Break Free B2B Marketing Season 3 Wrap Up: Developing New Horizons with 12 Industry Influencers

Break Free B2B Marketing Season 3 Grid Image

Break Free B2B Marketing Season 3 Grid Image

What can we learn about breaking free from the same old thing from some of the top subject matter experts in B2B marketing?

A robust and exciting third season of TopRank Marketing’s Break Free B2B Marketing video and podcast series has now wrapped up, and as we look at the totality of the powerful episodes it’s clear that shaking things up can lead to newfound marketing successes.

Interviewing a strong group of 12 of the smartest B2B marketers in the industry, we’ve explored how they’re developing new horizons and reinventing the role and function of B2B marketing in 2021, and learned what they see ahead in 2022 and beyond.

We’re fortunate to have 12 takes on a number of important topics from some of the top subject matter experts in B2B marketing, with a wide range of insight on how marketers can smash through traditional boring-to-boring marketing.

Our third season of the Break Free B2B Marketing series of video interviews has given us a new group of experts, influencers, and future-thinkers seeking to share the new ways they’ve broken free, and how you can do the same for yourself, your brand, and your business.

Let’s jump right in and see how 12 influential voices in B2B marketing have gone about breaking through, with a wide array of actionable tactics you can implement in your own marketing efforts as we head toward 2022.

Ramon Ray of Smart Hustle Media on Small Business Success & Thinking Big

Ramon Ray
Founder, Smart Hustle Media

Ramon Ray

[bctt tweet=”“Those who can be as niche, narrow, honest, credible, and authentic to their audience are going to win.” — Ramon Ray @ramonray #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Energetic keynote speaker, entrepreneur, and best-selling author Ramon Ray explored the new marketing world of the haves and have-nots, and how we can make successful shifts to carefully thread the B2B marketing needle.

Ramon also pointed out how just because there’s no room for errors in the new marketing era we find ourselves in, that doesn’t mean we need to be fearful, especially when we can be nimble and creatively agile. “I think the biggest thing small businesses can do is be nimble,” Ramon urged.

Ramon explored a fascinating array of topics surrounding how small and large businesses can think big together, and how B2B influencers can bring a face, voice, credibility, and warmth to
large brands.

Watch, listen to or read Ramon’s full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Ramon Ray of Smart Hustle Media on Small Business Success & Thinking Big.”

Minda Harts of The Memo on Having Courageous Conversations

Minda Harts
CEO and Founder, The Memo

Minda Harts

[bctt tweet=”“We have to be willing to have those courageous conversations and be courageous listeners. Once we’ve had some time to sit with ourselves and educate ourselves, then I think we allow ourselves to break free.” — Minda Harts @MindaHarts” username=”toprank”]

“I think in order to break free, it starts with ourselves,” Minda said in her episode of Break Free B2B Marketing.

“We have to be willing to have those courageous conversations and we have to be willing to be courageous listeners, and once we’ve had some time to sit with ourselves and educate ourselves, then I think we allow ourselves to break free,” Minda added.

Check out Minda’s full interview and visit our full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Minda Harts of The Memo on Having Courageous Conversations.”

Keith Townsend of The CTO Advisor on Bringing Value Through Friction

Keith Townsend
Co-Founder, The CTO Advisory

Keith Townsend

[bctt tweet=”“I’m a big believer that friction brings value at the end of the day. When — you not necessarily inject — friction, but not avoid friction, it usually brings pretty good value.” — Keith Townsend @CTOAdvisor” username=”toprank”]

“One of the toughest things as a leader in my own organization — what helped me break free is when I’m willing to have the difficult conversations,” Keith told us in his fascinating episode.

“Things that we say are difficult conversations, because we’re fearful of the outcome — I’m a big believer that friction brings value at the end of the day. When — you not necessarily inject — friction, but not avoid friction, it usually brings pretty good value.”

“When I’m willing to tell one of my employees or one of my contributors that, ‘You know what, the piece of work that you brought me just isn’t up to our standard.’ None of them just go away and don’t bring me back a revised piece of work. They usually come back with work that impresses me. Because we engage them for a reason and hire them for a reason.”

“To stand out, don’t avoid those difficult conversations.”

Watch Keith’s full interview in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Keith Townsend of The CTO Advisor on Bringing Value Through Friction

Dez Blanchfield of Sociaall on Joining the Conversation

Dez Blanchfield
Founder, Sociaall Inc.

Dez Blanchfield

[bctt tweet=”“If you’re a bank, be a bank, focus on being the best bank you can, and look for things that are going to disrupt you. But don’t try to be a phone company.” — Dez Blanchfield @dez_blanchfield” username=”toprank”]

“My only ask is that people join the conversation. That’s all I want people to do. I think that if there was one phrase that if I was going to be buried and put in the grave, on my tombstone would be ‘Just join the conversation. If and when it suits you,’” Dez shared with us in his insightful episode.

“The advice I’ve been giving people in the last three to five years is that it was a time when you could do it all yourself. If you were an airline, or a bank, or if you were in health care, or wealth management, if you’re a telco, there was a time when you could do it all, you could run your own telephone systems, run your own technology, stack your own email servers, your own domain name servers. But the complexity is so great now and the speed at which we have to move, is so rapid, and so short, and you know that the demand is for reduced time to market,” Dez added.

“The advice I’m giving people now is: find the best partner choice. In each of the segments, you need to be able to address problems. So if you’re a bank, be a bank, focus on being the best bank, you can, and look for things that are going to disrupt you. But don’t try to be a phone company. Don’t run your own PBX, don’t run your voice systems. If you own a website, don’t become a hosting company. Don’t waste your time running web services,” Dez explained.

Watch, listen to or read Dez’ complete interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Dez Blanchfield of Sociaall on Joining the Conversation.”

Tamara McCleary of Thulium on Visions of the Future and Doing No Harm

Tamara McCleary
CEO, Thulium

Tamara McCleary

[bctt tweet=”“Be gentle and kind to yourself, because all the stress and pressure you’re under right now — you’re not alone. It’s a new world for all of us, where the paradigm has shifted.” — @TamaraMcCleary” username=”toprank”]

“It’s tough right now for B2B leaders, and I have a heart for B2B leaders. I have a huge heart for B2B marketing leadership, because marketing budgets are being hacked away — with COVID, 2020 was a huge shake-up, we didn’t even have those live events anymore — think of all the marketing dollars that were going around big events,” Tamara shared with our president and co-founder Susan Misukanis in her far-reaching episode.

“It’s always been difficult for the B2B enterprise — whether you were in marketing, sales, IT, or HR — it doesn’t matter. What you’ve been tasked with is, ‘Hurry up and digitally transform yourself to meet the future,’ but you have limited resources to do that, and oh, by the way, continue doing everything you were already doing, under budget.’”

“Be gentle and kind to yourself, because all the stress and pressure you’re under right now — you’re not alone. It’s a new world for all of us, where the paradigm has shifted, and although you have to be mindful of this particular quarter that you’re in, don’t become myopic and focus your thinking only about this quarter. You absolutely owe it to yourself — you’re worth it — to be able to think, ‘What do I need to do to learn how to stay ahead in this technologically advanced world?’ Where in the very near future brands will not own the relationship with the customer — platforms will.”

“How are we creating an ecosystem of partners with platforms out there — whether that’s the Googles, the Amazons, or the Microsofts of the world — how are we creating partnerships so that our products and services are offered through those intermediary digital assistants that will become the primary person functioning and giving all the information? Your digital assistant — your little Echo or any other device you would like to use, is going to become more sophisticated very soon, and that is going to be what your customer — your human — is going to for information and to handle all of its mundane tasks.”

“If you don’t have relationships with the platforms that house these digital assistant devices, you’re out.”

Watch Tamara’s full episode, “Break Free B2B Marketing: Tamara McCleary of Thulium on Visions of the Future and Doing No Harm.”

Nicole Brady of SAHM Reviews on the Importance of Empathy in Reaching Your Niche

Nicole Brady
Publisher, SAHM Reviews

Nicole Brady

[bctt tweet=”“Find out what makes you different and what makes people want to talk to you, and then leverage it. Share those details, and create content around those details.” — Nicole Brady @SahmReviews” username=”toprank”]

“Think outside the box — if you see your competitors doing something, don’t do it — do something else,” Nicole suggested as a starting point in her energetic and insightful episode.

