Marketing Strategy

AI in marketing: Unpacking the opportunities and challenges

AI in marketing: Unpacking the opportunities and challenges

Elevate your marketing strategies and dive into the world of generative AI at our latest Smarter Marketer panel event. Whether you’re grappling with how to harness the potential of AI to drive business growth or seeking actionable tips on how to integrate AI into your marketing efforts, our event covers it all.

Our exclusive panel discussion simplifies the complexities of AI’s challenges and guides you towards pragmatic solutions that work for your organisation. Witness first-hand the positive impact generative AI is already having on marketing strategies and outputs.

Our Smarter Marketer panel event delves into:

  1. Generative AI tools unveiled: How AI is revolutionising content creation strategies.
  2. AI in action: Implementing AI for maximum effectiveness.
  3. Testing and adoption incubation: Implementing and testing AI tools.
  4. Operational excellence: Vital considerations for governance in your marketing operations.
  5. Risk management: Identifying, assessing and mitigating risks.

Missed the session, watch it on demand!

Unlock the AI advantage – activating AI

Ready to embark on your AI journey? Our tools and use cases for marketers resource is a great place to start – download yours today.

Meet the speakers

Mark Breslin

Chief Product & Technology Officer, Informa Tech

Mark is responsible for leading the Product & Technology at Informa Tech. This team focuses on working with the leadership teams across the business to shape and create product strategies and roadmaps for new and existing products and services.

Kate Cox

CMO, Bright Bid

Kate is an experienced CMO with a focus on marketing for the digital age and is a native AI marketer in her current role at Bright Bid, an adtech company using AI and human expertise to improve the effectiveness of paid digital activity

Zoe Merchant

Zoë is an agile marketing aficionado — a passionate believer in staying ahead of the competition with resilience, adaptability, and pace. After 20 years of delivering B2B marketing strategies, Zoë founded Bright to help tech, engineering and consulting firms get the most from their marketing investment. Using agile marketing to test, learn and build on success. Zoë leads the team in delivering results through continual and focused improvements to support clients’ business goals.

Interested in reading more about the capabilities of AI in marketing?

Check out our reading list here – Ignite your knowledge: The ultimate AI adventure begins

Paul KeeganAI in marketing: Unpacking the opportunities and challenges
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Ignite your knowledge: The ultimate AI adventure begins

Ignite your knowledge: The ultimate AI adventure begins

As the days grow shorter and the nights get cozier, there’s no better time to embark on a journey into the world of AI. To kickstart your adventure, we’ve curated a list of unmissable reads and listens that will light up your path to AI enlightenment.

For the bookworms:

Rewired – The McKinsey & Company guide to outcompeting in the age of digital and AI.

MIT study: Experimental Evidence on the Productivity Effects of Generative Artificial Intelligence – Examining the productivity impact of the assistive chatbot ChatGPT.

AI-powered marketing and sales reach new heights with generative AI – McKinsey & Company discuss how AI technology, particularly generative AI is transforming the fields of marketing and sales, impacting both B2B and B2C players.

10 Ways PPC Automation and AI Can Improve Your Campaigns – A look at AI and Automation in PPC campaigns from BrightBid.

Black Mirror meets marketing: the ethical implications of AI – A look at the privacy and ethical concerns around AI from Informa Tech.

Seven ChatGPT experiments content marketers should test now – Ideas from InformaTech on how to experiment with ChatGPT to create compelling content and improve market research and analysis.

For those always on the go:

The future of search in B2B marketing– Podcast with Kate Cox, CMO at BrightBid, which examines how AI will change Search Engine Marketing for B2B customers and B2B marketing.

AI will save the world with Marc Andreessen and Martin Casado – Co-founder of a16z, dives into the world of AI, aiming to quell concerns about its impact on humanity.

Which tool to start with?

With so many AI tools out there, here are a few sites that can help you decide which tools to get started with:

There’s an AI for that:


And finally here’s a site which lists all the comparison sites!

Interested in hearing more about the capabilities of AI in marketing? Check out our panel discussion “AI in marketing: Unpacking the opportunities and challenges” for more insight, as well as helpful AI resources.

