Xerocon

Balancing Direct & OTL marketing

This is a write-up of the B2B Marketing Disrupted event 31st March 2022 hosted by the New Zealand Marketing Association.

The second Marketing Disrupted featured both Account Based Marketing and Breakthrough Brands – the balance of the direct and above the line which all B2B marketers know is a true juggling act – but still within our job description!

Account Based Marketing from scratch

Andrea Clatworthy from Fujitsu UK set out a deep dive case study into how she started an ABM programme. Her honest insights into the realities of changing a longstanding business model were refreshing.

Her definition of ABM is right people, right message, right time and Fujitsu also uses the 3 Rs – Relationships, Reputation and Revenue to further refine the scope of the programme.

This is a strategic approach with sales and marketing working together to open doors and increase engagement with stakeholders in specific identified accounts, with a view to increase Relationships improve Reputation and ultimately generate Revenue.

The triangle of ABM in Fujitsu is based on a top layer of One-to-One ABM using key accounts each with an individually customised account plan. Below this is the One-to-Few layer which is a mix of new and existing accounts, clustered by similarity with modest personalisation in the marketing mix. And at the bottom of the triangle is One-to-Many with a focus on new accounts, broad programmes with light personalisation using technology to enable scale.

The first 18 months were critical to the success of Andrea’s transition – she started with the sales account plan which uses a robust 6-step process which everyone now follows. Back-up resources in a portal with how-to guides, policies and guidelines was a key part of the success. Andrea also outlined how to secure buy-in and her 12 week ABM launch plan slide is worth a careful read.

Building a meaningful brand

Deconstructing what lies behind a well-known brand gives marketers insights – seeing the process which led to the outcome can help you work out how to implement it in your own firm.

James Kyd of Xero ran through 6 traits of breakthrough brands. Each trait has a behaviour allied with it. I found this very useful because it allows you to see if your marketing activities are delivering the behaviours you desire. 

Accountants are a key audience for James, he selected them because they’re a growth driver for Xero software sign ups. His over-riding campaign plan tells stories about accountants. And these get told from the outside-in (case study videos) and also inside-out from within the accounting community (surprise gifts).  

The 6 traits are:- Build from a cult following, Commodity as a status symbol, The rise of the B-corp, Un-capitalism, Open source generosity and Remodelling the category.

A key position for Xero is to advocate on behalf of accountants – doing the things they individually cannot. An annual state of the industry research study is not only good for PR it helps accounting firms to benchmark themselves. The other big pillar of the activation is the Xerocon conference and event. James says this will be back as an in-person event this year. It will continue to celebrate the passion accountants bring to their work and to create memorable experiences for participants. These are two ways Xero connects in person with  its customers.

And isn’t it nice that a brand still does in-person events? 

 

NZ Tech logo

NZ Tech is our new export story

Many of you know I work with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. I’ve been doing B2B marketing digital implementation coaching projects with businesses who export.

I am delighted to find that Technology is now a sizeable export sector for the NZ economy. The razzamatazz launch was last week, but the reality is in front of me daily.

Local investment

Startups are getting funded – overseas money and home-grown angel groups are active, growing and increasing in sophistication.

early stage company, startup investing, innovation leader, NZ innovation

Both these numbers speak to the aggregate – I see the specifics in my clients. Innovation continues as firms prove the concept locally and quickly look overseas for expansion. I think lockdown and covid has accelerated this trend – many don’t wait for the full MVP  at home nowadays.

Sustainability matters alongside growth

Investors do care about the medium term future – who wants an investment to fall off because of climate change? The ‘clean, green NZ’ banner may not be as universal, but we are still incorporating those principles into the businesses which get launched from a New Zealand base. New Zealand, sustainable competitiveness, capital investment growth

 

In summary, I’m delighted that these stats are proving what I see on the ground. If you are exporting, or an overseas reader of this blog – take a look at what NZ tech firms can offer your business. You never know, we could end up working together!

SEO copywriting, keyword check

Website copy testing for SEO

I hired a copywriter to do the website home page – but how will I know if what they wrote WORKS?

Great question – I got this from a customer who did not hire me… but had the savvy to ask the right question. It looks nice but is the website home page copy doing its job? Bringing inbound traffic, showing up in SEO, right keywords and key phrases.