“You have to really make a name for yourself — whatever it is — whether it’s sharing your flaws, creating interviews, asking for real feedback from the people who are your consumers, whether it is on a B2B or B2C basis — the people who are utilizing your product or service, and talking to them to find out why they’re dealing with you and why they’re buying your product or using your service instead of somebody else’s.”

“Find out what makes you different and what makes people want to talk to you, and then leverage it. Share those details, and create content around those details. As more and more people are on social media, being able to find those out-of-the-box environmental things that make you tick — that you might not have known — showing them off, that’s the way to do it.”

Watch, listen to or read Nicole’s full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Nicole Brady of SAHM Reviews on the Importance of Empathy in Reaching Your Niche.”

Eric Vanderburg of TCDI on The Changing Cybersecurity Landscape

Eric Vanderburg
Vice President of Cybersecurity, TCDI

Eric Vanderburg

[bctt tweet=”“Stop looking at security as something that’s going to hold you back, or as this big cost factor, and start looking at it as something that will free you.” — Eric Vanberburg @vtamethodman” username=”toprank”]

“Stop looking at security as something that’s going to hold you back, or as this big cost factor, and start looking at it as something that will free you. When you talk about breaking free — many companies are held back right now, because of fear,” Eric urged our readers in his episode.

“They may not enter that market or do business in this space, or they may not collect this private information, because they’re afraid that it may be exposed — that they may subject themselves to additional liability, and all these other fears — rather than looking at this and saying, ‘OK, I want to do this business.’”

“Certainly it comes at a cost, right — I need to invest in so many different ways, and security is another way to invest. Invest in that and now it allows me to move forward with confidence, rather than shoring up my defenses and only doing what I’m comfortable with.”

Explore all of Eric’s episode in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Eric Vanderburg of TCDI on The Changing Cybersecurity Landscape.”

Sarah Barnes-Humphrey of Shipz and The Art of Consistent Change

Sarah Barnes-Humphrey
CEO, SHIPZ

Sarah Barnes-Humphrey

[bctt tweet=”“I want to make sure that supply chain leaders and marketing leaders are taking time for themselves and making sure that they are not only checking in on their teams, but checking on each other and themselves as well.” @bevictoryus” username=”toprank”]

“Lean into your teams and allow them to really shine from a social media perspective. I say that from a LinkedIn perspective, because I think we need more voices on a platform like LinkedIn — interacting, sharing thoughts, and really supporting teams, and being able to share those thoughts,” Sarah shared in her Break Free B2B Marketing episode.

“I also think that teams are handling a lot of things right now — there are a lot of things coming at them — they’re handling a lot of emotions when it comes to their teams. I want to make sure that supply chain leaders and marketing leaders are taking time for themselves and making sure that they are not only checking in on their teams, but checking on each other and themselves as well.”

Watch, listen to or read Sarah’s full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Sarah Barnes-Humphrey of Shipz and The Art of Consistent Change.”

Liam McIvor Martin of Time Doctor on The Revolutionary Power of Remote Work

Liam McIvor Martin
Co-Founder, Time Doctor

Liam McIvor Martin

[bctt tweet=”“My estimate is that after COVID is over, we’re probably going to float to around 50% of the US workforce working remotely.” — Liam McIvor Martin @vtamethodman” username=”toprank”]

When it comes to remote and hybrid work, Liam has both years of first-hand experience and plenty of helpful and timely advice.

“Do it. Try it. Pre-COVID I would have told everyone, ‘Hey, you know what — why don’t you make a couple people remote?’ Or why don’t you make a department remote? You can’t do that right now — you have to jump in full-on. If you’re not already remote, you’re probably not going to do that, because of how long we’ve already been in COVID — but fundamentally, measure your metrics, create very clear documentation of all of your processes, and communicate effectively with your team,” Liam shared in his episode.

“If you can do those three things, and people can continuously report metrics to you, regardless of whether you’re using a tool like Time Doctor or even if you’re using an Excel spreadsheet — defining those metrics and saying, ‘I got X amount of leads today, and this is on target for my Q3 goal.’ That’s going to be great — you’re going to be doing better than 90 percent of people.”

“Even if you choose to go back inside of an office, those things that you’ve done are fundamentally going to make your company run faster.”

Watch Liam’s full interview, “Break Free B2B Marketing: Liam McIvor Martin of Time Doctor on The Revolutionary Power of Remote Work.”

Oliver Christie on Making Life Better With AI

Oliver Christie
Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer, PertexaHealthTech

Oliver Christie

[bctt tweet=”“I think that the next big leap is going to be our products and services are going to be much more reactive to who we are.” — Oliver Christie @OliverChristie” username=”toprank”]

“I think it’s about asking a big question, and some of it is quite challenging — where could your company or industry go if you have a blank slate? We need that big question. We need leadership to get the artificial intelligence (AI), the tools, and the data — that’s all secondary — but what is that big question? I think that’s the best that any leader could ask,” Oliver explained and expanded on in his in-depth Break Free B2B Marketing interview.

Tune in to Oliver’s complete episode, “Break Free B2B Marketing: Oliver Christie on Making Life Better With AI.”

Tim Crawford of AVOA on The New Normal

Tim Crawford
CIO Strategic Advisor, AVOA

Tim Crawford

[bctt tweet=”“The big thing is understanding your customer and their customer. Once you understand that second degree of separation — not just the first degree — it really puts you in a differentiated position.” — Tim Crawford @tcrawford” username=”toprank”]

“The big thing is understanding your customer and their customer. Once you understand that second degree of separation — not just the first degree — it really puts you in a differentiated position,” Tim explained in his powerful episode.

“Understand what’s in your wheelhouse and what’s not, but never, ever forget to always look at it from the customer’s lens. Don’t just look at it from your lens of ‘Hey, this is what we do. This is what we sell. Our product can do X for you.’ That’s a bad place to start.”

“A better place to start, and a place I look for as a customer is, ‘Who are you in the relationship for?’ If you start with understanding me, and have shown you’ve done a little bit of homework, that’s going to take my wall down a little bit, and start to build trust.”

“Building that trust in those relationships is key to success moving forward. Authenticity, experience — add it to the list.”

Watch, listen to or read Tim’s complete interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Tim Crawford of AVOA on The New Normal.”

Kevin L. Jackson of GC GlobalNet on the Future of Cloud Computing

Kevin Jackson
CEO, GC GlobalNet

Kevin L Jackson

[bctt tweet=”“You operate in a global and interconnected industry. Realize that you contribute most to your industry when you build and contribute to that global network.” — Kevin Jackson @Kevin_Jackson” username=”toprank”]

“You operate in a global and interconnected industry. Realize that you contribute most to your industry when you build and contribute to that global network,” Kevin observed in his insightful and entertaining episode.

“You really break free through collaboration and open dialogue with your colleagues and partners.”

Learn more from Kevin and see his full interview in “Break Free B2B Marketing: Kevin Jackson of GC GlobalNet on Cloud Computing.”

Lifting Off From Traditional B2B Marketing

via GIPHY

Successful B2B marketing in 2021 rarely follows the way it’s always been done, as all 12 of our season three episodes highlight. B2B marketers who break free go the extra mile to develop new boundaries and craft memorable and inspiring experiences.

We hope you’ll find the tactics and insights from Kevin, Tim, Oliver, Liam, Sarah, Eric, Nicole, Tamara, Dez, Keith, Minda, and Ramon helpful as you plan your own upcoming B2B marketing efforts.

For even more insight from leading B2B marketers, be sure to also check out our Inside B2B Influence series of video interviews and podcasts, including the latest featuring Justin Levy of Demandbase (client), in “Inside B2B Influence: Justin Levy of Demandbase on Optimizing B2B Marketing with Influence.”

Crafting award-winning B2B marketing with a skillful mixture of influence takes considerable time and effort, which is why many firms choose to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact 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 Break Free B2B Marketing Season 3 Wrap Up: Developing New Horizons with 12 Industry Influencers appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Ramon Ray of Smart Hustle Media on Small Business Success & Thinking Big

Ramon Ray Image

Ramon Ray Image

How can small businesses work together with big clients and form powerful partnerships that make good things happen?

For our third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews, we’re featuring conversations with leading B2B influencers, and examining the issues that each subject matter expert is influential about in their specialized industry.

