At the second BMA breakfast of the year, attendees heard from marketer Suzanne Martin, CMO at The Mx Group. In her engaging talk, Suzanne shared how B2B marketers can increase brand awareness, clientele and, essentially, revenue with the help of modernized marketing. With experience spanning both start-ups and well-established global corporations, Suzanne has built a wealth of marketing and leadership knowledge and competence. She continues to expand that knowledge through events such as Content Marketing World 2016, which she attended this year. Suzanne shared her top takeaways from the valuable event — but she wasn’t done there. Her insights went even further, diving into the state of marketing as a whole.

As we all know, markets and industries are continuously evolving and changing with the times — especially with the pace of new technological innovations. “Staying up to date, while even trying to predict what consumers need without them knowing, is key to being the leader in your industry,” Suzanne pointed out at our breakfast early Wednesday morning.

According to a February study by ChiefMartec, there are at least 3,874 marketing tech solutions currently available, with five or more entering the market every day. An impressive number, to say the least — and just part of the change sweeping the marketing landscape. So what’s behind this shift?

Well, it comes down to two major factors: customer change and technological change. To succeed in a quickly transforming environment, marketers must modernize their operations. In her presentation, Suzanne shared six different ways marketers can get ahead and stay ahead.

  1. Strategy: A modern marketing strategy must be focused on every stage of the funnel. To connect effectively with buyers, marketers should look at each buyer’s persona and evaluate where they are in their journey. (Fun fact: 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a buyer ever contacts a supplier. Plus, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. To succeed in an environment like this, marketers have to think ahead.)
  2. Technology: The right foundation is everything. To build a successful technology stack, marketers need to think about and map their desired capabilities, not so much the features.
  3. Data Management: Data fuels all modern marketing efforts, so having data you can use is essential. In this case, accuracy should be emphasized more than qualification.
  4. Lead Management: Sales and marketing alignment is crucial to turn leads into revenue. The payoff is real: By aligning these two teams, companies can speed revenue growth by 24%.
  5. Marketing Programs: To sell to modern buyers, one size does not fit all. Remember to personalize your message to each consumer at every stage in the buyer’s journey, and leverage interactivity to give buyers the perception of control in every interaction.
  6. Measurement and Reporting: Metrics are important — but some metrics are more important than others. Organizations need to figure out the major questions and numbers that management needs to evaluate and optimize their marketing programs. By focusing on these top metrics, you can spend your time and energy on the facts that actually matter.

Becoming an expert in each of these six categories will take time, but applying them to day-to-day business processes will help organizations move in the right direction. Ending her insightful and valuable discussion, Suzanne left us with six to-dos for 2017 — or what we as B2B marketers should focus on when handling our next clientele…

  1. Buyer personas
  2. Buyer journeys
  3. MarTech integration 1.0
  4. Database audit
  5. Sales and Marketing SLA
  6. Five Q’s and five A’s

To learn more about Suzanne’s Content Marketing World takeaways and recommendations for modernizing marketing, you can review her presentation here.