Top Reads from July: Blogs & Books Designed to Improve Your Marketing Approach
The Fourth of July fireworks have been over, but we’re keeping the summer alive with a collection of the latest news in marketing. We’re making sure you’re up-to-date on what’s hot and on trend in the industry, based on new books, blog posts, and up-to-date information from our own website.
The right tools, when used properly, can amplify any marketing campaign, turning it into a booming business with a loyal customer base.
Our Top Blog Post from July:
Five B2B Marketing Trends of mid-2017
The blog post from July 21, 2017 examined the top five trends in marketing so far this year, using the uber-timely Tour de France to tie everything together.
Right now, those trends are:
What the community has been talking about:
ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING & SALES
How to approach B2B Marketing like an NFL Quarterback
A quarterback knows everything that’s happening on the field, and good marketers should approach each new prospect in the same way.
Because there is often an entire team of decision makers who will weigh in on a purchase – to B2Bs which can mean a lengthy sales cycle – marketers need to reach out sometimes to dozens of department heads, in order to gain traction within the company.
A good marketer – like a good quarterback – takes advantage of the whole team (in this case, those departments heads), as a way to influence every decision maker who might approve the purchase. Using personalized campaigns to demonstrate not only that you or your AI have done your research, but also to hit emotional checkpoints helps cement your place at the top of their list.
If you aren’t aware of everyone on the playfield, this post from Martech Today reminds, one of the players on the other team could easily sideline you, putting you out of the game.
Why HR is the New Marketing
This LinkedIn post by Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, takes a look at marketing from the same tool box that advocates the alignment of sales and marketing for more successful campaigns, but he suggests that marketers should also take their cues from Human Resources, which is now tasked with not only personnel issues but also a wide range of strategies that make them advocates for the company to attract the best people for new openings.
Using the same techniques, companies can tap into the knowledge their employees bring to the job by encouraging them to act as advocates for the company through content marketing, without doing actual product promotion. “Our internal experts could explore their professional or personal passions and interests, even if it meant writing about cat videos,” writes Brenner.
The idea is a win-win for everyone, because even as it helps expand brand awareness for a company, it also boosts the visibility of the blogger, who may find his or her dream job because of a post.
Direct mail: 3 winning campaign examples
While direct mail may seem like an outdated technique, B2B business have a specialized target market, and the technique still works, especially if you’re using martech to help narrow down your audience.
Michael King of B2B Marketing wrote this blog post highlighting three excellent examples of direct mail marketing targeting clients narrowed down by analytics. Workforce, a management software company, sent flowers and a card to help entice top-tier businesses, O2, the UK’s top mobile network provider, sent a hologram version of a chatbot called Digital Dave to attract a new business base, while RCI Financial Services, which partners with Europe’s top automobile manufacturers, used a chance to win a year of free car washes to lure potential customers to register for its online portal, which stores account information in one singular place.
Clearly, innovation is important in an era of “been there, done that.”
How Small Businesses Can Use Account Based Marketing (ABM)
While small and medium businesses may think that account-based marketing isn’t for them, this post from Dunn & Bradstreet B2B reveals that ABM is a smart approach no matter the size of the business.
Not only is ABM growing – 92 percent of B2B marketers believe it is a “very” important part of marketing, 72 percent are currently developing ABM tools and templates and more than half of businesses that have used ABM for at least a year have seen revenues boosted by 10 percent – it is also addressed the layered decision-making that occurs at most businesses.
While in the past, one person may have been responsible for signing off on a major purchase, buying power is now in the hands of many, suggesting that successful companies need to reach them all for the best results.
Because digital footprint analysis lets marketers know who those decision makers are, ABM then allows a company to personalize marketing campaigns in order to hit all the right emotional notes when mining for new prospects, according to Dunn & Bradstreet.
“The Future of Marketing – What will Marketing look like in 2021?”
Tom De Baere of B2B Marketing Experiences looked into his crystal ball – made less mystical thanks to years of experience in the business – and sees 2017 as really pivotal for change, especially as technology shifts with the speed of light.
Given that the last decade has been full of monumental changes – customers are more open to social media and artificial intelligence than letters or phone calls, customer loyalty is more predictive based on analytics, advertising is automated rather than print and logistics have changed from in-store to at-your-doorstep via drone – the anticipation is that the future will be only more tech-focused. Statistics show that computers and human brains will share the same power by 2050, meaning companies will need to adapt.
