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

2013 Tech Marketing Budget Trends: 3rd Platform Companies and Products Lead the Growth

Yesterday, IDC’s CMO Advisory Service had our annual Tech Marketing Benchmark Webinar. This study goes out to close to 100 senior lever marketing executives and represents the largest B2B Tech companies in the world (this year the average company revenue was $9.1B.) The webinar was packed with great information and was a great success. However the overlying question each year is where will marketing budgets sit at the end of the year and what direction are they moving. The results are some good news mixed with trends that point to hard work that marketers need to do around their budgets. 
Good News: More Organizations are Increasing their Marketing Spend Than Decreasing

As seen in the graph below, across the entire tech industry a net of 15% of companies are increasing marketing spend versus those decreasing. While it may not always feel like it, there are marketing budget increases out there to be had!

Challenge for Marketers in 2014: Finding the Right Areas that Should Receive More Marketing Budget

Despite the fact more companies across the tech industry are increasing marketing budgets than decreasing, budgets at the aggregate levels are flat to slightly negative. IDC expects Marketing budgets to decrease 0.5% year-over-year from 2012 to 2013. So that leaves us with an interesting juxtaposition, more companies are increasing budgets than decreasing, but at the aggregate weighted level the data shows a slight decrease in overall budgets. Three reasons we are seeing this:

  1. The largest companies within the Tech Industry are seeing flat to declining marketing budgets due to continued transformation within the industry. This brings the weighted levels down. 
  2. Hardware companies (as seen in the above graph) are the only sector where more companies are decreasing marketing budgets than increasing. Companies within this sector are typically larger and the Hardware industry is feeling more affects from the industry’s transformation. 
  3. 3rd Platform companies and other high growth product lines and business units are driving much of the revenue growth and in turn are receiving much of the increases within marketing budgets. These companies are smaller, so they add the “n” value of companies increasing, but do not affect the weighted average as heavily. 
Illustrating the final point (#3) you can see in the graph below that Cloud Software Vendor’s (who are right smack in the middle of IDC’s 3rd Platform) Revenue Growth, Marketing Investment Growth, and Marketing Budget Ratio (total marketing budget / total revenue) are all at least 3X  that of their on-premise peers. Some of this can be attributed the size of the Cloud Vendors (typically smaller), but the growth being seen in the 3rd Platform areas is undeniable.
Note: If you would like to discuss cloud vendors marketing benchmarks further please email me at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com!
In closing the 3 budget takeaways we are giving for budgets in 2013 – 2014 are:
  1. More companies are increasing (vs. decreasing) marketing spend. (This is good news!)
  2. There is not enough “Peanut Butter” to go around… (so an even spread will not work this year)
  3. Marketing Investment will inevitably find growth areas: products; markets;  segments; or geos. (So, work hard to find those areas and invest wisely)
Sam Melnick is a Research Analyst at IDC’s CMO Advisory Service and manages the entire benchmark survey and study. You can follow him on twitter at @SamMelnick

Benchmark your Marketing Organization with IDC Research – 2013 Tech Marketing Benchmark Survey

Here at IDC’s CMO Advisory Service we are in the field with our 11th annual Tech Marketing Benchmarks Study. I would like to offer an invitation to participate to marketing executives across the industry. 

Have you ever wondered, “Is my marketing organization receiving enough budget to compete?” or “Exactly how much should I be spending on marketing automation?” If so, IDC’s CMO Advisory Service’s benchmark survey has been helping senior marketers answer questions like these for over 10 years!

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. Let’s get started:

What are the benefits?

  • Complimentary copy of our 2014 Marketing Investment Planner to benchmark your company’s marketing data against the industry’s data.
  • Receive an invitation to our client only telebriefing held by IDC Analysts. 

What is needed? 

  • Email me (smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com) to get our survey instrument and taxonomy.
  • Complete the survey and send it back in a timely manner (‘due date’ to be discussed).

What is the Quality of Data and Confidentially?  

