How to Use Instagram Live Video Chat for Business

Want to use Instagram to provide personalized customer service? Wondering how live video chat can help? In this article, you’ll learn how to use Instagram’s live video chat feature to enhance your business relationships. Why Use Instagram Live Video Chat for Business? As customers turn to video to get answers about products or services, Instagram

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The Local SEO’s Guide to the Buy Local Phenomenon: A Competitive Advantage for Clients

Posted by MiriamEllis

Photo credit: Michelle Shirley

What if a single conversation with one of your small local business clients could spark activity that would lead to an increase in their YOY sales of more than 7%, as opposed to only 4% if you don’t have the conversation? What if this chat could triple the amount of spending that stays in their town, reduce pollution in their community, improve their neighbors’ health, and strengthen democracy?

What if the brass ring of content dev, link opportunities, consumer sentiment and realtime local inventory is just waiting for you to grab it, on a ride we just haven’t taken yet, in a setting we’re just not talking about?

Let’s travel a different road today, one that parallels our industry’s typical conversation about citations, reviews, markup, and Google My Business. As a 15-year sailor on the Local SEO ship, I love all this stuff, but, like you, I’m experiencing a merging of online goals with offline realities, a heightened awareness of how in-store is where local business successes are born and bred, before they become mirrored on the web.

At Moz, our SaaS tools serve businesses of every kind: Digital, bricks-and-mortar, SABs, enterprises, mid-market agencies, big brands, and bootstrappers. But today, I’m going to go as small and as local as possible, speaking directly to independently-owned local businesses and their marketers about the buy local/shop local/go local movement and what I’ve learned about its potential to deliver meaningful and far-reaching successes. Frankly, I think you’ll be as amazed as I’ve been.

At the very least, I hope reading this article will inspire you to have a conversation with your local business clients about what this growing phenomenon could do for them and for their communities. Successful clients, after all, are the very best kind to have.

What is the Buy Local movement all about?

What’s the big idea?

You’re familiar with the concept of there being power in numbers. A single independent business lacks the resources and clout to determine the local decisions and policies that affect it. Should Walmart or Target be invited to set up shop in town? Should the crumbling building on Main St. be renovated or demolished? Which safety and cultural services should be supported with funding? The family running the small grocery store has little say, but if they join together with the folks running the bakery, the community credit union, the animal shelter, and the bookstore … then they begin to have a stronger voice.

Who does this?

Buy Local programs formalize the process of independently-owned businesses joining together to educate their communities about the considerable benefits to nearly everyone of living in a thriving local economy. These efforts can be initiated by merchants, Chambers of Commerce, grassroots citizen groups, or others. They can be assisted and supported by non-profit organizations like the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR).

What are the goals?

Through signage, educational events, media promotions, and other forms of marketing, most Buy Local campaigns share some or all of these goals:

  • Increase local wealth that recirculates within the community
  • Preserve local character
  • Build community
  • Create good jobs
  • Have a say in policy-making
  • Decrease environmental impacts
  • Support entrepreneurship
  • Improve diversity/variety
  • Compete with big businesses

Do Buy Local campaigns actually work?

Yes – research indicates that, if managed correctly, these programs yield a variety of benefits to both merchants and residents. Consider these findings:

1) Healthy YOY sales advantages

ILSR conducted a national survey of independent businesses to gauge YOY sales patterns. 2016 respondents reported a good increase in sales across the board, but with a significant difference which AMIBA sums up:

“Businesses in communities with a sustained grassroots “buy independent/buy local” campaign reported a strong 7.4% sales increase, nearly doubling the 4.2% gain for those in areas without such an alliance.”

2) Keeping spending local

The analysts at Civic Economics conducted surveys of 10 cities to gauge the local financial impacts of independents vs. chain retailers, yielding a series of graphics like this one:

While statistics vary from community to community, the overall pattern is one of significantly greater local recirculation of wealth in the independent vs. chain environment. These patterns can be put to good use by Buy Local campaigns with the goal of increasing community-sustaining wealth.