2020 was a difficult year for business owners, and 2021 hasn’t quite been the return to normal many had envisioned. In 2020 profits were down, stress was up, and everyone was questioning how they were going to not only survive, but thrive, in the coming year.

These worries were more real for small business owners than anyone else. After all, when you own a small business, you’re not afforded the same protections or options that larger companies might have. You have to be smart, adaptable, and relentless in your pursuit of your goals.

Nobody understands this struggle better than Ramon Ray, founder of Smart Hustle Media. In fact, he’s built his personal success around his expert ability to predict and promote the needs of small businesses and help them elevate their brand to the next level.

He’s a keynote speaker, entrepreneur, best selling author, and the next guest on our Break Free B2B Marketing video interview series.

In the energetic and entertaining twelfth and final episode of our third season, Ramon sat down with our content marketing manager Nick Nelson to explore a fascinating array of topics surrounding how small and large businesses can think big together.

Ramon also shared how B2B influencers are bringing a face, a voice, credibility, and warmth to large brands, and why it’s key to be nimble, svelte, and creatively agile.

Check out the video below or listen to the podcast, to hear Ramon’s unique insight on thinking big, building trust, and small business achievement in 2021 and beyond.

Break Free B2B Interview with Ramon Ray

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of our discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • :40 – Introduction to Ramon Ray
  • 2:08 – Where do things currently stand for small businesses after the challenges of 2020?
  • 4:16 – Interesting ways small businesses are adapting
  • 5:17 – “Threading a careful needle”
  • 9:10 – What can larger businesses learn from the success of small ones?
  • 10:47 – Running and attending virtual events
  • 11:55 – Can large businesses reclaim the “scrappy start-up” energy SMBs possess?
  • 13:50 – Small businesses shouldn’t pigeonhole themselves with small clients
  • 16:51 – New technology innovations for small businesses?
  • 18:08 – Ramon’s book, Celebrity CEO
  • 20:30 – How to carve out your niche as an influencer
  • 24:28 – How to get in touch with Ramon

Ramon: Where I see things are the future,  I hope it’s bright, but it’s kind of like a storm on a ship. Some have lost their lives. 10, 20, 30, or 100 people. Now the 70 of us that are here, we’ve got to move on and build new lives. That’s kind of how I see it: not forgetting the others, but you build on and move on. I hope that all those listening, the biggest takeaway I found is just that. We keep saying the new normal. But that’s what I hope everybody realizes: this is a brand new game. It’s brand new, and we’re never going back. Marketing is different. Advertising is different, and I think we learned that we’ll be okay.

[bctt tweet=”“Those who can be as niche, narrow, honest, credible, and authentic to their audience are going to win.” — Ramon Ray @ramonray #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Nick:  Yeah, that’s great perspective. You know — stay true to yourself, and be bold on that front — but don’t don’t get gimmicky. You know that it’s not the time for that. When you talk about some of the successes and the way these challenges in the small business sector are being overcome, what do you see as key developments and things that even larger businesses might be able to learn from?

Ramon: I think speed is the biggest thing. I had my Survive and Thrive Summit — and I talked to the CEO of School of Rock, and many others, but it’s just one that comes to mind telling me how they were able to pivot on a dime. People were used to coming into a retail store. Oh, we still have teachers. We still have students. They still want training to be rock stars, as it were. Let’s set up iPads and make it virtual. It sounds “duh,” but for a bigger company that takes time and thought.  My point is that I think that’s the biggest lesson learned I can give to these larger brands, is that we small businesses, on a dime, this thing falls behind me. Me and Nick will laugh about it and say see falling stock prices as an example. And we’ll keep moving. You can’t let that hold you hostage is what I’m trying to say. I think the biggest thing small businesses can do is be nimble.

[bctt tweet=”“I think the biggest thing small businesses can do is be nimble.” — Ramon Ray @ramonray #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Keep your eye on the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more interviews, including those in our new Inside B2B Influencer series. Also check out episodes from season 1 and season 2.

Take your B2B marketing to new heights by checking out out all of our previous season 3 episodes of Break Free B2B Marketing:

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Ramon Ray of Smart Hustle Media on Small Business Success & Thinking Big appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

11 Ways Top B2B Marketers Are Breaking Free of Boring B2B

Black Woman Breaking Through A Yellow Wall Image

Black Woman Breaking Through A Yellow Wall Image

How can B2B marketers in 2021 break free from conventional and oftentimes boring B2B efforts?

We’re fortunate to have 11 takes on this important topic from some of the top subject matter experts in B2B marketing, with a wide range of insight on how marketers can smash through traditional boring-to-boring marketing.

Our third season of the Break Free B2B Marketing series of video interviews has given us a new group of experts, influencers, and future-thinkers all gathered for one purpose: sharing the ways they’ve broken free and how you can do the same for yourself, your brand, and your business.

Let’s jump right in and see how 11 influential voices in B2B marketing go about breaking through, with actionable tactics you can implement in your own marketing efforts as we head toward 2022.

Minda Harts of The Memo on Having Courageous Conversations

Minda HartsMinda Harts
CEO and Founder, The Memo

“I think in order to break free, it starts with ourselves,” Minda said.

“We have to be willing to have those courageous conversations and we have to be willing to be courageous listeners, and once we’ve had some time to sit with ourselves and educate ourselves, then I think we allow ourselves to break free,” Minda added.

[bctt tweet=”“We have to be willing to have those courageous conversations and be courageous listeners. Once we’ve had some time to sit with ourselves and educate ourselves, then I think we allow ourselves to break free.” — Minda Harts @MindaHarts” username=”toprank”]

Watch, listen to or read the full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Minda Harts of The Memo on Having Courageous Conversations.”

Keith Townsend of The CTO Advisor on Bringing Value Through Friction

Keith TownsendKeith Townsend
Co-Founder, The CTO Advisory

“One of the toughest things as a leader in my own organization — what helped me break free is when I’m willing to have the difficult conversations,” Keith noted.

“Things that we say are difficult conversations, because we’re fearful of the outcome — I’m a big believer that friction brings value at the end of the day. When — you not necessarily inject — friction, but not avoid friction, it usually brings pretty good value.”

“When I’m willing to tell one of my employees or one of my contributors that, ‘You know what, the piece of work that you brought me just isn’t up to our standard.’ None of them just go away and don’t bring me back a revised piece of work. They usually come back with work that impresses me. Because we engage them for a reason and hire them for a reason.”

“To stand out, don’t avoid those difficult conversations.”

[bctt tweet=”“I’m a big believer that friction brings value at the end of the day. When — you not necessarily inject — friction, but not avoid friction, it usually brings pretty good value.” — Keith Townsend @CTOAdvisor” username=”toprank”]

Watch, listen to or read the full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Keith Townsend of The CTO Advisor on Bringing Value Through Friction

Dez Blanchfield of Sociaall on Joining the Conversation

Dez BlanchfieldDez Blanchfield
Founder, Sociaall Inc.

“My only ask is that people join the conversation. That’s all I want people to do. I think that if there was one phrase that if I was going to be buried and put in the grave, on my tombstone would be ‘Just join the conversation. If and when it suits you,’” Dez said.

“The advice I’ve been giving people in the last three to five years is that it was a time when you could do it all yourself. If you were an airline, or a bank, or if you were in health care, or wealth management, if you’re a telco, there was a time when you could do it all, you could run your own telephone systems, run your own technology, stack your own email servers, your own domain name servers. But the complexity is so great now and the speed at which we have to move, is so rapid, and so short, and you know that the demand is for reduced time to market,” Dez added.

“The advice I’m giving people now is: find the best partner choice. In each of the segments, you need to be able to address problems. So if you’re a bank, be a bank, focus on being the best bank, you can, and look for things that are going to disrupt you. But don’t try to be a phone company. Don’t run your own PBX, don’t run your voice systems. If you own a website, don’t become a hosting company. Don’t waste your time running web services,” Dez explained.

[bctt tweet=”“If you’re a bank, be a bank, focus on being the best bank you can, and look for things that are going to disrupt you. But don’t try to be a phone company.” — Dez Blanchfield @dez_blanchfield” username=”toprank”]

Watch, listen to or read the full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Dez Blanchfield of Sociaall on Joining the Conversation.”

