Adobe’s Rani Mani: 5 Tips For Creating Your B2B Influencer Marketing Love Affair #MPB2B

Woman making heart sign with her hands image.

Woman making heart sign with her hands image.

Rani Mani, head of global employee advocacy at Adobe* delivered an impassioned presentation filled to the brim with B2B influencer marketing insights, with a special focus on how the best influencer relationships are in essence not that different from successful personal relationships.

Rani explained how she’s come to have a love affair with influencer marketing, and shared the process she uses to help turn mere social media heavyweights into long-term and deeply-engaged Adobe advocates — a plan than can be implemented by any brand willing to put in the time, effort, and especially the passion that Rani and her team have.

When it comes to the domain experts Adobe is leveraging for the good of the brand, there isn’t any magic involved — no algorithm or gimmicks to beat the system — instead simply leveraging the power of humanity within B2B marketing influencer relationships, just as we do in successful real life relationships, Rani explained.

Now let’s jump right in with the five top tips I took away from attending Rani’s insightful MarketingProfs B2B Forum #MPB2B 2020 session, “Influencer Love Affair: Dating With an Eye Towards Long-Term Commitment, Not One-Night Stands.”

1 — Building Sustainable B2B Influencer Relationships

Rani examined how building sustainable influencer relationships involves a journey through the funnel, from being generally unaware about your brand to obtaining a certain level of awareness, and then moving on to genuine interest, ultimately followed by engagement, connection, and becoming powerful and loyal brand advocates.

Rani suggested working with influencers towards a goal of making the conversion from being unaware to passionate advocates for the brand, at which point they can become active and important parts of a brand’s strategy.

Many of the best practices that Rani shared are equally adept in the oftentimes different worlds of B2B and B2C, she noted, sharing an “Influencer Mantra” theme she has used for Adobe.

The mantra focuses on how building new B2B influencer relationships can benefit from some of the similarities with dating, with an eye toward long-term commitment and engagement, while also recognizing that not all influencers want to be involved in long-term commitments.

2 — Starting Out With Long-Term Influencer Programs

How do successful long-term influencer relationships begin?

Many times they start with saying “thank you,” Rani suggested, coming in the form of a physical hand-written card sent through the mail system, or via e-mail or a public social media post. Whatever form these thank you messages take, influencers should be addressed by name, and thanked individually for what they’ve done for you or your brand.

Holidays provide additional opportunities to thank influencers with gifts, which Adobe uses to help show just how special their influencers are, Rani noted.

When posted publicly on social media, expressions of influencer thanks and appreciation can be powerful messages that other brands will often see.

Thanking your existing or potential B2B influencers can also come in the form of a LinkedIn* endorsement, and can even involve referring them for additional influencer work at partner brands.

3 — Investing Time Upfront Pays Off With Lasting Influencer Relationships

A big part of any lasting relationship is when we each learn about one another, and Rani explained how it’s no different in B2B influencer marketing, where savvy brands will genuinely want to find out what makes the heart of a particular influencer sing?

It’s important to put in the time to develop strong and enduring influencer relationships, Rani noted.

As in any relationship, learning who an influencer really is requires time, and speed-dating just doesn’t work, as strong relationships don’t happen overnight.

Learn about influencers by asking thoughtful questions to learn their passions and topics of interest, and this can be accomplished adeptly by asking open-ended questions such as “Where do you want to go, and what do you want to do?” Rani suggested.

Then comes the time to perform the match-making part of the influencer marketing equation, by putting the knowledge you’ve gained about an influencer to use in connecting with the most relevant campaigns, brands, brand partners, or with other similar influencers.

Rani also urged a share-the-mic approach when it comes to leveraging brand equity to build, grow, and help influencers.

4 — Meaningful Connections Are Still Vital & Possible Virtually

While face-to-face meetings may be on hold, their power shouldn’t be underestimated according to Rani, who shared several ways we can still connect virtually with influencers, including at Adobe’s upcoming Adobe MAX 2020 conference.

At this and other events Adobe works to create very special experiences for their influencers, including:

  • Exclusive influencer summits
  • Event pre-briefings
  • Sneak-peeks into embargoed programs
  • Special forums asking for feedback

These help us learn what an influencer’s community of social media followers and fans are saying, and to find out what an influencer would do in a particular situation — all valuable information.

In-person events allow for a variety of fun things that can greatly enhance camaraderie, such as at an AdWeek event Rani mentioned during which Adobe hosted a cooking extravaganza for their influencers.

