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When Sparks Fly: The TopRank Marketing Team’s Firework Marketing Moments

Firework Marketing Moments

Firework Marketing Moments Marketers are a passionate breed. Whether we’re crafting content, unearthing optimization opportunities, or digging into performance metrics to understand where we went right or wrong, we’re wide-eyed and determined. Our work is a labor of love, and we’re often driven by special moments that spark awe, imagination, and a sense of accomplishment. Those moments that make us go “Boom!” Those moments where we can sit back for a few minutes and watch in wonder. I’m talking about those firework marketing moments. via GIPHY What moments light up the marketing skies for some of our team members? See what makes them go oh, ah, and cheer for an encore.

Our Firework Marketing Moments 

Ashley Zeckman

Senior Director of Digital Strategy I’ve been fortunate to have many firework moments in my career, all of which have taken on different forms. Some have shot off a major spark (life changing!) while others were a small sparkle that continued to burn over time.  If I had to choose, I would say most of my top marketing moments stem from working with clients that trust us to innovate. I would consider myself a curious person and am always looking for a chance to test something new. Fortunately, we get to work with an amazing group of clients that see our team as true partners and are often open to trying something new in an effort to break free of boring B2B (as our CEO Lee Odden would say).  Who would have thought 10 years ago that B2B influencers would be a thing? Let alone, a content strategy that offers brands a way to reach more people in a meaningful way. I’m incredibly proud of the work our team has done in the B2B influencer marketing space and our efforts to constantly raise the bar and adapt to the needs of our influencers, clients, and our client’s audiences. 

Caitlin Burgess

Caitlin BurgessSenior Manager of Content Marketing For me, the most dazzling moments happen during our team and client collaboration sessions. Effective content marketing is absolutely a team sport.  The time we spend together thinking through opportunities, developing strategies, or brainstorming workarounds for unexpected obstacles lays the foundation for those big sparkly moments (i.e. the launch of a campaign or smashing benchmark or goal metrics) that every marketer lives for.

Elizabeth Williams

Elizabeth WilliamsSenior Account Manager I seriously get fireworks each and every time a launch a new project for a client. Whether it’s our first blog and social promotion, or a big bang of a campaign launch—it’s what I live for!  A couple recent favorites were:

  • VR asset launch for SAP Ariba
  • Integrated campaign for Dell Outlet, including influencer videos, SEO-driven content, and paid advertising
  • Integrated campaign for Prophix, including influencer videos and an ongoing content series

Jack Fitzpatrick

Influencer Marketing Strategist If you would’ve told an 18-year-old Jack Fitzpatrick that he would be working at a digital B2B marketing agency, he would say, “Nah, that’s not for me.” And even as I entered the workforce after graduating, I was hesitant to call myself a “Marketer”—I’d usually opt for “Communications Professional.” Although, my title depended solely on my mood.  Nevertheless, my “firework” marketing moment came about a couple of months into working at TopRank Marketing. I was exerting creativity into my work and began to feel that I was truly contributing to the results we achieved as a team—something I never thought would happen to me when working at a marketing agency. That was when I realized I could really own the title of “Marketer” and be proud of the creative energy that I put into social media and influencer marketing campaigns. 

Joshua Nite

Josh NiteSenior Content Marketing Manager My favorite “firework” marketing moment was launching a particularly creative and cool eBook for our client, Pantheon, and watching the view count go up on SlideShare. It was a super fun project to work on and the creative theme was amazing.

Keith Widerski

Account Manager It’s our client reactions that end up being my “firework” moments. When we make them look like absolute rockstar’s to their bosses and their boss’s bosses. That moment when all the time and effort pays off and we can showcase something tangible that we, collectively, as a team created and is now helping drive real, impactful results for our clients. At the end of the day, that’s what makes me most excited and keeps me coming back day in and day out. This most recently happened when I launched my very first podcast influencer episode for SAP’s Tech Unknown Podcast. Being a part of it from the beginning, helping identify the influencers, sitting in on the podcast recordings, and being involved throughout the entire process from start to finish was amazing and truly eye-opening. You don’t realize (or appreciate) the amount of time and effort that goes into a production like this until you’re in it. Delivering an entirely new type of media (podcast) for our client and doing so on-time, with the utmost quality, and having it be a truly valuable piece of influencer content for them to leverage for years to come was something that was really unique and special for me to be a part of.  The best part? Our client’s reaction when the episode went live: “This is so amazing! You guys—We DID IT! We built this thing up from nothing. This is so awesome!”   

