Event ReportsNov. 5, 2018

The 8 Things a Modern B2B Marketer Needs to Do Today to Succeed in the Future

This is an excerpt of an article by Bigbeat Inc.
For the whole article, please visit Bigbeat Inc. BLOG

Our recent B2B Marketing event in Tokyo, #BigbeatLIVE, in only its second year became the largest conference in Japan for B2B marketers with more than 600 registrants.  We were honored to have a dozen leading Japanese B2B marketers grace our stage, giving not only insightful case studies about B2B marketing in their companies but also sharing their stories of marketing struggles and even work-life balance.

A few of the speakers served as virtual mentors during the day giving various advice as to the skills and traits a modern B2B marketer needs to acquire today, so we wanted to share this with you in English as our event was entirely in Japanese! We wanted to highlight the advice that three of these speakers in particular provided.

Ichiro Niwayama

One of the true thought leaders in Japanese B2B marketing, who is an author of several ground-breaking books on B2B marketing.

We began with Niwayama-san, whose advice was especially important for the attendees because, as Niwayama-san reminded the crowd, many Japanese B2B marketers are still 15 years behind that of the United States.  That being said, even if you are an American B2B marketer, this advice should serve as a reminder of those skills you need to constantly brush up on, because, as Niwayama-san explained, CMOs seem to only last two years, after which they are either headhunted or fired! That might be slightly exaggerated, but the universal rule is that marketers everywhere need to show ROI.  With that in mind, Niwayama-san compared marketers to craftsmen, who always need to sharpen their craft.  We hope this advice helps you sharpen your craft - and allow you to become free and control your destiny as a marketer!

Learn from the Classics

Although the latest trends in B2B marketing tend to be on the digital side, there is still a need to understand the classic B2B marketing concepts that were introduced before the Internet and are still applicable today.  For a $10 or $15 investment apiece, you can learn from many marketing masters.  The authors recommended by Niwayama-san included,

  • Igor Ansoff, author of Strategic Management and creator of the Product-Market Growth Matrix

  • Everett Rogers, author of a dozen books on communications, creator of the diffusion of innovations theory, and the originator of the term "early adopter"

  • Philip Kotler, author of more than 60 (!) marketing books and one of the important founders of modern marketing

  • Theodore Levitt, author of The Marketing Imagination and widely credited with coining the term "globalization"

  • David Aaker, author of more than a dozen books on marketing and considered "Mr. Brand" for his work in the field of branding

  • Don Peppers & Martha Rogers, who co-authored The One to One Future and are credited with having launched the CRM revolution in doing so.

  • Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm which is still often referred to today in high technology marketing circles.

  • Steven Woods, author of Digital Body Language and co-founder of Eloqua

Put Yourself in the Right Environment

Niwayama-san joked how, when marketers get together, at some point they might complain about the challenges they have in their current company.  Niwayama-san’s advice was simple: Don’t complain about your company - leave your company if you don’t agree.  Plenty of companies need you if you are skilled.  You need to be in a company environment where you can grow and be stimulated.  That’s because you need to keep on sharpening your skills - like a craftsman - and need to make sure you are in the right environment for your own growth.  This includes potentially shifting from an agency/consultancy, where you can grow your skills quickly, to a deeper experience working for a brand, or vice-versa is you feel you need to acquire new skills.

Get Out and See the (Marketing) World

Marketers these days have a lot of new technologies they need to master, including data management, contents management, analytics, inside sales scripts, etc.  That’s why it’s important to get out of one’s comfort zone and learn how other marketers are facing the same challenges by going to global marketing conferences and not only attending the informative sessions but also networking with other marketing professionals.  The specific events that Niwayama-san recommended included Marketo’s Marketing Nation and SiriusDecisions Summit.