Our Fearless 50 on Being Fearless

Just last week, we had the pleasure of announcing the entirety of the inaugural class of the Fearless 50. We are excited to share their stories in their own words—what drives them to be fearless, including key takeaways that you can learn from as well.

Kimi Corrigan, Director of Marketing Operations at Duo Security, Emily Poulton, Marketing Manager at the Adecco Group, and Satu Ståhlstedt, Marketing Automation and Digital Marketing Specialist at Fujitsu, sent us their advice to marketers looking to be fearless in their own way. Their tactics range from the simple, like learning to enjoy the ride, to the difficult, like learning to accept failure as a part of growth.

Move Past Your Fear of Being Fearless

Kimi Corrigan, Director of Marketing Operations at Duo Security, shares her thoughts on what being fearless means to her, both inside and outside of her marketing role.

“Being fearless is an intimidating concept. The notion is a little different for everyone, but a common interpretation is that you must be bold, confident and have all the answers. I used to think I needed to operate that way, but now I know that for me, being fearless is recognizing the problems, fears and worry about what could go wrong and facing it all head on,” said Kimi.

One of the most common fears many of us face is the fear of failure. Kimi shares what it feels like to look at the fear of failure a bit differently, saying, “To be willing to fail, and fail fast, can sometimes be crippling. But I have learned with forced habit to take that leap every day and to take my team along with me. It’s bold to risk failure for yourself, but it’s fearless to risk it on behalf of your company and those who you lead. But the rewards are sweeter, bolder and bigger.”

Kimi also offers up this great pro tip: “Shove aside the imposter syndrome feels, put in the work, learn how to shake it off when things don’t go according to plan and never forget to celebrate the victories and milestones.”

Stand Out and Be Fearless

Standing out in the crowd is one of the most fearless things a person can do, and Emily Poulton, Marketing Manager at The Adecco Group, is no stranger to it. She believes demand generation is one of the most difficult marketing roles in which to be fearless, but taking that approach has been crucial to her success.

“The demand generation space can be pretty tough, not only for those just starting their marketing journey, but also for those who have been in the game for a while, because demand-gen marketing is all about people—generating someone’s interest in your content, attracting a person to your website, creating an environment where people can communicate with you and engage with your brand. If your job is to ensure your content stands out and gets to the right person, you need to be able to put yourself in their shoes. Don’t create a campaign for a target audience, a user or a lead, but for a human, a person, a tech-savvy and busy marketer.”

Emily mentions the importance of standing out and being willing to ask the tough questions to push the envelope, saying, “With so many emerging technologies, new trends, and where you are marketing to someone like you, it’s hard to stand out and create the demand for the products/services your sales team is asking marketing for. But the good news is, these trends bring new technologies and ideas for marketing professionals to evolve their campaigns from tried and tested whitepaper downloads, to bespoke user journeys. Try out the new digital tools and channels, apply them to your campaigns, try them for offline too. Be the first in your team/company/industry/country to try something new.

Don’t be afraid to be innovative, don’t be afraid to challenge your “we always do it this way” campaigns, don’t be afraid to ask, “Would I click on this?” Don’t be afraid to make the case and explain the “whys” to your manager/team. Be a fearless marketer.”

The Not-So-Smooth Road to Being Fearless

The concept of turbulence is not just related to air travel—the world of technology is a bumpy ride, changing every day, leading marketers to scramble for the best solution to the challenge they are facing. Satu Ståhlstedt, Marketing Automation and Digital Marketing Specialist at Fujitsu, believes that turbulence can actually give the marketer the opportunity to thrive and innovate in new and exciting ways.
“The 2010s are a riveting time in history to be working in marketing. Every day in the office is an adventure, abundant with new marketing technologies, social media tools, content and meme trends, and even legislative changes. While this ever-present turbulence might fill some with fear, I feel it’s an opportunity to thrive and to revolutionize the way marketing has been done before.

We’ve been given tools to offer highly personalized and automated marketing experiences to our customers every single time they engage with us during their lifecycle. The possibilities are endless. So much so, that many of us may feel overwhelmed.

The key thing is not being afraid to try new things, to always improve on yesterday and to understand that failure is part of success. What will never (hopefully) be out of fashion is the human-to-human approach. As automated as things become, we must always strive to involve a touch of humanity to whatever we are doing with our customers. Digital technologies and marketing automation will only enhance the humanity of marketing.

