In 2012, when Yesler opened its doors, we used to tell our colleagues and our clients there has never been a more exciting or rewarding time to be a B2B marketer. While I believe that statement is still true, it is perhaps obscured by the fact that B2B marketing has never been as complex as it is today.
It’s a daunting field, where we need to anticipate the needs of customers, adopt the mindset of a publisher, become an expert at content marketing, navigate an exploding martech landscape, and master analytics. We have to be equal parts artist, data scientist, and technician. And we’re expected to take risks, be disruptive, and innovate.
Complexity makes our jobs harder
If that sounds exhausting, it’s because it is. And managing those competing priorities distracts from what is important for your business. The challenge isn’t going away. There’s nothing to indicate that the rapid technological change that transformed our industry will slow, which means that we have to find a new way of managing change—we have to take a posture of intentional change. We can no longer say that it’s just that we need to focus in order to manage our distractions, it’s that we actually need to get a different perspective.
In November, I gave a talk at the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum on the topic of how complexity distracts us from our vision and our mandates as marketers. The talk comes out of the work we’ve been doing at Yesler to get perspective on our business for our own growth, but also so that we can apply the insights from the exercise in consultation with clients to help them set up their businesses on long-term growth trajectories amid constant and rapid change.
Prioritize broad and specialized expertise
One of the greatest values we offer our customers—and that marketers should expect from their agency partners—is both broad and specialized expertise. In-house marketing teams tend to be specialized in their roles for their particular product or industry. They might have deep knowledge in what they do, but less so in how it fits within the whole chain of sales and marketing activities that lead to revenue. Our work building and unifying marketing programs for different companies grants us insights we can share so our customers get the benefit of optimizations learned over hundreds of programs run over many years.
When we’ve struggled with this, we assess whether the latest thing will help us measurably act on our priorities to decide whether it’s worth the investment. So, when faced with a new technology or a new way of doing something, we can ask whether it pertains to reaching our goals. If it does, we do it. If it doesn’t, we don’t.
If we think something will be important for our business or to marketing in general, but we’re not sure it’s the right time, we pilot and test it—not just for us, but because we want to be able to discuss emerging technologies with our clients from firsthand experience and so we can continue to offer ways to transform their marketing to serve their business for the long haul.
Perspective simplifies decisions
This is how we stay focused on what will secure Yesler’s future. We use perspective before we start planning to simplify complexity and identify the best path forward.
At the B2B Forum, I talked about the processes we’ve developed at Yesler to help us keep our priorities clear so that we can keep a firm perspective on our business. While we were there, we talked to a lot of marketers who visited our booth about what keeps them from delivering on their goals: All of it had to do with complexity. Whether it was complex data management or trying to manage a growing array of nurture streams and the increase in content production that requires—we’re all struggling to manage it.
What is it you’re determined to get a handle on this year? I’d love to hear what you’re trying to solve and see how we can help. Get in touch.