Successes and Shortfalls of Marketing Technology: As Shared with the Milwaukee BMA

Xerox Document Services - Example of Thought Leadership on Sustainability

From social media to sales enablement, I have found new marketing technologies are abundant, often replacing established tools in the marketing programs and operations toolbox.  In my relatively brief time here at Xerox Document Services, we’ve enjoyed the opportunity — and challenge — of adopting a variety of new technologies with a mix of successes and shortfalls.

On November 10, I had the honor of delivering the keynote presentation to the Milwaukee chapter of the BMA. (The BMA is an organization I shamelessly plug to all B2B marketers.) I shared a few lessons that we’ve learned rolling out social media, lead management automation, and guided selling tools in our professional services organization where sales coverage runs the gamut from geography to industry.

It was a frank recounting of the challenges and problems many marketers face with new technology adoption across a range of programs, campaigns, and operations. It was the “practical experience” view to the perspective  that Debbie Qaquish, Chief Revenue Officer of the Pedowitz Group, shared on how revenue marketers are changing the landscape of the industry through lead management automation. 

You can find the presentation on the Milwaukee BMA site, scroll to the bottom as the presentation is the last one featured on this page.  In it I talk about:

1) The state of B2B marketing and how the explosion of online tactics has made it harder for marketing to escape the execution treadmill and demonstrate its true value to the business.

2) How Xerox Document Services uses an online destination and social media to share thought leading perspectives from some of our key executives.  On this site, we talk about sustainability, change management, transforming enterprise marketing, innovation, and the future of documents.  Topics completely unrelated to copiers and printing.

3) Demand generation and lead management: how we use industry experts and clear, specific targeting to develop a perspective on key issues — like the future of the insurance industry — and share these with current clients and prospects. And how we keep the conversation going.

4) A cautionary note about guided selling and sales enablement and how the most exciting new technologies may be a bit much for your sales people to digest in one swallow.  Instead start with something they know (powerpoint slides) and give them a tool that enhances their effectiveness and professionalism when presenting in front of clients.

I also shared the following lessons with the 40 or so BMA members and guests who joined us for dinner and the evening presentation:

  • We are never finished.  Technology makes many new marketing approaches possible, but you have to keep feeding the machine.
  • Choose carefully, understand impact/risks of the new technology approaches you want to try.
  • Get inside your business financials to select metrics. If your programs and technology don’t show results in the language of business, you will fail to gain support.
  • Partner with sales, but gain senior management support. If the “big boss” doesn’t demonstrate both interest in and commitment to your implementations, then the road to success will be long and difficult.
  • Focus on audience and objectives first, the rest will follow. This is the POST principle.
  • People, process, and change management are more important than technology. Technology for technology’s sake is never a good thing.
  • Content generation is biggest success factor and hurdle. Figure out how to keep the content coming.
  • Use reporting to improve marketing, not just “prove” it.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail.

If you can relate to the contents in the presentation, let me know how.  Also, join your local chapter of the BMA. It’s a wonderful organization that I know helps to improve the business marketing profession.

Join Me at the Marketing Technology Summit in Phoenix Next Week

Ah, Phoenix Arizona in the summer.   It’s hot.  Really hot.  The weather reports say it will be 107 degrees Fahrenheit when I’m there next Thursday.  Well, at least it’s a dry heat… So does that mean I’ll turn into a raisin rather than wilt like a flower?

Dry heat, or not, is no excuse to overlook the Marketing Technology Summit, co-sponsored by the Phoenix chapter of the BMA and the Arizona Technology Council, if you happen to be in the area.  If you follow my blog, you know that I’ve become a fan of the BMA.  The Phoenix chapter appears to be particularly active. Avnet’s world headquarters is located in Phoenix, making this location home to the national chairman for the BMA, Al Maag. This probably has something to do with the popularity of this event among the BMA crowd.

Good publicity also comes from the Phoenix Business Journal, which describes next week’s event by saying:

The goal of the 3-year-old program is to shed light on different technology aspects available for marketing. It is aimed at businesses throughout the Southwest. Next week’s conference will be a half-day format, featuring panel discussions on mobile and automated marketing as well as a small trade show with the event’s sponsors.”

Check out the agenda  to learn more; activities kick off around 12:30 pm.

