What Pandemic Poll Data Reveals About The Future of B2B Marketing

Happy business people image.

Happy business people image.

Forever altered by the pandemic, which new directions is B2B marketing going, and what’s in store for marketers in 2022 and beyond?

To help answer these questions and others, we’ve tapped into our poll data to see how the pandemic has affected how B2B marketers work, their outlook for the future, and what we’ve collectively lost and gained over the past year and a half.

Audience poll data offers a valuable gauge on the pulse of B2B marketers, and for over two years we’ve run weekly social media polls on our Twitter and LinkedIn* pages.

The insight you’ve shared with us during the pandemic gives us insight into what’s changed, what’s gone for good, and what may come back stronger than ever in B2B marketing.

We’ll use our own poll data to take a look at the B2B marketing trends that have emerged during this unprecedented year and a half.

Building on the insights we shared in “B2B Marketing Poll Sentiment: 15+ Eye-Opening Insights To Fuel Summer Success,” our most recent poll numbers paint a sometimes-surprising picture of B2B marketing sentiment in 2021.

Let’s jump right in and take a look.

Pandemic Poll #1 — Work Volume

The first pandemic related poll we conducted was on April 14, 2020, when we asked B2B marketers how the volume of work they’ve done with influencers had changed during the first few months of the global health crisis.

2020April14TwitterPoll

At that point relatively early in the pandemic, 36 percent of our respondents noted an increase in their use of influencers in marketing efforts.

Pandemic Poll #2 — Learning New Skills

A month later on May 12, 2020, our second pandemic-related poll asked B2B marketers whether they had used their time during quarantine to learn new marketing skills online.

A sizable 63 percent of respondents said that they had indeed learned new skills online while isolating.

2020May12TwitterPoll

Pandemic Poll #3 — Pain Points

As the pandemic moved into summer, on July 7, 2020 we were curious about the pain points B2B marketers were being faced with.

2020July7LIPoll2020July7TwitterPoll

Decreasing business or budgets was the top concern, with 64 percent of our Twitter poll respondents saying that was their biggest pandemic pain point, a sentiment shared by 46.2 percent of our LinkedIn respondents.

Pandemic Poll #4 — The Rise of Virtual Events

As the summer wore on, virtual marketing event options began to appear as alternatives to long-standing in-person events, and on July 20 we wondered how many such events B2B marketers were planning to attend during the second half of 2020.

2020July21LIPoll

Most B2B marketers planned to attend between one and five virtual events before the end of 2020, with 11 percent noting they would attend between six and ten online events.

Pandemic Poll #5 — Long-Term Remote Work Feasibility

On August 18, 2020 we wanted to learn more about how B2B marketers were feeling about the long-term feasibility of remote work.

2020August18LIPoll2020August18Poll

By this time, most B2B marketers had much greater acceptance when it came to the long-term feasibility of remote work than they did before the pandemic.

This poll backed this notion, with over three quarters of respondents on both our LinkedIn and Twitter polls saying that they had either more acceptance or much greater acceptance of remote work as a long-term practice.

Hybrid work scenarios are also very much a part of continuing conversations about the future of work, as I recently explored in “Hybrid & Remote Work Trends That Will Alter The Future Of B2B Marketing.”

Pandemic Poll #6 — Post-Pandemic Marketing Predictions

When autumn rolled around, on September 2, 2020 we asked B2B marketers which category of marketing they believed would be the most important in post-pandemic business marketing.

2020September2Polls2020September2LIPoll

39 percent of our LinkedIn poll takers said that always-on marketing would be the most important type of post-pandemic marketing, followed by 26 percent who said search and social, 19 percent who picked marketing technology, and 16 percent who picked influencer marketing.

40 percent of our Twitter poll respondents said that search and social will be most important, 30 percent said marketing technology, 16.7 percent picking influencer marketing, and 13.3 percent for always-on marketing.

The results point to the mixed viewpoints and uncertainly surrounding just what will be the most important when the dust from the pandemic fully settles.

