As the talent that drives the B2B marketing world re-evaluates the meaningfulness, purpose and balance of their work and personal life, many B2B brands are also working hard to elevate how they do business. From creating better marketing experiences for customers to improving the employee experience, connecting the work to a purpose that is about more than profits and revenue is increasingly important.
But here’s the thing, it’s always been time for B2B brands to think and act on opportunities to improve opportunities for the people that power the company from front line workers in customer call centers to engineers and analysts to senior executives. While many B2B brands understand the importance of optimizing career opportunities for greater employee retention and attraction, not all have the benefit of insight about what up and coming or successful leaders really want.
To understand what is needed for B2B marketing career elevation in 2022, I’ve connected with top marketing executives from the Women Who Rock in B2B Marketing list we published recently. This diverse group of B2B Marketing leaders share their best advice on what up and coming marketing talent can do to elevate their marketing careers. These insights are as useful for the B2B marketing leaders of tomorrow and as they are to business to business brands that want to optimize employee experiences.
If you want elevate your own B2B marketing career and even the B2B marketing industry, take this advice to heart:
As marketing leaders, we have all been given a platform from which others have granted permission to speak into their lives. Every word and picture shared becomes a platform that will influence—whether consciously or subconsciously—the people on the other side of the screen. There is also a responsibility that comes with that capacity to influence. You have a platform. Your career does not have to be just a career – it can be a platform for transformation. @tyrona
Director, Market Engagement
The B2B Institute at LinkedIn
It doesn’t matter what marketing role you are in, understand your products really well. Become an expert. Get to know your product marketers and your product developers. Marketing becomes much easier when you know the ins and outs of what you are marketing. Your product knowledge will help you understand your customers and their pain points better. It will also help you develop your confidence and gain credibility with others on your team. @srijanaa
Director, Social Media & Influencer Marketing
We are in a different era now where uncertainty is constant and being the change agent will help evolve you as an effective & fearless marketer! Always seek the opportunity to acquire new ways to do marketing because the ability, confidence to pivot and adapt to the unknown will be the most valuable skill set you’ll ever have. While you do that, find space and room to refresh yourself to be open up to more creativity and energy. You will need it in this new world! @sompny
VP of Global Marketing
My advice is to keep a hype file on yourself as well as other marketers you admire. Share the accomplishments that you make note of along the way generously in your writings, conversations, talks, etc. Everybody loves to be bragged on and it has the halo effect of elevating the entire marketing profession. @ranimani0707
Head of Employee Advocacy
Stay obsessed about your customers and think through their lens in every aspect of your B2B marketing. Too often we get caught up in product features and benefits as opposed to what problems are we solving for our customers and more importantly what value are we adding to their business. This will also help in humanizing the brand, the content we create and the stories we tell to drive awareness and meaningful engagement with our brand. @priaramesh
VP, Global Corporate Communications
There are three aspects that I’d encourage young B2B marketers to focus on:
1. Cultivate strategic thinking by crafting well-rounded marketing plans
2. Build martech acumen through an understanding of workflows and platforms
3. Understand your audience by reaching out to them directly, not just marketing to them. @PamDidner
B2B and Tech Marketing Consultant, Author, Speaker
Make Storytelling Excellence one of your top goals in 2022. Wherever you are in the brand storytelling journey, aspire to tangible deliverables in your storytelling strategy as part of your marketing efforts. This includes defining a plan on how you can best design and tell your brand story considering inclusion, market trends, thought leadership and your customers which are all continuously evolving. @MiriRod
Senior Storyteller Future of Work
The first piece of advice I would give to up-and-coming marketers is to love what you do. When you’re excited about your industry and market, it makes it easier to be excited about your job. Also important is building your network, and what I like to call the Circle of Influence: a colleague you can turn to for support, a mentor who can coach and guide you, and a sponsor who will advocate for your career. And finally—invest in yourself. Never stop learning. @Luxythu
Head of Global Partner Marketing
Steer clear of the “work harder” trap. The hardest worker doesn’t always succeed but they will likely burn themselves out and/or become very frustrated. A mentor once looked at the hours I was keeping and literally asked me what was I doing. The hours I was keeping showed that I wasn’t very good at delegation or getting work done thru others. He told me me that I needed to master the art of “making it look easy”. He shared that if it appeared I was struggling at my level no one would dare promote me. That has always stuck with me. @LMcCadney
Director, Marketing Delivery
“Seek first to understand before being understood.” Do this with your boss, your colleagues, and your audience, and you’ll be highly effective. Most people do it in the opposite order. @judytian07
Senior Brand & Community Marketing Manager
The most effective, highest converting product content you can create to share with prospects are verbatims from existing customers. Find ways to bring your customers together, in conversation, discussing common challenges and how they are tackling them. Their solutions will inevitably include mentions of your products, but instead of sounding like Marketing-speak, your product benefits will be voiced in the authentic language used by practitioners, establishing the trusted relationship so critical in B2B sales. @gailmoody
Chief Marketing Officer
Take an integrated approach to your leadership framework by focusing on the impact you make on your company, profession, and community. Broaden your understanding of the entire enterprise so you know how the company wins–beyond marketing. As you grow in your career, engage in organizations that advance the profession and your industry. Be sure to follow your passions and help enhance the communities where you live, work, and play. @CSteeleFlippin
Dr. Candace Steele Flippin
SVP and Chief Communications Officer
Be intentional about surrounding yourself and learning from those who are different than you. Embrace diversity in all its forms, be curious, mindful of biases, and listen to and appreciate the stories and experiences of others. Doing so will not only make you a better marketer. You’ll find as your career progresses that embracing diversity will make you a stronger leader and someone who is able to bring people together to achieve a common goal. That is incredibly powerful today and will no doubt be critical to success in the future! @anavillegas
Chief Marketing Officer
As companies have boards shouldn’t you have one to help guide your career? As you move through your career from your first role and up, ask the people who you want learn from to be your mentor and serve as your unofficial group of guides or career coaches – basically a handful of people you can turn to with questions or concerns. You will need insight from people with different perspectives to help guide your career from finding jobs to navigating work life balance to learning new areas of marketing, expanding your horizons or landing important promotions, so ask a variety of people. @AmishaGandhi
A huge THANK you to these top B2B marketing professionals for sharing their advice for up and coming B2B Marketing leaders as well as their peers on how to elevate their careers!
