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Published on Monday 6th of December 2010
A very interesting 2010 is wrapping up, and the marketing industry is facing some major changes moving forward. 2010 was nowhere near as financially tough for many as 2009, but the recovery, while starting to show signs of hope, is still hampering firms. In response to the economic downtown, as well as new, emerging technologies, companies have undergone a major shift from the old marketing regime in a process we’ve coined New Marketing Evolution.
We’ve identified 5 major consequences of New Marketing Evolution to consider as we head into 2011.
1. The definition of marketing, transformed: During the last 2 years, the marketing industry has undergone a significant shift. The mindset of the potential clients has changed and if you or your company continue employing the old methods, you may quickly fall behind the curve. The key changes:
Old Marketing Regime
New Marketing Evolution
5-year marketing plan
Real-time, here and now: Marketing strategies, technologies, and techniques are evolving every day, so companies are now sticking to a 6-12 month outlook.
Customized to the prospect: If you’re pitching a one-size-fits-all package to a potential client, odds are that they’ve seen it before, they can do it themselves, or they can find a better options by searching Google. A customizable, personal option is the way to make leads stick around.
Spend big bucks
WOM (Word-of-mouth): Why spend thousands on an ad campaign that you’re not even sure can reach the right people? B2B marketing strategy based around word-of-mouth saves money and can drive real, relevant leads.
Controlled sales environment
Welcome to the Wild West: Whatever your business, there are likely twenty others just like you, hungry for your business. Just like the Old West, you need to constantly stay on your toes and constantly adapt.
Push marketing (Tell me what I need to do)
Pull Marketing: Businesses are bombarded with marketing every moment of their lives. This isn’t the death of the cold call, but the new marketing strategy is: don’t interrupt me, I’ll call you when I've done my research.
Use of traditional offline media
Use online and offline media: Integration is a key for the success of marketing campaign. Combining the power of online marketing with some of the proven traditional media may yield the 1+1=11 effect. Just make the proper planning.
Automated process: There’s an app for that. Just like about everything else, marketing automation software has become extremely prevalent and it allows you to do more with less.
No ability to measure
What is the ROI?: Calculating return-on-investment has become more sophisticated and easier, paradoxically at the same time. Invest in the marketing activities that would make an impact on your sales.
2. The competitive landscape is more spirited than ever, for three reasons: (A) the economic situation leads to less buying power, thus decreasing the number of potential consumers or clients, (B) a smaller world approach brings a lot of new competitors from international markets that were not present in our market before, and (C) the high pace of changes and the consolidation of technologies creates inherently new competitors, both direct and indirect. For example, the introduction of Apple's iPad imposed competition not only on eBook readers, but also on laptop, notebook, wireless phone, and portable entertainment devices. And in the first quarter of 2011, iPad will have its own breed of competitors; already, just two weeks ago, HP released the Slate.
3. Internal pressure to use fewer resources and deliver faster: Marketing budgets usually shrink or almost disappear in slow economies, but the need for good leads to fill your pipeline is still there. You just need to work harder with the limited resources you have in hand. Look again at the table above and notice how new B2B marketing strategies are designed for efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
4. The new marketer must master technology and create original content: While a lot of marketing is performed online nowadays, there are a hefty amount of tools that can be used to research, measure, and automate the marketing process. You need to learn them quickly, master them, and on top of that produce creative content. Here is the shift in the approach:
Old Marketing Regime
New Marketing Evolution Approach
Authentic and valuable content
Monologues and speeches tone
Share, interact and collaborate
Integrated strategy across channels
No data, no worries
Prospect data should be analyzed and drive improvements
If you’re not producing creative, original content through a company blog, or a Twitter account, or a sales presentation, or any other part of your marketing campaign, then why should a client listen?
5. Delivery = ROI: After you’ve spent time developing and implementing a well-targeted, carefully-researched, meticulously-refined marketing solution, you’ve only just begun. It is not enough to just spend time on delivering marketing activity; you must listen to your target audience, collect and analyze marketing results, deduct what the return on investment is and how it can be improved for future marketing activity.
