Marketing Talk: Does Marketing Create a Need or Simply Expose it? Discuss.

You Need a ThneedTurns out a popular search on our site is “how do you create a need in marketing?” Our blog manager asked me to write a post to address the question. My first thought was "OK, that's a little vague." So I googled it. Turns out this philosophical topic is heavily debated online. My second thought was "Uh oh."

Does marketing create a need or does the need already exist and marketing uncovers it?

Since there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer, I thought I'd set the stage for some more discussion. I'm clearly not an expert on this but here's what I think:

  • Customers and prospects have needs.
  • Marketing identifies or uncovers those needs through market research (surveys, focus groups, and competitive analysis).
  • Then its marketing's job to expose (or exploit?) those needs and communicate the value of potential solutions.

New product features and benefits help address needs. Emotion then creates desire (Just look at the company Apple – do we really all "need" an iPad? We certainly all desire one.)

So how does marketing uncover the need?

One tactic that is often used is the concept of "Content Marketing." All the buzz these days, Content Marketing is really just another way of getting information in front of the consumer at the right time, in the right way and at the right stage of the research and buying cycle. Or at least that's what I think. (See more on this at  Why Every Small Business Needs to be in the Content Marketing Business).

In the research stage you don’t want to sell – you want to inform and educate. Marketing can uncover a need by creating and distributing thought-provoking content in the form of white papers, webinar content, email marketing, ebooks, and blog posts. They may have analysts write about relevant data and best practices. They may exhibit at tradeshows and demo products that will address the consumers need. And especially in the B2B world, creating a little bit of anxiety by challenging the status quo is a way to create/uncover need (vis-a-visa "The Challenger Sale" for example). 

So what do you think? Does marketing create or uncover a need? And what tactics do you use to do it? Let me know below.

Join the Pros (from your office) at Eloqua’s Virtual Road to Revenue Tour

Don't you hate it when your favorite band goes on tour and decides to skip your city? If you really want to go you have to fork over money for the trip plus a ticket – ugh! Talk about adding salt to your wound.

If you're a marketer looking for a forum of cutting edge best practices, tips and tactical advice on how to articulate a killer strategy to execute your next campaign, I have good news for you: The Eloqua Virtual Road to Revenue Tour.

Eloqua Virtual Road to Revenue Tour

The Eloqua Road to Revenue Tour provides marketers with a chance to learn and network with peers to help them succeed – and you don't need to be an Eloqua user, all modern markters are welcome. For those that don't have access to an event in or near your city, the Virtual Tour is right up your alley. This three hour event is a pick-and-choose format with six sessions ranging from calendaring for content marketing to account-based selling and webinar strategy for the sales funnel. And, we're teaming up with some of the best in the business – DemandBase, UBM Techweb, Kapost and more. Stay for one or stay for all – check out the full agenda here.

Join us August 1, 2013 for the Virtual Road to Revenue and see how your peers are targeting, engaging and converting prospects to customers, and customers to champions. Experts will provide examples of how to engage in education and awareness through consideration and close. Attending the Virtual Road to Revenue event is entirely free!

 

 

 

4 Ways Internet Conferencing Improves Productivity

At ReadyTalk, we are obviously big fans of internet conferencing. It’s efficient, saves time and money, and helps boost productivity.  Here is a refresher on why internet conferencing is useful:

1. Meet anytime, anywhere

Aligning everyone’s schedule can be challenge. With internet conferencing, one click is all it takes to start a meeting whenever is most convenient, regardless of location.

2. Save Time and Money

This is obvious. While meeting in person is ideal, it’s not always feasible. Internet conferencing saves time (no travel) and money (cost of travel, lodging, meals, etc.) With built-in video services, collaboration is more personal since it is easy to see one another.

3. Sharing: Applications and Desktop

Sharing applications, even desktops, makes meeting that more effective. Participants can view presentations, documents and more the way they are intended to be seen. That way, no one misses the important details.

