So here I will lay out my perspective – a narrative really – of what happened in 2012 in B2B Marketing.
I will provide a few links to some of my top stories of the year to provide more detail on each point.
And finally, I will make some marketing predictions for 2013.
I’ve written this in the form of a manifesto – a written declaration of what I believe needs to happen to allow marketing to play a role in the future of business. I’d love to hear your thoughts and points of view…
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2012 Marketing Year-In-Review
Companies are beginning to wake up to the fact that there is a leadership gap in marketing due to the prevalence of “classically trained” traditional marketers who increasingly are pushing out more messages than our audiences can consume.
The world has changed faster than our ability to keep up. And so now there is a social business imperative. Marketers need to help our companies evolve from product promoters to social conversationalists.
The stakes are high and the timing is urgent. We are talking about survival. Change or die!
Marketing Is On The Run
We are faced with this situation because our customers and potential buyers have moved on. They are increasingly rejecting our marketing messages. As we respond by pushing more and more messages than they can handle.
Business leaders are starting to wake up and question the role of marketing in their organization as the majority of CEOs have lost confidence in the CMO as a leader of their business strategy.
For their part, CMOs feel overwhelmed with the changes they are seeing in the market. They face a crisis of confidence from their own staff below who see them as powerless to act and from their CEO bosses above who see them as disconnected from the business.
Will Content Strategy Save Marketing?
A new generation of social content marketers are rising up and responding by transforming their organizations to more closely match what can only be described as a publishing model.
This “Content Strategy” approach attempts to match resources across the organization to create the content that customers are looking for, to move them into the purchase funnel and to convert them to loyal customers.
But these resources are not just in marketing. They sit across the entire organization. And so, in order to become a social business, marketing leaders are realizing that they need to ignite their company to create great content.
They need their employees to become content creators, to build their personal brands and to influence the influencers of their customers.
Some of our marketing peers continue to defend their role as digital dinosaurs, oblivious to their coming fate. But we have glimpsed the future. We know that content is the future of marketing and social needs to be injected into the DNA of our organizations.
2013 Marketing Prediction
Leading organizations will increasingly define and fill new roles in their organizations to meet these emerging needs: Chief Content Officers, Content Strategists and Social Ambassadors will become the “hot jobs” in marketing in 2013.
We’ll see our colleagues in sales look to marketing for leadership on how to become more social business savvy. Marketing will become more than a lead factory and start the process of getting off the lead quality vs. lead quantity debate treadmill.
But the foundation for all of this will be whether your business leaders can interpret the changes in the world around them as a sign to shift their mindset from a company-centric to a customer-centric point of view. The ability to shift their culture to this perspective will determine the winners from the losers in 2013 and beyond.