Simplify your martech stack

I attended the Marketing Association’s B2B meetup and here’s my write-up on the event.

Key learnings

  • Use what you have to the fullest extent – all functionality
  • Simplify your stack NOW
  • Check your use case matches your technology
  • Bring the team with you – upskill them to be confident using technology

Match your MarTech Stack to your needs

Technology is an essential component for successful B2B marketing – but the plethora of choices is beyond confusing – it’s daunting.

The Marketing Association’s Special Interest Group for B2B marketing hosted a panel discussion “Does your martech stack fit your needs?” to tackle this giant question head on.

Ably led by Cassandra Powell (Assurity), the panel shared their insights and experiences using technology to support marketing activity.

Find the right tools

Half the panel confessed that they were in the process of simplifying their technology at the moment. Traverna Addenbrook (Spark) assesses each based on whether it supports Spark’s data unification goal while Sharn Piper (Attain) always matches the tool to the job which needs to be done and then tries to use that tool to its fullest extent.

Datacom’s Alex Mercer confessed that when she joined they had 220 websites! Her team are integrating platforms in support of their brand development. Getting the data talking across platforms is a sizeable job. Simon Wedde (Stitch Tech) strongly advocated seeking native integrations between different software tools and to never use custom integrations, because one software update can cause you headaches. He also recommend to use your own data when doing demos of new tools so you can assess tech platforms’ suitability to your unique use case.

Bring the team with you

Many marketers inherit ‘hangover’ software which is already in place. This is not necessarily a disaster because if you assess the adoption rates for each, you’ll quickly be able to make a case for getting rid of the ones you don’t like or have become outdated. By surveying your team and understanding the landscape of actual use Travena managed to simplify her stack and improve both the integrations and the processes which support the marketing team. She had a word of caution about fear. Some team members may not use technologies which are in place and you need to understand your team’s capability around each tool before deciding which to sunset out of the tech stack.

Get the most out of your stack

Many marketers already know that we use only a small percentage of the capability of the software tools we buy. Relax says Simon, just use that part really well – but also build your use cases to confirm that the tools are aligned with business needs.  It’s important to understand where your data is and how clean and up-to-date it is says Traverna. She reminded the meeting that sometimes things turn out in unpredictable ways – this isn’t a disaster. Don’t blame the model is her advice. If you understand data lag and the implications you will not have any trouble explaining to stakeholders what happened and why. If you’ve already done your internal PR with these folks you can remind them why they invested in this tool, that they should trust your marketing process and trust you. Marketers need to be comfortable around technology so they’re empowered to make informed decisions.

What about AI?

Sharn is not worried about AI tools replacing marketers, but he is worried about a marketer who knows the AI tools better than you replacing your job. The AI itself is not what you should be concerned about. His team is already running tests using AI to save time or money in the business. Get it done, know what works and what fails and build your knowledge about how to write AI prompts.

Rebecca Caroe

Member of the B2B Special Interest Group Board

3 simple new business hacks for 2022

I”m always looking for new clients and customers when working with a B2B brand n their marketing.

Sometimes I see a cute tool or tactic and today I’m sharing three of them.

Home page call to action

Loved this because it shows light humour and a pretty persuasive message. Yes, I have scrolled a long way down the page (this is just above the footer) and so maybe I SHOULD be booking a demo or contacting the sales team.

The copywriting is clear, simple and unambiguous.

Home page website call to action graphic. Clear copywriting.

Clear B2B copywriting

LinkedIn last names

Frequently on LinkedIn, people with whom I’m not closely connected have their last name (surname) hidden or only the first initial letter published.

For many, this is easily solved.

Clicm on the person and open their full profile.

Check the URL

LinkedIn uses your full name (as registered on the site) as your unique URL identifier.

You can probably work out the last name and first name from this URL.

How to find last name in LinkedIn URL


Improve your Social Media Bio

There are lots of list sites which allow you to publish a list of URLs which you’re associated or have profile on. Here’s a new one set up by Squarespace – BioSites.

As their launch promo says

  • Select a custom URL- Claim a free username to create a URL. Add it on Instagram, TikTok, or to any social bio.
  • Add unlimited links. Connect your followers to your websites, social pages, stores, videos, and more with your Bio Site.
  • Publish and share your link anywhere.
  • Connect your content
  • Use your mobile device to update your Bio Site in seconds and build consistency in your online presence.
  • Accept payments and more.

They make it easy for you by supplying template designs.

Alternatives are Linkkle and Allmylinks.

