When was the last time someone recommended a new marketing tool to you? Five minutes ago, a day ago, a week ago? There are tens of thousands of B2B marketing tools out there. If you’re anything like me, and love a new shiny object or bit of tech to play with, it can get quite overwhelming and, at times, distracting.
More often than not, we spend too much time focusing on what we think we need (and what other people tell us we need) instead of realising what will actually help us achieve the objectives we’re working towards. Or we can be fickle and move on from using one tool before we’ve really squeezed out every drop of value from it.
💡 You are ALREADY sitting on a mountain of value and have everything you need to succeed.
I’m going to contradict myself now… and tell you about OTTER – another tool! However, the beauty of the OTTER framework is that it is a key tool to help you leverage more from the assets you already have available and help you understand what other tools you actually need to get to where you want to go. ‘Tools’ is the first T in OTTER.
In the previous article, I talked about setting objectives and I encourage you to do this before reviewing what tools you need, as this will help you focus and prioritise your time, budget and energy, but also highlight which tools you might need to achieve your objectives.
In this article, I’m going to run you through the various types of marketing tools, talk about different tools for different personalities and show you five marketing tools that you probably already have available to you but may not be using them to their full potential.
Let’s dive in…
Types of useful B2B marketing tools
There are three different types of marketing tools and you should consider each one carefully when choosing which tools will help you achieve your marketing objectives.
- Functional marketing tools (software and tech) – this is what most people think about when I talk about tools. There are thousands of options out there: marketing automation software (think email marketing like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, Marketo…), social media apps (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc.), social media scheduling, customer relationship management software (CRMs), content creation, video editing, graphic design, productivity apps… the list is endless. Throughout this article, I’m going to share some of my favourite marketing tech tools, but what works for one person isn’t always going to work for you, so I strongly suggest you find tools that suit you and your style of working.
- Valuable marketing tools (assets) – these are things you have created for yourself, your team and your business that can be used more than once and carry a lot of value. These could include your network and contacts list, your CRM data, white papers, research documents, checklists, webinar content, a podcast, guest podcast interviews, articles featured in the media, keynote presentations and talks, videos, etc. If you have built a community, email list or dedicated group such as a private forum, or Facebook or LinkedIn group, then these are also hugely valuable assets that can be leveraged. And never forget the power of using stories you and your team can tell in your marketing.
- Resourceful marketing tools (resources) – use the people and partnerships you’ve got around you. Some of the best marketing I’ve done has been a result of working with others, including clients, fellow employees from different in-house teams, prospects and partnerships. It’s easy to think that we have to do everything ourselves and, while I’m not suggesting you get others to do your work for you, I am encouraging you to consider how you could use the resources available to you. Again, I’ll include some examples and ideas for you to use later in this article.
Different tools for different personalities
There are many marketing gurus out there telling us what tools we should and shouldn’t use, but they don’t talk about personalities, objectives or different styles of working. We all have unique skills and abilities and we are very lucky to have a whole heap of different marketing tools available to us that play to our different strengths.
Example 1: writing blogs
There are many people that tell us we should be writing every day and publishing new blogs. If you are not a natural writer or don’t enjoy writing that much, then this is going to be a challenging task for you. BUT there is another way…
Tools for dictation have come a long way in the last few years and you can now dictate your content into your phone or computer and it will transcribe the audio into text. There are free tools already available in Microsoft Word, Google Docs and on your phone. However, my favourite is the OTTER.ai app on my phone – I’ve found it to be much more accurate in transcribing my accent. Rev.com also offers an app for this service. Both of these are paid apps… but they could save you so much time.
Another way of writing blogs is to repurpose some of the content assets you have available – you can get great blog content from webinars, white papers, podcasts, live broadcasts and guest interviews, for example. Repurposing content is also a great activity that you don’t have to do yourself, as there are plenty of freelancers and experts that you can outsource tasks like this to.
Example 2: creating videos
I used to really struggle with this one. Every marketer I ever came across told me videos are so important and I needed to be doing more of them – the challenge I always had was that I really hated being in front of a camera and had real confidence issues around it. However, I’ve spent years working on this and now feel much more confident about it.
That said, you don’t need to be in front of a camera to create great marketing videos and you also don’t need lots of expensive tools or agencies to create them for you. Why not turn a presentation into a video using PowerPoint or Keynote? Simply save to an .mp4 instead of a .pptx, and then add a voiceover to explain each slide. Screen-recording functions, such as on Zoom, give you the option to turn your video off (although this is a great way to help you build confidence as you’ll just appear in a small window instead of on the full screen). You can also get animated videos created either by outsourcing the task to an expert (Fiverr and PeoplePerHour are great for this kind of work) – or, if you like creating videos like this, there are cost-effective tools you can use. Powtoon is my favourite.
TOP TIP – if you want to do more video content but are still feeling camera shy, then here’s something I discovered during a training course I went on a few years ago with the wonderful Ravinol Chambers from Be Inspired Films. Get someone else to stand behind the camera and ask you questions – when responding, look at them instead of the camera – you will come across much more naturally and it’s so much quicker and easier to record.
💡 Before embarking on any marketing activity, I encourage you to ask yourself – what is the objective behind me doing this and is there another way of achieving this objective that will work better for me? You don’t have to do what you’re told!
