I had an opportunity to find out at the recent B2B Marketing Ignite conference, where Gemma Davies, Marketing Director at Apptus, Dave Stevens, Marketing Director at British Land, Nicola Anderson, VP Marketing for Go Cardless and Rishi Dave, CMO for Dun and Bradstreet took part in a panel discussion hosted by Jess Pike, Senior Editor, B2B marketing.
Because, despite what you may hear, B2B is every bit as tough as it’s B2C cousin. And whether you’re at the start of your journey or in the depths of it, it’s a fast-evolving landscape, with new trends, methods and technologies to keep abreast of at every turn.
So how do you stay ahead, when many would-be mentors are so busy trying to keep up themselves?
And, most importantly, how do you do it without burning yourself out?
Here are some of the interesting points that came up during the discussion…
‘Your career path is up to you’
Understand where you want to focus your career, and identify any skills gaps you may have by talking to a recruiter or working closely with a senior marketer in your business.
Notably, when asked ‘What skills are lacking in new graduates?’ one area that came out more than the rest was marketing planning.
Do you know the basics?
It’s fundamental to get a strong grasp on the basics before deep-diving into a specialism.
When asked if people should specialise early on, one comment was “Everyone should try agency side to get experience of working across multiple clients”.
However, with B2B marketing growing so fast, it is important to develop deep expertise – and specialising is one way to focus your efforts and be great at one particular area, instead of just ‘ok’ at many, with one comment being: “One thing that the B2B marketing industry is missing is good people”.
“You need to move around to keep thinking like the customer and not the business” – a very important point. As a marketer it is your responsibility to truly understand your customers, to guide sales in achieving the right approach to build pipeline in the best way for your business.
And never stop learning.
“Reach out to people you really admire” and “As a marketer, you should market yourself as well as your company” – comments that demonstrate the importance of self-promotion to building a profile and with it a strong career. But keep it subtle. A strong LinkedIn profile, and active Twitter and LinkedIn accounts are good. Share and discuss relevant, interesting topics and write or record your own blogs or VLOGS if you have time!
How to stand out in interviews
When asked ‘what are you looking for in new recruits’, the panel gave some pertinent advice: “Always follow up after an interview”. We were given an example of someone who couldn’t answer a question about a competitor in an interview. But, the candidate followed up the next day with a full swot analysis on that competitor. An excellent way to stand out, and show dedication and perseverance. A mental block during the interview doesn’t have to mean you give up!
And finally, we were reminded “just surround yourself with people you aspire to”.
So, just as in life, learn from inspirational people you look up to stay motivated and on the right path.
To discuss your own career path and either get started on the road to marketing success or to get back on the right tracks if you’ve become a little sidelined, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)1525 290 870