Podcasts Archive - Pam Didner

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Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner, and I love sharing a little dose of B2B, digital and content marketing, seven minutes at a time.

Some listeners may know that I am writing my 2nd book. I have to say writing is hard. The hardest part is to structure 50,000 – 70,000 words in a logical manner so that you can share a unique point of view and flow in such a way that readers want to flip from page to page. Not only do you need to offer a compelling and unique point of view, but you also need to tell a great story.

Writing my 2nd book is like raising a 2nd child. You learn what worked well the first time and what you need to do better the 2nd time around.

There are three things I make an effort to do differently this time around:

  1. Incorporate others’ point of view: when I wrote the first book, I mostly drew from my own experience. I talked about my experience first, then shared case studies at the end of the chapter as a separate call out. I used case studies to validate my point of view. This time around, I incorporated case studies throughout the chapter. I showcase other people’s know-hows, then share my thoughts after.
  2. Topic-driven chapter: For my first book, I created a framework to provide structure for the book, such as the 4 Ps of Global Content Marketing. For this book, it’s very much topic-driven. I discuss each relevant topic in-depth.
  3. Think about your book launch while writing: When I wrote my first book, I was buried in the writing trench. I didn’t think about my website, positioning of the book or launch content until the book was published. I was scrambling to do all of that after the launch and with almost no budget. This time around, I allocated budget aside and started working on a launch plan as I am writing. While I am writing, I also think about the content that I can use for blog posts, speaking materials, and copywriting for the new website.

If you think about it, that’s no different from content marketing. While I create content, I need to give some thought to where the content will reside and how the content will be promoted. It gives me some ideas on how to repurpose the content into different formats. If I create an 18-page white paper, I can break that down into 4-5 blog posts or podcast episodes, create several infographics, and even develop 2-3 presentation slides. Treat the long form content as a mini-product launch.

We all learn from experience. Writing is still hard. It’s even harder, given that my experience in sales enablement is not as comprehensive as global content marketing. The bright side is that I have a plan to tackle it and lessons to draw on from my first book.

We all tend to do our job the same way day in and day out. It’s important to sit back and reflect on what we’ve done to see if we can do it better. So, what is in your regular job that you can do it a little differently? Feel free to share your experience and lessons learned with me.

Now, back to my writing.

Send me your marketing questions via Twitter @pamdidner

Be well. Until next time.

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Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner, and I love sharing a little dose of B2B, digital and content marketing, seven minutes at a time.

A listener, Ally, working in a small software company with 2 marketing people doing everything from marketing to sales support. She is working on a brand guide to standardize not only the look-and-feel of outbound communications but also create the consistent layout for different formats of content output. Her sales team thinks the brand guide is a colossal waste of time. They feel that she should spend the money and budget on creating sales collateral. She asked how to demonstrate the value of a brand guide to her sales team.

Well, Ally, let me share with you a known ‘secret’: if the sales team had their wishes, they would love to see all the marketing budget focused on the bottom of the funnel and demand gen. But before we get to there, marketing needs to somehow find a way to make sure that people are actually aware of our products. Even for referrals and word-of-mouth, it starts with someone becoming aware of your products, using them, then referring or sharing with others. A good chunk of marketing’s job is to make sure that people are aware of our products and services.

As you already know, to do that, we need to reach our audiences several times. In a traditional world, customers need to see the ad 6-7 times before the brand makes an impression on them. In the digital world, it’s not only about frequency but also about a consistent experience. That consistency needs to be reflected in image selection, copywriting, content etc. To make all that happen, a brand guide is needed.

Brand guides are not only about logo usage, typography and color palettes. They should also include a brand persona, which relates the human attributes of your brand. Use specific adjectives and nouns to describe your brand personality. For people living in the US, you’re probably familiar with two ice cream brands: Breyers and Ben and Jerry’s. Both of them are part of the Unilever Conglomerates.

