Archiv für den Monat: Januar 2022

In-Person, Virtual & Hybrid: How To Get The Most From B2B Marketing Events In 2022

B2B marketers viewing remote event video.

B2B marketers viewing remote event video.

How can B2B marketers get the most from events in 2022, whether they’re in-person, all-virtual, or in any of several combinations of hybrid formats?

The marketing event landscape in 2022 may not be as topsy-turvy and uncertain as it was in 2021, yet there’s no shortage of questions many events are still facing. Some have chosen to hedge their bets as long as possible, waiting to see whether an in-person format will work for their audience. Others have gone all-in with one format or another, hoping that their event won’t have to make last-minute format changes as the winds of the pandemic shift.

After a near-total 98.1 percent drop in year-over-year in-person B2B exhibition industry performance during the third quarter of 2020, the most recent 56 percent decrease in the The Center of Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) index points to some progress on the slow road back to pre-pandemic, in-person B2B event totals.

Marketing Charts Image
Whatever an event’s format may be, B2B marketers can still enrich their professional learning and networking with the many real benefits that come from attending conferences.

My first involvement with technology conferences took place in the 1980s, when the Commodore hardware and software company I worked for — Progressive Peripherals and Software — would attend what was usually the world’s largest computer-related trade show, the annual COMDEX event in Las Vegas, with up to 225,000 attendees.

Later on in 1993, I was exploring options for taking the computer bulletin board system I’d operated since 1984 into new terrain, as rumblings of the nascent World Wide Web began, and attended one of the early online communications conferences, ONE BBSCON. Dr. Vinton Cerf, who in 1973 co-developed the TCP/IP protocol that the Internet uses, and who has worked for Google since 2005 as a vice president and chief Internet evangelist, spoke during the conference, and I still have the cloth ONE BBSCON attendee bag I got during the event. You can learn more about Dr. Cerf and the history of marketing on the Internet in my look at, “Classic Marketing Insights to Celebrate the Internet’s 50th Birthday.”

For a decade beginning in 2007 I was involved in the operational side of the event landscape, as lead editor for social media, digital marketing and search engine conference firm Pubcon.

Over the many decades I’ve been taking part in technology conferences, I’ve learned a few helpful tips for making the most of events.

Let’s look at how B2B marketers can get the most from the three primary varieties of events being held in 2022 — in-person, virtual, and hybrid.

[bctt tweet=““The closer you look at something,the more complex it seems to be.” — Vinton Cerf @vgcerf“ username=“toprank“]

1 — Capitalize On In-Person Opportunities

In-person events have a certain unique magical atmosphere that can’t quite be turned into a digital format with the same aplomb, and for B2B marketers fortunate enough to be attending in-person events in 2022, there are a few key advantages to focus on:

  • Human-to-human interactions
  • Forging deeper, in-person connections
  • Reuniting and reinforcing long-standing professional relationships
  • Building new business relationships

The human-to-human interactions real-world events provide are among the greatest advantages of the format, and savvy B2B marketers will make sure to capitalize on the opportunity to meet face-to-face with cohorts, existing and potential clients, event keynote and session speakers, and others.

Humanizing B2B marketing with newfound authenticity is in fact one of the year’s greatest opportunities for marketers, as our CEO Lee Odden recently elaborated on in, “Three of the Biggest Opportunities to Elevate B2B Marketing in 2022.”

In-person events certainly allow attendees to forge deeper connections, in sometimes subtle ways that can be difficult to simulate during an all-digital event.

Real-world events are known for their “conference family” atmospheres, as multi-year attendees form bonds that are strengthened at each subsequent in-person conference. Every conference gives off its own unique vibe, and during my time at Pubcon we were fortunate to attract a number of early search engine pioneers who didn’t attend any other events. It can be helpful to make a ranked list of who you most wish to meet at an in-person event.

Building new business relationships is often another advantage of in-person events, as typically the entire experience is built on bringing together people who don’t know each other to network — going beyond the traditional learning elements offered by keynotes and breakout sessions.

