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 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 take-aways in 7 minutes or less.  So send me your questions. I want to help you take on your marketing challenges.

I got the following e-mail from one of my students, Laura.

Hi Professor,

I had you in class a few months ago. I was wondering if you had any examples of a content strategy that you could share with me? I have to create one for work and I’m just overwhelmed by the format. So I thought I would reach out to see if you had anything to share.

Hope all is well.

Thanks,
Laura

Here is my email back to Laura:

Laura,

Good to hear from you. I totally understand that it can be overwhelming.

Here are a couple steps to get you started.  I’d recommend that you sit back and have a cup of coffee or tea.  J  Write down 1-3 bullet points on why you’re creating the plan and whom is it for. Are you creating this as part of the overall marketing plan? As part of a sales plan? Or as part of a product launch plan? Is this a stand-alone presentation or part of the bigger marketing plan?

Who will see your presentation? A marketing manager? A sales manager? Subject matter experts or a product team?  Why do they need to care about the content?  How can they benefit?  Are you asking for support, resources or budget?

Have a crisp understanding of why you’re creating the plan, whom it is for and what they want to see and that will guide you on what to add to your deck and how to flow your presentation.

Once you understand why and what they want to see in your deck, then it’s easier to structure your information.

Laura, as a rule of thumb, several elements will need to be included in your deck:

  • Content marketing strategy and high-level tactics or deliverables
  • Status updates and content usage
  • Marketing or sales challenges and how content helps
  • Content roadmap
  • Content ownership and delivery timeline
  • Next steps

Content marketing strategy and high-level tactics: Nothing too complicated.  Start by showing your overall content marketing strategy and key deliverables.  Refresh everyone’s memory on your overall plan.

Then, provide a quick status update.  Show what you have done and the results, if there are any.

Next, share how content addresses some of the marketing challenges. It’s about providing value to the marketing and sales team.

In addition to the plan, it’s nice to show a content roadmap by quarter, by purchase cycle or by sales process.  The roadmap complements your plan.  With your content roadmap, it will be beneficial to showcase the owners and the delivery timeline.

It doesn’t hurt to have a slide to describe “help needed” or “next steps”.

You can add or delete these elements as you see fit. The bottom line: management wants to know what you have done for them lately and what you can do to support the marketing and sales team to grow business.

Laura, I hope that this helps and good luck with your plan.

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’d like to share with you another dosage of B2B, digital and content marketing. That’s what I do. And thank you for listening.

On this episode, rather than addressing one marketing question, I’d like to share a conversation I had with the sales and marketing team at Curata.

Curata is a platform that can help you curate, plan and measure your content marketing efforts. It has a very nice, solid platform that allows you to select relevant content and quantify the ROI of your content. BTW, I am not affiliated with Curata at all, but I love their curation platform and analytic capabilities.  You should check it out.

Curata is still in the startup phase. They have a full-time sales enablement manager, Sasha Laferte, who resides in marketing.  Her job is to use content to educate prospects and help the sales team close deals.

I asked Sasha, what is the secret sauce of building alignment between marketing and sales?

What she said resonates with me: the “Holy Grail” is to think of sales and marketing as one team and share the same goal.  She also mentioned that it’s important to sit down with the sales team to understand what their challenges and needs are. To stay on top of their needs, she sets up a monthly meeting with them. During the meeting, she shares the content roadmap and solicits feedback from them to modify content editorial so that everyone is on the same page. A two-way dialogue and regular communication is key.

She told me that she makes all the efforts possible to meet deadlines. It’s vital that she delivers what she commits to since sales is counting on her content to convince prospects and to get their prospects to the finishing line.

Sasha also makes a conscious effort to make the sales team’s job easy.  If a long form piece of content is created, she not only shares the content, but also informs the sales team of the target persona, the stage in the purchase cycle for this piece of content, proposed e-mail copy for sales to forward, proposed social media copy and more.  She makes a conscious effort to help the sales team understand how to use the content effectively.

Phil Cappadonna is the Director of Sales at Curata. I asked him, is the sales enablement function really necessary?

