August 1, 2020
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2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

Study: Most Americans Permanently Changing Brands During Pandemic
45 percent of U.S. consumers have switched at least one brand preference during the global heath crisis, and some 62 percent believe that their brand change will become permanent — two of several items of interest to digital marketers in recently-released survey data. MediaPost

How microsegmenting boosts B2B conversion rates
Micro-segmentation helps both B2B sellers and customers, with better conversion rates and more relevant customer experiences, with some 68 percent of B2B buyers noting that it’s important for vendors to present relevant content throughout the buying cycle without having to rely on salespeople, according to recently-released Forrester report data. Digital Commerce 360

Gartner Identifies Five Technologies to Drive More Agile and Scalable Advertising Capabilities for Marketers
The digital advertising trends having the most impact on the industry have been outlined in Gartner’s latest annual Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising 2020 report, showing the rise of Advanced Supply-Side Bidding (ASSB), Identity Resolution (IDR) and other areas of interest to digital marketers. MarTech Series

Facebook Releases New Web Collage App via its Experimental NPE Team
Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) test-bed team has launched an experimental image display app called E.gg, offering a throwback look for modern photo collages that could eventually bring marketers new visual display opportunities, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today

What Types of Content Generate Leads That Convert?
Marketers generate the most lead conversions by utilizing online content that incorporates video, which was seen as the most effective format by 41 percent of marketers, followed by webinars at 36 percent, and original research at 36 percent, topping the list of newly-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingCharts

LinkedIn Provides More Tips for Virtual Events in New Guide Book
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has published new insight into using its LinkedIn Live and Events features, including marketing survey data showing that some 69 percent of marketers find it challenging to make the move to virtual events, the firm recently announced in conjunction with the launch of its second-ever events guide. Social Media Today

2020 July 31 Statistics Image

Infographic: Consumers Want to See More Brands in the Esports Realm
Today’s consumers would like to find more brands including e-sports in their campaign efforts, with 72 percent saying that would like to see brands that are savvy enough to use the medium’s fast-paced conversation. The gaming industry is the most dominant media channel for Gen Z and millennials, and is expected to top $1.5 billion in brand spending, according to recently-released infographic data. Adweek

Zenith: Global Ad Spend Projected To Drop 9.1% This Year
Overall global advertising spending for 2020 is expected to fall by 9.1 percent, while digital ad spend is forecast to see only a 2 percent decrease, with digital accounting for more than half of global ad spend, according to recently-released Zenith report data. MediaPost

Facebook Tests New Page Design Which De-Emphasizes Like Counts
Facebook has begun testing pages that don’t include page like buttons, instead placing focus on having users follow pages. The expanded test, which has been limited to certain public figures, has now also been implemented for some business pages, the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

How COVID-19 Is Affecting the B2B Exhibition Industry
73 percent of B2B event organizers have had to cancel a physical event because of the pandemic, and 81 percent have begun providing virtual alternatives, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingProfs

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 July 31 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “multicultural marketing” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Street Artists Reimagine Classic Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt for AR-Enabled Murals — Adweek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • TopRank Marketing — Is B2B Influencer Marketing Effective During A Crisis? — Tribal Impact
  • TopRank Marketing — 33 of the Best Social Media Marketing Blogs of 2020 — HubSpot
  • Joshua Nite — Shake Up Your Business Strategies with These Community Suggestions — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — C-Suite Marketing Episode 5: Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing [Podcast] — ITSMA / SoundCloud
  • Lee Odden — B2B Influencer Marketing — Evans on Marketing

Have you come across your own favorite B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us, and please return again next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post B2B Marketing News: How B2B Events Are Changing, Consumers Switch Brands During Pandemic, & New B2B Micro-Segmentation Data appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

August 1, 2020
  • by

Do you need help with marketing material or software?

When the country initially shut down in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, overnight many companies cut their marketing budgets and activities to zero.  Many of those dollars and organizational efforts went to helping customers and communities deal with the pandemic. And many of those efforts are still going on, and the impact of these efforts have been essential to helping people and small businesses make it through this difficult time.  And another result of these efforts is to more meaningfully connect companies with their customers and surrounding communities, which has created the opportunity for these deeper relationships to be in place long after the pandemic has run its course.

It appears that companies may be learning that traditional marketing models that are more transactional in nature might be less effective in the Post Covid-19 world where relationships may matter more.

Interview with Anand Thaker on COVID-19 Changing Marketing Strategy

And recently I had an interesting LinkedIn Live conversation with marketing technology (MarTech) industry expert Anand Thaker to get his take on how COVID may be changing how companies look at marketing, and what role technology will need to play in order for those Post Covid marketing efforts to be successful.

Below is an edited transcript of a portion of our conversation.  To hear the entire conversation click on the embedded SoundCloud player.

Small Business Trends: CRM thought leader Jesus Hoyos was recently on CRM Playaz and he made a point about how marketing automation technology previous to COVID was broken because there is not single point of communication with customers today, and the tech was built with that in mind.  And the pandemic has made the situation even worse.  What are you seeing with marketing during the pandemic, and the roll martech is playing?

Anand Thaker: Technology only magnifies who we are. If we’re bad at what we’re doing, guess what? We’re going to use the technology or misuse it and vice versa. I think what he was talking about with regards to one email address, really resonated with me because there’s another problem, especially in the B2B space, where it’s not only just one person with one email for one person, but then you also have one assumed decision maker per company. In a B2B capacity, if you had five different people at a particular company and they all downloaded your white paper or did different things to end up in your CRM database or marketing automation database, how do you rectify that? That’s one of the biggest challenges behind the scenes that people didn’t really talk about, and probably one of the main reasons that marketing operations became an incredibly thriving profession, is how do you resolve these types of things?

This is part of the reason I think we should probably start looking at databases that connect these different places. I think a lot of people have heard, especially listening in, about customer database or customer data platforms, CDPs. One of the benefits of that is you’re really trying to get a full, what we used to call the 360 view of the customer. This is the opportunity for a brand to own the customer and the customer experience starting from, again having clean data. Part of the reason we don’t have clean data is not necessarily through laziness or challenges with the experience of trying to ingest that data in from third parties, but it’s also we find a big challenge in having that data spread … I mean, we have challenges in terms of data being in the different technologies. How do we centralize that information when we actually need to do it?

This could lead to a conversation on privacy and AI. Let’s say your stack of technologies related to the customers, 18 to 30, some odd pieces of technology,  how do you even respect the customer’s wishes on their privacy, or how do you apply AI in a grander scope of things that would help you navigate what that really respects?

Small Business Trends: The foundation of how we built our customer engagement is spread out. It’s disparate. It’s kind of hard to bring it all together. It’s kind of hard to make sense of whatever the interactions are because they’re coming in from all over the place. Maybe there’s a technology problem, but let’s take the technology problem out of it. There’s still a big issue with a lot of companies, because they’re looking at things from their perspective. They’re looking at how do we get people to buy more stuff and not necessarily looking at it from the customer’s perspective.

Let’s face it. They can have the greatest technology, they can have the greatest platform, they can have all the data coming in, they can have their AI running and finding all these great insights, and if they don’t deliver those insights in a meaningful way, in a way that will be empathetic and will connect the dots to the customer, all that stuff is for naught.

Anand Thaker: Yep.