  • This is the 11th 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 2014 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

3 Steps to Move Closer to the Ever Elusive Marketing ROI

CMO ROIHere at the CMO Advisory Service, we recently closed up our 2013 Barometer Study which includes data from senior level marketers working at some of the largest Tech companies in the world. While there are a lot of great insights from this study, these senior level marketers made it very clear that their highest priority is “Proving Marketing’s Value”, or in other words, that always elusive marketing ROI. While this quest(ion) is nothing new to marketers, as our industry continues its transformation, marketing ROI is becoming an even more pressing topic. We see this truth in our surveys, we hear it from clients, and it is actively being discussed at industry events. This year we launched our  Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix (see the image to the right) in an effort to give participants a look into their own return on investment from marketing and continue the conversation. There is no easy answer here (otherwise my days would not be quite as busy), but I have 3 steps senior marketers can take to move closer to measuring marketing ROI.

1. Identify what matters and what does not

This might seem obvious, but to successfully prove value, first it must be understood what is providing value.  Often when we speak with clients we remind them that tactics are important, but without strategy on the front end those tactics may be wasted energy. Before creating a substantial dashboard or reporting tool, take the time to understand which data or measurements are going to further the case and which are white noise. Once done, not only will the organization be better able to prove ROI, but it will be able increase effectiveness.

Key Fact: 27% of B2B companies report they have not yet used predictive analytics to improve any marketing activities.

2. Communicate inside and outside of your department

As transformation continues within the tech industry it is creating a ripple effect to companies and then departments within each company. This means lots of change, and change can often mean confusion. Not only are marketers pushing to prove their worth, but they have to compete with this ongoing confusion. To overcome this issue, communication is a must, both within the marketing organization and across the entire company.  It is key to receive buy-in from stakeholders and make sure the steps taken are continuously aligned with expectations. It also means communicating the actions taken (and why they were taken) to staff or superiors. Remember, over communicate, as in times of turmoil “value” can be a moving target.

Key Fact: In 2013 senior marketers expect 2/3 of the marketing technology budget will come from the marketing department – the rest from IT, Sales, and other areas. Communication across these departments is key. 

3. Benchmark your progress

Identifying what provides value and then communicating as progress is made towards measurment are two great steps. However, when it’s time to share the work, comparisons and baselines will be needed. The first step is measuring your own progress. How have the KPIs improved and what can be expected in the future? The next question will be, what is the comparison to competitors? Finding ways to benchmark and measure progress internally and externally will help tell the story of value added and improvement. It will also set standards and targets to shoot for, without these benchmarks there is a risk of flying blind.

Key Fact: Close to 100 tech companies participated (For Free) in IDC’s Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix and benchmarked their marketing ROI against their industry peers. To participate this year contact smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com.

What other steps would you recommend to prove marketing value or even derive that elusive marketing ROI number?

Do you think this is fools gold and there are other areas marketers should be focused on?

Let me know your thoughts!

You can follow Sam Melnick on Twitter: @SamMelnick 

Why Participate in IDC’s Marketing Barometer Survey

The CMO Advisory Service at IDC is conducting its annual barometer survey. This is the 10th year of the survey.  All respondents will receive a free copy of the report produced from the results of the survey and an invitation to IDC’s exclusive Client Telebriefing.

During The CMO Advisory’s 2012 Marketing Benchmarks survey we collected data from ~100 of the largest and most influential tech companies, their combined revenue totaled nearly $750 Billion.  The barometer survey provides a “finger in the wind” follow up to the Benchmark Survey providing detailed guidance to senior marketers. Areas of focus include: budget ratios, program spend, headcount allocation, and in-depth insights into key trends in the industry and forward looking roles and programs.   
If you are interested in participating: contact Sam Melnick at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com
Below are some answers to questions you might have:

