New Benchmarks from Marketo: How Does Your Organization Measure Up?

Digital Marketing Benchmark ReportIf digital marketing were a competitive sport, it would be freestyle swimming. We’re all in our respective lanes, each with different audiences to reach. We all have our own unique set of strategies, and our own budget limitations to work with. We’re all trying to get to our finish line as fast as we can. And we all could benefit from the occasional glance sideways to see what everyone else is doing.

This half-competitive, half-isolated feeling is why marketing benchmarks are so valuable. Benchmarks help us determine if our strategies, investments and results are comparable to our peers. They can reinforce what we’re already doing and provide a road map for the future.

This year, there’s a new player in the benchmark reporting game: The brilliant minds at Marketo. They just released their 2017 Marketing Benchmark Report for North America, and it’s a doozy.

Marketo surveyed over 1,300 marketers, B2B and B2C, to track progress across five different categories.

Here are just a few key takeaways. How does your marketing measure up?

#1: Marketing Organization and Technology

In the 60’s, all you needed for marketing was a drafting table, some guys in suits, and a swimming pool full of martinis. Now marketing is a high-tech venture. At last count, there are nearly 4,000 different martech solutions out there.

How are marketers coping? According to the report, 60% of marketers have six or more technologies in their tech stacks. The top 3% have over 21. Despite the growing size of the stack, 68% of marketers feel the technology in their tech stack integrates well.

It does appear, though, that we need to start thinking more strategically about building out tech stacks. Only 37% say they have a short-term and long-term plan for tech. Nearly as many, 32%, said they had no strategic plan at all. If we want to keep the tech working for us without getting buried by it, we need to use technology strategically.

#2: Implementing Nurture Strategies

Nurturing is the process of building relationships with buyers across multiple channels, guiding them along the buyer’s journey with customized content with a consistent message. According to the report, the vast majority of marketers are running nurture campaigns—80% have campaigns in place.

The biggest challenge for nurturing appears to be content, with 44% citing a difficulty creating enough relevant content. Another content challenge is filling gaps in content. Part of a mature nurturing strategy should be allocating time and resources to finding and filling gaps in your content coverage.

#3: Account-Based Marketing

Strategic account-based marketing (ABM) at scale is a relatively new practice. While businesses have always had a few key accounts they pursued with extra attention and personalized content, new technology makes it easier to personalize and distribute content. There are a few different flavors of ABM, from full personalization aimed at specific accounts and individuals to more generalized efforts aimed at specific segments.

Overall, Marketo reports that 34% of marketers surveyed currently practice ABM. 35% of mid-market businesses have a plan in place, compared to just 29% of enterprise-level businesses.

The top challenge holding back ABM adoption seems to be sales and marketing alignment, with 24% of marketers citing it as a chief concern. To fully reap the benefits of ABM, marketers will have to become more invested in the entire sales cycle, partnering with the sales team through the purchase and beyond.

#4: Social Media Ads

The conversion of social media from an organic to a paid strategy has been rocky for many marketers. Many of us are still holding out hope that we can reach our Facebook audience without investing in ads. After all, they opted in to follow your page, right? Why shouldn’t they see your messages?

Sadly, social media is largely pay-to-play now, and marketers are lagging a bit in adjusting to the new scheme. Only 26% of respondents said they spend more than 25% of their budget on social media. But that number is bound to increase as social media sites offer more options and more robust measurement and targeting tools.

#5: Measurement

One of the biggest challenges of modern marketing is proving ROI. As channels proliferate and the buyer’s journey gets ever more tangled, proper attribution gets tricky.

That explains why less than half of the marketers surveyed said they were currently measuring revenue (44%), as opposed to 55% measuring “opportunities created.” ROI ranked #7 on the list of marketers’ priorities, trailing CTR and number of clicks.

To reach marketing maturity, we have to solve the ROI conundrum—we need to know exactly how much our efforts are worth to the company and be ready to prove it.

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

If you have had your head in the water for a while, it’s worth taking a breath and having a look at your colleagues in the pool. The stats in this article are a good start, but they’re just a small sampling of what you’ll find in the full report.

Check out the full 2017 Marketing Benchmark Report from Marketo.

Learn how TopRank Marketing can help track and improve your results with analytics & conversion optimization services.

The post New Benchmarks from Marketo: How Does Your Organization Measure Up? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing Benchmark ReportIf digital marketing were a competitive sport, it would be freestyle swimming. We’re all in our respective lanes, each with different audiences to reach. We all have our own unique set of strategies, and our own budget limitations to work with. We’re all trying to get to our finish line as fast as we can. And we all could benefit from the occasional glance sideways to see what everyone else is doing.

This half-competitive, half-isolated feeling is why marketing benchmarks are so valuable. Benchmarks help us determine if our strategies, investments and results are comparable to our peers. They can reinforce what we’re already doing and provide a road map for the future.

This year, there’s a new player in the benchmark reporting game: The brilliant minds at Marketo. They just released their 2017 Marketing Benchmark Report for North America, and it’s a doozy.

Marketo surveyed over 1,300 marketers, B2B and B2C, to track progress across five different categories.

Here are just a few key takeaways. How does your marketing measure up?

#1: Marketing Organization and Technology

In the 60’s, all you needed for marketing was a drafting table, some guys in suits, and a swimming pool full of martinis. Now marketing is a high-tech venture. At last count, there are nearly 4,000 different martech solutions out there.

How are marketers coping? According to the report, 60% of marketers have six or more technologies in their tech stacks. The top 3% have over 21. Despite the growing size of the stack, 68% of marketers feel the technology in their tech stack integrates well.

It does appear, though, that we need to start thinking more strategically about building out tech stacks. Only 37% say they have a short-term and long-term plan for tech. Nearly as many, 32%, said they had no strategic plan at all. If we want to keep the tech working for us without getting buried by it, we need to use technology strategically.

#2: Implementing Nurture Strategies

Nurturing is the process of building relationships with buyers across multiple channels, guiding them along the buyer’s journey with customized content with a consistent message. According to the report, the vast majority of marketers are running nurture campaigns—80% have campaigns in place.

The biggest challenge for nurturing appears to be content, with 44% citing a difficulty creating enough relevant content. Another content challenge is filling gaps in content. Part of a mature nurturing strategy should be allocating time and resources to finding and filling gaps in your content coverage.

#3: Account-Based Marketing

Strategic account-based marketing (ABM) at scale is a relatively new practice. While businesses have always had a few key accounts they pursued with extra attention and personalized content, new technology makes it easier to personalize and distribute content. There are a few different flavors of ABM, from full personalization aimed at specific accounts and individuals to more generalized efforts aimed at specific segments.

Overall, Marketo reports that 34% of marketers surveyed currently practice ABM. 35% of mid-market businesses have a plan in place, compared to just 29% of enterprise-level businesses.

The top challenge holding back ABM adoption seems to be sales and marketing alignment, with 24% of marketers citing it as a chief concern. To fully reap the benefits of ABM, marketers will have to become more invested in the entire sales cycle, partnering with the sales team through the purchase and beyond.

#4: Social Media Ads

The conversion of social media from an organic to a paid strategy has been rocky for many marketers. Many of us are still holding out hope that we can reach our Facebook audience without investing in ads. After all, they opted in to follow your page, right? Why shouldn’t they see your messages?

Sadly, social media is largely pay-to-play now, and marketers are lagging a bit in adjusting to the new scheme. Only 26% of respondents said they spend more than 25% of their budget on social media. But that number is bound to increase as social media sites offer more options and more robust measurement and targeting tools.

#5: Measurement

One of the biggest challenges of modern marketing is proving ROI. As channels proliferate and the buyer’s journey gets ever more tangled, proper attribution gets tricky.

That explains why less than half of the marketers surveyed said they were currently measuring revenue (44%), as opposed to 55% measuring “opportunities created.” ROI ranked #7 on the list of marketers’ priorities, trailing CTR and number of clicks.

To reach marketing maturity, we have to solve the ROI conundrum—we need to know exactly how much our efforts are worth to the company and be ready to prove it.

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

If you have had your head in the water for a while, it’s worth taking a breath and having a look at your colleagues in the pool. The stats in this article are a good start, but they’re just a small sampling of what you’ll find in the full report.

Check out the full 2017 Marketing Benchmark Report from Marketo.

Learn how TopRank Marketing can help track and improve your results with analytics & conversion optimization services.

The post New Benchmarks from Marketo: How Does Your Organization Measure Up? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Summit Phoenix – Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing

influencer marketing

Let’s just get this first bit out there: Later this month I will be the closing keynote at a conference where Beverly Jackson from MGM is the opening keynote. BAM! Seriously, Beverly is the epitome of “supercharged” and is a can’t miss speaker.

On top of that, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will be keynoting as well.

I feel pretty lucky. In fact, I feel supercharged! Maybe after reading this post, you will too.

