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Monthly Archives: August 2019

5 Ways to Tell Your Brand Story with Instagram Stories

The past 12 months have seen Instagram add a host of new publishing tools to their Stories functionality, introduced just three years ago (but Read more...

This post 5 Ways to Tell Your Brand Story with Instagram Stories originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Digital Marketing News: Influencers Trusted More Than Friends, LinkedIn Expands Audience Data, New B2B Studies & More

The post Digital Marketing News: Influencers Trusted More Than Friends, LinkedIn Expands Audience Data, New B2B Studies & More appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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13 essential Twitter stats to guide your strategy

Understanding user trends and behavior for a platform like Twitter is essential for getting the most out of your marketing efforts. After all, there Read more...

This post 13 essential Twitter stats to guide your strategy originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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55 Metaphor Examples That’ll Pack Your Prose With Persuasion

Aristotle once wrote, “to be a master of metaphor is a sign of genius.” And the best way to master the metaphor? Devour lots of good metaphor examples! So, we’ve compiled a giant list of metaphors from content marketing, literature, famous speeches, and pop culture to give you a go-to resource. You’ll also learn: How(...)

The post 55 Metaphor Examples That’ll Pack Your Prose With Persuasion appeared first on Smart Blogger.

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5 B2B Brands Delivering Great Customer Experiences

Colorfully painted wooden planks image.

Colorfully painted wooden planks image.

Today’s B2B customers expect more B2C-like experiences, and here are five brands delivering great customer experiences that go far beyond the tired tradition of boring-to-boring.

Research from Gartner has shown that 89 percent of firms compete primarily on customer experience. Not all companies may be taking this to heart, however, as according to additional research some 60 percent of marketers fail to take into account consumer expectations, despite 95 percent seeing increasing expectations from customers.

Making memorable customer experiences a priority can help build successful campaigns and make for delighted customers, and with further recent research showing that just 14 percent of B2B survey respondents view customer experience and support as a top priority, there may be no better time to work on delivering great customer experiences.

2019 July 5 MarketingCharts Image

In the following randomly-ordered list, we’ll look at five B2B brands that are innovating with customer-pleasing digital experiences.

#1 IBM — IBM Industries Magazine

IBM Industrious Screenshot Image

IBM publishes both a print and digital version of a magazine, with its award-winning Industrious quarterly publication, featuring the top content from IBM Industries blog combined with exclusive insight from a variety of industry influencers.

Industrious was the winner of the Best Content Marketing Campaign at the B2B Awards USA in 2018, and offers a compelling example of how a large B2B firm is delivering great customer experiences.

IBM senior vice president of digital sales and chief marketing officer Michelle Peluso recently offered insight into some of the ways IBM has worked to deliver more agile experiences both internally and on the customer experience front. You can hear her episode of The CMO Podcast here.

[bctt tweet="“Client and customer needs are changing at a very rapid pace. We want to make sure IBM is interacting with the people who use our systems, software and services—not just the person making the purchase decisions.” @MichelleaPeluso" username="toprank"]

Adding relevant influencer content is a proven method to drive engagement, build trust, and create digital experiences that are truly interesting and helpful.

[bctt tweet="“It’s not enough to simply make people aware of our brands — we need to instill an immediate sense of credibility, so that trust is being established in the very first interactions.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]

#2 3M — Science Champions Podcast

3M Science Champions Screenshot Image

At TopRank Marketing we are B2B influencer marketing specialists, and have recently worked to feature influencers in our client 3M’s Champions of Science series of podcasts.

Recent industry experts appearing on Champions of Science have included Professor Stephen Curry, Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London, Dr. Suze Kundu, Materials Chemist and Science Presenter, Chris Gammell, Principal, Analog Life, LLC, and Matt Hartings, Associate Professor of Chemistry at American University.

Using podcasting can be a great way to up your customer experience game, and we’ve recently taken a look at how B2B marketers can promote podcasts, and have also gathered together an industry-leading list of top marketing-related podcasts, which you can find here:

[bctt tweet="“If you’re at an enterprise-level organization, you have a built-in audience. Encourage your employees to listen to each episode and share it with their social networks.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

#3 Businessolver — 2019 State of Workplace Empathy

Businesssolver Screenshot Image

Employee benefits administration technology firm Businessolver sought to connect with customers through conducting a study of empathy in the workplace, causing professionals to take a close look at what has recently been seen as the rising importance of empathy among workers in all fields.

Businessolver's 2019 State of Workplace Empathy study highlights why workplace empathy should be an important part of company efforts, offering an online asset that can be cited and used by customers and their firms.

[bctt tweet="“93 percent of employees say they're more likely to stay with an empathetic employer.” @businessolver" username="toprank"]

At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, greater incorporation of empathy and intuition in marketing processes was seen as a key trend for 2020, along with learning to better recognize the individuals behind the data. Take a look at more in “6 Cannes Revelations About B2B Marketing in 2020.”