I’m looking forward to speaking with Bob Rinderle (of GE Healthcare) and Christina “CK” Kerley (mobile marketing specialist) on the panel. Although I hope the discussion trends toward “all things digital” rather than “all things mobile” as the PBJ advertised. Outsourced services buyers make lengthy relationship decisions when deciding whether to turn document-based business processes over to Xerox. We’ve yet to find how sending these decision makers and influencers information in mobile format helps to advance the sale.  But I might be overlooking something, so I’m eager to learn along with the rest of the audience. I know I will also pick up great information from IBM’s Kevin Kennedy and the marketing automation panel with Eloqua CMO, Brian Kardon, and Infusionsoft CMO, Greg Head.

Will I see you there?  I hope so!  Send me some tips on keeping cool while in the dry Arizona desert before then.

BMA Unleash 2011 – Wrap Up And Observations

Wow, the Business Marketing Association’s international conference for 2011 is over, and already I can’t wait until next year. At the risk of sounding like a compensated promoter (full disclosure: BMA did pay for my travel and accommodation to speak at this year’s event), I found this to be the premier conference for B2B executive marketers.  A strong link between BMA and BtoB Magazine is also evident:  BtoB Magazine “award” winners tend to have high-level relationships with BMA.  And magazine coverage appeared to be exclusive/preferred (see below). Which is a good thing, in my opinion, because catering to the senior B2B marketing audience can only enhance BMA”s stature as a networking association.

I’m sure you can find a lot of great feedback about the show online. Check out the Twitter hashtag #bmaunleash to see all the highlights. BtoB Magazine published two show-special editions that summarize the event effectively.  You can find them at:  June 2 and June 3.

(Notice yours truly on the panel on the front page of the June 2 summary. Yes, I am tooting my own horn.  But I have to say that many people at the show approached me later to thank me for sharing examples of Xerox’s content story.  Nice to have a positive impact.)

The main highlights for me, Days 2 and 3, include:

1) Seth Godin’s lunchtime keynote.  He is a highly entertaining nutcase.  And the master of the “all pictures, no words” presentation. His message was clear – establish your brand to be relevant in 2012 and beyond.  The days of the “company person” are over.  Very interesting: to emphasize his view of humanity’s progression from hunter/gatherer, to agriculture, to industrialism, to service-oriented society — he showed a picture of Xerox’s chairwoman, Ursula Burns, to make the last point.  Do you think our message about transforming to a service-oriented company is coming across?

2) Greg Stuart, Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) Global CEO, gave an eye-opening talk about mobile. He believes mobile could well be the marketing channel of the next decade – and has the stats to back it up.  While B2B marketers, in general, lag well behind B2C counterparts, Greg showed data from 100 mobile case studies and research against $1 billion in ad spending to argue this medium is here to stay. Time to set strategy, folks.

3) IBM talked about Watson (interesting) but it had little connection to the other topics Kevin Kennedy presented.  Siemen’s presentation was long, but a good study in how to build a US brand from a European heavyweight.  Lots of other track sessions worth a listen on the recordings.

4) The panel on work-life balance — featuring Motorola’s Eduardo Conrado, Rick Segal of gyro, Maggie Jackson from Boston Globe, Johanna Torsone of Pitney Bowes, and Dalton Conley from NYU — was depressing but very worthwhile.  There’s no escaping that work hours and life have become inextricably linked as the panel explored the dynamics of “weisure,” the convergence of working and home life, and its impact on B2B marketing. And it means we will all be on-the-clock more often.

Bottomline: experience BMA for yourself next year.  It’s worth it.

DMA Webinar: Tracking Online Buyer Behavior in B2B

Next week I have the pleasure of speaking to several affiliate groups of the Direct Marketing Association about demand management. Please join me Wednesday, January 13, 2010, for a webinar-based panel discusison about: How to Track a Buyer’s Online Purchase Research Behavior: and then send appropriate messages to influence that buyer’s purchase.

As we see it, the Internet empowers buyers to research products and services long before engaging in a formal sales process — leaving marketers to guess when and how to engage with prospects. This almost guarantees that marketing messages will be sent to the wrong people at the wrong time — filling sales funnels with unqualified leads — a poor formula for permission marketing.

Smart marketers are harnessing digital technology to monitor and track buyer research behavior long before the formal sales process begins — to estimate buying stage — to predict buying intent — to evaluate buying influence — to send appropriate marketing messages to the right people at the right time — and to more accurately score leads for sales funnels. This yields a better formula for permission marketing.

The DMA invited two top industry experts (and yours truly) to help B2B marketers clearly understand how they can improve demand generation process by identifying, monitoring, and evaluating the online research behavior of prospective buyers.

Joining me are:

Steve Woods – Eloqua – Chief Technology Officer / Co-Founder. Author – Digital Body Language.

Debbie Qaqish – The Pedowitz Group – Chief Revenue Officer. Demand Generation Agency – Digital Buyer Behavior applications.

