Stir It Up–It’s the Holiday Season!


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Food and Wine Take some tips from food and wine experts

The magic of the holiday season is unmistakable. Whether or not you are a social enthusiast, you have to admit that the lights, the music, the crisp, cool air and the general holiday cheer all around you can bring a smile to your face. In our high-stress, non-stop action world of B2B marketing, the end of the year hopefully brings some relief as we try to lighten up and manage at least a little time off to enjoy the season with our families and friends. In case you are interested in some unique places to travel to this holiday season, here’s a great list I found of the top holiday destinations of 2012.

All year round, you work hard nosed to meet sales targets, balance budgets, optimize resources and watch the bottom line. Give yourself a break now. Think of how exciting it is to wrap and open up gift boxes in the season of joy. Out-of-the-box marketing can offer the same delight to marketers and customers alike. Stir things up and watch what happens! Creativity takes on a new dimension as campaigners think of ways to entertain their audiences and build engagement riding on the holiday mood. Here is an interesting list of creative campaigns by B2B marketing agencies.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time now would probably have guessed that the 3 biggest passions in my life could very easily be: Food, Wine and Travel—and in no particular order. Browsing for interesting content to read, one can find some very useful guides from experts in these three industries. As B2B marketers, can we find any valuable tips to infuse our lead generation and marketing activities with some invigorating, refreshing ideas? I’m happy to share some good ones that I found!

6 Tips to Make B2B Marketing Enjoyable and Effective

—Just Like Your Holiday Meals!

Here are some useful tips from planning a holiday menu to eating right. Now put these tips in context of B2B marketing and you have an enjoyable platter of effective ideas that will deliver great results.

  1. Healthy Ingredients—When planning a holiday meal, most of us get carried away with the big ideas, the delicacies, the centre-piece foods, the lavish desserts. Typically, these are not the healthiest items on the menu. Make sure you have enough fresh fruits, raw or cooked seasonal veggies, aromatic herbs and spices, even if not part of your main dish then at least in the sides, appetizers and accompaniments. Your guests will thank you for the thoughtful attention to helping them eat healthy. Your lead generation process must follow a similar pattern of planning for the essentials—just like you examine the food groups while planning a meal, pay attention to the “nutrients” and essentials that will balance the components of your marketing strategy and deliver a healthy conversion rate. Read my post about the world’s best recipe for demand generation and what ingredients go into it.
  2. Quality Over Quantity—How many varieties of grapes must you taste before you can choose the best to make great champagne? If you read my post about critical steps to effective lead management, you’ll remember that almost 240 varieties are on the shortlist and only the best make it into prized champagne. Make sure you have a significant volume filtered into a good list of quality leads that you can work diligently to pour through your sales funnel.
  3. Experiment with Alternatives—Be creative! You don’t always have to use the same ingredients in your lead generation strategy. With the staples that will deliver a great taste, you can throw in some alternatives and your audience will be intrigued by the innovation. Remember my niece, Stacy’s tofu and chicken soup I shared with you?
  4. Appetizers Should Be Just That…Appetizers—I love the French word that describes these bite-sized snacks so well—amuse-bouche. The word itself conjures up an apt image of appetizing tidbits that give you an insight into the main course that is being served up next. A lead generation campaign must do the same thing; create interest and fascination until your prospect has reached the point of conversion. Read my post about creating a perfectly balanced lead generation tasting menu.
  5. Creating Sensational Sides—Throughout the lead generation process, several small decisions are made by the buyer before the final purchasing decision is sealed. You need to create enough excitement at every step of the lead progression cycle. It’s like the buffet table—as your guests move from your salads and accompaniments towards the main course, you accelerate the interest levels and heighten the excitement. You want them to already start imagining how attractive the main dish will be if the sides are oh so sensational! In case you missed it earlier, read my post on managing perceptions and creating value. I talked about creating my own champagne…and it’s not just another wine! By the way, if you need help finding good wines to pair with your holiday meals, here is the list of Wine Spectator’s 2012 Top 100.
  6. Portion Control—This one is a tip for eating healthy during the holidays rather than cooking healthy. Remember, if you want to enjoy the delicious meals throughout the season, exercise portion control and savour the great taste of every meal. Same rule applies in the world of business. If your organization has been very active on social media channels, you are likely to be overwhelmed with data. Because that’s one of the things social media does—offers you multiple access points to gather data about customers, competitors, industry trends, and so on. All very valuable; if only you know how to use this data and what to do with it. If not, you could have on hand a situation one CEO described as “drinking from the fire hose”—like 1700 other CEOs who are fumbling in the dark with social media.

When you create positive, unique experiences that make your brand stand out, you have a winning B2B marketing strategy. Determine the right ingredients, find a balance of creativity and realistic solutions, know your customers’ tastes and preferences and offer them incredible value. The holidays are a great time for reflection—look back to survey the B2B demand generation landscape you have carefully crafted over the year. Measure the customer mindshare and engagement you have achieved. If you find good cheer all around and the mood is positive, leads and sales will follow.

How can your B2B organization make the customer experience unique? What ideas can you bring to the B2B marketing table from the world of holiday food and wine? Feel free to share on my blog. You can also email or call me, Louis Foong, at (905) 709-3827.

Image used under licence from Shutterstock.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.


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