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Monthly Archives: April 2020

How to remain agile when your priorities shift

In the wake of COVID-19, social media managers have had to reevaluate their strategies and content plans to account for changing consumer behavior. But Read more...

This post How to remain agile when your priorities shift originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Retailers and the rising trend of sustainability: what marketers need to know

In the words of our favorite Project Runway hosts: “In fashion, one day you’re in and the next you’re out.” While it may seem Read more...

This post Retailers and the rising trend of sustainability: what marketers need to know originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Break Free B2B Marketing: Sruthi Kumar on Creating Memorable Experiences

Break Free B2B with Sruthi Kumar

Break Free B2B with Sruthi Kumar

Marketers are in the business of attracting attention. All of our tactics, our strategies, our goals boil down to: Did we get someone’s attention and inspire them to take action?

The key to modern marketing is that we have to earn that attention. There will always be someone on who is louder, funnier, more talented, or just less shameless than your brand is willing to be. The only way to truly capture and sustain someone’s focus is to earn the right to their time. 

How do you earn attention? By providing remarkable experiences. By showing you care about your audience, you know who they are, and that your brand is here to help and to entertain them. 

For our latest Break Free video, we talked to a marketer who is helping marketers offer more memorable experiences. Sruthi Kumar is the Senior Marketing Manager at Sendoso, a platform that coordinates direct mail and gifting campaigns for personalization at scale.

Sruthi and I sat down to talk about experiential marketing in all its forms: Event marketing, direct mail, content and beyond. We also dig deeper into the philosophy of marketing. Should marketers specialize in a certain aspect of marketing, or should we be taking a more holistic approach? Can left-brained content folks and right-brained strategy folks get along… and really, is it that simple of a divide? Sruthi has some inspiring thoughts on all of the above.

Oh, and along the way, Sruthi shares how she built a marketing department from the ground up, taking Sendoso from a small start-up to competing with the big brands.

 [bctt tweet="I think what we’re really trying to do is bridge that online and offline experience. @sruthikkumar" username="toprank"]

 

Highlights:

1:00: Direct mail plus digital marketing for unforgettable experiences

5:45: Marketing to delight your audience

7:40: Building a marketing department from the ground up

11:05: Tactics for earning attention at marketing events

18:15: Marketing requires creative and analytical thinking 

 

Josh:

So tell me a little bit about Sendoso. What is it? What do you do?

Sruthi:

We're a sending platform, so we really help our customers reach their customers and prospects in a meaningful way by sending company swag, direct mail, sweets and treats, handwritten notes, the whole nine yards, in order to make really human connections with their prospects and customers.

Josh: 

Do you feel like this going back to a more simpler form of marketing compared to digital marketing? Do you feel like that’s more effective as our world gets more digital?

Sruthi:

So I actually think they go hand in hand. What we're trying to do is really bridge that online and offline experience. So not to say that digital marketing does not work. I'm a marketer. I run our field marketing team, we use digital heavily, but it's just about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, and that person that you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with or whatever else you need from them.

[bctt tweet="It’s about bringing all the channels together to create that seamless experience for the end user, that person who you want to book a meeting with or have a signed contract with. @sruthikkumar" username="toprank"]

We are moving to an ABM approach when we are doing our events, because sometimes you get to large audiences and it's hard to really get in contact with anyone. The beautiful thing about our product is that anyone can use it in any vertical. It's direct mail: If you're selling, you can use it. If you're trying to reach an audience, you can use it. 

We do the double funnel approach at Sendoso. We do have demand gen tactics while we also have ABM tactics as well. 

I had an interview that was my first internship as a marketer. The CMO asked me, ‘Are you analytical? Or are you creative?’ And I was like, ‘I don't know, I feel like I'm a little bit of both.’ 

And she said, ‘You can't be both.’ And I just want to call her now, because you have to be both. I may not be the most analytical person on my team. But I get to work with this marketing ops manager. We built our team together, and she's very analytical. I get to learn from her and understand how would my MOPS person do this. And that's the cool stuff that you get to take with you. 

As a marketer, you should be well rounded — you're a content marketer, but you could put a demand gen campaign together.

Josh:

 We just love this binary of left brain versus right brain. But then you get this idea that oh, well, the creative types are just sitting up there in their beanbag chairs with the lava lamps going, ‘Oh, wouldn't it be cool if we did this?’ And then on the other hand is a bunch of robots who are crunching numbers. For some people, those things are going to overlap into a circle and some are somewhere on the continuum, but you can’t be just one or the other. 

