The Many Faces of Marketing

I've been talking to the Business Marketing Association (BMA) about participating in a panel conversation on the then and now of B2B marketing integration. What does that channel mix look like? How does your brand stand out in the streams of text and visuals online and anywhere else?

They are two great questions that I plan to tackle with the help of colleagues and peers on the brand side. The first order of things is defining what the new role of marketers is — strategists, technologists, analytical gurus? Yes. Can you have all of that in one person? If you are lucky. In that case, play the lottery, too.

Take a look at many marketing job descriptions floating in the Interwebs and what you see is a top 100 laundry list of stuff, often not stack-ranked in terms of importance; and strategic hire at any level should always favor the skills and experience needed most right now.

Some technical skills can be expanded later. Unless you are super clear as to what you need vs. want, you will likely wade into an ocean of submissions in the hope you will find a match. Generic requests beget generic answers.

I like this image via Traackr, it spells out competences you can map to strengths. For example:

  • Identity: she's the face of the company, at the forefront of the community; she builds and nurture relationships with people who can move the needle for the company. Two observations about this description: 1) you want to be part of the community you serve; 2) do participate in the issues your industry faces.
  • Strategy: she is a flexible thinker who makes plans within an agile methodology. I agree on the idea of making your own luck, and I would call that agile/iterative approach proactive.
  • Visibility: her eye is on the prize; she measures success from the activities she engages in based on outcomes. This reminds me a little of Steve Jobs circa 1997 (he said something to that effect.)
  • Listening: she takes people AND data inputs. I've long maintained that analysis is about the query set, starting with having hypotheses, asking better questions.
  • Relationships: what she cares about; she builds strong relationships with customers and seeks to develop empathy and a deep understanding of their needs to provide value. Caring about a deep understanding is key. It's like thinking about the second answer, probing a little further to get to the real insights.
  • Message: her communication style is vision-oriented; her message is focused on the vision behind the product to educate, inform, and inspire, not broadcast. This is where the body of work of a person should provide the picture.
  • Execution: her ideas have legs; she has a good grasp of technologies/tools and how they fit together along with a creative bent for bringing experiences to life. Mind you she has now 1,876 vendors represented across 43 categories# to choose from.
  • Tools: creative confidence is her stronger asset; she's resourceful in experimenting, using prototypes, and is comfortable iterating in market. This goes beyond comfort, actually. It takes strong shoulders to be an internal change agent and grant a business/brands permission to experiment in public.

It is a reasonable description, directionally appropriate for the times. I would add the ability to vet agency partners and to partner with IT and finance to vet technologies and build budgets based on customer incomes in terms of recurring revenue. This last bit tends to be an easier process for businesses that sell to other businesses.

As for the ideas on the channel mix, we'll tackle that as part of the BMA conversation (I'll let you know date/time here.)

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