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Learning from the little moments
Angela recounts many moments throughout her career that
shifted her perspective and ultimately influenced who she became, some a little—and others a lot. “I believe every experience has the opportunity to shape who we are, if we are willing to be changed” says Angela.
She believes that the most impactful les
sons were not from a specific moment or event; instead, she says, it was the people she shared the journey with. From smart and supportive colleagues that became some of her best friends, to leaders who demonstrated attributes she seeks to embody in her ow
n leadership style — every step of the way, she has been fortunate to be surrounded by exceptional and outstanding individuals.
One of Angela’s first jobs was working in an escrow office. Her great aunt helped her to get the job. While she was always pres
ent to encourage Angela, she also watched her niece live up to her standards. As per Angela, there was no one better than her Aunt Lana to make sure she grew up to be a dependable and detailed member of the team. Her aunt also taught her that one could wor
k hard and have fun simultaneously.
She spent nearly a decade-long building a career as an Executive Assistant where
she supported executives and leaders in financial services and investments. During her last post as an assistant was working for Gene Kim, the founder of Tripwire, an provider of technology for security and compliance automation, Angela had a lot of intera
ction with the marketing and sales teams and decided to make a career change.
“When I think about the
I was deciding my career direction, among the many family, friends, and colleagues who supported me, one person stands out,” Angela says. “A manager
from marketing met with me to understand my goals and to share her experiences,” but it was what she did next that would have a lasting effect. “Then she made introductions to various hiring managers, offering her endorsement of my ability despite my lack
of marketing experience.” She further adds, “Her care was pivotal at that moment — and because of her, I rarely turn down an opportunity to help someone just getting started in marketing.”
But starting over brought about an unexpected challenge. Her time
working among several executives gave her a great deal of understanding about business and numbers through an executive lens. She climbed to success quickly and in doing so had built up her confidence as an executive assistant. But that confidence would n
ot transfer to her new role.
Despite having a good sense for what needed to be done, she lacked the confidence to speak up and she found herself hesitating to share ideas. She attributes finding her voice to the supportive colleagues she had at Tripwire
. Their support along with some successful projects helped build her
launched Angela into what would become a successful marketing career.
Finding her leadership style
The value of hard work was a trait Angela picked up at an early age and
was reinforced consistently by the leaders in her life. With her eye always on the next step, her success was easily linked to her “putting in the work” to make her dreams come true. But as for many eager and successful young professionals, the fear of fai
lure seemed to be always lurking just below the surface.
When making a transition in her career she remembers grappling with the fear of making the wrong choice. One of her mentors recommended she read Carol
book, Mindset. The book felt written for
her situation and she
put it down, reading
well into the wee hours and most of the next day, she finished it in just over 24 hours. Few books have had such a profound impact on her, this one
in particular changed
her view of the world, and her pa
th in it. From then on, Angela sought to nurture a growth mindset in herself and her teams.
Allowing empathy into her work life was not as sudden a
was something Angela learned later in her career. Ironically the first person to demonstrate har
d work would also be the one to teach her how to embrace empathy and together these traits would define Angela’s leadership style.
Just as she founded
Marketing, Angela became the primary caretaker of her ailing grandmother. In an instant life wou
ld no longer allow her to grind at the office all hours of the day and night. Mornings had a routine, evenings had a routine, and work happened when it could.
As I began to care for my
I was forced to be vulnerable at work in a way I never had
before,” she says. “As I began to
to others, their empathy enveloped me. For three precious years I ran a successful agency and cared for the woman that raised me, and I emerged forever changed by the experience.”
While empathy is often looked at a
s a trait or leadership quality, Angela believes it can also be a business principal. Knowing that empathy starts with being a good listener, Angela does her best to bring an open mind and capacity to understand to every decision. From lead generation to m
arketing strategy, she states that putting oneself in another’s shoes will always be a helpful
Embracing digital transformation
Angela started her marketing career shortly after technologies like Apple’s
were invented. From her first moments as a marketer she experienced one disruptive technology after another.
Learning marketing in this environment honed Angela’s ability to manage change. “Change was constant and exciting,” recalls Angela. “We knew we we
re stepping into a whole new era of marketing and could not wait to hear about the latest developments.”
She recounts one of her first responsibilities in marketing was to manage lead contracts and that within weeks of taking on the new role, she automat
ed the task from taking days to only a matter of hours.
Disruptive technologies continue today including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation that are enabling software companies like RFPIO, where Angela works, to augment their users’ abilities, and deliver more successful and predictable o
utcomes than possible without the solutions.
A similar belief is held by RFPIO — and is one of the shared values that reassured Angela, this was a team s
he wanted to join. The company’s history is full of stories from customers who have achieved success attributed to adopting their software. More than that, RFPIO gives users back time that can be spent on strategic initiatives, projects, or with those they
Angela sees a bright future for RFPIO and the response management industry, a segment of sales technology at the very beginning of its digital transformation, with a future that she believes is reminiscent of her early days in marketing.