2 — Learn More From Virtual Events

During the pandemic, virtual events have gone from sometimes-kludgy afterthoughts to highly-polished and full-featured premium digital experiences.

Established events have found new audiences, and new events have risen up as virtual conferences have proliferated.

B2B marketers can benefit by keeping a few things in mind when taking part in virtual events:

  • All-virtual doesn’t have to mean digital-only
  • Take advantage of the unique aspects virtual offers
  • Don’t forget to share your digital learning with teammates and associates

Just because you’re attending a virtual event doesn’t mean it has to be a digital-only experience, as most events offer a multitude of convenient ways to communicate with fellow attendees, speakers, and sponsors. The key here is to study conference materials ahead of time, so that you’ll know where the event after-parties, social hours, or interactive one-on-one sessions are taking place.

A well-prepared attendee will not only have — depending on the size of the event — first, second, and third choices of concurrent sessions to attend, but will also know just when and in which online hangouts the conference’s bonus networking opportunities will be taking place.

Virtual events offer special advantages, often including the ability to go back and replay sessions you were a part of and wish to study in greater detail, or to watch all of those that you weren’t able to see live.

Taking what you’ve learned back to your organization and work associates is another way B2B marketers can get extra value from attending conferences, and with the digital-only events of today it’s easier than ever.

3 — Double-Up On Insight With Hybrid Events

The hybrid event truly came into its own in the later part of 2021, and this year the format is likely to see nothing but continued growth, as it combines the best of both real-world and digital experiences.

When attending hybrid events, B2B marketers can get the most by coming into the experience prepared to:

  • Take advantage of both in-person and virtual elements
  • Experience the best of each format
  • Respect associate decisions regarding in-person or virtual

B2B marketers fortunate enough to be attending hybrid events in 2022 should take part in at least some event elements in-person and others in all-digital formats. Hybrid events provide a unique networking opportunity, as attendees can interact with new associates both in the hallways or exhibition halls between sessions, but also in the online experiences the conference has lined up. It’s a one-two networking punch that can pay off even more than at all-digital or solely in-person events.

Not all attendees will be able to take advantage of the real-world portion of a hybrid conference, however, for a variety of reasons. This is another motivation to position yourself to take part in each of the event’s formats if you are able to, so that you have the opportunity to meet those who are attending only in one format.

Initial Challenges Can Strengthen Us In The End

via GIPHY

In 2022 some B2B marketers will attend, speak at, or exhibit during events taking place in all three of the formats we’ve explored, while others will experience just one form of event. No matter which form of marketing event you attend, the tips we’ve looked at here can give you Popeye-like strength at planning, putting you ahead of the game as you prepare, attend, and then apply the knowledge you’ve gained throughout the year ahead.

Be sure to catch our own CEO and co-founder Lee Odden presenting a virtual session presentation entitled, “How B2B Content Marketers Can Dominate in Search: Be the Best Answer,” on March 23, 2022 at 3:35 p.m. CEST, at the Content Marketing World Europe 365 event, and keep posted for information about additional TopRank Marketing event presentations throughout the year.

As a bonus, we wanted to share additional resources relating to how B2B marketers can benefit from the ongoing learning opportunities events offer. Below are several articles we’ve published about events B2B marketers can attend, and how to get the most from them.

Crafting award-winning B2B marketing that elevates, gives voice to talent, and humanizes with authenticity takes considerable time and effort, which is why an increasing number of firms are choosing to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact us to learn how we can help, as we’ve done for over 20 years for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.

The post In-Person, Virtual & Hybrid: How To Get The Most From B2B Marketing Events In 2022 appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Seven Google alerts SEOs need to stay on top of everything!

Seven Google alerts SEOs need to stay on top of everything!

