CEOs: I’m Spilling Some Small Business Secrets

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Lean in, and I’ll tell you a secret…

Marketing decisions are actually easier than many CEOs think.

Marketing decisions aren't just about marketing. They’re connected to your P&L, in-house resource management, and talent. That’s why these decisions cause CEOs stress, indecision, and major second-guessing.

So, how can marketing decisions be easier to grapple with, considering everything else on your plate?

Applying a Business Approach to Marketing

Think about it...

You use the same disciplines in making decisions about your company as a whole. You focus on the most important things; what’s yielded results in the past.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

The Content You Keep: Common Content Marketing Misconceptions

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

I ask the CEOs and other business leaders I work with to consider this: Know what you know, and know what you don’t know.

One area of your marketing strategy you can know (or learn to know) is content marketing.

What’s Preventing Success in Your Marketing Programs?

In their collection of content assets (blogs, white papers, ebooks, etc.), companies often talk about themselves in terms of products, services, or features. But, how does that really differentiate from others in your space who do exactly what you do?

Simple answer: It doesn’t.

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Topics: content marketing, marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

Do Your Marketing Timelines Need a Reality Check?

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

No one really enjoys a reality check. It means we’re forced to look in a mirror and really examine the “uglies” (flaws, gaps, errors) in our expectations.

For a busy CEO, reality checks are the Mt. Everest of planning… especially when it comes to marketing.

And, to be truly effective, a marketing reality check has to involve more than the “logistical” stuff like spending and budget limitations. Much, much more.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

The CMO Solution to Small Business Marketing

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

For several years, many companies eliminated the role of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), choosing to bring in talented marketing specialists instead. 

How’d that work out? You can see where I’m going with this…

At the time, company leaders who didn’t value the CMO role made one key (and common) mistake: They didn’t understand the value of a strategic view that connects marketing to business. Instead, they believed the collective expertise of these specialists would create, and then fulfill, their marketing mission.

A shift is now occurring. CEOs who recognize they don’t have the capacity to effectively map marketing strategy to business goals are reconsidering the CMO role. But, there are important factors to keep top of mind so business leaders don’t make the same mistake as years’ past.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

What to Do When Marketing Seems More Give-Give than Give-Take

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Are you a CEO that hates marketing? Loves it? Or somewhere in between?

Many of the business leaders I work with say the first… they have a lot of reasons for experiencing a turbulent relationship with marketing, and they don’t know how to improve it.

Why so much angst?

  • Marketing is a cost center, with no guarantee. 
  • It feels transactional--you should “get what you pay for.” (It doesn’t work that way.)
  • There’s a LOT of disappointment involved. Why isn’t it working??

Here’s the thing… Marketing, just like relationships, takes time.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

CEO Stories: The Marketing Strategy Game-Changer for Small Businesses

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Everything I know about marketing strategy, I learned over 16 years at my very first job at a global ad agency. It became my (extended) “marketing bootcamp.”

It was tough discipline, on-the-spot reworks, and a bunch of "holy crap" moments, every day, every week, every year--under the watchful eyes of some pretty intense mentors  (not all of whom were the lovey-dovey type).

But, the real turning point occurred after I left that agency. The surprise I’ve uncovered since has been a game-changing revelation among the small and mid-market businesses I work with.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

CEOs: Marketing Decision-Making Isn’t Easy, But It Doesn’t Have to Be So Hard

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Many of the CEOs I work with say, “Marketing should be easy. But it’s not.”

There are a few obvious--and possibly painful--reasons marketing can be so painful. It’s a cost center--with no guarantee. 

You may not get what you pay for, and too often you have to answer to your CFO about why marketing is eating up the budget when it doesn’t work.

There is some good news. Yes, marketing isn’t easy--but it doesn’t have to be so hard, either.

How to Reduce the Stress of Marketing Decision-Making

In this week’s marketing strategy training video (Oh yeah--we have a YouTube channel!), I provide some tips on how to reduce the stress of marketing decision-making.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

Avoiding B2B Tunnel Vision: Why Cross-Industry Intelligence Contributes to Small Business Growth

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

We all peek over the fence from time to time to see what the competition is up to, particularly in the B2B space. That's just a smart business strategy. But, there’s a whole world out there beyond your backyard. You don’t have to be boxed in by “industry standard” marketing strategies.

When you view growth through a different lens, it can inspire you to reach new heights.

What Is Cross-Industry Intelligence, and Why Does It Matter?

The concept of B2B cross-industry intelligence involves expanding your approach to marketing by reaching outside your business sector. It’s “thinking outside your industry box.”

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

Brand Strategy and Resource Allocation for Small Businesses

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

When I ask clients what they want from their marketing spend, I hear: “I want my business to become a brand people will remember.”

Small  business owners want to see their business grow, reach more users, and serve more customers in their own unique and distinctive way. But, I’ve noticed they’re often not so vigilant about where they spend their marketing dollars, and how to spend them first.

Laying the Groundwork with Brand Strategy

To drive results, we believe brands must build trust and engagement. This is done by allocating the right resources to publish high-value content, improve the user experience, and boost engagement. Yet, with so many marketing channels, it can be difficult to create a marketing roadmap that ensures every penny is well spent.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

Ta-Da! I Booked My First Post-Pandemic Business Travel Today

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

It feels like it’s been years. Oh, wait. It has been years…

Sitting face to face with my clients, surrounded by the work we’ve done, meeting some in person for the first time. The energy is palpable, even after day-long (or sometimes days-long) brainstorming sessions.

Now that I’ve booked it, this trip just feels better than I thought it would.

[For the moment, let’s put aside a few potential hiccups... The wardrobe stress of those pandemic pounds. If my Lyft app is updated. Wait--did I lend a daughter my travel suitcase?]

2D Suffices, But It’s Nothing Like 3D

When COVID-19 hit, I didn’t have to adapt to things like remote meetings. We’re a “distributed” company, and I’ve been using Zoom since 2016. My first thought: no biggie! This will be a seamless transition; easy breezy.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

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