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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.

Easy for You

To Teach, One Must Learn

One of the benefits of writing is it forces you to structure your thoughts.

If you are doing something to pass a test rote memorization can work, but if you are trying to teach someone else and care it forces you to know with certainty what you are teaching.

When I was in nuclear power school one guy was about to flunk out and I did not want to let him so I taught him stuff for days. He passed that test and as a side effect I got my highest score I ever got on one of those tests. He eventually did flunk out, but he knew other people were rooting for him and tried to help him.

Market Your Work or Become Redundant

Going forward as more work becomes remote it is going to be easier to hire and fire people. The people who are great at sharing their work and leaving a public record of it will likely be swimming in great opportunities, whereas some equally talented people who haven't built up a bit of personal brand equity will repeatedly get fired in spite of being amazingly talented, simply because there was a turn in the economy and management is far removed from the talent. As bad as petty office politics can be, it will likely become more arbitrary when everyone is taking credit for the work of others & people are not sitting side by side to see who actually did the work.

I am a unicorn.

Uber recently announced they were laying off thousands of employees while looking to move a lot of their core infrastructure work overseas where labor is cheaper. Lots of people will be made redundant as unicorn workers in a recession suddenly enjoy the job stability and all the perks of the gig working economy.


We have a great graphic designer who is deeply passionate about his work. He can hand draw amazing art or comics and is also great at understanding illustration software, web design, web usability, etc. I have no idea why he was fired from his prior employer but am thankful he was as he has been a joy to work with.

Before COVID-19 killed office work I sat right next to our lead graphic designer and when I would watch him use Adobe Illustrator I was both in awe of him and annoyed at how easy he would make things look. He is so good at it that and endless array of features are second nature to him. When I would ask him how to do something I just saw him do frequently it would be harder for him to explain how he does it than doing it.


Our graphics designer is also a quite solid HTML designer, though strictly front end design. One day when I took an early lunch with my wife I asked him to create a Wordpress theme off his HTML design and when I got back he was like ... ummm. :)

I am leaving my comfort zone.

We are all wizards at some things and horrible at others. When I use Adobe Illustrator for even the most basic tasks I feel like a guy going to a breakdancing party with no cardboard and 2 left shoes.

There are a number of things that are great about programming

  • it is largely logic-based
  • people drawn toward it tend to be smart
  • people who can organize code also tend to use language directly (making finding solutions via search rather easy)

Though over time programming languages change features & some changes are not backward compatible. And as some free & open source projects accumulate dependencies they end up promoting the use of managers. Some of these may not be easy to install & configure on a remote shared server (with user permission issues) from a Windows computer. So then you install another package on your local computer and then have to research how it came with a deprecated php track_errors setting. And on and on.

One software program I installed on about a half-dozen sites many moons ago launched a new version recently & the typical quick 5 minute install turned into a half day of nothing. The experience felt a bit like a "choose your own adventure" book, where almost every choice you make leads to: start again at the beginning.

At that point a lot of the advice one keeps running into sort of presumes one has the exact same computer set up they do, so search again, solve that problem, turn on error messaging, and find the next problem to ... once again start at the beginning.

That sort of experience is more than a bit humbling & very easy to run into when one goes outside their own sphere of expertise.

Losing the Beginner's Mindset

If you do anything for an extended period of time it is easy to take many things for granted as you lose the beginner's mindset.

One of the reasons it is important to go outside your field of expertise is to remind yourself of what that experience feels like.

I am an expert.

Anyone who has been in SEO for a decade likely does the same thing when communicating about search by presuming the same level of domain expertise and talking past people. Some aspects of programming are hard because they are complex. But when you are doing simple and small jobs then if things absolutely do not work you often get the answer right away. Whereas with SEO you can be unsure of the results of a large capital and labor investment until the next time a core algorithm update happens a quarter year from now. That uncertainty acts as the barrier to entry & blocker of institutional investments which allow for sustained above average profit margins for those who make the cut, but it also means a long lag time and requiring a high level of certainty to make a big investment.