3) Keeping communities employed and safe

Few communities can safely afford the loss of jobs and tax revenue documented in a second Civic Economics study which details the impacts of Americans’ Amazon habit, state by state and across the nation:

While the recent supreme court ruling allowing states to tax e-commerce models could improve some of these dire numbers, towns and cities with Buy Local alliances can speak plainly: Lack of tax revenue that leads to lack of funding for emergency services like fire departments is simply unsafe and unsustainable. A study done a few years back found that ⅔ of volunteer firefighters in the US report that their departments are underfunded with 86% of these heroic workers having to dip into their own pockets to buy supplies to keep their stations going. As I jot these statistics down, there is a runaway 10,000 acre wildfire burning a couple of hours north of me…

Meanwhile, Inc.com is pointing out,

“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the end of the Great Recession, small businesses have created 62 percent of all net new private-sector jobs. Among those jobs, 66 percent were created by existing businesses, while 34 percent were generated through new establishments (adjusted for establishment closings and job losses)”.

When communities have Go Local-style business alliances, they are capitalizing on the ability to create jobs, increase sales, and build up tax revenue that could make a serious difference not just to local unemployment rates, but to local safety.

4) Shaping policy

In terms of empowering communities to shape policy, there are many anecdotes to choose from, but one of the most celebrated surrounds a landmark study conducted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance which documented community impacts of spending at the local book and music stores vs. a proposed Borders. Their findings were compelling enough to convince the city not to give a $2.1 million subsidy to the now-defunct corporation.

5) Improving the local environment

A single statistic here is incredibly eye opening. According to the US Department of Transportation, shopping-related driving per household more than tripled between 1969-2009.

All you have to do is picture to yourself the centralized location of mainstreet businesses vs. big boxes on the outskirts of town to imagine how city planning has contributed to this stunning rise in time spent on the road. When residents can walk or bike to make daily purchases, the positive environmental impacts are obvious.

6) Improving residents’ health and well-being

A recent Cigna survey of 20,000 Americans found that nearly half of them always or sometimes feel lonely, lacking in significant face-to-face interactions with others. Why does this matter? Because the American Psychological Association finds that you have a 50% less chance of dying prematurely if you have quality social interactions.

There’s a reason author Jan Karon’s “Mitford” series about life in a small town in North Carolina has been a string of NY Times Best Sellers; readers and reviewers continuously state that they yearn to live someplace like this fictitious community with the slogan “Mitford takes care of its own”. In the novels, the lives of residents, independent merchants, and “outsiders” interweave, in good times and bad, creating a support network many Americans envy.

This societal setup must be a winner, as well as a bestseller, because the Cambridge Journal of Regions published a paper in which they propose that the concentration of small businesses in a given community can be equated with levels of public health.

Beyond the theory that eating fresh and local is good for you, it turns out that knowing your farmer, your banker, your grocer could help you live longer.

7) Realizing big-picture goals

Speaking of memorable stories, this video from ILSR does a good job of detailing one view of the ultimate impacts independent business alliances can have on shaping community futures:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=150&=&v=kDw4dZLSDXg

I interviewed author and AMIBA co-founder, Jeff Milchen, about the good things that can happen when independents join hands. He summed it up,

“The results really speak for themselves when you look at what the impact of public education for local alliances has been in terms of shifting culture. It’s a great investment for independent businesses to partner with other independents, to do things they can’t do individually. Forming these partnerships can help them compete with the online giants.”

Getting going with a Go Local campaign, the right way

If sharing some of the above with clients has made them receptive to further exploration of what involvement in an independent business alliance might do for them, here are the next steps to take:

  1. First, find out if a Go Local/Shop Local/Buy Local/Stay Local campaign already exists in the business’ community. If so, the client can join up.
  2. If not, contact AMIBA. The good folks there will know if other local business owners in the client’s community have already expressed interest in creating an alliance. They can help connect the interested parties up.
  3. I highly, highly recommend reading through Amiba’s nice, free primer covering just about everything you need to know about Go Local campaigns.
  4. Encourage the client to publicize their intent to create an alliance if none exists in their community. Do an op ed in the local print news, put it on social media sites, talk to neighbors. This can prompt outreach from potential allies in the effort.
  5. A given group can determine to go it alone, but it may be better to rely on the past experience of others who have already created successful campaigns. AMIBA offers a variety of paid community training modules, including expert speakers, workshops, and on-site consultations. Each community can write in to request a quote for a training plan that will work best for them. The organization also offers a wealth of free educational materials on their website.
  6. According to AMIBA’s Jeff Milchen, a typical Buy Local campaign takes about 3-4 months to get going.