Q: A free report and webinar, cool! Wait what type of information will they contain?
A: The results of the survey will be used to analyze the direction of marketing resource expenditures and priorities during the next 6-12 months. So questions like the following will be answered:
  • How aggressively are marketing budgets increasing or decreasing in my sector this year?
  • What marketing staff positions or programs should I look to invest in?
  • What up and coming areas should I be looking into this year to create a world class marketing organization?
  •  What are next week’s Powerball numbers? (Ok we won’t answer that question, if we knew we probably wouldn’t tell you…sorry).
Q: Who should take the survey?
A: Marketing executives who are in a position of responsibility for worldwide marketing practices.
Q: How long will it take?
A: Depending on several factors, as quick as 15 minutes!
Q: I can’t get this done today, when do you need to have it completed by?
A:  To receive the report and an invitation to IDC’s exclusive Client Telebriefing participants need to complete the survey by Wed Feb 13, 2013. Also, all of the information must be accurately provided in order to be included in the study and receive the free deliverables.
If you are interested in participating: contact Sam Melnick at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com

Q: I can’t answer this question, I need input from my colleagues…help?
A: No worries, if you leave the webpage it will save your progress.
Q: What types of companies participate in this survey?
A: Some of the largest tech and tech related companies in the world participate (again total revenue of participants reaches upwards of $1 Trillion), but plenty of companies who may not have as many 0’s in their revenue line, but are growing quickly and have exciting products, do participate and receive great value from the deliverables!
Q: Some of this information is kind of confidential, I want to trust you, but can I?
A: As stated above, the CMO Advisory Service has been doing surveys like this for 10+ years. All answers will be kept confidential by IDC and all data will be aggregated for the purposes of trend analysis.  No client or other participant of the study will ever receive your company-specific data and there is no way that any company can “reverse-engineer” the analysis to derive your data input. Your responses will not be used for any other purpose within IDC.
Q:  Ok I completed the survey…so… when do I get the free research?
A: Heh, I knew you’d ask this one. You can expect the deliverables to begin coming out around late March. For clients who are attending our March Board Meeting we will have in depth discussion around the barometer findings (want to know more about these board meetings? Reach out to the CMO Advisory Group team or send me an email).

If you are interested in participating: contact Sam Melnick at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com

IDC Tech Marketing Benchmark: Behind the Scenes

This week the IDC CMO Advisory Service will start revealing results from the 2012 Tech Marketing Benchmark. In this 10th annual study we found some surprises – as you might expect in this era of marketing transformation. In anticipation of the results, I thought I would share a bit of what goes on behind the scenes in the benchmark.

First – what is a benchmark? The term was first used by early land surveyors to describe the fixed point against which all others were compared. Today, benchmarking means the systematic practice of comparing your business processes to what others are doing in order to achieve superior performance. Companies benchmark against peers to learn how they compare with similar companies and best-in-class to compare with those that achieve optimal results.

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

How does benchmarking work? At IDC, we use a six-step method.

  1. Participants are given a standard taxonomy. This is SUPER important.  IDC requires that participants bucket responses in accordance with rigorous activity-based costing methods and a marketing taxonomy based on 10 years of experience so that we’re truly comparing apples to apples. We start agonizing over the taxonomy early in the year. It must evolve with changing times but maintain enough consistency for trending.  This year, we carved out marketing automation as a new category and adjusted definitions to accommodate new media and practices.
  2. Participants bucket their marketing investments into categories.  We start participant recruitment in the spring. Fortunately, IDC has a large constituency of companies that participate annually, but we always conduct outreach to get new blood. 
  3. IDC collects the data. For IDC’s benchmark, the tech company participants are primarily mid-sized and large companies and we have a 95% B2B focus.
  4. IDC creates a database of normalized data. This is our secret sauce and takes a ton of work.  Every survey gets scrutiny. Anomalies get investigated. We use statistical methods, sophisticated tools, and marketing experience to work the data so that it really means something.
  5. IDC analyzes the database for benchmarks and trends. We conduct analysis of various kinds – comparing years, industry sectors, and program and people data. We also conduct interviews with CMO’s to lend color to what we are seeing (although we are constantly out talking to practitioners and marketing leaders during the year).
  6. IDC reports.  All participants are invited to a webcast and get a free report that includes a large amount of data and IDC insights.  Over 100 tech companies each year contribute to the database and get this free report.  For participants who desire a more personalized view, IDC offers a custom service that compares their data with a “market basket” of appropriate peers. IDC conducts an analysis of this custom benchmark and then works with companies to provide guidance decision-making and for instigating change.

