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Marketing

You might have a marketing problem

This may be of some interest.

Democracy is a marketing problem.

Health is a marketing problem.

Climate change is a marketing problem.

Growing your organization, spreading the word, doing work you’re proud of–these aren’t engineering problems or economics problems. They’re marketing problems.

That’s because humans make choices. If we live in a culture where people are free to choose, we’ve offered control over our future to others.

When humans make choices–that’s marketing. Marketing is the difficult work of telling a story that resonates, of bringing a consistent set of promises to people who want to hear them.

If you want to change things, it helps to understand how humans make choices. And if you’ve got a change in mind, I hope you’ll spend the time and effort it takes to get better at bringing your story to the people who need to hear it.

I’m thrilled that we’re launching the eighth edition of The Marketing Seminar today. My bestselling book This is Marketing (more than 250,000 copies sold worldwide in less than a year) is based on this workshop. Every time we run the seminar, it gets better and our participants find what they’re looking for. If you want to join the 8,000 people who have found a path forward, today’s the best day. Look for the purple circle to find a discount.

Marketing isn’t about shortcuts, hustle or deception. Marketing is the art (and the science) of serving the people you seek to serve, to do better work by finding and satisfying needs. Marketing is the practice of making things better by making better things.

Click here to find out more.

Thank you for reading.

B2B Marketing Spotlight: Ty Heath on Optimizing ABM & Social Sales with LinkedIn #mpb2b

This may be of some interest.

Ty Heath Interview B2B Marketing

Ty Heath Interview B2B Marketing

Ty Heath is one of those people whose reputation precedes them. I had heard of Ty as a marketing industry speaker and force for change working at LinkedIn before finally meeting her in person. The IRL Ty experience did not disappoint. Each time I meet with Ty, ideas pop like popcorn – who needs coffee with such inspiration around what’s possible?

Currently Ty is Global Lead of The B2B Institute at LinkedIn where she is responsible for scaling education on LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions product globally. She has previously worked for major brands including IBM, Nestle and over 7 years at Google – plus she’s had her own consultancy.

On top of that, Ty is Co-Founder of LinkedIn’s annual TransformHER conference, was a contributing author in the recently published books “The Professional Black Woman” and the “Black Female Leader” and author of the book, “Marketers of Tomorrow: A Step by Step Toolkit for Inbound Marketing“. Ty was also honored as one of the Top 25 Influential Women in Marketing Who Inspired Us in 2018.

One thing you may not know about Ty is that she is a two time Olympic Trials qualifier in track and field for the 800 meters.

I’ve known Ty for just over a year – we serve on an industry advisory council for The Digital Marketing Institute together and have many mutual friends and shared interests like B2B marketing, science fiction and brunch. That’s why I was very happy to interview Ty as a speaker at the upcoming MarketingProfs B2B Forum conference on all things ABM and Social Selling.

If you want to optimize your ABM and social sales efforts, be sure to see Ty in Washington D.C. during the Oct 16-18 B2B Forum. In the meantime, this video is a must-watch:

Ty Heath on the Growth of ABM:

Many folks have been thinking about making account based marketing part of their go-to-market strategy or maybe it’s already a part of it. I think the primary reason why that’s happening is because buyers expect more. We’ve all gotten used to the experience that Amazon and Netflix, and other companies have created.

Business buyers expect more personalized attention and customization of content…and account-based marketing is a way to deliver on that. @tyrona

Even though we are in the space of B2B, that experience and those expectations are translating over from B2C. That expectation of personalization and level of knowledge around the buyer’s needs. So, I think ABM is in demand more because of changing business customer expectations and account-based marketing is a way to deliver on that.

Ty Heath on Alignment Beyond Sales and Marketing:

At the core of a powerful account based marketing plan is a team that is invested in sales and marketing alignment. And frankly, when you think about account-based marketing it’s not even just about sales and marketing. It’s about having your entire team oriented to connect with customers wherever they are in their journey, wherever they touch your business and have them make that the best possible experience. Sales and marketing tend to be the two groups within your business that are most oriented towards having those conversations and having those touch points.

Ty Heath on Ann Handley:

I’ve been following her for so long. That’s the thing. I’m one of the subscribers to MarketingProfs, but even before that, even earlier in my career as a marketer I read Content Rules. I read Everybody Writes. I’ve been following her for a long time. I think she is truly a pioneer as a woman in the space of B2B marketing. I think she’s an amazing storyteller. Her ideas are clear. She’s been an inspiration for me!

Thanks Ty! 

B2B Forum
Bound for B2B Forum: For more information about imagining what’s possible in B2B marketing including Ty Heath’s presentation, check out the MarketingProfs B2B Forum conference including agenda, list of speakers (including Ashley Zeckman and myself) and many other fun facts on the B2B Form website here. Also, get $100 off by using this mpb2b discount code: B2BFriends

You can find more information about Ty on her website The Spectacled Marketer and follow her on Twitter here: @tyrona

The post B2B Marketing Spotlight: Ty Heath on Optimizing ABM & Social Sales with LinkedIn #mpb2b appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

5 Ways to Measure Your Instagram Marketing Results

This may be of some interest.

Do you need a better way to report on your Instagram marketing results? Are you looking for ways to measure your Instagram posts and stories? In this article, you’ll learn how to combine data from Instagram Insights and other third-party tools to get a complete picture of your Instagram marketing activities. #1: Compare Your Instagram […]

The post 5 Ways to Measure Your Instagram Marketing Results appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Thank you for reading.

These Influencers Are Computer-Generated: The Future of Marketing, or Untrustworthy Advertising?

This may be of some interest.

More likely than not, you see influencer posts on your Instagram feed daily. In many ways, they become part of your life — influencing everything from exercise classes you take, to clothes you buy.

It’s undeniable that influencer marketing is powerful. In fact, over the past five years the tactic has quickly grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.

