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Why B2B Marketers Should Use Video

Posted by wendyama

Mar 23, 2011

B2C marketers are not alone in their interest in using online visuals and the latest video technology to vie for greater publicity and profits. If YAre you using video to grow your business?ouTube is any indication, B2B marketers are increasingly utilizing video marketing to inform, engage and even entertain. Among the many companies proving B2B videos don’t have to be boring is Vertical Response – a company that in this video displays a readiness to share a sense of humor and fun along with new product knowledge.

It’s no wonder of course that B2B marketers are embracing video, given today’s demand for it. A 2010 survey published by video ad company YuMe, for example, revealed that 49 percent of respondents shared they are watching videos every day. More than 66 percent of respondents said they watched more online video now than they did a year ago and more than 40 percent expected they would continue to watch more online videos in the future.

In fact, according to Forrester Research, video increases the chance of a front page Google result by 53 times. In other words, you are 53 times more likely to land on the front page of Google with a video than basic text.

Forrester also reports that adding video in to e-mails increases click-through rates by two to three times,” says Keith Smiley,  a freelance B2B copywriter in Indianapolis, Ind.

Smiley, a video maven, provides the following as great reasons to use video:

  1. It can visually demonstrate how a product or service works

  2. It communicates a specific message or company news

  3. It can be used a lead generation tool, or in case studies

  4. It can be used for executive summaries and video versions of  white papers

  5. It can be used to share content from webinars

  6. It can be used to interview partners and customers at a trade show

  7. It can be used to hold a Q & A session with an expert within your company

  8. It can be used to give a sneak peak at product releases


Sean Randles, owner of webVM ltd and UK Partner at FLIMP Media in Manchester, United Kingdom echoes Smiley in some of the uses for video marketing. He shares that his Web video company creates video versions of PDF case studies, which he says are “very powerful lead generation tools.” Randles suggests video can be used to create product visualizations, elevator pitches and video brochures, as well as direct video marketing campaigns using www.flimp.net - which he says enables real time tracking of views and response by e-mail address.

Lindsay Leugers, vice president of marketing at OneCommand in Cincinnati, Ohio, says B2B video is a great way to deliver dynamic, real content such as client testimonials, event promotions and new product launches. In addition, Leugers believes video marketing efforts don’t need to cost a fortune to be worthwhile. “We get a great response, even with the most basic, grassroots of our video efforts - and while polished, professionally produced videos are great to have, they aren't always in the budget,” he says. “We’ve learned that being creative and just having fun with the channel is just as important. Whether we shoot out in the field with one of our Flips or in against a green screen with a Sony-DV - the content is what really matters.”

Daniel Roberts, CEO of Friendly Human in Atlanta, Ga., offers this insight into the use of video.

“B2C videos tend to focus on information (think animated infographics). In B2B, the lead generally already knows what you do. B2B videos must be less about information and more about authenticity and relationships … the real key for B2B is to think smaller yet deeper.”

How have you been using video to grow your business? I’d love to hear from you.

This article originally appeared in a slightly different form on FastCompany.com.

Rethinking Public Relations in a Digital Age

Posted by wendyama

Mar 2, 2011

How savvy are you with your marketing money?

According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, which studied 20,000 consumers, many marketers’ spending habits are missing the mark when it comes to capitalizing on opportunities in the consumer purchase process.

The article’s author, David C. Edelman, reports that 70 to 90 percent of marketing spend is directed to advertising and promotions that reach consumers either at the early consideration stage, where consumers are just discovering their options, or at the end game, purchase stage.

However, according to Edelman, consumers are often more receptive to influence at the evaluation stage – a point where they are researching options and at the post-buy, advocate stage, a time where they may want to share news of their new purchase with friends.

As Edelman puts it:

"New media make the 'evaluate' and 'advocate' stages increasingly relevant. Marketing investments that help consumers navigate the evaluation process and then spread positive word of mouth about the brands they select can be as important as building awareness and driving purchase."




While the article focuses on consumer marketing, it has important implications for B2B marketing and PR professionals. In the very important evaluation phase, according to Edelman, consumers are vetting review sites like that of Amazon.com, adding and subtracting products to their decision set. At that point in time, it's also important to create content to give consumers a sense of your brand. That is true not only in the B2C realm, but also in the B2B arena where consumers are equally hungry for information about your product or service.