I hope you will visit the DMA Northern California site and join us for this educational, lively discussion!

Making Your B2B Marketing Work — Better!

A worldwide recession and social media have swept up B2B marketers in a perfect storm, tossed between tighter budgets and the demand to do more online without guideposts or established benefits. Opportunities and challenges abound for marketers targeting other businesses through a direct sales force or channel partners. Before 2010 planning — and the push to pump up the pipeline to make year-end revenue goals — hit full stride, now is an excellent time to step outside your daily routine, tune up B2B marketing strategy, and learn new best practices.

Sound intriguing? If so, have I got a deal for you!  (Oh, c’mon, you suspected a pitch was coming, now didn’t you?)

On September 17, 2009 (Thursday) I am leading a full-day workshop in Cambridge, MA on “Making B2B Marketing Work”. This workshop brings B2B marketing peers together to explore and discuss how marketing has changed in light of the digital/social media shift and the pressures imposed by the current economy. It will help you think through a number of issues — how to stretch budget dollars by better integrating digital and physical tactics, tap into social media, drive healthier pipelines, target and qualify your best customers, and create a marketing technology infrastructure that increases efficiency through automation — just to name a few of the top takeaways. You will also gain hands-on experience assessing your integrated marketing accumen and lead management maturity while hearing “tricks of the trade” from our expert panel (who join us at the end of the day.)

You may want to check out Forrester’s site for further workshop details if you need answers to the following questions:

  • How do I optimize my marketing mix in 2010?
  • What are the best practices for generating, and managing, demand?
  • How do I better integrate digital and social media into my campaigns?
  • How do I improve marketing’s working relationship with sales?
  • How do I make my Web site generate better leads?
  • What are the best social media tactics to use?
  • What technology investments should I make in 2010?

In my rather “un-humble” opinion, I’ve found participants feel that the two best features of this workshop are:

1) Networking and interpersonal interaction. The workshop is intimate (typically between 7 adn 15 participants) which gives you the opportunity to spend time with peers (and the analyst, of course!) talking about what matters to you and how you have been making B2B marketing work. Participants from Tech and non-Tech industries share experiences and learn from each others’ successes and mistakes.

2) Talking with the panel of experts.  Plan to stick around to enjoy the wine/cheese reception for further networking and to meet with our expert panel. I’m gathering the invitees now, but past participants included experts in search marketing, community development, demand generation, and marketing automation. The discussion is lively and really gets to the heart of “what should you do in practice to make B2B marketing work?”

Will you join me?  Hope to see you there!

Change Management: The Key to Successful Marketing Process

Digital marketing is a double-edged sword for B2B marketers making it a bigger part of their marketing mix. On the one side, digital is more targetable, addressable, and measurable than traditional channels like advertising, promotions, and tradeshows. Online, marketing now has more data to help them “know” more about prospects and buyers. On the other hand, the options available in the marketing mix have exploded and executives want to hold marketing more accountable for program results and campaign spend. Given these turbulent times, marketing challenges increase exponentially and marketing automation moves from a “nice to have” to “essential” investment. But technology implemented without a clear understanding of process typically gets many marketers into hot water. Face it, many of us have tremendous experience running campaigns and programs, but little experience with the change management needed to move process from ad hoc to repeatable and disciplined.

The August quarterly MOCCA meeting looked a little closer at the marketing operations community experience implementing process. Brenda Kring, Director of Demand Generation for CyberSource (who hosted the meeting) and Membership and Content Chair for the MOCCA steering committee, presented the results from the July association survey on marketing process. The audience then listened to a panel share their stories on how change management impacts processes, automation, applications and people and talk about the specific challenges each experienced rolling out automation. The conversation and questions reinforced for me how minor a role technology selection plays in operationalizing marketing and how automating poor process only results in long term problems.

Here are a few of the findings from the survey that stood out:

1) Process is important, but not approached in a systematic way. Of the 36 members who responded, 2/3 said they only apply process rigorously in a few key areas. Just 6% said they had a “very process-oriented culture” where they worked. Of those who implemented process, 2/3 said they did not use a formal methodology or defined their own as they went along.

2) Top management must push change. 44% of respondents said the key factor that led to a successful implementation top executives drive change from the top. 30% said getting stakeholder buy-in was essential. This underlines how people is the essential ingredient in change management, and marketing is no exception to this rule.

3) Marketing operations wants more accountability in process change. Almost 80% of respondents said their experience with process change was neutral or unsuccessful. Integrating accountability – making sure folks adhere to the new process or changed state – was the change 29% of respondents said they would make in retrospect. (This would also relieve executive management from spending times getting the troops lined up and marching in the right direction.)

