Category Archives: Strategic Communications Management

My Three Biggest “Aha” Moments (So Far)

Here are the most memorable personal insights I’ve had as an analyst (so far) and the most impactful lessons I’ve learned during my last four years as a SiriusDecisions analyst. I shared these recently during Microsoft Dynamics’ take on a TED talk on marketing leadership at Convergence 2014 in Atlanta.

Continue Reading....

Catching Up With Runaway Social Media Accounts

Most of our clients struggle to get their organizations to truly embrace social media. Arm-twisting and bribery are two common tactics employed to get the blogs, tweets and updates flowing (these are not SiriusDecisions best practices, just observations). At the other end of the spectrum are clients whose efforts have taken off like a high school party thrown when Mom and Dad are away for the weekend: New accounts are popping up left and right, and they’re scrambling to shut down the revelry before the neighbors call the police. Social account proliferation is becoming a bigger issue (especially on Twitter), so it’s important for the social operations team to have clear guidelines about the process for setting up new accounts. This must be explained so that people understand why a smaller number of well-maintained accounts is more effective than dozens of separate accounts with only a few followers and sporadic activity. Requiring a business case for opening a new account is a good idea to prevent willy-nilly account creation.

Continue Reading....

What’s the State of Your Customer Community?

One thing that’s becoming abundantly clear for b-to-b companies is that customers and prospects are interacting with each other in ways we couldn’t imagine just a short time ago. Technologies are enabling these interactions, and marketers are scrambling to understand how to become part of the conversation (or at least know that the conversation is happening). One communication channel that’s growing in popularity is the online customer community. Companies are dusting off their old customer portals and making more investments in the functions that support online communities. Although companies sponsor these communities, they are also proving to be fertile ground for customers to exchange ideas and possible concerns with each other as well as a forum for technical support. We view customer communities as an important element of a broader customer advocacy program. Companies looking to create or re-invent an online customer community should consider the following questions:

Continue Reading....

Social Media: Creating an Early Warning System

Social media can work like an early warning system to alert an organization to an emerging problem; it can also recycle old news and spread misinformation and rumors. In either case, it is important to be prepared with a plan to address negative themes that are being amplified in social media, which can attract broader media coverage, as well as potential damage to the company and brand. Smart companies prepare crisis response protocols as part of their social media strategy or as part of an overall corporate crisis communications plan. A typical crisis plan covers areas such as:

Continue Reading....

Four Reasons for Slow Social Media Adoption

What separates organizations that are running at full speed in social media from those that are just beginning to crawl? The causes of slow social media adoption often lie outside the control of the marketing team. It’s good to have an understanding of these factors so you can calibrate your expectations accordingly. Here are a few questions you should ask:

Continue Reading....

Breaking Down Marketing Silos

As I pass the one-month mark of my tenure as a research analyst for SiriusDecisions’ Strategic Communications Management service, I’ve found myself reflecting on the amazing amount of change that has happened in marketing in only a few years, and how those changes have reshaped the modern marketing organization. What was once a relatively stable and homogenous business function is now a collection of deeply etched specialties that often struggle to speak the same language. SiriusDecisions was founded on the need to align marketing with sales; today, we need to work hard just to align marketing with marketing.

Continue Reading....

Content Marketing World: Recap of Day Two (Through the B-to-B Lens)

Erin Estep explains her top five takeaways from Wednesday’s Content Marketing World sessions, through the b-to-b lens, as always: 1. Content measurement is difficult. Not only that, but you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to content measurement, because content should behave differently depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Which leads me to…

Continue Reading....

Content Marketing World: Recapping Day One Through the B-to-B Lens

Despite our keen interest in the role of content in all types of b-to-b marketing, we at SiriusDecisions (myself included) tend to lean away from the term “content marketing.” To me, the term is redundant and a little jargon-y. Content is the product created by marketers, and the act of marketing is about bringing great content to market for our target audiences. There is no marketing without content, and most bad marketing is a result of bad content. Both are usually a result of a lack of insight into buyer needs and interests. Despite some minor differences in terminology, I think we share this philosophy with the hosts, sponsors and attendees of this week’s Content Marketing World conference, which is currently underway in Cleveland. Here are my top five insights and takeaways from the first day of the event:

Continue Reading....

Building a Case for Better Content

I work with a lot of talented and experienced digital and social media marketers, and if there’s one thing I hear from almost every one of them, it’s that they are in dire need of content. Most of them need more content, and almost all of them need better content. In large, complex b-to-b organizations, content expertise is inconveniently spread across functional silos. For example, portfolio (e.g. product, solution, industry, segment) marketers tend to be the resident subject-matter experts, but a different marketing resource usually needs to unlock and repackage that expertise into a compelling piece of content. Rarely do industry expertise and content expertise reside in a single function, never mind in a single individual. So, what can social media marketers do to contribute to the turning of the ship? Instead of just wishing for more, better content, conduct a research project using these five steps:

Continue Reading....

Three Steps to Creating Story-Based Messaging

“Once upon a time…” marks the beginning of many of our favorite tales. The best stories go on to evoke emotion, persuade, take audiences to a faraway land and mix intelligence, wisdom and wit through a thematic plot that builds, develops and then resolves. B-to-b marketers are storytellers, and buyers are the audience. The ability to tell a story that buyers listen to might be your most effective tool as a marketer. There is plenty of information available on how to create and adhere to better messaging, but for today, let’s focus on three easy steps for better message development:

Continue Reading....