Small Business Trends: I think that’s where we are. To take it one step further. I’ve talked to a number of companies, and there are a lot of folks who just cut the spigot off when it came to doing any kind of marketing, ad campaigns, marketing campaigns, cut it off completely just because of the uncertainty in the environment. The interesting thing about that is not that they did it, because everybody was kind of scared. You’re starting to see some life coming back to that, but I’ve been having some really interesting conversations, I’m not going to say who, but there are vendors who said, “Yeah, we cut it out, and guess what? We’re doing all right. We are not going to be going back to what we were doing before. We’re not going to be spending that money the way we were spending it before.”

I have a suspicion that the few companies I talked to, they are just representative of what I think is going to be happening on the other side of the pandemic. It seems to me that there’s a movement from a lot of these companies who spent a lot of money and did a lot of this programmatic stuff. They might not be coming back to spend anywhere near what they spent on those activities before COVID-19. Are you hearing anything like that?

Anand Thaker: Yeah, absolutely. We’re seeing it on a couple of fronts. COVID shook a lot of things up. The old models don’t support a lot of those purposeful missions moving forward. Let me roll back a little bit because on the front of talking about programmatic advertising and what that means, in terms of businesses actually cutting off marketing, or just cutting out marketing or cutting out advertising, I think there’s a lot of opportunity to just do things, regardless of whether it’s the highest performing, because you’ve got to do them. You’ve got the spend, you’re going to budget. That’s what everybody else is doing. You have the fear of missing out. “Oh my gosh, if I saw it … ”

Think about it like billboards or TV ads, or let’s say Superbowl commercials. People have this fear of missing out because, “Oh man, my competitor did a Superbowl commercial, therefore we should strive to do something similar.” Well, we don’t live in that kind of world today. There’s not a limited channel of ways to engage with a customer anymore. Those things start to change. Many companies that I’ve talked to or have heard from or learn about as I hear about, they try to take one channel and think that’s the silver bullet rather than trying to diversify into a portfolio. One of the things I’ve been striving for, I’ve been working intensely with companies for the last eight, nine months now trying to navigate them through the COVID or some of those crisis situations.

One of the first things is marketing, yes or no? That’s not the right question to ask. That correct question is, is the marketing efforts or spend that you have, are they engaged in building a relationship with a customer? If it’s not part of the journey or if they’re not responsible for the entire journey back into the business operations of the company, then yeah, maybe need to consider cutting it, because it’s an expensive spend and you’re basically competing … You’re selling against yourself. You spend a dollar, someone spends 105, then you got to spend 110, then they spend more and then you have to spend more, but if your marketing spend is basically driven on developing a deeper relationship, meaning you are training your staff, frontline staff perhaps, at a retail store, on developing better experiences, or you’re working on the digital journey for how people buy, or trying to come up with different ways to help your customers make a decision, or help them, say, like in a fintech world, like you have some sort of financial services option, you’re trying to help them be better financial … financially savvy.

If you’re doing those types of things and the customer feels like you’re helping them through that, whether they buy from you or not, they become those advocates. That’s the part where you can elevate across your other competitors by sitting there and focusing on it. A lot of people say that, but they’re not talking about … They’re talking about limited to the digital spend, but there’s a lot of pieces beyond the digital ad. I think that’s what a lot of companies are doing, Brent, is they’re looking at the grand scope of things and saying, “Wow. Really, ads aren’t bringing the conversion rates we’re looking for, or perhaps aren’t giving us the awareness that we’re really hoping for,” but I think a lot of that will change over time and everyone will evolve. I’m always a believer that people and companies will evolve because either they need to, or they go away.

Small Business Trends: But the whole idea of empathy …

Anand Thaker: That’s right.

Small Business Trends: What I’ve noticed, the programmatic stuff, there is absolutely no empathy involved. That’s just pure, we know data, we know where you’ve been and we’re going to follow you and hound you wherever you go on the web. You see popups and it’s just ridiculous and it makes you not want to buy anything. There’s zero … I mean, they did a lot of work on the analytics. They did a lot of data aggregation. They’ve been looking at the insight, knowing where you’re going to go. That’s great.

Anand Thaker: Right.

Small Business Trends: Zero empathy in the actual activity and the action. I think that is driving people crazy. That’s why I think you’re seeing folks, because in the pandemic, the thing that you need most is empathy in order to show folks, like you said, that they care and that you’re creating an interaction that is based off of not just data, but it’s based off of data and delivered in an empathetic way that lets people understand that you care.

Anand Thaker: Right.

Small Business Trends: That’s where I think there’s an opportunity for a shift in some of this budget away from just pure programmatic, pure analytics, pure re-target, and to have to do a little bit more work, which requires you to really understand, not just know where you’re going or know where they’re going, but to understand why, and then to create an interaction opportunity that takes that into consideration so that you don’t spend all your time and effort and money on pure analytics and understanding without being able to deliver that understanding in an empathetic way.

Anand Thaker: I agree. The reason I tend to hesitate using empathy in some of these conversations is because we don’t define that well. I think that’s one of the problems is we don’t say what it is that we’re doing to be empathetic. For example, I mean, you’re training your frontline staff to be your team members to better serve their customers, or you’re trying to find an easier way for people to pay for their merchandise online, or you’re trying to understand how to elevate someone’s profession. I mean, I think if you’re going to use the word empathy, then you need to say exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, at least one thing that’s more specific than just saying, “Oh yeah, we’re going to be empathetic.”

That’s the kind of crap that gets all these companies in trouble is they go find a lot of these empathy consultants and then guess what they’re asking you to do too? There’s a lot of good ones out there and you know what they’re going to tell you? They’re going to say, “What are you doing that makes you empathetic or more empathetic than someone else?” Empathy is a magic word, but until you actually define what that is for your company specifically, actionable, like what those actionable steps will look like or what’s the goal look like, you’re not going to get anywhere. We’ve seen some matters come up where people are like, “Oh, well you just changed your logo and put out like a press release and you think you’re done,” and it’s not. You have to do more than that to make that magic happen.

Small Business Trends: Yeah, but here’s the thing. They have resources.

Anand Thaker: Right.

Small Business Trends: I don’t want to make light of the amount of effort and finances that it takes to identify where your customers are engaging and integrate into those channels and get that data in and analyze that data and understand that data and try to find insights that will impact at that time, at the right time. That’s a ton of work. That’s a ton of money and it takes a ton of effort, but why go through all that and then fumble when you actually go to address that person if you haven’t spent a little time, a little effort? It doesn’t have to be a 50/50 split here, but it does have to have … You have to spend some time not only understanding, but then, how do we best communicate our understanding? How do we best communicate that insight so that when we do interact with somebody, they’re more likely to understand where we’re coming from and that we’re on their side and we’re trying to deliver some value for them at the time they need it? That’s all I’m saying.

Anand Thaker: Yeah. A measurable way to look at that, this is just back of the napkin kind of thing, is look at retention. How many people are you keeping as customers, if you’re in this subscription-based world? How many people are advocates of yours, like active advocates, not just liking something on one of the social media platforms? I’m talking about they are out there selling on your behalf. They’re proud to be part of your company as a result of things.

Then the third piece would be, how easy has it been to recruit? If a company is doing a great job of having empathy and it’s being well demonstrated, you’ll see people come in that want to work for you. Maybe it’s a little skewed today because COVID is going to cause a lot of shuffle in terms of talent opportunities and opportunities for jobs just period, but still, I mean, how many of the best talent is coming your way, as opposed to you having to pull them in and try to recruit them at the highest price possible because you’re struggling in some capacity? Think about it from a recruiting standpoint, an advocate standpoint and a retention standpoint. Those will give you clues about how well your empathy is working.

