The year’s most exciting marketing conference took place ten days ago in San Francisco. Six to seven thousand industry-types attended, coalescing to discuss new trends in marketing. The general consensus among the elites is that traditional approaches to marketing have now been displaced by “engagement marketing,” or creating real relationships with customers to generate demand. In this article, I summarize the insights of two marketers, and attendees to the conference: Carlos Hidalgo of Annuitas and Amrita Mathur of Visioncritical.
Carlos Hidalgo's big takeaway starts with The Economist's study of marketers' top three priorities: increasing digital engagement, customer experience and owning the customer cycle.
Hildago focuses on the customer experience priority. He points out that since up t 70 percent of buying cycles are over before buyers initiate vendor contact, marketers should "engage their buyers in relevant and meaningful dialogue." For Hidalgo, marketing: "is no longer a sales driven buying process, this much is certain, but marketers must heed the call and utilize what is at their disposal to drive customer engagement."
While Hidalgo is optimistic about technology's contributions to marketing he still believes that strategy is more important. "Marketers understand that without a defined buyer-centric strategy as the foundation, they are limiting the value they will get from their Marketo investment," writes Hidalgo.
Lastly, for Hidalgo there is no better time to be a B2B marketer as long as "[As a group they] continue to advance their knowledge and understanding of strategic demand generation including how to apply context to big data, the use of business intelligence to optimize their programs and full utilization of marketing automation solutions like Marketo."
Amrita Mathur was inspired by keynote speaker, Sanjay Dholakia, Chief Marketing Officer for Marketo. Dholakia made his message crystal clear: mass advertising and campaign marketing are out. “To resonate with today’s customers, companies need to embrace a new type of marketing—one that’s based on having a two-way conversation with customers,” reflects Mathur.
It’s called engagement marketing.
“The key to engagement marketing, according to Dholakia, is to stop treating customers as data points and to connect with customers on a human level,” says Mathur.
In addition to creating a relationship with the customer, the engagement marketer must also be concerned with helping her customers achieve their goals. “If you’re useful and helpful, people will embrace you,” said Dholakia, according to Visioncritical.
Staying creative is key for marketers. The Summit brought in pop star John Legend to speak on the subject. Legend’s message is to examine successful people that came before you. Legend stated that he studied Al Green, Stevie Wonder and Billie Holiday to learn his songwriting chops. “To be great you have to study the greats. Stay open to inspiration,” he said, according to Visioncritical.
Finally, Mathur wrote about what Arianna Huffington brought to the Summit. In the eyes of Huffington, it’s futile to nurture creativity if the marketer is not going to take time out to rest.
“In an age when marketers are being asked to do more with less time and fewer resources, taking a break and unplugging might sound like a crazy idea. But it’s necessary,” writes Mathur.
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