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Katherine Almond

#IgniteB2B: Banging the drum for common sense

This year’s B2B Ignite was the best yet. More people, more expertise and, this year it seemed, the increasing reverberation of a drum I’ve been banging for quite some time.

I spoke to one young Marketing Director, new to her role, who’d come looking for ways to activate and measure her ABM strategy.

She’d spoken to eight different martech vendors, sat through four sessions on data strategy, ‘and I still can’t see how any of it is going to be more effective than getting on the phone and talking to people’, she said. 

It’s a sentiment I heard echoed across Ignite by people of various seniority, and in a number of different contexts.

Bang! This is my drum. Business is about people. Marketing to people is about insight. Data is not insight.

As I’ve written before, data can’t tell you what’s going on in someone’s head, what keeps them up at night, or how your account manager’s habit of putting emojis on emails drives them insane.

When we’re planning complex B2B campaigns for our clients, data analysis is an invaluable tool.

But it’s one of a number of tools we use to reach an insight about the customer that allows us to engage them emotionally.

For years I suspected I was sounding a lone note of scepticism in this brave new world of automation and analytics, but at Ignite this year it felt like I’d come back into fashion, like flares.

Amid the ebb and flow of trends, fads and acronyms, I’m proposing a new term: Common Sense Marketing (CSM).

CSM says that to properly resonate and engage your customer, you need to understand what’s important in their world. It says that no matter how sophisticated your tech, marketing is more than a numbers game.

So for me it was heartening at Ignite to see and hear the rhythm shifting back towards CSM.

The transactional, data-driven methodologies that have emerged in the past few years are not the holy grail that some hype-mongers would have us believe.

To build brands that people love, you need genuine human insight.


Katherine Almond is our Head of B2B Strategy. To find out how we can help you inject more common sense into your B2B brand activity, contact Adam Holder.

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