Break Free B2B Marketing: Dell Outlet’s Andre Ortolon on Microinfluencers for Hyper-Relevant Content

Break Free B2B Andre Ortolon of Dell Outlet Image

Break Free B2B Andre Ortolon of Dell Outlet Image
In our part of the country, there’s a phenomenon called the “Minnesota goodbye.” It’s when you’re leaving a social gathering (remember those?) and you say goodbye, walk to the door… and keep talking to your host. Then you step outside the door, and continue the conversation. Then you walk to the car while keeping up the chatter. All told, a proper Minnesota goodbye can last up to an hour. 

All of which to say: We may have already wrapped up season two of the Break Free B2B series, but it’s time for the Minnesota goodbye. 

Back in February, I talked to Andre Ortolon from Dell Outlet about their micro influencer program. It’s a fascinating campaign because it was something of a B2B/B2C hybrid: Their target audiences included gamers, content creators like vloggers, and small business owners. The messaging was dramatically different for each audience. But they all had to live on the same landing page.

It was an ambitious campaign that highlighted the importance of relevance for influencer marketing. It’s all about finding the folks who are truly influential to a specific audience, not just those with the highest follower count. 

Dell and TopRank Marketing’s innovative approach to influencer marketing made the campaign a finalist at the 2020 Killer Content Awards.

Listen in as Andre and I talk influencer marketing, automation, personalization, and more.

Break Free B2B Interview with Andre Ortolon


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

1:12 Why a micro influencer campaign?

2:30 Credibility and relevance in influencer marketing

3:47 Values and purpose in influencer marketing

5:30 Differentiating B2B and B2C messaging

7:40 Creating and co-creating content with influencers

9:40 Technology as an equalizer for small business & entrepreneurs

10:45 How marketers can avoid stagnation and keep learning

13:30 Making a credible connection with audiences

14:15 Avoid being a ‘can of beer’ campaign

15:00 Honesty & authenticity in marketing

17:00 Looking into the future trends in marketing

18:45 Avoiding ‘shiny object syndrome’

19:45 Managing teams and processes 

22:15 How can marketers break free?

Josh:

So we know influencer marketing means different things to different people. Right, everything from getting Taylor Swift, or the CEO of Cisco to write a blog post for you.

Andre:

I think the whole Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber kind of praise is a bit transparent at this point. You know, even millennials or younger generations are not really buying that. It has to have a lot of credibility. It has to be people that are relevant to them on a more personal level. 

So that’s the approach we’re taking, it’s partnering with people that align well with our corporate mission, some of our value propositions. And so we have to look for ways that Dell Outlet fits in with the people that we’re working with to have that credibility. 

And also to differentiate us from Dell because, you know, we’re a division within Dell. So we are not selling the same exact products. We sell refurbished and overstock, but it contributes to the circular economy, the environment, so finding those micro influencers that align with these values so you know that it exists across the consumer space and the business space. 

We’ve actually been surprised at the level of engagement and actual throughput lower into the funnel. We were expecting a social influencer campaign to be pretty strictly top of funnel — just making people aware of our brand. Maybe they learn a little bit about us, but not necessarily taking that next step. But we’ve actually seen pretty good success in getting them interested enough in what we’re doing and our product to browse our portfolio.

Josh:

Just in general in marketing, where do you think the next change is coming from?

Andre:

You know, it’s cliche, but technology is huge. And it’s a big equalizing force too. So I think a lot of small companies can now benefit in a big way from things like, you hear the buzzwords like AI and machine learning, but that kind of thing is accessible now to not just large multinational corporations like us, but we’re also a very small division with a smaller budget. 

So we’re able to take advantage of business partners that have technology and engineers that create really cool and innovative ways to get your messaging out there. 

Social media platforms can launch a company and a brand and turn it into a billion dollar business in a short amount of time. You know, I was at a social media conference not long ago, and they talked about Kendra Scott. She’s a local jewelry designer in Austin. And she really got started going to local jewelry stores and just telling her story and making a connection with these more mom and pop shops, but eventually got into Neiman Marcus, and then used social media and that platform to sell her story and make a connection with her customers. 

She recently went public and I think it’s now a billion dollar company. So for me it kind of boils down to taking advantage of things like social media, taking advantage of new technology and keeping up to speed with that. 