It’s important to know that Go Local campaigns can fail, due to poor execution. Here is a roundup of practices all alliances should focus on to avoid the most common pitfalls:

  1. Codify the definition of a “local” business as being independently-owned-and-run, or else big chain inclusion will anger some members and cause them to leave.
  2. Emphasize all forms of local patronage; campaigns that stick too closely to words like “buy” or “shop” overlook the small banks, service area businesses, and other models that are an integral part of the independent local economy.
  3. Ensure diversity in leadership; an alliance that fails to reflect the resources of age, race, gender/identity, political views, economics and other factors may wind up perishing from narrow viewpoints. On a related note, AMIBA has been particularly active in advocating for business communities to rid themselves of bigotry. Strong communities welcome everyone.
  4. Do the math of what success looks like; education is a major contributing factor to forging a strong alliance, based on projected numbers of what campaigns can yield in concrete benefits for both merchants and residents.
  5. Differentiate inventory and offerings so that independently-owned businesses offer something of added value which patrons can’t easily replicate online; this could be specialty local products, face-to-face time with expert staff, or other benefits.
  6. Take the high road in inspiring the community to increase local spending; campaigns should not rely on vilifying big and online businesses or asking for patronage out of pity. In other words, guilt-tripping locals because they do some of their shopping at Walmart or Amazon isn’t a good strategy. Even a 10% shift towards local spending can have positive impacts for a community!
  7. Clearly assess community resources; not every town, city, or district hosts the necessary mix of independent businesses to create a strong campaign. For example, approximately 2.2% of the US population live in “food deserts”, many miles from a grocery store. These areas may lack other local businesses, as well, and their communities may need to create grassroots campaigns surrounding neighborhood gardens, mobile markets, private investors and other creative solutions.

In sum, success significantly depends on having clear definitions, clear goals, diverse participants and a proud identity as independents, devoid of shaming tactics.

Circling back to the Web — our native heath!

So, let’s say that your incoming client is now participating in a Buy Local program. Awesome! Now, where do we go from here?

In speaking with Jeff Milchen, I asked what he has seen in terms of digital marketing being used to promote the businesses involved in Buy Local campaigns. He said that, while some alliances have workshops, it’s a work in progress and something he hopes to see grow in the future.

As a Local SEO, that future is now for you and your fortunate clients. Here are some ways I see this working out beautifully:

Basic data distribution and consistency

Small local businesses can sometimes be unaware of inconsistent or absent local business listings, because the owners are just so busy. The quickest way I know to demo this scenario is to plug the company name and zip into the free Moz Check Listing tool to show them how they’re doing on the majors. Correct data errors and fill in the blanks, either manually, or, using affordable software like Moz Local. You’ll also want to be sure the client has a presence on any geo or industry-specific directories and platforms. It’s something your agency can really help with!

A hyperlocalized content powerhouse

Build proud content around the company’s involvement in the Buy Local program.

  • Write about all of the economic, environmental, and societal benefits residents can support by patronizing the business.
  • Motivated independents take time to know their customers. There are stories in this. Write about the customers and their needs. I’ve even seen independent restaurants naming menu items after beloved patrons. Get personal. Build community.
  • Don’t forget that even small towns can be powerful points of interest for tourists. Create a warm welcome for travelers, and for new neighbors, too!

Link building opportunities of a lifetime

Local business alliances form strong B2B bonds.

