Life in a Post GDPR World
The evidence is there that something has happened across multiple industries, I’m not going to quote research at you as we all go on-line and buy stuff. We take that business-to-consumer (B2C) buying patterns and bring it with us into the business-to-business (B2B) world. We see it in tech, in Retail, in Financial Services, Professional Services everywhere!
I’ve sat in I don’t know how many meetings where marketers have said to me “nothing works anymore”.
Nobody looks at adverts, nobody reads your marketing emails and newsletters. We have seen how in a GDPR world many of those lists were castles built on sand as people just ignored your re-opt-in emails. Cold calling doesn’t work anymore or you are going to have difficulty in getting the data, post GDPR.
Corporate marketing has become a blur of companies telling us how great they are, so much so that each message blends into each other. Competitor after competitor says the same thing. So much so that it just becomes noise and we just don’t hear it anymore. I remember at a company where I worked we had a new starter join us from a competitor and we got them to do their company pitch to us. They said all them same things as us and in fact all of the unique selling points (USPs) we used against them in campaigns they actually were their USPs against us. After that presentation, nothing changed.
Websites become deserts as nobody goes to them, they are bland and all the same and they tell you nothing…so what’s the point? A senior Marketing Manager at a major software house recently said to me “5 years ago, somebody filling in a web form was a lead, now it’s a lost deal, as people use websites to validate decisions.” This was a discussion about intent data, but that is a discussion for another day.
Where once you could push clients down the sales funnel, calling them, emailing them and in a way bullying them along. Now you cannot do this, this fundamentally changes the way we sell and market.
Let’s Look at The Internet Enabled Buyer
The internet enabled buyer holds a lot of the cards. They can go on-line and search for products and services. Perhaps your products and services, but you will never know. We all know our customers and prospects do it, we do it and they do it. All of this is in “salesperson avoidance mode” as nobody as ever got up in the morning and said “today I want to talk to a salesperson”. The strange irony is that in a B2B world, because things are often complex, we do want to speak to somebody. An expert. A trusted advisor. And as sales people, we could be just the person they want to talk to. Take DLA, for example, we always get inbound as people see us as the solution to their problem. No I haven’t sold that to them, they have formed that opinion themselves, by checking us out on social.
Back to Our Bad Quarter
A recent analyst said of a company when they posted results that the analysts didn’t like, his comment was “[name of company withheld] issues likely go beyond execution: they appear more deeply rooted in more intense competition in the cloud, reliance on a perpetual model, and perhaps cultural inertia.”
Cultural inertia can mean a number of things, I’ve written before about how people often have systems and processes that are no longer fit for purpose in the modern world. That said, this was the same company that told me they didn’t need to understand social and digital at a senior level as they got interns to do all this. I’m sure this is all totally a coincidence and next quarter will be just fine. A couple of deals slipped we fired a few people and it will all come right, it always does. Or will it? Maybe it’s a time to change?
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