RFPIO is a cloud-based response management software firm that enables companies to improve win rates through untethered content management. As the industry’s first AI-powered solution, RFPIO’s answer library provides centralized content along with
a collaboration hub.
You're reading Angela Earl: A Marketing Leader Driving Change In B2B Tech
WASHINGTON — A top Senate Democrat on Tuesday criticized the technology industry for its unwillingness to stand up to foreign governments that restrict access to online content, pledging to introduce legislation that would impose penalties on Internet companies that facilitate human rights violations in repressive regimes.
“The bottom line is this: with a few notable exceptions, the technology industry seems unwilling to regulate itself and unwilling to even engage in a dialogue with Congress about the serious human rights challenges the industry faces,” Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law and assistant Senate majority leader, said at a hearing on Internet freedom.
“I will introduce legislation that would require Internet companies to take reasonable steps to protect human rights or face civil or criminal liability,” Durbin said.
Durbin chaired a hearing on Internet censorship in May 2008, when he secured commitments from Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) to join the Global Network Initiative (GNI), a global consortium that promotes a voluntary code of conduct for Internet companies to preserve the free flow of information.
Durbin said he was disappointed that no other Internet companies had come forward to join the GNI, saying that only AT&T (NYSE: T), Skype and McAfee had expressed a willingness to consider the initiative.
Last month, Durbin sent letters of inquiry to 30 top IT firms asking about their policies concerning Internet censorship overseas and asking executives to appear at today’s hearing, where the witnesses were sworn in and testified under oath. But the companies, which included Facebook and Twitter, declined the subcommittee’s invitation to appear, Durbin said. A McAfee (NYSE: MFE) executive had been scheduled to testify, but declined shortly before the hearing. The lone representative from the tech sector was Nicole Wong, Google’s vice president and deputy general counsel.
Durbin had harsh words for the industry’s reluctance to cooperate with his investigation, saying that the lackluster response to the GNI and the refusals to appear at today’s hearing had convinced him that legislation was necessary.
Today’s hearing follows closely on Google’s revelations that it was targeted by a severe, coordinated cyber attackalong with more than two dozen other companies that it had traced to China, where it threatened to close its operations if the government did not relax its Internet censorship policies.
In her written testimony, Wong said the investigation into the attacks was still underway, declining to say whether the company had decided to shutter its business in China.
“I want to stress that while we know these attacks came from China, we are not prepared to say who is carrying out these attacks,” Wong said. “Because this is an ongoing investigation, I am not prepared to say any more about these attacks.”
She added that the decision to go public with the attacks and threaten to pull out of China was made by U.S. executives, “without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China.”
Kenneth Corbin is an associate editor at chúng tôi the news service of chúng tôi the network for technology professionals.
blog / Sales and Marketing Why B2B Marketers Need to Embrace Customer Centricity
The customer has long been deemed royalty in the world of business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing. Increasingly, the dominion of the buyer is spreading to Business-to-Business (B2B) as well. A study on B2B sales by Kearney revealed that maximizing and redefining customer value is integral to the sales practices of leading B2B players. Clearly, the customer is gravitating to the center of B2B marketing efforts, and those living in denial are suffering. A Vantage Partner survey of 250 individuals at 180 B2B organizations shows how customer centricity is related to revenue growth. Over a five-year period, organizations reporting a “very mature” level of customer centricity experienced 2.5x revenue growth compared with those reported as “very immature.” The tangible benefits of customer centricity have built an undeniable case for transformation in the way marketing is conducted in B2B organizations. And the changes are already afoot.Defining Customer Centricity
Customer centricity isn’t a sprint—it’s a marathon. It is an endurance marketing effort that goes beyond mere tweaks, gimmicks, and hype. Organizations that seriously practice customer centricity understand its significance for the continued relevance of their product or service. They set up systems to anticipate customers’ wants, needs, and preferences and then transform their functions to satisfy them. Advertising and marketing activities are tailored to enhance the customer experience. The goal is to build a culture that rewards behaviors that lead to customer success. Simply put, they acknowledge that a happy customer will buy your product. And that is key to the growth of their business.
You can recognize a customer-centric organization by the following characteristics, as described in California Review Management:
Customer-centric thinking and practices embedded across the organization’s functions
Striving for competitive differentiation through the customer’s journey
The realization that successful innovation requires customer empathy
Reorientation of sales from selling to customers to selling for customers
Marrying customer centricity with employee engagement
ALSO READ: What is Customer Centricity? How Can it Benefit Your Business?Where B2B Marketing Stands on Customer Centricity
The rise in consumerism and competitiveness has, for a while, pushed B2C organizations to embrace customer centricity as a strategic imperative. However, B2B marketing is still playing catch-up since a focus on customer journeys and the experience was not considered a B2B mandate.
