The Marketing Strategist

Research, analysis, insight, ideas and tools
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  • Four Steps for Solutions Growth in the Downturn

    Solutions are one of the few bright spots in dark economic times. ITSMA’s joint survey with Solutions Insights shows that respondents believe they will improve solutions revenues this year. But to do so, they will need to concentrate on four key initiatives. (For more information on the survey, go here.) [[link]]

    by Rob Leavitt July 8, 2009 Read more
  • Enhancing Customer Loyalty: Four Priorities for Marketing Leadership

    For marketers in IT services and solutions, loyal customers have always meant faster sales cycles, easier acceptance of premium pricing, and all-important references and referrals. But ensuring customer loyalty in todays market isn’t easy. This article outlines four priority areas marketers should focus on to drive customer loyalty and business results.’

    by Rob Leavitt February 5, 2007 Read more
  • Marketers as Growth Champions: Three Questions for 2007

    Most marketers in a recent ITSMA survey agreed that marketings primary objective is driving growth and profitability. It’s not exactly a shocking revelation. How best to contribute to profitable growth, though, raises all sorts of questions about marketing roles, responsibilities, and priorities. Read on to find out what ITSMA research showed about what marketing should focus on to drive growth.’

    by Rob Leavitt November 7, 2006 Read more
  • Rethinking Marketing Skills and Organization

    According to ITSMAs new Services Marketing Report Card, self-assessments by more than 800 services marketers at 20 top firms suggest that skills in critical areas such as relationship marketing and alliance management fall well short of the high marks that companies need to stand out from the pack.’

    by Rob Leavitt October 4, 2006 Read more
  • Conversational Marketing

    We know buyers of IT services and solutions want a more conversational approach. From our side, the question now is whether companies and their marketers can move from interactive experiments to a broader transformation. Can we shift the marketing mindset from packaged promotion to ongoing conversation?

    by Rob Leavitt September 7, 2006 Read more
  • A New Approach to Marketing and Sales Collaboration

    The lack of alignment between marketing and sales in the technology industry is nothing new. And although both sides have long bemoaned the disconnect, if companies are anxious to get the two functions working together more effectively, they need to take a fresh look at both the problem and the solution.

    by Rob Leavitt August 7, 2006 Read more
  • Account-Based Marketing: Moving from Pilot to Scale

    Account-based marketing, while extremely effective, is also labor-intensive and expensive. As more companies see the potential payoff of investing in ABM, they are looking to identify several areas in which companies might be able to achieve economies of scale. Read on for a few…

    by Rob Leavitt June 15, 2006 Read more
  • Solutions from the Outside In

    Steve Hurley, ITSMAs solutions guru, drew a chorus of knowing laughter at ITSMA’s recent Marketing Leadership Forum as he reviewed the emotional highs companies go through as they move to become serious solutions providers. Titled Solutions from the Outside In, the Forum provided an in-depth look at how far some companies have come in transcending the engineering-driven, build-it-and-they-will-come legacy of most organizations…and how far most of them still have to go.’

    by Rob Leavitt May 4, 2006 Read more
  • Marketing in the New Digital Channels

    New digital tools are continuing to proliferate at a dizzying rate. As more companies recognize the promise of online conversation and collaboration, theyre beginning to dabble with digital marketing’s next generation. This article provides tips for navigating four stumbling blocks to making a more engaging online strategy.’

    by Rob Leavitt April 7, 2006 Read more
  • Integrated Reference Marketing: Next Steps in Leveraging Customer Success

    With so many companies crowding the reference market, breaking out from the pack requires a more sophisticated and integrated approach. All too often, reference programs exist largely as a resource for disconnected marketing and sales support activities. Learn about a more effective approach.

    by Rob Leavitt March 15, 2006 Read more
  • Naked Marketing

    The notion that business technology buyers are highly skeptical and pay little attention to traditional marketing ploys is widely accepted within the marketing community, and there is an almost frantic search for new ways to connect with customers. What buyers really want to know is whether they can trust you. And the only way to build trust is to build relationships. For marketers to help build real relationships, however, they need to shed a lot of old clothing and stand a bit more naked in the marketplace.

