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B2B Marketing Awards 2015: The Marketing Practice picks up 14 trophies in 3 years

Categories: At the Barn

Press release:

The Marketing Practice (TMP) has continued its success story at the B2B Marketing Awards, picking up three trophies from this year’s ceremony on 19 November. The agency has won more trophies (14) than any other agency over the past three years.


The agency won in two of the Awards’ most competitive categories this year: ‘Best Lead Generation or Nurturing Campaign’ with Genpact and ‘Most Commercially Successful Campaign’ with Atos.

For the third year in a row TMP was runner-up in the ‘Marketing Communications Agency of the Year’ category.

It is also the third year in a row that the agency has picked up the award for ‘Best Lead Generation or Nurturing Campaign’. Clive McNamara, Chairman and Founder of TMP, believes this is evidence of the agency’s continued focus on driving unrivalled commercial outcomes from marketing:

“For 13 years TMP has driven programmes for clients based on a single principle: that marketing should be the engine room for business growth. I think over recent years that’s been reflected in the maturity of the campaigns that are winning B2B Marketing awards.

“What I’m most delighted by is the consistency we’ve shown. For years we’ve been winning the same awards again and again, and consistently featured amongst the top agencies. I think that shows how our highly focused approach is incredibly effective for our clients.”

Atos’ Lead Generation Factory was in fact a former winner in the Lead Generation category in 2013, before being named the Most Commercially Successful Campaign in 2015 for delivering a sales return of €240 for every €1 spent.

Genpact’s ‘Intelligent Business Operations’ campaign saw Marketing’s contribution to sales pipeline increase from 5% to 27% over 6 months, revolutionising the Sales and Marketing relationship and setting an example that is being replicated globally.

The agency has recently expanded its operations into Germany, with an office based in Munich. McNamara believes the awards provide a strong foundation for the agency’s expansion:

“Awards in their own right are just recognition. What matters is that we know how we can use those winning principles to be successful with other clients, both new and existing. As we expand into new geographies, it’s vital that we stay true to the same focus that has brought us success so far, but that we evolve our methods to changing markets and buying habits.”


Notes for editors

The Marketing Practice was founded in 2002 to offer fully-integrated marketing services to blue chip business-to-business organisations. Located in a tithe barn in East Hendred, Oxfordshire, the agency operates global programmes for clients including O2, Microsoft, Standard Life and Canon. Founder and chairman Clive McNamara created the company with the belief that the best marketing combines the driving of a business’s reputation (brand) and revenue (sales opportunities) in a single place.


Further information: 

Claire Lund, clund@themarketingpractice.com

01235 433424



Posted by Claire Lund | November 20, 2015

Sales and marketing alignment: the key to creating a new engine for growth

Categories: Best Practice

For eight years, the Sales & Marketing Forum has led the thinking on the shape of the sales and marketing relationship in B2B. On 15 October 2015, 40 senior professionals from both sides gathered to align their thinking, led by two speakers that have held senior positions in both camps – Martin Hess, VP at HP Enterprise Service, and Louis Fernandes, Director, Market Development at SAS.

It’s fascinating to think that many of the discussions today are the same as they were eight years ago. How does marketing play a driving role throughout the sales cycle? What metrics should we be using? Will Second Life turn out to be a critical marketing channel?

Well, maybe not that last one.

What has changed is the maturity of the answers we can give to those questions, driven by Martin and Louis’ experiences.

Here are the conclusions from the latest Sales & Marketing Forum, which ended with one very provocative thought: it’s very possible that in years to come, the very issue of sales and marketing alignment will go the way of Second Life.


Alignment is an opportunity

One thing that sales and marketing alike can agree on. MarketingProfs claim that organisations with aligned sales and marketing generate 208% more revenue from their marketing.

