10 years ago, being strong on one side was enough. But in today’s digital era, B2B marketers are expected to be a “jack of all trades”, juggling multiple roles, understanding the functionalities of various teams, and possessing complementary skill sets.
[Tweet “Are you a right-brain marketer or a left-brain marketer?”]
To stress this point, we’ll dive into the main best-practices B2B marketers need to adopt in 2018:
ANALYTICAL: Tie your Contribution to Revenue
The days of writing a new blog post, sending an email, or launching a PPC campaign for the sake of doing so, are long gone. Nowadays, C-level executives expect every B2B marketing activity to be data-driven. Without the ability to tie your team’s efforts to revenue and customer growth metrics, there’s no real way of optimizing your strategy, and more importantly, proving your value.
Imagine that at any point, the organization could be slumping on revenue, and as a result, budgets and individuals may be cut off. By constantly being present at monthly revenue meetings and demonstrating the ROI of your programs, you can prevent your role –and marketing as a department– from being seen as a cost-center, rather than a source of value.
Remember – the more your efforts can be tied to sales pipeline, the harder it will be for executive management to cut your budget, or worst, your employees.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start, make sure to define clear goals and KPIs for every team member (junior to manager), and align those with senior management. If every employee is aware of his or her personal goal (even if it’s a minor one), the path to optimizing your strategy will also be an easy one.
CREATIVE: Give Branding its Rightful Place
If branding was an afterthought 5 years ago, today it’s taking the front-seat.
Yet, when designing their marketing programs, B2B marketers tend to make the following mistake: prioritizing lead generation over branding.
A “brand” is far more than clean-cut logos and striking colors. It’s the “personality” behind your product and the set of values that define it and communicate its benefits to your customer. Branding is also what differentiates your product from competing products or services – and if done well, it allows you to charge a premium for it.
That’s why having a solid brand is just as important as developing an effective user acquisition strategy and should, therefore, be the cornerstone of any marketing strategy. Reaching out to a customer with a product but without a brand is just like buying that coveted Tesla but never bothering to pump the gas.
CREATIVE: Focus on Connecting with People, not “Leads”
As cliché as it sounds: behind every like, click, and conversion you garner, there’s a person. A human with emotions, not a faceless company.
If you’re looking to generate future customers and not a list of unqualified leads, you better connect with the right side of your brain. After all, emotional marketing is not a dirty word, and the only way to truly reach a buyer is by appealing to their emotions.
Ask yourself: Do you understand your buyers’ needs and wants? Can you explain their pain points? Do you know what kind of solutions they’re looking for? What they eat for breakfast and do on the weekend? If you answered ‘yes’ to everything, then you have a comprehensive view of your buyer persona.
The more information you have on your buyer personas, the more equipped you will be to solve the customer’s number one problem. With this in mind, you can design compelling marketing campaigns and messages that not only grow the number of leads but also your company’s bottom-line.
ANALYTICAL: Fully Integrate your Marketing Stack
Technically speaking, when is your job successfully completed?
Answer: once all of your technologies operate seamlessly as one machine. An integrated approach isn’t just a buzzword when it comes to marketing programs. Siloed tools would never work together as well as an integrated marketing stack.
Your leads are coming to your funnel through multiple channels – email, website, ads, social, employee advocacy, and more. Unless you gather and analyze data from all these channels, you won’t be able to get a 360-view of your buyer’s journey.
Only by allowing your marketing tools communicate with each other, you can ensure consolidated reporting and craft an effective cross-channel strategy that generates results.
ANALYTICAL: Know your Product Inside-Out
As a marketing director, being an expert on your product or service is important for a number of reasons:
Delivering a Fluent Elevator Pitch
Imagine yourself at a trade show or meet-up where you’re asked to explain a specific solution, feature, or partnership but have NO idea how it works. Embarrassing, right?
Events of all kind could quickly turn into a business opportunity, which means you have to be prepared to deliver a clear sales pitch! The more you know about a given product or service, the easier it will be for you to provide valid answers to in-depth questions, instead of being caught off guard.
Optimizing Content Strategy
By mastering product knowledge, marketing directors can polish up their buyer personas. They can either collaborate with customer-facing teams or work directly with customers to not only understand who the buyer persona is, but how they use your product or service to fulfill their needs. This way, they can focus on targeting the right audience and crafting the most enticing story for that audience.
ANALYTICAL: Make Yourself Indispensable
Ask yourself: if you leave on vacation, maternity/paternity leave, or say goodbye altogether… will you be missed? Will your team or colleagues lack your presence or assistance in their day-to-day performance? Will conversion rates go down or will they remain static?
If so, then you provide a distinct value that’s deeply rooted in the company’s success, and therefore, it’s harder to replace you.
But how does one get to a point of being irreplaceable?
Simple… take ownership.
More and more do we see B2B marketers embracing roles that previously belonged to other departments like public relations and sales.
Take the role of SDR (sales development representative) as an example. At the top of the funnel, marketers are expected to generate leads while the SDR is expected to qualify the leads as sales opportunities. But what if the two roles merged into one – if the B2B marketer generated the leads in addition to weeding out the non-qualified ones?
Not only would this make the SDR role obsolete, it would also ensure a better sales-and-marketing alignment, where the marketer can invest time into building tailored campaigns that draw more SQL’s (sales qualified leads).
The bottom line is: when the funnel is changing, change with it. The more processes, teams, and strategies you come to manage, the more your position (and team) will be perceived as indispensable to the company.
Jack of All Trades: Where Creative Meets Analytical
To succeed as a B2B marketer today, you need to have cross-disciplinary expertise that balances creative with analytical thinking.
Understanding the revenue structure is just as important as devising a creative content strategy. By changing your mindset and practices to encompass branding, demand generation, sales, and a bit of product, you’ll be able to position yourself as an invaluable asset to your team and company as a whole.