If you look at their package designs, Breyers brand persona is about family, tradition, quality, while Ben and Jerry’s is about individualism, quirky, wholesome and environmental friendly.  Don’t take me wrong: Ben and Jerry’s is all about quality as well, but they chose to talk about quality in the context of individual flavors and sustainable food sourcing. These nouns and adjectives in brand guide will lead copywriting and image selection. For example: to show where their milk comes from: Breyers may show an image of a cow rolling the meadows peacefully, Ben and Jerry’s uses an animated image to show cows playing a guitar and having a great time. The brand personalities guide creative development.

So, how does this impact the sales team? I see it impacts sales teams in 3 ways:

  • If sales reps create content, they need to understand the brand guide or use templates from it. Therefore, if you have templates for e-mail, presentation, blog post, product brief for sales team to use, incorporate them into the brand guide.
  • To provide a consistent experience, sales’ training and development should also conform to the rules of the brand guide.
  • Sales teams are the frontline interface of a brand. The reinforcement of brand and its values, occasionally, is complicated by how sales teams are recognized and incentivized. Compassionate brands do not reward greed. Exciting brands do not accept complacency. Sales wins are important, but it’s also important to be clear on how the sales team goes about it.

To summarize the brand guide’s impact on sales,

  • Use the templates from the brand guide to deliver consistent experience
  • Guide the design of training and development
  • Consider brand’s personas and values to establish sales compensation.

The purchase journey from marketing to sales is a continuum. Customers may go back and forth between sales and marketing personnel or material, but the overall experience should stay the same. The content they receive from either sales or marketing should have the same look-and-feel with the same tone-and-manner. For complex sales, sales reps are the brand and the unique differentiator. Marketing creates a brand guide, but sales reps, account managers, customer service and support teams all shape the customer experience and bring brand promises to life. In order to do that, sales reps need to understand what their brand promises are.

Ally, I hope that I answer your question.

Back to my writing.

Send me your marketing questions via Twitter @pamdidner

Be well. Until next time.

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Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner, and I love sharing a little dose of B2B, digital and content marketing, seven minutes at a time.

One listener, Lisa, knows that I am writing my second book. She posed a question, “how did you come up with the subject and title of your book?”

Well, it’s hard. In the US, more than 90,000 books get published every year. Chances are whatever I want to say is likely to be said already. There is truly nothing new under the sun.

However, don’t let that discourage you from writing about your topic. It is all about how people relate to their readers.

When I think about Lisa’s question, I find that selecting a title is not much different than creating a marketing message. Your message needs to identify the unique differentiation of your products. At the same time, it needs to be relevant enough to your customers, so they can get ideas on how to address their pain points or solve their challenges.

When I select a book title, I follow that same thinking process. I try to identify a topic that is unique to my own experience and knowledge and, at the same time, is relevant to a specific segment of marketers. Coming up with the first book title, Global Content Marketing, was pretty easy. My experience at Intel had always been global. I was hoping to write something about the collaboration between the headquarters and geographies. One aspect of my jobs was editorial and content planning. The term Content Marketing was on the rise. When I started searching on Amazon, there were content marketing books, but no Global Content Marketing. Bingo. I found my topic. It was something based on my unique work experience that enterprise marketers may find interesting.

For this book, it was much harder. I didn’t want to write another content marketing book. I wanted to try something different.

Throughout the whole process, I contemplated several ideas. The first title I was thinking about was a combination of a memoir and business book. I wanted to share how I made a transition from a CPA to a traditional marketer to a digital marketer. It was certainly unique and might help people who are looking for a career transition. But here is the challenge in the publishing industry: a personal memoir is a personal memoir, and a business book is a business book. They don’t mesh. For my mash-up, who is my target audience? Am I writing to people who are over 40 looking for a career transition or am I writing to people who are interested in transitioning to the marketing field? Or am I writing for marketers who want to transition from their traditional role to digital role? Is this book about career development or just a personal memoir?

Do you see the dilemma? I could find my uniqueness, but I had a hard time identifying my target audience and coming up with positioning that makes sense.

The second idea was about technology’s role in marketing. Technology, such as AR/VR, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, will further shape digital marketing moving forward. I’d love to write a book about this. This topic could be written in multiple ways, but these two come to mind:

• Focus on high-level and future trends and their ramifications for customer behaviors, then use that as an anchor point to discuss how marketing needs to change. Keep it strategic and high-level with a lot of fun stories to share.

