Ashley Zeckman

How Does Mark Schaefer MAKE Marketing Magic? #MPB2B

Ashley Zeckman     B2B Marketing, Marketing PR Conferences


If someone asked you what your mission is as a marketer, what would you say?

My response would go something like this: To create a meaningful connection with customers that engages them with my businesses and encourages them to take the next step in working with us. I’d venture to say that many of you out there would have a similar response. However, even with all of the tools at our disposal today, this mission is much easier said than done.

In fact, 60% of marketers are still struggling to produce engaging content, but 72% have it at the top of their list to focus on in the future.

The upcoming MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum (October 20 – 23) will cover many subjects, including customer engagement. Because of our partnership with MarketingProfs, we are able to bring you insights from some of the top speakers that will be presenting at the upcoming conference.

Today we have part three of our MarketingProfs interview series with author, speaker, educator, and business consultant Mark Schaefer. In this interview you’ll learn more about Mark’s take on the importance of customer engagement and a handful of B2B companies that Mark believes are MAKING great marketing today.

Making Marketing Magic With Mark Schaefer

In your session, “The Content Code: The Future of Marketing” you’ll be talking about the new rules of marketing engagement. Can you give us a sneak peek at what three of these rules are?

Why do we buy from a B2B company? Price? Sure. Service? Of course. But many times, especially in big-ticket long cycle purchase decisions, it comes down to trust.

A fundamental idea behind social selling is that it is simply an extension of what sales people already do best — engage with customers. And I think taking advantage of some of the new tools available is an incredible opportunity to do that.

Social media, for the most part, only establishes weak relational links. It’s still gets down to human connection to develop the stronger links that result in sales.

In this very busy, very information dense world, it is getting harder to do that. In my talk, I will cover the increasing importance of branding, the new concept of the Alpha Audience, and the importance of content sharing in establishing meaningful new engagement.

How do you experiment/innovate with creative marketing?

I think this is the real challenge today. I am in a constant state of reinvention. I think a key skillset today is the ability to rapidly assess technology and either apply or dismiss the idea or technology. I think there is a tremendous amount of opportunity to find new ways to apply the existing tools we have.

For example, there is no way that the founders of Twitter could have envisioned how that platform is being used today for discovery, for PR, for marketing research. Even something simple like the hashtag has impacted popular culture. There is still plenty of room for innovation with these platforms, let alone the new ones coming down the line.

What is one piece of advice you can share for marketers that want to MAKE truly impactful digital marketing?

There has been some buzz lately about engagement being the new marketing. There is some truth to that. At the end of the day, we all want to be heard, to be acknowledged, to be loved. Can you deliver that through a community? Yes, I think you can. Can you scale that? Difficult. In the end I believe the most human companies will stand out. The killer app that will create the biggest impact is human connection, not a social media platform.

What are some examples of B2B companies being really creative with their marketing?

I think the best work is being done in the tech segment. They have always been a leader in adopting the latest marketing techniques and as far as I can tell they are still far ahead most other B2B companies. A company that stands out to me is Dell and the the reason is that Michael Dell understands the opportunities and is a huge sponsor of their digital marketing. They are a leader in social selling, content marketing and analytics.

Dell Social Business Journal

View Dell’s Social Business Journal

Another company I admire very much is LexisNexis. They have an extremely sophisticated approach to content marketing, especially in their approach to young lawyers who will be their future customers.


Explore LexisNexis’ Communities & Blogs

On the retail side, I am proud of the work I’ve done with Mirabeau Wine. Although this is a
consumer product, their marketing is ultimately B2B because their end customer is large wine retailers in the UK, USA and Australia. They have committed to constant, quality content for four years now and they have been able to leverage the results conclusively into new sales. One of the best wine marketers out there.

Mirabeau Wine

Discover Mirabeau Wine’s blog

Last year you predicted that augmented reality and wearable technology would revolutionize marketing in 2015. Where are we at and where do you think we will be in the next year?

I think that is still in target. Although we had a misstep with Google Glass, Facebook is ready to announce commercial ventures involving their immersive Oculus technology.

I believe this is the first step toward revolutionizing how the world connects, discovers information, and entertains itself. The opportunities for companies will be profound. It will be more important than the Internet itself.

What inspires you to MAKE marketing magic?

I could argue that this is the most difficult time to be in marketing. And that’s why I love it. I love the intellectual challenge of figuring this puzzle out every day. Nothing is more fun than that!

MAKE Your Own Marketing Magic

Fantastic insight as always Mark! For even more insight on B2B marketing from some of today’s top marketers be sure to check out the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, and our final interview on October 19 with Cintell’s Katie Martell.

If you’re already planning on attending MarketingProfs B2B Forum, be sure to check out TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden’s session, Participation Marketing: If You Want B2B Content to Be Great, Ask Your Community to Participate.

Header image via Shutterstock

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Agency Marketing for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.