All posts tagged: B2B marketing trends

5 B2B marketing trends to watch in 2021

The disruption caused by the global pandemic has led to some profound changes in our values, attitudes and behaviours to both our personal and work lives. For B2B marketers, this has accelerated the adoption of some existing trends, such as digital transformation and the increased use of data to understand and respond to changes in buyer behaviour, and embedding new ways of working through a more agile approach to marketing. It also helped to create some interesting new trends which we expect to see gain momentum in B2B marketing in 2021.

Customer centricity at the forefront

Most businesses think they know their customer, but there has been a tendency for businesses to focus on what they want to talk about, rather than what their customers want to know or will find most useful. The disruption of 2020 has certainly shone a light on this. Suddenly people were thinking and behaving differently, both in their personal and work lives, and buying decisions were often put on hold. In a poll conducted at our recent ‘Personas and buyer journey’ online bootcamp, we found that only 10% of attendees felt that their existing personas and buyer journeys were helping them hit their sales targets. In 2021, organisations will be focused on truly understanding what their customers want, their business environments and how they can best support them. Customer centricity therefore needs to be at the very forefront of every marketing decision, campaign and communication. Data and martech have key roles to play in achieving this consistently and at pace.

Being data driven is now fundamental

The need for marketing to be driven by data saw a renewed emphasis due to the chaos of the pandemic and the change in behaviours that followed. Marketers now need to be more data-driven than ever. To do this they first need to get better at capturing data. According to a recent report by IDC and Seagate, 44% of data available to organisations goes uncaptured, and 43% goes unused. Organisations also need to get better and distilling and activating data to turn it into actionable insights for the business. While there is certainly a role here for new AI technologies and machine learning to help make business decisions, most organisations need their marketing teams to get better at harvesting, understanding and gaining insights from data which drive improvements and allow meaningful interactions with the prospect or client.

Location displacement

The pandemic turned how we live and where we traditionally do things on its head. The requirement for us all to stay at home during national lockdowns and to continue working from home if possible, even when restrictions were eased, led to an increased demand for online experiences. These included the rise of virtual events, interactive tools or gadgets that make your prospects’ lives easier (such as this campaign ROI calculator) and personalised social selling that engages at a 1:1 level. This is expected to continue in 2021 and beyond. In response to this, digital marketing not only needs to be front and centre, but ensuring a seamless omni-channel user experience is now a standard expectation in B2B.

Emotional connection

Emotional connection was a big trend in B2C marketing in 2020 as organisations sought to tap into and reflect the emotions that people were experiencing. A study by the B2B Institute at LinkedIn showed that strategies that appeal to emotions are 7x more effective at driving long-term sales, profits and revenue than those just delivering rational messaging. Research conducted by Google also shows that B2B purchasers are almost 50% more likely to buy a product or service when they see personal value (i.e. an opportunity for career advancement or confidence and pride in their choice) and 68% of buyers who see personal value will pay a higher price for a service. B2B marketers need to become increasingly savvy on how to make best use of content and messaging to build an emotional connection with influencers and buyers in 2021. Those who can create campaigns that successfully appeal to people’s emotions will differentiate themselves from the pack.

Curiosity culture

As our approach to marketing at Bright is based on agile principles, we know that experimentation and failure are the start of success. For example, how do you know for sure if an emotion-led or benefit-led message is more effective? You have to test and experiment in order to learn and build. Of course, your data processes and analytics are the key to understanding what is working and what is failing. As more marketing functions adopt agile marketing principles, we expect to see an increase in curiosity and experimentation in B2B marketing campaigns.

Agile is the key

In fact, adopting agile marketing processes is the key to embracing all of these trends effectively. Understanding how to make proper use of data and research to drive decision making is the backbone of agile marketing. Testing different approaches, channels or messages (emotional vs rational) and constantly iterating and improving is another critical element of agile marketing. Agile marketing builds resilience, helping you pivot and adapt to current trends, and ultimately drive better results from your marketing that support your business goals. To find out how you can adopt agile marketing to better manage disruption during this pandemic, get in touch with a Bright expert.

Zoe Merchant5 B2B marketing trends to watch in 2021
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B2B tech trends set to soar in 2021

The top B2B tech trends to watch in 2021 

In response to the chaos and disruption caused by COVID, in 2021 we can expect to see technology being used to help us navigate our way out of the pandemic and set us on the path to recovery.  To help you prepare for what’s ahead, we’ve gathered the top B2B tech trends of 2021. 

Is your data agile and adaptive?  

One thing that will remain constant throughout 2021 is change. Businesses that are set to react and adapt quickly to change are more likely to succeedAnd with the pace of change driving digital transformation at speeddata also needs to be readily available and up-to-date to keep up. Gartner describe ‘intelligent composable businesses’ as organisations with better access to data, insights and the ability to respond quickly to those insights.  

Data also needs to be adaptive and tuned for machines rather than humans according to DeloitteAs machine learning takes over, older data models and infrastructure designed to support decision-making by humans rather than machines will slow down progressOrganisations need to disrupt the end-to-end data management chain by deploying new technologies and approaches. These include advanced data capture and structuring capabilities, in-depth analytics to identify connections between random data sets and next-generation cloud-based data stores. These all help to support complex modelling. Essentially, the aim is to allow for growing volumes of data to be agile and adaptive, ready for machines which can then be evolved to make real-time and scalable decisions that humans cannot. 

