- Construct a technology road map based on business drivers to guide investment
- Consolidate applications into a platform with data and process level integration to improve efficiency and effectiveness
- Work to integrate marketing technology with the enterprise infrastructure to reveal deeper insights into customers, partners, and market opportunities
- Establish inter-disciplinary teams and processes to combat the silos point solutions can create
- Learn to leverage corporate IT to improve vendor management, due diligence, and governance practices
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.
- 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.)
- Snackable content: Short-form, easy-to-consume, desirable, content (Guidance: As attention spans get shorter, you’ll need more of this.)
- 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.)
- 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)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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)
- 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.)
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?
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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