Break Free B2B Series: Kelvin Gee on Winning with Enterprise ABM

Kelvin Gee Break Free B2B Image

Kelvin Gee Break Free B2B Image

Everyone in B2B is talking about account-based marketing. And almost everyone is practicing it in some form — around 93% of organizations, according to SiriusDecisions.

“Not many are killing it though,” says Kelvin Gee. “That’s the problem. They start pilots … then they re-launch and learn from the mistakes. That’s just a natural maturation.”

This is a fundamental process in digital marketing, of course: test, assess, optimize. But in the Break Free B2B series, our goal is to help you fast-forward it by learning from the mistakes, successes, and revelations of your innovating peers in the field. And as the Senior Director of Modern Marketing Business Transformation at Oracle*, Kelvin draws from a deep well of experience at one of the powerhouse brands in enterprise technology.

Walking the walk is different from talking to talk, but it’s easy to see why companies across the spectrum are seeking to do both.

“Companies do need to be more customer-centric, deliver a better customer experience, personalize the content, align with sales, and measure themselves differently,” he observes. “I call account-based a strategic glue that pulls all that stuff together.”

In his conversation with TopRank Marketing’s Josh Nite, filmed in Arizona during B2B Marketing Exchange in February, Kelvin shares his perspectives on what it takes to actually make ABM work, and how Oracle empowers its people to thrive within this framework.

It comes down to a fairly simple and repeatable model: standardize, evangelize, train, enable.

[bctt tweet=”“Standardize, Evangelize, Train, Enable,” @kgee’s model for implementing #ABM at scale in large organizations like @oracle. #BreakFreeB2B. — Kelvin Gee” username=”toprank”]

During an expansive 25-minute interview, Kelvin unpacks the inner workings of enterprise ABM, from getting buy-in to rethinking attribution to developing meaningful metrics and beyond.

Break Free B2B Interview with Kelvin Gee

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LeuypEvBXk&w=560&h=315]

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

  • 1:00 – Kelvin’s definition of modern marketing
  • 1:45 – Scaling account-based marketing
  • 2:15 – Strategic adaptations in the evolution of ABM
  • 3:30 – How does an organization adopt a new marketing philosophy?
  • 5:00 – Who should lead the charge for transformation?
  • 7:15 – Metrics Oracle looks at to measure ABM success
  • 8:45 – Overcoming traditional friction between sales and marketing
  • 10:30 – Is there a need to redefine success and “credit” in order to achieve alignment?
  • 12:15 – Operational structure: should sales and marketing converge?
  • 13:30 – Challenges and opportunities in the industry
  • 15:45 – Oracle’s tech stack
  • 17:45 – How to filter out data that matters and makes a difference
  • 18:45 – What will marketing look like in five years?
  • 21:15 – Humans versus robots, and their roles in marketing going forward
  • 23:00 – What can marketers do to break free?

Josh: What kind of metrics does Oracle look at when measuring ABM?

Kelvin: We actually look at account engagement as an early indicator on whether your program is performing or not, because if you’re not seeing an increase in engagement from a snapshot that you might have taken before the campaign started, that probably means it’s not working. Either the personalization isn’t there, the tactics aren’t working, you’re not at the right watering holes, or the orchestration might not be right.

[bctt tweet=”“If you’re not seeing an increase in engagement from a snapshot of before the campaign started, that probably means it’s not working.” — @kgee of @oracle on measuring #ABM success. #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

So that’s the early indicator whether it’s working or not. Once you’re past engagement, what truly matters to sales, of course, is conversations. They want conversations with these target accounts, so that’s what we really looked at and that’s really measured by a target account pipeline, or “TAP,” as we call it. But when you look at growth in that pipeline, regardless of crediting who sources that pipeline, whether it’s marketing or sales, we don’t care because it’s a team sport. And you can see that growth. Again, you compare this with a snapshot you’ve taken of those target accounts before the campaign begins, you will see success, and that’s how you measure some of those programs.

Josh: I know that Oracle is a data corporation, and you live and die by data. Can you give me a little peek into what your tech stack looks like?

Kelvin: Yeah, I’ll give you some broad strokes but obviously we drink our own champagne, right? So Eloqua is our marketing automation platform and our analytics engine is all on Oracle analytics, but the important thing to understand is: We believe that data is the future of B2B marketing. Because we’re not gonna have less data, we’ll probably have more data in the future, so if you believe that and you also believe that most organizations — especially enterprise organizations — have data silos, and if the goal is to deliver a better customer experience, you’ve got to break down those data silos.

[bctt tweet=”“We believe that data is the future of B2B marketing. If the goal is to deliver a better customer experience, you’ve got to break down those data silos.” — @kgee of @oracle on #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

So I always used the Marie Kondo analogy, right? Where she goes into your house and then she tells you to, you know, pile all your clothes from all your different closets onto your bed. And she tells you that for a reason, because only when you see all the piles of clothes on your bed does the light bulb go off and you say, “Oh my God I’ve got a lot of clothes.” It’s the same thing with your data. Once you consolidate all your data silos onto one bed, so to speak, in this case a customer intelligence platform or customer data platform or whatever you want to use, once you combine all that data, that’s when you start to see all the insights of your customers. And for us, we think the future of B2B resides in a data lake of some sort. And that data lake is your single source of truth and when an account surges or rises, it’ll rise simultaneously in your marketing automation platform and/or your CRM, and so that’s really the important construct that we think is going to be more representative of a better customer experience in the future.

Josh: What can marketers do to break free?

Kelvin: I’ve always believed that all marketers should have empathy. I think empathy is a super important value that we all need to possess, because we all talk about customer-centricity, how we need to be more customer-centric blah, blah, blah. But what drives customer-centricity is empathy so, I always try to train all of my marketers, especially the young ones who are just coming out of college and learning that they have to develop the empathy muscle. And actually, I do this little “E” test in my workshops, and that is, I ask them to draw a capital-E on their forehead and then I watch them, and they struggle for a few seconds, because they realize there are two ways to control that “E” — they could draw it where it’s facing the right way for them, but backward to the person facing them, or it’s the other way, where it’s backward for them but rightward-facing for the partner. And I asked how many people in the room draw one way or the other and it’s usually a 50/50 mix, sometimes I’m surprised by 80/20 drawing it the right way, the right way being that it’s rightward-facing for your partner. So I call this “E” test for a reason, because the E stands for ’empathy’ because you’ve taken the time to think about the other person and make sure they see it the right way. So that’s just a quick little parlor trick to show the importance of empathy in the world of marketing.

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

* Disclosure: Oracle is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Break Free B2B Series: Kelvin Gee on Winning with Enterprise ABM appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Kelvin Gee Break Free B2B Image

Kelvin Gee Break Free B2B Image

Everyone in B2B is talking about account-based marketing. And almost everyone is practicing it in some form — around 93% of organizations, according to SiriusDecisions.

“Not many are killing it though,” says Kelvin Gee. “That’s the problem. They start pilots … then they re-launch and learn from the mistakes. That’s just a natural maturation.”

This is a fundamental process in digital marketing, of course: test, assess, optimize. But in the Break Free B2B series, our goal is to help you fast-forward it by learning from the mistakes, successes, and revelations of your innovating peers in the field. And as the Senior Director of Modern Marketing Business Transformation at Oracle*, Kelvin draws from a deep well of experience at one of the powerhouse brands in enterprise technology.

Walking the walk is different from talking to talk, but it’s easy to see why companies across the spectrum are seeking to do both.

“Companies do need to be more customer-centric, deliver a better customer experience, personalize the content, align with sales, and measure themselves differently,” he observes. “I call account-based a strategic glue that pulls all that stuff together.”

In his conversation with TopRank Marketing’s Josh Nite, filmed in Arizona during B2B Marketing Exchange in February, Kelvin shares his perspectives on what it takes to actually make ABM work, and how Oracle empowers its people to thrive within this framework.

It comes down to a fairly simple and repeatable model: standardize, evangelize, train, enable.

[bctt tweet=”“Standardize, Evangelize, Train, Enable,” @kgee’s model for implementing #ABM at scale in large organizations like @oracle. #BreakFreeB2B. — Kelvin Gee” username=”toprank”]

During an expansive 25-minute interview, Kelvin unpacks the inner workings of enterprise ABM, from getting buy-in to rethinking attribution to developing meaningful metrics and beyond.

Break Free B2B Interview with Kelvin Gee

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

  • 1:00 – Kelvin’s definition of modern marketing
  • 1:45 – Scaling account-based marketing
  • 2:15 – Strategic adaptations in the evolution of ABM
  • 3:30 – How does an organization adopt a new marketing philosophy?
  • 5:00 – Who should lead the charge for transformation?
  • 7:15 – Metrics Oracle looks at to measure ABM success
  • 8:45 – Overcoming traditional friction between sales and marketing
  • 10:30 – Is there a need to redefine success and “credit” in order to achieve alignment?
  • 12:15 – Operational structure: should sales and marketing converge?
  • 13:30 – Challenges and opportunities in the industry
  • 15:45 – Oracle’s tech stack
  • 17:45 – How to filter out data that matters and makes a difference
  • 18:45 – What will marketing look like in five years?
  • 21:15 – Humans versus robots, and their roles in marketing going forward
  • 23:00 – What can marketers do to break free?

Josh: What kind of metrics does Oracle look at when measuring ABM?

Kelvin: We actually look at account engagement as an early indicator on whether your program is performing or not, because if you’re not seeing an increase in engagement from a snapshot that you might have taken before the campaign started, that probably means it’s not working. Either the personalization isn’t there, the tactics aren’t working, you’re not at the right watering holes, or the orchestration might not be right.

[bctt tweet=”“If you’re not seeing an increase in engagement from a snapshot of before the campaign started, that probably means it’s not working.” — @kgee of @oracle on measuring #ABM success. #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

So that’s the early indicator whether it’s working or not. Once you’re past engagement, what truly matters to sales, of course, is conversations. They want conversations with these target accounts, so that’s what we really looked at and that’s really measured by a target account pipeline, or “TAP,” as we call it. But when you look at growth in that pipeline, regardless of crediting who sources that pipeline, whether it’s marketing or sales, we don’t care because it’s a team sport. And you can see that growth. Again, you compare this with a snapshot you’ve taken of those target accounts before the campaign begins, you will see success, and that’s how you measure some of those programs.

Josh: I know that Oracle is a data corporation, and you live and die by data. Can you give me a little peek into what your tech stack looks like?

Kelvin: Yeah, I’ll give you some broad strokes but obviously we drink our own champagne, right? So Eloqua is our marketing automation platform and our analytics engine is all on Oracle analytics, but the important thing to understand is: We believe that data is the future of B2B marketing. Because we’re not gonna have less data, we’ll probably have more data in the future, so if you believe that and you also believe that most organizations — especially enterprise organizations — have data silos, and if the goal is to deliver a better customer experience, you’ve got to break down those data silos.

[bctt tweet=”“We believe that data is the future of B2B marketing. If the goal is to deliver a better customer experience, you’ve got to break down those data silos.” — @kgee of @oracle on #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

So I always used the Marie Kondo analogy, right? Where she goes into your house and then she tells you to, you know, pile all your clothes from all your different closets onto your bed. And she tells you that for a reason, because only when you see all the piles of clothes on your bed does the light bulb go off and you say, “Oh my God I’ve got a lot of clothes.” It’s the same thing with your data. Once you consolidate all your data silos onto one bed, so to speak, in this case a customer intelligence platform or customer data platform or whatever you want to use, once you combine all that data, that’s when you start to see all the insights of your customers. And for us, we think the future of B2B resides in a data lake of some sort. And that data lake is your single source of truth and when an account surges or rises, it’ll rise simultaneously in your marketing automation platform and/or your CRM, and so that’s really the important construct that we think is going to be more representative of a better customer experience in the future.

Josh: What can marketers do to break free?

Kelvin: I’ve always believed that all marketers should have empathy. I think empathy is a super important value that we all need to possess, because we all talk about customer-centricity, how we need to be more customer-centric blah, blah, blah. But what drives customer-centricity is empathy so, I always try to train all of my marketers, especially the young ones who are just coming out of college and learning that they have to develop the empathy muscle. And actually, I do this little “E” test in my workshops, and that is, I ask them to draw a capital-E on their forehead and then I watch them, and they struggle for a few seconds, because they realize there are two ways to control that “E” — they could draw it where it’s facing the right way for them, but backward to the person facing them, or it’s the other way, where it’s backward for them but rightward-facing for the partner. And I asked how many people in the room draw one way or the other and it’s usually a 50/50 mix, sometimes I’m surprised by 80/20 drawing it the right way, the right way being that it’s rightward-facing for your partner. So I call this “E” test for a reason, because the E stands for ’empathy’ because you’ve taken the time to think about the other person and make sure they see it the right way. So that’s just a quick little parlor trick to show the importance of empathy in the world of marketing.

