B2Bs: 5 Questions to Ask When Shaping Your 2024 Marketing Plan

This blog post is written by Kathy Floam-Greenspan and appears on the Forbes Agency Council. You can read the full post here.

As we approach a new year, it’s time for companies to reflect on their marketing strategies and sales outcomes.

The past 12 months have been uniquely disruptive, so these efforts can be especially fraught, as identifying patterns, trends and best practices from an atypical time can be incredibly difficult.

Many companies know they will (slightly) increase their marketing budgets, incorporate generative AI, and accommodate the latest B2B buy preferences. They are much less sure about how they will achieve this.

Asking the right questions can help illuminate shortcomings, opportunities and strategic steps marketers can take to elevate results in the year ahead.

Here are five essential questions to ask to elevate your 2024 B2B marketing plan.

1. What does my sales team say?

Marketing and PR should support sales outcomes. These teams should work in tandem, collaborating to better connect with customers and drive sales outcomes. In this regard, content is king…

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5 B2B Lead Generation Ideas to Fill Up Your Sales Pipeline

This blog post is written by Kathy Floam-Greenspan and appears on the Forbes Agency Council. You can read the full post here.

Lead generation as a concept is simple: Find buyers with a problem and provide a product or service that solves that problem. When your brand is a good fit, your leads will convert to buyers, bolstering your bottom line and enabling business growth.

If only it were that easy. Lead generation can be incredibly difficult, as any sales or marketing professional will tell you. Many rank lead generation among the most pressing business challenges, allocating significant financial and personnel resources to generating new leads.

However, quantity and quality are not synonymous. Effective lead generation isn’t just about volume. Inundating sales teams with low-quality leads can be debilitating and counterproductive.

Rather, effective lead generation is about leveraging the right strategies to generate high-quality leads that convert. Here are my top five ways to identify and engage with these high-quality leads.

1. Provide Useful Content

Content marketing works. It allows you to promote your products and services while providing value to an eager audience…

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A Marketing Blueprint For Scaling Your Small SaaS Business Effectively

This blog post is written by Kathy Floam-Greenspan and appears on the Forbes Agency Council. You can read the full post here.

As many companies tighten their belts and conserve financial resources, some budget categories, including software and IT services, continue expanding. This trend has continued mostly unabated for over the past decade, soaring during the Covid-19 pandemic and continuing to escalate in the following years, totaling more than $783 billion in 2022.

Small software as a service (SaaS) companies looking to reach bigger audiences and broader verticals with their high-quality products and services can capitalize on this trend. However, a significant gap often exists between ambition and new customer acquisition, requiring companies to take strategic steps to grow and expand at scale.

While a haphazard expansion can cause growth companies to stall out, a well-planned rollout can provide fertile ground for small SaaS companies to grow.

Here is our proven marketing blueprint for taking a SaaS business to the next level.

1. Research & Test Vertical Markets

Taking a SaaS small business to the next level requires a better understanding of your existing customers and the vertical markets where you want to expand. Penetrating these markets requires a blend of data-driven insights and customer understanding…

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How To Transform B2B Engagement With Video Marketing

How To Transform B2B Engagement With Video Marketing

This blog post is written by Kathy Floam-Greenspan and appears on the Forbes Agency Council. You can read the full post here.

Almost one-third of Americans say they are online “almost constantly,” scrolling through social media feeds, scanning headlines and responding to Slack messages.

Even a decade ago, when the web was much less widespread and smartphones were just achieving mass market appeal, the average American consumed more than 100,000 words daily between print and web content. That’s almost a quarter of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, a famously verbose text. Today, this total is undoubtedly higher.

People are awash in text, swimming in an ocean of words, while trying to achieve the proverbial equivalent of drinking from a firehose with a straw. Unsurprisingly, online audiences have become skimmers, overwhelmed with the volume of online information flooding their screens. As a result, finding potent strategies for capturing audiences’ attention has become paramount. This is especially true for B2B organizations looking to optimize their brand messaging for a word-saturated ecosystem.

Cue the video, including live-action, screen-recorded and animated productions, as valued assets to augment or replace written content online. In 2023 and beyond, video isn’t a nice-to-have B2B marketing asset. It’s a critical pillar of any effective B2B marketing program.

Why Video Is Essential In Your B2B Marketing Strategy

While everyone has their own unique content preferences, data shows that video content is quickly becoming people’s preferred medium. According to one study, 83% of consumers prefer video over text for informational or educational content. Wyzowl’s 2023 State of Video Marketing report found that businesses are responding to audience preferences, with 91% leveraging video as a marketing tool this year, an all-time high.