This article, “MarTech Insider Anand Thaker: Marketing Not Aimed at Building Real Relationships with Customers? Cut It.” was first published on Small Business Trends

August 1, 2020
  • by

Do you need help with marketing material or software?

When the country initially shut down in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, overnight many companies cut their marketing budgets and activities to zero.  Many of those dollars and organizational efforts went to helping customers and communities deal with the pandemic. And many of those efforts are still going on, and the impact of these efforts have been essential to helping people and small businesses make it through this difficult time.  And another result of these efforts is to more meaningfully connect companies with their customers and surrounding communities, which has created the opportunity for these deeper relationships to be in place long after the pandemic has run its course.

It appears that companies may be learning that traditional marketing models that are more transactional in nature might be less effective in the Post Covid-19 world where relationships may matter more.

Interview with Anand Thaker on COVID-19 Changing Marketing Strategy

And recently I had an interesting LinkedIn Live conversation with marketing technology (MarTech) industry expert Anand Thaker to get his take on how COVID may be changing how companies look at marketing, and what role technology will need to play in order for those Post Covid marketing efforts to be successful.

Below is an edited transcript of a portion of our conversation.  To hear the entire conversation click on the embedded SoundCloud player.

Small Business Trends: CRM thought leader Jesus Hoyos was recently on CRM Playaz and he made a point about how marketing automation technology previous to COVID was broken because there is not single point of communication with customers today, and the tech was built with that in mind.  And the pandemic has made the situation even worse.  What are you seeing with marketing during the pandemic, and the roll martech is playing?

Anand Thaker: Technology only magnifies who we are. If we’re bad at what we’re doing, guess what? We’re going to use the technology or misuse it and vice versa. I think what he was talking about with regards to one email address, really resonated with me because there’s another problem, especially in the B2B space, where it’s not only just one person with one email for one person, but then you also have one assumed decision maker per company. In a B2B capacity, if you had five different people at a particular company and they all downloaded your white paper or did different things to end up in your CRM database or marketing automation database, how do you rectify that? That’s one of the biggest challenges behind the scenes that people didn’t really talk about, and probably one of the main reasons that marketing operations became an incredibly thriving profession, is how do you resolve these types of things?

This is part of the reason I think we should probably start looking at databases that connect these different places. I think a lot of people have heard, especially listening in, about customer database or customer data platforms, CDPs. One of the benefits of that is you’re really trying to get a full, what we used to call the 360 view of the customer. This is the opportunity for a brand to own the customer and the customer experience starting from, again having clean data. Part of the reason we don’t have clean data is not necessarily through laziness or challenges with the experience of trying to ingest that data in from third parties, but it’s also we find a big challenge in having that data spread … I mean, we have challenges in terms of data being in the different technologies. How do we centralize that information when we actually need to do it?

This could lead to a conversation on privacy and AI. Let’s say your stack of technologies related to the customers, 18 to 30, some odd pieces of technology,  how do you even respect the customer’s wishes on their privacy, or how do you apply AI in a grander scope of things that would help you navigate what that really respects?

Small Business Trends: The foundation of how we built our customer engagement is spread out. It’s disparate. It’s kind of hard to bring it all together. It’s kind of hard to make sense of whatever the interactions are because they’re coming in from all over the place. Maybe there’s a technology problem, but let’s take the technology problem out of it. There’s still a big issue with a lot of companies, because they’re looking at things from their perspective. They’re looking at how do we get people to buy more stuff and not necessarily looking at it from the customer’s perspective.

Let’s face it. They can have the greatest technology, they can have the greatest platform, they can have all the data coming in, they can have their AI running and finding all these great insights, and if they don’t deliver those insights in a meaningful way, in a way that will be empathetic and will connect the dots to the customer, all that stuff is for naught.

Anand Thaker: Yep.

Small Business Trends: I think that’s where we are. To take it one step further. I’ve talked to a number of companies, and there are a lot of folks who just cut the spigot off when it came to doing any kind of marketing, ad campaigns, marketing campaigns, cut it off completely just because of the uncertainty in the environment. The interesting thing about that is not that they did it, because everybody was kind of scared. You’re starting to see some life coming back to that, but I’ve been having some really interesting conversations, I’m not going to say who, but there are vendors who said, “Yeah, we cut it out, and guess what? We’re doing all right. We are not going to be going back to what we were doing before. We’re not going to be spending that money the way we were spending it before.”

I have a suspicion that the few companies I talked to, they are just representative of what I think is going to be happening on the other side of the pandemic. It seems to me that there’s a movement from a lot of these companies who spent a lot of money and did a lot of this programmatic stuff. They might not be coming back to spend anywhere near what they spent on those activities before COVID-19. Are you hearing anything like that?

Anand Thaker: Yeah, absolutely. We’re seeing it on a couple of fronts. COVID shook a lot of things up. The old models don’t support a lot of those purposeful missions moving forward. Let me roll back a little bit because on the front of talking about programmatic advertising and what that means, in terms of businesses actually cutting off marketing, or just cutting out marketing or cutting out advertising, I think there’s a lot of opportunity to just do things, regardless of whether it’s the highest performing, because you’ve got to do them. You’ve got the spend, you’re going to budget. That’s what everybody else is doing. You have the fear of missing out. “Oh my gosh, if I saw it … ”

Think about it like billboards or TV ads, or let’s say Superbowl commercials. People have this fear of missing out because, “Oh man, my competitor did a Superbowl commercial, therefore we should strive to do something similar.” Well, we don’t live in that kind of world today. There’s not a limited channel of ways to engage with a customer anymore. Those things start to change. Many companies that I’ve talked to or have heard from or learn about as I hear about, they try to take one channel and think that’s the silver bullet rather than trying to diversify into a portfolio. One of the things I’ve been striving for, I’ve been working intensely with companies for the last eight, nine months now trying to navigate them through the COVID or some of those crisis situations.

One of the first things is marketing, yes or no? That’s not the right question to ask. That correct question is, is the marketing efforts or spend that you have, are they engaged in building a relationship with a customer? If it’s not part of the journey or if they’re not responsible for the entire journey back into the business operations of the company, then yeah, maybe need to consider cutting it, because it’s an expensive spend and you’re basically competing … You’re selling against yourself. You spend a dollar, someone spends 105, then you got to spend 110, then they spend more and then you have to spend more, but if your marketing spend is basically driven on developing a deeper relationship, meaning you are training your staff, frontline staff perhaps, at a retail store, on developing better experiences, or you’re working on the digital journey for how people buy, or trying to come up with different ways to help your customers make a decision, or help them, say, like in a fintech world, like you have some sort of financial services option, you’re trying to help them be better financial … financially savvy.

If you’re doing those types of things and the customer feels like you’re helping them through that, whether they buy from you or not, they become those advocates. That’s the part where you can elevate across your other competitors by sitting there and focusing on it. A lot of people say that, but they’re not talking about … They’re talking about limited to the digital spend, but there’s a lot of pieces beyond the digital ad. I think that’s what a lot of companies are doing, Brent, is they’re looking at the grand scope of things and saying, “Wow. Really, ads aren’t bringing the conversion rates we’re looking for, or perhaps aren’t giving us the awareness that we’re really hoping for,” but I think a lot of that will change over time and everyone will evolve. I’m always a believer that people and companies will evolve because either they need to, or they go away.