Plenty of businesses, both large and small, use influencers across their social platforms to reach new audiences, build brand awareness, and increase sales. Examples of successful influencer marketing strategies range from Stride Gum’s partnership with DJ Khaled to Glossier’s partnership with micro-influencers and “regular women”.

And, as influencer marketing grows, it’s no longer just limited to humans — as we’ve seen with Jiff Pom, a Pomeranian with over nine million Instagram followers.

But if any human (or pet) can become an influencer, it begs the question — do influencers even need to exist in real life?

In 2019, computer-generated influencers like Miquela Sousa might argue, “No.”

For instance, let’s take a look at this post by Miquela Sousa (@lilmiquela), an influencer with 1.6 million followers:

IMG_1554-1

By all accounts, the post looks real. Miquela, a 19-year-old Brazilian American model, influencer, and singer, is posting a #sponsored post for Calvin Klein and posing with fellow model Bella Hadid.

But Miquela is a computer-generated character, introduced by Los Angeles company Brud in 2016. Each month, almost 260,000 people listen to her music on Spotify. Miquela works with major brands ranging from Prada to Samsung, and she’s even given interviews at Coachella.

All of which raises the question — why should companies pay real human influencers to promote their products, when they can create their own personal influencer from scratch?

Lil Miquela, a Chinese News Anchor, and Colonel Sanders — Are Virtual Influencers The Future of Marketing?

Before we consider the pros and cons of virtual influencers, let’s explore some examples.

First, as previously mentioned, there’s Lil Miquela. When you scan through her Instagram posts, you quickly realize her captions make her sound like a regular teenager.

In fact, in the following post, she even sounds like she has real emotions, writing, “[One of angel boi’s friends] blew up at me at lunch and stormed out as I ugly cried in front of about 50 strangers … and now he won’t respond to any of my texts”:

4Max1

While her caption is fake, her followers’ comments are real — many of Lil Miquela’s followers respond with empathy or shared experiences, comments like “This same thing happened to me once, you’ll get through it”.

And then, there are Miquela’s “friends” — Bermuda (@bermudaisbae), with 170K followers and a bio that reads “Robot/Unbothered mogul with daddy’s PIN and a flawless highlight”, and Blawko (@blawko22) a self-described “Young Robot Sex Symbol” with 141K followers.

As Miquela writes on the following post: “Me and my mains! Always getting me through the roughest, there for all the highs, ride or dies … ILU guys!”

MkDFC

While these three are the only robots currently engineered by Brud, there are other “virtual humans” out there.

For instance, Xinhua News, a Chinese media outlet, unveiled an AI news presenter in 2018 who can work 24-hours a day without breaks, reducing news production costs. As the artificial news presenter stated in his introductory video, “I’ll work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted.”

Image Source

In another example, Balmain, a fashion label, commissioned photographer Cameron-James Wilson to create a diverse “virtual army” of models for Olivier Rousteing’s 2018 collection:

In a statement on the campaign, Balmain writes: “Anyone and everyone is always welcome to join Balmain Army’s growing ranks — they need only share our bold spirit of adventure as our new virtual icons, Margot, Shudu and Zhi who mirror the beauty, the rock style and the confident power.”

Of course, the campaign was met with mixed reviews — one follower wrote, “This is disgusting! I do not understand why they think these models are attractive”, and another commented, “As if Photoshop wasn’t enough, what’s wrong with this world?! #realpeople #realmodels please”.

And, last but certainly not least, there’s KFC’s Colonel Sanders, mocking the very trend of virtual influencers while taking part in it:

All of which is to say — are virtual influencers untrustworthy, or the future of marketing?

What Virtual Influencers Can Offer — and What’s Missing

There are some undeniable benefits to creating or hiring a virtual influencer.

For one, a virtual influencer isn’t human, meaning he or she won’t need breaks. Xinhua News, mentioned above, clearly saw the benefits of this — by using a virtual news anchor to cover breaking news 24-7, they lowered the cost of hiring real people to cover news throughout the night.

If you’re trying to work around-the-clock publishing and promoting content to raise brand awareness, then, it makes sense you’d consider using a virtual influencer, who can post and promote content without sacrificing human needs like … well, sleep.

Additionally, your virtual influencer isn’t as much of a PR liability as a real influencer is. For instance, Debra Davis, founder of NKLS — a company that researches, advises on, and invests in virtual and augmented reality — told WWD, “With a virtual influencer, so much more thought has to be put into the message. It’s not just someone with a Twitter stream. It’s more carefully constructed and thought through, and therefore can be controlled.”

Real influencers and celebrities make mistakes that could influence the public’s perception of your brand. With a virtual influencer, you don’t risk associating your brand with any negative press.

Additionally, it might cost less to hire a virtual influencer compared to a celebrity or supermodel. 

However, if your brand is considering hiring micro-influencers, you’ll more likely find a real micro-influencer for cheaper.

It’s also worth noting that much of what we see on Instagram is edited, filtered, and posed — so, really, is a real person’s highly filtered version of “real life” much different from virtual reality, anyway?

Lastly, a virtual influencer is incredibly rare and unusual, so it draws immediate attention to your brand. If your brand is trying to reach Gen-Z or a younger audience, a virtual influencer might be something that appeals to your intended demographic.

RqNPX

On the flip side, there’s still something uniquely powerful and engaging about real influencers connecting with their audience through social platforms. Virtual influencers like Lil Miquela can pretend they have human emotions, but that can just as easily backfire if her audience doesn’t trust the emotion behind it.

Ultimately, influencer marketing is about engaging in authentic, meaningful connections. How is an audience ever supposed to trust a promoted post when there isn’t a real human advocating for it?

Additionally, influencer marketing is often most successful when it’s seen as real and genuine. For instance, direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier has become insanely successful due, in large part, to its authentic marketing strategy.

