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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.

 

Mobile-First Marketing

Greg Hoy
Cross-Device Is the Cornerstone of Your Marketing Plan
Dec 17, 2014

As smartphones and tablets evolve, the bright lines that previously separated digital, print, TV, mobile and PC are now beginning...



The Integrated Email

Cyndie Shaffstall
5 Shades of Pop-Up Email Acquisition
Dec 15, 2014

As marketers, one of the biggest challenges we face is growing our marketing list at a rate higher than our...



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...



Making Social Sell

Jeff Molander
5 LinkedIn Best Practices That Don't Work
Dec 12, 2014

Prediction: 95 percent of sales reps and distributors will invest time in LinkedIn best practices that fail to generate leads...



Direct Mail for the Modern Marketer

Summer Gould
QR Codes Can Make Your Direct Mail More Effective
Dec 11, 2014

Direct mail is an effective way to reach prospects and customers. But, we have to admit that both customers and...



Reinventing Direct

Gary Hennerberg
5 Numeric Speed Bumps to Higher Conversion
Dec 10, 2014

Ah, the holiday season. Your prospects are moving fast these days in an always-on world, with all the trimmings of...



Brand Matters

Andrea Syverson
Take Along, Share and Simplify: Essential Verbs to Enhance Your Brand Strategy in 2015, Part 2
Dec 9, 2014

Back in November, I shared with you two essential verbs to enhance your brand strategy: amaze and respect. Now I...



Marketing Sustainably

Chet Dalzell
‘Programmatic’ Goes the World - Media Buying Is Audience Buying
Dec 8, 2014

Direct marketers have long had a love affair with data-driven media buying. In the world of direct mail, for example,...



Big Data, Small Data, Clean Data, Messy Data

Stephen  H. Yu
Smart Data - Not Big Data
Dec 4, 2014

As a concerned data professional, I am already plotting an exit strategy from this Big Data hype. Because like any...



The Power Punch

Carolyn Goodman
Mergers and Acquisitions: A Challenge to Brand Loyalty
Dec 5, 2014

In the late 1990's, I discovered ShareBuilder—an easy way to buy stocks (and even fractions of a single stock) through...



IMM-Possible ROI

Stephanie Miller
Mastering the Complexities of Multichannel Digital Marketing
Dec 2, 2014

Integration is like the Holy Grail of marketing. Connecting the dots at the customer level, across channels, devices and owned...



Keeping Search Profitable

Amanda G. Watlington, Ph.D.
If Your Site Is Not Mobile-Friendly—Fix It Now!
Nov 25, 2014

If you rely on search to assist new users in finding your site, you must now make sure that your...



Here's What Counts

Chuck McLeester
How Do You Spell ROI?
Nov 20, 2014

Return on Investment: Everybody's talking about ROI, but not everyone agrees on what it is. Given the various ways that...



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...



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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