Laura Ramos – VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research focuses on effective lead management, lead nurturing, sales and marketing integration, the development of targeted messaging and winning value propositions, installed base marketing, and the use of digital media and the Web to build customer engagement.

Laura writes about her recently published report that recommends a four-point strategy to B2B marketers to avoid becoming obsolete. She advises against merely increasing marketing spend by creating new campaigns or clever advertising will not deliver results. And suggests that blindly getting into online or social marketing will only de-focus the marketing strategy.

To avoid obsolescence, B2B marketers should undertake four transformative steps:

1)* Build a marketing-only database to capture buyer insight.*
Today, stalking prospects with outbound, undifferentiated messages yields unpredictable results. But this is what happens when marketers rely primarily on list providers, database marketing services, or other sources of information for targeting buyers. To make campaigns pay off, marketers need to collect and analyze more information about what separates their best customers from the others. Build a marketing database to do this. Big firms may need to look at something from Aprimo or Unica, smaller firms can get by with less. But get a handle on your prospect data in 2009.

2) Shift from simply generating demand to managing it.
When marketing delivers a new batch of leads, sales wants to know exactly which ones have the most potential, regardless of whether marketing outsources the leads or not. To convince sales that marketing-qualified leads are worth pursuing, marketing must execute multifaceted campaigns that engage — and qualify —prospects while extending marketing’s responsibility further along the sales pipeline. Top marketers focus on managing demand, not generating it. They also score their leads numerically, systematically.  I’ve talked about this before, but you can see how you rate here.

3) Combine digital and traditional tactics to build dialogue around needs and motivations.
Business buying cycles are long, and marketers use this to their advantage when they weave together digital and physical channels to engage buyers emotionally, deliver brand experiences, and form ongoing relationships. Integrated marketing success in B2B depends on leveraging the strengths of different channels to build an ongoing conversation with buyers. To do this well requires organizational alignment, an outcome-based strategy, deep customer insight, analytic planning, and consistent measurement. Find out how you stack up here.

4) Embrace the groundswell and community marketing principles.
As Social Computing moves into the business world, B2B marketers dial down on acquisition and step up to community marketing. To set community marketing strategy successfully, marketers must know whether target customers willingly participate in social activity on the job.  We have data to share with you about how buyers behave socially while working. Come preview it at our teleconference.They also need to set social objectives that align with business outcomes, and evaluate tactical and technology choices last.