Tuesday, December 16, 2014

IDC's 10 Predictions for CMOs for 2015

What does IDC predict for tech CMOs and their teams in 2015 and beyond?
Our recent report IDC FutureScape: Worldwide CMO / Customer Experience 2015 Predictions highlights insight and perspective on long-term industry trends along with new themes that may be on the horizon. Here's a summary.

1: 25% of High-Tech CMOs Will Be Replaced Every Year Through 2018
There are two dominant drivers behind the increased CMO turnover over the past two years. One driver centers on the cycle of new product innovations, new companies, and new CMO jobs. The second (but equal) driver centers around the required "fit" for a new CMO in the today's tumultuous environment and the short supply of CMOs with transformational skill sets.

Guidance: Everyone in the C-Suite needs to "get" modern marketing to make the CMO successful.

2: By 2017, 25% of Marketing Organizations Will Solve Critical Skill Gaps by Deploying Centers of Excellence
The speed of marketing transformation and the increased expectations on marketing have left every marketing organization in need of updating its skill sets. In the coming years, CMOs will not only have to recruit and train talent but also create organizational structures that amplify and share best practices. Leading marketing organizations will become masters of the centers of excellence (CoE).

Guidance: Get out of your traditional silos and collaborate.

3: By 2017, 15% of B2B Companies Will Use More Than 20 Data Sources to Personalize a High-Value Customer Journey
Personalization requires a lot of data. CMOs do not suffer from a lack of data — quite the contrary. Today's marketer has dozens, if not hundreds, of sources available. However, companies lack the time, expertise, and financial and technical resources to collect data, secure it, integrate it, deliver it, and dig through it to create actionable insights. This situation is poised for dramatic change.

Guidance: One of your new mantras must be – "do it for the data".

4: By 2018, One in Three Marketing Organizations Will Deliver Compelling Content to All Stages of the Buyer's Journey
CMOs reported to IDC that "building out content marketing as an organizational competency" was their #2 priority (ROI was #1). Content marketing is what companies must do when self-sufficient buyers won't talk to sales people. While it's easy to do content marketing; it's hard to do content marketing well. The most progressive marketing organizations leverage marketing technology and data to develop a buyer-centric content strategy.

Guidance: Remember that it’s the buyer's journey – not your journey for the buyer.

5: In 2015, Only One in Five Companies Will Retool to Reach LOB Buyers and Outperform Those Selling Exclusively to IT
IDC research shows that line-of-business (LOB) buyers control an average of 61% of the total IT spend. LOB buyers are harder to market to and are even more self-sufficient than technical buyers. To succeed with this new buyer, tech CMOs must move more quickly to digital, incorporate social, broaden the types of content, and enable the sales team to maximize their limited time in front of the customer.

Guidance: Worry less about how much video is in your plan and worry more about your message.

6: By 2016, 50% of Large High-Tech Marketing Organizations Will Create In-House Agencies
Advertising agencies have been slow to recognize the pervasive nature of digital. While many digital agencies exist and many have been acquired by the global holding companies, these interactive services typically managed as just another part of the portfolio of services the agency offers. Modern marketing practitioners realize that digital is now in the DNA of everything they do and are ahead of their agencies.

Guidance: Don't wait. Take the lead.

7: By 2018, 20% of B2B Sales Teams Will Go "Virtual," Resulting in Improved Pipeline Conversion Rates
Buyers won't talk to sales until late in the game. But for B2B companies, a completely digital solution may not be answer either. Some solutions are so new, so complex, or customized that a human concierge must intervene. Enter the "virtual" sales rep. This emerging hybrid of marketing, sales and tech service is a far cry from the historical "me and my quota" sales rep. Think of them as a B2B Genius Bar. CMOs must equip the virtual sales rep with success tools.

Guidance: Find the fledgling "virtual" reps in your company and make them heroes – and make yourself one in the process.

8: By 2017, 70% of B2B Mobile Customer Apps Will Fail to Achieve ROI Because they Lack Customer Value-Add
Apps are maturing rapidly into utilities that can greatly enhance customers' personal and professional lives. Brand value is being redefined by value-added services such as monitoring, reporting, best practices, communities, and guidance. Nearly every brand has an app today. But not all apps are created equal. Some apps provide tremendous value, and others will end up on the island of mobile misfits. 

Guidance: Allow your competitor's app to be the "go to" resource and you are essentially locked out of that consumer's life.

9: By 2018, 25% of CMOs and CIOs Will Have a Shared Road Map for Marketing Technology
The CMO and CIO relationship will shape the future of both roles. CMOs must accept that their infrastructure is more effective when it is integral to enterprise IT. CIOs must reinvent their missions to support unprecedented innovation in line-of-business IT.  CMOs and CIOs must work together for vendor selection, data governance, backup and recovery, security, and a host of other issues.

Guidance: CMO and CIO should jointly lobby the CEO to overinvest in marketing technology.

10: By 2018, 20% of B2B CMOs Will Drive Budget Increases by Attributing Campaign Results to Revenue Performance
With the sharp lessons of the Great Recession still fresh in their minds, CEOs and CFOs want to make sure every dollar leads to results. If marketing can achieve full revenue attribution promise, this will not only to satisfy demands for accountability but will result in budget increases. But marketing's path to full attribution requires a complex orchestration of technology, data, and marketing skills and can't be accomplished without partnerships with IT, sales, and finance.

Guidance: Start with attribution of individual campaigns and tactics and eventually you'll build this Holy Grail.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Meet the Virtual Sales Rep

Robert sits in an office near Provo, Utah at what looks like the console of an air traffic
controller. But instead of directing jets through the airspace, he's using Twitter to guide a software company's buyer through her decision-journey. Part marketer, part sales, part tech service, Robert is one of an emerging breed of "virtual" sales reps. Could this be the dream team that B2B has been waiting for?

The B2B "Genius Bar"® as a Role Model

The "virtual" sales rep role in its ideal form provides the personalized, anticipatory, service of a five-star hotel. Think of it as the B2B version of an Apple Genius Bar – using virtual tools. The Apple executive team modeled the Genius Bar after Ritz-Carlton's customer service. Hallmarks of this exemplary concierge service include a personal touch; a warm, friendly, attitude; and attention to satisfying customer needs at every step. Sales expert Anneke Seley says the "virtual" sales rep culture is a far-cry from the historical "me and my quota" rep.

Sales teams are finally coming to grips with digital age facts. The culture shift recognizes that engagement must be sensitive to the appropriate stage of the buyer's decision-journey. "Buyers aren't ready to buy until they are ready to buy". Marketers all know by now that buyers prefer self-sufficiency and they avoid talking to sales people until the decision-journey is substantially complete.  IDC research shows that for tech products averages this distance averages about 50%. Now sales is also starting to appreciate that buyers are alienated when by placed prematurely into the arena. At the same time sales leaders don't want to waste an expensive sales resource on someone who isn't ready to buy.

