Author Archives: Pat McAnally

About the Author

Pat McAnally is Research Director, Portfolio Marketing, at SiriusDecisions. She is a seasoned marketing executive with more than 20 years of experience in product and solutions marketing and management, sales enablement, thought leadership and analyst relations. Follow Pat on Twitter @patmcanally

Marketing During Disasters: What’s in Your Digital “Go Kit”?

Every year at this time, marketers sit down to plan out their annual initiatives – launches, campaigns, events. But one category is noticeably missing from most lists – marketing’s crisis response plan. There is a lesson to be learned from the massive business disruptions caused by natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy. I know from past experience that most b-to-b organizations have a business continuity plan that lays out how IT operations and business functions are brought back on line after an outage. Priority is given to “mission critical” systems; unfortunately, marketing, and its ability to reach customers, is usually an afterthought. Since so many of our interactions with key audiences occur digitally, it’s important to be proactive about maintaining the flow of communications, particularly for companies providing b-to-b services.

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Improve Your Next Product Launch: Engage Customers Through Social Media Channels

One of our most frequent inquiry topics is how to improve product launch. An important boost to the commercial success of an offering, this process often becomes mired in tactical details and spreadsheet checklists. Most marketers think of launch as an event instead of an opportunity to engage in conversation with their target customers. Unless you are entering a new market, communicating with existing customers should be a priority. Consider who needs to hear about what you are offering and how are you going to reach them. To engage customers in a product launch, social media is a valuable addition to the traditional mix of press releases, emails, newsletters and sales calls. It can be used before, during and after the launch date.

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Cash Cow? Don’t Neglect the Market Requirements Document

Executives looking for the next big thing tend to focus their attention on rising stars, the darlings of PR firms and investors. But pity the poor manager who hears that his or her product line is regarded as a cash cow. Typically found in mature segments with strong but stable market share, this label is applied to products and business units when they are still producing strong revenue and making more than they spend. Unfortunately for cash cows, management often decides on a strategy of reduced investment because, even though the revenue and profit numbers are high, the growth rate is relatively low. Portfolio planning and resources for product enhancements are given short shrift, and marketing budgets and campaigns are drastically cut. What often results is an undernourished cash cow with its feet set firmly on the long road to the boneyard.

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Thought Leadership Content: How Much Should You Share?

Determining how much to share requires balance. Consulting leaders who leverage thought leadership strategies most successfully know that contributing compelling insights on market trends and industry issues is a highly effective way to build brand awareness and credibility.

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When Marketing a Service, Pull Back the Curtain

A topic that often comes up during inquiries is the difference between marketing a service and a product. As more software companies switch from on-premise software to software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery models, marketers are contending with the challenges of marketing an intangible. A service needs a very strong articulation of its value proposition, since customers must form a clear perception and assign value to what goes on within a vendor’s walls or “behind the curtain.”

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Analyst Briefings: A Big, Scary Tactic?

Product managers and marketers spend a lot of time obsessing about how to raise awareness and increase market acceptance. But you would be surprised how often one of the most effective tactics, briefing industry analysts, is an afterthought. For B2B organizations, especially in the high-tech market, analysts are the conduit to hundreds of client conversations every year. Yet analyst relations (AR) and PR teams wrestle with their product teams to get them to talk to the analysts. From the resistance, you’d think you were suggesting a scenario like that played out in the horror movie “Snakes on a Plane.”

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