28 B2B Marketing Insights To Energize & Humanize Your 2021

Colorful running shoes, water bottle, and headphones image.

Colorful running shoes, water bottle, and headphones image.

What will successful B2B marketing look like in a post-pandemic world, and what can we as marketers do today to be as ready as possible?

Here are 28 quotes from some of the best in the B2B marketing business, taken from our two seasons of Break Free B2B Marketing video interview episodes, that will help keep your efforts on track, energized, and filled with the subtle humanizing elements sometimes neglected in the B2B landscape.

Keep posted for the launch of an all-new season three of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews, and now let’s dig right in with an array of B2B marketing insights to help you prepare for a successful 2021.

1 — Hal Werner of Mitel

Hal Werner
Global Manager of Digital Marketing and Strategy
Mitel

Break Free B2B Interview with Hal Werner of Mitel

“If you want to create a piece of content about a topic, but you can’t create the best one, why are you creating it? If you don’t truly believe that you can outdo your competitors in the space for that function, then what are you wasting your time on?”

“Whether you earn it or whether it’s paid for, you’re going to need more voices putting out there what you’re about so that not only people see you, but you begin to be associated with that thing at a critical mass.”

[bctt tweet=”“If you want to create a piece of content about a topic, but you can’t create the best one, why are you creating it?” @halwerner” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Hal in “Break Free B2B Series: Hal Werner on the Intersection of Marketing Creativity and Analytics.”

2 — Stephanie Stahl of Content Marketing Institute

Stephanie Stahl
General Manager
Content Marketing Institute

Break Free B2B Interview with Stephanie Stahl

“As content creators, sometimes we try to do everything that we possibly can on every channel. I think it’s important for content teams and marketing teams to go back and say, ‘What do we need to stop doing? What are we doing that really isn’t giving us the result that we’d like? And how can we then focus more on the things that are working?’ So ask yourselves, ‘What can we stop doing today, so we have more time to do the things we’re really good at?’”

[bctt tweet=”“It’s important for content and marketing teams to go back and say, ‘What do we need to stop doing? What are we doing that isn’t giving us the result we’d like? How can we then focus more on the things that are working?’” @EditorStahl” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Stephanie in “Break Free B2B Series: CMI’s Stephanie Stahl on Data-Driven Event Planning and Promotion.”

3 — Jon Miller of Demandbase

Jon Miller
Chief Product Officer
Demandbase

Jon Miller

“The explosion of digital noise means that traditional marketing channels like ads are becoming less and less effective. What marketers need to think about is, how do I orchestrate multiple channels together?”

[bctt tweet=”“The explosion of digital noise means that traditional marketing channels like ads are becoming less and less effective. What marketers need to think about is, how do I orchestrate multiple channels together?” @jonmiller” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Jon in “Break Free B2B Series: Jon Miller on How ABM Can Help Marketers Keep Their ‘Ship’ Together.”

4 — Adi Bachar-Reske of 20x

Adi Bachar-Reske
Founder and CMO
20x

Break Free B2B Interview with Adi Bachar-Reske

“These days, the way you build the trust is showing how nimble and flexible you can be. Both in your development and your product, but also it has to be reflected in your marketing and your digital presence.”

[bctt tweet=”“The way you build the trust is showing how nimble and flexible you can be. Both in your development and your product, but also it has to be reflected in your marketing and digital presence.” @AdiBacharReske” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Adi in “Break Free B2B Series: Adi Bachar-Reske on Taking the Lead in the Evolution of B2B Content Marketing.”

5 — Emily Thompson of EST Creative

Emily Thompson
Owner
EST Creative

Break Free B2B Interview with Emily Thompson

“When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. Ultimately, people just want information that’s helpful to them. Especially with digital, it’s very easy today to try a new type of message, or a new way of communicating to someone. Let’s say you never blogged before, why not try a blog? Let’s say you never did email marketing, why not try it? Or a new type of message? The worst that can happen is you measure it, you learn from it, and you try something new.”

[bctt tweet=”“When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. Ultimately, people just want information that’s helpful to them.” @BosCreativeCopy” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Emily in “Break Free B2B Series: Emily Thompson on the Power of Content Marketing in Health Care.”

6 — Margaret Magnarelli of Morgan Stanley

Margaret Magnarelli
Executive Director of Digital Product Evolution and Growth Marketing
Morgan Stanley

Break Free B2B Interview with Margaret Magnarelli

“We have to be able to give our customers as much information as we can, and take them as close to the line of purchase — to the experience of purchase — as we can.”

“People can see through fake attempts to build trust. It’s hard for consumers to just believe a brand when they say they can do a thing. So if you have other people who say you can do a thing and you can do it well, and they can be your advocates, that’s really powerful.”

[bctt tweet=”“It’s hard for consumers to just believe a brand when they say they can do a thing. So if you have other people who say you can do a thing and you can do it well, and they can be your advocates, that’s really powerful.” @mmagnarelli” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Margaret in “Break Free B2B Series: Margaret Magnarelli on the Psychology of Trust for Better Content Marketing.”

7 — Gary Gerber of nClouds

Gary Gerber
Head of Product Marketing
nClouds

Gary Gerber

“It’s about building a relationship that’s built on trust, not on hype. If you’ve built that trust and you’re adding that value to them that they trust you’re interested in their success, and you’re providing information and content and messaging and whatever it is, that will help them be successful.”

[bctt tweet=”“It’s about building a relationship that’s built on trust, not on hype.” @Gary_Gerber” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Gary in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Gary Gerber on Scaling ABM without Losing Focus.”

8 — Kelvin Gee of Oracle

Kelvin Gee
Senior Director, Modern Marketing Business Transformation
Oracle*

Kelvin Gee Break Free B2B Image

“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.”

“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. All marketers should have empathy. What drives customer-centricity is empathy.”

[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” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Kelvin in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Oracle’s Kelvin Gee on Winning with Enterprise ABM.”

9 — Danny Nail of Microsoft

Danny Nail
Account Based Engagement
Microsoft

Danny Nail

“Historically, marketing and sales have kind of been at odds a bit, which is unfortunate, but ABM brings the two together. The key to that is understanding the sales cycle, and understanding how sellers think and what they’re up against. The continuum should be from target account marketing, to ABM, to one-to-one ABM, all the way across that scale.”

