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10 Reasons You Need an Audience FIRST Digital, Social Media and Content Marketing Plan [podcast + ebook]

  • Friday 31st July 2020
What is Audience Marketing? Audience marketing is an intentional alignment of your marketing messages, content and focus on the needs of your audience.           Related StoriesThe Ultimate Buyer Persona Worksheet [podcast + free template]10-Point Checklist for Irresistible Content [podcast + free guide]Do You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook] 

Optimize Your Digital and Social Media Marketing for the New Normal

  • Monday 27th July 2020
It's time for marketers to do what they do best... innovate and prepare for the future.You must continue to communicate with your audience and customers. They need you even more than they did a few months ago.           Related StoriesDo You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook]Welcome to the Participation Age: Is Your Digital Brand Ready to Engage?Organize Your Content Marketing Assets in 3 Easy Steps [podcast + free worksheets] 

10-Point Checklist for Irresistible Content [podcast + free guide]

  • Tuesday 21st July 2020
Is your content irresistible? Use this 10-point checklist to create content that captures attention, earns trust, more likes, traffic, leads, sales and customers!           Related StoriesOrganize Your Content Marketing Assets in 3 Easy Steps [podcast + free worksheets]Do You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook]Welcome to the Participation Age: Is Your Digital Brand Ready to Engage? 

Give Your Brand Personality with These 6 Tips [podcast + worksheets]

  • Friday 10th July 2020
A brand personality is a set of characteristics attributed to your brand that make it more human.  It is shaped and molded by how the brand acts, what it says and what it looks like. Your brand personality is the living essence of who you are.  Giving your brand personality equals giving your brand something to connect with.  Just as humans have different personalities, so do brands. Having a brand personality is what separates your brand from the status quo.  It's what helps you stand out from the digital noise. It's what separates you from others in your industry. A brand personality is what connects your audience, partners, community with YOU, your brand and the people inside.           Related StoriesOrganize Your Content Marketing Assets in 3 Easy Steps [podcast + free worksheets]Welcome to the Participation Age: Is Your Digital Brand Ready to Engage?How to Build a Brand that is a Sweet Orange in a World of Digital Bitter Apples 

Do You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook]

  • Monday 29th June 2020
Building an audience first marketing strategy and taking the time to simply know your customer is one of the best ways to ignite your marketing results. Knowing your customer should be your #1 priority for your marketing and business. It is what will make or break your business both online and offline.           Related StoriesOrganize Your Content Marketing Assets in 3 Easy Steps [podcast + free worksheets]15 Hot Digital Marketing Trends for 2020 to Grow Your Business [video + podcast]Is Your Content Marketing Strategy Ready for the Inspiration Age? 

The Ultimate Buyer Persona Worksheet [podcast + free template]

  • Friday 26th June 2020
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customer based upon market research and real data. Buyer personas help you understand your audience and ensure your marketing messages are helping you earn trust, build relationships and become relevant in the mind and heart of your ideal customer.           Related StoriesOrganize Your Content Marketing Assets in 3 Easy Steps [podcast + free worksheets]Welcome to the Participation Age: Is Your Digital Brand Ready to Engage?10-Point Checklist for Irresistible Content [podcast + free guide] 

Level Up! How to Be a Digital and Social Marketing ROI Rebel

  • Friday 19th June 2020
Are you ready to rise above status quo with real, impactful and measurable business results? Learn how to be a social media digital marketing rebel.           Related StoriesOrganize Your Content Marketing Assets in 3 Easy Steps [podcast + free worksheets]Welcome to the Participation Age: Is Your Digital Brand Ready to Engage?How to Build a Brand that is a Sweet Orange in a World of Digital Bitter Apples 

Welcome to the Participation Age: Is Your Digital Brand Ready to Engage?

  • Monday 18th May 2020
Brand participation in meaningful conversations and experiences are a powerful influence in earning trust, thought leadership and customer loyalty.           Related StoriesOrganize Your Content Marketing Assets in 3 Easy Steps [podcast + free worksheets]Is Your Content Marketing Strategy Ready for the Inspiration Age?15 Hot Digital Marketing Trends for 2020 to Grow Your Business [video + podcast] 

These 8 Bad Habits are Destroying Your Content Marketing ROI

  • Thursday 7th May 2020
Are you guilty of these 8 content marketing bad habits stopping you from achieving more success creating and leveraging content? You can't skip important steps such as goal setting, planning and researching your audience. Learn how to optimize every moment and dollar you spend on content marketing.          Related StoriesOrganize Your Content Marketing Assets in 3 Easy Steps [podcast + free worksheets]Welcome to the Participation Age: Is Your Digital Brand Ready to Engage?How to Do a Content Marketing Asset Audit in 3 Easy Steps 

How to Build a Brand that is a Sweet Orange in a World of Digital Bitter Apples

  • Tuesday 28th April 2020
Branding strategies to stand out from the crowd and differentiate. Be the value, not the noise. Build trust, increase brand awareness and grow your business authentically!          Related StoriesOrganize Your Content Marketing Assets in 3 Easy Steps [podcast + free worksheets]Welcome to the Participation Age: Is Your Digital Brand Ready to Engage?15 Hot Digital Marketing Trends for 2020 to Grow Your Business [video + podcast] 

Kroger Selects Dentsu Aegis Network Team Led by 360i as Integrated Media Agency of Record

  • Wednesday 8th July 2020
We’re excited to share that The Kroger Co., America’s largest grocery retailer, has selected Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) as its first integrated media agency of record. DAN will create a team to serve Kroger called fresh@dentsu, led out of 360i with experts from Amplifi, M8, Merkle, and Posterscope. The fresh@dentsu team will be responsible for media planning and buying for Kroger and its family of brands across all media channels, including TV, radio, print, OOH, search, social, display, online video, and streaming audio. The fresh@dentsu team will also partner with Kroger to evaluate their sponsorships. “The fresh@dentsu team stood out to us for their creative ability to think differently about our media planning and buying approach,” stated Kay Vizon, Kroger’s director of media. “We live in a hyperconnected world, requiring us to look at this part of our business more holistically – and with greater data – to accelerate growth and engagement. Dentsu’s audience-first approach aligns perfectly with our principle of looking at the total customer to better understand their behaviors and motivators and what really resonates with them, providing us with a continuous competitive advantage.” “We’re excited and honored to be partnering with Kroger, a brand that has a […] The post Kroger Selects Dentsu Aegis Network Team Led by 360i as Integrated Media Agency of Record appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

Brands Taking a Stand Against Racism

  • Thursday 11th June 2020
As national protests continue with people demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others, brands are using their platforms and dollars to support anti-racism organizations and the Black Lives Matter movement. We shared some of the initial actions 360i is taking and wanted to also highlight our clients that are taking action to support and advocate for the Black community. Check out the following companies that are donating money to important causes like the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Equal Justice Initiative, National Urban League, National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Action Network, the Community Justice Action Fund, and many more organizations.  Check back for more as we keep updating the list.  Ben & Jerry’s issued a comprehensive, direct statement and call to action to dismantle white supremacy as part of their ongoing support for Black Lives Matter. They addressed the historical roots of discrimination, called out systemic racism, and advocated for specific policies to prevent further police abuses and redress racial inequality.   SoFi, the online personal finance company, is giving $1 million to organizations chosen by their employee resource group So(ul)Fi, which empowers Black employees, members and allies. Check out their statement […] The post Brands Taking a Stand Against Racism appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

The Role of Social Media on the Path to Re-opening

  • Friday 8th May 2020
As states and cities across the country plan for re-opening and lockdowns start to lift in different regions, a brand’s social media pages should act as an anchor to communicate with consumers as their physical locations open back up for business amidst the pandemic. In fact, consumers normally visit social media looking for this type of information – more than half of US adults turn to social media for the latest news, and the majority Gen Z shoppers want brands and retailers to share shopping information with them through Instagram vs. other digital channels.  Social media – and the influencers that consumers turn to on these platforms – are particularly critical during and after a crisis, when transparency and trustworthy information are in high demand. Direct communication via owned social pages and trusted partners allows for the flexibility to authentically share the most up-to-date information at a time when the world is constantly in flux, especially as consumers look to the brands and influencers they trust to gauge what to expect and how to behave as the country opens back up again.  A Social Checklist for Successful Re-Openings  Marketers can use this checklist to ensure they are communicating clearly and helpfully with consumers, reassuring them, and providing the information they expect as […] The post The Role of Social Media on the Path to Re-opening appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

360i Deepens Integrated Media Expertise with Appointment of Catherine Warburton as EVP, Chief Investment Officer

  • Thursday 7th May 2020
We’re excited to welcome one of the industry’s most respected media buyers, Catherine Warburton, to 360i. As EVP, Chief Investment Officer, Catherine will guide all investment activities for clients, including our growing broadcast portfolio. She will work in close partnership with Amplifi, Dentsu Aegis Network’s centralized media investment arm. “This is a critical time to push the transformation of media and to maximize clients’ investments,” said Doug Rozen, 360i’s Chief Media Officer. “As this period of economic uncertainty continues to unfold, transformation is happening at an even faster pace. Clients need a partner to help them capitalize on change, and there’s no bigger change facing media than the shifts in the video marketplace. Catherine’s long-standing relationships and experience amplifies our unique full-funnel offering to unite brand media with demand media.”  Catherine joins 360i from MDC’s Assembly, where she served as their Chief Investment Officer, leading investment and media owner relationships across all media for clients such as Truth Initiative, E*Trade, Red Robin, and Boehringer Ingelheim. Prior to Assembly, she served as Vice President of Business Development at FOX Sports Media Group. Before FOX, she held several roles at major media agencies working on clients in the beauty, entertainment, automotive, retail, and technology categories.  “I was drawn to how 360i’s digital […] The post 360i Deepens Integrated Media Expertise with Appointment of Catherine Warburton as EVP, Chief Investment Officer    appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

What Twitter’s #SafeHandsChallenge is teaching marketers

  • Thursday 30th April 2020
UGC campaigns can be hard to crack, but when done well can offer major value in driving advocacy across categories.  With social conversation and consumption at an all-time high, it takes a lot to break through the online clutter—but something did: the #SafeHandsChallenge. It is a partnership between Twitter and the World Health Organization (WHO) and aims to educate the general public through social content around how to properly wash your hands. As a platform that is at the center of news, entertainment and social connection during this time, Twitter is uniquely set up to drive impact among the masses. The #SafeHandsChallenge is a user-generated content (UGC) campaign, but when you take a closer look, it strategically uses audience interests, cultural trends and social media behaviors to break through, be relevant and initiate change. UGC campaigns can be hard to crack but when done well can offer major value in driving advocacy across categories. Here are three tactics the #SafeHandsChallenge can teach marketers to leverage in any UGC social campaign. Simplicity always wins. The WHO has a full website of advice, but with Twitter known for bite-sized content, the organization kept the call-to-action (CTA) clear and focused. This CTA was […] The post What Twitter’s #SafeHandsChallenge is teaching marketers appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

What you can do now to help your business with SEO

  • Tuesday 14th April 2020
The disruptive influence of the global COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses everywhere to reevaluate their strategies to stay relevant, be discovered, and communicate with their current and prospective customers. As marketing teams rethink budgets and emerging strategy, there is no better time than now to invest in SEO.   Just like training for and running a marathon, SEO operates on longer timelines and produces sustained results that often persist long after its initial activities. While more gradual, there are specific actions you can take now to maximize your existing engagement and drive better performance.  Update local listings, location pages details, and add FAQs to reflect changes.Hour changes, closures, and the addition of alternative service options such as curbside delivery and pickup are crucial to engaging customers.   If your locations are currently closed, or some services temporarily suspended, provide that information and links to help customers do business with you online. You may also directly communicate your updates on Google via Google My Business Posts.   Prominently feature home delivery and curbside pickup in your content if you offer these as options because there has been an unprecedented surge in demand.It will give your customers one more reason to choose you.  Prominently feature “how-to” information in your content. Since March 8, search interest in the topic of “How-to” […] The post What you can do now to help your business with SEO appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

360i Clients Lend a Helping Hand

  • Saturday 4th April 2020
As we navigate these unprecedented times, we’re proud to work with brands that are stepping up to help by making donations, partnering with nonprofit organizations, and shifting their production lines to manufacture urgently needed materials. Kudos to some of our partners who are going above and beyond to lend a hand. Check back for more as we keep updating the list.  Hanes and Champion: HanesBrands Inc. is retrofitting some of its facilities to make medical masks urgently needed in the U.S. to fight coronavirus. #InThisTogether  Bumble: Going beyond matching up couples, this dating app is now matching small businesses with monetary support. Until April 5th, small business owners can submit a request to receive up to $5k in monetary support from Bumble. To apply, head to the Bumble app and match with the Bumble Community Grants profile from any mode.  Ritz: Favorite cracker brand Ritz is donating 5 million meals to Feeding America and is inviting the world to join in and support the organization’s important work.  Pernod Ricard: The New York-based North American division of Pernod Ricard SA, the $35 billion French spirits empire behind Absolut vodka and Jameson Irish whiskey, began to retool the corporation’s distilleries on March 16th for something the country is in dire need of—industrial quantities of hand sanitizer.  Jameson: The Irish whiskey brand has pledged to donate $500,000 […] The post 360i Clients Lend a Helping Hand appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

We may not all be infected. But we will all be impacted.

  • Wednesday 25th March 2020
We may not all be infected. But we will all be impacted. We used to say that the only constant is change – and this has gained new meaning nowadays. The coronavirus spreads fast around the globe, and while we may not all be infected by it, we will all be impacted by it. With that said, we can all start to prepare for the changes we will see in social dynamics, behavior, and commerce. So, here’s our angle on the matter and initial guidelines and insights into navigating this new shift (by 360i). (Originally written on March 12, 2020. Figures and facts may be updated) Until it is all normal again Even though normality will be restored at some point, it will likely not be any time soon, and our lifestyle will continuously be upended. However, as much as this is a stressful moment, it’s also a fascinating time to observe behaviors and learn about what people will start, stop, and continue doing moving forward into 2020. Available data shows that fear is spreading faster than the virus itself. And with that, while most of us won’t be infected, we will all be impacted. So, in our commitment to […] The post We may not all be infected. But we will all be impacted. appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

360i #SideHustle: Snipped and Styled with Remi Lubcher

  • Tuesday 10th March 2020
Welcome to the 360i #SideHustle blog series, where we showcase the awesome side projects, hobbies, start-up businesses, and other ventures created by the entrepreneurial employees here at 360i. What started as a childhood passion for couture became a #SideHustle for Remi Lubcher, Media Manager at 360i. When she isn’t busy working on 360i’s integrated team for client HBC she’s working on her business Snipped and Styled, a clothing brand targeted at millennial women. Remi created Snipped and Styled in 2014 and it has since spread to college campuses across America, putting a new spin on traditional college apparel along the way. We sat down with Remi to learn about her experience building a unique business in fashion. 1. How did your passion for retail and fashion begin? I have been passionate about fashion for as long as I can remember! My mom is a major “fashionista,” so she influenced my love for fashion from a very young age. In elementary school, I became obsessed with picking out my outfits; in middle school, I would sketch dresses in my class notebooks and by the time I was in high school, I started cutting up my clothing to add a unique flair […] The post 360i #SideHustle: Snipped and Styled with Remi Lubcher appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

360i Chosen as Media Agency of Record for McCormick Media Planning and Buying

  • Thursday 5th March 2020
We are excited to announce that 360i has been selected as the North American media partner for the McCormick North America Business, a leader of spices, seasoning mixes, condiments, and other flavorful products.    As Media partner, 360i will handle planning and buying for all media channels for the McCormick North America Business which includes brands like McCormick, French’s, Frank’s, Club House, Zatarain’s, Old Bay, and more.  “360i consistently demonstrated strong client focus, strategic thinking, and extensive data and analytics capabilities. We look forward to working with this great team to grow our brands in the years ahead,” said Jill Pratt, Chief Marketing Excellence Officer at McCormick.  “We’re excited and honored to be partnering with McCormick,” said 360i Chief Media Officer Doug Rozen. “They’re a bold, iconic brand looking to drive innovation across their portfolio, and thinking about media in new ways. 360i’s ability to unite traditional media with the audience-based power of Dentsu’s M1 platform, brings together the necessary ingredients for a modern marketer to get ahead of what’s next.”  McCormick joins 360i’s growing portfolio of Media AOR relationships including American Eagle Outfitters, 7-Eleven, Advance Auto Parts, Shiseido, Chili’s, Pernod Ricard, DSW, and more. Additionally, 360i was named a Leader in the Forrester Wave: Performance Marketing Agencies Q4 2019 and […] The post 360i Chosen as Media Agency of Record for McCormick Media Planning and Buying  appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

B2B Marketing News: How B2B Events Are Changing, Consumers Switch Brands During Pandemic, & New B2B Micro-Segmentation Data

  • Friday 31st July 2020
Study: Most Americans Permanently Changing Brands During Pandemic 45 percent of U.S. consumers have switched at least one brand preference during the global heath crisis, and some 62 percent believe that their brand change will become permanent — two of several items of interest to digital marketers in recently-released survey data. MediaPost How microsegmenting boosts B2B conversion rates Micro-segmentation helps both B2B sellers and customers, with better conversion rates and more relevant customer experiences, with some 68 percent of B2B buyers noting that it's important for vendors to present relevant content throughout the buying cycle without having to rely on salespeople, according to recently-released Forrester report data. Digital Commerce 360 Gartner Identifies Five Technologies to Drive More Agile and Scalable Advertising Capabilities for Marketers The digital advertising trends having the most impact on the industry have been outlined in Gartner's latest annual Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising 2020 report, showing the rise of Advanced Supply-Side Bidding (ASSB), Identity Resolution (IDR) and other areas of interest to digital marketers. MarTech Series Facebook Releases New Web Collage App via its Experimental NPE Team Facebook's New Product Experimentation (NPE) test-bed team has launched an experimental image display app called E.gg, offering a throwback look for modern photo collages that could eventually bring marketers new visual display opportunities, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today What Types of Content Generate Leads That Convert? Marketers generate the most lead conversions by utilizing online content that incorporates video, which was seen as the most effective format by 41 percent of marketers, followed by webinars at 36 percent, and original research at 36 percent, topping the list of newly-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingCharts LinkedIn Provides More Tips for Virtual Events in New Guide Book Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has published new insight into using its LinkedIn Live and Events features, including marketing survey data showing that some 69 percent of marketers find it challenging to make the move to virtual events, the firm recently announced in conjunction with the launch of its second-ever events guide. Social Media Today Infographic: Consumers Want to See More Brands in the Esports Realm Today's consumers would like to find more brands including e-sports in their campaign efforts, with 72 percent saying that would like to see brands that are savvy enough to use the medium's fast-paced conversation. The gaming industry is the most dominant media channel for Gen Z and millennials, and is expected to top $1.5 billion in brand spending, according to recently-released infographic data. Adweek Zenith: Global Ad Spend Projected To Drop 9.1% This Year Overall global advertising spending for 2020 is expected to fall by 9.1 percent, while digital ad spend is forecast to see only a 2 percent decrease, with digital accounting for more than half of global ad spend, according to recently-released Zenith report data. MediaPost Facebook Tests New Page Design Which De-Emphasizes Like Counts Facebook has begun testing pages that don't include page like buttons, instead placing focus on having users follow pages. The expanded test, which has been limited to certain public figures, has now also been implemented for some business pages, the firm recently announced. Social Media Today How COVID-19 Is Affecting the B2B Exhibition Industry 73 percent of B2B event organizers have had to cancel a physical event because of the pandemic, and 81 percent have begun providing virtual alternatives, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingProfs ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “multicultural marketing” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Street Artists Reimagine Classic Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt for AR-Enabled Murals — Adweek TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: TopRank Marketing — Is B2B Influencer Marketing Effective During A Crisis? — Tribal Impact TopRank Marketing — 33 of the Best Social Media Marketing Blogs of 2020 — HubSpot Joshua Nite — Shake Up Your Business Strategies with These Community Suggestions — Small Business Trends Lee Odden — C-Suite Marketing Episode 5: Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing [Podcast] — ITSMA / SoundCloud Lee Odden — B2B Influencer Marketing — Evans on Marketing Have you come across your own favorite B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks for joining us, and please return again next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don't miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel. The post B2B Marketing News: How B2B Events Are Changing, Consumers Switch Brands During Pandemic, & New B2B Micro-Segmentation Data appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Boosting and Deepening Engagement through Empathy in B2B Marketing

  • Thursday 30th July 2020
Empathy is more than a buzzword. It’s not a box to be checked, or an added finishing touch for content. If B2B marketers want to successfully engage human audiences and break free from the deluge of irrelevant messages swirling around today’s customers, empathy needs to be at the center of all strategic initiatives from start to finish. What Does Empathy Mean in B2B Marketing? Empathy is defined simply as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. But I’m not sure that characterization fully does it justice in the context of modern marketing. I rather like the way Zen Media CEO Shama Hyder described empathy in the better creative teamwork guide we helped our clients at monday.com put together: “Empathy is critical. It's much more than just having an understanding of what someone else's challenges might be. Part of it is that you have to give up being a control freak. As leaders, we should really look at the big picture and ask ourselves, is this necessary? Or is this just politicking, or someone trying to make it seem like it has to be done this way because it's the way they prefer?” Shama was speaking from the perspective of a business leader trying to get on the same page as their team, but it applies just as well to marketing endeavors. The critical first step in developing empathy is disconnecting from our own ingrained perceptions and assumptions. Only then can we truly understand and support the audiences we want to reach. Too often, empathy in marketing tends to be a bit narrow and self-centered (which is contradictory to the very concept itself). We often seek to understand only the challenges and pain points that drive interest in what we’re selling. Looking beyond this scope is necessary to build strong relationships founded on trust, especially now. “What you are creating, marketing and ultimately selling is but one piece of your customer’s life as a human on Earth. One very small piece,” said Mary Beech, principal at MRB Brand Consulting and former CMO of Kate Spade, in an AMA article on empathy in marketing. “And if we aren’t keeping in mind their full journey, including their emotional, mental, social and physical needs — as well as the challenges and joys they are facing — we cannot do our jobs well.” As Brian Solis wrote at Forbes recently, the need for empathetic customer experiences is greater than ever in the age of COVID-19 disruption. People have so much going on in their lives, and are facing so many unprecedented difficulties, that a myopic brand-centric focus is all the more untenable. “Traditional marketing will no longer have the same effect moving forward,” he argues. “If anything, it will negatively affect customer relationships rather than enhance them.” Agreed. So, let’s find a better way. Engaging with True Empathy in the New Era of Marketing Imagine if it was possible to sit down and have an in-depth conversation with each one of your customers and potential customers. You’d gain first-hand insight into their worldviews, their challenges, their hopes and dreams. Sadly, it’s not possible. You don’t have the time, nor do your customers. (Although I do recommend making a habit of engaging in direct, candid conversations with them when possible.) To make empathy scalable, marketers need to take advantage of all the tools at their disposal. This largely requires using data to connect the dots. “It’s critical for marketers to have a real-time 360 view and understanding of a customer’s full journey, at every stage, from discovery to engagement to retention and loyalty to advocacy,” Solis wrote at Forbes. Here are some suggestions for obtaining such a view: Use empathy-mapping. This practice, explained in a helpful primer from Nielsen Norman Group, involves creating a visualization of attitudes and behaviors to guide decision-making. Empathy-mapping originated in the world of UX design, but given how much user experience and customer experience now overlap, it’s becoming a powerful tool for marketers. (Source: Nielsen Norman Group) Coordinate and integrate your organizational efforts. Every customer-facing function in a company — marketing, sales, customer service — sees the customer from a different perspective. Seek ways to bring all these perspectives together into one centralized, holistic view. Per Solis: “Cross-functional collaboration is a mandate. As such, integration will become the new standard and will quickly become table stakes as every company rushes in this direction.” Tap into meaningful influencer relationships. Influencers can play a key role in empathetic marketing because they have relationships and perspectives extending beyond our brand ecosystems. If they align with your audience, influencers can bring unique insight and connect at deeper levels. Turning influencer engagements from mechanical to meaningful is essential to accomplishing this. Incidentally, Mr. Solis recently partnered with TopRank Marketing on the first-ever State of B2B Influencer Marketing report, in which our friend Ann Handley summarizes the impact quite well: “You could call yourself a good parent or a world-class marketer or an empathetic friend ... but any of those things would carry more weight coming from your child, customer, or BFF. So it is with integrating influencer content: It's a direct line to building trust and customer confidence.” Research and engage with topics that matter to your customers outside of their jobs. Given the connotations of B2B, it’s all too easy to isolate our customer research around what they do professionally. But these are human beings with lives outside of work. To drive powerful engagement, marketers should search for the cross-sections between their brand’s purpose and values, and what matters to their customers. A good example of this is found in the IBM THINK Blog, which is “dedicated to chronicling the fast-moving world of cognitive computing” and covers many important societal topics. (Recent focuses include a post on gender pronouns and a corporate environmental report.) Examples of Empathetic B2B Marketing Who’s getting it right and paving the way for a more empathy-driven approach to engaging B2B audiences? Here are a few examples: My post on seven B2B brands that talk to consumers, not companies highlights several instances of an authentic and relatable human tone shining through. It goes without saying that the video-conferencing service Zoom stumbled into a massive business opportunity with the dramatic pivot to remote work this year. The company could simply try to cash in and maximize that opportunity, but instead, they’re doubling down on building trust. Zoom’s CEO Eric S. Yuan recently wrote about his roots in China in articulating his organization’s support for this embattled region of the world, noting that Zoom is providing expanded features for free accounts and offering accessible resources and education. He also made the company’s tools free to K-12 schools (a potentially lucrative customer base) in March. Seeing human faces brings an instantly relatable element to any B2B campaign. That’s why Microsoft’s Story Labs microsite, which frames some of the company’s initiatives and guiding principles around real people and their stories, is so effective. Let Empathy Guide Your B2B Marketing Strategy In order to walk in someone else’s shoes, you first need to untie and remove your own. Making empathy a core strategic pillar requires marketers to take a step back, disconnect from their ingrained perceptions and assumptions, and get fully in tune with the people they serve. Only then can we create the type of relevant and personalized experiences that drive deep and long-lasting brand engagement. For more tips that will help your business-oriented content strike notes of genuine empathy, read Josh Nite’s blog post on 5 Ways to Humanize B2B Marketing.   The post Boosting and Deepening Engagement through Empathy in B2B Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

5 Unheralded SEO Tools for Content Marketers

  • Wednesday 29th July 2020
Are you using the latest search engine optimization (SEO) tools to help with your content marketing efforts? Don't worry, as we’ve got you covered with a look at some of the most helpful SEO tools to help you refine and augment your content marketing plans. Sorting through lists of the seemingly endless number of available SEO tools can be frustrating as well as a hit and miss proposition, however we’ve put this collection together so that you can skip the search and get right into SEO tools you can use today to help you create amazing content marketing stories. Let’s jump in with our collection of fresh SEO tools to boost your content marketing experiences. 1 — Google Lighthouse Google’s own Lighthouse tool — an open-source project — offers a simple way to check a number of basic SEO-related issues that every website should consider. Among its auditing functions are tools specifically focusing on performance, SEO, accessibility, and progressive web apps, and it's also capable of examining webpages requiring authentication. The tool can be run standalone, from the web, in Google's Chrome DevTools, or incorporated into continuous integration systems, and its Lighthouse Viewer allows viewing and sharing of analysis data online. 2 — Botify SEO Platform There are numerous powerful SEO platforms that each look to be as close to a one-stop-shop as possible for marketers and brands to gain reliable and relevant search insight, and squarely in this category is enterprise SEO suite company Botify. Botify offers a vast array of SEO analysis, data crawling intelligence and indexing metrics tools, all while working to make this complex information both easy to understand and act on, as Google’s Martin Splitt recently touched on in a live video conversation. 3 — Bing URL Submissions Plugin for WordPress B2B marketers in WordPress environments recently got access to an open-source plug-in from Bing Webmaster Tools, automating the submission of new site content to the Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Bing URL Submissions Plugin in a feature-rich plug-in that can also be customized via Bing’s API for incorporation into other content management systems. 4 — Schema.org Google and other search engine firms prefer that businesses use schema markup for structured data in the format set forth and maintained by the Schema.org organization, which is especially important today as features including Google’s Knowledge Graphs rely in part on this simple yet often-overlooked element, as Michal Pecánek recently examined for Ahrefs. 5 — WebPagetest Another free tool frequently used by savvy search industry professionals is WebPagetest, allowing webmasters and technically-proficient marketers to run a variety of tests including content type breakdowns, page speed data and others providing helpful information. The data from WebPagetest can be used to troubleshoot website slowness issues, as Barry Schwartz recently outlined in “Google: How To Diagnose Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) Slowness.” Smart SEO Tools To Make You A Knowledge Builder via GIPHY We hope you’ve found at least a few new-to-you SEO content marketing tools among those we’ve taken a look at here, and that you’ll find them useful as you create new campaigns that are using the soundest practices of SEO, and that they'll also help build your own team’s knowledge. We have a multi-year history of highlighting helpful marketing tools, and here are a few of the other most recent articles we’ve published on the subject: 10 Fresh Social Media Marketing Tools To Boost Brand Storytelling 31 DIY Marketing Tools To Create Remarkable Experiences 10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers How B2B Marketers Can Make the Most of Interactive Content Tools The Content Marketer’s Toolbox: 3 ‘Real-Life’ Tools for Gaining Insight, Inspiration, & Amplification The post 5 Unheralded SEO Tools for Content Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

How B2B Marketers Can Get the Most Out of Webinars in 2020

  • Tuesday 28th July 2020
There has to be a word for the creeping dread B2B marketers have been feeling this year, preferably something German with a ton of umlauts. As we watched events in the spring cancel, postpone, or go virtual, we held out hope that summer would be different. Then July’s events moved out. Now it’s looking like the type of large-scale events B2B marketers depend on will have to wait until 2021… at the earliest. But we don’t have to despair! We can close the gap with virtual events. The speaking gig at an industry conference can become a webinar, as can a planned panel discussion or product demonstration.  The good news is plenty of people have more spare time than before to watch your webinar. The bad news is that everyone who makes webinars has time on their hands, too. So, your webinar has to have a little extra oomph to stand out in the crowd.  Here’s how you can level up your webinar creation and promotion. How to Get the Most from Your B2B Webinar It’s no longer enough to put up a slide deck and talk through bullet points. These tips will help you make a more compelling webinar — and make sure that people attend it. Start with Content Research No marketer worth their salt would make a blog post without doing content research. Why should your webinar be different?  To determine the best subject matter for your webinar, bring all of your research tools to bear: SEO research via SEMRush and Google Analytics Question research via BuzzSumo and AnswerthePublic Prospect feedback from your sales team Competitor content evaluation All of these resources will help you home in on the topics that your audience most wants to hear about. Your research might even drive what type of webinar you create: If your audience needs how-to advice, you might do a live demonstration. If they’re looking for thought leadership, you might partner with influencers. Speaking of the latter... Reach Out to Influencers In case you missed the headline yesterday, B2B Influencer Marketing is kind of a big deal. There’s no greater boost to your credibility (and your potential audience) than adding industry thought leaders to your webinar.  Look for people who are influential with your audience — those who are regularly producing content and engaging with anyone who posts a comment. They don’t have to have Taylor Swift-level follower counts to make a difference. They just have to be able to get a relevant audience’s attention and hold it. Also, it’s not enough to just have someone appear with you on camera, though — it’s important to ask meaningful questions that will enable a substantive discussion. Keep your content research in mind as you plan the interview. Create a Landing Page & Promote Give your audience plenty of time to prepare for your webinar. We recommend starting outreach at least two weeks beforehand, and up to a month if you can swing it.  Create a short landing page to collect sign-ups — include a few key points you plan to cover, and introduce yourself and your guests. You can promote the landing page via social media — image-led social works well — and blog content that builds anticipation for your topic. Don’t forget to include the webinar in your newsletter, and to enlist your influencers to drive pre-registration. One great way to promote the webinar, and focus your content at the same time, is to poll your audience via social media. Ask for their thoughts on your topic. Ask what they most want to know about it. Ask what they would like to ask your thought leader guest. These posts can help drive registration while also making sure the content will be more relevant to the audience. [bctt tweet="“One great way to promote the webinar, and focus your content at the same time, is to poll your audience via social media. Ask for their thoughts on your topic. Ask what they most want to know about it.” @NiteWrites" username="toprank"] Change Up the Format The Q&A, the panel discussion, the lecture — there are a few tried-and-true formats for webinars. But as the market gets flooded with content, we need to be more creative. For example, what about a working session instead of a discussion, where your panel collaboratively creates something? Or what about spicing up an interview with interstitial, pre-produced video content?  You could even host the webinar on a platform like LinkedIn Live (while recording it for later publication, of course) and interact in real time with the audience. Just make sure to have a moderator to help keep the questions flowing smoothly. Plan and Practice, But Be Flexible It’s always a good idea to run through your entire webinar a few times before you go live. If you’re doing a lecture or presentation format, that means practicing all the content you plan to put across. For a panel discussion or interview, you may not be able to do a full run-through with your influencer, but you can still test the technology you will be using. Don’t let your practicing and planning make your presentation too rigid, though. You should be able to follow an interesting conversational thread in your interview, or incorporate an audience comment in your presentation, without the whole thing going off the rails. Of course, it’s always going to be tricky to run a live presentation, especially if you or your guests don’t do this type of presenting for a living. It can be challenging to think on your feet, come across as engaging, and keep a conversation focused and interesting to your audience. Which is why I’m going to court controversy and say... You Don’t Have to Be Live As we think about changing up the format and offering a higher-quality experience to the audience, it may be time to let go of the idea that webinars have to be live.  After all, editing is the gift that you give to your audience. You wouldn’t write a blog post in real time with a hundred people watching. You wouldn’t record a podcast episode and publish the raw audio. So why not pre-record and edit your webinar? It’s true there is an immediacy to a live presentation that would be lost with a pre-recorded one. But the boost in quality for the audience could cover that loss. And you can still have an interactive experience with the audience through chat. You could even play the pre-recorded portion first, then hop on the video stream live for an audience Q&A. There’s an enormous gap between the standard slideshow & lecture webinar and the produced, polished video that audiences appreciate most. Pre-recording and editing is one way to start closing that gap.  Follow Up with Extra Content What should your audience do next after attending the webinar? That’s a question to answer before you take your first registration. Once you have a next step in mind, create a content bundle to send to each registrant after the webinar airs. This bundle could include a normally gated eBook or two, some recommended reading from your blog, or more content from your influencer guests. You can also create extra content from the webinar to help fill out your editorial calendar. Use excerpts from your discussion to fuel blog posts. Repurpose the audio as a podcast. Pull the best quotes to use as video posts on social media that drive to a gated version of the recorded webinar. Essentially, it’s about getting the most value possible from your content asset — the same thing you do with eBooks or blogs. Webinars Killed the Radio Star The pandemic has made webinars a go-to tactic for marketers who are missing out on face-to-face events. But as more marketers get into the webinar game, your content needs to be extraordinarily valuable and extremely well-promoted. If you plan, produce and promote your webinar with the same strategic care that you use for the rest of your content marketing, you’ll bring your audience more value and earn their attention in return. Check out our CEO Lee Odden in a recent webinar: Social Media in the Times of Social Distancing. The post How B2B Marketers Can Get the Most Out of Webinars in 2020 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report from TopRank Marketing

  • Monday 27th July 2020
My team and I at TopRank Marketing are happy to announce the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report! Influencer Marketing has fast accelerated as a topic over the past few years with B2C influencers and brands getting the majority of attention. While consumer focused influencers have been impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, B2B is a different story. Whether in times of crisis or in competitive markets, B2B marketers are challenged to reach distracted buyers and create meaningful experiences that inspire trust, confidence and action. As B2B marketers search for solid insight and leadership around marketing strategies to survive and thrive during this time of uncertainty, Influencer Marketing offers businesses a welcome dose of optimism. With much of the research and media attention focused on B2C influencer marketing, we believe the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report to be the first ever research report dedicated to B2B. B2B Marketers are hungry for effective marketing strategies but don't always have the resources or confidence to implement. To help close the gap of knowledge and skills around working with influencers to impact marketing and business goals, this new report focuses exclusively on how businesses are engaging influencers for marketing to other businesses. For this research, hundreds of B2B marketers shared their insights including many of the top B2B brands in the world on all things B2B influencer marketing including strategy, tactics, operations, software, integration, measurement, budgeting and the future. We’ve combined the findings from our research with insights from top B2B marketers from brands, case studies and some of the most respected B2B influencers in the industry to give you direction, confidence and inspiration for the best that influencer marketing has to offer. Some of the key findings from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report: B2B Influencer Marketing is Valuable for B2B Brands: 78% believe their prospects rely on advice from industry influencers 74% agree that influencer marketing improves customer and prospect experience with the brand 63% agree that marketing would have better results if it included a B2B influencer marketing program 90% expect their budget to increase or stay the same Top Challenges B2B Marketers Have with Influencer Marketing: Only 35% use software to find influencers - most ask for recommendations from personal connections or other influencers (no data validation) Only half include a plan for influencer activation in their strategy 41% are not using any technology for their IM program Only 19% of B2B marketers are running ongoing influencer marketing programs 60% say they don't have the knowledge to execute or have the right skills in house to implement ongoing IM programs Characteristics of the Most Successful B2B Brands at Influencer Marketing: Always On: 60% of marketers who use always on IM programs are very successful vs. 5% who do periodic campaigns Use industry experts and analysts Use blogs as platforms Use software to identify and qualify influencers Create interactive content with influencers Have a centralized IM program Integrate with corporate communications department Have a documented strategy for B2B IM This 45+ page report is rich with insights from the survey of hundreds of B2B marketers, featured case studies from B2B brands of all sizes and insights from 15 of the top B2B marketing experts and influencers about Influencer Marketing. We also included a list of 20 top Influencer Marketing practitioners from B2B brands. To give you an idea of what's inside, here's the report Table of Contents: The Influence Advantage: From thought leadership to customer acquisition, B2B brands are optimistic about the competitive advantages of influencer marketing. Find out why. The Engine of Influence is Always-On: B2B brands are evolving from short term influencer campaigns to relationship driven, Always-On programs that build trust, engagement and advocacy.. Influencer Marketing Integration: To create a better customer experience, B2B brands are integrating influencer content across marketing channels from content marketing to PR. Influencer Marketing Operations: To scale influencer marketing while maintaining quality, processes and software are essential for influencer identification, communications and performance reporting. . 10 Predictions on the Future of B2B Influence: What will B2B influencer marketing look like in 2021 and beyond? Get answers from 10 top influencer marketing professionals. And here are a few insights from some of the respected B2B Marketers and Business Influencers who contributed: "Engaging with influencers provides a myriad of competitive advantages. There's nothing more comforting than to have trusted voices defend your brand or correct misperceptions.” Rani Mani @ranimani0707 Head of Social Influencer Enablement at @Adobe “The operations behind Influencer Marketing is the less glamorous yet essential side of relational business. You need to come up with a strategy, plan of action, and a process.” Ursula Ringham @ursularingham Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP "Being 'always-on' has allowed our team to build meaningful relationships with influencers. B2B brands would be wise to adopt this approach as they look to build true brand advocates.” Garnor Morantes /in/garnormorantes Group Marketing Manager at LinkedIn “Customers know authenticity when they see it & naturally trust humans more than brands. Working with credible B2B influencers helps to build brand authority through real, human conversations & interactions.” Sarita Rao @saritasayso SVP - Business Marketing, Analytics & Alliances at AT&T Business “Ongoing influencer programs are more valuable to B2B companies and allow for deeper engagement with influencers. These connected activities provide a cohesive experience for your audience.” Tom Treanor @RtMixMktg VP, Global Head of Marketing at arm Treasure Data “Working with the right influencers builds credibility with the audience you are trying to reach. Influencers can help you deliver content that solves problems, educates & inspires your intended audience.” Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi VP, Influencer Marketing & Communications at SAP Ariba “Having an end-to-end process is key to be effective & scale. From clear objectives to identification, engagement tactics, management, budgeting, reporting & not to forget feedback to close the loop.” Janine Wegner @JanineWegner Global Thought Leadership Program & Activation Manager at Dell Technologies “A shift I see for B2B influencer marketing in 2021 is using employees as influencers. This will allow marketers to have more control of the campaign & build advocacy among internal thought leaders.” Ryan Barres @RyanBares Global Social Programs Lead: Social Influencers & Employee Advocacy at IBM Systems "As influencer marketing matures, brands will expect their influencer marketing software to integrate with the rest of the march stack." Pierre-Loic Assayag @pierreloic Founder and CEO at Traackr “Partnering with well-matched influencers is a handy way to infuse your brand with creative energy and inspiration. It’s a direct line to building trust and customer confidence.” Ann Handley @MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs “We will see the rise of the customers as influencers given their ability to share stories that help target buyers navigate the increasingly complex B2B buying journey. ” Jeff Davis @meetjeffdavis Founder & Principal at JD2 Consulting “In 2021, brands will need to identify, test and deploy a new type of tech stack to make the creation and consumption of virtual content as seamless as possible for influencers and audiences alike.” Tamara McCleary @TamaraMcCleary CEO at Thulium “In 2021, success in B2B influencer marketing is dependent on the compelling delivery of relevant information via video & audio. Influencers can no longer rely on face-to-face personal charisma.” Kevin Jackson @Kevin_Jackson CEO at GC Globalnet "Traditional marketing channels are drying up and even trade shows are imperiled in 2021. The influence marketing trend will be amplified as businesses seek trusted voices to join industry conversations.” Mark Schaefer @markwschaefer Author, Return on Influence COO at B Squared Media And many more... Influence plays an essential role in marketing whether B2B brands run influencer programs or not. The question is, will influence be random or will it be nurtured, amplified and targeted to produce brand awareness and lead generation outcomes B2B marketers are after? The research supports optimism for B2B Influencer Marketing for a few key reasons: Brand trust is in question but buyers trust experts Influence optimizes performance of content and other marketing Influence differentiates B2B brand experiences The B2B marketing world is at the cusp of change but also opportunity. The influence advantage is available for marketers who can adopt the best practices of the most successful B2B influencer marketers outlined in this report from an Always-On strategy to qualitative influencer engagement to effective operations with process and software. I encourage you to access the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report and to get the insights that have been missing in B2B about working with influencers. A BIG THANKS goes to Michele from Mantis Research for all her help with research design and analytics. HUGE APPRECIATION to Ashley from TopRank Marketing for project and content management as well as a MASSIVE PROPS to Jake from TopRank Marketing for a stellar design! Thank you to our other team members from Lane to Alexis for pitching in as well. The post 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report from TopRank Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing News: Podcast Downloads Climb, Social & Display Ad Spend Rising, Snapchat’s Brand Profiles, & Google’s Latest Ad Tools

  • Friday 24th July 2020
‘The downloads are back’: Podcasting finishes the first half of 2020 strong Podcast downloads have come back to pre-pandemic numbers, increasing from 625 million in March to 825 million over the past two months, while podcast advertising is still expected to increase by 15 percent for the year, according to recently-released report data. DigiDay LinkedIn Revenue Up 10%, Sessions Up 27%, in Latest Performance Update Double-digit quarterly revenue growth of 10 percent over the previous quarter has been reported from LinkedIn (client), accompanied by user platform session growth of 27 percent, the Microsoft-owned firm recently announced. Social Media Today Programmatic Advertising Trends: Top Tactics, Challenges, and Metrics 61 percent of marketers view return on investment (ROI) as their top programmatic advertising metric, while 46 percent said that their top challenge in executing programmatic strategy is audience targeting, according to newly-released survey data. MarketingProfs Facebook, Google and Apple Announce New Emoji Updates for World Emoji Day Marketers now have access to new emoji to tell brand stories, as Apple, Facebook and Google each announced a selection of new emoji options including a magic wand, teapot, drum, and piñata, the firms recently announced in conjunction with World Emoji Day. Social Media Today ANA Finds Content Marketing Budgets Rose Sharply Prior To COVID-19 Content marketing advertising budgets were up some 73 percent on average over the past two years before the pandemic, with 63 percent of content marketing services being conducted internally — two of several findings of interest to digital marketers contained in a recently-released Association of National Advertisers (ANA) report. MediaPost Google Adds New Ad Tools, Including Updated Visual Options and Prompts for Search Ads New responsive search advertising personalization and curation features have been rolling out in Google’s latest update, along with enhanced branding tools including new layouts and updated dynamic ads, the search giant recently announced. Social Media Today 65% of Americans think brands should take a stand against racism, study says Some 65 percent of U.S. adults believe that brands ought to take a stand against racism, while 56 percent of consumers said that they are the most willing to purchase from those brands that speak out in opposition to racism — two findings of interest to digital marketers in recently-released survey data. Marketing Dive Marketers to focus ad spend on regional, digital media in 2020's 2nd half During the second half of 2020 some 75 percent of marketers plan to use paid social and display ads, while budgets are expected to drop by 12 percent during the third quarter and 7.5 percent in the fourth, according to recently-released study data. Marketing Dive Snapchat Adds Brand Profiles as it Looks to Expand its Business Appeal Snapchat has launched new features targeted at brands utilizing the platform, with a pilot program that gives brands a selection of new showcase options including story posts and highlighted Snaps collections, the firm recently announced. Social Media Today Why Video is the King of Content for Marketers – 2020 Survey 76 percent of marketers have attributed positive return on investment (ROI) from using video, and some 86 percent expect to use more video content in future marketing campaigns — two of several findings of interest to digital marketers in newly-released survey data. Business 2 Community ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “customer experience management” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Former StarCraft 2 Pro Has Highest Microsoft Excel APM in Office — The Hard Times TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Dell Technologies — B2B Marketers Get Down To Business With Digital During COVID-19 — AdExchanger Joshua Nite — What’s Trending: Get Proactive With Planning — LinkedIn (client) SAP — Marketers on Fire: SAP Global CMO Alicia Tillman — Chief Marketer TopRank Marketing — 23 Best Influencer Marketing Agencies That Can Help You Grow — Martech Cube Lee Odden — IABC Monthly Meeting July 16, 2020 [VIDEO] — IABC Minnesota Lee Odden — 125+ Powerful Marketing Quotes To Inspire Your Strategy — Apolline Adiju Lee Odden — 28 Social Media Experts to Learn From (Listed by Platform and Skill) — Social Agency Scout Dell Boomi — How employee buy-in drove results for a B2B marketing campaign — AdAge Have you come across your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thank you for taking the time to join us, and we hope that you'll return back next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don't miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel. The post B2B Marketing News: Podcast Downloads Climb, Social & Display Ad Spend Rising, Snapchat’s Brand Profiles, & Google’s Latest Ad Tools appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Influencer Marketing Advice from 9 Top B2B Influencers

  • Thursday 23rd July 2020
Top marketers understand the value of integrating influencer marketing into their marketing strategy. In fact, 55% of marketers believe they get better customers from influencer marketing according to an Influencer Marketing Hub survey. For B2B brands, influencer marketing is a way to partner with industry experts who can add value to the brand’s content. As a brand, how can you provide mutual value and a great experience for the thought leaders you engage? I went straight to some of my top sources to ask their thoughts on the best way for B2B brands to collaborate with them. What stood out to me, was the way their key points aligned with how a brand might develop a marketing strategy. Let’s start with understanding who your audience is and who they follow. Most B2B brands have personas created for their customers. Now think about how you can mirror those customer personas to align with those authentic thought leaders who you're looking to engage with. 1 — Tim Crawford: Authenticity is Key When I want to understand CIOs, I call Tim Crawford, CIO Strategic Advisor at AVOA, who has worked with nearly all of the top B2B tech brands. Tim asserts that by knowing the persona you are going after, you can ensure your messaging, and that the approach has authenticity. He also reminded me that opinion doesn’t replace experience, and Tim has plenty of valuable experience. The value of authentic experience stands out to your audience. It is not merely opinion, but proven knowledge. “Consider the personas to target and leverage voices that bring authenticity to the messaging which will, in turn, build trust with customers,” Tim says. [bctt tweet="“Consider the personas to target and leverage voices that bring authenticity to the messaging which will, in turn, build trust with customers.” — Tim Crawford @tcrawford" username="toprank"] 2 —Ramon Ray: Seek Influencer Excitement Entrepreneur, keynote speaker, bestselling author and editor and founder of Smart Hustle Magazine Ramon Ray encourages brands to, “Look to work for influencers that are excited to work with you and your product or service.” When it comes to excitement, Ramon’s comes shining through. In an interview we partnered with him on for Dell Outlet*, his smile and enthusiasm were felt even with just audio. [bctt tweet="“Look to work for influencers that are excited to work with you and your product or service.” — Ramon Ray @ramonray" username="toprank"] 3 — Helen Yu: Let Your B2B Brand’s Values Shine What does your brand stand for? What value do you bring to your customers? “It is important for B2B brands to crystallize what their brands stand for, whom their target audiences are and how they would measure the success prior to engaging B2B influencers,” says Helen Yu of Tigon Advisory Corp. She advises finding influencers who represent the organization’s values and who can contribute to sustainable business growth. Helen also encourages brands to share their value proposition with thought leaders to help them focus their efforts in the right direction for amplifying the brand’s vision. [bctt tweet="“To make the engagement more productive, I recommend that brands think about how they would describe their value in 3 words. Influencers can then focus on how we deliver the work reflecting and amplifying their value.” — Helen Yu @YuHelenYu" username="toprank"] You have a strategic marketing plan. Does that plan have influencer marketing as a tactic? If so, then be sure to include an engagement plan for any work with influencers. More than one influencer has told me stories of being asked to participate in an event — online or in person — only to find that there was not an actionable plan to bring the partnership to life, or if there was, it was delivered to the influencer at the last minute. 4 — Tamara McCleary: Focus & Specificity Keynote speaker and Thulium CEO Tamara McCleary recommends that you “Have a plan for your influencers. Do you know what you want your influencers to do? Do you have a clear strategy for utilizing them? One of the biggest mistakes organizations make when bringing in influencers is a lack of focus and specificity.” [bctt tweet="“One of the biggest mistakes organizations make when bringing in influencers is a lack of focus and specificity.” — Tamara McCleary @TamaraMcCleary" username="toprank"] 5 — Ian Moyse: Empowering Influencers Ian Moyse, cloud social influencer for a range of global brands commented, “Come to an influencer with a clear brief and clear budget offering. Brief them and provide good supporting info and links to empower them to do a good job for you. Provide them imagery, #hashtags, and @handles upfront to use. Where possible create images for the influencer such as quote cards with their photo, and share and engage with the influencers content from your corporate brand account, and encourage your staff to do the same.” [bctt tweet="“Brief influencers and provide good supporting information to empower them to do a good job for you.” — Ian Moyse @imoyse" username="toprank"] 6 — Michael Fisher, Jr.: Better Communication Avoids Confusion Michael Fisher, Jr., senior systems analyst at Whitcraft Group, cyber security consultant and technology evangelist, confirms good communication is key. “My one top tip would be overall good communication around the program, which may include meetings, PowerPoint slides and a schedule. Without good communication [the partnership] may lead to confusion and overall less productivity,” says Michael. [bctt tweet="“My one top tip would be overall good communication around the program. Without good communication the partnership may lead to confusion and overall less productivity.” — Michael Fisher, Jr. @Fisher85M" username="toprank"] 7 —Dan Gingiss: Give Audiences the Answers they Crave Chief Experience Officer at The Experience Maker LLC and CX thought leader Dan Gingiss encourages brands to engage influencers to elevate their customer experience. “By giving influencers the platform to engage with your audience, you can facilitate great customer experiences by providing the answers your audience craves,” Dan shared. Influencers allow you to add credibility to your brand’s point of view (POV), move prospects down the purchase funnel, and support customers in successfully deploying your product or service — all in a way that builds community and facilitates open conversations. It’s important to keep in mind who you’re engaging and consider their primary business goals. “Remember that influencers are often solopreneurs who are trying to build or grow their own business. So while they may be willing to help you grow your business too, ultimately they have to do what's right for their own business first. Their personal brand is their livelihood, so be careful asking for the moon and offering nothing in return,” said Dan. He reminds B2B brands that “The best influencer programs highlight an authentic relationship between the influencer and the brand, and the best way to accomplish that is to ensure a mutually beneficial program.” [bctt tweet="“The best influencer programs highlight an authentic relationship between the influencer and the brand, and the best way to accomplish that is to ensure a mutually beneficial program.” — Dan Ginigiss @dgingiss" username="toprank"] 8 — Shonali Burke: Be Prepared & Specific How you approach an influencer can set the tone for the relationship. As someone who has been on both sides of the table as a consultant looking to engage influencers and as a sought-after thought leader on digital strategy, brand elevation and analytics, Shonali Burke, President and CEO of Shonali Burke Burke Consulting, Inc. shared a great messaging tip.  “If, as a brand, you're looking to work with influencers, you will almost always get a response if, in your very first communication, you lead with a very specific ask, which shows at least equal benefit to them as to you,” she advises. Shonali expands on such an approach, “This shows that a) you've done your research; and b) that you really understand what 'influencer' marketing is about. Simply asking for a call or meeting 'to introduce ourselves to you' is unlikely to work; (that's what the internet is for). But if you have a really specific ask, e.g. you think they'd be a great potential speaker, etc., you're almost guaranteed to get a response — as opposed to... crickets.” [bctt tweet="“If, as a brand, you're looking to work with influencers, you will almost always get a response if, in your very first communication, you lead with a very specific ask, which shows at least equal benefit to them as to you.” @shonali" username="toprank"] Of course you measure the success of your campaigns. But have you thought of sharing that with your partners? “If you're not sure what to do, ask. Many influencers have years of experience in serving the needs of B2B brands,” says Ramon. Ramon invites B2B brands to “Know what your measure of success is and share this with the influencer.” [bctt tweet="“Know what your measure of success is and share this with the influencer.” — Ramon Ray @ramonray" username="toprank"] While it can be easy to do a flashy one-time campaign, B2B brands with the most success build brand awareness with a community of influencers who they trust and build strong relationships with over time. Tamara McCleary advises, “Think long-term. It’s important to look at an influencer program as a long-term relationship-building program. A long-term program will allow your brand to create true brand advocates, powerful brand evangelists, and raving fans.” [bctt tweet="“A long-term influencer program will allow your brand to create true brand advocates, powerful brand evangelists, and raving fans.” — Tamara McCleary @TamaraMcCleary" username="toprank"] 9 — Lee Odden: Ongoing Influence The TopRank Marketing blog has a new Always On Influence series exploring lasting relationships with influencers. These lasting relationships can be a foundation to grow in the years ahead. [bctt tweet="“Relationships take time and that means influencer engagement is an ongoing effort, not just when influencers are needed to provide content or promotion.” — Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing CEO @leeodden" username="toprank"] Bonus Tip — Peggy Smedley: Be Mindful and Serve Others When I asked Peggy Smedley, editorial director and president at Specialty Publishing Media, for her tip for brands, she took on the task as her mission, as she often does for TopRank Marketing clients. “This specific question leads me to recall a radio interview I recently conducted with a former Navy Seal. Simply, as influencers we are here to serve the mission and that our influence on people comes from our ability to be a role model. We need to be very mindful about what we say and how we say it. We are always leaders and mentors and we need to focus on the needs of others first because we have been tasked with leading others. We always need to serve others and by doing that we are doing the best for ourselves,” Peggy revealed. I know this to be true from a recent engagement, where Peggy and I were speaking and emailing at 8 p.m. in the evening to make sure we had everything correct for a client. That’s the way to be a role model! Brands need to be mindful of the role these professionals play and show them the respect they deserve. [bctt tweet="“Simply, as influencers we are here to serve the mission and that our influence on people comes from our ability to be a role model.” — Peggy Smedley, @Peggy_Smedley" username="toprank"] B2B Influencer Relations Tips I’m not an influencer, but I have learned the best way to work with anyone is to have a conversation with them upfront. Then keep the conversation going to drive the best collaboration and create successful outcomes for your brand. I appreciate the candor and openness of these amazing leaders, who continue to allow me to have an ongoing conversation with them. Remember these key tips top B2B thought leaders shared for building successful relationships and campaigns: Be Authentic Align influencers with your audience personas Find influencers who are excited to work with your brand Share your brand values and value proposition Have a specific ask upfront Have a plan and brief the influencers Create great experiences Share how you want to measure success Build a lasting relationship Are you ready to take the leap to the next level of influencer marketing? Learn more about always on influencer marketing or contact us today. * Dell Outlet is a TopRank Marketing client. The post B2B Influencer Marketing Advice from 9 Top B2B Influencers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

17+ Top Virtual Marketing Conferences for Summer 2020 & Beyond

  • Wednesday 22nd July 2020
Virtual marketing conferences offer a wealth of benefits to marketers looking to learn and increase brand awareness, and in the current crisis they represent the only event opportunities for marketers. How do you go about finding events that match your business and B2B marketing needs, however? With in-person marketing events not likely until well into 2021, more virtual events than ever taking place, making it harder than ever to find the ones that can best help build your business, expand your communication opportunities, and offer the most relevant new industry education from top marketing industry experts. Marketers are getting more out of virtual events, too — with 75 percent in a recent survey saying they were satisfied with their virtual event experiences. Online events also hold their own unique advantages. "Bringing events online has its downsides, naturally — there’s no substitute for personally meeting and interacting with all the valuable contacts attending a conference — but there are some key advantages," Amanda Bulat, senior content marketing manager at LinkedIn Sales & Marketing Solutions recently observed. "Virtual events are easier for people to attend (with no geographic restrictions), less resource-intensive to host, and can make it easier to capture lead gen info," she added. Expanding on our previous listing of "8 Virtual SEO Conferences for B2B Marketers," for summer 2020 and beyond we've gathered together a collection of some of the top virtual marketing events, and we're happy to present the list here, in chronological order. Virtual Marketing Conferences For Summer 2020 & Beyond Adobe Experience Makers Live — #ExperienceMakersLive When: July 22-23, 2020 Theme: Digital Experiences About: Adobe* Experience Makers Live is focused on creating long-term business success through inclusive digital experiences, featuring speakers including author Dr. Brené Brown, Microsoft's Shelley Bransten, Forrester's Joana de Quintanilha, and Adobe's Marissa Dacay. ContentTECH Summit — #ContentTECH When: August 10-12, 2020 Theme: Content Marketing About: ContentTECH Summit explores the ever-increasing importance of content marketing to create, manage, deliver and scale enterprise content and provide customers with better digital experiences, and features top speakers such as Mastercard Worldwide's Wendy Richardson, author Alan Zweibel, and our own CEO Lee Odden. Digital Summit At Home — #DSatHome When: August 11-13, 2020 Theme: Digital Marketing About: Digital Summit At Home examines digital marketing in over 30 virtual sessions, and features top speakers such as author Seth Godin, LinkedIn's* Ty Heath, and our own senior director of digital strategy Ashley Zeckman. IABC MN Convergence Summit — #IABCMN When: August 12-13, 2020 Theme: Business Communications About: IABC MN Convergence Summit weaves together business and academic experts to learn how to overcome today's business communication challenges and explore how to build reputation, connect with audiences, and influence stakeholders, and features speakers such as Best Buy's Andy Gorski, Deluxe Corporation's Devon Block, along with our CEO Lee Odden who will present "In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience." INBOUND 2020 — #INBOUND2020 When: September 22-23, 2020 Theme: Marketing & Sales About: INBOUND 2020 presents some of the biggest names and brightest minds in sales and marketing and other industries, and offers speakers from firms including Intuit, HubSpot and others. AI Summit Silicon Valley — #AISummit When: September 30-October 1, 2020 Theme: Artificial Intelligence (AI) About: The Virtual AI Summit Silicon Valley 2020 presents all things artificial intelligence for business marketers, and includes leading speakers from Google, Lyft, Boeing, Lenovo and more. 2020 B2B Next Conference & Exhibition — #B2BNext When: September 29-30, 2020 Theme: Marketing & Sales About: The 2020 B2B Next Conference & Exhibition explores the digital-first B2B economy with a focus on collaboration in eCommerce, and features top speakers including Grainger CEO D.G. Macpherson, Graybar CEO Kathy Mazzarella, RBC Capital Markets' Marketing Manager Mark Mahaney and others. Advertising Week Virtual — #AW2020 When: September 29-October 8, 2020 Theme: Marketing & Sales About: Advertising Week Virtual serves as a worldwide gathering of marketing, advertising, technology and brand professionals, offering major speakers including Google VP of Marketing, EMEA Yonca Dervisoglu, SNAP VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Baroness Oona King, Interpublic Group CEO Michael Roth and others, for eight days and six global markets filled with unlimited ideas. Fast Co. Innovation Festival — #FCFestival When: October 5-9, 2020 Theme: Innovation About: The Fast Co. Innovation Festival offers business inspiration by leaders making a difference through technology and creativity, with a powerful slate of global speakers to be announced. MarTech — #MarTechConf When: October 6-8, 2020 Theme: MarTech About: Martech Conference focuses on actionable tactics in marketing technology for solving marketing problems, with top speakers to be announced. Content Marketing World — #CMWorld When: October 13-16, 2020 Theme: Content Marketing About: Content Marketing World conference and expo explores the best in content marketing to grow your business and inspire your audience, featuring top speakers including Beverly Jackson of Activision Blizzard, Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, MJ DePalma of Microsoft Advertising, and others. ANA 2020 Masters of Marketing Conference — #ANA When: October 21-23, 2020 Theme: B2B Marketing The Association of National Advertisers's 2020 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference is set to examine brand marketing practices related to digital and social, and to help brands and businesses navigate these difficult times and drive sustained success, with a lineup of speakers to be announced. B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange — #B2BSMX When: October 26-28, 2020 Theme: Marketing & Sales About: B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange Online Experience brings together thought leaders in ABM, revenue marketing and demand generation, including top speakers to be announced. Sitecore Symposium 2020 — #SitecoreSYM When: October 26-28, 2020 Theme: Marketing Automation About: B2B marketers looking to explore the marketing automation landscape can attend Sitecore Symposium 2020 and learn the next generation of strategies and tactics, with a lineup of major speakers to be announced. Brand ManageCamp — #BMC2020 When: October 27-29, 2020 Theme: Brand Management About: Brand ManageCamp's conference explores the insights, tools, strategy and leadership inspiration to drive new brand growth, featuring a lineup a speakers including Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, author Shep Hyken, author Carla Johnson, and others. MarketingProfs B2B Forum — #MPB2B When:November 3-6, 2020 Theme: B2B Marketing About: At MarketingProfs B2B Forum top leaders, innovators, and people who make things happen gather to share their secrets to success, with a stellar lineup of speakers to be including keynotes by author David Meerman Scott, author April Dunford, and writer and comedian Sarah Cooper. Dreamforce 2020 — #DF20 When: November 9-12, 2020 Theme: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) About: Dreamforce brings together the Salesforce community of thought leaders and industry pioneers for education and inspiration, and with over 2,700 sessions its one of the latest business conferences. Look for speakers to be announced in the lead-up to the event, and also check out Dreamforce's virtual Leading Through Change series. Gear Up Your 2020 Virtual Marketing Events via GIPHY We hope you've found a number of new and exciting virtual events to attend on our list to make the most of the rest of 2020, and that the learning you'll experience from either these virtual conferences or the many others available will help you achieve new levels of B2B marketing success this year and beyond. If you're also considering hosting a virtual event of your own, check out "Boost Your Virtual Event By Taking These Actions Before, During, and After," by Kylee Lessard, associate product marketing manager of LinkedIn Pages & Elevate at LinkedIn. At TopRank Marketing we've explored the power of events both virtual and in-person for B2B marketers, especially those who incorporate influencer marketing, in a number of articles, and here are five to help you get the most from your virtual 2020 marketing events: 8 Virtual SEO Conferences for B2B Marketers How B2B Influencer Marketing Offers Brands an Ideal Alternative to In-Person Events Content Marketing Gold Rush: How to Unearth Content Gold at Marketing Industry Events Learning Changes Lives: Top Insights from #MPB2B & 5 Tips for Rocking Marketing Events 12 Helpful Tips for Effectively Using Social Media at Events * Adobe and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients. The post 17+ Top Virtual Marketing Conferences for Summer 2020 & Beyond appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