BONUS – my reflections on LinkedIn Groups and Company followers

I am constantly frustrated by LinkedIn Groups – they used to be great places to build community but since their prominence in the news feed has been dialled down to zero, most are invisible.

These used to be good places to find prospects – folks interested in your products and services. Since few people join groups nowadays, they are becoming a redundant part of the LI platform.

Time to make an offline list of the members and try to connect with them elsewhere – preferably on a platform or medium which you control.

Company follower lists are another good place to find prospects – and often competitors!

There are a range of ways to download these – contact me to find out the latest easy method.

marketing education

B2B Marketing education ideas

I’ve got a red book – and it’s where I write notes from any educational things I do. It’s fascinating – the current book starts with “Trusted Content Creation” by Brian Clark and the most recent entry is about YouTube Video production by Evan Carmichael.

The thing I like best about it is not the factual notes, it’s the ideas they spawn. I like to draw a light bulb in the margin next to these…. they are scattered around and it delights me that I can innovate in the B2B Marketing I do for clients just by going and listening to experts.

What’s the latest thing you studied? And where do you record your notes / ideas?

#continuingeducation #b2bmarketing

LI Search filter, B2B marketing, LinkedIn Marketing,

Build your B2B audience on LinkedIn

Here’s a case study with a difference – it’s repeatable, copy-able and also very do-able. By you.

You’re a B2B organisation and seeking an audience for your products and services. I’m assuming you are interested in content marketing as one part of your marketing strategy – you wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t. And if you discovered it through online search, you’ll realise the power of search engine optimisation for B2B marketing.

Either way, welcome. Let’s get started.

Find your B2B audience

I helped several clients build an opted-in email marketing audience of thousands using LinkedIn as the start point. After building an audience and communicating (two-way) with them many became paying clients.

So what’s the step by step process to getting this going?

  1. Define your ideal customer persona
  2. Find individuals within LinkedIn who meet the criteria
  3. Test your messaging by manually connecting with them
  4. Refine messaging (if needed)
  5. Find LinkedIn Groups who serve this audience
  6. Join the group(s)
  7. Once in the group, you can direct message any member of the group without being a connection (you don’t have to pay LI for in-mail).
  8. Start your prospect acquisition campaign methodology using the messaging from 2 – 4 above.
  9. Migrate your audience off LI to a platform you control as soon as possible.

LI Search filter, B2B marketing, LinkedIn Marketing,

How did this work?

For my first client we built an audience of >800 contacts, assembled an amazing ‘voice of customer’ research database and were able to validate the brand’s go to market strategy as well as identify a core group of global influencers to work with.

For my second client, we tested a range of groups, refined the audience selection criteria and worked on two core messaging texts. The voice of customer research delivered key phrases which copywriters incorporated into campaigns. During this we discovered a missing block of content currently unfulfilled by any other brand – BONZA – a key positioning decision which led to creating in-person and virtual community building on Meetup which hadn’t been in the original plan.

The third used Sales Navigator – LinkedIn’s paid sales tool – to deepen the research phase into a much more targeted set of prospect accounts. This enabled us not to use the Groups tactic described above, and to change the focus of the first filter. This worked because the brand was mature and had a very tight minimum viable audience already defined.

Messaging is key

When you’re ready to work on these tactics, understand that finding the audience is really the easy part. Getting your message noticed, replied to and acted upon is where the ‘magic’ happens.

Having a skilled B2B copywriter on your team is essential –  invite me for a scoping discussion here.

Marketing Strategy

B2B Marketing for Beginners

Marketing is a challenging field. When designing their marketing plan, marketers must balance the need for creativity, financial constraints, and channel selections. 

Your audience, however, will ultimately determine how successful your marketing will be. Your promos and adverts will probably go unnoticed if you are not correctly targeting your buyer persona. If you’re not marketing at all, why bother? 

But the distinction between target audiences for corporations and consumers varies the greatest. While some businesses cater to single customers, others do so for businesses and groups.

Compared to marketing to individual customers, marketing to businesses is significantly different. B2B marketing, a whole distinct approach to marketing, was created for this reason.

B2B Marketing: What Is It?

Business-to-business marketing, or B2B marketing, is exactly what it sounds like. It involves promoting your good or service to another company. However, it’s crucial to remember that even if you are providing a good or service to other companies, you are dealing with a person who runs that company. Therefore, it is appropriate to think of B2B marketing as focusing on the people who make decisions about purchases for their company.

