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Business and Technology Ideas for Cities of the Future

Photo by Octavian Rosca on Unsplash

If you think cities are crowded now, you haven’t seen anything yet. Cities of the future are likely to be overcrowded and dangerous, posing an ever-greater threat to the Earth’s environment. In this post, we propose some solutions.

Will Cities of the Future Be Livable?

Projections for growth of metropolitan areas are mind-blowing. Urban areas occupy just 2.6% of our planet’s surface. However, they are currently home to more than 50% of the world’s population.

They also produce 80% of the world’s GDP while consuming 75% of its natural resources. These numbers speak for themselves. It seems there’s no foreseeable way of stopping the growth, development, and most importantly, the population of cities of the future.

In fact, the United Nations estimates the global population will soar to 9.6 billion by 2050. Furthermore, the percentage of the population living in cities in that not-too-distant future will rise to 66%. This will lead inevitably to overcrowded cities, with living spaces becoming scarce.

Therefore, cities of the future will be even more dangerous for the environment than cities currently are. Without a doubt, people will feel confined in small spaces, having only low-quality air to breathe. Overcrowding will also force up the price of housing in cities of the future.

The good news is that these projections can also work to everyone’s advantage. Since we know this growth is on the horizon for cities of the future, we have an opportunity now to manage it. This will take a consistent, coordinated effort. However, that effort will benefit both businesses and the citizens who call these areas home.

RELATED ARTICLE: THE GROWING POWER OF IMPACT INVESTING

Importantly, these actions must begin today. Otherwise, the world will suffer, as Mother Nature will undoubtedly exact her toll.

What Are the Technologies Cities of the Future Will Need?

Here we offer eight business and technology ideas for cities of the future. These ideas point to the need for sustainability in an increasingly urban environment. Our hope is that these ideas will inspire readers to make their own changes. Even better, we hope that others will come up with more and better ideas for the urban locations they are a part of.

RELATED ARTICLE: 15 BUSINESS IDEAS FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL TEENS

1. Air-Purifying Billboards in Cities of the Future

Pollution will likely continue to be an issue in cities of the future. This is why there is a need for innovative solutions. To give just one example, Lima, Peru, has billboards that suck in polluted air from a five-block radius. Then, they cleanse that air and pump it out again.

If Lima, Peru, can do it, then surely businesses in other parts of the world can do the same. For example, if you’re in the business of creating billboards along highways that are generally populated during the traffic or rush hours, consider installing dual-purpose billboards. Rather than simply serving an advertising purpose, now your billboards could help clean up the air, too.

Not only will Mother Earth thank you for that initiative, but also motorists in open vehicles and nearby residents will appreciate your efforts. The air will be a little cleaner for everyone to breathe, both in cities now and in cities of the future.

 2. High-Tech Waste Management

Preserving resources and limiting waste will become essential in cities of the future. One way to do this is with high-tech trash cans that signal waste management when they become full.

3. Sharing Programs in Cities of the Future

Instead of everyone who lives in an urban environment owning their own car, bicycle, and other space-hogging transport vehicles, apps now allow us to share. For example, bike-sharing programs have sprung up in major cities throughout the world. Similar programs are likely to remain available in cities of the future as well.

Also, there are now apps that allow people to share common household items as well as transportation. In this way, you only pay for something when you need it.

4. Clearinghouses for Surplus Food

Poverty will likely continue to be an issue in cities of the future. On the other hand, there is also an unnecessary waste of food. Cities can now use an online clearinghouse to make better use of food so that it goes to nonprofit organizations that help people who need food.

5. Mobile Payments

You can use your mobile device to pay for parking in most areas now. Additionally, some cities also allow you to make mobile payments for small infractions such as parking tickets. This trend is likely to continue in cities of the future.

 6. Traffic Monitors in Cities of the Future

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the most up-to-date information about traffic and weather conditions in your area? Well, you need not wait until you are a denizen of one of the cities of the future. You can already get this information through several apps.

Additionally, some cities, such as Helsinki, also have kiosks that provide this information. Using these kiosks, residents can choose the best route to their destination.

And Los Angeles continuously analyzes its traffic patterns and adjusts traffic control systems. This allows the city to lower commute times by 12 percent.

 7. Permeable Pavement

When population density skyrockets in the cities of the future, there will be a strain on public infrastructure for natural resources. However, a new permeable paving surface allows excess rainwater to escape through to the ground, lessening flooding issues and adding resources to the city’s aquifer.

 8. Multi-Function Lighting in Cities of the Future

A city’s lights can be more energy-efficient with LED technology. Additionally, these lighting systems can also be multi-functional.

For example, in Newark, New Jersey, street lights double as security cameras. These systems can also alert people to inclement weather or an increase in pollution. Multi-function lighting also reduces the need for multiple systems with different purposes.

However, cities of the future must ensure the products they’re proposing are of superior quality. Most likely, city planners will start by creating prototypes or models. In this way, they will give themselves chances to make improvements and avoid problems.

Visit https://prototechasia.com/en/metal-machining to learn more about how cities, both now and in the future, can make plans for installing multi-function lighting systems.

How Can Cities Prepare for the Future?

Cities are preparing now for whatever the future may bring, and innovators are stepping up as needs become apparent. City planners and designers, in partnership with tech companies, are looking to make urban areas smarter, more sustainable, and more efficient. These are hopeful signs.

The Consumer Technology Association estimates that the market for urban technology has now reached $34.4 billion annually. With every dollar spent, moreover, each innovative victory provides a blueprint for other cities around the world, both now and in the future, to manage growth in coming years.

To search out innovative ideas for your city and your business, both now and in the future, be sure to visit our blog often.

The post Business and Technology Ideas for Cities of the Future appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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Why Are Trucking Companies Losing Drivers?

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

In recent years, headlines have warned about a shortage of truck drivers. The American Trucking Association (ATA) even stated before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that this shortage could reach 150,000 within a decade. In this post, we delve into the reasons and search for an answer.

Statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration contradict the ATA’s predictions. This agency reports more than 500,000 new Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders each year.

In fact, it’s far more likely that the problem stems from the high turnover rate, a theory that’s reinforced by the 2019 study “Is the U.S. labor market for truck drivers broken?

Demand Is Rising

Just as freight demand is on the rise, most large trucking companies face turnover rates of more than 90%. This basically means they’re working through a system of constantly revolving doors, where they’re hiring 20 drivers to make up for the 25 that left a week before.

This approach is clearly not ideal. For one thing, new operators tend to leave within 180 days from getting the job. In fact, they make up 85% of the turnover rate.

But the question remains: Why are so many truck drivers switching companies or quitting the industry altogether?

Organizational Problems Persist

Fleet managers and truck operators could not be more different in terms of personality. Fleet managers tend to be outgoing and gregarious. They’re comfortable working in a fast-paced environment.

On the other hand, truckers spend a lot of time by themselves. They want structure and consistency, but they bristle when managers speak to them in an authoritarian manner. This contrast leads to barriers in communication.