Digital May Not be Enough

Content marketing is what companies must do to fill the gap when buyers won't talk to traditional sales people.  Content marketing is a hugely important communication strategy and companies will not be successful without mastering it.

Yet, for B2B companies, a completely digital engagement solution may not ever be the right answer. For one thing, content marketing capabilities in most companies is still ramping. Even when content marketing becomes excellent, digital may never be personal enough. Some B2B solutions are so complex, customized, or require so much trust that a human must intervene for the buyer to be truly served.  It may also be in the vendor's best interest to involve a good sales person early. One tech CMO told me that although the company could offer eCommerce, a human touch tripled the size of the deal.

The End of One-to-One

Sales must abandon the image of the lone hero acting alone. A distinguishing feature between traditional sales and marketing has been that sales covered one-to-one interactions and marketing covered the one-to-many. The evolving "virtual" sales model is somewhere in-between. Maybe we can call it some-to-one.

Because the Apple's Genius Bar is not just a person. It's a chain of orchestrated interactions constructed not only with people but also with data, technology, knowledge, content, training, and culture. It takes a village to offer five-star concierge service.

This shift means new responsibilities for marketing. To engage in a buyer-sensitive way, marketing must provision "virtual" sales reps, train them, and merge them into new types of campaigns. These new reps will be power users of CRM and marketing automation. They will be adept at social selling. They will depend on behavioral data and pitch-perfect content. Depending on the company business model they may generate leads, qualify them, develop business, close sales, or offer technical buying assistance.

IDC believes that the challenge of aligning with sales and instituting sales enablement will seem like baby steps compared to the full-on role integration of this new function. CMO's should jump on this trend now.

Genius Bar is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.


Friday, November 21, 2014

What is Content Marketing? IDC's Definition of Content Marketing

If you looked away for a split second you may have missed the rise of Content Marketing from "buzz word" to "must have". In fact, at the beginning of 2014 CMOs at the largest technology companies reported that "Building out content marketing as an organizational competency" was the 2nd most important initiative, only behind measuring ROI. Since then, they have responded by putting more budget, staff, and energy into the area, yet there is still confusion around the topic. What exactly is Content Marketing? Is it a type of marketing asset? Is it a process or a technique? Or something else?

IDC's CMO Advisory Service, has seen this issue first hand and to help remedy the situation the group has  published a document, What Is Content Marketing? IDC Defines One of Marketing's Most Critical New Competencies. Included within is a formal definition for Content Marketing.

IDC's Definition of Content Marketing

Content marketing is any marketing technique whereby media and published information (content) are used to influence buyer behavior and stimulate action leading to commercial relationships. Optimally executed content marketing delivers useful, relevant information assets that buyers consider a beneficial service rather than an interruption or a "pitch."

What is Included Within Content Marketing?


A definition is a great start, but the question that follows is, "What is, and is not Content Marketing?" To help marketers become more grounded in this definition of content marketing the CMO Advisory Service has also published a guide for "Types of Marketing Assets." In the graphic below you can see the break out of marketing assets into three categories:
  • Content Marketing Assets 
  • Product Marketing Assets
  • Corporate Marketing Assets
Each is important to the company and within the marketing mix, but only content marketing is new in purpose and new in form. Also, key to remember is Content Marketing Assets are not replacements for Product Marketing Assets or Corporate Marketing Assets.


Why Content Marketing, Why Now?


For decades the marketing team produced communication assets about its products, services, and about the company itself.  Before the digital era, sales people were the primary persuaders and these assets were used as sales tools. Marketing conducted some persuasive outreach, primarily through direct mail. However, this little thing called the internet changed everything - as digital technologies have progressed, buyers have become increasingly self-sufficient, the contribution of the sales person has eroded. This erosion leaves a gigantic gap in a vendor's go-to-market capability. How do companies build these relationships with buyers if they won't talk with sales people? Content Marketing fills this gap.

At IDC we believe that marketers must continue work to keep pace with their buyers. To be successful, not only is agility required, but clear guidelines and processes on how to execute new and exciting practices like Content Marketing.

Sam Melnick is Senior Reasearch Analyst with IDC's CMO Advisory Service, follow him on Twitter: @SamMelnick

Friday, October 17, 2014

IDC's Worldwide Marketing Technology 2014-2018 Forecast: $20 Billion and Growing Fast

Organizations worldwide will spend approximately $20.2 billion on software solutions for marketing in 2014. The marketing software market is expected to grow to more than $32.3 billion in 2018. It will be one of the fastest-growing areas in high tech, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4%. Over the five years from 2014 to 2018, organizations cumulatively will spend $130 billion on software for marketing departments. This forecast includes a wide range of solutions in four broad categories: interaction management, content production and management, data and analytics, and marketing management and administration. (For more information see Worldwide Marketing Software Forecast 2014-2018: $20 Billion and Growing Fast, IDC # DOC #251902, October 2014.)

Worldwide Marketing Technology Spending by Category, 2014–2018

                                                                          Source: IDC 2014

The emergence of Marketing as a Service (MaaS)

While innovation continues, the era of consolidation has begun. Many acquisitions have been made by software industry majors to bring together key pieces of the marketing and advertising software landscape. This activity has been coincident with the transformation of the larger IT industry to what IDC calls the 3rd Platform where technology and maintenance services are offered "as a service." This model is a game changer for marketers and marketing software suppliers. Even though almost all current marketing solutions are cloud based, they are just beginning to be integrated enough to provide seamless operations and reporting across the diverse activities of a large marketing organization. Furthermore, newer platform solutions can be leveraged by third parties such as agencies and marketing BPOs to provide value-added services in a bundled offering, which IDC calls "marketing as a service." (For more information on MaaS, see Marketing as a Service (MaaS): A New Route to Market, IDC #247587, March 2014)

5 Action Items for CMOs
  1. Construct a technology road map based on business drivers to guide investment
  2. Consolidate applications into a platform with data and process level integration to improve efficiency and effectiveness
  3. Work to integrate marketing technology with the enterprise infrastructure to reveal deeper insights into customers, partners, and market opportunities
  4. Establish inter-disciplinary teams and processes to combat the silos point solutions can create
  5. Learn to leverage corporate IT to improve vendor management, due diligence, and governance practices
For more information, please contact me at gmurray(at)idc(dot)com. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

