The Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges is the podcast for the modern marketer who wants to hear from their peers in the trenches and the occasional analyst or rock-star-influencer sharing strategies and tactics about what’s working in modern marketing. Show notes are available at http://bit.ly/MME-show
Creating Sales Engagement Using Corporate Gift Ideas
In 2020 with in-person conferences being redirected to online events, marketers are looking for alternative ways to continue to grow their demand generation efforts and ensure that they can drive quality leads into the sales funnel. One of those ways is gift marketing.
Marketing teams are allocating budgets and efforts toward gifting, as opposed to sponsoring virtual events, as some marketers are not seeing the ROI from a $10k+ sponsorship.
How can you use gift marketing in your company and what are some great use cases? That is the topic of this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast with my guest, Nick Grant, Head of Marketing at Postal.io.
Postal.io is an integrated direct mail platform for sales and marketing teams that leverages machine learning to automate and optimize the creation, delivery, and reporting of personalized physical assets (a.k.a. gifts) in the sales process. The Postal.io platform integrates into HubSpot, Salesloft and Salesforce.
Postal.io activities can be tracked in CRM, such as if the gift was received or denied, and reports on different metrics so marketers can know what works and doesn’t. It can also trigger other events to happen, like an email or call right after the gift was received.
Listen to this episode to learn more about modern gift marketing.
How Companies are Using Gift Marketing Almost every industry can use gifting to help with their marketing. One common way is to share knowledge by sending books.
The book helps build rapport with customers and it can be about something that supports content your business writes about or contain content that your prospect will find relevant for their specific business.
For example, Postal.io often uses Giftology: The Art & Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention, to educate their clients on how they can effectively use gifting in their marketing and sales process.
Although some brands have their own books, most don’t. However, they can use books from recognized thought leaders in their industry. For example, agencies use books like This is Marketing by Seth Godin or Sales Engagement from the team at Outreach. These books not only educate their prospects, but also help position themselves as an expert in their space by providing these hand-picked resources.
Most books cost around $20 and are a very cost-effective way to experiment with driving more engagement at the top of the funnel.
Personalization in Gift Marketing Although it is difficult to automate and scale personalized gifts, Nick says that he has seen it often in the SaaS space.
There is a lot of competition in the SaaS industry, so companies try to get in front of key prospects and get them into their sales funnel through personalized gifts.
“This is where swag can come into play,” Nick says, “as you can do a bit of research on a prospect and often find out some info about things they’re passionate about, like where they went to college or a sports team that they support. Just find what they post about on Instagram and perhaps send them a Yeti Mug with their college logo on it, or a hat from their favorite sports team.”
Another common example is companies sending gifts that relate to their client’s pets, like a box of cat toys. Such gifts help companies stand out amongst the competition.
An added benefit is that people get excited when they receive the gifts and usually post their pictures with the gifts on social media, raving about the company.
Nick talked about some interesting use cases for gift marketing in particular industries.
Finance and Real Estate Nick says that clients in these industries are often introducing new services and they need a way to market them to their existing clients, so they can try to get them interested in learning more about their new offerings.
“This is where
Building a B2B Podcast and Making it Work
Podcasts are becoming more popular each day (there are more than a million podcasts and more than 30 million episodes available). So it’s not surprising that marketers are deciding to create a B2B podcast as a strategy to reach their buyers.
But how do you start a B2B podcast and how do you make it work?
That is the topic on this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast with my guest Rachel Clapp Miller, Vice President of Marketing and Digital Engagement at Force Management.
Force Management is a B2B sales effectiveness consulting firm that helps its clients define sales solutions and create management tools that produce measurable results. In her role, Rachel manages communication and content generation that drive leads and client engagement.
She is also the host of The Audible Ready Podcast, a weekly show featuring B2B sales leaders and revenue-driving executives, who share their best insights on how a focus on sales effectiveness can help companies increase revenue, improve sales margins and gain market share.
Listen to this episode as Rachel tells us how she started the podcast and those factors that have made it successful.
The Evolution of a B2B Podcast The Audible Ready Podcast was born organically, almost by accident.
Rachel was in charge of content marketing, blogging regularly, posting on social media and running demand generation activities.
“I needed to get into the heads of the subject matter experts,” Rachel says. “So I started scheduling regular content chats with co-founder John Kaplan. We had conversations every other week about sales planning, pipeline, whatever it was we were producing content on.”
Rachel decided to record these conversations so she could listen to them later, but soon realized that she had a B2B podcast on her hands. So she kept recording the interviews as a podcast without telling John that she planned to publish them… A risk that paid off!
