4 Marketing Mindsets That Don’t Cut It Anymore

According to content marketers, content marketing today is in bad shape. It should be no surprise as to why: more content is being created, shared and promoted than ever before, but with little to focus on what content audiences actually want.

According to a joint study between ON24 and Heinz Marketing, marketers have shown a significant decline in the confidence they have in their content marketing strategies.  The problem has gotten so bad, in fact, that most marketers don’t know if they’re delivering the right content to the right audience, don’t measure performance and don’t measure results.

More Content Marketing Tips

The uncertainty around content marketing and its performance is unfortunate, but it doesn’t have to be fatal. Marketers can pull themselves out of their rut by understanding the four marketing mindsets that don’t cut it anymore.

Bad Marketing Mindset One: Growth Hacking

Growth hacking is a popular marketing mindset that exploded in the past decade. There are many different growth hacking definitions, but, in principle, the strategy centers around “grow the company no matter what.” Often, it does so through rapid campaign iterations.

The problem with most growth hacking efforts today, however, is that it distracts from the important, foundational elements a marketing program needs. Foundational strategies are thrown out the window in favor of whatever works. Buyer personas are inaccurate, not done or are targeted as “anyone and everyone.” The buyer’s journey

Growth hacking may work for a short while and provide early-stage startups with some numbers to show investors. But these early-growth sprints deplete marketing reserves at the cost of long-term, consistent growth.

Bad Marketing Mindset Two: Guesswork

Too many marketing campaigns today operate on guesswork. Marketers will share content they perceive as relevant, or popular, for an audience without considering actual pain points, needs or objectives. The guessing problem is prevalent and stems from a variety of factors.

Instead, marketers should use what they know and build from there. The scientific method — where marketers hypothesize, experiment, measure and assess — can add certainty to any content program. For example, editorial calendars can be used to plot out iterations on popular blog posts or content. They can also be changed based off of measured results.

Bad Marketing Mindset Three: More Means Better

Adding more to the pile of blogs and white papers and e-books inundates and intimidates clients and prospects. It’s also emblematic of something worse: that you don’t actually know your audience all that well.

Take the time to understand what your customers and prospects actually care about when it comes to your content. And a better understanding includes more than just the substance of the content you’re creating. Know which formats and channels drive more interaction, engagement and interest and deliver content for those channels.

Bad Marketing Mindset Four: Follow the Leader

There are a lot of marketing success stories out there. In fact, sharing those stories is a mini-industry unto itself. It’s tempting to look at the success of others and copy what they do, but copying a tactic or strategy and applying it to your marketing situation ignores the needs of your audience.

Remember that every business, yours included, is uniquely different. Your customers, selling environment and your industry add up to one requirement: content created from your organization’s unique perspective. To create this unique perspective, you need to have a strong understanding of your audience, their pain points and where and how they engage with your content.

How ON24 Does Webinar Registration Without the Forms

This past month, we tested a new registration process for our Webinar Best Practices Series. Instead of filling out a cumbersome form, users simply click a button to add the webinar to their calendar, and voilà, they are registered. This simplified process lowers the barrier to registration and, so far, has led to an uplift in our numbers. After a few requests for an explanation of how it works we decided it was time to share it with our fellow webinerds!

How it works

The mechanics are simple. Note that, while we are using Marketo to accomplish this, it should also be possible with other automation platforms.

The first thing we did was create a simple landing page with buttons to add the webinar to the user’s calendar. We marked the page with both noidex and nofollow so search engines can’t find it. We’ll explain why soon.

ON24’s integration with Marketo means we can use any action to trigger a webinar registration flow. Generally we wait for a form-fill, but, in this case, what we’re looking for is a click on either of two particular landing page links.

The information in the calendar invites is stored as query strings at the end of the links, so make sure you strip everything after (and including) the question mark off of the end of the link.

After we set up the trigger, all we have to do is add our standard registration flow steps to the smart campaign. Once that’s done, we’re ready for the races.

Things to consider

This process does have two major limitations to consider:

  1. This only works for people who have your Marketo cookie. To combat this, we only included in email sends from Marketo and we made sure that page was not findable on Google.
  2. The process doesn’t work if people forward the email. Depending on your audience, this could be a big problem. So far, it hasn’t been for us, but we are still in the testing phase.

The Screenless Internet: Marketing In the Next Frontier

This post originally appeared on MarketingLand.com. Shared with the author’s permission.

I’ve caught myself a few times in recent weeks – sitting at my desk and flipping between looking at my computer screen and my phone in hand. Across the office, television news runs on mute. It’s hard to avoid screens in today’s age, and even harder to avoid their constant, almost gravitational pull for our attention.

On my commute home, though, I avoid screens. I throw my phone in my duffel bag and listen to podcasts and articles as a way to decompress while staying up to date on the latest news. Ironically, I recently listened to a story by New York Times writer Farhad Manjoo, titled “I Didn’t Write This Column. I Spoke It.” The column, which was originally dictated to a smartphone, details a trend that I was already taking part in but didn’t realize: we’re moving away from screens. It may still be unconscious for most of us, but it’s happening nonetheless — whether we’re asking Alexa about the weather, having Siri set us a reminder, or listening to an audiobook.