That being said, AI, VR, and AR still have not seen a proper dawn in marketing and I, for one, cannot wait until it does!”

We all share a common thread as part of the Marketing Nation community—being fearless in the pursuit of marketing excellence. We hope these anecdotes from members of the Fearless 50 are inspirational and educational to those who are just starting out in the world of marketing and reinvigorate the excitement of those who have been in the industry for years. Be willing to fail and learn from it, assert yourself and ask the tough questions, and enjoy the ride that being a Fearless Marketer affords us.

Thank you to Kimi, Emily, and Satu for sharing their insights into what being fearless means to them and we are looking forward to sharing more stories of bold and brave marketing as the year presses on.

How do you embrace being fearless in your role each and every day? Are you inspired by the ideas shared above by our Fearless 50? Let us know in the comments!

The post Our Fearless 50 on Being Fearless appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2018/07/our-fearless-50-on-being-fearless.html

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Brainstorming the Wiki

Before the blog took off, before Tumblr became the face of fandom, but around a year after Geocities launched as a platform for Justin Timberlake fan sites, there was The Wiki. We looked upon The Wiki, and we saw its potential as a platform for crowdsourcing knowledge, collaborating, and educating. We saw that it was good.

Then Wikipedia was founded at some point, and the rest is history.

I love well-maintained wikis to a fault. Wikis have been a large part of my continuing education in web design, random trivia, and the minutiae of video game mechanics for a long time, now. Anyone who learns stuff on the Internet owes a lot, directly or indirectly, to wikis and their less-community-oriented cousin The Knowledge Base.

Even though many of the publicly available wiki software options are dated and confusing to operate and organize, they continue to power much of the educational portion of the web. There are more modern options, but most of the ones I’ve found are SAAS platforms for building in-organization private wikis.

Ladies and Gentlemen, wikis and knowledge bases need all the love we can give. That’s what this article is about: brainstorming ways to give back to the platforms that have given us so much. I’ve got some general ideas, and some very specific tweaks to the wiki formula that you might consider implementing on your own wikis, should you ever need to build one.

General Front and Back-end Upgrades

Wikipedia still uses a theme that doesn’t have a maximum width on the content area. In fact, I’ve looked at theme options for MediaWiki (the software that runs Wikipedia), and most of them are incredibly dated and not terribly user-friendly. Ditto for DokuWiki (though to be fair, there have been some fairly good themes adapted for it), PhpWiki, and many others.

This is at least in part because most of the wiki software still in use is ancient by IT standards. It can be difficult to adapt modern front-end code to old platforms (depending greatly on how they were made). The age of these platforms shows in the back-end, too, as they were clearly designed by software/data engineers, and tend to be harder for anyone else to use.

Oh, just about anyone can still learn these systems, but it’s a royal pain. To put it simply, we need new options. We need a whole new generation of (preferably self-hosted) wiki software that combines everything the older projects have learned with everything we now know about usability, UX, and content management. And for the love of all that is holy and good, we need something easier to design and code new themes for.

Take Wiki.js, for example. It’s a relatively new project which is definitely on the right track. Now if only there was a PHP version, or at least an easier way to install Wiki.js, I’d be a happy camper.

(If you’re a dev working on a new wiki project, please link it below.)

In-Page Search for Long Pages

I know, I know. I’m actually about to recommend adding a JavaScript-dependent feature to a website. But I’ve been on some very, very long wiki pages that really could have used an in-page search function. Yes, most browsers have this sort of thing built in already (and there’s your fallback), but many users don’t know all or even half the features of their browsers. Having an in-page search would be just plain useful for when you need to find a very specific bit of information, and the table of contents isn’t cutting it.

Sortable tables

Depending on what your wiki is about, you may find yourself dealing with tables a lot more than you’re used to. Sometimes, a table really is the best way to showcase a large amount of data. If you’re cataloging, for example, all of the best books in a particular genre on one page, that table is probably going to get really long.

So (and it pains me to say this) it’s not unreasonable to spice up your tables with some JavaScript to make getting to the information you want easier. If you can restrict, say, the data visible in your table to specific year, or a specific author, you’re going to save your users a lot of time.

Favorites and Recently-Visited Pages

When I find myself returning often to a wiki or knowledge base (that’s not Wikipedia), I often return to the same pages as before to refresh my memory on the minutiae of one thing or another. For example, I might need to look up a more obscure CSS property a few times before it really sticks in my brain. If you have users doing that, it may be helpful to provide them with a list of recently-visited pages for easy access, or a way to build a list of favorites.