After producing and editing some of the interviews, however, Rachel asked for the official green light to make the interviews an actual podcast. Fortunately, she got the approval and the podcast launched in 2015 as The Force Management Podcast.
Although people liked it, originally it was just a hobby and not a regular production of content.
However, as the company was growing, the podcast evolved. Rachel evaluated the marketing tactics and realized the podcast was a low hanging fruit, an effective B2B marketing tool they could leverage. So she hired a writer for the marketing team to maximize resources and also contracted an outside company to edit and publish the podcast.
Rachel realized that since 2015, B2B podcasts had grown exponentially and to compete, Force Management had to take their podcast to the next level. That’s why in 2020 they did a complete rebranding, changing the name to The Audible Ready Podcast.
The Goals of a B2B Podcast As a B2B marketer, how do you measure the impact your podcast has on your business?
The first thing is to set some goals, whether it is lead generation, sales enablement or branding.
For Rachel and her team, the goal is to increase visibility and brand awareness.
“There are many sales consulting firms, so we need to differentiate ourselves, and the podcast helps us do that,” Rachel says. “We sell to the C-suite and high-level sales leaders on the go. We want to give them different avenues to find us, other than the newsletter.”
The podcast also serves to remain top of mind with their target audience, in this case, sales reps, who are the users of their training programs.
Furthermore, they have integrated the podcasts as added content to their training program, which not only increases the audience but serves as a tool to reinforce learning. We do the same with the Modern Marketing Engine podcast and our Modern Selling podcast, integrated into our Ve
Why CMI is Breaking the Content Marketing Rules in 2020
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The year 2020 has seen many marketing events cancelled, postponed or gone virtual due to COVID-19. And Content Marketing World, the largest event for content marketers held in person each fall is going 100% virtual as well.
My guest on this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine is Cathy McPhillips, VP of Marketing at the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the organizer of Content Marketing World, which is one of my favorite marketing events (I have never missed one since its inception), by the way.
Cathy oversees all marketing efforts for CMI, their events, their Chief Content Officer magazine (now digital only), their research, CMI University and all other CMI properties and happenings. Her goal is to grow the CMI community and audience online and offline. Pre-CMI, Cathy has 20+ years experience in marketing, including agency life, B2C, national restaurant and nonprofit marketing, and her own marketing consulting business. She’s currently also a board member for The Orange Effect Foundation.
Listen to my conversation with Cathy to learn about the exciting plans for this year’s Content Marketing World virtual event.
Content Marketing World’s 10th Anniversary Content Marketing World is CMI’s flagship event and although many marketers like me were looking forward to attending the 10th anniversary event live and in person, we all understand the need for this year’s event to go virtual.
However, this won’t be your typical online event. Cathy explains how the CMI team didn’t design a virtual version of the annual in-person Content Marketing World, because mimicking the live event is not feasible. Instead they are focusing on the tracks that make sense for virtual delivery and the speakers who embrace virtual speaking.
This year’s theme is “Break the Rules.”
As marketers we all have documented content strategies, such as frameworks, templates and calendars that we are following -- which are great of course. But, the CMI team asks, what if we step out of the comfort zone, be creative and break the rules to do something new?
If we want to differentiate ourselves and our organizations, we must break the rules. That’s what the speakers at Content Marketing World will be talking about, bringing some great case studies. In fact, I have the privilege of delivering a session on Account Based Podcasting (ABP), a term I use for using podcast content for lead generation at target accounts.
So, what’s different about this year’s event?
Cathy says the CMI team wanted to create an epic experience for attendees but also avoid Zoom fatigue and the heavy load that comes from working from home and juggling a million things. So they reached out to their loyal community and asked them what they wanted for this virtual edition of Content Marketing World.
Additionally, the CMI team studied hundreds of virtual events to see what they liked and disliked, not only in marketing but also in other industries to avoid limiting their creative thinking.
Here’s a quick overview of what they came up with and what you can expect from the 10th Content Marketing World.
Community activities before the event and sneak peeks of some talks to warm up the attendees. Extra sessions in November and December to follow up on what will be taught during the event in October. Access to speakers to ask questions. Online discussions within small groups before and after sessions. Events spread across several days. Workshops and forums available as video on demand. Main conference over four days - October 13 to 16, 2020 Live keynotes. Virtual happy hours and entertainment. Cathy says they have also created a strategy for attendees and sponsors to connect virtually. Registrants will answer a few questions about their company and their needs, and then will be matched with exh
A Successful Shift from an Outbound to an Inbound Marketing Strategy at NAWSP
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There’s a powerful analogy used to describe the difference between an outbound and an inbound marketing strategy: an outbound strategy is like chasing or hunting for leads, while an inbound strategy is like attracting or luring leads to you.
