In the dynamic world of B2B marketing and sales, staying ahead of the curve requires not only an acute understanding of the latest trends and strategies but also the ability to craft engaging narratives that captivate audiences. The intersection of innovation and storytelling has become the hallmark of success in an industry where every pitch, every article and every campaign must strive to stand out amidst a sea of information.
With a diverse background that began in the pet industry, Kelly’s journey from an assistant editor to her current role showcases not only her editorial expertise but also her innate ability to adapt and excel in an evolving field.
From navigating the influx of artificial intelligence (AI) to exploring the uncharted territory of influencer engagement, Kelly’s perspective offers a refreshing take on what it means to tell an evergreen story in the fast-paced world of B2B marketing and sales.
How did you get your start as an editor covering the sales and marketing industry?
I went to college for English and History and then started my career in the pet industry, so I’ve definitely had an interesting journey in the sales and marketing space. I worked as an assistant editor and then managing editor for a B2B pet retail magazine, but within 18 months, I’d gone as far as I could go with the company and knew I had more to offer.
I wanted to stay in the B2B space and stumbled across an opening at Demand Gen Report (DGR) for a managing editor position. Even though I met the qualifications on paper, I truthfully had no expertise in the space — I can now admit that I thought “demand generation” meant what each generation demands out of a company. So, I applied for the position because I’m a firm believer that professional skills can’t be taught, but subject matter can. Thankfully, I quickly learned the real definition of demand generation, and over the course of two years, I’ve been promoted twice and currently serve as the publication’s editor.
Are there specific topics or themes within the sales and marketing space that you haven’t covered that you would like to get more perspective on?
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I’m an Instagram junkie and grew up in the era of social media influencers. I’ve always been fascinated by the influencer world, and in my professional career, I’m interested in how it translates to the B2B realm. There’s so much potential for influencers in B2B, as buyers indicate time and time again that they want third-party validated information about solutions, technologies and services, as well as peer-reviewed and thought leadership content.
I have maybe two or three articles about the topic on DGR, and I’m actually working on a white paper-esque report about the subject as we speak, but it’s definitely an area I want to expand our coverage.
What do you predict will be the most talked about trends, topics or themes in our industry for the second half of 2023/early 2024?
Is it a cop-out to say Generative AI? Because definitely Generative AI. It’s still so new and unknown. Sure, there’s a lot of discussion surrounding AI, but it’s the same talking points over and over again — AI won’t take your job, humans who know AI will; use ChatGPT as your first draft; work with AI, not against it; etc.
So, I think the conversation will evolve from those generic soundbites to more in-depth information as practitioners roll up their sleeves and dive deeper into the world of AI. And, of course, AI companies are constantly innovating, so experimenting with new releases will definitely be top of mind for all organizations.
It seems these days everyone is talking about AI. Are there any new developments that will change current sales and marketing practices? Are there aspects of AI that the industry should steer clear of? What areas of B2B would AI be most beneficial?
I’m currently a team of one, so I’m relying on ChatGPT and Bard, in particular, as my personal assistants. I use ChatGPT to help combat writer’s block and lay the groundwork for an article or report, and then rely on Bard to drum up research and statistics because I don’t have the time to dig through Google myself.
I’m probably parroting a lot of the mainstream narrative here, but you can’t take AI at face value. We all know it tends to “hallucinate” or generate out-of-date information, so it’s important to comb through its findings and ensure everything’s kosher. Additionally, while I joke that AI’s my right-hand man (as I’m sure many other small teams do), it’s really not — it’s just helping me bridge the gap from point A to point B. I still need the support of an actual human, so it’s not a long-term solution to staffing issues, it’s just a band-aid to get us through this tough economic spot.
What makes a compelling news/op-ed pitch?
Two things: relevance and creativity. I can’t count how many irrelevant pitches or press releases come into my inbox that offer news or insights from industries that are not even closely related to the interests of DGR’s target audience. However, you’ll always catch my attention with something that’s less buttoned-up, more fun and right to the point. I don’t want a vague email that makes me have to dig for more information; I want a precise overview of the topic at hand so I can quickly judge whether or not it’s a fit for my readers. Oh, and slip in a pop culture reference or two — that’s how you’ll always get me.
The B2B industry can be a hard one to craft compelling and exciting stories about. What makes an exciting and interesting B2B article? What helps bring it to life?
It’s all about your writing style. If you don’t use an engaging tone and infuse some personality into your writing, most people won’t read your articles — no matter the topic. This might sound silly, given B2B’s “boring to boring” moniker, but I don’t think any topic is inherently boring. It might be a dry topic, or an area you’re not interested in, but there’s always an angle that could make it fun. If your readers can’t relate to your article, webinar, white paper, etc. on a personal level, then they won’t read it.
Kelly – Thank you so much for being our guest and sharing your insight!
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