5 Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s

Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s

Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s

New decade, who dis?

We’ve officially turned the calendar to 201… er, 2020! First the first time in 10 years, we’ll all be writing a different numeral as that third digit. That’s a new habit that’ll take some getting used to. 

As B2B marketers, perhaps we can take advantage of this opportunity to form a few other new habits. Specifically, I’m talking about making adjustments to the way we approach our craft, so to align ourselves with the evolved marketplace of the 2020s. 

The New Year is always a fitting time for resolutions and aspirational goal-setting. With this particularly momentous milestone, I’m urging all my B2B marketing peers to think big and commit to some major shifts in mindset for the decade ahead.

These five habits ought to be left in the 2010s along with fidget spinners and the Mannequin Challenge.

5 Habits for B2B Marketers to Leave Behind in the 2010s

#1. The Desktop Mentality

Chances are, you spend your days creating content or managing campaigns on a desktop computer or laptop. As such, it’s all too easy to assume your audience will consume it in the same way. But, chances are, they won’t. 

The explosion of mobile usage has been among the most unmistakable sea changes of the past decade. In 2010, the iPhone was still a relatively new product and mobile accounted for 2.9% of all web site traffic. By 2018, that figure was up to 52.2%. Smartphone ownership rose from 35% in 2011 to 81% in 2019. Mobile overtook desktop in 2016 and there’s been no looking back. 

Despite this, I still routinely encounter websites, landing pages, and content experiences that look great on desktop and clunky on a smartphone or tablet. Too often, mobile is an afterthought. Instead, it should be our first thought. Bringing a mobile-first mindset into the 2020s will position marketers to be on the same page as the people they’re trying to reach.

What To Do: Scrutinize your most critical existing content assets — visuals, responsiveness, usability — on multiple different types of devices to ensure you’re delivering a quality mobile experience. Also, resolve to test all new content on mobile before desktop in 2020.

via GIPHY

#2. Aimless Creation

At the start of the decade, content marketing was in a relatively nascent stage. The primary objective for marketers was simply to produce, as reflected by the first-ever B2B content marketing benchmark report from newly established Content Marketing Institute (CMI) in 2010. In this report, the top-cited challenges were:

  • Producing engaging content
  • Producing enough content
  • Budget to produce content

All that production, so little direction… It’s a problem that hasn’t gone away despite content marketing’s maturation over the course of a decade. In general, there’s still too much focus on the creation and not enough on the strategy. In many programs, promotion and measurement take distant back seats. 

In the 2020s, let’s start looking at the big picture, and channel the same enthusiasm we show for creation into all the other elements of successful content. A holistic approach to the discipline begins with documenting your content strategy and adhering to its vision, as will a robust list of content promotion tactics to draw from.  

[bctt tweet=”In the 2020s, let’s start looking at the big picture, and channel the same enthusiasm we show for creation into all the other elements of successful content. @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

What To Do: Create or refine your documented content strategy. Take a gander at our top B2B content marketing trends and predictions for 2020 to ensure you’re fully up to speed.

#3. Email Abandonment

It’s been an interesting decade for email marketing. The tactic’s popularity endures – email newsletters were cited as the third-most common type of content for B2B marketers in the latest CMI benchmarking report – but confidence in this channel has evidently waned. 

According to research by the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), only 55% of marketers believe more than half of what they send out is useful to subscribers, and more concerningly, only 14% of subscribers feel that way. 

I’m on record as saying email marketing is not dead, it just needs rejuvenation. I think the inbox will be in again in the 2020s, as practitioners get back into touch with the fundamentals that make it such a powerful communication channel to begin with. Through stronger segmentation, audience insight, and relationship-driven strategy, we can get back to capitalizing on a space where the average professional spends 3+ hours of their workday.

(Source)

What To Do: Subscribe to a few newsletters from leading brands to do some recon, and adopt the subscriber-centric practices you like best.

#4. Influence for the Sake of Influence

I wonder if we’ll all look back at the 2017 Fyre Festival fiasco – and the documentaries it yielded – as a turning point for influencer marketing. 

In a way, that whole ordeal was damaging, casting a light on the total fraudulence of paid Instagram celebrities hawking products they had no connection to, or understanding of, merely to seem hip and raise awareness. But I view it as more of a positive: That seedy side of “influencer marketing” needed to be exposed, enabling us all to acknowledge it and move past it.

Fyre Festival didn’t prove that influencer marketing is ineffective; it proved that prioritizing reach and status above all else is the wrong way to do it. At TopRank Marketing, we have long asserted that relying on popularity metrics alone is a mistake, while aligning influencer type and topic is critical. 

[bctt tweet=”Fyre Festival didn’t prove that influencer marketing is ineffective; it proved that prioritizing reach and status above all else is the wrong way to do it. @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

LinkedIn’s* Judy Tian recently shared her views on this essential nuance: “Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach … the relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you wanna talk about? And are they gonna have credibility with their end users? And then are they going to shed credibility onto your brand as a result?”

These are the true objectives of B2B influencer marketing. It’s influence with a purpose. And that mindset should drive our strategies in the years ahead.

What To Do: Review influencer lists to make sure expertise and credibility aligns with the audience for your campaigns, and start prioritizing relevance over reach for future initiatives.

#5. Talking About Ourselves

I’ll close with perhaps the single most important shift for B2B marketers in 2020 and beyond: Moving the spotlight from our own products and services to our customers. This is a crucial area where data tells us we’re coming up short.

A recent report from Forrester, titled Customer-Centered Messaging Helps Boost B2B Revenues By Motivating Buyer Action, shows that:

  • 88% of B2B marketers admit their homepages talk primarily about their companies, products, and services
  • 13% of B2B marketers use narrative to tell a story, walk buyers through a persuasive argument, or show some empathy with customer concerns
  • 28% of B2B marketers mirror the language that their target audiences and decision makers use when talking about those problems

These are troubling numbers. In the 2020s, we need to take the next step in customer-centricity, going beyond connecting our solutions to the audience by doing so from their point of view. It’s not an easy thing to master – as the Forrester report indicates – but it is a very worthy pursuit. 

We should all be striving to develop empathy, as it’s defined by Intuit’s Brian Hood: “Having such a strong understanding that it’s hard to tell the line between us and our customers.” And our content should convey it.

What To Do: Walk the walk when it comes to being customer-centric. Put customer insight in the driver’s seat for everything you create in 2020. Be cognizant of how often you’re centering the conversation on your brand and its solutions.

Here’s to a Decade of Dazzling Results

The next 10 years are going to be exciting and invigorating. Technology, creativity, and data-driven insight will commingle in new ways to reinvent what is possible for digital customer experiences. We’re excited to venture into this great unknown alongside all of our clients, partners, and peers. 

From my view, B2B marketers who are best-prepared for what lies ahead will be:

  • Mobile-first
  • Thoroughly strategic with creation
  • Adamant about energizing email engagement
  • Focused on influencer relevance
  • Keenly customer-centered in approach

Want to further ready yourself for the year and decade ahead? Check out our robust pieces on 2020 trends and predictions:

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 5 Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s

Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s

New decade, who dis?

We’ve officially turned the calendar to 201… er, 2020! First the first time in 10 years, we’ll all be writing a different numeral as that third digit. That’s a new habit that’ll take some getting used to. 

As B2B marketers, perhaps we can take advantage of this opportunity to form a few other new habits. Specifically, I’m talking about making adjustments to the way we approach our craft, so to align ourselves with the evolved marketplace of the 2020s. 

The New Year is always a fitting time for resolutions and aspirational goal-setting. With this particularly momentous milestone, I’m urging all my B2B marketing peers to think big and commit to some major shifts in mindset for the decade ahead.

These five habits ought to be left in the 2010s along with fidget spinners and the Mannequin Challenge.

5 Habits for B2B Marketers to Leave Behind in the 2010s

#1. The Desktop Mentality

Chances are, you spend your days creating content or managing campaigns on a desktop computer or laptop. As such, it’s all too easy to assume your audience will consume it in the same way. But, chances are, they won’t. 

The explosion of mobile usage has been among the most unmistakable sea changes of the past decade. In 2010, the iPhone was still a relatively new product and mobile accounted for 2.9% of all web site traffic. By 2018, that figure was up to 52.2%. Smartphone ownership rose from 35% in 2011 to 81% in 2019. Mobile overtook desktop in 2016 and there’s been no looking back. 

Despite this, I still routinely encounter websites, landing pages, and content experiences that look great on desktop and clunky on a smartphone or tablet. Too often, mobile is an afterthought. Instead, it should be our first thought. Bringing a mobile-first mindset into the 2020s will position marketers to be on the same page as the people they’re trying to reach.

What To Do: Scrutinize your most critical existing content assets — visuals, responsiveness, usability — on multiple different types of devices to ensure you’re delivering a quality mobile experience. Also, resolve to test all new content on mobile before desktop in 2020.

via GIPHY

#2. Aimless Creation

At the start of the decade, content marketing was in a relatively nascent stage. The primary objective for marketers was simply to produce, as reflected by the first-ever B2B content marketing benchmark report from newly established Content Marketing Institute (CMI) in 2010. In this report, the top-cited challenges were:

  • Producing engaging content
  • Producing enough content
  • Budget to produce content

All that production, so little direction… It’s a problem that hasn’t gone away despite content marketing’s maturation over the course of a decade. In general, there’s still too much focus on the creation and not enough on the strategy. In many programs, promotion and measurement take distant back seats. 

In the 2020s, let’s start looking at the big picture, and channel the same enthusiasm we show for creation into all the other elements of successful content. A holistic approach to the discipline begins with documenting your content strategy and adhering to its vision, as will a robust list of content promotion tactics to draw from.  

[bctt tweet=”In the 2020s, let’s start looking at the big picture, and channel the same enthusiasm we show for creation into all the other elements of successful content. @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

What To Do: Create or refine your documented content strategy. Take a gander at our top B2B content marketing trends and predictions for 2020 to ensure you’re fully up to speed.

#3. Email Abandonment

It’s been an interesting decade for email marketing. The tactic’s popularity endures – email newsletters were cited as the third-most common type of content for B2B marketers in the latest CMI benchmarking report – but confidence in this channel has evidently waned. 

According to research by the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), only 55% of marketers believe more than half of what they send out is useful to subscribers, and more concerningly, only 14% of subscribers feel that way. 

I’m on record as saying email marketing is not dead, it just needs rejuvenation. I think the inbox will be in again in the 2020s, as practitioners get back into touch with the fundamentals that make it such a powerful communication channel to begin with. Through stronger segmentation, audience insight, and relationship-driven strategy, we can get back to capitalizing on a space where the average professional spends 3+ hours of their workday.

(Source)

What To Do: Subscribe to a few newsletters from leading brands to do some recon, and adopt the subscriber-centric practices you like best.

#4. Influence for the Sake of Influence

I wonder if we’ll all look back at the 2017 Fyre Festival fiasco – and the documentaries it yielded – as a turning point for influencer marketing. 

In a way, that whole ordeal was damaging, casting a light on the total fraudulence of paid Instagram celebrities hawking products they had no connection to, or understanding of, merely to seem hip and raise awareness. But I view it as more of a positive: That seedy side of “influencer marketing” needed to be exposed, enabling us all to acknowledge it and move past it.

Fyre Festival didn’t prove that influencer marketing is ineffective; it proved that prioritizing reach and status above all else is the wrong way to do it. At TopRank Marketing, we have long asserted that relying on popularity metrics alone is a mistake, while aligning influencer type and topic is critical. 

[bctt tweet=”Fyre Festival didn’t prove that influencer marketing is ineffective; it proved that prioritizing reach and status above all else is the wrong way to do it. @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

LinkedIn’s* Judy Tian recently shared her views on this essential nuance: “Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach … the relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you wanna talk about? And are they gonna have credibility with their end users? And then are they going to shed credibility onto your brand as a result?”

These are the true objectives of B2B influencer marketing. It’s influence with a purpose. And that mindset should drive our strategies in the years ahead.

What To Do: Review influencer lists to make sure expertise and credibility aligns with the audience for your campaigns, and start prioritizing relevance over reach for future initiatives.

#5. Talking About Ourselves

I’ll close with perhaps the single most important shift for B2B marketers in 2020 and beyond: Moving the spotlight from our own products and services to our customers. This is a crucial area where data tells us we’re coming up short.

A recent report from Forrester, titled Customer-Centered Messaging Helps Boost B2B Revenues By Motivating Buyer Action, shows that:

  • 88% of B2B marketers admit their homepages talk primarily about their companies, products, and services
  • 13% of B2B marketers use narrative to tell a story, walk buyers through a persuasive argument, or show some empathy with customer concerns
  • 28% of B2B marketers mirror the language that their target audiences and decision makers use when talking about those problems

These are troubling numbers. In the 2020s, we need to take the next step in customer-centricity, going beyond connecting our solutions to the audience by doing so from their point of view. It’s not an easy thing to master – as the Forrester report indicates – but it is a very worthy pursuit. 

We should all be striving to develop empathy, as it’s defined by Intuit’s Brian Hood: “Having such a strong understanding that it’s hard to tell the line between us and our customers.” And our content should convey it.

What To Do: Walk the walk when it comes to being customer-centric. Put customer insight in the driver’s seat for everything you create in 2020. Be cognizant of how often you’re centering the conversation on your brand and its solutions.

Here’s to a Decade of Dazzling Results

The next 10 years are going to be exciting and invigorating. Technology, creativity, and data-driven insight will commingle in new ways to reinvent what is possible for digital customer experiences. We’re excited to venture into this great unknown alongside all of our clients, partners, and peers. 

