B2B Integrated Marketing: 5 Step Foolproof Guide

B2B Integrated Marketing

By Chance Shay Director of B2B and Infrastructure Development

Twitter: @ChanceShay 


Marketing communications in silos doesn’t work. If your PR efforts aren’t aligned with your content marketing and your digital marketing is on a different frequency, you’re setting yourself up for a not-so-fun conversation with your CMO. In a time when the average attention span is eight seconds and where humans are producing the same amount of data in two days as was generated in all of human existence leading up to 2003, it’s easy to see why each individual marcomm channel is less effective in isolation.

But with a challenge comes an opportunity. By syncing up all of their efforts, marketers are able to make the overall impact of marcomm efforts far greater than their individual sums. This is integrated marketing.

Integrated marketing communications (IMC) is the only marketing strategy that is effective in 2017. It optimizes the communication of a consistent message from a brand to stakeholders by integrating communication channels and harnessing the benefits of each channel, which amplifies their impact beyond what they could achieve individually.

The entertainment industry has done this for years. At Comic Con, you’ll see the same message about a new movie being promoted on advertisements (paid), conveyed during interviews and editorial stories (earned), used on social media (shared) and said during the panel discussion with the movie’s stars (owned).

B2B brands have to take this same approach, but with a few key changes. To help, we’ve put together a foolproof, five-step guide to help any B2B brand nail its integrated marketing plan.

1) Define the business objective

An obvious first step, but it’s essential that the integrated marketing flow from the brand’s overall business objective. Whether stealing market share or creating a new category, the brand’s big picture goal will drive everything from strategy to KPIs and execution.

2) Know thy audience

More than just understanding the type of business that’s a good fit for your service or product (i.e. a SMB in cleantech with $10-25 million in revenue), a brand must have a rich, granular picture of who is most likely to purchase their product and why. The “why” is important for establishing and framing the unique selling proposition for any good or service, but the “who” is the most important for structuring your IMC plan. Is your customer likely to be innovative or more risk adverse? What’s important to your customer in how they operate their business and the culture they create internally? Is a top tier trade outlet or a general news daily with huge name cachet more influential to them? For example, if the decision makers for your prospective customers are millennials, you’ll want to know they are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites than older generations. That impacts strategy in a meaningful way, so get as holistic a view of your audience(s) as possible.

3) Set SMART communications goals that support the business objective

Like with most sound strategies, for IMC planning you must start with the end goal and work backward to develop a plan for how to get there. What is it – in a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time dimensioned way – that you’re wanting the plan to achieve. Is it to drive a 20 percent increase in free trial sign-ups? Is it to grow website traffic for key landing pages by 30 percent? At the end of the day, for B2B brands it all boils down to driving revenue. The marcomm component is meant to move new business prospects down the marketing funnel from being brand aware to being brand loyal. Setting SMART goals and KPIs for your integrated efforts will help ensure you’re on the right track.

4) Select your weapons of choice

Not all platforms and mediums are right for every brand. In some industries, trade shows have a higher demonstrated ROI than weekly vlogs on YouTube. For others, the best way to reach decision makers is on LinkedIn and not through content marketing. The first question to ask when determining where to focus marcomm resources is, “Where are my customers spending their time and how are they influenced?” Almost as important is asking yourself, “What channels allow me to showcase my brand’s strengths?” If your brand offers something innovative but a bit dense and niche, then Instagram as a platform would be challenging to generate traction. Instead, speaking opportunities at conferences where you (or your CMO) have more time to explain nuances would be more impactful.

Remember, you have all the PESO (paid, earned, shared, and owned) channels at your disposal.

For Paid, consider if your audience is actively looking for your solution or if you have to be proactive in helping them realize they need your product or service. When thinking of earned coverage, would contributed by-lined articles support your communications goals or would an analyst evaluation be better? On Shared channels, selecting the platform must flow from determining the strategy for how social media will help reach the communications goal – whether by creating a community, showcasing thought leadership, engaging in the digital conversations prospective customers are having or otherwise.

Part of how IMC for B2B brands is different than for consumer brands is how owned content is leveraged. Owned content should be valuable to your customers and your customers’ customers. Your customers want to know you “get them,” but they also appreciate content that reinforces their value. The ROI is clear when you consider that B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month. If your content is targeted, that increase in traffic means an increase in leads. Of course, that’s just one data set, but wouldn’t you like 300% of the traffic you’re getting now?

