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Content marketing: Old wine in a new vessel

By Francis Moran

Everywhere I turn these days, it seems that content marketing is being touted as the latest must-do for business-to-business technology marketers. And there seems to be considerable angst over how to do it properly.

Content marketing is a fairly new concept that many marketers are struggling to figure out,” said a post yesterday on business2community.com. In the post, author Rachel Foster reported on a recent survey of LinkedIn’s B2B Technology Marketer’s Group that asked, “Can you use one word to describe the biggest challenge facing B2B marketing today?” A word cloud of the more than 1,000 comments so far clearly shows ROI to be the dominant concern, followed very closely by content.

In a similar vein, in a round-up earlier this month of the biggest B2B marketing disruptions of 2011, Michael Brenner of B2B Marketing Insider said, “People have been talking about content marketing for at least a couple of years. But in 2011, it really seemed to hit its stride.”

I could cite several additional examples, but I think you get my point. According to a large swath of the B2B braintrust out there, content marketing is the greatest new thing, and we’d better all get aboard.

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A year of blogging about bringing technology to market

By Francis Moran

This blog was launched one year ago yesterday.

On February 1, 2011, we officially re-striped our long-standing inmedia Public Relations blog to indicate that I was evolving — pivoting would be the verb if I was a tech startup — my consulting practice. While the (now) 13-year-old technology PR agency I founded in the heat of the dot-com and telecom bubble in the late 1990s would and does continue, I wanted to spend more of my time tackling the higher-level marketing issues with which every B2B technology company must grapple. “For too long now, I have been painfully aware of just how dimly acquainted technology is with marketing,” I wrote in that first post a year ago, and I set out to change that.

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The camel’s nose marketing strategy

By Francis Moran

There’s an old Bedouin metaphor I love that says you should never let a camel get his nose inside your tent. The metaphor alludes to the reality that many small, seemingly harmless situations ought to be prevented whilst it is still easy to do so for fear they become very large and unwieldy situations. For wherever the camel’s nose goes, the camel is sure to follow and, once completely inside your tent, is an awful lot harder to dislodge.

For small technology companies whose product supplants larger and more established competitors, however, a camel’s nose strategy can be highly effective. Let me give you an example of what I mean.

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How are you writing the story of tomorrow?

By Francis Moran

One of my favourite personal-development aphorisms is the phrase, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” On Wednesday, at an event organised by TEC Canada, a peer-to-peer mentoring program for business leaders of which I’ve been a member for more than five years, noted author and thinker Dr. Chris Luebkeman took it one step further.

“Change is constant. The future is fiction. Participation is what shapes our world,” he told 175 CEOs and other business people gathered for the event. “If you’re not participating in writing the story of tomorrow, you’re going to live in a story that someone else wrote.”

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The two-horse race most startups don’t even realise they’re running

By Francis Moran

It is an article of faith that startups need funding.

For most, that means chasing external investors, whether they be friends and fools, angels or venture capitalists. Any CEO who has gone this route knows it can be an almost all-consuming task that gobbles up an inordinate share of that most restricted of resources, time. The biggest risk, besides failing to secure the necessary dollars, is that focus on the most critical objective of a new startup, developing and bringing to market an actual product, can take a back seat whilst the funding search is so fully engaged.

Too many startups fail to realise that there could well be another horse in the race to secure the money necessary to fund a new venture, a horse that is often running neck and neck with potential investors and that could, with a little judicious jockeying, beat the field to be the first past the funding post.

That horse is called your first customers and I am always amazed that so little attention is paid to this option.

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