10 Inspiring B2B Marketers Who Spark Greatness

  • Tuesday 21st July 2020
In the Oxford English Dictionary, the word inspiration is defined as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” As B2B marketers working in unprecedented times, wouldn’t it be nice to be surrounded by inspiration to help us spur action, produce results, and make an impact? With organic traffic and conversions down for most industries due to COVID-19 and related business challenges, marketers are hard-pressed to adapt and overcome. Inspiration is certainly something we could all use to help us reach our goals. So, if you’re looking for some B2B marketing inspiration, check out these 10 B2B marketers. They’re each doing inspiring things in a time where inspiration can be hard to find. Meet 10 Inspiring B2B Marketers Kirsten Allegri Williams @kirstenallegriw Chief Marketing Officer, Episerver As a CMO for a leading B2B technology company, Kirsten’s approach to today’s market is both thoughtful and inspirational.  "At this moment in history and for the foreseeable future, a brand’s digital presence makes up the entirety of how it reaches customers," Kirsten recently observed. "The customer journey and the user experience on our screens is quite literally everything," she added. Her focus on Episerver’s digital presence will no doubt make a big difference. [bctt tweet="“At this moment in history and for the foreseeable future, a brand’s digital presence makes up the entirety of how it reaches customers.” — Kirsten Allegri Williams @kirstenallegriw" username="toprank"] Rishi Dave @RishiPDave CMO, Vonage Rishi Dave, CMO for Vonage, also highlights the immense need for conducting business online in the time of COVID-19. "While a great majority of the world’s daily life is disrupted, almost every organization is looking for ways to take their business online," Rishi suggested. "It’s likely that we’ll look back in 10 years and recognize these few months in the Spring of 2020 as an inflection point," he added. It’s clear that Rishi sees the global pandemic as a turning point for nearly all organizations and hopes it will inspire other B2B marketers to make the leap into a focus on digital experiences. [bctt tweet="“While a great majority of the world’s daily life is disrupted, almost every organization is looking for ways to take their business online.” — Rishi Dave @RishiPDave" username="toprank"] Amanda Brinkman @amandakbrinkman Chief Brand Officer, Deluxe She’s the Chief Brand Officer at Deluxe, one of the most trusted information and technology services firms. But Amanda is also a top B2B marketer with an inspiring reminder for businesses and marketers trying to make it work in 2020. “You didn’t start your business from a place of weakness,” she says. “You started your business because you are strong and had something you wanted to bring the world." [bctt tweet="“You didn’t start your business from a place of weakness. You started your business because you are strong and had something you wanted to bring the world.” — Amanda Brinkman @amandakbrinkman" username="toprank"] Shonodeep Modak Chief Marketing Officer, North America, Schneider Electric From helping deliver care packages to low-income families impacted by COVID-19 and unrest in Hong Kong to hosting a new webinar series, Innovation Talks, to help their customers adapt to the COVID-19 era, Shonodeep Modak and Schneider Electric are doing plenty of inspiring things that are all data-informed. “You really have to understand how shoppers buy, shopper insights, how people decide what to buy at a Wal-Mart or go to the Quick Lube, the analytics around the demographics of cars and the interests of people and how you target them,” he advises. [bctt tweet="“You really have to understand how shoppers buy, shopper insights, how people decide what to buy, the analytics around the demographics of cars and the interests of people and how you target them.” — Shonodeep Modak @SchneiderNA" username="toprank"] Beverly Jackson @BevJack VP of Communication and Social, Activision Blizzard With a career starting in environmental work, it might surprise you to hear that Beverly Jackson is now the VP of Communication and Social at Activision Blizzard, one of the largest video game publishers and developers in the world. While her journey from environmentalist to social media maven is inspirational in its own right, she also has an inspiring take on the use of social media. “The great thing about social media is that it allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects — not the marketers,” she says. “And the bottom line is: marketers should never get in the way of that relationship.” [bctt tweet="“The great thing about social media is that it allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects — not the marketers.” — Beverly Jackson @BevJack" username="toprank"] Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi VP, Influencer Marketing & Communications, SAP Ariba* Recently named as one of PR Week’s 2020 Women to Watch, Amisha Gandhi is a B2B marketing powerhouse. She’s especially skilled at leveraging influencer marketing to inspire her target audience and customers. “Working with influencers, to co-create content, delivers value and can inspire audiences to take action,” she suggests. [bctt tweet="“Working with influencers, to co-create content, delivers value and can inspire audiences to take action.” — Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi" username="toprank"] Alicia Tillman @aliciatillman Global CMO, SAP* She’s one of Forbes’ 2019 World’s 50 Most Influential CMOs, and is sure to make the list again in 2020. Alicia Tillman has taken an inspirational approach as the Global CMO for SAP, doubling down on the customer experience. She says, “It's all about the experience! Our new normal has pushed many to think outside the box and deliver unique, memorable experiences.” [bctt tweet="“It's all about the experience! Our new normal has pushed many to think outside the box and deliver unique, memorable experiences.” — Alicia Tillman @aliciatillman" username="toprank"] Rani Mani @ranimani0707 Head of Employee Advocacy, Adobe* Serving as the Head of Employee Advocacy for Adobe, a software company that has a home in almost every enterprise, Rani Mani has a unique view into how COVID-19 is impacting the future of work. Having helped Adobe with campaigns around the future of work, Rani gives some inspirational advice: “Staying relevant could mean reinventing and resetting multiple times in one’s career.” [bctt tweet="“Staying relevant could mean reinventing and resetting multiple times in one’s career.” — Rani Mani @ranimani0707" username="toprank"] Adam Singer @AdamSinger CMO, Think3 Adam Singer is the CMO for a billion dollar fund with a variety of startups under his leadership. With such a diverse portfolio of startups, Adam and his team are introducing inspiring new products that serve a unique, clear need in the time of COVID. “Many schools will choose to have virtual classrooms this fall. We're excited with all the initial interest in our portfolio company, Sococo* for Classrooms and have heard lots of great feedback from early testers.” [bctt tweet="“Many schools will choose to have virtual classrooms this fall. We're excited with all the initial interest in our portfolio company, @Sococo for Classrooms and have heard lots of great feedback from early testers.” @AdamSinger" username="toprank"] Amanda Todorovich @amandatodo Senior Director, Digital Marketing/Health Content, Cleveland Clinic Working in healthcare, there has been a surge in demand for helpful content from B2B marketers like Amanda Todorovich. Amanda and the Cleveland Clinic have certainly answered the call with new webinars, blog posts, and more. On COVID-19 and healthcare marketing, she says, “Healthcare marketers need to drive forward with focus and new capabilities to achieve better business results within the reality of COVID-19. Now more than ever, marketing and communication executives are critical to redefining and communicating the future trajectory of healthcare brands.” [bctt tweet="“Now more than ever, marketing and communication executives are critical to redefining and communicating the future trajectory of healthcare brands.” — Amanda Todorovich @amandatodo" username="toprank"] Inspiration Can Come From Anywhere It’s true that inspiration is already all around us. But it’s not always easy to see. Give the above B2B marketers a follow to keep your feeds on LinkedIn, Twitter, and elsewhere filled with inspiring marketing campaigns, advice, and best practices. Unsure how to market your organization during COVID-19? Read our CEO Lee Odden’s thoughts on marketing during a pandemic. * SAP, Adobe, and Sococo are TopRank Marketing clients. The post 10 Inspiring B2B Marketers Who Spark Greatness appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Always-On Influencer Marketing: Building Thought Leadership for B2B Brands

  • Monday 20th July 2020
Thought Leadership is often a concept associated with individuals but brands, especially in B2B, can develop their thought leadership amongst the customer community as well. Thought Leadership is important for brands and individuals alike because trust is an issue for companies as people navigate misinformation, changing sources and become more skeptical of what brands and their people say. What is thought leadership in 2020? Beyond publishing articles, speaking and writing books, Thought Leadership is about creating a reputation for expertise and authority within an industry. The notion is that becoming known for an area of expertise creates trust which can lead to consideration, evaluation and influence purchase behavior. “Brands that cultivate a culture of Thought Leadership reap greater reputation and sales impact than those that do not". Edelman LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study So where do influencers fit in with a brand’s thought leadership? 83% of B2B marketers consider influencer marketing because they want to be seen as thought leaders. TopRank Marketing State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report In the B2B world, most influencers are thought leaders themselves since domain expertise is really an important part of what makes a business influencer trusted, respected, credible and interesting for others to follow. B2B brands that want to elevate the thought leadership of their brand through executives can be a part of an Always-On Influencer Marketing program that combines points of view about key topics where both the industry influencer and brand executive are participants. When a brand executive is included in brand content created in collaboration with industry experts and thought leaders, it can start to change the perception of that brand executive to be seen as a thought leader themselves. Partnering B2B brand executives and subject matter experts with industry influencers for Thought Leadership content provides multiple benefits: Diverse voices from the industry and brand add credibility and quality to the content The influence of industry experts elevates the influence of the brand executives Influencers reputation is raised by association with thought leadership level content and the brand The beauty of influencer content programs for thought leadership is that when brands build real relationships with industry thought leaders, they become partners that advocate for the brand as well as for the brand executives involved “Partnering with influencers for thought leadership content can accelerate brand credibility and trust." So how can a B2B brand approach an integrated influencer marketing and thought leadership program? Here are 5 steps to start: 1. Define Thought Leadership Topics - The obvious starting point is clarity around how the brand wants to be known that reconciles with what the industry and customers care about. We often call these "best answer" topics because one of the goals of Thought Leadership and Influencer content is for the brand to become the best answer for customers. Defining these topics will drive every other step in the Influencer Marketing and Thought Leadership partnership. 2. Identify Influencers and Executives - Once a B2B brand determines topics of focus, it's time to connect those topics to the most appropriate and relevant executives who will represent the brand's thought leadership effort. At the same time, those topics will be used to identify and qualify relevant industry influencer partners to collaborate with. The minimum data points for influencer selection include topical relevance, topic resonance with the influencer's community, network size, inventory of thought leadership content and experience, values alignment and publishing activities. 3. Create a Thought Leadership Content Collaboration Plan - To create meaningful and impactful Thought Leadership content with B2B brand executives and industry influencers, topics need to be mapped to contributors and content types, formats and channels need to be identified. A content calendar of opportunities is created, often integrating with planned content from marketing campaigns, public relations media relations efforts and corporate communications. 4. Publish and Promote - Collaborations manifest as content that will need a home whether it is the corporate website, blog, social channels, industry publications, research reports, marketing campaign assets, on influencer websites and social channels or in presentation content. Formats run the gamut from text to video to audio to interactive. Influencers and brand social channels alone are not enough for promotion of B2B Thought Leadership content. LinkedIn advertising offers excellent executive targeting capabilities as do other social networks and paid search platforms. 5. Always-On Influencer Engagement for Advocacy - Influencer Marketing is a relationship business and Thought Leadership content co-created with brand executives and influencers can be repurposed, giving influencers continued exposure. Other engagement actions as simple as social media interactions or as robust as future content collaborations provide influencers reason to invest in the success of the content and inspire organic advocacy for their brand executive partners as well as the brand itself. What does the future of influencer marketing and thought leadership hold? Listen to what Janine Wegner, @JanineWegner Global Thought Leadership Program and Activation Manager at Dell Technologies (client) has to say: "One of the key things to think about as businesses and academic institutions, is how can we introduce influencer marketing in combination with thought leadership as a key component with the marketing and business suite so people can actually be educated, get accredited or a degree. How does influencer marketing and thought leadership fit within the bigger marketing play and strategy. It’s an integrated part of the marketing play." Thought Leadership and Influencer Marketing represent a key partnership that can produce content that drives trust, reputation, reach and engagement - many of which are in short supply and highly valued by business customers. The post Always-On Influencer Marketing: Building Thought Leadership for B2B Brands appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing News: B2B Marketers Challenged By Messy Data, Instagram’s Pinned Comments, Sprout Social’s Index & Top Pandemic Emotion Study

  • Friday 17th July 2020
More than 1 in 3 B2B Marketers Held Back from Measuring Campaigns by Messy Data 36 percent of B2B marketers say that having messy data is a top marketing performance measurement challenge, according to recently-release report data. Topping the list at 47 percent was the inability to perform cross-platform data analysis, however, followed by a lack of resources at 42 percent. MarketingCharts 'Surprised' emotions in video ads drive conversions during pandemic, study says Video ad performance jumped 360 percent when showing surprised people, while there was a 64 percent drop in conversions for video ads showing happy emotions during the first three seconds — two of several findings of interest to digital marketers in newly-released pandemic marketing study data. Marketing Dive Instagram now lets everyone pin comments on posts Brands have a new option for helping manage Instagram conversations, as the Facebook-owned platform has rolled out the ability to pin comments on posts, expanding a previous test to all users, the firm recently announced. CNET 4 in 10 Marketers and Creatives Lack A Single Central Source of Truth for Digital Assets Just 34 percent of marketers report using a digital asset management (DAM) system, while 61 percent use only cloud storage platforms, and 51 percent who use a server on-location at the company, according to recently-released survey data. MarketingCharts Google Adds New Predicted Audience Action Tools into Google Analytics Google has updated Google Analytics with a variety of new automated audience suggestions that use the search giant's latest advanced prediction capacity, offering data such as the likelihood of a purchase within a week, the company recently announced. Social Media Today Twitter's Working on a New Subscription Service, Which Could Provide New Options for Prominent Users Twitter stock shares rose some 12 percent over the possibility that the firm is planning to launch a subscription-based service that may include an option to pay for a verified account — a change that could affect how digital marketers utilize the platform. Social Media Today Google’s 3D Swirl ad format now available in DV360 Google recently announced that its display and Video 360 customers worldwide now have access to its 3D Swirl mobile interactive ad format, which allows advertisers to either utilize existing 3D digital assets or create new ones using Google's Poly 3D design platform. Marketing Land COVID-19's Impact on Marketers' Content, Investment, and Targeting Strategies 56 percent of U.S. marketers have increased spending on social content, according to recently-released survey data, while thought leadership content investment was up some 53 percent, the report noted. MarketingProfs Why consumers follow and unfollow brands on social media [Sprout Social 2020 Index] 35 percent of consumers find new social media accounts to follow through mentions from influencers who they follow, according to new Sprout Social report data, which also shows that 89 percent will purchase from brands they follow online, and that 50 percent have increased their social media usage over the past six months. ClickZ Gen Z wants brands to be 'fun,' 'authentic' and 'good,' study says Gen Z trusts brands more when they use actual customers in ads, and 72 percent are more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes, according to recently-released report data. 58 percent of the demographic also said that they can’t be offline more than four hours without becoming uncomfortable, the report shows. Marketing Dive ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “the value proposition and lessons from higher education” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Mother Using Facebook Night Mode Afraid She’s Stumbled Onto Dark Web — The Hard Times Instagram Post of Twitter Screenshot Shows TikTok Star Reacting to Vine Compilation on YouTube — The Hard Times TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Lee Odden — 21 Ways To Remotely Network In B2B — Forbes Nick Nelson — What’s Trending: Connect With Content — LinkedIn (client) Lee Odden — The Future of Marketing: 50 CMO Quotes On How Marketing Has Changed — MarketingProfs Lee Odden — Expert Conversations on Executive Engagement / C-Suite Marketing podcast — ITSMA Have you found your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks for joining us, and please come back next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don't miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel. The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Marketers Challenged By Messy Data, Instagram’s Pinned Comments, Sprout Social’s Index & Top Pandemic Emotion Study appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Dell Outlet’s Andre Ortolon on Microinfluencers for Hyper-Relevant Content

  • Thursday 16th July 2020
In our part of the country, there’s a phenomenon called the “Minnesota goodbye.” It’s when you’re leaving a social gathering (remember those?) and you say goodbye, walk to the door… and keep talking to your host. Then you step outside the door, and continue the conversation. Then you walk to the car while keeping up the chatter. All told, a proper Minnesota goodbye can last up to an hour.  All of which to say: We may have already wrapped up season two of the Break Free B2B series, but it’s time for the Minnesota goodbye.  Back in February, I talked to Andre Ortolon from Dell Outlet about their micro influencer program. It’s a fascinating campaign because it was something of a B2B/B2C hybrid: Their target audiences included gamers, content creators like vloggers, and small business owners. The messaging was dramatically different for each audience. But they all had to live on the same landing page. It was an ambitious campaign that highlighted the importance of relevance for influencer marketing. It’s all about finding the folks who are truly influential to a specific audience, not just those with the highest follower count.  Dell and TopRank Marketing’s innovative approach to influencer marketing made the campaign a finalist at the 2020 Killer Content Awards. Listen in as Andre and I talk influencer marketing, automation, personalization, and more. Break Free B2B Interview with Andre Ortolon If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us. 1:12 Why a micro influencer campaign? 2:30 Credibility and relevance in influencer marketing 3:47 Values and purpose in influencer marketing 5:30 Differentiating B2B and B2C messaging 7:40 Creating and co-creating content with influencers 9:40 Technology as an equalizer for small business & entrepreneurs 10:45 How marketers can avoid stagnation and keep learning 13:30 Making a credible connection with audiences 14:15 Avoid being a ‘can of beer’ campaign 15:00 Honesty & authenticity in marketing 17:00 Looking into the future trends in marketing 18:45 Avoiding ‘shiny object syndrome’ 19:45 Managing teams and processes  22:15 How can marketers break free? Josh: So we know influencer marketing means different things to different people. Right, everything from getting Taylor Swift, or the CEO of Cisco to write a blog post for you. Andre: I think the whole Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber kind of praise is a bit transparent at this point. You know, even millennials or younger generations are not really buying that. It has to have a lot of credibility. It has to be people that are relevant to them on a more personal level.  So that's the approach we're taking, it’s partnering with people that align well with our corporate mission, some of our value propositions. And so we have to look for ways that Dell Outlet fits in with the people that we're working with to have that credibility.  And also to differentiate us from Dell because, you know, we're a division within Dell. So we are not selling the same exact products. We sell refurbished and overstock, but it contributes to the circular economy, the environment, so finding those micro influencers that align with these values so you know that it exists across the consumer space and the business space.  We've actually been surprised at the level of engagement and actual throughput lower into the funnel. We were expecting a social influencer campaign to be pretty strictly top of funnel — just making people aware of our brand. Maybe they learn a little bit about us, but not necessarily taking that next step. But we've actually seen pretty good success in getting them interested enough in what we're doing and our product to browse our portfolio. Josh: Just in general in marketing, where do you think the next change is coming from? Andre: You know, it's cliche, but technology is huge. And it's a big equalizing force too. So I think a lot of small companies can now benefit in a big way from things like, you hear the buzzwords like AI and machine learning, but that kind of thing is accessible now to not just large multinational corporations like us, but we're also a very small division with a smaller budget.  So we're able to take advantage of business partners that have technology and engineers that create really cool and innovative ways to get your messaging out there.  Social media platforms can launch a company and a brand and turn it into a billion dollar business in a short amount of time. You know, I was at a social media conference not long ago, and they talked about Kendra Scott. She's a local jewelry designer in Austin. And she really got started going to local jewelry stores and just telling her story and making a connection with these more mom and pop shops, but eventually got into Neiman Marcus, and then used social media and that platform to sell her story and make a connection with her customers.  She recently went public and I think it's now a billion dollar company. So for me it kind of boils down to taking advantage of things like social media, taking advantage of new technology and keeping up to speed with that.  Josh: It’s  interesting. I hadn't thought of it that way. But when we talk about doing things at scale, it’s, “enables enterprises to reach 20,000 people,” but we don't think of scale the other way, which is what you're talking about smaller business. Andre: Yeah, there's many examples of that. Right. Like the music industry, small artists can launch a song and they don't need to have a record deal anymore. It's the same thing for small businesses or even entrepreneurs that are just starting up, if they can. They have the tenacity and the right product. They can leverage these tools and the technology, they don't need huge budgets. Just do it in a smart way to start building their brand and increasing sales. Josh: So this question is listed as what mistakes are you seeing in the industry? I would say what opportunities in the industry? What are we getting wrong? And what are the opportunities? Andre: I think this is a trap that any marketer can fall into, really getting into the day to day — you know, we're all busy looking at how did our campaigns do? Did we drive enough traffic to the site? What was the conversion of your organic search?  And, I mean, there's so much data out there. We're so busy with emails and meetings that you can really get stuck in a rut and forget to take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.  I mentioned earlier that I'm a big believer in technology. So you know, really stepping back looking at going to conferences like this one, for example, is a great way to get up to speed on the latest technology to get information and ideas from people in the industry. I think that's something that everybody's probably guilty of, to some extent is, getting too buried in the day to day and not really taking the time to step back and look at your strategy and educate continuously and getting up to speed on the latest trends. Josh: We always think about the process of optimization, always being aware of your results. But sometimes we do forget to apply that to ourselves as marketers, right? Andre: Yeah. You can optimize your organic campaign, you can make sure you've got the latest trending words. But, you know, you've got to also keep yourself up to speed and educated, like I said, and even looking for new partners and vendors that can provide something that you are not an expert on. That takes a lot of time and effort. You've got to tear yourself away from the bottom line sometimes to get to that point. Josh: It’s so easy to get stuck. Andre: Yeah, absolutely. You also have to take stock sometimes and really look at your overall process, you can't always be in the execution mode, you have to look at end to end, the processes and making sure that you're developing kind of a holistic approach and not just selling a unit. You're building a connection with your brand. And you've got to think about your strategy and make sure you're still aligned with that in what you're doing day to day. So, we're in what I would consider one of the more fun careers right? It's creative and, it's on the cutting edge here in front of customers. It's probably one of the more exciting places to be. And my philosophy is to have some fun with it. You know, even though I'm in corporate marketing and I have been my whole career, but, you know, take some chances, do innovative things, have some fun with it. That's probably my approach towards life, not just marketing.  Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for the next season of Break Free B2B. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite: Break Free B2B Marketing: Sean Crowley on Creating Marketing Alignment Break Free B2B Series: Jon Miller on How ABM Can Help Marketers Keep Their ‘Ship’ Together Break Free B2B Marketing: Gary Gerber on Scaling ABM without Losing Focus Break Free B2B Series: Hal Werner on the Intersection of Marketing Creativity and Analytics   The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Dell Outlet’s Andre Ortolon on Microinfluencers for Hyper-Relevant Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

10 Fresh Social Media Marketing Tools To Boost Brand Storytelling

  • Wednesday 15th July 2020
Are you using the latest social media marketing tools that help you create a new variety of remarkable campaign experiences? We’ve got you covered with a look at our 10 latest featured social media marketing tools to help you refine and expand your marketing efforts and boost brand storytelling. Sifting through tens of thousands of available tools can be a hit and miss proposition, but these 10 fresh marketing tools let you skip a lot of the research queue and get right into useful tools for helping you tell marketing stories in new ways. Let’s dive right in with our collection of 10 fresh tools to boost your social media marketing experiences, including image and video manipulation tools, headline analysis utilities, and social media monitoring apps. 1 — DxO’s Nik Collection 3 Tools DxO’s updated Nik Collection 3 offers an array of photo editing features for its popular suite of economical plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and DxO’s own Photo Lab. Coming three years after acquiring the technology from Google, this latest major release offers a new horizon-correcting perspective plug-in — Perspective Efex — and brings Adobe Lightroom Classic users non-destructive editing using a special variety of TIFF files. Marketers looking to test the new features can try DxO’s new collection using a fully-functional 30-day trial. 2 — CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer Tool Marketers looking for a fresh take on potential new headlines for articles, case studies, eBooks, or other forms of B2B marketing content can try CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool. This tool offers numerous recommendations, visual previews, and ratings for potential headline choices, including sentiment and length analysis, keyword insight, and a word balance feature showing a particular headline’s emotional power and whether it is particularly common or on the rare side. 3 — Prisma Lab’s Photo Editor Marketing designers looking to push the boundaries of imagery that stands out for B2B brands can check out Prisma Lab’s Photo Editor app for Apple iOS and Android users, an award-winning photo-editing tool. Noted for its user-friendly functionality and daily art filters, Prisma’s Photo Editor offers marketers a quick way to try various what-if image manipulations — from merely unusual to otherworldly alterations that might just be the look a B2B brand is looking for. 4 — digiKam RAW Format Processor & Manager A rare open source tool offering marketers and designers full functionality in RAW camera format processing and photo management, digiKam’s open nature may appeal to organizations not wanting to get locked in to any one software ecosystem, while still being able to use a slew of powerful features. Available for Windows, macOS and Linux, digiKam has a slick and easy-to-use user interface, and import and export utilities for smooth social media formatting and sharing. 5 — Biteable Video Tool Biteable is an online video maker tied in to a large library of built-in footage and including many helpful templates that combine with the service’s editor functions to create quick and easy marketing assets. Biteable also allows marketers to create video infographics, explainer videos, animated logos, and dozens of other formats driven by the template-based system, and offers a free trial. 6 — The PhotoGIMP Alternative by Diolinux Diolinux’s PhotoGIMP brings a new look and feel to the popular free open-source image editing tool GIMP — short for GNU Image Manipulation Program — coming up on its 25th anniversary in 2021. This add-on is intended to make the transition to GIMP easier, purposely bringing a look much more like Adobe’s Photoshop, which might be just what some marketers need when trying alternatives to industry-standard software. The tool’s GitHub repository page in English is here — the tool's main site is in Portuguese. 7 — Unreal’s Live Link Face 3D Live-Motion Tool Epic Games’ Unreal Engine has released Live Link Face for Unreal Engine,  a live motion-capture app that uses an iPhone’s Face ID sensors to create 3D facial animation — cutting-edge technology useful for adding catchy motion to many campaign types, and a glimpse at what is likely coming down the pike for marketers. The tool uses an iPhone's TrueDepth sensor array to bring a technology once only available to major motion picture or game designers such as Adam Dunn. 8 — Weave New Digital Stories with Bazaart The fascinating iOS-only app-based tool offered by Bazaart allows marketers to weave together and manipulate photos, text and other elements, and through the use of layers, cut-outs, background-removal and other technology, to create unusual collages and other forms of digital work. Bazaart also uses numerous templates and example pages to show what the tool is capable of, and has been especially popular for the creation of Instagram Story imagery. 9 — VSCO’s Montage Multimedia Video Editing Tool Multimedia video editing software VSCO has been busy adding creative features to its popular mobile app, especially since it released its Montage tool earlier this year. VSCO’s Montage emphasizes video storytelling, an increasingly important aspect of successful digital marketing, using multi-layered video, images, sound, and other elements to pull viewers into collage-like video content. The tool is available to try for free. 10 — Mentionlytics Software as a service (SaaS) platform Mentionlytics monitors global social media references and mentions and presents results in a robust dashboard including sentiment analysis, social engagement and reach, competitor comparisons, web mentions and more. Competition in this segment of social media monitoring tools is fierce, with established players such as Traackr and others, however. Craft Experiences With Happy Little Apps & Marketing Tools via GIPHY We hope that you’ll find several new-to-you social media marketing tools among those we’ve explored here, and that you’ll continue to keep your campaigns full of engaging and fresh stories, whatever software you may be using at any one time. This is the latest in our multi-year history of highlighting helpful marketing tools, and here are some of the other most recent articles we’ve published on the subject: 31 DIY Marketing Tools To Create Remarkable Experiences 10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers How B2B Marketers Can Make the Most of Interactive Content Tools The Content Marketer’s Toolbox: 3 ‘Real-Life’ Tools for Gaining Insight, Inspiration, & Amplification The post 10 Fresh Social Media Marketing Tools To Boost Brand Storytelling appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Should B2B Brands Join the Facebook Advertising Boycott?

  • Tuesday 14th July 2020
Facebook has always presented an interesting conundrum for B2B marketers. It's not a business-centric platform, necessarily. But with so many active users (nearly 2.5 billion at last check), keeping Facebook out of a brand's social mix has been tough to justify. Recent developments are making this decision more complicated than ever. Facebook and Trust: A Rocky Relationship from the Start When the world's largest social network first came into existence in a Harvard dorm room, nearly two decades ago, it was known as "The Facebook." An instant-message conversation between founder Mark Zuckerberg and an unnamed associate around that time later came to light, and ... it isn't pretty (via Business Insider): Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard Zuck: Just ask. Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one? Zuck: People just submitted it. Zuck: I don't know why. Zuck: They "trust me" Zuck: Dumb f***s. Oofdah. Okay, so Zuckerberg was 19 at the time. He's grown up since then, as has his humble app. But in many ways, that snarky little remark foreshadowed what was to come for his company. Ever since being born out of a contentious lawsuit involving the betrayed Winklevoss twins, Facebook has been almost constantly embroiled in some sort of high-profile controversy relating to user privacy, data security, political exploitation or societal accountability. The "Criticism of Facebook" page on Wikipedia is astonishingly long. From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to Russian election interference to fraudulent ad metrics, Zuckerberg's platform has tested the trust of users and advertisers alike, time and time again. The latest wave of negativity crashing over Facebook might be the most significant yet, spurring a boycott that seems to be gaining steam by the day. Any business with a presence on the platform should be paying close attention. Which Brands Are Abandoning Facebook, and Why? The "why" basically comes down to this: growing sentiment that Facebook isn't doing enough to stifle hateful rhetoric and stop its spread. Zuckerberg will argue that his platform's conservative approach to censoring or removing questionable content owes to a steadfast commitment to free speech, but many others are less charitable. That includes a number of his employees. It also includes a coalition of organizations – the NAACP and Anti-Defamation League among them – that launched the #StopHateForProfit campaign, aimed squarely at the 'Book. As for the "who"? The list of companies known to be pulling ads on Facebook is long, and full of recognizable names: Starbucks, Patagonia, Adidas, Clorox. Notably, the list is also very B2C-centric at this point. Although there are several companies with business-facing elements (e.g. Microsoft and Verizon), you won't find a straight-up B2B company in this mix. Yet. Should B2B Companies Distance Themselves? There's no simple or universal answer. Every brand should evaluate the pros and cons of pulling back from Facebook. On the one hand, there is that aforementioned enormous user base. No matter what industry or vertical your company operates in, there’s almost no question your customers are on Facebook. And if you’re not advertising or sharing content on the platform, there’s a good chance your competitors are. On the other hand, B2B decision makers are consumers as well. There’s a good chance plenty of them feel the same frustration toward Facebook based on its recent history and its track record. As I wrote recently when discussing the tenets of building trust on social media today, “People need to trust the environment where they encounter your message in order to trust the message itself.” There isn’t really any pressure on B2B brands to take action on this front now, since others aren’t doing so. But that does mean it’s an opportunity to proactively take a stand and make a statement. If your company takes the lead on this matter, your customers and community are likely to remember it. Ultimately, this decision ought to be based on a thoughtful assessment of your brand’s values, and how they connect with those of your customers and employees. The latter should not be downplayed — Facebook’s “virtual walkout” exemplifies what can happen when there’s misalignment between a company and its employees. We are living in a tenuous time where trust is at a premium. Brands are wise to think deeply about each tactic and channel in their marketing mix, and Facebook is deserving of heightened scrutiny with all that’s going on. [bctt tweet="“We are living in a tenuous time where trust is at a premium. Brands are wise to think deeply about each tactic and channel in their marketing mix, and Facebook is deserving of heightened scrutiny with all that’s going on.” @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"] No one’s trust should be taken for granted. That’s a lesson Zuckerberg and his social media goliath still seem to be learning as their own B2B arm feels the sting from boycotting brands. For more guidance on building trust in today’s environment, I recommend reading Lee Odden’s post on How to Build Influence with the C-Suite and on the Street with Customers. The post Should B2B Brands Join the Facebook Advertising Boycott? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing News: Digital Ad Budgets To Grow In 2021, Google’s Rich Results Tool Goes Mainstream, & More Listeners Are Paying For Podcasts

  • Friday 10th July 2020
Gartner CMO Spend Survey Shows How Digital Budgets Will Increase In 2021 Within the next 18 to 24 months digital marketing budgets will return to business-as-usual levels, according to 57 percent of CMOs in recently-released survey data from Gartner, also showing 78 percent aggregate growth for digital ad budgets in the forecast for 2021. 44 percent also said that they face mid-year budget cuts this year due to the global health crisis. MediaPost HubSpot: A Look Back at How COVID-19 Impacted Businesses in Q2 Up to 60 more sales team email has been sent during the pandemic, seeing open rates 18 percent above pre-COVID levels, with companies sending less email achieving the highest open rates — several of many finding of interest to digital marketers contained in newly-released report data from HubSpot's weekly performance metrics. HubSpot Email Draws Lead Generation Budget Dollars: Study 58 percent of marketing professionals and research subscribers in both B2B and B2C say that social media is an effective channel for lead conversion and relationship-building — topping the chart of effective methods according to new survey data, followed by email at 49 percent, and websites and search engine optimization (SEO) with 44 percent. MediaPost Google: The Rich Results Test is out of beta Google has taken its Rich Results Test tool out of beta testing, and those marketers still using the search giant's existing Structured Data Testing Tool should plan to move entirely to the new replacement, as Google will begin to deprecate the existing tool, the firm recently announced. Google Webmaster Central Blog YouTube Explains Some Common Algorithm and Video Distribution Queries YouTube has shared new information on how click-through rate (CTR) and average viewer duration (AVD) are used in determining the Google-owned firm's video distribution, along with the performance that marketers achieve on the platform, and offered advice on factoring in competition, topical interest, and seasonality. Social Media Today Twitter's Working on a New Collaborative Option for Fleets Twitter's previously-announced ephemeral story-tweets — called fleets — are undergoing testing which includes multi-user collaborative elements and discussion features, some similar to Instagram's co-streaming options, it was recently reported. Social Media Today Google Image Search Knowledge Panels Now Live Google's previously-announced knowledge panel test — with expandable elements for image searching — has launched according to the firm. The scope is currently limited to images of people, places, and things, however future expansion is planned, Google noted. SEO Roundtable Most Ad Pros Experiencing Work-From-Home 'Burnout,' Rank Highest Among Those Seeking A New Job Advertising industry and technology professionals top a recent list of those undergoing burnout caused by working from home during the global health crisis, with advertising professionals most likely to look for new work due to the workplace burnout, according to recently-released survey data. MediaPost Gen Z wants brands to be 'fun,' 'authentic' and 'good,' study says Some 58 percent of Gen Z survey respondents said that they can’t be offline more than 4 hours without becoming uncomfortable, with 66 percent also noting that they believe the internet brings people closer together, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. Marketing Dive Around 1 in 6 US Adult Podcast Users Have Paid to Listen to a Podcast 17 percent of U.S. adult podcast listeners have paid to listen to at least one broadcast, however around 80 percent of those who haven't paid to listen to a podcast say they are either not very likely or not at all likely to do so, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingCharts ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “facebook ad boycott and 10+ years of facebook cartoons” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Fourth Job Listed on Man’s Facebook Profile Also Only Real One — The Hard Times TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Lee Odden — The Future of Marketing: 50 CMO Quotes On How Marketing Has Changed — Marketing Insider Group Ashley Zeckman — Masters of Marketing #56 - The New Era of Influencer Marketing w/ Ashley Zeckman [Video] — Masters of Marketing / YouTube Lee Odden — 8 Creative and Affordable Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses — Digitalogy Have you found your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thank you for taking the time to join us, and we hope you'll come back next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don't miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel. The post B2B Marketing News: Digital Ad Budgets To Grow In 2021, Google’s Rich Results Tool Goes Mainstream, & More Listeners Are Paying For Podcasts appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

From Mechanical to Meaningful: How to Optimize B2B Case Studies

  • Thursday 9th July 2020
When was the last time a B2B case study made you feel something?  I mean, something besides mild interest or boredom.  I ask because, in theory at least, B2B case studies should be exciting stories. There are millions of dollars at stake, people’s livelihoods and professional reputations hanging in the balance. Each one is a three-act story arc of overcoming adversity and solving a problem.  That sounds like a riveting read, right? Or at the very least, they should be useful stories. They should help someone with a similar problem be able to find a solution. Yes, even a solution above and beyond “buy our product.” Here are a few ways that B2B marketers can make their case studies more human, more compelling, and ultimately more effective. How to Optimize B2B Case Studies Granted, case studies exist for a business purpose. They’re meant to persuade people to choose your solution. But that doesn’t mean they have to be purely sales-minded and feature-driven, rather than customer-minded and story-driven. We should be treating case studies with the same care that we give to all of our content. 1: Bring in the Broader Context The traditional structure of a case study is Problem-Solution-Results. The “problem” part generally refers to the specific problem your customer was having. But you can make your case study more relevant to similar companies by bringing in an industry-wide problem as well. Take this case study for our client Prophix, for example. In this study, we wanted to show the process we went through with the customer — why we chose to create the content we did. The content was meant to address an emerging problem in the finance profession. So it makes sense to start the study with an overview of that problem. Looking at the broader industry picture can help grab the attention of executives in the finance industry, but also those who are seeing a similar problem in their particular vertical. In other words, it makes the whole study more relevant to potential customers. 2: Add Value Beyond Your Solution TopRank Marketing is a marketing agency. Our processes, strategies and tactics are some of our most valuable assets. So, it would be easy for our case studies to say, “client hired us and we ran a campaign that got these results.” We could easily gloss over the details of how we got from point A to point B. If we did that, though, our case studies would be little more than commercials. It’s hard to convince someone they should read a 500-word commercial. Instead, we like to give readers practical examples of how we get the results we do. Could someone read our Tech Unknown case study from client SAP and run a similar campaign for themselves? Perhaps. We have a step-by-step list of the tactics we used. But we’re confident that we can do the work better than our clients could do for themselves, so we’re not shy about sharing our tactics. When prospects finish reading the Tech Unknown case study, they will have a solid idea of what it takes to create and execute a podcast, in addition to seeing that TopRank Marketing is good at creating successful podcasts. That extra value adds credibility and readability to the case study. 3: Bring in the Customer Voice We often write about businesses or brands as though they are people: “Coca-Cola decided to…” or “Siemens made the difficult decision to…” But in reality, it’s actual people who make these decisions. And these people should show up in your case study. LinkedIn* Marketing Solutions is good at centering the customer voice in their case studies. Take this one from Salesforce, for example. Salesforce’s Director of Content & Social Media, Marissa Kraines, is quoted throughout. She talks about why they chose LinkedIn as a platform, how they developed best practices for the content — and, yes, how happy they are with the results. Most importantly, Marissa offers advice to the reader that goes beyond “Use LinkedIn for marketing”:  “Have a game plan that consists of at least five pieces of content that you plan on putting out,” she suggests. “That way you can test, look at results against each other, and really see what’s working. And so after those five segments, you can create something based on those learnings that’s even more meaningful for your audience.” The quotes throughout this case study help the reader feel connected and invested in the story being told. Speaking of which... 4: Tell an Emotional Story As I said in the introduction, there’s a simple story structure at the heart of all case studies. You almost can’t help but tell a story: Problem/Solution/Results. The trick, though, is to make your narrative emotionally engaging.  Bringing in the customer voice is a good start. For even better results, trade your corporate voice — with its passive construction and dry, detached tone — for a more journalistic one. Find the human interest in the story and write about it with passion. This ACLU case study from Pantheon brings in drama from the beginning:  “In 2016, Marco Carbone, Associate Director of IT at ACLU, monitored the website intently as presidential elections drew thousands of times more traffic than normal. Although he had anticipated a surge in traffic, it was hard to imagine just how big it would be.” Notice how this paragraph: Places us at a moment in time Introduces a protagonist Creates tension You can see Marco sitting at his computer, staring at the dashboard, hoping his site isn’t about to go down. It vividly illustrates that Pantheon doesn’t just sell web hosting — they sell peace of mind, too.  Now imagine a typical intro for a case study like this: “The ACLU needed a solution to make sure their site was robust enough to endure anticipated traffic spikes during the 2016 election. The organization had evaluated several services but was uncertain that their projected needs could be met. Their existing solution was underperforming.” The same basic information — yet a world of difference in its emotional heft. [bctt tweet="“There’s a simple story structure at the heart of all case studies. You almost can’t help but tell a story. The trick, though, is to make your narrative emotionally engaging.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites" username="toprank"] 5: Get Specific with Results (And Benchmark!) The ideal case study ends with two things: Advice from the customer, and specific enumerated results. It’s not enough to say your solution shortened sales cycles, or reduced waste. It’s better to say, “Our customer shortened sales cycles to three weeks” or “reduced waste by four tons.” But the best way to give results is with customer and industry benchmarks to compare to. Shortening sales cycles to 3 weeks is okay if the industry average is four weeks, but phenomenal if the average is three months. If the customer usually generates five tons of waste, reducing it by four tons is unbelievable progress — but far less impressive if they generate 400 tons. Providing these benchmarks gives your reader a clearer picture of what your results mean, and sets expectations for working with your company. That’s why in our Tech Unknown case study we include industry benchmarks for podcast downloads, as well as brand averages for traffic and views.  [bctt tweet="“Providing benchmarks gives your reader a clearer picture of what your results mean, and sets expectations for working with your company.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites" username="toprank"] Customer Stories Don’t Have to Be Boring: Case Closed Content marketers are empathetic, creative, dynamic writers. I pride myself on being able to find human interest in content for any client, whether its financial services, software-as-a-solution, or supply chain logistics. But when it comes to writing case studies, too often we fall back on that staid, bloodless corporate voice. To keep your case studies compelling, make sure you’re writing for a reader, not just a potential sale. Be passionate, tell a human story, and offer value beyond just proving your product’s benefits. A journalistic eye and genuine empathy for your reader will make your case studies more readable, relatable, and ultimately more effective. * LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client. The post From Mechanical to Meaningful: How to Optimize B2B Case Studies appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Social Media Polls For Marketers: 6 B2B Brands Winning With LinkedIn Polls

  • Wednesday 8th July 2020
Polls offer a unique two-for-one value for B2B marketers, providing quality feedback on what customers want while also offering brands a powerful interactive social media content marketing element. As we first reported in our B2B marketing news, our client LinkedIn recently launched the return of its highly-anticipated poll feature, offering marketers a new platform besides Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for gathering community sentiment using polls — one that may be the best fit for many B2B brands. With this and other recent changes to social media polls, we’ll take a look at the latest news about online polls, and see how B2B marketers and brands are using polls in innovative ways, including 6 B2B brands winning with LinkedIn polls. Why Should B2B Marketers Use Polls? A while back our senior content strategist Nick Nelson explored the social media poll landscape and shared five helpful tips, in “The Power of Social Media Polls: The Drill-Down on 3 Platforms + 5 General Best Practices,” and more recently we also reported that Facebook has brought polls back to Facebook Messenger group chats after a year-long absence. Online polls have long been an attractive interactive element among all demographics of social media users, however digital media consumption habits vary by generation. Members of the Gen Z demographic more often seek out multifaceted content comprised of interactive elements such as polls and quizzes, according to recent content consumption preference data showing that 33 percent of Gen Z respondents expressed a preference for articles that contain interactive features. Our CEO Lee Odden suggests conducting online polls as one of the “25 B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign & Engagement Ideas for 2020,” urging marketers to consider polls as a helpful part of a well-rounded content marketing strategy. Nick Nelson pointed out the additional power of polls when used as a form of episodic content marketing, in “Hungry for More: What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Episodic Content,” placing polls in the same effective category as weekly hashtag posts and employee spotlights. Nick has also observed that polls can be a good way to prove or disprove preconceived notions about a variety of marketing topics, urging marketers to “Vet your assumptions against data-driven research and interactions with audience members (e.g. surveys, polls, conversations).” What Can Marketers Do With All That Poll Data? Polls can also be a fine testing ground for new ideas, as we examined in “How B2B Brands Can Break Into Interactive Content.” I also took a detailed dive into what B2B marketers can learn from all that poll data you’ve been collecting, in “17 Revealing B2B Marketing Insights From Poll Data.” The revelations people provide when they respond to online marketing polls include a wealth of industry information. Poll data shows what marketers are thinking about when it comes to a variety of important subjects, ranging from everyday tasks to far-reaching future trends. For over a year now we’ve utilized our TopRank Marketing Twitter channel to publish a weekly poll, asking a range of questions to B2B marketers, and have also begun asking our poll questions on the TopRank Marketing LinkedIn page. It can be ideal to ask poll questions on the digital channel that best suits your particular audience. Some organizations choose to conduct polls on several platforms and to then compare the results, or even compile them together to get a larger sample answer size. [bctt tweet="“Poll data shows what marketers are thinking about when it comes to a variety of important subjects, ranging from everyday tasks to far-reaching future trends.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"] Make Poll Insights a Part of Your B2B Marketing Plans Take the time to listen to what customers are saying through their answers to poll questions and you’ll gain an inside glimpse into where your marketing efforts may be put to the most effective use. Polls also help increase brand awareness. “Polls are hot stuff, according to Facebook, which claims that poll ads increased brand awareness compared with video ads in 5 out of 9 brand lift studies,” Kyle Wiggers has noted for VentureBeat. Some formats of paid ads allow polls to be included, and Facebook brought augmented reality (AR) ads to its news-feed last fall — two interactive elements to consider. I also looked at how to ask directly for customer insight using polls, surveys, focus groups and questionnaires, in “10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers.” In an additional benefit from the use of polls, “A recent study found that video posts drive more interaction on the platform than other types, and a product called Facebook Premiere launched late last year, enabling interactive video polls, pre-recorded live broadcasts, and more,” Nick Nelson has noted. [bctt tweet="“Take the time to listen to what customers are saying through their answers to poll questions and you’ll gain an inside glimpse into where your marketing efforts may be put to the most effective use.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"] LinkedIn Embraces Professional B2B Polls With LinkedIn’s poll rollout complete, more B2B brands are testing and even embracing polls on the Microsoft-owned platform with 690 million users, and the process of creating a poll is straightforward. Users simply choose “Create a poll” in a post’s composer window, ask a question, choose up to four poll response options and how long to run the poll — from one day up to two weeks. LinkedIn has made its polls easy to share and to conduct them in LinkedIn Groups, on personal profiles, showcase and company pages, as well as within event pages. “By targeting specific Groups with your poll, you can get even more relevant insights,” LinkedIn product manager Howie Fung noted in "Tapping into the Power of Your Professional Network with Polls." You can see your poll results as they come in, and the person who conducted the poll can also see who’s voted and how they voted. Poll owners also have the ability to directly message anyone who’s answered their poll. LinkedIn polls may hold particularly relevant information for B2B marketers looking to learn more about their audience. Brands can also gather poll data offering feedback on products and services, learn customer pain points, test interest in new product offerings, and gauge reactions to new industry trends. Learn From Recent LinkedIn Poll Examples 1 — Dell Our client Dell has been using LinkedIn’s polling feature in a variety of ways. One recent poll asked customers, “Over the last few months, you've made huge shifts in your way of life and work. If you could choose, what would your ideal work location be?” This Dell LinkedIn poll has already received over 12,000 responses. 2 — RateLinx Our client RateLinx, a supply chain and logistics visibility and analytics desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) platform, has also taken to using LinkedIn’s new poll feature, with a recent poll looking into the importance of various qualities within organizations. 3 — Microsoft Microsoft used data from one of its LinkedIn polls both in its "2020 Vision" report and an article that examined “Trends in marketing skills identified as important for the 2020s,” based on its LinkedIn poll with some 600 global senior marketer participants. By focusing on senior level marketers working internationally, Microsoft was able to gain specific information from its LinkedIn poll and re-purpose the data into two derivative pieces of content, a fine example of the kind of content re-purposing we've explored. 4 — Olive Communications U.K. managed cloud communications provider Olive Communications has used a LinkedIn poll to gather timely information about customer experience changes and expectations during the pandemic. Olive Communications' poll demonstrates how online surveys can be used to keep track of rapidly-changing consumer sentiment. 5 — Redis Labs In-memory database firm Redis Labs took to LinkedIn to contact a poll asking customers to choose their favorite app from one of its virtual events. With the vast majority of events now taking place virtually, businesses are looking for new ways to replace the sort of in-person communication physical events have traditionally offered, and online polls offer a welcome solution in many situations. 6 — LinkedIn News LinkedIn News used a LinkedIn poll to solicit feedback on a recent Harris Poll that looked at the role of positive societal contributions among companies. The poll garnered over 6,700 votes in less than a week, and serves as a good example of drawing people in beyond just voting, by using the fourth poll choice to encourage responses in comments on the poll’s LinkedIn post. Combined Poll Data May Offer More Than You Think via GIPHY Whether you use LinkedIn’s new polling feature or those offered by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other social media platforms, B2B brands risk losing out on valuable information about their customers and what’s on their minds if polls aren’t in your marketing mix. Crafting the right poll involves asking the right question and carefully wording each possible response — a process that can take considerable time and effort, which is why many choose to work with a professional agency such as TopRank Marketing — contact us today for more information.   The post Social Media Polls For Marketers: 6 B2B Brands Winning With LinkedIn Polls appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

5 Things to Know About Building Trust in the Age of Social Media

  • Tuesday 7th July 2020
Does your company advertise? If so, I have bad news: Your audience doesn't trust your ads. I don't mean to call you out specifically, dear anonymous reader. But statistically speaking, it is a likely reality. A wide-reaching survey earlier this year "found advertising to be the least likely source people would use to garner information about a business, with just 14% saying they trust advertisers in this respect." That’s not to say advertising doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work on its own. Customers are looking elsewhere to form perceptions about your business and what it stands for. Only once they’ve shaped these perceptions are your ads likely to break through and make an impact. Social media is becoming more vital than ever as a proving ground for brands in this respect. Trust and Transparency Are Rising to the Forefront New research from Demand Gen Report reinforces a trend that’s been gaining steam for some time: trust and transparency are essential to engaging current B2B buyers. As an always-on channel where brands can broadcast their voices regularly, interact with followers, and define their viewpoints on timely topics, social media is emerging as arguably the single most critical touchpoint for cultivating an authentic, trustworthy outward image for your organization. When it comes to nailing down your social media strategy in the current climate, there are a few things you should know. 5 Key Considerations for Building Trust on Social Media Today Many brands are exploring features to drive direct one-on-one engagement. This was the top trend highlighted in Hootsuite’s new look at 2020 social media trends. More than half of all respondents in the company’s survey of marketers said the rise of private social channels (i.e., in-app messaging functions and closed groups) are causing them to rethink their social strategies. (Image via Hootsuite) Noting that each still plays a valuable role, Hootsuite breaks the distinction down like this: “public feeds are the place to drive awareness; private channels are the place to drive meaningful one-to-one engagement.” While the majority of brand discovery still happens on those public social feeds, private channels such as members-only groups provide an opportunity to take the next step in building tight-knit communities and relationships. As you evaluate what your social media strategy will look like going forward, it’s wise to think about how you can balance these two sides of the coin. Your peers are doing so. Putting your purpose first is the right move. According to Deloitte’s research, “Purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains and grow three times faster on average than their competitors, all while achieving higher workforce and customer satisfaction.” While your employees might have a good understanding of the values that prop up your brand and drive its mission statement, this tends to be less clear to the outside world. It’s not enough to claim to be purpose-driven. Customers want to see companies demonstrate their guiding principles with consistency and conviction. Social media provides the means for this visibility. Make sure your organization’s purpose and central values are routinely present in content shared via social. As I wrote last year, the worst stand any brand can take is standing still. [bctt tweet="“The worst stand any brand can take is standing still.” @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing #PurposeDriven #B2B" username="toprank"] Customers are increasingly taking notice of where companies spend ad dollars. There may be instances where adhering to your brand’s values can affect the channels you choose to be present on. Recently we saw Coca-Cola shut down its social media advertising for 30 days, as numerous other brands pull ad spend from Facebook amidst a wave of societal heat for the platform. This and other developments will be worth keeping a close eye on. The bottom line: People need to trust the environment where they encounter your message in order to trust the message itself. Right now, there’s a thin line between relevance and redundancy. Consumers were already tired of COVID-19-related ads in April. By now I think it’s safe to say almost everyone is eager to hear about other topics. Yet, as the pandemic rages on here in America, it’s nigh impossible to talk about anything without at least addressing the elephant in the room, lest you appear out of touch. This is a challenge that will test the mettle of even the most seasoned marketers. How can you stay acutely relevant and useful to your audience without contributing to coronavirus content fatigue? How can you speak out on key societal issues without coming off as overbearing? How can you address the uncertainty your customers face without falling back on the triteness of “these uncertain times”? In this moment, it’s more critical than ever to have open conversations with your followers and pay close attention to engagement signals. People want to see leadership from company executives. One momentous opportunity for brands on social media is to showcase the thought leadership — and leadership of all kinds, really — from executives. Data suggests this is an area needing improvement. The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update found that the public is generally unimpressed by the way CEOs are stepping up in the face of COVID-19, with just 29% of survey respondents saying this cohort is “doing an outstanding job meeting the demands placed on them by the pandemic.” (Image via Edelman) Ultimately, trusting relationships aren’t built with brands, but rather with the human beings behind those brands. Attaching a face and voice to your content can drastically magnify the impact and relatability of that content. Encourage your CEO and other company leaders to become visible and vocal through your social accounts. [bctt tweet="According to @EdelmanPR research, only 29% of people feel CEOs are doing an outstanding job of meetings the demands placed on them by #COVID19. #CrisisMarketing" username="toprank"] Rise Above and Earn Trust We are living in a unique time, which yields unique challenges and opportunities. Many social networks have reported heightened usage, but users are also scrutinizing brand messages and veracity of information more than ever. To ensure you’re staying on the right course, I recommend: Finding the right balance between broader awareness efforts and more focused relationship-building tactics, by taking advantage of emerging one-on-one engagement capabilities. Putting your brand’s purpose at the center of your social media content strategy. Being thoughtful about which platforms, partners and influencers you associate with, and how they are viewed by your audience. Staying relevant to the timely needs and concerns of your followers, while avoiding an overemphasis on topics they are fatigued by. Showcasing the voices and thought leadership of your company’s front-facing executives. As Paul Gillin once said, “Transparency may be the most disruptive and far-reaching innovation to come out of social media.” During a time of pervasive disruption throughout the business world, this innovative transparency is more valuable than ever when it comes to that essential edict of building trust. And when a sturdy foundation of trust is established, the rest of your strategic digital marketing mix — from blogs to webinars to ads and beyond — will become all the more effective. For more tips on stepping up your brand’s social media game, check out Josh Nite’s recent post featuring 5 Ways to Make Brand Social Media Profiles More Compelling. The post 5 Things to Know About Building Trust in the Age of Social Media appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Always On Influence: Costs Less and Better ROI – Here’s Why

  • Monday 6th July 2020
Virtually every marketing tactic is under evaluation right now as B2B marketing departments react to the domino effect of changes in consumer spending during the pandemic. Many B2C marketers are putting a pause on their influencer marketing investments as the world of travel, hospitality, retail, sports and entertainment have changed dramatically. In the business to business world, things have changed as well but not anywhere near as significantly and not always at the expense of lowered marketing budgets. The trend in B2B is digital and self serve from virtual events and prospect engagement to buyers now conducting the majority of their research and interactions on their own before making purchase decisions. Influences on those purchase decisions are not coming from field marketing, trade conferences or experiential events. Influences on B2B buyer behavior is decidedly online and digital, including through education and recommendations from industry experts. Smart B2B marketers realize this and have continued to engage with B2B influencers to co-create content of value to digitally savvy customers. For example, take this new Future of Agile Teamwork resource from monday.com (client) featuring teamwork and productivity insights from Carla Johnson, Shama Hyder, Deb Lee, Jay Acunzo and eight more marketing and design influencers. The smart marketing team at monday.com is more than capable of putting out useful advice on productivity for creative and marketing teams on their own (and they do), but they also realize their customers pay closer attention to individuals than brands. Trusted experts have the attention of buyers who can then be reached, engaged and inspired to take action a lot more effectively during good times or a pandemic than through the brand voice alone. There's a certain set of costs to creating such a resource, including strategy development and planning, influencer identification and engagement, content development, design, development, promotion, influencer activation for sharing and overall campaign management and measurement. For some B2B marketers, there's a temptation to think of influencers as an add-on to brand content and therefore, only engage influencers when they need them for their planned quarterly campaigns. The issue with this approach to influencer engagement is a lack of engagement. The thing is, Influencer Marketing is a relationship business. If the only time someone reaches out to you is when they want something from you, how motivating of a relationship is that? I'll answer that - it's not. The marketing team at monday.com understand this and are investing in more than one-off campaigns and influencer activations. Every marketing department must be accountable to performance and investing in relationships with the voices of industry experts that your customers trust can create an excellent return for everyone involved: customers, influencers and the brand. That ongoing investment in time, effort and resources to develop, maintain and activate relationships is what Always On Influencer Marketing is about. We've highlighted other examples of B2B brands implementing ongoing, always on influencer marketing programs before, but to help B2B marketers better understand why Always On influencer marketing delivers more efficient and effective marketing performance, here are the top 5 reasons why always on costs less and delivers better ROI than one off influencer content campaigns. 1. Pay to Play Doesn't Always Pay Off One off influencer engagement tends to be a transactional experience. That's fine if the brand doesn't intend to work with the influencer again or if they always expect to pay a certain fee for that influencer's participation. Some B2B influencer programs are set up to be fully paid programs. Many successful influencer programs have strength in numbers of influencers involved. While there is a certain increase in accountability for the influencer's performance when they are paid, it can get very expensive pretty quickly once you start adding well known influencers. A more organic relationship between brand and influencer can take a little more time up front, but doesn't cost anywhere near as much as a one-off, paid influencer campaign. An ongoing relationship-based approach also means more micro-activations in between campaigns which can extend the value and performance of a campaign without any additional costs. 2. Old Friends Know the Brand Ropes With influencer marketing and content collaborations, there are aspects that require significantly more ramp up time with new influencers than with those who already know your brand. New influencers need to be researched, vetted, reviewed and approved, recruited and engaged to provide great content. After all that, they need to be persuaded to promote the content as well. Doing all of this with an intermittent brand influencer requires a lot more hand holding and brand education than with influencers whom the brand works with on an ongoing basis or at least engages with some regularity. That additional discovery and management time can add substantial cost to campaigns. 3. Return on Relationships One of the great benefits of having a trusted industry expert collaborate with your brand is the inevitable advocacy that can occur during their conversations and engagement with their networks. Word of mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising and you don't really get that kind of invested and proactive advocacy with influencers who are only engaged for one off projects and nothing in-between. Influencer management does require a well organized effort, but not a very expensive effort. The return on that investment in time to engage on social channels, email occasionally, do a virtual happy hour and recognize in brand content is far, far greater than the cost. 4. Repurpose with Purpose Many B2B marketers want to know what do you do when you are implementing and Always On influencer marketing program? With one off campaigns, when the project is done, it's done. But with always on, one of the most efficient tactics marketers can do to optimize and maximize the value of influencer contributions while also creating positive signals for the influencers is to repurpose content. The key to repurposing with the purpose of achieving value at multiple levels is in the planning. When influencer contributions are captured, they can be categorized by topic and archived in a spreadsheet or database. Then when a newsletter, blog post, social channel, presentation, contributed article, ebook, infographic, explainer video or any other kind of content needs that perfect quote from an industry expert to give credibility to the brand, you have it right there. Repurposing influencer content like this as part of regular brand content creates value for the brand through credibility, it creates exposure for the influencer which they will appreciate and it provides useful and inspiring content to customers. Everybody wins! 5. Advocacy at Scale After working with influencers over the past 8 years or so, many have become friends. Friends take a genuine interest in their mutual success and when a B2B brand can effectively develop real relationships with industry experts over time, those connections can become an incredible source of brand or product advocacy in the marketplace. You might pay an influencer for certain types of work from time to time and engage then organically for others, but it's the relationship over time with their point of contacts at the brand and/or agency and especially with each other through a community that develops the kind of mutual trust, respect and admiration that manifests into recommendations that reach people that are virtually impossible to reach otherwise. To do this with a community of influencers is truly a brand accomplishment and one of the best examples I've seen is the AdobeInsiders influencer community. Rani Mani and Monica Grant do an incredible job fostering a community of influencers that can't wait to advocate for Adobe and the values they share. In our research for the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, we found that those B2B brands that were most successful, shared certain characteristics. One of those traits was the tendency to practice Always On influencer engagement. In fact, 20% of marketers surveyed implement always on programs and 56% implement a combination of campaigns and ongoing influencer engagement. There is confidence in the value of creating relationships with industry influencers and working to engage them over time. Given that the most successful B2B brands at influencer marketing also use always on influencer engagement hints that there's also greater marketing ROI in those relationships. If you would like to get access to the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, you can sign up here.    The post Always On Influence: Costs Less and Better ROI – Here’s Why appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Top 5 Customer Retention Strategies That Keep People Coming Back

  • Thursday 30th July 2020
Customer retention is one of the most important concepts to … The post Top 5 Customer Retention Strategies That Keep People Coming Back appeared first on Digital Agency Network.

8 Tips to Grow Your Business Blog

  • Tuesday 28th July 2020
Blogs have a lot of power to help grow your business. But you need a sizable audience to make that happen. Wondering how to grow your blog? It takes work, targeted strategies, and persistence — but businesses can reap great rewards. Simple Ways to Grow Your Blog Define and Target Your Audience Understanding your buyer […] The post 8 Tips to Grow Your Business Blog appeared first on Oyova Software.

Blogging for Business: A Guide to How It Benefits Your Company

  • Thursday 16th July 2020
Blogging for business is a central part of a company’s marketing strategy. If you haven’t made it a priority, it’s time to reconsider. Curious about the benefits? We’ve prepared a handy guide to the benefits of blogging for business to get you motivated — and heading in the right direction. Why Your Business Should Be […] The post Blogging for Business: A Guide to How It Benefits Your Company appeared first on Oyova Software.

Fast 50: Oyova Among the Fastest-Growing First Coast Businesses

  • Thursday 2nd July 2020
Oyova proved its rightful place in an elite group once again. The Jacksonville Business Journal has systematically determined the business growth leaders in the First Coast every year for over a quarter-century. In 2020, the publication assessed the last three years of business expansion across all sectors, studying numbers and researching documents to identify the […] The post Fast 50: Oyova Among the Fastest-Growing First Coast Businesses appeared first on Oyova Software.

Content Creation: 3 Key Tips to Improve Your Personalization Efforts

  • Tuesday 5th May 2020
You’ve likely heard that personalization is becoming an increasingly important marketing trend. Consumers, now more than ever, want brands to offer marketing content tailored to their tastes and preferences. Offering such content is a smart way to make the right impression on potential customers. However, from a content creation perspective, it may not necessarily be […] The post Content Creation: 3 Key Tips to Improve Your Personalization Efforts appeared first on Oyova Software.

B2B Turns to Digital Marketing During the Coronavirus Pandemic

  • Tuesday 28th April 2020
In a relatively short amount of time, the coronavirus pandemic has undeniably had a significant impact on the way businesses across a range of industries operate. You can see this play out in the B2B sector. Unable to participate in events such as trade fairs, many B2B companies have responded to the limitations the coronavirus […] The post B2B Turns to Digital Marketing During the Coronavirus Pandemic appeared first on Oyova Software.

The Rise of Video Marketing

  • Wednesday 22nd April 2020
What You Need to Know to Implement Video into Your Marketing Strategy Marketing trends are always changing. As new channels emerge and consumer attitudes shift, marketers must adapt accordingly. That’s how you consistently make the right impression on your audience. These days, video marketing is on the rise. More and more companies are taking the […] The post The Rise of Video Marketing appeared first on Oyova Software.

Inc. 5000 Named Oyova 197th Fastest-Growing Private Company in Florida

  • Wednesday 18th March 2020
The entire team here at Oyova is elated that we were named to the Inc. Magazines Inc. 5000 list of Fastest-Growing Private Companies in Florida. We came in at 197.  This prestigious list illustrates some of the most successful independent companies in Florida.  The complete results of the Inc. 5000 Series: Florida, including company profiles, […] The post Inc. 5000 Named Oyova 197th Fastest-Growing Private Company in Florida appeared first on Oyova Software.

3 Ways to Improve Revisions With Your Graphic Designer

  • Monday 24th February 2020
It’s like something out of a nightmare – a deadline is barrelling toward you. The strategy? Executed. The content? Created. But, for whatever reason, the visuals are dragging along like a ball and chain around the ankles of your project. You say blue, your designer says white. Ask for an image of a coffee shop, […] The post 3 Ways to Improve Revisions With Your Graphic Designer appeared first on Oyova Software.

Why Your Social Media Isn’t Converting and How You Can Fix It

  • Tuesday 18th February 2020
Whether you’re running a small local business or a Fortune 500 corporation, you need a social media presence. Social media usage is on the rise for internet users, and there is no sign that this is going to slow down. However, social media users are becoming pickier about the type of content that they are […] The post Why Your Social Media Isn’t Converting and How You Can Fix It appeared first on Oyova Software.