Managers think drivers are being difficult, while truckers feel managers treat them as extensions of their trucks and not as people. 

RELATED ARTICLE: FLEET MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE: REDUCE RISKS, INCREASE RETURNS

Then there’s the issue of delays. Often these delays come about from complications with dispatching and scheduling. These are not under the truck driver’s control. However, they cost drivers income.

This is because truckers’ incomes are based on the number of miles they drive. They don’t get paid for the time they spend waiting for managers to sort out delays.

Being a Truck Driver Is a Dangerous Job

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons truck operators are leaving the industry in droves is that commercial truck driving remains one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. In fact, there are more than half a million accidents involving freight trucks every year.

This is due, in part, to factors that fall outside the responsibility of trucking companies. For example, repairs to highways in recent years have not kept up with the increase in highway use.

Additionally, if you talk to a truck accident lawyer, they’ll probably tell you that many of these accidents are caused by driver fatigue.

Truck driving is a tiring job. This is because truckers have to keep moving to make money. Changes in regulations now limit the time truck drivers can spend behind the wheel, mandating a 10-hour break after 14 consecutive hours spent working.

This is a step in the right direction. However, it doesn’t solve the issue of inconsistent schedules that make it hard for drivers to get good quality sleep and follow healthy eating habits.

Drivers Are Unhappy with Their Work-Life Balance

Another big reason drivers are unhappy with their careers has to do with work-life balance. Long-haul truck operators can spend as many as two or three weeks on the road. As we said earlier, drivers have to keep moving to make money, and nobody said they have to spend those 10 hours of rest each day at home.

There’s a stereotype that truckers are loners, so being away from home really shouldn’t bother them. However, the reality is that many drivers have families they’re trying to provide for.

When a driver gets at best one or two full days to spend with their loved ones, they tend to miss a lot of birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and kids’ soccer or baseball games. Truckers miss a lot, and this takes its toll on their relationships and mental health.

What Is the Solution?

America’s truck drivers deserve appreciation and respect. After all, they’re the ones keeping retail store shelves stocked while the rest of us go on with our lives, oblivious to the ways in which we depend on them.

Perhaps the solution is manifold: more money from governments to improve and repair highways, better laws to protect the health and safety of truck drivers, and better pay structures for truckers from the companies whose very survival depends on the work truck drivers do.

The post Why Are Trucking Companies Losing Drivers? appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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5 Project Management Tips for Adrift Remote Marketing Teams

Remote island in ocean image.

Remote island in ocean image.

“WILSON!”

“Wilson, I’m sorry!”

via GIPHY

Work, lately, feels a little like being a castaway.

Isolating yourself. Dreaming of the past. Trusting in technology — however advanced or primitive — to get us through.

And work could stay this way for a while.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an unprecedented number of information workers, including marketers, home for work. In fact, 62% of American workers said they’ve worked from home at some point during this crisis. But many experts are estimating that this volume of distributed and remote work won’t decrease after the pandemic ends. They see that hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses are realizing they never really needed an office — they could have operated remotely all along.

As we all come to grips with what could become the new normal, I realized there are lessons to be learned from feeling like a castaway. So, I turned to the world’s most famous — and successful — castaway: Chuck Noland.

via GIPHY

His actions are actually great examples of how we should approach project management for remote marketers. Don’t believe me? Keep reading to learn my top project management tips for remote marketers with lessons from Cast Away.

Tip #1 – Over-communicate with your team and your clients.

There are a lot of iconic relationships shown in film. Bert and Ernie. Lucy and Ethel. And, of course, Chuck and Wilson.

via GIPHY

As the film progresses, Chuck talks to Wilson more and more. In a lot of ways, he helps Chuck stay sane and talk through challenges like making fire, building a raft, and more.

While we aren’t physically together, it’s still incredibly important to keep open lines of communication among your marketing team. Similar to Chuck and Wilson, communicating often will keep you sane and organized, as well as give you a sounding board. You may even feel that you’re over-communicating with your team, but this is natural and necessary. When we’re remote, it’s more likely we’ll skip over a message, misinterpret text, or a host of other things. Over-communicating helps ensure those details are less likely to be missed or misunderstood.

Over-communicating doesn’t just apply to your team, either. Over-communicating with clients reaps the same benefits — your messages are less likely to be missed or misunderstood. And in my experience, clients appreciate the update, even if it’s only a couple of sentences.

Tip #2 – Rely on technology for collaboration, communication, and more.

Chuck shows us just how resourceful he is: he fashioned a figure skate into a knife, a porta-potty into a sail, a volleyball into a companion, and more. And if there’s one thing you need to be when stranded on an island, it’s resourceful.

via GIPHY

That same holds true while we all work on our own remote “islands.” Physically separated, we need to rely on our technology resources to bring us closer together and closer to our goals. Here at TopRank Marketing, we use Slack for team communication, Google Drive to collaborate, Zoom to meet virtually at any time, and Mavenlink to organize our work. We used them while in the office, but we’ve become even more dependent on them outside of the office. We’ve also started to use these tools in new ways to help us adapt to the changing work environment. For example, we’re now using Slack for informal voice calls between teams since we can’t just stop by someone’s desk or stay in a meeting room together after a client meeting to discuss a plan of attack.

Tip #3 – Organize your projects and tasks often.

Once the time jump happens in Cast Away, Chuck has a plan. He’s getting off the island. But to stay on track, he has to organize his materials and plan out his actions carefully. He even makes a chart and counts down the days on the walls of his cave so he can stay organized and catch the trade winds in time.

Rock image.

To help your team stay on track, you need to stay organized and regularly check in on your plans. Keeping a chart or countdown like Chuck isn’t a bad idea, either. It’ll help you stay up to date on your projects and tasks without having to chase down details or remind yourself of progress.

Tip #4 – Run and share reports on a more regular and frequent basis.

Early on in Chuck’s journey, he and Wilson realize they need more information to aid them in their survival. They need to know just how lost they really are. So, they crunch the numbers. And what they find out is harrowing: the search area they’re lost in is over 500,000 square miles. The chance of someone finding them is slim to none.

Realizing that a search party is unlikely to find them, Chuck and Wilson spur into action. It empowers them to make the life-saving decision of getting off the island.

Information is powerful and reporting helps surface insights that aid your team in their decision making. From a project management perspective, increasing the frequency of your reporting will also help illuminate how your efficiency has changed since shifting to remote work. Run and share reports often with your team and it will help your projects progress and your team adapt to remote work.

[bctt tweet=”“From a project management perspective, increasing the frequency of your reporting will also help illuminate how your efficiency has changed since shifting to remote work.” — Anne Leuman @annieleuman” username=”toprank”]

Tip #5 – Escape with some time away.

Chuck Noland eventually made it off the island with a lot of hard work and a small miracle.

You, however, have the luxury of being able to leave the mental “island” of work at any time. Schedule a happy hour with the team. Call each other and go on a group walk. Have a Halloween in April party. We’ve done all of those things here at TopRank and it’s done wonders for our engagement with work. Taking breaks and giving yourself a mental escape is essential to staying motivated with and focused on your projects.

