Bright Ideas

Four trends in the future of FinTech marketing

Four trends in the future of FinTech marketing

Insights from marketers on the ground, discussed at the annual FinTech B2B marketing conference.

 

As with many other sectors, the financial services industry is going through a continued period of disruption. Digital-first services are changing the way customers interact with brands as the move towards digital has increased customer’s expectation on service.

When I was asked to join the FinTech B2B Marketing Conference as a guest panellist, I was keen to share insights and experiences of agile marketing in the FinTech market, however the real value was found in the conversations had with my marketing peers about the immediate and undeniable factors that are influencing the marketing landscape for FinTech marketers today.

Navigating this ever-changing environment is tough at the best of times but navigating it post-pandemic brings its own host of disruptions. Here are four trends that I think will be influencing the industry over the coming months.

 

The role of critical thinking in data analytics

The goal of collecting and analysing data is to turn information into valuable insights and to create valuable insights, we must ask valuable questions. Our attention has too long been focussed on the hard skills in data – coding, visualisation, modelling etc. What seems to be far lower down the totem pole are the soft skills for making data useful, accessible, and valuable. Most importantly, the ability to critically think and analyse.

Critical thinking is a manner of thinking that employs curiosity, creativity, scepticism, analysis, and logic – the good news is, that critical thinking can be learned and upskilled. Finding the balance between trusting the data and our gut feeling is the key to discovering insights that add value.

 

The pandemic and the marketeer

I’m sure like me, you’re fed up with talking about the pandemic and how it has affected business over the past two years, but inevitably, it’s still impacting channel performance and creative a skills gap in the market.

The data we have on channel performance from the last two years is skewing our predictions – what worked in 2020 to deliver on demand gen seems to be shifting again. LinkedIn for example is currently working better for small businesses than it is for larger organisations – something that has changed dramatically over the past year and a half.

The great resignation, influenced by the pandemic means that the quality of contact data has become an issue as many people have left roles, challenging marketers to maintain and clean databases to ensure campaigns remain successful.

 

When one succeeds, we all succeed – the value in partnerships

Budget allocations have shifted over the past few years, with more money being invested into digital marketing and less on live events. Now that events have resumed and audiences are keen to attend, where will the money come from to satisfy both needs?

Brands need revenue and growth and have little appetite for further risk. Partnership marketing is a perfect antidote, brands can partner up on complimentary services and solutions to share resources and create value led events without having to risk the costs. The current circumstances highlight the virtues of creative, direct teamwork, so my advice is to find innovate ways to create long lasting relationships and partnerships that work for everyone.

 

Brand vs. Demand Generation

An age-old debate which every marketeer has had to negotiate, the truth is both are just as important, and one does not work without the other. A business with amazing brand presence but no leads will struggle to sustain itself. Whereas businesses that prioritise demand gen, tend to get a lot of prospects interested in a solution but will evidently lose out to competitors that have a stronger brand identity and clear values that cut through an already overpopulated market.

The financial services sector has always been considered as agile, with the requisite to adjust to ever-changing external factors. This inherent dynamism makes it an exciting and cutting-edge marketplace with scope for disruptive marketing tactics and experimentation at every turn, from brand to local and central levels. How can you enable experimentation approach, with a growth mindset and agile marketing approach to how your team execute.

Discover how Bright can inject agility into your business to maintain an edge on competition. Get in touch with us today to chat all things agile.

 

Lydia Kirby Client delivery director

Lydia KirbyFour trends in the future of FinTech marketing
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Deep dive into agile marketing for FinTech

Deep dive into agile marketing for FinTech

Bright injects agility into cutting-edge FinTech’s digital transformation journey  

In 2020, Bright’s client, a leading financial industry operating system, set out on a digital transformation journey to pivot their focus from brand marketing to demand gen. Requiring an agile approach, we helped transform their marketing strategy and achieve their business objectives. Vice President and Global Head of Marketing of the FinTech client, Mitra Roknabadi, joins our Client Delivery Director, Lydia Kirby, to be interviewed by John Cass and share their experience of putting agile marketing into action… 

1. Move fast, break nothing 

In a digital world time is of the essence – Mitra highlights the importance to “move fast but don’t rush”. The qualities of an agile marketing approach align perfectly with the FinTech client’s company motto: ‘move fast, break nothing’. By beginning to work in a series of iterations, we developed a safe foundation to learn more about their digital audience through listening, testing, and optimising. Bright empowered the FinTech client team to “work at pace and learn, iterate, shift and deliver quickly.  

