Customer engagement

29. June 2017
by Stephan Nobs

Customer Engagement – the What, Why, and How

Customer engagement has become an increasingly important topic over the last couple of years.

The field is maturing, but the early adopters, evangelists, opinion leaders and companies that make up the industry haven’t quite reached consensus yet on some important questions about the “What, Why and How” of customer engagement.

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Customer alignment

12. June 2017
by Stephan Nobs

How can you align the right content with the right buyers at the right time?

We recently covered how to segment your prospects into groups according to where they are in the buying cycle, how to select the most appropriate category to focus on, and how to create content that appeals to the specific information needs of each. Now we want to discuss how to get your content in front of those targets.

The first conversion is always challenging. You have content that is designed to address any stage of readiness to buy, your product or service might be a perfect solution to a prospect’s challenges, but they don’t know who you are.
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Prospect nurturing

30. May 2017
by Stephan Nobs

How do you make B2B pull marketing work?

In our last post, we talked about how we strongly believe that the time for push marketing is over – and that potential buyers need to guide their own customer journeys by means of pull marketing. But how can you actually make this change?

First, we have to take a step back. If we decide that we want customers to be in control of the content they consume at any given time – what does that mean? It means that we have to supply them with meaningful and interesting content exactly when they want to receive it. So, the first step is to figure out how we can get in front of prospects at the right time. This means that we need to somehow align the content we have with the prospect’s need. At BrandMaker, we do this by identifying the different stages of the buying process that prospective B2B customers navigate, and by selecting the right channels.
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Martech conference

19. May 2017
by Stephan Nobs

Reflecting on This Year’s MarTech Event

Along with over 2,500 of my fellow marketers, I attended the MarTech event in San Francisco last week to catch up with my peers and some of the latest trends. I’ve finally had time to catch my breath – I have to admit that running from one meeting room to the next across the entire venue was tiring – and to reflect on this busy event.
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Push marketing

10. May 2017
by Stephan Nobs

The History of Push Marketing… and Why it Doesn’t Work Today

Push marketing gained traction as media began to be an effective way of reaching different audiences. First there were newspapers that could take a product sales pitch right into the hands of possible buyers, and then came TV advertising, direct mail, and sponsorship.

In fact, marketers embraced each new way to reach people. Every new channel became a new weapon in their armory – enabling them to bombard prospects with as much advertising firepower as they could afford. Potential buyers were always passive recipients, powerless to control the deluge of content.
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22. March 2017
by Stephan Nobs
1 Comment

Map The Buyer Journey To Find Digital Marketing Gold

Customer_Engagement_Journey_MapsPush marketing is out, pull marketing is in. The key to B2B digital marketing success is making it effortless for prospects to fulfill their own specific content needs. As a marketer, you need to map the buyer journey to a selection of relevant content pieces, and let prospects choose what appeals to them. This approach will maximize the consumption of the content you create – a key success factor on the path to achieving digital marketing excellence. Here’s why.

B2B is an interesting but crowded market

The B2B eCommerce market is more than twice the size of the B2C market in terms of revenue. And B2B is expected to grow almost 50% over the next five years. There is a lot to play for, but the market is rapidly becoming overcrowded.

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14. March 2017
by Stephan Nobs

The Five Deadly Sins of Content Marketing

Tuesday night. You just finished a great blog post. It’s straight from the heart, the jokes you put in are hilarious, and it’s an all-round compelling story. You hit publish, knock out the office lights and go home satisfied. Let’s just hope you’ll have enough time to turn all those new fans into prospects.
Wednesday morning. As the elevator doors open, you storm out with your hands up, ready to high-five the two long rows of colleagues on either side of you. But they’re not there. There’s just silence.

If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound? Tough question. For content, it’s a lot clearer. If you’ve created content and nobody reads it, you just haven’t done ‘content marketing’.

Content marketing is effective, if you know what you’re doing

Investing in content marketing yields 3 times more ROI than paid search and 4 times more than targeted advertising. No wonder 88% of companies use content marketing. Seth Godin even said ‘content marketing is the only marketing left’.

In 2016, an average of 28% of total marketing budget was spent on content marketing. Clearly, companies have embraced content marketing and acknowledge its importance for marketing success.

But there is still work to be done. 62% say their content marketing isn’t effective. If you know what to do though, it’s easy to improve. Here are five lethal content marketing mistakes, and five ways to lift your content marketing to impressive heights.

Here are five deadly sins of content marketing that are guaranteed to disappoint. Continue Reading →

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23. December 2016
by Stephan Nobs

Out of office but still up-to-date

out_of_officeWhatever your planning looks like, the holiday season is always approaching  more quickly than expected.

You probably have a long list of small action items to finish before you, inevitably, forget to activate your out-of-office reply, and have to walk back to your desk. I always wonder who is in the office to read all the out-of-office messages anyway.

It is the time of year where we all endure some mild pre-Christmas stress… but it is also the time of year where you’re most likely to bump into remarkable ‘best of year’ content gems. What did we learn in 2016 and what do we expect 2017 will bring?

For those of you who secretly check their mobile phone under the Christmas tree, here is a presentation  from the Content Marketing Institute that is definitely worth a closer look. It’s an overview of the B2B Content Marketing 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends for North America.

