5 Ways B2B Marketers Can Boost Productivity and Focus

Focused and Productive B2B Marketer

Focused and Productive B2B Marketer

Across every industry, profession, and discipline, work productivity is in peril.

How could it not be? Outside distractions have mounted over the course of the year, from a global pandemic to rampant social unrest to a headline-hijacking presidential election, all in the midst of economic turmoil. Through it all, many of us have been acclimating to a remote work setting that upends our established workflows and routines.

Frankly, we all deserve a pat on the back for being able to stay focused on work at all. So go ahead and give yourself one. But with plenty left to accomplish here in 2020, there’s little time to sit back and take a beat.

Marketing is a field that’s especially susceptible to negative productivity impacts at a time like this. We’re scrambling to adapt to changing circumstances for our companies, clients, and strategies. We’re rewriting best practices on the fly. And in a job where creativity is often a driving force, we’re trying to keep our minds clear and energized enough to produce unique and high-quality content.

If you find yourself looking for new ways to power up your team’s productivity (or your own) and get more done each day, here are a few suggestions that might help.

Boosting B2B Marketing Productivity

Based on my own experiences and some tips shared by others around the web, here are five techniques that are working when it comes to finding your groove and producing great work in tough times.

1 — Find and Preserve Your Productivity Pockets

Right now, each day can feel like a constant barrage of forces beckoning us away from the work we are trying to get done. Setting aside everything happening in the outside world, there are the things going on in your own space — maybe kids at home from school, or increased familial commitments, or a roommate who’s sharing an “office” (living room) with you.

As I wrote when sharing my own experiences as a content marketer in the pandemic, I believe it’s essential to carve out “productivity pockets” — dedicated periods of time where you can completely tune into your work, uninterrupted. Use this pocket to tackle your most intensive tasks.

It may be that your circumstances aren’t conducive to routinely scheduling this productivity pocket during standard work hours. In these cases, aim to create asynchronous structures that enable active collaboration with your coworkers, even if it’s not simultaneous.

[bctt tweet=”“It’s essential to carve out ‘productivity pockets’ — dedicated periods of time where you can completely tune into your work, uninterrupted. Use this pocket to tackle your most intensive tasks.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

2— Scrutinize the Purpose Behind Meetings and Video Calls

At Digital Summit MPLS 2019, Workfront’s Mike Riding shared marketing productivity tips and noted that almost two-thirds of marketers point to meetings as the No. 1 barrier that gets in the way of their work. One year later, the environment has changed but that underlying issue has not; if anything, it’s magnified.

Zoom fatigue is real, y’all.

Riding listed five reasons why meetings exist:

  1. Give information
  2. Get information
  3. Develop ideas
  4. Make decisions
  5. Create warm, magical human contact

I would argue that in many cases, only the last one requires an actual meeting (and while the warmth and magic may feel a bit more artificial through a computer screen, they are still plenty valuable). Now more than ever, his recommendations for managing meeting overload are worth heeding:

  • Shave meeting times from 60 minutes to 30 minutes when possible.
  • Decline meetings that don’t have a set agenda.
  • Stack meetings back-to-back so as to minimize unproductive gaps in between.
  • And, as suggested above, block out time for your real work that is off-limits for scheduling meetings.

3— Consume New and Unfamiliar Content

Yes, it’s worthwhile to keep an eye on what your peers in the B2B marketing world are doing to stay informed and inspired. But I would also advise moving outside of your typical lane or comfort zone. Look into successful examples of B2C marketing campaigns to see how brands are connecting with their customers in empathetic, humanized ways. Watch a show or movie on Netflix that is beyond your usual genre mix. Play a story-driven video game. Read a new book.

Sameness, silos, and unrelenting routines can be destructive for creativity and productivity. As we like to say around here … Break free!

4— Unplug During the Weekend

Just as it’s important to have dedicated and uninterrupted work time, it is equally important to have dedicated and uninterrupted non-work time. The nature of our current situation is that work/life balance can be exceedingly difficult to maintain. If you can, try to keep the weekends to yourself.

This doesn’t mean you need to lay around and do nothing all day on Saturday and Sunday. In a recent post at Forbes on developing weekend habits to boost happiness and productivity, Syed Balkhi offers up ideas like going on solo “dates” and conducting weekly personal check-ins. The idea is to occupy yourself with enjoyable and invigorating activities, so you can return to the grind on Monday morning feeling refreshed and motivated.

Bottom line? It’s tough to be professionally productive if we aren’t personally content and fulfilled.

5— Manage Attention, Not Time

We recently helped our clients at monday.com put together a collection of tips on maximizing creative team output from a varied field of influential experts. All of the insights are worth perusing for those interested in the subject at hand, as is the accompanying guide, 7 Habits of Highly Productive Marketing and Design Teams. One concept that was raised multiple times in these contributions was a shift in mindset: from time management to attention management.

“The biggest challenge for getting important work done is not that we don’t have enough time. It’s that we have too many distractions,” said author and speaker Maura Nevel Thomas. “This is especially true for creative professionals who need to maximize their imagination, innovation, and inspiration. Instead of time management, focus on attention management.”

“One often-undervalued component of this is daydreaming,” she added, “which is when new ideas and insights form — a necessity for creative professionals.”

This ties back to the first recommendation above. You may very well produce more (and better) output during the one hour in the evening where you can fully focus and commit yourself to the work, as opposed to three hours during the day where you’re being continually pulled away by family, emails, chat messages, and meetings.

[bctt tweet=”“The biggest challenge for getting important work done is not that we don’t have enough time. It’s that we have too many distractions.” — Maura Nevel Thomas @mnthomas” username=”toprank”]

Find Your Edge and Finish Strong in 2020

Talent, tactics, technologies … they all contribute to successful results for B2B marketing organizations. But heightened productivity is that one difference-making intangible that can really set apart high-performing teams.

Finding and maintaining a strong level of productivity may require different mindsets and techniques than it did a year ago. Identify habits and routines that work for you and your teammates, get locked in, and produce your best work for the rest of the year and beyond.

Want more guidance on doing more with less? Uncover 5 Time-Saving Tips to Overclock Your B2B Marketing Efficiency from our own Lane Ellis.

The post 5 Ways B2B Marketers Can Boost Productivity and Focus appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

B2B Marketing News: 3 B2B Pandemic Marketing Studies, YouTube Launches Shorts, Twitter Tests Audio & New Emoji Performance Report Data

2020 September 18 Edelman Chart

2020 September 18 Edelman Chart

Now Is the Time for B2B Content
During the pandemic, video and webinar content has seen the largest increase in views according to recently-released survey data, while views of unique content assets during March through May climbed by 40 percent compared to earlier in 2020, with the average number of sessions per visitor up some 43 percent. ANA

Google Shares Exclusive Data On How B2B Buyers Changed, Adapted During COVID-19
64 percent of B2B buyers have increased their use of online video during the pandemic, with overall online marketing use rising by 88 percent including 45 percent who started using digital for the first time during the global health crisis, according to newly-released report data. MediaPost

Instagram Adds ‘Suggested Reels’ Display in Main Feed, Launches Monthly Reels Trend Insights
Instagram has expanded the visibility of its short-form vertical video feature Reels on the platform, bringing a prominent new suggested Reels section and the ability to recommend Reels clips for inclusion as featured content, the Facebook-owned social media firm recently announced. Social Media Today

Building YouTube Shorts, a new way to watch & create on YouTube
YouTube just launched a beta trial of its new YouTube Shorts 15-second vertical video creation function — presently only for users in India with a global rollout planned — joining Instagram’s recent test of its similar Instagram Reels mobile-friendly capability. YouTube

Twitter’s Testing Audio Clips in DMs with Users in Brazil
Twitter has begun testing the ability to record up to 140 seconds of audio for inclusion in direct messages sent through the social platform, expanding on similar functionality recently added to public tweets, Twitter recently announced. Social Media Today

Podcasts outperform traditional media, digital display on brand awareness, study says
Podcasts have driven B2B brands to 77 percent greater levels of brand awareness, according to recently-released survey data, a rate as much as 30 times higher than brand awareness lift rates achieved by other media channels. Mobile Marketer

