B2B Marketing News

Five Must-Have Technologies for Marketers

April 7, 2016 by

Update on the marketing technology landscape

In preparing for next week’s Geek Out on Marketing Technology event here in Atlanta, I started thinking more about how crazy the martech landscape has grown over the past few years.  Five years ago we all shook our heads when Scott Brinker published his first marketing technology landscape visual.  Packed with “must have” solutions from over 150 solution providers, we wondered how the market could sustain so many companies with solutions aimed strictly at Marketing.

Little did we know that, five years later, the landscape would swell to nearly 3,900 suppliers with no signs yet of a slowdown.

2011

marketing_technology_landscape-2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016

marketing_technology_landscape_2016_3000px B

Source: Scott Brinker, Chief MarTech

What martech tools do we need?

So given this unabated arms race of marketing tech providers and sea of best of breed vs. integrated suite marketing tech tools, what do we REALLY need to power today’s lead-driven, results-oriented marketing operation?  Well, just to get a debate started, here’s my top five list, with some justification for each.  Would love to hear from you as to whether or not you agree with me, think I’ve missed something (or am totally off-base).  Let me know what you think.

By the way, my top five list below assumes there’s a solid CRM solution in place that the Sales team actually uses.  If not, that needs to be added to the list.

  1. Website Content Management Platform
    We can’t all be coders and HTML developers.  But that doesn’t give us a bye when it comes to having a flexible, easily updated website that ensures a strong visitor experience — on whatever platform the visitor chooses to use to engage us.  A flexible CMS opens web management to us mere mortals and should offer the responsiveness mobile requires.
  2. Marketing Automation Platform
    Despite some market consolidation, there are still many to choose from and surely one that will meet the bulk of your needs.  In today’s unforgiving environment you simply can’t run an effective marketing operation for long without one. With all of the technology options to slog through, it just makes sense to invest in a multi-function, capable platform to provide as many functions under a single code base as possible.
  3. Social Media Management
    Social has grown up and deserves a solid place in the everyday marketing mix.  Today it’s all about participating in the conversation. And knowing which platforms to engage and how to maintain presence (hint: it’s much more than one or two tweets per month) can require help.  The good news is there are now solid tools to help with the heavy lifting and provide the measurements you need to support the effort.
  4. Search Management
    If you’re not doing some type of Search Engine Optimization, either paid, organic, or both, stop reading this now and come back after you’ve done some keyword research.  As hard as it is today to find prospects with more than a passing interest in our products and services, missing any opportunity to reach people actually searching for the services we provide is unforgivable.
  5. Analytics
    None of the above tools will be effective unless you have some framework to measure the impact your marketing activities are having on your company’s bottom line.  While many individual tools offer their own metrics, here’s where an integrated platform can really pay off.  Feeding the data about search, social, email and website traffic through a common platform to arrive at an easy to share dashboard of results will save much time and aggravation.

So that’s my list.  What’s yours?  And if you’d like to discuss or debate the selections, look me up at next Wednesday’s TAG Geek Out on Marketing Technology.  Looks like a great event shaping up.  Hope to see you there!

TAG Marketing Hosts Geek Out on Marketing Technology Conference

April 1, 2016 by

Today, marketers and technology professionals use various marketing technologies to drive demand or purchases, generate brand aware and increase marketing effectiveness. But navigating through the sea of marketing technology solutions is no easy task.

Internally, there are pressures to purchase the right tool to meet an organization’s various challenges, and externally there are salespeople, industry influencers, and perhaps curiosity nudging individuals to check out the coolest new technology solutions available.

TAG Marketing Technology Conference

To help communicators determine how to more effectively use marketing technology,  TAG Marketing will host its inaugural marketing technology event on April 13, 2016 at the Loudermilk Center in Downtown. Register here.

Check out the video below for sneak peek!

Designed for the marketing geeks, by marketing geeks, this educational event will include interactive breakout sessions, panels of marketing technologists,  a peer-to-peer session to discuss industry best practices, networking opportunities and more! Visit http://www.tagonline.org/geek-out-on-marketing-technology/ to learn more. Or register for the event today.

