A guide to B2B marketing in 2020… by Charles Dickens

Roger Wilks takes us back to 1859 to find some inspiration to the “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom…it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

Clearly Charles Dickens wrote these lines with one eye on B2B marketing in 2019. Indeed, such insight offers a perfect summary of the industry today:

The best of times: with a growing number of businesses recognising the need to ‘get creative’  in a bid to attract new customers.

The worst of times: with engagement rates on the slide as brands struggle to stand out in the ‘era of noise’.

The age of wisdom: where new tools (marketing automation, social selling etc.) and analytics deliver almost every audience insight we can hope for.

The spring of hope: where awesome thinking and a strong idea, allied to meaningful audience interactions, are still able to inspire eye-watering results.

The winter of despair: where those clinging on to traditional approaches are finding themselves struggling to maintain relevance in a constantly evolving market space.

That’s more than enough Dickens. But hopefully, what his words help illustrate is that we live in a time of growing uncertainty in the world of B2B marketing. Why uncertainty? Well, aside from ever-changing customer and audience expectations, there’s still plenty of wiggle room when it comes to defining what ‘good’ looks like and what constitutes best practice. 

You’ll find advocates for any number of different approaches and methodologies. And there’s the latest hot trends, topics and fashions (or hot air) that will always grab a client’s attention. But when looking at what agencies should be focusing on, can we truly answer two core questions: “What’s no longer working?” and “Where should we be investing for the future?”

These are not easy questions to answer. Take the first one, where a good example of a discipline heading south is cold calling (industry stats suggest that today less than 2% of cold calls actually result in meaningful engagement). At the same time, the days of massive email strikes to generic audience ‘segments’ could also be coming to an end as GDPR restricts marketing’s universe.

Knowing such tactics are failing has impacted the shape of today’s demand generation agency, hence why the more adventurous are focusing on smarter, more personal and targeted interactions. This is good as businesses become increasingly knowledgeable of their own unique buyer journey, and the buttons they need to press to keep prospects heading in the right direction.

It’s here that ‘end-to-end’ becomes important, and offering clients a service that extends from the top of funnel to the very bottom – rather than being stitched together with different outsourced components and sister agencies. That’s exactly what’s on offer with Quantum Marketing: a rich collection of skills and capabilities cleverly integrated and all under one roof. With a clear focus on that most practical of measures: ROI. This last point is vital, as the sustainable agency of the future must be able to demonstrate the numbers: qualified leads and pounds to pipeline –simple.

The B2B Marketing UK Agencies Benchmarking Report 2020

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