 

2. Experts, assemble! 

There’s more to agile marketing than the methodology. Mitra recalls how her experience with Bright helped her to see “the full extent of what agile means”. As the campaign developed, both Mitra and Lydia as agile aficionados adapted the team’s approach and toolkit to suit the FinTech client’s needs. Demonstrating the ability to onboard and offboard expertise where needed was paramount to the FinTech client, enabling them to identify how and where they wanted to grow as a business.  

 

3. Planning, doing, and reviewing 

Keen to shirk the assumption an agile marketing approach is an impulsive one, Lydia emphasises the “planning, doing, and reviewing” that goes into a project.  Bright often work in three-week Sprints to allow ample “time for learning, understanding the subject and iteration”. Project management and instant messaging platforms are key tools to unite siloed teams and enable them to collaborate and respond at pace. It’s the way in which we respond that sets agile marketers apart; having an open mind that something may work better than predicted.  The review process of continuous self-reflection allows for iteration, optimisation and ultimately, the best of results.   

Lydia described her experience with the FinTech client as a “dream, not because they’re simply new to agile marketing”… but because “their scale-up mentality embraced the agile methodology”. Mitra is also confident the campaign experience “will influence what we do as a company” going forward.     

As Bright continues to work with innovative FinTech companies, we look forward to delivering fresh, iterative, and data-driven agile marketing approaches, leading the charge to better results, faster time to market, sustainable growth, and the ability to adapt and change at pace. 

Lydia KirbyDeep dive into agile marketing for FinTech
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Earth Day 2022: Agility in climate action planning and why we’ll fail without it

Earth Day 2022: Agility in climate action planning and why we’ll fail without it

Net-Zero targets are rightfully ambitious, but they’re doomed to fail if strategies aren’t agile. Our agile guide to help #InvestInOurPlanet

Last year, the UK Government released plans on how it will deliver its Net Zero emissions targets by 2050 including a 78% reduction from 1990 to 2035. Whilst their strategy is ‘ambitious and comprehensive’ if their plans aren’t agile, measured and take an iterative approach, they’re doomed to fail.

This year’s Earth Day, falling on 22 April annually, is themed around nature in the race to net zero with the hashtag #InvestInOurPlanet. At Bright, we believe the best way for governments to plan for climate change is to use an agile approach.

13 going on 35

2035 seems miles away from where we are now, 13 years is a long time in project planning terms, however targets and goals as ambitious as climate action ones, demand special attention. Cities across the globe are setting targets and measuring for the years ahead, however, without monitoring, how are they going to track progress?

Agile methodology manages projects by breaking it up into several phases or sprints. Involving continuous collaboration with stakeholders and constant learning and improvement at every stage. Once the project begins, teams’ cycle through a process of planning, executing, and evaluating thus teams have a natural mechanism for responding to change quickly. Do you see where we’re going with this yet?

Seize the data

Climate targets need to be data driven; however, the data needs to be monitored and used correctly. Agile emphasises the freedom to be daring in concept and tactics whilst also highlighting the importance of data driven insights. The most important aspect of an agile approach is to turn your data into actionable insights.

Try, Fail, Try something different, Succeed

Collecting climate data is all well and good, but if that data suggests or even shows that transition targets have been missed by a large margin then more measures will need to be implemented behind this goal. Equally, if target measures seem to be particularly effective, more ambitious targets could be set to reach goals faster.

This kind of flexibility is important as climate strategies need to be adaptable based on actual results and external shifts that are not yet known. Agile ways of working promote this type of flexibility and retrospective outlook which allows for prioritisation on demand – providing teams with the knowledge of what is most important to work on next.

Some cities around the world are already adapting their climate strategies to make them more agile. Mannheim in Germany, for example will digitise its new ‘Climate Action Plan 2030’ to track measurable data close to real-time via a digital twin. Meaning the city can be more flexible in adjusting milestones to reach targets faster and more efficiently.