The Island Isn’t So Bad… With the Right Approach

It’s normal for us all to feel like we live on our own islands during this time. Because we do, we’re all separated by distance. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to come together and overcome the physical barriers between us.

Over-communicating, relying on technology, staying organized, sharing reports, and giving yourself and your team an escape are the best project management tips for overcoming these remote challenges.

And I’m sure this will be all of us once the crisis passes:

via GIPHY

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MBA in Banking and Finance: Multiple Career Opportunities

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

A master’s in business administration (MBA) in banking and finance is a professional qualification. It will provide a strong foundation for many aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly in the field of accounting and finance.

If you want to learn how to check accounts, learn about saving and investing, understand money exchanging, and know about loans and credits, then this program is right for you. Read on to find out what an MBA in banking and finance is all about.

Why Pursue an MBA in Banking and Finance?

This course is suitable for students who have an interest in banking and finance and its allied subjects. The program will provide you with an in-depth knowledge of the banking system. Further, it will give you the ability to solve accountancy issues quickly.

Additionally, you will gain interpersonal skills that will give you the capacity to motivate team members you will be working with.

What Are the Basic Requirements to Apply?

To be eligible to pursue an MBA in banking and finance, students must meet the following academic requirements:

  • BBA (or bachelor’s) degree in banking or an equivalent degree from any recognized university
  • An average score of 55% in the bachelor’s degree examination

What Are the Career Opportunities for Someone with an MBA in Banking and Finance?

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers are valuable for every organization. This because they are experts at building brand awareness by developing and executing marketing strategies to meet consumer needs and maximize profits.

These professionals are integral to a company’s success, where they engage in promotional messaging and publish them to the public through media, advertising, and social media.

Executive Assistant

Executive assistants who have earned an MBA in banking and finance typically perform bookkeeping tasks with a business enterprise. For example, they prepare reports, maintain filing systems, and organize documents.

They may also take part in administrative duties that include ordering supplies and handling a records database. Besides providing general administrative support, they also carry out tasks such as recording minutes from meetings and organizing travel and accommodations.

Equity Research Analyst

Equity research analysts are experts at creating reports, conducting research, analyzing financial information, and making predictions regarding financial issues.

They are expected to have an analytical and methodical mindset. If they have an MBA in banking and finance, they likely have strong communication skills as well.

These professionals work for financial institutions, where their primary function is to synthesize data to develop new investment ideas. They then utilize such ideas to make recommendations regarding financial actions and decisions.

Investment Banker

An investment banker performs duties in a wide range of sectors, where they help their organization’s clients to raise money in the capital markets. Other tasks include assisting their clients with mergers and acquisitions (M&As), as well as advising them on investment opportunities such as derivatives.

Give Yourself the Gift of a Bright Future with an MBA in Banking and Finance

For those who have complete this business degree, there are many career opportunities besides these. So choose to study for an MBA in banking and finance today and make your mark in the financial sector tomorrow.

The post MBA in Banking and Finance: Multiple Career Opportunities appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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RevenueWire: A Platform for Online Advertisers

RevenueWire provides a tool for tracking sales from referrals and advertising promotions directly, helping marketers and advertisers make better-informed marketing decisions. The technology of this B2B platform also includes payment processing for these sales.

Beginning in 2007, RevenueWire focused primarily on working with software advertisers to help them track and measure results from their online promotions. The company grew significantly between 2007 and 2014, primarily by expanding its client base and gradually extending into other tech sectors.

RELATED ARTICLE: DIGITAL MARKETING: HOW TO USE IT IN YOUR BUSINESS

RevenueWire Provides Excellent Customer Solutions

In November 2014, the company separated the payment processing component of the platform from its general operations. They now focus exclusively on providing excellent performance marketing solutions by using technology that automates offers promoted by online marketers. Payment processing options are now provided through a separate component.

The company made other significant improvements to their performance platform around 2017. At that time, they expanded software capacity to include any referral event, not just sales conversions. This expanded RevenueWire’s ability to track sales from a broader range of promotional activities, including lead submits and downloads as well as other types of conversions.

This development turned out to be a significant growth strategy. Because of the platform’s capacity to provide more and deeper insights, the company can now serve a wider range of clients from a broader range of industries.

The Company Provides Solutions for Multiple Verticals

Instead of limiting their focus to the software industry, RevenueWire now provides solutions for companies from many verticals, including:

  • Background and security check platforms
  • Banking and finance solutions
  • Cyber-security and digital security providers
  • Dating platforms
  • Downloadable software
  • Gaming platforms
  • E-commerce sites
  • Insurance platforms
  • Utility platforms

What Does RevenueWire Provide for Advertisers?

RevenueWire provides advertisers with opportunities for growth through its global partner programs. This benefits companies regardless of whether they aim to generate new leads or to increase conversion, or both.

In fact, RevenueWire has been working with hundreds of top-of-the-line advertisers for more than a decade, and the company’s sophisticated tools have helped advertisers see a rise in public engagement.

RevenueWire’s comprehensive performance marketing and payment processing tools simplify critical aspects of global transactions within a single platform. Advertisers gain growth opportunities through access to publishers from all over the world. Meanwhile, RevenueWire’s expert management capabilities simplify ongoing partner resell programs, as well as seamless payment processing, anywhere in the world.

More than 25,000 top-notch performance marketers—representing numerous acquisition models, including CPA, CPS, CPI, CPL, and Revshare—rely on RevenueWire. This is because RevenueWire provides comprehensive solutions for advertisers who want to see low risk and high returns. Moreover, the company provides solutions for those who seek to simplify the expansion of global distribution and scalability.

In addition, RevenueWire provides expert account management capabilities. Their solutions are optimized to maximize renewals and minimize churn while driving traffic on a wide range of geosites.

What Are the Advantages for Publishers?

For publishers, RevenueWire facilitates high payouts and improved cash flow by connecting partners with top brands and advertisers. Additionally, RevenueWire streamlines regular payments from sales generated by online referrals and promotions.

RevenueWire provides multiple acquisition models to companies in a variety of verticals. In addition, they provide regular access to top brands and their latest promotional offers.

What Lies Ahead for RevenueWire?

RevenueWire is projected to make more than a million conversions on its tracking platform over the course of 2020. This represents traffic from more than 180 countries and a healthy client base consisting of roughly 25,000 partners all over the world.

Conclusion

For more information on RevenueWire, visit their website at http://www.revenuewire.com or connect with them on Facebook.

The post RevenueWire: A Platform for Online Advertisers appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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Always-On Influence: 5 Examples of Ongoing B2B Influencer Marketing In Action

Businesswoman walking past five world-time clocks.

Businesswoman walking past five world-time clocks.

Always-on influence is especially vital today as brands look to combat increasing mistrust and apathy.

Why have top B2B firms including our clients LinkedIn, Adobe and Dell Outlet chosen always-on influencer marketing programs, and what results are they achieving using continuing influence programs?

