With only two months left in 2018, many marketers are looking back at what worked this year, what didn’t, and are planning ahead for 2019.
I have a pretty clear picture after attending the B2B Game Changers thought leadership conference a few weeks ago. The conference featured the top B2B marketing leaders, who openly shared their views, strategies and what they’re betting on in the year ahead. In turn, I want to share and amplify some of the ideas that resonated with our industry’s game-changing marketing executives. Hopefully one or two of these ideas will influence your 2019 marketing strategies.
Mastering the Essentials First
One way that leaders are finding their way to revenue success is to master the essentials first and then place one or two bets on big innovations that can change the game for their organization. Attendees reinforced the “back-to-basics” and “keep it simple” mantras as the go-to approach to navigate a crowded, and oftentimes disorienting, B2B marketing and technology landscape. Sounds easy enough, right? It also sounds like a complete snooze-fest! What’s sexy or nuanced about marketing basics? But if you master the essentials first you will remove many of the friction points that stand in the way of making your innovative bets a rockin’ success.
The essentials include process, data, talent and technology (note that technology is last). Game Changers emphasized that everything must start with and focus on your company strategy and go-to-market business model. This drives the core customer and operational processes required to deliver on your goals. Smart, connected processes create data and intelligence that is actionable and insightful. This is fed to the people and talent you’ll need to do impactful work. Then, and only then, can you adopt the tech and tools to make your organization an efficient, effective marketing machine.
Leveraging Clean and Intelligent Data
It’s no secret that Integrate prides itself on providing marketers with clean and intelligent data. But what I found surprising is how many leaders in the group acknowledged that the cost of bad leads is becoming a quantitative liability against revenue goals. In other words, dirty data is standing in the way of marketers meeting their goals. Yikes!
That’s why today’s game-changing marketers are on a mission to eliminate dirty data. It’s an absolute must if we want to ensure our programs translate into pipeline and revenue. Not only does data hygiene and management directly impact revenue and pipeline performance, but GDPR and The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (which goes into effect in January 2020) require it for ongoing compliance. Increasing data quality is a must-have in 2019 to hit escalating revenue targets and customer experience expectations.
Enriching the Customer Experience
Every marketing leader on stage had “customer experience” on their 2019 priority list. They advised marketers to look beyond the funnel and focus on enriching customers’ experience along their entire journey. There is a deafening hum around marketing to accounts (ABM) right now. However, they warned us to remember it’s still people who buy.
Imagine, if you will, attending a live concert for your favorite band. You’ve bought the tickets, you’re wearing the t-shirt, but once the band starts playing on stage – all anyone in the stands can hear is interference from a local news show. (That’s not where you thought I was going with that analogy, was it?) But that’s probably how some of your contacts feel when they come to your landing page and engage with your marketing messages.
Speakers also emphasized the need to move beyond brand consistency and messaging and to think more about embedding experiences with their products, giving your prospects and customers control based on their needs, and focusing on making authentic connections. This holistic approach is a change for most marketing teams, and they acknowledged it requires intense collaboration across all functions within the organization.
Becoming a Stakeholder within the Business
Most importantly, it was unanimous that marketing leaders are required to deliver pipeline and revenue quotas. There were more than a few marketing executives in the room who own 100% of the pipeline revenue (gasp). That’s progress.
Though this has been the desire of the business for many years, revenue generation is making marketers critical stakeholders within the business. With declarations like 100% ownership of pipeline by our game-changing executives, many attendees were wondering how that plays out. Honestly, I was too. We learned that transformative change within traditional roles of sales and marketing require a culture shift. Further illustration of this point is that B2B Game Changers are now taking ownership of BDR management, they’re participating in tech advisory councils, and they are expanding beyond generating impressions and MQLs to deliver revenue, increase deal size and speed time-to-close.
The inaugural conference was enlightening for many reasons. I was honored to be in the room with such forward-thinking marketing leaders who aren’t afraid to walk away from what’s not working, change the course and influence how other B2B marketers approach their 2019 strategies.
For more insight into the work and minds of game-changing marketing leaders, be sure to grab a copy of the 2018 B2B Game Changers eBook: Real Revenue Marketing Strategies to Advance Your Game. It's filled with 100+ pages of advice to help you build a revenue-focused marketing organization.