AI or machine learning — place your bet 

Machine learning is set to rapidly take over as the driver of organisational performance due to its ability to discover patterns and anomaliesgenerate insightsand make intelligent predictions and decisionsHowever, according to Deloittemany organisations are suffering from clunky development and deployment processes that slow down experimentation and collaboration amongst product teams, operational staff, and data scientists. The solution for 2021? A combination of engineering and operational discipline to drive business transformation known as machine learning operations – MLOpsMLOps is the application of development operations tools and approaches to industrialise and scale machine learning. This ranges from development and deployment through to ongoing maintenance and management. 

It’s important to recognise though that as machine learning develops, AI will not stand still. Bain predict the next trend in AI as“edge AI” – a network infrastructure which makes it possible for AI algorithms to run on the edge of a network, closer to or on the device collecting the data. With the shift to home working and changes in network trafficedge AI is set to accelerate due to its ability to preserve bandwidth and increase efficiency by processing information much closer to the devices that require it. This reduces latency issues and accelerates the generation of insights while lowering cloud services usage and connectivity costs and disruption.  

AI engineering is also shifting to incorporate itself within DevOps, rather than sitting as a separate entity, with the aim to increase the value of AI projects and reduce issues of governance, scalability and maintainability. Gartner predict that the operationalisation of AI will allow for more responsibility and accountability when it comes to trust, ethics, fairness, interpretability and compliance.  

Get ready for the inevitable crackdowns 

Big tech crackdownare springing up everywhere for large companies within the UK and US. It’s not a surprise that governments are therefore ready to implement new acts, code of conducts, legislation and penalties to regulate large tech companies, with the main focus on increasing competition and data privacy (BBC). But it’s not just governments set to strike. As cyberattacks increase and undermine the current approaches to cybersecurityGartner recognise that the threat has expanded due to the increase of a remote workforceIn 2021, cybersecurity mesh that allows the identity of a person or thing to define the security perimeter is paramount.  

Deloitte turn to the growing trend of ‘zero trust’ to implement this mesh – where every access request should be validated based on all available data points, including user identity, device, location, and other variablesData, applications, workloads, and other resources are treated as individual, manageable units to contain breaches, and access is provided based on the principle of least privilege. Automation and engineering are required to properly implement zero trust security architectures and can help strengthen security posture, simplify security management, improve end-user experience, and enable modern enterprise environments.  

The same goes for data – 2021 is set to be the year for blockchain to take centre stage. According to The Drumas decentralised finance continues to grow over the next few years, and increased demand for online financial products, it will need to constantly address the balance between decentralisation, security and scalability.Government bodies are incorporating blockchain for their activities, which suggests the regulation surrounding blockchain will become ever more keyWith the likes of Google Cloud taking steps to become a network block producer, it won’t be long before blockchain will be the new norm.  

Operate anywhere  

With the increase of home working set to continue into 2021, we’re not going to see the use of collaboration technology diminish anytime soon. Deloitte suggest that as companies further embrace home workinapproaches, the digital workplace’s deficits can be counteracted by embracing its positive aspects, including the data generated by workers own tools and platforms, and being able to monitor staff productivityThese can help organisations optimise individual and team performance, as well as customise the employee experience with personalisation, enabling remote work to be more productive and cost-effective than traditional offices.  

Gartner agree that an anywhere operations model will remain after the pandemic is over. The “digital first, remote first” model should be the default for business going forward and even physical spaces should be digitally enhanced. Both Gartner and the BBC refer to the contactless check-out system in physical stores as an example for 2021. Doors have also opened to a new remote working market for tech firms to exploit. The BBC expect more packages to be offered by internet service providers and tech firms, as well as enhanced security options, IT support and collaboration software.  

Equality with technology 

With companies embracing, or at the very least introducing diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) as one of their business imperatives for 2021the need for strategies that address bias and inequality are set to growDeloitte note that while HR often lead DEI strategies, technology leaders are required to play a critical role in designing, developing, and executing tech-enabled solutions to address increasingly complex DEI challenges. Deloitte expect to see a rise in organisations adopting new tools that incorporate advanced analytics, automation, and AI. These include natural language processing and machine learning, to help inform, deliver, and measure the impact of DEI effectively and reduce bias.  

Keep your finger on the pulse with health tech  

Health tech is set to soar in 2021 and beyond as rapid acceleration of health data collection gives the industry a huge opportunity to utilise emerging digital capabilities. These include AI and Machine Learning to improve treatment and care. We’ve already seen how they were critical in creation of the vaccine, as well as in contact exposure tech, and models to calculate transmission ratesHealth care apps are set to dramatically increase in users and health tech start-ups are likely to start popping up in droves. The Drum predict health tech will become instrumental in helping us all manage our personal wellbeing, as well as the quality of work for medical staff, and saving lives. 

In summary…

Whilst technology trends are set to drive continued disruption, they are also key opportunities for businessesOrganisations whcan embrace a ‘digital first’ approach will see themselves recover more quickly in 2021 and thrive in the years to come. The same can be said for organisations who are able to respond quickly, build resilience and adapt with pace – in other words those with agility.  

Interested in finding out how agile marketing can increase your ROI and align with your business goals? Book in a virtual cuppa with one of our agile marketing experts – we specialise in working with clients from the IT industry: hello@brightinnovation.co.uk 

Martha OrglesB2B tech trends set to soar in 2021
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5 reasons why agile marketing adoption will boom in 2021

By Natalie Cannatella, Content and Communications Strategist

One of the biggest marketing trends this year was the growth of agile marketing. According to the ‘3rd State of Agile Marketing Report’, agile marketing adoption went up from 32% in 2019 to 42% in 2020Almost all of the growth is due to a reduction in the percentage of marketers identifying with the traditional waterfall model of marketing management. At Bright, agile marketing has been at the heart of our founding principles and processes since our inception. Here are five reasons why we believe agile marketing is set to grow even further in 2021. 