Edelman suggests that companies take on the role of Publisher-in-Chief, creating content that gives "consumers a clear sense of the brand and lets them better articulate attributes of specific products."

So too do B2B marketers and PR professionals need to ramp up their publisher function. That means creating everything from white papers, to case studies, to videos, to product comparison sheets, to blog posts, to social media engagement, to webinars. Anything that will increase your share of voice and make it easier for prospects to evaluate what you're offering.

Too often a marketer and PR person's job ends at the buy stage. Edelman's research is significant in pinpointing the increasing importance of what he calls the "advocacy stage." By that he means the post-purchase stage, which has taken on new life thanks to social media where consumers can give an amplified shout out to their favorite brands – something that also occurs in the B2B arena. While B2B PR people have always recognized the importance of case studies and customer testimonials as word of mouth endorsements, B2B can also do more. Why not for example, supplement your blog with guest customer posts and establish a customer prospect community? And don't forget the potential of an advisory board or leaders council, where customers can provide direct input into your business.

I also like what small business guru John Jantsch said in a recent post on turning customers into advocates:

"The final stage of the customer development system is to engage your customers as advisors. Some portion of your customer base should be looked at as form of marketing advisory board and invited to share their opinions on marketing initiatives, content and product or service development. By bringing your customers to this level you develop loyalty that manifests in something like a volunteer sales force."

This article originally appeared originally in a slightly different form on fastcompany.com

How B2B PR Will Succeed in 2011

Posted by wendyama

Jan 23, 2011

Success in B2B PR in 2011 will in large measure depend on PR practitioners mastering content strategies.

While PR has always been in the content business -- think white papers, case studies, speeches, by-lined articles -- what has changed today is that companies no longer need to go through gate keepers to publish content.

Anyone today, as the litany goes, can be a publisher. The digitalization of information has made content inexpensive both to create and distribute. Articles, newsletters, ebooks, blogs, e-magazines, videos and podcasts, are all types of content that can fall under the PR umbrella.

Where the rub is going to be as I see it in 2011 will be in developing a strategy around content that coheres with your overall marketing strategy and ultimately gets people eager to learn more. Granted that I am a sample size of one, but I am already buried under a veritable volcano of content. And, I bet you are too. What I need more than anything is smart, quick-read content available on demand. SmartBrief is one company doing a good job at just that. But there is a room for more.

Which brings me to the two buzzwords you'll hear a lot more about this year: Content Curation and One to One Marketing. Both are not new terms, but technology is now making them a reality. And both make content marketers more effective. Curation refers to collecting (as opposed to creating) content on a subject or subjects and providing quick digests and links. Companies like paper.li, storify, pearltrees, and curatedby are making curation as easy as the click of a button.. One to one marketing, a concept Don Peppers and Martha Rogers popularized in the 1990s has always been the holy grail of marketing. And here too technology especially is making it easier especially thanks to software like bit.ly that tells you who has clicked on a link or applications like Tweet Spinner that tell you who is talking about your subject and has the most influence.

As I see it, it's now up to B2B PR to seize the content marketing mantle, and integrate that with an overall PR and marketing strategy, that helps expand your thought leadership and reputation.

How do you plan to improve your B2B PR in 2011? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

A version of this post originally appeared on FastCompany.com

B2B PR: Why Your Company Needs a Personal Brand

Posted by wendyama

Dec 12, 2010

Have you created a personal brand for your company?


We're so busy creating our own brands -- our own monikers -- that too often our company brands take a backseat. We forget that a business, especially a B2B firm, requires a personal brand. Personal branding is all about polishing your reputation.  It's the difference between being n unknown vs. being a recognized.  The same concept applies to a business-to-business company. Think about it this way. Do you to wake up in the morning and say, I need to get the latest process software for my company? Of course not.  But you might say, I need to buy an iphone for my son.  That's because a B2B product/service doesn't have the instant gratification of many consumer products. You buy it because you need it, not because you want it. And you're often buying relationships and credibility.

For that reason, before you make a B2B purchase, you want to know about the person you're buying from. Fact sheets, white papers, case studies, articles and ebooks can  influence your buying decision and distinguish one company from another. All of which leads to the importance of a Business Personal Brand for a B2B company--the triggers that will encourage you to buy from one company over another.

