Marketing Roller Coaster

As I came back from the B2B Marketing Innovation Summit, put on by Demandbase, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we aren’t doing enough. That I’m not doing enough.

Sure, marketing is changing faster today than it did yesterday. Blah blah blah. It doesn’t matter how fast marketing is changing! The real question is “how are you changing?”

Here are six areas that struck me. No, they aren’t new. But they are places many B2B marketers, including myself, should be doing so much more.

1. We need more actionable insights.

If we have insights we can’t do anything with, we aren’t improving. We are just cluttering our minds and our desks with information that is far more interesting than useful. And as marketers, we are all trying to improve our marketing, right?

We do this by focusing our analysis, but increasingly we have access to new tools or technologies that let us act directly on insights that were never actionable before.

2. We need to test. And test and test and test.

Just spend a few minutes on WhichTestWon and you will quickly see that we can’t rely on our gut. We need to test our ideas and measure the results.

3. We need to move much faster.

Most marketing organizations move at the pace of refrigerated molasses, while the audiences we are trying to reach are moving along like a rushing river. In large companies, an idea that was valuable because it was timely loses nearly all of its value by the time a marketer gets around to doing something with it.

The output of long planning cycles should be a framework or direction that allow us to make decisions quickly and infrastructure that let’s us execute quickly. Not a rigid plan that keeps us from taking advantage of opportunities as they rise.

And yes, it took me more than three weeks to get this published after the event, so I’m looking in the mirror when I say we need to move more quickly.

4. We need to sweat the little stuff without forgetting the big stuff.

Today we are using data to segment our audiences and develop ever more sophisticated and granular programs. As we focus on these smaller and smaller audiences, we risk missing the opportunity to join the larger conversations happening in our market.

5. We need to be more relevant to our audience.

I don’t care one bit about most of the ads I see or even the marketing emails I receive, including the ones from companies that actually want to reach me. We need to redouble our efforts to be relevant and valuable to the people we want to reach or they will just keep tuning us out.

6. We need to master data.

Yes, we all use data today. Many of us see significant benefits from it. But at the root of nearly every item on this list is the ability to do so much more with data and technology today than we could just 24 months ago. And I’ll venture most of us still aren’t doing as much with it as we should.

Your turn

What are the shortcomings and areas of opportunity you see today for B2B marketers? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter (@wittlake)!

Photo Credit: Intamin10 via Compfight cc

…read more