Archives for August 2014

How to write a B2B case study that will generate leads

By Kate Lee | 08/26/2014 | 12:24 AM

2013 survey of B2B marketers by LinkedIn found that when it comes to lead generation, customer testimonials and case studies are considered the two most effective content marketing tactics.  Why are customer testimonials and case studies so effective?  Because they are content that is valued and trusted by B2B buyers.

How can you write a case study that generates leads?

Here are five elements of an effective case study.

  1. A case study is a story.  Case studies that read like a story succeed.  Case studies that are written, for example, as a sales pitch fall flat and fail to attract and engage prospective buyers.
  1. Case studies are not a sales pitch.  Inform and educate through the sales pitch, but do not “sell.”  An effective case study will generate new customers and sales.
  1. Prospective buyers turn to case studies for concrete examples.  Make it easy for the reader to obtain the information desired.  Bullet points, quotes, and lists are all examples of how you can deliver the highlights.
  1. Keep it short and sweet.  A case study should provide the prospective buyer with enough information, but should not go into the minutia.
  1. Include these three components: the challenge, the solution, and the results.

Become an industry leader by providing valued and trusted content

By Kate Lee | 08/19/2014 | 1:43 AM

By consistently creating, curating, and distributing valued and trusted content you can position your company as an industry leader.

What is valued and trusted content?


survey by the CMO Council found that all content is not viewed equally by B2B buyers.  “Peer-powered content” is more valued and trusted than non-peer content.

The survey found that professional association research and papers are the most valued and trusted content. Papers from industry organizations, case studies, and analyst reports and white papers were also reported to be valued.  In contrast, vendor white papers were not found to be valued highly.

What type of content do you most value and trust?

valuable content

Source: CMO Council

Depth not promotional

The characteristics that were found to be valued the most by B2B buyers were depth of the content (47 percent) and ease of access and readability (44 percent).  Respondents reported that they do not like content that has too many requirements to download (50 percent) or is promotional or self-serving (43 percent).

Good content is shared

B2B buyers report that they share good content.  Fifty-nine percent of survey respondents share content with 25 or more peers and associates, and 28 percent of survey respondents forward content on to 100 or more people.

Position yourself

To position your company as an industry leader you need to provide valued and trusted content.  This means creating, curating, and distributing content that educates, informs, and addresses specific needs.

It also means avoiding the trap of self-promotion.  Valued and trusted content is not content that is self-serving or promotional, rather valued and trusted content provides customers with answers, solutions, and education.

Blogging is essential, but additional content is necessary as well.  Case studies and white papers are two go-to content solutions that can help you position your company as a trusted leader within your industry.

Remember that you don’t need to go it alone.  More than 44 percent of B2B marketers report that they outsource content creation.

Why unnovation is a threat to your business

By Kate Lee | 08/12/2014 | 2:53 AM

Connectivity, mobility and accessibility are game changers for business.  Companies that recognize this and adapt accordingly will succeed, companies that don’t will not.


Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, calls this refusal to innovate “unnovation” and defines it as the following:

If unnovation ever made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, I believe the description would be something along the lines of "unnovation (noun) ... the refusal to identify, create, embrace or adopt new ideas, leading to the unnecessary and un-timely end to a business, which is ultimately overtaken by external progress.

What are companies who have fallen prey to unnovation?  Yell (Google), Borders (Amazon), and Blockbuster Video (Netflix) are just three examples.

Companies within the supply chain, and the supply chain industry in general, are at risk of falling prey to unnovation despite being in a prime position to innovate.

Unnovation and the supply chain

KPMG’s 2013 Global Manufacturing Outlook reported that the US manufacturing sector “seems primed for an era of ‘hyper-innovation,’ in which companies develop not only new products, but also entirely new ways to build them.”  Unfortunately, companies within the manufacturing sector are not primed for innovation.  KPMG found that 44 percent of survey respondents reported that they still use “old” technologies such as email, fax, and “snail” mail to manage their supply chains.

Similarly, the supply chain industry has been slow to participate in social media and to invest in creating a strong online presence.  The primary reason: a lack of understanding of the business case or value.