Feel the Love! Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas to Engage Your Audience

  • Monday 3rd February 2020
Ahh, yes. Romance is in the air. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. There’s no time to waste. Put your creativity to work, engage your audience, and leverage this lovely holiday to give your business a boost. Don’t worry if you’re not quite sure where to start. Below are some quick Valentine’s Day marketing […] The post Feel the Love! Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas to Engage Your Audience appeared first on Oyova Software.

20 Questions You Must Answer Before Creating a Content Strategy [podcast + free guide]

  • Thursday 6th August 2020
How do you create a content marketing plan that converts to real customers? A plan that helps you achieve your marketing and business goals at the highest level of ROI possible? The key is that you must do your research first.           Related Stories10-Point Checklist for Irresistible Content [podcast + free guide]Do You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook]7 Top Digital Marketing Strategies in 2020 for BIG Results [video + worksheets] 

How to Nurture B2B Influencer Relationships During the Pandemic

  • Tuesday 11th August 2020
I’m so glad that I went to B2BMX this past February. For one thing, we did some amazing interviews with some very smart marketers. The very idea of these interviews seems weird now — we were just sitting! Three feet apart! With no masks! At a giant marketing conference at a hotel! The cancellation of in-person events means I’ll miss one or two conferences this year. But for folks who make a living as keynote speakers and thought leaders, it’s a massive adjustment. And that includes a sizable subset of B2B influencers — those who are primarily keynote speakers and in-person consultants. As an agency, we’re true believers in B2B influencer marketing (see our latest report to learn why). But we have had to adjust our strategy as influencers’ needs change. Like everything else in 2020, influencer relationship-building takes a different approach than you might be used to. Debbie Friez is an Influencer Marketing Strategist at TopRank Marketing, and she’s an expert at finding the right influencers and developing ongoing relationships. Here’s what Debbie and I have observed and how we’ve changed our outreach strategy. How to Nurture B2B Influencer Relationships During the Pandemic Influence relationships operate by much the same rules as any friendship: Get to know the person, don’t talk about yourself too much, give something before you ask for anything, and be sensitive to their emotions and needs. And, of course, don’t propose marriage on the first date (unless it’s going REALLY well). On top of those rules, here are a few ways to adjust your approach for the current crisis. [bctt tweet="“Influence relationships operate by much the same rules as any friendship: Get to know the person, don’t talk about yourself too much, give something before you ask for anything, and be sensitive to their emotions and needs.” @NiteWrites" username="toprank"] #1: Scale Back Your Requests It’s easy to imagine that influencers have nothing but free time right now. After all, they’re not traveling as much, and all the events are virtual — that means they should have ample time to write a blog post or film a webinar, right? What we’ve seen, however, is the opposite is true. Those who make a living at public speaking are hustling harder than ever. “Now that all the events are virtual, there is a disconnect between how influencers are compensated,” says Debbie. Instead of a 90-minute in-person talk, influencers might need to do a dozen webinars to make ends meet. Now is a good time to focus on micro-content — keep the requests down to 50-100 words. Where you might have asked one influencer for a 500-word blog, ask three influencers the same question and do a roundup of their answers. Or focus on social-first content that can be bite-sized but still foster engagement. Simply put, it’s more important than ever to respect influencers’ time and make sure your requests are appropriate. Speaking of which… [bctt tweet="“It’s more important than ever to respect influencers’ time and make sure your requests are appropriate.” @NiteWrites" username="toprank"] #2: Offer a Good Value Exchange Every good influencer relationship is based on a value exchange. You’re giving the influencer something they want, and getting something you want in return. When you build relationships for long-term, always-on influencer marketing, that value exchange tends to be in terms of co-creating awesome content together, exposure to each others’ audience, and other non-monetary benefits. However, direct compensation is always part of the influencer marketing toolkit. Right now, influencers may see less value in co-creation and be looking for more ways to supplement their income. “Frequently, influencers would co-create content for free, as they were taking payment to speak at or attend events,” Debbie says. With events on pause, it’s important for influencer marketers to budget for the right type of compensation. #3: Be Empathetic  As you might have noticed, it’s rough out in the world right now. Odds are you’re stressed out, concerned about keeping your family safe and the bills paid. You may even have scaled back on your social media and focused more energy inward.  Influencers are no different. It’s important that your outreach be warm (no blind InMail requests or impersonal emails), sympathetic, and respectful. Just as you’ve adjusted your content marketing to meet your audience’s current mental state, make sure your influencer outreach is appropriate for the times. #4: Offer Creative Opportunities Odds are any influencer you reach out to has done multiple webinars, guest blogs, and livestreams in the past six months. And they’re likely filling their calendars with as many more gigs as they can get. What can you offer an influencer that will get their attention? Now is a good time to pitch fun, creative ideas for content. How about a brief interview that you’ll turn into a fully-produced podcast, complete with background music and sound design? Or a short contribution that will be featured in a dynamic, interactive asset? The easier you can make the ask, and the cooler you can make the end product, the better. #5: Explore Always-On Influence As you’ve seen, it can be challenging to establish relationships with influencers right now. People are busy, distracted and stressed, and it’s easy for your messages to get lost in the shuffle. It’s not impossible, of course, to add net new influencers to your marketing — it just takes more effort. Right now, brands that have ongoing influencer nurturing programs are doing better than those without. It’s easy to see why — they’re not starting from scratch. They have built up a community of influencers over time, co-creating content, helping each other out, even introducing influencers to each other to help them network. It’s easier to maintain an ongoing relationship than start a brand new one. [bctt tweet="“Right now, brands that have ongoing influencer nurturing programs are doing better than those without. It’s easy to see why — they’re not starting from scratch.” @NiteWrites" username="toprank"] Relationships Are Worth the Work We surveyed hundreds of marketers for our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report. The vast majority said that influencer marketing works for B2B: 74% agree that influencer marketing improves customer and prospect experience with the brand, and 90% plan to increase their budget in the near future.  While the current business climate may make it more challenging to develop influencer relationships, the results are well worth the effort.  Need help with B2B influencer marketing? It’s our specialty. The post How to Nurture B2B Influencer Relationships During the Pandemic appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience

  • Monday 10th August 2020
The experience customers have through marketing content can be one of the most important differentiators for brands today. And yet 58% of B2B buyers don't not believe claims made by the vendors they most recently bought from (TrustRadius). It’s hard to create a great experience if customers don’t trust brand communications. Trust is the gateway to influence perceptions, behaviors and actions and brands that want to succeed in the uncertain environment of today’s digital world need to double down on building trust with their customers. But how? Today’s increasingly digital buyers have high expectations of the companies they do business with: buyers want personalized and relevant information, they want a consistent experience across channels, they want confidence in the brand as a company that cares about privacy, their customers and the community. Meeting these expectations has been a challenge. From fake news to privacy issues to deep fakes, the digital world has become an uncertain source of information for consumers. Tired of information overload, sales focused brand messaging and unremarkable content, 86% of customers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support (Stackla - The Consumer Content Report: Influence in the Digital Age). Customers want what’s real. They want to trust and be confident about their decisions. While there’s a lot of information and even misinformation about content marketing and what it means for business communicators, there’s hope in building trust and influence by creating great customer experiences with authentic content. To help marketers better understand how brands are winning customer hearts, minds, and trust with authentic content experiences here are 5 important steps: Accelerate Internal Credibility In order for marketing to have the support it needs to be successful externally with customers, marketing needs to be credible inside the organization. Unfortunately, 80% of CEOs don’t trust marketers but 91% do trust CIOs and CFOs (Fournaise Group). To earn C-level trust, marketers must identify the key business problems faced by the business and make the connection to how marketing can help solve those issues. More importantly, marketing needs to provide clear direction about how and show credible reporting about impact. Ensuring credibility internally means promoting your wins to internal stakeholders. Make sure everyone from department heads to the C-suite are aware of the results that you are delivering to the business bottom line. As marketers use content marketing integrated across channels to create “best answer” experiences for customers, marketers must also become the best answer for business growth inside the company by focusing on and communicating what matters to the business - not fluffy marketing promises with ambiguous correlations to the impact on the business. Double Down on Activating Customers Word of mouth and advocacy continue to represent important sources of trust and influence for brands. Marketers need to engage customers for reviews, ratings and even user generated content. As I’ve often said, “If you want your content to be great, ask your customers to participate.” Build credibility and influence with customers by engaging them and making them part of the narrative that builds trust about your brand where buyers are looking. Work with External Influencers to Grow Brand Credibility Every brand has a story to tell and to help make that story relevant, interesting and effective amongst buyers who are probably ignoring most brand communications, marketers can engage with relevant industry influencers. What makes someone influential is that they have the trust and attention of your customers. What better way to add credibility to your brand content than to collaborate with people who already have that credibility? Virtually any kind of external content that brands create can consider influencer collaboration to make it more credible, relevant, engaging and capable of actually reaching the audience it is intended for. Authenticity is essential for influencer collaborations to work so it’s important that marketers do their due diligence with influencers through proper identification, qualification and engagement best practices. Create a Content Collaboration Ecosystem Most marketers don’t have all the content creation resources they need to create the kind of content that drives customer experience. Engaging influencers to collaborate on content is a great start. But to truly build authenticity and content experiences that matter, customers can be engaged as well. User generated content is not for everyone, but when customers can contribute their voices to brand content, it adds a level of authenticity and trust that most marketing departments are able to on their own. Employees are another important source of authentic content for brands, whether it’s telling stories about the impact those employees have on the lives of customers or by enlisting employees to help tell the brand story. Optimize Measurement to Customer ROI Creating trust with authentic content experiences must be a measurable exercise. Beyond share of voice and brand sentiment metrics, marketers must pay attention to measuring the effectiveness of content through the customer journey. At a minimum, marketers must understand the the impact in these key areas: Attract - Is your marketing reaching the right audience in the channels they’re actually influenced by? Engage - Is your marketing creating meaningful and satisfying experiences? Are you effectively using authenticity and influence to build trust? Convert - Is the content you’re creating and co-creating actually inspiring action? Are those actions delivering impact for the business whether it’s brand perception, leads, sales or revenue? Beyond these important steps towards more effective content marketing that drives trust are the influence traits brands must have to build trust: Purpose: “In this time of turmoil people are turning to brands as islands of stability.” Richard Edelman. How will the world be different after you’re successful doing what you do? How does that narrative translate into your marketing? Relevance: Use data to understand your internal/external customer and create compelling, useful content experiences that matter. Leverage the voices of your customers, prospects, and those they trust to help add credibility and context to your message. Reach:  Become “the best answer” for your customers with content that is easy to find and exists in context wherever buyers engage. Resonance:  Understand audience motivations through the buyer journey to inform messaging that “clicks” and inspires action and makes real, measurable business impact. I hope you can join me at the virtual IABC Minnesota Convergence Summit conference this week where I will be giving the opening keynote on Wednesday August 12th at 4pm: In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience. I’ll be digging into the current state of content marketing as well as sharing examples of brands walking the talk on authenticity and content marketing. The post In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

For Successful B2B Marketers The Engine of Influence is Always On #B2BIMReport

  • Wednesday 5th August 2020
As the need for B2B brands to reach and connect authentically with customers rises, B2B influencer marketers are evolving from transactional and intermittent campaigns to more relationship driven, Always-On Influencer engagement programs as our research from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report found: 19% are piloting 25% run periodic campaigns 34% use an Always-On approach Transactional campaign approaches are hard pressed to develop brand loyalty and advocacy. That's why, with 84% of B2B marketers focused on building brand awareness with their influencer marketing efforts, that ongoing influencer engagement has become essential for creating vested relationships that inspire more qualitative activations and brand advocacy. The Engine of Influence needs to run ongoing in order to win relationships with the most trusted voices. Our findings amongst B2B marketers have found several interesting insights when it comes to an Always-On approach to influencer relations compared to campaigns, the best practices followed and what Always-On influence in action really looks like. Influencer Marketing is a Relationship Business Distractions and competition for attention with B2B customers are at an all-time high. At the same time, B2B marketers are challenged to find the right strategies to maximize resources and marketing impact. Our research found that 76% of B2B marketers find the strategy of working with influencers through Always-On engagement or a combination of Always-On and campaigns, delivers results. In the world of business, many decisions are made based on emotion, brand strength and the trust of expert voices. B2B marketers who build relationships with trusted experts understand the value of having brand advocates engage authentically with hard to reach audiences that increasingly discount brand communications. An Always-On approach to influencer marketing provides a framework for finding, engaging and elevating relationships with those very experts that customers trust and want to hear from. The Always-On Imperative for B2B Brands In today’s uncertain environment, brand reach and credibility are more important than ever. Some of the top B2B brands in the world have invested in developing communities of industry experts through Always-On influencer marketing that they can count on for social engagement, event activations, and brand advocacy. Our research found that B2B marketers using an Always-On influencer marketing strategy are seeing important benefits including: 75% Increased views of brand content 60% Increased share of voice 55% Increased media mentions of brand 50% Increased brand advocacy Buyers want to trust the brands they work with and with brand trust at a low, it’s important for B2B companies to invest in relationships with credible experts that buyers do trust. Being "always-on" has allowed our team to build meaningful relationships with influencers. This approach means that the relationship ceases to be "transactional" (what can you do for us) when we're in a state of ongoing activity. Because of this foundation, we are in a situation where, when urgency strikes, we've been able to immediately activate influencers, whether it be for private, direct, unfiltered feedback and consult, or for external, public-facing advocacy and amplification. B2B brands would be wise to adopt an always-on influencer engagement approach as they look to build true brand advocates. Garnor Morantes, Group Marketing Manager, LinkedIn To learn about how LinkedIn built trust and advocacy with Always-On Influence and achieving promising results including: Nearly 2,000 brand mentions by influencers and their networks 84M in potential reach from brand mentions by influencers 200-450% above benchmark engagement on one social influencer activation see this Always-On Influencer Marketing case study. How Always-On Influence Drives Marketing Results Alway-On Influencer Marketing is the practice of ongoing relationship building, engagement and activation of a specified group of influencers to build community, content and brand advocacy that is of mutual value to the brand, its customers and the influencers. From a confidence standpoint, 94% of B2B marketers using an Always-On influencer engagement strategy believe influencer marketing will grow in importance over the next 12 months vs. 73% of marketers who focus on campaigns. That confidence is reflected in marketing budgets as well. 89% of B2B marketers implementing Always-On influencer programs expect their budgets to increase or remain the same vs. 73% for marketers running campaign based programs. 28% Always-On influencer programs spend more than $100,000 per year vs. 8% for marketers running campaigns. Always On Influencer Marketing is a strategic approach to creating communities of trusted experts that is relationship and content focused. Those relationships are nurtured over time through ongoing engagement and activations that create value for buyers, the brand and the influencers – it is truly an “everybody wins” approach to marketing. Then Engine of Influence is Always-On Influencer Marketing is a relationship business and an Always-On influencer engagement strategy helps B2B brands turn those connections with trusted experts into marketing results. 60% of B2B marketers who use Always-On Influencer Marketing programs are very successful vs. 5% who only use periodic campaigns. Always-On Influencer Marketing elevates influencer engagement from mechanical to meaningful, from transactional to relationship focused. As a result, brands like LinkedIn are able to activate their community on-demand. “When urgency strikes, we've been able to immediately activate influencers,” says Garnor Morantes of LinkedIn,”B2B brands would be wise to adopt an always-on influencer engagement approach as they look to build true brand advocates.” An Always-On Influencer Marketing strategy creates a win for everyone. With a framework that goes beyond influencer content marketing campaigns to partnering with industry experts to drive conversations and advocacy, an Always-On approach builds brand awareness, and inspires customers to trust and engage with the business. This post is an excerpt from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report. To learn more about the current state of B2B Influencer Marketing, including strategies, tactics, challenges, software, operations, integration and predictions for the future, access our new report here. The post For Successful B2B Marketers The Engine of Influence is Always On #B2BIMReport appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era

  • Tuesday 4th August 2020
I was supposed to go to an Alanis Morissette concert this July. When the pandemic hit hard in March, I wasn’t ready to cancel my ticket yet. Surely, surely we would have it sorted in time for an outdoor concert four months from now. I held out hope. Then, in June, she rescheduled for July, 2021. And now I’m wondering if that will be enough time. Isn’t it ironic?  Don’t you think? All of which to say: This pandemic has been around for longer than we thought it would, and is looking to linger far longer than we would like. What seemed like a brief, surreal interlude to be gotten through has now become a reality to live with, at least for the time being. As B2B marketers, we need to reassess how we are adapting our marketing to our buyers’ current situation. We’re no longer scrambling to cobble together short-term fixes — we need to be out of reaction mode and into strategic planning mode. Our marketing agency has been helping clients revise their marketing plans for months now, from messaging and audience to tactics and measurement. Here are a few rules we’ve picked up that other marketers should follow: 6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era Rule #1: Always Be Relevant Okay, this is less a NEW rule than a timely reminder. I’m sure most marketers who read our blog (as smart, skilled and beautiful as you are) don’t need to hear it. But just in case: You should never come to an audience without something of value. Corollary: “Something of value” can not equal “Knowledge of how our product/solution can improve your life.” People are distracted and stressed. They’re dealing with a new crisis every day. They’re spending way more time with their children than is psychologically healthy. And they have more content than ever before to occupy their free time. If you’re asking for their attention, you must reward it. Be entertaining, be useful, be both if you can. [bctt tweet="'Be entertaining, be useful, be both if you can' in your #B2B content marketing, says @nitewrites." username="toprank"] After you deliver, then you can ask for a next step. But make sure your content is intrinsically valuable. Rule #2: Encourage Interaction The pandemic lifestyle is, to put it lightly, isolating. Who would have thought you could miss hearing co-workers rock in their chairs, play music a little too loud, or bump into you in the hallway? Most of us are craving social interaction. If you’re used to broadcasting with your content, it’s time to consider how you can start conversations. How can you interact with your audience on a human level? How can you encourage them to interact with each other, too? Think how much your audience would value a lively, thought-provoking conversation with their colleagues and peers. You can encourage interaction with content in a few easy ways: Host a LinkedIn Live chat Run a Twitter chat Sponsor a topic-themed chat in a video conferencing app Run an interactive webinar In general, look for ways you can call out a subset of your audience and get them talking, both to each other and to your brand representatives. We can all use a little more social interaction right now. Rule #3: Keep Messaging Empathetic I don’t know about you, but I cringe every time I see an ad about something “going viral.” We are 6 months into a viral pandemic and marketers are still running ads about going viral! How can this be?  This is just one example of how completely innocuous messaging pre-COVID can seem tone-deaf now. Does your content have an anecdote about a dinner party with 15 people? Does your header image feature a crowd of people? Are you talking about “going into the office” or “thinking about this on your commute?” If so, you’re alienating your audience. Not every piece of content has to be about the pandemic, or being nostalgic for the world that once was. But there needs to be a baseline of empathy: Working from home, social distancing, and mask-wearing are all facts of everyday life. Rule #4: Experiment with Formats In the time before the pandemic, we all spent hours looking at screens every day. It’s just there were different screens, in different environments. It was easier to differentiate between the office and home, work and play. Now, our surroundings are homogenous throughout the day — and the content we consume feels same-y, too. Think about content fatigue as you plan your calendar. Is your audience looking for another wall of text? Do they want to look at another grid of talking heads?  Our agency is finding more success right now with multimedia, interactive content. Our B2B Influencer Marketing report is an example. The content includes case studies, influencer participation, and original research, presented in an animated, dynamic way. Essentially, keep in mind that idea of efficiently delivering value. Can your blog post be a quick video or audio interview instead? And can that video be five minutes long instead of 10?  [bctt tweet="Can your blog post be a quick video or audio interview instead? And can that video be five minutes long instead of 10? says @nitewrites." username="toprank"] Rule #5: Collaborate on Content For me, one of the stranger elements of pandemic life is learning how similar I am to everyone else. I had an urge to do puzzles in March — all the stores were sold out. I wanted to make bread in April — the stores ran out of flour. In May, everyone bought bikes.  Right now, every B2B business is missing their trade shows and in-person demos. So most of them are doubling down on content. The best way to differentiate your content is to bring your audience voices they can’t hear anywhere else. Co-create content with influencers. Feature subject matter experts in your organization. Tap your current and prospective customers to get their take. The more voices you can bring to your content, the more it will stand out to your audience. Rule #6: Re-Align Measurement with Current Goals Per rule #1, people are less interested in promotional content right now. Businesses may have put their purchasing plans on hold, or at least tightened budgets. Marketing’s chief goal right now is likely to be establishing brand credibility, creating thought leadership content, and building relationships for the future. As your goals change, your measurement must change as well. You can’t measure an awareness campaign in SQLs, or relationship-building in number of demo requests received. That doesn’t mean giving up on measurement or accountability — it just means making the metrics match your goals. For example, you could measure: Brand share of voice Email/Blog subscribers Social media audience/interactions Content consumption metrics (time on page, scroll depth, links clicked) Content resonance (backlinks and social shares) How New Are These Rules? So here’s the $100,000 (adjusted for inflation) question: At what point should you stop producing relevant, interactive, empathetic, dynamic and collaborative content? When can you heave a sigh of relief, stop listening to your audience, and start broadcasting promotional messages? When you put it that way, it’s obvious: These rules are best practices for content no matter what’s going on in the world. The pandemic didn’t create the need for these rules; it just amplified how crucial they are. Back in January, we might have had the luxury of ignoring one or more of them. Now we have the joyous necessity of being forced to do better. And that’s the good news: Making your marketing better for the pandemic will make you a better marketer now and for whatever comes next. Need help creating content? We’re here for you. The post 6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands

  • Monday 3rd August 2020
Recently we published the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report after surveying hundreds of B2B marketers about their experiences, best practices, tools, budgets and plans for the future. In an environment where B2B marketing is decidedly digital and marketers are hard pressed to squeeze more productivity out of fewer resources, credible information about marketing best practices, operations and trends for the future are in high demand. Judging by the response we've had to The State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report so far, we're definitely meeting a need. There is both optimism and an unrealized opportunity with influencer marketing for B2B companies. For evidence, check out these stats from the report: 78% of B2B marketers believe prospects rely on advice from influencers 74% believe that Influencer Marketing improves customer and prospect experiences 63% agree that marketing would have better results if it included an Influencer Marketing program 60% of marketers who use always on Influencer Marketing programs are very successful vs. 5% who do periodic campaigns And yet: Only 19% of B2B marketers are running ongoing influencer marketing programs Only half include a plan for influencer activation in their influencer marketing strategy Only 35% of marketers use software to identify potential influencers 60% say they don’t have the knowledge to execute or have the right skills in house to implement ongoing Influencer Marketing programs Influencer Marketing is a significant opportunity for B2B Marketers to connect with trusted and credible experts that have the attention of audiences that are probably overwhelmed with information and ignoring most of the ads that do get to them. At the same time B2B brands that build relationships to co-create content with these industry voices can integrate influence with thought leadership to build the authority and influence of brand employees. It is very satisfying to have spent the past 8 years focusing on such a niche aspect of B2B marketing to see it now start to grow in acceptance, adoption and maturity amongst some of the top B2B brands in the world.  Where there were previously no positions outside of PR with "influencer" in the title, now it is much more common to find marketers with titles like, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, VP Influencer Marketing and Communications, or B2B Influencer Engagement Strategist. Many B2B marketing professionals with these titles have earned hard won insights into what makes influencer marketing truly work for B2B, especially during a time when brand marketers are highly motivated to focus on strategies and tactics that will help them survive and thrive during the pandemic. To help you connect with the collective wisdom of the B2B influencer marketing crowd, here are 20 B2B Influencer Marketing Professionals to follow (in no particular order): Ursula Ringham @ursularingham Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP Rani Mani @ranimani0707 Head of Social Influencer Enablement at Adobe Jen Holtvluwer @JenHoltvluwer CMO at Spirion Garnor Morantes /in/garnormorantes/ Group Marketing Manager at LinkedIn Martin Hanna @martyhanna VP, Analyst and Influencer Relations at Schneider Electric Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi VP Influencer Marketing and Communications at SAP Ariba Chris Purcell @chrispman01 Manager, Influencer Marketing at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Janine Wegner @JanineWegner Global Thought Leadership Program & Activation Manager at Dell Marshall Kirkpatrick @marshallk VP, Influencer Relations, Analyst Relations, and Competitive Intelligence at Sprinklr Angela Lipscomb @AngelaLipscomb Influencer Relations Manager at SAS Srijana Angdembey @srijanaa Director Social Media Marketing at Oracle Ann Boyd @annb VP Corporate Communications at Cherwell Software Tom Treanor @RtMixMktg Global Head of Marketing at Arm Treasure Data Sarah Groves @sstoesser Director, Communications, AT&T Business Marketing at AT&T Business Alyssa Samuelson @alyssamuelson Commercial Influencer Relations at Microsoft Lucinda Henry @lucindarhenry1 B2B Influencer Engagement Strategist at Intel Barbara French @bfr3nch Sr Director, Content and Influencer Marketing at Juniper Networks Paul Dobson @svengelsk Sr. Director, Social and Influencer Marketing at Citrix Meg Crawford @Postgrad Sr. Influencer/Social Media Marketing Manager at Splunk Brandi Boatner @ThinkBluePR Social and Influencer Communications Lead Global Markets at IBM Of course there are many B2B influencer marketing practitioners from the consulting and agency world that could be on a list like this, including some of my team at TopRank Marketing. Maybe we'll publish such a list in the future, but for now this resource is focused on people working at B2B brands. If you know of other B2B brand influencer marketing practitioners, who would you add to this list? To tap into the collective wisdom of these and more B2B influencer marketing experts, be sure to check out the full report here. *SAP, LinkedIn, SAP Ariba, Dell, Cherwell and Treasure Data are TopRank Marketing clients.  The post 20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

10 Tips to Grow Your Business With Amazon Marketing Services

  • Wednesday 5th August 2020
Global market demands and consumer expectations are changing at warp … The post 10 Tips to Grow Your Business With Amazon Marketing Services appeared first on Digital Agency Network.

Show Me The Numbers: 20 B2B Marketing Insights From Audience Poll Data

  • Wednesday 12th August 2020
What can poll results tell B2B marketers about a year unlike any other, and how can this valuable audience data help us refine our marketing strategy as we push towards 2021? For more than a year we’ve run weekly social media polls on our Twitter profile, and for several months now have simultaneously also placed a weekly user poll on our LinkedIn* page. We wanted to share some of the fascinating insights you have shared with us in the form of results from our polls, in order to see the trends that have emerged during this unprecedented year. Let’s look at trends in social media communications, how marketing is changing in 2020, and the rising effectiveness of B2B influencer marketing, all through the lens of poll-derived feedback. Social Media Communication Expectations Insight #1 — Social Response Times How quickly do we expect a response from a brand when we ask a question publicly on social media? The majority marketers we polled expect to hear back from a brand within 24 hours, with 61 percent of respondents on LinkedIn expecting a reply within a day, 24 percent within one hour, and 16 percent by the end of the workday. Twitter respondents voiced similar sentiments, with 38 percent looking to get a reply from a brand within 24 hours, 33 percent by the end of the current workday, and 21 percent within an hour. If you’re not answering social media inquiries within 24 hours you may come under fire, as not even one respondent to our poll said that they expect brands to take longer than a day to reply. Insight #2 — Email Response Times We also asked the same question for a different form of online communications, curious about expectations when sending an old-fashioned email to a brand. 50 percent of our Twitter poll respondents said that they expected an email reply within 24 hours, mostly echoing the expectations for public social media questions. 22 percent said they expected brands to reply by the end of the workday, 18 percent within a week — a notable difference from social media queries — and just 9 percent within an hour. Insight #3 — Unfollowing What drives people who have already taken the time and effort to follow a brand on social media to later unfollow them, and what messages can we learn from these mistakes? When we asked this question in a poll, our LinkedIn respondents said the top reason they unfollow brands comes down to posting poor quality content, followed by irrelevant content and brands that post too much content. Just two percent of respondents said that they unfollow brands that don’t post enough content. 44 percent of our Twitter respondents said that irrelevant content was their top reason for unfollowing a brand, followed by poor quality content at 33 percent, and too much content at 22 percent. Insight #4 — Stories Format We also ran a poll asking how the ephemeral stories format would fare on LinkedIn if the platform were to make its test of the post type a permanent part of the service. 33 percent of respondents said that LinkedIn Stories would be a great addition to the platform, while 25 percent felt it would be a good match. 25 percent also said that it would be an unlikely match, and 16 percent noted that the stories format would be a poor match for LinkedIn. Insight #5 — Experiential Content We were also curious how B2B marketers are using experiential content in 2020. 58 percent of our Twitter poll respondents said that they expected to incorporate experiential content very frequently into their marketing efforts during 2020, followed by 41 percent who planned to do so somewhat frequently. Experiential content is playing a greater role in B2B marketing efforts in 2020, which I looked at in “What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Experiential Content,” and our Nick Nelson examined recently in "How to Hit a Marketing Home Run with Experiential Content." Insight #6 — Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence How B2B marketers communicate is constantly shifting as new technologies become available and gain wider adoption. We asked our Twitter followers who use chatbots or other forms of messaging featuring artificial intelligence (AI) to chime in on how the technology has performed for them. 49 percent of B2B marketers who responded said that chatbots and AI-assisted technology has performed better than expected, yet 42 percent noted that the technology has under-performed, while 14 percent found that it performed as they had expected. Insight #7 — Virtual Meeting Length We were curious what our audience of B2B marketers on Twitter felt the most effective length of time might be when it comes to virtual meetings. 58 percent of respondents said that 30 minutes was the optimal length of time for effective virtual meetings, while 17 percent felt that 15 minutes or less works best, with 17 percent also noting that 45 minutes is the most effective, followed by just 5 percent who said an hour was best. Insight #8 — Reviews & Testimonials Another part of marketing communications is user feedback, reviews, and testimonials, and we asked our Twitter followers to share how often they use positive reviews in their marketing efforts. 47 percent of respondents said that they use positive reviews in their marketing efforts occasionally, however 23 percent noted that they never do, followed by 17 percent who said that they always do, and 11 percent who do so frequently. Insight #9 — Newsletter Preferences Speaking of email, we also wondered when B2B marketers prefer to receive monthly newsletters. 45 percent of our respondents said they prefer the first of the month, followed by 27 percent who are fond of mid-month newsletters, 18 percent who prefer a time early in the month, and 9 percent who want to see newsletters arrive at the end of the month. Insight #10 — The Emoji Divide The use of emojis in social media messaging was an area of contention among our poll respondents. 35 percent said that emoji were somewhat effective, while the same number noted their use to rarely be effective. 17 percent said emoji were extremely effective, and some 11 percent noted that they never use them. The Changing Face of 2020 Marketing The global health crisis has changed the face of marketing events in 2020, as nearly all conferences have made the jump to virtual events, as I wrote about recently in "17+ Top Virtual Marketing Conferences for Summer 2020 & Beyond." Insight #11 — Virtual Event Attendance Are B2B marketers planning to attend newly-virtual events, and if so how many? We asked our LinkedIn and Twitter users how many virtual marketing events they planned to attend over the final five months of 2020. Most respondents said that they will attend between one and five virtual marketing events, while the second most frequent choice was those who said they won’t be attending a single virtual event, followed by those who plan to attend between six and 10. Virtual events and webinars are undoubtedly seeing an unexpected golden age this year, and we’ve explored how to best utilize them, in “How B2B Marketers Can Get the Most Out of Webinars in 2020.” [bctt tweet="“One great way to promote the webinar, and focus your content at the same time, is to poll your audience via social media. Ask for their thoughts on your topic. Ask what they most want to know about it.” @NiteWrites" username="toprank"] Insight #12 — Top Pain Points We wanted to find out what the biggest pandemic pain points have been for B2B marketers, and among those answering our LinkedIn poll 64 percent said that a decrease in budget or business has been the top challenge, followed by the difficulty in engaging customers at 36 percent. 46 percent of Twitter respondents also revealed that falling budgets and business were their top pain points, followed by engaging customers at 38 percent and remote work issues for some 15 percent of marketers. Insight #13 — Learning New Skills 63 percent of poll respondents said that they have used their time during the pandemic to learn new marketing skills online, while 18 percent said that they planned to do so. Insight #14 — Digital Asset Management 54 percent of B2B marketers we polled on Twitter said that they either already use a digital asset management (DAM) solution in their marketing stack or plan to implement one, while 45 percent didn’t use a DAM. If you aren't familiar with how DAM can help B2B marketers, I looked into the issue in "Why B2B Marketers Should Give a DAM: Top Tips on Digital Asset Management." Insight #15 — Podcast Growth With U.S. podcast listeners topping the 100 million mark for the first time in 2020, we wondered how the global health crisis has affected listening frequency among B2B marketers. 40 percent of our Twitter respondents said that they have been listening to more podcasts during the pandemic, with 22 percent noting that they’ve listened to fewer, 18 percent about the same amount, and another 18 percent who said they don’t listen to podcasts. Insight #16 — Streaming Ad Use With numerous studies showing that streaming music ads were booming in 2019, we wondered what B2B marketers planned for 2020, and 50 percent of our Twitter poll respondents said that they had no streaming ad plans for the year, while 25 percent said they planned to implement more streaming ads, 16 percent fewer of them, and 8 percent about the same. Insight #17 — The Customer Journey Content creation efforts are also shifting in 2020, and we asked B2B marketers to share which stage of the customer journey they are focusing on the most. 47 percent of respondents said that generating awareness was where they were placing the greatest focus, followed by brand advocacy at 35 percent, consideration and intent at 11 percent, and evaluation and purchase at 5 percent. The Rising Effectiveness of Influencer Marketing Insight #18 — Influencer Marketing Program Length We asked our LinkedIn and Twitter followers to chime in on the ideal length of time a B2B influencer marketing program should run for maximum effectiveness, and the majority of our savvy followers chose always-on and ongoing programs — 73 percent of our LinkedIn respondents and 64 percent of our Twitter respondents. Influencer marketing programs encompassing at least two campaigns was the second most popular choice, the choice of 21 percent of LinkedIn respondents and 18 percent of our Twitter respondents. Insight #19 — Pandemic Focus Areas We asked B2B marketers which area of marketing they were the most likely to increase focus on during the global health crisis, and topping the list was influencer marketing at 35 percent, followed by content marketing at 30 percent, search marketing at 20 percent, and email marketing, which garnered 12 percent of the poll responses. Insight #20 — Volume of Influencer Marketing Work We were also curious how the pandemic has affected the volume of work B2B marketers have done with influencers. The greatest number of our respondents — some 36 percent — said that their volume of work with influencers had increased, followed by 32 percent who said that they didn’t use influencers, 24 percent who found that the volume of work was about the same, while 8 percent noted that the volume decreased. Listening To Your Audience & Taking Action via GIPHY Keeping your finger on the pulse of your audience — whether it’s from poll results, surveys, questionnaires or other forms of feedback — goes a long way when it comes to making your marketing efforts authentic, and will help ensure that your communication is a two-way street and not just a publish-and-forget effort. We hope you’ve found this glimpse into some of our own poll results helpful as you navigate the sometimes murky marketing waters 2020 has given us. Let us know your thoughts by voting in our current weekly poll about Instagram's new short-form video offering, Reels — you'll find it on LinkedIn here and on Twitter here. You can learn more about poll data and statistics, and how to get more from audience feedback in every form by taking a look are some of the related articles we’ve written on the subject, such as the five listed here: Social Media Polls For Marketers: 6 B2B Brands Winning With LinkedIn Polls 17 Revealing B2B Marketing Insights From Poll Data The Power of Social Media Polls: The Drill-Down on 3 Platforms + 5 General Best Practices 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics Hungry for More: What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Episodic Content * LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client. The post Show Me The Numbers: 20 B2B Marketing Insights From Audience Poll Data appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

360i #SideHustle: Kyzr Blue with Michael LaVallee

  • Wednesday 12th August 2020
Welcome to the 360i #SideHustle series, where we showcase the awesome side projects, hobbies, start-up businesses, and other ventures created by the entrepreneurial employees here at 360i. At 360i, many of us know Michael LaVallee as an Associate Strategist – but what many of us may not know is he is also a producer, writer, and singer for his own solo music project, Kyzr Blue. He makes “music that’s blue, but something to dance to” with emotional lyrics told through a dreamy-electronica production style. And he just released a new single called “Time Between the Cuts,” out on major platforms – Spotify, iTunes, tidal, and more! Notable music blog, Culture Fix, calls him a “truly exciting rising talent in the pop music.” Learn more about Michael’s journey below and his great advice to budding artists and all creative people.   How did your passion for music begin? Music has always been a major part of my life. I grew up playing the upright string bass in orchestra, singing in acapella groups, doing musicals, etc. while after school I was listening to and watching MTV and VH1 music videos and collecting CDs. I always loved making CD’s for my friends with […] The post 360i #SideHustle: Kyzr Blue with Michael LaVallee appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

B2B Marketing News: B2B Ad Spending Soars, Google’s New Audio Ad Features, Facebook’s Partnership Group Ads, & Top B2B Buyer Challenges

  • Friday 14th August 2020
B2B Buyers' Top Challenges With Their Current Vendors 51 percent of B2B buyers have changed their vendor preferences during the global health crisis, and they find that slow and inefficient inquiry responses from vendors is their biggest challenge — two of several findings of interest to B2B marketers in recently-released survey data. MarketingProfs Facebook Adds New Sponsored Post Options for Groups Facebook has launched a new option for digital marketers allowing paid partnership posts in Facebook Groups, giving admins new branded post advertising opportunities, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today eMarketer: US B2B digital ad spend soars 22.6% Bucking the overall pandemic ad spending trend, 2020 B2B digital ad spend in the U.S. is expected to rise over 22 percent from 2019 figures, a significantly better performance outlook than the 1.7 percent forecast increase in overall U.S. digital ad spend, according to newly-released B2B ad spending findings. The Drum Google Sees Big Potential in Audio for Marketers and Publishers Google has launched a new audio-specific area in its Google Ad Manager that offers marketers a variety of advertising options dedicated solely to digital audio ads, the search giant recently announced, as the digital audio market is poised to hit $1.3 billion by 2022 by some estimates. Adweek Black Gen-Zers Want To See More Joy On Social Media, Study Finds Almost 90 percent of black Gen-Z social media users would like to see more online content that celebrates joy, with the demographic also noting that the top emotions missing from content are excitement, joy, and comfort — some of the findings in recently-released Gen-Z social media survey data. Forbes YouTube Publishes New Data on Rising Trends During COVID-19 Social connection, self-care and identity-related video content were among the top rising pandemic trends among newly-released YouTube viewership data, the Google-owned firm announced recently. Social Media Today US Mobile Ad Spending Will Manage to Grow in 2020 As with the previously-mentioned B2B ad spending forecast, mobile ad spending in the U.S. is also forecast to buck the overall ad spend trend by climbing 4.8 percent this year, helping to keep total digital ad sales for the year on track for modest growth, according to recently-released report data. eMarketer Google extends lead forms to YouTube, Discovery campaigns Google has expanded its Google Ads platform to give digital marketers an array of new lead form extensions that allow advertisers to show forms directly in search, YouTube, and Discovery content, the search giant recently announced. Marketing Land YouTube will stop emailing subscribers about new videos next week YouTube has ceased sending the email notifications about newly-added content and live-stream events it has for years sent out to channel subscribers, noting that fewer than one percent of recipients typically opened the notification emails, parent company Google announced recently. 9to5Google B2B Buyers’ Engagement With Digital Content Has Grown During the Pandemic, With Some Behavior Changes B2B content engagement has risen by 40 percent during the pandemic, with the largest increases coming from executive summaries, landing pages, webinars, brochures, and briefs, while data sheets and presentations have seen decreased consumption, according to recently-released survey data. MarketingCharts ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “From Brand Safety to Brand Suitability” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Apple Brilliantly Imagines a Parallel Universe Where Hollywood Always Used Vertical Video — Adweek TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Lee Odden — Introducing AWeber’s New Email Marketing Podcast — The FWD: Thinking Show! — AWeber TopRank Marketing — 8 Types of B2B Influencer Marketing for You to Consider (with 18 Examples) — ExpertClick TopRank Marketing — Call for nominations: The Online Influence Awards 2020 — Vuelio TopRank Marketing — Will Unions Make or Break Influencer Marketing [Video] — Cornett TopRank Marketing — 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing (IM) Report from TopRank — Social Media Explorer TopRank Marketing — Influencer Marketing Believed To Improve CX, According To New TopRank Marketing Report — Demand Gen Report Lee Odden — Top 10 Social Media Marketing Podcasts You Should Listen To — PostBeyond Have you found your own favorite marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thank you for joining us, and we hope that you'll return again next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Ad Spending Soars, Google’s New Audio Ad Features, Facebook’s Partnership Group Ads, & Top B2B Buyer Challenges appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

A Day in the Life of a Content Marketer During the Pandemic: Challenges and Tips

  • Thursday 13th August 2020
I'll never forget the night that everything really changed. It was my wife's birthday, March 11th. I took her out for dinner at a lovely restaurant in South Minneapolis, and for a couple of blissful hours, over exotic cocktails and delicious food, we unplugged from the loudening noise of a worrisome outside world. After we walked out of that restaurant, there would be no more tuning out. Stepping out from the darkly lit building, I looked down at my phone, and tried to process the sudden rush of stunning headlines: WHO declares global pandemic. NBA suspends season. Trump addresses the nation. Tom Hanks has coronavirus. Tom Hanks! It all happened on the same day, like a floodgate bursting. And the ensuing deluge has since uprooted almost every sense of normalcy we once knew. Around that time, I stopped going into work, as did most others around the country. I haven't gone back since, save for the odd trip to water a plant or record a video in an empty office. TopRank Marketing has been in WFH mode for more than five years now. Sorry, did I say years? Months. Needless to say, I know we are not alone, which is why I thought I'd offer a look at my typical day as a content marketer in the (ugh) "new normal," and share some helpful things I've learned. We're all figuring this out as we go. Overcoming New Daily Challenges as a Content Marketer During the Summer of COVID I count myself as a lucky man, for a lot of reasons. One of them is that I can do my job pretty frictionlessly from home. While I miss seeing my coworkers, and there are newfound challenges (as I'll discuss), I'm able to stay productive. In part that’s because I’ve developed my own personal solutions to these WFH hurdles. Maybe some of them can help you. Getting Going in the Morning I'm not what one would call a "morning person." Generally I am rather groggy and cloudy after waking up. In this respect, going into the office was always helpful for me – the routine of showering, getting dressed, prepping some breakfast and coffee, and hopping into the car was inherently awakening. I can't say I take all those steps on a typical morning anymore. For a while, it was tough, getting in the mindset of traveling from bedroom to living room, and suddenly entering Work Mode. But what I've found helpful is using the morning as a bit of personal zen time. Unless I have early meetings, I'll usually rouse myself gradually, pour some coffee, scroll Twitter, and size up my day. I'll go through my emails, prioritize my tasks, and check in with account managers. This helps me build momentum toward optimal mid-day productivity. Takeaway: Work/life balance can be tough during these times. (It’s often cited in surveys as one of the biggest challenges for full-time remote workers.) Don’t force yourself to instantly flip a switch. Find a comfortable routine that works for you. Managing Distractions and Finding the Zone Being in the office can bring its own set of distractions, but there are some unique ones associated with working from home. For many people, creating a designated workspace around the house is helpful. Personally, I live in a small apartment with my wife (who’s also working from home), and all of our building’s common areas have been closed, so finding our own space can be a challenge. There are no easy answers to this one. Folks who have children home all day have it much worse than me. Especially in creative pursuits like planning and developing content, it’s key to find a zone, and the disruptions of screaming kiddos or a construction worker banging away outside can be anathema when it comes to getting things done. The main thing I would advise is this: embrace asynchronous work to the extent possible. This basically refers to operating around your own schedule rather than those of others. For example, if there’s no timely need for me to work on something during the day, and my wife has meetings throughout the afternoon, maybe I’ll set aside a few hours in the evening to dive in. Takeaway: Flexible work is becoming the new norm. Free yourself from the constrictions of a 9-to-5 workday and determine a schedule that facilitates your best work (while still being there for your teammates and clients as needed). [bctt tweet="“Overcome WFH distractions by embracing asynchronous work to the extent possible.” @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #WFHtips" username="toprank"] Communicating with Colleagues and Clients In Buffer’s State of Remote Work Report 2020, when respondents were asked about their biggest struggle with working remotely, there was a two-way tie for first place: Collaboration and communication Loneliness No surprise, as these responses basically tie back to the same ultimate downside of working away from our coworkers: disconnection and isolation. Collaboration is vital to producing the best work possible, as I rely on the talents and smarts of my teammates to enhance my own efforts. There is no way to replicate the energy and organic spontaneity of working in the physical proximity of your coworkers. My best recommendation is finding varied ways to coordinate and communicate. Don’t rely on just one channel. Slack is good, and Zoom is good, but both can cause fatigue when overdone. Try different methods of collaborating, like generating ideas with a teammate simultaneously in a Google Doc, or even jumping on the good ol’-fashioned telephone. One more thing: carve out “do not disturb” zones. When you’re in the office, you can plug in your headphones and signal that you’re focusing. Work with your team to create similar arrangements in the WFH, where this is far more ambiguous. You might even collectively decide on a consistent portion of the day where no meetings are scheduled and expectations for responsiveness are lowered (for us at TopRank, this is from noon to one every afternoon). Takeaway: Maintaining consistent and constructive communication is one of the toughest challenges for distributed teams. The best way to foster remote collaboration is to … collaborate. Work together to develop practices and protocols that best align with everyone’s preferences. [bctt tweet="“The best way to foster remote collaboration is to … collaborate. Work together to develop practices and protocols that best align with everyone’s preferences.” @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #WFHtips" username="toprank"] Breaking Up the Day Monotony can be one of the biggest inhibitors of creativity and productivity in WFH settings. There is a natural variety that plays out when you go into the office: interacting with different people, moving between meeting rooms, maybe running out for coffee or lunch as a change of scenery. Working from home, especially at a time where we’re all encouraged to quarantine and avoid public places, can really make the hours and days run together. This leads to one of the biggest benefits I’ve discovered in the altered routine. It is now much easier to get out and get active. Sure, we’d occasionally go out for team walks when we were in the office, but without the ability to shower and change clothes I wasn’t exactly going out for intense exercise. And by the time I got home, I was often too tuckered out. Now, I find myself getting out for a run, bike ride, or brisk walk almost every afternoon. It’s rejuvenating for body and mind. One silver lining of this pandemic is its timing; at least it struck as the summer was getting underway, which has allowed me to enjoy a lot of nice weather outdoors. Takeaway: Find activities you enjoy to break up your workday and keep your mind fresh. Whether it’s exercise, a hobby, or simply unplugging, working from home provides the freedom to step away. And embracing asynchronicity enables you to distribute your work throughout the day. For Better or Worse… There’s No Place Like Home Plenty of people have been working from home full-time for years, and have developed their own habits and routines to optimize for it. But for many, like myself and surely many reading this, it’s something we’ve had to learn on the fly, out of necessity. The good news is that our adaptations during this time will benefit us and our companies going forward. I am in full agreement with our clients at Sococo, who make a strong evidence-based argument that distributed work is here to stay and will forever be part of our reality going forward. Those individuals and teams that take this opportunity to innovate and create seamless remote work infrastructures will be poised to excel in the (groan) new normal. With all that said, when I’m finally able to go back into the office and see my coworkers face to face, I’m definitely going to have an all-new appreciation for it. For tips from one of those full-time remote workers who has been doing it a long time, explore Lane Ellis’s post from earlier this year sharing remote working tips from a distance marketer. The post A Day in the Life of a Content Marketer During the Pandemic: Challenges and Tips appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Oyova Among the Fastest Growing Private Companies in the Nation

  • Thursday 13th August 2020
Oyova Ranks #2536 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 With Three-Year Revenue Growth of 162.19 Percent   JACKSONVILLE BEACH / ST. PETERSBURG, August 12, 2020 – “Show, don’t tell.” When a marketing agency claims to be able to help companies grow, its expertise in business growth should be evident in the agency’s own growth. Oyova can […] The post Oyova Among the Fastest Growing Private Companies in the Nation appeared first on Oyova Software.

B2B Marketing News: Top B2B Brand-Building Challenges, Online Engagement Gets Just 2 Seconds, Facebook’s New Paid Event Options, & Google’s Shared Ad Budgeting

  • Friday 21st August 2020
The Most Significant Challenges to B2B Brand-Building Unclear strategy, performance measurement unsurety, low priority brand-building and foggy messaging are the leading brand reach amplification challenges faced by B2B marketers, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingProfs 'You get 2 seconds to engage consumers online': Mars neuroscientist shares key findings Digital marketers have just two seconds to capture consumers' attention and five to make an impact, according to newly-released neuroscience study data, also showing that memory encoding is key as duration time has dropped. The Drum Facebook Adds New Paid Events Options for Businesses and Creators Facebook has made direct in-stream purchase options available for eligible Facebook business pages in 20 countries including the U.S., offering digital marketers new monetization and event marketing options, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today Twitter users can now control who replies to their tweet Twitter has rolled out new user options for managing who can reply to tweets on the platform, allowing posters to specify that everyone can reply, only those they follow, or only users mentioned in a tweet, the firm recently announced. Reuters Google Ads Performance Planner Added Shared Budgets, Shared Access & Conversion Delays Google has rolled out three new budget planning features to its widely-used Google Ads management utilities, including better use of conversion delays, team shared access, and downloadable budgeting forecast data, the search giant recently announced. Search Engine Roundtable The rise of the avatar as a marketing medium The global health crisis has brought new marketing opportunities for the use of avatars usable in any number of virtual worlds, and AdAge takes a look at the trend here. AdAge The World’s Biggest Brands Are Spending More in Programmatic The largest brands have been spending more on programmatic advertising, according to recently-released World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) study data, also showing that 74 percent of the world's biggest brands partner with an agency. Ad Week Facebook Is Testing New Post-Level Analytics for Groups Facebook has launched new analytics features for group administrators, allowing digital marketers a more detailed look at active member views, post hides, image views, and other metrics, the firm recently announced. Social Media Today Instagram rolls out suggested posts to keep you glued to your feed Facebook-owned Instagram has released a new feature update that shows posts from accounts users don’t follow once they have reached the end of their traditional feed, creating both an endless feed and new ad options for marketers, the firm recently announced. The Verge B2B Marketers Lend Their Support to Influencer Programs 96 percent of B2B marketers engaging in influencer marketing find their program successful, with 84 percent also noting that influencer marketing can achieve brand awareness — two of dozens of insights from the TopRank Marketing 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, examined here by MarketingCharts. MarketingCharts ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “the evolution of digital transformation” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist New California Energy Tax Makes You Pay 10 Cents to Open a New Browser Tab — The Hard Times TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: SAP — How SAP puts purpose into practice — AdAge Lee Odden — 2 Questions To Ask Before Building Your B2B Ambassador Program — Forbes TopRank Marketing — B2B Marketers Lend Their Support to Influencer Programs — MarketingProfs Lee Odden — Influencer marketing set to be the next big thing, apparently — Meetings & Incentive Travel Magazine Lee Odden — 5 B2B Content Marketing Trends to Take in 2021 — V3Broadsuite Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Renew Your Content Strategy Commitment — LinkedIn (client) Lee Odden — CoronaCocktails 8.18 - The Norse God, Lee Odden [Podcast] — Joseph Jaffe / CoronaTV Lee Odden — Instagram Influencer Marketing Myths, Debunked — HubSpot TopRank Marketing — Affiliate Marketing News — Jason Hulott Nick Nelson — 10 Ways to Tailor Your Marketing Strategy to Your Business — Small Business Trends Debbie Friez — How Farm Life Prepared Me Sheltering In Place — Debbie Friez Lee Odden — New Essentials for Commerce: SEO, Content Marketing, and Influencers — inRiver Lee Odden /TopRank Marketing — TopRank data shows 74% of B2B pros believe influencer marketing could improve CX — 360 Magazine Lee Odden — CoronaCocktails 8.18 - The Norse God, Lee Odden [Video] — Joseph Jaffe TopRank Marketing — Cover Your Bases: How to Use LinkedIn for Agent Recruiting — New Horizons TopRank Marketing — 15 Best Digital Marketing Blogs Filled With Valuable Advice — SEO Basics Have you found your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks for joining us, and please return again next Friday and tune in for another array of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: Top B2B Brand-Building Challenges, Online Engagement Gets Just 2 Seconds, Facebook’s New Paid Event Options, & Google’s Shared Ad Budgeting appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

7 B2B Content Marketing Tactics For Long Term Success

  • Thursday 20th August 2020
I have an important question for you: Athlete A runs a marathon in under 3 hours. Athlete B runs a 40-yard dash in under 5 seconds. Which athlete is more impressive to you? Athlete A can run the distance, but Athlete B is explosive. ? via GIPHY If you’re anything like me, you answered that they’re both very impressive. And you’d be right. Having both endurance and power are extremely important. So, why am I asking this question on a blog all about marketing? Well, the most successful content marketing strategies have tactics that cover those two qualities: endurance and power. AKA long-term and short-term tactics. For content marketing to be successful, you need those flashy, attention-grabbing campaigns to meet immediate goals. But you also need reliable, consistent, thought-provoking content to compound results over time. Below, I share the B2B content marketing tactics that combine for the greatest long-term success. [bctt tweet="“The most successful content marketing strategies have tactics that cover two qualities: endurance and power. AKA long-term and short-term tactics.” — Annie Leuman @annieleuman" username="toprank"] 7 of the Best B2B Content Marketing Tactics Long-Term B2B Content Marketing Tactics Tactic #1 - Blog Content When it comes to tried and true tactics, blogging takes the cake. Blogging is some 26-years old and still drives amazing results. In fact, a recent survey from SEMrush found that it remains the most popular content type with 86% of marketers responding that it is the most important content type they create. Considering how much we marketers value optimization and data, we wouldn’t still be writing blog posts in 2020 if they didn’t drive results. How is blogging a long-term tactic, though? Well, similar to most long-term tactics, once you start you can’t stop. A blog is a brand-owned channel and a valuable resource of relevant knowledge for your customers and prospects. Stop publishing there, and it stops being that reliable source of brand perspectives and information. All out of new blog content ideas? Read these tips for more efficient content creation from TopRank Marketing CEO, Lee Odden. Tactic #2 - Social Media Content Back in 2019, Statista reported the average person spent 144 minutes per day on social media. I can only imagine that number has gone up in 2020 due to the COVID-19 health crisis. In marketing, you go where your audience is, making social media content a must for any brand both B2B and B2C. And once again, your social media content needs to be consistent over the long term if you’re to grow your social media following into the connected group of prospects, customers, and partners that you desire. Furthermore, social media content requires constant monitoring so you’re able to capitalize on timely topics and discussions that happen on social media platforms in real time. Growing your audience on social media is a laborious and lengthy process, but it’s easily worth it to have an engaged following, ready to consume the content you distribute and promote on your platforms of choice. How should you approach social media listening in the age of coronavirus? We have some tips for you that should help.  Tactic #3 - Influencer Content Read any other marketing blog and an influencer marketing campaign is probably classified as an ad-hoc, short-term tactic. However, here at TopRank Marketing, we believe in an always-on approach to influencer marketing. Think about it this way: do you approach personal relationships as a one and done interaction? No, relationships require nurturing and frequent interactions in order to grow and solidify. We believe influencer relationships, and therefore influencer marketing, needs to be approached in the same way. With nurturing. With empathy. Influencers are people, too, you know. Not sure what always-on influencer marketing looks like? View these 5 examples.  Tactic #4 - Podcast Content Starting a podcast is not for the faint of heart. It involves working with a new medium: audio. It involves publishing across several channels: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, etc. It involves securing guests. It involves creating thoughtful episodes. And, most importantly, it involves creating a show listeners want to tune into week after week. It is because a podcast is intended to be a continual show or series that it’s one of our favorite B2B content marketing tactics. Here at TopRank, we think of our podcasts like TV shows. Each podcast has several seasons made up of carefully designed episodes that match the theme of the season. This allows us to use each episode and each season as a chance to further grow and engage our listeners. If you’re wondering how you can launch your B2B podcast, start with these 10 steps. Short-Term B2B Content Marketing Tactics Tactic #5 - Sponsored & Guest Content As stated above, blog content is extremely valuable. But when posted on a brand-owned blog, you’re limiting the exposure of your content to the people who already know or follow your brand. To reach a larger audience, you need to turn outward. And while more social media or email promotion could help — if it’s on a brand-owned channel you’re still limited to people who already follow you. So what about reaching a new audience? This is where sponsored or guest content can help you reach a new audience and expand your reach in the short-term. By posting content on a different channel, you’re exposing your content and thought leadership to a different audience. For example, you can secure placement on publications in a new target vertical or write a guest post on an expert’s blog. These are one-time placements, making this tactic drive short-term results, but the pay-off of greater reach and exposure is definitely worth it. But wait — isn’t that just advertising? We explain the great content vs. advertising debate here.  Tactic #6 - Digital Advertising Content Marketers have the seemingly impossible task of delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right audience, in the right channel. That’s a lot to ask. And it’s reaching that right audience that can be really hard to do with the long-term tactics above. Like I said, using brand-owned channels can make it tough to reach a new audience. Luckily, digital advertising content is a great short-term tactic that can help you target your ideal audience with the right message, at the right time, in the right channel. From native social media advertising to traditional display ads, these ad campaigns can help you spread your message in the short-term. Digital advertising is best when paired with content marketing. Learn more about how to marry the two tactics here.  Tactic #7 - eBooks, Infographics, and Larger Content Campaigns Campaigns, like eBooks, infographics, and interactive assets, have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Because campaigns aren’t designed to last forever — you need one to end for another to begin — they make it onto our short-term tactics list. Why are they a great short-term tactic? You can pack a ton of information and insight into a content marketing campaign. Plus, you can use a wide mix of media and strategies like influencers, video, audio, interactivity, and more to drive powerful engagement among your audience. They aren’t built to last, but they are built to pack a punch. Birds of a Feather Flock Together The best B2B content marketing strategies use a mix of the tactics above for both long- and short-term success. Short-term tactics help raise awareness for the long-term tactics. And long-term tactics help build up a loyal, engaged audience for future short-term campaigns. In other words, you need both. There’s a mutually beneficial relationship between all content marketing tactics. So use the list above to start plotting your course to B2B content marketing success. Hungry for even more B2B content marketing tactics? Well, here’s 50 of them. Enjoy! The post 7 B2B Content Marketing Tactics For Long Term Success appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

5 Tips For Finding Your Authentic Marketing Identity

  • Wednesday 19th August 2020
What do you think of when you see a person’s business title, and how do the role assumptions we all inevitably bring to the table affect our ability to market authentically? Can we find our own more effective and authentic marketing identity and build greater business communication opportunities by ditching preconceived role beliefs? Marketing has seen dwindling levels of trust in recent years, and as our CEO Lee Odden observed in his recent “In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience,” building great customer experiences is an uphill battle if customers don’t trust brand communications. 86 percent of customers have said that authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support, which ought to make marketing that resonates with truth a key goal among forward-thinking B2B marketers. Understanding that we’re not interacting with businesses but with human beings is also especially important as we push towards 2021, as our senior content strategist Nick Nelson examined in “How Authentic Content Builds Brand Trust in Uncertain Times.” So sit back and let’s explore how to find your most authentic marketing identity through the lens of authenticity when it comes to how we perceive the many professionals in our business lives. Looking Anew At Our Universe of Business Associates Back in 2011 during my decade as lead editor at search and social media conference Pubcon I created a grid image in a style that was popular at the time, making light-hearted fun at how some people in the world of technology might mistakenly view those in different segments of the industry. It highlighted how we sometimes tend to see ourselves and others who hold the same positions that we do in generally more favorable light than how we view our associates who have differing roles. Back then I included search engine optimizers, social media optimizers, social media marketers, chief executives, and affiliate marketers, and I thought it might be time for an update including chief marketing officers, chief information officers, and influencers. While “To thine own self be true” is unmistakably sound Shakespearian wisdom, it’s also important to see others as they truly are — without the prejudice of weighty titles. Being true to ourselves starts when we strip away preconceived notions of what a CMO does or what a CEO doesn’t do and look instead at the totality of each person — a shift that can begin a newfound level of productive communication in both our professional and personal lives. After all, as Vanessa Colella, chief innovation officer at Citi, recently noted in an American Banker podcast, “We’re all the same size rectangle on the Zoom screen.” Using A Fresh Understanding of Others To Learn More About Ourselves & Tell More Authentic Marketing Stories We’re all so much more than mere titles — each of us is a fantastic and unique collection of strengths, weaknesses, and the cumulative collection of professional and personal journeys our lives have given us. Our personal histories shape the stories we’re able to tell in our marketing, and making our storytelling authentic is a primary factor in making it successful. [bctt tweet="“We’re all so much more than mere titles — each of us is a fantastic and unique collection of strengths, weaknesses, and the cumulative collection of professional and personal journeys our lives have given us.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"] Let's now look at five tips for uncovering and putting your authentic marketing identity to work: 1 — Bring Measurement to Authentic Content Experiences “Creating trust with authentic content experiences must be a measurable exercise,” Lee has urged. “Beyond share of voice and brand sentiment metrics, marketers must pay attention to measuring the effectiveness of content through the customer journey,” Lee added. It's not enough to infuse authenticity in top-notch digital content, as to truly understand the significance and success of our efforts we need to incorporate a measurement to gauge performance. Measurement comes in many forms, from manual to automated solutions, and each can only tell you so much if you don't have the proper key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to your authentic campaigns. Albert Einstein offered insight that applies to marketing measurement and analytics, "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." via GIPHY We've explored how marketers can measure for success in a number of articles, including these to get you up to speed: How to Measure Changing Marketing Goals During a Crisis Measure for Success: 7 Secrets of Actionable Content Marketing Dashboards Measuring Content Marketing Success: Analytics Advice & Insight from the Experts [bctt tweet="“Authenticity is essential for influencer collaborations to work so it’s important that marketers do their due diligence with influencers through proper identification, qualification and engagement best practices.” @LeeOdden" username="toprank"] 2 — Look to the Long-Term for Business Relationships “Content marketing is inherently a long game, focused on building relationships first and foremost,” Nick has observed. “Right now, the best way to pursue this goal is through authenticity and altruism, in the context of your business and its audience,” he added. Always-on marketing has become more important in efforts to build trust, strengthen relationships, and achieve ongoing long-term success — a trend we’ve explored recently since the launch of our groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report. “As the need for B2B brands to reach and connect authentically with customers rises, B2B influencer marketers are evolving from transactional and intermittent campaigns to more relationship driven, Always-On Influencer engagement programs,” Lee observed in “For Successful B2B Marketers The Engine of Influence is Always On #B2BIMReport.” You can learn more about how always-on marketing benefits B2B marketers in the following additional articles we've published on the subject: Always On Influence: Costs Less and Better ROI – Here’s Why Always On Influence: Short Term vs. Long Term for Success During a Crisis Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed Always-On Influence: Why B2B Needs Brand Research Always-On Influence: 5 Examples of Ongoing B2B Influencer Marketing In Action [bctt tweet="“Marketers, brands, and creators of all kinds can make a positive difference. Being legitimately and authentically helpful in a moment like this can have a lasting impact.” @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"] 3 — Bring Authenticity to Every Facet of Your Life Authenticity matters everywhere in our lives, and leading a life where we’re as authentic as possible in all areas makes it easier and more natural to incorporate it into our marketing efforts. Unforgettable marketing and best-answer marketing often go hand-in-hand, both filled with the kind of authenticity and genuine emotion that builds especially strong brand affinity. “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen,” author Brené Brown has observed. [bctt tweet="“Building authenticity can be accomplished by sharing the kind of best-answer content that your audience is actively searching for.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"] 4 — Purpose & Authenticity Go Hand-in-Hand “Building a purpose-driven authentic brand brings growth,” Lee has observed, and during this year more than others brands have had to take a close look at their purpose and how they are pushing beyond words and into the realm of taking action. In “B2B Brands Take a Stand: 5 Examples of Going Beyond Words to Action,” I examined at why it’s never been more important for brands to show purpose and to be connected to what’s important to customers, and seeing others and ourselves authentically can certainly go a long way in making this happen. [bctt tweet="“Don't mistake good communication for action. There is a really big difference.” Karen Kahn of @HP" username="toprank"] 5 — Authenticity Builds Mutually Beneficial Programs In B2B influencer marketing programs, cooperative marketing efforts serve to benefit both brands and influencers, as Dan Gingiss, chief experience officer at The Experience Maker recently examined in our influencer marketing strategist Debbie Friez’ “B2B Influencer Marketing Advice from 9 Top B2B Influencers.” Whether working with influencers or in more traditional marketing efforts, authenticity cuts to the heart of what drives the type of brand storytelling that truly connects with customers. It's also the kind of authentic digital storytelling that is remembered well beyond the two seconds that recent research suggests is all marketers are likely to get these days — see "You get 2 seconds to engage consumers online: Mars neuroscientist shares key findings." [bctt tweet="“The best influencer programs highlight an authentic relationship between the influencer and the brand, and the best way to accomplish that is to ensure a mutually beneficial program.” — Dan Ginigiss @dgingiss" username="toprank"] Authenticity Energizes Marketing & Our Personal Journeys via GIPHY Being authentic and true to ourselves is a process that can shift over time, requiring occasional reevaluation and possible adjustments to how we live and work. We hope these five tips for uncovering and putting your authentic marketing identity to work serve you well in your own personal journey. Finally, to further your insight into authenticity in B2B marketing — a subject we’ve explored over time — here are several helpful takes on how you can harness its power in your marketing efforts: In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience How Authentic Content Builds Brand Trust in Uncertain Times Authenticity and Great B2B Content Marketing Go Hand In Hand For Successful B2B Marketers The Engine of Influence is Always On #B2BIMReport B2B Brands Take a Stand: 5 Examples of Going Beyond Words to Action B2B Influencer Marketing Advice from 9 Top B2B Influencers Implementing a successful authentic marketing program takes time, effort, and dedicated strategy, which leads many brands to use a top B2B influencer marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing, which was the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report. The post 5 Tips For Finding Your Authentic Marketing Identity appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Planning for Change: How to Set Your 2021 Marketing Budget

