Psychographics Current Key to B2B

Are Psychographics The Next Big Breakthrough In B2B Demand Generation?

As we look to planning for 2017, one emerging trend that is really beginning to excite many marketers I’ve spoken with (myself included!) is the technological advances that will let B2B marketers target customers based on psychographics and likely behaviors.

Say goodbye to title/role/function-based targeting and hello to mobilizer-targeting.

As background, recall the research that CEB has done into customer stakeholders who are in some form or fashion involved in purchase decisions. The upshot is, your marketing and sales efforts ought to target Mobilizers—customer stakeholders who are especially good at driving change and building consensus within their organizations. You want to avoid wasting time with what we call Talkers (who will engage with your content and sellers’ all day long, but won’t actually be able to advance a deal) and Blockers (those who put status quo above all else).

We know from that research, published in The Challenger Customer, that Mobilizers defy a simple title/role/function description. In fact, you’re more likely to get a Talker or a Blocker than you are a Mobilizer if you just grabbed a group of decision-makers who share the same title/role/function.

Traditionally, the best that B2B marketers could really do with their targeting efforts has been to target title/role/function. Based on the data point above, that’s far from ideal. Lots of wasted effort and resources, some of which counter-productive. On a good day, B2B marketers can bring in wisps of “intent” based on observed behavior to identify those prospects who might be in the market for your solution. However, even then you can end up engaging customers who are out there learning and dreaming, but not able to actually help you get the deal done.

But here’s the exciting part: there are some groundbreaking marketing technology players who are pushing the envelope on identifying the psychographic “signature” of prospects who would be more likely to mobilize (and not just talk). And, I’ve been tinkering with our data to pressure test the underlying ideas.

Recommended by Forbes

My early view is that psychographic targeting in B2B shows real promise. Specifically, we’re talking about examining the digital and social footprint that customer stakeholders lay down every day through their comings-and-goings online and in social media. Couple that with, in some cases, natural-language processing that can parse written (and even spoken) language a hundred different ways. All with the idea of finding little clues that signify a customer’s likelihood to be a Mobilizer.

The underlying hypothesis here is that Mobilizers show up in subtly different ways—their social profile is nuanced, or they use different turns of phrase and language—than Talkers and Blockers. It seems to take deep analytics to spot these clues, but our early research here is promising.

With this type of intelligence in-hand, B2B marketers will be able to drop the title/role/function-based targeting and shift to a much more precise approach. They’ll be able to deliver content to audiences that are far more likely to drive change and build consensus around change in their organizations. Pair that with the kind of content that actually engages Mobilizers (not thought leadership, but Commercial Insight-based content that teaches the customer something new about their business they haven’t considered or appreciated before), and you’ve got yourself a recipe for much more effective B2B demand generation.


Patrick Spenner wrote this for Forbes. See the original article and great graphics.



Specialization is Key in B2B

There’s A B2B Marketplace For That (Or There Soon Will Be)

One B2B marketplace trend that is gaining momentum is specialization. Niche players are creating more and better platforms to put buyers and sellers together, and receiving a small piece of each transaction in the process. I recently came across a niche marketplace platform that exemplifies this trend, and provides insights into how entrepreneurs with expertise in a given industry segment can succeed.

In sharp contrast to primarily B2C marketplaces, Thumbtack, TaskRabbit, and HomeAdvisor (all of which give customers access to a wide range of providers who can do just about anything), imagine, as an example, a B2B marketplace designed to connect telecom engineers with businesses needing telecom services. That’s a niche play, and it’s indicative of numerous specialized marketplaces that either exist already, or will be coming soon.

According to Malik Zakaria, Founder and CEO of Field Engineer, “In today’s economy it’s all about providing a scalable workforce.” While Field Engineer is an online marketplace that deals with one narrow segment (telecom engineers on demand), the success factors Zakaria describes could easily apply to any industry. Here are five points he talked about in a recent interview:

1. Minimize labor costs. There isn’t a business owner alive who wouldn’t be interested in the prospect of permanently driving down personnel-related expenditures. But minimizing labor costs often means relying on a skeleton crew, which could push current employees to burnout or make customers wait. And trying to hire the cheapest permanent staff possible can lead to subpar results and costly rework, not to mention severe customer dissatisfaction. Relying on a scalable, flexible workforce of prequalified providers through a marketplace can amount to significant savings for a company and its customers, while keeping quality high.

2. Reduce risk. Although hiring talent on a per-project basis is not new, for many companies, working with an unknown entity is simply not worth the risk. Traditional recruitment agencies can be costly, but they often justify the cost by qualifying and filtering candidates. How can a marketplace serve the same vetting function as a temp agency, while at the same time taking the cost of an intermediary out of the equation? “We knew this was something we had to deal with right upfront,” remembers Zakaria. “So we built into our process background checks, in-depth work history disclosures, and an online rating system. We also verify certifications that technicians claim to have received.”