As Emily Weiss, founder and CEO, said during a live interview with Kara Swisher for the Recode Decode podcast, “At Glossier, something we’ve always stayed very true to, since pre-launch, day one, is that every single person is an influencer.”

You’ll notice Glossier adheres to this strategy on its Instagram page, which exhibits real women using Glossier products:

At the end of the day, there’s something to be said for brands that find real people to promote their products or services to other real people. Sure, there’s risk involved — but that risk is the same component that enables audiences to trust, listen to, and connect with those influencers in the first place.

Thank you for reading.

Get Heroic Results from B2B Influencer Marketing with Advice from Ashley Zeckman #CMWorld

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Ashley Zeckman Presents at CMWorld 2019

Ashley Zeckman Presents at CMWorld 2019

B2B content marketers have faced many epic foes over the last few years. There’s the nefarious Content Shock, the demoralizing Facebook Algorithm, and the destructive Google Search Update. We have battled them all and continued to thrive.

But now we face our most fearsome foe: The Dreaded Trust Gap.

Less than half of consumers trust brands. Seventy-one percent of buyers are turned off by overly sales-y content. Buyers increasingly prefer content from industry influencers rather than brands.

It’s a daunting problem that needs a bold solution: The Guardians of Content!

In her Content Marketing World 2019 presentation, our very own Director of Digital Strategy Ashley Zeckman explained how B2B content marketers can initiate and scale up a heroic influencer content program of their own. Here are a few key takeaways.

Three Common B2B Influncer Pitfalls

If you’re just getting started with B2B influencer marketing, there are easy mistakes to make. Most of them come from trying to emulate the B2C model: Transactional, glorified sponsorship rather than content co-creation. Here are Ashley’s three most common pitfalls and how to avoid them:

#1: A Disconnected Approach

Say you have a hole in your editorial calendar, so you ask an influencer for an interview. Then you need some quotes for an infographic, so you ask a few others for a nugget of wisdom. Then you reach out on social media to a couple of folks you admire. Then you ask a different set of influencers for quotes for an eBook…

You get the picture. Instead of a strategic campaign that can build into something bigger, you have a ton of one-offs. It’s inefficient. It’s inconsistent for your audience and for the influencers you’re courting.

Instead, Ashley says, aim for a strategic, connected approach. Plan in advance which topics you’re covering, which influencers you want to include, how you’ll use the content, and your plans for repurposing.

#2: Transactional Relationships

There are two ways that influencer relationships can get too transactional. The first is asking too much too quickly, while offering nothing of value in return. Imagine you got an email from a stranger asking you to help them move. Would you do it?

Now imagine an email from a friend asking for that help, and promising pizza and beer? Relationships matter. Take time to honor your influencers, follow them on social media, promote them and their work. Help them succeed, then start with a small ask, like a sound bite for a blog post.

The second way relationships can be too transactional is more literal. If you only work with paid influencers who promote content you wrote… well, that’s more endorsement than influencer content, and it can be less likely to find an enthusiastic audience.

While you may financially compensate some influencers, Ashley says, the emphasis should always be on content co-creation. You want influencers to feel ownership of the finished product – they’ll be much more likely to promote something they’re excited to have made.

#3: Lack of Measurement

Like any other marketing tactic, influencer marketing should be able to prove its worth. Many marketers fail to build in measurement at the beginning, and end up with nothing but vanity metrics to show.

It’s important to plan for measurement before you start. Lay the groundwork for the KPIs you plan to meet, and the metrics you’ll use to show progress. And don’t forget to set benchmarks!

Here are a few of Ashley’s sample KPIs:

Planning Content and Assembling Your Heroes

Keeping those pitfalls in mind, here’s how Ashley recommends designing and implementing an influencer program.

First, determine your topical focus. The topics you plan to cover should hit the intersection of your business priorities, search demand, and influencer expertise. It shouldn’t be too tied to your products and solutions. Think more about what you want your brand to be known for.

Use the same tools you use for content research to find the key terms where there is audience demand and competitor whitespace as well.

With topics in hand, you can start identifying your influencer mix:

You’re not looking for just the people with the largest audience. Instead, focus on people who are respected in their fields, shared interest in your topics, and the ability to actually move people to engage.

It’s also important, says Ashley, to find influencers who fit your content type. If it’s an audio or video asset, look for folks who have demonstrated a willingness an ability to provide that type of content. Beyond that, influencers should be reputable, practical, with real-life experience to draw from.

When you reach out to these influencers, remember to give before you ask:

The nurturing process helps prove your own credibility to influencers, showing you’re a trustworthy partner, and hopefully sparking interest in co-creating awesome content.

The Adventure Continues (and Continues, and Continues)

The ultimate goal of your influencer outreach and nurturing should be a connected universe of content (much like Marvel’s cinematic universe). Who would assemble a hero team and disband them after one adventure? Continue nurturing relationships with your influencers and encourage them to acknowledge and support each other, too. The goal is to develop a community of folks who are always up for another mission to save the world from boring B2B content.

Ready for a heroic influencer marketing success story? See how Alcatel-Lucent drove 6-figure leads with their campaign. Looking for more insights out of CMWorld 2019? Check out these other posts featuring several of this year’s speakers:

The post Get Heroic Results from B2B Influencer Marketing with Advice from Ashley Zeckman #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

B2B Marketing Spotlight: Omar Al-Sinjari, Sr Digital Marketing Manager, RelayHealth McKesson #B2BSMX

This may be of some interest.

Omar Al-Sinjari

Omar Al-Sinjari

Next week’s B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange conference in Boston is coming up fast! To give you another sneak peek at the talented brand marketers sharing their insights and best practices, I’ve interviewed Omar Al-Sinjari, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing at RelayHealth – McKesson.

Omar is responsible for all things digital and a full stack operator including ABM, web, analytics, attribution, lead generation and marketing operations.