Limit risks without risking your limits

Agile methodology is based on the concepts of flexibility, transparency, quality, and continuous improvement. Visibility in project management plays a key role in ensuring targets are achievable and that teams have the resources necessary to attain them. It’s easy for governments to set ambitious targets that make headlines and line manifestos, but if the delivery is deficient due to lack of transparency, the strategies will fail.

The Committee on Climate Change – a group of experts that advise the UK government – called the governments net zero strategy “ambitious and comprehensive” but says the UK government needs to “strengthen delivery” and agree tougher policies. With increased visibility, predicting risks, and coming up with effective mitigation plans become simpler. When working within an agile framework, there are countless ways to identify and predict risks faster meaning it’s easier to plan to ensure that the project runs smoothly, targets are met, and goals are achieved.

So, there you have it, our challenge to #InvestInOurPlanet. While there may be plenty of obstacles in climate change planning, the benefits of agile ways of working, both to governments as well as the planet, are abundant. As the planet continues to evolve and change, strategies on climate change planning need to be agile enough to evolve with it.

If you would like to introduce agile marketing into your project planning, please contact us about our Agile Marketing training or marketing support.

Danny WhitebreadEarth Day 2022: Agility in climate action planning and why we’ll fail without it
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Agile: Marketing at the speed of FinTech

Agile: Marketing at the speed of FinTech

The buzz surrounding FinTech companies keeps growing louder as these cutting-edge businesses introduce innovative ideas to disrupt the financial services industry.

From P2P lending and digital currency to online payments, internet insurance, and self-serve brokerages, FinTech solutions can offer customers more efficiency, convenience, and security than traditional solutions.

Business Insider expects the FinTech industry to grow with a CAGR of 20 percent over the next few years.

 

Despite growth, FinTech companies face steep challenges

Financial institutions and customers appear eager to embrace new tools. Still, even the best new financial technology must gain visibility in a crowded, shifting marketplace.

Very often, FinTech enterprises need to introduce their brands and ideas to a marketplace that barely understands the problem that needs solving. At the same time as innovators offer new solutions, they also face rapid shifts in their business environments because of changing regulations, competitors, and customer expectations.

FinTech companies don’t just need to produce innovative solutions to help customers. They must also employ their own creative, responsive, and adept marketing processes to remain ahead of a rapidly changing business environment. This demands an approach to marketing strategy and project management that uses agile methodologies.

 

Why agile marketing perfectly suits FinTech companies

Successful FinTech companies use rapid, data-driven methodologies to develop and test their ideas to offer the best products and services in this dynamic business environment. Startups and established tech companies must remain agile to cope with rapid and often unexpected changes. Many technical companies rely on Agile development tools to swiftly gather information, test ideas, validate theories, and optimise processes.

Thus, Agile marketing tactics fit the culture and business model of FinTech companies precisely the same way that Agile development tactics do. Developers working within an Agile framework will recognise the core principles of Agile marketing, such as rapid sprints, using an iterative process to develop and test, relying on data-driven ideas and techniques, and a holistic, interdisciplinary approach.

Highlights of why Agile marketing flawlessly suits FinTech companies include:

  • Responsive to the economic and market context: In the complex and rapidly evolving FinTech market, agile marketing can pivot quickly and relies on data, not assumptions. The interdisciplinary nature of this marketing framework also offers better insights into the broader economic and competitive context.
  • Complementary to FinTech company culture: Typical FinTech businesses tend to be agile, and very often, use Agile development tools. Employees readily understand and adapt to this adaptable, sprint-based, diversity-inclusive, and engaging style. An agile marketing team already speaks the language of every other team member, including marketing leaders and business decision makers.
  • Able to scale: Agile marketing’s focus on automation and efficiency helps clients scale as businesses evolve and grow. Agile marketing tactics don’t just scale quickly. They also encourage business growth, making scaling more possible, finding new ways to reach potential customers.
  • Suitable for the unique demands of FinTech: FinTech businesses constantly upgrade and improve products with new or improved features. Agile marketing can keep up with this level of dynamism. Besides offering insights about the best way to communicate changes to customers, these marketing approaches can help developers learn what to change or leave alone.