He said before Sasha, sales needed to create content and sell.  That was a lot of work and it took time away from selling and talking to customers. In addition, each sales person was creating content to support his own sales efforts.  Duplication and inefficiency were an issue.  Having sales enablement support simplifies and prioritizes content needs. Monthly meetings allow sales to review the content pipeline. Occasionally, some sales reps have urgent desires to create specific types of content.  After open discussion, they might realize that their need was not as urgent as they thought or that some other content piece suggested by others may accomplish similar objectives.

Then I asked Phil, what were his target areas for future improvement?

He answered that he would like to further explore the idea of storytelling.  In addition to showcasing Curata’s platform and its benefits, he would like to make an effort to tell a convincing story about the offerings as a whole.

At the end of our conversation, Sasha mentioned that she did an anonymous survey when she was 6 months into the job. It gave the sales team an opportunity to provide honest feedback.

Phil admitted that their company is unusual in that it’s so committed to content and inbound marketing. I believe that’s usually a case for SaaS companies. And startup. Sales and marketing at Curata are both committed to demand generation. Both drive traffic to the websites. Both are all about leads and both strive to measure the effectiveness of their content.  Sharing the same goal between sales and marketing is crucial to them.

I understand that Curata is a start-up and the team is small so it’s easy to build a friendly and tight rapport between sales enablement and sales.  But you can also do that with bigger team with a positive attitude and a commitment to your internal stakeholders. It has nothing to do with the size of a company.  Sasha said it perfectly, “It’s about listening and respecting the sales team’s needs.”  I agree! Of course, the sales team needs to meet her halfway, as well.

Sasha and Phil, it’s wonderful that you have such a great relationship. Thank you for sharing your story.

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 dosage of 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 take-aways in 7 minutes or less. So send me your questions. I want to help you take on your marketing challenges.

During my recent workshop, “7 Ways to Increase Conversions with Digital Content”, I tried to hone in on the fact that increasing conversions is not about replies to your customers’ angry tweets on Twitter, or drip e-mail for nurturing. Don’t get me wrong, these tactics are important. But it’s even more important to see the forest for the trees.

Yes, see the forest for the trees!

What I am trying to say is that you need to focus on understanding different touch points that you use to engage with your customers. For example: if you have an integrated campaign using banner ads, paid keywords, Facebook ads, email and Twitter outreach to drive traffic to your website, can you articulate each channel step-by-step that your customers come to your website and from which channel? Put all of the touch points on a big sheet of paper, then sit back and stare at this data and internalize how these channels may tie together. By doing that, you can see how each channel are tied together. That’s what I mean about “seeing the forest for the trees”. I strongly believe in the importance of seeing how each marketing channel integrates since your customers will come in from varying channels. If you know how the channels work together, you can provide a better customer experience.

The next day, as I checked out the hotel, I ran into Elaina Mango who attended my workshop the day before. She is the Director of Communications and Social Media. Elaina recognized me from the workshop, and we ended up walking together to the Social Media Strategies Summit. We started talking about our favorite topic: marketing. We talked about how important digital is. I made a mention that it’s challenging to create a 3-hour workshop when my workshop audiences are a mix of young marketing specialists who want deep know-hows and seasoned marketing professionals who just want to think holistically. They have different expectations. Yet, I feel compelled to speak more broadly, which may not meet the expectations of some marketers who look for a deep dive.

Then Elaina said something that surprised me. She said there’s one thing that marketing teams don’t do anymore. I said, “What is that?” She said, “Mapping.” Man, that word was music to my ears. She said in the earlier days before technology, her teams would get together and use post-it notes to map out marketing activities and campaigns on the wall. The team would talk about the issues and move around the post-it notes. Everyone would understand the steps, process and ownership. It was boring, but it was essential. She said, “It’s funny that we don’t do that anymore.”

I agree with her. I used to facilitate “map days” early on when I was with Intel. Interestingly enough, I had not done it for several years before I left. It seemed that everyone was always busy and no one wanted to spend an entire day doing that.

Mapping is similar to creating and documenting the marketing outreach workflow that I discussed at my workshop. Understand the steps that you lay out for your customers and the integration of your marketing channels. It will provide you the holistic view of the overall marketing efforts.

