6 Dynamic Tactics For Solving The Post-Pandemic Marketing Rubik’s Cube

Extra complicated Rubik’s cube image.

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

B2B marketers are facing daunting and unprecedented challenges — not unlike a Rubik’s Cube — during the global health crisis. Each impediment, however, also offers valuable lessons that can help us as we transition to 2021 and the future opportunities that await.

Let’s begin unraveling the mysteries of the post-pandemic marketing world, with six dynamic tactics B2B marketers can use today to prepare for the future business landscape.

1 — Influencer Intensification: Subject Matter Experts

Influencers Image

Post-pandemic marketing will likely feature a noticeable intensification when it comes to the use of B2B influencers. As one of the most pandemic-proof marketing practices during the global health crisis, B2B influencer marketing is poised to continue growing in 2021 and beyond, due in part to the value industry experts bring to everyone involved.

“Traditional marketing channels are drying up and even trade shows are imperiled in 2021,” Mark Schaefer, chief operating officer at B Squared Media observed. “The influence marketing trend will be amplified as businesses seek trusted voices to join industry conversations,” Mark added.

Mark’s prediction is among dozens of insightful influencer marketing statistics in our recent 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, and the following data points speak to the strength of industry influencers and point to increased use as we move into 2021:

  • 90% of B2B marketers expect their influencer marketing budget to increase or stay the same
  • 78% of B2B marketers believe prospects rely on advice from influencers
  • 74% of B2B marketers say that influencer marketing improves customer and prospect experiences with a brand, and 90% plan to increase their budget in the near future
  • 63% agree that marketing would have better results if it included an influencer marketing program

“Digging into the results, one can quickly see a trend in B2B marketers who are optimistic about influencer marketing yet not confident about their ability to execute,” Shama Hyder, chief executive at Zen Media recently observed in her Forbes interview with our co-founder and chief executive Lee Odden, “New Report Says B2B Influencer Marketing Still Has Massive Room For Growth.”

“With the pandemic causing a loss of in-person B2B tactics — field marketing, in-person trade shows, and experiential marketing efforts, for example — much of where buyers focus for information are digital channels,” Lee noted.

“This is exactly where influencers provide valuable and trusted perspectives. Trust, reach and engagement are always challenges for B2B brands, and collaborating with trusted industry experts that have the attention and respect of buyer audiences has proven to be an effective solution,” Lee added — a sentiment also expressed by Sarita Rao, senior vice president of marketing at AT&T Business*.

“Working with credible B2B influencers helps to build brand authority through real, human conversations and interactions.” — @saritasayso of @ATTBusiness Click To Tweet

Sarita Rao Image

According to research conducted by Forrester the pandemic has seen new opportunities for influencer marketing, as 63 percent of U.S. consumers have spent more time using social media platforms, 58 percent have noticed more content from influencers, and 51 percent have had a positive attitude about influencer content and found it valuable.

Additionally, between March and July 2020 sponsored influencer posts saw a five-fold increase in interactions, reaching 57 million in July, according to report data from Shareablee.

Among U.S. and U.K. consumers who follow social media influencers, 72 percent said they have spent more time using social platforms during the pandemic, and 64 percent also said that they are likely to continue the same level of usage during post-pandemic times, according to GlobalWebIndex survey data.

Aside from its resilience during the pandemic, influencer marketing has for some time been poised to see more mainstream B2B usage, a move that is likely to steadily increase in our post-pandemic marketing world.

To learn more about B2B influencer marketing or beginning a pilot program, here are six additional recent resources we’ve compiled:

2 — Persistent Programs: Always-On Marketing

Always-On Image

Studies have shown the increased effectiveness of always-on marketing programs that replace one-and-done single-use campaigns with ongoing efforts that match the always-on nature of today’s consumer.

The case for a post-pandemic shift to always-on marketing programs is bolstered by compelling recent data from our report, such as:

  • 76% of B2B marketers find that the strategy of working with influencers through always-on engagement or when combined with campaigns delivers results
  • 75% saw increased views of brand content using always-on influencer marketing
  • 60% saw an increased share of voice, 55% saw more media brand mentions, and 50% saw increased brand advocacy through always-on influencer marketing
  • 89% of B2B marketers using always-on influencer programs expect their budgets to increase or remain the same, versus 73% for marketers running traditional campaign-based programs

This all points to persistent B2B marketing programs becoming more widespread among successful B2B marketers in the post-pandemic era, and it’s easy to see why, as the partnerships formed through always-on programs build ongoing brand credibility and trust that can be difficult or impossible to achieve using one-and-done campaigns.

“With brand trust at a low, it’s important for B2B companies to invest in relationships with credible experts that buyers do trust.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet

If you’re looking to learn more about why always-on programs achieve better results and how you can implement them, check out the following recent articles we’ve written about a topic that will only become more important in 2021 and beyond:

“Being ‘always-on’ has allowed our team to build meaningful relationships with influencers.” — Garnor Morantes of @LinkedIn Click To Tweet

Garnor Morantes Always-On Influence Quote

3 — Shifting Search: New Challenges & Opportunities

Search Image

Like blowing dunes, the sands of the search technology landscape change often, and in the post-pandemic environment marketers will see a shift as Apple seeks to make inroads with its own search experience and whittle away at Google’s long-standing dominance.

Paid and organic search marketing efforts are a vital part of most B2B firms’ strategy, and pandemic or not these efforts would have continued for the majority of businesses. The global health crisis has given us a newfound appreciation of the importance of findability and how valuable a sound search plan is for businesses today, and this will continue into the foreseeable future.

Search strategies no longer involve only a website and traditional search engines, as more people than ever also search for answers and information from within social media platforms’ own often-lackluster search mechanisms, which some see as presenting new challenges, as well through the increasing use of voice search.

66 percent of B2B chief marketing officers said that their 2021 budgets would see an increase in spending on search engine optimization (SEO), with the same percentage also planning to boost spending on paid search, according to Gartner’s annual CMO spending survey.

Marketing Charts Image

I expect a growth in importance and usage of structured data, an increase in predictive search features, and a shift to a more technical SEO ecosystem. @aleyda Click To Tweet

Recently I took an in-depth look at why search is more important than ever, in “SEO Strategy: 5 Reasons Why It’s More Important Than Ever For B2B Marketers,” and we’ve also explored other aspects of SEO in B2B marketing in these articles:

4 — Virtual Variations: Social VR Landscapes

Social VR Image

This year the world has spent more time using both traditional social media platforms and social virtual reality worlds, and when our lives return to some semblance of normal, all flavors of VR will seek to capitalize on an audience that — although no longer captive at home — has come to know and expect that brands use the technology.

51 percent of U.S. adults have increased their use of social media during the global health crisis according to eMarketer, and nearly a third have spent an additional one to two hours of time on social platforms during the pandemic, leaving more time for audiences to explore the new virtual worlds being created by social firms, such as Facebook’s Horizon VR experience.

“The convergence of both the physical and virtual worlds will create new opportunities in the future in the way friends, families, and even colleagues connect,” Cathy Hackl, author and futurist recently noted in Forbes.

By 2022 some forecasts predict over 95 million augmented reality (AR) users in the U.S. alone, including over 60 percent using VR with more than 30 percent using VR headsets, a trend that savvy B2B marketers are keeping a close eye on for post-pandemic marketing spending.

eMarketer AR/VR Image

Other survey data has shown that 39 percent of B2B professionals expect to install new AR and VR technology in the next 12 months.

With in-game, AR, and VR marketing opportunities seeing greater interest in 2021 and beyond, B2B marketers can learn more about the importance of experiential storytelling in the following pieces we’ve written about these and related subjects:

5 — Evolving Marketing Events: In-Person & Virtual

Events Image

How will marketing events change in a post-COVID19 world?