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

* Disclosure: Oracle is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Break Free B2B Series: Kelvin Gee on Winning with Enterprise ABM appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed

The post Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The post Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

B2B Marketing News: The B2B Categories Rising During Crisis, New Search Traffic Data, B2B Marketplaces See Growth, & Google’s New Ad Features

2020 April 24 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 April 24 MarketingCharts Chart

10 B2B Tech Categories Gaining Interest Because of COVID-19
Telemedicine, electronic signature, online conferencing, and mobile app development were the most swiftly-rising B2B technology software categories, according to recently-released report data, showing rises of as much as 613 percent since the global health crisis began. MarketingProfs

Magnifying the Massive Growth of B2B Marketplaces
87 percent of B2B buyers and 97 percent of millennial B2B buyers purchase through online marketplaces, according to recently-released report data, also showing that millennials have preferred review websites and web search as top pre-purchase research resources. G2

Exclusive: Mary Meeker’s coronavirus trends report
Mary Meeker, publisher of the Internet trends report since 1995, recently released a special coronavirus trends update, which found that on-demand platforms and online marketplaces have been seeing big numbers and high growth, among other items of interest to B2B marketers. Axios

LinkedIn Is Working on Polls and a New Hashtag ‘Presentation Mode
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has been testing poll and hashtag presentation mode features, items that could eventually become part of the professional social network for its 675+ million members. Social Media Today

Marketing Benchmarks and Trends Overview: The Surprising Impact of COVID-19 on Organic Search Traffic
Some 63 percent of marketers said that they are increasing their focus on SEO due to the ongoing global health crisis, while organic search traffic for overall B2B industries grew by 11 percent during the first quarter of 2020, according to new survey data of interest to digital marketers. Skyword

How Different Generations of Consumers Use Social Media [Infographic]
Gen Z is most likely to use Instagram to follow brands, while millennials and Gen X prefer Facebook, according to recently-released business and consumer survey data, which also showed that when it came to making purchasing decisions, YouTube was the leading social media platform for members of all three demographics. Social Media Today

2020 April 24 Statistics Image

Millennials, Gen Z Want Distraction—and Action—From Brands During Crisis
During the pandemic, baby boomers say that they want brands to support their employees and donate to the needy, while younger generations say they are paying more attention to how brands are advertising, according to recently-released survey data. Adweek

Facebook Is Testing Longer-Lasting Stories, With an Option to Keep Stories Active for 3 Days
Facebook has been testing an option that allows ephemeral stories to extend their traditional publishing lifespan from 24-hour to three days, a feature that could eventually attract more brands to Facebook Stories. Social Media Today

Google Ads Data Hub testing audience lists for display campaigns, adding new features
Google has begun testing an array of new features within its Google Ads Data Hub — changes that could bring marketers the ability to work with same-day impression data, new sand-boxing options, and more, the search giant recently announced. Marketing Land

Strength in Customer Journey Mapping A Distinguishing Factor for B2B CX Leaders
Mapping out customer journeys to learn key touch-points is the primary characteristic of B2B marketing customer experience (CX) leaders, according to newly-released survey data, followed by collecting and acting on Net Promoter Scores. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 April 24 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at urgency without clarity on digital transformation by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Facebook Employee Wastes Whole Day on Facebook Again — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever For The C-Suite — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — 28 Social Media Experts to Learn From (Listed by Platform and Skill) — Social Agency Scout
  • Joshua Nite — 10 Tips for Changing Business Strategies During Times of Crisis — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — Up next on Live with Search Engine Land: Content marketing during COVID-19 — Search Engine Land

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to join us, and we hope you’ll return next Friday for more of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post B2B Marketing News: The B2B Categories Rising During Crisis, New Search Traffic Data, B2B Marketplaces See Growth, & Google’s New Ad Features appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

2020 April 24 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 April 24 MarketingCharts Chart

10 B2B Tech Categories Gaining Interest Because of COVID-19
Telemedicine, electronic signature, online conferencing, and mobile app development were the most swiftly-rising B2B technology software categories, according to recently-released report data, showing rises of as much as 613 percent since the global health crisis began. MarketingProfs

Magnifying the Massive Growth of B2B Marketplaces
87 percent of B2B buyers and 97 percent of millennial B2B buyers purchase through online marketplaces, according to recently-released report data, also showing that millennials have preferred review websites and web search as top pre-purchase research resources. G2

Exclusive: Mary Meeker’s coronavirus trends report
Mary Meeker, publisher of the Internet trends report since 1995, recently released a special coronavirus trends update, which found that on-demand platforms and online marketplaces have been seeing big numbers and high growth, among other items of interest to B2B marketers. Axios

LinkedIn Is Working on Polls and a New Hashtag ‘Presentation Mode
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has been testing poll and hashtag presentation mode features, items that could eventually become part of the professional social network for its 675+ million members. Social Media Today

Marketing Benchmarks and Trends Overview: The Surprising Impact of COVID-19 on Organic Search Traffic
Some 63 percent of marketers said that they are increasing their focus on SEO due to the ongoing global health crisis, while organic search traffic for overall B2B industries grew by 11 percent during the first quarter of 2020, according to new survey data of interest to digital marketers. Skyword

How Different Generations of Consumers Use Social Media [Infographic]
Gen Z is most likely to use Instagram to follow brands, while millennials and Gen X prefer Facebook, according to recently-released business and consumer survey data, which also showed that when it came to making purchasing decisions, YouTube was the leading social media platform for members of all three demographics. Social Media Today

2020 April 24 Statistics Image

Millennials, Gen Z Want Distraction—and Action—From Brands During Crisis
During the pandemic, baby boomers say that they want brands to support their employees and donate to the needy, while younger generations say they are paying more attention to how brands are advertising, according to recently-released survey data. Adweek

Facebook Is Testing Longer-Lasting Stories, With an Option to Keep Stories Active for 3 Days
Facebook has been testing an option that allows ephemeral stories to extend their traditional publishing lifespan from 24-hour to three days, a feature that could eventually attract more brands to Facebook Stories. Social Media Today

Google Ads Data Hub testing audience lists for display campaigns, adding new features
Google has begun testing an array of new features within its Google Ads Data Hub — changes that could bring marketers the ability to work with same-day impression data, new sand-boxing options, and more, the search giant recently announced. Marketing Land

Strength in Customer Journey Mapping A Distinguishing Factor for B2B CX Leaders
Mapping out customer journeys to learn key touch-points is the primary characteristic of B2B marketing customer experience (CX) leaders, according to newly-released survey data, followed by collecting and acting on Net Promoter Scores. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 April 24 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at urgency without clarity on digital transformation by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Facebook Employee Wastes Whole Day on Facebook Again — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever For The C-Suite — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — 28 Social Media Experts to Learn From (Listed by Platform and Skill) — Social Agency Scout
  • Joshua Nite — 10 Tips for Changing Business Strategies During Times of Crisis — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — Up next on Live with Search Engine Land: Content marketing during COVID-19 — Search Engine Land

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to join us, and we hope you’ll return next Friday for more of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post B2B Marketing News: The B2B Categories Rising During Crisis, New Search Traffic Data, B2B Marketplaces See Growth, & Google’s New Ad Features appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Should B2B Marketers Embrace Ephemeral Content?

Burning Matches Emphemeral Content Image

Burning Matches Emphemeral Content Image

One great thing about being a young Gen X’er: There was no social media during my junior high and high school years. 

Young millennials weren’t so lucky. They chronicled their adolescence in excruciating detail on Myspace, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, every half-formed thought and laundry-detergent-eating stunt preserved forever.

So it’s no surprise that the youngest social media users leapt on Snapchat when it launched. Snapchat Stories provided the feeling of togetherness that social media’s good at, without the potential to embarrass your future self.

Other platforms were quick to buy into the idea of ephemeral content — content that expires and is deleted after a set period of time, usually 24 hours. Instagram’s creatively-named offering, Instagram Stories, boasts 500 million daily users. That’s more daily users for a single feature on Instagram than there are for the entirety of Twitter. 

But don’t count Twitter out just yet — they’re testing their own ephemeral content, called, unfortunately, “Fleets.” Even the level-headed folks at LinkedIn* are testing LinkedIn Stories with a handful of users.

For B2B content marketers, ephemeral content seems like the opposite of everything we try to do. DISPOSABLE content? No SEO value, no repurposing potential… what’s the point?

Should B2B marketers go ephemeral? It depends. Here’s what you need to know.

Ephemeral Content for B2B Marketers

Before we get into specifics, you should first consider ephemeral content the same way you would any content. I’d recommend asking the following four questions.

Four Questions B2B Marketers Should Ask about Ephemeral Content

These questions aren’t unique to ephemeral content, of course. They’re questions worth asking for any new marketing channel or tactic. They are:

  • Is my audience on this channel?
  • Is my audience consuming content on this channel?
  • Can we produce high-quality content for this channel?
  • Does this channel offer a logical next step for our audience?

For most B2b marketers, the answers to all these questions is “yes.” If your audience includes millennials or young Gen Xers, they’re likely on Instagram Stories at least. They’re used to the format and will likely be open to ephemeral content on LinkedIn and Twitter as it rolls out.

Can your brand produce high-quality ephemeral content? That’s one of the chief selling points of Stories — they’re easy and cheap to produce. There are robust tools for creating them built into the platforms that host them. And audiences expect a more informal, less-produced content experience.

As far as next steps go, Instagram Stories are actually more marketer-friendly than Instagram posts. Users can swipe up in a story to go directly to another piece of content, a lead gen form, or any other hyperlink. There’s no “Please visit the link in our bio” for Stories — it’s an immediate pass-through.

Now, if your offering skews more to the Boomer demographic, or you’re courting people too hip — or technology-averse — to be on social media, you might hold off. But it’s safe to say the majority of B2B marketers can get some juice out of ephemeral content.

How to Make the Most of Ephemeral Content for B2B

You don’t get the opportunity to build a content library with ephemeral content. By its nature, it should serve a different purpose than blog posts or eBooks. Think about building an audience and engaging them on a regular basis, rather than creating a library people wander in and out of.

Focus on Your People, Not Your Product

There are plenty of outlets for you to serve up product information and sales brochures. Ephemeral content is better suited for highlighting the people who work for your company. Focus on what makes them unique, what makes them relatable, and what makes them excellent at serving your customers. 

Mailchimp is great at this type of story. Their “Day in the Life” series highlights and celebrates individual employees.

[bctt tweet=”“Ephemeral content is better suited for highlighting the people who work for your company. Focus on what makes them unique, what makes them relatable, and what makes them excellent at serving your customers.” @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

Be Passionate about Purpose

For a growing majority of consumers, what a brand sells is less important than what the brand stands for. We’re looking to buy from businesses that share our values, and B2B buyers are no exception. Ephemeral content is a good way to get the message out about your brand’s larger purpose in the world, to highlight your vision for the future and your progress towards those goals. 

Lush is great at blending their purpose with their more product-centered ephemeral content. It only takes a few Instagram Stories to see exactly where they stand and what they value. 

Show Your Personality

If your organization is still looking for permission to loosen up a little, ephemeral content is your permission slip. It’s a format with lower audience expectations, one that’s focused on short-form, entertaining content, and one that won’t linger to haunt you until the end of time. 

So it’s well worth experimenting with your brand’s voice and personality. You may find that B2B buyers are just as starved for entertainment as the rest of us.

Cisco is absolutely killing it with their Stories right now. The playful, energetic tone isn’t what you would expect from a staid titan of industry, but it’s delightful to watch.

[bctt tweet=”“If your organization is still looking for permission to loosen up a little, ephemeral content is your permission slip.” @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

Serialize Your Content

Ephemeral content is all about building an audience that will make your feed appointment viewing. Serialized content can help establish that habit. There are a few easy ways to serialize:

  • Establish regular features, like Mantra Monday, Thoughtful Thursday, or Whiskey Wednesday (okay, maybe not the last one)
  • Chop up a long-form video into segments and air them sequentially
  • Focus on a different department every week to explore your organization

For longer-form serialized content, it’s worth creating an IGTV Series. Series come with tools to help you create and promote new episodes to bring in subscribers. Check out General Electric’s Taking the World to Work series for inspiration.

Let’s Get Ephemeral!

Ephemeral content is one of the primary ways people are using social media — which means it’s relevant for any B2B business with an audience on social platforms. Adding ephemeral content to your content marketing strategy will exercise a different set of muscles than your regular content creation, but it’s a form that rewards continued experimentation.

Need help with ephemeral or evergreen content? Our content marketing team is ready.

* Note: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Should B2B Marketers Embrace Ephemeral Content? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Burning Matches Emphemeral Content Image

Burning Matches Emphemeral Content Image

One great thing about being a young Gen X’er: There was no social media during my junior high and high school years. 