If member sign-ups are a thing that you want, you could use these features as something of a selling point, even. You may have noticed that all of the tweaks I’ve listed so far are tied to convenience. Never underestimate the power of convenience.

Final Thoughts

Wikis in general are a smart system. Make a link to a page that doesn’t exist yet, the page is generated automatically, then you go and add stuff to it. It’s an “organic” way of creating content and navigating it, too. Knowledge bases are usually more hierarchical, and that formula works for them. These systems do not, in my mind, need a complete revolution.

The theory behind them is sound enough that these systems are still in use despite the inconvenience presented by older (and sometimes incredibly complex) platforms. I’m eager to see what designers and developers could do with wikis and similar platforms while knowing what we know now. We’re accumulating new knowledge all of the time, and with all due respect to blogs, sometimes we just need a good wiki for it.

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from Webdesigner Depot https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2018/07/brainstorming-the-wiki/

Laughter Spot : “The one about the young percussionists”

A wise old gentleman retired and purchased a modest home near a junior high school. He spent the first few weeks of his retirement in peace and contentment. Then a new school year began.

The very next afternoon three young boys, full of youthful, after-school enthusiasm, came down his street, beating merrily on every trash can they encountered. The crashing percussion continued day after day, until finally the wise old man decided it was time to take some action.

The next afternoon, he walked out to meet the young percussionists as they banged their way down the street. Stopping them, he said, “You kids are a lot of fun. I like to see you express your exuberance like that. In fact, I used to do the same thing when I was your age.

Will you do me a favour? I’ll give you each a dollar if you’ll promise to come around every day and do your thing.”

The kids were elated and continued to do a bang-up job on the trash cans. After a few days, the old-timer greeted the kids again, but this time he had a sad smile on his face. “This recession’s really putting a big dent in my income,” he told them. “From now on, I’ll only be able to pay you 50 cents to beat on the cans.” The noisemakers were obviously displeased, but they did accept his offer and continued their afternoon ruckus. A few days later, the wily retiree approached them again as they drummed their way down the street.

“Look,” he said, “I haven’t received my Social Security check yet, so I’m not going to be able to give you more than 25 cents. Will that be okay?”

“A lousy quarter?” the drum leader exclaimed. “If you think we’re going to waste our time, beating these cans around for a quarter, you’re nuts! No way, mister. We quit!”

And the old man enjoyed peace.

The post Laughter Spot : “The one about the young percussionists” appeared first on TheMarketingblog.

from TheMarketingblog http://www.themarketingblog.co.uk/2018/07/laughter-spot-the-one-about-the-young-percussionists/

Who’s in Your Sphere of Influence and Why Does it Matter?

The fearless marketer is one that:

  1. Has a revenue attribution mindset
  2. Has a digital sales motion skillset
  3. Has a sales and marketing aligned toolkit

He has extended his hands to partner with sales leaders as a driving force for modern, digital selling. This marketer will Create, Organize, Distribute, and Evaluate Engagement (C.O.D.E.) alongside their sales team. Every asset and campaign is designed with increasing sales quota attainment, per sales professional, in mind. But how can the fearless marketer ensure that their sales team is set up for success?

In this blog, I’ll personally help you understand how the fearless marketer can help set her team up for success. 

Current Challenge

The challenge that sales and marketing have when they begin developing account target lists (by geography, vertical, or strategic accounts) is that someone always does a quick Google search: “What are the largest ABC companies in XYZ industry.” This is called “wallet-share” account selection. While acquiring the biggest, baddest companies in any vertical is important, you aren’t the only company trying to sell to them—by a long shot.

Who Influences Your Customer?

The “sphere of influence” flips this model on its head. To utilize your sphere of influence is to leverage your EXISTING customers as a centerpiece and reverse-engineer the companies and contacts that are within one degree of “social proximity” from your customers. Think about it… sell into accounts where we have the greatest advocates.

Marketing works with sales to war-room a list of new target accounts that have a higher probability/convertibility. Marketing then develops storyboards for these accounts, specifically telling stories about your customer success. You’re telling these stories ONLY to those people that have the highest propensity to understand/care about those stories.