From my view, B2B marketers who are best-prepared for what lies ahead will be:

  • Mobile-first
  • Thoroughly strategic with creation
  • Adamant about energizing email engagement
  • Focused on influencer relevance
  • Keenly customer-centered in approach

Want to further ready yourself for the year and decade ahead? Check out our robust pieces on 2020 trends and predictions:

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 5 Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The Power of Perceived Value: Discover how a well-marketed banana & roll of tape produced a windfall

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

“If you have something unique — even a single dimension of exclusivity — that’s meaningful and significant to the customer, you help them conclude they can’t get this anywhere else.”

— Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS Institute

If you are experienced in business, you have heard of using marketing tactics like scarcity, story and influence to increase your sales.

But there is a right way and a wrong way to apply these psychological drivers. Negative manipulation used by marketers to achieve a business objective not only hurts their own brand but also negatively impacts those who are making honest efforts to sell their goods or services.

In today’s video replay, Flint McGlaughlin explains ways to identify and avoid dark patterns some businesses employ to increase sales. He also gives examples of real case studies where people are using the power of scarcity, story and influence in a positive way — and increasing conversion.

Watch the video to learn how to tap into these three motivators in the most effective way.

Here are some key points in the video:

  • 8:01 Three factors can impact a customer’s perceived value of your offer.
  • 11:02 PVD is the difference between the customer’s perceived value and the actual value.
  • 16:40 Scarcity — Examples of using this internal motivator inappropriately.
  • 22:37 Dark patterns — Negative manipulation used by marketers to achieve an objective in their business.
  • 25:19 Examples of using Scarcity appropriately.
  • 29:10 Influence (celebrity, social proof, authority, etc…) — Examples of using it appropriately.
  • 32:05 Examples of using Story appropriately.
  • 35:33 Value Proposition — Four conclusions to evoke in the mind

Related Resources

Princeton Dark Patterns Study:Dark Patterns at Scale: Findings from a Crawl of 11K Shopping

Dark Patterns on Scarcity and Influence: The Endless, Invisible Persuasion Tactics of the Internet D

Landing Page tests:A/B Testing: How a landing page test yielded a 6% increase in leads

Web Clinic tests:Email Copy Tested: How adding urgency increased clickthrough by 15%

Social Media: Social Media Optimization: Engineering contagious ideas

Ecommerce:New Chart: Ecommerce – It’s Not All About Price

Print Ads: Marketing Chart: Which advertising channels consumers trust most and least when making

Leveraging Influence in a winery:Interactive Email: 6 tactics to leverage the influence of social reinforcement

Behavioral Triggers:Marketing Psychology: The behavioral triggers behind success at Amazon, Groupon and FarmVille

Social Media:How to Use Social Media to Increase Your Marketing Conversion

Non-profit analytics:Data Analysis 101: How a nonprofit used data to secure a critical business decision and help find 125 missing children

Sales Increase through Story: Ecommerce Marketing: 150% increase in sales from product storytelling and site redesign

Newsletter tactics: Content Marketing: How a farm justifies premium pricing

Copywriting: Copywriting on Tight Deadlines — How ordinary marketers are achieving 103% gains with a
step-by-step

Internal Story: 5 steps to telling your team’s story

The post The Power of Perceived Value: Discover how a well-marketed banana & roll of tape produced a windfall appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

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

“If you have something unique — even a single dimension of exclusivity — that’s meaningful and significant to the customer, you help them conclude they can’t get this anywhere else.”

— Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS Institute

If you are experienced in business, you have heard of using marketing tactics like scarcity, story and influence to increase your sales.

But there is a right way and a wrong way to apply these psychological drivers. Negative manipulation used by marketers to achieve a business objective not only hurts their own brand but also negatively impacts those who are making honest efforts to sell their goods or services.

In today’s video replay, Flint McGlaughlin explains ways to identify and avoid dark patterns some businesses employ to increase sales. He also gives examples of real case studies where people are using the power of scarcity, story and influence in a positive way — and increasing conversion.

Watch the video to learn how to tap into these three motivators in the most effective way.

Here are some key points in the video:

  • 8:01 Three factors can impact a customer’s perceived value of your offer.
  • 11:02 PVD is the difference between the customer’s perceived value and the actual value.
  • 16:40 Scarcity — Examples of using this internal motivator inappropriately.
  • 22:37 Dark patterns — Negative manipulation used by marketers to achieve an objective in their business.
  • 25:19 Examples of using Scarcity appropriately.
  • 29:10 Influence (celebrity, social proof, authority, etc…) — Examples of using it appropriately.
  • 32:05 Examples of using Story appropriately.
  • 35:33 Value Proposition — Four conclusions to evoke in the mind

Related Resources

Princeton Dark Patterns Study:Dark Patterns at Scale: Findings from a Crawl of 11K Shopping

Dark Patterns on Scarcity and Influence: The Endless, Invisible Persuasion Tactics of the Internet D

Landing Page tests:A/B Testing: How a landing page test yielded a 6% increase in leads

Web Clinic tests:Email Copy Tested: How adding urgency increased clickthrough by 15%

Social Media: Social Media Optimization: Engineering contagious ideas

Ecommerce:New Chart: Ecommerce – It’s Not All About Price

Print Ads: Marketing Chart: Which advertising channels consumers trust most and least when making

Leveraging Influence in a winery:Interactive Email: 6 tactics to leverage the influence of social reinforcement

Behavioral Triggers:Marketing Psychology: The behavioral triggers behind success at Amazon, Groupon and FarmVille

Social Media:How to Use Social Media to Increase Your Marketing Conversion

Non-profit analytics:Data Analysis 101: How a nonprofit used data to secure a critical business decision and help find 125 missing children

Sales Increase through Story: Ecommerce Marketing: 150% increase in sales from product storytelling and site redesign

Newsletter tactics: Content Marketing: How a farm justifies premium pricing

Copywriting: Copywriting on Tight Deadlines — How ordinary marketers are achieving 103% gains with a
step-by-step

Internal Story: 5 steps to telling your team’s story

The post The Power of Perceived Value: Discover how a well-marketed banana & roll of tape produced a windfall appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

Digital Marketing News: B2B Marketing Outlook Study, Twitter Axes Audience Insights, Influencer Marketing Sees Growth, & TikTok’s Rising Revenue

The post Digital Marketing News: B2B Marketing Outlook Study, Twitter Axes Audience Insights, Influencer Marketing Sees Growth, & TikTok’s Rising Revenue appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The post Digital Marketing News: B2B Marketing Outlook Study, Twitter Axes Audience Insights, Influencer Marketing Sees Growth, & TikTok’s Rising Revenue appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Series: Adam Dunn on Creating Blockbuster Video Content in B2B

Break Free B2B Interview with Adam Dunn

Break Free B2B Interview with Adam Dunn

Content has many aims. It should inform. It should assist. It should entertain.

But as B2B marketers, doesn’t it seem like if we don’t deliver on the latter – immediately, and convincingly – we don’t really get a chance to deliver on the rest? 

Given that our job is dependent on earning and keeping an audience’s attention, marketers are wise to take cues from entertainment-focused content formats like films and music videos. Even more so, we’re wise to take cues from the creators behind them. In a nutshell, that’s why Adam Dunn offers a particularly valuable perspective for people in our line of work.

As a film and video director who has worked on numerous prominent music videos and Hollywood movies — including “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”, for which he and his team won an Academy Award — Adam is fervently focused on creating content that is compelling and captivating for audiences. At TopRank Marketing, we’ve also had the opportunity to work with him on several video marketing initiatives, seeing first-hand how his expertise can take such efforts to the next level.

via GIPHY

[bctt tweet=”It’s often the thing that is imperfect that eventually becomes the thing people like the most, which is why Spiderverse became the thing that everyone loved. — @adamjdunn #VideoMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

In this edition of Break Free B2B, TopRank President Susan Misukanis and I were thrilled to sit and chat with Adam about a variety of topics pertinent to marketers today. We asked which elements of his work tend to resonate most with audiences, what his recommendations would be for budget-friendly video content, how new technologies like live-streaming and VR are coming into play, and more.

This was actually the first episode of the show that was recorded, but we decided to warm you up with some rising stars and familiar faces in the B2B space first. Today we’re excited to share this conversation and branch out to more of an outsider’s perspective. 

(Note: There were some technical difficulties with the microphone on our end. But we didn’t want to let that prevent you from hearing Adam’s awesome insights; please bear with us!)

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Adam Dunn

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RLJln6jL7g]

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 0:30 — Adam’s background
  • 2:30 — Learning from failure and setbacks
  • 4:00 — Movies and music videos Adam has worked on
  • 6:45 Does “Into the Spider-Verse” represent a new visual frontier?
  • 9:45 — Learning to speak your audience’s language
  • 11:00 — The common traits of his most well-received work
  • 13:00 — The appeal of video marketing
  • 15:45 — Tips for creating video content with a finite budget
  • 18:00 — How will Twitch and live-streaming influence the future of marketing?
  • 21:30 — What is the role of VR and where is it heading?

Nick: As you look back at some of the things you’ve worked on — I’m especially interested in the music videos where there is a lot of content, a lot of competition, hard to stand out … When you look at the ones that are the most well received, and gained the most traction, do you see any common elements that are making those resonate?

Adam: I don’t know if there’s one common through point. But I think the biggest thing from all the ones that I’ve had that are successful is cohesiveness of vision. 

So while all the videos are totally different, making sure your team is 100% on the same page when making the content is what makes the most successful stuff on my end, just because you know, there have been videos where things have been a little bit crazy and we haven’t had we’d have a ton of time to shoot or anything like that, and we had to just kind of Helter Skelter, throw it all together to make something. And it doesn’t come out nearly as cohesive as something where the whole team knows exactly where everything is going, all the pieces fit, and then you make this beautiful piece of art and everyone loves it … 

How that could translate into something like B2B would be like, when you do an explainer, making sure you have that exact A to B to C lined up, ready to go. And that way when you make the explainer, everyone knows exactly where all the pieces fit, everything looks beautiful, and you make this amazing piece of content.

[bctt tweet=”I think the biggest factor in successful video content is cohesiveness of vision. @adamjdunn #VideoMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Nick: We’ve had the opportunity to work with you on some B2B marketing projects. What interests you about video marketing and where do you see it going? 

Adam: I think video marketing is intriguing, because it brings in real-life storytelling. You bring in these experts and influencers who know exactly the topics are talking about — you get to meet them and watch how passionate they are about what they’re involved in. So you get to learn this really cool stuff. 

Like, when I first started working with you guys, I didn’t know a ton about B2B marketing, but I feel like I at least have a ground framework now from getting to be around a bunch of experts and talking to influencers and stuff. So that’s what intrigues me about it from my own on my own personal level, is getting to see these people who are super passionate and know everything.

Nick: So for someone who’s in B2B marketing and interested in doing video but doesn’t have an Academy Award winning effect specialist on hand, and maybe doesn’t know where to start … 

What would be some recommendations for those with a finite budget and limited resources to create something that is high-quality and looks professional?

Adam: I would say probably the very first place to start if you’re looking to get started on doing video and you have a limited budget would be to invest as much money as you can into your kit, first and foremost, because that’s the thing you’re gonna have all the time. So your camera, the lighting gear, your microphones, those kinds of things. 

With cameras you can make a lot of really professional, nice amazing things even on an iPhone now, so for camera, you have the tools at your disposal. One of the things that trip people up in a professional environment is audio-related. It’s like if you have something like tons of hum and pops and things like that, that’s something that can trip up professionals. So getting a nice microphone is usually a good spot. 

But a really good thing just for starting, and what I say when I end up lecturing back at my old school, is always just start. Just start making things and just dip your toes in the water because you’re never going to get great without just doing. So you need to do it in the early days and you know what if maybe the early ones aren’t as great as the ones that happened later, and that’s exactly what you want.

[bctt tweet=”Just start making things and just dip your toes in the water because you’re never going to get great without just doing. @adamjdunn #VideoMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

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

The post Break Free B2B Series: Adam Dunn on Creating Blockbuster Video Content in B2B appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Interview with Adam Dunn

Break Free B2B Interview with Adam Dunn

Content has many aims. It should inform. It should assist. It should entertain.

But as B2B marketers, doesn’t it seem like if we don’t deliver on the latter – immediately, and convincingly – we don’t really get a chance to deliver on the rest? 

Given that our job is dependent on earning and keeping an audience’s attention, marketers are wise to take cues from entertainment-focused content formats like films and music videos. Even more so, we’re wise to take cues from the creators behind them. In a nutshell, that’s why Adam Dunn offers a particularly valuable perspective for people in our line of work.

As a film and video director who has worked on numerous prominent music videos and Hollywood movies — including “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”, for which he and his team won an Academy Award — Adam is fervently focused on creating content that is compelling and captivating for audiences. At TopRank Marketing, we’ve also had the opportunity to work with him on several video marketing initiatives, seeing first-hand how his expertise can take such efforts to the next level.

via GIPHY

[bctt tweet=”It’s often the thing that is imperfect that eventually becomes the thing people like the most, which is why Spiderverse became the thing that everyone loved. — @adamjdunn #VideoMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

In this edition of Break Free B2B, TopRank President Susan Misukanis and I were thrilled to sit and chat with Adam about a variety of topics pertinent to marketers today. We asked which elements of his work tend to resonate most with audiences, what his recommendations would be for budget-friendly video content, how new technologies like live-streaming and VR are coming into play, and more.