9 New Terms Modern Marketers will want to Know

New practices need new language to describe them. When IDC's smart, experienced, forward-looking, clients and special guests got together at our recent Marketing Leadership board meeting in New York, I jotted down these terms they used as particularly useful for describing their challenges and ideas.
  1. Product selfie: A type of content where it's all about the product and nothing about the buyer/user (Guidance: Keep to a minimum – you know why.)
  2. Snackable content: Short-form, easy-to-consume, desirable, content (Guidance: As attention spans get shorter, you'll need more of this.)
  3. Brand-as-a-Service: Offering beneficial, free, and minimally-self-serving, customer service that extends your brand promise. Examples: USAA offering car-buying services, Pantene offering tips for creating celebrity hair-styles during an Academy Awards social media campaign; (Guidance: Powerful! Find yours.)
  4. Budget slush fund: Holding back 5-15% of your budget so that you can respond with agility to unexpected opportunities such as a social media fire or an idea from a regional marketer that is worth testing. (Guidance: Great strategy to you get beyond the same-old, same-old, but you'll need a seeking and vetting process to make sure this doesn't go to waste)
  5. Off-domain: Use of non-owned capabilities such as content syndication, outside point-of-view, 3rd-party voices; curated content, and community/social/partner media or events  (Guidance: This fast growing practice will require a different mind-set than the traditional "owned and ads first"  Start with some pilots now and plan to expand.)
  6. Hunting in the zoo: A derogatory term for the frustrating propensity for sales people to prospect only in well-known territory and ignore leads from new companies (Guidance: While I'm reluctant to promote language that contributes to the marketing - sales conflict, I think we have to give witness to this reality.  It's not likely to change without CEO intervention, so build reality into campaign and metrics – work with it or around it.)
  7. Multi-screening: Consumers are learning to use multiple devices in complementary ways to achieve their goals. Example: Using a mobile phone to research and buy a product seen at a tradeshow kiosk. (Guidance: One more reason to get beyond your internal org structure and think about what customers are trying to accomplish. Break down silo's within marketing. But also bring marketing closer to all company functions that touch customers.)
  8. RACI: This acronym (pronounced "racy") stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. A RACI grid is used to clarify roles in cross-functional practices. (Guidance: Accept that almost all tasks today can't be accomplished in a vacuum. RACI is an indispensible tool for helping people work across silos)
  9. Orchestrate: Arrange and mobilize multiple diverse elements to achieve a desired result. (Guidance: Think of campaign managers as orchestra conductors who lead groups of experts each playing an instrument critical to the beauty of the concert. This model is more in tune (pun intended) with agile marketing than traditional top-down management.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

2014 Tech Marketing Budgets Showing Strength - Led by the Shift to the 3rd Platform

IDC's CMO Advisory Service recently completed our 12th annual Tech Marketing Benchmark Survey and just last week had our client and participant webinar readout. With the results in, tech marketers should be excited; there are clear signs that marketing is gaining more respect, more responsibility, and more budget! For the first time since 2006, Tech Marketing Budgets will increase at the same rate as revenues (3.5% increases for budgets, 3.7% for revenues.) Coupled with this, the absolute number of companies increasing their marketing budgets continues to rise. Party time, right?

Well, maybe not quite.

The tech industry has hit an inflection point around the 3rd platform (cloud, social, mobile, and big data & analytics.) In fact, IDC is projecting that within the next 5+ years the 3rd platform will cannibalize revenue growth from the 2nd platform. Meaning, not only will 3rd Platform driven products account for all the revenue growth within the tech industry, but they will take market share from what was previously 2nd platform revenue.

What does this mean for marketers? 

A lot actually, tech marketers are in the fortunate (or fortuitous) position of being smack in the middle of this shift to the 3rd platform. Not only are the technologies being marketed transforming, but the day-to-day job of a marketer is being greatly affected. This is because the true impact of this shift is within next generation types of applications, industries - and ultimately - capabilities that the 3rd platform provides. Moving forward every marketer and every marketing organization must be updating skills, technologies, and processes. A lot is at stake and budgets are a clear indicator;  3rd platform marketing organizations are being funded at 6 to 8 times greater than 2nd platform organizations (see image below). The largest tech companies in the world are shifting to the 3rd platform and often (as they should be) the marketing organizations are exerting significant energy to be a large part of this company-wide shift. IDC sees moving to the 3rd platform as mandatory and marketing is no exception.


What can a marketing organization do to make sure they succeed in transforming rather than succumbing to turmoil?


  1. Understand which parts of the business are 3rd platform: These are the areas that should be supported with stronger marketing spend.  These are the areas to integrate new marketing technologies and processes in first. These areas will make or break your entire company. Use this opportunity to position marketing as a driver for the company's future success!
  2. Invest in 3rd platform staff and programs: Supporting 3rd platform products is key, but marketing also needs to shift the way it operates. This means investing in 3rd platform technologies and skills like: marketing technology, sales enablement, content marketing, and data & analytics. These areas create leverage and efficiencies for the entire marketing organization. In short, putting the right people, in the right positions, with the right tools  gives your marketing organization its greatest opportunity for success. 
  3. Have a plan, but be realistic and be patient: The larger the company the more time should be allowed for this organizational shift to the 3rd platform. Marketing leaders must definitively set the end vision for their 3rd platform marketing organization, but at the same time must have the patience to see the entire process through. The path may be non-linear and there will certainly be failures and misdirection along the way, but despite the time and effort needed, the end results will pay back the marketing organization (and company) many times over. 

If you are interested in how your company's marketing organization stacks up as this shift to the 3rd platform continues, reach out to me directly at smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com.

You can follow @SamMelnick on Twitter

Monday, September 15, 2014

Social Buying: The Importance of Trusted Networks during the B2B Purchase Process

Everyone's hot to leverage social selling and social marketing. But what about the other side of the equation? Do B2B buyers use social media for purchasing support?  An IDC study says yes! And contrary to common assumptions, it’s the senior executives who are most enthusiastic.

The most senior buyers are the most active social media users. IDC's Social Buying Study, completed in February 2014 in collaboration with LinkedIn (Slideshare version) studied the online social practices and preferences of B2B buyers. The study concluded that 75% of the B2B buyers studied and 84% of C-level/vice president executives use information from social media and interaction on social networks to make purchase decisions. I'll be talking about this study at the sold-out Sales Connect conference later this week.

Social buying improves decision confidence.  The operative benefit in social buying is the ability to access trusted networks to increase confidence in high-stakes decision making. When asked about their agreement with various statements about social media, respondents gave these top three answers:
  • They want to use vendors that have been recommended by people they know
  • They want to work with sales people who have been referred to them
  • Their social networks are critical for checking references

Social media make accessing trusted networks easier. Buyers have long trusted their offline professional networks for this purpose. Online social networks improve access to trusted existing networks and open up networks that more easily extend beyond traditional boundaries. The bigger the buying decision, the more important social networks become. The study found that social buying correlates with buying influence. The average B2B buyer who uses social networks for buying support is more senior, has a bigger budget, makes more frequent purchases, and has a greater span of buying control than a buyer who does not use social networks.

B2B buyers use different types of social resources at different stages of the decision-journey. It's important not to lump all social media into one big stew of a category. "Social" is a media attribute that enables peer-to-peer audience participation. Some media are highly social and others not at all. 