Tamara McCleary of Thulium on Visions of the Future and Doing No Harm

Tamara McClearyTamara McCleary
CEO, Thulium

“It’s tough right now for B2B leaders, and I have a heart for B2B leaders. I have a huge heart for B2B marketing leadership, because marketing budgets are being hacked away — with COVID, 2020 was a huge shake-up, we didn’t even have those live events anymore — think of all the marketing dollars that were going around big events,” Tamara shared.

“It’s always been difficult for the B2B enterprise — whether you were in marketing, sales, IT, or HR — it doesn’t matter. What you’ve been tasked with is, ‘Hurry up and digitally transform yourself to meet the future,’ but you have limited resources to do that, and oh, by the way, continue doing everything you were already doing, under budget.’”

“Be gentle and kind to yourself, because all the stress and pressure you’re under right now — you’re not alone. It’s a new world for all of us, where the paradigm has shifted, and although you have to be mindful of this particular quarter that you’re in, don’t become myopic and focus your thinking only about this quarter. You absolutely owe it to yourself — you’re worth it — to be able to think, ‘What do I need to do to learn how to stay ahead in this technologically advanced world?’ Where in the very near future brands will not own the relationship with the customer — platforms will.”

How are we creating an ecosystem of partners with platforms out there — whether that’s the Googles, the Amazons, or the Microsofts of the world — how are we creating partnerships so that our products and services are offered through those intermediary digital assistants that will become the primary person functioning and giving all the information? Your digital assistant — your little Echo or any other device you would like to use, is going to become more sophisticated very soon, and that is going to be what your customer — your human — is going to for information and to handle all of its mundane tasks.”

“If you don’t have relationships with the platforms that house these digital assistant devices, you’re out.”

[bctt tweet=”“Be gentle and kind to yourself, because all the stress and pressure you’re under right now — you’re not alone. It’s a new world for all of us, where the paradigm has shifted.” — @TamaraMcCleary” username=”toprank”]

Watch, listen to or read the full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Tamara McCleary of Thulium on Visions of the Future and Doing No Harm.”

Nicole Brady of SAHM Reviews on the Importance of Empathy in Reaching Your Niche

Nicole Brady ImageNicole Brady
Publisher, SAHM Reviews

“Think outside the box — if you see your competitors doing something, don’t do it — do something else,” Nicole said.

“You have to really make a name for yourself — whatever it is — whether it’s sharing your flaws, creating interviews, asking for real feedback from the people who are your consumers, whether it is on a B2B or B2C basis — the people who are utilizing your product or service, and talking to them to find out why they’re dealing with you and why they’re buying your product or using your service instead of somebody else’s.”

“Find out what makes you different and what makes people want to talk to you, and then leverage it. Share those details, and create content around those details. As more and more people are on social media, being able to find those out-of-the-box environmental things that make you tick — that you might not have known — showing them off, that’s the way to do it.”

[bctt tweet=”“Find out what makes you different and what makes people want to talk to you, and then leverage it. Share those details, and create content around those details.” — Nicole Brady @SahmReviews” username=”toprank”]

Watch, listen to or read the full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Nicole Brady of SAHM Reviews on the Importance of Empathy in Reaching Your Niche.”

Eric Vanderburg of TCDI on The Changing Cybersecurity Landscape

Eric VanderburgEric Vanderburg
Vice President of Cybersecurity, TCDI

“Stop looking at security as something that’s going to hold you back, or as this big cost factor, and start looking at it as something that will free you. When you talk about breaking free — many companies are held back right now, because of fear,” Eric urged.

“They may not enter that market or do business in this space, or they may not collect this private information, because they’re afraid that it may be exposed — that they may subject themselves to additional liability, and all these other fears — rather than looking at this and saying, ‘OK, I want to do this business.’”

“Certainly it comes at a cost, right — I need to invest in so many different ways, and security is another way to invest. Invest in that and now it allows me to move forward with confidence, rather than shoring up my defenses and only doing what I’m comfortable with.”

[bctt tweet=”“Stop looking at security as something that’s going to hold you back, or as this big cost factor, and start looking at it as something that will free you.” — Eric Vanberburg @vtamethodman” username=”toprank”]

Watch, listen to or read the full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Eric Vanderburg of TCDI on The Changing Cybersecurity Landscape.”

Sarah Barnes-Humphrey of Shipz and The Art of Consistent Change

Sarah Barnes-Humphrey ImageSarah Barnes-Humphrey
CEO, SHIPZ

“Lean into your teams and allow them to really shine from a social media perspective. I say that from a LinkedIn perspective, because I think we need more voices on a platform like LinkedIn — interacting, sharing thoughts, and really supporting teams, and being able to share those thoughts,” Sarah noted.

“I also think that teams are handling a lot of things right now — there are a lot of things coming at them — they’re handling a lot of emotions when it comes to their teams. I want to make sure that supply chain leaders and marketing leaders are taking time for themselves and making sure that they are not only checking in on their teams, but checking on each other and themselves as well.”

[bctt tweet=”“I want to make sure that supply chain leaders and marketing leaders are taking time for themselves and making sure that they are not only checking in on their teams, but checking on each other and themselves as well.”  @bevictoryus” username=”toprank”]

Watch, listen to or read the full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Sarah Barnes-Humphrey of Shipz and The Art of Consistent Change.”

Liam McIvor Martin of Time Doctor on The Revolutionary Power of Remote Work

Liam McIvor MartinLiam McIvor Martin
Co-Founder, Time Doctor

When it comes to remote and hybrid work, Liam has years of experience and plenty of helpful advice.

“Do it. Try it. Pre-COVID I would have told everyone, ‘Hey, you know what — why don’t you make a couple people remote?’ Or why don’t you make a department remote? You can’t do that right now — you have to jump in full-on. If you’re not already remote, you’re probably not going to do that, because of how long we’ve already been in COVID — but fundamentally, measure your metrics, create very clear documentation of all of your processes, and communicate effectively with your team,” Liam said.

“If you can do those three things, and people can continuously report metrics to you, regardless of whether you’re using a tool like Time Doctor or even if you’re using an Excel spreadsheet — defining those metrics and saying, ‘I got X amount of leads today, and this is on target for my Q3 goal.’ That’s going to be great — you’re going to be doing better than 90 percent of people.”

“Even if you choose to go back inside of an office, those things that you’ve done are fundamentally going to make your company run faster.”

[bctt tweet=”“My estimate is that after COVID is over, we’re probably going to float to around 50% of the US workforce working remotely.” — Liam McIvor Martin @vtamethodman” username=”toprank”]

Watch, listen to or read the full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Liam McIvor Martin of Time Doctor on The Revolutionary Power of Remote Work.”

Oliver Christie on Making Life Better With AI

Oliver Christie of PertexaHealthTech ImageOliver Christie
Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer, PertexaHealthTech

“I think it’s about asking a big question, and some of it is quite challenging — where could your company or industry go if you have a blank slate? We need that big question. We need leadership to get the artificial intelligence (AI), the tools, and the data — that’s all secondary — but what is that big question? I think that’s the best that any leader could ask,” Oliver noted.

[bctt tweet=”“I think that the next big leap is going to be our products and services are going to be much more reactive to who we are.” — Oliver Christie @OliverChristie” username=”toprank”]

Watch, listen to or read the full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Oliver Christie on Making Life Better With AI.”

Tim Crawford of AVOA on The New Normal

Break Free B2B Marketing Tim CrawfordTim Crawford
CIO Strategic Advisor, AVOA

“The big thing is understanding your customer and their customer. Once you understand that second degree of separation — not just the first degree — it really puts you in a differentiated position,” Tim explained.

“Understand what’s in your wheelhouse and what’s not, but never, ever forget to always look at it from the customer’s lens. Don’t just look at it from your lens of ‘Hey, this is what we do. This is what we sell. Our product can do X for you.’ That’s a bad place to start.”

“A better place to start, and a place I look for as a customer is, ‘Who are you in the relationship for?’ If you start with understanding me, and have shown you’ve done a little bit of homework, that’s going to take my wall down a little bit, and start to build trust.”

“Building that trust in those relationships is key to success moving forward. Authenticity, experience — add it to the list.”

[bctt tweet=”“The big thing is understanding your customer and their customer. Once you understand that second degree of separation — not just the first degree — it really puts you in a differentiated position.” — Tim Crawford @tcrawford” username=”toprank”]

Watch, listen to or read the full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Tim Crawford of AVOA on The New Normal.”

