“Sharing well-rounded data and insight with real people is the key to understanding what will differentiate, cut through and drive marketing effectiveness.”
What are some of the industry trends you are most excited about and why?
We are already seeing a huge appetite for the return of trade shows and events; these look a lot different from the pre-pandemic days. Instead of multi-day large scale events, there’s a growing preference for shorter and more targeted niche events. Targeted, shorter events offer more intimate experiences through smaller audience numbers. We’ve also seen an appetite for hybrid events with virtual components to welcome audiences from afar.
We recently partnered with CRN to host CRN ON, a half-day event bringing together some of the IT Channel’s brightest minds to share their insights on the future direction of the Channel ecosystem. It gave us an opportunity to create a platform to drive conversation amongst peers. The follow-ups we’ve received confirms the importance of these events in our marketing strategy.
When I look specifically at the IT Channel, sustainability coupled with localised supply chains is the motivation behind most of the innovation we’re seeing today. Our industry – much like a lot of modern marketing – is fast becoming automated in efforts to streamline operations, maximise value and drive efficiency.
We’ve certainly reached a point of inflection where businesses are assessing where their relevance is. We’re also seeing end users drive demand more than ever. This is a pivotal moment for marketing – and it’s important we get it right.
How tough it is to work in this industry, and what advice would you give?
One of the biggest obstacles we face is the speed at which we operate. This requires a highly agile state of mind when engaging with partners across the ecosystem, as those who fall behind the curve can quickly become outdated and less relevant.
The fast pace opens up endless new avenues for marketers. Innovation and creativity are the key differentiating factors that set leaders and followers apart, with those who dare to be brave ultimately best poised to innovate faster and weather the storm for future change.
What are some of the pain points in marketing that you’ve experienced?
Marketing is rife with new challenges, moving goalposts and shifting priorities. The pandemic has taken this to a whole new level. Marketers, (like many business roles) have been forced to adopt strategies rapidly in order to replace offline experiences. We’ve needed to connect and engage with target markets across a wider range of sophisticated digital channels.
Despite the rapid digital innovation, I still believe nothing replaces face-to-face interactions and the opportunity to build rapport in person. At its very core, marketing will always be about people-to-people.
Coupling traditional methods with modern-day digital marketing offers us the chance to influence the buyer cycle. When done right, this combination gives us wider reach and deeper connections. I’m very excited to see how marketers continue to navigate digital-first trends in new ways and respond to the hybrid world fast-tracked by the pandemic.
What’s a marketing achievement that you’re happiest about?
I’ve shared my happiest moments with the wider team. There is no better feeling than being recognised for collaborative projects and success. I’ve enjoyed being part of fantastic teams that have achieved ‘Best Marketing Campaign’ and ‘Best Marketing Team’ awards at highly competitive, industry-leading award ceremonies.
On a more operational level, demonstrating a clear ROI as a result of marketing always feels like a huge win. Now more than ever, it’s key to see marketing outputs turn into real revenue. This gives teams definitive validation that the customer journey is about multiple touchpoints and that it’s more than just a single transaction when it comes to succeeding in the services industry.
A well-rounded customer experience is an achievement that builds the reputation and transparency to sustain long term partnerships in a competitive market.
How would you improve your data in B2B marketing?
When it comes to data driving marketing, it’s important that the responsibility for where, when and how data is used lies with everyone. In many cases, organisations will have dedicated data analysts. This can be an effective way to responsibly and ethically analyse, evaluate and utilise data to inform and shape strategy, customer engagements, and decision-making.
However, the best use of data lies in building 360-degree customer profiles that enable your businesses to truly understand buyer personas. This allows you to be targeted; to communicate with relevance rather than producing generalist marketing outputs that overlook the specific needs of your customers and prospects.
I prefer qualitative over quantitative when it comes to data. For us it’s about providing dedicated resources and central databases that capture all data inputs. This ensures we create quality, effective data that fuels high performance marketing outputs.
Sharing well-rounded data and insight with real people is the key to understanding what will differentiate, cut through and drive marketing effectiveness through maximised demand generation and tangible ROI.