Marketing is being flipped on its head, and most players don’t even realize it. All they see is the constant change, but few realize the driving forces, let alone the direction we’re heading.
This is actually good news, as you will see.
Over the past two decades, part of the reason we’ve come to love digital marketing is our ability to target, measure, test and scale. Ads, campaigns, remarketing, everything.
But if you think about it, marketers today actually have LESS ability to
- measure and attribute
people or accounts, than even just a few years ago. Add to that the “GDPR effect” – which is severely limiting the ability of marketers to build user profiles and do email marketing.
Not only GDPR, but search engine marketing is becoming a less dependable source of quality traffic. Google has been changing its results pages by providing quick answers to searches and other, so-called “SERP features”. These result in fewer people clicking on your hard-earned #1-10 ranking.
Is it brighter on the B2B side?
In a B2B context, things seem to be somewhat brighter; you now have more data sources than before » you can purchase intent data (of companies searching for specific topics) from providers like Zoominfo, Bombora or G2. You can enrich contact data with Lusha, Apollo and what not…
This sounds like good news until you realize that the way companies use this data is cold outreach and outbound-heavy scenarios… which just happen to have diminished in efficiency over the past couple of years, because of the way people are buying B2B stuff is changing.
So while in B2B, you have more data sources and better technology than before, it tends to drive “bad behavior”. That is, marketing and sales processes that are cold and interruptive.
So, the B2B marketing game hasn’t gotten any easier either.
Contrary to most, we actually welcome these changes.
As in, almost celebrating them.
Why? First of all, it benefits buyers. Better privacy, for the most part, makes for a better internet experience. Second of all, it forces companies to rely less on hacks and more on strategy.
The solution: strategy
When hacks stop working and strategy prevails, the game will become cleaner. Hacks have the ability to trick people into taking action. On the other hand, strategy is a long-term game. It is much harder to be manipulative when the majority of the market is “forced” to play the long-term game.
All in all, we see that in the coming years, it’s not going to be the best ppc, social, seo, influencer etc. hacks that fuel growth. These will still be important pieces of the growth puzzle, but it’s
- understanding customers
- creating flawless positioning
- having great messaging and
- executing marketing plays
are the things needed to win. Anybody can learn hacks. But excelling on a strategic level is partly science, partly art and needs rock solid foundations.
This conversation was inspired by episode 316 of the Perpetual Traffic podcast, where Ryan Deiss and Ralph Burns talk about how digital marketing is becoming a lot like “mass marketing”.