B2B vs. B2C, is there really a “versus?”

I currently work in a B2B industrial environment which is a tough market to market for.  Granted, our products sell in to more than just the industrial manufacturing space which does allow for a bit more flair when it comes to some of our outreach.  The tough part has always been to break through the B2B mold & make people realize that at the end of the day, a building does not buy products, actual people buy products.

When I was managing all of our social media platforms, it was very hard to not get down on myself that we didn’t have a whole heck of a lot of interaction from our fans.  It did occur to me that although Facebook & Twitter were good brand building machines, where we needed to be was LinkedIn.  With the help of our PR agency, we created three separate LinkedIn groups that allowed our top thought leaders to talk about their knowledge on various markets.  They were talking to people…not buildings.

This thought that B2B is just a disguised B2C “person” was further confirmed when I read an article in AdAge magazine that talked about the fact that the lines have become so blurred that even the biggest B2C advertising magazine thought it worth while to buy up the biggest B2B magazine.

“The move reflects the growing overlap between b-to-b and consumer strategies as both grow more focused on targeting and engaging specific customer groups…While exceptions abound, the stereotype was always that b-to-b marketing was boring. B-to-b companies did little TV advertising and spent most of their media dollars on trade publications. You had industrial companies selling boring products to other boring companies. All that anyone cared about was price and product features.

Times change. The b-to-b sector accounts for over 50% of the U.S. gross domestic product. As a category, b-to-b makes a huge contribution to the economy, job creation and innovation. Now marketers are just as likely to engage with business customers on personal channels like Facebook and blogs as we are to engage with them in trade publications.”

Here is one more article about bringing B2B marketers in to the social media world. “It would be easy for smaller to midsize B2B companies to ignore the success of the GEs and IBMs, since the pockets are deeper. But the fundamentals are the same — and the new channels to communicate are far more cost-effective today than ever before. To those B2B marketers who say social media isn’t relevant to them, how do you explain the thousands of “likes” for IBM’s Smarter Planet? It’s a matter of incorporating a variety of media into a marketing mix, understanding that people who buy toothpaste also buy industrial engines or technology solutions.”

What do you think? Is B2B merely a front to hide behind?  I’d like to take a deep sleep, pretend like there are no rules, and start fresh with a new mentality of P&S2P, products & services to people, or business to consumer.

Fashion & the Interview

I’ve shared my ideas and photos of what to wear to an interview, and have also written about the kind of nail polish  (look at the related post below), or accessory, to wear to an interview.  Here’s a rather lengthy list of do’s and dont’s.

I like that the article ends with some general tips for how to present yourself as a “go getter.”

MISTAKES:

1. Not having anything with you to take notes with. Not having copies of your resume.
2. Talking or texting on your way into the interview area — or worse yet, taking a call during the interview.
3. Wearing a hat or sunglasses in the building for your meeting.

What are your thoughts?

 

Get Ready for Your Interview

I recently saw a great synopsis of some tips for a great interview.

1. Research the company

Make sure you know as much as possible about the company before you go into any interview. Start with the company’s website and read their mission statement, goals, and values and think about how those apply to the position you’re applying for.

2. Research the job

Once you’ve got the interview, make absolutely sure you know everything you can about the position and what the job is all about.

3. Prepare answers that highlight your skills and experience

This question can have many forms, but being able to demonstrate with your answers and anecdotes that you understand the key skills, expertise and experience required for the job and that you possess them will go a very long way to a winning interview.

4. Prepare answers that show your enthusiasm and interest

Often, when recruiters are faced with choosing between equally qualified candidates, the candidate who exhibited the most enthusiasm and interest in the job will win out.

5. Prepare answers that show how you will fit in with the company culture

Because you did your research in step 1, you will understand something about the company culture and be able to demonstrate how you will fit in.

6. Plan your journey so you arrive stress free and on time

The stress of unexpected traffic, getting lost, and other delays can derail an otherwise promising interview, so take steps to ensure that you don’t have to stress.

Make sure to click above to read the full story!

Have a great, safe, and happy 4th of July!!!

Brand Refresh & Guidelines

I just wanted to share some quick things to keep in mind when you are planning a brand refresh/update.

Start with a Brand Analysis/Evaluation to understand where your brand stands in the eyes of your customers & distributors.  From there, you can go in to the Brand Refresh.  There are many things to keep in mind as your go through this whole process, such as:

  • Specific markets you sell in to
  • Different kinds of customers and their buying persona’s
  • Buying times and how long the buying process takes
  • What your product says about your brand!

Let’s dive in…here are some of the things you want to consider covering with your new brand guidelines.

Brand Evolution

  • Defining who we are
  • How we differentiate our brand(s)
  • Brand consistency in messages and graphics
  • Developing brand character with a clear voice

Brand Elements

  • Logos
  • Logo Placement & Positioning
  • Brand Colors
  • Correct & incorrect logo usage
  • Taglines
  • Correct & incorrect usage of imagery to depict products & solutions

Business Communication

  • Letterhead
  • Business Cards
  • Envelopes
  • Email Signatures
  • PowerPoint Presentations

Design Applications

  • Brochures & Catalogs
  • Flyers & Sales Sheets

Product Communication

  • Text Standards
  • Capitalization/Numbers/Bullets/Hyphens/Measurements/Abbreviations/Symbols/Captions/Descriptions

Visual Design Guidelines

  • Industrial Design Attributes
  • Product Badges
  • Color Specification

Future Brand Updates

  • Tradeshow Applications
  • Shirt Applications

Here are some samples of how some familiar brand logos have changed through the years.