3. Help customers rapidly scale up (or down). When you have access to prequalified candidates at any location, they can hit the ground running and tackle problems without the need for lengthy training periods. Zakaria explains, “A specialized contractor can help your organization ramp up productivity by bringing with them the necessary skill set for the job. A full-time hire on the other hand, may take longer to become fully productive. And if your workload tapers off, you will avoid the dreadful experience of laying off employees.”

4. Offer the right expertise for each contract. Making use of a scalable workforce allows companies in all industries the luxury of picking and choosing the skill sets they need for any given project. If there isn’t yet a marketplace where you can find the experienced providers you are looking for, there soon will be, given the rate at which new online marketplaces are filling niche needs. If you see the need for such a marketplace, and have the needed expertise to create it, you could be the first mover in your specialty.

5. Do you bring providers onboard before customers, or vice versa? Here is the chicken-and-egg question: Should you get customers onboard to attract providers, or must you have providers before your marketplace can be a viable solution for customers? An excellent article describes how Uber, Airbnb, and Etsy attracted their first 1,000 customers. Field Engineer, now a couple of months into its launch, began by recruiting 1,000 providers, allowing it to transact its first $100,000 in customer contracts.

The marketplace trend of specialization is picking up steam. Entrepreneurs will be both consumers and creators of new niche marketplaces in the B2B space. Which role will you play?


See original at Forbes by Larry Myler


They Believe Content Shared by Someone They Trust

Straightforward and practical B2B + social media article by AJ Agarwal in Forbes:

The Real Truth About B2B Marketing And Social Media

Marketing in B2B requires an understanding of social media. Social media marketing and selling are constants for any business looking to grow themselves further. This is no different in a B2B design. You want to make sure your time is going to be dedicated to the right social network as a B2B. Here are some of the real truths behind which social media accounts you should be maintaining for your marketing strategy.

Facebook Is More Relevant To B2B Marketing Than Most Realize

One of the truths about B2B marketing is that Facebook is a staple no matter what niche you’re in. Much of the content out there will suggest that Twitter and LinkedIn are more relevant, but studies recently done showed otherwise.

The research asked people what channel they would turn to regarding a purchase. 24% of people answered that their decision would be used from looking at Facebook first. That means one in four people sought out Facebook specifically.

Furthermore, studies show that the average decision-maker uses Facebook around 18 days per month versus the 13 days per month using LinkedIn and Twitter. When making any decision, most people are more prone to go to their most-visited channels for the information first before heading elsewhere.

If Content Is Shared By Someone They Trust — They Believe It

Making yourself relevant on social media is imperative for a B2B looking to improve their marketing strategy. If you focus on getting content up on social media websites and can get the connections to help get exposure to that piece, then you will show as a more reputable company.

It’s important for a B2B to get to bloggers on LinkedIn and professionals on Facebook to help with promoting their products and writing quality content on it. A person is more likely to believe that they should select your company over another vendor based on the credibility of the information they find on all social media channels.

Research What Your Competitors Are Doing

It’s important to find the top performing brands in your niche and analyze their methods. See what they are doing to be successful and which platforms they are using to do this.

While Facebook might be the most-used of social media, this doesn’t mean that you won’t have a need to use marketing on other social media channels like LinkedIn and Twitter. Every social media has a different end-game that can help with improving your sales. Learning how they work specifically for your niche and how active those professionals are for your B2B decision will be imperative.

The successful vendors in your niche have already laid out a platform of success. Research it, learn it, and use it to your advantage to succeed. Look at where these vendors are going wrong and find ways to implement slight improvements to make your vendor more qualified and reputable.

Paid Advertisement On Social Media

Social media has also become a huge hit for paid advertisements. This is how many of these social media websites are able to stay running. This is an opportunity for any B2B looking to enhance their marketing strategy.

Knowing your audience is important for paid advertisement because it will maximize your conversions and bring in a better profit margin by lowering costs. You may not find it effective for your B2B marketing strategy to include paid advertisement for every social media connection. You may want to limit it to the one or two most successful for your niche that can really pull in more interest.

Keep Your Social Media Accounts Updated

In B2B marketing, social media has become a crucial part of the success. With the internet being a top source for most professionals to look into vendors, you want your internet presence to grow and flourish. Have some professionals share your work to build credibility for you and to help with gaining relevance to your own content on it.


see the original article by  AJ Agrawal, Forbes Contributor 10.3.16



Influencers Try Video

Interesting piece below on LinkedIn.  The company’s push to have ‘influencers’ publish content has been moderately successful, this is an argument for adding video to the repertoire.  Goals for LinkedIn: (a) increase average users’ time on their site, (b) provide new opportunities for ad revenue.

Why Videos Can Increase User Engagement on LinkedIn?

