A Lot Has Changed in a Decade, or Has It?

Every year at Dreamforce, the annual Salesforce user conference hosted in San Francisco, CEO Marc Benioff takes the stage for his keynote address and says: “We often overestimate what we can accomplish in a year, but radically underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade."

A Decade of Consumer Innovation

And he’s right.  A short decade ago we were fumbling with 3G smartphones wondering what might be the killer apps of the next decade.  And today, we have access to almost everything, whenever we want it, wherever we are.  Want to watch a movie?  Want to listen to a song?  Need groceries delivered?  Need a repair person?  Or a ride to dinner?  No problem.  Just open up an app, and and it’s all at your fingertips.  Companies like Amazon and Shopify showed the world that B2C commerce can be a beautiful experience, with reliability, simplicity, and most importantly, speed.  Other transformative companies such as Uber, AirBnB, and Spotify, have fast-followed to reset the expectations of the consumer. For fun, here are some events in consumer technology that happened a decade ago:

  • Facebook launched the like button
  • Motorola and Ericsson added Android support to their flip phones
  • Microsoft tried to buy Yahoo! and launched Windows 7
  • Google Chrome was fast approaching parity with Firefox browser
  • Dropbox took the prize at Y-Combinator’s demo day
  • Apple opened the App Store and announced iPhone 3G

A Decade of Business Innovation

And it’s not just the B2C world that has undergone meaningful change.  Pioneers in the B2B world like Salesforce, Google, Amazon Web Services, and Slack have transformed the way businesses work every day.  What used to take months and years takes minutes, hours, or days.  These pioneers have harnessed the power of current and enabling technologies like the cloud, ubiquitous connectivity, and the rise of smart-phones and mobile access and as a result, they’ve transformed the way we work. In the B2B world, here are some events that happened a decade ago:

  • Salesforce first said “Welcome to the Cloud” and announced Force.com
  • Amazon Web Services was made generally available
  • Marketo introduced the first cloud marketing automation application
  • Slack wasn’t even a company
  • Google announced “GMail and Google Apps for Business”

A Decade of Martech Innovation

In the area of marketing, the technology landscape (or what folks call martech) has absolutely exploded. Scott Brinker of chiefmartech.com publishes a chart once a year showing the number of marketing technology vendors which shows the number increasing from <50 in 2008 to more than 7,000 in 2018.  Pretty insane, right?  We have simple to use tools for sending personalized emails, we have the ability to hyper-target ads online with google and facebook, we have access to unlimited amounts of real-time data in our data warehouses, we can A/B just about everything from website copy to button colors, we can set up blogs and websites with ease, manage social media posting, stream video seamlessly.  It’s been a glorious and overwhelming time of innovation for the B2B marketer and the data clearly shows CMO budgets have shifted to more and better marketing technology

So Why Has This Critical Process Not Changed?

But in the area of B2B Demand Generation, the area of marketing and the process that thousands of companies use to generate nearly all of their revenue, time has seemingly stood still. For emphasis, I’ll say that again, the area of marketing technology that B2B companies use to generate nearly all of their revenue has not changed

B2B demand gen marketers are still operating much in the same way we did in 2008.   We execute a campaigns, and drive people to Websites with static lead forms, which kicks off a disjointed and unharmonious email back and forth that takes days, weeks, or months to get to a place where both the buyer and the seller can make a decision as to whether or not they are a match.  

The B2B Buying Experience is on the Precipice of Change

As with every process and every technology, companies who shift to improve the experience for the buyer are the ones that will succeed.  Compare Salesforce to Oracle, Uber to the old San Francisco taxi system, Airbnb to VRBO, Amazon to Walmart, Spotity to iTunes….the list goes on and on.  

We believe that B2B buyers and B2B demand generation professionals deserve better, and we’re investing and creating tools and processes that B2B organizations can use to move forward into the next decade.  We invite you to join our early access program to get a sneak peek into how we can help move your process into the future.  If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that the way your demand generation organization works in 2019 will look nothing like it does today.

Posted on
January 8, 2019
by
Sean Whiteley

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