The Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges is the podcast for the modern marketer who wants to hear from their peers in the trenches and the occasional analyst or rock-star-influencer sharing strategies and tactics about what’s working in modern marketing. Show notes are available at http://bit.ly/MME-show
My B2B Podcasting Strategy
Social audio has become very popular recently with the advent of Clubhouse. According to Edison Research 15% of social media users 18+ say they have used Clubhouse.
Podcasting is a form of social audio. And, it continues to grow as a content channel. According to Edison Research’s Share of Ear study, which began tracking audio consumption in 2014, podcasting’s share of all audio listening is now 6% of consumption. This level marks an all-time high for podcasting, up from 2% in 2014.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have launched or plan to launch social audio functionalities.
I’ve had a love affair with podcasting for nearly 10 years. In fact, I listen to many podcasts. MME is my second podcast. My first podcast ran for 49 episodes. I co-hosted it with a buddy of mine. We bantered about digital marketing topics. The big difference between my first podcast and my second podcast is that I didn’t have a strategy with my first podcast. I had fun recording them. But, there was no strategy.
We just horsed around, recorded them and published them hoping something good would come of them. In truth, some good did come from the first podcast. But, we all know that hope is not a strategy, right?
So, what is my B2B podcast strategy?
My strategy is relationship building. I set out to build relationships with marketing executives working at B2B brands.
The method is simple: I provide a platform to feature marketing executives. I interview each guest and share their experience and wisdom with my audience.
This relationship-building strategy in podcasting has a business benefit.
First, it starts with a human connection. I genuinely try to connect with each of the guests I’ve had on the podcast. I don’t mean just connect on LinkedIn. I mean, I want to make an authentic human connection with each guest.
So, what’s the benefit of this relationship building?
Life is all about relationships. People do business with people they know, like and trust and that is relationship-based. Some have become friends. And, some of my guests have become clients of Vengreso.
And, in some cases I was able to offer something of value to my guest in the relationship whether it’s an introduction to someone or an endorsement or whatever.
The purpose of the MME podcast is for me to build relationships with marketing executives at B2B brands – it’s that simple. And, if you’re thinking this strategy is over simplified, you’re right because it doesn’t need to be more complicated than building authentic relationships with no more agenda than that.
However, there is something I do behind the scenes that works really well for this relationship-building strategy. Be sure to listen to the whole episode to learn what it is.
An Important Announcement This episode is the last one of the MME podcast.
The reason is that I’ve accepted a new opportunity at a different company and the Vengreso leadership team has decided to sunset the MME podcast.
Vengreso has a sales-centric podcast called the Modern Selling Podcast, hosted by Vengreso’s founder and CEO, MMJr. He’s published more than 175 episodes at the time of this recording. It’s a wildly popular podcast and you and or your sales leader at your company should definitely check it out.
Additionally, Vengreso has a live show called the Modern Sales Mastery show, which is broadcast live every Friday at 11:30 am ET.
I tell all about my journey at Vengreso and my next steps in a blog post here.
Finally, I want to thank you, for listening to the MME podcast. I TRULY hope I’ve delivered value to you through the modern marketers I’ve interviewed on this show. It has been a privilege.
B2B Influencer Marketing for the Entire Customer Journey
B2B influencer marketing is not the same as it is in B2C, where you have celebrities like top athletes and Hollywood actors endorse a brand and post on Instagram about it. B2B marketing leaders can leverage industry influencers in their marketing efforts with a solid plan.
That is the topic of conversation with my guest in this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine, Amisha Gandhi, SVP of Marketing at Tipalti.
Amisha is a groundbreaking B2B innovator with deep marketing and communications expertise across multiple industries and geos. She was recognized in PR Week’s Women to Watch 2020, Top 50 Influence Marketer by Talking Influence and Top Digital Marketer on LinkedIn. Amisha is also an accomplished speaker at multiple industry conferences including Content Marketing World, MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, and many others.
Listen to our conversation to learn how to find and work with B2B influencers.
What is a B2B Influencer? Influencer marketing is the practice of engaging internal influencers at your company or industry who are experts, analysts, bloggers or public speakers who have active networks of influence. They can influence their audiences to help you achieve your business goals.
