As a marketeer, we are living and breathing the digital transformation 2.0 at the moment - it is no longer enough to be datadriven, but you also need to build a brand with a heart.
When looking into the predictions from the major research and analyst institutes for 2020, one thing that strikes me is that we have now overcome the hurdle of talking “Digital”. Everything is “digital” today, which means it is laid to the ground as a hygiene factor for us marketeers. Hurray!
In 2015, IDC predicted that 25% of all CMOs will be exchanged, and we are currently seeing that shift. CMOs themselves, have to really understand the digital shift - being very confident in purchasing martech and investing in the right competences in the team. As if this weren’t enough, CMOs also have to understand the new buying journey, mapping it together with sales even more closely. Forrester research shows that companies realigning their sales enablement with marketing exceed revenue expectations - so we will be strong stakeholders in growth going forward.
What is evident now is - the former data-driven B2B marketer and the creative B2C marketer - needs to meet in a beautiful collaboration. It is no longer enough to understand and be able to interpret the marketing data, creating an interactive and engaging experience on top of that is what is on a successful B2B marketeer’s lips in 2021. This is how I define what “Customer Experience” is all about - in every interaction, we need to create a great experience and a brand engagement - be it a coffee at a trade show, a chat on the website or a downloaded eBook. So what is the difficulty, you say?
Well, here are three things I think about.
1. Digital competence
During the era of the digital marketeer, a technical understanding has been a pre-requisite. Or, at least, the willingness to learn new, technical tools has been a must as the martech tools available have really evolved during those years. What was hot in the early 2000, is now no longer a future-fit tool for the fast paced marketeer. The logical side of the brain was put to work, building clever automation flows, setting up the logic in scoring, building the right e-mail lists.
This is today a hygiene factor. The t-shaped marketeer is here to stay - that is, the marketeer who has all the digital tools, understand digital marketing and how to turn numbers into revenue. He or she might have a specialisation into Google Ads or perhaps SEO, but fully understands how the rest of the tools influence and interfere with the specialisation. I truly believe that all future-fit marketeers should have this.
2. Logical thinking
During the last decennium, B2B marketers are trained in understanding new digital tools because we thought it would be more cost effective. We have trained our logical side of the brain to understanding what KPIs to set and how to interpret the numbers and what to do about it. We have been slaves under excel spreadsheets and numbers.
Brand building has been very little and almost non-existing in our daily job, mostly because the willingness to invest wasn’t there.
3. Looking for great communicators
So what happens when customer behaviour changes? When the traditional B2B customer behaves like a B2C consumer at work and in purchasing decisions at work? It is no longer enough to build clever e-mail lists, great workflows and fact based blogs.
For me, it means that B2B brands need to start looking into what creates an emotional bond to your brand. An experience is something that is sitting with the eyes of the beholder, which means it cannot be directly measured in data. Many B2B companies have ignored the investment in brand for a long time, where data and martech have been a focus, but as companies mature, so does your competition, so the next step is to stand out from the crowd by creating exceptional experiences.
If we agree that the t-shaped marketer is a hygiene factor today, we simply need to look for another type of marketeer: a great communicator with the ability of showing revenue in every aspect of their job.
So the future for a marketeer is here: We need to be able to combine our logical side with our creative side of the brain in order to create rememberable experiences of our brand. While I juggle with both sides of my brain (I tend to think that the combination of both sides is the strongest) - the only thing I am sure of is that marketing will constantly be evolving at unprecedented pace 😊.
Marketing Organizational survey 2019 - Gartner 2019
Gartner Top Digital Experiences Trends for 2020 - Gartner
Predictions 2020 - B2B Marketeers Pivot from Product to Experiences - Forrester 2019
IDC Futurescape: CMO Predictions 2016