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Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist and CEO of Marketing Interactions, Inc.

eMarketing Mastery Blog

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The Contagious Content Challenge

Recently, I received an email from a reader of my book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, sharing his success with contagious content. With his permission (he requested anonymity) I'd like to share with you what he discovered.I read your book and am beginning to implement your strategies.  We are a startup software company in silicon valley.  For the last 6 months we have issued press releases and product information -- all company directed.

When we issued these materials we would post on LinkedIn updates and to discussions in relevant groups.  We would send the info to a few key bloggers.  And, we would also email to our internal mailing list a blast with the info.  Typically - these standalone blasts would generate about 60 hits on our website.  And, that was it.

I read your book.  Built a blog to have a publishing platform.  And, created some contagious content.  Regarding distribution - I did everything exactly as I did before as a test to see if we got a different reaction.

First time out -- we got incredible results.  In the first 4 days of the release the story got read over 310 times -- 5x times the rate of the company concentric material.

And, then the interesting part.  Two firms we have been selling to for over 4 months and it has gotten down to checking in every 3-4 weeks for a status to see if they are ready to go forward [no action] .... called us within two days of getting the information.  We closed one deal and the second one is checking references.

Thank you for the book.  We are aggressively building out more content to create a lead nurturing campaign next.    You have changed our company!

As an author and content marketer, I'll remember this email forever. But, the one thing I'd like to say is that the reader gave me way too much credit.

I didn't change his company, he did. He took the ideas and put them into practice. I'm so darned happy about his results, it makes me smile every time I think about them! And I'm especially grateful that he chose to share the story with me.

The one thing I'd like to point out is that the reader had a pretty good process established. He was already publishing his content where his prospects would find it. By only changing the content—not the process—he gained tangible proof that content focused on his prospects is what made the difference.

Are you up to the challenge?


B2B Digital Marketers Must Master Natural Nurturing on Social Web

Bob Thompson of Customer Think interviewed me last week about eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale.

We had a great discussion including these topics:

  • Synchronizing the right content during a seven-stage buying process
  • Why B2B marketers must learn to be better publishers
  • Role of marketing technology to support content and nurturing processes
  • Should marketers shift all their attention to in-bound marketing?
  • What is "natural nurturing" and how should it be used?
  • Finding the right mix between social marketing, email and other channels

Listen to the Podcast


BMA Atlanta Rocks!

Last week I spoke at the BMA Atlanta chapter luncheon and gave a workshop after the luncheon. It's always my pleasure to speak about content marketing and teach people how to build personas, but what really stood out for me was the warm reception and great people.

MLT Creative was the sponsor of the luncheon. They treated me like a queen. Flowers, a fantastic dinner with the Board of the BMA chapter and MLT folks. The discussions and brainstorms about marketing were fantastic and the attendees of the luncheon were so nice and receptive that I didn't want to leave.

MLT Creative also provided copies of my book to the workshop attendees and took the first pictures I have of me signing my books in person. Being the ham I am, I had to share.

Thank you hardly seems enough. I was truly honored to be invited. Special thanks to Billy Mitchell (@billymitchell1), Martine Hunter (@martinehunter) of MLT and Joe Noonan from BMA Atlanta (@bmaatlanta).

Needless to say, BMA Atlanta Rocks!


Leading Lights Interview with Britton Manasco about eMarketing Strategies

Britton Manasco, author of the Illuminating the Future blog, and I recently sat down to chat about my new book, the current state of content marketing and where the future might be headed.

If you'd like to know what I have to say in response to these questions, go read the interview.

  • What was behind your decision to write this book?

  • Why did you believe this was timely?

  • Why isn't this conventional wisdom by now?

  • Why do you think companies struggle to make that shift?

  • What's stopping marketers, more specifically, from more aggressively investing in content-driven marketing programs?

  • So there are big returns to be gained by guiding the buyer through an extended decision process. You are nurturing them and cultivating them.

  • Let’s talk about the economics of this.  What are you seeing in terms of how marketers are looking at their investment in and their budgeting of content?  What’s your thought in terms of how they can justify these investments?