RelayHealth is a business unit of McKesson which is a $214 billion Fortune 10 company. Large enterprise level organizations bring with them a different set of marketing challenges and opportunities and with all of the evolution in B2B marketing and sales that has emerged, Omar is a great person to give us perspective.

At B2BSMX Omar will be on a panel (How To Do ABM At The Enterprise Level And Scale) Tuesday August 13th at 2pm. If you’re thinking of attending B2BSMX, there’s a 25% off discount code at the end of the interview.

Lee Odden: You’ve had a long history of working in the healthcare industry. Please share a bit about your background and current role as Senior Manager, Digital Marketing at RelayHealth – McKesson.

Omar Al-Sinjari InterviewOmar Al-Sinjari: Throughout my whole career I have either Marketed to or worked in the healthcare industry. I have been involved in Digital Marketing for the last 11 years, first at a very small company, sending out emails and redesigning/managing a website.

As my career progressed, I slowly became the SME regarding digital at each one of my jobs, which evolved into my passion for all things digital marketing.

Currently at RelayHealth – McKesson, I am responsible for all things digital. I currently own the digital strategy and execution including: Marketing Operations, Analytics, Attribution, ABM, Intent, SEO and Web Presence.

Lee Odden: You’ve accomplished a lot in your time with McKesson. What is the secret to success working in marketing at such a large organization?

When embarking on a digital transformation or any marketing change, you have to have thick skin and be willing to collaborate. @omaralsinjari

Omar Al-Sinjari: Collaboration, thick skin, openness to change and patience.

When embarking on a digital transformation or any marketing change, you have to have thick skin and be willing to collaborate. In my role at Corporate McKesson, I created a cross business unit group called Marketing Operations Leadership Council (MOLC) which brought together Marketing Ops leaders and practitioners across McKesson. This was an opportunity to collaborate, share best practices and make decisions across a huge Corporation.

Change doesn’t happen overnight and educating the business on why you are trying to change is imperative along with taken a data driven approach and assessing what the business needs are.

Lee Odden: Today’s B2B marketing is a cornucopia of tactics from ABM to content marketing to influencer marketing, what advice can you share about how can B2B marketers find focus and make the right decisions on their tactical mix?

Omar Al-Sinjari: Partner with sales and customer success (account management) to better understand the customer.

From an ABM perspective you need to find out who to target and why. Ask the following questions:

  • Which accounts are best for expansion?
  • Which accounts have been difficult to target?
  • Who do you target?
  • What is their title?
  • Who are the people involved in the buying process?

Lee Odden: At B2BSMX you will be participating on a panel about ABM at the enterprise level. What are some of the top challenges with ABM at a large company?

Omar Al-Sinjari: In my role with RelayHealth, which is a business unit within McKesson, my ABM efforts are mainly focused at my business unit (BU) level. But I have shared some of my best ABM success with the other BUs and created a strategy and a playbook that can be used across the organization.

The great thing about ABM is, it’s account based, so you need to target multiple people within an organization, not just one single person or one single lead. @omaralsinjari

Some of the biggest challenges with ABM are determining who the target market is: Who within the organization you want to target. Also understanding why. One of the hardest things with ABM is determining who you can target and why you want to target those folks because different people are involved in different stages of the buying cycle. The great thing about ABM is, it’s account based, so you need to target multiple people within an organization, not just one single person or one single lead. Understanding that distinction allows you to be successful.

Lee Odden: ABM has gained quite a bit of momentum in the B2B marketing world over the last few years. Do you believe it’s helped with bring sales and marketing together?

Omar Al-Sinjari: I think everyone has been account-based at some point in terms of knowing who you are going to target and why. So ABM and ABM platforms have put some technology behind those efforts and help facilitate the conversation between sales marketing.

ABM allows you to educate sales teams and the customer success teams because it’s not just a marketing and sales conversation. @omaralsinjari

I think the concept of ABM enables marketers to talk to sales folks about who we need to target and why, instead of just saying, “Who are your top accounts?”.

The term ABM allows you to educate sales teams and the customer success teams because it’s not just a marketing and sales conversation. In my opinion, it needs to be a sales, account management, customer success and marketing conversation. Then start trickling that throughout the rest of the organization as well.

An ABM platform enables those conversations and allows you to provide data and understanding, like what are the interactions and how many interactions are you having. ABM platforms then enable you to build a marketing attribution model based on those interactions.

Lee Odden: You’re talking about bringing data together, ABM and ABM technology enabling conversations that happen between sales, account management, customer success and marketing and so forth. That’s a much bigger and coordinated effort than you often find in campaign based marketing and traditional demand gen type programs, isn’t it?

Omar Al-Sinjari: Oh yeah, for sure. It’s not just batch and blast. I think previously a lot of marketers would try to figure out who their target accounts were, then go buy a list and just start sending them a bunch of emails.

What ABM and using an ABM platform allows you to do is to stay top of mind in their short term memory. @omaralsinjari

Marketing has evolved and I don’t think people want to be marketed to that way anymore. I’m not even sure if people want to be shown display ads or targeted that way.

What ABM and using an ABM platform allows you to do is to stay top of mind in their short term memory. A buyer might have seen a solution two years ago, a solution they weren’t quite ready to buy right away. Then a few years down the line, they remember that ad or that brand or that message and how it will allow you to solve one of your B2B problems.

Lee Odden: With your experience with ABM, I’m wondering what best practices you can share for other enterprise level B2B marketers?

Omar Al-Sinjari: Partnering and evangelizing ABM with sales and customer success as well as taking a data-driven approach to how you market from an ABM perspective.

If you do have some sort of insight tool on your website that tells you a company’s IP address, that could be a source of data saying that a company is interested or they’re poking around our website. Or, if you’re seeing multiple people from one company come into your website, that’s giving you an indicator that people are interested. Then you add those folks to your ABM targets.

