FutureM: For Marketers, Times They are a Changin’

I attended FutureM in Boston a few weeks ago and the main take away was: Marketing is changing quickly and organizations must grow and adapt, otherwise they will fall behind.

IDC’s CMO Advisory Service has been advising this for some time, but as I read more blogs and attend more marketing based events like FutureM, the reality of overarching change is becoming obvious. IDC’s data points to this as well; investment in Digital Marketing within the Enterprise Tech industry has increased from 12.6% of budgets in 2009 to 29.2% by the end of 2012* – we expect this trend to continue.

Below I have outlined 3 sessions that did a great job of highlighting the change that is taking place. I then took particularly interesting or relevant quotes and expanded on them.

“Social has to be collaborative between agencies and the brand – It has to be done for consumer insight and you cannot do it for the sake of just doing it.
                   – Anthony van Dijk, Brand Manager, Global Gillette Venus Base Business, Gillette

This quote hit home with me – as social, and digital in general, continue to mature, marketers must engage with their agency around these topics. However, don’t just check off a box by giving them the set of keys to your online presence and communities. Hold your team and agency accountable; have a specific plan and goals. Almost as importantly, don’t just give your agency a mandate to improve social, work with them and guide them as your brand and goals change. Social is often instantaneous, you cannot expect the undertaking to be a straight line trajectory – be ready to adjust and if you’re expecting deliverables from your agency give them the best chance to help you succeed!

Understand IDC’s guidance for B2B Social Marketing by downloading our report: “Despite the Hype, B2B Social Marketing Is Still in Its Infancy: 2012 Guidance for New Investment Dollars and Staff

“The buyer is on a journey and the vendor is not invited.”
                    –  Joe Chernov – VP of Marketing, Kinvey

This was one of my favorite quotes of the entire conference – it was provocative and goes against much of what we have been taught as marketers. If you take a broader view, Joe is right, this isn’t your father’s “buyer” the tools and knowledge available today have changed everything. Rather than Sales or Marketing holding all the information, social networks, forums, and the rest of the internet can provide the Buyer with a large majority of answers. As IDC has reported in our recent publication, The 2012 IT Buyer Experience Survey: Accelerating the New Buyer’s Journey, marketers and sales must be aware of this new reality and adjust their strategies and tactics. Additionally, my colleague Kathleen Schaub wrote a great blog post on Operationalizing Your Buyer’s Journey. The report and post both are great places to start on this topic!

“Good professionals let the data speak, if you don’t have good data – don’t make a decision!”
                     – Chuck Hollis, VP — Global Marketing CTO, EMC Corporation

Discussion around Analytics and Big Data resonate strongly with me – they are hot topics in the marketing world and can provide immense value. Our group always urges marketers to utilize data any chance they can. However, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of trying to quickly move projects forward while using data as a guide. Chuck’s quote reminds us to be honest with yourself and be honest in your decision making process, don’t make a decision based on data unless it is telling a clear objective story.

For more information on data driven marketing download IDC’s study “Data-Driven Marketing: A Survey of Marketing Automation Maturity in Global High-Tech Companies


While these quotes give a quick glimpse into a few sessions at FutureM, the entire conference is a reminder that there is a lot of change in Marketing and many technologies and companies can be a huge asset in this transformation. Don’t ignore this change, take time to educate yourself even if it is just a few hours a week to demo a new product or service or view an interesting webinar. Ultimately, as a marketer if you don’t start swimming, you risk sinking like a stone. 

You can follow Sam Melnick on twitter: @SamMelnick or contact him at smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com

*Source:  IDC’s 2012 Tech Marketing Benchmark Study (full results to be published this quarter)

Data Analytics wins 2012 US Presidential Election

Data analytics was the big winner in the 2012 US Presidential race. In fact, 11:17 PM (US ET) November 6th was the moment data analytics went mainstream. This was when Ohio was officially projected to go to Obama. It was the ultimate validation for Nate Silver and his data analytics approach to election forecasting. To much fanfare he accurately predicted the results of the election in all 50 states without doing any of his own polling. He used sophisticated analytic models based on data from as many third party polls he could find. To this he added the secret sauce of data analytics – a keen understanding of how different types of data from different sources relate to one another in context.

His FiveThirtyEight blog drove as much as 20% of the web traffic to the New York Times website – the 6th most visited US news site on the net – leading up to the election. As a result, data analytics is officially mainstream. Any business leader at any level that does not immediately embrace its power is putting his or her career and company in jeopardy.
Data analytics works. It does not produce miracles, but it does produce results that far outperform human judgment on its own. The Obama campaign employed an army of retail data analytics wonks to beat the Romney campaign in every battleground state. They did it by applying analytic techniques proven in the supermarket industry:
  • Standardizing records: Unifying the customer (voter) database
  • Widening perspective: Combining diverse data types: demographics; buying/voting history; response by media; donation/activity by trigger (celebrity dinner), model (contest) and method (mobile); group/church  membership, social networking activity (Reddit), etc.
  • Judicious targeting: Carefully identifying the potential for influencing voters that could influence the election. Not worth targeting easily influenced voters if they don’t live in a county that can help swing a state. Not worth targeting difficult to influence voters even if they live in a critical county. This is essential for achieving impact and ROI.
  • Media mix modeling: which media channels have the greatest impact on which kinds of voters?
  • Action oriented outreach: Understanding the specifics of why and how certain people act and designing multiple outreach experiments (progressive offers, channel mix, social references, etc.) based on that.
  • Openness to innovation: data driven models may point to approaches that are counter intuitive for some decision makers. They can seem risky and mysterious. They will not be right all the time. Controlled risk is part of the evolutionary process to effectiveness. Without a tolerance for experimentation however, you will not develop a data driven culture, you will in fact kill it.

Marketers in the world’s largest high tech companies are finally acquiring the enterprise data services needed to apply data analytics to long cycle B2B customer creation processes. We are already seeing signs of how significant the impact of these new approaches to marketing and sales can be:

  • $200M EU lift based on a sophisticated solutions recommendation engine
  • 45% more subscription revenue with no increase in a multi-million dollar marketing budget
  • Tens of millions of dollars in revenue uplift from simple web behavioral changes

Embracing data driven decision making is now a matter of survival. You simply cannot win against competitors that have faster, deeper market insight. They will beat you in every stage of the customer creation process. Your marketing will be months behind, your inside sales reps will be calling customers already committed to alternatives, your field sales reps will miss opportunity after opportunity to get more revenue from existing customers. Your funnel will collapse, your pipeline will dry up, your renewable revenue will shrink, and at that point it will be hard to recover. Hyperbole, you say? In the great A/B test of who uses data analytics and who does not, stay in the B group at your peril.
IDC EAG group has done extensive research on the key ingredients needed to create the enterprise data services that are a prerequisite for data driven customer creation and has ongoing research into how to create a data driven culture. To find out more please contact Gerry Murray – gmurray(at)idc(dot)com.