Sunday, January 4, 2015

What High-Performing Marketers are Planning for 2015

We're now well into the prediction season, and it's easy to find articles, blog posts, and webinars that focus on what will happen in marketing in the coming year. The prognostications range from timid to bold, and while I wouldn't bet my retirement savings on most of them, some of the predictions are realistic and insightful.

Recently, I attended a webinar that featured some useful (if not completely surprising) predictions derived from solid research. The webinar was presented by Maribeth Ross, the Chief Content Officer and a Managing Director with the Aberdeen Group. The topic of the webinar was "What Best-in-Class Marketers are Planning for 2015," and the content of the webinar was based on research conducted during 2014 in Aberdeen's customer-facing practice areas.

In this webinar, Ms. Ross focused on two major issues:

  • What were the top challenges facing marketers in 2014?
  • What are best-in-class marketers planning to do in 2015 to address these challenges?
According to Aberdeen's research, the top four pressures facing marketers in 2014 were:
  • "We're not getting the most out of our marketing automation investment."
  • "We know lead management is important, but we're not doing it very well."
  • "Our buyers are doing more research on more channels before ever talking to sales."
  • My sales team needs different resources due to this new buyer."
To address these pressures, Ms. Ross says that in 2015, best-in-class marketers plan to:
  • Improve their use of marketing automation technologies by implementing progressive profiling, testing and optimizing landing pages, aggregating data to create account-level views, and implementing lead routing and lead scoring
  • Develop clearly defined lead management processes and improve their ability to track and measure the performance of their lead-to-revenue funnel
  • Double down on investing in content so that they can effectively engage potential buyers who are performing research and educating themselves
  • Enhance their sales enablement capabilities by improving lead qualification processes (including, specifically, the ability to identify "hot" leads that should be sent immediately to sales), by analyzing the effectiveness of their content resources, and by leveraging technology to make it easier for sales reps to find and access content resources
As noted earlier, these predictions are not particularly surprising. The pressures that Ms. Ross identified have been building for the past few years at least, and leading B2B marketers have been focused on marketing automation, content marketing, and sales enablement for quite some time. It's likely that these issues will remain important for next several years.

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