Partnering with the rest of the organization and educating the organization and getting people on board is especially important.

ABM is not just about net new customers, it’s also how you churn your base and expand accounts, especially as your company has new acquisitions, new solutions or new products. @omaralsinjari

How you expand within those accounts is important and ABM is a great tool to stay top of mind.

When someone buys your solution, you could end up interacting with 10 or 15 different people, whether they are from procurement, security and risk, to the actual person that’s going to be implementing. Understanding that there’s not just one person and that you need to target an account as a whole is essential.

Best practice ABM is about finding all of the people that are involved in the process, plus that one person evangelizing your solution that you’re trying to sell. @omaralsinjari

There are some situations where there are multiple stakeholders and the person that’s signing the agreement might not even be involved in the buying process until the end. So, best practice ABM is about finding all of the people that are involved in the process, plus that one person evangelizing your solution that you’re trying to sell. That evangelist will be one of your key targets, but understanding the customer as a whole picture is important.

Lee Odden: Do you have an ABM success story that you could share either one of your own or, or even something you’ve observed out in the industry?

Omar Al-Sinjari: We’ve experienced a significant, 40% growth within one of our segments year over year. That’s by targeting folks in one specific vertical and focusing on some key customers.

You can look at a company like Terminus and see how much growth they’ve had implementing ABM. ABM is B2B marketing now. It’s understanding and showing success and using data to drive decision making. Ultimately, what it all comes down to is, how are you attributing interactions to the bottom line?

Lee Odden: What are some of the top B2B marketing trends that you think are worth paying attention to in the coming year?

Omar Al-Sinjari: ABM, marketing attribution, and CDP or customer data platforms.

I don’t know how many companies are listed on the Martech list now, but I think at some point there’s going to be some sort of consolidation there.

If I had a crystal ball, I’d love to see what will be coming up from a technology standpoint and how people consume information from a B2B perspective. For example, understanding different stages according to where the buyer is in their journey and being able to use some sort of AI technology to identify and show trends across the buying cycle. Also, understanding the buying cycle and then using some sort of predictive analytics or AI to get deeper into data from an overall customer lifecycle perspective.

Lee Odden: What sources of information do you rely on most to stay on top of B2B marketing?

Omar Al-Sinjari: I use a few different sources including Chief Martech by Scott Brinker and the Marketo blog. There are several newsletters that I subscribe to and I use Google Alerts to track specific topics. I also stay up to date by attending conferences and learning from other people. I really enjoy reading case studies and about new technologies out there.

I also use social media, including Linkedin and Twitter to stay abreast of what’s going on. It’s changing all the time and everyone has opinions, right?

Lee Odden: What are you most excited about upcoming B2B SMX conference in Boston?

Omar Al-Sinjari: I’m excited for the Flip My Funnel track. I’m also excited for the REVTalks and Demand Gen Summit. I’m pretty much excited for all of it.

At B2BSMX I’m looking forward to learning from others because in this industry, you’re constantly learning and you need to be able to adapt and change. @omaralsinjari

Really, I’m looking forward to learning from others because in this industry, you’re constantly learning and you need to be able to adapt and change. And I think the overall message for ABM is change. It’s changing the way you go to market, how you interact with different people in your organization and changing the narrative as it relates to marketing. Specifically, changing marketing from being a cost center to a profit center.

Lee Odden: Thank you Omar!

Be sure to follow Omar Al-Sinjari on Twitter: omaralsinjari

For information about the B2BSMX conference including agenda, speakers, workshops, mentor opportunities and more:

B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange: Boston
August 12-13, 2019
Encore Boston Harbor
GET 25% OFF using Discount Code: 25TRB
Registration//b2bsalesmarketing.exchange/registration

The post B2B Marketing Spotlight: Omar Al-Sinjari, Sr Digital Marketing Manager, RelayHealth McKesson #B2BSMX appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

Social Media Marketing Strategy: A Modern No-Nonsense Guide

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Wondering how to create an effective social media strategy? Looking for a current, proven guide to follow? In this article, you’ll find a step-by-step plan for developing a social media marketing strategy that really works—all based on modern marketing principles. How This Social Media Marketing Strategy Works This social media marketing strategy works by mapping […]

The post Social Media Marketing Strategy: A Modern No-Nonsense Guide appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Content Marketing Planning: How to Build Your Editorial Calendar

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Building an Editorial Calendar

Building an Editorial Calendar

I can’t believe I got fired from the calendar factory. All I did was take a day off!

Opening today’s post up with a bit of levity felt fitting, because calendars can cause much anxiety. They bring to mind deadlines, meticulous organization, and time crunches, which are often oppressive realities for marketers with a million things on their plates.

But the truth is that you’re likely to encounter much more dread if you don’t house your content planning within a documented and strategic editorial calendar for blogging. Building out a set schedule (with a bit of flexibility) ultimately makes your life easier because it provides a guiding light, and ensures your content strategy remains cohesive and oriented around your objectives.

In other words, editorial calendars are no joke. Here’s how you can construct one that seriously drives your company’s blog (or any other content initiative) forward. 

Fortify Your Editorial Calendar in Five Steps

Whether you’ve already got a content calendar, which you hope to refine and improve, or you’re starting from scratch, these five steps will put you on track.

Step 1: Crystallize Your Objectives

The biggest issue with many content plans is that they’re aimless and wayward. When you’re figuring things out on the fly, it can be difficult to tie everything back to the same goals and desired outcomes. So the first step is to zoom out and nail down what you’re trying to achieve with the content in question. For instance, if your blog is designed to generate leads with specific audiences, are you tethering each piece on your calendar back to this outcome in some way? 