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How to Boost Your Thought Leadership PR with a Powerful Personal Brand

To help our clients define their Business Personal Brand, we typically begin with a messaging workshop, a two- to three-hour session to help them better position themselves and spell out what's special about what they're doing and why anyone should care.

In the workshop, we focus on 4 questions, what we call the 4Ws. Who are you? What do your prospects want to hear? Who is your audience? What makes you special? Answering those questions helps tease out what makes the client different and how it adds value. You need to do it, however, in a way that makes someone want to sit up and pay attention. It's the difference between saying, "I make widgets to saying "I make widgets that make our customers lives safer." One is factual; the other adds value. Once you define your key messages in a messaging workshop-type exercise, you need to insure that all your marketing collateral speaks to these messages so you're amplifying your voice. There's nothing worse than having one part of your company emphasize certain features and benefits and another part have a totally different message. All you end up doing is confusing the customer.

10 Tips for B2B Companies to Get PR in a Web 2.0 World

Posted by wendyama

Nov 21, 2010

Social media and the Internet have forever changed the nature of PR and marketing.  One results is that B2B companies have so many more opportunities to get their clients visible.  Here are 10 Tips on How B2B Companies Can Get Noticed in a Web 2.0 World.  I  also recently spoke on this topic recently at Women Who Launch Southwestern Connecticut.

Tip #1. Tell a great story.  The biggest scarcity of the 21st century is attention, according to Less Hinton, publisher and CEO of the Wall Street Journal via Sree Sreenivasan, dean of students at Columbia's J-School.  To break through the attention wall, You need to create content and information that engages.  A lot of this has to do with positioning.  For example, you can say that you’re a writer, or alternatively you can issue a call to arms to marketers to eliminate gobbledygook from their copy, as David Meerhman Scott did awhile back to much fanfare.

Tip #2. Be the expert. You don’t have to have a Ph.d, you just know a little more than the average Joe or Jane Q Public. And I bet in your subject area you do. A warning : Don’t Be Mr. or Ms. No it All but a knowledgeable person who listens as well as shares information.

Tip #3Be a social media maven. Learn what Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – the social media heavyweights – can do for your business. Think relationship building, not sales

Tip #4. Journalists are allies, not friends. Member of the media have their own agenda and rest assured that it is not your agenda. Prepare your key messages ahead of time. Don’t say anything in an interview you don’t want to read about tomorrow – or in the case of online media – forever.

Tip #5. Rumors of the press releases’ death are greatly exaggerated. A well-written press release still has impact; it’s just that its purpose has evolved. It’s no longer just geared to the media but also written for search-engine optimization visibility. As a general rule, if you’re targeting bloggers, Tight is Right. For general consumption, Keep it simple.

Tip#6. Make the press release pay off. Use a targeted media list.  Be sure to include keywords people are likely to search on. (Use Google Adwords ).  Punch up key points.

Tip #7. Take advantage of low-cost PR services. Use free or low-cost PR distribution services like Pitchengine, PR Leap and PR Web.  Use help a reporter out (HARA) a free service that connects reporters with experts.

Tip  #8. Treat the media as your client. Give a media person everything he or shee needs to write his/her story. Be available and accessible.

Tip  # 9. There is no substitute for face time. Speak at conferences. Do a media greet and meet. Be sure not to abuse the media person’s time but provide some useful information.

Tip #10. Other techniques to raise your profile. Create a Google profile. Write a blog. Comment on articles. Seek out industry awards. Get listed in business directories

Do some or all of these tips and I guarantee you will increase the visibility of your B2B company. What tips have you found increase your company's visibility? I'd love to hear from you.

This article previously appeared in a slightly different form on FastCompany.com

8 Rules for Using the New B2B PR Stage

Posted by wendyama

Oct 13, 2010

We’re undergoing a seismic change in public relations. Thanks to being handed the keys to the digital kingdom, we now can speak on a global stage – and to be heard, engage and create a dialogue with an unheard of number of people.

This “all the worlds’ a stage” era of course is terrific. But there’s a wee problem with it. Many of us aren’t taking advantage of it.

The easiest, and to our thinking, smartest way to promote yourself is to create content.  The buzzword these days in B2B PR and marketing circles is content marketing. And while a colossal amount has been written about it thanks to the great folks at Junta42, among others, the message hasn’t yet filtered down to the average everyday business. At least that’s our experience.

