Content around ‘the new millennial decision maker’ has been exhausted, creating a sense of fatigue with generalisations of catering to the new generation. Antonia shattered this pattern with her presentation on flexing strategy and tips on gauging ROI. What was particularly gripping about her presentation was that she didn’t just state how 45% of buyers are now millennials, she instead, offered a fascinating approach to transforming the marketing funnel. Focusing on the challenges of the traditional funnel, she presented a framework of changes so that marketing serves the buyer rather than sales.
Drawing on research from her book, ‘Transforming the B2B Buyer Journey’, she stated how market dynamics have changed drastically with 12-15 decision makers at the buying stage, and execs making up to 12 key decisions at one time. With this in mind, we must restructure and review marketing so that our content can capture the new demographic. These are our top takeaways from Antonia’s session:
The Importance of Budget
“Marketing should make money not cost money”
Antonia’s firm stance on the commercial role of marketing paints an ideal world, but marketers often face challenges that make it difficult to bring this to fruition. One of the biggest constraints on marketing is that they don’t always have control of their budget, and in some worst cases, the budget is never defined or dedicated to them. This makes it difficult for marketing to be in control to review and pivot activities, resulting in them being unable to ensure that return on investment is guaranteed. Another challenge that Antonia highlighted was the role of financial cycles. Again, going back to her framework of marketing serving the buyer, she proposed that marketers can’t be tied to internal financial cycles as this doesn’t always align to the customers’.
“Successful companies of the future will be those where marketing sets the client experience and everyone else serves it”
Shifting the focus of marketing to service the buyer rightly positions marketers to set client expectations. Organisations that prioritize marketing to shape every aspect of the customer journey ensure that every touchpoint, from initial awareness to post-purchase support, is designed to service and engage customers.
This challenges the old age play off between brand investment and demand generation investment. Once marketing is positioned to be essential at every stage of the customer journey, resources should be equally allocated between these two vital cogs in the funnel, allowing there to be a distinction between what buyers need and the marketers role at each stage. This eliminates the false trade off as brand reputation is directly correlated to the premium customers will pay, avoiding a compromise between brand loyalty and share of wallet. These adjustments all enable the end goal of making your brand relentlessly easy to buy from.
Put the Buyer Framework Into Action
I look forward to seeing what you think about Antonia’s recommended new framework and am interested who is likely to adopt these changes. Being enabled to serve the buyer is a change that will likely come from the top-down, but can have great impact across multiple teams. Did you attend B2B Ignite London? We’d love to hear what your thoughts were on this, or any of the other sessions.