The last few years have made B2B organizations shift gears, but the results still reveal a work in progress. Take this research by B2B International, which shows that 14% of large B2B organizations are truly customer centric—in other words, where customer centricity is deeply embedded in the organization’s DNA. Worse, 15 percent are inattentive to it as a focus area. While both of those make for worrisome data, a more reassuring finding is that around a third of the B2B organizations surveyed are at least engaged in the customer experience, even though it isn’t yet an integral part of their culture.Why Does a Disconnect Exist?
Clearly, the disconnect persists between rising customer expectations and the delivered customer experience, according to an Accenture Interactive report. Consider that in a highly competitive B2B marketplace, 44 percent of buyers reported switching sellers in a 12-month period. This takes customer centricity beyond a nice-to-have to a nonnegotiable for B2B players, and the big guns have been firing.
Among the most popular examples of B2B customer centricity is IBM. The tech giant has made customer experience an effective customer retention tool with measures such as a dedicated team of specialists for each buyer to help them integrate their purchase into their organizations and enable a smooth transition. Another gold standard in customer focus is GE, which uses customer experience centers to demonstrate to organizations exactly how they would benefit from their products. Meanwhile, messaging platform Slack depends on customer feedback to modify features to cater to changing expectations.It’s Time to Listen
The common thread in most examples of B2B customer-centric successes is a deliberate effort to listen to customers. That will help them understand expectations and thereby reduce disconnect. This, of course, has to be an ongoing process. To reiterate, building customer centricity is not a one-time effort. It is a cultural paradigm shift that needs to be accepted and ingrained organizationally.
Prior to the pandemic, B2B organizations primarily focused on building one-on-one relationships. However, with businesses going digital, organizations had to play catch-up and enhance their digital presence, including websites, social media, and digital collateral. Being customer centric in a digital environment is the new mandate, and B2B organizations that have realized the value of this are definitely ahead of the curve!Measures to Improve Customer Centricity
Recognizing the inevitability of customer centricity is the first step toward becoming customer centric. The rest of a B2B organization’s journey depends on the nature of its business. However, there are commonly accepted principles that apply across the board.Incorporating Customer Feedback
One of them is that change begins at the top. That is, the leaders of B2B organizations need to listen by incorporating customer interactions into their admittedly packed schedules. In an HBR article, Michael Porter and Nitin Nohria explain why top-tier meetings with CEOs of customer organizations can prove valuable since peer conversations tend to be “very candid” and a treasure trove of insights. That apart, a steady communication funnel with product and sales teams can supply the upper echelons with customer opinion. Also, it will help them tailor strategic decisions accordingly.Using Data to Make Decisions
Another practice customer-centric organizations use is the effective use of data. Listening devices (think social media, surveys, and feedback forms) capture raw information that is converted into actionable insights. Technology can be an earnest B2B player’s best friend in this effort, with artificial intelligence making this analysis faster, easier, and more efficient.
The endeavor, really, is to embed customer-centric practices into the organizational DNA such that they last beyond an enthusiastic leader or a prolific phase. For instance, employees should be empowered to engage with customers and be rewarded for their initiative. On the other hand, ignoring customer feedback should be penalized, setting an example for other team members.
These are just a few examples from a host of strategic tools and measures that can be learned by B2B marketers to become transformative players in their organizations.
ALSO READ: How Brands Can Provide the Best Customer Experiences in the Phygital WorldPrograms to Enhance B2B Marketing
Kellogg Executive Education’s B2B Marketing Program is another exciting course that enables learners to understand and utilize the full scope and value that B2B marketing contributes to a business. It centers around the customer and shows managers how to understand them and their expectations better. The program acts as an A-Z playbook on B2B marketing and will help learners identify B2B marketing tools, tactics, and leading practices. This can inform and accelerate organizational performance.
As the marketing landscape continues to become more complex and competitive, with the relentless shift toward digital and shifting customer preferences, staying abreast with the changes is the only way forward for any smart organization—and any successful marketer.
By Abby Kane
Write to us at [email protected]
Being a good leader and a responsible steward of your resources is essential in everything from making a salad to building a spaceship.
To make a salad, you have to buy the vegetables and fruits, cut them, make the dressing, toss everything together, and maybe sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on top.
To build a spaceship, well, this is a little more complicated. You have to concept, build systems, put them together, test them, fail many, many times, keep tweaking, and keep testing until you are absolutely sure your tin can can safely carry people to space and bring them back.
For leading or being part of any enterprise, from the salad to the spaceship, there is a framework or formula that guides the journey. But what defines the success of that journey and the outcomes is often what is beyond that framework and can come down to how you lead your team.