Small Business Trends: But the whole idea of empathy …

Anand Thaker: That’s right.

Small Business Trends: What I’ve noticed, the programmatic stuff, there is absolutely no empathy involved. That’s just pure, we know data, we know where you’ve been and we’re going to follow you and hound you wherever you go on the web. You see popups and it’s just ridiculous and it makes you not want to buy anything. There’s zero … I mean, they did a lot of work on the analytics. They did a lot of data aggregation. They’ve been looking at the insight, knowing where you’re going to go. That’s great.

Anand Thaker: Right.

Small Business Trends: Zero empathy in the actual activity and the action. I think that is driving people crazy. That’s why I think you’re seeing folks, because in the pandemic, the thing that you need most is empathy in order to show folks, like you said, that they care and that you’re creating an interaction that is based off of not just data, but it’s based off of data and delivered in an empathetic way that lets people understand that you care.

Anand Thaker: Right.

Small Business Trends: That’s where I think there’s an opportunity for a shift in some of this budget away from just pure programmatic, pure analytics, pure re-target, and to have to do a little bit more work, which requires you to really understand, not just know where you’re going or know where they’re going, but to understand why, and then to create an interaction opportunity that takes that into consideration so that you don’t spend all your time and effort and money on pure analytics and understanding without being able to deliver that understanding in an empathetic way.

Anand Thaker: I agree. The reason I tend to hesitate using empathy in some of these conversations is because we don’t define that well. I think that’s one of the problems is we don’t say what it is that we’re doing to be empathetic. For example, I mean, you’re training your frontline staff to be your team members to better serve their customers, or you’re trying to find an easier way for people to pay for their merchandise online, or you’re trying to understand how to elevate someone’s profession. I mean, I think if you’re going to use the word empathy, then you need to say exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, at least one thing that’s more specific than just saying, “Oh yeah, we’re going to be empathetic.”

That’s the kind of crap that gets all these companies in trouble is they go find a lot of these empathy consultants and then guess what they’re asking you to do too? There’s a lot of good ones out there and you know what they’re going to tell you? They’re going to say, “What are you doing that makes you empathetic or more empathetic than someone else?” Empathy is a magic word, but until you actually define what that is for your company specifically, actionable, like what those actionable steps will look like or what’s the goal look like, you’re not going to get anywhere. We’ve seen some matters come up where people are like, “Oh, well you just changed your logo and put out like a press release and you think you’re done,” and it’s not. You have to do more than that to make that magic happen.

Small Business Trends: Yeah, but here’s the thing. They have resources.

Anand Thaker: Right.

Small Business Trends: I don’t want to make light of the amount of effort and finances that it takes to identify where your customers are engaging and integrate into those channels and get that data in and analyze that data and understand that data and try to find insights that will impact at that time, at the right time. That’s a ton of work. That’s a ton of money and it takes a ton of effort, but why go through all that and then fumble when you actually go to address that person if you haven’t spent a little time, a little effort? It doesn’t have to be a 50/50 split here, but it does have to have … You have to spend some time not only understanding, but then, how do we best communicate our understanding? How do we best communicate that insight so that when we do interact with somebody, they’re more likely to understand where we’re coming from and that we’re on their side and we’re trying to deliver some value for them at the time they need it? That’s all I’m saying.

Anand Thaker: Yeah. A measurable way to look at that, this is just back of the napkin kind of thing, is look at retention. How many people are you keeping as customers, if you’re in this subscription-based world? How many people are advocates of yours, like active advocates, not just liking something on one of the social media platforms? I’m talking about they are out there selling on your behalf. They’re proud to be part of your company as a result of things.

Then the third piece would be, how easy has it been to recruit? If a company is doing a great job of having empathy and it’s being well demonstrated, you’ll see people come in that want to work for you. Maybe it’s a little skewed today because COVID is going to cause a lot of shuffle in terms of talent opportunities and opportunities for jobs just period, but still, I mean, how many of the best talent is coming your way, as opposed to you having to pull them in and try to recruit them at the highest price possible because you’re struggling in some capacity? Think about it from a recruiting standpoint, an advocate standpoint and a retention standpoint. Those will give you clues about how well your empathy is working.

This article, “MarTech Insider Anand Thaker: Marketing Not Aimed at Building Real Relationships with Customers? Cut It.” was first published on Small Business Trends

August 1, 2020
  • by

Do you need help with marketing material or software?

2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

Study: Most Americans Permanently Changing Brands During Pandemic
45 percent of U.S. consumers have switched at least one brand preference during the global heath crisis, and some 62 percent believe that their brand change will become permanent — two of several items of interest to digital marketers in recently-released survey data. MediaPost

How microsegmenting boosts B2B conversion rates
Micro-segmentation helps both B2B sellers and customers, with better conversion rates and more relevant customer experiences, with some 68 percent of B2B buyers noting that it’s important for vendors to present relevant content throughout the buying cycle without having to rely on salespeople, according to recently-released Forrester report data. Digital Commerce 360

Gartner Identifies Five Technologies to Drive More Agile and Scalable Advertising Capabilities for Marketers
The digital advertising trends having the most impact on the industry have been outlined in Gartner’s latest annual Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising 2020 report, showing the rise of Advanced Supply-Side Bidding (ASSB), Identity Resolution (IDR) and other areas of interest to digital marketers. MarTech Series

Facebook Releases New Web Collage App via its Experimental NPE Team
Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) test-bed team has launched an experimental image display app called E.gg, offering a throwback look for modern photo collages that could eventually bring marketers new visual display opportunities, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today

What Types of Content Generate Leads That Convert?
Marketers generate the most lead conversions by utilizing online content that incorporates video, which was seen as the most effective format by 41 percent of marketers, followed by webinars at 36 percent, and original research at 36 percent, topping the list of newly-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingCharts

LinkedIn Provides More Tips for Virtual Events in New Guide Book
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has published new insight into using its LinkedIn Live and Events features, including marketing survey data showing that some 69 percent of marketers find it challenging to make the move to virtual events, the firm recently announced in conjunction with the launch of its second-ever events guide. Social Media Today

2020 July 31 Statistics Image

Infographic: Consumers Want to See More Brands in the Esports Realm
Today’s consumers would like to find more brands including e-sports in their campaign efforts, with 72 percent saying that would like to see brands that are savvy enough to use the medium’s fast-paced conversation. The gaming industry is the most dominant media channel for Gen Z and millennials, and is expected to top $1.5 billion in brand spending, according to recently-released infographic data. Adweek

Zenith: Global Ad Spend Projected To Drop 9.1% This Year
Overall global advertising spending for 2020 is expected to fall by 9.1 percent, while digital ad spend is forecast to see only a 2 percent decrease, with digital accounting for more than half of global ad spend, according to recently-released Zenith report data. MediaPost

Facebook Tests New Page Design Which De-Emphasizes Like Counts
Facebook has begun testing pages that don’t include page like buttons, instead placing focus on having users follow pages. The expanded test, which has been limited to certain public figures, has now also been implemented for some business pages, the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

How COVID-19 Is Affecting the B2B Exhibition Industry
73 percent of B2B event organizers have had to cancel a physical event because of the pandemic, and 81 percent have begun providing virtual alternatives, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingProfs

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 July 31 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “multicultural marketing” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Street Artists Reimagine Classic Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt for AR-Enabled Murals — Adweek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • TopRank Marketing — Is B2B Influencer Marketing Effective During A Crisis? — Tribal Impact
  • TopRank Marketing — 33 of the Best Social Media Marketing Blogs of 2020 — HubSpot
  • Joshua Nite — Shake Up Your Business Strategies with These Community Suggestions — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — C-Suite Marketing Episode 5: Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing [Podcast] — ITSMA / SoundCloud
  • Lee Odden — B2B Influencer Marketing — Evans on Marketing

Have you come across your own favorite B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us, and please return again next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post B2B Marketing News: How B2B Events Are Changing, Consumers Switch Brands During Pandemic, & New B2B Micro-Segmentation Data appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

July 31, 2020
  • by

Do you know anyone that likes to shop online?