Young millennials weren’t so lucky. They chronicled their adolescence in excruciating detail on Myspace, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, every half-formed thought and laundry-detergent-eating stunt preserved forever.

So it’s no surprise that the youngest social media users leapt on Snapchat when it launched. Snapchat Stories provided the feeling of togetherness that social media’s good at, without the potential to embarrass your future self.

Other platforms were quick to buy into the idea of ephemeral content — content that expires and is deleted after a set period of time, usually 24 hours. Instagram’s creatively-named offering, Instagram Stories, boasts 500 million daily users. That’s more daily users for a single feature on Instagram than there are for the entirety of Twitter. 

But don’t count Twitter out just yet — they’re testing their own ephemeral content, called, unfortunately, “Fleets.” Even the level-headed folks at LinkedIn* are testing LinkedIn Stories with a handful of users.

For B2B content marketers, ephemeral content seems like the opposite of everything we try to do. DISPOSABLE content? No SEO value, no repurposing potential… what’s the point?

Should B2B marketers go ephemeral? It depends. Here’s what you need to know.

Ephemeral Content for B2B Marketers

Before we get into specifics, you should first consider ephemeral content the same way you would any content. I’d recommend asking the following four questions.

Four Questions B2B Marketers Should Ask about Ephemeral Content

These questions aren’t unique to ephemeral content, of course. They’re questions worth asking for any new marketing channel or tactic. They are:

  • Is my audience on this channel?
  • Is my audience consuming content on this channel?
  • Can we produce high-quality content for this channel?
  • Does this channel offer a logical next step for our audience?

For most B2b marketers, the answers to all these questions is “yes.” If your audience includes millennials or young Gen Xers, they’re likely on Instagram Stories at least. They’re used to the format and will likely be open to ephemeral content on LinkedIn and Twitter as it rolls out.

Can your brand produce high-quality ephemeral content? That’s one of the chief selling points of Stories — they’re easy and cheap to produce. There are robust tools for creating them built into the platforms that host them. And audiences expect a more informal, less-produced content experience.

As far as next steps go, Instagram Stories are actually more marketer-friendly than Instagram posts. Users can swipe up in a story to go directly to another piece of content, a lead gen form, or any other hyperlink. There’s no “Please visit the link in our bio” for Stories — it’s an immediate pass-through.

Now, if your offering skews more to the Boomer demographic, or you’re courting people too hip — or technology-averse — to be on social media, you might hold off. But it’s safe to say the majority of B2B marketers can get some juice out of ephemeral content.

How to Make the Most of Ephemeral Content for B2B

You don’t get the opportunity to build a content library with ephemeral content. By its nature, it should serve a different purpose than blog posts or eBooks. Think about building an audience and engaging them on a regular basis, rather than creating a library people wander in and out of.

Focus on Your People, Not Your Product

There are plenty of outlets for you to serve up product information and sales brochures. Ephemeral content is better suited for highlighting the people who work for your company. Focus on what makes them unique, what makes them relatable, and what makes them excellent at serving your customers. 

Mailchimp is great at this type of story. Their “Day in the Life” series highlights and celebrates individual employees.

[bctt tweet=”“Ephemeral content is better suited for highlighting the people who work for your company. Focus on what makes them unique, what makes them relatable, and what makes them excellent at serving your customers.” @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

Be Passionate about Purpose

For a growing majority of consumers, what a brand sells is less important than what the brand stands for. We’re looking to buy from businesses that share our values, and B2B buyers are no exception. Ephemeral content is a good way to get the message out about your brand’s larger purpose in the world, to highlight your vision for the future and your progress towards those goals. 

Lush is great at blending their purpose with their more product-centered ephemeral content. It only takes a few Instagram Stories to see exactly where they stand and what they value. 

Show Your Personality

If your organization is still looking for permission to loosen up a little, ephemeral content is your permission slip. It’s a format with lower audience expectations, one that’s focused on short-form, entertaining content, and one that won’t linger to haunt you until the end of time. 

So it’s well worth experimenting with your brand’s voice and personality. You may find that B2B buyers are just as starved for entertainment as the rest of us.

Cisco is absolutely killing it with their Stories right now. The playful, energetic tone isn’t what you would expect from a staid titan of industry, but it’s delightful to watch.

[bctt tweet=”“If your organization is still looking for permission to loosen up a little, ephemeral content is your permission slip.” @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

Serialize Your Content

Ephemeral content is all about building an audience that will make your feed appointment viewing. Serialized content can help establish that habit. There are a few easy ways to serialize:

  • Establish regular features, like Mantra Monday, Thoughtful Thursday, or Whiskey Wednesday (okay, maybe not the last one)
  • Chop up a long-form video into segments and air them sequentially
  • Focus on a different department every week to explore your organization

For longer-form serialized content, it’s worth creating an IGTV Series. Series come with tools to help you create and promote new episodes to bring in subscribers. Check out General Electric’s Taking the World to Work series for inspiration.

Let’s Get Ephemeral!

Ephemeral content is one of the primary ways people are using social media — which means it’s relevant for any B2B business with an audience on social platforms. Adding ephemeral content to your content marketing strategy will exercise a different set of muscles than your regular content creation, but it’s a form that rewards continued experimentation.

Need help with ephemeral or evergreen content? Our content marketing team is ready.

* Note: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Should B2B Marketers Embrace Ephemeral Content? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

13 Ways B2B Influencer Marketing Offers Brands an Ideal Alternative to the Benefits of Physical Events

Table of graphs and charts with hands pointing at statistics image.

Table of graphs and charts with hands pointing at statistics image.

B2B influencer marketing is an ideal way for brands to drive digital conversations during the global health crisis, and we have 13 ways influencers can virtually deliver many of the benefits that have been lost due to postponed or cancelled real-world events.

With 45 percent of consumers spending more time on social media and 95 percent spending more time on in-home media consumption according to a recent GlobalWebIndex survey, now is an ideal time for brands to drive digital conversations using influencer marketing.

Another recent survey found that 92 percent of marketers believe putting on successful virtual events will be important or critical in the coming months.

Some brands have already chosen to postpone or cancel their events all the way through the middle of 2021, including major players Facebook and Microsoft.

Physical events typically offer a well-rounded array of benefits to everyone involved, from the organizers to attendees, exhibitors, partners, sponsors, speakers, and more.

Some of the traditional benefits of real-world events include:

  • Boosting Brand Awareness
  • Gaining New Audiences & Clients
  • Forging New Business Relationships
  • Building Highly Targeted Leads
  • Researching Competitors
  • Education
  • Creating Lasting Impressions
  • Networking
  • Advertising & Sponsorship Opportunities
  • Providing Giveaway & Contest Opportunities
  • Saving Time with All-In-One Conference Experiences
  • Accessing Key People
  • Testing New Products & Services
  • Connecting with Attendees

As brands look to utilize virtual events it can be daunting to find relevant substitutes for all of these benefits that real-world events provide, and many have been asking themselves “How can I replace these key real-world event benefits?

Luckily, B2B influencers can readily provide strong alternative benefits that don’t require physical events, and we’ll look at what they can offer for each of the traditional event advantages.

How B2B Influencers Bring Back the Benefits of Physical Events

How can influencer marketing help B2B brands create new virtual versions of the kinds of experiences that they’ve typically gained from traditional real-world events that are now cancelled or postponed?

“By collaborating with influencers on educational, entertaining and interactive online content, B2B brands can satisfy the hunger buyers have for credible content experiences that engage and inspire,” Lee Odden, chief executive and co-founder of TopRank Marketing noted.

B2B influencers helping co-create and promote these types of engaging content experiences can be particularly powerful now, as consumers are forced to seek out inspiration in a virtual world to replace what they typically gain through attending real-world events.

In substituting virtual for real-world, our client Adobe’s annual Summit conference chose to explore a “choose your own adventure”-style virtual session selection experience — a type of content especially promotable using influencers.

“We decided the best way to do the storytelling was to allow a lot of user choice and not keep them captive,” Alex Amado, vice president of experience marketing at Adobe*, recently told Adweek.

“We felt ‘choose your own adventure’ was the best way for the audience to get more value out of it. When you’re online there are distractions, so we had to play to the situation as best we could,” Alex added.

Uniting influencers with customers and media should now be a key marketing focus for brands, according to public relations and marketing consultancy Edelman.

“Digital marketing provides unique opportunities for cross-promotion in partnership with customers, vertical media and influencers,” Edelman’s Joe Kingsbury and Ben Laws recently noted in “Beyond Conferences: How B2B Marketers Should Approach a Covid-19 World.”

[bctt tweet=”“By collaborating with influencers on educational, entertaining and interactive online content, B2B brands can satisfy the hunger buyers have for credible content experiences that engage and inspire.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

B2B Influencers Help Gain New Audiences & Clients

86 percent of marketers in charge of ad spend allocation said that they either might or definitely would use social media influencer marketing during the health crisis, topping a list of marketing strategies in a recent IZEA survey.

IZEA Chart

Tom Treanor, global head of marketing at our client Arm Treasure Data, sees strong opportunities for influencers as brands look to replace the benefits of real-world events.

“With in-person events on hold indefinitely, marketers have lost one major channel,” Tom noted.

“Events are a place to connect face-to-face with potential buyers, to share thought leadership and to gain visibility in their target markets. With that channel gone for now, it’s an important time to look at other available — and often under-utilized — channels, including influencer marketing,” Tom added.

“Working with influencers is a potentially valuable channel for many companies. Why? Because influencers are tapped into the current mood and interests of their audience. Their insights can help you craft your messaging to better resonate with your customers. More importantly, influencers are able to provide your company with additional reach into the influencers audiences,” Tom said.

“Lastly, influencers are able to work with your company to co-create content or to develop content on behalf of your brand. So, consider how you work with influencers in areas such as podcasts, webinars, live-streams, eBooks, blogs and social content. Are there ways that your marketing can be improved with the help of well-connected industry influencers?” Tom concluded.

Tom was one of our “50 Top B2B Marketing Influencers, Experts and Speakers,” and was featured in our Break Free B2B  video interview series, exploring B2B marketing personalization.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKRC5Z_1bxY]

Among the top ways companies will need to pivot in order to embrace B2B marketing in a post-real-world event environment is influencer marketing, according to author and technology advisor Bernard Marr.

“Digital is likely to be the clear winner here, and companies — including ones that may not so much as had a Facebook page before – will need to move into social marketing, content marketing, SEO and influencer-led campaigns,” Bernard wrote recent in the Forbes piece “Why Companies Turn To Digital Marketing To Survive COVID-19.”

[bctt tweet=”“Consider how you work with influencers in areas such as podcasts, webinars, live-streams, ebooks, blogs and social content. Are there ways that your marketing can be improved with the help of industry influencers?” @RtMixMktg” username=”toprank”]

B2B Influencers Help Promote New Products & Services

With the real-world events B2B brands normally attend cancelled or postponed, what roles can influencer marketing play in providing virtual alternatives to physical exhibition booths and traditional in-person product demonstrations?

“Influencer marketing’s importance went up when in-person events were canceled,” Debbie Friez, influencer marketing strategist at TopRank Marketing, said.

“Brands are fighting for attendee’s attention and time, and finding influencers are there to help to spread the news on their personal platforms about the virtual events,” Debbie explained.

“Plus, brands still need independent thought leaders for keynotes, moderators and panelists for their virtual events. We are finding influencers have been using virtual media for years, and can easily adapt to the changing landscape with both ideas and the know-how to use alternative presentation channels,” Debbie added.

During this global shift to a digital-first customer experience, marketers who incorporate empathy into their efforts are especially well-poised to deliver successful virtual experiences.

“Data-driven empathy is essential for personalization across customer and employee journeys,” Brian Solis, global innovation evangelist at Salesforce recently noted.

“There’s no going back to the world we once knew, the only way to get to the next normal is by plowing straight through disruption,” Solis added.

[bctt tweet=”“Influencer marketing’s importance went up when in-person events were canceled.” @dfriez” username=”toprank”]

B2B Influencers Bridge the Media Coverage Gap

What roles can influencer marketing play in providing virtual alternatives to the media coverage and product announcements typically gained from traditional physical events?

“B2B brands continue to impress me with how agile they’ve been with their marketing in the swiftly changing landscape,” Elizabeth Williams, TopRank Marketing account manager shared.

“Marketers are being ultra-cognizant of their messaging, publishing cadences, and ensuring their POVs and messaging on COVID-19 — or lack thereof — are aligned with their brand values. Influencer marketing is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between what once was our 2020 marketing plan and what we now need to achieve,” Elizabeth said.

“We can show our audiences we are tuned into their world by creating virtual experiences that inspire. And, what better way to do that than featuring credible industry experts and thought leader influencers?” Elizabeth added.

