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Content4Demand Blog by Holly Celeste Fisk - 12h ago

Here is our countdown of the top-trending pieces and posts generating buzz and airplay in content marketing. These intriguing conversations and case studies not only drove eyeballs and downloads but stirred some interesting comments and dialogue along the way.

1. An Artificial Future

Five AI Solutions Transforming B2B Marketing


Only 13% of marketers in 2018 said they felt very confident in their knowledge of artificial intelligence (AI), according to an EverString study — even though 80% of marketing execs think it will revolutionize the field in the next five years. So if you’re hesitant about all the hype, you’re not alone…  yet. But a recent report from Salesforce indicates that top-performing companies are more than twice as likely to use AI as underperforming companies. Integrating AI will become a requirement soon to run marketing operations. Ready or not, there are five areas where you can start adopting the technology now to improve business outcomes: lead scoring, predictive analytics, customer insights, personalization and content creation.

2. Close Up and Personalized

The B2B Buyer Journey Is Unique for Everyone, So You Need to Personalize


As all the journeys we love to discuss have given way to self-guided buyer paths, personalization becomes increasingly critical for B2B marketers. Personalization lets you continue to deliver a relevant experience for every prospect, regardless of where they are on their path. When it comes to an initial engagement, look no further than your home page. A static, generic page is the wrong answer. Personalization means that healthcare prospects should see a home page with copy and imagery tailored to healthcare while visitors in manufacturing see manufacturing, and so on.

Set up email triggers so that account reps when anyone reads case studies or watches product videos. Make sure existing customers get real-time suggestions and time-saving tips that correspond with the user’s goals or usage patterns. These are just a few of the important ways that personalization can help you reframe the way you envision today’s buyer’s journey, however many detours it takes.

3. Get Busy

8 Tips (and a Few Tools) for Getting S**T Done


Are you the office dynamo, or do you watch those workhorses from the sidelines with awe? Content Marketing Institute asked some of those productive superheroes what their secrets are, and they took some time out from speaking at conferences; writing articles, books and newsletters; and appearing on podcasts to share their tips for finding time to run circles around the rest of us. Their advice includes:

1. Embrace digital tools for efficient collaboration and personal accountability…
2. …without turning your nose up at good, old-fashioned pen and paper when that’s easiest.
3. Set priorities and stick to them.
4. Don’t complicate simple things. (Repurposing content is a great example.)
5. Include every task on your calendar so you can be realistic about your time.
6. Let automation do your grunt work.
7. Jump off the social media treadmill (and other time-wasting distractions).
8. Trust Google. Its autofill feature can answer a surprising number of questions much faster than you can.

4. ABM Growth

Study: 80% of Marketers Say ABM Improves Customer Lifetime Value

New research from TOPO published by ABM in Action highlights the many upsides of account-based marketing (ABM). TOPO surveyed more than 150 industry practitioners, who reported expanded budgets and plans for even bigger increases as the year unfolds. The early adopters of ABM are reaping big benefits in exchange for those budgets, including 68% who report higher account win rates, 90% of marketers who claim that ABM improves sales/marketing alignment and a vast majority of respondents (80%) who say it enhances customer lifetime value.

5. Content Marketing Remix

Complex Stories Simplified: How SOC Telemed Uses a Marketing Remix to Build Its Fan Base


If you’re headed to B2B Marketing Exchange in Scottsdale next week, mark this Content4Demand case study on your calendar for Monday at 3:10 p.m. — and arrive early, because it’s first come, first seated. You’ll hear from SOC Telemed’s Meg Hoyecki and our own Dana Harder about how C4D helped the company orchestrate a marketing remix last year to build its fan base for a brand-new audience. Learn how:

  • A change in company direction drove a remix of new messaging and audience targets
  • SOC Telemed put existing band members in the lead and added rising stars to the line-up
  • Sharing sheet music internally got sales and marketing playing the same tunes
  • Much more, including some great content samples!

And be sure to visit Content4Demand at Booth 302 to take a Rockstar Selfie and rap with us about content marketing.

We hope we’ve helped inspire you on your path to improving B2B marketing content. If you’re eager to read more, check out our Resources Page.

The post Content Hit List appeared first on Content4Demand.