2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

Study: Most Americans Permanently Changing Brands During Pandemic
45 percent of U.S. consumers have switched at least one brand preference during the global heath crisis, and some 62 percent believe that their brand change will become permanent — two of several items of interest to digital marketers in recently-released survey data. MediaPost

How microsegmenting boosts B2B conversion rates
Micro-segmentation helps both B2B sellers and customers, with better conversion rates and more relevant customer experiences, with some 68 percent of B2B buyers noting that it’s important for vendors to present relevant content throughout the buying cycle without having to rely on salespeople, according to recently-released Forrester report data. Digital Commerce 360

Gartner Identifies Five Technologies to Drive More Agile and Scalable Advertising Capabilities for Marketers
The digital advertising trends having the most impact on the industry have been outlined in Gartner’s latest annual Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising 2020 report, showing the rise of Advanced Supply-Side Bidding (ASSB), Identity Resolution (IDR) and other areas of interest to digital marketers. MarTech Series

Facebook Releases New Web Collage App via its Experimental NPE Team
Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) test-bed team has launched an experimental image display app called E.gg, offering a throwback look for modern photo collages that could eventually bring marketers new visual display opportunities, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today

What Types of Content Generate Leads That Convert?
Marketers generate the most lead conversions by utilizing online content that incorporates video, which was seen as the most effective format by 41 percent of marketers, followed by webinars at 36 percent, and original research at 36 percent, topping the list of newly-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingCharts

LinkedIn Provides More Tips for Virtual Events in New Guide Book
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has published new insight into using its LinkedIn Live and Events features, including marketing survey data showing that some 69 percent of marketers find it challenging to make the move to virtual events, the firm recently announced in conjunction with the launch of its second-ever events guide. Social Media Today

2020 July 31 Statistics Image

Infographic: Consumers Want to See More Brands in the Esports Realm
Today’s consumers would like to find more brands including e-sports in their campaign efforts, with 72 percent saying that would like to see brands that are savvy enough to use the medium’s fast-paced conversation. The gaming industry is the most dominant media channel for Gen Z and millennials, and is expected to top $1.5 billion in brand spending, according to recently-released infographic data. Adweek

Zenith: Global Ad Spend Projected To Drop 9.1% This Year
Overall global advertising spending for 2020 is expected to fall by 9.1 percent, while digital ad spend is forecast to see only a 2 percent decrease, with digital accounting for more than half of global ad spend, according to recently-released Zenith report data. MediaPost

Facebook Tests New Page Design Which De-Emphasizes Like Counts
Facebook has begun testing pages that don’t include page like buttons, instead placing focus on having users follow pages. The expanded test, which has been limited to certain public figures, has now also been implemented for some business pages, the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

How COVID-19 Is Affecting the B2B Exhibition Industry
73 percent of B2B event organizers have had to cancel a physical event because of the pandemic, and 81 percent have begun providing virtual alternatives, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingProfs

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 July 31 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “multicultural marketing” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Street Artists Reimagine Classic Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt for AR-Enabled Murals — Adweek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • TopRank Marketing — Is B2B Influencer Marketing Effective During A Crisis? — Tribal Impact
  • TopRank Marketing — 33 of the Best Social Media Marketing Blogs of 2020 — HubSpot
  • Joshua Nite — Shake Up Your Business Strategies with These Community Suggestions — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — C-Suite Marketing Episode 5: Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing [Podcast] — ITSMA / SoundCloud
  • Lee Odden — B2B Influencer Marketing — Evans on Marketing

Have you come across your own favorite B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us, and please return again next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post B2B Marketing News: How B2B Events Are Changing, Consumers Switch Brands During Pandemic, & New B2B Micro-Segmentation Data appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

July 31, 2020
  • by

Are you ready to start your online business now?

When the country initially shut down in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, overnight many companies cut their marketing budgets and activities to zero.  Many of those dollars and organizational efforts went to helping customers and communities deal with the pandemic. And many of those efforts are still going on, and the impact of these efforts have been essential to helping people and small businesses make it through this difficult time.  And another result of these efforts is to more meaningfully connect companies with their customers and surrounding communities, which has created the opportunity for these deeper relationships to be in place long after the pandemic has run its course.

It appears that companies may be learning that traditional marketing models that are more transactional in nature might be less effective in the Post Covid-19 world where relationships may matter more.

Interview with Anand Thaker on COVID-19 Changing Marketing Strategy

And recently I had an interesting LinkedIn Live conversation with marketing technology (MarTech) industry expert Anand Thaker to get his take on how COVID may be changing how companies look at marketing, and what role technology will need to play in order for those Post Covid marketing efforts to be successful.

Below is an edited transcript of a portion of our conversation.  To hear the entire conversation click on the embedded SoundCloud player.

Small Business Trends: CRM thought leader Jesus Hoyos was recently on CRM Playaz and he made a point about how marketing automation technology previous to COVID was broken because there is not single point of communication with customers today, and the tech was built with that in mind.  And the pandemic has made the situation even worse.  What are you seeing with marketing during the pandemic, and the roll martech is playing?

Anand Thaker: Technology only magnifies who we are. If we’re bad at what we’re doing, guess what? We’re going to use the technology or misuse it and vice versa. I think what he was talking about with regards to one email address, really resonated with me because there’s another problem, especially in the B2B space, where it’s not only just one person with one email for one person, but then you also have one assumed decision maker per company. In a B2B capacity, if you had five different people at a particular company and they all downloaded your white paper or did different things to end up in your CRM database or marketing automation database, how do you rectify that? That’s one of the biggest challenges behind the scenes that people didn’t really talk about, and probably one of the main reasons that marketing operations became an incredibly thriving profession, is how do you resolve these types of things?

This is part of the reason I think we should probably start looking at databases that connect these different places. I think a lot of people have heard, especially listening in, about customer database or customer data platforms, CDPs. One of the benefits of that is you’re really trying to get a full, what we used to call the 360 view of the customer. This is the opportunity for a brand to own the customer and the customer experience starting from, again having clean data. Part of the reason we don’t have clean data is not necessarily through laziness or challenges with the experience of trying to ingest that data in from third parties, but it’s also we find a big challenge in having that data spread … I mean, we have challenges in terms of data being in the different technologies. How do we centralize that information when we actually need to do it?

This could lead to a conversation on privacy and AI. Let’s say your stack of technologies related to the customers, 18 to 30, some odd pieces of technology,  how do you even respect the customer’s wishes on their privacy, or how do you apply AI in a grander scope of things that would help you navigate what that really respects?