There’s no question that in-person marketing events are win-win experiences for the many parties involved, from speakers and attendees to exhibitors, sponsors, and others, yet during the pandemic creative new takes on virtual conferences have presented viable alternatives that are likely to be with us for good, continuing to augment in-person events once the health crisis ends.

The pandemic has seen Facebook begin offering paid event options for businesses, with direct in-stream purchases available for eligible Facebook business pages in 20 countries including the U.S., offering digital marketers new monetization and event marketing options.

Virtual events help traditional in-person conferences expand their reach and gain new online audiences — people who may eventually also attend an organization’s physical events.

Similarly, in-person events such as marketing conferences may — in post-pandemic times — serve as good examples for some of the purely virtual events that have come into existence this year out of necessity, pushing them to begin their own new physical events.

92 percent of marketers have said that they believe putting on successful virtual events will be important until the pandemic ends, and some brands have already chosen to postpone or cancel their events all the way through the middle of 2021, including major players Facebook and Microsoft.

73 percent of B2B event organizers have had to cancel a physical event because of the pandemic, and 81 percent have provided virtual alternatives, according to survey data from The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).

2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

The time is bound to arrive when in-person events return, however, and smart B2B marketers will be prepared to incorporate both virtual and physical conference experiences for learning, networking, and selling.

Having an influencer marketing strategy makes sense for taking full advantage of both virtual and in-person events.

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

Partnering with influencers is more important now than it ever has been. Targeting the right influencer communities can be the best way to expand virtual event attendance and reach into a broader audience.” @smisukanis Click To Tweet

To level-up your event game for both virtual and physical conferences, here are six articles we’ve published to help:

6 — Delivery Diversity: New Communication Channels

Communications Image

The pandemic has both driven us apart and brought us together in new ways, and given us creative methods to both tell and hear compelling digital stories.

New communication channels have arisen, such as the virtual worlds of Facebook’s Horizon and others we’ve already explored, along with the huge rise in online video communication through Zoom, Slack, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and others.

The mass turn to video conferencing has also helped drive a large increase in both mobile app usage and advertising spending, highlighting the importance of making mobile a part of any well-rounded B2B marketing strategy.

Engagement among mobile ads has climbed by some 15 percent during the global health crisis according to survey data, and despite an overall drop in ad spending for the year, mobile ad spend has fared the best, as its 15 percent decrease was less than the 25 percent seen for desktop ad buying, according to additional data.

Business app opens saw a 26 percent year-over-year increase from March through June, report data shows, as seen here.

Marketing Charts Image B

“We’re all the same size rectangle on the Zoom screen.” — Vanessa Colella of @Citi Click To Tweet

A rare pandemic silver lining is how we’ve all found new ways to communicate and  — more importantly — the stories we’re telling. Storytelling will be key in the post-pandemic marketing landscape, and to help you weave authentic messages that audiences will remember here are six recent articles we have available on this important topic:

Don’t Forget Your B2B Marketing Gravity

via GIPHY

The post-pandemic world will see intensified use of B2B influencer marketing, the growth of always-on programs, shifts in the world of search, more social VR, the evolution of events, and new communication channels, and we hope that by exploring these areas here your future marketing efforts will achieve newfound success — even if you’re no closer to solving that Rubik’s Cube.

Succeeding in any of these areas takes considerable time, effort and experience, which is why many firms choose a top marketing agency like TopRank Marketing.

Contact us and find out why firms including Adobe, LinkedIn, AT&T, 3M, Dell, Oracle, monday.com and many others have chosen us for award-winning marketing.

* AT&T Business is a TopRank Marketing client.

6 Dynamic Tactics For Solving The Post-Pandemic Marketing Rubik’s Cube

Extra complicated Rubik’s cube image.

Extra complicated Rubik’s cube image.

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

B2B marketers are facing daunting and unprecedented challenges — not unlike a Rubik’s Cube — during the global health crisis. Each impediment, however, also offers valuable lessons that can help us as we transition to 2021 and the future opportunities that await.

Let’s begin unraveling the mysteries of the post-pandemic marketing world, with six dynamic tactics B2B marketers can use today to prepare for the future business landscape.

1 — Influencer Intensification: Subject Matter Experts

Influencers Image

Post-pandemic marketing will likely feature a noticeable intensification when it comes to the use of B2B influencers. As one of the most pandemic-proof marketing practices during the global health crisis, B2B influencer marketing is poised to continue growing in 2021 and beyond, due in part to the value industry experts bring to everyone involved.

“Traditional marketing channels are drying up and even trade shows are imperiled in 2021,” Mark Schaefer, chief operating officer at B Squared Media observed. “The influence marketing trend will be amplified as businesses seek trusted voices to join industry conversations,” Mark added.

Mark’s prediction is among dozens of insightful influencer marketing statistics in our recent 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, and the following data points speak to the strength of industry influencers and point to increased use as we move into 2021:

  • 90% of B2B marketers expect their influencer marketing budget to increase or stay the same
  • 78% of B2B marketers believe prospects rely on advice from influencers
  • 74% of B2B marketers say that influencer marketing improves customer and prospect experiences with a brand, and 90% plan to increase their budget in the near future
  • 63% agree that marketing would have better results if it included an influencer marketing program

“Digging into the results, one can quickly see a trend in B2B marketers who are optimistic about influencer marketing yet not confident about their ability to execute,” Shama Hyder, chief executive at Zen Media recently observed in her Forbes interview with our co-founder and chief executive Lee Odden, “New Report Says B2B Influencer Marketing Still Has Massive Room For Growth.”

“With the pandemic causing a loss of in-person B2B tactics — field marketing, in-person trade shows, and experiential marketing efforts, for example — much of where buyers focus for information are digital channels,” Lee noted.

“This is exactly where influencers provide valuable and trusted perspectives. Trust, reach and engagement are always challenges for B2B brands, and collaborating with trusted industry experts that have the attention and respect of buyer audiences has proven to be an effective solution,” Lee added — a sentiment also expressed by Sarita Rao, senior vice president of marketing at AT&T Business*.

[bctt tweet=”“Working with credible B2B influencers helps to build brand authority through real, human conversations and interactions.” — @saritasayso of @ATTBusiness” username=”toprank”]

Sarita Rao Image

According to research conducted by Forrester the pandemic has seen new opportunities for influencer marketing, as 63 percent of U.S. consumers have spent more time using social media platforms, 58 percent have noticed more content from influencers, and 51 percent have had a positive attitude about influencer content and found it valuable.

Additionally, between March and July 2020 sponsored influencer posts saw a five-fold increase in interactions, reaching 57 million in July, according to report data from Shareablee.

Among U.S. and U.K. consumers who follow social media influencers, 72 percent said they have spent more time using social platforms during the pandemic, and 64 percent also said that they are likely to continue the same level of usage during post-pandemic times, according to GlobalWebIndex survey data.

Aside from its resilience during the pandemic, influencer marketing has for some time been poised to see more mainstream B2B usage, a move that is likely to steadily increase in our post-pandemic marketing world.

To learn more about B2B influencer marketing or beginning a pilot program, here are six additional recent resources we’ve compiled:

2 — Persistent Programs: Always-On Marketing

Always-On Image

Studies have shown the increased effectiveness of always-on marketing programs that replace one-and-done single-use campaigns with ongoing efforts that match the always-on nature of today’s consumer.

The case for a post-pandemic shift to always-on marketing programs is bolstered by compelling recent data from our report, such as:

  • 76% of B2B marketers find that the strategy of working with influencers through always-on engagement or when combined with campaigns delivers results
  • 75% saw increased views of brand content using always-on influencer marketing
  • 60% saw an increased share of voice, 55% saw more media brand mentions, and 50% saw increased brand advocacy through always-on influencer marketing
  • 89% of B2B marketers using always-on influencer programs expect their budgets to increase or remain the same, versus 73% for marketers running traditional campaign-based programs

This all points to persistent B2B marketing programs becoming more widespread among successful B2B marketers in the post-pandemic era, and it’s easy to see why, as the partnerships formed through always-on programs build ongoing brand credibility and trust that can be difficult or impossible to achieve using one-and-done campaigns.

