Expectations for B2B marketing executives are at an all-time high, and that’s not expected to change anytime soon. To meet those expectations, marketing executives must perform at near PhD levels to drive pipeline and build relationships with potential customers.
In this discussion, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group, shares themes and trends that will be covered during a #B2BMX panel with Corinne Sklar of Bluewolf, Joseph Harding of Windstream Enterprise and Venkat Nagaswamy of 8×8, including the traits in which marketing executives should be near PhD levels of performance and how they impact emerging trends for heads of B2B marketing.
Demand Gen Report: The event theme this year is “seeing B2B through a new lens” — what advice would you give marketers looking to evolve their strategies and successfully change things up this year?
Jeff Pedowitz: It probably isn’t so much a new lens as something that is inherently obvious, but focus on your customer. For years, we have been product centric in our marketing efforts and inward focused on KPIs and metrics. It is easy to say, much harder to do.
Spend time planning, building and executing programs and campaigns for the entire customer lifecycle, with a particular focus on onboarding, adoption and value realization. Your greatest growth will occur through your existing relationships. Extend your SLAs with sales past the top of the funnel. Develop KPIs, activities and responsibilities to service your customers, not just your prospects.
DGR: What trends are you seeing in the marketplace, specifically when it comes the expectations for heads of marketing in B2B?
Pedowitz: Marketing isn’t for the faint of heart. These days, marketing executives need to operate at near PhD levels in finance, channel optimization, technology, brand and decision-making. That being said, I have seen four major trends develop over the past two years:
- Reductions in technology spend, and more focus on rationalization and usage of existing platforms;
- Greater emphasis on BI, AI and data-driven decision making;
- Versatile and agile organization development with more hiring of generalists that can handle multiple responsibilities; and
- Return to brand. With all the push on technology, financials and measurement over the last 10 years, the emotional connection part of marketing got lost in the shuffle. It is returning with a vengeance as executives need to strike a better balance between brand building and overall team performance.
DGR: In your panel, you’ll be chatting with Corinne Sklar of Bluewolf, Joseph Harding of Windstream Enterprise and Venkat Nagaswamy of 8×8 about their strategic priorities, data source integration strategies, channels, tactics and more. Can you share a sneak peek into your perspective of what heads of marketing should be prioritizing in the coming years?
Pedowitz: There are three major challenges that today’s marketing executives are trying to address. Each of these challenges are strategic, multi-year and transformative. They include:
- Operationalizing the customer experience;
- Digital transformation and a more balanced approach to spend, utilization and adoption; and
- Business accountability and the role of marketing as a revenue driver.
Marketing executives need to plan multi-dimensionally and leverage data even more in their decision-making.
DGR: What else can attendees expect to learn from your presentation at B2BMX 2019? Can you share a sneak peek?
Pedowitz: We are really looking forward to our session — it’s going to be very action-packed with very little PowerPoint. Attendees will be immersed almost immediately and will learn how to:
- Evolve their sales funnel or waterfall view to a customer inclusive view;
- Use a customer journey map for planning marketing communications, content, programs and campaigns;
- Change your reporting to move beyond the funnel; and
- Move away from product-focused campaigns to customer-focused ones.