Digital Summit Phoenix

Of course I’m talking about Digital Summit Phoenix, February 22-23. This is my first time speaking at Digital Summit and I’m really looking forward to it for a few reasons:

There’s a pretty impressive roster of speakers and expertise that will be presenting including Carlos Gil, Mathew Sweezey, Amanda Nelson and Oli Gardner plus a few faces from my SEO days that I have not seen in a while including Michael King, Janet Driscoll Miller and Jim Boykin.

Did I mention the event will be in Phoenix during February while it’s still a proper Winter in Minnesota?

Big brands are in the house too, with speakers from SAP, GoDaddy, Salesforce, Facebook, Google, Forrester, Best Buy, BMC, IBM and AOL. And you can’t have a digital marketing conference without someone from The Onion and the CIA as well, right?

Topics include: Digital Strategy, Content Marketing, Storytelling, Digital Creativity, SEO, Email Marketing, Video and Livestreaming, Social Selling, Landing Pages, Marketing Analytics and Measurement, SnapChat, Market Intelligence, Customer Centricity, Marketing to Millennials, and of course, Influencer Marketing.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s 75 degrees in Phoenix right now?

Enough with the influential speakers and topics, what else is going on at this conference? Plenty, including fresh digital marketing content to kick off 2017, networking opportunities with experts and a mix of attendees trying to figure this digital thing out just like you are, I’m pretty sure an open bar, great food and a special meet-up with Steve Wozniak.

Lee Odden

There is one other thing of course and that’s me. I will be giving a new closing keynote for 40 minutes on the latest trends, best practices, tools and examples for integrating influencers with content marketing. In fact here’s the full description:

Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing 
Content is both king and kingdom in the marketing world but what good is great content if no one sees it? Confronted by information overload, distrust in advertising and the growth of ad blocking, successful companies are adding an essential ingredient to their content marketing mix: influencers. By co-creating content with trusted experts that have active networks, brands increase both quality and quantity of credible content that is trusted by customers and stands out from the competition. This presentation will outline a framework, best practices, tools and examples for integrating influencers with content marketing that will help marketers attract, engage and convert more customers.

While working with influencers isn’t all that new, the way successful companies do it has changed and the topic is blowing up!

At Digital Summit I am excited to share advice that is the result of our team having provided influencer content consulting for organizations as big as three different Fortune 50 companies and as small as an online store for Pandora at the Mall of America.

Influencer 2.0 Cover

New influencer marketing research! The many influencer content engagements and ongoing relationships that we’ve developed is a great backdrop for the new research we just published with our friends at Influencer Relationship Platform, Traackr, with analysis by Brian Solis of Altimeter, “Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing“. I will be sharing trends and key data points from that research along with stories of influencer marketing failure (I mean lessons learned) and success.

The Influence 2.0 research report is very telling on the current state of affairs with influencer marketing and where things are moving. This is important for companies still trying to decide whether working with influencers makes sense as well as companies that are not getting the results they were expecting.  For example:

Strategy / Budget Disconnect:
71% of enterprise marketers view their influencer marketing as strategic or highly strategic and yet, only 24% of marketers are running ongoing influencer programs with just 10% of overall marketing budgets.

B2B vs. B2C:
31% of B2C marketers are experimenting with influencer marketing and 48% run ongoing programs. This is in contrast to B2B where 49% of marketers are experimenting and only 11% run ongoing influencer programs.

Future of Influence:
57% of marketers say influencer marketing will be integrated in all marketing activities in the next 3 years compared to only 5% claiming full integration today. That’s a lot of optimism for influence beyond adding celebrity endorsements and famous people quotes to brand content.

For entertainment and what not to do, I’ll share several of the trials and tribulations experienced with short term, disconnected efforts towards influencer engagement. For the success stories, I’ll talk about how a small business recovered from 70% ecommerce losses within 4 months by leveraging influencer content. I’ll also share a story of a very large brand that was able to use content collaboration projects and campaigns to evolve into an active influencer community.

Overall, I think it’s going to be an excellent event and I hope to see you there!

Agenda and registration info:
Digital Summit Phoenix
#DSPHX
February 22-23, 2017


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Digital Summit Phoenix – Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Digital Summit Phoenix – Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

influencer marketing

Let’s just get this first bit out there: Later this month I will be the closing keynote at a conference where Beverly Jackson from MGM is the opening keynote. BAM! Seriously, Beverly is the epitome of “supercharged” and is a can’t miss speaker.

On top of that, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will be keynoting as well.

I feel pretty lucky. In fact, I feel supercharged! Maybe after reading this post, you will too.

Digital Summit Phoenix

Of course I’m talking about Digital Summit Phoenix, February 22-23. This is my first time speaking at Digital Summit and I’m really looking forward to it for a few reasons:

There’s a pretty impressive roster of speakers and expertise that will be presenting including Carlos Gil, Mathew Sweezey, Amanda Nelson and Oli Gardner plus a few faces from my SEO days that I have not seen in a while including Michael King, Janet Driscoll Miller and Jim Boykin.

Did I mention the event will be in Phoenix during February while it’s still a proper Winter in Minnesota?

Big brands are in the house too, with speakers from SAP, GoDaddy, Salesforce, Facebook, Google, Forrester, Best Buy, BMC, IBM and AOL. And you can’t have a digital marketing conference without someone from The Onion and the CIA as well, right?

Topics include: Digital Strategy, Content Marketing, Storytelling, Digital Creativity, SEO, Email Marketing, Video and Livestreaming, Social Selling, Landing Pages, Marketing Analytics and Measurement, SnapChat, Market Intelligence, Customer Centricity, Marketing to Millennials, and of course, Influencer Marketing.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s 75 degrees in Phoenix right now?

Enough with the influential speakers and topics, what else is going on at this conference? Plenty, including fresh digital marketing content to kick off 2017, networking opportunities with experts and a mix of attendees trying to figure this digital thing out just like you are, I’m pretty sure an open bar, great food and a special meet-up with Steve Wozniak.

Lee Odden

There is one other thing of course and that’s me. I will be giving a new closing keynote for 40 minutes on the latest trends, best practices, tools and examples for integrating influencers with content marketing. In fact here’s the full description:

Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing 
Content is both king and kingdom in the marketing world but what good is great content if no one sees it? Confronted by information overload, distrust in advertising and the growth of ad blocking, successful companies are adding an essential ingredient to their content marketing mix: influencers. By co-creating content with trusted experts that have active networks, brands increase both quality and quantity of credible content that is trusted by customers and stands out from the competition. This presentation will outline a framework, best practices, tools and examples for integrating influencers with content marketing that will help marketers attract, engage and convert more customers.

While working with influencers isn’t all that new, the way successful companies do it has changed and the topic is blowing up!

At Digital Summit I am excited to share advice that is the result of our team having provided influencer content consulting for organizations as big as three different Fortune 50 companies and as small as an online store for Pandora at the Mall of America.

Influencer 2.0 Cover

New influencer marketing research! The many influencer content engagements and ongoing relationships that we’ve developed is a great backdrop for the new research we just published with our friends at Influencer Relationship Platform, Traackr, with analysis by Brian Solis of Altimeter, “Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing“. I will be sharing trends and key data points from that research along with stories of influencer marketing failure (I mean lessons learned) and success.

The Influence 2.0 research report is very telling on the current state of affairs with influencer marketing and where things are moving. This is important for companies still trying to decide whether working with influencers makes sense as well as companies that are not getting the results they were expecting.  For example:

Strategy / Budget Disconnect:
71% of enterprise marketers view their influencer marketing as strategic or highly strategic and yet, only 24% of marketers are running ongoing influencer programs with just 10% of overall marketing budgets.

B2B vs. B2C:
31% of B2C marketers are experimenting with influencer marketing and 48% run ongoing programs. This is in contrast to B2B where 49% of marketers are experimenting and only 11% run ongoing influencer programs.

Future of Influence:
57% of marketers say influencer marketing will be integrated in all marketing activities in the next 3 years compared to only 5% claiming full integration today. That’s a lot of optimism for influence beyond adding celebrity endorsements and famous people quotes to brand content.

For entertainment and what not to do, I’ll share several of the trials and tribulations experienced with short term, disconnected efforts towards influencer engagement. For the success stories, I’ll talk about how a small business recovered from 70% ecommerce losses within 4 months by leveraging influencer content. I’ll also share a story of a very large brand that was able to use content collaboration projects and campaigns to evolve into an active influencer community.

Overall, I think it’s going to be an excellent event and I hope to see you there!

