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I Saw the Future of Sales and Marketing at Social Brand Forum

Marketers and salespeople, listen up.

Social Brand Forum 2014

Here’s my key takeaway from Social Brand Forum, and it’s a big one: Your future depends on your ability to guide the customer journey.

So said John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing during his keynote at Social Brand Forum.

“The future of sales and marketing is less about demand creation and more about organizing behavior,” he said.

In other words, it’s time to ditch the traditional marketing funnel. Instead, you need to focus on how customers want to buy.

So, how do customers want to buy?

The answer: On their terms, not yours.

According to one study, 60% of the sales cycle is over before a buyer talks to your salesperson.

Where do customers get their information?

They research your products or services on websites, blogs, and news sites. They watch demos, download ebooks, listen to podcasts, and read email marketing.

They also check out what people are saying about you on social media and user-review websites like Yelp.

Why is content so critical?

Speaker Jason Falls of Elasticity put it bluntly: “Without content, you don’t exist.”

What makes content effective?

Other Social Brand Forum speakers gave us some insight.

  • It’s to the point. Amy Schmittauer of Savvy Sexy Social said when it comes to YouTube videos, viewers decide if “this is right for me” in 10 seconds or less.
  • It’s useful. That’s according to Ann Handley of MarketingProfs. “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing,” she said, quoting Mark Penson, CMO of Survey Anyplace.
  • It’s bite-sized. Chris Brogan of Owner Magazine colorfully shared, “If your emails aren’t toilet length, they aren’t getting read.” 

To see what else people are saying about Social Brand Forum, search Twitter for #SocialBrand14.

And to step into the future of sales and marketing, shift your focus to content—and to what customers experience even before you know they’re interested.