Bizo’s B2B Funnelmentals event in San Francisco made for an exciting day; we loved all the insightful presentations and conversations. As co-sponsors of the event, we were invited to participate in a panel discussion on Modern Marketing, and the conversation uncovered lot of great insights; insights we want to share with you.
Bizo has done a fantastic job of summarizing the most valuable learnings from the full event, but we also wanted to answer some of the questions we didn’t get to during the panel. Our own Ryan Abreo has summarized the main insights from the discussion and even included a few bonus questions that weren’t answered Thursday. We hope you find it helpful.
Q: Where is content marketing headed? We’re all swimming in white papers, webinars, blog posts, videos, and Tweets; where should we be focusing our content development energy? What’s next?
With Content Marketing we’re trying to drive engagement, showcase thought leadership, increase brand awareness, support/accelerate the ‘Buyer’s Journey’ and so on; there are lots of objectives.
The biggest challenge we’re trying to overcome is content saturation and therefore prospect atrophy. The important thing then is to provide the right balance of quality and quantity: not too much content or too little, but always relevant. To nail down an efficient content marketing strategy, try to do the following:
- Make an impression – Ask yourself: how am I being unique? Ask yourself: is this content I would share with a relevant audience in my social network? Ask: what is my Content Reputation? Ask: is this content high quality and interesting, or mediocre and boring?
- Simplify Content Discovery/Curation – people have short attention spans, you have to be thoughtful about getting the right message, to the right person, at the right time, (and increasingly now) through the right channel. You have to combat content saturation with high-value, but “digestible” content.
- Mine Internal SME’s – content creation is expensive but there is definitely an “internal expert” within your organization; someone with great ideas but no bandwidth or competency for developing content. Facilitate content creation by making it easy on them.
Q: How has your own “marketing stack” (your CRM, marketing automation, analytics, DMP, and other tools and software) evolved over the past 24 months?
There has been a lot more off-platform, value-add development. The gaps between the services many marketing technologies offer reveal huge integration opportunities. Tools for consolidating the view of the customer and managing leads throughout the cycle will be the next big drivers of growth.
An interesting way to broaden that consideration is to look at the evolution of the entire ‘Sales and Marketing Stack’. The past 12 months have seen a climate of aggressive acquisition: Oracle [Eloqua]; SFDC [ExactTarget]; Adobe [Neolane]; Microsoft extending Dynamics via 2012 acquisitions of MarketingPilot and Social.
For the short term there are, and will continue to be, Apps or Services that extend or improve functionality as we evolve towards a “one platform” system; for now they are still fundamentally different products and services. In the long term, disparate marketing arms like social marketing, automation, CRM, and revenue performance management will be consolidated under one central program, with a slew of integrative benefits:
- Data Management (one ‘master’ contact and account DB)
- Closed Loop Reporting
- Integration Simplification
- Better Automation, Segmentation
Q: With the rising importance of technology in marketing, how have you changed your marketing organization? It seems that every company’s marketing organization is different. Is there an optimal way to structure our marketing team? Will a best practice organizational template evolve over time?
Modern Marketing exists because there is a Modern Customer. There’s been a rise in technology to support engagement with the Modern Customer, but it’s still valuable to keep a “customer-centred vs. technology-centred” view when considering operational changes to your Marketing Organization.
Yes, you will need technologists to run your technology, but you will also need customer service experts to connect with customers on a deeper level. Best practices are always first practices; this balance of technology- and customer-centrism will help you continue to evolve over time. Two important changes that support this balance are:
- Adopting a more Agile Campaign Methodology– really get focused on right message, right customer, at the right time, through the right channel.
- OREO – “You can still Dunk in the Dark”
- 15ppl in War Room – Decision Makers, Social Media Team, Web Design Team
- 15K Retweets, 20K Likes on FB, trending for hours after the game
- Actionable Insight: Knowing 36% of people “second screen”
- Being Clinical about Testing – build your “marketing strategy” from the bottom up with a firm basis in testing. This means WAY more than A/B testing a subject line, evolving away from HiPPO or even conforming to ‘best practices’; it means finding out what works for you based on a rigorous process of hypothesis and testing.
- Obama’s Digital Team – Crowd-sourced Fundraising for Re-Election Campaign ($500M in Donations). Key Insights:
- Test – Do not Trust your Instincts
- Create a Culture of Continuous Testing
Q: What are your biggest challenges right now?
There are several big challenges in Modern Marketing which are really manifestations of the same problems marketing has always faced.
- Proving Value/ROI – “not getting the most out of our technology investments”
- Poor relationship with sales/combatting low credibility with Sales
- Difficulty getting past execution to developing an actual Marketing Strategy
- Data Acquisition: collecting it, analyzing it, acting on it