2020 September 18 Statistics Image

Facebook Announces New Limits on How Many Ads Pages Can Run Concurrently
Facebook has given notice that advertisers will face new limitations on the number of allowable simultaneous page ads, and that four new tiers of advertiser categories will be implemented in February 2021, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today

Emojis in Email Subject Lines: Do They Affect Open Rates? [DATA]
Recently-released survey data from nearly four million emails shows where emojis tend to work and not work, including a look at the diminutive visual embelishments’ sometimes-sizable impact on click-through-rates (CTRs) and other metrics. Search Engine Journal

Forrester: How to differentiate your brand with ethical marketing
Forrester has taken a look at the importance of transparent pricing, social responsible, fairness, and honesty and their significance when it comes to differentiating brands, and CMO examines recent findings of interest to digital marketers. CMO

How B2B companies are adapting customer engagement strategies during Covid
46 percent of B2B executives say marketing spending is being scrutinized more closely for its direct sales impact during the pandemic, while 50 percent say its important for their firms to redefine their mission, purpose, and offerings — two of numerous findings of interest to digital marketers in newly-released survey data. Edelman

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 18 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at the “sales impact of advertising” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Amiga Fast File System makes minor comeback in new Linux kernel — The Register

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden / TopRank Marketing — CMWorld 2020: Break the Rules and Market Bravely in 2020 — Content Marketing Institute (client)
  • Lee Odden — CCO: Lee Odden – Use Influencers Effectively [VIDEO] — Content Marketing Institute
  • Lee Odden — The Juice Newsletter — Joseph Jaffe
  • TopRank Marketing — El 91% de los responsables de Marketing buscan influencers con audiencias relevantes para sus marcas [In Spanish.] — Puro Marketing

Have you found your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope that you will return again next Friday and tune in for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: 3 B2B Pandemic Marketing Studies, YouTube Launches Shorts, Twitter Tests Audio & New Emoji Performance Report Data appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Get Ready For Video In 2021: Watch 5 Creative Examples of B2B Marketing on YouTube

Smiling man against a creative colorful background image.

Smiling man against a creative colorful background image.

What’s new at YouTube, and how are B2B marketers using the world’s largest video platform in creative and engaging campaigns?

Let’s take a look!

Google’s omnipresent YouTube brought in revenue of over $15 billion in 2019, has over two billion monthly active users (MAUs), and by some estimates is considered as the world’s number two search engine, making it nearly inescapable for B2B marketers seeking to host and promote video content. While not necessarily out of this world, YouTube’s orbit casts a wide swath in the B2B marketing universe.

Planets VisualCapitalist Image

During the pandemic, video and webinar content has seen the largest increase in views according to recently-released PathFactory survey data, leading the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) to suggest that “Now Is the Time for B2B Content.”

64 percent of B2B buyers have increased their use of online video during the pandemic, according to newly-released report data from Google and Ipsos, which has also showed a whopping 88 percent increase in the usage of digital marketing overall.

Think With Google Chart

Another study by MediaPost and Bombora also saw increased interest in video during the global health crisis — a move that’s not surprising considering the power of video to drive authentic engagement in as little time as possible, as we’ll see in our five examples from B2B firms using YouTube in creative ways. First, however, let’s look into the latest news surrounding YouTube.

What’s New At YouTube?

YouTube just launched a beta trial of its new YouTube Shorts 15-second vertical video creation function — presently only for users in India with a global rollout planned — joining Instagram’s recent test of its similar Instagram Reels capability.

YouTube Shorts Image

These short video features squarely spring from the popularity of TikTok, and have come at a time when the beleaguered company — now sought for acquisition by Oracle* — has faced significant challenges with its U.S. operations. Oracle’s proposed deal with TikTok — owned by ByteDance, its parent company in China — has met with initial approval by some advertisers.

Oracle, which has recently forged partnerships with firms including Zoom, may at first seem like an odd fit for the acquisition of an app dedicated to short-form video creation and sharing, however should it succeed in controlling TikTok’s U.S. operations it would undoubtedly lend a significant infusion of enterprise-level business exposure.

That could pave the way for increased B2B use of the type of short videos that can be created with TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts, and with ever-more content being viewed on smartphones, vertical video undoubtedly has a massive audience.

YouTube — which said that its Shorts feature provides a way to “discover, watch and create short, vertical videos on the YouTube app.” — has allowed users worldwide to upload short vertical video using the #Shorts hashtag, which will feature Shorts videos on YouTube’s coveted homepage.

YouTube Shorts video can include music and feature multiple segments and playback speeds, along with timers for recording hands-free video, the firm said.

The rise of vertical video brought on by TikTok and now Instagram and YouTube may end up making the format another standard digital asset for B2B marketing design teams, with its own strengths in areas such as mobile, and weaknesses in others such as display on traditional desktop and non-smartphone devices.

On the advertising front, YouTube is planning to launch engaged-view conversions (EVC) metrics by the end of the year, bringing data on viewers who watch at least 10 seconds of a video ad and subsequently click away, yet nonetheless end up converting within a set number of days, YouTube recently noted.

“By the end of the year, we will make engaged-view conversions a standard way of measuring conversions for TrueView skippable in-stream ads, local campaigns and app campaigns,” Nicky Rettke, YouTube director and product manager of YouTube Ads, explained in a recent post on the Google Ads & Commerce Blog.

On the live-streaming front, YouTube has continued to embrace the multi-billion dollar esports vertical —  which is comprised of more than 400 million players globally — offering a number of advertising opportunities for certain B2B brands.

Whether 2021 will see more B2B brands sponsoring esports players or events remains to be seen, however B2B marketers may be taking a closer look at opportunities in esports, as Rosalyn Page recently examined in “What Brands Need to Know about Esports.”

Live-streaming has also gained momentum in the relatively new area of streaming e-commerce, backed by firms including Amazon, and as Bloomberg News recently reported, the practice is expected to generate more than $100 billion in global sales in 2020.

While more video is being watched than ever due to the pandemic, a significant amount of video seen on social media timelines is viewed with the sound turned off, making it more important than ever to ensure all video content has quality subtitling available along with a #Captioned hashtag.

A good resource for information about video captioning for YouTube and elsewhere is Meryl Evans, an acknowledged “#Captioned pusher” and a fellow former bulletin board system SysOp.

In B2B marketing, YouTube video content doesn’t necessarily always need to be traditional camera footage, as alternative formats such as animation are becoming easier to create than ever before, as Victor Blasco, chief executive of Yum Yum Videos recently explored in “Making Animated Marketing Videos That Engage Customers.”

Now let’s jump-cut to five recent examples of B2B marketers using YouTube to tell creative and engaging video stories.

1 — HP’s Dear Future Me

In more ways than one storytelling is truly at the heart of powerful marketing messages, as witnesses in spades in HP’s new “Dear Future Me” video campaign, which offers a heartwarming spin on the practice of writing a letter to your future self, chronicling the stories of six recent high school graduates who wrote themselves such letters six years ago, when they were in the sixth grade.

As part of the campaign, HP’s landing page for the initiative offers a downloadable PDF form where anyone can write their own letter, and incorporates a “We can’t wait to meet the future you” message to end the first of the two-part series of mini-documentary videos.

The second episode lets current sixth graders write letters to their future 2026 selves, and shows them telling their own stories centered around the challenges of the pandemic. “Just try to remember: if you got through this year, you can get through anything,” one student encourages her future self.

HP’s YouTube video descriptions for the series include handy links to the other video in the series, along with an extra link to subscribe to the firm’s channel — a simple yet often-overlooked practice that allows viewers who may have over years trained themselves to ignore YouTube’s own ubiquitous red “Subscribe” button.

2 — Adobe’s Honor Heroes

Adobe’s* “Honor Heroes” campaign, a collaborative global artistic effort to help support the battle against COVID-19, is centered around a single minute of video that has to date tallied nearly 3.5 million views.

During that one minute the work of artists and other creative people is shown, each piece inspired by the pandemic.

