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Interview with Larry Weber, Chairman & CEO, Racepoint GlobalBy Julie Schwartz
Larry Weber, chairman and CEO at Racepoint Global, is a recognized expert in public relations and marketing services. He is passionate about the convergence of technology, the web, and communications and how they can be used to enhance brand reputation and increase demand generation. Larry has written five books, his most recent being The Digital Marketer: Ten New Skills You Must Learn to Stay Relevant and Customer-Centric, which he co-wrote with business writer and consultant Lisa Leslie Henderson. You can learn more when Weber presents at the ITSMA Annual Conference, November 4–5, 2014 in Cambridge, MA.
ITSMA:What inspired you to write your latest book, The Digital Marketer?
Larry Weber: Ogilvy on Advertising, the best-selling and quintessential advertising book, published in the ’60s, was a forthright and timeless take on all aspects of advertising from the most sought-after guru in the industry. But when I started to think about writing my book, I realized that no one was writing about and creating a discussion around digital marketing as a whole as Ogilvy did, and I recognized the growing need to tell the entire story of the future of marketing and where the industry is headed. If you go on Amazon, you have books on native advertising, SEO, content creation, the future of paid media, etcetera. But I couldn’t find an all-encompassing guide on the state of marketing in 2014 and what the landscape will look like for the next five years or so. What skills will marketers need to thrive? I narrowed it down from 30 skill categories to the 10 that I think are critical for marketers to understand today and in the near future.
ITSMA: Where do you see the biggest changes for marketers?
Weber: In the macro sense, every company is becoming a software company and every category of business will integrate certain software tools and platforms to more effectively get the job done. For marketers, that means putting the customer at the center of everything. It’s the reason I published my book: better customer relationships. The marketer’s job will be to create digital network destinations that continually connect to a customer and improve that relationship on a real-time basis.
There’s a generation of marketers clinging to the traditional broadcast mentality. It’s time for these marketers to change. As you know, there’s a whole new toolbox for reaching customers.
ITSMA: One of the 10 skills you write about is engaging customers through communities. How does this apply to B2B marketers?
Weber: We actually build communities for B2B companies. The communities we build are private communities with password-only access. IBM, for example, has a community it’s created for healthcare company CIOs. We listen to their conversations, analyze the data, and use the findings to continue to build in value-add and make the site stronger and even more beneficial for viewers. We also give information to IBM about new or better services that the CIOs are looking for. When you have this level of insight from a community, you can create more impactful content, more understandable communication pieces, and more influential thought leadership.
ITSMA: In looking at the intersection of marketing and analytics, do you see B2B companies doing their own analytics or hiring from the outside due to the shortage of data scientists?
Weber: We’re seeing both. In most businesses there is a bifurcation of IT. There’s the internal IT, which will always stay focused on infrastructure, such as cloud, security, and energy consumption. Then there’s a CMO or chief customer officer being asked to analyze marketing. They either purchase a marketing automation platform or engage their own development teams. In some instances, a third-party partner is brought in to integrate this new technology, help with analytics, and ultimately create new content and distribute that content. There’s a mix, but a burgeoning category is marketing software and automation. You don’t have to be a developer, but you have to have a basic understanding of what the software tools do and the kind of resources you need to bring those to bear on your work.
ITSMA: What would you say is the most important skill a B2B marketer needs to have?
Weber: Foundationally, one must understand the tools that will grant you access to the data analytics you need to get closer to the customer throughout the buyer journey.
ITSMA: And how do you define the journey for the customer?
Weber: It’s no longer a funnel. It all starts with an influencer base, which is why it’s so important to do influencer or constituency mapping. You need to understand who’s influencing the opinions of your customers and prospects, and whether that’s on social media, blogs, or traditional media. Then you can plan out the convergence of owned, earned, and paid media. Based on the analytics, you can then create the kind of compelling content that will bring your customers along from the discovery phase to the engagement phase. You want to get your digital environment to a place that is so rich with content and experience that the potential customer says, “I like this company more than the competitor I looked at.” And that journey leads to a purchase. If I track and analyze the data throughout the journey, I start to understand the customer’s likes and dislikes. This is how I get closer to the customer. This is how I build that better relationship.