We answer these questions and more with examples of always-on influence in action.

In the first installment of our new #AlwaysOnInfluence series, our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden explored what always-on influencer marketing is and why B2B brands need it now more than ever, and now we’ll move forward and look at why five major B2B firms have chosen ongoing influencer marketing.

First let’s refresh our marketing lexicon with an overview of just what always-on influence is.

What Is Always-On Influence?

Always-on influencer marketing is the practice of ongoing relationship-building, engagement and activation of a specified group of influencers to build community, content and brand advocacy.

Always-on marketing replaces on-again off-again campaigns with a fluid ongoing effort, continually cultivating and carefully building efforts that allow businesses to seamlessly adapt their marketing efforts, rather than playing catch-up, stopping a campaign, and waiting to build a new one.

“Relationships take time and that means influencer engagement is an ongoing effort, not just when influencers are needed to provide content or promotion,” Lee explained, adding that “a relationship-driven endeavor like engaging with influencers requires an ongoing effort.”

Why Are B2B Brands Choosing Always-On Influence Now?

Always-on influencer marketing also happens to be an ideal way for brands to drive digital conversations during the global health crisis, as B2B brands seek to defeat audience apathy and skepticism by creating powerful influencer-infused content that bolsters brand credibility and authority.

Financial firms have increased their use of influencer marketing to drive awareness of services in higher demand due to the global health crisis. (eMarketer)

Using always-on influencer marketing helped our client 3M establish and popularize the Science Champions Podcast, paved the way for client DivvyHQ to see a 500 percent increase in awareness of its content platform, and led to our client Prophix seeing a 642 percent increase in engagement.

Our team at TopRank Marketing has been involved in always-on B2B influencer marketing since its inception, and we’ve had the honor of working with an array of major brands, and the success they’ve achieved utilizing ongoing influencer programs can serve as a guide for other B2B brands looking to try continuing influencer marketing.

“Working with influencers, to co-create content, delivers value and can inspire audiences to take action,” Amisha Gandhi of client SAP Ariba noted.

Amisha Gandhi of SAP Quote Image

[bctt tweet=”“If you’re in B2B, influencer marketing should be on your to-do list. 2020 is a new decade. And a new era for B2B #InfluencerMarketing.” — Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi” username=”toprank”]

What Are Some of the Benefits of Always-On Influence?

There are many benefits to ongoing B2B influencer marketing programs, and we’ll explore them and then look at examples.

“When planned and implemented effectively, B2B influencer marketing programs build trust and confidence for buyers, influencers and the brand,” Lee recently noted.

“Many companies are meeting a boost in demand for information by engaging influencers to provide thought leadership, insights and how-to content. By collaborating with influencers on educational, entertaining and interactive online content, B2B brands can satisfy the hunger buyers have for credible content experiences that engage and inspire,” Lee added.

The uncertain times we face today can also be successfully addressed by brands through the use of always-on influencer marketing.

“Influencers are tapped into the current mood and interests of their audience. Their insights can help you craft your messaging to better resonate with your customers,” Tom Treanor, global head of marketing at our client Arm Treasure Data, recently said.

The Cadence & Drum-Beat of Ongoing Influencer Marketing

Ongoing influencer marketing also helps keep the kind of steady cadence consumers expect today more than ever from brands.

Marketers are being ultra-cognizant of their messaging and publishing cadences, and ensuring their point of view and messaging on COVID-19 — or lack thereof — are aligned with their brand values. Influencer marketing is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between what once was our 2020 marketing plan and what we now need to achieve,” Elizabeth Williams, TopRank Marketing account manager shared.

Live-streaming video from influencers is also increasingly helping to keep the ongoing drum-beat of brand messaging active.

“There has been a rush of business influencers live-streaming video on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter,” Lee said.

[bctt tweet=”Successful B2B influencer relationships take time to build and require time to maintain.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

Always-On Influence Forms Lasting Relationships

The ongoing influencer relationships that brands build today can form a strong foundation from which to grow in the years ahead.

Engage an influencer for a campaign and they are your friend for the day. Help someone become more influential and they’re your friend for life,” Lee has astutely noted since the early days of B2B influencer marketing.

Consistency and persistence are among the key factors in successful always-on influencer marketing programs.

Consistency and persistency image

Long-term engagements, founded on solid relationships and strengthened through an always-on influencer strategy, will help you steer clear of stops and starts,” our senior content strategist Nick Nelson noted.

Always-On Provides Momentum, Nurturing & Commitment

Always-on influencer marketing offers brands a multitude of benefits, and is a multi-faceted undertaking, with some of the qualities being that it:

  • Works 24/7
  • Is an Ongoing Practice with Continuing Benefits
  • Focuses on Nurturing Long-Term Relationships
  • Builds Momentum
  • Helps Deliver Better Returns to Brands, Influencers, and Customers
  • Recognizes that Lasting Relationships Aren’t Built in a Day
  • Is a Two-Way Trust-Building Commitment

“Look beyond individual campaigns and think about how the brand and influencer relationship can create mutual value, influence and trust over time,” Lee has said, also noting that “Marketers need to be ‘on’ when it matters, and that might have to mean always on.”

Now let’s look at five examples of why major brands have chosen always-on influencer marketing, starting with LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“Engage an influencer for a campaign and they are your friend for the day. Help someone become more influential and they’re your friend for life.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

1 — Why LinkedIn Is Using Always-On Influence

Fresh off its latest tally of 690 million members, our client LinkedIn has continued to grow, with a 26 percent increase in user sessions and LinkedIn Live video streams that increased by 158 percent since February, according to parent company Microsoft’s fiscal year 2020 third quarter results release.

LinkedIn has remained in the top spot among senior B2B marketers for nurturing leads, with some 84 percent saying the platform is the most effective social media channel (Chief Marketer).

87 percent of Inc. 500 firms used LinkedIn for social media during 2019 (UMass Dartmouth), and for the third consecutive year LinkedIn has garnered the most-trusted social media platform spot, according to Business Insider Intelligence’s Digital Trust Report.

It may come as no surprise that engagement levels at LinkedIn have also risen during the pandemic, and this has been driven in part by the increasing use of always-on B2B marketing influencer initiatives.

LinkedIn WFH Engagement Chart

A powerful example of how LinkedIn has used the always-on influencer marketing approach is LinkedIn Sales Solutions’ “Here’s Where Sales Leaders Should Focus in 2020, According to Experts,” which asked a variety of leading industry experts to share their top priorities for  B2B sales leaders.

LinkedIn Sales Screenshot

Ty Heath, global lead of The B2B Institute at LinkedIn, sees the power of influence in building ongoing relationships.

“People can break through the noise. People trust people. Influence is about relationships,” Ty has said.

LinkedIn Ty Heath Quote Image

[bctt tweet=”“Business buyers expect more personalized attention and customization of content.” — Ty Heath @tyrona” username=”toprank”]

Humanizing a brand using B2B influencer marketing is explored in more detail in a Break Free B2B video interview we conducted with LinkedIn’s marketing manager Judy Tian.