“You have to let go of templatized, old ideas. You have to break free of thinking about things the way we’ve always thought about them, and start really digging into how you can change what you’re doing and make it more efficient, more effective, but be creative about that.”

[bctt tweet=”“You have to let go of templatized old ideas to break free of thinking about things the way we’ve always thought about them and start digging into how you can change what you’re doing and make it more efficient and effective.” @DannyNail” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Danny in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Danny Nail of SAP on Creating a Global ABM Platform.”

10 — Julie Brown of Johnson Controls

Julie Brown
Institutional Market Leader
Johnson Controls

“It really starts with understanding what customer needs are — where are their pain points — are there new and creative ways that we can help address those needs and pain points?”

[bctt tweet=”“It really starts with understanding what customer needs are — where are their pain points — are there new and creative ways that we can help address those needs and pain points?” — Julie Brown” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Julie in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Julie Brown of Johnson Controls on Proving the EBIT of Your Marketing.”

11 — Andre Ortolon of Dell Outlet

Andre Ortolon
eCommerce and Marketing Manager
Dell Outlet*

Break Free B2B Andre Ortolon of Dell Outlet Image

“There’s so much data out there. We’re so busy with emails and meetings that you can really get stuck in a rut and forget to take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.”

“You also have to take stock sometimes and really look at your overall process, you can’t always be in the execution mode, you have to look at end to end, the processes and making sure that you’re developing kind of a holistic approach and not just selling a unit. You’ve got to think about your strategy and make sure you’re still aligned with that in what you’re doing day to day.”

[bctt tweet=”“There’s so much data out there. We’re so busy with emails and meetings that you can really get stuck in a rut and forget to take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.” — Andre Ortolon” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Andre in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Dell Outlet’s Andre Ortolon on Microinfluencers for Hyper-Relevant Content.”

12 — Amanda Todorovich of Cleveland Clinic

Amanda Todorovich
Senior Director of Digital Marketing Health Content
Cleveland Clinic.

“I think it’s really important content marketing is not a campaign, it’s not a project, it’s not a one-off. We like to talk about our content channels and process like products, you know, you really need to invest in them. It’s a long-term strategy. It’s something that you really have to think about how you build a long-term committed relationship with that user – it’s not a one-and-done. There’s never really an end to it. It’s continuous and iterative.”

[bctt tweet=”“You really have to think about how you build a long-term committed relationship with the user – it’s not a one-and-done. There’s never really an end to it. It’s continuous and iterative.” @amandatodo” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Amanda in “Break Free B2B Series: Amanda Todorovich on Creating Content that Pays Off.”

13 — Amisha Gandhi of SAP Ariba

Amisha Gandhi
Vice President of Influencer Marketing and Communications
SAP Ariba*

Break Free B2B Interview with Amisha Gandhi

“Do not just start calling influencers and say, ‘I’m doing this campaign, do you want to be a part of it?’ and be very prescriptive. You want to invite people to be in your program first and then do some brainstorming with them and see what they like, how they like to interact or what they like to do for companies.”

[bctt tweet=”“You want to invite people to be in your program first and then do some brainstorming with them and see what they like, how they like to interact or what they like to do for companies.” @AmishaGandhi” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Amisha in “Break Free B2B Series: Amisha Gandhi on Global B2B Influencer Marketing.”

14 — Brody Dorland of DivvyHQ

Brody Dorland
Co-Founder
DivvyHQ

An Interview with Brody Dorland of DivvyHQ

“The holistic content marketing world, which is non-campaign focused, continues to proliferate. It’s going to get better, but most agencies out there are still so campaign focused — that’s what they’ve been doing for decades. Getting out of that mindset, even from a logistics standpoint, is harder for an agency to do. Not to say that agencies can’t continually be involved in longer-term content marketing engagements, but it’s just it’s a different beast, a different animal than the typical world that they’ve been in for decades.”

[bctt tweet=”“Most agencies out there are still so campaign focused —that’s what they’ve been doing for decades. Getting out of that mindset, even from a logistics standpoint, is harder for an agency to do.” @brodydorland” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Brody in “Break Free B2B Series: Brody Dorland on Creating Long-Lasting Content Marketing Strategy.”

15 — Clare Carr of Chief

Clare Carr
Vice President of Marketing
Chief

TopRank Marketing Interviews Clare Carr, VP of Marketing at Chief

“It takes a human element that cannot be taken out of this equation. If you can make data something that people associate with you, they trust you more, you can connect with them more, and you can tell better stories. All those things you want as a content marketer, as a B2B marketer, data can actually do for you. It’s not just good writing, good storytelling, and good creative anymore.”

[bctt tweet=”“All those things you want as a content marketer, as a B2B marketer, data can actually do for you. It’s not just good writing, good storytelling, and good creative anymore.” @clareondrey” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Clare in “Break Free B2B Series: Clare Carr on Using Data to Drive Content Marketing Success.”

16 — Janine Wegner of Dell Technologies

Janine Wegner
Global Thought Leadership Program and Activation Manager
Dell Technologies*

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Janine Wenger of Dell Technologies

“What’s the customer journey? And what are the content pieces we want to develop? And what are the voices we want to have in each of them, and how to then activate and amplify those?”

[bctt tweet=”“What are the content pieces we want to develop? What are the voices we want to have in each of them, and how to then activate and amplify those?” @JanineWegner” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Janine in “Break Free B2B Series: Janine Wegner on Building Brand Thought Leadership With the Help of Influencers,” and in our Inside Influence series with “Inside Influence: Janine Wegner from Dell on Thought Leadership and Influencer Relations.”

17 — John Joyce of Brennan Industries

John Joyce
Global Marketing Director
Brennan Industries

“We try to do mainly two things: build trust and also provide value. We want them to trust this and to think of us as the place to go that provides value from the very beginning of the relationship, from the first time they go to the website – oh yeah, this is really good. It’s providing me the answers to my questions and knowledge I need, it’s saving me money”

[bctt tweet=”“We try to do mainly two things: build trust and also provide value. It’s providing me the answers to my questions and the knowledge I need, and saving me money.” @mrjohnjoyce” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with John in “Break Free B2B Series: John Joyce on Taking B2B Content Marketing Back 2 Basics.”

18 — Judy Tian of LinkedIn

Judy Tian
Marketing Manager
LinkedIn*

“Relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you want to talk about? And are they going to have credibility with their end users? And then are they going to shed credibility onto your brand as a result?”