[bctt tweet=”“With brand trust at a low, it’s important for B2B companies to invest in relationships with credible experts that buyers do trust.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

If you’re looking to learn more about why always-on programs achieve better results and how you can implement them, check out the following recent articles we’ve written about a topic that will only become more important in 2021 and beyond:

[bctt tweet=”“Being ‘always-on’ has allowed our team to build meaningful relationships with influencers.” — Garnor Morantes of @LinkedIn” username=”toprank”]

Garnor Morantes Always-On Influence Quote

3 — Shifting Search: New Challenges & Opportunities

Search Image

Like blowing dunes, the sands of the search technology landscape change often, and in the post-pandemic environment marketers will see a shift as Apple seeks to make inroads with its own search experience and whittle away at Google’s long-standing dominance.

Paid and organic search marketing efforts are a vital part of most B2B firms’ strategy, and pandemic or not these efforts would have continued for the majority of businesses. The global health crisis has given us a newfound appreciation of the importance of findability and how valuable a sound search plan is for businesses today, and this will continue into the foreseeable future.

Search strategies no longer involve only a website and traditional search engines, as more people than ever also search for answers and information from within social media platforms’ own often-lackluster search mechanisms, which some see as presenting new challenges, as well through the increasing use of voice search.

66 percent of B2B chief marketing officers said that their 2021 budgets would see an increase in spending on search engine optimization (SEO), with the same percentage also planning to boost spending on paid search, according to Gartner’s annual CMO spending survey.

Marketing Charts Image

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

Recently I took an in-depth look at why search is more important than ever, in “SEO Strategy: 5 Reasons Why It’s More Important Than Ever For B2B Marketers,” and we’ve also explored other aspects of SEO in B2B marketing in these articles:

4 — Virtual Variations: Social VR Landscapes

Social VR Image

This year the world has spent more time using both traditional social media platforms and social virtual reality worlds, and when our lives return to some semblance of normal, all flavors of VR will seek to capitalize on an audience that — although no longer captive at home — has come to know and expect that brands use the technology.

51 percent of U.S. adults have increased their use of social media during the global health crisis according to eMarketer, and nearly a third have spent an additional one to two hours of time on social platforms during the pandemic, leaving more time for audiences to explore the new virtual worlds being created by social firms, such as Facebook’s Horizon VR experience.

“The convergence of both the physical and virtual worlds will create new opportunities in the future in the way friends, families, and even colleagues connect,” Cathy Hackl, author and futurist recently noted in Forbes.

By 2022 some forecasts predict over 95 million augmented reality (AR) users in the U.S. alone, including over 60 percent using VR with more than 30 percent using VR headsets, a trend that savvy B2B marketers are keeping a close eye on for post-pandemic marketing spending.

eMarketer AR/VR Image

Other survey data has shown that 39 percent of B2B professionals expect to install new AR and VR technology in the next 12 months.

With in-game, AR, and VR marketing opportunities seeing greater interest in 2021 and beyond, B2B marketers can learn more about the importance of experiential storytelling in the following pieces we’ve written about these and related subjects:

5 — Evolving Marketing Events: In-Person & Virtual

Events Image

How will marketing events change in a post-COVID19 world?

There’s no question that in-person marketing events are win-win experiences for the many parties involved, from speakers and attendees to exhibitors, sponsors, and others, yet during the pandemic creative new takes on virtual conferences have presented viable alternatives that are likely to be with us for good, continuing to augment in-person events once the health crisis ends.

The pandemic has seen Facebook begin offering paid event options for businesses, with direct in-stream purchases available for eligible Facebook business pages in 20 countries including the U.S., offering digital marketers new monetization and event marketing options.

Virtual events help traditional in-person conferences expand their reach and gain new online audiences — people who may eventually also attend an organization’s physical events.

Similarly, in-person events such as marketing conferences may — in post-pandemic times — serve as good examples for some of the purely virtual events that have come into existence this year out of necessity, pushing them to begin their own new physical events.

92 percent of marketers have said that they believe putting on successful virtual events will be important until the pandemic ends, and some brands have already chosen to postpone or cancel their events all the way through the middle of 2021, including major players Facebook and Microsoft.

73 percent of B2B event organizers have had to cancel a physical event because of the pandemic, and 81 percent have provided virtual alternatives, according to survey data from The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).

2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

The time is bound to arrive when in-person events return, however, and smart B2B marketers will be prepared to incorporate both virtual and physical conference experiences for learning, networking, and selling.

Having an influencer marketing strategy makes sense for taking full advantage of both virtual and in-person events.

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

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

To level-up your event game for both virtual and physical conferences, here are six articles we’ve published to help:

6 — Delivery Diversity: New Communication Channels

Communications Image

The pandemic has both driven us apart and brought us together in new ways, and given us creative methods to both tell and hear compelling digital stories.

New communication channels have arisen, such as the virtual worlds of Facebook’s Horizon and others we’ve already explored, along with the huge rise in online video communication through Zoom, Slack, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and others.

The mass turn to video conferencing has also helped drive a large increase in both mobile app usage and advertising spending, highlighting the importance of making mobile a part of any well-rounded B2B marketing strategy.

Engagement among mobile ads has climbed by some 15 percent during the global health crisis according to survey data, and despite an overall drop in ad spending for the year, mobile ad spend has fared the best, as its 15 percent decrease was less than the 25 percent seen for desktop ad buying, according to additional data.

Business app opens saw a 26 percent year-over-year increase from March through June, report data shows, as seen here.

Marketing Charts Image B

[bctt tweet=”“We’re all the same size rectangle on the Zoom screen.” — Vanessa Colella of @Citi” username=”toprank”]

A rare pandemic silver lining is how we’ve all found new ways to communicate and  — more importantly — the stories we’re telling. Storytelling will be key in the post-pandemic marketing landscape, and to help you weave authentic messages that audiences will remember here are six recent articles we have available on this important topic:

Don’t Forget Your B2B Marketing Gravity

via GIPHY

The post-pandemic world will see intensified use of B2B influencer marketing, the growth of always-on programs, shifts in the world of search, more social VR, the evolution of events, and new communication channels, and we hope that by exploring these areas here your future marketing efforts will achieve newfound success — even if you’re no closer to solving that Rubik’s Cube.

Succeeding in any of these areas takes considerable time, effort and experience, which is why many firms choose a top marketing agency like TopRank Marketing.

Contact us and find out why firms including Adobe, LinkedIn, AT&T, 3M, Dell, Oracle, monday.com and many others have chosen us for award-winning marketing.

* AT&T Business is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 6 Dynamic Tactics For Solving The Post-Pandemic Marketing Rubik’s Cube appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

B2B Marketing Subject Matter Experts & Industry Influencers: Which Should I Choose?

Four businesspeople holding question mark signs over their faces image.

What does being an influencer really mean in the B2B world?

The classic B2C influencer is someone with a big following on social media, someone who makes a living doing makeup tutorials or cosplay or skateboarding tricks. Brands who want to reach their audience can simply provide free products or sponsor a post — it’s inherently transactional.

But for B2B, the question is a little trickier. B2B influencers are very rarely celebrities with millions of followers. For example, given enough time and money, you could get Taylor Swift to endorse your hybrid cloud solution. But would her endorsement really persuade your audience?

You can’t judge influence in B2B by follower counts alone. There are multiple ways that people can be influential in the B2B space. Which type of influencer your project needs will vary depending on your goals.

