GenC

It doesn’t really pay to classify multitudes by their age–every generation is complex and intermingles with all the others.

But it might be a useful way to understand the issues we’ve faced and where we might be heading.

Generation C was inaugurated with the events created by Covind-19, and it is defined by a new form of connection.

There’s a juxtaposition of the physical connection that was lost as we shelter in place, and the digital connection that so many are finding online.

Not just a before and after for the economy, but for culture, for health, for expectations. School and jobs are different now, probably for the long term.

No idea or behavior shift has ever spread more quickly or completely in the history of the planet. In seven weeks, the life of every single person on Earth changed, and the unfolding tragedy and the long slog forward will drive expectations for years. Expectations about being part of a physical community, about the role of government and about what we hope for our future.

If previous cycles of media were about top-down broadcast (from radio, TV and cable), the last few years have been about the long tail, about giving a microphone to anyone who wanted one. But now, the peer to peer power of the internet is dominating. The Kardashians won’t be as important as 3,000 people with a thousand connections each. Never mind a million people with 100 each.

Companies are now competing to see how few employees they have instead of how many. The lattices of the connection economy are racing to replace the edifice complex of the previous one.

And if Covind-19 and Connection are the first two C’s, the third one is going to be Carbon.

Because we’re going to need to pay. All of us. To pay for the dislocations and to pay for the treatment and to pay for the recovery.

Worldwide cataclysms are different from local ones. As we shift gears and seek to revitalize our economy, put people to work and build a resilient future, it might be tempting to drill and burn, and to try to adopt an emergency footing that disregards any long-term future more than a few months ahead. But GenC may be too wise for that. And they may be connected enough to speak up and overrule the baby boomers.

A threat and an enemy will focus public attention. For a long time, that enemy was other people or other nations, and an us-vs-them mindset was a great way to get attention or get elected. But just as we came to understand that you can’t bully a virus, you can’t personalize carbon either.

The worldwide challenge of carbon is not a problem for someone else, it’s a problem for all of us. Using carbon consumption as a way to pay for rebuilding our community brings all three Cs together.

Emergencies are overrated as a response mechanism. Preparation and prevention are about to become a more popular alternative.

My generation was the dominant voice for sixty years. A voice that worried about the next 24 hours, not the next 24 years. That’s about to shift, regardless of what year you were born.

What can we do that matters instead?

“I’ll go with my principles tomorrow”

In the short run, it’s easy to abandon what we believe. Deep down, we assume that once things go back to normal, so will we.

Organizations end up with bullies, predators and bad actors for only one reason: In this moment, it’s easier to keep them. There’s some sort of urgency that makes asking them to leave too difficult right now, so we put it off for a little while. When we make a “just this once” exception, we’ve already made a decision about what’s truly important.

And the same goes for those moments when we’re inclined to be, just for a moment, a bully, a predator or a bad actor as well. Few people decide to be selfish for the long haul.

What makes it a principle is that we do it now, even though (especially though) it’s hard.

Communicating online (the big leaps)

It’s not just like the real world but with keyboards.

Leap 1: Attention is too easy to steal online, so don’t. Spam is a bad idea. Interrupting hundreds or millions of people doesn’t cost you much, but costs each person a lot. You wouldn’t stand up in the middle of a Broadway play and start selling insurance from the audience. Don’t do it with your keyboard. Permission is anticipated, personal and relevant.

Leap 2: There’s a difference between asynchronous and synchronous interaction. We know this intuitively in the real world (a letter is different from a phone call) but online, it’s profound. A discussion board isn’t the same as a Zoom call. It turns out that we can create rich and layered conversations with async communication, but we also have to be just a bit more patient.

Leap 3: More than one person can ‘talk’ at a time. In the real world, that’s impossible. At a table for six, we take turns talking. But in a chat room, we can all talk at the same time. Use it well and you can dramatically increase information exchange. But if you try to follow all the threads, or you miss what you need, then it’s actually less effective.