  1. Early Stage: when buyers are exploring whether to solve their problem, they favor news-type resources. Industry-specific media are #1, internet search (a socially-curated information service) is #2, and microblogs like Twitter are #3.
  2. Middle Stage: when buyers are evaluating solution options, 3rd-party experts become #1, industry-specific media are #2, and internet search is #3.
  3. Final Stage: Online professional networks (e.g., LinkedIn) are buyer's the #1 preferred information source in the final stage of the purchase process, when stakes are highest. This final stage is the riskiest stage because by this time, buyers are teetering on the brink of commitment where they will soon reap the benefits of a great decision or plunge into the abyss.  It's at this point that they most need the confidence advice provided by their professional network. Online network services like LinkedIn make this easy. Third-party recommendations are #2 and topic-specific communities become #3.
ESSENTIAL GUIDANCE
  • Relationship building, referrals, and recommendations are shifting online, so make social marketing and social selling a priority. Social marketing and social selling are not responsibilities that can be relegated to a special team low in the organization. Marketing executives should consider social aspects to be an integral attribute of all campaigns. Sales professionals and others in key customer-facing roles need to be active on social networks. At best, companies will miss an important opportunity to connect and at worst could incur real damage.
  • Respect the context of social interactions. Understand that when using the digital channels, buyers are seeking access to their trusted networks for information to increase decision-making confidence. Social channels are not simply a new avenue for spamming or cold-calling. Instead, each individual must earn his or her place within the trusted network of people that buyers will invite to participate in the purchase decision.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Organizational Tips for Leading the Marketing Transformation

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the marketing transformation? You aren't alone.  An IDC analysis of tech marketing staff changes since 2009 reveals that CMOs have had to squeeze traditional staff functions to accommodate five new roles: analytics/business intelligence, marketing technology, social marketing, sales enablement, and campaign management. In 2013, these new five roles collectively made up 14% of the total marketing staff.

IDC invited organizational change expert, Dr. Rick Mirable, to advise our clients on insights for leading more successful organizational change initiatives. Here are some of the tips that Dr. Mirable, who has more than 20 years of diverse business consulting and academic experience, offered:
  • What we believe about change determines how we will respond to change. People hold beliefs about the capability of both company culture and individual people's ability to change. Good change initiatives raise awareness of these biases.
  • Successful change initiatives require that leaders be included. It's not only individuals deep in the organization that need transformation, but leaders must also be role models for the change they want to see.
  • People resist change for many reasons. Change can threaten our sense of security (What will happen to me?) and our sense of competence (Can I learn new skills?). People may worry they will fail. They may not understand why change is needed. Companies may inadvertently reward people who resist change by penalizing people who try new things and fail.
  • Some resistance to change comes from unspoken resentment. Companies must allow for expression of the relevant "inner conversations" that people have with themselves about the change — views that are not explicit to others. Resentment is like dirty laundry — if you don't get rid of it eventually it starts to smell!
  • Some change initiatives fail simply because the organization isn't ready. Assess your readiness and then bring those areas found lacking up to speed before embarking.
  • The communication portions of most change efforts are weak and not consistent over the long haul. The communication must be open and bidirectional. Messages and goals need to be regularly repeated and reinforced.
  • Company culture is essential to sustaining success over time. One cultural attribute proven to accelerate change is the empowerment of individuals to make decisions that further the change goals. It is a best practice to ask people what they want to do (and ask for management permission to do it) rather than telling them what to do. This practice encourages innovation and accountability and drives change deeper in the organization.
  • Don't confuse "movement" with progress. When you get off the freeway during a traffic jam, you may be able to move faster; however, that movement doesn't guarantee that you are actually moving toward your destination or will get to it any more quickly. IDC notes that marketing teams that measure activity rather than outcomes are making this error.
  • Create circumstances for people to motivate themselves. Motivation can include extrinsic rewards such as money. Proven to be even more effective are intrinsic rewards — challenge, learning, responsibility, contribution, and career path advancement. Intrinsic rewards tap into the power of people's passions. Companies are advised to structure people's work so as to allow passion to surface.
  • Reduce resistance by creating a "burning platform." Clarify the risks and benefits of the change and involve the collective wisdom of the group. Give people a role in the change. Involve a person's "head" and "heart" as well as the "feet" of required actions.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

B2B Audience Segmentation Strategies that Work

As companies develop buyer-centric communication, one of most important questions is - how do we effectively group buyers into segments? We perceive that somewhere between the one-size-fits-all dinosaur and the unicorn-like "market of one" exist segmentation strategies that work better than others. But which ones? The secret is discovering self-identifying groups.
 
Great segments are built around groups that have naturally formed and are already connected.
 
For B2B marketers, the most effective audience segmentation strategies are vertical industry (e.g. hospitals, banks, retail), job function (e.g. CFO, head of HR, VP of Analytics), and geography (e.g. location, language, culture). In some cases, communities of interest can also be valuable. Communities of interest evolve around passions and may exist only online.  Examples of communities of interest relevant to B2B marketers may include those interested in security or privacy or a tech company's installed base. These attributes are ones that buyers will not only easily recognize about themselves but tend to be the stimulus for group formation.
 
Using self-identified groups as a primary segmentation strategy has two huge benefits.
  • Content will be more relevant and can be leveraged and streamlined. Self-identifying groups such as the ones described above respond to the same value propositions. They tend to have similar opportunities and/or problems. They will have similar compelling reasons to buy and are served by similar solutions. They tend to have similar business models, organizational structures, and environmental conditions. They share a common vocabulary. They ponder the same questions. They read the same editorial. They understand the same stories; respond to the same examples and analogies. They react to the same warnings. You can create highly relevant, effective, content and sales messages for these groups and that content will work hard.

  • The social network will market and sell for you. People with the attributes described above (vertical industry, job function, geography, communities of interest) are connected in social networks.  They go the same trade shows and recruit each others' executives. They respect the same experts and analysts and use the same suppliers. Social media has revealed to the world what we all know from our own buying experience - people rarely make big decisions by themselves. We seek help and advice from those we trust. We look for stories about how "people like me who have had this problem" have succeeded or failed. We collaborate with like-minded adventurers to try something new.  Imagine your message as a small marble. Throw your marble onto a Kansas wheat field.  Throw another. What are the chances that those two marbles will hit each other? Now imagine throwing your marbles into a shoe box. They bounce into one another with the slightest jolt.  Already connected groups create an echo chamber that can dramatically extend your own outreach effort
 
Consider company size, buying role, and risk profile as secondary audience segmentation strategies.
 
  • Buying role and risk profiles are very useful but used alone are insufficient. Within the overarching audience segmentation strategy, you may want to create sub-segments such as different kinds of buyers and influencers (e.g. financial buyer, technical buyer, decision-maker, researcher, or advisor) or risk profiles (e.g. early adopter, majority, conservative).  Content will be less relevant and you will get virtually no support from the social network. Both of these segmentation strategies are helpful. Buying role helps identify the different objectives and questions that must be answered by content. Risk profile is useful for content tone.  For Early adopters tend to respond well to opportunity-oriented messages ("look how great you can be!") whereas conservative companies tend to respond well to risk-avoidance messages ("look how much pain you won't feel!"). However, unless you are a very large company with brand dominance and a horizontal solution, these strategies are less effective by themselves for winning new business than those described above.