For more information, check out the event details and full press release below.

Speakers Announced for TAG Marketing’s Geek Out on Marketing Technology Conference 

Registration now open for Technology Association of Georgia event to be held on April 13, 2016

ATLANTA (April 1, 2016) – TAG Marketing is hosting the inaugural Geek Out on Marketing Technology, a one-day conference all about the technology behind marketing today. Geek Out on Marketing Technology will be held at the Loudermilk Center on April 13, 2016. Register today for the event today.

The conference – designed for marketing technologists, by marketing technologists—includes interactive sessions with marketing technologists from Cloud Sherpas, IBM, InnerWorkings, PGi, SalesLoft, SiriusDecisions, The Huddle House and more. Sessions will explore key industry challenges as experts share case studies, best practices and insights on mastering the dynamic landscape of marketing technology.

SiriusDecisions senior research director, Jennifer Horton, will kick off the event with a keynote on what marketing technologies an organization really needs. The agenda also includes a technology fast pitch session of innovative marketing technology solutions and networking happy hour with cocktails.

“We have a great lineup of strong marketing technologists ready to share their viewpoints and discuss the nuts and bolts of powering marketing departments today,” said Mike Neumeier, event chair and principal at Arketi Group.

Featured sponsors are Salesfusion and Silverpop. Event sponsors include Arketi Group, Demandbase, insightpool, and vLink Solutions. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities and get involved, contact Tiffany Mickens at tmickens@tagonline.org.

To learn more about Geek Out on Marketing Technology, visit http://www.tagonline.org/geek-out-on-marketing-technology/. To register for the event, click here.

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About TAG Marketing

TAG Marketing is a society within the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).  TAG Marketing Society’s mission is to build a vibrant community of innovation and knowledge sharing for technology marketing professionals.  It conducts quarterly forums designed to foster exchange of ideas around relevant and practical topics in technology marketing.  In addition to networking and learning opportunities, TAG Marketing provides its members with firsthand exposure to marketing tools, programs, resources and the people who lead our technology-driven economy. For more information on TAG Marketing, visit http://www.tagonline.org/chapters-and-societies/marketing/ 

 

About The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)

TAG is the leading technology industry association in the state, serving more than 30,000 members through regional chapters in Metro Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon/Middle Georgia, and Savannah. TAG’s mission is to educate, promote, and unite Georgia’s technology community to foster an innovative and connected marketplace that stimulates and enhances a tech-based economy.

The association provides networking and educational programs; celebrates Georgia’s technology leaders and companies; and advocates for legislative action that enhances the state’s economic climate for technology. TAG hosts over 200 events each year and serves as an umbrella organization for 34 professional societies. For more information visit the TAG website at http://www.tagonline.org/.

There’s no such thing as bad publicity

March 30, 2016 by

Recently a good friend of the agency, entrepreneur David Cummings, published a blog post on P.T. Barnum’s 20 Rules for Making Money that got me thinking. Every PR person knows P.T. Barnum, the founder of Barnum & Bailey Circus and a proven American showman and businessman, is widely credited with the expression, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

A born self-publicist, Barnum never missed an opportunity to promote himself, his business ventures and his pithy thinking. What David published goes to prove there really was “wood behind the arrow” with Barnum when it came to his business advice. All businesses, large and small, can glean a few gems from Barnum’s 20 Rules for Making Money.FerrisWheel

I few of his rules I really like include:

  • Avoid debt
  • Don’t get above your business
  • Advertise your business
  • Be polite and kind to your customers
  • Preserve your integrity

Barnum was credited with many cleaver saying, and while I’m not sure these 20 rules are really his (I did not spend the time researching it as I trust David), it really does not matter. It just goes to show solid business advice is timeless.

As entrepreneurs and business people, we need not fool ourselves into thinking we are blazing new trails. The truth is there are always learnings from those that have gone before us. Advice we can take into our modern enterprises. We just need to look for it.

