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.