Agenda and registration info:
Digital Summit Phoenix
#DSPHX
February 22-23, 2017


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Digital Summit Phoenix – Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Digital Summit Phoenix – Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Online Marketing News: Visual Content Trends, Snapchat QR Codes & LinkedIn Buzzwords

10 Trends Driving Visual Content Marketing in 2017 (Infographic)
AdWeek reports: “53 percent of survey participants said that between 91 and 100 percent of their published content contained visual material, and more than 90 percent are using visual content in at least one-half of their posts.” AdWeek

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbUkpj5xGbM]

Snapchat QR Codes Can Now Deep Link to Websites
Yes, you read that right — QR codes are back! Snapchat is now allowing users to send ‘Snapcodes’ to other users, and outside of the Snapchat network, that lead to whichever web page they’d like. With Instagram overtaking some of Snapchat’s user base with their live stories, this is definitely a level up move for the media platform. Snapchat

LinkedIn Reveals the 10 Most Overused Marketing Buzzwords on CVs and Profiles
Are you a guru? Maybe a Ninja? Strategic leader? You may be guilty of overusing buzzwords in your LinkedIn profile. Recently, the platform revealed the 10 most frequently used buzzwords on the platform, including words like strategic, creative, specialised and passionate. The Drum

New Benchmarks from Marketo: How Does Your Organization Measure Up?
Marketo released their 2017 Marketing Benchmark Report for North America, which was a survey of over 1,300 marketers, B2B and B2C. Key takeaways include that 60% of marketers have six or more technologies in their tech stacks, 80% of marketers have nurture campaigns in place and 34% of marketers surveyed are using account based marketing. TopRank Marketing

Why There’s No Perfect Time to Post on Facebook
Studies have shown us one thing in terms of finding the best time to post on Facebook – there is no best time. The time you should post depends on your audience, your message, whether or not your post is paid or organic and frankly, competition in terms of other available content. Buffer

After Five Years of Fighting, Twitter Makes an Instagram Account
Twitter has stopped fighting that loving feeling with Instagram and created their very own account. The Verge reports: “Twitter quietly started an Instagram account this week, using the photo-sharing service to promote itself as a destination for breaking news and important conversations.” The Verge

Pinterest Adds Search Ads With Keywords For Shopping Campaigns, Partners With Kenshoo
According to MediaPost: “Pinterest is opening up its search advertising services through partnerships with brands that advertise through Kenshoo’s marketing platform. The features are being tested with brands such as Barilla, eBay, Garnier, Target, The Home Depot, and Walgreens.” MediaPost

Google Data Studio Removes 5 Free Reports Limitation
Data-loving marketers rejoice! Google has recently opened up the amount of reports a user can generate within its Data Studio. The library of free reporting templates was released last year in conjunction with Google Analytics 360 Suite. Marketing Land

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. Have something to share? Leave a note in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: Visual Content Trends, Snapchat QR Codes & LinkedIn Buzzwords appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

10 Trends Driving Visual Content Marketing in 2017 (Infographic)
AdWeek reports: “53 percent of survey participants said that between 91 and 100 percent of their published content contained visual material, and more than 90 percent are using visual content in at least one-half of their posts.” AdWeek

Snapchat QR Codes Can Now Deep Link to Websites
Yes, you read that right — QR codes are back! Snapchat is now allowing users to send ‘Snapcodes’ to other users, and outside of the Snapchat network, that lead to whichever web page they’d like. With Instagram overtaking some of Snapchat’s user base with their live stories, this is definitely a level up move for the media platform. Snapchat

LinkedIn Reveals the 10 Most Overused Marketing Buzzwords on CVs and Profiles
Are you a guru? Maybe a Ninja? Strategic leader? You may be guilty of overusing buzzwords in your LinkedIn profile. Recently, the platform revealed the 10 most frequently used buzzwords on the platform, including words like strategic, creative, specialised and passionate. The Drum

New Benchmarks from Marketo: How Does Your Organization Measure Up?
Marketo released their 2017 Marketing Benchmark Report for North America, which was a survey of over 1,300 marketers, B2B and B2C. Key takeaways include that 60% of marketers have six or more technologies in their tech stacks, 80% of marketers have nurture campaigns in place and 34% of marketers surveyed are using account based marketing. TopRank Marketing

Why There’s No Perfect Time to Post on Facebook
Studies have shown us one thing in terms of finding the best time to post on Facebook – there is no best time. The time you should post depends on your audience, your message, whether or not your post is paid or organic and frankly, competition in terms of other available content. Buffer

After Five Years of Fighting, Twitter Makes an Instagram Account
Twitter has stopped fighting that loving feeling with Instagram and created their very own account. The Verge reports: “Twitter quietly started an Instagram account this week, using the photo-sharing service to promote itself as a destination for breaking news and important conversations.” The Verge

Pinterest Adds Search Ads With Keywords For Shopping Campaigns, Partners With Kenshoo
According to MediaPost: “Pinterest is opening up its search advertising services through partnerships with brands that advertise through Kenshoo’s marketing platform. The features are being tested with brands such as Barilla, eBay, Garnier, Target, The Home Depot, and Walgreens.” MediaPost

Google Data Studio Removes 5 Free Reports Limitation
Data-loving marketers rejoice! Google has recently opened up the amount of reports a user can generate within its Data Studio. The library of free reporting templates was released last year in conjunction with Google Analytics 360 Suite. Marketing Land

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. Have something to share? Leave a note in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: Visual Content Trends, Snapchat QR Codes & LinkedIn Buzzwords appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Social Media Touchdown: How 20 Smart Brands Won the Biggest Content Game of the Year

Yesterday was a huge day for sports fans and brands across the nation. Diehard football fans wait all year for this special game and hope that their team (or at least a team they support) hits the turf for the big game.

Let me preface my next statement by saying I mean absolutely no offense to the amazing athletes that played their hearts out yesterday. But if you’re like me, the day is really about the cheesy/gooey/delicious food, the Puppy Bowl and of course, the ads.

On this day, brands hope that their creative and entertaining ads will reach an engaged and attentive audience as they’re glued to the television. In fact, the average commercial costs approximately $5 Million for a mere 30 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl. That is some serious cheddar!

While some companies choose to invest in airtime, others choose to spend efforts on another channel with an engaged audience, social media. Some great brand creative, an attentive community manager and some budget to boost posts is a great way to catch the attention of consumers glued to a 2nd and 3rd screen.

Below are examples of brands that capitalized on a great opportunity to be social and share some great content during the 2017 Super Bowl.

Heartwarming & Inspired

Each year during the Super Bowl there are a handful of brands whose message gives you all the feels and this year was no exception.

Coca-Cola

Honda

Budweiser

This is the story of our founder, and his pursuit of the American Dream. #ThisBudsForYou

A video posted by Budweiser (@budweiser) on Jan 31, 2017 at 6:08am PST

Clever & Creative

On a day where an enormous amount of social content is being created by brands and consumers alike, these companies stood out by taking a clever and creative approach to their message.

NASA & NFL

Snapchat

PetSmart

Bite Squad

General Mills

Food is the most important part of today. Don’t fumble. Get the recipe, on our blog (link in bio). #biggame #food

A photo posted by General Mills (@generalmills) on Feb 5, 2017 at 12:39pm PST

Quick to Respond

Kudos to the content teams, social teams and community managers for the following brands. Events like the Super Bowl create the perfect opportunity to respond quickly.

Buffalo Wild Wings

Grumpy Cat

Febreeze

GNC

Social Contests

Although I didn’t see as many social contests today as I had expected, these two brands garnered a lot of engagement from their various posts promoting live social contests during the Super Bowl.

T-Mobile

Pepsi

Just Plain Entertaining

The brands in this category had some of the most entertaining and funny content during Super Bowl Sunday.

Skittles

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djEl5iRol4E]

Bai

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Di1kqa6fiE]

Doritos

Buick

Frozen

turbotax

BONUS: Teams with Low Rankings

The opening video featuring Rob Riggle and other celebrity guests was probably one of the funniest moments of the Super Bowl. If you didn’t get a chance to see it live, I’ve included the video below.

Create Your Game Winning Social Content

While it’s clear that some of these brands invested big bucks in content for Super Bowl 51, others simply jumped on the opportunity to showcase some clever content. A special thank you to members of the Social Media Masterminds group on Facebook for helping me uncover some great Super Bowl content!

These 20 examples showcase only a fraction of the brands that created and promoted great content during Sunday’s game. Please share your favorites below!


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Social Media Touchdown: How 20 Smart Brands Won the Biggest Content Game of the Year | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Social Media Touchdown: How 20 Smart Brands Won the Biggest Content Game of the Year appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Yesterday was a huge day for sports fans and brands across the nation. Diehard football fans wait all year for this special game and hope that their team (or at least a team they support) hits the turf for the big game.

Let me preface my next statement by saying I mean absolutely no offense to the amazing athletes that played their hearts out yesterday. But if you’re like me, the day is really about the cheesy/gooey/delicious food, the Puppy Bowl and of course, the ads.

On this day, brands hope that their creative and entertaining ads will reach an engaged and attentive audience as they’re glued to the television. In fact, the average commercial costs approximately $5 Million for a mere 30 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl. That is some serious cheddar!

While some companies choose to invest in airtime, others choose to spend efforts on another channel with an engaged audience, social media. Some great brand creative, an attentive community manager and some budget to boost posts is a great way to catch the attention of consumers glued to a 2nd and 3rd screen.

Below are examples of brands that capitalized on a great opportunity to be social and share some great content during the 2017 Super Bowl.

