Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners iCrossing, Merkle Inc. & Todd Silverstein

An interview series highlighting 2017’s Award winners: A look at the work they accomplished and the results they achieved. The post Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners iCrossing, Merkle Inc. & Todd Silverstein appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners Wolfgang Digital, Metric Theory & Precis Digital

An interview series highlighting 2017’s Award winners: a look at the work they accomplished and the results they achieved. The post Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners Wolfgang Digital, Metric Theory & Precis Digital appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Social Media Marketing Spotlight: U.S. Bank Rallies Local Allies for a Friendly, Engaging #MnNice #NiceOff

US Bank NiceOff

Roughly 120,000 visitors from 130 countries descended on the Twin Cities last week to take part in Super Bowl LII festivities hosted in downtown Minneapolis. To welcome visitors to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank—which just so happens to have its name on the stadium that hosted the big game—wanted to give visitors a taste of “what Minnesota is all about.”

For those of you who haven’t heard, Minnesota—where TopRank Marketing is proudly based—isn’t just known for its frigid winters and as the birthplace and residence of the late Prince Rogers Nelson. It’s also known for its “northern hospitality”—or as it’s affectionately called—Minnesota Nice.

With Minnesota Nice as their inspiration—and some great strategic thinking—U.S. Bank launched the #MnNice #NiceOff conversation and friendly competition on Twitter, inviting its followers and other local brands to try to “out-nice” each other by sharing acts of kindness that are Minnesota Nice signatures.

The result? A social media marketing campaign that was thoughtful, engaging, subtly brand-centric, and influencer-activated.

Starting the Conversation

While the conversation started with the single tweet below, the campaign was in the works for weeks.

US Bank Minnesota Nice Off

As it so happens, TopRank Marketing alumni and current U.S. Bank Social Media Campaign Manager, Jason Schober, was part of the action. And he was gracious enough to give us an inside look.

“We really wanted to evoke some engagement and brand activation within the community of people that would be participating in the activities leading up to and at the big game,” Schober told us.

Eventually, the Minnesota Nice-themed campaign strategy emerged as a winning idea. To get started, the team team laid out a strategy that would ensure FCC compliance by not mentioning financial products or services in communications, respect Super Bowl guidelines since U.S. Bank was not a direct sponsor, and make sure the campaign made sense for their brand identity and voice.

The campaign was in great shape, but U.S. Bank didn’t want to go at it alone. So, roughly a week before launch, they began to form partnerships with other local, well-known brands—including Target, Land O’ Lakes, Sun Country and 3M—to be part of the conversation. However, none of the partnering brands knew what others would be posting until it unfolded on launch day (Feb. 1), which kept the conversation real and spontaneous. Here’s a shot of the beginning of the conversation.

Target and US Bank Nice Off

For the work we do at TopRank Marketing, this move is directly tied to the power of influence in marketing. By partnering with influential brands, U.S. Bank was not only able to add credible voices to the conversation, but also extend their reach to these brands’ respective audiences. In addition, once the ball got rolling, other brands and individuals were given an organic opportunity to get in on the fun. Of course, many of the interactions cleverly intertwined a brand’s own marketing message. Here’s one of our favorites:

3M Minnesota Nice Off Tweet

Top the Tater Minnesota Nice Off Tweet

When it came to selecting the right hashtag to define the conversation, their approach was two-pronged, according to Jason.

“The original idea was #MinnesotaNiceOff,” he explained. “But for both tracking and engagement purposes, we decided to leverage two hashtags: #MnNice and #NiceOff. Reason being, we knew #MnNice was already being used and could open our conversation up to a broader audience, and #NiceOff would be something we could own and brand the conversation with.”

The Big Takeaway

A thoughtful, integrated social media marketing strategy is an absolute must. Start by looking at any compliance and trademark red tape, as well as how a campaign will integrate with and complement your brand. Then ask yourself: What other credible, influential voices can be added to elicit shared value?

Managing Engagement

There’s little doubt that trolls and disgruntled users are commonplace on social media these days, often trying to ruin the spirit of good conversation. And in today’s world of social media, hashtags are conversations. So, when it comes to branding your marketing message with a hashtag conversation starter, marketers need to prepare for the fact that they don’t necessarily own the content or the conversation.

For U.S. Bank, they knew the risks of starting the #MnNice #NiceOff conversation. But they also believed the campaign easily lent itself to passively putting trolls in their place. As you can see from the thread below, U.S. Bank made it a point to go full-out with the campaign theme when confronted with negativity.