Josh:

It’s  interesting. I hadn’t thought of it that way. But when we talk about doing things at scale, it’s, “enables enterprises to reach 20,000 people,” but we don’t think of scale the other way, which is what you’re talking about smaller business.

Andre:

Yeah, there’s many examples of that. Right. Like the music industry, small artists can launch a song and they don’t need to have a record deal anymore. It’s the same thing for small businesses or even entrepreneurs that are just starting up, if they can. They have the tenacity and the right product. They can leverage these tools and the technology, they don’t need huge budgets. Just do it in a smart way to start building their brand and increasing sales.

Josh:

So this question is listed as what mistakes are you seeing in the industry? I would say what opportunities in the industry? What are we getting wrong? And what are the opportunities?

Andre:

I think this is a trap that any marketer can fall into, really getting into the day to day — you know, we’re all busy looking at how did our campaigns do? Did we drive enough traffic to the site? What was the conversion of your organic search? 

And, I mean, 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. 

I mentioned earlier that I’m a big believer in technology. So you know, really stepping back looking at going to conferences like this one, for example, is a great way to get up to speed on the latest technology to get information and ideas from people in the industry. I think that’s something that everybody’s probably guilty of, to some extent is, getting too buried in the day to day and not really taking the time to step back and look at your strategy and educate continuously and getting up to speed on the latest trends.

Josh:

We always think about the process of optimization, always being aware of your results. But sometimes we do forget to apply that to ourselves as marketers, right?

Andre:

Yeah. You can optimize your organic campaign, you can make sure you’ve got the latest trending words. But, you know, you’ve got to also keep yourself up to speed and educated, like I said, and even looking for new partners and vendors that can provide something that you are not an expert on. That takes a lot of time and effort. You’ve got to tear yourself away from the bottom line sometimes to get to that point.

Josh:

It’s so easy to get stuck.

Andre:

Yeah, absolutely. 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’re building a connection with your brand. And 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.

So, we’re in what I would consider one of the more fun careers right? It’s creative and, it’s on the cutting edge here in front of customers. It’s probably one of the more exciting places to be. And my philosophy is to have some fun with it. You know, even though I’m in corporate marketing and I have been my whole career, but, you know, take some chances, do innovative things, have some fun with it. That’s probably my approach towards life, not just marketing. 

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

 

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Dell Outlet’s Andre Ortolon on Microinfluencers for Hyper-Relevant Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


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Break Free Marketing Season 2 Wrap Up: Reinventing B2B Marketing

Break Free B2B Season 2 Wrap Up Image

Break Free B2B Season 2 Wrap Up Image

Season two of TopRank Marketing’s video podcast series, “Break Free B2B,” has come to a close. We had the opportunity to interview some of the smartest B2B marketers in the industry, to find out how they’re breaking the mold and reinventing the role and function of the marketing department in B2B organizations.

The series covered three key themes:

  1. Reinvigorating Scalable, Global ABM
  2. Creating Online and Offline Experiences that Inspire
  3. Reinventing B2B Marketing and How Success is Measured

One consistent message among all ten interviews is that it’s time to shake things up. B2B marketing doesn’t need more of the same. These experts are well aware of that fact. Simply repeating tactics that have ‘always been done’ and are considered industry standards is no longer enough. It’s time to push the envelope, find a way to scale your ABM program, inspire your prospects with experiences, and continue to evolve how you approach marketing and measurement.

One way to break free and improve upon traditional tactics is to work with and learn from folks who are influential in your industry. Incorporating influencers into your ongoing marketing strategy can enable you to break free from tradition and create something that reaches and inspires your audience.

As our CEO, Lee Odden, says “Focusing on accounts with the biggest revenue potential requires every competitive advantage. But ABM alone is not enough to break through to distracted and distrustful decision makers. To connect with accounts more effectively, B2B marketers are increasingly adopting influencer marketing to build trust, reach and engagement.”

To help you break free, we’ve pulled out some of the top highlights from this season, but you can see the full series on YouTube or on the season two page of the TopRank Marketing blog.

Reinvigorating Scalable, Global ABM

Employing a scalable, customer centric ABM program is a top priority for many of the B2B organizations we work with. B2B marketers need to reach the right audience, grow their key accounts, and continually prove the success of those efforts.