Placing objectives front-and-center is a key benefit of documenting your content strategy, and making them the underpinning of your planning will help ensure everything you publish has a purpose. 

via GIPHY

Step 2: Chart Your Pillars and Timely Focuses

With objectives clearly defined, you can formulate content pillars that will serve as the cornerstones of your editorial calendar. Also known as topic clusters, these are the general categories that all of your content will nest under. Pillars are determined by the intersection of what you want to be known for, and where demand exists. They should be informed by SEO research around keywords and queries, hitting the sweet spot between search volume, expertise, and buying intent.

Here on the TopRank Marketing Blog, our pillars are aligned with our agency’s core services — content marketing, SEO, influencer marketing — and so pretty much everything we create for the blog approaches these topics from various angles for people who are interested in learning about them and looking for insight.

Don’t view content pillars as restricting; there are a wide range of ways you can address almost any topic, either directly or tangentially. Organizing your calendar around them will help ensure you stay focused, and relevant to your target audience. In addition to identifying a topical mix, you can start to define your content types — how-tos, thought leadership, influencer collaborations, conversion-driven pieces, etc. These can be aligned with various stages of the buying cycle, and mapped back to the key objectives established in Step 1.

At this point, it’s also smart to map out industry events or seasonal milestones that you’ll want to create content around. 

[bctt tweet=”Don’t view content pillars as restricting; there are a wide range of ways you can address almost any topic, either directly or tangentially. @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #ContentPlanning” username=”toprank”]

Step 3: Coordinate with Your Broader Strategy

This is a vital consideration that is all too frequently overlooked. Whatever channel you’re scheduling content for — be it a blog, email, social, etc. — think about ways you can coordinate with other departments or disciplines in the organization. For example, does your sales team experience higher volumes of inquiries at certain times of year? Or are they attending a trade show next month that you could support with content? Maybe one of your executives will be speaking at a conference, and you want to queue up some thought leadership around the subject of their talk in the days leading up.

A strong editorial calendar should reflect the company holistically. In this sense, it can be helpful to make your calendar visible to everyone and not just the folks on your team. 

[bctt tweet=”A strong editorial calendar should reflect the company holistically. @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #ContentPlanning ” username=”toprank”]

Step 4: Plot Your Cadence and Schedule Out Your Content

How often will you create content? And why? We all know it’s valuable to publish regularly, because this is how you build an invested and trusting audience, but “regularly” can mean different things under different circumstances. Is it daily? Three times a week? Multiple times per day? This decision shouldn’t driven by guesswork, but by data. 

Although it’s a little older now, HubSpot has a helpful post on determining how often companies should blog based on variables like company size and B2B vs. B2C. But you’ll also want to dig into your own visitor behavior analytics and draw conclusions on what your audience wants. Test different cadences and compare the impacts. As a general rule, more publishing equals more traffic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be worth your while to create new content each day. 

As Alfred Lua of Buffer writes: “I would recommend experimenting and finding a suitable editorial cadence based on your content goals and the amount of time you have. There is no one right editorial cadence. HubSpot publishes several articles a day while Backlinko publishes less than once a month.” (As a side note, we highlighted Backlinko’s quality-over-quantity approach here earlier this year.)

Having made this decision, you can start filling out the calendar appropriately, using your content pillars and organizational directives as guides. Plan as far out as you’re comfortable (at least one month, but forecasting three or more months is even better). Make sure you’re building in enough topical variety to keep things fresh and diverse. Once you get your schedule documented, it becomes easy to spot gaps or overloads. 

Step 5: Leave Room for Change

Note that you don’t want to completely fill out your editorial calendar. As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to leave some flexibility so you can nimbly address timely matters as they arise and account for the (expected) unexpected. Contently editor-in-chief Jordan Teicher proposes a 75/25 rule, wherein one out of every four slots in your calendar is left blank. 

“In my years managing the site, I’m certain of one thing: s*** happens,” Teicher writes. “People miss deadlines. Sources don’t respond in time. The design team can’t find the right image. My day gets stuffed with meetings, which prevents me from editing a draft. A flexible content calendar is about more than just coming up with ideas for the current news cycle. It’s also about realistic expectations.”

Smart Practices for Getting the Most Out of Your Editorial Calendar

The five steps above will help you solidify your calendar. Here are a few additional tips to help make the process smoother and more effective.

  • Hold group brainstorming sessions. Usually, the toughest thing about building out a content calendar is coming up with enough concepts to fill it in. I recommend setting up a time where a bunch of your creatives come together to load up the pipeline with ideas (run these ideas past your content pillars and SEO research to assess strategic viability). Make sure to incorporate voices from various departments. 
  • Slice up and repurpose. It’s always valuable to get the most mileage possible out of your content. If you’ve got a big, meaty blog post planned on a certain subject, why not divvy it up into three parts and run it as a series? If you’re looking for a reliable performer next month, why not take your most successful piece from last month and flip it into an infographic, or conceive a follow-up post that expands on it? Repurposing is a great way to get the most out of your content leftovers.
  • Lean on the right tools. For some content teams, a spreadsheet or even a Word doc can be sufficient for organizing your editorial calendar. In other cases, this initiative can be run through your project management software. But for high-volume teams with many elements to track and account for, it might be helpful to go with a dedicated content-centric solution. There are plenty of them out there, including Contently, DivvyHQ, Kapost, CoSchedule, and more.
  • Create comprehensive coverage. What this looks like can vary in different scenarios. It might mean approaching your topical pillars with best-answer content that addresses every subtopic your customers are interested in learning about (especially those queries carrying any level of purchase intent). If you’re in a crowded niche, it might mean gobbling up every bit of white space your competitors are missing. If your content is oriented toward B2B buyers, it might mean creating content for every role on distributed buying committees, and speaking to each stage of a lengthy purchase cycle

Right on Schedule

If you feel apprehensive about building an editorial calendar from scratch, you’re not alone. It can feel intimidating to schedule out so far in advance, and to consistently manage and maintain this resource. But I assure you, once you get into the groove, your life will be much easier and your results will improve. 

