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Ruth P. Stevens

Ruthless B-to-B Marketing

By Ruth P. Stevens

About Ruth

Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain's BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Ruth is a guest blogger at Biznology, the digital marketing blog. Email Ruth at ruth@ruthstevens.com, follow her on Twitter at @RuthPStevens, or visit her website, www.ruthstevens.com.

 

Marketing Sustainably

Chet Dalzell
A-Plus: Marketing Students Try Their Hand at Technology
Apr 27, 2015

It's nearly graduation time with a new legion of graduates about to enter the marketplace. In my previous post, I...



The Power Punch

Carolyn Goodman
Best Practices Exist for a Reason, Part 2: Landing Pages
Apr 23, 2015

In my last post, I gave some specific and proven best practices for the creation of successful emails. In this...



Here's What Counts

Chuck McLeester
How to Tell If Your Marketing Works
Apr 23, 2015

My live Target Marketing Group Webinar yesterday, "How to Tell if Your Marketing Works," deals with my favorite topic: measuring...



Search Made Simple

Phil Frost
Google's Mobile Algorithm Update: What You Need to Know
Apr 22, 2015

Google announced some very big news about a major algorithm update that landed on April 21, 2015—yesterday. Due to the...



Creative Caffeine

Dani Cantor
Flash (Sale) AAAHHH!!
Apr 20, 2015

Part of me feels like, since I revealed my obsession with song lyrics in my first entry, I can't keep...



Making Social Sell

Jeff Molander
Drive Leads on Facebook by Getting Customers to Gab
Apr 17, 2015

What can a regional supplier of HVAC products and services teach you about Facebook? Plenty. I've already explained how Steelmaster...



Psychology-Based Marketing

Jeanette McMurtry
The Purpose-Driven Brand
Apr 16, 2015

Since the beginning of time to this very moment, we humans have been driven by purpose. Consciously and unconsciously, we...



Reinventing Direct

Gary Hennerberg
Stimulating Awe, Goosebumps and Chills in Copy
Apr 15, 2015

When your copy stimulates awe, your customer should experience a physiological reaction like goosebumps or chills. A physical reaction comes...



Direct Mail for the Modern Marketer

Summer Gould
Direct Mail: Data Makes All the Difference
Apr 14, 2015

The draw of the latest marketing trends pulls at us all. Many companies have integrated their direct mail with technologies...



Big Data, Small Data, Clean Data, Messy Data

Stephen  H. Yu
Marketing and IT; Cats and Dogs
Apr 9, 2015

Cats and dogs do not get along unless they grew up together since birth. That is because cats and dogs...



IMM-Possible ROI

Stephanie Miller
An Inside-Out View of the Customer Funnel
Apr 7, 2015

No one in business ever profited by change for change's sake. However, no one ever stayed in business long without...



Keeping Search Profitable

Amanda G. Watlington, Ph.D.
Google Finally Shuts the Door on Doorway Pages
Mar 31, 2015

Google seldom gives search engine marketers advance warning of algorithmic changes; however, in a rare move recently Google announced plans...



The Data Athlete

Mike Ferranti
Channel Collaboration or Web Cannibalization?
Mar 24, 2015

Multichannel marketers experience the frequent concern that online is competing with, or "cannibalizing," sales in other channels. It seems like...



Brand Matters

Andrea Syverson
I Dare You: Create a Brand Challenge!
Mar 17, 2015

Challenging something we do quite naturally and easily is indeed the perfect challenge. We all get into ruts—some even good...



The Integrated Email

Cyndie Shaffstall
Google Announces Significant Changes
Mar 9, 2015

As a marketer who uses email, you know as well as I do, your campaigns do not stand alone. Without...



Mobile-First Marketing

Greg Hoy
5 Mobile Marketing Trends You Can't Ignore in 2015
Jan 14, 2015

I don't have to tell you that we are living in a mobile-first world that continues to drive brands to...



Muscle Marketing

Wendy Montes de Oca
Converting Your Social Media Triple-Fs: Friends, Followers and Fans
Dec 16, 2014

I've heard many gurus, marketers and publishers brag about their social media followers. They'll say things like, "Isn't it great...



Marketing Nuggets

Michael Lowenstein
Marketing Success Is (Almost) All About the Data: Optimizing Customer Loyalty Behavior Initiatives
Oct 7, 2014

Much of what I've learned over the years about sales, marketing and customer service has to do with the critical...



Triple Venti Dolce Data...

