The BMA Chicago Board of Directors is a never-ending source of business marketing insight and inspiration. And to make the most of this knowledge base, we’re asking board members to share their thoughts on the industry with us. In our new BMA Board Member Q&A series, the best and brightest in the business will share their unique perspectives on the past, present and future of B2B marketing.
This first installment features Brian Krause, president of BMA Chicago and vice president of marketing and communications at Molex Incorporated. As a thought leader in the B2B social media and marketing spaces, Mr. Krause was a natural choice for this inaugural Q&A session. We recently asked him to share his thoughts on the world of B2B marketing.
1. What’s the biggest marketing challenge you believe B2B marketers are facing now?
Demonstrating ROI is the biggest challenge. B2B marketing yields valuable intangible benefits. Ultimately, the measure of success must be quantifiable. Did marketing strategies support the sales cycle and boost revenues? Identifying and creating links between marketing strategies and revenue are essential to measure success. There are excellent tools available for leveraging technology, but the processes put into place must be rigorously implemented and evaluated, and continually improving.
2. What are the most important changes we’ll see in B2B marketing over the next two years?
Technology allows us to reach more customers more quickly and economically than ever before. Effective online engagement provides customers with multiple purchasing paths. The data deluge from digital marketing channels will grow exponentially. Software technologies play an increasingly important role in targeting and engaging customers. Marketing automation platforms gained traction in technology industries, and are emerging as a critical tool of the trade in myriad industries. Upfront costs will come down as more companies recognize the value of leveraging digital marketing strategies and data to fill the sales pipeline.
3. What’s the number one mistake you see B2B marketers make?
In addition to knowing data and dollars, know your customers and markets. Many seasoned B2B professionals erroneously assume their customers do not use social media. That assumption can be a costly mistake losing contacts, leads and customers to progressive competitors. Branding your company as an industry expert and leveraging social media to fuel sales require smart digital content strategies.
4. Describe the biggest marketing challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Social, mobile and Big Data are changing the way companies do business. While there have been significant developments in B2B marketing software, the biggest challenge remains in creating direct links between marketing and sales. Challenges multiply as digital media expands. Getting on board is important, as the only logical direction is forward.
5. What have some of the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Molex?
Molex serves dynamic markets—consumer electronics, telecommunications, industrial automation, medical devices, connected vehicles, alternative energy. Managing the company’s global brand through periods of rapid growth is challenging and rewarding. Other highlights include spearheading digital lead generation and sales enablement to drive sales, in addition to developing Molex online presence from website to blog to social media sites around the world.
6. Why did you decide to get involved with the BMA?
It is always a privilege as a Molex representative to network with peers and contribute in productive ways to advance the field of marketing. The largest national membership forum for B2B marketers, BMA hosts excellent and informative events, bringing together many newcomers with fresh ideas and seasoned professionals who understand the distinct needs and facets of B2B marketing.
7. What was the most valuable lesson you learned during your time as a BMA Board president?
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the BMA and help make it possible to provide relevant and vibrant programming. Recruiting new volunteers, and keeping excitement high and volunteers focused and driving for results can be extremely difficult. Almost 100% of volunteers work in demanding marketing careers. They generously make time to lend their talents to the betterment of the BMA.
8. What has been the greatest takeaway from your membership in BMA?
BMA provides superb educational and relationship building opportunities. Those connections not only expand one’s knowledge, but help prevent tunnel vision. For professionals at every stage it is essential to take advantage of avenues for learning and to stay current on best practices in marketing.
9. How would you advise BMA members to become successful within the association?
Active participation amplifies the benefits of BMA membership and brings new marketing perspectives. I would urge members to get involved by attending events, asking questions at every opportunity, and by seeking out other members and mentors who may be able to help achieve your goals.
10. If you could suggest one book that every business leader should read, what would it be?
The Innovators: How A Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution