CHICAGO: Business-to-business marketers need to focus on priorities such as leveraging customer insights, breaking down silos and proving payback, according to Bob Liodice, President/CEO of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

Liodice discussed this subject during a session at the 2016 Masters of B2B Marketing Conference, where he outlined the results of a study by the ANA and its Business Marketing Association (BMA) unit, which co-convened the event.

"When marketers take charge, growth happens," he reported. (For more, including further tips for brands, read Warc's exclusive report: What B2B marketers can learn from B2C.)

To that end, he advised B2B marketers to "think like business leaders. Partner with sales to drive growth. They are not two disparate organisations. Integrate your resources to be able to work together to grow from the bottom up."

Building on that theme, Liodice urged brand custodians in this space to break down the barriers which have traditionally hampered collaborative working patterns.

"Inspire organisational transformation. Get out of the silos. Move to a networked organisation, where finance, marketing, sales and IT all work together," he said.

"Get out of those silos so you're sure that you don't truncate information being able to get to the right source, so that we can make the right decision."

Another key area of focus should be leveraging big data in order to truly understand the wants and needs of current and prospective clients alike.

"Infuse customer insights, using data properly to generate the right customer insights to make better marketing decisions," Liodice suggested.

Closing the loop on these efforts by proving return on investment (ROI), he added, will both improve marketing performance and help its practitioners get their voice heard in the C-suite.

"Finally, demonstrate ROI to earn a seat at the table. You have to get out of your own way and demonstrate that increased marketing investment can generate benefits for the company and its shareholders."

Data sourced from Warc