9 New Terms Modern Marketers will want to Know

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.

  1. 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.)
  2. Snackable content: Short-form, easy-to-consume, desirable, content (Guidance: As attention spans get shorter, you’ll need more of this.)
  3. 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.)
  4. 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)
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.)
  7. 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.)
  8. 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)
  9. 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.)

Measuring Sales and Marketing based on Customer Outcomes

Have you ever used Uber X, the freelance taxi service? Half the cost of a cab and twice the level of service. The cars are immaculate. The drivers are almost overwhelmingly nice. They care deeply about your experience. Not because they want a tip. They want your 5-star feedback. That’s so important to their success that they will do almost anything to make sure you are happy. It is a customer first model that works because customers have the ability to give feedback that has direct business impact. It’s the eBay model applied to real world human interaction.
Think of your salespeople as Uber drivers, they interact with customers every day. Your marketing is like the car – is it in the right place at the right time and taking the customer where they want to go? These things matter tremendously to customers and yet we have no means to empower them to drive the behavior of marketing and sales at the moment of engagement. We have customer satisfaction surveys. They are important but lack immediacy and context for sales and marketing.
I recently came across two articles that may be the proverbial starting gun for measuring customer focus. The first from the HBR blog, “Bonuses Should be Based on Customer Value not Sales Targets,” profiles how GlaxoSmithKline no longer calculates sales bonuses based on prescription drug sales but on a basket of metrics related to patient outcomes. The second on the Forbes blog, “The 5-Star Employee, Why we need a Yelp for Business” presents a provocative picture of why employee ratings should be standard practice.
Clearly there are cultural and generational issues at stake and a lot of education needed to make these transformations acceptable and actionable in a way that improves outcomes for everyone. As customer facing technology coalesces around the CX Cloud model, marketers should think about how to get customer feedback more frequently. It will require innovation born of experimentation. Of course, no one wants to rate every piece of collateral. But maybe every third touch or at specific points in the nurturing process. Companies that figure it out will have the great advantage of being able to monitor customer experience and course correct in flight as opposed to relying on satisfaction surveys that are too little too late. Best of all, customers will feel the power of the relationship, something they won’t get from traditional models. Uber X is not better just because it costs less, it delivers more at the same time.

Top 3 customer experience challenges for marketers

Customer experience management is fundamentally about providing a seamless and consistent flow as prospects move through different phases of development and points of contact with a supplier. Delivering on this presumes a level of connectedness that many marketing organizations struggle to achieve. The reason for the struggle is that there are three significant forces of fragmentation opposing their efforts: specialization of roles, organizational hierarchies, and tactical technology. These forces threaten every marketing organization with two fatal flaws: they slow everything down and fracture the customer experience.
Three forces of fragmentation that marketers must fight:
1.     Specialization: all areas of marketing execution have become inch wide mile deep endeavors. As a result, there can be many degrees of separation between key roles such as social marketers, event planners, web administrators, technical writers, etc. What do these people talk about when they get in a room together? Does anyone else care how the events person manages food service or logistics?

How to combat the fragmentation of specialization: It is becoming clear that the one thing all marketing roles now have in common is the need to master data and analytics. Each specialized role produces and consumes data from all the others. It is critical that everyone in marketing understand how customer and operational data flows, how others use the data they produce, and the best analytical practices for gaining insight. This should be a key topic of conversation and community building.
2.     Hierarchical org charts: Marketing is no longer a command and control world. Yes, there is an overlay of reporting that has to go “up the chain.” For many marketing leaders that grew up with the traditional B-school approach to management, adding layers to the org chart is a natural approach. However it results in compartmentalization that left untended creates a culture of disconnectedness.