[bctt tweet=”“Relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you want to talk about? And are they going to have credibility with their end users?” @judytian07″ username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Judy in “Break Free B2B Series: Judy Tian on Humanizing B2B Through Influencer Marketing.”

19 — Maliha Aqeel of Fix Network World

Maliha Aqeel
Director of Global Communications
Fix Network World

Maliha Aqeel

“Focus on culture. There’s still a misconception that culture is about only HR. But culture is something that’s pervasive throughout the organization, and why we choose to work somewhere, why we choose to engage with the brand.”

[bctt tweet=”“There’s still a misconception that culture is about only HR. Culture is something that’s pervasive throughout the organization, and why we choose to work somewhere, why we choose to engage with a brand.” @MalihaQ” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Maliha in “Break Free B2B Series: Maliha Aqeel on How to Ace B2B Company Culture.”

20 — Tom Treanor of Arm Treasure Data

Tom Treanor
CMO
Arm Treasure Data*

Tom Treanor

“You can’t solve personalization before you solve customer understanding. At the top of the funnel, keep it very basic and personalize at a high level.”

[bctt tweet=”“You can’t solve personalization before you solve customer understanding. At the top of the funnel, keep it very basic and personalize at a high level.” @RtMixMktg” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Tom in “Break Free B2B Series: Tom Treanor on Perfecting B2B Marketing Personalization.”

21 — Zari Venhaus of Eaton

Zari Venhaus
Director of Corporate Marketing Communications
Eaton

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Zari Venhaus

“I see the IT space and the marketing space are starting to come together so much more — particularly when you think about martech. We learned that it wasn’t enough to just be marketing coming to IT with an answer. We really needed to involve our IT partners upfront in the process.”

[bctt tweet=”“The IT space and the marketing space are starting to come together so much more — particularly when you think about martech.” @zvenhaus” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Zari in “Break Free B2B Series: Zari Venhaus on How to Scoot Your Way to Martech Transformation Through Storytelling.”

22 — Adam Dunn, Oscar-Winning VFX Editor

Adam Dunn
Oscar-winning VFX Editor
Evil Ice Cream Productions

Break Free B2B Interview with Adam Dunn

“Video marketing is intriguing, because it brings in real-life storytelling. The biggest factor in successful video content is cohesiveness of vision.”

[bctt tweet=”“Video marketing is intriguing, because it brings in real-life storytelling. The biggest factor in successful video content is cohesiveness of vision.” @adamjdunn” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Adam in “Break Free B2B Series: Adam Dunn on Creating Blockbuster Video Content in B2B.”

23 — Carol-Lyn Jardine of Alteryx

Carol-Lyn Jardine
Vice President of Marketing Operations and Productivity
Alteryx

Carol-Lyn Jardine

“Assume good intent from the people around you as you’re going through change behaviors.”

[bctt tweet=”“Assume good intent from the people around you as you’re going through change behaviors.” @cljardine” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Carol-Lyn in “Break Free B2B Series: Carol-Lyn Jardine and Heather Hurst on Effectively Managing Change in B2B Marketing.”

24 — Sruthi Kumar of Sendoso

Sruthi Kumar
Associate Director of Field and Partner Marketing
Sendoso

Sruthi Kumar

“It’s about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, and that person who you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with or whatever else you need from them. I think it’s just about being okay with being yourself and incorporating that into your whole corporate brand.”

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

Watch our full interview with Sruthi in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Sruthi Kumar on Creating Memorable Experiences.”

25 — Latané Conant of 6sense

Latane Conant
Chief Market Officer
6sense

Latane Conant

“You look at the tools that we have at our disposal as CMOs, and it’s sort of like we are a Model T trying to get to the moon. I think the challenge that we have is only 13 percent of sales and marketing teams have any confidence in their data.”

[bctt tweet=”“You look at the tools that we have at our disposal as CMOs, and it’s sort of like we are a Model T trying to get to the moon.” @LataneConant” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Latane in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Latane Conant of 6sense on Reinventing the CMO Role.”

26 — Mark Bornstein of ON24

Mark Bornstein
Vice President of Marketing
ON24

Break Free B2B Marketing Mark Bornstein Image

“It’s the experience you give, it’s the way you’re able to connect and interact with audiences that matters. Because that’s where you’re going to get the real data. That’s where you’re going to learn a lot about them. You want to create an environment where people are doing stuff, and it’s a multi-touch content experience.”

“We need to find ways to get people who want our marketing to opt into our marketing. At a time when all of this digital noise is scaring them away. We need to bring them back in through more authentic, more human, more experiential marketing.”

[bctt tweet=”“We need to find ways to get people who want our marketing to opt in. At a time when all of this digital noise is scaring them away,  we need to bring them back in through more authentic, human, and experiential marketing.” @4markb” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Mark in “Break Free B2B Marketing: “Webinerd” Mark Bornstein of ON24 on Dialing In Digital Experiences.”

27 — Sofia O’Malley of Dell Technologies

Sofia O’Malley
Global Marketing Director
Dell Technologies*

Sofia O’Malley

“You really have to be cognizant of what is unique to each market. What’s the consumer behavior? Or what’s the consumer expectation within a given market or appetite for a type of execution. Be very much aware of the environment and the key nuances that are needed to effectively drive marketing in a region.”

[bctt tweet=”“You really have to be cognizant of what is unique to each market. What’s the consumer behavior? Or what’s the consumer expectation within a given market or appetite for a type of execution.” — Sofia O’Malley” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Sofia in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Sofia O’Malley of Dell Outlet on Creating a Global B2B & B2C Marketing Team.”

28 — Sean Crowley of Dun & Bradstreet

Sean Crowley
Leader of Integrated Marketing and Sales and Marketing Solutions
Dun & Bradstreet

Break Free B2B Sean Crowley Image

“When you look at being able to bring people together, it’s about creating a common message, a common purpose, and a common effort with everything that you do and how you go to market. Ensure that you have consistency of messaging to a target persona and target audience, regardless of what channel they’re choosing to interact with you on.”

“The balance of power of information has shifted from the vendors to the consumers, to the buyers, and they can now go and search for information much more readily — much more freely — and they want that choice of how and when they choose to interact with you.”

[bctt tweet=”“When you look at being able to bring people together, it’s about creating a common message, a common purpose, and a common effort with everything that you do and how you go to market.” @seantcrowley” username=”toprank”]

Watch our full interview with Sean in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Sean Crowley of Dun & Bradstreet on Cracking the Alignment Code.”

