Five Marketing Changes You Need to Make

CardsIf B2B marketing isn’t dead, it is changing very quickly. But the real change isn’t the marketing, it is how marketing has evolved in response to the evolving buyer.

The biggest factor driving the changes in today’s buyers is the accessibility of information technology has enabled. This change has turned demand creation upside down. In the past, your prospect held the budget cards and you held the information cards. Through the sales and negotiation dance, the cards were slowly revealed one at a time, with you and your prospect jockeying for advantage through the entire process.

With the prevalence of personal publishing and peer networks, even information you attempt to hold close is often freely available, published by someone and discoverable through a peer network or a quick Google search. Access isn’t limited by time or place, research can be done with an iPad on the couch while watching television more effectively than in a library just ten years ago.

Today, buyers hold the budget cards and the information cards. Your prospective buyers do not need to negotiate with you for knowledge using their timing and budget information. As a marketer, if you continue hanging on to this traditional process your marketing will slowly become part of the messaging clutter that besieges us every day and you will lose the opportunity to connect with potential buyers.

Here are five changes your marketing needs to make.

Embrace Mobile
As Michael Brenner said, Mobile Marketing is a Strategy, Not a Tactic. Make mobile the assumption, not the add-on throughout your planning. Value the mobile experience like the desktop experience. Your audience is driving, be ready in their channel of choice.

Make Social Media About the Social, Not the Media
As Jay Baer put it, you are at “The Crossroads: Social or Media.” Social media marketing is becoming a push tactic and you may be dangerously close to acting like a used car salesman instead of the potential partner you want to be.

Set Your Content Free
You don’t produce content mindlessly and then promote it with a compelling description just to get a registration. Your content was designed to benefit your audience and position your company favorably. If it is not easy to get information from you, your audience will get it from someone else.

Develop Your Own Audience
Your business probably already has an audience, one you likely have abused. Your audience is far more valuable than you realize. Begin meeting their needs, or they will tune you out.

Stop Relying on Brand Marketing for Influence
According to recent research from WPP Group’s Kantar Video and Synaptic Digital, there was zero lift in men’s brand awareness from adding brand media exposure to earned media exposure. Here are three more powerful influences than brand marketing.

Your traditional cards are gone. What will your next move be?

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About Eric Wittlake

I am a digital and B2B marketer with a background in online media and analytics. I work with B2B clients on media and integrated marketing programs at Babcock & Jenkins. You can connect with me on Twitter at @wittlake or in the comments here on my B2B Digital Marketing blog.

  • http://twitter.com/CanyonComm Canyon Comm

    Great post as ever Eric. Can you share your thoughts on mobile as a strategy not a tactic? I wholeheartedly agree that mobile is here and now and we MUST give customers a valuable experience cross-channel. But, I view mobile as a tactic execution model of the marketing strategy of embracing beyond permission – but client-driven marketing. Is this a semantic debate or am I missing a critical piece in the conceptual puzzle.

    • http://digitalb2b.wordpress.com Eric Wittlake

      Hi Canyon (who am I talking to by the way?),

      I had the same initial reaction to Michael’s headline, but as I considered it more, it really captures how I believe mobile needs to be integrated. Mobile is too often a string of tactics, even when they are wonderfully integrated and executed. Mobile has its own executional stream, and that needs to change.

      Instead, mobile needs to be a core element (aside: as does social). Don’t only build a mobile site, make your core site mobile-accessible too. Personally, I probably spend more time reading on my phone than on my desktop.

      Viewed this way, it is akin to any strategic guiding principle. Mobile doesn’t dictate any particular tactic but pervades every one of them.

      Final disclaimer: would love a replacement for “strategy” here, but tactic doesn’t work for me, and a key audience insight (which it really is) too often leads back down a tactical path instead of shaping a strategy that assumes mobile.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it!

  • http://twitter.com/BrennerMichael Michael Brenner

    Eric, Great post and thank you again for including me on such a great list of 5 changes to make.

    In regards to the question from Canyon Comms, I think you nailed it. For me it comes down to this: mobile is what our customers are becoming, not something for just marketing to consider. You made this same point with social. We need to become social businesses, not just have some social tactics in our marketing plan.

    It’s the same with mobile. We need to consider the increasing use of mobile phones, apps and the interaction taking place there. This will change the whole business and we need a strategy to address it.

    Now there was some twitter debate about whether mobile is a strategy or a method or a tactic. I do think it is partly semantic. But for me, the bottom line is that our businesses need to consider the increasingly mobile and social customer at the highest level and implement strategic intiatives to position our businesses to win in this new marketplace.

    I hope that clarifies!

    Best,
    Michael
    @brennermichael

  • http://twitter.com/CanyonComm Canyon Comm

    Eric & Michael:

    Appreciate the comments to help me fully embrace your perspectives. And who doesn’t love a good semantic debate? Now..how about “stratactical methodology” as a hybrid?

    ~ Dara Schulenberg, @dschulenberg
    aka @CanyonComm as Digital Strategy Manager for Canyon Communications :)
    thanks for the reminder on being – not doing – social Eric!

  • http://goniaconsultingllc.com Joel Gonia

    Eric — Total newbie here! Your comments were referred to me and I appreciate it, however I need more to chew, speicifcs — Where can I go for more info? Consultants say I need a total revamp

    Thanks, Joel
    Joelgonia@aol.com

    • http://digitalb2b.wordpress.com Eric Wittlake

      Hi Joel, thanks for taking the time to read and comment, I appreciate it. Hopefully the information was a helpful starting point.

      The most important thing is to know your audience, both the one you have today and the one you want to have in the future. I’m going to assume you have an advantage here, judging by your site (and your personal involvement at some level in every appraisal), you probably speak directly with customers and prospects on a regular basis. I will send you an email to connect offline as well.