Kevin L. Jackson of GC GlobalNet on the Future of Cloud Computing

Kevin L. Jackson of GC GlobalNetKevin Jackson
CEO, GC GlobalNet

“You operate in a global and interconnected industry. Realize that you contribute most to your industry when you build and contribute to that global network,” Kevin observed.

“You really break free through collaboration and open dialogue with your colleagues and partners.”

[bctt tweet=”“You operate in a global and interconnected industry. Realize that you contribute most to your industry when you build and contribute to that global network.” — Kevin Jackson @Kevin_Jackson” username=”toprank”]

Watch, listen to or read the full interview by checking our the full blog post “Break Free B2B Marketing: Kevin Jackson of GC GlobalNet on Cloud Computing.”

Smash Through Boring B2B Marketing

via GIPHY

We hope you’ve found the tactics, insights, and tips from Kevin, Tim, Oliver, Liam, Sarah, Eric, Nicole, Tamara, Dez, Keith and Minda to be eye-opening as you plan your own B2B marketing in the lead-up to 2022.

For even more insight from leading B2B marketers, be sure to also check out our Inside B2B Influence series of video interviews and podcasts, including the latest featuring Justin Levy of Demandbase (client), in “Inside B2B Influence: Justin Levy of Demandbase on Optimizing B2B Marketing with Influence.”

Creating award-winning B2B marketing with an artful mixture of influence takes considerable time and effort, which is why many firms choose to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact 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 11 Ways Top B2B Marketers Are Breaking Free of Boring B2B appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Minda Harts of The Memo on Having Courageous Conversations

Minda Harts

Minda Harts

When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, it’s only natural to wonder just what an industry influencer actually looks like?

For our third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews, we’re featuring conversations with leading B2B influencers, and examining the issues that each subject matter expert is influential about in their specialized industry.

For over a decade our team at TopRank Marketing has nurtured a strong community of leading influencers, developing close relationships with SMEs in many industries, and we’re delighted to share our latest episode of Break Free B2B Marketing.

2020 put a lot of things into laser focus that weren’t getting the attention they historically deserved. One of those things has been the necessity of greater diversity in the modern workplace. There’s no denying the fact that approximately 68 percent of C-level executives are white men and only some four percent are women of color. That’s no longer acceptable, and many businesses are actively seeking the advice of experts who can help them break free from outdated norms so they can move into a brighter, more creative, more diverse future.

One of the leading experts on how that can be accomplished is Minda Harts. Minda is a sought after speaker and thought leader who focuses on the topic of advancing women of color in the workplace and building diverse teams. She founded The Memo LLC, a career development company for women of color, and has published a similarly named book that gives actionable advice on this same topic. The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table can be found at your favorite bookseller or online right now.

Minda is the sort of voice to listen to for any B2B marketer who wants to learn how to better speak to the needs and wants of a diverse population. That’s why we asked her to join us for the latest episode of our Break Free B2B Marketing Interview series.

Break Free B2B Interview with Minda Harts

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of our discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • :21 – Introduction to Minda Harts
  • 2:16 – Micro and macro aggressions in the modern workplace
  • 3:18 – “Can you give us an example, maybe of a courageous conversation you’ve had or guided someone to have, and what happened?”
  • 8:00 – Office politics and the benefits of building a squad
  • 9:50 – What can business leaders be doing now to help build a more inclusive future?
  • 12:53 – “What’s been surprising or interesting about working with and counseling companies on these initiatives?”
  • 15:33 – Not silencing yourself
  • 17:59 – “In terms of helping women of color secure their seat, what should be burned or eliminated?”
  • 19:15 – Movement forward and areas of progress
  • 21:55 – “What do you hope for in the next few years? What does the workforce look like? How is it different? Better?”
  • 23:00 – Companies or leaders who are making positive steps toward equity
  • 26:35 – “What does it take to be a thought leader, subject matter expert, or influencer?”
  • 31:38 – How to find Minda Harts online

Sue: How do you counsel and guide women of color to deal with having courageous conversations and other issues?

Minda: Even in the moment when I’ve dealt with some of those micro or macro aggressions, depending on how you see it, I wasn’t sure how to respond to it, because it takes you off guard, right, you’re not prepared. And sometimes when it’s happening — your colleagues — especially if you’re the only woman, or the only black woman, might think that it’s a joke, or that so and so doesn’t mean any harm. But those things, again — intentional or unintentional — they still land on certain communities where it is harmful. And so what I would say is, one thing that I didn’t do, which is part of why I wrote the book, is to center yourself as a woman in the workplace. If something is harmful, have those courageous conversations to let people know that this is not okay. Right. And you can do that in a way that doesn’t have to be in front of everyone, but I wish that I would have been more courageous in bringing those kinds of tough conversations to the forefront.

[bctt tweet=”“If something is harmful, have those courageous conversations to let people know that this is not okay.” — Minda Harts @MindaHarts #BreakFreeB2B ” username=”toprank”]

Minda: And that’s okay — I mean, we have to start somewhere. And that’s where I want leaders to realize this isn’t a problem that you’re going to solve in three Zoom meetings, right? This is going to take some time. But we have to start somewhere.

Sue: Right, exactly. Okay, so I love this. You say, don’t take shit from anyone. And as a woman, you know, typically working in tech companies and running my own agency, I know that being strong, and having opinions and a clear direction, and not settling, stating a vision with passion that can be perceived as maybe being kind of a bitch. And so this gets tough because sometimes I find myself feeling beat down and ashamed for being strong. And I can only imagine that this would even be harder for women of color. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Minda: They’re both true. And I think you made a really good point — that oftentimes, people will say, “Well, I’ve had it hard too,” right? And two things can be true at the same time, right? You could experience the same things, and then I can experience it, but it might be that your proximity to power is a little bit better than mine. Right? But we are experiencing these situations. And I think that the reason why I say don’t take anything from anybody else, is because for so long as women, we’ve had to silence ourselves, right? We’ve had to silence ourselves at the expense of our own well being. You’re even seeing it, regardless of what political party, in this idea of being too ambitious — what does that even mean? Because somebody wants more, or in their lives they want to do a good job — they’re trying to figure out what good looks like for them. I think because that has been a narrative that we didn’t create, that’s why it’s important that we have to dismantle these systems, because these systems would say that any woman that has a perspective or has ideas, that she needs to sit down and know her place.

Minda: But that is part of the system that never saw us at the table. Right? Those are those systems. So I think we have to call it out when we see it, and I think we have to unlearn that thinking too. Because being in these environments, we would then question ourselves, “Well, maybe I shouldn’t speak up,” or those sorts of things. I think with women of color in particular, it’s a fine line, right? Don’t be too aggressive. Don’t say too much. You know, don’t be angry —  so it’s that office politics — trying to find that right angle. I think it goes back to having a squad, because if you have relationships inside the workplace, somebody can say, “You know what, that’s not the Susan I know, actually,” and I think that when we know each other better, we can stand up for each other in those moments and really dismantle a culture that would say that about women.

[bctt tweet=”“We have to dismantle these systems, because these systems would say that any woman that has a perspective has ideas, and that she needs to sit down and know her place.” — Minda Harts @MindaHarts #BreakFreeB2B ” username=”toprank”]

Keep your eye on the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Also check out episodes from season 1 and season 2.

Take your B2B marketing to new heights by checking out out previous season 3 episodes of Break Free B2B Marketing:

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Minda Harts of The Memo on Having Courageous Conversations appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Dez Blanchfield of Sociaall on Joining the Conversation

Dez Blanchfield

Dez Blanchfield

When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, it’s natural to wonder just what an industry influencer actually looks like?

Our third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews feature conversations with top B2B influencers, looking closely at the issues that each expert is influential about in their industry.

For more than a decade our team at TopRank Marketing has fostered a strong community of leading influencers, developing close relationships with subject matter experts in many industries.

Running a successful business is the art of juggling a thousand different things in a thousand different ways. It can be challenging to know which of these things to truly focus on and which balls are okay to drop for the sake of company growth. With so many new technologies at the forefront: cloud, machine learning, IoT, big data, virtualization, cybersecurity, and dozens of others – how do you know where to focus? How do you know which business best practices are the right one for your company vs. others?