  • Tuesday 18th August 2020
If you would have told me in March that I would be sitting at my kitchen table writing a blog post about 2021 marketing budgets in August, I might have invested in a comfier office chair sooner. Many of the decisions we made personally and as marketers in the days and weeks following the declaration of a pandemic were made with limited information. As an agency, we focused on how to adapt our own day-to-day operations and plans, while helping our clients shift theirs. As time has gone by, and we start to understand more the potential long-term impacts this crisis could have, we are still adapting. However, now is the opportunity — not to be reactive — but to continue to invest in the future. 44% of CMOs reported midyear budget cuts in 2020. Most of these cuts focused on the short-term need to free up cash flow. This included cutting in-person events, media buys, and contract staff. Many of us were optimistic the economic impact of COVID-19 would be short lived and spending would rebound quickly. Given the immediacy and unexpectedness of the budget changes, there was likely less consideration of the long-term impact of certain adjustments. While we are still facing uncertainty, most CMOs are optimistic about spending in 2021. As we set our sights on next year already, there is an opportunity to plan for flexibility in a way which will maximize our impact in 2021. How can we accomplish that? Here are five considerations to make as you plan your 2021 marketing budget. [bctt tweet="“As we set our sights on next year already, there is an opportunity to plan for flexibility in a way which will maximize our impact in 2021.” — Alexis Hall @Alexis5484" username="toprank"] #1 - Speed Up Your Planning Cycle You already know that you’ll need to be flexible as you approach your 2021 budget planning. Let’s be frank, it’s unlikely that a “set and forget” 2021 annual plan will be successful as we continue to face uncertainty and rapid change within the market. Planning is still critical, but instead our attention needs to be on how to speed up your planning cycle. The more quickly you are able to analyze and adjust the implementation of your plan, the more you will be able to successfully navigate impending changes. How to Speed Up Your Planning Cycle Create an annual plan. Go ahead and create those high level targets for your marketing budget and outcomes, as well as your tactical plan. Setting these targets will help you continue to pace toward your long term goals and always create a feedback mechanism regarding the success of your plan. Set up quarterly and monthly reviews. Determine now what metrics you’ll analyze on a monthly and quarterly basis. Focus on leading indicators, for example a reduction in web traffic may be a leading indicator of a decrease in leads. If a leading indicator is not meeting a goal, then you have the opportunity to adjust your tactical plan. Speed up time to market. Very large campaigns, which take months of up front investment of time, resources and budget dollars, may not be most practical right now. You can still plan a large scale campaign, but smaller units enable you to get into the market as soon as possible. This can help you gauge audience response, analyze, and adjust as needed and drive impact now. [bctt tweet="“Planning is still critical, but instead our attention needs to be on how to speed up your planning cycle.” — Alexis Hall @Alexis5484" username="toprank"] #2 - Focus on ROI An emphasis on understanding and driving tactical planning based on return on investment has been a priority for CMOs for a while now, but in 2021 it will be more imperative than ever. Line items which are unproven when it comes to driving revenue and margin, are most likely to be cut. It is critical to show the outcome of marketing as a department, but also understand the impact of individual line items. How to Hone In on ROI Invest in analytics. To understand ROI you must invest in the tools to track outcomes, as well as the talent to manage it. Tracking back to revenue can be complex, especially if you, like many organizations, are facing a lot of disparate systems that don’t necessarily speak to each other. Create a plan which will move you closer to that end outcome. Drive your team to value efficiency metrics. With the right analytics and planning sessions in place, you can drive your team to analyze and adjust tactics which will drive the highest return. [bctt tweet="“To understand ROI you must invest in the tools to track outcomes, as well as the talent to manage it.” — Alexis Hall @Alexis5484" username="toprank"] #3 - Understand Your Priorities Whether or not you’re optimistic about spending in 2021, it’s important to be prepared for adjustments to your marketing budget midyear. 2020 midyear budget adjustments forced many marketers to prioritize short-term cash flow and what could be easily paused. In 2021, be prepared to adjust budgets based on impact. It’s critical to understand which marketing activities are essential versus those that you could afford to decrease. How to Understand Your Priorities: Determine what makes certain activities more critical than others. ROI is definitely important here, but not the only lens. Other things to evaluate are how important that activity is for growth, creating part of your differentiation strategy or is it critical to reduce risk. Evaluate and force rank. Creating a system to really understand which activities are most important to driving impact will set you up to adjust based on what is most important to you. You may decide this is a helpful exercise to review quarterly. Create contingency budgets. These back-up budgets will help you understand exactly how you would adjust based on either increases or decreases to your budget. [bctt tweet="“In 2021, be prepared to adjust budgets based on impact. It’s critical to understand which marketing activities are essential versus those that you could afford to decrease.” — Alexis Hall @Alexis5484" username="toprank"] #4 - Invest in Your Brand for the Long Term Short-term budget cuts can often have the unfortunate result of a reduction in brand visibility and communications, which are critical during an economic downturn. As you plan ahead for 2021, creating a plan which emphasizes maintaining or increasing saturation of communication from your brand will increase trust and keep you top of mind for customers and prospects as a critical resource. This strategy can result in an increased share of voice that will help maintain strength now, and create an advantageous position during recovery. How to Invest In Your Brand for the Long Term: Invest in organic. Increasing activities which contribute to organic brand mentions and placements, like influencer marketing or SEO, can help build your visibility across search and social media, growing your community and contributing to a footprint which can self sustain. This is a good long term investment. In fact, the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report found that 90% of influencer marketing budgets are expected to increase or stay the same. Don’t slash your media spend. Organic and paid tactics work best when both are running together. If you make big changes to your paid investment, expect an impact to your brand visibility. [bctt tweet="“Increasing activities which contribute to organic brand mentions and placements, like influencer marketing or SEO, can help build your visibility across search and social media.” — Alexis Hall @Alexis5484" username="toprank"] #5 - Position for Recovery After most recessions, consumer behavior returns to normal within a year or two. But the deeper and longer the recession is, the more likely it is to have a lasting impact on consumer behavior. Brands that are positioning to service their customers now and later are more likely to create brand loyalty and come out ahead during the recovery phase. How to Position for Recovery: Understand your best customers. Now is a great time to partner with your customer data team in order to understand more about what makes an ideal customer (i.e. who is mostly likely to be loyal, spend more money and refer your brand to their friends). If budgets are changing, shift your efforts to acquiring more of these types of customers. Also, keep those customers happy and engaged. Examine your markets. When faced with budget cuts, brands are more likely to invest in existing markets, but now may be the time a new market is opening up to you. Keep your eye out for new opportunities. [bctt tweet="“Brands that are positioning to service their customers now and later are more likely to create brand loyalty and come out ahead during the recovery phase.” — Alexis Hall @Alexis5484" username="toprank"] Planning to Change Plans During times of market uncertainty, we’re faced with the unique challenge of needing to be flexible, but not short sighted. It may be tempting to throw out those annual marketing budgets this year, but resist the urge to give into uncertainty. By understanding how and when you will adjust your plan, you’ll equip yourself to make decisions which will maximize impact. The post Planning for Change: How to Set Your 2021 Marketing Budget appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

How to Optimize Original B2B Research Content For Credibility and Impact

  • Monday 17th August 2020
For many in the B2B marketing world, original research provides an effective way to build thought leadership and drive content for owned and earned media. Unfortunately, many research reports from B2B companies are dry, uninspired and focus solely on pontifications from the brand point of view. Such unremarkable content isn't helping customers, especially if they never see it due to information overload or they don't trust it. “With more information, options and people involved in a buying process, buyers are paralyzed when trying to move forward.” Gartner Fortunately, there's a better way. More often than not, B2B research reports have marketing objectives focused on building brand thought leadership, attracting new names for nurturing and to serve as a resource for sales. Since most B2B brands don't have the credibility and distribution to reach their marketing goals on their own with such reports, they rely on advertising and PR to attract attention. Ads and PR are fine complements to content. But they're even more effective if that content delivers an experience that is includes built-in credibility and distribution to the the audiences that are probably ignoring most marketing and advertising. How can you optimize research report content to deliver this kind of experience? Brands that co-create experiential content with relevant experts and influencers can build industry confidence, grow brand trust, create a more effective digital customer experience and drive business growth. What does that kind of research report collaboration content process look like? B2B marketers have included quotes from industry experts in their reports for many years - but most do not. However there are many more ways to engage with credible voices that have the trust and attention of the audience you're after. For example, you might partner with a mix of industry experts, influential customers and people who work at brands that represent your ideal clients to add perspective to original research.  Adding that expertise isn't enough. The content itself should be packaged as an experience. Whether it's interactive or just well-designed, research content doesn't have to be boring. I think our latest research report on B2B Influencer Marketing is a perfect example of this. We partnered with 20+ B2B brand marketing executives and influencers to provide perspective on the key issues surfaced by the research. Instead of the report being authored by me (with some help from my team), there are contributions from influential B2B brands that include: Dell SAP LinkedIn AT&T Business There are also insights provided by some of the top B2B influencers in the industry including: Brian Solis Ann Handley Tamara McCleary Mark Schaefer Pulling together credible voices to join your own in an experiential piece of content is far more likely to be shared by contributors and your community, looked at by industry media and potential customers, and actually used by your sales people in their communications with prospects. Such a rich content experience can deliver far more value than a one time campaign, especially if you roll it out in phases. For example, you might extend the value of original research by implementing a phased content approach. For example: The first phase might be the co-creation and publishing of the original research with industry experts and clients.  Promotion would focus mostly on owned channels, organic social and private channels like email, forums, etc. The second phase could emphasize earned media and extensions of the narratives highlighted by the research. Names captured can be nurtured with useful resources that go deeper on the topics and a video interview series with the experts who contributed would feature more in-depth conversations around the key report findings. Online events and some useful tools and more visual versions of the original content could also help with promotion hang time. The third phase takes the report content and repurposes it into new formats: explainer videos, a podcast, infographics. An interactive microsite that gives viewers and opportunity to assess themselves against the benchmark data from the research provides an engagement opportunity without substantial investment in new content. The original group of influencers is now expanded to invite more people in those roles to contribute their expertise to content around the report's narratives. What you do specifically for your B2B business is up to you, but publishing original research in white paper format without any 3rd party validation within is simply no longer enough to attract, engage and inspire a meaningful experience or a return on your investment. Creating a content experience that is credible and that can rely on distribution by its influential contributors on top of brand channels, PR efforts and ad buys will certainly achieve the expected thought leadership, engagement and demand gen goals more effectively. In the case of our report mentioned above, we hit one of our most important 3rd Quarter goals in just the first 2 weeks because of following this advice. Imagine what you could do?   The post How to Optimize Original B2B Research Content For Credibility and Impact appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Marketing Conversion Funnels – The Ultimate Get Started Guide for Newbies

  • Wednesday 16th September 2020
A sales and marketing conversion funnel describes the stages a buyer of any product or service goes through leading to a purchase. Marketers call this the buyer's journey. It is the journey of the buyer researching, discovering, choosing and finally purchasing a product or service. A conversion funnel is divided into the top of funnel, middle funnel and bottom of funnel. This guide will cover an introduction to each of these primary stages in detail.           Related StoriesDo You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook]20 Questions You Must Answer Before Creating a Content Strategy [podcast + free guide]7 Top Digital Marketing Strategies in 2020 for BIG Results [video + worksheets] 

What is a Buyer Persona and Why It is Important For Your Marketing [free template]

  • Tuesday 15th September 2020
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customer based upon market research and real data. Buyer personas help you understand your audience and ensure your marketing messages are helping you earn trust, build relationships and become relevant in the mind and heart of your ideal customer.           Related Stories10 Reasons You Need an Audience FIRST Digital, Social Media and Content Marketing Plan [podcast + ebook]The Ultimate Buyer Persona Worksheet [podcast + free template]20 Questions You Must Answer Before Creating a Content Strategy [podcast + free guide] 

Covid19 Marketing: 5 Shifts Marketers Must Make Now! [podcast]

  • Tuesday 8th September 2020
Marketing during time of crisis is tough. If you feel as if you don't know what to do, where to focus and maybe even considering giving up on your marketing during this time, you are not alone!           Related StoriesOptimize Your Digital and Social Media Marketing for the New Normal20 Questions You Must Answer Before Creating a Content Strategy [podcast + free guide]Do You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook] 

3 Big Reasons Your Boss Didn’t Approve Your Digital and Social Media Marketing Plan

  • Friday 4th September 2020
Ever feel as if your boss, c-suite and colleagues just don't "get it?" Do you have what you think is an amazing social media or digital marketing plan? However, you just can't seem to get the budget approval nor the buy-in you need to be successful? You may have even been hired or specifically tasked with creating this fantastic plan, yet it seems nobody wants to support you to make it a reality?           Related Stories20 Questions You Must Answer Before Creating a Content Strategy [podcast + free guide]Do You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook]Is Your Content Marketing Strategy Ready for the Inspiration Age? 

Top 10 LinkedIn Power Tips to Ignite Your Brand and Lead Generation [podcast]

  • Tuesday 1st September 2020
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social networking and digital platforms to build your personal and business brand of authority, influence and human connection. If you think LinkedIn is just for finding a job, you are missing out on opportunities to ignite brand awareness, build community, earn trust with your target audience, and grow your business. LinkedIn has more than 700 million members in more than 300 countries and regions worldwide. There are also more than 50 million companies setup on LinkedIn.            Related StoriesDo You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook]10 Reasons You Need an Audience FIRST Digital, Social Media and Content Marketing Plan [podcast + ebook]10-Point Checklist for Irresistible Content [podcast + free guide] 

What Marketers Need to Know Now to be Ready for Holiday Shopping Season

  • Thursday 17th September 2020
Labor Day may have just happened, but the 2020 holiday shopping season is already here. COVID-19 has set off a chain reaction that will culminate in Q4, and for marketers, this means plans and best practices need to be re-re-reviewed. Why? Because of: Amazon’s decision to move Prime Day to the first week of October will pull forward holiday spending and purchase behavior earlier The same-day and next-day delivery that online shoppers have grown accustomed to will no longer be reliable with an uptick in e-commerce demand Black Friday crowds will be a thing of the past as stores close their doors to reduce risk A divisive election is underway that could have ramifications on consumer spending, behavior and consumption (not to mention taxing the mail service further) There’s the cultural shift from in-person to virtual which will alter the holidays (and gift giving) Plus many more issues and/or considerations To help guide marketers during this crucial sales period, we’ve put together 12 specific actions brands should be taking, across four different areas. This report is packed with data, insight and advice on what to consider as we head into a season of ambiguity. You will learn: Current and anticipated […] The post What Marketers Need to Know Now to be Ready for Holiday Shopping Season appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

Get Ready For Video In 2021: Watch 5 Creative Examples of B2B Marketing on YouTube

  • Wednesday 16th September 2020
What’s new at YouTube, and how are B2B marketers using the world’s largest video platform in creative and engaging campaigns? Let’s take a look! Google’s omnipresent YouTube brought in revenue of over $15 billion in 2019, has over two billion monthly active users (MAUs), and by some estimates is considered as the world’s number two search engine, making it nearly inescapable for B2B marketers seeking to host and promote video content. While not necessarily out of this world, YouTube’s orbit casts a wide swath in the B2B marketing universe. During the pandemic, video and webinar content has seen the largest increase in views according to recently-released PathFactory survey data, leading the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) to suggest that “Now Is the Time for B2B Content.” 64 percent of B2B buyers have increased their use of online video during the pandemic, according to newly-released report data from Google and Ipsos, which has also showed a whopping 88 percent increase in the usage of digital marketing overall. Another study by MediaPost and Bombora also saw increased interest in video during the global health crisis — a move that’s not surprising considering the power of video to drive authentic engagement in as little time as possible, as we’ll see in our five examples from B2B firms using YouTube in creative ways. First, however, let's look into the latest news surrounding YouTube. What’s New At YouTube? YouTube just launched a beta trial of its new YouTube Shorts 15-second vertical video creation function — presently only for users in India with a global rollout planned — joining Instagram’s recent test of its similar Instagram Reels capability. These short video features squarely spring from the popularity of TikTok, and have come at a time when the beleaguered company — now sought for acquisition by Oracle* — has faced significant challenges with its U.S. operations. Oracle’s proposed deal with TikTok — owned by ByteDance, its parent company in China — has met with initial approval by some advertisers. Oracle, which has recently forged partnerships with firms including Zoom, may at first seem like an odd fit for the acquisition of an app dedicated to short-form video creation and sharing, however should it succeed in controlling TikTok’s U.S. operations it would undoubtedly lend a significant infusion of enterprise-level business exposure. That could pave the way for increased B2B use of the type of short videos that can be created with TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts, and with ever-more content being viewed on smartphones, vertical video undoubtedly has a massive audience. YouTube — which said that its Shorts feature provides a way to “discover, watch and create short, vertical videos on the YouTube app.” — has allowed users worldwide to upload short vertical video using the #Shorts hashtag, which will feature Shorts videos on YouTube’s coveted homepage. YouTube Shorts video can include music and feature multiple segments and playback speeds, along with timers for recording hands-free video, the firm said. The rise of vertical video brought on by TikTok and now Instagram and YouTube may end up making the format another standard digital asset for B2B marketing design teams, with its own strengths in areas such as mobile, and weaknesses in others such as display on traditional desktop and non-smartphone devices. On the advertising front, YouTube is planning to launch engaged-view conversions (EVC) metrics by the end of the year, bringing data on viewers who watch at least 10 seconds of a video ad and subsequently click away, yet nonetheless end up converting within a set number of days, YouTube recently noted. “By the end of the year, we will make engaged-view conversions a standard way of measuring conversions for TrueView skippable in-stream ads, local campaigns and app campaigns,” Nicky Rettke, YouTube director and product manager of YouTube Ads, explained in a recent post on the Google Ads & Commerce Blog. On the live-streaming front, YouTube has continued to embrace the multi-billion dollar esports vertical —  which is comprised of more than 400 million players globally — offering a number of advertising opportunities for certain B2B brands. Whether 2021 will see more B2B brands sponsoring esports players or events remains to be seen, however B2B marketers may be taking a closer look at opportunities in esports, as Rosalyn Page recently examined in “What Brands Need to Know about Esports.” Live-streaming has also gained momentum in the relatively new area of streaming e-commerce, backed by firms including Amazon, and as Bloomberg News recently reported, the practice is expected to generate more than $100 billion in global sales in 2020. While more video is being watched than ever due to the pandemic, a significant amount of video seen on social media timelines is viewed with the sound turned off, making it more important than ever to ensure all video content has quality subtitling available along with a #Captioned hashtag. A good resource for information about video captioning for YouTube and elsewhere is Meryl Evans, an acknowledged “#Captioned pusher” and a fellow former bulletin board system SysOp. In B2B marketing, YouTube video content doesn’t necessarily always need to be traditional camera footage, as alternative formats such as animation are becoming easier to create than ever before, as Victor Blasco, chief executive of Yum Yum Videos recently explored in “Making Animated Marketing Videos That Engage Customers.” Now let's jump-cut to five recent examples of B2B marketers using YouTube to tell creative and engaging video stories. 1 — HP’s Dear Future Me In more ways than one storytelling is truly at the heart of powerful marketing messages, as witnesses in spades in HP’s new “Dear Future Me” video campaign, which offers a heartwarming spin on the practice of writing a letter to your future self, chronicling the stories of six recent high school graduates who wrote themselves such letters six years ago, when they were in the sixth grade. As part of the campaign, HP’s landing page for the initiative offers a downloadable PDF form where anyone can write their own letter, and incorporates a “We can’t wait to meet the future you” message to end the first of the two-part series of mini-documentary videos. The second episode lets current sixth graders write letters to their future 2026 selves, and shows them telling their own stories centered around the challenges of the pandemic. “Just try to remember: if you got through this year, you can get through anything,” one student encourages her future self. HP’s YouTube video descriptions for the series include handy links to the other video in the series, along with an extra link to subscribe to the firm’s channel — a simple yet often-overlooked practice that allows viewers who may have over years trained themselves to ignore YouTube’s own ubiquitous red “Subscribe” button. 2 — Adobe's Honor Heroes Adobe’s* “Honor Heroes” campaign, a collaborative global artistic effort to help support the battle against COVID-19, is centered around a single minute of video that has to date tallied nearly 3.5 million views. During that one minute the work of artists and other creative people is shown, each piece inspired by the pandemic. On Adobe’s YouTube channel the video’s description includes the campaign’s hashtag #HonorHeroes, and a link leading to a section of Adobe’s website with an image of each of the 116 people chosen as heroes, and a link to their respective Instagram profiles. The campaign’s video is also playable from the page. Adobe ties the page into their own Instagram account as well, encouraging page visitors to see more about the heroes campaign using the same hashtag this time to link to their Instagram profile and specifically those posts utilizing the campaign hashtag — a technique that can be effectively used to move customers to content on various brand social media channels. The campaign was also featured on the company’s blog, offering additional context about the campaign with insight from some of those involved, a donation link to the Direct Relief organization, and an embedded instance of the campaign’s YouTube video. 3 — Constant Contact's Power Hour Constant Contact regularly publishes video content to its YouTube channel — sometimes releasing up to 12 videos weekly — making it an important part of the firm’s social media efforts. Recent videos have included answering frequent customer questions, spotlight videos on businesses using the platform, a “Pro Series Power Hour” featuring ABC’s Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, customer success stories, and a visual series dedicated to using various elements of the firm’s service. For Kevin O’Leary’s video, Constant Contact has used a detailed description of the spot, with a link to learn more on their website’s blog along with links to five of the firm’s social media profiles. 4 — Deloitte's A World Reimagined In Deloitte's “A World Reimagined: The 2020 Global Millennial Survey” video, the effects of the pandemic on young people in the millennial and Gen Z demographic are visualized and brought to life, highlighting their energy for building a better world. In addition to watching the video, a micro-site for the campaign allows visitors to download the related report — which surveyed more than 18,000 millennials and Gen Zs across 43 countries — view a replay of the initial live-stream video event related to the effort, and offers an infographic for download and sharing. The site also includes a Twitter stream of tweets centered around the campaign’s #MillennialSurvey hashtag. Deloitte also successfully uses YouTube for its “Life at Deloitte” series of company culture videos, using storytelling to build empathy and trust, a tactic MarketingProfs explored recently in “Five Tips for Making Company-Culture Videos That Captivate Your Customers' Hearts.” 5 — Ernst & Young's Megatrends 2020 & Beyond In its “EY Megatrends 2020 and Beyond” video, Ernst & Young looks ahead to future trends and their overall larger meaning — one of its numerous YouTube channel videos exploring the firm's service offerings and helpful financial-related insight. Ernst & Young also uses its YouTube profile to share how it has responded to COVID-19, to announce its world entrepreneur of the year, and to archive its live-streaming video from LinkedIn* Live. Maliha Aqeel, director of global communications at Fix Network World and former assistant director of brand marketing and communications at Ernst & Young, sat down with our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite to share a look at the role of B2B company culture in driving employee and customer satisfaction, in "Break Free B2B Series: Maliha Aqeel on How to Ace B2B Company Culture." [bctt tweet="Marketers and communicators within organizations have to take the charge. Our job is to take all of those values and say, 'Here's how it could look. Here's how the intangible becomes tangible.' @MalihaQ on #CorporateCulture #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"] Snap A New B2B Take On Creative YouTube Marketing via GIPHY YouTube offers much more to marketers than simply being the default spot to host and play back video, with ample social features for B2B brands to highlight other channels to follow, threaded viewer commenting if wanted, the forthcoming YouTube Shorts format, an ever-increasing number of ad formats and placement options, and remains a powerful platform for B2B influencers to engage their audience. We hope you've gained at least a few new ideas from looking at the latest news about YouTube, and that you'll find inspiration from the five fine examples we've explored from HP, Adobe, Constant Contact, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young. Video is only one facet of a well-rounded B2B marketing strategy, yet one that plays an important role in campaigns that attract, engage, and convert. Find out why firms including Adobe, LinkedIn, SAP, AT&T, Dell, 3M and others have chosen to work with TopRank Marketing — drop us a line. * Oracle, Adobe, and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.   The post Get Ready For Video In 2021: Watch 5 Creative Examples of B2B Marketing on YouTube appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing Technology in 2021: 5 Key Focuses

  • Monday 14th September 2020
If the 1982 movie Blade Runner and its dystopian depiction of what the world would look like in 2019 were accurate, this is what we’d have been living through last year: via GIPHY Needless to say, our predictions of society’s future state, and technology’s long-term evolution, are not always on the money. While certain aspects of Blade Runner’s vision might’ve been frighteningly accurate, Los Angeles is not yet inhabited by flying cars or giant video advertisements projected onto the entirety of skyscrapers. With that said, today’s marketers can much more easily look ahead to 2021 — suddenly only a few short months away — and make educated guesses about what the year will hold. Many of the marketing technologies that will transform business and drive strategies are already on the rise, if not gaining mainstream traction. Martech 2021: 5 Trends to for B2B Marketers to Watch Businesses and marketing departments might be facing spending restrictions and budget cuts amidst the turmoil of 2020, but marketing technology is not an area that’s widely being affected. On the contrary, in fact: The latest Pulse Survey from ClickZ found that marketing technology budget shares rose from 32% to 42% between May and late July. Where are organizations investing, and which technologies will rule the roost in the coming year? Here are five evidenced trends I’ll be following: 1 — Content experiences are at the forefront In ClickZ’s research, this is the category that was leading marketing technology’s growth here in 2020. “People being indoors and looking for new ways to educate themselves about the current climate and consumer content can safely be considered as one of the reasons businesses are tirelessly looking to enhance their target audiences’ experience,” wrote Kamaljeet Kalsi. (Source) This isn’t such a novel concept — TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden was among those preaching experiences as the future of content marketing many years ago — but technology is continually improving our ability to deliver content in ways that are more interactive, immersive, and impactful. I think back to last week’s blog post on storytelling, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s assertion that video games offer the most promise on this front. Technology will continue to bring more capabilities to the table in terms of gamification, interactivity, and innovation. Making content consumers feel like participants rather than onlookers holds the key to heightened engagement. 2 — Facilitating a socially distant world Will there be in-person events in 2021? It’s possible but doesn’t feel very likely right now — certainly not at the scale of annual conferences and summits we’ve come to love. As brands keep working to build relationships with prospects and customers from a distance, technology will need to do much of the heavy lifting. We’ve already seen some great new tools and capabilities arise this year in terms of teleconferencing, live-streaming, and virtual events. What else might emerge, with a litany of tech companies now centering their focuses on what has suddenly become a ubiquitous need? In a way, this development helps to level the playing field for smaller businesses. While it may not be feasible for a startup sales enablement shop to organize a massive gathering like Dreamforce, bringing people together through interactive virtual events is a different story. In fact, this format can actually make it easier to follow up, convert, and attribute results concretely. It’s not just about technology that helps engage customers from afar. It’s also about technology that helps marketers collaborate and work together in distributed settings. And adopting these tools will benefit companies and agencies long-term, because the remote work trend was already on the rise long before COVID struck. In 2021, marketers will truly equip themselves for the future of work. We’re already well on our way; according to a recent survey, “companies reported that responding to the new circumstances of the pandemic accelerated their digital communications strategy by 6 years on average.” [bctt tweet="“As brands keep working to build relationships with prospects and customers from a distance, technology will need to do much of the heavy lifting.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"] 3 — Data privacy and cybersecurity gain urgency Data exploitation became a huge story after the 2016 election, and I regret to inform you it’s likely to bubble up again this fall. Even outside of that, cybersecurity has been a growing concern for many years and becomes all the more pertinent as customer data is increasingly decentralized and cloud-based. While these matters have often fallen under the purview of IT in the past, marketing needs to have a seat at the table and a voice in the discussion. Sending a convincing message that it’s safe to do business with your brand — sensitive data won’t be shared, lost, stolen, or misused — and backing it up is essential to building trust in the new world of business. 4 — Simplicity and synchronicity are vital  In its latest marketing technology landscape visualization, Chief Martech charted some 8,000 different solutions in the wild. Eight thousand! The beauty of this vast landscape is that marketing technologies now exist to address almost any need imaginable. The downside, of course, is that the sheer volume and range of options can feel completely overwhelming. The balance between not enough martech and too much martech is a delicate one. In the near future, streamlining will be the name of the game. How can you carve down your tech stack to the true essentials? Which solutions can cover multiple needs for your team? How can you solicit a continuous feedback loop so users are able to openly communicate when a tool isn’t working for them, and action is taken rapidly? Finding the answers to these questions will help marketing organizations find greater efficiency and effectiveness with martech in 2021. [bctt tweet="“The balance between not enough martech and too much martech is a delicate one.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"] 5 — Artificial intelligence keeps growing and embedding The buzz around marketing technology seems to vary from month to month, with a new category or niche entering and then exiting the spotlight. One that never seems to lose its luster, however, is AI. This is because the technology is powerful and endlessly applicable. We already see AI being widely leveraged in modern marketing strategies — chatbots, predictive analytics, deep learning, etc. — but the potential remains so much greater, and I believe we’ll continue to see it realized in the coming year. One threadline I’ll be keeping a close eye on is formative AI, cited as a trend driving Gartner’s hype cycle of emerging technologies in 2020. “Formative AI is a type of AI capable of dynamically changing to respond to a situation,” according to Gartner. “There are a variety of types, ranging from AI that can dynamically adapt over time to technologies that can generate novel models to solve specific problems.” How could formative AI come into play for marketing in order to drive more personalized and memorable B2B marketing experiences? Go ahead and dream on it. That’s what separates us from the machines, after all. (Or at least one of the differences pondered by Blade Runner and its source material.) Marketing Technology Will Always Have Its Place This chaotic year of 2020 has served to reinforce the immense value of technology in my day-to-day. Without having easy access to chat apps, video-conferencing platforms, shared documents, and other digital tools, a day in the life of a content marketer during the pandemic would be far more challenging and inefficient. Instead, I’m basically able to do my job seamlessly without much disruption, other than the lack of seeing my coworkers’ faces IRL. I do miss that very much, and for all the talk about technologies to watch in 2021, I’m most hopeful for a return to semi-normal human interaction and physical proximity. Up until then, and after, martech will help us continue to keep audiences (and ourselves) educated, entertained, engaged and connected through the digital space. I don't know about flying cars or skyscraper billboards, but I can say with confidence that the future of marketing and its technologies is going to look a lot more like 2020 than any years preceding. For more insight into what the next year may hold, click over to our post from Lane Ellis on 8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021. The post B2B Marketing Technology in 2021: 5 Key Focuses appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing News: Digital Ad Spend Grows, LinkedIn’s New Lead Gen & Ad Tools, What Drives Customer Loyalty, & The Success Of Mobile Streaming

  • Friday 11th September 2020
75% of people unlikely to use branded hashtags, survey finds A quarter of consumers have engaged with customer reviews over the past 30 days, while 26 percent said they are likely to review a business on a third-party website — two of several finding of interest to digital marketers in recent survey data examining the performance of user-generated content (UGC) for brands. Mobile Marketer Merkle: How Much Loyalty Customers Have Depends On Several Factors When it comes to driving brand loyalty, 35 percent of millennials and Gen Z desire badges and 27 percent want leaderboards — as the demographic values competition and achievement, while older consumers prefer writing online reviews, taking surveys, or attending events — two of the findings of interest to digital marketers in newly-released report data. MediaPost LinkedIn Publishes New Guide on How to Use its Ad Tools for Brand Building and Lead Generation To help balance lead generation with brand building efforts, LinkedIn (client) has released a new guide for marketers, including updated information on the professional social media platform's audience reach and ad tools, the Microsoft-owned firm recently announced. Social Media Today Snapchat had a big August amid TikTok uncertainty Snapchat saw 28.5 million app installations during August, its highest number in more than a year, up some 29 percent year-over-year, according to recently-released app store intelligence estimates. TechCrunch CMO Job Changes Up 15% Despite COVID-19 The technology sector has led the way with the most marketing job moves, recently-released study research shows, with a 15 percent jump in the number of top level marketing moves in 2020 through June. Forbes Consumers Have Adopted New Habits Since the Pandemic, but Don’t Think They’re All Here to Stay 21 percent of consumers have been shopping online more during the pandemic and say that they plan to continue doing so in post-pandemic times, as are eight percent who say they have been taking part in more group video chats, according to recently-released survey data examining which consumer changes are most likely to become permanent. MarketingCharts Exclusive: U.S. media spending drops 19.1 percent in first half of 2020 Between January and June U.S. media spending fell by some 19 percent compared to the same period in 2019, with the tightening of purse-strings having the least impact on digital advertising, according to recently-published report data. AdAge Audio Streaming on Smartphones Grows in Popularity Streaming audio usage via smartphones was up some 28 percent during the first quarter of 2020, while audio streaming on tablets increased by a more modest four percent, according to recently-released survey data of U.S. adults, also showing that smartphone audio streaming opportunities for marketers have expanded. MarketingCharts Microsoft Advertising expands LinkedIn Profile, dynamic remarketing, in-market audience targeting Microsoft's Bing advertising tools have added an array of new features for B2B marketers allowing the use of more advanced LinkedIn profile targeting, expanding the scope of audience targeting as well as the geographic availability of a previous test, the company recently announced. Search Engine Land Traditional media suffer as digital ad spend grows in 2020 forecast shows Paid search and social advertising are bright spots for media spending, as digital spending is expected to increase by six percent in 2020 while total ad spend will fall by eight percent, according to recently-released Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) forecast data. Search Engine Land ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “the productivity trap” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Employees Returning to Work for First Time in Months Discover Office Overrun by Weeds — The Hard Times TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) / TopRank Marketing — 2020 Finalists and Winners - Content Marketing Awards — Content Marketing Awards Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Make the List — LinkedIn (client) Lee Odden — Humor In Content Marketing: It’s NOT About Being Funny — Mark Armstrong TopRank Marketing — Judging a blog by its cover — COM 311 Blogs Do you have your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thank you for joining us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope you'll return again next Friday and tune in for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: Digital Ad Spend Grows, LinkedIn’s New Lead Gen & Ad Tools, What Drives Customer Loyalty, & The Success Of Mobile Streaming appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021

  • Wednesday 9th September 2020
What do B2B marketers stand to gain by using Reddit? Just how effective is Reddit for advertising and organic marketing communication, and what are some of the top tips and advice for B2B marketers new to Reddit or those looking to expand their presence on the social media platform? Let’s take a look at the answers to these questions and more, including eight things B2B marketers need to know about social news aggregator and discussion platform Reddit, including why more businesses than ever will be using the platform in 2021 and beyond. While by no means a thorough guide to marketing with Reddit, we'll explore what it is, who uses it, what it's doing to help marketers, how some B2B marketers are using it, plus some of the latest news from the social media platform. 1 — What Is Reddit & Who Uses It? As one of the world’s most used websites and the fifth most-visited in the U.S., Reddit presently counts some 430 million average monthly active users, generating more than 30 billion monthly views of user-generated content in over 130 thousand message board communities. 74 percent of consumers in a joint Reddit and YPulse survey said in a whitepaper that Reddit — founded 15 years ago — is where they learn about the topics they love the most. Earlier this year our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite advised B2B marketers to proceed, but with some caution, when considering Reddit, in “6 Unconventional Social Channels for B2B Marketing.” “If your target audience is on Reddit, it’s worth testing the waters with a few sponsored posts. Just keep it transparent, honest and genuine: There’s a whole sub-Reddit devoted to mocking tone-deaf marketing,” Joshua urged. In my article “B2B Marketing Mythbusters: Dispelling 10 Common Myths with Extraordinary Marketing,” I used Reddit as an example of the myth that B2B marketers don’t use cool social media platforms, and pointed out that Fortune 500 firms now regularly have social media presences on the more fashionable social channels such as Giphy, Snapchat, Facebook Horizons — the social media giant’s foray into the virtual reality (VR) world — and certainly Reddit. 2 — What Is Reddit Doing To Help Marketers? Reddit has noted its ability to let advertisers target their audiences, tell their stories, and measure their success, along with the opportunity to reach influential communities where millions of people are engaging with relevant content — all areas that B2B marketers are keen on improving. Reddit offers a variety of promoted post options that let marketers place ads throughout the platform as well as in the firm’s official app. To encourage businesses to try advertising on the platform, over the past year Reddit has partnered with three research firms and released report data showing some of the advantages Reddit offers over other social media sites. In conjunction with Verto Analytics, Reddit has explored how the platform offers a unique path to driving purchases, in “Reddit’s Role in the Path to Purchase.” The study compared some 1,500 instances of product research on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest, and found that Reddit users evaluate just over twice as many brands in up to four times as many research sessions as on other platforms, with the notable exclusion of LinkedIn*, traditionally the leading social media platform among B2B marketers, which was not included in the survey. The study noted that Reddit users decide on purchases nine times faster than on other social platforms, spend 15 percent more, and are some 13 percent more likely to share positive messages about a brand both online and offline. For B2B marketers dealing with often lengthy sales cycles, some of the speed advantages seen for Reddit could be a welcome experience. Reddit users appear to spend more time in the consideration stage of the purchasing journey than those on other platforms — with its 32 percent tally versus 20 percent for other platforms, and they also tend to spend less time in the decision making stage. The study also found that a whopping 90 percent of consumers trust the research they do using Reddit more than other websites or apps, a situation that will appeal to B2B marketers who have been working hard to rebuild eroded trust in marketing, as our CEO Lee Odden explored recently in "In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience." Earlier this year Reddit joined with GlobalWebIndex to conduct a study examining Reddit’s increasing role in the online community space, resulting in the 29-page “The Era of We and the Rise of Online Communities” report. The report offers marketers looking to begin advertising on Reddit a fair amount of background data including what the platform's users want brands to be using Reddit for, with the leading desired qualities being content that is: Bold Exclusive Funny Trendy / Cool Reliable 3 — How Are B2B Marketers Using Reddit? “We're using data sets like Reddit, where the depth and the quality of conversation are extremely high in the communities,” Brian Wright, social media listening and intelligence leader at Wells Fargo recently told eMarketer. Jennifer Heyman, vice president of digital and social media at Wells Fargo, also mentioned Reddit in our annual social media marketing trends article, “13 Top B2B Social Media Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2020.” “My prediction is that brands will divert spend from large paid awareness campaigns to more targeted authentic conversations found on platforms like Reddit or in Facebook Groups,” Jennifer observed. “Essentially a shift of paid spend to the channels enabling a more focused and direct conversation with a customer. Personalization will continue to dominate social conversation, as brands emphasize both staying connected and infusing some fun into the message,” she added. [bctt tweet="Brands will shift social media focus from paid spend to channels enabling a more focused and direct conversation with a customer. @jheyman " username="toprank"] Wells Fargo also mentions Reddit in some of its educational resources, noting that “Sites like Reddit and Quora are also popular options where potential students can talk about applying to schools,” all joining to highlight the social media platform’s increasing presence among large businesses. Marketers promoting podcasts can connect with specific audiences on Reddit, or in its podcast-specific /r/podcasting sub-Reddit. Outside of that sub-Reddit, podcast marketers can generally find greater acceptance by first becoming known to an audience on the platform rather than posting links — to podcasts or any manner of outside content — right off the bat. Podcasts have seen increasing numbers of listeners during the pandemic, and we've examined the growing success of podcasting among B2B marketers in several recently article including "What B2B Podcasters Need to Know About SEO" and "B2B Podcasting: 20 Stats that Make the Marketing Case." 4 — AMAs Find A Welcome Home On Reddit Reddit has also been a popular platform for hosting ask-me-anything (AMA) events, which can be a good way for B2B firms to begin utilizing the service if the interviewee is especially relevant to a particular topic. Even NASA used Reddit’s /askscience sub-Reddit for a recent AMA event with planetary scientists and astrobiologists, which the organization cross-promoted on its LinkedIn and other social media accounts. Technology giant Accenture also recently used its /accenture sub-Reddit for an AMA with its managing director Tristan Morel L'Horset, and last year the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity conducted its first Reddit-hosted AMA, featuring the noted festival’s managing director Simon Cook. 5 — Finding Relevant Audiences & Low-Hanging Keywords In “The Guide to Unbundling Reddit,” Greg Isenberg, growth advisor at TikTok, has examined how Reddit has been affected by the pandemic, and looks at tools such as RedditList.com for finding relevant audiences. The folks at Backlinko recently explored how to use keyword-finding tools such as those from SEMrush or Ahrefs to find relevant Reddit keywords for marketing efforts, in “17 Advanced SEO Techniques for 2020.” HubSpot also recently took a look at some of the challenges and opportunities marketers face using Reddit, in “Everything Our Paid Team Learned From Attempting a Reddit Advertising Strategy,” finding the platform’s audience engagement a key advantage. 6 — Reddit’s Penchant For Technology Industry Professionals With an especially avid cadre of technology enthusiasts, Reddit joins developer communities at GitHub, LinkedIn, HackerNews and others as go-to social destinations for engineers and programmers, making it a good choice for B2B firms in those sectors. The tech-savvy nature of many of the communities on Reddit may seem merciless and intimidating at first glance, however with proper interactions brands can find valuable communication possibilities on the platform, especially when B2B marketers take the time to understand their audience and the questions they're asking. 7 — Reddit Helps Customers Vent & Connect Reddit joined Twitter and Facebook as the go-to platforms for venting about poor brand experiences online, with Twitter typically offering the speediest replies from brands — according to survey data from WhoIsHostingThis? With enough effort, B2B brands that genuinely care about addressing such concerns can find Reddit a good spot for building goodwill, as we explored in "Wow Your Crowd: How Content Marketers Can Create Powerful Audience Connections," and "B2B Marketers, Are Your Content Marketing Efforts Sparking Joy for Your Audience?" 8 — What Else Is Up With Reddit Lately? Reddit is presently running an “Up the Vote” brand marketing campaign — its first — as Adweek’s Sara Jerde chronicled in “Reddit’s Cheeky Marketing Campaign Encourages Users to Vote.” In May Reddit tapped a former Pinterest and Google advertising leader in a move aimed at bringing more brand advertising activity to the platform, a shift that also saw the firm restructuring its sales team to adjust to changes brought by the global health crisis. This year Reddit also rolled out its most visible advertising format to date, with “Trending Takeover” 24-hour campaigns that offer prime exposure advertisers, after having tested the format with partners including Adobe* and Spotify. Adobe previously partnered with Reddit for a unique collaborative global digital canvas, with “Reddit X Adobe,” featuring thousands of artistic layers of imagery from users around the world. Make Your Reddit High Noon Move Count via GIPHY While Reddit may no longer be the wild west for B2B marketers, incorporating it into your strategy doesn’t have to be a shootout at high noon if you take to heart the information we’ve explored together here. When coupled with a powerful strategy such as B2B influencer marketing, Reddit can play an important role in driving successful business and customer communications. * LinkedIn and Adobe are TopRank Marketing clients. The post 8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

How to Win at B2B Influence With The Magic of Content Co-Creation

  • Monday 7th September 2020
Today we live in an age of information overload where the speed of content discovery and the variety of options for media consumption across connected devices presents new challenges for B2B brands and buyers alike. The natural response for buyers is to filter their choices and focus those few sources which are most trusted, credible and meaningful. For brands that want to differentiate and even dominate in their category, becoming known as “the best answer” for their domain of expertise will have enormous impact. The challenge of increased digital sophistication brings an opportunity: businesses can differentiate and capture market attention by growing their authority and influence. Content is a top priority for brands. Numerous research studies continue to support the fact that content marketing is a top priority for marketers but there are also some challenges; companies find it difficult to produce enough content, as well as create content that engages and has enough variety. Even when companies are able to produce high quality, relevant content on a regular basis, the challenge of distribution and reach is a concern for many. Part of the solution is to connect B2B content creation efforts with internal and industry influencers that already have communities they engage with on the same topics. Influencer content and authority. Brands aren’t the only non-traditional online publishers. Subject matter experts are also able to publish through social networks and media, blogs and increasingly easy contributions to online publications.  Besides creating topically competitive content, SME publishing has empowered individuals to attract their own audiences and become as influential as the some of the companies they buy from. In addition to working with established influencers, brands can nurture future influencers to create a more effective brand community that exponentially scales reach and engagement. The shock of content proliferation. As a result of the content explosion, brands are faced with the reality that the majority of the content they produce might never be discovered or engaged. At the same time, brands must recognize their customers are becoming more influential about the same topics brands are spending advertising and marketing budgets on. When business customers are empowered to create, consume, publish, interact and transact anytime, anywhere, how do brands break through to create meaningful connections and engagement? How does the dynamic of content and influence help fulfill buyer information discovery, consumption and engagement expectations while delivering on business outcomes for the brand? As a vehicle for influence, content is one of the most powerful tools in a digital marketer’s mix to attract, engage and inspire buyers to act. “Content co-creation is the currency for building relationships that can boost credibility, influence and action.” The B2B content + influence solution. A business content and influencer marketing strategy can be one of the most effective combinations B2B marketers can make.  By incorporating relevant influencers that can inspire action with content marketing efforts, marketers can reach new audiences with brand messages that are credible and trusted. Influencer driven content marketing is also one of the best examples of how digital marketing and public relations are converging. The integration of messaging, content, social media and engagement right along with the promotion of information and media designed to inspire transactions should be the focus of any business that wants to differentiate and grow. Buyers trust influential experts. The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report reveals that 77% of B2B marketers believe their prospects rely on advice from industry influencers. Additionally, 84% trust influencers to create brand awareness and 69% count on influencers to help generate new leads. While B2B content marketing on its own is effective, working with influential experts to co-create content is an approach that yields surprising results. Influencer content gets results. When the pandemic swept through the world in early 2020, monday.com identified an opportunity to help support teams that had gone from working in-office to working remotely. As a provider of remote project management software this transition created an opportunity for our client monday.com to position itself as a valuable resource for remote teams. Monday.com partnered with TopRank Marketing to develop an influencer marketing campaign featuring industry experts that could reach and engage remote work teams more effectively than the brand on its own. Seasoned experts and influencers in the remote work space were engaged to collaborate on and promote content published on the brand site, on the influencers own sites, brand social channels and via livestream. By engaging influencers with audiences hungry for information about remote work best practices, this campaign added value to the target audience and increased awareness of monday.com’s offering with impressive results: 17.9M in potential reach from brand mentions by influencers (goal was 1M) Over 300K organic impressions on social media Nearly 3k video views of a live stream featuring two industry experts within the first week See the full Monday.com influencer marketing case study here. By connecting with market and niche influencers and working with them to achieve mutually beneficial goals, modern marketers can create invaluable relationships with authoritative experts. These connections can result in the creation of high quality, relevant and authoritative content that serves the interests of the influencer and the brand as well as providing access and reach to the influencer’s community. B2B influencers are credible, authoritative individuals who have an engaged community that follows and acts on their thought leadership. Winning at B2B Influencer Marketing means working with influencers to affect change in thought and action amongst a network towards goals that are mutually beneficial to the brand, the influencer and their community. Whether it is a partnership to co-create content or more general advocacy, business influencers open doors for brands to connect with engaged buyers they might otherwise never reach in a meaningful way. "Everyone is influential about something." B2B influencers can be industry professionals, they could also be inside a company as subject matter experts or a company’s own customers. Influencer relationships with brands often include a value exchange of some kind and it’s up to the company and influencer to decide whether that’s an exchange of information, visibility, compensation or something else. The essential questions of B2B influencer content. To be effective when working with business influencers, B2B brands need to consider what they want the influencer to do for them beyond a simple endorsement. How will the influencer’s involvement help the company reach a particular business goal? What will an ongoing relationship with influencers mean to the brand’s marketing efforts and reputation in the industry? Also, what kind of content does it make the most sense for the influencer to contribute to? How does the brand want to be known and which influencers already have that credibility and authority? These questions and more will be answered in the following model for B2B influencer content co-creation. 6 best practices for working with and influencing B2B influencers to co-create content: Identify Influencer Program Goals Research, Engage and Recruit Influencers Develop Co-Created Content with Influencers Inspire Content Promotion Influencer Measurement and Program Optimization Ongoing Influencer Relationships 1. Identify Influencer Program Goals – Serving different audiences (influencers, brand, prospects, industry media) requires a strategy that identifies distinct goals. While most subject matter experts and influencers desire increased visibility, B2B brands will want to grow their expertise for a topic amongst a target audience and attract new business. Consumers of the influencer content will want expert information from someone they trust. Industry news media will want examples they can reference and subject matter experts they can cite. Just starting out, co-created influencer content can be as simple as a value exchange: increased exposure for both the influencer and the brand with the objective of attracting new target audience engagement and influencing a spectrum of conversion actions: subscribe, download, register, request information. As an influencer content program matures, goals can become more sophisticated and multi-faceted to include public relations, recruiting, customer marketing and more advanced customer acquisition. B2B influencer content programs should be tied into the content marketing plan and editorial calendar. An important part of designing an effective influencer content program is to identify the specific topics to be covered. Specifying topics and themes will drive all subsequent actions in the program from influencer recruiting to planning which media type to create to content promotion. 2. Research, Engage and Recruit Influencers – It’s important to identify the key themes that represent topical focus for the brand, the product or service and the campaign or program that you will creating with influencers. The sooner your company specifies these topical areas of focus, the sooner influencers can be identified and engaged. “The time to start recruiting influencers is long before you need them. Romance takes time.” It can be useful to start influencer identification by brainstorming with executives, marketing, communications and product managers to develop a list of known topical experts and even nominations of specific individual influencers. However, subjective measures like these bring heavy bias. It is always a good idea to validate influencer recommendations using data about topical relevance, resonance of that topic with the influencer's audience and the their network size. There are many influencer marketing platforms which can provide the data needed to properly filter which individuals are perceived as influential by the communities that listen to them. Influencer sourcing and engagement takes time. Many influencer co-created content projects will draw from both existing influencer relationships and involve making new influencer connections. Initial recruiting might be limited to small, easy projects that advance the relationship to more robust and substantial time commitments. It is possible to jump start an influencer content program by working with a specialist agency that already has relationships with relevant industry influencers. The most common mistake businesses make with influencers is to qualify them based purely on network size (fans, friends and followers) and affinity to a certain industry or area of interest. Without the ability to affect the way a network thinks and how they act, an influencer isn’t really influencing anyone. “A brandividual is popular. An influencer is effective at creating popularity.” Topical relevance, resonance and reach characteristics will be useful with influencer discovery tools like BuzzSumo which focuses on Twitter data. There are also robust tools like Traackr or Onalytica. After you use a tool to identify and initially qualify influencers for each topic, then you can bring that list back to your internal subject matter experts to manually review and filter. Of course, no influencer discovery tool is perfect. Correlation between internal recommendations and data from an influencer marketing platform might take more time, but it’s a best practice for distinguishing between brandividuals and effective influencers. When recruiting influencers, there are several important considerations: Relevancy and effort to ask ratio - It has to be timely and on message with what they stand for. It also has to be easy for them to do. Popular, smart people are busy! Be clever or humorous - Nothing cuts through the crap like humor but most of all, be a real person when you communicate, not salesy, pushy or entitled You are a known entity - Having a reputation as a brand or being a well-known person in the industry is very useful. Previous personal contact with the influencer is even more valuable. Vision of the project - Be able to articulate what the influencer’s involvement will be and what it will do for them personally. Also show how the project will help others. Optimize for attract - Create influencer projects so good and so well known, people compete to be involved. What doesn’t work. Presumptive, high expectation recruiting pitches with no personalization and little upside for the influencer rarely work. It’s the equivalent of a stranger approaching you and saying, “Let’s get married”. The time to start creating relationships with influencers is long before you actually need them. If a company is thinking that working with influencers is even a remote possibility, they should start identifying, qualifying and engaging with them now. That way, when the time comes to work together on a project, there’s already some familiarity and credibility before “the ask”. Effective influencer recruiting for content co-creation projects comes down to being relevant and interesting, respectful and to deliver a great experience that results in a desire for more. 3. Develop Co-Created Content with Influencers – The content marketing plan for co-created influencer content should identify the primary and sub-themes, the influencers to work with for those assets, the types of contributions the influencers will make, the type of content to be created, deconstructed component parts, social share messages and details on repurposing. Go modular - Modular content planning allows pre-promotion of the co-created content project to build momentum for launch and then deconstruction of the content for customized repurposing and social promotion on networks, blogs, and the media. Select topics - Topics represent the themes and areas of focus for planning editorial and for sourcing influencers. Topic alignment between brand, influencer and community is essential for mutual value to be created. Identify type of content or media mix - Types of content are often determined by the content marketing plan, and target audience. At the same time, there are some types of content more amenable to co-creation with influencers such as eBooks, reports, blog posts, quoted infographics and video compilations. A clear line of sight must be present between the co-created content and the content objectives in the marketing plan. Once influencers, topics and media types are identified, a campaign to request content is initiated. Setting expectations during the recruitment phase for how participation will work is essential. Influencers are busy people and providing a timeline with due date, clear instructions and even examples will result in a higher participation rate. Influencer content collection requests are often more effective when a few A-list influencers are already on board with the project. Leverage their name recognition to influence other influencers to participate. Be prepared to send 2 to 3 content collection emails and when the deadline arrives, do not be afraid to use a fear of loss pitch. But by all means, be cordial, helpful and respectful. 4. Inspire Content Promotion – Influencer communications should provide expectations and clear timelines along with the benefits for all when a co-created influencer content project is successful. Providing influencers with tools such as sharing images, pre-written tweets, embed codes and short URLs can substantially increase promotion participation and reach. There are four important considerations when encouraging influencers to help promote the content they helped your company create. Create content worth sharing. Topics that address issues that are important to the influencer will get your foot in the door and useful, visually compelling content will inspire them to open that door and share. Reaching out blindly and asking to share doesn’t work as well as having a connection first and then asking. Let the ego do the talking. Content that includes an influencer’s contribution will probably get shared even more. Because let’s face it, people love to see themselves get recognized. Better yet, ask them to participate in the creation of the content. However, when mentioning influencers in content it’s essential that it be credible, high quality and creative. Most influencers have caught on to the tactic of simply mentioning famous industry people just to get them to share. There must be value created that inspires and earns the share Make it fun and easy. When emailing a promotion request, consider making it funny or at least clever. We’ve gone so far as to write outlandish examples of what NOT to do or suggest fake prizes for contributing like his/her beard scarves or beef jerky underwear. Also make it especially easy for the influencer to share. Capture their attention, succinctly explain what it is and what you want them to do. Then offer pre-written social share text that’s even personalized just for them. You may even create a resource page with images and other share options for them to use. Pay them. Either compensate the influencer with information and promotion or simply pay them to share your content. Once you start down this road, it’s pretty difficult to get off, so plan for continued compensation once you start. 5. Influencer Measurement and Program Optimization – Individual influencer promotions of the co-created content project can be measured based on social network shares, sentiment of those shares, engagement on the topic, links and blog pickups. Embeds used by influencers to create blog posts can be tracked for referred search traffic along with referred social traffic from their links. Referred traffic that results in website visits can be further analyzed for metrics such as time on site, categories of content consumed, leads and sales. Overall reach, engagement, traffic, leads and sales for the content project can be tracked as well, taking note of the contributions made by influencers towards key performance metrics like growing affinity between a topic and the brand as well as business outcomes like leads and sales. 6. Ongoing Influencer Relationships - Beyond the campaign or program at hand, do make the effort to continue the relationship with influencers you have worked with. The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research found that 12 times more B2B marketers who run Always-On influencer marketing programs are successful vs. those running intermittent campaigns. Focus on creating a great experience for contributing subject matter experts and they’ll be very interested in working with your brand again on future projects. The more influencer programs you develop, the more influencers you will have connections with and draw from. Remember, when it comes to promotions, you can also ask past influencers who are not part of your current program to help, since they are aware of the value that would bring and the effect of “a rising tide lifts all ships.” Ways to stay connected and Always-On with influencers in a meaningful way include: Offer them feedback after the program about the effect of their contribution Cite influencers in your future blog posts Connect and engage with influencers on social networks Refer influencer expertise to other companies that could use them (i.e. help them get work) Cite influencers in contributed articles to industry magazines, newspapers, websites and newsletters. Include them in future projects Whether your brand is engaging with influencers to provide useful information or you’re co-creating content with influencers to create a useful industry resource that will be shared with new communities, there’s a value exchange that can benefits everyone involved. Content is the key to that value transfer between brand and consumer, brand and influencer and for the overall community involved. To learn more about B2B influencer and content marketing best practices, be sure to check out the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, or contact us directly at TopRank Marketing. The post How to Win at B2B Influence With The Magic of Content Co-Creation appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing News: Mobile Apps Thrive, Carousels Most Engaging Format on Instagram, Facebook’s Horizon VR, & Data Security’s Customer Loyalty Connection

  • Friday 4th September 2020
COVID-19 drives more business to B2B marketplaces Global marketplace growth is being led by the B2B segment, with sales expected to hit $3.6 trillion by 2024 — up from $680 billion in 2018 — according to recently-released report data of interest to digital marketers, which also showed that 89 percent of purchasing managers are spending at least the same or significantly more because of pandemic circumstances. Digital Commerce 360 How Committed Are Big Advertisers to Content Marketing? Over the past two years major advertisers have doubled their commitment to content marketing, with 52 percent of senior-level marketers saying their firm is strongly committed to content marketing — up from 26 percent two years ago, according to recently-released survey data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and The Content Council. MarketingProfs The Pandemic Pushes A Rebound in Mobile App Opens Technology, Internet and productivity app opens saw a 55 percent year-over-year increase from March through June, with business app opens up 26 percent and finance and insurance industry app opens seeing a 22 percent rise, according to newly-released report data highlighting strong positive shifts from app opens during March. MarketingCharts Facebook Announces Beta Launch of 'Horizon' VR Social Experience Facebook has launched a test version of its Horizon virtual reality (VR) social media experience, offering features for collaboration along with social interaction elements — available via waiting list — the firm recently announced. Social Media Today Influencer Followers Will Continue Spending More Time on Social Media After Restrictions Lift Among U.S. and U.K. consumers who follow social media influencers, 72 percent said they have spent more time using social platforms during the pandemic, and 64 percent also said that they are likely to continue the same level of usage during post-pandemic times, according to recently-released GlobalWebIndex survey data.. eMarketer LinkedIn lets Page owners view, sort, learn more about their followers LinkedIn (client) has launched an array of new features for its business pages, including more detailed page follower information, page-related event listings, and new employee content sharing and curation options, the Microsoft-owned professional social media platform recently announced. Search Engine Land Twitter Tests Replacing 'Retweets and comments' with New 'Quotes' Count Twitter has begun testing the use of a combined "quotes" metric comprised of the platform's longstanding retweet and comment counts, in an effort to visually simplify its user experience elements, the firm has announced. Social Media Today Google Ads to limit Search Terms reporting, citing privacy Google has started notifying its Google Ads users that certain infrequently-searched terms will no longer be available in the Google Ads search terms report — a move the search giant says is aimed at protecting user data and maintain privacy standards, Google recently announced. The move has led certain advertisers to question whether the Google Ads change will remove the ability to discover helpful search terms. Search Engine Land Want to create loyal customers? Get on the bleeding edge of data security Brand loyalty is tied to strong data privacy, with 31 percent of U.S. consumers seeing it as the most important factor, while 40 percent said that trustworthiness is tops when it comes to brand loyalty, according to recently-released survey data also showing that 42 percent refuse to share sensitive personal data for any reason. TechRepublic Instagram Carousels Are the Most Engaging Post Type [STUDY] 10-slide carousel posts have seen the highest engagement rates on Instagram, according to newly-released survey data from Socialinsider of interest to digital marketers. The study of some 22 million Instagram posts also shows that the use of carousels has risen faster than video content, while traditional image publication has fallen. Search Engine Journal ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “the rise of the customer service bots” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist The hashtag turns 13 — Chris Messina TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Lee Odden / TopRank Marketing — New Report Says B2B Influencer Marketing Still Has Massive Room For Growth — Forbes Lee Odden — Keynote Lineup for Pubcon Pro Virtual 2020 — Pubcon TopRank Marketing — Nicht nur für B2C: Wie B2B-Unternehmen von Influencer Marketing profitieren [In German] — Futurebiz Lee Odden — Monday’s Marketing Minute: The Relaunch — Mack Collier Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Who Tells Your (Brand’s) Story? — LinkedIn (client) TopRank Marketing — The Essential Qualities B2B Brands Look for in Influencers — MarketingProfs TopRank Marketing — MGM Resorts cuts 18,000 jobs, NBA teams to offer arenas as voting locations, and 78% of B2B marketers say prospects rely on influencers’ opinions — PR Daily TopRank Marketing — Influencer marketing daje pozytywne skutki w marketingu B2B [In Polish] — SOCIALPRESS Have you located your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope you'll return again next Friday and tune in for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: Mobile Apps Thrive, Carousels Most Engaging Format on Instagram, Facebook’s Horizon VR, & Data Security’s Customer Loyalty Connection appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Your Guide to Effective Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing

  • Thursday 3rd September 2020
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a guy who understands content. He was the featured keynote speaker at Content Marketing World three years ago, and his company HitRecord empowers creators to collaborate and produce awesome stuff together. Joseph Gordon-Levitt also understands storytelling. He is an actor, director, producer, and writer who has appeared in numerous beloved movies and TV shows. His work as an author includes a series of works called The Book of Tiny Stories. “The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of tiny stories,” the tagline asserts. Given his experience and expertise at the intersection of content and storytelling, it’s worth listening any time Gordon-Levitt speaks on these subjects. So I definitely took notice when the film icon suggested recently that the future of storytelling lies not in movies, but video games. The gaming medium “feels like kind of the most groundbreaking storytelling,” Gordon-Levitt observed in a new episode of the YouTube show Hot Ones. “Storytelling that's completely in a whole different realm than anything we've seen before.” Personally, I can’t disagree with him. I love video games, in large part due to the immersion of a well-crafted narrative that draws the player into an interactive virtual world. And while marketing departments aren’t exactly concocting the next Grand Theft Auto, we do have the ability to deliver storytelling experiences that go above and beyond, by embracing many of the same principles that make video games such an appealing format in the eyes of Gordon-Levitt and others. Of course, the formula for impactful storytelling in B2B content marketing is different from video games, or movies, even though it might share commonalities with both. To help you develop stories that engage and activate your professional audience, I've developed a blueprint, which I’ve dubbed the S.T.O.R.Y. model. The S.T.O.R.Y Model for Great Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing Sizzle. Tension. Originality. Relevance. Yearning. Every stellar piece of storytelling in B2B content marketing encompasses these five words. Let's break down each one, and how they come together for a powerful experience. (We'll lean on JGL to visualize these concepts.) Sizzle sizzle (n): a state or quality of great excitement or passion In Gordon-Levitt's world of filmmaking, a "sizzle reel" refers to a short, fast-paced video edit featuring the best of someone's past work. Sizzle reels are often put together by actors who distribute them in hopes of landing gigs. As the name suggests, these reels need to sizzle: The excitement and passion must be on display right away in order to wrangle the attention of a casting director sorting through hundreds of them. The B2B marketer's directive is no different. Earning the attention of our audiences in the era of rampant content saturation means we need to bring it. If your story does not imbue a genuine and immediately discernible sense of passion and excitement, it may very well not be worth telling. via GIPHY Tension tension (n): a balance maintained in an artistic work between opposing forces or elements Sizzle is how you grab the audience's attention with your story. Tension is how you keep it. Storytellers can build tension by referencing or hinting at something early on, and then gradually working toward the payoff. This dynamic was explained beautifully by Andrew Davis at CM World – one year after Gordon-Levitt’s appearance – in his opening 2018 keynote exploring the “curiosity gap” and how it counteracts dwindling attention spans. I had the pleasure of watching Davis break it down alongside my colleague Ashley Zeckman, who recapped the session here on our blog. Read her post and you’ll learn everything you need to know about using tension to keep your audience hooked. [bctt tweet="“The more tension you raise, the more your audience needs to see the outcome.” @DrewDavisHere #Storytelling #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"] via GIPHY Originality originality (n): freshness of aspect, design, or style In order to be memorable, it must be novel. While it's valuable to keep someone watching or reading to completion, we're not telling a great story simply because they absorbed the whole thing. We're telling a great story if it sticks with them. To this end, freshness and originality are essential qualities. The human brain can only consciously store so many memories. There isn't much room for redundancy. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel with every story you tell, but there should always be at least one inventive or unexpected element that makes it feel unique. via GIPHY Relevance relevance (n): the quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate From one view, the word "relevance" is incredibly broad. From another, it is narrow as can be. Example: Coronavirus is relevant to every human being on Planet Earth right now. But, what about the mental health impact of a pandemic on first-time telecommuters, and how HR managers can provide meaningful support? Now you’ve zeroed in. Here is where we begin to diverge from standard forms of entertainment. Great art often speaks to the many. Great B2B content marketing should speak to the few, but in a fiercely resonant way. [bctt tweet="“Great art often speaks to the many. Great B2B content marketing should speak to the few, but in a fiercely resonant way.” @NickNelsonMN #Storytelling #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"] via GIPHY Yearning yearning (n): a feeling of intense longing for something And here is where we fully settle into the marketing realm. Leaving the viewer with a sense of yearning is a common objective in entertainment – think cliffhangers – but only in content marketing is it requisite for efficacy. This doesn’t mean someone finishes your story and has a yearning to go buy the product or service. That's an unlikely (albeit highly impressive) outcome. It means they yearn for more – more installments in the series, more content from the brand, more information on the website, more social media posts from the account. via GIPHY Tell Your Brand’s S.T.O.R.Y. When your story sizzles, builds tension, exudes originality, sparks relevant tones with a defined audience, and leaves the reader or viewer yearning for more … you’ve got yourself a highly effective piece of B2B content marketing. The specifics within this framework are flexible and open to your own creative spin – you’d hardly be able to check the “originality” box if that wasn’t the case – but the overarching principles of impactful marketing narratives are quite consistent in every successful production. They’re most often found in movies and video games too, for that matter. via GIPHY To learn how you can apply this formula to establish stronger relationships with your audience, check out my blog post on channeling the skills of Abraham Lincoln to build trust through storytelling. The post Your Guide to Effective Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

6 Dynamic Tactics For Solving The Post-Pandemic Marketing Rubik’s Cube

  • Wednesday 2nd September 2020
What will successful B2B marketing look like in a post-pandemic world, and what can marketers do today to be ready? B2B marketers are facing daunting and unprecedented challenges — not unlike a Rubik’s Cube — during the global health crisis. Each impediment, however, also offers valuable lessons that can help us as we transition to 2021 and the future opportunities that await. Let’s begin unraveling the mysteries of the post-pandemic marketing world, with six dynamic tactics B2B marketers can use today to prepare for the future business landscape. 1 — Influencer Intensification: Subject Matter Experts Post-pandemic marketing will likely feature a noticeable intensification when it comes to the use of B2B influencers. As one of the most pandemic-proof marketing practices during the global health crisis, B2B influencer marketing is poised to continue growing in 2021 and beyond, due in part to the value industry experts bring to everyone involved. “Traditional marketing channels are drying up and even trade shows are imperiled in 2021,” Mark Schaefer, chief operating officer at B Squared Media observed. “The influence marketing trend will be amplified as businesses seek trusted voices to join industry conversations,” Mark added. Mark's prediction is among dozens of insightful influencer marketing statistics in our recent 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, and the following data points speak to the strength of industry influencers and point to increased use as we move into 2021: 90% of B2B marketers expect their influencer marketing budget to increase or stay the same 78% of B2B marketers believe prospects rely on advice from influencers 74% of B2B marketers say that influencer marketing improves customer and prospect experiences with a brand, and 90% plan to increase their budget in the near future 63% agree that marketing would have better results if it included an influencer marketing program “Digging into the results, one can quickly see a trend in B2B marketers who are optimistic about influencer marketing yet not confident about their ability to execute,” Shama Hyder, chief executive at Zen Media recently observed in her Forbes interview with our co-founder and chief executive Lee Odden, “New Report Says B2B Influencer Marketing Still Has Massive Room For Growth.” “With the pandemic causing a loss of in-person B2B tactics — field marketing, in-person trade shows, and experiential marketing efforts, for example — much of where buyers focus for information are digital channels,” Lee noted. “This is exactly where influencers provide valuable and trusted perspectives. Trust, reach and engagement are always challenges for B2B brands, and collaborating with trusted industry experts that have the attention and respect of buyer audiences has proven to be an effective solution,” Lee added — a sentiment also expressed by Sarita Rao, senior vice president of marketing at AT&T Business*. [bctt tweet="“Working with credible B2B influencers helps to build brand authority through real, human conversations and interactions.” — @saritasayso of @ATTBusiness" username="toprank"] According to research conducted by Forrester the pandemic has seen new opportunities for influencer marketing, as 63 percent of U.S. consumers have spent more time using social media platforms, 58 percent have noticed more content from influencers, and 51 percent have had a positive attitude about influencer content and found it valuable. Additionally, between March and July 2020 sponsored influencer posts saw a five-fold increase in interactions, reaching 57 million in July, according to report data from Shareablee. Among U.S. and U.K. consumers who follow social media influencers, 72 percent said they have spent more time using social platforms during the pandemic, and 64 percent also said that they are likely to continue the same level of usage during post-pandemic times, according to GlobalWebIndex survey data. Aside from its resilience during the pandemic, influencer marketing has for some time been poised to see more mainstream B2B usage, a move that is likely to steadily increase in our post-pandemic marketing world. To learn more about B2B influencer marketing or beginning a pilot program, here are six additional recent resources we’ve compiled: B2B Marketing Subject Matter Experts & Industry Influencers: Which Should I Choose? 5 Case Studies on How to Optimize B2B Influencer Engagement on LinkedIn 10 Wise Quotes To Inspire Your Influencer Marketing How to Nurture B2B Influencer Relationships During the Pandemic 6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era 20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands 2 — Persistent Programs: Always-On Marketing Studies have shown the increased effectiveness of always-on marketing programs that replace one-and-done single-use campaigns with ongoing efforts that match the always-on nature of today’s consumer. The case for a post-pandemic shift to always-on marketing programs is bolstered by compelling recent data from our report, such as: 76% of B2B marketers find that the strategy of working with influencers through always-on engagement or when combined with campaigns delivers results 75% saw increased views of brand content using always-on influencer marketing 60% saw an increased share of voice, 55% saw more media brand mentions, and 50% saw increased brand advocacy through always-on influencer marketing 89% of B2B marketers using always-on influencer programs expect their budgets to increase or remain the same, versus 73% for marketers running traditional campaign-based programs This all points to persistent B2B marketing programs becoming more widespread among successful B2B marketers in the post-pandemic era, and it’s easy to see why, as the partnerships formed through always-on programs build ongoing brand credibility and trust that can be difficult or impossible to achieve using one-and-done campaigns. [bctt tweet="“With brand trust at a low, it’s important for B2B companies to invest in relationships with credible experts that buyers do trust.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden" username="toprank"] If you’re looking to learn more about why always-on programs achieve better results and how you can implement them, check out the following recent articles we’ve written about a topic that will only become more important in 2021 and beyond: For Successful B2B Marketers The Engine of Influence is Always On #B2BIMReport Always-On Influencer Marketing: Building Thought Leadership for B2B Brands Always On Influence: Short Term vs. Long Term for Success During a Crisis Always-On Influence: 5 Examples of Ongoing B2B Influencer Marketing In Action Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed [bctt tweet="“Being 'always-on' has allowed our team to build meaningful relationships with influencers.” — Garnor Morantes of @LinkedIn" username="toprank"] 3 — Shifting Search: New Challenges & Opportunities Like blowing dunes, the sands of the search technology landscape change often, and in the post-pandemic environment marketers will see a shift as Apple seeks to make inroads with its own search experience and whittle away at Google’s long-standing dominance. Paid and organic search marketing efforts are a vital part of most B2B firms’ strategy, and pandemic or not these efforts would have continued for the majority of businesses. The global health crisis has given us a newfound appreciation of the importance of findability and how valuable a sound search plan is for businesses today, and this will continue into the foreseeable future. Search strategies no longer involve only a website and traditional search engines, as more people than ever also search for answers and information from within social media platforms’ own often-lackluster search mechanisms, which some see as presenting new challenges, as well through the increasing use of voice search. 66 percent of B2B chief marketing officers said that their 2021 budgets would see an increase in spending on search engine optimization (SEO), with the same percentage also planning to boost spending on paid search, according to Gartner’s annual CMO spending survey. [bctt tweet="I expect a growth in importance and usage of structured data, an increase in predictive search features, and a shift to a more technical SEO ecosystem. @aleyda" username="toprank"] Recently I took an in-depth look at why search is more important than ever, in “SEO Strategy: 5 Reasons Why It’s More Important Than Ever For B2B Marketers,” and we’ve also explored other aspects of SEO in B2B marketing in these articles: 5 Unheralded SEO Tools for Content Marketers Three B2B Marketing Tactics That Will Outlast the COVID19 Pandemic Why SEO & Influence are Critical to Pandemic Era Content Marketing How to Measure Changing Marketing Goals During a Crisis The B2B Marketing Force Multiplier: Integrated SEO and Influencer Marketing 4 — Virtual Variations: Social VR Landscapes This year the world has spent more time using both traditional social media platforms and social virtual reality worlds, and when our lives return to some semblance of normal, all flavors of VR will seek to capitalize on an audience that — although no longer captive at home — has come to know and expect that brands use the technology. 51 percent of U.S. adults have increased their use of social media during the global health crisis according to eMarketer, and nearly a third have spent an additional one to two hours of time on social platforms during the pandemic, leaving more time for audiences to explore the new virtual worlds being created by social firms, such as Facebook’s Horizon VR experience. “The convergence of both the physical and virtual worlds will create new opportunities in the future in the way friends, families, and even colleagues connect,” Cathy Hackl, author and futurist recently noted in Forbes. By 2022 some forecasts predict over 95 million augmented reality (AR) users in the U.S. alone, including over 60 percent using VR with more than 30 percent using VR headsets, a trend that savvy B2B marketers are keeping a close eye on for post-pandemic marketing spending. Other survey data has shown that 39 percent of B2B professionals expect to install new AR and VR technology in the next 12 months. With in-game, AR, and VR marketing opportunities seeing greater interest in 2021 and beyond, B2B marketers can learn more about the importance of experiential storytelling in the following pieces we’ve written about these and related subjects: How to Hit a Marketing Home Run with Experiential Content B2B Marketing Mythbusters: Dispelling 10 Common Myths with Extraordinary Marketing What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Experiential Content The B2B Marketer’s Journey To Experiential Content at #B2BMX Three B2B Marketing Tactics That Will Outlast the COVID19 Pandemic Hungry for More: What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Episodic Content 5 — Evolving Marketing Events: In-Person & Virtual How will marketing events change in a post-COVID19 world? There’s no question that in-person marketing events are win-win experiences for the many parties involved, from speakers and attendees to exhibitors, sponsors, and others, yet during the pandemic creative new takes on virtual conferences have presented viable alternatives that are likely to be with us for good, continuing to augment in-person events once the health crisis ends. The pandemic has seen Facebook begin offering paid event options for businesses, with direct in-stream purchases available for eligible Facebook business pages in 20 countries including the U.S., offering digital marketers new monetization and event marketing options. Virtual events help traditional in-person conferences expand their reach and gain new online audiences — people who may eventually also attend an organization’s physical events. Similarly, in-person events such as marketing conferences may — in post-pandemic times — serve as good examples for some of the purely virtual events that have come into existence this year out of necessity, pushing them to begin their own new physical events. 92 percent of marketers have said that they believe putting on successful virtual events will be important until the pandemic ends, and some brands have already chosen to postpone or cancel their events all the way through the middle of 2021, including major players Facebook and Microsoft. 73 percent of B2B event organizers have had to cancel a physical event because of the pandemic, and 81 percent have provided virtual alternatives, according to survey data from The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). The time is bound to arrive when in-person events return, however, and smart B2B marketers will be prepared to incorporate both virtual and physical conference experiences for learning, networking, and selling. Having an influencer marketing strategy makes sense for taking full advantage of both virtual and in-person events. “Partnering with influencers is more important now than it ever has been,” our president and co-founder Susan Misukanis explained. “Targeting the right influencer communities can be the best way to expand virtual event attendance and reach into a broader audience — who may not have planned to travel to your live event or conference,” Susan added. [bctt tweet="Partnering with influencers is more important now than it ever has been. Targeting the right influencer communities can be the best way to expand virtual event attendance and reach into a broader audience.” @smisukanis" username="toprank"] To level-up your event game for both virtual and physical conferences, here are six articles we’ve published to help: How B2B Influencer Marketing Offers Brands an Ideal Alternative to In-Person Events 17+ Top Virtual Marketing Conferences for Summer 2020 & Beyond Livestream Marketing: 5 B2B Brands Rocking LinkedIn Live How B2B Marketers Can Get the Most Out of Webinars in 2020 Content Marketing Gold Rush: How to Unearth Content Gold at Marketing Industry Events Learning Changes Lives: Top Insights from #MPB2B & 5 Tips for Rocking Marketing Events 6 — Delivery Diversity: New Communication Channels The pandemic has both driven us apart and brought us together in new ways, and given us creative methods to both tell and hear compelling digital stories. New communication channels have arisen, such as the virtual worlds of Facebook’s Horizon and others we’ve already explored, along with the huge rise in online video communication through Zoom, Slack, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and others. The mass turn to video conferencing has also helped drive a large increase in both mobile app usage and advertising spending, highlighting the importance of making mobile a part of any well-rounded B2B marketing strategy. Engagement among mobile ads has climbed by some 15 percent during the global health crisis according to survey data, and despite an overall drop in ad spending for the year, mobile ad spend has fared the best, as its 15 percent decrease was less than the 25 percent seen for desktop ad buying, according to additional data. Business app opens saw a 26 percent year-over-year increase from March through June, report data shows, as seen here. [bctt tweet="“We’re all the same size rectangle on the Zoom screen.” — Vanessa Colella of @Citi" username="toprank"] A rare pandemic silver lining is how we’ve all found new ways to communicate and  — more importantly — the stories we’re telling. Storytelling will be key in the post-pandemic marketing landscape, and to help you weave authentic messages that audiences will remember here are six recent articles we have available on this important topic: 10 Fresh Social Media Marketing Tools To Boost Brand Storytelling 5 Refreshing Examples of Imaginative B2B Marketing To Inspire You in 2021 Break Free B2B Series: Zari Venhaus on How to Scoot Your Way to Martech Transformation Through Storytelling Once Upon a Time: Storytelling in Today’s B2B Content Marketing Landscape 5 Tips For Finding Your Authentic Marketing Identity Don’t Forget Your B2B Marketing Gravity via GIPHY The post-pandemic world will see intensified use of B2B influencer marketing, the growth of always-on programs, shifts in the world of search, more social VR, the evolution of events, and new communication channels, and we hope that by exploring these areas here your future marketing efforts will achieve newfound success — even if you’re no closer to solving that Rubik’s Cube. Succeeding in any of these areas takes considerable time, effort and experience, which is why many firms choose a top marketing agency like TopRank Marketing. Contact us and find out why firms including Adobe, LinkedIn, AT&T, 3M, Dell, Oracle, monday.com and many others have chosen us for award-winning marketing. * AT&T Business is a TopRank Marketing client. The post 6 Dynamic Tactics For Solving The Post-Pandemic Marketing Rubik’s Cube appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing Subject Matter Experts & Industry Influencers: Which Should I Choose?

  • Tuesday 1st September 2020
What does being an influencer really mean in the B2B world? The classic B2C influencer is someone with a big following on social media, someone who makes a living doing makeup tutorials or cosplay or skateboarding tricks. Brands who want to reach their audience can simply provide free products or sponsor a post — it’s inherently transactional. But for B2B, the question is a little trickier. B2B influencers are very rarely celebrities with millions of followers. For example, given enough time and money, you could get Taylor Swift to endorse your hybrid cloud solution. But would her endorsement really persuade your audience? You can’t judge influence in B2B by follower counts alone. There are multiple ways that people can be influential in the B2B space. Which type of influencer your project needs will vary depending on your goals. Let’s take a look at two different types of B2B influencer: The Subject Matter Expert and the Industry Influencer. Subject Matter Experts Vs. Industry Influencers for B2B Marketing Which is better for your project: A thousand impressions or a single multi-million-dollar click? There’s no right answer for every situation, of course, and the answer may very well be “both.” But the point is to ask the question when your project is in the planning stages. We can start by defining each of these influencer types, and then we can dig into how to choose the right influencers for your content. Who Is a Subject Matter Expert? A subject matter expert (SME) could mean anyone who knows a lot about one particular subject. In influencer marketing, though, it means something slightly different: It’s someone who has that knowledge, and may be influential in business circles, but also has a small social media footprint. SMEs can include practitioners in a particular field, executives of successful businesses in your target industry, or even your own employees. They may not have the reach of an industry influencer, but they do have knowledge that your target audience will find valuable. What’s more, they’re a credible source, because they’re right down in the trenches with your audience. The challenge of working with an SME for creating content is that they may not be used to speaking to an audience. While an industry influencer can whip up a 500-word blog post in their sleep, an SME will take more time and encouragement before they’re ready to contribute. If your goal is to maximize awareness with top-of-funnel content, you wouldn’t go with SMEs exclusively. For content further down the funnel, with a highly-targeted audience, however, the more SME content, the better. Who Is an Industry Influencer? Let me say, first, that an industry influencer is no less knowledgeable than an SME. But the work of an industry influencer includes building an audience and actively pursuing thought leadership status. They’re keynote speakers, authors, and podcast hosts. They are more likely to be analysts and consultants than active practitioners. There are several advantages to working with industry influencers, beyond the obvious broader reach: They already know how to quickly create content and package it for their audience. They know the value of self-promotion and can see when it’s mutually beneficial to create content with your brand. And they can have a broader perspective of the industry, gleaned from analyzing trends and/or consulting with multiple businesses. Industry influencers are perfect for top and middle-funnel content. But they are less likely to get into the specifics of day-to-day operations, while an SME would be equipped to give those practical details that make lower-funnel content work. What Type of Influence Does Your B2B Marketing Need? Which influencer is right for you? As I said, you might want more SMEs in a lower-funnel piece and more industry influencers in top-of-funnel content. But really, the answer is that a healthy mix of influencers tends to get the best results. Industry influencers bring reach, polish and thought leadership. SMEs bring a practitioner’s experience and credibility. The two can complement each other to make your content irresistible to your audience. For example, our client monday.com created content with SMEs and industry influencers for their remote work campaign. By combining the strengths of different types of influence, the campaign achieved 1,790% of its projected goal for social reach. Create an Influencer Community Here’s one more way that B2B influencer marketing is different from B2C. While B2C agreements tend to be one-off and transactional, B2B influence is about building relationships and forming a community. Instead of contracting with an influencer for a single project, it’s important to keep in contact. Make sure your influencers know each other and facilitate conversations. Help them network, teach, and learn from each other. When you take an always-on approach to influencer marketing, you can create a trusted group of go-to experts, folks who are loyal to your brand and ready to collaborate on an ongoing basis. And that’s far more valuable than a Taylor Swift retweet. What’s working, what isn’t, and what’s next for B2B influencer marketing? Find out what your peers had to say in our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report. The post B2B Marketing Subject Matter Experts & Industry Influencers: Which Should I Choose? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

5 Case Studies on How to Optimize B2B Influencer Engagement on LinkedIn

  • Monday 31st August 2020
With over 700 million community members in 200+ countries and territories, LinkedIn is without question the place for businesses to do business. With 91% of marketing executives using LinkedIn as a content source (SocialPilot) it's easy to understand why 94% of B2B marketers using LinkedIn to distribute content (CMI). In fact, there's been a 50% year over year increase in content shared on the LinkedIn platform (LinkedIn). With many social network options, LinkedIn has proven to be an effective choice for B2B marketers. A study from HubSpot showed that traffic from LinkedIn generates the highest visitor to lead conversion rate, 277% higher than Facebook and Twitter. While there are robust opportunities to connect with potential customers on LinkedIn, the platform is busier than ever, making it hard to stand out. There are also challenges in terms of reduced organic visibility and the trend towards distrust of sales outreach and what brands publish directly. With so much information, many buyers are suffering what I call Content Attention Deficit. One of the most promising growth areas within the B2B marketing mix is working with influencers. In our research we found that 77% of marketers say their prospective customers rely on advice from industry experts. and 96% of marketers that engage influencers consider their program to be successful. Trusted experts that have the attention of customers can help B2B brands attract and engage potential customers in more meaningful ways. But what are the best ways to engage with B2B influencers on LinkedIn? How are B2B brands successfully working with influencers to achieve marketing goals using the LinkedIn platform? To help B2B marketers think about how they can better engage with influencers on LinkedIn, here are several examples of how TopRank Marketing and a few clients are doing just that: 1. Give the Gift of Recognition to Influencers For small B2B brands and those of any size that do not have relationships with influencers, a good starting point to warm up the influencer community is to recognize them. When you come to a party bearing gifts, it makes an impression and with influencers, it's no different except instead of a bottle of spirits, you're giving the gift of recognition. For our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, we followed our own best practices and identified 20 top B2B influencer marketing professionals working for B2B brands and published a list in the report and as a blog post. Sharing that list on LinkedIn while tagging each person along with a small infographic featuring the group provided relevant and credible recognition. The result was tens of thousands of views on LinkedIn, hundreds of reactions and over 50 comments. More importantly, the post helped generate goodwill among those mentioned, inspiring new connections, conversations and engagement opportunities. 2. Grow Credible Awareness of a Brand Solution Mitel wanted to create awareness, credibility and consideration of their Remote Working Solutions and what better way to do that than by engaging remote work experts in conversations around topics that highlight the issues and solutions so many companies are considering in today's new normal. A variety of remote work influencers and content formats were used to accomplish program awareness including a livestream video broadcast on LinkedIn. To showcase the topic of remote work with credibility, several paid influencers were engaged to share their expertise along with a Mitel executive on a LinkedIn Live. With an audience of professionals, Linkedin was the perfect place to highlight remote work conversation and in a format that is increasingly important for B2B engagement  - live video. While there were multiple influencers and content formats involved with this program, the LivesStream on LinkedIn had the highest engagement of all, helping Mitel achieve meaningful their awareness, credibility and consideration goals. 3. Increase Brand Engagement with Authentic Stories While LinkedIn is the most relevant platform for reaching business decision makers, reaching and connecting with both marketers and sales professionals has become increasingly difficult due to  information overload. LinkedIn also faced this challenge, even on their own platform.  In order to reach business decision makers in a meaningful way, LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Solutions set out to create a social influencer content campaign characterized by: Increasing engagement and help humanize LinkedIn as a brand by partnering with well respected industry experts to share real-life struggles, stories and obstacles with a focused audience.  Driving new audiences to targeted Showcase Pages via the influencer’s audiences (that were not already following or engaging with the LinkedIn brand). Continuing to nurture and grow relationships with sales and marketing influencers as part of an ongoing influencer program. Engaging the audience in-channel on the LinkedIn platform (versus sending to alternate content elsewhere). Since much of B2B marketing is more mechanical than meaningful, LinkedIn decided to forego marketing and sales tips content and emphasize stories from respected influencers about experiences they've had in their careers. Influencers were asked to share: A defining moment in your career and how it shaped you as a marketer or sales professional. One thing NOT on your LinkedIn profile that people should about you? One rising star in your field that you’d like to recognize? What makes them amazing?  By making the shift to a combination of professional and personal content, we were able to better engage the audience around their own professional opportunities and provide them a platform to engage directly with people that they respect.  With the goal to drive authentic engagement, on platform, between LinkedIn and their customers, the reach from influencers' brand mentions exceeded 54 million and there was a 1,000% increase in post engagements over the previous 12 months. This tactic was also part of an ongoing influencer marketing program that won the ANA B2 Marketing Award.  While it would be expected that LinkedIn working with a top B2B influencer marketing agency like TopRank Marketing and a premium group of influencers would achieve results like these, the overall story about the opportunity with B2B influencer marketing is a bit different. The State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report found that while 12X more marketers who run ongoing influencer engagement efforts are very successful compared to those who run periodic campaigns, only 19% of B2B marketers are running ongoing influencer programs. 4. Improve Reach of a Brand Webinar Prophix software was looking for more more interesting ways to get the attention of LinkedIn followers of the brand to help promote an upcoming brand webinar about the 2020 CFO Benchmark Report. Since the amount of content being published on LinkedIn has risen 50% year over year, the competition for organic attention has too. Fortunately, LinkedIn offers an opportunity for members or brands to upload vertical PDF files to create a carousel of messages that can tell a story or communicate a series of connected messages very different than what the normal feed can. For the webinar in question, a key financial industry influencer, Jack McCullough of the CFO Leadership Council was engaged to collaborate on the report highlighted in the webinar and was also featured in the carousel promotion. The same 3rd party credibility effect that helped the report and webinar also provided validation to the LinkedIn post which had over 1,500 organic impressions and referred nearly 200 visitors to the registration page. 5. Connect Brand Executive with Influencers Research has show that B2B buyers favorably view brands with senior executives that engage on social media. In an effort to connect with customers while also creating relationships with respected industry influencers, the CEO of HRS engages in content creation and sharing on social networks like LinkedIn. In this example, Tobias Ragge posted an article on his LinkedIn profile page featuring a group of travel and tech industry influencers to provide them with recognition in the context of topics important to the HRS brand and customers. By featuring relevant industry influencers in content from the CEO of the company, HRS was able to inspire meaningful engagement and goodwill with these respected voices as well as to build influence for the CEO as well. Before you get started with B2B influencer engagement on LinkedIn, it's essential that you have a documented influencer marketing strategy. For the most successful B2B influencer marketers, our research found that having a documented strategy (68%) is one of the key differentiators over less successful marketers (25%) so it's a very important step. Here are some basic questions to get you thinking about developing your own B2B influencer marketing plan: Topic - What topic do you want to be influential about? Influencers - Identify, and qualify relevant influencers Collect - Activate influencers for a project or program Co-Create - Collaborate on content: text, audio, video, interactive, live Publish - Will content live on LinkedIn, off or both? Promote - Promote via brand LinkedIn page, influencers, ads Optimize - Monitor tracking URLs, LinkedIn engagement, adjust Of course if you are looking for assistance in understanding what role influencer marketing can play in your B2B marketing mix, be sure to reach out. The post 5 Case Studies on How to Optimize B2B Influencer Engagement on LinkedIn appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing News: B2B CMOs Plan 2021 Spending Rise, Influencer Marketing’s Pandemic Strength, & YouTube’s Top-Performing Ads

  • Friday 28th August 2020
The Majority of B2B CMOs Expect to Increase Their Spending on A Variety of Digital Channels Next Year Nearly 69 percent of B2B marketing CMOs will increase digital advertising spending in 2021, including email and mobile marketing, paid search, website ads, organic SEO, and social media marketing, according to recently-released survey data from Gartner of interest to digital marketers. MarketingCharts US B2B Digital Advertising Thrives amid the Coronavirus as Traditional B2B Spend Plummets B2B firms will spend over $8 billion on digital advertising in 2020, a 22.6 percent increase from 2019's total, according to newly-released forecast data, also showing that 43 percent of U.S. B2B marketers said they plan to reallocate live event spending to content creation. eMarketer Engagement with sponsored influencer posts doubled during lockdowns Between March and July 2020 sponsored influencer posts saw a five-fold increase in interactions, reaching 57 million in July, according to recently-released report data from Shareablee. Business of Apps Enterprise CMO Survey: COVID-19's Impact on Budgets and Tactics 61 percent of enterprise CMOs said they created special customer communication during the pandemic, topping the list of actions taken by large global firms, with 47 percent noting that they deployed customer sentiment tools, while 42 percent developed scenarios for planning purposes, according to recently-released survey data. MarketingProfs Facebook launches a Shop tab in its app, just like Instagram Facebook has rolled out a global test of its shopping feature — Facebook Shop — occupying its own new tab in the platform's app, in a move aligning in-app purchasing features with those already present in its Instagram offering, the social media giant recently announced. The Verge In-App Bidding Gathers Steam, But Adoption Looks Nothing Like Header Bidding On The Web More digital advertisers who utilize mobile app ad buys are embracing real-time bidding programmatic-like auctions, according to MoPub, in a shift that could affect how marketers allocate spending. Ad Exchanger Email Falls Behind WhatsApp As Customer Request Channel: Study Small to medium size global businesses have seen rising use of digital communication channels during the pandemic, with use of WhatsApp rising some 76 percent, SMS text by 56 percent, and traditional email 10 percent, according to recently-released survey data of interest to online marketers. MediaPost Which YouTube TrueView for Action Direct-Response Ads Are Tops So Far in 2020? Google's YouTube platform has released an algorithmic list of its top-performing ads that utilize the video giant's TrueView for Action automated bidding system, YouTube recently announced. Adweek U.S. Advertising Falls 14% In July, Most Moderate Rate Of Erosion Since March The largest advertisers and digital media helped overall U.S. advertising spending tally its best month during July since the effects of the pandemic began, as April's decrease of 35 percent in ad spending had fallen to 14 percent in July — two of several items of interest to digital marketing in newly-released report data. MediaPost Mobile ad spend jumps 71% amid pandemic recovery Spending on mobile advertising soared some 71 percent globally during the second quarter compared to 2019, with rates in the U.S. even higher at 77 percent, and a global increase of 8 percent over first-quarter mobile ad spending, according to recently-released study data. Mobile Marketer ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “business as usual” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Wendy’s Spices Up Other Brands’ Twitter Profile Pictures — AdWeek TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) / TopRank Marketing — 2020 Finalists and Winners - Content Marketing Awards — Content Marketing Awards SAP — 3 Actionable Insights with… SAP global CMO Alicia Tillman — The Drum Anne Leuman — What’s Trending: Make B2B Content More Memorable — LinkedIn (client) TopRank Marketing — B2B Marketers Lend Their Support to Influencer Programs — New Horizons Have you come across your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading our weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope that you'll return next Friday and tune in for another array of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: B2B CMOs Plan 2021 Spending Rise, Influencer Marketing’s Pandemic Strength, & YouTube’s Top-Performing Ads appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

10 Wise Quotes To Inspire Your Influencer Marketing

  • Thursday 27th August 2020
What will successful B2B influencer marketing look like in a post-pandemic world, and what can marketers do today to be ready? Here are 10 quotes from some of the best in the B2B influencer marketing business to inspire your marketing today and to prepare for the eventual post-pandemic landscape. 1 — Rani Mani of Adobe For Rani Mani, head of social influencer enablement at Adobe*, reaching out to uncover the heartfelt motivations, challenges, and aspirations of B2B influencers can be a great way to start building a long-lasting  marketing relationship. She shares additional insight in our recently-released 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report. [bctt tweet="“I often start my discovery conversations with influencers by finding out what really makes their heart sing — what does success look like to them?” — Rani Mani @ranimani0707" username="toprank"] 2 — Ann Handley of MarketingProfs Ann Handley, speaker and chief content officer at MarketingProfs sees empathy as key to all successful marketing efforts, whether they are of the B2B influencer marketing variety or more traditional approaches. “Start with empathy. Continue with utility. Improve with analysis. Optimize with love,” Ann has wisely suggested — advice that will well-serve marketers looking to embrace gratitude. [bctt tweet="“Start with empathy. Continue with utility. Improve with analysis. Optimize with love.” — Ann Handley @MarketingProfs" username="toprank"] 3 — Amisha Gandhi of SAP Ariba Amisha Gandhi, vice president of influencer marketing and communications at SAP Ariba* has observed that co-creating content with influencers offers an array of advantages. [bctt tweet="“Working with influencers, to co-create content, delivers value and can inspire audiences to take action.” — Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi" username="toprank"] 4 — Tom Treanor of Arm Treasure Data For Tom Treanor, global head of marketing at Arm Treasure Data*, B2B influencers make good sense in an array of content areas businesses may already be involved with, as he outlined recently in "How B2B Influencer Marketing Offers Brands an Ideal Alternative to In-Person Events." [bctt tweet="“Consider how you work with influencers in areas such as podcasts, webinars, live-streams, ebooks, blogs and social content. Are there ways that your marketing can be improved with the help of industry influencers?” @RtMixMktg" username="toprank"] 5 — Ty Heath of LinkedIn Ty Heath, global lead of The B2B Institute at LinkedIn*, sees the power of B2B influencer marketing in building ongoing relationships, especially helpful for breaking through the noise in light of rising content attention deficit. [bctt tweet="“People can break through the noise. People trust people. Influence is about relationships.” — Ty Heath @tyrona" username="toprank"] 6 — Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing Our own CEO and co-founder Lee Odden has been instrumental in the development and growth of the practice of B2B influencer marketing, and has long seen its multiple advantages for not just brands and influencers, but also B2B buyers. [bctt tweet="“When planned and implemented effectively, B2B influencer marketing programs build trust and confidence for buyers, influencers and the brand.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden" username="toprank"] 7 — Tamara McCleary of Thulium Tamara McCleary, CEO at Thulium, sees the power of long-term, ongoing marketing efforts — especially when these types of always-on programs are applied to B2B influencer marketing. [bctt tweet="“A long-term influencer program will allow your brand to create true brand advocates, powerful brand evangelists, and raving fans.” — Tamara McCleary @TamaraMcCleary" username="toprank"] 8 — Ashley Zeckman of TopRank Marketing Our own senior director of digital strategy Ashley Zeckman sees B2B influencer marketing as a great way to collaborate around ideas, and a more effective alternative than traditional one-way "buy this" approaches. [bctt tweet="Rather than unapologetically telling us to buy a product, #B2B influencers are collaborating around an idea. - @azeckman #InfluencerMarketing" username="toprank"] 9 — Konstanze Alex of Cisco Systems For Konstanze Alex, head of global digital storytelling at Cisco Systems, trust and relationship-building are key when it comes to working with B2B influencers. [bctt tweet="“Regardless of which team at a brand engages with influencers, relationship and trust building should be a top priority” — Konstanze Alex @Konstanze" username="toprank"] 10 —Joshua Nite of TopRank Marketing Our own content marketing manager Joshua Nite recently shared his insight on how B2B marketers can best work with influencers during the global health crisis, and in "How to Nurture B2B Influencer Relationships During the Pandemic" he offered a smart take on the similarities between influencers and friendships. [bctt tweet="“Influence relationships operate by much the same rules as any friendship: Get to know the person, don’t talk about yourself too much, give something before you ask for anything, and be sensitive to their emotions and needs.” @NiteWrites" username="toprank"] Walk Your B2B Influencer Marketing Walk via GIPHY Using the wise advice we've highlighted here from Rani, Ann, Amisha, Tom, Ty, Lee, Tamara, Konstanze, Ashley, and Joshua, you can walk your B2B influencer marketing walk with efforts that will take you on down the line to new heights in 2021 and beyond. Whether you work with a top B2B influencer marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing or utilize your own team, now is an ideal time to reach B2B influencers and work together to drive digital brand conversations. * Adobe, SAP Ariba, Arm Treasure Data, and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients. The post 10 Wise Quotes To Inspire Your Influencer Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

5 Refreshing Examples of Imaginative B2B Marketing To Inspire You in 2021

  • Wednesday 26th August 2020
What will it take in 2021 for B2B marketers to break through the mundane and reach the sublime? Post-pandemic success isn’t likely to come for those who settle for the same old B2B marketing efforts, even if some do have a lengthy track-record. Looking ahead to an as-yet unknown new B2B marketing landscape can be a bit of a guessing game, however examining powerful award-winning marketing efforts can at least offer us a glimpse of how imaginative storytelling on a global scale is likely to play a greater role in what eventually emerges. Let's jump right in and take a look at five examples of the type of imaginative and refreshing marketing efforts that may play a greater role in the future of B2B marketing. 1 — IBM's Code & Response IBM used an original documentary 73-minute film to celebrate the creativity and compassion of tech developers around the world, and the effort led to the company's IBM Developer unit launching a four-year Code and Response initiative aimed at helping communities needing critical aid. IBM's 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge encourages developers to build solutions for everything from COVID-19 to climate change, and offers an open-source technical library filled with online tutorials, code, and tactical insight. The film has won more than 80 awards from The Webby Awards to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and is part of a broad campaign that incorporates a wide variety of digital imagery, video, social promotion, a dedicated micro-site, and more. 2 — SAP's Tech Unknown Our client SAP’s ongoing #TechUnknown podcast series — hosted by Tamara McCleary — has utilized industry experts to drive fascinating discussions "From the Edge of Next" in an easy to consume entertaining and educational  format. Recent episodes explore intelligent spend management, why employee experience matters in a newly remote world, and how intelligent analytics can help unearth hidden treasure in business data. A case study, "B2B Podcast Engages Thought Leaders, Reaches Millions, Smashes Download Benchmarks by Double-Digits," also digs into the podcast series and its continuing success. 3 — Microsoft's Changing the Game Garnering over a billion impressions, Microsoft's vast and award-winning Changing the Game initiative centered around the company's efforts to help gamers of all abilities play and compete in new ways. Incorporating social media efforts, mainstream media conversations, and a Super Bowl spot, Microsoft's efforts surrounding the launch of its Xbox Adaptive Controller show a glimpse of how post-pandemic marketing campaigns may increasingly look. Changing the Game continues to pull in awards, including the recent The One Show 2020 CMO Pencil for Microsoft chief brand officer Kathleen Hall. “The success of the campaign stems from the XAC being true to our DNA, from how the product was developed at a hackathon to sharing it with the world at the Super Bowl through the stories of real children, showcasing that ‘When everybody plays, we all win.’," Hall noted. 4 — Omidyar Network / Thomson Reuters Foundation's #COVID-19: The Bigger Picture Impact investment firm The Omidyar Network — established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar — and the Thomson Reuters Foundation joined together for #COVID-19: The Bigger Picture, a photojournalism initiative examining the human impact of the pandemic. The project incorporates a five-part series of photo essays and a global photography award, and highlights the increasing importance powerful visual digital assets will have in marketing during 2021 and beyond. It also speaks to how a bespoke awards event can create additional engagement opportunities, as we outlined for client Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) in "Case Study: Unique Influencer Content Campaign Drives Awareness, Engagement, and 6-Figure Leads." “This pandemic is a global crisis like no other, affecting every person on the planet," Antonio Zappulla, Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO observed. "The world is grappling daily to understand its scale and severity against an onslaught of information and misinformation. It has never been more critical to lean on the power of journalism excellence to cut through the noise with accurate and impartial storytelling. With the Foundation’s legacy and global reach, we are proud to be part of such a critical and innovative project,” Zappulla added. 5 — GoDaddy's 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Survey For its 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Survey, GoDaddy sought to learn how the global health crisis has affected businesses, and reached out to more than 5,000 small business owners worldwide in an effort that produced a 35-page report, a series of videos, and other social-media-friendly content. How B2B firms conduct business with small businesses can be a microcosm of the broader B2B marketing landscape, and GoDaddy's survey offers a variety of helpful insight including findings showing that one in six have begun a new venture during the pandemic. "This underscores the resilience of the entrepreneurial spirit and offers some hopeful insight into their collective future," Melissa Schneider, GoDaddy vice president of global marketing operations observed. Slingshot Your Post-Pandemic Marketing To New Heights via GIPHY The examples we've looked at here from IBM, SAP, Microsoft, Omidyar Network / Thomson Reuters Foundation, GoDaddy and others can help inspire us as we make the move to 2021, and by using some of the award-winning methods these firms have harnessed, we can better adapt to an eventual post-pandemic B2B marketing landscape. We hope you’ve found at least a few new B2B marketing ideas among those we’ve gone into here, that you’ll find them useful as you create new campaigns, and that they’ll also help build your own team’s knowledge. If you are looking for help with your own B2B marketing efforts, check out our new groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, and contact us to find out why top brands from Adobe and LinkedIn to Dell and AT&T have chosen TopRank Marketing. The post 5 Refreshing Examples of Imaginative B2B Marketing To Inspire You in 2021 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Marketing Lessons from Lockdown: What My 3-year-old Has Taught Me

  • Tuesday 25th August 2020
“Our children can be our greatest teachers if we are humble enough to receive their lessons.” Wise words from author Bryant McGill. These last few months of lockdown, while challenging, have brought forth some very inspiring lessons from my almost 3 year old that I hope can inspire you: His fearless attitude, his openness to learning, his inquisitive nature and his no-yielding passion for everything he does. Be Fearless Unless we’re talking about cooked carrots, my little guy is about as fearless as they come. Whether he’s full-speed sprint-vaulting (without success) over two storage bins, or sticking his entire face into the pool water, only to come up coughing, nothing deters him from the next obstacle. If you had the complete absence of fear like a toddler, what would you do differently? Would you have that tough conversation with your co-worker? Would you put 20% of your budget to testing a new tactic or ad type? More on strategic testing here. [bctt tweet="“If you had the complete absence of fear like a toddler, what would you do differently? Would you have that tough conversation with your co-worker? Would you put 20% of your budget to testing a new tactic or ad type?” @ElizabethW1057" username="toprank"] Be Teachable One of my greatest joys is watching my littles learn. So when my 6-year-old ‘teacher’ waves shape flashcards (her idea!) and little man rattles off ‘square,’ ‘cirkl,’ ‘imon’ and ‘entagon,’ my heart beams! This genuine excitement for learning is something we cannot allow ourselves to lose in our adulthood. Consider pushing your limits by: Opening your eyes to more diverse perspectives (fantastic, free series on Diversity and Inclusion here from LinkedIn (client)). Truly absorbing and applying critical feedback from a team member. Attending a marketing conference or honing a soft skill, like emotional intelligence. Exploring a new personal hobby. Did you know play is a critical component of success? Always ask questions This learning mode leads me to my next lesson from my little man: Always ask why. How come I can’t sleep in your bed? Why do we have to shut off the light? Are there ghosts in my closet? What about under the bed? Why can’t I have another drink of water? Do you think the spider we saw outside followed us in the house? Can you tell bedtime is a thing over here? Our latest influencer campaign killed our reach goal by 1790%. BOOM. Don’t high five and mark it down as a win. Ask WHY? Why did we get such outstanding reach? Was the topic just perfectly relevant for the moment: remote work amid COVID-19 world? Did we earn partnerships with just the right influencers? Was one specific tactic more successful than another within the campaign? Use your inquiry as fuel to optimize your next program. Why NOT take that 1790% up to 2790%? Love what you do Ever try to interrupt a 3 year old mid-song? Or while he’s ‘tractoring” in the sandbox. I do not advise it. One of the most important lessons we can take from our kids on this account is passion! Do what you love, or don’t do it. If you find yourself in a rut or simply see an opportunity to make coming to work a more joyful experience, examine your organizational culture. Is it really a fit? If you’re not doing what you love right now, maybe one of these positions on our team is a fit? [bctt tweet="“One of the most important lessons we can take from our kids on this account is passion! Do what you love, or don’t do it.” @ElizabethW1057" username="toprank"] Lessons in Lockdown When we all look back in 20 years at the forced togetherness of 2020 we probably won’t be thinking about 72 time-outs or fighting over tablets. We’ll remember the invaluable time we’ve spent together: watching our children grow up-close, deepening our family relationships and how it opened our eyes to some of life’s most simple, yet powerful lessons. What lessons have you uncovered in lockdown? Tell us in the comments section below. The post Marketing Lessons from Lockdown: What My 3-year-old Has Taught Me appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

5 Steps for a More Powerful B2B Content Marketing Strategy

  • Monday 24th August 2020
Content Marketing continues to be a driving force behind meaningful B2B marketing that powers marketing and business growth. According to research by HubSpot, 70% of marketers actively investing in content marketing  and there's no sign of a slowdown, especially as SEMrush research has found, marketers are focused on using content to generate more quality leads (75%), attract more traffic to their website (71%), improve brand reputation (56%), and improve customer engagement and loyalty (45%). The problem is, many of those marketers are not creating best answer content experiences. Creating useful content by itself is not an effective strategy in a world of brand distrust, content attention deficit and the distractions brought by a global pandemic. Being the best answer for your customers means being found and also delivering on expectations. Creating findable, credible content that is also useful and experiential is at the center of what being the best answer means for marketers. Content is the common denominator between the building blocks of creating best answer experiences including SEO and social for findability as well as influencer marketing and earned media for credibility. Video and audio driven content formats and even interactive are what help deliver on experiences. Unfortunately, many B2B marketers don't have the resources or insight to bring these essential elements together for their content marketing strategy. To help create the foundation for providing customers with best answer content experiences, here are 5 steps for developing a more powerful content marketing strategy: Step 1: Ideal Customer Profiles Content Marketing is essentially connecting customers with relevant information in a way that provides mutual value for both customers and brands. While content informs, it also influences readers to the logical conclusion to buy – directly or indirectly. The most effective content marketing efforts are thoughtful about understanding the people the brand is trying to engage. To do that, there are a few key questions that should be answered: What are your customers’ content preferences? How do they discover, consume & share content? Who are they influenced by? What questions do they need answered during the buying cycle? What content formats are most compelling (audio, video, text, long/short form, interactive)? The answers to questions like these can help B2B marketers make important decisions about their content marketing strategy, social media channels of focus and measurement via social monitoring and web analytics. Documenting ideal customer archetypes involves collecting data, aggregating and analyzing it into profiles to help marketers understand expectations, goals, problems and solutions that can be addressed through experiential content. The first step is to collect data you already have on existing customers that exemplify ideal characteristics such as profitability, low support costs, referrals and retention. Additional internal sources include web analytics data from brand websites to identify KPIs that lead to ideal customer acquisition. Social media monitoring and analytics data can also provide insight into ideal customer behaviors. Influencer Marketing platforms can help identify the key voices that have the attention of customers on the topics relevant for the brand solution. Additional tools include competitive search and social media research services, social media monitoring tools and keyword research tools. You can also survey your customers to identify what social media and content sites they prefer, who they are influenced by and the types of content that is most valuable to them. Step 2: Topics of Influence, Search and Social Driven by a desire to connect customers with the information they need to make B2B buying decisions, content marketers dedicate substantial resources to creating information and media that engage. Understanding target customer interests and the language they use to think about the problem/solution involved with your offering are an important step in optimizing content for discovery through search, social media and influencers. With the pandemic driving virtually all B2B activities online, many buyers discover new services through search engines. They also look for recommendations from influencers and discuss what they find via search on social networks, forums and blogs. Search engine optimization best practices call for topic research so that content can be optimized for what’s relevant to customers and the language they actually use when searching for solutions. Because B2B buyers are active and influenced by social content, it’s important for B2B marketers to understand social topics as well as search keywords. What buyers search on Google and what they discuss on social networking or Q/A sites like Quora are not always the same. SEO focused topics help inspire creation and optimization of content for discovery via search engines. Social media focused topics help guide the content and messaging approach on relevant social channels. Topics of influence help marketers identify the people that are most trusted and therefore can be engaged to co-create and promote content to audiences that are interested. This way, when B2B buyers search a category for solutions, they see “Brand 123” in a prominent position. When that buyer looks at social content like blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn or video for the topic, Brand 123 appears there as well. When B2B buyers see their search and social findings match with what they see trusted industry experts advocating and what is covered in industry publications, it creates and incredibly powerful combination. Step 3: Editorial Plan & Content Mapping The implementation of a content strategy, ideal customer profile and search/social/influencer topics is through the Editorial plan. Most B2B marketers engaging in content marketing have adopted the same best practices used by publishers to create engaging information and media for a specific type of audience. The Editorial plan covers any kind of content that tells the brand story to the customer segments being targeted. Such content plans factor in original website and blog content, curated content from other sources, influencer contributions, repurposed content from inside the organization and content published on other websites or other brand web properties. The editorial plan also influences the content created for social media specific purposes such as blog posts, Tweets, Facebook Status updates, LinkedIn forum posts, YouTube videos, and influencer activations on social channels. In order to coordinate the connection between the ideal customer profile guided Editorial Plan and the actual content, it should be mapped. Many SEO practitioners already do this with keywords and associate target keyword phrases with specific web pages or categories of pages. This is useful for making sure all target concepts are accounted for with on-page optimization and can be modified as content or target keywords change. If there is no content for a target keyword to be mapped to, then it’s added to the content creation plan. Mapping content according to the ideal customer profile is very similar. Existing content is audited for its ability to address the information needs of target customers across the buying cycle. If there are gaps, then new content is created to address those needs. In a coordinated Social, SEO Influencer Marketing effort, the Editorial Plan and Content Mapping process occurs first, then the SEO audit. Step 4: Content Promotion “Build it and they will come”. It’s a well-known and often over-used quote used to describe the fallacy of great content as a marketing tool. Content isn’t great until someone shares it. And they share it, and so on and so on. With B2B content marketing, great content is the beginning not the end objective. An effective Content Marketing strategy includes information about the customer, search and social topics as well as topics of influence, editorial plan and a plan for promoting all the high quality content being created.  With content attention deficit and information overload experienced by so many, buyers can easily be distracted. It’s important for B2B brands to stand out and stay connected with findable, credible content that delivers and experience. Here are four basic reasons for promoting great content as well as making it findable: Many B2B buyers still rely on information to be pushed to them because finding and trusting new sources on an ongoing basis isn’t practical. Promoting content through channels where a social network has been developed can lead to exposure, traffic and links. Content promotion can inspire syndication and citations from other blogs and online media. Brand trust is an issue, so when credible experts share and advocate, customers listen. A particularly effective model for coordinated Social, SEO, Influencer and Content promotion is a Hub and Spoke. Depending on your content strategy and target audience, the hub might be a resource center, a blog, Facebook Fan Page, YouTube Channel or a Website. The spokes are distribution and promotion channels leading to off-site networks or communities. Understanding the communities and influencers and involving them in both content development and promotion keeps topics fresh, relevant and trusted as well as interesting for the community to promote to others. Step 5: Mining Search, Social & Influencer Analytics As B2B marketers implement a coordinated Best Answer Content Experience effort, there’s a cyclical publishing, promotion, analysis and improvement process that can boost effectiveness: Marketing Optimization. It starts by co-creating topic specific content with influencers, optimizing it for search and promoting it to relevant social channels. As the brand content gets noticed, it is shared and engaged with creating more awareness of the brand as a source of useful information on the desired topics. At the same time, a persistent effort is made to grow social network connections and relationships with relevant influencers. Increased exposure of brand-authored content will attract more subscribers, followers, mentions and citations of brand messages. Increased links & social exposure by influencers and social networks will attract even more search, link & social traffic. Following that, improved web traffic & community engagement actions will provide the brand with data that can be used to research, develop & further grow social networks for content, SEO and expand influencer relationships. With the information gained from community data, editorial optimization plans can be refined for more effective content creation, influencer activation, search optimization and content promotion. While these 5 steps are relatively basic for more advanced B2B marketers, hopefully the model will provide you inspiration or fuel to start intentionally and consistently incorporating Influencers, Social Media and SEO in your B2B content marketing. You’ll reach more customers where they’re looking with experiences that will inspire more effective engagement, revenue and retention outcomes. The post 5 Steps for a More Powerful B2B Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

5 Essential Features That Every Ecommerce Site Needs to Have

  • Tuesday 8th September 2020
In today’s digital world, eCommerce websites aren’t anything uncommon … The post 5 Essential Features That Every Ecommerce Site Needs to Have appeared first on Digital Agency Network.

How to Engage on LinkedIn Like a Pro – 15 Proven Strategies that Work

  • Monday 28th September 2020
The key to success on LinkedIn is learning how to find, connect with and engage the right people in authentic ways. The best part is that LinkedIn is not as noisy or saturated with spam content and digital noise as some of the other social networks you may be getting tired of by now.           Related StoriesTop 10 LinkedIn Power Tips to Ignite Your Brand and Lead Generation [podcast]Do You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook]10 Reasons You Need an Audience FIRST Digital, Social Media and Content Marketing Plan [podcast + ebook] 

Facebook Advertising: Do These 5 Things Before Spending a Dime

  • Monday 21st September 2020
When done right, Facebook advertising can be one of the best paid media options available to businesses of all sizes today. Facebook advertising is a marketing tactic every marketer is talking about it, but very few actually know how to drive real business results. Unfortunately there are far too many "experts" preaching and teaching "how to get rich and famous overnight using Facebook marketing. The sad truth is these same experts are confusing new social media marketers more than helping.           Related StoriesDo You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook]Marketing Conversion Funnels – The Ultimate Get Started Guide for NewbiesWhat is a Buyer Persona and Why It is Important For Your Marketing [free template] 

Inside Influence: Rani Mani from Adobe on the B2B Influencer Marketing Advantage

  • Monday 28th September 2020
On the heels of the release of the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report and the announcement that several of our clients (LinkedIn and Alcatel Lucent Enterprise) have won awards for B2B influencer marketing campaigns, I am very happy to share the launch of a new video interview series: Inside Influence: Interviews with B2B Influencer Marketing Insiders. What is Inside Influence? This is a show that goes behind the scenes of B2B influencer marketing and showcases conversations with insiders from the world of B2B influencer marketing. We'll be talking with practitioners at B2B brands of all kinds and sizes to answer the rising number of questions about working with influencers in a business context. The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report has provided data for B2B brands to benchmark some of their strategies, operations and best practices. The report has also helped drive more conversations around B2B influence and the Inside Influence series aims to answer questions, provide deeper insights and also highlight many of the talented and unsung heroes of influencer marketing in the B2B world. First up is the amazing Rani Mani, Head of Employee Advocacy at Adobe where among many responsibilities, she manages the B2B Adobe Insiders program which I am very happy to be a member of. We've had a chance to talk to Rani before in this interview and with Inside Influence you will get to see the conversation happening on fresh topics that matter today and into the future. In this first episode of Inside Influence, we talked to Rani about 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report The role of influence across the customer lifecycle How influencers bring freshness and creativity to brand content The benefits of working with B2B influencers during the pandemic How influencers can help humanize B2B brands, including Adobe Top challenges working with B2B influencers Insights into the B2B Adobe Insiders community The future of B2B influencer marketing What are some of the other outcomes B2B brands can expect from working with influencers? Rani: For us it’s been thought leadership in terms of getting some fantastic minds to tap into, you’ve got your pulse on what’s happening in the community and you’re able to anticipate what’s coming up around the corner. Also reach of audience that you normally wouldn’t is also a really nice benefit. Something we’ve seen firsthand is crisis management and reputation management. When folks are misconstruing who we are and what we stand for, it’s so nice to have trusted advisors swoop in and save the day and explain what’s happening in a way that’s relatable and digestible for the everyday person. And it’s so much more believable when it comes from a peer vs. an executive from the company or a brand channel. In the report, you mentioned one of ways influencers help B2B marketers create advantage is that influencers bring a heavy dose of freshness and creativity to the content a brand produces. Can you share an example of that influencer creativity in action with Adobe? Rani: I have so many. One is what we did a couple of years ago with you and your company, TopRank, when we did this very unique and interactive digital storytelling around reimagining and reshaping customer experience management and the future of CXM. We leveraged several brand personalities such as Ann Handley, Scott Monty and Shama Hyder. That was a very interesting piece of content that lives on today. In addition we went to New York, you were there with us, for Advertising Week and we had all of our Adobe Insiders on camera at NASDAQ where you gave your top challenges in advertising and also gave predictions on what the future of advertising would look like. That was super compelling because not only did it produce wonderful wisdom for the industry, I think you had mentioned, what a fabulous experience it was for the individuals going through it. You know our good friend and colleague Abhijit Bhaduri, he is out of India and does these fantastic visually compelling sketchnotes when he does his content. It’s really a wonderful way to get through thought leadership and it really cuts through the clutter out there in the digital area. Similarly there’s Kathleen Hessert and her GenZ Group, they do a lot of infographics chock full of memes and emojis that relate to that generation, very fun and playful. Adobe has benefitted from a lot of fresh, creative content from all of you. Let's talk about the future of B2B influencer marketing - what do you think will change in 2021, What needs to change? Rani: I really think the power is shifting. Individual influencers are taking more control and have the opportunity to be more selective about who they do work with and what kind of work they do. I think we’ll see a lot more influencers standing up for their creative freedom and creative license and I think we’ll see less prescriptive micromanagement from brands. I think the high quality influencers simply won’t stand for that any more. You're not here as order takers, right? You’re here to collaborate and to co-create and you’re here to be thought partners, not to be puppets. I love that statement and I feel that is the evolution that’s going to happen. It’s already underway but I think it’s going to go in full force as we move past the pandemic and into the future. Check out the full video interview with Rani Mani here. For more B2B influencer marketing insights and her overall awesomeness, you can connect with Rani here on Twitter and LinkedIn. Next up on Inside Influence we will be talking with with Garnor Morantes, Group Marketing Manager at LinkedIn and the brains behind the LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Solutions influencer community. The post Inside Influence: Rani Mani from Adobe on the B2B Influencer Marketing Advantage appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing News: Rising B2B Ad Spend, Enterprise Chatbot Usage Doubles, B2B’s Purpose Gap, & New Tools From Google & Facebook

  • Friday 25th September 2020
US B2B Digital Advertising 2020 B2B advertisers are relying more than ever before on paid ads, with a 22.6 percent increase for 2020 in B2B digital ad spending, contributing to a total spend that is expected to top $8 billion in the U.S. alone by the end of the year, according to newly-released forecast data of interest to digital marketers. eMarketer The 'Purpose Gap' Facing Many B2B Brands 86 percent of senior-level B2B professionals see clear brand purpose articulation as important, however just 24 percent see activated purpose within their organization — two of several insights of interest to online marketers in new survey data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and others. MarketingProfs How Bad Data Hurts B2B Companies 88 percent of B2B marketers see quality data as important in executing a successful account-based-marketing (ABM) strategy, while some 27 percent aren't certain how much of their data is accurate, according to recently-released survey data. Demand Gen Report Chatbot Usage Has Nearly Doubled in B-to-B Marketing This Year The use of chatbots in conversational marketing has risen 92 percent year-over-year, while live chat usage expanded by some 35 percent and social media interactions grew by 31 percent over the same period, according to recently-released survey data. Adweek Facebook launches Facebook Business Suite, an app for managing business accounts across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger Facebook has rolled out its tool for businesses to manage multiple Instagram, Facebook and Messenger profiles and pages in a unified location, with the release of its Facebook Business Suite utility, featuring post scheduling, ad creation, and insight data, the social media giant recently announced. TechCrunch Global brands advance towards 'holy grail' of cross-media measurement An ambitious global cross-media measurement proposal framework featuring a new publisher log-based solution utilizing Virtual ID (VID) has been put forth as part of a major push by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and brands, the WFA's Cross-Media Working Group recently announced. The Drum Google Combines Custom Affinity and Custom Intent Into Custom Audiences Google has rolled out changes giving advertisers new Google Ad audience features across display, YouTube and discovery campaigns, refining and combining previously separate audience intent and affinity tools, the search giant recently announced. Search Engine Journal LinkedIn launches Stories, plus Zoom, BlueJeans and Teams video integrations as part of wider redesign LinkedIn (client) has rolled out its ephemeral video and photo LinkedIn Stories feature, expanded platform search functionality, and video chat for direct messaging — three of an array of new additions of interest to digital marketers, the firm recently announced. TechCrunch New open source robots.txt projects Google has released a specification testing tool for websites seeking to adhere to its Robots Exclusion Protocol, along with a parsing and matching utility for improved robots.txt web crawler indexing information, the search film recently announced. Google Webmaster Central Blog What Should B2B Vendor Websites Focus on as the Pandemic Affects Purchase Behavior? 68 percent of B2B buyers say that their purchase cycles have lengthened since 2019, with the most common buying journeys lasting between one and six months, while 53 percent consider web search a top research method, followed by 41 percent who consider vendor websites a top evaluation method, according to recently-released data. MarketingCharts ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “lifestyle brands” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Overwatered Houseplants Hoping Woman Goes Back to Work Soon — The Hard Times TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Lee Odden — Stop Telling The Same Old Story — Mark Armstrong Nick Nelson — 10 Tips for Changing the Way You Think About Your Small Business — Small Business Trends TopRank Marketing — Why Convenience Is Essential — Forbes Have you found your own key marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thank you for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope that you will return again next Friday for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: Rising B2B Ad Spend, Enterprise Chatbot Usage Doubles, B2B’s Purpose Gap, & New Tools From Google & Facebook appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

What Does Award-Winning B2B Influencer Marketing Look Like?