Small Business Trends: The foundation of how we built our customer engagement is spread out. It’s disparate. It’s kind of hard to bring it all together. It’s kind of hard to make sense of whatever the interactions are because they’re coming in from all over the place. Maybe there’s a technology problem, but let’s take the technology problem out of it. There’s still a big issue with a lot of companies, because they’re looking at things from their perspective. They’re looking at how do we get people to buy more stuff and not necessarily looking at it from the customer’s perspective.

Let’s face it. They can have the greatest technology, they can have the greatest platform, they can have all the data coming in, they can have their AI running and finding all these great insights, and if they don’t deliver those insights in a meaningful way, in a way that will be empathetic and will connect the dots to the customer, all that stuff is for naught.

Anand Thaker: Yep.

Small Business Trends: I think that’s where we are. To take it one step further. I’ve talked to a number of companies, and there are a lot of folks who just cut the spigot off when it came to doing any kind of marketing, ad campaigns, marketing campaigns, cut it off completely just because of the uncertainty in the environment. The interesting thing about that is not that they did it, because everybody was kind of scared. You’re starting to see some life coming back to that, but I’ve been having some really interesting conversations, I’m not going to say who, but there are vendors who said, “Yeah, we cut it out, and guess what? We’re doing all right. We are not going to be going back to what we were doing before. We’re not going to be spending that money the way we were spending it before.”

I have a suspicion that the few companies I talked to, they are just representative of what I think is going to be happening on the other side of the pandemic. It seems to me that there’s a movement from a lot of these companies who spent a lot of money and did a lot of this programmatic stuff. They might not be coming back to spend anywhere near what they spent on those activities before COVID-19. Are you hearing anything like that?

Anand Thaker: Yeah, absolutely. We’re seeing it on a couple of fronts. COVID shook a lot of things up. The old models don’t support a lot of those purposeful missions moving forward. Let me roll back a little bit because on the front of talking about programmatic advertising and what that means, in terms of businesses actually cutting off marketing, or just cutting out marketing or cutting out advertising, I think there’s a lot of opportunity to just do things, regardless of whether it’s the highest performing, because you’ve got to do them. You’ve got the spend, you’re going to budget. That’s what everybody else is doing. You have the fear of missing out. “Oh my gosh, if I saw it … ”

Think about it like billboards or TV ads, or let’s say Superbowl commercials. People have this fear of missing out because, “Oh man, my competitor did a Superbowl commercial, therefore we should strive to do something similar.” Well, we don’t live in that kind of world today. There’s not a limited channel of ways to engage with a customer anymore. Those things start to change. Many companies that I’ve talked to or have heard from or learn about as I hear about, they try to take one channel and think that’s the silver bullet rather than trying to diversify into a portfolio. One of the things I’ve been striving for, I’ve been working intensely with companies for the last eight, nine months now trying to navigate them through the COVID or some of those crisis situations.

One of the first things is marketing, yes or no? That’s not the right question to ask. That correct question is, is the marketing efforts or spend that you have, are they engaged in building a relationship with a customer? If it’s not part of the journey or if they’re not responsible for the entire journey back into the business operations of the company, then yeah, maybe need to consider cutting it, because it’s an expensive spend and you’re basically competing … You’re selling against yourself. You spend a dollar, someone spends 105, then you got to spend 110, then they spend more and then you have to spend more, but if your marketing spend is basically driven on developing a deeper relationship, meaning you are training your staff, frontline staff perhaps, at a retail store, on developing better experiences, or you’re working on the digital journey for how people buy, or trying to come up with different ways to help your customers make a decision, or help them, say, like in a fintech world, like you have some sort of financial services option, you’re trying to help them be better financial … financially savvy.

If you’re doing those types of things and the customer feels like you’re helping them through that, whether they buy from you or not, they become those advocates. That’s the part where you can elevate across your other competitors by sitting there and focusing on it. A lot of people say that, but they’re not talking about … They’re talking about limited to the digital spend, but there’s a lot of pieces beyond the digital ad. I think that’s what a lot of companies are doing, Brent, is they’re looking at the grand scope of things and saying, “Wow. Really, ads aren’t bringing the conversion rates we’re looking for, or perhaps aren’t giving us the awareness that we’re really hoping for,” but I think a lot of that will change over time and everyone will evolve. I’m always a believer that people and companies will evolve because either they need to, or they go away.

Small Business Trends: But the whole idea of empathy …

Anand Thaker: That’s right.

Small Business Trends: What I’ve noticed, the programmatic stuff, there is absolutely no empathy involved. That’s just pure, we know data, we know where you’ve been and we’re going to follow you and hound you wherever you go on the web. You see popups and it’s just ridiculous and it makes you not want to buy anything. There’s zero … I mean, they did a lot of work on the analytics. They did a lot of data aggregation. They’ve been looking at the insight, knowing where you’re going to go. That’s great.

Anand Thaker: Right.

Small Business Trends: Zero empathy in the actual activity and the action. I think that is driving people crazy. That’s why I think you’re seeing folks, because in the pandemic, the thing that you need most is empathy in order to show folks, like you said, that they care and that you’re creating an interaction that is based off of not just data, but it’s based off of data and delivered in an empathetic way that lets people understand that you care.

Anand Thaker: Right.

Small Business Trends: That’s where I think there’s an opportunity for a shift in some of this budget away from just pure programmatic, pure analytics, pure re-target, and to have to do a little bit more work, which requires you to really understand, not just know where you’re going or know where they’re going, but to understand why, and then to create an interaction opportunity that takes that into consideration so that you don’t spend all your time and effort and money on pure analytics and understanding without being able to deliver that understanding in an empathetic way.

Anand Thaker: I agree. The reason I tend to hesitate using empathy in some of these conversations is because we don’t define that well. I think that’s one of the problems is we don’t say what it is that we’re doing to be empathetic. For example, I mean, you’re training your frontline staff to be your team members to better serve their customers, or you’re trying to find an easier way for people to pay for their merchandise online, or you’re trying to understand how to elevate someone’s profession. I mean, I think if you’re going to use the word empathy, then you need to say exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, at least one thing that’s more specific than just saying, “Oh yeah, we’re going to be empathetic.”

That’s the kind of crap that gets all these companies in trouble is they go find a lot of these empathy consultants and then guess what they’re asking you to do too? There’s a lot of good ones out there and you know what they’re going to tell you? They’re going to say, “What are you doing that makes you empathetic or more empathetic than someone else?” Empathy is a magic word, but until you actually define what that is for your company specifically, actionable, like what those actionable steps will look like or what’s the goal look like, you’re not going to get anywhere. We’ve seen some matters come up where people are like, “Oh, well you just changed your logo and put out like a press release and you think you’re done,” and it’s not. You have to do more than that to make that magic happen.

Small Business Trends: Yeah, but here’s the thing. They have resources.

Anand Thaker: Right.

Small Business Trends: I don’t want to make light of the amount of effort and finances that it takes to identify where your customers are engaging and integrate into those channels and get that data in and analyze that data and understand that data and try to find insights that will impact at that time, at the right time. That’s a ton of work. That’s a ton of money and it takes a ton of effort, but why go through all that and then fumble when you actually go to address that person if you haven’t spent a little time, a little effort? It doesn’t have to be a 50/50 split here, but it does have to have … You have to spend some time not only understanding, but then, how do we best communicate our understanding? How do we best communicate that insight so that when we do interact with somebody, they’re more likely to understand where we’re coming from and that we’re on their side and we’re trying to deliver some value for them at the time they need it? That’s all I’m saying.

