Marketing to Personas, Selling to People

As buyers perform more independent research prior to engaging with a B2B sales professional, it stands to reason the marketer’s job continues further into the buying process than before. For this reason, sophisticated marketers get serious about drilling into different personas, displacing generic content with specific, precise content for a particular persona. But they also…

Every Sales and Marketing Exec Should Read This!

Sales Linguistics is the study of how customers and salespeople use language during the complex decision-making process. Yeah, I know… sales linguistics is a new term for me. But wow, am I glad I read this post by Steve W. Martin who teaches sales strategy at the USC Marshall School of Business. Martin cites a recent study that…

Innovation Isn’t an Idea Problem

For the past decade, I’ve participated in and facilitated innovation sessions with a number of Fortune 500 companies. Most were very productive, generating tons of solid ideas but a few fell flat with a resounding thud at the end of the day. Straining, I could almost hear Ben Stein’s character in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”…

Let’s Reinvent Press Releases, Please

Having worked in and around PR for the better part of two decades, I’ve written more press releases than I can count. Some even had real news in them. Never a fan of the boxy formula (headline, sub head, dateline, lede, executive quote, other company’s quote, more info, call to action, boiler, contact), I toyed…

Use Catalytic Questioning to Solve Significant Problems

In an earlier post entitled “Question Marketing,” I made the case for question-based exploration and deep diving to identify and solve issues. It’s part Socratic method, part trial and error, and part creative brainstorming. Specifically, I wrote: “Question Marketing…came to be the process by which marketers use questions to clearly identify the right messages, the right…

Reinvigorating a Disengaged Salesforce

As a marketer, I have a theory about why certain sales forces become disengaged: the once critical and all-important “selling process” is really a “buying process.” Yup. As much as sellers want to guide and control the process, it’s really the buyers who are in charge. Research shows that most buyers are already 60-70% through…

On Becoming a Marketing Yogi

The HBR blog is a fountain of excellent, thought-provoking content. It seems agile narratives are all the rage these days, as several blogs (including mine) are full of stories about how marketers can shape “bendable” and “shareable” stories. Agile narratives remind me of the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”…

How to Ditch Marketing And Make Friends

As a follow up to my post yesterday regarding agile marketing, this post from HBR is a nice complement. The concept is simple: marketing is really about making friends. Groundbreaking? Not really, but still worthy of consideration and analysis. Here’s why. With the exponential growth of social channels, earned media has become far more important…

The Permanent Temporary and Strategic Tweakonomics

Since the financial crisis, temporary hires have increased by more than 50%, owing in large part to companies wanting to maintain as much flexibility as possible as the economy lumbered along. Given this trend it’s no surprise, therefore, that many companies also leveraged fractional C-Level executives (like those at my firm, TechCXO) to help guide…

12 Traits of Data-Driven Decision Makers

Given all the focus on big data recently, I found this HBR post on data-driven decision making particularly timely. Companies that regard themselves as data-driven are measurably more profitable than those that aren’t. The challenge for executives is transforming an organization from non data-driven to data-driven. According to Thomas Redman who advises companies on their…

Fascinating HBR Article: Your Brain at Work

Executive Summary: Recently, technological advances have led neuroscientists to develop a new and more sophisticated framework. It shifts the focus of study from the activity of specific brain regions to how networks of brain regions activate in concurrent patterns. In this article, two experts in brain science explain important discoveries that have been made about four key…

Customer is Always Right and Other Rubbish

In my first job as a stock boy at Toys R Us, an imposing sign barked on the wall in the break room in big block letters: “The customer is always right.” Young, green and inexperienced, I took it as fact and operated accordingly, despite encountering customers at times who were downright mean or deserving…