The hard part about losing the beginners mindset with SEO is sometimes the algorithms do change dramatically and you have to absolutely reinvent yourself while throwing out what you know (use keyword rich anchor text aggressively, build tons of links, exact match domains beat out brands, repeat keyword in bold on page, etc.) and start afresh as the algorithms reshuffle the playing field.

The Web Keeps Changing

While the core algorithms are shifting so too is how people use the web. Any user behaviors are shifting as search results add more features and people search on mobile devices or search using their voice. Now that user engagement is a big part of ranking, anything which impacts brand perception or user experience also impacts SEO. Social distancing will have major impacts on how people engage with search. We have already seen a rapid rise of e-commerce at the expense of offline sales & some colleges are planning on holding next year entirely online. The University of California will have roughly a half-million students attending school online next year unless students opt for something cheaper.

What Resolution?

I am horrible with Adobe Illustrator. But one of the things I have learned with that and Photoshop is that if you edit in a rather high resolution you can have many of your errors disappear to the naked eye when it is viewed at a normal resolution. The same analogy holds true for web design but in the opposite direction ... if your usability is solid on a mobile device & the design looks good on a mobile device then it will probably be decent on desktop as well.

Some people also make a resolution mistake with SEO.

  • If nobody knows about a site or brand or company having perfect valid HTML, supporting progressive web apps, supporting AMP, using microformats, etc. ... does not matter.
  • On the flip side, if a site is well known it can get away with doing many things sub-optimally & can perhaps improve a lot by emulating sites which are growing over time in spite of having weaker brand strength.

Free, so Good Enough?

Many open source software programs do not do usability testing or track the efforts of a somewhat average user or new user in their ability to download and install software because they figure it is free so oh well people should figure it out. That thinking is a mistake though, because each successive increase in barrier to entry limits your potential market size & eventually some old users leave for one reason or another.

Any free software project which accumulates attention and influence can be monetized in other ways (through consulting, parallel SaaS offerings, affiliate ad integration, partnering with Hot Nacho to feature some great content in a hidden div using poetic code, etc.). But if they lack reach, see slowing growth, and then increase the barrier to entry they are likely to die.

When you ask someone to pay for something you'll know if they like it and where they think it can be improved. Relying on the free price point hides many problems and allows them to accumulate.

The ability to make things easy for absolute beginners is a big part of why Wordpress is worth many multiples of what Acquia sold for. And Wordpress has their VIP hosting service, Akismet, and a bunch of other revenue streams while Acquia is now owned by a private equity company.

The ability to be 0.0000001% as successful as Wordpress has been without losing the beginner mindset is hard.


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How to leverage social data to be a world-class agency

Every agency, big or small, full-service or boutique, attracts and acquires clients because of their unparalleled experience and ability to take campaigns and content Read more...

This post How to leverage social data to be a world-class agency originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Always-On Influence: 5 Examples of Ongoing B2B Influencer Marketing In Action

Businesswoman walking past five world-time clocks.

Businesswoman walking past five world-time clocks. Always-on influence is especially vital today as brands look to combat increasing mistrust and apathy. Why have top B2B firms including our clients LinkedIn, Adobe and Dell Outlet chosen always-on influencer marketing programs, and what results are they achieving using continuing influence programs? We answer these questions and more with examples of always-on influence in action. In the first installment of our new #AlwaysOnInfluence series, our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden explored what always-on influencer marketing is and why B2B brands need it now more than ever, and now we’ll move forward and look at why five major B2B firms have chosen ongoing influencer marketing. First let’s refresh our marketing lexicon with an overview of just what always-on influence is.

What Is Always-On Influence?

Always-on influencer marketing is the practice of ongoing relationship-building, engagement and activation of a specified group of influencers to build community, content and brand advocacy. Always-on marketing replaces on-again off-again campaigns with a fluid ongoing effort, continually cultivating and carefully building efforts that allow businesses to seamlessly adapt their marketing efforts, rather than playing catch-up, stopping a campaign, and waiting to build a new one. “Relationships take time and that means influencer engagement is an ongoing effort, not just when influencers are needed to provide content or promotion,” Lee explained, adding that “a relationship-driven endeavor like engaging with influencers requires an ongoing effort.”