Happy reading from the Bright Team.

Paul KeeganIgnite your knowledge: The ultimate AI adventure begins
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Developing a strategy for your website continuous improvement

Developing a strategy for your website continuous improvement

What does Continuous Improvement mean to you?

Identify, plan, execute, review. Continuous improvement is a well-known process in the world of supply chain and business operations, but its benefits in marketing activity and website management are often overlooked.

It’s a common misconception that once a website is launched, the hard work is done, and we move into the ‘set and forget’ phase. In reality ongoing maintenance and continual improvement of the site and its assets is crucial to performance and success.

The role of your website in achieving business goals

Technology updates and trends move so quickly that it’s easy to fill up your task list with changes and reworks. However, a website is often the greatest go to market tool a company has, and a comprehensive website strategy helps to give your work purpose, map a path to reach your overall goals and informs how you measure results. Here are five things to consider when building out your continuous improvement strategy for your website.

1.     Identify your current state

There are different considerations to make depending on the status of your website – have you just launched a new site? Are you aiming to drive new visitors or diversify and expand your offering? Understanding your priorities will help guide you towards your plan.

As soon as people begin visiting your site, behaviour data starts to build – what pages they’re visiting, whether they are on their phone or computer, what they like (and don’t!). This data helps you understand your current website and where potential gaps are.

Undertake a full evaluation of your current content. Having an aim to regularly update and refresh your content will ensure your website flexes and develops alongside your business. By analysing your content and identifying your strong and weak spots, your content plan will begin to develop.

2.     Map your goals and objectives

So now you know where you are, but how does this align with where you want to be? Your website is an important tool for your sales, business development, and customer engagement teams. Aligning your digital goals with your overall company vision and purpose will help you unlock the potential of your platform and ensure the work you are putting in will be delivering for the organisation in the long run.

As your website continuous improvement and content development has no real end-date, it’s easy to get disheartened and feel overwhelmed, but by outlining clear KPIs for the short, medium, and long term, you’ll be able to celebrate those successes along the way to keep energy levels up and stay focused on optimisation.

4.     Focus on your audience

There can sometimes be a gap between what your company thinks the audience wants and what your audience actually needs. To continue to build improvements into your platform, you need to think as the customer. Is it easy for your users to work out where they need to go to find the information they need? Optimise your navigation, page load times, and test different design elements and ways of using content.

5.     Create your content

Keep watch for opportunities to create fresh content and ensure you are getting the maximum value from it by implementing SEO best practices and technology updates. In the same way that a Google Bot will trawl your content and learn to adjust its own algorithms, you can keep your SEO practices up to date to stay ahead of any changes.

When in doubt, use targeted survey questions and feedback forms to get a direct line to your audience and make changes based on their feedback.

Bonus consideration: Experimentation

Experimentation is a great way to drive your continuous improvement. Improving understanding of your audiences, user design, conversion and doing it quickly. Using clear, time bound experiments to increase the effectiveness of your website. When experimenting with your website think about:

  • Your experimentation shouldn’t be about vanity metrics – it needs to focus on where you can drive the most business impact. So, places to start are:
    • Pages, sections or areas that have the highest impact
    • Starting at the end of the funnel
  • Don’t just focus on A/B testing – think about big radical ideas that drastically improve the user experience. This is where you’ll see the biggest improvements

Remember to be agile – when it comes to continuous improvement it should be about spending your time where you can drive the best possible results – for your audiences and for your business goals. Test, learn and build on your findings.

Your continuous improvement journey

While website development and maintenance is a never-ending cycle, the benefit it can bring your business is tangible. By being purposeful and consistent in your continuous improvement strategy, you’ll drive better engagement with your customers and ensure you are well positioned to adapt quickly to an ever-changing digital environment.

Sian HeaphyDeveloping a strategy for your website continuous improvement
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The power of an engaged social community

The power of an engaged social community

Building connections that drive success

Social media has become a cornerstone of communication, connection, and business growth. We’ve seen its growth in e-commerce, as a search engine and its use a channel to reach target audiences.

