Wow! I’m a Top 25 Digital Marketer Nominee Again

Thank you, BtoB Magazine!

Oh my goodness!  I’m so humbled and thankful.  For the second year in a row, BtoB Magazine has nominated me as one of their top 25 digital marketers.

All I can say this year is “Thank you!”  I appreciate the recognition far more than I can say in words.

During the past year, I have learned a lot about marketing to an industry through a major corporate sponsorship and advertising.  Check out prior posts about the Xerox TEDMED relationship and the new Xerox corporate video to learn how we are focusing more on key industries like Healthcare to tell a holistic story in the online world.

Join me in congratulating all the other deserving nominees, including my special friends Petra Neiger, Kevin Cox, and Belinda Hudmon.

What Major Account Sales Wants from Marketing

Leads: The Center of the Sales and Marketing Disconnect

You’ve heard this story hundreds of times.

You’ve probably lived through similar situations at some time in your marketing career. I’m talking about the ages-old argument between marketing and sales.  The conversation goes something like this:

  • Marketing wants to know “what did you do with those leads we generated from <fill in the blank event or activity>?”
  • To which Sales replies, “What leads?  Oh, those leads were terrible — send us better ones.”

Despite great advances in demand management and marketing automation – where marketers can use technology to target, engage, educate, and nurture prospects long before sales gets involved – the process of developing leads has yet to change fundamentally the natural tension between those who create market awareness and interest and those who turn that desire into deals.

This week I had the occasion to attend the Marketing Leadership Board Meeting, sponsored by the IDC CMO Advisory service.  The first item on the agenda was a “voice of the sales person” session that we could have continued all day.  Held jointly with the Sales Advisory service, this panel included front line sellers from top tech firms here in Silicon Valley. We’re talking enterprise sales — folks who manage one or two major accounts that create millions of dollars in revenue each year.  This friendly discussion was intended to give marketing counterparts some perspective and feedback on how to best impact sales’ productivity and effectiveness. What resulted was some very pointed commentary that set many of the marketing operations folks in the room back on their heels.

What does marketing do to really annoy those who manage major account relationships? Here’s my paraphrased synopsis of the key points made:

1) Sales builds key relationships and marketing messes them up. Every one of these sales people felt that it was Sales’ job to develop and maintain executive relationships at key accounts.  When marketing sends unsolicited communication — that is either off-topic, redundant, or too frequent — this interferes with their ability to keep the executive-level conversations moving forward. As a result, Sales is reluctant or unwilling to share contacts with marketing so they squirrel their most important information away on smartphones and personal databases.

2) Most marketing-generated leads are still poorly qualified. Even though they agreed that it can be helpful — from an awareness and credibility perspective — to communicate with contacts outside those involved in the current deal, these sales execs believe they hold deep insight into what makes buyers tick and that marketing should just butt out of these conversations. Generating net-new leads, and asking for timely follow up, simply takes too much time away from persuading their primary decision makers.

3) Marketing helps most when it makes content look snappy and throws a great party. Executive events, sponsorships, polishing RFPs and oral presentations, and dinners at nice restaurants provide great opportunities for sales to meet with top-level clients and prospects face to face. Marketing can help put that best foot forward (as I did with the recent Xerox TEDMED sponsorship). Beyond that, Sales doesn’t see much value in the advertising, direct mail, online content, or social interaction that Marketing often leads.

So what’s a dedicated marketer to do?  Throw you arms up in frustration?  Resort to the “oh boys will be boys” attitude of marketing in the face of direct, major account sales?

No, I think if you can’t beat them, it’s time to join them.  But in a very specific way.  Marketing must work to reinforce its purpose as the revenue generation engine of the company.  In building demand ahead of the pipeline.  If major account sales doesn’t yet appreciate that Marketing can help to drive the business in this manner, then it’s time to:

1) Find the parts of the business that can benefit from qualified lead generation. OK, major accounts may not (yet) see the benefit of marketing communication directed at the parts of the account that don’t yet know about your company and its products and services.  So work with the new logo/business development folks.  Channel partners are always hungry for net-new lead opportunities.  Look for small teams offering specific solutions or addressing specific markets (like healthcare or higher education.)  Showing that marketing can have an impact is the primary goal.  And major accounts may not be the first place to start.

