What does trust bring to the B2B marketer’s strategy table in 2021?
While it may be simpler to ask what trust can’t do for B2B marketers and brands seeking to develop successful strategies for our eventual post-pandemic professional landscape, savvy marketers are best served by taking a close look at all the things that trust can do.
Research has shown the power of trust in developing successful marketing, which is why the theme of trust is a central tenet running through our own State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, featuring survey data, case studies from B2B brands of all sizes, insights from top B2B marketing experts, plus a list of 20 top influencer marketing practitioners from B2B brands.
Brand trust, advocacy and customer experience are among today’s most important goals for B2B brands, but why is trust so important, and how can brands build trust?
Here are 10 ways trust creates standout B2B marketing experiences, from building better brands to providing measurable performance, and so much more.
Let’s step right up to a virtual cavalcade of marketing approaches that benefit from a greater focus on trust, and look at what we can do to build greater trust into our B2B marketing efforts.
1 — Trust Builds & Strengthens Relationships
You can’t top trust when it comes to building and strengthening relationships, whether it’s creating powerful new customer connections or nourishing your existing business partnerships.
Relationships with little trust won’t blossom, and usually won’t last very long either.
By consciously making trust a cornerstone of marketing efforts — and dedicating the time and effort necessary to do so — brands can make a concerted effort to build trust into every facet of operations.“If you want to be a trustworthy company, it can’t be just a marketing philosophy. It has to be a business philosophy.” — Margaret Magnarelli @mmagnarelli Click To Tweet
2 — Trust Delivers Dedicated Customers & Fans
Brands that earn trust have already won most of the battle to gain dedicated customers and fans.
Trust helps turn customers into true brand advocates and impassioned fans.
The effort and time to build trusting relationships between brands and customers can be daunting for B2B marketers, which is one of the reasons why more brands are turning to influencer marketing, with subject matter experts who have already built time-tested trust.“It’s hard to create a great experience if customers don’t trust brand communications.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet
3 — Influence Is Built On Trust
Intertwined with trust is influence, and the two serve to reinforce one another in the push to deliver the best B2B marketing possible.
Industry experts rely on the trust they’ve earned over time with their following, using their influence to help brands build trust.
Using the power of influence to build trust is one of our specialties at TopRank Marketing, and to help you learn more about the processes involved, here are several recent articles we’ve published detailing how influence grows trust:
- 5 Ways B2B Marketers Sabotage Influencer Marketing Success
- Why Influencer Marketing Should Be a Priority 2021 Tactic for B2B Brands
- How to Scale B2B Influencer Marketing: Operations, Process and Technology
- How Successful B2B Marketers Integrate Influence in the Marketing Mix
4 — Trust Grows Great Content Marketing
Great B2B content marketing is also underpinned by trust, as information that is worthy of being shared is most often the type that best answers the questions customers are asking — solutions that will only succeed when they are based on share-worthy trust.
Creating articles, videos, podcasts or any other manner of today’s digital asset that customers will want to share and keep coming back to get more of is a difficult task, but one that thrives when trustworthy information is delivered.
Best-answer content’s role in building trust is covered in the following articles we’ve published:
- In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience
- How A Best Answer Content Strategy Drives B2B Marketing Results
5 — Influence-Built Trust Combats Increased Skepticism
The past several years have seen an increase in customer skepticism, especially when it comes to the marketing they have traditionally relied on to learn about potential new solutions.
Trust can be the element that differentiates one brand’s success from another’s disappointment.
The issue of brand trust made the list of 2021’s top trends in our CEO Lee Odden‘s “Top B2B Marketing Trends for 2021,” in which he observed, “With an ‘epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust of societal institutions,’ 70 percent of respondents to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer study said brand trust is more important today than it was in the past.”“Once trust has been lost, it’s nearly impossible for brands to rebuild sustainable, honest relationships with their customers.” — Kevin Cochrane @kevinc2003 Click To Tweet
6 — Always-On Efforts Thrive On Trust
2021 may be the year of always-on marketing, as the strength of ongoing programs over one-off campaigns has been shown to be a key success differentiator. Building thriving always-on programs requires earning and maintaining trust, however, rather than the kind of stop-and-start efforts that interrupt truly lasting business relationships.
Always-on marketing efforts need to be based on trust in order to be sustainable.