Identifying the right opportunities is becoming harder in competitive markets packed with more informed buyers. And harder still to turn into profitable, repeatable business. Sales can expect more from marketing to counteract this – more intelligent demand generation that finds the right deals at the right time and in the right volume – an industrialised yet precise process. That’s provided marketing knows what good looks like from a sales point of view – they can expect more from sales here. Thus, alignment becomes business-critical.


'The death of the salesperson'?

The salesperson accustomed to spending a year hunting down a single megadeal has lost their prey. That slow, lumbering, resource-intensive process has been replaced by the need for an agile one. Opportunities are quick to appear, and even quicker to disappear. The salesperson always needs to be one step ahead of the game, and the marketer needs to keep them there. Forrester’s claim about the ‘death of the salesperson’ may be overly dramatic, but new skills and ways of working are required as a minimum to combat the commercial changes they’re alluding to.

How do sales and marketing teams adapt to these changed demands? With difficulty. But also with patience, experience and understanding. “The best marketers are salespeople, and the best salespeople are marketers,” said Martin. Understanding the demands being placed on one another makes us better placed to handle those demands together. And agreeing up-front what we expect from one another, and being held to that, is the only way to do it.


Measuring up

Metrics: the Somme of all sales and marketing battlefields.

Both sales and marketing need to be dealing with more mature metrics. The changed nature of the B2B sale means it’s no longer just about that big number. Now we’re thinking about the profit margin of the deal. We’re thinking about the value of the relationship as a whole, not the immediate opportunity. We’re thinking about the contribution to the entire business over a period of time, not the cash influx next quarter.

But more than anything, we’re sharing the same metrics for the same activities. Measuring marketing’s demand generation efforts on quantified, real demand and order entry. And brand-building investment on its contribution to the brand: which is all about a propensity to buy, not a propensity to tweet about it.


Examples of the avant-garde

So what does the perfectly aligned sales and marketing programme look like? There are a few hallmarks:

  • Marketing content that challenges the status quo. That is precise, tailored, and understanding of the prospect. Meaning it finds the buyer that is willing to be taught. And the deal that can be shaped. The salesperson has to be able to challenge in equal measure.
  • Agnostic of systems or processes, the sales and marketing teams operate an unbroken loop of insight – campaigns feeding the sales process, and the sales process feeding campaigns.
  • One-off campaigns and bids are a thing of the past. The best programmes are operating in long cycles that retain and reuse insight, making the process highly efficient and effective.

For further reading, the charter for sales and marketing integration was created based on insight from TMP’s sales and marketing clients on the topic. It covers suggestions like:

  • Sharing detailed commercial objectives
  • Working to SLAs
  • Making demand generation a fundamental part of your business plan
  • Marketing ownership of a defined proportion of sales pipeline
  • Improving win rates by involving sales earlier in the buying process
  • Developing the right sales enablement materials


Posted by Matt Harper | November 12, 2015

3 important things that didn’t make the agenda at the B2B Marketing conference

Categories: Uncategorized

Content was high on the agenda at the recent B2B Marketing conference, which was themed around customer centricity.

Many of the talks focused on the content surplus our industry is blighted with, the majority of which is far from customer-centric. So it’s ironic the conference was hosted by The British Library, a legal deposit library still redundantly receiving hard copies of every book published in the UK. That’s three million new items a year. And we thought B2B marketers produced too much.

Rather than summarise the findings from the day, I thought it’d be interesting to talk about the things that weren’t mentioned.

