5 secrets to growing marketing influence: Co-founder & CEO, TopRank Marketing (watch the video)

A critical challenge that marketers face today is the crisis in confidence when it comes to marketing says Lee Odden, Co-founder & CEO, TopRank Marketing at exchange4media Group’s TechManch

e4m by Simran Sabherwal
Updated: Jun 27, 2018 5:19 PM

A critical challenge that marketers face today is the crisis in confidence when it comes to marketing.

With trust in business eroding, research data shows that 81% of consumers trust the advice of friends and families over business advice, 55% don’t trust companies they buy from as much as they used to, 66% don’t trust company press releases, 65% of individuals do not trust advertisements and 71% do not trust sponsored social media ads (HubSpot Research). This distrust in marketing also manifests in different ways as the tenure of CMOs is half that of CEOs. Also 73% of CEOs say that marketers lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient growth, 80% of CEOs don’t trust marketers but 91% trust CIOs and CFOs (Source: Fournaise Group).

Watch the full session here:

With these data-points, Lee Odden, Co-founder & CEO, TopRank Marketing started his presentation, ‘5 secrets to growing influence in marketing.” Added to this mix, many media platforms face credibility issues with issues such as fake news and inappropriate content making advertisers vary of associating with the concerned platforms. Another area of concern for consumers is how data that has been collected is used. Lee also throws light on what customers want brands to do, for starters 71% of customers want brands to safeguard personal data, 70% want to curb spread of fake news and 68% of consumers want to be shielded from offensive content (2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report). 
This raises the question as to what marketers can do to regain credibility and trust? To get this answered Lee said that he reached out to prominent influencers and CMO who are at the frontline of solving this problem. Lee recounts that

Recounting his journey, Odden narrated some of the key lessons he learnt. He says, “The idea of specificity is incredibly impactful. Stand for something specific as that will help you rise to the top in a sea of noise. Create signals of credibility for that specific thing in all the places where your customers spend their time. What you stand for and your unique selling proposition (USP) need to be aligned as this is an incredible way of achieving credibility and authority.” The second lesson he says he learnt was that “everyone is influential….. and a holistic view of what/who is influential opens many doors to effectiveness.”

The other point he raised was the importance of ‘we’ , whether it was in crowd sourcing and democratising the marketing function. He explains that when you involve the people who you are catering to into your marketing in the creation of your marketing content, it inspires them to help make your marketing successful which then helps you being seen as credible. Odden says, “Working with influencers drives value across the entire customer lifecycle. If you are in the marketing department and you don’t have a lot of resources, developing a community of collaborators is an incredible way to scale quality content. You can attract people who have audiences that you have a hard time reaching, such as audiences who use ad-blocks, but who trust peers, friends and experts. You can engage people who have unique and interesting content creation skills that doesn’t exist in your marketing department to create engaging content. You can work with trusted influencers to increase conversion rates.” In addition, it is important to understand what and who influences buyers.

5 secrets to growing influence in marketing

1. Accelerate Internal and External Credibility

Odden says that it is important to find out the primary business problems faced by the management and connect the marketing activities to help solve these problems. This helps marketers build credibility within the organisation. He says, “Connect with all stakeholders internally and collaborate with them. Also make sure that you give them recognition so that they are part of collaborating with you.” Externally, the marketer needs to create content that makes the brand the best answer for customers with personalised, compelling content experiences that include authentic, influential voices. He says it is not just about informing customers but making them feel which helps build credibility.

2. Double Down on Activating Customers

While a lot of time is spent in engaging with prospective customers, however as soon as the customer is acquired, it is only customer service that is the interactive touch-point. He aadds that increasing customer retention by even 5% can lead to a 25% to 95% increase in company profits.

3. Work with Influencers to become influential

With influencer marketing being in focus, Odden lays down a three-step process. First, it is essential to connect with qualified, relevant influencers and find ways to collaborate on customer-focussed content. It is important to identify influencers who have the necessary expertise but also has a network that pays attention to the content that the influencer puts out. In the second stage, it is necessary to validate influencers and their audiences on a regular basis to ensure quality experiences. Finally, in brands must employ always-on listening and social engagements to ‘keep the love alive’ with a VIP influencer community of collaborators and advocates. “If you find things that the influencer and brands care about and if they work together on it, then everybody wins,” he says.

4. Create a Content Collaboration Ecosystem

Odden explains that as there is “only so much that a marketing department or company can do” but if you are able to create a community of VIP influencers who could be employees, prospective customers or industry or domain experts with channels of distributon, this helps create content of scale. He says, “Help others become influential and it will grow brand influence.”

5. Optimize Measurement to Customer RoI

The key questions that needs to be asked, Is your marketing reaching the right audience on the channels they’re influenced by?, Is your marketing creating meaningful and satisfying experiences where they want them? Are you creating raving fans? Is your marketing inspiring action across the customer journey, awareness to making decisions and purchase?

On a final note, Odden says, “If you want to be credible and have authority, invite people and influencers to collaborate and create content that is meaningful and more valuable than content you can make by yourself.”

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