Tag Archives: Product Marketing

Are You Marketing to Buildings or People?

The legendary advertising executive David Ogilvy coined the phrase “The assets go up and down in our elevator everyday” to express the value he placed on his staff. In the b-to-b world, this is a useful reminder that even though we are focused on the commerce conducted among businesses – it’s the people in the buildings, riding the elevators or taking the stairs whom we are marketing to. For b-to-b marketers, understanding the buying needs of the target organization and its people is critical to developing effective messaging. SiriusDecisions’ b-to-b messaging echelons are a framework for developing value propositions around five common audience dimensions or echelons:

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What Olive Garden Can Teach B-to-B Companies About Innovation

Olive Garden – the casual Italian dining chain – recently ran a one-day promotion offering free babysitting to parents. By partnering with My Gyms – a chain of gymnastics facilities for children – the restaurant allowed parents to drop their kids off at My Gyms, enjoy a child-free dinner at Olive Garden and show their restaurant receipt at the gym when they picked up their kids. Why would Olive Garden do this? Obviously, the company hoped that free babysitting would attract more customers – particularly those who wouldn’t otherwise have been customers. (I’ll admit that, as a parent of small children and someone who rarely eats at Olive Garden, I wondered whether the prospect of free babysitting would entice me to visit.) This is a great example of identifying hurdles in the buying process – and leveraging a partnership to address them – to open up a potential new customer segment.

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And the Award for Best Solution Type Goes To…

Here in Southern California, where the Hollywood sign serves as a tourist landmark and a symbolic gateway to the entertainment industry, it’s awards season – specifically, Oscars season. Before the ceremony, there was much promotion, speculation and hand-wringing about the best Hollywood players and their roles. Whether someone is nominated for best actor, best supporting actress, or best director, editor or cinematographer, each category has its own merit, and each is needed to create a successful movie. The glitz and glamor of the entertainment industry are rarely found in the b-to-b world. But as in the entertainment industry, multiple categories are important, especially in the context of the solution portfolio. The SiriusDecisions Solution Model defines four b-to-b offering types:

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Pound or Hashtag? The Generational Gap

Recently, I hosted a birthday party for my teen-age daughter at the clubhouse in our community. It was a fun and memorable event, but one particular memory sticks with me as I’m back at my desk, reviewing research on personas. At the party, a couple of the girls asked me for the gate access code for their parents. “Sure thing – pound, seven, six, three, two,” I told them, as they pulled out their phones to type the numbers in. One girl gave me a puzzled look then pointed to the “#” symbol on her phone. “Is this what you mean by ‘pound’?” she asked. “’Because that’s a hashtag.” Suddenly, our discussion of a mundane and commonly used symbol had highlighted the generational gap between the party guests and me.

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It’s Not Content – It’s a Lack of Buyer Insights That’s the Problem

At last year’s Summit, we stated that 60 percent to 70 percent of content produced by b-to-b marketing organizations goes unused, sitting on sales portals and Web site shelves. This statistic was eye-opening to many marketing leaders, who realized that they put a lot of time and effort into content creation, delivery and curation without obtaining clear content usage measurements or an understanding of whether the content is valued by its audiences. What I found even more surprising was the number of clients who told us after we released this statistic that their content non-usage rates were even higher. They reported that more than 80 percent of their content went unused, and they spent millions of dollars on content that was never viewed or downloaded.

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What You Need to Know About Aligning Innovation With Strategy

Last year, we released our Innovation Strategy Framework to help organizations invest in the right types of innovation to support their growth strategy. The Innovation Strategy Framework was built on extensive research, and we’ve continued to collect data on how companies approach their innovation investment strategies. If you haven’t yet participated, please take our short four-question survey — even if you’ve never heard of the Innovation Strategy Framework before, you’ll be able to respond and see how your organization compares to others. While data collection is still in process, we wanted to share a few interesting insights which have come out of the preliminary results.

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Is Customer Misery a Messaging Goldmine?

Misery is bad. It’s a state of frustration, unhappiness, distress and a longing for change or a path to greener pastures. We wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but it exists - in our daily life, in small or large doses, at home and in the office. When marketers develop messaging, the output generally doesn’t focus on misery. It’s positive – highlighting the company or product or solution value in the most favorable light. The offering is described as “faster, bigger, smaller, unique, saves time, saves money, blah blah blah.” We’ve all been exposed to this type of generic messaging, and we know it often doesn’t work well. For effective messaging that attracts, connects and compels the target audience to action, organizations might want to consider focusing instead on misery.

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Which Bundle Is Right for You?

Some bundles are too small. Some bundles are too big. This one is just right! Many organizations are working toward simplifying their product lines by offering bundles, as opposed to a long list of options that buyers must choose from. Sellers do this for a number of reasons. First, it may help gain share of wallet, since bundles provide value for buyers, ideally by offering components together at a lower price. Second, bundles help buyers chose the correct level of offering, especially if the offering is new and buyers don’t know exactly what they need to purchase. The question is: What is the best way to construct a bundle without leaving money on the table or offering over-featured bundles to customers who really just want the bare minimum?

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Do You Really Need a Portfolio Marketing Leader?

Whether launching an offering or expanding into new markets, b-to-b organizations depend on product marketers, solution marketers, industry marketers, and business unit marketers to gather crucial knowledge and execute strategies. But something is often missing. Portfolio marketing is the glue that holds all of these activities together, according to Marisa Kopec, vice president and group director at SiriusDecisions. The leader of this essential function brings focus and alignment to the product, solution and industry marketing components of the marketing organization. However, many organizations lack a portfolio marketing leader. During a recent SiriusDecisions webcast, Marisa defined portfolio marketing and told attendees why the role is so important – especially as many companies increasingly focus on solution selling.

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What is Marketing to do When Product Goes Agile?

There’s a scene playing out in lots of offices right now. Product management and product development have declared they are “going agile.” Marketing’s reaction is usually confusion (“What does this mean for us?"), though sometimes it can be intentional ignorance (“Won’t impact us, don’t worry about it”) or even active resistance (“It’s probably going to be bad for us, so let’s put a stop to it”). The reaction depends particularly on how the organization has implemented or is planning on implementing agile and whether the rollout impacts marketing processes. (Note that we’re talking here about using agile product development approaches, not about “agile marketing,” a related concept that involves applying principles of agile to marketing activities themselves. We’ll cover that in a future blog post.) Agile is usually focused on product delivery, so marketing is more of an interested bystander than an active participant, often eliciting comments like:

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