Writing well is an essential business skill

Knowledge is useless unless you know how to communicate it – in writing.

We live in a world where most communication happens in 140 character messages, 7 second videos and short text messages. It’s easy to forget how important is good writing as an essential and personal skill.

I have been inspired by David Ogilvy, the father of advertising. His story is really interesting. His teachings fundamental. His books are some of the first every marketer should read. In the Unpublished David Ogilvy, I found great advice by the master.

The better you write, the higher you will go in Ogilvy and Mather. People who think well, write well.Continue reading “Writing well is an essential business skill”

Are We Doing Content Marketing Right?

Are we failing at content marketing?

Without question, Content Marketing is one of the hottest topics today. But we are in the early days. Are we doing content marketing right?

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a Content Marketing panel at the Texas Marketing Summit in Houston. The other panelists provided with great insight. I also came to the conclusion that our understanding of Content Marketing is in its infancy, much like social media was 8 years ago.

It seems we still have much to learn and to improve as marketers. Sometimes it feels we are failing. Are you failing too?

Let’s Start With the Basics.

To understand the right way to do content marketing, let’s be clear about what it is not:

  • Content marketing is not new – it’s been around for a long time
  • Content marketing is not a strategy – it should support your existing strategy
  • Content marketing is not a program – but it should influence your marketing programs
  • Content marketing should not be a department in marketing – all of marketing should embrace it
  • Content marketing is not a tool or a set of tools – tools support it and enable it
  • Content marketing is not publishing blog posts, slideshare decks, and Instagram posts

If your view of content marketing falls under one of the bullets above, you are limiting your success. Content marketing is far more powerful than that. Continue reading “Are We Doing Content Marketing Right?”

8 Cardinal Principles to use Personas Effectively in Marketing

Best practices to make personas an effective tool to guide marketing activities by increasing customer understanding and empathy

A version of this post was first published on the OpenView labs blog.

The recent focus on content marketing has brought increased attention to personas. They can be a very effective tool for guiding most marketing activities by increasing customer understanding and empathy. But, like with every tool, you must get the fundamentals right to get maximum value out of it.

Despite all the attention on personas, many marketers find the concept somewhat ambiguous or confuse it with segmentation. making effective use of personas in practice has been often ineffective. In this post you will learn 8 ideas or best practices, to help you make personas a key tool that increases the effectiveness of all your marketing activities.

The concept of personas is not new. It was developed in 1998 by Alan Cooper, who also invented Visual Basic, as a tool to help with software interaction design. In 2002, Tony Zambito developed the concept of buyer personas to focus on buyer behavior and to guide customer strategies. Continue reading “8 Cardinal Principles to use Personas Effectively in Marketing”

7 Fundamentals to Build a Content Marketing Competency

7 Fundamentals of Content Marketing

This post appeared first as a contribution to Kapost’s Marketter blog – http://marketeer.kapost.com/content-marketing-competency/  

For most marketers, content marketing is a priority. If you are in this camp, perhaps you have been thinking about how to build a content marketing machine.

It is not easy. Most marketing teams fail at it. Either because they cannot produce the content they need or because the content they create is not effective. You can only build effective content repeatedly and consistently if you build a competency.

That’s the topic of this presentation, which was presented at the Austin Digital Marketing Summit last week. In it, I make 7 key points that might help you build a content marketing competency:

Continue reading “7 Fundamentals to Build a Content Marketing Competency”

Does Content Marketing Work in Boring Industries?

Content Marketing in unintteresting industrues

This is a guest post by Russel Cooke

One of the biggest challenges for many businesses is coming up with a content marketing strategy that stands out. Content marketing is a vitally important aspect of any modern marketing plan. One only needs to witness the success cultivated by GoPro cameras with their YouTube channel to show how content marketing can be the key to unlocking hidden sales opportunities and boosting user engagement.

But GoPro sells video cameras. Specifically, they sell portable, lightweight, water- and shock-proof video cameras aimed at extreme athletes, explorers, and daredevils. Their videos show people jumping off cliffs, testing homemade flying machines, and climbing mountains. People have used GoPros in space and at the bottom of the ocean. Even 99% of the people who own a GoPro don’t end up using it for such exciting things, it’s remains an instantly engaging, interesting product. Continue reading “Does Content Marketing Work in Boring Industries?”

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”

Marketing Leader Interview: David Meerman Scott

David Meerman Scott Intervie

No one knows more about using the new tools and strategies to spread ideas, influence minds and build business than David Meerman Scott. His books and blog are must-reads for professionals seeking to generate attention in ways that grow their business. He is the best-selling author of titles that include The New Rules of Marketing and PR to World Wide Rave which are changing the world of public relations and influence marketing.