Embrace An Energized 2021 B2B Marketing Landscape

via GIPHY

Use the energizing advice we’ve highlighted here from 28 B2B marketing innovators to spark your own marketing ideas that will take you to electrifying new heights in 2021 and beyond.

One powerful way to combine many of these energizing marketing elements is by harnessing the power of B2B influencer marketing, as we outline in our groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, featuring insights from hundreds of marketers surveyed as well as expert analysis by the TopRank Marketing team and contributions from top B2B influencer marketing professionals from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, Adobe, Traackr, IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more.

Contact us to find out why TopRank Marketing is the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report, and discover how we can help create award-winning marketing for you.

* Oracle, Dell Outlet, SAP Ariba, Dell Technologies, LinkedIn, Arm Treasure Data, are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post 28 B2B Marketing Insights To Energize & Humanize Your 2021 appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

28 B2B Marketing Insights To Energize & Humanize Your 2021

Colorful running shoes, water bottle, and headphones image.

What will successful B2B marketing look like in a post-pandemic world, and what can we as marketers do today to be as ready as possible?

Here are 28 quotes from some of the best in the B2B marketing business, taken from our two seasons of Break Free B2B Marketing video interview episodes, that will help keep your efforts on track, energized, and filled with the subtle humanizing elements sometimes neglected in the B2B landscape.

Keep posted for the launch of an all-new season three of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews, and now let’s dig right in with an array of B2B marketing insights to help you prepare for a successful 2021.

1 — Hal Werner of Mitel

Hal Werner
Global Manager of Digital Marketing and Strategy
Mitel

Break Free B2B Interview with Hal Werner of Mitel

“If you want to create a piece of content about a topic, but you can’t create the best one, why are you creating it? If you don’t truly believe that you can outdo your competitors in the space for that function, then what are you wasting your time on?”

“Whether you earn it or whether it’s paid for, you’re going to need more voices putting out there what you’re about so that not only people see you, but you begin to be associated with that thing at a critical mass.”

“If you want to create a piece of content about a topic, but you can’t create the best one, why are you creating it?” @halwerner Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Hal in “Break Free B2B Series: Hal Werner on the Intersection of Marketing Creativity and Analytics.”

2 — Stephanie Stahl of Content Marketing Institute

Stephanie Stahl
General Manager
Content Marketing Institute

Break Free B2B Interview with Stephanie Stahl

“As content creators, sometimes we try to do everything that we possibly can on every channel. I think it’s important for content teams and marketing teams to go back and say, ‘What do we need to stop doing? What are we doing that really isn’t giving us the result that we’d like? And how can we then focus more on the things that are working?’ So ask yourselves, ‘What can we stop doing today, so we have more time to do the things we’re really good at?’”

“It’s important for content and marketing teams to go back and say, ‘What do we need to stop doing? What are we doing that isn’t giving us the result we’d like? How can we then focus more on the things that are working?’” @EditorStahl Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Stephanie in “Break Free B2B Series: CMI’s Stephanie Stahl on Data-Driven Event Planning and Promotion.”

3 — Jon Miller of Demandbase

Jon Miller
Chief Product Officer
Demandbase

Jon Miller

“The explosion of digital noise means that traditional marketing channels like ads are becoming less and less effective. What marketers need to think about is, how do I orchestrate multiple channels together?”

“The explosion of digital noise means that traditional marketing channels like ads are becoming less and less effective. What marketers need to think about is, how do I orchestrate multiple channels together?” @jonmiller Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Jon in “Break Free B2B Series: Jon Miller on How ABM Can Help Marketers Keep Their ‘Ship’ Together.”

4 — Adi Bachar-Reske of 20x

Adi Bachar-Reske
Founder and CMO
20x

Break Free B2B Interview with Adi Bachar-Reske

“These days, the way you build the trust is showing how nimble and flexible you can be. Both in your development and your product, but also it has to be reflected in your marketing and your digital presence.”

“The way you build the trust is showing how nimble and flexible you can be. Both in your development and your product, but also it has to be reflected in your marketing and digital presence.” @AdiBacharReske Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Adi in “Break Free B2B Series: Adi Bachar-Reske on Taking the Lead in the Evolution of B2B Content Marketing.”

5 — Emily Thompson of EST Creative

Emily Thompson
Owner
EST Creative

Break Free B2B Interview with Emily Thompson

“When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. Ultimately, people just want information that’s helpful to them. Especially with digital, it’s very easy today to try a new type of message, or a new way of communicating to someone. Let’s say you never blogged before, why not try a blog? Let’s say you never did email marketing, why not try it? Or a new type of message? The worst that can happen is you measure it, you learn from it, and you try something new.”

“When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. Ultimately, people just want information that’s helpful to them.” @BosCreativeCopy Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Emily in “Break Free B2B Series: Emily Thompson on the Power of Content Marketing in Health Care.”

6 — Margaret Magnarelli of Morgan Stanley

Margaret Magnarelli
Executive Director of Digital Product Evolution and Growth Marketing
Morgan Stanley

Break Free B2B Interview with Margaret Magnarelli

“We have to be able to give our customers as much information as we can, and take them as close to the line of purchase — to the experience of purchase — as we can.”

“People can see through fake attempts to build trust. It’s hard for consumers to just believe a brand when they say they can do a thing. So if you have other people who say you can do a thing and you can do it well, and they can be your advocates, that’s really powerful.”

“It’s hard for consumers to just believe a brand when they say they can do a thing. So if you have other people who say you can do a thing and you can do it well, and they can be your advocates, that’s really powerful.” @mmagnarelli Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Margaret in “Break Free B2B Series: Margaret Magnarelli on the Psychology of Trust for Better Content Marketing.”

7 — Gary Gerber of nClouds

Gary Gerber
Head of Product Marketing
nClouds

Gary Gerber

“It’s about building a relationship that’s built on trust, not on hype. If you’ve built that trust and you’re adding that value to them that they trust you’re interested in their success, and you’re providing information and content and messaging and whatever it is, that will help them be successful.”

“It’s about building a relationship that’s built on trust, not on hype.” @Gary_Gerber Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Gary in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Gary Gerber on Scaling ABM without Losing Focus.”