On Adobe’s YouTube channel the video’s description includes the campaign’s hashtag #HonorHeroes, and a link leading to a section of Adobe’s website with an image of each of the 116 people chosen as heroes, and a link to their respective Instagram profiles. The campaign’s video is also playable from the page.

Adobe ties the page into their own Instagram account as well, encouraging page visitors to see more about the heroes campaign using the same hashtag this time to link to their Instagram profile and specifically those posts utilizing the campaign hashtag — a technique that can be effectively used to move customers to content on various brand social media channels.

The campaign was also featured on the company’s blog, offering additional context about the campaign with insight from some of those involved, a donation link to the Direct Relief organization, and an embedded instance of the campaign’s YouTube video.

3 — Constant Contact’s Power Hour

Constant Contact regularly publishes video content to its YouTube channel — sometimes releasing up to 12 videos weekly — making it an important part of the firm’s social media efforts.

Recent videos have included answering frequent customer questions, spotlight videos on businesses using the platform, a “Pro Series Power Hour” featuring ABC’s Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, customer success stories, and a visual series dedicated to using various elements of the firm’s service.

For Kevin O’Leary’s video, Constant Contact has used a detailed description of the spot, with a link to learn more on their website’s blog along with links to five of the firm’s social media profiles.

4 — Deloitte’s A World Reimagined

In Deloitte’s “A World Reimagined: The 2020 Global Millennial Survey” video, the effects of the pandemic on young people in the millennial and Gen Z demographic are visualized and brought to life, highlighting their energy for building a better world.

In addition to watching the video, a micro-site for the campaign allows visitors to download the related report — which surveyed more than 18,000 millennials and Gen Zs across 43 countries — view a replay of the initial live-stream video event related to the effort, and offers an infographic for download and sharing.

The site also includes a Twitter stream of tweets centered around the campaign’s #MillennialSurvey hashtag.

Deloitte also successfully uses YouTube for its “Life at Deloitte” series of company culture videos, using storytelling to build empathy and trust, a tactic MarketingProfs explored recently in “Five Tips for Making Company-Culture Videos That Captivate Your Customers’ Hearts.”

5 — Ernst & Young’s Megatrends 2020 & Beyond

In its “EY Megatrends 2020 and Beyond” video, Ernst & Young looks ahead to future trends and their overall larger meaning — one of its numerous YouTube channel videos exploring the firm’s service offerings and helpful financial-related insight.

Ernst & Young also uses its YouTube profile to share how it has responded to COVID-19, to announce its world entrepreneur of the year, and to archive its live-streaming video from LinkedIn* Live.

Maliha Aqeel, director of global communications at Fix Network World and former assistant director of brand marketing and communications at Ernst & Young, sat down with our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite to share a look at the role of B2B company culture in driving employee and customer satisfaction, in “Break Free B2B Series: Maliha Aqeel on How to Ace B2B Company Culture.”

[bctt tweet=”Marketers and communicators within organizations have to take the charge. Our job is to take all of those values and say, ‘Here’s how it could look. Here’s how the intangible becomes tangible.’ @MalihaQ on #CorporateCulture #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Snap A New B2B Take On Creative YouTube Marketing

via GIPHY

YouTube offers much more to marketers than simply being the default spot to host and play back video, with ample social features for B2B brands to highlight other channels to follow, threaded viewer commenting if wanted, the forthcoming YouTube Shorts format, an ever-increasing number of ad formats and placement options, and remains a powerful platform for B2B influencers to engage their audience.

We hope you’ve gained at least a few new ideas from looking at the latest news about YouTube, and that you’ll find inspiration from the five fine examples we’ve explored from HP, Adobe, Constant Contact, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young.

Video is only one facet of a well-rounded B2B marketing strategy, yet one that plays an important role in campaigns that attract, engage, and convert. Find out why firms including Adobe, LinkedIn, SAP, AT&T, Dell, 3M and others have chosen to work with TopRank Marketing — drop us a line.

* Oracle, Adobe, and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

 

The post Get Ready For Video In 2021: Watch 5 Creative Examples of B2B Marketing on YouTube appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

B2B Marketing Technology in 2021: 5 Key Focuses

2021 MarTech Image

Marketer Using Laptop Keyboard

If the 1982 movie Blade Runner and its dystopian depiction of what the world would look like in 2019 were accurate, this is what we’d have been living through last year:

via GIPHY

Needless to say, our predictions of society’s future state, and technology’s long-term evolution, are not always on the money. While certain aspects of Blade Runner’s vision might’ve been frighteningly accurate, Los Angeles is not yet inhabited by flying cars or giant video advertisements projected onto the entirety of skyscrapers.

With that said, today’s marketers can much more easily look ahead to 2021 — suddenly only a few short months away — and make educated guesses about what the year will hold. Many of the marketing technologies that will transform business and drive strategies are already on the rise, if not gaining mainstream traction.

Martech 2021: 5 Trends to for B2B Marketers to Watch

Businesses and marketing departments might be facing spending restrictions and budget cuts amidst the turmoil of 2020, but marketing technology is not an area that’s widely being affected. On the contrary, in fact: The latest Pulse Survey from ClickZ found that marketing technology budget shares rose from 32% to 42% between May and late July.

Where are organizations investing, and which technologies will rule the roost in the coming year? Here are five evidenced trends I’ll be following:

1 — Content experiences are at the forefront

In ClickZ’s research, this is the category that was leading marketing technology’s growth here in 2020.

“People being indoors and looking for new ways to educate themselves about the current climate and consumer content can safely be considered as one of the reasons businesses are tirelessly looking to enhance their target audiences’ experience,” wrote Kamaljeet Kalsi.

ClickZ Image

(Source)

This isn’t such a novel concept — TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden was among those preaching experiences as the future of content marketing many years ago — but technology is continually improving our ability to deliver content in ways that are more interactive, immersive, and impactful.

I think back to last week’s blog post on storytelling, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s assertion that video games offer the most promise on this front. Technology will continue to bring more capabilities to the table in terms of gamification, interactivity, and innovation.

Making content consumers feel like participants rather than onlookers holds the key to heightened engagement.

2 — Facilitating a socially distant world

Will there be in-person events in 2021? It’s possible but doesn’t feel very likely right now — certainly not at the scale of annual conferences and summits we’ve come to love. As brands keep working to build relationships with prospects and customers from a distance, technology will need to do much of the heavy lifting.

We’ve already seen some great new tools and capabilities arise this year in terms of teleconferencing, live-streaming, and virtual events. What else might emerge, with a litany of tech companies now centering their focuses on what has suddenly become a ubiquitous need?

In a way, this development helps to level the playing field for smaller businesses. While it may not be feasible for a startup sales enablement shop to organize a massive gathering like Dreamforce, bringing people together through interactive virtual events is a different story. In fact, this format can actually make it easier to follow up, convert, and attribute results concretely.

It’s not just about technology that helps engage customers from afar. It’s also about technology that helps marketers collaborate and work together in distributed settings. And adopting these tools will benefit companies and agencies long-term, because the remote work trend was already on the rise long before COVID struck.

In 2021, marketers will truly equip themselves for the future of work. We’re already well on our way; according to a recent survey, “companies reported that responding to the new circumstances of the pandemic accelerated their digital communications strategy by 6 years on average.”

[bctt tweet=”“As brands keep working to build relationships with prospects and customers from a distance, technology will need to do much of the heavy lifting.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

3 — Data privacy and cybersecurity gain urgency

Data exploitation became a huge story after the 2016 election, and I regret to inform you it’s likely to bubble up again this fall. Even outside of that, cybersecurity has been a growing concern for many years and becomes all the more pertinent as customer data is increasingly decentralized and cloud-based.

While these matters have often fallen under the purview of IT in the past, marketing needs to have a seat at the table and a voice in the discussion. Sending a convincing message that it’s safe to do business with your brand — sensitive data won’t be shared, lost, stolen, or misused — and backing it up is essential to building trust in the new world of business.

4 — Simplicity and synchronicity are vital 

In its latest marketing technology landscape visualization, Chief Martech charted some 8,000 different solutions in the wild. Eight thousand!

