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Learning, Targeting and Collaboration – The Perfect Storm

By Giles Shorthouse on 24th February 2017

Storm Doris was no match for 250 B2B Marketers; a full house battened down the hatches for a thought-provoking day at InTech last week. The themes for the day weren’t new ones, but to me they boil down into three categories.

  • Learning: Agile, AI, Talent

Talent could probably make all three themes, as the first panel of the day at InTech all agreed “Finding talent is always a challenge”. Marketing is always developing, so skill sets constantly change. This is a good thing in my opinion. It means we look outside marketing for other skills and keeps the industry fresh. But yes, it’s a challenge for sure.

Agile is really about leaning, isn’t it? Albert Einstein said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. So, if marketing isn’t working why not listen to feedback. Marketing needs to be underpinned by strategy. That’s why we have targets and goals. But being too rigid along the journey is naïve isn’t it? Get the balance right…and buy loads of post-its says Andrew Fitzgerald at IBM, “There was a direct correlation between us moving to Agile marketing, and the share price of 3M“.

As for AI, let the robots do the learning! AI is already working in marketing. Embrace it, it could help you meet those targets.

  • Targeting: ABM, Personalisation, Localisation, Differentiation

Marketing got noisy with automation, ABM has brought focus back. ABM is just a TLA way of saying targeting. You can call it what you like. Laurel at Klarna describes their marketing approach as “Persona based marketing” as they have lots of different buyers. Developments in technology make it easier to target, which has actually helped sales and marketing agree on something – who are we trying to reach? More on sales and marketing alignment to come…Let’s be honest, ABM will fall flat on its face without two things; personalisation and differentiation. Don’t be generic, or it’s just more noise:

As Kathryn Norris at Turtl said later in the day, “Storytelling cuts through noise”. We are big advocates of this at Octopus Group. Don’t be vanilla, differentiate or die trying!

HP’s Louis Fernandes nailed it in one line “Be bold, be brave, be bullish”

  • Collaboration: Agile, Sales & Marketing Alignment, People

Fast growth organisations need a certain type of person. A true collaborator; someone who can span teams, interact with a variety of stakeholders and possesses an array of skills.

Some things will fail. It’s how you learn from that which will define your success. Grit is essential.

…. It won’t ever go away will it. The sales & marketing never-ending love story. Let’s just learn to get along, fabulous things can happen! Collaboration is the key.

Sales – please “Allow marketing (back) into the sales cycle if there is unavoidable delay“. As Andrew at idio pointed out, this is beneficial for you long term.

Marketing – please meet more customers. As Scott Allen at Microsoft said, sales are on the front line, they speak to the buyer. Learn from them and you can be more Agile.

The modern marketing department has no place for separation. As Scott highlighted, it’s a team sport. So get the right people in your team.

If you only take away one this from reading this or from being at InTech, let it be this from Louis Fernandes. People buy from people.

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