Watch this space as well as the press for this year’s findings!

 

A Preview of IDC’s 2009 Tech Mktg. Benchmarks: A Focus on Marketing Automation

As discussed in my last blog entry, Are you Ready for Marketing’s 2010 Annual Planning Process? , the IDC CMO Advisory Practice is “in the thick” of collecting surveys for our 2009 Tech Marketing Benchmarks study. We expect to collect detailed marketing investment data from nearly 100 hardware, software, and services vendors. With this is hand, we will be well prepared to provide our insight and guidance to tech marketers for their annual planning process.

I’d like to invite Seth Fishbein, a senior IDC analyst on our team, to provide a preview of some of this research, focusing on CMOs’ marketing automation priorities for the coming year. A more comprehensive analysis of this topic will be included in IDC’s 2010 Marketing Investment Planner, due out in late September/early October.

“Thanks Michael. Based upon interviews with leading tech marketing executives over the past month, the following three areas represent some “low-hanging fruit” in the marketing automation space for 2009/2010:

  • Development of a formal marketing automation roadmap: Tech marketers should take a fresh look at their marketing IT tools and applications to look for redundancies and cost savings. Not only has IDC observed that most marketing organizations under-invest in automation tools, but most have not developed a roadmap or formal taxonomy to align their systems to strategic goals and related processes. A couple of verbatim comments from our study:

    – “We are reviewing all of our marketing systems, from owners to costs to measurements, to see what is truly being used and what is needed…”
    – “We are hoping that an audit of our marketing automation systems will help us integrate our lead management system with SF.com in order to automate and measure the flow of marketing opportunities to sales…”

  • Simplification of marketing processes and systems: A common thread among tech marketers is the lack of data quality and consistency in their lead management/CRM systems. In particular, a frequent challenge is field marketing’s adherence to data-entry standards. IDC is observing that more marketing organizations appear to be moving in the direction of simplifying their marketing automation strategies and taxonomies in order to make processes easier for global users.

    – “More [investment in] automation is not a priority, [but] process improvement is…and we will then automate more where it makes it easier.”
    – “We are trying to streamline our campaign management systems so all users, from North America to Japan, can select from a list of 10 campaigns as opposed to 30-40.”

  • Improvement to sales enablement and marketing asset management technologies: IDC research shows that over 40% of all marketing assets handed over to sales are not in use today (IDC’s Best Practices in Sales Enablement – Content and Marketing (to be published end of July)). This includes assets that have been developed for sales, channels, prospects and current customers. IDC estimates that at least 30% of companies’ marketing investment, including program and people spend, is dedicated to creating content and marketing assets. Clearly, marketers can leverage cost reduction opportunities if they take the time to improve their content management process and technologies.

    – “Our content is all over the place…a more formalized content portal is being created to get our sales team the most relevant materials when they need them.”
    – “…marketing is funding an improved marketing asset management system and we are hoping to achieve 3% – 5% reduction/reallocation of spend on annual asset development and improved production efficiencies.” (improvements in production efficiency, reduced program time-to-market, and reduced re-work).

    In the next several weeks, IDC will be publishing a sales enablement report highlighting best practices in marketing content management from a lifecycle management, technology, and measurement perspective. Detailed company case studies will be also be included.

Please keep in mind that we are currently in the process of collecting surveys for our 2009 Tech Marketing Benchmarks study. If you are interested in participating in this study and have not received a survey, please let us know as soon as possible. Thanks!”
Seth Fishbein, Senior Analyst, CMO Advisory Service (sfishbein@idc.com)

Are you Ready for Marketing’s 2010 Annual Planning Process?

