If you were to ask a B2B marketer his or her top priorities, what answers would you expect?
Brand awareness...pipeline...content creation...
Let us pause to yawn.
Sure, you've got to get your brand in front of your target market, and if you're not producing results that map to revenue then you're not doing your job. Don't get me wrong, these are all good priorities, but we've heard them a million times.
B2B brands that are crushing it must be doing something different.
We spoke with 8 B2B marketing executives, and uncovered distinct priorities that have led to incredible growth.
Here's what they shared:
Aaron's team focuses on the efficiency and effectiveness of the marketing system they've created.
They are working to avoid the common pitfall of wasting time cranking out content instead of letting specific team members do more strategic work.
Aaron helps his team use more integrated strategies to measure the performance of the assets created.
Abe maintains one of Kaufman Hall's main strategic differentiators - building awareness in new and emerging market segments.
Abe explained that a big part of building awareness is remaining agile.
In addition to remaining agile, he also must keep the sales and marketing teams aligned, so they can remain flexible and not crack under change.
One of Allen's top priorities is internal - to build a world-class marketing organization consisting of free-thinking leaders.
Here's why: one of Emarsys's core values is "We embrace tomorrow."
Allen explains that they don't know what's going to happen tomorrow and they don't know what a customer's going to need tomorrow.
All they can do is build a world-class organization with free-thinkers who love what they do and embrace and adapt to what happens in the future.
Andrea focuses on turning customers into heroes.
She strives for BravoSolution to become a place where companies don't feel like they're being sold to, but can access good data.
Carl focuses on never losing sight of the big picture.
The picture is not that a team member ran a big campaign, got 1,000 leads, high fived someone, and went home. That's interesting, but not important.
What's important is if team members can prove that what they're doing is effective in driving closable business.
Brian's top priority is the quality of his team.
Brian works to keep his team educated on ever-changing marketing technologies, processes, and practices.
Team development includes attending conferences, enrolling in courses, downloading new software, and testing new products.
His second priority is clear, strong communication across the organization. He understands the value of strong collaboration between teams, and says that everyone on the marketing team has to be an ambassador, good communicator, and collaborator.
Elizabeth wants to know what the news of the day means for CommerceHub. That includes staying on top of partnerships, mergers, new ad types, who's doing what, etc...so she and her team can stay on the forefront of change.
She also prioritizes looking down the pipeline with their subject matter experts. She wants to make sure that thought leadership is in place and to inform their product team.
She doesn't want marketing 50 yards down the field while the product is sitting in the back going "Wait, what happened?"
Tim prioritizes helping his team understand that marketing is playing a team sport, not a solo round of golf.
He shares marketing data across the organization. He believes that an important role for marketing to play is to make everybody else in the organization smarter.
He also strives to educate himself on the happenings of other departments, so that he can help shape the success of the business rather than react to its problems.
While marketing executives must focus on things like pipeline and content, it's important to focus on more nuanced priorities that are tied to results.
These could include everything from staying current on market news to educating your team. Just find the things that make the biggest impact on your goals, and prioritize them.
In the end, it's pretty simple: Choose your top priorities, clearly communicate them to your team, and stay focused.
James Carbary is the founder of Sweet Fish Media, a podcast agency for B2B brands. He's a contributor for the Huffington Post & Business Insider, and he also co-hosts the B2B Growth Show: a daily podcast dedicated to helping B2B marketers achieve explosive growth.