Elizabeth Williams

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

Elizabeth Williams on Jul 25th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Digital Marketing

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.

Lane Ellis

6 Cannes Revelations About B2B Marketing in 2020

Lane Ellis on Jul 24th, 2019     B2B Marketing

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

Nick Nelson

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

Nick Nelson on Jul 23rd, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

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. 

Alexis Hall

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

Alexis Hall on Jul 22nd, 2019     B2B Marketing, Digital Marketing

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.

Elizabeth Williams

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

Elizabeth Williams on Jul 18th, 2019     B2B Marketing

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.

Lane Ellis

26.2 B2B Marathon Marketing Lessons

Lane Ellis on Jul 17th, 2019     B2B Marketing

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.

Joshua Nite

How to Refocus on Your Audience for Better Content Marketing Results

Joshua Nite on Jul 16th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Online Marketing

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. 

Anne Leuman

Standing Out From the Crowd: Insights From 12 Marketing Industry Leaders

Anne Leuman on Jul 15th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Standing Out in the Crowd

It’s time for B2B content marketers to stand out. You know it. I know it. We all know it. 

But capturing attention in a crowded content room is hard to do, especially when content creation has seen the biggest uptick in spending among your fellow B2B content marketers. You can’t be subtle. You can’t be boring. But you also can’t be obnoxious; relevance and resonance are paramount. You have to accept and adapt to what your audience needs and wants at any given moment. It takes speed, flexibility, bold ideas, fearlessness, and more.

Where do you start? How about starting with a little inspiration and insight from industry leaders?

Below we have insights and advice from 12 marketing and customer experience leaders on how to stand out from the crowd and create content your audience can’t ignore. 

Anne Leuman

Making the Case for Video at Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Anne Leuman on Jul 8th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Video

Video Marketing Statistics for Each Stage of the Buyer's Journey

It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: Video across the digital landscape is what buyers and consumers alike crave.

The average U.S. adult spends 5 hours and 57 minutes a day watching video. Compare that number to the average amount of time someone reads each day (16.8 minutes), and you’ll find that people watch videos over 21-times longer than reading text. Video informs, engages, and entices audiences, which means video can and should have a place within your B2B content marketing strategy.

But when and how should you leverage video? It’s not just a top-of-funnel tactic reserved for B2C brands. And here are the *stats that showcase it’s potential.

15 Video Marketing Statistics for Every Stage of the Buyer Journey

Attract

  1. 84% of marketers credit video with increasing traffic to their website. (3)
Nick Nelson

How to Educate, Engage, & Persuade Buyers Over Lengthy Sales Cycles

Nick Nelson on Jul 3rd, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Content Planning Strategy for Long Sales Cycles

In the world of consumer goods, purchase decisions are often made instantaneously and on a whim. 

“This blouse is exactly my style! I’ve gotta have it!”

“I’ve been wanting a PlayStation 4 forever. Finally it’s mine!”

“This tent is just what we were looking for. I don’t even need to ask the wife, I’m buying it now.”

Even large, life-changing purchases can sometimes be triggered in a snap.

“This car is perfect for me. I was going to check out a few other dealerships but no need; I’ll take it!”

Of course, in B2B, this is rarely the case. Recently, we discussed the expanding nature of today’s buying committee, which is part of the reason business purchase journeys are only growing longer

Lane Ellis

Q2 Wrap-Up: Top Changes & What’s Ahead For Marketers

Lane Ellis on Jul 1st, 2019     B2B Marketing, Digital Marketing

Q2 Digital Marketing Recap Technical Image

We’ve made it through the second quarter of 2019, one filled with many important B2B marketing changes and several unexpected twists and turns that will all combine to affect how the industry moves forward as we enter Q3 and push ahead to 2020.

Q2 saw several exciting shifts in entirely new directions, and a few seemingly slight directional maneuvers and adjustments that are nonetheless set to make big impacts in the coming year.

We’re always working to bring you the most relevant B2B marketing news, including weekly industry news videos from Tiffani Allen and Joshua Nite here on our blog and on our TopRank Marketing YouTube channel, and each quarter we reflect on what’s happened and look ahead with key trends.