As an aside, there is no real proof Barnum coined the phrase “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” In fact, The Phrase Finder notes the topic of the origins of this phrase that every PR person has heard (or uttered) countless times:

“The proverbial expression began to be used in the early 20th century. The earliest version that I have found in print is from the US newspaper The Atlanta Constitution, January, 1915: ‘All publicity is good if it is intelligent’.”

In addition, Barnum is widely, but erroneously, credited with coining the phrase “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Twitter Turns 10 and More Search Marketing News

March 24, 2016 by

The search marketing industry is always changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on the latest news and best practices. Here’s a round-up of some of the most recent search marketing news and SEO trends in 2016.

Twitter turned 10!Twitter turns 10

Twitter celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this week and was met with criticism and comments on its evolution. The platform, like many other social channels, has had to adapt and grow to continue serving the needs of its users.

Some of Twitter’s milestones include: the acquisition of live-streaming service Periscope last year, experiments with Google, and the platform’s key position as a leading source for breaking news and events.

For more information, check out the Forbes article on Twitter’s position across the sports landscape.

Trends in paid search

Just as the seasons change, so do the trends in the search marketing world. From  “shopping” ad units to voice search & natural language, there are a number of big players looking to advance their offerings and ensure that consumers use their tools.

Take a look at what columnist Mona Elesseily predicts is on the horizon for paid search.

Facebook launches Instant Articles

So what does Facebook’s Instant Articles mean for SEO? For the users, it will provide a better mobile experience. For Facebook, it’s another revenue for ad space, another source of data, and will require working with partners such as WordPress.

Although it won’t readily be accessible to all after it’s launch, there are 2 critical actions beforeanyone who chooses to publish an article can do so. They can start with these two actions: Update their website’s coding to reflect the HTML markup language to identify specific features within their content for Facebook Instant Articles or they will need to create/update their RSS feeds to meet Facebook Instant Article guidelines..

Before the launch of Instant Articles in April, there are a few actions you can start with. Check out the Search Engine Journal article for more information.

 

Another mobilegeddon?

Likely not. In fact, this rollout will be gradual so a major drop-off on non-mobile-friendly websites is not expected. However, Google did announce it will be boosting the effects of the mobile-friendly algorithm they launched back in April last year.

According to a recent Search Engine Land article, Google said the update will happen “beginning in May,” and it “increases the effect of the [mobile-friendly] ranking signal.” Google said if you are already mobile-friendly, you do not have to worry, because “you will not be impacted by this update.”

The Secrets to Email Marketing [Infographic]

March 7, 2016 by

For many marketers, email marketing has become equivalent to the hammer in the carpenter’s tool belt. It’s a staple; something that we have come to rely on as a day-to-day necessity. However, this hasn’t always been the case.

Long before email’s time in the spotlight, B2B and B2C marketers relied on two primary methods for direct marketing outreach: the post and the telephone. These methods were notoriously slow, expensive and labor-intensive. Email marketing on the other hand provides a fast and cost-effective way to reach consumers, earning its status as a staple of the modern marketing toolkit.

And yet, not all emails campaigns are effective. In fact, many emails are never even read as they get rerouted directly to the spam, junk or even the newest clutter folder in Outlook. To help B2B marketers understand how to best utilize emails, our client Salesfusion shared a quick infographic titled, “The Secrets to Emails Marketing Unveiled.”

This infographic offers a snapshot of helpful email marketing tips and trends, including:

  • Attitudes toward email marketing
  • Subject lines to avoid
  • Top metrics tracked by marketers and their industry averages
  • The role of mobile email in your marketing mix

Secrets to Email Marketing Infographic Thumbnail
Get your copy of “The Secrets to Email Marketing Unveiled” infographic at: https://www.salesfusion.com/Resources/the-secrets-to-email-marketing-unveiled/

 

Arketi Toasts Winter Goodbye

March 2, 2016 by

Farewell winter!