Gone are the days when your follower count would suffice. The quality of engagement matters just as much as the quantity of followers. But an engaged community isn’t just a mere collection of likes and comments either, it’s a vibrant ecosystem where authentic connections flourish – where members actively participate, share insights and initiate conversations.

What’s the magic of an engaged social community?

Build brand loyalty and trust

An engaged community can transform passive followers into brand advocates. Not only will they support your products or services but will likely promote them willingly.

Enhancing customer support

This is something you see a lot with B2C brands as well as SaaS firms and an engaged community can serve as a real-time customer support hub.

Own content amplification

An engaged community will actively amplify content you generate, increasing reach, visibility, and brand awareness.

Driving user generated content

We know content is king, but content from your users about your products and services? Gold dust. The challenge is getting it. An engaged community makes that process a lot simpler and they’ll show genuine enthusiasm for the brand.

Fostering social engagement

Here are some of the things to think about when focusing on increasing engagement from your audiences.

Creating valuable content

Engagement starts with content that resonates with your target audience. Invest time in developing personas and understanding their buyer journey to understand their interests, pain points and preference. Use these insights to craft content that educates, entertains, or inspires to encourage interaction.

Encourage two-way conversations

Engagement is a two-way street. Responding to comments, questions and messages demonstrates you value your community’s input, drives connection and belonging.

Blend the physical and the virtual

When focusing on engagement, it’s important not to look at virtual and physical in isolation. They should work together to increase your reach, drive engagement, and foster your community. Physical events like exhibitions, roundtables, and meetups alongside interactive events like contests, polls, online Q&A sessions, and live interviews inject an element of excitement into your community. These events encourage participation and provide an opportunity for followers to actively contribute.

Showcase user generated content

Peers like to hear from their peers so promoting, sharing, and celebrating user generated content is a great way to encourage contribution.

Don’t focus just on the brand

Your company pages and profiles are a great starting point to driving engagement, but building your community shouldn’t stop there. What can you do as individuals to foster the community? What subject matter experts and industry leaders are within your business that you can use to fuel your community building activity?

Measuring the success of your activity

Good engagement can be tricky to measure. It’s not just about the number of likes, comments, shares or engagement rate. That’s only part of the equation. The other parts of the equation are who is liking and engaging, are they in your ICP? And finally what’s the impact you’re seeing of that engagement? This could be increased conversion of unknowns to knowns, improved engagement and marketing audiences, brand sentiment and even increased revenue.

The future of engagement holds exciting possibilities. Virtual and augmented reality, and AI-driven interactions promise to create even more immersive and interactive experiences. As technology evolves, engagement strategies will evolve with them, redefining the way communities connect and thrive.

An engaged social media community is more than just a digital gathering—it’s a powerful catalyst for success. As the digital and social landscape continues to evolve, nurturing an engaged community will remain a cornerstone of successful social media strategies. Continue to research, use your social media data and audience data to develop strategies that not only increase your reach, but forge meaningful connections.

Sian HeaphyThe power of an engaged social community
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Behind the scenes at Cannes Lions: Emerging trends in creative B2B

A first-hand account of the role of a juror and the trends emerging

Behind the scenes at Cannes Lions: Emerging trends in creative B2B

Unexpectedly, an invite to join the jury of the prestigious Cannes Lions landed in my inbox, thanks to an anonymous nomination. Quite the surprise, and I can’t deny it, I was absolutely chuffed. It’s not every day you’re offered a chance to contribute to such a distinguished process and simultaneously tap into the pulse of emerging trends for the B2B community.

Now, this isn’t any old jury service. This is the B2B Creative Lion category and it’s just in its 2nd year. A ten-strong team of rather remarkable jurors, which it has been a pleasure to meet, we’ve been handed the baton and with it, the responsibility to spotlight the very best of B2B creativity. We’re a diverse bunch, with different stories and backgrounds, but united by one shared goal — to inspire B2B marketers across the globe.

I will pull back the curtain on this journey — give you an insider’s view of our deliberations, a glimpse at the standout trends, and a deep dive into what really happens in a Cannes Lion jury room.