All of these are designed to be fun and provide a low-key way to relax and connect on a very real human level, Rani shared, recalling the time Adobe’s influencers went to NASDAQ and each had time on NASDAQ TV to share their predictions. The influencers were happy to promote this on their own channels, and Adobe was able to as well, all combining to further build the brand fan base.

Bringing influencers to a company’s headquarters for briefings, tours, meetings with corporate management and other on-site activities can also be a great way to strengthen influencer relationships, Rani shared.

During the pandemic this can all be creatively done in our new virtual landscape, Rani suggested, stressing the importance of going out of your way to make these types of connections, even if it’s as simple as getting on the phone for an hour, a Zoom meeting or happy hour, or an online group chat.

Rani brought up Adobe’s especially active influencer direct-message Twitter group, a special forum she has found to be quite heartwarming, with influencers acting as trusted advisors for one another.

5 — Good Judgement Tops Any Algorithm

via GIPHY

Good judgement will always beat an algorithm,” Rani said, while also noting that a smart influencer marketing program will need a certain amount of numerical and other data to help select the right cultural fit for an influencer, but that it’s even more powerful to understand that influencers are humans and not merely the sum of their various social media numbers.

Rani urged B2B marketers to learn about influencers the way you would if you were checking on a potential soul-mate. How would you select someone for yourself, for a friend, or for your own family to date?

In addition to audience number data, it’s important to look at the authority level of their audience, and to take the time and effort to filter this information from a personal and human level to understand the influencer’s cultural and overall makeup.

Rani ended her insightful presentation with a famous Salvador Dali quote, “Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it,” and noted that while there will be disagreements with influencers, by having a long-term and mutually-respectful relationship, you’ll be able to honestly share such issues and work through them together.

Finally, during the post-session question and answer period, Rani shared some of the key performance indicator (KPI) elements often used for measuring success, but suggested that these always varies from campaign to campaign, and can include KPIs such as social volume, retention, sales, or pure engagement.

The ultimate KPI of an influencer having your back is both priceless and unquantifiable, however, Rani noted, offering examples of how Adobe’s influencers have been powerful allies when it comes to providing crisis management, as they are often the first to defend a brand.

In today’s virtual environment, influencer connection requires a bit more ingenuity and effort but accomplishes the same things as during pre-pandemic times, Rani observed, noting that we should keep in mind that the key tactics haven’t changed, and we shouldn’t use the current times as an excuse to not be human.

Be sure to check out our additional #MPB2B 2020 coverage listed below, and don’t miss our CEO Lee Odden‘s session “New Research: How to be Successful With Influencer Marketing” on Thursday, November 5th at 12:55 p.m. Eastern.

*Adobe and LinkedIn are  TopRank Marketing clients.

The post Adobe’s Rani Mani: 5 Tips For Creating Your B2B Influencer Marketing Love Affair #MPB2B appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Adobe’s Rani Mani: 5 Tips For Creating Your B2B Influencer Marketing Love Affair #MPB2B

Woman making heart sign with her hands image.

Rani Mani, head of global employee advocacy at Adobe* delivered an impassioned presentation filled to the brim with B2B influencer marketing insights, with a special focus on how the best influencer relationships are in essence not that different from successful personal relationships.

Rani explained how she’s come to have a love affair with influencer marketing, and shared the process she uses to help turn mere social media heavyweights into long-term and deeply-engaged Adobe advocates — a plan than can be implemented by any brand willing to put in the time, effort, and especially the passion that Rani and her team have.

When it comes to the domain experts Adobe is leveraging for the good of the brand, there isn’t any magic involved — no algorithm or gimmicks to beat the system — instead simply leveraging the power of humanity within B2B marketing influencer relationships, just as we do in successful real life relationships, Rani explained.

Now let’s jump right in with the five top tips I took away from attending Rani’s insightful MarketingProfs B2B Forum #MPB2B 2020 session, “Influencer Love Affair: Dating With an Eye Towards Long-Term Commitment, Not One-Night Stands.”

1 — Building Sustainable B2B Influencer Relationships

Rani examined how building sustainable influencer relationships involves a journey through the funnel, from being generally unaware about your brand to obtaining a certain level of awareness, and then moving on to genuine interest, ultimately followed by engagement, connection, and becoming powerful and loyal brand advocates.

Rani suggested working with influencers towards a goal of making the conversion from being unaware to passionate advocates for the brand, at which point they can become active and important parts of a brand’s strategy.

Many of the best practices that Rani shared are equally adept in the oftentimes different worlds of B2B and B2C, she noted, sharing an “Influencer Mantra” theme she has used for Adobe.