Heartwarming & Inspired

Each year during the Super Bowl there are a handful of brands whose message gives you all the feels and this year was no exception.

Coca-Cola

Honda

Budweiser

This is the story of our founder, and his pursuit of the American Dream. #ThisBudsForYou

A video posted by Budweiser (@budweiser) on Jan 31, 2017 at 6:08am PST

Clever & Creative

On a day where an enormous amount of social content is being created by brands and consumers alike, these companies stood out by taking a clever and creative approach to their message.

NASA & NFL

Snapchat

PetSmart

Bite Squad

General Mills

Food is the most important part of today. Don’t fumble. Get the recipe, on our blog (link in bio). #biggame #food

A photo posted by General Mills (@generalmills) on Feb 5, 2017 at 12:39pm PST

Quick to Respond

Kudos to the content teams, social teams and community managers for the following brands. Events like the Super Bowl create the perfect opportunity to respond quickly.

Buffalo Wild Wings

Grumpy Cat

Febreeze

GNC

Social Contests

Although I didn’t see as many social contests today as I had expected, these two brands garnered a lot of engagement from their various posts promoting live social contests during the Super Bowl.

T-Mobile

Pepsi

Just Plain Entertaining

The brands in this category had some of the most entertaining and funny content during Super Bowl Sunday.

Skittles

Bai

Doritos

Buick

Frozen

turbotax

BONUS: Teams with Low Rankings

The opening video featuring Rob Riggle and other celebrity guests was probably one of the funniest moments of the Super Bowl. If you didn’t get a chance to see it live, I’ve included the video below.

Create Your Game Winning Social Content

While it’s clear that some of these brands invested big bucks in content for Super Bowl 51, others simply jumped on the opportunity to showcase some clever content. A special thank you to members of the Social Media Masterminds group on Facebook for helping me uncover some great Super Bowl content!

These 20 examples showcase only a fraction of the brands that created and promoted great content during Sunday’s game. Please share your favorites below!


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Social Media Touchdown: How 20 Smart Brands Won the Biggest Content Game of the Year | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Social Media Touchdown: How 20 Smart Brands Won the Biggest Content Game of the Year appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

SEO Checklist for Content Marketers: 21 Common Mistakes to Avoid

SEO Checklist to Avoid Mistakes

With so much content being created, published and promoted online every second—as well as consumers becoming increasingly self-directed in their quest for answers—competition to capture your audience’s attention has never been more fierce.

As a result, quality and strategic SEO has probably never been more important for helping you be the best answer whenever and wherever your audience is searching.

But as seasoned marketers know, SEO has gone through a tremendous evolution since its early days of keyword-focused content. With more than 2 trillion searches happening on Google every year, today’s SEO is about finding the perfect balance between user-centric content and convincing search engine crawlers that your content is supreme.

Of course, on the journey to creating the perfect content for both humans and search, you may make some mistakes. But the good news is that may are easily avoidable.

Below we dive into some of the most common SEO mistakes, as well as tips for helping you avoid or remedy them.

#1 – Optimizing content around one keyword.

In the “old days” of SEO, it was common practice to optimize web pages with a specific keyword that you wanted to rank for. Today, that practice not only provides a poor user experience for your audience, but it’s simply ineffective since search engines are becoming increasingly better at determining search intent.

Tip: Simply put: Do not optimize any pages for just one keyword. Instead, think bigger about the need your content can fill and hone in on keyword topics that include a variety of relevant and related search terms.


Think bigger about the need your #content can fill and hone in on keyword topics. @CaitlinMBurgess #SEO
Click To Tweet


#2 – Neglecting dated content.

Let’s face it. You’ve probably created a ton of content in the last couple years that you haven’t touched since it first published. But you could be leaving opportunity on the table if you’re not regularly looking for ways to refresh it and keep it relevant for searchers.

Tip: Dig into your analytics to find your top and worst performing pages and blog posts, paying special attention to evergreen topics. Then conduct some keyword research to discover new opportunities for updating that existing content to continue or improve ranking momentum.

#3 – Forgetting mobile users.

Whether you’re a B2C or B2B brand, much of your audience is likely using a mobile device to find good content. If your content isn’t mobile friendly, the user experience will be negatively impacted.

Tip: Take steps to ensure that your website and its content is mobile friendly and responsive. Also, focus on creating content for users that would typically use a mobile device.

#4 – Not optimizing for site speed.

This one is pretty simple. Faster sites have a better crawl rate and provide a better user experience.

Tip: Use site speed tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, or WebPageTest to analyze your site speed score. Some of the most helpful tips to improve site speed include leveraging browser caching, optimizing images and minifying JavaScript.

#5 – Failing to include relevant and helpful internal links.

If you’ve attracted people to your content, you have a captive audience that’s interested and probably looking for more. As a result, internal links are critical to keeping people engaged and signaling that you have more to offer.

Tip: Always be on the lookout for opportunities to link to other content on your website. In addition, use keyword variations for anchor text to expand visibility for the keyword topic that content represents.


Be on the lookout for opportunities to link to other #content on your website. @CaitlinMBurgess #SEO
Click To Tweet


#6 – Failing to include relevant and helpful external links.

Just like internal links, external links have the ability to provide your users with more helpful and relevant content. In addition, quality external sources can also signal credibility to search engines and users.

Tip: Make sure that all external links open in new windows to allow users to venture to other content, but also make it easy for them to go back and stay engaged with your content.

#7 – Serving up hard-to-read blocks of content.

Users are often looking to find and absorb content quickly, and move on if they are unable to easily see the value in the content they’ve clicked on. In addition, studies show that people read online content in an “F” pattern. As a result, large blocks of text can be a big turn-off for many, especially those using mobile devices.

Tip: Utilize headline tags to break up content. This will not only make it easy for users to scan content, but also send a positive signal to search engines.

8. Forgetting about image optimization.

The images on your website or blog add an important visual element that can positively impact user experience. But they can also help you tell your story to search engines.

Tip: Cover all your bases by making sure image filenames and alt text contain relevant keywords. Also, to ensure your page loads quickly, optimize the image size for each screen size and/or lazy load the images.

9. Not having unique content.

While it can be tempting to reuse some of that great content you’ve already created, be careful. Search engines will not be fooled, and you could be penalized if you duplicate content across pages.

Tip: Don’t publish duplicate or similar content to your site, including title tags and meta descriptions. When it comes to the technical stuff such as title tags and meta descriptions, just take the little bit of extra time it takes to create something unique. When it comes to full pages of content, if you have existing content that fits, take a repurposing approach to make it personalized and different.

10. Focusing on quantity over quality.

In today’s competitive world of content, it can be tempting to try to out-create your competition. But publishing more content than the next guy doesn’t guarantee results, especially if that content isn’t a quality piece that actually helps your audience.

Tip: Create a content strategy that includes audience and keyword topic research. In addition, study the other content that is already out there and look at what your competitors are doing. This will allow you to identify content gaps and help you create content that fills them. In addition, shoot for writing longer pieces (600 to 1,000+ words), that are optimized for scanability and include visual elements.

11. Not optimizing URLs or site structure.

Many marketers leave the title of the page or the post as the URL, which can lead to long URLs that do nothing to help your search rankings.

Tip: Keep URLs short, concise and optimized with keywords. In addition, make sure that your URL structure is consistent throughout your site to make it easier to crawl.


Make sure that your URL structure is consistent throughout your site to make it easier to crawl. #SEO
Click To Tweet


12. Neglecting broken or redirecting links.

During our technical crawls and site evaluations, TopRank Marketing often finds that many sites have broken links or links that redirect instead of linking directly to the target page.

Tip: Conduct a technical audit to identify all broken links and internal links that redirect to a different page. Then update with links that connect directly to a target page. This will help search engines crawl your site more efficiently.

13. Not auditing the redirect rules for a site.

For websites with multiple redirect rules, there’s an opportunity to remove redirect chains and errors that make it more difficult for search engines to crawl.

Tip: Audit the redirect rules to make sure you’re properly using 301 or 302 redirects and remove any redirect chains you might have.

14. Focusing on meta keywords.

Meta keywords are not used by Google and can be a sign of spam from Bing.

Tip: There typically isn’t a reason to add meta keywords to your site. If you choose to utilize the meta keywords field, make sure you limit the amount of keywords to less than five.

15. Forgetting analytics or misusing metrics.

Data is an incredible tool to not only measure the impact of our marketing efforts, but also help inform those efforts. So, neglecting our analytics reports outright or not using the right metrics can have a costly impact.

Tip: Use the right metrics to inform your content and SEO strategy, and decrease the importance you put on vanity metrics. In addition, leverage Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools to get a better understanding of what people are actually searching for.

16. Not allowing your site to be crawled

This one is pretty obvious. If you’re site is blocking search engines, your content will not be found in search results.

Tip: It’s simple. Don’t block your site from search engines in your robots.txt file or a “noindex” meta tag.

