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February Key Findings: 2013

It’s a Brave New World for B2B Sales and Marketing

PhilosophyAs the economy improves, lessons learned during the recession promise to impact business-to-business sales, product development, finance and marketing groups for the next five years, according to a study by McKinsey. Interviews with senior sales executives and buyers at leading global companies revealed three emerging trends “rapidly dominating the B2B landscape.” First, more than ever before, customers want it all. Their needs are becoming more diverse and shift from day-to-day. Customers are also more demanding, “insisting on both off-the-shelf products and more complex, customized solutions — all with different levels of sales support.” Second, customers are becoming more comfortable getting information over the telephone, and via web and video conferencing, as well as interfacing with “virtual support specialists.” This shift has not only increased the time sales reps spend with customers (by 40%), improved reps productivity and home-life balance, but also reduced travel costs by 50%. Thirdly, frontline sellers and managers are quickly becoming adept at mining granular customer data and using predictive analytics to drive sales and deepen relationships, reducing dependence on gut-instinct.


Pin Marketers Pin!

Brand Strategy 2-15-13Some 60% of CEOs say strengthening social media will be a top marketing priority for the next several years, according to a recent survey of 117 leading companies by Booz & Company and Buddy Media. And as other studies have shown, more companies are tapping the power of Pinterest to tell brand stories with photos and images.  With some 11 million “pinners” now perusing the third-most popular social media network, businesses can no longer ignore Pinterest’s potential to reach and engage customers. Besides, Pinterest is fun, addictive and for the most part, the time investment is moderate. Marketers can create boards (collections of selected pins, grouped by topic) by uploading images and photos (infographics are also popular) used elsewhere in marketing and public relations activities. Pins always link back to the original web source, so Pinterest can be a strong driver of traffic to your web site. Another strategy is to find relevant and interesting content from another user and re-pin it to your boards so your followers associate it with your brand. Identifying and tracking the popularity of boards and pins can also help marketers track trends, tweak existing offerings and develop ideas for future products or services. Also, don’t forget to optimize each pin with the same keywords used in your company’s SEO program — keywords can be used in board titles, in the description of each pin and then, as a hashtag.

Global Wind Energy Capacity Grows 19% in 2012

purple wind webWind energy generators provided the largest share of additions (12,620 MW) to the total U.S. electric generation capacity in 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  Marking the highest annual wind capacity installment ever reported to the EIA, wind energy capacity additions even outpaced those of natural gas, which led capacity additions in 2010 and 2011. Much (40%) of the total 2012 wind capacity additions (some 59 new projects) came online in December 2012, just before the scheduled expiration of the wind production tax credit (PTC). (On Jan.1, 2013, Congress enacted a one-year extension of the PTC and relaxed the rules.) The four leading states for wind energy installations in 2012 were California (1,789 MW), Kansas (1,447 MW), Texas (1,504 MW) and Oklahoma (1,382 MW).  Most wind turbines were installed last year in the midwestern and southern Great Plains regions. These regions enjoy high-potential wind resources, proximity to existing and planned transmission lines and low population density, reducing siting and permitting challenges. Of all existing capacity, wind energy currently makes up 5.4% of all generation sources in the U.S.

Get More Done by Doing Less

Healthcare 2-15-13“The way Americans work isn’t working,” says Tony Schwartz, performance expert and author of “Be Excellent at Anything.” Schwartz cites more than 100 studies to support his case, including a Towers Perrin Global Workforce Study of 90,000 employees in 18 countries that found only 20% of them — 1 of 5 — feel fully engaged at work, while 40% are actively disengaged. And, according to researchers, it’s no surprise this lack of engagement negatively impacts employee productivity and business performance, as well as employee health. Schwartz has been studying what factors may be at play here and what can be done to turn things around. According to his findings, most of us, especially Americans, wake up tired, feel stressed and overwhelmed, skip meals and eat on the run (or at our desks) and work long hours on the job. By working with companies like Google, Coca-Cola, and the LA Police Department and reviewing a growing body of multidisciplinary research, he found the paradoxical remedy is what he and others call “strategic renewal.” In other words, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less. His tips for personal renewal and boosting our energy include daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations. The importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology, says Schwartz, who espouses to working in 90-minute intervals, and practicing personal renewal by quieting the mind and relaxing the body.