“Influencer-driven content can lead the conversation through live panels, webinars, podcasts and larger virtual events. Or, influencers can add a refreshing seasoning of the latest insights or advice on the changing marketplace. Think blogs, LinkedIn* articles, interactive assets, videos and social content,” Elizabeth suggested.

“Regardless of what tactics suit your business needs and objectives, I’d encourage every B2B marketer to step back and reflect on whether influencer marketing is a fit to take their content to the next level in today’s extra noisy virtual world,” Elizabeth concluded.

[bctt tweet=”Influencer marketing is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between what once was our 2020 marketing plan and what we now need to achieve.” @ElizabethW1057″ username=”toprank”]

Boosting Brand Awareness With B2B Influencers

What additional roles can influencer marketing play in driving virtual brand conversations and boosting brand awareness?

Now is a great time for B2B brands to utilize relevant industry influencers who can successfully drive virtual conversations that expand brand exposure and help with lead generation, as our president and co-founder Susan Misukanis explained.

“Partnering with influencers is more important now than it ever has been. Targeting the right influencer communities can be the best way to expand virtual event attendance and reach into a broader audience — who may not have planned to travel to your live event or conference,” Susan noted.

“If marketers focus on bringing true subject matter expertise to their audience — especially in partnership with influencers — I predict that virtual events will actually grow to be even better than live events for reaching and building positive awareness with an audience,” Susan added.

Industry writer Katie Sehl recently suggested in a HootSuite article about the rise of virtual events that influencers take advantage of the social stories format, including hosting influencer takeovers — another way that influencers can drive brand conversations.

“Speakers often double as influencers — so provide them with the details they need to become event ambassadors,” Katie noted, highlighting the strength of influencers when it comes to digitally replacing some of the key benefits of real-world events.

HubSpot’s Caroline Forsey encouraged organizations adjusting to virtual events to implement “breakout sessions led by influencers and experts,” another way influencers can help brands replace some of their former real-world event momentum with online efforts.

[bctt tweet=”Partnering with influencers is more important now than it ever has been. Targeting the right influencer communities can be the best way to expand virtual event attendance and reach into a broader audience.” @smisukanis” username=”toprank”]

Begin Or Expand Your B2B Influencer Marketing Program

As we’ve seen, successful B2B influencer marketing has much to offer for brands seeking to replace the benefits of real-world events while they’re on hiatus due to the global health crisis.

Implementing a successful program takes time, effort, and dedicated strategy, which leads many brands to use a top B2B influencer marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing, which was the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report.

[bctt tweet=”Successful B2B influencer relationships take time to build and require time to maintain.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

Whether you work with a top B2B influencer marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing or utilize your own team, now is an ideal time to reach B2B influencers and work together to drive digital brand conversations.

Finally, as we all navigate the uncharted marketing waters of the global health crisis, here are several additional resources to help keep your B2B influencer marketing efforts safely afloat:

* Note: Adobe and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post 13 Ways B2B Influencer Marketing Offers Brands an Ideal Alternative to the Benefits of Physical Events appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Table of graphs and charts with hands pointing at statistics image.

Table of graphs and charts with hands pointing at statistics image.

B2B influencer marketing is an ideal way for brands to drive digital conversations during the global health crisis, and we have 13 ways influencers can virtually deliver many of the benefits that have been lost due to postponed or cancelled real-world events.

With 45 percent of consumers spending more time on social media and 95 percent spending more time on in-home media consumption according to a recent GlobalWebIndex survey, now is an ideal time for brands to drive digital conversations using influencer marketing.

Another recent survey found that 92 percent of marketers believe putting on successful virtual events will be important or critical in the coming months.

Some brands have already chosen to postpone or cancel their events all the way through the middle of 2021, including major players Facebook and Microsoft.

Physical events typically offer a well-rounded array of benefits to everyone involved, from the organizers to attendees, exhibitors, partners, sponsors, speakers, and more.

Some of the traditional benefits of real-world events include:

  • Boosting Brand Awareness
  • Gaining New Audiences & Clients
  • Forging New Business Relationships
  • Building Highly Targeted Leads
  • Researching Competitors
  • Education
  • Creating Lasting Impressions
  • Networking
  • Advertising & Sponsorship Opportunities
  • Providing Giveaway & Contest Opportunities
  • Saving Time with All-In-One Conference Experiences
  • Accessing Key People
  • Testing New Products & Services
  • Connecting with Attendees

As brands look to utilize virtual events it can be daunting to find relevant substitutes for all of these benefits that real-world events provide, and many have been asking themselves “How can I replace these key real-world event benefits?

Luckily, B2B influencers can readily provide strong alternative benefits that don’t require physical events, and we’ll look at what they can offer for each of the traditional event advantages.

How B2B Influencers Bring Back the Benefits of Physical Events

How can influencer marketing help B2B brands create new virtual versions of the kinds of experiences that they’ve typically gained from traditional real-world events that are now cancelled or postponed?

“By collaborating with influencers on educational, entertaining and interactive online content, B2B brands can satisfy the hunger buyers have for credible content experiences that engage and inspire,” Lee Odden, chief executive and co-founder of TopRank Marketing noted.

B2B influencers helping co-create and promote these types of engaging content experiences can be particularly powerful now, as consumers are forced to seek out inspiration in a virtual world to replace what they typically gain through attending real-world events.

In substituting virtual for real-world, our client Adobe’s annual Summit conference chose to explore a “choose your own adventure”-style virtual session selection experience — a type of content especially promotable using influencers.

“We decided the best way to do the storytelling was to allow a lot of user choice and not keep them captive,” Alex Amado, vice president of experience marketing at Adobe*, recently told Adweek.

“We felt ‘choose your own adventure’ was the best way for the audience to get more value out of it. When you’re online there are distractions, so we had to play to the situation as best we could,” Alex added.

Uniting influencers with customers and media should now be a key marketing focus for brands, according to public relations and marketing consultancy Edelman.

“Digital marketing provides unique opportunities for cross-promotion in partnership with customers, vertical media and influencers,” Edelman’s Joe Kingsbury and Ben Laws recently noted in “Beyond Conferences: How B2B Marketers Should Approach a Covid-19 World.”

[bctt tweet=”“By collaborating with influencers on educational, entertaining and interactive online content, B2B brands can satisfy the hunger buyers have for credible content experiences that engage and inspire.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

B2B Influencers Help Gain New Audiences & Clients

86 percent of marketers in charge of ad spend allocation said that they either might or definitely would use social media influencer marketing during the health crisis, topping a list of marketing strategies in a recent IZEA survey.

IZEA Chart

Tom Treanor, global head of marketing at our client Arm Treasure Data, sees strong opportunities for influencers as brands look to replace the benefits of real-world events.

“With in-person events on hold indefinitely, marketers have lost one major channel,” Tom noted.

“Events are a place to connect face-to-face with potential buyers, to share thought leadership and to gain visibility in their target markets. With that channel gone for now, it’s an important time to look at other available — and often under-utilized — channels, including influencer marketing,” Tom added.

“Working with influencers is a potentially valuable channel for many companies. Why? Because influencers are tapped into the current mood and interests of their audience. Their insights can help you craft your messaging to better resonate with your customers. More importantly, influencers are able to provide your company with additional reach into the influencers audiences,” Tom said.

“Lastly, influencers are able to work with your company to co-create content or to develop content on behalf of your brand. So, consider how you work with influencers in areas such as podcasts, webinars, live-streams, eBooks, blogs and social content. Are there ways that your marketing can be improved with the help of well-connected industry influencers?” Tom concluded.

Tom was one of our “50 Top B2B Marketing Influencers, Experts and Speakers,” and was featured in our Break Free B2B  video interview series, exploring B2B marketing personalization.

Among the top ways companies will need to pivot in order to embrace B2B marketing in a post-real-world event environment is influencer marketing, according to author and technology advisor Bernard Marr.

“Digital is likely to be the clear winner here, and companies — including ones that may not so much as had a Facebook page before – will need to move into social marketing, content marketing, SEO and influencer-led campaigns,” Bernard wrote recent in the Forbes piece “Why Companies Turn To Digital Marketing To Survive COVID-19.”

[bctt tweet=”“Consider how you work with influencers in areas such as podcasts, webinars, live-streams, ebooks, blogs and social content. Are there ways that your marketing can be improved with the help of industry influencers?” @RtMixMktg” username=”toprank”]

B2B Influencers Help Promote New Products & Services

With the real-world events B2B brands normally attend cancelled or postponed, what roles can influencer marketing play in providing virtual alternatives to physical exhibition booths and traditional in-person product demonstrations?

“Influencer marketing’s importance went up when in-person events were canceled,” Debbie Friez, influencer marketing strategist at TopRank Marketing, said.

“Brands are fighting for attendee’s attention and time, and finding influencers are there to help to spread the news on their personal platforms about the virtual events,” Debbie explained.

“Plus, brands still need independent thought leaders for keynotes, moderators and panelists for their virtual events. We are finding influencers have been using virtual media for years, and can easily adapt to the changing landscape with both ideas and the know-how to use alternative presentation channels,” Debbie added.

During this global shift to a digital-first customer experience, marketers who incorporate empathy into their efforts are especially well-poised to deliver successful virtual experiences.

“Data-driven empathy is essential for personalization across customer and employee journeys,” Brian Solis, global innovation evangelist at Salesforce recently noted.

“There’s no going back to the world we once knew, the only way to get to the next normal is by plowing straight through disruption,” Solis added.

[bctt tweet=”“Influencer marketing’s importance went up when in-person events were canceled.” @dfriez” username=”toprank”]

B2B Influencers Bridge the Media Coverage Gap

What roles can influencer marketing play in providing virtual alternatives to the media coverage and product announcements typically gained from traditional physical events?

“B2B brands continue to impress me with how agile they’ve been with their marketing in the swiftly changing landscape,” Elizabeth Williams, TopRank Marketing account manager shared.

“Marketers are being ultra-cognizant of their messaging, publishing cadences, and ensuring their POVs and messaging on COVID-19 — or lack thereof — are aligned with their brand values. Influencer marketing is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between what once was our 2020 marketing plan and what we now need to achieve,” Elizabeth said.

“We can show our audiences we are tuned into their world by creating virtual experiences that inspire. And, what better way to do that than featuring credible industry experts and thought leader influencers?” Elizabeth added.

“Influencer-driven content can lead the conversation through live panels, webinars, podcasts and larger virtual events. Or, influencers can add a refreshing seasoning of the latest insights or advice on the changing marketplace. Think blogs, LinkedIn* articles, interactive assets, videos and social content,” Elizabeth suggested.

“Regardless of what tactics suit your business needs and objectives, I’d encourage every B2B marketer to step back and reflect on whether influencer marketing is a fit to take their content to the next level in today’s extra noisy virtual world,” Elizabeth concluded.

[bctt tweet=”Influencer marketing is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between what once was our 2020 marketing plan and what we now need to achieve.” @ElizabethW1057″ username=”toprank”]

Boosting Brand Awareness With B2B Influencers

What additional roles can influencer marketing play in driving virtual brand conversations and boosting brand awareness?

Now is a great time for B2B brands to utilize relevant industry influencers who can successfully drive virtual conversations that expand brand exposure and help with lead generation, as our president and co-founder Susan Misukanis explained.

“Partnering with influencers is more important now than it ever has been. Targeting the right influencer communities can be the best way to expand virtual event attendance and reach into a broader audience — who may not have planned to travel to your live event or conference,” Susan noted.

“If marketers focus on bringing true subject matter expertise to their audience — especially in partnership with influencers — I predict that virtual events will actually grow to be even better than live events for reaching and building positive awareness with an audience,” Susan added.

Industry writer Katie Sehl recently suggested in a HootSuite article about the rise of virtual events that influencers take advantage of the social stories format, including hosting influencer takeovers — another way that influencers can drive brand conversations.

“Speakers often double as influencers — so provide them with the details they need to become event ambassadors,” Katie noted, highlighting the strength of influencers when it comes to digitally replacing some of the key benefits of real-world events.

HubSpot’s Caroline Forsey encouraged organizations adjusting to virtual events to implement “breakout sessions led by influencers and experts,” another way influencers can help brands replace some of their former real-world event momentum with online efforts.

[bctt tweet=”Partnering with influencers is more important now than it ever has been. Targeting the right influencer communities can be the best way to expand virtual event attendance and reach into a broader audience.” @smisukanis” username=”toprank”]

Begin Or Expand Your B2B Influencer Marketing Program

As we’ve seen, successful B2B influencer marketing has much to offer for brands seeking to replace the benefits of real-world events while they’re on hiatus due to the global health crisis.

Implementing a successful program takes time, effort, and dedicated strategy, which leads many brands to use a top B2B influencer marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing, which was the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report.

