Predictable Marketing in 2023

My prediction for 2023 is that marketing will be more predictable than ever. Meaning it will become easier to predict the outcomes of more marketing initiatives and investments than ever before due to advances in technology, especially predictive ones that can track customer behaviors and intentions through digital signals and other mechanisms.

For a simple definition of predicable marketing, I asked my new favorite bot, ChatGPT: “Predictable marketing is a method of marketing that relies on data and analytics to anticipate and meet the needs and preferences of customers. The goal of predictable marketing is to create a consistent, reliable, and predictable experience for customers by using data-driven insights to understand their behavior and tailor marketing efforts accordingly.

To achieve predictable marketing, companies often use a variety of tools and techniques, including customer relationship management (CRM) systems, marketing automation software, and data analytics platforms. These tools allow companies to collect and analyze data on customer interactions, preferences, and behaviors, and use that data to create targeted marketing campaigns and personalized experiences.

Predictable marketing can be effective because it allows companies to deliver relevant, valuable content and offers to their customers, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. It can also help companies to optimize their marketing efforts and improve their return on investment by targeting their efforts more effectively and reducing the risk of wasted marketing spend.”

This last paragraph is of course the “holy grail” of marketing: optimizing investments, programs and tactics to increase both marketing efficiency (ROI) and effectiveness (Impact). As a CMO for nearly 15 years, I’ve been compiling empirical data on what I’ve call “The ROI of Everything,” which is a data-driven approach to making marketing investments. It starts with a discipline to only spend dollars when outcomes can be modeled, measured and adapted to ensure optimal returns. A very simple one can be applied to an in person event or trade show investment by this equation: # of qualified leads x opportunity conversion % x close rate x ACV / event cost (including T&E) = >1.

For example, if one invests $10,000 for an event that products 100 leads, it might seem like a good investment on the surface, but it might not be. Here’s the math from a past one where my company exhibited. 100 leads x 10% conversion x 30% close x $3,000 ACV /$10,000 = .9, so this event ROI was less than one, not including T&E. Now there may be reason why a company would still attend the event, but it won’t produce a positive return relative to other investments, such as purely digital programs, which I’ve typically seen returns of at least 3:1, and sometimes much higher.

Ross Graber, principal analyst at Forrester, supports the idea of more predicable marketing: “Concerns about a recession and economic instability will push B2B companies to pursue more predictable growth strategies in 2023. These strategies will focus chiefly on existing customer growth, complemented by tightly targeted approaches to winning new business.” I would add that more companies will also hone their ICP (ideal customer profile), refine target segments and customer engagement strategies to increase focus, prioritize resources and improve outcomes.

One final thought on the minds of most marketers I know as we enter 2023: increasing contribution to pipeline, whether to acquire net new customers, or grow existing ones or both. This is always a hot topic due to the imprecise nature of attribution in complex B2B sales (e.g. characterized by larger buying committees, longer sales cycles and a wide range of selection criteria). During my first CMO tour of duty, I wanted to demonstrate marketing attribution, so I manually constructed the anatomy of a win by compiling all the Sales and Marketing touch points during the buyer’s journey. It was a very labor-intensive, time consuming task. Fast forward to the present and there are many platforms, such as Demandbase, 6Sense and ZoomInfo, that can track and document every interaction that either progresses a prospect from contact to close, or loses them at some point in the journey. What is great about these platforms is they can help galvanize Sales, Marketing, BDR/SDR organizations to align around more engaged prospects and in so doing increase overall GTM (go to market) efficiency. Gone are the days of “spray and pray”- let’s welcome in the era of plan, progress, and produce predictable pipeline and realize more revenue. Here’s to 2023, the year of #predictablemarketing.

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