Leap 4: Sometimes we leave a trail. Most real-life conversations are inherently off the record because the words disappear right after we say them. But if you use a keyboard, or you’re attached to a server, assume you’re being recorded and act appropriately. And sometimes the people who are talking are anonymous (which never happens in the real world).

It’s possible, with effort, to transform business communications (and schooling) away from the top-down, synchronized, compliance-focused, off-the-record, hierarchical and slow status quo to something significantly more fluid and powerful. But we’ll need to do it on purpose.

 

PS the free co-working space we’re offering has become a successful community hub. Thanks to the Akimbo team for putting so much into creating it, and for the thousands of people who have found energy and solace by being part of it.

Digital Marketing News: Coronavirus’ Impact on Marketing Budgets & Social Media Usage, LinkedIn’s New Conversation Ads, & Instagram Story Changes

2020 March 27 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 March 27 MarketingCharts Chart

LinkedIn rolls out Conversation Ads, aimed at improving personalization in messaging
LinkedIn has begun launching its new Conversation Ads, with real-time engagement ad options that include multiple calls-to-action. Conversation Ads are rolling out to all LinkedIn (client) advertisers over the next several weeks, the firm recently announced. Marketing Land

Social Media Consumption Grows Amid Coronavirus
Social media usage has sharply increased in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain Instagram #ad campaign post likes have seen an increase of up to 76 percent during the past two weeks, as the majority of workers have shifted to temporary remote work. AList

CX in B2B Marketing: Top-of-Mind Strategy in 2020
54 percent of B2B marketers say their organizations are focusing most on customer experience and loyalty in their marketing efforts, according to newly-released report data examining global B2B customer experience priorities. MarketingProfs

Coronavirus: Emarketer lowers global ad spend projections for 2020
Worldwide ad spending will decrease due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a previously expected $712 billion total being revised to $691 billion for 2020, a 3 percent decrease, according to newly-released forecast data, with many expecting even sharper forthcoming ad spend decreases. Marketing Land

B2B Senior Marketer Survey: The Most Effective Approaches for 2020 [Infographic]
LinkedIn (client) is tops among senior B2B marketers for nurturing leads, with some 84 percent saying the Microsoft-owned platform is the most effective social media channel, followed by Facebook at 43 percent and YouTube at 25 percent, according to recently-released survey data of interest to B2B marketers. MarketingProfs

Facebook Warns of Ad Approval Delays Amid Staff Changes Due to COVID-19 Impacts
Facebook was among the first social media platform to announce that the COVID-19 pandemic would affect how it reviews and approves certain content including ads, with a full slate of Facebook monetized content options being impacted. Social Media Today

2020 March 27 Statistics Image

Sales And Marketing Are Misaligned As Email Lags In B2B Nurture Mix: Study
While some 64 percent of marketing teams said that their organizations use account based marketing (ABM) for at least half of their marketing, 90 percent consider it challenging to successfully use it across multiple channels including sales — two of several findings of interest to digital marketers in recently-released survey data. MediaPost

Instagram’s Testing the Capability to Add Hashtags and Location to Stories Highlights
Marketers may soon be able to add location information and up to four hashtags to the Highlights option of Instagram Stories, which stay active beyond the usual 24-hour active period, according to recent test observations — changes that could eventually bring an array of new targeting options to digital marketers’ toolkits. Social Media Today

Amazon could win big in the post-coronavirus retail economy
Marketers may swivel more ad dollars to Amazon, which has seen sizable demand increases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The firm announced that it was hiring more than 100,000 new workers, and a jump in ad revenue also appeared likely as some marketers have shifted more spend to the e-commerce giant. Marketing Land