Marketing Evolution may have created a more competitive and constantly changing environment, but it has opened the door for customization, unique interpretation, inspiring interaction, and creativity. New technologies and techniques allow new B2B marketing strategies to build closer relationships with clients than ever before. How your company evolves with New Marketing Evolution is up to you.
Published on Monday 1st of November 2010business development strategy that includes business collaboration is in itself a key part of marketing, since it can yield multiple prospect referrals. By collaborating towards mutual interests, it is often far easier to generate sales leads with comprehensive business development then by attempting to go at it alone.
Here are three proven scenarios in which B2B business collaboration is most successful:
- A distribution channel: A manufacturing company would like to penetrate a new market, region, or country. Instead of upfront investments in salespeople and warehouse/office expenses, companies should explore local resellers, distributors, or agents that already have the connection with the target market. Therefore, they can be ready to serve potential new clientele in a very short period of time. In the past, we have assisted companies in finding distribution partners, training them and building incentive plans to control distribution performance.
- A strategic partnership: In this case, two or multiple organizations choose to work together to achieve a mutual goal. For example, two software companies decide on mutual R&D efforts in order to cut down the development period of a new innovative solution, while sharing the knowledge base of both participating partners. Shortening the time-to-market of the innovative solution would result in a faster delivery to their clients and in acceleration of your company’s revenue. Direct Objective Consulting has had proven success identifying strategic partners and negotiating terms.
- One complete solution: The way milk goes with cereal, and salads are served with a dressing, your company needs to find a complementary partner that unites each of your individual specialties into one comprehensive solution. For example, a medical device company can make an alliance to bundle its device in a healthcare kit that is packaged by another company. Or a specialty battery producer may choose to have their batteries already pre-packaged with the suitable hardware/electronics. Think about what can work for your product or service.
The strengths and weaknesses of each of these three business development strategies are dependent on a number of factors, including your company’s industry. Business development has been proven especially useful in service, telecommunication, government, and health care industries. Additionally, many industries have small, tight-knit communities, where strategic partnerships can even more rapidly accelerate your company’s exposure.
The best business development strategy will create win-win situations that would last long-term, and ultimately create more business for your company. Consult with us today if you need assistance in forming a successful business development strategy to build long-term relationships within your industry.
Strategic Partnership Business Development Strategy Business Strategy Distribution Channel Business Collaboration
Published on Thursday 9th of September 2010
In 2007, Twitter users posted approximately 1.2 million tweets. This year, that number is projected to be over 18 billion. Many large companies now have full-time Twitter social media staff – McDonalds has ten – and Twitter is still dwarfed by others. Social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are poised to rival Google as search engine resources. Facebook users send over a billion messages every day. Not to be outdone, YouTube estimates it will serve 365 billion videos this year. In every demographic, social networking is on the rise; according to a new study from Pew Internet, social media usage among internet users over 50 nearly doubled in the past year, from 22% to 42%. More specifically, 47% of 50-to-64-year-old internet users and 26% of seniors ages 65 and up indicate that they now use these sites, with Facebook and LinkedIn being the main beneficiaries of mature traffic. So the question remains: how can B2B social media strategy be crafted to harvest this incredible potential?
Facebook was originally designed to let college students connect and share pictures, but with its users eclipsing 500 million, companies have realized the potential of an effective social media strategy. An estimated 20% of all tweets are related to a product or brand. With the right tools, B2B social media strategy can help:
- Increase traffic to your website
- Increase exposure to your brand/company
- Increase conversation about the brand/company
- Launch new products/services
- Receive feedback and ideas for product or business development
- Establish relationships and connections with potential customers who become your fans or followers
- Be fully integrated with all marketing programs and initiatives
Setting up a Facebook or Twitter account is easy, but creating effective social media strategy is much more complicated. Each firm has unique goals, and thus needs a distinctive social media strategy. Contact us today to work with a social media consultant who can help you build the right B2B social media strategy for your company, and escort you along the process to reach your business social networking goals.
Published on Monday 9th of August 2010
Most businesses tend to slow down in the summer months. While everyone is on vacation, now is a key opportunity to generate or reassess your marketing action plan. Create an advantage by examining whether your existing marketing action plan will deliver the requested sales you need in the fall. Will you reach your goals?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you re-assess your marketing action plan:
- Are you targeting the right market? Are there new niche markets you could, or should, be addressing?
