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Chicago. Te theme for the confer- ence was “Unleash,” which provided a platform for a variety of intriguing marketing topics rang- ing from “Unleash Your Innovation” to “Unleash Your Content.” Content


he Business Marketing As- sociation (BMA) recently held its annual conference in

market- ing, such as publishing case histories, webinars and white papers, is a hot topic in business- to-business marketing today. The premise is that content is important because buyers are increasingly trying to educate themselves about solutions to their product or service needs, rather than waiting for a salesperson to do it for them. I’ve discussed this paradigm shift in the buyer/seller relationship in previous columns and blogs. As Laura Ramos, vice president of industry marketing services in North America for Xerox Corp., explained during the content marketing presentation, “It’s impor- tant to have your customer tell their story, not yours.” Nonetheless, even as solution-driv-

You must balance solution-driven content with your ability to tell

your own story.

en content is becoming more critical to marketing efforts, it is important to balance this content with your ability to tell your own story. Striking that balance requires planning, effectively telling your story through the content you develop and having the systems in place to attract and nurture leads. Here’s a

quick quiz to help determine if you have the right market- ing balance. The quiz builds on the traditional five Ps of market- ing—people,

price, product, promotion and place—with five Ps that primarily impact your marketing promotion efforts. Your answers to these ques- tions will provide a good barometer for your marketing efforts and help show where you may need improvements. To take the quiz, simply answer yes or no to each question.

monthly marketing activities? Keep in mind that your plan needs to have specific, quantifiable and measurable objectives.


If you answered yes to all five of the Ps in the quiz, you deserve an A. You’re at the head of the marketing class and simply need to monitor and refine your techniques. Your marketing gets a B if you are


currently doing four of the five Ps. Fixing the P that’s lagging will help move you into the marketing elite.

On the other hand, if you answered no to two or more of the Ps, you need

to take a hard look at what you’re doing. Developing a way to integrate all five Ps is critical in today’s highly competitive marketing environment. A “gentleman’s C” simply won’t do the trick.

Planning—Do you have a written marketing plan that guides your daily, weekly and


Among the best ways to do this is featuring client testimonials or case studies that provide proof of the results you offer.

3 4


Pull—Do your prospects have a reason to contact you after reviewing your services? A

specific offer, such as providing a white paper, newsletter or detailed case study is much more effective than an open-ended “for more information” statement.

Perseverance—Do you fol- low up promptly with qualified prospects and have a plan to

stay in touch with them at least once a month? Many companies spend a lot of time and effort generating leads, then let them lapse because they don’t have a good method for nurturing them throughout the sales process.

Norwin A. Merens is managing director of NM Marketing Communications, Glenview, Ill.

Presentation—Do your mar- keting materials have a clear, easily understood explanation

of what you offer to customers and how your product or service will help them? If your prospects can’t easily determine your value or point of differentiation from competitors, they’ll have little reason to do busi- ness with you.

Proof—Do your marketing materials focus on how you solve customer problems?

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