The businesses we talk to are so enmeshed in their work (as they should be) that they don’t always do a good job articulating who they are and what they know.

It’s the difference between someone saying, “I make widgets,” and another person saying “I am transforming the way consumers experience advertising.” One is factual. The other is image-building.

Thinking about your B2B business in thought leadership terms, changes the terms of the debate. You’re no longer selling just the best widget or widget service but suddenly you have you have the means to be an authority in your field and related fields.

Here’s an example. A company we work with sells a special type of insurance for small business. Instead of just being an insurance company in the small business space, they are positioning themselves to be experts in the small business financial space. That gives them a wide enough platform to express issues of interest to their small business target market without diminishing their own insurance message.

It may sound paradoxical at first, but to be successful, B2B marketers, companies need to stop talking so much about themselves (and ultimately to themselves) to become centers of influence. To do that, a company needs to create content that resounds with its audience and helps them to engage. Here are 8 tips to doing that. And by all means, add your own ideas to the list.







Create case studies in both print and video formats that speak to key audience business issue, including some your company can solve.
  • Survey your audience to discover what keeps them up at night. Publish and promote the results.

  • Create social media listening posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to discuss these issues.

  • Blog about them.

  • Curate content about these key issues.

  • Write and publish your own articles on the topic.

  • Create opportunities for your audience to share their own stories.

  • Don’t forget the real world. Speak about your issues at industry events. Promote your speaking in social media and on your website. Post videos of your speaking gigs on your site and YouTube.




  • What do you do to turn a business into a thought leader? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

    How to Use PR to Boost Your Content Marketing

    Posted by wendyama

    Aug 18, 2010

    Can you publish your way to success?


    It's become an axiom of social media that everyone today is a publisher. That's the good news. Wanna know the bad news? Everyone today is a publisher.

    The problem is that because content has become so cheap and easy to produce, much of it is worthless. Not to mention that no one has the time or inclination to read most of it.


    Of course, everyone talks about creating remarkable content, but unfortunately most of us don’t have the talent to create that. And even if we do, there’s no guarantee anyone will read it.

    Enter Public Relations and its role in content marketing, the subject of an article I wrote for the Content Marketing Institute.

    As I note in the article, “In my experience, adding a PR component to your content marketing adds a powerful incentive that expands your reach, thought leadership and the power of your brand. Better yet, done right it can ultimately lead to sales."

    Click here to learn about how two companies are doing just that.

    How are you using content marketing in your PR efforts? I'd love to hear from you.

    Big-Name Consulting Companies Fail Twitter 101

    Posted by wendyama

    Jul 27, 2010

    I recently blogged about a test I conducted on Twitter to see how social media savvy big-name consulting companies are faring. Companies like McKinsey and Accenture position themselves as global leaders so you'd think they'd be out in front in social media.


    Not exactly.


    Or at least my little test showed that some of these big fellas have little ears when it comes to listening and reacting on Twitter.
    In fact, I never heard from the likes of  Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company and Booz & Company when I tweeted the following:



    @bigname consulting company, can you help? Trying to reach someone in PR in US to interview for a story & could use some direction?




    Please click here to read more

    How Big Companies are Failing on Twitter

    Posted by wendyama

    Jul 27, 2010

    By Wendy Marx

    The majority of global firms aren't leading by example when it comes to social media.

    Big-name consulting companies like McKinsey and Accenture position themselves as global leaders so you’d think they’d be ahead of the pack in social media.

    Wrong.

    Or at least my little experiment showed that some of these big fellas have little ears when it comes to listening and responding to at least some social media queries.

    To put their social media attennae to the test, I tweeted the following last week to seven of the world’s biggest consulting firms, calling out their respective Twitter names in my tweets:

    @bigname consulting company, can you help? Trying to reach someone in PR in US to interview for a story & could use some direction?

    Now, I’d like to say my Twitter account was ablaze with all of these heavy hitters’ responses. Instead, I have yet to hear from the likes of Accenture, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company and Booz & Company.

    As for the others?

    Price Waterhouse Coopers e-mailed me the following day and graciously offered to help.

    And a special gold star in social media alertness goes to the aptly-named firm Monitor Group.

