The art and science of B2B marketing are evolving at a much faster (in my opinion) rate than the changes and challenges our predecessors had to face. New technologies, new campaign ideas, new platforms and an ever changing set of needs and expectations from our prospects. What we are doing to keep up with that? These days B2B marketing is being increasingly impacted by technological developments. What we are doing to keep ourselves informed of new technologies, new ideas, and new best and worst practices? Where are the loopholes? What traps do we avoid? Which opportunity do we encash?
To keep up-to-date about all the “new-new things” then is the biggest challenge for today’s B2B marketer.
And that’s where personal knowledge management (PKM) comes to the fore. PKM is important for every skill-based and idea-based job and marketing is not exempt. In the era of Google it’s easy enough to find out what you are looking for. That’s great especially when you are a facing a time crunch. Let’s say I need to find out some information on Facebook advertisements. I Google it, find a few documents, read about it and that’s it.
What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing really but it’s making us ‘stupid’ in a sense. Let me elaborate. Think back to the pre-internet era. Back then, when you needed to know something you would go to the library, pick a few books to go, and with much difficulty you would finally find the answer for your question, if at all. But in that process you would get to know about many other things in the same field of study, hopefully, just by serendipity. In the Google age, we are losing that serendipitous knowledge gathering, that stumbling onto something which might be meaningful and useful later on.
To be the B2B marketer who stays relevant in the future, you need to have a personal knowledge management flow. I have one. It is not necessarily the best, but it works for me.
Step 1: Gather thy Knowledge
At the top of the filter is all the knowledge input which I receive primarily through my RSS reader. I use both the Google Reader and Reeder for Mac as a RSS reading client or some other applications on my iPhone and iPad. I subscribe to some 200+ feeds on my RSS and there is no way I can go through all those sources at a time, right? What am I to do?
Step 2: Sift
I do a cursory scan and whenever I come across anything interesting I save it directly in Instapaper. The same goes when I scan through Twitter feeds or Facebook, Linkedin or Google Plus posts. I click on the link and use my browser plug-in to save it to Instapaper.
Step 3: Select
When I get a little bit of free time, say while waiting for a meeting or just down time waiting for something to happen, I scan through my Instapaper on my desktop, iPhone or iPad. That’s when I read the article in a more focussed manner. Instapaper strips down all the ads and other stuff I don’t need so that I can focus on the content. When I like a particular post and think it will be useful later on, I make it a favorite.
Step 4: Save
I’ve set up Instapaper in such a way that whenever I mark a post as ‘favorite’, it goes straight into my Evernote account for the final step in my PKM flow. I tag, categorize, and archive the articles and resources that I really like, or the tools I might use later on.
This then becomes my final knowledge repository for quick access. What is special about that is that I can be as visual as I want. Or add on a note, put in tags, and archive the article/note in my desired folders.
This Gather – Sift – Select – Save process of knowledge gathering, sorting and retention works really well for me. That begs the question: what works for you? Comment away!