Last week I attended my first SiriusDecisions Summit, which also happened to be my first marketing conference. Aside from walking away with some fun swag (including a book on content storytelling, a new headshot, and fluffy bears for my niece, nephew, and cat), I also left with a lot to ponder.
After a few days of mulling, I’ve two overarching takeaways: firstly, marketing truly has transformed as a discipline, and secondly, there’s no escaping that we are all in this together.
If anyone still thinks that marketing is all about fluffy pictures, they are grossly misguided. Over the course of the past year, I’ve learned a lot about the inner workings of a digital-first, data-driven marketing team and I thought I’ve started to understand the complexities. This conference highlighted just how much I don’t know, and how technical and scientifically driven the field has become. With the abundance of SiriusDecisions B2B marketing models, coupled with countless categories of MarTech platforms to enable these solutions, this isn’t something you’ll learn overnight. It’s a dense, multifaceted, and fascinating field.
We are all in this together
Given the conference theme was ‘Together,’ this is perhaps an obvious takeaway. However, that shouldn’t detract from how crucial working together is for business today. All departments in an organization need to be aligned. Effective organizations break down silos and teams from Marketing and Sales to Product and Operations work together to deliver on the shared goal of customer centricity. SiriusDecision’s Megan Heuer called out that “high performing companies must listen to customers, anticipate and embrace change, and build agility into the business, from strategy to infrastructure.” So in addition to the teams SiriusDecisions noted that need to work together, I’d include the Insights team to that list.
Listening to customers is fundamental. After all, these are the people that we are in business for and these are the people that will keep us in business. We need to get close to them, understand how they think, feel and act in order to meet, and ideally exceed, their expectations. I recently wrote about the role researchers can play in facilitating organizational alignment by opening up the lines of communication, understanding the different languages of the different teams and, most importantly, layering in the voice of the customer to develop shared understandings.
True cross-organizational alignment is challenging and a goal that we’ll all be grappling with for some time to come. But we are in this together and together we’ll be successful.