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What Can B2B Content Marketers Learn From Amazon Spark?

What Can B2B Content Marketers Learn From Amazon Spark?

July 19, 2017  - avatar Brian Anderson

During my morning peruse through the latest tech announcements in the B2B marketplace, I often come across new technologies geared toward consumers that can have vast similarities in the B2B world.

5 Key Trends Sales Teams Need To Address From The New B2B Buyer’s Study

5 Key Trends Sales Teams Need To Address From The New B2B Buyer’s Study

July 12, 2017  - avatar Andrew Gaffney

In the first few years we conducted our B2B Buyer’s Survey, a lot of the focus was around how an increasing amount of the decision-making process took place before a buyer ever engaged with a sales representative.

Q&A: Making The Move To A Buyer-Centric Content Strategy

Q&A: Making The Move To A Buyer-Centric Content Strategy

July 5, 2017  - avatar Klaudia Tirico

There is a shift taking place among B2B marketers, moving from simply driving leads to developing deeper dialogs with key decision makers. And marketers are also quickly realizing that true “dialog” can now be built with a product pitch. To create real conversations with buying groups, marketers are focusing much more on the unique needs and pain points of different...

Does Your Content Stink? 5 Things To Check Before You Panic

Does Your Content Stink? 5 Things To Check Before You Panic

June 27, 2017  - avatar Alicia Esposito, Content4Demand

We’ve all been there before. We spend weeks — even months — developing a piece of content. And we do all the right things: we receive buy-in from all key stakeholders, interview subject-matter experts, conduct extensive research and collaborate with design to ensure everything was executed flawlessly. But when we finally launch the asset, we find that it’s not generating...

5 B2B Social Specialists You Should Be Following

5 B2B Social Specialists You Should Be Following

June 21, 2017  - avatar Brian Anderson

When it comes to marketing—whether it’s B2B or B2C—social media has grown into a prominent channel for engaging prospective customers. That will only continue to increase as more and more millennial and next-generation marketing professionals start to take over seats at the buying table.

Find Your Perfect Match: 7 Traits To Look For In A B2B Agency

Find Your Perfect Match: 7 Traits To Look For In A B2B Agency

June 14, 2017  - avatar Klaudia Tirico

Unfortunately, there is no eHarmony-type website that pairs your business with a B2B marketing or demand generation agency through a match-making quiz. (If you know of one, let me know in the comments!)

Find Your TRUTH: How To Think Like A Journalist In The Content Marketing Era

Find Your TRUTH: How To Think Like A Journalist In The Content Marketing Era

June 5, 2017  - avatar Alicia Esposito, Content4Demand

We’ve all heard that in order to engage and differentiate, we need to shift from a brand- and product-focused mindset, to a customer-focused mindset. This also includes altering our storytelling practices to be more educational, inspirational and even journalistic.

What’s The Impact Of The New Demand Unit Waterfall? Hear From 30 B2B Experts

What’s The Impact Of The New Demand Unit Waterfall? Hear From 30 B2B Experts

May 31, 2017  - avatar The DGR Edit Team

The SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall has served as an iconic framework shaping the way many B2B organizations have managed and tracked lead management over the past decade.

From Product-Centric to Audience-Centric: The Transformative Six-Pack

From Product-Centric to Audience-Centric: The Transformative Six-Pack

May 23, 2017  - avatar Brenda Caine, Content4Demand

What happens when you mix B2B marketing with a six-pack? The answer: A new go-to-market execution model that can help your business transform from product-centric to audience-centric.

“Top Of Mind” Author John Hall Shares Tips For IDEA Communication Through Content

“Top Of Mind” Author John Hall Shares Tips For IDEA Communication Through Content

May 16, 2017  - avatar Andrew Gaffney

There’s no better way to drive opportunities—and revenue—than with content. However, it’s especially difficult to create content that keeps your brand at the center of your target audience’s attention. In the book “Top Of Mind,” written by Influence & Co. CEO John Hall, building trust within your target audience is the focal point of delivering consistent value for target audiences. The...

Supply And Demand Fuel Continued Growth Of Marketing Automation Landscape

Supply And Demand Fuel Continued Growth Of Marketing Automation Landscape

May 10, 2017  - avatar Brian Anderson

If you (like me) thought that the marketing technology landscape was going to begin consolidating as tech users searched for a healthy balance of integrated technology—you were sadly mistaken. In all, there are more than 5,300 technology solutions according to the newly announced 2017 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic—a 39% increase from last year.

Sneak Peek: B2B Marketers To Follow In 2017

Sneak Peek: B2B Marketers To Follow In 2017

May 3, 2017  - avatar Klaudia Tirico

The B2B community is home to some of the most talented individuals in marketing. We spotlighted 17 B2B marketing professionals who are consistently breaking new ground in content marketing, lead nurturing, ABM and other emerging areas. Here’s a sneak peek of the list, and check out the full list over on the B2BMX blog. We recommend you follow and connect with...

