Last week, Cintell sponsored the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit as a LaunchPoint partner. Check out the jam band we brought to bring good vibes to the event as attendees filed in to hear the keynote. Here’s another video.

The keynotes offered huge inspiration as Marketo and their customers continue to push marketing to the next level towards engagement marketing across multiple channels. Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez highlighted the importance of listening to customers to better understand them and their buying journeys.

For me, the highlight of the conference was listening to the keynote from Sal Khan (KhanAcademy.com), who has been a source of learning material both for my 10 year old son and myself on a variety of topics ranging from elementary school math to start up financing.

Listening to Sal connected the dots in my mind between algebra & business-to-business marketing, two very different disciplines but with parallels in common that support the new reality marketers are faced with.

How is B2B marketing like algebra?

The increasing levels of complexity between these two fields are very similar as organizations adapt to implement the new marketing practices discussed at the Summit.

For example, here is how the level of complexity typically increases in algebra:

  • Linear equation solving for a single variable : ax=b
  • Linear equation solving for two variables: ax+by = c
  • Linear equation solving for up to n variables: a1x1 + a2x2 +… + anxn= b
  • Quadratic equation solving for variable(s) with an exponent: ax2 + bx + c = 0

The point here is that as you are solving to find the values for multiple variables, the complexity of the problem increases and you are expected to use increasingly complicated techniques and tools to successfully solve the problem. The most important thing is that a problem is not considered solved until you solve for all the variables.

The clear shift in B2B

Now, in the B2B world, we are seeing a clear shift:

  • From engaging the core decision maker to engaging with the entire Buying Committee (an average of 7 people according to IDC).
  • From engaging on one channel to engaging across multiple channels as marketers compete for the attention of an ever-distracted digital buyer.
  • From engaging with one size fits all content to buying stage specific content
  • From one or two tactics deployed to an average of 13 for the average B2B content marketing organization, according to CMI.

What does this shift do to the marketing tools and techniques that we have at hand? Can we solve the marketing equation that has 7 target personas instead of one with our existing toolset? Can we scale up to engage our buyers across 10+ marketing channels all at once and orchestrate the touch points to deliver the content that resonates with them?

These questions are exactly the reason why the marketing technology landscape has to mature substantially in the coming years, giving birth to more powerful tools that tackle this complexity and yet remain simple to use for an average marketer.

In this transformation, tools that can help B2B marketers identify the full buying committee, help them understand & map preferred content & channels, and help a marketer understand and refine their overall strategy are going to play a significant role in making the complex simple.

Now if there were only a tool to help my 10 year old with the quadratic equation…