The State of Screens in Marketing

Screens are simply a part of everyday life. But I think we’ve all experienced the fatigue that comes with constantly being glued to a screen: having our eyes strained, constantly responding to the endless pings of notifications and messages, being unable to sleep at night because we’ve been on our phone. Interacting with a screen, clearly, is not always a positive digital experience. I know that’s why I relish my commutes home, with nothing but sound. And I’m not alone. Nielsen found that online radio listening has grown steadily, and that “[a]s of early 2018, 64% of Americans ages 12 and older had listened to online radio in the past month, while 57% had listened in the past week.”

When the digital revolution exploded, it revolutionized marketing. Suddenly we had unparalleled insights into our email content, whitepapers, webinars — everything. We knew how many people watched our videos and for how long. It fundamentally transformed how marketers operated in this new data-driven world. And it all unfolded on screens. For a long time, it was hard to imagine how digital marketing would ever happen off screen.

Our Screenless Future

But now we’re starting to see that the screenless internet is coming, and with it so will screenless marketing. What’s so intriguing about this, is that we’ve almost come full circle. Even though screenless marketing represents the next step in the evolution of digital marketing, ironically, it’s not really digital at all. Our screen fatigue has driven us offline: though we still want to consume content, we don’t always want to do that through our fingers on a keyboard or touchscreen.

As the screenless internet continues to grow, we marketers have to grow in parallel: audio can now be transcribed, translated, scaled and distributed largely in the same way content – from emails to whitepapers to case studies – can be. How will this reshape marketing? The implications are endless.

In a recent article, Harvard Business Review suggests that our loyalty will be less toward brands, and more toward AI assistants like Alexa, Google Home, and HomePod who we’ll converse with daily. “In fact, we predict that AI assistants will win consumers’ trust and loyalty better than any previous marketing technology. […] AI platforms will be able to predict what combination of features, price, and performance is most appealing to someone at a given moment.”

How Marketing Stands to Gain

As a result, marketers will look to optimize their position on AI platforms and partner relationships with brands. Just as marketers have jockeyed for SEO position on search engines in the past decade, marketers may look to do the same through these personal assistant devices.

It’s up to us marketers how we shape this new marketing landscape – to understand how we will effectively “screen the screenless.” But while we don’t know what shape this will take, rest assured that the same principles of good marketing will hold steady. No matter who the medium or channel, a winning marketing strategy will always prioritize the customer and their needs, deliver them valuable and personalized content and engage them with the right message at the right time. As marketers venture into this new frontier, the ones who win – as always – will be those who abide by these proven marketing truths.

Next Week On Webinar Best Practices Series: How to Drive On-Demand Results

Appointments are a pain. You gotta find a date, time and location and make your way to the appointed place at the appointed time — and pray traffic cooperates. Fortunately, today, we can make on-demand appointments, making it easier for audiences to attend.

But what if we could make an appointment or meeting take place at any time, anywhere? Well, with an on-demand webinar program, you can. On-demand webinars — or always-on webinars as we like to call them — allow attendees to consume webinar content on their own time and to whatever capacity they wish. It’s “Netflix-style” approach to webinars and we’re going to show you how you can make your own program next week on May 14 during our next Webinar Best Practice Series event.

Discover the on-demand webinar basics with these links:

Always-on webinars are a critical element in any webinar program. In fact, according to the ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report for 2019, more than a third of all attendees did so as on-demand attendees. For demand generation marketers, that alone should be a clear signal that their always-on house needs to be in order.

But always-on webinars demand a different approach to their live counterparts. Polls need configuring, clips need to be made and the webinars themselves need to be easy to find and access. So can you manage it all?

Well, first, you should register for next Tuesday’s event, “On-Demand Strategies.” Why? Well, Mark Bornstein, Chief Webinerd at ON24, will discuss the elements of always-on — including hubs, always-on promotion and how to integrate with demand generation — at length. But in the meantime, there are three tips you should know:

Tip 1: Have a post-webinar plan in place

Every great webinar has a plan. There’s a speaker (or speakers), a promotional strategy and talking points. But the always-on aspect always seems to be forgotten. Don’t forget it. Write out your current webinar process as accurately as you can, right up to when the event goes live. Then, jot down how you’d execute a post-live event strategy — from promotion to updated polls and more.

With the basics of an always-on strategy in place, you can quickly modify and iterate on your webinar process until the on-demand aspect becomes a natural part of your webinar workflow.

Tip 2: Centralize your content

Always-on webinars should be easy to find and easy to navigate. Often, this means having an on-demand hub. Hubs bring all of your webinars into a central location and allow your audience to binge on the webinars that interest them for as long as they want.

Keep in mind that different audiences need to find content relevant to them. Sometimes, having a targeted page can help expedite their search, boost your content and make quality engagements happen faster.  ON24 Target, for example, lets you create personalized webinar hubs that are highly-relevant to an industry or, even, an account.

Tip 3: Analyze On-Demand Results Regularly

Now for the fun part: analysis. On-demand webinars can provide you with a wealth of data that can you refine your program, boost engaging content and create even more engagement opportunities. Build out some time, maybe once a month or quarter, to go through your always-on results to see where your audiences are engaging and why.

Doing so can also help you understand who’s interacting with your on-demand program — giving you the data you need to refine and re-target as needed. For example, Twilio found its on-demand webinars are a top driver for Marketing Qualified Leads, allowing them to use MQLs as a benchmark for always-on webinar effectiveness and engagement.

