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Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

YouTube Officially Rolls Out YouTube Stories

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore YouTube’s rollout of YouTube Stories to more creators. Our special guest is Steve Dotto. Watch the Social Media […]

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Digital Marketing News: Facebook’s Keyword Alerts For Groups, YouTube’s Stories, B2B Budget Study, & Social Transparency

The post Digital Marketing News: Facebook’s Keyword Alerts For Groups, YouTube’s Stories, B2B Budget Study, & Social Transparency appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Twitter Marketing: Creative Ways to Connect With Your Audience

Wondering how Twitter engagement can help your business? Looking for tips on sharing authentic tweets and conversations with prospects? To explore creative ways to interact with your Twitter fans, I interview Dan Knowlton. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what works […]

The post Twitter Marketing: Creative Ways to Connect With Your Audience appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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#SproutChat Calendar: Upcoming Topics for December 2018

‘Tis the season to focus, put all your 2019 planning into motion and get all your ducks in a row before the holiday interruptions. Read more...

This post #SproutChat Calendar: Upcoming Topics for December 2018 originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Spicy Twists and Tactics For Unique Content Promotion

The post Spicy Twists and Tactics For Unique Content Promotion appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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B2B Instagram Content: Tips and Tools for Marketers

Ready to put your company on Instagram? Wondering how to publish B2B Instagram content that supports business goals? In this article, you’ll find tools to help you deliver Instagram content that will raise brand awareness, strengthen customer loyalty, and grow an engaged community. Why Should Your B2B Company Build a Presence on Instagram? Contrary to […]

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Low-Hanging Fruit for the Holiday Season: Four simple marketing changes with significant impact

The goal of optimization is not to make changes to a page but to make changes in the mind of the customer. Here are some simple ways you can shift from communicating company logic to customer logic and optimize the thought sequence of your offer.

The post Low-Hanging Fruit for the Holiday Season: Four simple marketing changes with significant impact appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

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TopRank Marketing’s Top 10 B2B Content Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2019

It’s that time of year, B2B marketers. As the holiday seasons kicks into high gear and the countdown to a new year accelerates, we all find ourselves looking into our figurative crystal balls to gauge what the new year will bring, and how we’ll improve ourselves and our content marketing strategies, capitalize on opportunities, and adapt or side-step new challenges as they come.

2018 was a big year for content marketers—from the implementation of new data privacy and security regulations like GDPR to the rise of promising new tools and technologies to enhance personalization, measurement, and data analyzation. And from our perspective, 2019 is on track to bring even bigger changes, presenting both opportunities and challenges for B2B marketers.

So, what does the future hold for content marketing in the B2B space? Here are our top 10 B2B content marketing predictions and trends marketers should know now and keep an eye on into the new year.

#1 - The Trust Factor

From security scandals and privacy concerns to consumers’ dwindling confidence in the world’s core institutions, trust is in crisis. In fact, the last two Edelman Trust Barometer surveys have revealed declining consumer trust toward business, media, and government, and NGOs to “do what is right.” This was the first time a decline was reported since the inception of the report nearly two decades ago.

Couple general distrust with historical skepticism of marketing and advertising messages, and it will be even more imperative for B2B marketers to focus on building trust and credibility with buyers and prospects.

This means doubling down on marketing with authenticity to create more meaningful audience connections will be critical going forward.

“Fostering a truly authentic reputation in this faceless digital world, while combating the instinctive consumer tendency to distrust corporate messaging, presents a very real challenge,” Nick Nelson, TopRank Marketing Content Strategist, said not too long ago. “Those brands that are ready to meet it with gusto will become champions of the new era.”

[bctt tweet="Brands that are ready to meet authenticity with gusto will become champions of the new era. - @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketingTrends #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

This also means striving to be the best answer for your audience, delivering quality, relevant content that informs, educates, and inspires. This means leveraging the right data, at the right time, for the right purpose to show audiences they can trust your brand.