To find out how to achieve these goals, we looked to Gary Gerber of Folloze, Kelvin Gee of Oracle*, and Danny Nail of SAP* for advice.

Scaling ABM Without Losing Focus

Gary Gerber
Head of Product Marketing, Folloze
@Gary_Gerber | LinkedIn

Gary Gerber

[bctt tweet=”“A hammer is one of the most useful tools in your toolkit, but you wouldn’t use it to repair a watch.” @Gary_Gerber of @Folloze on the need for more precision in #ABM. #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

“You have to focus away from blunt instrument tools,” he says. “I’m not bashing blunt instruments, by the way, because a hammer is one of the most useful tools in your toolkit, but you wouldn’t use it to repair a watch. So you need to migrate to tools that let you [achieve] that kind of precision, because that’s the only way you’re going to build trust with your customers.”

Watch Gary’s full interview.

Winning with Enterprise ABM

Kelvin Gee
Senior Director, Modern Marketing Business Transformation, Oracle
@kgee | LinkedIn

Kevin Gee

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

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

Watch Kelvin’s full interview.

Creating a Global ABM Platform

Danny Nail
Head of Global Account Based Marketing, SAP
@DannyNail | LinkedIn

Danny Nail

[bctt tweet=”“You have to let go of templatized old ideas…and start really digging into how you can change what you’re doing and make it more efficient, more effective, and be creative about that.” @DannyNail, @SAP” username=”toprank”]

“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. Because the platform didn’t exist, but now it does. And that’s because we got creative about how we could scale ABM, as opposed to adding people to scale or adding money to scale.”

Watch Danny’s full interview.

Creating Online and Offline Experiences that Inspire

There is an active perception in the market that B2B marketing content isn’t exactly inspiring. This may be true in some cases, but not all. B2B marketers know that breaking free from the boring, the expected, is how you set yourself apart from the competition and carve out your niche in the market. And that includes bringing online and offline experiences together, as well as using online content to create a personal bond between your brand and your customers.

We looked to marketing experience experts for their take on how to create inspiring experiences through content and interactive experiences. Sruthi Kumar of Sendoso, Mark Bornstein of ON24 and Sofia O’Malley of Dell Outlet* shared their experiences and advice.

Creating Memorable Experiences

Sruthi Kumar
Senior Marketing Manager, Sendoso
@sruthikkumar | LinkedIn

Sruthi Kumar

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

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

Watch Sruthi’s full interview.

Dialing In Digital Experiences

Mark Bornstein
VP of Marketing and Chief Webinerd, ON24
@4markb | LinkedIn

Mark Bornstein

[bctt tweet=”“Companies that are trying to own thought leadership, they’re not going to do that through giving a webinar that’s a slide presentation. They’re doing it by building experiences.” — @4markb on #BreakFreeB2B #DigitalExperiences” username=”toprank”]

“So in the world of webinars, if you think about what a webinar was even a few years ago — and maybe in some cases still now — the webinar was a talking PowerPoint. Just a headless voice, you didn’t see anybody. You just heard somebody going through the slides in a droll way and it wasn’t branded and it was just boring. And maybe a lot of webinars still are kind of boring.

But the fact of the matter is, what we see companies doing now is they’re creating serialized programming. They’re creating these really cool almost TV-like viewing experiences, where it’s a show and there’s hosts and the formats are changing. There’s panel discussions and coffee talks and chat shows and new style formats. So companies that are trying to own thought leadership, to establish a voice, to be the company that people go to — they’re not going to do that through giving a webinar on, you know, here’s our content. Here’s our slide presentation. They’re doing it by building experiences. And I think a really great experience has a few of the following qualities: It should be completely branded. It should be interactive.”

Watch Mark’s full interview.

Creating a Global B2B & B2C Marketing Team

Sofia O’Malley
Global Marketing Director, Dell Outlet
@sofiaomalley | LinkedIn

Sofia O’Malley

[bctt tweet=”“You have to be cognizant of what is unique to each market. What’s the consumer behavior? What’s the consumer expectation or appetite for a type of execution?” @sofiaomalley of @DellOutlet on global #CX” username=”toprank”]

“I think the key is to have a consistent strategy. I think that needs to be scalable. And then where we start to see a little bit more difference is on the tactics.