The mantra focuses on how building new B2B influencer relationships can benefit from some of the similarities with dating, with an eye toward long-term commitment and engagement, while also recognizing that not all influencers want to be involved in long-term commitments.

2 — Starting Out With Long-Term Influencer Programs

How do successful long-term influencer relationships begin?

Many times they start with saying “thank you,” Rani suggested, coming in the form of a physical hand-written card sent through the mail system, or via e-mail or a public social media post. Whatever form these thank you messages take, influencers should be addressed by name, and thanked individually for what they’ve done for you or your brand.

Holidays provide additional opportunities to thank influencers with gifts, which Adobe uses to help show just how special their influencers are, Rani noted.

When posted publicly on social media, expressions of influencer thanks and appreciation can be powerful messages that other brands will often see.

Thanking your existing or potential B2B influencers can also come in the form of a LinkedIn* endorsement, and can even involve referring them for additional influencer work at partner brands.

3 — Investing Time Upfront Pays Off With Lasting Influencer Relationships

A big part of any lasting relationship is when we each learn about one another, and Rani explained how it’s no different in B2B influencer marketing, where savvy brands will genuinely want to find out what makes the heart of a particular influencer sing?

It’s important to put in the time to develop strong and enduring influencer relationships, Rani noted.

As in any relationship, learning who an influencer really is requires time, and speed-dating just doesn’t work, as strong relationships don’t happen overnight.

Learn about influencers by asking thoughtful questions to learn their passions and topics of interest, and this can be accomplished adeptly by asking open-ended questions such as “Where do you want to go, and what do you want to do?” Rani suggested.

Then comes the time to perform the match-making part of the influencer marketing equation, by putting the knowledge you’ve gained about an influencer to use in connecting with the most relevant campaigns, brands, brand partners, or with other similar influencers.

Rani also urged a share-the-mic approach when it comes to leveraging brand equity to build, grow, and help influencers.

4 — Meaningful Connections Are Still Vital & Possible Virtually

While face-to-face meetings may be on hold, their power shouldn’t be underestimated according to Rani, who shared several ways we can still connect virtually with influencers, including at Adobe’s upcoming Adobe MAX 2020 conference.

At this and other events Adobe works to create very special experiences for their influencers, including:

  • Exclusive influencer summits
  • Event pre-briefings
  • Sneak-peeks into embargoed programs
  • Special forums asking for feedback

These help us learn what an influencer’s community of social media followers and fans are saying, and to find out what an influencer would do in a particular situation — all valuable information.

In-person events allow for a variety of fun things that can greatly enhance camaraderie, such as at an AdWeek event Rani mentioned during which Adobe hosted a cooking extravaganza for their influencers.

All of these are designed to be fun and provide a low-key way to relax and connect on a very real human level, Rani shared, recalling the time Adobe’s influencers went to NASDAQ and each had time on NASDAQ TV to share their predictions. The influencers were happy to promote this on their own channels, and Adobe was able to as well, all combining to further build the brand fan base.

Bringing influencers to a company’s headquarters for briefings, tours, meetings with corporate management and other on-site activities can also be a great way to strengthen influencer relationships, Rani shared.

During the pandemic this can all be creatively done in our new virtual landscape, Rani suggested, stressing the importance of going out of your way to make these types of connections, even if it’s as simple as getting on the phone for an hour, a Zoom meeting or happy hour, or an online group chat.

Rani brought up Adobe’s especially active influencer direct-message Twitter group, a special forum she has found to be quite heartwarming, with influencers acting as trusted advisors for one another.

5 — Good Judgement Tops Any Algorithm

via GIPHY

Good judgement will always beat an algorithm,” Rani said, while also noting that a smart influencer marketing program will need a certain amount of numerical and other data to help select the right cultural fit for an influencer, but that it’s even more powerful to understand that influencers are humans and not merely the sum of their various social media numbers.

Rani urged B2B marketers to learn about influencers the way you would if you were checking on a potential soul-mate. How would you select someone for yourself, for a friend, or for your own family to date?

In addition to audience number data, it’s important to look at the authority level of their audience, and to take the time and effort to filter this information from a personal and human level to understand the influencer’s cultural and overall makeup.

Rani ended her insightful presentation with a famous Salvador Dali quote, “Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it,” and noted that while there will be disagreements with influencers, by having a long-term and mutually-respectful relationship, you’ll be able to honestly share such issues and work through them together.

Finally, during the post-session question and answer period, Rani shared some of the key performance indicator (KPI) elements often used for measuring success, but suggested that these always varies from campaign to campaign, and can include KPIs such as social volume, retention, sales, or pure engagement.

