As we’ve evolved into GET LIFT Agency, we’ve developed a best-in-class team of marketers who have their finger on the pulse of B2B marketing. In this new bi-weekly series, Get to Know our Team, we will introduce you to the thought leaders who will be shaping our business in 2016 and beyond. In our first installment, we’d like to introduce David Pereira.
David Pereira is the VP of Client Services and a partner at GET LIFT Agency. With over 15 years experience in the B2B realm, David has been a driving force in evolving GET LIFT into one of the most respected B2B marketing agencies in North America. David works tirelessly with clients such as American Express, Citrix, SolarWinds and Brightcove on their marketing and sales enablement strategies.
We sat down with David to find out what most surprised him about marketing in 2015, what advice he would give to companies re-thinking their strategies, and what his predictions are for the state of B2B marketing in 2016.
You’ve been in the B2B business now for 15 years, working at both the agency and client-level. Could you provide our readers with a quick summary of how you got to where you are as a partner at GET LIFT Agency?
My introduction to GET LIFT Agency was back in 2007. I was working on SMB acquisition and retention programs for TELUS, a wireless carrier in Canada, and LIFT was one of my agencies.
After leaving TELUS to volunteer and travel for 6 months (I highly recommend this), I came back to Toronto and was ready for an intense job search. Two weeks after my return, I met with one of the owners of LIFT for lunch on Friday…and started on Monday. I’ve now been with the company for almost 5 years!
Then early in 2015 - about 2 weeks after our first child was born, I was given an opportunity to become a partner in the business. I figured that if I was going to be awake in the wee hours of the morning, I may as well be productive so I jumped at the chance. I'm very happy that I did..it's been an amazing experience thus far.
2015 proved to be an interesting year again as we saw a continued shift from outbound marketing to inbound marketing. What changes did you see some of your clients make during 2015?
There's still definitely a place for outbound marketing but I do agree that most marketing departments are ramping up their attention at creating their inbound engine. Content was the king of 2015 and we've noticed that even some of the traditionally slow-moving industries (banking, insurance) are looking to be more progressive with their marketing. I've seen that famous SiriusDecisions stat of buyers completing anywhere between 50-70% of their buying cycle before speaking to a sales person in quite a few client internal presentations. Marketers understand the ramifications of this and thus companies seems to be making the move to being more customer-needs centric rather than shouting incessantly about product.
Also, a lot of the marketing teams we work with have made great strides in developing their relationships with sales counterparts and now include them as part of the content ideation process or even an exercise such as creating buyer personas. It's intuitive and well-documented that best-in-class companies generally have solid Sales and Marketing alignment. For a variety of reasons this alignment has historically been difficult to acheive, but we're seeing marketing and sales leaders stressing the importance of working together and aligning goals and process.
As we head into 2016, many businesses will be re-evaluating their marketing mix and looking at a more significant investment in their inbound marketing efforts. What advice would you give to companies as they finalize their 2016 strategy?
- Be realistic – know where you are in your journey as a marketing organization and build on the groundwork you’ve laid to date. It’s not reasonable to go from laggard to best-in-class in a matter of months. But your team should always be better than last year because of an improved strategy and execution.
- Expect more from technology partners and agencies – include them in some of your planning and have them bring ideas to you. Your partners often have insights on what your peers are doing successfully.
- One size of B2B marketing does not fit all - It’s easy to be overwhelmed with all the new technology available as well as the latest concepts and trends. While it’s incredibly important to be aware of what’s out there and to commit to experimenting, your success is based on how your personas respond. Make sure your marketing (content, tactics, channel) is tailored to your personas
- Focus more on real results and get rid of checkbox marketing. As an agency that can play the role of an objective third party, it’s clear for us to see which of the companies we work with prioritize results over activities completed. Some marketers that place a bigger importance on getting activities completed rarely go back and properly measure and optimize. It’s not due to laziness. It’s due to the fact they’ve moved onto the next big initiatives on their plate. This behavior is a symptom of feeling urgency to check the boxes as complete rather than the urgency to ensure these initiatives are producing results. As part of your planning stage, consider reducing the number of initiatives to be worked on this year and think out how you’ll measure and optimize once a program is launched.
As we head into 2016, what predictions would you make for B2B marketing in the year ahead?
My number one prediction is an increased focus on optimization. A lot of organizations are using the major tactics of B2B marketing such as content marketing, lead nurturing and marketing automation campaigns. However many of these companies put a stake in the ground with the goal of optimizing later when they have more insights and results. In 2016, I believe there will be increased scrutiny on whether these activities are producing the expected results because simply having these programs can no longer be a competitive advantage. Quality matters again.
On a personal note, do you have any resolutions for 2016 that you'd like to share?
One of my personal goals this year is to reduce how often I use my smartphone on a daily basis. After a well-intentioned comment from my wife AND after reading an article about productivity apps, I recently downloaded a couple of apps that actually told me how many times a day I check my phone (Checky) and how much time I spend on my phone (RescueTime). I was shocked and embarrassed. So in 2016, I'm going to be more mindful of un-plugging regularly. I've even put a calendar invite in my outlook from 5-6pm on Monday-Friday to unplug. Technically my wife sent the invite, but you get the point :)
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