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Why Calling ‘Plays’ Could Become A Critical Talent For B2B Marketers

PlaysOnChalkboardWhen you hear B2B marketers talk amongst their peers or give presentations to an audience, terms like nurtures and campaigns are often the words they use to describe their initiatives to engage prospects.

That vernacular is starting to shift a bit, though. At a recent “ABM After Hours” event in NYC, hosted by Everstring, instead of discussing nurture streams or campaign themes, the two speakers were referencing “coordinated plays” to review recent programs.

I took particular notice because the two speakers — Joe Chernov and Dayna Rothman — are both highly respected B2B marketers who helped define best practices for lead nurturing and other key demand generation disciplines over the years.

Rothman, who is currently VP of Brand, Content and Demand Generation at Everstring, previously led content marketing at Marketo and authored the book, Lead Generation for Dummies. Chernov, currently VP of Marketing at InsightSquared, helped drive content marketing at both Hubspot and Eloqua.

In addition to being badasses in the content and demand gen disciplines, both Rothman and Chernov are also trailblazers in the emerging area of account-based marketing (ABM).

The focus on ABM also ties in to why both are using the phrase “plays” rather than simply campaigns or nurtures.  In both examples, Rothman and Chernov spoke in detail about how they’re coordinating messaging beyond traditional outbound and inbound offers. They shared multiple examples of how “plays” are holistically mapping the themes that are communicated by sales development reps and account executives.

Rewriting The Playbook

It is no small coincidence that both Everstring and InsightSquared are both early clients of Engagio, the company founded by Marketo cofounder Jon Miller. Engagio, which recently raised $22 million in Series B funding, is an early market driver around ABM and the related category of account-based everything.

Miller makes the case that because selling is becoming more of a team sport, and multiple stakeholders are usually involved for both the buyer and seller, orchestration is critical.

He believes marketers are becoming more like football coaches because they’re designing the plays that are used to engage prospects at every stage of the buying cycle. He also uses a football analogy to argue that marketers are becoming more like quarterbacks because they’re deciding what plays to call and coordinating closely with sales on when and how to engage key contacts.

The fact that Miller is an early champion of changing the vernacular from campaigns to plays makes sense, because Engagio recently introduced a solution called PlayMaker, which is designed to help orchestrate task build-out and track key tasks to connect with accounts.

While you might dismiss the fact that a few Engagio clients are simply using the “play” phrase, I suggest keeping an ear out for other marketers who are starting to change both their lingo and way of thinking. The fact that it already has become such a seamless point in use cases for how these progressive marketers are now working leads me to believe others won’t be far behind.