Thanksgiving is next week. It brings a day of food, family, football and friends. It also is a time to reflect on things that we are grateful to have or experience.
At our house, we create a thankful tree. It is simply a few branches stuck into a jar with some small rocks to hold them in place. Beside the tree is a stack of leaves made out of cardstock. As guests arrive, they write things on their leaf that they are thankful for and hang it on the branches.
I’m assigned to cutting out the leaves this year and I was working on it, I started to think about what the leaves on a marketing-focused thankful tree would say.
Regular readers of this blog know that over the last few years, I have made the transition from traditional marketer to inbound marketer. In my 20 years of experience as a traditional marketer, a lot has changed.
When I think back to how I used to do things and the time I spent on certain tasks, I am very grateful for the changes that have occurred. Even reflecting on just the last five years, leaves me feeling very grateful.
If I were to make a marketing-related thankful tree, here's what I would write on my leaf.
Do you remember life before marketing automation or CRM? What about content optimization systems? Or even color laser printers?
I remember my marketing life before I had those tools and it was painful at times. Things that are simple now, seemed nearly impossible. When I first began my career, the companies I worked for kept their client and prospect lists in Excel…with 40 columns or more of info…not fun.
More recently, remember when it took an act of congress to make a change to your website? Now with the COS options available, making meaningful changes to your site is easy and you can do it yourself.
Yes…the technology options available to B2B marketers today can be overwhelming. But stop for a second and think about what your marketing life would be like without it?
Technology is definitely going on my marketing thankful leaf!
2. Focus on marketing and sales alignment
As you know, marketing and sales have coexisted for years and for years, coexisting hasn’t been good enough.
I recognized this as a problem early on in my career and developed a general dislike for sales. My expectations of how marketing and sales teams should work together were certainly not met.
That’s why I am thankful for the attention that has been drawn to the importance of sales and marketing alignment. Study after study shows that companies who have aligned their sales and marketing efforts perform better in just about every category.
From day one, I believed sales and marketing should be a team…not two distinct groups often working against each other instead of with each other. Finally, that simple idea is getting the focus it has deserved for a long time…and for that, I am thankful.
Since I began my career, Excel and I have developed a very strong bond. I can’t even begin to estimate how many hours we have spent together sorting and evaluating, fixing spreadsheets so they can be sorted and evaluated, cutting, pasting, creating formulas…we’re super close.
And while I love Excel…I really do…it has its limitations. Truth be told, it wasn’t created to do many of the things I have used it to do.
That’s why I am thankful for the reporting tools that are available to marketers today. Being able to measure our efforts and then provide meaningful reports (without spending two full days manipulating spreadsheets) has changed marketing forever.
We can now consistently demonstrate how we are impacting the bottom line. We are able to work with leadership to provide reports that mean something to them. We are breaking out of the arts and crafts role…all thanks to our ability to report.
4. Death of the cold call
I have always hated cold calls. As a customer, I hate receiving them. As a marketer, I hate the idea of my company making them. Really, is there anything more intrusive than a cold call?
At Inbound 2016, Brian Halligan, HubSpot CEO, declared the cold call dead. And as a hater, I was really glad that someone in his position made such a bold statement.
Do I really believe that cold calls are dead? No. But I do believe poorly executed cold calls are dead. And that is reason enough to be thankful.
At Imagine, we believe strongly in the idea that inbound marketing is more successful when combined with an effective sales development approach. Sales development means making calls.
The calls our SDRs make are executed through well-defined playbooks and are supported by inbound marketing efforts making them lukewarm calls.
There are many reasons for declaring the cold call dead. For example, as technology advances, many people don’t even have a phone on their desks anymore. Sales development is an area that will continue to see significant change for which marketers should be thankful.
5. Inbound marketing
My marketing thankful list would not be complete without inbound marketing. Just over three years ago, I was struggling to identify how the company I was working for at that time, could generate more and better leads.
My hours of research on the topic of lead generation led me to inbound marketing. That discovery changed my marketing life forever. Learning about inbound marketing and all of the possibilities associated with it reignited my passion for marketing overall.
It changed my career path. It inspired me to set higher goals. It opened many doors of opportunity. How could I not be thankful for that?
I’m sure there are many more things B2B marketers can be grateful for this year. When you’re having a bad day, take a minute to remember what those things are.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!