There’s a lot to learn about always-on webinars. Tune in next Tuesday, May 14, at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) as Mark Bornstein teaches you how to build, analyze and promote an on-demand webinar program from scratch.

CMO Confessions Ep. 20: Arity’s Lisa Jillson

Hello and welcome to another edition of CMO Confessions, our weekly podcast encapsulating what it means to be a marketing leader in the B2B space today.

This week on CMO Confessions we have Lisa Jillson, Marketing Leader at Arity, join us to discuss what it’s like working for a spinoff company, why today’s experts should have the courage to take a stand and why the concept of right vs. right now is so important in marketing today.

If you’re interested in discovering what else Lisa has to say, you can find her Twitter profile here. If you’re interested in her background you can check out her LinkedIn profile here.

If you’re interested in listening to our growing podcast series, you can find all of our episodes right here in podbean. Alternatively, you can also find us on both iTunes and Google Play stores.

Without further ado, welcome to CMO Confessions. Let’s chat.

Table of Contents:

How Arity was Built
Lisa Jillson’s Thoughts and Experience Behind Building Arity
The Evolution of Marketing Skill Sets Over The Last 20 Years
Where Can You Have Persuasive Advertising Power
Brands That Succeed Are Invested in Thought Leadership
Authenticity, Conviction and Controversy
Building the Right Brand With the Realities of Growth

Joe Hyland:        

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of CMO Confessions, a weekly B2B sales and marketing podcast, where we explore what it really means to be a marketing leader in today’s business world. I’m Joe Hyland, CMO here at ON24 and joining me this week from the chilly Chicago area is Lisa Jillson, a marketing leader at Arity. Lisa, how you doing?

Lisa Jillson:

Hi Joe. How are you?

Joe Hyland:

I am doing great. Thanks for being on the show.

Lisa Jillson:

Thanks. Thanks for having me.

How Arity was Built

Joe Hyland:        

All right, cool. Let’s dive into to things that you love doing in your day-to-day. So this can be what you’re doing on the team or just kind of broader marketing things. What are you, what are you passionate about and what do you love in marketing these days?

Lisa Jillson:

So I will start with what I am loving at Arity. I really have the unique opportunity with Arity to build something from the bottom up. You know, it’s kind of almost a marketer’s dream to be able to start a business and design and build all of the components of that business from the bottom up. So, little history Arity is, it’s a relatively new, we’re about two years old, data and analytics company. We were somewhat probably used the air quotes here, somewhat, spun out of Allstate, when we realized that the data and analytics that we were using around transportation data actually could be used in a lot more areas than just an insurance company. But we had nothing, so we got to really build the brand and the mission and the vision for where the company was going from the get-go.

Lisa Jillson:

So I don’t know that I would necessarily equate it to a true startup in that we certainly didn’t start off with anything. We started off with some assets in the tank, which is great, but we got the opportunity to be able to do things like really map out how we wanted marketing to contribute to the business. But nothing existed. So for me it’s really exciting to kind of be building everything from the bottom up and delivering some of the foundational marketing aspects without having to like either undo or build on top of things that maybe weren’t working ideally at the get-go.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, that’s incredibly exciting. And it’s, it’s nice to do it out of a spinout of such an established brand. I’ve started from scratch at a true startup which was wonderful, I loved starting with nothing, right? You’re not wallpapering over and over existing wallpaper. What I don’t miss is the, “are we gonna make it to payroll in two weeks and we need to do another round of funding and financing?” So you do have the luxury of not having to worry about that. What’s it at? So you’re building, in a lot of ways, correct me if I’m wrong, you’re building a brand within a brand. You’re your own entity of course, but what is that like as a spinoff of Allstate and then building out this brand from scratch?

Lisa Jillson:

That’s a great question. You know, I think while we had a good overarching vision for where we wanted this to go, there were a lot of questions that we had to dive into. You know, we are a wholly owned company within the Allstate Corporation, but we had to make some decisions on how closely we wanted to tie ourselves to the overall organization. In some aspects, especially from a sales perspective, that was a huge benefit. And in other industries, it was a huge hurdle for us. So we had to think through as we were mapping out how we wanted to go to market; how we were going to play both sides of that coin. So we had to think about, you know, gosh, for these constituents, for these potential prospects, they love the fact that we’re connected to Allstate because it says credibility and history and security and data integrity and all of that. On the flip side, in some cases, we were the dinosaur and you know, I think some would say spinouts out of established companies have a high likelihood of not having success because you’re burdened with some of the more traditional stuff. And, and frankly, we were also going to be, and we are, selling to Allstate insurance competitors. And how comfortable are they going to be buying from an entity that is actually owned by somebody that they would traditionally see as a competitor?

Joe Hyland:

So how’s it going?

Lisa Jillson:

Actually, so far better than I had anticipated. I had expected that there would be far more hurdles put in our way. And I think it helps that the senior leadership of the corporation believes in the vision. And to your point earlier, we’re not worried about keeping the lights on or making payroll in two weeks. So we’re well-funded in that respect. We’ve been actually seeing a whole lot of success given that we’ve really only been around for two years and a few months.

