Susan Fantle

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.

In our fast-changing marketing world, a smart B-to-B practitioner keeps up to date by learning from thought leaders. While this used to mean reading business books and magazines, today it means blogs. We've all heard the stats about blog proliferation. A new blog launched every six seconds—or whatever. And there is no dearth of blogs on B-to-B marketing. So I would like to share my favorites, the blogs where I find inspiration, new ideas, and provocative stories, to keep the gray matter humming.

When the level of information on a prospect can mean losing a six-figure sales opportunity to a competitor by a week or two, it's critical to continually refine your data collection processes for optimal performance.

By Susan Fantle The main difference between a sales message and a B-to-B lead generation message is that, to maximize response, lead generation does not sell the product, it sells the offer and gives prospects a reason to raise their hands. The reason for this is simple: Lead generation is used for higher-priced products that tend to require a longer, more complex decision process and often multiple decision makers. The goal of your initial direct mail contact is not to convince prospects that they need to buy your product or service, but rather that they need to learn more about it. That's why focusing

By Abny Santicola Results of a recent telephone survey by the Opinion Research Corp. commissioned by The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. yielded good news for small business owners. Released just days before National Small Business Day on May 10, the survey found that 77 percent of respondents rated small businesses as "excellent" or "good" at providing courteous service; 74 percent rated them "excellent" or "good" at being knowledgeable or professional; and a whopping 93 percent stated that supporting local ownership of small businesses factors into their buying decisions. With small businesses winning such rave reviews from customers, it stands to reason

There are a lot of Web sites you'll see where in the middle of the body copy there are tons of links that'll take you to details about what might be mentioned in that paragraph. I disagree with that because I say keep the message short and get them through the entire message. Don't keep driving them to other pages until you've given them the story. You want to control how they get the message as best you can, but assuming that you can't control them, you want to make sure that they're going to get the message just like you would if you

If you are marketing your B-to-B product to just one title, you may be selling yourself short By Susan Fantle How easy folks have it in consumer marketing! At least that's how it appears to us in the B-to-B arena. You see, in most consumer marketing efforts, the decision-maker, budget manager and product end-user are one in the same—not so in much of B-to-B marketing. Depending on the size of the businesses you target and the complexity of what you sell, multiple individuals can be involved in reviewing, recommending, choosing, purchasing or preventing the purchase of your product. Here are examples

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