Notably, 96% of marketers reported that video is an “important part” of their marketing strategy, as 92% said that video provides a positive ROI, driving sales, understanding of products or services, and brand awareness.

Consumers share this sentiment. Ninety-one percent of people said they want to see more videos from brands this year.

In total, 88% of consumers have made a purchase after watching a company’s video, underscoring video’s capacity to propel purchasing decisions.

Even the nonbelievers are starting to take notice. Seventy percent of “non-video marketers” plan to implement video marketing this year.

5 Steps To Implement A Successful Video Marketing Strategy

Implementing video into your business and brand strategy efforts can feel overwhelming. After all, nobody wants their new brand initiatives to fall flat.

Here are five steps you can take to begin implementing video marketing into your business…

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Improve Your Website Performance Without Starting Over

5 Ways To Improve Your Website Performance Without Starting Over

This blog post is written by Kathy Floam-Greenspan and appears on the Forbes Agency Council. You can read the full post here.

In today’s digital-first world, brands must have an attractive and engaging online presence to remain compelling, competitive and convincing. In other words, whether you’re a small business or a major corporation, you need a website—a good one.

According to a consumer survey, nearly three-quarters of respondents said a company’s website carries at least “some influence” over their buying decisions. Additionally, a Gartner sales survey found that 83% of B2B buyers prefer purchasing through digital commerce, underscoring the centrality of a brand’s website as part of a holistic sales strategy.

However, time constraints, finite resources and limited expertise prevent many companies from putting their best digital foot forward, making an outdated and unfocused website the brand’s first—and often only—impression.

Fortunately, improving your website doesn’t necessarily require an expensive, ground-up rebuild to cultivate success. Making tangible improvements that account for common website pain points can help brands enhance their online presence without starting from scratch.

Common Website Pain Points

There are more than 1.13 billion websites worldwide, and while just over 200 million are actively managed and maintained, differentiating your website from the competition can be extremely difficult. With the average visitor forming an opinion about a website in less than one second, brands have a very limited opportunity to capture their audiences. However, many websites fail to achieve their goals because they are:

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4 Strategies for Marketing During Times of Uncertainty

This blog post is written by Kathy Floam-Greenspan and appears on the Forbes Agency Council. You can read the full post here.

Economic uncertainty, like the laws of physics, is an inevitable part of a company’s life cycle. What goes up will, at some point, come back down.

For many business leaders, economic uncertainty seems to be coming around a lot more often than it did before.

They may be on to something.

According to the Harvard Business Review, researchers have documented an uptick in economic uncertainty, identifying five modern crises amplifying uncertainty across various sectors. When coupled with the fact that 75% of CEOs expect declining growth in the year ahead and 40% think their company “will no longer be economically viable a decade from now,” it’s no wonder that people feel uncertain about their company’s future.

Often, a leader’s first response to uncertainty is to slash advertising and marketing budgets. For example, one 2022 survey found that 75% of respondents said that “signals of economic downturn” impact their media budget decisions, and 30% plan to cut their budgets in 2023.

However, leaders should be careful not to react too quickly. Nielsen notes that, historically, 75% of recessions last less than a year, and 30% last just two quarters. Economic uncertainty is cyclical, and every down cycle brings challenges and opportunities that will determine a brand’s potential moving forward.

Why does marketing during times of uncertainty matter?

Marketing through uncertainty requires a disciplined, data-driven resolve to maximize the most important outcomes.

For starters, leaders must leverage historical insights to determine potential impact. During the Great Recession, 63% of brands that increased their marketing investment saw positive ROI from their efforts.

What’s more, as Nielsen reports, “Considering most brands are already under-spending—depressing their ROIs by a median of 50%—any additional cutting of media expenses could only serve to reduce ROI further, at a time when brands need to maximize profits most.”

Meanwhile, when brands prioritize marketing spending, they continue to work toward critical outcomes, including:

  • Maintaining brand visibility and staying top-of-mind.
  • Building and strengthening customer relationships.
  • Capitalizing on competitors’ reduced marketing efforts.
  • Adapting to changing consumer behavior and preferences.

Economic uncertainty doesn’t necessarily indicate an imminent downturn, but even when times get tough, companies can still thrive, and the right marketing strategies can help make that possible…

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5 Marketing Activities B2Bs Should Employ During A Recession

This blog post is written by Kathy Floam-Greenspan and appears on the Forbes Agency Council. You can read the full post here.

Recessions are defined by reduced spending. First, consumers shell out less money, lowering business revenues and forcing them to behave similarly by cutting costs, shedding staff or both. This cycle can continue unabated until spending picks up and economic expansion resumes.

