Today’s Rant: Why Marketing is Harder — and More Fun
A salesperson who is face-to-face with a prospect can vary his or her dialogue to accommodate the prospect’s needs and interests. The salesperson knows the company size, location and industry as well as the prospect’s role and stage in the buying cycle. She can assess the prospect’s level of knowledge and fill in gaps. Most importantly she can use the prospect’s responses to guide the discussion.
Today the salesperson doesn’t get a face-to-face meeting until much later in the buying cycle. It is the marketer who must keep the attention of the multiple buyers at a multiple companies through the early and middle stages of their buying cycles. In order to keep each buyer’s attention, the marketer’s provision of information must vary in the same way a salesperson’s approach varies.
Yet the marketer isn’t sitting across from a single prospect. He is tracking and analyzing demographic and behavioral information about prospects, developing hypotheses about intent, gleaning insight from current customers, and mapping responses to prospect behaviors to move them to the next stage in the buying cycle.
Today’s marketers need to:
- Sharpen core marketing skills, including: knowing customers and prospects, understanding the processes that are affected by a product or service, mapping the buying cycle and buyer information needs, clarifying differentiation, and developing evidence-based value propositions.
- Get comfortable experimenting, acting on partial information, and adjusting course as they find new information.
- Put repeatable processes in place to leverage knowledge gained.
- Select and properly use appropriate technology.
- Collaborate fully with sales and lead the company into social business where “everyone is a marketer”
- Draw insight from customer interviews, analyze data, demonstrate accountability…
…the list goes on. Yes, businesses hold marketers, and marketers hold themselves, to a higher standard today. Leadership matters. Strategy and management matter. Evidence tells the story.
It’s a lot more and a lot more fun.