Why The Top B2B Brands Compete On Story

In this economic downturn, we have seen firsthand the impact of curbed purchasing decisions in the global business-to-business (B2B) marketplace. Where traditional acquisition marketing has struggled, brand storytelling is flourishing and has a direct impact on the marketing pipeline.

Robert McKee wrote that "Leaders use story to author the future." Why is this more important than ever? In these challenging times, your audience wants to be led through this downturn into the future that awaits them.

To better understand the key themes that inspire effective storytelling, let's look backward to look forward. Prior downturns have taught me there are six themes that are most relevant in brand storytelling during times of crisis: humor, nostalgia, optimism, patriotism, price and value, empowerment. But knowing these themes is not enough to create a story brand. To do that, we need to take a few more steps in our praxis.

So, how do you get B2B brand storytelling right? Here are a few guidelines that truly make a difference.

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lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content marketing, marketing leaders, storytelling, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Remarkable Marketing, Brand Storytelling, COVID-19 Impact

The 3 most destructive mistakes marketers make with intent data

Growing usage of intent data is proof that marketers are excited about its promise: to illuminate who is actively in the market for a solution, and the topics in which they are likely interested. But the downside is that, if not used correctly, intent data will fail to deliver results.

To help you avoid pitfalls and make the most of intent data, here are three common mistakes that you can avoid with upfront planning.

1) Marketers see intent data as a silver bullet

Intent data is not magical. Its potential is exciting, but it won’t fill in all of your marketing gaps. Many marketers see the possibilities that intent data brings, and assume that the technology will do their work for them. But as with any other marketing tech innovation, we know that they don’t work unless we do.

Intent data won’t miraculously fix all issues in your marketing and sales process. But it is valuable. What it can do is improve business outcomes by creating greater efficiency in your funnel.

For example, as you get more sophisticated in working with – and responding to – intent data, you can likely improve your cost per lead by truly delivering the right message, at the right time to the right people.

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content marketing culture, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, content marketing, marketing leaders, Tactical Marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Advertising trends 2021, Buying intent

Why B2B marketers need to bet big on ‘The Big Long’

Imagine for a moment that you are not a B2B marketer. Instead, think of yourself as an investor, and ask yourself this: how do you identify great investments? Well, here’s a winning approach learned from watching the movie ‘The Big Short’ over and over again.

First, find a contrarian idea. The Big Short is about five investors who predicted the housing market crash that was the catalyst for the financial crisis of 2008/09, in defiance of conventional wisdom.

Second, make sure you are right by examining the evidence. In the movie, the character played by Steve Carell flew down to Florida to confirm the housing market was, in fact, comprised of sub-prime loans.

Third, be prepared to wait a while. The housing market did not collapse overnight. It took several years for the contrarians to cash in on their investment.

The big long

Let’s return to the world of B2B marketing. If Warren Buffett was a B2B marketer, where would he invest his capital? We’ll tell you where: at the very top of the funnel. In fact, that’s precisely what Warren Buffett does, buying stakes in famous brands like Coca-Cola, Geico and Apple. In B2C and in B2B, brand building might just be the single best investment a business can make.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, content marketing, marketing leaders, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands, Sales Advisors, Hyper personalization, Building Community

How We Do Account-Based Marketing at Scale

I’ve been running ABM teams for some time and find it incredibly satisfying. To me, it is almost like a play. There is a good amount of preparation and planning with many individuals and teams that manage to pull off a unified campaign, and – when done right – the results are incredible.

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lead generation, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content marketing, marketing leaders, future of marketing, ABM, B2B Sales, Revenue Generation, Customer-Focused ABM, Customer Marketing, ABM Strategy, ABM at Scale, ABM Campaigns, Digital Campaigns

Three steps to level up your B2B marketing in 2021

2020 was full of disruption and fast pivoting across the marketing spectrum. But for B2B marketers—whose plans are often anchored around in-person events—this period changed the playbook on how to reach crucial business decision-makers. To learn more about how the business decision-making process has changed—and how marketers are adapting accordingly—Twitter partnered with Bain on a new research study.

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content marketing culture, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, CMO, content creation, content marketing, marketing leaders, Tactical Marketing, Tactical Marketing Plan, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021, Marketing Trends 2021

B2B selling in 2021 - give me industry expertise over the flawed pursuit of hyper-personalization

Last week, I threw hyper-personalization under the bus (The myth of hyper-personalization - algorithms are still undermining the customer experience). My beef with hyper-personalization raises another question: how should B2B companies approach marketing and sales in 2021?

One of hyper-personalization's biggest drawbacks? Throwing technology at the wrong problem:

Are we really prepared to argue that algorithms are savvy enough to anticipate our needs in a moment-by-moment context?