Lisa Jillson’s Thoughts and Experience Behind Building Arity

Joe Hyland:

Okay. That’s fantastic. So you come from the advertising and agency side. So you’ve worked with a lot of big CPGs and kind of household names. How, I’m curious how that experience has shaped how you view and your philosophy on building a brand for such an established company? Whereas now even as a spinout, you’re still in early entity and you know, you’re only a few years old, so what’s the brand vision and what are the thoughts behind what you’re building?

Lisa Jillson:

So, I believe that there’s one more component in there that we’ve had to think through. And make and keep conscious as we were building out different components of the business and the brand and that is what the markets that we play in are decidedly B2B. And you know, to your earlier point, most of my career has been on the B2C side. So frankly, when I came into this role it was a little daunting. I mean do I really have the skillset to work in a B2B setting? It’s very, it can be seen as very different. I think what I’ve learned thus far is that it’s not as different as people make it out to be. Actually, if anything, I would say in the last 10 years our society has made it with the advancement of digital and an ability to use digital to communicate and persuade people.

Lisa Jillson:

There’s much less of a difference between B2B and B2C than there used to be. And when you have companies like IBM spending millions of dollars on a brand like Watson, which is a B2B entity, it kind of changes the equation of how you think about what you need to do. So, I would say our vision continues to be, two years out is that awareness is still a big portion of what we need to build. And, and that doesn’t change whether you are selling a, I dunno, laundry detergent or soda pop or you’re selling a business that’s going to be to other businesses. If you don’t have a share of mind, you can’t build some credibility around what your brand is going to stand for, then it’s going to be hard to drive them down the funnel, whether they’re going and buying a dollar item at a convenience store or they’re spending millions of dollars on a software-as-a-service contract. Both of those require the same kind of tools.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, I totally agree. I think these long-held notions of pretty rigid walls between the consumer side and the B2B side of they’re crumbling. I mean, what it’s all about the scenarios you just walked through. The most important thing is you know everything humanly possible about the person at the other end of that decision or that purchase, right? And as long as you can do that and you have true empathy and you really understand what drives them, obviously there are other different levers; there’s obviously wildly different personas. That’s okay, but that’s what, to me, that’s what great marketing is about. There’s no like one-size-fits-all marketing philosophy. You have a different business than, I have and we have here. Right? And so we, you have different challenges, but you came over here and ran marketing for a webinar company you would adjust based off of what people are looking for when they’re thinking of digital marketing and buying webinar software. Right? Like you just got to know the other person, that persona.

Lisa Jillson:

I will have to say that, you know, in the last, well it’s been about three years that I’ve been kind of functioning in this role as a head of marketing for Arity. I love the flexibility that you get and the innovation that you get in the B2B world. You just have much less opportunity to do that, I think, in the B2C world. And maybe it’s because they, there’s more at stake, but I actually think it’s just because your target is so much broader that you’ve got to use more of like blunt objects to try to get the awareness built and whatnot. Whereas on the B2B standpoint, you’re a narrower target gives you actually an ability to try so many different things to figure out what levers going to get that person to be persuaded to, you know, listen to your pitch and actually sign a contract.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, I agree. I think focus is a beautiful thing, right? So, and the more narrow you can get with your audience and your user more targeted you can be in your messaging and you generally have more success. What’s interesting, what I was always jealous of, so I’ve never done B2C, so while I have opinions that really they’re not grounded in experience on the consumer side. I was always jealous of how quickly data would come back. So you ran a sale or a special and you know, really quickly you can analyze sale data and behavior data and you can determine if it worked or not. And on the B2B side, 10 years ago, you just didn’t have that, right? Like it was, it was a little more of a black box, but yeah, you just started talking about the digitalization of everything we do. I mean, it’s so cool. We just get so much information back so quickly. We really should be making pretty informed and targeted decisions. And I think that’s true in the B2B side right now.

Lisa Jillson:

Yeah, definitely. I think as we all lean more into using analytics to help make smarter decisions, again, I don’t know that it changes. To me if you’ve got the right instincts to do well in marketing, it almost doesn’t matter what you’re marketing, it matters how you lean into those instincts of understanding what’s gonna persuade that user to move in a certain direction. You have to start with what are those instincts; let’s get those nailed down. Let’s get those documented and then how are you going to measure whether or not those instincts are right? Then you can drive the analytics to actually help you make those decisions. And for as much as I would say even in my early career of getting data, yeah we’d run ads and get to see the Nielsen sales data coming back. You never were quite sure where advertising played in that. Now there’s an ability on all sides to say, [inaudible]

Lisa Jillson:

Hey, stay out. You’ve got this instinct that if you pull levers, let’s say like a webinar and an email and a banner ad, you’ve got an ability to say, we think it’s going to work this way. How do we make sure that we can get some reaction or some idea of what that data is going to tell us whether our instincts were right? And if you go in, and I’ve told this to my team, we don’t have to be right; we just have to have an opinion and we have to be able to measure whether that opinion is right. It’s worse if you say “Oh, I’ve got to be right” and so, therefore, I’m not going to measure it because I don’t want to know if I’m wrong. That’s, that’s not a good position to be in.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. No, no, I agree. Yeah, where we could, where you can move from correlation to causation and really see that the drivers and the levers that are working or to your point or not, I would rather know that something’s not working than be unsure if something is working.

Lisa Jillson:

Yes, that’s exactly right.