Using Digital Media to Increase Lead Flow and SalesBy Anna Whiting
David Edelman, principal of marketing and sales, McKinsey & Co, knows from experience that digital marketing requires fundamental shifts in company culture and operations. As content continues to shift online, marketers must adopt a more disciplined approach to content creation, dissemination, and measurement. Marketing must become a social engine, driving content creation and dialogue. We asked Edelman what steps he could suggest for organizations that need to develop that kind of marketing discipline. He told us that there are three things marketing organizations need:
1) “The customer decision journey gives you a more holistic view of what’s happening as things become more digital. Where are people really looking for content? Who do they want to engage with? How do we help make sure that happens? You get a different perspective on all the deliverables that you manage in your relationships and in your planning process by explicitly asking: What are we doing for each of those stages? Which are the key battle grounds? Where are we spending our money? What is marketing doing versus sales? What content do we need at each stage of the decision journey? This is a way to organize and think about flow instead of seeing the relationship as a forced march down a funnel.”
2) “A content supply chain is a must. Digital and social media have a tendency to drive up content development expenses. You’re going to be putting out content, and it’s going to grow and grow over time. If you’re not careful about thinking about a supply chain with core assets that are packaged and put into different channels, you’re going to be creating way more content than you ever dreamed of.”
“I’ve had a couple of clients, one in the software business and another in pharmaceuticals, who had never looked at their content supply chain costs because it wasn’t tracked. It was buried all over the place. But when they actually tallied the numbers, their costs were skyrocketing.”
3) “Analytics and a supporting infrastructure are needed to measure and understand what’s working and what’s not; who is engaging and who is not. With this information, you can optimize and tweak things over time. You need to have people in these roles who are on top of this and saying, “Well, this whole thematic direction that we went into is getting absolutely zero engagement. Our search engine optimization and our search rankings are not really going up. We need a different tack here.”
To learn more, read the full interview with David Edelman
What Separates “A” Marketers from the Rest of the Pack?By Julie Schwartz
During spring 2014, ITSMA and VisionEdge Marketing used a web-based survey to gather data from members and non-members about how they measure and report marketing’s performance. One of the key findings was “A” marketer’s make measuring marketing’s value a priority. “A” marketers are deemed so by the C-suite for their ability to measure and report their value to the business. They focus on regularly engaging with senior executives to ensure they understand and report on what’s important to the C-suite. To become an “A” marketer, ITSMA has defined four actions that you must incorporate into your role.
Who Takes the Lead Role at Each Stage of the Buying Process?By Dianne Kim
In complex buying cycles with multiple stakeholders, influencers, and decision makers, knowing who to sell to at each stage is invaluable. Which roles or personas are most active at which stages of the buying process? How should solution providers tailor content to increase relevance and personalization throughout the buying process? ITSMA sought to answer these questions in its 2013 How B2B Buyers Consume Information study.
Survey data shows that each function plays a different role in the buying process. While end users take the lead in identifying the need, it is the lines of business and IT executives, including the CIO, who research potential providers and ultimately identify the short list. The finance organization and C-suite usually get involved in the later stages of the buying process—the final selection, authorization of purchase, and post-purchase stages.
ITSMA has conducted its annual buyer research and uncovered important buying trends since 1999, providing unprecedented insights into changing buyer behavior. Our global study surveys business and IT executives from large enterprises that purchase technology-based solutions for individual contracts over $500,000. Are you interested in sponsoring the 2014 research? There is just one sponsorship slot remaining for the 2014 study. Sponsors collaborate with ITSMA to design the questionnaire and can include two private questions. For more information, contact Dirk Mullenger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the ITSMA Europe Account Based Marketing Certification ProgrammeBy Vincent Rousselet
It has been 10 years since ITSMA introduced the concept of Account Based Marketing (ABM), a collaborative win-win for the buyer and the seller. Our research at the time showed that neither B2B buyers nor B2B sellers were getting what they needed from each other. Buyers wanted solution providers to be more proactive about helping them improve business results, but the providers weren’t getting access to the kind of strategic business insight they needed.
