A quote widely attributed to Albert Einstein reads, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This is increasingly true in B2B Marketing, where the pace of change has accelerated exponentially in the last decade. Instead of thinking in terms of start-and-stop projects, we now recognize that data is always flowing, and our work is never done – or shouldn’t be.
This graph from The CMO Survey 2018 shows that CMOs (at least the ones who answer surveys) are aware of their moving targets. They are focused on continuously improving at least five major marketing categories: talent, process integration, organizational alignment, technology, and data. Let’s look into their thinking.
- Talent: Increasingly, companies are hiring for specific technology expertise. A social media manager might be hired for Hootsuite skills, then need to master Buffer, Oktopost or whatever’s next. These workers need time to learn new programs – and to cross-train on systems already in use. Otherwise organizations can fall behind or be left in a lurch when employees depart.
- Integration: Every enterprise has silos, either divisionally or departmentally. Progressive companies are increasingly taking steps to build connectors – because systems need to share data, processes need to deliver the right information, and workers need to connect in relevant ways. Integration is never as easy as it sounds, and never complete.
- Organizational Alignment: Business units often go to market in silos, sometimes on different platforms. Units A & B might both be targeting the same market using different email tools. Outcomes might include SPAM violations, poor customer experience, and the opportunity cost of not sharing data. Organizational coordination is critical to the successful use of all resources. Plus, over time it delivers a full view of customer experience, the extended pipeline, and cross-unit revenue.
- Technology: The MarTech ecosystem is doubling every year, with over 7000 active SaaS solutions in 47 categories. Last year’s best-practice leaders may not be this year’s, and each of the marketing clouds have strong and weak points. Selecting and purchasing modern tools requires ongoing due diligence and the acumen to achieve internal buy-in.
- Data & Content: Databases and content libraries also need constant attention. We all know data must be shared, augmented, tested, and analyzed for critical insights. Likewise, content can quickly become out-of-date, portions may be off-brand or off-message, and most needs alignment to a persona journey or selling stage. Your organization should be constantly auditing, culling and analyzing to make sure that relevant, personalized content is part of the customer experience.
You may be thinking that relentless forward movement takes an insane amount of work. Perhaps, but it would be more insane to keep marketing the old way. Plus we’ve got a lot at stake. Proving to the organization that Marketing is progressive and contributing is critical. Executives may still have the impression that Marketing is project-based arts&crafts. They need to understand that we’ve got insanity down to a science!