7 Lessons B2B Marketers Can (and Should) Learn from Retailers

7 Lessons B2B Marketers Can (and Should) Learn from Retailers

The retail industry went through a rollercoaster of disruption in 2018 like high-profile bankruptcies and global trade and economic tensions. However, consumer (buying) power has easily lifted it back on track; substantiated by strong labor market, growth in disposable personal income and elevated consumer confidence,  the year 2018 was able to accomplish a strong retail sales. (Deloitte)

Here are 7 important sales and marketing lessons B2B can learn from the retail industry.

#1 Prioritize

Recognize the value in scheduling what is necessary to do and eliminating what is not to help you focus and on schedule.

#2 Let Go

Analyze and turn tough situations into opportunities by leaning on data like incorporating a POS system, using social media monitoring software and tracking customer loyalty.

#3 Know Your Competitors

Know who they are, where they are and how they fare in the industry. Get in their circles and analyze their product assortment, customer service experiences, in-store displays, online shopping opportunities, events, packaging, and just about anything that makes them at par or behind in the competition.

#4 Shift Store Inventory If You Need To

Do not hesitate to eliminate a product line or introduce a new product. Use data like customer feedback and trends, work with vendors to effectively buy inventory for your store. This will help you sell more.

#5 Look Good To Customers

Give customers high- quality customer experience through attractive window displays for a certain market group, informative website, and social media blogs.

#6 Engage Your Customers

Teaching your staff to use courtesy statements with a smile and greetings will give your customer a positive lasting impression, but constantly refreshing them on operational procedures, customer service updates, product specifics training and staff meetings, will make them best represent your business and engage customers – a good conversation, answer their questions and suggest the best options. This will take your business to the next higher level of success.

#7 Show Your Customers You Care

Customers do business with you, increase sales and generate revenue, so put them first all the time. Great service, special events and offers are good stuff to show customers you care, but doing an extra mile for them like offering to customize or personalize a pair of jeans they bought to best fit their size and style, will add value to your business.

Finally, design an innovative multi-channel marketing strategy that will not only bolster awareness for your business both offline and online but will build a database of loyal customers for your business.

5 Biggest Roadblocks to B2B Marketing Prosperity this Year of the Pig

5 Biggest Roadblocks to B2B Marketing Prosperity this Year of the Pig

In a few days, we’ll be celebrating the Lunar New Year and ushering in the Year of the Pig. Just as how the Chinese New Year is a time for wishing family and friends good fortune for the coming year, it also marks new opportunities for us to achieve our goals.

This is especially true in the Year of the Pig. In the cycle of 12 Chinese animal zodiac signs, the pig arrives last and is believed to bring wealth and good fortune. This year, all zodiac signs get to experience better chances at achieving business success.

For B2B marketers, the Year of the Pig means more opportunities to contribute to revenues and move the sales needle—that is, if they can overcome the biggest roadblocks to marketing prosperity that stand in their way.

In today’s post, we’ll dissect these challenges one by one and try to determine how each obstacle impacts marketing success.

1. Working with poor quality marketing data

As marketers, we’re all keenly aware that data is the lifeblood of our campaigns. That’s why we want this vital fluid to be as clean and healthy as possible.

But despite the clear importance of working with high-quality marketing data, a lot of marketers still continue to struggle with data quality issues:

  • Only 38% of businesses trust their own data. (KPMG)
  • 60% of companies have an unreliable overall data health. (Sirius Decisions)
  • 25% of records in a marketing database contain bad data. (Sirius Decisions)
  • 20% of revenues are lost due to bad data. (Kissmetrics)
  • 41% of marketers say that inconsistent data across different platforms is their biggest challenge. (Marketingprofs)

Having a robust data management plan will spell the difference between a banner year and another missed sales target. Here’s a 5-step plan to free yourself from the influence of bad data:

  1. Keep records as complete as possible
  2. Have a regular update schedule
  3. Manage and merge duplicate records
  4. Standardize data and keep things consistent
  5. Develop a thorough data cleansing program

2. Underinvesting/Overinvesting in marketing technology

It’s easy to see how rapidly the tools and technologies we use as marketers are evolving. In 2015, there were around 2,000 different marketing technology (MarTech) solutions available. In 2018, this number has tripled to over 6,000 tools.

