football playbookThree months ago, an associate arranged a meeting between me and the marketing vice president of a national light industrial sector corporation with revenues over $6 billion.

He brought in the director of digital marketing and the conversation went to content management software and e-mail/database cleaning and deployment before long.

My objective was to take the conversation where I wanted to take it: their ideal customer is a supply chain, logistics or operations director and maybe financial/budgeting director charged with making a decision as to purchase third party services or handle such things domestically.

The more the digital marketing director went on about analytics and types of content management platforms, the more boring the talk became. I could notice the vice president almost tuning his colleague out as if the topic of tools and technology has been discussed countless times in that meeting room.

So I asked about key performance indicators–that is how he tabulates their return on marketing dollars digitally, made some other small talk and shut up.

Alone with the vice president over all corporate marketing, a way more nuts-and-bolts discussion ensued:

“I have two teams of marketers and web designers. We spend millions with a local third-party fulfillment provider for all the mailers and sales kits. We do a lot online with web seminars as [the digital marketing director] just shared with you.

I don’t need another one with creative ideas or anymore Powerpoint presentations on my desk than the seven sitting over there behind you,” he said candidly.

“Well good. I should hope not, or I am totally the wrong guy for you,” I replied.

Remember, this was a friendly introduction meeting to see about landing a new project with a company used to hiring (and paying for) credentialed professionals.

Nevertheless, I still have to always qualify a potential lead just like readers of this article. The idea being filter as best as one can without turning away legitimate, profitable business, of course.

“You need a project manager who also understands dollars and cents. As in resource scarcity . . .,” I said.

“Exactly.  Economics. I want a traffic cop making sure the marketing team isn’t wasting resources with Powerpoint decks and other things that aren’t a big deal. The VP went on, “And someone who can make cost comparisons with figures and financial projections clients will respond to.”

Key takeaway here is so simple, it should be the headline in at least half of articles on B2B marketing and marketing operations: no one needs another “marketer” with out-of-the-box creativity at a big national corporation.

To attract more sales demand, a valuable addition to his marketing team:

  1. project manages efficiently
  2. communicates technically to a technical, numbers-focused, technically analytical buyer 
  3. respects scarcity of resources versus return on marketing dollars.

The software platforms and “marketing campaign tactics” are important, but in the background in this instance.