The Unmuted Marketer

Sounding Off on Real-Life B2B Marketing Mistakes, Missteps and Miracles

Explaining the B2B Fractional CMO in Terms My Mom Can Understand – Part I

by Debra Andrews on July 26, 2016

I - Debra Marie Collins (my maiden name) - was a very pampered child.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a very middle class upbringing and wasn’t necessarily spoiled with material things.  I was spoiled with love that continues to this day, especially from my mom.  Some days, I work from her house just to spend precious extra time together.  And, almost always, I catch her bragging about me as a successful entrepreneur during her many daily phone calls with friends.  Then I hear, “Well, I don’t know what she does…  It’s strange.  She’s a piece of a marketer for companies or something like that.”

These moments make me realize that my role as a Fractional CMO for middle market B2B companies is unique, leaving not just my mom but even seasoned business owners and executives saying, “Huh?”  In a nutshell, Fractional CMOs are strategic marketing consultants with a twist.  In Part I of this two-part blog series, I’ll explain the difference between the widely recognized strategic marketing consultant and the largely unknown Fractional CMO.  In Part II, I’ll reveal the types of exciting projects and challenges I tackle in any given month as a Fractional CMO and the ongoing responsibilities I own on behalf of my clients when functioning in this capacity.

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Topics: B2B Marketing Strategies, Strategic Marketing Consulting, Fractional CMO

Don’t Start a B2B Inbound Marketing Journey with marketing automation software

by Debra Andrews on July 18, 2016


You’ve probably heard about Inbound Marketing, a promising, digitally driven modern methodology that “pulls” leads into the sales funnel by attracting them with interesting and useful information.  No more interrupting prospects with cold calls.  No more once-and-done, overpriced ads.  Inbound Marketing sounds as refreshing and satisfying as a margarita on the rocks with salt after a long, hard day.  You’re ready to take a sip!  What aggressive, growth-minded company wouldn’t want to leverage modern marketing to gain qualified B2B buyers?  All you need to do is buy marketing automation / lead generation software to kick-start your efforts.  It’s a little pricey (usually between $7,500 - $20,000 + the cost of training), but you’re ready to commit because just one new customer will pay for the annual investment. 

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Topics: Content Strategy Steps, B2B Marketing Strategies

Are You Making Your B2B Marketing Professional Miserable?

by Debra Andrews on June 21, 2016

Be a Champion, Not a Challenge!

First one, then another.  Now it’s a pattern that I can’t ignore.  Marketing Managers and Marketing Coordinators who began their jobs at middle market B2B companies with great enthusiasm are coming to me to share their growing frustrations and ongoing struggles.  They have faced one too many impossible tasks or brick walls, and some are on the verge of giving up and moving on.  Senior executives – Owners, Presidents, Partners, Shareholders, and Vice Presidents – are almost always part of the problem.  The good news?  As you’ll learn, these same leaders can thankfully be part of the solution.

Life as the middle child:

Working in the marketing department of a middle market B2B company has the potential to be a very rewarding experience.  Unfortunately, many junior or mid-level marketers wind up discouraged and disappointed rather than feeling fulfilled and part of a productive team.  Lack of direction and education as well as a daily dose of isolation take a toll on these Marketing Managers and Marketing Coordinators.  The end result is often an abrupt exit that isn’t beneficial to the marketing professional or to the B2B company that will need to, once again, regroup.  This is clearly a “Lose-Lose” scenario. 

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Topics: Marketing Departments, Strategic Marketing Consulting, Fractional CMO

Ready!  Set!  Hire! . . . Top Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Fractional CMO

by Debra Andrews on June 7, 2016

Congratulations!  You’ve heard the buzz, read my blog post, done your research, and decided that a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is just what your B2B company needs to help generate warm leads, engage new and existing clients, and accelerate revenue growth.  You’re ready to move from tired, once-and-done marketing into modern marketing guided by an experienced strategist – one who will provide ongoing, hands on, senior level support as you navigate through today’s highly competitive and ever evolving digital world.  Now what? 

Hiring a talented Fractional CMO who is a great fit for your company doesn’t have to be a difficult or frustrating process.  If you know what to ask and what you should expect to hear in response, your thoroughly vetted and carefully evaluated Fractional CMO will be on board and ready to go in no time. 

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Topics: B2B Marketing Strategies, Fractional CMO

Is Your B2B Company’s Marketing Department Top or Bottom Heavy?

by Debra Andrews on May 17, 2016

It could be the issue weighting down your growth efforts

You know I’m referring to the sales funnel, right?  A few years ago, most marketers didn’t make a strong distinction between top-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel marketing and marketers.  But as I’ve structured and restructured more and more mid-sized B2B marketing departments, I’ve found that attention to both TOFU and BOFU marketing is essential to achieving a measurable return on investment. 

For mid-sized B2B companies to generate optimal growth results, the marketing function ideally should align with the sales funnel, from cold contact to red hot prospect.  The reality?  Marketing is typically skewed towards the top or bottom of the funnel based on the skills and preferences of in-house marketers.  This imbalance almost surely results in unrealized opportunities.  If you are underwhelmed by the ROI on your company’s B2B marketing program, it’s time to take a hard look at the “weight distribution” of your marketing efforts. 

