Nothing in marketing ever stays the same because nothing in life ever stays the same, does it?
(All of us are thinking about ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic right now.)
On a recent episode of the B2B Revenue Acceleration podcast, we talked with Mark Johnston, VP of Product Marketing at Domo, about how to hit a marketing target that’s always moving.
“The data to make decisions just changed completely because of all of the different dynamics that are going on in the world,” Mark said.
Data is about 1,000x more important in the present era of change than it was even a couple of years ago — or a matter of weeks ago before the current pandemic.
Your strategy is going to be completely different than what it was six months or three months – or three weeks ago.
Marketing’s biggest changes
Marketing data can help improve our world.
Big businesses need data to make strategic decisions about COVID-19 impact, and SMBs rely on data to stay nimble and ahead of the pandemic curve.
Mark sees large businesses having to throw out the traditional way of decision making.
You can’t look at data monthly anymore. You pretty much have to get a fresh forecasting report from your business intelligence team daily now.
“Resetting big organizations is difficult, but the benefit that they have is intelligence and insights, so they’re able to understand the marketplace that they serve and operate in.”
On the flip side, smaller organizations tend to be more nimble and agile. “They don’t have any of those preconceived processes around how they run their business,” Mark pointed out.
The downside is they might not have the breadth of data or the insight of experience that a larger company can bring.
Both types of businesses need data to make effective marketing decisions in this era of change.
The customers’ needs and what they’re trying to achieve should match with your company’s objectives.
B2B marketing during remote living
Given that schools and workplaces are closed and hardly anyone is driving anymore, B2B marketing looks different than it ever has before.
“The concept of innovation and change for marketing has been true forever,” Mark pointed out.
What’s uniquely challenging about the changes in the current marketing era is how resilient and adaptive marketers need to be.
Domo turned Domopalooza – its customer conference – into a virtual event. So, the CEO flew out to the site to make live recordings as a way to still serve those who would have attended.
It wasn’t just COVID-19 stress and concern that Mark and the marketers had to contend with.
On the morning of the digital event, there was an earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale.
With aftershocks all throughout the recording.
Mark saw 3 truths come out of this era of change in marketing.
- The loss of the face-to-face option requires creativity. “What that forced us to do was ask ourselves what does the customer experience need to look like so that we can replace it with something?” Mark said.
- Marketers excel at innovation. “We could have a very different type of event because of that limitless scale of digital,” he said.
- Serving the customer has always been the core of marketing. “You’re dealing with earthquakes, and then you’re trying to figure out whether your customer could buy and how you serve them,” he said.
This event disaster became a digital event that customers have given positive feedback about, despite the pandemic and the earthquake.
“At a human level, being able to have that resilience is one thing, but at an operational level, making sure that you have that intelligence to guide the organization through this period,” Mark said.
The concept of innovation and change for marketing has been true forever.
A customer-centric focus
“The customers’ needs and what they’re trying to achieve should match with your company’s objectives,” Mark said.
Especially in eras of change like this one, figuring out what commercial success looks like for many B2B businesses is a complicated dynamic.
“The benefit of having the customer at the center is that it’s really about understanding what the customer’s going through and matching your choices to that,” Mark said.
Let’s say your customers are in hospitality, and right now they just can’t buy.
“Your strategy is going to be completely different than what it was six months or three months — or three weeks ago,” Mark pointed out.
You need to have the best data at your fingertips (quick plug for Domo’s coronavirus info site) to stay agile and understand your customers’ constantly changing objectives.
In that sense, marketing in the era of change is just called marketing.
“If the customer and the customer context match your commercial outcomes, then you’re never going to go far wrong,” Mark said.
Connect with Operatix to learn how to build your pipeline in an era of constant change.