5) Use an umbrella to make it rain

Traditionally, an umbrella blocks the rain from hitting you. But for B2B brands, you need an umbrella that covers all of your IMC to bring in new business and make it rain. The umbrella, of course, is an overarching theme or idea that ties all of your marcomm efforts together. It could be owning a position or using some fun, quirky euphemism to convey the unique selling proposition of your product or reinforce a brand identity. This doesn’t mean that all efforts across all platforms need to look exactly the same. In fact, solid marcomm utilizes the most impactful features of each platform, but the umbrella campaign theme or concept keeps everything cohesive and consistent. When deciding an umbrella theme, think big picture about how it would translate across each of your decided platforms and whether it syncs with your strategy for how you intend to utilize each channel.

With audiences diversifying and a fragmented media landscape, there are no silver bullets for achieving communications goals. To be effective in moving the bottom line needle, communications – from advertising to PR, from social media to content marketing – need to be intentional in both strategy and timing. Check out a few ideas here, then follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to crushing the IMC plan and impressing your CMO.

Best Media Training Tips

By Julie Wright —President

Twitter: @juliewright


Our agency meets every two weeks for in-house training and recently Practice Area Director Chance Shay shared his best media training tips in a fun session he titled “Crushing Media Interviews.” I’ve participated in or delivered many media trainings, and I liked how Chance’s presentation so concisely shared our agency’s media training tips. So, I’m sharing a recap here.

To avoid a media meltdown, follow this four-step media interview process and our best media training tips:

Step 1. Screen the Opportunity

When you see a media interview go bad like this British interview with Quentin Tarantino, the culprit is typically a lack of preparation combined with an unrealistic expectation as to how the interview was supposed to go. When things don’t go as we expect, some of us—like Tarantino—will lose our cool (which makes great, if cringe-worthy, television for the rest of us).

Screening requires basic fact finding to ensure the opportunity is a good fit for you and that you prepare appropriately.

Chance’s best media training tips started with reviewing the outlet’s and writer’s past coverage. Is this media outlet and opportunity a good fit for your business and its goals? Is it a top-tier media outlet, smaller and scrappier blog or trade media that look for advertising in exchange for editorial coverage? Will the writer do their due diligence and apply a professional code of ethics such as the Society of Professional Journalists’ code? (The established rules of journalism are not always followed or respected by many new media outlets and blogs–from pay-to-play to twisting quotes to fit a partisan political agenda.)

A blogger seeking clicks has a different goal than a long-form magazine feature writer or a local TV news reporter needing video for broadcast, video for the webs and an article for the web. Print and online journalists will often want video to accompany their stories as well.

Find out who else the reporter is interviewing for the story. Are you one of many voices or are you the only person speaking to your side of an issue. They may or may not tell you who else they’re interviewing, but it will certainly help you better prepare if you can find out.

If you’re not clear what it is that the reporter wants from you for their story, ask for more details or clarity. If their explanation doesn’t make sense to you, it is okay and often safer to politely decline.

If this is an opportunity you are interested in, it is important to get the reporter’s deadline and commit to the interview well before that time. I have seen clients hold out until the last second and, as a result, miss the opportunity. The reporter wants to complete all interviews as early as possible so that they can write the story. The longer you wait to provide a comment, the higher the likelihood others will shape the story and your quote will be placed at the very end of the article, if it gets included at all.

Step 2. Prepare for the Opportunity

Take the time to prepare yourself by drafting or reviewing your key messages and talking points.

If you don’t have these already, start by narrowing down the main points you’d want to communicate. Pick your top three. Practice them in front of a mirror or with a friend.

If you are expecting challenging questions during your interview, brainstorm all of the worst rude questions you might be asked and practice your responses to them. That way, when the nasty question arises, you’ll be relaxed and able to respond without losing your cool.

During our discussion of preparation methods, Chance was asked by a participant whether it was true that Sarah Palin had refused media training. Famously, she did and famously, it showed.

Step 3. Interview Smart

“After all of this, it’s go time,” Chance said. “If it’s an outlet that’s challenging for your client or client industry, you can still get a great win.”

During the interview, remember your ABCD’s.
  • Acknowledge the question: “I’m glad that you asked that.” Or “I get asked that question a lot.”
  • Bridge to key messages: “That’s a great question that I get asked a lot, but what’s really important to people is / what our customers ask is…” These phrases help you move from the interviewer’s questions to your key messages. More examples: “Let me answer that question by putting things into context…” “Let’s talk about something I’m even more familiar with…” “Well the answer is no, but what is really important here is…”
  • Conclude with proof points: “… we know that because we did a customer survey and 95% said…”
  • Dangle the next topic if you’re feeling lucky: “… and it’s dang cool software design” or “… and that discovery leads to a really surprising new problem to solve.”