    In about two minutes after I posted my Twitter query, Monitor.com’s Managing Editor Michael Goldberg called me to see how he could help. Goldberg said he has on his desktop a Twitter client (he declined to say which one) to monitor (I couldn’t resist the word) what’s being said about his company.

    I also reached out to Deloitte—both as part of my test and for a content marketing story I’m working on. After the traditional PR route failed with Deloitte (leaving voice and e-mail messages), I turned to Twitter to share my frustration:

    @Deloitte, no one ever got back to me & here I was going to praise your PRwork. Left multiple emails/vmails. Can u help?

    Around 10 hours later, Deloitte responded and around 17 hours later two Deloitte PR people tweeted me offering to help. And lo and behold the PR department kicked into gear the traditional way e-mailing me and voice mailing.

    Well, at least they responded. Just not on Twitter time. A bit of irony for a company that talks up social media:

    “In a connected world, power shifts to those most able to connect,” reads a Deloitte document from its Australia practice.

    Now, I wasn’t sure if I had unrealistic expectations with these firms so I turned to social media guru Aaron Strout, CMO of Powered.com

    “I’m not surprised,” said Strout, when told of my experience.“In fact, I would be pleasantly surprised if these companies were responding. It’s still the minority that are listening and doing proactive outreach.

    “Very few companies have discovered the art of conversation, of when to engage and how to react with folks. And B2B companies are less inclined to get outside the box. We're still at the tip of the iceberg.”

    This original version of this article ran on Ragan.com

    How to Go from Anonymity to Fame in One Tweet

    Posted by wendyama

    Jul 27, 2010

    From obscurity to Twittereity in one little tweet.

    A study of Twitter cites its ‘pointless babble’ and ends up going viral


    By Wendy Marx

    A one-day social media whirlwind shows not just how a self-proclaimed geeky company with no PR knowledge emerged from anonymity to become a media darling. It also illustrates how social media is changing how companies make news and how public relations is practiced.

    Around 10 a.m. CDT on Aug. 12, Ryan Kelly, the founder and CEO of market insights and analysis firm Pear Analytics of San Antonio, posted the following on Twitter: "The Twitter Study we mentioned at #bmprsa is now available: http://bit.ly/17htXE interesting results..." BMPRSA is a San Antonio PR and social media group that Kelly had addressed a few weeks before, mentioning the upcoming study.

    Almost immediately after he posted the tweet, a friend from sales and marketing company Sales by 5 sent him a Twitter direct message: "Please let me know when you release it, and I'll send it to Mashable."

    By 5 p.m. that day, Pear's study was featured on the front page of Mashable, one of the largest blogs discussing social media and technology. By 6 p.m., the study was the top two trending topics on Twitter. Later that evening, Kelly was interviewed by Robert Scoble, formerly of Fast Company and now an evangelist for Rackspace. And from there it went viral.

    Do a Google search on Pear Analytics today, and you'll see some 500 articles from everyone from the BBC to CNET to NBC.com to outlets worldwide writing about its study. It's the sort of publicity a company would pay a big chunk of change to get.

    Besides pointing out the phenomenal "make or break" quality of social media, there's a delicious irony to Pear's story. Its study's big news was that 40 percent of Twitter messages are what it cleverly called "pointless babble" with just 8.7 percent of tweets to be deemed of value with worthwhile news content.

    Of course, without Twitter, Pear's study might have seen the fate of so many studies that end up unread and unreported. Nothing like soaring to prominence on a medium you're denigrating.

    What's also fascinating about Pear's story is that the company followed none of the traditional PR practices. No press release. No outreach to media. No loud announcement.

    So what's the secret to Pear's PR success?

    "I can attribute its success to a few things," says Kelly, who was as surprised as anyone that the study took off. "I know nothing about PR. One, by analyzing the Twitter stream and categorizing the content, we did something no one else had done. Where, however, we really struck a chord was by labeling the most popular category, "pointless babble." I think if we would have named this something else, it may not have gone as far. Most of the news outlets used that phrase in their headlines.
    "And lastly, I have to say we had a little luck that day in that no other major news happened that week—like Michael Jackson—that would have buried our news easily."

    This article was originally published on Ragan.com.
     
    Wendy_Marx_white_Background_(3)

    Wendy Marx

    Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™.

    Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

    View all posts by Wendy Marx