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Hot on the heels of Demand Gen Report releasing its 2019 State of Interactive Content Marketing in January, we published a blog post with tips on how to wow B2B buyers with interactive content. And because it’s award season, it seems only right that we talk about which of the exciting interactive formats is the best.

But what comes to mind when you think of interactive content? There’s no shortage of options available to win over B2B audiences in the digital realm. Keep your big moment from turning into a blooper by using the right format for your message.

It’s an Honor Just to Be Nominated

But don’t nominate a format just because it’s shiny and new. You choose the format based on the message, not the other way around. What is the best format to deliver the message in an effective way? Take some time to determine which formats have the best potential for telling your story in a way that resonates with your audience’s evolving tastes and preferences.

Several members of the Content4Demand team explored a variety of engaging interactive formats in a webinar called “Content Marketing Hit-Makers: Audience-Centric Formats You Need to Add to Your Catalog.”

Some time has passed since we first aired the webinar, but its takeaways are as relevant as ever. Alicia Esposito, Dana Harder and Steve Voith packed their jam session with a playlist of the top interactive content formats (as well as some audience-centric static formats. They presented real-world examples of how brands like Oracle and Nasdaq have been playing them formats appreciative B2B audiences.

Here’s a sampling of the interactive formats our content rockstars covered in the webinar.

iPapers

This modernized version of the white paper draws readers in, allowing them to scroll through an experience where callouts animate on-screen and important statistics pulse to grab readers’ attention. The iPaper dynamically renders on all screens, with collapsible and expandable sections that allow buyers to self-navigate through the information. These bells and whistles give readers the opportunity to consume a big-rock asset in a new, engaging way.

Listicles

This short-form asset type is likewise getting lots of play, combining a quick review of a topic with interesting visuals and links out to related information. Dana calls this “the Buzzfeed of the B2B world”—condensed information that buyers can comb through quickly to get what they need. Very visual with minimal copy. You can embed videos, quizzes, instant share links for social media, or even other assets.

Interactive Infographics

Infographics have long been an engaging staple of content marketing. The addition of interactivity takes data visualization to the next level. The best examples of infographics are so much more than data dumps. Each statistic or piece of information follows logically to tell a story. Keep the experience clean and uncluttered, with animations that draw attention to key stats but don’t get in the way of a quick navigation.

Case Study Portfolios

Buyers love case studies, but they’re not likely to comb your site to dig up the customer examples you want them to see. By showcasing your best customer successes in an interactive storytelling format, you can draw them into the challenge/solution in a way that’s more accessible and relevant.

Podcasts & Videos

Buyers are hungry for more on-demand content, and these are two incredibly popular on-demand formats. Both allow you to take unique approaches to storytelling—and to how you promote your content. Both are personal and immediate.

Listeners can take podcasts wherever they want, and when they’re done well, they allow you to develop a loyal following. Most will shy away from podcasts that focus on products, so this format is best when you have thought leadership to share, and tips that will satisfy your listeners.

Video, on the other hand, can be a great vehicle for sharing product information—particularly for demonstrating complex products that require visual and audio explanation. Keep them to 45 seconds or less, when viewers drop off.

Cox Media took a creative approach to promoting podcasts by embedding them in their “A Day in the Life of a Smartphone User” interactive infographic. And Nasdaq demonstrates the perfect execution of explaining a complicated product in its Nasdaq PSX video. (Both are featured in the webinar.)

To take a deeper dive into these and other audience-centric formats, I strongly recommend that you watch the entire webinar. In addition to accessing some instructive samples, you’ll hear all kinds of tips and best practices to help you execute these popular formats with award-winning style.

If you’d like to learn more or work with Content4Demand to create your own audience-centric content, send an email to holly@content4demand.com.

 

The post Best Supporting Roles in Interactive B2B Content appeared first on Content4Demand.

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When Demand Gen Report issued The 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report, 81% of respondents said they wanted more interactive content that they can access on demand.

Most of us are certainly aware of the need to create effective interactive content. But how confident are you that you know how to do it? Content4Demand produces interactive assets every day, and we’ve got six tips to help you step up your interactive game.

Do It With a Purpose

Choose your formats strategically. Just slapping animations into any old asset doesn’t make it engaging. Assess your asset honestly and determine whether interactivity adds to the story you’re trying to tell. The best candidates for interactivity are those where:

  • Interactivity will help tell the story or demonstrate a process.
  • No other format will tell the story more effectively.
  • You have the time and budget to do it well.

