May’s Hot B2B Marketing Reads | Our don’t-miss content roundup

Memorial Day has come and gone, but enjoying the first warm days leading up to summer, taking time to remember our fallen soldiers and firing up the grill after a winter of slow cookery may have kept you away from researching the latest marketing news.

No worries, though. We’ve compiled the best of the best – our favorite True Influence blog posts, blog posts from across the internet and the latest book releases – giving you a synopsis so you’ll have a better idea of what’s important to you and your own personal business model.

From our True Influence website:

ABM: A Misunderstood Marketing Strategy?

A series of marketing stories featuring the expert opinion of our CEO Brian Giese recently appeared on Huffington Post.

Here, we recap his take on the benefits of account-based marketing, which allows you to get to know your customers based on their digital footprint, invaluable knowledge when it comes time to market to them. When you better understand a consumer’s wants and needs, you are better able to meet those needs.

The data gathered from those digital footprints can’t stand alone, however, and it is useless without someone to analyze it.

“It is a way of acquiring priceless information – but it does not exist in a vacuum,” Fein wrote. “It requires the intelligence of the application itself, on the one hand, and the wisdom of those who use it, on the other.”

Data is a marketing tool, but it doesn’t have all the answers

While many of us in marketing are wary of technology moving in on the creative process, both our CEO Brian Giese and marketing expert Lewis Fein were quick to point out that despite the value of data in marketing, creativity is still a vital part of the process, and will be while artificial intelligence still struggles to find a natural voice.

Data is important, but it still requires painstaking analysis, and that all-important step requires human interaction.

Data and artificial intelligence may not be taking over, but they do have a solid place in the future of marketing.

ABM Studies Show Intent Signal Monitoring Helps Companies Make Smarter Decisions

According to the Global Alliance of Data-Driven Marketing Associations, 90 percent of all businesses are using data to help better market to their customer base, and platforms such as InsightBASE are making that data more effective than ever.

Intent signal monitoring helps streamline data into something more tangible and useful, especially so for personalized account-based marketing campaigns, according to our CEO Brian Giese.

“We welcome the results … as they show the key role True Influence has in helping achieve marketers’ ROI. Marketers achieve spectacular results using Intent Monitoring,” Giese said. “InsightBASE allows marketers to receive the benefits of the data while still being able to dedicate time to the all-important creative of campaigns.”

What the community has been talking about:


Play It Cool

How to Reconfigure Your Sales Operations for Account-Based Selling

This post from Entrepreneur offers tips on how to successfully implement an account-based marketing strategy, most importantly by bringing everyone together as a team working toward the same goal, each with a specific role.

“Account reps may be handling most of the client interactions during the process, but it’s the teamwork behind the scenes that makes the engine churn,” writes marketer and Black Label menswear founder Danny Wong.

While the upheaval of shifting from one marketing method to another can be challenging – data is now the most important asset in your marketing arsenal – the rewards can be immense.

Not only will the idea of teamwork make everyone within the company feel equally valued, creating more workplace harmony, when you’re able to target marketing materials to a select few accounts, that work can be more focused, and ultimately better.

Account-Based Marketing Can Synchronize Sales & Marketing

Marketing exec Peter Buscemi also writes about the benefits of bringing sales and marketing teams together in this post appearing on the Business to Community website.

When sales and marketing teams are in alignment, both can offer insight that can help both teams improve, since sales better understands its clients, and marketing is more in tune with who is on the cusp of becoming a potential client.

Buscemi offers the following four fundamentals for successfully implementing an account-based marketing approach:

  • Clear market definition, select accounts and contacts. Sales offers up their dream-team portfolio, and marketing then uses data to determine which of those companies or others like them are potential prospects, and lines up the contacts.
  • Account, contact and market intelligence. Both human contacts in the form of current clients and artificial intelligence can help marketing departments develop the kind of content that prospects will respond to most enthusiastically.
  • Relevant and meaningful content. Personalized content is information that is not corporate-driven but is instead of value to a potential prospect. Making sure that the content directed at each potential prospect is suitable to them is vital to the success of any campaign.
  • Hand-offs and conversion metrics. ABM can help marketers – and CEOS – better determine the exact role they play in generating revenue. Those numbers can be beneficial when it comes time to allocate a marketing budget, more important than ever when personalized, account-based marketing is the new focus.


Lights, camera, action: B2B Demand Generation

5 B2B Tips for Creating Facebook Ad Images That Work

In advertising, visuals are everything.

Nadya Khoja did her own personal tests for a post that appeared on Social Media Examiner, doing the legwork so you don’t have to.

What she found out:

  • Darker colors attract more attention. When she used dark colors as a background, her ads received 136 percent more clicks, despite the assertion that bright colors attract more attention. Darker colors, psychologists say, are perceived as more powerful and sophisticated, conveying a sense of intelligence.
  • A call to action generated more interaction.
  • Stock photos aren’t effective, unless they include a location.
  • Charts work. Not only do charts suggest that you’ve done your research, they also offer information. Khoja found that images with charts or graphs received 121 percent more clicks on average than those without.
  • Fonts do matter. Readers responded better to sans serif fonts, even though serif fonts are considered more legible. Copy that was aligned to the left and larger vs. smaller also performed better.