One example of this is job changes from existing customers to new logos. Tools like LinkedIn allow you to map and create a trigger-alert anytime a champion, influencer, or decision-maker leaves your existing customer to join a logo you don’t already have. Your sales team can then engage the advocate at the new logo with well-timed (just as they start their new role), and well positions insights (a reminder of the successes their previous employer had with your solutions).

Why This Works

Here’s one example for you: I met Jill Rowley, Chief Growth Officer at Marketo, through Bob Perkins, CEO of AA-ISP when we were both asked to speak at the AA-ISP Social Selling Summit in 2013. What I didn’t know yet is that Jill had been tasked with training 23k sales professionals on the Why, What, and How-to-Do Social Selling. At the time, she knew very little about sales training. Through this, Jill and I became in each other’s sphere of influence. She was vital to bringing in my company, Sales for Life, to train her team on social selling. Now, five years later, Jill’s hiring Sales for Life again to train the global sales organization on digital selling. Building that relationship was empowering for both of us.

Taking it a Step Further

Once you’ve utilized the sphere of influence model, it’s time to further engage your potential customers. As your sales team is ready to engage accounts, marketing can help the sales team organize a library of rich insights to leverage. These insights are meant to really push a buyer to think differently and question the status quo. The modern, digital seller will reach far beyond just slinging a blog article over to a customer. The modern, digital seller will humanize and synthesize the insights with video. This will really engage the customer and highlight the authenticity of the seller.

The return on video is immense. With my company, we see 10x to 30x read-to-response rates. And, customers all over the world are increasing their opportunity creation percentage because their marketing and sales team are aligning to deliver insights that truly help the buyer. This marketing and sales partnership is the way to fully utilize your sphere of influence. Think of the example I cited with Jill and how now, even five years later, our spheres still intersect to create opportunities.

Have you utilized your sphere of influence to create sales opportunities before? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.

The post Who’s in Your Sphere of Influence and Why Does it Matter? appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2018/07/whos-sphere-of-influencer-why-does-it-matter.html

How to Tackle a Redesign

Stepping into a website that’s already well-established isn’t always easy. For starters, you have to be careful about not stepping on anyone’s toes (the client’s or even the previous designer’s) when providing feedback or suggestions on a new direction for the site. Secondly, there’s much more at stake with a redesign. Not only could a wrong turn hurt an established brand’s identity, but there’s also the disruption to SEO to consider.

That said, redesign projects can be incredibly rewarding. With from-scratch designs, there’s really no baseline to compare your work against. With a redesigned website, you can look back at the performance of the last iteration and compare it against what you’ve been able to accomplish.

If you’re intrigued by the prospect of tackling a redesign project, but spooked by the potential to do damage or get lost in the process, this guide breaks down what you need to do.

Phase 1: Ask Why

When approached with a redesign request, the first thing you should find out is, “Why?”

When it comes to redesigns, there are a number of reasons a client might be dissatisfied with the site as it stands:

Rebranding

Businesses don’t always maintain the same direction or goals. And sometimes a brand discovers its true identity after launch.

Asana’s branding story is an example of this. This is how their website and SaaS platform looked before:

As they explained, the true personality of the brand wasn’t effectively communicated through the logo, colors, and overall design. After assessing how they wanted their brand to be viewed, they pushed ahead with this redesign:

Missing Functionality

When the site was originally designed, your client perhaps hadn’t considered that they would need some key functionality for it.

Outdated Design

Design trends change so much in such a short amount of time. Clients that are cognizant of these changing trends may approach you if they feel their site is being left behind.

Not Responsive

The original designer failed to anticipate the move to mobile-first and now your client is in a bad spot. The Deep End’s case study demonstrates how even the most technologically savvy of agencies could have missed this opportunity. But they were quick to remedy the problem:

Conversions Suck

They were initially excited about the launch of their website. Then, a month passes. A few more months pass. And, soon, a year has gone by and they have seen no results from it. They want to know what’s wrong and get it fixed immediately.

Be sure to get them to explain how they believe this redesign will help them achieve the website’s goals (and define exactly what those are, too).

Phase 2: Check the Data

Your client tells you what the perceived problem is with their site. Now, you need to dig into the data to see if it checks out. The client may be unhappy with a certain aspect of the site or the design as a whole. Their intuition is likely right, but you have to verify that the problem doesn’t lie somewhere else.

During this phase, dig deep into the following areas:

  • Google Analytics
  • Competitive landscape
  • Keyword research
  • UI design
  • UX organization

Then, look at the entire website. Every. Single. Page. Do a full audit of what they have.