Five marketing tools you probably don’t know you have (or are not taking advantage of)
How often do you look at what you’ve got before buying or exploring new things? Both personally and professionally, it’s very easy to get caught up in the train of thought that we always need new shiny things, when actually what we have is just fine.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or you’ve got access to a large budget – it’s still important to be resourceful and it’s amazing what you can do with the assets you have available right now.
Here are five marketing tools that are sitting in front of you already that you may not realise you have or can use.
1 – The outbox of your sales and customer service teams
The best marketing will always come from the mouths of your customers and every question answered is a brilliant marketing tool to use in your content. Avoid rewriting it into ‘marketing language’ though. Use the way your customer describes their problem and it will resonate more with other members of your audience.
The best method I’ve used to access this information is to get all customer-facing members of your team to make a habit of forwarding emails containing answers to questions to either you or the marketing department. Then include an item in your sales and customer service meeting agendas to discuss frequently asked questions across all departments and not just leave them in the outboxes of your sales and customer service teams.
2 – Google Data Studio and Google Analytics
Once you’ve installed the Google Analytics tracking code on your website and have collected some data, you have an incredible free tool that will give you insights into how your audience behaves. You can use this data to prioritise your marketing activity.
Making assumptions in marketing is a dangerous thing – you can set up free dashboards to show how your audience is finding you, where they are spending the most time on your website, and how they are interacting with it.
You can then increase the amount of leads and sales you get from a website by optimising pages that are visited the most and save yourself loads of time instead of tweaking things you think need work. Your actions are based on facts, not thoughts.
If you haven’t set up Google Analytics or created a dashboard that you can work with yet, then there are a couple of options I’d recommend:
- Use a freelance expert in Google Analytics to get everything set up for you – you can recruit incredible talent for projects like this using tools like PeoplePerHour, Fiverr and Upwork.
- Learn how to do it yourself – this takes longer but if your main role is marketing then this is a great skillset to have. I love the training and support from MeasureMarketing and they have a brilliant and very useful membership you can take out too.
3 – Sales presentations and keynote speeches
If you’re ever in need of content inspiration, then dive into the sales presentations and keynote slides within your company.
Sales presentations evolve over time to include the best testimonials, case studies and examples that overcome objections. They evolve based on feedback from clients and I’ve worked with many clients over the years that don’t share this insight with the marketing team.
Have a look through one of your most effective sales presentation slides or proposals and see how many pieces of content you can use from it – I’m willing to bet you’ll be surprised!
4 – Online reviews
I remember discovering this a few years ago and then kicking myself for not thinking of it myself, but online reviews are a great marketing tool – not just your own online reviews but those for your competitors too!
Online reviews from Google, Capterra, G2, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Facebook, the media and the press are a great marketing tool because they give you detailed insight into what your target customers like and don’t like. This then allows you to really stand out by using these insights in your marketing to highlight how your solution meets the needs of your market. For example:
If someone reviews your product online and says how much they love how easy it was to use it, then highlight this in your marketing so it’s a well-known fact. If someone reviews your competitors’ software as slow because you can only access it via a remote server, shout about how your software is cloud-based!
Keep an eye on your competitors’ social media too. When customers have a complaint, social media is usually the place they go to make some noise about it.
5 – Your curiosity
I’ve left the best until last as curiosity is by far the most powerful asset you have available to you. Curiosity costs nothing and, when it’s intentional, you can achieve so much that will help you grow your business. The more you can encourage your entire customer-facing team to be more curious, the more opportunities you’ll gain.
Here are some ways you can use curiosity in your marketing:
- Ask your clients questions – task your sales and customer service team to ask specific questions and get them to feed back the answers. Regularly check in with your client base to learn what their biggest challenges, frustrations, goals and values are so you can make sure they know you have products and services that resolve them. Or, if you don’t have those available, you know what you need to create.
- Use email marketing – do some research into what your audience wants to know more or less about. Ask individual questions in the form of a survey that’s quick and easy to respond to.
- Use polls in your social media content – this is another great way of garnering client opinions. Respond to results of the polls in your content to show you’re listening and evolving.
- Pick out key themes – use all of the above and your customer support cases to address commonly asked questions in your marketing and product offerings.
- Actively listen to your audience – tap into your senses and be more aware of what’s going on around you when you ‘hang out’ where your customers and prospects are, such as at trade shows, conferences and even on social media. Pay attention to questions that are asked and take note of them. Review them regularly and, again, include them in your marketing.
We’re always going to be exposed to new tools and ways of doing things. However, before you start exploring new tools and options, I encourage you to put your curious hat on and explore what you have available to you already.
Return on investment (ROI) isn’t just about monetary investment. It’s about the time and energy you put into something too. I have wasted many hours over the years teaching myself or doing online training courses to learn how to use a new marketing tool when it would have been so much quicker and easier to outsource the task to someone else – editing podcasts and videos being a big one! Sometimes you think you’re saving money by doing it yourself when instead it’s costing you because you are spending time doing things that don’t make you any money. I’ll dive deeper into this in my next article, which focuses on the next T in OTTER – Training.
💡 Always consider – is this something that YOU should be doing or could this be outsourced or delegated?
But I LOVE playing with new tools, I hear you say! I get it. Me too! But there’s a way you can feed that craving without it negatively impacting your business…
The wonderful Scott Leiper from Imaginocity said to me on a podcast one day to always schedule in some ‘dabble time’ so you can still have fun exploring new tech and tools but you don’t let it turn into a distraction that stops you achieving your goals.
So, allow yourself time to be curious and have a play with some of the new tools out there, but don’t do this at the expense of your valuable time.