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Great articles roundup: Startup customers, hypercycle planning, 2013 B2B content marketing report, marketing research, thought leadership, and innovation

By Alexandra Reid

As a regular feature, we provide our readers with a roundup of some of the best articles we have read in the past week. On the podium this week are StartupCFO, Harvard Business Review, Content Marketing Institute, MarketingSherpa, Forbes, and Fast Company.

How customers evaluate your product

If you sell to B2B customers then you know how hard it is to get that purchase order. It goes without saying that it helps to put yourself in the shoes of your prospective customer to try and see how they perceive your company and product. What would their concerns be? How would they go about evaluating this opportunity? Mark MacLeod shares a valuable framework for determining how customers think about a startup’s product.

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The case for inbound marketing: What’s in it for you?

By Alexandra Reid

Hubspot’s Brian Halligan coined the term “inbound marketing” to distinguish marketing activities that focus on the consumer experience from traditional outbound marketing tactics.

Inbound marketing is about earning the attention of prospective customers, media and other market influencers. This approach is different from traditional outbound marketing tactics which push messaging on target audiences.

While outbound marketing tactics still hold an important place in a company’s marketing mix, inbound marketing is gaining steam because of a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour. With new technology at their fingertips, people are more in control of what information they receive and how they receive it. As reported by Hubspot, people are skipping over TV advertisements, unsubscribing from company emails, and leaving websites because they aren’t providing them with information they value. Businesses are realizing that they have to communicate on their interest groups’ terms to earn their attention, trust and loyalty.

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How B2B entrepreneurs can establish and access thought leadership using social media

By Alexandra Reid

I have discussed thought leadership here before, but never laid out just how important it is and the critical social media steps entrepreneurs can take to establish themselves as, and tap into the minds of, thought leaders in their industries.

In a study conducted for The Society for New Communications Research called New Symbiosis of Professional Networks, 44 percent of respondents said the primary reason they visit online networks and communities is to access thought leadership and information they couldn’t get elsewhere, while 43 percent said the primary reason is to showcase themselves or their companies.

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Earth to startups: They won’t come just because you’re on social media

By Alexandra Reid

Earlier this week, we explained that so many startups fail because they adopt a “build it and they will come” mentality and neglect to define the market opportunity for their products. In an even earlier post, we looked at the findings of two studies into the factors that contributed to the demise of 50 startups. In both studies, issues related to market research and customer engagement ranked high among the reasons for startup failure.

As a community manager, I can’t help but draw parallels between these reasons for startup failure and the reasons they also fail at social media. I’ve seen and read about many startups that build social media accounts and then sit back and wait for their communities to build themselves. Sure, this method may work for well-established brands like Coca Cola and Disney that have developed loyal communities outside their online accounts. But for developing startups, waiting for a community to build itself is, quite frankly, wishful thinking and a waste of valuable time and opportunity.

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Getting a return on analyst briefings

By Danny Sullivan

The majority of smaller tech companies approach dealing with technology analysts in much the same way. That is, brief them on key milestones such as new products, major customer wins and so on, and hope to eventually make the breakthrough into one of the industry reports covering your sector.

This is still a valid approach to dealing with analysts, but there are other ways of addressing them. Beyond being advocates of technologies and observers of trends, analysts are recognised thought leaders in the sectors that they cover. As such, they are always interested in new perspectives and visionary approaches to addressing the challenges in their markets.

Tackling this does not necessarily mean using a briefing to explain in depth how your latest product addresses these challenges – you may be better served by organising a briefing where your company’s top thought leader will simply raise the concept and discuss it in detail in a non-commercial conversation.

Why do this? Well, analysts have to sit through countless briefings and often are rarely engaged more than to silently take in the information being fed to them. By hopefully engaging them in more of a discussion of a concept than a barely altered sales pitch, you may raise your company’s estimation in their eyes, but more importantly, you may bring some influence to the perspective of a key thought leader in your market. Even if you don’t receive direct coverage, your reward may be that your vision sparks debate and commentary at the analyst level… Not a bad return on a conversation.

For more on working with analysts, check out my previous posts titled Analyze This and Analyze This (continued).

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Recent Comments

  • 5 Ways to Engage With Your Brand Voice - icuc.social : [...] “A strong company voice on social media should emphasize the company’s values, objectives and key differentiators that set it apart from its competitors. These can be expressed in the tone of the communication and the content that is shared with community members and the target audience.The best social media voices are communal, grammatical, dialectical, authentic, original, contextual, relevant, timely, persistent, responsive, helpful, generous and more informal. A company’s social media voice should only be changed if absolutely necessary and should maintain all of these qualities. Any change should be preceded by lots of information explaining the change to community members to ensure they know it is deliberate and that the company isn’t suffering from some form of instability, which jeopardizes relationships.” [@TechAlly, Francis Moran & Associates – via Francis Moran & Associates] [...]

  • Stephen Murray : Interesting article. I am close to finishing a book titled "Davis and Goliath - One Inventor's Struggle with the Mismanagement and Theft of Intellectual Property." Davis in my book is W.R. Davis Engineering. "Goliath" is the Canadian Department of National Defence. The intellectual property is an infrared signature suppression system to protect warships and tactical aircraft from being targetted by heat seeking missiles. I was a public servant co-inventor in this story. As was the case in the biblical story "David and Goliath," Davis did indeed slay Goliath. Davis is wealthy today. The inventors and the Crown got nothing. But the Crown's negligent acts were to blame for most of outcome. Everything that could have gone wrong in the story did go wrong. My book may interest you. Hope to have it published by year end.

  • Dan Rather’s Words of Wisdom for the PR profession | Return On Reputation : [...] that you are serving a higher purpose than just serving your clients – you are serving public interest and our nation’s [...]

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