As a devoted Netflix aficionado, I love sinking into my leather couch and chowing down on popcorn while I watch an entire season of Breaking Bad or Dexter in the confines of a single day. But yesterday I was able to tune into an all-day marathon series on a topic that's more vital to my career as a marketer than anything offered from the video-on-demand powerhouse (and much more beneficial to my overall health and well-being). On January 28th, the Online Marketing Institute hosted a series of information-packed webinars featuring seven leading experts in the B2B digital marketing sphere.
This all day digital event supplied both fledgling and veteran marketers with tips, tactics, and verified strategies from thought-leaders in the areas of social media, content creation, marketing automation, and big data manipulation.
In case you missed the special B2B Digital Marketing Essentials for 2014 webinar series orchestrated by the Online Marketing Institute, check out the on-demand version now. In the meantime, here are 5 key takeaways from the event that will help you hone your current marketing skills, reach more prospects, and inundate your sales pipeline with viable leads:
1.Content Marketing Has Changed the Demand Generation Game Completely
Tony Uphoff, CEO of Business.com, commenced the distinguished event with a presentation on the current state of digital media, describing content marketing as the bedrock of B2B success. "Traditional methods that have previously served B2B marketers, like basic brand advertising and trade show participation, simply aren't working as well anymore," he says." Content marketing is the dominant marketing vehicle for B2B and it's changing the game for demand generation".
2. Content Marketing Starts with One "Master Piece" and Develops into a Full-Blown Dynamic Strategy
The phrase "content marketing" is arbitrarily thrown around and is perhaps misunderstood by many. Rather than the creation of a haphazard, sporadic piece of content, content marketing must exist as an ongoing, strategic process. Uphoff walks the audience through the marketing funnel and discusses the suggested forms of content marketers should create for the three different stages of the buyer's journey. He highlights best practice tactics for top-of-the funnel communications, explains why eBooks, whitepapers and videos are effective tools for the learning stage, and shows how to seal the deal in the purchase stage with ROI calculators, promotional offers, and free demos.
3. Understanding is Everything and Content Fosters Understanding
Paul Gustafson, president of Silicon valleys' marketing agency TDA group, explained how thought-leadership is the secret ingredient to successful content marketing and actualized sales. While delivering a 6-point checklist to guide motivated B2B marketers, Gustafson reveals how content molds a potential lead into a devoted brand advocate and ultimately maximizes the lifetime value of a customer.
"Customers who 'get it' are worth much more than those who don't," explains Gustafson on the critical importance of moving potential customers from unaware to aware through the process of content marketing. Devoted customers or clients are less likely to shop the competition, understand where you're headed, negotiate less, upgrade frequently, and refer you to others.
He suggests marketers begin to view the marketing funnel as a metaphorical "megaphone" to amplify core thought-leadership pieces. After you've effectively created a genuine thought-leadership piece, rich with expertise, move from the bottom of the funnel into single-point white papers, blog posts, eBooks and infographics to explain your service or product in further detail. Finally, morph these into timely and targeted "snackable" pieces of content to be delivered through social media platforms.
4. Inbound + Outbound Social Marketing = Awesomeness
Using irresistibly-hilarious memes and Seinfeld references to communicate his core message, Jason Miller of LinkedIn speaks to the current age of social marketing- an age where ROI and tangible metrics are used to measure results rather than philosophical assumptions. Miller reviews five key social media strategies that are a must for every-and-any campaign. Of the most important takeaways is the crucial combination of quality content, organic reach, and the magic of paid promotions necessary to see results from any social effort. Without paid advertising, the success of a social campaign is similar to only hanging out with the same group of kids in high school- you can't become popular without speaking to people outside of your immediate reach. Using Hubspot as a case study, Miller highlights the success that came to the inbound marketing giant when they saw a 400% increase in leads when they successfully combined organic SEO efforts with the fuel of LinkedIn's paid promotion. He concludes the section by noting, "Organic is good, but paid is better."
5. Corporate Needs to be Compelling
A challenge we all face as B2B marketers is creating a dialogue with an actual person, rather than a faceless number. Amanda Batista, Content Manager at Oracle Eloqua, admits that B2C communication often resonates on an emotional level more effectively than B2B marketing messages, which tend to be over-promotional, dull and indifferent. Borrowing elements from basic journalism, she explains five significant elements that contribute to a well-told story that empathizes with a reader. By answering the "who, what, why, where, and how" questions underlying your audience's core problems, marketers can have a better handle at producing genuine and relevant content.
I strongly suggest sinking into your own leather couch and tuning into this digital marathon. Whether you're a seasoned CMO or just forming your career in digital marketing, draw from the expertise of influential thought-leaders to guide your 2014 campaigns and strategies. To access more tips, tools, and strategies outlined in this webinar series, visit the Online Marketing Institute.