Why Are B2B Brands Choosing Always-On Influence Now?

Always-on influencer marketing also happens to be an ideal way for brands to drive digital conversations during the global health crisis, as B2B brands seek to defeat audience apathy and skepticism by creating powerful influencer-infused content that bolsters brand credibility and authority. Financial firms have increased their use of influencer marketing to drive awareness of services in higher demand due to the global health crisis. (eMarketer) Using always-on influencer marketing helped our client 3M establish and popularize the Science Champions Podcast, paved the way for client DivvyHQ to see a 500 percent increase in awareness of its content platform, and led to our client Prophix seeing a 642 percent increase in engagement. Our team at TopRank Marketing has been involved in always-on B2B influencer marketing since its inception, and we’ve had the honor of working with an array of major brands, and the success they’ve achieved utilizing ongoing influencer programs can serve as a guide for other B2B brands looking to try continuing influencer marketing. “Working with influencers, to co-create content, delivers value and can inspire audiences to take action,” Amisha Gandhi of client SAP Ariba noted. Amisha Gandhi of SAP Quote Image [bctt tweet="“Working with influencers, to co-create content, delivers value and can inspire audiences to take action.” — Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi" username="toprank"]

What Are Some of the Benefits of Always-On Influence?

There are many benefits to ongoing B2B influencer marketing programs, and we’ll explore them and then look at examples. “When planned and implemented effectively, B2B influencer marketing programs build trust and confidence for buyers, influencers and the brand,” Lee recently noted. “Many companies are meeting a boost in demand for information by engaging influencers to provide thought leadership, insights and how-to content. By collaborating with influencers on educational, entertaining and interactive online content, B2B brands can satisfy the hunger buyers have for credible content experiences that engage and inspire,” Lee added. The uncertain times we face today can also be successfully addressed by brands through the use of always-on influencer marketing. “Influencers are tapped into the current mood and interests of their audience. Their insights can help you craft your messaging to better resonate with your customers,” Tom Treanor, global head of marketing at our client Arm Treasure Data, recently said.

The Cadence & Drum-Beat of Ongoing Influencer Marketing

Ongoing influencer marketing also helps keep the kind of steady cadence consumers expect today more than ever from brands. “Marketers are being ultra-cognizant of their messaging and publishing cadences, and ensuring their point of view and messaging on COVID-19 — or lack thereof — are aligned with their brand values. Influencer marketing is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between what once was our 2020 marketing plan and what we now need to achieve,” Elizabeth Williams, TopRank Marketing account manager shared. Live-streaming video from influencers is also increasingly helping to keep the ongoing drum-beat of brand messaging active. “There has been a rush of business influencers live-streaming video on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter,” Lee said. [bctt tweet="Successful B2B influencer relationships take time to build and require time to maintain.” @LeeOdden" username="toprank"]

Always-On Influence Forms Lasting Relationships

The ongoing influencer relationships that brands build today can form a strong foundation from which to grow in the years ahead. “Engage an influencer for a campaign and they are your friend for the day. Help someone become more influential and they’re your friend for life,” Lee has astutely noted since the early days of B2B influencer marketing. Consistency and persistence are among the key factors in successful always-on influencer marketing programs. Consistency and persistency imageLong-term engagements, founded on solid relationships and strengthened through an always-on influencer strategy, will help you steer clear of stops and starts,” our senior content strategist Nick Nelson noted.

Always-On Provides Momentum, Nurturing & Commitment

Always-on influencer marketing offers brands a multitude of benefits, and is a multi-faceted undertaking, with some of the qualities being that it:
  • Works 24/7
  • Is an Ongoing Practice with Continuing Benefits
  • Focuses on Nurturing Long-Term Relationships
  • Builds Momentum
  • Helps Deliver Better Returns to Brands, Influencers, and Customers
  • Recognizes that Lasting Relationships Aren’t Built in a Day
  • Is a Two-Way Trust-Building Commitment
“Look beyond individual campaigns and think about how the brand and influencer relationship can create mutual value, influence and trust over time,” Lee has said, also noting that “Marketers need to be ‘on’ when it matters, and that might have to mean always on.” Now let’s look at five examples of why major brands have chosen always-on influencer marketing, starting with LinkedIn. [bctt tweet="“Engage an influencer for a campaign and they are your friend for the day. Help someone become more influential and they’re your friend for life.” @LeeOdden" username="toprank"]