  • Company-size segments help sales but not marketing. Dividing buyers into tiers defined by company size such as enterprise accounts or small and medium sized business (SMB) may be a useful strategy for some business decisions. It informs sales management tasks such as territory definition, quota setting, and sales methodology selection. Company size is also useful for pricing strategies. However, Wal-Mart and GE have little in common other than size and complexity. However, company size provides almost no support for audience messaging.
 
For B2B audience segmentation strategies, your ideal group is the triple crown of vertical, functional role, and geography, or in some cases, communities of interest.  Your particular situation may have some unique requirements.  However, whatever segmentation approach you consider, make sure it passes the litmus test – self-identify as a group that experience similar problems and shares a social network.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Marketing to the Data Driven Customer


Customers with digital DNA expect data driven value
The digital native generation is bringing new expectations to brand relationships. They are mobile first, crowd sourced, and data savvy. Their first and most frequent interaction with your brand will be digital and mobile. They find out what's cool, what's trending, and what's most likely to work best for them from their social networks. They don't have emotional attachments to brands because the product is compelling or the advertising is cool. Their emotional engagement comes from unexpected insights that make them more successful. This is the new basis of customer loyalty, advocacy, and lifetime value.

Of course you still need a compelling product and cool ads (or messaging.) But once the prospect is a customer, continual engagement depends on over the top data driven insights. It's no longer enough to just sell the hammers and saws and let the buyer go build their house. You need to monitor how they are using the hammer and saw. You need to deliver success by guiding their use of your product based on the behavior of your most successful customers. You need to leverage your position as the center of your customer universe to share best practices quickly and efficiently. The only way to do that at scale is through data.

Data Ownership vs Data Stewardship
In between the lines, you should be hearing a new philosophy with respect to customer data. Even though legally you "own" it, the data driven customer expects you to act as a data steward. You must treat their data as an asset to be used for their benefit, not just as the basis for driving revenue. Everything you provide to your customers should be designed to bring data back. Your customers should learn that the more data they provide, the more value they get in return - without negative side effects like having their data sold to an irrelevant ad network. Give to get and maintain the trust.

This has tremendous implications. Not only for marketers. Data marketing requires coordination with product development, IT, finance, fulfillment, point of sale, customer support, consulting services, sales. All these groups interact with customers and capture data on different aspects of their behavior - product usage, purchasing, problem resolution, planning, advocacy, etc. They all need to be understood to identify the most successful customers and the traits that drive their success. You can create tiers of services based on the level at which customer provide data. You can create cohorts of customers that exclude direct competitors. You can support exchanges within your customer ecosystem that enable strategic accounts to benefit from preferred peers. You can be extremely creative about how you structure your data marketing services.

The message is that in a world of shrinking product cycles, cheap knockoffs, and copycat services, data marketing is the new source of differentiation. No one else has the data you (should) have on how customers can be most successful with your products. Use it to attract and retain the best and leave the rest to your competitors.


To continue the conversation on data marketing and the data driven customer, contact me: gmurray (at) idc (dot) com.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Call For Participation - IDC's CMO Advisory Service's 2014 Tech Marketing Benchmark Survey

It is that time of the year - IDC's CMO Advisory Service is in the field with our Marketing Benchmarks Study. This is our 12th year conducting this study that is used by leading marketing organizations to benchmark their marketing spend and organizational structures. Now it's your chance to join in this important research; I would like to offer an invitation to participate in this survey. 

Below are the essential "need to knows" around our survey and further down I'll dive into all the great value of benchmarking your marketing organization:

What are the benefits?
  • Complimentary copy of our 2015 Marketing Investment Planner to benchmark your company's marketing data against industry data.
  • Receive an invitation to our exclusive client telebriefing held by IDC Analysts.
  • Access to IDC's industry standard marketing taxonomy.
What is needed? 
  • Email me (smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com) to get our survey instrument and taxonomy.
  • A "lead" marketing executive with access to marketing budget and staffing allocations. 
  • Complete the survey by August 1st.
What is the Quality of Data and Confidentially?  
  • This is the 12th year IDC has fielded the Tech Marketing Benchmark Survey and will include participation from many of the 100 largest tech companies - this depth and expertise is unmatched
  • All responses are 100%, no questions asked, confidential. We take this part very seriously.  
Bonus to all Participants
  • All participants will be eligible for our 2015 Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix and will have access to their placement on the Matrix. A great way to easily compare your marketing progress against the rest of the industry's. 

Need More Information: View this excerpt from Kathleen Schaub's excellent post, IDC Tech Marketing Benchmark: Behind the Scenes. It explains all the intricacies (and value of benchmarking).
Why do companies benchmark? A benchmark provides context for decision-making. You spend a million dollars a year on social marketing. So what? If your CEO asks you this question, what will you say? Tech marketers tell us that they like to benchmark for the following reasons:
  • Improve the quality of annual planning: Last year’s program budget and gut feelings are no longer sufficient input
  • Gain insight into critical trends: Learn what industry leaders and competitors are doing – and how you stack up
  • Reallocate costs: Identify areas of overspending and opportunities for better value
  • Transform with confidence: Answer questions such as how much to invest in new areas like social marketing or how should I re-organize my department?
  • Drive with data: C-level executives increasingly expect marketing leaders to manage their business with the same level of operational excellence as other corporate functions.
  • Get an independent view: Benchmark data provides IDC analysts with a wealth of information that make guidance to clients personalized and accurate guidance
Feel free to reach out and let's have a discussion whether it's the right time for your organization to participate!

Email me at: (smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com) or find me on twitter @SamMelnick

Monday, May 19, 2014

Are Ad Agencies Keeping Pace with Marketing's Massive Digital Uptake? (Hint: Maybe Not)

Today, marketing's equivalent to the Brady Bunch's "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" just might be "Digital, Digital, Digital!" This is with good reason. Since 2009, digital marketing spend within large B2B tech companies has grown, and is growing, at an enormous rate. As you might have seen, IDC expects the entire tech industry to pass the 50% mark of digital spend vs non-digital spend by the end of 2016! This is the client side, but what about on the agency side, are these important partners keeping pace with their clients? At the end of April, Ad Age published their most recent "Agency report", it shows the agency industry's digital revenue over the past 5 years. While, agencies' digital revenues are growing and, as a percentage, these revenues are comparable to what their clients are spending on digital - the lack of substantial growth for agencies' digital revenue is notable. 


As seen from the image above, 5 years ago agencies were already generating over 1/4 of their revenue from digital, where as tech companies were spending only 13% of their budgets on digital. Since then, these same digital marketing budgets have grown at a CAGR of approximately 21% - agencies' digital revenue have grown closer to a 6.5% CAGR, a third the rate of tech marketer's digital budgets. This begs the question, are agencies keeping up with digital innovation? Does the agencies' slower digital revenue growth give us a glimpse into the future where in-house marketers are the digital experts?