30-second summary:

  • The search landscape is very dynamic and almost impossible to stay abreast of
  • While an SEO and search marketer’s email inbox can be overwhelming, it can also be a powerhouse that helps you stay in the loop of industry developments and keep an eye on the competition
  • These must-have, free Google email alerts will notify you when your site traffic drops or spikes, when your site is hacked, or when there’s a manual penalty applied to your site

SEO and search marketing are challenging because they’re scattered all over the place. Setting up email notifications is the best way to be on top of everything. Some essential email alerts include reputation monitoring alerts, competitors‘ social media activity, new backlinks, and more. In fact, Google offers email alerts on both Google Analytics and Search Console which is an absolute need for any website owner. I’ll cover all the essentials you need to set up!

Why are email alerts beneficial?

Speaking of setting up a separate email inbox, it is not a bad idea to keep this archive separate from your business emails. But it is a good idea to add that inbox to your smartphone mail app to be able to keep an eye while on the go.

  • Email alerts are hard to miss: I love dashboards that consolidate multiple sources of data under one roof but life gets too fast too often and I can neglect my dashboard for weeks in a row. An email notification is unavoidable. Even if there’s no time to read an email, I can quickly scan it while scrolling through new emails and immediately see if it needs my attention right away.
  • Emails get archived: This creates an ever-growing database of everything that has ever been happening with my site. I can search my archive any time to see what happened when and attribute any traffic changes to some alert
  • Email operators can be free: You can set up a free inbox at Gmail in seconds and continue using it for free for years until you run out of free space.

Google Analytics alerts

Getting notified of declining traffic is key for your ongoing organic visibility. It is the fundamental step behind a crucial SEO task called SEO maintenance.

Google Analytics offers a custom alerts feature allowing you to get notified if anything weird is happening with your traffic.

How do you do this?

Login to your Google Analytics dashboard > Customization > Custom Alerts > Click “Manage custom alerts” > Click “NEW ALERT”

1. Traffic drop alerts in Google Analytics

There are various ways you can set up traffic drop alerts in Google Analytics. Here’s the most basic one. Set up your criteria that will trigger an email alert, for example:

  • Set up traffic source to “Google”
  • Set up your trigger: For the sake of simplicity I just set it to notify me anytime my organic traffic drops below an unusual level

Source: Screenshot from the author

Don’t forget to check the box that says “Send me an email when this alert triggers” to receive an email notification once your traffic drops below a certain level.

You can also set up a certain percentage of the loss – this way you won’t have to modify your threshold as your traffic grows.

Source: Screenshot from the author

2. Referral or direct traffic spike alert

If any of your content assets is going viral, you want to know about that to be able to monitor the progress, help it spread even further, or reply to comments.

Likewise, if your product was mentioned by a social media influencer and suddenly everyone starts typing in your name to go buy from you, you should know immediately.

This is why this alert is a good idea to create.

For this alert, you can exclude Google from the sources of traffic to keep organic growth and declines from skewing your numbers:

Source: Screenshot from the author

3. Revenue drop alert

Finally, if you have Google Analytics for ecommerce set up, make sure to create this alert.

For this one, I keep traffic to all sources and choose “Revenue” in the “Ecommerce” section of the drop down. Again, you can set the percentage of the loss.

Take some time to estimate the threshold you want to be notified of. Keep in mind your slower days (weekends) or months and note those “normal” revenue declines.

Source: Screenshot from the author

There are also several more web analytics solutions, many of which also offer email notifications, so it doesn’t have to be Google Analytics.

4. Lower load time alert

Google Analytics records how long your page loads and reports on the metric allowing you to identify slower pages. Ever since site speed became a ranking factor, keeping an eye on your page load time has been crucial.

You can get notified by Google Analytics when your page average load time suddenly drops, so your dev team can quickly diagnose:

Source: Screenshot from the author

Google Search Console alerts

Google’s Search Console will send you email alerts of important changes or issues by default. You won’t need to set those up. All you need is to verify your site with Google’s Search Console (here’s how).

Search Console will immediately notify you of three important events:

5. Malware alert

When your site is hacked, you want to know immediately because it is a potential reputation crisis or any private data leak.

Google’s malware alerts are invaluable. If you needed a reason to verify your site with Search Console, this is the one. Google’s malware notifications are the fastest and the most accurate on the market. And they are free!

