Research has shown: consumers don’t trust the companies they buy from. They don’t trust ads. And they definitely don’t trust marketers. Trust in marketing is on a decline – between internal stakeholders and customers. In fact, according to a study by Fournaise Group, 80% of CEOs simply don’t trust marketers at all.
Trust is the gateway to influence.
Influence plays a major role in the marketing that moves customers to make purchases. That’s why Lee Odden (our fearless leader and CEO of TopRank Marketing) is challenging marketers to take a step back from the day-to-day of marketing and recognize the trend of reduced trust and influence in marketing.
To help marketers make the shift towards greater credibility and trust, Lee came to Pubcon prepared with five secrets for increasing your level of influence – both internally and externally – plus four key takeaways.
Five Secrets for Growing Marketing Influence
Secret 1: Accelerate Internal/External Credibility
For your marketing to be successful, you have to sell it (actually market your marketing). To accomplish this internally, identify the primary business problems your management team faces and connect your marketing to help solve those problems. Your marketing goals should come from top down, start at the organizational level and determine how marketing can support those goals.
Don’t forget to promote wins to your internal stakeholders. Did your campaign blow business goals out of the water? Tell your team, tell management, and make sure you’re engaging stakeholders with how these results contribute to the bottom line.
To accomplish this externally, you need to become the best answer for your customers with personalized, compelling content experiences that include authentic, influential voices. Meet them where they are with the right information, at the right time.
Secret 2: Double Down on Activating Customers
Double down on activating customers to create more trust and influence. Ask them for reviews and take action based on their feedback. Feature their insights and thoughts in your content. Show them that you’re trustworthy by delivering consistent quality, being reliable, and working to improve continuously.
Secret 3: Work with Influencers to Become Influential
Each brand has stories to tell – and marketers are the storytellers. Collaborate with influencers to tell that story, but it needs to be relevant to their audience as well. To do this, Lee outlined a few steps:
- Identify: Connect with qualified, relevant influencers and find ways to collaborate on customer-focused content.
- Qualify: Validate influencers and their audiences on a regular basis to ensure quality experiences. Lee reminded us that influence is temporal and popularity can be faked, so always verify, validate, and check back frequently with influencers you’ve identified.
- Engage: Employ always on listening and social engagements to keep the love alive with a VIP influencer community of collaborators and advocates.
Finding the right voices and outside perspective lends credibility to your message, and provides additional reach and visibility to prospects looking for the answers you can provide.
Secret 4: Create a Content Collaboration Ecosystem
Once you’ve identified influencers to engage, the next step is to start to create. As Lee said, “Help others become influential and it will grow brand influence.” Start to follow and engage with them on social media. Share opportunities to make things together as a company and you’ll be able to scale quality content. This helps your brand and the contributing influencers become influential by way of mutual exposure.
Secret 5: Optimize Measurement to Customer ROI
If you want to measure the effectiveness of your marketing and how it impacts your bottom line improvement, you have to change the ruler. When it comes to building trust, the metrics are simple: map to the funnel:
- Attract: Is your marketing reaching the right audience in the channels they’re actually influenced by?
- Engage: Is your marketing creating meaningful and satisfying experiences? Are you creating raving fans?
- Convert: Is what you’re doing actually inspiring action? Is it delivering business impact or not?
After Lee shared his top secrets for building trust and influence, he bridged into key takeaways for marketers inspired to begin the journey toward building trust. The following four traits are what brands must have to build that trust – and survive in a consumer-focused landscape.
- Purpose – “In this time of turmoil people are turning to brands as islands of stability.” Richard Edelman. How will the world be different after you’re successful doing what you do? How does that narrative translate into your marketing?
- Relevance – Use data to understand your internal/external customer and create compelling, useful content experiences that matter. Leverage the voices of your customers, prospects, and those they trust to help add credibility and context to your message.
- Reach – Become “the best answer” for your customers with content that is easy to find and exists in context wherever buyers engage.
- Resonance – Understand audience motivations through the buyer journey to inform messaging that “clicks” and inspires action and makes real, measurable business impact.
For more tips from Pubcon and the brilliant marketers who speak and attend, follow the TopRank Marketing team on the ground: @TopRank, @LeeOdden, @Tiffani_Allen and @LaneREllis. And, stay tuned for more insights over the next week on the TopRank Marketing blog.