[bctt tweet=”Successful B2B influencer relationships take time to build and require time to maintain.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

Whether you work with a top B2B influencer marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing or utilize your own team, now is an ideal time to reach B2B influencers and work together to drive digital brand conversations.

Finally, as we all navigate the uncharted marketing waters of the global health crisis, here are several additional resources to help keep your B2B influencer marketing efforts safely afloat:

* Note: Adobe and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post 13 Ways B2B Influencer Marketing Offers Brands an Ideal Alternative to the Benefits of Physical Events appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Sruthi Kumar on Creating Memorable Experiences

Break Free B2B with Sruthi Kumar

Break Free B2B with Sruthi Kumar

Marketers are in the business of attracting attention. All of our tactics, our strategies, our goals boil down to: Did we get someone’s attention and inspire them to take action?

The key to modern marketing is that we have to earn that attention. There will always be someone on who is louder, funnier, more talented, or just less shameless than your brand is willing to be. The only way to truly capture and sustain someone’s focus is to earn the right to their time. 

How do you earn attention? By providing remarkable experiences. By showing you care about your audience, you know who they are, and that your brand is here to help and to entertain them. 

For our latest Break Free video, we talked to a marketer who is helping marketers offer more memorable experiences. Sruthi Kumar is the Senior Marketing Manager at Sendoso, a platform that coordinates direct mail and gifting campaigns for personalization at scale.

Sruthi and I sat down to talk about experiential marketing in all its forms: Event marketing, direct mail, content and beyond. We also dig deeper into the philosophy of marketing. Should marketers specialize in a certain aspect of marketing, or should we be taking a more holistic approach? Can left-brained content folks and right-brained strategy folks get along… and really, is it that simple of a divide? Sruthi has some inspiring thoughts on all of the above.

Oh, and along the way, Sruthi shares how she built a marketing department from the ground up, taking Sendoso from a small start-up to competing with the big brands.

 [bctt tweet=”I think what we’re really trying to do is bridge that online and offline experience. @sruthikkumar” username=”toprank”]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QjtaKNl-MA]

 

Highlights:

1:00: Direct mail plus digital marketing for unforgettable experiences

5:45: Marketing to delight your audience

7:40: Building a marketing department from the ground up

11:05: Tactics for earning attention at marketing events

18:15: Marketing requires creative and analytical thinking 

 

Josh:

So tell me a little bit about Sendoso. What is it? What do you do?

Sruthi:

We’re a sending platform, so we really help our customers reach their customers and prospects in a meaningful way by sending company swag, direct mail, sweets and treats, handwritten notes, the whole nine yards, in order to make really human connections with their prospects and customers.

Josh: 

Do you feel like this going back to a more simpler form of marketing compared to digital marketing? Do you feel like that’s more effective as our world gets more digital?

Sruthi:

So I actually think they go hand in hand. What we’re trying to do is really bridge that online and offline experience. So not to say that digital marketing does not work. I’m a marketer. I run our field marketing team, we use digital heavily, but it’s just about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, and that person that you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with or whatever else you need from them.

[bctt tweet=”It’s about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, that person who you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with. @sruthikkumar” username=”toprank”]

We are moving to an ABM approach when we are doing our events, because sometimes you get to large audiences and it’s hard to really get in contact with anyone. The beautiful thing about our product is that anyone can use it in any vertical. It’s direct mail: If you’re selling, you can use it. If you’re trying to reach an audience, you can use it. 

We do the double funnel approach at Sendoso. We do have demand gen tactics while we also have ABM tactics as well. 

I had an interview that was my first internship as a marketer. The CMO asked me, ‘Are you analytical? Or are you creative?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know, I feel like I’m a little bit of both.’ 

And she said, ‘You can’t be both.’ And I just want to call her now, because you have to be both. I may not be the most analytical person on my team. But I get to work with this marketing ops manager. We built our team together, and she’s very analytical. I get to learn from her and understand how would my MOPS person do this. And that’s the cool stuff that you get to take with you. 

As a marketer, you should be well rounded — you’re a content marketer, but you could put a demand gen campaign together.

Josh:

 We just love this binary of left brain versus right brain. But then you get this idea that oh, well, the creative types are just sitting up there in their beanbag chairs with the lava lamps going, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be cool if we did this?’ And then on the other hand is a bunch of robots who are crunching numbers. For some people, those things are going to overlap into a circle and some are somewhere on the continuum, but you can’t be just one or the other. 

[bctt tweet=”People ask, ‘Are you analytical or are you creative?’ But you have to be both… As a marketer, you should be well rounded: You’re a #contentmarketer, but you could put a demand gen campaign together. You’re not just writing. @sruthikkumar” username=”toprank”]

Sruthi:

With all those marketing activities that we’re supposed to do, some people are just doing the check-boxes. That’s totally fine, but I think you should bring your personality into it. I think so many of us are so scared. Like having our corporate voice, but I think our personal voice should be in there too. 

I think the only reason why Sendoso did stand out in the early days is because we got to incorporate so many of our early founders’ and members’ own personalities into the brand. And even the way we pitch our product today is by the voices of our sales team and our marketing team, our co-founders and c-suite. So I think it’s just about being okay with being yourself and incorporating that into your whole corporate brand.

[bctt tweet=”I think the reason Sendoso did stand out in the early days is we got to incorporate so many of our early founders’ own personalities. It’s about being okay with being yourself and incorporating that into your corporate brand. @sruthikkumar” username=”toprank”]

 

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

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Sruthi Kumar on Creating Memorable Experiences appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B with Sruthi Kumar

Break Free B2B with Sruthi Kumar

Marketers are in the business of attracting attention. All of our tactics, our strategies, our goals boil down to: Did we get someone’s attention and inspire them to take action?

The key to modern marketing is that we have to earn that attention. There will always be someone on who is louder, funnier, more talented, or just less shameless than your brand is willing to be. The only way to truly capture and sustain someone’s focus is to earn the right to their time. 

How do you earn attention? By providing remarkable experiences. By showing you care about your audience, you know who they are, and that your brand is here to help and to entertain them. 

For our latest Break Free video, we talked to a marketer who is helping marketers offer more memorable experiences. Sruthi Kumar is the Senior Marketing Manager at Sendoso, a platform that coordinates direct mail and gifting campaigns for personalization at scale.

Sruthi and I sat down to talk about experiential marketing in all its forms: Event marketing, direct mail, content and beyond. We also dig deeper into the philosophy of marketing. Should marketers specialize in a certain aspect of marketing, or should we be taking a more holistic approach? Can left-brained content folks and right-brained strategy folks get along… and really, is it that simple of a divide? Sruthi has some inspiring thoughts on all of the above.

Oh, and along the way, Sruthi shares how she built a marketing department from the ground up, taking Sendoso from a small start-up to competing with the big brands.

 [bctt tweet=”I think what we’re really trying to do is bridge that online and offline experience. @sruthikkumar” username=”toprank”]

 

Highlights:

1:00: Direct mail plus digital marketing for unforgettable experiences

5:45: Marketing to delight your audience

7:40: Building a marketing department from the ground up

11:05: Tactics for earning attention at marketing events

18:15: Marketing requires creative and analytical thinking 

 

Josh:

So tell me a little bit about Sendoso. What is it? What do you do?

Sruthi:

We’re a sending platform, so we really help our customers reach their customers and prospects in a meaningful way by sending company swag, direct mail, sweets and treats, handwritten notes, the whole nine yards, in order to make really human connections with their prospects and customers.

Josh: 

Do you feel like this going back to a more simpler form of marketing compared to digital marketing? Do you feel like that’s more effective as our world gets more digital?

Sruthi:

So I actually think they go hand in hand. What we’re trying to do is really bridge that online and offline experience. So not to say that digital marketing does not work. I’m a marketer. I run our field marketing team, we use digital heavily, but it’s just about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, and that person that you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with or whatever else you need from them.

[bctt tweet=”It’s about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, that person who you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with. @sruthikkumar” username=”toprank”]

We are moving to an ABM approach when we are doing our events, because sometimes you get to large audiences and it’s hard to really get in contact with anyone. The beautiful thing about our product is that anyone can use it in any vertical. It’s direct mail: If you’re selling, you can use it. If you’re trying to reach an audience, you can use it. 

We do the double funnel approach at Sendoso. We do have demand gen tactics while we also have ABM tactics as well. 

I had an interview that was my first internship as a marketer. The CMO asked me, ‘Are you analytical? Or are you creative?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know, I feel like I’m a little bit of both.’ 

And she said, ‘You can’t be both.’ And I just want to call her now, because you have to be both. I may not be the most analytical person on my team. But I get to work with this marketing ops manager. We built our team together, and she’s very analytical. I get to learn from her and understand how would my MOPS person do this. And that’s the cool stuff that you get to take with you. 

As a marketer, you should be well rounded — you’re a content marketer, but you could put a demand gen campaign together.

Josh:

 We just love this binary of left brain versus right brain. But then you get this idea that oh, well, the creative types are just sitting up there in their beanbag chairs with the lava lamps going, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be cool if we did this?’ And then on the other hand is a bunch of robots who are crunching numbers. For some people, those things are going to overlap into a circle and some are somewhere on the continuum, but you can’t be just one or the other. 

[bctt tweet=”People ask, ‘Are you analytical or are you creative?’ But you have to be both… As a marketer, you should be well rounded: You’re a #contentmarketer, but you could put a demand gen campaign together. You’re not just writing. @sruthikkumar” username=”toprank”]

Sruthi:

With all those marketing activities that we’re supposed to do, some people are just doing the check-boxes. That’s totally fine, but I think you should bring your personality into it. I think so many of us are so scared. Like having our corporate voice, but I think our personal voice should be in there too. 

I think the only reason why Sendoso did stand out in the early days is because we got to incorporate so many of our early founders’ and members’ own personalities into the brand. And even the way we pitch our product today is by the voices of our sales team and our marketing team, our co-founders and c-suite. So I think it’s just about being okay with being yourself and incorporating that into your whole corporate brand.

[bctt tweet=”I think the reason Sendoso did stand out in the early days is we got to incorporate so many of our early founders’ own personalities. It’s about being okay with being yourself and incorporating that into your corporate brand. @sruthikkumar” username=”toprank”]

 

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

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Sruthi Kumar on Creating Memorable Experiences appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

B2C vs. B2B Influencer Marketing – What’s the Difference?

B2C B2B Influencer Marketing

B2C B2B Influencer Marketing

The vast majority of content and industry news coverage around influencer marketing is focused on those who engage consumer audiences: Instagramers, YouTubers, and  as of late TikTokers. Of course the world of influence is not limited to consumer products and services. Influencers play an important role in businesses marketing to other businesses as well, whether it’s on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

So what’s the difference between B2C and B2B influencer marketing? We’ve covered B2B influencer marketing here in depth already with case studies, strategy and best practices, what makes a great B2B influencer, key statistics and more. After 7 plus years of focusing on B2B influencer marketing for some of the top B2B brands in the world, we’ve learned a few things about the practice. From that experience, I’ll focus on what makes for good B2B influencer engagement as a way to understand the difference from B2C.

The most important steps for launching a B2B Influencer Marketing Program: Influence plays a role across the entire business customer lifecycle from awareness to advocacy so it follows that the best approach to collaborating with B2B influencers also spans the spectrum of customer engagement.

Regardless of the desired outcome from building brand awareness to increasing sales, best practices influencer marketing programs start with understanding the relevant topics of influence that both represent what customers care about and what the brand stands for.

It’s important to look at B2B influencers as partners not just content creators or distribution channels.

Much of B2C influencer engagement is managed like an advertising buy. With B2B, it’s important to look at B2B influencers as partners not just content creators or distribution channels. That means finding, engaging and activating influencers with expertise and audiences that will resonate with the objectives of the business. Using topics of influence, you can identify, qualify and recruit influencer partners to collaborate. You can certainly pay a B2B influencer, but it is most often for the craft of creation not just because they are well known.

The output of B2B influencer collaboration can be in any form that the brand is currently publishing content: text, video, visual, audio, interactive and even VR.

B2B influencers are different than B2C in that they must be subject matter experts. But it is often the case that they do not have the broad social media skills or reach as their B2C counterparts. Also, B2B influencer marketing is less about a transaction or advertising buy than it is about developing relationships with influencers that can add credibility to a brand and even advocate for purchases that have an extended sales cycles and run millions of dollars.

Successful B2B influencer relationships take time to build and require time to maintain.

Matching topically relevant influencers with content collaboration opportunities that deliver mutual value for the influencer, the audience you’re after and your brand is both art and science. Successful relationships take time to build and require time to maintain. It is no different when working with B2B influencer partners, so brands should invest the time and resources to keep those relationships strong. That can mean software like the enterprise platform we use, Traackr, as well as the expertise of an influencer marketing agency that has many years of experience and established relationships with influencers in your industry.

