What Marketing Org Charts Tell You About The Business

August 10, 2014

Organizational charts are an interesting thing. Every company has an official one and also a few “unofficial” charts. Look at how people are structured and what the reporting structure looks like and it will tell how the company is run, what is important to them, and how they think about their product and services and the market in general.

Although it seems that for certain departments the org chart doesn’t vary much (take finance, sales, even engineering), for Marketing departments the org chart can be all over the place. Marketing is probably an area that changes more frequently based on the stage the company is in than any other, at least from what I have seen. A small startup will have a head marketing person with a few helpers below, but as it grows more people are added to handle the other facets of promoting the business. 

A marketing org chart can give you clues about how a company goes to market. How quickly they can react and if they are product-centric or sales-oriented. 

Organizational Chart

Sending a Message Through the Marketing Org Chart

Some companies change the marketing organization or rename functions as a way to signal the market and employees of a new strategic direction. Take for example P&G who recently announced that marketing directors and associate marketing directors are now called brand directors and associate brand directors. This is supposedly to emphasize the role of creativity and to inspire bolder, better ideas into their marketing.

A recent article in Harvard Business Review magazine argues that the marketing function hasn’t changed much in the past 40 years and makes the case for marketing reorganization.

“In the past decade, what marketers do to engage customers has changed almost beyond recognition …. Yet in most companies the organization structure of the marketing function hasn’t changed since the practice of brand management emerged, more than 40 years ago.” – HBR

It makes sense as brands evolve, technology now permeates every aspect of marketing, and consumers have taken control of the buying process. At least that’s the excuse for Electrolux to have restructured its marketing team and have moved marketers from the corporate HQ into consumer teams focused on fully understanding the consumer experience and sharing the knowledge among various groups so that the whole organization is aligned to better serve the consumer.

Sometimes the reasons are related to inefficient and costly marketing structures that have grown so big that they become an impediment to successfully conducting business and start damaging the brand. Behemoths such as HP changed from a decentralized marketing to a centralized marketing organization in order to save money and respond faster to market demands.

“Ensuring we have the right organizational structure in place is a critical first step in driving improved execution, and increasing effectiveness and efficiency” – Meg Whitman, HP.

A while ago Microsoft went through a big marketing reorganization as well because, as then-CEO Steve Ballmer said, the company wasn’t getting enough ROM (return on marketing spend). 

The Right Marketing Structure

The question of how to best structure your marketing department shouldn’t be the thing that keeps you up at night. The needs of a company change depending on where it is in its life cycle, how much money it has to allocate to marketing, and how critical the marketing role is seen for the success of the company.

According to a Forbes article titled “The Central Question for CMOs“, the debate of centralized vs decentralized is mute. 

But let’s say you do want to put in place a marketing org chart that makes sense and resists the test of time, even if it’s just for 12 months. Well, there isn’t a better starting place than the SlideShare presentation put together by HubSpot on this very subject. The CMO’s Guide to Marketing Org Structures shows how seven different companies have structure their marketing departments and why they have chosen to do it this way, at least for now.

So while there isn’t such thing as the “right marketing org structure” or the “best way to organize the marketing department”, the presentation is a good starting point to have a discussion at your company about the role of marketing and what the department should look like 12 months or 2 years ahead.


10 Do’s and Don’ts of Partner Marketing Programs

September 25, 2012

I’ve been on both sides of the table, both as the vendor putting together partner marketing initiatives and as the reseller making use of the marketing resources a partner company has made available. It is interesting that once you’ve been on the consuming side of things you get a different perspective. I have worked with partner marketing programs from some big companies like IBM, SAP, Sage, and smaller ones like Adaptive Planning and Avalara and based on this experience I would like to share with you what I think are the 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Partner Marketing Programs.

What To Do

1. Provide an explanation, or introduction to your partner marketing program as soon as you have a new partner signed up including what resources are available

2. Understand what your partners do, how they sell and how they will re-sell your solution

3. Be proactive and reach out to your partners to get feedback and to provide help in planning campaigns

4. Help your partners with tips on best practices for list segmentation (who’s a good target based on your experience) for your solution

5. Have a plan for reaching out on a quarterly basis to your partners and ask how you can help them promote your products

6. Keep your partners updated on changes to the program especially as new materials become available

7. Give your partners access to collateral materials, training videos, webinar recordings, and other marketing assets as early as possible in the program and reach out to them to make sure they were able to access the materials or if they have questions

8. Follow up with your partners after campaigns and ask how they did and what you can do to help next time

9. Provide your partners with content snippets about your company and solutions that they can use on their websites and social channels

