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Guidance in Uncertain Times – A Webinar Worth Your Time

Every business owner wants to know what the future holds so they can create strategies to keep their businesses moving forward and plan accordingly.

One of my favorite industrial market analysts (ITR) will be offering a free webinar on October 1, 2015, to discuss what the experts foresee for the U.S. economy.  If you would like to join me in hearing this webinar, a link for the webinar is here.

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Millennials Call the Shots on B2B Purchases

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Millennials are optimistic, tech savvy, and unafraid to share their opinions. And given that they’re expected to outnumber baby boomers this year, millennials’ growing impact in the workplace should be no surprise. Nor should the increasing importance of digital marketing to this influential group.

In particular, employees in the 18-34 age range are shouldering more responsibility in B2B purchases, with 46% of them in charge of such decision-making as of 2014. That’s a 17% climb from just two years earlier. Research also indicates that purchasing authority is shifting away from the C-suite, another sign of millennial influence — lest we not forget their aversion to hierarchical structure in the office.

Together, millennials and their Generation X colleagues represent 2 out of 3 purchasing researchers and agents. Also in the “no surprise there” category, 89% of purchasing managers use the Internet to research products. Some 42% rely on a smart device during the B2B purchasing process — a strong argument for making sure your website is mobile friendly. Plus, Google’s algorithm prefers responsive views.

So, when selling your products in the B2B marketplace, remember who’s calling the shots on the other side of the screen and how digital marketing will steer millennials in your direction.

Branding and Concrete…Not All that Different

I was reading a post on the importance of branding and evolving your brand over time as your business grows. All excellent points if a bit simplistic for today’s hyper-complex marketplace. Actually, let me rephrase that. It’s not a new hyper-complex marketplace, but like Wall Street, many are starting to be able to see the guys behind the curtains. We may not know all he hidden paths to success in a B2B digital-social-media marketplace, but we’re starting to draw useful maps.

Branding identities go much farther than logos, palettes and slogans. Product names (think Pt Grey), tone (funny, technical, market leader/gorilla),  application/industries, even the trade show booth, etc. And while branding is essentially a distillation of a company’s persona, it’s really a platform for the activities that generate real growth, which are a combination of inbound and outbound marketing activities efficiently integrated with sales…a simple enough supporting clause by itself, but one that the Internet, SEO, SEM, SMM, sales and marketing metrics, etc., have made exponentially more complicated (and fulfilling, if you’re a data hound that really wants to ‘know’ the customer.) If you’re like most machine vision companies, and stay somewhere near the beginning of Stephane’s post, well…’simplicity’ can be blissful…for a while.