“Great content answers questions and solves problems for your customers,” Amanda Todorovich, Senior Director of Content & Creative Services, Cleveland Clinic, told us. “When you do that—no matter what platform or format—it works and generates engagement every time.”

Finally, this also means taking the initiative to align yourself with credible, relevant voices (e.g. influencers) and collaborate on creating incredible, insightful, trustworthy content. (We’ll get into more detail on that later.)

Now for the curve ball.

via GIPHY

In 2019 and beyond, building trust cannot be limited to your prospects and customers. Building trust also has to happen within the organization—especially at the C-suite level.

A study from Fournaise Group found that 73% of CEOs say marketers lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient growth. Furthermore, 80% of CEOs simply don’t trust marketers at all, yet a whopping 91% do trust CIOs and CFOs.

“Marketing done well with a clear why, measurement and purpose creates the kind of value that both customers and business leaders will trust, ensuring credibility and investment far into the future,” our CEO Lee Odden wrote earlier this year.

#2 - Goodbye “Consumable” Content; Hello Personalized Experiences

In 2018, talk of “content personalization” and “creating content experiences” has been growing louder. And in 2019, it’ll likely hit a fever pitch.

Econsultancy and Adobe’s 2018 Digital Trends report revealed that delivering personalized experiences in real-time is the most exciting opportunity for digital and marketing professionals. Furthermore, optimizing customer experiences across multiple touchpoints is a top priority over the next few years.

This means that in 2019 and beyond, B2B marketers have to stop thinking about how audiences “consume” content, and start thinking about how audiences want to experience content and how they can deliver.

More than likely, to deliver tailored experience you’ll need to embrace proven and emerging marketing technologies such as those driven by AI and machine learning that can help enable personalization and enhance experiences.

In addition, this will require you to align different stakeholders/departments across the organization.

“First and foremost, personalization is a group effort which cuts across all functions of the content supply chain: strategy, planning, creation, assembly, and delivery,” Peter Krmpotic, Group Product Manager at Adobe, told us in an interview. “Establishing and aligning these functions with each other is the first block in a strong foundation.”

[bctt tweet="Personalization is a group effort which cuts across all functions of the content supply chain: strategy, planning, creation, assembly, and delivery. @PeterKrmpotic #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

Finally, it’s seems as if “disposable” content fits in here, too. Instagram Stories. Facebook Stories. Snapchat Stories. These tactics are part of the experience you can create, offering an in-the-moment conversation or touchpoint with your audience.

“When it comes to social media content, B2B marketers need to go beyond links to their blog posts,” Joshua Nite, Senior Content Marketing Manager at TopRank Marketing, shared. “Think about Stories on Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat, for example. It's about an ongoing conversation with your audience."

#3 - The Breakdown of Data Silos

Every marketer has data--some may even say they need or want more of it. However, access to so much data is still relatively new, and every marketer wishes they had the ability to draw more insights that lead to action. And being able to draw that insight is critical to success.

“The success of your content marketing efforts hinges on your ability to empathize and connect with your target audiences,” Annie Leuman, Content Strategist at TopRank Marketing, said. “As a result, you absolutely want to use data insights to develop a more holistic picture of your target buyers—their interests, problems, behaviors, and preferences. Taking the time to do this can help you ensure your strategy is built on data, not gut feel or assumptions.

Thankfully, rising and more established marketing technologies have the potential to make a big impact in that area in 2019 and beyond.

In April 2018, more than 6,800 marketing technology solutions were on the market, which was a 27% growth from the year before. And you can bet the number of solutions did and will continue to grow, and sophistication and refinement will happen as well.

It’s my prediction that forward-thinking brands and marketers will stop being satisfied with using only a fraction of the data they have. The hungriest marketers will be prioritizing their data and insight needs, and paying attention to and seeking out technology or partners that can help.