“It's about people,” Amisha says, “it's about community. B2B influencers aren't celebrities, but they could be celebrities in the business world. They've written books, some of them are even academics.”
Start by asking yourself:
Whose audience do you want to reach? Why do you want to reach them? What are you trying to convey and what is the outcome that you hope to achieve by working with influencers? How to Find B2B Influencers Amisha says there is definitely a process to identifying and selecting influencers. There are specific tools you can use, but you can start by using Google and search for the top influencers in your industry. Then use LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Clubhouse.
“It just depends who you're trying to reach and how you would like to relate to your audience.” Amisha says. “You have to find out where your audience is and who they're listening to and who they’re influenced by. Look at the conferences, third-party associations and other places where people are speaking, you'll start seeing some names popping up.”
Then you have to look deeper at the content these people are sharing and the level of engagement their content has.
Once you have a list of potential influencers, you should assess which ones can help you achieve your goals in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Amisha says you should look at influencer marketing as a holistic practice that you can apply across the entire customer journey. For example, can you get some good top funnel content? Can you create some demand? Can you create a community of advocates?
“Once you find folks that are really influencing your audience, reach out to a couple of influencers, start talking to them, see if they’d like to work with you. Say, ‘we're thinking about doing this upcoming campaign, what do you think?’ And have a conversation, because they may tell you, ‘I don't think that's going to work for my audience.’ That will help you frame up your campaign and make it even better than what it is.”
Start with top of the funnel activities, like a podcast, to create awareness with their audience. Then you can go into demand generation content like co-authored ebooks or a webinar series where people are willing to give you their information.
“There are some influencers who are very speaker heavy and they don't do long form content. They are thought leaders and they do more podcasts. That's why you have a group of influencers. You're going to have some people that are going to do top funnel and events and some people who are great speakers and great on video. There are some people who are great only in voice and folks that do longer form content.”
Over time some influencers can become advocates. This happens when they keep
How Internal Communication Drives Marketing ROI
Most CMOs favor external communications (demand generation, content marketing, etc.) over internal communications.
Why? Because these external activities seem to create more measurable ROI. However, with the modern workforce internal communications are now more important than ever to motivate and activate people within the organization to be a channel of communication.
My guest in this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast, Mark Derks, has great insights about how much effort marketing should put into internal communications.
Mark is the CMO at BlueGrace Logistics. Founded in 2009, BlueGrace Logistics is one of the fastest growing leaders of transportation management services in North America. As a full service third party logistics provider (3PL), BlueGrace helps businesses manage their freight spend through industry-leading technology, high-level freight carrier relationships and overall understanding of the complex $750 Billion U.S. freight industry.
Listen to our conversation to learn the pros and cons of allocating resources to internal communications versus external communications.
Five Pillars to Develop a Profitable Internal Communications Strategy 1. Develop your strategy/goals. Any successful program must identify the goals it is trying to achieve and the strategy and tactics to get there. Ask yourself these questions about your internal communications:
Is it going to be multi-touch? How frequently will I communicate to the organization? At what velocity will information be shared? Some examples of goals are:
Having 100% of your internal resources know and being able to recite your mission, vision and values. Having your internal resources know your company revenue projections and targets and your gross profit targets. “I think that our own internal resources and our own people are a marketing channel for the company,” Mark says. “You should build a strategy around and goals around things that bring strong results. So there has to be a metric if you're going to engage in a robust internal comms plan. What are the key factors to success and what are the metrics that you as an organization are going to agree on that you can either identify as a success or identify those gaps where you need to continue to refine and improve.”
2. Mission/Vision/Values Mark says that case studies have shown, organizations who have stated missions, visions and that drive stated values are higher performing than businesses that do not, because they build a strong culture around those pillars.
“We're empowering our employees to share public information that they've learned through internal communications to our external customers,” Mark says. “And to be really successful, you have to make it easily accessible to all employees. We need to make it available in multiple places, on our website, in our hallways and on the signage and our offices.”