Below are two comments that I think help parse out this story:
  1. Chapter  7 in Scott Brinker's (AKA: @chiefmartec) marketing book, A New Brand of Marketing, "From Agencies to In-House Marketing",  lays out the in-house vs agency shift perfectly. Traditionally agencies' bread and butter is within the advertising campaign - as advertising has moved digitally, ad networks and ad-tech have continued to mature allowing practitioners to work directly with these networks and/or utilizing programmatic ad buying to optimize their spend. In a sense, cutting out the middle man (agencies). This might help explain the large difference in growth between digital revenue growth at agencies and digital spend from the practitioner. While companies are spending more dollars on digital, it is more of a do-it-yourself approach.
  2. Anecdotally, through my conversations with clients and marketing executives, on more than one occasion I have heard marketers bringing core agency work internal. The two main reasons for this action are:
    •  Scope: For marketing executives who are trying to build a full scale demand engine or attribution models, they are finding it very hard to identify an agency partner who can deliver this vision from start to finish, particularly with expertise across the entire project. (A fair caveat is very few companies can do this internally!) They are still utilizing agencies, but typically for projects around high level strategy or vision and/or very specific tactical portions of their larger campaigns.
    •  Speed: To truly compete digitally, marketers have realized that speed is an asset. From content creation, to adjusting advertisements in real-time and to making sure the latest and greatest technologies are being tested and used, speed is a factor. Advanced marketers are often realizing by bringing many of these activities in-house, it is much easier to increase speed - it is also much easier to retain the talent that can execute in the manner necessary to succeed.
The above instances and the overlying data are something for marketers to be aware of and agencies to be concerned about, but, like with most changes this is not a black and white scenario. With agencies, similar to most marketing organizations today, it's about reinvention. My colleague Gerry Murray, outlines some of this reinvention that IDC expects to happen within the agency (or more specifically marketing services) world in his latest blog post, Marketing as a Service (MaaS): The next wave of disruption for marketing tech. Ultimately, the vendors that continue with business as usual, relying on media buys or traditional agency/client relationships, risk stagnant digital revenue growth and an outdated offering.

What success are you seeing within your "in-house marketing team" and how are you continuing to leverage your agency partners? I would love to hear your opinion in the comments below or by reach out to me on twitter @SamMelnick

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Marketing as a Service (MaaS): The next wave of disruption for marketing tech

Marketing technology has seen a remarkable innovation boom over the past 10 years — so much so that the market now boasts over a thousand vendors that IDC organizes into more than 75 categories. IDC believes this structure is unsustainable and over the next three years the forces of consolidation will exert fundamental changes in the way large enterprises provision marketing infrastructure and from whom they provision it. The marketing technology market, like much of the IT industry, will move to a cloud based service model which IDC calls the "third platform." As the illustration shows, more than 90% of the growth in the IT industry will come from this model.

For marketers, the third platform means the advent of Marketing as a Service (MaaS), which will have transformative affects for IT, IT services, and creative agencies. Key indicators that MaaS is on it way include:
  • Unsustainable complexity: Point solutions have come to market independently leaving it up to marketers to assemble them into rational infrastructures. This is a highly inefficient market model for buyers and sellers.
  • Transition to platforms: The consolidation of point solutions into platforms has already begun. Many noteworthy acquisitions have been made by major vendors such as Adobe, IBM, Oracle, salesforce.com, and SAP. However, this phase of market development will not last long as markets move rapidly from platforms to "... as a Service" models.
  • Digital and creative coming together: AdAge recently named IBM the number one global digital agency in the world. IBM is rapidly hiring from the agency world to build out its creative services. Adobe has deep and long standing technology partnerships with many top agencies. The agency world needs a value proposition that will allow them restore margins and regain strategic relevance.

MaaS includes the fundamental technology, IT services, and creative services that marketing needs in a bundled offering. Bringing these services together delivers significant value to CMOs who have two key sources of pain: On one hand, their agencies cannot effectively execute omnichannel campaigns nor deliver real time attribution reporting. On the other hand, technology has added a great deal of cost and complexity to their operating environments. MaaS enables them to outsource much of the technological complexity, pay for it out of their advertising budgets and get better integrated marketing services from their top agencies. For tech vendors it means gaining access to the advertising budget which dwarfs marketing IT spend by orders of magnitude. As a result, IDC expects this model to be a major route to market for marketing technology in the enterprise segment. It is therefore an urgent action item for tech vendors, system integrators, and agencies — partner now or lose a major channel. 

For more information on this important trend please contact me at gmurray(at)idc(dot)com.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why Business Executives are the New IT Buying Center

Several times a week the IDC CMO Advisory Service gets inquiries from tech company clients about how to shift their company mindset to a new and different buyer.  IDC's IT Buyer Experience Study shows that business buyers have 53% of buying influence in the earliest part of buyer's journey and their influence stays high throughout the entire process.  The tech buyer's influence, while still important, is comparatively waning.

A successful shift to a business-buyer approach will accelerate if you understand what's behind it.

Front office automation has more business risk than back office automation.  The 2nd Wave (as IDC calls the client-server era) was mainly about automating things inside your company.  The 3rd Wave (as IDC calls the current era of cloud, mobile, social, and big data) is about automating your connections to the outside world (I call it the company "skin").  When tech problems happened deep in inside your company, it was frustrating but not devastating.  The worst business tech problem of the 2nd Wave was being too slow to adopt new technology leaving competitors or upstarts to sail past you with business process advances.  That problem is still a concern today.  However, add the horror of screwing up in front of customers, investors, influencers, indeed, the whole world!  Just ask the CEO of Target.  Business executives are forced to pay attention to technology today – whether they want to or not. IDC forecasts that business executive budgets for technology will outstrip IT budgets.



Technology is easier and prettier now. Back in the day it took a real expert to understand the ins and outs of information technology products.  The products were intimidatingly gray and beige and filled with exposed wires and chips.  They hummed, got hot, and sparked out with regularity.  No wonder the finance and marketing execs wanted to leave those suckers alone.  Now most of those wires and chips are moving to the "cloud".  Doesn't that sound nicer?  Devices you touch are smooth and have pictures. Better design makes technology 99% invisible (to quote the title of one of my favorite podcasts).

Business executives are smarter and more confident about technology.  Back in the day, technology was a startling thing that business people in the prime of their careers had never seen, much less used.  I remember one intelligent, capable, and admired, C-suite executive who used to have his administrative assistant print out his email because he wasn't quite sure how to use it.  Now, anyone younger than 60 came of age with PCs and programmable everything.  Information about technology is available at everyone's fingertips and accessing opinions from your professional network is incredibly easy. While a portion of the population will always be skeptical or frightened about the next new thing – it's not likely to be IT that they are scared of (drones, anyone?).

