Archiv für den Autor: Andreas

Brave New World: The Model for B2B Marketing Success, Post-Pandemic

Business Meeting in Office with Masks Image

Business Meeting in Office with Masks Image

“The new normal.”

I believe that’s what we would call the opposite of a compelling lede. Nobody wants to hear that phrase anymore, I know it. While that may be the case, it’s an unavoidable truth that our world does, and will, look different in many ways following a globally disruptive pandemic.

Savvy business and marketing leaders are already planning proactively for what lies ahead. They’re assessing what’s changed in the past year, analyzing trends and indicators, and optimizing their strategies to thrive within an altered economic and social environment.

We’re here to help. Read on for research and recommendations that will help you equip your B2B organization for maximum success going forward.

5 Keys to Success in a Brave New World of B2B Marketing

If the last year has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. But that doesn’t mean marketers can’t plan intelligently. While we may still be in a period of flux, the reshaped business environment is coming into focus.

Core fundamentals remain the same: Build awareness, build trust, build loyalty. Be the best answer. Deliver customer experiences that differentiate.

The way we go about accomplishing these things, however, will not be the same. Here are a few key areas I recommend prioritizing and aiming to optimize.

1 — Rethink Marketing Events and Experiences

In-person events will gradually return in some capacity, but even if you value the networking and promotional opportunities these occasions provide, the smart move is not to wait.

Rethink how you deliver experiences, and double down on digital engagement. Collaborate and orchestrate with friendly parties in the same way as partnering organizations do in bringing physical events to life. Bring influencers to your audiences in new ways, turning them into your keynote speakers.

With hybrid workplaces likely to be a permanent reality, much attention is being paid to creating equity and shared experiences for employees both remote and on-site. We should be thinking about audiences and business prospects under this same paradigm, because traveling for meetings or industry events will be substantially less common for a long while – if not forever.

2 — Focus on Doing a Few Things Extremely Well

No business has limitless resources. Spreading your chips too thinly will lead to sub par returns across the board. Instead, decide where you want to truly excel, and channel your full energy into it.

Recently our Joshua Nite wrote about how to create a podcast that rises above the noise. He rightfully points out that, while there is an enormous appetite for the format, there is also a staggering abundance of options. The stakes are high for breaking through.

Joshua’s recommended set of steps is not overly complicated, but does require real investment – of time, budget, and creativity. At TopRank Marketing, we’ve seen our clients and plenty of other B2B brands achieve stellar results through podcasting, but it takes an aligned vision and full buy-in.

The same goes for influencer marketing, building communities, shooting video/live-streams, or creating any content resource for your audience.

If you’re not going to do it right, why bother?

3 — Executive Thought Leadership: The Face of the Franchise

In sports, the “face of the franchise” refers to a superstar player, broadly associated with their team by fans at large. They sell jerseys and tickets. Marketers for these teams wisely play up these magnetic attractions in promo materials.

I’m not saying your CEO is Mike Trout. But company leaders get to where they’re at for a reason, and many brands can benefit from elevating these respected executive voices.

Executive thought leadership is a fast-rising strategic emphasis, and with good reason. According to LinkedIn*:

  • 86% of people say they expect CEOs to publicly speak out about societal challenges
  • 56% of professionals say a business executive’s presence on social media positively influences their purchase decision?
  • 66% say they would be more likely to recommend a company or brand if they followed a company executive on social media

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: people do business with other people, not with brand logos. When executives are active and outspoken with their perspectives and industry commentary, it helps put a human face behind the company’s values and expertise. This mattered to customers before the pandemic, and it will surely matter even more in the aftermath.

“The pandemic has forced everyone to rethink how they do business, from doctors to data centers,” Ken Brown, Director of Corporate Communications at Nvidia, told VentureBeat. “After a year of fear and uncertainty, people will look to those who clearly understand how technology can fuel the recovery and deliver exciting new capabilities. Thought leadership is all the more important during these transitional times, to show the way forward.”

Our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden shared his insights on the why and how of effective thought leadership on a recent episode of LinkedIn’s Live with Marketers, and also compiled a list of 20 ways to build executive credibility and thought leadership here on the blog.

