Shaun Northrop

The B2B ringmaster.

Terug The B2B ringmaster.

B2B marketeers roles are changing, and fast. Moving from producing sales collateral to activating customers and creating markets. And today that means engaging with a wide variety of skills and specialisms. Whether it be social, digital, advertising, design, content marketing, internal communications etc etc marketeers are finding themselves at the centre of an expanding world. Each one pushing their own particular skills as the answer to all their problems. When in fact we all know there is no silver bullets in marketing. No single creative provider can generate everything needed.

What does that mean for B2B marketeers? Well it means that they need to be ringmasters. They need to be able to brief, review and coordinate multiple creative vendors simultaneously in order to produce a fully rounded marketing campaign. And there lies the issue. With an ever-growing list of creative services to choose from how do marketeers even know what to select, yet alone how to brief and manage them? That’s where the need for a ringmaster comes in. A guardian of the brand, a decision maker, an adviser, someone who can connect the dots and keep the right creative vendors in line and on plan. That’s where agencies need to step up. The clue is in the name, agency. An agent for talent, whether that be in-house or not.

Smart marketeers are quite rightly tasking their agency with the briefing, management, coordination and even the payment of these 3rd parties in order to get the maximum from everyone who contributes.

It’s what agencies used to do best, be an agent, a coordinator, advisor for clients. Marketing directors need agencies who can collaborate efficiently and coordinate creatively with the minimal input from them. Yes, it puts pressure on agencies to perform but that’s not a bad thing. It encourages agencies to step-up, lead accounts and manage clients business. Why does this make sense? Well collaboration lies at the heart of agencies, it always has done, it’s part of their DNA. Granted, it’s a little deeper rooted and harder to find  but it’s there. Marketing departments don’t have this naturally, it’s not hard wired, not in their comfort zone. Marketeers manage a roster of agencies, dipping in and out of individual skills and companies and trying to balance, massage and demand great work. And only a small number of B2B marketing directors are taking responsibility for real multi-agency teams. They rarely set a motivating strategic vision, nor establish success criteria – for each individual agency or as a group. They shift responsibility to each participating agency, and being hard-wired to please clients agencies are happy to accept projects and hope that the other guys do the right thing with their work. What does this do? It creates a not invented here approach to work rather than a shared goal attitude.

When marketing directors can offer the ringmaster role to their agency and give them the trust, room, support and confidence they need then their work becomes streamlined. Still in control of the plan and process but now working together with the agency to keep it on track, on brand and on budget. Becoming the ringmaster or nominating your agency as ringmaster frees up marketing time and liberates agencies to do what they do best, collaborate. After all it’s in their DNA.







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