2) Put sales in control of the demand generation process — in their accounts.  Many refer to this as account-based marketing, but the guiding principle is the same – develop demand generation and customer communication programs that target a specific audience.  Whether industry or role focused, programs that progress a buyer through a specific set of educational or business problem resolution steps can help sales people attract the interest of new buyers by delivering interesting, relevant content instead of promotional messages.

3) Double down on marketing/business centric metrics. The best way to demonstrate that marketing can truly help sales develop new opportunities or progress current deals is to measure your impact on the pipeline and the business. Marketing dashboards, reports, and portals that reflect the same business issues that Sales cares about it the way to start.

Will marketing and sales ever see eye-to-eye with sales?  I see many smaller to mid-size companies achieve this goal today.  But large, enterprise firms — with a long history of sales-centric operations, direct account coverage models, and professional sales processes — will take a longer time to develop this appreciation.

Thanking TEDMED Delegates for an Inspiring Event

TEDMED and Xerox Thank Delegates for an Inspiring 2012 Event

How do you leave an impression with over 1700 attendees of TEDMED that is both surprising and personal? Between two and three weeks after the extraordinary event that was TEDMED 2012 concluded, participants received a large, sleek black envelop in the mail. In it came a simple quote, suitable for framing, that speaks to the spirit and inspiration that is at the center of all of  TEDMED.

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”  — Albert Schweitzer

Cosponsored by TEDMED, Xerox sent this art object to delegates as a way to say “thank you” for being a part of this year’s event and for adding their voice to the thousands of discussions and debates that made TEDMED an immersive, engrossing, and utterly captivating experience.  The quote was wrapped in crisp, white linen which carried a small, personal message to each recipient.

Getting to this result was both gratifying and exhausting. The experience taught me a lot about what inspires me and how the path to inspiration is not always smooth and straight.   Here’s a quick synopsis — and a little “behind-the-scenes” look — at how Xerox, through its fantastic partnership with TEDMED and our creative agency, Pappas MacDonnell, iterated through this process:

1) February: TEDMED plans to hold a Sponsor Celebration Party on the last evening, Thursday, April 12th, at the National Building Museum. Total number of attendees may reach 1,500 and Xerox would like to present each guest with a small gift/favor as they depart the Gala that will leave a positive lasting impression of Xerox.

2) Criteria: Gift should provide a human touch and evoke an emotional reaction. Gift should not require elaborate assembly. It should be consumable or easily portable with a reasonable price point. It must require the recipient to interact with it.

3) The intended experience: Imagine 6 to 10 ambassadors lined up at the exit area hand out the gift, bid each guest a fond farewell, thank them for attending, and personally hand them a token of appreciation. The overall experience is genuine, warm, gracious. It’s an end to a wonderful evening; the gift is a reminder of the time spent together. (Note, while this sounds great, it did not happen as planned.)

4) First round: Agency selected a number of whimsical, packaged food items to meet the above criteria. As TEDMED’s gala plans evolved, we found that early gift selections competed with the extravagant desserts designed for the event. Late in March, we scrub the food gift item and go for something that combines art and experience. We also want an item that we can hand out at the end of the evening. We selected the Schweitzer quote – that also appeared in the TEDMED brochure — as the centerpiece of the experience.

5) Conclusion: Logistical problems prevail and we decide to send the art/gift after TEDMED concludes.  We also decide to add the matte/frame and to make the item of sufficient size so that it doesn’t get overlooked in the mail room.  The result is what you see in the image above.  There were countless other steps required to design and approve the artwork, color selections, embossing, packaging materials, mailing lists,  and postage costs! 

The result, we hope, is a surprising and inspiring touch from Xerox that shows all TEDMED delegates how honored we were to join them this year, add our voice to the conversation about the future of health and medicine and show how we intend to engage in the dialogue going forward. Anecdotally, we heard positive responses from those who received the gift.  If you received one, post a comment here to tell me about it. Were you surprised?  Inspired?  Did you hang it on your wall?  Let me know.

A Solid Communication Platform? TEDMED Ad Shows How It Works

2012 Xerox Corporation – All rights reserved.

As the Xerox mistress of TEDMED last month, I learned a few lessons about how a strong communication platform can help create a distinctive brand voice that delivers a consistent brand message. The Xerox TEDMED 2012 program advertisement (shown here, since it only appeared in print during the conference) had one simple objective: convey our support, in a thoughtful sponsorship message, for the event and its purpose. 

