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Uncovering The Problem with Personalization in B2B Marketing #UFX2016

Pat-Spenner-Uberflip-Experience

B2B marketers around the globe are all experiencing the same pain. That consistent pain is how to reach, engage, qualify and convert audiences into paying customers.

We’ve all become acutely aware that more content isn’t always better. But now, we’re faced with an even harsher reality about B2B marketing which is that we somehow have to find a way to not only reach the right decision makers, but also figure out how to get them all on the same page.

Pat Spenner of CEB provided some amazing insights at the Uberflip Experience conference into the current state of B2B marketing, as well as ways to approach our marketing in a more data driven way.

The Unhappy Reality of B2B Marketing

When you look overall at the conversion rates of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) at mid to large sized B2B organizations, the reality is that the median conversion rate is only 3%. Ouch!

What that means is that roughly 97% of MQLs don’t ultimately convert. What a bummer right?

One of the ways that marketers have begun counter-acting this reality is by investing in technology and process that allows for more content personalization. But what is the impact of personalized content?

Personalization Conventional Wisdom

Part of the work that CEB does is front-end research that consists of talking to heads of marketing to see exactly how they would define personalization of content.
The standard approach to personalization is as follows:

  1. Identify key customer decision makers and stakeholders
  2. Build personas that capture their demographic profile, goals, pain points, fears, etc.
  3. Use the developed personas to guide more relevant content creation and deliver.

One of the things that CEB also asks marketers is how they believe this chain of logic leads to business value. Typically it looks something like the following:

  • Persona-Informed (personalized) Content –> Higher Engagement
  • Higher Customer Engagement –> Better Lead Quality
  • Better Lead Quality –> Higher Conversion Rates & Higher Quality Leads

Understanding the Implications of Multiple Stakeholders

Another important factor in content personalization is understanding the number of, and different types of B2B stakeholders involved in the purchasing decision.

CEB’s research has found that when you add any additional stakeholders over 5, your likelihood of selling drops to 30%. The bad news? The average size of a B2B buying group is currently at 6.8 stakeholders.

So, if you’re wondering why a high number of your MQLs ultimate end up in no decision, you’re not alone.

How to Encourage Collaborative Consensus with Stakeholders

It’s no mystery that buyers typically make it over halfway through the buying cycle before they’re ready to speak with someone. However, CEB found that when a buyer is roughly 37% of the way through the buying cycle is when they hit peak conflict.

If you’re going to be successful, Pat encourages not to just focus on the “corner office” stakeholder, or even every stakeholder individually. What’s important is to find a way to lower that conflict and help the stakeholders come to a mutual consensus.

What this tells us is that personalization alone (by job title or function) is not enough to encourage consensus.

7 Stakeholder Types

In his presentation, Pat uncovered seven key stakeholder types including:

  • The Go-Getter
  • The Skeptic
  • The Friend
  • The Teacher
  • The Guide
  • The Climber
  • The Blocker

It’s important for marketers to neutralize the blocker by focusing on those that “make stuff happen”. These are stakeholders (known as Mobilizers) that will advocate for great ideas that will reframe the way that they think about their business. These people are hungry for new ideas and will implement pressure tests to see how things work before making a move.

Talkers on the other had, may be high engagers with your content and your sales team, but their skillset and ability to drive change is very limited.

The average distribution of these three types as senior decision makers is as follows:

  • 38% Blockers
  • 36% Mobilizers
  • 26% Talkers

Pat suggests cutting back on the energy that is put into Blockers and Talkers and instead focus on empowering the mobilizers.

3 Steps Towards Better B2B Marketing Personalization

Marketers can begin breaking down the roadblocks described in this post by considering the following steps:

#1 – Invest in Interpersonal Personas: Instead of just segmenting personas by job type or function, instead focus on building out profiles that showcase an understanding of who your target (Mobilizers) are and what makes them function.

#2 – Plan Content & Equip Mobilizers: Make sure to build your content playbook in a way that uncovers how your audience profile, insight into how they talk, what objectives you might receive and what messaging will help align stakeholders to make a decision. This approach is what will help get your collective yes and help drive higher quality business and leads

#3 – Create Dog Whistle Content: When developing and executing your content plan, really focus on your Mobilizers and finding a way to create more Commercial Insight focused content. This type of content is a subset of thought leadership and provides insight about a customers business that reframes the way they think about their own company and then leads them to the logical conclusion that your offering is a fit.

How have you approached content personalization in a way that has to account for multiple stakeholders? What was the result?


