Six Key Marketing Assumptions in 2021

Forrester-SiriusDecisions Outlines New Opportunities for Demand Generation and Account-Based Marketing in 2021 and Beyond

In 2020, the best-laid marketing plans went awry when the global pandemic hit. With our feet firmly planted now in 2021, critical assumptions must be in place before growth-oriented strategies can be executed. 

Forrester SiriusDecisions lays out six key assumptions for demand generation and ABM experts in this brief, including:

Assumption #1: Adopt Buying Group Metrics to Avoid Becoming Irrelevant

2021 requires a rethinking of the marketing metrics that matter, starting with removing the notion that a single buyer is responsible for purchasing decisions. The reality is that MQLs or leads represent a fraction of the overall buying group that comes together to solve problems and work toward goals. 

According to the brief:

“Transitioning from a view of demand based on individual leads to a buying group-centric view is the single most impactful way for marketing to increase the conversion of demand to revenue.\"

The good news is that increased awareness of this issue and greater availability of enhanced ABM and demand marketing technologies are driving adoption of metrics and systems focused on buying groups.”

The brief goes on to recommend new metrics such as SDR/BDR buying group engagement scores and more.

“Now is the time for marketing and sales to organize around a common goal: the identification, engagement, qualification, and successful winning of opportunities. Joint accountability across marketing and sales for this entire process is the way forward.”

Assumption #2: Buying Signals Are Everywhere — Stop Ignoring Them and Start Acting on Them 

Marketing has always relied upon signals from prospects to gauge a buying group’s propensity to buy and determine the next best action in the sales process. Today, marketing has more data than ever about both buyers and buying groups and the brief discusses the signal data sources.

‘“..Signals can be sourced directly from first-party intent (i.e., signals from owned properties and programs), second party data sources (i.e., a partner or provider’s first-party data), or third-party topic-driven sites that are approved for use by in-house data privacy experts such as the legal, risk management, and data privacy teams.\"

The brief recommends buying signal evaluation as a constant and iterative process to “create a feedback loop of content-based intent signals to help understand and augment buyer personas, provide insights for content activation and adaptation, and deliver hyper-relevant buying experiences,” and goes on to recommend systems that should be connected for buying signal evaluation.

Assumption #3: Expect ABM and Demand Infrastructure to Converge and Disrupt the Status Quo

Marketing automation platforms (MAP) and ABM platforms are beginning to converge as more and more MAPs add ABM features and vice versa. At the same time, organizations must consider facets like the frequency of outreach to buyers as these overlapping features converge. 

“Overlap is inefficient and can hurt the customer experience (e.g., by inadvertently sending the same person conflicting emails from two different systems or missing an opportunity to personalize a website visit on the basis of previous interactions that were tracked in a separate system).”

At the same time, marketers must connect point solutions and ensure data and insights are derived across systems. AI can play a key role here, according to the brief. 

The brief goes on to recommend a scorecard that evaluates the type of buyer group/customer experience organizations wish to cultivate, then set about evaluating technology based on these goals. 

There are three additional assumptions to consider for 2021 in the brief including embracing adaptability and atomizing content. You can download it here to read more. 

Forrester’s Steve Casey will join me on February 25, 2021 for an informative webinar on the convergence of ABM and Demand Generation technologies. Sign up today!