In many marketing departments, the technical competency required for marketing execution is often consolidated in the hands of a few experts on the marketing staff. A marketer might be the direct mail guru, an “adman,” a PR specialist, or the trade show expert. In general, the execution of these marketing mix elements, while technical and complex, has not changed too much over time. The fundamentals of public relations, copywriting, event management, and so forth, are tried and true. Digital marketing is transforming this in two important ways:
- First, there is a crush of new marketing techniques and program elements that need to be mastered. The digital marketing mix has quickly added 10 or so (and counting) new elements of execution to the standard mix palette of about 12–15 classic program types. (e.g., email, webcasts, virtual events, SEO, display ads, social networking)
- Second — and even more important — digital marketing by definition does not rest in the hands of just a few experts. The portability, interactivity, and cost effectiveness of digital marketing are placing the execution benefits and pitfalls into the hands of marketing and nonmarketing staff throughout your company.
Today, all marketers need to become digital marketers. Marketing management needs to make sure that all staff are trained and skilled.
The IDC CMO Advisory team is impressed with the Digital Marketing Training program rolled out over the past 10 months by Intel. The Intel Digital Marketing Training program has been rolled out to the entire global sales and marketing staff. Job functions required to take the training include end-user marketing, channel marketing, market development managers, field sales engineers, field application engineers, and retail marketing managers. In total, about 80% of Intel’s thousands of global sales and marketing staff are engaged in the training. Intel has developed role-based training levels and digital IQ certifications. Additional details about Intel’s program are available for clients of IDC’s CMO Advisory Service. (IDC document #218416, http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=218416)
What steps are you taking in your organization to help your employees become “digital marketing certified”?
How do you get busy marketers in a room for 2 hours to discuss some of their interactive marketing practices? One way is to offer them breakfast, exposure to several leading marketing organizations and industry experts, and introduction to a couple of digital marketing vendors. BtoB did just that this morning in Waltham, MA. Panelists included John Smits, Global Dir. Dbse. Mktg. and Segmentation, EMC; Leigh Day, Sr. Dir. Corp. Comm, Red Hat; and Paul Gillin of Paul Gillin Communications. Vendors included Brightcove and ZoomInfo.
Here are a couple of key takeaways from the meeting:
How do you avoid “campaign collisions” [EMC insight]
- Problem: multiple BUs and regions were sending communications to the same individuals (e.g., CIOs) about different EMC events on the same day
Solution: “Deliver the most appropriate information, to the most relevant audience via the user’s medium of choice” [sounds easy, no?]
– “Centralized Demand Center” created a couple of years ago –> a single global database
– Segmentation strategy used to profile individuals and their needs, leveraging intrinsic and extrinsic information from disparate sources to best understand who should be targeted for which go-to-market(GTM) activities
– “Plan, calendar and govern”. . . only give folks access to prospects/customers that meet specific criteria, thereby improving the quality of interaction of EMC with specific individuals as part of GTM activities
Results: For a specific launch activity (email) for one of their platforms, they achieved a >20% open rate and <0.05%>
- Ongoing challenges. . .”How do you “control” prospect interactions across all BUs and regions?”: Less about control, more about leveraging common interests; Involve users in decision-marketing processes; Offer value for use of corporate database (e.g., access to valuable infrastructure, higher quality contact information) [leverage Mktg. Shared Services as another part of this execution strategy]
Some key success factors for your digital marketing strategy
- Red Hat
– news blog with an RSS feed, headlines on Twitter
– offer high quality content and value for customers: Red Hat KnowledgeBase to provide relevant and valuable info. to customers; “Carve Out Costs with Red Hat” campaign- an online resource site to help customers deal with the downturn
– Leverage multiple types of technology to reach different audiences (e.g., video, podcast, whitepapers); yet content must be written differently for each medium (“don’t just webify a white paper”) [earlier Blog on video]
- Paul Gillen
– “must lead with your business objective, not the latest social media tool”
– To optimize participation in a community you need to identify and leverage peoples’ interests and passion for participation and collaboration
– The real action now is branded and special interest communities. For example, “Opinion Panelists” by Hilton (private panel): direct feedback from their best (~300) customers. . . virtually replaced focus groups for Hilton. . .save $, immediate feedback, etc. . . get loyalty points for participation
- EMC: Leverage social media to broaden the impact and value of other marketing activities: EMC World. . “we’ve started marketing this in-person event months before its start date– e.g., getting people online to engage and discuss key topics and then gather these folks together when in-person at the event
B2B marketers have not been well known for their advertising creativity and innovation in the past 10-15 years. Yes, there are a few great examples; especially from the multi-billion dollar companies that have large advertising budgets and can afford those large agencies. However, this is certainly one area that we lag behind our consumer marketing counterparts. After all, we’re marketing to engineers, software developers, CIOs, CTOs and other “left brain” people. Think “logical”, “sequential”, “rational” and “analytical”. They won’t be fooled by our flashy marketing tactics and colorful images. Right?
Well, maybe this is another area that we need to rethink as we shift into the age of digital marketing. What are some key drivers of this shift?
- The cost to create video and more advanced graphics has dropped considerably.
- We’ve learned that video and other graphical communication methods can be powerful in communicating complex products and solutions as well as their application to our customers’ business needs. (sounds like a B2B tech environment to me)
- New technologies enable us to increase the interactivity of video, such as allowing video to respond to users’ specific needs.
- In some cases use of a less professional look is actually deemed more valuable since it simplifies the messaging, increases your credibility and differentiates you from other companies.
- We can better measure the performance of digital marketing, thereby enabling us to improve our activities and assets “on the fly” as well as tracking ROI.
In fact anything that involves picture/video/animations vs. an avalanche of text is usually more valued as it’s easier to communicate. We can provide more bite-sized information enabling our cusotmers to absorb information “on the go”, it simplifies the message and it improves communication and comprehension. (e.g., doesn’t depend on pure text which quite often results in use of unfamiliar acronyms) But, don’t forget all that you’ve learned in business school and in your years of marketing; and just as important, ensure that your digital marketing experts are privy to these learnings. (e.g., identify and understand your target segments, provide relevant and valuable content, identify key success factors, metrics and targets, etc.)
Here are a few examples that you may find of interest.
- Eloqua’s interactive video: Some quick stats: “Starters”(those who answer the first question) spend an average of 3 min. 45 seconds interacting with the conversation; those who become leads reach up to 6 min.; 23% of “starters” reach the longest path. (Produced by Jellyvision)
- American Airlines: Capture the FlagshipSM Experience. Yes, it’s more of a B-to-C example, but a great example of leveraging graphics to communicate an experience. Check out the First Class section.
- Google Docs in Plain English: A simple presentation of how to use Google Docs to create and share online documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Over 1.6 million views on YouTube.
- CRM Online Workbook created by IDC’s Go-to-Market Services team for SAP: Designed to help companies evaluate and improve effectiveness of customer life cycle processes across sales, marketing and services (demand generation) Use of independent parties, such as industry analysts and end user interviews helped build credibility.
Have you seen some examples either by your company or others? Feel free to provide links in the comments area below.