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Lessons from ITSMA’s Marketing Leadership Forum: The Value of AlignmentBy Dave Munn
Napa, CA is famous for sunshine and wineries. At the end of May, it became briefly famous as a hub for the B2B marketing leaders, who gathered for ITSMA’s 2013 Marketing Leadership Forum to share insights on where marketing needs to advance to help their companies grow. Speakers included Dell, DocuSign, HCL, IBM, Juniper Networks, McKinsey, Unleash, VisionEdge Marketing, and ITSMA’s Julie Schwartz.
What themes generated the most discussion at the conference? One was the data and skills needed to predict behavior (rather than just optimize activity). Another centered on the need to measure what you get (business outcomes) as opposed to what you do (marketing activities). A third issue was how marketing technology frontrunners are having a greater impact. Also prominent were strategies to help enable sales through improved lead management and nurturing models, through portfolio simplification and thought leadership selling approaches.
Touching on these themes were talks by IBM, DocuSign, and Juniper Networks.
The Future Practice of Marketing. What marketers do hasn’t changed. How they do it has. Katharyn White, VP of Marketing at IBM Global Business Services, argued that marketers must still understand the customer, chose what to market and how to market it, and protect the brand promise. But the rise of mobile, social, and data, as well as shifts in customer demographics, have altered the way marketers carry out these mandates in three ways:
Accelerate your Sales Pipeline with Technology. Nothing proves marketing’s value to the business more than finding, engaging, and delivering customers. Meagan Eisenberg, the VP of Demand Generation of e-signature company DocuSign, described how she took a technology-enhanced approach and tripled the sales pipeline. The key elements of the program are:
Enabling Sales: Simplify your Services Portfolio. Juniper Networks is known as a hardware company, but services comprise a quarter of its revenues. Matthew Hurley, Vice President, Services Strategy & Marketing, joined the company last year with a mandate to align services marketing with the company’s hardware and software portfolio. His mandate: transform a complex, confusing, and hard to sell mix of professional, support, and educational services into a clear, easy-to-explain portfolio wrapped around the company’s existing network infrastructure products.
The plan had three stages: listen, analyze, execute. First, there were interviews of sales, customers, and partners. Then an analysis was done of the gap between the current and the ideal portfolio. The results—which indicated that the portfolio could be simplified rather than totally revamped—were developed into a roadmap modeled on a pre-existing and widely known corporate strategy framework. The advantage of modeling it on an existing plan was that everyone in the company already knew it, and only a minimal amount of education needed to be done.
The result: a roadmap with assessments and sales plays linked to existing practices. Positive reactions from sales, services, and partners. A messaging platform for collateral, sales tools, training, and the Juniper.net website. And a new understanding by sales about when and how to sell services within the company’s existing product framework.
For more Forum highlights, search on the Twitter hashtag #itsmamlf13.
Featured Research: Are You Measuring Activity or Outcomes?By Julie Schwartz
When talking about performance, marketing needs to adopt the metrics, language, and sought-after outcomes of the business. Otherwise marketers will be deemed irrelevant—or worse.
ITSMA’s 2013 Marketing Performance Management study, completed in May, surveyed over 400 B2B marketers to discover what they measure, how they measure it, and to whom they communicate those measurements. It found that few in the C-suite use marketing data to make business decisions.
The reason is that most marketers aren’t measuring the things that the C-suite cares about. Most marketers focus on measuring activity and efficiency, largely because it’s easy to measure. It is easy to count the dollars you spend and the emails you collect. It is not a big additional step to tally sales and divide by the cost of the campaign or event that generated the prospects, yielding an ROI.
But there are two problems with this approach. First, measures of activities without outcomes say nothing about how business value is created. It’s not necessarily the case that that no value is being created—just that the metric says nothing about it. What you’re measuring is a cost. And costs get cut.
Second, even if there is an outcome (a sale, for instance), an ROI approach focuses less on the outcome than on the efficiency of achieving that outcome. To a CFO, an ROI is an invitation to ask for a higher ROI. If you’re achieving a 50% ROI, what can you do to get it to 75%? Lower the cost of the campaign or increase the revenue that it generates.
