The Evolution of B2B Marketing
By Megha Goel
For some people, change is terrifying because it often involves risk and uncertainty. Others embrace change as an opportunity for a new adventure that can help them evolve and grow. Although an optimistic attitude and refrain from planning a career ‘to a T’ might better invite success, we instead establish hard deadlines for career milestones and neglect to enjoy the journey that will eventually get us to the goals envisioned.
In the latest installment of AMA New York’s ongoing series, Women in Marketing, B2B marketing veteran Leah Holzman Glass, Head of Global Marketing at Amazon Pay, shared details of her 20-year career journey, leadership style, and opinions on planning vs. serendipity. She peeled back the cover on the complexities of B2B marketing, offering industry insights into the evolution and future of marketing technology.
B2B Has Become Sophisticated
Leah pointed out the most significant evolution in B2B marketing to be the ‘methodologies of the practice.’ Speaking about advisory companies like Forrester, Leah explained their role in helping B2B marketing leaders uncover findings to better reach and engage with their intended audiences and deliver desired outcomes. She also reflected on how sales and marketing alignment has come a long way in the last two decades of her career.
Among the many transformations in B2B, Leah mentioned the establishment of functional competencies to be paramount. She affirmed, “Clarifying skill sets that one needs to be effective and successful in different functional competencies help marketing leaders understand and deliver results.”
Another evolution that makes B2B marketing ‘fun’ for her is that it’s no longer about buttoned-up, corporate jargon. Rather, companies are creating a solid brand presence through establishing emotional connections with their customers.
Getting Comfortable With Change Is Paramount
Today, B2B marketing is not what it was a few years ago. Growing up overseas in a Foreign Service family, Leah already had a propensity for change. She was beginning her marketing career when digital was introduced, and since then it is change that has been most consistent. When asked about her successful career as a B2B marketing leader, Leah references her six-word truism, ‘An open mind opens many doors.’ “I think having an open mind and being willing to explore what’s possible allows you to, you know, get up from things that happen,” she affirms. She recommends continuous education, testing, trying, and learning things along the journey, recommending Ken Blanchard’s One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey.
Customer Obsessed Thinking Across Decision Making
In her role at Amazon Pay, Leah describes customer obsession as the central operation principal at her organization. This translates back to Amazon doing things differently to get different results. The customer-centric approach enables a level of objectivity in decision-making. She explains, “Everyone in the company is very committed to customers, and when you bring forth an argument or a business case that’s customer-focused, people recognize it immediately, and they reset their thought process.” This approach has helped Leah develop an exciting perspective on career growth. She affirms, “I used to think about my career growth in terms of what’s the next job, what’s the next role, what’s the next title, and now I think about it in terms of what’s the next problem I want to work on.” Read Leah’s view on Amazon’s customer-centric approach here.
Seeking Mentorship Is Valuable
Another practice common to top B2B marketers is seeking guidance from external resources and mentors. She believes, “A formal mentor, other than family and friends, can bring a level of objectivity to a situation and can support decision making.” Now a mentor herself, Leah has been a part of various mentorship programs for a long time. She urges her mentees to stay calm . . .“Your career is a journey and not a destination. Do not get attached to a singular path or an approach.” She explains that goals could be as broad as having a fulfilling career, but people need to drill down into the objectives to get to the core of what they need to achieve. She advocates changing paths to attain fulfillment in a career because there’s no singular path. Leah defines mentorship as a two-way street; helping and asking for help are essential.
The Power of Writing Effectively
A quick Google search will yield many articles on Jeff Bezos’s management approach to writing clear narratives. Leah thinks no differently. “Don’t be afraid of writing, because if you cannot be an effective document writer, it will be very hard to grow and be successful because your ideas are not going to be out there. Just be good enough to be able to communicate effectively. Writing brings so much clarity of thought.”
Megha Goel is a professional digital marketer with a focus on content creation and social media marketing. As an AMA New York volunteer, Megha serves on the Executive and Networking programs, creating copies for post-event blogs, social media, and email marketing. You can connect with Megha on LinkedIn.