The jury assembled in May, and we are deep in the throes of the first round of judging, with the deadline steadily approaching. This stage is rigorous and immersive, an explosion of creativity, clever marketing ideas and beautiful crafting of creatives, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolving landscape of B2B marketing.

Blurred lines between B2B and B2C marketing

One trend that stands out is the blurring of B2B and B2C marketing lines. B2B campaigns are increasingly employing emotion-driven, personalised elements often found in B2C marketing, resulting in more engaging, human-centred experiences.

Redefining the B2B aesthetic

Bold colour palettes and daring design choices are challenging the traditional, more reserved B2B aesthetic, signalling a shift towards a more vibrant visual language. Combined with the emphasis on clear and simple messaging in the most impressive creative ideas. Amidst the clamour for attention, straightforward messages still hold their ground as the most effective.

A fresh take on creative playfulness and emotional depth has also surfaced in the entries, amplified by the refined use of omnichannel marketing strategies. These campaigns resonate deeply with audiences, reflecting the maturation of the industry.

Business value at the forefront

Marketers have made significant strides in leveraging data and insights, aiming to deliver not only creative campaigns but tangible business value. Personalised experiences, enabled by the blending of channels and tactics, are on the rise, fuelled by the quest for a seamless buyer journey.

Brands rallying around a cause

Interestingly, many submissions underscore a compelling shift towards purpose-led partnerships. Brands are aligning with causes and missions that resonate with their audience, leveraging shared values to cut through the noise. This approach builds authentic connections, deepens brand engagement, and proactively supports many noteworthy causes.

The tech-savvy marketer

The emergence of Web3 and AI technologies within campaign execution, a shift towards a more digital, automated marketing landscape. Clever campaigns tuning into tech-savvy audiences are making the most of emergent channels such as NFTs or AI tools to harness the power of AI for personalisation. These campaigns have fine-tuned their messaging for specific industries or individuals. Demonstrating a next-level understanding of not just where the audience is now, but where they are heading.

The quality of the submissions is high, signalling that B2B marketing is moving up a gear and redefining benchmarks of creative excellence.

I’m excited to continue the journey towards shortlisting the final contenders, and I’m looking forward to the time spent discussing the entries with my fellow B2B jurors, without a doubt, there will be some lively debates on who makes the cut.

I’ll continue this series, documenting the intriguing process behind the scenes at the Cannes Lions Awards. Keep an eye out for the next update.

Zoe MerchantBehind the scenes at Cannes Lions: Emerging trends in creative B2B
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The complexity of marketing transformation


The complexity of marketing transformation

“Change is constant”

We’ve all heard this or a variation of this expression. And whilst that may be the case, what’s also true is our innate resistance to it.

We tend to underestimate the level of change required in marketing transformation programmes and often aren’t prepared or willing to accept the likely drops in productivity, performance and potentially revenue. Leaders try to maintain current levels of performance whilst also asking their marketing teams to adopt the new/target state. Or worse, don’t actively manage the change and hope it will happen organically over time.

As time goes on, the transformation loses traction and momentum, marketing teams don’t see the results and eventually the programme stalls, leaving you back where you started or worse – with a confused and disenchanted team.

When it comes to marketing transformation there are two things to consider:

  • What you are looking to transform and why
  • How you will actively manage the transformation (the execution)

Poor execution is typically highlighted as the culprit when transformation goes wrong, but an interesting study by the Harvard Business Review suggested that not getting the ‘what to change’ part right is equally to blame.

Let’s take a look at both.

What are you looking to change

With any marketing transformation you’re ultimately looking to generate more value – whether that’s through improving marketing effectiveness, creating operational efficiencies or driving growth through better customer experiences

To start to understand what needs to change, you first need to listen – to your team(s), customers, and any other key stakeholders to identify the good (the things you want to keep or build on), the bad, and more importantly the underlying root causes across both.

This will give you insights and clarity on what underlying issues need to be addressed in your marketing – whether that’s process, capabilities, or technology and how you might start to address them.