Our own Nick Nelson explored the topic, in “Brave New World: The Model for B2B Marketing Success, Post-Pandemic.” Optimizing our B2B marketing strategy for a post-pandemic world requires understanding where the key shifts have occurred, and how to adapt. From executive thought leadership to rethinking marketing experiences, Nick’s article explores five ways that B2B marketers can smartly adapt and thrive in our reshaped environment.

Pandemic Poll #7 — Where Influence Has Helped The Most

On October 13, 2020 we asked marketers which facet of their B2B influencer marketing program had seen the greatest success during the pandemic.

2020October13LIPoll2020October13Polls

42 percent of our LinkedIn poll-takers said that inspiring trust was the area of their B2B influencer marketing program that had seen the greatest success during the pandemic, followed by thought leadership growth, raising brand awareness, and attracting customers.

Among our Twitter poll-takers thought leadership growth was the top choice, followed by inspiring trust and attracting customers.

Pandemic Poll #8 — Top Marketing Fears

As a pandemic Halloween approached, on October 29, 2020 we wanted to know what B2B marketers saw as their biggest fears in marketing.

2020October29Polls

On both LinkedIn and Twitter the biggest fear was the uncertainty of the pandemic, with some also choosing the powerful fear of failure.

I expanded on turning fear into success in a full article to accompany our poll, in “10 Horrifying Marketing Fears & How To Turn Them Into 2021 Successes.”

Pandemic Poll #9 — Success Stories

On November 17, 2020 we asked marketers which areas had benefited the most from the increased use of digital tools the pandemic had brought about.

2020November17Polls2020November17TWPoll

Influencer marketing was seen by both our LinkedIn and Twitter poll-takers as the greatest beneficiary when it came to areas that grew during the pandemic. Content marketing was the second choice, followed by always-on and then values-driven marketing.

Pandemic Poll #10 — What Marketers Look Forward To

As 2020 wound to a close, with glimmers of post-pandemic hope starting to form, we wondered what B2B marketers were most looking forward to in 2021.

2020December29LIPoll2020December29Polls

What were B2B marketers most looking forward to in 2021?

Post-pandemic life was by far the top choice of both our Twitter and LinkedIn poll-takers, followed by in-person events and physical meetings.

Pandemic Poll #11 — Top Tactics For 2021

Our first poll of 2021 on January 5 asked B2B marketers which business marketing tactic they were the most optimistic about for the year ahead.

2021January5LIPoll2021January5Polls

When we asked which business marketing tactic poll-takers were most optimistic about, on LinkedIn 36 percent chose content marketing, 29 percent search and social, 21 percent influencer marketing, and 14 percent who selected always-on marketing.

Among our Twitter poll-takers some 50 percent chose content marketing, 25 percent search and social, followed by 16.7 percent who picked influencer marketing, and 8.3 percent who chose always-on marketing.

Pandemic Poll #12 — Permanent Remote & Hybrid Work

Our latest completed pandemic-related poll, on June 8 asked simply how do B2B marketers want to work during post-pandemic life.

2021June8LIPoll2021June8TWPoll

Among 88 poll takers on LinkedIn, 52 percent said that wanted a hybrid mix of remote and office work types, 43 percent wanted fully remote work, and just 3 percent a full return to office work.

On Twitter, 75 percent of B2B marketers preferred a hybrid scenario, 15 percent fully remote, and 10 percent a full return to the office.

Pandemic Poll #13 — Returning To In-Person Marketing Events

Our newest poll asks, “B2B marketers, do you plan to attend an in-person marketing event during the second half of 2021?”

You can share your input by voting on either our TopRank Marketing LinkedIn or Twitter pages — or on both.

A Bright Future For B2B Marketers

via GIPHY

Keeping your eyes open to the pulse of your audience — whether it’s from poll results, questionnaires, surveys or other types of feedback — can go a long way indeed when it comes to making your B2B marketing efforts more grounded and authentic. It can also help make your communication more of a two-way street, and not only a publish-and-forget effort.

