5 Striking Insights On Successful B2B Marketing Engagement

Hands forming a heart image.

Hands forming a heart image.

How important is engagement in B2B marketing?

To say that engagement plays a crucial role in creating successful B2B marketing content is an understatement, as it’s how we connect with customers, and a key element in the process of building trust and the desire to continue interaction with a brand.

Engagement is also a fundamental building block of content marketing, offering many innate benefits well worth the effort it often takes B2B marketers to properly achieve.

To get that process started, let’s take a look at five striking insights on successful B2B marketing engagement, from some of the top marketers in the industry today.

1 — Brian Solis

“Meaningful customer engagement starts with discovery,” Brian Solis, global innovation evangelist at Salesforce, observed in our groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report.

The time is right to look at engagement in new ways, and even to reinvent it, Brian has explained.

“B2B marketers now have an opportunity to re-imagine engagement to ignite a new type of connection with customers. Beyond designing for and measuring the potential for engagement, design for humans and their intentions, needs, and desired outcomes. Engagement becomes a function of intent and purpose,” Brian added.

Brian has a lot to say about engagement and how it combines with influence and thought leadership to extend beyond traditional B2B marketing, and you can learn more in the following interviews and articles we’ve authored that feature Brian:

[bctt tweet=”“Meaningful customer engagement starts with discovery.” — Brian Solis @briansolis” username=”toprank”]

2 — Jon Miller

Jon Miller

Engagement is also a key consideration in sales and marketing alignment, and Jon Miller, chief marketing officer at Demandbase, has placed it in his “find, engage, and close” process of achieving B2B marketing and sales alignment.

“You need to engage with buyers in a trusted, relevant way on their own terms. It’s about knowing where they are in their journey and using intelligence and insights to know when and how to engage at each point,” Jon noted.

An important step in utilizing the new realities of B2B marketing and sales alignment is engagement, Jon has noted, where the identified accounts are engaged, aligning your interactions with the buyer’s journey.

Get more insight into Jon’s B2B marketing automation process in our recent article, “Find, Engage and Close: Demandbase’s Jon Miller on Recasting the B2B Marketing Automation Journey.”

[bctt tweet=”“You need to engage with buyers in a trusted, relevant way on their own terms.” — Jon Miller @jonmiller” username=”toprank”]

3 — Amisha Gandhi

Amisha GandhiAmisha Gandhi,  senior vice president of marketing at Tipalti, sees the right kind of engagement as key to producing the best brand outcomes — and the kind of engagement that is often driven by utilizing the power of B2B influencer marketing.

“Working with the right influencers, you build credibility with the audience you are trying to reach,” Amisha has noted.

“Influencers can help you deliver content that solves problems, educates and inspires your intended audience. The biggest benefit is the engagement, how you can work with your influencers to create meaningful engagement that leads to the right outcomes for your brand,” Amisha shared with our CEO Lee Odden in an insightful look at, “How the Most Successful B2B Marketers Approach Influencer Marketing in 2021.”

Engaging online experiences are more important than ever in 2021, and B2B marketers need to provide them in compelling ways, Amisha has noted.

“People are looking at creating more engaging online experiences and virtual experiences now,” Amisha told Lee in an insightful and far-reaching interview in, “Inside Influence 6: Amisha Gandhi from SAP on the Power of Mutual Value in B2B Influencer Marketing.”

[bctt tweet=”“Influencers can help you deliver content that solves problems, educates and inspires your intended audience. The biggest benefit is the engagement.” — Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi” username=”toprank”]

4 — Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee

“Engagement and experiences are critical for company growth,” Ardath Albee, interim vice president of marketing at Modus, observed when looking ahead towards the top trends B2B marketers can expect in 2021, in “Top B2B Marketers Share their Content Marketing Predictions for 2021.”

“Interactive content will become a mainstay in demand gen and sales enablement programs in 2021 and beyond,” Ardath explained.

“From virtual product tours to 3D virtual experiences, to value assessments and Digital Sales Rooms – marketers who want to facilitate the end-to-end buying experience with outcomes that prove contribution to revenue will increase focus on interactive content. They’ll up their game, moving beyond quizzes and surveys to content that resonates by getting buyers to actively pursue conversations with the companies that get them involved in what it takes to buy with confidence,” Ardath added.

Along with engagement, personalization is now more a part of the equation for success than ever.

“In B2B, we don’t need to know their shoe size and we don’t need to talk about their gender. We don’t need to know they live in the suburbs and have a wife, two kids, and a dog, and they drive a red Corvette,” Ardath noted.

[bctt tweet=”“Engagement and experiences are critical for company growth.” — Ardath Albee @ardath421″ username=”toprank”]

5 — Lee Odden

Lee Odden

Engagement is especially important when in comes to executive thought leadership in today’s B2B marketing landscape, which often leads to a challenge, our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden recently observed.

“Peer engagement can be difficult for busy executives and connecting with others at the top of their game can be mutually valuable and energizing for all involved,” Lee noted in a fascinating look at “Brandfluence – Why Growing Executive Influence is Essential for B2B Marketing.”