Let’s take a look at two different types of B2B influencer: The Subject Matter Expert and the Industry Influencer.

Subject Matter Experts Vs. Industry Influencers for B2B Marketing

Which is better for your project: A thousand impressions or a single multi-million-dollar click? There’s no right answer for every situation, of course, and the answer may very well be “both.” But the point is to ask the question when your project is in the planning stages.

We can start by defining each of these influencer types, and then we can dig into how to choose the right influencers for your content.

Who Is a Subject Matter Expert?

A subject matter expert (SME) could mean anyone who knows a lot about one particular subject. In influencer marketing, though, it means something slightly different: It’s someone who has that knowledge, and may be influential in business circles, but also has a small social media footprint.

SMEs can include practitioners in a particular field, executives of successful businesses in your target industry, or even your own employees. They may not have the reach of an industry influencer, but they do have knowledge that your target audience will find valuable. What’s more, they’re a credible source, because they’re right down in the trenches with your audience.

The challenge of working with an SME for creating content is that they may not be used to speaking to an audience. While an industry influencer can whip up a 500-word blog post in their sleep, an SME will take more time and encouragement before they’re ready to contribute.

If your goal is to maximize awareness with top-of-funnel content, you wouldn’t go with SMEs exclusively. For content further down the funnel, with a highly-targeted audience, however, the more SME content, the better.

Who Is an Industry Influencer?

Let me say, first, that an industry influencer is no less knowledgeable than an SME. But the work of an industry influencer includes building an audience and actively pursuing thought leadership status. They’re keynote speakers, authors, and podcast hosts. They are more likely to be analysts and consultants than active practitioners.

There are several advantages to working with industry influencers, beyond the obvious broader reach: They already know how to quickly create content and package it for their audience. They know the value of self-promotion and can see when it’s mutually beneficial to create content with your brand. And they can have a broader perspective of the industry, gleaned from analyzing trends and/or consulting with multiple businesses.

Industry influencers are perfect for top and middle-funnel content. But they are less likely to get into the specifics of day-to-day operations, while an SME would be equipped to give those practical details that make lower-funnel content work.

What Type of Influence Does Your B2B Marketing Need?

Which influencer is right for you? As I said, you might want more SMEs in a lower-funnel piece and more industry influencers in top-of-funnel content. But really, the answer is that a healthy mix of influencers tends to get the best results.

Industry influencers bring reach, polish and thought leadership. SMEs bring a practitioner’s experience and credibility. The two can complement each other to make your content irresistible to your audience.

For example, our client monday.com created content with SMEs and industry influencers for their remote work campaign. By combining the strengths of different types of influence, the campaign achieved 1,790% of its projected goal for social reach.

Create an Influencer Community

Here’s one more way that B2B influencer marketing is different from B2C. While B2C agreements tend to be one-off and transactional, B2B influence is about building relationships and forming a community. Instead of contracting with an influencer for a single project, it’s important to keep in contact. Make sure your influencers know each other and facilitate conversations. Help them network, teach, and learn from each other.

When you take an always-on approach to influencer marketing, you can create a trusted group of go-to experts, folks who are loyal to your brand and ready to collaborate on an ongoing basis.

And that’s far more valuable than a Taylor Swift retweet.

What’s working, what isn’t, and what’s next for B2B influencer marketing? Find out what your peers had to say in our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report.

B2B Marketing Subject Matter Experts & Industry Influencers: Which Should I Choose?

Four businesspeople holding question mark signs over their faces image.

Four businesspeople holding question mark signs over their faces image.

What does being an influencer really mean in the B2B world?

The classic B2C influencer is someone with a big following on social media, someone who makes a living doing makeup tutorials or cosplay or skateboarding tricks. Brands who want to reach their audience can simply provide free products or sponsor a post — it’s inherently transactional.

But for B2B, the question is a little trickier. B2B influencers are very rarely celebrities with millions of followers. For example, given enough time and money, you could get Taylor Swift to endorse your hybrid cloud solution. But would her endorsement really persuade your audience?

You can’t judge influence in B2B by follower counts alone. There are multiple ways that people can be influential in the B2B space. Which type of influencer your project needs will vary depending on your goals.

Let’s take a look at two different types of B2B influencer: The Subject Matter Expert and the Industry Influencer.

Subject Matter Experts Vs. Industry Influencers for B2B Marketing

Which is better for your project: A thousand impressions or a single multi-million-dollar click? There’s no right answer for every situation, of course, and the answer may very well be “both.” But the point is to ask the question when your project is in the planning stages.

We can start by defining each of these influencer types, and then we can dig into how to choose the right influencers for your content.

Who Is a Subject Matter Expert?

A subject matter expert (SME) could mean anyone who knows a lot about one particular subject. In influencer marketing, though, it means something slightly different: It’s someone who has that knowledge, and may be influential in business circles, but also has a small social media footprint.

SMEs can include practitioners in a particular field, executives of successful businesses in your target industry, or even your own employees. They may not have the reach of an industry influencer, but they do have knowledge that your target audience will find valuable. What’s more, they’re a credible source, because they’re right down in the trenches with your audience.

The challenge of working with an SME for creating content is that they may not be used to speaking to an audience. While an industry influencer can whip up a 500-word blog post in their sleep, an SME will take more time and encouragement before they’re ready to contribute.

If your goal is to maximize awareness with top-of-funnel content, you wouldn’t go with SMEs exclusively. For content further down the funnel, with a highly-targeted audience, however, the more SME content, the better.

Who Is an Industry Influencer?

Let me say, first, that an industry influencer is no less knowledgeable than an SME. But the work of an industry influencer includes building an audience and actively pursuing thought leadership status. They’re keynote speakers, authors, and podcast hosts. They are more likely to be analysts and consultants than active practitioners.

There are several advantages to working with industry influencers, beyond the obvious broader reach: They already know how to quickly create content and package it for their audience. They know the value of self-promotion and can see when it’s mutually beneficial to create content with your brand. And they can have a broader perspective of the industry, gleaned from analyzing trends and/or consulting with multiple businesses.

Industry influencers are perfect for top and middle-funnel content. But they are less likely to get into the specifics of day-to-day operations, while an SME would be equipped to give those practical details that make lower-funnel content work.

What Type of Influence Does Your B2B Marketing Need?

Which influencer is right for you? As I said, you might want more SMEs in a lower-funnel piece and more industry influencers in top-of-funnel content. But really, the answer is that a healthy mix of influencers tends to get the best results.

Industry influencers bring reach, polish and thought leadership. SMEs bring a practitioner’s experience and credibility. The two can complement each other to make your content irresistible to your audience.

For example, our client monday.com created content with SMEs and industry influencers for their remote work campaign. By combining the strengths of different types of influence, the campaign achieved 1,790% of its projected goal for social reach.

Create an Influencer Community

Here’s one more way that B2B influencer marketing is different from B2C. While B2C agreements tend to be one-off and transactional, B2B influence is about building relationships and forming a community. Instead of contracting with an influencer for a single project, it’s important to keep in contact. Make sure your influencers know each other and facilitate conversations. Help them network, teach, and learn from each other.

When you take an always-on approach to influencer marketing, you can create a trusted group of go-to experts, folks who are loyal to your brand and ready to collaborate on an ongoing basis.

And that’s far more valuable than a Taylor Swift retweet.

What’s working, what isn’t, and what’s next for B2B influencer marketing? Find out what your peers had to say in our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report.

The post B2B Marketing Subject Matter Experts & Industry Influencers: Which Should I Choose? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

5 Case Studies on How to Optimize B2B Influencer Engagement on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Influencer Engagement

LinkedIn Influencer Engagement

With over 700 million community members in 200+ countries and territories, LinkedIn is without question the place for businesses to do business. With 91% of marketing executives using LinkedIn as a content source (SocialPilot) it’s easy to understand why 94% of B2B marketers using LinkedIn to distribute content (CMI). In fact, there’s been a 50% year over year increase in content shared on the LinkedIn platform (LinkedIn).