This was actually the first episode of the show that was recorded, but we decided to warm you up with some rising stars and familiar faces in the B2B space first. Today we’re excited to share this conversation and branch out to more of an outsider’s perspective. 

(Note: There were some technical difficulties with the microphone on our end. But we didn’t want to let that prevent you from hearing Adam’s awesome insights; please bear with us!)

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Adam Dunn

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 0:30 — Adam’s background
  • 2:30 — Learning from failure and setbacks
  • 4:00 — Movies and music videos Adam has worked on
  • 6:45 Does “Into the Spider-Verse” represent a new visual frontier?
  • 9:45 — Learning to speak your audience’s language
  • 11:00 — The common traits of his most well-received work
  • 13:00 — The appeal of video marketing
  • 15:45 — Tips for creating video content with a finite budget
  • 18:00 — How will Twitch and live-streaming influence the future of marketing?
  • 21:30 — What is the role of VR and where is it heading?

Nick: As you look back at some of the things you’ve worked on — I’m especially interested in the music videos where there is a lot of content, a lot of competition, hard to stand out … When you look at the ones that are the most well received, and gained the most traction, do you see any common elements that are making those resonate?

Adam: I don’t know if there’s one common through point. But I think the biggest thing from all the ones that I’ve had that are successful is cohesiveness of vision. 

So while all the videos are totally different, making sure your team is 100% on the same page when making the content is what makes the most successful stuff on my end, just because you know, there have been videos where things have been a little bit crazy and we haven’t had we’d have a ton of time to shoot or anything like that, and we had to just kind of Helter Skelter, throw it all together to make something. And it doesn’t come out nearly as cohesive as something where the whole team knows exactly where everything is going, all the pieces fit, and then you make this beautiful piece of art and everyone loves it … 

How that could translate into something like B2B would be like, when you do an explainer, making sure you have that exact A to B to C lined up, ready to go. And that way when you make the explainer, everyone knows exactly where all the pieces fit, everything looks beautiful, and you make this amazing piece of content.

[bctt tweet=”I think the biggest factor in successful video content is cohesiveness of vision. @adamjdunn #VideoMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Nick: We’ve had the opportunity to work with you on some B2B marketing projects. What interests you about video marketing and where do you see it going? 

Adam: I think video marketing is intriguing, because it brings in real-life storytelling. You bring in these experts and influencers who know exactly the topics are talking about — you get to meet them and watch how passionate they are about what they’re involved in. So you get to learn this really cool stuff. 

Like, when I first started working with you guys, I didn’t know a ton about B2B marketing, but I feel like I at least have a ground framework now from getting to be around a bunch of experts and talking to influencers and stuff. So that’s what intrigues me about it from my own on my own personal level, is getting to see these people who are super passionate and know everything.

Nick: So for someone who’s in B2B marketing and interested in doing video but doesn’t have an Academy Award winning effect specialist on hand, and maybe doesn’t know where to start … 

What would be some recommendations for those with a finite budget and limited resources to create something that is high-quality and looks professional?

Adam: I would say probably the very first place to start if you’re looking to get started on doing video and you have a limited budget would be to invest as much money as you can into your kit, first and foremost, because that’s the thing you’re gonna have all the time. So your camera, the lighting gear, your microphones, those kinds of things. 

With cameras you can make a lot of really professional, nice amazing things even on an iPhone now, so for camera, you have the tools at your disposal. One of the things that trip people up in a professional environment is audio-related. It’s like if you have something like tons of hum and pops and things like that, that’s something that can trip up professionals. So getting a nice microphone is usually a good spot. 

But a really good thing just for starting, and what I say when I end up lecturing back at my old school, is always just start. Just start making things and just dip your toes in the water because you’re never going to get great without just doing. So you need to do it in the early days and you know what if maybe the early ones aren’t as great as the ones that happened later, and that’s exactly what you want.

[bctt tweet=”Just start making things and just dip your toes in the water because you’re never going to get great without just doing. @adamjdunn #VideoMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

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

The post Break Free B2B Series: Adam Dunn on Creating Blockbuster Video Content in B2B appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

B2B Content Marketing Lessons from 2019’s Nerdy Film & TV Franchise Finales

B2B Content Marketing Lessons from Film & TV Franchise Finales

B2B Content Marketing Lessons from Film & TV Franchise Finales

2019 may be remembered as the year we reached peak nerd.

When I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, nerd culture was still underground, something for weird kids and weirder adults. Now our biggest entertainment franchises are what used to be nerd stuff: High fantasy, epic science fiction, comic book heroe,s and horror movies. 

But 2019 was the year that cracks started to show in even the most lucrative franchises. Several high-profile series came to an end — and only one of them really stuck the landing. Let us take solace in the words of Jedi Master Yoda himself:

Yoda Captioned The Greatest Teacher, Failure Is

Marketers can learn a lot from each of the year’s biggest nerdy swan songs. 

(All opinions about nerd cinema are mine and not necessarily those of TopRank Marketing. I’m sure some of us loved the “Game of Thrones” finale.)

Content Marketing Lessons from 5 of 2019’s Biggest Film and TV Franchise Finales

#1: Star Wars: Have a Plan and Stay Consistent

The first three “Star Wars” movies told a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end. The prequel series, for all its faults, did the same. But the final three movies don’t have the same consistency in narrative and purpose.

“The Force Awakens” hit the same plot beats as “A New Hope”, the 1977 original film. The sequel, “The Last Jedi”, threw away the rule book and aimed to surprise and challenge fans. Now the final entry is already being panned for returning to predictable fan service.

What happened? Disney didn’t have a plan for the entire trilogy. There was no one keeping the tone consistent across all three movies, no agreed-upon plot points or even an ending in mind. The result: A bumpy ride for the end of a 40-year franchise.

Luke Skywalker Yelling No

The B2B Content Marketing Lesson: 

Every encounter with your brand should feel like it’s part of one ongoing story. That means coordinating your content marketing strategy between departments, and within your own team. It also means starting each campaign with a shared vision, shared objectives, and common KPIs across sales and marketing.

[bctt tweet=”Every encounter with your brand should feel like it’s part of one ongoing story. @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

#2: Game of Thrones: Respect Your Audience and Don’t Rush It

The “Game of Thrones” series was a cultural phenomenon. It pulled in record numbers for HBO, inspired countless imitators, and was one of the most-watched (and pirated) series of the 2010s. It seemed impossible that the show’s creators could squander that goodwill…

Until the final season premiered. Longtime fans found the episode count reduced, the action rushed, and beloved characters reduced to caricatures. The plot seemed driven by an urge to finish up quickly than to provide a satisfactory resolution. Fans were furious, and even casual viewers could tell the difference.

Cersei Lannister with Caption Screams Internally

The B2B Content Marketing Lesson:

Don’t put expedience ahead of experience. If you’re creating content just to fill the editorial calendar or hit a deadline, your audience will sense it. And they’ll move on to content that demonstrates care and understanding, rather than content for content’s sake.

[bctt tweet=”Don’t put expedience ahead of experience. If you’re creating content just to fill the editorial calendar or hit a deadline, your audience will sense it. @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

#3: Terminator: Know Your Audience, Don’t Chase Trends

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator” franchise was unstoppable — for two blockbuster movies in the late ’80s and early ’90s.  Entries 3, 4, and 5 brought in steadily diminishing returns. 

In 2018, another decades-old franchise, “Halloween”, had a massive hit by bringing back the original cast for one more adventure. The “Terminator” series hopped on the trend, with a new installment featuring the original cast. But “Terminator: Dark Fate” bombed, with the lowest box office of the franchise so far. 

It turns out, not every beloved franchise from the ’80s and ’90s has enough audience to support a $200-million new chapter.

Terminator Gives Thumbs Up While Sinking in Molten Metal

The B2B Content Marketing Lesson: 

Are you producing content that meets a verified audience need? Does it offer the best answer to their most pressing concerns? Or is it just hopping on the next shiny trend, seeking to duplicate another brand’s success? It’s worth asking these hard questions during the planning stages.

#4: X-Men: Evolve to Stay Relevant

Director Bryan Singer invented the modern comic book movie with 2000’s “X-Men”. The entire Marvel blueprint is there: Superheroes teaming up to fight seemingly unbeatable foes, wielding amazing powers, and quippy dialog in equal proportion. 

Fast-forward 20 years, and “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” closed the franchise with a whimper, both from critics and at the box office. What happened? Well, essentially, the entire Marvel cinematic universe. 

Superhero movies evolved dramatically between 2000 and 2019. They got smarter, more engaging, better-acted and scripted, with more coherent, better-directed action sequences. “Dark Phoenix” would have been state-of-the-art in 2000, but it was jarringly unsophisticated to modern audiences.

Jean Grey Screams Stop

The B2B Content Marketing Lesson:

Best practices in marketing evolve faster than mutant DNA. Don’t rely on the same old messages in the same few channels and expect your audience to respond with enthusiasm. Keep your audience research current, explore new ways to connect creatively, and keep track of what’s state-of-the-art.

[bctt tweet=”Best practices in marketing evolve faster than mutant DNA. Don’t rely on the same old messages in the same few channels and expect your audience to respond with enthusiasm. @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

#5: Avengers: Practically Perfect in Every Way

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) features 23 movies (at last count) that represent over $20 billion in box office revenue. It’s also the most elaborate shared universe that has ever been, with characters from each standalone film crossing over for adventures across the franchise. 

“Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” wrapped up the first decade of MCU movies with nearly six hours of interstellar, dimension-hopping, time-twisting action. Both installments were beloved by fans and critics alike.

What went right? The filmmakers followed every lesson in this post:

  • They planned the whole story in advance. 
  • They kept a consistent look and feel even as individual movies varied in genre and tone. 
  • They took the time to develop plot lines across movies, without rushing resolution.
  • They delivered what the audience wanted without aping what other studios were doing.
  • They evolved over time, picking up lessons in characterization and storytelling and applying them to the final films.

The B2B Content Marketing Lesson:

In marketing, as in nerd franchises, there’s no substitute for thoughtful planning. That includes intensive audience research, strategizing and goal-setting, and continuous optimization over time. While your marketing may not have the visceral thrill of, say, Captain America swinging Thor’s hammer, it can still connect with your audience for blockbuster results.

[bctt tweet=”In marketing, as in nerd franchises, there’s no substitute for thoughtful planning. That includes intensive audience research, strategizing and goal-setting, and continuous optimization over time. @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

Captain America Swings Thor's Hammer in Avengers Endgame

Ready to rock content marketing in 2020? Check out our Content Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2020.

The post B2B Content Marketing Lessons from 2019’s Nerdy Film & TV Franchise Finales appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

B2B Content Marketing Lessons from Film & TV Franchise Finales

B2B Content Marketing Lessons from Film & TV Franchise Finales

2019 may be remembered as the year we reached peak nerd.

When I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, nerd culture was still underground, something for weird kids and weirder adults. Now our biggest entertainment franchises are what used to be nerd stuff: High fantasy, epic science fiction, comic book heroe,s and horror movies. 

But 2019 was the year that cracks started to show in even the most lucrative franchises. Several high-profile series came to an end — and only one of them really stuck the landing. Let us take solace in the words of Jedi Master Yoda himself:

Yoda Captioned The Greatest Teacher, Failure Is

Marketers can learn a lot from each of the year’s biggest nerdy swan songs. 

(All opinions about nerd cinema are mine and not necessarily those of TopRank Marketing. I’m sure some of us loved the “Game of Thrones” finale.)

Content Marketing Lessons from 5 of 2019’s Biggest Film and TV Franchise Finales

#1: Star Wars: Have a Plan and Stay Consistent

The first three “Star Wars” movies told a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end. The prequel series, for all its faults, did the same. But the final three movies don’t have the same consistency in narrative and purpose.

“The Force Awakens” hit the same plot beats as “A New Hope”, the 1977 original film. The sequel, “The Last Jedi”, threw away the rule book and aimed to surprise and challenge fans. Now the final entry is already being panned for returning to predictable fan service.

What happened? Disney didn’t have a plan for the entire trilogy. There was no one keeping the tone consistent across all three movies, no agreed-upon plot points or even an ending in mind. The result: A bumpy ride for the end of a 40-year franchise.

Luke Skywalker Yelling No

The B2B Content Marketing Lesson: 

Every encounter with your brand should feel like it’s part of one ongoing story. That means coordinating your content marketing strategy between departments, and within your own team. It also means starting each campaign with a shared vision, shared objectives, and common KPIs across sales and marketing.

[bctt tweet=”Every encounter with your brand should feel like it’s part of one ongoing story. @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

#2: Game of Thrones: Respect Your Audience and Don’t Rush It

The “Game of Thrones” series was a cultural phenomenon. It pulled in record numbers for HBO, inspired countless imitators, and was one of the most-watched (and pirated) series of the 2010s. It seemed impossible that the show’s creators could squander that goodwill…

Until the final season premiered. Longtime fans found the episode count reduced, the action rushed, and beloved characters reduced to caricatures. The plot seemed driven by an urge to finish up quickly than to provide a satisfactory resolution. Fans were furious, and even casual viewers could tell the difference.

Cersei Lannister with Caption Screams Internally

The B2B Content Marketing Lesson:

Don’t put expedience ahead of experience. If you’re creating content just to fill the editorial calendar or hit a deadline, your audience will sense it. And they’ll move on to content that demonstrates care and understanding, rather than content for content’s sake.

[bctt tweet=”Don’t put expedience ahead of experience. If you’re creating content just to fill the editorial calendar or hit a deadline, your audience will sense it. @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

#3: Terminator: Know Your Audience, Don’t Chase Trends

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator” franchise was unstoppable — for two blockbuster movies in the late ’80s and early ’90s.  Entries 3, 4, and 5 brought in steadily diminishing returns. 