I am truly honored to have David share his insights with us in this interview.

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

I admire HubSpot very much. They started the company in 2006 and today, less than ten years later, they have 650 employees. There growth is all attributable to the content they create online, a strategy the teach others in the HubSpot Marketing Blog.  http://blog.hubspot.com  I admire them so much that I joined their advisory board. Continue reading “Marketing Leader Interview: David Meerman Scott”

Is Your Marketing Message Visual, Understandable and Effective?


Patton Oswalt, the famous comedian, has a skit where he made fun of movie titles he thought were lame like “Something’s Gotta Give” or “Audacity” because they don’t tell you what the movie is about.

He then talked about the move Texas Chainsaw Massacre and he explained how as you hear each word, an image is forming in your mid. “Texas….Chainsaw…Massacre…. sounds like a great movie! I want to go! You can see the movie in your head, for free!

How does that compare to the messages that we marketers sometimes create? let’s look at some examples:

Take a look at this copy from a Toyota print ad ‘A quantum leap in interior refinement, and the uncompromising new shape of things to come from Toyota’. A lot of words, very little meaning. I can’t see a movie, or even a picture in my head.

Or this email I recently received from Dell – the headlined read “Get end-to-end solutions that go beyond making ends meet”. Can you guess what they are talking about? The message showed a banner that read: ‘Enjoy free shipping and easy returns on Dell.com’. Then a headline promised ‘Turn big ideas into cash big flow’ .Now I was seriously confused. What movie is in your head? it went on: ‘One Place. Countless ways to better manage your business’ finances.’. Do you have a clue what is Dell trying to tell me in this email? Continue reading “Is Your Marketing Message Visual, Understandable and Effective?”

Content Marketing as an Antidote to Discounting

Flying back from San Francisco, I open the in-flight magazine and a half-page ad by Riedel catches my eye. Riedel a German company and one of the best known manufacturers of high quality wine glasses.


It is a premium brand: a pair of wine glasses especially designed for Cabernet and Merlot retails for about $50. Their customers are either wine enthusiasts or people with a lot of money who don’t mind spending $25 for a wine glass.

It is a nice looking ad, but I was surprised to see the ad’s main message is an offer of  20% discount for a purchase of $100 or more. It does not seem to fit the brand. At the same time, it was not that surprising to see a discount oriented message: it is the easy answer.   ‘What should be the message? I know, let’s offer a 20% discount’

When a marketer’s creativity runs out he defaults back to price discounts.

Continue reading “Content Marketing as an Antidote to Discounting”

Content Marketing Strategies You Can Use

Content Strategy and Content Marketing are some of the hottest topics in marketing today. With good reason – they are critical part of any solid marketing strategy, especially for considered purchases.

A few weeks ago I wrote a guest post on 10 steps to build a content marketing strategy, which was published in B2B Marketing Insider  , Michael Brenner‘s site. The post was very popular and was posted again  on the Business 2 Community and in SAP’s Business Innovation site.

Content Strategy

I want to summarize some of the key takeaways of the article and add a few additional thoughts.

  • Content Marketing is a response to changes in buying behavior: customers are doing much more reasearch before they buy and often making a decision before engaging with a company.
  • In this age, marketing is more about being helpful and education than broadcasting and clever headlines.
  • Content Marketing has been around for some time, especially in B2B – for example, white papers in technology marketing.
  • The most important aspect of a content marketing strategy is to be have an interesting and useful point of view. This means content must be written by subject matter experts and that content needs to be valuable and unique.
    • This is such a key point. As Ryo Chiba says “Great content marketing is neither spammy nor salezy. Solve a problem for your customers. Write posts that serve your audience”
  • A good content writer needs to be an expert. If you are not one, before you start writing start learning. Have a point of view.
  • Don’t lose sight of the fact that content’s main objective should be to influence buying decisions through customer education.
  • A content marketing pyramid is very effective at making the most of your valuable content: start with a solid white paper, turn it into a webinar or slidecast, extract interesting sections into a few blog posts, then extract nuggets into tweets.
  •  You can track leading indicators to determine which parts of your content strategy are working. ROI measures for content generally fall under three categories:
    • Consumption metrics: views and downloads (especially after someone downloads a white paper after reading a blog post, for example)
    • Engagement metrics:  shares, comments, votes, ratings and retweets
    • Funnel metrics: clicks from your content to the buying process on your site
    • Deal Influence: asking customers if they consumed any of their content and how much influence it had in earning their business

I encourage you to take a look at the original article and to share your thoughts below.