We hope you’ve found this peek into some of our own poll results eye-opening as you navigate the uncertain marketing landscape 2021 has given us, as we forge ahead towards a post-pandemic world.

To learn more from poll data insight, not limited solely to the pandemic, check out our “B2B Marketing Poll Sentiment: 15+ Eye-Opening Insights To Fuel Summer Success,” and “Show Me The Numbers: 20 B2B Marketing Insights From Audience Poll Data.

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.

* LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

 

The post What Pandemic Poll Data Reveals About The Future of B2B Marketing appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Brave New World: The Model for B2B Marketing Success, Post-Pandemic

Business Meeting in Office with Masks Image

Business Meeting in Office with Masks Image

“The new normal.”

I believe that’s what we would call the opposite of a compelling lede. Nobody wants to hear that phrase anymore, I know it. While that may be the case, it’s an unavoidable truth that our world does, and will, look different in many ways following a globally disruptive pandemic.

Savvy business and marketing leaders are already planning proactively for what lies ahead. They’re assessing what’s changed in the past year, analyzing trends and indicators, and optimizing their strategies to thrive within an altered economic and social environment.

We’re here to help. Read on for research and recommendations that will help you equip your B2B organization for maximum success going forward.

5 Keys to Success in a Brave New World of B2B Marketing

If the last year has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. But that doesn’t mean marketers can’t plan intelligently. While we may still be in a period of flux, the reshaped business environment is coming into focus.

Core fundamentals remain the same: Build awareness, build trust, build loyalty. Be the best answer. Deliver customer experiences that differentiate.

The way we go about accomplishing these things, however, will not be the same. Here are a few key areas I recommend prioritizing and aiming to optimize.

1 — Rethink Marketing Events and Experiences

In-person events will gradually return in some capacity, but even if you value the networking and promotional opportunities these occasions provide, the smart move is not to wait.

Rethink how you deliver experiences, and double down on digital engagement. Collaborate and orchestrate with friendly parties in the same way as partnering organizations do in bringing physical events to life. Bring influencers to your audiences in new ways, turning them into your keynote speakers.

With hybrid workplaces likely to be a permanent reality, much attention is being paid to creating equity and shared experiences for employees both remote and on-site. We should be thinking about audiences and business prospects under this same paradigm, because traveling for meetings or industry events will be substantially less common for a long while – if not forever.

2 — Focus on Doing a Few Things Extremely Well

No business has limitless resources. Spreading your chips too thinly will lead to sub par returns across the board. Instead, decide where you want to truly excel, and channel your full energy into it.

Recently our Joshua Nite wrote about how to create a podcast that rises above the noise. He rightfully points out that, while there is an enormous appetite for the format, there is also a staggering abundance of options. The stakes are high for breaking through.

Joshua’s recommended set of steps is not overly complicated, but does require real investment – of time, budget, and creativity. At TopRank Marketing, we’ve seen our clients and plenty of other B2B brands achieve stellar results through podcasting, but it takes an aligned vision and full buy-in.

The same goes for influencer marketing, building communities, shooting video/live-streams, or creating any content resource for your audience.

If you’re not going to do it right, why bother?

3 — Executive Thought Leadership: The Face of the Franchise

In sports, the “face of the franchise” refers to a superstar player, broadly associated with their team by fans at large. They sell jerseys and tickets. Marketers for these teams wisely play up these magnetic attractions in promo materials.

I’m not saying your CEO is Mike Trout. But company leaders get to where they’re at for a reason, and many brands can benefit from elevating these respected executive voices.

Executive thought leadership is a fast-rising strategic emphasis, and with good reason. According to LinkedIn*:

  • 86% of people say they expect CEOs to publicly speak out about societal challenges
  • 56% of professionals say a business executive’s presence on social media positively influences their purchase decision?
  • 66% say they would be more likely to recommend a company or brand if they followed a company executive on social media

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: people do business with other people, not with brand logos. When executives are active and outspoken with their perspectives and industry commentary, it helps put a human face behind the company’s values and expertise. This mattered to customers before the pandemic, and it will surely matter even more in the aftermath.