With many social network options, LinkedIn has proven to be an effective choice for B2B marketers. A study from HubSpot showed that traffic from LinkedIn generates the highest visitor to lead conversion rate, 277% higher than Facebook and Twitter.

While there are robust opportunities to connect with potential customers on LinkedIn, the platform is busier than ever, making it hard to stand out. There are also challenges in terms of reduced organic visibility and the trend towards distrust of sales outreach and what brands publish directly. With so much information, many buyers are suffering what I call Content Attention Deficit.

One of the most promising growth areas within the B2B marketing mix is working with influencers. In our research we found that 77% of marketers say their prospective customers rely on advice from industry experts. and 96% of marketers that engage influencers consider their program to be successful.

Trusted experts that have the attention of customers can help B2B brands attract and engage potential customers in more meaningful ways. But what are the best ways to engage with B2B influencers on LinkedIn? How are B2B brands successfully working with influencers to achieve marketing goals using the LinkedIn platform?

To help B2B marketers think about how they can better engage with influencers on LinkedIn, here are several examples of how TopRank Marketing and a few clients are doing just that:

1. Give the Gift of Recognition to Influencers

Give Gift Recognition Influencers
For small B2B brands and those of any size that do not have relationships with influencers, a good starting point to warm up the influencer community is to recognize them. When you come to a party bearing gifts, it makes an impression and with influencers, it’s no different except instead of a bottle of spirits, you’re giving the gift of recognition.

For our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, we followed our own best practices and identified 20 top B2B influencer marketing professionals working for B2B brands and published a list in the report and as a blog post. Sharing that list on LinkedIn while tagging each person along with a small infographic featuring the group provided relevant and credible recognition. The result was tens of thousands of views on LinkedIn, hundreds of reactions and over 50 comments. More importantly, the post helped generate goodwill among those mentioned, inspiring new connections, conversations and engagement opportunities.

2. Grow Credible Awareness of a Brand Solution

Build Credible Awareness with Influencers

Mitel wanted to create awareness, credibility and consideration of their Remote Working Solutions and what better way to do that than by engaging remote work experts in conversations around topics that highlight the issues and solutions so many companies are considering in today’s new normal. A variety of remote work influencers and content formats were used to accomplish program awareness including a livestream video broadcast on LinkedIn. To showcase the topic of remote work with credibility, several paid influencers were engaged to share their expertise along with a Mitel executive on a LinkedIn Live. With an audience of professionals, Linkedin was the perfect place to highlight remote work conversation and in a format that is increasingly important for B2B engagement  – live video.

While there were multiple influencers and content formats involved with this program, the LivesStream on LinkedIn had the highest engagement of all, helping Mitel achieve meaningful their awareness, credibility and consideration goals.

3. Increase Brand Engagement with Authentic Stories

Stories Influencer Engagement

While LinkedIn is the most relevant platform for reaching business decision makers, reaching and connecting with both marketers and sales professionals has become increasingly difficult due to  information overload. LinkedIn also faced this challenge, even on their own platform. 

In order to reach business decision makers in a meaningful way, LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Solutions set out to create a social influencer content campaign characterized by:

  • Increasing engagement and help humanize LinkedIn as a brand by partnering with well respected industry experts to share real-life struggles, stories and obstacles with a focused audience. 
  • Driving new audiences to targeted Showcase Pages via the influencer’s audiences (that were not already following or engaging with the LinkedIn brand).
  • Continuing to nurture and grow relationships with sales and marketing influencers as part of an ongoing influencer program.
  • Engaging the audience in-channel on the LinkedIn platform (versus sending to alternate content elsewhere).

Since much of B2B marketing is more mechanical than meaningful, LinkedIn decided to forego marketing and sales tips content and emphasize stories from respected influencers about experiences they’ve had in their careers. Influencers were asked to share:

  • A defining moment in your career and how it shaped you as a marketer or sales professional.
  • One thing NOT on your LinkedIn profile that people should about you?
  • One rising star in your field that you’d like to recognize? What makes them amazing? 

By making the shift to a combination of professional and personal content, we were able to better engage the audience around their own professional opportunities and provide them a platform to engage directly with people that they respect. 

With the goal to drive authentic engagement, on platform, between LinkedIn and their customers, the reach from influencers’ brand mentions exceeded 54 million and there was a 1,000% increase in post engagements over the previous 12 months. This tactic was also part of an ongoing influencer marketing program that won the ANA B2 Marketing Award. 

While it would be expected that LinkedIn working with a top B2B influencer marketing agency like TopRank Marketing and a premium group of influencers would achieve results like these, the overall story about the opportunity with B2B influencer marketing is a bit different. The State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report found that while 12X more marketers who run ongoing influencer engagement efforts are very successful compared to those who run periodic campaigns, only 19% of B2B marketers are running ongoing influencer programs.

4. Improve Reach of a Brand Webinar

LinkedIn Carousel Promotion
Prophix software was looking for more more interesting ways to get the attention of LinkedIn followers of the brand to help promote an upcoming brand webinar about the 2020 CFO Benchmark Report. Since the amount of content being published on LinkedIn has risen 50% year over year, the competition for organic attention has too. Fortunately, LinkedIn offers an opportunity for members or brands to upload vertical PDF files to create a carousel of messages that can tell a story or communicate a series of connected messages very different than what the normal feed can.

For the webinar in question, a key financial industry influencer, Jack McCullough of the CFO Leadership Council was engaged to collaborate on the report highlighted in the webinar and was also featured in the carousel promotion. The same 3rd party credibility effect that helped the report and webinar also provided validation to the LinkedIn post which had over 1,500 organic impressions and referred nearly 200 visitors to the registration page.

5. Connect Brand Executive with Influencers

Brand Executives and Influencers
Research has show that B2B buyers favorably view brands with senior executives that engage on social media. In an effort to connect with customers while also creating relationships with respected industry influencers, the CEO of HRS engages in content creation and sharing on social networks like LinkedIn. In this example, Tobias Ragge posted an article on his LinkedIn profile page featuring a group of travel and tech industry influencers to provide them with recognition in the context of topics important to the HRS brand and customers.

By featuring relevant industry influencers in content from the CEO of the company, HRS was able to inspire meaningful engagement and goodwill with these respected voices as well as to build influence for the CEO as well.

Before you get started with B2B influencer engagement on LinkedIn, it’s essential that you have a documented influencer marketing strategy. For the most successful B2B influencer marketers, our research found that having a documented strategy (68%) is one of the key differentiators over less successful marketers (25%) so it’s a very important step. Here are some basic questions to get you thinking about developing your own B2B influencer marketing plan:

  • Topic – What topic do you want to be influential about?
  • Influencers – Identify, and qualify relevant influencers
  • Collect – Activate influencers for a project or program
  • Co-Create – Collaborate on content: text, audio, video, interactive, live
  • Publish – Will content live on LinkedIn, off or both?
  • Promote – Promote via brand LinkedIn page, influencers, ads
  • Optimize – Monitor tracking URLs, LinkedIn engagement, adjust

Of course if you are looking for assistance in understanding what role influencer marketing can play in your B2B marketing mix, be sure to reach out.

The post 5 Case Studies on How to Optimize B2B Influencer Engagement on LinkedIn appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

10 Wise Quotes To Inspire Your Influencer Marketing

Two people jumping in the air in front of a beautiful sunset.

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

Here are 10 quotes from some of the best in the B2B influencer marketing business to inspire your marketing today and to prepare for the eventual post-pandemic landscape.

