By Will Painter, Account Director, Ogilvy PR


I was fortunate enough to take time out of the world of PR to attend the B2B marketing expo, and would encourage B2B communication professionals to do the same if you truly want to get a deeper insight into the challenges your clients are facing.  

An overarching message at the conference which became dominant across a host of captivating presentations was the need to take a holistic approach to marcomms: an understanding to know more than just what is going on in your day-to-day work, and an awareness of what is going on around you and how this affects multiple stakeholder relationships.

Obtaining real insights is one of the major challenges for the marketing industry. Marialena Zinopoulou, CEO, Digital Marketing Association used the analogy of “getting insights out of data is like trying to drink water out of a fire hydrant.”

Big data is a powerful tool, but the right data analytics methods and analysis are needed to extract real value to gain an understanding of the whole customer journey, to inform business decision making.

The “fluffy” side of data capture doesn’t make the cut anymore. CEOs and c-suite decision makers want to understand why results are happening - not just the facts - so they can mirror these tactics across other areas of their business to grow. 

Another challenge faced by marketing is to scrutinise what is fact over fiction in a world of fake news.  Jason Miller, Global Content Marketing Leader at LinkedIn, disputed a recent study of how people are consuming media online, declaring that the “goldfish” is dead: an eight second piece of content that marketeers have been creating in response to claim that the human attention span has been reduced. Jason believes that this is an urban myth and marketeers have jumped on the bandwagon too soon.

Miller argues that producing long form content will in fact yield the highest engagement, with a need to rethink the way marketing decision makers are producing and posting content, and what conversation they want to own.

A quirky comparison was made to the music band, KISS, who in Jason’s opinion are the rock-stars of content marketing. It was great to see such an off-the-wall analogy to hammer the message home: joined up marketing functions are a necessity. 

It’s clear that the industry is recognising the importance of how the marketing jigsaw fits together. From SEO, social, and content to demand gen and PR – these components are contributors to a large ecosystem which inter-connects with each other, collectively responsible and dependent on each other for enabling a business to succeed.