PiPOV The State of B2B: Acquisitions, Digital Overload, and the Future of Marketing Technology

Automation and technology are the core of B2B today, but what about the future? How will the digital overload, acquisitions and changing consumption habits? Join Jeff Coveney, Digital Pi CMO, for a panel discussion about what that consolidation means for marketers. Jeff is joined by talks with other B2B Marketing leaders about why consolidation is (finally) happening within B2B—and what it means for marketers. He is joined by Adam Mincham, VP, Executive Global Director, Merkle B2B Group; Colby Cavanaugh, VP of Product Marketing, Integrate; Chris Messina, Vice President of Alliances & Partners, LeanData; and Marne Reed, Chief Evangelist, Brand Experiences, PFL.

Jeff Coveney: In this PI POV we hear from Digital PI partners and where they think B2B fits in the future, from acquisitions to digital overload. There’s a lot to cover. Check it out. When we think about B2B, Adam, you hit on this a little bit in the last question, but where does B2B fit in with Adobe?

Adam Mincham: I think it’s more about, where is it going with Adobe? We talked about the acquisitions they’ve done to date, and then we see them leaning in more, and I think it was a great ad by Marnie on the workfront side, but when we talk about customer experience, we mean customer experience, every touch point with the customer, not just the marketing experience or the media experience, but the sales experience and the service experience, and everything in between. I think that Adobe needs to engage more in that lower funnel or have more of a strategy in that lower part of the funnel and the customer loyalty components, too. Partnerships with the likes of Microsoft most likely is going to play a big part of that, and then there’s going to need to be more acquisitions because it’s critical.

Adam Mincham: When you’re a prospect or unknown, marketing is the center of the universe, but once you become a customer, marketing is absolutely critical still, but only if the service experience and the sales experience and every other component is connected, too. You’re going to get much tighter in that space is my view on it. And commerce as well, in B2B, is double what it is in the consumer world. It’s $7.2 trillion valuation of revenue going through commerce versus half of that on the consumer side. Magento is a great starting point, but commerce is a big complex beast, and I think that there’s going to be more acquisitions and more capabilities coming there, too.

Colby Cavanaugh: Yeah, Adam you talked about the lower part of the funnel, and I think there’s the same work to be done meeting new people, and I think over this last year, that’s been a huge challenge for marketers, with the lack of being able to go out into the field or the lack of being able to go to events, and buyers are kind of dodging us because, Marnie, to your point, we’re sending out a ton of email. We have our SDRs on full alert, making all those outbound phone calls, and so buyers are really good now. Everybody’s working from home at dodging us and doing their own primary research, forming their own opinions, sometimes with your help sometimes without your help. How do we engage in that aspect of the buyer experience to set us up for success after we meet people that are interested in our solutions and bring them through the right experience there. I think that’s the other challenge. Chris, I’m sorry. I think I interrupted you.

Chris Messina: Oh no, no, not at all. This is a panel discussion, so we’re talking. I was there a couple of ago, when I was at the Marketo RKO immediately post-acquisition and the leadership of Marketo stood up on stage and they talked about how with Marketo and Adobe combined, they were going directly after Salesforce. They were pointing at the new building, and since then, it’s been a couple of years, but we haven’t really seen a lot of movement into that space, and I think Scott Brinker really did a good job of summarizing some of the sentiments that are out there is, “Look, Salesforce isn’t going away. That’s the backbone of most people’s tech stacks.” Rather than trying to take each other down, I think one of the operative things that we need to do in B2B is, think about how do these things work together? How do we communicate with one another and share data so that the tools that you’ve invested in are not making your life harder, and that’s one of the operative things that came out of an article that he released just last week is, people are spending more time doing manual processes with more tools, which is the exact opposite of the way things should work. From the B2B perspective, how do we bring some of these things together so that the tools you’re investing in are working together to make your life easier?

Jeff Coveney: A lot of tools out there. How do you bring those together?

Chris Messina: Indeed.

Adam Mincham: And a lot of really good capabilities in those tools, that are needed. They’re needed. They wouldn’t exist if they were not needed.

Jeff Coveney: It’s clear to see that automation and technology are the core of B2B today and will continue to be as companies join forces and scale. What’s your point of view? Love to hear about it at hello@digitalpi.com.

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