Growth Marketing Playbook with Ray Wang

Photo by Brian Solis (CC 2.0)
Photo by Brian Solis (CC 2.0)

The shift to digital was hastened by the lockdown. But are B2B growth marketing ops professionals adopting technology at the expense of personal interaction? And is B2B growth marketing strategy tempting us to disregard the human side of building relationships with business customers?

In this episode, bestselling author and keynote speaker R “Ray” Wang, founder and principal analyst at Silicon Valley-based Constellation Research – which studies disruptive business and exponential technology trends – share his growth marketing playbook.

Account Based is Outpaced

From a B2B perspective, account-based marketing is overblown. B2B marketers are tired of over building their stacks. Why overcomplicate things when you can manage a couple of thousand prospects just as easily on a spreadsheet?

We have so many tools for connecting with audiences. There's sales enablement platforms, vertically integrated stacks, marketing technology stacks, and even tools for managing B2B keywords and b2b networking sites, but they aren't even large enough to become unmanageable.

“Everybody talks about, ‘Hey, we got this ABM problem. We're spending millions.’ I'm like, ‘Why are you spending millions?’ Have you totally missed the point of relationships and marketing and account-based approaches?” says Ray.

He also emphasizes the importance of both the digital and the human elements in building relationships. Getting rid of one aspect and focusing entirely on the other isn’t an approach that would work in all situations. In the B2B customer journey, interpersonal relationships matter more.

Ultimately, it depends on your brand’s identity and the image you shape through content marketing, as well as your target market’s preferences. “Both are going to be important; offering choices are important,” said Ray. “But let's figure out what the problem is that we're trying to solve first, and then we can figure out you know which technology is to apply.”

Geographic Relevance of Artificial Intelligence

As artificial intelligence (AI) gets better, whoever can get more data and more scale who will emerge at the top.

Ray explained that only countries with access to high-quality data can deliver signal intelligence, which is built on the dynamic feedback loops that bring everything together. Some of the questions and concerns that B2B marketing pros are bound to have is when to fully automate or whether to augment machines with humans to ensure precision decision making in AI. “You have got to have humans in the process,” stressed Ray, “and there are places where humans make a lot more sense, and it's where decision making gets a lot more complicated.” 

We know why content marketing is important for b2b and that the more informational and educational content you publish to align with the various stages of the marketing funnel, the more discoverable you are, so long as your B2B content is topically relevant to your prospective buyers, as Robert Rose explained in a previous episode of this podcast.

But the reason that AI is Ray added that because China has the ability to aggregate more data and has a larger population (privacy concerns and surveillance capitalism notwithstanding), it gives the nation an edge when it comes to making AI smarter. Still, the dangers of automation isn’t an excuse to stay out of the loop, or to not try to become well-versed in the processes of your own business. “When we say we're going to automate all these tasks, we also have to train ourselves as we go through that process, so we can also identify patterns at a human scale as well.”

So while AI may not replace B2B content marketing in the immediate future, it may very well help us figure out what type of B2B content marketing is most effective.

Disruptive technologies: the present and the future

Ray mentioned quantum technology as the next disruptive technology, due to its still-abstract nature as a novel type of technology. He also suggested that it could change the way we look at models, map out new types of forecasting and probabilities, and even deal with cryptocurrencies and cybersecurity issues. 

In his upcoming book Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Ray mentioned his reservations and worries about where society is headed with technology. “What I'm worried about is, companies don't realize what they're competing against. We spent all this time talking about digital transformation and why digital transformation, you know, was going to disrupt everything. And what we didn't realize on the other end, where there were companies that were being much smarter at building new business models and monetization models, and these are the digital giants. What they've done is they've taken their vast network of users, and they've been able to figure out how to monetize them along the way.”

To hear more of Ray’s thoughts on B2B lead generation, modern technology, including what surprised him most about where technology has led human society, listen to our entire conversation.

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