Most agreed that customer centricity represents an opportunity for marketing to take a more strategic, board-level role in a business. However there were three things I didn’t hear mentioned in any of the sessions I attended that seemed like critical stepping stones on the path to customer centricity:

  • Data. I don’t know any clients who would say they have complete confidence in knowing who every customer is, let alone have further insight on their needs and challenges. Even where customers are more easily identified, it tends to be complicated by different buying centres of the customer, and divisions or geographies of the client organisation. Any customer centricity programme would need to start here by creating a sustainable way of identifying and maintaining a customer database.
  • The benefits to the customer. This was mentioned, but not resolved. Many of the sessions talked through the benefits to the organisation, and even more talked through some of the steps to getting to a customer-centric approach, but none talked about how those benefits are articulated to a customer. Yet customer buy-in for the process is vital. You need them to share their views and be honest. To become strong references and advocates. Even to attend board meetings. So they need to know what the programme will deliver for them too, and it needs to be quantified.
  • What’s an insight? It struck me that there are a number of strong examples of individual customer stories influencing individual strategies. But it seems dangerous to take anecdotal customer insight and apply it to rational business decisions. Likewise collating feedback at scale to inform decisions more quantifiably is difficult and demanding of the customer base. I think any customer-centric organisation would benefit from a clear strategy for identifying what they expect from customers, and how that insight will be used. Ultimately it demands a mixture of types of insight, applied with a strong dose of business sense – but unless that is documented, the customer’s word could easily become law. Every client I speak to wants to be more closely involved in helping the customer scope the requirement early to avoid commoditising their solution, so this balance of customer insight with commercial sense is an important one to strike.

Essentially, customer-centric programmes need to have an element of pragmatism in the planning. Specifically in what outcomes we expect the programme to drive. Businesses are generally more successful (and more profitable) when they are able to challenge and lead a customer rather than take customer requirements for granted.

It’s the same reason customer focus groups require inputs. If you sit a group of customers around a table and ask what new flavour of crisps they’d like to see, you won’t get much back. You have to suggest, lead, and inspire. And if it’s hard with crisps, it’s even harder with complex propositions and sprawling relationships. You probably know that, but it’s worth making sure everyone else in your organisation does.

For further reading, The Challenger Customer by the CEB is a fascinating piece of research that delves further into the detail behind customer attitudes towards buying in B2B. I’d highly recommend it – but just be sure to apply your own dose of commercial sense.


Posted by Matt Harper | November 10, 2015

The problem with personas in B2B, and what we need to do differently

Categories: Best Practice

We see an awful lot of personas in B2B these days. The rise of content marketing has led to a renewed emphasis on audience insight. Recognise this?



Of course, this isn’t totally wrong, but it’s been dangerously oversimplified.

The hunger for B2B personas and audience insight is producing a lot of very mediocre output and wasting a lot of effort and budget. Michael Brenner makes this point nicely, with some very funny (and accurate) spoof examples of ‘what sucks’

Michael also makes the very sensible point that a persona should be actionable. We come across a lot of personas that aren’t actionable. Especially when you get down to activity that is supposed to be generating demand, producing meetings for big, complex propositions.

Of course, the people working on these personas want to make them actionable. So what’s going wrong?


A view from the sharp end of demand generation

Up at the ‘brand’ level of activity, which is where most of these personas crop up, you can be a long way from the end audience. And a long way from sales. These are the people who actually understand the challenges and propositions in detail and know what a sales conversation really feels like.

People who get into marketing are rarely attracted to things like enterprise IT architecture, cloud orchestration or finance & accounting optimisation. But our end audience is – they’ve made a career of it!

So we’ve got to a situation where many B2B marketers have adopted a B2C tool for audience insight, without being able to engage with the detail. We’re not selling hair care products here – we’re addressing some pretty complex problems and buying behaviours.

This comprehension gap is laid bare in some of these personas. It’s why salespeople often laugh if you show them one. It’s not doing wonders for bridging the sales and marketing divide, is it?


What we should do differently

Personas aren’t the wrong thing to do in principle.

But the really interesting pain points are often being missed. What may seem new and insightful to a marketing team can be pretty facile and obvious to a specialist B2B audience. It looks a bit like this:



Here are just a couple of thoughts on how to stop this happening.

  1. Make understanding of the proposition sacred

It’s not enough to talk about something like ‘productivity’ or ‘efficiency’ – there needs to be an original angle. And that should be easily tracked right back to the proposition. Not just because it’s the sales end game, but because if you understand the problem it’s solving in detail, you’ll understand your audience better. Then it’s just a question of rooting that particular pain point in their broader context.