ChiefMartec Image

The beauty of this vast landscape is that marketing technologies now exist to address almost any need imaginable. The downside, of course, is that the sheer volume and range of options can feel completely overwhelming. The balance between not enough martech and too much martech is a delicate one.

In the near future, streamlining will be the name of the game. How can you carve down your tech stack to the true essentials? Which solutions can cover multiple needs for your team? How can you solicit a continuous feedback loop so users are able to openly communicate when a tool isn’t working for them, and action is taken rapidly?

Finding the answers to these questions will help marketing organizations find greater efficiency and effectiveness with martech in 2021.

[bctt tweet=”“The balance between not enough martech and too much martech is a delicate one.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

5 — Artificial intelligence keeps growing and embedding

The buzz around marketing technology seems to vary from month to month, with a new category or niche entering and then exiting the spotlight. One that never seems to lose its luster, however, is AI. This is because the technology is powerful and endlessly applicable.

We already see AI being widely leveraged in modern marketing strategies — chatbots, predictive analytics, deep learning, etc. — but the potential remains so much greater, and I believe we’ll continue to see it realized in the coming year. One threadline I’ll be keeping a close eye on is formative AI, cited as a trend driving Gartner’s hype cycle of emerging technologies in 2020.

“Formative AI is a type of AI capable of dynamically changing to respond to a situation,” according to Gartner. “There are a variety of types, ranging from AI that can dynamically adapt over time to technologies that can generate novel models to solve specific problems.”

How could formative AI come into play for marketing in order to drive more personalized and memorable B2B marketing experiences? Go ahead and dream on it. That’s what separates us from the machines, after all. (Or at least one of the differences pondered by Blade Runner and its source material.)

Marketing Technology Will Always Have Its Place

This chaotic year of 2020 has served to reinforce the immense value of technology in my day-to-day. Without having easy access to chat apps, video-conferencing platforms, shared documents, and other digital tools, a day in the life of a content marketer during the pandemic would be far more challenging and inefficient. Instead, I’m basically able to do my job seamlessly without much disruption, other than the lack of seeing my coworkers’ faces IRL.

I do miss that very much, and for all the talk about technologies to watch in 2021, I’m most hopeful for a return to semi-normal human interaction and physical proximity. Up until then, and after, martech will help us continue to keep audiences (and ourselves) educated, entertained, engaged and connected through the digital space.

I don’t know about flying cars or skyscraper billboards, but I can say with confidence that the future of marketing and its technologies is going to look a lot more like 2020 than any years preceding.

For more insight into what the next year may hold, click over to our post from Lane Ellis on 8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021.

The post B2B Marketing Technology in 2021: 5 Key Focuses appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

B2B Marketing News: Digital Ad Spend Grows, LinkedIn’s New Lead Gen & Ad Tools, What Drives Customer Loyalty, & The Success Of Mobile Streaming

2020 September 11 IAB Chart

2020 September 11 IAB Chart

75% of people unlikely to use branded hashtags, survey finds
A quarter of consumers have engaged with customer reviews over the past 30 days, while 26 percent said they are likely to review a business on a third-party website — two of several finding of interest to digital marketers in recent survey data examining the performance of user-generated content (UGC) for brands. Mobile Marketer

Merkle: How Much Loyalty Customers Have Depends On Several Factors
When it comes to driving brand loyalty, 35 percent of millennials and Gen Z desire badges and 27 percent want leaderboards — as the demographic values competition and achievement, while older consumers prefer writing online reviews, taking surveys, or attending events — two of the findings of interest to digital marketers in newly-released report data. MediaPost

LinkedIn Publishes New Guide on How to Use its Ad Tools for Brand Building and Lead Generation
To help balance lead generation with brand building efforts, LinkedIn (client) has released a new guide for marketers, including updated information on the professional social media platform’s audience reach and ad tools, the Microsoft-owned firm recently announced. Social Media Today

Snapchat had a big August amid TikTok uncertainty
Snapchat saw 28.5 million app installations during August, its highest number in more than a year, up some 29 percent year-over-year, according to recently-released app store intelligence estimates. TechCrunch

CMO Job Changes Up 15% Despite COVID-19
The technology sector has led the way with the most marketing job moves, recently-released study research shows, with a 15 percent jump in the number of top level marketing moves in 2020 through June. Forbes

Consumers Have Adopted New Habits Since the Pandemic, but Don’t Think They’re All Here to Stay
21 percent of consumers have been shopping online more during the pandemic and say that they plan to continue doing so in post-pandemic times, as are eight percent who say they have been taking part in more group video chats, according to recently-released survey data examining which consumer changes are most likely to become permanent. MarketingCharts

2020 September 11 Statistics Image

Exclusive: U.S. media spending drops 19.1 percent in first half of 2020
Between January and June U.S. media spending fell by some 19 percent compared to the same period in 2019, with the tightening of purse-strings having the least impact on digital advertising, according to recently-published report data. AdAge

Audio Streaming on Smartphones Grows in Popularity
Streaming audio usage via smartphones was up some 28 percent during the first quarter of 2020, while audio streaming on tablets increased by a more modest four percent, according to recently-released survey data of U.S. adults, also showing that smartphone audio streaming opportunities for marketers have expanded. MarketingCharts

Microsoft Advertising expands LinkedIn Profile, dynamic remarketing, in-market audience targeting
Microsoft’s Bing advertising tools have added an array of new features for B2B marketers allowing the use of more advanced LinkedIn profile targeting, expanding the scope of audience targeting as well as the geographic availability of a previous test, the company recently announced. Search Engine Land

Traditional media suffer as digital ad spend grows in 2020 forecast shows
Paid search and social advertising are bright spots for media spending, as digital spending is expected to increase by six percent in 2020 while total ad spend will fall by eight percent, according to recently-released Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) forecast data. Search Engine Land

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 11 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “the productivity trap” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Employees Returning to Work for First Time in Months Discover Office Overrun by Weeds — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) / TopRank Marketing — 2020 Finalists and Winners – Content Marketing Awards — Content Marketing Awards
  • Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Make the List — LinkedIn (client)
  • Lee Odden — Humor In Content Marketing: It’s NOT About Being Funny — Mark Armstrong
  • TopRank Marketing — Judging a blog by its cover — COM 311 Blogs

Do you have your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for joining us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope you’ll return again next Friday and tune in for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: Digital Ad Spend Grows, LinkedIn’s New Lead Gen & Ad Tools, What Drives Customer Loyalty, & The Success Of Mobile Streaming appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021

Professional business-woman smiling image.

Professional business-woman smiling image.

What do B2B marketers stand to gain by using Reddit?

Just how effective is Reddit for advertising and organic marketing communication, and what are some of the top tips and advice for B2B marketers new to Reddit or those looking to expand their presence on the social media platform?

Let’s take a look at the answers to these questions and more, including eight things B2B marketers need to know about social news aggregator and discussion platform Reddit, including why more businesses than ever will be using the platform in 2021 and beyond.

While by no means a thorough guide to marketing with Reddit, we’ll explore what it is, who uses it, what it’s doing to help marketers, how some B2B marketers are using it, plus some of the latest news from the social media platform.

1 — What Is Reddit & Who Uses It?

As one of the world’s most used websites and the fifth most-visited in the U.S., Reddit presently counts some 430 million average monthly active users, generating more than 30 billion monthly views of user-generated content in over 130 thousand message board communities.

74 percent of consumers in a joint Reddit and YPulse survey said in a whitepaper that Reddit — founded 15 years ago — is where they learn about the topics they love the most.

Earlier this year our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite advised B2B marketers to proceed, but with some caution, when considering Reddit, in “6 Unconventional Social Channels for B2B Marketing.”

“If your target audience is on Reddit, it’s worth testing the waters with a few sponsored posts. Just keep it transparent, honest and genuine: There’s a whole sub-Reddit devoted to mocking tone-deaf marketing,” Joshua urged.