Here are some steps you can take to accelerate the shift to a business-buyer focus:
  • Bring focus on the business decision-maker up to par with the technology decision-maker.  This is the Goldilocks strategy – not too much but not too little. For most new tech installations, IT will no longer instigate nor approve nor pay.  However, at some point the business executives will want to bring in their IT partner to take over some aspects of the decision.  Keeping adjusting your investments in content, campaigns, training, etc. until you've reached a balance in results.  Because this is a change you will have to overinvest in activity to achieve new results.
  • Take clues from the shifts described above. Focus value propositions on front office business problems.  Build in cloud, mobile, social, and big data messages and capabilities (IDC says 90% of IT growth is coming from these areas). Make the "ugly" of tech 99% invisible – in your customer engagement, your sales discussions, and in the products themselves.  But that doesn't mean be fluffy. Much of what is called "thought leadership" is astonishingly useless.  People are trying to solve real business problems.
The worm has turned as the saying goes. We are never going back to the old way.  Tech companies who succeed will be the ones to step up to investments they need to make to serve the empowered business buyer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Measuring Sales and Marketing based on Customer Outcomes

Have you ever used Uber X, the freelance taxi service? Half the cost of a cab and twice the level of service. The cars are immaculate. The drivers are almost overwhelmingly nice. They care deeply about your experience. Not because they want a tip. They want your 5-star feedback. That's so important to their success that they will do almost anything to make sure you are happy. It is a customer first model that works because customers have the ability to give feedback that has direct business impact. It's the eBay model applied to real world human interaction.

Think of your salespeople as Uber drivers, they interact with customers every day. Your marketing is like the car - is it in the right place at the right time and taking the customer where they want to go? These things matter tremendously to customers and yet we have no means to empower them to drive the behavior of marketing and sales at the moment of engagement. We have customer satisfaction surveys. They are important but lack immediacy and context for sales and marketing.

I recently came across two articles that may be the proverbial starting gun for measuring customer focus. The first from the HBR blog, "Bonuses Should be Based on Customer Value not Sales Targets," profiles how GlaxoSmithKline no longer calculates sales bonuses based on prescription drug sales but on a basket of metrics related to patient outcomes. The second on the Forbes blog, "The 5-Star Employee, Why we need a Yelp for Business" presents a provocative picture of why employee ratings should be standard practice.

Clearly there are cultural and generational issues at stake and a lot of education needed to make these transformations acceptable and actionable in a way that improves outcomes for everyone. As customer facing technology coalesces around the CX Cloud model, marketers should think about how to get customer feedback more frequently. It will require innovation born of experimentation. Of course, no one wants to rate every piece of collateral. But maybe every third touch or at specific points in the nurturing process. Companies that figure it out will have the great advantage of being able to monitor customer experience and course correct in flight as opposed to relying on satisfaction surveys that are too little too late. Best of all, customers will feel the power of the relationship, something they won't get from traditional models. Uber X is not better just because it costs less, it delivers more at the same time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Customer: The Most Important Statistic in Marketing – Everything Else is Just Offensive Rebounds


Let's start with a story that relates to marketing today. When my brother in-law was trying out for his high school basketball team, the coach sat all the players down at the end of one practice and asked them, "What is the most important statistic in all of basketball." My brother in-law, quite confident his answer would be correct, raised his hand and answered "Points scored." The coach stared at him for a few seconds and responded, "No. Offensive rebounds." For those of you who are familiar with basketball, you know that is a ridiculous statement – while offensive rebounds are important, the final score determines the winner, and thus is inarguably, the most important statistic in basketball.

For marketing, the customer is the final score


Today in marketing we are in an exciting phase with so much change happening, but also so much opportunity. The current atmosphere is a scary proposition for some, yet energizing for others. This energy has brought enthusiasm to many areas within marketing that are touted as "the most important." While areas like marketing technology, big data and analytics, and content marketing are INCREDIBLY important, ultimately, they are only a portion of marketing and not the full picture. In the end the most important "statistic" is the customer. The buyer ultimately judges and scores you, so remember, how well you provide value to your customer will determine whether you win or lose.




Highlighting this customer focus, in our 11th annual marketing barometer survey we asked over 75 senior level marketing executives to "compose a tweet on the future of marketing." We then took those answers and created a word cloud (see above). Low and behold, the two largest words that came up were "Customer" and "Buyer". These executives, whether intentional or not, understand that the customer/buyer will determine the final score. So remember, while different marketing practices may have incredibly important functions, in the overall game of business, they are all just offensive rebounds. 

Follow Sam Melnick on Twitter @SamMelnick


Monday, March 10, 2014

The one framework your CMO must share with your CIO

So many marketing solutions are available that it is very difficult for marketers, chief digital officers, and CIOs to have a holistic view of what they have, what they need and why. IDC has recently created a tool to help - The 2014 Strategic Framework for Marketing Technology. This tool provides a visualization of the different technologies needed to support different marketing organizations no matter how small or large, digital or non digital, modern or not. Pictured below is the whole map which presents solutions in four broad categories:
  1. Interaction: The primary function of these solutions is to be customer facing
  2. Content:  The primary function of these solutions is to facilitate the production and management of marketing content
  3. Data and Analytics: The primary function of these solutions is to store and produce insights from customer, operations, and financial data
  4. Management and Administration: The primary function of these solutions is to provide internal communications, workflows, budgeting and expense tracking.
IDC's Strategic Framework for Marketing Technology
v1.0 = 78 categories 

We have found that the complexity of technology requirements can be defined around a few factors:
  • Company size
  • Business model (eComm, B2C, B2B direct, B2B indirect)
  • Vertical industry
  • Mission of marketing (awareness, demand generation, etc.)
Using these factors, the map can be easily customized to show the current state, recommended next steps, and long term vision for just about any marketing organization. If you're a pure eCommerce company the advertising and digital commerce areas will be much more important and sales enablement would disappear. If you're a B2B direct company digital commerce might be a very low priority and sales enablement would loom large in your plans. Regardless of whether you're CPG, Health Care, Financial Services, startup or global enterprise, we can build a map to get your marketing, IT, and executive teams on the same page with respect to your marketing technology requirements.

For more information on our framework and the services we offer around it, please contact me at gmurray (at) idc (dot) com. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Top 3 customer experience challenges for marketers

Customer experience management is fundamentally about providing a seamless and consistent flow as prospects move through different phases of development and points of contact with a supplier. Delivering on this presumes a level of connectedness that many marketing organizations struggle to achieve. The reason for the struggle is that there are three significant forces of fragmentation opposing their efforts: specialization of roles, organizational hierarchies, and tactical technology. These forces threaten every marketing organization with two fatal flaws: they slow everything down and fracture the customer experience.

Three forces of fragmentation that marketers must fight:
1.     Specialization: all areas of marketing execution have become inch wide mile deep endeavors. As a result, there can be many degrees of separation between key roles such as social marketers, event planners, web administrators, technical writers, etc. What do these people talk about when they get in a room together? Does anyone else care how the events person manages food service or logistics?

How to combat the fragmentation of specialization: It is becoming clear that the one thing all marketing roles now have in common is the need to master data and analytics. Each specialized role produces and consumes data from all the others. It is critical that everyone in marketing understand how customer and operational data flows, how others use the data they produce, and the best analytical practices for gaining insight. This should be a key topic of conversation and community building.