Data Hub: Coronavirus and Marketing
28 percent of industrial marketers plan to shift marketing budgets from trade shows cancelled due to COVID-19 to digital advertising instead, while 14 percent will allot that spending to content marketing — one of several statistics of interest to digital marketers contained in newly-released report data from MarketingCharts. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 March 27 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at how not to communicate right now by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Diabolical Mailing List Admin Twirling Mustache and Cackling at Dead “Unsubscribe” Link — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • SAP, Dell Technologies — 3 Tips For B2B Marketers When Your Big Trade Show Is Cancelled Due To Coronavirus — Forbes
  • SAP — Event industry and COVID-19: An insider’s point of view — The Future of Commerce
  • Lee Odden — Marketing During a Pandemic – Resources for Small Businesses in the Coronavirus Crisis [Roundup] — Simple Machines

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to join us, and please return again next Friday for a new selection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post Digital Marketing News: Coronavirus’ Impact on Marketing Budgets & Social Media Usage, LinkedIn’s New Conversation Ads, & Instagram Story Changes appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Generous isn’t always the same as free

People have been generous with you through the years. A doctor who took the time to understand your pain. A server who didn’t hesitate and brought you what you needed before you even knew you needed it. A boss who gave you a project at just the right time.

Gifts create connection and possibility, but not all gifts have monetary value. In fact, some of the most important gifts involve time, effort and care instead.

Money was invented long after humans arrived on the scene, and commerce can’t solve all problems.

In this moment when we’re so disconnected and afraid, the answer might not be a freebie. That might simply push us further apart. The answer might be showing up to do the difficult work of connection, of caring and of extending ourselves where it’s not expected.

A Well-Oiled Machine: Why Every B2B Marketing Team Needs Marketing Operations

Worker with tablet image.

Worker with tablet image.

What makes a B2B marketing campaign great?

Is it a creative theme that catches your attention? Is it the insightful expertise featured within? Is it the number of leads it produced?

Answer: it’s all of those things and more. Great B2B marketing campaigns have great ideas and great execution.

But great execution is hard to achieve. It demands excellent resourcing, swift approvals, streamlined processes, and more. And as you may have noticed, these aren’t marketing functions. They’re operational functions.

For your B2B marketing campaigns to truly be successful, you need someone leading the operational side of things. You need marketing operations.

What Is Marketing Operations?

According to MarketingProfs, marketing operations is “an emerging discipline that increases efficiency and drives consistent results in marketing-focused organizations. It builds a foundation for excellence by reinforcing marketing strategy with metrics, infrastructure, business processes, best practices, budgeting and reporting.”

Our translation? Marketing operations is the act of creating and enforcing processes, regularly assessing scope, allocating team resources, and introducing new martech tools to increase team efficiency and campaign results. It is the umbrella under which B2B marketing campaigns become more efficient and effective.

[bctt tweet=”“For your B2B marketing campaigns to truly be successful, you need someone leading the operational side of things. You need marketing operations.” @annieleuman” username=”toprank”]

Why Do You Need Marketing Operations?

Marketing Operations Increases Efficiency

From martech tools to processes to best practices, there are a handful of ways B2B marketing teams can improve efficiency. However, the owner of those responsibilities is often unclear. Instead, teams tend to divide and conquer. One person is responsible for campaign best practices, another owns martech, and a third might own business processes. Or worse, no owner has been set. As you may have guessed, this is an inefficient way to battle inefficiencies.

An efficient way to correct course is to set ownership of those responsibilities to a marketing operations role or department. This is a more focused approach that makes accountability clear. Plus, with increasing efficiency as a primary responsibility of marketing operations, instead of a secondary one, you can be certain that efficiency is a priority, not a nice-to-have.

Want to make your marketing more productive? Check out these marketing productivity tips.

Marketing Operations Improves Clarity

There’s a process for everything. For communicating internally or externally. For creating a social image. For drafting a blog post. How many of your processes are documented? How many of them are followed step by step? With so many processes to juggle in B2B marketing, it’s understandable that not every process is going to have 100% adoption.

That changes with marketing operations woven into your organization.

