customer experience, 2014 Must-Do: Become Agile in B2B Marketing

What do you need in B2B marketing this year? OK, we know. Sales. Leads. Conversions. ROI. Pats on the back from those occupying the C-suite.

But to eat those slices of cake, you need to be agile first, said Carla Johnson, principal at Type A Communications, a Parker, Colo.-based firm that provides marketing strategies.

"Why, how and what marketers need to perform in our roles has never changed so much or at such a significant rate as it is now," Johnson told CMSWire.

In this, the second part of our "2014 Must-Do" series, we look at B2B marketing. Yesterday, we discussed getting back to basics in Web CMS.

Don't Stand Still

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What are the risks for B2B marketers who stay stagnant and wait for things to "return to normal"? Deadly ones, Johnson said. Marketers have to use their "whole brains" to understand and capture customers’ attention in new ways, as well as use technology and analytics efficiently and effectively.

"Marketers have to be willing to respond. Too many are paralyzed by fear and waiting for things to normalize. Change is the new normal and the only way to thrive is to understand the need for agility." 

"Things have changed so drastically in the past few years that many marketers are playing it safe with their work and their careers. But instead of enabling them to hold on, it’s actually making them move to the back of the class. B2B marketers miss a huge opportunity to create something new in an environment that needs it, and, especially in B2B, really wants it."

What's changing out there, particularly? The ability to respond in real-time is one. B2B marketers have so much information about customers and prospects and what they do at their disposal.

The savvy ones? They're using that to their advantage.

"They’re able to use data to adjust so they can engage people and create relevant experiences on the fly," Johnson said.

Know Thy Customer

Data and analytics are wonderful and must haves. But, marketers should take it further: get in a room with your customers, talk to them and listen. Nothing, Johnson said, compares to sincere people-to-people conversations to understand what matters to your customers.

"It’s not about corralling them and then marketing them to death," she said. "It’s about genuinely listening to what they have to say and then being willing to do something about it in the near term."

Avoid These Traps

What are some practices you out there today that will hold you back in your B2B marketing campaigns?