1 — Rani Mani of Adobe

Rani Mani

For Rani Mani, head of social influencer enablement at Adobe*, reaching out to uncover the heartfelt motivations, challenges, and aspirations of B2B influencers can be a great way to start building a long-lasting  marketing relationship. She shares additional insight in our recently-released 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report.

“I often start my discovery conversations with influencers by finding out what really makes their heart sing — what does success look like to them?” — Rani Mani @ranimani0707 Click To Tweet

2 — Ann Handley of MarketingProfs

Ann Handley

Ann Handley, speaker and chief content officer at MarketingProfs see empathy as key to all successful marketing efforts, whether they are of the B2B influencer marketing variety or more traditional approaches. “Start with empathy. Continue with utility. Improve with analysis. Optimize with love,” Ann has wisely suggested — advice that will well-serve marketers looking to embrace gratitude.

“Start with empathy. Continue with utility. Improve with analysis. Optimize with love.” — Ann Handley @MarketingProfs Click To Tweet

3 — Amisha Gandhi of SAP Ariba

Amisha Gandhi, vice president of influencer marketing and communications at SAP Ariba* has observed that co-creating content with influencers offers an array of advantages.

Amisha Gandhi of SAP Quote Image

“Working with influencers, to co-create content, delivers value and can inspire audiences to take action.” — Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi Click To Tweet

4 — Tom Treanor of Arm Treasure Data

Tom Treanor

For Tom Treanor, global head of marketing at Arm Treasure Data*, B2B influencers make good sense in an array of content areas businesses may already be involved with, as he outlined recently in “How B2B Influencer Marketing Offers Brands an Ideal Alternative to In-Person Events.”

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

5 — Ty Heath of LinkedIn

Ty Heath

Ty Heath, global lead of The B2B Institute at LinkedIn*, sees the power of B2B influencer marketing in building ongoing relationships, especially helpful for breaking through the noise in light of rising content attention deficit.

LinkedIn Ty Heath Quote Image

“People can break through the noise. People trust people. Influence is about relationships.” — Ty Heath @tyrona Click To Tweet

6 — Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing

Our own CEO and co-founder Lee Odden has been instrumental in the development and growth of the practice of B2B influencer marketing, and has long seen its multiple advantages for not just brands and influencers, but also B2B buyers.

“When planned and implemented effectively, B2B influencer marketing programs build trust and confidence for buyers, influencers and the brand.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet

7 — Tamara McCleary of Thulium

Tamara McCleary

Tamara McCleary, CEO at Thulium, sees the power of long-term, ongoing marketing efforts — especially when these types of always-on programs are applied to B2B influencer marketing.

“A long-term influencer program will allow your brand to create true brand advocates, powerful brand evangelists, and raving fans.” — Tamara McCleary @TamaraMcCleary Click To Tweet

8 — Ashley Zeckman of TopRank Marketing

Ashley Zeckman

Our own senior director of digital strategy Ashley Zeckman sees B2B influencer marketing as a great way to collaborate around ideas, and a more effective alternative than traditional one-way “buy this” approaches.

Rather than unapologetically telling us to buy a product, #B2B influencers are collaborating around an idea. – @azeckman #InfluencerMarketing Click To Tweet

9 — Konstanze Alex of Cisco Systems

Konstanze Alex

For Konstanze Alex, head of global digital storytelling at Cisco Systems, trust and relationship-building are key when it comes to working with B2B influencers.

“Regardless of which team at a brand engages with influencers, relationship and trust building should be a top priority” — Konstanze Alex @Konstanze Click To Tweet

10 —Joshua Nite of TopRank Marketing

Joshua Nite

Our own content marketing manager Joshua Nite recently shared his insight on how B2B marketers can best work with influencers during the global health crisis, and in “How to Nurture B2B Influencer Relationships During the Pandemic” he offered a smart take on the similarities between influencers and friendships.

“Influence relationships operate by much the same rules as any friendship: Get to know the person, don’t talk about yourself too much, give something before you ask for anything, and be sensitive to their emotions and needs.” @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

Walk Your B2B Influencer Marketing Walk

via GIPHY

Using the wise advice we’ve highlighted here from Rani, Ann, Amisha, Tom, Ty, Lee, Tamara, Konstanze, Ashley, and Joshua, you can walk your B2B influencer marketing walk with efforts that will take you on down the line to new heights in 2021 and beyond.

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

* Adobe, SAP Ariba, Arm Treasure Data, and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

10 Wise Quotes To Inspire Your Influencer Marketing

Two people jumping in the air in front of a beautiful sunset.

Two people jumping in the air in front of a beautiful sunset.

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

Here are 10 quotes from some of the best in the B2B influencer marketing business to inspire your marketing today and to prepare for the eventual post-pandemic landscape.

1 — Rani Mani of Adobe

Rani Mani

For Rani Mani, head of social influencer enablement at Adobe*, reaching out to uncover the heartfelt motivations, challenges, and aspirations of B2B influencers can be a great way to start building a long-lasting  marketing relationship. She shares additional insight in our recently-released 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report.

[bctt tweet=”“I often start my discovery conversations with influencers by finding out what really makes their heart sing — what does success look like to them?” — Rani Mani @ranimani0707″ username=”toprank”]

2 — Ann Handley of MarketingProfs

Ann Handley

Ann Handley, speaker and chief content officer at MarketingProfs see empathy as key to all successful marketing efforts, whether they are of the B2B influencer marketing variety or more traditional approaches. “Start with empathy. Continue with utility. Improve with analysis. Optimize with love,” Ann has wisely suggested — advice that will well-serve marketers looking to embrace gratitude.

[bctt tweet=”“Start with empathy. Continue with utility. Improve with analysis. Optimize with love.” — Ann Handley @MarketingProfs” username=”toprank”]

3 — Amisha Gandhi of SAP Ariba

Amisha Gandhi, vice president of influencer marketing and communications at SAP Ariba* has observed that co-creating content with influencers offers an array of advantages.

Amisha Gandhi of SAP Quote Image

[bctt tweet=”“Working with influencers, to co-create content, delivers value and can inspire audiences to take action.” — Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi” username=”toprank”]

4 — Tom Treanor of Arm Treasure Data

Tom Treanor

For Tom Treanor, global head of marketing at Arm Treasure Data*, B2B influencers make good sense in an array of content areas businesses may already be involved with, as he outlined recently in “How B2B Influencer Marketing Offers Brands an Ideal Alternative to In-Person Events.”

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

5 — Ty Heath of LinkedIn

Ty Heath

Ty Heath, global lead of The B2B Institute at LinkedIn*, sees the power of B2B influencer marketing in building ongoing relationships, especially helpful for breaking through the noise in light of rising content attention deficit.

LinkedIn Ty Heath Quote Image

[bctt tweet=”“People can break through the noise. People trust people. Influence is about relationships.” — Ty Heath @tyrona” username=”toprank”]

6 — Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing

Our own CEO and co-founder Lee Odden has been instrumental in the development and growth of the practice of B2B influencer marketing, and has long seen its multiple advantages for not just brands and influencers, but also B2B buyers.

[bctt tweet=”“When planned and implemented effectively, B2B influencer marketing programs build trust and confidence for buyers, influencers and the brand.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

7 — Tamara McCleary of Thulium

Tamara McCleary

Tamara McCleary, CEO at Thulium, sees the power of long-term, ongoing marketing efforts — especially when these types of always-on programs are applied to B2B influencer marketing.

[bctt tweet=”“A long-term influencer program will allow your brand to create true brand advocates, powerful brand evangelists, and raving fans.” — Tamara McCleary @TamaraMcCleary” username=”toprank”]

8 — Ashley Zeckman of TopRank Marketing

Ashley Zeckman

Our own senior director of digital strategy Ashley Zeckman sees B2B influencer marketing as a great way to collaborate around ideas, and a more effective alternative than traditional one-way “buy this” approaches.