Facebook and Twitter have been going all out in the digital video space acquiring streaming rights and looking to create interesting video content. On the other hand, LinkedIn finally seems to be trying to catch up with this new trend. The company recently added new features to its platform where viewers can watch 30 second videos posted by “influencers”. These videos are expected to be crisp and to the point, while addressing a specific question or issue. The company has reached out to a small group of “influencers” who will post these videos. Consumption of videos online has increased significantly in the past few years, with YouTube reporting 50% year on year increase in videos watched on its platform. As LinkedIn finally jumps onto this bandwagon, the new feature should help the company to increase user engagement on its platform. Marketers are shifting their ad spending towards digital videos and LinkedIn should be able to grab a share in this growing video advertising market, driving revenues in the long term.

Growth In Digital Content Revenues To Be Driven By Video Services

According to a new study from Juniper Research, consumer spending on digital content will reach $180 million by 2017, 30% higher than last year’s figure of $130 million. This growth will primarily be driven by migration into streamed video services, as broadcasters look at original content to build a competitive edge. LinkedIn is working towards positioning itself as the “go to” place for professional networking and updates. As such, video streaming on its platform that contains expert views on trending issues can drive higher user engagement. According to a 2015 eMarketer study, digital video viewing (outside of television) among U.S. adults grew at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of nearly 40% between 2011 and 2015, from 21 minutes in 2011 to nearly 1 hr and 16 minutes in 2015. This indicates the high level of engagement of users while watching videos online. For the last three years, growth in watch time on YouTube has increased 50% year on year and the number of people watching YouTube per day is up 40% since March 2014. These numbers clearly indicate that videos are engaging users on the internet much more than textual posts. LinkedIn can tap into this trend through this new feature.

Ads and Marketing is a significant segment for Linked (according to our estimates), accounting for nearly 20% of its current valuation. Two key drivers of this segment are LinkedIn’s average monthly unique visitors and monthly page views per LinkedIn visitor. We expect both these drivers to increase steadily over our forecast period as the company adds new features on its platform.

As LinkedIn moves towards becoming a Microsoft company, an enhanced platform with new features is being expected by its users with the combined expertise of both companies. While the professional networking platform is behind its competitors in introducing video content, this beginning will help the company retain users and increase the time they spend on its platform.


check out the original article for Trefis graphics


Require Logins. Remember IA.

I’ve edited this article slightly to make it more clear.  Some decent quick B2B e-commerce tips below.

B2B E-Commerce Should Take a Page From Amazon’s Book

It’s been 20 plus years since e-commerce emerged and we’re still only seeing the tip of the business to business (B2B) e-commerce iceberg.

One sign that it’s still early days is the recent release of Internet Retailer’s (IR) inaugural issue of its B2B eCommerce 300 list. This list tracks leading B2B e-commerce company revenues.

While the estimated 2015 revenue quoted in the list — over $547 billion — suggests a more mature market, there’s still plenty of room to grow.

While each can be considered a form of e-commerce, let’s narrow the focus to how companies sell directly through their primary e-commerce site in order to compare with the more established business to consumer (B2C) e-commerce space.

Using the data from the report as a base, we can estimate a worldwide 2015 revenue of roughly $205 billion from B2B primary e-commerce sites and marketplaces, in comparison with the overall 2015 B2C e-commerce revenue of over $341 billion in the US alone.

While not a perfect comparison, it does suggest B2B eCommerce hasn’t progressed as quickly as its B2C counterpart.

Selling through one’s own e-commerce site suggests a greater level of maturity than outsourcing to a third party marketplace: it’s an indication that a company is trying to develop its own capabilities. Of the top 100 companies on the B2B 300, 50 of them derive at least a quarter or more of their online revenue on their own e-commerce sites and 21 of those sell half of their online revenues through their own site(s).

This suggests that revenues generated through a company’s own e-commerce site(s) aren’t as high as one might expect. While some might dispute that point, for the purpose of this article we are going to assume it’s valid and propose some better practices leveraging Amazon’s expertise.

Taking a Page (or Two or Three) from Amazon’s Book

Gated Product Information

A striking area for improvement is the login requirement of many B2B companies e-commerce sites. Requiring a login to view detailed product information seems onerous at best.

Having built an early B2B e-commerce solution in the late 90s targeting industrial distributors, it surprises me that companies still feel the need to hide their product information behind a gate. Amazon doesn’t limit access to product information and excluding certain, very specific product information, neither should B2B companies.

At least eighty percent or more of product information should be accessible to anyone. Removing barriers to reviewing product information is in a company’s best interests as it helps educate and inform prospective customers.

Displaying certain information, such as customer-specific pricing and available inventory, only to the relevant audience makes sense. But this is easily handled using a list price and/or a “request a quote” function and the term “In Stock” for the general public.

Whether the gated approach reflects the company’s own thinking or a lack of capabilities in the e-commerce solutions being used, it’s a problem that needs to be solved.

Information Architecture

B2B companies would also do well emulating Amazon when it comes to information architecture, taxonomy and usability. How a business organizes and presents information is highly relevant to getting people to use it.