[bctt tweet="“Content marketing requires putting the empathy you have for your audience to a constructive purpose.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

#4 Marketo — Guide to Lead Generation

Marketo Lead Generation Screenshot Image

Each year marketing software firm Marketo creates a Guide to Lead Generation, with helpful insights for customers made available on an array of easy-to-access social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, SlideShare, and Google, as well as the firm's own site.

[bctt tweet="“We live in a hyperconnected world where our brands aren’t controlled by us anymore. They’re controlled by our customers. The brand is being defined by the buyer.” — Marketo CEO @nstevenlucas" username="toprank"]

Offering helpful digital assets is just one of many successful methods to deliver great customer experiences. We've explored numerous additional ways savvy B2B marketers can offer memorable customer experiences in these recent articles:

[bctt tweet="“If your lead gen efforts aren’t connecting, start by getting a more accurate picture of your buying audience. Use social listening. Ask them questions. Talk to sales and customer service to refine your personas.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

#5 Emerson — We <3 STEM / 2019 STEM Survey

Emerson STEM Screenshot Image

Global technology and engineering firm Emerson has worked to increase the next generation’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and has conducted and released its 2019 STEM Survey.

Emerson CMO Kathy Button Bell recently shared some of the innovative initiatives the company is taking to build successful customer experiences, in an interview with Drew Neisser of AdAge.

“Empowering individuals of all ages and backgrounds with the tools necessary to thrive in STEM is a crucial step in solving the growing talent gap across several key industries,” Bell recently told Power Engineering. “We have long been dedicated to fostering a culture at Emerson that attracts and advances women through a variety of initiatives, including our 4,000-member Women in STEM group, which provides support and mentoring for our female engineers globally,” Bell added.

[bctt tweet="“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” — Albert Einstein" username="toprank"]

How To Deliver Great Customer Expectations

Expectations Typewriter Image

When it comes to delivering great customer expectations, IBM, 3M, Businessolver, Marketo, and Emerson have given us five examples of what can be done with award-winning effort, sizable resources, and an abundance of time.

Considering the extensive effort required to produce top-quality customer experiences today, many B2B brands are turning to professional agency help from firms such as TopRank Marketing, the only B2B Marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s most recent “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America, Q1 2019” report.

You can also learn more on these subjects by joining us at upcoming speaking events and conferences. Our CEO Lee Odden will be speaking at Content Marketing World next week, where on September 3 he'll be presenting "How to Develop a B2B Influencer Marketing Program That Actually Works" with Amisha Gandhi of SAP, and a solo session on September 4 exploring "Content Marketing Fitness - 10 Exercises to Build Your Marketing Beach Body."

Our Senior Director of Digital Strategy Ashley Zeckman will also be speaking at Content Marketing World, in "Guardians of Content Vol 1: How to Scale B2B Influencer Content to Save the Galaxy."

The post 5 B2B Brands Delivering Great Customer Experiences appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Here’s How the Illustration Design Trend Caught Fire and Why Every SaaS Is Rebranding

Recently, hundreds of SaaS websites have started using similar-looking illustrations in their branding. How did this trend catch fire? And is it bad for marketers to follow these types of design trends?

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The Marketer as Philosopher: 3 ways to achieve excellence in yourself and in your marketing

True marketing helps people make the right decision. So the marketer must escape the negative connotation of the role and embrace the power of marketing as a force for positive change in our world

The post The Marketer as Philosopher: 3 ways to achieve excellence in yourself and in your marketing appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

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7 Simple Steps to Master Instagram for Business

Let’s begin with the elephant in the room: No, it’s not too late to get started on Instagram. Not by a long shot. Although Read more...

This post 7 Simple Steps to Master Instagram for Business originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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How to deliver brand authenticity & create connection on social (with free download)

Joining the social team here at Sprout has given me a crash course in brand authenticity on social media. A lot of marketers talk Read more...

This post How to deliver brand authenticity & create connection on social (with free download) originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Wow Your Crowd: The Recipe for Creating Exceptional Content Experiences

Expert Tips for Creating Memorable Experiences Through Content Marketing

Expert Tips for Creating Memorable Experiences Through Content Marketing

Have you been to a stadium concert lately? The big ones touring the country tend to pull out all the stops. It’s not just a singer on stage — they are usually supported by a giant jumbotron as backdrop providing flashy visuals, along with fog machines, laser lights, platforms rising out of the ground, special guest cameos… the works. 

Why is this? Because the bar has been raised. When fans plunk down the big bucks for tickets to see Drake or Carrie Underwood or The Rolling Stones, they expect more than seeing their favorite artists performing on stage. They expect an unforgettable experience that stirs all the senses.


In content marketing, we see a continuing shift toward delivering full-on experiences. This emerging focus is evident in the steady growth of the term “content experience” in Google Trends over the past 10 years, and is now reaching a fever pitch as technology enables unprecedented sparkle and scintillation, while the shortening attention spans of our audience demand it. 