1 — Why LinkedIn Is Using Always-On Influence

Fresh off its latest tally of 690 million members, our client LinkedIn has continued to grow, with a 26 percent increase in user sessions and LinkedIn Live video streams that increased by 158 percent since February, according to parent company Microsoft’s fiscal year 2020 third quarter results release. LinkedIn has remained in the top spot among senior B2B marketers for nurturing leads, with some 84 percent saying the platform is the most effective social media channel (Chief Marketer). 87 percent of Inc. 500 firms used LinkedIn for social media during 2019 (UMass Dartmouth), and for the third consecutive year LinkedIn has garnered the most-trusted social media platform spot, according to Business Insider Intelligence’s Digital Trust Report. It may come as no surprise that engagement levels at LinkedIn have also risen during the pandemic, and this has been driven in part by the increasing use of always-on B2B marketing influencer initiatives. LinkedIn WFH Engagement Chart A powerful example of how LinkedIn has used the always-on influencer marketing approach is LinkedIn Sales Solutions’ “Here’s Where Sales Leaders Should Focus in 2020, According to Experts,” which asked a variety of leading industry experts to share their top priorities for  B2B sales leaders. LinkedIn Sales Screenshot Ty Heath, global lead of The B2B Institute at LinkedIn, sees the power of influence in building ongoing relationships. “People can break through the noise. People trust people. Influence is about relationships,” Ty has said. LinkedIn Ty Heath Quote Image [bctt tweet="“Business buyers expect more personalized attention and customization of content.” — Ty Heath @tyrona" username="toprank"] Humanizing a brand using B2B influencer marketing is a core focus for the team at LinkedIn according to LinkedIn’s marketing manager Judy Tian. Judy finds that the relevancy and engagement influencer marketing offers is especially important. [bctt tweet="“Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach, the relevancy and engagement are what's most important.” — Judy Tian @judytian07" username="toprank"] Our own Nick sees always-on approaches as becoming a part of the new marketing normal. “Brands need to be readily available, with the right content at the right time. Strategies must account for every touch point. Always-on approaches are becoming the norm,” Nick Nelson wrote. It’s a view echoed by our vice president of client accounts Alexis Hall. “Campaigns should be intertwined with an overall, always-on strategy to create marketing harmony and get the ultimate value out of all your efforts,” Alexis noted. There are many benefits to building long-term influencer relationships that simply won’t occur when brands view influencer marketing as a tactic that can be turned on and off at will, however. “Brands are best served by fostering long-term and mutually beneficial B2B influencer relationships, going beyond seeing influencers as just another of many projects. The loyalty an influencer will have towards your brand is largely dependent on building and maintaining ongoing relationships,” Lee shared during a recent webinar. “When a brand provides long-term commitment to a partnership with an influencer, even when an influencer may not be actively involved in a campaign for the brand, the strength of the ongoing relationship will drive continued incentive for the influencer to be advocating for the brand,” Lee added. LinkedIn has seen continuing success using the power of always-on influence, and to help you learn more about how the firm incorporates influencer marketing into its efforts, here are seven recent related articles we’ve written. [bctt tweet="“Brands need to be readily available, with the right content at the right time. Strategies must account for every touch point. Always-on approaches are becoming the norm.” @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]

