The Iron Horse Insight: When you walk into an office you’ll undoubtedly see an open floor plan. The idea and hypothesis behind the open office design is simple: an open-plan office allows for more interaction and collaboration. However, a recent study shows that open-plan offices have led to a 73% decrease in face-to-face interactions and a 67% increase in email usage. Has there been an over-rotation toward open-plan offices? Sander would argue yes. Product, sales, and marketing should collaborate, but at the end of the day, people still need to focus and do heads down work. Our take: there is a reason we always wore noise-canceling earphones in open offices. Good office design is aesthetically pleasing and provides spaces for collaboration BUT also needs to provide space for intense concentration.
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The Iron Horse Insight: You and everyone else is trying to get in front of the CMO; however, it’s unlikely. In fact, Rohrs explains in his blog that “6,892 technology companies [are] trying to sell something to CMOs.” That’s a lot of competition. Instead of targeting a CMO directly, Rohrs suggests that BDRs should target front-line marketers. Their inboxes are less cluttered and they’re more likely to understand the value of your product, service, or solution because they are the end-users and they’re the ones feeling the pain in their daily jobs. We agree with (and really like) Rohr’s idea. In building on it, we urge you to take into consideration the size of the company that your BDRs are expected to target. For instance, it’s more likely to get a response from a CMO at a <$25m company than get a response from a CMO at a major enterprise so, if/when BDRs are targeting a SMB, we suggest they target C-level execs in addition to front-line personnel. If they’re targeting an enterprise, we suggest following Rohrs’ advice.
The Iron Horse Insight: Marketing and sales alignment is a concept familiar to all of us and is featured in marketing and sales articles daily. Unfortunately, in most of these articles, the “marketing and sales alignment” is spoken of in high “strategic” levels and it’s impossible to execute against the recommendations. What particularly catches our attention in this article is the level of depth it goes into regarding marketing and sales alignment in sales compensation and pricing decisions. For example, a “lack of alignment around product pricing and sales force compensation strategies…demotivates salespeople and inadvertently encourages them to sacrifice company profits to meet their own goals.”
The Iron Horse Insight: Every B2B company publishes white papers, case studies, and the like, but relatively few put out an actual book. Publishing a book is daunting for any marketing team because it takes a substantial investment of time and energy – time and energy that can be applied to faster turn marketing goals and objectives. That said, publishing a book can bolster brand awareness, generate higher quality leads, and it creates credibility for the author(s) as a thought leader. In addition, this process and it’s end deliverable (a book) generates a wealth of content that can be repurposed to create derivative assets such as presentations, blog posts, briefs, and infographics.
The Iron Horse Insight: At Capstone we believe that, as marketers, if you keep running the same plays from your old tried and true playbook you’re going to be left behind. It’s imperative to try new tactics and evolve with technology to help our organizations stay competitive in the market. This article is in line with our thinking and discusses how to “treat risk as an asset – for both you and your team.” If risk is nurtured, new opportunities are taken more seriously. Being comfortable with change and risk is a tool is necessary for growth and expansion.
The Iron Horse Insight: “Digital transformation” is a B2B buzz phrase that refers to the ways in which technology is changing how companies operate and deliver value to their customers. In this article, Burnham highlights what separates good leaders from great and how evolving processes and a great technology stack are what makes good companies great. Here at Capstone Insights, we don’t subscribe to the idea that “process proceeds technology.” We believe that processes need to adapt to technology in the same way effective leaders need to adapt to changes in technology and customer expectations.
The Iron Horse Insight: This is easily in our top five favorite articles. It’s easy to dwell on past mistakes and bone headed decisions. Why wouldn’t you? No successful company makes stupid mistakes, right? The reality is that successful companies make mistakes and do so with regularity. If you need reassurance, this post from Bessemer Venture Partners will do the trick. It highlights the anti-portfolio of BVP, a very successful and storied venture capital firm. This anti-portfolio includes companies like Facebook, Snapchat, Apple, Airbnb, and even Tesla which it chose not to invest in because their business cases weren’t there. As an example, it delivered the sage advice, “Kid, haven’t you heard of Friendster? Move on. It’s over!” to Facebook in the early days.
The Iron Horse Insight: If an organization wants a strong brand, it needs a strong culture. Unfortunately, one of the main ways companies document their corporate culture is through employee handbooks, which are usually written by HR and focus on things like vacation days, travel, and expense policies. Employee handbooks decidedly don’t help build and create company culture. Rather, or in addition, create a book of culture, a book of stories about ways the organization lives up to its aspirational values, written by real employees (not HR). This makes it more genuine to the company experience of all employees and easier to relate to.
The Iron Horse Insight: Marketing and advertising permeate culture by influencing people’s perspectives. Even when people are presented with hard facts they may not believe what they are seeing or hearing because they’ve heard a more persuasive story. Godin demonstrates the power of storytelling in this blog post by sharing a bar graph that compares the “death rate per watts produced” for nuclear power, oil, and coal. Based on the stories that are told about each of these power sources, you’d think the death rate per watts produced would be highest for nuclear power, however, that’s not the case. In fact, coal has the highest death rate followed by oil and finally nuclear. Even if you don’t have the number one product, service, or solution in your industry, you still have an opportunity to beat your competition through “deliberate storytelling.”
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