And although both marketing strategies have their merits and their limitations, my guest in this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast, found great success for her organization when she shifted from an outbound to an inbound marketing strategy.
Cynthia Barnes, Founder and CEO of National Association Women Sales Professionals (NAWSP) is a repeat guest here on my podcast. Cynthia is a LinkedIn Top Sales Influencer, highly sought-after keynote speaker, and Champion for Women in Sales, known for motivating others to feel confident, empowered, and brave. She founded the National Association of Women Sales Professionals (NAWSP) with one simple mission: to help women in sales reach the Top 1% and end gender inequality in sales.
Women from around the globe have joined together to create a community of 15,000+ women in sales who band together for the support and professional development that only other women can provide. They want to level the playing field. They want to have conversations otherwise considered taboo and who want to hold leaders accountable and ask the hard questions.
Listen to this episode to learn how Cynthia was able to grow NAWSP’s membership to more than 15,000 with a simple but well-thought of inbound marketing strategy.
The story of NAWSP Cynthia recalls how a Facebook meme inspired her to start NAWSP. The meme said: “The true test of whether you are successful in life is not based on how well you do. It’s based on how many others you helped do well.”
She realized she had been in the top 1% for many years and wondered how many women she could help reach that top 1% in sales. Women in sales have unique challenges that men don’t have, but also have innate strengths that they can tap into to get to that top 1% faster.
Cynthia explains that women are often held back by the imposter syndrome or their inner critic and don’t know how to express themselves in the right way. NAWSP teaches women how to tap into their strengths such as relationship building and time management to overcome those challenges.
And because 89% of sales leaders are male, when a woman wants to reach the top 1%, it benefits her to have a male sponsor. So, NAWSP has men who serve as allies, sponsors and mentors who help women in sales ascend the corporate ladder in their organizations.
NAWSP’s Inbound Marketing Strategy At launch in 2016, NAWSP didn’t have a defined marketing strategy. In Cynthia’s words, it was a “cluster and haphazard at best,” doing Meet-ups and LinkedIn groups. But when they started identifying the demographics and psychographics of their ideal member, things began to change.
There’s a marketing formula that NAWSP began to apply: M x M = R. That is:
Message X Media = Result
The first M is the message. What do you say to your target market to get them to stop scrolling? The second M is the media. Where do you put your message once it’s fine-tuned? Social media, radio, billboards? Result. In 2016, NAWSP didn’t have a clearly defined message nor a media platform to place that message, so their results were terrible. Once they identified how their ideal member thinks, her goals, her values, and her objections to the sale, they were able to create the right marketing message and found she was most likely to engage with them on LinkedIn and their results skyrocketed.
In the early days, the focus was an outbound strategy, chasing potential members. But then they shifted their focus to attract members to what they had to offer.
The current attraction content strategy includes blo
How the Right Market Intelligence Enables Organizations to Thrive in Challenging Times
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Companies must have a strategic plan to grow and expand, especially in challenging times like the current pandemic, where market dynamics have shifted and priorities have shifted. Most B2B companies use traditional market reports to guide their strategic decisions, but they are not enough.
However, with the right market intelligence, B2B organizations can prioritize their accounts, reevaluate territories and rethink their ideal customer profile to actually thrive.
In this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine, my guest, Elizabeth Cholawsky, PhD, describes how technology intelligence helps companies plan with confidence and make better decisions. She is a seasoned executive leader in the technology industry with a strong focus on growing successful SaaS-based businesses. Elizabeth has led and worked with companies to build market-leading offerings, using in-house talent as well as through partnerships and acquisitions.
Elizabeth is the CEO at HG Insights. The company has built the world’s largest and most accurate database of B2B technology customer intelligence, tracking more than a million businesses and the specific technology stack products they are using. Elizabeth won Comparably’s 2019 Best CEO for Women Award.
This post summarizes our conversation. I invite you listen to the entire episode (33 minute interview) to learn more about market intelligence and how it can help your marketing or sales team succeed.
Success Begins with Strategic Planning Whether your company is trying to determine which territories to expand to, how to align sales and marketing with the right accounts, staff your business appropriately and invest in effective tools for growth or persuade investors to fund you, or pivot due to COVID-19 you need strategic planning.