  • Wednesday 23rd September 2020
In a time of increased competition and uncertainty, standing out is more important than ever. Of course there's plenty of B2B marketing that stands out, but what kind performs? Is it ads, content marketing, SEO, social, ABM or influence? At TopRank Marketing we make it our business to deliver on and exceed expectations for content experiences that will inspire customers through influencer marketing. But what does award-winning B2B influencer marketing look like?  How can you infuse your own campaigns with the type of powerful elements that combine to deliver stellar marketing performance? To help answer those questions, let’s take a look at two highly-successful efforts from our clients LinkedIn and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) to find out what common elements both campaigns share to make for decidedly uncommon success. Award Winning B2B Influencer Marketing in Action We were thrilled that the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) B2 Awards awarded TopRank Marketing its silver winner in the social media category, for our work with LinkedIn in the successful “LinkedIn’s Social-First Approach to Engaging Influencers & Audiences Alike” campaign, and that the 2020 Content Marketing Awards has selected TopRank Marketing as a finalist in its best content marketing program in technology, for our work with Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) in the successful “IT Vanguard Awards” campaign. The ANA’s B2 Awards recognize the top performing B2B marketers with a unique focus on driving demonstrable business results, and in 2020 entrants submitted in 47 categories which have evolved to reflect the growing role of B2B marketing and rapid industry changes. The 2020 Content Marketing Awards recognize and award the best content marketing projects, agencies and marketers in the industry each year, recognizing all aspects of content marketing, from strategy to distribution, from design to editorial, and is the leading international awards program for corporate content creation and distribution. LinkedIn’s Social-First Approach to Engaging Influencers & Audiences Alike The average daily time that a user spends on social media is approximately 153 minutes (Statista). And, with 706+ million registered users (63 million of which are in decision-making positions), the LinkedIn platform presents a big opportunity for brands to engage their target audience. (LinkedIn). But reaching and connecting with both marketers and sales professionals has become increasingly difficult due to the overload of information thrown at them each day. The brand LinkedIn also faced this challenge, even on their own platform. So, in order to better reach these decision makers, LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Sales Solutions set out to create a social-first campaign that would communicate authentically to then attract attention to specific LinkedIn Showcase Pages. Goals included: Increase engagement and continue to humanize LinkedIn as a brand by partnering with well respected industry experts to share real-life struggles, stories and obstacles with a focused audience. Drive new audiences to the targeted Showcase Pages via the influencer’s audiences (that were not already following or engaging with the LinkedIn brand). Continue to nurture and grow relationships with the influencers themselves as part of an ongoing influencer program. Engage the audience in-channel (versus sending to alternate content off platform). LinkedIn Campaign Insights & Strategy To create and optimize this social-first influencer content campaign, specific insights and strategies were leveraged: High-level audit of the LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Showcase pages to identify the most engaging content based on: Content Length Topic Visuals Featured Influencers Best Publishing Time/Day Identification of best-fit target influencers based on: Audience Relevance Participation Likelihood Best Stories Relevance and/or admiration of target audience Research into appropriate hashtags for the campaign. Based on these insights a campaign approach was created, including: A messaging/post formula including: Context at the beginning of each post Tagging the contributing influencer Showcasing their story/insights Utilizing hashtags Compelling visuals      Activation of influencers when posts went live. Influencer Content Campaign Concept In order to better reach an overloaded audience, we focused on the idea of partnering with influencers to make professional networking more personal vs. more traditional “best practices” content that fills most professionals' social feeds. Instead, relevant influencers we asked to share real-life stories based on 3 key questions: Describe a defining moment in your career and how it shaped you as a marketer or sales professional. What is one thing not on your LinkedIn profile that people should know about you? Who is one rising star in your field that you’d like to recognize? What makes them amazing? By shifting from purely professional content to a combination of professional and personal, LinkedIn was able to better connect with the audience around their own professional opportunities and provide them a platform to engage directly with experts they respect. B2B Social Influencer Campaign Results Results for this influencer marketing and social media program exceeded all target goals. Below is a breakdown of the results: #MyMarketingStory 239% above reaction benchmark 348% above comment benchmark 150% above shares benchmark 100% influencer activation around the campaign #MySalesStory 247% above reaction averages/goal 215% above comment averages 400% above shares averages 100% influencer activation around the campaign Influencer Metrics 14 influencers activated (leading to 75+ over time) 228 total social posts (excludes LinkedIn data) 853 engagements (excludes LinkedIn data) 5.84M estimated reach (excludes LinkedIn data) LinkedIn Social Influencer Campaign Insights The goal of this campaign was to drive authentic engagement, on platform, between LinkedIn and their customers. With over 706 million registered users including 63 million in decision-making positions, LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Sales created a powerful and successful social-first campaign leveraging LinkedIn Showcase Pages by connecting with content on both a personal and professional level. LinkedIn Looks at What’s Next in Marketing Content Together “At LinkedIn, we’ve worked with the TopRank Marketing team for about two to three years now, and what I really like about working with TopRank is they really, truly come to the table as collaborative partners,” Judy Tian, marketing manager at LinkedIn observed. “I’ve worked with a number of agencies where in marketing, I’m asking for deliverable A and they just give me deliverable A. But what’s great about TopRank is they also think about B, C, and D and really try to push my thinking of what’s next,” Judy added. “I think in marketing you are only as good as the creativity of your team and your ideas. The more voices that we bring to the table and the more proactiveness and willingness of everyone contributing ideas, the better off your marketing campaigns will be, and for us at LinkedIn, TopRank has truly become an extension of our own marketing team,” Judy explained. TopRank Marketing & Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Not Afraid To Innovate: The IT Vanguards Awards Program Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE), a 100-year-old business technology company, decided it was time to raise the stakes in sales funnel management. While ALE had hundreds of contacts, the company was not achieving the desired traction with their current methods. Their big idea was a recognition program for IT network and IT enterprise communications leaders. By celebrating industry leaders, ALE hoped to forge stronger relationships with clients and prospects — and build a more robust contact list. But how could ALE make sure that this seed of an idea produced the desired fruit — not only in its inaugural year but in years to come? The company looked to TopRank Marketing to help them create an innovative program, unlike anything that had been done before. TopRank Marketing provided end-to-end support for the initiative, collaborating with ALE on branding the IT Vanguards program, and then executing a strategic marketing plan which included influencer engagement, press releases, LinkedIn Pulse content, emails, and blogs. The IT Vanguards website doubled as a way to collect nominations and celebrate the winners. Once the winners were announced, the IT Vanguards website was populated with the honorees’ top leadership advice. These insights positioned both the winners and ALE as thought-leaders while also providing meaningful value long after the close of the program. All milestones — from announcing the program to celebrating the winners — were promoted using a strategic blend of content marketing, influencer marketing, and social media. The content was amplified on social channels through paid ads as well as posts by ALE employees, program judges, honorees of the IT Vanguards program, and relevant third-party organizations and industry associations. Results of the IT Vanguards Program By all definitions, the IT Vanguards program was a resounding success. With more than 50 quality, relevant nominations, the IT Vanguards program was an effective means to identify and celebrate the best IT network and IT enterprise communications leaders. The program also excelled as a way to generate brand awareness and engagement. There were nearly 14,000 combined landing page views during ten weeks of contest promotion. On social channels, the program boasted 100% engagement from program judges and honorees through activities such as direct conversations with the ALE and TopRank Marketing teams, social sharing, and internal sharing. The program also spurred third-party recognition of the honorees’ prestigious achievement, including press releases and special ceremonies held by the honorees’ local governments, school boards, and companies. These activities further heightened the credibility of the IT Vanguards program and the market leadership position of ALE. Lastly, the IT Vanguards program delivered in terms of business development. Using the IT Vanguards program to celebrate the IT network and IT enterprise communications leaders, ALE generated opportunities for meaningful conversations with prospects. The company attributes three million in the pipeline to the campaign. We’re honored... ...to win the ANA B2 Awards silver award for our combined efforts with LinkedIn — an especially strong campaign as we outlined above, and to be named a finalist at the 2020 Content Marketing Awards in the best content marketing program in technology category for our joint efforts with ALE. Get Your Own Award-Winning Results From TopRank Marketing TopRank Marketing, the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report, delivers award-winning work to clients including LinkedIn, AT&T, Adobe, SAP, Dell, 3M, monday.com and others. Contact us today to discover how we can help create award-winning marketing for you. For additional new case studies and to learn more about B2B influencer marketing trends, best practices and predictions for the future, be sure to access the all new 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, which features insights from hundreds of marketers surveyed as well as expert analysis by the TopRank Marketing team and contributions from top B2B influencer marketing professionals from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, Adobe, Traackr, IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more. The post What Does Award-Winning B2B Influencer Marketing Look Like? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

5 Ways B2B Marketers Can Boost Productivity and Focus

  • Monday 21st September 2020
Across every industry, profession, and discipline, work productivity is in peril. How could it not be? Outside distractions have mounted over the course of the year, from a global pandemic to rampant social unrest to a headline-hijacking presidential election, all in the midst of economic turmoil. Through it all, many of us have been acclimating to a remote work setting that upends our established workflows and routines. Frankly, we all deserve a pat on the back for being able to stay focused on work at all. So go ahead and give yourself one. But with plenty left to accomplish here in 2020, there’s little time to sit back and take a beat. Marketing is a field that’s especially susceptible to negative productivity impacts at a time like this. We’re scrambling to adapt to changing circumstances for our companies, clients, and strategies. We’re rewriting best practices on the fly. And in a job where creativity is often a driving force, we’re trying to keep our minds clear and energized enough to produce unique and high-quality content. If you find yourself looking for new ways to power up your team’s productivity (or your own) and get more done each day, here are a few suggestions that might help. Boosting B2B Marketing Productivity Based on my own experiences and some tips shared by others around the web, here are five techniques that are working when it comes to finding your groove and producing great work in tough times. 1 — Find and Preserve Your Productivity Pockets Right now, each day can feel like a constant barrage of forces beckoning us away from the work we are trying to get done. Setting aside everything happening in the outside world, there are the things going on in your own space — maybe kids at home from school, or increased familial commitments, or a roommate who’s sharing an “office” (living room) with you. As I wrote when sharing my own experiences as a content marketer in the pandemic, I believe it’s essential to carve out “productivity pockets” — dedicated periods of time where you can completely tune into your work, uninterrupted. Use this pocket to tackle your most intensive tasks. It may be that your circumstances aren’t conducive to routinely scheduling this productivity pocket during standard work hours. In these cases, aim to create asynchronous structures that enable active collaboration with your coworkers, even if it’s not simultaneous. [bctt tweet="“It’s essential to carve out 'productivity pockets' — dedicated periods of time where you can completely tune into your work, uninterrupted. Use this pocket to tackle your most intensive tasks.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"] 2— Scrutinize the Purpose Behind Meetings and Video Calls At Digital Summit MPLS 2019, Workfront’s Mike Riding shared marketing productivity tips and noted that almost two-thirds of marketers point to meetings as the No. 1 barrier that gets in the way of their work. One year later, the environment has changed but that underlying issue has not; if anything, it’s magnified. Zoom fatigue is real, y’all. Riding listed five reasons why meetings exist: Give information Get information Develop ideas Make decisions Create warm, magical human contact I would argue that in many cases, only the last one requires an actual meeting (and while the warmth and magic may feel a bit more artificial through a computer screen, they are still plenty valuable). Now more than ever, his recommendations for managing meeting overload are worth heeding: Shave meeting times from 60 minutes to 30 minutes when possible. Decline meetings that don't have a set agenda. Stack meetings back-to-back so as to minimize unproductive gaps in between. And, as suggested above, block out time for your real work that is off-limits for scheduling meetings. 3— Consume New and Unfamiliar Content Yes, it’s worthwhile to keep an eye on what your peers in the B2B marketing world are doing to stay informed and inspired. But I would also advise moving outside of your typical lane or comfort zone. Look into successful examples of B2C marketing campaigns to see how brands are connecting with their customers in empathetic, humanized ways. Watch a show or movie on Netflix that is beyond your usual genre mix. Play a story-driven video game. Read a new book. Sameness, silos, and unrelenting routines can be destructive for creativity and productivity. As we like to say around here … Break free! 4— Unplug During the Weekend Just as it’s important to have dedicated and uninterrupted work time, it is equally important to have dedicated and uninterrupted non-work time. The nature of our current situation is that work/life balance can be exceedingly difficult to maintain. If you can, try to keep the weekends to yourself. This doesn’t mean you need to lay around and do nothing all day on Saturday and Sunday. In a recent post at Forbes on developing weekend habits to boost happiness and productivity, Syed Balkhi offers up ideas like going on solo “dates” and conducting weekly personal check-ins. The idea is to occupy yourself with enjoyable and invigorating activities, so you can return to the grind on Monday morning feeling refreshed and motivated. Bottom line? It’s tough to be professionally productive if we aren’t personally content and fulfilled. 5— Manage Attention, Not Time We recently helped our clients at monday.com put together a collection of tips on maximizing creative team output from a varied field of influential experts. All of the insights are worth perusing for those interested in the subject at hand, as is the accompanying guide, 7 Habits of Highly Productive Marketing and Design Teams. One concept that was raised multiple times in these contributions was a shift in mindset: from time management to attention management. “The biggest challenge for getting important work done is not that we don’t have enough time. It’s that we have too many distractions,” said author and speaker Maura Nevel Thomas. “This is especially true for creative professionals who need to maximize their imagination, innovation, and inspiration. Instead of time management, focus on attention management.” “One often-undervalued component of this is daydreaming,” she added, “which is when new ideas and insights form — a necessity for creative professionals.” This ties back to the first recommendation above. You may very well produce more (and better) output during the one hour in the evening where you can fully focus and commit yourself to the work, as opposed to three hours during the day where you’re being continually pulled away by family, emails, chat messages, and meetings. [bctt tweet="“The biggest challenge for getting important work done is not that we don’t have enough time. It’s that we have too many distractions.” — Maura Nevel Thomas @mnthomas" username="toprank"] Find Your Edge and Finish Strong in 2020 Talent, tactics, technologies … they all contribute to successful results for B2B marketing organizations. But heightened productivity is that one difference-making intangible that can really set apart high-performing teams. Finding and maintaining a strong level of productivity may require different mindsets and techniques than it did a year ago. Identify habits and routines that work for you and your teammates, get locked in, and produce your best work for the rest of the year and beyond. Want more guidance on doing more with less? Uncover 5 Time-Saving Tips to Overclock Your B2B Marketing Efficiency from our own Lane Ellis. The post 5 Ways B2B Marketers Can Boost Productivity and Focus appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing News: 3 B2B Pandemic Marketing Studies, YouTube Launches Shorts, Twitter Tests Audio & New Emoji Performance Report Data

  • Friday 18th September 2020
Now Is the Time for B2B Content During the pandemic, video and webinar content has seen the largest increase in views according to recently-released survey data, while views of unique content assets during March through May climbed by 40 percent compared to earlier in 2020, with the average number of sessions per visitor up some 43 percent. ANA Google Shares Exclusive Data On How B2B Buyers Changed, Adapted During COVID-19 64 percent of B2B buyers have increased their use of online video during the pandemic, with overall online marketing use rising by 88 percent including 45 percent who started using digital for the first time during the global health crisis, according to newly-released report data. MediaPost Instagram Adds 'Suggested Reels' Display in Main Feed, Launches Monthly Reels Trend Insights Instagram has expanded the visibility of its short-form vertical video feature Reels on the platform, bringing a prominent new suggested Reels section and the ability to recommend Reels clips for inclusion as featured content, the Facebook-owned social media firm recently announced. Social Media Today Building YouTube Shorts, a new way to watch & create on YouTube YouTube just launched a beta trial of its new YouTube Shorts 15-second vertical video creation function — presently only for users in India with a global rollout planned — joining Instagram’s recent test of its similar Instagram Reels mobile-friendly capability. YouTube Twitter's Testing Audio Clips in DMs with Users in Brazil Twitter has begun testing the ability to record up to 140 seconds of audio for inclusion in direct messages sent through the social platform, expanding on similar functionality recently added to public tweets, Twitter recently announced. Social Media Today Podcasts outperform traditional media, digital display on brand awareness, study says Podcasts have driven B2B brands to 77 percent greater levels of brand awareness, according to recently-released survey data, a rate as much as 30 times higher than brand awareness lift rates achieved by other media channels. Mobile Marketer Facebook Announces New Limits on How Many Ads Pages Can Run Concurrently Facebook has given notice that advertisers will face new limitations on the number of allowable simultaneous page ads, and that four new tiers of advertiser categories will be implemented in February 2021, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today Emojis in Email Subject Lines: Do They Affect Open Rates? [DATA] Recently-released survey data from nearly four million emails shows where emojis tend to work and not work, including a look at the diminutive visual embelishments' sometimes-sizable impact on click-through-rates (CTRs) and other metrics. Search Engine Journal Forrester: How to differentiate your brand with ethical marketing Forrester has taken a look at the importance of transparent pricing, social responsible, fairness, and honesty and their significance when it comes to differentiating brands, and CMO examines recent findings of interest to digital marketers. CMO How B2B companies are adapting customer engagement strategies during Covid 46 percent of B2B executives say marketing spending is being scrutinized more closely for its direct sales impact during the pandemic, while 50 percent say its important for their firms to redefine their mission, purpose, and offerings — two of numerous findings of interest to digital marketers in newly-released survey data. Edelman ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at the “sales impact of advertising” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Amiga Fast File System makes minor comeback in new Linux kernel — The Register TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Lee Odden / TopRank Marketing — CMWorld 2020: Break the Rules and Market Bravely in 2020 — Content Marketing Institute (client) Lee Odden — CCO: Lee Odden - Use Influencers Effectively [VIDEO] — Content Marketing Institute Lee Odden — The Juice Newsletter — Joseph Jaffe TopRank Marketing — El 91% de los responsables de Marketing buscan influencers con audiencias relevantes para sus marcas [In Spanish.] — Puro Marketing Have you found your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks for joining us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope that you will return again next Friday and tune in for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: 3 B2B Pandemic Marketing Studies, YouTube Launches Shorts, Twitter Tests Audio & New Emoji Performance Report Data appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

10 Bad Habits Digital and Content Marketers Must Leave Behind [podcast]

  • Saturday 10th October 2020
Bigger marketing and business results come when we get comfortable being uncomfortable. We need to stop old habits that hold us back. We need to embrace new mindsets, thought patters and daily habits that move us forward to achieve our goals!            Related Stories20 Questions You Must Answer Before Creating a Content Strategy [podcast + free guide]Do You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook]Organize Your Content Marketing Assets in 3 Easy Steps [podcast + free worksheets] 

How to Preserve Your Personal Brand and Relationships in a POLITICAL Minefield

  • Monday 5th October 2020
When it comes to politics and personal branding, do the two go together? Or should you keep your mouth shut and keep politics off of your personal and business social timeline?           Related Stories10 Reasons You Need an Audience FIRST Digital, Social Media and Content Marketing Plan [podcast + ebook]Do You KNOW Your Customer? 10 Things YOU Must Know About Your Audience [podcast + ebook]Welcome to the Participation Age: Is Your Digital Brand Ready to Engage? 

B2B Marketing News: Demand Gen Adapts, B2B Buyers Taking Longer, Microsoft Digital Marketing Center Beta

  • Friday 9th October 2020
The Gartner Hype Cycle for Artificial Intelligence, 2020 - Chatbots are projected to see over a 100% increase in their adoption rates in the next two to five years and are the leading AI use cases in enterprises today. Forbes Bing is now Microsoft Bing as the search engine gets a rebrand - Microsoft doesn’t go into detail about why it added the company’s name to the Bing brand, other than it reflecting “the continued integration of our search experiences across the Microsoft family. The Verge 68% of B2B buyers say the length of their purchase cycles has increased over last year - The COVID-19 pandemic has led many B2B firms to lengthen their purchase cycles and to expect more personalized attention from vendors, according to recent research from Demand Gen Report. MarketingProfs How B2B Demand Generation Has Adapted. Despite the impact of COVID-19, budgets for demand generation are holding up more than B2B marketing as a whole. Fewer than 1 in 5 (18%) B2B marketers say that they expect their budgets for demand generation to decrease, whereas 3 in 10 (31%) say their overall marketing budgets will fall. MarketingCharts 2021 B2B Content Marketing: What Now? [New Research] - Find out what content marketers are thinking, doing, and not doing when it comes to content creation and distribution, metrics and goals, team structure and outsourcing, budgets and spending. Content Marketing Institute Study: Comparing the data from 8 SEO tools - The numbers you'll find don't match up. SEO metric tools are for general trend analysis and competitor benchmarking, not on specific numbers. Search Engine Land Snapchat is pitching high-frequency, high-reach ‘Platform Burst’ ad campaigns - The new offer is a media buy advertisers can use to ensure their campaigns reach a certain amount of people in the app frequently over three or five days, according to three agency execs who are considering it. Digiday Nearly half of consumers will try new brands if the ad is relevant - Consumers are spending more time at home with online content, especially connected TV (CTV) and social media. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the average time interacting with online content has doubled globally. Marketing Dive Video ads drive a 48% higher sales rate than static ads, study says - WARC forecasting an 18.3% global increase for e-commerce ads this year even as overall ad spending drops 8.1% Mobile Marketer Facebook Announces Integration of Messenger and Instagram Direct, Adds New Messaging Features. When complete, WhatsApp will also join Facebook’s messaging integration upgrade. Social Media Today Google, The Trade Desk, MediaMath, Amobee, Adobe and Adform Lead The Pack In Gartner’s 2020 Ad Tech Magic Quadrant - New entrants include Beeswax, Centro, Mediaocean and Zeta Global.  Ad Exchanger Microsoft Digital Marketing Center is now available in open beta in the U.S Microsoft’s Digital Marketing Center for search and social management adds features, opens beta. The free platform is now open to U.S. small businesses. Search Engine Land ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: "In trying to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, it’s important for marketers to draw a line between cool and creepy." by Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Home Depot's Sold-Out Giant Halloween Skeletons Creep Into Brand' Social Feeds - Budweiser, Slim Jim, Natty Light and others are getting into the Halloween spirit—but might just turn people green with envy. AdAge TOPRANK MARKETING IN THE NEWS: Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Getting Better All the Time — LinkedIn (client) Lee Odden - The Norse God, Lee Odden on Fitness and B2B Influencer Marketing - CoronaRadio 8.18 Lee Odden - 365 Marketing Quotes to Keep You Fired Up All Year - Skyword Have you found your own top marketing stories from the past week of industry news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing news, and we hope you'll return again next Friday for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: Demand Gen Adapts, B2B Buyers Taking Longer, Microsoft Digital Marketing Center Beta appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

50 Top B2B Content Marketing Influencers To Follow in 2021 #CMWorld

  • Wednesday 7th October 2020
The all-virtual Content Marketing World 2020 is upon us. As the largest content marketing conference in the world, CMWorld brings together a stellar array of talented professionals who are loaded with curiosity for future trends, marketing knowledge, and aspirations for new successes in the post-pandemic world. For the past 12 years leading marketers from all over the world have gathered in Cleveland, Ohio for one of the world's strongest content marketing events, and for this unusual year Content Marketing World is entirely virtual. Readers of our blog know we have a long history with the conference starting at the beginning, with 10 years of speaking and attending along with seven years of partnering with the Content Marketing Institute to develop speaker and influencer content marketing campaigns. A TopRank Marketing tradition that has been imitated in recent years but never truly duplicated is our annual list of content marketing experts ranked according to their social influence, a helpful compilation derived from the hundreds of excellent #CMWorld 2020 speakers. List Methodology: For this list we utilize the Traackr influencer marketing platform to filter the content marketing experts who are speaking at the current year's Content Marketing World conference using a large number of criteria including the relevance of the individuals to the topic, the degree to which their networks engage, the size of their networks, and other factors. Online data is pulled from blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms. The focus topic in question is most definitely "content marketing," and everyone included on this list is: A speaker at #CMWorld 2020 Ranked in the top-50 for "content marketing" according to relevance, resonance, reach and audience metrics People always thank me for including them in these lists and there's no thanks to be given other than to the people who worked hard sharing useful knowledge about content marketing to their social channels, in blogs, videos, podcasts, and online in general. Many thanks go to all the people who are actively sharing knowledge about content marketing by engaging and helping others with helpful opinions, insights and expertise on the social web. This list is only a starting point to help expand your content marketing universe. In this year's list there are familiar faces and quite a few new entries. We plan to learn new lessons from these 50 content marketing influencers and hope you’ll do the same throughout the rest of the year and into 2021 and beyond. 50 Content Marketing Influencers Speaking at CMWorld 2020 Julia McCoy @JuliaEMcCoy CEO, Express Writers Presenting: How to Build an Online Audience Through Powerful, Consistent Search Optimized Content Creation Christopher Penn @cspenn Co-Founder & Chief Data Scientist, Trust Insights Presenting: Practical Applications of AI in Content Marketing Lee Odden @leeodden CEO, TopRank Marketing Presenting: Influencer Marketing Unleashed: Top Tactics for Success from Global B2B Brands Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael Content Marketing Agency CEO & CMO Influencer, Marketing Insider Group Presenting: Content Optimization & Distribution Strategies - Mapping Content to the Buyer Journey (and ROI) Pam Didner @PamDidner Author, Founder & VP of Marketing, Effective Sales Enablement Presenting: 3 Trends You Can't Ignore As a Content Marketer Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Pam Dinner Christoph Trappe @CTrappe Chief Content & Marketing Officer, The Authentic Storytelling Project Presenting: How to Make Sure Your Company Ranks in Voice Search Ann Handley @MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Ann Handley Presenting: Precedented: 5 Principles of the Last Chaotic 10 Months That Are the Very Key to Content Marketing Success in the Next 10 Years Viveka Von Rosen @LinkedInExpert Co-Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, Vengreso Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Viveka von Rosen Presenting: Why Your B2B Sales Force Should Be Your Greatest Content Distribution Channel Bernie Borges @bernieborges Chief Customer Officer, Vengreso Presenting: How to Develop an Account Based Podcasting Content Plan that Drives Revenue Robert Rose @Robert_Rose Chief Strategy Advisor, Content Marketing Institute Presenting: Architecting Desire: A New Strategy for Content Marketing for the Next Ten Years Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Robert Rose Presenting: Content Marketing 101 – Let’s Begin Presenting: Content Marketing Strategy For Agencies – How To Create, As Well as Deliver, Content Marketing Strategy To Clients Presenting: Welcome to Content Marketing World 2020 Dennis Shiao @dshiao Marketing Consultant, Attention Retention Presenting: The Magic of Meetups: How to Use Meetups to Build Community, Drive Brand Engagement and Inform a Content Marketing Strategy Erika Heald @SFerika Marketing Consultant, Erika Heald Consulting Presenting: Content Marketing for Marketing Agencies: Make Your Services Sing Melanie Deziel @mdeziel Chief Content Officer, StoryFuel Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Melanie Deziel Presenting: More Brain, Less Storm: The Power Of The Creative Process Andrea Fryrear @AndreaFryrear Agile Marketing Coach & Trainer, Co-Founder, AgileSherpas Presenting: Persistently Agile: Why the Key to High Performance Marketing Lies with People Not Projects Jay Baer @jaybaer Founder, Convince & Convert Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Jay Baer Presenting: Courageous Content: 6 Ways to Get Noticed Amidst the Noise Jay Acunzo @jayacunzo Founder, Marketing Showrunners Presenting: Start Here: How to Make Things that Make a Difference by Changing How You Begin Andy Crestodina @crestodina Co-Founder & CMO, Orbit Media Studios Presenting: Google Analytics for Content Marketers: How to Optimize Content for Traffic and Conversions Presenting: SEO Workshop A. Lee Judge @ALeeJudge Co-Founder & CMO, Content Monsta Presenting: Ask Me Anything With A. Lee Judge Presenting: Be Content Jonathan Crossfield @Kimota Content Writer & Storyteller, Freelance Presenting: Show Your Work: How to Become a Fact-Checking Pedant (and Why You Should) Presenting: The Content Marketing Diamond Model for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs Kathy Klotz-Guest @kathyklotzguest Founder, Keeping It Human Presenting: Fearless Content Teams: Creating a Safe Place for Unsafe Ideas Joe Pulizzi @JoePulizzi Founder, Content Marketing Institute Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Joe Pulizzi Presenting: Keynote - Where Do We Go from Here? Disney, Diversification & The New Marketing Business Model Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz Virtual Keynote Speaker, iSocialFanz Presenting: What Podcasting & TikTok Can Teach Us About Creating Empathetic Content! Amy Balliett @AmyBalliett Founder & CEO, Killer Visual Strategies Presenting: Marketing to Gen V: Engaging the Visual Generation Rich Schwerin @Greencognito Senior Content Strategist, Autodesk Presenting: The Magic of Meetups: How to Use Meetups to Build Community, Drive Brand Engagement and Inform a Content Marketing Strategy Amanda Todorovich @amandatodo Senior Director of Digital Marketing & Health Content, Cleveland Clinic Presenting: #CMWorld Cleveland Clinic Health Summit Presenting: The Test of Time: Long-Term Success at the Cleveland Clinic Zari Venhaus @zvenhaus Director of Corporate Marketing Communications, Eaton Presenting: Developing Global Content for Local Audiences Amber Naslund @AmberCadabra Principal Consultant, Content Solutions, LinkedIn Presenting: Digital Doubt: Fighting Imposter Syndrome in a Hyperconnected, Content-Saturated World Luvvie Ajayi Jones @iLuvvit New York Times Bestselling Author & CEO, AweLuv Inc. Presenting: Keynote Nancy Harhut @nharhut Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, HBT Marketing Presenting: 10 Human Behavior Hacks that Make Your Email Crazy Effective Andrew Davis @DrewDavisHere Keynote Speaker & Best-Selling Author, Monumental Shift Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Andrew Davis Presenting: Limit Less: How Successful Brands Increase Their Revenue, Generate More Leads, and Spread Their Message in a Crowded Marketplace Cathy McKnight @cathymcknight VP of Strategy & Consulting, The Content Advisory Presenting: Learn How to Move from Mayhem to Momentum by Building a Content Strategy Presenting: Technology Forum: From Figuring Out Your Audience to Gaining Market Share - A Tech Company's Guide to Effective Content Marketing Tamsen Webster @tamadear Founder & Chief Message Strategist, Find The Red Thread Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Tamsen Webster Presenting: Pressure Test Your Message Val Swisher @valswisher Founder & CEO, Content Rules, Inc. Presenting: The Personalization Paradox Giselle Abramovich @GAbramovich Executive Editor of Enterprise Thought Leadershhip, Adobe Presenting: Trade Secrets: How the World's Most Successful Content Marketers Deliver Results Tim Riesterer @TRiesterer Chief Strategy Officer, Corporate Visions Presenting: Account Expansion: The Conversations, Content & Collaboration that Grow Customers Sydni Craig Hart @SydniCraigHart CEO, Smart Simple Marketing Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Sydni Craig-Hart Presenting: Compelling Multicultural Marketing: What You're Missing, What's Working Now and How to Get Results Ardath Albee @ardath421 Interim VP of Marketing, Modus Presenting: Account Expansion: The Conversations, Content & Collaboration that Grow Customers Presenting: Take a Sales Enablement Approach to RevOps Presenting: Use Serial Storytelling to Drive Demand for Complex Solutions Liz Willits @lizwillits Founder, Liz Willits Presenting: Email Automation Crash Course: How to Create Emails People Want to Read Zontee Hou @ZonteeHou Head of Strategy, Convince & Convert Presenting: Financial Services Forum Maureen Jann @NeoLuxeMo Chief Marketing Strategist, NeoLuxe Marketing Presenting: Content Marketing for Marketing Agencies: Make Your Services Sing Presenting: The Content Marketing Diamond Model for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs Doug Kessler @dougkessler Creative Director & Co-Founder, Velocity Partners Ltd Presenting: Let's Steal from The World's Most Awesome Content Jared Johnson @jaredpiano Founder & Content Producer, Shift.Health Network Presenting: #CMWorld Cleveland Clinic Health Summit Ashley Zeckman @azeckman Senior Director, Inprela Communications Presenting: Staying Power: How Authentic Storytelling can Transform Your Marketing from One-Hit Wonder to Lasting-Legend Ahava Leibtag @ahaval President, Aha Media Group Presenting: Writing with No Respect: Find Out What it Means to Me Christine Michel Carter @cmichelcarter Strategy Consultant, Minority Woman Marketing LLC Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Christine Carter Presenting: Creating Authentic Content for a $1.5 Trillion Audience Carmen Hill @carmenhill Principal Content Strategist & Writer, Chill Content Presenting: Combining Story + Structure to Create a Sustainable Content Marketing Strategy Laura Ramos @lauraramos VP & Principal Analyst, Forrester Research Presenting: Drive Your Content Transformation From The Bottom Up Shafqat Islam @shafqatislam Co-Founder & CEO, NewsCred Presenting: Ask Me Anything with Shafqat Islam & Alex Cheeseman Presenting: Beyond Breaking the Rules: Why Connections in Marketing Matter More Than Ever Jennifer Jordan Robustelli @jenastelli VP & Head of Content, USA, Babbel Presenting: Flood The Zone! A New System For Creating Compelling Social Video Jacquie Chakirelis @JacquieChak Director of Digital Strategy, Quest Digital Presenting: Even the best statistical analysis, no matter how deep and well-researched, can only take you so far in finding the people who you'll consider the most helpful and influential in your daily professional marketing lives, which is why we'd love it if you'd please share the name of content marketers that influence you most in the comments section below. To further your own content marketing expertise, here's a bonus list of some of our best recent posts about content marketing: How to Win at B2B Influence With The Magic of Content Co-Creation Your Guide to Effective Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing 5 Steps for a More Powerful B2B Content Marketing Strategy 7 B2B Content Marketing Tactics For Long Term Success How to Optimize Original B2B Research Content For Credibility and Impact A Day in the Life of a Content Marketer During the Pandemic: Challenges and Tips If you'd like to learn more about creating a successful B2B influencer marketing campaign, you're in luck! Our CEO Lee Odden will be presenting at Content Marketing World on the topic. Here are the details: Tuesday, October 13th – 4:00pm – 4:30pm Eastern Workshop with Lee Odden & Ursula Ringham, Global Head of Influencer Marketing at SAP Influencer Marketing Unleashed: Top Tactics for Success from Global B2B Brands We hope to see you virtually at the Content Marketing World conference, and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @toprank for real time updates during the conference. The post 50 Top B2B Content Marketing Influencers To Follow in 2021 #CMWorld appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

New Research: How B2B Content Marketers Are Impacted and Pivoting During the Pandemic

  • Tuesday 6th October 2020
Each year, Content Marketing Institute releases a new version of its B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, providing a timely contextual snapshot of the discipline at large and its ever-shifting landscape. Needless to say, this year’s edition hits differently. While there is always change and evolution afoot in the annual study’s findings, 2020 has been a year of unprecedented upheaval for our profession, along with most every other. The impact of COVID-19 on B2B content marketing is a direct and prevalent focus in CMI’s latest report, which helps leaders and practitioners in the field understand how their peers are reacting and adapting to a disruptive global event. B2B Content Marketing in the Age of COVID-19 You can find the full report here, but today I’ll share five particular stats and insights that struck me as noteworthy in the 11th Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report. Content strategies are changing, both short-term and long-term Slowly but surely, we’ve been making progress. Forty-three percent of respondents this year reported having a documented content strategy, which is a bit disappointing on its own, but encouraging when you looking at the running trend: 2020: 43% 2019: 41% 2018: 39% 2017: 37% That’s remarkably steady and consistent growth! I might argue we’re still lagging behind on the whole, but progress is progress. Having said that, it is a bit ironic that at a time where more B2B marketers than ever have gotten their strategy down on paper, we’re being forced to crumple it up and rewrite it. [bctt tweet="“It’s a bit ironic that at a time where more B2B marketers than ever have gotten their strategy down on paper, we’re being forced to crumple it up and rewrite it.” — @NickNelsonMN @CMIContent #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"] Maybe that’s a bit strong, but 70% of respondents in the CMI survey said the pandemic has had a major or moderate impact on their B2B content strategy. Two-thirds indicated that the nature of their adjustments are both short-term and long-term. With this in mind, if you’re among the majority that still hasn’t developed a documented content strategy, this might be a good time to flesh one out that strikes this balance between the big and small pictures. During times of turbulence (and long-distance collaboration), it’s always good to have a single source of truth. Last year I provided a simple three-point checklist for documenting your content strategy, and the guiding principles still apply. Adjustments to messaging and targeting are the top reactive priorities Asked about the specific changes their organizations have made in response to COVID-19, the top answer – selected by 70% of B2B marketers – was “Changed targeting/messaging strategy.” The most common answers after that were “Adjusted editorial calendar” and “Changed content distribution/promotion strategy.” Nothing too surprising about this. It goes without saying many marketing messages and campaigns that were conceived before the pandemic became irrelevant (if not blatantly tone-deaf) when the world was flipped on its side. Brands everywhere have been forced to fundamentally rethink what they’re saying, and who they’re saying it to. For that reason, I’m a little surprised that responses like “Reexamined customer journey,” “Increased time spent talking with customers,” and “Revisited customer/buyer personas” were all so low on the list. This does feel like a good time to get back in tune with the preferences and pain points that guide people toward our solutions. Measurement methods have mostly remained stable Another finding that stands out to me in the chart above is that “Adjusted key performance indicators” and “Changed content marketing metrics” were at the very bottom. For better or worse, it appears that most teams are sticking to the same yardsticks now as they were a year ago. Maybe that’s a good thing! If you’ve truly locked down your measurement strategy in a way that accurately proves out results and fosters constant refinement and optimization, it probably shouldn’t change based on outside circumstances. However, according to the 2020 Marketing Measurement & Attribution Survey from Demand Gen Report, 40% of marketers said their company’s current ability to measure and analyze marketing performance and impact “needs improvement,” while only 13% said they felt they were “excellent” in this regard. So perhaps reporting and analytics simply aren’t viewed as a priority at this time. I find that troubling, because in a time of widespread budget cuts and resource drains, the ability to demonstrate the revenue impact of marketing activities is arguably more important than ever. Content creation challenges, not pandemic-related issues, are holding back success Among those who rated their organization’s overall level of content marketing success in the past year as “Minimally Successful” or “Not at All Successful,” CMI broke down contributing factors in order to identify the most prevalent barriers. While the fairly broad “Pandemic-related issues” was available as an option, this was actually among the least common responses. At the top of the list, cited by 63% of laggards, was “Content creation challenges.” These challenges can take various forms (some of which can be doubly categorized as pandemic-related issues). “Our company needs more content. We serve a deep niche and few people understand our industry well enough to pop in and do small projects for us,” said one anonymous respondent quoted in the report. Said another: “Clients are getting bombarded with electronic information—especially now since in-person meetings and events are on hold. How do we create compelling content that gets distributed in a way that stands out from the clutter?” Virtual events and live-streaming increased — but not THAT much Among content types used by B2B marketers over the past 12 months, the biggest risers from last year are those you would expect: Virtual events/webinars/online courses increased from 57% to 67% Live-streaming increased from 10% to 29% These are hefty jumps … but they still don’t point to ubiquity, by any means. There remains untapped opportunity on the frontier of online experiences, although clearly it’s getting crowded in a hurry. The second quote shared in the previous section points to this challenge, which is at the same time both new and old. Break through the clutter and earn attention: Amidst so much transformative change, this eternal edict of content marketers stays the same. We’re currently just seeing it play out in a new environment. [bctt tweet="“Break through the clutter and earn attention: Amidst transformative change, this eternal edict of content marketers stays the same.” — @NickNelsonMN @CMIContent #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"] Virtual events and live-streams have much potential for engagement and interactivity. We might receive some inspiration on these fronts when the folks behind this report bring their anticipated annual event, Content Marketing World, into the virtual realm this year for the first time. It’s going down on October 13-16, and our own Lee Odden will be delivering a presentation: Influencer Marketing Unleashed: Top Tactics for Success from Global B2B Brands. As Lee will illustrate, influencer marketing should be a piece of the puzzle in forward-looking B2B strategies. Many of the other trends outlined here will converge and shape the future of content marketing. The post New Research: How B2B Content Marketers Are Impacted and Pivoting During the Pandemic appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Inside Influence: Garnor Morantes from LinkedIn on the Power of Always-On Influence

  • Monday 5th October 2020
Welcome to the second episode of Inside Influence: What's working and what's not inside the world of B2B Influencer Marketing. Each week we feature an interview with a B2B marketing insider on all things influence and a deeper dive into the insights found in the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report. This week, we're talking to Garnor Morantes, Group Marketing Manager at LinkedIn. Our team at TopRank Marketing has been fortunate to work with Garnor on an award-winning, ongoing influencer marketing program for LinkedIn over several years and his leadership has been instrumental in its success. Our conversation touches on: What Always-On influencer marketing is and why its valuable for B2B brands The challenges faced by campaign-focused influencer marketing efforts Advice for B2B marketers considering influencer marketing How LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Solutions (clients) has developed an influencer community with an Always-On approach Key statistics from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report How LinkedIn works with influencers to improve customer and prospect experience Whether marketers should pause or proceed with influencer marketing during the pandemic Who some of the rising star B2B marketing and sales influencers we should be paying attention to Predictions on the future of influencer marketing for B2B brands The work that we’re doing with influencers is not centered around campaigns, it’s centered around relationships. How would you explain an Always-On approach to Influencer Marketing to someone who is not familiar? Garnor: For us as we think about Always-On as a strategy, the biggest thing that comes to mind is that the work that we’re doing with influencers is not centered around campaigns,  it’s centered around relationships. What I mean by that is, who do we want to be working with, who do we want to tell our story, who do we want to engage with. It’s about building that relationship and finding people that are going to get mutual benefit out of this relationship and as a result we can have that type of engagement that isn’t just centered around different points in time like in a campaign based strategy. The other thing I think about when it's Always-On is really, are you activating this program through some channels that are always on? For us it’s our blog and our social channels and those are 24/7. I think that’s another way to think of an Always-On type of strategy. At LinkedIn Marketing and Sales you've take more of an Always-On approach to influencer marketing with some great results in terms of reach and engagement. Can you share a little bit about your objectives and approach? Garnor: Our objectives as we think about the influencer program is that it works really well in concert with our other programs, our other communities: customer advocates and even industry analysts is that we want to leverage and work with the influencer program in way that it is able to take the messages we want to deliver as a brand or business unit for Sales Solutions and Marketing Solutions, and empower those influencers to tell that story as well. Our objective (with influencers) is that they know what our story is, that they are familiar with it and can lend input into it as well. As I mentioned earlier, they have their own story to tell, their own brand, and their own narrative. So I feel that we are finding influencers that are already aligned with that message and that story. Our objective is that they know what our story is, that they are familiar with it and can lend input into it as well. They are the experts in many instances. They’re the feet on the ground who are talking to the marketers on a daily basis, talking to the sellers. So we want that feedback, that input into it. The objective is equally gathering that input, getting better at telling our story and developing our products and services, while at the same time empowering a set of advocates or people out there that have large followings, or developing followings or are just experts in their field to tell that story as well. That’s really at a high level the objectives we are trying to meet as we develop these programs. And we do that by keeping an eye out for the types of content that influencers might be creating that supports the message we’re telling. At the same time on occasion, creating some new campaigns in which we can arm these influencers with more information, with some assets that tell the story that we want to put out there - create some new content around that and have them be a key part of the delivery and the content creation. What do you think are some of the top challenges working with B2B influencers today? You put your message and your brand in the hands of someone else, what happens if that person says some things that are not in alignment with your brand? Garnor: I go back to what’s going on in society and really that backdrop that we all heavily need to consider with everything we’re doing these days. There is that risk: you put your message and your brand in the hands of someone else, what happens if that person says some things that are not in alignment with your brand? There’s a bit of that risk, there’s a bit of that challenge. For us, we have really placed a ton of emphasis on developing the trust and relationships with influencers - we feel pretty good about it, about where we stand, about the messages they're going to deliver and what they’re going to say. That’s a risk. Another challenge is one that you also mentioned earlier, is how do you find the right influencers? There’s so many people out there purporting to be experts. How do you find the right ones? We already talked about some of the ways to do that, being a more active part of the conversation. The number of B2B brands considering influencer marketing for the first time or elevating their efforts has actually increased in the past 6 months. At the same time, our research shows that 60% of marketers do not feel they have the right skills in house or capability to execute. What advice can you share with marketers considering an influencer marketing program? Garnor: I think the advice that I would give is take a moment and step back and not think of it as an influencer program. Think of it more as what is helpful for your buyers? What is important for your buyers and what they could benefit from? Start thinking about who the audience truly is and as a result, who might be able to speak to them better than you can? When you stop and take a look at that, then you start thinking about who that audience truly is and as a result, who might be able to speak to them better than you can? For example, if you think about our business lines, the ones that I support, we’re talking about marketers and sellers. Yes I work in marketing, but I don’t have the necessary skill sets that I think a lot of these marketers are asking for. So then you start to take a look at what are they asking for? What are those conversations and who is a part of that conversation and can we have a relationship with them? I think that’s the place to start. It removes some of the overwhelming nature of what setting up an influencer program can be. If you just think about who are the sales leaders and people who are experts in sales I should be talking to? Because that’s my end goal, to talk to sellers. Let me start there, let me build a relationship with them. Let me see what they need, or what they have to offer and what I can offer them. That can do some of the upfront work of identification of influencers and also what ultimate output, methodology and process are going to work best because it happens from those discussions and relationships. I think that’s the advice I would give. Check out the full video interview with Garnor here: To connect on all things B2B marketing with Garnor, be sure to follow him on LinkedIn. Next up on Inside Influence we will be talking with with Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP about the behind the scenes role of influencer marketing operations from strategy to software. Be sure to check out our previous Inside Influence interview with Rani Mani, from Adobe. The post Inside Influence: Garnor Morantes from LinkedIn on the Power of Always-On Influence appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing News: LinkedIn Tops Data Trust Survey, More Text Allowed In Facebook Ads, MarTech Spend Climbs To Pre-Pandemic Levels, & Google’s New Tables Tool

  • Friday 2nd October 2020
Facebook Is Removing Its Restrictions on Text Content in Facebook Ad Images Facebook will be relaxing strict text-in-ad-image ratio enforcement, while still encouraging the use of images that contain text in less than 20 percent of the image's visible area, a move that could pave the way for new more text-heavy image options for marketers. Social Media Today Google launches a work-tracking tool and Airtable rival, Tables Google has rolled out Tables, a utility that provides new work-tracking options for uses including customer relationship management (CRM), project management, lightweight database without coding, automation and more, the search giant's Area 120 incubator recently announced. TechCrunch Instagram Launches New Reels Updates, Including Longer Clips and Improved Trimming Instagram has launched a revision to its short-form vertical video offering and TikTok competitor Reels, which doubles the video length to 30 seconds and extends the recording timer function, among other refinements that come after Reels recent launch, the Facebook-owned firm announced. Social Media Today Consumers and marketers at odds over ad preferences, Kantar study finds Advertisers favor utilizing traditional mainstream social media platforms for digital ads, while consumers tend to be the most positive about ads seen on newer platforms, one of several findings of interest to online marketers in recently-released global survey data. Marketing Dive Pinterest officially launches new Story Pins format in beta Pinterest has launched Story Pins, its take on the widely-utilized stories format, incorporating a wide array of content types from text and images to video, and redefining the format by removing the ephemeral element present in offerings from other social media platforms, the firm has announced. TechCrunch The B2B content that can help your sales team close Survey data from multiple studies shows how B2B marketers are successfully creating content to be used at various stages of the buyer journey, and where content marketing priorities have been during 2020. ClickZ LinkedIn Updates Marketing Partner Program with New Specialty Categories LinkedIn (client) has refined its Marketing Partner Program to better guide businesses to helpful resources and partners in categories divided into planning, execution, and measurement, the Microsoft-owned professional platform recently announced. Social Media Today New Research: 67% Of Marketers Negatively Impacted By COVID-19, But Martech Investment Continues Some 44 percent of marketers expect marketing technology spending levels to return to normal in 2021, while 67 percent also say that they have seen a negative impact due to the global pandemic in 2020, according to recently-released survey data. Demand Gen Report With real-world experiences scarce, consumers warm to immersive tech, Accenture study says 64 percent of top consumer brands have begun investing in immersive digital experiences, with the technology credited in boosting consumer purchasing confidence by 9 percent in the U.S., while some 47 percent of consumers noted that they would pay more for products that could be personalized with immersive technology, according to newly-released survey data of interest to marketers looking to implement immersive experiences in the B2B realm. Marketing Dive Americans Trust LinkedIn With Their Data, But They Are Wary of Facebook LinkedIn (client) is the most trusted social media platform among U.S. users when it comes to personal data protections, topping Pinterest, Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube, and Instagram, while Facebook was the least-trusted platform, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. Adweek ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “flipping the script” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Neuralink Brain Chip Comes Preloaded with Memories of New U2 Record — The Hard Times This Can’t Be Real! 9 Mind-Blowing Links That Will Take You To Visible’s Website Where You Can Purchase Their Services — The Onion TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Strengthen Your Strategy — LinkedIn (client) Lee Odden — 12 Tips for Tracking and Measuring Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns — Databox TopRank Marketing / SAP — Improving Live Events When You Take Them Virtual with Ursula Ringham & Rachel Miller — Golden Spiral Have you found your own top marketing stories from the past week of industry news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing news, and we hope you'll return again next Friday for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: LinkedIn Tops Data Trust Survey, More Text Allowed In Facebook Ads, MarTech Spend Climbs To Pre-Pandemic Levels, & Google’s New Tables Tool appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Your B2B Marketing Book of Life: 10 Inspiring B2B Marketing Tips From Family History

  • Wednesday 30th September 2020
What can B2B marketers learn from family history research? Family history research offers a surprising number of valuable lessons for marketers looking to hone existing skills and build new ones. For starters, genealogy research can teach us about: Knowing Your Marketing Roots Sharpening Your Research Skills Building Enduring Passion Citing, Celebrating & Honoring Your Marketing Sources Learning & Networking With Fellow Professionals at Industry Events Adhering To Guidelines & Goalposts Publishing & Preserving For Posterity Sparking Interest For Future Marketers Breaking Through With Hyper-Personal Relevance Peering Inside Your B2B Marketing DNA Aside from childhood school family history projects, I first stared researching my roots in earnest in 1994, and a decade later for several years I worked as a professional genealogist. It's still a passion, and a pursuit that has for millions of people of all ages around the world become not only one of the fastest-growing pastimes — spurred on by popular shows such as Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr., Who Do You Think You Are and others — but a multi-billion dollar industry. [bctt tweet="“Learning to sing one's own songs, to trust the particular cadences of own's voices, is also the goal of any writer.” — Henry Louis Gates Jr. @HenryLouisGates" username="toprank"] Let’s open your own B2B marketing book of life, with 10 tips genealogy offers marketers. 1 — Know Your Marketing Roots Family history gives researchers newfound understanding, insight, and appreciation for the very real people who form our own personal ancestry. Marketers too can gain a great deal by learning more about marketing through the lens of the people who played instrumental roles in marketing. Genealogy reminds us to take the time to learn about the origins of our particular marketing specialty. Are you involved in B2B influencer marketing? Learn about the professionals who first innovated B2B marketing by applying the strongest aspects of influencer marketing — people like our own TopRank Marketing CEO and co-founder Lee Odden. At its root the underlying truths of influencer marketing aren’t new at all, as I took to its ultimate conclusion in “10 Tips From Influencer Marketing’s Hidden 1,000-Year History,” with insights to help inspire your marketing from the likes of Hildegard von Bingen through Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum and David Ogilvy. Invest some time learning about people such as Edward Louis Bernays, the father of public relations, or even the early pioneers of the Internet and the web, who had such a profound effect on how marketers — and pretty much everybody else these days — perform work. Last year when the Internet turned 50, I wrote a celebration in "Classic Marketing Insights to Celebrate the Internet’s 50th Birthday," and took a look as some of the key pioneering figures. [bctt tweet="“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” — Winston Churchill" username="toprank"] Take-Away: The more you know your marketing roots the better your own marketing will be. 2 — Sharpen Your Research Skills At the heart of genealogy sits sharp research skills, to such an extent that many genealogists have to force themselves to occasionally stop researching in order to dedicate time to publishing the results of all that work. Marketing generally doesn’t involve nearly as great a percentage of time researching as genealogy, yet the benefits of strong research are undeniable, and are often what sets apart run of the mill promotional efforts from those that lead the industry and win awards. We've explored original research in various forms, and you'll find helpful information in the following articles from our archives: How to Optimize Original B2B Research Content For Credibility and Impact What You Can Learn from Competitive Research to Improve B2B Content Marketing Performance Always-On Influence: Why B2B Needs Brand Research 10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers [bctt tweet="“You have to know the past to understand the present.” — Dr. Carl Sagan" username="toprank"] Take-Away: Research is vital in marketing, so try incorporating more time to research in your marketing efforts, and to improving your research skills — because the smarter you are when it comes to research, the more efficient the process becomes. 3 — Build Enduring Passion Into Your B2B Marketing Are you being the best marketer you can be? Are you creating the kind of marketing your descendants will be proud of in 200 years, or at least be able to understand and feel some sense of compassion for? One key ingredient of successful and genuine marketing is the passion of the person creating it. Share your unique voice to tell compelling stories in your marketing efforts, and when possible humanize your work using anecdotes and history from your own journey. One curious similarity between B2B marketing and family history is the lengthy duration both usually entail — with the B2B buyer journey being significantly longer than in B2C efforts, as our own Nick Nelson explores in "How to Educate, Engage, & Persuade Buyers Over Lengthy Sales Cycles." To help inspire your marketing passion and spark new digital storytelling flames, here are several articles we've written on these key topics: Your Guide to Effective Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing Break Free B2B Series: Zari Venhaus on How to Scoot Your Way to Martech Transformation Through Storytelling Becoming a Better Marketer by Embracing Your Passions Outside the Office Once Upon a Time: Storytelling in Today’s B2B Content Marketing Landscape [bctt tweet="“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana" username="toprank"] Take-Away: Let your marketing efforts make your descendants — and your ancestors — proud, by including enough of yourself and your own story to bring out the passion in your work. 4 — Cite, Celebrate & Honor Your Marketing Sources In both marketing and genealogy, quality research involves citing your sources. In genealogy those citations are almost always included in the final report or accompanying source material, while in marketing direct citations are more often included only when quoting people or sharing study data. In genealogy the goal of source citation is to allow anyone who uses yours to locate the original record you saw — not only in the immediate future but also as long into the future as possible. Professional genealogists can take source citation to extremes, and I sometimes have to chuckle when I come across a page in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly that has more space dedicated to source citations than report narrative. Even if your research won’t be including citations in a final publication, strong research technique dictates that for your own records and those of your business, your notes should always include the citations you or others could use to find your sources again. The same research practices that make good genealogical research translate directly into top-notch marketing research. Take-Away: Use citations to both personally and professionally document all material you’ve used in coming up with new original work. 5 — Learn & Network With Fellow Professionals at Industry Events I remember the first genealogy conference I attended — the 2003 Federation of Genealogical Societies (FSG) event — which took place before the web-based family history boom became a multi-billion dollar industry. Back then I recall being by far one of the youngest attendees. Thankfully today the family history boom has infused genealogy with a massive influx of younger people with a passion for learning more, and before the pandemic hit large conferences such as RootsTech drew over 25,000 in-person attendees along with over 100,000 remote participants. Today’s genealogy conference audiences tend to look a lot more like those of marketing events, and not just the sea of gray hair I saw back at my first family history conference. B2B marketers can reap the same benefits as genealogists do by attending conferences — now nearly all conducted virtually due to the pandemic — to help you with: Keeping Up-To-Date on the Latest Research Learning From the Best in the Business Networking From Fellow Professionals Sharing Knowledge with Peers You can take a took a look at some of the top virtual marketing conferences through the end of 2021 in "17+ Top Virtual Marketing Conferences for Summer 2020 & Beyond," and be sure to catch Lee Odden presenting on October 13 at Content Marketing World, on October 15 delivering a Pubcon Virtual keynote, and on November 5 at MarketingProfs B2B Forum. Marketers can also benefit from joining professional organizations just as genealogists do. Take-Away: Utilize marketing conferences and professional organizations to become exposed to new methods, ideas, and inspiration. 6 — Adhere To Guidelines & Goalposts In some ways genealogists have it easier than marketers, as the guidelines and goalposts for the family history game don’t change frequently the way they so often do in marketing, where nearly constant change is ubiquitous. Family historians do need to keep abreast of newly-discovered historical records or existing physical records than have just become available to search online, and also have to deal with how to cite information contained in all of the new formats people use to communicate today, from TikTok to Reddit and beyond. There are, however, fundamental truths in marketing, and smart marketers owe it to themselves to learn the underlying principles of advertising. It's important to adhere to the use of industry standards such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S., the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the E.U., and regulations including the Federal Trade Commission's "Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers.” Adhering to your company's style and usage guide, as well as those of client organizations, is another similarity between marketing and genealogy. Take-Away: Know the laws in your area of marketing practice and adhere to the style and usage guidelines of the businesses you work with. 7 — Publish & Preserve For Posterity Don’t allow your life’s work in marketing to fade away as social media platforms and apps come and go as the sands of time shift — which in social media time can happen in dangerously little time. Through the use of proper backup plans, digital asset management systems, publishing on a variety of media platforms owned by multiple companies, and submitting to digital archiving efforts such as those of The Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, your marketing efforts don’t have to be relegated to the digital dustbin of Internet history. Take-Away: Preserving your marketing efforts makes future campaigns stronger, as you can easily consult and learn from your smartly-archived previous work. 8 — Spark Interest For Future Marketers As we’ve explored, one of the advantages to looking back is the newfound insight we gain for successfully making the most of the future, and we can do a great service to future generations by sharing our insight with aspiring young marketers. If we can spark an interest by mentoring a younger colleague, client or associate — or even a family member — we'll contribute to a future of marketing that is more robust with your own personal knowledge passed along to the next generation. Two people ignited my love of genealogy back in 1994 — my grand-aunt Solveig and an older in-law, Ed. Solveig was the older sister of my grandmother Lilly, who is alive and well and living on her own in her own house at 103, and Solveig gave me a family history book written by a cousin in Norway in the 1950s. Ed shared with me his fascinating hand-drawn genealogy charts, and between the two of them I was inspired to set out entering all the information I could find — including everyone in that book — into my 1994-era genealogy database program. Take-Away: Inspire and mentor young marketing talent by imparting your own passion. 9 — Break Through With Hyper-Personal Relevance One of the ah-ha moments in genealogy comes when a researcher suddenly realizes that their very own family history is vitally intertwined with a history that they hitherto only knew as something utterly distant and probably considered quite boring. When a family history researcher discovers a Civil War or Revolutionary Way ancestor, or one who overcame great obstacles of any type, history comes alive in a new and much more personal way. In marketing, unlocking a similar key comes by breaking through messaging that goes from boring-to-boring B2B to hyper-relevant personal digital storytelling with heaps of passion and purpose. We've made efforts to do that in our video interview series including Break Free B2B Marketing, and our new Inside Influence series — each episode featuring a leading B2B marketer who is making a difference. Make that vital connection that brings far-off dusty history or marketing alive with hyper-personal relevance, by learning as much as possible about your audience, and making efforts to connect personally with those who express interest in your campaigns. Take-Away: Create ah-ha marketing moments that make hyper-personalized connection through passionate storytelling and break free of boring B2B marketing. 10 — Peer Inside Your B2B Marketing DNA Is there a marketing equivalent of DNA? DNA has helped expand interest in family history and its ability to help solve many types of genealogy questions, from “Who was my real father?” to “Where did my ancestors like 2,000 years ago?” While marketing doesn’t have scientific DNA, some similarities can be drawn between DNA and the early efforts into neuromarketing and other attempts to improve marketing through a greater understanding of how the brain works. Now fairly well-established, neuromarketing faces additional challenges as brands and marketers ask whether it’s worth shifting ad spend to, and the Harvard Business Review took a look at how consumer neuroscience is meeting those challenges head on. Take-Away: Keep tabs on neuromarketing and similar efforts to hone in on some of the universal truths that make for successful marketing. Create Amazing Marketing To Make Your Ancestors Proud via GIPHY We hope that our look at the lessons B2B marketers can learn from family history research has provided you with at least a few helpful tips to implement in your own amazing marketing efforts. One powerful way to combine many of these top marketing elements is by leveraging B2B influencer marketing, as we outline in our all new 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, featuring insights from hundreds of marketers surveyed as well as expert analysis by the TopRank Marketing team and contributions from top B2B influencer marketing professionals from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, Adobe, Traackr, IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more. Contact us today and find out why TopRank Marketing is the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report, and discover how we can help create award-winning marketing for you. The post Your B2B Marketing Book of Life: 10 Inspiring B2B Marketing Tips From Family History appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

How to Improve Customer Retention by Using CRM?

  • Wednesday 7th October 2020
personalized customer expereince The post How to Improve Customer Retention by Using CRM? appeared first on Digital Agency Network.

Does Your Brand Need to Implement Facebook Lead Ads?

  • Tuesday 6th October 2020
Facebook Lead Ads are becoming a popular lead generation … The post Does Your Brand Need to Implement Facebook Lead Ads? appeared first on Digital Agency Network.