8 — Kelvin Gee of Oracle

Kelvin Gee
Senior Director, Modern Marketing Business Transformation
Oracle*

Kelvin Gee Break Free B2B Image

“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.”

“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. All marketers should have empathy. What drives customer-centricity is empathy.”

“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 Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Kelvin in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Oracle’s Kelvin Gee on Winning with Enterprise ABM.”

9 — Danny Nail of Microsoft

Danny Nail
Account Based Engagement
Microsoft

Danny Nail

“Historically, marketing and sales have kind of been at odds a bit, which is unfortunate, but ABM brings the two together. The key to that is understanding the sales cycle, and understanding how sellers think and what they’re up against. The continuum should be from target account marketing, to ABM, to one-to-one ABM, all the way across that scale.”

“You have to let go of templatized, old ideas. You have to break free of thinking about things the way we’ve always thought about them, and start really digging into how you can change what you’re doing and make it more efficient, more effective, but be creative about that.”

“You have to let go of templatized old ideas to break free of thinking about things the way we’ve always thought about them and start digging into how you can change what you’re doing and make it more efficient and effective.” @DannyNail Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Danny in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Danny Nail of SAP on Creating a Global ABM Platform.”

10 — Julie Brown of Johnson Controls

Julie Brown
Institutional Market Leader
Johnson Controls

“It really starts with understanding what customer needs are — where are their pain points — are there new and creative ways that we can help address those needs and pain points?”

“It really starts with understanding what customer needs are — where are their pain points — are there new and creative ways that we can help address those needs and pain points?” — Julie Brown Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Julie in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Julie Brown of Johnson Controls on Proving the EBIT of Your Marketing.”

11 — Andre Ortolon of Dell Outlet

Andre Ortolon
eCommerce and Marketing Manager
Dell Outlet*

Break Free B2B Andre Ortolon of Dell Outlet Image

“There’s so much data out there. We’re so busy with emails and meetings that you can really get stuck in a rut and forget to take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.”

“You also have to take stock sometimes and really look at your overall process, you can’t always be in the execution mode, you have to look at end to end, the processes and making sure that you’re developing kind of a holistic approach and not just selling a unit. You’ve got to think about your strategy and make sure you’re still aligned with that in what you’re doing day to day.”

“There’s so much data out there. We’re so busy with emails and meetings that you can really get stuck in a rut and forget to take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.” — Andre Ortolon Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Andre in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Dell Outlet’s Andre Ortolon on Microinfluencers for Hyper-Relevant Content.”

12 — Amanda Todorovich of Cleveland Clinic

Amanda Todorovich
Senior Director of Digital Marketing Health Content
Cleveland Clinic.

“I think it’s really important content marketing is not a campaign, it’s not a project, it’s not a one-off. We like to talk about our content channels and process like products, you know, you really need to invest in them. It’s a long-term strategy. It’s something that you really have to think about how you build a long-term committed relationship with that user – it’s not a one-and-done. There’s never really an end to it. It’s continuous and iterative.”

“You really have to think about how you build a long-term committed relationship with the user – it’s not a one-and-done. There’s never really an end to it. It’s continuous and iterative.” @amandatodo Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Amanda in “Break Free B2B Series: Amanda Todorovich on Creating Content that Pays Off.”

13 — Amisha Gandhi of SAP Ariba

Amisha Gandhi
Vice President of Influencer Marketing and Communications
SAP Ariba*

Break Free B2B Interview with Amisha Gandhi

“Do not just start calling influencers and say, ‘I’m doing this campaign, do you want to be a part of it?’ and be very prescriptive. You want to invite people to be in your program first and then do some brainstorming with them and see what they like, how they like to interact or what they like to do for companies.”

“You want to invite people to be in your program first and then do some brainstorming with them and see what they like, how they like to interact or what they like to do for companies.” @AmishaGandhi Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Amisha in “Break Free B2B Series: Amisha Gandhi on Global B2B Influencer Marketing.”

14 — Brody Dorland of DivvyHQ

Brody Dorland
Co-Founder
DivvyHQ

An Interview with Brody Dorland of DivvyHQ

“The holistic content marketing world, which is non-campaign focused, continues to proliferate. It’s going to get better, but most agencies out there are still so campaign focused — that’s what they’ve been doing for decades. Getting out of that mindset, even from a logistics standpoint, is harder for an agency to do. Not to say that agencies can’t continually be involved in longer-term content marketing engagements, but it’s just it’s a different beast, a different animal than the typical world that they’ve been in for decades.”

“Most agencies out there are still so campaign focused —that’s what they’ve been doing for decades. Getting out of that mindset, even from a logistics standpoint, is harder for an agency to do.” @brodydorland Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Brody in “Break Free B2B Series: Brody Dorland on Creating Long-Lasting Content Marketing Strategy.”

15 — Clare Carr of Chief

Clare Carr
Vice President of Marketing
Chief

TopRank Marketing Interviews Clare Carr, VP of Marketing at Chief

“It takes a human element that cannot be taken out of this equation. If you can make data something that people associate with you, they trust you more, you can connect with them more, and you can tell better stories. All those things you want as a content marketer, as a B2B marketer, data can actually do for you. It’s not just good writing, good storytelling, and good creative anymore.”

“All those things you want as a content marketer, as a B2B marketer, data can actually do for you. It’s not just good writing, good storytelling, and good creative anymore.” @clareondrey Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Clare in “Break Free B2B Series: Clare Carr on Using Data to Drive Content Marketing Success.”

16 — Janine Wegner of Dell Technologies

Janine Wegner
Global Thought Leadership Program and Activation Manager
Dell Technologies*

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Janine Wenger of Dell Technologies

“What’s the customer journey? And what are the content pieces we want to develop? And what are the voices we want to have in each of them, and how to then activate and amplify those?”

“What are the content pieces we want to develop? What are the voices we want to have in each of them, and how to then activate and amplify those?” @JanineWegner Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Janine in “Break Free B2B Series: Janine Wegner on Building Brand Thought Leadership With the Help of Influencers,” and in our Inside Influence series with “Inside Influence: Janine Wegner from Dell on Thought Leadership and Influencer Relations.”