While creating a “proud sponsor of” message may sound easy enough to accomplish, several other communication objectives come into play when deciding exactly how this ad should look and what it should say. The ad also illustrates what a solid communication platform can do to inform a campaign and why communication platforms are an important prerequisite to any marketing program.  A bit of background may be helpful before sharing what I learned from working with the Xerox team and our agency on this ad.

“Ready for Real Business” is what we call the Xerox master brand communication platform. It’s not a tagline, but a platform that tells customers what we do and what we provide – technology and services that help you manage your business functions better so you can focus on what you do best, your core business. It defines the rational or emotional territory that the brand intends to own over time. It forms the foundation for how we act, sound, and look in all internal and external communications. It frames how we do this in a consistent manner while providing the flexibility for each product and field marketing function to accomplish its goals.

While this simplifies the process a bit, to activate the platform you must answer three key questions:

  • What do customers do? What is truly core to their business?
  • How does Xerox help our customers do this?
  • How do our customers benefit as a result?

How well does the TEDMED 2012 ad accomplish this and meet the requirements of the communication platform? Pretty well, I think.  (Special thanks to Jason Bartlett here at Xerox, and the Roberts Communication team, for all their hard work that really hit the mark on this ad.) Here’s how I see it address each of the three key questions:

1) What’s core to the business of healthcare? — “Caring for people is the real business of health care.”
2) How do we help do this? — “…by working behind the scenes to free up resources and simplify the way people work.”
3) How do customers benefit? — “… ensure they have more freedom to deliver the level of care that everyone deserves.” (The last question/answer also supports the key TEDMED theme of exploring how to make the future of health and medicine happen today.)

Through the image and headline, the ad also creates a connection between a diverse audience of practitioners, medical students, entrepreneurs, public officials, educators, researchers, and administrators and Xerox, a company with a serious commitment to the healthcare industry. Rather than stethoscopes and scrubs, we picked an image that is medical but ambiguous — he could be a physician, researcher or other healthcare professional. However, he is someone intent on his activity and serious about what he is doing. Alignment between audience and message was really key here and hard to do when you bring other factors — like art selection with unlimited rights at a reasonable cost — into play. The headline is straightforward in its attempt to connect Xerox to the TEDMED audience by saying “Just like you, we’re here to make things better.”

The key lesson for me is about using language and imagery to evoke an emotional response, and how to do this while getting a message across that fits the parameters of a very specific communication platform — one intent on preserving the integrity of the Xerox brand. I have to confess, I’m an old product marketer. I’m all about the facts and getting straight to the point.  Isn’t that what B2B marketing is all about?

Who needs emotion to do that?

I think the ad demonstrates a beautiful answer to the question. It shows how you can deliver a message (Xerox is proud to sponsor TEDMED with a passionate commitment to the healthcare industry) in a simple, elegant manner that creates a warm, human bond with the reader. It’s a lot for one little ad to accomplish, and it think it does it quite nicely. I also think its a lesson more B2B marketers could learn: how to connect with prospects and buyers in a way that goes beyond jargon and hype to show how you really can help customers improve their business.

Anatomy of a Corporate Video…Xerox Makes the World Simpler

From “A World Made Simpler” – all rights reserved Xerox Corporation.

What happens when a globally recognized brand needs to change what it means?

This is the fantastic challenge facing our CMO, Christa Carone, as Xerox evolves from “the copier company” into something more – a company dedicated to providing simple answers to complex business problems.  Last week, Xerox introduced a new video that highlights how where the company has been shapes where it is today and where it will go tomorrow.

Through advertising agency Y&R, Xerox teamed with visual storytelling studio, Psyop, and production company, Blacklist, to produce “A World Made Simpler… by Xerox” – a 2-minute video that uses printer paper, stop-motion photography, and a bit of computer-generated graphics to tell Xerox’s story. I think you will be surprised to learn what the copier company does to help doctors monitor patients and deliver better care, set up call centers during natural disasters, provide tamper-proof drug packaging, and make public transportation easier.

