to invest in Facebook ads since people everywhere are engaging with social media.

The Perfect Building Products Threesome – Marketing, Sales AND Leads, Part 3

29 Nov

Part 3: The Pay-Off: The Impact of Sales and Marketing Working Together

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I talked about what’s happening and why many marketing departments need to change. Marketing and Sales need to working together. This is a new trend and it’s actually working. The connection of data, leads, lead scoring and, most importantly, the technology to manage it all can impact sales beyond what Marketing and Sales can do on their own.

In Part 3 of The Perfect Building Products Threesome, I’ll share some best practices from SiriusDecisions based on a talk I heard from Tony Jaros, SVP of Research, here in Kansas City. SiriusDecisions is one of the leading B2B marketing and sales insight companies. All they do is B2B. They get it. This isn’t a sales pitch for them, but they have forgotten more about how to make this work than most of us know.

One of the best pieces of advice was – technology has to be the last part of Sales and Marketing integration – otherwise you automate bad processes. This is key for any part of technology: you must implement a CRM platform, marketing automation and lead scoring.

Here are some other key points to drive the point home:

  • 70% of companies will increase their investment in marketing automation over the next 5 months
  • Fewer than 25% of organizations utilize marketing automation to its fullest
  • The greatest barrier for a sales rep not a hitting quota is failure by Marketing to demonstrate value and the salesperson cuts the cycle short
  • Integrated communications deliver twice as many leads to the pipeline
  • 90% of leads from Marketing are not followed up on
  • It takes 8-12 attempts to gain marketing engagement. Most companies quit after 5.
  • Marketing is the most scalable source of leads. Sales as the lead source is the most expensive non-scalable source of leads.
  • Hire sales reps to close. Not to prospect or manage accounts.
  • The #1 thing Sales spends time on is developing content (nearly 25% of time)
  • Field marketing and demand centers are the only area that continues to get more budget, while advertising and branding budgets continue to decline.
  • Do sales and marketing agree on these critical questions:
  • What are you selling?
  • Who are you selling it to?
  • The definition of a lead?
  • The way that companies buy what you sell has changed. Have you?

These facts show there many things that can be impacted by you and your marketing team. The key thing to remember is that last bullet – do sales and marketing agree? Marketing cannot continue to do what we’ve done and expect different results. Sales cannot ignore quality leads that marketing has scored and nurtured. The two must both own and love the sales lead process. So when you’re planning your strategy remember the perfect building products threesome – Marketing, Sales AND Leads and make a lasting impact on your organization.

The Perfect Building Products Threesome – Marketing, Sales AND Leads, Part 2

28 Nov

Part 2: The Impact Sales and Marketing Can Have When Working Together

In Part 1 of this series, I referenced a MarketingSherpa study that was, at best, discouraging to marketers. But in this post, I hope to bring you back from despair. There is a real trend happening in the B2B marketplace between Marketing and Sales and their shared resource – sales leads.

Here are three key stats from MarketingSherpa B2B Best Practices that show the impact Sales and Marketing can make when working together:

1. Companies that qualify leads, instead of sending them all to Sales, have a 30% higher return on lead generation investment.

  • Wow – read that stat again: a 30% higher ROI. That’s a number marketers and the people that control our budget would love. Remember that number.

2. Companies that use lead scoring have a 60% higher return on lead generation investment.

  • Doesn’t that just make sense? If you actually have a scoring system that is constantly being tweaked, you’ll better prepare the leads for the Sales team. The Sales team will start to value your teams’ efforts and sales will increase. Nirvana.

3. Companies that use marketing automation software, which points to a strategic lead generation approach, achieve a 96% higher return on lead generation investment.

  • These are research figures and should scare you and make you happy about the future all at the same time. If the ROI can be this high, imagine how many sales dollars have been lost. How many marketing campaigns and systems that have gone under-utilized and then ultimately un-funded.

These are 3 key points on what can happen when Sales and Marketing really work together – when they implement a marketing and sales strategy that utilizes technology to help them in the process.

The shift in technology spending is continuing and will continue. By 2017, the CMO will spend more on technology than the CIO. Why? To enable sales. To score leads. To nurture leads. To help manage the funnel – the complete funnel.

