Break Free B2B Series: Maliha Aqeel on How to Ace B2B Company Culture

Maliha Aqeel Break Free B2B Interview

Maliha Aqeel, Assistant Director of Brand, Marketing and Communications at Ernst & Young, is known for being a staunch advocate of the three C’s that drive brands: content, customer, and culture.

But when Maliha sat down with TopRank Marketing’s Joshua Nite for a Break Free B2B interview at Content Marketing World this past fall, she had one “C” at the top of her mind: culture, and its role as a driver for both employee and customer satisfaction. 

“Whether we’re working for someone, or we’re actively purchasing their products, or just engaging with their brand, it matters to us what others think,” she says.

While many employees still see corporate culture as solely a function of HR, Maliha says this is not the case. She believes that all employees have a responsibility to help propagate and model a company’s values, both inside and outside the organization.

In particular, Maliha believes that marketers are key in cultivating and communicating corporate culture. “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,'” she asserts.

[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”]

Learn how to score an A in building your (B)rand’s (C)ulture by watching Maliha’s interview, which also touches on important topics such as employee journey maps, the purported death of email, and an unlikely upside of social media.

Break Free B2B Interview with Maliha Aqeel

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VY9a5WfSWE]

Use the following time markers to skip between topics. We’ve also included some valuable excerpts from the conversation below. 

  • 00:24 – The three C’s that drive your brand
  • 00:39 – Company culture isn’t just an HR initiative
  • 01:54 – B2B companies are starting to embrace culture
  • 03:13 – You company must be considered before it can be preferred
  • 04:24 – Who leads the charge towards a cultural change?
  • 05:21 – Identifying the foundational values for your corporate culture
  • 06:25 – Customers prefer to work with companies that share their values
  • 09:40 – The rise of culture in the age of abundance
  • 11:37 – Culture’s role in the fight for talent 
  • 13:22 – Marketing’s role in influencing culture
  • 14:58 – Email is not dead (but we need to be smarter about how we use it)
  • 16:25 – Segmenting your internal audiences
  • 17:50 – Employee journey maps
  • 19:17 – Building brands by breaking down silos
  • 20:42 – Breaking free in B2B

Josh: Your presentation is on the three C’s that drive your B (or your brand), and that’s putting the focus on content, customer, and culture. What do you think we’re missing in that equation right now?

Maliha: 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. 

It’s something that we can’t always see. It’s what I call the intangible because it’s aligned to our values. If your values are that you prefer a certain type of lifestyle, and a certain type of philanthropy or social causes, you automatically start to look for brands that align with those values because you believe that there’s something is common with them. And that applies in B2B as well, not just B2C. 

I feel like that’s something marketers don’t always understand because we focus on knowing the customer, making sure our content is what they want, but we miss the values piece, and that’s where the gap can occur. 

[bctt tweet=”Culture is something that’s pervasive throughout the organization, and why we choose to work somewhere, why we choose to engage with the brand. @MalihaQ on #CorporateCulture #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Josh: Do you think there are B2B companies that are effectively developing culture?

Maliha: I think they are starting to. I’m not sure that all of them have quite cracked it yet. I certainly do see it at EY … When I joined, what I noticed was, there was a huge emphasis on our purpose, which is building a better working world. And everything that we were doing, we always remind ourselves that we were doing it for that purpose. The fact that the clients that choose to work with us … they believe that it’s important for companies to be part of building a better working world. 

Josh: Who leads the charge towards better culture?

Maliha: I think that the charge is really led by the senior leadership. They have to set the tone from the top. The culture comes, in many organizations, it’s still top-down, and I think it’s going to take time for that to change. Because, just the way organizations are structured, the top-down approach works. So I think they have to set the tone. 

But marketers and communicators within the organizations have to take the charge. And, they have to say, “Okay, we hear you, here’s how we think you should do it. And here’s how we can visualize that for you in the marketplace.” Whether it’s visualizing to the campaigns that we run or visualizing it through the internal communications that we work on, our job is to take all of those values and say, “Here’s how it could look. Here’s how the intangible becomes tangible.”

Josh: Where do you think that corporate culture is going in the next five years? What do you think we’re going to see with brands?

Maliha: I think we’re going to start to see that there’s almost an integration of … marketing, HR, communications — there’s going to be an integration between them so that you don’t have silos, working on different things, in their own little nation. But, rather, it’s likely going to be a broader function within a brand. And each of them will be expected to partner and they will be held to account for partnering in the right way. Because no one department owns a brand experience. It’s owned by everyone.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

The post Break Free B2B Series: Maliha Aqeel on How to Ace B2B Company Culture appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Maliha Aqeel Break Free B2B Interview

Maliha Aqeel, Assistant Director of Brand, Marketing and Communications at Ernst & Young, is known for being a staunch advocate of the three C’s that drive brands: content, customer, and culture.

But when Maliha sat down with TopRank Marketing’s Joshua Nite for a Break Free B2B interview at Content Marketing World this past fall, she had one “C” at the top of her mind: culture, and its role as a driver for both employee and customer satisfaction. 

“Whether we’re working for someone, or we’re actively purchasing their products, or just engaging with their brand, it matters to us what others think,” she says.

While many employees still see corporate culture as solely a function of HR, Maliha says this is not the case. She believes that all employees have a responsibility to help propagate and model a company’s values, both inside and outside the organization.

In particular, Maliha believes that marketers are key in cultivating and communicating corporate culture. “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,'” she asserts.

[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”]

Learn how to score an A in building your (B)rand’s (C)ulture by watching Maliha’s interview, which also touches on important topics such as employee journey maps, the purported death of email, and an unlikely upside of social media.

Break Free B2B Interview with Maliha Aqeel

Use the following time markers to skip between topics. We’ve also included some valuable excerpts from the conversation below. 

  • 00:24 – The three C’s that drive your brand
  • 00:39 – Company culture isn’t just an HR initiative
  • 01:54 – B2B companies are starting to embrace culture
  • 03:13 – You company must be considered before it can be preferred
  • 04:24 – Who leads the charge towards a cultural change?
  • 05:21 – Identifying the foundational values for your corporate culture
  • 06:25 – Customers prefer to work with companies that share their values
  • 09:40 – The rise of culture in the age of abundance
  • 11:37 – Culture’s role in the fight for talent 
  • 13:22 – Marketing’s role in influencing culture
  • 14:58 – Email is not dead (but we need to be smarter about how we use it)
  • 16:25 – Segmenting your internal audiences
  • 17:50 – Employee journey maps
  • 19:17 – Building brands by breaking down silos
  • 20:42 – Breaking free in B2B

Josh: Your presentation is on the three C’s that drive your B (or your brand), and that’s putting the focus on content, customer, and culture. What do you think we’re missing in that equation right now?

Maliha: 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. 

It’s something that we can’t always see. It’s what I call the intangible because it’s aligned to our values. If your values are that you prefer a certain type of lifestyle, and a certain type of philanthropy or social causes, you automatically start to look for brands that align with those values because you believe that there’s something is common with them. And that applies in B2B as well, not just B2C. 

I feel like that’s something marketers don’t always understand because we focus on knowing the customer, making sure our content is what they want, but we miss the values piece, and that’s where the gap can occur. 

[bctt tweet=”Culture is something that’s pervasive throughout the organization, and why we choose to work somewhere, why we choose to engage with the brand. @MalihaQ on #CorporateCulture #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Josh: Do you think there are B2B companies that are effectively developing culture?

Maliha: I think they are starting to. I’m not sure that all of them have quite cracked it yet. I certainly do see it at EY … When I joined, what I noticed was, there was a huge emphasis on our purpose, which is building a better working world. And everything that we were doing, we always remind ourselves that we were doing it for that purpose. The fact that the clients that choose to work with us … they believe that it’s important for companies to be part of building a better working world. 

Josh: Who leads the charge towards better culture?

Maliha: I think that the charge is really led by the senior leadership. They have to set the tone from the top. The culture comes, in many organizations, it’s still top-down, and I think it’s going to take time for that to change. Because, just the way organizations are structured, the top-down approach works. So I think they have to set the tone. 

But marketers and communicators within the organizations have to take the charge. And, they have to say, “Okay, we hear you, here’s how we think you should do it. And here’s how we can visualize that for you in the marketplace.” Whether it’s visualizing to the campaigns that we run or visualizing it through the internal communications that we work on, our job is to take all of those values and say, “Here’s how it could look. Here’s how the intangible becomes tangible.”

Josh: Where do you think that corporate culture is going in the next five years? What do you think we’re going to see with brands?

Maliha: I think we’re going to start to see that there’s almost an integration of … marketing, HR, communications — there’s going to be an integration between them so that you don’t have silos, working on different things, in their own little nation. But, rather, it’s likely going to be a broader function within a brand. And each of them will be expected to partner and they will be held to account for partnering in the right way. Because no one department owns a brand experience. It’s owned by everyone.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

The post Break Free B2B Series: Maliha Aqeel on How to Ace B2B Company Culture appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

What You Can Learn from Competitive Research to Improve B2B Content Marketing Performance

Competitive Research for Better Content Marketing

Competitive Research for Better Content Marketing

Pablo Picasso famously said: “Good artists borrow; great artists steal.” 

Except that he probably didn’t come up with that zinger on his own. It’s been attributed to everyone from Mark Twain to TS Eliot. 

Which proves the point: For memorable content, steal what you can and make it your own.

Your content is competing for your buyers’ attention. To make an impression, you have to be more informative, more entertaining, and more engaging than your competitors, both direct and indirect.

We’re not suggesting plagiarism here. We’re encouraging you to get a deep understanding of the landscape by conducting some competitive recon. Here’s how to use competitive research to bolster your B2B content marketing strategy and ultimately improve performance.

How to Improve Your B2B Content Performance with Competitive Research

There are two major components to competitive research. First, you should experience specific competitors’ content in the same way your audience is. Second, take a broader look at content from the audience’s perspective. Here’s how to do both.

Analyze Competitor Content

What type of experience is your competitor giving your target buying audience? How does it compare to what you’re offering? Go undercover as a potential customer for your top competitors and see how they do it.

#1: Read Their Blogs

Take a look at what they’re posting about, how frequently certain topics come up, and how in-depth their treatment is of each topic. You can also analyze how frequently they post, how long each post is, influencer/guest involvement, and whether there’s an option to subscribe.

Once you have a feel for the blog, put the blog’s URL in BuzzSumo’s content analyzer and see how their content is actually performing. Is their approach working? If not, how can you do better? If so… well… how can you do better?

#2: Sign up for Email Lists

Content is only the first stage of a potential customer relationship, of course. So it’s worth seeing how your competitors are deepening the relationship with their audience. Sign up for their newsletter or subscribe to the blog and see what happens.

Are the emails relevant? Do they appear personalized? What do you find unsatisfying about them? 

Naturally, it makes sense to subscribe to your own email drip as well — even if you’re the one writing the messages. It’s worth seeing how the nurture campaign plays out in real time.

[bctt tweet=”‘Undercover Boss’ your own brand… Your goal is to be pathologically empathetic to your customers. Why? Because: Empathy is the Miracle-Gro of a thriving customer-centric business. – @annhandley of @MarketingProfs” username=”toprank”]

#3: Attend Webinars

A webinar takes time and resources to plan and execute, so it’s a good way to gauge how your competitors are shaping their content strategy. Take note of what topics they’re covering, and whether they have other industry experts co-hosting. 

Live webinars generally have publicly-displayed stats on who is listening, and a chat for live engagement. Take note of how many people turned up, how many stay on for the entire webinar, and how many use the chat functionality. 

Zero In on Audience Intent

Keeping track of what works for your competitors is only part of the equation. Your content is competing with more than just what other players in your industry are publishing. It’s competing with everything else trying to grab your customers’ attention. As customer service and experience expert Shep Hyken has put it: “The good news is that you no longer have to keep up with your competition; the bad news is that now you have to keep up with your customer.”