10. Ensure your partners are using your content correctly and following your brand guidelines

 

What Not To Do

1. Don’t assume your partners will be as fluent as you are in what your solution does, training may be required especially for the marketing folks (so that they understand how to better market and sell or re-sell the solution)

2. Don’t assume you are the partner’s priority, it is very likely that you are only one vendor among several that the partner deals with

3. Don’t keep the partner in the dark, make them one of the first to hear about new product releases and other important information

4. Don’t assume the marketing folks at the partner company are as savvy as you or your team is

5. Don’t forget that partner marketing materials are important to help sell your product, therefore they need to be updated as frequently as your direct channel materials

6. Don’t make your partner co-op programs too confusing or restrictive, after all, you want your partners to keep doing programs to promote your solutions

7. Don’t expect your partners to be social-media savvy or to understand how to use social channels, you may have to give them training or provide materials they can easily use on social media

8. Don’t wait for your partner to reach out to you with questions or to plan a campaign, make sure to routinely talk to your partners

9. Don’t let your partner marketing collateral and resources go stale, keep them fresh and your partners are more likely to pay attention to them

10. Don’t take your partner for granted

 

There is more to it than these simple ‘rules’, but it seems that these are the core of what makes or breaks a decent partner marketing initiative. What are YOUR ideas for putting together a good partner marketing program?


What’s Wrong with Marketing Education?

July 30, 2012

If you ever hired a recent college graduate for a marketing position at your company, odds are you were amazed at their lack of knowledge. Not of basic marketing concepts like the 4 P’s, advertising, or branding but their utmost ignorance of modern marketing tactics and tools like webinars, marketing automation, and even CRM software.

The video roundtable below from CRMSoftware.tv, What Colleges Should Be Teaching Marketing Majors, is worth watching and reflecting upon.

What Colleges Should Be Teaching Marketing Majors

What are College Students to Do?

If you’re in college (or know someone who is), there are things you can do now so that you don’t flunk the next marketing job interview. More importantly, you’ll  be ahead of other candidates if you show that you are aware of the following terms, topics, and technologies:

Webinars: you should attend a webinar to understand what the experience is like, and if possible present a webinar as well. That’s easy today with free trials of the major players, like WebEx, Adobe Connect, and GoToWebinar, and with free webinar platforms like AnymeetingMeetingBurner, or FreeWebMeeting. What hiring companies want: someone that understands how to prepare for and conduct a webinar (aka the logistics), how to market a webinar, and how to use webinars effectively as part of  the marketing mix.

Email Marketing: according to MarketingSherpa, email marketing is still a top tactic employed by marketers to reach out to their prospects and customer base. You’ve got to understand how email marketing works, how it is used successfully and what pitfalls to avoid. Part of this is the CAN-SPAM act, which you should familiarize yourself with (interviewers will like if you show that you at least have an idea of what it’s all about). Setup a free account with MailChimp and play around creating an email and landing page, send out your next party invite to your friends using it to see how it works.

Marketing Automation: the typical step-up from email marketing, marketing automation software (such as Marketo, Eloqua, Act-On, Pardot, and others) allows you to automate the sending of your emails and, more importantly, of nurturing your leads. If during an interview with a potential employer you can demonstrate that you know the concepts behind the sales and marketing funnels, lead nurturing, lead scoring, and what is the ROI of a marketing automation platform then you will be regarded as someone that is keeping up with the latest trends in marketing.

Social Media: just because you use Twitter and Facebook in school, it doesn’t mean you really know how to use it for marketing. So read up on success and failure stories, play around with tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, check out Klout, and be prepared to articulate what role does social media play in a company’s marketing program and a good understanding that when not used properly, social media can backfire.

Content Marketing: content marketing is not new, but it is all the hype now. A good understanding of the difference between whitepapers and ebooks, along with other forms of content publishing and distribution will give you valuable points during the interview process.

Trade Shows: companies of all sizes at one point or another in their lives end up attending or exhibiting at an event. The closest example you, college student, might have of what a trade show is might be your next career fair. Next time you attend one, pay attention to how different companies exhibit their services, how the people behind the tables or booths interact with the attendees, what handouts or giveaways they offer, and the overall experience. Having an idea of trade show tactics and what goes into trade show planning can be tremendously helpful especially if the company you are interviewing for attends trade shows (check their “about us” page or usually under “news and events” section of the website for a list of their upcoming appearances at local and national events).