Source: Screenshot from the author

Monitoring your own website changes is also a good idea since you will be immediately notified if any code or text is injected on your pages so you can fix and avoid getting your site into Google’s “hacked sites” list.

6. Internal errors alert

If Google notices an unusual spike in indexation issues or internal errors, you will get an email from Search Console.

Source: Screenshot from the author

There are a few more monitoring solutions that will alert you as soon as your site is down or broken. Even though those are not marketing alerts, I recommend looking at those too.

7. Manual penalty alert

If you get a manual penalty, Google will send you an email alert for you to be able to quickly fix an issue. While I hope you’ll never get any of these, it gives you a certain peace of mind knowing that you’ll get notified if anything happens.

Conclusion

Getting notified is the best way to fix issues quickly to avoid lasting damage. Keep alerted of traffic drops, site attacks, competitors‘ social media activity, new links, and more.


Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

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The post Seven Google alerts SEOs need to stay on top of everything! appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Three Steps to Elevated B2B Marketing in 2022: Innovate, Collaborate, Accelerate

Elevated B2B Marketing 2022

Elevated B2B Marketing 2022

B2B marketers have faced unprecedented challenges over the past two years but I am one of those people that genuinely sees these times as an opportunity. Working in the marketing industry, especially at a B2B marketing agency, means being adaptable and engaged in a constant state of improvement aka ABO (always be optimizing).

Information overload, changing buyer behaviors towards digital first information experiences and the dramatic increase in content competition mean B2B marketers cannot win simply be creating more content or chasing the latest shiny object tactic.

In these times of elevated digital savviness and access to digital content consumption, creation and engagement, we are all creators. We are all influential. We are all in market to engage on topics relevant to the brands that serve us. As marketers, we are also increasingly pressed to prove our impact to the business.

Winning at B2B marketing in 2022 and beyond requires a more strategic approach to creating marketing experiences that are more empathetic to customers in ways that are differentiated from competitors that can can connect more authentically through partnerships with trusted voices in the industry at both a macro and micro level. The increased emphasis on marketing to prove its contribution to the business also means improved accountability for impact.

To help B2B marketers elevate their 2022 B2B content marketing more strategically, provide better experiences to customers and demonstrate impact to the business, here are three key areas of focus:

Innovate

Research shows there is more content being created now than ever but B2B company execs do not feel all this content is particularly valuable. To stand out, B2B marketers need to „break free of boring B2B‘ to escape the status quo trap of trying to win customer attention simply by creating more content. More than ever, it is important to create content that is more in lime with customer experience expectations.

Our own analysis and research has found that innovation of our content means going beyond creating blog posts, social content, presentations and reports to emphasizing short form videos for thought leadership as well as practical topics, episodic and story form content, publishing on story based platforms like IG reels, TikTok and even leveraging AI avatars for certain content creation.

Content innovation for your B2B brand might be similar or very different. The important thing is to be empathetic towards customer expectations and data informed with an emphasis on looking forward to how buyers are discovering, consuming and engaging with content. Of course there is a cost to experimenting with new content formats and speculating that becoming prominent in emerging publishing channels will help your brand stand out to customers. There is also a cost to reacting to the new challenges of digital first buyers and changing behaviors simply by creating more of the same kinds of content.

Collaborate

Virtually everyone in business is empowered to publish through any of a number of digital devices. Millenial and Gen Z generations are digital natives to electronic content consumption and creation. As B2B buyers increasingly pull themselves through the majorithy of the sales journey through researching solutions options through digital content, peer networks, search engines, social media and industry content, B2B brands have an opportunity to elevate their content marketing with authentic voices.

We’ve all seen statistics about the lack of trust customers have for brands and their advertising / marketing messages. We’ve also become increasingly aware of how important it is to have the trusted voices in the industry talking about and even advocating for our brand. Every day there are conversations about the very topics that drive buyers to choose solutions happening with people influential towards decision making.

