I promised myself I wouldn’t make predictions, year-end lists, Christmas wish lists, New Year’s resolutions and so forth. Then I was forced to answer the question: “What do you see for b2b marketers in 2011?” I was asked twice: in an interview with Maria Pergolino from Marketo, then while considering predictions about b2b marketing trends for 2011 on Focus.com.
Here is my 2011 sound-bite: Live boringly.
From 2008 to 2010, it was basically a “content bubble” for marketers. All of us in the blogosphere have been riding high; talking about lead scoring, lead nurturing, content marketing, social media, sales and marketing alignment. So much sizzle and sexiness, it’s been a fantastical ride as marketers ate it up. Everyone in the world of marketing had endless new toys to talk about, and talk we did. But now, marketers must live boringly. Not to be a sensationalist, but our survival is at stake.
How to Live Boringly
Focus on execution and how to get it done, or said another way: Stop talking about it and just do it. I love this article by Carlos Hidalgo (Funnelholic all-time fave) on marketing automation. As Carlos mentions, in the case of marketing automation, less than 25 percent of us have implemented marketing automation to its full potential. In other words, a lot of hype and nothing to show for it. Create simple goals for next year, let sales and the C-suite know what they are, and hit them. Just as a VP of Sales must hit his or her metric, marketing does too. All the social media, lead nurturing and so forth are means to an end. An example of a metric might be pipeline-created qualified leads, appointments or revenue. I don’t care, but all the really “bright shiny things” have to align with achieving goals that the organization cares about.
Do This, or Else
Do you really want marketing to end up back where you started before the Marketing Content Revolution? The marketing automation vendors are trying to help you now. Look at market leaders Marketo and Eloqua. Their marketing has switched from tactics and techniques to revenue. Marketo’s Jon Miller likes to say, “More marketers are getting a seat at the revenue table.” This may be true, but that seat is hot. The revenue table is a “you’re-either-helping-or-you’re-getting-in-the-way” spot. If you’re helping, you get to stay. If you’re in the way, you are gone and won’t be back.
So, take my advice and live by my 2011 mantra: Live boringly.