• Focus at the tactical level on how technologies reshape marketing from top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel, then discuss the changes in the context of processes, tools, people, and organizational structures. Hone in on case studies.

Don’t you think this is a great topic? I love this topic. If it’s written well, it’s certainly relevant to marketing professionals. The target audience is clear. But here is my challenge: I don’t necessarily have unique work experience in various technologies. It will require a massive amount of research in the behavioral science of consumers, staying on top of ever-changing technologies, and reading tons of marketing/management academic articles to formulate a solid point of view.

The more I dig into it the less I feel that I am qualified to write about it. Plus, I don’t think I have the time to pull it off. I wish I could spend 12-18 months full-time just writing about this topic. That would be super nice. But I can’t. I have to put bread on the table to feed my family. Very sad!

Then, I came to the third idea. I’ve heard about the misalignment between sales and marketing often. I had directly and indirectly supported sales teams when I was at Intel. I strongly believe marketing’s job is to support and enable sales. The term, Sales Enablement, has been popping up right and left. I did my research, and most of the sales enablement books are from the perspective of increasing sales productivity through training and development. But my experience leads to a different approach with a unique point of view.

I’ve identified a clear target audience, they are B2B marketing and sales professionals. In addition, the topic is relevant to marketers looking to better support sales.

If you are interested in writing a trade or business book, here is what I’d suggest starting to find your topic:

• Start with your expertise and experience. What can you offer?
• Identify your audience. Who are they? How will they benefit?
• Conduct research informally or formally to validate your analysis
• Start on an outline and write your book proposal

I may be simplifying it a bit, but that’s the gist of the process I followed.

That is this week’s 7-minute Marketing with Pam.  If you have a question for me, you can reach me pamdidner.com or @pamdidner.

Thank you for listening, until next week.

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Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner, and I love sharing a little dose of B2B, digital and content marketing seven minutes at a time.

A friend, Erick, was tasked to conduct a content audit and asked me if I have a template that he can use. I sure do.

In general, content audits are conducted for three reasons:

  1. Some audits just have a grasp of what content is out there and share that with the whole team so that everyone has a holistic view. People who are responsible for outreach can pick and choose what to share. In a way, you create a master list content. In this situation, you may only need top 50 most popular content pieces or the most recent content in the past one year.
  2. It’s time to redesign the website. You need to have a comprehensive view of content to determine which one to keep and which one to toss. You can also need to know what additional content which needs to be created.
  3. Some clients want to understand if it’s possible to map existing content to different purchase journeys, then determine if there is any content gap in each stage. The audit result will guide the future editorial planning. In this case, you map content based on purchase or customer journeys.

A quick note: content doesn’t limit to blog posts. It is any original content which has was for your company. It includes video, podcasts, press releases, webinars, case studies, white papers, infographics, eBook, collaterals, and other forms.

Here is the truth: there is no one-size-fits-all standard content audit template. You need to understand your own or your client’s objectives, then create a customized template or modify an existing template.

For these three types of content audit, I’ve developed two simple templates.

The first is a quick understanding of the content landscape.  The second, a comprehensive list of content on your website.  For both, the template is the same.  In the end, it is about creating a master list. Therefore, you have a list of categories such as these:

  • The title of content,
  • URL,
  • Purchase journey stage (awareness, consideration or purchase),
  • Content format,
  • Language,
  • Persona,
  • Search keywords,
  • and so on.

I created 15 categories that you can pick and choose what will fit your objectives.

For the third audit type, the template is based on your customer’s buying journey. You need to determine your customer’s purchase journey. In my template, I listed four stages: Learn, Plan, Decide, and Purchase. These stages are more B2B-centric, so you will need to make sure they align with the stages your customers and prospects go through.

  • Learn: Your customers have issues that they need to address. What are they? What do they need to know about these problems?
  • Plan: What can they do to solve these issues? How should they go about it?
  • Decide: What tools do they need to solve their problems? Or What do they need to help them make a right decision? Who should get involved?
  • Purchase: How can they build the business case to make a purchase?