Chance’s best media training tips included being brief. The less you say, the more poignant and quotable your points are. It also lets the interviewer be engaged so they can ask questions and leaves them wanting more. It’s easy to drone on, especially when a reporter is interviewing you by phone and taking notes. Just because the reporter hasn’t asked another question, doesn’t mean you need to fill the void with ramblings. Make your point and wait for the next question.

Avoid negatives or charged words. A “problem” is a “challenge.” You don’t “hate” something, you “prefer its alternative.” It wasn’t a “failure” but a “learning opportunity.”

Recent media research shows that the media don’t have a political bias. They have a bias for ‘negative’ angles. Conflict sells. When everything is going smoothly and harmoniously, there’s no news.

Remember during your interview that nothing is off the record and the camera is always rolling. What you say before or after the interview can be picked up by a hot mic. Chance’s best media training tips include not saying anything you don’t want to see all over the Internet.

Be conscious of your energy level and body language. Your nonverbal communication can say more than your words. Voice, gestures, posture, eye contact. Avoid eye rolls or big sighs. And if it’s an on-camera interview, dress for the part.

Step 4. Follow Up

Correct any inaccurate statements or provide more follow-up to clarify content from the interview. This could include emailing a full study or images and other links to the reporter. If you have an agency or PR department, they will often take care of the loose ends.

But you can still debrief on the final published story to look for opps to improve for next time.

Chance shared additional do’s and don’ts among his best media interview tips. It was an excellent session but it is no replacement for a full, customized media training session including on-camera practice that is based on your industry, your company’s needs and your own level of comfort in the media hot seat.

To learn more about getting our best media training tips in a customized session for your team or your media spokesperson, please contact us at (W)right On Communications. Call (858)755-5411 or email info@wrightoncomm.com.

Five Tips for Successful Social Media Branding

By: Kara Dement

Twitter: @KaraDeMent_


In more ways than one, social media is at the heart of how most organizations communicate with their audiences.

‘Heart’ is a good metaphor since it’s both central to the communications strategy and the source of how the organization looks and feels—and of course the ‘look and feel’ is the definition of a brand. So how do you make sure your organization’s look and feel are accurately and consistently portrayed through social media? Here are five expert tips to keep your social media strategy on the brand:

  1. Establish and maintain a consistent voice voice GIF

Buffer defines voice as, “your brand personality described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional.” If you want people to listen, you need to inject some personality. Know your brand’s voice and ensure it’s aligned with your company culture and your target audience. Then make sure you use the same voice across all platforms so that you don’t come across as a split personality.

  1. Choose the right platforms

Understanding each platform’s audience can help you identify what social media platforms are the right choice, and then you can use your brand voice to share things that are relevant to that target audience. Snapchat users on average are between the ages of 18-34 according to Omnicore Agency, so using Snapchat to discuss retirement planning probably won’t work. Also, not all voices work across all platforms. If your brand voice doesn’t have a playful side, you should either look into developing one or steer clear of Snapchat altogether.

  1. Select appropriate visuals

When it comes to describing your brand, a picture is worth a thousand words. So select imagery carefully and make sure it is consistent with and helps augment the story your voice is telling. Speaking of consistency, it’s also important to maintain visual consistency across all social media platforms. Having the same colors, logos, etc. is a given, but even your photography, video and shared stories should all align with your brand’s personality.

  1. Engage

Nobody wants to have a conversation with themselves, plus that goes against the whole point of “social” media. For a brand to have a credible personality, it needs to be responsive on social media, or people will assume no one at your organization is listening. Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert, found that 42% of consumers expect a 60-minute response time, so being engaged with the audience’s comments, questions and concerns is critical to meeting your audience’s expectations. It’s also a great way to build trust and rapport so when you want your customers to engage with you, they’ll be ready and willing. yes killer whale GIF

  1. Offer relevant and killer content

At (W)right On, we go by the 80/20 rule. Meaning, 80% of content should be “check this out”, so long as it relates to the brand, and 20% should be “check us out”. Talking about yourself all the time is a turnoff, and not the kind of personality that brands want to be perceived as having. If you stick to the 80/20 rule, it will help prevent the pitfalls of constant monologue and will help develop your brand’s personality by giving it depth beyond your own organization.

