The CMO Modern Marketing Guide To Buyer Personas And Buyer Insights Research (Part 3)

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Part 3: A Closer Look At Modern Marketing Challenges

The transformation to a new digital economy has been rapid.  A force of acceleration hit B2B organizations beginning the first decade of the 21st century.  During the past few years, in particular, we have seen the pace of acceleration quicken.  Causing many B2B organizations to either be caught unaware or be slow in matching the pace of transformative changes occurring.

A New Way of Thinking Needed For Modern Marketing Challenges

The new digital economy is turning traditional marketing on its head.  Presenting new challenges to CMO’s.  For many CMO’s, adapting to the new realities of the digital economy is a test of learning on the job – literally.  Strategies and tactics existing a decade ago are either a small percentage of overall marketing today or obsolete.  What is separating adaptive CMO’s from non-adaptive CMO’s is their ability to think of new challenges in the context of new modern marketing thinking.  Solving modern marketing challenges with nearly obsolete traditional marketing thinking will be an exercise in futility.

Essential to modern marketing thinking today is the ability of CMO’s to understand shifts taking place in buying behaviors.  Modern marketing CMO’s will need to expand beyond limiting their thinking to just content marketing or inbound marketing.   We have seen a rise in these two tactical approaches as a direct result of a shift in buyer behavior.  However, they are both still rooted in early behavioral concepts related to search and research behaviors.  Today’s modern buyers are advancing behaviors well beyond just search and research.

New Landscape Of Challenges

The modern marketing CMO is faced with challenges, which are a direct impact of the new digital economy.  New technologies have also created new forms of interactions and engagements with customers and buyers.  Digital technologies opening up multiple channels of which many did not exist just over a decade ago.  The modern marketing CMO is faced with a new landscape of challenges:

Limited understanding of the modern buyer:  Modern buying behaviors are shifting rapidly each year.  Information about customers is spread across many functions of an organization, which creates an incomplete and disparate view.  Logistically, pulling data together to understand the modern buyer is an exercise liken to putting puzzle pieces together – except you do not know the picture on the box you are aiming for.

Poor responses and results from new marketing strategies and tactics:  One pattern is very clear from numerous surveys conducted over the past few years.  Satisfaction with response rates and results of marketing efforts generally have been in the thirty-five (35%) or lower range.  Meaning sixty-five (65%) or more of marketing leaders are dissatisfied with results.  The consistency in the dissatisfaction rate over the past few years suggest modern marketers are having a tough time learning how to make this valued connection with modern buyers.

Shift from lead quantity to lead quality:  The role of marketing in generating leads in the past decade and a half has increased substantially.  B2B organizations responded to early movements in buying behaviors towards search and research with a focus on capturing as many leads as possible.  The result has been B2B marketing organizations housing tough to mange volumes of leads with no parameters around quality.  Not to be confused with qualified leads, this pertains to an issue of too many leads of low quality.

Diminishing value of campaign thinking:  The always-on attributes of modern buyers is causing a diminishing value of returns on what is fast becoming out-dated campaign thinking.  Whereas old thinking on campaigns were event-driven and time-bound, new modern marketing must account for an always-present nature of campaigns matching the always-on nature of modern buying.

Concepts of buying are changing:  Many marketing organizations continue to be rooted in viewing customer purchasing through the sales funnel, buying processes by stages, or attempting to view buying processes as a buyer’s journey.  This is turning to be problematic for modern marketing CMO’s.  Modern buyers are breaking down barriers associated with stages and time as well as introducing new activities and contexts for buying.  Modern marketing CMO’s will need to be rooted in understanding contextually how buying is taking place in the new digital economy.  With stages and time-bound rigidity becoming obsolete in the digital age, it will be incumbent upon CMO’s to adjust their thinking on how to understand new concepts of buying.

Meeting The Challenges Of Modern Marketing

While the current needs of meeting short-term targets can be pressing, the modern marketing CMO will need to be vigilant in pursuing understanding the modern buyer.  Forward thinking as well as study on how buying is being reshaped by the new digital economy will have to be a CMO constant activity.  Without this constant study and vigilance, the modern marketing CMO will find it increasingly difficult to meet modern marketing challenges – as well as know the modern buyer.

(Part 1 of this new series is here:  The CMO Modern Marketing Guide To Buyer Personas And Buyer Insights Research -Part 1)

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Article by Tony Zambito
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