Just in case you are wondering, I am not going to start spilling crazy secrets that might put my job in jeopardy. I wish I knew all the secrets so I could transform the world of B2B Marketing forever with a tell-all book. What I do know is that B2B Marketers have a ton of options today.
But which ones are really working to drive our strategy and our business forward? In this post, I will offer a preview of the thoughts I will deliver during the Focus Interactive Summit on Progressive B2B Marketing. Here is a copy of the presentation Confessions of a B2B Marketer as well.
So what happened in B2B Marketing? It used to be so easy. Talk to sales to identify what kind of support they need from marketing in order to deliver their annual numbers. How hard can it be? After all we are hunting big elephant-sized deals. We know where they eat, sleep and hang out. We know we just need a few high profile events, a lot of nice court-side tickets to the game and limo rides for the C-Suite.
Then the economy turned. Events? Squeezed out. Customers? Well we need to focus on wringing out every lead and every deal from our funnels. So we started throwing more money at digital tactics that could show a real return on the investment. Unfortunately, not all marketers understand digital so well. So what did we do?
We sent email and made cold calls. Not just a little more, we sent tons of email and cold calls and then we added even more. Upsell. Cross-sell. Sell. Sell. Sell. The result of all this was redundancy like B2B marketing has never seen before. Lists became “tired” as response rates drops. Opt-outs increased and our brand image suffered — all because we were spamming our customers.
“The best laid plans…” We did not plan for this. But unfortunately too much of our marketing is done based on gut feel. And we often lack the guidance we can achieve from a proper strategy and planning process. We had become sales order-takers and now we were paying the price.
What we need is an alignment between Marketing and Strategy. Not Marketing Strategy to achieve marketing objectives. But strategy to achieve our business objectives!
What we need is Insight-driven marketing that starts with the customer. When we start with customer needs and pains and then craft solutions, offers, content and marketing programs towards the customers, our businesses will start to sustain growth.
This is not about tactics. It is about strategy. It’s about aligning with sales on business outcomes and working together to craft plans to achieve those outcomes. It’s about customers and getting them to chose us over the competition because we have better met their needs. And then creating a trusted relationship so they stay with us.
So What’s Hot in B2B Marketing (based on popularity from the B2B Marketing Insider Blog)?
- Digital marketing skill shortage: online, search, social and display techniques
- All things “Social”: ROI, blogs, personal branding, response management
- Retention and loyalty are back…along with the employee engagement that drives it
- Sales and marketing alignment is (still) the hottest topic
- Quality vs. quantity of leads debate rages on
- Strategic marketing planning