B2B Marketing Expert Interview with Christine Viera

B2B Marketing Expert

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Christine Viera, a B2B Marketing expert, former CMO of Kapost and current VP of Strategic Marketing and Customer Experience at Level 3. Her experience also includes companies like Oracle, Avid, and Avaya. I admire Christine for her customer centricity and her focus on content, which you will se in the interview.


1. What company is an example of good marketing today? Who do you admire?

I admire how Jon Miller at Engagio has changed the conversation in B2B marketing. He and his team have been central to elevating account-based marketing from a tactic to a movement. It’s exciting to see key areas of marketing become the focus on entrepreneurship. Continue reading “B2B Marketing Expert Interview with Christine Viera”

The Top 5 Challenges Marketers Face Today

Marketing challenges

There are 5 key marketing challenges every marketer is facing today and must be ready to solve to be effective.

Marketing seems like an easy profession for most people. But marketers know there are many challenges marketers face. Marketing is getting broader but also harder every day. Every function within marketing has its own challenges, but these impact every marketer:


Marketing Challenge 1: How to break through the noise.

Ads are everywhere. Attention spans are shorter. Everyone is ignoring banner ads. There is too much noise on social media. Everyone is selling ‘solutions’ promising lower costs, more time. Everything is on sale.

All this makes it harder and harder for marketers to deliver their message to prospective buyers. How do I get my message across?
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Product, Audience, and Solutions Marketing – Which One is Right for You?

What is Solutions Marketing Audience Marketing

Solutions Marketing is a buzzword used by marketers quite often. A buzzword not because it is not an important or a valuable concept, but because it has been both misunderstood and overused, like Big Data and Social Business.

Years ago I heard VP of Marketing at a large company explain solution marketing to his team as bundling two or more products. This is one of the worst, but also one of the most common definitions. When the concept is not understood it can result in very ineffective communications.

A very large technology company spent a significant amount of money to have a significant presence at a tradeshow where it introduced itself as offering “Enterprise Systems and Solutions”. Imagine an auto dealer introducing itself as a “personal transportation solutions company” instead of the much simpler and easier to understand “car dealer”.

What is Solutions Marketing?

Here is my definition: A solution is a complete offering what will solve a customer problem.

  • ‘A complete offering’ means it must include all the products, services, parts, training and any other element a customer needs to solve a problem. In many cases it will require including partner offerings.
  • ‘Will solve’ implies the company is standing behind the complete solution. It has tested it, and provides customer service and a guarantee for the solution as a whole and not only for its individual components.
  • ‘Customer’ in ‘customer problem’ implies solutions need to be defined by customers, independently of how the company is organized, how the products are defined or what are the company priorities.
  • Customer Problem‘ requires us to understand why customers buy our products, what is the intent, what are the complete requirements and the alternatives being considered.

Continue reading “Product, Audience, and Solutions Marketing – Which One is Right for You?”

The 4 Super Powers of Today’s Marketing Leaders

A couple weeks back I contributed to a Forbes CMO network in an article about the traits of successful marketing leaders. It’s an important topic, so I decided to expand on it here.

The marketing function is becoming more complex, more strategic and more interesting. More complex because today marketers need to take advantage of more tools and technologies available to us: from marketing automation to big data to social media.

More strategic because companies are recognizing the deep relationship between marketing and business strategy and CEOs have a better understanding of the value of marketing and its potential as a source of competitive advantage. More interesting because all these tools and channels are opening many new possibilities as areas like psychology intersect with marketing creating behavioral economics – an area that is both fascinating and fundamental to every marketer.

In this broader context of marketing, how do we marketing leaders need to grow? What are the most important traits we need to develop? There are four at the top of the list:


1. Revenue ownership and accountability.

Yes, metrics are important, but modern marketers can no longer claim success measuring their contribution to the business based on ambiguous metrics like followers, brand value, impressions, or clicks. We need to show how marketing directly impacts the business, we need to connect marketing activities result in growth. And we need to make sure every member of the marketing team is focused on business value, and not only metrics, every single day. Continue reading “The 4 Super Powers of Today’s Marketing Leaders”

9 Marketing Un-Predictions for 2015

marketing predictions for 2015

By now we have all read a handful of posts on marketing predictions for the New Year. While some predictions reflect trends and areas where marketers definitely need to look into, some are potentially more distracting than useful.

