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The New Market for B2B Social Influencers

14 Nov

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Influencer marketing has long been a staple in the B2C marketplace. However, many experts believe that it will soon rise in the B2B marketplace as well. As thought leaders in influential markets begin to grow social media followings, they will be able to use inbound marketing techniques like podcasts and live streaming in the same way that commercial companies do.

The audience is definitely there for these techniques. Livestream recently reported that 81% of Internet users watched more content in 2016 than in 2015. Convince and Convert reports a 14% increase in the number of podcast viewers year over year. Because of stats like these, savvy B2B marketers are looking to move into influencer marketing in a big way.

There is still a huge amount of potential in B2B influencer campaigns even as the current generation of campaigns rises in competition. Most companies still do not think of influencer marketing when they look to marketing, so the technique has plenty of room to grow. Savvy companies are already pitching social media influencers to work with them. Although the market is still the Wild West, there are a few techniques that have been tested.

Using Publishers as Influencers

Because business in some markets hinges on the latest news in that industry, publishers hold a great deal of power as social media influencers. Companies are finding great success through partnerships with publishers for content or full-on promo campaigns. Publishers often have more staff focused on running a blog or maintaining a social media presence. They have the potential for much more than the traditional banner ads – you can move forward into social media posts, branded content, and even sponsored reviews.

Sites like the Wall Street Journal and Business Insider have already created portals for partners.

Well Known Speakers and Authors

If you can hook up with an author or speaker who is self-employed, there will be no limits to the collaborations they can take on. You can offer these people visibility and viability in exchange for the collaboration. You may be able to reduce the price you pay, although your visibility will usually not be enough on its own to warrant free promo services. However, you never know. Experiment with authors and speakers with larger or smaller audiences to find your sweet spot.

Types of Campaigns

Virtually any marketing campaign can be bolstered with an influencer campaign. Awareness campaigns, online reviews and presentations are just a few of the ways that you can collaborate with social influencers. For instance:

- If you are trying to use social media to promote a new product, have your influencers post about the product instead of trying to drive traffic through your brand to your brand. Make sure that you research the FTC guidelines on sponsored content.

- Create long form content with a well known influencer or blogger. Your target audience will come to learn from the white papers or webinars that your influencer creates, and you will get leads and exposure from your sponsorship.

- Send influencers to cover industry events for you. They will be able to take photos, videos, and blog about the event while judiciously mentioning your business as they go. If you have the ability to give people press passes, all the better. Those are like gold to the social influencer.


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Why LinkedIn is Better for Marketing at Scale

9 Nov


When it’s time to target your prospects at scale, there is arguably no better platform than LinkedIn. It is well-known that LinkedIn is the best platform for targeting professionals in general, however, there is not a great deal of talk around the scale that LinkedIn provides.

Part of the reason that LinkedIn does not get the attention that it should is due to the convenience of its scaled applications. It is not easy to market at scale with LinkedIn. For instance, if you are trying to reach 1000 CFOs, you cannot simply type “CFO” into the search engine and spam away. You have to incorporate some detailed techniques in order to take full advantage of the features that LinkedIn has to offer.

First of all, job title targeting is perhaps the most inefficient way to market at scale on LinkedIn. It is the most used tactic, which means that marketing this way will increase competition and bring you higher CPC rates. Job title targeting is best used for precise marketing efforts, and this is exactly what scale is not.

If you are looking to market at scale, then you need to start with the Job Function search on LinkedIn. This is the search that will create the largest audience for you, although you will need to streamline and focus this audience in subsequent steps. For instance, if you are looking for digital marketers, you would need to drill down into the Job Function of “marketing.” Leaving your research at this step will potentially show your ad to many unqualified prospects, ballooning your costs with no results. 

You may want to cross-reference your Job Function search with a Group Search. The majority of professionals who fill out profiles on LinkedIn do not join any groups. However, those who do are extremely interested in the topic. With these names in tow, you will have your core audience. People who join LinkedIn groups are also usually the most active individuals on the site. You are beginning to drill down into your audience list and find the people who are the most relevant to your marketing efforts.

If you find that Job Function targeting does not give you a good cross-reference after drilling down into groups, you may reverse course and try a Skills targeting campaign. These audiences are large and self-selected, which may actually benefit your campaign in the long run. The stated job title of an individual may not always coincide with the responsibilities of that individual in a company. Using Skills as your target, you will identify people from their real position in the company, not just their job title.

Ideally, you are looking for an audience between 25,000 and 50,000 people. LinkedIn tells companies to go with an audience greater than 300,000, but most case studies have determined that this is too large. Consider also that LinkedIn has a bona fide interest in seeing you advertise to as many people as possible. With a max audience of 50,000 people, you can more easily track the results of your campaign. You will also be able to more easily break up this audience into smaller buyer profiles.


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The Importance of Marketing Performance Management for B2B Companies

13 Mar

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Having a robust marketing performance management (MPM) campaign is no longer a luxury; when it comes to improving the efficiency of your team, MPM is a go-to strategy. The savviest companies are making MPM a completely separate entity within their offices and encouraging collaboration between  this specialist and the more traditional members of the marketing team.