As B2B FinTech grows to catch up and keep pace B2C FinTech, B2B FinTech companies will need to reach B2B Companies. This needs an approach to B2B marketing that continuously improves their digital marketing and that guides modern B2B buyers towards a purchase decision

Agile Marketing: FinTech can’t wait

Santander provides a great case study of how even established financial services firms can implement agile marketing approaches. Santander shortened campaign cycles into ‘sprints’ and used daily ‘huddles’ to dynamically adjust priorities based on performance. This allowed Santander to create more adaptable campaigns that make better use of budget. Besides taking inspiration from best practice in Silicon Valley, Santander’s agile marketing approach has aligned the marketing part of their business with IT development methodologies.

Fintech companies cannot afford to wait for weeks to adjust or broadcast their marketing messages. They need tangible results fast, together with the capacity to learn from experience. Zaptino – working with Bright – used data-driven audience insight and a rapid, iterative approach to optimise key messages. In just six weeks, they were able nurture investors towards conversion that delivered over £125,000 in investment, as well as building a pipeline of longer-term opportunities.

Agile marketing relies on continuous streams of data analytics, automated processes, rapid tests, frequent evaluations, and a series of iterations. Here at Bright, we’re excited about the future of FinTech and understand the challenges our clients face. Our unique marketing methodology and technical capabilities help FinTech companies enjoy rapid growth and profits because they employ the same agile tactics that our clients use to produce new solutions.

Discover more about the intersection between agile marketing and FinTech as Bright’s client delivery director, Lydia Kirby, will be appearing as a guest panellist at this years Fintech B2B Marketing Conference on the 27th of April. Lydia will be sharing her FinTech industry insights and agile marketing expertise on the topic of ‘Winning B2B data-driven marketing strategy is the next new normal’.

Lydia KirbyAgile: Marketing at the speed of FinTech
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Four ways agile marketing can help overcome bias

Four ways agile marketing can help overcome bias

Bright explores how agility, curiosity, empowerment and spirit can #Breakthebias

Beyond hashtags, inspirational videos and moving quotes, celebrating International Women’s Day should serve as a reminder of the ongoing effort and change that is still needed to bring true equality and equity to women in society. As a female led business Bright place diversity at the heart of our business. Zoe Merchant, Bright, Managing Director comments “We, as marketers, whose profession it is to create awareness, drive change and make an impact, have the power to tackle biases and discrimination that permeate our much evolved yet still opinionated society.”

Unconscious bias and systemic prejudices are innate traits of the human being which affects opinions, decision-making and actions. But we believe that by challenging the status quo and testing preconceptions we can disrupt mindsets and create positive change in the workplace, our society and in culture, day after day.

“None of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and nor likely will many of our children. That’s the sobering finding of the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, which reveals that gender parity will not be attained for 99.5 years,” Global Gender Gap Report 2020.

As pioneers of agile marketing, we apply the same methods we use for our strategies to our approach to diversity and equality within the work we do. We’re focused on proving how an agile approach to all areas of business, combined with a culture of empowerment and a diverse workforce fuels operational capability as a business and helps us remove the limitations of bias in marketing both for Bright and for our clients.

Our business values of agility, curiosity, empowerment, spirit, encompass our commitment to breaking the bias.

Break the bias with Agility

As a collective of agile marketing practitioners, the discipline of research, test and validate; learning and improving goes beyond our approach to marketing strategy. We know that diverse talent and influences contributes to a richer pool of experience where positive friction allows us to challenge the norm to embed new ways of working and test new methods to achieve results.

At Bright, we pride ourselves on embracing flexibility to attract and, most importantly, keep a diverse and talented team. Zoe Merchant comments, “At Bright, we respect, challenge and nurture each other to ensure our marketing and campaign strategies are creative, innovative, and rooted in validated concepts.”

Break the bias with Curiosity

As part of our agile approach at Bright, we’re to always examine the bigger picture and understand its origin and trajectory with a methodical approach. The environment we find ourselves in shouldn’t mould us into accepting facts at face value. Scrutiny and curiosity should challenge and fuel our perspectives, we should continue to ask ‘why’ to understand the details that will allow for improvements. Interrogating the data will help to set us free from legacy and unconscious bias. Marketers need to move away from vanity metrics and set robust KPI through measuring what matters. Only then can we drive change by making more educated and insightful decisions.