The more difficult—but ultimately more valuable—approach to measuring marketing performance is to focus on outcomes. This approach starts with strategic objectives—market share, customer loyalty, share of wallet—and works backwards to estimate marketing’s contributions. But only about one-fifth to one-quarter of marketers surveyed make an attempt to do this. If marketing data isn’t used by the C-suite, this is one of the reasons.
Three Imperatives for European B2B Services Marketers from ITSMA Europe Senior Vice President Bev BurgessBy Dan Armstrong
In June, Bev Burgess became ITSMA’s Senior Vice President for Europe, taking over responsibility for all European operations and member services. Dan Armstrong, who joined ITMA last fall, spent a few minutes getting to know Bev and learning about her plans for ITSMA.
Dan: You worked for ITSMA Europe before. Why did you leave?
Bev: I worked for ITSMA from 2001 to 2006 and I was managing director from 2003. I wanted to put into practice some of the things that I had been talking about, such as Account Based Marketing and solutions marketing. So in 2006, I went to Fujitsu to become the marketing director for their UK private sector business. I’m glad to say that the business outperformed the market in orders, revenues, and profitability while I was there.
Looking back over the last 20 years, I’ve spent half of that time as a consultant and the other half as a practitioner, in a client-side marketing role. I like both roles, and I think I’m a better marketer for having done both.
Dan: Why are you coming back?
Bev: First, I wouldn’t say that I’m coming back; I haven’t really been away! I was an ITSMA member at Fujitsu, and used both the membership benefits and consulting services to help me in my role. I’ve also judged the Marketing Excellence Awards every year, and contributed to both the ABM and Solutions Councils. In 2011, I designed the Professional Diploma in Marketing for Business Services and Solutions for ITSMA with UK-headquartered Chartered Institute of Marketing. And last year, research I had conducted into the role of marketing in driving business growth today became the subject of an ITSMA Viewpoint on the commercial CMO.
I’m thrilled to be full-time at ITSMA again. I think marketing is at a tipping point in many organizations today, and I want to build a thriving community of B2B service and solution marketers in Europe to help them be successful in the coming months and years. The first step is to go out and learn about the challenges people are facing in their roles. And then I want to develop a membership program that delivers the support that they need. That’s my objective for the next month: really understanding what people are struggling with and what they need from ITSMA.
Dan: What do you find most compelling about services marketing?
Bev: I like the challenge that comes with the complex and intangible nature of services. Products are simpler. You can point to them, touch them, test them; you know exactly what you’re getting. You can’t see services. They depend completely on a changing cast of front-line delivery people. That makes marketing both more difficult and dependent on a different set of tools. As service marketers, we need to find creative ways to give clients a taste, to set their expectations, and to prepare them to buy, while engaging our own people to deliver consistently on the brand promise we make to those clients.
Dan: What companies in Europe do you think are doing a great job in B2B services marketing? And who have you learned the most from?
Bev: I’ve got two answers to that, one concrete and one more philosophical. In our space, IBM has done a fantastic job of setting out a really big idea, an idea that matters for us as a civilization, and then structuring all of their messaging around it. They’ve taken a very complex organization and pulled all of their activities together under a simple brand proposition. And they’ve created clear value propositions for each of the areas in which the company operates. I think they have done a great job.
The more philosophical answer is that I’ve learned from many people over the years, and a lot of them were the sponsors and members I met through ITSMA Europe. It’s the same group that ITSMA members today can learn from. Almost every company has something that they do exceptionally well, that others can learn from. I guess that’s why people love being a member of ITSMA, since it gives them that opportunity to network and learn from one another.
Dan: If you had to pick three imperatives for European B2B service and solution marketers, what would they be?
Bev: They’re all about the perspective that you bring to the job.
The study I conducted last year showed a worrying gap between the people who run these businesses and their marketing folks. The marketers weren’t speaking the same language and didn’t have the same commercial understanding as their peers around the table. So that’s my first imperative: become more commercial. Learn to talk the language of the business with the people who lead the business, understand the levers that drive growth in the business, and focus on the marketing activities that can impact those things.
The second thing is this: almost all of the marketers that I know today are running at a hundred miles an hour just to keep up. The risk is that they’re operating not on insights, but on autopilot. I know, because I’ve been in a similar situation myself. We need to make sure that the decisions we’re making are based on insights about customers, markets, or competitors. We need an outside-in perspective.