[bctt tweet=”The good news is that you no longer have to keep up with your competition; the bad news is that now you have to keep up with your customer. @Hyken” username=”toprank”]

The best way to keep up with your customer is to know exactly what they’re looking for, how they’re looking, and whether or not they’re finding it. Here’s how to get started.

#1: Analyze Top-Shared and Linked Content by Topic

Last year, BuzzSumo released their Content Trends 2018 report. In it, they found that social media sharing had decreased by 50% in the last three years. Social shares used to be common currency; now they’re a rare gem.

As such, content that’s actually earning social shares is well worth studying. Check to see what content is ranking first in search, for sure, but don’t neglect the social aspect. It’s worth looking at what content is earning backlinks, too — that’s another sign the content is resonating with its intended audience.

#2: Explore Keyword Intent

As search algorithms become more sophisticated, keyword research has grown increasingly complex. Modern SEO is less about finding one or two brief phrases to rank for, and more about topic clusters and long-tail keywords. 

When doing keyword research, focus on how your most valuable audience would search for what they need the most. For example, if you’re offering a cloud-based ERP for small businesses, top-performing content for “cloud-based ERP” is likely to be less relevant to your audience than the long-tail variant “cloud-based ERP for SMB.”

Read: The Key to SEO & Content Marketing Success: Understanding Search Intent

#3: Fill Content Gaps

Once you have dialed closer into audience intent, you can identify where existing content isn’t meeting their needs. The end result of this research will be clusters of lower-volume but highly relevant keyword phrases that don’t yet have high-quality, best-answer content in their search results.

Writing content to address these long-tail clusters will provide far more value for your audience than trying to capture a highly-competitive, more generic single phrase. 

#4: Connect with Industry Influencers and Experts

Whether you’re engaging in ongoing influencer marketing initiatives or maintain contact and rapport with a small group of personal industry contacts, industry thought leaders and niche experts can be invaluable resources in this pursuit. When you work with the right influencers, there’s an incredible opportunity to gain deeper insights about who your audience is, what they care about, and what they’re struggling with so you can create content they’re searching for and need.

[bctt tweet=”Working with B2B influencers allows our brand to have a constant pulse check with purchase decision makers. – @konstanze” username=”toprank”]

Read: The Intersection of SEO & Influencer Marketing: What B2B Marketers Need to Know

Competitor Research Tools

The kind of content analysis you’ll need to do for proper competitor research can’t be done alone. Here are a few of my favorite tools that make the job more manageable.

  1. BuzzSumo to find top shared and linked content by topic or domain.
  2. SEMrush to help identify long-tail keywords, topic clusters and content gaps
  3. RivalIQ to monitor social media sentiment, track engagement and more
  4. QuickSprout to analyze competitor site performance.

Get Competitive with Your B2B Content

Competitor research can inform your content marketing strategy in two crucial ways. First, you can see what your competitors are doing that’s working, borrow it, and do it better. Second, you can see what they’re not doing, where your content can step in and shine. For both, it’s about delivering uniquely valuable content in the context of an ongoing positive brand experience.

Need help with your content strategy? Our SEO audit can help identify the biggest opportunities to get ahead of competitors.

The post What You Can Learn from Competitive Research to Improve B2B Content Marketing Performance appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Competitive Research for Better Content Marketing

Competitive Research for Better Content Marketing

Pablo Picasso famously said: “Good artists borrow; great artists steal.” 

Except that he probably didn’t come up with that zinger on his own. It’s been attributed to everyone from Mark Twain to TS Eliot. 

Which proves the point: For memorable content, steal what you can and make it your own.

Your content is competing for your buyers’ attention. To make an impression, you have to be more informative, more entertaining, and more engaging than your competitors, both direct and indirect.

We’re not suggesting plagiarism here. We’re encouraging you to get a deep understanding of the landscape by conducting some competitive recon. Here’s how to use competitive research to bolster your B2B content marketing strategy and ultimately improve performance.

How to Improve Your B2B Content Performance with Competitive Research

There are two major components to competitive research. First, you should experience specific competitors’ content in the same way your audience is. Second, take a broader look at content from the audience’s perspective. Here’s how to do both.

Analyze Competitor Content

What type of experience is your competitor giving your target buying audience? How does it compare to what you’re offering? Go undercover as a potential customer for your top competitors and see how they do it.

#1: Read Their Blogs

Take a look at what they’re posting about, how frequently certain topics come up, and how in-depth their treatment is of each topic. You can also analyze how frequently they post, how long each post is, influencer/guest involvement, and whether there’s an option to subscribe.

Once you have a feel for the blog, put the blog’s URL in BuzzSumo’s content analyzer and see how their content is actually performing. Is their approach working? If not, how can you do better? If so… well… how can you do better?

#2: Sign up for Email Lists

Content is only the first stage of a potential customer relationship, of course. So it’s worth seeing how your competitors are deepening the relationship with their audience. Sign up for their newsletter or subscribe to the blog and see what happens.

Are the emails relevant? Do they appear personalized? What do you find unsatisfying about them? 

Naturally, it makes sense to subscribe to your own email drip as well — even if you’re the one writing the messages. It’s worth seeing how the nurture campaign plays out in real time.

[bctt tweet=”‘Undercover Boss’ your own brand… Your goal is to be pathologically empathetic to your customers. Why? Because: Empathy is the Miracle-Gro of a thriving customer-centric business. – @annhandley of @MarketingProfs” username=”toprank”]

#3: Attend Webinars

A webinar takes time and resources to plan and execute, so it’s a good way to gauge how your competitors are shaping their content strategy. Take note of what topics they’re covering, and whether they have other industry experts co-hosting. 

Live webinars generally have publicly-displayed stats on who is listening, and a chat for live engagement. Take note of how many people turned up, how many stay on for the entire webinar, and how many use the chat functionality. 

Zero In on Audience Intent

Keeping track of what works for your competitors is only part of the equation. Your content is competing with more than just what other players in your industry are publishing. It’s competing with everything else trying to grab your customers’ attention. As customer service and experience expert Shep Hyken has put it: “The good news is that you no longer have to keep up with your competition; the bad news is that now you have to keep up with your customer.”

[bctt tweet=”The good news is that you no longer have to keep up with your competition; the bad news is that now you have to keep up with your customer. @Hyken” username=”toprank”]

The best way to keep up with your customer is to know exactly what they’re looking for, how they’re looking, and whether or not they’re finding it. Here’s how to get started.

#1: Analyze Top-Shared and Linked Content by Topic

Last year, BuzzSumo released their Content Trends 2018 report. In it, they found that social media sharing had decreased by 50% in the last three years. Social shares used to be common currency; now they’re a rare gem.

As such, content that’s actually earning social shares is well worth studying. Check to see what content is ranking first in search, for sure, but don’t neglect the social aspect. It’s worth looking at what content is earning backlinks, too — that’s another sign the content is resonating with its intended audience.

#2: Explore Keyword Intent

As search algorithms become more sophisticated, keyword research has grown increasingly complex. Modern SEO is less about finding one or two brief phrases to rank for, and more about topic clusters and long-tail keywords. 

When doing keyword research, focus on how your most valuable audience would search for what they need the most. For example, if you’re offering a cloud-based ERP for small businesses, top-performing content for “cloud-based ERP” is likely to be less relevant to your audience than the long-tail variant “cloud-based ERP for SMB.”

Read: The Key to SEO & Content Marketing Success: Understanding Search Intent

#3: Fill Content Gaps

Once you have dialed closer into audience intent, you can identify where existing content isn’t meeting their needs. The end result of this research will be clusters of lower-volume but highly relevant keyword phrases that don’t yet have high-quality, best-answer content in their search results.

Writing content to address these long-tail clusters will provide far more value for your audience than trying to capture a highly-competitive, more generic single phrase. 

#4: Connect with Industry Influencers and Experts

Whether you’re engaging in ongoing influencer marketing initiatives or maintain contact and rapport with a small group of personal industry contacts, industry thought leaders and niche experts can be invaluable resources in this pursuit. When you work with the right influencers, there’s an incredible opportunity to gain deeper insights about who your audience is, what they care about, and what they’re struggling with so you can create content they’re searching for and need.

[bctt tweet=”Working with B2B influencers allows our brand to have a constant pulse check with purchase decision makers. – @konstanze” username=”toprank”]

Read: The Intersection of SEO & Influencer Marketing: What B2B Marketers Need to Know

Competitor Research Tools

The kind of content analysis you’ll need to do for proper competitor research can’t be done alone. Here are a few of my favorite tools that make the job more manageable.

  1. BuzzSumo to find top shared and linked content by topic or domain.
  2. SEMrush to help identify long-tail keywords, topic clusters and content gaps
  3. RivalIQ to monitor social media sentiment, track engagement and more
  4. QuickSprout to analyze competitor site performance.

Get Competitive with Your B2B Content

Competitor research can inform your content marketing strategy in two crucial ways. First, you can see what your competitors are doing that’s working, borrow it, and do it better. Second, you can see what they’re not doing, where your content can step in and shine. For both, it’s about delivering uniquely valuable content in the context of an ongoing positive brand experience.

Need help with your content strategy? Our SEO audit can help identify the biggest opportunities to get ahead of competitors.

The post What You Can Learn from Competitive Research to Improve B2B Content Marketing Performance appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The High-Performance Landing Page: 3 ways to maximize conversion with the power of coherence

(This article was originally published in the MarketingExperiments email newsletter.)

Definition of RANDOM: “Having no definite aim or purpose; not sent or guided in a particular direction; made, done, occurring, etc., without method or conscious choice; haphazard.”

Oxford English Dictionary

We have been living in the age of random for awhile now. It’s popular to wear a hodgepodge of patterns, listen to unrelated ideas in song lyrics, go to “random” places, visit “random” people, and even to believe opposing ideologies, no matter how illogical.

Although living a random existence may be a popular postmodern construct, it does not serve the marketer who needs to create a high-converting landing page. Yet randomness prevails even in the digital marketing world.

Random ideas are often cobbled together in planning meetings without a coherent, unified goal and methodology to achieve it. The results are a leaky funnel and untapped customers. So even good random ideas aren’t enough.

In this recent live video session, Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute, shares how you can move from good ideas to strategic messaging.

Watch the replay to learn three advanced principles to help achieve strategic messaging and overcome these deadly conversion mistakes:

  • Pages before hypotheses
  • Diagnosis without prescription
  • Creativity without science

Here are some key points in the video:

  • 4:20 Beware of building a landing page before you develop a hypothesis.
  • 4:43 Beware of diagnosing the problem in your funnel without providing a prescription
  • 7:56 Beware of creativity without science
  • 10:00 How can you move from good ideas to strategic messaging?
  • 16:16 1st way: Understand the transition from diagnosis to prescription
  • 17:32 2nd way: Work from the customer’s point of view rather than a sense of talent
  • 21:12 Martin Buber and the concept of “the other”
  • 23:16 Live optimization – Nursing program
  • 27:32 Tracking customer footprints – Ask yourself what stimulated the last behavior that led them to your landing page.
  • 38:15 3rd way: Move from elements to coherence – Thomas S. Kuhn
  • 41:45 Testing webpages – Variable Cluster explanation and advice
  • 47:27 Three questions to ask yourself to get your page in the high-performance zone

Related Resources

Landing Page Optimization on-demand certification course by MECLABS Institute – Learn to convert a higher percentage of landing page visitors to sales leads, donations or product sales.

Designing Hypotheses that Win: A four-step framework for gaining customer wisdom and generating marketing results

CRO Cheat Sheet: Customer thinking guide for conversion rate

15 Resources to Help You Use a Repeatable Process for Conversion Rate

The post The High-Performance Landing Page: 3 ways to maximize conversion with the power of coherence appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

(This article was originally published in the MarketingExperiments email newsletter.)

