A T

5 Ways to Build Digital Marketing Expertise

A T on Feb 10th, 2015     B2B Marketing, Digital Marketing

Build-Marketing-Expertise

You know all those articles about secrets of successful people? About how entrepreneurs sleep 4 hours a night and don’t eat solid food? They feed into all of our desires to be successful overnight. But success in life or your career is less dependent on luck or tricks as it is a product of practice and hard work.

Whether you’re a client-side marketing coordinator, an advertising agency VP, or a freelance SEO contractor, you need to constantly work on your skills to maintain value as an employee. In marketing especially, there are new technologies, tools, and industries popping up each year, so it’s extra important to be vigilant about your abilities.

Lee Odden

Beyond Content for Marketing – Channels of Distribution and Being the Best Answer

Lee Odden on Feb 9th, 2015     Content Marketing

content channels distribution

For businesses that want to differentiate and create a meaningful connection with buyers across the customer lifecycle, content is the answer.

This is especially true with business buyers. According to research from IDC, 56% of the buying cycle is searching for and engaging with content. And according to Forrester, 66% to 90% of the buying cycle is complete before a B2B buyer ever speaks with a sales rep.

How? Through information and media buyers find in their search to become educated about solutions.

By no means is the creation of useful and info-taining content a silver bullet on its own. Competition for time and attention is tough and marketers still need to attract that attention through advertising, social media, email, SEO and other amplification tactics. But all those promotion tactics are of little value without meaningful content to send interested buyers to.

Ben Brausen

Online Marketing News: Tweets in Google Searches, Content Out Of Focus, Facebook Domination

Ben Brausen on Feb 6th, 2015     Online Marketing, Online Marketing News

Marketing Trends Road Map

Marketing Trends Road Map for 2015 [INFOGRAPHIC] – Feeling a little lost? Does your marketing plan for 2015 look like it was drawn on a napkin? Uberflip, a content publishing platform, has an infographic that may help guide you through the year. Uberflip

Facebook Introduces Place Tips in News Feed – Starting last week on Facebook for iPhone, place tips may show up at the top of your News Feed when you’re out and about. Facebook

Tumblr Launches In-House Ad Agency – Tumblr is joining the ranks with YouTube in using its social network to leverage creators and make them money, and maybe even Michelle Phan famous. Today it launched the Creatrs Network, an agency that will select Tumblr users that are onto something and help them connect with brands. SocialTimes

Jolina Pettice

Is Your Business Blog Running on Empty? Here Are 4 Ways To Fill the Tank

Jolina Pettice on Feb 5th, 2015     Blogging, Online Marketing

Blog-Out-Of-Gas

I’m a bit of a risk-taker when it comes to my gas tank. If you cared to check, most days you will find me driving around with the gas light on.

In fact, I’ve done this so long that I have it down to an art. I know how many miles I can go, and even how the car starts to drive when I’m operating on fumes.

Why, why on earth would anyone do this, you might ask. The answer is simple … because so far it’s worked. I haven’t found myself on the side of the road unable to keep going.

James Anderson

B2B Channel Marketing Strategies: 12 Data and Content Takeaways from #BMAMN

James Anderson on Feb 4th, 2015     B2B Marketing, Marketing PR Conferences
BMAMN-Channel-Marketing-Data

Panelists, from left, Heather Anfang, John Peters, Barbara Merwin and Chris Hawver discuss channel marketing strategies at Tuesday’s BMAMN event.

What do marketing professionals from industries as diverse as food service, laboratory supply manufacturing, data storage and financial services all have in common? Each of them see consumer data and content management as keys to the future of channel marketing in their respective industry.

Panelists at Business Marketing Association Minnesota‘s February event, “Strategies to Win: The Evolution of Channel Marketing” all agreed that the level at which their company leverages data in its marketing channels has increased significantly in recent years. Marketers are leveraging consumer data to identify trends and better craft B2B buyer personas. Increasingly, these personas are targeted with inbound content marketing tactics to bring them along to a purchase decision.

James Anderson

B2B Marketing eBook: Inspiration From 14 Marketing Influencers

James Anderson on Feb 3rd, 2015     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Online Marketing

B2B-Marketing-2015

The digital marketing industry is shaped by great minds that, while keeping one eye on the work at hand, are focusing the other on the future. These great minds help us see “what’s next” and inspire us to create the next level of content for marketing.

For inspiration on B2B Marketing in 2015, look no further than the experts in “B2B Marketing 2015: 14 Visions of the Future You Can Use Today“. These B2B savants see a future in which content is co-created with brands, employees, customers and influencers. They see a future in which company data is used to shape conversations in real-time. Their future borrows from B2C marketing by humanizing the B2B journey and creating user experiences for buyers, not just companies.

Lee Odden

The Super Bowl of Content Marketing Audits – Optimized, Socialized & Integrated

Lee Odden on Feb 2nd, 2015     Optimize Book, Social Media

digital marketing audit

With the Patriots win last night, I can’t help but try and squeeze a football metaphor into this post. See? It got your attention!