Elaina, thank you so much for coming to my session. Maybe it’s time to bring mapping back to your marketing team. That was a wonderful morning walk. I hope to see you at future events.

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 seven-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 take-aways in 7 minutes or less.  So send me your questions. I want to help you take on your marketing challenges.

I was speaking at Social Media Strategies Summit recently and decided to pop into my friend Mike Brown’s workshop to say “hi”.  I learned a new term from Mike that day (via Kodi Foster at Viacom): E.I.E.I.U. He said that the content we create should fit in the EIEIU categories: Entertainment, Inspiration, Education, Information, Utility.

He is very clever to coin the term EIEIU.

Your content needs to make your customers feel that they receive tangible or intangible value. By classifying your content in this way, you’re able to understand what kind of value your audience might get out of it – tangible or intangible.  It doesn’t mean that every piece of content needs to be Entertaining, Inspirational, Educational and Informational all at once. If you look at all of the content you create, chances are you have a mix of content pieces that fit into one or more of these categories, though.

Let me share some great examples of EIEIU in action:

Entertainment: “Dear Kitten” produced by Buzzfeed for Friskies Cat food.  If you haven’t seen it yet, click on the link or search for “Dear Kitten Friskies video” online.  The writing is hilarious.

Inspiration: The best inspirational content usually come from Athletics brands such as Nike or Under Armor.  They inspire us to be the best we can. Under Armor’s video features ballet soloist Misty Copeland dancing as a young girl while reading a rejection letter she received when first starting out. It’s about empowering girls and not taking “no” for an answer. It conveys that everything is possible and encourages us not to give up.

Education: Explain a new technology, trend or complex concept such as what is Blockchain?  Cloud computing 101.

Information: This can be about your products features and user-benefits.  Share with them what your products can do for your customers.

Most of the content we generate tends to fit into Education and Information categories.

Utility: How-to content.  Check out REI.comLowesHome Depot or BirchBox DIY content.  This type of content typically includes tips and tricks on how to do things better.

I created similar categories when I led my own content marketing workshop. My categories were: entertainment, help, challenge, education and buy. I’d add “Challenge” and “Buy” to the EIEIU categories.

Examples for a “Challenge” content piece would be quizzes or other forms of interactive content that engages customers.

Finally, “Buy” content focuses on promotion and discount offers.

If we add two more letters to EIEIU, the term can be CEBIEIU. Ha!

In general, most of our content tends to fit into the Education, Information, Utility and Buy categories.  Entertaining and inspiring content is much harder to create. It requires time, effort and budget to get it right.

At the end of the day, there is no right answer for the right mix of content.  It’s not about 10% entertainment content, 20% inspiration content, 50% utility content, or whatnot.

It’s about answering the question, “Are you providing value to your customers?” Is your content helpful, useful or beneficial? Does it help customers solve their problems and, at the same time, facilitate their buying process?

Do good for your customers and good will come to you.

It was great to see Mike again before the year-end.

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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Becoming Situationally Fluent

Today, I want to do something different! I want to share a term I’ve learned, it’s called situational fluency. That’s right, situational fluency.

Recently, I read a book about Collaborative Sales by Keith Eades and Tim Sullivan. With pretty much almost all human knowledge on the Internet and at our finger tips, buyers know more about us than we do ourselves. They talk to everyone, except sellers, to get ins and outs about sellers’ companies, products and services.

For big ticket purchases on B2B, buyers do their homework! More than 50% of buyers contact sellers when they are half way through the purchasing cycle. With that being said, sales can’t just follow structured scripts and rote steps. You still need training, sales scripts and sales methodology when you sell technologies or complicated products. That’s still very important. What’s changed dramatically is that you need to improvise based on what you know about buyers and what buyers know about you. BTW, buyers know a lot about you. Rather than selling to buyers, you need to “collaborate” with buyers. Understand what they know and guide them to what they don’t know. Sellers need to see themselves as a collaborator and be situational depending buyers’ needs. This concept is nothing new, but being situational is increasingly more important than ever before.

