Three Takeaways for Marketing Leaders from the Marketing Nation Summit 2017

Three Takeaways for Marketing Leaders from the Marketing Nation Summit 2017

Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit, the place where marketers from around the world gather to partake in conversation and community around generating demand, building stronger customer relationships and transforming marketing from a once instinctual, creatively driven craft, to a data-driven blend of art and science.

But looking beyond the tony keynotes, endless practitioner workshops and the sea of purple swag, here are three important themes that any marketer would do well to understand and pursue —

Customer Centricity

Increasingly in the age of infinite digital choice and complete control, your prospects and customers expect relevant experiences at every touchpoint in their respective journeys. The brands that deliver on that expectation are the ones who stand the greatest chance of capturing their interest, engaging them and potentially earning their business—and ultimately their loyalty. This means there’s a greater need more than ever to understand what customers and prospects are doing, where they’re congregating, what they care about at the individual level and how they prefer to interact.

It’s about more than just half-hearted attempts at personalization; it’s about understanding how they navigate the digital landscape and being able to deliver a dynamic, personally relevant experience from end to end

As anyone can see walking the tradeshow floor, there’s an unlimited number of tools, technologies, and techniques that can help. However, the most important ingredients are mindset and “obsession” around understanding customers, listening carefully to what the data is telling us and equipping ourselves to make marketing programs personally relevant at scale.

Bringing Storytelling to Data-Driven Marketing

We all know that no prospect and/or customer ever asked to be marketed to, and now they have the choice and control more than ever. So, what’s the shift in marketing that needs to take place to reach the high bar of earning attention and engagement? It has to do less with promoting features, benefits and generic offers and far more to do with telling stories that tap into their interests and experiences.

Tapping into customer and prospect data to deliver the right stories, at the right moment, in the right channels is what combining the art and science of marketing is all about

The best marketers are using storytelling to paint a picture of getting to a better place; that means examining customer and prospect problems through their eyes and building a narrative about reaching an ideal state (and the brand’s role in enabling that ideal state). It means more than just case studies and testimonial quotes. It also means striving for authenticity and taking a little more time to explain the context, what happened, why it happened, how the challenge or problem was overcome and what happened next.

And that authenticity isn’t a substitute for the data-driven marketing we’ve all been striving for–it needs to dovetail with data. Tapping into customer and prospect data to deliver the right stories, at the right moment, in the right channels is what combining the art and science of marketing is all about.

Bringing Marketing Together

As new practices and innovations in marketing have emerged—driven by a surge of new digital channels, devices and behavioral changes over the last decade or so—there are some fairly distinct silos that have also emerged within marketing. There’s been a need to drive more specialization into marketing—for good reason—but the natural consequence is a marketing effort that may be showing some signs of fragmentation.

Increasingly, the people who handle demand generation aren’t the same people who look after the brand. The folks who handle PR and communications very often are not the same people who do sales enablement. As we reach the point of having a full set of tools, technology, and data to leverage, it’s more important than ever to examine how we can start to bring our own internal marketing teams back together.

How can we better connect what’s happening in product marketing with the data we get from our CRM? How can we help the PR team make better use of outreach campaign data? Questions like these can help not just marketers, but marketing teams reach better results and deliver a more integrated experience. 

Whether you’re roaming the halls of Moscone here in San Francisco this week—or toiling away on the real marketing work back home—keep these three tenets in mind as you go forth and market. Your customers and prospects are ready for the best experience you can give them—and they’ll reward your teams and your business handsomely for a job well done.

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