Like football of days past, mainstream Digital Marketing has evolved. From a focus on single channels like email or search, to multi-channel programs and even into omni-channel – all are driven by the importance of creating compelling experiences for buyers. Or fans.

While companies with mature, sophisticated and budget rich marketing programs are riding this digital marketing wave, the practical reality is that many companies are in need of a clear plan for expansion. Creating a consistent user experience across channels, online and offline (kind of like winning the Super Bowl) is a lot easier said than done.

Ben Brausen

Online Marketing News: Mobile Drives Digital, Search is Number One, Twitter Digits

Ben Brausen on Jan 30th, 2015     Online Marketing, Online Marketing News

Mobile Driving Digital Growth

Mobile is Driving Digital Growth Worldwide [INFOGRAPHICS] – How is mobile driving digital growth? The annual report from digital agency We Are Social provides statistics of worldwide social, mobile and digital penetration, demonstrating just how far social has come — with indicators for the future. Check it out. SocialTimes

Smartphones Account For 40% of US Search Ad Spend In Q4 [Marin] – In Q4, smartphones continued to chip away at desktop paid search contribution in the US. The share of ad spend that went to smartphones rose nearly 5% from Q4 2013 to account for more than 40% of total search spend. That comes from Marin Software’s Benchmark Report for Q4 2014. Search Engine Land

Brooke Furry

From Journey to Destination: How Marketing Automation Can Fill Your B2B Funnel

Brooke Furry on Jan 29th, 2015     B2B Marketing, Email Marketing

marketing-automation-b2b-funnel

You’re a busy B2B digital marketer trying to drive leads in an ever-changing world. You’re writing awesome emails. You use a marketing automation platform. Maybe you’ve even created a series of email drip campaigns, monitored their performance and began to nurture your leads. But you wonder, “Am I doing all that I can?”

Marketing automation gives many of today’s B2B marketing professionals lead nurturing capabilities and structured conversion journeys that not only save time, but build valuable relationships with prospects and ultimately help create revenue.

According to a study by DemandGen, 67% of B2B marketers who use lead nurturing see a 10% or greater increase in sales opportunities throughout the funnel; 15% see opportunities increase by 30% or more.

James Anderson

How Locally Laid Got Paid by Turning Customer Feedback into Brand Storytelling

James Anderson on Jan 28th, 2015     Online Marketing, Online PR

Locally-Laid-Brand-Storytelling

Here in Minnesota, a small egg company is getting big press after ruffling the feathers of a concerned shopper.

When Locally Laid Eggs received a letter from a grocery store shopper, saying that the company’s name is “offensive” and its advertising “vulgar,” the company took to its own blog to offer up a rebuttal. In doing so, they enlightened readers about locally-sourced food and responsible farming and revealed some key marketing lessons in the process.

Most companies would have tossed the letter and missed out on the opportunity to use this kind of storytelling to pick up on the interest that Locally Laid had generated. But Locally Laid understood the importance of story before marketing. From the tiny Wrenschall, Minnesota town (population 399) the small company had the foresight to not only address — respectfully — the letter writer’s concerns, but to point out the reason why their product stands out from competitor options on the shelves.

Lee Odden

What You Need to Know About Content & Influencer Marketing. BONUS: Case Study

Lee Odden on Jan 27th, 2015     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing

influencer co-created content

Influencer Marketing was a hot topic in 2014 and will continue to gain momentum in 2015 for both B2C and B2B marketers, especially when it comes to content co-creation.

Why the warm and fuzzy for influencer content you ask? According to CMI and MarketingProfs, over 90% of B2B marketers are investing in content marketing. Yet, in an age of information overload where 74GB of data are delivered per person, per day (USC), standing out to business buyers can require unreasonable budgets and resources.

Inspired by the need to scale content marketing performance, a growing number of B2B marketers are creating better quality content that gets shared more often, reaches more prospects and grows their influencer network – all at the same time. How so? Through influencer content programs.

James Anderson

Social Media Video – Essential Tips and Takeaways from #SMBMSP74

James Anderson on Jan 26th, 2015     Social Media, Visual Marketing
SMBMSP-Video-Social-Media

Panelists including, from left, Jeff Achen, David Krejci, Farrington Starnes and Chuck Olsen address the audience at the January 23 SMBMSP event.

Digital marketers have known for some time that video is an essential part of the marketing mix: 76% of B2B companies use video as a content marketing tactic. Video is also an important part of a social media content strategy. After all, YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google and Facebook has more than 1 billion daily video views.

Great examples of companies using video to enhance both B2C and B2B marketing are in high demand whether from major brands, agencies and small DIY businesses. At TopRank Online Marketing we’re always on the lookout for social media video trends and new examples to share with our community and clients. That’s why seven members of our team attended a recent Social Media Breakfast at 514 studios in Minneapolis – to learn how other companies are implementing video as part of a social media strategy.