The ultimate KPI of an influencer having your back is both priceless and unquantifiable, however, Rani noted, offering examples of how Adobe’s influencers have been powerful allies when it comes to providing crisis management, as they are often the first to defend a brand.

In today’s virtual environment, influencer connection requires a bit more ingenuity and effort but accomplishes the same things as during pre-pandemic times, Rani observed, noting that we should keep in mind that the key tactics haven’t changed, and we shouldn’t use the current times as an excuse to not be human.

Be sure to check out our additional #MPB2B 2020 coverage listed below, and don’t miss our CEO Lee Odden‘s session “New Research: How to be Successful With Influencer Marketing” on Thursday, November 5th at 12:55 p.m. Eastern.

*Adobe and LinkedIn are  TopRank Marketing clients.

10 Must-See Sessions at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020 #MPB2B

Woman With Illuminated Fingertips Image

Woman With Illuminated Fingertips Image

MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020 will be the center of the B2B marketing world this week, as many of the world’s leading B2B marketers gather virtually on November 4 – 5 to learn and exchange the industry’s latest research and insight.

This year’s first-ever virtual edition offer a vast array speakers and sessions relating to all areas of B2B marketing, and while we’ve already shared our handy list of “25 Top B2B Marketing Influencers To Follow In 2021 #MPB2B,” we also want to provide you with a list of some of the sessions that we’re most looking forward to this week during #MPB2B.

Here are 10 sessions that stand out to us as must-see presentations as we head towards 2021 and beyond.

10 Must-See Sessions at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020

1 — Influencer Love Affair: Dating With an Eye Towards Long-Term Commitment, Not One-Night Stands

Speaker: Rani Mani, Head of Global Employee Advocacy, Adobe*Rani Mani

Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 11:50 a.m. Eastern

Rani will take a close look at the numerous advantages of long-term commitment in the would of B2B influencer marketing, and “why you need to stop using influencers as just billboards and mouthpieces, and instead tap into their unique skills and talents,” along with sharing what it takes to build passionate and enduring influencer relationships.

Learn more from Rani in her interview with our CEO Lee Odden, “B2B Influencer Marketing Interview: Rani Mani, Adobe,” and in “20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands.”

2 — How to Create an Email Newsletter People Will Clear Their Calendars to Read: 5 Lessons from the Past 8 Months

Speaker: Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs Ann-Handley

Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 1:00 p.m. Eastern

Ann will examine the elements that B2B marketers can combine to create memorable and successful newsletters, including proven tips and examples that specifically focus on how the pandemic has affected email newsletter marketing.

“Come to this fun, inspiring session intervention to hear how to write one that gets fantastic results, and not squander the clear opportunity we all have,” Ann notes

Learn more from Ann in her interview with Lee, “B2B Marketing Spotlight: Ann Handley on Being a ‘Badaxe’ Marketer.”

3 — YouTube for B2B? Your Secret Weapon for Awareness and Demand

Speaker: Tim Matthews, CMO, HackerOneTim Matthews

Time: Thursday, November 5  — 11:45 a.m. Eastern

Join Tim for an insightful look at the power of YouTube in B2B marketing including its strength reaching target buyers, increasing awareness, along with setting demand generation targets — plus a look at the platform’s unique SEO challenges and opportunities.

“Most B2B CMOs know YouTube is the #2 search engine behind Google. Yet most phone it in when it comes to treating their YouTube channel as a serious marketing channel. That’s a mistake,” Tim suggests.

4 — How to Create Truly Memorable Content According to Neuroscience

Speaker: Joe Lazauskas, Head of Marketing, ContentlyJoe Lazauskas

Time: Thursday, November 5  — 12:20 p.m. Eastern

Joe will use neuroscience as a lens for more clearly seeing what it takes for B2B marketers to create memorable and engaging content, with an examination of Steady State Topography (SST) and the new science of “branding moments.”

He’ll also share a proprietary study and other B2B marketing insight surrounding the creation of truly memorable content.

5 — New Research: How to be Successful With Influencer Marketing

Speaker: Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank MarketingLeeOdden

Time: Thursday, November 5  — 12:55 p.m. Eastern

Our CEO Lee will share his latest insights into building a successful B2B influencer marketing program, including new data from the industry’s first State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, in which hundreds of marketers were recently surveyed to identify strategies, tactics, best practices, and predictions for the future of influence in B2B.

Lee will explore what this data reveals and how B2B marketers can best use it to implement a successful influencer program.