Judy finds that the relevancy and engagement influencer marketing offers is especially important.

[bctt tweet=”“Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach, the relevancy and engagement are what’s most important.” — Judy Tian @judytian07″ username=”toprank”]

Our own Nick sees always-on approaches as becoming a part of the new marketing normal.

“Brands need to be readily available, with the right content at the right time. Strategies must account for every touch point. Always-on approaches are becoming the norm,” Nick Nelson wrote.

It’s a view echoed by our vice president of client accounts Alexis Hall.

Campaigns should be intertwined with an overall, always-on strategy to create marketing harmony and get the ultimate value out of all your efforts,” Alexis noted.

There are many benefits to building long-term influencer relationships that simply won’t occur when brands view influencer marketing as a tactic that can be turned on and off at will, however.

“Brands are best served by fostering long-term and mutually beneficial B2B influencer relationships, going beyond seeing influencers as just another of many projects. The loyalty an influencer will have towards your brand is largely dependent on building and maintaining ongoing relationships,” Lee shared during a recent webinar.

“When a brand provides long-term commitment to a partnership with an influencer, even when an influencer may not be actively involved in a campaign for the brand, the strength of the ongoing relationship will drive continued incentive for the influencer to be advocating for the brand,” Lee added.

LinkedIn has seen continuing success using the power of always-on influence, and to help you learn more about how the firm incorporates influencer marketing into its efforts, here are seven recent related articles we’ve written.

[bctt tweet=”“Brands need to be readily available, with the right content at the right time. Strategies must account for every touch point. Always-on approaches are becoming the norm.” @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

2 — Why Adobe Chose Always-On Influence

Our client Adobe has successfully used always-on influencer marketing in multiple ongoing programs over a period of years.

Adobe engaged multiple influencers to provide insights around customer experience management in a popular interactive infographic in support of the Adobe Summit conference.

For its “Reshaping Customer Experience Management: The Future of #CXM” campaign, Adobe worked with TopRank Marketing to create a unique interactive online story that featured a wealth of helpful B2B influencer content to increase awareness of Adobe’s Customer Experience Management solutions.

Adobe Reshaping The Customer Experience image.

The campaign combined expert insight from top industry experts including Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, Scott Monty of Scott Monty Strategies, Rachel Richter of Dun & Bradstreet and others, with enticing and genuinely useful interactive elements to bring Adobe’s CXM to life.

As we’ve seen, always-on influencer marketing delivers numerous benefits, including one that Rani Mani, head of social influencer enablement at Adobe, sees as especially important — bringing more of the humanizing element to B2B brands.

“The main benefit of B2B influencer collaboration is that influencers humanize a brand and capture the personality behind the logo,” Rani said.

“Influencers raise brand awareness and engagement by giving companies access to an audience they may not otherwise have through a trusted and credible source,” Rani added.

“We at Adobe pride ourselves on cultivating and nurturing long term relationships with our influencers,” Rani noted, adding that “With an always on approach like this, it’s easier to match the right influencers with the right campaigns as they get launched.”

[bctt tweet=”“The main benefit of B2B influencer collaboration is that influencers humanize a brand and capture the personality behind the logo.” @ranimani0707″ username=”toprank”]

In our annual list of top B2B influencer marketing predictions Rani suggested that influencers and brands will continue to strengthen their ongoing relationships both digitally and in the real world, something that will undoubtedly resume once the global health crisis subsides.

“In 2020, I predict in-real-life experiences between brands and influencers will grow and facilitate a greater sense of community,” Rani noted.

Rani also sat down with Lee and shared how working with B2B influencers can drive marketing results, how influencer engagement is organized at Adobe, along with a variety of tips on recruiting and engaging influencers, as well as listing some of her favorite B2B influencers to work with.

You can dig in with Rani and Lee’s entire fascinating exchange here.

Among Adobe’s always-on influencer initiatives has been its successful #AdobeInsiders program, which features top B2B influencers assembled by Rani and her team, with insider members including Lee, Monica Grant, Goldie Chan, and others.

Goldie Chan Twitter Adobe MAX Screenshot

Goldie recently explored the role of personal branding — an element important to savvy influencers — in a Forbes article which also features several take-aways from Lee.

“Adobe has not only built continued trust in its brand amongst a community of influencers but with the Adobe customers those influencers reach as well,” Lee noted.

[bctt tweet=”“With an always on approach, it’s easier to match the right influencers with the right campaigns as they get launched.” @ranimani0707″ username=”toprank”]

3 — Why Dell Outlet & Dell Technologies Use Always-On Influence

Our client Dell Outlet’s certified refurbished server, PC, and workstation program has used always-on influence as part of its award-winning marketing.

An fine example of how Dell Outlet has utilized always-on influencer marketing comes from the “Into the Wild: The Buyer’s Guide to Picking the Best Computer” guide it launched, featuring insight from a variety of “fit-for-you and fit-for-earth” tips from industry experts.

Dell Outlet Sales Guide Image

Dell Outlet was also a finalist at the B2BMX Killer Content Awards — the Finnys — with a campaign featuring small business influencers advocating on video and audio, and testing for the value of refurbished computers.

Dell Outlet needed to build awareness as an entity distinct from their parent brand. With a focus on refurbished hardware and a commitment to a more sustainable, circular economy, Dell Outlet built a unique personality, purpose and value proposition. They needed — however — to both establish themselves as their own brand, and educate a small business audience on the value of refurbished equipment.

With targeted research and outreach, Dell Outlet connected and co-created content with small business influencers who had relevance and resonance with the brand’s target audience. The full campaign, featuring videos, a landing page, and social promotion, achieved strong results that were only possible with always-on influencer marketing:

B2BMX Finnys Dell Image

The campaign was 175 percent over its goal for traffic to product pages, and even though it was primarily an awareness campaign, the influencer contributions succeeded in driving conversions — a powerful testament to how successfully the campaign built trust with its target audience.

Our client Dell Technologies has also developed relationships with a network of influencers, including Mark Schaefer and Doug Karr, who host the popular Dell Luminaries podcast. Their discussions with technology visionaries from both inside Dell and elsewhere, put a human face on technology innovation, and build trust in the Dell Technologies brand.

It’s another of the many ongoing benefits of always-on influence that Lee has observed.

Don’t make your influencer involvement a one-and-done. Keep following and engaging with your influencers, helping promote them and developing a community. Better yet, introduce influencers to each other. They’ll have your brand to thank for meaningful connections they make with their peers,” Lee noted.

Here’s another example from Dell Outlet, highlighting the insights they’ve gathered from an array of small business experts and entrepreneurs on making smart tech purchases.

[bctt tweet=”“Always On Influencer Marketing is a strategic approach to creating communities of trusted experts that is relationship and content focused.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

4 — Why RateLinx Went With Always-On Influence

Our client RateLinx has used always-on influence to achieve new levels of engagement and reach for its platform in the supply chain software and consulting industry, whether through co-created blog content, influencer-rich information resources, or other forms of digital content.