The Evolution of Marketing Skill Sets Over The Last 20 Years

Joe Hyland:

So this is, for me, this is always a fascinating topic is so a lot’s evolved in marketing and as marketers, it’s cool because things change pretty quickly. I’m curious to get your sense on the evolution of skill sets that we as marketers have seen over the last 20 years. Because you’re right, there’s so much — there’s a wealth of information in seas of data which can be problematic as well. But you know, understanding how to make sense of that data and make smart decisions is imperative. Yet that said, there’s, I don’t think the art of marketing is going away anytime soon, but I’d love to hear from someone who has a strong agency background.

Lisa Jillson:

Yeah. You know, what was interesting when I started off at, in, some of the more traditional ad agency types out there I struggled to explain to my parents what it was that I did. And I worked in the account service side of the business, the client service accounts service. “Are you in sales?” I’m like, yeah, not really. “Are you doing ads?” No, that’s not really what I’m doing either. “Well, are you in the media on NBC?” No, that’s not me either. I finally hit on what I was doing and what I equated my skill set was almost like being a diplomat or a translator that I could understand what the client’s product was, understand who the user was — the end user, the buyer — and then try to coordinate all of the people that would help us get the product into the hands of the user in the fastest way possible.

Lisa Jillson:

And so a lot of what my skills were is to actually try to translate that equation to be able to articulate that. And I really don’t think that’s changed. I do think certainly there’s a ton of different skills that you need now that you don’t need, that you didn’t need before. I mean I’m well enough long in years that when I started in the industry, I did not have a computer. I was given a yellow legal pad and I have pointed down the hallway and said, there’s your secretary. If you want to write a memo, you can write it on this yellow legal pad and walk it down and that person will type it for you. And I’m like, oh my golly, I actually had grown up using computers, but this agency hadn’t converted. They didn’t have anything, they had some word processing typewriters. And I couldn’t think that way.

Lisa Jillson:        You know, some of my early products suite were packaged goods, but inclusive of that was actually some liquor products, which was fun — for a short time before it wasn’t fun. And you couldn’t advertise everywhere. So we actually had to get creative about what is advertising, what is it other than a message that persuades? So where could we have that persuasive power? And I think I was lucky enough early on in my career that I never was dialed into, well, the only thing that’s going to work is a, you know, a 30-second television ad or a magazine ad or what not. That there was an ability that there were all kinds of things that could persuade and that you had to figure out as those new things came to market, what they would do to change the equation.

WHERE CAN YOU HAVE PERSUASIVE ADVERTISING POWER?

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. By the way, I’m thinking of, I have this vision of your first office as a very madmen-esque office or where most of the work was done on legal notepads as you’re sitting on a couch, you know, about to have brandy or something.

Lisa Jillson:

Pretty much that was it without the brandy because we were all too busy to do anything else. And frankly, the agency I worked for was phenomenal. It was a great training ground. I got a really good experience there. But it’s, and I still have a lot of contacts you know, in the agency world. And I don’t think it’s too much different, but I think having the right people succeed regardless of whether you’re on, you know, client side, agency side, B2B, B2C or even ad tech is having the openness to be able to see what might be coming next and how you might choose to incorporate that because there will always be something coming next. There will always be, you know when we talk about, you know, social and things like blogs or Snapchat or whatnot, you know I look at my kids and I try to think about like, what are they going to do in the next five years? I usually don’t know. I don’t know what they’re going to do in the next five minutes, but at least it keeps me open to what’s changing.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. And what I’m hearing as you’re talking about this is like it’s always about, one, never, never fight change, right. And like never, never fight evolution. And, two, the more you can understand about the behaviors and actions and habits of others — particularly if those others are going to be your audience, the stronger you’ll be with your marketing. But I want to go back to something that there was a word that you kept using over and over a few minutes ago and it was what persuades persuasion, the art of persuasion. And I’m curious to get your sense on what feels like a bit of an epidemic right now amongst content marketing, which is more of this BuzzFeed-esque, clickbait, just do anything you can to get someone to take an action, even if it’s truthfully pretty misleading and it won’t actually persuade. I see this as a huge problem, hence using the word epidemic, amongst B2B marketers we’re just so desperate for clicks or likes or some sort of action, that we seem to be losing a bit of the art for persuasion.

Brands That Succeed Are Invested in Thought Leadership

Lisa Jillson:

I completely agree with you. And I’ll give you two anecdotes where I think this is going to play out sooner rather than later. One is — again, I’ll go back to like looking at how my kids interact with different media — they are so cynical at the things that drive them in to interact with, that I think that comes back to bite you. Even from the BuzzFeed standpoint think about it … and I’ve had some interactions with BuzzFeed, you know, in some of my previous roles. They know that is going to be important that they have credibility. Otherwise, at the end of the day, they’d become a fad, not a trend, not a credible source of information. So if as a brand leader or brand owner, all you’re looking at are things that are that don’t help build your credibility, you lose. So the other piece that I would say is evidence that will go by the wayside is that the brands that do succeed are really invested in thought leadership and the ability to be able to drive some information that your organization feels passionate about. You can’t just provide information that is nice to know. You have to kind of take a stand, and I use that term that actually that was a that’s been a key component of Allstate’s marketing for several decades. But that ability to like take a stand is very impactful and I think that…[inaudible]

Lisa Jillson:

Has a lot of impacts whether you’re an end consumer trying to decide to buy a product or your a customer deciding which vendor is going, you’re going to steer a hundred thousand or a million dollar contract to. You want to feel like whatever you’re doing it is bigger than just that one action. And if as an owner of a brand, you can’t help your organization to take a stand within its ecosystem, I think you lose the power of marketing, frankly. You don’t get the ability then you’re always looking for, you know, what’s the Jack in the box? What’s the ClickBait that is going to get you to click this time? You’re always looking for some new shiny object as opposed to having a bedrock of where you’re going to really take a stand on an issue.