Here we will talk about how to be a better leader and how you can embrace the obstacles of business leadership and help people grow along the way.1. Always Do the Right Thing
Item number one might seem general and undefined, but it is far from that. While it is easier said than done, we should strive for it in order to become a better leader.
We are often leaning on habit, familiar approaches, and one-sided perspectives and blindly fighting for them. As leaders, we should not.
The path of least resistance comes naturally, but it is the worst teacher.
Avoid shortcuts and use these tips to pressure-test your working habits by using these leadership tips:
Get another opinion on that documentation that will serve as a blueprint for 100 people.
Reread that email before you send it to make sure you do not sound condescending.
Invite people to share their opinions with you in order to get more perspectives and find the best solutions.
Go through your web code one more time and clean up redundancies.
We make hundreds of choices per day, and in 95% of them, we can always do the right thing if we put our mind to it.
Always doing the right thing means when in doubt, get more opinions, and improve your leadership. It also means to communicate well and to keep everyone in the loop, be open-minded, react calmly, and treat people with respect.
It’s not rocket science. It is certainly closer to making a salad.2. Learn With a Humble Mind
Keep an open mind, a beginner’s mind, and you will open the doors for better understanding, communication, and relationships as both a leader and as a team member. Listen, ask questions, and let your team help guide you in the right direction.
If you are moving to a new team or your pool of responsibilities is growing, you can carry over your existing leadership framework, but you will need time to soak in the nuances of your new responsibilities.
For example, if you are moving from assembly line optimization to supply chain streamlining, you can carry over a lot of the technical knowledge and continuous improvement practices. But you are moving from working on a project with a central hub to likely one with many hubs and broader dependencies.
Supply chains are fun. Take a t-shirt for example. Often the cotton is grown in one country like Egypt. The textile is made in another country like England. The t-shirt maker can be based in a third like Germany. The t-shirt can be sewn together in a fourth like Bangladesh. And the market can be in a fifth like the US.
Your assembly line gets stretched across cultures and continents. A lot of the rules of thumb are the same, but a lot of the variables are different. Allow for learning time, adjust for culture, and put people first.
This also applies to coming into a new team or managing a new team. You have to make adjustments for the company culture, learn the ins and outs of your people, and refine your leadership strategy to best serve your collective group.3. Remember that One Size Fits One
Yes, you read that right, one size does not fit all. This adds complexity but builds relationships.
Take note of the styles of communication and preferred channels of the different people on your team and groups you interact with and adapt your own. Be open-minded and know when to take a step back to expand your perspective.
This goes for both internal and external stakeholders. Keep client files with detailed notes on what they like — and what they don’t.
The famous New York restaurateur Danny Meyer took this practice to the next level with his first restaurant Union Square Cafe.
His team took notes of all regulars and inputted them into the reservation system. Things like what dishes they have had and liked, do they have any allergies, do they like extra butter with their bread, what wine they like, and so on. Every time a regular returned, these notes were broadcasted to the team that would accommodate them.
This is the stuff of legendary success. The devil is in the details. And by following this practice for your team, you can become a better leader.4. Set & Maintain a Reasonable Pace
Getting things done is important but it should not come at the cost of burning out your team.
Say you are ultra-progressive and want to continuously collect feedback and improve everyone’s day-to-day. You want to migrate systems and standardize processes. That is all good, but major shifts are disruptive and need to be paced.
Strive for marginal changes when possible. Think evolution rather than revolution.
Speed has its place but it needs a high degree of transparency and openness. Or you risk tripping and breaking something.5. Create a Culture of Transparency
Another leadership tip is to emphasize the importance of open communication. Use multiple channels to communicate and record developments. Different people prefer to receive information in different ways so try to accommodate a broad spectrum.
Here is an example:
Let your team know that at the next meeting, we will talk about how to make a salad.
Demonstrate on the meeting itself.
Send a follow-up email with key takeaways.
Post the recipe and the instructions in the internal wiki.
Check-in over chat two days later if anyone has any follow-up questions or suggestions on how to improve the recipe.
This diligence fills in communication gaps and saves time. You are eliminating pockets of knowledge-hoarders and giving everyone the opportunity to participate. You are going to get more feedback and suggestions, and that will help you find the best solutions with optimal swiftness.6. Take Communication to the Next Level
Conveying information to large groups is hard. And it takes hard work to achieve an above-average engagement rate for your team.
These are subtle bits and pieces that can help you improve your communication as a leader:
Be humble but enthusiastic.
Express calmness (calm smile, calm stare, calm tone, calm pace).
Engage with humor when possible.
Maintain interest with relatable examples — use more examples than theory.
Go beyond the facts and create emotional bonds with your audience or team.
Strive to reach a level of inclusion and trust.
Aim to inspire, entertain, energize, and fascinate.
Practice your presentations to improve flow.