  • Find relationships with related businesses that can sprout links. For example, the caterer knows the wedding cake baker, who knows the professional seamstress, who knows the minister, who knows the DJ, who knows the florist.
  • Dive deep into opportunities for sponsoring local organizations, teams and events, hosting and participating in workshops and conferences, offering scholarships and special deals.
  • Make fast friends with local media. Be newsworthy.

A wellspring of sentiment

Independents form strong business-to-community bonds.

  • When a business really knows its customers, asking for online reviews is so much easier. In some communities, it may be necessary to teach customers how to leave reviews, but once you get a strategy going for this, the rest is gravy.
  • It’s also a natural fit for asking for written and video testimonials to be published on the company website.
  • Don’t forget the power of Word of Mouth Marketing, while you’re at it. Loyal patrons are an incredible asset.
  • The one drawback could be if your business model is one of a sensitive nature. Tight-knit communities can be ones in residents may be more desirous of protecting their privacy.

Digitize inventory easily

30% of consumers say they’d buy from a local store instead of online if they knew the store was nearby (Google). Over half of consumers prefer to shop in-store to interact with products (Local Search Association). Over 63% of consumers would rather buy from a company they consider to be authentic over the competition (Bright Local).

It all adds up to the need for highly-authentic independently-owned businesses to have an online presence that signals to Internet users that they stock desired products. For many small, local brands, going full e-commerce on their website is simply too big of an implementation and management task. It’s a problem that’s dogged this particular business sector for years. And it’s why I got excited when the folks at AMIBA told me to check out Pointy.

Pointy offers a physical device that small business owners can attach to their barcode scanner to have their products ported to a Pointy-controlled webpage. But, that’s not all. Pointy integrates with the “See What’s In Store” inventory function of Google My Business Knowledge Panels. Check out Talbot’s Toyland in San Mateo, CA for a live example.

Pointy is a startup, but one that is exciting enough to have received angel investing from the founder of WordPress and the co-founder of Google Maps. Looks like a real winner to me, and it could provide a genuine answer for brick-and-mortar independents who have found their sales staggering in the wake of Amazon and other big digital brands.

Local SEOs have an important part to play

Satisfaction in work is a thing to be cherished. If the independent business movement speaks to you, bringing your local search marketing skills to these alliances and small brands could make more of your work days really good days.

The scenario could be an especially good fit for agencies that have specialized in city or state marketing. For example, one of our Moz Community members confines his projects to South Carolina. Imagine him taking it on the road a bit, hosting and attending workshops for towns across the state that are ready to revitalize main street. An energetic client roster could certainly result if someone like him could show local banks, grocery stores, retail shops and restaurants how to use the power of the local web!

Reading America

Our industry is living and working in complex times.

The bad news is, a current Bush-Biden poll finds that 8/10 US residents are “somewhat” or “very” concerned about the state of democracy in our nation.

The not-so-bad news is that citizen ingenuity for discovering solutions and opportunities is still going strong. We need only look as far as the runaway success of the TV show “Fixer Upper”, which drew 5.21 million viewers in its fourth season as the second-largest telecast of Q2 of that year. The show surrounded the revitalization of dilapidated homes and businesses in and around Waco, Texas, and has turned the entire town into a major tourist destination, pulling in millions of annual visitors and landing book deals, a magazine, and the Magnolia Home furnishing line for its entrepreneurial hosts.

While not every town can (or would want to) experience what is being called the “Magnolia effect”, channels like HGTV and the DIY network are heavily capitalizing on the rebirth of American communities, and private citizens are taking matters into their own hands.

There’s the family who moved from Washington D.C. to Water Valley, Mississippi, bought part of the decaying main street and began to refurbish it. I found the video story of this completely riveting, and look at the Yelp reviews of the amazing grocery store and lunch counter these folks are operating now. The market carries local products, including hoop cheese and milk from the first dairy anyone had opened in 50 years in the state.

There are the half-dozen millennials who are helping turn New Providence, Iowa into a place young..