In attempt to celebrate the end of winter, I wanted to make a warm, comforting drink – which had to be mulled cider. Double Spiced Mulled Cider. The extra comfort comes from not one, but two liquors. In fact, this is one of those recipes that is easy to eyeball and adjust to your preferences.

Farewell Winter
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 gallon apple cider (Can be homemade or purchased)
  • 1 set mulling spices
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Apple slices, for garnish
  • 2 parts Bourbon or Whiskey (We used Bulleit Rye)
  • 1 part Rum (We used Bacardi)
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange
  • 1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon
  • 2–4 Chai teabags


Directions:

To make Double Spiced Mulled Cider, the most important part is the simmering of spices a day or so before you plan to drink it. I started by simmering the mulling spices (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, star anise) and apple the day before.

Pro tip: Never bring to a rolling boil to avoid bitterness. It is best to allow the ingredients to slowly blend, but simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Once the mixture cools down, strain out mulling spices. Refrigerate overnight. Because we don’t have a stovetop at Arketi, I opted to slowly reheat the cider mixture in a crockpot. At this point, add two parts Bourbon to one part rum to taste. For good measure, throw in a handful of cinnamon sticks.

About an hour before you plan to drink, add the Chai and check every 15 minutes to avoid any bitterness.

The last ingredients should be the freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice.

Place a fresh cinnamon stick in the glasses and serve warm. As the warmth burgeons with each sip, relish in the last few days of winter while dreaming of spring. Farewell winter!

Google Removes Sidebar Ads and More Search Marketing News

February 26, 2016 by

Facebook Gets Emotional

It’s here! Facebook’s Reactions has finally launched. The long awaited redesign of the like button is now live and includes five sentiments: like, love, haha, wow, sad or angry. Now, you can give more than just a thumbs up or thumbs down and really share how you feel about posts in your newsfeed. *haha

It my be hard to imagine, but there will come a time when people will forget only a like and dislike button once existed. Before you get carrieed away with your emotions, check out the 6 most important things you need to know about Facebook’s Reactions.

Facebook Reactions, Google Remove Sidebar Ads and more search marketing news

Google is Shutting Down its All Compare Products and Tools Next Month

The entire program is expected to be terminated by March 23 (or the end of March 2016). This lead generation platform connects its users with companies in the travel, financial, insurance and mortgage industries.

According to a recent article by Search Engine Journal, despite months of experimentation in the SERPs, the tool has not reached the goals that the company had hoped to reach.

On the other hand, AdWords continues to thrive and drive revenue for Google.

Google Removes Sidebar Ads

Google is permanently removing sidebar ads worldwide in all languages. But take note that Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and ads within the Knowledge Graph will still display on the right sidebar for appropriate queries.

One concern from this change is organic listings will not be displayed above the fold. While not all search results have returned the same during tests, some examples have shown a combination of a handful of AdWords ads and a Knowledge Graph panel (pushing all organic listings below the fold).

For the basics on how this impacts your ad campaigns, check out this article.

Don’t forget to check back regularly for more search marketing news!

Marketing to Millennials

February 8, 2016 by

I recently came across the following chart on consumer purchasing preferences, courtesy of MarketingSherpa, and was struck by the stark contrast in behavior between millennials (typically age 15-35) and boomers (typically age 51-69).

Yes, I know the way of the world is changing, especially when it comes to social media usage and online advertising. But what I found interesting was how important articles in print magazine/newspapers and offline advertising remained to millennial buyers who, by the way, represent 25 percent of the U.S. population and more than $200 billion in annual purchasing power.

Granted, the chart below discusses B2C buying behavior, but since we are all consumers in our daily life, the data below can be extrapolated to B2B buying as well. And knowing the B2B buying cycles involve multiple stakeholders, it is likely marketers will be selling to millennials soon, if they aren’t already.

Marketing Research Chart: Marketing to Millennials

Taking into account the channels – both print and online – that matter most to millennials, it will be important for B2B marketers to keep the following tips in mind when marketing to this generation of 80+ million.