Make sure you identify the stages well. When you review the content, you can categorize them in the relevant stage. You may find some content will cover more than one stage, which is OK. Oh, if your company offers various products and services, you can also tie the content with specific products and services.

When you finish, you will notice that there are usually gaps in certain stages you will need to address.

Before sharing the templates with Erick, I told him that he needs to be clear about his content audit objective. Why does he conduct the audit? That will determine which template to use.

I also told him that content audit is boring, unsexy and thankless.  If he does a great job, nobody cares. If he does a lousy job, nobody can tell the difference. So, why bother? Well, here is the thing. Even though no one can tell you that you did a bad job, the analysis you present will have ramifications for future editorial planning, website’s design, and the overall customer experience. Therefore, it’s important to take time to do it right. The devil is indeed in the detail.

If you are interested in the templates, please email me to [email protected]. I’ll be more than happy to share the templates with you.

Send me your marketing questions via Twitter @pamdidner

Let me help you with your marketing challenges.

Be well. Until next time.

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Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner and I love sharing a little dose of B2B, digital and content marketing, seven minutes at a time.

Today, I want to share a little story about me. Since I am a marketer, I have the tendency to see everything through the lenses of a marketer. When I go to a website, I’ll immediately start evaluating the design, copy writing and Calls-to-action. When I am reading an email, I start thinking, “What is the intent of this email from the sender and does he or she achieve the objective?”

One day, I was having a casual conversation with my dentist about this. Apparently, he does the same thing. At any social gathering, he doesn’t pay attention to people’s attire or their appearance; he is fixated on their teeth. It’s funny how our jobs and professions affect how we view things outside of work.

Here is me in the beautiful valley in France, surrounded by beautiful French country, and yet I couldn’t stop being a marketer. Let me share with you my Da Vinci story.

Visiting Chateaux in the Loire Valley has always been on my bucket list. On one of my business trips to Europe this year, I made an intentional detour to Loire. Like a typical type-A traveler, I mapped out details and powered through famous Chateaux such as Chambord, Cheverny, d’Amboise Chenonceau, Villandry and Usse, all in one weekend. All right! Chateaux on steroids in 48 hours!

On the way out of Chateau d’Amboise, I was chatting with a couple of Americans who had just arrived in Loire that morning. We were exchanging tips on what to do or see in our short stays. They briefly mentioned Chateau du Clos Luce, Leonardo da Vinci’s last residence. What? Da Vinci was in Loire five hundred years ago? I got a chance to see the “Last Supper” in Milan. I was so impressed with his masterpiece. I just had to check out his place.

His last residence was more like a villa, not a chateau. It wasn’t huge. I got a chance to visit his bedroom, kitchen, study and work place. The residence had a huge garden. The museum staff built prototypes of his inventions such as a machine gun, a flying machine and an assault chariot and placed them nicely at around the garden.

I marveled over his drawings and prototypes of his inventions. Then, as a marketer, I kept wondering: if he were able to bring these machines to life and make them work, how would he market and sell his incredible inventions? How would he explain the complicated features and benefits in a way that nobles, kings and wealthy merchants could comprehend? What would his show-and-tell demo look like? What kind of visual content would he create to convey his message if he didn’t have the resources to create live demonstrations of his prototypes? If he were a savvy business person like Thomas Edison, would he build a company, hire a team and dispatch them to different kingdoms and territories to promote his inventions? Oh, wait, what if I were his Chief of Staff or VP of Sales or Chief Marketing Officer? Suddenly, I got excited!

By the way, all these thoughts were running through my mind while I was standing in his study room. Oh, I loved his study room. There was a corner for him to draw and paint, then there was an area so that he could experiment with chemicals and whatever Da Vinci liked to do, and there was an area where he could rest or have discussions with his guests – a brainstorming place. Such a nice setting!