Is hyper-personalization the right sales and marketing goal?

This personalization obsession has spilled into sales and marketing, with the fantasy that if we present the prospect with the right offer at just the right time (marketing), or send an "intelligent trigger" from our CRM system (sales), we'll magically have ourselves a new customer. Alas, that ambition gets mucked up by the near-irresistable temptation to blast our contacts with spray-and-pray offers hiding under the personalization rationale, but that's a rant already made.

For sales and marketing to earn relevance in today's economy, we need to redefine the problem. I believe this is fundamentally about culture change, not tech.

I have the apparently unfashionable view that marketers need to become educators/content producers with a journalistic bent, while salespeople need to become advisors.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, content marketing, marketing leaders, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands, Sales Advisors, Hyper personalization, Building Community, Opt-in Community

B2B Sales & Marketing Leaders Take Note: Brand Is Trust At Scale

"I don't care about brand. I care about revenue." We've all heard some variation of this countless times.

One of the most pervasive and value-destroying misconceptions held by many business leaders is their belief that brand only — or mostly — matters for consumer products.

“We build serious products that solve serious problems for serious buyers,” say these B2B leaders. “We identify pain and position our solution to alleviate that pain.”

Dials. Emails. Leads. Meetings. Demos. It’s all very logical. Clearly measurable.

Marketers Contribute To The Problem

We marketers are often complicit in this value-destroying mindset. We’re data-driven marketers, aren’t we? We’re modern marketers. We scoff at the old days of billboards, television commercials and ads in newspapers and magazines.

That world is over, grandpa.

We use serious tools to deliver serious messages and to report on every activity taken. “Good” marketers speak the language of MQLs, SQLs, lead scoring, conversion and attribution.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, content marketing, marketing leaders, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands

Why Sales Should Ditch MQLs for Intent Data

We live in an on-demand world. Our customers’ expectations are always evolving, which means the way we engage with them as salespeople must evolve, too. Today, customers are at the center of everything we do in the revenue-driving function – or, at least they should be. So in order to create a customer-centric experience for our prospects, the tools and technologies we use must inform and support all aspects of the sales process.

Modern buyers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. As a result, they’re doing more behind-the-scenes research – with more than 70% of buyers defining their own needs before engaging with a sales rep.

In sales, our success in sealing the deal depends on how well we can empower and engage buyers throughout their journey. But with marketing qualified leads (MQLs), you only have an opportunity to provide value to your buyers after they’ve made themselves known to you.

Luckily, today’s sales teams can instead use intent data and Conversational Marketing to reach the right prospects at the right time and provide value throughout the entire buying process.

Stop Guessing, Start Knowing

Historically, one of the biggest challenges for salespeople has been knowing exactly what our customers want. Typically, we rely on MQLs to provide us with a general idea of who the prospect is and what their pain points are before going into a meeting. But, more often than not, those MQLs leave us with generic information mapping back to our ideal customer profile (ICP), not the specific insights into each unique prospect we need to create a personalized experience.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content marketing, marketing leaders, entertainment, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Advertising trends 2021, B2B ads, Buying intent, MQL

How to set the content marketing world on fire.

As a copywriter and content marketer that has been fortunate to work with some pretty stellar startups, I’ve seen first-hand (and admittedly at times by my own hand) what works and what doesn’t in the content marketing world.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content creating, content marketing, marketing leaders, entertainment, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing, Tactical Marketing Plan, Best tactics marketing, Advertising Campaigns, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Advertising trends 2021, B2B ads

Majority of B2B advertising is ‘ineffective’

The majority of B2B creative is “ineffective” according to new research from the LinkedIn B2B Institute and market research agency System1.

Of the 1,600 B2B ads shown to a sample of 6 million people worldwide over the past four years, 75% scored one star or less on System1’s FaceTrace emotional measurement tool.

In this context, a one-star rating means a piece of advertising is contributing zero in terms of long-term market share growth. A one-star rated ad essentially means the brand is entirely reliant on out-spending the category, rather than benefitting from the strength of the creative.

None of the 1,600 B2B ads viewed in the research attained a maximum score of five stars. Five-star ads, which score highly on emotion, fluency and intensity, have been found to help a brand grow by an average of 3% in the long term, aiding the excess share of voice and category spend.

The principles of a five-star ad, as defined by System1, are a strong story arc, characters, soundtrack, emotion and a fluent device which drives brand recognition. However, the research suggests B2B advertising is failing to deliver on many of these elements.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content marketing, digital advertising, marketing leaders, entertainment, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing, Advertising Campaigns, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Advertising trends 2021, B2B ads

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