  • Social media is king, which means Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr are key channels for millennials. Texting is important too. But what’s probably not high on the list? Email and phone.
  • Communication style for millennials is trending toward being informal and authentic, which is key for both communications over social media and customer reviews.
  • When it comes to looking for information, millennials value brevity and real-time information. Plus they expect quick responses to posts and communications.

Tell us what you think marketers should consider when reaching out to millennials. Are you currently marketing to millennials? Have you created a buyer persona for a millennial yet? How do you plan to adjust your marketing to better reach this generation?

B2B Marketing Predictions for 2016

January 22, 2016 by

B2B Marketing Predictions for 2016

Is this the year of comebacks or new innovation? According to some of the top B2B marketers, there are 3 marketing strategies marketers are including in their annual plans.

1. Personalization

As the number of marketing tools continues to grow and data becomes more accessible, personalization will be critical to getting customers’ attention in 2016. Last year, persona- targeted messages proved to be successful and will continue to be a key component in the marketing plans of savvy B2B marketers.

2. Disruptive Marketing Tools

Unfortunately, getting your brand’s message out above the noise will be just as tough as ever. To combat the noise, marketers are planning to use disruptive marketing tactics to capture attention. But rather than invest in new and unfamiliar tools, B2B marketers will be pulling a few items from the old playbook and looking to trusted tools that generate results.

3. Brand Engagement and Sharing

B2B brands must engage their audience—by focusing on emotion, not promotion. While the best channels for engagement vary across industries, brand engagement remains a critical step in the sales process. But it doesn’t stop there–smart marketers empower their audiences to share the message.

A big thanks to everyone who participated and shared their insights! Click each headshot below to check out individual responses we received from these forward-thinking B2B marketers (in alphabetical order by first name).

Here’s a quick look at our experts as they share one tip B2B marketers are sharing as we move into another exciting new year!

What one tip do B2B marketers want to share as we move into another exciting new year?

Chris_Gowen_Xerox

Chris Gowen, Regional Vice President – Sales and Marketing, Xerox Mortgage Services

 2016 should be an exciting year, with a presidential election, a recovering economy (hopefully), and a greater influx of millennials into the workplace.  Marketing in 2016 should focus on excitement and change.  Fresh ideas in new formats should be delivered using traditional and social media.  Name recognition is paramount; have your company and product names exposed as much as possible in a positive light. 

Denise-Doyle-SageDenise Doyle, Senior Marketing Manager, Sage

@DeniseGDoyle

Regardless of the expanded technology options and channels available to marketers to reach buyers, nothing is still as powerful as relevance. If you don’t understand how to connect what your buyer values most to what you offer in a way that resonates with them, no creative marketing campaign or cool technology can overcome that. You’re still just white noise.

Ellie-Soleymani-Mobile-LabsEllie Soleymani, Director of Marketing, Mobile Labs

@mobilelabsinc

Today’s business-to-business (B2B) buyers are increasingly adopting digital throughout every stage of the customer journey, expecting and engaging with an informative experience across touchpoints. With this in mind, it is important for B2B marketers to define and implement a digital strategy. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations still focus heavily on traditional marketing tactics and do not see the value in setting up a digital strategy. However, having a digital strategy is part of delivering a seamless omnichannel experience to your buyers. It can improve brand awareness through the use of a variety of platforms to reach as many target prospects are possible; (think e-mail marketing, search engine optimization and social media).

To implement a successful digital marketing strategy start by aligning your digital goals with your overall marketing strategy goals. Your digital strategy should help improve and achieve your overall marketing goals. Then perform marketing research to use the appropriate digital platform(s). Once you have the appropriate tool(s) in place, develop a marketing strategy calendar and consider the advantages offered by the different digital channels to select the most effective one to fulfill your goals. Last but not least, establish a method to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategies regularly and make changes accordingly. And keep in mind, “it’s ok” if a tactic does not yield the expected results. Often time, we learn by “trial and error” and end up with the right method after a few adjustments.

