Podcasts Archive - Pam Didner

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Recently, I did a keynote presentation about Humans vs. Machines.  Is Content Marketing doomed?  When I think about humans vs. machines, I think about the self-aware artificial intelligence like the Terminator’s Skynet, I am the Borg from the Star Trek or the agents in the movie, the Matrix. Of course, R2D2, C3PO from Star War or even Bender from Futurama also come to mind.  However, these are Hollywood versions of AI.

In real life, we have seen a Robot called Asimo developed by Honda kick a soccer ball to President Obama. We have seen sophisticated robots which can flip or walk on uneven and hilly terrane from Boston Dynamics. Not mentioning about automatic cars developed by Google and other tech and car companies. We are developing these AI-Based tools to make our lives easier and productive.

However, in January 2015, more than 7000 people from tech, academia, and other fields signed a 4-page open letter based on the report with the title: “Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence”.  They acknowledged the immense benefits of AI, but cautioned policymakers and the public about the danger of self-aware and self-adjust artificial intelligence beings. They also articulated AI’s impact in aspects such as security, machine ethics, laws, and privacy.  Luminaries such as Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking both signed the open letter. Elon Musk still affirmed his point of view that AI is more dangerous than nukes.  Stephen Hawkings expressed concerned that AI could destroy human civilization.

So, what is AI?  Well, there are many different interpretations, different levels and different perspectives of AI. So, let’s define AI first. I love this definition from Wikipedia: Intelligence exhibited by machines. What is Intelligence, anyway?  Intelligence is when machine can think and behave like humans. Let’s peel the onion further. What is thinking?  Thinking has many levels. Machines can think about how to play a chess.  Machines can also think how to adjust his behavior to assist humans like Data in Star Trek. The different levels of thinking or behavior also define different levels of AI.

In general, there are three types of AI:

Artifical Narrow Intelligence, Weak AI or Narrow AI: Do a task competently, modify behaviors when the situation changes. Google translate, Alphago, Siri, IBM Watson, Autonomous cars are all examples of narrow AI.

Artificial General Intelligence: Strong AI or human-like AI:

  • Perform any intellectual task that humans can
  • Capable of cognitive functions humans may have –

in essence no different than a real human mind

  • Understand and reason its environment as humans would

ASI: AI becomes much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills

On an AI continuum: it starts from Narrow AI, AGI, then ASI.

Currently, all the applications are task-driven, we are on the cusp of narrow AI. There is no human-like AGI yet, but experts expect that will happen in the next decades, especially we keep working on to make machines smarter and taking on more complex tasks. The general consensus is that it will take a long time to get from narrow AI to AGI, but from AGI to ASI, the transition will be in no time.  When machines are smarter than humans, what will happen to us? That’s what Elon Musk and Stephen Hawkings are concerned about.

In the meantime, many companies are developing AI-based tools to assist marketing efforts.  I talked about Lead Crunch feeds customers’ best top 25 customers to its AI-based platform to create ICP for their customers.  Drift offer AI-based bot chat to carry intelligence conversations with potential prospects to get audiences to schedule a time with the company. Salesforce.com created Einstein, AI-based platform. It learns from all that data to deliver predictions and recommendations based on your unique business processes.

McCann Japan developed an AI-CD bot. Use the bot to develop a creative concept for its commercial.  Their first pilot project was creating a commercial for Clorets, chewing gum to convey Instant fresh breath that lasts for 10 minutes.” Then, they tested human-generated commercial with an AI-generated commercial.  The human-generated commercial did slightly better than AI-based commercial.  Imagine that AI Bot getting better every time…

Here is AI-based music.  Pretty good, right…

Are marketers doomed?  I don’t think so.  If you think about it, we still need to set up processes or workflow before we can take full advantage of AI.  We still need to do quality checks. As of today, AI still need to hand whatever they accomplish for humans to complete. However, it’s important to stay on top of the trends and acquire new skillsets.  Learning is part of every marketer’s job description.

I thought it’s important for us, marketers, understand what AI is and what they offer at this time.

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.

I was in Melbourne, Australia, speaking to Cisco’s Channel Partner Marketing Managers at Cisco Live. I love working with channel partners. They usually don’t have a big marketing budget and every dollar they spend has to count. After the keynote, I did 8 1:1 whiteboarding sessions with their channel partners. They asked me any questions and I answered on the spot, as simple as that. One of the questions: “Pam, I have 30,000 names in my database. How can I find warm leads?”

I love that question. I offered three suggestions.

