Marketing to marketers is like performing a magic show in front of an audience of magicians.

You have to step up your game, because it’s hard to impress them. So why would anyone take on that challenge?

Maribeth Ross, Chief Marketing Officer at Monetate, is the type of person who likes to take on challenges, so marketing to marketers has been the most interesting time of her career. She’s sat down with a number of those marketers, and in the latest episode of “The Marketing Executive” she shared the marketing challenges they’re running into.

Common B2C Marketing Challenges

The marketers Maribeth talks to are primarily marketing for consumer-facing brands.

Understanding buyer personas—knowing who customers are—is one of the most difficult challenges that marketers face. Everything you do has linkage to that.

Historically, marketers have focused on building buyer personas, perhaps by using focus groups and surveys. The proliferance of technology in the last decade has provided marketers with the opportunity to have lots of data at their fingertips and know their customers even better.

Past Approaches (And Modern Solutions) to the Problem

If understanding customers has been such an age-old problem, how have marketers approached it in the past, and why is now different? In the past, solutions were (mostly) unrelated to technology. They centered around marketers becoming deep experts about their customers. Building buyer personas and looking at past purchase patterns gave marketers insights.

It’s become more challenging today with the advent of so many digital channels.

This has forced B2C marketers to learn how to gain an advantage over their competitors when they may not have a product (or even a pricing) advantage. To do that, they’ve had to learn how to interact with the customer, in the moment.

Changes in the Marketer’s Role

Marketers’ roles have changed as well.

Maribeth jokes with her peers that when she started her career, “Marketing was the ‘logos on pens people.’” The main focus in marketing was around branding a company. Today, that has changed a lot, primarily because of technology. The role of marketing has moved from one that is primarily creative to one that is primarily analytical.

Today’s marketers have a slew of data, but the hard part is actioning upon what they have. What we’re seeing, and will continue to see, is better execution utilizing the technology that marketers have in place.

Understanding the historical behavior of the customer is not enough. You must also react in the moment and change the interaction with the customer at the moment of the customer’s experience.

What the Future of Marketing Holds

So, marketers have become more execution-focused, but will that trend continue into the future?

Maribeth believes so. In today’s world, consumer-facing brands have to do something to differentiate themselves from the competition. With so much shopping happening online, differentiation will come through the utilization of technology. There are brands who have become very good at this, and there are brands struggling to keep up. Maribeth has a theory as to what separates the two. “Experience-based marketing is what is going to differentiate brands from one another going forward.”

This post is based on a podcast interview with Maribeth Ross from Monetate. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Marketing Executive.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

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