Actively managing the transformation (the execution)

When it comes to managing and implementing change within your marketing teams there are a few key things to think about:

Shared Vision

Simon Sinek does a great job highlighting the importance of why everything should start with a purpose, including your transformation. Why are we changing, what are we looking to achieve?

If your teams don’t understand the outcomes you’re now looking for, this will lead to confusion, lack of buy-in for the transformation and discord within the team.


The next factor is skills. What skills or capabilities are needed to drive the transformation? For example agile marketing, data literacy, understanding of new technologies etc. Does your team have these, or do they have the training to enable them to execute on what they are being asked to do?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, and there are no plans to upskill or bring in the right skill sets, then you risk your team feeling anxious about how they are going to drive the change.

This is a great opportunity in the marketing transformation journey to review the skills you need now and in the future for a successful marketing team. Map your team skills and identify the gaps – note this isn’t about job titles, this is about the skills to plan and execute on your marketing activity.


I see a lot of businesses try to maintain current levels of performance whilst asking their marketing teams to adopt the new/target state or to do more with less, particularly during times of uncertainty and a poorer economic climate like the one we’re in now. This can lead to frustration.

What resources are available? Are they sufficient to drive the transformation? What additional resource is needed? And if it’s not possible to bring in additional resources, what can be deprioritised to ensure existing teams have the capacity to take on the new requirements?

These are all things that you need to consider and guide your teams on – so they can maintain focus on key business priorities and delivering value for the marketing function.


When it comes to change, we must remember that we are dealing with people and that means thinking about how we make the change relevant to them, so they see the value and benefits.

Get this right and it can get you the consensus and buy-in needed to make the change work, get it wrong and it can lead to resistance.

When we talk about incentives this doesn’t have to be monetary. Developing new skills, whether that is in different areas of marketing, or new experiences across different markets or products can also be meaningful incentives. Whatever you choose, it’s important to be consistent, follow through with any promise and ensure it ties back into the shared vision.


You wouldn’t go to market without a clear strategy so why should your transformation be any different? A clear strategy, milestones to work towards and plan of action for how you progress is key. This helps to monitor the transformation and give your teams a clear direction.

Without this, programmes risk false starts or a sense of moving around in circles and not gaining any traction with the programme.


Ensuring your programmes have a clear governance and framework in place is critical to success. Without governance it can cause inconsistency and slow progress due to confusion re who is in charge / where to go for support, back-tracking on decisions etc.

That means ensuring:

  • Clear marketing transformation leadership roles
  • Clear structure that organises and coordinates the transformation programme
  • Clear processes and decision-making structure

Manage the change curve to realise impact of change at pace

In any marketing transformation there is going to be a dip in performance in the short term. As business leaders we must accept this with the view that the longer-term gains (improved customer experiences, ROI, and higher performing teams) will outweigh any short-term impact.

The aim of any change management process is to manage and address all the elements above to create a shorter dip and increased pace of sustainable change. If change is constant and inevitable, managing that change for a successful transformation is essential. If you’re not managing the marketing transformation, you are missing a key opportunity to harness change, which is happening in your team, but could be to the detriment of your marketing rather than improvement – direct the change, set a vision, and implement change sustainably.

Sian HeaphyThe complexity of marketing transformation
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Setting clear objectives and key results can transform your marketing

Setting clear objectives and key results can transform your marketing

Does it feel like you’re working away on marketing activity, without focusing on the overall business goals? You’re not alone.

Without clear and tangible goals, it can be difficult to measure marketing progress, and to ensure it is aligning with what you want your teams to achieve. By implementing a system to regularly check in on clearly defined objectives, you can create a culture focused on measuring results and delivering value. This is where OKRs come in.

What is an OKR?

OKRs have become pretty well adopted across most businesses now, but it’s always worth a reminder… Objectives and key results – or OKR’s – are a great way to define what your individual and teams’ goals are, and what achieving them will look like.

As the name suggests OKRs are broken down into:

Objectives: the business goal you wish to achieve. Your objective should be aspirational, memorable, and qualitative.

Key Results: results we want to achieve on the way to successfully achieving the objective. A general rule of thumb is to have no more than 2-5 key results per objective.