17 — John Joyce of Brennan Industries

John Joyce
Global Marketing Director
Brennan Industries

“We try to do mainly two things: build trust and also provide value. We want them to trust this and to think of us as the place to go that provides value from the very beginning of the relationship, from the first time they go to the website – oh yeah, this is really good. It’s providing me the answers to my questions and knowledge I need, it’s saving me money”

“We try to do mainly two things: build trust and also provide value. It’s providing me the answers to my questions and the knowledge I need, and saving me money.” @mrjohnjoyce Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with John in “Break Free B2B Series: John Joyce on Taking B2B Content Marketing Back 2 Basics.”

18 — Judy Tian of LinkedIn

Judy Tian
Marketing Manager
LinkedIn*

“Relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you want to talk about? And are they going to have credibility with their end users? And then are they going to shed credibility onto your brand as a result?”

“Relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you want to talk about? And are they going to have credibility with their end users?” @judytian07 Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Judy in “Break Free B2B Series: Judy Tian on Humanizing B2B Through Influencer Marketing.”

19 — Maliha Aqeel of Fix Network World

Maliha Aqeel
Director of Global Communications
Fix Network World

Maliha Aqeel

“Focus on culture. There’s still a misconception that culture is about only HR. But culture is something that’s pervasive throughout the organization, and why we choose to work somewhere, why we choose to engage with the brand.”

“There’s still a misconception that culture is about only HR. Culture is something that’s pervasive throughout the organization, and why we choose to work somewhere, why we choose to engage with a brand.” @MalihaQ Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Maliha in “Break Free B2B Series: Maliha Aqeel on How to Ace B2B Company Culture.”

20 — Tom Treanor of Arm Treasure Data

Tom Treanor
CMO
Arm Treasure Data*

Tom Treanor

“You can’t solve personalization before you solve customer understanding. At the top of the funnel, keep it very basic and personalize at a high level.”

“You can’t solve personalization before you solve customer understanding. At the top of the funnel, keep it very basic and personalize at a high level.” @RtMixMktg Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Tom in “Break Free B2B Series: Tom Treanor on Perfecting B2B Marketing Personalization.”

21 — Zari Venhaus of Eaton

Zari Venhaus
Director of Corporate Marketing Communications
Eaton

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Zari Venhaus

“I see the IT space and the marketing space are starting to come together so much more — particularly when you think about martech. We learned that it wasn’t enough to just be marketing coming to IT with an answer. We really needed to involve our IT partners upfront in the process.”

“The IT space and the marketing space are starting to come together so much more — particularly when you think about martech.” @zvenhaus Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Zari in “Break Free B2B Series: Zari Venhaus on How to Scoot Your Way to Martech Transformation Through Storytelling.”

22 — Adam Dunn, Oscar-Winning VFX Editor

Adam Dunn
Oscar-winning VFX Editor
Evil Ice Cream Productions

Break Free B2B Interview with Adam Dunn

“Video marketing is intriguing, because it brings in real-life storytelling. The biggest factor in successful video content is cohesiveness of vision.”

“Video marketing is intriguing, because it brings in real-life storytelling. The biggest factor in successful video content is cohesiveness of vision.” @adamjdunn Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Adam in “Break Free B2B Series: Adam Dunn on Creating Blockbuster Video Content in B2B.”

23 — Carol-Lyn Jardine of Alteryx

Carol-Lyn Jardine
Vice President of Marketing Operations and Productivity
Alteryx

Carol-Lyn Jardine

“Assume good intent from the people around you as you’re going through change behaviors.”

“Assume good intent from the people around you as you’re going through change behaviors.” @cljardine Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Carol-Lyn in “Break Free B2B Series: Carol-Lyn Jardine and Heather Hurst on Effectively Managing Change in B2B Marketing.”

24 — Sruthi Kumar of Sendoso

Sruthi Kumar
Associate Director of Field and Partner Marketing
Sendoso

Sruthi Kumar

“It’s about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, and that person who you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with or whatever else you need from them. I think it’s just about being okay with being yourself and incorporating that into your whole corporate brand.”

“It’s about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, and that person who you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with or whatever else you need from them.” @sruthikkumar Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Sruthi in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Sruthi Kumar on Creating Memorable Experiences.”

25 — Latané Conant of 6sense

Latane Conant
Chief Market Officer
6sense

Latane Conant

“You look at the tools that we have at our disposal as CMOs, and it’s sort of like we are a Model T trying to get to the moon. I think the challenge that we have is only 13 percent of sales and marketing teams have any confidence in their data.”

“You look at the tools that we have at our disposal as CMOs, and it’s sort of like we are a Model T trying to get to the moon.” @LataneConant Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Latane in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Latane Conant of 6sense on Reinventing the CMO Role.”

26 — Mark Bornstein of ON24

Mark Bornstein
Vice President of Marketing
ON24

Break Free B2B Marketing Mark Bornstein Image

“It’s the experience you give, it’s the way you’re able to connect and interact with audiences that matters. Because that’s where you’re going to get the real data. That’s where you’re going to learn a lot about them. You want to create an environment where people are doing stuff, and it’s a multi-touch content experience.”

“We need to find ways to get people who want our marketing to opt into our marketing. At a time when all of this digital noise is scaring them away. We need to bring them back in through more authentic, more human, more experiential marketing.”

“We need to find ways to get people who want our marketing to opt in. At a time when all of this digital noise is scaring them away, we need to bring them back in through more authentic, human, and experiential marketing.” @4markb Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Mark in “Break Free B2B Marketing: “Webinerd” Mark Bornstein of ON24 on Dialing In Digital Experiences.”

27 — Sofia O’Malley of Dell Technologies

Sofia O’Malley
Global Marketing Director
Dell Technologies*

Sofia O’Malley

“You really have to be cognizant of what is unique to each market. What’s the consumer behavior? Or what’s the consumer expectation within a given market or appetite for a type of execution. Be very much aware of the environment and the key nuances that are needed to effectively drive marketing in a region.”

“You really have to be cognizant of what is unique to each market. What’s the consumer behavior? Or what’s the consumer expectation within a given market or appetite for a type of execution.” — Sofia O’Malley Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Sofia in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Sofia O’Malley of Dell Outlet on Creating a Global B2B & B2C Marketing Team.”

28 — Sean Crowley of Dun & Bradstreet

Sean Crowley
Leader of Integrated Marketing and Sales and Marketing Solutions
Dun & Bradstreet

Break Free B2B Sean Crowley Image

“When you look at being able to bring people together, it’s about creating a common message, a common purpose, and a common effort with everything that you do and how you go to market. Ensure that you have consistency of messaging to a target persona and target audience, regardless of what channel they’re choosing to interact with you on.”