So this all sounds good, but ‘it just won’t work in our company’. Ever hear that? It’s time to change the thinking inside your walls. Break down silos, create cross-function teams that help score the leads. And then when it just gets going, tweak it all again. Why? Because your competitors are getting better, faster and stronger and have created the perfect relationship between sales, marketing AND leads.

In Part 3 I’ll share some best practices based on hundreds of B2B case studies that will continue to excite you (and scare some of you).

MarCom Portals Meet Building Product Customers Needs

26 Oct

Catering to the channel shows loyalty to your customers

In an earlier post I shared with you all the reasons a MarCom Portal can make an impact on your business. It provides brand control, allows you to control costs, rewards your customers, makes your life easier and is scalable. Today I want to talk about what your MarCom Portal should feature. If you’re considering implementing your own MarCom Portal, here are some items I would recommend adding to the system:

  • Promotional items: Whether it’s to be used as part of a promotion, for a holiday or as part of a rebate program, promotional items like shirts, hats, pens and coffee mugs can be important to your channel partner. Providing an easy way for them to order them makes your life easier and gives them access to multiple items with the click of a button.
  • Customizable ads: The further you get down the channel, the harder it is to execute simple marketing collaterial like newspaper and publication ads. Providing multiple sizes of these templates with a customizable area for your customer’s information makes their life easier and ensures your brand is portrayed correctly.
  •  An email system: While many contractors and dealers send emails directly from their email system, not a lot of them have professional email service providers that can send mass, HTML-developed emails. Professionally sent emails make you and your customer look good.
  • Customizable postcards: Some systems will allow users to upload their own mailing lists and customize postcards specific to those lists. This makes it easy for a contractor or builder to target a neighborhood, MSA or past clients.
  • Tradeshow support: Local and regional shows can make a big impact for your customers. Help them out by creating an easy-to-order and easy-to-customize tradeshow system. You can design the panels to meet your needs – whether it’s multiple brands under your master brand or specific product lines, you become the hero to your channel partner while ensuring your brand is portrayed accurately.
  • Sample ordering systems: Samples are a staple of a manufacturer’s business and ensuring they go out in a timely and professional manner is key to showcasing your brand and allowing your customers to trust you. Creating a simple online form in your MarCom portal will make it easy for your customers to order the samples they need and shows them how easy you are to work with.

While a MarCom Portal is not inexpensive, it is a great investment that will pay dividends for your brand and customers.

MarCom Portals Make Big Impact in Building Products Industry

25 Oct

Catering to the channel shows your loyalty to customers

As a building products industry CMO you know the importance of supporting the channel. It doesn’t matter if you’re a manufacturer, a distributor or a dealer – you need your customers (or your customer’s customers!) to help carry your message down and get your products sold.

While co-op programs can go a long way, a marketing portal can make an even bigger impact. They allow you to control your brand while giving your customers the power to easily carry it down the channel for you. MarCom Portals can feature anything from posters and postcards to emails and brochures. I have been a proponent of MarCom Portals for a while – here’s why.

Advantages of a MarCom Portal

  • Complete brand control: You provide the marketing templates in accordance with your brand guidelines. Customers can customize what you want them to be able to, but items like your logo, tagline and images remain intact ensuring brand consistency.
  • Control costs: Instead of guessing at the inventory you’re going to need, a MarCom Portal lets your customers print on-demand. Whether its 1 postcard or 500 – the cost remains the same and you can choose to pay for it or have your customers pay for it.
  • Reward your customers: What better way to promote your business than to make it seamless for your customers? Put money into their account, so they can use your tools for free.
  • Let someone else do the heavy lifting: Once the templates are created, the system can customize what is needed, so your team only has to create each file once. No more one-off requests and no more adjusting file sizes. A MarCom Portal provides maximum efficiency.
  • Flexible and scalable: A MarCom Portal can be built to fit your needs. Whether you want to offer a few tools or a wide-range of customizable options, it can fit your needs and budget. Plus, it can grow with you and your budget.
  • Security and peace of mind: A third party system can even be used to ensure absolute privacy for your channel partners.

Not convinced you need this solution? Stay tuned – in a future post I’ll share some key elements to consider adding to your portal.