The more well-rounded your communication style is, the more information will get across. The fewer mistakes will happen. The happier your team and clients will be.7. Plan for Changes Outside of Your Control
In any business, there are going to be factors outside of your control that you, as a leader, have to navigate — not only for yourself, but for your team. This could be changes happening in the industry you work in, or changes happening within the company itself.
As a leader, you have to prepare for and mitigate these changes to keep your team running smoothly. And, not only that, but you have to communicate these changes swiftly and effectively to keep your team informed but still feeling secure and supported.
The only way you can really plan for change is by instilling a culture of flexibility and transparency within your team so when changes do arise, your team feels like you’re on their side and have their best interests at heart.8. Allow for Differing Viewpoints
Groupthink is what happens when you discourage creativity or different opinions within your team and can lead to bad business practices and harmful decision-making.
To avoid this, encourage your team members to share when they disagree with a decision — whether it’s for a single project or for a larger initiative.
The larger the project or initiative, the more difficult it is to conclude it successfully based on a single perspective. You can likely make a salad on your own but you cannot build a spaceship.
This is where constructive feedback comes in. Encourage your team to share different viewpoints with other team members and with you as their leader. This will produce opinions, ideas, and conversations that have the power to unearth flows and suggest fixes.
This single practice can be your ultimate engine of growth. And when done right can take you to a place where you build more trust within your team and become a better leader.9. Trust the Process & Grow
When you trust your team and tools and the way all pieces interact, you can do legendary things together.
This doesn’t mean to kick back and relax and let the invisible hand of commerce find its own equilibrium. It means that if you do most of the things above well, you can become a better leader with a team that succeeds. You will reach a level of comfort that will allow you to be even more proactive. And you will have the bandwidth to look for creative ways to drive growth.
This will open the doors to continuous efficiency, creativity, and measured risks that lay the foundation for sustainability and exponential growth.To Recap
Keep in mind the journey to becoming a better leader is a marathon, not a sprint. The more you apply these principles, the more you will learn. And the better you will get at understanding your environment and at empowering your team.
Again, here are the nine best ways to be a better manager and leader:
Always Do the Right Thing
Learn With a Humble Mind
Remember that One Size Fits One
Set & Maintain a Reasonable Pace
Create a Culture of Transparency
Take Communication to the Next Level
Plan for Changes Outside of Your Control
Allow for Differing Viewpoints
Trust the Process & GrowAbout the Author
Milen Vasilev is a manager of the LOCALiQ SEO team. He moved from New York to Texas in mid-2024 and shortly after joined the LOCALiQ website team. Before that, he was a copywriter and still enjoys writing the occasional blog post on topics he finds interesting. His guiding principles are: team first, continuous improvement, and embracing the spirit of challenge. When he is not keeping up with the ever-evolving SEO world, he likes watching sci-fi movies and going on long hikes.Guest Author
Our guest authors are industry experts, marketers, or business owners who cover a range of topics from sales, marketing, data, and entrepreneurship.
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TikTok has earned a reputation as a powerful B2C marketing tool, due to its visual nature and potential for collaboration with content creators.
But for most B2B companies, TikTok is likely at the bottom of their priorities for social media marketing.
However, more and more B2B companies are recognizing that TikTok can offer more than dance challenges and cute animal content.
TikTok is unique among social media platforms for its authenticity above all else.
Videos tend to be less professionally edited and curated than the likes of Instagram Reels and YouTube, appearing more pedestrian and down-to-earth.
Research from LinkedIn’s B2B Institute recently proved that marketing strategies that appeal to an audience’s emotions are much more effective than those that take a rational approach. Of course, both sides of the coin are important.
Rational marketing asks an individual to take action and tells them exactly why they should. Emotional marketing, on the other hand, builds brand awareness.
Individuals are more likely to purchase from a brand they know and have a connection to – which is exactly why TikTok is a valuable channel to add to the top of your sales funnel.Benefits of TikTok for B2B Marketing Networking
Networking is a core tactic in B2B marketing, with LinkedIn being designed around forming online connections with other business professionals.
But just because TikTok isn’t designed for professionals doesn’t mean it can’t be used to network effectively.
For example, the York-based marketing agency I work for tends to use #YorkshireBusiness and #SmallBusinessTikTokUK.
These hashtags have views in the thousands rather than the millions, meaning it is much easier for users to discover your video.
It’s the same as keyword selection for SEO – as a small business, you want to select hashtags or keywords that give you a good chance of being discovered.
But don’t participate in trends for the sake of it – be selective and choose those which will help you achieve your marketing goals.Evoking Emotions
When thinking of B2B marketing, the word “emotive” likely isn’t the first to spring to mind.
An informal platform like TikTok may seem too alien compared to the tone of your company’s blog or your Twitter and LinkedIn posts.
But as is the rule of thumb with marketing, the best ideas can come from throwing rules out of the window — by doing the creative and unexpected.