What does effective B2B influencer marketing look like in action? Tech giant SAP wanted to raise awareness of their brand and establish thought leadership with their target audience of CTOs, CIOs, and technology managers. With B2B decision makers (and consumers in general) craving more inspiring and on-demand content, a podcast was the ideal channel to reach that target audience and spark in-depth engagement.

To Turn SAP’s vision for C-suite thought leadership into reality, they worked with TopRank Marketing to produce six episodes of Season 1, Tech Unknown Podcast. Each episode featured a long-form interview with an industry thought leader and was hosted by tech expert, Tamara McCleary. TopRank Marketing identified influencers for each episode with reach, relevance, and insight that would appeal to technology leaders.

The agency conducted live interviews with Tamara and the featured influencer guests to encourage in-depth exploration of the subject matter. The first season of the Tech Unknown podcast beat industry benchmarks for average downloads within 30 days, activated influencers that were important to the brand and the CTO/IO audience, earned millions of impressions, and opened the door for unique content repurposing opportunities.

Season 2 of the SAP Tech Unknown Podcast has now started to publish and is already breaking new performance records.  By combining an understanding of brand objectives and audience interests with the expertise and audience of specific influencers, SAP has been able to drive conversations, activate relationships and move the needle on their marketing objectives.

Where to start with B2B influencers:  In B2C, many influencers are inventory in a marketplace with detailed info on audience, performance and content creation capabilities where you can purchase services not unlike buying a sponsorship or advertising.

In B2B, there are no such marketplaces. Influencer Marketing platforms that algorithmically sort vast amounts of data are used to identify influencers that might be a match based on topical relevance, resonance with their audience and reach.

Once a B2B influencer has been identified as having the right mix of relevance, resonance and reach, B2B marketers can check to see if there is already a relationship with the influencer directly or through a first level connection. Engaging an experienced influencer that is already in your network is much different than starting a conversation with someone new.

It’s also important to check to see if the B2B influencer is accustomed to “being an influencer” in terms of public speaking or writing and creating content.

Many B2C influencers are already familiar with what it means to “be” a social media influencer, but in B2B, such self assigned influencer status and behavior is less common. In B2C the goal is often transactional (drive product sales) and the brand might just present a project and have the influencer pitch a creative idea on how to implement. With B2B influencers that’s possible but less likely. More often the B2B brand will have a campaign or program in mind with a narrative and structured content collaboration opportunities that influencers can take part in according to their specific areas of expertise and audience engagement.

For example, a B2B influencer program might have elements focused on top of funnel awareness, middle funnel engagement and end of funnel decision making. Each stage would involve different types of influencers (TOFU – brandividuals), (MOFU – industry experts), (BOFU – customers).

Relationship building with B2B influencers is key. A new contact will often be engaged with subtly on relevant social networks. You can look for signals that can be an open door to inviting a conversation. Then, as you engage online, you might feature the influencer in content or invite them to contribute something very easy, but that gives them great exposure. That basic interaction opens doors to more robust engagement.

If the influencer is clearly a pro and being an influencer is their business model, you can approach them directly as you would any other consultant.

B2C and B2B Influencer Marketing are different – and changing.

While there is advancing consumerization within the B2B world from software user experiences to the types of influencer content being co-created (server unboxing videos, tech “hauls”) B2C and B2B influencer marketing are distinctly different. Viewing B2B influencers simply as content distribution channels or advocates for hire is a misplaced B2C-centric expectation. B2B influencers are industry experts that may or may not have advanced content creation skills. They have the attention and respect of their peers and that kind of influence is very powerful for brands that want to recapture buyer attention lost to dropping trust in brand advertising and communications.

If you have experience working with B2B and B2C influencers, what are some of the key differences you’ve experienced?

The post B2C vs. B2B Influencer Marketing – What’s the Difference? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

B2C B2B Influencer Marketing

B2C B2B Influencer Marketing

The vast majority of content and industry news coverage around influencer marketing is focused on those who engage consumer audiences: Instagramers, YouTubers, and  as of late TikTokers. Of course the world of influence is not limited to consumer products and services. Influencers play an important role in businesses marketing to other businesses as well, whether it’s on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

So what’s the difference between B2C and B2B influencer marketing? We’ve covered B2B influencer marketing here in depth already with case studies, strategy and best practices, what makes a great B2B influencer, key statistics and more. After 7 plus years of focusing on B2B influencer marketing for some of the top B2B brands in the world, we’ve learned a few things about the practice. From that experience, I’ll focus on what makes for good B2B influencer engagement as a way to understand the difference from B2C.

The most important steps for launching a B2B Influencer Marketing Program: Influence plays a role across the entire business customer lifecycle from awareness to advocacy so it follows that the best approach to collaborating with B2B influencers also spans the spectrum of customer engagement.

Regardless of the desired outcome from building brand awareness to increasing sales, best practices influencer marketing programs start with understanding the relevant topics of influence that both represent what customers care about and what the brand stands for.

It’s important to look at B2B influencers as partners not just content creators or distribution channels.

Much of B2C influencer engagement is managed like an advertising buy. With B2B, it’s important to look at B2B influencers as partners not just content creators or distribution channels. That means finding, engaging and activating influencers with expertise and audiences that will resonate with the objectives of the business. Using topics of influence, you can identify, qualify and recruit influencer partners to collaborate. You can certainly pay a B2B influencer, but it is most often for the craft of creation not just because they are well known.

The output of B2B influencer collaboration can be in any form that the brand is currently publishing content: text, video, visual, audio, interactive and even VR.

B2B influencers are different than B2C in that they must be subject matter experts. But it is often the case that they do not have the broad social media skills or reach as their B2C counterparts. Also, B2B influencer marketing is less about a transaction or advertising buy than it is about developing relationships with influencers that can add credibility to a brand and even advocate for purchases that have an extended sales cycles and run millions of dollars.

Successful B2B influencer relationships take time to build and require time to maintain.

Matching topically relevant influencers with content collaboration opportunities that deliver mutual value for the influencer, the audience you’re after and your brand is both art and science. Successful relationships take time to build and require time to maintain. It is no different when working with B2B influencer partners, so brands should invest the time and resources to keep those relationships strong. That can mean software like the enterprise platform we use, Traackr, as well as the expertise of an influencer marketing agency that has many years of experience and established relationships with influencers in your industry.

What does effective B2B influencer marketing look like in action? Tech giant SAP wanted to raise awareness of their brand and establish thought leadership with their target audience of CTOs, CIOs, and technology managers. With B2B decision makers (and consumers in general) craving more inspiring and on-demand content, a podcast was the ideal channel to reach that target audience and spark in-depth engagement.

To Turn SAP’s vision for C-suite thought leadership into reality, they worked with TopRank Marketing to produce six episodes of Season 1, Tech Unknown Podcast. Each episode featured a long-form interview with an industry thought leader and was hosted by tech expert, Tamara McCleary. TopRank Marketing identified influencers for each episode with reach, relevance, and insight that would appeal to technology leaders.

The agency conducted live interviews with Tamara and the featured influencer guests to encourage in-depth exploration of the subject matter. The first season of the Tech Unknown podcast beat industry benchmarks for average downloads within 30 days, activated influencers that were important to the brand and the CTO/IO audience, earned millions of impressions, and opened the door for unique content repurposing opportunities.

Season 2 of the SAP Tech Unknown Podcast has now started to publish and is already breaking new performance records.  By combining an understanding of brand objectives and audience interests with the expertise and audience of specific influencers, SAP has been able to drive conversations, activate relationships and move the needle on their marketing objectives.

Where to start with B2B influencers:  In B2C, many influencers are inventory in a marketplace with detailed info on audience, performance and content creation capabilities where you can purchase services not unlike buying a sponsorship or advertising.

In B2B, there are no such marketplaces. Influencer Marketing platforms that algorithmically sort vast amounts of data are used to identify influencers that might be a match based on topical relevance, resonance with their audience and reach.

Once a B2B influencer has been identified as having the right mix of relevance, resonance and reach, B2B marketers can check to see if there is already a relationship with the influencer directly or through a first level connection. Engaging an experienced influencer that is already in your network is much different than starting a conversation with someone new.

It’s also important to check to see if the B2B influencer is accustomed to “being an influencer” in terms of public speaking or writing and creating content.

Many B2C influencers are already familiar with what it means to “be” a social media influencer, but in B2B, such self assigned influencer status and behavior is less common. In B2C the goal is often transactional (drive product sales) and the brand might just present a project and have the influencer pitch a creative idea on how to implement. With B2B influencers that’s possible but less likely. More often the B2B brand will have a campaign or program in mind with a narrative and structured content collaboration opportunities that influencers can take part in according to their specific areas of expertise and audience engagement.

For example, a B2B influencer program might have elements focused on top of funnel awareness, middle funnel engagement and end of funnel decision making. Each stage would involve different types of influencers (TOFU – brandividuals), (MOFU – industry experts), (BOFU – customers).

Relationship building with B2B influencers is key. A new contact will often be engaged with subtly on relevant social networks. You can look for signals that can be an open door to inviting a conversation. Then, as you engage online, you might feature the influencer in content or invite them to contribute something very easy, but that gives them great exposure. That basic interaction opens doors to more robust engagement.

If the influencer is clearly a pro and being an influencer is their business model, you can approach them directly as you would any other consultant.

B2C and B2B Influencer Marketing are different – and changing.

While there is advancing consumerization within the B2B world from software user experiences to the types of influencer content being co-created (server unboxing videos, tech “hauls”) B2C and B2B influencer marketing are distinctly different. Viewing B2B influencers simply as content distribution channels or advocates for hire is a misplaced B2C-centric expectation. B2B influencers are industry experts that may or may not have advanced content creation skills. They have the attention and respect of their peers and that kind of influence is very powerful for brands that want to recapture buyer attention lost to dropping trust in brand advertising and communications.

If you have experience working with B2B and B2C influencers, what are some of the key differences you’ve experienced?

The post B2C vs. B2B Influencer Marketing – What’s the Difference? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Shifting B2B Buyer Behaviors, Brands Evolve Crisis Response, Bad Data’s Effect on B2B Firms, & Twitter Shares New Data With Advertisers

2020 April 17 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 April 17 MarketingCharts Chart

How B2B Buyer Behavior Has Changed in Light of COVID-19, and What Marketers and Sellers Can Do Now
82 percent of B2B buyers said they were concerned or strongly concerned about the possibility of a pandemic-sparked recession, while 30 percent have reported spending more on videoconferencing software — two of several findings of interest to digital marketers in a recently-released survey examining B2B buyer shifts. eMarketer

How Bad Data Hurts B2B Companies [Infographic]
Just 33 percent of marketers say they can rely on their customer relationship management (CRM) software, and 88 percent said that bad data has a direct impact on their company’s bottom line — two of the findings in a new infographic look at the effect of poor data on B2B firms. MarketingProfs

The Evolving Discussion Around COVID-19 and How Brands Have Responded [Infographic]
Brands have used Twitter the most often to mention the global health crisis, according to recently-released survey data examining how brands are using social media in crisis management planning. Social Media Today

Social Media Users Value Brands Responsive To COVID-19 Crisis
83% of social media users expect brands to address the health crisis in their ads, with 31 percent saying they appreciate brands offering products suited for remote work, 28 percent promoting social distancing, and 24 percent mentioning brand philanthropic efforts, according to newly-released survey data of interest to marketers. MediaPost

Why It Takes So Long to Apply Data-Driven Insights to Campaigns
Just 5 percent of marketers say they can immediately go from data gathering to actionable intelligence, while 31 do so later than they would like, and some 3 percent take so long that the output is irrelevant, according to new survey data. MarketingProfs

Instagram Live Streams Can Now Be Viewed on the Web
Facebook-owned Instagram has made it possible for its users to view its previously app-only Instagram Live video streams from its website, bringing marketers a new cross-promotion opportunity with the feature, the firm recently announed. Social Media Today

2020 April 17 Statistics Image

Twitter notifies users that it’s now sharing more data with advertisers
Twitter has notified its users that a previously available user privacy ad interaction sharing option has been shuttered for all, in a move that will bring more audience data to advertisers, the firm recently announced. The Verge

What Customers Need to Hear from You During the COVID Crisis
The types of brand stories companies should be telling their customers include those that put solutions before sales, according to a new examination by Harvard Business School of interest to B2B marketers. Harvard Business School

Facebook Has Launched a New Tournaments Option for People to Create Their Own Gaming Events
With online gaming forecast to produce $196 billion by 2022, a recent move by social giant Facebook allowing its users to create their own private or public gaming events could bring brands new opportunities for reaching its sizable gaming audience. Social Media Today