In my article “B2B Marketing Mythbusters: Dispelling 10 Common Myths with Extraordinary Marketing,” I used Reddit as an example of the myth that B2B marketers don’t use cool social media platforms, and pointed out that Fortune 500 firms now regularly have social media presences on the more fashionable social channels such as Giphy, Snapchat, Facebook Horizons — the social media giant’s foray into the virtual reality (VR) world — and certainly Reddit.

2 — What Is Reddit Doing To Help Marketers?

Reddit Screenshot

Reddit has noted its ability to let advertisers target their audiences, tell their stories, and measure their success, along with the opportunity to reach influential communities where millions of people are engaging with relevant content — all areas that B2B marketers are keen on improving.

Reddit offers a variety of promoted post options that let marketers place ads throughout the platform as well as in the firm’s official app.

To encourage businesses to try advertising on the platform, over the past year Reddit has partnered with three research firms and released report data showing some of the advantages Reddit offers over other social media sites.

In conjunction with Verto Analytics, Reddit has explored how the platform offers a unique path to driving purchases, in “Reddit’s Role in the Path to Purchase.”

The study compared some 1,500 instances of product research on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest, and found that Reddit users evaluate just over twice as many brands in up to four times as many research sessions as on other platforms, with the notable exclusion of LinkedIn*, traditionally the leading social media platform among B2B marketers, which was not included in the survey.

The study noted that Reddit users decide on purchases nine times faster than on other social platforms, spend 15 percent more, and are some 13 percent more likely to share positive messages about a brand both online and offline. For B2B marketers dealing with often lengthy sales cycles, some of the speed advantages seen for Reddit could be a welcome experience.

Reddit users appear to spend more time in the consideration stage of the purchasing journey than those on other platforms — with its 32 percent tally versus 20 percent for other platforms, and they also tend to spend less time in the decision making stage.

Reddit Purchase Journey

The study also found that a whopping 90 percent of consumers trust the research they do using Reddit more than other websites or apps, a situation that will appeal to B2B marketers who have been working hard to rebuild eroded trust in marketing, as our CEO Lee Odden explored recently in “In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience.”

Earlier this year Reddit joined with GlobalWebIndex to conduct a study examining Reddit’s increasing role in the online community space, resulting in the 29-page “The Era of We and the Rise of Online Communities” report.

The report offers marketers looking to begin advertising on Reddit a fair amount of background data including what the platform’s users want brands to be using Reddit for, with the leading desired qualities being content that is:

  • Bold
  • Exclusive
  • Funny
  • Trendy / Cool
  • Reliable

Reddit Brand Qualities

3 — How Are B2B Marketers Using Reddit?

“We’re using data sets like Reddit, where the depth and the quality of conversation are extremely high in the communities,” Brian Wright, social media listening and intelligence leader at Wells Fargo recently told eMarketer.

Jennifer Heyman, vice president of digital and social media at Wells Fargo, also mentioned Reddit in our annual social media marketing trends article, “13 Top B2B Social Media Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2020.”

“My prediction is that brands will divert spend from large paid awareness campaigns to more targeted authentic conversations found on platforms like Reddit or in Facebook Groups,” Jennifer observed.

“Essentially a shift of paid spend to the channels enabling a more focused and direct conversation with a customer. Personalization will continue to dominate social conversation, as brands emphasize both staying connected and infusing some fun into the message,” she added.

[bctt tweet=”Brands will shift social media focus from paid spend to channels enabling a more focused and direct conversation with a customer. @jheyman ” username=”toprank”]

Wells Fargo also mentions Reddit in some of its educational resources, noting that “Sites like Reddit and Quora are also popular options where potential students can talk about applying to schools,” all joining to highlight the social media platform’s increasing presence among large businesses.

Marketers promoting podcasts can connect with specific audiences on Reddit, or in its podcast-specific /r/podcasting sub-Reddit. Outside of that sub-Reddit, podcast marketers can generally find greater acceptance by first becoming known to an audience on the platform rather than posting links — to podcasts or any manner of outside content — right off the bat.

Podcasts have seen increasing numbers of listeners during the pandemic, and we’ve examined the growing success of podcasting among B2B marketers in several recently article including “What B2B Podcasters Need to Know About SEO” and “B2B Podcasting: 20 Stats that Make the Marketing Case.”

4 — AMAs Find A Welcome Home On Reddit

Reddit has also been a popular platform for hosting ask-me-anything (AMA) events, which can be a good way for B2B firms to begin utilizing the service if the interviewee is especially relevant to a particular topic.

Even NASA used Reddit’s /askscience sub-Reddit for a recent AMA event with planetary scientists and astrobiologists, which the organization cross-promoted on its LinkedIn and other social media accounts.

Technology giant Accenture also recently used its /accenture sub-Reddit for an AMA with its managing director Tristan Morel L’Horset, and last year the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity conducted its first Reddit-hosted AMA, featuring the noted festival’s managing director Simon Cook.

5 — Finding Relevant Audiences & Low-Hanging Keywords

In “The Guide to Unbundling Reddit,” Greg Isenberg, growth advisor at TikTok, has examined how Reddit has been affected by the pandemic, and looks at tools such as RedditList.com for finding relevant audiences.

The folks at Backlinko recently explored how to use keyword-finding tools such as those from SEMrush or Ahrefs to find relevant Reddit keywords for marketing efforts, in “17 Advanced SEO Techniques for 2020.”

HubSpot also recently took a look at some of the challenges and opportunities marketers face using Reddit, in “Everything Our Paid Team Learned From Attempting a Reddit Advertising Strategy,” finding the platform’s audience engagement a key advantage.

6 — Reddit’s Penchant For Technology Industry Professionals

With an especially avid cadre of technology enthusiasts, Reddit joins developer communities at GitHub, LinkedIn, HackerNews and others as go-to social destinations for engineers and programmers, making it a good choice for B2B firms in those sectors.

The tech-savvy nature of many of the communities on Reddit may seem merciless and intimidating at first glance, however with proper interactions brands can find valuable communication possibilities on the platform, especially when B2B marketers take the time to understand their audience and the questions they’re asking.

7 — Reddit Helps Customers Vent & Connect

Reddit joined Twitter and Facebook as the go-to platforms for venting about poor brand experiences online, with Twitter typically offering the speediest replies from brands — according to survey data from WhoIsHostingThis?

Who Is Hosting This Image

With enough effort, B2B brands that genuinely care about addressing such concerns can find Reddit a good spot for building goodwill, as we explored in “Wow Your Crowd: How Content Marketers Can Create Powerful Audience Connections,” and “B2B Marketers, Are Your Content Marketing Efforts Sparking Joy for Your Audience?

8 — What Else Is Up With Reddit Lately?

Reddit is presently running an “Up the Vote” brand marketing campaign — its first — as Adweek’s Sara Jerde chronicled in “Reddit’s Cheeky Marketing Campaign Encourages Users to Vote.”

In May Reddit tapped a former Pinterest and Google advertising leader in a move aimed at bringing more brand advertising activity to the platform, a shift that also saw the firm restructuring its sales team to adjust to changes brought by the global health crisis.

This year Reddit also rolled out its most visible advertising format to date, with “Trending Takeover” 24-hour campaigns that offer prime exposure advertisers, after having tested the format with partners including Adobe* and Spotify.

Adobe previously partnered with Reddit for a unique collaborative global digital canvas, with “Reddit X Adobe,” featuring thousands of artistic layers of imagery from users around the world.

Make Your Reddit High Noon Move Count

via GIPHY

While Reddit may no longer be the wild west for B2B marketers, incorporating it into your strategy doesn’t have to be a shootout at high noon if you take to heart the information we’ve explored together here.

When coupled with a powerful strategy such as B2B influencer marketing, Reddit can play an important role in driving successful business and customer communications.

* LinkedIn and Adobe are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post 8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

How to Win at B2B Influence With The Magic of Content Co-Creation

Win B2B Influence

Win B2B Influence
Today we live in an age of information overload where the speed of content discovery and the variety of options for media consumption across connected devices presents new challenges for B2B brands and buyers alike.

