There were four themes which resonated with me. They are:
1. B2B marketing is really P2P - People to People marketing.
A survey conducted by Corporate Executive Board (CEB) in partnership with Google revealed customers have stronger emotional connections with leading B2B brands (like Cisco) than with consumer brands. This was surprising to me!
Cisco is teaching its employees a new language, “Human speak”! They want less technology jargon and more inspiration which will help them connect more deeply with customers.
USG, a leading player in the construction and remodeling industry and Lincoln Financial Group are inspiring and empowering their customers with new people-centered brand campaigns. USG's campaign is "It's Your World. Build it" and Lincoln Financial Group's campaign is "Chief Life Officer".
2. The future could see Chief Marketing Technologists reporting to the CMO.
Big data and digital marketing are offering promises of more targeted and efficient marketing programs. However, marketing will remain both an art and a science.We all must beware of the temptation of “automating” customer relationships and seeing customers as mere numbers. You can gain tremendous insights by observing and spending time with your customers.
3. Organizations must bridge the gap between Engineers and Marketers.
We need to remember:
- Engineers are not natural marketers.
- Technical is beautiful, complex and very detailed.
- Marketing pulls together the point, the essence, the heart of a product/service and there is a need to balance and bridge the two.
4. CEOs have greater expectations of marketing.
In a survey of 320 CEOs, there was consensus that marketing has increased importance for their business. Most CEOs want marketing to contribute more in these areas:
- Strategic thinking
- Customer Insights
What do you think about these themes? We will be watching as they continue to shape companies and business throughout this year and beyond.