So when you think about implementation of go to market, I think 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.”

Reinventing B2B Marketing and How Success is Measured

The way we measure success in marketing – from our KPIs to ROI – has always been a bit of a moving target, especially for B2B. It’s no question that B2B marketers have a lot on their mind, and even more to prove. We’re accountable for driving pipeline and passing MQLs to the sales team, all while also building brand awareness and thought leadership.

But, what if we could reinvent how we measure marketing success and how we work with other departments and functions? And what if we did so in a way that works for sales, marketing and leadership? We talked to some experts in measurement and alignment to find out how to do it: Sean Crowley of Dun & Bradstreet, Lisa Sharapata and Latane Conant of 6sense and Julie Brown of Johnson Controls.

Cracking the Alignment Code

Sean Crowley
Leader, Integrated Marketing – Sales and Marketing Solutions, Dun & Bradstreet
@seantcrowley | LinkedIn

Sean Crowley

[bctt tweet=”“It takes a coordinated approach, so we felt that the tiger team is a valuable way for us to manage that complexity, to create alignments, and to ensure that as we go to market, we’re doing it as a team.” @seantcrowley on #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

“I lead a tiger team of marketers within the sales and marketing line of business because the integrated marketing role sits at that nexus of sales, product, content marketing, demand generation, social media and all of those things coming together. So when we’re releasing and launching campaigns, we want to make sure that we’re bringing in the perspectives and the expertise of each of those functional areas so that they’re well represented, that they’re well integrated, and then when we go to market, we can execute in an omni-channel environment.”

Watch Sean’s full interview.

The End of the MQL

Lisa Sharapata
VP of Demand Generation and Content Strategy, 6sense
@lisasharapata | LinkedIn

Lisa Sharapata

[bctt tweet=”“When we say, ‘we’re going to give you this amount of pipeline, we’re going to generate this amount of revenue,’ and we can actually see it coming and help deliver it in a predictable way, they are never going to want to go back to a #MQL…”” username=”toprank”]

“If you talk to most sales execs and you ask them “How valuable do you think the MQL’s really are?” and “How often do they turn into an SQL?” and “When marketing says they’re going to give you this many MQL’s, how meaningful is that truly to you?” Most of the time they’re like “Yeah, marketing is going to throw these scans from their event over the fence and tell us to work on them.”

And they don’t really put a lot of value in them. But when we say we’re going to give you this amount of pipeline, we’re going to generate this amount of revenue, and we can start to show that predictability, in saying this is what of your accounts are in market right now, that is worth this amount of pipeline to you and we can actually see it coming and help deliver it in a predictable way.. I’ll tell you what, they are never going to want to go back to a MQL again.”

Watch Lisa’s full interview.

Reinventing the CMO Role

Latané Conant
Chief Market Officer, 6sense
@LataneConant | LinkedIn

Latane Conant

[bctt tweet=”“If I am engaging accounts more effectively than my competition, I will generate more pipeline, I’ll win more often, I’ll have bigger deals, and I will set my relationship off with those customers better.” #B2BMarketing @LataneConant” username=”toprank”]

“I actually just changed my title to Chief Market Officer. And it’s an important distinction that a lady who was actually on our board — who’s amazing, her name is Christine Heckard, made. And she’s been a CMO. Now she’s the CEO. And she’s talked a lot about the role of the CMO. We have gotten ourselves really mired down in ‘ing.’ “I did a blog, I did webinars, look at all these MQLs I pass to sales, here’s my funnel, here’s my tech stack.” That is all ing ing ing.

Her challenge to CMOs is to redefine that. We are the seat at the table that needs to understand the market. That is customers today and customers tomorrow. That’s why this audience-first approach and understanding the market, then you can apply the ing.”

Watch Latané’s full interview.

Proving the EBT of Your Marketing

Julie Brown
Institutional Market Leader, Johnson Controls
LinkedIn

Julie Brown

[bctt tweet=”“It’s EBIT, operational ROI, revenue, & earnings per share. When marketing can say, if you give me this much within this period of time, I’ll deliver this much back.” — Julie Brown of @johnsoncontrols” username=”toprank”]

“[Marketing] figured out how to start talking about what they did in financial terms that the CFO understands. And on the flip side, every company is looking to grow. A lot of companies don’t look to marketing because they don’t trust and respect marketing enough to deliver that.