[bctt tweet="The hungriest marketers will be prioritizing their data and insight needs, and paying attention to and seeking out technology or partners that can help. @CaitlinMBurgess #ContentMarketingTrends" username="toprank"]

#4 - The Evolution of Content Marketing Sophistication

Content marketing is no longer a shiny object—it’s a core strategy and tactic for most B2B marketers. Content marketing is simply “marketing” in the modern digital era. In fact, in this year’s B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America from Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs, the percentage of marketers engaging in content marketing wasn’t called out in the opening slides. Instead, key insights centered on success drivers, tactical mixes, and so on.

To me, this signals that B2B content marketers are intimately aware that content marketing is a viable strategy and they’re committed. And that means more will be committed to growing their sophistication in 2019 and beyond.

However, marketers need to be aware that growing sophistication is rooted in “mastering simplicity.” Every content marketer wants to level-up their content marketing skills and results, but some may not have mastered the basics yet, like committing to a documented content marketing strategy, setting measurable goals, and putting a process in place for measuring and analyzing performance.

The CMI and MarketingProfs report makes one thing clear: As organizations grow in their content marketing maturity (i.e. drive sophistication), success grows, too.

via GIPHY

In 2019, B2B marketers who want to grow will need to do a gut check to ensure they have “the basics” locked down. And then, you’ll need to set measurable goals—goals that align with your overall objectives—for how you’ll grow content marketing maturity.

[bctt tweet="#ContentMarketing is no longer a shiny object—it’s a core strategy and tactic for most #B2B marketers. @CaitlinMBurgess" username="toprank"]

#5 - Mastering “Always-On” Promotion Will Further Enable Content Marketing Success

Marketers know that promotion and amplification is the culmination of all their other marketing efforts. But many haven’t adjusted their strategies to account for declining organic visibility, the rise of answer boxes in search, the increasing demand for more visual, engaging, and experiential content, and more.

Essentially, we all know the digital landscape and the types of content that are in demand have changed—and they’ll continue to evolve. That means how we promote content needs to change. And in some ways, that means going back to basics.

For TopRank Marketing, this means renewing (or beginning) a commitment to always-on promotion in 2019 and beyond. An email nurture and a few social posts simply can’t give your content the exposure it needs.

“Today’s world of information overload and the multitude of device options for consuming information makes standing out even more challenging,” Lee said recently. “Content promotion can’t be effective if it’s an afterthought.”

[bctt tweet="Today’s world of information overload and the multitude of device options for consuming information makes standing out even more challenging. #ContentPromotion can’t be effective if it’s an afterthought. @leeodden #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

Read: 50 Content Promotion Tactics to Help Your Great Content Get Amazing Exposure

#6 - The Expansion of What’s Considered “Content”

Text. Images. Video. Audio. These are arguably the core content “categories” most B2B marketers are comfortable with. But, if they haven’t already, B2B marketers will have to look beyond these forms in 2019 and consider the role of content in emerging technologies. Namely, content that is delivered through IoT devices such as smart watches, cars, appliances, bots, and smart speakers.

While IoT devices are largely looked at under the consumer lens, consider these statistics for a moment:

  • 51% of the world’s top marketers say that they believe IoT will revolutionize the marketing landscape by 2020. (Source: Marketo)
  • 127 new devices connect to the internet every single second. (Source: McKinsey)
  • A whopping 75 billion devices are expected to be connected by the year 2025. (Source: Statista)

This means there’s an opportunity for all marketers to build data-driven relationships with customers in real-time, allowing you to tailor content to enhance experiences, resolve unreported problems, and create targeted offers based on behavior.

#7 - Democratized Content Creation Is Growing

For years, Lee has said: “Everyone is influential about something.” In 2019 and beyond, we’ll see this come to more vivid life.

With ubiquitous internet connectivity and a myriad of devices, everyone is empowered to publish and attract like-minded networks. For B2B marketers, this means developing networks of expert and/or influential collaborators to create content with for maximum impact.

“Influencer generated content has evolved past working with celebrities and brandividuals to engaging micro-influencers and nano-influencers, which are essentially all of us,” Lee notes. “Brands that create smart networks of collaborators will be not only scale the quantity of quality content they can create, but involve the very audience they’re marketing to in its creation.”