[bctt tweet="People ask, 'Are you analytical or are you creative?' But you have to be both... As a marketer, you should be well rounded: You're a #contentmarketer, but you could put a demand gen campaign together. You're not just writing. @sruthikkumar" username="toprank"]

Sruthi:

With all those marketing activities that we're supposed to do, some people are just doing the check-boxes. That's totally fine, but I think you should bring your personality into it. I think so many of us are so scared. Like having our corporate voice, but I think our personal voice should be in there too. 

I think the only reason why Sendoso did stand out in the early days is because we got to incorporate so many of our early founders’ and members’ own personalities into the brand. And even the way we pitch our product today is by the voices of our sales team and our marketing team, our co-founders and c-suite. So I think it's just about being okay with being yourself and incorporating that into your whole corporate brand.

[bctt tweet="I think the reason Sendoso did stand out in the early days is we got to incorporate so many of our early founders’ own personalities. It's about being okay with being yourself and incorporating that into your corporate brand. @sruthikkumar" username="toprank"]

 

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcast for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few to whet your appetite:

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Sruthi Kumar on Creating Memorable Experiences appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Create Your First TikTok Video

Thinking of using TikTok? Wondering how to publish your first TikTok video? In this article, you’ll discover how to use TikTok’s in-app recording, editing, and effects features to create your first TikTok for business. #1: Get Acquainted With the TikTok Interface TikTok has experienced massive growth in the last 12 months with nearly 1 billion […]

The post How to Create Your First TikTok Video appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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How to Build an Email List from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Right now, many businesses are doing a great job moving online with their first landing page promotions. The next step is to get those promos out to ideal customers—and email is one of the best ways to do it. Today we’ll show you how to build a strong email list for your online business.

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The power of social video: Build multidimensional connection using Sprout

With connection at the crux of consumer expectations on social, many brands are looking for ways to enhance their social strategy to not only Read more...

This post The power of social video: Build multidimensional connection using Sprout originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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University branding: How to build your school’s brand on social media

Whether you’re looking to attract more students, engage your current ones or increase donations and alumni relations, social media is a must for all Read more...

This post University branding: How to build your school’s brand on social media originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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B2C vs. B2B Influencer Marketing – What’s the Difference?

B2C B2B Influencer Marketing

B2C B2B Influencer Marketing

The vast majority of content and industry news coverage around influencer marketing is focused on those who engage consumer audiences: Instagramers, YouTubers, and  as of late TikTokers. Of course the world of influence is not limited to consumer products and services. Influencers play an important role in businesses marketing to other businesses as well, whether it's on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

So what's the difference between B2C and B2B influencer marketing? We've covered B2B influencer marketing here in depth already with case studies, strategy and best practices, what makes a great B2B influencer, key statistics and more. After 7 plus years of focusing on B2B influencer marketing for some of the top B2B brands in the world, we've learned a few things about the practice. From that experience, I'll focus on what makes for good B2B influencer engagement as a way to understand the difference from B2C.

The most important steps for launching a B2B Influencer Marketing Program: Influence plays a role across the entire business customer lifecycle from awareness to advocacy so it follows that the best approach to collaborating with B2B influencers also spans the spectrum of customer engagement.

Regardless of the desired outcome from building brand awareness to increasing sales, best practices influencer marketing programs start with understanding the relevant topics of influence that both represent what customers care about and what the brand stands for.

It's important to look at B2B influencers as partners not just content creators or distribution channels.

Much of B2C influencer engagement is managed like an advertising buy. With B2B, it's important to look at B2B influencers as partners not just content creators or distribution channels. That means finding, engaging and activating influencers with expertise and audiences that will resonate with the objectives of the business. Using topics of influence, you can identify, qualify and recruit influencer partners to collaborate. You can certainly pay a B2B influencer, but it is most often for the craft of creation not just because they are well known.

The output of B2B influencer collaboration can be in any form that the brand is currently publishing content: text, video, visual, audio, interactive and even VR.

B2B influencers are different than B2C in that they must be subject matter experts. But it is often the case that they do not have the broad social media skills or reach as their B2C counterparts. Also, B2B influencer marketing is less about a transaction or advertising buy than it is about developing relationships with influencers that can add credibility to a brand and even advocate for purchases that have an extended sales cycles and run millions of dollars.

Successful B2B influencer relationships take time to build and require time to maintain.

Matching topically relevant influencers with content collaboration opportunities that deliver mutual value for the influencer, the audience you're after and your brand is both art and science. Successful relationships take time to build and require time to maintain. It is no different when working with B2B influencer partners, so brands should invest the time and resources to keep those relationships strong. That can mean software like the enterprise platform we use, Traackr, as well as the expertise of an influencer marketing agency that has many years of experience and established relationships with influencers in your industry.

