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LinkedIn’s Advice for Sustainable B2B Marketing Success: Accept Life is Complicated & Apply Contrarian Thinking

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LinkedIn’s Global Director of Market Development, Jann Schwarz, took the #SMWNYC stage to describe the approach his R&D team is employing to uncover the trends shaping the future of B2B marketing.

Marketing used to be about big ideas and persuading people to take action. At Social Media Week New York, LinkedIn’s Global Director of Market Development, Jann Schwarz, said that it’s time to find the big ideas again and take ourselves as marketers more seriously.

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He then introduced Howard Marks’ contrarian matrix as a framework for finding these ideas, a concept also used by his R&D team to uncover the trends shaping the future of B2B marketing.

The myth of small bets

Making lots of small bets with your marketing budget will end up being very expensive. “If you want big returns, you need to go big on creative”, said Schwarz. “It’s a survival strategy – if you don’t do it, you won’t break through.”

This can be understood when you correlate share of voice, ie the attention you have versus your competitors, and share of the market.

  • If your share of voice is lower than your share of market, your share of market will go down.
  • If your share of voice is higher than your share of market, you will gain market share.
  • Apply this principle to distribution, as well as creative advised Schwarz.

The clickthrough conspiracy

As marketers we are all in on the clickthrough conspiracy; when it comes to marketing effectiveness, we all share stats about clicks. But, suggests Schwarz, if you look at the research, clicks do not correlate with anything at all. They do not correlate with ad recall, brand awareness or purchase intent – so why are we still using clicks? Brands get built through exposure and so the focus should be on reach and frequency.

“Optimizing for clicks will ultimately kill your brand,” he said.

Quantum Marketing

While marketing and physics may not seem to have much in common at first glance, there are surprising similarities in that its principles can be used to manage unpredictable buying processes.

Although most marketers believe in a predictable buying model, based on understanding decision makers, human beings are more complicated than predictable argued Schwarz.

Predictable buying calls for ‘right person, right message, right time’. Unpredictable buying, however, calls for ‘right persons, right messages, right time.’

  • If you can’t predict the right person, then you need broader targeting
  • If you can’t predict the right message, then you need broader messaging
  • If you can’t predict the right time, then you need broader timing

Embrace the ambiguity and ambivalence of life.

To apply these key trends we need to embrace the ambiguity and ambivalence of life.

  • Make big bets to get big returns
  • Measure reach not clicks
  • Think about share of voice, not share of market and what know what the ratio is
  • Accept life is complicated and design for unpredictability, not predictability.

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