3. “How does my job contribute to the company’s success?” “We have to look at our organizations where every employee adds value
and it's our job through internal communications to tell them how they do that, to make sure that they know how their specific job leads to company growth.”
Highly engaged employees are those that understand how their contributions help the company grow. And when they know that, they become more creative, more productive, more innovative, and they're more successful in their own professional goals and what they're trying to do.
4. Content Content is at the intersection of external communications and internal comms, sharing content between teams and channels.
Not all internal communications can go externally, but almost all external communications can be shared internally. You can take the content that you share with your customers, partners, suppliers and share it with your internal teams through an employee advocacy program. Mark says that will make them better service providers, better salespeople, better marketer
Planning the Marketing Strategy for a Global Brand
How would you plan the marketing strategy for a new brand? What are some factors that marketing leaders should take into consideration when rolling out a new product?
That is the topic of conversation of this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast, with my guest Armen Najarian.
Armen is the CMO at RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence, which is part of the larger RSA Security, a 38-year old global brand. As his division expanded and with more revenue and customers around the globe, they decided to transform the Fraud & Risk Intelligence division into a stand-alone business.
As the CMO, Armen was responsible for creating and implementing the marketing strategy for this new business unit. Listen to the episode to learn how he did it and some key lessons you can implement in your own organization.
Creating a Marketing Strategy 1. Assemble a Team “I'm spending a lot of time on organizational design,” Armen says. “I'm working very closely with the HR leader for this business and really plotting up the next three years and the type of organization I need to assemble.”
What are the roles you need and what is the hiring priority? Listen to find out.
2. Develop the brand “Second, I'm spending a lot of time thinking about the brand, knowing that we are moving from a product portfolio within the broader RFA family into a more independent business with its own identity. How we describe that business, what we call it, how the product is positioned.”
Armen and his team decided to create a new name while taking advantage of the history of its parent company.
However, the buyer persona of the new company is different from the persona of RSA Security, which created new challenges. To navigate the complexities of rebranding a global company, Armen hired an external agency to help create a new website and sales collateral pieces.
3. Content Strategy “We have a product called Fraud Action, and that is our risk intelligence team,” he says. “So this is actually the team that investigates the dark web, goes deep undercover and understands the organized crime organizations around the world, uncovering very important and interesting insights. So we take those insights and we actually package those up as services.”
This primary research is the fuel for great thought leadership, so they publish Quarterly Trends Reports from the insights, blog posts and a podcast.
“Every CMO should have a content strategy. We have 3 or 4 anchor pieces that are evergreen, that we are always refreshing, always publishing, and our Director of Content Strategy is largely accountable and responsible for keeping that pipeline of great content flowing.”
Listen to the whole episode to learn about the challenges Armen has faced during this transformation, including organizationals challenges, managing finite resources, prioritizing areas of focus and issues with having a global presence (language and privacy issues).
Why Analytics is a Must in Account-Based Marketing
How do you formulate an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategy? How do you decide which accounts to target? And what is the role of analytics in ABM planning?
That is the topic of this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast with my guest, Chris Rack, President at PureB2B.
PureB2B leverages a database of B2B decision-makers in combination with their predictive analytics technology, to provide a full suite of solutions that help their clients meet their specific B2B demand generation sales and marketing revenue goals.
Listen to this episode to learn how to plan a successful ABM strategy.
Building Your ABM List Who is responsible for creating the ABM list? Marketing or sales?
Chris says it should be a very collaborative approach, “taking a data approach and combining thought and feedback from both leaders, frontline sellers, sales leaders and front line marketers to come up with a real collaborative list.”
Marketing must go through a process of digital marketing transformation to rely on data and analytics to build a list of target accounts.
Instead of just going for the larger enterprise clients out there, marketers should start by looking at their CRM data to see:
Who is buying with the highest frequency Who are the prospects answering sales calls Who is engaging with your website Who is engaging with your emails Which gates have the highest conversions on your website Once you have that list, start filtering them by:
Job title Company size Geo Industry Buyer personas Roles Level Influencers Buying history Public/private All of the above are analytics that marketers can use to determine which accounts to target using internal data.