Remember that your goal is to deliver valuable information to help buyers make a decision. Choose the format that will best lead you toward that goal. As with any other asset, consider where your interactive piece fits within your content marketing strategy. Map out a mix of static and interactive content with clearly defined goals.

Take a Measured Approach

One of the great benefits of interactive formats is their ability to deliver metrics that show how much readers engaged with your piece, and which sections got the most action. To take advantage of these valuable metrics, you’ll want to determine upfront how you’ll measure success. What do you care most about — click-throughs or shares? Number of views or number of completed gate forms?

Determining these things in advance will help your designers to drive the impact you’re after. If the call to action is the most important element, move it up in the layout and make sure it pops. Design the asset based on your goals.

Team Up for Success

The experts who will design and code your piece should be involved as early as possible in the planning process. They’ll want answers to such questions as:

  • Where will the asset be hosted, on our website or on a third-party platform? 
  • Will we host it ourselves, or will an agency host it? What will that cost?
  • How frequently will the content need to be updated? Who will be responsible?
  • Will we gate the asset with a lead-gen form? What information must we collect?
  • How do we plan to distribute this?
  • How important is it to be mobile responsive? What devices will most users view it on?

Interactive content is much more easily and cost-effectively updated than pdfs or printed files. Keep an eye on the links, the content itself and the call to action to make sure everything stays current as long as the asset is being accessed.

Check Your Phone (and Tablet)

While the majority of B2B buyers still access content from a computer, there’s a growing contingent of mobile content viewers that you’ll want to consider. According to recent The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) research sponsored by Google, 50% of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones — and BCG expects that figure to grow to 70% by 2020.

Lay out your asset in a way that translates fluidly to create seamless navigation and an attractive interface on any device. And make sure that those important calls to action and other priorities you identified in the planning process are still the most visible components of the design, whether it’s viewed on a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone or a desktop computer.

Play to Your Crowd

Just because interactive content continues to grow in popularity doesn’t mean your buyers always prefer it in every stage of the buyer’s journey. Also consider that some industries are more conservative than others and may be resistant to anything that feels too lighthearted or flashy.

Detailed, current personas are the best way to predict what your clients and prospects will respond to best. Still, content preferences continue to evolve, so continuous testing is a great way to keep up with your buyers’ changing interests.

Take Smart Shortcuts

You don’t always need to work from the ground up. Peruse your content library for some foundational assets that have performed well for you in the past, and assess whether they’ll translate well into an interactive format. Interactivity can appeal to a different set of viewers, and provide you a way to bring case studies and e-books to life.

If you’d like to learn more about how interactive content fits into today’s B2B content mix, download Demand Gen Report’s 2019 State of Interactive Content Marketing for a discussion about the benefits of interactive content marketing, how companies are succeeding with interactive assessments, best practices for developing interactive content, and more.

If you need a partner with experience creating effective, engaging interactive content, Content4Demand is here to help. Contact holly@content4demand.com with your questions.

The post 6 Ways to Wow B2B Buyers With Interactive Content appeared first on Content4Demand.

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Content4Demand Blog by Holly Celeste Fisk - 1w ago

When marketing and sales work together, everybody wins. For some organizations, though, that’s easier said than done. While both teams have the same ultimate goals, they often have very different perspectives and ideas about how to achieve those goals.

When marketing invests the time to understand sales processes and the team’s challenges, we can do a much better job of equipping the sales team with marketing materials that they’re excited about and empowered to use correctly. Get on the same page, and marketing can be the strongest sales enablement tool they’ve ever had.

You don’t even necessarily need to create those materials from scratch. In many cases, your understanding of the sales perspective will allow you to tailor existing pieces to meet the sales team’s needs.

Lead the Way with Content

When you ask sales what they want from marketing, they’ll always focus on leads. But technology now allows marketing to go so much further. The tactics we use for marketing – social media outreach, email campaigns and content creation – can also be used in the sales arena.

The key is to be selective, evaluating each piece and map it to your organization’s sales process. Prioritize use of the assets that pair well with those processes, and make sure you educate the sales team about how to use it.

This is a dialogue, so if they come back with requests for something different, listen carefully instead of automatically being defensive. Every discussion with the sales team is another opportunity to learn more about how to align content with their needs.