So I’m standing there in his study thinking, “How would I promote and sell his inventions if I were his VP of sales or CMO?” Before I got started, I asked myself a hypothetical question: “Would it have been possible to successfully sell Da Vinci’s creations in his era, the early sixteenth century, even if the products were manufactured and a sales team were properly trained?” Well, humans had been selling and buying for thousands of years by then. Selling would not be the issue; the issues would be the products and the buyers. Then the next two questions came to my mind:

• Are Da Vinci’s products relevant?
Let’s think about this: During Da Vinci’s time, most of the goods in transactions were products they needed to eat, wear, live or transport. Although transactional products may also have included art, music and different forms of entertainment or even weapons, products existed to meet their daily needs. Obviously, most of Da Vinci’s creations were so advanced that they were not directly relevant to people’s personal or business essentials. So, that’s a “No”.

• Are Da Vinci’s buyers ready?
The so-called “advanced technologies” during that time were things like winches and wedges. Until Da Vinci’s death in 1512 , people still believed that the Earth was the center of the universe. Galileo Galilei didn’t publicly announce his belief that the Earth orbited around the Sun until 1632 . Acceptance of out-of-the-box thinking was low and the pool of potential customers that could afford luxuries was small. So, this was another “No”.

As much as I was excited about marketing and selling Da Vinci’s creations, I quickly analyzed the possibilities in my mind and recognized the chances of success were very low. As much as I could convey his vision and put the team together to sell the products, the products didn’t solve the buyers’ immediate challenges and the whole ecosystem wasn’t ready.

While looking at his inventions, I ran through the whole analysis in my mind for about 10 minutes. Then, I came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t have been feasible to sell his products at that time. Da Vinci’s ideas were meant to remain only ideas in his era.

It might seem a little worrisome that I was still thinking about marketing while I was in the presence of Da Vinci. You think he would inspire me to invent something. But, he did not – he inspired me to do what I always do. A marketer will always be a marketer. That was my Da Vinci story. Sad, but true.

That is this week’s 7-minute Marketing with Pam.  If you have a question for me, you can reach me pamdidner.com or @pamdidner.

Thank you for listening, until next week.

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Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner and I love sharing a little dose of B2B, digital and content marketing seven minutes at a time.

Every week, I’ll pick one marketing question and attempt to address it with actionable takeaways. So send me your questions. I want to help you take on your marketing challenges.

At my last episode, I shared the exciting news that I started writing my 2nd book. The book is going to examine sales enablement and I explained why I picked this topic. My friend Amy asked me what sales enablement is, anyway?

Like everyone else, I turned to Google for answer. There are only 2 million results, but I like this one:

CSO Insights, a research company specializing in sales research, articulated a definition that is widely recognized and accepted in the sales enablement field:
“A strategic, cross-functional discipline designed to increase sales results and productivity by providing integrated content, training, and coaching services for salespeople and frontline sales managers along the entire customer’s journey, powered by technology.”

This definition centers on providing essential technology-based training, onboarding and coaching as well as relevant and effective content.

Ok, Google is not the only way to get a definition. I also turned to Amazon. I bought several books about sales enablement because I wanted to see the definitions from different authors.

Cory Bray and Hilmon Sorey, authors of The Sales Enablement Playbook, state, “Sales enablement is the concept of extending a prospect-centric mindset to all departments within an organization. ” “Sales enablement isn’t a position; it’s an ecosystem… [An ecosystem that] crosses all functional and hierarchical boundaries. ” Although their book mostly covered training, onboarding, coaching, content and prospecting, which is similar to CSO Insights’ definition, they stress that sales enablement is everyone’s job.

In addition to Google and Amazon, I also turned to companies who build sales enablement platforms, like Hubspot. Hubspot’s sales enablement definition focuses on technology and process. “Sales enablement is the technology, process, and content that empowers sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity. ”

In these 3 distinctive definitions, there are some common elements:

• Training
• Coaching
• Content
• Cross-functional
• Technology
• Process

For the purpose of my book, I created my own definition of effective sales enablement:

“Delivering a positive customer experience by equipping sales teams with knowledge, skills, processes and tools through cross-functional collaboration in order to increase sales velocity and productivity.”