In 2018, another decades-old franchise, “Halloween”, had a massive hit by bringing back the original cast for one more adventure. The “Terminator” series hopped on the trend, with a new installment featuring the original cast. But “Terminator: Dark Fate” bombed, with the lowest box office of the franchise so far. 

It turns out, not every beloved franchise from the ’80s and ’90s has enough audience to support a $200-million new chapter.

Terminator Gives Thumbs Up While Sinking in Molten Metal

The B2B Content Marketing Lesson: 

Are you producing content that meets a verified audience need? Does it offer the best answer to their most pressing concerns? Or is it just hopping on the next shiny trend, seeking to duplicate another brand’s success? It’s worth asking these hard questions during the planning stages.

#4: X-Men: Evolve to Stay Relevant

Director Bryan Singer invented the modern comic book movie with 2000’s “X-Men”. The entire Marvel blueprint is there: Superheroes teaming up to fight seemingly unbeatable foes, wielding amazing powers, and quippy dialog in equal proportion. 

Fast-forward 20 years, and “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” closed the franchise with a whimper, both from critics and at the box office. What happened? Well, essentially, the entire Marvel cinematic universe. 

Superhero movies evolved dramatically between 2000 and 2019. They got smarter, more engaging, better-acted and scripted, with more coherent, better-directed action sequences. “Dark Phoenix” would have been state-of-the-art in 2000, but it was jarringly unsophisticated to modern audiences.

Jean Grey Screams Stop

The B2B Content Marketing Lesson:

Best practices in marketing evolve faster than mutant DNA. Don’t rely on the same old messages in the same few channels and expect your audience to respond with enthusiasm. Keep your audience research current, explore new ways to connect creatively, and keep track of what’s state-of-the-art.

[bctt tweet=”Best practices in marketing evolve faster than mutant DNA. Don’t rely on the same old messages in the same few channels and expect your audience to respond with enthusiasm. @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

#5: Avengers: Practically Perfect in Every Way

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) features 23 movies (at last count) that represent over $20 billion in box office revenue. It’s also the most elaborate shared universe that has ever been, with characters from each standalone film crossing over for adventures across the franchise. 

“Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” wrapped up the first decade of MCU movies with nearly six hours of interstellar, dimension-hopping, time-twisting action. Both installments were beloved by fans and critics alike.

What went right? The filmmakers followed every lesson in this post:

  • They planned the whole story in advance. 
  • They kept a consistent look and feel even as individual movies varied in genre and tone. 
  • They took the time to develop plot lines across movies, without rushing resolution.
  • They delivered what the audience wanted without aping what other studios were doing.
  • They evolved over time, picking up lessons in characterization and storytelling and applying them to the final films.

The B2B Content Marketing Lesson:

In marketing, as in nerd franchises, there’s no substitute for thoughtful planning. That includes intensive audience research, strategizing and goal-setting, and continuous optimization over time. While your marketing may not have the visceral thrill of, say, Captain America swinging Thor’s hammer, it can still connect with your audience for blockbuster results.

[bctt tweet=”In marketing, as in nerd franchises, there’s no substitute for thoughtful planning. That includes intensive audience research, strategizing and goal-setting, and continuous optimization over time. @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

Captain America Swings Thor's Hammer in Avengers Endgame

Ready to rock content marketing in 2020? Check out our Content Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2020.

The post B2B Content Marketing Lessons from 2019’s Nerdy Film & TV Franchise Finales appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Series: Zari Venhaus on How to Scoot Your Way to Martech Transformation Through Storytelling

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Zari Venhaus

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Zari Venhaus

When it comes to securing buy-in from key stakeholders for marketing technology investments, are you preparing to deliver a pitch or to woo your audience through story?

According to Zari Venhaus, Director of Corporate Marketing Communications at Eaton, the latter is essential if you want to create understanding and gain approval from stakeholders at all levels—something she knows from experience.

“If they’re not marketers, they don’t understand what we do every day and the impact it has,” Zari told TopRank Marketing’s Susan Misukanis in a recent Break Free B2B interview. “So, we had to learn how to storytell. We had to take our roles as marketers and turn it internally and really do that for our senior leaders.”

[bctt tweet=”If they’re not marketers, they don’t understand what we do every day and the impact it has. @zvenhaus on getting stakeholder buy-in for #martech” username=”toprank”]

Zari and her team essentially developed a content marketing campaign in partnership with the IT team to weave the martech transformation story web. By doing so, Zari said that, “when we went to the CIO, it wasn’t, ‘Marketing’s coming to me with this new shiny penny.’ It was ‘Hey, our teams have worked together to build a strategy that really speaks to how we can move the business forward.’”

By making content marketing part of the internal process, there has been less pushback when it comes to resource allocation. So, while Zari claims she doesn’t have all the answers, it’s clear that she’s definitely scooting towards martech transformation. What advice and insight does she have for you? Check out the full interview below.

Break Free B2B Interview with Zari Venhaus

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

Anxious to hear where this story goes?  Use the following to flip ahead to the juicy parts.

  • 00:39 – Zari’s career journey
  • 02:52 – Setbacks in Eaton’s martech journey
  • 05:03 – The need for storytelling tailored to internal decision-makers
  • 07:30 – How to impress the CIO
  • 10:44 – Digital transformation requires a big step back and baby steps forward
  • 12:00 – Why marketing and IT need to be best buds
  • 12:47 – Winning in martech
  • 13:57 – Is the future of content marketing text, video, or audio?
  • 15:34 – Using metrics and more to show the ROI of content marketing 
  • 17:41 – Creating the infrastructure to demonstrate marketing ROI
  • 18:31 – The untapped value of customer marketing platforms
  • 20:43 – The future of martech
  • 22:25 – How can marketers ready themselves for the future?
  • 22:54 – Scooting towards inspiration
  • 23:32 – Breaking free in B2B

Susan: In terms of marketing technology buy-in, what is the journey that you have gone through?

Zari: I think one of the things that we learned really early on when it came to martech, is that we couldn’t come to our leaders and just talk about the next shiny new thing we wanted. We were starting to get no’s, and too many no’s. 

So we really had to take a step back and think more strategically about our technology stack. What I’m actually going to be speaking here at Content Marketing World about is how to build that business case for marketing technology, how to get your senior leaders to say, “Yes.”  

[bctt tweet=”We learned really early on that we couldn’t come to our leaders and just talk about the next shiny new thing we wanted… We really had to take a step back and think more strategically. @zvenhaus on #martech transformation” username=”toprank”]

And that’s a process that took us quite some time. So my hope is, I’ll be able to teach the people in the audience, how not to go through the same mistakes that we went through at Eaton.  We were picking the technology and just thinking that if we said the right thing, our leaders were going to sign off on whatever dollar amount we wanted them to sign off on. 

And that just wasn’t the case. We really had to take the steps to teach them what it was we do every day. If they’re not marketers, they don’t understand what we do every day and the impact it has. So, we had to learn how to storytell. We had to take our roles as marketers and turn it internally and really do that for our senior leaders.

Susan: You’re using content marketing internally in order to get approval on a content marketing platform? That’s great. Tell us a little bit more about that CIO approval, because I imagine a lot of marketers are dealing with this.

Zari: I see the IT space and the marketing space are starting to come together so much more—particularly when you think about martech. But you need to be able to convince your IT partners that bringing in another tool is a good thing. 

And a lot of that comes down to working on the strategy with them. So one of the things we really learned was it wasn’t enough to just be marketing coming to IT with an answer. We really needed to involve our IT partners upfront in the process. So to convince our working team, that included both marketers and IT, of the technology direction where we needed to go, and then really have them build the business case with us. 

[bctt tweet=”We learned that it was it wasn’t enough to just be marketing coming to IT with an answer. We really needed to involve our IT partners upfront in the process. @zvenhaus on partnering with IT for #martech transformation” username=”toprank”]

So that when we went to the CIO, it wasn’t, “Marketing’s coming to me with this new shiny penny.” It was “Hey, our teams have worked together to build a strategy that really speaks to how we can move the business forward.”…It’s built a really great partnership between our marketing and IT organizations, which is really exciting to see.

Susan: Where are the “wins” happening in martech? What is working really well?

Zari: There are two things that for us are starting to work really well. And, I wouldn’t say that we’re at the pinnacle of success yet—we are still very much on the journey.  

We’ve recently onboarded a new web management platform. And I think really thinking strategically about website content is really important. 

And, what are all the connections that you need to that system? … So making sure that you’ve got a website that can scale globally … How do you have one website that works globally where you can take your content, and you can translate it, and you can move it through the translation process.  You can have it accessible in any country… How you think about writing content is different. And we’re really, I think, starting to wrap our arms around that in a really exciting way.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Previous interviews include: 

The post Break Free B2B Series: Zari Venhaus on How to Scoot Your Way to Martech Transformation Through Storytelling appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Zari Venhaus

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Zari Venhaus

When it comes to securing buy-in from key stakeholders for marketing technology investments, are you preparing to deliver a pitch or to woo your audience through story?

According to Zari Venhaus, Director of Corporate Marketing Communications at Eaton, the latter is essential if you want to create understanding and gain approval from stakeholders at all levels—something she knows from experience.

“If they’re not marketers, they don’t understand what we do every day and the impact it has,” Zari told TopRank Marketing’s Susan Misukanis in a recent Break Free B2B interview. “So, we had to learn how to storytell. We had to take our roles as marketers and turn it internally and really do that for our senior leaders.”

[bctt tweet=”If they’re not marketers, they don’t understand what we do every day and the impact it has. @zvenhaus on getting stakeholder buy-in for #martech” username=”toprank”]

Zari and her team essentially developed a content marketing campaign in partnership with the IT team to weave the martech transformation story web. By doing so, Zari said that, “when we went to the CIO, it wasn’t, ‘Marketing’s coming to me with this new shiny penny.’ It was ‘Hey, our teams have worked together to build a strategy that really speaks to how we can move the business forward.’”

By making content marketing part of the internal process, there has been less pushback when it comes to resource allocation. So, while Zari claims she doesn’t have all the answers, it’s clear that she’s definitely scooting towards martech transformation. What advice and insight does she have for you? Check out the full interview below.

Break Free B2B Interview with Zari Venhaus

Anxious to hear where this story goes?  Use the following to flip ahead to the juicy parts.

  • 00:39 – Zari’s career journey
  • 02:52 – Setbacks in Eaton’s martech journey
  • 05:03 – The need for storytelling tailored to internal decision-makers
  • 07:30 – How to impress the CIO
  • 10:44 – Digital transformation requires a big step back and baby steps forward
  • 12:00 – Why marketing and IT need to be best buds
  • 12:47 – Winning in martech
  • 13:57 – Is the future of content marketing text, video, or audio?
  • 15:34 – Using metrics and more to show the ROI of content marketing 
  • 17:41 – Creating the infrastructure to demonstrate marketing ROI
  • 18:31 – The untapped value of customer marketing platforms
  • 20:43 – The future of martech
  • 22:25 – How can marketers ready themselves for the future?
  • 22:54 – Scooting towards inspiration
  • 23:32 – Breaking free in B2B

Susan: In terms of marketing technology buy-in, what is the journey that you have gone through?

Zari: I think one of the things that we learned really early on when it came to martech, is that we couldn’t come to our leaders and just talk about the next shiny new thing we wanted. We were starting to get no’s, and too many no’s. 

So we really had to take a step back and think more strategically about our technology stack. What I’m actually going to be speaking here at Content Marketing World about is how to build that business case for marketing technology, how to get your senior leaders to say, “Yes.”  

[bctt tweet=”We learned really early on that we couldn’t come to our leaders and just talk about the next shiny new thing we wanted… We really had to take a step back and think more strategically. @zvenhaus on #martech transformation” username=”toprank”]

And that’s a process that took us quite some time. So my hope is, I’ll be able to teach the people in the audience, how not to go through the same mistakes that we went through at Eaton.  We were picking the technology and just thinking that if we said the right thing, our leaders were going to sign off on whatever dollar amount we wanted them to sign off on. 

And that just wasn’t the case. We really had to take the steps to teach them what it was we do every day. If they’re not marketers, they don’t understand what we do every day and the impact it has. So, we had to learn how to storytell. We had to take our roles as marketers and turn it internally and really do that for our senior leaders.

Susan: You’re using content marketing internally in order to get approval on a content marketing platform? That’s great. Tell us a little bit more about that CIO approval, because I imagine a lot of marketers are dealing with this.

Zari: I see the IT space and the marketing space are starting to come together so much more—particularly when you think about martech. But you need to be able to convince your IT partners that bringing in another tool is a good thing. 

And a lot of that comes down to working on the strategy with them. So one of the things we really learned was it wasn’t enough to just be marketing coming to IT with an answer. We really needed to involve our IT partners upfront in the process. So to convince our working team, that included both marketers and IT, of the technology direction where we needed to go, and then really have them build the business case with us. 

[bctt tweet=”We learned that it was it wasn’t enough to just be marketing coming to IT with an answer. We really needed to involve our IT partners upfront in the process. @zvenhaus on partnering with IT for #martech transformation” username=”toprank”]

So that when we went to the CIO, it wasn’t, “Marketing’s coming to me with this new shiny penny.” It was “Hey, our teams have worked together to build a strategy that really speaks to how we can move the business forward.”…It’s built a really great partnership between our marketing and IT organizations, which is really exciting to see.

Susan: Where are the “wins” happening in martech? What is working really well?