Pandemic panic   

Covid impacted pretty much every aspect of both our personal and working lives last year. Businesses in particular have faced disruption, uncertainty and a constantly changing landscape. This meant that the best marketing plans quickly went out the window as many businesses went into crisis mode. In these conditions, adopting an agile approach to marketing, where marketing departments could adapt quickly to changing circumstances, suddenly became more important than ever before. Even though we have (thankfully) now started the rollout of the first approved vaccine in the UK, the future remains uncertain and impossible to predict. For those who adopted agile marketing practices in 2020, there is certainly no going back. For those who have yet to embrace agile marketing, 2021 is the year to dive in as businesses continue to navigate their way through the pandemic and beyond. 

Data is king 

We live in a world where almost everything we do online is tracked, and organisations today are set up to capture volumes of data about their customers and prospects. Businesses that can fully capture, understand and utilise that data will gain a competitive edge. Data and agile marketing go handinhand. Having access to real-time data – and being able to analyse it  is one of the key pillars of agile marketing. It’s an approach that focuses on making decisions that are always driven by data, and businesses looking to thrive in a post-Covid world will want to ensure they are doing this effectively. 

Pervasiveness of agile  

The test, learn, improve model is now well established and accepted beyond the technology team. By applying this model to marketing processes and campaigns, businesses are able to make tweaks and amendments to optimise activity based on data to cultivate continuous improvement — another reason why we think businesses are likely to extend agile practices to their marketing function in 2021. 

Banish mediocrity 

One of the things all businesses have had to do this year is think creatively in order to survive. This most definitely extends to the marketing department. In 2020, mediocre marketing campaigns just didn’t cut it, and in 2021, standout creative campaigns will be another tool organisations use as they try to recover from the previous year and get back to growthAgile marketing supports teams in creating more effective standout campaigns that support your KPIs and business objectives. 

Need for speed 

Doing things faster, and better, than your competitors are the main ingredients for business success. Businesses are realising that agile marketing practices can significantly increase time-to-market. Getting those data-driven, creative marketing campaigns out to the market quickly, gives you that competitor-beating edge. 

Are you ready to embrace agile and accelerate your marketing? Drop us an email at hello@brightinnovation.co.uk  

Natalie Quinn5 reasons why agile marketing adoption will boom in 2021
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5 tips for managing extra stress (and bloat) this Christmas

By Natalie Burrows, resident nutritionist (and senior marketing manager) at Bright

It’s been a challenging year. A lot of us have now been working at home for 9 months, juggling childcarehome schooling, changing tiers and adapting to a ‘new’ way of life — stress levels have been tested. At Bright, we’ve been getting in the Christmas spirit and counting down to a well-earned break, but we’ve also been reflecting on the impact of this year and how Christmas brings its own, unique level of stress 

We’ve put together 5 simple tips to help you keep your stress levels in check, jeans buckled and energy up until the end of Christmas day. 

Dealing with seasonal stress 

When you’re surrounded by family, the pressure of cooking Christmas dinner, calming overexcited children — and maybe this yearmissing loved ones  — can keep your nervous system in the fightor-flight mode (the state of high alert and stress). Ever felt butterflies when nervous? Our gut is known as our second brain’. The two are intrinsically connected, and stressful events and feelings can leave you bloated or with aupset stomach that affects your mood.   

How to beat it: 

Focus on your breath. The 4-3-7 breathing technique is a simple method that can be performed anywhere and anytime you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. It will help increase your oxygen levels too, preventing you from wanting that post-lunch snooze. Try it now:  

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth 
  2. Inhale through your nose, counting to 4
  3. Hold your breath for the count of 7 
  4. Exhale out your mouth for the count of 8 
  5. Repeat this cycle 3 more times 

Over-indulging with festive grazing 

Who doesn’t love the nibbles on offer during ChristmasTins of chocolate, different flavoured crisps, assorted nuts, and not forgetting cheese and biscuits. It’s easy to graze all day long, but the continual demand on your stomach to digest food constantly leaves it little time to properly digest. Remember that you’re also swallowing air every time you eat — the more we snack, the more air we swallow and the more bloated we become. Add in the increased amount of carbs, crisps and sweets over Christmas and your energy will start crashing early on in the day. 

How to beat it: 

Make sure your meals include a mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats to balance out blood sugars, and moderate your snacking, aiming for 3 hours of digestive rest in between enjoying delicious food. For example: Breakfast at 9am, lunch at 12 or 1pm, snack at 4pm, and dinner at 7 or 8pm. It’s important to eat regularly too, and not ‘save’ yourself for one meal. 

Managing your jubilant drinking 

What’s your favourite festive tipple? Cider, mulled wine or bucks’ fizz (one of our favourites)? Don’t worry, we’re not about to tell you to give it up — enjoy itresponsibly  but there’s a couple of things to bear in mind. Not only can the carbonated drinks like prosecco, champagne, lager and cider lead to a full and fizzy stomach, but alcohol is an irritant for the digestive system that increases chances of bloating and gastric symptoms. Not to forget, the more we drink, the more likely we are to need that afternoon nap.  

How to beat it: 

Check the amount of carbonated, alcoholic drinks you’re having throughout the day and break up the flow of alcohol with a glass or two of water. Which leads me nicely onto the next point… 

Ensuring holiday hydration 

The need to stay hydrated doesn’t go away just because it’s Christmas day. Lack of hydration can leave you feeling foggy, fatigued and forgetful — not very festive feelings. It can also reduce the motility of your gut, leaving you feeling full and uncomfortable. 