But where do you start? You must start with data.
Unfortunately, traditional market reports are not enough to make informed decisions. Most are based on customer surveys interpreted by analysts and provide only high-level numbers on potential size and growth of a market. These reports are too generic and not very actionable.
This is where technology intelligence comes in.
Technology Intelligence Elizabeth says that her clients are usually looking for much deeper insights than what’s provided on an analyst report, which is generally an estimate of the total available market (TAM) or serviceable available market (SAM). What they need is to understand their serviceable obtainable market (SOM), which represents the segment of the market they think they can realistically capture with their product or service. And to obtain the SOM, they need detailed tech intelligence on what technology products their accounts or prospective buyers have installed.
Tech intelligence allows the entire organization to make better decisions. For instance:
Sales leaders use granular tech intelligence to map out and divide their sales territories into regions that contain accounts that match their ideal customer profile (ICP). Sales and marketing teams use tech intelligence to develop and deliver highly relevant campaigns with messaging customized to a prospect’s strategic initiatives, existing solutions and pain points. Product teams use tech trending information to make decisions on which products they need to enhance or end, and what new solutions they need to develop to better compete in the future. Elizabeth says that the data HG Insights provides is so detailed that their clients can understand what technology products are installed at each account and what the budgets are for those products. That way they can make fair comparisons between markets. In our interview, Elizabeth shared an example contrasting tech intelligence between Germany and France, providing data to support the decision to invest in one country over the oth
How B2B Sales Teams Are Pivoting in the COVID World
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Marketing and sales plans conceived in early 2020 are either no longer relevant or no longer work, so B2B sales teams have had to change how they sell (and sometimes even WHAT they sell) to adapt to the new environment of the COVID world.
In this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine, I talk with Jillian Ryan about some of the pivots B2B companies are making to respond to the changing marketing and sales landscape. Jillian is a principal analyst on the eMarketer vertical for Insider Intelligence. Her expertise and analysis focus on B2B marketing, advertising and sales, as well as trends in marketing transformation and the modern workplace.
As a former B2B marketing director, Jillian has over 15 years experience driving strategy for B2B software companies and digital publishers. She is also a frequent presenter at industry events such as The B2B Marketing Exchange, Advertising Week and Social Media Week and her commentary has been featured in Bloomberg, CNN, The Wall Street Journal and Ad Week.
Listen to this episode as we discuss how B2B sales teams are pivoting to succeed in the COVID world.
Two Pivots for B2B Sales Teams At the beginning of the COVID crisis, many B2B sales teams were left in the dark while executives shifted priorities and marketing teams figured out new messaging. Sellers wondered what would happen with their quotas, if their jobs were secure and what would the future look like.
Sales leaders had to pivot and inform their teams that budgets shifted from live events to other channels such as video conferencing and video sales prospecting.
Pivot #1: From Live Events to Virtual Events For B2B companies, in-person events in a pre-COVID world were a pivotal touchpoint to drive demand, secure active deals and build stronger connections with prospects. These events took on many forms: some companies hosted their own events to launch new products and features and provide their audience with educational and thought leadership content. Other B2B companies relied on trade shows to showcase their products, while others participated in large scale industry events to meet with partners and potential customers.
Today, virtual digital events are the norm. This is what Jillian discovered in her research.
Pivot #2: From In-Person Meetings to Virtual Meetings Without face-to-face events, business travel and meetings, sellers have lost critical touchpoints with their prospects during this pandemic. Further, navigating conversations with potential buyers during an economic crisis is not easy. B2B sellers who are consultative, creative and empathic can find success.
The obvious pivot is to virtual meetings with 77% of salespeople in North America saying they are doing more while sheltering in place, according to April 2020 research from LinkedIn®. Phone calls (57%) and emails (51%) also saw increased usage with sellers looking to engage with buyers.
How Sales Video Came to the Forefront in the COVID World Without the possibility of face-to-face interaction, video calls are on the rise. This includes asynchronous video sales messaging.
Although it’s very easy to hop on a call now because work schedules are less cluttered with business trips, getting a buyer to respond is also increasingly challenging as bandwidth for Zoom calls competes with the pressures of being locked in the home with kids, family members and other COVID-driven challenges. There is no universal answer to these challenges: it depends on the individual buyer.
That’s why sales leaders are increasingly teaching their sellers to use sales video messaging to connect with prospects in a manner that allows flexibility in how they respond while working from home, but also includes the personal touch that is lost in written digital communications.
In fact, according to LikedIn®, video