“60% of marketers don’t have the knowledge to execute or have the right skills in house to implement ongoing influencer marketing programs. And yet, of those that do engage influencers, 96% feel they are successful. Discover what they’re doing that can help you get your influencer programs working for your brand,” Lee notes of this must-attend #MPB2B session.

6 — B2B Marketing Analytics Strategy

Speaker: Christopher S. Penn, Co-Founder, Trust InsightsChrisPenn

Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 1:35 p.m. Eastern

Christopher is set to share how B2B marketers can best gain insight from analytics, including a look at which areas are important to measure and which may not be worth it.

“You’ve heard the adage, ‘You can’t manage what you don’t measure.’ But in a world of ever-increasingly complex data and confounding circumstances, what if you’re not even sure what to measure,” Christopher asks — one of numerous B2B marketing analytics strategy questions he’ll tackle in his #MPB2B session.

7 — Keynote: Evolve your Strategy: 3 Mega Marketing Trends to Outperform Your Competition

Speaker: Tyrona Heath, Director, Market Engagement, The B2B Institute, LinkedIn*Ty Heath

Time: Thursday, November 5 — 2:10 p.m. Eastern

Ty’s keynote presentation is set to reveal three mega-marketing trends along with key macro-trends that will endure — and which B2B marketers will be able to count on — over the next decade.

“Discover how you can recalibrate your marketing strategy by following the key macro-trends you can count on for the next decade,” Ty notes.

8 — Keynote: YES, You Can Build Passionate Fans in B2B Businesses!

Speaker: David Meerman Scott, Fandom Strategist, FanocracyDavid Meerman Scott

Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 11:00 a.m. Eastern

David will deliver a keynote presentation showing how making business personal can be among the most powerful business strategies you can implement, and he’ll also explore the process of creating the type of fandom he’s written about in Fanocracy.

“Creating fandom isn’t just for actors, athletes, musicians, and authors. Fandom can be rocket fuel for any company or organization that chooses to focus on inspiring and nurturing true fans,” David notes of his #MPB2B keynote session, in which he’ll also present examples from a variety of businesses and organizations that have incorporated newfound passion to create fans and achieve success.

9 — How to Create Meaningful Experiences That Inspire Action in an Unpredictable World

Speaker: Ashley Zeckman, Senior Director, Inprela CommunicationsAshley Zeckman

Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 4:45 p.m. Eastern

Ashley will guide B2B marketers on a journey to create more meaningful experiences in a virtual world — a journey that’s more important now than ever — including sharing how businesses can stand out and achieve strong results despite today’s world of diminished brand loyalty

“Brands across the globe have done what they can to continue to drive revenue and service customers, but something is missing: the human connection,” Ashley notes of her #MPB2B session, which will also examine how B2B marketers can best maintain ongoing connections and create meaningful experiences with teams, customers, and industry experts in our increasingly virtual world.

10 — 5 Creative Ways Marketers Can Support Their B2B Sales Team

Speaker: Pam Didner, B2B Tech Marketing Consultant & Author, Relentless PursuitPam Didner

Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 1:00 p.m. Eastern

Pam is set to share some of the best methods and hidden opportunities that B2B marketers can implement to support their sales team, along with looking at why greater aligning with your sales team is vital when it comes to quantifying your marketing’s ROI.

“For complex sales or when selling technology, content that showcases the technology and product benefits can be key to moving prospects through the sales funnel. In the era of digital and social selling, marketers can use existing marketing elements to better engage and support sales,” Pam explains, an area she’ll expand on in her must-see #MPB2B session.

Join Us Virtually at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020!

We hope you’ll join us virtually for these 10 must-see sessions during MPB2B, and for the many additional stellar presentations that will take place over November 4 – 5, for B2B marketing insight to drive your efforts well into 2021 and towards the post-pandemic future.

Also be sure to keep posted for live-blog coverage here on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog.

* Adobe and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post 10 Must-See Sessions at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020 #MPB2B appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

10 Must-See Sessions at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020 #MPB2B

Woman With Illuminated Fingertips Image

MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020 will be the center of the B2B marketing world this week, as many of the world’s leading B2B marketers gather virtually on November 4 – 5 to learn and exchange the industry’s latest research and insight.

This year’s first-ever virtual edition offer a vast array speakers and sessions relating to all areas of B2B marketing, and while we’ve already shared our handy list of “25 Top B2B Marketing Influencers To Follow In 2021 #MPB2B,” we also want to provide you with a list of some of the sessions that we’re most looking forward to this week during #MPB2B.

Here are 10 sessions that stand out to us as must-see presentations as we head towards 2021 and beyond.