- Have events in the past year impacted your business model? What new trends or changes in the marketplace may impact the effectiveness of your current marketing action plan?
- Has your website effectively generated leads? Are prospects able to find you on search engines? If you have invested in search engine optimization, have you targeted the right keywords that drive a high level of relevant traffic?
- Do you have any new avenues for bringing in clients? Have your past marketing lead generation activities been successful? Measuring the results of your marketing campaigns is crucial, and an important benchmark for assessing the effectiveness of your marketing action plan.
- Have you invested in social media marketing? Do you know what strategy you should employ and what tools to use?
These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself as you begin to re-examine your marketing action plan. Remember: your marketing plan is the foundation of all of your campaigns, so it pays to use the summer to prepare for the fall—especially if you want to get ahead of the competition.
In September, people come back to work refreshed and ready to roll. With better strategic marketing planning, you’ll ensure your business comes out stronger than ever! If you want advice, consult with us to make sure you have the most effective marketing action plan for your business.
Published on Tuesday 13th of July 2010Business conferences are about exposing people to new information in a particular industry and staying up to date with your industry trends. However, during the past decade, we have seen a steady decline in how many companies attend business conferences. There are a few reasons for this decline:
- Search engines and websites have provided most companies with the tools they need to research and present their offerings, without needing to leave the company
- There’s no need to wait for an annual show to familiarize yourself with the latest developments in an industry. You can now get updates in monthly or weekly newsletters, or even RSS feeds from a reliable source
- Social media sites and online forums have made it easy to build online communities where contacts can meet and exchange information—whether through webinars, chats or virtual conferencing.
- Investing in travel costs, exhibition costs, and time needs to be justified. The recent economic downturn has thus discouraged many companies from sending individuals to attend business conferences.
- On top of everything, the events of 9/11 introduced many long and tedious security procedures. Traveling by plane is no longer as convenient and many do not feel as comfortable as before with flying to attend conferences.
Contact me and I can assess whether you could benefit from attending certain business conferences and help you secure speaking engagements.
Published on Tuesday 15th of June 2010media coverage on a highly trafficked website like Yahoo, CNN, or the Wall Street Journal. You want the story to be positive of course, and it has to reach your target market in order to be effective. Less news-focused industry articles in niche publications (online and offline) are another great way to get noticed.
The greatest challenge is simply securing the media coverage to begin with. Once that’s accomplished, you have to make sure the media coverage will be beneficial to your company. As a long-time marketing professional, I’ve learned the tricks for getting into the media (see the media coverage I got in an interview on CNN). Even smaller media outlets are good promotion, especially the targeted industry articles which can lead you to reach a focused target market.
Whether you’re looking to get featured industry articles or more news-oriented media coverage, it’s important to keep abreast of how information is disseminated online. Media coverage is no longer just about news networks, radio interviews or industry articles in print publications. Media coverage appears in all sorts of forms on the Internet: in blogs, web magazines and portals, RSS feeds, podcasts, and online video clips.
A great benefit is that these kinds of online news outlets are often highly targeted to a circulation with a common interest in a particular field or subject. Thus, getting media coverage or industry articles published is a great way to channel information to your target market. On top of bringing attention to your company and brand, media coverage and industry articles are an economical way to attract new clients.
We have experience “plugging” your company story into respectful media, resulting in a boost to your company’s reputation, more client opportunities and new business for your company.
The key to success is continuity. By developing a relationship and establishing contacts with the media, you can get regular stories published. Media coverage is one of the most effective ways to build a brand identity and regular incoming flow of client leads. Nonetheless, it can be a challenge to get the attention of journalists and editors who are constantly inundated with story ideas and deadlines.
Are you ready to step into the spotlight? Get some recognition for your company with media coverage and/or industry articles. Contact me and I can discuss with you how to make it happen.
Published on Tuesday 18th of May 2010corporate branding- that is, their logo, website look and feel, and marketing materials. Invariably, they worry about the impact on their company's overall image and strategy.