To help you build a sustainable always-on strategy with an eye for building ongoing trust, the following articles explore always-on influence:
- For Successful B2B Marketers The Engine of Influence is Always On #B2BIMReport
- Always On Influence: Costs Less and Better ROI – Here’s Why
- Always On Influence: Short Term vs. Long Term for Success During a Crisis
- Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed
7 — Trust Is Platform Agnostic
In today’s diverse social media platform landscape, B2B marketers are keen to use elements that provide value in a platform-agnostic way, and trust is one of the key ingredients that works just as well on Clubhouse, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.
When a brand has built a legacy of trust, it translates to whichever platform or content vehicle its marketing messages are delivered through, making trust one of the few fundamental qualities that endure over time, even as social platforms come and go.
How can B2B brands boost confidence using some of these various platforms, especially live-stream video, podcast and Clubhouse marketing? Lee recently explored how partnering with influencers who understand innovative content formats creates more relevant, meaningful and effective B2B content marketing experiences, in “How B2B Brands Can Boost Confidence in Livestream Video, Podcast and Clubhouse Marketing.”“When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. Ultimately, people just want information that’s helpful to them.” — Emily Thompson @BosCreativeCopy Click To Tweet
8 — Trust Is SEO Friendly
Not only is trust search engine optimization (SEO)-friendly, trust is one of the most important and oftentimes overlooked elements in creating the type of best-answer B2B content that can organically feature in search rankings.
In essence, a core facet of all search engine firm efforts is the ability of their algorithms to surface the content that is the most trustworthy.
How trust plays into the changes 2021 has brought about in SEO efforts is among the subjects 12 top industry experts explored in our annual trends and predictions article, “12 Top B2B SEO Trends & Predictions for 2021.”The biggest overarching trend in SEO in recent years which will undoubtedly continue in 2021 is the focus on E-A-T: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. — Lily Ray @lilyraynyc Click To Tweet
9 — Trust Provides Measurable Performance
When your efforts are built on trust and the content you’re producing reinforces trustworthiness, B2B marketers can chart their success using any number of engagement metrics.
While it may be hard to specifically pinpoint which particular brand engagement metrics are solely the result of having built customer trust and loyalty, trust is the kind of all-encompassing element that — although it may not have its own line item — delivers performance increases.
Here are several helpful articles we’ve written that help B2B marketers collect and interpret the right engagement metrics:
- Spotlighting Organic Social Media Video Success: Your Guide to Metrics and Specs
- What B2B Marketers Need to Know about Optimizing Content with Video Analytics
- Break Free B2B Series: Hal Werner on the Intersection of Marketing Creativity and Analytics
- Measuring Content Marketing Success: Analytics Advice & Insight from the Experts
10 — Trust Builds Better Brands, Brand Advocates, & Teams
It’s not just marketing and social media efforts that benefit from a trust-first approach to business — entire brand structures from bottom to top stand to achieve greater performance when trust is valued, encouraged, and implemented throughout an organization.
Trust has been touted for decades as an important element in any brand’s strategy, yet it sometimes stalls when taking the leap from a company’s mission statement to what was posted on social media an hour ago.
Building not only trust but empathy into the fabric of a B2B organization was the recent subject of a B2B Marketing Exchange conference keynote by Miri Rodriguez, storyteller and internship program head at Microsoft, and I covered the presentation in, “Microsoft’s Miri Rodriguez on How B2B Marketers Are Embracing Empathy For Better Customer Storytelling #B2BMX.”“Trusting relationships aren’t built with brands, but rather with the human beings behind those brands. Attaching a face and voice to your content can drastically magnify the impact and relatability of that content.” — Nick Nelson… Click To Tweet
Let Trust’s Energy Surround Your Marketing Efforts
The power of trust can bind customers and brands in meaningful and lasting relationships, filled with the type of energy that even Star Wars’ Yoda would be envious of, and we hope that your own B2B marketing efforts will benefit from the 10 elements of trust we’ve explored here.
A single article can only begin to touch on the vast power of trust in marketing, which is why we’re also happy to share with you the follow additional guides to brand trust:
- In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience
- 5 Things to Know About Building Trust in the Age of Social Media
- Trust in Marketing: How to Build Influence with the C-Suite and on the Street with Customers
- How Authentic Content Builds Brand Trust in Uncertain Times
- How B2B Marketers Can Enter the Circle of Trust
- Break Free B2B Series: Margaret Magnarelli on the Psychology of Trust for Better Content Marketing
- SEO is Not Enough: Why B2B Marketers Need to Optimize for Trust with Influence
Crafting trustworthy and award-winning B2B marketing takes significant time and effort, which leads many firms to choose working with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact us today and let us know how we can help, as we’ve done for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.