With such an overabundance of choices, it’s understandable that technology ranks as a top challenge for a great number of marketers this year. In fact, there are two ways that marketers struggle when it comes to MarTech.

First, MarTech is changing so fast that more than half of marketers admit they’re having a hard time keeping up. As Walker-Sands notes, even though more marketers are becoming early MarTech adopters, a majority still get hopelessly lost in the maze of tools they have to choose from.

At the other end of the spectrum, a significant number of marketers now run the risk of contracting the so-called shiny new toy syndrome. Instead of investing in technologies that they really need, marketers that suffer from shiny new toy syndrome buy MarTech solutions based on hype.

Gartner estimates that marketers earmark around a third of their budgets for MarTech, and more than 16% of the marketing budget gets spent on innovation. The problem with this is that CMOs also prioritize new capabilities at the expense of ROI, customer acquisition, and customer retention.

3. Getting stuck in past campaigns

There’s an old adage in military circles that says generals always tend to fight the last war. Military planners apply the lessons learned from past conflicts in the hopes of winning the present one, even though every new war presents a unique set of challenges that are far different than in the last conflict.

The same can be said of marketers. While it’s important to study what’s working and what isn’t, marketers also have a tendency to get stuck carrying out the last campaign.

According to research from AdRoll, as much as 81% of organizations now use some kind of marketing attribution model. In an increasingly-complex marketing process, attribution helps marketers identify how much each component contributes to results and to plan their next campaigns accordingly.

Attribution is clearly a critical part of modern marketing, and every marketer needs to adopt this into their process. The problem happens when marketers focus exclusively on past results to guide future campaigns. The marketing landscape changes so fast that best-in-class tools and tactics can quickly become obsolete.

Marketers who manage to flexibly adapt are the ones that thrive and prosper. Again, it’s important to learn from past campaigns, but it’s even more important to strive to be better and better.

4. Confusing targeting precision for accuracy

Modern marketing more closely resembles a typical episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley than an episode of AMC’s Mad Men. Marketers now heavily use data and algorithms to help them do what they do, instead of purely relying on their gut.

But being “data-driven” doesn’t always translate to being “data savvy.” One key reason for this is that marketers tend to confuse “precision” and “accuracy” in several key situations: accuracy refers to how close you get to the true value, while precision is how well you can repeat the same results.

Stats from Adobe/CMO indicate that 67% of marketers rank targeting accuracy as the main benefit of having a data-driven marketing culture. Yet only less than 10% of businesses are confident in their personalization capabilities, while another 33% claim to have limited or non-existent support for personalization.

When marketers fail to narrow down their target prospects and then settle for a broader pool of potential customers instead, they’re sacrificing accuracy for reach. It’s entirely possible to be extremely precise while completely missing the mark. As the great economist John Maynard Keynes once said: “It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.”

5. Not asking for help

More than 67% of B2B organizations outsource some or all of their marketing activities to a third-party agency. The key drivers of this outsourcing trend include:

  • Marketing activities now require more specialized, technical expertise.
  • The demand for marketing talent has outpaced supply.
  • Marketers now fulfill an expanded set of roles and responsibilities.

Despite these developments, a huge number of marketers still choose to keep marketing operations in-house, citing reasons such as:

  • Fear of losing operational control over a marketing activity
  • Risk of damaging brand and reputation
  • Possibility of hiring the wrong agency
  • Lack of management oversight

These are all valid concerns when it comes to deciding whether or not to ask for outside marketing help, but having a solid outsourced marketing plan solves most of these issues.