Definition of RANDOM: “Having no definite aim or purpose; not sent or guided in a particular direction; made, done, occurring, etc., without method or conscious choice; haphazard.”

Oxford English Dictionary

We have been living in the age of random for awhile now. It’s popular to wear a hodgepodge of patterns, listen to unrelated ideas in song lyrics, go to “random” places, visit “random” people, and even to believe opposing ideologies, no matter how illogical.

Although living a random existence may be a popular postmodern construct, it does not serve the marketer who needs to create a high-converting landing page. Yet randomness prevails even in the digital marketing world.

Random ideas are often cobbled together in planning meetings without a coherent, unified goal and methodology to achieve it. The results are a leaky funnel and untapped customers. So even good random ideas aren’t enough.

In this recent live video session, Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute, shares how you can move from good ideas to strategic messaging.

Watch the replay to learn three advanced principles to help achieve strategic messaging and overcome these deadly conversion mistakes:

  • Pages before hypotheses
  • Diagnosis without prescription
  • Creativity without science

Here are some key points in the video:

  • 4:20 Beware of building a landing page before you develop a hypothesis.
  • 4:43 Beware of diagnosing the problem in your funnel without providing a prescription
  • 7:56 Beware of creativity without science
  • 10:00 How can you move from good ideas to strategic messaging?
  • 16:16 1st way: Understand the transition from diagnosis to prescription
  • 17:32 2nd way: Work from the customer’s point of view rather than a sense of talent
  • 21:12 Martin Buber and the concept of “the other”
  • 23:16 Live optimization – Nursing program
  • 27:32 Tracking customer footprints – Ask yourself what stimulated the last behavior that led them to your landing page.
  • 38:15 3rd way: Move from elements to coherence – Thomas S. Kuhn
  • 41:45 Testing webpages – Variable Cluster explanation and advice
  • 47:27 Three questions to ask yourself to get your page in the high-performance zone

Related Resources

Landing Page Optimization on-demand certification course by MECLABS Institute – Learn to convert a higher percentage of landing page visitors to sales leads, donations or product sales.

Designing Hypotheses that Win: A four-step framework for gaining customer wisdom and generating marketing results

CRO Cheat Sheet: Customer thinking guide for conversion rate

15 Resources to Help You Use a Repeatable Process for Conversion Rate

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Break Free B2B Series: Judy Tian on Humanizing B2B Through Influencer Marketing

As the world’s largest social network for professionals, LinkedIn* lies at the epicenter of people and business. 

Profiles on the platform put a real face on our professional brands, allowing visitors to learn about our interests, career experiences, and personalities. Emphasizing this human element, and creating a genuine sense of community among members, is paramount to LinkedIn’s brand mission according to Marketing Manager Judy Tian

“As a platform where so much of people’s job opportunities and personal and professional development takes place,” she says, “we really sought to humanize the brand and make it a more community-based platform, where real stories can be told and people would feel like they have relatable experiences there with others.”

[bctt tweet=”We really sought to humanize the brand and make it a more community-based platform, where real stories can be told. @judytian07 on @LinkedIn’s #InfluencerMarketing strategy #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

A key aspect of this initiative was launching an ambitious influencer campaign, helping LinkedIn connect more deeply with its audience of marketers and salespeople by highlighting the human side of these professions, through partnerships with recognizable and respected pros from both fields.

In her interview with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis, Judy provides a behind-the-scenes look at that campaign and LinkedIn’s overall influencer marketing strategy. She unpacks one specific empathy-driven campaign, where influencers shared personal struggles and trials in their careers and how they overcame them. She also offers her views on measuring the seemingly immeasurable, aligning with influencers around shared values, understanding the crucial difference between reach and relevance, and more. 

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Judy Tian

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Krz9ISDcBXs]

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.

  • 0:30 — Growth and progression of influencer marketing
  • 1:15 — Understanding relevance and why it matters
  • 2:15 — Tracking shared values with influencers
  • 4:00 — Example of a human-focused LinkedIn influencer campaign
  • 7:00 — Measuring the success of an influencer program
  • 10:45 — The difference between reach and relevance
  • 12:00 — The “four Rs” as influencer selection criteria
  • 14:00 — Overcoming internal skeptics to launch an influencer program
  • 16:45 — Paid vs. unpaid influencer initiatives in B2B
  • 19:30 — Where will influencer marketing evolve in the next 2-3 years?
  • 21:00 — Nurturing micro influencers and integrating offline tactics

Susan: Can you give an example of how LinkedIn is working with influencers at a campaign or ongoing relationship level?

Judy: We did a really exciting campaign around telling stories of our influencers. We work with marketing and sales influencers, and so we really wanted to celebrate who they were as a person beyond just their profession. We developed this social campaign called “My Marketing Story” and “My Sales Story,” and we asked each of these marketing professionals and sales professionals about, what were some of the most vulnerable moments in their careers? What did they learn from their failures? Maybe some career mistakes or bumps along the way. What we got were some really honest answers about people being fired, people being let go unexpectedly, people learning a lot of business lessons from working at Little Caesar’s, and that actually shaping their career in a different trajectory.

Susan: Where do you think marketers who are just getting started with influencer program might be heading down the wrong path in terms of how to measure, and how would you counsel them?

Judy: I would say that one of the biggest traps that I’ve seen when it comes to measurement in influencer marketing is really caring about the reach metrics, and trying to understand: if we’re working with an influencer how big is their network, and how many followers do they have? I’m really excited that now we’re changing the conversation a little bit more to relevancy. When I first started partnering with some of the internal stakeholders that were excited about the influencer programs as this new shiny object, many of the questions were around, ‘Okay, if we do this one post with them, how many impressions are we gonna get? Is it a million per influencer?’ Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach, I think I’ve had to do a lot more internal education of: actually, the relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you wanna talk about? And are they gonna have credibility with their end users? And then are they going to shed credibility onto your brand as a result?

[bctt tweet=”Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach, the relevancy and engagement are what’s most important. — @judytian07 #InfluencerMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Susan: Who do you admire in terms of influencer marketing?

Judy: Mindy Kaling was somebody that I really respected and really enjoyed hearing from at Content Marketing World. There was a question of how does she choose working with a variety of brands, and for her it has to be something that she really cares about. For instance, she loves shopping, so DSW was one of the partners that she chose to work with, because that’s something she already feels passionate about. And I just love that she chose to do something that would be authentic and true to her. I think right now there’s a lot of backlash that celebrities and influencers are facing because they’re accused of being sellouts, and they just promote brands or products that may not necessarily be something they believe in, but they just want the checks. I think the more we can push the conversation, and influencers, to think about it in that way, and brands to also think about partners that will have authentic, true passion for your products and your business, the better it will be for us as consumers. 

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

* Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Break Free B2B Series: Judy Tian on Humanizing B2B Through Influencer Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

As the world’s largest social network for professionals, LinkedIn* lies at the epicenter of people and business. 

Profiles on the platform put a real face on our professional brands, allowing visitors to learn about our interests, career experiences, and personalities. Emphasizing this human element, and creating a genuine sense of community among members, is paramount to LinkedIn’s brand mission according to Marketing Manager Judy Tian

“As a platform where so much of people’s job opportunities and personal and professional development takes place,” she says, “we really sought to humanize the brand and make it a more community-based platform, where real stories can be told and people would feel like they have relatable experiences there with others.”

[bctt tweet=”We really sought to humanize the brand and make it a more community-based platform, where real stories can be told. @judytian07 on @LinkedIn’s #InfluencerMarketing strategy #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

A key aspect of this initiative was launching an ambitious influencer campaign, helping LinkedIn connect more deeply with its audience of marketers and salespeople by highlighting the human side of these professions, through partnerships with recognizable and respected pros from both fields.

In her interview with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis, Judy provides a behind-the-scenes look at that campaign and LinkedIn’s overall influencer marketing strategy. She unpacks one specific empathy-driven campaign, where influencers shared personal struggles and trials in their careers and how they overcame them. She also offers her views on measuring the seemingly immeasurable, aligning with influencers around shared values, understanding the crucial difference between reach and relevance, and more. 

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Judy Tian

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.

  • 0:30 — Growth and progression of influencer marketing
  • 1:15 — Understanding relevance and why it matters
  • 2:15 — Tracking shared values with influencers
  • 4:00 — Example of a human-focused LinkedIn influencer campaign
  • 7:00 — Measuring the success of an influencer program
  • 10:45 — The difference between reach and relevance
  • 12:00 — The “four Rs” as influencer selection criteria
  • 14:00 — Overcoming internal skeptics to launch an influencer program
  • 16:45 — Paid vs. unpaid influencer initiatives in B2B
  • 19:30 — Where will influencer marketing evolve in the next 2-3 years?
  • 21:00 — Nurturing micro influencers and integrating offline tactics

Susan: Can you give an example of how LinkedIn is working with influencers at a campaign or ongoing relationship level?

Judy: We did a really exciting campaign around telling stories of our influencers. We work with marketing and sales influencers, and so we really wanted to celebrate who they were as a person beyond just their profession. We developed this social campaign called “My Marketing Story” and “My Sales Story,” and we asked each of these marketing professionals and sales professionals about, what were some of the most vulnerable moments in their careers? What did they learn from their failures? Maybe some career mistakes or bumps along the way. What we got were some really honest answers about people being fired, people being let go unexpectedly, people learning a lot of business lessons from working at Little Caesar’s, and that actually shaping their career in a different trajectory.

Susan: Where do you think marketers who are just getting started with influencer program might be heading down the wrong path in terms of how to measure, and how would you counsel them?

Judy: I would say that one of the biggest traps that I’ve seen when it comes to measurement in influencer marketing is really caring about the reach metrics, and trying to understand: if we’re working with an influencer how big is their network, and how many followers do they have? I’m really excited that now we’re changing the conversation a little bit more to relevancy. When I first started partnering with some of the internal stakeholders that were excited about the influencer programs as this new shiny object, many of the questions were around, ‘Okay, if we do this one post with them, how many impressions are we gonna get? Is it a million per influencer?’ Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach, I think I’ve had to do a lot more internal education of: actually, the relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you wanna talk about? And are they gonna have credibility with their end users? And then are they going to shed credibility onto your brand as a result?

[bctt tweet=”Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach, the relevancy and engagement are what’s most important. — @judytian07 #InfluencerMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Susan: Who do you admire in terms of influencer marketing?

Judy: Mindy Kaling was somebody that I really respected and really enjoyed hearing from at Content Marketing World. There was a question of how does she choose working with a variety of brands, and for her it has to be something that she really cares about. For instance, she loves shopping, so DSW was one of the partners that she chose to work with, because that’s something she already feels passionate about. And I just love that she chose to do something that would be authentic and true to her. I think right now there’s a lot of backlash that celebrities and influencers are facing because they’re accused of being sellouts, and they just promote brands or products that may not necessarily be something they believe in, but they just want the checks. I think the more we can push the conversation, and influencers, to think about it in that way, and brands to also think about partners that will have authentic, true passion for your products and your business, the better it will be for us as consumers. 

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

* Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Break Free B2B Series: Judy Tian on Humanizing B2B Through Influencer Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

10 Top B2B Influencer Marketing Predictions for 2020

Influencer Marketing Predictions for 2020

Influencer Marketing Predictions for 2020

In late 2018, B2B influencer marketing was on the industry watch list as predictions for what this year would hold began popping up. And what we saw were some major advancements in what B2B marketers had planned for influencer marketing in 2019 including:

Some of these initiatives rose to the top for 2019, while others got lost in the day-to-day shuffle. However, 2019 was the year that B2B marketers really LEANED IN on influencer marketing in a way they hadn’t before. Many of the predictions from last year have become best practices for some of today’s top brands.

What does 2020 hold? To help turn your B2B influencer marketing dreams into a reality, we’ve tapped 10 influencer marketing leaders to share their top predictions for 2020.