The natural response for buyers is to filter their choices and focus those few sources which are most trusted, credible and meaningful. For brands that want to differentiate and even dominate in their category, becoming known as “the best answer” for their domain of expertise will have enormous impact.

The challenge of increased digital sophistication brings an opportunity: businesses can differentiate and capture market attention by growing their authority and influence.

Content is a top priority for brands.
Numerous research studies continue to support the fact that content marketing is a top priority for marketers but there are also some challenges; companies find it difficult to produce enough content, as well as create content that engages and has enough variety.

Even when companies are able to produce high quality, relevant content on a regular basis, the challenge of distribution and reach is a concern for many. Part of the solution is to connect B2B content creation efforts with internal and industry influencers that already have communities they engage with on the same topics.

Influencer content and authority.
Brands aren’t the only non-traditional online publishers. Subject matter experts are also able to publish through social networks and media, blogs and increasingly easy contributions to online publications.  Besides creating topically competitive content, SME publishing has empowered individuals to attract their own audiences and become as influential as the some of the companies they buy from.

In addition to working with established influencers, brands can nurture future influencers to create a more effective brand community that exponentially scales reach and engagement.

The shock of content proliferation.
As a result of the content explosion, brands are faced with the reality that the majority of the content they produce might never be discovered or engaged. At the same time, brands must recognize their customers are becoming more influential about the same topics brands are spending advertising and marketing budgets on.

When business customers are empowered to create, consume, publish, interact and transact anytime, anywhere, how do brands break through to create meaningful connections and engagement? How does the dynamic of content and influence help fulfill buyer information discovery, consumption and engagement expectations while delivering on business outcomes for the brand?

As a vehicle for influence, content is one of the most powerful tools in a digital marketer’s mix to attract, engage and inspire buyers to act.

“Content co-creation is the currency for building relationships that can boost credibility, influence and action.”

The B2B content + influence solution.
A business content and influencer marketing strategy can be one of the most effective combinations B2B marketers can make.  By incorporating relevant influencers that can inspire action with content marketing efforts, marketers can reach new audiences with brand messages that are credible and trusted.

Influencer driven content marketing is also one of the best examples of how digital marketing and public relations are converging. The integration of messaging, content, social media and engagement right along with the promotion of information and media designed to inspire transactions should be the focus of any business that wants to differentiate and grow.

Buyers trust influential experts.
The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report reveals that 77% of B2B marketers believe their prospects rely on advice from industry influencers. Additionally, 84% trust influencers to create brand awareness and 69% count on influencers to help generate new leads.

While B2B content marketing on its own is effective, working with influential experts to co-create content is an approach that yields surprising results.

Lead with Empathy
Influencer content gets results.
When the pandemic swept through the world in early 2020, monday.com identified an opportunity to help support teams that had gone from working in-office to working remotely.

As a provider of remote project management software this transition created an opportunity for our client monday.com to position itself as a valuable resource for remote teams. Monday.com partnered with TopRank Marketing to develop an influencer marketing campaign featuring industry experts that could reach and engage remote work teams more effectively than the brand on its own.

Seasoned experts and influencers in the remote work space were engaged to collaborate on and promote content published on the brand site, on the influencers own sites, brand social channels and via livestream.

By engaging influencers with audiences hungry for information about remote work best practices, this campaign added value to the target audience and increased awareness of monday.com’s offering with impressive results:

  • 17.9M in potential reach from brand mentions by influencers (goal was 1M)
  • Over 300K organic impressions on social media
  • Nearly 3k video views of a live stream featuring two industry experts within the first week

See the full Monday.com influencer marketing case study here.

By connecting with market and niche influencers and working with them to achieve mutually beneficial goals, modern marketers can create invaluable relationships with authoritative experts. These connections can result in the creation of high quality, relevant and authoritative content that serves the interests of the influencer and the brand as well as providing access and reach to the influencer’s community.

B2B influencers are credible, authoritative individuals who have an engaged community that follows and acts on their thought leadership.

Winning at B2B Influencer Marketing means working with influencers to affect change in thought and action amongst a network towards goals that are mutually beneficial to the brand, the influencer and their community. Whether it is a partnership to co-create content or more general advocacy, business influencers open doors for brands to connect with engaged buyers they might otherwise never reach in a meaningful way.

“Everyone is influential about something.”

B2B influencers can be industry professionals, they could also be inside a company as subject matter experts or a company’s own customers. Influencer relationships with brands often include a value exchange of some kind and it’s up to the company and influencer to decide whether that’s an exchange of information, visibility, compensation or something else.

The essential questions of B2B influencer content.
To be effective when working with business influencers, B2B brands need to consider what they want the influencer to do for them beyond a simple endorsement.

  • How will the influencer’s involvement help the company reach a particular business goal?
  • What will an ongoing relationship with influencers mean to the brand’s marketing efforts and reputation in the industry?
  • Also, what kind of content does it make the most sense for the influencer to contribute to?
  • How does the brand want to be known and which influencers already have that credibility and authority?

These questions and more will be answered in the following model for B2B influencer content co-creation.

6 best practices for working with and influencing B2B influencers to co-create content:

  1. Identify Influencer Program Goals
  2. Research, Engage and Recruit Influencers
  3. Develop Co-Created Content with Influencers
  4. Inspire Content Promotion
  5. Influencer Measurement and Program Optimization
  6. Ongoing Influencer Relationships

1. Identify Influencer Program Goals – Serving different audiences (influencers, brand, prospects, industry media) requires a strategy that identifies distinct goals. While most subject matter experts and influencers desire increased visibility, B2B brands will want to grow their expertise for a topic amongst a target audience and attract new business. Consumers of the influencer content will want expert information from someone they trust. Industry news media will want examples they can reference and subject matter experts they can cite.

Just starting out, co-created influencer content can be as simple as a value exchange: increased exposure for both the influencer and the brand with the objective of attracting new target audience engagement and influencing a spectrum of conversion actions: subscribe, download, register, request information.

As an influencer content program matures, goals can become more sophisticated and multi-faceted to include public relations, recruiting, customer marketing and more advanced customer acquisition.

B2B influencer content programs should be tied into the content marketing plan and editorial calendar. An important part of designing an effective influencer content program is to identify the specific topics to be covered. Specifying topics and themes will drive all subsequent actions in the program from influencer recruiting to planning which media type to create to content promotion.

2. Research, Engage and Recruit Influencers – It’s important to identify the key themes that represent topical focus for the brand, the product or service and the campaign or program that you will creating with influencers. The sooner your company specifies these topical areas of focus, the sooner influencers can be identified and engaged.

“The time to start recruiting influencers is long before you need them. Romance takes time.”

It can be useful to start influencer identification by brainstorming with executives, marketing, communications and product managers to develop a list of known topical experts and even nominations of specific individual influencers. However, subjective measures like these bring heavy bias. It is always a good idea to validate influencer recommendations using data about topical relevance, resonance of that topic with the influencer’s audience and the their network size. There are many influencer marketing platforms which can provide the data needed to properly filter which individuals are perceived as influential by the communities that listen to them.

Influencer sourcing and engagement takes time. Many influencer co-created content projects will draw from both existing influencer relationships and involve making new influencer connections. Initial recruiting might be limited to small, easy projects that advance the relationship to more robust and substantial time commitments.

It is possible to jump start an influencer content program by working with a specialist agency that already has relationships with relevant industry influencers.

The most common mistake businesses make with influencers is to qualify them based purely on network size (fans, friends and followers) and affinity to a certain industry or area of interest. Without the ability to affect the way a network thinks and how they act, an influencer isn’t really influencing anyone.

“A brandividual is popular. An influencer is effective at creating popularity.”

Topical relevance, resonance and reach characteristics will be useful with influencer discovery tools like BuzzSumo which focuses on Twitter data. There are also robust tools like Traackr or Onalytica.

After you use a tool to identify and initially qualify influencers for each topic, then you can bring that list back to your internal subject matter experts to manually review and filter. Of course, no influencer discovery tool is perfect. Correlation between internal recommendations and data from an influencer marketing platform might take more time, but it’s a best practice for distinguishing between brandividuals and effective influencers.

