Three things we learned at the Tag Marketing Superhero Round Table
Thanks to TAG for organizing, ETA - Creative Event Producers for hosting, us (Verto) for sponsoring and a great crowd for showing up, supporting and asking great questions. We got to hear from a distinguished panel of CMOs at the ETA offices during the TAG "Secrets to Being a Marketing Superhero Panel Discussion" on November 7th 2019.
On the panel we had Elizabeth Klingseisen from Stratix, Bindu Crandall from RDX, Jeff Crow of PRGX, and Bill Gentner of Aaron’s. Our very own Paul Shiman acted as moderator, a distinguished sales and marketing leader himself.
So with no shortage of marketing firepower, and a crowd that came willing and able to participate, what were the top three things we learned?
All the members of the panel agreed that direct mail (from simple to elaborate) has re-established itself as a legitimate part of the mix in any coherent outbound plan. This includes various “give to get” offers, inducements for prospect participation’s, simple direct mail as well as the more elaborate 3D pieces.
Everyone agreed the importance and effectiveness of focusing on nurturing prospects who have had some amount of interactivity with us. Nurturing is always an interesting conversation. Everyone intuitively agrees with this, but most still underestimate the effort and thought required to do it well. Nurturing is often confused with “drip” marketing (nurturing is behavioral, where as drip is sequential), and marketing folks often start out with nurturing intentions that get diluted into drip. Our panel agreed that investing the extra effort is worthwhile to get the types of uplift in results they are seeing.
Probably the most intense conversation revolved around “storytelling”. We asked the question whether the panel thought of themselves as “storytellers” or data geeks. While they’re not mutually exclusive the question set the subject in a context to enable clear distinction.
This is partly because we see this swing of the pendulum from data centric, scientific marketing that some would argue has reduced marketing to an engineering problem, to something in storytelling that couldn’t seem more of a contrast. From science to art perhaps?
Everyone agreed that the name “storytelling” is not a great label…as it mis-characterizes the idea making it appear trivial and lacking seriousness. It’s not a description the CFO will buy into without some convincing.
The panel agreed that the intent of story telling (we’ll stick with that description for now) is to make emotional connections (which is both serious AND demanding), as well as being able to communicate distinct uniqueness. Everyone also took the point that we need to heed the warning of using stories as just another vehicle to talk about ourselves.
The role of stories in sales and marketing is an interesting subject. If you want more background listen to our podcast and read the blog "Science Vs Stories in B2B Marketing" by clicking these links.
The story on stories might be bigger than we think. A willingness to use them is an admission that sales and marketing in B2B cannot be all about selling features and functions. Many professionals publicly agree with this, but then go right ahead pushing speeds and feeds and waiting for projects to "come their way". Subscribing to the view that "storytelling" has a role is profound for our sales and marketing strategies. We cannot just nod, and notionally agree with the importance of storytelling. If we believe that making emotional connections and using stories as a vehicle to do it is important, then we must build sales and marketing organizations fit for that purpose. ...and then you might be a real Superhero.
So thanks to EVERYONE for participating. Everyone took part, listened talked and thought. All in the right order! We look forward to the next one.