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®.

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®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Oliver Christie on Making Life Better With AI

Oliver Christie of PertexaHealthTech Image

Oliver Christie of PertexaHealthTech Image

Just what is a B2B influencer, and what do they actually look like?

In our third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews we’re having in-depth conversations with an impressive array of top B2B influencers, exploring the important issues that each expert is influential about.

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

Offering up all of those boxes and more is Oliver Christie, chief artificial intelligence (AI) officer at PertexaHealthTech, who we’re delighted to be profiling today.

Nothing helps individuals and the businesses they work for break free from the norm quite like a tech disruption. The microprocessor. The internet. Mobile data. E-Commerce. When these technologies came onto the scene, everything changed… but what’s next?

According to Oliver Christie, it’s AI. In his own words: “Artificial Intelligence is the biggest technology disruption of our generation.” As far as he’s concerned, A.I. isn’t just the future, it’s the present. In today’s new episode of the Break Free B2B Marketing Interview series, Christie speaks about the role of artificial intelligence in our lives, including topics like A.I. and morality, bias in A.I., and the direction of A.I.’s future.

Artificial intelligence isn’t science fiction. It’s very much a science reality, and Oliver Christie is one of the leading experts talking and consulting on the topic. In today’s 31 minute interview with TopRank’s own Josh Nite, he’ll be passing some of that expertise along.

Break Free B2B Interview with Oliver Christie

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.

  • :55 – Introduction to Oliver Christie
  • 3:05 – Human-centric artificial intelligence
  • 4:14 – Personalization and how to avoid the “diabolical side”
  • 5:46 – The ways Oliver believes AI will impact the life of the everyday person in the next couple years
  • 7:10 – Personalization on Amazon
  • 11:13 – How AI will be reshaping business
  • 13:46 – What’s your new question?”
  • 16:50 – How the pandemic is changing the way technology is being developed
  • 19:10 – Bias in AI
  • 22:46 – How Oliver Christie found his niche as a thought leader
  • 27:58 – The importance of being yourself

Josh: I’m really interested in what we were talking about before we started. The idea of human-centric AI. AI can feel like this distant or cold thing or something that is, you know, it’s powering my Netflix algorithm. But I don’t know how it relates to my day to day. How is it a human-centric thing? We’re thinking about people and individuals.

Oliver: Something we’re moving more and more towards is thinking about people as individuals and what matters to us. How we talk. How do we act? What are our interests? You mentioned Netflix. The algorithm which says what you should watch next. If that’s successful, you watch more. If it has an understanding of what you might like, you can see more media if you get it. If it gets it wrong, if it doesn’t know who you are, it is a turnoff and you never see the difference between that and other media services. 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. How will we live? And so on. But there are some big challenges. So it’s not a quick and easy thing to do. But I think the future is pretty exciting.

[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.” @OliverChristie #BreakFreeB2B #ArtificialIntelligence #AI” username=”toprank”]

Josh: Have you ever been on Amazon while not logged in? It’s such a striking thing to open an incognito window or something and you see how much personalization goes into that page and how just clueless it seems when it’s not on there.

Oliver: Amazon’s an interesting one. It’s algorithm is better than nothing. And it works to a degree. Some of the time, if you match a pattern — so the music you listen to, the books you buy — f someone is quite close to that, it works. As soon as you deviate, it pulls down or as soon as you’re looking for something original, it also doesn’t work. So I think Amazon is a good example of where we are at the moment, but not where we could be next. Amazon doesn’t once ask, what are you trying to achieve in your shopping? What are you trying to do next? And I think that’s going to be one of the big shifts that will happen.

Josh: What are we trying to achieve with that shopping, though? Besides, for me, it’s filling the void of not being able to go out to a concert and having a party, having something to look forward to with deliveries coming in. What kind of intent are you thinking about?