Authenticity, Conviction and Controversy

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, that’s brilliant. I think authenticity just cannot be commoditized. It is something that marketers should never, ever sacrifice and unfortunately, it feels like more and more of us are. Yeah. Take a stance, say something real, say something authentic. To your point earlier on, even if you have a point of view on what’s going to work on a marketing tactic or campaign and you’re wrong. Okay, you can get that information and make an informed smart decision. Same thing for your marketing and your content. There’s nothing wrong with being wrong. At least you start a dialogue. People can sniff out BS. Like kids can do it, we can do it as grown adults like and I think we need to move away from, you know, just trying to scratch the surface with content and let’s create some real meaningful stuff. I think our audiences will appreciate it. And that’s how, you’re right, that’s how you build something that, that will last. You need to be a thought leader. You need to be an expert.

Lisa Jillson:

Yeah. And, and frankly, you should push to be an expert in something that actually has some controversy to it.

Joe Hyland:

Exactly. I love it.

Lisa Jillson:

It can’t just be I love puppies or I think traffic accidents are bad because you know what, nobody is going to say that it’s that they’re going to be for the reverse side of that. It actually has to be something that you have conviction behind that may be a bit controversial. And then to think about it within the context of content marketing. If you have something like that, gosh, it becomes infinitely easier to develop 27 different avenues by which we can communicate about that one issue. If it’s vanilla or it is not really a stand, it’s going to be really, really hard to figure out how many different — it’s almost like how many different kinds of wrapping paper can you put around the same topic? It won’t feel different and it frankly won’t drive any kind of content marketing in the truest sense.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. And you know, that’s interesting, boy I could do this for hours, that’s an interesting topic for big established brands versus brands trying to make it in a new market, right? Or, or build a market. So, I think, for example, you know more about Coke’s brand than I do, but if you were the number one player, maybe you don’t take as many risks like you’re okay with the status quo. And you truthfully don’t want things to change. If you’re trying to disrupt a market, you damn better be loud. You better be controversial. Like you just need attention. Yeah, that’s how you start a dialogue. There’s nothing wrong with being controversial. You don’t want to sound like a total jerk, but get a discussion going.

Lisa Jillson:

Well, and you’ve even seen some of the big brands, let’s go back to Coke. They have taken a stand on things. They have been controversial. Some of the recent advertising that they even did on the Super Bowl pushed the envelope.

Joe Hyland:

It’s true, it’s true.

Lisa Jillson:

That have of that conversation more on a B2C standpoint. But I don’t think any brand can afford to be safe. Because of the way that users are interacting with brands, and I think that holds even from a B2B perspective, that a — if I’m expecting somebody to write a check to my company for services that we’re going to provide, it’s not just going to be about a price. It’s going to be because they believe that we bring something to the table, that we bring a lot of value and a conviction to the table. They don’t necessarily have in-house. Otherwise, why would they pay us?

Joe Hyland:

That’s true. Yeah. And to your point, they got to believe that they should believe in your vision, right? Like, no one wants to write a seven-figure check for something that you’ve done years ago. Right. Like they want to feel like they’re picking the right partner to bring them to the next chapter, whatever the chapter is going to be.

Lisa Jillson:

That’s exactly right.

Building the Right Brand With the Realities of Growth

Joe Hyland:

Well what about pressures to, what about pressures on growth? So this is a brilliant discussion so far on brand and the right way to do content. What do you say to marketers out there who would respond to us and say, “Okay, Lisa and Joe, that’s great, but like I’ve got an incredibly aggressive pipeline target like next month? Like I need to, yeah, maybe I’m getting out shitty content, but I’m doing it because you know, I got to have volume but I need to get things in the market.” How do you balance building the right brand with the realities of growth?

Lisa Jillson:

Yeah, I do think of it as a balance. I don’t know that there is one right equation for any of that. You have to calibrate it at the end of the day. As my boss, our president would like to say, you either are in sales or you work for sales. We don’t have jobs if we don’t drive growth. It’s that simple. So we can say that we want to go all in it for the bigger picture, but if we can’t also show that that will actually help us drive to growth, then you’re, you’re kind of SOL. But it is, it’s a hard balance. And I think it’s especially hard from a marketing standpoint because oftentimes I think, especially on the B2B side, it’s actually easier on the B2C side because they’re all run by, those companies are run by marketers.

Lisa Jillson:

You know, we’re a voice at the table and we know we have the experience to understand what levers will help drive forward. But you, you’re often trying to make sure that that voice has the credibility needs to have in the C-suite that you’re all kind of coming at it through the lens of your own viewpoint. And I’ve gotta be able to convince the sales team and the product team and the engineering team and the customer success team that the vision through marketing is actually going to have a net benefit and be helpful to them because it’s, if I’m a team player on this team, I’m not driving all the decisions. And you know, if there’s something that has to be done tomorrow, then it has to be done tomorrow that it, you know, that’s all there is to it. You do have to make that balance.