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Topics: B2B Marketing Strategies, Marketing Departments, Strategic Marketing Consulting

Third Party Marketing Resources: Middle Market Misfires

by Debra Andrews on March 18, 2016

Part II: Solving the B2B Middle Market Marketing Mess

In Part I of “Solving the B2B Middle Market Marketing Mess,” I spoke of the highly competitive worlds that most middle market B2B companies operate in and the urgent need for effective marketing to stand out from the crowd, attract prospective buyers who are becoming increasingly sophisticated online researchers, and nurture leads so that sales professionals can shift from hunters to closers.  Unfortunately, instead of hitting the bullseye with effective marketing plans, collateral, and campaigns, B2B middle market firms, misfire again and again.  Why? Non-marketing executives who don’t fully understand or know how to leverage modern marketing are largely making the decisions about marketing direction, hires, budgets, and third party partners.  The last scenario can be especially damaging.  Selecting the wrong marketing partner can have serious budget repercussions and cause paralysis among senior management fearful of making another expensive marketing mistake. Looking closely at typical third party marketing resources – advertising agencies, public relations firms, and freelance subcontractors – it becomes easy to see why many, if not most, are not ideal partners for the B2B middle market.

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Solving the B2B Middle Market Marketing Mess: Part I of II

by Debra Andrews on March 14, 2016

(Say the title ten times fast and continue!)  The concept of marketing can be confusing for even the most seasoned businesspeople.  In today’s ever-evolving digital world, it’s tough to know what makes a great marketer and what should be expected of the marketing function.  This is particularly true when it comes to the business-to-business (B2B) middle market, with its own unique set of demands and opportunities.  In this two-part blog series, I will explore the concept of marketing and summarize the most significant reasons for marketing failure in the B2B middle market.  Then, I will outline traditional marketing solutions and explain why they aren’t ideal for middle market B2B companies.  Finally, you'll learn about a new way of marketing that powers middle market B2B companies confidently and successfully forward through an integrated, comprehensive, and fresh approach.  For these companies, this new marketing model delivers an undeniable return on investment and the measurable results that convince any naysayer of modern marketing’s boundless potential.

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Topics: B2B Marketing Strategies, Strategic Marketing Consulting

A Toast to 6 Big Take-aways from Modern Marketing Conference - B2B C2C

by Debra Andrews on February 22, 2016

Want to hear the latest about the field of marketing and, more specifically, demand generation? Then shut down your Outlook Inbox for ten short minutes and read my top take-aways from the impressive and thought-provoking B2B C2C (Content2Conversion) Conference that just wrapped up in Scottsdale, AZ.

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Topics: B2B Digital Marketing Strategy, B2B Marketing Plans, B2B Marketing Strategies

10 Golden Tips to Make Your B2B Inbound Marketing Oscar-Worthy

by Debra Andrews on February 10, 2016

Picture the marketing red carpet…  Outbound Marketing is ready to make her typical grand entrance but gets blocked, ignored, and quickly ushered away.  This approach – once a red carpet darling – looks expensive and tired and appears to have rubbed former fans the wrong way.  In walks Inbound Marketing, and she stuns!  All eyes are fixated on her voluptuous promise of “free” communications through digital content and social media.  While she certainly looks the part of a flawless marketing method, is she truly Oscar-worthy?  What if we peeled away the hair extensions, fake eyelashes, Swarovski crystal gown, and Jimmy Choo’s?  How would Inbound Marketing look then (insert image of a make-up free selfie)?  She’d be imperfect, of course, but still very much a marketing shining star. 

Are you intrigued by Inbound Marketing’s allure as an “inexpensive” approach compared to advertising, direct mail, pay-per-click, and other pay-to-play methods?  Take out a tissue, rub your eyes, and please take a closer look.  It’s not as cheap as you might think, with larger costs hidden in professional salaries and marketing technologies.  In fact, some might argue that resources invested in the creation and distribution of content should be used in other important ways including customer service.  But even after taking all soft costs into consideration, Inbound Marketing -- done well -- is worth the investment and does indeed deserve special recognition. 

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Topics: Content Strategy Steps, B2B Marketing Strategies

Warning! You Might Have B2B Strategic Marketosis! 20 Symptoms that Should Send You to a Marketing Specialist

by Debra Andrews on February 2, 2016

Is your B2B company experiencing an acute lead generation deficiency? Are your employees falling off in chunks because your growth strategy is weak and pale or nonexistent?  Does your overhead look swollen causing a dehydrated bottom line?  Don’t ignore these symptoms any longer!  B2B Strategic Marketosis is not a diagnosis any company wants to receive.  The good news?  There’s a cure!  Understand the symptoms and seek treatment early to transform your company from one that just survives to one that thrives!

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Topics: B2B Marketing Strategies, Strategic Marketing Consulting, Fractional CMO