I was lucky enough to hear Charles Nixon of Cambridge Marketing College and Shimon Ben-Ayoun of the B2B Marketing Forum speak at the B2B Marketing Conference in Cambridge recently.

They jointly gave an excellent presentation that addressed the changes marketing as a function has experienced and looked at the ever-growing skill set marketers need to master to remain relevant and effective.

It seems unfair to extract one statement from the presentation, but for the purposes of starting a discussion, I hope Charles will forgive me if I pick up this quote.

“Data is the biggest challenge facing the marketers of today.”

Collecting, analysing and managing data in order to make better decisions and be more effective marketers is an important challenge but marketers cannot treat it as their biggest obstacle or main focus. 

I see a different challenge for today’s B2B marketers. The challenge of perspective.

Perspective is being able to see the forest for the trees. 

A large and ever-growing selection of data-driven tactics such as SEO (search engine optimisation), PPC (pay per click), CRO (conversion rate optimization) and marketing automation divert attention from the fundamental competencies of a marketer.

Marketers need an understanding of these tools and their data but the quest for a fractional improvement in click through, search position or conversion rate can be a distraction pulling our attention away from the fundamentals of our marketing mix.

Get the important basics right before looking to incremental improvements.

Positioning, brand equity, market orientation and substantive value propositions need to remain the core focus of the marketer. The diversity and complexity of available marketing tools and data will continue to grow. Marketing teams that establish their brands as authentic, remarkable and valuable are much better placed to adapt and take advantage of these opportunities.