Yes, B2B is often more complex than B2C. This will require more work in delivering a superior experience, but the customer experience has to be front and center, whether you’re B2C or B2B.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t receive the attention that it should in most companies. As with many things, Amazon does this extremely well so there should be no issues with companies benchmarking against known best practices.

Leaving In the Details

One last area where B2B companies can learn from Amazon is the immense detail in the product detail page (pdp).

Facilitating a buying decision online with minimal to no human intervention and numerous exit points is a challenging process. While each of the previous points chips away at people’s ability to complete an online transaction, the lack of rich product content on the product detail page probably has the greatest impact.

It’s precisely here where a customer is making their decision on whether to add the item to their cart. When they don’t, it’s often because they can’t cross the purchase decision threshold due to lack of information.

Amazon really has mastered the art of the product catalog, so again, for any company looking to benchmark, why not do so against the best in breed?


Check out the original article by Bill Davis



Understand Products. Cater to Their Needs.

Valuable blog post by Varkita Gupata entitled

B2B vertical e-commerce – the strategy for smart survival

When I say B2C e-commerce, you can probably name a minimum of 10 companies within a minute.

When I talk about B2B e-commerce, I presume an average audience to be struggling after Alibaba. Well, considering Alibaba’s GMV on November 11 last year alone was $14.4 billion, I will not hold it against you. They are a name to reckon with!

However, the popularity of a B2C company stems solely from its products. One advertisement around “dresses on sale” conveys everything, from a range of products, prices, variety and discounts to delivery and customer support. The more products there are, the merrier it is. The more discounts there are, the better it is.

You, me, your neighbour, my neighbour, your parents, my siblings, siblings of friends, teachers in German class, doctors in rural postings, the guy working in the garage, my boss, our maids – we all shop online the same way. We all get attracted to e-commerce companies thanks to that one ad. We all buy things on discounts. All of us will visit the website as and when we need a particular electronic or baby product. Thus establishing horizontal e-commerce as the ‘Big Daddy of Online Shopping’.

A B2B company is slightly different.

B2B is Business to Business. A business easing the lives of other businesses. A business directing all its resources into making their clients’ businesses thrive. It is about making processes simpler and faster to increase efficiency, productivity and profitability.

Which is exactly where the problem arises.

These SMEs and various multinational businesses are all selling the same product but want to be unique at the same time. They are looking for specifications and customisations. They are all looking for food containers or stretch films of great quality which are unique.

So what important role does B2B e-commerce play?

The importance of B2B e-commerce lies in streamlining various industrial sectors which build the backbone of a country’s economy.

Assuming how unaware one is about the B2B e-commerce scene, let’s get familiar with the concept through a few examples.

B2B e-commerce #1: Quill.

Quill sells office supplies online (well, at least 70 percent of their sales are online). So, it is safe to say that they are an e-commerce provider of office supplies. In bulk or small quantities, they provide all kinds of products required in an office setup.

Quill is owned by Staples Inc., and is recognised as their most profitable division, accounting for about 25 percent of the company’s net income. That is a huge chunk of business coming in from just one division. In a matter of 10 years, between 1998 and 2009, Quill grew from $500 million in revenues to over $1.3 billion.

B2B e-commerce #2: Xiameter.

Another page from history: Xiameter.

When silicone, the chief product of Dow Corning, started becoming a commodity, they decided to adapt themselves with the maturing market.

In 2002, Dow Corning created the Xiameter brand, an online-only distributor of silicone-based products likes gels, resins and fluids.

In only 3 months, Dow Corning earned back its investment.

Dow Corning saw sales rise from $2.49 billion in 1995 to $3.37 billion in 2004, a compound annual growth rate of 3 percent.. Its sales then rose a staggering 62 percent in the next four years, reaching $5.45 billion in 2008; its net income increased more than two-and-a-half times to $739 million.

As of 2011, Xiameter offers 2,100 of Dow Corning’s 7,000 products. That is 30 percent of Dow Corning’s product portfolio!

This is B2B e-commerce powerplay in first world countries.

Let’s shift focus to the Indian scenario.

A quick search on Google about “B2B e-commerce in India” results in news about top B2B startups venturing into various sectors like software, technology, hardware, logistics and industrial goods in India.

Yes. Startups.

This reveals two things:

  1. There is huge untapped market potential.
  2. Young entrepreneurs are looking for opportunities in the unexplored B2B avenue.

In India, the B2B sector is unevaluated, unexplored and a mystery, and established businesses have left it at that.

Their way of doing business has been set. We cannot really change it – is the attitude at large.

Forgetting the power of innovation.

The Indian B2B scene has not witnessed much success, unfortunately. There have been many players – Alibaba included – who could not establish their foothold. Multiple reasons like lack of infrastructure, purchase on credit and orthodox ways of doing business have been cited.

But the biggest reason is the variety of ways in which businesses in India function for different products. For example, logistics for chemicals is designed differently from packaging or machinery. This is true for other countries, but more so for India.