Erika-Jolly-Bookes-SpringbotErika Jolly Brookes, CMO, Springbot

@ebrookes

Video and video ads are becoming more and more acceptable end user experiences on mobile, and is a meaningful reach medium for B2B marketers.  Figuring out a mechanism to translate your value proposition (i.e. avoid business speak) across consumer mediums in a cost effective manner as well as leveraging the increased ability to embed video in search (not just text-based advertising) are stand-out opportunities in 2016.

John-Hansen-RecallJohn Hansen, Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications, Recall Americas

@recallholdings

Don’t be afraid of allowing Employee Advocacy to occur in your business.  Employees have long wanted to speak up about the benefits and solutions their organizations provide through social media, however many organizations are reluctant to let go of control in fear of what, or how, the employees will alter the marketing message.

At Recall, a global provider of records and information management, we were concerned that employees would communicate practices and policies that were inconsistent with our brand message.  In a highly regulated industry, we did not want employees to give their own interpretations of content, particularly thought leadership pieces.  This presented a real dilemma, as the company was looking for ways to increase brand awareness and improve SEO on the website.  How could we syndicate and amplify our content and not involve our employees?

In late 2015, we began piloting a new social media automation tool that provided a centrally managed platform for content, where our employees were allowed access to share in a consistent, controllable environment.  Prior to access, the employee was required to attend training on the new system and undertake a certification test of Recall’s Social Media Handbook.  Once approved, the employees were able to share available content, and receive alerts when new content was available.  Recall conducted several showcase events to promote new content and received impression volumes that equated into increased website traffic.  There is a gamification element to the social sharing platform that makes it fun as well, with monthly challenges and contests.

The employees are happy, our website SEO has increased, and our content is being amplified to new contacts daily.

justin-rubner-NCRsmallbizJustin Rubner, Content & Promotions Manager, NCR Small Business, NCR Silver

@justinrubner

Just because it’s B2B, that doesn’t mean it has to be boring or complicated. Too much B2B marketing is littered with corporate speak and jargon. The people we’re selling to are still people, and they want to hear human-centric stories. Being told an interesting story with real benefits is far more palpable than buzzwords and dry marketing.  It’s also more difficult. But if you build a culture that puts in that extra effort toward explaining things in simple terms, in a creative way, it will pay off in the end.

Kait-Vinson-HighJumpKait Vinson, Director of Corporate Marketing, HighJump

@TheRealKait

Always put yourself in your buyers’ shoes and think about how you think your potential customer would like their buying process.  If your first instinct is to Google something, then make sure you’re findable there.  If you see posts or ads on Facebook and that influences your decisions, then be present there.  Never underestimate the fluidity of buying experiences.

Kelly-Neumeier-CBKKelly Neumeier, Strategic Intelligence Director, Cherry Bekaert

@CherryBekaert

In 2016, B2B marketers should not only focus on high quality content to drive thought leadership, but also have a strategy around that content. Customers today are more savvy and discerning about what they pay attention to, so you need to make sure you are getting their attention by educating them and addressing their needs. Keep in mind your strategy should align with your buyer personas and pain points and as well as with each channel and device to reach the prospect at the right time and engage them throughout the buying process.

Kevin-Hegebarth-HireIQKevin Hegebarth, VP, Marketing, HireIQ

@kghegebarth

I expect that getting your message across to the right buyers and influencers, at the right time, in order to spur them to action will become harder in 2016. The “signal to noise” ratio has been declining for years and getting your voice heard over the din of your direct competitors as well as those who also seek a share of your customers’ wallets will be more challenging.

It used to be enough just to map messages to buyer personas and you could do a pretty decent job. Now you need to layer the unique characteristics of each generation in your buyer pool and each media type as well. If you’re selling to CFOs, is your target a Millennial or a Boomer? Well, there’s a CFO message you have to craft, adjust it for each generation, and deliver it to them in their preferred medium. Who or what channel do your buyers trust to get their information? It’s enough to drive a modern B2B marketer mad!

