The field of business-to-business (B2B) marketing has evolved over the past several years to really embrace new media. Customers consume information in so many different ways now that marketing must be much more strategic than it was in the past. For a long time in the B2B space, marketing meant outbound messagingómarketers created toolkits and messages to push out to customers and prospects. That is still part of the process, of course, but the field is much broader today. The impact of marketing on the business is increasingly measurable and marketers are tasked with delivering value every step of the way.
Jamie Watt is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Exoprise Systems, Inc., a Waltham-based company that helps businesses determine what applications they can migrate to cloud-based alternatives, then helps them manage the process. He has been in the technology and B2B space for over 15 years and recently joined this start-up company. Jamie appreciates both the creative and strategic sides of marketing and can be found on Twitter @jamie_watt. He shares his thoughts with Manya Chylinski about B2B marketing, marketing for a start-up, and the future of the field.
What is it like marketing for a start-up company?
Itís challenging, exciting and very rewarding. As in any startup, we all wear a lot of hats. As the sales and marketing guy Iím responsible for messaging, web presence and SEO, PR, content development, lead gen, the whole marketing enchilada Ė plus sales and customer relations. Prioritization can be hard, because you donít have enough time or resources to do everything you might like. So you have to figure out where to focus and identify what needs to be perfect. Fortunately, we now have a whole new world of tools and communication channels, making it easier to reach out and have our story heard.
How does marketing for a start-up differ from marketing for a more established company?
While larger companies may have well-defined markets, products and value props, a start-up is usually still figuring much of that out. So we need to be very nimble - constantly experimenting with messaging and different ways of interacting with our customers. Same goes for product development - being responsive to initial customer feedback is important. Start-ups also have to be hyper-efficient, always looking for smart, impactful ways to connect with the market and prospects.
What is the marketing trend that resonates best with you or what you need to do for Exoprise?
Without a doubt, the content marketing movement is changing this business function forever. Sometimes called ďinbound marketingĒ, the main premise of content marketing is that businesses need to educate and deliver value to their prospective customers in every step of the buying cycle. People rarely want to be sold to, but they welcome being educated about subjects that they find important. And when the customer is ready to buy, youíll be top of mind. At Exoprise this means being a trusted resource for organizations considering the cloud, creating valuable content and information, and making it easily accessible.
What do you see in the future of marketing in your industry?
The next ten years of B2B marketing will be nothing like the last, and thatís due primarily to the advent of social media. The proliferation of social networks has introduced fundamentally new power dynamics Ė allowing the customer to learn a great deal about a company, a product, or a person long before a sales person is involved. A lot of companies are now working hard to figure out how to best manage and take advantage of these new dynamics.
But the opportunities are endless for new types of relationships and interactions between companies, customers, prospects, industry experts and others. The field of marketing will dramatically change because of these innovations, as will many functions in the B2B world, and itís all very much a work in progress. I find that very exciting.
What marketing resources do you turn to again and again?
Iíve been a fan of the HubSpot community for years and I keep finding the content and resources there of value. HubSpot is one of the pioneers and chief evangelists of content marketing and they have inspired many people to rethink the way they do business. I also subscribe to a variety of LinkedIn groups and am getting involved with the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. Marketing today is so different than it was just a few years ago and everyone is doing this for the first time really. Keeping up is important.
How does being in Boston add to your value proposition?
Itís an incredibly exciting time to be in marketing in Boston. I participated in some of the Future M events last week, including the Inbound Marketing Summit, and was blown away by the talent and energy that came together. We have a very real opportunity to establish Boston as the global leader in the new era of marketing, a destination for people who want to be around the best minds and technologies in this field. Marketing is becoming more strategic to every enterprise, and the best marketers are in Boston. Itís all good!
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