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How to Advertise in Facebook Marketplace: What Marketers Need to Know

Have you heard of Facebook’s Marketplace ad placement? Want to know how to place your Facebook ad campaigns in Marketplace? In this article, you’ll learn how to advertise your products and services in Facebook Marketplace. Why Consider Facebook Marketplace for Ad Placement? Marketplace is Facebook’s equivalent to eBay and Craigslist. The major advantage it has

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The Rules of Link Building – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

Are you building links the right way? Or are you still subscribing to outdated practices? Britney Muller clarifies which link building tactics still matter and which are a waste of time (or downright harmful) in today’s episode of Whiteboard Friday.

https://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/jhb2ut1to2?seo=false&videoFoam=true

The Rules of Link Building

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Happy Friday, Moz fans! Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we are going over the rules of link building. It’s no secret that links are one of the top three ranking factors in Goggle and can greatly benefit your website. But there is a little confusion around what’s okay to do as far as links and what’s not. So hopefully, this helps clear some of that up.

The Dos

All right. So what are the dos? What do you want to be doing? First and most importantly is just to…

I. Determine the value of that link. So aside from ranking potential, what kind of value will that link bring to your site? Is it potential traffic? Is it relevancy? Is it authority? Just start to weigh out your options and determine what’s really of value for your site.

II. Local listings still do very well. These local business citations are on a bunch of different platforms, and services like Moz Local or Yext can get you up and running a little bit quicker. They tend to show Google that this business is indeed located where it says it is. It has consistent business information — the name, address, phone number, you name it. But something that isn’t really talked about all that often is that some of these local listings never get indexed by Google. If you think about it, Yellowpages.com is probably populating thousands of new listings a day. Why would Google want to index all of those?

So if you’re doing business listings, an age-old thing that local SEOs have been doing for a while is create a page on your site that says where you can find us online. Link to those local listings to help Google get that indexed, and it sort of has this boomerang-like effect on your site. So hope that helps. If that’s confusing, I can clarify down below. Just wanted to include it because I think it’s important.

III. Unlinked brand mentions. One of the easiest ways you can get a link is by figuring out who is mentioning your brand or your company and not linking to it. Let’s say this article publishes about how awesome SEO companies are and they mention Moz, and they don’t link to us. That’s an easy way to reach out and say, “Hey, would you mind adding a link? It would be really helpful.”

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7 Ingredients of Great B2B Marketing Teams

great b2b marketing teams

B2B marketing is harder than ever before.

More tools. More technology. More competition. More customer expectations.

Every B2B marketing team faces these same obstacles. Yet, some of them succeed disproportionately. Why?

great b2b marketing teamsI partnered with my friends at Teamwork.com to figure out the answer. We conducted a series of interviews with high-performing B2B marketing leaders to probe how they manage their people, how they use technology, and what they value and emphasize day-to-day.

We found seven commonalities that were present across essentially all of these great B2B marketing teams. They are seven ingredients for success, and several of them really surprised me.

(Note: We use Teamwork.com to manage every task and project at Convince & Convert, including this one. We’re huge advocates for the platform).

I worked with Ray Coppinger, Director of Marketing at Teamwork on a Webinar recently where we unveiled the seven ingredients. I very much encourage you to watch the replay, as it provides much more detail on these distinguishing characteristics and B2B marketing team dynamics.

I’ve summarized our findings below. The full Webinar replay is here.

Great B2B Marketing Teams: The Participants

In order to be a great B2B organization, you must now employ and manage a superb marketing team. Today’s marketers must be fast, smart, nimble, and—at all times—data-driven.

Peter Bell – Has more than 25 years of experience in marketing, with experience working with major Microsoft brands like Surface, Skype, Xbox, MSN and Windows. He is currently Senior Director of Marketing (EMEA) at Marketo.

David Cain – As Chief Marketing Officer at PlanGrid, responsible for driving market leadership, global awareness, demand generation, and strategic events. David has held B2B marketing leadership roles with leading SaaS companies, including Marketo, SuccessFactors, and OpenTable.

Robyn Itule – Until recently, Senior Manager of the Content and Creative team at Insight, leading a team that tells stories with text, multimedia, video, and visual design. Robyn sets the vision for content strategy that drives our brand journalism efforts by helping businesses run smarter.