2 — Why Adobe Chose Always-On Influence

Our client Adobe has successfully used always-on influencer marketing in multiple ongoing programs over a period of years. Adobe engaged multiple influencers to provide insights around customer experience management in a popular interactive infographic in support of the Adobe Summit conference. For its “Reshaping Customer Experience Management: The Future of #CXM” campaign, Adobe worked with TopRank Marketing to create a unique interactive online story that featured a wealth of helpful B2B influencer content to increase awareness of Adobe’s Customer Experience Management solutions. Adobe Reshaping The Customer Experience image. The campaign combined expert insight from top industry experts including Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, Scott Monty of Scott Monty Strategies, Rachel Richter of Dun & Bradstreet and others, with enticing and genuinely useful interactive elements to bring Adobe’s CXM to life. As we’ve seen, always-on influencer marketing delivers numerous benefits, including one that Rani Mani, head of social influencer enablement at Adobe, sees as especially important — bringing more of the humanizing element to B2B brands. “The main benefit of B2B influencer collaboration is that influencers humanize a brand and capture the personality behind the logo,” Rani said. “Influencers raise brand awareness and engagement by giving companies access to an audience they may not otherwise have through a trusted and credible source,” Rani added. “We at Adobe pride ourselves on cultivating and nurturing long term relationships with our influencers,” Rani noted, adding that “With an always on approach like this, it’s easier to match the right influencers with the right campaigns as they get launched.” [bctt tweet="“The main benefit of B2B influencer collaboration is that influencers humanize a brand and capture the personality behind the logo.” @ranimani0707" username="toprank"] In our annual list of top B2B influencer marketing predictions Rani suggested that influencers and brands will continue to strengthen their ongoing relationships both digitally and in the real world, something that will undoubtedly resume once the global health crisis subsides. “In 2020, I predict in-real-life experiences between brands and influencers will grow and facilitate a greater sense of community,” Rani noted. Rani also sat down with Lee and shared how working with B2B influencers can drive marketing results, how influencer engagement is organized at Adobe, along with a variety of tips on recruiting and engaging influencers, as well as listing some of her favorite B2B influencers to work with. You can dig in with Rani and Lee’s entire fascinating exchange here. Among Adobe’s always-on influencer initiatives has been its successful #AdobeInsiders program, which features top B2B influencers assembled by Rani and her team, with insider members including Lee, Goldie Chan, and others. Goldie Chan Twitter Adobe MAX Screenshot Goldie recently explored the role of personal branding — an element important to savvy influencers — in a Forbes article which also features several take-aways from Lee. “Adobe has not only built continued trust in its brand amongst a community of influencers but with the Adobe customers those influencers reach as well,” Lee noted. [bctt tweet="“With an always on approach, it’s easier to match the right influencers with the right campaigns as they get launched.” @ranimani0707" username="toprank"]

3 — Why Dell Outlet & Dell Technologies Use Always-On Influence

Our client Dell Outlet’s certified refurbished server, PC, and workstation program has used always-on influence as part of its award-winning marketing. An fine example of how Dell Outlet has utilized always-on influencer marketing comes from the “Into the Wild: The Buyer’s Guide to Picking the Best Computer” guide it launched, featuring insight from a variety of “fit-for-you and fit-for-earth” tips from industry experts. Dell Outlet Sales Guide Image Dell Outlet was also a finalist at the B2BMX Killer Content Awards — the Finnys — with a campaign featuring small business influencers advocating on video and audio, and testing for the value of refurbished computers. Dell Outlet needed to build awareness as an entity distinct from their parent brand. With a focus on refurbished hardware and a commitment to a more sustainable, circular economy, Dell Outlet built a unique personality, purpose and value proposition. They needed — however — to both establish themselves as their own brand, and educate a small business audience on the value of refurbished equipment. With targeted research and outreach, Dell Outlet connected and co-created content with small business influencers who had relevance and resonance with the brand’s target audience. The full campaign, featuring videos, a landing page, and social promotion, achieved strong results that were only possible with always-on influencer marketing: B2BMX Finnys Dell Image The campaign was 175 percent over its goal for traffic to product pages, and even though it was primarily an awareness campaign, the influencer contributions succeeded in driving conversions — a powerful testament to how successfully the campaign built trust with its target audience. Our client Dell Technologies has also developed relationships with a network of influencers, including Mark Schaefer and Doug Karr, who hosted the popular Dell Luminaries podcast. Their discussions with technology visionaries from both inside Dell and elsewhere, put a human face on technology innovation, and build trust in the Dell Technologies brand. It’s another of the many ongoing benefits of always-on influence that Lee has observed. “Don’t make your influencer involvement a one-and-done. Keep following and engaging with your influencers, helping promote them and developing a community. Better yet, introduce influencers to each other. They’ll have your brand to thank for meaningful connections they make with their peers,” Lee noted. Here’s another example from Dell Outlet, highlighting the insights they’ve gathered from an array of small business experts and entrepreneurs on making smart tech purchases. [bctt tweet="“Always On Influencer Marketing is a strategic approach to creating communities of trusted experts that is relationship and content focused.” @LeeOdden" username="toprank"]