For its recent “14 More Supply Chain & Logistics Leaders You Need to Follow” guide, RateLinx worked with industry influencers including Inna Kuznetsova, Ph. D. and Beth Morgan to provide ongoing advice, insight, and guidance, following up on an earlier successful effort.

RateLinx Screen

Supply chain industry influencer Lisa Anderson was featured in another recent blog post, “Supply Chain Strategy: Modernization Tips from Lisa Anderson.”

RateLinx Screenshot

For RateLinx and all of the brands we’ve shared examples from, the time for always-on influence in marketing has arrived, however brands have been slow to adopt the practice, as we explored in “Why Always-On Is Always Better for Driving B2B Influencer Marketing Success.”

[bctt tweet=”“Campaigns should be intertwined with an overall, always-on strategy to create marketing harmony and get the ultimate value out of all your efforts.” @Alexis5484″ username=”toprank”]

5 — Why AT&T Is Using Always-On Influence

Whether it’s a major name influencer or niche industry micro-influencers, AT&T’s always-on influencer approach has seen continued success, such as its recent inclusion in the popular “#SomeGoodNews with John Krasinski” YouTube videos.

AT&T Screenshot

AT&T also notes that “92 percent of people trust recommendations from people over brands, even if they don’t know them,” and has worked with influencers on campaigns including its successful “History by Us” initiative to celebrate Black History Month.

AT&T Black History Month Screenshot

Take Action by Adding #AlwaysOnInfluence To Your Marketing

As we’ve seen with our examples from LinkedIn, Adobe, Dell, RateLinx, AT&T and others, always-on influence is a powerful long-term method for driving brand authority and increasing brand trust and engagement, especially during uncertain times.

We hope that you’ve found inspiration in these various examples for your own efforts. To learn more about how TopRank Marketing can help you develop a premier always-on influencer marketing program, please contact us.

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Call Recording Solutions Offer Superb Business Advantages

Nowadays, keeping tabs on the analytics is a must for any business. Savvy business owners monitor client demands, turnover figures, and their customer approval rate threshold. With hosted call recording systems in place, business owners can perform a strength, weakness, opportunity, and threats analysis of their customer service data. 

In the past, many believed hosted call recording systems were deployed only by large corporations. However, these call recording features are now readily available to small and medium enterprises. Businesses of all sizes may use the stored data to their advantage when trying to make important decisions. 

Setting up and managing a successful business is not easy. It requires a lot of commitment, hard work, and dedication. Similarly, sustaining a viable business with the proper tools and innovative solutions is an essential pre-requisite for long-term success. Therefore, positive customer interaction and feedback form a solid business foundation.

Thus, integration of call recording software gives a much needed edge to the entire outlook of the business. Below are the four advantages of these systems, showing that aspiring business owners can benefit from the virtues of modern digital solutions.

Call Recording Provides Information and Data Assimilation

In the age of technology, data gathering, then analyzing that data serves multiple purposes. Call recording systems provide the platform where such data piles up. For businesses, analyzing the data in the right manner can be useful in identifying market trends, customer demand, and product reshape.

Moreover, most small and medium enterprises don’t have a lot of cash. Instead, they have stringent cash flows for research and development and far-stretched marketing campaigns. Therefore, data gathered through call recording ticks that box.   

Avoid Legal and Compliance Battles 

Professional businesses work with a proper legal framework. These companies try to adopt the best business practices to protect customer information during calls. This compliance and safeguarding of information is necessary to avoid future litigation. 

RELATED CONTENT: BEST METHODS TO PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS FROM LEGAL PROBLEMS

However, if any legal proceeding arises, these calls have the exact evidence to prove if there was a violation of company policy or a breach in consumer law. Subsequently, this helps businesses to resolve these legal battles quickly and smoothly.   

Improve Workforce Learning and Training via Call Recording

Recording calls can be very useful in training newly hired staff. Training new staff can be exhausting financially. Additionally, training requires regular revision of the classroom learning material. Call recording systems tackle this problem.

Furthermore, customer calling scripts can evolve so the company can find a perfect balance between improved customer satisfaction, delivery, and boosted product sales. 

Better Identify Market Trends

For a successful marketing campaign, the integration of clients’ responses is the most important aspect. These responses make the company aware of the faults that their product might have and how those can be fixed.

call recording

To this end, call recording systems give insights into prevailing market trends. Through customer calls and interactions, you can identify consumer preferences. Based on preferences, a calculated decision can be implemented.   

Installation Is Swift and Simple

Hosted call recording systems are quick and easy to deploy for any small- or medium-sized business. These cost-effective solutions are rapidly becoming major lifelines for struggling businesses. With a low investment, these systems reap high profits for upcoming brands and take them to a whole new level. Consequently, you may evolve your business by easily deploying these user-friendly systems.

The post Call Recording Solutions Offer Superb Business Advantages appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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Work Injury? You May Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

Featured image by claimaccident from Pixabay.

It’s the business owner’s nightmare: an employee’s work injury. Will your insurance cover their medical costs? Will you be able to recover from lost hours and their time off work? Of course, the first thing your employee must do is seek medical treatment before the injuries become worse. However, you must also report the incident to the relevant authorities as fast as possible. This ensures that you are as protected as possible while supporting your employee. Additionally, a personal injury lawyer for them ensures that they get the compensation they need while healing from a workplace injury.

Normally, workplace injuries resolve easily thanks to workers’ compensation insurance. However, some cases are much more complicated. In such cases, you may need to call a legal expert to interact with an employee’s personal injury attorney. Examples of instances when employees may involve a lawyer include the following scenarios.

personal injury lawyer
Photo by capri23auto from Pexels

Personal Injury Lawyers Specialize in Work-Related Injury 

Employees should seek help from a legal expert when they have sustained serious injuries from a workplace-related accident. Serious injuries can result in huge medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even disability. Their personal injury lawyer will advise on the best action to take. This way, they will get maximum compensation.

Therefore, before an employee rules an injury as minor, they should get a medical exam from a qualified, experienced, and reputable health professional. 

Does Your Business Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

As a business owner, it is imperative to have workers’ compensation coverage. Without it, you are vulnerable to situations that are out of your control.

For example, if an employee is hurt on the job and the employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage, the process of getting compensation for their injuries is more complicated. In such a case, they may have to bring a lawsuit against you, the employer. However, that lawsuit must prove liability for them to get compensation for their injuries.

A personal injury lawyer can help in collecting and presenting the evidence they need to prove the employer is responsible. In some states, employees may qualify for compensation through the uninsured employers’ fund. Your own lawyer can help in determining if this is an option for an injury situation at your business.

A Lawyer Helps When a Claim Is Denied or Disputed 

One of three things will happen when an employee presents their claim: approval, denial, or dispute. Pre-existing injuries or the extended timeline from injury-to-claim tend to result in denial. Insurance companies may argue that the injury was not work-related. If the claim is denied or they feel that the insurance company is giving them less than they deserve, they should talk to a personal injury lawyer. 