It’s financial terms, it’s EBIT, it’s operational ROI, it’s revenue, it’s earnings per share. Those are the things that they understand and when marketing can say, listen, if you give me this much within this period of time, I’ll deliver this much back.”

Break Free from ‘The Way It Has Always Been Done’ in B2B Marketing

If there is one common thread among these ten interviews, it’s that successful B2B marketing doesn’t follow ‘the way it has always been done’. Pushing boundaries, finding creative ways to set and measure goals, and focusing on creating inspiring experiences are just a few of the ways B2B marketers are breaking free.

If you’re craving more ways to break free, check out our Season 1 recap, or watch the on-demand webinar with Lee Odden, “Break Free from Boring B2B With B2B Influencers and Experiences that Inspire”.

*Oracle, SAP, and Dell Outlet are TopRank Marketing clients

 

The post Break Free Marketing Season 2 Wrap Up: Reinventing B2B Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Break Free B2B Marketing: Sean Crowley of Dun & Bradstreet on Cracking the Alignment Code

Break Free B2B Sean Crowley Image

Break Free B2B Sean Crowley Image

“Integrated marketing” is an ideal with clear appeal, but one that is often difficult to actualize in practice. Developing a truly integrated strategy — in which marketing functions in lockstep with sales, product, and other departments — is immensely challenging, especially within large and complex organizations.

It’s not necessarily for a lack of trying, or a lack of good intentions from all involved. These roles simply operate and think differently from one another. Friction and disconnects are inherent. Silos are pervasive.

As the Leader of Integrated Marketing for Sales and Marketing Solutions at Dun & Bradstreet, Sean Crowley tackles these barriers head-on each day. Eager to hear his philosophies on bridging these crucial gaps, and to learn what’s working at D&B, TopRank Marketing’s Joshua Nite joined Sean for a chat during B2B Marketing Exchange in February.

“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,” Sean says. “Because it does take a coordinated effort. And if teams operate in silos, you lose the combined value of the efforts that they make.”

[bctt tweet=”“Alignment takes a coordinated effort. If teams operate in silos, you lose the combined value of the efforts that they make.” @seantcrowley on #BreakFreeB2B #SalesMarketingAlignment” username=”toprank”]

During the conversation, Sean explored many of the practical, nitty-gritty elements of alignment, including centralization of data, joint representation in customer meetings, and rethinking operational structures. He also cited a famous ocean buoy near Hawaii as a metaphor to make alignment more granular and manageable.

Read on to find that connection explained, along with other highlights and the full interview for your viewing or listening pleasure.

Break Free B2B Interview with Sean Crowley

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

  • 0:45 – Cracking the code of integrated marketing
  • 1:45 – Top obstacles for sales and marketing alignment
  • 3:15 – Bringing data into product development
  • 4:30 – Which data streams best inform customer insight?
  • 8:15 – Refining data and putting it into action
  • 9:00 – Empowering people to get the most out of data
  • 10:30 – Keeping data clean and consistent
  • 11:30 – Where to start with creating alignment?
  • 13:00 – The value of marketers joining sales meetings
  • 14:45 – How to structure operationally for alignment?
  • 17:00 – Keeping marketing involved throughout the customer journey
  • 19:15 – What should marketing look like in five to 10 years?
  • 22:30 – How can marketers break free?

Joshua: We talk a lot here about ‘don’t try and boil the ocean’ but it seems like this technology can help us figure out which particular bucket of the ocean we should be picking up and boiling, right?

Sean: So it’s funny you mentioned boiling the ocean. What are those signals in that ocean? I’m a skier, so I like to ski. There’s a buoy off the coast of Hawaii — Buoy 51101 — that the skiers know. It started off as, surfers used it to identify surf swells so they knew when big waves were coming, but then the skiers actually started to draw a correlation between when they saw the buoy pop, two weeks later there was a big storm in Utah. And it’s actually proven out 70 to 80% of the time to be actually pretty accurate.

So it’s using this intelligence, using technology, and artificial intelligence to identify those buoy pops and create relevancy around that, to actually identify and know how to act on that data. A buoy popping doesn’t cause, but is an indicator, of a storm in Utah.