How to combat the fragmentation of hierarchies: Marketing organizations should be defined around processes not activities. Marketing processes must be supported by collaborative environments that foster greater visibility and coordination between contributors. Enterprise social networks are becoming essential for creating a culture of openness and connection. Organic approaches are not enough, marketing leaders need to seed the social network with process oriented communities such as: campaign management, sales enablement, content lifecycle management, etc.
Transforming Marketing From Silos…
… To Systems
3.    Technology: IDC identifies nearly 90 different categories of marketing technology (not including middleware and infrastructure!) That alone should tell you the function and the IT market serving it are unsustainably fragmented. The deployment of highly specialized tools can empower people within their specialties but can leave them on a technology island in the greater scheme of things. Major IT vendors have started to consolidate some of the basic building blocks, but there are still many areas in which niche/best of breed capabilities are needed.

How to combat the fragmentation of technology: The two centers of gravity for your marketing IT infrastructure are your integrated marketing management solution and your website. They should be intimately tied to each other and all other marketing systems/tools should integrate with one or both of them. This becomes a forcing factor for integrating processes and data flows. Marketers also need to demand more of their technology vendors to accelerate the evolution of platforms that tie together the systems of engagement, content, administration and data.

The most successful CMOs will ensure the pervasive deployment and adoption of technology increases collaboration, socialization, and systems thinking. They will design marketing organizations around customer-centric processes and exert deliberate efforts at all levels to combat the forces that threaten the connectedness needed to serve up a seamless customer experience. 

Cross Training for Marketing

Most marketing organizations are organized around a set of silos based on specialized program functions within branding or demand generation. The skills, tools, and relationships needed to manage advertising, events, email, website, social, video production, technical writing, etc. are very different. The pressure and complexity involved in each area can easily turn them into organizational islands. They may each have their own databases, audiences, and reporting structures. They may be further fragmented when replicated across business units and geographies. While specialization is necessary and will only increase, the fragmentation and separation that typically accompany it can break down the customer experience, introduce inefficiencies and redundancies, and slow down the whole marketing operation.
The challenge is how to make strong sustainable connections between specialists so that new competencies can be acquired without the negative side effects. Data management and analytics have emerged as two key skills common to every marketing activity. These topics are ideal for bringing marketers together to share how each of their areas produces and consumes data and the models and tools they use to gain meaningful insights. IDC recommends marketing organizations conduct regular analytics knowledge jams to share competencies, resources, and insights. To cross train them on the many other functions that affect customer creation. Key objectives include:
  • Provide visibility into how data is produced and consumed in other areas
  • Improve data capture, quality, and usability
  • Socialize important analytic models
  • Provide a more holistic perspective on the customer experience
  • Raise the overall data and analytics IQ of the marketing team

In each session, representatives from different groups share 15 minute presentations of what they are working on and how they use data and analytics. This will help combat the fragmentation brought on by specialization, reduce inefficiencies and redundancies, and make marketing more responsive.

Sales process – the missing ingredient for marketing ROI

Most marketers in B2B enterprises have never been trained on sales process. If I were running your marketing or sales organization this would be the first thing on my agenda. Why? Because without understanding sales process, marketing is essentially set up to fail. How can anyone improve or contribute effectively to something if they don’t know how it works. It’s like setting up your manufacturing to produce blue widgets but not telling your suppliers what parts you need for your particular widgets. So they ship you tons of blue stuff and hope that somehow it all works out. That’s the position, to one degree or another that most enterprise marketing organizations are in even at some of the most advanced process-centric companies in the world. Largely because they have chopped up the customer creation process into a collection of departmentally independent activities. 