 How to beat it: 

Keep the clear fluids up and start your day with a pint or half a litre of water, so you’re on to a winner before breakfast. Alternate other beverages with a glass of water to help get to the recommended 1.5 litres of water a day. You and your body will be grateful you did. 

Encouraging a little merry movement 

Do you get out for a walk on Christmas day, or scrap the usual movement routine for a day on the sofa? As tempting as it is to stay in pyjama’s (we hear you), reduced movement could be responsible for bloating and energy slumps. As we move, we increase blood flow to our muscles and digestive tract and increase oxygen to the brain. Time in nature is proven to be very supportive in reducing stress levels too. 

How to beat it: 

Enjoy the great outdoors on Christmas day, dance around the houseplay a game that involves moving around or simply continue your workout routine like any other day.  

We hope these tips help you and your family stay energised, and stress and bloatfree on Christmas day. After such a tough year, so we’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas and a brighter 2021 from all of us here at Bright.

For more great tips from Natalie on life and marketing, don’t miss our next Agile Marketing Bootcamp, Targeting financial services.

Natalie Burrows5 tips for managing extra stress (and bloat) this Christmas
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Brain food: 5 tips for staying bright

As the most energy-hungry organ in our body, the human brain weighs around 1.5kg but requires 25% of our resting energy expenditure every day – yep, it’s true! Our brain needs fuel to help us juggle and adapt to the new way of life of 2020. But what brain food is best for staying sharp? The temptation to reach for the snack cupboard for a sugar boost before the next meeting (or school task) is one we’ve all felt but it’s not what our brain, or body, truly desires. Check out our top 5 tips on keeping your brain healthy 🧠  and staying bright💡 throughout 2020 and beyond.

1. Oily fish for omega-3

Think salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies (did I go too far with the anchovies?). Whether you find them delicious on their own or need to hide them in a fish pie, oily fish should be a regular weekly staple. Filled with omega-3, an essential fatty acid that supports brain function and cellular health, oily fish is our best source of this nutrient. Vegetarians and vegans can still get a good intake through flaxseed, hemp, chia seeds and soybeans.

2. Green veggies for folate and beta carotene

Brain food

“Eat your greens” is a phrase I say all too often but, aside from it being my favourite colour, green vegetables encompass a multitude of vitamins and minerals to support optimal health and brain function. Specifically, their vitamin K, folate and beta carotene content has been linked to slowing cognitive decline – so pack them into your meals daily!

3. Nuts for vitamin E

Brain food

Another food to have shown promising results in regard to brain health – and heart health – are walnuts. Bursting with omega 3 and 6, antioxidants and vitamin E, the often underappreciated walnut supports inflammation and free-radical damage. It’s a great brain-shaped snack – nature’s way of telling us what it’s beneficial for 😉

 

4. Berries for antioxidants

Brain food

It’s that rich, dark colour that berries have that make them so visually appealing 👀 😋  – they’re flavonoids. Responsible not only for the colour of the fruit but for the nutrients and antioxidants that fight free radicals and support brain function. It’s berry season in the UK now, a perfect time to increase our daily portion.

 

5. Water for hydration 

Hydration is key! Our bodies are 60% water, so it isn’t surprising that dehydration is associated with headaches, fatigue, dizziness, brain fog, forgetfulness and generally feeling a bit naff! Adequate hydration helps regulate our body temperature, supports transportation of nutrients to vital organs, and the removal of waste (yep we’re talking number 1 and number 2). The average person should drink around 1.5-2 litres of water a day, throw in a hot summer’s day and some exercise and you’ll need to add at least a litre to that total!

 Get more tips for staying healthy in this stressful time

We hope our guide to brain food and staying bright has provided some inspiration for your weekly shop – and will help you minimise those all too frequent trips to the fridge for those not-so-healthy snacks whilst working from home!

Check out our other recent blogs including Tips for supporting your immune system and The ultimate working-from-home guide.

Natalie BurrowsBrain food: 5 tips for staying bright
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Is the honeymoon over for WFH?

Craving the office just a little bit? Some tips for getting back into the WFH groove

Most of us have now been working from home since early March and with the future looking uncertain on how office life moves forward, some people are finding the WFH honeymoon almost over. With communication platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom trying to keep us excited with new backgrounds and functionalities, it still seems to be getting a bit much. People are craving human interaction with colleagues.

Finding the balance to ensure productivity and a happy home life is hard, especially when we are so restricted on social aspects and juggling teaching children with a full-time job and trying to protect our more vulnerable nearest and dearest by keeping ourselves to ourselves. The norm would take the teaching kids out of the equation or have us leaving the house in the evening to go for a relaxing drink or a family dinner, while currently, we eat sleep and breath office surroundings in the comfort of our own homes.

Here are some top tips on how you can keep productive, healthy and sane whilst WFH:

Keep on moving:

You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again, exercise is oh so important and helps heaps with keeping your brain productive and sleep patterns in check. Staying in the house day in, day out is hard and going for a 20-minute run at lunch or putting on a home workout video helps refresh your mind and breaks up the day. Keep moving. We know it’s hard but try and get yourself into a routine and join a fitness tracking app – it’s a great way to keep motivated when seeing your friends and colleagues do the same and can get a bit competitive, which is always healthy!

Draw a line between your desk and home life:

If you can, keep your desk separate from your home life. This can really help but understandably, isn’t possible for everyone. If you don’t switch off, your productivity will suffer and even though you are working longer hours, your quality of work may take a hit.