2.     Hierarchical org charts: Marketing is no longer a command and control world. Yes, there is an overlay of reporting that has to go "up the chain." For many marketing leaders that grew up with the traditional B-school approach to management, adding layers to the org chart is a natural approach. However it results in compartmentalization that left untended creates a culture of disconnectedness.

How to combat the fragmentation of hierarchies: Marketing organizations should be defined around processes not activities. Marketing processes must be supported by collaborative environments that foster greater visibility and coordination between contributors. Enterprise social networks are becoming essential for creating a culture of openness and connection. Organic approaches are not enough, marketing leaders need to seed the social network with process oriented communities such as: campaign management, sales enablement, content lifecycle management, etc.

Transforming Marketing From Silos...

... To Systems


3.    Technology: IDC identifies nearly 90 different categories of marketing technology (not including middleware and infrastructure!) That alone should tell you the function and the IT market serving it are unsustainably fragmented. The deployment of highly specialized tools can empower people within their specialties but can leave them on a technology island in the greater scheme of things. Major IT vendors have started to consolidate some of the basic building blocks, but there are still many areas in which niche/best of breed capabilities are needed.

How to combat the fragmentation of technology: The two centers of gravity for your marketing IT infrastructure are your integrated marketing management solution and your website. They should be intimately tied to each other and all other marketing systems/tools should integrate with one or both of them. This becomes a forcing factor for integrating processes and data flows. Marketers also need to demand more of their technology vendors to accelerate the evolution of platforms that tie together the systems of engagement, content, administration and data.

The most successful CMOs will ensure the pervasive deployment and adoption of technology increases collaboration, socialization, and systems thinking. They will design marketing organizations around customer-centric processes and exert deliberate efforts at all levels to combat the forces that threaten the connectedness needed to serve up a seamless customer experience. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

80% of Your Customer Data Will be Wasted

Larger and richer collections of customer data are increasing available. That’s the good news. But most of that data is wasted. That's the bad news. Poor data practices remain one of the biggest hurdles to marketing success.

Here are four ways that companies squander data and recommendations about how to stop the waste:

Data is Missing: A huge amount of customer data is available but is just not collected. Your ultimate goal should be to capture interaction and behavioral data at every touch point.
 
What to do: Acquire the data. Invest in marketing technology and services that capture data and in data management technology to store it for analysis. IDC finds that tech marketing leaders invest more than three times the amount of funds in marketing technology than their laggard cousins.  Big data is the marketer's friend.  Providing lots of data to your analysts will enable them to predict the next best offer, discern buyer preferences, determine marketing program attribution, improve conversion rates, and much more.

Data is Unavailable: Some customer data is captured in company systems, but is trapped where marketing can't access it. Marketing needs information on customers from a broad array of sources from both inside and outside the enterprise. Sales data, purchasing data, and customer service data, are examples of internally available data critical to seeing the full customer picture.

What to do: Aggregate the data. C-Suite executives must rush to the aid of marketing if they want to get full value from the function. To stop measurement at the MQL or even sales "closed loop" is insufficient for the full customer picture. Pay particular attention to converting unstructured data into structured data so it can help drive the content customization and delivery process.



Data is Junk: Sometimes customer data is captured, but is meaningless.

What to do: Analyze the data. You must be able to separate the signal from the noise. The first step is to gain a baseline understanding of the journeys taken by your best customers.  This point of view will give you a filter. CMOs need to invest in the tools and skills needed to gain insight from the data and tell a relevant business story.

Data is Late: Some meaningful data is captured, aggregated, analyzed – but the whole process takes too long for any relevant action to occur.

What to do: Act on the data. The point of data investment is to develop a rich understanding of the customer's context so the most relevant response (typically content) can be delivered to them. In a digital dialog, a response is expected on the other side of every click.  Data needs to be made readily available to decision engines and content management systems so that they can take action.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tech Marketer's Top Priorities for 2014 - Call for Participation IDC's Tech Marketing Barometer Survey

IDC's CMO Advisory Service is conducting our 11th annual barometer survey. Consider this blog post the official call for participants (get pumped!)

Ok let's cut to the chase:

What are the benefits:
  • Complimentary copy (value of $4,500, yea the font is green for a reason) of our 2014 Tech Marketing Barometer Report. This will answer key questions around up and coming marketing areas (digital, content, marketing tech) and budget direction throughout the entire tech industry. 
  • Receive an invitation to a future client only telebriefing with key data from this survey
Who Should Participate: Marketing executives who are in a position of responsibility for worldwide marketing practices.

How Long Should it Take: Depending on several factors, as quick as 15 minutes!

What's the Deadline: Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014.... But wait, there's more - All surveys received by Monday, Feb 17, the participant will be entered into a raffle for a $200 Amazon Gift Card!

There's No Link...How do I Participate: To assure the highest data quality we carefully screen our participants. Please email Sam Melnick for the survey link.

Confidentiality: This goes without saying. All answers will be kept confidential by IDC and all data will be aggregated for the purposes of trend analysis.  Additionally, your responses will not be used for any other purpose within IDC.

For those that skipped to the end:

TL;DR: If you are a senior marketer interested in receiving complimentary research, email Sam Melnick for the survey link and complete it by Feb 25!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Busting the Myth of Sales Disintermediation

Are IT Buyers so self sufficient that sales people will no longer be needed? Much was made in 2013 of the notion that IT Buyers make a large percent of their decision before engaging with sales. Every major market research company had its own number but they all ranged north of 50%, a scary thought especially if it represented a rising trend.

As shown in the figure below, enterprise IT buyers actually rely very heavily on vendor input for enterprise solutions. Buyers can make categorical decisions like "we need a new CRM or billing system." But they need a great deal of information from marketing, sales and technical sales in order to complete their decision making processes.

Finding the Right Mix of Marketing and Sales Engagement

Q.        What percent of your decision for an enterprise-level purchase when multiple vendors are competing for your business has been made by the time you first speak with a salesperson?
Source: IDC's 2013 IT Buyer Experience Survey, n = 193

The implications for supporting customer journeys is significant. For purchases that are low cost, familiar and low risk customers want to be as self sufficient as possible. And sellers need them to be because it costs too much for even telesales or online chat to support these transactions. At the other end of the spectrum of course it gets far more complex and that translates into opportunity for vendors - if they are truly aligned with the buyer's journey

One of the most important value adds that most sales and marketing lacks is the need to educate customers on how to buy as much as what to buy. For costly complex purchases, customers need guidance on:
  1. How to evaluate the strategic priority of the solution as well as the technical and business benefits
  2. How to build consensus across line of business, corporate IT and other key players in the decision making process.


According to our latest IT Buyer Experience research, marketing and sales teams that provide this insight early and often will help buyers make their decisions up to 40% faster, putting them ahead of the competition and ahead of forecast.

For more information on this and related research please contact me at gmurray(at)idc(dot)com.