Need help developing your brand’s voice and personality on social media? Call or email our team of social media pros to help! You can reach us at (858) 755-5411 or info@wrightoncomm.com.

Why engage Millennials in philanthropy? Here are 4 good reasons

By Kat Beaulieu—HR Communications Strategist

Twitter: @stubborngoat.com


There is a too common perception among donor-reliant nonprofits that targeting Millennials with fundraising efforts is a waste of time and resources. If the big donations tend to come from the bequests and corporations associated with older audiences, why put effort into trying to reach Millennials?

Engaging Millennials to support your nonprofit organization can have far-reaching benefits that positively impact your bottom line.

Here are four crucial reasons to reach out to them.

  1. Millennials are now the nation’s largest living generation.

That alone should be enough incentive. What business plan ignores the largest living demographic? A short-sighted one, that’s what. Through their sheer numbers, Millennials can make social media posts go viral, providing a tremendous awareness boost to charitable giving campaigns. Just look at the reach of initiatives like #GivingTuesday. And as a direct result of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which took social media by storm, scientists discovered a new ALS gene.

  1. Because there are so many of them, Millennials are in tough competition for jobs.

Those who want to get ahead understand the value of having volunteer experiences on their resumes. Talented and eager Millennials will work for als ice bucket challenge GIF your organization for free on labor intensive but meaningful activities like events, emails, and social media. This can save your organization time and money. Pair your Millennial volunteer with an experienced individual who will share all the intricacies and nuances of the role. Imagine the awesome results when your paid Volunteer Coordinator explains the complexity of volunteer scheduling and the Millennial researches and implements the latest scheduling software, shaving 10-hours off the Coordinator’s weekly workload.

  1. Millennials want to be part of your boards–they just don’t know they’re invited.

Board appointments are another powerful reference Millennials would love to have on their resumes. Imagine the impact of replacing some of your retiree board members with Millennials. Instead of having people who have nothing to prove, you’d have people who have everything to prove. Again, you need to set them up for success. They’re new at this, so setting clear goals and expectations is key, and assigning a mentor is even better. But the time and cost-saving results of having an enthusiastic Millennial heading up or assisting on a board project can be remarkable.

  1. For Millennials, there is a connection between volunteering and donation amounts.

In fact, by a margin of more than two-to-one, Millennials who volunteer for nonprofits are more likely to make donations. Also, Millennials who form long-term volunteer relationships tend to give larger gifts and encourage friends and family to give and volunteer as well[1]. This means there’s an exponential effect to  kanye west vmas 2015 millennials vanguard award GIFengaging Millennials in volunteer work. Not only will the volunteer work likely lead to donations, but the Millennials will pull their friends and family in too.

These are four good reasons why your nonprofit should be engaging Millennials, but perhaps the most powerful one is that you’ll be benefitting now while building a relationship with future bequestors and corporate decision-makers.

Now that you know the ‘why’ allow us to help you with the ‘how’ to attract and engage Millennials to your nonprofit organization. Get in touch and let’s get the conversation started!

[1] 2012 Millennial Impact Report, by Achieve.

Influencing the C-Suite: 3 Tips for B2B Influencer Marketing

By Aisha Belagam

Twitter: @AishaBelaPR


Fashion bloggers jet setting to tropical destinations wearing the trendiest floral prints. Genetically blessed Instagram influencers promoting weight loss pills after an early morning session at Equinox. From selfies to flat-lays, these are the types of personalities and formats that typically come to mind when you hear the term ‘influencer’. But these personalities won’t do much for your B2B marketing strategy.

American Idol business jennifer lopez american idol american idol xiii GIFAs with B2C, B2B influencer marketing is about connecting with influential people in your community and leveraging them to build trust and credibility, driving your message. In this digital age, where social media is becoming a regular part of everyone’s lives, influencer marketing is becoming a vital part of the communications strategy. And yes, you can and should use it for B2B companies. The C-Suite is engaged on social media and 84% of CEOs and VPs say they use social media to help make purchasing decisions. Here are three tips to consider when developing your B2B influencer marketing strategy:

1. Where are they and who do they look to?

Who and what influences your target audience? Don’t get deflected by focusing on who has the most followers. A million followers do not necessarily equate to a huge influence on your target audience. This isn’t a popularity contest. Plus, upcoming thought leaders are more likely to have the capacity to pay attention to your brand. Focus on influencers who receive a large amount of engagement on topics relevant to your vertical. These are the thought leaders you’re looking for. The analysts, industry experts, authors, speakers, and media folk who are actively involved in industry discussions, leading the way with their expert insight and educated opinions. You’ll find most of them on LinkedIn and Twitter.