Hence earlier, businesses failed to project a strong presence despite resources, financial backup and branding. These businesses followed a horizontal e-commerce business model when the country was in dire need of business models with a deep understanding of that particular product market.

The examples mentioned above indicate the differences between B2C and B2B companies in terms of revenue or products. But, there is more to them than meets the eye.

Quill sells office supplies. Xiameter sells silicone products. Bizongo supplies packaging. Zhaosuliao supplies plastic raw materials.

All the companies above have one thing in common: business model.

Their business models strongly believe in adopting vertical e-commerce. Their success is the result. In a nutshell, vertical e-commerce is one goal and multidimensional audiences; one category and multiple product variations; one client and multiple customisations.

Vertical e-commerce: a smart survival strategy for B2B e-commerce in India?

This is a question I have been asking, researching, surveying, and digging deep into to discover whether e-commerce is really a bubble and who can survive it smartly.

Undoubtedly, browsing the internet has become a habit now. Social media presence has become inevitable. Online shopping is following suit.

With so much information at the tip of your fingers, one wants value for money more than anything. Indians are definitely a step ahead in demanding the best rates and discounts, and we are not even shy about it. In fact, we proudly accept the global attention showered on us for being “discount mongers and coupon grabbers”.

Anyway, here’s a list (there is always a list!) of why vertical e-commerce could be the perfect solution.

  1. Deeper range and understanding of products
    I respect it when a salesperson knows his product. In fact, I love it when I ask for one thing and end up getting a range of choices for it: from colours and brands to designs for that particular type of product. Let’s just say they have a customer for life! Bizongo deals in packaging products. We have 438 types of plastic crates alone.
    Need I say more?
  2. User Experience: perfected
    A vertical business knows what you are looking for. If the courier bag needs a POD jacket or if a particular brand is more trusted than others, the filters are extremely intuitive. It is like someone reading your mind!These guys are well researched. They know exactly where the customer will face a problem. Their in-depth understanding of user behaviour stems from months of research, surveys, and facing practical problems.
  3. Did somebody call for a specialist?
    When there is a major leakage problem in your home repeatedly, you look beyond the maintenance guy. You look for a plumber- a specialist in handling water faucets and piping. Scale this scenario to a multinational corporation. That’s right, you would give the plumber a contract.A B2B e-commerce company has a minimum ticket size of thousands of dollars in just one transaction. They would willingly put their faith in a specialist. This specialist expertly handles one aspect of their business.
  4. ONLY cater to your own needs
    When I receive mails from horizontal e-commerce companies, they are quite generic. There would be a blender here, a phone there, maybe shoes, fruits, books and a dish washing soap thrown in; discounts blinking all over the mail.When I shop from a clothing e-commerce website, I get suggestions based on the filters I had chosen at one point of time in the past. They take the pain to remember, and design to my needs accordingly.There, my friend, lies the difference. If a company makes an effort to help me find what I am looking for or what I really need, they can take all my money.As I write this, my marketing team is working on a mailer which blends perfectly with the mindset of our clients. Being a B2B company, these clients have been segregated, categorised and listed based on their choice of industry.

In a vertical e-commerce company like ours, sending out generic emails is not even an option. Imagine a horizontal e-commerce model taking so much pain for customisation. With the popularity these companies tend to gain, their resources are unable to keep an in-depth track of each and every customer.

By fine tuning customer experience and becoming a wizard in a specific domain, vertical e-commerce identifies its roots in smart survival and long term growth.

With a huge market at its disposal and a mindset willing to acknowledge the internet, the B2B space in India is gaining traction. To persevere against the various policies surrounding several sectors, a vertical e-commerce business model will prove to be an effective strategy for sustenance.

After all, a jack of all trades, but master of none soon fades, because he could not perfect any one single trade.

See the original post plus useful links

Vartika Gupta 8/1/16




The 4 Key Traits Of Successful B2B Apps

The enterprise software applications market that will be mobile-optimized is poised to grow by 400% by the end of this year, according to an IDC report.

Those who have implemented enterprise mobility have witnessed 25% improvement in overall user experience and 24% increase in revenue from consumer facing mobile apps.

Needless to say, the growth of B2B mobile apps has been spectacular and is penetrating geographies and industry verticals, as well as opening up newer technological frontiers – Wearables, Enterprise of Things, Virtual Reality, etc.

Building a B2B mobile app company, however, is far different from catering to the B2C audience – both in terms of the customer development cycle as well as the sales and onboarding cycles.

Looking at some of the most successful B2B mobile apps that have penetrated the enterprise space, I’ve put together some of the common traits that you would find among all of them.

These are those explosive secrets to building a successful B2B mobile app strategy.

  1. They have a compelling need
    The most successful B2B apps address some of the pertinent questions when it comes to an effective B2B mobile app strategy. For instance, they understand the need for a native app versus a mobile optimized website and why that matters.