Stay organised and don’t give up:

Being organised is a well-desired trait and some of us don’t have that gift, but since the pandemic, we have had to adapt overnight and ensure we are planning, staying efficient and keeping our to-do lists ticked. Don’t give up – spend some time before or after work setting out the day ahead. Take five minutes to formulate a to-do list, tidy your workspace and get ahead. No one wants to start the day in a flap with no plan, don’t make it harder for yourself to stay productive. There is some great tech out there to help with that or a good old notebook and pen is sufficient!

Children need attention, and that’s ok:

Companies understand we are in a parallel world right now and having a full-time job working and educating your offspring is hard. Don’t beat yourself up if they only spent half the day learning and the other half watching Moana – it’s to be expected. There are lots of free online tools out there to help support with this balance and a lot of teachers are keen to supply extra activities and worksheets – so don’t be afraid to ask for the help. No one is judging you.

Be creative:

Take on a hobby to help you zone out from the one or two jobs you may be juggling. Who knows, you may even find something you’re really good at. I pretty much think I’m Monet now with the 2 paintings I completed in lockdown and my colleagues have just purchased a pottery making kit to start creating ceramics from home, so we are expecting to see video evidence of the iconic scene from Ghost make an appearance soon!

Ghost GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

There is such a thing as brain food:

It’s hard to do all the above and still have an ounce of energy to keep on top of your health – we get that. But brain food does exist and the healthier foods you eat – the more energy you will have and the easier it will be to stay on track with the WFH life. Don’t get us wrong, a takeout here and there is the only way through the new life of no eating out. It’s balance you want to focus on. So, enjoy that kebab on a Friday night because you worked hard all week and you deserve it. It’s guilt-free.

This pandemic has challenged us all in more ways than one but staying positive and not putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure is as important as that to-do list you have sitting in front of you. There is light at the end of the tunnel! To read more check out our ultimate guide on working from home.

Chloe EmmersonIs the honeymoon over for WFH?
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The ultimate working-from-home survival guide

Outlast the outbreak from your home office

As the Covid-19 crisis continues to engulf the world, it will undoubtedly change the way we work. You and your team are probably working from home already. You may have been given a timeline of two weeks or you have simply been told to stay home for the foreseeable future. Whilst a few days at home is a welcome, relaxing break from stressful commuting and in-person meetings, staying productive can be challenging and long periods of isolation can be damaging to your mental health and overall team morale. To help you stay sharp, positive and productive, follow these top tips for outlasting the outbreak from your home office.

Ensure a productive workday

Get ready as if you’re about to catch the Tube

Shower, eat breakfast and yes, get dressed. Whilst working comfortably in your cosy pyjamas on the couch is the most attractive aspect of working from home, it won’t help you snap into work mode. In fact, you’re more likely to feel tired and groggy. Plus, you’ll want to feel confident calling in to meetings — you’ll probably be asked to join meetings with your camera on, as companies will want to ensure effective communication during this crisis.

Write a to-do list

Once you’re up and feeling refreshed, you’re ready to tackle your to-do list. 30% of remote workers said they feel more productive with a to-do list. Grab a notebook and jot down things to do — work-related and personal — to help you plan your day. But of course, there’s an app for that too, if you’re looking for a greener option to task management.

Try to categorise or sort by morning, afternoon and evening to help you stay productive. Trust us, there’s nothing better than ticking off your list at the end of a day – and what a great excuse for relaxing at the end of the day!

Start working at your normal working time.

If you’re normally in the office at 8.30am, turn your computer on at 8.30am.  Even if you don’t have morning meetings, keeping your normal routine will help you get motivated quickly. The last thing you want to do is start late and end up working late to make up for it. However, you may decide you need to shift your working hours, and that’s fine. This is your chance to set a working schedule that works for you — and your health.

Keep track of tasks and deadlines

Stay organised

Along with that to-do list, it’s important to keep a list of objectives and deadlines for the day or week. You’ll also want to keep a clean desk, desktop and filing system. The latter is especially critical if you’re working in Microsoft Teams or Monday.com in which documents easily get lost without a standardised filing system.

Be active in group chats

Whether you’re using Microsoft Teams, Monday.com or Mural, be sure that you’re visibly ‘at work’. That might mean answering queries, posting a status update on what you’re working on, offering to take on a task, or participating in a public conversation.

Just remember that this doesn’t mean that you have to be furiously working and posting non-stop. You can take breaks. It’s perfectly fine to appear to be ‘away’ during the day. We’re striving to keep our normal working routine here, not turn you into a superhuman working-from-home machine!

Focus on your health

Schedule breaks

To build on that point, studies show that workers take fewer breaks when working from home. Perhaps it’s the fear of not being there to answer an email or IM. No one wants to look like they’re slacking. But you need to give your mind (and eyes!) a break from your computer screen every now and then, just as you do in the office. Set aside a few minutes a day to do yoga, make a cup of tea, read a book or go for a walk to clear your head.

But not all breaks are healthy. Mindless online shopping or Facebook browsing won’t help you focus later. See these tips on how to avoid taking unproductive breaks.

Don’t forget to eat

I know, sounds impossible right? But in reality, working from home can throw off your normal eating schedule. When you get so buried in a task at home, odds are there isn’t anyone there to invite you to lunch. Schedule an hour’s lunch break every day. Put it in your calendar if you need to, to remind you and your co-workers.

And during this crisis, it’s more important than ever to avoid junk food and binge-eating that can be detrimental to your health. Nutritionist Natalie Burrows offers top tips for eating well to support your immune system and prevent infection.

Get outside (if you’re not self-isolating!)

If you or someone you live with is showing symptoms of Covid-19, WHO recommends self-isolating in your home for at least 7 days to prevent the spread of infection.

