It's all changing beneath our feet - or at least that's what it feels like. The traditional ways to connect with a market are loosing efficacy. Gen Y's are entering the workplace with their Snapchat and Tinder. Big data and the internet of things are transforming how we shop for products and services.
Think about this: With the rise of the driverless car, chances are that within 10 years, you will no longer need to get a drivers licence. Think how something that was a right of passage for many of us, will no longer be necessary. And probably within 20 years, there will be more people that don't know how to drive, than do. Think how this will change our lives, our daily commutes, the size of vehicles, entertaining the kids in the back seat and so on. This one thing will be more significant than the move from horse and carriage, to the motorcar - because no one will need to operate it. It will play out over a much shorter period of time, than than the move to the car.
So what does this have to do with selling and B2B marketing?
The same sea-change is starting to occur in how people are making purchase decisions...
Social-Internet speed is too fast for traditional IT departments to keep up with. Business unit owners can decide, buy and implement in an afternoon - if only to do a proof of concept. This is true for other types of purchases too - procurement of all sorts of products and services is being impacted by what you can learn, do and buy on the internet. The consequence is that audiences are splintering into ever increasingly smaller groups, that can be targeted in ever more specific ways, through ever more specific media, with ever more specific content. Audiences now expect to be served up specific content, based on specific interests and preferences. The power in media is shifting into the hands of the consumers of content and information.
And when it comes to selling, the way purchase decisions are being made, is changing from who is an influencer, to who is the decision maker, through to how things are being purchased. All this means that organisations are changing how they organise and connect with market opportunity themselves. This is displacing the methodologies and processes we have been taught for marketing and sales - new paradigms are forming out of this shift.
The Rise of the CMTO and Digital Strategist
We are seeing the rise of the Chief Marketing Technology Officer CMTO - where the left and right brain being given equal prominence in marketing strategy. Digital Strategy Business Units are developing within consulting, design and IT companies - all with a slightly different takes on how to help organisations transform in this digitally-savvy interconnected world of the cloud and more. Check out Fjordnet (acquired by Accenture last year) or Deloitte Digital (a clever extension of the Deloitte consulting brand, for examples of this transition.
Approaches to the market like these, are a reflection of how we need to evolve strategy and then the tactics of building brand awareness, discovering leads and making a sale.
Content, authenticity and substance now count more than ever in building your sales pipeline. That's content that connects, tells a story and educates at the same time. That content has to be served up in a granular fashion to reflect the increasingly fragmented and specific audiences - using technology in tandem with data - so you can start to build relationships and connection that trigger inbound inquiry, or better yet - personal referrals.
The shift in technology is offering new ways to build an audience and develop a sales funnel - if we are willing to adapt, experiment and put it out there. I guess blogging on Linkedin is one example of just that. So if there was a call to action in this piece, it would be to think about the change that's occurring, and how you can step out of your comfort zone to embrace tomorrow today in your lead generation and sales practice. Join the debate below.
Thanks for reading this far - written while riding in my driverless car!