Vince Pickett
Clue Me In, Please
Aug 21, 2013

So here we are, halfway through 2013. You, along with everyone, are still trying to find that magic formula to...



Who's Your Data?

Rio Longacre
Instagram: Does It Matter That It Will Make Money on Your Pics?
Dec 19, 2012

Instagram announced the company will soon begin using your content to sell targeted advertising products to the highest bidder. Does...



SEO & Content Marketing Revue

Heather Lloyd-Martin
5 Tips for Top Positioning (And Converting) Page Titles
Aug 11, 2010

Wondering about a SEO content strategy that offers the biggest impact in the shortest time? Try tweaking your page titles....



Yblog

Yory Wurmser
Privacy in the Age of Big Data
Jul 10, 2013

Consumers reveal more than ever before consciously through social media and, just as importantly, unconsciously through their behaviors. This data...



The Whole Magilla

Ken Magill
What Marketers Can Learn From Maine's Political Email Idiocy
Feb 24, 2012

It finally happened. Politicians' idiotic email practices had a measurable negative effect. "Maine Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster has admitted...



Online Video Marketing Deep Dive

Eve Grey
Are Your Videos Champions of Your Brand?
Feb 3, 2014

If you advertise in an ordinary way, it's safe to expect ordinary results. However, when you take the extreme and...



Think Mobility

Greg Hickman
‘I Can't Because, I Need ... ’
Oct 7, 2013

Does this sound like you? Have you ever set up a goal, but then realized (either quickly or too late)...



Denny Hatch's Blog

Denny Hatch
The Internet Can Make You a Chump—Forever!
Sep 25, 2010

Trouble is, the Internet is rife with misinformation and if you get caught advertently or inadvertently propagating this nonsense in...



Building Your B-to-B Marketing Database

The single most important tool in B-to-B is, arguably, the marketing database. Without a robust collection of contact information, firmographic and transactional data about customers and prospects, you are at sea when it comes to customer segmentation, analytics and marketing communications of all sorts, whether for acquiring new customers or to expand the value of existing customers. In fact, you might call the database the "recorded history of the customer relationship." So what...  Read More >>

7 Steps to a Better B-to-B Landing Page

Despite years of practice with digital campaigns, B-to-B marketers still have trouble getting their landing pages to work as hard as they could. I am not sure why, since there's nothing more important to capturing the responses from outbound messages and kicking off a relationship with prospects. You could say the landing page is where your campaign pays off. But I am still seeing obvious errors
 Read More >>

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5 Essentials for Every B-to-B Website

"If you don't have a website, you don't have a business." By now, this maxim is well understood. But what kind of functionality does your website really need? What website strategies should you pursue for business marketing? Here are five must-haves for every B-to-B website.  Read More >>

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B-to-B Marketers Should Take Another Look at E-commerce

E-commerce opportunity is evolving fast, but only 25 percent of B-to-B marketers are taking advantage of it, according to a 2012 Oracle study. Time for another look. The typical B-to-B companies selling online are classic catalogers like Edmund Optics and Seton, which were fast to supplement their print catalogs with e-commerce. But with the new functionality now available, just about any business marketer can find ways to reduce selling expense and attract new customers by integrating...  Read More >>

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Push vs. Pull Marketing: In B-to-B, You Need Both

The other day, a marketing colleague told me she was feeling under pressure to move all her efforts to inbound, or "pull," marketing. "Outbound is bad," she said. What? Well, I guess her feeling is understandable. Inbound marketing is all the rage today. Hubspot promotes it. Marketo promotes it. Seth Godin promotes it. With the new popularity of pull marketing, B-to-B marketers may be under the mistaken impression that push marketing is dead—or should be. How wrong they are. And...  Read More >>

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New Developments in B-to-B List Acquisition

To reach cold prospects among business audiences, sales and marketing teams often begin by developing a list of prospective targets. Marketers can find just about every target company, title and job function they need from traditional list suppliers. Plus, the Internet has made possible the introduction of some excellent new opportunities for identifying prospects at various stages of the buying cycle. Let's look at what's new in B-to-B lists these days  Read More >>

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4 Predictions for B-to-B Marketing in 2013

It's that time of the year when observers can't resist making predictions about developments on the horizon. I hereby take up that tradition, offering up four random prognostications for where B-to-B digital marketing is headed in 2013. My topics include Facebook, content marketing, personal branding and data hygiene—certainly an eclectic mix. I encourage readers to add their own.  Read More >>