Leading Execs At Oracle’s Modern Marketing Experience Event Share Perspectives On “The Power Of Insight”

Leading Execs At Oracle’s Modern Marketing Experience Event Share Perspectives On “The Power Of Insight”

April 26, 2017  - avatar Andrew Gaffney

One of the key themes at Oracle’s Modern Marketing Experience event taking place in Las Vegas this week is around data-driven marketing and the power of insight to know every customer. To gain further insight into how the “power of insight” is impacting today’s B2B marketing campaigns, I reached out to several speakers and sponsors at the event to ask them...

Marketing Nation Summit Preview: Thought Leaders Define The Engagement Economy

Marketing Nation Summit Preview: Thought Leaders Define The Engagement Economy

April 19, 2017  - avatar Brian Anderson

B2B organizations are beginning to see better engagement with their audience, whether it’s through marketing automation software, CRM or other channel-specific technology.

Class Is In Session: Continuing Education For B2B Marketing And Sales

Class Is In Session: Continuing Education For B2B Marketing And Sales

April 12, 2017  - avatar Klaudia Tirico

In my opinion, you’re never too cool for school. And B2B marketing and sales professionals are no exception. As the B2B landscape progresses, there will always be something new to learn or perfect. That’s why companies such as Brainshark, HubSpot and SiriusDecisions are looking to empower marketers and sales reps with the fundamentals they need to better their marketing and...

Don’t Get Eaten By The Cheetah, Or What You Need To Know To Satisfy Customer Needs

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SiriusDecisions debuted and described the SiriusDecisions Needs Aperture Model at its 11th Annual Summit in Nashville to help marketers address what it called the “art and science of identifying and prioritizing customer needs.”

I have to confess that the terminology — and the multiple Frameworks SiriusDecisions deploys for marketers — tend to be dizzying for this editor, but every time I sit in on a session or interview with one of the SiriusDecisions analysts for a story or seek advice, I come away with a greater understanding of the B2B marketing ecosystem. It helps me chronicle this industry more intelligently for you, dear reader. What follows is my high-level key takeaways from the keynote this morning on the Needs Aperture.

“The ability to find and address customer needs is crucial to commercial success,” said Rachel Young, Research Director at SiriusDecisions.

Young and her colleague, Jeff Lash, VP and Group Director, used photography as a metaphor to describe the framework.

“Photography is both an art and science, and using the right techniques to capture the best image,” Lash explained. “Sometimes when we focus our view on what’s in front of us, we miss the rest of what might be happening around us.”

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“You need a view of the entire landscape of the potential needs you can address,” he said. A landscape photo projected behind the two executives of a photographer on safari taking a picture of a zebra drove the point home. He is so focused on capturing the zebra that he doesn’t realize there is a cheetah charging him from behind.

The Needs Aperture is described as a “best-in-class process for identifying, prioritizing and applying needs that have the best opportunity for B2B commercialization.” “The foundation for Intelligent growth — whether through markets, buyers or offerings — is the ability to address commercially viable customer needs,” Young said.

Continuing the photography metaphor, the Aperture includes five phases marketers need to consider and work through in order to be able to address custom needs: Frame, Focus, Find, Filter and Formulate. Inherent within each phase are the key questions to consider, described by SiriusDecisions as follows:

  • Frame: How do I define needs and what are their components?
  • Focus: What types of needs can I explore? 
  • Find: How do I identify and capture needs? 
  • Filter: How do I analyze and prioritize needs? 
  • Formulate: How do I use needs in innovation and go-to-market strategies?

“In Frame, we help classify what the need is,” Young said. She described three dimensions of needs: organizational needs, functional needs and operational needs. “Identifying the full need can start from any one of these dimensions, but all of them must be defined to truly understand the need.”

The second phase, Focus, helps organizations determine the market parameters, and the company introduced a new framework to clarify that: the SiriusDecisions Needs Landscape. Sirius said this framework will help marketers categorize the potential needs on the spectrums of customer awareness and time outlook, and identify which types the organization should investigate.

The third phase, Find, centers on techniques that can be used to understand, capture and summarize the needs.  Young said, “The desired outcome and business value must be captured for all relevant personas, along with prevalence of need and any applicable emerging elements. “You need a consistent, objective, data-driven focus.”

The next phase, Filter, is about prioritizing needs. SiriusDecisions, again, created a framework around this, dubbed the SiriusDecisions Needs Prioritization Framework. This helps marketers determine which needs are worth pursuing for innovation and go-to-market efforts.

The final step, or phase, Formulate, is when these prioritized needs are integrated into product and marketing processes to evaluate innovation and go-to-market opportunities, according to SiriusDecisions.

Lastly, Young and Lash provided a list of takeaways, or “Action Items,” in three key areas, to help organizations implement the Needs Aperture Model. These include:

Marketing

  • Increase message resonance by incorporating insights that focus on customer needs.
  • Isolate the primary buyer needs for the development of need-based campaign themes.

Sales

  • Address the three dimensions of needs for all personas involved in the buying process.
  • Capture and relay explicit and emerging needs to help shape innovation.

Product

  • Broaden the view across the needs landscape to find previously unidentified needs for innovation.
  • Understand the business value of addressing a need to avoid feature-myopic descriptions.

And just to bring things full circle, Lash boiled the hour-long session down to: “You don’t want to be caught off guard by the cheetah coming up behind you.”