[bctt tweet=”Rather than unapologetically telling us to buy a product, #B2B influencers are collaborating around an idea. – @azeckman #InfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

9 — Konstanze Alex of Cisco Systems

Konstanze Alex

For Konstanze Alex, head of global digital storytelling at Cisco Systems, trust and relationship-building are key when it comes to working with B2B influencers.

[bctt tweet=”“Regardless of which team at a brand engages with influencers, relationship and trust building should be a top priority” — Konstanze Alex @Konstanze” username=”toprank”]

10 —Joshua Nite of TopRank Marketing

Joshua Nite

Our own content marketing manager Joshua Nite recently shared his insight on how B2B marketers can best work with influencers during the global health crisis, and in “How to Nurture B2B Influencer Relationships During the Pandemic” he offered a smart take on the similarities between influencers and friendships.

[bctt tweet=”“Influence relationships operate by much the same rules as any friendship: Get to know the person, don’t talk about yourself too much, give something before you ask for anything, and be sensitive to their emotions and needs.” @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

Walk Your B2B Influencer Marketing Walk

via GIPHY

Using the wise advice we’ve highlighted here from Rani, Ann, Amisha, Tom, Ty, Lee, Tamara, Konstanze, Ashley, and Joshua, you can walk your B2B influencer marketing walk with efforts that will take you on down the line to new heights in 2021 and beyond.

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

* Adobe, SAP Ariba, Arm Treasure Data, and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post 10 Wise Quotes To Inspire Your Influencer Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

5 Refreshing Examples of Imaginative B2B Marketing To Inspire You in 2021

Person by winter campfire and illuminated tent under tall snowy pines.

Person by winter campfire and illuminated tent under tall snowy pines.

What will it take in 2021 for B2B marketers to break through the mundane and reach the sublime?

Post-pandemic success isn’t likely to come for those who settle for the same old B2B marketing efforts, even if some do have a lengthy track-record.

Looking ahead to an as-yet unknown new B2B marketing landscape can be a bit of a guessing game, however examining powerful award-winning marketing efforts can at least offer us a glimpse of how imaginative storytelling on a global scale is likely to play a greater role in what eventually emerges.

Let’s jump right in and take a look at five examples of the type of imaginative and refreshing marketing efforts that may play a greater role in the future of B2B marketing.

1 — IBM’s Code & Response

IBM Image

IBM used an original documentary 73-minute film to celebrate the creativity and compassion of tech developers around the world, and the effort led to the company’s IBM Developer unit launching a four-year Code and Response initiative aimed at helping communities needing critical aid.

IBM’s 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge encourages developers to build solutions for everything from COVID-19 to climate change, and offers an open-source technical library filled with online tutorials, code, and tactical insight.

The film has won more than 80 awards from The Webby Awards to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and is part of a broad campaign that incorporates a wide variety of digital imagery, video, social promotion, a dedicated micro-site, and more.

2 — SAP’s Tech Unknown

SAP Image

Our client SAP’s ongoing #TechUnknown podcast series — hosted by Tamara McCleary — has utilized industry experts to drive fascinating discussions “From the Edge of Next” in an easy to consume entertaining and educational  format.

Recent episodes explore intelligent spend management, why employee experience matters in a newly remote world, and how intelligent analytics can help unearth hidden treasure in business data.

A case study, “B2B Podcast Engages Thought Leaders, Reaches Millions, Smashes Download Benchmarks by Double-Digits,” also digs into the podcast series and its continuing success.

3 — Microsoft’s Changing the Game

Microsoft Immortal Awards Image

Garnering over a billion impressions, Microsoft’s vast and award-winning Changing the Game initiative centered around the company’s efforts to help gamers of all abilities play and compete in new ways.

Incorporating social media efforts, mainstream media conversations, and a Super Bowl spot, Microsoft’s efforts surrounding the launch of its Xbox Adaptive Controller show a glimpse of how post-pandemic marketing campaigns may increasingly look.

Changing the Game continues to pull in awards, including the recent The One Show 2020 CMO Pencil for Microsoft chief brand officer Kathleen Hall.

“The success of the campaign stems from the XAC being true to our DNA, from how the product was developed at a hackathon to sharing it with the world at the Super Bowl through the stories of real children, showcasing that ‘When everybody plays, we all win.’,” Hall noted.

4 — Omidyar Network / Thomson Reuters Foundation’s #COVID-19: The Bigger Picture

Omidyar Image

Impact investment firm The Omidyar Network — established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar — and the Thomson Reuters Foundation joined together for #COVID-19: The Bigger Picture, a photojournalism initiative examining the human impact of the pandemic.

The project incorporates a five-part series of photo essays and a global photography award, and highlights the increasing importance powerful visual digital assets will have in marketing during 2021 and beyond.

It also speaks to how a bespoke awards event can create additional engagement opportunities, as we outlined for client Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) in “Case Study: Unique Influencer Content Campaign Drives Awareness, Engagement, and 6-Figure Leads.”

“This pandemic is a global crisis like no other, affecting every person on the planet,” Antonio Zappulla, Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO observed. “The world is grappling daily to understand its scale and severity against an onslaught of information and misinformation. It has never been more critical to lean on the power of journalism excellence to cut through the noise with accurate and impartial storytelling. With the Foundation’s legacy and global reach, we are proud to be part of such a critical and innovative project,” Zappulla added.

5 — GoDaddy’s 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Survey

GoDaddy Image

For its 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Survey, GoDaddy sought to learn how the global health crisis has affected businesses, and reached out to more than 5,000 small business owners worldwide in an effort that produced a 35-page report, a series of videos, and other social-media-friendly content.

How B2B firms conduct business with small businesses can be a microcosm of the broader B2B marketing landscape, and GoDaddy’s survey offers a variety of helpful insight including findings showing that one in six have begun a new venture during the pandemic.

“This underscores the resilience of the entrepreneurial spirit and offers some hopeful insight into their collective future,” Melissa Schneider, GoDaddy vice president of global marketing operations observed.

Slingshot Your Post-Pandemic Marketing To New Heights

via GIPHY

The examples we’ve looked at here from IBM, SAP, Microsoft, Omidyar Network / Thomson Reuters Foundation, GoDaddy and others can help inspire us as we make the move to 2021, and by using some of the award-winning methods these firms have harnessed, we can better adapt to an eventual post-pandemic B2B marketing landscape.

We hope you’ve found at least a few new B2B marketing ideas among those we’ve gone into here, that you’ll find them useful as you create new campaigns, and that they’ll also help build your own team’s knowledge.

If you are looking for help with your own B2B marketing efforts, check out our new groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, and contact us to find out why top brands from Adobe and LinkedIn to Dell and AT&T have chosen TopRank Marketing.

The post 5 Refreshing Examples of Imaginative B2B Marketing To Inspire You in 2021 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

5 Refreshing Examples of Imaginative B2B Marketing To Inspire You in 2021

Person by winter campfire and illuminated tent under tall snowy pines.

What will it take in 2021 for B2B marketers to break through the mundane and reach the sublime?

Post-pandemic success isn’t likely to come for those who settle for the same old B2B marketing efforts, even if some do have a lengthy track-record.

Looking ahead to an as-yet unknown new B2B marketing landscape can be a bit of a guessing game, however examining powerful award-winning marketing efforts can at least offer us a glimpse of how imaginative storytelling on a global scale is likely to play a greater role in what eventually emerges.

Let’s jump right in and take a look at five examples of the type of imaginative and refreshing marketing efforts that may play a greater role in the future of B2B marketing.

1 — IBM’s Code & Response

IBM Image

IBM used an original documentary 73-minute film to celebrate the creativity and compassion of tech developers around the world, and the effort led to the company’s IBM Developer unit launching a four-year Code and Response initiative aimed at helping communities needing critical aid.