US Bank's Repsonse to Nice Off Troll

“Our entire campaign was centered on Minnesota Nice,” Jason said. “The only appropriate response to these kinds of interactions was to be as overly polite as possible.”

The Big Takeaway

When it comes to anticipating trolls or negative responses, consider the worst-case scenario for your hashtag-branded campaign and build it into your overall strategy. As our own Joshua Nite recently wrote on the topic of proper hashtag usage, when creating your own hashtag, ask yourself:

  • Who are you talking to?
  • What are you trying to say?
  • How else could your hashtag be interpreted?
  • What other conversations might it start?

Keeping the Momentum Going

Once the tweeting began on launch day, Jason said his team was using Spredfast as a helpful tool to monitor, track, and respond in real-time. But once it became clear that the conversation was on the right track—barring input from trolls—the team decided to leverage Twitter Moments to turn the conversation into a storytelling space.

“This was already in the original plan because we wanted to continue to tell the story beyond the initial conversation,” Jason told us. “But we were waiting for the momentum to take over before creating the Moment.”

As for results, between Feb. 1 and Feb. 6, the Twitter Moment saw nearly 35,000 total opens, 31,247 unique opens, 448 likes, 155 shares, and a 8.48% completion rate.

The Big Takeaway

Whether it be a campaign or every-day usage, make sure you understand the full capabilities of any social media platform you’re engaging on. This will not only help you think more strategically about your messaging and interactions, but also help you provide more value for your audience. This is especially important in the age of decline (or extinction) for organic visibility on social platforms.

In addition, social media listening and management tools are often an investment that pays off—especially during campaigns. As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden has said: “Tools make reaching social media marketing goals possible.”

Shine the Social Media Spotlight on Your Brand

For brands and marketers of all industries, social media hashtag campaigns like this serves as a great example of running a smart, strategic, and integrated campaign.

By thinking strategically from start to finish—and inviting like-minded, influential brand voices to the table—U.S. Bank was able to not only capitalize on one of the biggest sporting events of the year, but also garner meaningful and organic interactions, engage in some friendly competition with other local brands being gracious Super Bowl hosts, and spotlight and activate their brand identity.

Want some more inspiration from brands on Twitter? Take a peek at both B2B and B2C brands mastering the art of social customer care on Twitter.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. | Social Media Marketing Spotlight: U.S. Bank Rallies Local Allies for a Friendly, Engaging #MnNice #NiceOff | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Social Media Marketing Spotlight: U.S. Bank Rallies Local Allies for a Friendly, Engaging #MnNice #NiceOff appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


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Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners Odd Dog Media & SapientRazorfish

An interview series highlighting 2017’s Award winners: a look at the work they accomplished and the results they achieved. The post Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners Odd Dog Media & SapientRazorfish appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Digital Marketing Spotlight: Josh Mueller, SVP Global Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet

Josh Mueller Interview

Josh Mueller Interview Meeting and getting to know smart digital marketers is easily one of my favorite things about working in the marketing industry. I first meet Josh Mueller when he was at Director of Digital Marketing at Dell and I was presenting an integrated approach to search, social and content marketing. There was a palpable enthusiasm in the air for inbound marketing and it was exciting to see that kind of reception from a large company. Fast forward to today and Josh is Senior Vice President Global Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet. He is definitely one of those people you want on your digital marketing team or more specifically, leading your team. He always seems to be two steps ahead, is results-focused and a genuinely nice human being. In this interview, Josh talks about everything from career advice for fast-tracking digital marketing executives to the impressive digital marketing initiatives he’s led at Dun & Bradstreet. He also talks about lessons learned, prioritizing for 2017 and examples of B2B brands doing it right. Your career from MBA Intern at Dell to SVP at a major B2B brand in under 10 years is truly impressive. What best prepared you for that journey and what advice do you have for talented, aspiring marketing executives with eyes on a similar prize? Looking back, I’m not sure if I was ever fully prepared, but my journey thus far certainly would not have been possible without focusing on a couple of fundamental things from the beginning.

Invest heavily in building, nurturing and leveraging real relationships. Success is impossible in a vacuum.

