Content, ABM, Consolidation — 2018 is bringing marketing departments plenty of new trends to consider as they finalize strategy for the year. So we asked Andrew Gaffney — publisher of the Demand Gen Report, host of B2B Marketing Exchange and Content Director for Content4Demand — to join us on a recent episode of DemandGen Radio to provide his expert perspective. And, his responses are a preview to some of the topics sure to be discussed at the upcoming B2B Marketing Exchange in Scottsdale.
David: What’s your perspective on ABM?
Andrew: In 2016, the noise level around ABM was so high, a lot of marketers were caught by surprise. People felt like they had to be a part of the movement, and have more of a discipline from the marketing side.
In 2017 things took shape, and people are realizing that ABM will be the new norm. It’s not coming and going like other marketing trends — marketing has to be in lock step with sales. If sales is focused on a key set of accounts, Marketing has to be on board. The good news is there are a lot new tools and technologies that help with ABM. Our site, ABM in Action, has 30+ case studies talking about what B2B practitioners are doing around ABM. And our studies have shown that 70% of organizations think ABM is helping them meet or exceed their goals.
But the folks having success with ABM have made it an integrated part of their marketing strategy — not just a random one-off campaign or program. It’s a fundamental shift that’s only going to evolve and grow as we move forward.
David: What trends are you noticing in the world of content?
Andrew: It’s interesting what’s happening with content. From really large organizations to smaller high-growth companies, there’s a shift from creating content that takes a monologue approach, such as white papers and eBooks, to content that’s more conversational and interactive. This new approach enables readers to self-navigate and the experience is much different. It creates more of a dialog with the reader, and encourages the reader to provide intelligence back to the company providing the content. Examples include quizzes, assessments or interactive infographics. Successful brands are doing mix of both short and long-form content. There’s still a need for “big rock” content, but short-form creative pieces are in high demand.
David: None of this works unless you know who you’re targeting, so let’s talk about data. I don’t see marketing departments putting “data” as a line item in the budget. Why is there a disconnect?
Andrew: In Phase 1 of marketing automation adoption, the focus was on building up as big a database as possible. But we’re turning a corner. In a recent survey, we found 85% of people say their data is old and outdated. To support acquisition strategy and nurturing, you need to focus and invest. Data has never been very sexy or strategic to CEOs, but we are seeing an increase in what organizations are investing there. More than 20% of people we surveyed said they’d invest between 11-25% of total budget this year in data. The driver is that so many initiatives depend on it — including ABM, personalization, segmentation and more — and organizations need richer data to be successful with them.
David: Consider the expression, “There’s no silver bullet in Marketing.” Many people take this to mean you have to do omnichannel marketing to cover the bases. Are you seeing any changes in the way omnichannel marketing is being adopted?
Andrew: It’s two-fold: 1) There’s an over reliance on email, and 2) Traditional outbound advertising is yielding diminishing returns. A recent study we conducted revealed 80% of those we surveyed are investing more in earned media. Earned media used to be associated with just PR, but it’s becoming more integrated with thought leadership pieces, case studies and so on. As people see they need to be optimized across all channels, they’ll be using owned, earned and paid media together and as efficiently as possible.
David: MarTech – What’s the prediction for 2018?
Andrew: Consolidation. About three years ago, it was an exciting time — marketing was going to spend more on technology than IT. Although today’s solutions have great interfaces are are easy to use, companies are struggling with piecing things together. There’s more pressure on the funding side from VCs, and they’re not writing the checks as easily. Instead, they’re asking about profitability, which makes it harder for smaller companies to justify expenses for new solutions. B2B practitioners are being more judicious about prioritizing new technologies and integrations, and instead looking for longer-term solutions. Third-party consultants like DemandGen are helping them sort it all out.
David: What’s the low-down on your upcoming event?
Andrew: B2B Marketing Exchange is taking place in Scottsdale, February 19-21 at the Fairmont Princess. The first day will feature a menu of nine different hands-on workshops with facilitators and small groups. Sessions start on Tuesday and Wednesday, and we’ll have six different analysts and some authors speaking. The event is B2B-focused; we take this very seriously. Attendees will learn actionable strategies to take back to their teams. Any performance-oriented B2B marketer will get tremendous value out of it.
About DemandGen Radio
DemandGen’s PodCast Series features interviews with top industry experts, thought leaders, authors, marketing technology firms and senior marketing leaders from around the world about their methods and technologies for high-performance marketing. A replay of the full podcast with Andrew Gaffney can be found here.
Find out about our next and other upcoming podcasts at www.DemandGenRadio.com.
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