  1. Use e-mail and content marketing: For this case, don’t just send out e-mail for the sake of sending out e-mail. Since you want to find warm leads in your database, the title of the e-mail and the content you include in your e-mail campaign needs to be designed to find out which prospects are addressing targeted challenges that could benefit from your products or company offerings. The title also needs to show urgency, like now. So, your title should be something like “if you are looking for solving [challenges] now, here are 5 steps…  or Are you evaluating [tools or platforms], you may find this useful. This e-mail is very specific and well-designed. If they open your e-mail and check out content, you know there may be interest. This will enable you to narrow down the list of 30,000 to a quantifiable subset that is more likely to buy. You can then follow up on a smaller number of higher quality leads.
  2. Write your own code: Pawan Deshpande, CEO of Curata, share his way of finding a list of warm leads.  Their product integrates with Marketo, Eloqua and Pardot among other systems to measure the performance of content marketing.  Based on their understanding of their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), they made a hypothesis that companies that use Marketo, Eloqua and Pardot, and that create a large volume of marketing content on a regular basis, would be very interested in their product. To find companies that fit this criteria, their engineering team wrote an application to crawl and analyze marketing automation systems used by over 200,000 company websites. From that analysis, they compiled a long list of companies. Then, they narrowed down that list by analyzing the blogs and resource pages on these companies’ to gauge the size of their content marketing efforts. The companies with lots of content tend to have a higher propensity to use Curata tools. Therefore, they further narrowed down the list with that criteria. With that revised list, they cross-referenced over 100,000 leads in their CRM database and LinkedIn to identify potential prospects with digital marketing or content related titles. Viola, they have their list of warm leads that the sales team can go after.
  1. Use artificial intelligence and content marketing: This approached was shared with me by Lead Crunch, a demand gen company who works closely with their sales and marketing team to discover relevant leads using AI-based platforms. Basically, you share your top 25 best customer profiles and the information is fed into an AI-based predictive modeling to create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Then, you use that profile to find highly relevant and look-alike matches, which becomes a hit list of key target companies for the sales team to target. With additional cross-referencing of their database, Lead Crunch can also include buyers at each company to help the sales team engage and approach these prospects.

To summarize the three approaches I just spoke about:

Use e-mail with content designed to elicit leads of potential customers that are currently evaluating similar products or addressing relevant challenges.

Write your own code based on propensity-to-buy hypotheses, like Pawan did. Identify an initial list, then cross-reference with your own existing database.

Hire an AI-based demand gen company. Let the AI model identify the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) based on your best top 25 customers. Then, use AI to find look-alike target leads and create a contact list for the sales team.

Everything I talk about sounds cool, but it takes time and effort and multiple rounds of optimization and modification to get a good list.

Finding warm leads is no longer just marketing or inside sales’ job. It requires marketing, IT, as well as inside sales and outside sales to work together to determine ICP, external and internal customer data correlation, propensity-to-buy criteria setting and more. There is no shortcut.

Do you have innovative ways of finding warm leads in your own database?  Please share with me.

Again, 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.

If you ask sales people “what they need from their marketing team?”, 10 out of 10 will say that they need more high-quality leads. But what is a high-quality lead? Or what is a marketing qualified lead (MQL). The definition varies from company to company and from industry to industry.

I had a chance to talk to, William Wickey, Head of Content and Media Strategy at Lead Genius, who relayed how their marketing and sales teams agreed on the different stages of leads so that there is no debate on how to move leads further down the funnel. You can see the complete table on the transcript. I will talk about Pre-qualified leads, MQLs, Sales Accepted leads and prospects. Sales Accepted lead is very similar to Sales Qualified lead that we are all aware of.

Lead Category 

Definition

 

Pre-Qualified LeadInbound and outbound leads that fit the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) 

Pre-qualified + requests demo (He calls them “hand-raisers.”)

 

Sales Accepted LeadMQL criteria is validated by sales reps
ProspectSAL + completed ICP calibration (Qualifying process specific to Lead Genius. Equivalent to SQL.)
Demo ScheduledProspect agrees to a demo presentation
EvaluationProspect has completed demo
ProposalProspect has been sent contract
CommittedProspect has signed contract and has been sent payment link
Closed WonPaying Customer

To define the leads, William stressed that marketing needs to understand the sales process. With an understanding of the current sales process, marketing can work backward to arrive at more accurate lead goals and budget projections. Obviously, the sales team also has its own lead goals in mind. From there, sales and marketing can meet to hash out the differences and reach an SLA (Service Level Agreement).

