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April 10, 2014
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Marketing Leadership Forum


Don’t miss ITSMA’s 2014 Marketing Leadership Forum:  Shaping Marketing’s Future on June 3–4 in Napa, CA. This senior executive meeting will feature senior marketers and practitioners who will share their experiences, insights, practical tips, and thoughts on future trends and topics including Improving Marketing Performance Measurement, Developing the Marketing Organization and Talent of the Future, Realizing the Promise of Marketing Technology and Analytics, Rediscovering the Art of Story Telling, Unlocking the ‘ Heart’ of an Organization to Drive Stronger Brand Differentiation, The Role and Value of Marketing in Helping Customers Migrate to the Cloud, and many more. Sign up today!

Featured Articles

Interview with Neil Blakesley, CMO at CSC

By Dave Munn

Dave Munn interviewing Neil Blakesley
Dave Neil

Neil Blakesley, CMO at CSC, has the distinction of being the first CMO the company has hired. In his new role, Neil is focused on rebranding CSC and implementing highly personalized marketing programs and Account Based Marketing (ABM) using CSC’s new digital marketing platform. Prior to his position at CSC, Neil was VP of marketing at BT Global Services. You can learn more about CSC’s new story and storytelling when Neil presents The Art of Storytelling at ITSMA’s upcoming Marketing Leadership Forum, June 3–4, 2014 in Napa, CA.

ITSMA: What drew you to CSC?

Neil Blakesley: I loved my time at BT. I spent 14 years there and was fortunate enough to be on the team that managed BT’s participation in the 2012 Olympics, where BT was providing most of the infrastructure. I spent about 18 months traveling around the world running sponsorship programs. After something as amazing as that, you wonder what more can you do for the company and what your next step is.

A colleague made me aware that CSC was looking for a CMO, something they’d never had before. I liked that CSC was both a known brand and one that was in transition. I was quite intrigued by CSC being a large global organization with the intensity of an 89,000-person start-up. I thought, “This is going to be interesting!”

ITSMA: You mentioned that CSC didn’t have a CMO before. How did that impact your decision?

Blakesley: Prior to building a global marketing team, CSC had separate functional teams. So the opportunity to come and create a narrative, and then become one of the voices of CSC was very exciting. The team, led by Nick Panayi, had also built a truly stunning marketing infrastructure with Adobe Marketing Cloud, Good Data dashboards, Bizo, Demandbase, Eloqua, and others … all the dreams a marketer could put together in one kit bag. CSC has one of the best digital platforms that I have ever seen. But what they hadn’t done was leverage the digital platform for Account Based Marketing (ABM). So I saw an opportunity to combine CSC’s digital infrastructure with my experience in ABM from BT to create a truly insight-led, relationship-driven digital marketing organization.

It’s been nine months since we added ABM to the digital platform. I am excited to show it off at the ITSMA Marketing Leadership Forum in June.

ITSMA: Your primary theme for your speech at the Forum is The Art of Storytelling. Can you talk a little about that?

Blakesley: When I joined CSC, one of the first things I asked was, “What is your value proposition?” CSC didn’t have a clear answer. The marketing materials, which, to be honest, were good, only focused on our assets and not on why we were different. So that’s what we’ve been working on the last few months.

At CSC, we are developing the value proposition at multiple levels. First at the global CSC level, and then one at each of the audience levels: CEO, CIO, CFO, and so on. They have the same core attributes but slightly different messaging. Finally, we’re also creating value propositions by industry.

ITSMA: Can you give me an example?

Blakesley: In the work we are doing, we’re asking the people who run the industry groups to become the single signatory on that value proposition. Once they sign off on it, they become invested in the process. The language and proof points in the value proposition then become inherent in the content we take to the client, along with the dialogue and language our salespeople use. These are the key messages that must be endemic in everything we talk to the client about. Once the industry leads become involved and they’re invested in it, they want to hang onto it and they believe in the value proposition. Now I want to push the value proposition out through our various channels and make it live.

ITSMA: Have you had challenges in selling the value proposition?

Blakesley: There is a level of democracy at CSC. I tell folks, “I don’t go down to the garage and start arguing with the mechanic about the best way to fix my car, so why are you arguing with me on how I wrote the value proposition?” I’ve used that analogy a few times.

At CSC, there is a sense from the industry leads that “this is my business and I want to be involved in the business.” By getting the industry leads to help write the value proposition, there comes a sense of obligation and a sense of ownership. The socialization they do here to make sure everyone is on board is phenomenal.

ITSMA: What is your approach to developing the story?

