Inspiration for 2011: B2B Marketing Professionals Share Their Wisdom

2011 is off to a frenzied start. Marketing and PR are moving and shifting at lightning speed these days. As much as I try to stay ahead of the game, I often feel like I’m two steps behind. And I know I’m not the only one.

So how does one keep up? What’s the best way to manage the influx of information and increasing complexity that seems to face all marketers? Here’s what some B2B marketers recently had to say:

  • “Focus.” Everyone, of course, knows you should focus (didn’t your mother tell you that…?); but, with all the distractions we face these days, it can be really hard to do. Have you ever noticed that when you have an important meeting or presentation or exam, you’re able to tune out pretty much everything else? Samuel Johnson wrote far more eloquently than I could, “the possibility of being hanged focuses the mind wonderfully.” Assuming you’re not facing punishment for a capital crime, pick the most important thing you need to do right now, impose a deadline, figure out what you need to do, and then get on it. – David Harkleroad, Managing Director, Global Marketing at Hay Group (@DavidHarkleroad)
  • “Go with the slow.” Our communicators’ world continues to revolve faster and faster, especially in terms of social media. However, the corporate world often maintains a slower pace. Through working with clients at an agency and in the corporate environment, I’ve learned that going with the flow – or “slow” – can actually pay off. Sometimes you need to take a step back, formulate an old school plan and aggressively educate people to get corporate support. While you may have to wait longer than you’d like, the payoff is huge. The key is to get the green light. Once you do, the accelerator can be pressed, normalcy resumes and your project can really shine.” – Justin Lopinot, public relations and social media manager for Savvis Inc. (@lopinot)


A few other B2B professionals had words to offer about keeping up with your professional future:

  • “Pursue your ‘edge’ with passion.” My slumps coincide with long spells of hanging out in my comfort zone.  I can manage tasks, projects and personal interactions in that zone without much stress or worry.  But I also notice that the lower level of energy it takes results in a lower level of payoff and a general feeling of malaise.  I get re-energized when I actively take on the work that hangs out at the ‘edge’ of, or beyond, my comfort zone. That’s where I find a greater sense of the creativity I crave. All of my senses are heightened in this space like a warrior heading into battle. The stress of fear can be palpable here, but when I pursue that edge with passion I am rewarded with payoffs that aren’t only connected to results. They also come from a heightened sense of personal worth for having made the effort and always end up being much greater than I could have imagined. Jim Wurm, Executive Director, Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association (EACA)
  • “Rebound Swiftly from Mistakes.” In a recent conversation, a colleague told me that the business people he respects are successful not because they are perfect, but because they took calculated risks, made mistakes and had some of the quickest rebound rates he’d ever seen. It’s inevitable that we’ll all make mistakes. The key is to treat them with the relative gravity they are due and let them educate, but not adversely affect, the future risks we take. – Rebecca Neufeld, Senior Account Executive, Edelman Financial Communications & IR (@RaToTheBec)
  • “Don’t Wish; Act.” Ask yourself, “twenty years from now, what will I wish I had done?”  It doesn’t really matter how big or significant; just pick something and do it. It’s a good habit to get into. By doing this, you are investing in your future. (P.S. special thanks to Allen for inspiring me to write this post!) W. Allen Fuqua, Chief Marketing Officer, Winstead (@a_fuqua)

As for me … my new mantra for 2011 is “keep it simple.” It’s so easy to over-complicate, over-analyze, over-invest, over-do-it. Trust me, I know. But as PR and marketing becomes messier, I think one of the biggest challenges is to keep things simple. How can you make it easy for people to do what you want them to do? Hear what you want them to hear?

How are you focusing your energy in 2011?


Photo by Adam Foster

To reach Kellie:

Twitter: @kshe
LinkedIn: Kellie Sheehan