On the eve of back to school season, it’s a good time for B2B marketers to think about what new things we need to learn.

You’re Embracing Marketing Challenges, So Where Are the Rewards?

According to a 2016 career survey of marketers:

“More than two in five (42%) believe their employer is not providing adequate scope for career advancement, though conversely, 44% do believe their company is ‘fairly’ good at supporting career ambitions.” Jonathan Bacon, Marketing Week

Marketing Career Study
Source: Career and salary survey 2016: The results, MarketingWeek

From the same survey, many report wanting (94%) and getting challenging work (80%), but only a slim majority believe they’re advancing in their career.

So, what’s going on?

Navigating the Crossroads of Classic & Cutting-Edge B2B Marketing

Today’s B2B marketers must master both traditional marketing and modern customer experience delivery. We must be fluent in newer digital and content marketing practices, and add a new spin to classic tactics including sales training, event management, and more. We’re innovating how we entertain and engage customers as we bring complex B2B solutions to market. This makes it fun and keeps the craft interesting. But what’s new can be hard.

And noise levels are increasing as more of us adopt new ways of marketing. A lot of the racket has been about content marketing. 77% of marketers will increase content production, according to LinkedIn data reported on a great statistics list from Curata. Yet I’ve seen content marketing move beyond buzzwords and into the mainstream. For many, it’s already become part of the new normal.

So, what else could it be? The reality is that it’s not just one thing. B2B marketing in 2016 and for the foreseeable future is transforming.

“Ninety-seven percent of B2B marketing leaders say they are doing new types of work, that new skills for marketers will be desperately needed going forward, and that the pace of relentless change in their worlds is expected to pick up.” Giselle Abramovich, CMO.com in 15 Mind-Blowing Stats For B2B Marketers

B2B marketers need updated skills to drive great results. It’s all in the blend of tactics which now are a combo of traditional and digital. You can see this in the 2016 study of B2B content marketing from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. Your peers reported that what works is a blend of familiar and new tactics.

Effective B2B Marketing Tactics
Source: B2B Content Marketing 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America, produced by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs

8 New Practices to Master

So, what’s a B2B Marketer to do? It’s time to master these modern B2B marketing skills:

  1. Define the customer experience you can deliver
  2. Get very specific on how your work will drive demand
  3. Test your demand creation theories and “fail fast”
  4. Digitally reach your B2B buying stakeholders
  5. Blend classic with modern marketing tactics
  6. See and support ‘federated’ content creation across teams
  7. Orchestrate integrated marketing programs
  8. Design marketing for the intertwined digital-sales-partner channel landscape

Did I forget to mention that we’ve got to develop these skills and execute at increasing speed?

You might be thinking, “geez – these are big areas to learn.” It’s true. And yet the very act of learning new marketing skills and applying them on the job is a key trait of the best marketers.

Whether you’re looking for new career opportunities or aspire to be a CMO one day, it’s time to get started. Pick a new area of the craft to master and hit the books. Then put it into practice for the lessons you can only learn by doing.