Traditional marketing had the seller in charge. We crafted the messages, pushed them out to our buyers (if we were smart we did so in a targeted way), and hoped for results. We did direct mail, trade shows, spent a lot on advertising. But wait! What did you say? We the sellers are no longer in charge? Disruptive technology (Internet, social media) put buyers in charge…?
So, B2B marketers, it’s time to turn marketing upside down. Our sellers’ heads don’t rule – we have to “listen with our feet.” We need to put our feet in the shoes of our existing and potential customers. Who are they? Where are they? What are they thinking and feeling? What do they need? What is their buy cycle (not what is my sales cycle)? How can we get to know our audience in an authentic way and engage them in our conversation, all the while building credibility and trust and adding value for them?
We need to understand our customers’ stories – we need marketing personas (see my blog entry, “Why B2B Marketing Personas Rule“). We need valuable content to attract and engage prospects so that we can convert them to customers online. This is a marketing paradigm shift. It hasn’t happened for a long time – perhaps since the advent of television? And before that radio?