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How to use knowledge marketing to create b2b customers


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How to use knowledge marketing to create b2b customers

  2. 2. Today, business needs a better way to connect with customers. Here’s why:“Across industries, the marketingand selling context has changed.Buyers are behaving differently, andthe work required to make a sale isbecoming more difficult.” >>> Harvard Business Review © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 2
  3. 3. Let’s go back to fundamentals.Noted management consultant Peter F. Druckerreminds us, with his usual focus, wisdom and clarity: "The purpose of business is to create customers." And thats exactly what knowledge marketing does. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 3
  4. 4. Knowledge marketing can help you leveragewhat you know to engage more prospects.Nurture prospects. Generate better leads.Increase your sales conversion rate. Build amore effective B2B marketing machine. Sellmore stuff. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 4
  5. 5. The Birth of Knowledge MarketingIn 1928, Mildred Day invented Rice Krispiessquares for Kellogg. They were wise enough toput her recipe on the cereal box. That decisionwas Knowledge Marketing 1.0.It established the principle that in marketingand sales, it’s a good idea to build customerrelationships by giving people something theywant to know.The knowledge Kellogg has been sharing forover 80 years — how to make a tasty treat —has sold a lot of Rice Krispies. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 5
  6. 6. Yes, Mildred, even the Rice Krispies squares recipe has now gone digital. The Internet has changed marketing forever. Thats certainly true in the world of B2B (business- to-business) marketing. Its true for B2C (business-to-consumer) marketers, too. How? The Internet has dramatically increased the speed and ease of access to information about competitive products and services. More importantly, it has given would-be buyers the opportunity to connect and trade stories with people who have already used those products and services. When your competitor does something smart, your prospects hear about it in an instant. When your product gets the hiccups,well, they hear about that, too. The Internet has made marketing transparent. It’s the mostamazing sharing engine ever devised. And it’s insatiably hungry for things to share. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 6
  7. 7. When theyre using Google, your prospects are not just looking for information. Theyre looking for knowledge. There is something they want to know. • They have a question, and they want to know the answer. • They have a problem, and they want to know the solution. • They have a business issue to deal with, and they want to know what to do. • They have money to invest and they want to know what to purchase.Giving prospects what they want to know is what knowledge marketing is all about. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 7
  8. 8. Welcome to the age of Google. It gives people the power to be in the know.“As a new age of customers becomesincreasingly adept at accessing companyinformation and better understanding thecompetitive landscape, businesses areforced to equip their sales force to worksmarter, not harder.” >>>Aberdeen Group © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 8
  9. 9. B2B companies that arenot sharing what theyknow to engage customersare losing potentialsales every day © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 9
  10. 10. Let’s take a 15 second time out for this bit of advice: Don’t panic.Q: “Knowledge? What do you mean, knowledge? That sounds really abstract. What could we ever share with prospectsthat would be of value to them? All we know about is our product. Cant we just do an ad?”A: “There’s nothing wrong with doing ads. Some of our best friends make ads every day. But chances are, you do knowthings your prospects would like to know. Sharing what you know will create customer connections in a whole new way.”You really can achieve measurable results bytransforming your knowledge into customerconnections and sales opportunities. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 10
  11. 11. B2B buying cycles begin earlier now, because there ismore up-front pre-sales contact research by purchasers.In fact, more than 85% of B2B purchases now start with research on the web. Over 80% of B2Bpurchasers source their purchase options directly.Traditional lead generation is saturated with too many companies chasing prospects withdirectories, vertical media, telemarketing and direct marketing. Basic product data sheets andbrochures no longer create incremental demand.In short, prospects now expect more value, information, and responsiveness than traditionalchannels can deliver.This isn’t a problem. On the contrary, it’s an enormous opportunity. Yet fewer than3% of B2B website visitors convert to prospects. Something is missing. But what? © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 11
  12. 12. TIP #1: Overcome Inertia.(Don’t just sit there, sharesomething.)Think about it. The sales process can’t begin if the landscape is static. If your prospect has not begunmoving toward you, it’s because she’s uninterested in you, or even worse, it’s because she’s payingattention to someone else.You have to create movement. Without movement, you can’t create customers.Your goal is to get your prospect moving toward you, psychologically. Your goal is to overcome her inertia.(You might also have to overcome your own inertia, by the way. Sharing your knowledge takes some work. Readingabout how to do it is a good first step. But admit it, right now you’re sitting there, inert, exactly like yourwould-be prospect. Isn’t it time to get things moving?) © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 12
