Agents of Change: The importance of keeping your customers close

Agent3 is fortunate to have many, many prominent industry leaders in its network, and avid readers of our blog site will recall that, back in August, we announced the launch of our ‘Agents of Change’ series in which we asked some of these leaders to share their thoughts with us about driving sustainable success in a changed world.  

The series has been a great success, and we’d like to thank all those who have fed back on the content. If you haven’t had a chance to check the site out yet, we strongly recommend you take a look.

John Watton, who at the time of interview was VP of Marketing at search company, Yext, but is now VP Marketing, EMEA at VMware, was one such interviewee who chatted to me about the impact of the pandemic on B2B marketing.

John shared with us his priorities for the marketing team of a fast growth business during a pandemic and, in particular, the challenges of transforming what was already a high performing marketing team in a virtual world.

John believes that success in the post-pandemic world will be about the effective use of data to provide a more personal experience for customers. Indeed, it will be data that drives investment decision making in activities that build relationships with both prospects and existing customers to ensure they are getting the most out of the partnership. 

B2B marketers, says John, must focus on providing a personal, rather than personalized, experiences, truly tailoring the approach to the needs of the individual rather than just using marketing tools, or carrying out activity for the sake of it.  Success will come from understanding each stage of the customer journey and then mapping on activity that will provide the customer with what they need at that stage. Demonstrating this understanding will build trust with that customer and, ultimately, move the marketing needle. 

In addition, John covered:

  • The important role of creativity in the modern day B2B marketing mix as a means to cut through industry noise and make yourself heard, in addition to the data and technology required to communicate, and listen to, your market.  
  • How the SaaS business model has driven marketing focus away from lead generation and towards renewal, which will increasingly depend on the strength of customer relationships.  He described how the SaaS model is an opportunity for vendors to get closer to their customers.

It was a fascinating glimpse into some of the major changes in B2B marketing over the past year. Click here to watch the conversation in full!

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