Essentially, there are two questions that need to be assessed first:
1) How will any changes to your corporate branding identity impact the positioning of your company?
2) When is the right time to change your company's corporate branding strategy?
The questions are connected. Changing the visual representation of your corporate identity will probably highlight different aspects of your company. Is that good or bad, you may ask?
Well, it really depends on the reason why you need to make this change. Corporate branding identity can be changed at the company level or at the product level. There is always a reason for changes to corporate branding strategy, whether the changes are large or small. You can see that when Apple launched the iMac in 1998, for instance, the company made a drastic jump from a rainbow logo to a monochromatic logo.
Xerox, on the other hand, retained pretty much the same company logo from 1961 to 2004 before it tried to reinvent itself. Everybody associates Xerox with copy machines and this has always posed a major problem for the company. In 2008, the company changed its logo in the hopes of moving away from that stereotype- they adjusted the font of the corporate branding to include a ball with a modern X:
Did it work? I'm not so sure.
The fact is, before you go making any major changes, you need to be clear about why you need to update your corporate branding and determine how you'll get the results you want.
Here are some good reasons to consider changing your corporate branding strategy:
• The company/product needs a more contemporary, modern or fresh look.
• The company aims to address a new target market.
• A new name, product or trend is being introduced.
• The brand no longer resonates with your target market.
• The current brand identity has attracted limited or negative attention.
• The company has changed its overall marketing strategy and it is no longer consistent with the corporate branding identity.
• The company has undergone major legal, competitive or financial turmoil and wants to improve or differentiate its image.
For the most part, changes to your corporate branding should be subtle and occur over time. Take Microsoft. Microsoft has changed its corporate branding over the years, but as you can see below, most of the drastic changes occurred early in the life of the company:
You’ll often see the same kind of incremental changes for product branding as well. Microsoft’s branding of Internet Explorer evolved gradually to take on a sleeker, more modern look:
The point is that even very mild changes can make a world of difference. Once you’ve justified the change in your corporate branding identity, the next step is to make the transition without confusing clients. This is a professional job which requires you to:
1. Capitalize on your existing positioning
2. Convey your new or updated message
3. Bridge between the old and the new corporate branding identity
At Direct Objective, this kind of challenge is right up our alley. We create silent revolutions with major image transformations that work. Consult us before updating your corporate branding strategy. We’ll lead you to a successful corporate branding identity change.
Published on Tuesday 20th of April 2010$23 billion in 2009, Adwords has led the movement of PPC web marketing. Paid search engine marketing is no longer effective as organic search engine optimization, because search engine users often trust the non-sponsored listing more. For this reason, many marketers prefer to stick with organic search engine optimization. Still, there are many benefits to paid search engine marketing with Google (see my last blog for more on PPC web marketing versus organic search engine optimization). As far as targeting the right audience, Google Adwords can only be targeted according to keyword, location and search history.
On the surface, the competitors for Google’s PPC web marketing are Yahoo, MSN and various other ad networks. But one contender is slowly but surely rising the ranks, a contender with no search function at all—Facebook. It may surprise you that a social networking site is competing with the top search engine for revenue, and there are many crucial differences. Facebook offers PPC web marketing that doesn’t just stop at location and search history. Unlike Google, Facebook’s PPC web marketing has the power to target users based on gender, age, interests, affiliations, marital status, and more. Facebook ads are generally cheaper—as much as half the cost of Google ads—though sometimes they tend to garner less of an audience than paid search engine marketing with Google.
As marketers, we have to decide between the high traffic and visibility of Google’s paid search engine marketing and the highly targeted PPC ads on Facebook and PPC web marketing on other social networks.
In order to choose the right mix for your PPC web marketing, it’s important to weigh the different parameters and see the whole picture. You need to take into account the forecasted amount of traffic, compare conversion rates, assess the amount of competition, and determine the pricing. Every advertiser is in a different situation and at the end of the day, we all want to get new client leads with the least amount of money.
Is PPC web marketing right for you? Which ad network should you advertise with? Feel free to contact us for advice on paid search engine marketing.
