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Strategy-changing B2B and Professional Services Insights from 14 Visible Experts – Part 2

As I mentioned in Part 1, Visible Expert®s are what we at Hinge call those special people who rise above the noise and capture your attention through their authenticity, trustworthiness, expertise, and experience. These folks have “cracked the code” around digital marketing, leadership, growth, technology and so many other topics and are willing to share their insights and tips with an ever-growing audience. All started from relative obscurity and have moved over time to national or even international prominence. Some are CEOs. Many are authors and speakers. And still others are industry subject matter experts. 

As Co-host of Hinge’s “The Visible Expert Podcast,” I enjoy chatting with–and learning from–them every week. Sometimes they educate us. Other times they challenge or provoke us. All the time they make it worth our while to listen. How did they become Visible Experts? Why do people listen to them on a given topic? What do they know that you do not know that you could apply to your business today?

In the last few months we have talked with many Visible Experts that I really admire and respect. I have gone back and re-listened to many of our podcasts and tried to carve out a nice sampling of the conversations in this blog. There were so many great insights that I have had to break this blog into two parts. Part 1 covered the first seven Visible Experts in this series. Let’s now hear from the second seven Visible Experts whom we are highlighting…

Scott Brinker, VP, Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot & Program Chair of MarTec:

“When it comes to marketing technology we have gone from ‘suite versus best-of-breed’ to open platform ecosystems with certified apps/tools that are designed to plug into the platform for actions such as influencer marketing, database record de-duping, and so much more. I see an upcoming explosion of all these great capabilities around these platforms. It’s going to be an interesting time.

At the same time, a lot of these larger martech tools offer a mind-boggling number of features and capabilities. But the subset of those capabilities that are relevant to any one particular business or one particular marketer’s mission over a given period of time is probably a pretty small fraction. Martech utilization is worth thinking about–but the lens that you want to pay attention to isn’t really ‘what’s my percentage of martech stack utilization?’ The lens you really want to focus on is ‘what’s my performance?’ Even if you are using a tiny fraction of what your tool offers, are you using them in a way that is delivering tremendous value to the business? Internal efficiency…external customer growth and experience. Stay focused on customer value. That is the metric that should dominate the equation.”

Hear the rest of Scott’s insights: https://hingemarketing.com/library/article/scott-brinker-vp-platform-ecosystem-at-hubspot-program-chair-of-martec

Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute and the Orange Effect Foundation:

“With content marketing, the key is just give of your knowledge. Give everything away. Don’t hold anything back. If you do that on a consistent basis and build an audience of subscribers, then you can build whatever business you want.

Most of us do marketing wrong. We think that marketing involves selling our products and services. And that’s not true. It’s about building value for the organization. How do you best build value? You deliver value to an audience base. Then once you do that then you need to think differently about how you monetize that. Most marketers think that we are going to monetize by delivering leads and those leads will become customers. Once you build an audience, you can monetize that audience 10 different ways. You can create more loyalty. You can launch new products and services. You can deliver revenue on the content itself just like a media company would. You can sell advertising and sponsorships. We need to think differently about this being an asset we are creating.”

Hear the rest of Joe’s insights: https://hingemarketing.com/library/article/joe-pulizzi-founder-of-content-marketing-institute-and-the-orange-effect-foundation

Dr. Tracy Fanara, aka “Inspector Planet” — Environmental Engineer and Communications Expert

“Back when I was in college, I saw that my friends were throwing trash out their car   windows. I realized upon educating my friends it started changing their behavior. I saw that there was something to this. My parents were constantly buying bottled water. I told them all the environmental impacts. That the water quality isn’t even better. How much water it takes to make the water. Nothing was changing their minds…until I bought them a Brita filter. They never bought another bottled water again. That’s when I saw there is an art form to communication and behavior changes. You need to create messaging that is consumable by the general public. 

Every message needs to be relatable. A lot of my research shows that images of my dog work the best with my audiences. I needed to get more personal with my posts. My favorite thing to do is videos. But I realize that on different social platforms different media works. Pictures are great on Instagram. Videos are nice for Facebook stories. On Twitter, it is really the words that have the power. You have to post messages in different ways on different platforms. It requires some commitment to do it well.”

Hear the rest of Dr. Tracy’s insights: https://hingemarketing.com/library/article/dr-tracy-fanara-aka-inspector-planet-environmental-engineer-communications-expert

Vinay Bhagat, Founder and CEO of TrustRadius:

“What buyers crave–and are finding on their own–is the whole truth. Nobody wants to enter a relationship, whether it is an employment relationship, a marriage, or a software contract, without knowing the whole truth about what they are entering into. They want to know the good with the bad. Let’s face it, no product or service is perfect. A product or service may be ideal for some use cases and less ideal for others. Buyers are looking for honest, whole insights from people that they can trust.