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Uncovering The Problem with Personalization in B2B Marketing #UFX2016 | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Uncovering The Problem with Personalization in B2B Marketing #UFX2016 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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[eBook] How to Build Your B2B Marketing Empire From the Ground Up

b2bmktgempire

b2bmktgempire

Is your B2B marketing a skyscraper or a sandcastle?

It’s fun to spend a day on the beach creating your dream house, only to have the tide wipe it out.

But If you were planning on moving in with your spouse and kids…well, that would be a problem.

It takes planning and strategy to build something that will stand the test of time. Right now, too many B2B marketers are building their empire–and betting the future of their business–on nothing but sand and water.

If your organization is building without a foundation, you’re not alone. We’ve all seen the stats: Nearly two thirds of B2B marketers have no documented content marketing strategy. So it’s not surprising only 30% say their efforts are effective. It’s time to develop a new blueprint for success.

To help marketers start breaking the sandcastle mindset, the team at TopRank Marketing has partnered with MarketingProfs to produce a new eBook, “How to Build Your B2B Marketing Empire from the Ground Up.”

The eBook is an introduction to the 10th annual MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum. In celebration of the forum’s “Build to Last” theme, it features advice from some Frank-Lloyd-Wright-caliber marketing architects.

In the eBook, you will learn how to build a B2B marketing strategy designed to stand the test of time:

  • The three fundamental questions a good strategy should answer
  • The elements of an unshakeable foundation
  • The ideal characteristics of your marketing team
  • How to build your career to last

And much more.

Take a peek at the eBook’s skyscraping insights with the quotes below, and share them with your own construction crew:

b2b-marketing-architects

Michael Brenner: “Effective marketing programs focus on helping customers first.” tweet this

Andy Crestodina: “Decide what success looks like in Google Analytics and track that goal specifically.” tweet this

Doug Kessler: “Your B2B Marketing ‘rebar’ is a clear, compelling sense of who you are & the unique things you bring to the table.” tweet this

Chris Moody: “If your marketing strategy isn’t on paper (or digital), it isn’t happening.” tweet this

Jay Acunzo: “A willingness to break from ‘best practices’ and go craft on your own is an essential part of building a B2B marketing strategy.” tweet this

Scott Monty: “Without a doubt, one of the most important qualities for anyone in the marketing field is curiosity.” tweet this

Lee Odden: A successful career in B2B marketing requires: understanding what you want to achieve, honest assessment of your skills & a map for closing the gap.” tweet this

Mitch Joel: “Find team members who can make fast decisions, but take the time to nurture the right results.” tweet this

Jason Miller: Take a cue from KISS: Four unique team members sitting together, synced up beautifully to deliver a marketing experience.” tweet this

Jen Slaski: Hire people who are naturally passionate but instill the importance of asking, ‘What’s our goal?’” tweet this

Ann Handley: “Build teams that try to understand what it’s really like in your customer’s world.” tweet this

Ready to break ground on a new B2B marketing empire? Join us at the 10th Annual MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum.

The post [eBook] How to Build Your B2B Marketing Empire From the Ground Up appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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6 Ways Marketers Can Optimize Their LinkedIn Profile

optimize-linkedin-profile

With more than 450 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network–and it’s growing every second. In fact, LinkedIn reports that people are signing up for the platform at a rate of two members per second.

For many of us marketers, LinkedIn’s continued growth is no surprise. Not only is LinkedIn the place to showcase your own talents and experience, but it also holds incredible networking and marketing opportunities for promoting our clients and our own brand or agency to the masses. From bolstering professional credibility to building thought leadership to maintaining client and prospect relationships, LinkedIn is an amazing tool.

But are we all using this wonderful tool to its full potential?

It all starts with maximizing and optimizing your profile. Whether you’re reaching out to prospects for your own agency, connecting with industry influencers on behalf of a client or just looking to make some connections, your profile is quite obviously the first thing people will see. And you want it to look gooooood.

Below we dive into some best practices and tips for optimizing your profile so you can use it to build your own professional brand as a marketer and make it a powerful tool to further your marketing objectives.

#1 – Cover the basics.

The very top of your profile page is prime real estate, providing a little snapshot of who you are and what you do. This is where you want to make a good first impression and encourage people to scroll and learn more about you.

LinkedIn - 1

Some best practices and tips for this section include:

  • Upload a professional and high-resolution head shot. Make sure the photo is sized 400 x 400 and it’s in a JPG, GIF or PNG format.
  • Write a catchy headline. Use this space to sell yourself a bit. You can certainly go simple by including your job title and company, but a little creativity and uniqueness can go a long way. But remember you have just 120 characters to work with.
  • Include the industry you work in. Select the industry that best represents the space you’re currently working in.
  • Add experience and education information. Basic information from the Experience and Education sections will be pulled into your top overview, so make sure you have where and what you studied, and current and past job titles and companies at a minimum.