4 — Bring More Context to Your Content Marketing

People have grown progressively less and less patient with sales and marketing messages that don’t speak to them directly, or don’t pertain to their situations. Now, after enduring an endless barrage of “unprecedented times” jargon, the need to break through with a clear, meaningful, relevant message is more vital than ever.

Leadspace recently provided a primer on contextual marketing on their blog, where Jim Hopkins describes the approach as “taking segmentation and personalization and putting it on steroids.” It’s a shift from pitching products and services —even in a personalized way — to solving very specific problems for different segments of your audience. Making this practical requires sophisticated analysis and application of customer data, as well as a strategic commitment to quality-over-quantity when it comes to reaching business prospects. (Much like when it comes to marketing tactics, via tip #2.)

Not every business needs to adopt a full-on ABM strategy, but it’s getting harder and harder to succeed in B2B through broad, blanket messaging.

5 — Empower Marketing as the Central Driver of Growth

In March, Janet Balis published a great article at Harvard Business Review highlighting 10 truths about marketing after the pandemic. They’re all insightful and on-point (and several support the recommendations above), but this final one strikes me most:

Old truth: Marketing is important for growth.

New truth: Marketing is at the center of the growth agenda for the full C-suite.

“Covid-19 has created a leadership culture of immediate collaboration focused on the urgent need for resilience,” Balis writes. “Marketing now has the opportunity to seize an ongoing central role in that dialogue, thereby driving the organization’s broader growth and innovation agenda.”

Don’t let this opportunity slip away. Now is the time for marketing to take the lead and drive the business forward on a foundation of strong customer intel and a central emphasis on customer experiences.

If you’re eager to put your own marketing growth and innovation agenda into action, and looking for some help taking things to the next level, we can help. Reach out to TopRank Marketing and let’s chat.

* Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is a TopRank Marketing client

The post Brave New World: The Model for B2B Marketing Success, Post-Pandemic appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Vor der Kunst die Architektur

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Im Juni 1905 gründete Ernst Ludwig Kirchner gemeinsam mit seinen Kommilitonen Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel und Karl Schmidt-Rottluff die Künstlergruppe Brücke. In den folgenden Jahren avancierte Kirchner zu einem der wichtigsten Vertreter des Expressionismus, er gilt als Wegbereiter der Klassischen Moderne.

Kaum bekannt hingegen ist sein Schaffen als Architekt. Dabei studierte Kirchner vier Jahre lang Architektur. Die Gründung der Brücke erfolgte kurz vor seiner Diplomierung als Architekt im Juli 1905. Bis heute haben sich 95 originale Architekturzeichnungen von Kirchner erhalten. Sie zeugen von den unterschiedlichen Strömungen jener Zeit und zeigen, wie Kirchner – ganz im Geiste der zeitgenössischen Architektur zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts – die Baukunst stets als Gesamtkunstwerk verstand.

Auf großen ausklappbaren Seiten kann sich der Betrachter in den feinen Details seiner Zeichnungen verlieren. Die verwendete Überschriftenschrift »Delvard“, inspiriert von Art Nouveau Postern, referenziert auf die Zeit Kirchners. Mit ihren wunderschönen Open Type Features bringt sie Lebendigkeit und Farbe auf die Textseiten, deren wissenschaftliche Texte in der zurückhaltenden »Metric“ gesetzt sind. Zur Ausstellung im Baukunstarchiv NRW im Verlag Kettler erschienen.

Judith Rüther

Alexandra Apfelbaum, Wolfgang Sonne, Christos Stremmenos


Hybrid & Remote Work Trends That Will Alter The Future Of B2B Marketing

Dozens of black and white photos of business professionals.

Dozens of black and white photos of business professionals.

How is the shift to remote and hybrid work affecting B2B marketers?

Which trends will endure in the post-pandemic marketing landscape?

The dramatic shift to hybrid and remote work that has been brought about by the pandemic is set to forever alter the way B2B marketers and the organizations they work for and with do business.

Let’s take a look at some of these changes, and the trends that are likely to permanently affect B2B marketers, and I’ll offer my own perspective coming from a long-term background in remote work.

Flexibility: Remote & Hybrid Options May Come Permanent

On Monday, March 23, 2007 I started my life of working remotely — a process I wrote about last year as the pandemic first began forcing much of the workforce into unfamiliar remote work situations. In “Day 4,777: Remote Work Tips From 13+ Years As A Distance Marketer,” I looked at how B2B marketers can thrive in the new era of remote work, and offered a variety of tips I’ve picked up during my time as a remote worker.

