Marketing is always evolving but we are at an inflection point. The evolution of our tools and technologies combined with the radical changes in B2B buying behavior and heightened expectations buyers, demand a complete rethinking of how we engage audiences and drive growth in a new digital age.
2023 promises to be a year of great uncertainty. In a business landscape swirling with economic challenges, marketing teams are facing tighter budgets and limited resources while still being asked to drive incremental growth. So, how do we drive predictable pipeline, in unpredictable times? How do we continue to do more with less? How do we accelerate growth, differently?
It starts with a realization that what we are doing is no longer working. Most of the marketing tools and technologies we rely on were built to perpetuate an antiquated system that is driven by one goal only: generate as many leads as possible. The math is simple, you put X number of leads into the system, which will convert into X amount of pipeline, which sales will close X percentage of to hit our targets. And it’s worked for a long time.
Let’s be honest, increasing conversion is hard, while increasing volume is easy. Add to that, there are now unlimited channels to promote our brands and products, and an ever-growing list of technologies, including artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and ABM tools to help us target the right people with the right message. But even with better odds, we are still playing the odds…and the odds are increasingly stacked against us.
Digital marketing has leveled the playing field and seemingly unlimited reach for you, means unlimited reach for everyone. There has never been more competition for the time and attention of your audience. We are all playing a numbers game and at some point, the numbers simply run out. And, it’s a system that has traditionally been about getting more leads in the funnel by allocating more budget, executing more programs or hiring more headcount. To get more results out without needing more resources in, the system must change. We must focus on the quality, not the quantity, of our digital marketing.
It’s time to rethink the fundamentals of revenue growth
We need a new system that increases the outputs without increasing the inputs. Digital marketing needs to move from one-off tactics that simply generate leads to a long-term strategy that engages buyers, builds lasting relationships, and predictably drives pipeline and revenue. From webinars, to virtual events and digital content experiences, every audience touchpoint must be optimized for maximum engagement. Success must now be measured by how effective you are using engagement to generate the insights we need to get to know our prospects, further personalize their journey and drive a purchase decision.
But there is an even more compelling reason to rethink our marketing strategy: our buyers are changing. In real profound ways.
The past few years have accelerated a critical shift in how our buyers engage in what is now a digital-first world. And while most of our marketing is now largely digital, the experiences we are delivering are leaving our audiences cold.
Audiences today expect more. They want experiences that are engaging, interactive, authentic, helpful, personalized to their unique needs and, wait for it, approachably human. Heck, maybe even fun. And the companies that have figured this out are being rewarded. Delivering highly engaging audience experiences is the easiest way to build the deeper connections that turn prospects into customers. These are Demand Generation teams that are generating actual demand, not just counting leads.
Every marketing function, every industry is transforming
The same rules apply across every marketing function, from product marketing to customer marketing and sales enablement. Moving from one-off tactics to a digital engagement strategy can transform how we drive the entire buyer’s journey, from building awareness, to positioning products to onboarding new users to securing lifetime customer relationships.
And this transformation is happening across every major industry. We see pharmaceutical companies evolving from face-to-face sales meetings with healthcare professionals to omnichannel, always-on campaigns that provide deep understanding of product adoption. In the insurance sector, providers are interacting with their policyholders and members across their entire journey, from the moment they enroll to continuing benefits.
Manufacturing companies are training complex supply chains of distributors and resellers with greater efficiency and precision, delivering up-to-date content and certifications through the channel. For asset management companies, digital engagement has become the way to enable large networks of financial advisors and build virtual relationships with their high-value investors. Even large retailers are turning to digital engagement to future-proof their growth, extending the in-store shopping experience with digital workshops that show their next generation of customers how to use their products once at home.
More engagement, deeper connections, better outcomes
Planning for growth in 2023 means that we must move from simply scaling lead generation to scaling how we engage. It means that every audience touchpoint is optimized to maximize that engagement to deliver the insights we need to more effectively connect and convert. Our teams must align around new goals: moving from churning names to building real human connections at digital scale.
Great marketing teams don’t fear change, they become the change. Delivering predictable pipeline in these unpredictable times means that we must finally stop playing the numbers game and re-imagine the fundamentals of how we engage prospects and drive growth.