The marketing job never ends: there is always something else we could be doing to grow the business. Marketing is getting more and more complex. These two factors drive, today more than ever, the importance of focus.

The essence of focus are the things you will not do. Focus is about understanding the distractions, the buzzwords, the nice-to-haves and even the good opportunities that we must pass on to allow us to work on those activities that will have the best results.

This is why I wanted to share my Marketing Un-Predictions for the year:

  1. Mobile first is wrong. I am not saying to ignore mobile. I am suggesting we should kill mobile projects in lieu of thinking cross-device always. Today, there is no “mobile”: the line between smartphones, tablets and portable computers is blurred. Marketers must think cross-device (responsive design, device-neutral, cross-browser) from the beginning for all important channels: Websites to marketing campaigns should be designed for mobile and tablet and desktop and everything in-between.

Continue reading “9 Marketing Un-Predictions for 2015”

Rishi Dave Interview: a Natively Digital Marketer

Today’s interview is with Rishi Dave, CMO at Dun & Bradstreet and former Executive Director of Digital Marketing at Dell. Rishi was named a Top Digital Marketer twice (2013 & 2012) by BtoB Magazine. I had the opportunity to meet Rishi as a co-panelist at the Brand Innovator’s Forum in Austin.  Let’s get started.


1.. What company is an example of good marketing today? Who do you admire?

Hubspot has done a great job of scaling the content-led inbound model and proving its economics. They practice what they preach and use what they sell.


2. What is your marketing superpower, the most important skill that makes you a great marketer?

I am natively digital and not encumbered by the old style of marketing.
Continue reading “Rishi Dave Interview: a Natively Digital Marketer”

Michael Brenner on Content Marketing, Metrics and Empathy

Today’s Marketing Leader interview is with Michael Brenner, one of the most read thinkers on marketing, social and content marketing. Michael is the Head of Strategy for a really interesting marketing platform, NewsCred. Until recently, he was VP of Global Marketing and Content Strategy and Head of Digital Marketing for SAP Americas.

Michael is the co-founder of leading social news site Business 2 Community and creator of SAP’s Business Innovation thought leadership site. Michael contributes to leading publications such as ForbesThe Economist, and The Guardian. 

Let’s see what Michael has to say about becoming a better marketer, where marketers should focus on and on improving the marketing function:

Continue reading “Michael Brenner on Content Marketing, Metrics and Empathy”

Marketing Leader Interview with John Ellett

John is one of the smartest technology marketers I know.  I met John back in 2001 when his company was helping us in a subsidiary of Motorola. I am delighted to have him participate in this series.

John is an advisor to CMOs, author of the CMO Manifesto, contributor for Fortbes CMO Network and CEO of nFusion, a digital marketing and advertising firm based here in Austin. John worked on the famous Charlie Chaplin advertising campaign for the original IBM PC and later was a marketing executive at Dell.


1. What company is an example of good marketing today? Who do you admire?

MasterCard’s Priceless Surprises, Smirnoff’s Nightlife Exchange, GoPro and RedBull all come to mind. But Samsung is my favorite because of the huge strides they’ve made and because we get to work with them.

Continue reading “Marketing Leader Interview with John Ellett”

Marketing Leader Interview with Sam Decker

CMO Interview with Sam Decker

I had the opportunity to work for Sam at Bazaarvoice, where he was the founding CMO, and I learned a LOT from him. Today, Sam Decker,  is the founder and CEO of Mass Relevance, a company that recently merged with SpredFast to create one of the most advanced social engagement platforms.

Sam helped Dell.com become the largest eCommerce site in the world. Sam is probably the most creative marketer I know and one of the smartest. He has a great sense of humor, and most importantly, he is a great person. You will surely learn a thing or two from his answers to the interview:

Continue reading “Marketing Leader Interview with Sam Decker”

Marketing Leader Interview with Matt Heinz

Marketing Expert Matt Heinz

Today’s marketing expert Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing in Redmond, Washington. Matt brings over 15 years of experience in sales and marketing. He is the author of five books on selling, social marketing, field marketing and web strategy.

Matt was recognized as one of the top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers by Sales World in 2012. In this interview, Matt shares his thoughts on good  marketing which are based on a very complete set of the tools and strategies that make marketers successful today: from writing and content marketing to metrics and data. Enjoy. Continue reading “Marketing Leader Interview with Matt Heinz”