Make Your Corporate Anniversary Worth Celebrating

B2B firms that have flourished for 20, 30 or 50 years are understandably proud of their longevity, particularly after having endured the most recent decade’s harsh economic conditions. But many of those companies do not leverage their achievement, by failing to capture the attention, interest and engagement of the internal and external audiences that will determine their continued success. Too often important corporate milestones are treated in a manner similar to a wedding anniversary: companies will send out an announcement (press release, advertisement or email blast), host a modest reception, and provide a memento to a select number of longstanding clients. These traditional corporate an

Research Integrity: The Achilles Heel of Content Marketing

The marketing profession has a reputation for sometimes using less than reliable market research to promote a point of view. And this marketer has been guilty of that sin. Years ago, our insurance company client was introducing a new Directors & Officers liability insurance policy, and asked us to raise market awareness. With good intentions, but given no budget or time to perform proper market research, we interviewed a total of 6 corporate CEOs and board members to provide some validation to the underlying premise of our press release. The headline read: “Most Corporate Directors & Officers Believe They Are Not Protected Properly from Legal Risk.” With very little expectation that a premis

Thought Leadership: Becoming the “Go-To-Guy”

B2B marketers are often accused of speaking in buzzwords. One of those pieces of marketing lingo that we often use without a second thought is the phrase “Thought Leadership.” Recently, my partner and I were talking with a client about a program designed to establish thought leadership. Our client, with full candor, admitted that he thought he knew what we meant by thought leadership, but wanted to hear our definition of the phrase. It’s a good question; ask 10 marketers what it means, and it’s likely you’ll get ten different answers. Here’s our definition – along with an explanation of how thought leadership should be used to drive measurable business results. Think about your friends – whe

Hedge Fund Marketing: From Oxymoron to Best Practices

This past September, the well-respected marketing firm, Peppercom, conducted in-depth research involving nearly 300 of the hedge fund industry’s largest firms, to measure how those funds are currently applying standard marketing tools & tactics including websites, social media, the financial press and advertising, one year after the JOBS Act. Peppercom’s research paper begins with the statement that, “The private world of hedge funds is looking more like Madison Avenue.” But a close examination of the study’s findings suggests that this observation may be wishful thinking. In terms of marketing sophistication, the hedge fund industry lags far behind all other financial and professional servi

The Real Price We All Pay for "Brand Journalism"

The historical roots of journalism, now encompassing all mass media, were nurtured by its role as The Fourth Estate; the independent public watchdog that keeps in check the three major democratic “estates” of power (in Britain the houses of Parliament, in America the three branches of government). So in spite of the great amount of attention it pays to murder trials, royal weddings and the lives of celebrities, the media plays a critical role in a democratic society; and to function properly it must be objective, unbiased, transparent and independent. One current challenge to journalism’s mandate is that the line between news and entertainment continues to erode. All media sources compete fo

Re-Thinking the "Best B2B Advertisement of the 20th Century"

In 1958, Gilbert Morris – an account executive at the Fuller Smith & Ross ad agency – created the, “I don’t know who you are,” business-to-business advertisement for McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. that 41 years later, in 1999, was named the "Best Business-to-Business Ad of the 20th Century" by Advertising Age’s Business Marketing magazine. Quite an achievement. The iconic print display ad featured an executive in a bow tie hunched forward in a swivel chair, scowling into the camera. (In fact, Gilbert Morris himself was depicted as the executive in the ad.) To promote the practical value of corporate advertising, the ad’s body copy read: "I don't know you. I don't know your company. I don't know

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