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20 Tips to Help You Become A More Effective & Focused Marketer in 2017

The holiday season has officially ended and while some of us are still taking down our trees and packing away ornaments, 2017 is well upon us.

The break that the vast majority of marketers get at the end of the year helps us start the new year refreshed, replenished and ready to create some kickass marketing programs.

This year, instead of focusing on being productive, let’s change our approach to becoming more effective in our marketing. Truly effective people are not just focused on getting as many things done as possible. Instead, time needs to be spent prioritizing, pushing boundaries and finding ways to enjoy what you do for an extended period of time.

Start this year off right creating small, healthy habits that will ward away the mid-year slump that often rears it’s early head as early as quarter one. The tips below will help you stay focused long past the first quarter of the year.


# 1 – Always Have A Plan

Without a plan to help guide your actions for the year, it will be incredibly difficult to tell how you performed. If you haven’t already, sit down and document your digital marketing strategy which should include (at minimum) the following attributes:

  • Marketing Objectives and Goals
  • Marketing Tactics
  • How You’ll Measure Success
  • Checkpoints Along the Way


#2 – Prioritize What You Want to Accomplish

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “your eyes are bigger than your stomach”. The same applies to looking at all of the delicious marketing morsels that you want to accomplish for the year. If you try to tackle all of them at once, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed.

Instead, prioritize your most impactful marketing tasks first. If you aren’t sure what those are, reference your plan.


#3 – Tackle Your Big Rocks Early in the Day

A looming deadline or project will make even the most sophisticated marketer worry. Don’t let elephant tasks consume you all day. Instead, tackle your big tasks early in the day so they don’t loom over your head. By getting these out of the way quickly, you’ll feel more relaxed the rest of the day.


#4 – Learn to Say No

Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. Sometimes it’s necessary for you to accomplish everything that you have planned. When you receive a request, put it through the following filter:

  1. Does this task fit within my plan?
  2. Will it help me increase the impact of my work?
  3. What else would need to move out in order to accommodate this request?

Having a documented marketing plan will make it much easier to make decisions about whether or not a request should be completed.


#5 – Focus on one Task at a Time

We all multi-task. Some of us even brag about how good at it we are. But the truth is, multi-tasking is not a healthy and effective way to approach your marketing responsibilities. Instead, when you’re outlining what you have to accomplish for the day, focus on one item at a time and don’t move on to the next until you’ve completed that task.


#6 – Remove Outside Distractions

I sometimes think that I am my own biggest distraction. My mind starts to wander, I start looking at something on my phone or chatting with another teammate and then I realize 20 minutes of time have passed. Help eliminate distractions for yourself by:

  • Disconnect: Turn off your email and put away your electronics so you can focus on the task at hand.
  • Physically Move: If you find that you can’t quite focus where you are sitting, try a different spot or a quiet room for awhile.


#7 – Make Meetings Count

One of the qualities that I have always enjoyed about the way we run meetings at TopRank Marketing is our focus on outcomes. To ensure that a meeting is productive, make sure that you start each meeting with a defined agenda and objective, then conclude the meeting with detailed action items for each person that attended.


#8 – Find Your Time of Day Groove

The most productive part of the day will vary depending on the individual. Personally, I like to get into work early and knock out my large tasks before anyone else is in the office. If your job is flexible, feel free to test some different work hours to see which suits you best.


#9 – Create Efficiencies with Technology

There is literally a tool for everything today. You might find that you’re wasting time on tasks that could be shortened, or even eliminated with the right technology.


#10 – Make Time for Education

Because our industry evolves so quickly, it’s essential that all of us make the time to continue our education. Fortunately for you, there are a lot of options available today that make it easy to learn, even on-the-go. Try listening to podcasts on your way to and from work, or setting aside time in your day to research different trends and topics that you can apply to your own work and share with the rest of your team.


#11 – Love Your Workspace

We spend most of our waking hours at our desks. If you invest a little time and money into making your workspace something that delights you, you’ll find that it has a much more calming effect than you may realize.


