How “Intimate” Do You Want to Be with Your Marketing?

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

It goes without saying, but it's worth reiterating: marketing is an ever-evolving business function. There is always a new tactic or technology to consider incorporating into your marketing efforts. I’ve referred to it before as the “new and shiny.”

As CEOs, COOs, and CFOs diligently work to stay ahead of the curve and optimize the overall business strategy, in-house marketing professionals may struggle to fulfill all the needs of developing and executing a well-rounded marketing strategy.

Hiring others as marketing experts, consultants, or freelancers to assist—for the short or long-term—is one way to advance an organization’s goals. However, business owners and leaders have some key decisions to make when enlisting external help.

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

Where’s the Hidden Gem in Your Small Business?

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

The ambitions of the small business owner are unmatched in enthusiasm, nimbleness, creativity, and sheer grit. These admirable attributes can come along with a huge dose of impatience. As a small business CEO, you think: I’m moving fast, so the world is going to move fast with me.

I’m a big believer in taking the long view of marketing--because all marketing lives to serve clear and specific actions we want to see in our businesses. Success is the process of doing the reps, not a swing of the magic wand.

But, sometimes impressive strides can be made in a short amount of time to yield results--as long as you make time to step away and think through the possibilities. This helps break away from the randomness of “let’s try this!” look under the hood.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a story for you.

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

CEOs: How to Avoid Waste and Risk in Marketing

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

I’m curious… What’s the most over-promised/under-delivered marketing solution you ever invested in?

I’ll bet you can rattle off an entire list of marketing initiatives that fell short of your expectations. It’s no wonder CEOs are hesitant to invest in marketing at all.

I feel terrible about this because I really DO believe in marketing. It has a job to do, and I expect it to do the job it should. But, when I say that I have three simple solutions for investing smartly, I understand when CEOs are still reluctant to proceed.

3 Steps You Can Take NOW

One of the things I’ve seen make a significant impact (and which I explore in this week’s video) is when business leaders start to look inside their own company, before paying for outside marketing services or solutions.

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

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

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