How Marketers Are Resetting Their Priorities and Skills to Win Big in 2020

We asked, you answered. We had the chance to hear from over 100 marketers across different company sizes, all pitching in their perspective on the marketing landscape as we take off into 2020. 

After 2019, we quickly learned that things can feel overwhelming — endless channels, tactics, and tips flood our brains each day. With articles like, “The 51 Most Effective Marketing Channels For the Year,” it’s no wonder heads start spinning around all the ways you can get in front of prospects and customers.

Before we ran just another inventory on all of the channels and tactics, we wanted to check in with marketers to see where their priorities lie and what skills their teams need to succeed.

Before you jump to action, it’s key to reevaluate what you want to achieve and take a look at the marketers behind the scenes. 

Getting to the ‘why’ before the ‘how’

As marketers, we all want to get clear on our priorities. There’s a sea of overwhelming channels and tactics to manage, but without a clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve, most of that effort can be invested in the wrong way.

Priorities should come first, and projects should come after. Oftentimes marketers get caught up in the ‘how’ before even asking ‘why.’

If you’re still in the midst of sorting out your top plans, here’s what 100+ marketers are feeling. 

  • 71% want to increase engagement within target accounts 
  • 60% want to increase conversion rates
  • 50% want to build brand awareness
  • 46% care about marketing attribution 
  • 46% focus on marketing and sales alignment
  • 38% focus on campaign orchestration 
  • 38% look to content creation 
  • 31% want to increase their database with relevant personas

That’s a lot on marketers' plates! If you take a step back, a lot of these priorities are intertwined. While only 31% want to increase their database with relevant personas, 71% want to increase engagement within target accounts. Guess what? In order to reach your accounts in the right way, you’ll need a broader range of personas to make the biggest impact. 

Key tips to reset

A few of these learnings can go a long way to properly orient your team and set priorities in the right phases. We’ve isolated some key takeaways and provided helpful resources to get you started on the right track:

  1. Identify your personas and target account lists (and then, buyers within those accounts).
  2. Set up the right marketing campaigns that have clear objectives: one campaign may run well for boosting brand awareness, another might serve best for higher conversion. 
  3. Make sure your content speaks to each campaign and repurpose/personalize content as much as possible to fit your various personas.
  4. Don’t overlook orchestrating efforts with your sales team; this isn’t a linear relationship, rather a coordinated, multi-touch approach to moving interested buyers toward happy customers.
  5. Finally, get keen on what you’re measuring and why. As we continue to move past simply lead measurement and toward greater bottom-line impact, arm your team with the data and insights they need to validate further investment.

Building teams for growth

Priorities are just one piece of the puzzle. Who’s going to help you reach these heights? Your team. It’s the people behind the tech that ultimately drive most of your outcomes. That’s why we wanted to get a fresh take on what fellow marketers identify as top skills going into 2020 (if you want to know how to uplevel, save your spot in our upcoming webinar, The Marketing Skills Top Recruiters Are Looking For In 2020.)

And in today’s marketing talent landscape, things change at rapid-fire speed. Every year there are new skills to learn and new challenges to solve. 

While there are already endless lists of skills you should have on your resume, we wanted to hear straight from the mouths of marketers. What do they really value? 

  • “Ability to understand business/sales objectives and translate them into powerful and results-oriented marketing campaigns”
  • “Adaptability and awareness of changing market condition within target segments/accounts”
  • “Ability to quickly adapt to new technologies and automation to scale activities’
  • ‘Number one is creativity. Then account-based marketing and sales/marketing/CSM alignment’
  • ‘Being able to track attribution and leverage intent data’
  • ‘Personalization of content, identifying high-intent signals and surfacing to sales’
  • ‘Account-based marketing and/or highly targeted email marketing, podcasts, webinars, and digital/physical events.
  • ‘Expansion/optimization of organic strategies (SEO, content creation, website optimization,etc.) focusing on high-quality lead generation via paid channels with pay-per-performance strategies, and adopting an ABM strategy’
  • ‘Adopting ABM strategies and investing heavily in super-targeted ads based on buyer intent’
  • ‘Depends on what your goals/objectives are, but focusing on efforts that ultimately drive your KPIs/Goals is a no-brainer. There's a lot of "stuff" you can do as a marketer, but only a small percentage of it has an impact, the key is to isolate that "stuff" and build on it.’

How to up-level

If we take some trends away from these responses, we can see a few areas your team can up-level their skills:

  1. Smart use of data to fuel the entire lifecycle from acquisition to retention 
  2. Alignment between marketing, sales, and customer support to increase effectiveness of programs
  3. Adopting multi-channel tactics backed by intent data 
  4. Adopting a more account-focused approach than traditional demand gen 
  5. Focusing on measuring effectiveness, especially attribution
  6. ...and ultimately? There’s a LOT you can do, so try to stay focused and pick what’s best for you

Pushing forward into 2020

Hopefully peeking into the minds of 100+ marketers helps you challenge your approach to 2020. It’s the time to take inventory on the ‘who’ and ‘why’ and then dive into ‘how.’ While it sounds simple, most marketers don’t spend enough time establishing these key pillars before jumping to action. 

Ready to take your marketing knowledge to the next level in 2020? Grab a copy of our ABM Pocket guide to make an impact as fast as possible.


About the Author

Caroline Van Dyke, Content Lead

Caroline is a B2B marketer with a knack for building start-up content strategies from scratch. With a passion for crafting the right message at the right time (and a good pun), she leads content for real marketers by telling their real stories. In the rare case she's not busy writing, you can find her consuming true crime podcasts, stand-up specials, and copious amounts of cheese.

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