Joe Hyland:

First of all, I love that quote. You’re either in sales or you work for sales. I think it’s so true. And you just said that very well. As long as you’re looking through the growth lens that can, that can dictate, dictate and shape the decisions. I think where marketers get themselves in trouble is when they decide to be totally agnostic of growth at least in the B2B world. You will not be received very well on the sales side. And ultimately the CEO is held accountable for growth, right? So everyone is in sales.

Lisa Jillson:

Yeah. We, we actually even looked at our plans because a lot of what we’re still building is like the foundational components of how we’re going to do this in the future. We have two columns: the right, and the right now and we have filled both of those columns because if we just do the right. We’ll get screwed. We and if we just did right now, we will never get it right, so we actually have to have both of those columns filled.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. Wel,l that’s brilliant. I think that’s a perfect, perfect place to end. Lisa, thank you. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed the time. And, thanks. Thanks again for joining us.

Lisa Jillson:

Thanks, Joe. Was a lot of fun.

How Marketers Are and Are Not Breaking Through the B2B Noise

Most of what constitutes content marketing today is noise. While papers are drafted, reports are written, social media is scheduled and ads are bought, the marketing needle sits still. That’s because noise doesn’t stand out, drive interest or engage audiences. But that doesn’t mean content marketing isn’t worth the effort.

A joint report between Heinz Marketing and ON24, “Cut Through the B2B Noise: Drive Engagement, Action, Conversion and Loyalty,” found that while content marketing today is suffering in general, there is a path to success.

Learn How Content Can Drive Engagement

The Bad News Around Content Marketing Today

The report found that most ineffectual content marketing programs aren’t organized around data, measurements and audiences. Without a proper content infrastructure in place, marketers, in the short-term, are taking a step back from where they should be.

First, the report found only one in four content marketing professionals are confident in their strategy. Up to 47 percent of respondents rate their strategy as “somewhat effective.” Another 20 percent say their strategy isn’t effective at all.

Second, marketers are having a hard time generating relevant content. The report found that more than 45 percent of respondents are somewhat or not confident at all that they’re creating relevant content. By contrast, only one in five respondents say they’re very or extremely confident they’re creating content relevant to target audiences.

Third, marketers aren’t confident in their ability to measure the impact of content. According to the report, more than 70 percent of surveyed marketers say they’re only somewhat or not at all confident in their ability to measure the impact of their content marketing efforts. Only 13 percent of respondents say they’re extremely or very confident in measuring content impact.

All this adds up to an ecosystem where marketers lack confidence in their content. According to the report, more than 65 percent of marketing professionals claim to be only somewhat confident or not confident that their content is driving desired revenue results.

What Is Working In Content Marketing

But it’s not all doom and gloom. The small percentage of B2B content marketing programs that are successful share remarkably similar patterns. These programs, according to the report, tend to prioritize engagement, personalize content and are aligned around a customer story.

The report found that, of the marketers who have high confidence in the ability of their programs, successful content is usually shared through certain formats and channels. These media clearly have a preference for two-way, interactive engagements with audiences — increasing the time spent with high-performing content.

But what makes for high-performing content? The report found that the most successful content programs focus intensely on personalizing the experiences. In fact, many of the marketers who report content marketing success say they focus more on the experience than they do for scale and efficiency — especially when it comes to high-target accounts.

Part of what makes this personalization possible, the report found, is the ability to empathize with the buyer’s story. For example, instead of sharing the company’s story, successful content marketers develop content focusing on the prospect’s story first. Doing so lengthens the buying cycle, but it builds interest and engagement in accounts that matter.

Finally, found that great content marketing programs are a team effort. Marketing, sales and customer departments tend to be heavily aligned and share a consistent story across channels. The added benefit of tightly-integrated teams, in fact, is the ability to use the same content and story from team to team, providing customers and prospects with a consistent experience.

Most content marketing efforts today are in a bad place. They’re disorganized, uncertain and need a foundational platform to build from. Over the next few weeks, ON24 will explore the basics of building a content marketing program that breaks through the B2B noise and connects with the audience. Keep an eye on this space to learn more.

The Webinerd Channel: How Protolabs Does Digital Marketing with Webinars

Today’s manufacturing industry is where digital initiatives meet physical demand. New techniques, designs and processes are seemingly generated each day largely thanks to advances in networking, computation and design. But to make this happen, digital marketing needs to be a part of the process.

Few organizations know this better than Protolabs, a digital manufacturer of custom prototypes. The company’s prototypes — designed, molded and created through new manufacturing techniques — fuel the innovations the manufacturing industry sees today.

But before Protolabs can provide its rapid manufacturing to engineers, it needs to market and sell its services. And that means it needs a digital approach.

On Thursday, May 9, Protolabs’ Marketing Specialist, Tommy Rongistch, will sit down with The Webinerd Channel crew to explain how his team uses webinars to fuel its marketing needs. During this event, Tommy will explain how Protolabs:

  • Hypothesized, experimented and refined its webinar program
  • Brought marketing and sales together to create a valuable content channel
  • Uses webinars to power its account-based marketing initiatives

Protolabs’ has an extensive library of fascinating always-on webinars, including how one customer used its service to rapidly prototype and refine DUCK!, a genuine BattleBot.

