This June the usual suspects along with lots of new BMC faces got together in the very trendy Kensington Hotel – The Exhibitionist, to declare the future of B2B Marketing!
Brian Macreadie – In house B2B Marketer prepared a speech and everything! No seriously! Brian was tasked with answering the question – So what’s the future of B2B Marketing?
Referencing Agather Christie’s, the Orient express, with two possible outcomes, the easy and the darker, was how Brian began!
The simple way – We’ll continue to do everything we’re doing right now and nothing will change at all, events, emails, PowerPoint, yarda-yarda-yarda! The likely truth is that we will continue on the path to being digital first, with a focus on data driven marketing, precision marketing, AI, ABM and all of the other shiny new toys we’re presented with. It’s the obvious answer and let’s face it, it’s easy to keep doing what we’re doing. We get tactical and immediate response, so why change something that isn’t broken? And who wouldn’t want to spend most of their time optimising, precision targeting and considering data about what our prospects are looking at? Guiding our marketing to what people are actually searching for! It’s madness to stop doing those things – Don’t you think?
So, the simplest scenario is that there’ll be no change, we’ll simply keep on doing what we’re doing! Mystery over – murder solved – or is it? In all good mysteries, there’s always a twist…
The simplest way forward may not be the right way forward, so now for the more complex and challenging. Let’s take a look at some of things that might be going wrong in the first scenario, what’s going wrong in digital? I suspect that a lot of you know there’s a lot of bullshit out there in B2B, for years we’ve been told we have to have QR codes, a snapchat strategy and a VR strategy, we get questioned about them and it doesn’t really relate to most of our jobs! We’re all getting sold to, each one of us are just a name on somebody’s database and we’ve all bitten into it big time and it just goes to prove you can bullshit a bullshitter!
We’re influenced by the crowd – We focus our attention on the things that are in the spotlight!
There’s a competitive risk if we all use the same data and tools. They convey advantages for short term whilst nobody else has access, but when we’re all using the same tools they no longer convey the same advantage. Brian thinks that data and tech will never be the answer. As Wistia co-founder Chris Savage has written:
“When all we have is access to the same data it won’t be the data that differentiates us, but it’ll be the art.”
Another side effect to endless focus on optimisation and instant measurements, is it leads to focussing on things that generate instant gratification. Brian feels that this method has led us to a short-term mind-set.
We all know that the job of marketers is to get more people to buy more stuff more often at the highest possible price. That’s what we get paid to do, that’s what our profession is all about.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu.
To summarise Brian’s second scenario – We’ve let ourselves get sold to and we’ve fallen for it hook, line and sinker. What we’re buying and investing our time into is possibly down to fear of missing out, not necessarily because it’s the best option. We’ve let ourselves become short term tacticians not long-term strategists. We’ve almost certainly lost some of the basic skills of our profession such as pricing strategy and brand building we’ve forgotten how to measure some of the key things under planning our long-term health and we’ve lost our influence of the board because of it.
Solution 1 – We continue as we are. Putting digital first, with a data driven and targeting economy.
Solution 2 – Blend the best of the old world and the new. Don’t stop the good things that you’re doing now, it would be utter madness not to tap into SEO and not to optimise what we’re doing.
Hercule Poirot would say (or Brian Macreadie) – “Please don’t murder marketing!”
- Ask questions
- Blend the old with the new
- Learn how to research again
- Educate your board
- Talk about profit
- Be positive
- Never go to a board meeting without your numbers or a business case
- Educate the board
- Question your own strategies
- Keep learning
Huge thanks to our speakers, Brian Macreadie and Gemma Davies.
Claire Sherriff – Social Media Marketer
The Business Marketing Club