First, invest heavily in building, nurturing and leveraging real relationships. Success is impossible in a vacuum. The people you surround yourself with will have a significant impact on the trajectory of your career. You’ll know you’re doing this well when you realize you’re consistently willing to put more into a relationship than what you ask for in return. Second, never take a break from learning. I read as much as possible and do so on a daily basis. If you can become a little more knowledgeable every single day, you’ll build a huge competitive advantage over time. This simple but powerful habit not only equips you to become a world-class expert within your discipline, but also allows you to see big picture trends, apply your expertise across disciplines, and prepare for the future. I was really impressed with the Dun & Bradstreet website redesign earlier this year and what went into the real-time personalization experience. Can you share some context for the project and your expectations for such an ambitious undertaking? This was so much fun and continues to pay dividends. What started as a traditional redesign project quickly transformed into a complete re-imagination of our brand’s digital experience. We wanted to ensure that the site truly represented the overall transformation of Dun & Bradstreet that has been progressing since our CEO, Bob Carrigan, joined the company in 2013. To accomplish this, we needed to expand our primary online focus on SMB customers to include enterprise customers across five new lines of business, our partners and our worldwide network. From a KPI perspective, we initially wanted to maintain parity at launch and then improve from there. Fortunately, metrics were up from the very first week and continue to climb. (More information can be found here.) Now that the new website has gone through some iterations, what have been some of your key lessons and best practices? What is on the roadmap for dnb.com going into 2017 when it comes to personalization? It’s very typical with a major redesign to initially experience drops in your primary KPIs and that risk was even greater when we set out to completely transform our digital experience. Despite taking a data-driven approach and performing a lot of user testing, we were completely prepared to experience this drop. We formed cross-functional teams to meet daily to review the latest metrics, form hypotheses and quickly deploy tests targeted at getting everything back to parity and beyond. Fortunately, we never experienced this dip. Our metrics were up from the very first day. Because we had prepared ahead of time, we still followed the same approach, but instead of getting back to parity we were able to increase conversion rates to all-time highs.

Personalization is such a powerful customer experience and conversion optimization tool.

Personalization is such a powerful customer experience and conversion optimization tool. Most ecommerce companies have fully adopted it, but very few B2Bs focused on demand generation are doing it well. Currently, we’re personalizing dnb.com based on company size and persona. Late this year and in 2017, we plan to expand this by personalizing for specific strategic accounts as well as extending and coordinating personalization across other offline and online touchpoints. What do the lessons you’ve learned tell you about how other B2B companies should be thinking in terms of digital strategy in 2017? What are some key areas to focus on and things to avoid? Too many companies still treat their digital strategy as something separate from their overall marketing strategy. I believe Marc Mathieu from Unilever was one of the first to talk about moving away from the mindset of digital marketing as a standalone function to concentrate instead on increasing marketing effectiveness in a digital world. Making this shift is absolutely critical, but it doesn’t mean organizations should move away from hiring and training digital specialists with deep expertise. Those skills are more important than ever.

We’ve succeeded in modernizing our marketing mindset by formalizing cross-functional teams around each of our personas.

At Dun & Bradstreet, we’ve succeeded in modernizing our marketing mindset by formalizing cross-functional teams around each of our personas. Each team has experts across all the core functions such as messaging, content marketing, site strategy, outbound demand gen, SEO, communications, social media, events, etc. Organizationally, this expertise is aligned by function, but the cross-functional team operates as one on behalf of the customer with shared KPIs. This model ensures that digital strategy is always a core component of everything we do. Today’s marketers are faced with a cornucopia of options and challenges from continued emphasis on data and martech to creative opportunities with more visual and interactive content, working with influencers and investing in deeper content. What advice do you have for other senior marketing execs on prioritizing marketing tactics? It can become overwhelming when the cornucopia of options become the focus without first implementing a framework to properly manage everything. This starts by getting back to the basics – using quality data and analytics to determine which customers or accounts to pursue, which personas to target within these accounts, and which solutions best fulfill their needs. Once these basic building blocks are in place, it’s easy to map out the customer journeys within that universe and set clear KPIs for each stage. The ultimate goal may be conversion and revenue, but the KPIs in the early stages are just as critical and allow marketers to track the progression of individuals and accounts throughout the journey.

KPIs in the early stages are just as critical (as conversion and revenue).