They know that their solution will be helpful to their prospects or customers and that it would make their buying decision easier. The successful apps think and plan to address the type of information that will keep engaged alive by answering their question throughout their journey.

  1. They leverage B2B marketplaces
    People are familiar with the Apple App Store and Google Play Store as marketplaces to host their mobile apps, but not many know about alternate marketplaces, some specifically in the B2B space, such as Chrome Web App Store, Salesforce AppExchange and Google Apps Marketplace.

These are some of those powerful platforms that offer the B2B developers access to millions of potential customers that are already buying off of these. These platforms provide you with the opportunity to scale growth and acquire customers nearly for free.

Entire businesses have been built on top of Salesforce using AppExchange for distribution. One such example is EchoSign that was sold to Adobe. Veloxy on the other hand is a recent example of a startup that is leveraging Salesforce successfully.

  1. They have targeted and differentiated marketing
    B2B apps have a far smaller audience than their B2C counterparts. Because the B2B mobile apps go after a limited set of decision makers in and across organizations, their targeting has to be more precise.

B2B apps are picky about the inventory or channel they use for marketing, engaging with their audience when they’re in the business mindset to ensure the buying decision flow smoothly.

A decision maker is not likely to make a purchase decision while they’re watching ESPN or listening to Spotify.

  1. They onboard users effectively
    User onboarding is extremely essential to a successful B2B mobile app strategy. If you’re trying to help businesses change their behavior, you’ll succeed only if it’s super easy and intuitive.

Failing to optimize your onboarding time will make you lose your B2B mobile app users. The more friction there is during the onboarding process, the longer the onboarding will take and this causes most dropouts. The most successful B2B mobile apps assess the time it takes for them to onboard users and then set goals and next steps to reduce that time.

Successful B2B apps have effective segmentation of users and they connect with them at every stage of their journey if they’re stuck somewhere.

When building a B2B mobile app strategy, be conscious of who your target audience is. Map out your ideal customer profile, find the right platforms, marketing channels and the correct time to reach out to them. Ensure when they get to your product, there’s an easy way to get started in using your product.

Make it simple and intuitive. And this is how some of the most successful B2B mobile apps are just that – successful.


Originally posted in HuffPost 03/31/2016 02:05 by Rahul Varshneya Cofounder of Mobile Experience Consulting Firm



Emotion Helps B2B Content

Emotional Content Marketing: Tapping Into the Psyche of B2B Buyers

When it comes to B2B buyers, you may think that a more calculated, technical approach to content marketing should be used.

Is that true?

In this post, we’ll check out why you need emotion in your B2B marketing, what types of emotional responses to elicit, and how to make your content more emotionally appealing.

Why B2B Buyers Need Emotional Content Marketing Techniques

The truth is, if ever there was an occasion to use emotion in content marketing, it’s with B2B buyers. Why?

Because the sales process for B2B buyers takes 22% longer than it did seven years ago.

Is this because today’s buyers are more indecisive? Not at all.

In fact, 82% of B2B buyers think that everyone is pretty much selling the same item. The competition is huge.

To not put too fine a point on it, all B2B suppliers look the same. At least that is the perception of buyers. To further complicate matters, buyers know that when they make a purchase decision it will be a long-term commitment.

What’s the best way to cut through the clutter so that your brand stands out? Appeal to emotion.

This is the ultimate dilemma for many B2B marketers:

How do you make an emotional connection with buyers so that they will become and stay brand loyal, all the while providing the technical factoids that are necessary to the sales process?

The best way to do this is by providing relevant, informational content that strikes an emotional cord with your audience.

We’ll examine the same four emotions she mentioned, but also add how you can use them in your content marketing.

  1. Happiness

Think of what happens when you see a baby let out a hearty laugh. Your immediate reaction is to smile and laugh, too.

Happiness is contagious. In marketing terms, happiness makes us want to share.

So, if your marketing goal is to increase shares and followers, think (and post) happy thoughts and images.

  1. Sadness

We can hardly say that there are any “bad” emotions in marketing. Although most of us don’t want to be sad, when we see something that makes us sad, empathy often wells up in us.

Not only that, but this kind of sadness results in an increase in a chemical called oxytocin, something that motivates us to be more trusting.

Therefore, if your goal is to create a positive, humanitarian persona for your company, create case studies that showcase how your brand has improved the lives (not the company as an entity) of your clients.

Did you help provide capital for a struggling business owner who is a single parent? Have you created a program to benefit the victims of poverty? Share this with your readers.

Of course, you always want your effort to be genuine, and not a publicity stunt. Tread carefully when trying to use sadness as a marketing emotion.

  1. Fear

Why does watching a horror movie when you’re all alone seem so much scarier than when you’re with a friend? The main reason is that we are hard-wired to look to each other for emotional support.

Some studies have shown that in the absence of an actual person, audiences will look to a brand or object to alleviate their fears.

How does this work in B2B content marketing? Well, certainly you don’t want to terrify your audience. However, you can present a fear-inducing problem your audience faces and show how you can help.