Xerox also published a “behind the scenes” look into how Y&R, Psyop, Blacklist and the Xerox team produced this video.  As you watch both the original and the background versions, I think there are a few key lessons B2B marketers can learn about storytelling and why video is such a compelling medium in B2B communication:

1) History matters – so stick with it. Chester Carlson invented xerography almost 75 years ago for one simple reason: finding an easier way to replicate and share information. Xerox embraces this legacy by using what people know us for — paper — to tell a story about what most don’t know us for — providing services that make business simpler. Many will look at the video and say “it’s all about the paper” — which is exactly the point. Having a strong sense of who you are as a company helps you to remain true to your brand identity even as that identity changes. And it also makes for a mesmerizing experience as you watch to see what the paper will unfold to reveal next.

2) Video illustrates intangibles. The value of IT services — and why a company would outsource parts of its business to another — is sometimes difficult to understand. Rather than bury the message in meaningless techie jargon or hyperbole, the video uses concrete examples of ways Xerox solves customer problems (without specifically naming names) to show how we’ve moved beyond our technology roots.

3) Emotion and B2B marketing are not mutually exclusive. The production of “A World Made Simpler” is inspiring and surprising without being overbearing or maudlin. It evokes an emotional response to some very important problems that we relate to easily.  

If I have any criticism, I wish that the behind-the-scenes explained more about the motivation behind developing the spot.  Xerox bought Affiliated Computer Services in 2010 to expand business opportunity beyond its document reproduction origins, but now faces the challenge of communicating the new Xerox without losing the old. That’s the business problem behind a story worth telling.  A bit more transparency into that challenge would make the “inside view” video more interesting to me than watching technical details about the production. Alas, a fascination with technology is something Xerox will never leave behind, and the how-we-did-it video remains true to this cultural quirk.

Video also represents a great opportunity to receive peer recognition.  Congratulations to Barbara Basney and team for winning AdWeek’s coveted “Ad of the Day” for A World Made Simpler. Watch both and let me know if you agree — it’s the right step toward writing a new chapter in the Xerox brand story.

Xerox Asks TEDMED: What can we do to simplify healthcare?

TEDMED 2012 – courtesy of TEDMED Facebook page

Last week TEDMED 2012 was an amazing experience. More than 200 phenomenal speakers and entertainers took the stage to explore challenging issues in healthcare and to inspire innovative, cross-disciplinary thinking. Many of the topics – that I will share with you as TEDMED makes the videos available over the coming weeks – are complex, complicated, and sometimes controversial. Is it even possible to make thing simpler in the business of healthcare? It’s a challenging question when posed to an industry recognized for complexity in the study, processes, technology, and science needed to advance new therapies and address increasingly more complex diseases, health problems, and social issues.

During the past couple of months, I’ve had the great fortune to work with an exceptional TEDMED team to engage Xerox as a sponsor of this unconventional event.  Healthcare? You may wonder where Xerox fits in this world, besides supplying printers at nurse stations, doctor’s offices, and admissions desks. Though my TEDMED journey, I’ve learned a bit about how Xerox plays a surprisingly diverse role inside the research, clinical and operational side of healthcare.  Here’s how:

Helping caregivers.  Through its investment in innovation and research, Xerox employs ethnographers who study how caregivers work. These folks help to develop solutions that can free floor nurses from paperwork so they can spend more time with patients.

Reducing complications.  Xerox helps hospitals convert mountains of clinical data and health history into electronic format and monitor it to assess risk and prevent potential emerging complications. For example, we use text-mining technology to analyze information such as symptoms, drugs prescribed, and types of bacteria found in the environment to help detect and prevent hospital-acquired infections.

Going electronic.  It always amazes me how much paperwork still exists in healthcare. Besides transforming paper charts to electronic records, we deliver them to mobile devices and the Cloud securely. Electronic medial records not only reduce the cost and trouble of managing truckloads of documents, but helps providers better coordinate treatment and therapy across everyone involved in a patient’s care.

Our Chief Innovation Officer for Healthcare, Markus Fromherz, goes into a bit more detail if you are interested in what else we do.

Despite these accomplishments, it is humbling for me to listen to the speakers at TEDMED – and talk with other delegates – and see first hand how much work truly remains to be done. I am proud to see Xerox join the TEDMED community and work to simplify the business of healthcare.