Anand Thaker: Yeah. A measurable way to look at that, this is just back of the napkin kind of thing, is look at retention. How many people are you keeping as customers, if you’re in this subscription-based world? How many people are advocates of yours, like active advocates, not just liking something on one of the social media platforms? I’m talking about they are out there selling on your behalf. They’re proud to be part of your company as a result of things.

Then the third piece would be, how easy has it been to recruit? If a company is doing a great job of having empathy and it’s being well demonstrated, you’ll see people come in that want to work for you. Maybe it’s a little skewed today because COVID is going to cause a lot of shuffle in terms of talent opportunities and opportunities for jobs just period, but still, I mean, how many of the best talent is coming your way, as opposed to you having to pull them in and try to recruit them at the highest price possible because you’re struggling in some capacity? Think about it from a recruiting standpoint, an advocate standpoint and a retention standpoint. Those will give you clues about how well your empathy is working.

This article, “MarTech Insider Anand Thaker: Marketing Not Aimed at Building Real Relationships with Customers? Cut It.” was first published on Small Business Trends

July 31, 2020
  • by

Do you know anyone that likes to shop online?

2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

Study: Most Americans Permanently Changing Brands During Pandemic
45 percent of U.S. consumers have switched at least one brand preference during the global heath crisis, and some 62 percent believe that their brand change will become permanent — two of several items of interest to digital marketers in recently-released survey data. MediaPost

How microsegmenting boosts B2B conversion rates
Micro-segmentation helps both B2B sellers and customers, with better conversion rates and more relevant customer experiences, with some 68 percent of B2B buyers noting that it’s important for vendors to present relevant content throughout the buying cycle without having to rely on salespeople, according to recently-released Forrester report data. Digital Commerce 360

Gartner Identifies Five Technologies to Drive More Agile and Scalable Advertising Capabilities for Marketers
The digital advertising trends having the most impact on the industry have been outlined in Gartner’s latest annual Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising 2020 report, showing the rise of Advanced Supply-Side Bidding (ASSB), Identity Resolution (IDR) and other areas of interest to digital marketers. MarTech Series

Facebook Releases New Web Collage App via its Experimental NPE Team
Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) test-bed team has launched an experimental image display app called E.gg, offering a throwback look for modern photo collages that could eventually bring marketers new visual display opportunities, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today

What Types of Content Generate Leads That Convert?
Marketers generate the most lead conversions by utilizing online content that incorporates video, which was seen as the most effective format by 41 percent of marketers, followed by webinars at 36 percent, and original research at 36 percent, topping the list of newly-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingCharts

LinkedIn Provides More Tips for Virtual Events in New Guide Book
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has published new insight into using its LinkedIn Live and Events features, including marketing survey data showing that some 69 percent of marketers find it challenging to make the move to virtual events, the firm recently announced in conjunction with the launch of its second-ever events guide. Social Media Today

2020 July 31 Statistics Image

Infographic: Consumers Want to See More Brands in the Esports Realm
Today’s consumers would like to find more brands including e-sports in their campaign efforts, with 72 percent saying that would like to see brands that are savvy enough to use the medium’s fast-paced conversation. The gaming industry is the most dominant media channel for Gen Z and millennials, and is expected to top $1.5 billion in brand spending, according to recently-released infographic data. Adweek

Zenith: Global Ad Spend Projected To Drop 9.1% This Year
Overall global advertising spending for 2020 is expected to fall by 9.1 percent, while digital ad spend is forecast to see only a 2 percent decrease, with digital accounting for more than half of global ad spend, according to recently-released Zenith report data. MediaPost

Facebook Tests New Page Design Which De-Emphasizes Like Counts
Facebook has begun testing pages that don’t include page like buttons, instead placing focus on having users follow pages. The expanded test, which has been limited to certain public figures, has now also been implemented for some business pages, the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

How COVID-19 Is Affecting the B2B Exhibition Industry
73 percent of B2B event organizers have had to cancel a physical event because of the pandemic, and 81 percent have begun providing virtual alternatives, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingProfs

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 July 31 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “multicultural marketing” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Street Artists Reimagine Classic Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt for AR-Enabled Murals — Adweek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • TopRank Marketing — Is B2B Influencer Marketing Effective During A Crisis? — Tribal Impact
  • TopRank Marketing — 33 of the Best Social Media Marketing Blogs of 2020 — HubSpot
  • Joshua Nite — Shake Up Your Business Strategies with These Community Suggestions — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — C-Suite Marketing Episode 5: Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing [Podcast] — ITSMA / SoundCloud
  • Lee Odden — B2B Influencer Marketing — Evans on Marketing

Have you come across your own favorite B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us, and please return again next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post B2B Marketing News: How B2B Events Are Changing, Consumers Switch Brands During Pandemic, & New B2B Micro-Segmentation Data appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

July 31, 2020
  • by

Do you know anyone that likes to shop online?

Business Professional Taking Notes Intently

Business Professional Taking Notes Intently

Empathy is more than a buzzword. It’s not a box to be checked, or an added finishing touch for content. If B2B marketers want to successfully engage human audiences and break free from the deluge of irrelevant messages swirling around today’s customers, empathy needs to be at the center of all strategic initiatives from start to finish.

What Does Empathy Mean in B2B Marketing?

Empathy is defined simply as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. But I’m not sure that characterization fully does it justice in the context of modern marketing.

I rather like the way Zen Media CEO Shama Hyder described empathy in the better creative teamwork guide we helped our clients at monday.com put together:

“Empathy is critical. It’s much more than just having an understanding of what someone else’s challenges might be. Part of it is that you have to give up being a control freak. As leaders, we should really look at the big picture and ask ourselves, is this necessary? Or is this just politicking, or someone trying to make it seem like it has to be done this way because it’s the way they prefer?”

Shama was speaking from the perspective of a business leader trying to get on the same page as their team, but it applies just as well to marketing endeavors. The critical first step in developing empathy is disconnecting from our own ingrained perceptions and assumptions. Only then can we truly understand and support the audiences we want to reach.

Too often, empathy in marketing tends to be a bit narrow and self-centered (which is contradictory to the very concept itself). We often seek to understand only the challenges and pain points that drive interest in what we’re selling. Looking beyond this scope is necessary to build strong relationships founded on trust, especially now.

“What you are creating, marketing and ultimately selling is but one piece of your customer’s life as a human on Earth. One very small piece,” said Mary Beech, principal at MRB Brand Consulting and former CMO of Kate Spade, in an AMA article on empathy in marketing. “And if we aren’t keeping in mind their full journey, including their emotional, mental, social and physical needs — as well as the challenges and joys they are facing — we cannot do our jobs well.”

As Brian Solis wrote at Forbes recently, the need for empathetic customer experiences is greater than ever in the age of COVID-19 disruption. People have so much going on in their lives, and are facing so many unprecedented difficulties, that a myopic brand-centric focus is all the more untenable. “Traditional marketing will no longer have the same effect moving forward,” he argues. “If anything, it will negatively affect customer relationships rather than enhance them.”

Agreed. So, let’s find a better way.

Engaging with True Empathy in the New Era of Marketing

Imagine if it was possible to sit down and have an in-depth conversation with each one of your customers and potential customers. You’d gain first-hand insight into their worldviews, their challenges, their hopes and dreams.

Sadly, it’s not possible. You don’t have the time, nor do your customers. (Although I do recommend making a habit of engaging in direct, candid conversations with them when possible.) To make empathy scalable, marketers need to take advantage of all the tools at their disposal. This largely requires using data to connect the dots.