B2B brands can either continue trying to push their own messages towards these buyers or they can become part of the conversation by engaging relevant industry experts, media and even prospects/customers in content collaboration. By identifying and targeting key industry influencers, prospects, media and cusotmers for content collaboration, B2B marketers can create value and impact in multiple ways:

  • Content collaborations that create value for contributors builds relationships with the brand
  • Collaborations help elevate visibility and credibility of contributors – which they will appreciate
  • Co-creating content can help create community around topics buyers care about must, building trust for the brand
  • Developing content collaboration can elevate a B2B brand amongst the most trusted voices in the industry
  • Engaging customers, industry experts and internal key opinion leaders can drive conversations that create real value for customers and drive purchase intent

Accelerate

In 2020 many B2B marketing budgets were put on pause and expectations for marketing to deliver impact increased significantly. As brands pivoted and embraced digital transformation, marketing budgets have opened up but those increased expectations for marketing to deliver value to the business have remained. Research has shown that new digital go-to-market models have performed as well better and B2B brands are not going back to their old „boring B2B ways“ anytime soon.

With these increased expectations of impact, B2B marketers must focus on acceleration. From moving prospects through the sales journey more quickly and in greater volume to increasing the size of deals, better sales and marketing collaboration and technology integration are essential. B2B brands must do a better job of leveraging customer insights for more personalized content experiences using strategies like Account Based Experiences supported by platforms like Demandbase (client).

Additionally, improved thought leadership can help B2B brands connect as a „best answer“ solution for buyers across the customer lifecycle from awareness to purchase to advocacy. Research being put out by The B2B Institute at Linked is incredibly insightful about these opportunities. B2B brands cannot afford to sit and wait for their content marketing to work like throwing digital spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. They must be proactive at elevating the marketing experience to create trust, credibility, confidence and speed of decision making with what we call „best answer content strategies“.

The changes that have occurred in the past few years in the B2B marketing world are not a speed bump for us to get over, they are a launching pad for something greater for our industry. In marketing and business, if you’re not growing you’re dying. The B2B marketing industry needs to continue the transformation started during the pandemic to elevate the marketing experiences for customers and impact for B2B brands. With a strategic approach to content innovation, collaboration and acceleration, B2B marketers can achieve all of those things and more.

The post Three Steps to Elevated B2B Marketing in 2022: Innovate, Collaborate, Accelerate appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

B2B Marketing News: More Executives Using Social, B2B Events Rebound, New Trust Barometer Data, Meta’s New Ad Policies, & Mobile Ad Spend Rises

2022 January 21 Edelman Chart

2022 January 21 Edelman ChartB2B Pros Worry About Leads Getting To The Right Person, Study Finds
58 percent of B2B marketers have said that they are only somewhat or not confident in their organization’s process for taking inbound leads to proper sales team members — one of several statistics of interest to digital marketers contained in recently-released survey data. MediaPost

More executives are turning to social media during the pandemic. [Report]
Some 56 percent of business executives have said that they are increasing their usage of social media due to the pandemic, with 68.4 percent expressing positive reactions to colleagues or leaders sharing industry news and content on social media, according to newly-released report data. PRWeekUS

[bctt tweet=““Social media is a great way to amplify the work that your team is doing and frankly, our next generation of leaders.” — Sarita Rao @saritasayso of @ATTBusiness“ username=“toprank“]

LinkedIn Adds New Courses on Building Your LinkedIn Presence, New Alert and Newsletter Tools for Company Pages
Microsoft’s LinkedIn has launched three new online courses of interest to digital marketers, while also releasing new details about forthcoming additional platform features including newsletters and audio events, LinkedIn (client) recently announced. Social Media Today

Last Year’s Global Ad Spend Said to Have Outperformed Pre-Pandemic Total by Almost 20%
A strong 29.1 percent increase of the digital ad spending category highlighted overall 2021 global advertising spending that outperformed pre-pandemic figures by nearly 20 percent, according to newly-release report data of interest to online marketers. MarketingCharts