4 — Why RateLinx Went With Always-On Influence

Our client RateLinx has used always-on influence to achieve new levels of engagement and reach for its platform in the supply chain software and consulting industry, whether through co-created blog content, influencer-rich information resources, or other forms of digital content. For its recent "14 More Supply Chain & Logistics Leaders You Need to Follow" guide, RateLinx worked with industry influencers including Inna Kuznetsova, Ph. D. and Beth Morgan to provide ongoing advice, insight, and guidance, following up on an earlier successful effort. RateLinx Screen Supply chain industry influencer Lisa Anderson was featured in another recent blog post, "Supply Chain Strategy: Modernization Tips from Lisa Anderson." RateLinx Screenshot For RateLinx and all of the brands we've shared examples from, the time for always-on influence in marketing has arrived, however brands have been slow to adopt the practice, as we explored in “Why Always-On Is Always Better for Driving B2B Influencer Marketing Success.” [bctt tweet="“Campaigns should be intertwined with an overall, always-on strategy to create marketing harmony and get the ultimate value out of all your efforts.” @Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

5 — Why AT&T Is Using Always-On Influence

Whether it’s a major name influencer or niche industry micro-influencers, AT&T’s always-on influencer approach has seen continued success, such as its recent inclusion in the popular “#SomeGoodNews with John Krasinski” YouTube videos. AT&T Screenshot AT&T also notes that “92 percent of people trust recommendations from people over brands, even if they don’t know them,” and has worked with influencers on campaigns including its successful “History by Us” initiative to celebrate Black History Month. AT&T Black History Month Screenshot

Take Action by Adding #AlwaysOnInfluence To Your Marketing

As we’ve seen with our examples from LinkedIn, Adobe, Dell, RateLinx, AT&T and others, always-on influence is a powerful long-term method for driving brand authority and increasing brand trust and engagement, especially during uncertain times. We hope that you’ve found inspiration in these various examples for your own efforts. To learn more about how TopRank Marketing can help you develop a premier always-on influencer marketing program, please contact us.

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Want your videos to make a bigger impact on social platforms? Wondering how to create videos that grab and hold people’s attention? In this article, you’ll discover three techniques to produce video people will watch on social media. Note: This article assumes you have the basics in place for filming and producing social media video. […]

The post How to Make Videos People Will Watch on Social Media appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Break Free B2B Marketing: Danny Nail on Creating a Global ABM Platform

Breakfree Influencer - Danny Nail Blog

Breakfree Influencer - Danny Nail Blog I wrote a special song just for you: Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you Happy birthday, dear reader of the TopRank blog, Happy birthday to you Are you emotionally moved or impressed by my effort? Probably not. Even if I used a little tech wizardry to insert your name in there, you likely wouldn’t be blown away by the level of customization. It’s just filling in a template, not creating something new. In theory, account-based marketing (ABM) should mean delivering hyper-relevant, custom content to your most relevant accounts. In practice, however, it tends to mean coming up with ever-more intricate Mad Libs.  We end up templatizing everything to scale up our efforts, losing the immediacy and relevance that makes ABM work. Fortunately, a few practitioners out there are demonstrating how to take ABM at scale beyond the “fill-in-the-blank” model. Gary Gerber shared his tips in our first Break Free video of the new season. This time around, we’re talking to Danny Nail about the amazing work he’s doing at SAP.* Danny is the Global Head of Account Based Marketing at SAP. Under his leadership, they’ve developed a remarkable platform for repurposing and customizing content for different regions, accounts, and even across verticals.  The system Danny and his team built is largely self-serve, and it’s cheaper and more efficient than having local offices create their own assets. The best part? You don’t need Fortune 500-level resources to create something similar for your team. I sat down with Danny during B2BMX to talk about ABM, content marketing, and the importance of creativity in everything from content to strategy. Watch the video or listen to the audio below, and skip past the embeds for a few key highlights. [bctt tweet="“You have to let go of templatized old ideas...and start really digging into how you can change what you're doing and make it more efficient, more effective, and be creative about that.” @DannyNail, @SAP" username="toprank"]