From this, you should be able to draw a conclusion about the true problem areas. Are there too many pages? Is the design misrepresenting what they do? Does the font need a refresh? Is there a key feature missing? Are images outdated or unoriginal looking? Build your redesign proposal from this and bring it to the client.

Phase 3: Devise a Plan

If you’ve never done a redesign project before, use the project workflow and checklists from your standard design projects. Review the steps and milestones against what you need to do in this redesign. Then, amend the steps, establish new milestones, and shape the redesign plan.

The tricky thing about this is that each redesign project will target different elements of a web design, which means adjusting your workflow from project to project. For instance, the redesign might only target:

  • Branding like the logo, color palette, typography, imagery, iconography, etc. in which case, it might only be a superficial redesign;
  • Navigation structure for improved user flow or a complete breakdown of the navigation to remove unnecessary pages;
  • Home page content for clearer messaging and user persona targeting;
  • Customer flow which was preventing the brand from capturing more conversions.

It’s not as if you don’t have experience with each of these elements. However, it’s the manner in which you work on each or how many of them you work on that will differ from a traditional web design. So, create your documentation, but leave it open to adjustment per the project’s requirements.

Phase 4: Implement the Redesign

Unless the website was a complete mess or total failure previously, chances are good your client will ask you to be careful in how dramatically you alter the design and content. To preserve the business’s integrity, you’ll have to strike a balance between creating a stronger identity for the brand while not completely destroying all recognition they’ve established with customers.

Site maps, storyboards, and prototypes should all factor into your process now (if they hadn’t already). These tools give you a chance to tackle the redesign in incremental steps and to check in with the client before moving on. You might even want to think about running A/B tests on the live website to confirm theories you have about problematic elements before implementing anything in the redesign.

Also, don’t forget how these changes will affect SEO. Unless the site is moving to a completely new domain, you will have to do what you can to preserve link juice. This means putting 301 redirects in place, maintaining the URL structures for the most popular pages and posts, putting a greater focus on the most successful keywords, and so on.

Should You Accept That Redesign Request?

I see no reason why you shouldn’t start accepting redesign requests, especially if you appreciate the problem-solving aspect of the work. That’s, of course, not to say you can’t flex your creative muscle here, but this sort of work will definitely appeal to those of you who like to strategize and test theories in design.

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from Webdesigner Depot https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2018/07/how-to-tackle-a-redesign/

Brand Archetypes: The Science Of Strategic Brand Personality

You may have heard of brand archetypes before, but have you ever really stopped to consider how they apply to your brand? Or how they might influence your positioning strategy and communication? From my research on the topic, I get a sense that archetypes are still widely undiscovered and those who have briefly encountered the subject are somewhat dismissive of them as a strategic tool.

Primarily, I feel, this is because of a lack of understanding of their application. When used correctly, however, brand archetypes have the power to place your brand front and center, not just in your customer’s mind, but in their hearts.

The Secret of the Most Loved Brands

We all have an emotional connection with at least one brand. Think of the brands you love. If you’re not a brand fanatic (like many Apple users), then ask yourself a question: What one brand do I use, where the alternative just won’t cut it?

If you think about it, I’m confident there’s at least one. Maybe it’s your iPhone, your Converse trainers, or your Diesel Jeans, or something that’s even more specific to who you are.

Whatever the brand, your connection with it goes beyond simply features and benefits. Your favorite brand has created an emotional bond with you, through strategic positioning and communication.

Why We “Love” Our Favorite Brands

Whether you go so far as to say that you “love” your favorite brands or not, you do feel a connection with them that is “human” and is based on “feelings.” But how can we feel human connections for inanimate objects or corporations that manufacture those objects?

The answer lies in how they make us feel. The most beloved brands are the ones that understand their audience better than others. They tailor their communication (through personality) to evoke the exact desire within them, which their brand satisfies.

The Key Is in The Heart, Not the Mind

We all think that we’re logical people and that our buying decisions are calculated, that we consider all the options on the table and make an informed decision.

The reality, however, is that 95% of our purchasing decisions are made in our subconscious, according to Gerald Zaltman, Harvard Business School professor.

He goes on to say that even those who report that they actively compare competing brands, never actually consider the alternative. In other words, our decisions have been made long before the point of purchase.