Break the bias with Empowerment

Remaining data and insight driven is how marketers have comprehensive knowledge of the state of the market and the audience mindset before planning any strategy. We believe that acquiring an agile, innovative, and creative mindset can help us connect with a more diverse audience and offer more far-reaching solutions. It’s also important to ensure unbiased segmentation as well as considering any unconscious or conscious bias in market & brand positioning. At Bright, we believe that empowering our team to interrogate the status-quo and ask difficult questions helps us to discover new opportunities, tackle market or brand stagnation and achieve faster growth.

“Gender-diverse companies are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability and boost productivity.”

– McKinsey

Break the bias with Spirit

We’re continually aiming to expand our team’s demographic diversity – diversity of experience and opinion is valuable and helps overcome stale assumptions and challenge conventional thinking. Working as a team towards common goals, we strive to maximise outcomes through innovative solutions, never letting preconceptions and ideologies hold us back. Zoe Merchant comments, “Liberating ourselves from bias helps Bright craft agile marketing strategies and campaigns that better connect with target audiences and deliver a positive impact.”

“Diverse teams are more innovative—stronger at anticipating shifts in consumer needs and consumption patterns that make new products and services possible, potentially generating a competitive edge”

– McKinsey

The Brighter Way

As a female-led business, we celebrate diversity not only within Bright, but also by partnering with likeminded organisations who advocate for minority groups to have equal opportunities and celebrate the success of women and minorities across the business and leadership landscape. Bright is an active member of WEConnect, a global network that connects women-owned businesses to corporate buyers around the world who are committed to diversity and inclusion. Being a member of WEConnect allows us to tap into the talent of creative and entrepreneurial women and access business opportunities from organisations who are aligned with our values. At Bright, we celebrate diversity across all intersections, not limited to gender. Zoe Merchant has been selected for two years running as a member of the 40 over Forty List, celebrating the talent and experience of over 40’s in the advertising, marketing and media industry.

All marketers benefit from creating an inclusive environment around agility, empowerment, curiosity, and spirit resulting in creating better, more effective marketing. We enjoy challenging the status quo, testing to validate new, diverse approaches and measuring performance through audience response. Through iterating to continually improve we achieve viable and impactful agile marketing, endorse our talented team, and break the bias.

 

Zoe MerchantFour ways agile marketing can help overcome bias
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Bright enlists corporate advisory consultancy, Cactus, to help navigate expansion 

Bright enlists corporate advisory consultancy, Cactus, to help navigate expansion 

During these changeable times, businesses are increasingly seeking ways in which they can adapt and transform with a more agile approach. Due to the increased requirement for marketing agility, driven by the unpredictability caused by the pandemic, world-leading B2B agile marketing consultancy, Bright, has experienced more demand than ever.

Founded in 2013 by Zoë Merchant, Bright’s goal was to accelerate business growth for its clients and push their marketing forward through greater agility to achieve better results. Nine years later, Bright’s goal remains the same, now with a team of 21 agile marketing specialists and a roster of market-leading, technology, publishing and engineering clients.

To navigate the next phase of growth, driven by a collective passion for evolution, Bright has teamed up with Cactus – Europe’s leading corporate advisory and growth consultancy for agencies.

Cactus is uniquely positioned to supply corporate commercial development support, operational guidance and expert financial advice, having worked with over 2,500 agencies globally and some of the fastest growing agencies in their territories. With these credentials, 2022 is set to be a landmark year for Bright’s growth.

 

“It’s an exciting time for Bright, agile marketing has moved beyond nascent and we’re seeing clear benefits to those businesses that change their way of working to fuel business growth, through greater adaptability, client centricity and a data driven approach.

Bright’s on a mission to drive marketing agility forward and we continue to expand how we deliver our services and work alongside clients to co-create, coach and train marketers to become more agile.”

Zoë Merchant, Managing Director of Bright

 

“Bright is a remarkable business, one with huge potential to be a leader in the industry and one we’re thrilled to be working so closely with. They have such an interesting proposition and a truly unique service offering for their clients”.