Testing web copy

After the copy has been published on your website leave it in place for a week so that the search engine spiders can crawl the site and index it fully.
Then do a test to see how you are performing.

Natural Search Copywriting

I will show you how to find out if what they wrote is showing up in natural search with the right keywords.
[Getting Google to show your website when someone searches online is a sign of GREAT copywriting.]
Go to this website, put in your URL and look at the results.  This client has 17 keywords and 0 visitor traffic. (It’s a new website so I’m not concerned about traffic volumes right now).
  1. Are these the right keywords for [your business]?
  2. Check the visitor traffic from New Zealand (it defaults to USA)
  3. What keywords are you showing up for? Do they look sort-of right?
  4. Check the search difficulty (right hand column) the lower the number the easier it is for you to compete for it

What next?

Your copywriters job is complete if the keywords match your business products and services – the type of search phrases you would expect someone to use when looking for a business like yours.

Now hand over to the marketing team – they will work out how to get website visitor numbers UP, how to start conversations with prospective customers and how to get customers to return and buy from you over and over again. [Inbound marketing; outbound marketing; loyalty repeat customer marketing; testimonials.]

Website traffic and Key word count

SEO copywriting, keyword check

Hello sign

B2B email spam laws

A refresher for on the rules around sending email (and SMS) to prospects.

New Zealand privacy and email marketing

With regard to the NZ Privacy Act 2017 and updated 2020.

Top level obligations

  • Be transparent. Don’t hide anything.
  • Make sure you have consent.
  • Always give people the opportunity to opt-out or unsubscribe.

Deemed consent is what most B2B marketing would be using for email marketing.

[Quote from article linked above]

However, the area of ‘deemed’ consent is still an area open to interpretation in New Zealand. What was Keith’s advice on this?

“In New Zealand, if you deem your service or product is relevant to the person whose data you’ve collected (or whose contact information is publicly available), then you have permission to send them communications as long as this is covered in your Privacy Policy.” However Keith pointed out that this is actually a requirement of the UEM Act, not the Privacy Act.

BUT you first need a strong privacy policy on your business website.

Here’s a sample NZ privacy policy (and one from Australia).

USA and Canada and GDPR (Europe)

These jurisdictions have different rules – but many of the underlying principles are similar.

Hope that’s useful for everyone.

customer persona templates

Marketing personas lack one big thing

Working with a client who needs to develop customer personas, I did some research and found a load of good articles on how to write a customer persona [links all at the bottom of this page].

So far so good.

but on closer reading it’s clear they are all copying each other.

Content Marketing needs quality control

As I read the articles – many by reputable brands like Buffer, Hubspot, Sprout Social – it was clear that when searching for illustrations they had all culled the same images off Google. Over and over.

The authority of the article was not in doubt. They write clearly and the instruction was good quality for beginner marketers who have never created a customer persona before.

More and more blogs and experts are recommending writing fewer articles and making them longer as well as more niche.

The medium evolves [as I shared this week about Instagram videos] and staying alert to new trends is important for B2B Marketers.

But surely brands could actually show some content images which they had created?

The articles looked “bitty” as a result as the templated personas were all laid out differently and were of varying image quality, never mind what the persona description actually was. I thought they were light in quality.

customer persona templates

templated personas copied and reproduced

 

 

How to Create B2B Customer Personas

Some articles for you to read
Nudgestock, behavioural economics

2021 Marketing Trends

Yes I hate that headline too… but I can’t work out the best way of listing three helpful things which I’m working on without it becoming a silly list headline. Live with it.

The year data became grown up

If you aren’t working with competent amounts of data insights and analytics yet, this is your year to get going and to go deep-dive.

For the beginners – the new Google Analytics GA 4 is a level above earlier versions. Get it installed (new header code on your website) and find a competent expert to guide you though its features. Well worth while.

After that, update dashboards, check the CRM integrations and get a whole lot smarter in your tracking.

Single customer view got easier

Nobody has got this wholly right, easy or fully connected (if you have you are probably a micro-organisation or a startup). Enter the Customer Data Platform. This is the software you need to bridge above (think umbrella) over all your data silos so that you can move towards customer nirvana.

I’m not being totally rose-tinted-glasses on this – there are serious players who can help build the plumbing which will help you understand and integrate customer data. Go learn about CDP.