Zari: There are two things that for us are starting to work really well. And, I wouldn’t say that we’re at the pinnacle of success yet—we are still very much on the journey.  

We’ve recently onboarded a new web management platform. And I think really thinking strategically about website content is really important. 

And, what are all the connections that you need to that system? … So making sure that you’ve got a website that can scale globally … How do you have one website that works globally where you can take your content, and you can translate it, and you can move it through the translation process.  You can have it accessible in any country… How you think about writing content is different. And we’re really, I think, starting to wrap our arms around that in a really exciting way.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Previous interviews include: 

The post Break Free B2B Series: Zari Venhaus on How to Scoot Your Way to Martech Transformation Through Storytelling appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

SEO is Not Enough: Why B2B Marketers Need to Optimize for Trust with Influence

The post SEO is Not Enough: Why B2B Marketers Need to Optimize for Trust with Influence appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The post SEO is Not Enough: Why B2B Marketers Need to Optimize for Trust with Influence appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: B2B Marketplaces Study, Instagram’s New Branded Content Rules, Influencer Honesty, & Google’s New Browse By Photo

The post Digital Marketing News: B2B Marketplaces Study, Instagram’s New Branded Content Rules, Influencer Honesty, & Google’s New Browse By Photo appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The post Digital Marketing News: B2B Marketplaces Study, Instagram’s New Branded Content Rules, Influencer Honesty, & Google’s New Browse By Photo appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Our 10 Top Social Media Marketing Posts of 2019

Top Social Media Marketing Posts of 2019 Image

Top Social Media Marketing Posts of 2019 Image

Throughout 2019 social media marketing has continued to be a source of opportunity, change, and contention in the marketing world. We’ve done our best to keep on top of many industry changes as they happen, while also offering helpful insight and research-based strategy.

We’re quite fortunate to a great group of social media marketing professionals contributing to the TopRank Marketing blog, including our CEO Lee Odden, Joshua Nite, Caitlin Burgess, Anne Leuman, and Nick Nelson, among others.

To help our blog community grow its social media marketing knowledge, we’re thrilled to offer this list of our 10 most popular social media posts of 2019.

Our Most Popular Social Media Marketing Posts in 2019:

1. Over 50 Top Social Media Marketing Blogs — Lee Odden

Social Media Marketing Blogs
The most popular social media marketing post of 2019 is by our CEO Lee Odden, with the latest version of our all-new BIGLIST, featuring over 50 social media marketing blogs to help marketers find great sources of marketing advice. From trends and strategies to tactics and analytics, the group of blogs curated in Lee’s post explore social media and marketing, including at least a few blogs that are hopefully new to you. Are you following them all? Check out all of Lee’s 2,600+ posts here, and follow him on Twitter.

2. LinkedIn’s List of 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know — Lane R. Ellis

LinkedIn’s 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know

LinkedIn* published a list of top B2B marketers, and in our second-most popular social media marketing post of the year I dug in and took a look at this group of leading industry professionals, including Ann Handley, Jay Baer, Jason Miller, and our own CEO Lee, among many more. The TopRank Marketing team was privileged to work with the LinkedIn team to identify, engage, and gather fresh insights from these bright marketing minds. Check out all of my posts here, and follow me on Twitter.

3. Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers — Nick Nelson

Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers
The third most popular social media marketing post of 2019 on our blog comes from Senior Content Strategist Nick Nelson, who shared how to use five under-the-radar LinkedIn marketing features, including:

• Robust & Simplified Audience Targeting
• Revamped Analytics
• Content Suggestions
• Site Re-Targeting
• Lead Gen Forms

Nick’s excellent post highlights some of the most useful yet overlooked features for driving results on LinkedIn. Check out all of Nick’s posts here, and follow him on Twitter.

4. 80+ New Social Media Marketing Statistics for B2B Marketers — Lane R. Ellis

80+ new SMM statistics to trick out your B2B marketing colorful maze image.

Offering up over 80 social media marketing statistics relevant to B2B marketers and featuring insight from Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Pew Research Center, SME, and other, this post by me was our fourth most popular search marketing piece of the year.

[bctt tweet=”“It’s clear that B2B social media marketing is strong and growing stronger, and it’s also apparent that direction and guidance in where to focus your B2B social efforts is needed now more than ever.” @LaneREllis” username=”toprank”]

5. Why Twitter Lists Are Still a Great Tool for B2B Marketers — Lane R. Ellis

Segments of citrus fruit image.
Our fifth most popular social post of 2019 is a look I took at why Twitter lists are still a great tool for B2B marketers, exploring how they offer many engagement, nurturing, and trust-building benefits that smart B2B marketers can’t afford to pass up.

[bctt tweet=”“When it comes to Twitter lists your own creativity and ingenuity are the only boundaries.” @LaneREllis” username=”toprank”]

6. Our Top 10 Social Media Marketing Posts of 2018 — Lane R. Ellis

Hot air balloon over field of yellow flowers image.

Our sixth most popular social media marketing post of 2019 was a look at the previous year’s top articles about the subject, each offering helpful insight and research-based strategy.

7. 5 Top B2B Brands Maximizing LinkedIn Engagement — Lane R. Ellis

Group of businesspeople image.

Showing how five top B2B brands are maximizing their LinkedIn engagement by using showcase pages, expanded group communication and more, in our seventh post popular social media post of 2019 I took a close look at how B2B companies are connecting with audiences through LinkedIn.

8. Where Do Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn Stand With B2B Video? — Nick Nelson

Social Media Video Trends for B2B
Nick earned a second entry on our most popular social media marketing list with his look at where Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn stand when it comes to B2B video.

[bctt tweet=”“Modern B2B marketers understand that the key to an effective digital content strategy is meeting customers where they’re at, and giving them what they want.” @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

9. B2B Social Media Shakeup: 4 Developments That Have Caught Our Eye — Caitlin Burgess

B2B Social Media Shakeup

Our Senior Content Marketing Manager Caitlin Burgess earned the number nine spot on our top social media marketing posts of the year list, examining a selection of the biggest changes to arrive on the social scene during the year. Following scandal, criticism, and calls for increased privacy and relevancy, Caitlin looked at how social platforms are working harder to recapture their original allure as safe communities and conversation destinations. Check out all of Caitlin’s posts here, and follow her on Twitter.

10. 5 Top B2B Brands Delivering Exemplary Twitter Engagement — Lane R. Ellis

Four happy businesspeople jumping above cityscape.

The final entry on our list of the top social media marketing posts of the years is one I wrote that details how five top B2B brands are making the most of Twitter to increase engagement. With examples implemented creatively by Adobe*, Deloitte, Dun & Bradstreet, GE, and Intel, this article looks at the wide variety of successful methods leading B2B brands are using for building a solid and sustainable Twitter brand strategy.

We can’t thank Lee, Nick, and Caitlin enough for writing and sharing these top ten social media marketing posts of 2019 — congratulations to you all on making the list!

Thanks TopRank Marketing Writers & Readers

We published dozens of articles this year specifically about social media marketing, and plan to bring you even more in 2020, so keep posted for a fresh new year of the latest helpful research and insight.

Please let us know which social media marketing topics and ideas you’d like to see us focus on for 2020 — we’d love to hear your suggestions. Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below.

Many thanks to each of you who read our blog regularly, and to all of you who comment on and share our posts on the TopRank Marketing social media channels at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

The post Our 10 Top Social Media Marketing Posts of 2019 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Top Social Media Marketing Posts of 2019 Image

Top Social Media Marketing Posts of 2019 Image

Throughout 2019 social media marketing has continued to be a source of opportunity, change, and contention in the marketing world. We’ve done our best to keep on top of many industry changes as they happen, while also offering helpful insight and research-based strategy.

We’re quite fortunate to a great group of social media marketing professionals contributing to the TopRank Marketing blog, including our CEO Lee Odden, Joshua Nite, Caitlin Burgess, Anne Leuman, and Nick Nelson, among others.

To help our blog community grow its social media marketing knowledge, we’re thrilled to offer this list of our 10 most popular social media posts of 2019.

Our Most Popular Social Media Marketing Posts in 2019:

1. Over 50 Top Social Media Marketing Blogs — Lee Odden

Social Media Marketing Blogs
The most popular social media marketing post of 2019 is by our CEO Lee Odden, with the latest version of our all-new BIGLIST, featuring over 50 social media marketing blogs to help marketers find great sources of marketing advice. From trends and strategies to tactics and analytics, the group of blogs curated in Lee’s post explore social media and marketing, including at least a few blogs that are hopefully new to you. Are you following them all? Check out all of Lee’s 2,600+ posts here, and follow him on Twitter.

2. LinkedIn’s List of 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know — Lane R. Ellis

LinkedIn’s 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know

LinkedIn* published a list of top B2B marketers, and in our second-most popular social media marketing post of the year I dug in and took a look at this group of leading industry professionals, including Ann Handley, Jay Baer, Jason Miller, and our own CEO Lee, among many more. The TopRank Marketing team was privileged to work with the LinkedIn team to identify, engage, and gather fresh insights from these bright marketing minds. Check out all of my posts here, and follow me on Twitter.

3. Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers — Nick Nelson

Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers
The third most popular social media marketing post of 2019 on our blog comes from Senior Content Strategist Nick Nelson, who shared how to use five under-the-radar LinkedIn marketing features, including:

• Robust & Simplified Audience Targeting
• Revamped Analytics
• Content Suggestions
• Site Re-Targeting
• Lead Gen Forms

Nick’s excellent post highlights some of the most useful yet overlooked features for driving results on LinkedIn. Check out all of Nick’s posts here, and follow him on Twitter.

4. 80+ New Social Media Marketing Statistics for B2B Marketers — Lane R. Ellis

80+ new SMM statistics to trick out your B2B marketing colorful maze image.

Offering up over 80 social media marketing statistics relevant to B2B marketers and featuring insight from Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Pew Research Center, SME, and other, this post by me was our fourth most popular search marketing piece of the year.

[bctt tweet=”“It’s clear that B2B social media marketing is strong and growing stronger, and it’s also apparent that direction and guidance in where to focus your B2B social efforts is needed now more than ever.” @LaneREllis” username=”toprank”]

5. Why Twitter Lists Are Still a Great Tool for B2B Marketers — Lane R. Ellis

Segments of citrus fruit image.
Our fifth most popular social post of 2019 is a look I took at why Twitter lists are still a great tool for B2B marketers, exploring how they offer many engagement, nurturing, and trust-building benefits that smart B2B marketers can’t afford to pass up.

[bctt tweet=”“When it comes to Twitter lists your own creativity and ingenuity are the only boundaries.” @LaneREllis” username=”toprank”]

6. Our Top 10 Social Media Marketing Posts of 2018 — Lane R. Ellis

Hot air balloon over field of yellow flowers image.

Our sixth most popular social media marketing post of 2019 was a look at the previous year’s top articles about the subject, each offering helpful insight and research-based strategy.

7. 5 Top B2B Brands Maximizing LinkedIn Engagement — Lane R. Ellis

Group of businesspeople image.

Showing how five top B2B brands are maximizing their LinkedIn engagement by using showcase pages, expanded group communication and more, in our seventh post popular social media post of 2019 I took a close look at how B2B companies are connecting with audiences through LinkedIn.

8. Where Do Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn Stand With B2B Video? — Nick Nelson

Social Media Video Trends for B2B
Nick earned a second entry on our most popular social media marketing list with his look at where Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn stand when it comes to B2B video.

[bctt tweet=”“Modern B2B marketers understand that the key to an effective digital content strategy is meeting customers where they’re at, and giving them what they want.” @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

9. B2B Social Media Shakeup: 4 Developments That Have Caught Our Eye — Caitlin Burgess

B2B Social Media Shakeup

Our Senior Content Marketing Manager Caitlin Burgess earned the number nine spot on our top social media marketing posts of the year list, examining a selection of the biggest changes to arrive on the social scene during the year. Following scandal, criticism, and calls for increased privacy and relevancy, Caitlin looked at how social platforms are working harder to recapture their original allure as safe communities and conversation destinations. Check out all of Caitlin’s posts here, and follow her on Twitter.

10. 5 Top B2B Brands Delivering Exemplary Twitter Engagement — Lane R. Ellis

Four happy businesspeople jumping above cityscape.

The final entry on our list of the top social media marketing posts of the years is one I wrote that details how five top B2B brands are making the most of Twitter to increase engagement. With examples implemented creatively by Adobe*, Deloitte, Dun & Bradstreet, GE, and Intel, this article looks at the wide variety of successful methods leading B2B brands are using for building a solid and sustainable Twitter brand strategy.

We can’t thank Lee, Nick, and Caitlin enough for writing and sharing these top ten social media marketing posts of 2019 — congratulations to you all on making the list!

Thanks TopRank Marketing Writers & Readers

We published dozens of articles this year specifically about social media marketing, and plan to bring you even more in 2020, so keep posted for a fresh new year of the latest helpful research and insight.

Please let us know which social media marketing topics and ideas you’d like to see us focus on for 2020 — we’d love to hear your suggestions. Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below.

Many thanks to each of you who read our blog regularly, and to all of you who comment on and share our posts on the TopRank Marketing social media channels at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

The post Our 10 Top Social Media Marketing Posts of 2019 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

B2B Marketing In 2019 — The Year In Review

2019 The Year in Review Image

2019 The Year in Review Image

 

As we begin the new year of 2020 filled with fresh opportunity and promise, it’s a great time to rewind and learn from some of the biggest news items in B2B digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, and influencer marketing over the past year.