How to Develop an Audience First Marketing Strategy for More Brand Awareness and Customers [podcast + worksheets]

  • Wednesday 14th October 2020
Audience marketing is an intentional alignment of your marketing messages, content and focus to the needs of your audience. An audience first marketing approach shifts the focus from YOU to THEM. This means you focus more on how you can SERVE your audience over how you can SELL to them.           Related StoriesWhat is a Buyer Persona and Why It is Important For Your Marketing [free template]10 Reasons You Need an Audience FIRST Digital, Social Media and Content Marketing Plan [podcast + ebook]20 Questions You Must Answer Before Creating a Content Strategy [podcast + free guide] 

How Social Marketers can win at the polls this election cycle

  • Friday 16th October 2020
The 2020 Presidential Election is unlike any other – surrounded by political, social, and environmental turmoil. Many marketers are asking the question, “how do we handle our posting schedule with the upcoming election and social news cycle changing every few minutes?” We’re here to help.   360i’s Paid & Organic Social Marketing teams have put together recommendations and examples to help guide marketers as they plan for content in the next few weeks. This POV is designed to help your brand navigate the social media landscape before, during, and after the election.  TL;DR  If you choose to engage, do it in a way that remains true to your brand voice. Focus on positivity and participation over politics, and avoid overly promotional or self-serving content.  While we don’t recommend going dark, remain on the pulse of conversation, trends and news. Consider daily touch-bases with your team to monitor the situation and evaluate planned content to mitigate risk.   Be prepared for curveballs. Even topics that ordinarily wouldn’t or shouldn’t be polarizing might take on more of a political bent in Q4. Have a plan of action in place for community management, and be prepared to pivot if necessary.   Check out the full report here to learn about key dates and publishing considerations, influencer considerations, paid media considerations, the do’s and don’ts of getting […]

B2B Marketing News: Google Faces Monopoly Probe, Sophisticated B2B Attribution Models Study, & LinkedIn’s New Video Meeting Options

  • Friday 23rd October 2020
Most B2B Demand Gen Pros Use Sophisticated Attribution Models Some 43 percent of B2B demand generation buyers say that they use advanced attribution models with multiple touchpoints, while 21 percent don't have a campaign attribution model at all, according to recently-released data surveying B2B technology marketing and demand generation decision-makers. Marketing Charts LinkedIn Adds New Event Features, Rolls Out Video Meeting Options via LinkedIn Messages LinkedIn has launched an array of new event-related features, along with rolling out private messaging access to video from Zoom and other virtual meeting providers, Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) recently announced. Social Media Today Tubular Labs Launches Deduped Audience Ratings For Video On Facebook And YouTube A new effort from video intelligence firm Tubular Labs aims to deliver a more standardized video viewing metric across the Facebook and YouTube platforms, with support for Instagram forthcoming, the firm recently announced in a move of interest to digital marketers. AdExchanger US Justice Department Files Complaint Against Google Over Monopoly Tactics Google's search dominance has led the U.S. Justice Department to file a complaint seeking yet-to-be-announced remedies, the department recently announced. Google responded by calling the complaint filing "deeply flawed," the Alphabet-owned search giant announced. Social Media Today Instagram agrees curbs on paid influencers, says UK watchdog New technology to help spot undisclosed influencer social media posts will come to Instagram, Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently announced, as Instagram parent Facebook has begun working with the governmental group on efforts to increase transparency, the social media firm has said. Reuters Google Search Announcements: BERT, Passages & Subtopic Indexing & More Google has rolled out several new search-related features and updates, including Google Lens improvements, greater use of key moment chapters, and the addition of associated subtopics within search, the firm recently announced. SEO Roundtable Facebook opens Messenger API to Instagram messaging for businesses Facebook has launched an updated Messenger API that will allow for new automated responses and other integration features that aim to ease business communication via Instagram, Facebook recently announced. VentureBeat Google Tests Ads In Google Maps Autocomplete Predictions Google has been spotted testing a potential new variety of advertising for its popular Google Maps product, which would allow advertisers to place ads that appear amidst autocomplete search prediction results as users type. SEO Roundtable Dropbox is the latest San Francisco tech company to make remote work permanent Dropbox has announced that it has made remote work a permanent part of the firm's future, a shift that when combined with similar moves by other technology firms, has led some workers to leave the Bay Area, driving certain rent rates down 20 percent since last year. CNBC More than 50% of humans in the world use social media — here’s what you need to know [Hootsuite Study] During the second quarter of 2020 global social media advertising spending was down 13 percent over the same period last year, however the figure represents an improvement over last quarter's drop of 19.2 percent globally — just one of numerous findings of interest to digital marketers contained in Hootsuite's recently-released Digital 2020 October Global Statshot Report. The Next Web ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “generic advertising 'in these uncertain times'” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Alexa Hilariously Disrupts Epic Moments in Droga5 London’s Ads About Voice Control — Adweek TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Lee Odden — L’expertise en marketing: notre Top 20 de 2020 [In French] — ExoB2B TopRank Marketing — Permission to Interrupt (aka The Great Unfollowing of 2020) — Jason Falls TopRank Marketing / SAP — The No. 1 Factor in B2B Influencer Marketing with Ursula Ringham & Rachel Miller | Studio CMO — Golden Spiral Have you found your own top marketing stories from the past week of industry news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks for joining us for the weekly B2B marketing news, and we hope you'll come back again next Friday for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: Google Faces Monopoly Probe, Sophisticated B2B Attribution Models Study, & LinkedIn’s New Video Meeting Options appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

28 B2B Marketing Insights To Energize & Humanize Your 2021

  • Wednesday 21st October 2020
What will successful B2B marketing look like in a post-pandemic world, and what can we as marketers do today to be as ready as possible? Here are 28 quotes from some of the best in the B2B marketing business, taken from our two seasons of Break Free B2B Marketing video interview episodes, that will help keep your efforts on track, energized, and filled with the subtle humanizing elements sometimes neglected in the B2B landscape. Keep posted for the launch of an all-new season three of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews, and now let's dig right in with an array of B2B marketing insights to help you prepare for a successful 2021. 1 — Hal Werner of Mitel Hal Werner Global Manager of Digital Marketing and Strategy Mitel “If you want to create a piece of content about a topic, but you can’t create the best one, why are you creating it? If you don’t truly believe that you can outdo your competitors in the space for that function, then what are you wasting your time on?” “Whether you earn it or whether it’s paid for, you’re going to need more voices putting out there what you’re about so that not only people see you, but you begin to be associated with that thing at a critical mass.” [bctt tweet="“If you want to create a piece of content about a topic, but you can’t create the best one, why are you creating it?” @halwerner" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Hal in "Break Free B2B Series: Hal Werner on the Intersection of Marketing Creativity and Analytics." 2 — Stephanie Stahl of Content Marketing Institute Stephanie Stahl General Manager Content Marketing Institute “As content creators, sometimes we try to do everything that we possibly can on every channel. I think it’s important for content teams and marketing teams to go back and say, 'What do we need to stop doing? What are we doing that really isn’t giving us the result that we’d like? And how can we then focus more on the things that are working?' So ask yourselves, 'What can we stop doing today, so we have more time to do the things we’re really good at?'” [bctt tweet="“It’s important for content and marketing teams to go back and say, 'What do we need to stop doing? What are we doing that isn’t giving us the result we’d like? How can we then focus more on the things that are working?'” @EditorStahl" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Stephanie in "Break Free B2B Series: CMI’s Stephanie Stahl on Data-Driven Event Planning and Promotion." 3 — Jon Miller of Demandbase Jon Miller Chief Product Officer Demandbase “The explosion of digital noise means that traditional marketing channels like ads are becoming less and less effective. What marketers need to think about is, how do I orchestrate multiple channels together?” [bctt tweet="“The explosion of digital noise means that traditional marketing channels like ads are becoming less and less effective. What marketers need to think about is, how do I orchestrate multiple channels together?” @jonmiller" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Jon in "Break Free B2B Series: Jon Miller on How ABM Can Help Marketers Keep Their ‘Ship’ Together." 4 — Adi Bachar-Reske of 20x Adi Bachar-Reske Founder and CMO 20x “These days, the way you build the trust is showing how nimble and flexible you can be. Both in your development and your product, but also it has to be reflected in your marketing and your digital presence.” [bctt tweet="“The way you build the trust is showing how nimble and flexible you can be. Both in your development and your product, but also it has to be reflected in your marketing and digital presence.” @AdiBacharReske" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Adi in "Break Free B2B Series: Adi Bachar-Reske on Taking the Lead in the Evolution of B2B Content Marketing." 5 — Emily Thompson of EST Creative Emily Thompson Owner EST Creative “When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. Ultimately, people just want information that’s helpful to them. Especially with digital, it’s very easy today to try a new type of message, or a new way of communicating to someone. Let’s say you never blogged before, why not try a blog? Let’s say you never did email marketing, why not try it? Or a new type of message? The worst that can happen is you measure it, you learn from it, and you try something new.” [bctt tweet="“When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. Ultimately, people just want information that’s helpful to them.” @BosCreativeCopy" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Emily in "Break Free B2B Series: Emily Thompson on the Power of Content Marketing in Health Care." 6 — Margaret Magnarelli of Morgan Stanley Margaret Magnarelli Executive Director of Digital Product Evolution and Growth Marketing Morgan Stanley “We have to be able to give our customers as much information as we can, and take them as close to the line of purchase — to the experience of purchase — as we can.” “People can see through fake attempts to build trust. It’s hard for consumers to just believe a brand when they say they can do a thing. So if you have other people who say you can do a thing and you can do it well, and they can be your advocates, that’s really powerful.” [bctt tweet="“It’s hard for consumers to just believe a brand when they say they can do a thing. So if you have other people who say you can do a thing and you can do it well, and they can be your advocates, that’s really powerful.” @mmagnarelli" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Margaret in "Break Free B2B Series: Margaret Magnarelli on the Psychology of Trust for Better Content Marketing." 7 — Gary Gerber of nClouds Gary Gerber Head of Product Marketing nClouds “It’s about building a relationship that’s built on trust, not on hype. If you’ve built that trust and you’re adding that value to them that they trust you’re interested in their success, and you’re providing information and content and messaging and whatever it is, that will help them be successful.” [bctt tweet="“It’s about building a relationship that’s built on trust, not on hype.” @Gary_Gerber" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Gary in "Break Free B2B Marketing: Gary Gerber on Scaling ABM without Losing Focus." 8 — Kelvin Gee of Oracle Kelvin Gee Senior Director, Modern Marketing Business Transformation Oracle* “We believe that data is the future of B2B marketing. If the goal is to deliver a better customer experience, you’ve got to break down those data silos.” “Once you consolidate all your data silos onto one bed, so to speak — in this case a customer intelligence platform or customer data platform or whatever you want to use — once you combine all that data, that’s when you start to see all the insights of your customers. All marketers should have empathy. What drives customer-centricity is empathy.” [bctt tweet="“We believe that data is the future of B2B marketing. If the goal is to deliver a better customer experience, you’ve got to break down those data silos.” @kgee" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Kelvin in "Break Free B2B Marketing: Oracle’s Kelvin Gee on Winning with Enterprise ABM." 9 — Danny Nail of Microsoft Danny Nail Account Based Engagement Microsoft “Historically, marketing and sales have kind of been at odds a bit, which is unfortunate, but ABM brings the two together. The key to that is understanding the sales cycle, and understanding how sellers think and what they’re up against. The continuum should be from target account marketing, to ABM, to one-to-one ABM, all the way across that scale.” “You have to let go of templatized, old ideas. You have to break free of thinking about things the way we’ve always thought about them, and start really digging into how you can change what you’re doing and make it more efficient, more effective, but be creative about that.” [bctt tweet="“You have to let go of templatized old ideas to break free of thinking about things the way we’ve always thought about them and start digging into how you can change what you’re doing and make it more efficient and effective.” @DannyNail" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Danny in "Break Free B2B Marketing: Danny Nail of SAP on Creating a Global ABM Platform." 10 — Julie Brown of Johnson Controls Julie Brown Institutional Market Leader Johnson Controls “It really starts with understanding what customer needs are — where are their pain points — are there new and creative ways that we can help address those needs and pain points?” [bctt tweet="“It really starts with understanding what customer needs are — where are their pain points — are there new and creative ways that we can help address those needs and pain points?” — Julie Brown" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Julie in "Break Free B2B Marketing: Julie Brown of Johnson Controls on Proving the EBIT of Your Marketing." 11 — Andre Ortolon of Dell Outlet Andre Ortolon eCommerce and Marketing Manager Dell Outlet* “There’s so much data out there. We’re so busy with emails and meetings that you can really get stuck in a rut and forget to take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.” “You also have to take stock sometimes and really look at your overall process, you can’t always be in the execution mode, you have to look at end to end, the processes and making sure that you’re developing kind of a holistic approach and not just selling a unit. You’ve got to think about your strategy and make sure you’re still aligned with that in what you’re doing day to day.” [bctt tweet="“There’s so much data out there. We’re so busy with emails and meetings that you can really get stuck in a rut and forget to take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.” — Andre Ortolon" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Andre in "Break Free B2B Marketing: Dell Outlet’s Andre Ortolon on Microinfluencers for Hyper-Relevant Content." 12 — Amanda Todorovich of Cleveland Clinic Amanda Todorovich Senior Director of Digital Marketing Health Content Cleveland Clinic. “I think it’s really important content marketing is not a campaign, it’s not a project, it’s not a one-off. We like to talk about our content channels and process like products, you know, you really need to invest in them. It’s a long-term strategy. It’s something that you really have to think about how you build a long-term committed relationship with that user – it’s not a one-and-done. There’s never really an end to it. It’s continuous and iterative.” [bctt tweet="“You really have to think about how you build a long-term committed relationship with the user – it’s not a one-and-done. There’s never really an end to it. It’s continuous and iterative.” @amandatodo" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Amanda in "Break Free B2B Series: Amanda Todorovich on Creating Content that Pays Off." 13 — Amisha Gandhi of SAP Ariba Amisha Gandhi Vice President of Influencer Marketing and Communications SAP Ariba* “Do not just start calling influencers and say, 'I’m doing this campaign, do you want to be a part of it?' and be very prescriptive. You want to invite people to be in your program first and then do some brainstorming with them and see what they like, how they like to interact or what they like to do for companies.” [bctt tweet="“You want to invite people to be in your program first and then do some brainstorming with them and see what they like, how they like to interact or what they like to do for companies.” @AmishaGandhi" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Amisha in "Break Free B2B Series: Amisha Gandhi on Global B2B Influencer Marketing." 14 — Brody Dorland of DivvyHQ Brody Dorland Co-Founder DivvyHQ “The holistic content marketing world, which is non-campaign focused, continues to proliferate. It’s going to get better, but most agencies out there are still so campaign focused — that’s what they’ve been doing for decades. Getting out of that mindset, even from a logistics standpoint, is harder for an agency to do. Not to say that agencies can’t continually be involved in longer-term content marketing engagements, but it’s just it’s a different beast, a different animal than the typical world that they’ve been in for decades.” [bctt tweet="“Most agencies out there are still so campaign focused —that’s what they’ve been doing for decades. Getting out of that mindset, even from a logistics standpoint, is harder for an agency to do.” @brodydorland" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Brody in "Break Free B2B Series: Brody Dorland on Creating Long-Lasting Content Marketing Strategy." 15 — Clare Carr of Chief Clare Carr Vice President of Marketing Chief “It takes a human element that cannot be taken out of this equation. If you can make data something that people associate with you, they trust you more, you can connect with them more, and you can tell better stories. All those things you want as a content marketer, as a B2B marketer, data can actually do for you. It’s not just good writing, good storytelling, and good creative anymore.” [bctt tweet="“All those things you want as a content marketer, as a B2B marketer, data can actually do for you. It’s not just good writing, good storytelling, and good creative anymore.” @clareondrey" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Clare in "Break Free B2B Series: Clare Carr on Using Data to Drive Content Marketing Success." 16 — Janine Wegner of Dell Technologies Janine Wegner Global Thought Leadership Program and Activation Manager Dell Technologies* “What’s the customer journey? And what are the content pieces we want to develop? And what are the voices we want to have in each of them, and how to then activate and amplify those?” [bctt tweet="“What are the content pieces we want to develop? What are the voices we want to have in each of them, and how to then activate and amplify those?” @JanineWegner" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Janine in "Break Free B2B Series: Janine Wegner on Building Brand Thought Leadership With the Help of Influencers," and in our Inside Influence series with "Inside Influence: Janine Wegner from Dell on Thought Leadership and Influencer Relations." 17 — John Joyce of Brennan Industries John Joyce Global Marketing Director Brennan Industries “We try to do mainly two things: build trust and also provide value. We want them to trust this and to think of us as the place to go that provides value from the very beginning of the relationship, from the first time they go to the website – oh yeah, this is really good. It’s providing me the answers to my questions and knowledge I need, it’s saving me money” [bctt tweet="“We try to do mainly two things: build trust and also provide value. It’s providing me the answers to my questions and the knowledge I need, and saving me money.” @mrjohnjoyce" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with John in "Break Free B2B Series: John Joyce on Taking B2B Content Marketing Back 2 Basics." 18 — Judy Tian of LinkedIn Judy Tian Marketing Manager LinkedIn* “Relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you want to talk about? And are they going to have credibility with their end users? And then are they going to shed credibility onto your brand as a result?” [bctt tweet="“Relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you want to talk about? And are they going to have credibility with their end users?” @judytian07" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Judy in "Break Free B2B Series: Judy Tian on Humanizing B2B Through Influencer Marketing." 19 — Maliha Aqeel of Fix Network World Maliha Aqeel Director of Global Communications Fix Network World “Focus on culture. There’s still a misconception that culture is about only HR. But culture is something that’s pervasive throughout the organization, and why we choose to work somewhere, why we choose to engage with the brand.” [bctt tweet="“There’s still a misconception that culture is about only HR. Culture is something that’s pervasive throughout the organization, and why we choose to work somewhere, why we choose to engage with a brand.” @MalihaQ" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Maliha in "Break Free B2B Series: Maliha Aqeel on How to Ace B2B Company Culture." 20 — Tom Treanor of Arm Treasure Data Tom Treanor CMO Arm Treasure Data* “You can’t solve personalization before you solve customer understanding. At the top of the funnel, keep it very basic and personalize at a high level.” [bctt tweet="“You can’t solve personalization before you solve customer understanding. At the top of the funnel, keep it very basic and personalize at a high level.” @RtMixMktg" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Tom in "Break Free B2B Series: Tom Treanor on Perfecting B2B Marketing Personalization." 21 — Zari Venhaus of Eaton Zari Venhaus Director of Corporate Marketing Communications Eaton “I see the IT space and the marketing space are starting to come together so much more — particularly when you think about martech. We learned that it wasn't enough to just be marketing coming to IT with an answer. We really needed to involve our IT partners upfront in the process.” [bctt tweet="“The IT space and the marketing space are starting to come together so much more — particularly when you think about martech.” @zvenhaus" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Zari in "Break Free B2B Series: Zari Venhaus on How to Scoot Your Way to Martech Transformation Through Storytelling." 22 — Adam Dunn, Oscar-Winning VFX Editor Adam Dunn Oscar-winning VFX Editor Evil Ice Cream Productions “Video marketing is intriguing, because it brings in real-life storytelling. The biggest factor in successful video content is cohesiveness of vision.” [bctt tweet="“Video marketing is intriguing, because it brings in real-life storytelling. The biggest factor in successful video content is cohesiveness of vision.” @adamjdunn" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Adam in "Break Free B2B Series: Adam Dunn on Creating Blockbuster Video Content in B2B." 23 — Carol-Lyn Jardine of Alteryx Carol-Lyn Jardine Vice President of Marketing Operations and Productivity Alteryx “Assume good intent from the people around you as you’re going through change behaviors.” [bctt tweet="“Assume good intent from the people around you as you’re going through change behaviors.” @cljardine" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Carol-Lyn in "Break Free B2B Series: Carol-Lyn Jardine and Heather Hurst on Effectively Managing Change in B2B Marketing." 24 — Sruthi Kumar of Sendoso Sruthi Kumar Associate Director of Field and Partner Marketing Sendoso “It’s about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, and that person who you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with or whatever else you need from them. I think it’s just about being okay with being yourself and incorporating that into your whole corporate brand.” [bctt tweet="“It’s about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, and that person who you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with or whatever else you need from them.” @sruthikkumar" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Sruthi in "Break Free B2B Marketing: Sruthi Kumar on Creating Memorable Experiences." 25 — Latané Conant of 6sense Latane Conant Chief Market Officer 6sense “You look at the tools that we have at our disposal as CMOs, and it’s sort of like we are a Model T trying to get to the moon. I think the challenge that we have is only 13 percent of sales and marketing teams have any confidence in their data.” [bctt tweet="“You look at the tools that we have at our disposal as CMOs, and it’s sort of like we are a Model T trying to get to the moon.” @LataneConant" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Latane in "Break Free B2B Marketing: Latane Conant of 6sense on Reinventing the CMO Role." 26 — Mark Bornstein of ON24 Mark Bornstein Vice President of Marketing ON24 “It’s the experience you give, it’s the way you’re able to connect and interact with audiences that matters. Because that’s where you’re going to get the real data. That’s where you’re going to learn a lot about them. You want to create an environment where people are doing stuff, and it’s a multi-touch content experience.” “We need to find ways to get people who want our marketing to opt into our marketing. At a time when all of this digital noise is scaring them away. We need to bring them back in through more authentic, more human, more experiential marketing.” [bctt tweet="“We need to find ways to get people who want our marketing to opt in. At a time when all of this digital noise is scaring them away,  we need to bring them back in through more authentic, human, and experiential marketing.” @4markb" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Mark in "Break Free B2B Marketing: “Webinerd” Mark Bornstein of ON24 on Dialing In Digital Experiences." 27 — Sofia O’Malley of Dell Technologies Sofia O’Malley Global Marketing Director Dell Technologies* “You really have to be cognizant of what is unique to each market. What’s the consumer behavior? Or what’s the consumer expectation within a given market or appetite for a type of execution. Be very much aware of the environment and the key nuances that are needed to effectively drive marketing in a region.” [bctt tweet="“You really have to be cognizant of what is unique to each market. What’s the consumer behavior? Or what’s the consumer expectation within a given market or appetite for a type of execution.” — Sofia O’Malley" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Sofia in "Break Free B2B Marketing: Sofia O’Malley of Dell Outlet on Creating a Global B2B & B2C Marketing Team." 28 — Sean Crowley of Dun & Bradstreet Sean Crowley Leader of Integrated Marketing and Sales and Marketing Solutions Dun & Bradstreet “When you look at being able to bring people together, it’s about creating a common message, a common purpose, and a common effort with everything that you do and how you go to market. Ensure that you have consistency of messaging to a target persona and target audience, regardless of what channel they’re choosing to interact with you on.” “The balance of power of information has shifted from the vendors to the consumers, to the buyers, and they can now go and search for information much more readily — much more freely — and they want that choice of how and when they choose to interact with you.” [bctt tweet="“When you look at being able to bring people together, it’s about creating a common message, a common purpose, and a common effort with everything that you do and how you go to market.” @seantcrowley" username="toprank"] Watch our full interview with Sean in "Break Free B2B Marketing: Sean Crowley of Dun & Bradstreet on Cracking the Alignment Code." Embrace An Energized 2021 B2B Marketing Landscape via GIPHY Use the energizing advice we’ve highlighted here from 28 B2B marketing innovators to spark your own marketing ideas that will take you to electrifying new heights in 2021 and beyond. One powerful way to combine many of these energizing marketing elements is by harnessing the power of B2B influencer marketing, as we outline in our groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, featuring insights from hundreds of marketers surveyed as well as expert analysis by the TopRank Marketing team and contributions from top B2B influencer marketing professionals from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, Adobe, Traackr, IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more. Contact us to find out why TopRank Marketing is the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report, and discover how we can help create award-winning marketing for you. * Oracle, Dell Outlet, SAP Ariba, Dell Technologies, LinkedIn, Arm Treasure Data, are TopRank Marketing clients. The post 28 B2B Marketing Insights To Energize & Humanize Your 2021 appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

How To Move From A Pilot B2B Influencer Marketing Program to Always-On Success

  • Tuesday 20th October 2020
It sure is a good thing that the internet turns off at 10:00 PM every night, and doesn’t flip back on until 8:00 in the morning. And thankfully, business buyers completely tune out after they finish work, which is always at 5 o’clock sharp in this world of reliable and universally consistent routine. Marketers and brands would really have their hands full if these things weren’t true. Wait, what’s that? None of them are remotely true? Welcome to the World of Always-On There is no off-switch. The internet is open for business 24 hours a day. Buyers and decision makers are engaging with content in unpredictable patterns, thrown further askew by the pandemic-driven disruption of workday archetypes. An increasingly lengthy and complex buyer’s journey challenges B2B marketing strategies to be more versatile, agile, and perpetually present than ever before. [bctt tweet="“There is no off-switch. The internet is open for business 24 hours a day. Buyers and decision makers are engaging with content in unpredictable patterns.” @NickNelsonMN #AlwaysOn #B2Bmarketing" username="toprank"] Earlier this month, Howard J. Sewell wrote at Business 2 Community about marketing success and the accident of timing. “For more companies than not, marketing success is rarely about convincing a given individual, on a given day, to buy what it is you’re selling,” he argues. “Rather, it’s a question of being the company that the buyer finds, or thinks of first, when the relevant need occurs.” This essentially makes the case for adopting always-on marketing programs, which are gaining traction as more organizations see the value. It’s a convention that can apply to many different elements of a strategy, including (and especially) influencer marketing. Today we’ll explore taking the step from pilot B2B influencer marketing program to always-on success — why and how? Taking B2B Influencer Marketing from Pilot to Autopilot Running a pilot program is a great way to get a feel for influencer marketing and validate it as a smart tactic for your organization. Earlier this year I shared tips for jumpstarting a pilot B2B influencer marketing program in five steps, which included: Get buy-in throughout the organization Compile a list of influencers who align with your brand Start priming influencer relationships Integrate B2B influencer marketing into your strategy Co-create a piece of content with one or more influencers The key here is not to treat influencer engagements as one-off, transactional encounters. As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden put it during an interview for the Social Media Marketing Live Streaming Show over the summer, “If you only have one interaction with an influencer and then you don’t ever see that person until the next time you need them, that leaves the influencer feeling very transactional, and not very special.” Running a pilot program doesn’t need to entail a long-term commitment to influencer marketing in your strategy, but it should always be built on a long-term, relationship-building mindset. This sets you up to take the next step: from pilot to autopilot, where your always-on influencer program becomes a self-sustaining community of genuine brand advocacy and affinity. That’s not to say it’ll become completely hands-off — maintaining and nurturing influencer relationships takes work, as do the collaborative efforts with these influencers that drive business results — but once you’ve laid proper groundwork and set a clear vision, much of the heavy lifting is done. Lee makes this point in explaining why always-on influence costs less and provides better ROI. Some things he recommends keeping in mind: Pay-to-play doesn’t always pay off: Organic relationship-building can take a little more time and effort up front, but tends to be far less expensive than one-off, paid influencer campaigns, with much greater all-around value. Old friends know the brand ropes: Deeper ongoing engagements with influencers leads to better mutual understanding of needs and guidelines, with less hand-holding required. Return on relationships: Building authentic relationships with influential experts in your industry yields word-of-mouth and proactive advocacy benefits that money can’t buy. Repurpose with a purpose: Always-on programs bring new efficiencies in terms of repurposing and refreshing co-created content in ways that support the brand, influencer, and audience. Advocacy at scale: Developing and strengthening relationships over time leads to compounding benefits, as trust grows and new contacts enter the fold. When considering these advantages, it comes as no real shock that — according to the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report — only 5% marketers who do periodic campaigns are very successful vs. 60% of marketers who implement always-on influencer marketing programs. That is a sizable chasm. “Being 'always-on' has allowed our team to build meaningful relationships with influencers,” says Garnor Morantes, Group Marketing Manager for LinkedIn (a TopRank Marketing client) in the report. “This approach means that the relationship ceases to be 'transactional' (what can you do for us) when we're in a state of ongoing activity. Because of this foundation, we are in a situation where, when urgency strikes, we've been able to immediately activate influencers, whether it be for private, direct, unfiltered feedback and consult, or for external, public-facing advocacy and amplification.” [bctt tweet="““Being 'always-on' has allowed our team to build meaningful relationships with influencers.” Garnor Morantes of @LinkedIn #InfluencerMarketing #AlwaysOn" username="toprank"] That’s the kind of marketing engine built for our modern-day environment, where buyers and decision makers are essentially active and consuming content round-the-clock, seven days a week. An always-on influencer strategy allows brands to be reactive, nimble, and responsive to change. You can learn more about LinkedIn’s successful program in our case study. Take the Next Step with Always-On Influence The good news is that a properly executed pilot influencer marketing program — one focused on relationship-building and brand synergy — helps facilitate the transition to an always-on program that can become a pillar of your marketing strategy. At TopRank Marketing, we’re happy to help out with whichever stage of the journey you’re in. Check out the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report to learn more about always-on influence, why it makes sense, and how to make it work. Reach out to us if you’re ready to get rolling. The post How To Move From A Pilot B2B Influencer Marketing Program to Always-On Success appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Inside Influence: Janine Wegner from Dell on Thought Leadership and Influencer Relations

  • Monday 19th October 2020
Today marks the 4th installment in the Inside Influencer series. I want to thank everyone who has viewed the interviews, made comments and shared with their networks. This week we're continuing our search to find out what's working and what's not within the world of B2B influencer marketing as well as further insights from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report. Episode 4 of Inside Influence features guest insider, Janine Wegner, Global Thought Leadership Program and Activation Manager at Dell Technologies who our agency TopRank Marketing has the pleasure of working with on influencer content marketing programs like The Zettabyte World - Securing our Data-Rich Future. Janine and I were able to dig into a topic that I think represents a huge opportunity for influencer integration: the intersection of thought leadership. Our conversation covered many of the most important topics in B2B influencer marketing including:  What it takes to be an influencer marketing thought leader when you work at a global B2B brand Whether thought leadership and influencer marketing are independent or synergistic disciplines How Dell Technologies works with B2B influencers The benefits of working with influencers besides building brand awareness and lead generation Key insights from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report The difference between influencer marketing and influencer relations How process is essential for scaling influencer marketing Top challenges when working with influencer marketing Predictions for the future Here are highlights of our conversation and you can watch the full interview below. I recently heard a B2B marketing leader describe thought leadership and influencer marketing as an either / or. Do you agree or can they work together? Janine: If I had an ideal world I would always like to combine both. If we look at thought leadership, one thing is a thought like coming up with a new innovative idea, point of view or solution, new product or service, whatever it is the certain organization is doing. And leadership. That's not up to a person or an organization, right, to call themselves a leader. Actually you need a validation from an external audience, from an external source. Sometimes it can be analyst firms that confirm that, it can be through highly credible influencers and industry experts. For us certainly that is kind of how we have approached this. Using influencers and industry experts for thought leadership validation is absolutely key. @janinewegner Thought Leadership even in its combination with influence has that element of validation by third parties. And so, to me, using influencers and industry experts for thought leadership validation is absolutely key. From the past years we've been doing this combination, it has actually shown us so many great returns, not just from brand awareness and perception but also in carrying our thought and what we're doing, how we're exploring the next generation of technologies or the next horizon of technologies to communities, that we might not have tapped into before through traditional means. By connecting with those likeminded people, those industry experts, sometimes even niche experts, a whole new community opened up to us, which was great. Dell has long engaged different types of influencers in ways that impact the business from content collaboration used in marketing to thought leadership. How important do you think influencers are for Dell Technologies? Janine: It has been increasing. At first it was like maybe some teams here and there that just wanted to work with some knowledgeable experts in a certain field or in a certain region. For example, events with panels that wanted to have an expert opinion back in the days when we could still do physical events. Today it's a lot of webinars and online events. Over the years we've seen that there's so much more and there are so many different types of influencers that you can engage with. Working with influencers all comes down to having a good strategy in place and really knowing your objectives, knowing what is a complete marketing suite, where are your gaps and how do you want to reach your audience? What is the story you want to tell? Where on the customer journey do you want to do that? Once you know that, you can then determine what kind of influencers makes sense. Is it someone you need to increase awareness and have a broad reach and a huge following on social media. Or is it someone, like I said, like if you have an online panel and the vendor panel where you want to have a certain type of expertise that this person brings to the table? There's so much richness in the diversity of of influencers. What we've been doing over time at Dell is really kind of doubling down on where we can make the best use of influencers. @janinewegner And so what we've been doing over time at Dell is really kind of doubling down on where we can make the best use of influencers. We're working with influencers from the C-level all the way to dev ops and anything in between. This is really exciting because we get to work with lots of different people. And also in recent months, we have been making really great progress in building an actual team that's just responsible for influencer relations. We have people that are truly focused from B2C all the way to B2B influencer relations, which is awesome. In the report you shared that having an end to end process for influencer marketing is key to not only be effective, but also to scale. What goes into that kind of process? Janine: I think all having an internal process is a must for any organization of any size, because you want to start at your business objectives. I alluded to this a little bit earlier. You want to know what it really is that you are after so you can set your KPIs and know, at the end of the day, if you actually met your objectives.  Otherwise, why are we doing all of this and why we're spending this money at resources and time? Also, it's not just looking at influencer relation tactics as like an add on once you're done with that campaign, but building it into your complete marketing mix and marketing and communication mix. So, you want to kind of start on setting the objectives then also selecting a great partner and vendor, like your company itself has been tremendously helpful to us, right? We're looking for people that have a diverse network of influencers, right? Because we are an end to end solution company. So we need to go from PC all the way to infrastructure and emerging technologies. But also as a global brand who has a network with a global reach, it could be either, influencers that have a global reach or people that are very knowledgeable within a certain region or country that is of interest. All of this goes into like building a strategy and setting those objectives and finding the right partner. Then you go into identifying who the right people are for whatever stage on the customer journey you want to produce this kind of collaborative content for. Then you can set the right KPIs for the program. You can execute it. Of course you need to have budget to execute it. You need to ask your business folks to get it for you. Then you execute it, measure it and then you can present a new case to get more funding for the next project. I feel when people are starting out within this field, they should start small, but very focused. Don't try to boil the ocean...where can we make impact? @janinewegner Oftentimes I feel when people are starting out within this field, they should start small, but very focused. Don't try to boil the ocean, right? Like, really thinking like where can we make impact? What is something that we can show our leadership that this really works and brings us really tactical benefits? And from there on out, you kind of go one stage bigger. And bigger. Until you truly have that full suite of influencer marketing and, or influencer relations or a combination of both. Who are some other B2B brand influencer marketing professionals that you admire? Janine: So many! One is Konstanze Alex who used to work with me at Dell technologies. She showed me a lot about influencer marketing and how to work in that space. She's now at Cisco, sadly, we miss her terribly. Also, the both of us were on a panel together with Amisha Gandhi from SAP and just hearing how she kind of worked from the ground up and like build this huge team and really look at how to integrate influencer marketing within the whole marketing suit that SAP has to offer is fantastic. She's really a trailblazer within the industry and certainly inspired me. I was very pleased and honored to be on a panel with her. To see the full interview with Janine, watch video below: If you would like to connect with Janine further about B2B influencer marketing, you can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn. Next up on Inside Influence, we'll be talking to Rotem Yifat, Head of Influencers & Online Partnerships at Monday.com. Be sure to check out our previous Inside Influence interviews: Rani Mani, Adobe - The Value of B2B Influencer Marketing Garnor Morantes, LinkedIn - The Power of Always-On Influence Ursula Ringham, SAP - Behind the Scenes with Influencer Marketing Operations The post Inside Influence: Janine Wegner from Dell on Thought Leadership and Influencer Relations appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing News: B2B Marketers Face Rising Content Demands, Google’s Mobile Voice Assistant, Performance Marketing Budgets Grow, & The Hyper-Relevant Ad Balancing Act

  • Friday 16th October 2020
B2B marketers are struggling to produce enough content amid the pandemic 35 percent of B2B marketers have trouble producing the content needed to reach and engage audiences, while 68 percent are confident with their approach to content marketing, and only some 8 percent said they were able to attribute return on investment (ROI) to their content plan, according to recently-released survey data. The Drum Google Launches Updated Google Analytics, Including Improved Reporting and Data Tracking Options Google has given a significant overhaul to its popular Google Analytics website traffic analysis platform, adding a smarter artificial intelligence (AI)-infused approach including new insights such as churn probability and a variety of additional new predictive metrics, the search giant recently announced. Social Media Today WordPress can now turn blog posts into tweetstorms automatically WordPress has rolled out a new feature that allows entire posts created in the content management system to be shared and discussed on Twitter, including accompanying images and video, with support for multiple Twitter accounts, the firm recently announced. TechCrunch Facebook & Instagram Drop Support For WordPress Embeds Facebook and its Instagram platform will both cease supporting the traditional and widespread form of WordPress embedding, as unauthenticated embeds won’t work after an October 24 API update — a change aimed at driving publishers to create Facebook Developer accounts and use the oEmbed embedding format, Facebook announced recently. Search Engine Journal Marketers Got Hyper-Relevant Advertising Messages Wrong, Study Finds Brands achieve a 26.7 percent higher chance of gaining new customers when they target using a goal-driven advertising message mindset compared to an item-driven one, according to recently-released survey data that points out possible consequences of overly-specific ad targeting. MediaPost Google Podcasts Manager shows you search impressions and clicks from Google Search Google has launched a podcast performance monitoring and reporting system — Google Podcasts Manager — that shows how people find podcasts and what their listening habits are, among other new podcast-related data, Google recently announced. Search Engine Land Key Takeaways From Congress’ Digital Competition Report Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are being urged to implement changes that would promote increased interoperability when it comes to digital advertising, and Adweek takes a look at some of the findings from the nearly 450-page U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee report. Adweek YouTube Tests Product Tags in Selected Creator Videos as Part of Larger Shift Towards eCommerce YouTube has begun testing interactive product tags within certain videos, including new integration with Shopify that could lead to more streamlined clickable products within video content, the video giant recently announced. Social Media Today Google Assistant Opens, Searches, Completes Functions In Mobile Apps Using Voice Google has enhanced its Google Assistant service with new voice search features for users of Android apps, including functionality to post to social media platforms, the firm recently announced. MediaPost Performance Marketing Budgets to Increase as Marketers Chase ROI 42 percent of B2B marketers plan to increase budgeting for performance marketing initiatives by up to 20 percent over the next year, and 18 percent say they will increase those budgets by over 20 percent — two of several items of interest to digital marketers in recently-released survey data. MarketingCharts ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “product choice overload” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Coworker’s Sly Smile In Zoom Meeting Suggests Separate Chat Happening Right Now — The Onion TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Lee Odden — Roundup Debate on why people follow influencers — DearMishuDad Lee Odden — The Employees as Influencers – Insights from Adobe — Jason Falls Nick Nelson — 10 Important Building Blocks for Small Business Success — Small Business Trends Lee Odden / TopRank Marketing — The State of B2B Influencer Marketing [Research] — V3Broadsuite Have you found your own top marketing stories from the past week of industry news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thank you for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing news, and we hope that you will come back again next Friday for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Marketers Face Rising Content Demands, Google’s Mobile Voice Assistant, Performance Marketing Budgets Grow, & The Hyper-Relevant Ad Balancing Act appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Five Can’t-Miss Sessions from Virtual Pubcon 2020

  • Tuesday 13th October 2020
The one silver lining in our current reality is the “virtual event.” Sure, we’re all stuck at home, but at least we can have several entire marketing conferences beamed directly to our laptops.  Granted, there’s a distinct lack of cocktails and networking opportunities. You have to supply your own drinks and try to convince your own pets to follow you on LinkedIn (currently mine are still mulling it over).  [caption id="attachment_29172" align="alignnone" width="300"] "Sorry, we only have Facebark."[/caption] The latest conference to go virtual is industry stalwart Pubcon, celebrating its 20th year. This search-centered event never fails to round up fascinating speakers with a ton of experience in search and content marketing. Here are my top five can’t miss sessions for Pubcon’s Virtual 2020 Conference. Keynote: How to Optimize Marketing Experiences with Influencer Content Speaker: Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Marketing Salon A Time: Thursday, October 15th, 1:00-1:40p (All times Central.) Our team at TopRank Marketing, under Lee’s leadership, has been perfecting the art and discipline of B2B influencer marketing for at least a decade. Now, fresh off of our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing, Lee’s ready to take strategic, sophisticated influence to the next level. It’s all about CSI — no, not David Caruso in sunglasses, but Content, Search and Influence working together to drive ROI. Human-Centered Keyword and Content Strategy Speaker: Elmer Boutin, SEO Director, GTB Salon B Time: Wednesday October 14th, 11:10-11:40a SEO isn’t about writing for robots anymore; it’s writing for the way humans search and trusting the robots to keep up. This session promises to teach how to create a content strategy for human-centered CEO, including metrics and measurement. Google Keynote  Speaker: John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google Salon A Time: Wednesday October 14th, 9:00-9:40a When Google talks, marketers listen. The tech giant never gives away too much of how their algorithm works, of course. But we’ll take whatever we can get. John has over a decade of experience at Google, so his perspective on search trends is sure to be well worth your time. Developing Eye-Catching Content: Five Timeless Lessons from a Pandemic Speaker: Phillip Thune, CFO, Textbroker International Salon B Time:Wednesday October 14th, 2:30-3:00p The pandemic didn’t create the need for high-quality content. But like so many other changes, COVID-19 highlighted and magnified that need, and it’s causing marketers to re-evaluate their content strategy. In-person sales conversations and trade shows are off the table. Marketers are cranking up their content production — which means it takes something extra to make your content stand out from the rest. Phillip brings a consultant’s eye to the problem with his session. Conversational UX, AI and Chatbots Speaker: John Lawson, CEO, ColderICE Salon A Time: Wednesday October 14th, 1:50-2:20p What does SEO look like when there’s no longer a SERP? Voice search and chat are the next frontiers for intrepid marketers. This session promises to address the shift from visual to voice, including what the big movers and shakers are doing and how marketers can keep up. Stunning Insights Are Virtually Assured Tune into Pubcon 2020 for all of the above and more, and keep an eye on the TopRank Marketing blog for highlights and takeaways.  What sessions are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments. The post Five Can’t-Miss Sessions from Virtual Pubcon 2020 appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Inside Influence: Ursula Ringham from SAP on Influencer Marketing Operations

  • Monday 12th October 2020
Welcome to the 3rd episode of Inside Influence: What’s working and what’s not inside the world of B2B Influencer Marketing. Each week we feature an interview with a B2B marketing insider on all things influence and a deeper dive into the insights found in the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report. In this 3rd episode of Inside Influence you are in for a treat: A discussion with the force of nature and client of TopRank Marketing that is Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP. Ursula leads the Global Influencer Marketing team at SAP in collaboration with the entire SAP product portfolio to create innovative content with trusted external voices to build brand awareness and create pipeline. She is also an accomplished storyteller, author, creator, influencer marketer, digital innovator, social media maven, champion of girls education, and self described "outdoor sports freak". Our Inside Influence conversation covered a variety of influencer marketing topics including: The key components of influencer marketing operations The importance and application of influencer marketing software An influencer marketing case study featuring an SAP podcast Advice for marketers that want the benefits of influencer engagement but are hesitant to commit What B2B brands can expect if they hire an outside agency to help with influencer marketing What B2B marketers should watch out for when working with influencers and influencer programs Rising influencer stars in the B2B tech space Here are a few highlights of our discussion with a video of our full interview below. 77% of all the world's revenue transactions go through an SAP ERP system, so we're probably the biggest company in the world that you use every day, but you don't know anything about it. Of course most people in the marketing world know you, but for those that don’t, can you share a bit about the work you do at SAP? Ursula: Sure. I work at SAP and if people don't know what that is, SAP is one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world. 77% of all the world's revenue transactions go through an SAP ERP system, so we're probably the biggest company in the world that you use every day, but you don't know anything about it. What I do is I manage our global influencer marketing program where we collaborate with trusted voices that influence customer decisions. What we like to do is collaborate with them to tell the story of how SAP makes the world run better and improve people's lives. Your contribution to the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report on influencer marketing operations was really important because I think a lot of people don’t think about all the behind the scenes work that goes into an effective program. What are the key components of influencer marketing operations that marketers should know about?  Ursula:The operations part of influencer marketing is so important. I think when you're just starting with an influencer program, you're just like, okay, where do I begin? You know there are people you need to research with a large social following, but that's the wrong approach. You'd have to start with your strategy. You also need some tools to help you. There are different influencer relationship management tools that you can use such as like Onalytica or Traackr which are more for the enterprise. These are also tools that are going to help you with tasks. For example, when we work with other teams at SAP, the very first thing we do is we have them fill out a form about the audience demographics, what success looks like, and the buyer persona. The key thing is (Influencer Relationship Management) tools save you time and help you manage all your projects in one place. We collect this information so we can find out who's that person that you want to help tell the story with you? And that's really, really important. When you use influencer relationship management tools, you can go in and plug all that data in. The tool will surf the whole web, bring everything back and populate a report for you showing matching influencers. Then you can look at who are these influencers? The key thing is the tools save you time and help you manage all your projects in one place. Great. I suppose along with software, process comes into play and the whole operations thing too, right? As far as like best practices? Ursula: Oh my gosh, there's so many different best practices. But the one thing that I always tell my team is even if the tool brings up all these people, you need to read, watch and listen to every single asset that these influencers has come up with. That's a best practice. You really have to go and see what the influencer's personality is like and how they present themselves. You can't just look and go, wow, this person meets the criteria on paper of what this team wanted. Maybe they wanted them to be located in North America and have a podcast. Or maybe they had 50,000 followers. But you really have to go and see what the influencer's personality is like and how they present themselves. Of course, now our world is all digital and about video. For that you have to see how they perform if you want them to be a host. The biggest practice is the process that I have: you have to watch, read and listen to everything out there. The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report includes a case study featuring your work with SAP in the form of a podcast. Creating a single resource to serve as a platform for different internal customers and different external audiences is impressive. What role did influencers play in the Tech Unknown podcast? Ursula: Absolutely. We created this podcast called Tech Unknown. We actually just finished our second season. For the first season, it was basically an influencer talking to other influencers, live. When you look at influencer marketing, you have to think, what is the story you're going to tell? For the second season, we wanted to create something different. And so we took inspiration from This American Life, a great podcast. We have a host that tells a story, which is the most important thing. When you look at influencer marketing, you have to think, what is the story you're going to tell? It's not just like, let's do this campaign. You have to think about what is the overall story? The podcast is a series and what we did was to identify an influencer who would be our host. So decided that would be Tamra McClary. She's a great thought leader and influencer. The reason we chose her is she's energetic, her voice, and how she introduces things is great. The audience can relate to her. For the second season she was the host and our focus was on the topic of data. We looked at all different lines of business and how data affects different businesses out there. Then we would bring in other influencers to give their perspective as like thought leaders on that topic. So if it's talking about HR data, we bring in an HR expert. And then we might have a customer involved in it or an SAP executive who could talk about the customer. The whole thing was around thought leadership and the influencers played a critical role because they validated the story. They are that third party validation about what SAP is talking about as a challenge in the industry. The hope is that people realize, "Oh, SAP has a solution to my challenges. Let me go check that out." That's why it was so important that the podcast included influencers. And I'll have to tell you one thing that is absolutely incredible. We would create a summary blog post about the podcast that we publish on one of our website properties. The gal who manages this thought leadership area of sap.com knows SEO really well. If you typed into Google, "future of data", out of 1.5 billion search results, our blog post came up number one. It's a combination of working with the influencer who has the social media presence on the topic. Also, Tamera the host is out there and she's promoting this blog summary that she wrote. She's promoting the series and we're getting the word out there using the right keywords and it all comes into play. It's all full circle, right? It's a podcast, it's a blog, it's the influencers. It's all working together to create this awareness that people are going to pay attention to and realize that SAP has a solution to their business needs. So who are some B2B tech influencers that really stand out today? And are there any re rising stars you would like to mention also? Ursula: Oh my gosh, there are several. One of the first people that comes to mind is Sally Eaves. She's someone that she's been on the scene for quite some time, but the thing is, Sally is first of all, Sally. I don't know where she gets that energy. She is 24/7 go, go, go. She's doing so many things. She has a background being a CTO, but then she has a side of her that is about education, children and the environment and how technology is influencing society. She's kind of like the whole package and she's really good and knowledgeable and very charismatic. We'd love to do some work with her because she's fantastic. She also has a British accent, which makes that fun for us Americans. She's one of the top ones that I would recommend. I love following her stories, so definitely check her out. To see the full Inside Influence interview with Ursula, check out the video below: To connect with Ursula on all things marketing and influence, you can find her on LinkedIn and Twitter. Don't miss Ursula and I as we present at the virtual Content Marketing World conference this week: Influencer Marketing Unleashed: Top Tactics for Success from Global B2B Brands. This is my 10th year in a row speaking at CMWorld and this presentation highlights the best of the best when it comes to information about B2B influencer marketing including: Key trends based on the latest B2B influencer marketing research study Use cases and case studies from Monday.com, Cherwell Software, LinkedIn, Adobe, Alcatel Lucent Enterprise and of course, SAP. A framework for enterprise B2B influencer content campaigns While the CMWorld conference is happening virtually this week, you can get access to presentations on demand as well. Check out the website. Next up on Inside Influence is a conversation with Janine Wegner, Global Thought Leadership Program and Activation Manager at Dell Technologies. Be sure to check out our previous Inside Influence interviews: Rani Mani, Adobe - The Value of B2B Influencer Marketing Garnor Morantes, LinkedIn - The Power of Always-On Influence The post Inside Influence: Ursula Ringham from SAP on Influencer Marketing Operations appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Align Your Content to Every Touch Point During B2B Customer Journey

  • Friday 23rd October 2020
Not so long ago, there were two avatars of marketing—business-to-customer (B2C) … The post Align Your Content to Every Touch Point During B2B Customer Journey appeared first on Digital Agency Network.

5 Pillars to Develop a Personal Brand that Ignites Authority and Influence

  • Thursday 29th October 2020
Personal branding for business requires proper research, planning, development and execution. There are 5 Core Pillars to Build a Personal Brand of Authority and Influence.           Related StoriesHow to Preserve Your Personal Brand and Relationships in a POLITICAL Minefield10 Reasons You Need an Audience FIRST Digital, Social Media and Content Marketing Plan [podcast + ebook]Organize Your Content Marketing Assets in 3 Easy Steps [podcast + free worksheets] 

15 Easy Ways to Research Your Target Customer for FREE [podcast + worksheets]

  • Wednesday 28th October 2020
If you want to improve the performance of ALL of your marketing, then you MUST know more about your target buyer than your competition does. Targeted Marketing is Human Science, Not Rocket Science           Related StoriesHow to Develop an Audience First Marketing Strategy for More Brand Awareness and Customers [podcast + worksheets]What is a Buyer Persona and Why It is Important For Your Marketing [free template]10 Reasons You Need an Audience FIRST Digital, Social Media and Content Marketing Plan [podcast + ebook] 

B2B Marketing News: B2B Content Gating Study, Social Ad Spend Soars, Facebook’s New Playable Ads, & New B2B Marketer Pandemic Response Insights

  • Friday 30th October 2020
Do Most B2B Marketers Gate Content? [Study] 64 percent of B2B marketers utilize gated content to obtain prospect and customer information, with some 5 percent always gating their content and 34 percent sometimes using gating, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingProfs Global social media ad spend jumps 56.4% in Q3 Social media advertising spending climbed 56.4 percent globally during the third quarter, while in North America the increase was even greater at 61.7 percent, and video content longer than five minutes saw 70.4 percent greater reach than that having shorter durations, according to recently-release report data. The Drum LinkedIn Up to 722 Million Members, Continues to See 'Record Levels of Engagement' LinkedIn saw a 31 percent increase in sessions during the most recent quarter, accompanied by a 16 percent growth in revenue year-over-year led by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions (client), while the Microsoft-owned platform's 722 million users achieved record levels of engagement, the firm recently reported . Social Media Today YouTube revamps its mobile app with new gestures, video chapter lists and more YouTube has rolled out new mobile app gestures for additional video chapter control, while also making its captioning features more accessible, along with other features including a nighttime reminder function, the Google-owned platform recently announced. TechCrunch Facebook Steps Into Cloud Gaming With Playable Ads Facebook has given a limited roll out to playable ads for the platforms cloud-streamed gaming feature, offering a glimpse of the type of spots that will increasingly blur the lines between ad and game, the social media giant recently announced. MediaPost CX: What's Next? Brands Forced To Respond To Changing Customer Patterns 13 percent of businesses plan to invest in social listening or media monitoring tools for customer experience (CX) in 2021, while 79 percent of CX leaders say that the global health crisis has caused an increase in brand digital interactions — two of several statistics of interest to online marketers contained in recently-released survey data. MediaPost 400,000 Articles Analyzed: Here’s What We Learned About Content Engagement Content that resonates well and drives engagement on one social media platform may perform poorly on another, especially when the two are Facebook and Twitter, according to newly-released survey data gathered from some 400,000 pieces of content analyzed by BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo Deloitte’s 7 marketing trends for 2021 include agile, digital transformation Uncertainty caused by the pandemic has played a part in a significant drop in confidence among corporate executives, according to Deloitte’s new Global Marketing Trends 2021 report, surveying over 400 global CMOs and other executives. Among the trends the report highlights are greater brand purpose, agile marketing strategies, and more authentic connections. MarTech Today Where Are Marketers Struggling with Lead Conversion? 43 percent of marketing and sales professionals at B2B and B2C firms say that they have experienced difficulty collecting enough lead data, and 41 percent find lead follow-up problematic — two insights from recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. Marketing Charts Survey: US B2B decision-maker response to COVID-19 crisis More than 90 percent of B2B decision makers believe the uptick in remote and digital experiences brought about by the pandemic will endure once the global health crisis subsides, while less than 30 percent of B2B buyers say that they would prefer a return to in-person sales interactions in post-pandemic times — two of several statistics of interest to digital marketers in newly-released survey data. McKinsey ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “changing customer needs” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist Confused Army Corp Of Engineers Trying To Find Out What Big Blue Cable Connected To Country Does — The Onion TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: TopRank Marketing — Top 20 Digital Marketing Blogs and Their Specialties — Rank Company Lee Odden — Devising Influencer Marketing Campaigns — Evans on Marketing Have you found your own top B2B marketing stories from the past week of industry news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thank you for joining us for our weekly B2B marketing news, and we hope you will return again next Friday for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Content Gating Study, Social Ad Spend Soars, Facebook’s New Playable Ads, & New B2B Marketer Pandemic Response Insights appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

10 Horrifying Marketing Fears & How To Turn Them Into 2021 Successes

  • Wednesday 28th October 2020
What are your most daunting and horrifying marketing fears? Have you confronted them, or are they still lurking in the dark corners of your marketing mind? The uncertainty of the pandemic has given rise to new fears for many, and brought out long-recessed ones for others. Luckily with all of these fears come new opportunities for tackling them, learning more about ourselves, and perhaps even becoming better marketers in the process. Let’s take a look at some of the top fears in marketing, including examples from some of our own team, and explore how you can take action to conquer your greatest marketing fears and turn them into 2021 successes. 1 — Fear of Boring and Losing Your Audience via GIPHY A top fear shared by many marketers is undoubtedly creating content that does nothing but bore your audience. Especially among B2B marketers, the fear of producing dull and dry content is a valid concern, where many worry about how to bring life and energy to the latest whitepaper data or statistics. Thankfully, the B2B marketing industry has undergone a significant sea change in recent times, as methods for infusing interactive and experiential elements, genuinely interesting storytelling, and the trustworthiness of expert industry influencers have proliferated — all methods you can incorporate into your own efforts to ditch the legacy of dusty old boring B2B. Over the years we’ve written many articles about how B2B marketers can bring energy, inspiration, and genuine excitement to digital efforts, and here are just a few to help you overcome the fear of creating boring B2B content: 6 Ways to Bring More Boom! & Less Boring to Your B2B How to Hit a Marketing Home Run with Experiential Content Bye-Bye Boring B2B: Lee Odden Shows B2BMX Attendees the Power of Interactive Influencer Content Break Free of Boring B2B with Interactive Influencer Content What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Experiential Content Infographic: 5 Must Have Ingredients for a Great Content Marketing Strategy [bctt tweet="“B2B marketing has undergone a sea change in recent times, as methods for infusing interactive and experiential elements, storytelling, and the trustworthiness of expert industry influencers have proliferated.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"] 2 — Fear of Not Doing Enough & Being Unmotivated As Tim Herrera, smarter living editor at The New York Times recently wrote in the piece “7 Months Into the Pandemic and I’m Losing Motivation. Help!”, now isn’t the time to pretend we’re living in normal times. “Accepting that it’s OK to not feel as inspired as you did a year ago can help us adjust to this new way of life,” Herrera suggested. Anxiety and stress can take a huge toll on productivity, so it’s important for marketers to reassess — daily or even hourly — just what progress and personal success are during a lengthy pandemic, and to define them in more forgiving and graceful ways during the pandemic. During the pandemic some 23 percent of people across the world have turned to online communities for stress management, according to Facebook's recently-released "Connected Convenience: How People Are Finding And Fostering Togetherness Online" report, which for marketers has given rise to newfound digital connection opportunities to reach audiences. The fear of facing lost motivation and the decreased productivity that often follows is a significant challenge, however there are ways to start turning the table on them. We should remind ourselves that we're in the midst of a pandemic, and that simply making it through a day can in its own way be the biggest victory we can hope for. It can also be helpful to take stock of anything extra beyond the bare minimum that we've been able to accomplish during the day — even if it's just one small task — to remind ourselves that we not only have the power to push on and survive the daily challenges of the global health crisis, but also the ability to perform in ways that may surprise us if we take the time to seek out and acknowledge them. B2B marketers are a busy bunch, and while having a chock full or overbooked schedule can in some ways help us make it through the next day, it's important to take care of our own needs — whether by boosting happiness hormones or through other methods — and to work in time for reflection, physical and creative activities, and other self-care elements that will help avoid marketing burnout as time passes. [bctt tweet="“It’s important to take care of our own needs and work in time for reflection, physical and creative activities, and other self-care elements to help avoid marketing burnout as time passes.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"] 3 — Fear of Uncertainty via GIPHY During the pandemic the fear of uncertainty has affected us all. Most marketers are still dealing with the upheaval of remote work, and the uncertainty surrounding a future that remains more of a mystery than anyone would like can at times feel overwhelming. This fear of uncertainty has played a part in a significant drop in confidence among corporate executives, according to Deloitte's new Global Marketing Trends 2021 report, surveying over 400 global CMOs and other executives. From CEOs and CIOs to COOs and CMOs, confidence has understandably fallen during the pandemic. Marketing activities that boost trust can help overcome the confidence debt that has risen during the pandemic, such as those our CEO Lee Odden recently explored in "In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience." To help face some of the fears surrounding remote work, we’ve also written several articles to assist you in turning those remote work challenges into newfound advantages, including my own “Day 4,777: Remote Work Tips From 13+ Years As A Distance Marketer.” Here are the others: 5 Project Management Tips for Adrift Remote Marketing Teams 6 Tips to Keep B2B Marketing Teams in Rhythm While Working Remotely New Research: How B2B Content Marketers Are Impacted and Pivoting During the Pandemic Remote Communication Opportunities For B2B Marketers Marketing Lessons from Lockdown: What My 3-year-old Has Taught Me A Day in the Life of a Content Marketer During the Pandemic: Challenges and Tips 6 Dynamic Tactics For Solving The Post-Pandemic Marketing Rubik’s Cube [bctt tweet="“Marketing activities that boost trust can help overcome the confidence debt that has risen during the pandemic.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"] 4 — Fear of Giving Away Your Secret Sauce Recipe It’s not uncommon in the marketing world to face the fear of divulging what may appear to be too much information — to the point where you might think a client would simply be able to take your secret sauce recipe and create the same type of success that you have. One of the greatest elements in both content marketing and B2B influencer marketing, however, is the expectation and respect of freely sharing helpful information. Content marketing has been built on a foundation of giving away helpful information — whether in the form of writing or visual elements — which has undoubtedly been a primary reason why it's become such a popular and successful method marketers use to connect with people. B2B influencer marketing similarly counts among its core values the free exchange of expert insight and advice, which has likely contributed to a rise in the use of B2B influencer marketing among top brands, such as with our own clients Adobe, LinkedIn, AT&T, Dell, Oracle, and other top organizations. Face the fear of giving away your secret sauce recipe by learning more about content marketing  — we have you covered with the following recent articles about the practice, and for learning more about the power of B2B influencer marketing a great starting point is our groundbreaking and authoritative 45-plus page 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report. 50 Top B2B Content Marketing Influencers To Follow in 2021 Your Guide to Effective Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing 5 Steps for a More Powerful B2B Content Marketing Strategy 7 B2B Content Marketing Tactics For Long Term Success Why Content Marketing is More Important Than Ever for B2B Brands [bctt tweet="“One of the greatest elements in both content marketing and B2B influencer marketing is the expectation and respect of freely sharing helpful information.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"] 5 — Fear of Oversharing or Under-Sharing via GIPHY "I must be sharing too much content too often? But what if I’m not sharing nearly enough to be effective..." These common fears arise when marketers haven’t conducted tests to determine the sharing cadence that works best among a particular audience or on a specific social platform. Although it can take time to fine-tune your social media sharing frequency, finding the cadence that best resonates with with your audience is well worth it to not only attract new followers but also keep existing fans. In our informal poll asking B2B marketers their primary reason for unfollowing a brand, sharing too much content and irrelevant content were the top reasons aside from poor quality content. Each year firms produce reports based on the examination of social publishing data in an attempt to pinpoint the top times to publish on various platforms, such as Sprout Social's "How COVID-19 Has Changed Social Media Engagement," and Hootsuite's "The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn." This data can be helpful in developing your own plan, however it should be considered a starting off point rather than social posting gospel. [bctt tweet="“Finding the social publishing cadence that best resonates with with your audience is well worth it to not only attract new followers but also keep existing fans.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"] 6 — Fear of Messaging That Appears Too Old or Too Young Aside from our physical age, the messaging we create can be constructed in a vast range of tones, with only certain ones ringing true with your intended audience. Many marketers are afraid of crafting messaging that goes too far in either direction — appearing to be made for much older audiences than intended, or taking on tones that make the content skew far too young. You can help overcome this fear by learning more about your audience — who are they, what questions are they asking, and what tone will work the best when communicating with them? Our "10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers" shares many tools B2B marketers can use to uncover the questions people are asking, while our "5 Essential Questions to Guide Your B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy" explores how B2B influencer marketing can help connect with audiences, and in "Your B2B Marketing Book of Life: 10 Inspiring B2B Marketing Tips From Family History," we take a family history themed look at getting to know your particular marketing audience. 7 — Fear of Aiming For the Stars "I can't compete with that — it won top honors at Cannes!" The fear of aiming too high is another common one among marketers, as it can be daunting to contemplate going head to head with the very best marketing efforts the world has to offer. Looking at examples of award-winning efforts, however, is a great way to help you dream big and see how brands are making their marketing dreams come true. Breaking down award-winning examples into bite-sized chunks — from start to finish — can help us see that even the greatest digital campaigns were formed by perfectly piecing together small elements that all work together in harmony. In the following articles we’ve explored some top examples to help you conquer your fear of reaching for the marketing stars: What Does Award-Winning B2B Influencer Marketing Look Like? Get Ready For Video In 2021: Watch 5 Creative Examples of B2B Marketing on YouTube 5 Refreshing Examples of Imaginative B2B Marketing To Inspire You in 2021 6 Cannes Revelations About B2B Marketing in 2020 Award Winning B2B Influencer Marketing at B2BMX 5 B2B Brands Innovating with AR & AI Marketing 4 Ways Brands Can Use Creativity & Comedy to Create Award-Winning Content Marketing [bctt tweet="“Even the greatest digital marketing campaigns were formed by perfectly piecing together small elements that all work together in harmony.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"] 8 — Fear of Missing Deadlines “I need to put in a twenty hour day to be absolutely certain this project meets the deadline!” The fear of being unable to meet deadlines can be daunting for many marketers, but doesn’t have to rule your professional life if you put your projects in order and implement scheduling touch points that keep things on track through the process, so those last minute surprises are few and far between. Getting into good deadline scheduling habits that include plenty of built-in time for leeway needed to ward off last-minute chaos is well worth the effort. Here are several articles we’ve written that will help overcome those efficiency and time management fears: 5 Time-Saving Tips to Overclock Your B2B Marketing Efficiency 5 Ways B2B Marketers Can Boost Productivity and Focus 5 Project Management Tips for Adrift Remote Marketing Teams In a Fast-Paced Digital World, B2B Marketers Can Benefit from Slowing Down 7 Efficiency-Boosting Martech Tools & Platform Features B2B Marketers Need to Consider A Well-Oiled Machine: Why Every B2B Marketing Team Needs Marketing Operations Smooth Sailing: Our Guide to Effective Project Management for B2B Marketers B2B Marketing Fitness: 16 B2B Experts Share Top Tips for Optimized Performance [bctt tweet="“Getting into good deadline scheduling habits that include plenty of built-in time for leeway needed to ward off last-minute chaos is well worth the effort.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"] 9 — Fear of Presenting New Ideas Even if you never miss a deadline, many marketers face another fear that arises when plans abound and suggestions are plentiful — the fear of presenting new ideas. Our own influencer marketing strategist Nic Michael has several tactics for facing and overcoming this widespread fear. "One of my biggest marketing fears is presenting new ideas," Nic shared. "Whether an influencer list or a creative execution, I always fear that my client stakeholders will hate what I have done. Over time, I have realized that coming in with strategic thinking, enthusiasm, and confidence, makes presenting a much less stressful situation than it plays out in your head," Nic observed. Our own vice president of client accounts Alexis Hall takes a look at these and other methods for better marketing presentations in "How to Power Marketing Presentations With Data Visualization & Win Over Your Audience," including helpful tips to overcome even the strongest fear of sharing new ideas. 10 — Fear of Missing New Industry Trends Plenty of marketers also fear missing out on new industry trends, as keeping up with the swift twists and turns of today's marketing scene — with mile-a-minute product launches, ever-new platforms, feature changes and additions — is not an easy task. It can be done, however, as our director of search and analytics Seth Epstein explained. "For a long time I was fearful that I wouldn't be able to stay up to date on everything I need to know to be relevant as a marketer," Seth said. "To overcome that, I've learned to focus on business goals and on understanding who potential customers are and what they want. Testing new strategies and tactics, and keeping up with trends becomes easier — and fun — when you've got confidence in your marketing foundations," Seth observed. One way to keep up on the latest B2B marketing industry trends is by following blogs such as our own, and by keeping up with our B2B Marketing News, which publishes every Friday. Don’t Look Back At Your Marketing Fears via GIPHY Whether it’s the fears we’ve explored here or some of the many more marketers are facing today more than ever because of the pandemic, it’s important to move forward and not look back — like Count Orlok in F.W. Murnau’s fear-riddled Nosferatu — on the fears we’ve either already overcome or are working to face in our daily lives. Facing our fears can make us better B2B marketers and in many aspects of our professional and personal lives as well, so I encourage you to use this first-ever Halloween pandemic season to take the methods and suggestions we've looked at to heart, and to create your own new form of fearless marketing and living. Want further help facing your marketing fears? Contact us and find out why brands from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, and Adobe to IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more have chosen TopRank Marketing. The post 10 Horrifying Marketing Fears & How To Turn Them Into 2021 Successes appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

10 Tips To Turn Your B2B Podcast Promotions Up To 11

  • Tuesday 27th October 2020
According to the latest numbers, more people in the US have listened to a podcast than have not — and a full quarter of the population listens weekly. It seems like they’re everywhere... Baby Driver (2017) x Serial pic.twitter.com/RDXoeCyF9W — Andrew Norton (@andrewtnorton) September 18, 2020 We made the case for B2B podcasts in a post last year, and that case has only grown stronger. Podcasts are a great way to build an audience for your content, work with influencers, and produce cool stuff that earns attention. Case in point: The Tech Unknown podcast for SAP* is exceeding benchmarks for downloads, and each new episode inspires more people to check out the entire archive. Of course, the current podcast boom is a double-edged sword for new podcasts. There are more people listening than ever, but there are also more podcasts than ever. Apple reports at least 500,000, while the total number may be closer to a million. For your podcast to find its intended audience, you must promote it as strategically as you would any other piece of content. Here’s what you need to know about using social media to bring in listeners. How to Promote Your B2B Podcast on Social Media Before we get into specific tactics, the heart of any content promotion is having content worth sharing. So make sure your podcast is relevant to your audience, includes influencers that they know and respect, and is edited to bring them the good stuff without filler. Once you have 2-3 of these high-quality episodes ready to publish, you can start promoting. We’ll start with some general tips, then take a quick look at a few specific social media platforms. [bctt tweet="“Make sure your podcast is relevant to your audience, includes influencers that they know and respect, and is edited to bring them the good stuff without filler.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites" username="toprank"] Follow Influencers with Your Podcast Account The first step here is to create separate social media accounts for your podcast. Make it its own entity for promotion and audience engagement purposes. Then, follow well-known folks who are relevant to your subject matter. Include industry analysts, practitioners, and anyone who is knowledgeable and trusted about your core topics. This will help with promotion in two ways: First, following these folks will get you on their radar for potential amplification or collaboration. Second, you’ll be able to see what kind of content they share with their audience, which will help you make your podcast more relevant. Include Influencers in Content Creation Influencers bring credibility, a new audience, and original ideas to your content. They don’t just provide amplification; they actually make the content better.  We have found that more influencers are open to audio interviews than to other forms of co-creation. And tools like Zencastr make it easy to capture high-quality audio over the internet. Just make sure to give your podcast guests everything they need to promote their episode:  Custom images sized for Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter Audio snippets/video for Stories A custom URL for tracking Set a Social Media Content Calendar Your podcast’s dedicated social media accounts should do more than just post a link when you put up a new episode. You can consistently bring value to your audience and start conversations with posts, the same way you do on other brand channels. Plan for at least one or two meaningful posts a day that correspond to the topics you talk about in the podcast. Share related content, post polls to spark discussion, and repost content from influencers you’re featuring (or courting). And, of course, make sure to participate in any discussions that arise — don’t leave your listeners hanging. Create Promotional Material for Each Episode After you record an episode, transcribe the audio (otter.ai is a good quick-and-dirty solution) and find your most quotable moments. Use these to create assets for promotion. Tools like Canva make it easy to create quote images, and even simple videos, at the optimum size and resolution for each site. Cross Promote with Other Podcasts People who already listen to podcasts are likely to try out new ones. Other podcasts in your industry aren’t necessarily competitors — their audience is likely to add your podcast to their rotation. B2B brands are in a uniquely good position to cross-promote across podcasts. For example, if your CEO is influential in the industry, they would be a valuable guest on another industry podcast. And conversely, your show could feature subject matter experts from another podcast. Genuine, generous cross-promotion is a great way to help your podcast find its audience. [bctt tweet="“B2B brands are in a uniquely good position to cross-promote across podcasts.” —@NiteWrites" username="toprank"] Add Smart Paid Promotion Your organic reach may vary across sites — it’s non-existent on Facebook, better on Instagram, and much better on LinkedIn. So some savvy paid promotion can help your podcast find its audience. Use your most compelling clips and quotes to create your assets, and target your audience by vertical.  The CTA for these ads should be to subscribe, rather than listen to a single episode. The value of a podcast for marketers is building a loyal audience over time. And it’s best to target Android and iOS users separately, with ads that feature a subscribe link to their respective podcast apps.  Promotion Tips by Platform Here are a few specific ways you can promote your podcast on the three most relevant platforms: LinkedIn While it’s important to have separate social media accounts for your podcast, your brand should be driving promotion on LinkedIn*. Share links and promo materials from your company page, and repost your podcast page’s posts there, too.  LinkedIn is the perfect platform to promote employee sharing, too. Make sure your employees are equipped with promotional materials and links to share. They can also tag prospects and relevant influencers — anyone valuable to the brand who might find your podcast interesting. Instagram: While LinkedIn is a great platform for employee activation an influencer engagement, Instagram may present the best opportunity to engage your podcast’s audience.  Use Stories to share teasers, previews and quotes from each episode. Include candid photos and videos of the recording process, too — take your listeners behind the scenes. Twitter: As you saw in the embedded tweet above, short videos are a great way to hook an audience on Twitter. Create video by adding a simple static or looping animated background to your audio highlights — even a basic video editor like iMovie will do the trick.  Make sure your video makes sense without audio, as most mobile viewers will be watching on mute, and keep them under a minute long. And, of course, add relevant hashtags and tag your guests and relevant influencers. A (Pod)Cast of Thousands I’ve lost count of which Podcast Renaissance we’re in at this point, but it’s fair to say the medium is stronger than ever. And there’s still plenty of untapped audience potential out there, especially for business podcasts that bring real value and industry insight to their listeners. To learn more about B2B podcasting, check out our webinar: The 4 P’s of B2B Podcasting Success. * SAP and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients. The post 10 Tips To Turn Your B2B Podcast Promotions Up To 11 appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