Desire Gave Birth to the Archetype

We all have basic human desires (beyond the obvious ones). We don’t learn to want certain things, it’s instinctive. Because we as individuals are all different, we all have different levels of desire for different needs. Psychologist (and once a good friend of Sigmund Freud) Carl Jung, who coined the term “archetypes” said we all have a “collective unconscious” that channel experiences and emotions resulting in typical patterns of behavior.

In other words, there are specific personalities that we instinctively understand, that evoke specific desires within us.

Whether you have a desire for power, freedom, intimacy, safety, or understanding, a particular collection of behaviors (or a certain personality) will evoke those desires within you, more than others. There are 12 distinct personalities (12 Jungian archetypes), which evoke 12 core human desires. These that act as the primary colors for all personalities and desires and can be used to make strategic emotional connections.

Loved Brands Are Tangible

Brands with no emotional connections with their audience are traded like commodities and as such, are immediately replaced when better or novelty options become available. Brands that make emotional connections foster brand loyalty as well as the holy grail of branding, brand advocacy.

Making these connections is not just a case of plucking a handful of traits you believe your audience admires. To make a real connection, your brand needs to become human. A brand that knows who it is, what it stands for, voices opinions, promotes beliefs, champions a cause or brings a certain life to the party is a brand with personality.

These are the brands that make connections, so their audience “feels something” for them. They are alive, they inspire us, they guide us, we trust them and, in some cases, we love them.

How Can I Use This in My Brand Strategy?

Using brand archetypes is not an afterthought in the strategic branding process. It should be a core part of your brand and positioning strategy.

As such, you need to start with your audience, though this is where a lot of confusion lies. It’s not simply about asking which archetype your audience is, like a multiple-choice question.

When you know your audience intimately, their aspirations, fears, desires, and expectations, you can begin to shine some light on the personality (or archetype) that will best appeal to them. Your industry and competitors will also have an influence on your position and how you want to differentiate in your space.

Once you have a clear picture of your competitive landscape, you will have insight into the position you want to take, the emotion and desire you want to evoke, and which fully formed archetypal personality will help bring your brand to life.

Have you used brand archetypes in your strategy? Tell me about your best practices in the comments.

The post Brand Archetypes: The Science Of Strategic Brand Personality appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2018/07/brand-archetypes-science-strategic-brand-personality.html

6 Ways to Include Customers in Your Content

Customers are the heart of your businesses. After all, they provide the revenue to keep your establishment running strong—the fuel to your engine, the peanut butter to your jelly, the milk to your mustache—too much? Jokes aside, have you given much thought to how your customers can actually contribute to helping you grow your customer base?

Peer-to-peer marketing is not only a viable channel you should be exploring, but it’s also one that has seen great success in both B2B and B2C marketing. It’s all about fully partnering with your network of happy customers to assist with social selling, referrals, and thought leadership. In fact, 91% of B2B purchasers say past buying decisions had been influenced by word of mouth from industry peers. The best way to capitalize on this is by including your customer in your content marketing strategy.

In this blog, I will share with you 6 ways you can begin to include customers in your content.

1) Customer Case Studies

If you visit any business website, you are likely to come across a collection of customer case studies either displayed on the homepage or collected under a dedicated tab. Case studies provide the most compelling way to share with your audience how their industry peers have overcome similar challenges with your solution in a relatable structure—a story. In fact, it’s been proven that storytelling can have a profound impact on the decisions we make. However, just like bad stories exist, bad case studies exist.

From my experience through the case studies I’ve been involved with at Marketo and the feedback I’ve gathered from sales (because they are on the frontline of feedback—and we’re all about that marketing and sales partnership!) I can share a few things I have gathered that every good case study has:

  • Real Results—Improved tactical metrics are good and all, but certainly not a compelling enough for your reader to base her executive buy-in pitch on. Take it a level deeper and dig for real, strategic business impact such as ROI, cost savings, or revenue growth. A great way of doing this is to continue the conversation and ask, “Why is this metric important?” or “Where has it gotten you?”
  • A Relatable Challenge—Your audience can take many different angles, but one thing that these stories should have in common is a relatable challenge for your potential buyers. If your audience is the banking industry share how your solution has helped Bank X boost home loan cross-sells, or how Non-profit Y had converted 4x more donors into members over the past year, or how Company Z has enjoyed greater functionality and therefore improved output and ROI after migration from a competing solution.
  • Visual Use Case—Sharing specific use cases (making sure to not get too in the weeds) helps to paint the full picture of how your customer got from A to B—and how your reader can too! It builds credibility and helps your reader visualize how they can similarly use your solution—it even may spark new use cases they can adopt with your solution.