#2 – Get specific.

LinkedIn is not meant to be your online resume, as resumes are often tweaked and tailored to meet the requirements of a specific job. Linkedin is where you can showcase all your past professional and volunteer work history—as well as your interests and a little personality.

Use the Summary, Experience and Education sections, as well as others that you can add onto your profile, to dive deep into your qualifications, experience and accomplishments.

Summary

The Summary section is your elevator pitch. Include relevant information about your current role and company, as well as the experience that got you there and what drives you to do quality work. Consider writing this section in the third-person and include keywords that will help your profile come up in search results.

Again, this is where you make your pitch so don’t be afraid to brag a bit about some of your accomplishments. And if you can, back it up with some examples of your work. Below is a great example from TopRank Marketing’s Ashley Zeckman.

LinkedIn Summary Section

Experience

While you want to be specific and detailed, make sure you’re clear and concise as well. Start out with a brief overview of your role. Then highlight specific responsibilities, accomplishments and the results you’ve gotten in a bulleted list. Below is an example from Kevin Cotch, TopRank Marketing’s awesome SEO Analyst.

LinkedIn Experience Section

Education

Go beyond listing the high school or college you’ve attended to include your areas of study, activities or societies you participated in, and any honors or awards you may have received. Connect it with the institution’s LinkedIn page if you can. This will help you explore profiles of fellow alumni. Here’s a peek at what my own Education section looks like.

LinkedIn Education Section

Adding Other Sections

You can also beef up your profile by adding additional sections such as organization you’re involved with, certifications, volunteer experience and more. Again, the more information and detail you display, the better.

When you’re in edit mode, you’ll find this option directly under the top overview section.

LinkedIn Other Sections

Click on “View More” to see all the options that you haven’t yet utilized on your profile. Here’s what opportunities are available on my own profile.

LinkedIn - 6

#3 – Showcase your top skills.

The Skills & Endorsements section allows you to show off all your areas of expertise. The beauty of this section is that you have the ability to prioritize which skills you want to call attention to in the Top Skills portion of the section.

LinkedIn Top Skills Section

If you’re in edit mode, click on any of the edit icons to get to the editing dashboard. Then click and drag skills into the order you want. Also, make sure to check you’ve opted into serving your skills up as endorsement suggestions for your connections.

LinkedIn Reordering Skills

#4 – Add examples of your work.

Documents, images, presentations, links and videos can all be added to various sections of your profile, allowing tell your story in a visual way and letting people see your work in action. Below is a peek at content featured in TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden’s Summary section.

LinkedIn Publishing

#5 – Make use of LinkedIn’s publishing platform.

Taking advantage of LinkedIn’s publishing platform has a number of benefits. First of all, all your posts become part of your profile, living in a section directly under the top overview section.

In addition, when you publish something new it’s shared with your connections and followers. The content is also searchable on and off LinkedIn, which is huge.

LinkedIn Pulse Content

When it comes to actually writing your posts, choose a topic that you’re experienced with and stick to it. If you try to include too many elements, you’ll lose readers. You could also use the platform to repurpose existing content. Of course, write a click-worthy headline, use keywords and aim for around 300-600 words or so.

Check out LinkedIn’s advice on writing long-form posts.

#6 – Don’t be shy about endorsements and recommendations.

Endorsement and recommendations from those you’ve worked with give your profile the depth it needs to build credibility with connections. After all, who better to describe what you have to offer than the people who’ve actually worked with?

Reach out to former supervisors, co-workers or clients you’re close with and ask them to endorse some of your skills or write a recommendation. To get more endorsements, reach out using In-Mail or email. For recommendations, scroll to the Recommendations section at the bottom of your profile and click “Ask for Recommendations.” This will allow you to select what job you want to be recommended for and the connection you want to reach out to.

LinkedIn will generate a message for you, but personalizing it will make it much more effective.

LinkedIn - 11

The bottom line is you want your profile to be a reflection of who you are as an individual and a marketing professional. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for people to get to virtually know you, allowing you to build connections and credibility, and push your marketing efforts forward.

Do you have a favorite formula for writing a catchy profile headline? Or any other LinkedIn profile tips? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
6 Ways Marketers Can Optimize Their LinkedIn Profile | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 6 Ways Marketers Can Optimize Their LinkedIn Profile appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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