2017 predictions in B2B marketing: Part 3

Lauren Kincke, Oracle practice manager at The Pedowitz Group takes a look at the biggest B2B trends for 2017

We’ve made it, inching closer to the New Year (and hopefully some well deserved vacation time). Here are my last two predictions for 2017, so grab your coffee and let me know how these align to your goals.

I’ve broken up my predictions across six domains: people, process, strategy, technology, customer and results. These correlate to the six controls that make up the RM6 methodology used to assess marketing maturity. In the previous two posts I covered strategy and processtechnology and the customer.  In this final post in the series I will cover people (as in your team) and results.

Prediction #5 - Closing the skills gap

If you have tried to hire “experienced” marketers lately you will understand what I mean when I say there is a very large gap in what a modern marketing team needs and what kind of skills are readily available on the open market right now. I found this quote from the DMA particularly poignant: “Over 30% of executive say ‘lack of skills’ and ‘lack of human resources’ are holding them back from improving data quality. But how can marketers determine where to invest in the proper talent? According to DMA’s Statistical Fact Book, the top marketing talent being hired today is in web design (23%) and mobile & app development (14%). Investment in technical acumen will ensure marketers can leverage the data and technologies to reach their customers effectively and efficiently.“

Realistically you will not find all the skills you seek in one candidate. It just isn’t realistic, but you can hire specific types of talent, train others and fill your company’s gaps with a concerted effort.

Prediction #6 - The year without a vanity metric

Recently a client asked me what’s new in marketing metrics. That was a head scratcher as there are few new ways to measure what you are doing as a marketer. There are a plethora of tools and packages to view metrics and analyze results, but the actual metrics haven’t changed much in a long time. That’s not a bad thing. Far too many marketers are stuck analyzing tactical numbers, how many clicks, who submitted the form, did this email get opens. 

None of that gives you the high level KPIs that matter to your business. Are you really willing to tell the board of directors, ABC program generated 10% email opens? No, and if you are 2017 may be the year of a new job for you.  In all seriousness, opens and clicks are useful to you as the person who wrote the email, manages the creative, etc. but they are simply tactical…or if you are reporting them at a higher level they are vanity metrics. They don’t’ tell anyone anything about how your efforts impact the broader business. 

For me, my clients and the clients to come, let 2017 be the year you step up your reporting. Begin reporting results that matter to the business. Talk about how many leads you moved along from one stage of the funnel to the next. How much ROI has your program generated. Forget clicks, opens and form submits. 2017 is the year of the meaningful metric (meaningful to the business that is).

In a nutshell, 2017 is going to be about embracing what we have, expanding what we know and unifying the customer experience. Regardless of which of these six areas you prioritize each is simply about making more of what you have and doing it the right way. Cheers to a prosperous & profitable New Year!