Whether we like it or not, the Internet has revolutionized the way a business operates today, which has created both challenges and opportunities. Before you roll your eyes for me pointing out the obvious, I promise not to bore you, and show you how my subject is TRUE. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the next 2 minutes which will give you a new perspective on modern marketing.
It’s easy to list off the effects by which the Internet has impacted your organization when you are continuously bombarded with the speed and abundance of new information on a daily basis – i.e. new workplace project management platforms, new social ways for employees to connect, new software to allow for working remotely. However, it’s easy to overlook the ways in which the Internet has equally changed the ways our customers (or rather potential customers) go about their day to day lives. Most realize the new opportunities that technology has enabled businesses to communicate with customers, but a forgotten aspect is how it affects their entire buyer journey.
Twenty years ago, a sales rep was the bridge between the company and the buyer throughout the whole process, and responsible as the primary educator of solution value and capabilities. Today, B2B buyer studies by the likes of Forrester Research, SiriusDecisions and IDC confirm that B2B buyers prefer to engage in at least the first 55-75% of the buying process online in a self-directed manner. Marketing content and channels are now the primary interface with the buyer throughout much of the buying process. This has led to marketing acting as the new “sales rep” for a significant part of the buyer’s journey.
With this shift, you can see that the critical first step in your marketing strategy is to deeply understand your buyer personas and customers’ lifecycle.
What you can do today?
While reading this, either a light bulb has gone off and is shining bright, or you’re still rolling your eyes. Hopefully the former versus the latter. In addition to understanding the changed buyer journey, I have conveniently laid out 8 characteristics and skills that you can aspire to achieve or continue to nurture to be a high performance marketing organization today.
Data-Driven: Decisions are made based on a mix of analytics, experience and instinct. Numbers are your friend!
Automated: Marketing Automation and other key technologies enable efficiency and scale. Gives you more time to get to those other tasks you keep putting off.
Digital: Inbound channels play a very significant role in engaging and nurturing prospects and customers. How else can you stay current in 2018?
Buyer-Centric: Your marketing speaks the buyer’s language, reflecting the buyer’s business problems in their messaging, not simply their own product messaging. It’s not all about you.
Creative: While marketing has become more left-brained and quantitative, the need to cut through the clutter with increased creativity that connects with the buyer on a rational and emotional level, has never been more important. Nobody wants to be boring.
Metrics-Drive: Performance is measured; marketing is accountable to the language of business and the C-Suite – pipeline & revenue. Making you stand taller as a Marketer.
Content-Rich: Marketing Automation now facilitates the right content, at the right time, to the right buyer. Since marketing is the primary interface with the buyer through most of the buying process, segmented content is key to relevance and engagement. Give your customers something they want to engage with.
Process-Focused: Driven by technology, marketing has become much more process-driven, analytical and repeatable. Make your efforts trackable.
Collaborative: Pipeline building and progression is a team sport. The need for marketing-marketing alignment and sales-marketing alignment is critical to high performance. We’re all on the same team!
I hope I was able to provide you with some insight into the buyer journey and key characteristics that can aid you in striving to be a modern marketing organization.