Consumers will be looking for experiences and trust, vital if they know that machines may be running much of the show. Marketing will have to focus on finding more creative ways to provide those experiences, while employing critical thinking to help maintain established trust. Being adaptable to change will be vital.
Should You Trust Artificial Intelligence to Drive Your Content Marketing?
For B2Bs, artificial intelligence (such as True Influence’s innovated InsightBASE) is one of the most important tools a business can implement in order to boost sales and establish a more trusted brand.
“Marketing AI promises unstructured, real-time customer interactions that deliver value,” writes Andrew Davies in this post appearing on the Content Marketing Institute website.
Advances in the tech world have made most of us more comfortable with the idea of artificial intelligence. We use Suri, Amazon’s Echo and voice activation in the car, so taking advantages of the very real benefits of AI at work should be a natural progression.
But still, some are hesitant, Davies says, adding, “We trust artificial intelligence to drive our cars safely but not to recommend marketing strategy.”
And while content still can’t be created by AI – so far, the writing is stilted, but it is bound to happen, in the same way the infinite monkey theory suggests that eventually, a room full of monkeys with keyboards would write “Hamlet” – AI can be used to guide content marketing decisions, making it a versatile tech tool with power that can be harnessed throughout a business.
WHAT’S ON THE BOOKSHELVES
“Lead Right for Your Company’s Type: How to Connect Your Culture with Your Customer Promise” by William E Schneider
A company’s marketing can be closely tied to a company’s morale, because the best marketers will promote their product or service, demonstrating that they believe it in wholeheartedly.
A company in trouble, however, won’t be ripe with in-house influences.
There are solutions to every problem, but the latest “in thing” may be to fix what ails your business, the same way the latest trend in marketing might be a big waste of marketing dollars.
Companies, Schneider says, fall into four main categories – customized, predictable and dependable, benevolent, and best in class. If a company uses the leadership practices better suited for one type of company – a high-tech company, for example, focuses on profits rather than the expected innovation that customers demand, they are more likely to fail.
While marketing is all about innovation, it, too, must match the company’s mission. A company in crisis can’t market itself properly. This new release helps you diagnose what’s ailing your company, so you can get back to marketing it successfully.
“Social Media Marketing: Dominating Strategies for your Business with Social Media” by Michael Russel
If you don’t think social media is everything in a marketing tool, think about how POTUS is dominating Twitter, and then talk about how social media doesn’t matter in 2017.
This book – a step-by-step guide to learning how to dominate social media, gives you the right tools to do so, using a comfortable writing style to showcase how a more personal approach is best-suited for capturing attention on social media.
“This book contains proven steps and strategies on how to enhance one’s business with different social media platforms,” said one reviewer.
While it was originally released last year, this book is now available on the Nook and the Kindle, so those on the go can have access to the valuable information about changing your company message to tell your story. And let’s face it, who isn’t “on the go.” Consumers respond better to honesty; this book demonstrates how a good story can help win over clients.
“The ‘Strategic Narrative Marketing’ approach challenges marketing and PR professionals to rethink their approach to positioning and messaging, by forcing them to look beyond themselves and strategically examine the needs, challenges and opportunities of the industry,” says author Guy Murrel, co-founder of Catapult PR. “The resulting narrative serves as the singular message, under which the entire organization can align.”
Again, alignment – which means every department is on the same page, striving toward the same mission – is the most important part of your company’s success.
“The author, Guy Murrel, accomplishes something that I find lacking in so many marketing books,” wrote one reviewer, “that is, real, tangible and actionable advice. “
Out in paperback in late June, this book – from the best-selling author of “Contagious” -– addresses the emotions behind the things we buy, the things we do the jobs we take, and yes, even the cars we drive.
We think we’re making those decisions on our own, but in his latest best-seller, Berger examines the power of social influence. We may choose an item because we respect someone with it, and may boycott another, because of the company’s values – something that pops up in virtually all of our behaviors.
“From the very first page, this book will change the way you look at yourself—and others. Eye-opening and thoroughly engaging,” said Amy Cuddy, author of the book “Presence,” a book about finding – and believing in – our boldest selves.