The Integration of Influence in 2020

TopRank Marketing has been in the business of B2B influencer marketing since before it had a name. We’re constantly iterating on our approach and finding new ways to help our clients achieve influencer marketing success, and we’re proud to have been named by Forrester as the only B2B marketing agency with influencer marketing capabilities.

In 2020, I predict that we’ll see EVEN MORE brands integrating influencer marketing into strategic marketing initiatives in a way that supports multiple objectives (and even departments or business units). The intersection of business priorities, search demand and influencers is what we like to call the “Content Sweet Spot”.

And, by integrating these three areas (and keeping an eye on trending data), influencer programs have the opportunity to create strategic and long-lasting impact for your business on an even grander scale. So, what do our other experts predict will change in 2020? Read on to find out!

Focusing on Engagement Over Reach

 
Alyssa Samuelson
Senior Communications Manager, Microsoft

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to influencer reach. Brands are finding more value in the ways in which followers engage with influencers rather than in how many people might see a piece of content. Measuring likes, comments and shares show that an influencer’s audience is listening and the content is resonating. Tapping into influencers who may not have millions of followers but do have a loyal audience can be meaningful to brands, particularly those who are trying to reach very specific audiences.

[bctt tweet=”Now and in 2020, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to influencer reach. @alyssasamuelson #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Going All-In on Always-On Influencer Marketing


Garnor Morantes
Group Marketing Manager, LinkedIn

I predict organizations are going to lean more heavily into fostering deep, personal relationships with influencers. Influencer marketing was largely borne from leveraging an influencer’s scale and mass appeal, but consumer savvy and skepticism have resulted in greater importance on authenticity.

As a result, I anticipate organizations will focus their efforts on building lasting, ongoing relationships with a more targeted group of influencers. In addition to working with influencers more as partners and collaborators, the investment in an always-on program focused on uncovering/sharing true, authentic messages and insights that resonate with customers will make influencer “reach” less of a priority.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict organizations are going to lean more heavily into fostering deep, personal relationships with influencers. @garnormorantes #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]


Judy Tian
Marketing Manager, LinkedIn

I predict that brands and influencers will have an increasingly collaborative relationship, with influencers being brought in even earlier in the process. We’re already seeing collaboration at the content and creative development stage, but I predict that influencers will partner on even earlier work such as brand messaging, idea validation, and campaign brainstorming – ultimately in service of better content for the end-consumer.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict that brands and influencers will have an increasingly collaborative relationship, with influencers being brought in even earlier in the process. @judytian07 #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Taking Influencer Activations Beyond Digital


Rani Mani
Head of Social Influencer Enablement, Adobe

Despite the fact that today’s technology makes it beyond easy to connect with people around the world virtually, there is something profoundly special and different about in-real-life (IRL) activations. Shared, in-person experiences facilitate a sense of community and form bonds between people that no amount of emails and social media likes can possibly come close to.

Though it is often a substantial time and financial investment, we at Adobe are always looking for IRL influencer activations. It can be as simple and informal as grabbing a bite to eat together or something a bit more planned like a visit to HQs to meet with the corporate strategy team and participate in product demos.

My favorite was our AdWeek related Nasdaq interview experience followed by our group cooking class. We were able to support each other and build on one another’s thoughts and later let our hair down and engage in some good, old-fashioned fun. We all left so energized and invested in one other’s lives in ways that you simply don’t get with online interactions alone.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict in-real-life experiences between brands and influencers will grow and facilitate a greater sense of community. @ranimani0707 #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

 
Janine Wegner
Global Thought Leadership Program Manager, Dell Technologies

The biggest challenge for brands is the break-through of key differentiators like their USPs, values and the benefit to their stakeholders – online and offline. Besides engaging key spokespeople, brands will increasingly collaborate and co-create content through real-life activations with external experts that influence their target audience.

It takes a “mesh” of the right voices to bring the stories and proof points to live. For instance, at key events, brands can partner with influencers to shape audience engagements by providing key audience and industry insights, as well as be a participant to elevate the conversation and/or be an amplifier of the activation digitally.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict that brands will increasingly collaborate and co-create content through real-life activations with external experts that influence their target audience. @JanineWegner #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Read: How to Integrate Online and Offline Tactics to Cultivate Influencer Relationships

Combining Content and Influence


Amisha Gandhi
Vice President, Influencer Marketing & Communications, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass

In B2B, the emphasis will focus on building “communities of influence” around industry experts, employees and brand advocates/customers.  The communities will act as watering holes where people can learn, share ideas and find value through authentic interactions vs. one-way content. This will play well with ABM efforts to personalize content by making it more interactive and engaging. The effect will be to attract target consumers rather than push content to them.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict that the emphasis will focus on building ‘communities of influence’ around industry experts, employees and brand advocates/customers. @AmishaGandhi #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]


Lee Odden
CEO, TopRank Marketing

Content is the currency of value that B2B brands and influencers exchange. However, as more buyers become numb to information overload and brand marketing, it’s not enough for B2B companies to inform buyers with expert quotes, interviews and webinars.

To truly stand out in 2020, B2B influencer marketing programs must optimize beyond reach to experience. Influencer-driven content experiences—from audio to video to interactive—deliver engaging information that inspires buyers to action. When content is experiential and influential, everybody wins.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict that influencer-driven experiences will be what it takes to optimize influencer marketing programs beyond reach and to inspire action. @leeodden #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Integrating with Employee Advocacy


Ryan Bares
Global Social Programs Lead: Social Influencers & Employee Advocacy IBM Systems, IBM

I’m building brand ambassadors by enabling employees to be active on social media.

Any influencer strategy must incorporate employee advocacy.

… It’s no longer one or the other.

I’ve seen success with my tailor-made social media education for IBM subject matter experts. This included social media 101 (i.e., building out a profile), to more advanced topics like social listening and producing long-form content. I then served-up great influencer content (topic-based) to interested IBMers so they can join the conversations and engage online.

I highly expect to see more brands focusing on employee coaching and mentoring to elevate their influencer strategy in 2020. Employees are an important part of the mix so don’t overlook them.

[bctt tweet=”I highly expect to see more brands focusing on employee coaching and mentoring to elevate their influencer strategy in 2020. @RyanBares #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Embracing The Rise of Video & Audio


Ursula Ringham
Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP

2020 will be the year of B2B influencer marketing, with companies finally understanding how to use video, podcasts, and long-form content such as blogs to tell their story and reach new audiences. And storytelling will be key to this success, having the influencer tell the brand story through their lens.

[bctt tweet=”2020 will be the year of B2B influencer marketing, with companies finally understanding how to use different types of content to tell their story and reach new audiences. @ursularingham #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Making Authenticity a Priority


Angela Lipscomb
Influencer Relations Manager, SAS

Even as recently as five years ago many B2B marketers didn’t understand how influencers could bring value to a brand if they weren’t endorsing it. They didn’t understand that the essence of an influencer’s value is in their neutrality.

To be a trusted advisor an influencer must remain objective. So, for the sake of authenticity, it’s important that brands don’t expect influencers to regurgitate a brand message which is fundamentally detrimental to the brand, the influencer and the consumer. If you’re collaborating with an influencer who is the right fit then their vision should be in sync with your vision. Give them free rein to do what they do best; to educate and inspire.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict that more brands will understand the true essence of an influencer’s value: neutrality. To be a trusted advisor an influencer must remain objective. @AngelaLipscomb #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Finding Your Influencer Marketing Focus for 2020

According to CMI and MarketingProfs’ 2020 B2B content marketing benchmarketing report, 46% of marketers that identify as high-performers, are investing in influencer relations.

So the question remains, what will your 2020 influencer marketing journey look like? And which of the predictions above will you lean into first?

*Disclosure: LinkedIn, Dell and SAP are TopRank Marketing clients. 

What else is on the 2020 marketing horizon? Get a glimpse with our roundup of top B2B content marketing trends and predictions for 2020.

The post 10 Top B2B Influencer Marketing Predictions for 2020 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Influencer Marketing Predictions for 2020

Influencer Marketing Predictions for 2020

In late 2018, B2B influencer marketing was on the industry watch list as predictions for what this year would hold began popping up. And what we saw were some major advancements in what B2B marketers had planned for influencer marketing in 2019 including:

Some of these initiatives rose to the top for 2019, while others got lost in the day-to-day shuffle. However, 2019 was the year that B2B marketers really LEANED IN on influencer marketing in a way they hadn’t before. Many of the predictions from last year have become best practices for some of today’s top brands.

What does 2020 hold? To help turn your B2B influencer marketing dreams into a reality, we’ve tapped 10 influencer marketing leaders to share their top predictions for 2020.

The Integration of Influence in 2020

TopRank Marketing has been in the business of B2B influencer marketing since before it had a name. We’re constantly iterating on our approach and finding new ways to help our clients achieve influencer marketing success, and we’re proud to have been named by Forrester as the only B2B marketing agency with influencer marketing capabilities.

In 2020, I predict that we’ll see EVEN MORE brands integrating influencer marketing into strategic marketing initiatives in a way that supports multiple objectives (and even departments or business units). The intersection of business priorities, search demand and influencers is what we like to call the “Content Sweet Spot”.

And, by integrating these three areas (and keeping an eye on trending data), influencer programs have the opportunity to create strategic and long-lasting impact for your business on an even grander scale. So, what do our other experts predict will change in 2020? Read on to find out!

Focusing on Engagement Over Reach

 
Alyssa Samuelson
Senior Communications Manager, Microsoft

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to influencer reach. Brands are finding more value in the ways in which followers engage with influencers rather than in how many people might see a piece of content. Measuring likes, comments and shares show that an influencer’s audience is listening and the content is resonating. Tapping into influencers who may not have millions of followers but do have a loyal audience can be meaningful to brands, particularly those who are trying to reach very specific audiences.

[bctt tweet=”Now and in 2020, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to influencer reach. @alyssasamuelson #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Going All-In on Always-On Influencer Marketing


Garnor Morantes
Group Marketing Manager, LinkedIn

I predict organizations are going to lean more heavily into fostering deep, personal relationships with influencers. Influencer marketing was largely borne from leveraging an influencer’s scale and mass appeal, but consumer savvy and skepticism have resulted in greater importance on authenticity.

As a result, I anticipate organizations will focus their efforts on building lasting, ongoing relationships with a more targeted group of influencers. In addition to working with influencers more as partners and collaborators, the investment in an always-on program focused on uncovering/sharing true, authentic messages and insights that resonate with customers will make influencer “reach” less of a priority.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict organizations are going to lean more heavily into fostering deep, personal relationships with influencers. @garnormorantes #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]


Judy Tian
Marketing Manager, LinkedIn

I predict that brands and influencers will have an increasingly collaborative relationship, with influencers being brought in even earlier in the process. We’re already seeing collaboration at the content and creative development stage, but I predict that influencers will partner on even earlier work such as brand messaging, idea validation, and campaign brainstorming – ultimately in service of better content for the end-consumer.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict that brands and influencers will have an increasingly collaborative relationship, with influencers being brought in even earlier in the process. @judytian07 #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Taking Influencer Activations Beyond Digital


Rani Mani
Head of Social Influencer Enablement, Adobe

Despite the fact that today’s technology makes it beyond easy to connect with people around the world virtually, there is something profoundly special and different about in-real-life (IRL) activations. Shared, in-person experiences facilitate a sense of community and form bonds between people that no amount of emails and social media likes can possibly come close to.

Though it is often a substantial time and financial investment, we at Adobe are always looking for IRL influencer activations. It can be as simple and informal as grabbing a bite to eat together or something a bit more planned like a visit to HQs to meet with the corporate strategy team and participate in product demos.

