Today’s eMarketer update caught my eye with this startling graph.
This tells me that understanding the customer–at least among the B2B marketers surveyed–isn’t in the top five areas of responsibility. Further, although recognized as a need, it’s going to take two full years to get there.
In a nutshell, this is why most B2B marketing is terrible and shouldn’t be characterized as such. In my experience, most B2B marketers with 10 years of experience have the same year, ten times. Sure, they do lots of marketing stuff and probably now do lots of social media stuff. (And have no idea why their “content marketing” doesn’t result in “conversations” about thermal control units, but I digress.)
The biggest sin that a B2B marketer can make is not knowing who the customer is. It’s a bigger sin than in the B2C world because with longer sales cycles and higher units of sale, small mistakes upfront can waste massive amounts of sales and sales engineering time. Plus, that doesn’t help with the historical levels of distrust between sales and marketing.
If you’re a B2B marketer and knowing the customer isn’t #1 on your agenda, fix it now.