Nick Porter is European Marketing and Sales Director at information management company Iron Mountain. 

He will be speaking at our Funnel B2B event on November 1, on the subject of marketing automation, and why marketing and sales need to work more closely together. 

Can you tell us about Iron Mountain? 

Iron Mountain provides document management services that help organisations lower the costs, risks and inefficiencies of managing their physical and digital data.

Our solutions enable customers to protect and better use their information—regardless of its format, location or lifecycle stage—so they can optimize their business and ensure proper recovery, compliance and discovery.

Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain manages billions of information assets, including business records, electronic files, medical data and more for organisations around the world.

Why is marketing automation important for B2B? 

I am probably going to be slightly controversial here and reference Peter Drucker: “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all”.   

Marketing automation can be defined as the automation of marketing processes through technology for repetitive tasks. The fundamental question that most organisations fail to ask before investing in marketing automation is the value of the activities that are being automated?  

How can marketing automation be used to nurture leads?

Lead nurturing is a good example of where well thought out marketing automation can help potential customers move through their buying journey by providing access to relevant content whilst helping establish a relationship built upon knowledge and trust.

How has the web changed B2B marketing? What are the major challenges that it presents for B2B marketers? 

Gosh, it is hard to imagine life before the web. B2B marketing has been fundamentally changed by the web. Pre-web marketing was so much more straightforward… marketing was in control, pushing out messages through agencies, media organisations and the sales team in order to reach and influence potential buyers – marketing was in control.

Now the control is with the buyer. Their opinions and purchase decisions may well be reached outside the areas of traditional marketing control, they are likely to be influenced by websites, blogs, references, user communities and many other on and off-line influences.

This presents many challenges for B2B marketers and probably one of the most acute is a marketing skills and knowledge gap. Marketing is undergoing a fundamental transformation based on technology and the rules are being re-written.

Events like Funnel 2011 are going to be critical to enable B2B marketing and sales leaders understand these changes, learn and evolve.

What should B2B marketers be doing with mobile? 

Mobile access to Facebook already exceeds conventional web access and although the trend in B2B may lag slightly, it is a certainty that mobile will becoming increasingly important and it is likely to quickly become the norm.

However, mobile is merely a means of accessing content and the companies that are currently pioneering mobile access are doing so by making their content work irrespective of the device/operating system (Apple, Blackberry, Android etc).

Successful marketers will not be creating a mobile strategy but will understand how their existing marketing strategy can be effectively executed across mobile and non-mobile.

How can B2B make the most of social media? What are the best examples of this that you have seen? 

I really loved the KLM Surprise programme, KLM selected passengers that had checked in at the airport using Foursquare and gathered information about them from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.  

These individuals were then tracked down in the airport and presented them with a small personalised gift based on their online profiles. 

The element of surprise, the utilisation of online and offline to make a small personalised gesture to thank people for flying KLM and the integration of social media with their business process really made this a stand-out programme.

How do you see B2B marketing developing over the next couple of years? 

Beyond marketing’s contribution to revenue…it’s marketing’s contribution to profit that we need to be focused on. Sorry Eloqua, but it is no longer all about revenue.

Finally, can you tell me a little about your upcoming presentation at Funnel

Sure, I plan to share how a fanatical quest to understand and improve the perceived value that marketing creates has fundamentally changed both marketing and sales.