MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023

Marketing Planning for 2023 and Beyond, with Samantha Stone

In this digital age, it seems everything should be easier, right?

Easier to send a thousand templated emails. Easier to use chatbots to resolve customer issues.

But does our reliance on the easy route create distrust with our customers and prospects?

In this excerpt from B2B Forum 2022, Samantha Stone helps you think differently about building real connections between your brand and your audience.

Watch Samantha’s insightful presentation on the importance of meaningful connections—and not the importance of hitting the numbers.


One of the things that is really important, and that strikes me, and is a huge shift in how I think about marketing, is where people are getting their information.

So years ago, as part of my work, I did a lot of buyer and message testing research. I interviewed qualitative buyers. Like, thousands of them.

And it used to be, every time I said, “where do you get your information?” they would tell me the name of two or three magazines that they subscribe to and an association that they belong to, they would go to events.

The answer is almost always today—like 99.5% of the time—now it’s, “my LinkedIn feed.” Or it’s, “my feed in my social channel of choice.”

They’re still reading content put out by publications. They’re still attending events. But where they get that… it’s all going through a different feed. 

You don’t need to be in all the places all the time. But what you do need to be is figuring out where your audience is and creating the connections with them. And you need to plan for that.

So there’s some things that I want us to do in order to make this a reality in your planning.

First of all, stop giving SDRs and salespeople templates. You don’t need them to create automatic cadences through their Salesforce automation system. That is marketing. Marketing can do that, and do a better job of it than they will.

What we need them to do is to personalize communications. And that means we need to teach them how to do some writing. They don’t have to be perfect.

We have to help them set up peer reviews.

And we have to accept that typos occasionally will happen. And it’s okay, ‘cause I’d rather get a communication that really clearly they know who I am that has a typo in it… than something that’s very clearly a template.

And it’s hard to fake a template and fool people into thinking it’s real. Are there some, occasionally? Yes. And then everybody takes it and re-does it, right?

How many times have you gotten the thing about, you know, the alligator ate you and you’re not available anymore, right?

Like, anytime somebody catches good, they just… they kill it, right?

And we have to stop measuring things like activity. And I know this is somewhat outside of largely our domain. Sometimes SDRs and BDRs report to marketing, sometimes they report to sales. So it depends on where they are. But, stop counting the number of emails they send, the number of phone calls they make.

And instead, start counting the connections and impact that they’re having on the business.

Because it creates the wrong bad behavior. It creates the behavior of, “I need to send a thousand emails out today.”

That’s not gonna be personalized. They’re not gonna make the connection. You need to send a thousand because nobody’s reading them, or they’re checking them and they’re not responding to them.

If I could send 10 really good emails that actually get two people to really connect with my brand—that’s way more powerful than a thousand that nobody reads!

We also need to know that how we communicate is as important as what we communicate.

So we need to know when to use technologies like chatbots and other forms of artificial intelligence and automation.

We don’t always want a human connection. And this is something that we have to remember. There are times—routine tasks, things that we want to do—when we know that technology is a better choice.

It’s two o’clock in the morning and I just wanna look up my account. I don’t need technology.

It’s two o’clock in the morning. I looked up my account and somebody had taken a thousand dollars out of my account that was not registered. Now I wanna talk to a person!

When we use things like chatbots, we don’t always know what someone’s headspace is, right? We don’t know when they come to the website, whether they’re frustrated or they’re happy. So we have to plan ways to get out.

If there is a frustrating experience, we have to be transparent. When we pretend that our chat bot is a human being, it actually creates distrust.

Published 8/09/23

B2B Forum is packed with marketing insights, strategies, and tactics taken from the real world experience of over forty industry experts, packaged into context you can actually put to use.

Join us in Boston for B2B Forum 2024 this coming November 12-14, 2024. Early buyers get B2B Forum tickets at their lowest rate, and discounted hotel rooms are available while they last.


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