Tim Kopp – Prior to joining Hyde Park Venture Partners, Tim was the CMO of ExactTarget and CMO at Webtrends. He’s run interactive marketing for Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble and serves as an adviser and board member to many others.

Kyle Lacy – He’s obsessed with how technology influences and ultimately changes human behavior. Kyle has previously lead content and marketing at ExactTarget and Salesforce.

Nancy Laviolette – Nancy is a forward-thinking marketing professional. She offers a unique combination of creativity and analytical skills, and uses her ability to assess both of these vantage points simultaneously to deliver an effective balance of visual nuance and sound business decisions that ultimately enables strong brands recognition.”

Jeff Rohrs – Author, recovering attorney, bacon-lover, and Clevelander-at-heart who serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Yext in New York City. Jeff was VP of Marketing Insights at ExactTarget prior to joining Yext.

Elizabeth Sosnow – Elizabeth is Managing Partner at Bliss Integrated Communication where she is a part of the management team responsible for the company’s overall operations and strategic direction. She has been named a “B2B Social Media Thinker,” “100 People to Watch in PR” and runner-up “B2B Twitterer of the Year.”

Karen Steele – Karen brings over 25 years of B2B technology marketing experience to LeanData as their CMO. Karen has held executive roles at VMware, Informatica, Xactly, and most recently Marketo.

Great B2B Marketing Teams: 7 Success Ingredients

There is not a magic pill or a one-size-fits-all solution to building a highly successful team. What I did find, however, were seven themes that surfaced repeatedly in my interviews with marketing leaders:

1. Hire for Corporate Culture

Even though marketing is becoming more data-driven and specialized, these leaders still look for cultural fit first, perhaps more so than experience and expertise.

When I asked Peter Bell from Marketo about how he hires the right employees for his organization, he’s looking for three things: skills, experience, and then cultural fit. Can you guess which he values most?

“Cultural fit is possibly the most important because I can train for the rest of it. There are some roles where I am prepared to train. There are some roles where I’m not,” he said.

2. Make Success Metrics Transparent

Each team has their own measurements and style but everyone knows the importance of goal accountability.

The key is that all members of the team are clear on WHAT the scoreboard is, and each has access to real-time view of how they are tracking.

Lessonly’s VP of Marketing Kyle Lacy knows exactly what his team is responsible for and how they’re tracking their measurables, and that’s a good thing since I’m an investor in the company!

“We have many goals that are known and public within the marketing team. We’re responsible for leads, MQL (marketing qualified leads), and ACV (average customer value). We even have a goal for demo ratings. Each time sales does a software demo, they rate it 1-5. If they score it below a 3 in quality of prospect, we meet to determine why,” explained Kyle.

3. Align With Sales

As customers self-educate deeper in the funnel before talking to a sales rep, marketing’s role increases drastically. Marketing’s impact, in theory, has the same outcome as hiring more reps. The best B2B marketing teams are closely aligned with sales, and view their job as empowering the success of the sales department.

According to the Aberdeen Group, aligned sales and marketing teams show 400% higher annual revenue growth than do non-aligned teams.

Jeff Rohrs of Yext is certainly an advocate of this alignment.

“Our approach is to understand at a deep level what’s going on in the sales opportunities, and we want our marketers in those calls hearing what’s important, what’s moving, where they can potentially add some relationship building efforts,” he said.

The way Jeff has positioned his team as a partner to both the customer and the sales team is something I really love. Having the unfiltered access to the information and feedback only makes it easier for all parties moving forward, especially as new programs are rolled out or other marketing materials need to be tweaked.

“It’s imperative they be on those calls and hear those conversations. It’s another set of ears, and experience we can deploy based on what they learn in those calls.”

4. Prioritize Projects

Marketers have more projects to tackle than ever and keeping tabs on each of them can become a full-time job in and of itself. In short, it’s hard to determine which tools are right for your business.

Using a project management system like Teamwork Projects helps keep everyone organized and on-task, but prioritizing what projects to tackle, and when, is a huge driver of B2B marketing success.

