Laura PattersonIn the run-up to the B2B marketing forum 2014 Shimon Ben Ayoun (spotONvision) spoke to expert and keynote speaker Laura Patterson. Her carrier started twenty years ago in sales and now she is marketing consultant. Laura is a marketing pioneer and is recognized as a leading authority in marketing in the field of measurement and performances, marketing operations, marketing data and analytics. She has helped hundreds of companies in different fields with executing and accomplishing their sales opportunity and achieve competitive advantage. In this interview with Laura we are taking a closer look at how the contemporary marketer being a serious discussion partner can take place in the boardroom.

What is ‘relevance’ in B2B marketing?
According to Laura relevance is about showing the added value of marketing. Laura’s company researched that less than 10% of the management members use marketing data with taking strategic decisions about for instance the market, product or clients. It is the marketer’s job to provide the management team with this data. Many marketers lose an opportunity here. Laura says marketers have no choice. The relevance of marketing also has to get through to the boardroom.

But we do have data, don’t we?
Laura: “not all collected information is relevant for the management team. Many marketers have invested in powerful programs that process data. Only not all data that these programs produce (click through rate, number of followers, number of likes etc.) is digestible for the management team. “ According to Laura statistics like ‘number of followers’ or ‘percentage opened mails’ and analyses that follow from that don’t offer enough insight. This doesn’t mean that marketers have the wrong data. They just have to put it in a better package.

“Many marketers have invested in data infrastructure to make analyses. Systems like marketing automation programs, CRM systems and social media tracking tools. These systems can run good reports only it is the marketer’s task to provide the right insights and recommendations to the management team. With this it is also important that the analyses meet the business objectives. Marketers still have the urge to provide a service like making a brochure, website or email campaign.

Does the marketer have to take more responsibility for the end result?
“Yes, B2B marketing should correspond with the business objectives. At this time there is a small group of marketers that use this approach successfully. It’s not only easy but it requires a different mindset and eats a lot of energy. However, if marketers want to add value to the organization and excel, then their marketing should correspond with the business objectives,” says Laura.

What exactly is the role of marketing in the boardroom at ‘best-in-class’ companies?
Marketing has a prominent role within best-in-class companies in the boardroom. The influence will be increased by:

a)               Correspondence of marketing with the business objectives
b)               Showing a link between marketing activities and the results

Marketing department as powerless service department?
Laura: “marketers will have to take more initiative to justify their expenses and results. It is important here that bridges are built between other departments like finance, IT, sales, product development and the management. If this doesn’t happen the marketing department stays a powerless service provider that only makes brochures, websites and email campaigns. Because of this the marketing budget will be under pressure sooner or later.

Do you want to learn more about how ‘best-in-class’ companies deal with performance management and choosing the right metrics? Please come to Laura Patterson’s keynote presentation on the B2B Marketing Forum 2014 on 13 March in Utrecht.