Finally, it’s a new world and we’ve got to stay open to new ways of doing our jobs. Every day we hear about the power of data and analytics, the explosion in channels, the changes in customer behavior. Saying that you don’t want to learn about them is not an option. We all need to be curious about how new innovations can help us to improve results.
Dan: Thank you, Bev.
Bev: Thank you for the opportunity to re-introduce myself. I’m excited about getting started.
By Dave Munn, ITSMA
Each 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 are planning to conduct regular webinars for our customers (and prospects) to address their concerns regarding our industry expertise. What’s the right amount of content? One-way broadcast or discussion? How do we get people to attend? And how should we measure success?
A: Both live and virtual events are a critical vehicle to show and demonstrate your thought leadership, knowledge, and expertise to the markets you serve. They are also a critical vehicle for introducing subject matter experts to your customers and prospects. Our recent studies that we cover as part of our membership research show that subject matter experts are the most trusted and valuable resource to customers and prospects during the selection process and that, many times, they are not made available early enough in the sales cycle.
Events are also a critical component to lead generation and lead nurturing. Formal lead nurturing programs track contacts and their interests and manage the flow of information and invitations to those individuals over time. Most companies need to put events in the context of an overall lead management framework. We created a lead management roadmap tool, which is available for ITSMA members.
As for your other questions, see below.
In the News
In a video titled HuzzahEloquaITSMA, Maureen Blandford talks about why marketers need research—and how to tell the difference between empirical inquiry and opinions masquerading as research.
Services Marketing News
For up-to-the-minute services marketing news, follow ITSMA on Twitter: @itsma_b2b.
Upcoming ITSMA Events
Three month program with an in-person kickoff in Wellesley, MA
We have developed a three-month comprehensive Account Based Marketing Certificate Program that we have been conducting for individual members. We are now offering a public version of the program to help you bring key account marketing into your organization more effectively. ITSMA’s ABM Certification Program kicks off with a two-day workshop and is followed by three months of mentoring and coaching on the actual implementation of the ABM methodology on one key account you and your sales management will select during the program.
Three month program with an in-person kickoff in London
ITSMA has developed a three-month comprehensive Account Based Marketing Certification program that we have been conducting for individual members. We are now offering a public version of the program to help you bring ABM into your organization more effectively. ITSMA’s ABM Certification program kicks off with a two-day workshop in London. The workshop is followed by a three month development program which will result in each participant completing an ABM Campaign Plan ready for implementation.
To view all events, please see our online events calendar.
Recent ITSMA Thought Leadership
In this Online Briefing, ITSMA’s Julie Schwartz, VisionEdge Marketing’s Laura Patterson, and Forrester’s Laura Ramos take a first-look at the results from the ITSMA/VisionEdge Marketing/Forrester survey on Marketing Performance Management. You will gain insight into how you and your peers use marketing data, metrics, and analytics to inform marketing decisions and link marketing performance with business outcomes.
How to capture the goodwill from thousands of customer touches while avoiding the risk arising from an undisciplined army of social media participants? Dell’s approach could be called disciplined autonomy: a mix of central oversight and local execution that manages risk while leveraging the power of 100,000-plus employees.
The heart of the boom in marketing technology is software that automates lead nurturing. Implementing automation projects demands strong technical skills. But more than anything else, it requires the ability to closely collaborate with sales to build robust processes. In this Viewpoint, Meagen Eisenberg, Vice President of Demand Generation at DocuSign, describes the lessons she learned from implementing a marketing automation system starting in January of 2012.
A handful of your marketing peers are industry leaders in applying technology to create business value. ITSMA’s marketing technology survey shows what they’re doing to get the most out or their technology investments—what categories of software they’re using, the skills they’re hiring, how they’re reorganizing, and the ways in which their relationships with sales and IT are evolving. Read the survey results to discover how you can up your technology game.
ITSMA’s marketing technology survey shows what your peers are doing to get the most out or their technology investments—what categories of software they’re using, the skills they’re hiring, how they’re reorganizing, and the ways in which their relationships with sales and IT are evolving. In this Online Briefing, Dan Armstrong, Director of Research and Thought Leadership, and Kathy Macchi, ITSMA Senior Associate, share highlights from the research results.
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