As a function that is dedicated to making sure processes are defined, documented, followed, and iterated on, marketing teams have increased clarity into what needs to happen, when it needs to happen, and who is responsible. This enables your team to move at faster speeds with confidence that the best, most optimized process is being followed.

Marketing Operations Enables Scalability

Take a look across your past marketing campaigns. Are they consistently executed upon? Or does each campaign have slight deviations from the norm? Save that mental picture. Now, imagine what happens to your consistency when you topple on another 10 to 20 campaigns or projects. It could get chaotic.

But if you can do it once, you can do it a thousand times.

Marketing operations allows your organization to quickly scale across campaigns and projects. With proven, documented approaches to each project and campaign type, your team can quickly kick off and launch their campaigns. Marketing operations does this by consistently assessing campaign scope, performance, and lift and using those findings to create the optimal campaign or project.

[bctt tweet=”“Marketing operations allows your organization to quickly scale across campaigns and projects. With proven, documented approaches to each project and campaign type, your team can quickly kick off and launch their campaigns.” @annieleuman” username=”toprank”]

Marketing Operations Optimizes Campaigns

Optimization is nothing new to a marketer.

From on page content and SEO to social images and digital advertising campaigns, there’s always something to optimize in the realm of marketing. But what about the campaigns themselves? Are you optimizing your workflows? And what about your scopes?

Part of the marketing operations role is to track and analyze marketing campaign budgets, burn rate, workflows, and results to find opportunities for optimization. Powered with this information, they can then optimize campaign structure, resources, and scope for maximum impact in minimal time. The end result is a campaign or project that drives great results, reduces costs, and increases profits. Talk about a big benefit.

For actionable tips on how to optimize your B2B campaigns, read this guide on how to maximize your B2B content marketing campaign investments.

Execute. Execute. Execute.

B2B marketing greatness requires both creative ideas and efficient execution. Do your B2B marketing campaigns have both?

Marketing operations leads to better campaigns, better workflows, and, ultimately, better results. If you’re lacking great execution that is timely, transparent, and repeatable, you need to make marketing operations a priority within your organization. Ensure there is someone at the helm of process management, martech tools, and resourcing, and your marketing machine will run better than ever.

For more operational tips for B2B marketers, check out our project management tips for B2B marketers.

 

The post A Well-Oiled Machine: Why Every B2B Marketing Team Needs Marketing Operations appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Is everything going to be okay?

That depends.

If we mean, “Is everything going to be the way it was and the way I expected it to be?” then the answer is no. The answer to that question is always no, it always has been.

If we mean, “Is everything going to be the way it is going to be?” then the answer is yes. Of course. If we define whatever happens as okay, then everything will be.

Given that everything is going to be the way it’s going to be, we’re left with an actually useful and productive question instead: “What are you going to do about it?”

Marketing During a Pandemnic: Stop Pushing and Start Pulling with SEO

Top 10 SEO Trends 2020

Top 10 SEO Trends 2020
Customer empathy is at the forefront of the best marketing and tone deaf promotions as if things were normal during the COVID-19 pandemic are probably some of the worst.

When it comes to understanding the customer state of mind right now, I think Dean Shaw from SAS summed it up well on Twitter:

And while we know many of these personal concerns are top of mind, we also know that in many ways, the work continues.

So how can marketers meet the information needs of customers in an environment where push advertising and marketing seems so out of place?

The customer empathy model I’ve always used to keep content and context relevant is Discover, Engage, Action.

Where are buyers finding their information? What formats create the best experience and which triggers inspire action? Answer these questions and you’ll be on the road to providing the kind of authentic content that customers want, where they want it and in a way that drives satisfaction for all.

Right now one channel for information discovery that is firing hot are search engines. Instead of being tone deaf or completely opportunistic about marketing, companies can double down on their SEO efforts to become the best answer for customers at the very moment they need a solution. Whether you do fresh technical SEO, or content SEO or link audits – companies would do well to make sure that it’s as easy and relevant as possible for customers to pull themselves to brand content through search. SEO helps customers solve information problems on their terms, instead of alienating people with opportunism or status quo marketing.