  13. 13. The quest for higher qualitycontent, smarter ideas, betteranswers, deeper insight, andmore useful information isnever-ending. You have whatyour prospects are lookingfor. So share it. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 13
  14. 14. Wisdom from Peter F. Drucker >>>"Knowledge has to be improved,challenged and increased constantly,or it vanishes."Why? Because Knowledge flows. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 14
  15. 15. TIP #2: Attract attention.(Hint: don’t do it byshouting. do it by beinguseful.)To get prospects to begin moving toward you, first you need to attract their attention.Let’s say you’re at the zoo with a paper bag full of peanuts. The elephant is looking theother way, oblivious. To capture his attention, all you have to do is rustle the bag.B2B vendors must offer prospects more relevant content—which makes it better content—than ever before. Afterall, from the perspective of your prospects, access to useful information and insights from your competitors is just amouse click away. If you’re outdated, boring or irrelevant, you’re history..So be fresh, interesting and relevant. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 15
  16. 16. Remember, people are finding out all sorts of things about yourcompany and your products and your services long before theyever contact you.They may be out of your view, over the horizon. But they’re outthere. They’re definitely out there.Thanks to easy Internet access to pre-purchase information, the B2B sales nurturing cycle is longer.Today, vendor information needs to offer high value and relevance to compete with other sourcesof information—blogs, discussion groups, Twitter, Facebook, analyst reports, online media andmore.Savvy B2B marketers are engaging with prospective customers online to generate leads in brandnew ways, sometimes before the formal buying process has even begun. If you arent doing that,your business will be left behind. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 16
  17. 17. “B2B buyers want informationthat is easy to get to, can beeasily transferred within thebuying organization, and isrelevant to their needs.”Enquiro Research/Marketing Sherpa, 2007 Buyer Survey © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 17
  18. 18. Heres the thing about the Internet. Itsfull of information. Page after page ofdata, surfing into infinity, informationoverload. But knowledge? Real honestto goodness knowledge? Its rareindeed. What do we mean by ‘knowledge’?It’s whatever your prospects want to know. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 18
  19. 19. Sharing knowledge isn’t brain surgery. It simply means giving people what they want to know.Why will they thank you for it? Because knowledge is much more valuable than information.Information is as common as the air we breathe. It can be unreliable. When it is delivered over the Internet, it is often unfilteredand unedited and untrustworthy and irrelevant. Calling it content doesnt change anything. A lot of people these days aretalking in hushed tones about content. Content is king, they say.Content is, well, just content. Content can be good or bad. Trustworthy ornot. Often, its just filler. It can be a commodity with little inherent value tothose with something specific they want to know.Knowledge, on the other hand, is hard-earned. It springs from experience. It conveys expertise. Knowledge providescompetitive advantage. Knowledge is money. Knowledge is as good as gold. Knowledge trumps content.When you give your knowledge away without asking for something in return,you earn admiration, respect and trust. Those are things you simply cantbuy. Those are things that elevate a brand, or a business.Trust is what puts sellers high on consideration lists. Its what turns cold prospects into warm leads, and warm leads into coldcash. When your brand is admired, respected and trusted, it takes flight. It soars above its competitors. It carries your businessto new heights. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 19
  20. 20. Knowledge Marketing is aboutproviding answers before salesprospects ask you questions.It can help you establish and deepen a dialogue with your prospects and turn them into customers.You dont do it with traditional persuasive techniques or interruption marketing. You dont do it with attention-grabbing advertising. You dont do it with push marketing.You do it with content. Even better, you do it with your knowledge. Shared, helpful and useful information, alignedwith what your prospects want to know. Not closely guarded and costly to access, but open and free.You put it out there. They pull it in. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 20
  22. 22. Tip #3: Build engagement.When a prospective customer is doing pre-purchase research and wants to knowsomething, your company — and your website — should work very hard to be thesource of the knowledge she is looking for. (If you dont do that, shell get what sheneeds from your competitors.)If your company’s website isn’t a knowledge node, youre wasting money and losing potential customers every day.Remember, 85% of B2B purchases begin with an online search for knowledge, so B2B k-nodes attract prospects.Let’s be frank. Most B2B websites are not k-nodes. They’re b-nodes. As in, ‘brochure-nodes’.Their marketing content delivers only 2-3% of what customers are looking for, which makes the underlyingmarketing investment much less effective than it should be.So, how do you get started? © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 22
  23. 23. Want to get goingnow with knowledgemarketing?Okay, Heres how todo it... © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 23