Tech Unknown Podcast - Season 1 Episode 1
What does effective B2B influencer marketing look like in action?
Tech giant SAP wanted to raise awareness of their brand and establish thought leadership with their target audience of CTOs, CIOs, and technology managers. With B2B decision makers (and consumers in general) craving more inspiring and on-demand content, a podcast was the ideal channel to reach that target audience and spark in-depth engagement.

To Turn SAP’s vision for C-suite thought leadership into reality, they worked with TopRank Marketing to produce six episodes of Season 1, Tech Unknown Podcast. Each episode featured a long-form interview with an industry thought leader and was hosted by tech expert, Tamara McCleary. TopRank Marketing identified influencers for each episode with reach, relevance, and insight that would appeal to technology leaders.

The agency conducted live interviews with Tamara and the featured influencer guests to encourage in-depth exploration of the subject matter. The first season of the Tech Unknown podcast beat industry benchmarks for average downloads within 30 days, activated influencers that were important to the brand and the CTO/IO audience, earned millions of impressions, and opened the door for unique content repurposing opportunities.

Season 2 of the SAP Tech Unknown Podcast has now started to publish and is already breaking new performance records.  By combining an understanding of brand objectives and audience interests with the expertise and audience of specific influencers, SAP has been able to drive conversations, activate relationships and move the needle on their marketing objectives.

Where to start with B2B influencers:  In B2C, many influencers are inventory in a marketplace with detailed info on audience, performance and content creation capabilities where you can purchase services not unlike buying a sponsorship or advertising.

In B2B, there are no such marketplaces. Influencer Marketing platforms that algorithmically sort vast amounts of data are used to identify influencers that might be a match based on topical relevance, resonance with their audience and reach.

Once a B2B influencer has been identified as having the right mix of relevance, resonance and reach, B2B marketers can check to see if there is already a relationship with the influencer directly or through a first level connection. Engaging an experienced influencer that is already in your network is much different than starting a conversation with someone new.

It's also important to check to see if the B2B influencer is accustomed to “being an influencer” in terms of public speaking or writing and creating content.

Many B2C influencers are already familiar with what it means to "be" a social media influencer, but in B2B, such self assigned influencer status and behavior is less common. In B2C the goal is often transactional (drive product sales) and the brand might just present a project and have the influencer pitch a creative idea on how to implement. With B2B influencers that's possible but less likely. More often the B2B brand will have a campaign or program in mind with a narrative and structured content collaboration opportunities that influencers can take part in according to their specific areas of expertise and audience engagement.

For example, a B2B influencer program might have elements focused on top of funnel awareness, middle funnel engagement and end of funnel decision making. Each stage would involve different types of influencers (TOFU - brandividuals), (MOFU - industry experts), (BOFU - customers).

Relationship building with B2B influencers is key. A new contact will often be engaged with subtly on relevant social networks. You can look for signals that can be an open door to inviting a conversation. Then, as you engage online, you might feature the influencer in content or invite them to contribute something very easy, but that gives them great exposure. That basic interaction opens doors to more robust engagement.

If the influencer is clearly a pro and being an influencer is their business model, you can approach them directly as you would any other consultant.

B2C and B2B Influencer Marketing are different - and changing.

While there is advancing consumerization within the B2B world from software user experiences to the types of influencer content being co-created (server unboxing videos, tech "hauls") B2C and B2B influencer marketing are distinctly different. Viewing B2B influencers simply as content distribution channels or advocates for hire is a misplaced B2C-centric expectation. B2B influencers are industry experts that may or may not have advanced content creation skills. They have the attention and respect of their peers and that kind of influence is very powerful for brands that want to recapture buyer attention lost to dropping trust in brand advertising and communications.

If you have experience working with B2B and B2C influencers, what are some of the key differences you've experienced?

The post B2C vs. B2B Influencer Marketing – What’s the Difference? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Instagram Live for Business: 4 Tips to Improve Your Experience

Thinking of going live on Instagram? Wondering how to attract more viewers or what tech to use? In this article, you’ll discover four tips to plan, promote, and broadcast your next Instagram live. Why Use Instagram Live? One of the fastest ways to build rapport with your Instagram followers is through live video. Live experiences […]

The post Instagram Live for Business: 4 Tips to Improve Your Experience appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Learn How These Brands Are Using AI to Crank Up Their Landing Page Conversions

Right now, lots of brands are racing to change how they position themselves online. See how ConstructConnect and Dooly are using Smart Traffic to quickly optimize new messaging and deliver relevant content to more visitors.

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