Following the steps and recommendations above will help you stay on target and derive maximum value from your efforts.

Want to add further efficiency and foresight to your strategy? Learn more about getting ahead with your content planning

The post Content Marketing Planning: How to Build Your Editorial Calendar appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

6 Cannes Revelations About B2B Marketing in 2020

This may be of some interest.

City of Cannes Aerial view Image

City of Cannes Aerial view Image

In June the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity brought together some of the world’s savviest B2B marketers, brands, and other creative professionals.

From Nike, IKEA, and Visa to Tommy Hilfiger, Microsoft and Target, strong brands and the marketers behind them were involved at Cannes, and the trends they gathered to explore will play a part in shaping how B2B marketers focus their efforts in the months and years ahead.

Here’s a run-down of some of the top B2B marketing and other revelations from this year’s Cannes, and what they’ll mean for your business in 2020 and beyond.

1 — Cannes B2B Marketing Brand Engagement Take-Aways

Brand Engagement Gear Cogs Image

One running theme at Cannes this year was centered around being mindful of your brand’s purpose, and how it will be especially important when it comes time to meet your audience’s needs and make the greatest impact.

Being a change-maker brand comes from honing in on consumer desires, so listen to the signals coming from the online platforms where your customers and potential clients spend the majority of their time.

Don’t entirely eschew machine learning when it comes to your data, but build brand trust by ensuring that appropriate and responsible humans have data oversight.

Look to feed off competitive momentum and focus conversations and cultural discussions using creativity, and keep it sincere when it comes to brand activism, while avoiding all hints of opportunism, many at Cannes urged.

Brand engagement, especially through influencer marketing, has been the focus of several recent articles we’ve published, including these:

2 — Cannes B2B Marketing Consumer Journey Take-Aways

Happy people and dog jumping together on the sunset beach Image

Dig in and embrace the sometimes-messy digital world where your potential customers interact, by communicating with them and taking the time to learn about their lives through what they’re posting online, because cold and impersonal data can only get you so far in the customer journey.

These raw and real connections can unite and forge new relationships in ways that polished marketing campaigns sometimes just can’t, and some of the winners at Cannes showed examples of building these types of connections.

Build strong brand value while also allowing customers to take the wheel, nurture the connections your brand makes, and don’t be afraid to build strong creative partnerships in your efforts.

Valuing the participation of consumers while also standing by your brand’s values were among the trends explored during Cannes this year.

Search taking place from smart speakers and other connected voice-assisted is poised to boom in the coming years, and podcasting is expanding to offer new ways to integrate brand messaging.

Strive to build a seamless voice search approach that meshes with the values and messaging of your brand or that of your client, as sound is the newest frontier for B2B marketers.

We’re written about smart search recently, including in these helpful articles:

[bctt tweet=”“We’re very good at doing marketing on screens. We’re not as good at audio only.” — Bessie Lee, Founder and CEO, Withinlink” username=”toprank”]

3 — Cannes B2B Marketing Diversity Take-Aways

Colorful diverse finger prints image.

Cannes made efforts to find and highlight the areas in marketing where diversity continues to be lacking, led by people over 50 and those who are differently-abled, and spent considerable time exploring how setting aside fear and risk can lead to huge economic and strategic opportunities.

Going beyond hiring, diversity should move towards being more of a core piece of a brand’s values, some of those gathered at Cannes noted.

Adding diversity key performance indicators (KPIs) to existing performance metrics would go a long way towards making inclusiveness an important part of opportunity pipelines, and ultimately bottom lines, it was noted during Cannes.

4 — Cannes B2B Marketing Long-Term Planning Take-Aways

Mountain hiker with map at guideposts.

Connections coming from unexpected places and new experiences are poised to change how B2B marketers expand beyond traditional sources, and an emphasis on the power of creativity to strengthen organizations was made at Cannes.

Brands and how they reflect culture at large will become more of a joint initiative at successful firms and in strong marketing efforts, especially in creative campaigns.

Cannes showed that creativity will likely thrive in the coming year, even more-so when it’s increasingly expressed as a team effort, done in what some gathered for the week called real-time branding, with all involved having a creative stake in new marketing initiatives.

Having a relevant and flexible B2B marketing strategy, and building innovative creative methods whether working solo or with an agency, were also take-aways from Cannes this year.

We’ve explored both long-term planning and the question of when is the right time to partner with an agency, in recent articles such as these:

[bctt tweet=”“The value of agency creative is $10 Billion.” — Jay Pattisall, Forrester @jaypattisall” username=”toprank”]

5 — Cannes B2B Marketing Storytelling Take-Aways

Share Your Story image.

At Cannes a more transformational flavor of storytelling was seen as coming down the pike, one that will help evolve the narrative with more levels of both client and customer experience, all combining to bring better communication to consumers.

Rapidly-expanding digital technologies and more data than ever present challenges, but also massive opportunities, especially when the two combine to help creative storytelling efforts that help drive B2B marketing efforts.

Creating compelling narratives and delivering them in new and relevant ways will play a factor in marketing in 2020 and beyond, and firms utilizing solely technology to overcome marketing barriers may be left behind.

Learning to better recognize the people behind the data and the numbers was also seen as a key trend at Cannes, along with greater incorporation of empathy and intuition in marketing processes.

Neuroaesthetics and an evolving method of storytelling that is always-on will expand on traditional forms of narratives that have been largely limited to a beginning, middle, and end.

Micro-storytelling efforts will also help brands shows that they are listening, and encourage consumers to create and share their own stories.

A few of our helpful looks at storytelling in marketing are these:

6 — Cannes Trust in B2B Marketing Take-Aways

Hand turning trust dial image.