What is TEDMED? – Lessons Learned on Corporate Sponsoring

TEDMED is the medical version of TED. This unique 3-day event applies the successful TED format to the world of healthcare. Hosted next week (April 10 – 13) in Washington DC, TEDMED stands to become the nation’s premier gathering where folks from inside and outside the world of medicine. Delegates explore key issues and think up new, out-of-the-box ideas for solving some very big challenges facing our nation as healthcare becomes the largest line item in our GDP. It is a multi-disciplinary collaborative experience that aims to develop a lasting community – not just an annual event –  dedicated to imagining how we can make the future of healthcare happen today.

For me, TEDMED is also a crash course in corporate sponsorship. Back in January, I moved over to Xerox corporate to head up industry marketing across the enterprise. Coincidentally, Xerox had signed up to sponsor TEDMED as one way to continue to demonstrate our long-standing commitment to healthcare innovation and to simplifying the business of healthcare. So, guess which new kid on the block got the nod to activate this sponsorship?

It’s been a thrilling, busy, exciting time acting as the head mistress of all things TEDMED at Xerox. Here are a few lessons I’ve collected along the way regarding advertising, event management, and message communication:

  • A well-planned creative brief is essential to any large event or sponsored program. So is a detailed program plan. But the brief is the centerpiece for communicating what you plan to do, with whom (audience), why, and what you want to convey in the process (message).  It’s the scaffolding that supports the whole event and makes a myriad of decisions flow smoothly. Other key elements include: proof points/evidence, creative mandatories and key assets to draw upon.
  • Avoid the temptation to view advertising and messages through your eyes, not the audience’s. I was surprised at how easily I fell into this trap. I’ll share the ad with you in a later post – after it’s aired at TEDMED – but the key was to appeal to the full TEDMED audience, which includes educators, lawmakers, inventors, medical students, investors, and health activists.  Pictures of people with stethoscopes looking at x-rays cast too narrow a net.
  • Hire a good meeting planner. This is very tactical, but very necessary. Meeting, incentive and travel firms – like our partner BCD M&I – make life easier, handle all the tricky last minute details, and keep you from going bonkers.  Perfect example of why outsourcing client registration and travel to experts is essential and cost effective.
  • Get your friends to help out. In this case, help comes from our friends at FORTUNE magazine, who will co-sponsor a dinner event for our guests, Xerox executives, and select delegates. Besides wonderful counsel on great places to eat in Washington DC, FORTUNE (more importantly) adds provocative conversation as Marc Gunther, contributing editor, MCs dinner commentary.
  • Small details can make a big difference. Case in point, as one of the major sponsors for TEDMED this year, we worked closely with our hosts to ensure delegates see Xerox equipment when they queue up at registration. Will anyone notice?  Maybe not.  But, then again, what if they do? If you are a major sponsor, you need to make sure to sweat the details and act like a major supporter, not just someone contributing their name to the program.

There are 20 more lessons I could add to this list. But this experience proved to me that successful corporate sponsorships have been and will continue to be a useful and productive way to get your company’s name and message in front of a key audience – industry-specific, role-based or otherwise. The best lesson I have learned, however, it that the folks at TEDMED are very, very committed to being the best partner to their sponsors. It’s very easy – and productive – to work with a team that is always willing to say “yes” – but who have a solid vision and purpose that helps to keep you on the straight and narrow as you work to provide the most differentiated, exciting, and memorable experience for our delegates.

Like Xerox, I am a proud sponsor of TEDMED 2012  — and so very excited to be there next week!

PS: For a sample of the TED experience, go to this link and watch the presentation.  It will blow your mind.

Creating Content for a Digital World – At Digital Edge LIVE

Last week I had the privilege to attend and present at BtoB Magazine’s Digital Edge LIVE conference in San Francisco. I joined HP’s Alex Flagg and Tellab’s George Stenitzer on stage to talk about what it takes to develop great marketing content for an increasingly digital world.  While the number of digital channels increased exponentially since the late 1980s, the challenges around reaching prospects and customers through these channels have not. 

