Marketing B2B products can be a highly-specialised affair and, as a result, finding senior leaders in the sector can be a challenge. The knowledge required to become an effective senior B2B marketer can take years to develop; this is particularly true in the business information space where, over the past 18 months, many clients have asked us to help find them top-class product marketing leaders.
Having worked on a number of similar projects recently it has become clear to us at Martin Tripp Associates that there’s an identifiable set of skills that are highly desirable at present. So, if you’re thinking of undertaking a process to appoint a senior b2B marketer, or looking to move into a senior product marketing role, it might be worth bearing in mind the five key attributes we have identified when recruiting product marketers for our clients:
Increasingly our clients are looking for execs who have strong experience in the data aspect of marketing. The ability to accurately measure and then interpret the information that comes back as a result of digital marketing campaigns is key.
An appreciation of Big Data and excellent knowledge of how CRM or marketing software works is also important.
As one candidate recently summed it up: ”It [big data] makes marketing much more relevant and more measurable, and can have a real impact on the bottom line – you can’t really argue against that logic.”
A good candidate will be able to demonstrate an ability to really get under the skin of their market. They should be able to show how they can quickly develop a great understanding of various segment; understand the personas used to target people in each segment; then tailor their marketing message to each group.
While it’s important to identify each of the different groups that use a firm’s products, it’s also important to find out if those people are responsible for buying the products in the first place. It might be the case that you have lots of very happy users, but when it comes to upgrading the technology, or buying greater access, the key decision-maker isn’t a regular user. For instance, in finance it may be the traders who use your product, but it’s the compliance officers who hold the power in the buying decision.
Make sure you’re marketing to the right people.
Voice of the customer
If you’ve been following this blog for the past couple of years, then you’ll know that product management has become a very important within B2B information businesses.
In terms of marketing, it’s really important that a candidate is able to show they understand the voice of their customers. A truly successful product marketer should be well-versed with speaking regularly to their clients; they should understand the pain points of the users; then they should be able to feed the findings back to the product team.
Stakeholder influencing is a key attribute in any marketing leader – they should regularly have to interact with product and sales teams to ensure everyone is meeting their campaign objectives.
As one candidate put it: “a lot of stakeholder management, particularly around product launches, is based around creating a feel-good factor. If people feel included then you get their buy-in.”
Go to market
All of the above should feed into the go-to-market strategy. It’s important to establish what channels a campaign should utilise – whether that’s a live or online event, a webinar, or video podcast. Clearly, digital channels are very important in today’s market as they are relatively inexpensive to use and they are measurable.
An increasing number of clients are looking for a route to market via partners, and this ability to identify relevant partner organizations and to know which or the many possible digital channels will work best for your product, is a skill that in growing evermore desirable.