Oliver: Imagine you had the same shopping experience and let’s say it’s for books, videos, or courses. And the simple question can be, what would you like to achieve in your career in the next six months? Where would you like to be or what’s happening in your personal life? Want some advice and information which could be really useful? I think this sort of tailoring is where things are heading. So it’s still selling books and courses and videos and so on. But it’s understandably the intent behind content. What could this do to your career? What could this do for your family life, your love life, whatever it might be? Now, of course, we’re all locked down at the moment. So it’s a very different sort of situation. But I think some of the same things still apply. There’s going to be a back and forth. So how much do you want to give up about your personal life? Better recommendation. And I think it’s kind of early in some respects. But the data they passed shows, yes, if you get something positive out of it, you’ll have to give up some of that previously.

[bctt tweet=”“Amazon is a good example of where we are at the moment, but not where we could be next. Amazon doesn’t once ask, what are you trying to achieve in your shopping? What are you trying to do next?.” @OliverChristie #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: Oliver Christie on Making Life Better With AI appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Tim Crawford of AVOA on The New Normal

Break Free B2B Marketing Tim Crawford

Break Free B2B Marketing Tim Crawford

Just what is a B2B influencer, and what do they actually look like?

In our new third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews we’re having in-depth conversations with an impressive array of top B2B influencers, exploring the important issues that each expert is influential about.

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

Ticking all of those boxes is Tim Crawford, CIO strategic advisor at AVOA, who we’re thrilled to be profiling today.

One way for B2B marketers to break free is by looking at what successful C-Level executives are doing and thinking. This is especially true in the middle of an unprecedented year, where what is “normal” for any business owner or leader is almost constantly changing.

Tim Crawford has a unique insight into the minds of C-Level executives. He’s gained this both by spending over a decade both being a CIO himself and spending nearly as much time working as a professional consultant. Frequently being quoted in publications like the Wall Street Journal and Forbes while hosting popular podcasts like CIO in the Know and CxO in the Know are just a few of Tim’s credentials when it comes to addressing the executive suite.

In case you didn’t already know, a CIO, also known as a company’s Chief Intelligence Officer, is the person in charge of its IT (information technology) department. Tim Crawford was invited to be one of the expert speakers during Season 3 of the Break Free B2B Marketing interview series because of his vast experience surrounding CIOs.

This expertise is especially relevant right now as the world’s workforce is changing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. How do you safely manage a secure remote workforce? How do you approach the “new normal” and how do you speak to those looking for assistance within this dynamic landscape? These questions, and more, will be answered during today’s hour-long interview between Tim and TopRank’s own president and co-founder Susan Misukanis.

Break Free B2B Interview with Tim Crawford

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.

  • 1:53 – Tim’s New Normal
  • 3:40 – Unexpected gains for CXO’s in the last three to six months
  • 5:28 – Faulty plans
  • 5:46 – Tim talks about what he calls the “virus crisis”
  • 7:45 – How the workforce adjusts to working from home
  • 10:17 – Diversifying supply chains
  • 12:04 – Defending against phishing
    14:59 – Protecting privacy for corporations and WFH employees
  • 17:10 – How do CIOs deal with the new habits required for at-home workers?
  • 18:16 – Working from home distractions
  • 21:20 – CIOS partnering with HR
  • 24:06 – IT and critical thinking
  • 26:04 – It’s okay to schedule time to think
  • 27:50 – How do businesses work through uncertainty
  • 31:46 – Pandemic preparedness
  • 33:26 – How to go back or move forward with office culture post-crisis
  • 38:15 – How would you counsel CIOs who are “holding” right now?
  • 43:57 – Tim’s approach to engaging in B2B partnerships
  • 52:41 – The differences between B2B and B2C influencers and partnerships
  • 56:30 – Tim’s last piece of advice

Susan: We’ve talked about security, privacy, supply chain, human capital management, and economic impact. Is there another category that we didn’t cover and should, because this is an issue and you’re dealing with in the CXO community and counseling about that?

Tim: There is a lot of what we do, especially in I.T., is based on a process, right — you mentioned it earlier. People process technology. It’s a guideline that’s been used for several decades. The challenge is that I.T. — to a large degree — has lost a critical component over the decades. We’ve gotten so focused on things like best practices and so focused on processes that we have actually lost a lot of the ability to do critical thinking. Case in point: think about work from home.