At Xerox, we’ve found thought-leadership — featuring specific people with specific points of view — and digital environments featuring our customers and their successes work best to produce content that business-to-business buyers find interesting and relevant. During the conference, I shared some success we’ve had with our thought-leadership destination and Real Business Live.  If you’d like to see the slides from my section, you can view/download them from Slideshare.

Creating good content consistently is a major challenge all marketers face as they work to find new ways to engage buyers and feed the growing demand of digital channels.  Surprisingly, understanding that good content starts from the buyer’s perspective, not your company’s, is a key lesson many B2Bers still struggle to learn.

For a great summary of the day, visit the Digital Edge Live site, read coverage by Kate Maddox and Christopher Hosford, and scan through the tweets. I thought the panel on social media, featuring marketers from Cisco Systems, Hitachi Data Systems and Royal Dutch Shell, was particularly insightful. Social media continues to push the boundaries into new ways to generate and share content.

For me, the highlight of the day was BtoB’s third annual Social Media Marketing Awards.  Top honors went to Aon and CenturyLink Business.  In the non-tech category, Aon took the “People’s Choice” award for its “Pass It On” program that featured a contest challenging employee teams in different geographies to share knowledge and create a sense of common purpose by competing online in games that required them to answer questions, upload video, and share details of local events. Winners then got to share the best results with customers and prospects. 

In the tech category, CenturyLink launched its “Ultimate Problem Solver” program to challenge technology-oriented customers to participate in an interactive, 50-stage trivia game. Solving problems – where some answers could be found in CenturyLink marketing materials — let participants unlock passwords to get to the next level in the game. The game also encouraged players to interact and share their experiences to earn rewards faster. During the eight-month timeframe, almost 90,000 people played the game with about half registering on the site, giving CenturyLink a valuable well of leads.

I found it interesting how both award winners focused on gaming as a key element of creating innovative marketing programs – one focused on employees and the other on prospects. It also highlights leading-edge applications that use social interaction in the B2B space.  And who said social was only for consumers?

Content That Generates Meaningful Thought Leadership

Talk to anyone about marketing automation, demand management, or lead nurturing and the conversation inevitably turns to content. 

Copyright ITSMA 2011

Most marketing operations folks starting down the automation path talk more about their people, change management, and technology implementation woes. But after they get a couple of campaigns under their belt, the challenges of developing a steady stream of relevant, interesting content surface.

Here’s proof.  In the chart here, ITSMA shows that among services marketing teams surveyed in a 2011 study on lead management maturity, Leaders say content creation is the biggest concern they face.  So what does it take to create great content?  Great ideas.  Good marketers express great ideas through thought leadership. 

I think thought leadership is a fuzzy term. Many think thought leadership has to be truly unique and leading to be worthy of publication.  I like Forrester Research’s definition, from my former colleague Jeff Ernst, because it focuses on outcomes.  Jeff says that thought leadership is:

“The process of formulating big ideas and insightful points of view on the issues your buyers face capturing those ideas in multiple content vehicles and sharing the ideas with prospects and customers to enlighten them, engage them in a dialogue, and position your company as a trusted resource.”

At Xerox, I think we work hard to present insightful points of view on industry and the role of managed print, document, IT and business process services in those industries. I don’t think we are leading edge, but our experiences demonstrate that thought leadership is best crafted around three key ares:  your experts, your customers and your take on vertical industry problems (expressed as views shared with recognized industry experts.) 

If you are in the Denver Colorado area, and you want to find out more, please join me for the Colorado chapter of the BMA Keynote Luncheon on Wednesday, March 14, 2012.  I will post the slides from this presentation on my blog afterwards and share a few of the key comments, if you can’t make it.  I’m sure the folks at the BMA will share as well!

To preview a key lesson learned ahead of time, I want to point to Jeff’s research on thought leadership and say that his framework for upgrading your content to thought leading is very useful. He suggests 10 criteria for evaluating your content through a thought-leading lens, including:

  • Relevant – does your content deal with big issues your buyers face?
  • Provocative — does it challenge conventional thinking?
  • Forward-looking – does it anticipate what’s over the horizon?
  • Distinct – is it different than what your competitors, partners, or industry cohorts are saying?
  • Inspiring – does it energize people around this idea or way of thinking?
  • Actionable – does it provide advice on what to do now?
  • Results-driven – can using your ideas produce breakthrough outcomes or change?
  • Conversational – does your tone encourage dialogue and feedback?
  • Credible – how do you show your company can help others get there?
  • Independent – do you avoid making reference to your products and services?