    by Rob Leavitt February 1, 2006 Read more
  • Marketing on the Verge, Part Two

    Technology and services marketers are standing at the edge of three great transformations: leading the creation of customer-driven corporate cultures; taking a more strategic role in the business; and shifting communications from one-way broadcast to interactive conversation. Recently, ITSMA explored the specifics of the theme with more than 150 marketing leaders from across the industry.

    by Rob Leavitt December 5, 2005 Read more
  • The Race for New Ideas

    Demonstrating innovative thinking is clearly important in a market characterized by global competition, industry consolidation, and commoditization. Not surprisingly, ITSMA members estimate they dedicate about 20% of all services marketing spending to thought leadership-related activities. But are they getting a decent return?

    by Rob Leavitt November 3, 2005 Read more
  • Tapping the Social Web

    “Community” is a huge buzzword this year, and its easy to poke fun at the hype. But the reality beneath the buzz is that buyers are casting their nets much more widely in a search for ideas and evaluation, and formal and informal online communities are increasingly the arenas of choice. Moving community-oriented programs more to the center of marketing strategy suggests a number of important changes in existing thinking. Six challenges in particular stand out.’

    by Rob Leavitt October 1, 2005 Read more
  • Marketing on the Verge

    In the last 50 years, few industries have been identified so strongly with innovation as technology has. From a marketing perspective, however, the tech sector has lagged far behind the cutting edge, particularly on the business-to-business side of things. Until now. As the tech industry matures in a post-bust world and hunts for its next wave of growth, the locus of innovation is shifting toward the marketing department. Indeed, marketing leaders are on the verge of three dramatic transformations.

    by Rob Leavitt September 1, 2005 Read more
  • Navigating the Blogosphere

    On June 2, Sun Microsystems announced the acquisition of StorageTek; the official press release touted the deal in typical blah-blah marketing speak. A few days later, Suns president and COO Jonathan Schwartz explained the rationale in plain English on his popular Weblog. Sun’s aggressive use of blogging may not lead the company to the promised land by itself but it does reflect the more collaborative attitude that tech firms need to succeed in today’s customer-driven market.’

    by Rob Leavitt July 1, 2005 Read more
  • Marketing Communications in the Twinsumer Future

    Buyers of your services and solutions are checking you out on the Web, talking to their peers, listening to your critics, and gathering input from an endless array of online sources—and you are probably paying too little attention to this conversational whirl that can make or break your sales and reputation. Practically speaking, three Cs become central to marcom success: content, conversation, and community.’

    by Rob Leavitt June 1, 2005 Read more
  • Mastering Solutions: Lessons Learned from Lucent, IBM, and HP

    Moving to a solutions orientation tops the agenda for many technology companies. They recognize that competitive pressures and customer demand require them to integrate products and services in innovative ways to deliver clear business value. Here, we examine how industry leaders Lucent, IBM, and HP each come to the challenge from a unique position, but share six specific priorities.

    by Rob Leavitt May 1, 2005 Read more
  • Brand Differentiation: Five Priorities for Sustainable Advantage

    Marketing leaders across the technology industry point to brand differentiation as their top challenge in 2005, according to ITSMA research. Real differentiation is possible, however, for companies willing to invest creatively in ongoing programs to build and promote a compelling story. Specifically, there are five investment areas that separate todays brand leaders from the rest of the pack.’

    by Rob Leavitt April 1, 2005 Read more
  • The Solutions Imperative

    Technology companies are facing a fundamental challenge with their business buyers. “Build it and they will come” worked for much of the twentieth century, with some aggressive selling to smooth out the periodic downturns. But the industry upheavals in recent years have gone beyond the typical up-and-down cycle. Buyers are now in charge, and theyre less and less interested in the old ways of the industry.’

    by Rob Leavitt March 1, 2005 Read more

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