Danny Turnbull, Managing Partner for Consulting at Cactus

 

Discover how Bright’s approach to agile marketing can equip teams with the expertise to adapt to a fast-paced, changeable business environment, take advantage of opportunities for growth and transform your business.


Bright is a world-leading B2B agile marketing consultancy, providing strategic marketing services, supporting transformation through co-creation and training for tech & professional services firms.

Bright’s team of expert B2B agile marketing practitioners inspire businesses to think and act differently; embrace curiosity and use data-driven insights to drive continuous learning, improvement and transformation, always putting the customer at the heart of activity.

Zoe MerchantBright enlists corporate advisory consultancy, Cactus, to help navigate expansion 
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Four ways agile marketing supports the future of work

Four ways agile marketing supports the future of work

The future of work has been completely reshaped as a result of the pandemic. Both employers and employees have been awakened to the advantages of virtual and home working, but this has also thrown up its own challenges including ‘the great resignation’. But for marketing agencies, adopting an agile approach is one of the ways they can manage some of the workforce challenges caused by this seismic shift.

Agile marketing is no longer a niche methodology for marketing organisations. Our own 2021 annual survey found that over 50% of marketers are adopting agile marketing to respond faster and build resilience. More and more organisations are adopting agile marketing principles, and the gap between those that do and those that don’t is going to get bigger as a result. Marketing organisations who adopt agile are better placed to adapt to changing circumstances, whether that be external factors influencing a campaign, or internal factors impacting the running of your business.

The great resignation

Agile practices will be needed to handle the talent shift many industries are currently going through, including marketing. Internationally, a staggering 41% of the global workforce was considering leaving their employer in 2021, according to the 2021 Work Trend Index by Microsoft.

In the UK, the number of job vacancies rose to a record high of 1,102,00 between July to September 2021 according to Accenture Fjord Trends 2022. In particular, agile marketing expertise are scarce because it is still a relatively new concept for marketers.

It may be considered smarter to build this agile capability internally, so organisations can benefit from cross functional and capability-based teams, whilst building a growth mindset culture with their teams. Marketers need a productive and empowering environment that encourages development and entices them to join or stay in your organisation. Investing in agile marketing training and embedding new ways of working can make you a destination employer making recruitment and retention that much easier.

Hybrid working

As we begin to learn to live with Covid-19, it is clear that hybrid working is here to stay as the benefits are obvious and favourable for both employers and employees. While working from home has its work-life balance advantages, some employees also miss bonding with colleagues and access to mentors, especially those in their early careers. Agile marketing helps marketing teams adapt to this new normal both in terms of processes and in the implementation of new tools.  Agile working practices help to break down barriers between employees and traditional ways of working, enabling teams to work at their best and most efficient. These agile working practices accelerated by hybrid working will attract new generations of top talent.

Forever transforming

Change is a constant. Agile marketing doesn’t just mean that you can respond and adapt quickly to change, but it gives you new ways of working that equip you to handle business transformation of all kinds.

Agile marketing principles encourage marketers to only plan to a level sufficient to ensure effective prioritisation and execution so that they can quickly adapt to anticipated change. Other principles include organising in small, cross-functional teams where possible and learning through data and experiments rather than relying on opinion or past experience, all designed to enable marketers to respond and adapt to new developments and constant change.

Empowering teams

Agile marketing can also help with staff retention as it helps create empowered individuals and teams, and empowered individuals are less likely to quit. The fifth principle of agile marketing according to the agile marketing manifesto is ‘build marketing programmes around motivated individuals and trust them to get the job done’. As teams mature in their application of agile marketing, they become more confident and empowered to make decisions autonomously.

Dan Meek, CEO at global leadership consultancy, LIW, follows this rule with both his internal team and clients, “we encourage our leadership clients to adopt agile principles to help create the right conditions for their teams and their business to succeed.”

Agile isn’t the future, it’s now

Currently the marketing industry is being heavily impacted by these significant changes to how people are working. But by adopting agile marketing principles, organisations can set themselves up to manage and adapt to ongoing and different types of change, whatever that change may be.