(Source: Forrester Research, June 7, 2011, “Thought Leadership: The Next Wave Of Differentiation In B2B Marketing”)

Indirectly, many of the points Jeff makes are the same criteria we used in Xerox Document Outsourcing Services to determine which experts to feature, what type of content to develop, and which to feature in our campaigns. So it is a very useful and practical tool for assessing your content’s thought leadership acumen.

What challenges have you faced in developing great content?  I hope you will join in the conversation with the BMA and me next week.

A Revenue Marketer’s Journey

You busy this February 23, at 1 pm ET?  I hope you can spare a few and join me for my first (and hopefully not only) appearance on WRMR – Revenue Marketer Radio.

What is WRMR? 

Debbie Qaqish Host Revenue Marketer Radio

It’s the call letters for a virtual radio station.  Actually, it an online radio show sponsored by friends of mine at the Pedowitz Group – one of the up and coming demand generation agencies that help marketers build lead generation and nurturing programs that convert a larger number of prospects to opportunities and turn more qualified leads into sales pipeline.

I’ve know Jeff Pedowitz for about as long as I’ve been active in the lead management automation field. We met when he ran professional services at Eloqua. His business partner, Debbie Qagish, I’ve come to know since and found her to be one of the most dynamic and outspoken advocates for professionally generating and managing demand as a core marketing function. Together they have built a fast-growing, thriving business and live in the world of demand management daily.

Debbie invited me to join her for a little tête-à-tête on how I came to be a Revenue Marketer.  Or at least how I found myself on the journey to become one. 

And it is a journey.  A long one.

According to Debbie, the journey to Revenue Marketing nirvana begins by recognizing that marketing activity – outreach to prospective clients with educational and informational offers coupled with good inbound visibility and relevant content delivery — helps to speed the sales process along.  Just like with any problem, recognizing that you have one is the first stage.

The second part of the journey she calls Lead Generation where marketers begin to devise programs — and use some type of technology, typically an email service provider or ESP system — to help generate leads and deliver them to sales. Qualified leads, not just those fished out of a bowl at a tradeshow.  In the Lead Generation stage, marketers measure progress in terms like open rates, click through rates, and registrations – simple activities that correlate loosely to buyer interest.

It’s a big jump from Lead Generation to the next phase: Demand Generation.

Marketers in the Demand Generation phase graduate to higher levels of automation and campaign sophistication.  They use marketing automation tools integrated together with a CRM system. (This also implies some rigorous use of the CRM system by sales and sales management for the purpose of managing accounts and tracking pipeline progress. — More on this if you come listen to the show.) They learn to measure marketing impact in terms like Marketing Qualified Leads, lead-to-acceptance rates, and pipeline value generated. In this stage, the marketer can begin to demonstrate a direct impact on revenue without getting laughed out of the room by sales.

The ultimate stage defines the whole process – Revenue Marketing.  In this phase marketing programs, processes and results earn the RPS seal of approval, where RPS stands for Repeatable, Predictable, and Sustainable. (Sounds a lot like the words my buddy Sean Geehan uses in his B2B Executive Handbook. But I digress.)

On Thursday, I’ll share some of my hard-won insights into what it takes to get started on the journey to becoming a revenue marketer at a large, multi-billion dollar enterprise with a highly-recognizable brand and a long history of sales management best practices. I plan to share a bit about my role in industry marketing and how this led to the start of my revenue marketing journey.  How my team and I adopted marketing technology to drive revenue. And what makes Revenue Marketing at a large, global, diverse enterprise — with many long-standing sales traditions — different than RM at smaller, younger firms.

The goal of our talk show segment is to help pave the way on your road to becoming an elite Revenue Marketer and to make your journey smoother — with less bumps and potholes.  If you can’t make this date and time, don’t worry, BlogTalkRadio records the session for you to access on demand.  Check it out when you can.  Or you can download them from iTunes.

(Full disclosure: This post is not an ad for the Pedowitz Group. I am appearing on the show as a favor to Debbie and to boost my personal brand on this topic.  I receive no compensation.  Although she did buy me a drink a couple of times…)

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