Using this framework as a reference, it becomes easy to see where an organization is having success and where change is needed. Will new marketing technology or a creative strategy overhaul have a bigger impact? The answer comes more easily when you can clearly see which KPI you’re trying to impact with the decision. This guides prioritization, not only for senior executives setting overall strategy and making resource decisions, but also for the teams executing the tactics. Few marketing departments can execute well on all things they have planned. How do you balance hiring more marketing staff vs. using outside vendors and agencies? What trends do you see in terms of outsourcing vs. insourcing marketing talent? Capacity is almost always our biggest challenge. The model I prefer – and one that I continue to see gaining traction – is to insource expertise across critical functions without making teams too large. Once you achieve this, you can leverage partnerships with agencies that bring an outside-in approach and act as an extension of your team over time. This hybrid model allows you to maintain a steady state across critical functions while maintaining the ability to dial up or dial down capacity based on current priorities. As we get closer to 4th quarter and planning for the coming year, what are some of your top digital marketing priorities for 2017? Our first priority is all about scale. We’ve built an amazing foundation that has enabled us to hit critical KPIs much faster than we anticipated. Now we are very focused on continuing to bend the curve and pushing the limits on how far we can take things.

Our first priority is all about scale.

The second is to continue drinking our own champagne and pushing the envelope in modern B2B marketing. I’m fortunate to work for the company that maintains the world’s largest commercial database that we continue to leverage for new use cases. We often get our hands on the latest and greatest marketing solutions before they’re widely available, which gives us a first mover advantage in predictive targeting, personalization approaches and sales acceleration techniques. Great marketing is always fun. Doing things for the first time can be even more fun. What B2B brands’ marketing do you admire most? Any examples? Dell is definitely on the list, and I’m excited to see how its marketing team leverages the EMC acquisition. It’s amazing, looking at the amount of marketing talent that has worked at Dell at some point over the last decade, and how many individuals have gone on to become senior marketing executives or CMOs at other big brands. I certainly stay closely connected and follow those brands as well. There are so many other great B2B brands to admire across industries for different reasons. A few that come to mind immediately are Adobe, LinkedIn, Salesforce, GE, Workday, Cisco, American Express and Accenture. Now let’s play a little social network word association. After each platform, share the first thing or short reaction that comes to mind.

  • Facebook – changing the open web
  • Vine – initially interesting
  • LinkedIn – making all the right moves
  • Periscope – first mover advantage wasn’t enough
  • Twitter – one of the best, but time to evolve
  • Google+ – will its failures lead to success?
  • Snapchat – raising the bar on growth
  • YouTube – well positioned
  • Instagram – so simple yet so brilliant
  • Flickr – will it survive?

Thanks Josh! Josh Mueller is Senior Vice President of Global Marketing for Dun & Bradstreet where he has global responsibility for demand generation, digital, operations, marketing technology, creative and content. His organization is pivotal to Dun & Bradstreet’s transformation to a modern company with a focus on providing an amazing customer experience and scaling demand generation. Prior to Dun & Bradstreet, Josh served as Director of Marketing for Dell, where he led B2B digital marketing teams responsible for demand generation, search, social media and content marketing. Josh holds an MBA from The University of Texas and a BBA from Texas A&M University. You can find Josh on the social web at: LinkedIn: in/joshmueller Twitter: @jmueller03

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Digital Marketing Spotlight: Amy Lamparske, Head of Social Media at 3M

Amy Lamparske

Amy Lamparske One of the great benefits of social media is the dual effect of creating access to people of influence while helping individuals with expertise and points of view become influential themselves. One of my connections that serves as a great example of this is Amy Lamparske, Head of Global Social Media at 3M. Local events and blogging undoubtedly created mutual awareness, but I didn’t meet Amy in person until she was Director, Digital Marketing at Walmart and then again when she was Director, Digital and Social Media at General Mills. In her current role at 3M, I’ve been able to see Amy’s thought leadership in action in situations ranging from being a keynote speaker at the first Brandwatch user conference to host of a Conference Board event on Social Media. Each time was a learning opportunity because Amy provides a view into enterprise social media marketing and advertising that is deep, insightful and fast moving. I’m not alone in this sentiment: “Amy is a world class expert in social media strategy. She understands how to reach, influence and transform minds in the corporate setting and beyond. Genius and a fantastic execution partner!” Kamal Manglani, currently Director at eBay Amy has plenty of experience with large brand social media advertising, operations and governance, but I’ve chosen to focus on the topic of social media influencers. In this interview, Amy talks about how influencer marketing has had an impact on social social media marketing, how to activate influencers, scale influencer marketing in the enterprise and measures of success.

