Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Do You Know…

September 29, 2011
Test your knowledge of the B2B 
wireless innovators and pioneers.

 

Hint:  The wireless LAN technology was the predecessor and laid the groundwork for the IEEE 802.11 specifications.

 

How to Use Trademarks Properly – Are Your Documents Compliant?

September 24, 2011

How to use trademarks in any document is simple and straightforward.

It was 8:00 P.M. when the call came through. New B2B client in a panic. Some wireless company threatening a lawsuit. A letter that says there’s a trademark problem.

I was about to calmly tell him to talk to their attorney but, instead, I asked him to email me a copy of the letter.

While waiting, I recalled something my sushi buddy Michael Bierman once told me: “Many trademark cases could be avoided by complying with the rules when writing. It’s always neglecting the simple things that turns into costly and time-consuming litigation.” As a partner at Luce Forward, he speaks from decades of trademark litigation experience.

A few minutes later I’m reading the frenzied client’s letter. I breathed a sigh of relief. It appeared to be little more than a form letter advising my client that “[product brand name] is a registered trademark….”

Prior to retaining my firm, this client had been a DIYer (Do It Yourself) that wrote its own documents. Unfortunately, use of trademarks must have not been observed, and that triggered the boilerplate warning letter.

My firm has always done some amount of oversight/mentoring work for B2B wireless clients who create their own documents. Document review typically accounts for the bulk of those activities. The trademark faux pas has happened often enough that years ago I created a basic how-to document just for such moments.  Here’s that advisory:

Mandatory Trademark Compliance Is
Straightforward and Simple

Proper trademark usage in your documents protects your B2B wireless company’s valuable brand. Applying the same usage to other company’s trademarked brands will help avoid legal entanglements.

What Is a Trademark?
It is any brand name, symbol, slogan/motto, word, image, or emblem that a company is claiming legal rights of protection to prevent a competitor from using it.

What Are the “Marks”?
There are only three trademark identifiers:  “R,”  “TM”, and occasionally “SM”

  • When written, they are either
    • Superscripted, e.g., ®, TM, SM, or
    • In parentheses, e.g., (R), (TM), (SM)

Which Identifier to Use for Another Company’s Marks ?
Simple! The one that the company claiming the mark uses.

Where Do I Apply the Mark in My Documents?
The rules are easy:

  • Always apply the mark the first time the brand name, symbol, slogan/motto, word, image, or emblem appears in the main body of your document
    • Apply the mark only once in your document, no matter how many other times you may use the same brand name, symbol, slogan/motto, word, image, or emblem
  • Never apply the mark to the brand name, symbol, slogan/motto, word, image, or emblem when it appears in the title or subtitle of your document

Are There Other Rules?
Yes, and this one seems always to be misused. Trademarks should never be used as nouns or verbs. The mark is always used as an adjective. Here’s an example:

Right (Adjective)

Wrong (Noun)

“… announced the availability of its
UniMobile® software that
runs on any smartphone.”
“… announced the availability of UniMobile® that runs on any smartphone.”

One Last Rule
Always insert a trademark notice at the very end of your document. This is usually in small type. Here’s an example:

 UniMobile is a registered trademark of Wireless Widgets, Inc. All other
trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Regardless of the type of documents you’re creating—press releases, white papers, web content, sales collateral—proper trademark usage is more than just a nit-picking detail. Follow the simple rules, and you’ll save time, money, and frayed nerves at 8:00 P.M..

Other helpful writing tips are available in MarkeTech’s Monograph:  The Perfect Press Release. Email your request for a complimentary copy to Team[at]MarkeTechCom[dot]com.

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Email — Workhorse of B2B Lead Gen & Conversions

August 17, 2011

Statistics support the important sales pipeline role of email

clip_image002Email — whether an individual-to-individual communication, an email blast, or bulk email that’s personalized — is a mainstay of B2B lead gen and conversions. Our sales pipelines would just never work without email.

Here are some stats that express the important role email plays:

  • clip_image0033 billion worldwide email accounts
  • 107 trillion emails were sent in 2010
  • 30 million emails sent each day
    • Businesspersons send 33 per day
    • In 1985, 90% of all emails were business related, while only 8% were in 2010
  • 89% of all emails are spam

More and more, email is becoming recognized as a social media channel. As such, the emphasis on quality content and frequency (distribution QoS) are key attributes in making email work for your B2B organization.

Guest blog submitted by: Prez@JSC-DIRECT.com
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Data courtesy Fast Company magazine (http://www.fastcompany.com)

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Tactics for Generating B2B Sales Leads

August 14, 2011

MarkeTech’s New Interpretation of B2B Survey Data

How other B2Bs are generating qualified leads was surveyed by eMarketer over a year ago. While the data are a bit long in the tooth, the results deserve a revisit. One reason is that useful data on the topic for B2Bs is hard to find in today’s B2C-focused research landscape. I also want to look through a different lens at this survey’s interpretation of how B2Bs perform lead gen.

