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…. LISTEN. BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY – ASK. TO BE A GREAT MARKETER MEANS THAT YOU (AS A MARKETER) MUST ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU KNOW VERY LITTLE (AND YOUR SENIOR MANAGEMENT KNOWS EVEN LESS). SO YOU MUST BE WILLING TO ASK THE MARKETPLACE AND LISTEN AND DO AS THEY SAY. FOR IT IS THEY THAT HAVE ALL OF THE ANSWERS. IT IS THEY, THE MARKETPLACE,  THAT HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO BE A SUCCESSFUL MARKETEER. PERHAPS U2 SAID IT BEST “IF YOU WANT TO KISS THE SKY, BETTER LEARN TO KNEEL.”

OVERLOOKED BY MOST, MISUNDERSTOOD BY A FEW (WHO DID NOT VIEW THE ENTIRE AD) AND SOUNDLY CRITICIZED BY MANY, GM’S YUKON HYBRID AD FROM LAST YEAR’S SUPER BOWL MAY JUST BE ONE OF THE BEST PIECES OF ART EVER CREATED. CHECK IT OUT AND ENJOY THE GAME.

2009: The Year of Marketing Chaotically:

 

In 1987 noted management consultant and author Tom Peters authored his third book entitled “Thriving on Chaos.” The book focused on what Peters saw as the successful management practices that businesses must employ in order to not just survive but to thrive in the face of mounting marketplace turmoil occurring at the time. Speed ahead to 2009 and while marketplace turmoil persists (thanks in good measure to the on-going economic recession) could Peters have envisioned the Web 2.0 explosion that is causing catastrophic chaos for marketers worldwide, to boot? I can’t answer that question. But, I do know that the chaos marketers are facing today is not going away any time soon so we, as savvy marketers, just may as well embrace the chaos and try our best to not just survive but as Peter’s postulated – thrive. I will attempt now to describe, in very broad terms, what I see as the key elements of a successful B2B marketing strategy.

 

First off, begin to think of your marketing planning in two ways:

  1. What do I need to do to gain leads?
  2. What do I need to do to create the right message?

By thinking of your marketing plans in these ways, you will be able to focus on the steps that you will need to take in order to identify the best way to reach your target market and ensure that you’ve crafted the right message for that audience.

 

Leads? This is where Web 2.0 is wreaking havoc. With scores of user-created content, Social Media options now available the marketer is loaded with questions and doubt. Which of these sites should I use? Does anyone visit these sites? Which will work for me? Which won’t work? Will anyone read my posting? Am I wasting my time? Am I employing the right tactic? What sites are out there that I don’t even know exist? How does a B2B marketer harness this medium and use it for lead generation? Questions, Questions, Questions, Well, whether you love it or loathe it, Social Media is here and it is packing a wallop. The Answer: try them all and see what works.  Any message that you feel is spot-on with your target market, why not try to reach them via any of the social media sites that are currently all the rage and, like I said, try it and see what works. The hope is that you are pleasantly surprised. Join the LinkedIn community (if you market in Europe join Xing, as well) and gain the benefit of fellow marketers who perhaps have some valuable insight into which sites have worked better than others.

 

The Message? Now, this is where the real work comes in. You can blast your Marcom messages to business people, via all of the Social Media sites in existence and you won’t see the results you desire until you’ve got the right message targeted at the right audience. And to do that let me suggest this simple guideline:

  • Be one with your target market. Join them. Understand them. Undertake some rudimentary, inexpensive qualitative research (Focus Groups) to help with the initial message design and to help identify which of the Social Media sites should be used to reach them. Remember to speak to them as a member – in their “language” using their vernacular to begin to establish a relationship with them. Also, clearly signal that this is a first step in a continuing dialogue where you are a willing listener intent on forging an on-going mutually beneficial business relationship with them. Convince your target audience, via your message, that you are committed to helping them achieve their goals and objectives. Be sure to craft compelling benefit propositions that highlight the benefits that they will receive. Articulate that the benefits will address their needs and concerns with a measurable, quantitative positive impact. Finally, always be mindful that their success is your success and knowing full well that by doing these things you will begin to establish a BOND with them effectively differentiating you from your competitors.

 

So there you have it. In some very broad strokes, guidelines that I think will serve B2B marketers well in 2009 The Year of Marketing Chaotically.