17. Not taking advantage of Local SEO.

All businesses have an opportunity to take advantage of local SEO and visibility. At the very least, your business should claim and optimize your Google My Business listing.

Tip: At the very least, focus on getting local citations by using tools like Moz Local or Whitespark.

18. Incorporating too many PDFs.

While PDFs are a great way to provide users with information that can be easily downloaded, it’s not ideal for search. First of all, most websites don’t track PDF views in Google Analytics, making it difficult to see if that content is having an impact on users. In addition, PDFs don’t allow you to create a custom experience for users easily.

Tip: Change PDFs to HTML format to be able to create a consistent experience and get the most search benefit from each content asset on your site.

19. Not optimizing for other search engines.

While Google is pretty much the King of Search, other search engines—including those within social media channels—deserve your attention, too.

Tip: Take steps to optimize your content for other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. In addition, optimize the content you’re putting out on social media sites such as LinkedIn and YouTube.


Optimize the #content you’re putting out on #socialmedia sites such as LinkedIn and YouTube. #SEO
Click To Tweet


20. Not focusing on getting quality backlinks.

While link building and link earning gets a bad rap sometimes, the number of quality backlinks a website has is still an important ranking factor for search engines and links deliver interested users to your content.

Tip: Conduct outreach to relevant influencers and websites to earn quality links back to your quality content.

21. Having too many blog categories or tags.

When you create a blog category or tag, you’re essentially creating a new page on your website that can be indexed by crawl bots. However, if those categories or tags don’t have a decent amount of content associated with them, you could be signaling thin content to search engines and it could potentially hurt your crawl budget.

Tip: Remove categories or tags that contain orphaned content, and retag or recategorize that content within a relevant and more robust category.

How do you find the perfect balance between quality, user-centric content and optimizing for search? Share your tips in the comments section below!


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
SEO Checklist for Content Marketers: 21 Common Mistakes to Avoid | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post SEO Checklist for Content Marketers: 21 Common Mistakes to Avoid appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

SEO Checklist to Avoid Mistakes

With so much content being created, published and promoted online every second—as well as consumers becoming increasingly self-directed in their quest for answers—competition to capture your audience’s attention has never been more fierce.

As a result, quality and strategic SEO has probably never been more important for helping you be the best answer whenever and wherever your audience is searching.

But as seasoned marketers know, SEO has gone through a tremendous evolution since its early days of keyword-focused content. With more than 2 trillion searches happening on Google every year, today’s SEO is about finding the perfect balance between user-centric content and convincing search engine crawlers that your content is supreme.

Of course, on the journey to creating the perfect content for both humans and search, you may make some mistakes. But the good news is that may are easily avoidable.

Below we dive into some of the most common SEO mistakes, as well as tips for helping you avoid or remedy them.

#1 – Optimizing content around one keyword.

In the “old days” of SEO, it was common practice to optimize web pages with a specific keyword that you wanted to rank for. Today, that practice not only provides a poor user experience for your audience, but it’s simply ineffective since search engines are becoming increasingly better at determining search intent.

Tip: Simply put: Do not optimize any pages for just one keyword. Instead, think bigger about the need your content can fill and hone in on keyword topics that include a variety of relevant and related search terms.


Think bigger about the need your #content can fill and hone in on keyword topics. @CaitlinMBurgess #SEO
Click To Tweet


#2 – Neglecting dated content.

Let’s face it. You’ve probably created a ton of content in the last couple years that you haven’t touched since it first published. But you could be leaving opportunity on the table if you’re not regularly looking for ways to refresh it and keep it relevant for searchers.

Tip: Dig into your analytics to find your top and worst performing pages and blog posts, paying special attention to evergreen topics. Then conduct some keyword research to discover new opportunities for updating that existing content to continue or improve ranking momentum.

#3 – Forgetting mobile users.

Whether you’re a B2C or B2B brand, much of your audience is likely using a mobile device to find good content. If your content isn’t mobile friendly, the user experience will be negatively impacted.

Tip: Take steps to ensure that your website and its content is mobile friendly and responsive. Also, focus on creating content for users that would typically use a mobile device.

#4 – Not optimizing for site speed.

This one is pretty simple. Faster sites have a better crawl rate and provide a better user experience.

Tip: Use site speed tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, or WebPageTest to analyze your site speed score. Some of the most helpful tips to improve site speed include leveraging browser caching, optimizing images and minifying JavaScript.

#5 – Failing to include relevant and helpful internal links.

If you’ve attracted people to your content, you have a captive audience that’s interested and probably looking for more. As a result, internal links are critical to keeping people engaged and signaling that you have more to offer.

Tip: Always be on the lookout for opportunities to link to other content on your website. In addition, use keyword variations for anchor text to expand visibility for the keyword topic that content represents.


Be on the lookout for opportunities to link to other #content on your website. @CaitlinMBurgess #SEO
Click To Tweet


#6 – Failing to include relevant and helpful external links.

Just like internal links, external links have the ability to provide your users with more helpful and relevant content. In addition, quality external sources can also signal credibility to search engines and users.

Tip: Make sure that all external links open in new windows to allow users to venture to other content, but also make it easy for them to go back and stay engaged with your content.

#7 – Serving up hard-to-read blocks of content.

Users are often looking to find and absorb content quickly, and move on if they are unable to easily see the value in the content they’ve clicked on. In addition, studies show that people read online content in an “F” pattern. As a result, large blocks of text can be a big turn-off for many, especially those using mobile devices.

Tip: Utilize headline tags to break up content. This will not only make it easy for users to scan content, but also send a positive signal to search engines.

8. Forgetting about image optimization.

The images on your website or blog add an important visual element that can positively impact user experience. But they can also help you tell your story to search engines.

Tip: Cover all your bases by making sure image filenames and alt text contain relevant keywords. Also, to ensure your page loads quickly, optimize the image size for each screen size and/or lazy load the images.

9. Not having unique content.

While it can be tempting to reuse some of that great content you’ve already created, be careful. Search engines will not be fooled, and you could be penalized if you duplicate content across pages.

Tip: Don’t publish duplicate or similar content to your site, including title tags and meta descriptions. When it comes to the technical stuff such as title tags and meta descriptions, just take the little bit of extra time it takes to create something unique. When it comes to full pages of content, if you have existing content that fits, take a repurposing approach to make it personalized and different.

10. Focusing on quantity over quality.

In today’s competitive world of content, it can be tempting to try to out-create your competition. But publishing more content than the next guy doesn’t guarantee results, especially if that content isn’t a quality piece that actually helps your audience.

Tip: Create a content strategy that includes audience and keyword topic research. In addition, study the other content that is already out there and look at what your competitors are doing. This will allow you to identify content gaps and help you create content that fills them. In addition, shoot for writing longer pieces (600 to 1,000+ words), that are optimized for scanability and include visual elements.

11. Not optimizing URLs or site structure.

Many marketers leave the title of the page or the post as the URL, which can lead to long URLs that do nothing to help your search rankings.

Tip: Keep URLs short, concise and optimized with keywords. In addition, make sure that your URL structure is consistent throughout your site to make it easier to crawl.


Make sure that your URL structure is consistent throughout your site to make it easier to crawl. #SEO
Click To Tweet


12. Neglecting broken or redirecting links.

During our technical crawls and site evaluations, TopRank Marketing often finds that many sites have broken links or links that redirect instead of linking directly to the target page.

Tip: Conduct a technical audit to identify all broken links and internal links that redirect to a different page. Then update with links that connect directly to a target page. This will help search engines crawl your site more efficiently.

13. Not auditing the redirect rules for a site.

For websites with multiple redirect rules, there’s an opportunity to remove redirect chains and errors that make it more difficult for search engines to crawl.

Tip: Audit the redirect rules to make sure you’re properly using 301 or 302 redirects and remove any redirect chains you might have.

14. Focusing on meta keywords.

Meta keywords are not used by Google and can be a sign of spam from Bing.

Tip: There typically isn’t a reason to add meta keywords to your site. If you choose to utilize the meta keywords field, make sure you limit the amount of keywords to less than five.

15. Forgetting analytics or misusing metrics.

Data is an incredible tool to not only measure the impact of our marketing efforts, but also help inform those efforts. So, neglecting our analytics reports outright or not using the right metrics can have a costly impact.

Tip: Use the right metrics to inform your content and SEO strategy, and decrease the importance you put on vanity metrics. In addition, leverage Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools to get a better understanding of what people are actually searching for.

16. Not allowing your site to be crawled

This one is pretty obvious. If you’re site is blocking search engines, your content will not be found in search results.

Tip: It’s simple. Don’t block your site from search engines in your robots.txt file or a “noindex” meta tag.

17. Not taking advantage of Local SEO.

All businesses have an opportunity to take advantage of local SEO and visibility. At the very least, your business should claim and optimize your Google My Business listing.

Tip: At the very least, focus on getting local citations by using tools like Moz Local or Whitespark.

