Marketing Automation and Strategy: Thought Leadership with Robert Moreau
The next interview in the B2B Marketing thought leader interview series is with Robert J. Moreau, author of the B2B Marketing Best Practices blog and EVP Sales and Marketing for Rubicon Marketing Group, a marketing agency based in Portland, Oregon that specializes in defending marketing investments with marketing automation, marketing strategy, and demand generation expertise.
1. Tell us a little bit about how you got into B2B marketing and what you like most about it.
I originally started my career in direct marketing where I worked with some of the largest B2B and B2C companies in the world. To give you some context, I began my career with the feeling that B2B was “behind the times”. The B2C marketplace (as it related to marketing) always fascinated me due to how you could truly craft a message to the “individual” vs. the group and track so many different variables to consistently improve results and create “predictable” ROI.
But over the last 7-10 years, B2B has really evolved to practice many of the same principals B2C has been practicing for quite some time, and now, with the introduction of technology (like Marketo) the gap is really closing between the two.
I now believe that B2B and B2C are not that different. Whether you are building a brand, managing direct marketing or driving leads for a large technology firm’s sales team, you must understand:
- Analytics and demonstrating marketing’s value
- The core objectives of what you are trying to accomplish
- How creative and messaging works together
I’ve always been a sales person first and a marketer second, so as B2B continues to evolve it is exciting for me to focus on this area. The dynamics of how marketing and sales should work together is something I am very passionate about.
2. From reading your blog, I see that you write a lot about B2B marketing innovation. What are your top 3 tips to help companies tackle the art of innovation?
- Keep an open mind and don’t let people in your organization say you can’t do something. If you hear this, it probably means it hasn’t been tried before or that the benefits of what you are trying to accomplish were not positioned properly. If you have a new idea, go for it.
- Never stop learning! Marketing is changing faster than marketing departments (or executives) can keep up with. Take time out of your schedule to read the research reports and articles, go to some of the better conferences and most importantly, make sure you get the same commitment from your marketing teams. It does no good to educate yourself if you are not demanding the same of your team.
- Learn and adopt new marketing technologies. What current marketing technology tools enable you to do is truly awesome and they bring a level of capability never before seen in the B2B space. If you want to be perceived as innovative, you must understand the importance of technology and embrace it. Don’t get caught up in trying to do everything, just roll the technology out in phases and create value little by little.
I have three key pieces of advice.
- Customer Buying Process. Study your customers buying process and make sure both sales and marketing understand the integration between the “sales process” and the “customer’s” buying process. It’s unrealistic to expect marketing and sales to only communicate in certain phases of the buying process. It is imperative that each function know the type of communication that is happening during each phase of the revenue cycle. See The 5 Keys to Lead Nurturing – #1 Customer Buying Process for more detail.
- Lead Nurturing. Understand that all your marketing and sales initiatives should complement each other. Dialogue with customers and prospects should be about sales and marketing providing the right content to the right people at the right time, and not one or the other controlling the conversation. This mindset change is one of the biggest transformations I see when working with sales and marketing executives in the technology space.
- Consider your data to be one of your most important assets. We often recommend to clients, prior to starting a demand generation campaign, that they first clean their data, develop a data hygiene plan, and consider adding or appending information to records that can help drive better campaign results. Appended data may enable greater degrees of segmentation permitting sharper focus in the campaign messaging. A related benefit of marketing automation platforms is the personalization of messages to each prospect versus sending the same content to everyone. This personalization can be done based on behavioral and demographic data.
4. What do you see as the biggest hurdle to effective lead management within the sales pipeline?
Making sales understand the importance of their role in the lead management process. They are not accustomed (or compensated) to keep good data or contribute to this process. You must make them understand why it will help them, but it is still never an easy thing to do and is one of the challenges we run into quite frequently.
5. What do you think is the biggest oversight by marketers in terms of demand generation?
It’s almost always analytics. Sometimes because they don’t know how, but other times because it is just too time consuming to aggregate data from all of the different places in order to get dependable, accurate information.
6. With the multitude of promotion channels today (ie: social, blogs, email), what is your advice for B2B marketers striving toward marketing ROI?
- Identify and evaluate your marketing department from a people, process and technology standpoint.
- Develop benchmarks of success.
- Make sure you have a solid lead management process in place first – it really won’t matter what tactic you are using if this is not done correctly.
- Examine each of your marketing campaigns on the basis of what their objectives are: Awareness, lead generation, lead nurturing, loyalty marketing, sales tools development
- Draw from your web analytics, marketing automation analytics AND sales force analytics to develop dashboards that can provide the kind of information necessary to truly measure the sales and marketing departments effectiveness.
7. Wild Card: Anything else you’d like to add?
It is extremely exciting to see how far B2B has come over the past five to ten years. The idea that we would be able to profile customers based on online and offline behavior, map content and campaigns directly to the individual based on where they are in the buying process would have been something reserved for only the most savvy consumer marketing companies 20 years ago. Technology, along with a shift to marketing accountability, brings marketing executives an incredible opportunity to begin to show their organization’s value at a level they never have been able to before.