Blakesley: In terms of the overall message, we are articulating the overall customer journey. These are the changes in the marketplace, this is the natural evolution of IT, and this is how we see it panning out. We underpin that with our own transformation story because we actually do mirror that. We were an old legacy infrastructure business; we needed to be a more agile business because we needed to figure out how to do cloud, how to do cyber security, how to do big data. Our actual transformation journey about the investments we’ve made and the acquisitions we’ve made is similar to our customer’s journey. When we articulate the journey our clients are on, we have a fantastic reference: our own. We understand the client’s pain because we’ve actually lived it the past two and a half years, and that is quite compelling.

Increase Marketing’s Relevance by Reporting Business Metrics Executives Care About

By Monica Pepicelli

Monica PepicelliMany marketers aren’t confident that they know which metrics and outcomes key stakeholders care about. Few use data and analytics as a predictive tool. Only a handful use metrics and analytics to guide them in producing business outcomes. It’s not surprising, then, that less than 10% of CEOs use marketing data to make business decisions.

Align Marketing Activities to Business Metrics Executives Care About

Most marketers report activity, operational efficiency, and history of performance. Those reports can be useful, but only as a foundation for reporting what really matters: outcomes, effectiveness, and predictions. That’s what the best-in-class marketers do, according to the survey. The marketers who get an A in performance management do better at:

  • Speaking the language of the business
  • Demonstrating the link between marketing activities and business goals
  • Understanding how business leaders evaluate marketing effectiveness
  • Improving operational efficiency by doing things right and producing actionable marketing dashboards
  • Using data and analytics as a predictive tool while employing analytic talent, investing in analytical tools, and building analytical models
  • Communicating how marketing is impacting the business

They’re also better at using data to build analytical models. They speak the language of the business and know how leaders evaluate marketing’s effectiveness. Their dashboards are more likely to be used by non-marketing senior executives.

We are again conducting our annual marketing performance management survey with VisionEdge Marketing to analyze the use of marketing data, metrics, and analytics among B2B service organizations to improve marketing performance, measure marketing’s value, inform business decisions, and forecast trends. Click here to participate:

What Does It Take to Command a Price Premium?

By Dianne Kim

Today’s buyers are looking to save money while also maximizing value. Does this mean that even the strongest brands are competing on price? According to the results of the recently published ITSMA Professional Services Brand Study results, buyers are still willing to pay a price premium if they perceive that a solution provider has industry or domain expertise specific to their needs. 81% of the study respondents say that they would be willing to pay a price premium for technology and consulting services providers that have extensive experience and/or solutions designed for their particular industry or function. This finding highlights the importance of creating and communicating industry and/or functional expertise, especially via thought leadership, when marketing and selling professional services.

April Research Highlight graph

Buyers are also willing to pay a price premium when they perceive a reduction in their expected risk, whether through outcomes-based contracts or a stellar reputation backed up with references. Technology certifications are less of a draw.



By Julie Schwartz

JulieEach month, ITSMA receives a number of queries through Ask ITSMA, a resource designed to give members a quick and easy way to get insight on important services and solutions marketing questions they face. In this column, we will publish some of our favorite questions, along with excerpts from our replies.

Q: We’re planning to run an internal and external campaign to formally introduce our associates and customers to our Voice of the Customer program. We need a creative way to introduce these surveys and get our associates engaged with and excited about them. Perhaps ITSMA has some best practice examples of what other companies have done in the past?

A: Most of the companies that ITSMA works with have the company CEO, or some other well-known, high-level executive who has oversight of the program, send out a well-designed, brief HTML email to all employees to introduce and explain the program. Fun posters hung in cafeterias and lounges are also popular for introducing a new customer satisfaction program. Then, a newsletter, either two or four times a year, is sent to keep employees updated on the progress, responses, lessons, success stories, new initiatives, and so on. The newsletters might highlight customer satisfaction heroes, the employees who are recognized for going above and beyond. In addition, some companies introduce annual awards to further keep employees engaged.

Do you have a sales or marketing question?
Visit Ask ITSMA to access our experience, insight, and research results.

Marketing Leadership ForumBudget Allocations and TrendsIntro to ABM

Services Marketing News

Below is a selection of articles from across the web. We thought you would find them of interest in your daily job as a services marketer.


Upcoming ITSMA Events

Personas and B2I: Realizing the Promise of Personalization
Lunch Briefing
April 15, 2014
12:00–2:00 pm ET
Newton, MA

Buyer personas are hot! By creating marketing programs based on buyer personas, you create more relevant and targeted messages to the key influencers and buyers for your solutions. Over 40% of marketers we recently surveyed are using personas in their marketing today, and over 80% expect to be using them more than a year from now.