 

Oh, and happy birthday to me :)

 

 

Managing a Marketing Budget

I always found it difficult to answer the question of, “are we on budget?”  The reason was, I really wasn’t sure what the budget was or how far below or above it we were.  When I was given the opportunity to become a manager I wanted to change that, as I felt like I couldn’t be the only one that felt like I couldn’t really manage my work without fully understanding the implications of it on the overall marketing budget.

So, I took the numbers, and broke them in to the categories of the types of tasks and initiatives we needed to complete during the year and posted the Excel spreadsheet to our internal portal.  I’ve asked those that are responsible for certain portions of the budget to update it regularly, i.e. on a monthly basis so we are always on top of our budgetary numbers and I can easily look in one place and tell my manager what can be cut, moved around and accomplished within the constraints of our budget.

This has allowed my direct report to feel like she really owns her portion of the marketing pie.

What are you doing to manage you marketing budget and make it easier to keep up to date?

Next Step – Upper Management

 

 

 

 
For those of you who are looking for that next step, I came across an awesome article that I think can even be applied to those who simply want to be seen as leaders and not necessarily have a desire to be Veep’s.

I’m going to paraphrase the parts I enjoyed most, but everyone should read the Step Up. Stop Doing What’s Made You Successful.

1. “In a small team there isn’t much need for formal communication. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing. You talk every day. Formal communication seems wasteful, even bureaucratic. But, as a leader, communication means leverage. Because you can’t talk to everyone everyday, you need more structured communication. Also, your increased scope means that more people care about what your team is doing. You have a larger and more diverse audience. These people don’t understand as much about what you do, so the content of your communication needs to shift (less about activities, more about results and roadmap).

2. “Many front-line managers earn their first management promotion because they excelled at the job. They are subject matter experts and good coaches. This can lead to a habit of managing activity rather than results.

As a next-level leader you need to shift your focus away from the activity and towards the results that your team is producing. Leave it to your managers to figure out how to get the results (assuming they do so with integrity!). Ask questions and offer advice but don’t dictate. You should examine the details when the results don’t materialize.”

3. “Leaders have vision–a “true north” for their organization. Of course you’re not the company’s founder or CEO, so your vision is going to be smaller in scope and may feel less…well…visionary. That’s okay, you still need to have one. Your team needs aspirations. You need to be heading in a clear direction.”

4. “You need to break some of those old habits so you can create new ones.

How? One recommendation is to remove all recurring meetings from your calendar and start fresh fresh. The demands for your time will increase significantly and you could be dragged into a huge number of meetings, so block time on your calendar for working & thinking. Block time to write formal communications. And eat lunch. And exercise. Schedule skip-level meetings with individual contributors. Plan an offsite for your team.”

Do you agree with these tips?  I know I would love to clear my calendar and just strategize but unfortunately that’s not always possible due to deadlines and general bandwidth of a “do more with less…people” situation.

 

My Two Cents – Yelp App Updates

yelp

Disclaimer: This is an opp ed piece.

Who has the Yelp app on their phone? Raise your hands…

I do, and I honestly never ever use it.  Back when I was eating and breathing social media I would write reviews on there all the time and hence I felt the need to get the app on my phone.  Besides the fact that I never use it, it is also INCREDIBLY annoying that the frickin thing needs to up updated at least twice a week.  If they are minor updates, at least gather them up and do it once a week if you really need to.  But how many issues does the thing have?  And if they’re not issues and every single developer on their staff just updates things whenever they think of something new, perhaps there should be a funnel of approvals.

That is just my opinion.  Anyone else have a gripe about an app?

How Fitness Fits in to Being Creative

You can take a look at my Fit Momma section for my additional tips, and my take, on how to stay active as a mom, or as anyone who tries to juggle too much.   But today I wanted to share an article that I came across that fits in to the business portion of my blog.

The article, pushed through on LinkedIn, shares the idea that those who get up and walk around during work hours are more creative than those who just sit at their desk.  I would tend to agree, as I come up with random thoughts and ideas, mostly while I’m not at work, or when I’m not thinking about work.  So get up, move around, and be creative!

 “The study [done by Stanford researchers] found that walking indoors or outdoors similarly boosted creative inspiration. The act of walking itself, and not the environment, was the main factor. Across the board, creativity levels were consistently and significantly higher for those walking compared to those sitting.”  Click the photo to read the article.

walk.jpg

LinkedIn for B2B

 LinkedIn for b2bI’ll admit it, I’m struggling to keep up with posting weekly updates for my two company pages.  There used to be a time when social media was eating up the majority of my day.  I could look into ROI, learn best practices, try out new things and hope to grow our web traffic and lead numbers.  These days it has become just another task on the to do list that I need to get better at managing.

We have lots of great content to share I just need to be more diligent about sharing it.  So, I was happy to see a recent article about improving your LinkedIn content strategy.  Did you know that you will soon, or might be able to already, essentially blog on your site?  Apparently this was something that was open to just the chosen few but LinkedIn is opening up the functionality to more people and companies, it seems.  Learn more about it HERE.

So what’s your trick or tip to keeping on top of social media?