IBM’s 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge encourages developers to build solutions for everything from COVID-19 to climate change, and offers an open-source technical library filled with online tutorials, code, and tactical insight.

The film has won more than 80 awards from The Webby Awards to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and is part of a broad campaign that incorporates a wide variety of digital imagery, video, social promotion, a dedicated micro-site, and more.

2 — SAP’s Tech Unknown

SAP Image

Our client SAP’s ongoing #TechUnknown podcast series — hosted by Tamara McCleary — has utilized industry experts to drive fascinating discussions “From the Edge of Next” in an easy to consume entertaining and educational  format.

Recent episodes explore intelligent spend management, why employee experience matters in a newly remote world, and how intelligent analytics can help unearth hidden treasure in business data.

A case study, “B2B Podcast Engages Thought Leaders, Reaches Millions, Smashes Download Benchmarks by Double-Digits,” also digs into the podcast series and its continuing success.

3 — Microsoft’s Changing the Game

Microsoft Immortal Awards Image

Garnering over a billion impressions, Microsoft’s vast and award-winning Changing the Game initiative centered around the company’s efforts to help gamers of all abilities play and compete in new ways.

Incorporating social media efforts, mainstream media conversations, and a Super Bowl spot, Microsoft’s efforts surrounding the launch of its Xbox Adaptive Controller show a glimpse of how post-pandemic marketing campaigns may increasingly look.

Changing the Game continues to pull in awards, including the recent The One Show 2020 CMO Pencil for Microsoft chief brand officer Kathleen Hall.

“The success of the campaign stems from the XAC being true to our DNA, from how the product was developed at a hackathon to sharing it with the world at the Super Bowl through the stories of real children, showcasing that ‘When everybody plays, we all win.’,” Hall noted.

4 — Omidyar Network / Thomson Reuters Foundation’s #COVID-19: The Bigger Picture

Omidyar Image

Impact investment firm The Omidyar Network — established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar — and the Thomson Reuters Foundation joined together for #COVID-19: The Bigger Picture, a photojournalism initiative examining the human impact of the pandemic.

The project incorporates a five-part series of photo essays and a global photography award, and highlights the increasing importance powerful visual digital assets will have in marketing during 2021 and beyond.

It also speaks to how a bespoke awards event can create additional engagement opportunities, as we outlined for client Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) in “Case Study: Unique Influencer Content Campaign Drives Awareness, Engagement, and 6-Figure Leads.”

“This pandemic is a global crisis like no other, affecting every person on the planet,” Antonio Zappulla, Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO observed. “The world is grappling daily to understand its scale and severity against an onslaught of information and misinformation. It has never been more critical to lean on the power of journalism excellence to cut through the noise with accurate and impartial storytelling. With the Foundation’s legacy and global reach, we are proud to be part of such a critical and innovative project,” Zappulla added.

5 — GoDaddy’s 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Survey

GoDaddy Image

For its 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Survey, GoDaddy sought to learn how the global health crisis has affected businesses, and reached out to more than 5,000 small business owners worldwide in an effort that produced a 35-page report, a series of videos, and other social-media-friendly content.

How B2B firms conduct business with small businesses can be a microcosm of the broader B2B marketing landscape, and GoDaddy’s survey offers a variety of helpful insight including findings showing that one in six have begun a new venture during the pandemic.

“This underscores the resilience of the entrepreneurial spirit and offers some hopeful insight into their collective future,” Melissa Schneider, GoDaddy vice president of global marketing operations observed.

Slingshot Your Post-Pandemic Marketing To New Heights

via GIPHY

The examples we’ve looked at here from IBM, SAP, Microsoft, Omidyar Network / Thomson Reuters Foundation, GoDaddy and others can help inspire us as we make the move to 2021, and by using some of the award-winning methods these firms have harnessed, we can better adapt to an eventual post-pandemic B2B marketing landscape.

We hope you’ve found at least a few new B2B marketing ideas among those we’ve gone into here, that you’ll find them useful as you create new campaigns, and that they’ll also help build your own team’s knowledge.

If you are looking for help with your own B2B marketing efforts, check out our new groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, and contact us to find out why top brands from Adobe and LinkedIn to Dell and AT&T have chosen TopRank Marketing.

Marketing Lessons from Lockdown: What My 3-year-old Has Taught Me

Mother and son learning from book image.

Mother and son learning from book image.

“Our children can be our greatest teachers if we are humble enough to receive their lessons.” Wise words from author Bryant McGill.

These last few months of lockdown, while challenging, have brought forth some very inspiring lessons from my almost 3 year old that I hope can inspire you: His fearless attitude, his openness to learning, his inquisitive nature and his no-yielding passion for everything he does.

Be Fearless

Unless we’re talking about cooked carrots, my little guy is about as fearless as they come. Whether he’s full-speed sprint-vaulting (without success) over two storage bins, or sticking his entire face into the pool water, only to come up coughing, nothing deters him from the next obstacle.

If you had the complete absence of fear like a toddler, what would you do differently? Would you have that tough conversation with your co-worker? Would you put 20% of your budget to testing a new tactic or ad type? More on strategic testing here.
[bctt tweet=”“If you had the complete absence of fear like a toddler, what would you do differently? Would you have that tough conversation with your co-worker? Would you put 20% of your budget to testing a new tactic or ad type?” @ElizabethW1057″ username=”toprank”]

Be Teachable

One of my greatest joys is watching my littles learn. So when my 6-year-old ‘teacher’ waves shape flashcards (her idea!) and little man rattles off ‘square,’ ‘cirkl,’ ‘imon’ and ‘entagon,’ my heart beams!

This genuine excitement for learning is something we cannot allow ourselves to lose in our adulthood.

Consider pushing your limits by:

  1. Opening your eyes to more diverse perspectives (fantastic, free series on Diversity and Inclusion here from LinkedIn (client)).
  2. Truly absorbing and applying critical feedback from a team member.
  3. Attending a marketing conference or honing a soft skill, like emotional intelligence.
  4. Exploring a new personal hobby. Did you know play is a critical component of success?

Always ask questions

This learning mode leads me to my next lesson from my little man: Always ask why. How come I can’t sleep in your bed? Why do we have to shut off the light? Are there ghosts in my closet? What about under the bed? Why can’t I have another drink of water? Do you think the spider we saw outside followed us in the house?

Can you tell bedtime is a thing over here?

Our latest influencer campaign killed our reach goal by 1790%. BOOM.

Don’t high five and mark it down as a win. Ask WHY? Why did we get such outstanding reach? Was the topic just perfectly relevant for the moment: remote work amid COVID-19 world? Did we earn partnerships with just the right influencers? Was one specific tactic more successful than another within the campaign? Use your inquiry as fuel to optimize your next program. Why NOT take that 1790% up to 2790%?

Love what you do

Ever try to interrupt a 3 year old mid-song? Or while he’s ‘tractoring” in the sandbox. I do not advise it.

One of the most important lessons we can take from our kids on this account is passion! Do what you love, or don’t do it.

If you find yourself in a rut or simply see an opportunity to make coming to work a more joyful experience, examine your organizational culture. Is it really a fit?

If you’re not doing what you love right now, maybe one of these positions on our team is a fit?

[bctt tweet=”“One of the most important lessons we can take from our kids on this account is passion! Do what you love, or don’t do it.” @ElizabethW1057″ username=”toprank”]

Lessons in Lockdown

When we all look back in 20 years at the forced togetherness of 2020 we probably won’t be thinking about 72 time-outs or fighting over tablets. We’ll remember the invaluable time we’ve spent together: watching our children grow up-close, deepening our family relationships and how it opened our eyes to some of life’s most simple, yet powerful lessons.

What lessons have you uncovered in lockdown? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post Marketing Lessons from Lockdown: What My 3-year-old Has Taught Me appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


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