18. Incorporating too many PDFs.

While PDFs are a great way to provide users with information that can be easily downloaded, it’s not ideal for search. First of all, most websites don’t track PDF views in Google Analytics, making it difficult to see if that content is having an impact on users. In addition, PDFs don’t allow you to create a custom experience for users easily.

Tip: Change PDFs to HTML format to be able to create a consistent experience and get the most search benefit from each content asset on your site.

19. Not optimizing for other search engines.

While Google is pretty much the King of Search, other search engines—including those within social media channels—deserve your attention, too.

Tip: Take steps to optimize your content for other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. In addition, optimize the content you’re putting out on social media sites such as LinkedIn and YouTube.


Optimize the #content you’re putting out on #socialmedia sites such as LinkedIn and YouTube. #SEO
Click To Tweet


20. Not focusing on getting quality backlinks.

While link building and link earning gets a bad rap sometimes, the number of quality backlinks a website has is still an important ranking factor for search engines and links deliver interested users to your content.

Tip: Conduct outreach to relevant influencers and websites to earn quality links back to your quality content.

21. Having too many blog categories or tags.

When you create a blog category or tag, you’re essentially creating a new page on your website that can be indexed by crawl bots. However, if those categories or tags don’t have a decent amount of content associated with them, you could be signaling thin content to search engines and it could potentially hurt your crawl budget.

Tip: Remove categories or tags that contain orphaned content, and retag or recategorize that content within a relevant and more robust category.

How do you find the perfect balance between quality, user-centric content and optimizing for search? Share your tips in the comments section below!


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
SEO Checklist for Content Marketers: 21 Common Mistakes to Avoid | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post SEO Checklist for Content Marketers: 21 Common Mistakes to Avoid appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

In a Content Marketing Slump? Spice up Your Program with These Tips

How can you turn out haute cuisine content on a fast food production schedule?

Your content team—especially if it’s a team of one—can be on the hook for creating a vast quantity of content. Between sales enablement, eBooks, white papers, and blog posts, it can be overwhelming.

The temptation to churn out uncreative but passable content is hard to resist, especially if you’re behind on the editorial calendar. This kind of rushed content can lead to each piece having a same-y feel—same format, same voice, same structure.

Not only is bland content hard for your readers to stomach, it’s not particularly inspiring to create, either. If you’re feeling like a short order cook instead of a celebrity chef, try these tips to spice things up.

#1: Freshen Up Your Research

A great content marketing initiative starts with thorough customer research. When you started your strategy, it was based on solid intel intended to help you create best answer content. Research shouldn’t be a one-and-done proposition, though. It’s important to keep evaluating, optimizing, and adjusting.

If your audience is unenthusiastic about your content, it’s time to refresh your research. First, see how your published content is performing. What’s resonating with your audience? How can you expand on the topics that are getting the most attention?

Then, revisit your sources for customer information—everything from Google analytics to customer surveys. See if there are questions that still don’t have answers. Or better yet, look for opportunities to answer questions they haven’t asked yet.

#2: Find a New Point of View

Ever feel like you’re repeating yourself in your content? Ever feel like you’re repeating yourself in your content? It’s understandable. You have the same team writing content to support the same solutions with the same talking points—at some point it’s going to feel repetitive.

So if you ever feel like you’re repeating yourself in your content, seek out new voices in your organization. Interview someone in sales, someone in customer service, someone in the C-suite. Sit down for a face-to-face if possible, and record audio for a podcast or create a video at the same time. You’ll end up with a fresh take on your content, a new authentic voice, and a spot filled in the editorial calendar with minimal effort.

#3: Balance Your Funnel

Part of a solid content strategy is developing content for the entire marketing funnel:

  • Attract content has broad appeal (while still being relevant to the target audience). It seeks to gain attention and define a problem.
  • Engage content is for people who are already aware they have a problem. It seeks to educate and entertain, while promoting the idea that the reader needs to take action to solve their problem.
  • Convert content is for those who are committed to solving their problem, and focuses on why your particular solution is the right choice.

Frequently, marketers feel pressured to write the bulk of their content for the Convert stage, as that content links most directly to revenue. But the majority of content consumed is in the Attract stage—so it makes sense to create great top-of-funnel content with clear next steps.

Conversely, if you find your content is getting a lot of social media love and pageviews, but it’s not translating to revenue, you may be missing the middle or bottom of the funnel. Balancing out your content load to cover the entire funnel will help guide customers to a purchase decision, while adding much-needed variety to your content offering.

#4: Change Up the Format

If your content is solid but is failing to inspire engagement, it may be the structure, not the content, that’s the problem. Try changing up the format: If the white page isn’t getting traction, distil the main points into an infographic. If the podcast is failing to connect, transcribe it into a blog post or add a visual element. If your blog posts are a snooze, add some fun images.

If you can serve up a variety of creative content forms, you can keep your audience engaged (and stave off your own boredom, too).

#5: Let Your Customers Do the Talking

Study after study shows that modern buyers want content that is authentic and transparent, like a handmade artisanal window. It’s definitely worth bringing your unique human voice into the content you create. But one of the best ways to create truly authentic content is to let your customers do the job for you.

The traditional case study is one way to go about it, as long as you give it a compelling narrative. Case studies can get too by-the-numbers if we’re not careful: “Customer had problem. Customer got our solution. Customer saw results.”

Focus on the people behind the story, instead: “Bob has a degree in Library Science. Now he’s ordering supplies for an oil rig. Lives are on the line if he gets the wrong brand of toilet paper.”

Letting customers tell their own stories works even better than case studies. You can use a custom hashtag on social media to collect submissions, then offer recognition and praise to anyone who submits a story. If your brand has a presence on visual sites like Instagram, you can quickly gather enough photos and stories to make a truly compelling blog post.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

With the sheer volume of content most marketers are called on to produce, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. If you feel like your content is turning bland, add spice: pepper in fresh research, ask your co-workers for sage advice, gingerly experiment with new formats, and curry favor with customers for user-generated content. With these five tips, you can have a tastier content mix in no thyme.

Need help creating and executing your culinary content strategy? Learn more about our content marketing services.


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
In a Content Marketing Slump? Spice up Your Program with These Tips | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post In a Content Marketing Slump? Spice up Your Program with These Tips appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

How can you turn out haute cuisine content on a fast food production schedule?

Your content team—especially if it’s a team of one—can be on the hook for creating a vast quantity of content. Between sales enablement, eBooks, white papers, and blog posts, it can be overwhelming.

The temptation to churn out uncreative but passable content is hard to resist, especially if you’re behind on the editorial calendar. This kind of rushed content can lead to each piece having a same-y feel—same format, same voice, same structure.

Not only is bland content hard for your readers to stomach, it’s not particularly inspiring to create, either. If you’re feeling like a short order cook instead of a celebrity chef, try these tips to spice things up.

#1: Freshen Up Your Research

A great content marketing initiative starts with thorough customer research. When you started your strategy, it was based on solid intel intended to help you create best answer content. Research shouldn’t be a one-and-done proposition, though. It’s important to keep evaluating, optimizing, and adjusting.

If your audience is unenthusiastic about your content, it’s time to refresh your research. First, see how your published content is performing. What’s resonating with your audience? How can you expand on the topics that are getting the most attention?

Then, revisit your sources for customer information—everything from Google analytics to customer surveys. See if there are questions that still don’t have answers. Or better yet, look for opportunities to answer questions they haven’t asked yet.

#2: Find a New Point of View

Ever feel like you’re repeating yourself in your content? Ever feel like you’re repeating yourself in your content? It’s understandable. You have the same team writing content to support the same solutions with the same talking points—at some point it’s going to feel repetitive.

So if you ever feel like you’re repeating yourself in your content, seek out new voices in your organization. Interview someone in sales, someone in customer service, someone in the C-suite. Sit down for a face-to-face if possible, and record audio for a podcast or create a video at the same time. You’ll end up with a fresh take on your content, a new authentic voice, and a spot filled in the editorial calendar with minimal effort.

#3: Balance Your Funnel

Part of a solid content strategy is developing content for the entire marketing funnel:

  • Attract content has broad appeal (while still being relevant to the target audience). It seeks to gain attention and define a problem.
  • Engage content is for people who are already aware they have a problem. It seeks to educate and entertain, while promoting the idea that the reader needs to take action to solve their problem.
  • Convert content is for those who are committed to solving their problem, and focuses on why your particular solution is the right choice.

Frequently, marketers feel pressured to write the bulk of their content for the Convert stage, as that content links most directly to revenue. But the majority of content consumed is in the Attract stage—so it makes sense to create great top-of-funnel content with clear next steps.

Conversely, if you find your content is getting a lot of social media love and pageviews, but it’s not translating to revenue, you may be missing the middle or bottom of the funnel. Balancing out your content load to cover the entire funnel will help guide customers to a purchase decision, while adding much-needed variety to your content offering.

#4: Change Up the Format

If your content is solid but is failing to inspire engagement, it may be the structure, not the content, that’s the problem. Try changing up the format: If the white page isn’t getting traction, distil the main points into an infographic. If the podcast is failing to connect, transcribe it into a blog post or add a visual element. If your blog posts are a snooze, add some fun images.

