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Friday, June 29th, 2012
War Stories, Wisdom, and Wine: A Recap of the 2012 Marketing Leadership ForumBy Dave Munn
At ITSMA, we’ve been banging on the marketing transformation drum for a few years. It was even the theme of our 2012 Marketing Leadership Forum, Marketing Transformation: Rethinking, Reskilling, and Reinventing the Organization, held June 12–13 in Napa, CA.
But why is marketing transformation so important? Because, as Julie Schwartz, Senior Vice President of Research and Thought Leadership at ITSMA, pointed out: “A transformed marketing organization is one that drives business.”
Marketing is always evolving, but now, with shifts in the global economy, the explosion of data, new technologies, emerging skill-set requirements, and changes in buyer behavior, the pace of change is so fast that B2B marketers can no longer afford to make incremental moves—the transformation has to be big. What was clear over the two-day forum is that many of the speakers and attendees are making some big bets as part of their marketing transformation.
Think Strategically; Execute Flawlessly
Julie kicked off the event with new research from ITSMA on marketing transformation. One of the key insights is that marketing needs to be excellent not only at strategy and planning but also at executing. One of the most notable lines of the day was from Julie: “It’s not a question of whether we marketers should be working on tactical or strategic things. Tactical is not the opposite of strategic; reactive is the opposite of strategic.” She went on to urge marketers to not only think strategically, but to execute flawlessly.
Adam Needles, demand generation strategist and author, reinforced ITSMA’s mandate that marketing has to enable salespeople to do thought leadership selling because, he said, “sales has to educate, not sell.” He boldly told the audience that “demand generation is failing … [because] we’re not building a foundation for a long-term relationship with buyers.” He also shared some lessons from his book, Balancing the Demand Equation, and challenged marketers to “not just push out content but [also] add value in the buying process.”
Change the Marketing Mindset from Focusing on Organizations to Focusing on Individuals
Part of what makes the Marketing Leadership Forum so successful is the balance of marketing theory with its practical application. Jonathan Becher, CMO of SAP, married these two successfully in his presentation about SAP marketing’s transformation journey, Market Like Never Before. He challenged attendees with his assertions that B2B marketing is not so different from B2C and that, at their cores, both are selling to individuals. Then he impressed the audience with a view of SAP’s simple yet elegant dashboard that enables marketing to have fact-based conversations with business leaders about marketing’s impact.
Blend Art and Science in Marketing
Another hot topic from the Forum came courtesy of Colette LaForce, CMO of AMD, who said, “Marketing is where the rubber meets the sky.” Impossible, right? The point she made in her presentation, The New Marketing: A Perfect Storm of Art & Science, is that this statement means marketing is not being held accountable (marketing is not even holding itself accountable!). The adage “where the rubber meets the road” refers to the point where something gets serious. Colette challenged marketers to get serious and to show the rest of the business that it’s serious by holding itself accountable. If the art of marketing is telling the story, the science is the critical piece that often gets ignored—measurement. As Colette said, “Tell your story, but measure relentlessly.”
Innovate with a Client-Centric Focus
Sherri Liebo, Vice President, Services Marketing & Communications, Cisco Services, took Colette’s ideas further in her talk, Services Marketing Transformation: Embracing the Customer Perception. She highlighted the importance of listening to your customers to take an outside-in approach to developing your marketing strategy. Sherri also shared a compelling story about how communities can solve problems and shape solutions, again emphasizing the importance of measuring marketing efforts and results.
Lawrence Lee, Senior Director of Strategy for PARC, a Xerox company, posed another challenge for marketers—innovate through customer intimacy—in his presentation, How an Organization Becomes and Stays Innovative. He sees the CMO’s role shifting from a marketing leader to a business leader but believes it will take insight. “[Marketing’s] understanding of and intimacy with customers is top source of innovation power,” said Lawrence. He suggested that marketers make sure they’re solving the “right” customer problems.
Increase Relevance via an Industry Perspective
Lisa Jepsen-Lozano, National Leader of Account and Industry Marketing at Deloitte Services described how she is aligning industry and key account marketing during her presentation, How Industry Insight is Making Account Based Marketing More Relevant, because, as she said, “we need to have an industry lens or we will not be successful anymore.” This was one of the more interactive sessions of the event, with the audience debating ways that they can bring more relevant industry views to their clients. (Read how Industry Insight Is Making Account Based Marketing More Relevant for more on Deloitte’s approach to Account Based Marketing).
Transformation Is Not a One-Time Activity
Perhaps Jeff Sands, who moderated the Marketing Leadership Panel with marketing leaders from Black & Veatch, Deloitte Consulting, and Hitachi Data Systems, summed it up best: “Marketing transformation is not a one-time event. It requires continuous attention and involves participation from other areas inside and outside of the organization.”
As is the case every year at our Marketing Leadership Forum, we had great discussions, we learned from each other, and everyone left with ideas that can help fuel their own marketing transformation.
Read the Marketing Leadership Forum Twitter Transcript.
Listen to the replay of The New Skills Crisis in Marketing: Why Your Next Marketers Won’t Come from Marketing online briefing.
ITSMA specializes in helping companies market and sell services and solutions more effectively. We work with the world's leading technology, communications, and professional services providers to generate increased demand, strengthen customer relationships, and improve brand differentiation.ITSMA annual program clients include business leaders such as AT&T, Cisco, Deloitte, EMC, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, and Tata Consultancy Services, among others. Our comprehensive research, consulting, and training on topics including ITSMA Account Based Marketing℠, Brand Positioning, and Solutions Development provide the insight and experience companies need to improve business results. ITSMA is based near Boston, and has offices in London, Mumbai, and Tokyo. Learn more at www.itsma.com.