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.

Nick Nelson

Buyers vs. Buying Committees: Not Knowing the Difference Could Cost You

Nick Nelson on Jun 27th, 2019     B2B Marketing

Buyers vs. Buying Committees

Working as a marketing or sales professional in B2B presents a unique set of challenges and hurdles. One that probably doesn’t get discussed enough is the nuance of trying to reach and engage buying committees, as opposed to single customers. It’s a hugely important distinction that too many strategies fail to fully account for.

If you’re not speaking to everyone, you might be speaking to no one. And we all know where that leads.

The Expanding Buyer Committee

A buyer (singular) is a sole decision maker responsible for researching solutions, vetting vendors, and authorizing purchases. It is exceedingly rare to see this type of setup in place anymore, unless at a startup or a very small company. Given the typical weight of these decisions, several people tend to now be involved with the process, and sign-off is often required from at least one high-ranking executive.

Joshua Nite

12 Must-Have Skills for B2B Content Marketers

Joshua Nite on Jun 25th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

B2B Content Marketing Skills

Scene from a dinner party:

“So, Josh, what do you do?”

“I’m in marketing.”

“Oh, like Mad Men? Ad campaigns and stuff?”

“No, it’s content marketing.”

“Oh, like the Wendy’s Twitter account?”

“…Sure… like that.”

I’ve had variations on the above conversation more times than I can count. I’ll usually leave it at “Wendy’s Twitter account” in the interest of changing the subject. No one has the patience for, “I write business-to-business content designed to help people do their jobs better, which also builds affinity for a client brand, with the end goal of influencing purchase decisions.”

So most people think I just write fun stuff all day, that it’s a purely creative job. But my fellow B2B marketers know better. Content marketing requires an incredibly diverse set of skills, and “innate writing ability” isn’t even the most important one.

Nick Nelson

Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

Nick Nelson on Jun 24th, 2019     B2B Marketing, LinkedIn, Social Media

Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

It’s plain to see that B2B marketers, at large, see the value in social media. The latest B2B benchmarking research from CMI and MarketingProfs found that nearly two out of three respondents (61%) increased their usage of social media for content marketing purposes in the previous year. Another new report shows that social content is atop the list of focal areas for B2B marketers in the coming year.

It’s also fair to say, based on various data points and conversations with folks in the biz, that most of us feel we could be doing better with social. The size of the audiences on these platforms make them essential to any digital strategy, but breaking through suppressive algorithms and showing clear ROI is a perpetual challenge for brands.

Nick Nelson

Trust Fractures: How to Avoid Accidentally Eroding Your Brand’s Credibility

Nick Nelson on Jun 20th, 2019     B2B Marketing

Avoiding Unintended Brand Trust Fractures

Recently, we’ve been running a series of posts here on the TopRank Marketing Blog called “Trust Factors,” where we explore techniques that modern brands can use to build trust and credibility with digital audiences. There are numerous examples of companies building trust with best-answer content and boosting credibility with influencer marketing for this purpose.

Marketers are always seeking creative ways to forge genuine connections while standing out from the pack. New research from Edelman shows that consumers now have higher expectations than ever when it comes to brand responsibility. However, it’s worth pointing out that these efforts (even with the best of intentions) can backfire.

When steps taken to strengthen trust instead have the opposite effect, we call these “Trust Fractures.” A recent example got me thinking about the subject, and why marketers everywhere should be cognizant of its lurking danger.

Lane Ellis

Key B2B Takeaways From the 2019 Internet Trends Report

Lane Ellis on Jun 19th, 2019     B2B Marketing

Colorful swirling tunnel image.

Mary Meeker, founder of venture capital firm Bond Capital and former Kleiner Perkins general partner, recently released her highly-anticipated 2019 Internet trends report, a slide deck she has produced since 1995 covering the state of global technology in the business world.

The report provides more data than ever — weighing in at 333 slides, topping last year’s count of 280 — and presents plenty for B2B marketers to think about when strategizing and planning budgets as we push towards 2020.

Let’s dig in and take a look at some of the insights relevant to B2B marketers contained in the new Meeker report.

General Challenges & Opportunities Ahead

The report paints a picture of a world where it’s more challenging than ever to find new growth in certain areas, but one that also shows very real opportunities in others, as we’ll explore.

Joshua Nite

B2B Demand Gen: The Next Evolution of 5 Tried-And-True Tactics

Joshua Nite on Jun 13th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Digital Marketing

New Demand Gen Tactics

B2B demand gen used to be easier than B2C. Because, let’s face it, so much B2B marketing was deadly boring. A cool concept, a little creative design, or a dash of humor were like water in the desert.