If there’s an area in your marketing process you’re having difficulties with, sometimes the only way to do something about it is to ask for help.

Conclusion:  These are five of the biggest obstacles to marketing prosperity and good fortune this year. Once again, the Year of the Pig brings tremendous opportunities for all marketers to deliver solid results—provided we overcome the stumbling blocks that stand in our way.

Wishing you great happiness and prosperity…

How 2018's Biggest B2B Stories Affect Marketing in 2019

How 2018’s Biggest B2B Stories Affect Marketing in 2019

The biggest B2B stories of 2018 have been told, and marketers concluded that it has been a well-delineated year for them, but what these stories have to do in the new year is yet to be revealed.

So, let’s take a peek on how these stories may develop and realize, as well as sight their possible after effects on the B2B marketing world in 2019.

Data Breach

The topnotch data breach of 2018 was Aadhar, which affected Indian residents’ 12-digit ID numbers and their private information including bank accounts.

Bear in mind that data breach threat could come from people you closely work with who have access to both your network and the people outside your organization, and use channels like email accounts, mobile devices, and cloud to gain data.

The aftermath could severely impact business reputation, contractual and legal obligations like notification requirements for affected customers and planned sale of the company.


Data Privacy and the GDPR

The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica debacle in 2016 was the most talked data privacy issue. Although both companies denied that a data breach was committed, Facebook still faced backlashes from investors and authorities and was summoned to answer and participate in further investigation.

However, the issue appeared to be a positive circumstance to data subjects instead, which drew data protection authorities and stakeholders, like the EU, to implement the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) last May 2018. The regulation ensures better control over data and forces companies to improve security.

Changes in Social Networks’ Algorithms

The big guys in the social network tweaked their games a bit – LinkedIn added an algorithm that would gauge how much a user will appreciate getting feedback from a certain viewer; meanwhile Facebook overhauled its News Feed by getting the most discussed posts rank better.

Everyone has gone social, almost, and 2019 will be paving the way to everything more interactive, transparent and fast like chatbots and artificial intelligence.

(Innovation Enterprise).

Digital Revolution

Digital connectivity has conquered almost half of the human populace. The hours spent by people online increases every year and mobile payments are becoming much easier to complete.

The digital rage will continue to intensify, rolling out 5G for mobile networks, more and greater chatbots and AI to replace human workforce, and connected clouds (public, private, hybrid) to meet the changing needs of companies.


Marketing Technologies

Martech 5000 is Scott Brinker’s supergraphic of 6,829 marketing solutions from 6,242 unique marketing vendors. These numbers may either go up or down which may be greatly affected by factors like changes in marketing and planning strategies, search marketing trends, social media trends, email and automation, analytics and reporting, content marketing and paid and earned media.

(Smart Insights)

Marketers and Data

Many marketers are under the impression that having big data is a plus factor, but sometimes become too overwhelmed and mishandle their supposed prized technology possession.

Take this from Jaideep Pabhu, Professor of Marketing at Cambridge Judge Business School:

“Marketers must be able to work skillfully with data. They increasingly need to do qualitative, anthropological research to gain deep insights into why people buy what they buy. But they also meanwhile have a massive and growing need for marketers, or roles within marketing teams, with excellent data analytical skills. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) need to know what is happening with AI, big data, the proliferation of digital channels and social media – they must really understand it all and understand it deeply.”

(University of Cambridge)

2018 has been concluded well, while 2019 has just begun. Let’s see who would make another or big or new story at the end of the year.

How to Run a Successful Marketing Campaign (Lessons from KFC)

How to Run a Successful Marketing Campaign (Lessons from KFC)

The Fortune 500 companies list for 2018 is largely contained by telecommunications, automobile, and financial corporations. It looks like even just the list per se is quite a value as it requires a purchase to download a copy of the Datastore.

