10 Self-Marketing Tips for Job-Seeking Marketing Grads

I’ve been informally coaching my undergrad business school students on how to prepare for the business world they’ll face while job-seeking in just 1.5 years. They have some work experience, usually as interns. When it comes to presenting themselves in a business context, they are pretty green.

I’ve been informally coaching my undergrad business school students on how to prepare for the business world they’ll face while job-seeking in just 1.5 years. They have some work experience, usually as interns. When it comes to presenting themselves in a business context, they are pretty green.

But they’re eager and ambitious, so I decided to compile a set of tips to help them get ready.

I’d appreciate comments and additions from colleagues on these:

  1. Find a Local Professional Association in your area of interest — whether industry or job function. Join as a student member, and volunteer to help with a committee.
  2. Use All 120 Characters Available for Your LinkedIn Headline, and pack it with keywords about your skills. Finance, analytics, big data, strategy — use the terms hiring managers are looking for.
  3. Write Your LinkedIn Bio With Your Goal in Mind. Who are you trying to persuade? If it’s to attract job offers, then emphasize your skills, attitude and drive. Talk about contributions you made during internships. Declare your ideal industry and job function.
  4. Use a Professional Photo. Seems obvious, but surprisingly many LinkedIn members use shots more suited to Facebook.
  5. Clean Up Your Social Media. Take down photos and delete comments from your younger days that may make you look undesirable as an employee.
  6. Practice Your Elevator Speech. Come up with a few sentences that identify your situation and your goals. Add in a personal or professional twist to stimulate interest. Once you have it down, then start practicing ways to adjust your speech on the fly, depending on the audience.
  7. Buy Your Name as a Domain, and use it for your professional email address.
  8. Start Building Your Professional Network. Begin with your classmates, teachers and guest speakers. Add people you meet at your internships. Send out LinkedIn invitations, and also maintain a database of contacts. Keep in touch.
  9. If You’re Not a Natural Joiner, then find other ways to position yourself. Try writing a guest blog post. Follow writers on business subjects of interest to you, and actively comment on their posts.
  10. Think Ahead. You are in college now, but in the business world before you know it. Take steps early, and often, to position yourself for a satisfying career.

A version of this article appeared in Biznology, the digital marketing blog.

7 B2B Marketing Predictions for 2019

From chatbots to data-driven marketing, from the inevitable backlash against martech to the broadened use of social media, Ruth Stevens presents her seven predictions for what’s to come in 2019 for B2B marketers.

Crystal BallI am adding my voice to the chorus of observers who predict various developments in 2019 for B2B marketing. My policy is to avoid reflecting on my past predictions, which are likely unrealized and full of errors. Instead I shall boldly go forth, with my sense of what we are likely to see this year, and damn the torpedoes.  My B2B marketing predictions — seven in all — range from marcom to data. Your comments are welcome!

  1. B2B marketing communications become more human. Our field has long focused on selling to entities — accounts, buying groups, with rational, specific needs — and so we tend to stick to the facts. But it’s time to be more human. To talk to the buyers as individuals, in a language that moves them. So Forrester predicts, and I agree. I applaud Gyro for taking the initiative on some very interesting research around this topic. The study reveals the feelings business buyers seek in response to our offerings, feelings like confidence, optimism and accomplishment. Let’s give it to them!
  2. An inevitable backlash against martech. The backlash is already starting, but look for it to pick up. I wrote about this in 2014, saying we must not confuse marketing automation for marketing strategy. As martech grows, inevitably B2B marketers are realizing that it’s not the silver bullet they had hoped for. Justin Gray, founder of LeadMD, points out that only about 1% of deals can be tied to MA. We’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.
  3. Marketers will finally supply sales with the help they really need. My fervent wish, anyway. Tip of the hat to Gavin Finn, who eloquently explains this need in a recent Entrepreneur article. If we marketers are not helping sales communicate a differentiated value, producing truly effective content, and developing insight into the detailed needs of the buying group, we should all fire ourselves.
  4. Broaden the use of social media. Social is no longer a nice-to-have in B2B. It requires thoughtful strategy, real budget, and a keen integration with the rest of the marketing mix. Plus continued experimentation with new opportunities. Video will continue to grow. And B2B marketers will try new channels, like Quora, a place where people pose questions and get answers from other individuals. It’s ripe for business problems to be solved.
  5. Chatbots go mainstream. Perfect for B2B, chatbots serve global customers, around the clock, with fast, accurate and cheap service. This is all good.  But my favorite benefit for B2B marketers? Chatbots give you a third method for turning your website into a lead generator (after web form-fill and IP address identification). And the AI continues to improve, daily.
  6. Will CX be the B2B buzzword of 2019? Like ABM in 2017, and intent data in 2018. I’m predicting a surge of interest in the power of providing superior customer experiences — not limited to digital, but across all customer touchpoints in B2B. Think about it. We operate with a limited universe of customers and prospects. We are burdened with long sales cycles, but the payoff is high-ticket sales. We can’t afford to lose an account.  CX is the next competitive frontier.
  7. As ever, B2B success is undergirded by data. Marketers will continue to understand, and act upon the need for clean, complete and accurate data coverage of their market opportunity.  This is why Theresa Kushner and I published B2B Data-Driven Marketing, soon to be available via Kindle.  A new study from MX Group confirms: The Number 1 characteristic of top performing B2B firms is “Have good data.”  What’s Number 2?  “Have effective lead follow-up,” of course!

