Marketing Automation Arms Race
A B2B Marketing Mistake
I made a mistake; I had the wrong definition of success in B2B marketing automation. For the moment you may be way ahead of the game but it is no time to be asleep. There are important choices to be made to stay ahead and the gap to catch-up is growing.
I was like Rupelstiltskin of German fairy tale fame as It seemed that having great friends, family and clients was all that there had to be for the good life. For six years running everything worked beautifully. The only problem was that when I awoke from having been so consumed with all the good things, I realized I had lost sight of how the big picture in B2B marketing automation had changed.
Big Picture B2B Shifted
In the second half of 2011 I decided that it was time to both tune-up and re-focus. I popped my marketing head up and looked around. While I had been in the fog of my good life much of the marketing landscape had shifted. The pieces were all the same in general but the sizes, colors and shapes were different and different in very important ways.
Advantage to Imperative
Marketing automation seemed to be rapidly moving from a competitive advantage to a baseline imperative – you have to do it to play in almost any B2B market place. It seems the new B2B competitive advantage is all the ways to be relevant and engaging.
Blind but Successful Marketer
I admit it; is still though B2B marketing automation was still just a competitive advantage. I suppose it’s not too much of a price to pay for having enjoyed the good life over the last six years.
I expect that the day if fast approaching when relevant and engaging will also be table stakes and true differentiation driven by fundamental innovation will take over as the primary competitive advantage.
Isn’t This Just The Way?
Some might say it’s been that way for ever and a day. I disagree.
If a Tree Falls in the Forest…
In B2B Marketing the tree didn’t fall if nobody heard it. Innovation didn’t matter all that much if too few know about it – many and maybe most truly innovative companies have gone out of business because the value was not well articulated and too few potential buyers knew about that value when their buying cycle began. Does a company exist for long in a competitive market if they don’t communicate effectively?
Back to Innovation
Now that the ability to successfully articulate a value proposition is improving by the day and the marketing automation and social networking tools are ready to broadly communicate the burden of competitive advantage seems to be headed for resting its full weight on the shoulders of innovation.
Too Much Left to Do
Most B2B marketers aren’t involved in the innovation conversation within their own companies for good reason; they still have too much work to do on the broad communication of relevant and engaging.
Consistent is Tough
Today great competitive advantage can be had just by being consistently effective at being relevant and engaging. The key word is consistent.
The Mystery Remains… For Most
The challenge most face is that the recipe for being relevant and engaging consistently is still a mystery.
Resources Once the Mystery is Gone
Knowing is nothing compared with the doing. The balance too is tough.
More worrisome than all this is that so many today still don’t realize , like me that, B2B marketing automation is now table stakes to play in most B2B markets.
Price of Lagging; A Little or a Lot?
I fear for those that lag or take a wait-and-see position regarding marketing automation. My suspicion is that by the time some of these folks get in, unless they still hold significant market share or other compelling advantages, they will find that the damage is significant or at least the price of delay has been very high.