Most definitions I’ve seen shared focus on supporting sales and facilitating the purchase process. They are written as one internal team (marketing) supporting another internal team (sales). I get that. In a digital-first marketing environment, it’s crucial to deliver a positive and consistent customer experience both online and offline. That is why it’s vital to add the customer to the sales enablement definition. Without customers, there are no sales.

In my definition, “knowledge and skills” represent content, training and onboarding. “Process” suggests documented sales processes and methodologies. “Tools” are mostly software platforms and technologies to implement sales enablement efforts. Increasing sales is important, but sales enablement’s role is to increase sales velocity. Sales velocity, another term which is common in technology-based selling, is defined as how quickly a product is sold or a deal is closed.

Now, you understand my definition of sales enablement. I’ll keep you all updated as my book progresses, but in the meantime, do you have any sales enablement story that you can share with me? Reach out and I’d love to include your stories into my book.

That is this week’s 7-minute Marketing with Pam.  If you have a question for me, you can reach me pamdidner.com or @pamdidner.

Thank you for listening, until next week.

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Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner and I love sharing a little dose of B2B, digital and content marketing seven minutes at a time.

Happy New Year! Can you believe it? It’s 2018.

I don’t know about you, but I have this love-and-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. Here is the “hate” part: New Year’s resolutions frustrate me because I have what I like to call a “one-month curse” that I can’t break. I spent a couple thousand dollars buying a treadmill once. I used it for about a month, and now that treadmill just sits in our bedroom collecting dust. I pass by it every day and tell myself that I need to get on it, but I always end up doing something else instead, like eating…

I bought an expensive and beautiful diary with the intention of writing every day, but again, that one-month curse. That expensive and beautiful diary is situated nicely right next to my monitor. I see it every day, but I end up doing something else instead of writing, like binge-watching TV! Just I’ve just finished watching the first season of the Orville by Seth McFarlane, the creator of Family Guy. I don’t like his humor very much, but I have a huge respect for him. He can sing, dance, write, act, direct and produce. An incredibly talented individual.

Ok, I digressed. Let’s come back to New Year resolution. I talked about how much I hate New Year resolutions.

Now, let’s talk about the “love” part: Not keeping up with resolutions doesn’t stop me from creating new ones. I still create New Year’s resolutions every year with fully committed enthusiasm. So, I am either in complete self-denial or I am an eternal optimist who believes that I have a chance to be salvaged by a distorted gleaming hope of a miracle.

I choose to believe the latter. I, one day, will be strong enough to break that one-month curse. The key words are: one day. It will happen one day.

Before writing down my 2018 goals, I went back and checked on my 2017 New Year’s resolutions. I failed miserably on any goal that required regular commitment like, “Do yoga three times a week”, or, “Write a blog post every week”. Well, I can toss these resolutions right out the window. That one month curse!

Although I am terrible at keeping up with resolutions that require daily or weekly discipline, I was actually pretty good with deliverable-driven resolutions. Last year, I set out to launch a podcast. I also resolved to complete a book proposal and learn how to do a handstand which a yoga pose of balancing on my hands with my feet kick up in the air.
I accomplished all three of them! 7-Minute Marketing with Pam was launched in September. I can now do a handstand (see picture below), and I started working on my 2nd book with a publisher. I won some; I lost some. I can live with that.

So, here are my 2018 New Year’s resolutions:

1. Do yoga three times a week: I have not given this one up yet. I am determined to break the one-month curse and make it a two-month curse in 2018. That will be a progress!

2. Complete my 2nd book: The manuscript is scheduled to finalize on April 1st and the book is scheduled to be available on September 10th, 2018. So, you know what I’ll be doing for the first half of 2018.

3. Check off three things from my bucket list: This one is not going to be difficult at all. I am on it! It’s all about traveling, going to places and having FUN!

4. Learn how to do a forearm stand: I learned to do a handstand this year. It only took the whole year… The forearm stand is another inversion stand that I want to learn in 2018. Time to build my shoulder strength and give my biceps a kiss!

5. Learn the Waltz and West Coast Swing: My son loves West Coast Swing. It looks so cool when he showed me. I want to give it a try.