Speaker: Rani Mani, Head of Global Employee Advocacy, Adobe*Rani Mani

Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 11:50 a.m. Eastern

Rani will take a close look at the numerous advantages of long-term commitment in the would of B2B influencer marketing, and “why you need to stop using influencers as just billboards and mouthpieces, and instead tap into their unique skills and talents,” along with sharing what it takes to build passionate and enduring influencer relationships.

Learn more from Rani in her interview with our CEO Lee Odden, “B2B Influencer Marketing Interview: Rani Mani, Adobe,” and in “20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands.”

Speaker: Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs Ann-Handley

Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 1:00 p.m. Eastern

Ann will examine the elements that B2B marketers can combine to create memorable and successful newsletters, including proven tips and examples that specifically focus on how the pandemic has affected email newsletter marketing.

“Come to this fun, inspiring session intervention to hear how to write one that gets fantastic results, and not squander the clear opportunity we all have,” Ann notes

Learn more from Ann in her interview with Lee, “B2B Marketing Spotlight: Ann Handley on Being a ‘Badaxe’ Marketer.”

Speaker: Tim Matthews, CMO, HackerOneTim Matthews

Time: Thursday, November 5  — 11:45 a.m. Eastern

Join Tim for an insightful look at the power of YouTube in B2B marketing including its strength reaching target buyers, increasing awareness, along with setting demand generation targets — plus a look at the platform’s unique SEO challenges and opportunities.

“Most B2B CMOs know YouTube is the #2 search engine behind Google. Yet most phone it in when it comes to treating their YouTube channel as a serious marketing channel. That’s a mistake,” Tim suggests.

Speaker: Joe Lazauskas, Head of Marketing, ContentlyJoe Lazauskas

Time: Thursday, November 5  — 12:20 p.m. Eastern

Joe will use neuroscience as a lens for more clearly seeing what it takes for B2B marketers to create memorable and engaging content, with an examination of Steady State Topography (SST) and the new science of “branding moments.”

He’ll also share a proprietary study and other B2B marketing insight surrounding the creation of truly memorable content.

Speaker: Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank MarketingLeeOdden

Time: Thursday, November 5  — 12:55 p.m. Eastern

Our CEO Lee will share his latest insights into building a successful B2B influencer marketing program, including new data from the industry’s first State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, in which hundreds of marketers were recently surveyed to identify strategies, tactics, best practices, and predictions for the future of influence in B2B.

Lee will explore what this data reveals and how B2B marketers can best use it to implement a successful influencer program.

“60% of marketers don’t have the knowledge to execute or have the right skills in house to implement ongoing influencer marketing programs. And yet, of those that do engage influencers, 96% feel they are successful. Discover what they’re doing that can help you get your influencer programs working for your brand,” Lee notes of this must-attend #MPB2B session.

Speaker: Christopher S. Penn, Co-Founder, Trust InsightsChrisPenn

Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 1:35 p.m. Eastern

Christopher is set to share how B2B marketers can best gain insight from analytics, including a look at which areas are important to measure and which may not be worth it.

“You’ve heard the adage, ‘You can’t manage what you don’t measure.’ But in a world of ever-increasingly complex data and confounding circumstances, what if you’re not even sure what to measure,” Christopher asks — one of numerous B2B marketing analytics strategy questions he’ll tackle in his #MPB2B session.

Speaker: Tyrona Heath, Director, Market Engagement, The B2B Institute, LinkedIn*Ty Heath

Time: Thursday, November 5 — 2:10 p.m. Eastern

Ty’s keynote presentation is set to reveal three mega-marketing trends along with key macro-trends that will endure — and which B2B marketers will be able to count on — over the next decade.

“Discover how you can recalibrate your marketing strategy by following the key macro-trends you can count on for the next decade,” Ty notes.

Speaker: David Meerman Scott, Fandom Strategist, FanocracyDavid Meerman Scott

Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 11:00 a.m. Eastern

David will deliver a keynote presentation showing how making business personal can be among the most powerful business strategies you can implement, and he’ll also explore the process of creating the type of fandom he’s written about in Fanocracy.

“Creating fandom isn’t just for actors, athletes, musicians, and authors. Fandom can be rocket fuel for any company or organization that chooses to focus on inspiring and nurturing true fans,” David notes of his #MPB2B keynote session, in which he’ll also present examples from a variety of businesses and organizations that have incorporated newfound passion to create fans and achieve success.

