How I Think About Marketing

I thought I would let you into my mind, so you can see how I think of marketing.

The way I strategize to grow my own company.

And what you’ll read next will probably come as a shock, as I don’t really view marketing in the same traditional way you read online.

Now before I dive in, let me give you a little bit of context.

My company is NP Digital. It’s a digital marketing agency where we help companies of all sizes grow.

That’s where I focus my marketing efforts… to grow NP Digital.

Digital marketing will only take you so far

Even though I am a marketer, I don’t believe marketing alone builds a massive company or brand.

Just think of it this way, the number of people that search for the term “shoes” is roughly 1,220,000 per month just in the United States.

But Nike, sells more shoes than that in the U.S. each year and they aren’t the only shoe company around.

Globally they sell 780 million pairs of shoes each year.

How could that be?

People don’t always “search” for what they are looking for.

When I buy shoes I typically just go directly to Nike because I am familiar with their brand and their products. I don’t think I have ever Googled for shoes.

The same goes with ads, yes, I have been shown ads for shoes on Facebook and Google, but it’s never led me to purchase a shoe.

Now that doesn’t mean marketing or SEO doesn’t work. All of that helps you build a brand, which is what causes the majority of purchases.

Here’s an interesting stat that you may not know… 59% of people prefer buying products from brands they are familiar with.

That’s why there are so many more shoe sales in the world than searches. It’s estimated that there are 14.5 to 19 billion shoes purchased each year, but yet the online searches don’t even make up 1/20th of that number.

And when you look at Nike’s brand, they generate more searches on a monthly basis than people just typing in the word “shoes”.

It’s roughly 5 to 1… for everyone person typing in “shoes” into Google, 5 type in “Nike”.

That’s the power of building a brand.

Time solves all problems

Because you are here, you are probably somewhere familiar with marketing and you may even be an expert on it.

But let me ask you this question… have you heard of the following brands?

  • Isobar
  • Wunderman Thompson
  • Huge
  • Performics
  • Grey

Those are all ad agencies that have thousands of employees. But yet most of us, even though we are familiar with marketing have never heard of them.

And it doesn’t mean they don’t have a small brand, they more so have a large brand within a very specific audience segment.

And that audience is their ideal cliental”. If you are a large company that can spend $25,000,000 or more on marketing each year, you probably are familiar with those companies.

So the key isn’t to just build a big brand like Nike, it’s to build a big brand with your target audience.

Now if your product or service targets everyone, kind of like Nike does, then of course you’ll want to build something everyone knows.

What you’ll also find is your brand will naturally grow over time.

Even though you probably haven’t heard of the ad agencies above, their brands have grown to be large by just being in business for enough years.

Just like Nike.

Sure Nike spends over 3 billion dollars on ads, but what really helps is that they have been around since 1964.

Let’s break down what time really means

I thought it would be fun to share with you some numbers on the power of time.

As I mentioned above, I am focused on growing my company NP Digital. It’s currently on its 4th year in business.

That’s not a long time in the grand scheme of things, but it is something.

But here is what’s cool when we first started out in year 1 all of our business was generated through SEO, content marketing and social media marketing.

Those were the channels we leveraged to generate sales.

Fast forward to today, we still leverage those channels, but now 27% of our sales are generated through word of mouth, referrals and brand recognition.

It’s not the biggest percentage, but just imagine what happens when you are in business for 20 years or even just 10. It’s a massive compounding effect, assuming you provide a good product or service.

So, if you really want to grow your revenue you just have to be patient and keep doing good work and of course do good marketing as that is what will kick start the natural growth.

So, what’s your plan Neil?

I already spend a lot of my time on marketing, but I am doubling down in ways you probably won’t have guessed.

  • More social media – I’m now producing content on a daily basis for social media (nothing revolutionary here, but it gets the brand out more).
  • Maintain SEO – even though I am big on SEO… you can only rank for so many keywords. I’ve been doing it long enough where it is mainly on maintenance mode.
  • Podcastingbeen doing this for years now. Averaging over a million downloads a month. Podcasting hasn’t really kicked in yet as it hasn’t been widely adopted.
  • Speaking at conferences – towards the end of the year I will be back on the speaking circuit. You can’t touch as many people as you can through content marketing, but at conferences people pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars for a ticket, so they are the right audience.

But what else?

Those marketing tactics are just the standard ones that we all know about and use. I am now starting to go after channels that we take for granted…

  • TV ads – within 30 days I will have TV ads going on stock channels like Bloomberg and CNBC. A lot of the people viewing those channels are my ideal audience. It’s unconventional, my competition won’t touch it due to poor ROI, but I believe TV is one of the best channels if you want to build a massive brand. Plus it’s not much more expensive than Facebook.
  • Awards – we’ve already gotten a lot of awards for our work. We will keep applying for more. It hasn’t driven any business yet, but I do think it is great for brand building in the long run.
  • PR – we hired a PR agency last month. They recently got me interviewed on CNBC. It only drove 7 visitors, but it is a start. Eventually the goal is to be consistently interviewed on TV.
  • Research firms – there is an age old saying in the business world… “you don’t get fired for buying IBM”. In the marketing world, getting in Forrester and Gartner can create a similar effect. It takes a long time and costs a lot of money to get in, but in the long run you generate leads from large corporations. As they turn to Forrester and Gartner to figure out which marketing agencies to hire.

I’ll add more to the mix as we grow. For now, just adding the 4 new channels to the mix above is already a lot of work.

And compared to the digital channels I started with, I bet the new additions won’t have as high of a conversion rate or even return on investment.

But that’s alright. The goal is to build a big business and sometimes you have to invest even when no ROI can be made because you know in the long run building a brand with your ideal audience will pay off.