[bctt tweet="Brands that create smart networks of collaborators will be not only scale the quantity of quality content they can create, but involve the very audience they’re marketing to in its creation. @leeodden #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#8 - The Undeniable Rise of Interactive

As I previously mentioned, the bar for content experiences was raised in 2018 with an increase in interactive and experiential content. Why? It’s no longer enough to inform buyers. Instead, you must provide story-driven content that connects on intellectual and emotional levels.

As consumer expectations (remember consumers are your buyers) increase, brands will need to invest in content quality and experience. From producing episodic content with production values near those seen in traditional media to interactive content that works across channels.

When it comes to interactive content, we’re not just talking about quizzes and polls. We’re talking about hyper-relevant, immersive, visual experiences that pull people in and allow them self-guide the journey. If you’re not convinced yet, the statistics speak for themselves:

According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Ion Interactive 2017 Interactive Content Study:

  • 87% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs the attention of the reader more effectively than static content.
  • 77% of marketers agree that interactive content has reusable value, resulting in repeat visitors and multiple exposures.
  • 73% of marketers agree that interactive content, when combined with other more traditional content marketing tactics, enhances message retention among their audiences.

Furthermore, we’ve seen it in action. Take a peek at this interactive piece centered on AI in Finance from our client, Prophix.

Example of Interactive Content from Prophix

You could get the same information across in a static eBook, of course. But this provides an experience—and results. Within the first 90 days after launch, we saw a 642% increase in asset engagement and a 10% conversion rate to the asset.

Read: Interactive Content Marketing: Why B2B Marketers Should Take Their Content from Boring to Bold

#9 - The Continued Rise of Influencer Integration

Influencer marketing has long been seen as a stand-alone promotion or PR function. But we believe that view is changing as more B2B brands dip their toe in the influencer marketing waters.

But the biggest trend and opportunity in 2019 will be investing your influencer efforts in content collaborations.

“As brands mature their approach to working with influencers from transactional campaign based engagements to ongoing relationships, the opportunities for influencer collaboration will expand beyond the marketing and PR departments to any department in an organization that produces public-facing content,” Lee said.

He added: “Content is both the vehicle to develop influencer relationships and an output as a result of those relationships. Influencer integration with content marketing will become a characteristic of successful marketers in 2019 and beyond.”

[bctt tweet="#Influencer integration with content marketing will become a characteristic of successful marketers in 2019 and beyond. @leeodden #ContentMarketingTrends" username="toprank"]

#10 - Demystified Content Marketing Measurement

According to the aforementioned CMI and MarketingProfs benchmarking study, a top challenge for marketers is measuring the performance of content. And this will undoubtedly continue to be a challenge in 2019 and beyond. But that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome barriers.

As with any type of measurement, it’ll important for you to determine what your metaphorical ruler will be. The success metrics of an individual piece of content will be different from your content ecosystem as a whole.

“The way you measure the success of a blog post, for example, will be different than your metrics for an eBook or product page,” Tiffani Allen, Senior Account Manager at TopRank Marketing said. “Start with your overall goals, then determine how each piece of content fits into those goals, and how you will measure progress.”

And as more B2B brands begin to document or refine their content marketing strategies and the associated metrics, even more headway will be made towards utilization of the analytics capabilities of content marketing platforms and analytics tools.

“This will allow marketers to go beyond the traditional analytics measures of pageviews, bounce rate and time-on-page,” Tiffani said. “For example, you can employ techniques like heat mapping to determine if there are particular areas of interest, conversion or drop-off within your visitors. Or, integrate your CRM data with your analytics data to track movement of prospects through the funnel.”

[bctt tweet="In 2019, more #B2B marketers will be have the strategy in place to go beyond traditional analytics, integrating techniques like heat mapping or #CRM integration to track movement of prospects through the funnel. - @Tiffani_Allen #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

Ready. Set. Bring it, 2019.

