Mandate for B2B marketers from Marketo CEO: Stop marketing and start engaging

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This week at the Marketing Nation Summit, Steve Lucas, chief executive officer at Marketo, Inc., urged the audience of nearly 6,500 marketers to market less, engage more with customers and stay relevant in a competitive landscape.

"The time is now for marketers to stop marketing and start engaging customers, prospects, employees, and partners by curating personalized, meaningful experiences that resonate with them. This requires a new way for brands to listen, learn and engage," said Lucas. "Winning in this digitally-connected world means delivering authentic brand experiences across all channels and touchpoints that create lasting customer relationships."

During his keynote address, Lucas offered marketers techniques to lead in the engagement economy which includes focusing on value, not volume. With the buyer today being more informed than ever before about the brand, he or she is forming opinions, reaching conclusions and influencing others well before a B2B sales or marketing professional has time to make a pitch.

Because many customers have already formed opinions on their own, more than ever before marketing remains a battle for relevance, Lucas notes. With nearly 50% of the Fortune 500 companies from the year 2000 gone today, relevance is a pressing issue and more so each year.

Thinking about customers as potential brand advocates is also an important strategy, Lucas said. Brand advocates are people that one does not have to ask to promote the brand because they already feel connected to it. A brand advocate will support and help see an organization through its ups and downs.

Brand advocates can be won by aligning the customer and the company on the journey the customer wants to take. Lucas notes that as many organizations have learned the hard way, one can lose or gain a customer based on a bad experience. That is why engagement, led by the marketer, is key to reflect the values of the company. The relationship between the buyer and the brand has changed forever, and the marketer must deliver an experience that resonates.

Lucas believes that marketers have to live by the rules of listen, learn and engage, and employ technologies that deliver experiences at the scale that the customer responds to.

“All of my experience, observations and conversations have convinced me that we must engage with – and market to – our customers. Otherwise, our companies may become irrelevant,” Lucas said.

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