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Benefits generate interest, Pain generates B2B sales

Despite the best sales and marketing efforts, inertia keeps most prospects from changing vendors or trying new solutions, even when they display initial interest. Speaking to pain-points is often a more effective strategy than emphasizing aspirational benefits for overcoming the inertia that exists at the end of the B2B purchase decision journey.

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B2B marketers take a fresh look at brand strategy

Not long ago brand strategy and strategic brand management languished on the sidelines of B2B marketing. Branding is now experiencing a resurgence. B2B marketers (and their bosses) increasingly embrace the notion that business decision makers are people after all, and that emotions strongly influence business decisions.  This year’s ANA/BMA16: Masters of B2B Marketing Conference highlighted success achieved by AON, GE, TD Ameritrade Institutional, Hiscox, and others in engaging with business decision makers at a human, emotional level.

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The customer decision journey should drive content marketing strategy

Across the many frameworks available on the topic, there’s consensus that a successful B2B content marketing strategy is built on knowing the target audience, how they progress through the buying process, and their needs along that journey.  Yet, it is rare for marketers to use buyer insights to inform their content market strategy.  Doing so requires a documented content marketing strategy and a recent study finds that only 32% of B2B marketers have one.

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B2B Product Messaging Checklist

Product messaging to B2B audiences is challenging. Marketers need to convey complex messages in simple but compelling terms.  Here are five recommendations that will help you in the initial stages of message development, when decisions about message content, benefits and value propositions are made.

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Using research for content marketing

A recent Content Marketing Institute study found that 44% of B2B marketers use research reports in their content marketing strategy. Isurus regularly conducts custom studies to provide data for content marketing initiatives; the sponsoring client leverages the results to create reports, webinars, infographics, whitepapers, microsites, and a range of social and email marketing to promote and share the content.

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Building the corporate brand

A new book “The People Powered Brand: A Blueprint for B2B Brand and Culture” makes a compelling case that the oft-neglected B2B corporate brand is actually of greater importance than product brands and that more companies should treat the corporate brand as a valuable asset.

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Finding the right amount of edgy for B2B advertising

A tension exists between most marketers and their advertising agencies. Agencies want to push the envelope as far as they can to create advertising that cuts through the clutter and engages the audience. Marketers—especially B2B marketers—tend to be conservative and worry that edgy advertising will alienate customers and prospects. Who’s right? Research conducted by Jonah Berger of the Wharton School and Zoey Chen of the University of Miami indicates that both may be.

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Marketing to the evolving IT organization

Two recent articles in CIO Magazine feature companies (Yum Restaurants, Quintiles Transnational) in which IT departments are taking on new roles in order to more effectively serve their organizations.  With a focus on what’s new and noteworthy, these articles profile departments that are leading their peers in reorganizing and redefining how they provide value. Such a shift has important implications for the value propositions, messages, and creative aimed at this audience.

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Finding the right message for B2B decision makers

New research from McKinsey & Company reveals a gap between the messaging themes that B2B companies communicate and the attributes most valued by B2B buyers.  While most B2B companies emphasis themes like corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and global reach their target audience is most influenced by messages about honest and open dialogue, responsible supply chain management, and specialist expertise.  In addition to this gap, the research also shows a lack of differentiation among B2B brand messages: Most B2B companies are communicating the same themes.

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Humanized brands still need to be relevant and focused

Many marketers these days are focused on the importance of “humanizing” the brand in order to be more authentic and engage more deeply with customers.  A lot of the discussion on this topic focuses on the opportunities (especially through social media) to showcase the real people behind a brand and engage consumers in two-way conversations.

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