On the other hand, KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), one of the biggest global fast-food chain in 123 countries won a prestigious award in the recently concluded SMARTIES awards, in five (5) categories: Lead Generation, Location Based, Relationship Building/CRM and Social Media Impact) which resulted in their Best In Show achievement – this, despite its rank (472nd) on the Fortune 500 list.

Here’s how the fast food mogul made the difference in getting their customers engaged, and the lesson we can learn from it.

Brand Recall

The fried chicken chain recently launched a nostalgic marketing strategy by reviving its iconic personality in a string of ads and social media marketing campaign, at its 75th anniversary. The campaign hit its target to draw back its customers as well as lure millennial customers. The ad content was not well applauded, but it was ‘talked’ about. Even overhaul plans on new equipment and store renovations are in place, but KFC is aware that they need more than just divisive marketing campaign to reclaim its top position via customer engagement

Brand Love

KFC branches underwent training and development which significantly helped employee retention.

KFC’s Herbs And Spices

Also, KFC was included in Single Grain’s 20 top marketing companies with a dynamic digital marketing strategy that increased company ROI and added value to their customers. The fried chicken chain utilized social media to generate leads, Twitter in particular, by tweeting ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken. Founded by The Colonel. Practitioners Of The Hard Way. Purveyors Of The World Best Chicken’, which followed only 11 people. However, these people were significant: the five Spices and guys named Herb, which netizens later on noticed, and gained over 318,172 retweets, over 700,000 likes and nearly 5,000 comments, and was one of the tons of user-generated Tweets, memes, Reddit posts and personal messages from consumers.

Lesson – the campaign was not something massive fancy digital campaign that took months of planning or production, but that simple strategy brought huge results which every marketer dream of.

Industries That Will Make a Leap in Asia this 2019

Industries That Will Make a Leap in Asia this 2019

Virtual Reality, Family Volunteer Vacations, Medical Marijuana, Green Energy, Drones, Mobility Technology, Biotechnology, Content Marketing were among the innovative industries predicted in 2017 to soar in 2018, and they did. So let’s look into what the coming year has in store for Asia, as well as, the globe.

4 Megatrends for 2019

Forbes came up with their prediction last October and picked on four soaring megatrends for the coming year:

  1. Life-saving innovations in the Healthcare industry will be focused on by investors
  2. Investing in Tech is a sure winner, though FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) has weakened and may continue to be until next year
  3. Though investing in the Energy industry was the right move in 2018, investors need to be careful in taking further steps through 2019
  4. Content marketing strategy will become more essential next year and put customer success on the frontline.

The Healthcare Industry

IDC Community sees the following to happen in the Healthcare industry in 2019:

  • 60% of Healthcare providers will make optimizing the digital patient experience a top 3 strategic imperative by 2020
  • A steady progress in AI technology adoption will directly impact 25% of business processes after 2019
  • 30% of Fortune 500 will offer employer-direct healthcare by 2021, as such is driven by the cost of specialty drugs and the evolution of negotiated bundled procedures

The ones gaining traction

USNews looks further to the last quarter of 2019 and onto 2020 with the following industries to boom:

  • Data Crunching will not just be about getting hefty numbers, but gaining useful insights that can be translated into a business edge, and will leverage on two growing fields where data use is exploding, Marketing and Market Research.
  • Counseling and Therapy on mental health is likely to increase demand for professionals in the field and is expected to grow by 41% by 2020
  • Scientific Research will continue to bring breakthroughs in medicine, manufacturing, transportation
  • Computer Engineering will gain more demand from big companies, specifically in Finance and Investing industries, to tie systems together for faster, more seamless and more secure processes

The Most Innovative

FAST COMPANY hails the 2018 World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies to continue to soar in 2019. Here’s half of the pack:

2019 for SMBs

However, The Balance Small Business named the best small business to engage with this year and potentially soar in 2019 are Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), Skilled Trades, Software Engineering And Development, Meal Kut Sales And Delivery, Virtual Reality, Self Storage Units, Home Renovations, Bike Sales Service And Rentals and Senior Care Services.