#12 – Block off Time on Your Calendar

If you have large projects or just need some uninterrupted time, block off parts of your calendar so that other team members know not to schedule meetings or distract you during those hours. Fewer interruptions will lead to more effective and focused work time.


#13 – Create Short Sprint Goals for Maximum Impact

Sometimes you’ll be working on campaigns or projects that span multiple months. Seeing the fruits of your labor can take a while and it’s important to show marketing impact frequently. To achieve that, try setting some short-term goals and develop a plan for gaining some incremental wins along the way to delight your customers or leadership team.


#14 – Know Your Strengths & Ask for Help

The sign of a mature marketer is that they understand both their strengths and weaknesses. While we should play to our strengths and strive to improve our weaknesses, it’s also important to be on the lookout for other team members that possess skills that you don’t. When it makes sense, ask for their help or even job shadow them to pick up replicable tips for improving.


#15 – Make Time for Projects That Spark Your Creativity

Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a marketing rut, which is why it’s essential to MAKE time for creativity and testing. By allowing for some “slush” time that you dedicate to trying new things, it’ll keep you engaged in your work and possibly lead to some great new ideas.


#16 – Let the Data Be Your Guide

Often times when marketers “go with their gut” it is based on years of experience. However, as much as we’d all like to think we have it figured out, it’s important to let the data lead our decisions. If you “feel” really great about a program but it’s not performing, take some time to dig into the data and find out why. That way you will have enough forewarning to adapt your strategy and get your program back on the right track.


#17 – Be Realistic

There are only so many hours in a day and only so much impact one marketer can make. I’m an idealist, I’d like to think that I can accomplish all 15 things on my list for the day, but I quickly find that things start to roll over and that leaves me with a feeling of failure. Instead, take a long hard look at what you want to accomplish and what it will take to get that done.


#18 – Find Ways to Collaborate

There is the old expression “if you’re not growing you’re dying” which is especially true in an industry like marketing. In addition to educating yourself on a regular basis, it’s essential to tap into the smarts and expertise of the people around you. Everyone brings something different to the table and you’d might be surprised at what you can learn.


#19 – Create a Central Location to Store Ideas

If you don’t document inspiration right when you find it, chances are that it will quickly become lost. Find a central place like notes or Evernote to store different ideas for marketing campaigns, tactics and more that you can add to and reference quickly.


#20 – Take Care of Yourself: Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition

Your general health and wellbeing can significantly impact your work. So, make sure that you get the proper amount of sleep, exercise and healthy foods to keep you energized and focused to accomplish everything that is before you in 2017!

Three Cheers for a More Effective & Focused 2017!

Competition for consumers will only increase in the coming year and in order to level up your marketing, it’s important that you focus on marketing impact for the coming year.

What focus methods have you found work best for you as a marketer?


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
20 Tips to Help You Become A More Effective & Focused Marketer in 2017 | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 20 Tips to Help You Become A More Effective & Focused Marketer in 2017 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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About 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.

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5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers

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Traits B2B Influencers

Marketers are still asking, what is B2B influencer marketing? Here’s a definition I’ve been using over the past 5 years or so:

B2B influencer marketing is activating internal and external subject matter experts with engaged networks to advocate and co-create content of mutual value that drives measurable business goals.

As the groundswell around influencer marketing rises and becomes a normal part of the B2B marketing mix, the volume of information and misinformation on the topic also increases.

One of the most popular questions people also ask about B2B influencer marketing focuses on what makes a good business influencer? By now we all know that popularity alone does not make someone influential. It’s certainly important, it's just not the only thing.

As B2B marketers mature in their understanding of the role influence plays and how the dynamic of brand content co-created with industry experts plays out with customers, they begin to realize that other factors matter. Topical relevance matters of course as well as resonance of the topic amongst an influencer’s community.

B2B Marketing Influencers

The intersection of individual expertise, how well that expertise resonates with followers and the size of network creates a baseline of characteristics when evaluating whether a certain influencer might be a match.