I teach marketing courses at universities. Students often ask me for templates. They want black-and-white answers. They want me to tell them to use this template at this situation, use that template for that situation. However, marketing is different from product to product, from industry to industry, even from company to company. Templates need to change based on situations. I always tell my students, I can give you templates, but you need to improvise and adjust the templates for the situations you find yourselves in. I encourage them to modify my templates. I even ask them to share their modified templates with me and I am more than happy to write a blog post about it. I told them that only when they can modify my templates are they demonstrating solid understanding of the processes they represent. It’s like learning basic waltz moves. Once you get the basics down you can finally let your creativity go and improvise as you go. You can create your own choreography and be situational no matter what types of waltz music is playing. You adapt as you mood moves you.

When you get advice from marketing experts or read steps from how-to books, don’t follow them without thinking. Analyze the situations you are in, take the essence of their instructions and modify as you see fit. Create your own formula!

Be situationally fluent. That’s my motto for this week.

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Standardizing content

How do we standardize content if localization and personalization drive better engagement? – Juliet

This is something that we struggle to find a balance in scaling content across region. There is no right or wrong answer per se, so let me address that in these ways:

  1. Products and personas,
  2. budget and resources,
  3. common editorial,
  4. and common creative.

Juliet, in a perfect world we want to personalize and localize content as much as we can.  However, we are all limited by budget and resources. It’s better to create a set of standardize content.  Let the local team pick and choose which one to use, also, allow the local team to create their own content for local usage.

It’s a matter of finding a balance between standardization and localization.  Be sure you are testing and measuring the impact of your content approach so you can learn what is working for your audience.

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Question:  What is the best way to open a presentation?

I am doing a session at a conference.  How do you make a compelling or fun opening to get people’s attention? – Kerry

I tried several different approaches for my own presentations.  Here are my 3 suggestions:

  1. Articulate very clearly what you want to talk about
  2. Start with a story or an observation related to your topic
  3. Start with an alarming statistic data or a quote

Really, there is no right or wrong way to approach your opening, the most important thing is to BE you!  Start from that first.  Share with audiences what you think and how it is beneficial and useful.  Respect their time and make their time worth it by speaking from your heart as if you are having conversation.

Oh, and remember to smile.  This is something I should do myself.

Good luck Kerry.  Let me know how your presentation goes.

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Question: Hey Pam, how do you make a living as a personal consultant?

If you ask different independent consultants, you’ll get different answers.

But for me, here are the 4 categories of my revenue stream:

  1. Speaking – Speaking opportunities at conferences. People reach out to me organically via my website.
  2. Teaching- I teach an online course at West Virginia University. It’s a lot of work and doesn’t pay a lot, but I really enjoy it.
  3. Consulting – Marketing planning and execution. I work with clients and help them create marketing plans. I also work with them to implement tactics such as email marketing content creation or campaign execution. Another aspect of consulting is facilitation, I facilitate workshops and do 3-6hrs workshop focusing on ‘how-tos’ and setting up the processes of content and digital marketing
  4. Coaching – I receive requests from young marketing professionals who reach out to me via Linkedin. I give advice on their career planning or work with them on marketing plans

I’ve been fortunate to launch my own career after 20-year in the corporate world. Working for myself as an independent consultant requires a lot of hustling and self-motivation. The work never ends.

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Question: What is the best way to build close relationships with my team?

The best way to build close relationships with your team is having regular face-to-face meetings. If your travel budget allows, it would be great to have a face-to-face meeting every 6 months or so. Have a 2-day meeting in which you provide updates and the team shares best practices and discusses challenges and solutions.

If you can’t do it face-to-face, the alternative is to conduct a regular bi-weekly or monthly meeting virtually. Below are possible topics to discuss and share during the meeting:

  1. Business and sales updates
  2. Status of the company
  3. Success matrix and reality check
  4. Product roadmap and launch timing
  5. Messaging, product positioning and content planning
  6. Marketing research and insights
  7. Best practices and updates
  8. Budget discussion
  9. Tools and processes
  10. Co-marketing plans with partners

Building close relationships requires time and effort. There are no short cuts.