My favorite was our AdWeek related Nasdaq interview experience followed by our group cooking class. We were able to support each other and build on one another’s thoughts and later let our hair down and engage in some good, old-fashioned fun. We all left so energized and invested in one other’s lives in ways that you simply don’t get with online interactions alone.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict in-real-life experiences between brands and influencers will grow and facilitate a greater sense of community. @ranimani0707 #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

 
Janine Wegner
Global Thought Leadership Program Manager, Dell Technologies

The biggest challenge for brands is the break-through of key differentiators like their USPs, values and the benefit to their stakeholders – online and offline. Besides engaging key spokespeople, brands will increasingly collaborate and co-create content through real-life activations with external experts that influence their target audience.

It takes a “mesh” of the right voices to bring the stories and proof points to live. For instance, at key events, brands can partner with influencers to shape audience engagements by providing key audience and industry insights, as well as be a participant to elevate the conversation and/or be an amplifier of the activation digitally.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict that brands will increasingly collaborate and co-create content through real-life activations with external experts that influence their target audience. @JanineWegner #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Read: How to Integrate Online and Offline Tactics to Cultivate Influencer Relationships

Combining Content and Influence


Amisha Gandhi
Vice President, Influencer Marketing & Communications, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass

In B2B, the emphasis will focus on building “communities of influence” around industry experts, employees and brand advocates/customers.  The communities will act as watering holes where people can learn, share ideas and find value through authentic interactions vs. one-way content. This will play well with ABM efforts to personalize content by making it more interactive and engaging. The effect will be to attract target consumers rather than push content to them.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict that the emphasis will focus on building ‘communities of influence’ around industry experts, employees and brand advocates/customers. @AmishaGandhi #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]


Lee Odden
CEO, TopRank Marketing

Content is the currency of value that B2B brands and influencers exchange. However, as more buyers become numb to information overload and brand marketing, it’s not enough for B2B companies to inform buyers with expert quotes, interviews and webinars.

To truly stand out in 2020, B2B influencer marketing programs must optimize beyond reach to experience. Influencer-driven content experiences—from audio to video to interactive—deliver engaging information that inspires buyers to action. When content is experiential and influential, everybody wins.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict that influencer-driven experiences will be what it takes to optimize influencer marketing programs beyond reach and to inspire action. @leeodden #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Integrating with Employee Advocacy


Ryan Bares
Global Social Programs Lead: Social Influencers & Employee Advocacy IBM Systems, IBM

I’m building brand ambassadors by enabling employees to be active on social media.

Any influencer strategy must incorporate employee advocacy.

… It’s no longer one or the other.

I’ve seen success with my tailor-made social media education for IBM subject matter experts. This included social media 101 (i.e., building out a profile), to more advanced topics like social listening and producing long-form content. I then served-up great influencer content (topic-based) to interested IBMers so they can join the conversations and engage online.

I highly expect to see more brands focusing on employee coaching and mentoring to elevate their influencer strategy in 2020. Employees are an important part of the mix so don’t overlook them.

[bctt tweet=”I highly expect to see more brands focusing on employee coaching and mentoring to elevate their influencer strategy in 2020. @RyanBares #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Embracing The Rise of Video & Audio


Ursula Ringham
Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP

2020 will be the year of B2B influencer marketing, with companies finally understanding how to use video, podcasts, and long-form content such as blogs to tell their story and reach new audiences. And storytelling will be key to this success, having the influencer tell the brand story through their lens.

[bctt tweet=”2020 will be the year of B2B influencer marketing, with companies finally understanding how to use different types of content to tell their story and reach new audiences. @ursularingham #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Making Authenticity a Priority


Angela Lipscomb
Influencer Relations Manager, SAS

Even as recently as five years ago many B2B marketers didn’t understand how influencers could bring value to a brand if they weren’t endorsing it. They didn’t understand that the essence of an influencer’s value is in their neutrality.

To be a trusted advisor an influencer must remain objective. So, for the sake of authenticity, it’s important that brands don’t expect influencers to regurgitate a brand message which is fundamentally detrimental to the brand, the influencer and the consumer. If you’re collaborating with an influencer who is the right fit then their vision should be in sync with your vision. Give them free rein to do what they do best; to educate and inspire.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I predict that more brands will understand the true essence of an influencer’s value: neutrality. To be a trusted advisor an influencer must remain objective. @AngelaLipscomb #B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions” username=”toprank”]

Finding Your Influencer Marketing Focus for 2020

According to CMI and MarketingProfs’ 2020 B2B content marketing benchmarketing report, 46% of marketers that identify as high-performers, are investing in influencer relations.

So the question remains, what will your 2020 influencer marketing journey look like? And which of the predictions above will you lean into first?

*Disclosure: LinkedIn, Dell and SAP are TopRank Marketing clients. 

What else is on the 2020 marketing horizon? Get a glimpse with our roundup of top B2B content marketing trends and predictions for 2020.

The post 10 Top B2B Influencer Marketing Predictions for 2020 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Facebook Launches Viewpoints Market Research Tool, Brand Loyalty Remains High, & Instagram Offers a Glimpse of Feed AI

The post Digital Marketing News: Facebook Launches Viewpoints Market Research Tool, Brand Loyalty Remains High, & Instagram Offers a Glimpse of Feed AI appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The post Digital Marketing News: Facebook Launches Viewpoints Market Research Tool, Brand Loyalty Remains High, & Instagram Offers a Glimpse of Feed AI appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Ask MarketingExperiments: How do I (quickly) write value-infused headlines?

We frequently receive
questions from our
email subscribers asking
marketing advice. Instead of hiding those answers in a one-to-one email
communication, we occasionally publish edited excerpts of some of these
conversations here on MarketingExperiments so they can help other readers as
well. If you have any questions,
let us know.

Dear MarketingExperiments: I read some of your articles and bought the value proposition course and testing course. I had a question about an article you posted about headlines a while back — Headlines on Deadlines (Part 1): How to consistently write effective headlines without working late.

I read some of your articles and bought the value proposition course and testing course. I had a question about an article you posted about headlines a while back — Headlines on Deadlines (Part 1): How to consistently write effective headlines without working late.

It seems like the four dyads (appeal, exclusivity, clarity
and credibility) are used to make the headlines have more force.

But the question I had is would you go a step further and
treat each headline or micro-yes almost like an individual process-level value
proposition to increase the force of each micro-yes (headline, body copy,
bullets, etc.)?

 Austin (McCraw) was
teaching “Why should I read this headline rather than any other
headline?” (Designing
a Value Proposition to Attract New Donors
). It seemed like he was treating
each micro-yes like a derivative value proposition (at the process level) to
increase the force of each micro-yes in the sequence.

I’ve had this question for a pretty long time. If I’m
understanding correctly, I was wondering if you had a method or short cut to
make it faster?

Take care,

Patrick Hill

Dear Patrick: Yes, you are correct. Each part of the page is essentially a micro-yes.

So
when writing a headline, you should consider two things:

  1. What value should the headline communicate about the company, a product, to a specific prospect, or about a specific process (more on this below)?
  2. Is it communicating this value in a way that would encourage the reader to take the next action? This is the micro-yes you are trying to get from them. They should subconsciously think “After reading that headline, I now want to read the paragraph of text under it.”

Here’s
why this understanding is so crucial. You’re not going to sell a car with a
headline. Or even a bicycle. And you shouldn’t write headlines that are trying
to sell them on everything in one fell swoop.

However, you can get the reader to see enough value from the headline so they choose the next step (read the paragraph below the headline), and then the next step (go to the URL listed at the bottom of the print ad), and after many more micro-yes(s) — eventually buy that car.

A
shortcut to make it faster? Well, usually over time as you get more used to it,
it gets quicker. At first, most people have to step-by-step think through it. And
that step-by-step thinking is helpful. It makes sure you are writing headlines
with right intention — the intention of communicating value and continuing the
momentum of the prospective customer through the print ad or landing page. It
makes sure you’re consciously thinking of the customer, what’s in it for them,
and why they would want to take an action. It makes sure you are focused on
their needs and not your company’s goals.

But
after doing it a lot, it becomes intuitive. Here are a few things that might
help:

Translating
the primary value proposition into headlines that communicate a derivative
value proposition

Actually,
headline writing is an example of the benefit of having constructed value
proposition codex that includes a clear primary value proposition complete with
appealing claims and evidentials to back up those claims with credibility.

Without
that, you’re leaving copywriters out in the wind to use clever wordplay to
attract and engage a reader. Clever wordplay only goes so far.

However,
when writing headlines based on a value proposition, the copywriter can focus
on clearly articulating the value with the headline. The right value clearly
communicated to the right customer results in a conversion.

You
can further optimize your headlines by considering if there are derivative
value propositions the headlines should address. Very few headlines will be
about the primary value proposition of the overall company. For example:

  • Prospect-level: Based on the goal of the landing page, newspaper ad, email, whatever — should the headline be focused on a specific prospect set? For example, only B2B and not B2C, or double-income suburban couples with no children, or however else you segment your overall customer base.
  • Product-level: Much like above, is there a specific product or product set the headline is focused on, as opposed to selling the entire company?
  • Process-level: Should the headline communicate the value proposition for the customer of a specific action you are asking the customer to take? Again, focused on the customer, not the company. For example, Ferguson Enterprises changed “Exclusive Product And Event Information Delivered Right To Your Inbox!” to “Get The Ferguson Updates You Want, When You Want Them.” and got a 120% increase in form submissions. (Other changes were made too. You can see them all here.)

These
derivative value proposition-based headlines should tie into the same elements
of value of the primary value proposition, yet be context-specific. How
tightly you tie them to the primary value proposition will vary based on the
derivative value propositions. Everything might not apply — or it might apply
differently. Let’s take a look …

Example:
Prospect versus primary-level value proposition

For example, we were working with a company that had flexible payment options as an element of its overall primary value prop. So the overall communication at the primary value proposition level (and on the homepage, for example) has to do with flexible payment options.

However,
if your customer intelligence is strong enough, when you get to the
prospect-level value proposition you don’t want to communicate flexible
payments, you want to communicate the payment option that matters to that
individual prospect.

At the prospect-level, about 20% of the company’s customers wanted to buy on a payment plan instead of all upfront. This was unique, and something its competitors didn’t offer. So for that prospect-level value prop, the value element isn’t flexible payment plans, which does not have unique value; it is the specific monthly payment plan, which has an only factor that creates a strong value prop to the specific customer group who wants it.

Not
to all customers. Some couldn’t care less. It’s not appealing to them.

And on the flip side, that specific prospect doesn’t care about flexible payment plans as a whole which include types of payments they wouldn’t engage in, but they do care that you have the type of payment they would buy with.

The
benefit of this understanding is that it could guide a targeted ad campaign to
try to find this specific prospect type instead of just communicating a more
general “flexible payment plans” (which you still might have to do in some
places, like an overall brochure or homepage).

Or, for another example, let’s say you work for a bank. Your value proposition is that your bank has the most branches in the nation. In a national newspaper ad, that might be your headline.

But
when you’re sending out a direct mail piece, at the prospect-level, the
headline might change to “We have a branch within walking distance of your
home. Plus, the most branches in the nation, so we’ll take care of you wherever
you travel.”

The biggest lesson is — begin with the customer — what matters to them and what value you can deliver. Focus less on clever wordplay for the headline. And put most of your energy into communicating that value.

You can follow Daniel Burstein, Senior
Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute, on
Twitter
@DanielBurstein.

Related Resources

Value Proposition Development Online Certification Course from MECLABS Institute (parent organization of MarketingExperiments)

The 4 Types of Value Propositions Every Business Needs

Value Proposition: 3 worksheets to help you craft, express and create derivative value props

Finding Your Value Focus, or Your Product’s ‘In’

Hidden Value: Curiosity Is the Most Powerful Tool in Marketing

The post Ask MarketingExperiments: How do I (quickly) write value-infused headlines? appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

We frequently receive
questions from our
email subscribers asking
marketing advice. Instead of hiding those answers in a one-to-one email
communication, we occasionally publish edited excerpts of some of these
conversations here on MarketingExperiments so they can help other readers as
well. If you have any questions,
let us know.