When you have a support organization that is used to supporting corporate networks, it’s usually well defined. You know the technologies that are usually in play, you know the equipment that the user is going to be connecting from. There might be some other variables in the mix, but for the most part there are known quantities.

When you get to work from home, it’s all over the map. You have no idea what you’re walking into. How is the connectivity, which Wi-Fi technology are they using? Is it broadband? Is it DSL? Is it something else? You just don’t know what technology, or are they using a Mac now when they’re accustomed to a Windows system? Are they using a nonstandard system that doesn’t have a corporate image on it? And what other things are running on that system? And do you have kids that are also using that system and might be downloading things on it? Do you have a lot more variables that come into play? So it’s probably important now more than ever.

It’s been true before, but it’s now more than ever important that we start to think about critical thinking. You have to logically kind of walk through a process and think about how all of these other aspects come into play. And that’s not something that we have been teaching our I.T. teams. And frankly, this is not something that we’ve seen in the entire ecosystem, is this critical thinking. But more-so going forward, we will have to rely on that, because as things change, once we get past the virus crisis, once we start to escape the economic crisis. Critical thinking will be far more important. And we see that in the social impact. I mean, we can see it in our everyday lives, whether it’s around racial injustices, the way people are treated, the social impact, the sustainability of organizations, all of these are going to require critical thinking much more than we have in the past.

[bctt tweet=”“In our everyday lives, whether it’s around racial injustices, the way people are treated, social impact or the sustainability of organizations, all are going to require critical thinking much more than we have in the past.” @tcrawford” username=”toprank”]

Susan: You see this industry kind of rallying around that critical thinking need? And, you know, services and so forth, opening up new industries, opening up, or gosh, “This is Tim and x and a few executives.” And you’re planting the seeds.

Tim: Yeah, unfortunately, I wish it was the former. But today it’s the latter. We are just planting the seeds and frankly hoping that they germinate. I think they will for a number of different reasons this time more than in past years and past events that we’ve experienced. But the reality is that most people are still kind of fighting through the virus crisis and all the impact that comes from it. Here in California, we went from one shutdown to opening things up and now we’re back in the last couple of days here to another shutdown. So you know, it’s how do you work through that from a business standpoint — and forget about B2C — that’s even more complicated.

But from a B2B standpoint, it’s just as complicated. So we have to think beyond that once we get past the virus crisis. And I have a whole separate range of discussion we could go into, but around the virus crisis, the economic crisis, and the social impact. At the end of the day, all of this is based off of uncertainty around the virus. Once we get certainty around the virus, that will have a dramatic impact on choices. We make things we do. It will also start to impact the economic crisis that we’re all feeling. And it will start to create clarity around the social impact long term. The virus certainty is what we absolutely need to be focused on. And whatever we can do to drive toward that from there, then we can get into these other aspects.

As we start to think about how we come out of this at the end, assuming that you do, you are one of the lucky ones that do come out at the end, because let’s face it, there are a lot of businesses that will not survive the next six months as we get through the virus crisis, because the reality is we won’t see a vaccine in mass, at least here in the U.S., for at least six to nine months.

I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal recently, and one of the questions that came to me was when do we start to get back to that rebuilding process? And this is a discussion that took place a couple weeks ago. But at that point in time, I said Q3 of 2021. Now, this is before we had hit Q3 of 2020. And everybody on the call kind of like went, “that far out?!” I’m like, let me play it out for you. And I walked through my thinking around it and they all came around and realized that, OK, I understand how this kind of plays out. So I think we have to hunker down and be in it for quite a while longer here and just be realistic about it. But once we start to get in that mode, we’ll start to get more innovative, too.

[bctt tweet=”“I think we have to hunker down and be in it for quite a while longer here and just be realistic about it. Once we start to get in that mode, we’ll start to get more innovative.” @tcrawford” 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: Tim Crawford of AVOA on The New Normal appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.