Joshua: So if you’re, say, a marketing leader who wants to reach out to sales, wants to get that alignment, maybe even wants to start uniting under the same umbrella, where do you start?

Sean: For me, it starts at the leadership level. You really need to reach across the aisle and have a common objective, which we all do but it’s hard to sometimes break through that sales and marketing dichotomy at times, in terms of: marketers will say sales never follows up on the leads that we send them, and sales will say marketing doesn’t send us good enough leads.

I think it would be helpful for us to put ourselves in one another’s shoes. One thing that I say to people on my team is, we have an inside sales organization that’s following up on the leads that we generate — let’s spend a half a day on the phone following up with the leads and actually understand the challenges that those salespeople have day in and day out in their job and also hearing from the customers or prospects what their challenges are. If that’s not available, I would say reach out to some sellers and say, “Hey can I join you on a couple of sales calls? I really want to understand how you position our product, how you actually are providing value to the client and to hear what they have to say.” That’s a really good way to establish credibility and to say, I’m here to work with you to solve for our common objectives.

[bctt tweet=”“Reach out to some sellers and say, ‘Hey can I join you on a couple of sales calls?’ That’s a good way to establish credibility and say, I’m here to work with you.” @seantcrowley on #BreakFreeB2B #SalesMarketingAlignment” username=”toprank”]

Joshua: When we’re talking about alignment, do you feel there is more value in keeping sales and marketing as distinct disciplines in teams, or do you see a tiger team format working, or even a more broad blending of skill sets together? What do you think is the way to go forward?

Sean: Actually Dun & Bradstreet sales and marketing report into the same leader right now, our Chief Commercial Officer. We report both up into the same leader and from that perspective, it’s organizationally forcing that alignment because we felt obviously that it wasn’t as tight as we would like it to be.

We actually have a tiger team. I lead a tiger team of marketers within the sales and marketing line of business because the integrated marketing role sits at that nexus of sales, product, content marketing, demand generation, social media and all of those things coming together. So when we’re releasing and launching campaigns, we want to make sure that we’re bringing in the perspectives and the expertise of each of those functional areas so that they’re well represented, that they’re well integrated, and then when we go to market, we can execute in an omni-channel environment. You know, omni-channel is another big trend that we’re seeing these days, and I think back to that live business identity that I was talking about earlier to 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.

So you need to make sure that your email campaign and the messaging there is aligned to the programmatic ads that you’re putting out there in media, and that is aligned to the social media that you’re doing and to the talk tracks that you’re handing off to your sales team. So it takes a coordinated approach, and we felt that the tiger team is a valuable way for us to manage that complexity, to create alignments, and to ensure that as we go to market, we’re doing it as a team.

[bctt tweet=”“It takes a coordinated approach, so we felt that the tiger team is a valuable way for us to manage that complexity, to create alignments, and to ensure that as we go to market, we’re doing it as a team.” @seantcrowley on #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

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

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Sean Crowley of Dun & Bradstreet on Cracking the Alignment Code appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


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Break Free B2B Marketing: “Webinerd” Mark Bornstein of ON24 on Dialing In Digital Experiences

Break Free B2B Marketing Mark Bornstein Image

Break Free B2B Marketing Mark Bornstein Image

Like many other digital experiences, the webinar has traditionally been viewed as a means to an end: Create something that seems valuable to your audience, and use it as a vehicle to acquire contact information for lead generation purposes.

But marketers like Mark Bornstein take a different angle: What if we view the webinar itself as an end — an extremely valuable marketing tool on its own? What if we’re just muddying it up with all these mandatory form-fills and sales-y follow-ups?

“You need the name once, you need the demographic information one time,” he observes. “But why do we keep putting forms together again and again? What matters is the experience.”

[bctt tweet=”“Why do we keep putting lead gen forms together again and again? What matters is the experience.” — @4markb on #BreakFreeB2B #DigitalExperiences” username=”toprank”]

Mark elaborates: “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.”

Although he is a proud marketer, and VP of Marketing for the webinar solution provider ON24, this self-professed “webinerd,” Mark urges his fellow practitioners to develop a new mindset by moving away from traditional terminologies: “It’s not about marketing anymore. It’s about connecting people to your brand. It’s relationship-building.”