  1. Marketers need to move in different circles – or be different people

B2B marketers (and especially those who work in campaign planning) should be much closer to the sales teams, the solutions designers and the audience’s general environment. It requires a certain amount of specialisation. It may even require some original thinking about recruitment for these roles. I for one have benefited hugely as a planner from close proximity (and brutally frank feedback) from the following kinds of people:

  • Client-side senior sales people
  • The people who design or implement solutions and services
  • Friendly insiders drawn from the target audience – senior Finance, IT, Ops style people
  • Former enterprise sales people who work in my agency
  • Desk-based ‘Inside Sales’ agents in my agency who take the messaging right into the lion’s den

These people will tell me pretty quickly if the messaging and any personas are relevant and actionable. They will also be very good at testing my team’s understanding of the proposition.

So next time someone says ‘Let’s do some personas!,’ have a really good think about just who’s going to work on them, where that insight will come from and what kind of quality (or bullshit) controls are in place.


Posted by Tom Upfold | October 22, 2015

What kind of marketer are you?

Categories: At the Barn

Marketers are a funny bunch. You've seen them all – the ‘Mad Men’ with their skinny suits, talking through the side of a cigar, the digital guru with tablet super-glued to their palm, the perfumed account handler with a taste for fine dining.

Have a go at our quiz, and find out what type of marketer you are. You’ll be matched up with someone that works at TMP, you’ll find out what they do, how they do it and, hopefully, where you might fit. And of course, if you feel inspired and want to find out more, get in touch with Jo, our recruitment coordinator…


Posted by Dan Squire | October 19, 2015

TMP's 2015 summer graduate intake have arrived

Categories: At the Barn

This summer we opened our lovely barn doors to 11 fresh and enthusiastic new graduates. Here they are in one place for the photo, although you’d usually find them in different departments throughout the office. They could be upstairs crunching some numbers in data, or copywriting while listening to rock music over in the creative barn. We have positions available throughout TMP, so if you've got the talent, we've got a chair for you.

We take on graduates from a wide range of degree disciplines, so don’t worry if you didn't take a marketing degree. If you’re interested in joining this friendly bunch (the rest of us aren't too bad either) then get in touch. Keep an eye on our careers page for opportunities, or send your CV through to careers@themarketingpractice.com so we can see if you're the right fit.



Posted by Dan Squire | October 8, 2015

The Marketing Practice creates new Content team to further creative vision

Categories: At the Barn

The Marketing Practice has created a new team dedicated to Content to support its continued growth and reflect a change in client demand.

The new team supports the next stage of TMP’s vision of building reputation and driving revenue for its client base. Content has always played a critical role, but clients are increasingly looking to strive for a crucial balance in B2B marketing. It’s no longer about creating something on-brand and eye-catching in one campaign, and generating leads in another; successful marketing skilfully combines and balances the two.

To accomplish this demands a range of expertise within the team delivering content. TMP’s approach has been to hand-pick multi-skilled individuals from different areas of the company, balanced with carefully selected external hires, all chosen for their rich and varied experience in marketing strategy – from content formats to business insight and project management, drawn together by a flair for communication and writing.

The Content Team is the next stage in Creative Director Paul Baker’s vision to reinvigorate brands, create real engagement, generate leads, nurture customers and create loyalty – all under one roof.

“For TMP, content has always resided at the heart of marketing, and this structural shift makes that even more clear. We believe modern marketing writers need to be much more than just excellent copywriters”, says Paul. “They need to think beyond the writing – we need a content team that blends literary craftsmanship with research, planning and business messaging, has an acute brand awareness, a genuine understanding of our clients and a razor-sharp ability to generate leads. This is how we will make a valuable contribution to our clients’ marketing strategies now and in the future.”