The digital landscape is in constant flux. And the form content takes and how it’s delivered is changing. But one thing that will never change is the importance of quality, insightful, and relevant content for informing, engaging, and inspiring your buying audience.

“Put your customer first,” Carla Johnson, President of Type A Communications, told us earlier this year. “Creating content that delivers value to them will always align your time, talent and resources with what delivers the best ROI.”

What’s your content marketing prediction or trend to watch into 2019? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post TopRank Marketing’s Top 10 B2B Content Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2019 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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4 Tips to Improve the Visibility of Your Facebook Business Page

Wondering how to get more search visibility for your Facebook page? Looking for quick and easy tips to optimize your Facebook page? In this article, you’ll discover four ways to start improving the visibility of your Facebook page. Why Should I Optimize My Facebook Business Page? Facebook comprises more than 2.27 billion users. Such a […]

The post 4 Tips to Improve the Visibility of Your Facebook Business Page appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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Flipping the B2B Marketing Script: 7 Brands That Talk to Consumers, Not Companies

Examples of B2B Brands Marketing to People

Examples of B2B Brands Marketing to People

“It feels like I’m talking to a wall.”

This is the utterance you might hear from a person whose counterpart in a conversation is not particularly engaged. If you’ve been there, then you know it’s not a great feeling.

But one of the biggest issues in B2B content marketing is actually the reverse: people tend to feel like the brands marketing to them are the ones talking to walls – as in, speaking to them as if they were an intangible corporate entity rather than a human being.

For this reason, “business to business” can be a troubling misnomer. In this discipline, we’re not really marketing to businesses – buildings with walls and stairs and desks and chairs – but the people who inhabit those buildings.

And in order to be truly effective, we need to break through this wall and achieve meaningful human connections. That means striking notes of authenticity, emotion, and distinct personal relevance.

The good news? It most certainly can be done with fun, flair, and finesse. And plenty of brands are doing it well.

Below, we highlight seven B2B brands that we feel are setting a great example with their approaches to customer interactions and conversations.

These B2B Brands Bring the Human Touch

#1 - Slack*

Their collaboration hub is a business solution, helping organizations produce better work more efficiently, but that’s because it makes life so much easier for the people who use it. When a business adopts Slack, it’s often because the employees made a push for it by consensus. Accordingly, the company’s message tends to be aimed toward those professionals, and not just the decision makers or executives who ultimately hold the buying power.

Slack’s Twitter account is far from a stuffy business feed. They also run another account called @SlackLoveTweets, which amplifies the voices of relatable everyday users who express affinity for particular features of the product. And if you scroll through Slack’s blog, Several People Are Typing, you’ll find plenty of posts that focus more on the people doing the work than the work itself.  

For example, a recent piece titled A Slack Guide to Going Out of Office opens with this empathetic paragraph:

Even though many of us daydream about our next vacation, there’s a real fear about being able to unplug, leave your team and projects behind, and return later with minimal disruption. It’s not easy, and it’s natural to ask yourself, What will happen at work while I’m gone, and how will I ever catch up when I get back?

Oh. And check out this little gem.

#2 - MailChimp

The email marketing platform received a lot of positive attention last year for its first large-scale marketing campaign, which was tremendously fun and clever. Riffing on slight misspellings of the brand name (and Google’s knack for determining a searcher’s intent with “Did you mean X?”), MailChimp and agency Droga5 created a series of faux products, short films, and songs.

The video below explains the rationale behind this effort and shows some examples:

MailChimp’s people-first branding is also displayed on their Instagram account. Here’s a snapshot of recent posts on their feed; not exactly the typical dry B2B fare:

MailChimp Instagram Marketing Example

#3 - WeWork

A provider of flexible office space, WeWork has grown rapidly since being founded in 2010. Earlier this year, the company launched an in-house creative agency, which put rolled out its first campaign in May. The series of digital spots featured workers in cramped, undesirable offices juxtaposed against open, comfortable workspaces.