There’s no catch-all answer to these questions, but there are industry experts who are more capable of answering them than anyone else. One of those experts is Dez Blanchfield. Dez has been in the business of digital transformation for over 25 years and has learned a lot from his robust experience working with IT leaders, solving complex problems, and running his own successful digital social agency, Sociaall Inc.

He’s here today in the latest episode of TopRank’s Break Free B2B marketing video series to share some of his invaluable insight.

Break Free B2B Interview with Dez Blanchfield

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 1:00 – Introduction to Dez
  • 2:03 – Is it a good idea to be a jack of all trades?
  • 5:31 – Is the pace of change accelerating?
  • 11:25 – Are business changes made due to the Covid-19 pandemic going to stick?
  • 20:00 – For the B2B marketing audience: where are things headed in the near future?
  • 40:20 – B2B influencer marketing
  • 47:11 – It’s not about the number of followers, but the number of people you can move
  • 53:24 – Tracking and monitoring development from B2C to B2B
  • 56:10 – Where can you find Dez to hear more?

Josh: It seems like you’re looking to where the puck is going to be versus where the puck is now and have your entire career. So in a very general sense for our B2B marketing audience: where’s the puck going? If you’re a B2B business person and leader and executive, where should you be looking just for the near future?

Dez: The advice I’ve been giving people in the last three to five years is that it was a time when you could do it all yourself. If you were an airline, or a bank, or if you were in health care, or wealth management, if you’re a telco, there was a time when you could do it all, you could run your own telephone systems, run your own technology, stack your own email servers, your own domain name servers. But the complexity is so great now and the speed at which we have to move, as you alluded to before, is so rapid, and so short, and you know that the demand is for reduced time to market. The advice I’m giving people now is: find the best partner choice. In each of the segments, you need to be able to address problems. So if you’re a bank, be a bank, focus on being the best bank, you can, and look for things that are gonna disrupt you. But don’t try to be a phone company. Don’t run your own PBX, don’t run your voice systems. If you own a website, don’t become a hosting company. Don’t waste your time running web services.

[bctt tweet=”“If you’re a bank, be a bank, focus on being the best bank you can, and look for things that are going to disrupt you. But don’t try to be a phone company.” — Dez Blanchfield @dez_blanchfield #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Josh: No, and it seems like the pandemic, which you mentioned there, is almost an accelerant more than anything. We were thinking of it as a slow down and shut down and lockdown. But really, it seems to have just taken all of these very cautious steps that businesses would have would have taken and made them suddenly have to run forward with it. Do you think these are changes that are going to stick? Or are we going to have this inertia pulling us back to normal?

Dez: The way I like to describe it is: if I was in a boardroom the other day having to whiteboard this out, and I would describe it as we’ve already jumped off this cliff. And if you’ve ever jumped off a cliff, you know, it’s impossible to get back up there without actually landing somewhere and then walking a long way back to the track to get to the top. So we have, without wanting to, had to jump off this cliff and deal with it.

I think the majority of the impact is not going to reverse. We are definitely going to want to sit in cafes and go to restaurants again. But the way in which we interact with those will change. So for example, I have an app now for my local barista and I just ordered my cappuccino and wandered past and picked it up at a window. I don’t wait for 15 minutes in a queue in a stuffy room waiting for my coffee to turn up. So you know those use cases have already changed. And retailers have had to go online when they’ve never been online. They’ve had to get apps or integrate and leverage things, shift to digital payments and move away from cash. All these changes have happened. Even with the worst possible human apathy, where humans are lazy, and very arrogant. And you know when we think of them, when we think of some of the changes that have happened the last couple of decades. They’ve come about and people become lazy and there’s been high level apathy and they go back to the normal ways.

Keep your eye on the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Also check out episodes from season 1 and season 2.

Take your B2B marketing to new heights by checking out out previous season 3 episodes of Break Free B2B Marketing:

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Dez Blanchfield of Sociaall on Joining the Conversation appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Tamara McCleary of Thulium on Visions of the Future and Doing No Harm

Tamara McCleary

Tamara McCleary

When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, it’s natural to wonder just what an industry influencer actually looks like?

Our third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews feature conversations with top B2B influencers, looking closely at the issues that each expert is influential about in their industry.

For more than a decade our team at TopRank Marketing has fostered a strong community of leading influencers, developing close relationships with subject matter experts in many industries.

Sometimes you meet a person who ticks all the boxes: they’re smart, they’re funny, they’re connected, they’re brave, and they’re an expert — in not just one thing, but many. You can learn a lot from people like this: tips, tricks, advice, best practices, and more. The one thing they can teach you about more clearly than anyone else, however, is what’s going to happen next.

Tamara McCleary, CEO of Thulium, is just this sort of person. She’s been labeled a pioneer influencer of social media marketing for B2B, is the CEO of global digital social media marketing agency Thulium, and just recently enrolled to further her education at Harvard University. Tamara’s favorite thing to talk about is the future — the future of marketing, work, artificial reality, trust, life, and belief. These insights are valuable to any B2B marketer trying to figure out the next steps toward new successes, and they’re also the reason we asked her to speak with us for the latest episode of our Break Free B2B Marketing interview series.

Break Free B2B Interview with Tamara McCleary

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 2:48 – Meet Tamara
  • 4:05 – What does “do no harm” mean?
  • 11:01 – Concerns about privacy in the modern world
  • 12:33 – “Let’s talk 2030.”
  • 17:04 – How do we approach the risks that come with adopting technology of the future?
  • 22:15 – How do you think the global workforce will be operating in the next year and how has COVID influenced those changes?
  • 29:11 – Tamara’s experience pursuing further education at Harvard
  • 32:49 – How Tamara feels about the word influencer
  • 36:50 – Why should B2B marketers be working with influencers or thought leaders?
  • 44:54 – How do you figure out what’s important to your audiences?
  • 48:46 – Have you seen any B2B tech campaigns you like or are involved in that are something special?
  • 54:51 – How people can get ahold of Tamara
  • 55:57 – In conclusion: how can B2B leaders break free?

Sue: Most of our clients are tech clients. And of course, we’re all trying to rise to the next technology that eases our worlds. AI is massive, and for most of our clients, there’s a vision of it. We have to be communicating what the benefits are as marketers. But at the same time, I think we all understand, though, there’s a little bit of risk here. So how do we approach this? How do we reconcile ourselves to these things that are happening? What’s our job in terms of protecting humanity as we bring these things forth?

Tamara: You need the protection of policy, because I think it’s really difficult to say that marketing is going to have to be the policing agent for organizations as to whether or not something that they’re putting out there as proper, that’s a lot of burden to put. Not only that, it’s a conflict of interest. Because if that’s your client, and you’re running a business, and they’re a business, now we’re asking you to police. And that’s not right. Instead, I say that you need to be protected by policies put in place that say that these things are okay and lawful to do. And these things are unlawful because in marketing, we saw this happen, even with technologies that came out for social listening and monitoring — there were things that you can do, there were back-doors. I remember even 10 years ago, backdoor ways where you could see who was sending that email, who was clicking on on that tweet, who’s opening that Facebook ad? But the thing is, ethically, it’s not right. As an organization, I think it’s where you take a stand and go, you know — we will treat all people respectfully and within the law. And what’s nice is when you do have the law behind you, and you say no to something, these organizations that you and I work with —  their legal teams would never go for something that was unlawful, never. I really feel that the companies we work with are those A-plus companies that do care about being law abiding citizens, but there are those out there that don’t. And usually they don’t bother to hire agencies like ours. Because if you’re going to be underhanded, you’re not really going to pay for top level advice that’s going to tell you that you’re wrong.

[bctt tweet=”“The more diverse your workforce is, the better your ideas, innovation, and problem solving are, because you don’t have a bunch of heads that look like one another nodding in agreement, which doesn’t get us anywhere.” — @TamaraMcCleary” username=”toprank”]

Tamara: From an HR perspective, what’s wonderful is the fact that we now are open to the ability to have much more diversity within the workforce, and what I mean by that is diversity of geographic location — diversity of education. Because I don’t think it’s about your education or your degree, as much as it’s about your willingness and your hunger to learn, earn and be agile, because everything’s changing, right? 85% of the jobs in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. I need agile diversity of people and ethnicities because we can go outside of our zone. I think that just having a remote workforce gives us the ability to have a better mix within an organization of diversity of thought, because the more diverse your workforce is, the better your ideas, the better your innovation, the better your problem solves are, because you don’t have a bunch of heads that look like one another nodding in agreement, which doesn’t get us anywhere.