Content Plays Various Roles in Brands’ Customer Engagement Strategies
61 percent of marketing leaders said that interactive branded content communicates brand promise and value, according to recently-released survey data from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, with 51 percent saying that it delivers thought-leadership, and 45 percent saying that interactive content helps communicate with customers, partners and prospects. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 April 17 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at digital transformation and organizational change by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Grinning Tim Cook Announces New iPhone Will No Longer Be Compatible With AirPods — The Onion

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Leadership and Engagement In a Time of Crisis [Podcast] — Traject
  • Amie Krone — Navigating the new world of working at home — Chaska Herald
  • Dell, SAP — Building A Perfect B2B Influencer Program During Imperfect Times — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — Marketing During a Pandemic – Resources for Small Businesses in the Coronavirus Crisis [Roundup] — Simple Machines

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to join us, and we hope that you’ll return again next Friday for more of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post Digital Marketing News: Shifting B2B Buyer Behaviors, Brands Evolve Crisis Response, Bad Data’s Effect on B2B Firms, & Twitter Shares New Data With Advertisers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

2020 April 17 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 April 17 MarketingCharts Chart

How B2B Buyer Behavior Has Changed in Light of COVID-19, and What Marketers and Sellers Can Do Now
82 percent of B2B buyers said they were concerned or strongly concerned about the possibility of a pandemic-sparked recession, while 30 percent have reported spending more on videoconferencing software — two of several findings of interest to digital marketers in a recently-released survey examining B2B buyer shifts. eMarketer

How Bad Data Hurts B2B Companies [Infographic]
Just 33 percent of marketers say they can rely on their customer relationship management (CRM) software, and 88 percent said that bad data has a direct impact on their company’s bottom line — two of the findings in a new infographic look at the effect of poor data on B2B firms. MarketingProfs

The Evolving Discussion Around COVID-19 and How Brands Have Responded [Infographic]
Brands have used Twitter the most often to mention the global health crisis, according to recently-released survey data examining how brands are using social media in crisis management planning. Social Media Today

Social Media Users Value Brands Responsive To COVID-19 Crisis
83% of social media users expect brands to address the health crisis in their ads, with 31 percent saying they appreciate brands offering products suited for remote work, 28 percent promoting social distancing, and 24 percent mentioning brand philanthropic efforts, according to newly-released survey data of interest to marketers. MediaPost

Why It Takes So Long to Apply Data-Driven Insights to Campaigns
Just 5 percent of marketers say they can immediately go from data gathering to actionable intelligence, while 31 do so later than they would like, and some 3 percent take so long that the output is irrelevant, according to new survey data. MarketingProfs

Instagram Live Streams Can Now Be Viewed on the Web
Facebook-owned Instagram has made it possible for its users to view its previously app-only Instagram Live video streams from its website, bringing marketers a new cross-promotion opportunity with the feature, the firm recently announed. Social Media Today

2020 April 17 Statistics Image

Twitter notifies users that it’s now sharing more data with advertisers
Twitter has notified its users that a previously available user privacy ad interaction sharing option has been shuttered for all, in a move that will bring more audience data to advertisers, the firm recently announced. The Verge

What Customers Need to Hear from You During the COVID Crisis
The types of brand stories companies should be telling their customers include those that put solutions before sales, according to a new examination by Harvard Business School of interest to B2B marketers. Harvard Business School

Facebook Has Launched a New Tournaments Option for People to Create Their Own Gaming Events
With online gaming forecast to produce $196 billion by 2022, a recent move by social giant Facebook allowing its users to create their own private or public gaming events could bring brands new opportunities for reaching its sizable gaming audience. Social Media Today

Content Plays Various Roles in Brands’ Customer Engagement Strategies
61 percent of marketing leaders said that interactive branded content communicates brand promise and value, according to recently-released survey data from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, with 51 percent saying that it delivers thought-leadership, and 45 percent saying that interactive content helps communicate with customers, partners and prospects. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 April 17 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at digital transformation and organizational change by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Grinning Tim Cook Announces New iPhone Will No Longer Be Compatible With AirPods — The Onion

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Leadership and Engagement In a Time of Crisis [Podcast] — Traject
  • Amie Krone — Navigating the new world of working at home — Chaska Herald
  • Dell, SAP — Building A Perfect B2B Influencer Program During Imperfect Times — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — Marketing During a Pandemic – Resources for Small Businesses in the Coronavirus Crisis [Roundup] — Simple Machines

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to join us, and we hope that you’ll return again next Friday for more of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post Digital Marketing News: Shifting B2B Buyer Behaviors, Brands Evolve Crisis Response, Bad Data’s Effect on B2B Firms, & Twitter Shares New Data With Advertisers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

What B2B Marketers Need to Know about Optimizing Content with Video Analytics

Video analytics concept image.

Video analytics concept image.

Between stay-at-home orders and the manic Minnesota weather, I’ve found myself at home for the last four weeks looking for something, really anything, to occupy time. One can only take so many walks in a day. Naturally, I turn to YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and all of the other video streaming sites for entertainment.

As a marketer, this makes me wonder what those streaming sites are seeing in their analytics. Obviously, views must be up by an unbelievable amount. But, what about engagement? How many people are completing the videos they start? Are they watching more? Unless it’s Tiger King, the answer is unknown (it’s impossible to look away from Tiger King). But those streaming sites aren’t the only ones that might have some fascinating new data to look at.

Social sites and YouTube provide a host of different metrics and analytics options. While each data point serves a purpose, there are a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that are more important to track to better understand your audience and improve content performance.

Video Analytics and Content Benchmarks

A recent study from video streaming site Vidyard established some useful benchmarks for video content:

  • 52% of viewers watch a video all the way through
  • 68% will watch the entire video if it’s less than 60 seconds
  • 25% will finish a video if it’s more than 20 minutes

The same study found that the most common business-created videos are webinars, demos and social media videos, and are most likely to be published on websites, social media and YouTube.

Of course, these benchmarks will vary by audience, by industry, by the light of the silvery moon — basically, take them as a starting point and customize from there. Here’s the process we recommend.

Using Video Analytics to Optimize Your Video Content

1 — Use Demographics to Understand Your Audience

The first step to increasing content engagement and effectiveness is to gain a better understanding of your audience. To do that, it’s critical to monitor demographic data in your video analytics platform. Most will give you basic demographic data, like location, age, language and device use. Some will give you user interest data, income estimates and even company data.

Knowing this information helps you create more relevant content. For example, if you find that your audience primarily speaks English, but there is a growing subset of French speakers accessing your videos on mobile devices, you might want to consider adding French caption options for mobile users.

If you see an increase in viewers from a specific geographic area, you will want to look at the analytics for that region to determine what content is attracting the new audience and how they are engaging while they’re watching and immediately afterward.

2 — Use Awareness and Engagement Metrics to Understand Audience Demand

Understanding your audience is important at a strategic level, but understanding audience demand is tactical gold. Of course, this data will drive your go-forward strategy, but it will also help you improve performance right away by adjusting promotion tactics and featured content.

For example, if you see an uptick in video views week over week for a particular video, that indicates that the topic is becoming increasingly popular. To prove that, you will want to look at engagement metrics like watch time, clicks on your call to action (CTA), and subscribers gained or lost. If you see an uptick in views and a corresponding uptick in engagement, you’re going to want to feature that video more prominently. If you see an increase in negative engagement —  a loss of subscribers — or if viewers are dropping off right away, that might indicate your video doesn’t quite match the intent for that topic.

This granular view of data can help you improve and optimize your existing content, create more strategic video content roadmaps, and provide viewers with content they want and need to make critical decisions later in the funnel.

[bctt tweet=”“Understanding your audience is important at a strategic level, but understanding audience demand is tactical gold.” @Tiffani_Allen” username=”toprank”]

3 — Audit Your Video Library for Optimization Opportunities

Following the best practices for whichever video hosting platform you’re using can result in increased video visibility and better user experience. A great first step is to optimize video titles, descriptions, and tags. Then you can organize  your videos into different sections, playlists, or even channels to help the right audience find your content faster.

To determine your next steps, audit your existing video channels. Do you know at a glance what the video is about? Does the thumbnail image inspire a click? Does your channel, landing page or resource center adequately convey the type, purpose and content of your videos in a way that compels action?

If the answer is yes, go take a break. I recommend a few hours of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s very soothing. But if the answer’s no, you’re not alone. And you do have the tools you need to create better video content. It’s all in your analytics.

As a quick disclaimer, if your videos are hosted on your website and you notice some odd user behavior patterns over the last month or so — increases in direct traffic, crazy long time on page — you might want to look into whether or not IPs are blocked for your team’s home IP addresses. Determine if the patterns are happening on a more global level, or if they’re localized to the geographic area surrounding your physical office.

If you want help with an audit, or just want to bounce some ideas around, we’re here to help. Tweet us @toprank or contact us to get started.

The post What B2B Marketers Need to Know about Optimizing Content with Video Analytics appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Video analytics concept image.

Video analytics concept image.

Between stay-at-home orders and the manic Minnesota weather, I’ve found myself at home for the last four weeks looking for something, really anything, to occupy time. One can only take so many walks in a day. Naturally, I turn to YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and all of the other video streaming sites for entertainment.

As a marketer, this makes me wonder what those streaming sites are seeing in their analytics. Obviously, views must be up by an unbelievable amount. But, what about engagement? How many people are completing the videos they start? Are they watching more? Unless it’s Tiger King, the answer is unknown (it’s impossible to look away from Tiger King). But those streaming sites aren’t the only ones that might have some fascinating new data to look at.

Social sites and YouTube provide a host of different metrics and analytics options. While each data point serves a purpose, there are a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that are more important to track to better understand your audience and improve content performance.

Video Analytics and Content Benchmarks

A recent study from video streaming site Vidyard established some useful benchmarks for video content:

  • 52% of viewers watch a video all the way through
  • 68% will watch the entire video if it’s less than 60 seconds
  • 25% will finish a video if it’s more than 20 minutes

The same study found that the most common business-created videos are webinars, demos and social media videos, and are most likely to be published on websites, social media and YouTube.

Of course, these benchmarks will vary by audience, by industry, by the light of the silvery moon — basically, take them as a starting point and customize from there. Here’s the process we recommend.

Using Video Analytics to Optimize Your Video Content

1 — Use Demographics to Understand Your Audience

The first step to increasing content engagement and effectiveness is to gain a better understanding of your audience. To do that, it’s critical to monitor demographic data in your video analytics platform. Most will give you basic demographic data, like location, age, language and device use. Some will give you user interest data, income estimates and even company data.

Knowing this information helps you create more relevant content. For example, if you find that your audience primarily speaks English, but there is a growing subset of French speakers accessing your videos on mobile devices, you might want to consider adding French caption options for mobile users.

If you see an increase in viewers from a specific geographic area, you will want to look at the analytics for that region to determine what content is attracting the new audience and how they are engaging while they’re watching and immediately afterward.

2 — Use Awareness and Engagement Metrics to Understand Audience Demand

Understanding your audience is important at a strategic level, but understanding audience demand is tactical gold. Of course, this data will drive your go-forward strategy, but it will also help you improve performance right away by adjusting promotion tactics and featured content.

For example, if you see an uptick in video views week over week for a particular video, that indicates that the topic is becoming increasingly popular. To prove that, you will want to look at engagement metrics like watch time, clicks on your call to action (CTA), and subscribers gained or lost. If you see an uptick in views and a corresponding uptick in engagement, you’re going to want to feature that video more prominently. If you see an increase in negative engagement —  a loss of subscribers — or if viewers are dropping off right away, that might indicate your video doesn’t quite match the intent for that topic.

This granular view of data can help you improve and optimize your existing content, create more strategic video content roadmaps, and provide viewers with content they want and need to make critical decisions later in the funnel.

[bctt tweet=”“Understanding your audience is important at a strategic level, but understanding audience demand is tactical gold.” @Tiffani_Allen” username=”toprank”]

3 — Audit Your Video Library for Optimization Opportunities

Following the best practices for whichever video hosting platform you’re using can result in increased video visibility and better user experience. A great first step is to optimize video titles, descriptions, and tags. Then you can organize  your videos into different sections, playlists, or even channels to help the right audience find your content faster.

To determine your next steps, audit your existing video channels. Do you know at a glance what the video is about? Does the thumbnail image inspire a click? Does your channel, landing page or resource center adequately convey the type, purpose and content of your videos in a way that compels action?

If the answer is yes, go take a break. I recommend a few hours of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s very soothing. But if the answer’s no, you’re not alone. And you do have the tools you need to create better video content. It’s all in your analytics.

As a quick disclaimer, if your videos are hosted on your website and you notice some odd user behavior patterns over the last month or so — increases in direct traffic, crazy long time on page — you might want to look into whether or not IPs are blocked for your team’s home IP addresses. Determine if the patterns are happening on a more global level, or if they’re localized to the geographic area surrounding your physical office.