Was a Third Party Involved?

RELATED CONTENT: WORKERS COMPENSATION: WHAT EVERY EMPLOYER MUST KNOW

Was a third party involved in the accident? If so, the employee should be collecting compensation for personal injuries from someone other than their employer. Don’t hesitate to talk to an experienced attorney about it. 

Conclusion

A good attorney will do their best to ensure that the employee receives the compensation they deserve. As a business owner, your insurance coverage, along with due diligence and advice from an attorney, can ensure you are not adversely affected.

The post Work Injury? You May Need a Personal Injury Lawyer appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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How to Market Your Startup on Instagram

By Bibit Unggul on Shutterstock

Instagram marketing will help you boost your startup to the next level. Read on to learn about some powerful ways to market your startup on Instagram.

Market Your Startup on Instagram

Starting a new business can be challenging. While your hopes may be high, you might not always be familiar in the ways of best reaching your audience. Or perhaps you don’t know how best to invest your advertising budget.

Look no further than Instagram when it comes to marketing your startup. Undoubtedly the most influential social media platform, Instagram has more than a billion active users each and every day. This makes Instagram a powerful tool for efficiently building a base of active followers and conveying your brand identity. This can’t help but drive more sales.

Additionally, if yours is like most startups, you don’t have a lot of capital to spend. But with Instagram you can inexpensively promote your startup. In fact, many startups nowadays turn to social media marketing companies such as https://buytruefollowers.com/ to build their following on Instagram.

RELATED ARTICLE: STARTUP COSTS: WATCH THE BOTTOM LINE TO KEEP THEM UNDER CONTROL

Why Do So Many Startups Use Instagram for Their Marketing Efforts?

Let us take a look at some of the reasons why Instagram has become the launchpad for hundreds, if not thousands, of startups.

Instagram Has a Large Audience

The sheer number of users on Instagram attracts startups to that platform. Moreover, its effective marketing tools, combined with cloud technology, make Instagram a hit among startups.

It’s Inexpensive

Instagram is one of the most cost-effective platforms startups can use for promoting their products. Such prices for marketing would have been unimaginable even a decade ago.

Instagram Has Impressive Interactive Tools for Marketing Your Startup

Several of Instagram’s features simplify interacting with your followers. For example, take advantage of such features as IGTV, live stories, shoppable tags, and more. In fact, startup marketers have a whole plethora of marketing tools at their disposal on Instagram.

Additionally, if you have a business account on Instagram, you can gain insights about your startup’s audience, just as you can on Facebook and Twitter.

Despite what you might think, marketing on Instagram is not only for influencers only. However, creating a perfect Instagram strategy for your startup can be challenging task, especially in the beginning. That’s why we’re offering some useful tips below to help you with boosting your startup on Instagram.

Startups Can Easily Create Their Brand Narrative on Instagram

market your startup on Instagram

Human beings love a good story, so connect with Instagram users by creating posts that tell a cohesive narrative. When you do, more and more users will follow your startup’s page on Instagram.

With the help of Instagram stories, creators can upload videos and images to their Instagram profiles. Almost inevitably, they will notice some extra buzz in the following twenty-four hours.

Story-telling gives you a chance to create a strong identity for your startup. This will help potential customers to relate to your brand. From short videos to boomerang images, Instagram stories provide users with the creative freedom to craft the perfect marketing strategy. In short, Instagram stories can be a powerful tool to help you market your startup.

Additionally, use the detailed analytics you’ll find in your Instagram business profile to target segments of your audience with engaging content that might even go viral.

Use Hashtags to Boost Your Brand’s Story

Hashtags play an integral role on the Instagram platform. In order to effectively market your startup on Instagram, it is important to understand this truth.

Both users and marketers love hashtags because they are searchable and enhance visibility. Hashtags will help your posts reach a wider audience. Therefore, create relevant hashtags on Instagram that align with your startup’s niche.

In order to gauge the effectiveness of a particular hashtag or the relevance of a certain keyword, turn to Google Trends. This and other third-party tools can help you pinpoint the hashtags and keywords that can best boost your startup on Instagram and elsewhere.

Hashtags can help in cross-platform promotions, since most other platforms support hashtags’ functionality. So why wait? Start creating your own custom hashtags and gain more followers for your startup on Instagram and elsewhere.

Post Quality Content

market your startup on Instagram

What do Instagram users care about when they visit your startup’s profile? They’re looking for quality content. From photos to videos to text, crafting quality content should be your top priority.

Video marketing continues to be the most effective means of reaching customers. In fact, according to a report from Cisco, more than 80 percent of the content on the Internet consists of videos. Perhaps this is because videos are engaging. With video, you can tell a compelling story about your startup on Instagram. Videos will help you build trust and confidence among your customers.

So take the time to create and post worthwhile content on a regular basis. This practice will make a big difference in your startup’s audience retention on Instagram. To gain new customers, rely on short videos or commercials.

Also, create some tutorial videos. With these, describe the benefits and uses of your products or services, or offer quick, behind-the-scenes looks into your startup. Many Instagram users find find these interesting.

Make Friends with Instagram Influencers

If you are looking to get a head start for your startup on your marketing efforts, spending some cash with an Instagram influencer can be a good idea. Instagram influencers often command the love and respect of millions of followers. Therefore, when they recommend something to their followers, it can translate to greater sales figures for you.

In fact, a recent study confirms that influencer marketing can yield a great return on your investment. So try creating short and compelling content that influencers will be able to share with their community.

When you market your brand with the help of popular influencers you will reach a wider audience. This helps to reinforce your startup’s identity and strengthen your brand. However, before choosing to work with any influencer, make sure you know how many followers they have. This will help you to evaluate their quality and influence.

RELATED ARTICLE: TAP INTO THE POWER OF MICRO-INFLUENCERS AND WIN

Run Paid Advertising Campaigns

With a business account on Instagram, you will be able to create paid advertising campaigns. These ads can be especially powerful, because you can target customers and potential customers based on specific traits.

Keep in mind that knowing and understanding your customers is crucial if you want to fully leverage paid ad campaigns. Nonetheless, with the help of paid ad campaigns on Instagram, you can gain maximum exposure for your startup with minimal expense.

In fact, as a startup business, you should always create your marketing strategies around paid marketing as well as organic, free marketing on Instagram. Keep in mind that it is always wise to formulate a proper strategy before jumping in.

Try Running a Live Feed for Your Startup on Instagram

Running a live feed on your profile is one of the best ways to generate customer interaction. Live interactions will help you forge stronger relationships with your clients and increase engagement on your posts.

Running a live feed is a powerful way to share new information with your customers about upcoming products and events. What’s more, a live feed from your startup’s profile is sure to attract more followers on Instagram.

Offer Discounts

From online stores to local retail shops, most businesses offer discounts or freebies to gain customer confidence. Discounts can drive a higher return on your marketing investments. To promote your discounts, try creating niche hashtags. This will keep the buzz going and help you sell more of your products or services.

