In B2B Marketing: Tomorrow’s Best Practices Today, we feature expert interviews about the state of B2B Marketing and what the future holds. In this post, I interview Scott Vaughan, Chief Growth Officer at Integrate.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m currently Chief Growth Officer at Integrate.
We’re a high-growth marketing software company delivering an emerging, highly-efficient way of streamlining and managing top-funnel demand investment for B2B marketers.
My professional passion is helping people and teams exceed their potential and develop their careers, while delivering measurable business value.
I live in Southern California and love to travel and experience new places, even though I travel for work most weeks.
Tell us about your background in B2B marketing?
I feel fortunate to have had diverse roles in B2B. My assignments cover the full B2B marketing spectrum, starting in marketing communications and brand marketing, and honing my product, demand and revenue marketing skills over the last decade.
This experience has pushed me to constantly be thinking about when and how to apply and integrate storytelling, demand and product marketing. The most valuable ingredient I added to my marketing career was carrying a quota as a salesperson and sales manager for a period of my career.
Having a number to hit early in my career, developing customer empathy, and living with results (good and bad), ensures I have a customer-first mindset as a B2B marketing executive.
What’s a “best practice” that B2B marketers should move on from?
The challenge with “best practices” is once they are a best practice everybody is doing them.
This often results in diminishing returns. A B2B marketing example today is email nurturing. It arguably had some impact 5 years ago when marketing automation systems came into play.
Now everybody is using the same formula – generate a lead and then send them a series of emails. So unimaginative. This is not personalized and rarely helps the prospect nor adds any value to either party.
Tell us a best-practice-of-tomorrow that B2B marketers should be doing today?
Machine learning can deliver valuable capabilities and intelligence to the marketing effort. Not all machine learning capabilities are mature and ready today.
However, marketers that BEST capitalize on this valuable capability, need to start with pilots and initiatives NOW to make bigger strides later. This effort needs a plan and the pilot approach helps B2B teams build the muscle necessarily for the near and long term.
Note: Read this related post by Maureen Jann, “Artificial Intelligence for Everyday B2B Marketers.”
The B2B buyer seems more elusive than ever. What are some tricks you can share with our readers?
The first thing I have learned is to be authentic. We should ditch any trickery or gamesmanship when it comes to engaging, communicating and serving customers.
The more you can involve them in the experience and focus on your joint success, the better. We put a great deal of effort into advocacy and think through what our solutions and work together will do for their personal success and career, as well as business outcomes.
What’s an area of B2B demand generation that marketers are overlooking?
Brand and storytelling.
The stronger your brand, awareness and relevancy is, the much easier it is to create demand, drive pipeline and to use real data to show marketing’s contribution to business goals.
We marketers can get caught up in positioning and product value propositions (these are important, too) and lack the real story – a story that needs to involve and inspire your customers. Working on your brand and brand experience makes all investments and effort perform better.
Describe B2B marketing in three words or less?
Truth Well Told.
By the end of 2019, what’s one B2B marketing development that no one saw coming?
I’m not sure about no one…
We are starting to see the emergence of the role of “Chief Growth Officer” (CGO) and “growth” being added to B2B marketing titles and teams. Demand is not about leads, MQLs or even generating net new customers, alone.
It’s about finding the areas of growth – profitable growth – and aiming B2B marketers at these needs and opportunities.
This could be putting marketing focus on customer expansion, partners and alliances, etc. In January, after 5 ½ years as CMO at Integrate, I moved into a CGO role. I’m discovering these conversations and actual changes/additions are happening within more B2B teams. I am energized by the opportunity.
Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you’d like to tell us about B2B marketing?
Marketing – at its core – is still about the truth well told. I think it’s more important than ever to be authentic, to deliver great experiences and to put your customer at the center of your company, story and efforts.
With so any choices available to the customer and the customer in charge, it’s more imperative than ever.