Tech Support

Technology will continue to increase the opportunities for marketing to support sales. Tools such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics offer new avenues for aligning sales and marketing.

You may be able to use AI to identify prospects who best match up with sales’ most likely customers. Predictive analytics may be able to tell you that there’s a 75% chance that a buyer will make a purchase decision at a particular step in the process.

As often as possible, make an effort to dig into how you can use any new technology to solve the sales team’s challenges at each specific stage of a sales engagement.

When it comes to content creation, keep track of the various categories of content that your sales team uses. Know the purpose of each of these content types, and keep it top of mind when you create that content. Any time you create marketing content, consider how the sales team might use it, and whenever you need to, tailor those assets to help them achieve their aims.

Ongoing collaboration will thrive if you have an ongoing dialogue between sales and marketing, particularly if you keep in-depth planning conversations on the calendar. And between meetings, keep their perspective on your radar as you execute each piece of marketing.

If you want to learn more about sales enablement for marketers, read our Q&A with Pam Didner, B2B marketing expert and author of Effective Sales Enablement. And be sure to attend her session at B2B Marketing Exchange later this month.

 

The post Be Your Sales Team’s Valentine appeared first on Content4Demand.

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Content4Demand Blog by Holly Celeste Fisk - 2w ago

Here is our countdown of the top-trending pieces and posts generating buzz and airplay in content marketing. These intriguing conversations and case studies not only drove eyeballs and downloads but stirred some interesting comments and dialogue along the way.

1. Interactive Popularity

2019 State of Interactive Content Marketing

Just a few years ago, Content4Demand was excited for the rare opportunity to design interactive buyer experiences for ourselves and for clients. We’ve come a long way, baby. Now that B2B marketers see a proven audience for these digital assets, about half the content we’re creating is interactive in some form or another — anything from a simple quiz or assessment to a digital iPaper or interactive video.

Benefits abound, and inspiration is everywhere — as evidenced by the great examples included in this status overview from Demand Gen Report. Click your way through the entire report for valuable expert insights and deep dives into how companies like Uberflip and Prophix are taking a strategic approach to interactive content that engages audiences and deepens credibility. You’ll find lots of tips, stats and best practices along the way.

2. B2B Budgets Expand

40% of B2B Brands Set to Increase Marketing Budgets in 2019

Increased marketing spending this year points to its growing priority in the business budget. According to the 2019 State of IT Marketing report from Spiceworks, one-third of the budgets will be spent on paid media, 22% on trade shows and events, 21% on marketing technology investments and 19% on help from outside agencies or brand partners.

Among the most notable shifts highlighted in the study are that 51% of B2B companies said they’ve used or are planning to use an ABM strategy, 49% are using video marketing and 41% have implemented on-demand content. The B2B world continues to struggle with ROI measurement, driving conversions and aligning sales and marketing.

3. Hubba Hub

Your Questions Answered: Building a Best-in-Class Content Marketing Hub

Content hubs offer some solid benefits, not least of which is that it gives customers and prospects on-demand access to the content most relevant to them at any given moment. And they can consume as much as they want, leading themselves through the buyer’s journey with content you’ve worked hard to produce and share. A hub extends the life of your content beyond a nurture.

But it’s not a recycling bin where you toss every piece of content without another thought. As NewsCred Insights details in this meaty article, there are many questions you should answer before you get started, from where to host it and how frequently to add new content to which technology to use and why formulating a metadata strategy is important.  

4. Invest in Video

6 Financial Service Organizations Crushing It With Video

The complexity of financial services offerings can make text-centric content marketing a serious challenge. Nobody wants to read intimidating blocks of copy, least of all the younger generations that many of these companies are beginning to target. Video is a fantastic way to convey complicated information in a simpler way, and to build trust simultaneously. Still, more than 90% of financial services firms have no video content, according to Vidyard.

Vidyard compiled these six examples of financial services organizations that are doing an outstanding job with video that grabs customers’ attention with homepage videos (LeaderOne Financial), live streaming (Saxo Bank), video resource libraries (Bank of America), webinars (HSBC Canada), customer testimonials (Sunlife Financial) and extraordinary brand storytelling (WealthSimple). You don’t need to be a FiServ marketer to find inspiration from these examples — but if you’re in FiServ marketing, you certainly need to see what these folks are up to.

