Isn’t it exciting when all the rules change every day and no one’s really sure about what they should be doing anymore?
We’ve noticed this in the B2B marketing we do recently. Maybe it’s not happening everywhere, but we’re pretty glad it’s happening on our patch.
The defining lines between product development, B2B marketing and sales have become blurry.
Back in the day, the clients we worked with used to develop new products and services on their own, then come to us because they wanted marketing that helped salespeople sell them better. Now they’re coming to us because they have ideas they want to test, products they want to develop and services they want to launch in fast changing markets.
The departmental approach doesn’t allow these things to happen fast enough, so the defining lines between product development, marketing and sales have had to go. In the new ecosystem we’re all in it together.
In his interview with McKinsey Quarterly, John Hayes, Chief Marketing Officer at American Express, puts it like this: “Marketing is touching so many more parts of the company now. It touches on service; it touches on product development. We need to organize in a way that starts to break down the traditional silos in the business.”
Last year, we started working with one of Europe’s biggest bus companies. Having established itself as Italy’s market leader in coach travel, the business wanted to expand into the UK. Now the company is operating its first passenger service between Central London and Stansted Airport, and plans more services for the end of the summer.
This company hasn’t been able to deploy, test and prove concept launch ideas this fast by respecting the traditional departmental approach to product development, marketing and sales. It’s done it by being agile: by recognising that the tech skills required to deliver today’s most measurable marketing apps are actually the same skills required to design and deliver the critical business support and ticketing systems required to get the UK business off the ground.
Technology is at the heart of every business function these days and great technologists see beyond departmental barriers. So as more B2B marketing companies take on more technologists it’s only natural that the lines between product dev, marketing and sales start to blur.
Today, our clients see marketing as our patch, but they’ve come to understand that our skills can add value and speed development across the wider business too.
This is a good thing. It means that companies like ours become part of the wider delivery team faster because we’re using what we know to help solve our clients’ biggest problems, not just their biggest marketing problems.
Our research and analytics tactics used to be reserved for marketing plans, but not any more. Now they’re being used to inform new product development or support new product upgrades. The tech skills that gave us apps and websites capable of high definition prospect profiling and demand generation are today delivering the business support and ecommerce platforms that allow concept companies to launch and actually start trading.
And guess what? When we work this way, the marketing bit in the middle just gets easier. Being involved end-to-end means effective advertising strategies are delivered naturally because the discovery period that usually kicks-off the marketing function no longer exists.
So what do we call it? B2B marketing, agile marketing, End-to-end (E2E) marketing, People to People (P2P) marketing: Call it what you want… and call us if you want it 😉