Conclusion

Master using Instagram to better market your startup. Use the tips in this article to get started.

The post How to Market Your Startup on Instagram appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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Break Free B2B Marketing: Danny Nail on Creating a Global ABM Platform

Breakfree Influencer - Danny Nail Blog

Breakfree Influencer - Danny Nail Blog

I wrote a special song just for you:

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday, dear reader of the TopRank blog,

Happy birthday to you

Are you emotionally moved or impressed by my effort? Probably not. Even if I used a little tech wizardry to insert your name in there, you likely wouldn’t be blown away by the level of customization. It’s just filling in a template, not creating something new.

In theory, account-based marketing (ABM) should mean delivering hyper-relevant, custom content to your most relevant accounts. In practice, however, it tends to mean coming up with ever-more intricate Mad Libs.  We end up templatizing everything to scale up our efforts, losing the immediacy and relevance that makes ABM work.

Fortunately, a few practitioners out there are demonstrating how to take ABM at scale beyond the “fill-in-the-blank” model. Gary Gerber shared his tips in our first Break Free video of the new season. This time around, we’re talking to Danny Nail about the amazing work he’s doing at SAP.*

Danny is the Global Head of Account Based Marketing at SAP. Under his leadership, they’ve developed a remarkable platform for repurposing and customizing content for different regions, accounts, and even across verticals. 

The system Danny and his team built is largely self-serve, and it’s cheaper and more efficient than having local offices create their own assets. The best part? You don’t need Fortune 500-level resources to create something similar for your team.

I sat down with Danny during B2BMX to talk about ABM, content marketing, and the importance of creativity in everything from content to strategy. Watch the video or listen to the audio below, and skip past the embeds for a few key highlights.

[bctt tweet=”“You have to let go of templatized old ideas…and start really digging into how you can change what you’re doing and make it more efficient, more effective, and be creative about that.” @DannyNail, @SAP” username=”toprank”]

Break Free B2B Interview with Danny Nail:

Timeline and Highlights:

1:58 – A new definition for scalable ABM

2:27 – Creating a self-serve ABM platform

3:30 – Aligning sales and marketing for ABM

5:00 – Solving the attribution dispute between sales and marketing

6:00 – Building measurement into an ABM platform

7:15 – Refining the definition of ABM

10:45 – Building a better ABM platform

14:00 – The power of non-promotional content

15:30 – Why Danny got into marketing

17:00 – How marketing will change in the next 5 years

18:40 – Rising above the personalized/scalable trade-off

22:35 – How can marketers break free?

Danny:

 I’ve developed what I call the ABM asset delivery platform. I worked with my agency to develop that. What it is, is a library of the assets we’ve already created for our ABM program at a global level. 

So think about if you have, let’s say, five accounts in oil and gas globally, and they’re across there in four different regions, but the things that you create for them are synergistic across all five accounts. So they can be used for those five accounts, they most likely are going to be usable for any other oil and gas account in the world. 

So what we do is there on the platform, a seller or marketer can go onto the platform and actually order that asset to be versioned for that account. If they do it at what we call level three, it takes three to five weeks, costs 1500 euro, and they’ve got this great asset that looks like it was developed specifically for their account.

Josh:

So this is a platform that’s almost a self-serve for sales and marketing?

Danny:

Think “Amazon” for ABM assets.

Josh:

Were there any challenges that you faced trying to get ABM aligned with both sales and marketing?

Danny:

I think that the biggest challenge is the relationship with sales. Because historically, marketing and sales have kind of been at odds a bit, which is unfortunate, but ABM brings the two together. 

So throughout the development of each of my programs, I work closely with the sales leads of each of the accounts within the program. They’re involved in the creation of the assets. They’re involved in the messaging that happens within the assets for their account. So they have the opportunity to, at the end of the day, tailor their assets, the things that I developed for them even more so for their specific accounts. So they know it resonates with their account. 

The key to that is understanding the sales cycle. And understanding how sellers think and what they’re up against. So we know that every year there at certain times of the year they’re going to be involved in Sapphire or field kickoff meetings or end of quarter close, so we’ve got to watch out and and be cognizant of the things that the salespeople are facing, so that when we go to them and ask for their time, we’re going at a time when we know they would have time.

Danny:

When I was asked to start the industry IBM program at SAP, there were three objectives: Have global marketing, get closer to sales and create something that can be scalable. Typically, when people think of scalability, they think of templates. So the whole bill of material is templatized. White Paper, tweets, let’s have three tweets, two blogs, sets of blog copy, an email, and the white paper and maybe an infographic that comes from the white paper, right? Every program, same bill of materials. With the platform and the way we build the assets, we don’t even think about what we’re going to build until we know the story we’re going to tell. And once we know the story we’re going to tell, depending on what type of story it is, that’s when we decide what type of asset or material we’re going to build. And then that goes on to the platform. It starts as generic, but then you can have it versioned at a number of different levels.

Danny:

The things that some people are calling ABM are really target account marketing. That should be the way we market on a daily basis. We should know what the sentiment about interest and intent data is for our target accounts, we should have a set of target accounts that we’re monitoring and serving our material to when they’re ready for it and when they’re basically asking for it because they’re showing intent on it. That should be the marketing across the board. 

But then that should also lead to accounts where we can do account based marketing. So the continuum should be from target account marketing, to ABM, to one-to-one ABM, all the way across that scale, but it should start with target account marketing.

So we want to be done with customized or targeted lists. If you’re going to send something to somebody, at least make it as close to industry specific as you can, so that it’s talking in their language, and it’s talking about their problems. 

Because HR issues, everyone would think they’re the same. But retail has totally different HR issues than oil and gas because of seasonality. And you’ve got seasonal workers around Christmas and holidays and things like that. So you need to be able to understand that and show your customers that you understand that because that’s how they’re thinking.

Josh:

I think we have this feeling that we have limited resources. So we have to find as much of a synergy as we can between messaging and it seems like with the technology that you’re working with, you don’t have to make that trade off anymore.

Danny:

That’s right. I think that’s one of the things — I think marketers have typically — when they thought scalability, again, they thought templatized. And instead of thinking templatized, think of different ways to scale, or the way you create the material that you create to make it more scalable, as opposed to making it templatized. 

Use the creative you’ve done for one thing and repurpose it for another thing. So we’ve done that with one of our assets, it’s an automotive asset. That’s where a car is driving through a village, and it’s a linear story. So the next time we had a linear story, we changed it from a car driving through a village to a person walking through a store, same asset, just repurposed so that we could get the scale of at least the programming that we had done on the back end of the asset to make the the retail asset.

Danny:

You have to let go of templatized, old ideas. You have to break free of thinking about things the way we’ve always thought about them, and start really digging into how you can change what you’re doing and make it more efficient, more effective, but be creative about that. Because the platform didn’t exist, but now it does. And that’s because we got creative about how we could scale ABM, as opposed to adding people to scale or adding money to scale. 

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

 

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