“The balance of power of information has shifted from the vendors to the consumers, to the buyers, and they can now go and search for information much more readily — much more freely — and they want that choice of how and when they choose to interact with you.”

“When you look at being able to bring people together, it’s about creating a common message, a common purpose, and a common effort with everything that you do and how you go to market.” @seantcrowley Click To Tweet

Watch our full interview with Sean in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Sean Crowley of Dun & Bradstreet on Cracking the Alignment Code.”

Embrace An Energized 2021 B2B Marketing Landscape

via GIPHY

Use the energizing advice we’ve highlighted here from 28 B2B marketing innovators to spark your own marketing ideas that will take you to electrifying new heights in 2021 and beyond.

One powerful way to combine many of these energizing marketing elements is by harnessing the power of B2B influencer marketing, as we outline in our groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, featuring insights from hundreds of marketers surveyed as well as expert analysis by the TopRank Marketing team and contributions from top B2B influencer marketing professionals from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, Adobe, Traackr, IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more.

Contact us to find out why TopRank Marketing is the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report, and discover how we can help create award-winning marketing for you.

* Oracle, Dell Outlet, SAP Ariba, Dell Technologies, LinkedIn, Arm Treasure Data, are TopRank Marketing clients.

Basic Reputation Management for Better Customer Service

The Internet can be a great connector, but sometimes, it acts as a barrier.

Your local business receives a negative review, and the slate-colored words on the bland white screen can seem so cold, remote. You respond, but the whole interaction feels stilted, formal, devoid of face-to-face human feelings, like this:

At least when a complaint occurs via phone, the tone of a customer’s voice tells you a bit more and you can strive to respond with an appropriate vocal pitch, further questions, soothing, helping, maybe resolving. Still, if you’re working off a formal script, the human connection can be missed:

Image credit: News Oresund, Elvert Barnes

It’s a win when a customer complains in person to your staff, but only if those employees have been empowered to use their own initiative to solve problems. Employees who’ve been tasked with face-to-face interactions but lack permission to act fully human when customers complain will miss opportunity after opportunity to earn the loyalty your brand would give almost anything to amass. Two people can be looking one another in the eye, but if one has to act corporate instead of human, too much formality ensures forgettable experiences:

Image credit: Jan-Willem Boot, Amancay Blank

What you really want as a local business owner is to have the power to turn those chilly black-and-white words on a review profile into a living color interaction. You want to turn one-way messaging into front porch conversation, with the potential for further details, vital learnings, resolution, and deeply informal human connection with a neighbor, like this:

Image Credit: Christian Gries

The great barrier: reviews

Seventeen years into my journey as a local SEO, I’ve come to realize that my favorite businesses — the ones I’ve come to patronize with devotion — are the ones with owners and staff who treat me with the least formality. They’ve creatively established an environment in which I felt liked, heard, regarded, trusted, and appreciated, and I’ve responded with loyalty. It’s really a beautiful thing, when you step back and think about it.

For me, it’s small local farmers who epitomize informal neighborliness in business. They:

  • Do their best to grow high quality food
  • Know me by name
  • Know my dietary preferences
  • Let me roam around their properties for enjoyment’s sake
  • Trust me to pay via an honor system
  • Ask me if there’s additional produce I’d like them to grow
  • Want to know how I’m cooking their produce
  • Tell me other ways I might prepare their produce
  • Have nice conversations with me about a variety of topics

Am I describing a business here, or a friend? The line is blurry. I’ve hugged some farmers. Prayed for a few when they’ve had hard times. I may have first met them for monetary transactions, but we’ve built human relationships, and the entire way I relate to this sector is defined by how the farmers go about their business.

With a few exceptions, most local brands can work at building less formality and more neighborliness into their in-person customer service. Think about it. In most settings, your customers would enjoy being treated with the respectful interest and kindness that invites camaraderie.

But we hit a strange barrier when the medium is online reviews. If we learned to read and write in a formal school setting, we may unconsciously ascribe a certain stiffness to textual exchanges. We’re worried about getting lower marks for making a mistake, and we’re aware of being in front of a public audience in writing review responses. We’re missing vital communicative cues, like the facial expression of the customer, their tone of voice, and their body language.

On our side of the equation, we can’t shake hands, or physically demonstrate our willingness to help, or even signal our approachability with a smile.

To tell the truth, reviews aren’t a great substitute for in-person communication, but they are here to stay, and there’s a certain amount of fear on both sides of many transactions that builds up the layers of the barrier, like this:

What can be done to bring the two parties closer together, so that they are at least leaning over the same fence to talk?

Create a workflow for spotting single and aggregate review cues

The easiest way I know of to get started with a workflow surrounding reviews is via a very intuitive product like Moz Local. Basic components are built into the dashboard, offering a simple jumping off point into the complex world of reputation management.

The screenshot above shows a portion of the functions Moz Local offers for review management. The organization of the various data widgets create a bridge for getting closer to customers and engaging in real, meaningful dialogue with them in an atmosphere of goodwill, rather than fear. Let’s break it down by tasks.

1. Seek cues in single reviews with ongoing alerts

To enter into a conversation, you have to know when it starts. The right-side column of the Moz Local dashboard keeps a running feed of your incoming reviews on a variety of platforms, as well as incoming Google Q&A questions. On a daily basis, you can see who is starting a conversation about your business, and you can tell whether customers most recent customers were having a good or bad experience by looking at the star rating.

Make it your practice to click first on any review in this feed if it’s received a 3-star rating or less, and see how much information a customer has shared about the reason for their less-than-perfect rating, as in this fictitious example:.

Because the reviews are timestamped, you may have the ability to connect a customer’s poor experience with something that happened at your place of business on a specific day, like being understaffed, having an equipment failure, or another problem.

In fact, a second view in the dashboard makes it immediately obvious if the reviews you received on a particular day had lower star ratings than you’d like to see:

If you know a customer’s complaints can be tied to an issue, this gives you something more and better to say than just “I’m sorry,” when you respond. For example, broken equipment leading to a cold meal is something you can explain in asking the customer to let you make it up to them.

2. Seek cues in aggregated sentiment

Knowing whether you have just one customer with a single complaint or multiple customers with the same complaint is vital quality control intelligence. Very often, Google reviews are particularly brief in comparison to reviews on other platforms, and you need to be able to take a large body of them to see if there are shared topical themes. The Review Analysis widget in the Moz Local dashboard does exactly this for you:

In this view, you can see up to 100 of the most common words your customers are using when they review you, the percentage of the reviews containing each word, and the star rating associated with reviews using each word. You can toggle the data for each column.