I believe in empowering small autonomous teams to plow through roadblocks and old school thinking.

You’ve worked for multiple global brands throughout your career, tell us what you’ve learned through your experiences? Every company has so much potential in digital and social – it seems every executive leadership team sees the dollars and wants to embrace the opportunity. Change management and organizational readiness are the keys to driving transformation and enabling digital to thrive within large complex organizations. I’ve had some amazing sponsors throughout my career; a huge blessing that allowed me to have fun being a change agent – disrupting from the inside out. I’ve learned to be more patient and persistent while recognizing how best to influence, inspire and motivate others. I believe in empowering small autonomous teams to plow through roadblocks and old school thinking.

Brands don’t talk…People talk.

How are influencers, or how is influencer marketing changing your industry? Early in my career, a close friend shared “brands don’t talk…people talk.” This remains true today – this space is about relationships not simply clicks. Plus, brands aren’t able to get as far as they once did with organic social. In terms of content creation, brands don’t need to be the experts anymore. What is shifting is we’re giving online influencers the ability, power and control to develop content on our behalf. Some large companies struggle with content creation while simply trying to remain relevant. It can be far more efficient and effective to go with a third party and look at their expertise, credibility and authority online. Brands are partnering more and more with influencers to insert themselves, provide value or utility and share their stories. There’s tremendous value in speed to market activating the crowd. Buying behavior is shifting dramatically – we see an influencer publish content one day and the next thing we know, we are buying it. Influencers are growing trust, people relate to people like themselves, not always executives or celebrities. How can brands best activate influencers to help share and promote brand content? There are a lot of options for brands to partner and activate these days – technologies and solutions continue to sprout ongoing. I view partnerships both from a media standpoint as well as with customers to be a simple way to improve content performance. Demonstrate offline relationships online for transparency and reach purposes. Some brands still try to control the message and the way content is developed via influencers – the best approach is to provide appropriate direction from the start, and allow them to run with it. External ideas can be fresh and drive business growth in new ways. If you crowdsource content, embrace it and promote it even if it’s not 100% on brand.

You’ll want real friends online that have your back when negative sentiment comes knocking.

How can you scale influencer marketing at an organization? Build an influencer or blogger network internally so the organization has a clear understanding and can tap their relationships on an ongoing basis. Ensure this isn’t simply paid influencer efforts – you’ll want real friends online that have your back when negative sentiment comes knocking.

With anything in social media, if you can’t scale it, don’t bother.

How do you know when its time to scale up with influencers? We continue to grow within the B2B side of our organization. Some areas of the organization are new to working with influencers while other businesses have already built up relationships and programs. With anything in social media, if you can’t scale it, don’t bother. The idea is to provide something that is of huge value to be leveraged ongoing across the organization. Scale it yet be smart about how you make it relevant and customized for each individual influencer involved. What are some of the most important measures of success for social influencer marketing? Measures that drive business outcomes including: sales, stock performance, lead/demand generation, share of voice, enhanced sentiment breakdown and volume or mentions to influence the crowd.

I’ve seen brands invest too heavy on the paid side where it backfires eventually – brands need to balance.

Do you have any advice to share with other brand marketing executives when it comes to paid vs. relationship based influencer engagements? How do you decide? It varies – if it’s something that simply makes sense for the brand and company to be involved with ongoing, true relationship based influencer engagements are the way to go. If you are looking to activate a chapter in your always-on book or align with a major tent pole event, product launch or seasonality; a blended approach is fine. I’ve seen brands invest too heavy on the paid side where it backfires eventually – brands need to balance this. Now let’s play a little social network word association. After each platform, share the first thing or short reaction that comes to mind.

  • Facebook – Oldest yet most robust targeting
  • Vine – Short & sweet video
  • LinkedIn – B2B, requires real content marketing not simply snackable pieces
  • Periscope – Was pretty cool for six months
  • Twitter – When will you be bought? Partnership w/Google is good for SEO. Love you yet need you to be respected.
  • Google+ – Enhances SEO, good for brands w/reputation management issues, product could offer the world so much more coming from Google
  • Snapchat – Where everything is headed, wish I could just play here all day
  • YouTube – Oldie but goodie, will love you forever
  • Instagram – Requires high design, starting to provide analytics and better ads
  • Flickr –Old school photo sharing still kickin’

Thank you Amy! You can find Amy on the social web at: Twitter (@amylamparske) LinkedIn (in/amylamparske)

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