As part of my journey in developing the content for an educational conference, in this case MarketingProfs B2B Forum, I do a lot of research. I spend a lot of time on the web looking at competitive conferences (and non-competitive conferences) as well as reading many white papers, articles and blogs. We also take seriously any feedback that we’ve gotten from the attendees at our last event and we poll the MarketingProfs community about topics they need education on through crowdsourcing, discussions on our community sites and in the form of questions sent out as tweets.
But most important are the members of our program advisory committee who provide us with their observations and opinions about what the challenges are on the frontlines of B2B marketing. The members of our program committee are leading the marketing charge for their companies and clients and are eager to find new and innovative ways to reach customers more effectively. I’m grateful for their insights. Through all of the research I’ve done in the past few months, here’s what I’ve learned.
B2B marketing is still fundamentally about generating leads—that has not changed. Many marketers are generating leads, some more effectively than others, but nurturing those leads seem to be the real challenge. Understanding where those potential customers are in the sales process, what their pain points are and knowing how to move them along the funnel still eludes many marketers. Then there is the confusion around which technologies are best to help with this process.
Measurement & ROI is a HUGE challenge! Being able to prove marketing’s worth to overall business goals is essential and not easy to do. Just marrying up your analytics from different initiatives and different software systems is enough to make your head spin. Where do you start to put together the big picture?
Integration is another big issue. One member of the program committee, Mary Ann Kleinfelter, said it perfectly: “we now need to integrate new channels when the old ones aren’t even integrated yet.” Social media is still new to many B2B marketers and they still need to understand how to set policy around it and learn how to incorporate it into the larger marketing strategy.
Strategy . . . that’s another challenge. Marketers are so focused on tactics in the effort to get something done quickly that the big picture strategy is getting lost.
Then there are a million other things marketers need to think about:
- How is mobile marketing going to affect B2B marketing?
- How should I be preparing for it now?
- How do I develop content that will resonate with my prospects and customers and who is going to develop it?
- How do I optimize my content to gain the best search results?
- How can I use email more effectively?
- How can I use video to engage customers?
I could go on... I empathize with B2B marketers. They have so many challenges, not the least of which is simply a limited amount of time and resources. I’ve done my best to put together an educational program for the MarketingProfs B2B Forum that will help B2B marketers with these challenges.
If I missed any big issues you’re struggling with, feel free to let me know.
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