At the end of the day, potential clients aren’t all that different from B2C consumers. They are still looking for trust and authenticity in a product or service.
They are still human – so connect with them as one!
For example, you could use TikTok to share your business’ origin stories, talk about your business’ values and charity work, or simply put the spotlight on your office dog.
Sure, you could share these things in a LinkedIn post or a company blog.
But the video format and informal nature of TikTok can make for a more personal delivery and better ROI – video can add huge value to a social media strategy.
It’s proven to generate more shares and lead conversion than text and image content.Fast Results
You don’t need a large following to achieve high engagement on TikTok, as your follower count and previous engagement do not factor into TikTok’s algorithm.
Instead, videos are ranked individually, independent of your profile.
Despite only being on the platform for two months and having just 21 followers, we generated over £600 of sales through TikTok marketing.
So, if you’re keen to test the waters with TikTok but are reluctant to invest a lot of time in it, you can rest assured that with the right strategy, you can achieve results fairly quickly.Not Just for Young People
A common misconception is that TikTok is only useful for marketing to young people.
And while 41% of users are aged 16 to 24, this leaves 59% across other demographics.
When you consider that TikTok has over 1.1 billion active users worldwide, this gives you a sizable audience to target.How to Do B2B Marketing With TikTok Interact
Social media is all about bringing people together. Use TikTok to bring your target audience together, and form connections with them.
For example, the #BossIt2024 challenge invited small businesses to share how they were “bossing it” this year.
Beginning a campaign like this can help to increase brand awareness by getting your name out there, and encouraging viewers to find out more about you.
Business solutions company Sage created the #SageTellMe challenge, at once promoting their brand name while connecting with potential clients.Show Your Fun Side
B2B marketing gets its “boring” and serious reputation from its traditional, conventional methods.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Embracing your company’s fun and relatable side can improve your public image, and help you to stand out from your competitors.
Successful TikToks capitalize on humor and relatability. The ability to reuse audio tracks to participate in trends can provide baseline inspiration.
When viewing these videos, users will likely recognize the format of the audio trend, evoking curiosity in your take on it.
US law firm Morgan & Morgan is a great example of successful humorous B2B marketing, as TikTok is their second most successful social media platform, right behind Facebook.
Their most popular content includes their founder John Morgan sharing humorous tidbits on various topics (like this one on Oprah, Harry & Meghan), humanizing the face behind the brand.Reuse, Recycle
Recycling this content on TikTok comes with a host of benefits.
For one, you have already researched and created content that you know is of value to your audience.
From a TikTok video, viewers can be encouraged to read the full story on your blog. From there, they may be encouraged to sign up to your mailing list to receive further resources from you.
Educational TikTok content can also help your current clients to get the most out of your products or services.
Popular graphic design platform Canva uses TikTok to provide tutorials on using certain features, helping users to get the most out of the platform.Takeaways
TikTok has the potential to bridge the emotional gap that’s often left by traditional B2B marketing and can provide a valuable creative avenue for those looking to shake up their strategy and stand out from their competitors.
Ideally, B2B TikTok content should indirectly sell by showing off your company’s character and expertise, increasing brand awareness and encouraging viewers to move down your sales funnel.
If you still don’t feel like TikTok is suitable for your company’s image and aims, think again.
Like any other aspect of your marketing strategy, TikTok is about showing customers what makes you unique.
If you don’t like what you’ve seen from your competitors on TikTok, why not come up with a new take and show them how it’s done?
Featured image: Golubovy/Shutterstock
As the founder and lead Content Strategist at my own content company and an Associate Director of SEO at a global agency, my day is filled with content marketing activities.
From content topic ideation to production to campaign management, I work with clients to run their content marketing from start to finish. This includes SEO auditing and strategy, as well as reporting on the results of content campaigns.
Thinking of getting into content marketing?
Here’s a realistic day in the life of a content marketing manager.7:15 a.m.
My alarm goes off at 7:15 a.m. and again at 7:30 a.m.
I’m an early riser, but any attempt to oversleep is interrupted by my tiny dog, who insists I wake up no later than 7:45 a.m.
On a typical day, I check Slack to ensure there are no urgent problems and then peek at my Google Calendar to review my meetings for the day.
Typically, my first meeting is my team’s “AM Standup.” On other days, there might be an 8:00 a.m. meeting with our partners on the east coast.7:45 a.m.
Fortunately, today there are no early meetings or fire drills to address.
I leash my pup, Max, and take him out on his morning walk. I either whip up an iced coffee at home or trek to a local coffee shop for my typical order: a 12 oz iced mocha with whole milk.
I scroll through my Gmail to find upcoming tasks for the day, meeting requests, client questions, and finance forms to fill out.8:15 a.m.
Most of our agency’s employees work remotely, so I take my calls from home.