If you’re healthy and not showing symptoms, you’re probably practicing social distancing — but that doesn’t mean you can’t leave your home.  As you won’t be walking to work or the Tube, your body will miss that little bit of exercise! Stretch your legs with a quick pop to the shop or a walk around the neighbourhood. To stay in peak health, be sure to get a bit of fresh air and vitamin D when you can.

Studies actually show that walking alone can boost your immune system dramatically. Men and women who walk at least 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week had 43% fewer sick days than those who walked once a week or less.

End your day at your normal working time

Surprisingly, studies show that working from home often leads to longer working hours. But shutting off at your normal time is important for your health. Just because you don’t have to commute, doesn’t mean you need to continue working. If you normally end at 5.30pm, sign off and close your laptop. Being available 24/7 won’t help you stay productive or impress your manager – it will only make you more tired, grumpy and ineffective, or worse, susceptible to illness.

Tips for managers

Trust your employees to do the work

This extended period of working from home will test your team’s ability to stay self-motivated and meet deadlines – and your management skills. Whilst it will undoubtedly be tempting, this is not the time to start micromanaging. Your team will need some time to adjust to working from home – balancing a work schedule from home with daily family life isn’t easy!

Plus, studies show that you have nothing to worry about. Remote workers tend to work a full shift and take fewer breaks. They actually end up working 1.4 more days per month than office workers on average! They’re also less likely to get distracted, and most find it easier to complete creative tasks when at home.

Communicate clearly online

So, how do you stay involved and in control as a manager but avoid turning into a burdensome micromanager? State objectives, tasks and deadlines clearly in your task programme. Assign and tag your team members to each task and be sure to answer queries as quickly as possible.

But whilst written communication is important and efficient, this is the time to focus on encouraging face-to-face communication as much as possible. Set up daily Scrum stand-ups, especially if your team is used to working in an agile way, and be sure to use video. This will help you provide key context, answer queries and avoid miscommunication.  If video calls and stand-ups are new to your team, send across helpful guides to let them know what’s expected from their participation.

Use the right tools

We’ve mentioned a few communication tools and software that we use, but you really have your choice of software for your team’s needs. Microsoft Teams is the perfect tool for chatting and collaborating, and Monday.com is handy for planning, tracking and assigning tasks. We’ve recently adopted the sticky-note app Mural for streamlining daily meetings and stand-ups. All are visually intuitive, simple and easy to use.

Boost team morale

Work hard, play hard — even at home! This extended period of time away from the office calls for a focus on keeping the team spirit alive and well. Plan virtual coffee breaks, lunches and games to bring the team together as often as possible (without overloading their calendar of course!). It’s important to open up time for chatting and banter, not just meetings. Here at Bright, we’ve set up Bright Olympics to play a few short games and chat over coffee to stay in touch.

We’re all in this together

The Covid-19 crisis is affecting us all. Businesses are now under tremendous pressure to keep things running smoothly but setting up remote working and ensuring productivity is a challenge for both management and the team. By following these tips, we hope you’ll be able to find and provide some much-needed security for your company in the year ahead. If you need help adopting new ways of working to support your newly remote team, schedule a virtual coffee break with the Bright team today or get started with an Agile Hub.

With extreme disruption across global markets from Brexit, Black Monday and the Covid-19 crisis, marketers who find new ways of working with agility and pace are more likely to thrive and survive during such uncertainty. Watch our webinar, a knowledge-sharing event about agile marketing transformation:  Explore the future of B2B marketing trends: agile marketing survey findings and QA.

For more tips on outlasting the outbreak, check out our latest post on Transforming events at pace.

Charlotte FellowsThe ultimate working-from-home survival guide
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2020 B2B marketing: 5 trends to watch

Ensuring a bright 2020 by keeping pace with market change

If you’re active in B2B marketing, you know that change in the tech and consulting industry is nothing new – and nothing to fear. Within the past decade, we’ve seen digital disruption and transformation drive market change in service and product delivery and impacting how we go to market and reach our target audiences effectively.

In B2B marketing, we’ve dramatically changed how we plan, manage and run campaigns – whether it’s putting data insights to work by injecting agility or using personalisation to keep up with shifting markets. The rise of digitally native audiences has also forced B2B marketing to move much of its activity online.

Now, as we enter a bright new decade, we’re about to see even more changes – our ways of working need to evolve to maintain pace and engagement, and use data and insights effectively to build relationships and convert the right people at the right time.  To help you prepare, we’ve gathered the top five trends in B2B marketing this year.

1.    Agile marketing will take charge

Centred around collective, cross-functional and collaborative working in which projects are completed in short periods called sprints, agile marketing lays the foundation for continually testing and iterating your marketing ideas – proving what works and what doesn’t to ensure better marketing results, business outcomes and overall ROI.

But agile working isn’t just about process and technology – there are cultural considerations to bring your organisation along on the journey. McKinsey research found that companies who adopt agile ways of working simultaneously achieve greater customer centricity, faster time to market, higher revenue growth, lower costs, and a more engaged workforce. Learn more about B2B agile marketing.

Why it will matter in 2020

B2B marketers are under more pressure than ever to demonstrate results from marketing investment, and this is expected to drive a rise in agile marketing adoption in 2020. Firms will need to understand and apply new ways of working to align and meet business goals whilst keeping up with ever-changing markets. Agile marketing brings the best of entrepreneurial thinking, start up ways of working and allows enterprises to innovate at scale.

If you aren’t already, this is your chance to really understand your buyer journey and make sure your marketing is driving revenue at every stage of the client lifecycle. By becoming more agile in your approach, you’ll take advantage of the latest trends and market changes to place your customer at the centre of your business.