Microsoft Removes Minimum Spend For Customer Match, Adds Shopping Enhancements
Microsoft has eliminated minimal spending requirements to utilize audience targeting with its Customer Match feature in Microsoft Advertising, and added several new features, as the firm increases its use of zero-party data, voluntarily shared information the firm makes use of for increased transparency and control, Microsoft recently announced. MediaPost

2022 January 21 Statistics ImageSocial Media Usage Statistics For Digital Marketers In 2022
There were nearly 10 percent more global social media platform users in 2021, representing a total of over 4.5 billion people, while 84 percent of the U.S. population now say that they use at least one social platform — two of numerous statistics examined in a new look at digital marketing usage. Search Engine Journal

Only 1 in 5 B2B Exhibitions Were Canceled in Q3
After a near-total 98.1 percent drop in year-over-year in-person B2B exhibition industry performance during the third quarter of 2020, the most recent 56 percent decrease in the The Center of Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) index points to progress on the slow road back to pre-pandemic in-person B2B event totals. MarketingCharts

Mobile Ad Spend Leapt 23% To $295B In 2021, 19% Jump Forecast For 2022
A robust 70 percent of overall digital advertising spending was accounted for by mobile during 2021, with mobile ad spend garnering a 23 percent increase, as globally some 3.8 trillion hours were spent on mobile during the year — three of numerous statistics of interest to digital marketers contained in recently-released report data. MediaPost

Meta Outlines Policy Requirements for Businesses Looking to Advertise and Sell on its Platforms
Facebook and Instagram parent firm Meta has rolled out information about forthcoming updated advertising policies, including some that will see the removal of certain targeting options used by marketers, Meta recently announced. Social Media Today

Edelman Finds ‚Vicious Cycle Of Distrust,‘ Puts Onus On Businesses, Brands
Edelman has released the 22nd edition of its Trust Barometer report, highlighted by a growing ‚vicious cycle of distrust,“ as fewer people have said that they trust the media, while some 58 percent have said they either buy or advocate for brands bases on their values and beliefs — two of many insights of interest to B2B marketers contained in the newly-released report. MediaPost

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2022 January 21 Marketoonist Comic Image

A lighthearted look at the “thought leadership” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Woman Bravely Powers Through Instagram Warning that She’s Been on App Too Long — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Demandbase — Considering Working With B2B Influencers? Read This First — MediaPost
  • Joshua Nite — 10 Ways to Adjust Your Current Marketing Strategies for Today’s Consumers — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — 5 Content Marketing Tips Using Webinars As An Example — Pepper Content

Have you run into own top B2B marketing news for the week? Please drop us a line in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us for this week’s TopRank Marketing B2B marketing news, and please return again next Friday for another examination of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us on our LinkedIn page, or at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: More Executives Using Social, B2B Events Rebound, New Trust Barometer Data, Meta’s New Ad Policies, & Mobile Ad Spend Rises appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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B2B Marketers: It’s Time to Make Inclusive Language a Priority. Here’s How.

Diverse Marketing Team Collaborating on Inclusive Language

Diverse Marketing Team Collaborating on Inclusive Language

If you’re in the business of marketing, I don’t need to tell you that words have power.

They have the power to influence. The power to endear. The power to alienate.

If you’re in the business of marketing, I don’t need to tell you how undesirable that last effect is.

It’s the risk today’s brands are running if they fail to make inclusive language a priority. The words used in content and communications speak volumes about a company’s values.

Following a few simple guiding principles can make a big difference in projecting a brand culture and community that are welcoming to all, both externally and internally.

Defining “Inclusive Language” in Marketing

Inclusive language, as defined by our friends and clients at LinkedIn, is language that “does not exclude or stereotype people based on race, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, ability, socioeconomic status, or any other characteristic.”

Examples of inclusive language cover a wide range of visible and invisible forms. There’s no set playbook to follow, because the recommended guidelines and best practices are fluid, just as language is.

LinkedIn Chart(Source: LinkedIn’s guide to Inclusive Language for Marketers)

Inclusive culture is a journey, not a destination. But it’s an extremely important one for B2B organizations to undertake. Emerging generations are more diverse than any before, and the modern world is more globally interconnected. Your future customers and employees want to see themselves reflected in your brand’s marketing. The stakes are high.