Here are the survey results:

eMarketer TABLE 2

MT Tactics TABLE notes

The chart reveals methods and tactics employed by surveyed B2B sales professionals to generate qualified sales leads. The issue is whether or not the outcomes cited reflect the maximum sales leads each tactic can deliver. I have taken the original survey chart and supplemented it with three variables: Frequency, Cost, and if the tactic was Outsourced or not.

  • Frequency is repetition of the tactic. For social networking sites as an example, the “Low” frequency rating indicates that posting to and monitoring a social media site didn’t happen often enough. Therefore, the 42% survey result is below its potential for achieving maximum sales leads.
  • The Cost column interprets the survey scores by money and time invested. The “Medium” expenditures can also contribute to the underperformance score of social networking sites.
  • In the Outsourced column, the values shown are to be interpreted as who implements the tactic. “No” indicates the company performed the tactic in house, while “Yes” identifies an outside source. As to the example of social networking sites, the interpretation is that the company likely performed the work in house. Results would be better if it had been outsourced.

Therefore, social networking sites’ low performance was likely because it was done in house. Further, the effort was only moderately funded, and not performed frequently enough to generate every available sales lead.

MT Survey ImageComplete the survey form before 30 September 2011!
Our 2nd Annual “Online Presence” Survey focuses exclusively on the B2B wireless industry.

An overview of the chart indicates a transition from top to bottom depicting decreasing performance attributable to frequency, cost factors, and/or incorrect use of in-house or outside resources.

Outbound Prospecting
It’s no surprise that tried-and-true outbound prospecting tops the preferred-methods list. It’s an in-house activity that requires virtually no outsourcing (no outsourcing’s $$ overhead can skew cost-per-lead). The high frequency (number of times outbound prospecting is performed) should also be considered in my interpretive view). In the hands of a capable sales professional, outbound prospecting results in unparalleled lead-gen.

Website
The company website as a lead-gen source, as I interpret its functionality, is essentially the usual online form (RFI, or even RFQ). It’s a semi-passive resource that, except for the costs (time and $$ to update the site), reliably pulls site visitors into becoming prospects. Please don’t slam my seemingly shallow interpretation here of the typical B2B website…the emphasis is on its passive and low maintenance aspects. The frequency here is medium, based on content updates. Cost is rated as medium, but that can vary based on whether the site updates are done in house or outsourced (either/or options are both shown).

Inbound Calls
Inbound calls come in third place which, again, is no surprise. Sales personnel are expected to turn every incoming call into a lead or conversion. I know the drill, and I have sold my family members my firm’s products and services…I just can’t seem to turn phone selling off! More to the point, as with outbound prospecting and the company website, the cost-per-lead is negligible and no outsourcing is required. The frequency here is variable, but we’ll consider it moderately repeated daily.

As the survey chart continues its lead-gen categories, the implications of outsourcing instead of in house, as well as cost and frequency, take on real meaning to me. My B2B business development firm specializes in the marketing and PR lead-gen methods and tactics of the bottom five on the list.

Email Campaigns
When it comes to email campaigns, my hypothesis starts to take on more meaning. The interpretation of what an email campaign is can range from using email blasts, to leveraging highly-personalized bulk emails sent to a well defined audience. Since the type of email program is unknowable from the survey, I’ll leave the interpretation to you. While email campaigns can be and are performed in house, as often as not they are outsourced and medium costs are incurred. Frequency: not very often may be the most realistic answer, but let’s say low, at once a month for argument’s sake, especially if the activity is outsourced.

Events and Tradeshows
Events and tradeshows are certainly well understood as to not only their low frequency, but also to their affordability. Generating a qualified lead from a tradeshow is pricey. In my interpretation, most all of the activities involved in event participation are outsourced.

Social Networking Sites
In my view, social networking sites as a lead-gen tactic being so far down the list suggests several interpretations:

  • Frequency, as a B2B company’s ability to achieve reliable and consistent repeatability of fresh content, is most likely a key contributor. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, you simply must hammer at it daily. LinkedIn participation is even more important when it comes to being social every day – don’t limit your activities on LinkedIn to just low-cost lead-gen research.
  • Social media is best outsourced – no, I’m not trying to drum up business. Unless your in-house talent is hand-picked for its personnel’s social networking skills, trying DIY to generate qualified leads from your online presence will invariably cause the low scores shown in the eMarketer survey results.
  • Social networking is an investment pit. It’s not just the money…it’s the time. Unlike your passive website that is run through the carwash and hot-waxed now and then, social media requires 24/7 real-time involvement and participation. The costs go from low for research and lead gen, to high for social participation and customer acquisition.