For example, are your prospects worried about their product becoming irrelevant? Share that fear and then show how you’ll alleviate their stress.

  1. Anger

While anger may not be the healthiest of emotions on which to bind a strong relationship, it does have its place.

For example, you may think that a blog post that presents an extreme view would alienate some of your audience. However, one study showed that comments in a blog post that were expressed as extreme and arrogant made readers dig in their heels to fight for what they already held to be true.

The point is that a piece of content that might seem strongly expressive is not necessarily bad. It may help to firm up relationships with those that share your view, as well as get a dialogue going, even with those who disagree.

Therefore, if your goal is to increase brand loyalty, go ahead and start a pointed discussion and see where it leads.

Best Platforms On Which to Create Emotional Connections

While new social platforms are born seemingly every other day, there are a few mainstays for B2B Marketers. Here are a few of my favorites (not in order of efficacy).

  1. Twitter

Twitter remains the go-to place for information sharing. Use this platform to direct the attention of your audience towards your owned content, as well as to inspire brand confidence by sharing industry-relevant content.

  1. Facebook

Although Facebook algorithms change frequently, this platform remains a front-runner, especially for engaging with industry leaders and customers alike.

Facebook is a great place to share emotional content, especially content that elicits compassion or humor.

  1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is perhaps one of the most important platforms for B2B marketers, yet one of the most under-utilized.

According to Oktopost, 80% of B2B leads are generated through LinkedIn!

Want to get more leads? It starts with a stellar LinkedIn company page. If you’re not sure how to get one started, check out my recent ebook, How to Create the Perfect LinkedIn Company Page.

Inside, you’ll learn all about how to use images in the right place, how to write a killer description, and you’ll get some pro tips from the big dogs.



by Wendy Marx February 6, 2016



B2B Website Tips

Seth Rand created a useful blog post about key differentiators of a successful B2B website:

The Key Differences Between Building B2B and E-Commerce Websites

Are business-to-business (B2B) websites the same as every other e-commerce website? By and large, if you ask an experienced web developer who has built sites for wholesalers, distributors, and other B2B businesses, their answer will surely be no. B2B organizations typically play by different rules and have different needs — many of which can’t be met by standard out-of-the-box e-commerce software.

I have been involved with e-commerce since 2002, growing into the role of the e-commerce website and marketing manager for what is now Magid Handbags. Over the past 13+ years, I have sold, project managed, and/or performed search engine marketing services for hundreds of e-commerce websites, and in the process, I’ve identified which aspects are unique to B2B sites.

If you run a B2B business and looking for a web development agency, here are some areas you should ask them about to ensure they have the right expertise for you:

Unique Features and Access for B2B Buyers

When selling to businesses, an online shop is more likely to need special rules and uncommon features. They may have order minimums or allow for special payment terms, such as cash on delivery or net terms. For shipping, they may need to offer freight options for bigger bulk orders, or options for customers to provide their own shipping account information. They’re more likely to require shoppers to have an account in order to view the website, see pricing, or get discounted B2B pricing. Taking it a step further, different shoppers may have access to different products, shipping methods, and payment options.

Marketing and CRM

B2B store owners also need to tackle marketing differently. For instance, they may have better luck in attracting potential customers via LinkedIn than they will through other networks. They are also more likely to have a larger Lifetime Acquisition Value per customer, making it important to deploy a CRM that talks to their e-commerce store, like a search engine marketing client of ours, OroCRM.com.

Integration With Other Software Systems

In some cases, B2B sites will also need to integrate with other software systems. A successful B2B business is likely running existing ERP software from providers like Sage, Exact, MS Dynamics, or SAP to manage their warehouses and inventory. By syncing these systems together, a business can keep their inventory automatically up to date, and push orders to one central software system to keep their pick, pack, and ship operations streamlined within their organization.

An open-source e-commerce platform like Magento can meet many of these needs, but it will take some significant elbow grease. It will also typically involve adding plugins to customize the store in order to meet the functional needs of B2B operations.

Online Storefront Software Trends

We’re also starting to see the market produce online storefront software specifically built for B2B organizations. As more and more businesses move their researching and purchasing from trade shows and catalogs to the Internet, it will be increasingly important for sellers to keep up technologically. Shoppers are already choosing vendors that offer a digital shopping experience, as it’s faster and more convenient than traditional methods. Even Amazon now offers business user accounts for approved B2B shoppers. Small and medium businesses will need to address their technological needs in order to stay competitive in an expanding online marketplace.

Small and medium businesses will need to address their technological needs in order to stay competitive in an expanding online marketplace.


see the original at HuffPost:

01/28/2016 Seth Rand




We’ll All Do More of It in 2016

Jason DeMers compiled some useful facts about content marketing. Two interesting ones: SEM is essential for B2B and eNewsletters are still #1 for B2C.  YouTube beats Twitter and Instagram in B2C platform rankings. Check out all of them below.

