The expanding and evolving role of marketing was a consistent theme at MarketingProfs’ 2014 B2B Marketing Forum in Boston last week. With creative sessions running the gamut from “Become a Marketing Change Agent,” “Metrics & Analytics,” and “How NOT to be a Content Marketing Zombie,” the sold-out Forum drew more than 800 registrants.
Kicking off with the opening keynote from Scott Stratten, the President of UnMarketing, the agenda of the Forum was heavily focused on marketing’s growing influence, not only on lead generation and revenue contribution, but also on building long-term relationships with customers.
Sharing insights from his new book, Unselling, Stratten pointed out that many marketers are suffering from “funnel vision” and are overlooking the importance of creating repeat customers and loyal clients that refer others. “Customer apathy is the biggest challenge facing every company,” Stratten cautioned.
This theme was also emphasized in a session titled “The Present and Future of Marketing Automation Platforms,” featuring a panel of top executives from leading solution providers.
“Marketing needs to think beyond acquisition and think more about retaining and expanding the relationship with customers, and marketing automation systems can be used to facilitate those efforts,” said Jon Miller, VP of Marketing and Co-Founder of Marketo. “Other areas of the organization such as sales and customer support only see pieces of the customer dynamic. Marketing has an opportunity to really influence the big picture and should be involved in all aspects of the customer lifecycle.”
Miller added that effective use of marketing automation systems give marketing better insights into which customers are “ecstatic, static or vulnerable.” By using automation systems to track metrics that matter to the business, Miller pointed out that marketing departments can help their companies “not only be predictive, but prescriptive.”
John Stetic, Group VP with Oracle Marketing Cloud, pointed out that more clients are viewing their sales and marketing technologies as an interconnected ecosystem, factoring in tools data and content management as they tracking their dialogue with clients and prospects. “We have all heard the phrase ‘content is king,’ but the danger is some companies have taken a siloed approach to content strategies, where they have their content over here and their demand gen team over here,” Stetic said.
Stetic added: “To successfully engage clients and customers across channels and throughout the entire lifecycle, its essential companies tie together their content and demand generation strategies. They now need to connect their personas with campaign segmentation strategies and share content and metrics between systems.”
Digital marketing has expanded greatly beyond email, Stetic noted. “Marketers now need to touch prospect through multiple channels, with leaders using their systems to do more on the web, orchestrate experiences via targeted ads and social.”
Marketing’s Influence Beyond The Top Of The Funnel
Just as marketing’s role in the organization is expanding, panelists emphasized that marketers also need to start thinking more beyond pouring new leads into the funnel. You Mon Tsang, CEO of OutMarket, the marketing business unit of Vocus that has been rebranded and now operates as an independent company.
“Marketers now need to concentrate on the bottom of the funnel, as well as the top of the funnel. Most organizations have started their work with marketing automation from the CRM system up, but that is not the only problem. Marketers now need more emphasis on and integration with areas such as social and PR,” Tsang pointed out.
Atri Chatterjee, CMO of Act-On Software, shared an example of how one of their clients is using their system across the entire lifecycle. PumpOne, an online fitness coaching application, is using the marketing automation system to drive initial downloads of the application, as well sign-ups for free trials.
Once prospects have taken the initial step of signing up, PumpOne continues to nurture clients to stay active and accelerate to purchase the full application. Then post purchase, PumpOne continues to engage clients, encouraging them to stay active for retention, as well as cross-sell opportunities.
“They use the system not only to send email messages, but also to see profiles and behaviors. They typically see a 30-day period to paid clients and the system can help trigger alternative actions for people that haven’t converted, whether it is sending them different campaigns or having their support people call,” Chatterjee pointed out. “They continue to monitor them on their level of usage. This is a great model for a lot of software companies, because the reality is we often don’t find out about problems with customers until after they leave.”