Why the Google Search Network isn’t working for your B2B business

With all the talk about the importance of ROI, you may find that Google Search Network isn’t giving you the return on your investment you were hoping for, making you think that it might be time to dump it.

Before you do, however, check out these tips from Pauline Jakober, who wrote in Search Engine Land that the problem might not be Google, but instead, could be you.

  • Don’t make your landing page a project. What was once an email address has now turned into a five-minute project for many websites, which instantly turns visitors off.
  • Make your phone number visible. While you may think phone numbers are totally passé, some potential prospects may have some questions and prefer to pick up the phone. Don’t make something simple into something difficult.
  • Do you think that your pay-per-click budget is too high? If you are driving traffic to your site and generating real leads, the cost might be worth it. Determine the value of the leads you generate before making any hasty decisions.
  • PPC may not be right for you. If you aren’t reaching your target audience, find other, innovative ways to get recognized.

While you may not initially get the results you want, staying diligent, tracking your numbers and making things easier for your potential prospects as they seek you out can eventually generate the ROI you expected.

A fresh perspective on SEO for B2B companies

If you’re looking to drive traffic to your B2B site using keywords, you might want to rethink your strategy.

You are no longer as in control of your website traffic as you once were, and SEO is no longer as much about keywords as it is word of mouth. According to Garrett Mehrguth in a post appearing on the website Search Engine Land, Yelp reviews have made people more mindful of what others think, and are researching before they make a decision.

According to a recent study from the global tech solutions company Avanade, more prospects research B2B companies through reviews before making contact with the company itself. The more reviews a company had, the more traffic generates. These days, the two essentially go hand in hand.

SEO isn’t dead, Mehrguth says. It just needs a revision, so that instead of thinking about ranking your website, you’re thinking about positioning your brand through every step of their buying journey.


B2B marketing: what's on the bookshelves

We Are Data: Algorithms and The Making of Our Digital Selves,” by John Cheney-Lippold

If ever there was a book that offered food for thought about the impact of the digital age, this is it.

Even as marketers emphatically claim that creativity isn’t being taken over by data, this new release suggests that data is telling a story all the same. John Cheney-Lippold deftly explains that while it might differ wildly from who we really are, it is our digital footprint that tells our stories to others. Our data labels us, brands us and creates an image for us that is used by others as a marketing tool that may or may not be accurate.

“This book sparkles with brilliant insights,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of “The Googlization of Everything―and Why We Should Worry,” in a review. “It offers us tools and a vocabulary through which we can think about the layers of identities that our data-conjured ghosts inhabit. I don’t think I fully grasped the complexity of what these clouds of commercial data did with us and to us until I read ‘We Are Data.’”

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are,” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Not only can the information we put out into the universe tell others about us, as we learned in “We Are Data,” Seth Stephens-Davidowitz makes the point that it can also tell us a lot about ourselves.

At least it would, if everyone weren’t catfishing people on dating websites, beefing up their resumes with fake job responsibilities or fudging some numbers every time they fill out an online survey. The end result is that everything is a bit skewed, which in itself says a lot about who we are.

“Everybody Lies” reveals how the wealth of information available on the internet offers a fresh way to create perceptions not only about ourselves, but also about others.

Maybe more than we really wanted everyone to know. “This book is about a whole new way of studying the mind … an unprecedented peek into people’s psyches,” said Steen Pinker, author of “The Better Angels of Our Nature.” . . . Time and again my preconceptions about my country and my species were turned upside-down by Stephens-Davidowitz’s discoveries . . . endlessly fascinating.”

Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins,” by Garry Kasparov

When chess champ Garry Kasparov was beaten at his own game by the IBM computer Deep Blue in 1997, he wasn’t thrilled. It was his second match against a computer, although he bested the older version of Deep Blue the first time he played. During this second match, Kasparov resigned, bringing an anticlimactic end to one of the most watched events in internet history.

In the two decades since, Kasparov has used his defeat to challenge himself to think differently about the future of artificial intelligence. He now is open to the possibilities, and views AI as something that will enhance rather than hinder human creativity, which is something we, not machines, “are uniquely qualified to do,” wrote Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of “The Innovators,” in a review.

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging,” by Sebastian Junger

War correspondent (and author of “The Perfect Storm”) Sebastian Junger brought some important lessons back from the battlefield.

The tribal mentality – mankind’s innate desire to form groups – is what helps members of a platoon survive wartime, and suggests that returning to civilian life without that sense of place and the intimate bonds established under unimaginable stress could play a role in post-traumatic stress disorder.

In his latest work, Junger melds history, psychology and anthropology into a book that is especially compelling given today’s divisive political climate, suggesting that readers who are able to rediscover their sense of belonging, to find their tribe, can also find that they’re living a happier, more fulfilled life.


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