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Jonathan Burston Talks to us About B2B Marketing & Interviewing 

Jonathan Burston is the Managing Director of Hartley Stone, a full-service digital B2B marketing agency that serves companies particularly in the IT and security industries. They offer strategy, marketing automation, user journeys, insight, end-to end campaigns for their clients.

Jonathan is applying his career experience in consumer marketing to B2B marketing. Many of their clients are quite sizable and they do projects across the world. The challenge many of these B2B businesses face is to understand the POWER of marketing. They are often very sales-driven. The sales function has the power. Organisation where sales and marketing functions are at each other’s throats. They have friction between them.

Jonathan advises that marketing should OWN the customer journey, from awareness right through to post-purchase. He advises that Sales have an important role to play, short of owning the relationship. Marketing owns, but does not threaten Sales in what they do. Marketing needs to show that they produce good quality leads into the business, through outbound and inbound activity. Activity that creates the right kind of sales leads that Sales need, which also supports the right kind of journey for the customer. This is how Hartley Stone differentiate themselves – through a full-service offer producing results for B2B marketers in this way.

In the B2B Jonathan has found it unusual for companies to be good at marketing. They tend to be very bland, very dull. His approach is to bring the consumer marketing approach to business marketing.

Why is B2B marketing bland?

There is a lot of marketing in-house. They have a narrow view. There is a consensus about how the business should be seen. Yet, there is so much more that can be achieved by standing out against the competition. In the consumer marketing, agencies tend to have a broad industry appreciation and apply their skills in different markets. With B2B, Jonathan feels that marketing is very insular, which restricts people in how they think.

How would Jonathan advise B2B marketers to change?

(1) Know Your Customer

most do not. Don’t treat them as one homogeneous whole. Build out segmentation. That’s through education. What is worrying your contacts?

Hartley Stone produce a 35-point website diagnostic check, where they analyse 10 or 12 organisations in the space around their client.

YOU can get a hold of a report which highlights the diagnostic check as a download:

What is so noticeable that the key factors that they are let down on is that they lead with what they are/who they are, NOT what they can do for their clients or what the problems that they can solve.

Sales is all about addressing the issues that the customer has got. Not look at me, aren’t I fantastic?

ACTION: Is your content addressing the known pains, the issues, the challenges of their customers or target markets.

B2B marketers are often trying to be too many things to too many people, therefore they don’t address anything.

(2) The Amount of Time that B2B Marketers DO NOT Spend Planning

They might have lots of plans, but their plans do not translate them into something that is ACTIONABLE. And will deliver the overall objectives of the organisation, there is a mad rush. They do lots of planning, and when it translates into actions, you are looking at delivering within days as opposed to giving yourself TIME to think through what is the best kind of campaign or customer journey that will address that challenge.

Many firms end up doing the same thing again, because that was quick and easy. They don’t allow themselves enough time to translate, they don’t understand their customers, so what do they do? They do something quite vanilla, throw a lot out there and hope some of it will stick.

It is difficult to challenge that because it works, albeit poorly.

(3) What is the Call To Action?

What do you want them to do? On B2B websites, there is NO call to action. No gated content. Hartley-Stone has analysed around 100 websites this year and just 7 of them allowed them to sign up for anything. THAT IS CRIMINAL!!!

Where Jonathan DID sign up – of the 7, only 2 communicated with him! So, if you are NOT asking for contact details you should be. Build a content marketing strategy that attracts your ideal clients.

There is no allowance to gauge a customer. I will give you something and you give me something back. I can start to build a content marketing strategy based on your requirements and score you to see where you go in this journey.

Other B2B Marketing points?

(4) Get the Briefing Process Right!

Go through a thinking process before you act. Hartley Stone coach organisations through the strategy piece prior to acting on the brief as is. Design the right campaign as opposed to throwing a lot out there and hoping it works.

Is it fair agencies just working on a redundancy basis? Absolutely. If a big dumb company is prepared to spend money without considering results, agencies will take their money with glee.

Want to contact Hartley Stone?

LinkedIn:               Jonathan Burston

The Interview Expert

Jonathan developed this business at the beginning of 2014. His experience with interviewing sales people. They often badly sold themselves. It was a way to vent his frustration. He offers tips about how to stand out as the best candidate. It is tried and tested advice.

The key thing is THE LACK OF PREPARATION. Most interviewers have never been trained. They tend to ask the same questions. Therefore, there is no excuse for NOT researching the most frequently asked questions!

Recruiting on skills versus attitude. Look for personality. Make the formulaic answers part of your own personality.

Candidates are inherently lazy. They will wing it. Their answers are so shallow.

Jonathan is creating structured courses and is attracting 2 distinctive audiences – in India and the US. Younger male graduates in India and 30-something aged in the US. It is all about helping someone stand out.

Key advice in the next 100 days?

Get to know your customer base inside out and segment them and break your messaging to each segment. It will reap dividends.

Find Out More About Planning For The Next 100 Days

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