Jim Ewel, Founder of the Agile Marketing Manifesto summarises:

“We’re currently experiencing a period of intense change and disruption which some marketing organisations may struggle to survive. But organisations that embrace agile marketing methods are the ones who are most likely to succeed now and, in the future, as they will be more efficient, more customer focused and able to adapt to whatever challenges they may be faced with.”

Zoe MerchantFour ways agile marketing supports the future of work
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The three pillars of marketing

The three pillars of marketing

My daughter asks me on a fairly regular basis what it is that ‘mummy does’. I don’t think I have ever come up with a satisfactory answer (evidenced by the fact that she keeps asking!). It got me thinking about whether it was possible to boil what we do at Bright as a B2B marketing consultancy into a few words that she would understand, and eventually I came up with this:

We help organisations find people who want to buy from them, work for them or get to know them.

What is it that we do?

Trying to work how you might explain what your organisation does to an eight year old is actually a very worthwhile exercise.

At Bright, we’re all about agile marketing, pace and simplicity, so finding a fast, simple way of explaining what we do is an important part of our own marketing.

It also served another, equally useful, purpose however in that it got me thinking about what it is that organisations want from marketing today and what it is that we do that makes our services valuable.

The three pillars of marketing

For the modern high growth organisation there are three key pillars of marketing that rely on each other, work together and combine to create an effective B2B marketing strategy – demand generation, talent acquisition/retention and brand building.

Demand

The first element of the modern B2B marketing mix is demand. Generating leads for a company’s products and services is what most people think of if you ask them to define what marketing is.

It sounds simple and in some regards it is – find people that want to buy what we sell and convince them to buy it from us. Of course it isn’t that simple, especially not for intangible, complex and expensive products or services.

As well as finding people who might want to buy now, you also have to find people who might want to buy later. And even people who don’t know that they want to buy anything at all but who may decide that they do after they have seen what you sell and how it fixes a problem they are experiencing.

A short-term approach to creating demand creates significant problems. A pipeline that is either too full or too empty; a focus on the tactical rather than the strategic and the problems associated with having to start from scratch every time the pipeline empties.

Generating demand requires consistency and a longer-term view that ensures that you are finding, developing and nurturing a community of interesting people who will drop into your pipeline over time.

It requires the ability to know not only who these people are but what they like and how best to reach them – and a constant stream of activity focused on identifying new people to add to this community.

Talent

The second element of a successful B2B marketing strategy is talent. In the technology industry where we operate, finding good talent is a big problem for many companies.

Talent and demand have a symbiotic relationship. Success in one area will usually mean that focus switches to the other. Companies are constantly trying to balance work and resourcing the right people to ensure they have just the right amount of both.

The problems are being exacerbated by the fact that the old methods of finding and keeping good people no longer work as effectively. Again this is a particular issue in the tech sector where much of the talent is part of a generation who operate almost entirely digitally.

They don’t engage with the media in the same way that they used to; the traditional recruitment consultancies don’t understand their skillsets so they can’t find or place them effectively (and most businesses want to avoid agency fees anyway if they can help it).

Organisations therefore have to look at new ways to find and connect with prospective employees and to build a community that they can draw from when they need to.

Brand and position

As the third pillar of marketing, the word brand means different things to different people. Broadly speaking brand marketing is the activity that you do to build profile and positioning in the market.

Brand work is often the hardest to quantify and notoriously difficult to set effective metrics around but it is an essential part of the marketing programme. Brand sets expectation. Expectation around service, products and ethos. Companies like AppleVirgin and John Lewis are examples of companies that know brand and market position is king.

The hard thing about brand marketing is working out what is valuable and what isn’t.

Marketing consultancies have made millions out of confusion on this and the belief (erroneous belief) that there is no point trying to measure success.

So what is good brand marketing? It is different things to different people but fundamentally it is the communication of who you are not what you sell. More often than not, the reason for failure is that companies don’t know who they are or are trying to be something they are not.

At Bright we believe that these three pillars should be the foundation of every B2B marketing plan.

You can dial each one up or down but the reality is that you have to ensure that they are harmoniously working together.

If you ignore talent to focus on demand, you may win business but how will you retain it? If you focus on demand and ignore brand then you will find it far harder to drive sales because there will be no existing relationship between your company and your target audience. For any one element to be successful, it cannot happen in isolation.