Using Analytics Data Now, there are also external analytics or predictive indicators marketers can use, with some tech tools available. However, Chris says, the intent signals from these tools are not designed to identify when people are ready to buy.
“Only Google knows that,” Chris says.
External analytics can identify when a buyer has a problem they need to solve, based on their content consumption triggers as well as public data such as job board postings.
For example, certain tools can identify companies who are consuming content across topics that are related to the solutions you offer, either content on your own website or other websites.
If you want to know when a customer is “in market,” your first task is to know the ICP and then partner with analytics providers to acquire intent data.
Chris says that companies of all sizes have access to these analytics tools, but large companies have more data to process from their CRM and many more products to sell requiring more analytics to uncover intent signals compared to smaller companies.
There are also many analytics companies as a service who can help smaller companies analyze data to identify buyer intent.
Chris says that in a startup scenario his first hire would be a Rev Ops person to understand their buyers and to select the tools needed to create a successful ABM target list.
Listen to the whole episode to learn more about using analytics and sales tools in your account-based marketing plan.
Marketing’s Role in the Modern Sales Experience
B2B buyers have changed dramatically, especially during COVID. Consider these three recent trends, for example:
B2B buyers are looking critically at any opportunity that comes to them, whether it comes from marketing content or from a sales conversation. B2B buyers are giving less access to sales people and traditional conversations. In fact, 83% of the buyer journey does not include a sales rep. B2B buyers place a greater priority on perspective and recommendations from people who aren't sales people, from their peers and from subject matter experts via content marketing. So, as marketers, how do we approach the modern buyer? That is the topic of conversation in this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine with my guest, Spencer Wixom, Sr. VP Marketing at Challenger.
Listen as Spencer unpacks marketing’s role in the modern sales experience.
The 3 Pillars of the Modern Sales Experience 1. Role of messaging to the buyer “I think it's really critical for B2B marketers to think about how we are interacting with today's buyer,” Spencer says, “who is putting more scrutiny on their decisions, who's giving less access to traditional channels for education and who is listening to so many other sources.”
Spencer believes that B2B marketers should use the three-act structure of classic playwriting to engage with buyers.
Act one is about introducing and building the understanding of the various characters, and introducing the problem those characters are going to face.
“In act one of the messages we create, we need to establish our credibility, why we have a perspective or a point of view about that customer’s business and we need to introduce a problem in their business that we're going to have a perspective or point of view on.”
Act two is the journey or the struggle. In act two of the marketing message, we have to introduce the status quo or the current actions that the customer is taking.
“Those actions are costing them something in rational and emotional ways, and we need to explore that to build some motivation.”
And act three is the solution. We must suggest the next steps they need to take and connect that to our differentiators or our solution.
So, what is marketing’s role in developing this narrative?
Spencer says marketing should not create this message by itself. “It really is a cross-functional group that needs to come together to develop that narrative and we'd recommend marketing play a key role in that. But you also need to get the feedback of sales people who will
ultimately be delivering that narrative as part of a conversation. You need to make sure that product is involved in representing the end part of that narrative where you do talk about the solution.”
Think about the story you want to tell to the market and then “atomize” it. That means telling the story in bite-size content throughout your website, social media posts, sales conversations, pitch books and other channels.
Listen to the whole episode to learn the three types of content you must use: Spark, Introduce, and Confront.
2. Foundational skills for sales to deliver the message Research reveals that buyers are not satisfied with the experience that sellers create in the remote selling environment.
Spencer says that it is on the shoulders of salespeople to improve that experience, to get better at presenting information, listening, using silence to build constructive tension more effectively, and having more engaging virtual experiences with customers.
However, marketing must look at the narrative and give sellers compelling content to bring to the conversation.
In essence, sellers need to:
Address the unique perspective they have of the customer’s business Express what that perspective means to their business And marketers can help with more confront tools, with bite-size content for natural conversation and making it easy for sellers to create conversation.
“If you can build a confront tool
Bernie, host of the podcast, highlights all aspects of marketing and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!
Very informative podcast
I highly recommend this to anyone who works in marketing or works with marketing!
These are such insightful interviews that give very useful information. What an awesome podcast!