4 B2B Marketing Trends Everyone will be Talking about at the SiriusDecisions Summit

by Michelle McGinnis on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 in Demand Generation

It’s impossible to escape the seismic shifts that have rocked the B2B marketing world in recent years. New terms are entering our lexicon at an alarming rate: social, cloudsourcing, gamefication…

How do you sort the viable, long-term disruptions from the buzzwords?

The marketers joining the SiriusDecisions Summit today want more than tools. They want to discuss the emerging trends and strategies that can drive demand.

Last year, we spoke to Jonathan Block, Sirius’s VP and Practice Director, about how marketing operations had arrived as a lasting discipline within growing organizations. This year, Jonathan shared the four B2B marketing trends people will be chatting about.

1. Data
Only four years ago, not that many B2B organizations were seriously talking about data, Block says. Now big data is here to stay, and social media is only making it important.

But while organizations are collecting tons of metrics, many don’t know how to interpret them or explain their influence on revenue. The more data that you gather, the more you need to adopt an analytical mindset. A lot of marketers don’t have that skill set. Data offers marketers the opportunity to see how their content and programs resonate – but only if they can decipher it first.

2. Skills
The growing amount of data and tools at the marketing department’s disposal is only making the need for refreshed skills more prevalent. As we collect more data, writing business rules becomes a vital part of lead management. You can’t just profess to “know email,” you need to build automated campaigns. Even social is often relegated to interns.

As Block notes: “We’d love to hire people who have experience in all these things, but that’s not realistic. So we need to create some kind of training.”

3. Measurement
Put this next to the data trend. Organizations are demanding marketing show how money spent equals money earned. But measurement is a skill itself.

Yet, many marketers are seeing a gap between the numbers. A team can state the number of inbound or outbound responses received, but would have a tougher time detailing the net value derived from them. “There are a lot of tools available to give you access to that data,” Block says, “but people don’t necessarily have the skills to use them.”

4.  Content
This is a sticking point for so many B2B marketers. Many have come around on the value of content marketing, but struggle to keep up with the insatiable demand. Or they have plenty of content but not the right content. Or they have content that is too general or too specific.

Content, as Block sees it, calls for a wide variety of skills. You need good, flexible writers. Content has to do different things at different stages of funnel. Some might explain what you do, while at other points it helps facilitate a decision.

And you need people who are skilled at delivering it. And you need people who know how to re-purpose content so you’re not constantly re-inventing the wheel.

“It’s not just being smarter it’s being more flexible about what content is, and how to get more leverage out of it,” Block argues.

Are you heading to the SiriusDecisions Summit? What trends will you be talking about?

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