Rick Segal, President at GyroHSR made a statement recently at the B2B Marketing Europe conference in Berlin where he said that B2B Marketing is dead. My first reaction was probably like yours, but then he made his point. Status quo methods of marketing to B2B buyers won’t be as effective in the future. The reason is that the line between when we are working (‘at work’) and when we are home have blurred. Most Americans – especially those who work in technology – would get this immediately.
Take this one step further. Many of the potential buyers we need to influence don’t get in their car and drive to an office to work anymore. They work out of their home offices or while traveling. They alternate between work mode and home mode multiple times per day. As a consequence getting targeted messages to them is difficult.
“People in an at-work state of mind, today, are exposed to a constant, multi-point flow of communications from not just customers, suppliers and coworkers but also from family, friends, would-be friends and network members. They are not only engaged in considering brand messages while at work, they also champion them to their social networks,” Segal said. “They are constantly toggling between working and ‘home-ing’ through longer hours of the day and more days of the week, making decisions professional and personal.”
At the end of the day, we market to people even if they are in a business.
Your development team may be an Agile Development shop already but have you ever considered how Agile principles could be applied to your marketing team? It’s not that far fetched. I’m running into companies that are doing Agile Marketing today and they are seeing significant benefits in marketing return on in investment, team throughput and respect.
Agile for Marketing? Are you nuts?
Agile Marketing isn’t that difficult to grasp but it takes discipline and management support to sustain. Instead of thinking about marketing as a list of stuff that needs to get done over the period of a year, lets say once a month you get the marketing team together and agree to what you are going to get done over the next month. Your frame of reference is that whatever you work on must be directly connected to the success of the business and it’s achievable. Instead of having a wish list of indeterminable length you would have a finite, highly focused list of activities and deliverables you all agree will get done (and by extension what you will ignore). The team maps it out for the month deciding on who should do what and what resources are needed to be successful.
Every day the marketing team meets to review status in a brief stand up meeting. Fifteen minutes should be enough time. Bottlenecks are identified, escalated and addressed long before they become embarrassing problems. Progress is noted and everyone gets back to work.
The month ends (our ‘sprint’ in Agile parlance) and there is tangible evidence of the marketing team’s contribution to the business.
Handling ‘Urgent’ Requests
When the marketing team gets an urgent request for something not on the list, the discussion quickly turns to what we choose to give up in order to get the urgent request done (and even if the urgent request is really that important to the business).
For activities that take a longer horizon like planning for a big industry trade show it works the same way, except broken down into multiple month-long sprints.
Can’t be Done Here
Before you scoff and say that marketing is too creative a process for Agile Marketing to be a reality, think again. Developing innovative software is every bit as creative a process as anything in marketing and Agile is working wonders for developers (been there done both).
Is your marketing team Agile today? What surprises have you seen? What suggestions do you have for others considering the transition?
We’ve been saying it for years in our Effective Product Marketing class. The power is in the buyers hands and content is king. Without great content continue at your own peril.
“Next year (2011), marketers will need to rethink their approach to advertising and marketing and intensify their focus on creating magnetic content that will naturally attract consumers, rather than relying solely on the interruption model of advertising, which consumers are responding to less and less. Think pull vs. push.”
Let your content be free. Challenge the demand in your organization to hide it behind registration pages (see also Lead Bait). How valuable is it if no one actually reads it?
A method used by B2B marketers applying interrupt marketing tactics with a broad, untargeted (and usually inexpensive) list and hoping it will generate vast volumes of qualified leads. This approach makes the marketer feel good by believing that activity is more important than progress.
This method is often rebuked by the sales team with the often repeated phrase, “Those leads suck; we need more leads.”
I just read a NYT article about an online retailer that discovered that the more he angered his customers the higher his organic rankings in Google. He is in the business of selling designer eyeglass frames and he is getting rankings higher than those of the brand names he sells. How does he do it?
By reading the article you’ll see that he doesn’t appear to be the most ethical business man. He would have customers complain about his service on sites like GetSatisfaction.com. In turn GetSatisfaction.com linked back to DecorMyEyes (the retailer). The more customers who complained on GetSatisfaction.com the more juice DecorMyEyes received.
Read it for yourself. It’s the kind of rankings I’d like but not the tactics I’m willing to use. How about you?