The theme for this year’s Content Marketing World extravaganza, as well as our interactive preview and the series of blog posts wrapping up today, all lead back to this crucial edict: elevating experiences and wowing the crowd. The good news is that there are endless ways to creatively approach this initiative, and today we’ll draw inspiration from CMWorld speakers who will be taking the stage next week in Cleveland to offer up some memorable experiences of their own.

The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth

3 Expert Tips on Stepping Up the Content Experience

#1 - Create Serial Content

It’s tempting to think about high-caliber content experiences in terms of pageantry and spectacle, but there are many simpler elements at play. Your audience wants content that it can contextualize, compartmentalize, and reliably look forward to. There’s a reason that almost every big Hollywood release these days is a spin-off, sequel, or reboot — viewers thrive on familiarity. For this reason, Jay Baer of Convince and Convert says serial content, steeped in quality and consistency, is a must.

“This aids in recognition and findability and taps into the truism that multiple exposures are often needed to drive behavior,” Jay explains. And he says another key is making this serial content as easy as possible for your audience to get to.

[bctt tweet="Ask yourself how your information and insights can be accessed with a minimum amount of effort or hassle for the consumer. - @jaybaer on minimizing content friction #CMWorld " username="toprank"]

There are any number of ways to serialize your content. Maybe it’s breaking a big idea up into a series of blog posts, dissecting various components. Maybe it’s a run of videos mirroring the format of a TV season. And of course, podcasts are gaining fast popularity as an inherently serial form of content. 

At TopRank Marketing, we’re all about serial content. You can reliably find our Digital Marketing News roundups (both blog and video) every Friday. Recently we’ve been running a Trust Factors series, examining the vital topic of trust in marketing from various angles. And in fact, you’re reading the final installment of a four-part series right now! Check out the previous “Wow Your Crowd” entries below: 

#2 - Use Tools and Technology Thoughtfully

There are so many eye-catching technologies out there offering new ways to package and deliver content. But don’t be blinded by bells and whistles. Add-ons like interactivity only make sense if they actually serve a meaningful purpose. 

“The key for brands is to not just pursue these programs for the sake of doing it, or to ‘be cool,’ but to have a clear purpose and value-add,” says SAP’s Amisha Gandhi

For example, when scrolling through the Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth experience created by TopRank Marketing and Content Marketing Institute, you’ll be able to play games like shoot-the-duck and bop-the-clown. But these interactive gamification elements weren’t just thrown in for the heck of it; they’re meant to play up the midway/carnival vibes of the asset (and this year’s CMWorld conference).

[bctt tweet="A memorable experience goes a long way. - @AmishaGandhi on raising the bar for content experiences #CMWorld" username="toprank"]

#3 - Measure and Optimize

The trouble with all this talk about content experiences is that they can feel difficult to quantify and report on. I mean, how do you measure audience delight? What is the ROI of someone grinning with glee while bopping clowns on their browser?

To some degree, the benefits of a great experience are intangible, at least in the short-term. But we can still measure the impact by connecting consumption metrics with bottom-line results. 

“I think of content marketing metrics in two dimensions: Business outcomes (how content is contributing to the business) and engagement metrics (a proxy for how much the target audience likes the content),” says Chris White of Capital One. 

He breaks them down like this: 

Engagement Metrics: 

  • Views
  • Total view time
  • View-through-rate
  • Percent of target audience (in relation to total viewers)
  • Comments
  • Likes/Reactions
  • Scroll depth
  • Pages-per-session
  • Bounce rate 
  • Time-on-site

Business Outcomes

  • Brand awareness/consideration
  • Remarketing audience size
  • Web traffic
  • Conversions
  • Customer behavior (e.g., retention, adoption rate, referrals, etc.)  

If you’re getting it right with customer experiences, you’ll see growth across all of these metrics over time. From our view at TopRank Marketing, engagement metrics and business outcomes (or proof of ROI) are among the seven essential elements for content marketing performance dashboard. Also included: benchmarks, goals, real-time KPI monitoring, traffic trends, and breakdowns by topic/persona.

[bctt tweet="Every initiative is paired with a specific business outcome to evaluate performance. Although we keep tabs on engagement metrics, they do not dictate success by themselves. - Chris White of @CapitalOne on measuring content performance   " username="toprank"]

Experience Is Your Content Differentiator

Turn content experience into your competitive advantage. Create things that amaze your audience and leave them yearning for more. Utilize new trends and tech when appropriate to elevate your content. And, at all times, validate your efforts by measuring the right things and letting your customers dictate your direction.

Is it silly to think about content marketing on the same terms as stadium concerts? I’d say it’s silly not to. 

We’re counting down the days until the grand experience unfolds at Content Marketing World 2019 on Sept. 3, 2019 in Cleveland. Before then, you can find plenty more guidance on taking your programs to the next level in our interactive experience, The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth.

The post Wow Your Crowd: The Recipe for Creating Exceptional Content Experiences appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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