Archives for July 2019

Content Marketing Interview: Andrew Davis on Showing, Not Telling #CMWorld

One of the most fundamental requirements for content marketing is also one that unfortunately tends to get overlooked most: It needs to be entertaining. As marketers, we can get so caught up in conversions and funnels and business outcomes that we lose sight of this imperative. If your content doesn’t hook someone and draw them in, it isn’t going to accomplish anything. 

Andrew Davis is someone who doesn’t need to be reminded of this because he launched his career in the entertainment industry. Now a cherished keynote speaker and best-selling author, Andrew got his start as a program producer for WABU-TV, a local station in Boston. He later served as Workshop Production Manager for the Jim Henson Company, helping out with brands like The Muppets and Sesame Street.

Content Marketing Planning: How to Build Your Editorial Calendar

Building an Editorial Calendar

I can’t believe I got fired from the calendar factory. All I did was take a day off!

Opening today’s post up with a bit of levity felt fitting, because calendars can cause much anxiety. They bring to mind deadlines, meticulous organization, and time crunches, which are often oppressive realities for marketers with a million things on their plates.

But the truth is that you’re likely to encounter much more dread if you don’t house your content planning within a documented and strategic editorial calendar for blogging. Building out a set schedule (with a bit of flexibility) ultimately makes your life easier because it provides a guiding light, and ensures your content strategy remains cohesive and oriented around your objectives.

Cooked to Strategic Perfection: The Layers of a Deliciously Integrated Content Marketing Lasagna

Few things in this world are as delicious as a corner piece of lasagna. For starters, the top layer of cheese is both gooey and crispy. The tomato sauce is sweet yet peppery. The meat? It’s flavorful and hearty. And don’t get me started on the ricotta and mozzarella layers—my favorite by far.

via GIPHY

Lasagna is the perfect dish. And its perfection is not just defined by quality ingredients, but how each ingredient is artfully layered together to bring satisfaction with each and every bite. That’s where the magic happens.

Cooking a delectable lasagna to perfection is not unlike crafting an integrated approach to content marketing. On their own, your tactics may whet your audience’s appetite, but don’t pack the tasty punch of working together to make a lasting impact or drive savory results. Paid, SEO, content, social, influencer, design—all need to work in tandem to ensure your marketing objectives are met.

Digital Marketing News: Influencer Marketing Grows, Personalization In B2B, Facebook’s Shrinking Ad Size, LinkedIn’s Record Engagement & More

2019 July 26 Marketing Charts B2B Chart Image

B2B Buyers Demand Personalization Above All Else, Study Finds
B2B buyers place the highest value on personalization, according to a newly-released report based on a survey of some 1,000 B2B leaders, which also showed that 30 percent make more than half of their purchases using digital platforms, up significantly from 15 percent in 2017. MediaPost

Influencer marketing spend grows 83%
Influencer marketing spending in the U.S. and Canada has seen 83 percent year-over-year growth, accompanied by second-quarter spending of $442 million, according to newly-released research data of interest to marketers. The Drum

How Will Twitter’s Redesign Impact Social Media Managers?
Twitter recently updated its desktop design to more closely resemble its mobile experience, a change that has affected how and what digital marketers can do on the desktop experience, and presenting both new opportunities and several challenges. Social Media Today

What Can Marketers Learn From the Children In Our Lives? Plenty

What Can Marketers Learn from Kids?

In my experience, most marketers fancy themselves as lifelong learners, taking pride in innovating their work and skill set to maximize their impact. We keep tabs on emerging trends, tactics, and tools. We follow industry leaders for their insight. We consult our internal teams and external partners for advice. 

But there may be one specialty group we don’t look to for inspiration enough: The kids in our lives.

As a parent of two adorable monsters who are growing up way to fast, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how far they’ve come. Of course, I’ve realized that I’ve come far too, as both a parent and a marketer. And I’d wager that most of us have kids in our lives who have the potential to teach and remind us of some important things that can make us better humans and better at what we do.

6 Cannes Revelations About B2B Marketing in 2020

City of Cannes Aerial view Image

In June the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity brought together some of the world’s savviest B2B marketers, brands, and other creative professionals.

From Nike, IKEA, and Visa to Tommy Hilfiger, Microsoft and Target, strong brands and the marketers behind them were involved at Cannes, and the trends they gathered to explore will play a part in shaping how B2B marketers focus their efforts in the months and years ahead.

Here’s a run-down of some of the top B2B marketing and other revelations from this year’s Cannes, and what they’ll mean for your business in 2020 and beyond.

1 — Cannes B2B Marketing Brand Engagement Take-Aways

Brand Engagement Gear Cogs Image

The B2B Marketing Funnel is Dead: Say Hello to the Trust Funnel

Say Hello to the Trust Funnel

The marketing funnel as we know it is gone. Or at least it needs to be, if we as marketers want to move toward a truly customer-centric operation. 

