Adam T. Sutton

B2B Marketing: Finding ideas from the ‘wrong’ case studies

October 20th, 2011

I am going to take a shot at a B2B marketing taboo that I and my colleagues encounter on a regular basis. I certainly do not expect universal support, but I freely invite you to speak your mind in the comments.

While at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit in Boston last month, Jay Baer tore the robes off of this taboo and forced the audience take a good look at it. Here’s what he said:

“I have done a fair amount of speaking at B2B conferences and every once in a while someone comes up to me … they say ‘well, that was great, but you use some examples that are B2C.’ Get over it! I’m going to use some examples in this presentation that are B2C. I am going to offend your territorial sensibilities. You’re making way too big a deal out of this.”

Baer was speaking about social media marketing. I agree with his sentiment (although “get over it” is not the exact phrase I’d use) and believe this concept applies to channels beyond social media.


Successful marketing is original

You cannot duplicate a campaign from another company and achieve success. Every company is different. Every audience is different. Every challenge is different. Any tactic you try has to be adapted to your situation.

This is true whether you’re looking at B2B or B2C examples. Case studies are not meant to be photocopied and repeated. They are designed to outline another company’s successful approach and inspire tactics and campaigns in your team — and any company’s success can inspire your ideas.

Here is one example in email marketing:


Triggered alert emails deliver instant value

MarketingSherpa has published several case studies on triggered email alerts, including one from Eventful, a company that helps consumers find entertaining events.

Eventful offers triggered alert emails that send updates to subscribers when their favorite entertainers go on tour, press an album, etc. The company uses the program to pull visitors from search engines into its email database.

This program is designed for consumers — but doesn’t the concept of a triggered email alert spark any ideas in your B2B brain?

First, let’s think about what value you give to your email subscribers. Do you send high-quality content? Or a price list for wholesale goods? Maybe you deliver thought leadership and industry news? Or something else?

In any case, a triggered alert program can be designed for your email audience. Your audience is with you for a reason, and it’s to receive some type of value from your emails. You can design an alert system to send them the latest updates on what they care about instantly. They can sign up for alerts based on:

  •  A certain topic of content (sign up to receive alerts for any social media marketing articles we publish)
  •  A certain type of content (sign up to receive an alert whenever we publish a new whitepaper or research report)
  •  Product information (sign up to receive an alert whenever one of the products you often buy drops more than 10% below its average price)
  •  Industry news (sign up to receive an alert any time there is groundbreaking news in industrial paint technology)

These email alerts instantly deliver value to the audience, which turns your emails into a resource, builds affinity for your brand, and brings passionate visitors to your website. Sure, Eventful is a B2C example, but that doesn’t mean your application has to be.

Photo credit: Air Force One

Related Resources:

MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2011 – San Francisco, Oct. 24-25, 2011

B2B Social Media: Jay Baer discusses social media ROI and Facebook likes [Video]

Social Media Marketing: Why B2B marketers need to care, by the numbers

Email Marketing: Why Newegg’s daily-deal alert emails garner a 60% average open rate

B2B Marketing: Value proposition discussion with Dr. Flint McGlaughlin 

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

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