Should marketers keep pursuing a content-heavy approach or should they be more focused on building better targeted messaging models? Ken Dec, Chief Marketing Officer, Vivantio shares the importance of the latter in this quick chat:
Tell us a little about yourself Ken, why did you venture into a marketing / sales role and what have been your greatest experiences in this line so far?
I have 25 years of agency experience, working with brands including Google, IBM, Toyota, Adobe, PTC as well as many B2B companies. In 2015, I moved to the client-side and have served as Vivantio’s CMO since 2020. I have always enjoyed working on the creative side, building and advising brands to meet their business goals.
While carving out end to end marketing plans and marketing strategies, what are some of the biggest lags you still see CMOs or marketing leaders still make?
I believe SAAS and the culture around it has really hurt broader B2B marketing. The idea that content, content, content volume is the only tactic that matters and that leads, leads, leads is the only measurement that matters have done real harm to building strong, sustainable brands and businesses. Very few organizations are building long-term, sustainable brands using powerful creative and focusing on opportunity quality (and size) versus volume.
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What according to you should be the key martech and marketing fundamentals in key marketing initiatives like ABM and other go-to market plans today given the current world dynamics?
The most important marketing fundamental is to align the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and personas with marketing content and sales activities. Identify how they interact and build on each other from end-to-end in the sales cycle.
One challenge that many B2B companies have is how to navigate when they are “in between.” They are not small enough for an SaaS approach (i.e. Give me your credit card) and not large enough for an effective use of account-based marketing (ABM) approach. ABM is a critical tool for B2B companies that understand their growth will come from a small number of large deals.
Brands should consider a thought-leadership content strategy when their deal sizes don’t rationalize an ABM-centric approach. This does not mean promoting one’s own product, it means analyzing the market and identifying trends that are interesting and compelling to existing and potential customers. Showing that you understand the market and where it is heading instills trust and loyalty in one’s brand.
Tell us your thoughts on the evolving and growing use of AI in marketing and martech and how you see this shape up in the near-future?
AI applications that automate the collection of competitive intelligence, accelerate funnel velocity (automating sales sequence follow-ups) and AI chatbots for basic sales and service support have enormous potential for helping firms accelerate their growth. I find that these tools are underutilized today. Companies should invest in these tools to grow their business.
What are some of the core marketing technologies that you feel marketing teams should not be doing without, today?
There are so many technologies and tools out there today that it can be challenging to sift through it all. Marketing teams should utilize Google Analytics, a CRM or SFA, data tools, BI analytics tools and reverse IP to start. I see many companies buying martech tools that they are not ready for. It takes a certain level of maturity (organization, resources, budget) in order to take on some of these tools. My advice is to purchase only the tools a company is ready to use. To that point, I believe intent data is overpriced for its impact.
A few predictions that you have for the future of martech?
Just like in any industry, I foresee there will be a moment in the future where the market for martech solutions will become fully saturated and only the strong, most valuable solutions will be left. This will come as marketers will realize some of the tools they purchased are not worth the value. On the flip side, AI has huge potential to improve performance throughout the prospect experience and sales funnel. I’m looking forward to seeing AI’s impact on marketing organizations.
A few takeaways for marketing leaders in 2021: top factors they should keep in mind as they plan for the rest of the year?
While there is so much to consider, I suggest, focus on the following:
- Get off the content hamster wheel. Too many companies are using the “spray and pray” approach. The Vaynerchuck “content, content, content” approach to marketing is a poison. Focus on narrowing targets and develop focused content that adds value to your suspects, prospects and customers.
- Understand that your brand matters GREATLY. It is how people always have-and always will-sort who they want to engage with or not. Always come back to the brand.
- Know that great creative matters. Great ideas matter. Spend more time here!
- Change your approach to measurement. Chasing MQLs and SQLs will not benefit you. Rather, increase your focus on quality and deal size rather than volume.
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