5. A Good Influence

150 Content Marketing Influencers You Need to Follow

What if the only things we knew about marketing were the lessons we’d learned ourselves through trial and error? The horror! Experts and influencers are our guiding lights, generously sharing their hard-earned wisdom so that we may benefit. Atomic Reach published this handy list of 100 influencers you should be following so that you can soak up their insights through the magic of social media. Or something like that.

It’s a solid list, with lots of names you’ll probably recognize. It’s worth noting that superstars like Lee Odden, Michael Brenner, Ardath Albee, Pam Didner, Tim Washer and David Meerman Scott are all speaking at the B2B Marketing Exchange in Scottsdale this month. But be sure to dig past the top dogs to discover some unfamiliar faces so that you get a steady stream of fresh perspectives from the up-and-comers.

We hope we’ve helped inspire you on your path to improving B2B marketing content. If you’re eager to read more, check out our Resources Page.

The post Content Hit List appeared first on Content4Demand.

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When you’re brainstorming campaign ideas or a piece of content, it’s easy to get stuck inside your own head. You think, craft ideas, develop drafts, revise copy and re-revise it for hours on end. Completing an asset and getting it out into the field is a tremendous accomplishment, but you may find that it’s not performing well. Emails are clicked and opened, but no ones converting. What happened?
 
It doesn’t mean you’re a failure or that you didn’t work hard enough. The likely reason why your content fell flat is that you didn’t consult enough outside parties before launching. In fact, collecting feedback from team members, subject-matter experts and even clients and prospects is often the missing link in developing killer content ideas, according to The Second City Works.

Learn how to really listen: When we have conversations, especially with clients and prospects, we tend to follow a standard script of key points and value propositions. We end up latching onto a word or term we can relate to and finding a way to push our own agenda. You need to throw this approach out the window. Instead, we need to truly listen and take in the full context of what people are saying. Only then can you determine the best way to continue the conversation.

Create from abundance: There are many improv principles that sales reps and marketers can apply. One of the most well-known exercises they can use to expand their creative horizons is the “yes, and” exercise. When we collaborate with team members, we tend to shut them out if we don’t fully agree. However, “yes, and” is the framework to create an abundance of ideas and content. The rule is that you never say no to an idea; you say “yes” and then add your new twist in the “and” As you’re chatting with colleagues and coming up with ideas, saying “yes and” will help you acknowledge, refine and further build upon ideas.

Don’t be afraid to fail: Eninger noted that “a killer idea only works when you can sell it to the crowd.” From the perspective of Second City, one of the most reputable improv organizations in the country, that means spending hours in the writers’ room, only to find that some ideas fall like a lead balloon in front of a crowd. Failure happens, and marketers shouldn’t be afraid of it. We should use failure as a way to determine what doesn’t work and find ways to move forward and improve.

Start with your own story: For some marketers, creating content from the audience’s perspective can be challenging. It takes a significant shift in thinking and, in the end, storytelling. Start with your own story. Then, determine the role that other characters may play in the story and what their experiences will be. Peeling back these layers can help you uncover a new story and ideas for content.

If you’re in need of a creative team to “yes, and” for you or with you, we’re always ready to partner with fellow marketers to craft strategic marketing campaigns. Our content strategists take pride in building creative content ideation that connects the dots between your content and your buyers. Let us know how we can help.

The post Say “Yes, And” to Collaboration appeared first on Content4Demand.

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Pop quiz: What’s a great way to engage buyers, encourage them to rate or assess their current strategies and connect them to an end goal or potential? The not-so-surprising answer is quizzes and assessments!

Your buyers are gravitating to more snackable, easy-to-digest assets: Up to 84% say they have started to prefer more interactive and visual content that they can access on-demand. But marketers are facing a predicament: Only 33% of buyers said they thought the assessments they engaged with were valuable.

In the 2018 Content Preferences Study, 25% of buyers said they spend 5 to 10 minutes interacting with assessments, but 22% said they spend 5 minutes or less on such assets.

Quizzes and assessments are still relatively new to the B2B marketing mix. As consumers, we’ve engaged with magazine quizzes and their digital counterparts on social networks and online publications – BuzzFeed has found impressive engagement with its popular quizzes. But few organizations have mastered the format to translate the same levels of fun and engagement for professional audiences.