So I love the fact that I think a year out from now we’re going to see that a remote workforce is a good workforce, and it allows us to include more people than maybe might have been included when they had to come into a physical office. And then on the other side and perspective, I think what we’re offering a year out from now is that people are going to be able to have a greater work experience, and the employee experience will be shifted, because you can get your work done and still do all the things in your life that you may need to do, whether that’s your 12 noon yoga class, or having lunch with your kids, or expanding your mind with painting or clay or taking a writing class. With the flexibility of a remote workforce, we have the ability now to express ourselves more, versus having these compartments that have never worked — a compartment that says “this is our personal life,” and the compartment that says “this is my work life.” Then I think we can finally stop talking about that really annoying work life balance that never worked.

Keep your eye on the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Also check out episodes from season 1 and season 2.

Take your B2B marketing to new heights by checking out out previous season 3 episodes of Break Free B2B Marketing:

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Tamara McCleary of Thulium on Visions of the Future and Doing No Harm appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Nicole Brady of SAHM Reviews on the Importance of Empathy in Reaching Your Niche

Nicole Brady Image

Nicole Brady Image

For over a decade our team at TopRank Marketing has fostered a strong community of leading influencers, developing close relationships with subject matter experts in a wide variety of industries.

When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, it’s natural to wonder just what an industry influencer actually looks like?

In our third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews, we’re continuing in-depth conversations with a selection of top B2B influencers, and taking a close look at the issues that each expert is influential about in their own industry.

Each successful B2B influencer has a rare mix of the 5 Ps — proficiency, personality, publishing, promotion, and popularity — as our CEO Lee Odden has outlined in “5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers.”

Featuring all of these qualities and many more is Nicole Brady, publisher at SAHM Reviews, who we’re delighted to be profiling today.

According to a study done by G2, 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review. A different study tells us that 91% of customers between the ages of 18 and 34 trust online reviews just as much as they would a personal recommendation. Long story short: buyers care about reviews, whether they’re a business or an individual consumer.

Some people understand this more than others. One of those people is Nicole Brady. Nicole Brady is the founder and force behind SAHMReviews.com, a successful site known for it’s engaging story-based reviews of products and services. Knowing how to tap into stories and find your own niche storytelling techniques are skills integral to any B2B marketer, which is why we invited Nicole to speak with us for today’s episode of our Break Free B2B marketing video series.

Break Free B2B Interview with Nicole Brady

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 1:15 – Introduction to Nicole
  • 2:38 – Building empathy and trust with an audience
  • 4:12 – What are story-based reviews and why are they important?
  • 7:15 – Signs of progress in Nicole’s space – and where things are going
  • 12:12 – Why are individual reviews more impactful than brand content?
  • 15:22 – How important is technology and thinking outside the box to consumers?
  • 19:16 – You create board games?! Tell us more!
  • 25:43 – What do you see as the key qualities that make something fun?
  • 28:08 – How did Nicole find her niche and what advice does she have for others on a similar journey?
  • 30:40 – Any tips for working with brands as an influencer? Tips for brands working with influencers?
  • 34:02 – What advice would you give to B2B marketers looking to break free?
  • 36:04 – How to get in touch with Nicole

Nick: If you try to look ahead one year, how do you envision the space where you’re working? What do you think is going to change? And what do you think is sort of the main trend line that’s going to carry it forward?

Nicole: I think moving forward from here, people are realizing the importance of not only technology and the integration of that technology, whether it’s companies being able to do curbside pickup, people not being able to come into their businesses, but they’re still being able to function in eCommerce, in digital learning, and you have so much distance learning and telecommuting. I think companies are going to have to embrace all of those things over the next year, that it’s caused them to have setbacks this year. I think, had we been more prepared with telecommuting, with distance learning, and had we been more prepared for those things? I think this entire quarantine that we’ve had would not have been such a problem to our economy. I think moving forward in the next year, that’s really what people are going to have to adapt to — finding ways to think outside the box, and different ways to engage with their consumers, whether it’s on social media, allowing them to purchase through social media, allowing them to use curbside pickup or whatever it is, and finding ways to do things without having people walk in the door, or even traditionally, the way they’ve been doing it, I think we just have to really look outside the box and find new ways.

[bctt tweet=”“I think companies are going to have to embrace all of the things over the next year that have caused them to have setbacks this year.” — Nicole Brady @SahmReviews” username=”toprank”]

Nick: What do you think makes the content from that third party individual, an influencer, or even just a consumer giving a product review? What makes that so much more powerful than brand content?

Nicole: Because it’s real. It’s someone who is sharing their opinions. It’s not scripted. It’s not a commercial. And I guess that’s one of the things that if you are hiring content creators or influencers: do not pin them down and say you can or cannot say something, you need to just give them free reign. They are creative, they’re creative individuals. That’s why they have a fantastic audience. Usually, that’s why you know about them, you know.  Just say, “Do your thing.” If a company comes in and says, “Hey, here’s these ingredients, create a recipe,” and you’re going to somebody who is good at creating recipes, you don’t want to say oh, by the way, we want it to be this, this this, and this. You don’t want to say that,  you want to give them the information.

[bctt tweet=”“If you are hiring content creators or influencers, do not pin them down and say you can or cannot say something. You need to just give them free reign.” — Nicole Brady @SahmReviews” username=”toprank”]

Keep your eye on the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Also check out episodes from season 1 and season 2.

Take your B2B marketing to new heights by checking out out previous season 3 episodes of Break Free B2B Marketing:

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Nicole Brady of SAHM Reviews on the Importance of Empathy in Reaching Your Niche appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Eric Vanderburg of TCDI on The Changing Cybersecurity Landscape

Eric Vanderburg

Eric Vanderburg

For more than a decade our team at TopRank Marketing has fostered a potent community of leading influencers, developing close relationships with subject matter experts in a wide variety of industries.

When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, it’s only natural to wonder just what an industry influencer actually looks like?

In our third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews, we’re continuing in-depth conversations with a powerful selection of top B2B influencers, and taking a close look at the issues that each expert is influential about in their industry.

Every successful B2B influencer has a rare mix of the 5 Ps — proficiency, personality, publishing, promotion, and popularity — as our CEO Lee Odden has outlined in “5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers.”

Combining every one of these qualities and plenty more is Eric Vanderburg, vice president of cyber security at TCDI, who we’re thrilled to be profiling today.

Cybersecurity has always been a priority for smart B2B marketers and business owners, but it’s never been more of a concern than it is right now. In fact, a recent CSO survey has found that over 60% of small and medium business owners are more concerned now about security risks for their remote employees than they were at the beginning of the pandemic.

That fear isn’t without good cause. Phishing attacks are up. People are spending more time online than ever before — not just working, but shopping, chatting, browsing, and beyond. Potential pathways to risk are everywhere and that begs the question: how do you keep your employees and data safe?

Luckily, while there are a lot of risks out there, there are also industry experts leading the charge when it comes to avoiding them. Experts like Eric Vanderburg. Eric has made a name for himself helping equip businesses with the right tools and knowledge to keep their cybersecurity practices effective and up-to-date. That’s the reason why our Joshua Nite interviewed him for today’s new episode six of the Break Free B2B Marketing Interview series.

Break Free B2B Interview with Eric Vanderburg

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 3:01 – Cybersecurity progress separate from the pandemic
  • 4:10 – What can remote workers do at home to support better security for their organizations?
  • 5:27 – Are recent cybersecurity changes here to stay or are we going to regress to the mean?
  • 7:01 – Any cybersecurity mistakes being made that should be addressed?
  • 8:10 – What will the cybersecurity landscape look like when things start to open up again?
  • 9:20 – What can executives or B2B leaders do to better plan for the future?
  • 11:34 – How do you become a thought leader in the cybersecurity space and build an audience?
  • 15:03 – Does having a large following ever get in the way of saying what you want to say?
  • 18:56 – What makes Eric more (or less) likely to want to be involved in a project?
  • 21:07 – Where can people find Eric if they want to get in touch?