In a large enterprise with many products lines, business units and segments, there are likely to be a number of different sales processes. Marketing and sales resources should be aligned against these processes horizontally. This is the key to making the shift from a siloed command and control organization to a responsive, integrated customer focused one. Not only is it important to design around sales process, which should be designed around the buyer’s journey, but it is important to design for change. Markets are dynamic and sales processes change.
Marketing automation systems, especially those that are integrated with the sales force automation or customer relationship management system, have begun to provide marketing with some clues to sales process. At least they can see what happens or does not happen when they deliver something to sales. But the data does not always explain why, and that’s the critical part. Marketing needs to understand very specifically how Sales operates in order to optimize around customer outcomes. The alternative is for marketing to optimize around departmentally focused KPIs like the number of MQLs (ugh), or SALs, or worse vanity metrics like hits, sentiment, likes, etc. These metrics are useful indicators for some marketing activities, but not as business drivers for marketing investment.
Aligning marketing and sales around sales process is the first step to formulating an enterprise customer creation process that extends across all customer touch points, including: billing, fulfillment, service and support. At each stage of maturity, marketing, as well as all the other customer facing departments, gain much greater visibility and accountability to the whole process and its connection to corporate objectives for growth, market share, and margin. This is all necessary for a true picture of marketing ROI.
Your action items:
  • Marketers: lobby your top executives to make regular sales process training for marketing a priority. 
  • Sales executives: demand that marketing know how the different parts of your sales force work so they can more effectively develop prospects and serve customers. 
  • CEOs: get smart about your customer supply chain by applying the same level of due diligence and process discipline to it that you have to your product and services units. As a result, you will make much more effective use of marketing investment and be able to hold your whole customer facing team accountable for its contribution to your strategic objectives.

Create and Close Customers up to 40% Faster

IDC’s CMO Advisory has conducted an annual IT Buyer Experience survey for the past six years. We have tracked many changes and interesting trends, but one thing stands out as a consistent inefficiency in the market: every year IT Buyers report the purchase processes can be approximately 40% shorter. Over the course of a 10-month average process that means the potential is to accelerate revenue by an entire quarter. This is a huge opportunity for both buyers and sellers with tremendous financial incentives for both and yet no improvement in six years. Why not and what to do about it?

Buyers put about 2/3 of the blame for this inefficiency on themselves. There are scheduling issues, conflicting agendas, changing budgets, changes in personnel, immature purchase processes, etc. The challenge for vendors therefore is two-fold:

  1. Reduce the inefficiencies that are inherent in their own marketing and sales processes, and
  2. Better facilitate the buyer’s process(es)

Gap between actual and ideal IT purchase processes, 2009-2013

To do this, vendors need to intimately understand the Buyer’s Journey. It starts with Exploration, moves to Evaluation, and ends with a Purchase.  Buyers spend the most amount of time in the Exploration stage, largely independent of direct vendor interaction. As they move through each stage, their agendas change dramatically and the process accelerates. Buyers spend less time in each subsequent stage and have higher expectations of vendor response times. By carefully defining and monitoring buyers’ journeys, marketing and sales can better serve customer needs, keep pace with buyer expectations, and cut out big chucks of inefficiency.

For example, in the Exploration stage, the buyer’s main objective is to establish fit between their business challenges and a solution. The main resources they use are related to trends in their industry. The primary internal influencers are business buyers (functional leaders, business unit mangers, and executives.) Once they enter the evaluation stage, however, their objective and trusted sources change completely.

In our report, IDC CMO Advisory 2013 IT BuyerExperience Survey: Create and Close Customers up to 40% Faster, we outline specific steps IT marketers should take at each stage in order to get the right messages to the right decision makers. For more information, please contact me at gmurray (at) idc (dot) com.

Using Data as a Service for Scalable Channel Enablement

The magic ingredient for successful channel enablement at scale is data. Imagine having the financial, operational, and behavioral data you need on partners to optimize new product launches, coverage models, and channel programs. Imagine being able to show partners — no matter how new or small or niche their focus — how other partners like them have achieved high return on investment (ROI) on their business with you. IDC’s Channel Enablement Maturity Model provides a stage-by-stage guide for advancing the organizational, process, technology, and data infrastructure necessary to transform your channel marketing and sales enablement operations. The journey along IDC’s Channel Enablement Maturity Model is one of evolving from a publishing/transactional framework to a process-driven one.