Since finding MQLs is marketing’s job, it’s clearly defined as request for a demo. This definition is crisp and clear. When you go to the Lead Genius website, you can see the button “request a demo” sprinkled seamlessly onto various pages. The ‘request a demo’ button is also displayed prominently in the upper right-hand corner. There are other buttons to drive conversions such as “get in touch today.” The lead definition is articulated well and easily measured. And it is reflected on their websites.

It’s interesting to note that, when I talked to Emmy Jonassen, the direction of acquisition at Hubspot, she told me that Hubsopt does not have SQL. However, they also have a clear and crisp definition of what they call intent-driven MQL. They defined MQL as

  1. Request a demo
  2. Call sale’s toll-free number
  3. Engage through on-site chat or
  4. Send an e-mail and ask to talk to sales reps. In a way, their MQL is a high-quality SQL already.

Again, you can find these four calls-to-action on their websites easily. The sales toll-free phone is on the navigation bar. A “Get started” button is prominent on key pages. On the pricing page, you can see the bright and shiny “Talk to Sales” button. They also have a very sophisticated back-end system to allocate leads to different sales people. It’s about making the lead transition easy from the website to sales team.

Agreeing on lead definitions minimizes confusion and builds better collaboration between sales and marketing. You can also use actionable lead definitions to guide the calls-to-action as part of your website design and layout.

If your company has a clear lead definition, do you use it to guide the calls-to-action on your website?  What else do you do to increase conversions on your websites? Love to hear from you.

Again, 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 friend asked me if I feel lonely working for myself. It’s funny that question has never popped into my mind in the past three and half years. Then, I decided to sit back and to give it some serious thought.

Well, I do work from home, not in a co-working space or in a company environment. I have a remote team. We are close, but we don’t have face-to-face interactions. I am in front of my computer a lot, but I don’t do much video conferencing when I have meetings or talk to people online. When I travel to speak or visit clients, I travel by myself. I usually eat by myself. When I travel to a place I’ve never been before, I’d join a tour by myself. It does sound a bit lonely, doesn’t it?

But there are differences between lonely, isolated and alone?  In my line of work, I need to constantly keep myself up-to-date and travel frequently for speaking engagements. Because of the amount of interaction with peers and attendees, I don’t feel isolated from the society. In fact, I feel information overload sometimes. So, no sense of isolation there. Let’s cross isolation out.

I am indeed alone often. However, I do enjoy doing stuff on my own. Some of my friends feel weird eating alone at restaurants. They prefer to eat in their hotel rooms. I don’t. I am totally OK eating alone and doing my own things. I see it as a date with myself. I really enjoy my own down time.  So, no issue in being alone.

Now, the next question is “Am I lonely?” I make an effort to go to networking events, schedule coffee times with friends and ex-colleagues or learn new things such as dancing, new yoga postures, even just binge watching TV series. I can honestly say that I don’t feel lonely. Ok, I can check that off, too.

I saw a great friend the other day. She is a CMO and works in a very nice office. She told me that she feels very lonely in the office. I asked why? You are in an office surrounded by your team and peers. Well, first of all, she is a senior executive. Her team respects her, but not necessarily hangs out with her. Ok, I get that! Secondly, most of her peers are males. Again, they talk, but they don’t hang out. I can understand that too. I guess it can get pretty lonely when you are high up. I don’t have an answer for her. Maybe this is the price that you need to pay if you reach a certain level in the corporate world.

Even though I don’t feel lonely, isolated or alone, I do miss having colleagues around. I remembered how wonderful it was just walking down the aisles and asking colleagues to have lunch together or go out for a walk after a long meeting. It just feels good to have someone around to brainstorm with, vent or just simply talk trash. I do miss that. Again, this is the price I have to pay if I want to work for myself.

Life is not perfect. You make the best of the cards that you have been dealt.

Do you feel lonely at work? Are you doing anything about it?

This is not a marketing question per se, but it’s about marketers’ well-being.

Send me your marketing questions via Twitter @pamdidner

Be well. Enjoy your downtime. 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.

I am a firm believer that the function of marketing is to grow business and support sales. Great story telling, wonderful commercials, and fantastic events all sound great, but they need to have calls-to-action that tie with sales directly or indirectly. Otherwise, they are just some marketing fluff.

I met Jenny, CEO for 3 Busy Dogs, a company that makes beer for dogs. Yes, you hear me right.  Beer for dogs, but no-alcohol. The company is small, so she doesn’t have a big marketing budget. To create buzz, she relies heavily on user-generated content on social media and co-marketing.

User-generated content such as pictures of owners and their dogs hiking, watching TV or simply just spending time together, drinking beers and living it up. You know, cute dog and cat pictures garner tons of likes and shares. Any free media impressions are good media impressions.