Business to Business

  • In response to economic challenges, 45 percent of women owned businesses (WOBs) are focused on controlling costs, while 31% are concentrating on increasing sales. Additionally, 56 percent of WOBs owners said social media is “very important” or “important” to their business, and 39 percent increased their involvement in civic, social or school activities to boost their exposure and create value for their communities. (
  • Half of mobile users (50 percent) who opt in to receive text messages from marketers have iPhones. (
  • Nearly six in 10 (59 percent) online adults who read user travel reviews ignore extreme comments (positive or negative) when reading reviews of hotels. (TripAdvisor; 617-670-6300)
  • Emails with subject lines of either less than 30 characters, or longer than 90 characters work best in B2B emails. Using 90 characters and upwards produced the highest response rates because more benefits can be communicated by using more characters. Snappier subject lines that used 30 characters or less performed well in the case for transactional or direct-action emails. Shorter subject lines (14 or fewer words) produced considerably higher engagement than longer subject lines. (Adestra)
  • More than half of women (54 percent) have sent an email to the wrong person. (Women’s Health; 800-324-1731)

 Brand Strategy

  • Approximately 110 million roses, mostly red, will be sold and delivered within the three-day Valentine’s Day time period, 73% purchased by men and 27% purchased by women. On average, men shell out $130 each on candy, cards, jewelry, flowers and dates, which is more than double what women commit to spending. However, 15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day and about 3% of pet owners will give a Valentine’s Day gift to their pets. (,
  • Some 4 percent of moms say their dream app would remind their husbands to bring flowers. (Meredith Corp.’s Parents Network; 212-315-3710)
  • Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month; Over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube and 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. (
  • 70 percent of mobile users utilize their device for searches once a week or more. Sixty-four percent use social media for searches once a week or more. Both platforms outperformed search engines (61 percent) and local-search sites (49 percent). Print [directory] users are the least engaged with the medium; only 27 percent use it once a week or more. (
  • Dining out at restaurants (59 percent) and going out for entertainment (49 percent) are the expenses most commonly cut by U.S. consumers. (GfK Roper Reports; 908-875-9844)


  • The energy economy is the foundation of the U.S. economy. The crude oil and natural gas industry contributes more than $1 trillion annually to the U.S. economy, or more than seven percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. And it supports more than nine million jobs. (
  • An area of the sun’s surface the size of a postage stamp shines with the power of 1,500,000 candles, and all the coal, oil, gas, and wood on Earth would only keep the sun burning for a few days. (
  • There are approximately 121,446 gas stations in the U.S. and 82.2 percent of them have convenience stores. Gas stations employ close to a million employees (926,792) with an annual payroll of $13 billion. (
  • Fracking, while possibly significantly increasing America’s level of energy independence and helping transition us to a lower-carbon future, is included in the second largest sector in terms of greenhouse emissions. One of its major components, methane, is a highly potent greenhouse gas. (
  • U.S. homes built in 2000 and later consume only 2% more energy on average than homes built prior to 2000, despite being on average 30% larger, according to analysis from EIA’s most recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). (


  • Almost 90 percent of visits to primary health care providers are due to stress-related problems and stress has been linked to all the leading causes of death, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, accidents and suicide. Nearly one-half of all adults suffer adverse effects from stress and it is estimated that one million Americans miss work due to stress-related complaints. (
  • 34 percent of American adults take at least one prescription drug, 11.5 percent take three or more prescriptions drugs and 6.5 percent take four or more prescription drugs. While drugs are our most effective and cost effective treatment (and prevention) of many leading diseases, they are at times and in large numbers being abused. Those at the highest income levels and those at the lowest, are more likely to be taking prescription drugs than the middle class.  However, it is the lowest income Americans who are most likely to be on 4 or more drugs. (
  • Coughing can cause air to move through your windpipe faster than the speed of sound — over a thousand feet per second! (
  • More than 90 percent of people ages 18-24 said they would trust health information they found on social media channels. Patients are also taking to the Interwebs to talk about the care they received: 44 percent of people said they would share positive or negative experiences of a hospital or medical facility, and 42 percent said they wouldn’t hesitate to post comments about a doctor, nurse or healthcare provider on social media. (
  • Half of health care spending is used to treat just five percent of the population. A recent study found that U.S. health care spending is higher than that of other countries most likely because of higher prices and perhaps more readily accessible technology, greater obesity, an older population, and a greater supply of utilization of hospitals and doctors. (

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