April Dunford, CEO, Sprint.ly
Product framing is the act of providing context to help prospects understand what you are and why they should care. As simple as the concept is, it is rarely done consciously if at all. The talk discussed what framing is, how it can help your products be more successful and how there are 4 styles of framing to consider.
“Prospects need context to help them understand what your product is and the value that it delivers. Providing the wrong context can give your competitors an edge in the market. Marketers should consciously evaluate potential frames for their offerings and choose the one that puts them at an advantage.”
Watch April’s presentation here
Glen Drummond, Chief Innovation Officer, Quarry
Rebuilding the view of the customer for the experiential shift
“Product-focus” is increasingly contrasted (unfavorably) with “customer- focus.” So is this a bad time to be a “Product Marketer?” No, “product marketers” are responsible for targeting insight. And so they can set the stage for differentiating customer experiences through the depth and quality of that insight. But there is a proviso: Segmentation frameworks that were optimized for product-centric marketing are not good vessels for the kind of insight that leads to experiential differentiation.
“Segmentation frameworks are technology. Specifically, they are “conceptual infrastructure.” Like other infrastructure technology, they often operate unnoticed … until something breaks. Like other infrastructure technology, they are subject to occasional obsolescence. And the trend of customer experience to become a major differentiation factor across many industries means there is a wave of such obsolescence underway.”
Watch Glen’s presentation here
Bruce Warren, SVP Product Marketing, VisionCritical
Product Marketing is undervalued in many organizations today, but this is not a fault of management. Rather, it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the value the function brings. It is only by clearly defining and articulating the role and how it can contribute to profitable growth that this can be overcome. The presentation covers the key challenges and opportunities of establishing Product Marketing at B2B technology companies.
“Product Marketers should think about their role in two key areas: 1. “Product” focused work (market requirements, buyer personas, competitive intelligence, pricing & packaging, etc.) and 2. “Marketing” focused work (product/solution positioning, marketing planning, Public Relations and Analyst Relations support, sales tools and collateral, etc.). Getting the balance right for your organization’s needs is key to driving the value of the PMM function at your company both for individual contributors and managers.”
Watch Bruce’s presentation here
Mei Burgin, Cloud Marketing Leader, IBM North America
B2B buying behavior has evolved. To engage and attract clients today, we need a new marketing approach that revolves around the buyer.
We must use data—at every stage of the process—to see, understand, and respond to the needs of our buyers. We must dramatically shift:
- From product-focused to buyer-centric
- From push marketing to inbound, digital engagement
- From imprecise segmentation to buyer cohorts
To this end, IBM has spearheaded the “New Work of Marketing” initiative. Mei Burgin discussed key learnings so far, surrounding “Diamond Teams”, Activation, Culture Change and their 26-Step Operating Model.
Watch Mei’s presentation here
Jonathan Grieb , Practice Leader
The buying environment is changing: customers have more information sources and are more empowered than ever to make decisions about their problems, potential solutions and your offerings. The result is a disturbing trend towards commoditization, where customers are no longer willing to pay for the differences in performance. CEB shares how winning suppliers challenge their customers with new ideas about their business and employ modern marketing strategies that re-frame how customers assign value to those differences.
We’ve included a link to Jonathan’s video presentation.
Richard Weiss, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Influitive
At the end of the day your customers are people. As Product Marketers we have to stop thinking about them as logos and learn to build lasting relationships that are give and take to get to know them on a 1-to-1 level. When you do, you reap the rewards. They become a part of your marketing stack and in indispensable resource.
Big Idea: “Build a relationship with your customer that goes beyond the transaction and you’ll be paid back in dividends.”
Watch Richard’s presentation here
Jeff Lash, Group Director, Go-to-Market
The relationship between Product Marketing and Product Management can sometimes be strained, contentious or non-existent. There is often confusion or conflict about roles and responsibilities and highly-charged opinions about how the functions should work together. However, in high performing organizations, there is close collaboration between Product Marketing and Product Management. The presentation explored the best practices for both functions, including roles and responsibilities, activities to promote interlock and the evolution of each role.
