Waves of change are something that marketers are used to. We even received it so that our inflows and outflows would take place under favorable market conditions. But when a powerful wave hits the horizon before we’re ready, marketers can be overwhelmed by the power and turbulence of change.
In 2020, several gigantic waves disrupted traditional marketing. Fortunately, we have never been better prepared and equipped to deal with such chaos. Today, marketers are the agency of change in business organizations – they drive digital transformation and innovation, disable silos and drive success in the digital economy.
And with changes in customer behavior and the use of IT, marketing is more important than ever.
So how can we successfully deal with new waves of change without falling into devastating destruction? The answer comes down to two attitudes and a set of skills: confidence, curiosity, and competence. The 3C.
Confidence: Replicate the Silicon Valley swagger, wherever you are
Money drives growth. Whether it’s mature industries with big addressable markets or emerging opportunities with huge future potential, Silicon Valley is not afraid to put its money where it is. SV startups raised 44% of the country’s venture capital funding in 2019, not to mention the tens of billions invested locally by private equity and major technology companies. Talent is also abundant in the valley: an impressive 46% of the bay’s population has a diploma (compared to 28% nationally) and 20% has at least a diploma. To win, you need smart and educated people as much as the companies in the valley.
But the culture, in particular, is Silicon Valley’s weapon of success. Employees radiate confidence. Taking risks is encouraged. Failure is celebrated. Bureaucracy is hated. The valley embraces “the art of doing what is possible” with all the pitfalls and obstacles that this entails.
Silicon Valley does not have a monopoly on the Holy Trinity. VCs and other investors are quickly becoming geographically agnostic. Innovators from Montreal to Melbourne and Beijing to Bangalore compare the playing field year after year. This is especially true for software, where physical location is irrelevant and the cost of the increase is marginal worldwide. There is no reason why talent should be local, especially with the global acceptance of remote work led by COVID-19. Even for functions where physical presence is important, players elsewhere can take advantage of the ongoing urban exodus.
So, what’s left? This culture of trust! The arrogance of Silicon Valley! And as any business coach or personal development guru will tell you, that’s it, dear.
Silicon Valley brought its great dream culture and soon it failed to other parts of the world. You can depart from San Francisco, fly for 15 hours, collect your bags and get on a start-up accelerator or workplace in Berlin or Singapore. Silicon Valley is an attitude, not a point on the map.
For those who may not have the experience or the desire to walk the Silicon Valley walker right away (look at you, Athenian colleagues), I say that inner confidence begins with friends, family, and other trusted players who are part of your life social infrastructure. For me, it is my husband, my three children, and two cats, together with my father and my brothers who support me, give me the strength to try, fail and try again. These are the people who take you, shake off the dust, celebrate your victories with you, love you unconditionally, and increase your self-esteem.
Curiosity: learning to grow grows, regardless of size
Between 2000 and 2017, 52% of the Fortune 500 companies went bankrupt, acquired, or simply ceased to exist. Research firm Innosight predicts that three-quarters of the Fortune 500 companies will be replaced by 2027.
Whether you are a courageous company fighting for market share or a strong and established player in the industry, you cannot afford to think about your position in the market and past successes.
Startups must learn to scale quickly and gain the advantage of being a pioneer. Established companies must learn how to support growth using account-based marketing (ABM) and business-based marketing (DBM). Both must learn from each other to thrive in the relentless new world of digital transformation.
Start with the three most powerful words in the English language: “I don’t know”. Recognize that you don’t know and begin to learn best practices wherever you can find them.
The world of B2B marketing has changed dramatically and continues to change.
- Buyers are digitally oriented, socially connected, and mobile and have full access to research information.
- One-third of decision-makers are millennials, who view the B2B buying process differently from their predecessors.
- Twice as many B2B buyers now prefer digital touchpoints over conventional sales interactions, according to a recent McKinsey report.
- Self-service is now normal and marketing has become 70-80% of the journey.
As a marketer, you must be willing to remain curious, learn, and constantly experiment with new ways to drive growth. Since nothing is static, you always need to learn new skills, hacks, and perspectives. I would also say that you must be willing to change roles or even companies if you cannot constantly learn new ideas and mechanisms where you are now.
Competency: Master five core competencies to lead growth transformation
Trust and curiosity are key, but they won’t get you very far if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Marketers have five jobs and you must put them in every bucket to be successful. Here are the five skills B2B marketers need to transform their organizations:
- Positioning. If you still don’t know where you are in the competitive hierarchy and what differentiates your offer, your customers won’t know. Question: “Why should the customer choose you?” and “What customer needs do we serve?” So, base all of your marketing messages on it. Be the leader of the category if you can. Create it when there are no categories for what you are doing!
- Telling stories. As an old Native American story goes, “Tell me the facts and I will learn, tell the truth and believe. But tell me a story – and it will live in my heart forever.” I don’t care how technical your product is. If your content doesn’t use the art of storytelling to show how your product fits people’s lives, it won’t sell.
- Involvement. Once the placement and storytelling are complete, you’ll still need to find the right way to get your content to the right buyers. Buyers consume an average of 5 to 6 content on most B2B trips, so choose your content mix wisely. Talk to all decision-makers in account-based marketing. Use the import and export methods. Rule (because you can). And be sure to engage buyers with your unique online and offline brand experience.
- Generate revenue. At some point, spiritual participation must translate into portfolio participation. You need to know how to measure, analyze and customize marketing automation and customization, create leads, and earn points for upcoming leads, webinars, and events. If you think this is a “salesforce problem”, think again. Closing the deal is part of the marketing success, regardless of whether you are the only one to sign on the dotted line.
- Acceleration. At some point in your organization’s development, positioning, narrative, engagement, and monetization will be projected seamlessly across all pistons. But guess what: your job is not over yet! After learning the basics, you can accelerate your organization’s growth by building an ecosystem of industry analysts, consultants, and strategic partners.
The most important measure of the power of your marketing machine is the contribution of marketing to the sales pipeline and, ultimately, to the results of your revenue. And the most important measure of your success as a B2B marketer is how well you’ve mastered the successful 3Cs in B2B marketing.
This is a great time to become a marketer. You are in the driver’s seat. Be grateful! It is your time and your time to catch the wave and change your life.