I’ve invested in a standing desk to avoid the dreaded “tech neck” and an ergonomic mat to relieve my feet throughout the day. Sometimes, I work on the couch with Max sitting beside me.
Our typical deliverables are SEO audits, SEO content briefs, landing page copy, blog copy, presentation decks, and technical recommendations (for developer teams via Jira).
I usually dedicate my mornings to checking on the status of upcoming projects and delegating deliverable updates to our operations manager.9:00 a.m.
I check Slack again and see an email from one of our strategists requesting that we establish a standardized “way of working” with one of our clients to streamline new content requests and avoid miscommunication.
We hop on a Google Meet call to chat through an email draft I’ve put together outlining our recommended process and outstanding questions we have for the client team.
I recommend that they send all new requests via email and provide an explanation of the request, the preferred deadline, and any related materials we might need to fulfill the request.
Much of what I do as a content marketing manager is trying to establish more streamlined processes.
This might include finding more efficient ways to process new requests, more cost-effective ways to produce quality content, or faster ways to create deliverables.
Our operations manager often works at my side to create standard operating procedures (SOPs) and templates, set up automation, and source talent.9:15 a.m.
This time kicks off our daily standup meeting with the other associate director, senior strategists, and operations manager. It is a quick “around the horn” session to talk about what we are working on and whether anyone needs immediate help.
My primary objective for this week is to focus on new business development.
That means responding to requests for proposals (RFPs) and pitching our services to new clients – which might involve answering a prospect’s questions via a Google Sheet, or scheduling, rehearsing, and presenting our capabilities presentation.9:30 a.m.
Asana is my go-to when it comes to project management.
Without it, I don’t know where I would be in terms of time management, deadlines, and processes. And with the help of our operations manager, we have finally established a process that works.
I check Asana to see if I have any tasks for the day.
I do. My tasks are as follows:
Create 4 SEO content briefs for a client.
Start keyword research on an app store optimization (ASO) project.
Finish a content strategy deck to present this week.
Asana allows me to create what we call a “project plan,” which determines the tasks to be done, who will do them, when they are due, and how many hours are allocated to each task.
Since we are required to log hours for billable purposes, Asana is an effective source of truth for hours assigned and hours worked.10:00 a.m.
Team-building is essential to creating a positive work environment.
That’s why I prioritize having weekly 1:1 meetings with my co-manager, senior strategists, and operations manager.
Today, I have a 1:1 with one of our newest contract hires, a senior strategist. She has been with our team for about three weeks and has been working on a large content optimization project.
The project has involved auditing the existing website’s content performance, determining the primary and secondary keywords for each web page, and making updates to the metadata and content of the pages that require improvements.
She relays that she has been getting along well, has been quite busy on the content optimization project, and would like to get involved in more presentation decks.
Our presentations typically present the findings from technical and/or content audits and our approach to a go-forward content strategy.
I take a mental note to have her shadow me on an upcoming content strategy project for a global ecommerce brand.10:30 a.m.
“Content strategy” can be quite broad.
It extends to many types of content, platforms, and applications. With that, part of my job is to learn more about content strategy trends and use cases – like ASO or what I call “social SEO.”
I’ve encouraged our agency to expand our ASO capabilities by taking a performance-based lens to “app SEO.” We’ve landed a “tier 1” client who needs ASO strategy and implementation for several apps.
This project involves app search behavior research, keyword research, conversion rate optimization (CRO), and analytics.
I meet with our operations manager to draft a notes document for our upcoming client kickoff call. I review the project plan (the phases and timeline of the project) and confirm milestones/dates.
I remind the account lead that we need to add the data lead to the call.
We draft a list of discovery questions to ask the client during the kickoff meeting:
What are your performance goals for the project?
Is there an existing keyword strategy in place?
Are there certain keywords you would like the app to rank for?
Can you please describe the purpose of the app in your own words?
What does “success” mean to you for this project?
What are your expectations for the project?
For content projects in which we have less control over management and implementation, we like to set clear expectations at the beginning.
We may develop the strategy, but we don’t own the optimization or measurement.11:30 a.m.
Following the internal sync is what we call “information gathering” time.
That means reviewing any of the client’s materials and organizing them in Google Drive and Asana. I also ask the operations manager to add the materials to the notes doc.
I then add and assign the following tasks in Asana:
Research ASO tools: Find App Store optimization keyword tools that have keywords, search volume, and competition score. Provide a list of options and costs for each.
Brainstorm seed keywords for each app (at least 10+): Review the brand materials and create a list of terms that might relate to each app; we will later validate these lists with the client.
Version the ASO keyword & content strategy deck: Make a copy of the deck, remove all previous client mentions, use agency branding, and save the template to Google Drive.
I again reference the project plan to ensure we have enough billable hours to dedicate to these tasks. I then remind our Operations Manager to check on the tasks and let me know if she has any questions.12:00 p.m.