The days of dry, facelessly narrated slide presentations are gone, he argues. We need to dial in and focus on human connections through authenticity, empathy, and compassion. We need to learn more about our customers than how we can contact them with follow-up promotional materials.

At a time where physical events and meetings are off the table, achieving these connections in the digital space via experiential marketing has never been more vital. In his 25-minute conversation with TopRank Marketing’s Susan Misukanis at B2B Marketing Exchange in February, Mark shared a wealth of insights, which have only become more useful and valuable in the weeks and months since.

Break Free B2B Interview with Mark Bornstein

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

  • 0:45 – Mark’s experience making webinars, and his view on lead gen
  • 2:00 – Have we reached the end of MQLs?
  • 3:15 – What is an experience and what makes a good one?
  • 5:00 – Examples of companies that are getting digital experiences right
  • 7:45 – What role will technology play in experiences going forward?
  • 10:00 – Are brands becoming more open to moving outside the box?
  • 12:00 – Finding and positioning your brand’s narrative
  • 13:30 – Getting back to opt-in marketing fundamentals
  • 16:00 – Where Mark sees the industry going in 2-3 years
  • 17:30 – Who is poised to win in the short-term (SMB/verticals vs. enterprise)?
  • 20:15 – The value of compassion, empathy and connection
  • 24:15 – How can B2B marketers break free?

Susan: So you talk about an experience … Can you take it a level deeper? What is an experience?

Mark: Well, let me tell you about my world. So in the world of webinars, if you think about what a webinar was even a few years ago — and maybe in some cases still now — the webinar was a talking PowerPoint. Just a headless voice, you didn’t see anybody. You just heard somebody going through the slides in a droll way and it wasn’t branded and it was just boring. And maybe a lot of webinars still are kind of boring. But the fact of the matter is, what we see companies doing now is they’re creating serialized programming. They’re creating these really cool almost TV-like viewing experiences, where it’s a show and there’s hosts and the formats are changing. There’s panel discussions and coffee talks and chat shows and new style formats. So companies that are trying to own thought leadership, to establish a voice, to be the company that people go to — they’re not going to do that through giving a webinar on, you know, here’s our content. Here’s our slide presentation. They’re doing it by building experiences. And I think a really great experience has a few of the following qualities: It should be completely branded. It should be interactive. I always say give yourself the “what can they do?” test. When somebody is experiencing your content, is this all they can do? They’re reading your ebook or watching your video … is that it? An experience is a place where people can ask questions, or they can chat, or they can tweet, or they can download content. They can click on CTAs. You want to create an environment where people are doing stuff, and it’s a multi-touch content experience. And so it’s a different thing today.

[bctt tweet=”“Companies that are trying to own thought leadership, they’re not going to do that through giving a webinar that’s a slide presentation. They’re doing it by building experiences.” — @4markb on #BreakFreeB2B #DigitalExperiences” username=”toprank”]

Susan: We keep hearing that marketing is moving toward AI and tech — in a few years, it’ll all be bot-driven. How do you reconcile that with your vision?

Mark: One of the things that drives me crazy about marketing in general is that we as marketers are very interesting creatures, in the sense that we’re always willing to try new things. But we also get into habits we can’t break. And a lot of the technologies — whether it’s automation, or artificial intelligence, predictive analytics — all these amazing technologies that have been created to scale our marketing in ways like never before? Well, we are acting like this technology that was created to get people to our marketing has now become our marketing. So you need to look at, you know, artificial intelligence tells us out of this vast infinite number of people who we should be targeting, and maybe some of the topics we should be talking about. We can get a lot of great information. Automation allows us to scale that up in a lot of different ways. But ultimately, there is a moment of engagement. There still is that human engagement. And so all of that technology can inform, but ultimately, what really has to drive that engagement is the conversation that you have with them and the experience that you can deliver.”

[bctt tweet=”“We are acting like this technology that was created to get people to our marketing has now become our marketing.” — @4markb on #BreakFreeB2B #DigitalExperiences” username=”toprank”]

Susan: You tweet a lot about marketers not asking for proper permission to opt in. So maybe our prospective buyer has a need, but getting that opt-in and going about it the right way, that’s a big hurdle.