“The pandemic has forced everyone to rethink how they do business, from doctors to data centers,” Ken Brown, Director of Corporate Communications at Nvidia, told VentureBeat. “After a year of fear and uncertainty, people will look to those who clearly understand how technology can fuel the recovery and deliver exciting new capabilities. Thought leadership is all the more important during these transitional times, to show the way forward.”

Our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden shared his insights on the why and how of effective thought leadership on a recent episode of LinkedIn’s Live with Marketers, and also compiled a list of 20 ways to build executive credibility and thought leadership here on the blog.

4 — Bring More Context to Your Content Marketing

People have grown progressively less and less patient with sales and marketing messages that don’t speak to them directly, or don’t pertain to their situations. Now, after enduring an endless barrage of “unprecedented times” jargon, the need to break through with a clear, meaningful, relevant message is more vital than ever.

Leadspace recently provided a primer on contextual marketing on their blog, where Jim Hopkins describes the approach as “taking segmentation and personalization and putting it on steroids.” It’s a shift from pitching products and services —even in a personalized way — to solving very specific problems for different segments of your audience. Making this practical requires sophisticated analysis and application of customer data, as well as a strategic commitment to quality-over-quantity when it comes to reaching business prospects. (Much like when it comes to marketing tactics, via tip #2.)

Not every business needs to adopt a full-on ABM strategy, but it’s getting harder and harder to succeed in B2B through broad, blanket messaging.

5 — Empower Marketing as the Central Driver of Growth

In March, Janet Balis published a great article at Harvard Business Review highlighting 10 truths about marketing after the pandemic. They’re all insightful and on-point (and several support the recommendations above), but this final one strikes me most:

Old truth: Marketing is important for growth.

New truth: Marketing is at the center of the growth agenda for the full C-suite.

“Covid-19 has created a leadership culture of immediate collaboration focused on the urgent need for resilience,” Balis writes. “Marketing now has the opportunity to seize an ongoing central role in that dialogue, thereby driving the organization’s broader growth and innovation agenda.”

Don’t let this opportunity slip away. Now is the time for marketing to take the lead and drive the business forward on a foundation of strong customer intel and a central emphasis on customer experiences.

If you’re eager to put your own marketing growth and innovation agenda into action, and looking for some help taking things to the next level, we can help. Reach out to TopRank Marketing and let’s chat.

* Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is a TopRank Marketing client

The post Brave New World: The Model for B2B Marketing Success, Post-Pandemic appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Hybrid & Remote Work Trends That Will Alter The Future Of B2B Marketing

Dozens of black and white photos of business professionals.

Dozens of black and white photos of business professionals.

How is the shift to remote and hybrid work affecting B2B marketers?

Which trends will endure in the post-pandemic marketing landscape?

The dramatic shift to hybrid and remote work that has been brought about by the pandemic is set to forever alter the way B2B marketers and the organizations they work for and with do business.

Let’s take a look at some of these changes, and the trends that are likely to permanently affect B2B marketers, and I’ll offer my own perspective coming from a long-term background in remote work.

Flexibility: Remote & Hybrid Options May Come Permanent

On Monday, March 23, 2007 I started my life of working remotely — a process I wrote about last year as the pandemic first began forcing much of the workforce into unfamiliar remote work situations. In “Day 4,777: Remote Work Tips From 13+ Years As A Distance Marketer,” I looked at how B2B marketers can thrive in the new era of remote work, and offered a variety of tips I’ve picked up during my time as a remote worker.

Since then a great deal has changed in the world. I’m up to 5,106 days of working remotely, and what was once a tiny segment of the workforce has over the past year grown to encompass a massive swath of workers worldwide, including those working in the B2B marketing industry.

Leaders at organizations worldwide have shifted from what had been seen as a temporary emergency move to remote work, to implementing permanent and fundamental changes involving remote and hybrid work variations.

[bctt tweet=”“It’s a very interesting time for the history of work, not even just the history of remote work. I think fundamentally work is going to change, and it’s never going back to the way it was before.” — Liam McIvor Martin @vtamethodman” username=”toprank”]

A Convergence of Forces is Driving Remote Worker Relocation Options

This hybrid and remote work sea change has also had far-reaching and sometimes unforeseen implications. Workers in major metropolitan centers have come to realize that they’re no longer necessarily required to be tethered to a particular work location, and not just within their city, as growing numbers of professionals are leaving cities such as San Francisco and New York for locations that are a world away — and not only in size and cost-of-living.

This week CNN’s John D. Sutter explored the phenomenon from a climate change perspective, in “As people flee climate change on the coasts, this Midwest city is trying to become a safe haven,” another factor that has coincided with the pandemic to fuel a new era of remote and hybrid work options.

The safe haven city Sutter’s piece focuses on is Duluth, Minnesota — which happens to be my home of the past 26 years. The city of 86,000, a few hours north of Minneapolis, is where I’ve worked remotely for some 14 years now. My wife Julie and I live next door to Duluth mayor Emily Larson, who shared with Sutter that, “We are known as the San Francisco of the North. I’ll let you decide if you think that’s true.”

Most who visit Duluth do indeed see more than physical similarities with San Francisco — the hills of Duluth line the vast waters of Lake Superior — and I have technology industry friends who have moved here from both San Francisco and New York, thanks to burgeoning remote work opportunities.

The convergence of the pandemic and ongoing climate change create a scenario where more B2B workers than ever now have opportunities to consider living wherever they wish, and as we learn more about the ramifications of widespread remote and hybrid work, many are seeing more positive elements to the shift than negative ones.

B2B marketers and the organizations they work for and with will increasingly need to address these urgent hybrid and remote work changes, whether it’s in attracting and keeping talent, how we communicate with one another, or in the very stories brands are telling in their marketing efforts.

The Ensuing Hybrid Work Disruption

A recent study by one of the world’s biggest employers, Microsoft, has tackled many of these issues, with the March release of “The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work – Are We Ready?

Some of the fascinating take-aways from the Microsoft report, gathered from data in 31 counties and more than 30,000 people, along with more than a trillion anonymous signals from its Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn* products, include the following:

  • 40 percent of the workforce has considered leaving their employer over the past year
  • 73 percent of workers want to continue having flexible remote work options
  • 65 percent crave spending additional in-person time with their teams
  • 66 percent of business decision makers are considering redesigned physical work-spaces to better suit hybrid work
  • 46 percent have said their employer doesn’t provide help with remote work expenses
  • 67 percent want more in-person work or collaboration after the pandemic
  • Time spent in meetings has more than doubled
  • Team chat messaging has increased by 45 percent
  • 1 in 5 have met their colleagues’ pets or family members virtually over the past year
  • 39 percent say they’re now more likely to be their full and authentic selves at work
  • Remote job postings on LinkedIn have climbed by more than five times
  • 46 percent of remote workers plan to move to a new location this year

On this last point, Karin Kimbrough, chief economist at LinkedIn, noted in the Microsoft report that, “This shift is likely to stick, and it’s good for democratizing access to opportunity,” Kimbrough said. “Companies in major cities can hire talent from underrepresented groups that may not have the means or desire to move to a big city. And in smaller cities, companies will now have access to talent that may have a different set of skills than they had before,” she added.

Microsoft Report Hybrid Image

B2B Marketers Rethink Hybrid & Remote Work

The shift to hybrid, flexible, and remote work options is an active and ongoing process to be certain, however significant movement has already been made. The genie of rethinking work fundamentals has been set in motion, and can’t ever be put back in its bottle.

New studies highlighting shifting perspectives on remote and hybrid work are publishing frequently, such as a recent WeWork and Workplace Intelligence report which found that 64 percent of employees said they were willing to pay for access to office space to support hybrid work, and that 75 percent would forgo at least one job benefit or perk in order to have the freedom to choose their work environment.

