MonthJanuary 2016

The New B2B Marketing Industry

The world of marketing has changed. Especially in the b2b marketing industry. Successful marketing used to be a toolset of tactics that usually revolved around advertising and utilizing space. It was the act of getting your name “out there” so people would learn about you and your services. Then buy from you. The past b2b marketing industry used devices such as publication advertisements, press releases, trade shows, billboards, tv ads, radio ads and many other “spaces” for telling the customer about your organization, product or service. From talking to many advertising and marketing gurus with several decades of experience, they explain that it was that easy. Run an ad in a publication and watch the sales grow. Dump money into a TV ad and watch the customers come running. It doesn’t work like that any longer. That’s not enough. There is a new b2b marketing industry. And it’s time for everyone to adjust.

Today the new b2b marketing industry includes terms like Growth Hacking and Content Marketing. The role and responsibilities of the marketer is less about tactics and more about Product Market Fit, content creation, managing editorial calendars and building relationships with customers. What I’ve observed is a lot of traditional marketers are uncomfortable in this new territory. The rug has been pulled out from under their feet and they are left learning to do their job all over again.

Truly, it’s not that complicated. It all comes down to one thing. Relationships.

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The podcast advertising model is broken

After digging into the topic in a previous article I found that the podcast advertising model is broken. In the previous article I talked about podcast advertising, how it works and untraditional ways that podcasters are using the medium to promote their own businesses. (You can read that previous article to get a sense of how everything works now.)

In this article I want to dissect a major problem in the way podcast advertising works. This broken model also applies to other forms of on-demand media (Netflix, Hulu, etc) but for the purpose of this article I’ll stick to podcasting alone.

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Podcast advertising model – how it works and alternatives to traditional ads

While doing research on podcasting in the last few months I started digging into the podcast advertising model. In this article I explain how advertisers choose a podcast, how much they pay, what metrics they expect in return and how successful podcast advertising really is. Because this is such a hot topic there is a lot of information available and what I’ve found is that traditional forms of advertising might not be the best way to monetize your podcast.

How podcast advertising works

If you listen to podcasts you’ll be familiar with the types of ads you hear during the shows. Usually there are three or four ads throughout shows. One during the intro, one or two during the show and one at the outro. Usually podcast advertisements are endorsements from the show host but in some rare cases I’ve heard an ad similar to what you would hear on the radio (a prerecorded advertisement or an ad “jingle”).

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Six questions to ask yourself before launching a web business

Often when I meet someone that has an idea for a web business they want to get started immediately working with a designer or developer. I usually suggest that the person spend more time planning in the beginning. They need to focus on the many questions that will help them outline the project before diving in.

Below are 6 important questions that I think everyone should ask themselves before making the decision to launch a web business.

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Bootstrapping Your Web Application

Let’s imagine that you have an idea for a web application. Your plan is to bootstrap the funding of the web application and use LEAN methodologies for bringing the business to life. You don’t have a development background or don’t feel confident in your skills as a developer to build the web application. You don’t want to go through fundraising via Venture Capital or other large scale investors but you know you need “capital” and/or “resources” to get the idea off the ground. What options do you have?

When you are bootstrapping a web application to existence you have four options for getting funding without using a VC firm.

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If you use Twitter auto responders be ready to engage

Lots of people use Twitter auto responders. There is controversy over whether it’s a good idea or not. It doesn’t really bother me. I get it. You follow someone, then that someone then knows you are “listening” and it’s their chance to send you some conversion copy or a link to their site. Not a big deal. It’s a bit tacky and not “warm”, but I get it. This post is not about whether you should use autoresponders. Instead, it’s about how to handle auto responders properly. If you are going to use Twitter auto responders be ready to engage.

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Artsmith Media merges with xTuple

From 2009 – 2014 I owned and operated a web agency called Artsmith Media. In 2014 Artsmith Media merged it’s team into the xTuple team in Norfolk, Virginia. For five years Artsmith Media was a team of web enthusiasts, designers and Drupal developers specializing in building large, conversion focused Drupal sites for many customers in the non-profit and small/medium sized business sectors. Our team also built a distribution of Drupal called Code Driven Drupal (CDD) that was focused on building Drupal systems in a Code Driven Environment. It allowed us to build Drupal sites in dev, stage, and production environments and by keeping all configurations out of the database we were able to quickly move code between the three environments and use Github repositories to manage branches of the sites. The system increased our development time drastically. Suddenly projects that used to take about 500 hours could be completed in less than 150 hours. The extra time allowed our team to focus more heavily on project planning, requirements gathering, user experience, design and discovery work. This led to a lot of growth in both project size and number of customers.

In 2013 we partnered with xTuple, an open source ERP company, to help them build a B2B eCommerce system using Drupal. They had been working on the system for about a year and a half and were building it using Drupal Commerce. Our team stepped in to help them finish the product in preparation for a demo at an upcoming conference. In the Fall of 2013 we presented the B2B eCommerce platform at an xTuple user conference and the feedback we received was incredible. It quickly became obvious to myself and the CEO of xTuple that we were onto something big. After several months of conversations and negotiations we worked out a deal to move the entire Artsmith Media team into the xTuple team which became xTuple’s new Web Services Group.

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