Josh: Have you seen any people that were truly prepared for something like this to happen, or has it generally been folks in a bit of a scramble?

Eric: I wouldn’t say anybody’s been fully prepared — there’s been a little bit each company’s had to do. Some companies have been a little bit better prepared. On the technology side, they had what they needed to enable employees to work from home and have the security in place, and they had good procedures and training. But then, you know, they miss out on some other elements and communication breaks down. And now business email compromise was their downfall, or they got all the others and they didn’t do the training, or they had issues implementing the technology, and vulnerabilities or other issues allowed attackers in. So you know, there’s a lot of different things you have to do to be secure. And with this pandemic, it’s caused many companies to have to react. Unfortunately, when you’re reacting without necessarily having a plan in place, it introduces faults and errors.

Josh: We’ve talked a lot about — when we talk about the pandemic — how people’s five year plan suddenly became a five week plan or a five day plan. I can imagine there are just a ton of moving pieces that people had to consider as they move forward?

Eric: Yes, there really were these complete changes in the way we do business, and not one that companies necessarily plan for somewhere along the line — distributing the workforce and utilizing more contract work, or using us as part of their digital transformation. But others were just blindsided by the whole thing.

[bctt tweet=”“Unfortunately, when you’re reacting without necessarily having a plan in place, it introduces faults and errors.” — Eric Vanberburg @vtamethodman #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Josh: Are you seeing that as some of these things are rolling out, that there are things that people are overlooking, or getting wrong, or making mistakes that you’d want to correct?

Eric: Yes, well, there’s quite a few. When a lot of companies that have employees who start working from home, many are using personal equipment, maybe they didn’t have a company device, or have a way of properly managing those. So we’ve had a huge influx out of BYOD — bring your own device — and some companies weren’t ready for that. They didn’t have a process in place that others were able to take care of with the right approach, either securing those devices with endpoint agents, or just taking the personal device, not really out of the mix, but connecting them into virtual desktops and keeping local resources. And that’s helped to secure it, and also giving them the same applications and everything else that they had when they were in the workplace.

Josh: I think you address pretty well some of the steps that people can take to solve some of these security issues. So let’s talk about when things are starting to open up again. What do you think that the cybersecurity landscape is going to look like as that starts to happen?

Eric: I think that we’re going to certainly have quite a few new players. I think we’re also going to have companies who are much more agile, or used to using some of those resources they are utilizing, which could be in addition to the regular workforce — a lot of other outside consultants or flex resources. We’re going to see fewer people in the office, and maybe some offices closing down and opening up other regional places because it’s easier to work remotely and to coordinate. Certainly a lot more use of technologies to help coordinate and share, your project management type tools and communication platforms and all that — those are have already seen a big surge. I think we’re going to see a lot more there.

[bctt tweet=”“We’re going to see fewer people in the office, and maybe some offices closing down and opening up other regional places because it’s easier to work remotely and to coordinate.” — Eric Vanberburg @vtamethodman #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Keep your eye on the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Also check out episodes from season 1 and season 2.

Take your B2B marketing to new heights by checking out out previous season 3 episodes of Break Free B2B Marketing:

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Eric Vanderburg of TCDI on The Changing Cybersecurity Landscape appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Sarah Barnes-Humphrey of Shipz and The Art of Consistent Change

Sarah Barnes-Humphrey Image

Sarah Barnes-Humphrey Image

For more than a decade our team at TopRank Marketing has fostered a potent community of leading influencers, developing close relationships with subject matter experts in a wide variety of industries.

When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, it’s only natural to wonder just what an influencer actually looks like?

In our third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews, we’re continuing in-depth conversations with a powerful selection of top B2B influencers, and taking a close look at the issues that each expert is influential about in their industry.

Every successful B2B influencer has a rare mix of the 5 Ps — proficiency, personality, publishing, promotion, and popularity — as our CEO Lee Odden has outlined in “5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers.”

Holding all of these qualities and many more is Sarah Barnes-Humphrey, CEO at Shipz, who we’re delighted to be profiling today.

Supply chain: the steps that need to be taken in order to get a product or service into the hands of the consumer. It’s a complicated process, and it’s one that matters to many B2B marketers. Why? Because if the supply chain breaks down, you won’t have anything to market. A successfully managed supply chain can weather unforeseen circumstances — like a surprise year long quarantine — while helping businesses to reduce cost and remain competitive.

Sarah Barnes-Humphrey is a pro when it comes to talking about supply chain. She’s the CEO of Shipz Inc., bridging gaps between shipping providers and mid-market importers. She hosts the Let’s Talk Supply Chain podcast, covering topics that matter to those in the supply chain business. She’s been labeled as one of the Top 100 Women Leaders in Supply Chain and has earned that distinction over a successful twenty year career. Long story short: if you want to learn something about the role of the supply chain in modern business, you’re going to want to hear what she has to say.

These reasons are precisely why TopRank Marketing’s own Joshua Nite interviewed her for today’s new episode of the Break Free B2B Marketing interview series.

Break Free B2B Interview with Sarah Barnes-Humphrey

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 1:48 – What has the pandemic done to supply chain?
  • 4:22 – What technologies are being used to handle changes in supply chain?
  • 5:49 – Increased attention on the supply chain: is that good or bad?
  • 6:50 – Internal collaboration and how it impacts supply chain
  • 7:17 – Do you think the progress currently being made with supply chain will last?
  • 8:11 – What can marketing leaders do to reach out to supply chain folks?
  • 9:25 – Breaking down organizational barriers to make room for supply chain
  • 10:40 – What mistakes are being made in supply chain that should be getting corrected?
  • 13:45 – How should B2B leaders right now be adapting so that they can have a great 2021 and beyond?
  • 17:08 – How Sarah found her following and successfully launched her podcast
  • 20:06 – What Sarah believes keeps her audience coming back
  • 23:05 – When being approached for contributions or interviews, what things make you more likely to say yes?
  • 25:17 – How to juggle multiple big projects and still find success
  • 27:43 – Where should people go to find Sarah’s content?

Josh: Do you feel like we’re seeing some good progress? And do you think that this is going to stick once we get back to what I’m laughingly referring to as normal, should we ever get there? Do you think there’s some progress being made, and are these lasting changes?

Sarah: I would hope so. I mean, I don’t have a crystal ball. So I don’t really know what that’s going to look like, but I would absolutely hope so. On my show, I say that collaboration is the future of business, and I truly believe that. I think the only way forward is to really be able to understand what your colleagues in marketing, or understand what your colleagues in customer service, or understand what your colleagues in procurement are going through, and what they do on a day-to-day basis that can really enhance what you’re doing as an individual in your department to really create the best environment and the most accept success for the company that you’re working for.

[bctt tweet=”“I think the only way forward is to really be able to understand what your colleagues in marketing, customer service, or procurement are going through.” @bevictoryus #BreakFreeB2B #supplychain” username=”toprank”]

Josh: That makes a lot of sense. So prepare for change, and expect the unexpected, but also expect the unexpected?

Sarah: Yes, absolutely. It’s tough being a leader out there, whether you’re in marketing, supply chain, or what have you. It’s tough — they’re being pulled in a lot of different directions, and nobody really knows where that’s going to fall.

You know, some companies are staying remote till, some conferences have been canceled, up until April 2021. So how do you prepare for that, when you’ve got a conference that you’re supposed to be putting on in March? What do you do when you don’t even know whether you can go ahead with that? What are the parameters around that? Are we going to have to provide proof of vaccine before we go to a conference? And is everybody going to be able to get the vaccine prior to that? I don’t know. What is the insurance that you’re going to be able to get around that event? That’s going to be based on a lot of factors from a marketing standpoint.

Everything’s going virtual, everything’s going digital, and everybody is looking at different ways to really get their story out there, and they can’t really plan as far ahead as they used to.

[bctt tweet=”“Everything’s going virtual, everything’s going digital, everybody is looking at different ways to really get their story out there. And they can’t really plan as far ahead as they used to.” @bevictoryus #BreakFreeB2B #supplychain” username=”toprank”]

Keep your eye on the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Also check out episodes from season 1 and season 2.

Take your B2B marketing to new heights by checking out out previous season 3 episodes of Break Free B2B Marketing:

 

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Sarah Barnes-Humphrey of Shipz and The Art of Consistent Change appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.