When recruiting influencers, there are several important considerations:

  • Relevancy and effort to ask ratio – It has to be timely and on message with what they stand for. It also has to be easy for them to do. Popular, smart people are busy!
  • Be clever or humorous – Nothing cuts through the crap like humor but most of all, be a real person when you communicate, not salesy, pushy or entitled
  • You are a known entity – Having a reputation as a brand or being a well-known person in the industry is very useful. Previous personal contact with the influencer is even more valuable.
  • Vision of the project – Be able to articulate what the influencer’s involvement will be and what it will do for them personally. Also show how the project will help others.
  • Optimize for attract – Create influencer projects so good and so well known, people compete to be involved.

What doesn’t work.
Presumptive, high expectation recruiting pitches with no personalization and little upside for the influencer rarely work. It’s the equivalent of a stranger approaching you and saying, “Let’s get married”.

The time to start creating relationships with influencers is long before you actually need them. If a company is thinking that working with influencers is even a remote possibility, they should start identifying, qualifying and engaging with them now. That way, when the time comes to work together on a project, there’s already some familiarity and credibility before “the ask”.

Effective influencer recruiting for content co-creation projects comes down to being relevant and interesting, respectful and to deliver a great experience that results in a desire for more.

3. Develop Co-Created Content with Influencers – The content marketing plan for co-created influencer content should identify the primary and sub-themes, the influencers to work with for those assets, the types of contributions the influencers will make, the type of content to be created, deconstructed component parts, social share messages and details on repurposing.

Go modular – Modular content planning allows pre-promotion of the co-created content project to build momentum for launch and then deconstruction of the content for customized repurposing and social promotion on networks, blogs, and the media.

Select topics – Topics represent the themes and areas of focus for planning editorial and for sourcing influencers. Topic alignment between brand, influencer and community is essential for mutual value to be created.

Identify type of content or media mix – Types of content are often determined by the content marketing plan, and target audience. At the same time, there are some types of content more amenable to co-creation with influencers such as eBooks, reports, blog posts, quoted infographics and video compilations. A clear line of sight must be present between the co-created content and the content objectives in the marketing plan.

Once influencers, topics and media types are identified, a campaign to request content is initiated. Setting expectations during the recruitment phase for how participation will work is essential. Influencers are busy people and providing a timeline with due date, clear instructions and even examples will result in a higher participation rate.

Influencer content collection requests are often more effective when a few A-list influencers are already on board with the project. Leverage their name recognition to influence other influencers to participate.

Be prepared to send 2 to 3 content collection emails and when the deadline arrives, do not be afraid to use a fear of loss pitch. But by all means, be cordial, helpful and respectful.

4. Inspire Content Promotion – Influencer communications should provide expectations and clear timelines along with the benefits for all when a co-created influencer content project is successful.

Providing influencers with tools such as sharing images, pre-written tweets, embed codes and short URLs can substantially increase promotion participation and reach.

There are four important considerations when encouraging influencers to help promote the content they helped your company create.

Create content worth sharing. Topics that address issues that are important to the influencer will get your foot in the door and useful, visually compelling content will inspire them to open that door and share. Reaching out blindly and asking to share doesn’t work as well as having a connection first and then asking.

Let the ego do the talking. Content that includes an influencer’s contribution will probably get shared even more. Because let’s face it, people love to see themselves get recognized. Better yet, ask them to participate in the creation of the content.

However, when mentioning influencers in content it’s essential that it be credible, high quality and creative. Most influencers have caught on to the tactic of simply mentioning famous industry people just to get them to share. There must be value created that inspires and earns the share

Make it fun and easy. When emailing a promotion request, consider making it funny or at least clever. We’ve gone so far as to write outlandish examples of what NOT to do or suggest fake prizes for contributing like his/her beard scarves or beef jerky underwear.

Also make it especially easy for the influencer to share. Capture their attention, succinctly explain what it is and what you want them to do. Then offer pre-written social share text that’s even personalized just for them. You may even create a resource page with images and other share options for them to use.

Pay them. Either compensate the influencer with information and promotion or simply pay them to share your content. Once you start down this road, it’s pretty difficult to get off, so plan for continued compensation once you start.

5. Influencer Measurement and Program Optimization – Individual influencer promotions of the co-created content project can be measured based on social network shares, sentiment of those shares, engagement on the topic, links and blog pickups.

Embeds used by influencers to create blog posts can be tracked for referred search traffic along with referred social traffic from their links. Referred traffic that results in website visits can be further analyzed for metrics such as time on site, categories of content consumed, leads and sales.

Overall reach, engagement, traffic, leads and sales for the content project can be tracked as well, taking note of the contributions made by influencers towards key performance metrics like growing affinity between a topic and the brand as well as business outcomes like leads and sales.

6. Ongoing Influencer Relationships – Beyond the campaign or program at hand, do make the effort to continue the relationship with influencers you have worked with. The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research found that 12 times more B2B marketers who run Always-On influencer marketing programs are successful vs. those running intermittent campaigns. Focus on creating a great experience for contributing subject matter experts and they’ll be very interested in working with your brand again on future projects.

The more influencer programs you develop, the more influencers you will have connections with and draw from. Remember, when it comes to promotions, you can also ask past influencers who are not part of your current program to help, since they are aware of the value that would bring and the effect of “a rising tide lifts all ships.”

Ways to stay connected and Always-On with influencers in a meaningful way include:

  • Offer them feedback after the program about the effect of their contribution
  • Cite influencers in your future blog posts
  • Connect and engage with influencers on social networks
  • Refer influencer expertise to other companies that could use them (i.e. help them get work)
  • Cite influencers in contributed articles to industry magazines, newspapers, websites and newsletters.
  • Include them in future projects

Whether your brand is engaging with influencers to provide useful information or you’re co-creating content with influencers to create a useful industry resource that will be shared with new communities, there’s a value exchange that can benefits everyone involved. Content is the key to that value transfer between brand and consumer, brand and influencer and for the overall community involved.

To learn more about B2B influencer and content marketing best practices, be sure to check out the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, or contact us directly at TopRank Marketing.

The post How to Win at B2B Influence With The Magic of Content Co-Creation appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

B2B Marketing News: Mobile Apps Thrive, Carousels Most Engaging Format on Instagram, Facebook’s Horizon VR, & Data Security’s Customer Loyalty Connection

2020 September 4 Socialinsider Chart

2020 September 4 Socialinsider Chart

COVID-19 drives more business to B2B marketplaces
Global marketplace growth is being led by the B2B segment, with sales expected to hit $3.6 trillion by 2024 — up from $680 billion in 2018 — according to recently-released report data of interest to digital marketers, which also showed that 89 percent of purchasing managers are spending at least the same or significantly more because of pandemic circumstances. Digital Commerce 360

How Committed Are Big Advertisers to Content Marketing?
Over the past two years major advertisers have doubled their commitment to content marketing, with 52 percent of senior-level marketers saying their firm is strongly committed to content marketing — up from 26 percent two years ago, according to recently-released survey data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and The Content Council. MarketingProfs

The Pandemic Pushes A Rebound in Mobile App Opens
Technology, Internet and productivity app opens saw a 55 percent year-over-year increase from March through June, with business app opens up 26 percent and finance and insurance industry app opens seeing a 22 percent rise, according to newly-released report data highlighting strong positive shifts from app opens during March. MarketingCharts

Facebook Announces Beta Launch of ‘Horizon’ VR Social Experience
Facebook has launched a test version of its Horizon virtual reality (VR) social media experience, offering features for collaboration along with social interaction elements — available via waiting list — the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

Influencer Followers Will Continue Spending More Time on Social Media After Restrictions Lift
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 recently-released GlobalWebIndex survey data.. eMarketer

LinkedIn lets Page owners view, sort, learn more about their followers
LinkedIn (client) has launched an array of new features for its business pages, including more detailed page follower information, page-related event listings, and new employee content sharing and curation options, the Microsoft-owned professional social media platform recently announced. Search Engine Land

