Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Digital Marketing and Marketing Automation Hit Critical Mass in 2009

Well, our 2009 IDC Tech Marketing Barometer results are in; and if you missed the Telebriefing two weeks ago, here are some of the highlights:

Marketing Investment:
  • 0.5% Growth for Global IT Spending in 2009, while Average Tech Marketing Investment Drops 10%.
  • Larger companies (>$1B in revenue) will take the greatest hit in marketing budget as they wrestle with significant revenue drops in key parts of their portfolios and continue to improve efficiency.
  • Growth areas still exist within: enterprise social media, security management, mobile data, SaaS, Internet advertising, business analytics and IT outsourcing & BPO to name a few. (source: John Gantz's presentation at IDC's recent Directions event)

Marketing Mix:

  • The pendulum of investment swings to demand generation, with sales enablement closely coupled to this priority. (awareness building takes a "back seat", yet remains a key part of healthier companies' portfolios)
  • We've been all talk as an industry with regards to full-scale shifts of our investment to digital marketing over the past couple of years. The economic downturn will catalyze this shift in 2009 with almost 70% of marketers indicating an increase in investment in digital marketing while 60% and 72% of marketers will decrease advertising and events spend respectively. (refer to the past couple of posts in this blog for additional details about digital marketing shifts)
  • Sales enablement will become a high priority for getting internal and external sales teams (and partners) the most relevant content at the right time and in the right place to assist in moving specific opportunities forward. Endless pages of collateral and white papers will be replaced by more relevant content that is better leveraged across the organization. (check out the previous blog post, "Content Squared")

Organizational Structures:

  • Here we go again as marketers shift their organizational structures. Some organizations will entirely abandon their relatively cohesive marketing structure to shift to an entirely decentralized organization in an effort to simply survive; while the better positioned organizations will "weather the storm" with a more centralized marketing function and/or leveraging marketing shared services to improve efficiency and effectiveness in execution.
  • Marketing operations and sales operations teams will continue to work together, increasing focus on the lead management process and associated nurturing and lead qualification strategies.

Marketing Automation:

  • Marketing automation will experience a turning-point in 2009 as adoption significantly increases in the technology sector. Drivers include the significant improvements in the transactional CRM system vendors as well as the increased availability and cost effectiveness of SaaS offerings from planning to event-triggered marketing to performance measurement.
  • A few questions to ask yourself: Do I have a marketing operations team in place to deploy and govern marketing automation?; Are we ensuring that process drives the technology versus the other way around? How do we ensure consistent adoption and use of these applications across functions, business units and regions on a regular basis?; Have we partnered with finance, sales and other teams as part of this strategy?; and Do we have a marketing automation road map?

These are just a few highlights of the recent study as well as food for thought as you progress through your 2009 plan. As technology marketers, I continue to believe that we are better prepared than ever to respond to the challenges posed in this difficult environment. This will not only facilitate our survival in 2009, but will enable us to rebound quicker than from prior downturns.


  1. Michael, you pose a key question in the current environment, "Do I have a marketing operations team in place to deploy and govern marketing automation?" What are you seeing across the organisations with which you work? Certainly my personal experience is slash and burn when it comes to maintaining operational capability, as despite what we would like to think, marketing spend is the first to go in a downturn and infrastructure takes the brunt of the hit within marketing. Or am I just bitter and twisted?!

  2. Honestly Simon, anyone that's been in technology marketing through a couple of downturns can't help but be a bit bitter since marketing does typically take the brunt of the hit for cuts. :-) That said, there is not a consistent "slash and burn" of marketing budgets across all organizations in this downturn. Some organizations are experiencing growth (low as it may be), while others are better positioned from a marketing efficiency perspective to prevent an all-out implosion of their teams. These marketing teams have been proactive during the past 12 months to put cost saving and efficiency improvement measures in place to mitigate some of the impact of subsequent cuts. (e.g., marketing shared services to reduce costs, event-triggered marketing to improve lead quantity and quality, digital marketing to replace much of their traditional advertising investment, and content audits to improve sales enablement)

  3. Michael,
    I am really glad you brought up Marketing Operations int he context of Marketing Automation (MA). Many of the folks in the demand generation side of marketing are more right brain oriented and the current MA systems still lean towards left brain operators - hence the role for Marketing Operations. There have been a plethora of blog posts recently asking if marketing needs new skills, and I feel the answer is that Marketing Ops will take on a more robust role going forward.