For the record, eMarketer in an adjacent survey identifies “social networking sites” as LinkedIn, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for lead prospecting and research. Blogs also, while not discussed here, should never be an infrequent post.

Note that this blog does not evaluate issues such as which of these social sites were used by survey participants. If they used only YouTube and Twitter, the low-performance results in a chart would be understandable.

Are the commitments to outsourcing and investments to achieve sufficient frequency worth the number (and quality) of leads generated? In my previous blog, eMarketer and HubSpot surveys both show that B2B participation on LinkedIn is not only growing, but that it’s a productivity winner in generating prospects and actual customers.

Direct Mail
Direct mail (or what I call a blast from the past) is seeing resurgence these days. Okay, it’s pricey, and you can’t really validate that anyone opened your mailing piece (as you can with email). But what else can you do when your list’s email addresses bounce? I like direct mail because it creates a nice perception of the sender when done professionally. But, to see the results in this survey that direct mail produces as many qualified leads as online social networking either reinforces how poorly B2Bs are performing social media, or that someone stuffed the ballot box on behalf of direct mail. I suspect it’s not really the ballot box. Direct mail is rated low in frequency because, like email, it works best as an ongoing campaign. The medium cost in the table would then change to high for a campaign.

Webinars
Last on the list are webinars. I flinched when I first saw how miserably the B2B sales professionals rated webinars’ ability to generate qualified prospects. Further analysis, however, leads me to consider that webinar production is complex (i.e., costly). A successful quality webinar requires outsourcing (I’ve seen enough of those in-house DIY webinars to know that they damage a company’s brand). The script, PowerPoint visuals, press release, database building, invitations/RSVPs and an email campaign – to name most of the big items required for a successful webinar – should all be performed by experienced pros (okay, this time I am blatantly plugging MarkeTech).
                                      ___________________

This interpretation of the survey’s findings does hopefully add a new dimension to the data. Here are some quick pointers from someone who puts her company’s brand, reputation, and livelihood on the firing line with clients. My team puts its collective fannies on the line every day in creating lead-gen strategies, then executing the very tactics covered in this survey.

Consider the following:

  • The complexity of your product/service correlates with the cost and number of different tactics you’ll want to employ
  • There is no one tactic that will capture all available prospects. Your target audience is scattered (almost willy-nilly) across the Internet. You should shoot for an online presence that causes them to encounter (sometimes stumble upon) you
      • As a subset of a web-diversified audience, is the same multiple-exposure paradigm that applies to advertising. Your pipeline requires repeated exposures. Some schools of thought hold that as many as 20 exposures are needed to close a prospect
  • Every lead-gen tactic in the survey can – and should – interconnect with the others. Over time, a mashup will evolve as a mix of tactical methods that works best for you
      • Your mashup is not limited to the items in this survey. White papers, feature articles, press releases, case studies, etc., aren’t even mentioned but deserve your attention. Good content is king
  • Put particular emphasis on video. Cisco projects that, by 2015, video will account for 66% of all network traffic. Webinars and other video content are the future
                                               _______________

Speaking of surveys, have you completed the survey form for our 2nd Annual “Online Presence” Survey? We’re the first to focus exclusively on the B2B wireless industry.

LinkedIn Works for B2B Sales Prospecting

August 12, 2011

With a growing membership of 120 million worldwide (40 million U.S. members), survey data indicate that LinkedIn is becoming the preferred social networking site for B2B sales prospecting and customer acquisition.

HubSpot’s 2011 State of Inbound Marketing survey reports that 61% of B2B respondents state that they have acquired a customer using LinkedIn. The site, according to survey results, significantly outperforms Facebook and Twitter by 20% and 22%, respectively, for B2B sales lead generation and new customer acquisition.

Hubspot Customer acquisition

eMarketer’s 2010 B2B SalesPulse Survey reports that, among U.S. B2B sales professionals surveyed, the most effective social network for prospecting and research is LinkedIn. The site’s effectiveness has, according to OneSource, translated into a significant increase in usage. Nearly half, or 47.8%, of the respondents say that they use LinkedIn more now than compared to a year earlier. An additional 14.7% of previous users will continue with LinkedIn for prospecting and research. Combined, 62.5% of B2B respondents find LinkedIn useful for prospecting, a statistic nearly identical to HubSpot’s 61%.

eMarketer Chart

These findings point to the benefits and tools that LinkedIn offers companies marketing and selling B2B.

See my next post Tactics for Generating Sales Leads.

________________________

MT Survey Image Complete the survey form before 30 September 2011!
Our 2nd Annual “Online Presence” Survey focuses exclusively on the B2B wireless industry.

March 28, 2009

MarkeTech B2B Social Presence Survey Form


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