Dear MarketingExperiments: I read some of your articles and bought the value proposition course and testing course. I had a question about an article you posted about headlines a while back — Headlines on Deadlines (Part 1): How to consistently write effective headlines without working late.

I read some of your articles and bought the value proposition course and testing course. I had a question about an article you posted about headlines a while back — Headlines on Deadlines (Part 1): How to consistently write effective headlines without working late.

It seems like the four dyads (appeal, exclusivity, clarity
and credibility) are used to make the headlines have more force.

But the question I had is would you go a step further and
treat each headline or micro-yes almost like an individual process-level value
proposition to increase the force of each micro-yes (headline, body copy,
bullets, etc.)?

 Austin (McCraw) was
teaching “Why should I read this headline rather than any other
headline?” (Designing
a Value Proposition to Attract New Donors
). It seemed like he was treating
each micro-yes like a derivative value proposition (at the process level) to
increase the force of each micro-yes in the sequence.

I’ve had this question for a pretty long time. If I’m
understanding correctly, I was wondering if you had a method or short cut to
make it faster?

Take care,

Patrick Hill

Dear Patrick: Yes, you are correct. Each part of the page is essentially a micro-yes.

So
when writing a headline, you should consider two things:

  1. What value should the headline communicate about the company, a product, to a specific prospect, or about a specific process (more on this below)?
  2. Is it communicating this value in a way that would encourage the reader to take the next action? This is the micro-yes you are trying to get from them. They should subconsciously think “After reading that headline, I now want to read the paragraph of text under it.”

Here’s
why this understanding is so crucial. You’re not going to sell a car with a
headline. Or even a bicycle. And you shouldn’t write headlines that are trying
to sell them on everything in one fell swoop.

However, you can get the reader to see enough value from the headline so they choose the next step (read the paragraph below the headline), and then the next step (go to the URL listed at the bottom of the print ad), and after many more micro-yes(s) — eventually buy that car.

A
shortcut to make it faster? Well, usually over time as you get more used to it,
it gets quicker. At first, most people have to step-by-step think through it. And
that step-by-step thinking is helpful. It makes sure you are writing headlines
with right intention — the intention of communicating value and continuing the
momentum of the prospective customer through the print ad or landing page. It
makes sure you’re consciously thinking of the customer, what’s in it for them,
and why they would want to take an action. It makes sure you are focused on
their needs and not your company’s goals.

But
after doing it a lot, it becomes intuitive. Here are a few things that might
help:

Translating
the primary value proposition into headlines that communicate a derivative
value proposition

Actually,
headline writing is an example of the benefit of having constructed value
proposition codex that includes a clear primary value proposition complete with
appealing claims and evidentials to back up those claims with credibility.

Without
that, you’re leaving copywriters out in the wind to use clever wordplay to
attract and engage a reader. Clever wordplay only goes so far.

However,
when writing headlines based on a value proposition, the copywriter can focus
on clearly articulating the value with the headline. The right value clearly
communicated to the right customer results in a conversion.

You
can further optimize your headlines by considering if there are derivative
value propositions the headlines should address. Very few headlines will be
about the primary value proposition of the overall company. For example:

  • Prospect-level: Based on the goal of the landing page, newspaper ad, email, whatever — should the headline be focused on a specific prospect set? For example, only B2B and not B2C, or double-income suburban couples with no children, or however else you segment your overall customer base.
  • Product-level: Much like above, is there a specific product or product set the headline is focused on, as opposed to selling the entire company?
  • Process-level: Should the headline communicate the value proposition for the customer of a specific action you are asking the customer to take? Again, focused on the customer, not the company. For example, Ferguson Enterprises changed “Exclusive Product And Event Information Delivered Right To Your Inbox!” to “Get The Ferguson Updates You Want, When You Want Them.” and got a 120% increase in form submissions. (Other changes were made too. You can see them all here.)

These
derivative value proposition-based headlines should tie into the same elements
of value of the primary value proposition, yet be context-specific. How
tightly you tie them to the primary value proposition will vary based on the
derivative value propositions. Everything might not apply — or it might apply
differently. Let’s take a look …

Example:
Prospect versus primary-level value proposition

For example, we were working with a company that had flexible payment options as an element of its overall primary value prop. So the overall communication at the primary value proposition level (and on the homepage, for example) has to do with flexible payment options.

However,
if your customer intelligence is strong enough, when you get to the
prospect-level value proposition you don’t want to communicate flexible
payments, you want to communicate the payment option that matters to that
individual prospect.

At the prospect-level, about 20% of the company’s customers wanted to buy on a payment plan instead of all upfront. This was unique, and something its competitors didn’t offer. So for that prospect-level value prop, the value element isn’t flexible payment plans, which does not have unique value; it is the specific monthly payment plan, which has an only factor that creates a strong value prop to the specific customer group who wants it.

Not
to all customers. Some couldn’t care less. It’s not appealing to them.

And on the flip side, that specific prospect doesn’t care about flexible payment plans as a whole which include types of payments they wouldn’t engage in, but they do care that you have the type of payment they would buy with.

The
benefit of this understanding is that it could guide a targeted ad campaign to
try to find this specific prospect type instead of just communicating a more
general “flexible payment plans” (which you still might have to do in some
places, like an overall brochure or homepage).

Or, for another example, let’s say you work for a bank. Your value proposition is that your bank has the most branches in the nation. In a national newspaper ad, that might be your headline.

But
when you’re sending out a direct mail piece, at the prospect-level, the
headline might change to “We have a branch within walking distance of your
home. Plus, the most branches in the nation, so we’ll take care of you wherever
you travel.”

The biggest lesson is — begin with the customer — what matters to them and what value you can deliver. Focus less on clever wordplay for the headline. And put most of your energy into communicating that value.

You can follow Daniel Burstein, Senior
Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute, on
Twitter
@DanielBurstein.

Related Resources

Value Proposition Development Online Certification Course from MECLABS Institute (parent organization of MarketingExperiments)

The 4 Types of Value Propositions Every Business Needs

Value Proposition: 3 worksheets to help you craft, express and create derivative value props

Finding Your Value Focus, or Your Product’s ‘In’

Hidden Value: Curiosity Is the Most Powerful Tool in Marketing

The post Ask MarketingExperiments: How do I (quickly) write value-infused headlines? appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

Break Free B2B Series: Jon Miller on How ABM Can Help Marketers Keep Their ‘Ship’ Together

Do you know that account-based marketing (ABM) is like spearfishing? Or that effective ABM requires sales and marketing departments to act like a unified soccer team? Or have you heard that some say B2B marketing may be heading for a shipwreck?

These were just some of the great analogies that Jon Miller, CEO and co-founder of Engagio, shared with our very own Susan Misukanis during a recent Break Free B2B interview. And, while Jon threw around analogies like a doting owner tossing a frisbee for his dog in the backyard, he also provided deep insights based on his impressive experience in marketing which also includes being a co-founder of Marketo.

According to Jon, all signs point to a dramatic shift in B2B marketing tides.

“Marketers need to break free over the next 10 years by radically changing how they work with sales, stopping the baton handoff model and really moving to a much more of an integrated team,” he said.

[bctt tweet=”Marketers need to break free over the next 10 years by radically changing how they work with sales, stopping the baton handoff model and really moving to a much more of an integrated team. @jonmiller #BreakFreeB2B #ABM” username=”toprank”]

Jon believes that ABM is essential for the future health of B2B marketing. But while he’s all in on ABM—it’s his business after all—he admits that there are some significant obstacles to perfect implementation including cross-department communication and consistent data. “It’s really hard to be aligned when you’re looking at different information,” he said. 

The excellent news is that Jon had plenty of suggestions to help marketers stay afloat if B2B marketing veers from its current course. So, check out the full interview to learn why B2B marketing is changing, the value of ABM, and how to keep your ship together when things get choppy. 

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Jon Miller

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4G74T5HAVcE]

If you’re hunting for specific ABM insights, use the following to jump ahead to specific sections or check out some interview highlights captured in the excerpts below. 

  • 0:36 – Why marketers need an ABM system
  • 1:54 – ABM is a new way to fish
  • 2:47 – Taking proactive measures to land the right fish
  • 3:54 – Resources required to build out your ABM team 
  • 4:32 – How ABM is like a soccer game
  • 7:03 – B2B marketing heading for a shipwreck
  • 8:00 – What’s privacy got to do with it?
  • 9:13 – Old revenue models aren’t sustainable
  • 10:08 – The explosion of digital noise
  • 10:38 – The future of B2B Marketing
  • 12:31 – How an ABM stand-up unsticks opportunities
  • 15:37 – The importance of data in marketing and sales alignment 
  • 17:23 – Using 3rd party intent data, for all intents and purposes
  • 20:56 – Scaling ABM based on deal size
  • 25:17 – Who’s winning at ABM?
  • 27:40 – The future of content marketing 
  • 29:40 – How can marketers break free? 

Susan: Account-based marketing is still arguably in its infancy. What what are the drivers? Why does a marketing professional need an ABM system?

Jon: When I was doing marketing at Marketo, we were responsible for generating as much as 80% of all the pipeline that the sales team was closing … What we had been doing [in demand generation] was fishing with a net … We’d throw these campaigns out there, … we didn’t care which fish we caught; we just cared if we’d catch enough fish. 

When we started to go after the bigger companies—our existing customers and so on— it was something more like fishing with a spear where we would identify who we wanted, and then we’d find ways to … proactively go after them. That was a pretty different model. That model is ultimately what came became known as account-based marketing. 

The drivers of ABM are really capturing that story. It’s the need to go upmarket. It’s the need to find new growth engines. It’s the people realizing that inbound only gets you so far. You don’t get to control who responds. So I think those are the main factors why ABM has become hot.

[bctt tweet=”The drivers of ABM are… the need to go upmarket. It’s the need to find new growth engines. It’s the people realizing that inbound only gets you so far. @jonmiller #BreakFreeB2B #ABM” username=”toprank”]

Susan: You write about B2B marketing heading for a shipwreck? Can you dig into that?

Jon: In the era of marketing automation, I think marketing did a lot to change the way people thought about the marketing department … And that helped shift the perception of marketing to be a real part of the revenue process … but that model that was built, the linear handoff [between marketing and sales]—that’s breaking down.

For example, privacy regulations have really come around. And that means that’s a lot harder for marketing to send emails at the top of the funnel. And at the same time, you’ve seen the rise of tools like Outreach and Salesloft.

So that’s a big change in the role of marketing. You don’t get to just be the email people at the top of the funnel anymore, because that’s going away. You’re going to have to shift and adjust where you spend your time and energy. 

And another big change on top of all that is the rise of recurring revenue models … the vast majority of revenue that companies create today happens after that initial sale. And yet, most marketing departments are still focused on generating new business … there needs to be an adjustment about how the marketing department thinks about what their job is.

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 #BreakFreeB2B #ABM” username=”toprank”]

You put all that together, and I think we’re going to see a very different role for B2B marketing departments in the next 10 years. 

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few more interviews to provide inspiration to your marketing efforts. 

The post Break Free B2B Series: Jon Miller on How ABM Can Help Marketers Keep Their ‘Ship’ Together appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Do you know that account-based marketing (ABM) is like spearfishing? Or that effective ABM requires sales and marketing departments to act like a unified soccer team? Or have you heard that some say B2B marketing may be heading for a shipwreck?

These were just some of the great analogies that Jon Miller, CEO and co-founder of Engagio, shared with our very own Susan Misukanis during a recent Break Free B2B interview. And, while Jon threw around analogies like a doting owner tossing a frisbee for his dog in the backyard, he also provided deep insights based on his impressive experience in marketing which also includes being a co-founder of Marketo.

According to Jon, all signs point to a dramatic shift in B2B marketing tides.