Conclusion

Most marketers that I know of focus on ROI. For every dollar they spend they want to make 2 or even 3.

I look at things differently. I focus on building a brand and a reputation. Even if it doesn’t produce an ROI directly, I believe it can help you become a leader within your industry.

And if you can become a leader, eventually the numbers will work out, but of course it is a gamble.

It’s the same reason I got into blogging back in 2005 when others weren’t willing to. I believed that if you educated and helped others out, eventually it would pay off. But for the first 8 years I was in the hole and couldn’t show a return.

I’m experience the same currently with producing videos for YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. But in the long run I believe it will pay off.

Now the real question is, are you willing to play the long game and invest where others aren’t willing to?

Top 5 Benefits of Influencer Marketing for B2B Brands

Benefits B2B influencer marketing

Benefits B2B influencer marketing

Despite that 96% of marketers engaging influencers for marketing deem their programs successful, there are still a very large number of B2B companies evaluating where influencer engagement fits in their marketing mix.

After spending the last 8 plus years working on developing influencer marketing strategies, creating pilot projects, implementing campaigns and running ongoing influencer programs for brands that range from 3M to Dell to LinkedIn, here are some of the top benefits B2B companies of all sizes are realizing through their influencer marketing efforts.

Before I get to the list, I think it’s important to mention that benefits realized are directly connected to goals imagined. That may seem obvious but the application of influence to marketing is viewed in many different ways and therefore, the outcomes can be just as different.

For example, a pilot is often meant to be a proof of concept and sparks connections with influencers.

An integrated influencer content marketing campaign that runs over several months and across channels produces a lot of useful content and helps identify which influencers are effective.

An Always-On approach over time develops a rich source of content and relationships with influencers which can accelerate the quality and promotion of the content by influencers as well as organic advocacy.

So the benefits B2B brands can realize from incorporating influence into their marketing mix really depends on the approach. Here’s a list of 5 of the most common and impactful benefits of working with external and internal influencers at B2B companies:

1. Influencers add credibility and authenticity to brand content

Properly identifying the topics that matter to customers that the brand needs to be more influential about leads to finding people who already have the desired influence. Collaborating with experts that are respected authorities on the topics of influence produces content, communications and often advocacy that is believable, is empathetic to the concerns and goals of real customers and is trusted by the audience the brand is trying to reach.

2. Influencers partnered with executives build brand thought leadership

Connecting external influencers with internal executives to collaborate on content, video conversations, virtual events and similar exchanges of ideas can validate key leadership messages of the brand. Whether it’s running a webinar discussing the findings of the brand’s most recent research or whitepaper to conducting a series of livestream video or podcast interviews between key executives and external influencers, connecting trusted industry voices with brand messaging can drive credibility, differentiation and leadership.

3. Influencers can co-create better content experiences for customers

According to research in the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, 74% of B2B marketers believe that collaborating on content with influencers helps improve the experience for prospects and customers.

An increasing number of professional influencers in the B2B world bring both expertise as well as media creation savvy. That means the ability to produce video content, podcast content or graphical and text content that is in tune with customer expectations for more experiential content that the brand might not have the resources to produce.

Alternatively, even if the B2B brand has the resources to create great video, audio, graphical and text content, adding influencer contributions “optimizes” for credibility and authenticity, which is a better experience than brand content simply pontificating its importance.

4. Influencers accelerate content production, promotion and impact

When effectively designed and planned, an influencer engagement effort can create a community of influence that the brand can tap for a variety of content creation efforts. Imagine having a group of 10, 25 or as in the case of LinkedIn or Adobe, 60-75 industry experts on-tap to engage on content projects?

Developing a community of influencers means creating genuine relationships between the brand and influencers based on mutual benefit and shared values. Not only does an engaged community of influencers help create content, but they are invested in the success of content distribution and impact because it benefits their own interests and that of their audience.

The reputation influencers develop on the topics of influence means trust when it matters most – making decisions about which B2B solutions to consider, evaluate and purchase.

5. Influencer collaborations can help optimize brand content for search

There is a compelling connection between the topics and keywords that people search on when looking for solutions and the topics around which industry experts are influential.

Optimizing content with keywords is at the core of improving the findability of brand content on search engines. Including influencers on those same topics in the content is a way of optimizing for credibility. What good is being found in search if people don’t trust what they find?

Going a bit deeper into the influence and SEO connection, marketers could consider whether the influencers they are working with are recognized as entities within Google search results. When those same influencers contribute to content published by the brand, their identity imparts credibility and relevance for search.

Another consideration is to evaluate the SEO effectiveness of where influencers publish – their own blog, contributed articles or columns with industry publications and elsewhere online. What is the Domain Authority of where the influencer publishes and do the links they include in their content carry weight? Does the influencer’s content “rank” on search engines for the topics the brand wants to be more influential about? Is the influencer creating the kind of content that ranks? Video, audio, images, text, scholarly articles, books, etc.

The SEO value of working with an influencer is not universally true across topics, but with some due diligence and research, some very valuable opportunities could be uncovered and relationships built to help brand content become findable and credible at the very moment customers are looking.

Of course this is not a comprehensive list of benefits for B2B brand to work with influencers, but it is a compelling list. While many B2B marketers may skim the surface of what’s possible from working with influencers, those who can look a little deeper can find tremendous upside and value that not only accelerates the impact and effectiveness of marketing for short term campaigns, but for longer term brand and thought leadership perception in the industry.

The post Top 5 Benefits of Influencer Marketing for B2B Brands appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

8 Ways to Champion Animals in Your Local Business Marketing Strategy

The majority of American households now include pets, and recent global quarantines have only brought us closer to them. In today’s blog, Miriam outlines eight ways you can honor the relationships your customers have with their animals, plus tips for weaving those efforts into your local business marketing strategy.