Let’s take a look back at what the year gone by has gifted us, from opportunities to challenges, and see what lessons it can teach us as we move ahead in 2020.

First Quarter 2019

During the first quarter of 2019 the digital marketing industry experienced a number of newsworthy shifts—from a big Google algorithm update in March to a host of new targeting and advertising features across several platforms.

The Digital Marketing Sights and Sounds of Q1

When It Comes to Digital Marketing Spend …

CMOs continued to diversify their budgets to adapt to new trends, taking advantage of opportunities, and overcoming challenges. According to Forrester, CMOs will spend nearly $150 billion by 2023 on search marketing, banner and outstream advertising, instream advertising, and email marketing in the United States. However:

  • Paid search was expected to lose share to shopping and voice search;
  • Programmatic banner buys were expected to retrench;
  • Email was expected to continue to woo B2B adopters.

 

via GIPHY

What Else?

  • As the B2B buyer’s journey  has become increasingly similar to that of its B2C counterpart, the B2B e-commerce market has expanded rapidly—and was expected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023. (Demand Gen Report)
  • B2B brands felt the pressure to take a stand on values, with study data showing that 8 in 10 business leaders would end a business relationship based on a vendor’s failure to address high-stakes communications like data security. (Marketing Dive)

When It Comes to Search Marketing …

While each year Google always draws plenty of news coverage, it’s big Q1 core update was a major attention grabber. According to Search Engine Journal, it was “one of the biggest updates in years,” focused not on any particular signal or niche, but on making substatial overall improvements.

Mobile web traffic dominated the search landscape, with Google releasing its first mobile-first indexing update and indicating that mobile-first will be an ongoing focus.

Beyond the search implications, mobile continues to be essential when it comes to connecting and creating amazing experiences. According to  Adobe’s* survey of 1,000 adult smartphone owners:

  • 89% of respondents agreed strongly that they need a device while on the go, while one-fifth of respondents said that they cannot live without their devices.
  • 50% of respondents said the ad offers they receive are just “OK.”
  • Less than 20% of respondents said the offers they receive are relevant.

This trend showed that creating quality experiences — across platforms and devices — has continued to grow in importance, even for B2B marketers, and is not just a passing fad.

[bctt tweet=”Creating quality experiences—across platforms and devices—is only growing in importance, even for B2B marketers. @CaitlinMBurgess” username=”toprank”]

When It Comes to Content Marketing …

Content continued to be the beating heart of digital marketing strategies. And during Q1 Backlinko, with the help of their data partner BuzzSumo, analyzed 912 million blog posts to understand the state of content marketing, finding:

  • Long-form content got an average of 77.2% more links than short articles.
  • When it comes to social shares, longer content outperformed short blog posts. However, for articles that exceed 2,000 words, return diminishes.
  • Question headlines got 23.3% more social shares than headlines that don’t end with a question mark.
  • “Why” and “what” posts, as well as infographics, received 25.8% more links compared to videos and “How-to” posts.

This served to reinforce the core principle of our approach to content marketing: Striving to be the best answer.

[bctt tweet=”Your customers, prospects, and target audience are searching for answers—the best answers. This requires a thoughtful narrative, not just all the words. @CaitlinMBurgess” username=”toprank”]

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Social Media …

Facebook confirmed in Q1 that it was testing a new feature that would let Pages archive and share Stories.

This allowed users to help expand the organic reach of a brand’s content beyond its followers, according to Search Engine Land.

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Influencer Marketing …

Adoption of B2B influencer marketing continued to rise in Q1 of 2019. From enhancing trust and credibility to reaching new audiences, more B2B brands began to understand the many benefits of forming mutually-beneficial partnerships with influential voices.

During Q1 TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden outlined five B2B influencer marketing trends marketers need to pay attention to — trends that largely proved to ring true throughout the year, and which will likely also continue now that 2020 has begun:

  • Micro and Macro Influencers. A lot of marketing press has emphasized micro or even “nano” influencers over celebrities. There’s merit to that. But successful programs map the right “big and small” influencers to the right content within the buying journey.
  • Centralizing Influencer Operations. Disparate processes and lack of coordination can create real problems. But centralizing influencer marketing operations can create opportunities across organizations.
  • Always-On Influencer Engagement. Early on, many B2B brands are campaign-focused when working with influencers. But more advanced marketers and brands are focused on developing relationships and fostering advocacy with influencer partners on an ongoing basis.
  • Focus on Quality vs. Quantity Metrics. From influencer identification to brand vs. popularity, there’s a big shift happening in the way qualitative metrics are used.
  • Influencer Marketing Software Investment. As organizations begin to implement influencer marketing initiatives across departments and businesses, coordination in identification, engagement, and measurement needs to be a priority. And specialized platforms can help.

When It Comes to The TopRank Marketing Team …

Q1 was a busy time for as,  with some of the team’s highlights being:

Q1 also saw the addition of a special new member to our team: Laser Bear.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMHSu-SYo8E[/embed]

Get to know him more by checking out Lee’s post dedicated to “Breaking Free of Boring B2B.”

Second Quarter 2019

The second quarter of 2019 was filled with many important B2B marketing changes and several unexpected twists and turns that combined to affect how the industry moved forward.

We’re always working to bring you the most relevant B2B marketing news, including weekly industry news videos from Tiffani Allen and Joshua Nite here on our blog and on our TopRank Marketing YouTube channel, so if you haven’t yet tuned in, be sure to make it a part of your 2020 B2B marketing efforts.

The Digital Marketing Sights and Sounds of Q2

When It Comes to Digital Marketing Spending …

Forecasts from the quarter showed that global digital advertising spending was expected to climb over the next four years, including a prediction from Juniper Research that spending will reach $520 billion by 2023, and that:

  • Spending will increase significantly from 2019’s $294 billion
  • Amazon’s share is projected to hit 8% — up from 2018’s 3%
  • Google’s digital ad revenue is expected to top $230 billion by 2023

via GIPHY

What Else?

    • 63% of B2B companies planned to raise spending on email marketing, with top goals being increased engagement, conversion, and lead generation, according to survey data released during Q2. (MediaPost)
    • Digital video advertising spend has seen continued growth according to IAB study data, with the average survey advertiser projected to spend $18 million in 2019, up from 2018’s $14.2 million. (Adweek)
    •  Q2 Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report showed that 2018 was the first year U.S. digital advertising earnings topped the $100 billion mark, hitting $107.5 billion, up from 2017’s $88.3 billion, led primarily by the strength of mobile and video. Users also spent 22% more time on social media properties in 2018 than during 2017, the report detailed. (Adweek)
    • Social media advertising spending has risen 27% year-over-year, topped by a 44% increase for video ads, with accompanying impressions also up 20%. (ClickZ)
    • The highly-anticipated Internet Trends report for 2019 was released at the end of Q2, including digital spending data of interest to digital marketers, and we took an in-depth look at the report during the quarter.

Meeker Media Time

  • Digital ad sales were expected to grow by 14% in 2019, according to additional forecast data. (AdAge)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Search Marketing …

Q2 2019 saw Google launch a search update focused on domain diversity, by having fewer first-page results that come from the same domain, and the search giant also rolled out several other changes including:

via GIPHY

What Else?

  • Q2 also saw Google rolling out automatic transcription to certain podcasts on its Google Podcasts app. (Search Engine Land)
  • Google’s annual Q2 Marketing Live event saw the firm announce expanded mobile-first native ads that display in a more visually-rich view across multiple Google feed environments, along with mobile-only gallery ads and several other features of interest to online marketers. (Search Engine Land)
  • 20% of Android Google App searches came from voice, and SEMrush looked at ranking factors including the importance of first-page placement and other facets of voice search. (SEMrush)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Content Marketing …

The end of Q2 saw content marketers get new data on the optimal times for publishing content on various social media platforms. Sprout Social updated its best-times-to-post study, showing that:

  • Facebook content posted on Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. has the greatest engagement
  • Instagram also shows Wednesday as the top day, along with Fridays between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
  • Twitter posts have the greatest success when made on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • *LinkedIn posts were seen to get the highest engagement on Wednesdays between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.

via GIPHY

What Else?

  • Instagram started offering a branded content ad option that allowed organic branded content feed posts from creators. The new ads contained “Paid Partnership,” and were part of Instagram’s efforts at increased ad transparency. (Adweek)
  • Q2 saw the release of Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer report, showing that 75% of consumers now value trust over trendiness, along with a wide swatch of other digital marketing insights. (AdAge)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Social Media …

Several Q2 2019 reports pointed to social media usage remaining mostly unchanged, while the way people use social platforms shifted, offering digital marketers new opportunities as well as some additional new hurdles to conquer.

  • Instagram was the only major social media platform to see an significant increase in usage among U.S. adults since early 2018 according to Q2 Pew Research survey data. (Pew Research Center)
  • The Q2 Edison Research and Triton Digital Social Habit study showed largely unchanged social media usage over the past four years. (Convince and Convert)
  • 2019 was forecast to be the first year during which more people — 51.7% — use social media platforms from mobile devices than from computers. (eMarketer)

via GIPHY

What Else?

  • Facebook advertisers and users of the firm’s Business Manager platform got new layout changes and features, including streamlined Ads Manager navigation and tools to improve new client on-boarding. (Marketing Land)
  • LinkedIn saw revenue growth of 27% for FY19 Q3, a 24% increase in on-platform sessions, and record engagement and job posting levels. (Social Media Today)
  • U.S. adults were using Instagram more than ever, at an average of 27 minutes daily, and expected to increase into 2020, while Facebook and Snapchat both saw drops in the average number of minutes of use per day. (eMarketer)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Influencer Marketing …

Implementation of B2B influencer marketing continued to expand during Q2 2019, when our CEO Lee Odden examined this growth and shared 7 Top B2B Influencer Marketing Trends for 2020, including:

  • Increased use of AI
  • Democratized Influence
  • Brandividal Media
  • More Engaging Content Formats
  • Influencer Tech Integration with other Martech
  • Consumerization of B2B Influencers and Content
  • Influencer Experience Management

What Else?

  • Influencer marketing saw success in numerous industries. (MarTech Advisor)
  • Influencer marketing was seen as poised to top the $10 billion mark by 2022, including a 1,500% increase in searches for information about influencer marketing over the past three years. (Social Media Today)
  • Instagram first tested the elimination of likes and follower counts as a possible method for driving more focus to content, in a trend that continued throughout 2019 and which is becoming the new normal in 2020 for some platforms. (Marketing Land)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to The TopRank Marketing Team …

Some of our team’s highlights in the press during Q2 included:

  • Marketing Influencers: Our 2019 Top 30 (ExoB2B)
  • Modern Marketing Influencer Series: Key Ingredients of a Great Content Marketing Strategy for 2019 (Oracle Modern Marketing Blog) (client)
  • An Undervalued Work Management Strategy: Listening (Workfront)
  • B2B Lead Generation Ideas: A Full-course Content Planning Dinner (DivvyHQ)
  • Learn How To Solve The Experience Equation With The Right Technology And The Right Strategy (Digitalist Magazine)
  • Influencer Marketing Trends for 2019 – A live interview with TopRank’s Lee Odden (Rival IQ)
  • A Sophisticated Marketer’s Perspective: Lee Odden on Ruling the Content Kingdom (LinkedIn)

Third  & Fourth Quarters of 2019

Q3 and Q4 2019 were also filled with plenty of significant B2B marketing changes, with some of the quarter’s key shifts shown below.

The Digital Marketing Sights and Sounds of Q3 & Q4

When It Comes to Digital Marketing Spending …

Forecasts from the third quarter showed that global digital advertising spending was expected to continue to rise, and in the U.S. alone digital ad spending grew to $28.4 billion for the first quarter, up 18 percent year-over-year. (ClickZ)

IAB 2019 Ad Spend Chart Image

What Else?

    • Digital advertising spending was up nearly 20 percent during the quarter. (Broadcasting & Cable)
    • Digital advertising expenditures in the U.S. increased by 18 percent. (ClickZ)
    • By 2021 global digital advertising spending was predicted to increase by 47 percent from 2019, with ad expenditure growth up by 5.3 percent. (MarketingProfs)
    • Amazon cut into Google’s advertising market share, garnering ad revenue growth of 53 percent for sponsored brands and 102 percent for sponsored products. (MediaPost)
    • Revenues from advertising on social media and messaging platforms climbed 26.2 percent year-over-year. (Mobile Marketing Magazine)
    • 73 percent of B2B senior-level executives said that they used more sources when researching and evaluating purchases than they did last year. (MarketingCharts)
    • By 2021 podcast advertising was expected to top $1 billion in annual revenue, IAB predicted. (The Verge)
    • 63% of B2B companies planned to moderately raise spending on email marketing, with top goals being increased engagement, conversion, and lead generation. (MediaPost)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Search Marketing …

Q3 2019 saw the release of data showing that for the first time most Google searches don’t yield subsequent clicks, with 50.33 percent ending on the search giant’s result page, and 45.25 percent of searches resulting in organic clicks and 4.42 percent in paid advertisement clicks. (SparkToro)

2019 September 20 MarketingCharts Chart

What Else?

  • Google gave content creators the ability to incorporate multiple thumbnail images from the same video, which will all appear in search results linked to various spots within a video. (TechCrunch)
  • Audience targeting was the top search marketing technology affecting search engine marketing strategy — at 86 percent, audience targeting topped keywords, which came in at 83 percent, and re-marketing, which had 76 percent. (MarketingCharts)
  • Google rolled out playable podcast episodes that appear directly in search results. (Engadget)
  • Facebook began offering more advertisers options for inserting ads within search results on its platform. (Search Engine Journal)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Content Marketing …

During the third quarter of 2019 report data showed that B2B marketers saw in-person events, content marketing, traditional e-mail, and paid social as the most effective B2B marketing channels. (MarketingCharts)

2019 August 16 Marketing Charts Chart

What Else?