If you’re looking to craft high-impact quizzes and assessments that engage your buyers and encourage them to take action, here are a few tips and best practices to guide you:

  1. Make it quick and easy. There is a place for detailed questions, but a quiz or assessment isn’t one of them. Save those in-depth probes for your research studies and surveys. By design, quizzes and assessments are meant to be quick, easy and actionable for your buyers. They’re supposed to move through the process and receive their results seamlessly. We encourage companies to keep their assessments to eight questions or fewer to keep users engaged.

  2. Tell them something they don’t know. One way to keep your audience engaged is to sprinkle in some fun facts that align with your questions. While it’s important to design concise questions and responses, a few concise supporting facts can educate your audience and add value to their experience.

  3. Allow buyers to benchmark against their peers. A majority of buyers (63%) recommend that marketers provide more benchmarking data in their content — hence the value of surveys. But surveys are typically expensive and require long lead times to collect data, analyze it and aggregate it to tell a comprehensive story. Custom-built assessments and ROI calculators can be custom-coded so your buyers not only see their end results, but also the aggregated results of all participants. This allows them to easily benchmark against their peers and determine if and how they should change their current processes or strategies.

  4. Provide actionable insights and best practices. I consider assessments a prime example of value exchange between buyer and brand. Your buyers are taking time out of their day to answer your questions and share personal information, so the least you can do is share valuable insights and recommendations to help them do their jobs better. Offer participants a few quick tips and best practices to reward them for their time.

  5. Show them how to move forward. All effective content has a compelling call to action, which may differ based on your campaign goals, your target audience and their content preferences. In some cases, it is most effective to promote a more detailed follow-up content asset at the end of the quiz. Other times, offering a free consultation with a subject matter expert to discuss quiz results and recommendations is a powerful way to continue the conversation. Regardless, the goal is to encourage your buyers to take some sort of next step after they complete the quiz. This helps you stay top of mind and gives you a prime opportunity to reconnect and re-engage with them.

  6. Make your quiz a part of your content journey. Of course, there’s no point creating a quiz or assessment if you can’t get your buyers to engage with it! Although you should promote your final piece across all promotional channels, we encourage brands to think about the role assessments play in their content journey. Try to package quizzes and assessments with related content on a specific trend or topic. After your target customers collect some background information or research from those initial assets, they may get the urge to see how their company stacks up.

New content consumption trends and preferences tell us that your buyers want interactive and easy-to-digest content. More importantly, they want quick yet detailed feedback on their businesses’ current strategies and how they stack up against their peers.

Quizzes and assessments are powerful content formats that can help you engage your buyers and arm them with new knowledge. With the proper strategy and design, you can also compel your buyers to learn more about your solutions and services. 

Want more help crafting a compelling buyer quiz or assessment? Contact us directly with your questions, or share your challenges in the comments section below.

The post 6 Ways to Score Buyer Points With Engaging Quizzes appeared first on Content4Demand.

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It seems like you can’t scroll through social media without seeing some form of criticism or commentary on the new Gillette commercial. The nearly two-minute spot, called, “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be,” digs deep into toxic masculinity. The brand left no stone unturned – including even its own ads from “the good old days” – touching on everything from grade-school bullying to cat-calling and the #MeToo movement.

We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette (Short Film) - YouTube

Of course, campaigns that take a strong position are never safe from criticism. Gillette is seeing outrage from male supremacy groups and talking heads like Piers Morgan, who are calling for a product ban. Others are calling the brand’s bluff, claiming that at the end of the day, they’re doing this simply to make some dough.

Despite the risks, Forrester anticipates that more CMOs will take leaps in their campaign strategies, focusing on divisive topics and current events for inspiration. In its 2019 predictions, the analyst firm noted that CMOs will use “divisions in society to disrupt the market by exploiting weaknesses or unresolved problems within an ecosystem to create value, and use technology, culture, media, creativity and economics as a mode of disruption.”

Tapping into these points of conflict and contention, Forrester notes, will “spark consumer energy.”

Where Are the Brave B2B Marketers?

The case of Gillette and this report got me thinking: Although a number of B2C brands are taking risks with their marketing campaigns, where are the brave B2B marketers?