Since then a great deal has changed in the world. I’m up to 5,106 days of working remotely, and what was once a tiny segment of the workforce has over the past year grown to encompass a massive swath of workers worldwide, including those working in the B2B marketing industry.

Leaders at organizations worldwide have shifted from what had been seen as a temporary emergency move to remote work, to implementing permanent and fundamental changes involving remote and hybrid work variations.

[bctt tweet=““It’s a very interesting time for the history of work, not even just the history of remote work. I think fundamentally work is going to change, and it’s never going back to the way it was before.” — Liam McIvor Martin @vtamethodman“ username=“toprank“]

A Convergence of Forces is Driving Remote Worker Relocation Options

This hybrid and remote work sea change has also had far-reaching and sometimes unforeseen implications. Workers in major metropolitan centers have come to realize that they’re no longer necessarily required to be tethered to a particular work location, and not just within their city, as growing numbers of professionals are leaving cities such as San Francisco and New York for locations that are a world away — and not only in size and cost-of-living.

This week CNN’s John D. Sutter explored the phenomenon from a climate change perspective, in “As people flee climate change on the coasts, this Midwest city is trying to become a safe haven,” another factor that has coincided with the pandemic to fuel a new era of remote and hybrid work options.

The safe haven city Sutter’s piece focuses on is Duluth, Minnesota — which happens to be my home of the past 26 years. The city of 86,000, a few hours north of Minneapolis, is where I’ve worked remotely for some 14 years now. My wife Julie and I live next door to Duluth mayor Emily Larson, who shared with Sutter that, “We are known as the San Francisco of the North. I’ll let you decide if you think that’s true.”

Most who visit Duluth do indeed see more than physical similarities with San Francisco — the hills of Duluth line the vast waters of Lake Superior — and I have technology industry friends who have moved here from both San Francisco and New York, thanks to burgeoning remote work opportunities.

The convergence of the pandemic and ongoing climate change create a scenario where more B2B workers than ever now have opportunities to consider living wherever they wish, and as we learn more about the ramifications of widespread remote and hybrid work, many are seeing more positive elements to the shift than negative ones.

B2B marketers and the organizations they work for and with will increasingly need to address these urgent hybrid and remote work changes, whether it’s in attracting and keeping talent, how we communicate with one another, or in the very stories brands are telling in their marketing efforts.

The Ensuing Hybrid Work Disruption

A recent study by one of the world’s biggest employers, Microsoft, has tackled many of these issues, with the March release of “The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work – Are We Ready?

Some of the fascinating take-aways from the Microsoft report, gathered from data in 31 counties and more than 30,000 people, along with more than a trillion anonymous signals from its Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn* products, include the following:

  • 40 percent of the workforce has considered leaving their employer over the past year
  • 73 percent of workers want to continue having flexible remote work options
  • 65 percent crave spending additional in-person time with their teams
  • 66 percent of business decision makers are considering redesigned physical work-spaces to better suit hybrid work
  • 46 percent have said their employer doesn’t provide help with remote work expenses
  • 67 percent want more in-person work or collaboration after the pandemic
  • Time spent in meetings has more than doubled
  • Team chat messaging has increased by 45 percent
  • 1 in 5 have met their colleagues‘ pets or family members virtually over the past year
  • 39 percent say they’re now more likely to be their full and authentic selves at work
  • Remote job postings on LinkedIn have climbed by more than five times
  • 46 percent of remote workers plan to move to a new location this year

On this last point, Karin Kimbrough, chief economist at LinkedIn, noted in the Microsoft report that, “This shift is likely to stick, and it’s good for democratizing access to opportunity,” Kimbrough said. “Companies in major cities can hire talent from underrepresented groups that may not have the means or desire to move to a big city. And in smaller cities, companies will now have access to talent that may have a different set of skills than they had before,” she added.

Microsoft Report Hybrid Image

B2B Marketers Rethink Hybrid & Remote Work

The shift to hybrid, flexible, and remote work options is an active and ongoing process to be certain, however significant movement has already been made. The genie of rethinking work fundamentals has been set in motion, and can’t ever be put back in its bottle.