So how do our group of all-stars handle tools, priorities, and the goals they serve?

For starters, they begin with their most essential apparatus: strategy.

“What kills most CMOs within a year or 18 months”, says Tim Kopp of Hyde Park Ventures, “is that they don’t know how to prioritize. You need to figure out sequentially how are you going to go and knock down the dominoes and drive massive prioritization. I think it’s part art, part science.”

5. Provide Real-time Feedback

Successful B2B marketing leaders are constantly providing input to their teams. They may have annual review cycles, but they don’t wait for those to praise or course-correct their people.

This ingredient is closely associated with hiring for corporate culture as it directly ties in with how all facets of the company (employee, management, and human resources) are gauging their progress.

Assuring that there is a forum for observations and reaction makes managing teams much less cumbersome and does wonders for eliminating any surprises that may be lurking in the shadows.

These times for feedback are not a way to find dirt, as David Cain pointed out – on the contrary, they’re a way for team members to work through any affair, good or bad.

Nancy Laviolette always tells her team to be on their toes. As she describes it, “Sometimes it’s like, “you, me, [conference] room, right now.”

As Robyn Itule sees it, “Feedback is a gift.” Of course, this feedback may not be easy to hear in every situation, but it’s essential to growth – and the sooner the better. This was something I heard loud and clear from all of our participants.

6. Encourage People to Solve Their Own Problems

No matter how good your strategy, no matter how perfect your tools, and no matter how wonderful your people – disagreement and dilemmas will happen. Really, it’s okay to say it.

When disputes arise, however, great marketing teams almost invariably solve the problems themselves. They do so with outstanding communication between the affected parties.

No tattling, or asking Mom or Dad to intervene, as Elizabeth Sosnow, Managing Partner of Bliss Communications, puts plainly.
While no marketer is looking to sow or create conflict, the ability to create a culture where people are able to come to a resolution, without senior intervention, is crucial to growth.

“In our team, one of the things that we’ve tried to do is to help people if they don’t naturally feel comfortable become candid. Dissension, negativity, and arguments happen almost always if someone isn’t direct and honest,” Sosnow told me.

7. Focus on Storytelling

There are lots of tactics, playbooks, and metrics in B2B marketing – maybe more than ever. But ultimately, it’s about persuasion, and among today’s often-jaded customers, persuasion comes best in story format.

Many of our marketing leaders mentioned storytelling as a key element of their success, and their growth.

Without a doubt, all of the technical pieces are essential to keeping the lights on – but automation, emails, and great Facebook ads don’t keep customers engaged and coming back for more.

To drive that kind of success, B2B marketing teams must focus on amazing stories that give people motivation to take action with you.

So many of our marketing leaders mentioned the key need for storytelling to generate B2B success, but no one did it quite as eloquently as Karen Steele, CMO of LeanData.

“You still must have a singular brand level value proposition. Who the heck are you and what do you stand for? Never, ever deviate from that, because if you lose that in the heart and mind of the customer, then it doesn’t matter what story you’re telling. If I can always be true to that brand promise, I’ll always be able to tell a great story, and get people to connect with me. Everybody’s talking about ‘engagement’, but you can’t do engagement without the promise and the story,” Steele explained.

Which of these 7 ingredients of great B2B marketing teams do you have? Which do you need to work upon? Grab the no-obligation Webinar replay for MUCH more detail on this subject.

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How to Build an Amazing Brand on Social Media Using Videos

How to Build an Amazing Brand on Social Media Using Videos

Let me give you a set of images. What comes to mind when you look at them.

Did any of these words come to your mind – Peace, non-violence, revolutionary.

Now, look at another image. Let’s see what you get.

Master chef, aggressive, successful. I hope I got at least one of them right.

So what did we do here? I gave you two images and mapped the words you associate with them. That’s exactly what brands do for companies or products.

Brand gives companies, products, and people a distinct identity. Brands are a symbol that people associate with. People associate Google with innovation and technology. They associate Sony with electronics and entertainment. It is important to build the right brand so that people experience the values associated with the brand when they come in contact with their products.

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