In our fictitious example, the business owner could see that when food is served cold, it’s yielding very poor review ratings, but that, fortunately, this is a complaint contained in only 1.7% of total reviews. Meanwhile, the business owner could notice that 2% of reviews with a 3.8 star rating (only a moderately good experience) are revolving around the phrase “service”. The owner can click on each word to be shown a list of the reviews containing that term to help them identify what it is about the service that’s diminishing customer satisfaction.

The figures in the above screenshot are all pretty low, and likely represent only mild concerns for the business. If, however, the business owner saw something like this, that would change the narrative:

Here, 12.2% of the reviews mentioning the restaurant’s veggie burgers are associated with a very poor 2.0 rating. The owner would need to dive into this list of reviews and see just what it is customers don’t like about this dish. For example, if many of these reviews mentioned that the burgers lacked flavor, had bland condiments, or buns that fell apart, these would be cues that could lead to changing a recipe. Again, this would give the owner something genuine to say in response to dissatisfied customers. Ideally, it would lead to the customer being invited to come again for something like a free taste test of the new recipe.

Whatever details the review sentiment analysis function yields for your business, use it with the intention of having a two sided conversation with your customers. They complain, in aggregate, about X, you research and implement a solution, and finally, you invite them to experience the solution in hopes of retaining that customer, which is typically far less costly than replacing them.

3. Grade your business at a glance

These two views in the Moz Local dashboard allow you to analyze two key, related aspects of your business at a glance.

The Average Rating view is the fastest way to grade yourself on aggregate customer satisfaction. This example shows a business with little to fear, with 96% of customers rating the business at 4-or-more stars and only 4% having a three-stars-or-less experience. In terms of having happy customers, this fictitious company is doing a great job.

However, the Reviews Reply rate needs some work. They’re only replying to 1% of their overall reviews, 0% of their 2-to-5-star reviews, and only 21% of their 1-star reviews. The business is doing an excellent job offline, but unless they improve their online responsiveness, their average review rating could begin to decrease over time.

In sum, a workflow which investigates reviews singly and in aggregate tells the story or customer satisfaction across time, and gives the business owner a clearer narrative to tap into and write from in responding.

Make optimal response rates and two-way conversation your goal

As a local business owner, you have many demands on your time. That being said, my pro tip for you is to respond to every review you possibly can. There’s no scenario in which it’s smart to ignore a conversation any customer starts, whether positive or negative. Just as you wouldn’t ignore a percentage of your incoming calls or customers walking around your business, you shouldn’t ignore them online.

If thinking of reviews as a two-way conversation is a bit of new concept to you, consider that most review platforms enable people to edit their reviews for a reason: many of your customers think of the reviews they write as living documents, and are willing to update them to journal subsequent interactions that made a scenario better or worse. My own research has shown this to be true, and multiple studies have reached the conclusion that the majority of customers will continue doing business with brands that resolve their complaints.

This means that local businesses can manage a customer journey that follow this pattern for negative reviews, much of the time:

In black-and-white review land, this might look like this:

Or, when a customer is happy to begin with, offering extra incentives to come again while thanking the customer for taking the time to write their review could look like this:

Here, a conversation starter about salsa has been turned into a two-way dialog guaranteed to make the customer feel heard and valued. They’ve been invited back, their opinion has been solicited, and both the existing customer and all potential future customers reading Mary’s response can see that this is a restaurant with a lively, on-going relationship with its diners.

Takeaway: don’t just say “thanks” to every customer who positively reviews your business. Seek cues in their words that show what they care about and tie it to what you care about. Find common ground to further engage them and bring them back again.

How big of a priority are reviews, really?

I’ve consulted with so many local business owners over the years — everybody from beekeepers to bookkeepers. It’s a plain fact that all small business owners are extremely busy, and not all of them instantly take a shine to the idea of having a lot of little two-way conversations going on with their customers in their review profiles.

Statistics can change minds on this, when it comes to figuring out how much of a priority review analysis and management should be. Consider these findings from the Moz State of the Local SEO Industry survey of over 1,400 people involved in the marketing of local businesses:

Respondents placed aspects of Google reviews (count, sentiment, owner responses, etc.) as having the second greatest impact on Google’s local rankings.

90% of respondents agree that the impact of reviews on local pack rankings is real.

Nearly 14% of those marketing the largest local enterprises realize that more resources need to be devoted to review management. Yet, in another section of the survey, agency workers placed review management in a lowly 11th place in terms of something they are requested to help their clients with. Learn more about these trends by downloading the free State of the Local SEO Industry Report for 2020.

Statistics like these indicate that there is a maturing awareness of the vital role reviews play in running a successful local business. Management of all aspects of reviews deserves priority time.

Make a habit of reading reviews between the lines

Moz Local software will ensure you know whenever single reviews come in, and help you slice and dice review data in ways that tell customer service narratives in aggregate. If you’re already using this software, your first steps of reputation management are just waiting to be taken with ease and simplicity.

But to get the most of any review management product, you’ll need to bring a human talent to the dashboard: your ability to read between the lines of review text that can be brief, vague, sharp, and sometimes unfair.

With the exception of spam, there’s a real person on the other side of each text snippet, and for the most part, their shared desire is to be treated well by your business. Even if a review stems from a customer you can’t identify or one who communicates disappointment rudely, you can take the high road by making a mental image of yourself standing face-to-face with someone you highly value who is voicing a problem. Respond from that good place, with the conscious intention of improved neighborly communication and you may be pleasantly surprised by your ability to transform even the most dissatisfied person into a happier, more loyal customer.

I’ll close today with an excerpt of a very long real-world review which I’ve truncated. I’ve underlined the cues and the rewards I’m hoping you’ll spot and see as you strengthen your commitment to review management as a key component of your customer service strategy.


The new Moz Local plans — Lite, Preferred, and Elite — are designed to offer more features and flexibility to better meet the needs of local businesses and their marketers. Customers on any of the new plans can now monitor reviews via alerts, and depending on the plan, respond to reviews and take advantage of social posting. It’s never been more important to actively engage and listen to the needs and concerns of your current customers — and potential customers will take notice.