Speaker: Ashley Zeckman, Senior Director, Inprela CommunicationsAshley Zeckman

Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 4:45 p.m. Eastern

Ashley will guide B2B marketers on a journey to create more meaningful experiences in a virtual world — a journey that’s more important now than ever — including sharing how businesses can stand out and achieve strong results despite today’s world of diminished brand loyalty

“Brands across the globe have done what they can to continue to drive revenue and service customers, but something is missing: the human connection,” Ashley notes of her #MPB2B session, which will also examine how B2B marketers can best maintain ongoing connections and create meaningful experiences with teams, customers, and industry experts in our increasingly virtual world.

Speaker: Pam Didner, B2B Tech Marketing Consultant & Author, Relentless PursuitPam Didner

Time: Wednesday, November 4 — 1:00 p.m. Eastern

Pam is set to share some of the best methods and hidden opportunities that B2B marketers can implement to support their sales team, along with looking at why greater aligning with your sales team is vital when it comes to quantifying your marketing’s ROI.

“For complex sales or when selling technology, content that showcases the technology and product benefits can be key to moving prospects through the sales funnel. In the era of digital and social selling, marketers can use existing marketing elements to better engage and support sales,” Pam explains, an area she’ll expand on in her must-see #MPB2B session.

Join Us Virtually at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2020!

We hope you’ll join us virtually for these 10 must-see sessions during MPB2B, and for the many additional stellar presentations that will take place over November 4 – 5, for B2B marketing insight to drive your efforts well into 2021 and towards the post-pandemic future.

Also be sure to keep posted for live-blog coverage here on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog.

* Adobe and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

Top 10 Changes That Impacted Google My Business in 2020

2020 has been a busy year for Google My Business (GMB). Since January, Google has launched new features, fixed bugs, and had to adapt to the global pandemic.

At Sterling Sky, we think it’s important to keep track of all the changes that happen in the local search space in general, and that impact GMB specifically. So far in 2020 we are up to 54 changes.

As you can tell, changes that impact Google My Business came at a fast pace — and at high volume — in 2020. In this post, I highlight the changes I think were most important in each month of this year, so far. For an exhaustive list of all the updates that have been made, check out this timeline.

January: Google posts borked — hello, 2020!

Foreshadowing things to come, GMB started off the year with a major issue in their Google Posts feature. Google Posts were getting rejected left, right, and center.

At first, it appeared to be a bug in the system. We were further confused when Google stated that everything was “working as intended”, but the Google My Business Forum was still flooded with users complaining that their Google Posts were being rejected, and not just for a single reason:

And then Google announced that they resolved the issue. Was it truly “Working as intended”? Likely not, but the issues have, indeed, been resolved.

This hiccup made it tough for SEOs who offer Google Posts as part of their service offerings to do their work, and it would have been even more difficult for software companies that connect to Google’s API and offer multi-location Google Posts.

When one of GMB’s products fail, it’s on us as SEOs to clearly explain what’s happening to our clients. Staying on top of GMB bugs, and being able to articulate them, is a critical component of the modern local SEO tool belt.

February: Google adds “suggested categories” for GMB Products

February saw the first of many visible changes to the GMB dashboard when Google added “suggested categories” to the Products section. As of today, we still don’t know if this specific addition impacts ranking, but they still appear in the business profile on mobile, so they can impact conversions. In addition, we do know that adding actual GMB Products does not impact ranking.

March: Google launches several COVID-related features

March saw the beginning of GMB allocating a large percentage of their support resources to the healthcare verticals that were impacted most by COVID-19. To complicate things further, Google disabled the GMB Twitter and Facebook support options.

In addition to allocating resources to healthcare verticals, they began launching specific GMB features to help businesses adjust and communicate their current state of operations to their customers. Some of these initial features included:

  1. Shutting off the ability for businesses to receive new reviews and Q&A
  2. Adding the option to report a location as “Temporarily Closed”
  3. Disabling new photos uploaded by customers
  4. Adding a COVID-19 Google Post type

These features have done a great job helping businesses through the pandemic, and give SEOs another venue to offer value by implementing them for our clients in a proactive manner.

For instance, the COVID-19 Google Post type appears higher up in the business profile, compared to regular Google Post types, which gives us the opportunity to offer businesses an effective way to give their message an increased level of visibility.

April: GMB adds telehealth appointment and COVID links

April concluded with GMB adding several new website link options to the dashboard. The two main link options that were added are the “COVID-19 info link” and the “Telehealth info link”:

Here’s how they look live on mobile:

We dug into Google Analytics for the example above. The COVID links, in addition to being a useful way to communicate new protocols, also drove traffic and conversions.

May: Google confirms April/May local ranking fluctuations were bugs

In November 2019, we described the local ranking algorithm as the “most volatile” we had seen it to date. The ranking fluctuation was so great that we named the algorithm update that was happening “Bedlam”.

