Let’s Extend the Season of Togetherness into 2023 Planning

By Malcolm Friedberg

According to Bombora Company Surge, during the past 90 days, interest in marketing strategy and digital strategy increased more than any single marketing topic across business services, construction, and manufacturing.

Bombora Intent Data for business services, construction and manufacturing — Aug 3 - Nov 1, 2022

The first question is, "Why?" What's causing this spike in interest in strategy? A few possible reasons come to mind:

  • 'Tis the season, so to speak. Budgets are a forcing function. They require us to evaluate the success of the various ways we're spending our precious resources. Self-reflective marketers, or ones facing pressure to perform, might take this as an opportunity to revisit what they're doing holistically. If you aren't happy with your results, strategy is a good place to start.
  • We're coming into a season of economic anxiety, especially for industries affected by higher mortgage rates or infrastructure slowdowns. For those folks, shaping strategy might be relatively new since business has been going swimmingly for years.

If I were a technology vendor, advertiser, or marketing agency that has strategy credentials in those verticals, I'd point my business development folks to those CMOs. The key is knowing what you are selling.

There's a common misconception that strategy is something you do once a year, akin to planning or annual budgeting. Nothing could be further from the truth. Good strategy considers that any plan is based on assumptions that will be validated (or not), with built-in mechanisms to revisit the strategy based on actual results. Customers need solutions that support iterative thinking, not just a one-and-done sales approach.

Strategy is a true team sport, and companies that support marketers need to be able to lead their clients. However, service providers have been forced into specialization to bring deep domain expertise. Despite that apparent conflict, it's incumbent on us to deliver both the solution and the supporting cast to help execute the vision we're selling. Whether through friendly collaboration or even working with frenemies, 2023 is going to be a year of getting creative to make things work.

About the data this column cites

Bombora monitors the average weekly interest, by company, in 12,000 topics across highly trafficked, research based B2B sites across the web in the Bombora Data Cooperative. The Data Cooperative enables Bombora to track in-depth content engagement of business professionals in a privacy-compliant way, with direct relationships with business publishers.

The content engagement data covers multiple channels of business research, everything from news and blogs to white papers, directories, and product reviews. The millions of web pages and content types are aggregated into topics, with a Bombora proprietary natural-language processor. These topics incorporate context, meaning, and relationships in words.

All this content engagement, surrounding 12,000 business topics, is aggregated to a company level, then measured against a 12-week baseline. This aggregation allows Bombora to identify when a business professional is simply reading an article, to when a company is signaling intent to buy a product or solution.

Mr. Friedberg's column looks at key advertising topics as they are being researched at the top 500 brands and top advertising holding companies. Mr. Friedberg's industry experience makes him uniquely well positioned to interpret this business research, and to base actionable insights on the data.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Malcolm Friedberg is demand generation practice leader at Merkle B2B.