  • Facebook began testing the elimination of “like” counts in news-feed posts. (TechCrunch)
  • Among senior B2B marketers, a sizable 82 percent viewed content as important for achieving marketing goals. (ClickZ)
  • 80 percent of B2B buyers expected more B2C-like experiences. (Webbiquity)
  • B2B marketers saw their websites as an effective method for building awareness, however the sites often fail to offer compelling content and directly answer top questions, according to Q3 research from Forrester. (MediaPost)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Social Media …

Q3 and Q4 saw a number of reports that detailed the health of social media and how marketers, brands, and consumers have used various platforms.

Liking posts topped a Q3 list of how people interact with brands on social media platforms, at 51 percent, followed by 31 percent who leave reviews, while millennials were more likely to purchase due to social ads. (Social Media Today)

2019 August 9 Marketing Charts Chart

What Else?

  • Consumer conversations about brands shared very little crossover from social media listening and offline discussion. (Marketing Land)
  • 60 percent of regular emoji users like brands using emojis that match their own personality, and some 51 percent are more likely to comment on social media posts from brands that use emojis. (MarketingCharts)
  • 56 percent of Gen X consumers find too much advertising on social platforms. (eMarketer)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Influencer Marketing …

B2B influencer marketing continued its growth during Q3 and Q4, and influencer advertisements were seen to have generated 277 percent more emotional intensity and 87 percent more memory encoding than traditional television ads. (eMarketer)

2019 July 12 SmallBizGenius Chart

What Else?

  • Global spending for influencer marketing was predicted to top $5 billion and could reach as high as $10 billion over the next two years. (Social Media Today)
  • Influencer marketing spending in the U.S. and Canada saw 83 percent year-over-year growth. (The Drum)
  • 70 percent of U.S. consumers who use social media platforms and follow at least one influencer said that they trust the opinions of influencers at least as much as those of their own friends, with 78 percent trusting influencer opinions over those presented in traditional digital ads. (MediaPost)
  • Micro and niche-influencers were forging stronger target audience connections and boosting long-term loyalty. (eMarketer)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to The TopRank Marketing Team …

Q3 and Q4 saw the team at TopRank Marketing continuing a busy and productive year, with some press highlights during this time including:

  • Lee Odden: “B2B Doesn’t Have To Mean Boring To Boring” [Podcast] (B2B Marketing Exchange)
  • Why Experience Matters [Video] (The New Economy)
  • Eight Colors That Will Brightly Grow Your Personal Brand (Forbes)
  • What Customer Experience Management Means For Today’s Business Ecosystem [Video] (Adobe Experience Cloud)
  • How To Build A B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy For 2020 (Demand Gen Report)
  • How to Build a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy for 2020 [Infographic] (Social Media Today)
  • The Stranger Things In B2B Marketing: 5 Ways to Avoid The Upside-Down of ABM (Engagio)
  • Augmented And Virtual Reality: The Latest Engagement Drivers In B2B Marketing (Demand Gen Report)
  • The Guide to B2B Influencer Marketing for CMOs [Infographic] (Social Media Today)
  • A Shark’s Perspective – Episode 147 – Lee Odden [Podcast] (A Shark’s Perspective)
  • 5 Crucial Ingredients for a Tremendous Content Marketing Strategy [Infographic] (Social Media Today)
  • 5 Easy Ways Your Brand Can Use Twitter Video for More Engagement (Social Report)
  • The Top B2B Influencer Marketing Trends for 2020 [Infographic] (Social Media Today)

Goodbye, 2019. Hello and Welcome, 2020.

B2B marketers, we hope that your 2020 is filled to the brim with digital marketing success and innovation, and as a bonus list to help you get the most of the year, here are the top 25 posts we’ve published during that past year, each offering plenty of insight and numerous industry innovators to learn from and follow going forward:

  1. The Top 50 Social Media Marketing Influencers in 2019 by Lane R. Ellis
  2. BIGLIST of 50 Top Marketing Blogs for 2019 – Martech Edition by Lee Odden
  3. 7 Top B2B Influencer Marketing Trends for 2020 by Lee Odden
  4. Explore, Experience, Engage: 6 Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2019 by Lee Odden
  5. Top Marketing Resources for CMOs in 2019 by Lee Odden
  6. Over 50 Top Social Media Marketing Blogs by Lee Odden
  7. Dare to Be Different: 5 Fresh Examples of Innovative B2B Content Marketing by Lane R. Ellis
  8. 10 Free Online Courses to Optimize Your Marketing Skills by Lane R. Ellis
  9. Take 2019 By Storm: Get Inspired By These 11 Content Marketing Quotes by Anne Leuman
  10. 50 Content Marketing Influencers and Experts to Follow 2019 #CMWorld by Lane R. Ellis
  11. Setting Your Sights on 2020: How to Brew a Forward-Thinking Marketing Strategy by Elizabeth Williams
  12. LinkedIn’s List of 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know by Lane R. Ellis
  13. 5 B2B Brands Delivering Great Customer Experiences by Lane R. Ellis
  14. B2B Marketing Examples: 7 Bold Examples of Interactive B2B Content by Joshua Nite
  15. The B2B Marketing Funnel is Dead: Say Hello to the Trust Funnel by Nick Nelson
  16. Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers by Nick Nelson
  17. 50 Top B2B Marketing Influencers, Experts and Speakers in 2019 by Lee Odden
  18. Around the World in 50 Captivating Digital Marketing Statistics by Lane R. Ellis
  19. 5 Content Promotion Tactics To Make You (Almost) Famous by Lane R. Ellis
  20. 5 Examples of Remarkable Content Marketing in Action by Lane R. Ellis
  21. Key B2B Takeaways From the 2019 Internet Trends Report by Lane R. Ellis
  22. 20 Podcasts To Elevate Your B2B Marketing by Lane R. Ellis
  23. Break Free of Boring B2B with Interactive Influencer Content by Lee Odden
  24. 80+ New Social Media Marketing Statistics for B2B Marketers by Lane R. Ellis
  25. Wow Your Crowd: How Content Marketers Can Create Powerful Audience Connections by Nick Nelson

2020 sees an increasingly tricky and quickly-changing landscape for marketers, requiring expertise, dedication, and time — leading some to hire a professional B2B marketing agency like TopRank Marketing, which had the honor of being named by Forrester as the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in its “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America, Q1 2019” report.”

*Disclosure: LinkedIn and Adobe are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post B2B Marketing In 2019 — The Year In Review appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

2019 The Year in Review Image

2019 The Year in Review Image

 

As we begin the new year of 2020 filled with fresh opportunity and promise, it’s a great time to rewind and learn from some of the biggest news items in B2B digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, and influencer marketing over the past year.

Let’s take a look back at what the year gone by has gifted us, from opportunities to challenges, and see what lessons it can teach us as we move ahead in 2020.

First Quarter 2019

During the first quarter of 2019 the digital marketing industry experienced a number of newsworthy shifts—from a big Google algorithm update in March to a host of new targeting and advertising features across several platforms.

The Digital Marketing Sights and Sounds of Q1

When It Comes to Digital Marketing Spend …

CMOs continued to diversify their budgets to adapt to new trends, taking advantage of opportunities, and overcoming challenges. According to Forrester, CMOs will spend nearly $150 billion by 2023 on search marketing, banner and outstream advertising, instream advertising, and email marketing in the United States. However:

  • Paid search was expected to lose share to shopping and voice search;
  • Programmatic banner buys were expected to retrench;
  • Email was expected to continue to woo B2B adopters.

 

via GIPHY

What Else?

  • As the B2B buyer’s journey  has become increasingly similar to that of its B2C counterpart, the B2B e-commerce market has expanded rapidly—and was expected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023. (Demand Gen Report)
  • B2B brands felt the pressure to take a stand on values, with study data showing that 8 in 10 business leaders would end a business relationship based on a vendor’s failure to address high-stakes communications like data security. (Marketing Dive)

When It Comes to Search Marketing …

While each year Google always draws plenty of news coverage, it’s big Q1 core update was a major attention grabber. According to Search Engine Journal, it was “one of the biggest updates in years,” focused not on any particular signal or niche, but on making substatial overall improvements.

Mobile web traffic dominated the search landscape, with Google releasing its first mobile-first indexing update and indicating that mobile-first will be an ongoing focus.

Beyond the search implications, mobile continues to be essential when it comes to connecting and creating amazing experiences. According to  Adobe’s* survey of 1,000 adult smartphone owners:

  • 89% of respondents agreed strongly that they need a device while on the go, while one-fifth of respondents said that they cannot live without their devices.
  • 50% of respondents said the ad offers they receive are just “OK.”
  • Less than 20% of respondents said the offers they receive are relevant.

This trend showed that creating quality experiences — across platforms and devices — has continued to grow in importance, even for B2B marketers, and is not just a passing fad.

[bctt tweet=”Creating quality experiences—across platforms and devices—is only growing in importance, even for B2B marketers. @CaitlinMBurgess” username=”toprank”]

When It Comes to Content Marketing …

Content continued to be the beating heart of digital marketing strategies. And during Q1 Backlinko, with the help of their data partner BuzzSumo, analyzed 912 million blog posts to understand the state of content marketing, finding:

  • Long-form content got an average of 77.2% more links than short articles.
  • When it comes to social shares, longer content outperformed short blog posts. However, for articles that exceed 2,000 words, return diminishes.
  • Question headlines got 23.3% more social shares than headlines that don’t end with a question mark.
  • “Why” and “what” posts, as well as infographics, received 25.8% more links compared to videos and “How-to” posts.

This served to reinforce the core principle of our approach to content marketing: Striving to be the best answer.

[bctt tweet=”Your customers, prospects, and target audience are searching for answers—the best answers. This requires a thoughtful narrative, not just all the words. @CaitlinMBurgess” username=”toprank”]

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Social Media …

Facebook confirmed in Q1 that it was testing a new feature that would let Pages archive and share Stories.

This allowed users to help expand the organic reach of a brand’s content beyond its followers, according to Search Engine Land.

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Influencer Marketing …

Adoption of B2B influencer marketing continued to rise in Q1 of 2019. From enhancing trust and credibility to reaching new audiences, more B2B brands began to understand the many benefits of forming mutually-beneficial partnerships with influential voices.

During Q1 TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden outlined five B2B influencer marketing trends marketers need to pay attention to — trends that largely proved to ring true throughout the year, and which will likely also continue now that 2020 has begun:

  • Micro and Macro Influencers. A lot of marketing press has emphasized micro or even “nano” influencers over celebrities. There’s merit to that. But successful programs map the right “big and small” influencers to the right content within the buying journey.
  • Centralizing Influencer Operations. Disparate processes and lack of coordination can create real problems. But centralizing influencer marketing operations can create opportunities across organizations.
  • Always-On Influencer Engagement. Early on, many B2B brands are campaign-focused when working with influencers. But more advanced marketers and brands are focused on developing relationships and fostering advocacy with influencer partners on an ongoing basis.
  • Focus on Quality vs. Quantity Metrics. From influencer identification to brand vs. popularity, there’s a big shift happening in the way qualitative metrics are used.
  • Influencer Marketing Software Investment. As organizations begin to implement influencer marketing initiatives across departments and businesses, coordination in identification, engagement, and measurement needs to be a priority. And specialized platforms can help.

When It Comes to The TopRank Marketing Team …

Q1 was a busy time for as,  with some of the team’s highlights being:

Q1 also saw the addition of a special new member to our team: Laser Bear.

Get to know him more by checking out Lee’s post dedicated to “Breaking Free of Boring B2B.”

Second Quarter 2019

The second quarter of 2019 was filled with many important B2B marketing changes and several unexpected twists and turns that combined to affect how the industry moved forward.

We’re always working to bring you the most relevant B2B marketing news, including weekly industry news videos from Tiffani Allen and Joshua Nite here on our blog and on our TopRank Marketing YouTube channel, so if you haven’t yet tuned in, be sure to make it a part of your 2020 B2B marketing efforts.

The Digital Marketing Sights and Sounds of Q2

When It Comes to Digital Marketing Spending …

Forecasts from the quarter showed that global digital advertising spending was expected to climb over the next four years, including a prediction from Juniper Research that spending will reach $520 billion by 2023, and that:

  • Spending will increase significantly from 2019’s $294 billion
  • Amazon’s share is projected to hit 8% — up from 2018’s 3%
  • Google’s digital ad revenue is expected to top $230 billion by 2023

via GIPHY

What Else?

    • 63% of B2B companies planned to raise spending on email marketing, with top goals being increased engagement, conversion, and lead generation, according to survey data released during Q2. (MediaPost)
    • Digital video advertising spend has seen continued growth according to IAB study data, with the average survey advertiser projected to spend $18 million in 2019, up from 2018’s $14.2 million. (Adweek)
    •  Q2 Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report showed that 2018 was the first year U.S. digital advertising earnings topped the $100 billion mark, hitting $107.5 billion, up from 2017’s $88.3 billion, led primarily by the strength of mobile and video. Users also spent 22% more time on social media properties in 2018 than during 2017, the report detailed. (Adweek)
    • Social media advertising spending has risen 27% year-over-year, topped by a 44% increase for video ads, with accompanying impressions also up 20%. (ClickZ)
    • The highly-anticipated Internet Trends report for 2019 was released at the end of Q2, including digital spending data of interest to digital marketers, and we took an in-depth look at the report during the quarter.