2) Open Your Blog to Customers

Your customer base is a rich pool of knowledge just waiting to be shared, and customer blogging is an excellent way to do that. With a variety of different industries and personas who all have something in common, your blog provides a great platform to share new ideas, perspectives, and grow a community.

If you have a robust guest blogging program already in place, think about your editorial calendar and what customers may have a great piece of thought leadership to add to your blog. Remember that link-stuffing and blogs that are focused on selling your products can turn off potential buyers—even if the links that are stuffed in there are not for your own products.

Consider what you learned about your buyers during the sales cycle and reach out to them to write a blog about a particular pain point that they have. You can also use this as an opportunity to reach a new audience if you ask your customer to cross-promote or republish on their own channels with an attribution link to your blog. As blogging can be a relatively low budget channel, this is an excellent opportunity to maximize your content team’s time by giving them a reprieve from having to write every blog themselves! This is also a unique opportunity to give your customers an opportunity to tell their story and build their own brand up as one that focuses on thought leadership.

3) Feature Customers on Webinars

Similar to customer blogging, you can launch a customer webinar series. This is a neat way to feature customers as guests or even invite them to speak on topics they are well versed in. If you market to a variety of different industries, or if you have a built-out product suite, it’s a great way for your customers to share with their industry peers tricks of the trade, how they find success using your platform, or their point of view on common challenges.

The great thing about webinars, differing from the previous content channels mentioned, is that your guest speaker has the time to go more in depth, show live visuals, and interact with your audience through live chat. Giving a voice to the content adds a dimension of credibility—something not easily portrayed in written content mediums.

4) Go Live on Social Media

If you haven’t noticed yet, live streaming is not-so-quietly beginning to take over social media. It offers a fresh, exciting, and cost-effective way to engage with your target audience like never before. While live streaming is still a fairly new market given that many companies are still trying to fine-tune their approach, it’s certainly a craze to be a part of. In fact, so much so that spectators predict this industry to be worth over $70 billion, by 2021.

But why the craze? Numbers show that 80% of customers would rather watch a live stream video than read a post from a brand—But why you ask? Just like the trill that comes along with seeing your favorite celebrity hop on Instagram live or an influencer respond to your tweet, live streaming provides a new level of trust, transparency, and authenticity.

If this is something you haven’t yet explored—I encourage you to do so. And guess what? Featuring customer is a great way to get started. Think of how you can incorporate live streaming through live events, Q&As, interviews, announcements, or even behind the scene opportunities.

Marketo Live Customer Content Example

5) Promote Self-Recorded Video Content

Similar to live streaming, self-recorded video content is another cutting edge way to enrich your customer community online. Video submissions are a new and fun approach our team has recently begun to embrace, and it’s exciting to see how our customers have responded—Check out the team below!

Camille Crandall, account executive at Marketo takes advantage of the Marketing Nation Summit to launch a three-day mini-interview series of impromptu videos featuring customers and their daily takeaways. This was a really fantastic way to document the event!

Camille Crandall Customer Content Example

Also leading up to Summit, our customer marketing team launched the Fearless 50 nomination challenge. Our customers eagerly took to this challenge through their very own video submissions.

Fearless 50 Customer Content Example 1Fearless 50 Customer Content Example 2Fearless 50 Customer Content Example 3

6) Never Stop Gathering Quotes

And of course, we can’t forget the golden nuggets that enrich every piece of content our marketing team comes out with: customer quotes. The amazing thing about these pieces of treasure is that we can (and we do) include them everywhere—sales slide decks, battle cards, ebooks, white papers, social media. It’s probably the easiest and most impactful way we involve our customers in the content we produce.

One of the greatest marketing challenges is deciding on what message will truly resonate with your audience—and what better way to do this than through peer-to-peer marketing.

There are countless ways to include customers in your content marketing strategy, beyond the traditional case study or press release.  Furthermore, with the continued adoption and development of technology we have the freedom to do what we do best and get creative, try something new: be fearless. Sound familiar?

What are the most exciting ways your team involves customers in your content? Share with us in the comments below.

The post 6 Ways to Include Customers in Your Content appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2018/07/6-ways-include-customers-content.html