Break Free B2B Interview with Danny Nail:

Timeline and Highlights: 1:58 - A new definition for scalable ABM 2:27 - Creating a self-serve ABM platform 3:30 - Aligning sales and marketing for ABM 5:00 - Solving the attribution dispute between sales and marketing 6:00 - Building measurement into an ABM platform 7:15 - Refining the definition of ABM 10:45 - Building a better ABM platform 14:00 - The power of non-promotional content 15:30 - Why Danny got into marketing 17:00 - How marketing will change in the next 5 years 18:40 - Rising above the personalized/scalable trade-off 22:35 - How can marketers break free? Danny:  I've developed what I call the ABM asset delivery platform. I worked with my agency to develop that. What it is, is a library of the assets we've already created for our ABM program at a global level.  So think about if you have, let's say, five accounts in oil and gas globally, and they're across there in four different regions, but the things that you create for them are synergistic across all five accounts. So they can be used for those five accounts, they most likely are going to be usable for any other oil and gas account in the world.  So what we do is there on the platform, a seller or marketer can go onto the platform and actually order that asset to be versioned for that account. If they do it at what we call level three, it takes three to five weeks, costs 1500 euro, and they've got this great asset that looks like it was developed specifically for their account. Josh: So this is a platform that's almost a self-serve for sales and marketing? Danny: Think “Amazon” for ABM assets. Josh: Were there any challenges that you faced trying to get ABM aligned with both sales and marketing? Danny: I think that the biggest challenge is the relationship with sales. Because historically, marketing and sales have kind of been at odds a bit, which is unfortunate, but ABM brings the two together.  So throughout the development of each of my programs, I work closely with the sales leads of each of the accounts within the program. They're involved in the creation of the assets. They're involved in the messaging that happens within the assets for their account. So they have the opportunity to, at the end of the day, tailor their assets, the things that I developed for them even more so for their specific accounts. So they know it resonates with their account.  The key to that is understanding the sales cycle. And understanding how sellers think and what they're up against. So we know that every year there at certain times of the year they're going to be involved in Sapphire or field kickoff meetings or end of quarter close, so we've got to watch out and and be cognizant of the things that the salespeople are facing, so that when we go to them and ask for their time, we're going at a time when we know they would have time. Danny: When I was asked to start the industry IBM program at SAP, there were three objectives: Have global marketing, get closer to sales and create something that can be scalable. Typically, when people think of scalability, they think of templates. So the whole bill of material is templatized. White Paper, tweets, let's have three tweets, two blogs, sets of blog copy, an email, and the white paper and maybe an infographic that comes from the white paper, right? Every program, same bill of materials. With the platform and the way we build the assets, we don't even think about what we're going to build until we know the story we're going to tell. And once we know the story we're going to tell, depending on what type of story it is, that's when we decide what type of asset or material we're going to build. And then that goes on to the platform. It starts as generic, but then you can have it versioned at a number of different levels. Danny: The things that some people are calling ABM are really target account marketing. That should be the way we market on a daily basis. We should know what the sentiment about interest and intent data is for our target accounts, we should have a set of target accounts that we're monitoring and serving our material to when they're ready for it and when they're basically asking for it because they're showing intent on it. That should be the marketing across the board.  But then that should also lead to accounts where we can do account based marketing. So the continuum should be from target account marketing, to ABM, to one-to-one ABM, all the way across that scale, but it should start with target account marketing. So we want to be done with customized or targeted lists. If you're going to send something to somebody, at least make it as close to industry specific as you can, so that it's talking in their language, and it's talking about their problems.  Because HR issues, everyone would think they're the same. But retail has totally different HR issues than oil and gas because of seasonality. And you've got seasonal workers around Christmas and holidays and things like that. So you need to be able to understand that and show your customers that you understand that because that's how they're thinking. Josh: I think we have this feeling that we have limited resources. So we have to find as much of a synergy as we can between messaging and it seems like with the technology that you're working with, you don't have to make that trade off anymore. Danny: That's right. I think that's one of the things — I think marketers have typically — when they thought scalability, again, they thought templatized. And instead of thinking templatized, think of different ways to scale, or the way you create the material that you create to make it more scalable, as opposed to making it templatized.  Use the creative you've done for one thing and repurpose it for another thing. So we've done that with one of our assets, it’s an automotive asset. That's where a car is driving through a village, and it's a linear story. So the next time we had a linear story, we changed it from a car driving through a village to a person walking through a store, same asset, just repurposed so that we could get the scale of at least the programming that we had done on the back end of the asset to make the the retail asset. Danny: You have to let go of templatized, old ideas. You have to break free of thinking about things the way we've always thought about them, and start really digging into how you can change what you're doing and make it more efficient, more effective, but be creative about that. Because the platform didn't exist, but now it does. And that's because we got creative about how we could scale ABM, as opposed to adding people to scale or adding money to scale.  Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:  