Meeker Media Time

  • Digital ad sales were expected to grow by 14% in 2019, according to additional forecast data. (AdAge)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Search Marketing …

Q2 2019 saw Google launch a search update focused on domain diversity, by having fewer first-page results that come from the same domain, and the search giant also rolled out several other changes including:

via GIPHY

What Else?

  • Q2 also saw Google rolling out automatic transcription to certain podcasts on its Google Podcasts app. (Search Engine Land)
  • Google’s annual Q2 Marketing Live event saw the firm announce expanded mobile-first native ads that display in a more visually-rich view across multiple Google feed environments, along with mobile-only gallery ads and several other features of interest to online marketers. (Search Engine Land)
  • 20% of Android Google App searches came from voice, and SEMrush looked at ranking factors including the importance of first-page placement and other facets of voice search. (SEMrush)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Content Marketing …

The end of Q2 saw content marketers get new data on the optimal times for publishing content on various social media platforms. Sprout Social updated its best-times-to-post study, showing that:

  • Facebook content posted on Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. has the greatest engagement
  • Instagram also shows Wednesday as the top day, along with Fridays between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
  • Twitter posts have the greatest success when made on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • *LinkedIn posts were seen to get the highest engagement on Wednesdays between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.

via GIPHY

What Else?

  • Instagram started offering a branded content ad option that allowed organic branded content feed posts from creators. The new ads contained “Paid Partnership,” and were part of Instagram’s efforts at increased ad transparency. (Adweek)
  • Q2 saw the release of Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer report, showing that 75% of consumers now value trust over trendiness, along with a wide swatch of other digital marketing insights. (AdAge)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Social Media …

Several Q2 2019 reports pointed to social media usage remaining mostly unchanged, while the way people use social platforms shifted, offering digital marketers new opportunities as well as some additional new hurdles to conquer.

  • Instagram was the only major social media platform to see an significant increase in usage among U.S. adults since early 2018 according to Q2 Pew Research survey data. (Pew Research Center)
  • The Q2 Edison Research and Triton Digital Social Habit study showed largely unchanged social media usage over the past four years. (Convince and Convert)
  • 2019 was forecast to be the first year during which more people — 51.7% — use social media platforms from mobile devices than from computers. (eMarketer)

via GIPHY

What Else?

  • Facebook advertisers and users of the firm’s Business Manager platform got new layout changes and features, including streamlined Ads Manager navigation and tools to improve new client on-boarding. (Marketing Land)
  • LinkedIn saw revenue growth of 27% for FY19 Q3, a 24% increase in on-platform sessions, and record engagement and job posting levels. (Social Media Today)
  • U.S. adults were using Instagram more than ever, at an average of 27 minutes daily, and expected to increase into 2020, while Facebook and Snapchat both saw drops in the average number of minutes of use per day. (eMarketer)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Influencer Marketing …

Implementation of B2B influencer marketing continued to expand during Q2 2019, when our CEO Lee Odden examined this growth and shared 7 Top B2B Influencer Marketing Trends for 2020, including:

  • Increased use of AI
  • Democratized Influence
  • Brandividal Media
  • More Engaging Content Formats
  • Influencer Tech Integration with other Martech
  • Consumerization of B2B Influencers and Content
  • Influencer Experience Management

What Else?

  • Influencer marketing saw success in numerous industries. (MarTech Advisor)
  • Influencer marketing was seen as poised to top the $10 billion mark by 2022, including a 1,500% increase in searches for information about influencer marketing over the past three years. (Social Media Today)
  • Instagram first tested the elimination of likes and follower counts as a possible method for driving more focus to content, in a trend that continued throughout 2019 and which is becoming the new normal in 2020 for some platforms. (Marketing Land)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to The TopRank Marketing Team …

Some of our team’s highlights in the press during Q2 included:

  • Marketing Influencers: Our 2019 Top 30 (ExoB2B)
  • Modern Marketing Influencer Series: Key Ingredients of a Great Content Marketing Strategy for 2019 (Oracle Modern Marketing Blog) (client)
  • An Undervalued Work Management Strategy: Listening (Workfront)
  • B2B Lead Generation Ideas: A Full-course Content Planning Dinner (DivvyHQ)
  • Learn How To Solve The Experience Equation With The Right Technology And The Right Strategy (Digitalist Magazine)
  • Influencer Marketing Trends for 2019 – A live interview with TopRank’s Lee Odden (Rival IQ)
  • A Sophisticated Marketer’s Perspective: Lee Odden on Ruling the Content Kingdom (LinkedIn)

Third  & Fourth Quarters of 2019

Q3 and Q4 2019 were also filled with plenty of significant B2B marketing changes, with some of the quarter’s key shifts shown below.

The Digital Marketing Sights and Sounds of Q3 & Q4

When It Comes to Digital Marketing Spending …

Forecasts from the third quarter showed that global digital advertising spending was expected to continue to rise, and in the U.S. alone digital ad spending grew to $28.4 billion for the first quarter, up 18 percent year-over-year. (ClickZ)

IAB 2019 Ad Spend Chart Image

What Else?

    • Digital advertising spending was up nearly 20 percent during the quarter. (Broadcasting & Cable)
    • Digital advertising expenditures in the U.S. increased by 18 percent. (ClickZ)
    • By 2021 global digital advertising spending was predicted to increase by 47 percent from 2019, with ad expenditure growth up by 5.3 percent. (MarketingProfs)
    • Amazon cut into Google’s advertising market share, garnering ad revenue growth of 53 percent for sponsored brands and 102 percent for sponsored products. (MediaPost)
    • Revenues from advertising on social media and messaging platforms climbed 26.2 percent year-over-year. (Mobile Marketing Magazine)
    • 73 percent of B2B senior-level executives said that they used more sources when researching and evaluating purchases than they did last year. (MarketingCharts)
    • By 2021 podcast advertising was expected to top $1 billion in annual revenue, IAB predicted. (The Verge)
    • 63% of B2B companies planned to moderately raise spending on email marketing, with top goals being increased engagement, conversion, and lead generation. (MediaPost)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Search Marketing …

Q3 2019 saw the release of data showing that for the first time most Google searches don’t yield subsequent clicks, with 50.33 percent ending on the search giant’s result page, and 45.25 percent of searches resulting in organic clicks and 4.42 percent in paid advertisement clicks. (SparkToro)

2019 September 20 MarketingCharts Chart

What Else?

  • Google gave content creators the ability to incorporate multiple thumbnail images from the same video, which will all appear in search results linked to various spots within a video. (TechCrunch)
  • Audience targeting was the top search marketing technology affecting search engine marketing strategy — at 86 percent, audience targeting topped keywords, which came in at 83 percent, and re-marketing, which had 76 percent. (MarketingCharts)
  • Google rolled out playable podcast episodes that appear directly in search results. (Engadget)
  • Facebook began offering more advertisers options for inserting ads within search results on its platform. (Search Engine Journal)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Content Marketing …

During the third quarter of 2019 report data showed that B2B marketers saw in-person events, content marketing, traditional e-mail, and paid social as the most effective B2B marketing channels. (MarketingCharts)

2019 August 16 Marketing Charts Chart

What Else?

  • Facebook began testing the elimination of “like” counts in news-feed posts. (TechCrunch)
  • Among senior B2B marketers, a sizable 82 percent viewed content as important for achieving marketing goals. (ClickZ)
  • 80 percent of B2B buyers expected more B2C-like experiences. (Webbiquity)
  • B2B marketers saw their websites as an effective method for building awareness, however the sites often fail to offer compelling content and directly answer top questions, according to Q3 research from Forrester. (MediaPost)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Social Media …

Q3 and Q4 saw a number of reports that detailed the health of social media and how marketers, brands, and consumers have used various platforms.

Liking posts topped a Q3 list of how people interact with brands on social media platforms, at 51 percent, followed by 31 percent who leave reviews, while millennials were more likely to purchase due to social ads. (Social Media Today)

2019 August 9 Marketing Charts Chart

What Else?

  • Consumer conversations about brands shared very little crossover from social media listening and offline discussion. (Marketing Land)
  • 60 percent of regular emoji users like brands using emojis that match their own personality, and some 51 percent are more likely to comment on social media posts from brands that use emojis. (MarketingCharts)
  • 56 percent of Gen X consumers find too much advertising on social platforms. (eMarketer)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Influencer Marketing …

B2B influencer marketing continued its growth during Q3 and Q4, and influencer advertisements were seen to have generated 277 percent more emotional intensity and 87 percent more memory encoding than traditional television ads. (eMarketer)

2019 July 12 SmallBizGenius Chart

What Else?

  • Global spending for influencer marketing was predicted to top $5 billion and could reach as high as $10 billion over the next two years. (Social Media Today)
  • Influencer marketing spending in the U.S. and Canada saw 83 percent year-over-year growth. (The Drum)
  • 70 percent of U.S. consumers who use social media platforms and follow at least one influencer said that they trust the opinions of influencers at least as much as those of their own friends, with 78 percent trusting influencer opinions over those presented in traditional digital ads. (MediaPost)
  • Micro and niche-influencers were forging stronger target audience connections and boosting long-term loyalty. (eMarketer)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to The TopRank Marketing Team …

Q3 and Q4 saw the team at TopRank Marketing continuing a busy and productive year, with some press highlights during this time including:

  • Lee Odden: “B2B Doesn’t Have To Mean Boring To Boring” [Podcast] (B2B Marketing Exchange)
  • Why Experience Matters [Video] (The New Economy)
  • Eight Colors That Will Brightly Grow Your Personal Brand (Forbes)
  • What Customer Experience Management Means For Today’s Business Ecosystem [Video] (Adobe Experience Cloud)
  • How To Build A B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy For 2020 (Demand Gen Report)
  • How to Build a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy for 2020 [Infographic] (Social Media Today)
  • The Stranger Things In B2B Marketing: 5 Ways to Avoid The Upside-Down of ABM (Engagio)
  • Augmented And Virtual Reality: The Latest Engagement Drivers In B2B Marketing (Demand Gen Report)
  • The Guide to B2B Influencer Marketing for CMOs [Infographic] (Social Media Today)
  • A Shark’s Perspective – Episode 147 – Lee Odden [Podcast] (A Shark’s Perspective)
  • 5 Crucial Ingredients for a Tremendous Content Marketing Strategy [Infographic] (Social Media Today)
  • 5 Easy Ways Your Brand Can Use Twitter Video for More Engagement (Social Report)
  • The Top B2B Influencer Marketing Trends for 2020 [Infographic] (Social Media Today)

Goodbye, 2019. Hello and Welcome, 2020.

B2B marketers, we hope that your 2020 is filled to the brim with digital marketing success and innovation, and as a bonus list to help you get the most of the year, here are the top 25 posts we’ve published during that past year, each offering plenty of insight and numerous industry innovators to learn from and follow going forward:

  1. The Top 50 Social Media Marketing Influencers in 2019 by Lane R. Ellis
  2. BIGLIST of 50 Top Marketing Blogs for 2019 – Martech Edition by Lee Odden
  3. 7 Top B2B Influencer Marketing Trends for 2020 by Lee Odden
  4. Explore, Experience, Engage: 6 Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2019 by Lee Odden
  5. Top Marketing Resources for CMOs in 2019 by Lee Odden
  6. Over 50 Top Social Media Marketing Blogs by Lee Odden
  7. Dare to Be Different: 5 Fresh Examples of Innovative B2B Content Marketing by Lane R. Ellis
  8. 10 Free Online Courses to Optimize Your Marketing Skills by Lane R. Ellis
  9. Take 2019 By Storm: Get Inspired By These 11 Content Marketing Quotes by Anne Leuman
  10. 50 Content Marketing Influencers and Experts to Follow 2019 #CMWorld by Lane R. Ellis
  11. Setting Your Sights on 2020: How to Brew a Forward-Thinking Marketing Strategy by Elizabeth Williams
  12. LinkedIn’s List of 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know by Lane R. Ellis
  13. 5 B2B Brands Delivering Great Customer Experiences by Lane R. Ellis
  14. B2B Marketing Examples: 7 Bold Examples of Interactive B2B Content by Joshua Nite
  15. The B2B Marketing Funnel is Dead: Say Hello to the Trust Funnel by Nick Nelson
  16. Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers by Nick Nelson
  17. 50 Top B2B Marketing Influencers, Experts and Speakers in 2019 by Lee Odden
  18. Around the World in 50 Captivating Digital Marketing Statistics by Lane R. Ellis
  19. 5 Content Promotion Tactics To Make You (Almost) Famous by Lane R. Ellis
  20. 5 Examples of Remarkable Content Marketing in Action by Lane R. Ellis
  21. Key B2B Takeaways From the 2019 Internet Trends Report by Lane R. Ellis
  22. 20 Podcasts To Elevate Your B2B Marketing by Lane R. Ellis
  23. Break Free of Boring B2B with Interactive Influencer Content by Lee Odden
  24. 80+ New Social Media Marketing Statistics for B2B Marketers by Lane R. Ellis
  25. Wow Your Crowd: How Content Marketers Can Create Powerful Audience Connections by Nick Nelson

2020 sees an increasingly tricky and quickly-changing landscape for marketers, requiring expertise, dedication, and time — leading some to hire a professional B2B marketing agency like TopRank Marketing, which had the honor of being named by Forrester as the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in its “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America, Q1 2019” report.”

*Disclosure: LinkedIn and Adobe are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post B2B Marketing In 2019 — The Year In Review appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.