  • Do you see a distinction here between companies selling something with far larger deal sizes and ones that have smaller deal sizes?

  • Now, if you were to gaze out maybe five years into the future and try to imagine how practice in the marketplace will have evolved with respect to content-driven marketing, what would you expect?

  • I’m curious. What have you learned since you released your book and began getting feedback from readers? What are some of you latest findings?

You can read the full interview here


Bring on the Bling

Customer engagement is a hot topic these days. From a marketing perspective we tend to focus on what's in it for our companies, not necessarily from our prospects' persepctives. eMarketing is about creating mutually-beneficial engagement. Both for us and for them.

In my book I call this engagement bling. I define engagement bling as "...the positive results your company gains from sustaining trusted engagement with prospects and customers throughout their buying journeys."

The interesting thing about bling is that the more you share it, the more you have. And, that's because your prospects and customers get bling of their own from their interactions with you.

Take a look at some of the bling your prospects and customers get:

Valuable Knowledge: Solving a complex problem requires insights and knowledge your prospects probably don't have—especially if they haven't had to solve this kind of problem in a while, or ever. The more informed they become, the easier it is to make a purchase decision. And the less time spent doing so.

Increased Confidence: This is the result of becoming more informed. But it's not just about building their confidence in your company, it's about increasing the confidence their companies have in them to make the best choice to achieve the desired outcome.

Useful Conversations: Once they have the first two, they can enter into conversations with you to validate their beliefs. But, beyond that, they can invite conversations with the other members of the buying committee, sharing your ideas and gaining consensus with people you may never interact with personally. And, that's critical in shortening the time to purchase.

All of this bling leads to higher credibility for your company and for the decision maker who becomes empowered to choose your company as a strategic partner to help them do the hard work of solving their complex problems. And that's a good thing all the way around.

But that's not all. You get even more bling when you work to build engagement with your prospects and customers by making every impression and interaction relevant to them.

You also get things like:

  • more interactive dialogue,
  • intelligence-enhanced listening
  • increased demand due to higher trust

These increase based on the value your prospects and customers ascribe to every interaction and impression your company exchanges with them.

What company couldn't benefit from all these rewards?

I say, bring on the engagement bling!


Blogs vs. Corporate Websites vs. Microsites

This is a slidecast of the discussion I had with Kim Albee of Genoo about the differences in online web properties, why it's important to have tools that enable business users to post and update content and the value of giving your online audience an experience, not just text on a web page.



Book Sighting at Barnes and Noble

One of the drawbacks of living in Palm Desert is that there's not much local market for my book. And, unfortunately, during my travels the last few months I haven't had time to stop into a bookstore elsewhere. So, imagine my joy when my friend, Jill Konrath, called from a Barnes and Noble in Minnesota to tell me she was staring at my book on the shelf!

Naturally, I asked her to send me a picture. So, here's proof that my book exists beyond the online booksellers. And, notice it's sitting right next to Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett's book, Get Content. Get Customers. It's keeping very good company.


Mapping Content to the Buying Process

Last week I sat down with Kim Albee, from Genoo, to have a conversation about how to map content to the buying process - as discussed in my book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale.

She's graciously allowed me to post the screencast here for all of you.
(25 minutes)


eBook: Tune Up Your Customer Focus

In my book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, I talk about how B2B marketers need to really get to know their customers in order to improve their marketing effectiveness. One of the exercises presented in the book is The Customer Focus Tune-up. This eBook expands upon that exercise.

In the eBook, I present:

  • A breakdown of the steps in the complex buying process.
  • 4 Steps to improving your customer intelligence.
  • How to apply those insights to content development.
  • Applications for putting your customer focus to work.

Download the complementary eBook.

To learn more about creating buyer-centric content that produces quantifiable eMarketing results, you can always buy the book...


Take a Walk In Your Buyer's Shoes

Buyers of complex sales are taking control of their buying process and deciding how they want to buy. The better you know your B2B personas, the better you can engage prospects with marketing content and lead nurturing. Take a look at a day in a buyer's life and learn what it takes to catch and keep their attention.