Last night the East Midlands BMC came together to host the latest of their Converge events – The Future of B2B Marketing.
A few mini burgers later MD Jason Neale kicked off the evening with an introduction to the club (actually that’s a lie, he started with a song). He then reluctantly handed over the microphone to an equally reluctant Danny Turnbull and Max Gordon of Stein IAS #Glossophobia (I had to google it too).
MD Danny and Account Director Max began by summarising their recent commissioned research report on B2B Post Modern Marketing in conjunction with B2B Marketing magazine, which was designed to look into a hypotheses of how we’re now entering a new B2B era of post modern marketing. Talking us through the transition of a marketer. Max using tech presenter tools and Danny admitting to leaving his hand written notes in his suitcase in the hotel, was an appropriate way to demonstrate the evolution of generational differences in marketers.
Danny explained his career began with the use of telemarketing, pull up stands and print and now sees the transition into a digital era powered by technology.
“Marketing is definitely changing faster than ever, but then life is too. Technology is driving everything. How you work, how you engage, how you communicate. There are so many tools and there is so much data. B2B marketing is more empowered than ever. But so are customers.” Chas Moloney, RICOH.
Explaining the role of a modern B2B Marketer is challenged by technology and creativity and the growing demand to adapt emotion connecting with the customer and that core marketing proficiencies are evolving. We’ve now entered into this period that combines both rational and emotional, both technological and creative.
So what do you need to do it about it?
1. Embrace agile
2. Get on top of data
3. Develop IQ, EQ and TQ in equal parts
4. Be commercial
5. Critically audit your team’s proficiencies
6. Create a culture of innovation and constant curiosity
7. Don’t outsource, co-source
8. Build and renew your stack
9. Map and prioritise your CX9.
10. Raise your game
Next up on the mic was #digitalgrandad David Coe, Planner Strategist and SeniorManager with over 20 years of digital B2B experience and now CEO at oe:gen Ltd.
David positively recommended a solution selling course and understanding the psychology of how emotion and technology work together. Think about solution emotional marketing and H-H. Explaining how all decisions are ultimately made on emotion and gut feeling and how we need to learn to emotionally connect to our customer. Host Emmeline Woodward, expressed how she feels it’s a tricky time for marketers as its now all about emotion and technology and figuring out how we combine the two!
His hopes for the marketer is for them to become much more aligned with their sales colleagues (#smarketing) explaining that if a departments sales are rocketing the sales team are praised and if sales plummet its suddenly blamed on the marketing department, this then becomes both a marketing and a sales problem. The key persona of whom David would hope to deal with is a sales and marketing professional.
Sales enablement is basically marketing helping sales, although this is a two way street and sales have got to engage with marketing much more, which is David’s mantra. David believes the future of B2B Marketing is relied upon by achieving the sales and marketing alignment.
Anna Harry, Head of Marketing at Experian has over 20 years experience and gave a personal client-side view on the future of B2B. Beginning with a little bit of history to give us context. Marketing for Anna began with a simple marketing role, with a daily debate of – shall I print that in colour? Should I add a picture to that powerpoint? Shall I update the website? And thus her marketing career was born.
Anna has saw the progression of the B2B industry and its noticeable that we’ve started to realise our customers are human and that they too have emotion and a sense of humour. We’ve moved away from this theory of having to use jargon and long confusing words to make ourselves sound clever! Anna openly admits it’s ok not to know it all, its ok to work with the client to find a solution and talk to them in a language that you would ordinarily use.
We need to engage, persuade and be human. Modern marketing tools are helping us to understand the customer. Marketers tend to get caught up in the new and the shiny and actually forget about the customer – we forget why we’re doing it in the first place! Modern marketing has given us the tools and data we need to help us personalise communication. Use this data in an appropriate way that actually helps us reach the customer. Anna expressed that direct mail is making a comeback as a way of generating engagement. So personalise that mail.
When we lose the jargon and the martech, we can have more fun as B2B marketers. The future of B2B Marketing is exciting, its analytic and scientific.
Jon Clarke – CEO at Cyance – was next to lead the debate. Jon previously led the strategy to transform Cyance from a b2b demand generation agency into a private equity backed predictive analytics technology business. Cyance found a way to commercially insulate themselves from risk of frozen budgets. After attending a Global study IBM event in London, Jon discovered the average life spam of a CMO is approx. 18 months, the reason being is because sales you can measure, but in marketing you’re engaging to a larger market to then whittle it down to fewer opportunities that are then ready to engage with you and at this point you hand over to sales and assuming they do their job right you should be able to prove the value.
Cyance felt that there must be a better way to solve these issues, and began to record buying behaviours. More and more buying decisions are starting digitally. Cyance asked the question, ‘Wouldn’t it be great, if we could record those digital footprints, then analyse who these organisations are?’ 4- 5 years later that’s exactly what Cyance achieved. As you can imagine the amount of data that you are suddenly opening yourself up to is huge! Cyance are currently tracking around 150 million organisations. If we are able to pick up on digital footprints, join the dots and find organisations that are behaving in a way that suggests they have a need or interest or even wouldn’t it be great if they were on a buying journey? The reality is this is achievable. If you can crunch through those mountains of data with some algorithms to spot the patterns and with the use of some very clever tech guys that call themselves Data Scientists! You can then spot the patterns.
As marketers this allows us to pin point what our market is interested in. Giving us a competitive edge that nobody else has. We are on the edge of something that is going to be truly transformational and we as marketers need to embrace it!
After each presentation it seemed to be in agreement that although we don’t have a crystal ball and we can’t actually see the future, we personally feel that the future of B2B Marketing will involve a combination of tech and emotion. Which raised a new question, ‘How can we be an expert in analytics, psychology and creative?’ But instead of sparking a new debate we decided to finish our mini fish and chips and save it for another time!
Claire Sherriff – Marketing executive BMC