Transformation is Necessary for Marketing to Innovate

Many marketers today are looking to innovate.  Marketers discuss creating an innovative culture, brand innovation, creating and developing innovative products, establishing a culture of innovation.  Lots of energy has been spent in the name of innovation, but has this talk translated into action?  Has there been much innovation in B2B marketing organizations?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word innovate means “to introduce something new; make changes in anything established.” When we look at innovation through the lens of Demand Generation, one could certainly argue that the change made is not necessarily innovative.

innovate grassIn looking back over the last seven years of research on the top challenges for B2B marketers, the same challenges and obstacles appear consistently. The top two being generating quality leads and generating enough leads.  This is an indication that innovation is lacking. If this is the case, one must question why?

Before any kind of innovation can become part of a marketing organization, they must begin their own organizational transformation and this is where many organizations fail in their approach to Demand Generation.

The reason that this transformation is so crucial for today’s marketers is that our buyers have already transformed, and as a result are becoming more and more innovative in their approach to purchase.  According to the latest B2B Buyer Behavior Survey conducted by Demand Gen Report the buying process now looks like this:

–          58% of B2B buyers spent more time researching purchases than last year

–          41% of B2B buyers stated they waited longer to initiate contact with a vendor

–          34% of B2B buyers indicated the number of team members involved in a purchase has increased

–          61% of B2B buyers indicated that the winning vendor delivered a better mix of content appropriate for each stage of the buying process.

While many organizations discuss innovation, truth is the tactical approaches that have been used for years, still persist and thus present the greatest challenge for todays marketers.  This is by no means an easy transition, it is hard and will take time.  However,  The more complex and sophisticated the buyers become in their purchase approach, the more pressing the need for marketers to put them at the center of everything we do.This means developing a Demand Process in your organization that does the following:

–          Being buyer-centric:  Aligning demand generation messaging, programs, people and systems around the buyer

–          Adopting a revenue oriented mindset:  Taking an outcome oriented approach to identifying, qualifying and converting B2B buyer interest into predictable, repeatable, sustainable revenue and maximizing customer lifetime value

–          Operationalizing Demand Generation Activities:  Treating the sequence of Engagement, Nurturing and Conversion of B2B buyer demand into revenue as a series of steps that can be managed and optimized.

Transforming into a buyer-centric, Demand Process organization is not a quick fix or an easy approach. However change starts small and over time, enables innovation in how organizations develop content, measure and analyze their programs, connect with their buyers and impact pipeline and revenue.

Want to learn more about true marketing innovation and how to make an impact on revenue?  Attend Lead Love Denver, March 4th and learn from some of the best.

Author: Carlos Hidalgo @cahidalgo CEO and Principal, ANNUITAS

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