When used effectively, OKRs allow an organisation to:

  • Focus and commit to priorities
  • Align and connect teamwork
  • Be accountable through tracking
  • Stretch to achieve ambitious results

Using OKR’s for greater marketing agility

Having well-defined OKRs are a great way to encourage a move away from untargeted, scattered and ad-hoc marketing activity, and towards work aligned with achieving wider business goals.

OKRs can help transform your marketing activities into business value by:

Keeping teams on track – with OKRs set, teams can act more autonomously on their own initiative, with clearly-defined goals. They encourage a “what’s next” mentality which can help drive campaigns & projects forward.

Focusing on results – by adopting OKRs, you’re promoting a results-focused culture. This will have a knock-on effect in terms of your teams’ bandwidth – doing more doesn’t help if there’s no significant impact on the overall goals, meaning the sole focus is on work & tasks that contribute to the right outcomes, rather than quantity.

Prioritising goals – OKRs help with prioritising your marketing backlog, if a user story (or task) won’t assist in achieving your OKRs, it’s not a priority. They can also help you evaluate progress and against clearly defined goals.

Self-organising teams – agreeing on objectives as part of the OKR process allows teams to take initiative, and work towards confirmed goals.  This incentivises a leaner, more focused workload, with a lesser chance of teams burning out.

Agile marketing transformation – one of the main obstacles to greater marketing agility is a perceived lack of predictability. With OKRs, you can overcome the unknown, by committing to deliver business results within a set period, such as a quarter. OKRs aren’t about sending a certain number of emails per month for the sake of doing so – they are about working on what delivers the best outcomes and incremental experimenting to discover what works best. Through iteration, you can not only measure progress, but also have the scope to experiment with marketing outputs to achieve results, without using excess time or budget.

Getting started with OKRs

When introducing OKRs, you don’t have to start large – one way to do it is to identify 3-4 key objectives to be achieved across a longer period, such as an entire year. These will be larger objectives and are usually agreed upon at a senior level, such as by the board or leadership team for the business to focus on. Once identified, then marketing needs to decide how they can best contribute and demonstrate outcomes and results to support the business achieving them. The final stage is to break them down within each quarter of the year.

This mixture of a larger, yearly target, alongside smaller quarters can assist in showcasing how objectives in one particular area can contribute to the wider organisation. As well as making it easier for the marketing team to stay focused and work towards larger goals by achieving and calibrating against quarterly targets as well as breaking them down further into shorter sprints.

Setting measurable key results is essential for reaching your objectives. While having an annual measurement may be beneficial, one opportunity a year won’t provide enough insight into whether the work has been successful or not – regular data collection can ensure that goals are being met in real-time across the year!

Questions to ask when setting OKRs

When setting your OKR’s, you should ask yourself some vital questions to ensure they make sense from a business and resource perspective.

OKR setting – questions you should ask

  • What does the business want to achieve?
  • Who do you want to target, in a given timeframe?
  • What milestones are you putting in place to track your goals against your sprint activity?
  • What reporting are you using to monitor your work? Consider what is available to measure based on your current tech stack.
  • What performance do you want to see across chosen channels?
  • Does this data provide insight am I avoiding vanity metrics?

Getting your OKRs right at the start of the process can prove highly beneficial for a campaign, so it’s worthwhile to spend some time thinking about these questions. Well defined and realistic OKRs can have a positive impact on marketing strategy, by promoting learning and reflection.

Performance matters, OKRs give the scope to improve marketing performance

OKRs can have plentiful benefits for your business and teams. They can promote a culture focused on delivering – and measuring – value and help align activity towards achieving business goals. They also act as a safety net to enable timely course correction and demonstrate how marketing is contributing towards achieving the overall business goals. By highlighting areas of underperformance or market opportunities you can adapt and realign your strategy, campaign or project to achieve better marketing outcomes.

Lydia KirbySetting clear objectives and key results can transform your marketing
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How to get ahead with a blended approach to outsourcing

How to get ahead with a blended approach to outsourcing

We work with a number of businesses that start our conversation by saying “we need support as our current team just don’t have the time.”