35 Content Marketing Statistics You Need To Know In 2016

As we approach 2016, it’s interesting to think about how content marketing has changed this year, and where we’re headed in the coming year.

To help with this, I’ve put together this list of the most recent content marketing statistics I could find. I’ve divided them into B2B, B2C and general content marketing statistics. Most are from 2015, although I’ve thrown in a handful of older stats where newer data couldn’t be found.

Content marketing encompasses and intersects with many other digital channels: social media, blogging and email marketing to name a few. The statistics contained in this post are generally focused around content marketing as an industry and practice, rather than on stats for specific digital marketing channels (although there are a few of these as well).

B2B Content Marketing Stats

  1. 88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, yet only 32% have a documented content marketing strategy. (source)
  2. 61% of the most effective B2B content marketers meet with their content team daily or weekly. (source)
  3. The most effective B2B content marketers allocate a larger portion of their budget to content marketing: 42% of their total budget, compared to 28% for less-effective marketers. (source)
  4. B2B marketers report sales lead quality as their #1 most important metric for measuring content marketing success; even more important than sales and conversions. (source)
  5. Nearly half (48%) of the most effective B2B marketers have a documented editorial mission statement as part of their content strategy. (source)
  6. 76% of B2B marketers say they will produce more content in 2016. (source)
  7. The 5 most important marketing tactics for B2B businesses are (in order): in-person events, webinars/webcasts, case studies, white papers and videos. (source)
  8. 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as part of their content strategy. Other popular platforms include Twitter (87%), Facebook (84%), YouTube (74%) and Google+ (62%). (source)
  9. 66% of B2B marketers rank LinkedIn as the most effective social media platform for their business. Other effective platforms were Twitter (55%), YouTube (51%), SlideShare (41%) and Facebook (30%). (source)
  10. 66% of B2B marketers report using search engine marketing (SEM), making it the most used paid marketing tactic among B2B companies. (source)
  11. 55% of B2B marketers report that search engine marketing (SEM) is their most effective paid advertising method. (source)
  12. 85% of B2B marketers say lead generation will be their most important content marketing goal in 2016. Sales will be their second priority. (source)
  13. A majority (60%) of B2B marketers report that their top challenge in 2016 will be producing engaging content. 57% say measuring content effectiveness will be their greatest challenge, and 57% say producing content consistently will be their biggest struggle. (source)

B2C Content Marketing Stats

  1. 76% of B2C marketers report using content marketing, yet only 37% say their strategy is effective. (source)
  2. 37% of B2C marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy. This is up from just 27% last year. (source)
  3. B2C marketers use infographics more than any other content strategy. 62% report using infographics, and 63% from this group said they were effective. (source)
  4. Content marketing budgets have increased among B2C companies this year: On average, 32% of total marketing budgets are going towards content, compared to 25% last year. (source)
  5. Compared to 2015, 77% of B2C marketers say they will produce more content in 2016. Only 2% will produce less. (source)
  6. The most popular content marketing tactic reported by 90% of B2C businesses is social media; the next most used tactics are illustrations and photos (87%), eNewsletters (83%), videos (82%) and website articles (81%). (source)
  7. The most effective content marketing strategy for B2C businesses is eNewsletters (61% of marketers say these are effective). Other effective strategies are in-person events (67%), illustrations/photos (66%) and social media content (66%). (source)
  8. The most popular social media platform among B2C businesses is Facebook, with 94% reporting its usage. Other popular platforms are Twitter (82%), YouTube (77%) and LinkedIn (76%). (source)
  9. 66% of B2C marketers say Facebook is their most effective social platform; this is followed by YouTube (53%), Twitter (50%) and Instagram (42%). (source)
  10. The most popular paid advertising methods for B2C marketers are promoted posts and search engine marketing (SEM). 76% of businesses reported using these strategies. (source)
  11. The most effective paid advertising method for B2C marketers is search engine marketing (SEM), with 64% reporting that it’s effective. (source)
  12. The #1 content marketing goal for B2C businesses in 2016 is sales (83%), followed by customer retention and loyalty (81%) and engagement (81%). (source)
  13. 30% of B2C marketers say sales is their most important content marketing metric. (source)
  14. 50% of B2C companies say they plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2016. (source)
  15. Self-employed individuals are more likely to use blogging than large businesses (those with 1,000+ employees). (source)
  16. B2B businesses are more likely to use blogging than B2C businesses. (source)
  17. 45% of marketers say blogging is their #1 most important content strategy. (source)
  18. 69% of marketers say they plan to increase their use of blogging this year. (source)
  19. The average word count of top-ranking content (in Google) is between 1,140-1,285 words. (source)
  20. Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts. (source)
  21. Just over half (51%) of business owners report that content management is “very important” or “absolutely critical” to creating a cohesive customer journey. (source)
  22. 71% of marketers report using visual assets as part of their content marketing strategy. (source)



DEC 10, 2015 Jayson DeMers for Forbes