I think we can all agree that the B2B marketing world could use some leveling up in many areas from humanizing B2B with authenticity to creating more meaningful and less mechanical marketing experiences. In particular, the B2B marketing industry could benefit from removing systemic barriers to inclusion, equality and diversity. From choices made in hiring marketing teams and promoting leaders to how customers are represented in marketing content, there are numerous opportunities for us to elevate the B2B marketing industry through greater diversity, equality and inclusiveness.
In times like these, there’s much inspiration to be found amongst those that are doing the work, creating impact and elevating others as a way to achieve business success. In that spirit of lifting others up, MLK said it well:
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Beyond following the sage advice of these B2B marketing professionals, another way you might elevate your career in marketing is to work with TopRank Marketing. We’re currently seeking a Director of Agency Marketing and a Senior Account Director. Check out all open roles here on our B2B marketing careers page.
The post How to Elevate Your B2B Marketing Career: Advice from Execs at Top B2B Brands appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
Editor’s note from Ludovic Blecher, Head of Google News Initiative Innovation: The GNI Innovation Challengeprogram is designed to stimulate forward-thinking ideas for the news industry. The story below by Kelsey Ryan, founder and publisher of The Beacon, is part of an innovator seriessharing inspiring stories and lessons from funded projects.
When I first started thinking about launching a digital news startup for Kansans and Missourians after getting laid off in 2018, I envisioned an investigative-only outlet. But that’s very different from how The Beacon looks today. Now it’s better, and here’s why.
After spending most of my career in for-profit newspapers, I thought “audience” was just about clicks and search engine optimization. It felt lacking in meaningful community connection. So when I was in the early phases of designing The Beacon — and building the confidence to do it — I grabbed coffee with a former colleague, who gave me the right advice at the right time: Stop talking to other journalists and start talking with people in the community about what they want in local journalism.
It sounds so obvious now, but suddenly it clicked. If we were to create a sustainable and public-serving news organization, we needed to talk to our community early and often. So we did. And that person who told me to stop talking to other journalists, Jennifer Hack Wolf, became The Beacon’s first employee, made possible with funding through the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge.
A participant in a community news listening event tells The Beacon’s Audience Development Director Jennifer Hack Wolf what’s missing in local news.
Our work to define and engage our audience for long-term sustainability includes a mix of qualitative and quantitative research, and an experimental approach.
What we have learned in this process is you can’t be all things to all people. But you can meet the news and information needs of segments of people in your community who want more than what they’re getting now. Here are some ways to do this work:
- Tabling at community events: Set up a booth or table with information about who you are and have an interactive activity where people can engage with you or provide feedback on a specific concern or topic. Candies or treats encouraged.
- Surveys: There are lots of free survey tools, including Google Forms. Try to keep surveys short and to the point, and don’t use leading questions. Always have an open-ended section where people can put their own feedback.
- Community listening sessions: In-person or virtual events with a third-party facilitator allow people to discuss two or three open-ended questions, spending 15-20 minutes going deep on each one. It’s important to just listen — don’t get defensive or try to pitch people about who you are or what you’re trying to do.
- Meet people where they’re at: Explore collaborating with other community partners on things like focused private online groups or pop-up text messaging campaigns to connect with new people in new ways and expand the pool of perspectives.
It turns out when we started talking to people, they told us they didn’t just want investigative reporting, like I had initially envisioned. Investigative journalism was important to them, but not the end-all, be-all. We found a big opportunity in solutions journalism and data journalism when people told us they wanted context: How did we get here? What are the trends? And they wanted to be more civically engaged: How can we get involved? How can we make change? How are other communities solving similar problems?
We had nearly 1,000 respondents to our initial surveys and found those people who attended our events (in person or virtual) were far more likely to become subscribers to our newsletter. By partnering with or interviewing people from established organizations with their own large audiences, we were able to grow our subscriber base because those organizations shared the event. 25% of our current 7,000 subscribers learned about us through this activity. We also found about 10% of our newsletter subscribers in the first year of publishing went on to become paying donors, with either one-time gifts or recurring monthly gifts. For recurring donors, $15 a month is our most popular level of giving.
After more than a year and a half, we feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface. But we’re already applying these concepts to our second newsroom in Wichita, Kansas, building on what we’ve learned and exploring ways we can take this work even further so we can truly be a sustainable, community-oriented news organization for years to come.