Lee has also advocated for creating trusted B2B content that is findable, credible, and experiential, as he recently predicted:

  • Findable — SEO is more important than ever for B2B content marketers as buyers increasingly rely on digital channels like search to find the information they need across the entire sales journey. Fresh topic research to reflect new buyer preferences plus content and link optimization will raise the bar on being the best answer for customers at the very moment of need.
  • Credible — Buyers’ increasing distrust of brand marketing and messaging plus the shift towards digital channels has accelerated the impact that subject matter experts are having with content credibility, quality and distribution. B2B brands will raise the bar on content credibility by partnering with external influencers while building the internal influence of their executives through content collaborations.
  • Experiential — Video has become the price of entry for B2B customer attention but there’s more to creating great marketing experiences and in 2021 successful B2B brands will raise the bar on customer experience with better virtual events, personalization, episodic brand content, more interactive content and increasingly collaborative content.

[bctt tweet=”“The lessons we’ve learned from creating trusted content that reaches and engages B2B customers for some of the top B2B brands in the world will become the new normal in 2021.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

Engage: Your Unexplored Galaxy of B2B Marketing Success Awaits

Engagement is broad in scope yet can take pinpoint precision to master in B2B marketing, and we hope that the five examples we’ve shared from Brian, Jon, Amisha, Ardath, and Lee will help propel your own efforts to engage to newfound levels of success.

Creating engaging and award-winning B2B marketing takes significant effort, which leads many firms to choose working with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Engage with us today and let us know how we can help, as we’ve done for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.

The post 5 Striking Insights On Successful B2B Marketing Engagement appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

How B2B Marketers Can Get Closer to Their Customers

Professional with cellphone and laptops image.

Professional with cellphone and laptops image.Last year I finished up my fifth full year as a B2B marketer. A lot has changed in that half decade.

When I started, there was a growing movement: “B2B marketing doesn’t have to be boring.” 

Now we’ve finally moved on to, “B2B marketing can’t afford to be boring.” We’ve finally acknowledged that B2B buyers are people — they want useful information, they want to be entertained, and they’re just as bored by corporate-speak-laden white papers as everyone else.

To our credit, I think marketers already knew this. We just had to convince the rest of the organization. 

For the most part,  we marketers have more leeway to choose the best way to reach our audience. And, of course, with that freedom comes responsibility. 

How do we hit the sweet spot of what our audience wants to hear, and what our brand is trying to get across? How do we give them that value that inspires reciprocity?

Here’s how B2B marketers can get closer to their audience in 2021.

#1: Ask the Sales Team

Let’s make 2021 the year we finally ditch the sales v. marketing mentality for good. Tighter alignment between the members of the Revenue Squad can only benefit everyone. 

The sales team has a wealth of insights about your target audience. They’re the ones taking meetings, answering questions, talking one-on-one with members of the buying committee.

In short, sales can tell you where the sticking points are, where more persuasion is needed, and what type of content ultimately sways people toward a purchase. Tight alignment with sales will make your content more relevant to your audience and more useful for your sales team.

#2: Flip the Script on SEO 

Are you still thinking of SEO as, “The way to get search engines to recommend our content?” If so, it’s time to update that mentality. 

The most valuable function of keyword research right now is to determine what humans are searching for and how those queries are worded. It’s all about guiding content creation to match your audience’s demand, from the planning stages through execution.

The best SEO strategy is to create content that genuinely meets — and exceeds — your audience’s needs. If your content doesn’t meet a proven need, no amount of keyword stuffing or H1 tagging will grant it visibility.

Make your keyword research a tool for understanding your audience. What do they want? How are they trying to find it? How can you be the best answer?

#3: Broaden Your Horizons

B2B buyers don’t spend their entire waking lives thinking about work. If we want to know our audiences better, we need to think about the broader context of their lives, too. 

When we see our potential buyers more holistically, we have a much broader canvas for relevant content. We can talk about maintaining work-life balance, the challenges of remote work, even the challenges that working parents face in relating to their children.  

Any topic for content is relevant, provided that 1) Your employees or brand has expertise on it, and 2) It serves to make your audience’s life better in some meaningful way. 

If you’ve been stuck writing “X more reasons you should try our solution” style content, let this broader context inspire you to write more useful, helpful content that takes the whole person into consideration.

#4: Explore Influence

At the heart of it, marketers are trying to earn people’s attention. It makes perfect sense to take lessons from the folks who have already captured that interest — people who are already engaging and serving your target audience.

Tools like Traackr and Buzzsumo can help you determine which voices your audience is listening to. From there, you can see what type of content they’re creating, how they’re capturing interest, and let that inform your own content creation.

And, of course, you can take it to the next level: Co-creating content with these influencers and reaching their audience directly (see our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report for more).

#5: Above All, Be Useful

When we see our target audience as people, rather than B2B buyers (or a target audience, for that matter), we can begin to practice truly radical empathy. Not just the empathy that lets us walk in someone’s shoes long enough to sell them something, either. 

I mean the type of empathy that leads us to find out how to improve their personal and professional lives, to be genuinely useful, to lift people up because we care about them. Content that sets out with this aim in mind is guaranteed to pull you and your customers closer together.

And, of course, helping people and caring about their success is a great way to earn attention, build relationships, and develop long-standing loyalty to your brand. 

In fact, it may be the only way we have left to do all of the above.

Need help creating content that gets you closer to your customers? We’ve got you covered.

The post How B2B Marketers Can Get Closer to Their Customers appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.