AHTD_spring2017_pano.jpg

TECH B2B Makes the Rounds at AHTD Spring 2017 Conference

TECH B2B Marketing attended the Association for High Technology Distribution (AHTD) Spring 2017 conference in Bonita Springs, Florida this week as an inaugural strategic business partner member.

The strategic busienss partner membership is new to AHTD and only began this year. TECH B2B was among five of the new members.

For 30 years, AHTD has worked to enhance the productivity and efficiency of high technology automation solution providers and manufacturers through connection, collaboration, and education. TECH B2B is excited for this opportunity to learn more about AHTD and how it can help its members continue to grow their businesses.

SEO.jpg

Optimization is Key

Building a relationship between search engines and SEO is essential if you want anyone to find your site.

In this article, Pauline Cabrera does an excellent job of providing a “to do” list for improving your website’s performance and beating the competition online. Don’t be fooled by the title – it’s more about websites in general than blogs in particular. From simple suggestions for optimizing your content to building links with the “right” sites to increase rankings. Much of what is shared in this article is the exact same advice TECH B2B gives our clients every day.

Tech B2B SEO Webinar

Watch & Learn: TECH B2B SEO Webcast

This archived webcast looks at the latest strategies for building and creating business processes to support SEO optimized content and website growth, along with technical coding factors that are important for organic SEO and site usability.

Learn more about natural language algorithms and what they mean for content development; the changing requirements of content length per page; use of multimedia, how to use blogs to naturally grow your SEO content and improve search rankings. Technical discussions include the proper use of page alignment, meta descriptions, keyword density, mobile-ready site design, social media, and much more.

millennial-sq.jpg

Millennials Call the Shots on B2B Purchases

millennial-sq.jpg

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.

Social Media Marketing Is NOT About Posting Releases to Groups

To be fair, when I see companies posting press releases to groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, Association boards, etc., its usually from a sales person.

You can understand how this happens. Social media is labor intensive, even if you have a good dashboard to manage all your channels and the expertise to use it wisely. But even then, unlike traditional PR operations, social media marketing (SMM) takes some time (and content creation) every day.

So, Execs look around and see that salespeople have time on their hands. They send an email out with a bunch of links and tell them they’ll be reviewed based on their participation in these groups. The sales person, who might be the best closer on the planet, knows diddly about PR and marketing. (And — forgive me — but sales aren’t the most proactive employees when it comes to learning new skills; Learning about SMM ain’t no fun unless it comes with a commission check.) And so the sales person takes the easiest route, pulls the latest press release from the company’s website, posts the title and links it back to the press release.

Grreeaaatttt. Now you look stupid instead of smart, arrogant instead of helpful. Instead of building credibility and good will, you destroyed it by showing me how little you care about my time.

Social media is effective because it takes the wonkiness — the BS — of a PR professional out of the loop. In many ways, it is marketing distilled to its most altruistic essence. SMM is all about giving  (notice the use of the word “giving,” not posting or providing). It’s about giving content — honest opinions, how to solutions, career advice, etc. — that people NEED to know. Good PR and marketing are also about helping the company’s customer do their job better, smarter, faster. In fairness to my brethren in the salt mines of business communication, many times us PR wonks are hobbled by a poorly designed product or service, and ineffectual business plans based on the “build it and they will come” mentality of commerce.

So, before you post that next press release to a group, think about what value it gives the reader. If it appears that your serving yourself more than the group, go have a drink, or fax an order form to a friend. Do anything, but don’t waste your customers time, or mine.

Next time, we’ll talk about what DOES make for a good SMM post. Ciao Bella, and have a great Easter!