“Marketers need to break free over the next 10 years by radically changing how they work with sales, stopping the baton handoff model and really moving to a much more of an integrated team,” he said.

[bctt tweet=”Marketers need to break free over the next 10 years by radically changing how they work with sales, stopping the baton handoff model and really moving to a much more of an integrated team. @jonmiller #BreakFreeB2B #ABM” username=”toprank”]

Jon believes that ABM is essential for the future health of B2B marketing. But while he’s all in on ABM—it’s his business after all—he admits that there are some significant obstacles to perfect implementation including cross-department communication and consistent data. “It’s really hard to be aligned when you’re looking at different information,” he said. 

The excellent news is that Jon had plenty of suggestions to help marketers stay afloat if B2B marketing veers from its current course. So, check out the full interview to learn why B2B marketing is changing, the value of ABM, and how to keep your ship together when things get choppy. 

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Jon Miller

If you’re hunting for specific ABM insights, use the following to jump ahead to specific sections or check out some interview highlights captured in the excerpts below. 

  • 0:36 – Why marketers need an ABM system
  • 1:54 – ABM is a new way to fish
  • 2:47 – Taking proactive measures to land the right fish
  • 3:54 – Resources required to build out your ABM team 
  • 4:32 – How ABM is like a soccer game
  • 7:03 – B2B marketing heading for a shipwreck
  • 8:00 – What’s privacy got to do with it?
  • 9:13 – Old revenue models aren’t sustainable
  • 10:08 – The explosion of digital noise
  • 10:38 – The future of B2B Marketing
  • 12:31 – How an ABM stand-up unsticks opportunities
  • 15:37 – The importance of data in marketing and sales alignment 
  • 17:23 – Using 3rd party intent data, for all intents and purposes
  • 20:56 – Scaling ABM based on deal size
  • 25:17 – Who’s winning at ABM?
  • 27:40 – The future of content marketing 
  • 29:40 – How can marketers break free? 

Susan: Account-based marketing is still arguably in its infancy. What what are the drivers? Why does a marketing professional need an ABM system?

Jon: When I was doing marketing at Marketo, we were responsible for generating as much as 80% of all the pipeline that the sales team was closing … What we had been doing [in demand generation] was fishing with a net … We’d throw these campaigns out there, … we didn’t care which fish we caught; we just cared if we’d catch enough fish. 

When we started to go after the bigger companies—our existing customers and so on— it was something more like fishing with a spear where we would identify who we wanted, and then we’d find ways to … proactively go after them. That was a pretty different model. That model is ultimately what came became known as account-based marketing. 

The drivers of ABM are really capturing that story. It’s the need to go upmarket. It’s the need to find new growth engines. It’s the people realizing that inbound only gets you so far. You don’t get to control who responds. So I think those are the main factors why ABM has become hot.

[bctt tweet=”The drivers of ABM are… the need to go upmarket. It’s the need to find new growth engines. It’s the people realizing that inbound only gets you so far. @jonmiller #BreakFreeB2B #ABM” username=”toprank”]

Susan: You write about B2B marketing heading for a shipwreck? Can you dig into that?

Jon: In the era of marketing automation, I think marketing did a lot to change the way people thought about the marketing department … And that helped shift the perception of marketing to be a real part of the revenue process … but that model that was built, the linear handoff [between marketing and sales]—that’s breaking down.

For example, privacy regulations have really come around. And that means that’s a lot harder for marketing to send emails at the top of the funnel. And at the same time, you’ve seen the rise of tools like Outreach and Salesloft.

So that’s a big change in the role of marketing. You don’t get to just be the email people at the top of the funnel anymore, because that’s going away. You’re going to have to shift and adjust where you spend your time and energy. 

And another big change on top of all that is the rise of recurring revenue models … the vast majority of revenue that companies create today happens after that initial sale. And yet, most marketing departments are still focused on generating new business … there needs to be an adjustment about how the marketing department thinks about what their job is.

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 #BreakFreeB2B #ABM” username=”toprank”]

You put all that together, and I think we’re going to see a very different role for B2B marketing departments in the next 10 years. 

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few more interviews to provide inspiration to your marketing efforts. 

The post Break Free B2B Series: Jon Miller on How ABM Can Help Marketers Keep Their ‘Ship’ Together appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

5 Marketing Podcasts To Strengthen Your B2B Efforts

Red rivets in steel beams image.

Red rivets in steel beams image.

Podcasts are a fantastic way to find new takes and tactics for your B2B marketing. They’re also great for picking up new marketing ideas and getting fresh perspectives you might not otherwise find.

We’ve put together a list of five podcasts that offer marketing insight from a wide array of industry innovators — who share their own stories along with tactics and advice to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

From exploring the B2B content marketing trends that will grow in 2020 to first-person stories of life’s professional and personal adventures, the hosts and guests on these five podcasts have a great deal to share.

Here is our random-order list of five podcasts to help strengthen your B2B marketing efforts in 2020 and beyond.

#1 – HBR IdeaCast by Harvard Business Review

HBR IdeaCast

Summary: Each week the Harvard Business Review’s podcast HBR IdeaCast explores expansive topics affecting digital marketers at all levels, featuring some of the world’s most successful business-people.

  • Hosts: Alison Beard and Curt Nickisch
  • Recent Topics on Tap: To Truly Delight Customers — You Need Aesthetic Intelligence, Melinda Gates on Fighting for Gender Equality, How Companies Like Google and Alibaba Respond to Fast-Moving Markets
  • Recent Guests: Melinda Gates, Scott Young, Sari Wilde
  • Episode Length: 20 – 45 minutes

#2 – The Science of Social Media by Buffer

The Science Of Social Media

Summary: Social scheduling platform Buffer hosts a marketing-related podcast called The Science of Social Media, and with a listening audience of more than 27,000, each week’s episode looks at a variety of social media-related topics from a diverse section of marketers and business professionals. Buffer also hosts the fine Breaking Brand podcast.

  • Hosts: Heather-Mae Pusztai and Dave Chapman
  • Recent Topics on Tap: Why social commerce will rule social media in 2020, The Complete Actionable Guide to Marketing Personas, A Crash Course in Building Custom Audiences for Your Social Media Ads
  • Recent Guests: Mari Smith, Matt Navarra
  • Episode Length: 12-20 minutes

#3 – Marketing Scoop by SEMrush

Marketing Scoop

Summary: SEMrush’s Marketing Scoop podcast looks at digital marketing news and offers a cadre of guests sharing knowledge about a variety of marketing topics ranging from search and email to customer relationships and marketing research.

  • Hosts: David Bain and Judith Lewis
  • Recent Topics on Tap: How do you recover from a Google Penalty?, What Works Best for Email Marketing Now?, What is the ROI of optimizing your local search listings?
  • Recent Guests: Duane Forrester, Chad White, Colin Gray
  • Episode Length: 20 – 40 minutes

#4 – Mixergy

Mixergy

Summary: The Mixery podcast features top leaders from businesses including Google, LinkedIn, Pixar and others, and offers a variety of inspiring ideas and stories on marketing and more.

  • Hosts: Andrew Warner
  • Recent Topics on Tap: Case Study: A virtual assistant company with a niche, How do you create company culture in an international business?, The $8 billion dollar software you’ve never heard of
  • Recent Guests: Craig Walker of Google Voice, Ryan Smith of Qualtrics, Ahti Heinla of Skype
  • Episode Length: 60+ minutes

#5 – The Digital Analytics Power Hour

Digital Analytics Power Hour

Summary: The Digital Analytics Power Hour podcast takes an informal look at the analytics side of digital marketing, featuring a strong lineup of industry guests sharing their latest insights and stories.

  • Hosts: Michael Helbling, Tim Wilson, and Jim Cain
  • Recent Topics on Tap: Neuroscience, the Customer Experience, and the Data Therein, Is Multitouch Marketing Attribution Dead?, When the Data Contradicts Conventional Wisdom
  • Recent Guests: Priscilla Cheung, Diana Lucaci, Yali Sassoon
  • Episode Length: 45 minute to over an hour

Bonus Podcast – 3M Science Champions

3M Science Champions Screenshot Image

As a bonus podcast that shows how B2B brands can benefit from incorporating podcasts into their efforts, check out our client 3M’s Science Champions podcast.

It has featured a variety of industry experts including Professor Stephen Curry, Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London, Dr. Suze Kundu, Materials Chemist and Science Presenter, Chris Gammell, Principal, Analog Life, LLC, and Matt Hartings, Associate Professor of Chemistry at American University.

Expand Your Own B2B Marketing Podcasting in 2020

With the insights you’ll gain by listening to the podcasts we’ve looked at from The Science of Social Media, Marketing Scoop, HBR IdeaCast, Mixergy, and The Digital Analytics Power Hour, your year ahead in 2020 can be filled with new inspiration and plenty of innovative B2B marketing ideas.

Looking for even more marketing podcasts? We’ve got you covered, with “20 Podcasts To Elevate Your B2B Marketing” and “10 More Marketing Podcasts To Boost Your Business.”

As B2B marketers, you’ll also find helpful insight about creating and marketing your own podcasts in the following five TopRank Marketing articles:

The post 5 Marketing Podcasts To Strengthen Your B2B Efforts appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Red rivets in steel beams image.

Red rivets in steel beams image.

Podcasts are a fantastic way to find new takes and tactics for your B2B marketing. They’re also great for picking up new marketing ideas and getting fresh perspectives you might not otherwise find.

We’ve put together a list of five podcasts that offer marketing insight from a wide array of industry innovators — who share their own stories along with tactics and advice to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

From exploring the B2B content marketing trends that will grow in 2020 to first-person stories of life’s professional and personal adventures, the hosts and guests on these five podcasts have a great deal to share.

Here is our random-order list of five podcasts to help strengthen your B2B marketing efforts in 2020 and beyond.

#1 – HBR IdeaCast by Harvard Business Review

HBR IdeaCast

Summary: Each week the Harvard Business Review’s podcast HBR IdeaCast explores expansive topics affecting digital marketers at all levels, featuring some of the world’s most successful business-people.

  • Hosts: Alison Beard and Curt Nickisch
  • Recent Topics on Tap: To Truly Delight Customers — You Need Aesthetic Intelligence, Melinda Gates on Fighting for Gender Equality, How Companies Like Google and Alibaba Respond to Fast-Moving Markets
  • Recent Guests: Melinda Gates, Scott Young, Sari Wilde
  • Episode Length: 20 – 45 minutes

#2 – The Science of Social Media by Buffer

The Science Of Social Media

Summary: Social scheduling platform Buffer hosts a marketing-related podcast called The Science of Social Media, and with a listening audience of more than 27,000, each week’s episode looks at a variety of social media-related topics from a diverse section of marketers and business professionals. Buffer also hosts the fine Breaking Brand podcast.

  • Hosts: Heather-Mae Pusztai and Dave Chapman
  • Recent Topics on Tap: Why social commerce will rule social media in 2020, The Complete Actionable Guide to Marketing Personas, A Crash Course in Building Custom Audiences for Your Social Media Ads
  • Recent Guests: Mari Smith, Matt Navarra
  • Episode Length: 12-20 minutes

#3 – Marketing Scoop by SEMrush

Marketing Scoop

Summary: SEMrush’s Marketing Scoop podcast looks at digital marketing news and offers a cadre of guests sharing knowledge about a variety of marketing topics ranging from search and email to customer relationships and marketing research.

  • Hosts: David Bain and Judith Lewis
  • Recent Topics on Tap: How do you recover from a Google Penalty?, What Works Best for Email Marketing Now?, What is the ROI of optimizing your local search listings?
  • Recent Guests: Duane Forrester, Chad White, Colin Gray
  • Episode Length: 20 – 40 minutes

#4 – Mixergy

Mixergy

Summary: The Mixery podcast features top leaders from businesses including Google, LinkedIn, Pixar and others, and offers a variety of inspiring ideas and stories on marketing and more.