A Gartner survey showed that some 80 percent of business leaders plan to allow remote work once the pandemic has ended.

How B2B marketers react to these changes is likely to be crucial to thriving among increased post-pandemic competition.

We hope that this brief glimpse into a few of the remote and hybrid work changes that are already taking place, and others likely to be implemented in the years to come, will help inform your own marketing efforts.

To dig even deeper into remote work issues, be sure to watch our Break Free B2B Marketing video interview episode featuring Liam McIvor Martin, co-founder of Time Doctor and Staff.com: Break Free B2B Marketing: Liam McIvor Martin of Time Doctor on The Revolutionary Power of Remote Work.

Contact us today to find out why brands from SAP, LinkedIn, and Adobe to IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more have chosen TopRank Marketing, and also check out our careers page including remote and hybrid positions.

*LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Hybrid & Remote Work Trends That Will Alter The Future Of B2B Marketing 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®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Liam McIvor Martin of Time Doctor on The Revolutionary Power of Remote Work

Liam McIvor Martin

Liam McIvor Martin

When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, it’s only natural to wonder 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 exploring the issues that each expert is influential about.

All successful B2B influencers have 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.”

Incorporating all of these qualities and more is Liam McIvor Martin, co-founder of Time Doctor, who we’re thrilled to be profiling today.

2020 was a year of immense change that has continued into 2021. One change that’s been especially significant for B2B marketers is the rise of remote work. Remote work has always been around, but 2020 saw it change from option to necessity. Businesses large and small have had to send their employees home to quarantine and stay safe in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many of these decisions had to be made quickly. Whenever a process is rushed, there’s an increased chance of things going wrong. That’s why businesses are wondering where those pitfalls lie, how they can avoid them, and beyond. That’s why we asked Liam McIvor Martin to appear on Season 3 of the Break Free B2B Marketing interview series.

Liam has been answering questions about remote work for years – and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. He has the credentials to prove it: he’s the co-founder of TimeDoctor, a leader in time tracking software, and the co-organizer of Running Remote, the world’s largest conference on building and scaling remote teams.

In today’s 37 minute interview with TopRank’s Nick Nelson he’ll be sharing the expertise he’s gained over his years promoting remote work.

Break Free B2B Interview with Liam McIvor Martin



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.

  • 1:30 – Introduction to Liam McIvor Martin
  • 4:45 – Trends in remote work
  • 7:05 – Definable advantages of remote work for businesses
  • 10:48 – How to keep your team tight knit while working hybrid or remote
  • 16:55 – Examples of companies making transformational shifts and overcoming remote work related challenges
  • 20:27 – Things preventing businesses from finding success with remote work
  • 26:25 – Recommendations for solutions or products that can benefit companies looking to find as much success as possible with remote work
  • 29:26 – How Liam developed his personal brand
  • 33:30 – Where to find Liam and how to get in touch

Nick: I think we can all look at the trends and see that the remote work and work flexibility were very much on the rise before 2020 and all of its events. Can you talk a little bit about the sort of the trends you were seeing leading up to this, and the impact that you’ve seen from the pandemic and its effects?

Liam: Sure. So, in 2018, 5.5% of the U.S. workforce was working full time remotely. The OECD and U.S. Census defines that as more than four days a week working outside of the office. So that’s a really important qualifier there because remote-first companies, which is what we are, were in 37 different countries all over the world. We don’t have any offices. We work entirely remote. But post-COVID, it’s at 58% — which is nuts. So we went from 5.5% to 58%. And we were projected to actually be at 50% by 2027. We literally just jumped five years into the future.

We’ve seen Twitter go remote, we see Google saying they’re going to stay remote by 2022. Facebook is going 50% remote, Shopify — all of these companies are going remote now and we’re really starting to see a tide change. Recognizing that remote is not only a better economic decision for employers, but it’s also a much better decision for the employee. So there’s a really interesting push pull, and my estimate is that after COVID is over — and I mean vaccine-over — we’re probably going to float to around 50% of the U.S. workforce working remotely. You’re sitting in an empty office right now. I think there’s gonna be a lot more of those in the next couple years.