“The ability to communicate with all audiences is a sign of respect and demonstrates to prospective connections what to expect from your company,” says Rachel Douglas, Influencer Marketer. “Inclusive language can deepen relationships and leading brands understand the need to have an authentic, inclusive voice as part of their core identity.”

Why There’s “So Much Work to Be Done”

Last year, the AI-powered software company Creative X conducted an analysis of more than 3,500 image and video ads in the U.S. across popular CPG, beauty and alcohol brands, assessing representations of age, gender, skin tone and setting.

The study produced some stark findings:

  • Although more than half (55%) of ads feature female characters, male characters were 1.5x more likely to be shown in professional settings.
  • Characters with light to medium skin tones were shown twice as often in professional environments. Characters with darker skin tones were featured roughly half as frequently as their lighter-skinned counterparts — 18% compared to 8%.
  • Only 1% of ads included people over 60, and of those, less than 2% were featured in physical settings (i.e. offices).

“Female characters are historically four to six times more sexualized and less depicted as leaders,” according to Madeline Di Nonno, president and CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, in the aforementioned article. “And marginalized communities, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, they’re not even anywhere near the baseline population. There has been progress, but there’s so much work to be done.”

B2B brands and marketers have a key role to play in this work.

Taking the Journey Toward an Inclusive Culture

The single most important step marketing leaders can take today is to openly make inclusive language a priority.

Talk about it frequently in team meetings. Build it into your creative process. Seek different viewpoints on how a message or piece of content will be received by different audiences.

Moreover, here are some specific actions that will help embed inclusive language into your B2B marketing strategy:

  • Create an inclusive language style guide, highlighting words and phrases to avoid as well as recommended alternatives. To get you started, the American Psychological Association has a lengthy list of guidelines. Ideally, your guide should be tailored to your company and its specific values; it should also be a living, breathing document that evolves continuously over time.
  • Make diversity a focal point in hiring, across a variety of identity traits. Authentically infusing different worldviews and experiences into the creation of your marketing is the best way to make it resonate with diverse audiences.
  • Set the standard from up top. When executives and leaders make a point of using inclusive language and calling out opportunities to do so, it sets an example for others to follow. Consider providing managers with free trainings on inclusive language and its principles.
  • Review and evaluate past copy and content. Find instances of non-inclusive language from past content or ads (from your brand or others) and, as a team, identify better alternatives that could have been used. It’s helpful to see concrete, real-life examples to demonstrate more inclusive thinking.
  • Maintain open and honest communication. As we said earlier, inclusive language is fluid and ever-changing. That’s why it should never be a set-and-forget initiative. Encourage team members to speak up and share ideas about how your guidelines can and should change over time.

What Message Are You Sending?

Seemingly small word choices and linguistic decisions can have a dramatic impact on how their source is perceived by readers or listeners. Keep in mind that nobody is expected to be perfect, and your audience will likely be forgiving of missteps if the intentions are clear and genuine.

The journey is well worth taking. As Maysa Akbar, Chief Diversity Officer for the APA, explains: “By embracing inclusive language and encouraging others to do the same, we firmly believe that we will not only communicate effectively with more people, but also better adapt to a diversifying society and globe.“

There’s work to be done, but B2B marketers are uniquely equipped to help their companies accomplish it. If you’re ready to make inclusive language a priority in your strategy, but unsure where to start, here are some valuable resources:

  • Last year, LinkedIn not only created a pocket guide, but also a full learning course covering key marketing-focused elements like making a business case for inclusive language.
  • This inclusive marketing resources roundup from Search Engine Land includes links to a bevy of useful materials, such as Harvard’s Implicit Association Test to evaluate your own biases, and guidance around website accessibility.

TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden wrote on our blog about how marketers can become more inclusive with content and influencers.

The post B2B Marketers: It’s Time to Make Inclusive Language a Priority. Here’s How. appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com