       2. Look within

Who understands your brand better than your team? No one. That’s why you should leverage the CEO, employees, and clients as part of your strategy.

Employee advocacy is a powerful thing. Encourage your employees to promote your brand, whether it’s through social posts and blogs, at speaking opportunities, or by getting involved at industry events. Empower those with the most knowledge, the ones who work on your brand daily, to become the thought leaders opining and engaging, increasing your brand’s visibility.

C-level executives are an integral way for B2B brands to make a personal connection. They are the thought leaders bringing the brand to life. Using C-level executives is a key way to build relationships with analysts and the media, increasing coverage and establishing credibility.

Share results. Success stories from your customers can be packaged into consumable case studies, infographics, and testimonials. It’s great to have your team promoting your brand, but there is an obvious bias. Your customers, on the other hand, don’t have the same stake in your company and their experiences add a layer of authenticity.

      3.  Don’t just promote your own agenda

Build a real relationship with your influencers so they are engaged before you need them. It’s a two-way street. Think about how you can help them while promoting your brand. Reference them as experts, quote them in your blog posts, give them access to your products or services, engage with their social content, and stay top of mind. When the time comes, they will be more familiar with you and more likely to go the extra mile to help your brand.Empire FOX music love happy best GIF

Influencers can help a B2B brand through numerous channels. Think about your goals and identify what your brand needs. Influencers can do everything from collaborating on social content to hosting a webinar, from being an ambassador at your tradeshow to quoting you in their latest interview.

As interest in traditional forms of advertising plummets, influencer marketing is becoming a more important part of the integrated strategy. Collaborating with influencers in the ways outlined above can help your brand become more influential in itself.

Want to learn how your brand can leverage influencer marketing? Drop us a line. With proven influencer marketing results with national brands in both the B2B and B2C sector, we can work with you to develop and implement an integrated strategy that brings your brand targeted, measurable results.

Marketing Meets Dating

By Ronda Williams—Marketing and Administrative Coordinator

Twitter: @R_Williams11


Let’s cut to the chase and dive into the juicy stuff! If you haven’t noticed, dating and marketing have a lot of similarities. The two worlds could almost be walking hand-and-hand. Let’s see why marketing and dating make a great pair.

Marketing meets Dating…

When you think of that first date, what comes to mind? When you think about marketing for a new client or company, what comes to mind? You guessed it, branding!

Branding… funny mad men advertising social marketing GIF

Business Dictionary defines branding as, “The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind.” 

You must first know your brand before developing a strategy. Identifying who and what the brand is in your market should be a key component. Your brand while dating is crucial as well! “First impressions are everything,” is what you should think about when preparing for that first date or new business venture.

eharmony advises these three basics to make a first good impression:

  1. Dress well (Custom brand design)
  2. Personal grooming (Choosing your target audience)
  3. Arrive early or on time (Timing the brand launch perfectly)

Strategy…Image result for strategy

According to the
book, “Marketing Insights from A to Z” strategy is, “the glue that aims to build and deliver a consistent and distinctive value proposition to your target.”

Developing a marketing strategy that is customized and unique is a goal that we strive to achieve for our client partners. As a marketing expert, you not only want to deliver wins for your client but you also want to create a trusting relationship with their audience.

Dating is all about finding a winning strategy to land that special man or woman! Playing hard to get might be a part of your strategy or waiting two days before calling. Whatever your strategy is while dating I’m sure you have one.

Physical Attraction…

When making the decision about who to date, most people encounter the question of, “is there attraction present?”

Madeleine A Fugère Ph.D. says, Physical attractiveness may serve as a gatekeeper directing us toward partners who are healthy and age appropriate.”

With that said, dating someone that you have no attraction to is not a good idea.G1ft3d art glitch glitch art g1ft3d GIF

Physical attraction in marketing is being able to develop content that will attract your target audience for that brand of interest.

Darren Pitt, a Social Media Lead Generation Specialist for LinkedIn says, “an effective attraction marketing system requires you as an internet marketer to offer information that will attract potential customers with an aim of establishing your expertise in a particular niche.”

Now that you have a little taste of how marketing and dating make a great pair, I hope you will be incorporating these into your next marketing opportunity or that spring fling!

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me via email at: Twilliams@wrightoncomm.com or (858) 755-5411. Happy relations!

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