What’s Trending: Shake Things Up

July 27, 2021

Woman walking on busy city street

Anyone who sells or markets to business customers knows that it’s no longer business as usual. It can’t be, if we want to succeed.

The seismic shift in buyer behaviors, preferences, and expectations over the past couple years is well documented, and perilous to ignore. Proactive marketing teams are busily thinking up new ways to reach and engage people. Digital differentiation is a top priority. Doing the same things over and over again just won’t cut it.

With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that much of the top trending content for marketers this week focuses on rethinking some traditional fixtures of the craft. Topics include switching up classic digital file formats, injecting more emotion into business content, and writing more effective emails. 

Read on for guidance to shake up your marketing and escape from business as usual.

What Marketers Were Reading and Sharing Most Last Week:

1. Beyond the PDF: Why B2B Content Marketing Demands an Evolution

“Is your B2B content marketing like Blockbuster video?” It’s a painful question from Joe Pulizzi, but one that all marketers are wise to confront honestly. In this thoughtful piece at Content Marketing Institute, Joe argues that “to address the context of today’s buyers, B2B businesses must evolve to create more compelling digital content marketing experiences.” In some cases, this might mean retiring static PDFs as the standard for digital assets, in favor of more personalized and interactive experiences.

2. Five B2B Influencer Marketing Guidelines for Brands

According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust influencer marketing over traditional advertising. In light of this, Alexander Frolov writes at MarketingProfs that influencer strategies are being adopted by B2B brands worldwide, and shares five guidelines for getting them right. These include understanding the benefits, identifying the right influencers, and choosing a platform that will drive engagement.

3. Write from the Heart for More Memorable B2B Content Marketing

“True, genuine heart is the last frontier in content,” asserts Joshua Nite on the TopRank Marketing Blog. He believes that over-indexing on the rational side of a decision-making process, even in something as analytical as business purchases, is a mistake. It’s one he aims to help marketers correct in this post, which inspires readers to upgrade from personality to passion; from empathy to compassion; from authenticity to vulnerability; from thought leadership to humility.

4. Ehrenberg-Bass: 95% of B2B Buyers Are Not in the Market for Your Products

New research from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute underscores a critical disconnect in modern sales and marketing: too often we’re trying to actively sell to people who have no active intentions to buy. In his article at Marketing Week, Matthew Valentine presents this “deceptively simple fact” and urges B2B organizations to stop missing opportunities by focusing on sales that are never going to happen. 

“A lot of companies haven’t fully realised yet that most people are not in the market for any product at any given time. You need to target them with a long-term lens,” said Jann Martin Schwarz, Global Head of the LinkedIn B2B Institute. Incidentally, several leaders from the B2B Institute recently covered this very subject, and the corresponding importance of mental availability, on an episode of Live with Marketers.

5. Majority of B2B Buyers Say Their Purchase Timelines Have Increased

Even when buyers are in purchase mode, data shows that it’s taking longer to reach the finish line than it did a year ago. Marketing Charts draws on research from Demand Gen Report and Demandbase to convey this shift: more than half of those surveyed say their purchase timeline has increased somewhat or significantly. 

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6. Account-based Marketing Propelled Forward by the Pandemic

A survey from Salesforce found that 80% of business buyers expect to conduct more business online after the pandemic than they did before. The new normal, indeed. In response, more and more B2B organizations are leaning into an account-based approach, as Pamela Parker explains at Martech.org. When you think about the premises of the two articles above ⁠— buyers aren’t always ready to act, and buying cycles are lengthy ⁠— it’s easy to see why marketers would find value in a focused approach to building awareness and engagement with specific promising accounts.

7. How to Write a B2B Marketing Email that Works

At B2B Marketing, David McGuire offers helpful advice on crafting marketing emails that actually get results. I appreciate that David doesn’t go the route of promising secrets or hacks (“As soon as a trick becomes best practice, it stops standing out, so it stops working”).Instead, he provides a set of principles to follow like writing for one person, and making your emails different from everything else in the reader’s inbox.

8. Google Categorizes What Organic Search Traffic Drops Look Like

Have you noticed a drop in organic traffic of late? There could be any number of reasons behind it. As Barry Schwartz relays at Search Engine Land, Google is making it a bit easier to determine what those reasons are by illustrating for the first time what different types of traffic drops look like. While hardly scientific, the sketches below can serve as a shorthand to start troubleshooting negative trends.

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