New Developments in B-to-B Loyalty Marketing

Business marketers have much to gain from retention marketing. Business customers tend to be fewer and more valuable—meaning you can't afford to lose even one. But how do you keep your customers active and buying from you, versus the competition?  How do you prevent defection? Let's look at the traditional approaches to retention marketing in B-to-B, plus some new developments in loyalty marketing being adopted by B-to-B marketers today, including social media and gamification. Read More >>

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B-to-B Marketing Mythbusting, Redux

With a tip of the hat to Bob Bly, whose June article in Target Marketing magazine dispelled seven B-to-B marketing myths, I'd like to tackle some mythbusting of my own. Myth No. 1: Lead generation is the top job of B-to-B marketers. There is overwhelming evidence that B-to-B marketers consider lead generation their most important contribution. So why, you may rightly wonder, am I calling this a myth?  Read More >>

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B-to-B: Where Social Media Meets Direct Marketing

Business marketers have embraced social media with enthusiasm. One of the reasons social media is working so well in B-to-B, in my opinion, is that business marketers tend to wear their direct marketing hats when they strategize and plan how to apply social media to their marketing objectives. So they get a lot of measurable value from social media, and they pull it into their programs as a full-fledged member of the integrated marketing mix. In B-to-B, social media and direct marketing...  Read More >>

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The Thorny Question of Marketing Attribution: Does It Apply to B-to-B?

Have you noticed how marketers are focusing on attribution these days? "Which media channel is really driving the sale?" they ask. "What touch sequence is most productive?" "Where should we assign credit?" There is much confusion and gnashing of teeth on this subject. But I say in B-to-B these are the junior questions, and just building blocks to the bigger issues.  Read More >>

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Prospecting to IT Buyers: How Nine Data Vendors Stack Up

Buyers of information technology (IT) are one of the most valued audiences targeted by business marketers. Globally, these professionals spend $3.6 trillion on hardware, software and technology services. My colleague Bernice Grossman and I recently investigated the availability of prospecting data available to tech marketers for reaching this desirable group, and we found some surprises.  Read More >>

How Performance Marketing Accelerates B-to-B Prospecting

Every time you turn around, a new "performance marketing" opportunity turns up for B-to-B marketers. What a treasure trove! And on the face of it, a real boon, because you only pay when your prospect takes the action you're looking for—the click, the download, the purchase, whatever. But there are some potholes to consider. Let's look at how marketers get value out of this approach to finding new customers.  Read More >>

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To Gate or Not to Gate, That Is the B-to-B Content Marketing Question

There's a spirited debate in B-to-B marketing about whether it's best to give away information (aka "content," like white papers and research reports) to all comers, versus requiring web visitors to provide some information in exchange for a content download. In other words, to gate your content or not to gate. The debate involves aspects of both ROI and philosophy. Here's why.  Read More >>

Digital Developments in B-to-B Event Marketing

Event marketing has long been a staple in B-to-B, where the face-to-face conversation enabled by a trade show or corporate event plays a valuable role in launching or deepening a business relationship. But these days, business events are taking off in new directions, empowered by advancements in digital technology. I've been keeping an eye on some of the new developments, and happily share a few here.
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How to Craft a Compelling Offer for Search Engine Marketing

The best way to motivate a click online is to make a compelling offer and provide an urgent call to action. This is not news to Internet marketers. But when it comes to search engine advertising, like Google AdWords, you need to think about your offer and call to action a bit differently. The secret is coming up with an offer that attracts qualified prospects, to maintain conversion rates—instead of bringing in tire-kickers who are only interested in getting a quick deal, and won't...  Read More >>

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Lights, Camera, Action: Video Helps You Stay in Touch With Customers

One problem that plagues B-to-B sales and marketing is coming up with relevant, timely messages for nurturing customer relationships. A territory-based sales rep may be trying to keep in touch with hundreds of contacts at a time, but struggles to find a steady supply of good-quality reasons to use to reach out—without being a pest. I recently ran across a particularly compelling solution to this problem: Personalized email that links to entertaining, but useful, videos.  Read More >>

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Five Ways to “Get Real” With B-to-B Social Media

Today, 89 percent of B-to-B marketers in the U.S. are using social media, says a study conducted by iTracks and the Business Marketing Association (BMA). In fact, B-to-B use of social media may have even eclipsed that of consumer marketers, according to another report from White Horse Productions. But the B-to-B marketers I talk to still sound confused. "What should I be doing," they ask. "What's really worth my time?"  Read More >>

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