Keith Townsend

In B2B influencer marketing, it’s only natural to wonder just what an industry influencer actually looks like?

Our third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews features conversations with top B2B influencers, looking closely at the issues that each expert is influential about in their specialized industry.

For more than a decade our team at TopRank Marketing has fostered a strong community of leading influencers, developing close relationships with subject matter experts in many industries, and we’re thrilled to share a new episode of Break Free B2B Marketing.

Information technology as an industry has seen a tremendous amount of growth and change throughout 2021. The pandemic and subsequent long-term quarantine left a lot of companies with very sudden, very big problems to address. With the explosion of remote work, questions of infrastructure arose: how can we maintain all these remote workers? How do we keep them safe? How do we communicate cross-company when we can’t meet in person? What do we need to be doing to make sure our cloud infrastructure is up to the task? What technologies are emerging or stagnating?

There are a lot of people offering answers to these questions, but there are only a select few who really know what they’re talking about. One of those few is Keith Townsend, co-founder of The CTO Advisor, and a man on the front lines of the IT infrastructure industry.

His ability to transform IT operations and eloquently explain industry trends is why we invited him to take part in our Break Free B2B Marketing video series. In today’s interview, he speaks with our own senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite about the challenges and opportunities facing IT leaders in the coming years.

Break Free B2B Interview with Keith Townsend

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 1:08 – Introduction to Keith
  • 3:49 – How has the role of CTO changed and developed in the last decade?
  • 5:37 – Technological expectations and what they mean for consumers
  • 7:36 – Industry challenges Keith is currently seeing
  • 11:19 – How can leaders start bridging technological divides?
  • 13:28 – “How do you envision the IT infrastructure evolving in the next year?”
  • 17:10 – The future of work from home
  • 19:53 – Remote work and diversity
  • 21:19 – “How do you build an audience and become a leader or expert in this space?”
  • 28:40 – Innovative campaigns or collaboration experiences
  • 34:47 – Where you can find Keith online

Josh: It seems like you are thinking primarily about your audience — when you’re trying to think if you’re going to accept something or not, whether it’s going to bring them value, or betray that sense of authenticity that they’re coming back for. Would you say that’s accurate?

Keith: We’ll see if that’s accurate. If I don’t bring my audience value, I don’t have an audience. So you know, it’s kind of this this circle that feeds upon itself — if you don’t bring your audience value, you are of no value to the marketer, and they’re not going to bring in that value themselves.

“If I don’t bring my audience value, I don’t have an audience.” — Keith Townsend @CTOAdvisor #BreakFreeB2B Click To Tweet

Josh: How can leaders in your industry break free — whatever that means to you?

Keith: What helped me break free is when I’m willing to have the difficult conversations, things that we say are difficult conversations because we’re fearful of the outcome.

I’m a big believer that friction brings value. At the end of the day, when you not necessarily inject friction, but not avoid friction, it usually brings pretty good value. When I’m willing to tell one of my employees or one of my contributors that the piece of work that you brought me just isn’t up to our standard. None of them just go away and don’t bring me back a revised piece of work. They usually come back with work that impresses me, because we engage them for a reason.

The way to stand out is, you know, don’t avoid difficult conversations.

“I’m a big believer that friction brings value.” — Keith Townsend @CTOAdvisor #BreakFreeB2B Click To Tweet

Keep your eye on the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Also check out episodes from season 1 and season 2.

Take your B2B marketing to new heights by checking out out previous season 3 episodes of Break Free B2B Marketing:





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