INBOUND 17: ‘HOW DO YOU CREATE AUTHENTICITY? WITH PASSION.’

The last day of Inbound 2017 has come around thick and fast. Over the last three days, I’ve heard from some of the most inspirational people in our industry who have hammered home how the future of marketing and business is changing.

Playing safe is not something to be encouraged. It is clear that to really make an impact today, it’s time to push the boundaries. For B2B businesses, that means a change in what they might be used to. It’s not about selling products; it’s about selling a revolutionary vision and empowering people. That’s the difference between a transactional (so old school) and an emotional message.

Here are my favourite moments from day three:

‘How do you create authenticity? With passion. It has to be real’ – John Cena

Finishing the day was the keynote from John Cena and, to be honest, I didn’t expect too much. I was pleasantly surprised. John Cena, for those who don’t know, is a global superstar. He’s the face of WWE wrestling, an actor, a rapper, and a campaigner for noble causes. He’s also incredibly switched on when it comes to business. As a man who has been at the top of the sports entertainment industry for over 15 years, he’s also an incredibly accomplished brand marketer.

His keynote was based on five basic questions he thinks all business professionals should ask themselves: ‘What does your company do? What do you do? Who is your audience? Do you ask enough questions? Do you love what you do?’

Sounds simple, right? And it is simple. However, as he pointed out, there are so many instances when the above questions are answered incorrectly. I’ve seen it. For example, one person in a company thinks their business does something completely different to another (it’s common in tech businesses). A strong business identity is needed to ensure all understand its vision.

John Cena believes his success is mainly around knowing his audience. Despite managerial pressure, he adapted early in his career because he saw a change in his audience. He took note, dropped his original persona, remodelled himself to fit what the newer, family audience wanted, and the rest is history.

It’s a simple question, but I still see so many businesses failing to understand who their audience is. Can you answer those five questions confidently?

‘Remember that marketing is the pulse of the business. Anything you do that’s well thought out, aligns with the goals of the company and has metrics that can be measured is a net positive’ – Ryan Macinnis, Voysis

My second highlight was about how businesses can scale their marketing effectively, without extra budget. We all want to do more with less, so this particularly piqued my interest.

Ryan MacInnis outlined some free ideas to help drive early stage metrics (increase site traffic, grow leads, own more market share, help close more deals, etc.). Here they are:

Build a plan around marketing moments’. This could be anything from your CEO appearing on a panel, a podcast going live, a new product announcement or a brand announcement. Once these moments have been identified, think about a content strategy and map around them.

Help sales close more deals with one pagers, case studies and battle decks. Partner with market leaders and customers to become the go-to business’. A simple way to boost metrics is to focus on how your content can help drive sales and awareness. Case studies are a great (and free) way to achieve this. Additionally, adding logos of your clients is an easy way to quickly boost credibility. Prospects want to know why clients work with you and how you empower them.

Partners should also be utilised. Build upon the relationships you have by producing partner content, such as an ebook or blog. If your partner has a bigger audience, it’s an easy way to increase brand awareness. As an extra bonus, your partner should promote that content for you. Mentions and backlinks are invaluable.

‘Write support documents about problems customers and prospects are having.’ This goes back to the general theme of thinking about your customers. Identify their pain points and provide solutions. Whether it’s a particular theme, a new feature or a set of common problems, support documents can quickly become a regular source of inbound traffic. They’ll also build credibility and trust!

After three months, see how your awareness metrics have changed. If they haven’t, understand why – is it a lack of content? Or is it a lack of creativity? At six months, you can then measure leads and customers (revenue, net new leads).

‘Continually optimise to see what works best with your audience’ – Michael Harf, Aquaspresso

Will Facebook work for my B2B business? It’s a question I’ve heard countless times. Michael Harf tackled the question and ruled conclusively in the favour of Facebook. Facebook is definitely not dead for B2B brands. In fact, it’s underused. Firstly, he debunked four myths:

Facebook is only for B2C

Facebook is just about brand awareness

My customers aren’t on Facebook

If it were effective, everyone in B2B would be doing it

All wrong! When done right, Facebook can be a powerful weapon in your armoury. Here are three tips to help:

Use Facebook lead adverts if you don’t have a big customer base already. Start with a wide net, and then filter down to an engaged audience. Target a warmer audience (anyone who has liked, shared or commented on the original lead advert) with a conversion advert.

Utilise interest and behaviour groups. Create an ad and choose your objective (lead gen or conversions). Set your demographics and then select relevant interest groups. For example, ‘marketing technology’ or ‘business’. You can also try targeting the person, rather than interests. Try Facebook page admins, CEOs, founders, premium credit card owners, those who own an Apple device, etc.

Remarket to past visitors (the easiest of them all as the audience will already know you).

Embrace Facebook, rather than cast it aside as merely a B2C tool.

To wrap it up, here is a final quote I liked from today:

‘We are entering a visual revolution. We now make purchase decisions not only on function but also on aesthetics. If it looks good, we click it’ – Nadya Khoja, Venngage.

It’s been a memorable three days here at Inbound 2017, rounded off when we bumped into the co-founder of HubSpot, Dharmesh Shah. I can confirm he’s a great guy! Check out his keynote from day one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GavdzT01_nU&t=32s

For more on day three check out our video recap below. Additionally, find out what happened on day’s one and two.

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