We have a motto at Bright: Demand, Talent, Brand and Growth. If you get the first three right then the fourth follows.

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Zoe MerchantThe three pillars of marketing
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Four things B2B marketers need to focus on now

Four things B2B marketers need to focus on now

2021 has been a bumpy year so far, starting out in the firm grip of the pandemic and rapidly evolving into a more positive outlook for most firms as society and economies started to unlock and learn to live with Covid day-to-day.

Bright has been flexing our agile marketing muscles this year with a focus on experimentation, testing, rapidly learning, and building on success for clients to remain lean whilst taking advantage of every opportunity a fast-moving and unpredictable market allows. We’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of B2B marketing as we’ve strived to embed new ways of working to bring greater marketing agility across our tech & consulting-focused clients. So, what have we learned – here are the top four things marketing teams need to pay attention to now:

Data trumps opinion

As agile marketeers, we rely on data to fuel our learnings and inform where we invest more time and effort next to improve marketing output and impact. Closed feedback loops are critical for marketers to evaluate and assess the performance of an activity. This means marketers have become savvier at setting KPIs and metrics to measure and evaluate success. There is still room for gut instinct and experience, but it must be backed up with insight.

Dealing with data has meant marketers need to develop skills around data analysis and synthesising data from disparate sources quickly to pull out the key learnings and make decisions around where and how to drive improvements.

What if you have no data to start with? Then marketers must be creative and tap into their networks to find look-alike data or industry benchmarks to put an initial stake in the ground and learn from there.

Farsightedness

The pandemic truncated markets and forced budget reduction and freezes[i], and the resulting uncertainty has made everyone much more near-term in their focus. Marketers need to make sure they balance short term tactical activity with meeting longer-term strategic goals and know the difference between the two.

Although all marketers have, without a doubt, become more resilient, agile marketers have found it easier to prioritise and pivot to match the disruption in the market. Agile marketing doesn’t mean there isn’t a plan, its focus is on using short sprints to move towards long-term goals. Learning to set and balance near-term KPI and metrics with the long-term strategic goals and priorities is a critical skill for marketers to develop.

Agile marketing relies on adopting a test, learn and build closed-loop model – these cycles of experimentation are often short, and sprint-based. Agile marketers benefit just as much from some second order thinking skills[ii] to make sure their experiments are robust beyond just the initial intent and factor in longer-term impact beyond the sprint they are in.

Patience is a virtue

Marketers are spending an increasing amount of time justifying their budget investments. However, it must be considered that any marketing process takes time, especially in complex high-value B2B tech sales cycles. Marketers need to be honest and open about the time it takes to build momentum, especially around brand activities. A recent LinkedIn study found that digital marketers often measure ROI too quickly. While the average length of a B2B sales cycle is six months, only 4% of marketers measure ROI over 6 months or longer[iii].

Agile marketing helps marketers to work in a more sustainable, and ultimately leaner, way. Enabling you to show ROI early by optimising successful activity via the test, learn, and build cycle, discarding or changing things that underperform quickly. Metrics in agile marketing cover both sprint-based outcomes to show short-term performance impact combined with longer-term (campaign or project) KPIs for ROI which aligns with the business goals. Agile marketers were more confident that they were able to demonstrate ROI than those taking a more traditional approach[iv].

Breaking down internal silos

A major challenge faced by marketing teams is that they lack permission to be curious and experiment. Hence, marketing teams are still struggling to form cross-functional teams to become more agile and breaking down internal silos. This often leads to a painful lack of customer centricity reflected in poorly constructed value propositions and campaigns.

The great tech marketing teams are focused on new ways of working as a cross functional team – what they can learn, where they can improve, and how it aligns to their business goals.

[i] Bright 2021 B2B marketing trends report – #1 area of challenge for marketers is doing more with less (page 6)

[ii] https://www.techtello.com/second-order-thinking/

[iii] https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/success/insights-and-research/marketing-ROI

[iv] Bright 2021 B2B marketing trends report – confidence in measuring and demonstrating ROI to leadership (page 15)

Zoe MerchantFour things B2B marketers need to focus on now
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