Have you started planning for your 2010 fiscal year yet? Our best practices study in planning – people, process and technology indicates that the average marketing planning cycle begins about 6 months before the fiscal year end. (for CMO Advisory Service clients, refer to “Marketing’s Planning – People, Process and Technology, IDC Doc. #216134) If you’re one of the more mature organizations, planning will be part of the fabric of your weekly, monthly and quarterly team meetings.

Regardless, a significant part of this annual process is assessment of your current “operational” metrics and development of next year’s projected investment strategy. I define “operational” metrics as those metrics that track your marketing investment strategy, including:

1. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – such as Marketing Budget Ratio (marketing spend as a % of revenue), Program to People KPI, Revenue per Staff, Staff Throughput (program spend per marketing staff), Centralization KPI (% of marketing investment that is centralized vs. decentralized), Awareness-Demand KPI, etc.
2. Staff Mix (fixed spend) – such as advertising, product marketing, marketing operations, etc.
3. Program Mix (discretionary spend) – such as advertising (print, broadcast, corporate sponsorship), digital marketing, event marketing, etc.

IDC has published a complete taxonomy of these KPIs and staff and program mix areas to help marketing operations and marketing finance executives best manage their investment. (for CMO Advisory Service clients, refer to IDC’s Worldwide Sales and Marketing Taxonomy, 2008: A Blueprint for Cost Control, IDC Doc. #211900)

Tracking and evaluating these KPIs, program and staff mix levels across the organization, over time and versus other companies will best prepare you for your upcoming planning sessions; for management of your resources as well as for increasing marketing’s credibility with other parts of the organization.
IDC’s CMO Advisory Practice is in its 7th year of its Tech Marketing Benchmarks study. If you would like to participate in this research, including receiving a copy of the above Taxonomy, an overview of the results of the study and an invite to our annual marketing benchmarks telebriefing in August, please contact Seth Fishbein at sfishbein@idc.com. You will be joining the 100+ global companies that work with us year after year as part of this industry study.

Digital Marketing and Marketing Automation Hit Critical Mass in 2009

Well, our 2009 IDC Tech Marketing Barometer results are in; and if you missed the Telebriefing two weeks ago, here are some of the highlights:

Marketing Investment:

  • 0.5% Growth for Global IT Spending in 2009, while Average Tech Marketing Investment Drops 10%.
  • Larger companies (>$1B in revenue) will take the greatest hit in marketing budget as they wrestle with significant revenue drops in key parts of their portfolios and continue to improve efficiency.
  • Growth areas still exist within: enterprise social media, security management, mobile data, SaaS, Internet advertising, business analytics and IT outsourcing & BPO to name a few. (source: John Gantz’s presentation at IDC’s recent Directions event)

Marketing Mix:

  • The pendulum of investment swings to demand generation, with sales enablement closely coupled to this priority. (awareness building takes a “back seat”, yet remains a key part of healthier companies’ portfolios)
  • We’ve been all talk as an industry with regards to full-scale shifts of our investment to digital marketing over the past couple of years. The economic downturn will catalyze this shift in 2009 with almost 70% of marketers indicating an increase in investment in digital marketing while 60% and 72% of marketers will decrease advertising and events spend respectively. (refer to the past couple of posts in this blog for additional details about digital marketing shifts)
  • Sales enablement will become a high priority for getting internal and external sales teams (and partners) the most relevant content at the right time and in the right place to assist in moving specific opportunities forward. Endless pages of collateral and white papers will be replaced by more relevant content that is better leveraged across the organization. (check out the previous blog post, “Content Squared”)

Organizational Structures:

  • Here we go again as marketers shift their organizational structures. Some organizations will entirely abandon their relatively cohesive marketing structure to shift to an entirely decentralized organization in an effort to simply survive; while the better positioned organizations will “weather the storm” with a more centralized marketing function and/or leveraging marketing shared services to improve efficiency and effectiveness in execution.
  • Marketing operations and sales operations teams will continue to work together, increasing focus on the lead management process and associated nurturing and lead qualification strategies.

