I am a proud millennial. I live on the Internet; I cannot remember when it didn’t exist. I take my content online, because why should I walk to the newsstand when I can get my New York Times on my phone? I expect the content I receive online to relate to me directly and personally. I don’t find it creepy that Amazon knows what boots I’ve been eyeing, or that StubHub remembers my birthday.
As a consumer, I cannot fathom a world in which marketing does not, or cannot, actively respond to my needs and interests. As a marketer, I cannot fathom a world in which marketing cannot access data on lead engagement with their programs, or sends generic messages to their leads with little idea of who they are.
The closest I’ve gotten to this pre-Internet marketing is at a previous company that was only in the “lead generation” stage of the Revenue Marketing Journey. We had an automated marketing system, but rather than engaging in dynamic and targeted conversations with our leads, we were devoted to one-off email blasts about our promotions. We had some level of reporting and I delighted in my ability to see which pieces of content performed best, but beyond that, we were essentially ignorant of the rest of the buyer’s journey. I deeply disliked this blindness and felt hurt and confused when sales accused marketing of giving them shoddy leads, while at the same time accepting all the glory for the closed-won opportunities.
As a Revenue Marketer™, I feel good knowing exactly what impact my efforts have on my company’s bottom line and having the means and awareness to strategize around this information. Like a scientist (or an infant), I learn from experience about what works, and what doesn’t, from empirical evidence. The beauty of this system is that I continue to learn about how I can better prepare leads to speak with sales, weed out leads that will never buy no matter what, and be an efficient partner with sales, even as trends change.
I know many consumers who feel very differently from me—they’re uncomfortable with the idea that a faceless marketing team is gathering their personal information and tracking digital body language to “get inside their heads.” These people have likely come to expect a relationship with companies under the old regime of marketing. They are content with a generic message in exchange for minimal personal intrusion from the people who are marketing to them.
As for myself, I’m excited to see what technologies emerge in the coming years that will help me, as a consumer, educate the companies I purchase from, and me as a marketer, better understand how I can effectively communicate with my leads.