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Break Free B2B Series: Adi Bachar-Reske on Taking the Lead in the Evolution of B2B Content Marketing

Break Free B2B Interview with Adi Bachar-Reske

Break Free B2B Interview with Adi Bachar-Reske Marketing leaders are at the forefront of a seismic transformation that continues to play out as we enter a new decade.  Organizational dynamics are realigning. Power balances are shifting. Trust – both internal and external – is emerging as the most essential crux in business success. For people like Adi Bachar-Reske, it’s an exhilarating time to be leading the charge. Her history in marketing dates back multiple decades, so she’s been helping shape this evolution. “Twenty years ago, everybody’s in a suit. I was the only woman in the room, always,” she says. “It has changed a lot.” Today, she finds that she no longer tends to be the only woman in the room (though the balance is still a ways from where it needs to be), and that’s far from the only change she’s observed in her marketing leadership positions — most recently at Provenir, where she served as Vice President of Marketing before moving into a solo consulting role late last year.  Much of her experience, including at Provenir, has come in the financial technology (FinTech) space, so during my interview with her for the Break Free B2B series, we zeroed in on some key topics tied to the vertical: proving the revenue impact of marketing, staying on top of content consumption trends, and building trust with customers when sensitive data is in play. 

Break Free B2B Interview with Adi Bachar-Reske

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 1:00 — Introduction to Adi
  • 2:00 — Provenir’s marketing philosophies
  • 4:00 — How are content consumption trends changing?
  • 10:30 — Building trust in the financial industry
  • 13:15 — How technology helps with personalization and trust
  • 16:00 — Building trust in marketing internally
  • 18:45 Which types of content help sales most?
  • 22:00 How can B2B marketers break free?
  • 24:00 How to balance taking risks with playing it safe

Nick: What are you seeing from your end in terms of shifting content consumption trends and shortening attention spans? Adi: I find that myself, I don’t read books anymore, my eyes get really tired and I just don’t have the time to sit down and actually read, but what I do do, I got addicted to Audible right? So I walk through a long airport, or I sit down and wait for my daughter to finish her guitar lesson, and I’ll just put it in my ears. I read at least two books a month that way and I love it because of the way Audible, they’ve changed too right?  So you’ve got the authors now reading the story. It’s a bit like a TED Talk that lasts for a few hours, which is brilliant. And the same for blogs. Blogs were the big thing a few years ago, but again, we don’t have time to read, so we did this test here. We took some of the blogs and we kind of condensed them, shrank them up into a one-minute video. It was the same content, but obviously a lot less. And we captured the essence of it, and the engagement was just phenomenal. I think we’re all very curious people in the same way we were 10 or 20 years ago, we just consume information differently. [bctt tweet=”I think we’re all very curious people in the same way we were 10 or 20 years ago, we just consume information differently. @AdiBacharReske #ContentConsumption #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”] Nick: Being in the finance industry, I have to imagine that trust, data security, privacy, those are big issues. What are you seeing from your perspective as far as the condition of trust between customers and brands Adi: Years ago the saying was, nobody’s going to lose their job for choosing IBM. If you were a big brand, you were safe, and the financial institution had an immediate trust in you. Easy peasy. But if you were a small brand then it was difficult to get in. They didn’t trust you. You were just small, maybe you’ll disappear tomorrow. It’s funny, things have changed.  I speak to my customers, large institutions and small institutions, all the time and I ask them: why did you choose us? We’re not a big player, we’re not an IBM. In the past year or so, the answer I get is kind of surprising. They say, we chose you because you are small. We chose you because we wanted to work with somebody who’s nimble, who can work with us, who can focus on us, because all these large businesses, you know they have other things to worry about. They may not focus on us, they may not sit down, listen to what we need, build something special for us …  So these days, the way you build the trust is showing how nimble and flexible you can be. Both in your development and your product, but also it has to be reflected in your marketing and your digital presence. You have to look accessible, you have to look open. [bctt tweet=”These days, the way you build trust is showing how nimble and flexible you can be. Both in your development and your product, but also it has to be reflected in your marketing and your digital presence. @AdiBacharReske #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”] Nick: As a marketing leader who regularly interfaces with other leadership in the company, what are your strategies for building trust internally, across departments? Adi: Numbers, numbers, numbers. So again, I’ve been around for a long time and marketers used to be the first one — when the quota hasn’t been met or something happened like that — the marketers were the first people out the door. Why? Because we couldn’t really show any numbers.  You know, we spend all that money on an event, or we spend all that money on a beautiful site … What did it do for us? What did we get back for it? Nothing, nobody knows really. I mean there were anecdotes here and there but we don’t really know. So over the years they created all these beautiful technologies that help us measure that, and it’s up to us to create the KPIs that ensure the bottom line.  So my strategy from day one was to show the bottom line. We spent X, and therefore as a result we had Y inbound leads that turned into whatever converted and whatever closed … With management, the way I grew my team is, I was able to show the numbers and how they grew, and with that I got more investment, and I was able to show more and more and more. 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:

The post Break Free B2B Series: Adi Bachar-Reske on Taking the Lead in the Evolution of B2B Content Marketing 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

Traits B2B Influencers

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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