Marketing Automation:

  • Marketing automation will experience a turning-point in 2009 as adoption significantly increases in the technology sector. Drivers include the significant improvements in the transactional CRM system vendors as well as the increased availability and cost effectiveness of SaaS offerings from planning to event-triggered marketing to performance measurement.
  • A few questions to ask yourself: Do I have a marketing operations team in place to deploy and govern marketing automation?; Are we ensuring that process drives the technology versus the other way around? How do we ensure consistent adoption and use of these applications across functions, business units and regions on a regular basis?; Have we partnered with finance, sales and other teams as part of this strategy?; and Do we have a marketing automation road map?

These are just a few highlights of the recent study as well as food for thought as you progress through your 2009 plan. As technology marketers, I continue to believe that we are better prepared than ever to respond to the challenges posed in this difficult environment. This will not only facilitate our survival in 2009, but will enable us to rebound quicker than from prior downturns.

The Changing Marketing Mix

The press is filled with stories about the demise of traditional advertising and the in-person, public trade show. Sounds quite similar in fact to the predicted disappearance of the “brick-and-mortar” storefront, and the emergence of a new on-line world where we can do all of our shopping in our slippers from the comfort of our home. Well, IDC CMO Advisory’s recent 2009 Barometer study does continue to indicate that our traditional marketing mix is in the process of permanently changing. In fact, almost 70% of technology marketers indicate that they’ll be increasing their program investment in digital marketing in 2009, while 72% of companies will be decreasing their in-person events spend and 60% decreasing their advertising spend (print, broadcast and corporate sponsorships). What are the top digital marketing initiatives for technology companies in 2009?

  • Corporate web site: No longer simply a marketing billboard, the corporate web site has become the window to the customer. The most effective corporate sites offer visitors the opportunity to not only learn about your products and solutions, but to also learn about the latest technologies and business challenges as well as offering the opportunity to interact with their peers and your technology experts. (e.g., through a community portal) The best sites also track the details of visitors to enable more of a 1-to-1 experience as well as tracking detailed customer data to improve marketing’s lead management and nurturing process.
  • Email: An often over-used vehicle for sending marketing collateral to the masses in a one size fits all mentality, this channel is being used more effectively for engaging with customers through an event-triggered marketing process. For example, providing respondents with additional, customized, relevant information based upon their responses to earlier communications.
  • Search engine marketing: Although display ads will continue to be part of a strong portfolio, search ads and search engine optimization(SEO) will increase in importance. Search ads offer the opportunity to more surgically target your prospects as they reach out for information, while SEO continues to yield a strong return in increasing your companies’ prominence in organic search.

However, before you hand the “key to the city” over to your digital marketing team, there are some important things to consider:

  1. First and foremost, the rest of the marketing mix will continue to be an important part of a strong portfolio of marketing’s strategy; and the balance of this mix will only get harder. For example, the CIO may prefer to continue reading their magazines and printing out pdf whitepapers; their direct report(s) will attend webcasts and read interactive white papers; and third level staffers will attend virtual events and online communities as part of their everyday job. Your mix will need to address the information consumption patterns of each of these roles – hence the need for role-based marketing.
  2. As you continue to rush into digital marketing, ensure that your team does not leave their Marketing 101 learnings behind. For example, continue to leverage market intelligence as part of a market segmentation strategy; to identify your target customers, to understand what information is most relevant to your customers along different stages of the buying cycle, and to understand how and where your customers’ consume their information.
  3. Look for opportunities to differentiate yourself in the marketplace. While everyone is shifting to email and webcasts, a portion of your investment may be best spent on direct mail or in-person proprietary events.
  4. Yes, continue experimenting with digital marketing, however, now is the time to begin including digital marketing as part of the fabric of your go-to-market strategy. Best practitioners are establishing campaign management teams to maintain an integrated marketing strategy focused on the customer, as well as developing centers of excellence in the digital marketing space as part of a shared services strategy.