If you’d like to learn how Protolabs drive manufacturing innovation, check out its webinar channel here. Tune in to The Webinerd Channel next Thursday at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) to learn how digital manufacturers master digital marketing.

Build Webinars with Clients in Mind

This post was originally published on which-50.com.

Schneider Electric builds its webinars based on partners or end-users and then pulls together content accordingly, according to Chris Quinn, its VP of Marketing.

Quinn said from that stage the company may involve multiple of its own teams to bring content together.

“For example, a seminar targeting water and waste water end-user customers included three of our businesses plus a customer who talked to a case study implementation.

“The webinar enabled us to attract people from right around the country in a cost-effective way compared to an on-ground or physical event approach — and also shows respect for customer time constraints. We reached 120 customers, which was above target.”

Quinn said Schneider Electric is a broad business covering many market segments and the company’s customers know it for a particular aspect of what it does.

“So a challenge for the company is to find practical ways to help them understand the broader problem-solving capability and solutions that we can bring to help them,” he said.

Extracting Value From Customers

When designing a program that focuses on extracting more value from existing customers, Quinn said it has to start with the customer first, then the company collaborating across teams to pull together the right content and style.

“Having a customer talk to their experience is always valuable and we generally include plenty of time for Q&A.

“We have successfully applied live polling on a few occasions to drive engagement. Most of the effort is required in the planning phase and it depends on strong collaboration, including external participation,” he said.

Types Of Webinars

There are various types of webinars and all have a specific role to play.

As one example, Quinn cites the waste water webinar as one designed to engage customers and help them understand the broader role the company can play.

As another example, Quinn said, the company had recently hosted on “targeting specifiers (electrical consultants) on the topic of digitised electrical distribution — an emerging space where we have leadership credibility.

“We did two webinars in this space — one was thought leadership/vision and the other was a technical presentation that went into the practicalities of how to get involved in this emerging space.”

Schneider’s most recent webinar was on smart grid for utility customers, targeting technical people from electrical utilities all around Australia. Smart grid, according to Quinn, is also described as “pipeline acceleration”.

He said the company did this webinar based on the opportunities it observed in the past through various tactics, and found that movement in the sector is very slow.

“We pulled the report and invited customers with the help of the sales team.

“The content for this webinar was real examples directly from one of the customers and partners using the solution,” he said

The result from that was 212 people registered, and 142 people attended.

He explained, “From the sales cycle point of view, it’s hard to comment at this stage. However, the engagement level was very high. We provided five different resources (224 downloads) and three videos (64 views).” The Q&A portion yielded 25 questions or interactions.

Want to learn more about how webinars work in APAC? Check out Webinar World Sydney right here.

Binge-Worthy Webinars Are Easy to Build

This post was originally published on which-50.com.  

The widespread consensus that we are in the midst of a new golden age of television is predicated on the combination of sophisticated storytelling and distribution platforms that put the power in the hands of the audience.

Indeed, it has given rise to a new term — ‘binge-watching’ — meaning to watch a large number of television programmes, usually from a single series, in succession.

So Maryel Roman-Price, Field Marketing Manager at Magento, an Adobe company, asks: why not adapt that ideology to webinar creation?

Webinars can be powerful tools to generate demand and diversify your channel offering —particularly when combined with a story that brings value to your audience.

“It’s cheaper than physical events, it can be wide-cast or as targeted as you want it to be. But a lot of marketers do it, so you have to stand out somehow, and you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money or do something out of this world [to achieve that],” Roman-Price says.

The secret is in the planning, and in listening to your audience and adapting accordingly. Look at all possible data points, Roman-Price says, and if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it up.

When it comes to the development of creative content, Roman-Price says your own experience is a good starting point. What works for you probably works for the majority, she says.

“Start with that, then tweak it according to your target audience’s preferences. Look at what’s working for others — you don’t really have to re-invent the wheel, just make it better and your own. Sometimes, an idea just pops out of nowhere. You just need to expose yourself out there by reading, networking, watching, and, of course by listening to your own audience — they are always more than happy to propose ideas.”

Having a level of input can also help organisations foster audience loyalty, because it shows you value your audience’s opinions and listen to what they have to say.

“Give them air time by answering their questions and being readily available should they have more questions,” Roman-Price advises. “Make it easy for them to follow your series — have a great UX [user experience] on your webinar platform, have it available on-demand, and offer resources and not just sell to them. They sign-up and watch to learn, so give them that and entertain them at the same time.”

The elements often missing from a webinar ‘series’ are consistency and a continuous narrative. It is easy to deviate as webinar ‘episodes’ evolve. That is why having a plan that plots the narrative can be so helpful — as long as you are prepared to adapt accordingly should it fail to resonate with your audience.

Above all, never underestimate the power of being fun.

“To be ‘binge-worthy’, [a webinar] has to be addictive and likable,” Roman-Price says. “If you make it fun, then it’ll be enjoyable both for your team and the people watching it.”

Maryel Roman-Price is a presenter and panelist at Webinar World in Sydney on Thursday 2 May. To learn more about Webinar World Sydney, click here