Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit: B2B Marketing in a Social, Mobile and Data-Driven World

There was a lot to cover in this panel discussion and Fred Diamond and the panel did a great job of providing interesting insights and keeping it lively and fun. I’m going to paraphrase a bit in this recap (and may not hit every question and every answer) – I’m not the fastest or most accurate typist on the planet. If I’ve done my job, you’ll get the spirit of the discussion.

Q: How do you use analytics to drive strategy?

Anuj: I look at Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to see how we are progressing through the sales funnel. We track conversation and the time it takes for a lead to  progress  through each stage. This allows us to forecast revenue much earlier.

It also exposes the seasonality of our marketing efforts and  allows us to make tweaks depending on efficiency of lead sources.

Christine: I find the most value in tracking by cohorts. In general, I think there is too much emphasis on how singular wins happened. It’s rare that two sales ate exactly the same. Tracking by cohorts is smarter vs. in aggregate or at the individual level.

The most important data to me is competitive analysis, which is more available than it’s been in the past. Web visits, keywords, and how competitive tweets performed, etc. are incredibly insightful.  Let the competition do the A/B testing for you.  I also love any data that gives me insight into the customer. In general, marketers don’t spend enough time with the customer.

Brian: We need to be ruthless about moving beyond campaigns that are not effective.

Q:  How has marketing ROI changed? What is the current gauge on senior leadership’s expectation?

Brian:Expectations have definitely gone up. ROI is one of the first things that the board discusses. Not just how marketing has sourced leads, but how it’s influenced the buying process. Influence is not about taking credit, but creating things we want to replicate. You need strong data to back things up.

Debbie: The linkage between marketing and awareness and purchase is now available for the C-level. Data is no longer a siloed thing,  it is a part of how we work.

Q: Let’s discuss the 3 N’s of digital (Net, Nurture and Nudge)

Debbie: It’s all about digital customer experience. What does the nurture track look like once you have that customer? People do a lot of independent research before they even engage with your brand, so if you’re not serving up the right content at when they get to your site, you’ve lost them.

Q: Thoughts on the relationship between marketing and sales?

Christine: You have to understand your customer (the sales person) and talk to them in language that they understand.  If you don’t have that chemistry, you’re doomed for failure or mediocrity – and I consider mediocrity failure.  The hones is on marketing to get out of your office and make that relationship work. We don’t live in the same risk environment that they do, so meet them where they are.

Brian: Follow the “eagles” (top sales reps) and support them well.

Q: How do you define segmentation?

Anuj: Annual revenue size and verticals. We have six core segments  and crisp, core messaging for each segment.  We have a have a grid set up with these six personas to make sure that we are serving each segment well and with the right tools. All e-mail campaigns are broken down by persona. We A/B test everything that we do and test with 20% of the base before e-mailing the rest.

Brian: You can still use tactics from yesteryear – email doesn’t always reach your target anymore. Focus on more in person touches. Also connecting with customers where they live is important. Go and actually see where they work.

How do you stay up with what your competitors are doing?

Bob: The good news is that most companies don’t do a good job of differentiating.  Looking  at what they’re doing can easily validate what you’ve decided is your differentiator.

Any career advice to share?

Brian: You have to show passion and be committed to it. Bring data to the conversation. Talk in measurable terms. Understand the impact of marketing – take it all in – talk to a range of people in your organization to get perspective.

Debbie: Being prepared  is crucial – whether it’s preparing for a campaign or pitching internally. Be passionate.  Be proactive  – I love when team members say “let’s try this” or “how about this?” – proactivity shows passion and demonstrates commitment. Also, be positive. No one wants to work with negative people.

Anuj: Be paranoid about your strategies and tactics and what competitors are doing . Always try and learn and connect with other sharp people in the industry. Always be learning.

Christine: Get connected to the community – it will pay out more than you put in.

Join a group and get entrenched. I’ve been blessed with a great career because of the connections that I’ve made over the years. People don’t call your references, they call people they know to get unbiased insights, and so being well integrated in the community is important.

Bob: If you want career security focus on where things are headed (e.g. analytics). Always be eavesdropping. You have to have a certain level of intellectual curiosity  and be able to act on what you hear. Try and absorb as much as you can.