If you can serve up a variety of creative content forms, you can keep your audience engaged (and stave off your own boredom, too).

#5: Let Your Customers Do the Talking

Study after study shows that modern buyers want content that is authentic and transparent, like a handmade artisanal window. It’s definitely worth bringing your unique human voice into the content you create. But one of the best ways to create truly authentic content is to let your customers do the job for you.

The traditional case study is one way to go about it, as long as you give it a compelling narrative. Case studies can get too by-the-numbers if we’re not careful: “Customer had problem. Customer got our solution. Customer saw results.”

Focus on the people behind the story, instead: “Bob has a degree in Library Science. Now he’s ordering supplies for an oil rig. Lives are on the line if he gets the wrong brand of toilet paper.”

Letting customers tell their own stories works even better than case studies. You can use a custom hashtag on social media to collect submissions, then offer recognition and praise to anyone who submits a story. If your brand has a presence on visual sites like Instagram, you can quickly gather enough photos and stories to make a truly compelling blog post.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

With the sheer volume of content most marketers are called on to produce, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. If you feel like your content is turning bland, add spice: pepper in fresh research, ask your co-workers for sage advice, gingerly experiment with new formats, and curry favor with customers for user-generated content. With these five tips, you can have a tastier content mix in no thyme.

Need help creating and executing your culinary content strategy? Learn more about our content marketing services.


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In a Content Marketing Slump? Spice up Your Program with These Tips | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post In a Content Marketing Slump? Spice up Your Program with These Tips appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Hot Content Marketing Topics From Top B2B Brands at #B2BMX

B2B Content 2 Conversion 2017

B2B Content 2 Conversion 2017

What makes B2B content marketing hotter than having a conference at a Scottsdale, Arizona resort in February?

How about tips from 10 top B2B brands and industry experts including senior executives from Forrester, Microsoft, Aptos, Lenovo, BrightFunnel, Oracle and Marketo.

In advance of the upcoming B2B Marketing Exchange conference coming up later this month, I reached out to other speakers for practical tips as a preview to their presentations. For fun, I also asked them what their favorite thing is about a February event in Arizona. I know, that’s kind of obvious but this willing group shared some interesting answers.

Real Marketing ROI:
“Sales are wonderful. Sales are important. Sales are the lifeblood of any business. But. Really, but. Sales are NOT the alpha and omega of how you demonstrate your worth as a marketer. Really. I can prove it. Please join me Tuesday morning as I walk you through six KPIs you probably haven’t thought of that can prove your dollars-and-cents, ROI worth to the CEO. The CFO, even. We’re not talking volume metrics like “likes,” but real, bottom line marketing value unrelated to selling more stuff (even if you still need to sell stuff).”

Presentation: B2B Content Metrics & KPIs You Can Take To The C-Suite

Best thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“I’m not the biggest hot weather fan, so you won’t get the expected response. It’s picking the brains of all the attendees, of course. I’m an analyst, so always researching. That, and the opportunity to grab a phosphate at my favorite soda fountain in the world, MacAlpines. After all the disruptive tech, it’s a visit to the 1940s!”
Rebecca Lieb
Rebecca Lieb, Principal at Conglomotron
@lieblink

Busting ABM Myths:
“ABM. Account. Based. Marketing. It’s everywhere, everything, and totally awesome. At least that’s what several dozen vendors and agencies would have you think. However, 73% of B2B marketers we surveyed wouldn’t agree — they find ABM “confusing and applied too broadly”. And only 1 in 5 believe ABM actually aligns their marketing and sales better.  Join me Wednesday afternoon as I bust a few more ABM myths and talk about one of the biggest overlooked opportunities – using ABM to turn your existing customers into an authentic, active voice for your brand.”

Presentation: Customer Advocacy & Account-Based Strategies

Best thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“The Wurtz Farm Gourd Festival …because when I’m out of my gourd, I can always get a new one there.”
Laura Ramos
Laura Ramos, Vice President at Forrester
@lauraramos

Analytics into Insight:
“Through tracking the influence of all your marketing and sales touches using a tool that enables multiple attribution models and looking at how each activity moves a segment of buyers through the funnel, you can have a more systematic approach to planning out the ideal customer journey. Basing all of your program decisions on analytics enables you to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time.”

Presentation: What To Say Next: How B2B Marketers Can Turn Analytics Into Actionable Buyer Insight

Favorite thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“My favorite thing about AZ during any time of year are the cacti! Cactus is my favorite plant and marketing is my favorite thing–so the B2B event is a win-win for me.”
Dayna Rothman
Dayna Rothman, VP of Marketing & Sales Development at BrightFunnel
@dayroth

Transformation to Customer Centric Marketing:
“In order to successfully implement new marketing tools and best practices, organizations need to win internal buy-in and drive adoption. Attend this session to learn how Oracle transformed its traditional marketing organization to Modern Marketing to coincide with the company’s shift to the cloud. During the session, you’ll discover how this enterprise software company changed its strategy, technology, training and processes that underpinned its transformation. You will also hear how marketing realigned itself with sales and changed its culture from product- to customer-centric.”

Presentation: New Approaches To Buyer Centric Marketing

Favorite thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“Conference in Arizona in February? Two words: #dryheat : )”
Kelvin Gee
Kelvin Gee, Senior Director of Modern Marketing Business Transformation at Oracle
@kgee

No B.S. Marketing Truth:
“Not only is Jeff going to go into the neuroscience and psychology of how people make decisions and how you can influence them but also some cutting edge research on the customer journey every person is constantly on. He will cut the BS and marketing fluff we so often hear and give you practical ways to get started today.  Not every technology is right for your business and not every marketing team is mature enough to chase the next big thing. So come and get a dose of marketing truth, a better understanding of how important marketing really is, and leave a bit more customer centered than when you walked in.”

Presentation: Building A Customer-Centered Content Strategy

Best thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“- I might come back to Seattle a darker shade of off-white
– I get to have authentic horchata and tamales
– The incredible smell of creosote in the air, even better if it rains”
Jeff Marcoux
Jeff Marcoux, CMO Leader for Worldwide Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft
@jeffmarcoux

Scalable Deal Enablement:
“When was the last time you sat in on a sales meeting as an observer, as a…fly on the wall? If it’s been more than a couple months, it’s probably been too long. Because odds are, you won’t like what you see when salespeople take control of your message. Too often, they take liberties with your message, butcher your brand and punish prospects with pitiful PowerPoint slides. Eighteen months ago, we decided to take tight control of our message throughout the evaluation stage, and the difference was remarkable. More deals moved more quickly, win rates increased and average selling prices spiked. Join me on Tuesday for an inside look at how we averted “Deal Death by PowerPoint” by designing –and refining – a repeatable, scalable deal enablement process.”

Presentation: How Deal Enablement Can Avert Messaging Breakdowns

Best thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“The best part about hosting a conference in Scottsdale in February? Driving past all the MLB Spring Training complexes on the way from the airport. Nothing says hope and renewal are around the corner like Spring Training (especially when the weather is 80 degrees and sunny every day!).”
Dave Bruno
Dave Bruno, Marketing Director at Aptos
@davethewavesd

Predictive Lead Gen + Intent Marketing:
“We need to leave our egos at the door. Our customers don’t care about us until they are ready. We need to stop pushing what we ‘think’ they want and wait for them to tell us what they care about.”

Presentation: Case Study: How Lenovo Delivers Results Through Predictive-Powered Lead Generation
Presentation: Get Over It…Your Customers Don’t Care About You: Lenovo’s Intent-Driven Digital Marketing

Best thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“The chance of snow being 0%.”
Michael Ballard
Mike Ballard Senior Manager, Digital Marketing at Lenovo
@mballard5574

Make the Buyer the Hero:
“There’s always a story behind how your buyers get from problem to solution. The trick is in how you make the buyer the hero of the story and empower them to embrace change with your help. Personas can source the narrative that helps you do this really well.”

Presentation: How Buyer Personas Power Sustainable Stories That Turn Prospects Into Customers

Favorite thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“A short flight to a rockin party to kick off the year seeing old friends and new. And, of course, Mexican food!”
Ardath Albee
Ardath Albee, Principal Analyst at Marketing Interactions
@ardath421

Actionable ABM:
“Attend this fast-paced session to learn how to introduce and implement ABM into your overall marketing strategy. ABM can play nice with inbound and this session will illustrate how to create an actionable plan with scalable programs that drive real results.”

Presentation: Secret Sauce For Integrating ABM Into Your Full Marketing Plans

Favorite thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“My favorite thing about a February conference in Scottsdale is the chance to wear my cactus shirt.”
Heidi Bullock
Heidi Bullock, Group Vice President of Global Marketing at Marketo
@HeidiBullock

Influence Trends & Tactics:
“We live in an age when there is too much content being published and most consumers don’t pay attention to the content that actually reaches them. Enter the role of influence in marketing: credible experts that have active networks paying attention. Brands that develop influencer relationships increase trust, content quality, reach and engagement. But how? That’s exactly what my presentation, “Influencing the Influencers: Top Trends & Best Practices for B2B Marketers” will provide.”

