5 learnings from our dinner with Adobe’s John Watton

We were delighted to welcome John Watton, EMEA Marketing Director, Adobe Marketing Cloud, as our guest speaker at our most recent media leader dinner, at the Groucho Club. With the topic focussed on trends in b2b digital marketing, here were our top five takeaways from the evening:

1.No longer boring to boring: digital has brought on a golden age for marketing.

The gap between b2b and b2c marketing has narrowed, with the required skillsets for b2b marketers changing. Digital marketing is less focussed on creating an image around a brand and broadcasting it through mass media, and more about engaging communities of advocates with compelling content – much the same as digital b2c marketing. Whether b2b or b2c, emotional engagement between people grows brands – and marketing has become more strategic: bringing people into contact

2.Data puts credibility back into marketing

Marketers have, in the past, struggled for credibility from c‑suite peers. Often seen as fluffy, marketing has long been recognised as valuable but hard to quantify the further up the funnel you go. Demonstrating the value of, for example, sponsoring an award at an event has been challenging. Having accurate data gives marketers the opportunity to prove how marketing converts into sales – and therefore feature more prominently in the strategic decision making of the business.

3.Don’t let your insights overshadow great creativity

Digital marketing may have started out lower down the funnel focussed on influencing a logic-based decision, when a prospective client is considering options. But it’s important to remember that people’s decision making is still influenced by emotion throughout the process; while funnel metrics are important – analysing which people we are trying to reach at which point – we shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of creative.

4.The jury may be out on the white paper, but content and vision is king

White papers are still a core part of the b2b marketers’ armoury, but it’s not the only vehicle for thought leadership. Though some are highly critical of the white paper, its content can be cut in multiple ways: infographics, films, photos, presentations all of which can be used creatively to convey the messages in different contexts and through different channels. Whether the aim is to inform, educate or entertain, great creative content gives your advocates tools to share your story: helping customers and employees to become brand ambassadors.

5.Customer experience is the brand & product

Digital closes the gap between the marketing message and the product experience, to the extent that they are one and the same. This isn’t just about physical product brands (kodak, blockbuster, addison lee) having to compete with the experience offered by digital platform brands (instagram, netflix, uber) – but that the interface with those products, through apps is the new ad, and marketers have to think in those terms to make the experience as frictionless, personalised and compelling as possible.