WeWork’s VP of creative strategy explained the thought process behind the campaign strategy to AdAge:

"We wanted to make something that was relatable," said Michael Fitzsimmons. "The scenarios in the videos ... represent real challenges that a lot of businesses deal with on a daily basis."

More importantly, the scenarios represent challenges that the human beings at those businesses deal with.

#4 - DivvyHQ*

Offering a specialized platform for planning and executing content marketing initiatives, DivvyHQ markets to a specific type of professional: content marketing managers and others in charge of running content teams and strategies. As such, you’ll find plenty of posts on their blog that speak directly to this cohort (e.g., New Marketing Technology Trends: 5 Takeaways for Content Managers), even if that means potentially turning away folks who fall outside of it.

As co-founder Brody Dorland explained in a recent piece on content personalization:

“While it’s obviously valuable to obtain and keep the attention of people who are in your target audience, it can be almost equally valuable to avert those who are not. In this regard, many content marketers could stand to be a bit more forthright and frontal.”

Additionally, DivvyHQ will often add recognizable themes and references to business-oriented content, making it more sticky with the humans reading it. For example, last year they released a content strategy guide built around Back to the Future. More recently they had a blog post on enterprise content collaboration — an innately humdrum topic — and spiced it up with a Star Trek spin.

#5 - Antea Group*

Here’s another company that seeks out personally relevant angles for otherwise straightforward subject matter. Antea Group is a global EHS and sustainability consulting firm, and often adds some pop culture flavor to blog posts in order to catch readers.

For instance, an EHS overview has more pull when it’s full of inside jokes and memes from the comedy flick Office Space. And a writeup on safety compliance is much more fun when framed as a way to escape the nefarious Demogorgon from the Netflix show Stranger Things. The latter post even included a customized contact form for the fictional monster.

Antea Group Stranger Things Marketing Example

#6 - Cisco

The global technology conglomerate has been around for more than 30 years and is still going strong, largely because of its foresight and propensity for staying ahead of the curve. Our topic at hand is the perfect example; Cisco’s VP of EMEA Marketing was espousing the importance of “human to human marketing” years ago.

“Technology has been the enabler and supported how marketing has evolved and is now accomplished,” wrote Jeremy Bevan. “But has the outcome of marketing really changed? If we take away technology and go back to the fundamental basics – what are we as marketers really here to do? It is quite simply to be ‘human.’ ”

Cisco has long prioritized corporate social responsibility initiatives and frequently highlights a deeper purpose through emotionally driven campaigns. Here’s a great example:

“If you can imagine it, we’ll build a bridge to get you there.” Powerful stuff.

#7 - Zendesk

“It can be hard for B2B companies to find the balance between humor and professionalism on social media,” wrote Lindsay Kolowich in a post for Content Marketing Institute (CMI) last year. “But Zendesk is one of the B2B brands that's really nailed it.”

Indeed, this has become a signature for the customer service software company. You can check out that CMI post for prime examples or just scroll through Zendesk’s Twitter feed to find plenty of casual and informal language that strikes a chord with everyday folks.

For a taste of the brand’s humorous and edgy take on B2B campaigns, watch their classic “I like it when he gives me the business” ad from a years back:

No More Business as Usual

The days of companies talking to walls need to end. Whether B2C or B2B, if brands cannot strike an authentic and human tone with their audiences, they’re going to get shut out. When crafting your message, think always about the people at the businesses you’re marketing to, rather than the businesses themselves.

This is a fundamental tenet for modern strategies, and central to our content marketing approach at TopRank Marketing. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more; we promise you won’t find yourself talking to a wall.

[bctt tweet="The days of companies talking to walls need to end. Whether #B2C or #B2B, if brands cannot strike an authentic and human tone with their audiences, they’re going to get shut out. @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]

Want more examples of brands engaging in customer-centric marketing? Check out these helpful posts:

*Disclaimer: Slack, Antea Group, and DivvyHQ are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post Flipping the B2B Marketing Script: 7 Brands That Talk to Consumers, Not Companies appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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