Steps to B2B Marketing

Marketing is audience-dependent. Even though B2B and B2C marketing are different, there are differences among B2B marketing materials. 

This section will discuss numerous B2B marketing techniques you may use to target a particular business audience. Make sure you comprehend the B2B buyer’s journey before we continue. Keep in mind how each phase may influence your marketing tactics and how you put them into practice. 

You should follow a few stages while developing your B2B marketing strategies before moving on to implementation.

Conduct a Study of the Competitors

Conduct a competitive analysis to examine the market and discover what other companies are marketing to your target market. When examining competitors, keep an eye out for the following: 

  • Competitor product offers 
  • Competitor pay-per-click strategy and outcomes
  • Competitor marketing materials and social media presence 

By understanding these factors, you can identify your competitors’ SWOT analysis, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Establish Your Brand’s Positioning First

You must be completely aware of your brand positioning to develop a successful plan. This assertion captures the who, what, when, and how of your brand identity or how consumers see your company. 

You’ll be prepared for the following phase once you create a brand positioning statement that your staff and potential customers can support. 

Determine Who Your Target Market Is

Find the people truly in need of the goods or services your business offers. You may utilize that knowledge to develop customer personas and comprehend the purchasing process, which is a helpful tool for any marketing.

Research Potential Marketing Channels

Your competition study will show you the various marketing channels your rivals successfully employ and the ones they haven’t used.

You can diversify your B2B marketing portfolio and connect with the firms you need to once the earlier steps in developing your B2B marketing strategy have been finished. Investigate channels, methods, and technologies to maximize your leads and customer funnel based on your customer segmentation and competitive analyses. 

software demo, trial software, try before buy software, b2b marketing mix

Do you demo software?

At first glance this may seem a somewhat naïve question – why wouldn’t you want to see how software works before buying?

If you work in B2B marketing for software brands, you will know how few people actually demo software. So is offering a demo still a valid part of the marketing mix?

This article was prompted by a survey I did which asked the question illustrated below. Did you request a demo from sales. And it made me realise that I had not done that for some time.

software demo, trial software, try before buy software, b2b marketing mix

A survey asking about demos for software

Should marketers stop doing demos?

The quick answer is… it depends.

Your customer journey determines where and how a demonstration of the functionality of the software is appropriate. And if you haven’t reviewed your customer journey recently, I recommend doing this.

Customers change – behaviours alter and marketers need to stay up to date with current trends.

What replaces a demo?

Lots of B2B Marketing collateral is designed to answer questions and showcase software features. Prospective customers may find that they get all the answers they need from your videos, or blog posts. Have you found any recent customers who bought without a demo? Go and interview them about why and how their purchase decision was made.

Listeners to the State of Demand Gen podcast will be no stranger to the concept that forcing customers into a “pipeline” whose course is determined by the brand, rather than the prospect, is a surefire killer of sales leads.

The thesis that you let the prospect push themselves along their discovery pathway at a speed that is appropriate for them, is the best way to close more business. This thesis does depend on you having a strong brand presence in the target audience’s “line of sight”. And for that to happen, your brand needs to have already been active in marketing both above-the-line and below-the-line for some time in all the channels which could be relevant to your audience.

This isn’t an impossibility to achieve within a few months but as we all know, SEO rewards incumbent brands more than newcomers and so sometimes innovative (and manual) approaches are needed to start brand building with a new audience. Contact me for a case study of brand building for a startup.

Talk to me

No, I’m not breaking the rule of letting the customer set the pace by pushing for you to get in touch with me! When you are ready you’ll reach out.

In the meantime, consider the following aspects of B2B software marketing – and if you aren’t fully confident you have got them covered, or know how to produce, manage and measure them, then maybe pick up the phone to me.

  • Brand positioning – who is this software for?
  • Why it’s different from competitors
  • Benefits of using the software
  • Type of customer who uses or needs the software
  • Answers to all the frequently asked questions
  • Examples of happy customers
  • A range of ways to get in touch with the company
  • Social media outreach to places customers hang out
  • Dark social ways to share information with your friends about the software
  • A diverse range of above the line brand building campaigns
  • A diverse range of below the line direct marketing campaigns
  • Ambassadors, influencers and happy customers who talk about using the software

And why did I find writing that list so cathartic? I’m doing a training course on B2B marketing for SMEs and this will form the core of what I’ll be teaching. Sign up for Small Business Marketing 2022 – Foundations and Best Practice if you want to join in September.



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!