Digital Body Language: Steve Wood’s On B2B Marketing

Steven Woods is one of the first people I met as the new B2B analyst for Forrester.  I say “new” because I had been an analyst for 5 years before taking on this role. Steve and I met at our Cambridge office and, together with Thor Johnson, he told me about Eloqua, the company he helped found in 1999.  He’s been thinking about what it takes to get B2B marketing right for longer than those 10 years.  He’s also helped develop software to automate key processes that top-quality B2B marketing requires.

I was both pleased and delighted when he sent me an advanced copy of his new book to read. Recently, while on a couple of transcontinental flights, I finished “Digital Body Language” and found it a worthy read.  In particular:

1) The case studies are great. The book is full of case studies from Eloqua’s customers. Companies that buy and use lead management automation are ahead of the curve in my book. As the first firm to actively market software for managing demand, Eloqua has a deep history to draw upon. The Concur, Kadient, National Instruments (who also won a Groundswell award for their online community), Sybase, Terracotta, and VFA stories are particularly interesting and instructive.

2) “Getting Started Now” sidebars offer key tips. Sprinkled throughout are short, one-paragraph pointers that B2B marketers would do well to follow.  In the copy I have, I found the text in the paragraph on page 91 repeated on 93, but other than that the suggestions are concise and actionable.

3) Understanding digital body language is essential for B2B marketers. Sure Eloqua wants to associate the term “digital body language” with their brand, but call it body language, foot steps, or finger prints, knowing how prospects behave online is a crucial part of marketing data collection, profiling, and segmentation. Firms that qualify leads based solely on explicit information like company name, contact title, and expressed answers to qualification questions miss out on acquiring key information about whether a prospect is serious or only tire-kicking.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of lead management automation and firms like Eloqua that bring this technology to market. But looking beyond the technology — which Steve barely mentions in his book — business marketers need to focus more on customer profiling and data management, lead scoring, nurturing, and closing the loop with sales to upgrade marketing from the “make it pretty” department to an essential business operation based on customer insight and demand development. You can learn more about these topics by visiting Steve’s blog, where he recounts  many of the points made and expands on stories published in Digital Body Language.

Congratulations, Steve!  And thank you for helping to raise the marketing professionalism bar as you inspire B2B marketers to succeed.

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