Published on Monday 19th of April 2010Paid search engine marketing and organic search engine optimization services are both economical and effective tools for attracting prospects. But which method to use? I’ll start with a short definition of each of these respective tools:
Organic Search Engine Optimization Services (SEO) – Organic search engine optimization is the process whereby a Web site structure, design and page content is adjusted to boost the search ranking of a Web page for specific keywords. This requires selecting high-traffic keywords, adjusting the HTML code, infusing content with the right keywords, and building incoming and outgoing links.
Paid Search Engine Marketing (also referred to as Pay-Per-Click (PPC)) – Paid search engine marketing is an advertising tool which exposes web users to ads based on the keywords they search. To get good results, there are a few steps. First you need to select the relevant keywords and avoid irrelevant ones; then you must create attractive advertising content that will generate clicks. Next, you need to design a landing page that entices people to give their contact information, and finally, adjust your advertising campaigns according to your results.
So from a marketing perspective, how does organic search engine optimization compare with paid search engine marketing?
- Visibility – We all want to be ranked on the top of the search engine results. Paid search engine marketing can quickly get your company to the very top of the results page—even higher than the organic search results. Though nowadays web users tend to differentiate between paid advertisements and actual search results, this exposure is still very effective, if your campaign offering is well defined. If you are already on the first page of the search engines, the benefits of paid search engine marketing will be marginal. But if you have trouble getting your site noticed, consider investing in paid search engine marketing for fast visibility.
- Credibility – While paid search engine marketing can bring you to the very top of search engine results, it is just not as credible as organic search engine optimization. Most users believe organic search results are more reliable and trustworthy because they have not been paid for. Remember that unpaid, organically ranked links get a lot more clicks than a paid search engine marketing advertisement.
- Sustainability – When organic search engine optimization gets you on the first results page, you are king—and unlike paid search engine marketing, you are not limited by a daily budget . This means that as long as you keep up your minimal SEO efforts, you will appear high in the results every day of the week. On the other hand, if you lower your budget for paid search engine marketing, you will literally disappear off the radar. So if you’re looking to invest over the long-term, go with organic search engine optimization services.
- Measurability – The effectiveness of both paid search engine marketing and organic search engine optimization services can be tracked by tools. These tools enable you to assess the effectiveness of your marketing and improve your campaigns.
- Fast Results – Paid search engine marketing will generally yield faster results than organic search engine optimization. With better control of the process of paid search engine marketing, you can reach the top of search engine results within a week. If your campaign is well-customized, you’ll get clicks right away. Still, you usually need at least three weeks of trial and error to customize a paid search campaign and get new leads. In contrast, organic search engine optimization is more tricky. Though most of the Web sites that we have worked on managed to get to the first page after a relatively short time (2-3 months), we have sites that increased their ranking within weeks. There are many factors that affect how quickly you will see results, and based on our expertise we can estimate how long it would take. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for immediate results, go for paid search engine marketing. If you’re investing in the long-term and want to gradually increase your traffic, invest in organic search engine optimization services.
- Maintenance –Paid search engine marketing requires constant maintenance. You must constantly adjust your ads to appear in the top positions with the right keywords. This is a daily process of ensuring that your budget is well spent. Organic search engine optimization is different. Once you spend your initial investment, you just need to invest in a low-maintenance plan to keep and strengthen your high position on the search results.
- Cost – The cost of organic search engine optimization services run between 15%-20% of the cost of paid search engine marketing; hence, many companies prefer starting off with organic search engine optimization services.
If you have other questions on whether to implement organic search engine optimization or paid search engine marketing for your Web site, please feel free to direct them to us and we will gladly assess your situation.
Paid Search Engine Marketing Business Strategy Business Marketing Planning Organic Search Engine Optimization Services
Published on Thursday 18th of February 2010iPad launch recently will appreciate the critical role of Apple’s marketing and strategic planning. In fact, Steve Jobs of Apple delivered a presentation so informal it seemed there was no marketing involved at all. He came onstage with jeans, and spoke with a carefree, matter-of-fact attitude. And frankly, that’s what was so effective about it.
