It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” ― Yogi Berra
You may not have time to think about the future now – you’re too focused on adjusting to the present.
Some companies are caught not knowing what the future will look like. They are waiting “until the dust settles” to see what their new marketplace will look like. Others are caught in the fear of not wanting to cause any more change in their already changed world.
As one fellow B2B marketer confided to me, their company is “like a deer in the headlights” where everyone is “keeping their heads down, focused on executing their approved programs.” And this company is a well-funded startup working with Fortune 500 clients!
We are in trouble.
Perfect Storm for B2B Marketing
But what we’ve learned in our research is that companies that are able to think ahead fare much better – in the present as well as the future.
There are many studies that provide data for this assertion, and we have captured several short historical stories of inspiring, real change in our book REpossibility. Email me to request an ebook, hard copy, or get one PDQ on Amazon.
Three challenges have combined in a perfect storm to reshape marketing for now and the foreseeable future:
- Marketing teams are smaller so fewer people are taking on more responsibility
- Marketing budgets are cut so you are even more stretched to accomplish more with less and even more significantly…
- Marketplace conditions have changed – in the short-term and very likely long-term.
If we were hit “just” with the first two – smaller teams and smaller budgets – our focus would naturally be on increasing the efficiency of our existing and tested go to market strategies. But one of these things is not like the other.
The change of your familiar marketplace with a new and perhaps very different one means we must switch from our usual focus on efficiency to something broader and more experimental – effectiveness. Those two words might sound similar but their implications are very different, similar to innovation strategist Barry O’Reilly’s “exploit vs. explore” paradigm.
- Efficiency is the drive to achieve increasing output through incremental adjustments in a generally static environment.
- Effectiveness is the result of exploring as many options as needed in an unknown new environment to find “what works”.
Time for “Big M” Marketing
Back in the BC era (Before Coronavirus), it was perfectly normal and perfectly appropriate for marketers to be thinking about improving their conversion rates, creating more TOFU content, and tweaking their messaging. But that was when the marketplace was “normal”.
Now is the time for “Big M” marketing, where the issues rise from marketing strategy to the level of business strategy:
- What are our products?
- Who are our customers?
- How do we position ourselves?
- How do we distinguish ourselves from alternatives?
- How do we price our offerings?
- How do we go to market?
These strategic questions are all “Big M” marketing issues. Remember the “four Ps”? Here they are again. And now your company really needs you to be asking them – and providing a market-based answer for them. Besides:
- Aren’t those BIG questions the EXCITING questions?
- Aren’t they MORE ENGAGING than incrementally reducing your CPC rates?
- Aren’t they WHY you got into marketing in the first place?
- And aren’t they the REAL QUESTIONS your company needs to be grappling with now?
This is the time to be strategic. This is what marketing is all about.
It’s a great time to be in marketing!