[bctt tweet=”“My estimate is that after COVID is over, and I mean vaccine-over, we’re probably going to float to around 50% of the US workforce working remotely.” — Liam McIvor Martin @vtamethodman #BreakFreeB2B #remotework” username=”toprank”]

Nick: Yes, the impacts across the board are going to be really interesting. You talked a little bit about how the benefits are being seen on the business side. For instance, not having to pay for a physical office space is huge for a business. I think a lot of companies and people are really starting to see these benefits. What would you say are these advantages that are coming out that people are starting to see? Any surprising ones?

Liam: Sure. The biggest problem that people had with going remote, which was actually the biggest problem, and still is the biggest problem that Time Doctor addresses is, well, how do I know what those people are doing if I can’t see them. That’s what Time Doctor fundamentally solves. And then there’s a whole bunch of other tools that are out there that can also solve other aspects of remote work as well.

But, fundamentally, a whole bunch of people tried this en masse. And they realized that within the first month, two months, three months — man — the numbers are coming back. And they’re as productive, if not more productive than when they were in the office. And that’s actually quite counterintuitive. And it’s quite interesting. When we look at the research — and there’s very little research that’s been done — but a lot more research that’s currently being done. There are more distractions at home — there’s kids, there’s your dog, there’s PlayStation, there’s, you know, CNN — there’s all of these different distractions that occur. However, if you remove the commute, which on average is about two and a half hours per day, for every working person — if you literally just deployed that as sleep, you’re going to get a much more productive person. So it’s not necessarily that remote work is more productive, it’s that you’re actually removing a major chunk of your day, which is sitting in a car back and forth, or sitting on a bus or a train or something like that back and forth, to be able to earn that time back.

On the employer side, employers are recognizing at this point that it’s just as productive. People are pretty happy. We just did a poll at the Running Remote online event that asked every one of those who were recently remote, how many of you are canceling your office leases, and 22% said that they’re canceling their office leases. And when you think about that, a lot of them are saying, “Well, we’re cancelling our office lease, but we still have a year and a half left, or we still have two years left on that office lease.” So that actually is a really interesting trigger inside of the economy that hasn’t been fully recognized yet. Because everyone’s still getting paid. But within the next eight to 24 months, I think you’re going to see an entire collapse of the office kind of rental space — the commercial lease space.

So there’s a bunch of things that are going on, and we really don’t know what the future is going to hold, but I know for sure that remote is definitely going to be a bigger piece of the pie.

[bctt tweet=”“Fundamentally, a whole bunch of people tried this en masse and realized that within the first months, man, the numbers are coming back, and they’re as productive, if not more productive than when they were in the office.” @vtamethodman” 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: Liam McIvor Martin of Time Doctor on The Revolutionary Power of Remote Work appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

5 Inspiring Reasons For B2B Marketing Optimism in 2021

Happy business woman smiling image.

Happy business woman smiling image.

How can the intense brightness that often follows humankind’s darkest moments help us achieve greater team unity and newfound marketing energy, gratitude and strength?

As the pandemic marches on into its second year, B2B marketers looking to rise above despair and make this a brighter and more successful year can look especially to the five reasons we’ve gathered here for being optimistic about the many positive opportunities and experiences that 2021 holds in store.

Let’s jump right in and take a look at five inspiring reasons for B2B marketing optimism in 2021 and beyond.

1 — We’re More United As Teams & As Communities

Despite the difficult pandemic challenges of 2020 that have continued into 2021, B2B marketers have gained a newfound understanding of the power of successful teamwork, even as remote work has typically meant less physically time together.

Online collaboration systems are undoubtedly flourishing as never before, as teams meet and share in fascinating and sometimes unanticipated new ways using Zoom, Slack, monday.com* and so many other powerful tools for digital integration.