We’ve focused more than ever on trust in marketing over the past year at TopRank Marketing, with pieces such as these:

At Cannes the power of trust played a major role this year, and how to regain it using transparency, authenticity, and empathy, after being compromised over the past several years in the eyes of many.

A theme that resonated throughout the week was that nothing secures a relationship as powerfully as trust, which is the cornerstone of any long-term partnership.

Trust in platforms and technology were also at the forefront on Cannes this year, and admonitions to shift to marketing strategies that are more real, open, transparent, and true were common themes for rebuilding broken trust.

[bctt tweet=”As the old adage goes: Trust is gained in drops and lost in buckets. #B2BMarketing #trust” username=”toprank”]

Building on Marketing Lessons From Cannes

via GIPHY

These six major theme take-aways in the areas of brand engagement, customer journeys, diversity, long-term planning, storytelling and trust from this year’s Cannes can play a part in your own B2B marketing strategy as we head ever-closer to 2020.

You can also learn more by joining us at upcoming speaking events and conferences. Our CEO Lee Odden will be speaking at Content Marketing World this fall, where on September 3 he’ll be presenting “How to Develop a B2B Influencer Marketing Program That Actually Works” with Amisha Gandhi of SAP, and a solo session on September 4 exploring “Content Marketing Fitness – 10 Exercises to Build Your Marketing Beach Body.”

Our Senior Director of Digital Strategy Ashley Zeckman will also be speaking at Content Marketing World, in “Guardians of Content Vol 1: How to Scale B2B Influencer Content to Save the Galaxy.”

The post 6 Cannes Revelations About B2B Marketing in 2020 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

Ubersuggest 4.0: The Ultimate Content Marketing Tool

This may be of some interest.

content ideas

Why do you do keyword research?

It’s to find more lucrative keywords to rank for on Google, right?

But once you find these keywords, you still have to figure out how to rank for them.

For that reason, I decided to update Ubersuggest because I wanted to show you what kind of content to create and even how to promote it.

That way you can start ranking for these newly found keywords.

Here’s what’s new…

Content ideas

The way you rank for a keyword is by creating content around it. I know content isn’t king anymore and that’s because there are over 1 billion blogs on the web. That means Google can be really picky about what they decide to rank.

So now, not only do you need to write amazing content, but you also have to promote it if you want to do well.

To help you with this I created a Content Ideas report in Ubersuggest. So whenever you do keyword research, you’ll see an overview that looks like this:

overview

Just like before, you’ll see a graph at the top with the search volume over time, some keyword recommendations and, at the very bottom, a list of blog posts that performed exceptionally well for that keyword.

When you click on “content ideas” in the navigational menu or you click on “view all content ideas,” you’ll then be taken to a page that looks something like this:

content ideas

This page shows you all of the popular blog posts that have been written related to the keyword or phrase you searched.

The list is ordered by social shares, so the posts with the highest social shares are at the top. At the bottom, you can keep clicking to see more results. Even if your screen only shows 1 or 2 pages, just keep clicking next and you’ll start to see results for pages 3, 4, 5, etc.

We only show you 20 results per page, but each key phrase will typically have hundreds, if not thousands, of results as our database has over 500,000,000 blog posts from around the world.

And because there are so many results, we’ve also created an easy to use filtering system so you can fine-tune your search by including certain keywords or excluding other ones and even putting minimum and maximum thresholds on social shares.

filters

My favorite part about the content ideas report

I know you can do similar things with Buzzsumo and other tools, but this is why I created the Content Ideas report.

As I mentioned earlier, content isn’t king. You not only have to write amazing content (that’s why I sort the content by social shares as more shares typically mean people love it), but you also have to promote it.

You’ll notice that there are two other columns in this report that make the tool unique… one is “Estimated Visits” and the other is “Backlinks”.

headings

Estimated visits will show you how many visits the blog post generated from Google each month. Just click on “Keywords” and it will even show you the keywords that drive those visits and the position the article ranks for each of those terms.

keywords

Backlinks, on the other hand, are all of the referring domains that point to each article. So if 12 unique domains link to that blog post, then you’ll see the number “12” in that column. All you have to do is click on “links” and you’ll see the full list of backlinks.

links

Not only do I provide a thorough list of backlinks, but I also show you the overall page score, domain score, anchor text, and even the type of link.

The reasons I made the Content Ideas report like this are:

  1. By creating content similar to posts that have a lot of social shares, it increases the chances that the content you are writing is going to do well as people have already shown interest in that topic and even shared it on the social web.
  2. By showing you the keywords a blog post ranks for, you’ll know what keywords to focus on when writing the content. This way your post can rank as well.
  3. By showing you who links to your competition, you can now hit up everyone who links to competing articles and ask them to link to your piece of content.

Less fluff and more data

In addition to the Content Ideas report, you’ll now find that Ubersuggest provides you with more data and less fluff when you perform a keyword query.

For example, if you search for the term “dog food,” it will tell you that the average result that ranks in the top 10 has 72 backlinks and a domain score of 82.

speech bubble

This way, if you want to rank for that term or any other term, you’ll have a rough idea of what you need from an authority and backlink standpoint to achieve a spot on page one.

Conclusion

If you are going to create content or write a blog post, you should check out the Content Ideas report each time before you write.

The last thing you want to do is create content that people don’t care about reading. And this report will give you good feedback so that way you aren’t wasting your time creating content that doesn’t generate social shares, backlinks, or rankings.

You’ll also notice that some posts do extremely well from a social sharing standpoint but terrible from a backlink and a search traffic perspective.

Social shares will bring you more short-term traffic and search engines bring you less traffic upfront, but more consistent traffic over time.

This report will help you find a balance so that you can get both short-term traffic and consistent traffic over the long-haul.

So, head on over and try the new Content Ideas report.

What do you think about the content ideas report?

The post Ubersuggest 4.0: The Ultimate Content Marketing Tool appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.