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How to Produce High-Quality Videos for Social Media

Need to do more with social video? Wondering how to increase the quality of your videos? In this article, you’ll discover practical tips to produce polished videos that perform well on social media. #1: Look Better on Camera I’m sure you’ve seen many social media videos where the person is looking down at the camera, […]

The post How to Produce High-Quality Videos for Social Media appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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New Age Cloaking

Historically cloaking was considered bad because a consumer would click expecting a particular piece of content or user experience while being delivered an experience which differed dramatically.

As publishers have become more aggressive with paywalls they've put their brands & user trust in the back seat in an attempt to increase revenue per visit.

user interest in news paywalls.

Below are 2 screenshots from one of the more extreme versions I have seen recently.

The first is a subscribe-now modal which shows by default when you visit the newspaper website.

The second is the page as it appears after you close the modal.

Basically all page content is cloaked other than ads and navigation.

The content is hidden - cloaked.

hidden content.

That sort of behavior would not only have a horrible impact on time on site metrics, but it would teach users not to click on their sites in the future, if users even have any recall of the publisher brand.

The sort of disdain that user experience earns will cause the publishers to lose relevancy even faster.

On the above screenshot I blurred out the logo of the brand on the initial popover, but when you look at the end article after that modal pop over you get a cloaked article with all the ads showing and the brand of the site is utterly invisible. A site which hides its brand except for when it is asking for money is unlikely to get many conversions.

Many news sites now look as awful as the ugly user created MySpace pages did back in the day. And outside of the MySpace pages that delivered malware the user experience is arguably worse.

a highly satisfied online offer, which does the needful.

Each news site which adopts this approach effectively increases user hate toward all websites adopting the approach.

It builds up. Then users eventually say screw this. And they are gone - forever.

a highly satisfied reader of online news articles.

Audiences will thus continue to migrate across from news sites to anywhere else that hosts their content like Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News, Twitter, Opera or Edge or Chrome mobile browser new article recommendations, MSN News, Yahoo News, etc.

Any lifetime customer value models built on assumptions around any early success with the above approach should consider churn as well as the brand impact the following experience will have on most users before going that aggressive.

hard close for the win.

One small positive note for news publishers is more countries are looking to have attention merchants pay for their content, though I suspect as the above sort of double modal paywall stuff gets normalized other revenue streams won't make the practice go away, particularly as many local papers have been acquired by PE chop shops extracting all blood out of the operations through interest payments to themselves.


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Google Ads Basics: A Guide to Setting Up Your First Google Ads Campaign

Eager to break into the world of paid online advertising? Get step-by-step instructions, best practices, and pro tips for creating your first Google Ad.

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Social Spotlight: Talkspace and how to build a community of support

Welcome to the Social Spotlight, where we dive deep into what we love about a brand’s approach to a specific social campaign. From strategy Read more...

This post Social Spotlight: Talkspace and how to build a community of support originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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