Led by Matt Harper, who comes from an Account Planning background, the team is charged with a responsibility for enhancing its clients’ reputation and revenue – dedicated to creating clever, finely crafted, brand-relevant content that enhances reputation, combined with demand-generation copy that resonates with its audience and drives revenue for its clients.

The team is already seeing fantastic results with some highly successful content programmes this quarter for SAS, HP and Capgemini, among others.


Posted by Claire Lund | July 27, 2015

Reflections on the Programme.

Categories: Best Practice

This is the third of three videos outlining how, together, Atos and The Marketing Practice created a successful, cost-effective and sustainable demand centre known as the Lead Generation Factory (LGF).

The LGF was developed and run by The Marketing Practice in partnership with Atos, a multinational IT services and consulting business with over 76,000 employees around the world.

This video addresses the importance of having the highest quality data and creating a Programme with the inherent flexibility to scale up or down and work seamlessly across languages and cultures.

Johannes Diebig, former head of global marketing at Atos, notes that The Marketing Practice managed the delicate handovers between marketing, sales and third parties expertly. He also tells us that although initially the length of the sales cycle had been underestimated, the Programme was soon driving incremental order entries at consistently low cost per lead.

Part 1: Getting the Lead Generation Factory Demand Centre up and running

Part 2: Managing the Lead Generation Factory Demand Centre


Posted by RAinger | April 17, 2015

Managing the Lead Generation Factory Demand Centre.

Categories: Best Practice

This is the second of three videos outlining how, together, Atos and The Marketing Practice created a successful, cost-effective and sustainable demand centre known as the Lead Generation Factory (LGF).

The second largest IT Services and Solutions company in Europe, Atos employs 76,000 business technologists across 47 countries.

Having worked with The Marketing Practice to create the LGF, an industrialised approach to building sales pipeline, Atos were quick to appoint a dedicated Programme Manager.

In this video, Johannes Diebig, former head of global marketing at Atos, points out the importance of having a dedicated Programme Manager from the outset. He also explains how the programme began as a series of campaign roll-outs applied uniformly across countries and later evolved to focus more on specific accounts – a change that proved more consistently successful.

Ultimately, Johannes attributes the successful management of the programme to an open and wholly collaborative relationship with The Marketing Practice. Atos recognised our strengths and let us play to them. We embraced Atos’ desire to continually improve the programme through a process of planned ‘trial and error’ and incremental refinements.

The result was that for an initial investment of €1 million the LGF delivered over €100 million in incremental order entry within 2 years, is now an integral part of the sales process throughout Atos and has proved invaluable in unifying sales activity across acquired businesses.

Part 1: Getting the Lead Generation Factory Demand Centre up and running

Part 3: Reflections on the programme


Posted by RAinger | April 17, 2015

Getting the Lead Generation Factory Demand Centre up and running.

Categories: Best Practice

This is the first of three videos outlining how, together, Atos and The Marketing Practice created a successful, cost-effective and sustainable demand centre, known as the Lead Generation Factory (LGF).

Atos is a multinational IT services and consulting business employing 76,000 people around the world.

Having worked with The Marketing Practice for several years and seen how successful a carefully planned and run inside sales campaign can be, Atos were keen to scale up their lead generation programmes to an industrial level.

In this first video, Johannes Diebig, former head of global marketing at Atos, explains how the LGF was set up and why Board-level buy-in was essential given Atos’ typically long sales cycles and consequent need to commit to a long-term investment.

With the support and resources in place, we helped Atos launch a 6 month pilot phase of the LGF in the UK, Germany and France, during which processes and operations were continually refined to deliver optimum returns. In less than a year, the Atos LGF was up and running at full speed.

Part 2: Managing the Lead Generation Factory Demand Centre

Part 3: Reflections on the programme


Posted by RAinger | April 16, 2015

The Marketing Practice generates demand and builds customer relationship programmes for clients including Atos, AXA, Canon and Oracle.