Nick Nelson

Nick NelsonSenior Content Strategist As a content strategist, I talk a lot about the value and impact of planning content through topical clusters in alignment with a best-answer approach, matched to a very specific audience. And I firmly believe in it. Still, it’s quite reaffirming to see this belief validated in real life, as it did when we made some adjustments to the blog strategy for DivvyHQ Our teams partnered to create a laser-focus around DivvyHQ’s ideal customer profile (content marketing managers) and oriented our topical mix around their acute needs, questions, and pain points. Not only did we call out this audience directly with almost every piece of content, but we also weren’t afraid to let people who were NOT in this segment know that the content (and product) probably wasn’t for them. We also tweaked our paid search tactics accordingly. The hope was that this would generate more highly-qualified leads and inquiries for DivvyHQ. And that’s exactly what happened. As one of the company’s co-founders told us: “The prospects coming through our website front door are much closer to our ideal customer than they have been in the past. What you’re doing is working!” BOOM! It’s beautiful to see sophisticated content strategy in action, driving explosive results. That’s why we do this!

Let Your Sparks Fly

We all have those boom-tastic moments that remind us just how much we love what we do. For our team, the sparks fly inside and outside company walls. What about you? What moments sparkle, dazzle, and delight your as a marketer? Share with us in the comments section below. via GIPHY Ignite your own marketing magic. Learn the 12 skills every B2B content marketer needs to create their own fireworks.

The post When Sparks Fly: The TopRank Marketing Team’s Firework Marketing Moments appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Tales from the Trenches: How to Transition from Marketing Doer to Marketing Leader

I was roughly five years into my marketing career when I began managing my first direct report. It was the biggest challenge I faced yet. I was now being evaluated on the actions, successes, and failures of another person—and I also knew it was my responsibility to give them the support and tools they needed to have more successes than failures.

I felt as if I didn’t know how to influence, motivate, or persuade another person. But I was given the opportunity to try and to learn. I had a great group of bosses, mentors, and peers giving me advice, listening to my concerns or wins, and allowing me to make mistakes.

Quite a few years (and many direct reports) later, today I have a much better handle on how to manage a team. And as I’ve grown, I’ve learned that my job isn’t just to manage people, time, projects, or priorities, my job is to lead.

But it can be hard to make the transition from a “doer” to a leader. And the stakes are high. In fact, a recent study from TINYpulse found that nearly 50% of employees have quit a job because of a less than stellar manager. In addition, those who don’t feel recognized for their work are two-times as likely to be job hunting.

Whether you’re stepping into your first management role, moving onto middle management, or you have your eye on the CMO office, as a leader it’s your job to inspire, motivate, and grow a happy and high-functioning team. The insights below are designed to help guide you down a successful path to a fruitful career and happy, supported, and motivated employees. 

Tip #1: Understand the landscape

Whether you’re managing one team member or an entire department, you’ll be setting goals and playing an integral role in setting the marketing strategy your team is responsible for driving results with. But to do that, you must understand the broad and niche context in which your organization, department, or service line operates. This means getting to know your customers, prospects, and competitors more deeply, so you thoughtfully can guide and educate your team:

  • Seek out opportunities to hold monthly or quarterly one-on-one calls with your priority customers. Ask them what they value most about your organization or product, as well as where you can do better. 
  • Regularly research your competitors. Subscribe to emails, follow them on social media, and attend industry events where they might be speaking. This will give you unique intel that you can bring back to your team.
  • Get out of the marketing silo. Brainstorm with the sales team. Talk to your customer service team. These teams are intimately familiar with the challenges your customers and prospects face.

Tip #2: Set goals … and exceed them

Yes, you’ve probably be setting goals at all stages of your career. As an individual contributor, your goals were likely focused on what you could individually achieve. In a leadership role, you’re likely responsible for setting goals for your team that will ladder to corporate goals. If you are new to a leadership role, achieving goals that map directly to the success of the company, can be a quick win to build trust within leadership and grow your team and influence. 

  • Keep your goals top of mind. Discuss progress, roadblocks, and wins with your team, your boss, and other leaders. The more discussion around goals, the more likely you and your team are to remain focused and accountable on achieving them. 
  • Incentivize if you can. Big and small incentives can keep your team motivated to achieve their goals.
  • Make it a number. In my experience, setting and achieving a numerical goal has more impact on the organization and is generally more impressive than an accomplishment-based goal. For example, make the goal double MQLs, instead of rolling out a new marketing automation system. The marketing automation system is a stepping stone to reach the goal, not the actual goal. 
  • Set goals quarterly. Ninety days is long enough to achieve something big-ish, but short enough to keep you focused. We’ve found quarterly goals helps us track for the year and keep the team more motivated. 