When we started to see strikingly similar volatility in the local search results in April 2020, we jumped to the conclusion that this was another local algorithm update. However, Danny Sullivan confirmed that it was a bug this time around:

Several of our clients who saw major ranking fluctuation told us that the real-world impact on their business was palpable. When their rankings dropped, they immediately felt it from a revenue perspective, and when their rankings moved back up, revenue went back up as well. I can only guess that the amount of revenue lost and gained due to this bug, across all businesses, was astronomical.

June: GMB adds “more hours” option

In June, GMB included a new set of hours that a business can add to their locations to indicate when they are open for special circumstances. Some of the “more hours” options appeared to be a response to the pandemic, such as “senior hours”. I suspect that this feature will be available long after the pandemic is over.

SEOs can add value for their clients by proactively setting this up. Some bigger chains such as Wal-Mart are already doing a great job utilizing this feature. Here are some examples I’ve found in the wild recently:

July: Google adds ability to flag user profiles

This is one of my favorite new features from Google this year. They now provide the option for any user to flag a user profile. This new feature is ideal when you want to report a reviewer’s profile that is engaging in clearly fake reviews.

Before this option became available, the only way to report an entire user’s profile was to send an email to Local Guides support.

The important thing to remember is that this feature is only available from the Google Maps App. Here’s how it works:

  1. Open the Google Maps app.
  2. Find a contribution from the profile that you’d like to flag.
  3. Tap on the user name of the profile.
  4. Tap the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner.
  5. Choose “Report profile”.

August: GMB adds performance metrics to direct edit experience

The GMB direct edit experience has been around for a while now. (Ben Fisher did a great job covering it recently.) It’s a useful way for GMB page managers and owners to make edits to the listing directly on Google search, and not have to go into the GMB dashboard.

What GMB added to this feature in August was the ability to see performance metrics (GMB Insights) directly in Google search as well. What I like about this feature is that you can go back and get data from a six-month window, and as of today, you can only go back three months inside the GMB dashboard.

Here’s how you find the performance metrics. Please note that this feature is not available to all businesses yet. Google typically rolls out new features in phases. As Google gathers data on this rollout, and if it is being adopted well, I imagine we will see this rolled-out to 100% by early 2021.

Perform a branded search for the business that you manage and select the “View profile” button.

Next, you need to select “Add a highlight”. This used to be labeled as “Promote”:

After that, select “Performance”:

And finally, after selecting the performance option you will be able to view your insights data.

September: COVID-related health and safety attributes launch

The pandemic influenced several new GMB features such as the “temporarily closed” option and COVID-19 Google Post type, which we have already covered. I think the most significant feature related to COVID-19, however, was the launch of the coronavirus-related health and safety attributes, which were launched in September.

Google seems to be adding more attributes to the list as time goes on, but here is what they have added as of today. You can select these under the “Info” tab inside the Google My Business dashboard.

These attributes are powerful because they are highly visible in multiple places. You can see them on both mobile and desktop, and in both Google Maps and Google search.

Here’s what they look like in the wild:

October: New “preview call history” module in GMB dashboard

As of the beginning of October, I started seeing a module inside the GMB dashboard called “Preview call history BETA”. It’s not entirely clear what the final feature will look like, but experts have been weighing in over at the Local Search Forum.

Here’s what we know so far based on feedback from Google as well as members’ feedback from the Local Search Forum.

  1. It’s currently US only and opt-in.
  2. No transcription or call recording.
  3. Call logs remain for 45 days.
  4. There is a whisper message telling the owner that the call originated from Google.
  5. The number displayed to the caller will be the forwarding number.
  6. This may interfere with off-site call tracking via GMB, so use cautiously if you’re using a call tracking strategy.

So what? November, December, and 2021

Like Bowie said, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes”. When it comes to Google My Business, you can expect the changes to keep coming as we complete 2020 and move on to 2021.

As for my future predictions, where Google My Business is concerned, I see guidelines opening up to include additional business models as a result of the pandemic, and due to the shift that businesses have had to make from an in-person, brick-and-mortar operation to online service.

Telehealth is a prime example. Google has been adding several GMB attributes that a business can select to indicate that they offer online services. Currently, the guidelines say you need to make in-person contact with customers to qualify for a listing. At the very least, Google has opened this rule up temporarily during the pandemic to accommodate this new health model. So the question is whether or not this will continue into the future once the pandemic is over. I think they will.

And with that, remember to turn and face the strange, and embrace Google My Business in all of its constantly changing glory.