New studies highlighting shifting perspectives on remote and hybrid work are publishing frequently, such as a recent WeWork and Workplace Intelligence report which found that 64 percent of employees said they were willing to pay for access to office space to support hybrid work, and that 75 percent would forgo at least one job benefit or perk in order to have the freedom to choose their work environment.

A Gartner survey showed that some 80 percent of business leaders plan to allow remote work once the pandemic has ended.

How B2B marketers react to these changes is likely to be crucial to thriving among increased post-pandemic competition.

We hope that this brief glimpse into a few of the remote and hybrid work changes that are already taking place, and others likely to be implemented in the years to come, will help inform your own marketing efforts.

To dig even deeper into remote work issues, be sure to watch our Break Free B2B Marketing video interview episode featuring Liam McIvor Martin, co-founder of Time Doctor and Break Free B2B Marketing: Liam McIvor Martin of Time Doctor on The Revolutionary Power of Remote Work.

Contact us today to find out why brands from SAP, LinkedIn, and Adobe to IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, and more have chosen TopRank Marketing, and also check out our careers page including remote and hybrid positions.

*LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Hybrid & Remote Work Trends That Will Alter The Future Of B2B Marketing appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Solaris / Rückkehr von den Sternen

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Die Einzelwerke Solaris und Rückkehr von den Sternen des Autors Stanisław Lem wurden als Buchreihe neugestaltet. Mit dem Gedanken an fremde Welten des Science-Fiction-Genre, welchem die Romane angehören, ist das neue Design entstanden. So sind beide Bücher in Buchumschläge eingefasst, die eine silbrige und haptisch texturelle Oberfläche besitzen.

Die Typografie auf den Buchumschlägen wurde mit Hilfe analoger Experimente verzerrt und sticht großflächig glänzend auf dem Papier der Umschläge hervor.

Um den erzählerischen Charakter Lem‘s visuell zu unterstützen, wurde die Courier als Font für die Innentypografie verwendet. Dabei sind Dialoge der Geschichten, durch ausgerückte Passagen stärker hervorgehoben. Durch ihre Häufigkeit in den Büchern stellen sie zugleich eine Dynamik im Lesefluss dar.

Ina Germer

Prof*in. Annette le Fort
Prof. André Heers


Parcours 20/21

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Parcours – Die Abschlussausstellung an der Münster School of Design. Eine kreative Spielwiese. Ein Ort, an dem ‘Arbeit und Vergnügen‘ im gleichen Satz gesagt werden dürfen. Das crossdisziplinäre Projekt als unkonventionelles Arbeitsumfeld. Nicht einfach nur ein Katalog zur Ausstellung, sondern eine Institution, die es sich zur Aufgabe gemacht hat, Ideen zum Leben zu erwecken. Ein Ort zum Lernen, ein Ort zum Wachsen und ein Ort, der selber noch wächst. Ein Ziel, ein Traum mit Termin: Aufgabe ist die Visualisierung einer komplexen Themenkette im Kontext von Reflexion und Bewertung gestalterischer Erzählstrukturen. Qualifizierung und Klassifizierung des Umfeldes und der Zielgruppen. Kommunikationsdesign und gestalterische Autorenschaft um Absolventen, deren Themen und entsprechende Rezipienten besser zusammen zu führen.

Design als Vermittler von Inhalten, Themen hinterfragen und niemals langweilig sein. Parcours lässt etwas finden an das wir glauben, begrüßt das Unvollständige, macht Fehler, macht den Computer aus und lässt Nein nicht als Antwort gelten. Hier soll Design aufregend, hinterfragend, zeitgemäß und relevant sein. Erarbeitet wird die gesamte Bandbreite einer derzeit vornehmlich digitalen Eventkommunikation. Ausgehend vom analogen und digitalen Katalog, Teaser der Ausstellung, Absolventenporträts im Bewegtbild, Einladungen, Plakate bis hin zur kommunikativen Begleitung über Social Media.

Annemarie Ahlers, Paula Bambach, Luca Bockholt, Anna Böhmann, Katja Funke, Maria Heidinger, Kim Janke, Darja Kamalie, Janne Lehmann, Leon Nissen,
Inga Paulussen, Moritz Voß

Prof. Dipl. Des. Rüdiger Quass von Deyen

Prof. Ralf Beuker
Dipl. Des. Paul Bičište