How to Stay Top of Mind and Achieve Success in B2B Marketing and Sales
June 25, 2017
Editor's note: This post was contributed by John Hall, Co-founder and CEO
of Influence & Co.
It wasn’t until I started writing my business book, "Top of Mind," that I realized how often people bring up the term "top of mind" in everyday conversation and how much weight that term carries. What began as a term I used to make fun of marketers for overusing started evolving into something much bigger.
In life, when you come to mind at the right time for the right people, opportunity happens. Specifically in the B2B world, I've seen that trust and moving yourself from someone's short-term to long-term memory are the first steps in becoming top of mind. Below is a simplified guide that can help you begin building that trust and moving yourself and your company to your audience's long-term memory.
1. Branding and Thought Leadership
When I earned places on lists for marketing influencers or marketing speakers, it was a catalyst to creating natural opportunities for myself and my company. Suddenly, invites to speak at or attend events we used to pay to attend started coming our way and more people began following our content.
But this didn't just come out of nowhere. Placement was earned and those opportunities were nurtured by creating and distributing content and building a platform for ourselves online. Results don't happen overnight, but as someone who didn't even have a LinkedIn account before I co-founded a content marketing agency that combines elements of PR to help build thought leadership, I can promise you this: If you invest in your own brand, you can knock down barriers and stay top of mind more easily.
In "Top of Mind," I use Jeff Jones and his article "The Truth Hurts" on LinkedIn's influencer program as a perfect example of authenticity. In his article, he was very transparent with the challenges facing Target, and I remember thinking that it was so refreshing to hear a major CMO get real about his challenges.
I also tell the story of my 3-year-old daughter and her reaction to a scene in the movie "Aladdin" when Aladdin is acting like Prince Ali to impress Princess Jasmine. She gets disappointed and frustrated that he's not being himself. Even at a young age, we can sense when people aren't being authentic. When a company or a leader isn't authentic, it can cost trust, and that's hard to earn back. Don't risk it.
I'm reminded of the adage "knowledge is power." As I've grown my brand and personal influence, I've found this to be absolutely true. The reason? Education is one of the most important, impactful ways to build trust because it empowers your audience.
When you create content that's rooted in education, you're empowering your audience members and giving them the tools they need to make change happen. You aren't asking anything from them; you're providing them with the resources they need to make their own choices. You're being a resource, and the resources that empower us stay top of mind a lot longer than those that shove their own sales pitches in your face.
The best way to help yourself is to help others. Now, I'm not saying you should only help others because you'll end up helping yourself. That's manipulative, and it won't get you very far anyway. Like my daughter and Prince Ali, people will see right through that kind of mentality.
What I am saying is that when you help others, you pave the way for opportunity in the future. Always asking how you can help others and, when you can, connecting them to the right resources demonstrates that you're someone they can trust to pull through. Plus, it's just generally the right thing to do.
Have you ever trusted someone you didn't like? Probably not. I'm pretty sure that's impossible. That's why being likable is so important for building trust with your audience and staying top of mind. Being likable doesn't mean sacrificing your personality to make everyone like you; there's a middle ground between being intensely yourself and being accessible to your audience that you should strive to achieve. You've got to compromise, and that's where you'll find your own likability.
Use this trust to move from short-term to long-term memory.
You can offer education or be helpful and authentic every once in a while, but in order to move into long-term memory as someone people trust and want to work with, consolidation has to happen. This is your brain's response to neurons reorganizing themselves over and over again in response to certain stimuli; over time, patterns start to form, and long-term memories develop.
In layman's terms, this means you only get into long-term memory if you're consistently using these principles that stimulate certain parts of the brain.
Above, we talked about ways to build trust. If you practice them consistently, you not only become a trustworthy contact in people's eyes, but you also go through that consolidation process — and that can put you top of mind with the audiences that matter most to you.
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