I had the pleasure of participating in the Focus.com B2B Marketing Week last week, a collection of webinars and round table panels that brought together the top experts in their fields to discuss the state of B2B marketing. Nine sessions covering many important topics in B2B marketing with lots of talking heads – marketing consultants, vendors and industry pundits. This is the third Focus round table I have done this year and I must say they are great way to hear what others are experiencing in the market across the country.
Our round table entitled “B2B Marketing 3.0: What’s Next for Marketers?” centered on answering these questions:
- Definition of B2B Marketing 2.0
- Definition of B2B Marketing 3.0. What prompted the change?
- How many marketers are ready for 3.0?
- What is the biggest impediment to making the shift, skills or tools?
- What is the one thing you would recommend every marketer focus on the rest of 2011?
Mac McConnell, partner/founder of BlueBird Strategies moderated and I was joined by colleagues Joe Zuccaro, President and CEO of Allinio, Greg Ott, CMO of Demandbase and Matt West, Sr Director Marketing of Genius.
You can listen to the full 45 minute round table here. But let me give you my quick take on these questions:
Definition of B2B Marketing 2.0
- Marketers begin to realize that awareness does not drive buyer behavior anymore. PR campaigns and traditional advertising don’t work the same way anymore.
- Moving from mostly outbound campaigns that “broadcast” the company’s primary go-to-market message to outreach that promotes having a conversation with target audiences.
- Focusing on presenting market problems and recommended solutions rather than products and services.
- Marketers turn to digital marketing as the preferred approach to connect directly with buyers and customers.
Definition of B2B Marketing 3.0: What’s Prompting the Change?
- The rise of social networking and buyer reliance and focus on what the community thinks about various problems and how best to solve them.
- The need to treat sales and marketing as a “service” to customers and buyers. Providing value-based information that helps buyers make more informed decisions.
- The need for marketing to be revenue focused, not just developing leads at the top of the funnel. What’s marketing’s contribution to the pipeline?
- Marketers trying to make sense of their target markets and the data that is sitting in all those data stores in the enterprise. What are the most profitable markets/customers? Which markets should be exploited more/less?
How Many Marketers are Ready for 3.0?
Not nearly enough. Here are some recent research findings that show just how far marketers have to go before they can make the transition:
- In a 2011 Fournaise Marketing Group study, 73% of CEO’s stated that “marketers lack business credibility and are not the business growth generators they should be”.
- At the Sirius Decisions 2011 Summit when asked if their marketing people had the right skill set to succeed only 1.1% responded with a yes.
- A 2010 Bulldog Solutions – Frost & Sullivan Survey showed that 44% of marketing automation owners stated lack of people/skills as a limiting success factor
What is the Biggest Impediment to Making the Shift?
Clearly there is a significant skills gap. We don’t need yet ANOTHER CRM, Email Marketing or Marketing Automation tool set. The industry lacks a certification program for B2B marketers that addresses the core disciplines within marketing operations. This represents a big opportunity for what Paul Dunay predicted for the “rise of the marketing technologist”.
What is the One Thing Marketers Should Focus on Now?
It’s not too early to look ahead to 2012 plans and what marketers need to do to lay the foundation for success. It’s extremely important that marketers review existing programs and prioritize those that have the greatest chance of producing results that impact the sales pipeline and closed business. With less than 6 months left in 2011, CEOs and VPs of Sales are gearing up to close as much business as possible before year-end.
- How much has marketing committed to those quarter and year-end numbers?
- How much revenue contribution have you made thus far?
- How much more contribution can you make in the next 5+ months?
Times ticking so let’s get focused and see how much better we can be in the months ahead. Listen to the entire round table here. What’s your take?
Thanks for the write-up of the round-table Henry.
Interesting that the B2B Marketing focus is moving from leads to revenue.
I’d offer that it needs to move a step further, to customer value. That part of marketing role is to maximise customer value unlocked from their purchase and reduce the time and effort to access that value.
Product management should consider how best to help customers gain that value, through post-purchase tools like online training, videos, support etc. And maybe the product needs to be simplified if it takes too much time for too many customers to access the value, in their busy lives.
This rewards customers for their purchase, and encourages them to buy again and to be loyal. It also creates the platform for them to recommend products to their direct contacts and through Social Networks via ‘Like’, positive reviews and so-on.
Or maybe that’s getting into B2B Marketing 4.0?
Interesting developments all the same.
Thanks Mark for your comment. I believe your point about analyzing and quantifying customer value received from using your product should be part of 3.0. We already have a number of ways as marketers to capture that feedback from the customer. The issue is how do we report the results as part of our measurement of marketing performance. Unfortunately, customer value falls under the heading of “Customer Experience”, a heading that touches every aspect of the business (and major stakeholder too). At a minimum, the customer value, should be reflected in periodic custsat survey results and the quantitative and qualitative reviews found in social medai circles. These should be reported along side other marketing performance #’s on a monthly and quarterly basis.
Obviously we still have a ways to go.