What they really mean is “our current team don’t have the right skills to execute what we need.”

There is nothing wrong with this at all, agile marketing brings people together to work as a cross-functional team and supports deploying the right skills at the right time.

Often, what is needed are skills that are not core to the business, so it doesn’t make sense to keep them in-house. Augmenting or fully outsourcing a team can quickly, and cost-effectively give you the skills you need when you need them. You get access to a team of specialists, who collaborate with key stakeholders in your business to deliver great campaigns and support your team.

This is not a new concept. Businesses have been outsourcing skills for centuries, it’s just that the skills needed in marketing have changed. So, if you need skills that your team doesn’t have, think about augmenting through outsourcing. It’s a great way to bring a fresh perspective, boost energy levels, foster innovation, and test new ideas. Whilst also transferring skills and embedding new ways of working with your internal team.

If all this is true and let’s assume that it is. Why do businesses engage with outsourcing and then feel that the right course of action is to stop outsourcing and try to bring the skill in-house? To save money is my first thought. I get that, not wanting to take money out of your business when you can employ someone to do it and they might be able to add some value elsewhere. Not terrible logic but does it really work like that?

In the cold light of day, no, it isn’t that simple. You’re replacing a team of people with one person, in one industry or sector. Compared to your outsourced team that works across multiple brands, has deep industry & sector experience, combined with unparalleled insight into what’s working and what’s not gleaned from across the clients they support. Your hired individual just couldn’t get that range of experience in the same time period. It’s not their fault it’s just a benefit of using skilled specialists.

Your outsourced team spends all day, every day working for other businesses to expand their experience. From this, they can spot trends in the market, and know what works for different audiences across the board and not just in your industry. Testing and learning for other people to apply those learning to improve your marketing in areas you may never have considered.

Consideration of the impact of outsourcing on your Opex is also important. With outsourcing you can negotiate and benefit from a short-term commitment in terms of termination or changing the arrangement so you can scale up as you grow or downscale at short notice.

Conversely, you can achieve greater marketing effectiveness faster by bringing in an experienced team with less ramp time than hiring and upskilling. At the end of the day, investors and your finance team may value the predictability and stability of cash flow that outsourcing some or all of your marketing brings.

The benefits to outsourcing are huge vs the downside (having to pay money out of your business). If you engage with the right team (Bright!) at the right time, you will find that they quickly become an extension of your business and care just as much about your success as you do.

If you would like to explore this option further, please get in touch

Alexandra JefferiesHow to get ahead with a blended approach to outsourcing
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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.


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.


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.

Zoe MerchantThe three pillars of marketing
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Leading or lagging: Is your marketing fit for purpose?

Leading or lagging: Is your marketing fit for purpose?

When marketing in a dynamic space, such as tech products, subscription, or consulting services, you have to find ways to stand out and differentiate in order to engage your target audiences. Common sense indeed, but often hard to achieve when markets move at pace. In such dynamic environments, business leadership need to understand how marketing is; and can contribute to achieving business goals. What questions need to be asked to explore the real value of your marketing investment in order to determine if your marketing is fit for purpose? Is your marketing nimble enough to take advantage of ever-shifting markets and different audience needs? Can traditional techniques help you rapidly exploit new opportunities before your competition does? Does your marketing team measure, learn and improve in everything it does?  And can your operating methods balance these competing demands at scale?

B2B marketing now hinges on your ability to execute with agility and pace. This means you need to deep dive into the data to understand performance across a number of dimensions. What’s more, you have to be strategic enough to use that knowledge for driving improvements.

Transform marketing and drive business goals

Forward thinking organisations are looking at how they work more effectively as well as the outcomes they deliver. Agile marketing is a whole new way of working. Well-deployed agile marketing is a thing of beauty; with continually improving harmonious messaging and outreach integrated via the right tools and channels to engage your audience. It’s measurable and results focused to align and contribute to business outcomes, build pipeline and sales. It also builds reputation and strong brands that attract the right talent to your team and creates really compelling (not yawn-worthy) propositions that engage your key audiences.