I am guilty of working through my lunch break – and I’m not proud of it.
As much as I try to yield to my daily alarm to “take lunch,” usually something more interesting comes up.
So, at the very least, I’ll pop my Freshly meal into the microwave and re-pour my iced coffee. I’m not a workaholic, I swear!
(Friendly reminder that we work in marketing; rarely is a “fire drill” life or death, and most email responses can wait. Take that lunch break! )
Even though I am a manager and associate director now, I still love writing content. I still write content for many of my agency clients.
I love the process of doing research, drafting an outline, and writing the content.
Today, I am writing a blog article for one of my long-standing clients (four years!). For this client, I am assigned the topics, but I research the ideal keywords to target.
I conduct an organic analysis of the top-performing articles and create an outline that touches on the most important topics. I write the content, add internal links, and write the metadata.
Typically, I send the draft via email, ask the client to review/add feedback, and send the invoice. Sometimes, I send the invoice upfront or request a 50% deposit (for larger projects).
I only work with clients who stay on top of their invoices and value me as a strategist, not just a content writer.1:30 p.m.
My dog walker is on vacation for six weeks. In an attempt to get me to take my lunch break and get out of the house more, I’ve committed to taking Max for a 20-minute walk myself instead of hiring a replacement dog walker.2:00 p.m.
I meet with the leadership team to do a retro on our agency’s year-over-year (YoY) revenue growth.
The agency has undergone many changes – new team members, new ways of working, a new services model, and new processes – so it’s satisfying to see this pay off.
We make new goals for 2023, such as:
Adopt a value-based pricing model for audits.
Establish a “one-pager” of scoping requirements.
Set a minimum threshold for SEO engagements (audits and ongoing servicing).
Cancel subscriptions to unused software and tools.
Ensure Senior Strategists are at 80% billable hours.
We create a Google Sheet that tracks all projects from 2023 and 2023, compares revenue annually, and forecasts revenue from projects “in pitch.”
We also discuss resourcing on upcoming projects: who will be working on what, whether we need to hire, and when new projects are kicking off.3:00 p.m.
We have our “Web Analytics Weekly” call with the embed team, of one of our biggest clients.
We use this time to discuss any web analytics projects, whether we need to hire data analysts, and whether there are planned discussions for new SEO initiatives.
There isn’t much to discuss today because the client wants to table the SEO conversation until November. The other associate director is all good with the web analytics requirements and has reached a solid cadence for reporting.
We end the call a few minutes early.4:00 p.m.
A local business client needs landing page copy for its new website build.
The client has sourced an SEO audit and strategy from another agency and employed us to write the copy. That involves:
Creating a content tracker that keeps the client up-to-date on the status of the landing page content.
Identifying the target and secondary keywords for each web page.
Researching competitors to see what content they have on their service pages.
Creating outlines for the landing pages.
Writing one page of copy (to start).
Sending the copy to the client for review.
We also CC the SEO agency to validate our recommendations and offer feedback on the copy.
The average turnaround time is about three days for feedback. Then, we will incorporate and edits and send it to the client for final review.5:00 p.m.
It’s technically “after hours” for me, given that I start my day around 8 a.m.
Sometimes I schedule a bootcamp workout for 5:00 p.m. Other times, I go to the gym or aim for the 6:00 p.m. class.
Today, I check our socials to see what’s buzzing:
A LinkedIn post about the company’s participation in the AIDS Walk LA.
TikTok videos covering marketing trends, corporate life, Excel, and SEO.
A LinkedIn post about revenue lost due to poor site migration.
A Pin re-shared on Pinterest of one of our top blog articles.
An Instagram Story about listening to today’s monthly “Marketing All-Hands.”
Sometimes I repost or respond to content; most times, I plan posts for future content.
These post ideas might make it into Asana or my daily to-do list.
For TikTok, I usually save the trending sound, screenshot the hashtags, and start a new draft.5:30 p.m.
With the workday done, I take Max out on another walk.
We stroll around the neighborhood (it’s a sunny day), and I resist the urge to check my socials again. I use an app to schedule a last-minute Bootcamp session. I respond to my brother’s text about needing to go to the bank and attend my nephew’s soccer game on Saturday.
By this time, I usually have a weird amount of energy and want to invest in my personal projects.
Lately, it’s my fledgling ecommerce brand.
Often, it’s marketing my agency on social media to attract more clients. Sometimes, it’s writing guest articles for other websites. Since it’s Monday, I decide to enjoy the day, get a good workout in, and plan my dinner.Conclusion
Being a content marketing manager isn’t all blog posts and social media sharing tools.
It’s management, project planning, meetings, 1:1s, breaks, and so much more. I love the variety throughout my day and being able to interface with my team.
I can’t tie “content” up in a tidy bow, but I like it that way.
Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock
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