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November 01, 2021

5 Focus Areas to Maintain B2B Marketing Success

By Omar Sofradzija, Senior Content Specialist. 

Life is change. So is marketing.

It almost goes without saying that evolution is key to any successful B2B organization. But that can mean endless things. Obviously, the technology and tactics shift over time. Learning should never end. And there are always buzzwords and The Next Big Thing to chase. But in what ways should an agency change not just to keep up with the pack but to get and stay ahead of marketing trends, client needs, and sales opportunities? 

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Here are some key development areas to consider to manage a successful marketing team and maintain that success. By no means is this a comprehensive list. But it’s a starting point to begin charting a fruitful course forward. Areas to consider include:

Your agility

Being nimble is central to the value you provide your clients. Don’t get too locked down in processes. “One of our Fortune 500 clients said they consider themselves a cargo ship. They’re large and slow, but they’re headed in a very determined direction,” says Ian Smith, Ironpaper’s senior marketing director. “And we’re their speedboat. We get to zoom off and check out islands and bays and coves and report back. We can act quickly and with more agility than they can.” And that’s the symbiotic relationship between agency and client.

Your skill diversity

Having people with hybrid disciplines -- who understand and can execute different skill sets -- allows organizations to find opportunities that otherwise may not become apparent. It’s not about just having people who each fit one skill set; it’s about growing any one team member’s skills so they can connect the dots themselves and discover value others can’t see.

“The kind of marketing that works today isn’t just putting a press release out. It’s more complicated,” says Jonathan Franchell, Ironpaper’s founder, CEO, and president. “You have to know how to build audiences and analyze them. You have to understand a messaging strategy and how to put it into motion. You also have to have the tool skills to be able to publish and implement, plus analytical skills to interpret how a campaign or effort paid off.”

Your compass

Do you have enough skill and know-how to identify the right path amongst competing expectations? Can you articulate a way forward that gets stakeholders to agree willingly? Can you build enough of a case to be able to do the correct work with measurable positive outcomes, as opposed to just producing a lot of stuff in the hopes that it will generate growth? There will always be room for refinement in these areas. “Because we have to work in a world where it’s not like you have permission to act,” says Franchell. “You have to seek it and gain it and fight for it and vie for it. And oftentimes, forces are working against you.” 

Your relationships

Your client’s world isn’t static. Be sure to evolve your tone, engagement, and goals with them as their challenges, needs, and environment change. “The landscape is shifting. Just look at the last few years,” Smith says. “I don’t think we have a single client in Ironpaper who wasn’t impacted by the pandemic. The way their landscape is changing, we have to change to meet that. We have to change the way we talk and think and treat our relationships.”

Your humanity

Being nice isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a business necessity. “Interpersonal skills on a human level isn’t going away,” Franchell says. “It can be make-or-break for a successful team, but also a client relationship, or a stakeholder relationship.”

An agency can’t control what trends or tools prevail. But they can manage tone. “The things that are in our control on a human level are those skills that last longer: being open, curious, learning, the ability to connect with other people, empathetic,” Franchell says. “Those are the skills that have long-standing value.”

Image by Talha Khalil from Pixabay