Presentation: Influencing The Influencers: Top Trends & Best Practices For B2B Marketers

Favorite thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“The best part of Minnesota Winters is leaving for somewhere warm, so the bar is not too high to be happy at a resort during February in Scottsdale.”
Lee Odden
Lee Odden, CEO at TopRank Marketing
@leeodden (hey, that’s me!)

If you’re wondering how you might learn from this group of marketers and escape whatever the Winter weather is in your area, then be sure to look up the B2B Content2Conversion Conference happening February 20-22 at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The post Hot Content Marketing Topics From Top B2B Brands at #B2BMX appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

B2B Content 2 Conversion 2017

B2B Content 2 Conversion 2017

What makes B2B content marketing hotter than having a conference at a Scottsdale, Arizona resort in February?

How about tips from 10 top B2B brands and industry experts including senior executives from Forrester, Microsoft, Aptos, Lenovo, BrightFunnel, Oracle and Marketo.

In advance of the upcoming B2B Marketing Exchange conference coming up later this month, I reached out to other speakers for practical tips as a preview to their presentations. For fun, I also asked them what their favorite thing is about a February event in Arizona. I know, that’s kind of obvious but this willing group shared some interesting answers.

Real Marketing ROI:
“Sales are wonderful. Sales are important. Sales are the lifeblood of any business. But. Really, but. Sales are NOT the alpha and omega of how you demonstrate your worth as a marketer. Really. I can prove it. Please join me Tuesday morning as I walk you through six KPIs you probably haven’t thought of that can prove your dollars-and-cents, ROI worth to the CEO. The CFO, even. We’re not talking volume metrics like “likes,” but real, bottom line marketing value unrelated to selling more stuff (even if you still need to sell stuff).”

Presentation: B2B Content Metrics & KPIs You Can Take To The C-Suite

Best thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“I’m not the biggest hot weather fan, so you won’t get the expected response. It’s picking the brains of all the attendees, of course. I’m an analyst, so always researching. That, and the opportunity to grab a phosphate at my favorite soda fountain in the world, MacAlpines. After all the disruptive tech, it’s a visit to the 1940s!”
Rebecca Lieb
Rebecca Lieb, Principal at Conglomotron
@lieblink

Busting ABM Myths:
“ABM. Account. Based. Marketing. It’s everywhere, everything, and totally awesome. At least that’s what several dozen vendors and agencies would have you think. However, 73% of B2B marketers we surveyed wouldn’t agree — they find ABM “confusing and applied too broadly”. And only 1 in 5 believe ABM actually aligns their marketing and sales better.  Join me Wednesday afternoon as I bust a few more ABM myths and talk about one of the biggest overlooked opportunities – using ABM to turn your existing customers into an authentic, active voice for your brand.”

Presentation: Customer Advocacy & Account-Based Strategies

Best thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“The Wurtz Farm Gourd Festival …because when I’m out of my gourd, I can always get a new one there.”
Laura Ramos
Laura Ramos, Vice President at Forrester
@lauraramos

Analytics into Insight:
“Through tracking the influence of all your marketing and sales touches using a tool that enables multiple attribution models and looking at how each activity moves a segment of buyers through the funnel, you can have a more systematic approach to planning out the ideal customer journey. Basing all of your program decisions on analytics enables you to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time.”

Presentation: What To Say Next: How B2B Marketers Can Turn Analytics Into Actionable Buyer Insight

Favorite thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“My favorite thing about AZ during any time of year are the cacti! Cactus is my favorite plant and marketing is my favorite thing–so the B2B event is a win-win for me.”
Dayna Rothman
Dayna Rothman, VP of Marketing & Sales Development at BrightFunnel
@dayroth

Transformation to Customer Centric Marketing:
“In order to successfully implement new marketing tools and best practices, organizations need to win internal buy-in and drive adoption. Attend this session to learn how Oracle transformed its traditional marketing organization to Modern Marketing to coincide with the company’s shift to the cloud. During the session, you’ll discover how this enterprise software company changed its strategy, technology, training and processes that underpinned its transformation. You will also hear how marketing realigned itself with sales and changed its culture from product- to customer-centric.”

Presentation: New Approaches To Buyer Centric Marketing

Favorite thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“Conference in Arizona in February? Two words: #dryheat : )”
Kelvin Gee
Kelvin Gee, Senior Director of Modern Marketing Business Transformation at Oracle
@kgee

No B.S. Marketing Truth:
“Not only is Jeff going to go into the neuroscience and psychology of how people make decisions and how you can influence them but also some cutting edge research on the customer journey every person is constantly on. He will cut the BS and marketing fluff we so often hear and give you practical ways to get started today.  Not every technology is right for your business and not every marketing team is mature enough to chase the next big thing. So come and get a dose of marketing truth, a better understanding of how important marketing really is, and leave a bit more customer centered than when you walked in.”

Presentation: Building A Customer-Centered Content Strategy

Best thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“- I might come back to Seattle a darker shade of off-white
– I get to have authentic horchata and tamales
– The incredible smell of creosote in the air, even better if it rains”
Jeff Marcoux
Jeff Marcoux, CMO Leader for Worldwide Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft
@jeffmarcoux

Scalable Deal Enablement:
“When was the last time you sat in on a sales meeting as an observer, as a…fly on the wall? If it’s been more than a couple months, it’s probably been too long. Because odds are, you won’t like what you see when salespeople take control of your message. Too often, they take liberties with your message, butcher your brand and punish prospects with pitiful PowerPoint slides. Eighteen months ago, we decided to take tight control of our message throughout the evaluation stage, and the difference was remarkable. More deals moved more quickly, win rates increased and average selling prices spiked. Join me on Tuesday for an inside look at how we averted “Deal Death by PowerPoint” by designing –and refining – a repeatable, scalable deal enablement process.”

Presentation: How Deal Enablement Can Avert Messaging Breakdowns

Best thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“The best part about hosting a conference in Scottsdale in February? Driving past all the MLB Spring Training complexes on the way from the airport. Nothing says hope and renewal are around the corner like Spring Training (especially when the weather is 80 degrees and sunny every day!).”
Dave Bruno
Dave Bruno, Marketing Director at Aptos
@davethewavesd

Predictive Lead Gen + Intent Marketing:
“We need to leave our egos at the door. Our customers don’t care about us until they are ready. We need to stop pushing what we ‘think’ they want and wait for them to tell us what they care about.”

Presentation: Case Study: How Lenovo Delivers Results Through Predictive-Powered Lead Generation
Presentation: Get Over It…Your Customers Don’t Care About You: Lenovo’s Intent-Driven Digital Marketing

Best thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“The chance of snow being 0%.”
Michael Ballard
Mike Ballard Senior Manager, Digital Marketing at Lenovo
@mballard5574

Make the Buyer the Hero:
“There’s always a story behind how your buyers get from problem to solution. The trick is in how you make the buyer the hero of the story and empower them to embrace change with your help. Personas can source the narrative that helps you do this really well.”

Presentation: How Buyer Personas Power Sustainable Stories That Turn Prospects Into Customers

Favorite thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“A short flight to a rockin party to kick off the year seeing old friends and new. And, of course, Mexican food!”
Ardath Albee
Ardath Albee, Principal Analyst at Marketing Interactions
@ardath421

Actionable ABM:
“Attend this fast-paced session to learn how to introduce and implement ABM into your overall marketing strategy. ABM can play nice with inbound and this session will illustrate how to create an actionable plan with scalable programs that drive real results.”

Presentation: Secret Sauce For Integrating ABM Into Your Full Marketing Plans

Favorite thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“My favorite thing about a February conference in Scottsdale is the chance to wear my cactus shirt.”
Heidi Bullock
Heidi Bullock, Group Vice President of Global Marketing at Marketo
@HeidiBullock

Influence Trends & Tactics:
“We live in an age when there is too much content being published and most consumers don’t pay attention to the content that actually reaches them. Enter the role of influence in marketing: credible experts that have active networks paying attention. Brands that develop influencer relationships increase trust, content quality, reach and engagement. But how? That’s exactly what my presentation, “Influencing the Influencers: Top Trends & Best Practices for B2B Marketers” will provide.”

Presentation: Influencing The Influencers: Top Trends & Best Practices For B2B Marketers

Favorite thing about a Winter conference in Arizona:
“The best part of Minnesota Winters is leaving for somewhere warm, so the bar is not too high to be happy at a resort during February in Scottsdale.”
Lee Odden
Lee Odden, CEO at TopRank Marketing
@leeodden (hey, that’s me!)

If you’re wondering how you might learn from this group of marketers and escape whatever the Winter weather is in your area, then be sure to look up the B2B Content2Conversion Conference happening February 20-22 at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The post Hot Content Marketing Topics From Top B2B Brands at #B2BMX appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.