Hot Air BalloonsMarketing guru. Social media expert. Digital genius. Dynamic speaker. Prolific writer. Does anyone really believe these words when they read them on a marketing provider’s website?

Something’s been bothering me as I sift through marketing information and visit other marketing providers’ websites, About pages and bios on social media.

It’s the use of superlatives.

Marketers trying to make an impact are using too many superlatives, when what they really need to share is their knowledge and the results they get for their clients.

Am I being too harsh?

I don’t think I am. When I’m wondering if my Friday Morning Marketing Soapbox topic is out there, I often Google the topic. It turns out a Marketing and PR expert (really) David Meerman Scott, blogged about this. In David’s words, superlative marketing strategy is tricky because someone can always trump you.

When I see a brand new entrant into the marketing consulting arena post that they are an “expert,” I am slightly incredulous. I think it takes some big “huevos” for anyone to say they’re an expert in anything, especially a newbie.

The use of the title “expert” is particularly true in the social media space (when I Googled “social media expert” I got over 47 million results). Maybe to the brick and mortar business owner who doesn’t know anything about social media, everyone’s an expert! Peter Shankman, marketer and founder of HARO, is adamant about this. Read his great post, Why I Will Never, Ever, Hire a “Social Media Expert.”

A marketing consultant said on his website that he is a “prolific writer.” He self-published one book and has a blog on his site with daily but short posts – most written by others. Is that really prolific? And, even if he had written a lot, wouldn’t that be apparent to the website visitor?

Many consultants say on their profiles that they are a “dynamic speaker,” even if they have little speaking experience. Again, since a speaker is telling me they’re dynamic, I find it hard to believe. Obviously, the proof is in their performance, and I would find the words “dynamic speaker” easier to swallow if they are from a client’s testimonial.

And yes, on the site of a company of digital marketers, I saw the word “genius.” Yikes!

I was taught by my parents to be humble. My father actually told me that if I just worked hard I would get ahead – that I didn’t need to “toot my own horn.”

Today things are different. There is a lot of competition as more and more people get into consulting and freelancing. Younger generations are different than mine or my father’s. I’ve heard that a characteristic of the millennial generation is that they are supremely confident, having been told by their parents and teachers that they could do anything and were given awards whether they earned them or not.

Part of my view is my training in my early career in sales and marketing in the software industry and in my ongoing B2B marketing consulting. It is not ethical and is in some cases illegal to over-promise in your marketing. Your business could be sued and/or fined if your marketing claims are misleading or false.

So, when you see self-proclaimed experts, geniuses, prolific writers and dynamic speakers, look for proof in the form of the marketing results they get for their clients.

Photo by Nicholas Raymond. Some Rights Reserved.



Beautiful Small CarA majority of B2B marketers still haven’t adopted content marketing even though there is proof that it works. Learn why and how a software company doubled organic traffic to their website and increased leads with less content marketing.

According to the 2015 B2B Marketing Content Benchmark study by the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, B2B marketers don’t allocate much of their budget to content marketing. Those that allocated more got greater results. The results showed that content marketing is often not owned by B2B marketers. It is being implemented by a business owner or product manager rather than the marketing department.

Yet there is proof that content marketing works. Marketing research firm Marketing Sherpa (acquired in 2006 by MECLABS, a research institute dedicated to discovering how people make choices) posted an interesting case study on its website about a European software company that got great results after implementing content marketing.

There are lessons to be learned about why and how this company was successful. Below I write about the critical success factors that made the software company’s content marketing a success, and then I explain exactly what the software company did to achieve successful results.

SuperOffice is the company in the case study. It targets small to medium businesses in Europe and is a CRM company with 12,000 customers. Their web presence includes six different languages.

5 critical success factors for content marketing

There are critical aspects of this case study that I believe made a difference.

1. Willingness or need to change.

SuperOffice wanted greater results and put a plan in place to make it happen. They did this in spite of having a very small marketing staff and very large competitors! Change isn’t easy. It takes dedication and an ability to try something new and take on a slight risk in doing so. See my previous post about marketing and change here.

2. Adoption of a systematic approach.

SuperOffice didn’t just jump into content marketing. They looked at what they were doing and put a plan together to improve it. They distributed content with the same approach every time. They methodically analyzed and chose topics based on performance. They targeted the same frequency of content each week, month, and quarter. I wrote about a systematic approach for B2B marketing in a previous post here.

3. Dedication to measurement and analysis.

SuperOffice measured results and analyzed their options each step of the way. They watched how their weekly content performed, leveraged the best content for monthly downloadable content, and tweaked how their content connected together and performed in searches every quarter. I wrote more about measuring marketing results here.

4. Ability to be flexible and nimble.

Build into SuperOffice’s systematic approach was a need for constant learning and tweaking of keywords and content. Their small size allowed them to be nimble and attentive to what needed to be leveraged or changed. Flexibility is on of the qualities in my previous post about critical CMO skills.

5. Focus on quality content over quantity.

The company reduced its quantity of content to focus on quality, which helped them get better search performance results and focus more strategically on optimizing and leveraging each piece of content. They did more with less.

The above are five reasons SuperOffice’s content marketing worked. Now read the four things they did to execute their content marketing and get results.

4 steps for content marketing success:

1. Analyzed popular keywords and phrases and increased SEO tactics.

SuperOffice did a thorough analysis of keywords and phrases that competitors optimized for and that had a high search volume. They increased internal links between blog posts to increase engagement of the readers, connecting synergistic posts together so that visitors to the site could do a deeper dive into their information.

2. Moved from more frequent, shorter blogs to weekly, longer blog posts.

SuperOffice had multiple blog authors that produced frequent short blog posts of 500 words each. In their new campaign they moved to few authors producing a weekly blog of 1,000 words that had keyword-rich headlines. For more about this, read number 7 in my previous post about key elements of a perfect blog post.

3. Distributed content links systematically via different channels.

SuperOffice created a systematic approach to distributing their blog posts to followers and subscribers and customers. They sent an email announcing new content and followed with a second email to the recipients who didn’t open the first email. They systematically posted multiple tweets for each blog post and one post each on LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook to get the blog post link in front of followers. Read more about this in my previous post, Why Your B2B Marketing Needs a System.

4. Measured results and expanded on popular topics with downloadable content.

SuperOffice watched which blog post were popular and expanded on those topics by re-purposing the posts and writing whitepapers, eBooks and guides. These were then made available for download, so that the company could capture the downloaders’ contact information. I wrote about this as a tactic way back in 2011 – read my post here.

In summary, SuperOffice achieved results even though it was much smaller than its competition. They made centralized decisions about content and had each local office apply changes based on the local language. They focused on popular keywords and wrote, optimized and re-optimized their content for those keywords as they went along. They were systematic and focused in order to get results from their content marketing.

To read the Marketing Sherpa case study in full, use the link here.

Do you need help planning and implementing your content marketing? Contact New Incite today. We’ve worked with businesses to create and execute marketing plans and train staff to do the work themselves on an ongoing basis.

Photo from Flickr by Easa Shamih. Some Rights Reserved.


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