As you are no doubt aware, social media is becoming increasingly more popular in B2B software marketing. The big three of social media are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Given the market power of Google, there’s no doubt that Google+ will eventually be an important channel for B2B marketers to integrate into their social media mix. However, no one has quite figured that one out yet (if readers have some great b2b marketing examples, please share in comments). Pinterest is also worth mentioning for it’s sheer growth this year (it’s broken in the top 30 for page views) although B2B best practices are also still being discovered.
If you’re doing research on the reach of social media. There are some pretty interesting stats in this article on the topic. What I found particularly interesting was the peak usage data (for example, Twitter seems to peak between 2pm and 6pm).
So, where do you start? How do you use social media to market your company’s enterprise software products? I see a few categories of usage for software companies, and in particular product marketers.
As I mentioned previously, we’re going take to the next few posts discussing product marketing’s role in lead generation. The first lead generation vehicle that I covered was the white paper. Next up, I’d like to cover the web site. I just ran a project to update my company’s web content with the goal of increasing leads. We improved from a 4.5% conversion rate to 17% in the product/technology area! (I know, subtle brag). I learned a few things along the way.
In my opinion web content (and I’ll include mobile here as well) should not only drive leads but it should also help educate potential buyers about the market you operate in, and help you close the deal. So this post will be about a little bit more than just driving leads.
I’m a big subscriber to the content marketing movement, and books like Content Rules and Google’s Zero Moment of Truth. That said, driving leads is also a vitally important function of your enterprise software web site. There are other important roles of a web site (investor relations, talent recruiting, branding, etc) but content and lead gen are the most difficult, and important functions. So how can you balance the two effectively?
I’m in Vegas for my company’s sales kickoff event and in our conference room. I went to connect to the wifi when I saw the list of available wireless networks. Check out the surprising network available! Continue reading →
As I mentioned previously, we’re going to the next few posts discussing product marketing’s role in lead generation. The first lead generation vehicle that I’d like to cover is the white paper. Why? Because I view the white paper as a manifesto for external communication around the product. It’s not the first thing you write (that should be your positioning statement). But, it will likely be the most comprehensive thing you write. And if you plan/execute it successfully it should be the foundation for many other elements in a lead generation/content marketing program.
There is a debate going on about the value of white papers. Do buyers actually read them? I land on the side of yes. They might not be as effective as they could be, but in my own experience, they are one of the best methods for driving leads for your B2B enterprise software business. According to the Eccolo 2010 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report, 83% of technology buyers said “white papers were moderately to extremely influential in helping them make their final purchase decision.” That said, there are still some best practices that should be followed that often aren’t. Let’s dig into them. Continue reading →
Just came across this yesterday and I think it provides an excellent example of a differentiation strategy from an industry I know nothing about: cover bands. It inspired me to write because I think this shows that there are some fundamental lessons about differentiation that you can apply across any industry/market.
In the world of enterprise software, product marketing typically does not hold responsibility for lead generation. Usually a corporate or field marketing department will be charged with bringing leads into the sales organization. So, why is a product marketing blog offering an post on the subject? Continue reading →
Your new product is on its way. Maybe it’s exponentially better — more advanced, faster, providing more value — than anything else on the market. Maybe it’s a point release that helps differentiate you from the competition and improves upon previous versions. Or, perhaps it’s a segmentation play, intended to move your market up to enterprise or more broadly to the mid-market or into a specific vertical.
In all of these scenarios you will face a similar question: how do you tell the world — whether they’re existing customers or new faces — about your great new product and build momentum for a long product life cycle?
In many cases – especially start-up technology firms, success of your product launch could make or break your company. And there are a lot of functional roles involved in a product launch. Most likely product management will be there guiding the product through release phases, and corporate marketing/marcomm will be there drumming up press. You’re not alone in this, but your job is still quite challenging. You must manage all the go-to-market details as the owner of the product as it comes out of development. You have collateral to write, sales to train, analysts to speak to, a market to excite and customers to thrill.
As we discussed before, product marketing can vary greatly from company to company so there is no cookie cutter product marketing launch plan that I can give you that applies to every situation. However, I’ve been through several of these now – from the new product to the point release. Here are a few tips that I have accumulated over my career that can help make your next product launch a successful one . These tips come from the perspective of a product marketer who is part of a team that’s working together to launch the product, so it doesn’t cover everything your company must do – but specific tasks that you, as a product marketer, can undertake to drive successful launches.
As I got to writing this, the post became quite long so we will cover this over three parts. Here are tips 1-3:
Conducting a thorough competitive analysis of the market is important for any enterprise software firm. Obtaining and leveraging competitive intelligence helps you develop differentiated positioning, segment more effectively, and arm sales with knowledge that can help them close deals and avoid traps.
You must know what features the competitor is going to push, and how they are going to position their solution. You must gear your sales and marketing strategy towards your customer’s needs in a way that proves why your product is a better fit than your competitor’s. To do this requires implementing a structured competitive analysis methodology. In addition, a good competitive analysis program will be helpful to upper management as they develop the company’s corporate strategy. And if your input helps – it will help your career because competitive analysis is usually a high profile task in software companies.
But competitive analysis isn’t easy to do. In fact, I’ve always found it to be one of the most challenging tasks we face as product marketers. The organization is relying on you to provide reliable knowledge, which requires a lot of time to acquire and parse through. Time that many simply don’t have. It also requires knowing how to get the information. So how can you succeed? Here are a few suggestions: