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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.

 

The Power Punch

Carolyn Goodman
Today’s B-to-B Marketing: It’s a Lot Like Shark Tank
Jan 30, 2015

As a marketer, I understand the challenge of reaching business decision makers like me in a fresh and meaningful way,...



Here's What Counts

Chuck McLeester
How Big Is Your Halo? 3 Ways to Measure the Branding Effect of Your Direct Promotions
Jan 29, 2015

Direct marketers take pride in accountability. But as I've said before, they can be their own worst enemies when it...



The Integrated Email

Cyndie Shaffstall
The Problem With A/B Testing
Jan 26, 2015

This week we set up an elaborate A/B test on subject lines. I liked "How 1.75 Billion Mobile Users See...



Making Social Sell

Jeff Molander
Making LinkedIn Sales Navigator Work for You
Jan 23, 2015

LinkedIn Sales Navigator can be great investment. But recovering the money you invest means having an effective, repeatable way to...



Direct Mail for the Modern Marketer

Summer Gould
5 Tips for Effective Multichannel Campaigns
Jan 22, 2015

Your audience is in more than one place—you need to be too. Multichannel marketing means reaching your audience across more...



Reinventing Direct

Gary Hennerberg
5 Positioning Ideas When Leading With Price
Jan 21, 2015

What works best? Selling product benefits, then revealing the price? Or revealing the price, followed by selling benefits? There are...



Brand Matters

Andrea Syverson
Redefining the Art of Minding Your Ps and Qs
Jan 20, 2015

You know hospitality when you feel it, or as officially defined by dictionary.com it's "the quality or disposition of receiving...



Big Data, Small Data, Clean Data, Messy Data

Stephen  H. Yu
How to Be a Good Data Scientist
Jan 15, 2015

I guess no one wants to be a plain "Analyst" anymore; now "Data Scientist" is the title of the day....



Marketing Sustainably

Chet Dalzell
Golden Nuggets: Advertising’s ‘Data’ Wave Has Arrived
Jan 19, 2015

When I look at the world of advertising, by way of my career path through the Direct Marketing Association and...



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...



IMM-Possible ROI

Stephanie Miller
3 IMM Trends to Watch in 2015
Jan 13, 2015

Happy New Year! As we look ahead this year with confidence in our ability to reach those aggressive goals and...



Keeping Search Profitable

Amanda G. Watlington, Ph.D.
Setting SEO Strategies and Priorities for 2015
Jan 6, 2015

As you turn the calendar to 2015, it is time once again to revisit the SEO successes or unmet challenges...



The Data Athlete

Mike Ferranti
Data Athletes in Modern Organizations
Dec 16, 2014

Let's look at the ideas, insights and strategies for becoming what I have termed a "Data Athlete." This term has...



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...



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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The B-to-B Buying Revolution, and Five Ways Marketers Need to Change Their Game

The Internet has driven dramatic changes in business buying behavior. Just as no one buys a car anymore without first checking prices and features online, business buyers now research and educate themselves online, months—even years—before ever seeing a salesperson. This has big implications for B-to-B marketers.  Read More >>

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Testing for B-to-B Marketers: How Hard is It?

B-to-B marketers are often guilty of laziness when it comes to testing their communications, whether it's testing the copy approach, the layout, the offer or the target audience. Well, to call it laziness may not be entirely fair. It's a fact that the typical B-to-B campaign targets universes that are too small to support a split test. If you're selling specialized machine tools, you're lucky if you have 10,000 potential customers worldwide.
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