[bctt tweet="The more discussion around goals, the more likely you and your team are to remain focused and accountable on achieving them. @Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

Tip #3: Focus on scalability

Once it’s time to step out of day-to-day execution and supervision and into leadership, you should focus more on optimizing and solving issues on a systematic basis, rather than local basis. When I was a new manager, I found myself constantly on the run putting out fires as they would pop up, instead of focusing on why it started and how to prevent it going forward.

  • Create make-sense processes. Identify the things your team does over and over again such as campaign launches, attending events, or adding new content to the website. These are replicable events that you can create process around and then optimize for efficiency, results, and so on.
  • Don’t feel like you have to stick to the status quo. Just because the marketing team has always had six copywriters, two content strategists, and an analyst, doesn’t mean that’s the ideal structure. Document the needs and functions of the organization and then map out the most make-sense roles to those needs. For the sake of the exercise, take the current situation out of it. You can employ a phased approach to get you from current situation to ideal. 

Tip #4: Shift the spotlight to your team

As you’re moving into leadership, you’re likely trying to build trust and show value to upper leadership, and it can be easy to lose focus on serving your team. Fostering a happy, well-functioning team is your top priority. Not only can you not do your job without them, but it is one of the best indicators of success to your boss and your boss’s boss. 

  • Shift how you find personal value from work. Most of us have moved into leadership, after being highly successful individual contributors and supervisors. As leaders, we must find more value from the task, result, or project we helped someone else achieve, rather than the work we did ourselves. 
  • Clear obstacles. Be transparent when you can; have your employees’ backs. These things build trust and create a secure, happy, and productive team. 
  • Cultivate the next round of leaders. Understand what your team wants to achieve personally within their careers within the next five or 10 years, and help them do that. As leaders, we should always be identifying and growing the team members who want to move to the next round in their careers. 

[bctt tweet="Most of us have moved into leadership, after being highly successful individual contributors and supervisors. As leaders, we must find more value from the task, result, or project we helped someone else achieve. @Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

Tip #5: Stay fresh on the job

At all levels of my career, I’ve found the best way to build trust with a team is to help them solve a problem. The more you understand your team’s job function, the more able you will be able to help them solve problems, innovate, and provide feedback to improve the function of their performance. 

  • Stay fresh. I find the best way to do this is to jump in and help execute from time to time. So, write a blog post or create the tactical plan. This keeps you from getting rusty, but also helps you empathize with your team and the challenges within their roles. 
  • Ask questions. Sometimes you won’t understand the details of what they’re working on, particularly if you’re leading a cross functional team. But ask questions. Help them look at the problem critically, and it’s likely you’ll guide them to their own answer. 

Tip #6: Be the leader

One of the toughest transitions from individual contributor to leader, is owning your role as the leader. For the first few years that I was managing a small team, I was more likely to be found deep in the weeds, doing the tasks I did in my previous job titles, than actually doing my work as a leader.

There were a couple reasons for this. It was comfortable doing the work; I already knew how to do it and I was good at. I also felt like I was most helpful to my team if I was helping them get the work done by actually doing the work. 

This was not true. See tip No. 3. You (and I) are most helpful to your team when you’re solving systematic problems, optimizing workflow and production, and creating a happy and secure work environment. If you’re always in the weeds, all you can see is the weeds. 

[bctt tweet="You're most helpful to your team when you’re solving systematic problems, optimizing workflow and production, and creating a happy and secure work environment. @Alexis5484 on being a #marketing leader" username="toprank"]

Tip #7: Keep learning

The leaders I am most inspired by inside and outside of my organization are probably the most voracious learners. Continuous learning through a variety of mediums will help you continue to evolve your skill set, bring in fresh ideas, and help you be inspired to test something new. Here are a couple of the resources that I go to:

  • Read: HBR is a go to for great content on how to lead, manage and shape a business. 
  • Listen: Dear HBR has a great Q&A format about navigating workplace challenges. 
  • Attend: Industry events are great for providing outside perspective, networking with other leaders and inspiring the evolution of your tactics. MarketingProfs is a great event for marketers.

Take Your Place at the Leadership Table

Each stage of your career offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities. The way in which you handle those situations—tackling them head-on or leaving them for someone else—has the potential to make or break your success in that position… and the one that may or may not come after. Keep these pieces of advice in mind as you work to build your team, your organization, and career as a leader.

Looking for more tips on how to inspire, motivate, and build a more effective marketing team? Check out our tips for getting your marketing team to work better together.

The post Tales from the Trenches: How to Transition from Marketing Doer to Marketing Leader appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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