The best part – it’s data-driven, not fluffy, not led by gut instinct, and not ambiguous. Agile marketing allows you to test hypothesis and is based on measurement and KPIs that inform every action taken.

Mobilising agile marketing

Let’s examine what it takes to move your marketing towards a more agile model, how to avoid some common mistakes and what it means in reality:

Measure and be smart

B2B marketing needs to be personal and relevant. It also needs to be measurable there is no room for fluffy ill-defined marketing tactics that don’t show a business outcome. Your starting point is to focus on persona development and user stories for your target audience. Combined with clearly defined and understood sales stages and understanding what a buyer needs from your organisation at each stage. You also need a good understanding of what’s trending in your markets, what’s important to your decision makers and this has to be continually updated. Bring all this together (prospect, market and sales stage data) to inform and iterate your messaging, tactics and content generation to engage your audience at pace.

You need to map your product or service lifecycle, set benchmark KPIs and establish triggers so you can quickly take actions to either replace underperforming products or services, or repurpose and reposition to maintain growth. Understanding your client satisfaction and behaviours will help you to pivot successfully and tap into new seams of opportunity. You can do this via data analysis, or qualitative research. I cannot stress enough the importance of building strong relationships with your clients; a closed feedback loop will provide you with the insight you need to flex your position, quickly (and help with retention).

Harmonious business development

To drive marketing at pace, you need a strong and symbiotic relationship between marketing and sales. You need to know what good looks like for your organisation and set targets that align sales and marketing to support the business goals. To do this you need to have a good handle on your pipeline and sales funnel. Having a clear end-to-end lead management process, with defined stages to track conversion and KPIs as prospects engage with marketing campaigns and journey through the sales funnel allows you to quickly address areas of underperformance and take action. Your team need to be agile in the way you operate and deliver marketing campaigns to focus marketing efforts where they will make most impact.

Sales and marketing need to be unified and collaborative to continually improve conversion and maximise the contribution of marketing investment. Common mistakes include not involving sales stakeholders in marketing campaign inception, lack of internal communication regarding marketing activities and poor collaboration to understand impact and steer optimisation to improve results.

Sales and customer facing feedback is a key competent when understanding how marketing messaging, tactics and outreach can be sharpened. The result – greater client and prospect engagement, to improve retention and ultimately sell more stuff.

Establishing agile marketing in your organisation

Pace comes through optimising your working practice, and agile ways of working have provided a strong catalyst for growth in the tech industry with continual deployment now the norm.

Marketing can adopt agile ways of working by redefining its marketing operating model in order to execute at pace whilst maintaining control and mitigating risk to deliver results that will drive business growth. Agile marketing gives organisations a significant edge over competitors giving you the ability to go to market quickly without the cumbersome and expensive trappings of a more traditional approach. You start with an idea, test, learn and build on success. Working iteratively and driving execution via sprints scaling as you increase momentum and build on success.

A critical success factor is being data-driven, so it’s evidentiary, which means you aren’t working on ‘gut feel’ alone, you use data at each stage test your hypothesis and prove your instincts are correct. Instead you’re putting effort into iterating and improving to increase performance whilst ensuring you align to your business goals. It’s a model that can rapidly transform your marketing performance in many areas. For example, the ability to rapidly develop and test propositions, deliver always-on agile campaigns that evolve to maintain engagement whilst building pipeline; craft content strategies that are mapped and validated against your buyer journey, and reverse-engineered to ensure the sales interface is supported at every stage to maximise conversion.

Getting started can be hard, start small test, learn and expand. Ideally work with a partner that knows what it is doing to get you up and running effectively.

Marketing as a business driver and competitive advantage

Marketing practice needs to evolve to take the best of agile forward to continually adapt and drive results at pace whist demonstrating marketing contribution through measurable KPI.

Only by working in this way will organisations be able to demonstrate the agility and pace needed to remain competitive in uncertain times. Critically everything is measured and aligned to your business goals which ensures businesses remain relevant to target audiences while maintaining growth.

Zoe MerchantLeading or lagging: Is your marketing fit for purpose?
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