4. Leverage Recordings

Good conferencing services allow you to record your meetings, and then provide hosting and access to archived materials. This is helpful especially if you need to reference or distribute the recording later. Additionally, recordings are convenient as they are accessible on your own terms.

Has internet conferencing benefitted your collaboration? Have something else to add to our list? Let us know, by dropping a note below.

ReadyTalk for ExactTarget Application Now Available on ExactTarget’s HubExchange

After several months of preparation, including development, promotion, and word-of-mouth buzz, ExactTarget is launching HubExchange, a marketplace for marketers, by marketers.  ReadyTalk is very excited to be both an inaugral app within HubExchange, as well as the only webinar provider that directly integrates with ExactTarget.

In addition to the launch of our ExactTarget application, we are rallying around HubExchange Week to help build excitement for the new marketplace. Click on one of the links below to register and join in!

Check out the recording for a peak at the ReadyTalk integration with ExactTarget and some of the key features:

ReadyTalk-provided Email Template

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Use your own ExactTarget templates or ReadyTalk-provided templates for webinar registration pages, invitations, and emails
  • Increase attendance rates by including a unique ICS file in confirmation and reminder emails sent from ExactTarget
  • Automatically capture webinar registration and attendance data in ExactTarget to drive immediate follow-up and increase conversion rates

 

Ready to Get Started? The ReadyTalk for ExactTarget app is available now at https://hubexchange.exacttarget.com/listing/ReadyTalk/beta

Check back next week to hear all about our HubExchange Week experiences in Denver and on the road!

 

 

 

Webinars 501: Good Habits

Webinar tipsThis post is the final in a series on webinars. While it maybe elementary to many of our expert readers, we hope the series has been valuable to those of you who are considering a webinar program or just starting out. You can read the previous posts in the series: Webinars 101Webinars 201Webinars 301 and Webinar 401. Maybe our experts will provide some additional tips!

In order to ensure your webinar's success, you'll want to consider how you are presenting it as well as what content you plan to present. Here are some habits you'll want to adopt in order to make your presentations as dynamic as they are capable of being.

Do a Sound Check

It's vital that your audience can easily hear what you have to say. If your sound is muffled, distorted or hard to hear, people will give up and exit out of your webinar. You should do a test run before your actual webinar to make sure that your sound is working well. Consider using an external microphone and a good quality headset to improve your sound quality. These often work better than the microphone and speakers that come with your computer.

Use Visuals

Don't just talk. The Internet is a visual medium–take advantage so you can catch people's attention. Use some or all of the following: An attractive Powerpoint deck. Slides should be colorful, relevant and easy to read. Short video clips, preferably those that are entertaining while making a point. Play music or a video between segments. 

Present Information In Short Chunks

A webinar is not an hour-long monologue–not if you want to attract your audience's attention. Instead, break it up into small pieces using some of these techniques: Ask for questions or feedback every 10 to 15 minutes, preferably as part of a transition from one piece of information to another. Create a discussion or dialogue with one or more co-moderators. 

Make Your Presentation as Interactive as Possible

In addition to breaking your presentation up into manageable chunks, you'll want to increase interactivity in order to keep your audience's attention. Never just read your Powerpoint slides to the audience. They can read the slides themselves; add to the information on them to keep things interesting. Share your screen and walk the audience through using a website or app to achieve their goal. Mark up your slides in front of the audience. Circle, highlight and cross things out. Use humor whenever possible. Put up an inspiring quote and ask for people's thoughts on it. If you can make your audience laugh, you can keep their attention. Make sure humor is relevant and natural–don't force it. Also, make sure you don't poke fun at your audience or at any minority group. Encourage discussion and questions by using a variety of visual aids, such as quotes, videos and slides to get people talking. If possible, get some questions in advance from participants to increase their interest level.

Want more? You can find other webinar best practices on our website.