B2B marketers need to stop playing the victim

Mitel EVP and CMO, Martyn Etherington, sees the CMO role in 2018 driven by customer centricity, data insights and business growth - areas B2C marketers traditionally excel in

B2B marketers need to stop playing the victim and spend more time learning customer centricity from their consumer counterparts if they wish to remain relevant in five years’ time.

Speaking during a recent CMO Council webinar on what the role of the CMO will look like in 2018, Mitel executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, Martyn Etherington, claimed the reason B2C marketers have traditionally been more successful than B2B marketers is thanks to their customer centricity. He predicted a blurring of the line between the two types as customer centricity and micro-segmentation become the norm across all businesses.

“B2C marketers have understood the customer and been highly accountable for driving high-level growth and customer satisfaction,” Etherington said. “There has been more rigorous discipline for driving high-level growth and customer satisfaction [in consumer marketing], underpinned by data and analytics. The result has been that consumer marketers seem far more relevant than B2B.

“The B2B marketers have to some extent, been irrelevant. We have focused so much of our time justifying ourselves and our budgets, we missed the mark in becoming more relevant to the business, the channel, and to our customers. As we move forward, B2B marketers that are successful will be those who forget they’re in B2B and market to the person.”

To achieve this, Mitel has created three persona-based types based on its customers using demographic, psychographic and firmagraphic targeting, which is then uses to serve up relevant content propositions, Etherington said.

“There is a lot to learn from our B2C colleagues in terms of really understanding the customer dynamic and who that customer is will be the underpinning of successful B2B,” he continued. “The B2B marketers have got to stop playing the victim. Those who can manage our business and point to their ability to grow a company top and bottom line, and also increase customer satisfaction, will be successful.”

Also key to the debate about what the office of the CMO will look like in 2018 is the extent to which marketers own the customer. Chief digital marketing officer at coffee brand DE Master Blenders 1753, Corinne Avelines, called on the CMO, as the chief customer officer, to lead customer-centricity within their organisation.

“Owning the voice of the customer in every part of the organisation and bringing the insights, knowledge and data we collect on the customers is key and will help the business in every single domain,” she said.

It is vital therefore for CMOs to embrace the numbers, particularly as data sets increase and unstructured data, such as social media, becomes increasingly vital in customer engagement.

B2B customers are increasingly led by consumer habits and experience
CEOs still don't see value in B2B marketing for business strategy
Is B2B marketing boring?

“The CMO needs to become a number cruncher,” Avelines said. “Big data will be very important in the next five years, and massive data collection through all the touch points customer have will become the norm.

“The CMO in the future needs to own this data and have a firm grip on it, as that’s how they’ll get the deep customer knowledge they need.”

Time Warner Cable group vice-president, ecommerce and interactive marketing, Rob Roy, agreed CMOs must be able to find their customer in any channel, and know what to do with the data. He pointed out new technologies such as mobile were game-changers, transforming interaction and our conception of consumers.

“The CMO needs to start thinking about marketing as a technical roadmap, looking at what are the types of things I’m going to need to be able to house and leverage the information, and be able to talk to customers at the right time, as well as create the tight experience for the right customer and at the right time,” Roy said.

“The CMO will own much of, if not all, of the capital to help drive those projects. They will be the face of the company and the one interacting with the customers and therefore need to be up on those trends to know where the customer wants them to be at.”

Given the rising pressure on marketers to demonstrate ROI, learning the language of the CFO and business is another important area for CMOs. Mitel’s marketing team shares KPIs and action plans with sales, Etherington explained, a step that helps cement marketing’s contribution to top- and bottom-line growth as well as break down the barriers around customer data and ownership.

“The silos are often there when you don’t have fact and data. When you can’t show a CEO or CFO this is what you’re doing to drive growth, you defer back to political gains, smokescreens, and so on,” he claimed. “That’s where you have a dysfunctional organisation. Clear ownership breaks down those silos.

“I own all the sales growth. Each of the marketers has a compensation plan tied to their sales peers. It’s about shared goals, rewards and consequences.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Innovations in retail will bring creative and technology closer than ever

While approaching a customer in a shop and asking what you can help them with is Retail 101, how many of us actually enjoy being approached? Generally, you have to give the forced, fake smile and say, “Just browsing, thanks,” while screaming on the inside, “just leave me alone!” Maybe it’s just me?

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

There’s a brand in my digital soup

Not a day passes by in the life of business executives where digital innovation or the prospect of disruption is not front of mind. This in turn, drives an unrelenting flow of questioning, discussion and strategy papers.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Can marketers trust agencies again?

Unless you’ve been marketing under a rock, you’ll probably have questioned whether your media agencies are offering you transparency.

Nic Halley

Founder and managing director, Mindbox

Nice post Brad! very useful information. The retail stores are really mean for every brand I am agree with you. Now Online Service Market...

Srialto

The rise of online retail marketplaces and what they mean for brands

Read more

Minor correct Nadia, just wanted to clarify that the "Marketo consultants" that did this work, were actually Hoosh consultants

Fab Capodicasa

What it's taking for Edible Blooms to grow a stronger personalisation strategy

Read more

Im not surprise though, been in the industry for couple of years and I feel and see it with my tow eyes how eCommerce platforms innovated...

Jason Smith

Australia Post earmarks $20m for Australian ecommerce innovation investment

Read more

For marketers that are "going Agile" I recommend using Ravetree. It's a really powerful suite of tools for Agile project management, reso...

Janice Morgan

7 ways to run your marketing department like a software startup

Read more

Over the years very part of our lives has become technological. That’s why I am not surprised to see that Australian home loans are going...

GreatDayTo

Why Aussie Home Loans is embracing digital transformation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in