Bhoo wears the thinking cap!

As if that is possible!

Archive for the ‘B2B Marketing’ Category

What I learn through my life marketing to businesses.

Change the side of the tables!

Posted by bhoo on June 4, 2007

I happened to meet this person in NYC!  A very successful ISV – I happened to meet the founders of the firm – operating in the financial sector – very well placed!  And, obviously very successful people.

This senior person – his initial gesture made me so comfortable with him as a person, while it was a little difficult for me to overcome the initial shock.

He was in his seat – the other side of the table.  He got up – said – “Let me come closer so we can have a more open discussion!” and actually, physically sat next to me – in the visitor chair, rather than in his chair!

Wow!  What a way to conduct a business meeting!  It was interesting and I should say that it really opened my eyes to the world of possibilities with that gesture!

I am going to copy this for sure!

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Posted in B2B Marketing, ISV, Outsourced Product Development(OPD), Philosophical musings | Leave a Comment »

How do you grow your network?

Posted by bhoo on October 23, 2006

Yesterday, I went to a get-together organized by our investment consultant.  I was awed, to say the least.  It was an array of movers and shakers of the city, who attended this event.

Obviously, the interest from each of them was more from a personal/professional network perspective, rather than from a professional interest perspective, I imagined.

I set out to understand what made them all come there…I was doing a dipstick survey and found that it was sheer personal and professional network that these individuals who run the show at this “boutique” investment firm have developed over years.  I have been thinking about how they are able to build such a network, and here are some of the answers that I found:

— Keep in ardent touch with old classmates / colleagues of yours.  This is good, not just for building your network, but also to have a personally fulfilling life.  I was talking with my classmate / colleague, Subburathinam on this, and he was agreeing that the level of comfort with old friends is hardly possible to come with new contacts.
— Take the relationship beyond individuals – take it to family / your friends’ businesses.
— Meet the people without purpose.  This sounds difficult for us – the “non-networking” types.  We keep asking ourselves internally on “how can we make courtesy visits to customers again and again?  How does it become attractive for them to meet us?”.  In reality, people seem to be more interested in non-purposeful meetings than purposeful meetings, unless the “purpose” is of immediate use to their day-to-day lives.
— Keep a genuine interest on other’s agenda.  Find out the good qualities and ambitions of your contacts, and tell them that you know and recognize those.
— Network among networks.  Once you do all of the above, you know who can do what for someone in your friends’ circle.  Take pains to introduce each other, and let them transact with each other for their own benefits.

These are some of the things that I learnt.

Harvard Business Review Article says this about personal networking:

Many sensational ideas have faded away into obscurity because they failed to reach the right people. A strong personal network, however, can launch a burgeoning plan into the limelight by delivering private information, access to diverse skill sets, and power. Most executives know that they need to learn about the best ideas and that, in turn, their best ideas must be heard by the rest of the world. But strong personal networks don’t just happen around a water cooler or at reunions with old college friends. As Brian Uzzi and Shannon Dunlap explain, networks have to be carefully constructed through relatively high-stakes activities that bring you into contact with a diverse group of people. Most personal networks are highly clustered–that is, your friends are likely to be friends with one another as well. And, if you made those friends by introducing yourself to them, the chances are high that their experiences and perspectives echo your own. Because ideas generated within this type of network circulate among the same people with shared views, a potential winner can wither away and die if no one in the group has what it takes to bring that idea to fruition. But what if someone within that cluster knows someone else who belongs to a whole different group? That connection, formed by an information broker, can expose your idea to a new world, filled with fresh opportunities for success. Diversity makes the difference. Uzzi and Dunlap show you how to assess what kind of network you currently have, helping you to identify your superconnectors and demonstrating how you act as an information broker for others. They then explain how to diversify your contacts through shared activities and how to manage your new, more potent  network.
I also found this blog interesting, on the same subject, but a completely different take of “branding to build personal network“. 

“It has been said, “You are only as strong as your Rolodex”, claims John L Bennett, in his book: “The Essential Network: Success Through Personal Connections”

Posted in B2B Marketing, Philosophical musings | 1 Comment »

Best marketing – better than selling Ice to eskimos…

Posted by bhoo on October 14, 2006

Can you sell a pitch black postcard for $1, with nothing else in it?  And have people buy it?

If someone could do it, would you change the metaphor for great marketing from “selling ice to eskimos” to “selling pitch black post-cards to intelligent people”?

I recently visited Penn’s cave, and encountered what I personally consider as one of the best marketing ideas I have encountered in my life.

In their Cavern tour, the guide switched off all lights in the middle of the cave, and claimed that place to be “the darkest place on the earth”.  No doubts, it was pitch dark, and it was one of the best (or worst) darkness I have seen in my life.

On the way back, I happened to peek at their souvenir shop, and to my surprise, found this postcard – that was nothing else but plain pitch black color printed on it.  Behind the card was describing it as “Penn’s caves – the darkest place on the earth” or something to that effect.

How ingenious can marketeers be!

Posted in B2B Marketing | Leave a Comment »

How much follow-up is enough?

Posted by bhoo on September 16, 2006

We were trying to decide on a PR agency for us.  We have worked with a firm for the past 2+ years and  have been OK, even happy with their performance so far.  Of late, their attention on us started dwindling!

We wanted to evaluate options to see if we can do better than that.  When we asked for pitches from several agencies, other new PR firms took it serious and started following up regularly.

But, this old vendor of ours came, gave a powerful presentation, and that’s it!

They have the legacy, they know us, we know them, their presentation and pitch was powerful!  But, they never followed up!

They never showed that this business is important for them.  We eliminated them, almost singularly for this one reason.  We eliminated another firm as well for this precise reason – they were not following up, and they did not make a proposal on time.  So, our impression was, they were not interested in our business.

That may be far from true.  But, from a buyer’s perspective, follow-up is an indication of seriousness in business.

Our sales people often tend to believe that they may offend with ardent follow-up, and hence stay silent.

The secret is in having a “value-added” follow-up.  Our Corp-com manager calls it as “soft” follow-up.  Sending relevant articles, sending relevant materials etc.  The company that does this soft follow-up is the one that is most likely going to win our business.

This is a lesson for our own marketing efforts.

Posted in B2B Marketing | Leave a Comment »