2.    Partner experience comes of age

Partner experience (PX) has long been a neglected area of marketing. If you want to continue to grow and maximise every revenue opportunity available, then looking at your channel strategy is crucial. The key is to treat your partners as a proper audience – understand their user journey and what they need at every stage.

With an enablement perspective, you can exploit new market opportunities and unlock revenue through your channel. Injecting agility into PX is a great way to start small, such as a partner accelerator or incubator for select partners to supercharge their sales and marketing efforts; or territory specific partner acquisition campaigns to onboard more partners where you need them most. You can test, learn and build on success to create a solid and scalable PX experience.

Why it will matter in 2020

Forester predicts that marketing decision makers will rank improving partner experience on par with improving customer experience in 2020, and both will rise to more than 50%. That’s a significant shift that matches the speed of change we’re seeing in the tech industry. Injecting agility is critical if organisations are going to keep up with competition and build more channel share.

Give your partners the experience they need to support and sell more of your tech and services, and don’t be afraid to stand out and make better use of video, immersive and social prospecting to accelerate traction within and for your channel.

3.    Personalisation at the heart of B2B

Personalisation has been a marketing buzzword for years and the concept of creating personas to form better buyer journeys shouldn’t be new to you. However, we’re about to see increased personalisation in B2B, specifically with a fresh look at how we’re maintaining continuous communication and opening up meaningful dialogue with our key audiences and clients.

Why it will matter in 2020

Gartner research shows that organisations that have fully invested in all types of personalisation will outsell companies that have not by 20% in 2020.  B2B marketers need to step back and think about how they can become more relevant to their key audiences to drive engagement and build relationships for the long term. This must be approached strategically with a willingness to rapidly test and learn in order to be credible and authentic.

Often, marketing can be heavy handed – rushing in with a sales message on a first communication (no one likes a pushy first date!). By using data and insight about the organisational state and target audience, you will be able to craft and deliver relevant, timely and engaging comms. Don’t rush building a credible relationship – be authentic. Senior decision makers have no interest in continuing dialogue with shouty, salesy firms that don’t effectively demonstrate that they have something of value to offer in exchange for their attention.

4.    Predictive analytics will become a key driver to success

One way to support your personalisation techniques is with better data insights from predictive analytics. Predictive analytics is the concept of using your data insights to measure marketing activities, identify trends and predict opportunities to create unique, tailored experiences across each stage of your client buyer journey and throughout their client lifecycle.

You probably have data sat within your existing systems and tools that isn’t being effectively used to identify intent and accelerate your buyer journey. Gartner predicts that profitability will replace customer experience as the CMO’s No. 1 strategic priority in 2022. Using data and insight to make strategic decisions and to drive agility and pace in your go to market strategies will be key to understanding marketing performance and contribution to business goals and profitability.

Why it will matter in 2020

Forrester says that 89% of marketers will use more predictive analytics in 2020. To keep up with the competition, the best thing you can do this year is to make your marketing more data driven.

Evaluate how you’re obtaining, measuring and analysing your data and most importantly, if you’re making the most of your data insights. Then, adopt an AI and predictive analytic tool to deliver insight that will support driving marketing effectiveness and align with business goals to demonstrate success at a business contribution level through marketing performance.

5.    Automation and integration will start to drive autonomous marketing

Automation tools help marketers schedule and publish content, manage teams and analyse data from multiple sources in one, centralised place. With the proliferation of marketing tools, more streamlined integration will enable better insight and allow marketers to focus on maximising the client experience at every stage of the buyer journey.

Manual tasks are starting to become more easily automated, giving you more time to devote to value-adding activities, such as writing longer-form content and offering greater customisation of your services. Find out more about B2B marketing automation.

Why it will matter in 2020

Evaluating and integrating your existing toolset will create quick wins and allow automation to run sequences autonomously to improve conversion rates and engagement with your key audiences. And, automation isn’t just for external marketing – internal comms will benefit from applying the tools, tactics and automation internally to drive and measure employee engagement.

Marketers need to adopt new ways of working to make the most of your marketing technology. With an agile approach, you’ll zoom in on areas of underperformance to drive improvements, and overperformance to understand and repurpose successful automation into other areas of activity.

In summary

2020 will be the year for progressive transformation within B2B marketing. Traditional marketing just won’t make the cut going forward. By understanding how best to adopt agile marketing as a new way of working, streamlining processes and combining the right tools and tech, you’ll be able to adapt and drive change whilst putting your data insights to work to build stronger, clearer marketing strategies for an ever-evolving market.

Want to understand how to get started with agile marketing and transformation? Get in touch with our marketing experts.

 

Zoe Merchant2020 B2B marketing: 5 trends to watch
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5 mistakes that well-known brands made in marketing campaigns

Marketing is a delicate beast at times.

Campaigns can be sprawling and extensive, yet also interconnected and with short-term goals. Whether or not you are operating in an agile way, finding the right balance of so many facets – such as messaging, tone of voice, visuals and audiences – requires lots of thought. And the more high-profile the campaign, the bigger the necessity to get this right.

Naturally, with so many moving parts it’s possible to lose sight of the overall picture, and sometimes this makes campaigns noticeable for the wrong reasons. Of course, we all make mistakes. That’s why the following is a collection of examples from well-known brands, from which we can all learn from (and hopefully avoid making the same mistakes).

EA’s knuckleduster giveaway for the Godfather II

When Electronic Arts (EA) announced they were releasing a video game based on the 1974 film of the same name, no doubt people were excited to delve into the world of the Corleone family once again.