IDC’s Channel Enablement Maturity Model – Summary View
Stage 1:
Ad Hoc
Stage 2: Opportunistic
Stage 3: Repeatable
Stage 4: Managed
Stage 5:
Optimized for Scale
Key characteristic
“Every product for itself”
“Portals grow like weeds”
“Consolidation but still stuck in publishing mode”
“Central control over process-driven approach”
“It’s all about analytics (Data as a Service)”

Source: IDC 2013

The DNA for Success is in the Data 
IDC defines channel enablement as “developing the right competencies in the right partners to deliver the right solutions to the most profitable customers.” Ultimately, the goal is to provide a scalable model to identify high ROI best practices and propagate them throughout the partner population at a very granular level. There are three ways in which manufacturers can capture the partner data needed to support the analysis:

  • Contractual obligation: Requires significant time and effort from partner account management, is limited to the largest partners, and is periodic at best. 
  • Operationalized data capture: The partner platform should be thought of as a SaaS offering that provides a wide range of functionality but also collects data on every partner interaction. The ideal platform will consolidate all of the interactions with partners by offering personalized access to content and transactional systems, as well as execution platforms for marketing, sales, and support. By virtue of this consolidation, it captures an increasingly large portion of partner interactions and thus provides a great deal of valuable data to inform channel marketing and management. 
  • Data as a service: Externalize partner performance data and make it available to partners in a way that captures even more data from more partners. The level of detail they get depends on the level of detail they provide. As a result, they can get actionable insights on how to better manage their businesses and market, sell, and support specific solutions. The database is in a virtuous cycle of enrichment. They should be able to get insight into a wide variety of strategic and tactical questions such as: 
    • How many people do I need in marketing, sales, technical, and support roles? 
    • What level of skills and training should they have? 
    • What marketing activities are most effective? 
    • What sales methodologies and plays are most effective at what stage? 
    • What manufacturer resources and networks should staff be utilizing most frequently? 

While data is the crown jewel, there are significant people, process, and technology prerequisites for success. To find out more please see IDC’s Channel Enablement Maturity Model or contact me at gmurray (at) idc (dot) com.

Best Practices for Paid Social Media – An Up and Coming Tool for B2B Marketers

The stigma of social media is something I have been fighting for years. As someone whose education and career has mirrored Mark Zuckerberg’s (minus the dropping out of an ivy league school to build a multibillion dollar company and taking it public…so really when I say “mirrored”, I mean we are approximately the same age), I feel an affinity to the social networks that have matured as my own career has moved forward. Because of this I have found myself defending the merits of different social networks’ “tangible” value to relatives, colleagues, and random people on the subway. So, when I received an email stating I had $100 free Twitter ad credits, I jumped at the chance to see where Twitter has taken their ad platform. While that $100 was great to boost my twitter followers (speaking of which follow me here), retweets, and ego it didn’t really answer my questions around how creative B2B marketers are utilizing social networks.

To dive in deeper I tapped the knowledge of 3 digital and social marketing leaders to educate me on how their organizations are harnessing the power of social through “Paid Social” Campaigns. The experts I spoke with are listed below:

Lauren Vaccarello, Sr Director of Online Marketing at salesforce.com
Lauren Friedman, Manager of the Social Community Engagement Team at Adobe
Dan Slagen, Head of Global Marketing Relations at Hubspot. (Now SVP of Marketing at Nanigans)
You can find the full overview and guidance on ‘Paid Social’ within IDC’s CMO Advisory Service’smost recently published document Paid Social Media: A Look into How TopBrands Are Utilizing Paid Social Campaigns. For 3 ‘take aways’ for B2B marketers look no further:
There are Two Kinds of Marketers in Social: The Quick and the Dead: A pillar of social is the fast pace and instant reactions it provides. While moving fast is necessary, leading companies go to great lengths to make sure they are able to move quickly and effectively. The experts I spoke with all emphasized seamless communication across the organization to assure there was no misunderstandings on the current social game plan. Additionally, they each spoke about implementing technologies on the backend to measure the data and output actionable metrics.
Paid Social is a Different Kind of Advertising Buy: Social ad buys are not your father’s paid advertising campaigns; marketers must acknowledge this before going head first into a paid social campaign. Social networks are built with the end user in mind; all of the marketers I spoke with emphasized this point. Think creatively when it comes to Twitter or Facebook ad buys, consider leveraging the platforms to amplify a message or push something that will strengthen your community rather than just driving leads.

