Business Media Matters : April 2011
Industry Experts to Lead Marketing Services Deep Dive
Only five seats left at this year's Annual Conference!
In less than one week, b-to-b media companies and others aligned with the industry will convene in Austin for ABM's 2011 Annual Conference, May 1-4. The event is focused on a topic critical to all sectors of the b-to-b industry: Marketing Services.
This event is almost at capacity, so register now to join your industry peers and thought leaders to explore everything from the range of potential business lines through to driving revenue and organizing to execute.
Networking opportunities include a golf outing, dinners, receptions and more.
Agenda highlights include:
Working Together in New Ways
An agency representative, a b-to-b marketer and a publisher discuss challenges and opportunities in marketing services.
What Advertisers Say About Marketing Services and Their 2011 Plans
Outsell’s sixth annual Advertising and Marketing Study is the first to show that advertisers dramatically increased their plans to use publishers as their suppliers of marketing services in 2011. Other findings will reveal what components most heavily influence advertisers' purchases of marketing services, as well as the diverging priorities between small and large firms and between B2B-focused and consumer-focused advertisers.
What Does a Marketer Want?
John Deere’s North American Manager of Marketing Communications, David Niederkorn, outlines his needs, concerns and hopes for the b-to-b industry.
Direct Marketing Hiring Plans Cautious in Q2
Companies looking to hire b-to-b digital and direct marketing expertise will be more cautious in the current quarter than they were earlier in the year, according to the latest employment survey from direct marketing executive search company Bernhart Associates that ran in BtoB magazine.
According to Bernhart's “Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Report," 45% of companies responding to the survey said they plan to add to staff, down from 52% that indicated hiring plans last quarter. Also, 16% of respondents currently have a hiring freeze, unchanged from the first three months of the year.
“It appears employers are taking some time to absorb the hiring they did in the first quarter,” Jerry Bernhart, the company's principal, told BtoB. The percentage of companies planning layoffs in the quarter showed no change, at 4%.
Agencies are reporting the most aggressive hiring plans, with 57% planning to add to staff during the current quarter, according to the online survey conducted in April with 351 respondents.
Five Common B-to-B Advertising Myths
Somehow the rules of everyday marketing don't apply in a b-to-b context. Steve McKee, president of McKee Wallwork Cleveland Advertising, reminds us of this in a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article by sharing five persistent myths that “permeate the industry's thinking.”
B-to-B is Different. This is probably the most common misunderstanding – that somehow the rules of everyday marketing don't apply in a b-to-b context. Sure, selling to a company is different than selling to a consumer. But it's no more different than selling toothpaste is to selling paint, or even than selling wine is to selling beer. In each case, you're trying to win over a unique group of people with an existing array of preconceptions and a distinct set of needs. No two marketing assignments are alike, yet every marketing assignment is subject to the same fundamental and unchanging principles.
Information Trumps Emotion. Anybody who has spent time working in b-to-b advertising will hear this refrain (or some variation of it):"Make the product the hero," or "Get right to the point," or "Just make sure it has a strong call to action." That's not to say that information isn't important, and especially so when you're dealing with purchases that can run into the thousands or millions of dollars.
In most advertising – consumer as well as b-to-b – it’s the job of the ad to open the sale, not close it. And just because you want your prospects to know something doesn't mean they want to hear it (at least not at first). There's a saying that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care, and there's truth to that even in advertising. First you must demonstrate that you understand the challenging world in which your prospects live, and then perhaps they will be willing to listen.
Creativity is Not Important. This myth is less likely to be articulated but still widely held. It's why ads in trade magazines tend to be riddled with bullet points. There's nothing wrong with making advertising for even the most mundane products tasteful and aesthetically appealing.
Companies Buy Things. I've been in business for 20 years, and not once has my company bought anything. Nor have we ever sold anything to another company. Companies don't buy things, people do. True, a committee may need to approve your purchase, but even committees are composed of people. And in all but the rarest of cases, there's one person on that committee who holds the key – someone with thoughts and feelings and likes and dislikes and hopes and dreams. Someone who can be captivated and motivated to move your request along.
But what about the "second sale" that's often required in b-to-b transactions? It's true that once you win one person over you may still have a lot of work to do. However, this real and challenging complexity doesn't change the fundamental equation. And b-to-b marketers aren't alone in facing it.
You are Your Target. One of the most common mistakes all of us make is projecting our own attitudes, perceptions and behaviors on other people. I don't have a MySpace page, and I don't watch Grey's Anatomy, but I'm pretty sure a whole lot of other people do. You probably have a lot in common with those in your industry, but you have many differences as well. Just because you respond to an ad in a certain way doesn't mean other people will do the same. Especially since you're already sold on what your company sells.
Consumers Want Cross-Channel Engagement, Forrester Study
A "huge disconnect" between consumer behavior and marketer behavior persists, according to a Forrester Research report, "The Future of Interactive Marketing," that came out earlier this month. Principal Analyst and Research Director Emily Riley explained to AdAge that they "expect the information about them to carry across mobile, hand-held, call center, website – and that very rarely actually happens. They think that you, as a marketer, should know everything about them and be one step ahead of them in terms of addressing their interests and needs."
But marketers still lack adequate skills, resources and technology to meet that expectation, she said.
The report found that 30% of large companies have fewer than 15 interactive-staff members. That's a constraint that limits the interactive team's ability to use anything other than digital media in executing campaigns. And teams are still, more often than not, siloed in marketing organizations, separate from disciplines such as creative and production. In fact, Riley's research leads her to believe that less than a quarter of Fortune 500 companies have effectively integrated interactive marketing teams.
The report's findings raise imperatives for CMOs in structuring their marketing organizations to deliver on the future of interactive marketing – defined by Forrester not as building online campaigns, but "enabling collaborative customer relationships – through any medium or experience."
To view the full article, click here.
Latest ABM Vital Guide Focuses on Social Media Tools
With the increasing number of social networking tools and applications available, it is now more important than ever to connect with your audience right. As publishers continue to experiment with their activities on Twitter and Facebook and dive (even deeper) into content development, questions and concerns will arise. Check out the latest ABM Vital Guide for new tools and tactics to add to your social media arsenal.
In partnership with eMedia Vitals, ABM is proud to deliver the ABM Vital Guide, a free weekly e-newsletter containing high-quality, actionable content on the hottest digital media trends affecting the b-to-b industry. Each week, the ABM Vital Guide tackles one specific digital media trend or product with the potential to dramatically influence members’ digital revenues. Previous editions have thoroughly covered such issues as audience development, content aggregation, database marketing, online event models, e-newsletters and subscription management. Click here to subscribe now!
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