Companies that sell in the B2B realm should take special note of the MPM trend. As a business that looks to scale and high performance standards, MPM is especially important. Here’s why.

Your Budget Is Always Under Attack

There is a reason that marketing is always the first budget to get cut in a crisis: This is the department that usually has the most trouble justifying its expenditures. MPM turns this stereotype on its head, combining the rigor of a performance driven organization with the precision of a business development budget expertise.

With an MPM specialist, you now have accountability for your expenditures versus the results they brought in. Because MPM is responsible for a long-term strategy, you will be able to see when to divert funds and when to let a campaign ride if its returns are not immediate.

Aggregating the Most Important Aspects of Marketing and Operations

Your marketing and operations do not have to clash constantly. In a traditional company, the operations side is always trying to reduce the budget for noncritical expenditures or cash outlays without a direct revenue return. Marketing is always trying to expand this budget, because all revenues that could be attributed to marketing are not necessarily direct, and it is quite easy to frame any expense from marketing as noncritical.

By combining financial expertise, experience with analytics and IT under one discipline, MPM finally brings together the creative aspects of marketing with the justification for the existence of any creative outlay. By placing IT, finance and analytics under the same department umbrella, you also reduce bloat in your company that would come from trying to coordinate these three disciplines.

Building Internal Relationships Crystallizes Business Vision

To move product in the B2B space, your clients need to know exactly who you are. In order to put forth a clear vision in the market, you must synchronize your vision within your company first. MPM is the perfect discipline to accomplish this.

Because all of the most important aspects of marketing and operations are now represented in a single department, that department can now serve as a hub for outreach. Finance and IT department heads now have more confidence that marketing understands their language. Plans can be presented to the C-Suite with a new confidence, giving executives a clear picture to communicate with large clients and profit shaping deals.

Although there is no consistent MPM job description just yet, you should take this as an advantage. Hiring an MPM specialist or simply introducing the concept into your company without Borders means that you can customize the role to your needs. The bottom line is increased long-term-efficiency for your marketing department, drawing streamlined and precise conclusions for immediately actionable solutions from aggregated data.

Your creative vision no longer has to be at odds with your number crunchers and in the B2B space, it can’t be. Take the time to ensure that MPM becomes a vital part of your marketing department with direct access to your CMO.

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3 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2017

9 Dec


2017 is right around the corner which makes now a great time to assess your digital marketing strategy. Because digital marketing evolves on a continuous basis, it’s vital to be in the know concerning the latest trends and upcoming features. Here’s what to expect during the year ahead.

  1. Mobility Continues to Dominate

Whether a potential customer is attempting to multi-task during downtime or simply browsing online for pleasure, the chances are very good that their activity is taking place on a mobile device. Convenient and powerful, our reliance on smart phones and tablets demands that websites tailor their marketing strategies so they effectively reach people, even if they aren’t grounded to a stationary computer or lugging around a laptop.

  1. Changing Algorithms are King

Unlike those unchanging formulas that you might remember from math class, algorithms are ones that regularly undergo a revolutionary change. This means that any marketing strategy used must contain elements that work seamlessly together rather than components that can only stand solidly on their own.

  1. Video is Expected

Have you been sitting out the video craze, hoping that it will fizzle out so you don’t have to engage in it? If this is your approach, you’ll want to swiftly change it in order to keep up in 2017. One compelling reason: videos are one of the most shared elements that wind up on social media which means they can quickly make your business a popular topic of conversation. Quick and entertaining bite-sized pieces can also alleviate questions and concerns your visitors might have in regards to implementing the services and/or products your business provides.

At ER Marketing, we constantly stay on top of the latest digital marketing trends so you don’t have to. Let us create a robust marketing plan for your business so it thrives in 2017. Contact us today to lay the groundwork for a better tomorrow.

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SEO in Content Marketing

6 Dec



Guest Contributor:
Corey Morris, Director of Digital Strategy

Content marketing has exploded as a discipline and as a topic over the past several years. It impacts many of the more traditional marketing and digital marketing channels and is something that most of us admit we need to do more of or need to do it better.

I had the opportunity to attend Content Marketing World in Cleveland this September. During that conference, I was interviewed by Jeff Julian for an episode of the Enterprise Marketer podcast that was recently released. We had a great conversation about the evolution of search engine optimization (SEO) and how the discipline has been impacted by the rise of content marketing.

I see content as the unifying factor in most digital marketing efforts. I produced an integrated digital marketing approach diagram earlier this year to help visually demonstrate a structure that I often talk about in conversations regarding the role of content strategy, content marketing, and digital channels as vehicles for content.

There is a lot of talk and confusion about inbound and outbound marketing as well as earned, owned, and bought media. Regardless of how we classify it, it often comes back to content. Digital channels like SEO and social media work much better when they embrace content into the strategy, and everyone has a seat at the planning table.

There are a number of processes that become more efficient by working together. Integrating channel marketing efforts under the content umbrella improves strategy by utilizing unique research, insights, and analytics from the different digital channels. It is the sharing of intelligence that helps reach desired personas and ensure that we’re not operating too much in silos. Channel marketing should not dictate content; let content drive the bus.

I thoroughly enjoyed talking with Jeff and hope that you find the approach and role of search marketing in content marketing as insightful and fun as I do.


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