SEO helps customers surface information on their terms, instead of alienating people with opportunism or tone deaf marketing.

To point marketers in the right direction for SEO, here is a new infographic featuring 10 SEO best practices from some of the top SEO minds in the industry including:

  • Barry Schwartz – President of Rusty Brick, Executive Editor at Search Engine Roundtable, News Editor at Search Engine Land
  • Jono Alderson – Digital Marketing Strategist and Special Ops at Yoast
  • Aleyda Solis – SEO Consultant and Founder at Orainti
  • Jesse McDonald – Global SEO Strategist at IBM
  • Britney Muller – Senior SEO Scientist at Moz
  • Ayat Shukairy – Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Invest
  • Dixon Jones – CEO at inLinks.net
  • Hamlet Batista – CEO at RankSense
  • Tiffany Allen – Associate Director of Search and Analytics at TopRank Marketing

SEO Trends 2020

You can download a full size PDF of the SEO trends 2020 infographic here.

As you consider how to be more empathetic about what’s really on your customers’ minds right now, hopefully these SEO trends will give you some direction in terms of how to optimize content to attract, engage and inspire action with more of a pull approach than push.

The post Marketing During a Pandemnic: Stop Pushing and Start Pulling with SEO appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Day Trading emotions

When the stock market is on an upward tear, day trading becomes popular. You sit in your basement, surrounded by terminals and tickers, searching for the latest bits of information, hoping to make a profit buying and selling based on what’s happening in this very instant.

It’s pretty tempting to day trade your emotions.

We’ve piped the voices of a billion people directly into our brains. The loudest, angriest, most frightened people are the ones that are amplified the most.

Everyone sharing what’s breaking. The visceral angst of this very moment, over and over.

Just as it’s almost impossible to make a profit as a day trader, it’s difficult to be happy when you day trade emotions. But there’s an alternative:

Buy and hold.

Stand for something.

Stick with it.

Long-term contributions matter. Today ends tonight and tomorrow starts again, but we only get one long-term life.

Add up the sum of our days and that’s who we are. We get what we repeat.

Calm also has a coefficient

Panic loves company.

And yet calm is our practical, efficient, rational alternative.

If you’re on a crowded plane and one person is freaking out about turbulence, the panic will eventually peter out. If, on the other hand, six people are freaking out, it’s entirely possible that it will spread and overtake the rest of the plane. Panic needs multiple nodes to spread.

The same is true with a cabin of 10-year-olds at summer camp. One homesick kid usually comes around and ends up enjoying the summer, because being surrounded by others who are okay makes us okay. But three or four homesick kids can change the entire dynamic.

While calm is a damping agent, it’s not nearly as effective at spreading itself as panic is.

The library is usually a quiet place because the dominant cultural narrative in the library is to be quiet. Because it’s dominant, the coefficient of its spread is sufficient to keep it that way. We have to expend effort to create environments of calm, because calm has a coefficient that can’t compete with panic when it comes to spreading.

And Twitter? Twitter has been engineered to maximize panic. Calm is penalized, panic is amplified. And if you are hanging out in real life with people who spend a lot of time on social media and news sites, you’ve invited all of those people into your circle as well.

We can find lots of reasons why fifty years of watching just three dominant TV networks wasn’t ideal. But the combination of oligopoly and the FCC meant that none of them spread panic. They weren’t built for it. When cable “news” showed up, they discovered that panic was a great way to make a profit. Not to make things better, simply to spread anger and fear.

If panic is helpful, of course you should bring it on. But it rarely is.

Instead:

Curate your incoming.

Stay off Twitter.

Do the work instead. Whatever needs doing most is better than panic.

Being up-to-date on the news is a trap and a scam. Five minutes a day is all you need.

More on this from Margo.