  25. 25. STEP 1. MapUse web analytics and digital data capture to find out what yourprospects want to know right now. (The tools to do this are gettingmore powerful every day.)What are they Googling? What are they Tweeting? What are they Digging?What are they StumblingUpon? What’s on their Facebook wall? What are theyblogging about? What do they care about most? What kind of problems arethey trying to solve? If they’ve already visited your website, what did theytype into your Site Search box? Did they find the answers they were lookingfor? Did they poke around and leave without a trace? Did they bounce awaythe moment they arrived? Which page are they bouncing from? Why? © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 25
  26. 26. The gap between what would-becustomers want to know, and whatB2B marketers are telling them,presents a tremendous opportunity.Fill the gap. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 26
  27. 27. Step 2. ExtractFigure out if you have the knowledge your prospects are looking for.This is harder than it sounds. It can be very difficult to assess the valueof knowledge when you’re the one who knows it. The things you think areimportant often aren’t, from the perspective of people on the receiving end.The things you think are unimportant, sometimes are.(That’s why it’s a good idea to ask for outside help with KnowledgeMarketing.) © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 27
  28. 28. "This is the Curse of Knowledge. Once we knowsomething, we find it hard to imagine what itwas like not to know it. Our knowledge has‘cursed’ us.And it becomes difficult for us to share ourknowledge with others, because we can’treadily re-create our listeners’ state of mind.">Made to Stick, Chip Heath and Dan Heath © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 28
  29. 29. Step 3. Focus & AlignMake sure what you know is aligned with what your prospects want toknow.This means giving prospects exactly the knowledge they’re looking for, in theplaces they’re looking for it, in the format they prefer, when they want itmost. Think “what, where, how, when”.That way, you’ll be sure to present your knowledge effectively. It should beeasy to find, easy to understand and easy to share. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 29
  30. 30. Step 4a. Share YourAssetsTurn your website into a sticky, inviting knowledge node (k-node) bypacking it with useful resources.Optimize your website by evolving it from product brochureware(b*node) to demandware (k*node) to transform it into a prospectmagnet. Fill it with your knowledge, information, ideas, advice andinsight on subjects and issues your prospects care most about. UseGoogle friendly copy. Spread your knowledge online and offline usingtrade shows, offline materials, vidcasts, podcasts, eNewsletters,webinars, RSS, eBooks, white papers, blogs and more. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 30
  31. 31. Step 4b. SeedLet people know your knowledge is around.Link to the resources on your website from your Twitter account.Use Google Adwords to help prospects find you. (Bid wisely on thekeywords your prospects are searching for.) Write guest blogs.Comment on leading industry sites. Write articles for traditionaloffline media like newspapers and business publications. Speak atconferences. Start a LinkedIn group. Seed the web. Seed the world. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 31
  32. 32. Step 4c. CreateConnectionsNurture prospects through your sales funnel by using marketingautomation tools to share even more knowledge and track theirresponses. Reduce friction in your funnel to keep them moving.Begin relationships with your visitors by offering to send them linksto more knowledge. Be polite. Be friendly. Be helpful.Use lead scoring to qualify the people in your pipeline. Nurture topurchase. When the time is right, pass them along to sales. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 32
  33. 33. Quick TipsDon’t get greedy. Knowledge marketing is about giving. Sharing. Caring. Your rewardswill come, in time.Don’t go too fast. Let your prospect set the pace. Don’t push for the quick sale. (Don’t throwpeanuts at the elephant. Rustle the bag and he’ll come to you.)Don’t talk about you. This isn’t about you. Your prospects don’t care about you. They careabout what they care about.There are things they want to know. If you have the knowledge they’re looking for, giveit to them. Forge a reputation as an authority.Keep at it. Remember, building a relationship with prospects takes a committedinvestment of time and effort.Work hard along the way to earn their respect and trust. You have to give respect to get itin return.When you’ve earned a prospects trust, she’s more likely to become a customer and buywhat you sell. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 33
  34. 34. Things to keep in mind:Begin by learning what your prospective customers want to know right now. What arethey Googling in real time? What do they care about most? Then figure out whether youknow things they want to know. Align and present your knowledge so its easy to find,easy to use and easy to share. Seed the web with what you know. Put it out there.They’ll pull it in.When visitors come to your website, use tracking tools and web analytics to determine what they want to know andidentify your hottest prospects. Share what you know with them. Build a relationship. Become an authority. Whenthe time is right, and not a moment sooner, send pertinent information about qualified leads to your sales team. Theresult? Your marketing will find, profile, and nurture more prospects into sales opportunities.Congratulations, you’re ready to create customers. Because now, you know.Thats what knowledge marketing is all about. © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 34
  35. 35. About BrainRider www.brainrider.comBrainRider is an agile agency. We help B2Bmarketers share what they know, to createcustomers. Our principals have extensiveexperience providing marketing services tofamous Fortune 500 companies. Their ideashave influenced customers in America,Canada, China and 18 countries in Europe. What do you know? © BRAINRIDER KNOWLEDGE MARKETING GROUP 2009 P. 35