As far as building a brand that stands out, have a point of view. Be appropriately contrarian. Challenge the status quo–but do it with data. It all comes down to having clear conviction about your belief set…where you believe the world is changing and where you believe markets need to evolve. Stick to your guns and be consistent there. Sometimes being different is hard.”

Hear the rest of Vinay’s insights: https://hingemarketing.com/library/article/vinay-bhagat-founder-ceo-of-trustradius

Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, Keynote Speaker, and Author

“I think there is a paradox in AI with marketing. Artificial Intelligence will help us to better understand what content and stories resonate with our audience so that we can attract and engage them and convert them. What’s interesting is that when I look at the outputs of those algorithms the outputs are almost always more human forms of communication. That’s the paradox. AI is going to help us to understand what marketing works. But what are we going to do with those insights? We are going to need people more activated as storytellers.

Let’s talk customer experience. It’s a natural instinct for a business to want to say, ‘we’re awesome.’ However; that’s not at all what customers are looking for. That does not drive the customer experience. What marketers should be focused on is anything that drives the customer experience in a measurable way. That’s the bottom line of modern marketing.”

Hear the rest of Michael’s insights: https://hingemarketing.com/library/article/michael-brenner-ceo-of-marketing-insider-group-keynote-speaker-author

Mike Schultz, President of RAIN Group, Author, and Keynote Speaker

“Ah, content marketing. Back in the day you could write a book and be famous. Now, if an author writes a book and it falls in the woods, does anyone hear it? Sometimes no. There is a lot more noise today. A lot of people are on the ‘let’s become content marketers and publishers bandwagon’ and their content is awful. Seven or eight years ago I would have said that content had to be good to stand out. Now, content really has to be breath-taking if you want to break in with content marketing. Good but boring does not cut it anymore. It has to be exceptional for you to be known for your intellectual property. 

Now, on the topic of creating a culture of a sales mindset, in professional services, you have to mean it — both from the employees and the leadership. Find out who is willing to do it. Approach it from ‘I am not going to make you sell, but you can’t make the higher kind of money unless you become a leader and bring in business.’ Find those who are willing to sell and develop an actual strategy with them. Also, ask yourself, ‘What would it really take to develop a culture of sales success here?’ It might mean changing some people, some structure, some compensation. It might mean creating a sales university. It might mean bringing in new people who can set meetings. If you answer this question honestly and with some expert help, you can save yourself losing a lot of money and you can actually drive revenue faster instead of wasting time and figuring out later you need to get off the dime a different way. You can’t make someone sell who doesn’t want to sell.”

Hear the rest of Mike’s insights: https://hingemarketing.com/library/article/mike-schultz-president-of-rain-group-author-keynote-speaker

Scott McKain, ICONIC Author and Speaker

“It’s not just about differentiation. If I slapped every one of my customers in the face, I’m different. But it doesn’t mean that those customers are going to come back and buy anything more from me. So, we need to focus on distinction. That is differentiation that has traction and meaning to our customers. 

But what does it take to stand out even further–at the highest level in a hyper-competitive marketplace? Distinction is getting recognized within your industry or your marketplace as being unique. ICONIC performers are those who transcend their own industry. So you may have a local coffee shop that really stands out and a lot of people go there but Starbucks in that field is ICONIC. They are not limited to their own industry. What is really fascinating is once you become ICONIC, how do you maintain it? Or if you lose that status, can you get it back? It all depends on how much of a ‘reservoir of goodwill’ you’ve established in the marketplace.“

Hear the rest of Scott’s insights: https://hingemarketing.com/library/article/scott-mckain-iconic-author-speaker

I hope you found these insights to be thought-provoking and actionable. I have really enjoyed going back and listening to these podcasts again. These seven Visible Experts just cut to the chase and freely shared their expertise.

 

If you missed Part 1, which highlighted great B2B strategies and tactics from: 

  • Mark Schaefer, Keynote Speaker, Author of “Marketing Rebellion”
  • Henry Schuck, CEO of ZoomInfo (Formerly DiscoverOrg)
  • David C. Baker, Author of “The Business of Expertise,” Advisor, and Podcast Host
  • Ahmad Munawar, Creator of the 90 Day Pipeline
  • Anthony Fasano, Author, Speaker, and Executive Coach for Engineers
  • Andy Crestodina, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder, Orbit Media Studios, Inc.
  • Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz, Founder of SparkToro, and Author of “Lost and Founder”

You can still catch up on their powerful tips and techniques at: https://hingemarketing.com/blog/story/strategy-changing-b2b-and-professional-services-insights-from-14-visible-experts-part-1

Kelly Waffle

Kelly Waffle Hinge's Head of Digital Strategy, Kelly has more than 15 years of professional services and digital marketing experience. He is a Visible Expert in Account-Based Marketing and is recognized by Onalytica as a Top 50 Martech Global Influencer. Kelly writes and speaks frequently on a variety of marketing issues that business leaders face in today's marketplace.

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