“Just as important as clear responsibilities is the recognition of how the two functions need to interlock throughout the entire innovation, go-to-market and product life cycle process. Even when one role takes the lead on a specific activity or deliverable, they cannot complete it in isolation or just throw things over the wall to each other. High performing product organizations recognize the importance of both roles and structure their processes to ensure alignment.”
We’ve included a link to Jeff’s video presentation.
Jon Gatrell, Instructor
Pragmatic Marketing Inc.
The market is moving too fast for legacy methods and processes in Product Marketing. With buyers, users and markets evolving, the strategic planning and delivery models for marketers need to change. This presentation provides a starting point to start thinking agile and changing the planning process for marketing teams.
“Knowing your market and applying market driving priorities are critical to positioning your business and products for market leadership.”
We’ve included a link to Jon’s video presentation.
To help our clients understand their buyers, SiriusDecisions conducts significant and objective primary research. One of the most interesting discoveries revealed via our most recent b-to-b buying study is that there is not one buyer’s journey. In fact, there are three common, distinct scenarios of buying behavior that we isolated. It’s important to know which buying scenario that an offering or campaign is associated with in order to align go-to-market strategies to how b-to-b buyers buy.
Buying Scenario: Committee
This is a highly complex purchasing process; the buying decision is phased, structured and hierarchical. This scenario is typically associated with large buying entities, most commonly organizations with $1B or more in annual revenue, and representative of offering types with price ranges in the hundreds of thousands to more than $1 million. The length of the buying cycle clusters around six months; however, we observed many instances of the purchasing decision lasting longer – as much as a year or more to make a decision to buy (licensed members can read the brief “The SiriusDecisions Buying Decision Process Framework”). In a committee scenario, our study showed that six to 10 individuals were involved in the decision to purchase across multiple departments or functions (buying centers). The committee buying scenario requires the highest level of interaction between the buying entity and the provider organization to facilitate a decision to purchase an offering (licensed members can read the brief “The SiriusDecisions Buying Interaction Model”). We observed, on average, approximately 18 interactions (nine non-human intereactions and nine human-to-human interactions) occurring in this type of scenario.
Buying Scenario: Consensus
Consensus was the most common buying scenario that SiriusDecisions observed across all organizational size dimensions. Consensus is a team-based buying scenario where multiple people are involved across the organization. The typical price range for an offering in this scenario was $50-500MM USD (with longer tails for billion-plus for organizations with more than $500MM in revenue, and longer tails for under $50MM for emerging organizations [under $50MM in revenue]). In this buying scenario, the decision is horizontal and canvasses multiple departments or functions. It is not as complex as the committee buying decision because does not go to a senior level executive team, but it is still moderately complex as consensual decisionmaking is much harder to facilitate, given there are so many dynamics given the involvement of multiple buyer personas that must be influenced and informed in order to attain the vote to purchase the offering. We observed, on average, approximately 14 (seven non-human interactions and seven human-to-human interactions) occurring in this type of scenario.
Buying Scenario: Independent
This is a simple buying scenario where one or just a couple of people were involved in the decision to purchase, and the decision was easier to facilitate than committee or consensus decisions. The decision to purchase is made by one or two buyer personas and does not go either horizontal (consensus) or vertical (committee); the decision remains in a specific function or department. Thus, because the purchase is independent of the consensual voting or formal committee approval-type dynamics and there is no need to gain consensus represented by the other buying scenarios, the decision can be made independently or in isolation. It’s important to not confuse this scenario with transactional or e-commerce purchases. While the independent scenario is most related to those types of purchasing methods, our research has identified offerings purchased over the Internet in the other buying scenarios as well. This buying scenario is the least complex, as there is less impact from internal influencers and the provider only has to inform and persuade one or two key buyer personas. This makes it much easier to devise messaging, content and campaigns. The independent buying scenario requires the least amount of interaction between the buying entity and the provider organization to facilitate a decision to purchase an offering. We observed, on average, approximately 12 interactions (six non-human interactions and six human-to-human interactions) occurring in this type of scenario.
The 2015 SiriusDecisions B-to-B Buying Study reports observations from studying the recent b-to-b buying decisions of over 1,300 b-to-b executives across North America and Europe. For more information on the reports (available to members of the SiriusDecisions portfolio marketing research and advisory service), download the brochure. For members of the portfolio marketing service, click here to read the full research brief with deeper data and insights.