But there’s more than that. Understanding what makes a great influencer is both art and science, soft and hard skills. The success of identifying, qualifying and engaging influencers is also directly tied to how they will be engaged and to what end.

Some people reading this might think that influencer marketing isn’t the magic pill some are playing it up to be. There’s a reason for that, because it’s not magic. It’s more like alchemy.

The reality is, there’s no one formula for the perfect B2B influencer, but there are some common characteristics that B2B brands should look for in varying proportions according to what’s important to a program or activation. I call those characteristics:

The 5 Ps of B2B Influence

Proficiency - In B2B marketing, the vast majority of those considered influential possess deep expertise in the field they work in. This is a significant difference from many B2C influencers who are often self proclaimed as influential with clever media creation skills.

As B2C influencer content and engagement tactics evolve, some are crossing over into B2B with a trickle of opportunists successfully creating influence amongst B2B audiences not solely for their expertise, but for a combination of adept social media content creation skills and some expertise. B2B marketers who do their due diligence will be able to filter accordingly.

Popularity - While network size is not the only thing, nor is it the most important thing, it is definitely a metric to consider. Some marketers swing in the direction of ignoring audience size altogether because of lower engagement rates with popular influencers. This is simply foolish. All things being the same, I’ll take 2% engagement of an influencer with a million followers over 2% from someone that has 1,000 followers.

What matters is how network size factors in with the type of influencer you need. For example, popular influencers aka “brandividuals” are often best for top of funnel content. Niche domain expert influencers are better for middle and end of funnel content. Engaging a brandividual and expecting conversions is just naive.

Personality - If you’ve worked in B2C influencer marketing and been exposed to all the characters there, B2B is going to seem a bit dry. Now there are some colorful characters in the B2B influencer community, no doubt. But personality is often a trait that needs to be uncovered when you’re working with some types of business influencers.

The good news is that savvy influencer marketing practitioners know how to plant the seeds that can grow and blossom within an otherwise introverted influencer. You don’t need them to be a colorful character, ripe with personality per se, but you do want them to connect with the passion they have with their craft and how their expertise can help others be successful.

Publishing - Content is the media that conveys the ideas of influence and while B2B influencers are not expected to produce the same types and quantity of content as in B2C, it is ideal when there’s a platform where the influencer publishes. At a minimum, that would be social networks but to be a B2B influencer, it’s most likely that also includes articles contributed to publications if not research, books and presentations.

Promotion - The value a B2B influencer brings beyond adding expertise and credibility to brand content is the ability to share what they helped create with their network. Trust of brand content is at a low, especially with advertising. Customers yearn for authentic content and the right kind of influencer collaboration can give them that, delivered via the influencer’s own distribution channels. That means social networks for course but also potentially blogs, email newsletters, podcast, LinkedIn Live, contributed articles or columns in industry publications.

I know some people reading this are thinking there could be even more P’s like being Prolific, Persuasive or Passion. Yes, there could be so many more but we have to draw the line somewhere! It's important to be able to manage the data and insights necessary to factor these characteristics into selection, qualification and engagement.

Some of these traits will not fully reveal themselves until you work with an influencer on a few content activations. Others will fluctuate over time and that is normal. It's important to understand that influence is a temporal thing. It is not fixed or permanent. It’s important marketers realize that before they disengage an influencer in the short term due to lower performance. The same goes for high expectations after great performance.

Organic influencer engagement is a little dynamic and what you don’t spend on paid influencers like an ad buy you will (in part) need to invest in relationship management, education and even tips that will help the influencers be more effective.

B2B brands with high influencer churn or low performance often apply “ad buy” perspectives to a what is actually a relationship driven effort. Mismatched expectations are not helpful for anyone, so think about the 5Ps as you evaluate and nurture your influencer community. Consider where of each your ideal influencers need to score on the 5 Ps in order to be a good match for the kind of activation you have in mind.

When there’s 5P alignment, there's happiness: for customers, influencers and your B2B brand.

The post 5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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