Lee-Nagel-IzendaLee W. Nagel, VP of Marketing, Izenda

@Izenda

To more effectively engage prospects, deep knowledge of their company and key contacts is essential.  SalesLoft has been an invaluable part of performing the necessary research for Izenda to reach individuals with persona targeted messages.

Malinda-Wilkinson-SalesfusionMalinda Wilkinson, CMO, Salesfusion

@MalindaWilk

Slow down and take the time you need to properly evaluate marketing and sales processes before implementing new tools like marketing automation. CMOs are under an enormous amount of pressure to continuously deliver tangible results in real-time, but without properly vetting existing processes they’ll never understand what’s broken. Automating ineffective tactics just expedites poor results.

Michael-Brenner-Marketing-InsidersMichael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, and co-author of The Content Formula

@BrennerMichael

Businesses don’t buy things, people do. Emotional messages outperform promotional ones by 2 to 1. For 2016, I predict a massive correction in advertising budgets because we will start doing more marketing that works by reaching people in a helpful and emotional way. There will be a huge increase in spend and focus on content marketing. This will require us to get pretty darn good at showing Content Marketing ROI. We’ll also see more personalization, visual content and brand-produced entertaining content. Is 2016 the year of more B2B brands finding a personality and sense of humor?

Mike-headshot-560x620Mike Neumeier, APR Principal and Co-founder, Arketi Group

@Arketi

It’s only logical that public relations and search should work hand in hand. By treating the two as interdependent tools in your marketing toolkit — like a drill and a drill bit — you’ll realize amplified results in both public relations and search marketing. Smart PR professionals will ensure — just as we did with social media — that search marketing is firmly rooted in the PR discipline.

Rob-Amberg-JabianRobert Amberg, Director of Marketing, Jabian Consulting

@robamberg

I think the biggest thing I see is marketers no longer taking chances outside of digital.  Everyone wants to experiment with the latest crowdsourced, account-based, social media platform, but no one is taking chances when it comes to traditional marketing channels.  “New” might end up being better, but it doesn’t make ‘traditional’ irrelevant.  A simple example of this is with email vs. traditional direct mail.  How much farther does a simple handwritten note go, than a quickly blasted email.  Email is pervasive.  It’s everywhere and everyone gets too much of it.  It used to be that way with ‘junk mail’ but with the decline of physical mail delivery, suddenly a piece of mail delivered to your desk or home breaks through the clutter.  Email is easy and safe.  Traditional mail is riskier for a variety of reasons, but could have better results.  My advice? Take chances with traditional methods and keep it simple.  There’s plenty of time for the next super widget.

Serena-Ehrlich-Business-WireSerena Ehrlich, Director, Social and Evolving Media, Business Wire

@Serena

2016 is going to be the year of news visibility. There is a record number of content pieces being created by consumers and companies alike. Smart PR pros know they must create more personalized news and brand content in 2016 – pieces customized to engage highly targeted audience, but they also need to know when they must add budget behind the content to increase visibility, impact and ultimately, ROI.  To help communicators determine when to use an amplification tool like newswires or native advertising to drive higher activity and results, Business Wire created this handy Q&A guide:

http://blog.businesswire.com/2015/09/10/how-should-i-promote-my-content-an-infographic-for-smart-marketers/

This graphic asks a series of questions that will help you determine which content pieces should be amplified and provides tips on how to do it.

Sharon-Poulos-TravelportSharon Poulos, Director of Marketing, Travelport

@Atlantaspartan

Despite all of the cool tools that we have enlisted throughout the last few years, none of them matter if you don’t have your CRM in order!  I know it sounds simple, but as we try to be creative and do targeted campaigns by either personas or products, we get stumped because our CRM isn’t flexible enough to tag and allow those designations to be made OR the sales teams are not consistently using the data.  This causes us to struggle with segmentation, lead generation and getting away from a “one size fits all” marketing approach.