The State of B2B Influence Marketing – Top 10 Insights for 2021

  • Monday 26th October 2020
What does the state of B2B influencer marketing look like now and in the future? How can B2B brands start a successful influencer program? Why is it more important than ever to approach B2B influencer marketing with an always-on influencer strategy? Many of these questions are answered in the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report and yet we all know the complexity and opportunity combination of influencer marketing requires further exploration. Luckily Jason Falls connected with our CEO Lee Odden for a podcast interview to explore  the answers to these questions and more, along with his most recent B2B influencer marketing insight. After listening to the podcast, I’ve pulled out 10 of the most compelling insights about the state of B2B influencer marketing to help inspire your success in 2021 and beyond. 1 - B2B Influencers Are Credible Voices Throughout The Customer Lifecycle B2B purchases are a journey, and there is a long cycle of education and content consumption that occurs as brands or buyers educate themselves about possible solutions and how they might work for their company. When you talk about end-of-funnel activities, where you're looking for increasing purchase intent, increasing order volumes, and acceleration through the sales cycle — things like that — the explicit advocacy of a subject matter expert in the form of an industry influencer can definitely facilitate these. The credible voices of B2B influencers play a role throughout the entire customer life cycle. It’s important to identify the topics of influence that are representative of how the brand wants to be known — topics that customers actually care about — and find the people that can represent those ideas and values. [bctt tweet="“The credible voices of B2B influencers play a role throughout the entire customer life cycle.” @LeeOdden" username="toprank"] 2 - Digital Influence Is Heightened During The Pandemic The ability to influence doesn't just exist in a digital world, but with the pandemic, for B2B it's more digital now than it ever was before. There are opportunities now to connect with people who may be more offline influencers, however the bulk of digital marketing that's occurring in the B2B space is online, and the signals of credibility that people are using to determine whether someone is relevant or interesting to them tend to be digital. A holistic approach is important, including the use of tools, including Traackr, which is both a B2C and B2B platform. A tool is only as effective as the expertise of the person using it. It is up to the expertise of the users as much as it is about the platform, because the data is agnostic in terms of B2C or B2B — people are either publishing or they're not. The content they're publishing is either topically relevant or it's not, and the topics they are publishing are either resonating or not. These can be identified by engagement activities, and by whether messages are propagating and being shared or not. [bctt tweet="“A tool is only as effective as the expertise of the person using it.” @LeeOdden" username="toprank"] 3 - Identify Core Characteristics Of Influence Around A Topic We can identify core characteristics of what makes a person influential around a topic of influence, partially through the use of the appropriate software. There are however lots of other steps to consider — manual inspection of the content that influencers are publishing, the cadence of publishing, and certain background information that should be taken into consideration before recommending them to a client. They have to be doing what your brand is talking about to determine whether an influencer may work or not. Influence is not permanent — it's temporal. While at the moment of identification a person may be very influential about a topic, will they always be influential about it? Maybe, or maybe not, and on top of understanding the key performance indicators (KPIs) being delivered on for the campaign, or for the influencer engagement activity, you've also got to be able to report on the effectiveness of what is being done. [bctt tweet="“Influence is not permanent — it's temporal.” @LeeOdden" username="toprank"] 4 - Understand The Conversations Being Driven By Influencers Are we moving the needle or not? Are we reaching those business outcomes that we're after, and at the same time we have to identify — through tracking URLs and other metrics available via influencer marketing platforms and web analytics — whether or not, or the degree to which an individual is effective for a purpose. You can certainly look at data from social media monitoring tools such as Brandwatch, Agorapulse and others, to monitor various topics and hashtags, and Keyhole is another useful tool for hashtag and handle tracking. They offer an on-demand way to understand the conversations being driven by influencers, as they share social messages and the content they help to make. At the same time, you have to be accountable as in any campaign, and you've got to report upstream to the stakeholders in the organization things such as, “Okay —here's our goal, and here's what we achieved.” There are real-time metrics and things that help you optimize in an ongoing way. There are also campaign metrics that determine the effectiveness of a program, and that may ultimately help decide whether you keep someone or sunset them and replace them. 5 - Use The Right Influencer Ingredients For Your B2B Recipe Everyone is influential about something, as Lee often points out, and all of us both influence other people and are influenced by others on a daily basis. When we take this holistic view, it’s like we're a chef in a kitchen with a recipe, and we have ingredients and there are different types of influencers that can make a very effective campaign. If you're making a stew, you know that potatoes are one ingredient — and that's your brandividual — the famous person you’re going to use to attract others. However you’ll also want to go after reach influencers, internal subject matter experts at the brand and perhaps some of their customers, along with other niche experts that are out there in the field that are practicing in their particular area — people who their friends would go to if they needed help or if they needed advice. You want to bring all these different ingredient voices into a campaign and architect and build a recipe highly appropriate to what the audience will find delicious. [bctt tweet="“Everyone is influential about something.” @LeeOdden" username="toprank"] 6 - Achieve Affinity & Elevate Brand Perception With Influencers It's so much more than just a tally of fans, friends and followers and whether a person is famous — there are different types of influence. This is something to consider as you become more sophisticated in B2B influencer marketing. It's more about what they are and how they are using influencers than merely what they're good for. A lot of B2B marketing investment you think of as overwhelmingly focused on the end-of-sale-cycle type of activities. However, they'll never get there if they don't achieve affinity, if they don't achieve connection and engagement before that. If they're not ever considered, they'll never make it to the sales conversation. A lot of the top and middle of funnel activity is where a great deal of demand generation activity is happening. At the moment that's where a lot of B2B marketers are investing in influencer marketing — to elevate brand perception, to warm the market and increase consideration. Ultimately they will also get to that point-of-sale conversation as well. [bctt tweet="“A lot of the top and middle of funnel activity is where a great deal of demand generation activity is happening.” @LeeOdden" username="toprank"] 7 - Recognize B2B Influencer Marketing’s Sales-Generation Potential B2B is different from B2C, in that with B2C it’s fine if you have a person explicitly advocating for a product — it's often what people do — they hold up a bottle of soda or face cream or whatever it may be and ask people to buy it to look beautiful. In the case of B2B, however, if you have someone explicitly endorsing a product like that — for something that can often take six months to two years as a sales cycle — and you have someone explicitly endorsing it, that can come across as not so believable. To some degree that's why there aren't more B2B marketers using industry influencers specifically for sales generation. There are however quite a few interesting anomaly types of case studies where millions of dollars in revenue was generated by working with influencers, however this isn’t the norm just yet. 8 - Overcome The Fear Of Getting Started In B2B Influencer Marketing In some ways there’s both so much and so little confidence in B2B influencer marketing at the same time. 96 percent of marketers believe that engaging influencers consider their programs to be successful, according to our recent groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report. We have that on the one hand, yet the other hand, 60% say they don't have the knowledge to execute or have the right skills in-house to implement ongoing influencer marketing programs. This isn’t exactly an apples to apples comparison, however, because one is just broadly about influencer marketing, and the other has more to do specifically with ongoing, always-on efforts, which tend to be more successful. 9 - Benefit From The Advantages of Ongoing Influencer Programs Only 19 percent of companies are implementing ongoing influencer marketing programs, however 60 percent of marketers who use always-on influencer marketing programs consider themselves very successful, versus only 5 percent who do traditional periodic campaigns. This means that 12 times more marketers who use always-on say they're very successful than those who just do periodic campaigns. B2B influencer marketing is without a doubt a relationship business, and this means developing genuine relationships, where through the exchange and through the experience a brand is creating for the influencer, that influencer is getting value and getting exposure. Sometimes they get paid, and all the while they're also learning more about the brand and growing closer to the brand. 10 - Learn From Successful Influencer Marketing Programs Our client Adobe has an influencer program called Adobe Insiders, and Lee is a member of the program. He’s seen the program from the inside and found it to be incredibly effective with the relationships that Adobe has invested in and developed among their community of influencers. Many, without even being asked, are publishing to business publications like Forbes, Inc., and other publications, just because they have this love for the Adobe brand. There’s no doubt that it's a very beloved brand anyway, but the fact that Rani Mani, the head of global influencer enablement at Adobe, is such a charismatic personality and pays so much close attention to personalized communications with the people that are part of this community and creates a platform for them to connect with each other has a great deal to do with its success and what a powerful community the Adobe Insiders have created. Find out more about Rani and the B2B influencer marketing advantage in our recent Inside Influence video interview with Lee, in “Inside Influence: Rani Mani from Adobe on the B2B Influencer Marketing Advantage.” Learn More About Ascending To B2B Influencer Marketing Success via GIPHY We hope these 10 B2B marketing insights and tips from Lee’s conversation with Jason on the Winfluence influencer marketing podcast have been helpful, and that they’ll inspire and bring newfound success to your own efforts. You can listen to Lee and Jason’s complete interview on the Winfluence podcast here. If you’re among the 60 percent of B2B marketers who feel they need help to execute an ongoing influencer marketing program, contact us to get started with B2B influencer marketing, and find out why brands from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business,  and Adobe to IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more have chosen TopRank Marketing. The post The State of B2B Influence Marketing – Top 10 Insights for 2021 appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Incredible Content Marketing: 6 Tips for Infusing Credibility into B2B Content

  • Tuesday 10th November 2020
One of my favorite moments from The Simpsons is when the hilariously incompetent physician Dr. Nick burns down a building by mishandling a clearly marked chemical tank, and then exclaims, “Inflammable means flammable?! What a country!” via GIPHY “Incredible” is a word that can spark similar cognitive dissonance for marketers. Sure, it might technically be defined as “impossible to believe,” but if your content isn’t credible, would anyone describe it as incredible? Quite the opposite. In this business, incredible means credible. So let’s explore the cornerstones of creating credible, and thus truly incredible, content marketing. 6 Tips for Making Your B2B Content (Incredibly) Credible Just as you can’t fake authenticity, you can’t fake credibility. This label is earned by brands over time by developing a trusted voice, showing up for your audience, and — above all — knowing what you’re talking about. With these being table stakes, today’s post examines how you can make sure this foundational credibility is showing up in the content marketing you create and distribute. Speaking of table stakes: 1 — Don’t lie to your audience We’re living in an age where misinformation runs rampant. Frankly, it can make the entire experience of being online very draining and exhausting. And while folks might have no choice but to put up with the zany Facebook post by their uncle, or the click-baity headline on Google News, they are less likely to tolerate it from companies they do business with. To be clear, I’m not under the impression that many B2B brands are out here attempting to flat-out fib to people. On this subject, I’ll make two points: It’s all too easy to be untruthful with your audience unintentionally. If careless, marketers can fall into the same disinformation traps that plague many users of the web. Always fact-check and verify information before sharing it with your audience, and don’t make a habit of running with assumptions. Shying away from the truth isn’t much different from lying. It might not feel dishonest to downplay your solution’s weaknesses, or hide negative reviews, but will your customers feel the same? 2 — Gain credibility through association One of the primary advantages of influencer marketing is that it allows brands to co-opt the credibility of respected experts and business leaders they partner with. When audiences see these individuals collaborating with a company, producing useful and enjoyable content together, it infuses an instant element of trust. It is not enough to simply activate influencer marketing, though — be strategic about it. Identify influencers who truly fit with your brand values, and aim for transparent authenticity in your engagements. In other words, beware of pay-to-play. As Lee Odden put it in an interview with Brand24: “Without clear alignment between the brand, influencer and audience, the program won’t resonate and everyone loses credibility.” 3 — Be thoughtful about where your content is showing up Your brand’s associations aren’t limited to “who”; there is also the matter of “where.” Credibility can be affected by the reputations of platforms where content is distributed, and by the other content that appears around it. In the social media sphere, Business Insider’s Digital Trust Report has found LinkedIn* to be the platform most trusted by users three years straight, and what’s especially interest to note is the dramatic drop-off Facebook has seen over this span: Nearly half of the respondents (47%) in Business Insider’s 2019 report said they think Facebook is “extremely likely” to show them deceptive content. I wrote on this blog recently about the B2B implications of the Facebook advertising boycott. This isn’t to say marketing on Facebook is a universal cred-killer, but it’s something that should increasingly be weighed in your decision-making. Any podcast your brand representatives appear on, or blogs they guest-post on, should also be vetted deeply. Just as you can gain credibility through association, you can also lose it. 4 — Put your brand’s purpose forward I like to frame a company’s relationship with its purpose as that between the Earth and the Sun: Not so close that it’s constantly in your face, but always within view, and all of your marketing activities orbit around it. There are many benefits to being a purpose-driven brand, but the credibility factor is a big one. Credibility is built, in part, through consistency. Staying true to a clearly articulated guiding mission is one of the simplest ways to demonstrate consistency, even amidst rapidly changing conditions. Kim Davis of MarTech Today recently highlighted Deloitte’s seven marketing trends for 2021, which are geared toward “breaking out of our often defensive mindsets to more holistically — and authentically — meet human needs.” The first item on the list is purpose. And I might argue that the following six confidence-building touchstones – agility, human connections, trust, participation, fusion, talent transformation – all feed off it. Like planets orbiting the Sun.  5 — Elevate the voices of your community Companies aren’t credible. We can say they are, as a shorthand, but nobody actually finds a business entity trustworthy or dependable on its own. Credibility is driven by the people behind the brand, and by its advocates. Do all you can to showcase those individuals and continually reinforce their loyalty. Customers and employees come together to form your brand’s community. People see themselves in the reflection of the community, not the company logo or product features. So if you want to build credibility, lift those voices up. In the past, we’ve preached the value of user-generated content and employee advocacy. More recently, Cara Sloman wrote at Entrepreneur about the power of customer champions for trust and credibility. 6 —Make the commitment and investment to do marketing well At the end of the day, actions — and results — speak louder than words. Nothing is more credible than a piece of content that is downright GOOD – where it is clear that serious effort and expertise were channeled into creating something that would connect and make an impact. You can’t manufacture the credibility of ranking first in Google for a keyword you want to own, or building a large and engaged following on social media, or boasting heartfelt customer testimonials on your website. These things don’t come easily or automatically. And they’re never earned by taking the easy route. Jeff Bezos once said, “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Say what you will about the Amazon overlord, but no one can deny he’s got credibility on the subject of growing a modern business. Want help making your content marketing more credible AND incredible? Reach out to our team at TopRank Marketing. * LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is a TopRank Marketing client The post Incredible Content Marketing: 6 Tips for Infusing Credibility into B2B Content appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Inside Influence EP06: Amisha Gandhi from SAP on the Power of Mutual Value in B2B Influencer Marketing

  • Monday 9th November 2020
The latest edition of Inside Influence features B2B Influencer Marketing "OG", Amisha Gandhi, VP Influencer Marketing & Communications at SAP. At TopRank Marketing, we've had the pleasure of working with Amisha for several years on a variety of influencer marketing programs from the launch of SAP Leonardo to developing a virtual reality experience featuring influencers for use at tradeshows. In this 6th episode of Inside Influence, I talk with Amisha about the power of how creating mutual value between B2B brands and influencers drives returns across the customer lifecycle. Of course we also hit a few highlights of the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report. In this 6th Episode of Inside Influence, we cover: The impact of the pandemic on influencer marketing for B2B brands How influencer marketing fits in the marketing mix What mutual value creation means for B2B brands and influencers The difference between B2C and B2B influencer marketing When to pay influencers Why Always-On influencer marketing is more powerful than campaigns alone How to win budgets for influencer marketing programs Where agencies can be most helpful for B2B brands with influencer marketing Top B2B influencer marketing mistakes Looking forward to post-pandemic influencer marketing Here are a few highlights with the full video interview embedded below. You know as much as anyone the impact that the pandemic has had on people’s lives and on business. What has the impact been when it comes to B2B influencer marketing? Amisha: I think (B2B) people are definitely looking at their entire customer journey as now completely digital. I think you see an increase in digital social selling and you see an increase in digital demand gen if it wasn't already. And with more maturity, many have now made that shift. People are looking at creating more engaging online experiences and virtual experiences now. Many (B2B marketers) have had to go a hundred percent digital overnight and that just creates a really great opportunity for influencer marketing. @amishagandhi I think many had to go a hundred percent digital overnight and that just creates a really great opportunity for influencer marketing. When you think about the customer journey, because we're really trying to create conversations and engagement, now everything has to be done virtually, right? So even live experiences with your influencers, customers, employees, everyone has to be online. I think it just creates that opportunity for us to work with influencers, to manage and make those experiences as valuable as possible. The research we did for the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report found that B2B marketers are engaging influencers for content that does everything from build brand awareness (84%) to help generate leads (69%). Do you view influencer marketing as something you apply to specific objectives or can it be used more broadly? Or both? Amisha: I think both, but it depends on what you're trying to do. Something that we always talk about and we agree on is that influencer marketing, when you're creating it, should be an ongoing relationship. It's almost like you want to create a community of influencers around your business. Or if you're at a large place like SAP, around the topic that you're really trying to influence and the persona that you're trying to influence. You really want to think about that long term aspect of it. Influencers can really help you broadly, but they can also help you at every step of the customer journey. @amishagandhi These influencers can really help you broadly, but they can also help you at every step of the customer journey. Think of how you can infuse influencers into those motions all the way across the customer journey, so when you do a campaign, you have influencers from awareness all the way down to advocacy. You’ve said many times that effective influencer marketing is about mutual value creation. What do you mean by that? Amisha: Sure. There are people who are influencers and that's their business. But I think there are a lot of influencers, especially in B2B who are developers, who are actual implementers of technology, or they're in the position of influence like CIO of CFO. Some of them have written books and some of them are academics. It depends, but they have some sort of inspirational guidance out there, right? And people follow them for reason. When you're working with folks like that, it's not always a contract. There's value for them as well. For example, it could be, you know, we have a large ecosystem partner ecosystem at SAP. Some of our influencers are also partners and some of the partner organizations like to come and do business with us, so we're making introductions into our ecosystem on behalf of the influencer. They're actually doing business with us or with our partners. We're actually building business together. That's not to say that they're out there endorsing SAP, but they're a little bit more involved. So they're getting that intrinsic value. For other folks there is the contract, but again, if you have the long-term relationship, it becomes less about the contract than the work. If you're asking people to do a keynote or if you're asking them to write long articles or to do thought leadership, you're paying them for work.  I'm not paying them to endorse SAP. I'm paying them because they've interviewed tens of customers and they're writing a really thorough piece of content and that's their job. It's based on their knowledge. There is mutual benefit in building business together and asking your influencers, what do you want out of the relationship? @amishagandhi So it depends. There are influencers we don't pay at all. There are other influencers we pay some for certain activities and the others not. If we're asking for a quote for an ebook and it takes somebody a couple of minutes and they're a really great thought leader, they're involved in that way. Longer pieces of content like a keynote, we pay for. You don't want to take people for granted. You want to create that relationship. There is mutual benefit in building business together and asking your influencers, what do you want out of the relationship? And really getting to know them and saying, how can we help you beyond just this? I think it works both ways because they'll come back and ask you the same thing and you're going to get this amazing value. Both ways. Activating influencers to co-create B2B content might work great, but no program is getting off the ground without budget. What recommendations do you have for winning budget to do a pilot or even a longer term program? Amisha: Budget is an issue for everyone these days. I can say that I started with no budget and I had to pitch my other marketing colleagues for pieces of their budget to actually do influencer marketing right and I started a global demand gen team. So what you really have to do is, is explain: here's the context of what this is and here are the outcomes that you can expect. Of course, a lot of these were just guesstimations because there wasn't anyone else I could look at it and say, who's doing demand gen? Who's doing ABM? Or who's doing a kind of co-created content with influencers? I had a lot of B2C industry stats for influencer marketing that were very helpful, but I had to have a very pointed sort of conversation about, here's what we're going to do and here's what that could look like. A program could be an ebook or some sort of event speaking engagement and then you could get some promotion out of that. Another thing was, here is some kind of demand gen content that could really work in your campaign. So you have to have a menu of options and outcomes to show what the context is. This is why it's important and here's some of the things I can do for you, business or marketing team. Plus, here's the outcomes that you can expect. When you have that, then people are like, Oh, okay. It's not just an idea. We're going to see what happens. When I started I wasn't getting anywhere, so I had to be really pragmatic. Once I did that and showed the value, then people said, okay I can see that this will have some impact on what I'm doing to help me with my marketing campaign. Okay. Let's see, let's try it out. My inbox was getting full because people saw the value (of influencer marketing). They saw it in action and they experienced it themselves. @amishagandhi And that's how I got a pilot from the CIO group at SAP. We started with an event and an ebook and they both did really well. Then we were able to share that with all the other teams and my inbox was getting full after that because people saw the value. They saw it in action and they experienced it themselves. You want to be open about outcomes and communicate the outcomes and make it valuable to the person you're talking to. So, know who you're talking to and know what they're about and know what they're trying to achieve. Know how you can help them have the outcome and then always report back and try to share those results so that they can experience it themselves. Because once they do, then they will just want more and will want to think about it in a different way than, Oh, this was an ebook. No, actually, let's think about it in a bigger way. And then that's how you're going to say, here's the vision and here's how we can get to the bigger plays with influencers and make it a part of our marketing stack. In the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, we found that the things B2B marketers outsource most often to agencies include: identifying influencers, managing relationships, developing strategy and measuring effectiveness. What have you found to be most useful when it comes to using outside help? Amisha: So I started in-house first and then eventually started working with folks like you (TopRank Marketing). We share the same philosophies which is really important. For identifying influencers, yes, you should get outside help. But there are also lists out there. You want to verify those things. Once influencers have been identified, you should be part of the relationship development and the relationship. I think when you outsource the relationship, it is very difficult to create that ongoing community. You can certainly have the help of an agency to help manage the relationship, but I really feel strongly that the relationship that the influencers want is with the brand and not with the agency. @amishagandhi You can certainly have the help of an agency to help manage the relationship, but I really feel strongly that the relationship that the influencers want is with the brand and not with the agency. Now, if the agency is a player in that industry, that's great and it helps. But again, the brand needs to be the end goal for the relationship, especially for influencers. I find that very few agencies have those relationships. You guys have them because you've been around and you understand B2B influencer marketing, which can be a big help for people just starting out. But again, the brand needs to have that relationship. Measurement and all of that can be outsourced. Or, you know, brought in-house. It can't just be those vanity metrics that you want to show. You want to show deeper metrics and you have to allow your agency access to that, or kind of come up with a grid or what I call a dashboard that shows all the metrics that you've had impact on. So, allow your agency for success by giving them exposure to those things and then ask what what works for other companies? This is what my sandbox looks like, so how can I be successful here? I think that an outside-in perspective, for someone who doesn't have the experience, would be really helpful. But the relationship piece should be owned by the brand, especially in B2B. To see the full Inside Influence interview with Amisha Gandhi, check out the video below: If you would like to connect with Amisha further about B2B influencer marketing, you can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn. Next up on Inside Influence, we'll be talking to Pierre-Loic Assayag, CEO and Co-Founder of Traackr about the role of technology and software with ROI generating influencer marketing. Be sure to check out our previous Inside Influence interviews: Rani Mani, Adobe - The Value of B2B Influencer Marketing Garnor Morantes, LinkedIn - The Power of Always-On Influence Ursula Ringham, SAP - Behind the Scenes with Influencer Marketing Operations Janine Wegner, Dell Technologies - Thought Leadership and B2B Influence Jen Hotlvluwer, Spirion - Award Winning B2B Influencer Marketing The post Inside Influence EP06: Amisha Gandhi from SAP on the Power of Mutual Value in B2B Influencer Marketing appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

B2B Marketing News: B2B Content Marketing Credibility Study, LinkedIn’s New Company Engagement Report, Global Social Trends & Microsoft’s Free UX Tool

  • Friday 6th November 2020
Both B2B Marketers and Buyers Increasingly Sold on Conversational Marketing B2B marketing professionals have found email, online live chat, social media, and chatbots have all seen increased usage in 2020, while phone and video call use has fallen by more than 10 percent, according to recently-released B2B buyer communication survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingCharts B2B Tech Firms Cut Marketing Budgets Due To Pandemic: Study Despite an overall drop in marketing spending due to the global health crisis, budgeting for digital and content marketing are the most likely to see increased spending, while some 60 percent of B2B technology firm executives say that their key performance indicators (KPIs) haven't undergone change. MediaPost Subject Matter Expertise A Growing Factor for B2B Buyers When Evaluating Vendors In 2020 over 32 percent of B2B and professional services buyers see subject matter expertise and industry knowledge as the top attribute when evaluating firms, a rate over 11 percent higher than 2018 figures, with client service flexibility the only other element that became more important during the past two years — two of several statistics of interest to online marketers in recently-released survey data. MarketingCharts 7 ways COVID-19 has changed B2B customer experience forever The pandemic has blurred the lines between B2B and B2C marketing, brought more intelligent automation to customer experience (CX), and made trust a more important factor, and Adobe has taken a look at how these changes will play out in 2021 and beyond. Adobe (client) Linked Rolls Out Company Engagement Report LinkedIn (client) has launched a Company Engagement Report offering new insights for B2B marketers, especially those using account based marketing (ABM), featuring a variety of organic and ad engagement metrics, the Microsoft-owned professional social platform recently announced. Adweek Facebook Once Again Experiments with Up and Down Votes for Comments to Optimize Engagement Facebook has begun limited testing of Reddit-like upvoting and downvoting options among certain Facebook Groups, with an eye towards boosting relevant content and engagement levels, recent observations of the social media giant have shown. Social Media Today Google's Working on a New Process Which Would Convert Static Website Assets into Video Content Google has launched URL2Video, a new prototype utility that incorporates some of Google’s AI systems to turn static website digital assets into video content, in a move that could lead to new digital marketing opportunities, the search giant recently announced. Social Media Today Social Media Trends 2021 Global Report Content remixing, memetic media, and nostalgia marketing are among the trends marketers are likely to see more of during 2021, according to recently-released global social media survey trend data from HubSpot and Talkwalker. Talkwalker Microsoft Clarity, the company’s tool for visualizing user experience, is out of beta Microsoft has widely released Clarity, a free service offering a variety of user engagement and other metrics using site JavaScript, previously available only in beta form, the firm recently announced. Marketing Land B2B Content Marketers Getting More Successful in Building Credibility B2B content marketers say they have found creating brand awareness, educating audiences, and building credibility and trust as the top three benefits of B2B content marketing over the past year, followed by lead generation and building loyalty with existing customers, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingCharts ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: A lighthearted look at “CX is more than a department” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist New Photo Filter Shows What You Would Look Like in Facial-Recognition Database — The Hard Times/a> TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS: Lee Odden — #TimTalk - The Business of B2B Influence with Lee Odden — Timothy Hughes Lane R. Ellis — 10 Tips for Prioritizing Tasks to Make the Most of Limited Small Business Resources — Small Business Trends Lee Odden — 40 Marketing Quotes to Provoke Thought and Inspire — Visitor Queue Have you found your own top B2B marketing stories from the past week of industry news? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks for taking the time to join us for our weekly B2B marketing news, and we hope that you'll return again next Friday for another examination of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Content Marketing Credibility Study, LinkedIn’s New Company Engagement Report, Global Social Trends & Microsoft’s Free UX Tool appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

LinkedIn’s Ty Heath: 3 Enduring B2B Marketing Trends #MPB2B

  • Thursday 5th November 2020
While MarketingProfs B2B Forum's Ann Handley was introducing Ty Heath, director of market engagement at The B2B Institute at LinkedIn*, for her keynote, “Evolve your Strategy: 3 Mega Marketing Trends to Outperform Your Competition,” she shared that one of the advantages of holding the event virtually for the first time was that you could be three places at once by being able to watch all sessions once the conference concludes. 2020 marked Ty’s third year speaking at #MPB2B, and her first keynoting the event, and for the occasion Ann shared her hand-drawn portrait of Ty. Ty began by explaining that LinkedIn’s B2B Institute serves as a think tank for accelerating B2B marketing and creating more value for B2B marketers, and then started her exploration of the three big trends that won't necessarily change over time — trends savvy marketers will want to invest in over the next decade in order to see their organizations thrive. A key point prefacing her three major trends was that marketers shouldn’t ask what everyone else is doing, but instead should be asking about what nobody is doing, and the importance of both doing what nobody else is and — equally important — being right about it. B2B marketing is largely a long-term game, Ty explained, noting that the three trends she would focus on during her #MPB2B presentation came from a robust collection of some 30 marketing trends that LinkedIn has researched over the past five years, available in report form in “2030 B2B Trends: Contrarian Ideas For The Next Decade.” Let’s take a look at the three mega-marketing trends Ty explored in her insightful MarketingProfs B2B Forum #MPB2B 2020 session. Trend #1 — The War on Brand Ty shared the importance of B2B marketers striking just the right balance of short-term activation versus long term branding, pointing out that one of brand-building's truest strengths is its effect on long term sales. While it often takes six months to begin seeing the effects of a B2B brand campaign, only a paltry four percent even measure beyond the six month mark, Ty explained, pointing out that smart B2B brands should be investing at least 50 percent on branding initiatives. Ty noted that in today’s B2B landscape, more buyers are doing their own research, but only on the brands that they've heard of. Branding can do so much more than activation alone can, Ty explained, including: Delivering better short-term results Increasing sales from future customers Using brand investment's powers to raise prices Acquiring and retaining the best talent Ty took a look at the traditional sales funnel and shared how LinkedIn has benefited by flipping it sideways, allowing for observations of growth over time and a better visual understanding of in-market and out of market buyers. Trend #2 — Blockbuster Marketing Ty explored the power of creative effectiveness, using several film examples from Disney. Creativity isn't some magical state that exists off by itself, Ty said, however there are some general creativity principles that can work in more general terms. One tenet of blockbuster B2B marketing is betting big, as small bets are inherently risky, while big bets can be very profitable, Ty noted, showing examples of the dramatic differences in return from a variety of Disney films. Why are big bets more profitable? One reason is our attention spans, Ty observed, noting that big bets can be among the only ways that brands can break through today. Another is the role of familiarity, pointing to the success of movie sequels, and the fact that these are stories we know and are comfortable connecting with. Since at least 2015, Salesforce has used its "State of Sales" initiative to successfully build on familiarity through tactics such as reinvesting in existing creative and updating reports with new data to stay connected and keep these campaigns fresh, Ty explained. B2B marketers should also focus on the consistent distinctiveness of their efforts, Ty noted, with a unique look and feel that has been built and invested in over time. "Look like yourself and no one else," Ty urged, by using a logo, colors, and visual elements in advertisements that are recognizable. She also pointed out the power of total merchandising, by bringing the same creative to different channels, and used the successful Star Wars franchise — with its $33 billion galaxy of revenue — as an example. B2B marketers are well-served by making creative ideas into extensions of the franchise, Ty explained, such as by using total merchandising and through using the same creative in both online and traditional efforts, with each piece building on the last. Trend #3 — The Death of Hyper-Targeting There has been a major change in distribution effectiveness, as over the last decade B2B marketers have become obsessed with hyper-targeting using laser-like precision, Ty noted. This move to narrowly target tiny audiences has been taken to an extreme and has swung too far in that direction, Ty noted, explaining that "We've gone way overboard in the direction of hyper-targeting." This isn’t to say that account-based marketing (ABM) no longer has a place, she noted, suggesting that it still has a place in complementing an overall plan. In B2B it’s important to go broad, but not too broad, Ty observed, and then took a look at relevant reach and why it matters, suggesting that marketers also read LinkedIn's “5 Principles Of Growth In B2B Marketing” report. Reach is just as important in B2B as it is in B2C, depending on your competition, Ty noted, and used the example of Occam's razor — the thirteenth-century philosopher’s principle that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily — to reinforce that in marketing, reach equals growth. A very real problem that arises with hyper-targeting is that it is sometimes — perhaps more often than we might expect — based on assumptions, which can lead to dangerous marketing problems, Ty noted. Such unsafe assumptions often include inaccurate data, and Ty shared a personal example of several websites she used that attempt to find demographic information from web browsing history data, each missing the target wildly in her case, with much incorrect data. Another peril B2B marketers face is assuming that we know precisely who to target, Ty observed, and suggested that we don't often know, but that we should let smart systems start to help us predict where we're going to get the best value. Hyper-targeting is usually more expensive while broad targeting can be more efficient, and the better value, and Ty noted that “Category reach is the most important thing." Wrapping up her insightful presentation, Ty urged B2B marketers to invest in brand building and in creating blockbuster franchises, and ended by asking “What's your share of voice? How does that compare with your market share, and how can you apply these three big trends?” In the post-session question and answer period, Ty expanded on methods for computing a share of voice (SOV) measurement, a metric she believes is greatly underrated and which can be quite telling, and which can also successfully be used to make the case for investment. Ty also expanded on the merchandising concepts she'd mentioned earlier in her presentation, noting that it’s an area where B2C marketers do an especially good job, and she urged B2B marketers to take stock of where their assets lie and to work towards building fame, uniqueness, and the other elements that make your brand special. Be sure to check out our additional #MPB2B 2020 coverage listed below: Adobe’s Rani Mani: 5 Tips For Creating Your B2B Influencer Marketing Love Affair #MPB2B 10 Must-See Sessions at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020 #MPB2B 25 Top B2B Marketing Influencers To Follow In 2021 #MPB2B * LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client. The post LinkedIn’s Ty Heath: 3 Enduring B2B Marketing Trends #MPB2B appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Adobe’s Rani Mani: 5 Tips For Creating Your B2B Influencer Marketing Love Affair #MPB2B

  • Wednesday 4th November 2020
Rani Mani, head of global employee advocacy at Adobe* delivered an impassioned presentation filled to the brim with B2B influencer marketing insights, with a special focus on how the best influencer relationships are in essence not that different from successful personal relationships. Rani explained how she’s come to have a love affair with influencer marketing, and shared the process she uses to help turn mere social media heavyweights into long-term and deeply-engaged Adobe advocates — a plan than can be implemented by any brand willing to put in the time, effort, and especially the passion that Rani and her team have. When it comes to the domain experts Adobe is leveraging for the good of the brand, there isn’t any magic involved — no algorithm or gimmicks to beat the system — instead simply leveraging the power of humanity within B2B marketing influencer relationships, just as we do in successful real life relationships, Rani explained. Now let's jump right in with the five top tips I took away from attending Rani's insightful MarketingProfs B2B Forum #MPB2B 2020 session, "Influencer Love Affair: Dating With an Eye Towards Long-Term Commitment, Not One-Night Stands." 1 — Building Sustainable B2B Influencer Relationships Rani examined how building sustainable influencer relationships involves a journey through the funnel, from being generally unaware about your brand to obtaining a certain level of awareness, and then moving on to genuine interest, ultimately followed by engagement, connection, and becoming powerful and loyal brand advocates. Rani suggested working with influencers towards a goal of making the conversion from being unaware to passionate advocates for the brand, at which point they can become active and important parts of a brand’s strategy. Many of the best practices that Rani shared are equally adept in the oftentimes different worlds of B2B and B2C, she noted, sharing an "Influencer Mantra" theme she has used for Adobe. The mantra focuses on how building new B2B influencer relationships can benefit from some of the similarities with dating, with an eye toward long-term commitment and engagement, while also recognizing that not all influencers want to be involved in long-term commitments. 2 — Starting Out With Long-Term Influencer Programs How do successful long-term influencer relationships begin? Many times they start with saying “thank you,” Rani suggested, coming in the form of a physical hand-written card sent through the mail system, or via e-mail or a public social media post. Whatever form these thank you messages take, influencers should be addressed by name, and thanked individually for what they've done for you or your brand. Holidays provide additional opportunities to thank influencers with gifts, which Adobe uses to help show just how special their influencers are, Rani noted. When posted publicly on social media, expressions of influencer thanks and appreciation can be powerful messages that other brands will often see. Thanking your existing or potential B2B influencers can also come in the form of a LinkedIn* endorsement, and can even involve referring them for additional influencer work at partner brands. 3 — Investing Time Upfront Pays Off With Lasting Influencer Relationships A big part of any lasting relationship is when we each learn about one another, and Rani explained how it’s no different in B2B influencer marketing, where savvy brands will genuinely want to find out what makes the heart of a particular influencer sing? It’s important to put in the time to develop strong and enduring influencer relationships, Rani noted. As in any relationship, learning who an influencer really is requires time, and speed-dating just doesn't work, as strong relationships don't happen overnight. Learn about influencers by asking thoughtful questions to learn their passions and topics of interest, and this can be accomplished adeptly by asking open-ended questions such as “Where do you want to go, and what do you want to do?” Rani suggested. Then comes the time to perform the match-making part of the influencer marketing equation, by putting the knowledge you’ve gained about an influencer to use in connecting with the most relevant campaigns, brands, brand partners, or with other similar influencers. Rani also urged a share-the-mic approach when it comes to leveraging brand equity to build, grow, and help influencers. 4 — Meaningful Connections Are Still Vital & Possible Virtually While face-to-face meetings may be on hold, their power shouldn’t be underestimated according to Rani, who shared several ways we can still connect virtually with influencers, including at Adobe’s upcoming Adobe MAX 2020 conference. At this and other events Adobe works to create very special experiences for their influencers, including: Exclusive influencer summits Event pre-briefings Sneak-peeks into embargoed programs Special forums asking for feedback These help us learn what an influencer’s community of social media followers and fans are saying, and to find out what an influencer would do in a particular situation — all valuable information. In-person events allow for a variety of fun things that can greatly enhance camaraderie, such as at an AdWeek event Rani mentioned during which Adobe hosted a cooking extravaganza for their influencers. All of these are designed to be fun and provide a low-key way to relax and connect on a very real human level, Rani shared, recalling the time Adobe’s influencers went to NASDAQ and each had time on NASDAQ TV to share their predictions. The influencers were happy to promote this on their own channels, and Adobe was able to as well, all combining to further build the brand fan base. Bringing influencers to a company’s headquarters for briefings, tours, meetings with corporate management and other on-site activities can also be a great way to strengthen influencer relationships, Rani shared. During the pandemic this can all be creatively done in our new virtual landscape, Rani suggested, stressing the importance of going out of your way to make these types of connections, even if it’s as simple as getting on the phone for an hour, a Zoom meeting or happy hour, or an online group chat. Rani brought up Adobe’s especially active influencer direct-message Twitter group, a special forum she has found to be quite heartwarming, with influencers acting as trusted advisors for one another. 5 — Good Judgement Tops Any Algorithm via GIPHY "Good judgement will always beat an algorithm," Rani said, while also noting that a smart influencer marketing program will need a certain amount of numerical and other data to help select the right cultural fit for an influencer, but that it’s even more powerful to understand that influencers are humans and not merely the sum of their various social media numbers. Rani urged B2B marketers to learn about influencers the way you would if you were checking on a potential soul-mate. How would you select someone for yourself, for a friend, or for your own family to date? In addition to audience number data, it’s important to look at the authority level of their audience, and to take the time and effort to filter this information from a personal and human level to understand the influencer’s cultural and overall makeup. Rani ended her insightful presentation with a famous Salvador Dali quote, “Have no fear of perfection — you'll never reach it,” and noted that while there will be disagreements with influencers, by having a long-term and mutually-respectful relationship, you’ll be able to honestly share such issues and work through them together. Finally, during the post-session question and answer period, Rani shared some of the key performance indicator (KPI) elements often used for measuring success, but suggested that these always varies from campaign to campaign, and can include KPIs such as social volume, retention, sales, or pure engagement. The ultimate KPI of an influencer having your back is both priceless and unquantifiable, however, Rani noted, offering examples of how Adobe’s influencers have been powerful allies when it comes to providing crisis management, as they are often the first to defend a brand. In today’s virtual environment, influencer connection requires a bit more ingenuity and effort but accomplishes the same things as during pre-pandemic times, Rani observed, noting that we should keep in mind that the key tactics haven't changed, and we shouldn’t use the current times as an excuse to not be human. Be sure to check out our additional #MPB2B 2020 coverage listed below, and don't miss our CEO Lee Odden's session “New Research: How to be Successful With Influencer Marketing” on Thursday, November 5th at 12:55 p.m. Eastern. 10 Must-See Sessions at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020 #MPB2B 25 Top B2B Marketing Influencers To Follow In 2021 #MPB2B *Adobe and LinkedIn are  TopRank Marketing clients. The post Adobe’s Rani Mani: 5 Tips For Creating Your B2B Influencer Marketing Love Affair #MPB2B appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

10 Must-See Sessions at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020 #MPB2B

  • Wednesday 4th November 2020
MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020 will be the center of the B2B marketing world this week, as many of the world's leading B2B marketers gather virtually on November 4 - 5 to learn and exchange the industry's latest research and insight. This year's first-ever virtual edition offer a vast array speakers and sessions relating to all areas of B2B marketing, and while we've already shared our handy list of "25 Top B2B Marketing Influencers To Follow In 2021 #MPB2B," we also want to provide you with a list of some of the sessions that we're most looking forward to this week during #MPB2B. Here are 10 sessions that stand out to us as must-see presentations as we head towards 2021 and beyond. 10 Must-See Sessions at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020 1 — Influencer Love Affair: Dating With an Eye Towards Long-Term Commitment, Not One-Night Stands Speaker: Rani Mani, Head of Global Employee Advocacy, Adobe* Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 11:50 a.m. Eastern Rani will take a close look at the numerous advantages of long-term commitment in the would of B2B influencer marketing, and "why you need to stop using influencers as just billboards and mouthpieces, and instead tap into their unique skills and talents," along with sharing what it takes to build passionate and enduring influencer relationships. Learn more from Rani in her interview with our CEO Lee Odden, "B2B Influencer Marketing Interview: Rani Mani, Adobe," and in "20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands." 2 — How to Create an Email Newsletter People Will Clear Their Calendars to Read: 5 Lessons from the Past 8 Months Speaker: Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 1:00 p.m. Eastern Ann will examine the elements that B2B marketers can combine to create memorable and successful newsletters, including proven tips and examples that specifically focus on how the pandemic has affected email newsletter marketing. "Come to this fun, inspiring session intervention to hear how to write one that gets fantastic results, and not squander the clear opportunity we all have," Ann notes Learn more from Ann in her interview with Lee, "B2B Marketing Spotlight: Ann Handley on Being a 'Badaxe' Marketer." 3 — YouTube for B2B? Your Secret Weapon for Awareness and Demand Speaker: Tim Matthews, CMO, HackerOne Time: Thursday, November 5  — 11:45 a.m. Eastern Join Tim for an insightful look at the power of YouTube in B2B marketing including its strength reaching target buyers, increasing awareness, along with setting demand generation targets — plus a look at the platform's unique SEO challenges and opportunities. "Most B2B CMOs know YouTube is the #2 search engine behind Google. Yet most phone it in when it comes to treating their YouTube channel as a serious marketing channel. That's a mistake," Tim suggests. 4 — How to Create Truly Memorable Content According to Neuroscience Speaker: Joe Lazauskas, Head of Marketing, Contently Time: Thursday, November 5  — 12:20 p.m. Eastern Joe will use neuroscience as a lens for more clearly seeing what it takes for B2B marketers to create memorable and engaging content, with an examination of Steady State Topography (SST) and the new science of “branding moments.” He'll also share a proprietary study and other B2B marketing insight surrounding the creation of truly memorable content. 5 — New Research: How to be Successful With Influencer Marketing Speaker: Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Marketing Time: Thursday, November 5  — 12:55 p.m. Eastern Our CEO Lee will share his latest insights into building a successful B2B influencer marketing program, including new data from the industry's first State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, in which hundreds of marketers were recently surveyed to identify strategies, tactics, best practices, and predictions for the future of influence in B2B. Lee will explore what this data reveals and how B2B marketers can best use it to implement a successful influencer program. "60% of marketers don't have the knowledge to execute or have the right skills in house to implement ongoing influencer marketing programs. And yet, of those that do engage influencers, 96% feel they are successful. Discover what they’re doing that can help you get your influencer programs working for your brand," Lee notes of this must-attend #MPB2B session. 6 — B2B Marketing Analytics Strategy Speaker: Christopher S. Penn, Co-Founder, Trust Insights Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 1:35 p.m. Eastern Christopher is set to share how B2B marketers can best gain insight from analytics, including a look at which areas are important to measure and which may not be worth it. "You’ve heard the adage, 'You can’t manage what you don’t measure.' But in a world of ever-increasingly complex data and confounding circumstances, what if you’re not even sure what to measure," Christopher asks — one of numerous B2B marketing analytics strategy questions he'll tackle in his #MPB2B session. 7 — Keynote: Evolve your Strategy: 3 Mega Marketing Trends to Outperform Your Competition Speaker: Tyrona Heath, Director, Market Engagement, The B2B Institute, LinkedIn* Time: Thursday, November 5 — 2:10 p.m. Eastern Ty's keynote presentation is set to reveal three mega-marketing trends along with key macro-trends that will endure — and which B2B marketers will be able to count on — over the next decade. "Discover how you can recalibrate your marketing strategy by following the key macro-trends you can count on for the next decade," Ty notes. 8 — Keynote: YES, You Can Build Passionate Fans in B2B Businesses! Speaker: David Meerman Scott, Fandom Strategist, Fanocracy Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 11:00 a.m. Eastern David will deliver a keynote presentation showing how making business personal can be among the most powerful business strategies you can implement, and he'll also explore the process of creating the type of fandom he's written about in Fanocracy. "Creating fandom isn’t just for actors, athletes, musicians, and authors. Fandom can be rocket fuel for any company or organization that chooses to focus on inspiring and nurturing true fans," David notes of his #MPB2B keynote session, in which he'll also present examples from a variety of businesses and organizations that have incorporated newfound passion to create fans and achieve success. 9 — How to Create Meaningful Experiences That Inspire Action in an Unpredictable World Speaker: Ashley Zeckman, Senior Director, Inprela Communications Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 4:45 p.m. Eastern Ashley will guide B2B marketers on a journey to create more meaningful experiences in a virtual world — a journey that's more important now than ever — including sharing how businesses can stand out and achieve strong results despite today's world of diminished brand loyalty "Brands across the globe have done what they can to continue to drive revenue and service customers, but something is missing: the human connection," Ashley notes of her #MPB2B session, which will also examine how B2B marketers can best maintain ongoing connections and create meaningful experiences with teams, customers, and industry experts in our increasingly virtual world. 10 — 5 Creative Ways Marketers Can Support Their B2B Sales Team Speaker: Pam Didner, B2B Tech Marketing Consultant & Author, Relentless Pursuit Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 1:00 p.m. Eastern Pam is set to share some of the best methods and hidden opportunities that B2B marketers can implement to support their sales team, along with looking at why greater aligning with your sales team is vital when it comes to quantifying your marketing's ROI. "For complex sales or when selling technology, content that showcases the technology and product benefits can be key to moving prospects through the sales funnel. In the era of digital and social selling, marketers can use existing marketing elements to better engage and support sales," Pam explains, an area she'll expand on in her must-see #MPB2B session. Join Us Virtually at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020! We hope you'll join us virtually for these 10 must-see sessions during MPB2B, and for the many additional stellar presentations that will take place over November 4 - 5, for B2B marketing insight to drive your efforts well into 2021 and towards the post-pandemic future. Also be sure to keep posted for live-blog coverage here on TopRank's Online Marketing Blog. * Adobe and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients. The post 10 Must-See Sessions at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020 #MPB2B appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

25 Top B2B Marketing Influencers To Follow In 2021 #MPB2B

  • Tuesday 3rd November 2020
Each year MarketingProfs B2B Forum is filled to the brim with the latest insightful B2B marketing tactics and strategies presented by a powerhouse lineup of exceptional speakers, and this year is no different aside from the virtual element the pandemic has necessitated. MPB2B will take place November 4 - 5, 2020 and features a stellar group of B2B marketing professionals the programming team at MPB2B has carefully assembled, in a new virtual format designed to bring you all the freshest industry knowledge without any of the screen fatigue. Just who are the experts that MPB2B has carefully chosen for this year's event? To help B2B marketing professionals learn more and connect with the experts and influential speakers at this year's event, we've sorted through the master list of presenters to identify 25 of the top B2B marketing social influencers to follow and learn from in 2021 and beyond. List Methodology: Our starting point is to identify and validate the credentials of all the speakers presenting at MPB2B. We then imported this scrubbed information into the influencer marketing platform Traackr. Using Traackr’s algorithm for ranking, we sorted the MPB2B speakers according to their respective B2B marketing social influence using reach, relevance, resonance, and audience metrics. A variety of criteria go into such a ranking, including: Topical relevance of the content each influencer publishes Network engagement with on-topic content Network size and reach Online data for these rankings is pulled not only from Twitter, but also from blogs, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, SlideShare, and several other platforms — an important item to know, as many lists rely entirely on Twitter and don't take into account relevant influencer activity from additional platforms in the social media universe. Many thanks go out to each of these generous speakers who provide top-notch B2B marketing best practices, tips, and advice during this year unlike any other. In our list for 2020 you'll likely see several familiar faces, along with a refreshing mix of new B2B marketing industry influencers. If you'd like to follow all 25 B2B marketers in one shot, we've made a Twitter list for you. Enjoy! Ann Handley @MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs Presenting: KEYNOTE: Toast by the Fire: A Fireside Chat with Toast, Inc.’s Kevin Hamilton + Ann Handley About Marketing in a Covid World Presenting: How to Create an Email Newsletter People Will Clear Their Calendars to Read: 5 Lessons from the Past 8 Months Lee Odden @LeeOdden CEO, TopRank Marketing Presenting: New Research: How to be Successful With Influencer Marketing Christopher Penn @cspenn Co-Founder, Trust Insights Presenting: B2B Marketing Analytics Strategy Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Christopher S. Penn Pam Didner @PamDidner B2B Tech Marketing Consultant & Author, Relentless Pursuit Presenting: 5 Creative Ways Marketers Can Support Their B2B Sales Team Carla Johnson @CarlaJohnson Keynote Speaker, Author, Marketing & Innovation Strategist Presenting: Innovators and Intrapreneurs: B2B Marketing’s Next Big Role Mark Schaefer @markwschaefer Author, Speaker, Podcaster, Consultant Presenting: The Pandemic Made Me Reimagine Marketing Gini Dietrich @ginidietrich Founder & CEO, Spin Sucks Presenting: The Blueprint to Build a PESO Model Content Marketing Program Robert Rose @Robert_Rose Chief Strategy Advisor, Content Marketing Institute Presenting: Re-Boot Your B2B Content Marketing Measurement In 20 Minutes David Meerman Scott @dmscott Fandom Strategist, Fanocracy Presenting: Keynote: YES, You Can Build Passionate Fans in B2B Businesses! Juntae DeLane @JuntaeDeLane Founder & Chief Strategist, Digital Delane Presenting: Future-Proof your Brand: How to Grow Your Brand In A Time of Crisis Jon Miller @jonmiller Chief Product Officer, Demandbase Presenting: I Predicted Marketing Automation and It Changed Everything – Here’s What's Next Jason Falls @JasonFalls Director of Digital & Social Strategy, Cornett Presenting: Winfluence: Rethinking Influencer Marketing Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz Virtual Keynote Speaker, iSocialFanz Presenting: Re-Inventing Virtual Presentations So They Suck Less Andy Crestodina @crestodina Co-Founder & CMO, Orbit Media Studios Presenting: Advanced Content Marketing And Optimization for B2B Marketers Ardath Albee @ardath421 CEO, Marketing Interactions Presenting: Dance with the Ones You Know: Use Retention Strategy to Grow Joe Lazauskas @joelazauskas Head of Marketing, Contently Presenting: How to Create Truly Memorable Content According to Neuroscience Melanie Deziel @mdeziel Chief Content Officer, StoryFuel Presenting: How to Generate Hundreds of Content Ideas Quickly & Easily Ashley Zeckman @azeckman Senior Director, Inprela Communications Presenting: How to Create Meaningful Experiences That Inspire Action in an Unpredictable World Nick Westergaard @nickwestergaard Chief Strategist, Brand Driven Digital Presenting: Presidentially Speaking: B2B Communication Secrets from US History Doug Kessler @dougkessler Creative Director & Co-Founder, Velocity Partners Presenting: B2B Content Ideas Worth Stealing Ashley Faus @ashleyfaus Content Strategy Lead, Software Teams, Atlassian Presenting: Scaling Thought Leadership: Four Pillars to Fast-Track Your Strategy Zontee Hou @ZonteeHou President & Chief Strategist, Media Volery Presenting: Future-Proof Your Social Media Strategy Through Smart Measurement Ahava Leibtag @ahaval President, Aha Media Group Presenting: Be a Better Marketer By Being a Better Baker Keith Reynold Jennings @keithjennings Vice President, Community ImpactPresident, Jackson Healthcare Presenting: Higher Ground: A Guide to Navigating Success & Significance in Your Career Tyrona Heath @tyrona Director, Market Engagement, The B2B Institute, LinkedIn Presenting: KEYNOTE with Ty Heath — Evolve your Strategy: 3 Mega Marketing Trends to Outperform Your Competition BONUS: In addition to this fine list of B2B marketing über-smarties, here is a list of 10 of our most insightful articles about B2B content marketing from the past 12 months: 50 Top B2B Content Marketing Influencers To Follow in 2021 #CMWorld Your Guide to Effective Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing 5 Steps for a More Powerful B2B Content Marketing Strategy 7 B2B Content Marketing Tactics For Long Term Success Why Content Marketing is More Important Than Ever for B2B Brands Manufacturing Runs: 9 Summer Content Marketing Tips Drawn from the Diamond Why SEO & Influence are Critical to Pandemic Era Content Marketing 5 Examples of Effective B2B Content Marketing in Times of Crisis Where’s the Marketing in Content Marketing? 10 Essential Promotion Tactics That Drive Results 5 Ways to Humanize B2B Content Marketing And here are the previous B2B marketing influencer lists we've published: B2B Marketing Influencers to Follow in 2019 B2B Marketing Influencers to Follow in 2018 B2B Marketing Influencers to Follow in 2017 Thank you to influencer marketing platform Traackr for the use of their software to make this list possible, and to all of the top-notch influencers on the list. Be sure to connect with the TopRank Marketing team virtually attending the #MPB2B conference including Lee, who will be presenting "New Research: How to be Successful With Influencer Marketing" on Thursday, November 5th at 12:55 p.m. Eastern, and look for live-blog coverage here on TopRank's Online Marketing Blog. The post 25 Top B2B Marketing Influencers To Follow In 2021 #MPB2B appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Inside Influence: Jen Holtvluwer from Spiron on Award Winning B2B Influencer Marketing

  • Monday 2nd November 2020
When we conducted our research for the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, we found what the most successful B2B marketers have in common. They: Have a Documented Influencer Marketing Strategy Engage in Always-On Influencer Engagement Have a Centralized Influencer Program Use Software to Identify Influencers Rely on Experts and Analysts Use Blogs as Content Platforms Create Interactive Content with Influencers Learning from those who are already successful in a fast growing discipline is what the Inside Influence Show is all about. Of course, measuring success comes in many forms, from achieving and exceeding the specific goals of a marketing program to industry recognition. When someone is able to achieve both consistently, that's a special source of insight. Today we're bringing that special combination to you with Jen Holtvluwer, Chief Marketing Officer at Spirion. We've had the good fortune to work with Jen on multiple award-winning influencer marketing programs for B2B brands that not only earned industry accolades, but also high 7 digit sales pipeline goals. Whether it was the deep customer insight that informed a campaign for Cherwell Software that could be attributed to 22% of sales pipeline for the entire year or the innovative industry awards campaign for Alcatel Lucent that generated 7 figure sales pipeline, Jen has the track record we all aspire to as marketing leaders. In this Inside Influence interview, Jen and I talk about a spectrum of B2B influencer marketing topics including: What it takes to be at the top of your game when it comes to B2B marketing The secret to Jen's award-winning influencer marketing success Lessons learned from successful influencer marketing campaigns Whether it is reasonable to expect both brand awareness and lead generation goals from influencer marketing - Qualities to look for in an influencer Top challenges when it comes to working with influencers Opportunities for B2B companies to impact brand and sales by supporting executive influence What to say to other B2B marketing executives who do not believe there are influencers of their customers that they can work with How influencer marketing and B2B marketing will be different in 2021 and beyond Career advice for other aspiring CMOs Here are a few highlights with the full video interview embedded below. A lot of influencer marketing is about demand gen, awareness, and top of funnel. As someone with experienced being responsible for sales in your career, do you feel like influencers can play a role in sales initiatives? A hundred percent. I was just on our quarterly board meeting yesterday and it came up. How much we're getting mentions by customers, which are certainly influencers. Also, how much we're getting mentioned by journalists, editors, and media which are all influencers as well. And one of our board members said, "How are you turning that into opportunities or SQLs?" And I said they don't always bring opportunities directly, but we take those mentions and we apply them in our demand generation and our prospecting efforts and they certainly influence and can accelerate the opportunity stage. When people see your brand is being mentioned by an influencer, it gives them that double-take that validates you more in the market. @JenHoltvluwer So that's, that's where our sales uses influencer mentions because when people see your brand is being mentioned by an influencer, it gives them that double-take that validates you more in the market. So it certainly influences and can accelerate lead to opportunity efforts for sure. Of course winning awards is not the only objective for an influencer program, but the reason you’ve won awards is in part because of great performance - like one campaign being attributed to over 20% of sales pipeline for the year and another instigating multiple large deals. What lessons have you learned from these kinds of influencer campaigns? I think one thing that I have done differently is make sure that the expectations of what you're wanting to gain from the influencers that you align with is very clearly outlined. Right? We've had some influencers that said, yes, you know, we'll sign up, we'll participate. And then when it came time to roll out the actual program, we didn't see as much participation as we would've liked. So, I think the communication upfront with the influencers about what you're expecting to gain from them is very important. They appreciate that too, because then they know fully what they're signing up for and what they can and can't do. I think that's a big lesson learned: make sure expectations are clearly outlined with influencers so that there aren't any surprises when you roll out the program and achieve what you need to accomplish. 84% of marketers say brand awareness is a top measurable benefit from engaging influencers followed by 69% that say lead generation is a top benefit. Is it reasonable to expect both? Absolutely. I started my career out very heavy on the demand generation side. It will always be my go-to passion. But I really have the firm belief that if you do branding, right, the demand will follow. And that makes taking your stories to market that much more memorable. So with influencer marketing, it's certainly helping with share of voice because you're getting more exposure through the influencers that you're partnering with. When it's done right, your sales team can actually take those actions that you're creating, those influencer soundbites, those nuggets, and build credibility and value into the business case sooner. If you do branding, right, the demand will follow and that makes taking your stories to market much more memorable. @JenHoltvluwer I think we're all finding now that it's a big struggle trying to market during a pandemic and a recession. I bring that up because you've really got to create value sooner in the funnel so that people understand. If an influencer is endorsing this or sharing this and talking about this, I better take a look at this sooner, right? Because it's probably something that I need to be taking action on too. So there is a nice balance where I do think that the branding that you get out of influencer marketing can most definitely be used to accelerate the demand side, which leads to those opportunities that we're all wanting to get at the end of the day. What would you say to an executive that says, "There are no influencers in my industry"? I think that there are influencers in every industry. There's buyer influencers, there's market influencers. It's up to us as marketers and sellers to find out who those influencers are. For us in data, privacy, data security it is definitely the chief information security officers. What we've done is create our own podcast where we invite customers to come on. And it's not where we're talking about our brand. We're talking about impactful things that are happening in the industry. For example, the Blackbaud data breach is very top of mind for the CSO community right now. Inviting influencers in to participate with you is very important to do, especially in times like today. There are influencers in every industry...most executives understand that you've got to align yourselves with people that are going to be that champion for your cause. @JenHoltvluwer I think most executives that I work with, maybe it's because I'm so convincing and have a pretty good portfolio of examples to share, understand that you've got to align yourselves with people that are going to be that champion for your cause. If you can ever tie it back to data, which is one thing I think my team has done very well, you know this works. This has moved your share of voice X percentage point. This has brought in X number of pipeline resulting in X revenue. There are studies out there that show that impact too. So I think it doesn't take much to convince an executive when you have published data to back up your idea and your approach to influencer marketing. You’ve had an impressive career at companies like BMC Software, Cherwell, Alcatel Lucent Enterprise and now CMO at Spirion. What career advice do you have for other aspiring CMOs? When I look back at my career, I've had some highs and I've obviously had lows like we all do, but what's been the thing I've always had is I've always sought a champion within the organization that's at that director level or above that I've aligned myself with. And that is not something that you can just do. You've got to earn that trust. So you've got to put in the time to show that you're someone that they do want to put some time into, to mentor and coach. I think it's really important that people seek out who a person who is going to be a champion for them if they want to advance and grow their career. It's really important that people seek out who a person who is going to be a champion for them if they want to advance and grow their career. @JenHoltvluwer I've had David Weiss, Matt Dircks, Carolyn Tague, Sandra Booth. I've had so many that I still keep in touch with today that have been that champion for my cause. So I think it's really important to not to do it alone and make sure you put in the time and that your time is noticed. And make sure that you're marketing yourself to the right champion in the business. Then they'll stay with you and refer you as other opportunities come up. That's, that's really been my success. And that's what I like to pass along to people when I get asked that question. To see the full Inside Influence interview with Jen Holtvluwer, watch the video below: If you would like to connect with Jen further about B2B influencer marketing, you can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn. Next up on Inside Influence, we'll be talking to Amisha Gandhi, VP Influencer Marketing and Communications at SAP about creating mutual value with influencers. Be sure to check out our previous Inside Influence interviews: Rani Mani, Adobe - The Value of B2B Influencer Marketing Garnor Morantes, LinkedIn - The Power of Always-On Influence Ursula Ringham, SAP - Behind the Scenes with Influencer Marketing Operations Janine Wegner, Dell Technologies - Thought Leadership and B2B Influence The post Inside Influence: Jen Holtvluwer from Spiron on Award Winning B2B Influencer Marketing appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

How Much Does Social Media Marketing Cost in 2020?

  • Thursday 5th November 2020
Social media marketing has a tremendous impact on internet marketing in... The post How Much Does Social Media Marketing Cost in 2020? appeared first on Digital Agency Network.

5 Dead Easy Tips for Keeping Your Marketing Alive — Even on a Shoestring

  • Tuesday 3rd November 2020
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, UK marketing budgets have … The post 5 Dead Easy Tips for Keeping Your Marketing Alive — Even on a Shoestring appeared first on Digital Agency Network.

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