Here they are. My five new year resolutions. I feel the force is strong with me… for today, anyway.

Actually, the force has been strong in the past three and half years after I left the corporate world. My book, Global Content Marketing, took me to over 10 countries. I was fortunate to be able to share my how-to through speaking, coaching, consulting and writing. I made friends around the globe through various social media channels.

Most importantly, many people have helped and supported me along my journey without asking for anything in return. I am forever grateful for your generosity.

Don’t get me wrong: I still have my ups and downs. I have good days and bad days. I still worry about the sales pipeline. I am still facing growing pains. I’m still working long hours. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. Ha!

While recording this podcast, I am staring at that expensive and beautiful diary next to my computer. Rather than writing every day, I think I’ll just write a year-end review. That will be a good starting point.

Even though great challenges lie ahead, I’m still looking forward to 2018. I still believe that the force will continue to be strong with me.

Happy New Year, everyone! May the force be strong with all of us.

That is this week’s 7-minute Marketing with Pam.  If you have a question for me, you can reach me pamdidner.com or @pamdidner.

Thank you for listening, until next week.

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Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner and I love sharing a little dose of B2B, digital and content marketing seven minutes at a time.

Every week, I’ll pick one marketing question and attempt to address it with actionable takeaways. So send me your questions. I want to help you take on your marketing challenges.

For today, I want to share some exciting news. I signed up with a publisher to work on my 2nd book. No, it’s not about content marketing. No, it’s not about anything global. So, what is it? OK, drum roll, please! It’s about sales enablement! When I told my friend, Amy, about the news, she was like, “Whaaaaaat? What’s that? And why did you choose a topic that is so, um, unpopular! Oh, I mean, niche?” Amy, I feel your love.

Let’s talk about why I chose that topic.

I am a firm believer that marketing’s role is to grow business and drive sales. Everything we do in marketing should directly and indirectly lead to a conversion. Two interesting challenges prompted me to write the book.

1. I want to help sales and marketing teams understand that there’re more and more marketing elements that can be used for sales efforts due to digital integration. In general, sales teams likely only associate demand-generating activities or events with marketing, but marketers do so much more than that. If we look at marketing activities in a broader sense, many marketing programs have the essence of sales enablement. Channel partner marketing, co-marketing with key partners, email marketing, loyalty programs, and affiliate marketing are part of marketing outreach to support sales or the bottom of the funnel.

I believe that sales teams do not leverage these marketing programs effectively. Just one quick example: We could dedicate a space on our website to showcase our customers and their products or we could selectively include our customers in our weekly webinar or podcast series. The tricky part is how to integrate our customers’ products and messaging seamlessly so that it’s not sales-y. That takes time and effort to do it right. But, it’s a missing opportunity for both sales and marketing teams if we don’t leverage some of the digital opportunities to better integrate sales elements into marketing programs. It’s more than a “buy” button.

2. I also want to address the ever-growing overlap of responsibilities, goals and tools to sales and marketing teams. The line between sales and marketing is becoming blurred. Once digital and social media came along, sales and marketing started to use the same communications tools. Email marketing is a great example of this. Email marketing used to be only in the marketer’s domain. Guess what? Now, sales teams are also using email marketing to do their own versions of targeted email campaigns by sending their customers relevant content. That’s good and all, but this may create duplication and inefficiencies and further impact the overall customer experience. The communications between the two groups need to be tight, since the line will only get blurrier in the future.

So I supported sales for a long time, so I also wanted to share my own thoughts on how to better support sales as a marketer. How can marketers look at their own marketing programs differently and invite sales or add certain sales elements to the existing marketing program to create a win-win situation.

Ok, to Amy’s 2nd question: why choose an unpopular topic?

Yes, like global content marketing, sales enablement is also a niche topic. I hope someday that I’ll start writing popular and catchy titles like “Master Email Marketing in 7 Days”, “Social Media is as Easy as 1-2-3” or “Create Killer Viral Content in 5 Hours!” but, I haven’t figured out how to do marketing with clever tricks and shortcuts, just yet. Based my experience, to do marketing right takes time, effort and continuous optimization. There is no shortcut. Yes, I need to find a popular topic to write. That will be my 3rd book. Ha!