Teams that haven’t been used to working together remotely have gained not only new technology skills, but a new sense of understanding and appreciation for work associates and the challenges we all face — issues that were largely unseen in professional life during pre-pandemic times.

[bctt tweet=”“Teams that haven’t been used to working together remotely have gained not only new technology skills, but a new sense of understanding and appreciation for work associates and the challenges we all face.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

2 — We’re Poised To Unleash Tremendous New Energy

Be ready to tap into the pure and boundless energy that are likely to overflow when our professional and personal lives are safely able to return to not quite what they were, but as close as we can come.

The day World War II ended saw great global celebrations and relief, and while the pandemic recovery won’t likely be such an overnight occurrence, when we collectively switch to lives more closely resembling those we had before the global health crisis, each of us will be able to harness tremendous new energy, which can’t help but inspire our marketing efforts and lives in new and exciting ways.

When this post-pandemic energy is released into the B2B marketing world, the floodgates of creativity are likely to open and drive increased focus on campaigns that connect brand and customer in deeper and more meaningful ways.

[bctt tweet=”“When post-pandemic energy is released into the B2B marketing world, the floodgates of creativity are likely to open and drive increased focus on campaigns that connect brand and customer in deeper and more meaningful ways.” @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

3 — Our Gratitude Will Create Great Marketing That Makes a Difference

Living for over a year under trying circumstances has helped us to be thankful for our little victories, and to appreciate a new sense of gratitude brought on by some of those small aspects of our lives that have turned out to mean so much more than they did in pre-pandemic times.

This hard-won gratitude will go far in creating marketing efforts that tell more authentic stories, and help humanize content campaigns that allow B2B marketers to get closer to their customers.

To help you prepare to harness all that newfound gratitude, check out the following posts that explore how thankfulness can make for more powerful marketing:

[bctt tweet=”“Try your best to make goodness attractive. That’s one of the toughest assignments you’ll ever be given.” — Fred Rogers @FredRogersCtr” username=”toprank”]

4 — We’ve Got More Tools & Tactics Than Ever

During 2020 global usage of technology climbed in ways it’s never done before, resulting in a proliferation of new social media tools, expansion of online communication options, and the growth of marketing tactics that can help us succeed with each new possibility.

The sky’s the limit for B2B marketers who find the right tools that allow them to build relevant best-answer content. With such a wealth of application, tool, utility and service choices, the hardest challenge may simply be finding the ones that allow you to work in the manner that brings out your best.

To help you find new tools, we’ve published insight into some of the top tools for B2B marketers, such as these:

[bctt tweet=”“Marketers have incredible power to spread some calm in a chaotic world right now. Use it wisely.” — Britney Muller @BritneyMuller” username=”toprank”]

5 — We’re Stronger From Overcoming Pandemic Marketing Challenges

It may not be immediately apparent yet, but by overcoming the challenges the pandemic has thrown at our professional and person lives, we have gained strength that may take some time and reflection to fully appreciate.

In 2021 this strength will unfold and eventually work its way into our efforts as B2B marketers, bringing a fresh zest for the power our content has to change hearts and minds.

To help us see and appreciate the strengths we’ve added, it’s helpful to look back and reflect on the challenges we’ve faced and overcome during the past year — whether small or monumental.

Some find that making a comprehensive list of the obstacles we’ve survived helps to bring into clearer focus the progress that will infuse our 2021 marketing efforts with new strength.

[bctt tweet=”“It may not be immediately apparent yet, but by overcoming the challenges the pandemic has thrown at our professional and person lives, we have gained strength that may take some time and reflection to fully appreciate.” @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

Embrace A Positive 2021 Overflowing With New Marketing Opportunity

via GIPHY

Combined, these five reasons for B2B marketers to be optimistic — our greater team unity, energy, gratitude and strength along with powerful new tools — can provide new inspiration as we gather ourselves to face the many challenges and opportunities of 2021.

* monday.com is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 5 Inspiring Reasons For B2B Marketing Optimism in 2021 appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.