Faced with an economic downturn, many companies’ knee-jerk reaction is to cut marketing spending to conserve resources and lower spending. As a result of the 2008 Great Recession, ad spending dropped by 13%, a fad that I hear many brands expect to follow in 2023. This is a mistake. Reactionary marketing cuts are shortsighted and are not backed by empirical evidence.

In fact, as VentureBeat notes, “many research studies have confirmed that the best strategy is to continue marketing—and often increase investments—during a slowdown to capitalize on long-term ROI.”

According to research, 60% of companies that cut TV ad spending during the Great Recession experienced a 24% decrease in brand use and a 28% decrease in brand image. Additionally, an extensive analysis of 600 companies from 1980-1985 discovered that companies that maintained or increased their marketing during the recession amplified their sales when the economy recovered, outpacing companies that stopped marketing by 256%.

When budgets are limited or economic factors feel bleak, focusing on “recession-proof” B2B marketing activities can mitigate risks while maximizing ROI.

Here are five recession-proof B2B marketing activities that can help companies advance their bottom-line objectives in any economic environment…

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Combining Teams Post-Merger & Acquisition: Why A “We First” Mindset Matters

This blog post is written by Kathy Floam-Greenspan and appears on the Forbes Agency Council. You can read the full post here.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) can be a significant business opportunity, but they can also be corrosive to company culture, causing people to leave when expertise and stability matter most.

Before the recent pandemic and the accompanying “great resignation,” an EY report found that nearly half of a company’s key employees depart within a year of a merger or acquisition, and 75% leave within three years of a transaction. This reality is even more prevalent today as employees are increasingly willing to quit their jobs in search of better opportunities.

Since M&As can create significant organizational anxiety and swift cultural change, it’s unsurprising that turnover often accompanies the process. While employees change jobs for many reasons, company culture is often one of the most common reasons.

That’s why businesses need a “we first” mindset when combining teams post-merger and acquisition. Here are four ways leaders can begin creating that dynamic now:

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Best practices for culture marketing

Best Practices For Culture Marketing Following Mergers And Acquisitions

This blog post is written by Kathy Floam-Greenspan and appears on the Forbes Agency Council. You can read the full post here.

Mergers and acquisitions have been occurring at a rapid pace for the past several years, setting records as companies look to generate value, acquire new technologies or unlock market access.

Despite their prominence and popularity, many M&As fail to achieve their desired outcome. According to one study, only 17% of the mergers studied had added value, 30% made “no discernible difference,” and a shocking 53% actually diminished value.

While M&As miss the mark for many reasons, a recent Deloitte report found that culture was the cause of 30% of failed integrations. Consequently, business leaders need to consider cultural impact alongside other factors to help ensure that the M&A process produces the intended outcome.

What Is Company Culture?

Unlike many business elements, company culture can be difficult to define and even more challenging to measure. In general, company culture is a nebulous combination of shared values, priorities, goals, attitudes and norms. In other words, a company is defined by what it produces, but company culture is derived from how that outcome is accomplished.

It’s vitally important to employees. In a Glassdoor survey, more than half of respondents indicated that company culture was more important than salary, and 77% evaluate a company’s culture before applying for a job.

With employees valuing company culture so highly, it’s obvious that disrupting (or destroying) an established culture with a merger or acquisition can be detrimental to an organization’s long-term success.

Best Practices For Culture Marketing Post-M&A

Following best practices for culture marketing post-M&A can help leaders alleviate employees’ concerns while cultivating a more dynamic, sustainable and supportive culture moving forward. Based on our agency’s experience in helping clients with their M&A marketing efforts, here are some of the best practices we’ve found to be effective time and time again:

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Strategic Brand Consolidation

Strategic Brand Consolidation Plans: How B2Bs Can Guide Effective Mergers & Acquisitions

This blog post is written by Kathy Floam-Greenspan and appears on the Forbes Agency Council. You can read the full post here.

A company’s brand is its most valuable and important asset. Regardless of sector, product offering or customer base, this intangible resource separates successful businesses from the competition. In the B2B sector, which requires prolonged sales cycles for enterprises to become recurring customers, long-standing brand value is especially critical.

It may not be reflected on its balance sheet, but a company’s brand brings immense value to a merger or acquisition (M&A). As a recent Deloitte report succinctly explains, “The value of a strong brand cannot be underestimated in today’s fast-moving commercial environments, where customer loyalty is notoriously difficult to acquire and sustain.”

Consequently, B2B brand consolidation is a critical—if often overlooked—component of an effective merger or acquisition.

With M&As accelerating in today’s disruptive, high-stakes B2B landscape, companies must maximize value and opportunity from the process, requiring a strategic brand consolidation plan that produces needed results.

Here are three ways companies can implement a strategic brand consolidation plan from day one:

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