I told Amy that if you want to frustrate yourself mentally and physically, write a book. If you want to be anti-social, write a book. If you want to stress yourself out beyond your control, write a book. Why am I doing it despite all the frustration and stress? Writing helps me organize my ideas and put them in a proper framework. It brings clarity to my thoughts. I might as well get a piece of long form content out of that. Now, that’s the content marketer part of me talking.

I’ll keep you all updated as this journey progresses, but in the meantime, are you supporting your sales team? What are your tips and tricks? Lesson learned? Reach out to @pamdidner on twitter and I’d love to include your stories into my book or my blog.

That is this week’s 7-minute Marketing with Pam.  If you have a question for me, you can reach me pamdidner.com or @pamdidner.

Thank you for listening, until next week.

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Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner, and I am all about B2B, digital and content marketing. That’s what I do. And thank you for listening.

Every week, I’ll pick one marketing question and attempt to address it with actionable takeaways in 7 minutes or less. So send me your questions. I want to help you take on your marketing challenges.

This week, I want to share something I read from the book of Verne Harnish, “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.” This is a how-to book. Verne shares templates and specific processes that you can follow when you grow your company from 1 person to 50 people to 100 and more. At each stage of the growth, you need to make significant changes in people, strategy, processes, and tools. If you are growing your company and your processes and tools are setting you back, this can be a great book to get ideas on how to put your hiring and internal processes back on track. By the way, I am not affiliated with Verne. I just like his book and I thought I would share with you.

There is one thing he mentioned in his book that caught my eyes. He talked about the importance of establishing “core values” for your company before any strategic planning or even funding pitches. Core values will guide how people behave and how the company is run. Most importantly, core values will discreetly nourish your corporate culture when you not looking.

The perception is that setting core values requires a lengthy discovery process, soul-searching, and a big budget. In his book, Verne disagrees that this process needs to be lengthy or spend a big budget to do that. He uses a fun and quick process called the “Mission to Mars.” I really like this process.

Here are the steps:

  1. Gather a group of employees or managers across the company. Or you can use your senior management team.
  2. Ask the group to pretend to be a team of Martian anthropologists studying American businesses. Each group member needs to come up with five employees – that are not in the room – and you will send them to Mars. Martian anthropologists don’t speak English and don’t know PowerPoint. They can only observe your employee ambassadors through their actions. With these parameters, which five employees would best convey the good things about your company, just through their actions?
  3. The key here is to not over-engineer or over-think the list. There is no need to find people who present themselves well professionally or to find a balanced team that represents each job function. Just choose five employees who would best give the Martians a sense of what’s good about your company.
  4. Each has five names on their list – no more, no less. Go around the room and determine the top three vote-getters. (Side note: Don’t let the employees’ names get out of the room. This is not about the performance review. The names are just a means to drive discussion to create core values).
  5. Start with the employees who received the most mentions. Initiate a conversation with these people. Who are they? How do they go about their work? What would customers and co-workers say about them? Why are they important or valuable to the company?
  6. As you jot down what’s being said, you’ll start to see themes and patterns emerge. Don’t worry about the words that pop up that are less polished. The goal is to know what the “real core values” of your organization are.
  7. As you get closer to finding the right words and ideas to describe your company’s core values, the energy level of the room will start to rise. The goosebumps on your arm will tell you when you hit the right core values. You will know them when you see the words.
  8. Then, it takes some wordsmithing to get the concepts hammered into keywords.

Voila! You have your core values.

I love his process. It’s easy, quick, powerful and cost-effective for companies who don’t have a big budget and a lot of time to do it. I can ultimately see this exercise working if it’s facilitated well.

It may seem that a core value creation exercise has nothing to do with marketing per se, but core values will indirectly affect the tone and manner of your writing and guide the content creation, especially in telling a story about your company.

So that’s the wrap for today’s podcast.

That is this week’s 7-minute Marketing with Pam.  If you have a question for me, you can reach me pamdidner.com or @pamdidner.

Thank you for listening, until next week.