“It’s critical for marketers to have a real-time 360 view and understanding of a customer’s full journey, at every stage, from discovery to engagement to retention and loyalty to advocacy,” Solis wrote at Forbes.

Here are some suggestions for obtaining such a view:

Use empathy-mapping. This practice, explained in a helpful primer from Nielsen Norman Group, involves creating a visualization of attitudes and behaviors to guide decision-making. Empathy-mapping originated in the world of UX design, but given how much user experience and customer experience now overlap, it’s becoming a powerful tool for marketers.

Empathy Map

(Source: Nielsen Norman Group)

Coordinate and integrate your organizational efforts. Every customer-facing function in a company — marketing, sales, customer service — sees the customer from a different perspective. Seek ways to bring all these perspectives together into one centralized, holistic view. Per Solis: “Cross-functional collaboration is a mandate. As such, integration will become the new standard and will quickly become table stakes as every company rushes in this direction.”

Tap into meaningful influencer relationships. Influencers can play a key role in empathetic marketing because they have relationships and perspectives extending beyond our brand ecosystems. If they align with your audience, influencers can bring unique insight and connect at deeper levels. Turning influencer engagements from mechanical to meaningful is essential to accomplishing this.

Incidentally, Mr. Solis recently partnered with TopRank Marketing on the first-ever State of B2B Influencer Marketing report, in which our friend Ann Handley summarizes the impact quite well: “You could call yourself a good parent or a world-class marketer or an empathetic friend … but any of those things would carry more weight coming from your child, customer, or BFF. So it is with integrating influencer content: It’s a direct line to building trust and customer confidence.”

Research and engage with topics that matter to your customers outside of their jobs. Given the connotations of B2B, it’s all too easy to isolate our customer research around what they do professionally. But these are human beings with lives outside of work. To drive powerful engagement, marketers should search for the cross-sections between their brand’s purpose and values, and what matters to their customers.

A good example of this is found in the IBM THINK Blog, which is “dedicated to chronicling the fast-moving world of cognitive computing” and covers many important societal topics. (Recent focuses include a post on gender pronouns and a corporate environmental report.)

Examples of Empathetic B2B Marketing

Who’s getting it right and paving the way for a more empathy-driven approach to engaging B2B audiences? Here are a few examples:

Seeing human faces brings an instantly relatable element to any B2B campaign. That’s why Microsoft’s Story Labs microsite, which frames some of the company’s initiatives and guiding principles around real people and their stories, is so effective.

Microsoft Story Labs

Let Empathy Guide Your B2B Marketing Strategy

In order to walk in someone else’s shoes, you first need to untie and remove your own. Making empathy a core strategic pillar requires marketers to take a step back, disconnect from their ingrained perceptions and assumptions, and get fully in tune with the people they serve.

Only then can we create the type of relevant and personalized experiences that drive deep and long-lasting brand engagement.

For more tips that will help your business-oriented content strike notes of genuine empathy, read Josh Nite’s blog post on 5 Ways to Humanize B2B Marketing.

 

The post Boosting and Deepening Engagement through Empathy in B2B Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

July 31, 2020
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Are you ready to start your online business now?

,New Products Deadline

Could your product or products be sold from store shelves in Walmart? You’ll never know until you try.

Submissions to Walmart’s Open Call are due by August 10. The company annually hosts Open Call, a search for new and innovative products to sell in its stores.

Hundreds apply and hundreds benefit. Here’s a tale of a company which really “got a handle” on how to grow a small business.

In 2014 Mighty Good Solutions responded to a Walmart Open Call for products with the Mighty Handle.

A simple concept, the Mighty Handle is a molded plastic product which allows a person to carry six plastic shopping bags on its frame. Mighty Good Solutions made a deal with Walmart, which still carries the product.

Mighty Good Solutions has responded to the Open Call annually since. Its most recent success came last year with the acceptance of the Pizza Saver. That’s another simple plastic design that can hold, and reheat, three pizza slices.

Want to heat up some of your sales numbers? Here’s more info.

Walmart Open Call 2020

Open Call is part of Walmart’s initiative to purchase an additional $250 billion by 2023 in products made, sourced or grown in the U.S. For example, Mighty Good’s inventions, manufactured in Tennessee, are now sold nationwide in Walmart.

According to Walmart the Open Call initiative is expected to create an estimated 1 million new U.S. jobs. The deadline to apply is August 10, and your product or products must be U.S. made.

If selected to advance, you’ll pitch to Walmart buyers October 1 via a virtual meeting. In addition to the one-on-one pitch with a buyer, you’ll have the opportunity to network with Walmart execs and leaders during break-out sessions, also virtual.

Some deals secure a manufacturer’s product in a group of stores. Some deals get a product in hundreds, even thousands, of stores including Sam’s Clubs.

“Walmart remains committee to sourcing products made, grown or assembled in the U.S.,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart senior vice president for Global Sourcing & U.S. Manufacturing. “By investing in products that support American jobs, we are able to bring new products to our customers, support new jobs in our local communities and invest in small business across the country.”

For an application and additional information about the event, go to www.Walmart-jump.com. You can join the conversation now at #WalmartOpenCall.

Is You Product a Good Fit?

U.S. sourced manufacturing is one of many factors that customers considering when making a purchase. U.S. sourced manufacturing is a requirement for applicants to Open Call.

Also, your pitch should highlight the details that are unique to your product or company. You should be ready to make a compelling pitch to the buyers. The buyers will want facts and data that enable them to make an informed decision.

This is the seventh year for Open Call. Although this year’s event will be virtual for the first time, Walmart sees that as a huge advantage.

“This year’s Open Call will be virtual, enabling even broader participation from potential new suppliers,” Phillips said. “We know how important this opportunity is for many small businesses, especially this year.”

The virtual Open Call gives a small business owner the ability to pitch a product without leaving home. It is also an opportunity to get feedback and encouragement from Walmart leaders.

Could this be your big break? Think of these statistics (pre-pandemic): Each week, millions of customer visit Walmart stores. That’s not counting the millions that shop Walmart on-line.

At the Open Call in 2018, a Walmart buyer decided to test Gwen Hurt’s product, Shoe Crazy Wine, in 66 stores. Through Open Call, Walmart may make a deal in selected stores, starting locally and regionally.

After landing that deal, Hurt purchased an empty warehouse and hired about a dozen employees. Now, Walmart has sweetened the deal and Hurt may need more room, and more employees.

This summer Shoe Crazy Wine will be carried in an additional 118 stores in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.

Requirements for Potential Suppliers

Here are some requirements for your Open Call application. You’ll have to meet some standards to be considered as a Walmart supplier:

  • Competitive pricing
  • Federal Tax ID number
  • Minimum of $2 million in liability insurance
  • Dun & Bradstreet number
  • Ability to submit products for third-party testing
  • Electronic data exchange (EDI)
  • GS1 membership number
  • Existing shelf-ready product must meet www.FTC.gov criteria for U.S. country of origin
  • Confirm ability to meet supplier requirements

Print books, eBooks, audiobooks, music and magazines will not be considered during Open Call.

“Walmart’s annual Open Call event gives us a unique occasion to identify new suppliers with unique and innovative products,” Phillips said. “We are looking forward to seeing the new product submissions and meeting potential new suppliers.”

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Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “Walmart Open Call 2020 Deadline is August 10” was first published on Small Business Trends