And with such a hot property on their hands, EA were determined to give it maximum brand exposure. But in the notoriously competitive world of video-game marketing, relying on the property itself was never going to be enough. Something distinctive was needed. So, in April 2009, EA decided to dispatch brass knuckles (a weapon synonymous with crime syndicates similar to those in the game) to journalists, alongside advanced copies of the game.

Despite EA being based in California where owning brass knuckles are illegal, they shipped them to other states where they are also illegal. In their defence, EA tried to recall them, but the damage was done, and this marketing ploy entered the headlines in earnest.

Knuckledusters in wrapping

As featured in Engadget

  • Takeaway: Be careful when including something risky and attention-seeking in a campaign. Distinguishing yourself from the competition with a distinct tactic can work well, but ensure you have carefully considered how your audience will react to it and what message it sends out – particularly if what you are planning could be controversial. Forming a focus group with colleagues can provide valuable external insight and new perspectives into your campaign. Creating a storyboard in the planning stages can also help visualise and map out your messaging, thus making any potential pitfalls easier to spot.

Jawbone’s ‘Re: Your Dad’ Father’s Day email campaign

Email campaigns are a cornerstone of marketing, relaying content and messaging directly to a potential customer and hooking them into a lead funnel.

However, one of the major challenges with an email campaign is finding the right subject line to maximise open rates. Jawbone, a wearable tech company, decided that for a promotion around Father’s Day in 2016, they would use a subject line of ‘Re: Your Dad’. Seemingly innocuous at first, and with the personal touch we marketers should always aim to provide. But then consider this email was going to thousands of subscribers – with some statistically likely to have either experienced bereavement or estrangement from their father. After the email went out, many described the impact of receiving the email:

Email response from jawbone

A response to the email campaign on Twitter

  • Takeaway: Have at least 2 rounds of proof-reading and quality assessment on email campaigns. The original writer will benefit from a second pair of eyes, helping to pick up spelling errors, broken links, and (in the case of Jawbone) messaging that can be taken out of context / misconstrued. While making an email personable can greatly benefit its success, be careful not to become overly personal. Also by using ‘Re:’ when it’s not a reply to a conversation, recipients are more likely to be annoyed than convert.

Kendall Jenner, protesters, police and Pepsi

Big brands usually come with big name endorsements. In 2017 Pepsi were no different in hiring a celebrity model and professional Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, to appear in their advert. Pepsi’s aim was to ‘project a message of unity, peace and understanding’ by showing a group of protesters and police coming together over a can of their soft drink. This was at a time where protesters from Black Lives Matter were clashing with police. The advert showed Kendall Jenner emerging from the protesters and handing a policeman a can of Pepsi. In trying to make a comment on the current situation, the drinks company experienced a sizeable backlash, with the ad criticised for appearing to trivialise the Black Lives Matter protests. Pepsi later released this statement:

“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position”

  • Takeaway: Whilst staying topical can give your campaign traction, be 100% sure about the current topics you choose to become involved in. And if you do choose to get involved, ensure what you are saying does not give off the wrong message. Employing an agile working methodology to ensure continuous feedback can be a great shield against this, by allowing ongoing evaluation of the messaging, direction and context of the campaign with the ability to shift any of these at pace.

Burger King and some important details about its plant-based burger

Vegan food, and culture, is on the rise and companies are clamouring to get involved. The ethical and environmental message that comes with an association with veganism is branding gold. Take Greggs for example. A bakery with a former association with a less-than-healthy lifestyle flipped its brand image on its head when it released its much-lauded vegan sausage roll. The celebrated marketing campaign played a significant part in that, playing off the product in the same way as an Apple iPhone or iMac.

Keen to join the wave created by Greggs, Burger King also released a meat-free product. The marketing was significant and very visible, and the product was marketed as ‘0% beef’ and ‘made from plants’. However, the product’s description also stated it was flame-grilled in the same broiler used for beef and chicken. By coming into contact with meat, the burger couldn’t be considered vegan or vegetarian. As a result, Burger King were accused on social media of being ‘misleading’ in their marketing:

Vegan complaint against Burger King

Twitter users were quick to point out the hidden reality of Burger King’s new product

  • Takeaway: While the campaign did not specifically say the product was vegan or vegetarian, it was described as meat-free and did use very similar messaging to those advertising a vegan product. The key thing here is to be clear in your messaging and be upfront with what your product is about. Don’t hide key details away and be sure the positioning of your marketing reflects the reality.

Dove asks customers to ‘choose their body shape’ on a bottle

Dove first launched its Self-Esteem project back in 2004, and has been synonymous with ‘body positive’ messaging. But even they have been prone to marketing slip-ups.

After a run of very successful ‘Real Beauty’ marketing campaigns promoting the acceptance of all body types, Dove launched the ‘Real Beauty Bottles’. The marketing declared that ‘beauty comes in all shapes and sizes’, and so the bottles of body-wash were designed to roughly correlate to a body type.

These included hourglass, pear-shaped, tall, thin, and teardrop. While this was meant to promote multiple body types, many consumers felt Dove was encouraging them to either choose their own body type or even aspire to a certain ‘bottle’. Dove subsequently released this statement:

Dove statement to body shape campaign

Statement from Dove

  • Takeaway: With longer-term campaigns, it’s easy to lose sight of the original message. Over time, messaging can become convoluted, especially if you’re bringing new ideas into the process. Always be mindful of what you are saying, and who you are targeting, at all points during your campaign. The creation of a storyboard and messaging log in the planning stages of the campaign allows you to refer back to the original and overarching message. Also, involving key stakeholders to review stages of the campaign can help keep the whole direction on track, and spot any potentially harmful deviations.
Sian Heaphy5 mistakes that well-known brands made in marketing campaigns
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