Happy 2019 to us all.

A version of this article appeared in Biznology, the digital marketing blog. 

The 10 Most Fascinating People in B2B Marketing

The top reason I love my work is the fascinating people I have the privilege to meet. I’ve always thought B2B marketing attracts unusually interesting professionals. People who see the potential, embrace the complexity and relish the challenges of our field.

B2B marketing
Credit: Getty Images by pagadesign

The top reason I love my work is the fascinating people I have the privilege to meet. I’ve always thought B2B marketing attracts unusually interesting professionals. People who see the potential, embrace the complexity and relish the challenges of our field.

Today, I am happy to introduce 10 of the many fascinating people I’ve interacted with during my adventures in 2018. All of them are high-energy contributors to the advancement of our field. And I’ve included a look-back shout-out to my fascinating contacts from 2017, 2016 and 2015.

  1. I’ve known Christopher Ryan, founder and CEO of Fusion Marketing Partners, for years, but this one is a standout. Check out his new book, “The Expert’s B2B Revenue Growth Playbook.” It’s practical and action-oriented, with a zillion tips on how to build sales — enhance your website, choose your key metrics, develop compelling content and more. Chris even offers a free PDF copy.
  2. Samantha Stone’s energy and good humor seem single-handedly to keep the wheels of B2B marketing going. She’s everywhere, providing advisory services to marketers who are grappling with how to go to market in an increasingly complex world. Her website offers a treasure trove of resources to help the rest of us get a head start.
  3. Every year, Scott Brinker brings our attention to the growth of martech, with his famous Marketing Technology Landscape graphic — now clocking in at over 6,800 point solutions. He’s the insightful blogger of ChiefMarTech and program chair of the informative conferences. Great work, Scott!
  4. Shane Schick’s Toronto-based B2B News Network is a top source for up-to-the-minute news in our industry. In this world of disappeared media, Shane deserves a lot of credit for running a successful publishing business. I find his daily email newsletter one of the best around. Somehow, Shane also finds the time to blog for Cision.
  5. A few years ago, Dan Konstantinovsky took the reins at R.H. Blake, a small Cleveland agency serving the manufacturing industry. Since then, he has taken the lead in converting traditional industrial marketing into a modern marketing powerhouse.
  6. Talk about high energy. Sangram Vajre, co-founder of Terminus and FlipMyFunnel, takes the cake. I was pleased to be invited to cover the conference this year, and shared a bunch of great ideas I picked up about ABM. With all that going on, how does Sangram also produce a daily podcast, I wonder?
  7. Jill Rowley, longtime martech sales leader (Salesforce, Marketo) and pioneer in the field of social selling, shared a big idea at the FlipMyFunnel conference. She envisions a day when B2B sales are transacted entirely through e-commerce, and the sales role will evolve to subject matter experts to buyers. “I have eliminated the word prospect from my vocabulary.” She says. Intriguing.
  8. Olle Leckne, a Stockholm-based LinkedIn advisor, has created a clever lead generation process for appointment-setting with highly refined audience targeting. His breakthrough: Measuring the time invested in generating and converting a lead, instead of response rates and media cost. The goal is to get a lead from hours down to minutes to set an appointment. The icing on the cake? Using GetAccept to track proposals as they make their way along the purchase path inside the prospective customer organization.
  9. Seattle-based Howard Sewell, president of Spear Marketing Group, consistently produces some of the best B2B marketing advice in the world. I am a subscriber to The Point, and recommend it to all my colleagues for its wisdom, clear thinking and actionable tips.
  10. Most B2B marketers already know Bob Bly, prolific author and sought-after copywriter. But this year, I am extra admiring of Bob because of his unique approach to Facebook. Instead of the throwaway comments the rest of us post, Bob uses the forum for thoughtful discussion of important and — dare I say, fascinating — topics. Always a joy to read and discuss.

Another great year in B2B marketing. Happy new year to all!

A version of this article appeared in Biznology, the digital marketing blog.