Jenny also focuses on co-marketing. She doesn’t do co-marketing for the sake of doing co-marketing. Whatever co-marketing she does, it has to sell her products. She finds products that will complement her dog beer. For example: what goes well with beer? Oh, pizza. Yes, there’re pizzas for dogs. She partners with Paw’s pizza. What else goes well with beer? Oh, Cigars! She found a company that offers cigar sausages for dogs. I am serious. Oh, what more things go with beers? What about yogurt? Yes, there is frozen yogurt for dogs. I am not making this up.  Feel free to Google dog pizzas, dog cigar sausages, dog frozen yogurt. And to sell more beers, she actually creates various beer float recipes which combine beer and different flavors of yogurt as treats for your dogs.

I was laughing so hard when she was talking to me. I was not laughing at her, but I was laughing with her. Those are clever and creative ideas to sell more products. You go, Jenny.

Bentley’s Pet Stuff has stores in multiple states and took the beer float idea and created “ice cream social” events to offer dogs free ice cream and beer floats to drive foot traffic during the summer.

To me, this is a creative, fun, and low-cost way to drive traffic and increase sales, in addition to building brand awareness.

Partner marketing can also work on the B2B side. Jobi George, VP of Business Development and International Operations at StreamSets, shared his partner marketing story with me. Since companies’ data comes from different systems, StreamSets helps companies manage and organize dataflow in pipelines. They call themselves air traffic control for data. StreamSets, a start-up, does not have a big marketing budget. To make their marketing dollars go further, they choose partners who can complement their solutions. ‘Together is better’. Co-marketing helps them present a strong solution for their joint target customers.

Cloudera, a platform for machine learning and analytics optimized for the cloud, doesn’t offer the dataflow performance management that Streamsets does. If they work together, they create a end-to-end solution for their target customers. So they partner to create joint messaging. StremSets positions itself as an ideal solution for data input into the Cloudera infrastructure. They attend industry conferences together. They develop invitation list to invite each other’s customers to attend special events. They also do webinars incorporating both platforms and create joint white papers and other content.

Jobi said it nicely: “The purpose of partner marketing is to make one plus one equals more than two. At the end of the day, it’s about creating more customers for both companies.”

Of course, the B2B example doesn’t’ sound as much fun as ice cream social. But it is equally impactful to drive demand.

Are you doing co-marketing in your company? Share your example with me.

It was wonderful talking to Jenny and Jobi.

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.

I was reading a great sales book by Erik Peterson, Three Value Conversations: how to create and elevate and capture customer value at every stage of the long lead sale. Ok, the subtitle is very long. Just remember the name of the book is Three Value Conversations.

One thing that struck me is the idea of finding the unexpected needs of your customers. Erik noted that sales reps are trained and conditioned to be problem-solver for their customers. That’s good, but he argues that sales are solving the problems that customers already know. Because it’s addressing known problems, buyers control the conversations. In a way, sales reps are putting themselves in what he calls the “Commodity Box.”

Peterson suggested turning that conversation around. To do that, sales reps need to change their roles. It’s not about solving a known problem, but rather the value-add comes from finding a problem not understood by the customer. So be a problem finder, not just a problem solver. Buyers don’t know what they don’t know. Here is a statement from the book:  “The premium is your ability to tell buyers something they didn’t know about a problem or of a missed opportunity that they didn’t’ even know they had.”  Find problems they don’t know and turn the table around to address the needs that buyers are not even considering. He calls that “unconsidered needs.” And he categorizes “unconsidered needs” into three categories:

  • Undervalued needs:
  • Unmet needs:
  • Unknown needs:

If you are selling a cybersecurity product, one example of an undervalued need is to call out specific compliance or regulations that your customer has overlooked.

An example of an unmet when a customer has become accustomed to a workaround and no longer even looks for a better way to do something.

And unknown need might be to automate a process for applying security patches instead of manually applying them when a system administrator is available.

To unravel these needs, you need to understand the customer’s workflow and tech stacks well. It’s easy to be a problem solver, but it requires a lot of work to be a problem finder.

Although this book is about selling, I thought this concept of discovering unconsidered needs also applies to marketers or me. Can we identify not only the existing pain points and challenges of our customers, but also help them to look at the areas that they usually overlook. At the end of the day, it comes back to “know your customers well.”

BTW, I don’t know the author, Erik Peterson, but I really enjoyed this book, the Three Value Conversations. Check it out on Amazon.  Let me know what you think.

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.

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.