Editorial December 2012

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Fab MashUp #2

The Next Big Thing

You know the syndrome: the next big thing. Not long ago, it was social media. Before that, it was digital marketing, and before that, email marketing. So what’s next? Gamification? Appology? Marketing people can’t resist the next big thing. Time and again, we’re pulled toward a shiny future before we fully polish existing opportunities.

In our humble opinion, the next, last and current big thing is the same: the buyer – and our ability to satisfy his needs in an exchange that eventually creates economic value for our business. Sounds a little like a business school text, but this really is what it’s all about. We need to keep the buyer at the center of everything we do. But do we? Too often it seems like we’re putting ourselves center stage, following an urge to bathe our brand in the glow of the next big thing.

A flood of data shows that our buyers’ behavior is drastically changing. Are we? Today’s successful B2B companies are the ones working like crazy to respond more effectively. They’re reengineering their processes. They’re adapting their organizational setup. They appreciate the bigger role marketing is destined to play. These companies made bold decisions. They re-evaluated roles, skills and process, made real investments, enabled significant technology. But most companies haven’t seen this light.

Most are still playing out a kind of catch 22. Their marketing departments have a tough time proving ROI, their marketing people have a tough time getting budgets, and their marketing oper­ations only speak ‘tactical,’ not C-suite. On these pages we will speak more C-suite language, and discuss what its occupants think about marketing. Along with a range of related topics from other domains.

For instance, analysts cite a number of companies creating double-digit growth despite our nasty economy. Unsurprisingly, these outfits aren’t household names, which suggests that at least some of their growth comes at the expense of better-known competitors. Whose knee jerk reaction is often to trim budgets. They may rationalize this by adding a little extra ‘functionality’ to the marketing technology mix, but sending a few automated emails – erroneously called ‘nurturing’ – won’t really change anything.

If you want kids, you can’t get a little bit pregnant. Meaningful change means marketing has to become accountable for revenue contribution. That’s always been our big thing.



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