Research from Salesforce points to some valid concerns. The top three reasons why marketers aren’t delivering purpose-driven campaigns are:

  1. The inherent risk associated with releasing a polarizing message to audiences
  2. The inability to connect values to marketing strategy
  3. Insufficient buy-in

None of these is surprising to me. As someone immersed in marketing day in and day out, I even caught myself sighing and rolling my eyes when I saw the news of the Gillette spot.

“Wonderful,” I thought, “another big brand striving to capitalize on the fact that women’s rights are now somehow trendy,” I muttered to myself as I scrolled through the keyboard warriors sharing their feedback on Twitter. (The fact that women’s rights are even considered a trend is problematic, but that’s a post for another time.)

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one having this internal tug-of-war. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that a move like this is necessary, especially while so many companies are still complacent because they don’t want to alienate potential customers and business partners.

Claim Your Values

Brands must now pierce their stakes in the ground and not just say but show what matters to them. What values are central to their culture, and how are these values integrated into the products they create and sell, the campaigns they implement and even the people they hire and partner with?

While there will always be people to question these marketing decisions, there will be more people eager to applaud a brand for taking a stand. Consider this: 63% of consumers say they prefer to buy goods and services from companies that stand for a shared purpose that reflects their personal values and beliefs.

Yes, this is something that we as consumers now inherently want in the brands that we buy from. We not only want brands to stand for something, we want their campaigns and tactics to align with these values and missions. When brands undermine their missions or values, that is when they can fracture relationships.

And as the lines between B2C and B2B continue to blur, these realities will become even more critical to you and your team. After all, your buyers will begin to expect the same dedication to values and beliefs (if they haven’t already). As you develop your brand mission statement and values, you must integrate these values and statements into everything you do. This is certainly a big undertaking, so here are a few quick pointers to help you get started:

Know that it starts at the top. Some companies are hiring Chief Equality Officers or cause-related executives to show that they practice what they preach. Success means having the entire executive team on board, communicating the mission and ensuring that it’s implemented downstream.

Determine which causes and issues resonate with your business. Is there a charity that aligns with your brand values? A cause that hits close to home? This will help you and your team determine what truly matters for your brand and its employees.

Find alignment with your customers. What are they looking for from brands today? What social and environmental issues are top of mind, not just on a national or global scale, but for your target customer base?

Brainstorm a mission statement. Look for parallels between your purpose as a company or solution provider and your purpose as a group of humans. What drives your people? Why do they fulfilled in their professional lives? Why are they loyal to your business and brand? How do you integrate social causes and charitable giving into everything you do?

Understand that there will be a divide. With purpose- and mission-driven marketing, one thing is for sure: If you don’t make someone mad, you’re not making an impact. Keep this in mind as you start to develop ideas and try to get buy-in from your executive team and colleagues. It is a big leap, but it will pay dividends for your brand in the long run. After all, more people cling to brands that have a purpose that goes beyond selling things.

This short list of tasks should help spark some inspiration so you can start to create bold and purposeful campaigns. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

The post What Gillette Can Teach B2B Marketers About Being Bold appeared first on Content4Demand.

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Content4Demand Blog by Holly Celeste Fisk - 1M ago

Here is our countdown of the top-trending pieces and posts generating buzz and airplay in content marketing. These intriguing conversations and case studies not only drove eyeballs and downloads but stirred some interesting comments and dialogue along the way.

1. Laugh It Up

Exclusive Q&A: Keynote Speaker Tim Washer Discusses Humanizing B2B With Empathy, Humor

We’re super excited to check out Tim Washer’s upcoming keynote at the B2B Marketing Exchange in just a few weeks. In the meantime, Demand Gen Report has published a Q&A to deliver a quick preview with more about his perspectives on how B2B marketing is changing, and why using humor and empathy is a challenge for B2B brands and marketers. He explores how to humanize even the most boring B2B brands. We’re not calling you boring, we’re just saying…

2. Encore Presentations

How to Get More From Your Livestream After the Broadcast

With all the effort you spend on creating a webinar or a fantastic video, the last thing you want to do is put it back on the shelf once filming has wrapped. Help your investment live on through replays, live streaming and social sharing to generate additional viewers. Save your video at the top of your Facebook video section and include it in your Instagram Story Archives and Story  Highlights, and always upload your content to YouTube as well as your website. It should go without saying that your video content deserves a killer title and a compelling description along with the right keywords. And of course not everyone wants to watch a feature-length production, so edit smaller snippets that pack their own punch (and could entice viewers to change their minds and watch the whole thing). Give your rebroadcast new life in blog posts, email campaigns and even podcasts.