Mark: It is. I mean, if you’re a marketer in the U.K., you know what this pain feels like. I think especially in the U.S., but really around the globe, marketers are not ready. I don’t think they’re taking this seriously enough. You know, privacy legislation is in the U.S. now, but it’s mostly based on privacy protections. It’s not based on opt-ins and that sort of thing yet. It is coming. It is going to happen very soon, people. And so we need to prepare for this, which means we need to build our marketing around this idea of people opting in. So how do we do this? We have to be able to produce streams of programming that people will want to subscribe to, right? It’s no longer about nurtures, it’s no longer about ‘can you come to my event’ or ‘will you come to this one-off virtual experience or webinar,’ whatever it is. 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’re going to get them there.”

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


Source: SEO blog

Break Free B2B Series: Brody Dorland on Creating Long-Lasting Content Marketing Strategy

An Interview with Brody Dorland of DivvyHQ

An Interview with Brody Dorland of DivvyHQ

We’re ready to release another insightful interview as a part of our Break Free B2B series, this time with Brody Dorland, co-founder of the popular content planning platform, Divvy HQ. Brody is a self-described data geek. He believes data is a crucial component of successful content marketing.

The platform that he co-created is all about bringing data, structure, and strategy into content marketing. We feel that he’s a practitioner who is uniting that data side with the creative side within B2B content marketing. That’s why we were so excited to sit down with him for a few minutes and pick his brain.

We not only spoke about what B2B content marketers can start doing to boost the success of their content marketing initiatives, but also gain insight into where B2B content marketing is headed in the future.

See the full interview below so that you don’t miss a single insight from our friend, Brody Dorland.

Here are a few of our favorite moments from the interview with Brody.

Sue: So you’ve been in the content marketing industry for quite some time. Over the years, what have you seen as the biggest improvements?

Brody: I’ve really been pleasantly surprised to see the evolution of just how smart companies are getting with their strategy. Actually, this morning [at CMW 2019], they talked about the latest data from Content Marketing Institute’s, saying that 41% of marketers now have a content strategy in place, which is up from last year, which I think was 34%. So we’re making progress.

Part of the onboarding process that we go through with companies is to bake in their content strategy into our tool so that we can help them manage it going forward. The thing that we’ve seen from an evolution standpoint is that it’s getting easier for them to get that content strategy baked in. When we ask them questions, like, “Okay, what are the topics of content that you typically cover?”, they’re able to plug that in easier. When we asked, “What audiences are you targeting with your content?”, they’re able to plug that list in easier because they’ve thought about it. They have a documented content strategy in place, so it’s easier to plug into that area of our application and we can get them set up faster.

Sue: Let’s talk about something less positive. What’s not working in the industry?

Brody: I think one of the things that we still see and we preach every day, but we still see it, is the campaign mentality. There’s still a large focus on very business-focused campaigns and obviously, they need content. So, a lot of times, the same content team that is doing all of the content efforts are also going to be responsible for creating assets for this campaign. But there’s a mindset shift that needs to happen to get away from just “campaign, campaign, campaign” and filling our channels with these time-bound things.

[bctt tweet=”There’s a mindset shift that needs to happen to get away from just ‘campaign, campaign, campaign’ and filling our channels with these time-bound things. @brodydorland #B2BContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Certainly, if there’s a good content team, they should produce results. But it’s never going to be the long-sustained content, the true content marketing play, that needs to happen within many organizations. Obviously, different channels are going to lend themselves to that—like a blog. It’s never-ending; we always need to have a solid content strategy for that. We always need to be optimizing for Google with that blog content. It’s not a campaign.

So a completely different mindset in terms of how we tackle that channel versus email, which tends to be more campaign-centric. I feel strongly that companies really need to try to continue to get out of the campaign mentality and just leverage their channels for ongoing, good content that’s going to serve their audience.

[bctt tweet=”I feel strongly that companies need to get out of the campaign mentality and leverage their channels for ongoing, good content that’s going to serve their audience. @brodydorland #B2BContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Sue: What do you think are the drivers for that? Why has that happened?

Brody: I think it just comes out of the traditional marketing world. However, the holistic content marketing world, which is non-campaign focused, continues to proliferate. It’s going to get better, but most agencies out there that 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.

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

The post Break Free B2B Series: Brody Dorland on Creating Long-Lasting Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog