Data drives B2B marketing today, and it’s a fast-evolving arena. New tools, new technologies, and most importantly, new buying behavior among businesses—these changes are accelerating the pace and driving new directions for B2B data-driven marketing. In preparing my new book on the subject—to be published in June of 2015—I had a chance to speak to a variety of brilliant thinkers about where things are headed. Here are some of their predictions.

1. The rise of the marketing technologist.

As marketing technology grows in its sophistication and ease of use, marketers will continue to take advantage, shifting budgets and influence away from IT departments, and requiring a higher level of tech skill and experience in the marketing department. Fortunately, the young marketers coming into the profession are by now mostly “digital natives,” for whom technology is a given, and not necessarily a special skill set. “These people grew up with technology, from their cribs. They don’t give it a thought,” notes Ken Lomasney, COO of the agency UMarketing LLC. So the outlook for talent to manage the new technologies in marketing is bright. CMOs who come from a brand background must develop a comfort with technology like never before.

2. Real-time marketing gets real.

We are fast approaching the holy grail of proactive database marketing, built on always-on, in-the-moment customer interactions. Real-time marketing will be real for business marketers, says Russell Kern of the Kern Agency. “Real-time marketing is about using data analytics to mine the flood of live data generated by all this activity, in combination with other direct sales, product and brand interactions.”

3. Sales and marketing symbiosis.

Derek Slayton, CMO of NetProspex, points out that new technologies can only take B2B marketers so far. The next step, he believes, is new organizational structures. Sales and marketing operations will be combined underneath an umbrella that may well be known as the Go To Market operation. Better integration will allow sales people access to necessary data where and when they need it, says John Deighton, professor at Harvard Business School. When a sales rep is in front of a customer, marketing data needs to be easily available on site, and the rep needs an easy way to funnel fresh customer information back to the marketing database.


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