3. Blog Fuel

5 of the Most Popular Blog Article Types (And How to Create Them)

Smart marketers know that blogs are the engines that generate a steady stream of leads and feed their SEO. But keeping those blogs loaded with valuable content can get overwhelming. Sometimes it helps to take a fresh look at the possibilities. If you’re following the same old structure day in and day out, consider mixing things up with a new format. Some of the most popular styles are lists, round-ups (like the one you’re reading!), guides, comparisons and how-tos. This post shares a brief description of each type along with three linked examples. Test a few new format types for yourself to see which of them resonate most with your audience.

4. Infographic: The Long and the Short of It

What Is the Best Content Length for SEO?

Content length can make or break your SEO campaign. Do you know how long your content should be? The short vs. long debate rages on, but this infographic published by Gadget Advisor gives valuable insight into how content length affects search power. It covers the average content length of the pieces that ranked in Google’s top 10 organic positions and spells out the most important benefits of longer content: more backlinks, more social shares, higher click-throughs (and more). It goes on to illustrate how content length affects conversions, including valuable lead generation, trust-building and increased referral traffic.

5. Shoestring Video Production

5 Things You Need (And Don’t Need) to Create Video Content on a Tight Budget

Still think video is expensive and time-consuming to produce? You’d be surprised to learn how much of the professional footage you see every day is actually produced with little more than an idea and a smartphone. This breezy read from Marketing Interactive breaks down the misconceptions and offers some suggestions to make your own affordable videos – things as simple as taking advantage of natural lighting.

We hope we’ve helped inspire you on your path to improving B2B marketing content. If you’re eager to read more, check out our Resources Page.

The post Content Hit List appeared first on Content4Demand.

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In a client call about an upcoming seasonal nurture, our client commented that he was glad to see the lighter theme and tone because it seemed a good change following two prior, more serious nurtures. People will notice and be more receptive if we change things up, he said, which is entirely true!

In fact, there are several reasons why lightening up content on occasion is good! Here are three:

Reason No. 1: Get More Reads

As our astute client observed, variety is good when you’re trying to start conversations with hundreds or thousands of people at once. Personas are great tools, but they aren’t real people. So they can’t tell you why one person is drawn to a particular subject line, color or topic, but the person in the next cube over isn’t. Nothing can really tell you, so adding variety to a content library is important in order to catch as many as eyes as possible.

Some people are naturally more drawn to bright colors, breezy banter and happy happenings. This is one reason why seasonal nurtures do well. Lots of people love a particular holiday or seasonal activity and will be more drawn to content if it references these interests.

Tailor content to piggyback off holidays, events, trends and pop culture for new opportunities to engage with customers in new ways.

Reason No. 2: Evoke Emotion to Prompt Action

Content that evokes “high arousal” emotions — such as love/hate or happiness/sadness — will more successfully persuade action, according to research by Jonah Berger, an expert on viral marketing and professor at the Wharton School of Business at Penn State University.

Association is one way to inject these emotions into content pieces. You can still convey critical marketing messages, but associating that message with a high-arousal emotion adds punch. For example, one of our clients played off the buzz around the book and movie “50 Shades of Grey” in an infographic about making sure you have the right match in a cloud-services provider. It wasn’t a heavy reference. Rather, it played off the questions that we all ask ourselves when meeting someone new and starting a relationship.

Reason No. 3: Be Memorable

Associating a brand name with a memorable experience by being present during the memorable experience is not a new idea. That’s why advertising is the cash cow of the entertainment and sports industries. But it also can work with content.

Interactivity is the key here, and for content that could be fun (think quizzes, games and even puzzles!) There’s a reason these formats have become so popular. Check out how Google illustrated the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express with this doodle game, which plays off of the dangers of galloping at full speed in rural America. I thought the game was fun, and it prompted me to learn more about the Pony Express.

This spring, lighten up a little by looking for more opportunities to make your content stand out, evoke emotions and leave lasting memories. Have fun!

The post Fun With B2B Marketing: 3 Reasons to Lighten Up appeared first on Content4Demand.

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