  • Hosts: Andrew Warner
  • Recent Topics on Tap: Case Study: A virtual assistant company with a niche, How do you create company culture in an international business?, The $8 billion dollar software you’ve never heard of
  • Recent Guests: Craig Walker of Google Voice, Ryan Smith of Qualtrics, Ahti Heinla of Skype
  • Episode Length: 60+ minutes

#5 – The Digital Analytics Power Hour

Digital Analytics Power Hour

Summary: The Digital Analytics Power Hour podcast takes an informal look at the analytics side of digital marketing, featuring a strong lineup of industry guests sharing their latest insights and stories.

  • Hosts: Michael Helbling, Tim Wilson, and Jim Cain
  • Recent Topics on Tap: Neuroscience, the Customer Experience, and the Data Therein, Is Multitouch Marketing Attribution Dead?, When the Data Contradicts Conventional Wisdom
  • Recent Guests: Priscilla Cheung, Diana Lucaci, Yali Sassoon
  • Episode Length: 45 minute to over an hour

Bonus Podcast – 3M Science Champions

3M Science Champions Screenshot Image

As a bonus podcast that shows how B2B brands can benefit from incorporating podcasts into their efforts, check out our client 3M’s Science Champions podcast.

It has featured a variety of industry experts including Professor Stephen Curry, Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London, Dr. Suze Kundu, Materials Chemist and Science Presenter, Chris Gammell, Principal, Analog Life, LLC, and Matt Hartings, Associate Professor of Chemistry at American University.

Expand Your Own B2B Marketing Podcasting in 2020

With the insights you’ll gain by listening to the podcasts we’ve looked at from The Science of Social Media, Marketing Scoop, HBR IdeaCast, Mixergy, and The Digital Analytics Power Hour, your year ahead in 2020 can be filled with new inspiration and plenty of innovative B2B marketing ideas.

Looking for even more marketing podcasts? We’ve got you covered, with “20 Podcasts To Elevate Your B2B Marketing” and “10 More Marketing Podcasts To Boost Your Business.”

As B2B marketers, you’ll also find helpful insight about creating and marketing your own podcasts in the following five TopRank Marketing articles:

The post 5 Marketing Podcasts To Strengthen Your B2B Efforts appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Series: John Joyce on Taking B2B Content Marketing Back 2 Basics

One of the central tenets of best-answer content is comprehensiveness. Your content needs to fully and artfully answer your buyers’ most burning questions. And as John Joyce and his team at Brennan Industries remind us, sometimes that requires going back to the basics.

It can be all too easy for B2B marketers and brands to get caught up in new trends, industry lingo, and the next big lofty concept in their niche. We grow conversant in these matters on a day-to-day basis. But to assume the same is true for all — or even a majority of — our audience is a mistake, and potentially a costly one.

In the latest entry of our Break Free B2B interview series, John shares how a content strategy rooted in educational content helped yield an 800% increase in leads for his company. 

In detailing his experiences as Global Marketing Director for Brennan, John explains how he was surprised to find that the most basic information was in highest demand among his audience.

“At first glance, when someone from the sales field brought this to me as, there’s a need for this, I thought: you can’t possibly be serious, this is like the most basic — how do people not know this in our industry?” he shares. “But that’s exactly what people want. That’s the No. 1 thing that people want on our website. That super basic information.”

[bctt tweet=”What I’ve found it is people don’t have time to just know everything about everything. So they really want you to make it easy and just tell them what they need to know. — @mrjohnjoyce #BreakFreeB2B #Back2Basics” username=”toprank”]

Learn all about the content marketing strategy that drove big results and helped Brennan Industries break free in the industrial B2B marketing space in John’s candid interview with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with John Joyce

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUrPwsyfUhA]

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.

  • 0:30 – How John’s team achieved an 800% increase in leads with content
  • 1:30 – Educational content in the industrial space
  • 4:45 – Gated vs. ungated content
  • 6:30 – How Brennan attracts a targeted audience
  • 7:30 – Dealing with long and complicated sales cycles
  • 9:45 – How trust factors in
  • 12:15 – Is content generally getting less valuable in B2B?
  • 15:00 – Nurturing through the buying journey
  • 18:30 – John’s vision for the next three years
  • 21:15 – How can industrial B2B marketers break free?

Susan: Tell us about your gating strategy.

John: When we first started, you know, the first thing we produced was white papers and everything was gated, but we had the gate basically set really low, you just needed to put your email address in. And over time, what we’ve done is, as we’ve grown that library of content, we started taking off the first items, or maybe the most responsive items, and making ungated versions of that. So we’ll have a pillar page, for instance, on fitting identification, which is directly taken from our fitting identification guide, which is still a gated piece of content. So what we’re doing is having ungated content with a premium content upgrade of – you can also get this guide, which we supply in actual physical form. One of the things that’s been super performant for us is crossing the barrier into the real world. So instead of just providing things in like a PDF format, we actually print the guide and mail it to people for free if they fill out the form. 

[bctt tweet=”What we’re doing is having ungated content with a premium content upgrade… Instead of just providing things in a PDF format, we actually print the guide and mail it to people for free. — @mrjohnjoyce #BreakFreeB2B #B2BContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Susan: Trust is really an important element in everything you’re communicating to your market, correct?

John: Yeah, for sure. So you’re trying to build rapport with your customer base, just like in any marketing situation. You’re trying to simulate the same level of rapport that you and I would have sitting here if I was trying to sell something to you or you were trying to sell it to me, but you’re trying to build that rapport organizationally. Between everybody in the organizations and the different silos and roles and whatever. And a lot of that is done through marketing, because that’s the first contact point that people have with your organization. So we try to do mainly two things: build trust and also provide value. Since we have a product that’s more of a commodity product, okay, it’s a very simple product. And you can get cheap versions of it from Korea or China or wherever it wherever you want, we have to provide a value add. And we try to do that as a company. So as a brand, even down to the marketing, we’re constantly trying to add value, and that’s why we do the content marketing and all – it’s to start communicating and providing value. 

So here’s value: educational information, something you didn’t know, some information you’re looking for. 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, they’re going to send me a physical guide, you know … any little way, that’s another reason why we do things in the real world. It’s, it’s a physical value. People are used to the digital aspect of everything.

[bctt tweet=”As a brand, even down to the marketing, we’re constantly trying to add value, and that’s why we do the content marketing and all – it’s to start communicating and providing value. — @mrjohnjoyce #BreakFreeB2B #B2BContentMarketing ” username=”toprank”]

Susan: What is your vision for the next three years as you move forward?

John: We’re making an educational channel where we’re putting a lot more of this educational content in more forums, in one place that’s completely ungated. So my vision is lots and lots more ungated content. We’re going to continue creating gated content and then ungate old content, as as we move forward, creating more gated content, so that there’s just more free content because, again, it provides value, right? So you come to the website, you get immediate value, you don’t even have to subscribe to an email or anything. So part of my strategy is basically more free content. Okay, and the other part of it would be more granular content – so granular meaning like specific to your industry, specific to your role in your industry.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

The post Break Free B2B Series: John Joyce on Taking B2B Content Marketing Back 2 Basics appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

One of the central tenets of best-answer content is comprehensiveness. Your content needs to fully and artfully answer your buyers’ most burning questions. And as John Joyce and his team at Brennan Industries remind us, sometimes that requires going back to the basics.

It can be all too easy for B2B marketers and brands to get caught up in new trends, industry lingo, and the next big lofty concept in their niche. We grow conversant in these matters on a day-to-day basis. But to assume the same is true for all — or even a majority of — our audience is a mistake, and potentially a costly one.

In the latest entry of our Break Free B2B interview series, John shares how a content strategy rooted in educational content helped yield an 800% increase in leads for his company. 

In detailing his experiences as Global Marketing Director for Brennan, John explains how he was surprised to find that the most basic information was in highest demand among his audience.

“At first glance, when someone from the sales field brought this to me as, there’s a need for this, I thought: you can’t possibly be serious, this is like the most basic — how do people not know this in our industry?” he shares. “But that’s exactly what people want. That’s the No. 1 thing that people want on our website. That super basic information.”

[bctt tweet=”What I’ve found it is people don’t have time to just know everything about everything. So they really want you to make it easy and just tell them what they need to know. — @mrjohnjoyce #BreakFreeB2B #Back2Basics” username=”toprank”]

Learn all about the content marketing strategy that drove big results and helped Brennan Industries break free in the industrial B2B marketing space in John’s candid interview with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with John Joyce

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.

  • 0:30 – How John’s team achieved an 800% increase in leads with content
  • 1:30 – Educational content in the industrial space
  • 4:45 – Gated vs. ungated content
  • 6:30 – How Brennan attracts a targeted audience
  • 7:30 – Dealing with long and complicated sales cycles
  • 9:45 – How trust factors in
  • 12:15 – Is content generally getting less valuable in B2B?
  • 15:00 – Nurturing through the buying journey
  • 18:30 – John’s vision for the next three years
  • 21:15 – How can industrial B2B marketers break free?

Susan: Tell us about your gating strategy.

John: When we first started, you know, the first thing we produced was white papers and everything was gated, but we had the gate basically set really low, you just needed to put your email address in. And over time, what we’ve done is, as we’ve grown that library of content, we started taking off the first items, or maybe the most responsive items, and making ungated versions of that. So we’ll have a pillar page, for instance, on fitting identification, which is directly taken from our fitting identification guide, which is still a gated piece of content. So what we’re doing is having ungated content with a premium content upgrade of – you can also get this guide, which we supply in actual physical form. One of the things that’s been super performant for us is crossing the barrier into the real world. So instead of just providing things in like a PDF format, we actually print the guide and mail it to people for free if they fill out the form. 

[bctt tweet=”What we’re doing is having ungated content with a premium content upgrade… Instead of just providing things in a PDF format, we actually print the guide and mail it to people for free. — @mrjohnjoyce #BreakFreeB2B #B2BContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Susan: Trust is really an important element in everything you’re communicating to your market, correct?

John: Yeah, for sure. So you’re trying to build rapport with your customer base, just like in any marketing situation. You’re trying to simulate the same level of rapport that you and I would have sitting here if I was trying to sell something to you or you were trying to sell it to me, but you’re trying to build that rapport organizationally. Between everybody in the organizations and the different silos and roles and whatever. And a lot of that is done through marketing, because that’s the first contact point that people have with your organization. So we try to do mainly two things: build trust and also provide value. Since we have a product that’s more of a commodity product, okay, it’s a very simple product. And you can get cheap versions of it from Korea or China or wherever it wherever you want, we have to provide a value add. And we try to do that as a company. So as a brand, even down to the marketing, we’re constantly trying to add value, and that’s why we do the content marketing and all – it’s to start communicating and providing value. 

So here’s value: educational information, something you didn’t know, some information you’re looking for. 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, they’re going to send me a physical guide, you know … any little way, that’s another reason why we do things in the real world. It’s, it’s a physical value. People are used to the digital aspect of everything.

[bctt tweet=”As a brand, even down to the marketing, we’re constantly trying to add value, and that’s why we do the content marketing and all – it’s to start communicating and providing value. — @mrjohnjoyce #BreakFreeB2B #B2BContentMarketing ” username=”toprank”]

Susan: What is your vision for the next three years as you move forward?

John: We’re making an educational channel where we’re putting a lot more of this educational content in more forums, in one place that’s completely ungated. So my vision is lots and lots more ungated content. We’re going to continue creating gated content and then ungate old content, as as we move forward, creating more gated content, so that there’s just more free content because, again, it provides value, right? So you come to the website, you get immediate value, you don’t even have to subscribe to an email or anything. So part of my strategy is basically more free content. Okay, and the other part of it would be more granular content – so granular meaning like specific to your industry, specific to your role in your industry.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

The post Break Free B2B Series: John Joyce on Taking B2B Content Marketing Back 2 Basics appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.