“Shifting the focus of data conversations away from the data itself, towards the possible outcomes is critical in realising its value as a business asset.”
Eoin Rodgers is Managing Partner at TMW Business, Part of UNLIMITED.
What are some of the industry trends you are most excited about and why?
Customer marketing / Customer success
The IT industry has for many years been infatuated with acquisition. In recent years, the shift from upfront purchase to as-a-service everything means customers are more important than ever. There are some old adages about the cost of acquiring a new customer versus keeping an existing one: it’s exciting to see IT businesses and marketing teams finally evolve their thinking.
Some elements of marketing effectiveness cannot be measured by marketing automation or data analytics platforms alone. Science has shown us that human behaviour is not just rational. Buying behaviour is influenced by emotion, memory retrieval and perception. So, if we want to connect with people, it makes sense to get some help from Neuroscience. It’s exciting to see science-based approaches to measuring marketing effectiveness not just rational responses to marketing efforts.
The disconnect between sales and marketing is a perennial issue. Never more so than in the pandemic was this felt when marketing had to engage further than ever through the buying journey. That’s setting a new basis for marketing and sales roles, responsibilities, engagement, and handoff.
How tough it is to work in this industry, and what advice would you give?
B2B technology marketing, in general, can be tough. From the expected B2B visuals that lack the punch to commoditised offerings from often poorly differentiated brands selling similar services and solutions.
Overall, it comes down to the fact that everyone is marketing and talking about the same things. Breaking out of that takes a degree of confidence. My advice would be to look to the audience for understanding what effectiveness looks like – whether that’s about marketing channels and tactics, or more fundamentally around creativity and standing out.
What are some of the pain points in marketing that you’ve experienced?
B2B tech complexity
B2B technology can be complex in terms of what we’re selling, and the decision making of the businesses that we’re selling to. My advice would be not to underestimate the value of proper and thorough briefing. Allow your experts to spend time with the agency, showcasing the technology and taking them on a journey of understanding. When an agency fully understands, appreciates, and even gets excited by the technology and its potential, that’s when the magic happens.
Getting the right stakeholders together, aligned and contributing can be a challenge, as well as getting them to contribute at the right time. Some stakeholders – technical or product experts – are not experts in communication. Their contribution is most important in the beginning and, arguably, less important when judging the work. My advice would be to set expectations early and ensure the right involvement at the right stages of the process.
Understanding the value of brand
Success is often measured in short term goals with little time or focus on brand building. Many IT and tech companies struggle with brand awareness, understanding, and familiarity. They’re often competing against larger, more established players. Yet they focus on tactical, short-term wins versus taking a longer-term view. They should consider augmenting demand and lead generation activities with brand building that will reap dividends further down the line.
What’s a marketing achievement that you’re happiest about?
In your career, happiness comes from a sense of fulfilment and purpose. Being able to work with clients who make a difference makes me happy, personally.
In the IT and technology industry, sometimes humanity can feel missing somehow. At the moment, we’re working with a fascinating and inspiring business that has developed an AI solution that takes the place of a radiographer in assessing mammograms as part of breast cancer diagnosis. Their tech helps diagnose cancer much earlier as well as speeding up the diagnosis process – thus creating better chances of survival for cancer patients. Working with businesses and clients like this is exciting and fulfilling. It makes any effort, and any difficulties or struggles feel worth it.
How do you improve your data In B2B marketing?
The availability of data in B2B seems less an issue than what to do with it. Many tech businesses have an abundance of data at their disposal but find it difficult to understand how it might be used effectively. This includes informing product development, identifying the most valuable customers, predicting customer churn – or even using proprietary insights to fuel thought leadership. Shifting the focus of data conversations away from the data itself, towards the possible outcomes is critical in realising its value as a business asset.