For a time management perspective, we have adopted a tool called LeanKit (www.Leankit.com) which is a Kanban methodology in which you can create boards with cards in a web-enabled environment which allows you to manage work flow, WIP, bottlenecks, and more.  It has taken about a year to implement and refine, but using agile marketing philosophy, this will continue to be refined.  Finally, other tools that we have adopted include www.strategyzer.com which gives you value proposition canvas and business model canvas capabilities.

Stacey-Holleran-ControlScanStacey Holleran, Sr. Manager, Corporate Communications, ControlScan

@mktb2b

Businesses are comprised of individual consumers, so it’s important that marketing communications appeal to basic human values such as trust and belonging. Moving into 2016, thought-leadership style communications will play a bigger role as decision makers look for products and services to which they can feel connected and place their trust.

Traci-Curran-BastilleTraci Curran, Director of Marketing, Bastille

@BiggerFunnel

Stop ignoring disruptive marketing. As digital marketing continues to take over, buyers are overwhelmed by messages. While 2015 showed great improvements in personalization and targeting, it also illustrated that simply using a name in an email or mentioning a shared connection is not enough to get real audience engagement. Successful marketing needs to stand out. Marketers should consider testing guerrilla marketing campaigns (remember those?!), viral videos, and make a return back to the Mad Men era of tapping into the emotional side of their target buyer. Many marketers and corporate leadership have become far too reliant on metrics, which are important, but don’t tell the complete story around marketing effectiveness. In the end, it’s all about what others are saying about you; in 2016, marketers need to find ways to stop doing all the talking and empower their audience with ways to share the message.

 

Thanks again to all the marketers who contributed to this post!

If there are any B2B marketing predictions and trends you’re seeing that weren’t mentioned by our experts, let us know in the comments section below.

You can also stay up-to-date on the latest B2B tech and marketing news by visiting our blog regularly for more digital marketing and PR updates.

 

2016 SEO Trends and more Search Marketing News

January 8, 2016 by

The search marketing industry is always changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on the latest news and best practices. Here’s a round-up of some of the most recent search marketing news and SEO trends in 2016. Hope you enjoy!

2016 Search Marketing Trends to Keep an Eye On

In 2015, the search marketing industry underwent some major changes. From back-end technical tricks to using content as a means for boosting search and social engagement, there are many trends that accumulated in 2015 that search marketers should continue to focus on in the New Year.

Search Engine Land recently published a column with five SEO trends brands should pay close attention to in 2016. In the column, Jim Yu suggests that links will remain a huge ranking factor, search will be more about overall online presence and content, website layout and site engagement will become more significant, structured data will become an even more important ranking factor and mobile apps will need to be optimized for search.

For more information on these trends, read this blog post.

Your Website Isn’t Your Only Search Asset

Organizations tend to limit their SEO strategy to their own website. But, as brands expand their online presence, they should expand their optimization efforts to cover all online channels. There are many ways to increase your search exposure by optimizing social profiles and getting other sites to rank for your brand in search. By optimizing these channels you can increase brand awareness and rank for keywords that you might not be able to rank for on your own domain.

Most social channels are similar when it comes to optimizing your brand for search. Across all channels, it’s best practice to use your brand name as your username, to write a search engine optimized description for your profile containing your brand name and to link to your social channels from your domain.

For more in-depth tips on how to optimize your social channels, read Search Engine Land’s column on expanding your search presence with external sites.

2016 SEO trends - optimize social profiles

How to Scale Manual Link Building

Companies are realizing that they cannot ignore links if they want to be successful in search, but even though these companies recognize links as an important asset they still face the challenge of scaling link building.

Link building is a very manual task. From research, to relationship building, to content creation, to outreach, link building cannot be automated as it is a “human-centric” practice. Search columnist Andrew Dennis suggests that the only way to scale link building is to invest in more human effort and hours. By building a skilled link building team of people who are trained in research, finding and securing opportunities, organizations will be able to more efficiently increase link acquisition.

For more information on how to build a link building team, read this scaling manual link building blog.

Have you noticed any other SEO trends or have search marketing news you’d like to share? Leave us a comment or send us a quick note.