Come learn about this growing practice from ITSMA’s Dave Munn and Robin Saitz, senior vice president for PTC’s Solutions Marketing. Dave will share ITSMA’s latest member survey on these topics, which explores the promise of tailoring marketing programs to buyer personas, and the overall progress companies are making with personalized B2I marketing programs. Robin will share the process PTC followed to create its buyer personas and how it uses the insights to change the way it markets.

Use Personas and B2I to Market with Impact
Web Briefing
April 22, 2014
8:00 am Pacific – 11:00 am Eastern – 16:00 London (Duration: One hour)

Organizations don’t make the decision to buy; people do. The better you are at discovering what makes each individual tick and translating that into a personal, relevant message, the more power you’ll have over their decisions.

That’s the rationale behind the growing use of personas and business to individual (B2I). The two concepts can be integrated into a single powerful strategy. In this web briefing, we’ll review the results of a survey on how marketers are using these two ideas and what leading companies are doing.

Introduction to Account Based Marketing
Online Training
India / EMEA / APAC: May 6, 13, and 20, 2014 – 5:00–6:30 pm IST
Global: May 8, 15, and 22, 2014 – 11:00–12:30 pm ET

Almost 10 years ago, ITSMA introduced the concept of Account Based Marketing (ABM). Our research showed that B2B buyers and sellers were getting what they needed from each other. Buyers wanted solution providers to be more proactive about helping them improve business results, but sellers weren’t getting access to the kind of strategic business information that would enable them provide that insight. In response, we developed a strategy to create a collaborative win-win for the buyer and the seller. That strategy is Account Based Marketing.

This three-session, web-based training program is a new offering in ITSMA’s ABM Professional Development Portfolio, based on the proven ITSMA ABM Framework. These sessions will provide an in-depth overview of the ABM Methodology. After the sessions, participants will have a good understanding of all of a successful ABM program’s key components.

ITSMA’s 2014 Marketing Leadership Forum

Marketing Leadership ForumIn-person event
June 3–4, 2014
Napa, CA

Always one of ITSMA’s most popular events for top marketing leaders and executives, this year our forum will explore marketing’s rapid transformation to driving business outcomes. As the role of marketing becomes more strategic, thought leadership led, data driven, technology enabled, and business aligned, marketing leaders are faced with numerous opportunities and challenges to show their value. A select group of senior marketers and practitioners will share their experiences, insights, and tips on marketing’s expanding role.

Some of the topics we’ll address together include:

  1. Improving Marketing Performance Measurement: Moving from Marketing Activity to Business Outcomes
  2. Developing the Marketing Organization and Talent of the Future
  3. Realizing the Promise of Marketing Technology and Analytics
  4. Rediscovering the Art of Story Telling
  5. Unlocking the Heart of an Organization to Drive Stronger Brand Differentiation
  6. Shifting Marketing Gears: Powering the Next Stage of Growth
  7. Leading Change and Transformation
  8. The Role and Value of Marketing in Helping Customers Migrate to the Cloud

The Marketing Leadership Forum is one of the only events designed specifically for senior marketing leaders at technology, communications, and professional services companies.

ITSMA/VEM Annual Online Survey: Marketing Performance Management
Open to participants till April 25. Click here to participate

Recent ITSMA Thought Leadership

Engaging Millennial Influencers

Millennials are the largest generation and make up one-third of the world’s population. They grew up in a world of online access and social media. They want to be found. Learning how to segment and identify influencers and empower them with information will be important in how you sell your products and services to this group. To learn more about this Viewpoint, read:

Get Your Buyers the Information They Need in the Channels They Use

People make an impact that words on a screen don’t. That’s a key finding of ITSMA’s most recent How Buyers Consume Information study, and it has implications for how B2B services marketers plot their strategy, spend their time, and allocate their budget. The annual How Buyers Consume study draws only from senior executives at big companies who have bought technology solutions costing a minimum of $500,000 and often much more. This Update explains the findings, including how buyers educate themselves, evaluate sellers, and the information they find most useful in moving towards a decision to buy.


ITSMA’s Top Ten Marketing Ideas of 2013

In 2013, we posted over 60 articles, commentaries, and pieces of research to our website. We know you don’t have time to read them all. But you did vote with your clicks—and we know the gems that you may have overlooked. Here are the ten ideas that made the biggest waves with you. You can find all the research in the ITSMA Online Library.


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