(A few statistics about this group of respondents:  72% hail from the tech industry, 61% are in firms over 1000 employees, and 53% work at companies that earned $1 billion or more in revenue — so a very interesting sampling, especially to my research.)

If you’d like to see more information about the survey, check out the MOCCA and look up the Q3 meeting. I’d be interested to hear what you think are the top issues that keep marketers from implementing process successfully. What do you think achieves – or holds back – success in marketing process automation and change management?

(Disclosure: I back-dated this post to correspond closer to the timing of the meeting.  Sorry folks, just so much to do!)

See You At Forrester’s Marketing Forum – April 23, 24 in Orlando

Forrester Markting Forum 2009: Orlando, Florida

Forrester Markting Forum 2009: Orlando, Florida



Tomorrow marks the start of Forrester’s third annual Marketing Forum.  I am thrilled to be presenting here on three key topics, but I have to admit that this forum still feels more like “Consumer Forum Redux” for my B2B-centric tastes. (Forrester hosts a  forum targeting retail, CPG, customer experience professionals in the fall — and has for years. I feel like there’s more content and topic overlap between the two events than there should be to strongly differentitate them.)

Overall, Forrester does a decent job of addressing B2C and B2B audiences in a single venue. It’s intimate: 300+ attendees and we invite our FLB members to spend quality time together the day before the conference kicks off. Maybe the problem is this: I’m not seeing a lot of events, forums, or community sites dedicated exclusively to the CMO/executive marketer in B2B. Where is the content and interactions that deal with issues like fitting social media in the B2B marketing mix, sales alignment/support best practices, managing demand and nurturing leads, measuring marketing impact when a sales force is involved, and setting marketing strategy in a product-driven environment?   I’m not seeing much; are you?

Here are some of the session topics we will offer (well, me, in particular) to benefit B2B marketers:

1) How B2B Direct Marketers Are Weathering The Current Economic Storm. My buddy Dave Frankland, who covers database marketing services and direct marketing best practices, and  I are teaming up to put this question to top marketers from United Stationers, Avocent, Analog Devices, and Microsoft. We’ll tackle an interesting blend of tech, non-tech, enterprise and SMB issues in this discussion.

2) The Social Technographics of Business and IT Decision MakersOliver Young and I will take a deeper dive into the tech buyer social behavior survey we ran earlier this year, that I blogged about previously. This session looks to answer the “so what” question for B2B marketers wanting to know how to engage with socially active technology buyers. (We spent a full day with a group of B2B marketers today working through the ins and outs of setting social strategy.  Too bad the workshop didn’t FOLLOW the forum session… I’ll work to get that right the next time.)

3) Community Marketing: A New Discipline For Shaping Business Marketing Leadership.  Presenting with Peter Burris, I think I’m most excited about this presentation. Pete and I will look at how social media, and the social Web, will reshape the “4 Ps” of marketing and what B2B marketers should do now to capitalize on these fundamental changes and come out ahead when the economy turns around.

4) Catching The Next Wave: Emerging Markets And SMBs Will Rise From the SandsJennifer Belissent and Tim Harmon are teaming up to look at why non-US, non-Euro, and SMB firms will be the first to break out of the current, worldwide economic slump.  Interesting implications for B2B marketers who target emerging geographies and firms with less than 100 employees.

5) Strategic Sales Enablement: Rethinking Traditional Siloed Product, Marketing, and Sales Relationships To Compete In the New Economy.  Hold onto your hats: Scott Santucci and Eric Brown team up to argue that marketing should better engineer sales conversations that help close business faster and easier.  Probably a talk the VP of Sales will appreciate more than the CMO, but the perspective is particularly provocative for firms with long-standing sales/marketing conflicts.

The one key note that I would love to see (but will likely miss due to customer 1-1 meetings) is Craig Dewar, Director of Community Marketing at Microsoft, talk about Driving B2B Customer Engagement Through Community. I hope his content turns out to be as thought-provoking and insightful as it sounds. It risks becoming cheerleading form yet another community marketing enthusiast hyping that every company should create its own communities as the “the future” of firm-to-buyer communications.

Over the next couple of days, I’ll capture my reactions to the forum here and give you a taste of the event from my (atypical?) B2B perspective. You can compare it to posts from my Forrester colleagues who will blog their impressions as well.  Or follow the proceedings on Twitter by searching for the #FMF09 tweets.

In the meantime, let me know which venues, associations, blogs, community pages, etc. you find particularly useful for the B2B executive marketer. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic and how Forrester could better capture attention in this arena.


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