Clearly, much has changed in 10 years:
In the midst of this turbulent change, what has remained constant in the last decade? The need to deliver successful marketing and sales strategies that resonate with decision makers. To win, these campaigns must be grounded in a real understanding of the buyers’ objectives more than ever.
Encouragingly, a number of ITSMA members have successfully institutionalized ABM in their organizations. In some companies, ABM has become a formal career path. In others, regular training programs keep marketers’ skills fresh and equip them with new techniques, such as buyer persona marketing and storytelling.
Given the continued surge in members’ interest, ITSMA has developed a three-month, comprehensive Account Based Marketing certificate program. In the last 10 years, we have conducted the program for a wide range of individual member companies.
We are now offering a public version of the program to help more marketers effectively bring ABM into their organizations. Aimed at marketing professionals who want to make a difference in their account campaigns, the ITSMA Europe ABM Certification Programme is a three- to four-month program that kicks off with a two-day workshop near London on 17–18 September 2014.
Over the course of three months, each participant will receive mentoring and technical input, as well as specific assignments to accomplish using one of their strategic accounts. In keeping with ITSMA’s practical focus, the final deliverable is a complete ABM Campaign Plan ready to be implemented in collaboration with participants’ sales colleagues.
Don’t Miss ITSMA Annual Conference: Driving Business Value
ITSMA holds its Annual Conference every fall, and this year’s event is sure to be outstanding! With a focus on driving business value, the conference will showcase expert advice on what it takes for marketing to be accountable and to contribute to the business. Keynote speakers include:
In addition, we will feature Adele Revella, President, Buyer Persona Institute; Jane Hiscock, President of The Farland Group; and Bev Burgess, Senior Vice President, ITSMA Europe,on Storytelling in addition to other leading B2B marketers.
We will also be announcing our Marketing Excellence Award Winners during the conference and offering ample opportunities for conference attendees to meet one-on-one with ITSMA experts on an array of B2B marketing topics.
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: Does ITSMA have any nomenclature (definitions) that distinguishes the following terms that are frequently bandied about by professional services firms?
A: As a matter of fact, we do have some definitions. We recently published the ITSMA Solutions Taxonomy that explains many of these terms. We define solution, for example, this way:
Here are a few other notes:
Services Marketing News
For up-to-the-minute services marketing news, follow ITSMA on Twitter: @itsma_b2b.
Upcoming ITSMA Events
ITSMA ABM Certification Programme
Road Show – Lunch Briefing
Online Training Program
Pre-Conference Workshops: November 3, 2014
To view all events, please see our online events calendar.
Recent ITSMA Thought Leadership
ITSMA’s Solutions Taxonomy
The creation of a common taxonomy of solutions and services is one of the first key mileposts on the journey to solutions mastery. Without a universally shared nomenclature for the solutions business, solutions transformation initiatives are likely to fail.
Read more about this marketing tool: http://www.itsma.com/research/itsmas-solutions-taxonomy/
Using Digital Media to Increase Lead Flow and Sales
Many CMOs look at digital marketing as a challenge. Although it’s a lot more work to some degree, it’s more about being different. Your changing the way you engage your customers, how you get information to market, and how you offer your services.
Read more about the digital media challenge in this Viewpoint: http://www.itsma.com/research/using-digital-media-to-increase-lead-flow-and-sales/
The Link Between Marketing Performance Management and Value Creation
Marketers are challenged every day on how to improve marketing performance and value to the business. Only a quarter of marketers can answer the question, “What is marketing’s impact on the business?” according to the joint VisionEdge Marketing (VEM) and ITSMA 2014 Marketing Performance Management (MPM) survey. Top marketers engage with business leaders and act as businesspeople first. They also set quantifiable performance targets and report results in a multilevel dashboard. Meanwhile, 85% of this year’s MPM study participants feel pressure to measure marketing’s value. This webinar reveals important insights into B2B marketing performance management, what to measure, and what best practices can help them show measurable value.
View the presentation from our Online Briefing: http://www.itsma.com/research/linking-marketing-performance-management-and-value-creation/
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