If you want help with an audit, or just want to bounce some ideas around, we’re here to help. Tweet us @toprank or contact us to get started.

The post What B2B Marketers Need to Know about Optimizing Content with Video Analytics appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

SEO Strategy: 5 Reasons Why It’s More Important Than Ever For B2B Marketers

Businesswoman wearing facemask peering out through window blinds image.

Businesswoman wearing facemask peering out through window blinds image.

Why do B2B marketers need SEO?

For B2B marketers coping with the global health crisis, search engine optimization (SEO) is showing its strength, stability, and resiliency in many forms.

SEO has seen better performance and consistency than other marketing tactics during the pandemic, as we’ll explore with data from recent surveys and reports, and with more consumers than ever conducting business online and searching for best-answer solutions, many B2B marketers may find that the time is right to increase focus on SEO.

Here are five reasons why SEO is more important than ever for B2B marketers.

1 — SEO is Performing Better During the Health Crisis

63 percent of marketers believe SEO is more important during the pandemic, according to newly-released survey data.

Combined with the fact that during 2019 paid and organic search were the top performing online channels, as shown below, the increasing focus on SEO this year during the pandemic is understandable, as marketers turn towards the strongest and most stable tactics.

Conductor SEO Chart

SEO can also represent a lower-cost channel, which has led some 34 percent of marketers to say that they plan to invest more in less costly marketing channels such as SEO, according to the same survey.

Data from another recent survey found that 65 percent of advertisers believe the health crisis will result in more spending on media that is able to show direct sales outcomes, making SEO a natural choice for many marketers in both B2B and B2C industries.

Coronavirus Spending Shift Marketing Charts Image

Among U.S. marketers paid search garnered both the greatest rate of budget retention and the smallest expected spending decrease in a recent eMarketer survey, faring significantly better than display advertisements, paid social media, and digital video. While what will play out in the long term remains to be seen, initial survey results such as these point to continued opportunities in SEO-centric marketing efforts.

eMarketer Coronavirus Chart

This may be why Google has rolled out new SEO-related features to its Ads Editor that include a real-time optimization score, as the search giant seeks to improve one of the most-used ad tools, and why it has released a series of guides touting the benefits of SEO during the health crisis.

2 — SEO Helps as Pandemic Consumers Are Shopping Primarily Online

Both B2B and brick-and-mortar brands with shuttered physical locations during stay-at-home orders can benefit immensely from the benefits of SEO, as more business is moved online and more people are searching not only for goods and services, but for answers to new sets of questions brought about by the health crisis — questions your brand should be ready to answer in properly optimized content.

Marketer looking to create this type of optimized content can learn from our CEO Lee Odden, who asked 16 B2B experts for their top tips to optimize marketing performance in an article examining B2B marketing fitness.

As early reports have come in, both B2B and B2C brands have seen increased website traffic figures during the pandemic, up 13 percent in March 2020 compared to February, according to HubSpot benchmark data.

HubSpot Coronavirus Chart

With more people visiting B2B websites, it’s never been more important to have online content that’s properly indexed, easily findable, and that swiftly answers customer questions. Providing best-answer content is a key part of SEO best-practices, as we’ve written about in the following articles:

[bctt tweet=”“With more people visiting B2B websites, it’s never been more important to have online content that’s properly indexed, easily findable, and that swiftly answers customer questions.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

3 — SEO Platforms Help Maximize Remote Worker Efficiencies

There are perhaps more SEO platforms available now than ever, built to help businesses achieve successful ongoing search campaigns. During the best of times, using some of the top platform tools adds efficiency to teams tasked with SEO implementation. During the remote work boom caused by the health crisis, using such tools can provide even more efficiency to B2B firms that are increasingly turning to SEO.

Finding the right SEO platforms has been an ongoing challenge for B2B firms, which is why we recently researched nine of the top platforms, including how leaders at each is handling the pandemic both in their professional and personal lives, in “Best SEO Tips for Marketing During the Pandemic Plus 9 Top SEO Platforms.”

Even before the coronavirus hit, longtime SEO industry consultant Aleyda Solis predicted that SEO would play a major role in 2020 for B2B marketers, as she outlined in our annual “10 Top B2B SEO Trends & Predictions for 2020” roundup.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I expect a growth in importance and usage of structured data, an increase in predictive search features, and a shift to a more technical SEO ecosystem. @aleyda” username=”toprank”]

Recently Aleyda took to her video channel to discuss how SEO’s role will change during the health crisis, in “Coronavirus & SEO: Its Impact in traffic and business, and the actions to Take as an SEO Specialist.”

We’ve also explored how B2B marketers are successfully adapting to remote work, including the following recent articles:

4 — Doing SEO Now Will Strengthen Future Brand Efforts

As Patrick Reinhart, vice president of digital strategies at Conductor recently told Marketing Land’s Greg Sterling, “What a lot of businesses are doing right now is only talking about the virus and not talking about other ways to help their customers,” Patrick said. “Right now is a great time to plant trees for SEO if you haven’t already. The trees you plant now will provide shade on sunny days in the future and there is nothing wrong with creating it along with content that addresses the current state of things,” he added.

While the pandemic has affected how SEO specialists both in-house and at agencies implement search strategies — as the following chart shows — businesses are continuing forward with SEO fundamentals that will help lay the foundation for expanded search success when the health crisis has passed.

North Star Inbound Image

[bctt tweet=”“B2B marketers who continue forward now with SEO fundamentals will help lay the foundation for expanded search success when the health crisis has passed.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

5 — SEO’s Stability Is Important For B2B Brands

With 47 percent of B2B customers using search to find information, suppliers, and solutions, SEO has always been important for B2B brands, and now its stability in times of flux adds to its marketing strength.

The pandemic has brought fluctuations to all areas of marketing, just as it’s affected many parts of our lives, and while search results haven’t been entirely immune — as shown in the following Google desktop result chart from an interesting look at “16-straight days of rankings volatility: SEOs dig into the COVID-19 effects on search” — the strength and endurance of SEO has brought it into more focus than ever.

Rank Ranger Search Engine Land Chart

Best-Answer B2B Marketing Solutions Increasingly Feature SEO

As we’ve examined, the time may be right for many B2B marketers to increase focus on SEO, because it has seen better performance and stability during the health crisis as more consumers than ever are conducting business online.

Paired with it’s ability to increase remote work efficiency when the right SEO platforms are used, and considering SEO’s overall effectiveness as a long-term strategy, B2B brands can benefit from turning to SEO for providing best-answer solutions, even during the pandemic.

The post SEO Strategy: 5 Reasons Why It’s More Important Than Ever For B2B Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Businesswoman wearing facemask peering out through window blinds image.

Businesswoman wearing facemask peering out through window blinds image.

Why do B2B marketers need SEO?

For B2B marketers coping with the global health crisis, search engine optimization (SEO) is showing its strength, stability, and resiliency in many forms.

SEO has seen better performance and consistency than other marketing tactics during the pandemic, as we’ll explore with data from recent surveys and reports, and with more consumers than ever conducting business online and searching for best-answer solutions, many B2B marketers may find that the time is right to increase focus on SEO.

Here are five reasons why SEO is more important than ever for B2B marketers.

1 — SEO is Performing Better During the Health Crisis

63 percent of marketers believe SEO is more important during the pandemic, according to newly-released survey data.

Combined with the fact that during 2019 paid and organic search were the top performing online channels, as shown below, the increasing focus on SEO this year during the pandemic is understandable, as marketers turn towards the strongest and most stable tactics.

Conductor SEO Chart

SEO can also represent a lower-cost channel, which has led some 34 percent of marketers to say that they plan to invest more in less costly marketing channels such as SEO, according to the same survey.

Data from another recent survey found that 65 percent of advertisers believe the health crisis will result in more spending on media that is able to show direct sales outcomes, making SEO a natural choice for many marketers in both B2B and B2C industries.

Coronavirus Spending Shift Marketing Charts Image

Among U.S. marketers paid search garnered both the greatest rate of budget retention and the smallest expected spending decrease in a recent eMarketer survey, faring significantly better than display advertisements, paid social media, and digital video. While what will play out in the long term remains to be seen, initial survey results such as these point to continued opportunities in SEO-centric marketing efforts.

eMarketer Coronavirus Chart

This may be why Google has rolled out new SEO-related features to its Ads Editor that include a real-time optimization score, as the search giant seeks to improve one of the most-used ad tools, and why it has released a series of guides touting the benefits of SEO during the health crisis.

2 — SEO Helps as Pandemic Consumers Are Shopping Primarily Online

Both B2B and brick-and-mortar brands with shuttered physical locations during stay-at-home orders can benefit immensely from the benefits of SEO, as more business is moved online and more people are searching not only for goods and services, but for answers to new sets of questions brought about by the health crisis — questions your brand should be ready to answer in properly optimized content.

Marketer looking to create this type of optimized content can learn from our CEO Lee Odden, who asked 16 B2B experts for their top tips to optimize marketing performance in an article examining B2B marketing fitness.

As early reports have come in, both B2B and B2C brands have seen increased website traffic figures during the pandemic, up 13 percent in March 2020 compared to February, according to HubSpot benchmark data.

HubSpot Coronavirus Chart

With more people visiting B2B websites, it’s never been more important to have online content that’s properly indexed, easily findable, and that swiftly answers customer questions. Providing best-answer content is a key part of SEO best-practices, as we’ve written about in the following articles:

[bctt tweet=”“With more people visiting B2B websites, it’s never been more important to have online content that’s properly indexed, easily findable, and that swiftly answers customer questions.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

3 — SEO Platforms Help Maximize Remote Worker Efficiencies

There are perhaps more SEO platforms available now than ever, built to help businesses achieve successful ongoing search campaigns. During the best of times, using some of the top platform tools adds efficiency to teams tasked with SEO implementation. During the remote work boom caused by the health crisis, using such tools can provide even more efficiency to B2B firms that are increasingly turning to SEO.

Finding the right SEO platforms has been an ongoing challenge for B2B firms, which is why we recently researched nine of the top platforms, including how leaders at each is handling the pandemic both in their professional and personal lives, in “Best SEO Tips for Marketing During the Pandemic Plus 9 Top SEO Platforms.”

Even before the coronavirus hit, longtime SEO industry consultant Aleyda Solis predicted that SEO would play a major role in 2020 for B2B marketers, as she outlined in our annual “10 Top B2B SEO Trends & Predictions for 2020” roundup.

[bctt tweet=”In 2020, I expect a growth in importance and usage of structured data, an increase in predictive search features, and a shift to a more technical SEO ecosystem. @aleyda” username=”toprank”]

Recently Aleyda took to her video channel to discuss how SEO’s role will change during the health crisis, in “Coronavirus & SEO: Its Impact in traffic and business, and the actions to Take as an SEO Specialist.”

We’ve also explored how B2B marketers are successfully adapting to remote work, including the following recent articles:

4 — Doing SEO Now Will Strengthen Future Brand Efforts

As Patrick Reinhart, vice president of digital strategies at Conductor recently told Marketing Land’s Greg Sterling, “What a lot of businesses are doing right now is only talking about the virus and not talking about other ways to help their customers,” Patrick said. “Right now is a great time to plant trees for SEO if you haven’t already. The trees you plant now will provide shade on sunny days in the future and there is nothing wrong with creating it along with content that addresses the current state of things,” he added.

While the pandemic has affected how SEO specialists both in-house and at agencies implement search strategies — as the following chart shows — businesses are continuing forward with SEO fundamentals that will help lay the foundation for expanded search success when the health crisis has passed.

North Star Inbound Image

[bctt tweet=”“B2B marketers who continue forward now with SEO fundamentals will help lay the foundation for expanded search success when the health crisis has passed.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

5 — SEO’s Stability Is Important For B2B Brands

With 47 percent of B2B customers using search to find information, suppliers, and solutions, SEO has always been important for B2B brands, and now its stability in times of flux adds to its marketing strength.

The pandemic has brought fluctuations to all areas of marketing, just as it’s affected many parts of our lives, and while search results haven’t been entirely immune — as shown in the following Google desktop result chart from an interesting look at “16-straight days of rankings volatility: SEOs dig into the COVID-19 effects on search” — the strength and endurance of SEO has brought it into more focus than ever.

Rank Ranger Search Engine Land Chart

Best-Answer B2B Marketing Solutions Increasingly Feature SEO

As we’ve examined, the time may be right for many B2B marketers to increase focus on SEO, because it has seen better performance and stability during the health crisis as more consumers than ever are conducting business online.

Paired with it’s ability to increase remote work efficiency when the right SEO platforms are used, and considering SEO’s overall effectiveness as a long-term strategy, B2B brands can benefit from turning to SEO for providing best-answer solutions, even during the pandemic.

The post SEO Strategy: 5 Reasons Why It’s More Important Than Ever For B2B Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.