In this new installment of our Trust Factors series, we’ll review the conventional models for customer acquisition and explain why they’re going out of style. Then, we’ll present an updated version, geared toward long-term sustainable growth.

The Funnel Fallacy

We’re all accustomed to funnels: marketing funnels, sales funnels, conversion funnels. These frameworks can be helpful in guiding our strategies, but there’s an inherent disconnect at play: they tend to commoditize our customers, because these models are solely focused on the end result (revenue). Traditionally, the funnel is designed to usher prospects from awareness, to consideration, to purchase, and then the job is done. 

How to Power Marketing Presentations With Data Visualization & Win Over Your Audience

Data Visualization for Marketing Presentations

We’ve all been there. We’re five minutes into (what we thought would be) a riveting, data-driven presentation, yet a quick scan of the room reveals the audience is staring blankly at our data tables as we drone on. Or worse, someone asks a pointed question about what they do or don’t see and the discussion goes completely of course. Yikes.

Perhaps the best advice I ever received in this regard was so simple yet incredibly smart: “Try it as a line graph.”

I had presented a data-backed presentation and robust recommended next steps, but whether it was boredom or data suspicion that crept in, I failed to make my case. After the weeks I spent looking at a spreadsheet, I took that visionary advice. When the day came to remake my case, that line graph immediately won my critics over.

Digital Marketing News: Customer Expectation Study, Twitter Updates Lists, LinkedIn Objective-Based Brand Awareness Goals & More

2019 July 19 Domo Chart

LinkedIn updates Campaign Manager, adds brand awareness, conversion campaign options
LinkedIn has rolled out a number of campaign conversion improvements and new brand awareness additions to its Campaign Manager. The updates are poised to enhance LinkedIn’s (client) objective-based ad platform goals. Marketing Land

Brands ‘Out Of Touch’ With American Women
61 percent see portrayal in advertising as completely out of touch, and 56 percent want brands to stand up for women, according to newly-released data from Kantar’s U.S Monitor survey of Americans’ attitudes, values and motivations. MediaPost

Survey Reports 60% of Marketers Ignore Consumer Expectations; Still Rely on Single-Channel Customer Engagement
Some 60 percent of marketers fail to take into account consumer expectations, while 95 percent see increasing expectations from customers — two of several findings of interest to digital marketers in new report data from Maropost. MarTech Advisor

Setting Your Sights on 2020: How to Brew a Forward-Thinking Marketing Strategy

planning a marketing strategy in 2020

The high-pressure marketing budget and strategy planning season seems to kick-off earlier each year. It’s as if your boss is asking you to magically construct the perfect strategic and tactical mix at the right budget for 2020, without having enough of 2019 under your belt to predict the best approach. After all, you don’t know what the future holds, right? 

As they say, hindsight is 20/20. So, why not leverage that to get some 20/20 foresight?

Like you, we at TopRank Marketing don’t have any magical crystal balls or employees with psychic powers. We don’t use witchcraft to brew mystical marketing love potions. And we certainly don’t engage in any sorcery with enchanted mirrors, but we’ve honed our craft over nearly 20 years and we do find plenty of value in reflecting.

26.2 B2B Marathon Marketing Lessons

Collage of six images of marathon runners.

Racing a marathon and running a successful marketing campaign have a surprising number of similarities — in fact, here are 26.2 things they share in common, and the lessons they can teach us.

I’ve been running marathons since 1998 and working in digital communications and marketing since 1984 — two pursuits I’m passionate about that may initially seem quite dissimilar, but which really do have much in common when you begin to look closely.

The Importance of Pre-Race Planning

The marathon isn’t a race you want to run with no training or on a whim — and even if you did, the notoriously unforgiving distance has a way of giving runners back just what they put into it. Skimping on training usually spells disaster when it comes to marathon running.

How to Refocus on Your Audience for Better Content Marketing Results

Clearly focused eyeglasses on a blurry background image.

Is your content audience-centric?

“Of course it is!” Says the hypothetical person I just made up. “We do intensive research for all our content. We look at questions our audience is asking, we hit up SEMrush and BuzzSumo…our content is all about our audience!”

Marvel's Thor sarcastically asks "But is it, though?"

Here’s the big question:

Beyond learning about your brand, which will enrich their lives in many exciting ways, what is your consumer getting out of your content? 

Creating or deepening a brand relationship can’t be the only reason your content exists. Raising brand awareness can’t be the only reason your content exists. That’s not audience-centric content. People will quickly realize that and move on.

Most marketers want to offer a genuine value exchange to our consumers. We’re not shriveled-hearted gargoyles trying to trick people into paying attention to us.