In the past B2B marketers would focus on the product. Now we are learning a better emphasis is centered on the customer. Today, the customer drives not only product requirements but also what the solutions look like, the way we engage with them. This is done via the customer personas and we know these are not one size fits all. Marketing and all functions of the company will center around the customer. The buyer’s journey, the way we design our go to market approach, and the way the marketing teams design strategy all focus on the customer’s needs.
At the the end of the day your customers aren’t really looking for a “product” they are looking to solve a problem, or address an opportunity. So, if you start with that mindset, “What are they trying to solve?” you can get on a more strategic level with the customer, Rather than being a product provider. It’s similar to Marketers looking at Agencies. You’re looking to someone who can help you be more strategic. And the customer is looking for you to do the same – take them to a better place, with a different approach, a different mindset.
The shift that IT has to make is the move from systems of record, or the back office, to systems of engagement, the front office. Moving forward from there, data will be readily available in a consumable format with dashboard view of not only the business but also the customer.
What is coming up in the next two to five years? We’re talking about employee engagement, customer engagement, and sales enablement – that is key. Then there is the concept of the marketing technologist, using IT as an asset to provide more accurate information on customer needs. It’s not a traditional place for marketers to play. It’s much more process-driven much more architecture, and it’s an evolution of marketing the duality of creative and technology. Five to ten years from now, I’m not sure the CMO, the agency landscape, and the way marketers are minted out of MBA schools will be the same.