So let’s see what was really going on behind the scenes with the proper marketing and business strategic planning for the iPad. First off, Apple performed a thorough competitive marketing analysis of the e-reader/netbook arena and concluded that there was room for something different. They also identified a need to adjust their positioning strategy and update their strategic marketing plan from the “Think Different” slogan. Apple just can’t push “Think Different” anymore, now that the company is becoming mainstream and is the No. 1 provider for mobile computing.
For the iPad in particular, Apple focused on identifying the requirements of their target market with a thorough competitive marketing analysis and market research, developing a device that answers the dreams of a modern on-the-go business people. They branded the product consistently with their other products (iPod, iMac, iPad), and gave it the same look and feel, and much of the same functionality. In the presentation, you’ll see Steve Jobs demoing photo libraries which appear haphazardly arranged. This apparently random selection is anything but random, and also part of an ingenious overarching marketing work that was prepared well before the launch of the iPad. The Web browsing demo and the Ipad gaming capabilities are directly linked to deals with leading partners, book publishers, newspaper publishers, and leading mobile/gaming applications that were negotiated in advance. Such partnerships are, after all, part of good business strsategic planning to block the competition.
But the question is, while Apple was working hard and enjoying the fruits of its competitive marketing analysis with a potent product launch, where was Amazon? Nowhere. Amazon was not on guard to block Apple from a tremendously successful launch. Though Amazon now has 60% of the ereader market share and had an established relationships with all those publishers and many more, they were not wise enough to leverage these relationships as part of their own strategic marketing plan before the launch of the iPad. Moreover, they butted heads with some of the publishers, resulting in a cold relationship.
Now that the ground is falling out from underneath Amazon, they have announced that they bought a touch-screen company, clearly looking to update the Kindle with the same touch functionality as the iPad. They are also looking to tempt publishers with a higher commission percentage. If this competitive marketing analysis had been performed last year and they would have been prepared for the Apple launch, imagine how much damage might have been avoided for Amazon!
As today’s market evolves faster than ever, you don’t want to be left behind. Don’t risk losing market share! Conduct competitive marketing analysis well ahead of time, and you’ll be sure of an effective product launch and market penetration, and you’ll be well equipped with the proper strategic marketing plan.
Published on Saturday 16th of January 2010
With the arrival of 2010, here are some B2B marketing trends and best practices which we will continue to see developing in the New Year:
•A focus on B2B marketing content that is matched to buyer profiles: Buyers behave very differently now than in past. Today’s buyer is much less receptive to sales people, but would rather research information independently. Thus, B2B marketing best practices now require the creation of reliable, seemingly unbiased content to provide prospects with the information they seek. Like attracting fish to bait, B2B marketing content has to be targeted to the needs of buyers so that they “bite” into it.
•Increased presence online and focus on online reputation: The Internet has become a dominant source of information. To stay current with B2B marketing trends, a company needs an interactive website, a blog, a profile on different social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, not to mention videos, podcasts, and RSS feeds. It’s crucial to spread the word with many online marketing best practices so that buyers can easily find you.
•Lead nurturing is key: Lead B2B marketing campaigns create demand. But each lead should be thought of as a seed. Not all seeds that are planted will sprout right away. They must be ready. With prospects, it is much the same—they must be nurtured until they are ready to buy what you offer. Online marketing best practices now make it easier to score leads based on their level of interest and readiness to make a decision.
•Online marketing automation practices: No B2B marketing campaign stands alone. Nowadays, B2B marketing campaigns are complex. They require planning and execution in order for campaigns to work smoothly side-by-side. Only a truly integrated online marketing campaign leads to success. For instance, you can integrate social media into email marketing to achieve social marketing automation. There are many existing tools to help you get better results with your online marketing practices.
•Measure, measure, measure!: Last but not least is the bottom line. Branding is very important to a company’s development, yes, but it’s not what satisfies the company’s owners and investors. B2B marketing best practices should be monitored and have results measured over a period of time. This will enable the company to invest wisely in its B2B marketing campaigns to generate better results and a better return on investment.
As we enter into 2010, I wish you all the best for you and your business. Feel free to contact me with any questions on online marketing practices.
Happy New Year!