Behavioural economics for marketers

If you haven’t heard about “nudges” you need to get on board fast. The new-ish science of behavioural economics is all about how we can get people to do things.  A nudge is a way of changing behaviour – like leaving your gym kit by the bed at night as a way to encourage you to do a workout in the morning. Marketers love this.

Nudgestock, behavioural economics

And the smart folks at Ogilvy UK hosted a whole day event – Nudgestock – to talk about and showcase a lot of real case studies of effective marketing action based on behavioural economics.  They called it

a full day of top quality BS (*Behavioural Science) from around the world

Watch it on YouTube. I particularly liked Abigail Dalton’s talk about Nudging to end world poverty.

 

That’s enough for now. Each of these is worthy of a deep dive research and learning day. Plan it for yourself.

I write and coach B2B marketing – each of these could be used by your business – get in touch.

education electric tariff differences

Effective social media tips for B2B

Business to Business marketing is my specialism. The key to robust B2B social media marketing return on investment is persistence, diligence and flashes of genius!

Having said that, you need more that just posting regularly to enable social media ROI. Allow me to explain.

Your customer pipeline

Building authority and demonstrating empathy are the messaging goals that will start prospects moving up the sales pipeline.

LinkedIn updates need to have a balance of product/service information combined with industry discussions.

I set up Google Alerts for key words which are triggers for my client’s industry. One is “Tax” and so we can track that against mainstream news. Here in New Zealand we just had an election and so adding “Tax + election” we can either start discussion threads about this OR answer other people’s questions.

Another is “Health & Safety” and we can look at newsworthy situations where failures happened and start a discussion about lessons and learnings.

Following hashtags can also be beneficial for niche industries.

What B2B marketers get wrong on social

The key for businesses who sell advice is not to give advice on social media.

They should ONLY demonstrate expertise.

The key for businesses who sell products is not to push their products – only to demonstrate the key features of good products (which of course they supply).

The inference is that you are experts and prospective customers should seek you out if they see relevance in what you write and it aligns with their immediate area of interest.

Is this a selling opportunity? Case Study

I posed a question on LinkedIn and garnered a lot of views and comments.

electric car electric tariff

Electricity tariffs for electric cars in NZ

Is this a selling opportunity? Yes for sure.

I got responses in public from Mercury, Meridian Energy and Our Energy Limited and in private I messaged Electric Kiwi, Power Compare and ChargeNet. So about one sixth of the local retail electricity supply industry brands.

The discussion was really interesting and a mix of industry insiders and consumer remarks, including this gem from the CEO of Our Energy Ltd – a disruptor startup in the energy supply industry.

education electric tariff differences

Comparing tariffs is only one part of the EV power story

So electricity companies are all watching, tracking and listening to customer conversations.

And you should be too.

Social selling is not a silver bullet

Many advisers will counsel using “social selling” an irritating phrase meaning sell your services on social media. This is such a problematic term for B2B because when on social, most people do not want to be sold to. They aren’t in “buying” mode on social.

Creating negative brand perceptions is to be avoided.

Having a robust, well-rounded tactical marketing and brand building programme will give you ample opportunity to sell. But only after you have built brand credibility and trust. Therefore multi-touch and multi-channel campaigns are the best route forward for B2B brands. Use with care, is my advise. Oh, yes and do ask an expert what they think about “social selling” BEFORE you hire them.

Rebecca Caroe seated talking

Client references

It’s always nice to have some past clients who either write testimonials or provide references or act as references for new clients.

I was asked recently who my client references are and what I did with and for them.

  1. Armour Safety – supplier of health and safety workplace protection whose PPE stocks blasted off the shelves during lockdown. Now lead importer / distributor for global brands like 3M and Hellberg
  2. MethSolutions – launching a completely new service, meth amphetamine testing in rental properties.  Created a “cause” and persuaded property managers and real estate agents that this was a necessary precaution as an ongoing service.
  3. Baucher Tax Consultancy – became the go-to media commenter on tax when they don’t want a ‘Big 4’ voice.  Started him on twitter, podcasting and blogging.
  4. Interest.co.nz – independent media website focused on “the NZ Economy” – customer survey and migration to paid subscribers, and daily podcast as a new channel.
  5. University of Auckland Connect [computer department] – external profile raising as a leading innovator and a great place to work for recruitment
  6. American Chamber of Commerce – rebranding, regular member communications and membership growth (8%)