How B2B Marketers Can Leverage Micro-moments

How B2B Marketers Can Leverage Micro-moments

What do you do in moments when you are in a grocery waiting for your turn to pay at a cashier, in a restaurant for your check to be brought in or at a train station hoping for the next train to arrive sooner? I bet you are either browsing some friend’s profile pic on Facebook or googling for airline season travel packages during these micro-moments.

Micro-moments are the new breed of consumers’ spare moments utilized within a period while waiting for a certain task to finish, to learn something, do something, discover something or buy something via their mobile device. And research shows how smartphones have become an indispensable part of consumers lives:

micro-moments statistics

The curious consumer is research-obsessed who turns to the web for answers for every question that pops in his mind, the demanding consumer expects every digital experience to be personalized just for them, while the impatient consumer makes a decision faster than ever, and expect to act on those decisions right away.

This new breed of consumers are more curious, much demanding, and quite tougher to reach and pleased, thus compelling marketers to address these intent-driven micro-moments by constantly innovating strategies and for businesses to continually take their products and services to the next higher level, otherwise fail.

B2B marketers have their own share of the micro-moments pie: a VP for Marketing sits on a bench in an airport waiting for his plane to arrive, when suddenly a prospective client sends him an email asking a question that could factor their decision whether to accept the deal or not. This micro-moment now becomes a significant period as he instantly answers the client, otherwise, he loses an opportunity.

Successful brands are those who are able to provide their clients with the how to’s, cost breakdowns, feature comparisons, educational videos, product demonstrations, and other B2B needs during their micro-moments.

Sales and Marketing Insights From 3 Successful Salespeople

Sales and Marketing Insights From 3 Successful Salespeople

Successful people are the ones who see, hear and feel things above the standards. They have the power to turn challenges into opportunities, and each declined sale, a learning curve to productivity. Steve Cody, Co-Founder of Peppercomm speaks of three very successful salespeople and how they learn, build and nurture customers.

Restaurateur, Massimo Biberaj, studies his customers through their eyes. Each night, he welcomes every diner eye-to-eye.

Biberaj said:

I read the whites of their eyes. It tells me whether they want another glass of sauvignon or to engage in conversation with me or simply to be left alone.

Biberaj emphasized that trust is important to a salesperson’s success.


Look. It’s simple. It’s the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you, yourself, want to be treated. If you do, trust will follow.

Wells Fargo Advisor, Steven L. Nadell, on the other hand, is not an email person but prefers to engage in a worthwhile conversation with clients face-to-face.

Nadell does not believe in pursuing customers.


I believe the best salespeople should be interviewing clients and at the same time, we’re having our tires kicked. I only want clients who want to be here and want to work with me.

Modesto G. Gonzales, manager at Garmany, a Red Bank, New Jersey, clothing store, is also an expert in in-person interaction, but more of ears-over-eyes.


When I meet a customer, I listen. I don’t try to push. My goal is to first establish a customer’s confidence by being truthful and honest with them.

Gonzales knows his timing on customers


I try not to call or text customers more than three times a year, but on their birthday or wedding anniversary, to let them know of a new clothing line’s arrival.

Here are some more thoughts from the three sales experts:


Be honest with yourself and the customer. I always ask the chef to eat his own food each night before I’ll offer it to my customers. If it’s not good enough for him, I won’t put it on the specials list.

– Massimo Biberaj


You have to truly love what you do for a living in order to be successful in attracting and retaining customers. Clients always come first. In fact, try to put yourself in the clients’ shoes and imagine what their wants and needs are. It’ll make you a better salesperson.

– Steven L. Nadell


Every one of Garmany’s customers is highly successful in their field of work. As a result, they’re finely attuned to giving and receiving top-notch service. If you can’t provide the very best service, they’ll find someone else who can.

– Modesto G. Gonzales