Build Your B2B Brand by Refreshing Your Website

By Michael Isaacson for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 blog series

84% of all prospective customers check out a firm’s web site before they decide to do business. For a lot of businesses, it’s how they make their first impression with B2B buyers.

Now picture yourself at the last trade show you attended. Did you make a mad rush for the people who put up the exact same booth, show the exact same products, and give away the exact same key chains year after year? Or… did you check out booths that drew you in with an intriguing message, invited an honest conversation, or offered something of real value?

It’s time to treat your website the same way you would treat your trade show booth. Here are some things to keep in mind: (more…)

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  • Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

  • Must. Love. Advertising.

    B2B Advertising and Marketing

    From time to time, I keep hearing from some people how difficult it is for them to invest dollars into advertising. And sadly, sometimes advertising doesn’t even make the cut. As advertising professionals, we get challenged with comments or questions such as: “I can save money if I don’t advertise” or “Why should I bother advertising?” YIKES!
    First, we know advertising alone is not going to gain you market share or sell your product. Instead, advertising should work in tandem with other marketing initiatives.
    Here are a few quick reasons why you shouldn’t bypass advertising:
    (more…)



  • Monday, January 27th, 2014

  • Are you ready for the deep end?

    My little guy – a breath away from age 4 next month – had his first-ever swimming lesson earlier this month. As many parents, the height of anticipation and expectation was overwhelming for me – I wanted him to have the perfect swim stroke and a great flutter kick right from the first minute. My own miniature Michael Phelps.

    And, he did well – not perfect, but listened to his teacher and paid attention. When it came to the free time of class, he was insistent on swimming off to the deep end. The worrier mom that I am, I kept saying no, but he kept taking his kickboard and heading towards the unknown. It was a hard lesson to explain to my strong-willed toddler that he needed to work his way up and learn more before he was ready to swim to the deep end. (more…)

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    Just about everyone is using Facebook and Twitter to connect with customers and clients online. Instagram and Pinterest are definitely great ways to up the interaction ante.

    Instagram is an app that allows users to take and edit photos with their smart phones and share them on Facebook as well as Twitter, Foursquare and other social networks.

    Pinterest works like a digital bulletin board where users can create and manage theme-based image collections. Ultimately, the tool is used to connect with others through shared interests.

    1stwebdesigner.com gives more detailed descriptions of Instagram and Pinterest and their relevance to brand interaction. They also offer a great “how to” guide for properly using Instagram and Pinterest as business applications within the social media context.

    As with all social media outlets, it’s recommended that you have a strategic plan in place for content creation and posting.

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  • Thursday, November 1st, 2012

  • Woops

    Trying to capitalize on current events for marketing can either be a success or not so much. Check out an ad for a national retailer that I classify as an “epic fail”.



  • Friday, September 7th, 2012

  • Four is confusing

    In creating any B2B communications we all know that it’s important to focus on one singular message. The same is true for the call to action. If you leave your target audience with too many options you may be causing yourself more damage than good. At first blush, options seem good, right? Not so much. It actually can result in your audience taking no action.

    The other day driving into work, I saw a material handling van with decals promoting Yale forklifts. Got it. But what I didn’t get were the four web site addresses listed on the back of the truck. Frankly, I couldn’t remember any of them (without this photo) because it was too much information to recall for a quick, moving billboard. My suggestion, go back to the basics and focus on a singular, strong call to action or way to respond…like listing just one web address.



    A few months back I attended a BMA-Milwaukee roundtable discussion of corporate and agency marketers. One of the discussion topics I thought was particularly interesting was about agency collaboration. The corporate marketers on the panel commented on hiring multiple firms for different things and expected them to work in conjunction for the best interests of the brands they serve. As one might expect, there were some concerns expressed by the agency leaders on the panel.

    Although we see evidence to suggest that interest in specialized, tactical agencies is turning back to a preference for full-service capabilities, it stands to reason corporate marketers will still believe there is a need to divide tactical responsibilities or brand assignments among a team of agency partners. That is their prerogative, but let’s make no mistake … no agency owner likes to see money going to another firm and no agency completely trusts their competitor. What’s a corporate marketer to do? (more…)

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  • Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

  • Standing out?

    Personally, I think an image of a field of solar panels can be pretty impactful. I just think they look cool and then when you see acres of identical panels side by side, the scale of it all is impressive. Leafing through the July/August 2012 issue of enerG Alternative Sources Magazine I noticed pages and pages of solar panels (15 individual images in the first 22 pages). There were so many in fact, at a quick glance it became difficult to tell what’s an ad and what’s an article. (See scan of pages 10 and 11). (more…)

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  • Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

  • Where does our value come from?

    As a B2B marketing firm, we know the value we provide to our clients can come from any number of sources. Maybe they simply don’t have the time to do the work themselves. Sometimes they lack the tactical expertise in a particular area. In other cases the client truly values having our outside perspective infused into their marketing communications.

    This third area of value is our experience. This is where mutually beneficial and long-term client/agency relationships are formed. As the outside partner, it is our job to draw on our broad experience from various industries and initiatives, bringing additional insights, new ideas and techniques to our client’s internal marketing team. Our client’s job is to be transparent about their business objectives and strategies, provide any research they have and be open about input into their experience on what has or hasn’t worked for them in the past. These fully collaborative working relationships are what produce the best, most impactful and effective campaigns; the ones in which everyone on the combined team can be proud.

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  • Monday, June 25th, 2012

  • What is a customer worth to you?

    Often in marketing we talk about price per piece, cost per thousand, cost per lead, etc. A focus on the expense involved tends push our thinking toward all the things we can do to reduce costs. This can and does distract us from what should be the real discussion: what is a new customer worth?

    When we understand that, then marketing becomes seen as a true investment. I once heard about a professional services firm that sent crystal chess boards to the presidents and CEOs of prospective clients as a high impact lead generation piece. This tactic must have cost the firm $200-plus per package. Send this high-end direct mail piece to dozens of prospects a year and the costs really start to add up, right? Now consider that firm was after six- and seven-figure deals and it is easy to see that one new business win easily justifies even several years’ worth of using the same approach.

    Often in B2B marketing we support direct sales efforts for high-involvement, big ticket purchases. First determine what that new customer is worth to your organization and now decide what you are willing to do to make sure you get their attention.

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