The information is dense. Every slide of the 45-page presentation treats us to some interesting facts. Here are some highlights

  • Lead generation and brand awareness are the two main reasons why you will heavily invest in content marketing next year
  • 63% of marketers are “very” or “extremely” committed to content marketing success in 2017
  • 23% call themselves successful content marketers already, 53 % are moderately successful and look forward to join the leading 23% in 2017
  • 73% see content marketing not as a series of isolated campaigns, but as an ongoing business process
  • 28% mention specialist “marketing technology” as an important driver for improvements.

All good stuff. But the following statement really makes me look forward to everything 2017 will bring:

  • 76% always or frequently prioritize content quality over content quantity.

2017 will not be just another year of standard customer journeys with pre-scheduled e-mail bursts.

Producing ‘high quality’ content is necessary but not sufficient. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? There is a time and a place for every content piece to shine.

Whether people actually consider ‘high quality’ content to be ‘high quality’ depends on whether it fits their specific need and use at that moment.

To make this possible, we have some great new solutions lined up for you. BrandMaker will help to engage better, sell more and reach your content marketing goals in 2017.

Wishing you happy holidays!

P.S. don’t forget your “out-of-office”.





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Two Trends That Eat Your Digital Marketing Budget

10. November 2016 by Stephan Nobs | 0 comments

what_the_hell_cartoon_blog“Past performance does not guarantee future results.”

If you have ever bought shares of stock, bonds, or shares in a mutual fund, you were presented with the above disclaimer.

For Digital Marketing you could say that the results you achieved with your budget in the past are unlikely to be achieved again in the future. Digital Marketing costs are subject to serious inflation. You need to have more budget today to achieve the same results as last year.

Remember the days when digital marketing was cheap? Well, those days are gone. Together with your Blackberry.


Everyone is going Digital

Budgets for digital marketing keep rising year over year. The consensus is that Digital marketing is still good value for money. If you are a wise marketer, you happily shift part of your budget to digital to improve your overall marketing ROI.

This has been the case for the last 10 years, and it will probably be like this for years to come. However, if you have been in digital marketing for a while, you have seen a significant change in costs.

You requested more budget this year, not only because you want to. You requested it because you have to. That is if you want to at least equal last year’s results.

The digital space is getting crowded

To be digitally successful, you need to be louder and smarter than the competition, however loud and smart the competition already is at any given time. And it comes with a price tag.

Here are just 3 examples to show you the massive price increase of the digital media space over the past 3 years:

•    The minimum bid for Cost-per-Click (CPC) advertising rose by as much as 300% from March 2013 to June 2015.
•    The average Cost-per-Click (CPC) increased 157% from 2012 to 2015.
•    The average Cost per Conversion increased from $13.14 in 2010 to $30.25 in 2014.

And these are just 3 examples from the relatively short term.

Two trends, one outcome. More budget please!

There are 2 major long-term trends in contradicting directions that reinforce the need for more digital budget.

Trend #1 – Effectiveness is going down
The always-connected consumer is facing more of your competitors, through an increasing number of channels in an ever-growing list of niche markets. Effectiveness per digital marketing activity is going down, so you need to be in more different places to be able to compete. Which brings us to the second trend, how do you manage all this?

Trend #2 – Complexity is going up
The easy road to effectiveness has become a network of narrow streets you carefully need to navigate to get the job done. The bidding war on the limited digital media space caused a higher need for specialized skills. The niche markets demand specialized and supremely relevant content, all of which needs to be produced and coordinated.

The promise of easier customer reach and a cheaper way for business growth via digital marketing is rapidly vanishing. If something is cheap and easy, it won’t stay that way for long.

Beat the trend
If the effectiveness per single digital marketing activity is going down, and the effort required to convert a single customer is going up, then you’d better come up with a plan to beat the trend.

  • Step one is to monitor, fine tune and adjust digital marketing spend and content to ensure lowest Cost per Conversion.
  • Step two is to look for ways to bring prospects from your paid media efforts to other, cheaper forms of customer engagement as early in the process as possible. Fill up the top of your funnel with relatively expensive specialized content (as indicated in step one) and pull them through the rest of the funnel using more cost effective methods.

Besides the technology and data part, you should not underestimate the importance of your content strategy. If you have not checked out our Customer Engagement Matrix [] yet, you definitely should. It has proven to be an invaluable approach for marketers who are facing ever rising digital marketing costs. It’s time to escape the rat race and take back control. Even if you are not using one of the BrandMaker tools, this matrix will deliver instant value.
Beating trends can be very hard. Competitive advantages usually can’t be picked off the shelf. But this time, it can. It is as simple as using the Customer Engagement Matrix.



Hochman Consultants



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28. October 2016
by Romek Jansen

A Buyer Needs a Sales Rep, Like Rocky Needs Adrian

If you are a sales rep, working evenings to bash out proposals, this post will give you the perfect argument to close your laptop, get the popcorn out and go watch a movie. There are important things to be learned from just watching movies. Know what to look for, and you will wake up a better sales rep in the morning.

rocky-1431458How a broke boxer broke the box office records

Rocky, Star Wars, Platoon, Dirty Dancing… Frozen, all of these movies have become instant classics and Hollywood blockbusters. They created the Hollywood rich and famous, both on-screen and behind the scenes.

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