Now, though, it’s the norm for B2B marketing to be every bit as visually and emotionally compelling as B2C. Suddenly we’re selling water by a lake, not a desert. There’s no shortage of cool content. Audiences expect more, and marketers (including your competitors) are keeping up with demand. So it’s time to take B2B demand gen to the next level.

B2B Demand Gen Tactics: The Next Evolution

What follows are some logical upgrades for some of your favorite time-tested tactics. That’s not to say, of course, that you should stop doing things that are already working. But it’s worth testing these evolutions out to see what works for your target audience.

Anne Leuman

When & Why Net-New Content Creation Makes Sense—And When It Doesn’t

Anne Leuman on Jun 11th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

When New Content Creation Makes Sense

1996: The year content was named “king” in a burgeoning digital world.

2001: The year “content marketing” was officially coined and the modern content revolution began.

130 trillion and counting: The number of webpages currently indexed by Google.

One zillion infinities: The number of pieces of content you stand to create during your B2B content marketing career.

Zero: Perhaps the number of times you’ve asked yourself, “Do I really need to create a new piece of content?”

If the last one strikes a little too close to home, we’re not passing judgement — rather we’re reminding you that you don’t always have to start from scratch.

Caitlin Burgess

Ally or Adversary? How Our Marketing Fears Can Be Wielded for Good

Caitlin Burgess on Jun 10th, 2019     B2B Marketing

Now Fear This: Kicking Fear to the Marketing Curb

B2B marketers are a special breed: We’re relentlessly self-improving.

We look to our industry peers and thought leaders for wisdom. We scour data for opportunities and insight. We keep tabs on rising trends and emerging tools. We tirelessly strive to adapt our strategies to the evolving needs of our customers and prospects.

Without a doubt, we’re ambitious. But despite that ambition, we’re only human. Fear can easily creep in—which can become a helpful tool or a crippling bad habit.

Fear Itself

Fear is the most natural human emotion in my opinion. The presence of fear in our marketing minds not only signals self- and spatial-awareness, but also benevolence. We deeply care about what we do and who (i.e. our brands, co-workers, and buyers) we serve, and we want to do our absolute best to drive results and offer solutions.

Caitlin Burgess

The Experience Factor: It’s Time for Content Marketers to ‘Flip the Switch’

Caitlin Burgess on Jun 6th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Flipping the Content Experience Switch

I’d love to tell you everything. But in the spirit of brevity and relevance, I’ll cut to the moment it all clicked.

While enjoying a lovely dinner with an old family friend last week, he relayed his version of a classic Maya Angelou quote to me:

“You know, you meet so many people throughout your life. And you never really remember what they said or what they did, but you always remember the way they made you feel.”

via GIPHY

For decades, content marketers have been tasked with meeting buyers along their journey, striving to create best-answer content that satisfies curiosity, encourages brand engagements, and paints their product or service as the solution buyers are looking for.

Alexis Hall

Pump it Up: How to Maximize Your B2B Content Marketing Campaign Investments

Alexis Hall on Jun 3rd, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Let’s talk shoes for a moment. Years ago, I purchased a stunning pair Jimmy Choo stiletto pumps; they were all the rage at that time. I’d been eyeing them for months and I convinced myself that this rather spendy investment would pay dividends in style and wearability.

When my Choos made their public debut, I was showered with compliments on how gorgeous they were. I was feeling great.

via GIPHY

Of course, a few hours later a shooting pain in my Achilles tendon meant it was time to give them a rest, so I changed into tennis shoes.

Today, those shoes are collecting dust in my closet. And every time I see them, I feel a mixture of regret (perhaps not my wisest investment after all) and longing to take them out for another spin (with the right insoles at a sitting event).

Caitlin Burgess

Maintaining Your Focus: What B2B Marketers Can Learn From My Home Improvement Snafu

Caitlin Burgess on May 30th, 2019     B2B Marketing

B2B marketing lessons from home improvement (1)

The sweet smell of fresh cedar is wafting in the breeze around my homestead this week—along with hint of marketing inspiration. Let me explain …

Best-Laid Plans

To take advantage of a long holiday weekend and a string of dry-weather days, my darling husband and I embarked on a “small” home improvement project: Sanding and staining our recently built 16-by-16 deck—plus an intricate one-story staircase.

She was such a beauty following her construction last fall.

But as is tradition, a delightfully heinous Minnesota winter set in. When spring arrived, she looked weary and weathered.

For months, we prepared to offer ourselves up to the cause once warmer weather came. And with the help of how-to YouTube videos and a lot of strategic Googling, our confidence and can-do attitudes were on the rise.