Participating in social media and investing in creating a strong online presence are fundamentally different from the traditional strategies which companies within the supply chain industry have employed to attract new customers, foster relationships with current customers, communicate with partners, and grow their bottom line.  Because of the stark contrast between “old” and “new,” companies do not recognize how these strategies can positively impact their bottom line and therefore decide to steer clear – they feel engaging is too risky.  The reality is that not participating is risky; not participating is unnovation.

These companies embrace change

Keychain Logistics

Companies that choose to unnovate will be eclipsed by companies who embrace the world of mobility, connectivity and accessibility.  Keychain Logistics is one company that has decided to embrace change.

Bryan Beshore, Keychain’s founder, recognized the changes taking place and decided not just to embrace them, but to also capitalize on them.  Keychain leveraged the ideas of mobility, connectivity and accessibility and created a new way for the freight transportation industry to conduct business.  Keychain is a marketplace that connects drivers directly with shippers – and is available via mobile app.

Keychain has also become an active participant on social media.  This participation has enabled the company to shape their offering with a solid understanding of what people want from a transportation provider.  Furthermore, Beshore notes that social media has helped grow their business: “From phone calls to interviews, crowdfunded campaign partnerships, and beyond, social media has certainly helped us grow our business.”


Another company that has been successful – Cerasis.  For 15 years the freight logistics company used traditional sales and marketing strategies.  This strategy worked; however, the company recognized that if it were going to remain competitive and grow it needed to adapt.  The company launched a digital, social media, and content marketing strategy.  The strategy lead to an increase in website traffic of close to 670 percent, an increase in search visits by close to 2,190 percent and, most importantly, the company acquired 35 new customers – a significant number for the industry.

Swantee believes that if companies choose unnovation, “Ultimately, it could lead to disastrous consequences for their businesses, their staff and their future.”  I agree.  If a company wants to remain relevant and competitive, and if a company wants to grow – it needs to recognize that connectivity, mobility and accessibility are game changers for business.

How to engage B2B buyers with content

By Kate Lee | 08/05/2014 | 2:12 AM

The amount of content on the internet is tremendous – and is growing by the second.  With 93 percent of B2B companies using content marketing, and with more than $16.6 billion dollars being invested annually by B2B companies in digital content publishing – how can your content and your business stand out?

The CMO Council, Content ROI Center, and Netline conducted a survey of 352 senior-level B2B buyers, influencers, and decision makers with the objective of determining content’s role in influencing B2B buyers in the purchase process.  The results of the survey can be used as a guide for creating content that will help you grow your business by driving profitable customer action.

Why do buyers consume content?

Sixty-two percent of B2B buyers turn to content in order to learn about new market developments and industry practices.  Sixty percent turn to content to discover new solutions to address a specific problem.  52 percent look to content to address a project or a program being undertaken by their company.

Why do buyers value content?

Fifty-four percent of B2B buyers report they believe content keeps them current on new techniques.  Forty percent say that it helps identify partners and solution providers.  Thirty-eight percent of B2B buyers believe content provides strategic insights and shapes their purchase specifications.  Thirty-seven percent of B2B buyers report that content educates them about industry issues, problems, and challenges.

Content that will grow your business

Content that will draw customers to your website and to your business is content that educates, informs, and addresses specific needs.

So that your business does not get lost in the clutter, you need to create and curate content that educates consumers about the industry, technology, and new market trends.  Moreover, your content should address the needs and pain points of your target customer.  Therefore, your content should answer questions, provide solutions, and provide strategic insight.

If you consistently create and curate content that B2B buyers find valuable, you will realize results.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Elizabeth Hines

Elizabeth Hines

Elizabeth is a content strategist with 12+ years of experience in content development, branding, marketing, and communications. As the creative/editorial director at Fronetics, she oversees all efforts related to content and creative assets, including strategy design and brand development.

She has written extensively about supply chain and logistics, and has developed content strategies across a number of verticals, including the B2B space. Prior to joining Fronetics, Elizabeth worked at Boston University, Prospectiv, and Cengage Learning.


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