2020 September 4 Statistics Image

Twitter Tests Replacing ‘Retweets and comments’ with New ‘Quotes’ Count
Twitter has begun testing the use of a combined “quotes” metric comprised of the platform’s longstanding retweet and comment counts, in an effort to visually simplify its user experience elements, the firm has announced. Social Media Today

Google Ads to limit Search Terms reporting, citing privacy
Google has started notifying its Google Ads users that certain infrequently-searched terms will no longer be available in the Google Ads search terms report — a move the search giant says is aimed at protecting user data and maintain privacy standards, Google recently announced. The move has led certain advertisers to question whether the Google Ads change will remove the ability to discover helpful search terms. Search Engine Land

Want to create loyal customers? Get on the bleeding edge of data security
Brand loyalty is tied to strong data privacy, with 31 percent of U.S. consumers seeing it as the most important factor, while 40 percent said that trustworthiness is tops when it comes to brand loyalty, according to recently-released survey data also showing that 42 percent refuse to share sensitive personal data for any reason. TechRepublic

Instagram Carousels Are the Most Engaging Post Type [STUDY]
10-slide carousel posts have seen the highest engagement rates on Instagram, according to newly-released survey data from Socialinsider of interest to digital marketers. The study of some 22 million Instagram posts also shows that the use of carousels has risen faster than video content, while traditional image publication has fallen. Search Engine Journal

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 4 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “the rise of the customer service bots” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

The hashtag turns 13 — Chris Messina

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden / TopRank Marketing — New Report Says B2B Influencer Marketing Still Has Massive Room For Growth — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — Keynote Lineup for Pubcon Pro Virtual 2020 — Pubcon
  • TopRank Marketing — Nicht nur für B2C: Wie B2B-Unternehmen von Influencer Marketing profitieren [In German] — Futurebiz
  • Lee Odden — Monday’s Marketing Minute: The Relaunch — Mack Collier
  • Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Who Tells Your (Brand’s) Story? — LinkedIn (client)
  • TopRank Marketing — The Essential Qualities B2B Brands Look for in Influencers — MarketingProfs
  • TopRank Marketing — MGM Resorts cuts 18,000 jobs, NBA teams to offer arenas as voting locations, and 78% of B2B marketers say prospects rely on influencers’ opinions — PR Daily
  • TopRank Marketing — Influencer marketing daje pozytywne skutki w marketingu B2B [In Polish] — SOCIALPRESS

Have you located your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope you’ll return again next Friday and tune in for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: Mobile Apps Thrive, Carousels Most Engaging Format on Instagram, Facebook’s Horizon VR, & Data Security’s Customer Loyalty Connection appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


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Your Guide to Effective Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing

Book Laying in Front of Tranquil Lake Scenery

Book Laying in Front of Tranquil Lake Scenery

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a guy who understands content. He was the featured keynote speaker at Content Marketing World three years ago, and his company HitRecord empowers creators to collaborate and produce awesome stuff together.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt also understands storytelling. He is an actor, director, producer, and writer who has appeared in numerous beloved movies and TV shows. His work as an author includes a series of works called The Book of Tiny Stories.

“The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of tiny stories,” the tagline asserts.

Given his experience and expertise at the intersection of content and storytelling, it’s worth listening any time Gordon-Levitt speaks on these subjects. So I definitely took notice when the film icon suggested recently that the future of storytelling lies not in movies, but video games.

The gaming medium “feels like kind of the most groundbreaking storytelling,” Gordon-Levitt observed in a new episode of the YouTube show Hot Ones. “Storytelling that’s completely in a whole different realm than anything we’ve seen before.”

Personally, I can’t disagree with him. I love video games, in large part due to the immersion of a well-crafted narrative that draws the player into an interactive virtual world. And while marketing departments aren’t exactly concocting the next Grand Theft Auto, we do have the ability to deliver storytelling experiences that go above and beyond, by embracing many of the same principles that make video games such an appealing format in the eyes of Gordon-Levitt and others.

Of course, the formula for impactful storytelling in B2B content marketing is different from video games, or movies, even though it might share commonalities with both. To help you develop stories that engage and activate your professional audience, I’ve developed a blueprint, which I’ve dubbed the S.T.O.R.Y. model.

The S.T.O.R.Y Model for Great Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing

Sizzle. Tension. Originality. Relevance. Yearning. Every stellar piece of storytelling in B2B content marketing encompasses these five words. Let’s break down each one, and how they come together for a powerful experience. (We’ll lean on JGL to visualize these concepts.)

Sizzle

sizzle (n): a state or quality of great excitement or passion

In Gordon-Levitt’s world of filmmaking, a “sizzle reel” refers to a short, fast-paced video edit featuring the best of someone’s past work. Sizzle reels are often put together by actors who distribute them in hopes of landing gigs. As the name suggests, these reels need to sizzle: The excitement and passion must be on display right away in order to wrangle the attention of a casting director sorting through hundreds of them.

The B2B marketer’s directive is no different. Earning the attention of our audiences in the era of rampant content saturation means we need to bring it. If your story does not imbue a genuine and immediately discernible sense of passion and excitement, it may very well not be worth telling.

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Tension

tension (n): a balance maintained in an artistic work between opposing forces or elements

Sizzle is how you grab the audience’s attention with your story. Tension is how you keep it. Storytellers can build tension by referencing or hinting at something early on, and then gradually working toward the payoff.

This dynamic was explained beautifully by Andrew Davis at CM World – one year after Gordon-Levitt’s appearance – in his opening 2018 keynote exploring the “curiosity gap” and how it counteracts dwindling attention spans. I had the pleasure of watching Davis break it down alongside my colleague Ashley Zeckman, who recapped the session here on our blog. Read her post and you’ll learn everything you need to know about using tension to keep your audience hooked.

[bctt tweet=”“The more tension you raise, the more your audience needs to see the outcome.” @DrewDavisHere #Storytelling #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

via GIPHY

Originality

originality (n): freshness of aspect, design, or style

In order to be memorable, it must be novel.

While it’s valuable to keep someone watching or reading to completion, we’re not telling a great story simply because they absorbed the whole thing. We’re telling a great story if it sticks with them. To this end, freshness and originality are essential qualities.

The human brain can only consciously store so many memories. There isn’t much room for redundancy.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel with every story you tell, but there should always be at least one inventive or unexpected element that makes it feel unique.

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Relevance

relevance (n): the quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate

From one view, the word “relevance” is incredibly broad. From another, it is narrow as can be.

Example: Coronavirus is relevant to every human being on Planet Earth right now. But, what about the mental health impact of a pandemic on first-time telecommuters, and how HR managers can provide meaningful support? Now you’ve zeroed in.

Here is where we begin to diverge from standard forms of entertainment. Great art often speaks to the many. Great B2B content marketing should speak to the few, but in a fiercely resonant way.

[bctt tweet=”“Great art often speaks to the many. Great B2B content marketing should speak to the few, but in a fiercely resonant way.” @NickNelsonMN #Storytelling #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

via GIPHY

Yearning

yearning (n): a feeling of intense longing for something

And here is where we fully settle into the marketing realm. Leaving the viewer with a sense of yearning is a common objective in entertainment – think cliffhangers – but only in content marketing is it requisite for efficacy.

This doesn’t mean someone finishes your story and has a yearning to go buy the product or service. That’s an unlikely (albeit highly impressive) outcome. It means they yearn for more – more installments in the series, more content from the brand, more information on the website, more social media posts from the account.

via GIPHY

Tell Your Brand’s S.T.O.R.Y.

When your story sizzles, builds tension, exudes originality, sparks relevant tones with a defined audience, and leaves the reader or viewer yearning for more … you’ve got yourself a highly effective piece of B2B content marketing. The specifics within this framework are flexible and open to your own creative spin – you’d hardly be able to check the “originality” box if that wasn’t the case – but the overarching principles of impactful marketing narratives are quite consistent in every successful production. They’re most often found in movies and video games too, for that matter.

via GIPHY

To learn how you can apply this formula to establish stronger relationships with your audience, check out my blog post on channeling the skills of Abraham Lincoln to build trust through storytelling.

The post Your Guide to Effective Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


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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®.


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