Marketing Illuminators Discuss The Future of Marketing

Modern Marketing


This year at Summit we had the privilege to speak with some of the brightest minds in marketing for a great discussion about the future of marketing. Leading the discussion were Marketo’s CEO Phil Fernandez and CMO Sanjay Dholakia. The thought leaders included:

Here is a summary of four of the discussion topics.

Customer Lifecycle and Communication

In the past, there has been a lot of talk about lead generation and top of the funnel, but as marketing continues to be a change agent for the organization, attention must be paid to the entire customer lifecycle from initial interest all of the way to retention and upsell.

Chris Heuer: How close can we get to our customers to understand their REAL needs? When will we start thinking beyond what we can push to the customers? How do we stop thinking about leads and start thinking about the relationship? And who is taking care of the entire relationship? It’s not about the sale, it’s about the value. The biggest problem with marketing today is that they stop investing after the sale [Tweet This]. Marketers need a more holistic strategy than that.

Chris Penn: At the end of the day, marketing is all about communications. We are all just people talking to people [Tweet This]. No one wants to own the entire customer lifecycle; the whole relationship from beginning to end. And we have to change that.

Matt Heinz: We tend to think about the way we manage our pipeline as the sales being the end of the funnel, but it is really just the beginning [Tweet This]. So many companies are focused on the acquisition side, but they are less interested in customer lifecycle. This needs to change.

Dennis Yu: And when you show your existing customers love and get them to talk about you through evangelism, the cost of acquisition drops 10 fold when you have a referral.

Revenue Marketing

Today’s marketer needs to be focused on revenue in order to have a seat at the executive table. With technology, marketers can now tie revenue and results to campaigns, which increases credibility and visibility within an organization.

Matt Heinz: It comes down to 2 words, revenue responsibility. There are so many CMOs that are frightened and don’t want to think about revenue. But marketing needs to establish themselves as a profit center and take responsibility. Arts and crafts marketers are a thing of the past. It needs to be Moneyball meets marketing because the math side of marketing needs to tell you where to go [Tweet This].

Phil Fernandez: The interesting thing is that so many people were ready to declare victory as revenue marketers, but now they are asking “now what” [Tweet This]? They have the numbers and the credibility, but management wants more. Where do you go next? How can we help people take the next steps for strategic credibility?

Kathleen Schaub: Previously, marketing had to do kind of a “black art” in order to determine revenue analytics. Or you had to be a very experienced marketer. Today there is technology, like marketing automation, to get insight into analytics. Data reveals what had previously been invisible. The issue is that most marketers joined marketing because they didn’t like the math, but they have to evolve [Tweet This].

Organizational Alignment

As the buyer landscapes shift, the marketing profession is facing some drastic changes. Marketers are now becoming organizational hubs and connect many different departments, but their are still many marketers that are siloed. Alignment is the key.

Scott Brinker: Because marketing is becoming the repository for all of these new technologies and databases, they are becoming the center of the universe and are interfacing with many different departments. They are the one group that has more connectivity around the organization that any other department [Tweet This].

Kathleen Schaub: And marketers need to make sure they take advantage of this connectivity. Most marketers lack the visibility into what the persuasion art is that takes 20 years of sales experience to get. You have so many marketing people looking into a big black hole. The customer doesn’t want to speak to the sales and the sales person doesn’t want a lead that isn’t warm and that isn’t BANT.

Chris Penn: The other thing holding us back from this needed change is that people are looking for blackbelt results when they are only in the second class. You have to master the basics before you start seeing results. Technology can often give people a false sense of confidence. And you have to make sure you are connected to other folks within the organization, like the service teams. The service sides are so far removed from marketing, but if we can get them connected with the marketer, there is a lot more we can do.

The Talent Gap

Today’s marketers need to be technologists and they need to have the ability to analyze data. But many hiring managers are having trouble finding talent that have the right skills, resulting in a skills gap in marketing.

Laura Ramos: One of the big shifts is what skills are needed in marketing. As marketing and sales becomes more reliant on generating revenue, CMOs and staff need to be OK with hiring differently.

Sanjay Dholakia: The reason why this is so important is that technology can be a huge part of solving the scaling problem and creating a solid  relationship with each customer [Tweet This].

Chris Penn: One of the things that is a real problem is that everyone speaks a different language. The technical folks and the creative folks. The ability to have someone that understands both disciplines is crucial and probably the biggest gap we have in leadership. None of these guys can talk to each other in a way that makes sense. How much time do you spend reading blogs and trade publications? 5-20 hours per week? The ones that get ahead are the ones that read to find out what the trends are. If you have the mindset of being a student you will learn what you need to know to predict certain trends [Tweet This].

Scott Brinker: Enter the new role of the marketing technologist. One foot in each world. How can we grow these people? [Tweet This]

Chris Heuer: We need to change the education system and we need to change incentives. The bridges between marketing and IT, these are the contextualizers and there aren’t many of them.

Lori Wizdo: There hasn’t really been any reason in B2B marketing to attract the type of people that are analytical. This is newer. The bigger talent gap is that these marketers don’t have the technical skills.

Kathleen Schaub: I think that the skill gaps are the white space that we can’t see yet. The new roles that we don’t know about. How many people had foreseen the need for social media roles? Those crept up. Sales enablement, marketing IT, campaign management, the leaders in the space are going to be the ones who come up with these roles before everyone else does. Find the leaders and see how they are hacking. Where they are hacking everyone else will soon institutionalize [Tweet This].

Fantastic conversation from some real industry thought leaders. Thank you so much to everyone that attended our roundtable! What do you think the future of marketing holds?