What Can Social do for Me?: Most marketers have acknowledged and embraced social marketing as a part of their overall strategy. However, that does not mean it is accepted throughout the organization. Before asking for (or putting) advertising dollars towards paid social campaigns, marketers need to answer the question “what can social do for me?” for other decision makers within the organization. The experts I spoke with pointed towards heavy alignment with sales so the reps understand the incoming leads and how to act on them. Some companies put SLAs in place to assure that both Marketing and Sales commit to specific responsibilities. The other best practice is to create a pilot program before committing big dollars and major resources – this way you have specific proof points to set your goals on and optimize off.
What are your thoughts on “Paid Social”?
Does your organization currently run paid advertising on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn?
Do you have any comments to add to what is above?
Sam Melnick is a Research Analyst with IDC’s CMO Advisory you can follow him on twitter: @SamMelnick

IDC’s 2013 Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix: Are you a Marketing Leader, Achiever, Contender or Challenged?

CMO ROI Matrix
IDC’s 2013
Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix

If you are a B2B Marketer you’ve read the articles, heard the pundits, and attended the conferences – marketing is transforming. This is not ground breaking news. However, what you probably have not seen is a tangible and holistic way to measure your organization’s marketing performance. Today you are in luck.

IDC’s CMO Advisory Servicehas just released our Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix. This Matrix not only provides measurement on Marketing ROI for those companies who participate in our annual benchmark survey, the recently published reportalso provides fact based analysis, actionable recommendations via IDC Analysts and best practices from leading marketing organizations.

For the down and dirty on the report view our press release


For some quick and interesting facts from the study look no further, you are in the right spot!
You must have the muscle (ie: budget) to move the needle.

 #CMOFact: As a percentage of revenue, Marketing Leaders spend ~3X more on marketing than the Challenged http://bit.ly/CMOROI Tweet This!

It is important to note these properly funded Marketing organizations were not just blessed by their CEO with a strong budget, they first proved their worthiness. The first step to earning your budget is to be efficient and effectivley track the dollars given to your department. Leading companies spent years optimizing (and wisely spending) their budget before earning a larger piece of the pie.

“Marketers, tear down these walls!” 

#CMOFact: Marketing leaders staff Campaign Mgt roles at 5.4% of their staff. http://bit.ly/CMOROI Challenged staff at 1.7%… Tweet This!
The quote was once said by Ronald Reagan…ok, maybe he didn’t say that, but we are seeing leading marketing organizations aggressively staffing areas that promote communication and knock down proverbial departmental walls. Leaders staff Campaign Management, Sales Enablement and Marketing IT at a significantly higher rate than the challenged.  They also staff MarCom and Executive & Admin positions at much lower rates.

Remember who keeps the lights on and bust your…you know…to make their lives easier.

#CMOFact: Marketing challenged spend 22% of their program budget on digital. http://bit.ly/CMOROI The leaders spend 33%! Tweet This!

Within tech we often think of innovation as tied to R&D and the product; however leading companies are actively innovating their marketing tools and strategy. The buyer has changed and no matter how good your product is, if the value proposition is not delivered in a way that ‘speaks’ your buyer’s language you will risk losing business. Leading companies are pushing boundaries through new and innovative digital strategies and cap spend in areas like Email Marketing and Events.
This is research the team is excited about and truly believes it will help marketers continue to improve their organizations. What is clear from this research is the gap is widening between the marketing teams that “get” the marketing transformation (the Marketing Leaders) and the ones still wallowing in traditional ways (the Marketing Challenged). Continue working hard and using all the resources at your disposal to stay ahead!
For more information about the Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix and a complimentary executive summary email me smelnick (@) IDC (dot) com. To be considered for the 2014 Chief Marketing Officer, you guessed it, you should email me.
You can also download the full report here and don’t forget to join the discussion on twitter by using hashtag #CMOFact
Oh, one last thing… Follow me on twitter: @SamMelnick