Barnaby Wickham has made a career of forming relationships. With extensive experience in marketing, he was recently past president of American Marketing Association – Baltimore, and is Director of Marketing for MET Laboratories, Inc. He was also recently Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Towson University. He recently shared some of his thoughts about marketing with SPARKS!.
What surprises were there in 2014 regarding trends?
My favorite trend is the continued rise of marketing in some industries. I’ve heard that marketing gets a bigger budget than IT in some companies now, and it’s due to marketing being able to prove its ability to drive revenue growth and profits. Marketing is being taken more seriously in more boardrooms now, and that’s something to celebrate.
What do you think companies get wrong in marketing?
I hope the Creatives forgive me, but marketing can’t be all about design and clever ideas that win awards. It needs to be customer focused and data driven. Did a campaign perform or didn’t it? What does a customer really want and what marketing will elicit the desired response?
How has marketing changed in your specific industry?
I work in the product testing industry, specifically electronics/electrical products. As with many industries, the focus increasingly is on inbound marketing. For any purchase with a serious price tag on it, prospects typically do a lot of research before contacting a potential vendor. If you aren’t visible online, you aren’t going to be considered.
Social media has changed marketing dramatically. What are its drawbacks?
To start, social media isn’t free, although basic use of the platforms is free. They can be a tremendous time suck. Also, social media influence can be difficult to measure, making it hard to justify. For many companies, social media is a better customer service/listening tool than a marketing tool.
How do you use social media for MET Laboratories?
We use it to demonstrate thought leadership and to listen to customers and monitor competitors. In our B2B world, it plays a pretty minor role.
It’s difficult to predict the future, even tomorrow, but what trends do you think are making small hints that might become larger?
Marketing will continue its online migration and will become even more metrics focused. Virtually all prospects are online now and digital is relatively easy to measure, especially with the improvement in multi-touch attribution that marketing automation delivers.