The Modern Marketer

We’re just scratching the surface here, but these I think are some of the key marketing tactics employers would like you to know about when they interview students for marketing internships or junior marketing positions. Sure, there is always on-the-job training but if you are a marketing student, make it easier on yourself (and the hiring company) and brush up on your modern marketing skills and terminology.

If your current educational institution is not including the list above in your marketing curriculum, you have to either a) tell them to read this blog or b) learn it on your own. Good luck!


Measuring Marketing Effectiveness

April 19, 2012

Mathematical calculator buttons with ruler by  Horia Varlan @ FlickrIf before marketers had the challenging job of gathering data to analyze campaign effectiveness, now the opposite might be true. Email marketing, marketing automation, web analytics, CRM, and the myriad of software now permeating marketing organizations gives us more data than we can process in a timely fashion.

A recent survey by CMO.com shows that fewer than 20% of marketing respondents have full confidence in what should be fundamental abilities, including measuring overall campaign effectiveness, how to allocate budget with ROI in mind, and communicating performance up to c-level executives.

“The lack of confidence results from a perception that there is simply too much data and too many channels out there, making it difficult to capture and measure all relevant data.” – CMO.com

Understanding Marketing Analytics

A recent post on the Marketing Automation Software Guide Blog titled “Marketing Analytics vs. Website Analytics”  does a good job at separating two commonly mistaken data sets. On one hand you have page views, click paths, bounce rates, and all the nice stats Google Analytics gives you for free. But, as the article argues, “in marketing analytics systems, data is integrated in a way that enables you to see a direct relationship between channels“. And this is key to understanding how to measure marketing effectiveness.

Unless you can step back from the data deluge, it will be difficult to assess exactly what to do.

“There are literally hundreds of marketing metrics to choose from, and almost all of them measure something of value. The problem is that most of them relate very little to the metrics that concern a CFO, CEO and board member.”

Another consideration involves who you are reporting to. When analyzing results from your marketing efforts you have different stakeholders asking different kinds of questions. The quote above is from a Marketo whitepaper, The Definitive Guide to Marketing Metrics and Analytics, which I have reviewed before. And it is spot on. Different questions require different data sets.

So your first question shouldn’t be “what do I measure?” but, instead, “what question am I answering?“. Do you agree?


Demand Generation and Lead Management Explained

December 20, 2011

Last week Carlos Hidalgo, CEO of the Annuitas Group, shared on the Software Advice bloga nice video explaining two basic concepts that are often used interchangeably by vendors and even analysts in the Marketing Automation space but should in fact be treated as separate concepts: Demand Generation and Lead Management.

Demand Generation vs. Lead Management

According to Carlos, Demand Generation has two goals:

  1. Filling the funnel
  2. Engaging with prospect throughout the funnel

And Lead management is the process used to ensure there is a link between marketing and sales to prevent leads leaking out, falling out of the funnel.

How About Marketing Automation?

On a second video, Carlos then explains that Marketing Automation will not be the only solution for your demand genreation and lead management, but it can support both processes. It is the technology behind your demand / lead processes.

Marketing Automation basically enables your content to reach your buyer at the right time in the buying cycle.

Nice job, Carlos!


Apple’s Marketing Genius

August 26, 2011

With Steve Jobs stepping down from the CEO post at Apple, is inevitable we look back at the history of such an iconic company. Marketing, at Apple, has always been a differentiating point and key to their eventual dominance of the electronics consumer market and their resurrection in the personal computer industry.

While Brand Republic’s post “Appointment to view: Apple’s History of Marketing” takes us back to the early days of Apple advertising the Apple-1 in 1976 until today’s iPad commercials, Tom Hormby’s “Think Different – The Ad Campaign that Restored Apple’s Reputation”  is a great analysis of the role marketing played in lifting Apple from almost demise to what became the greatest turnaround in that company’s history.

There’s been speculation about Apple’s ad spend but it is clear that Apple’s marketing has always followed a set of guiding principles, no matter how much money they had for the marketing budget at the time.

For more about Apple’s best ads, check out Advertising Age’s “The 10 Best Ads to Come Out of Steve Jobs’ Reign at Apple”  and Marketing Week’s “Apple: A History in Ads”.

Apple: History in Ads

Apple Silhouettes Commercial

10 Best Ads from Steve Jobs


   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
You may also want to check out this video showing the original marketing group at Apple at the launch of the McIntosh reminiscing about the old days, telling tales and sharing some insider stories of what it was like to work at Apple in the early days.

Finally, Guy Kawasaki’s book “The McIntosh Way” talks about his career as a McIntosh Evangelist, the early efforts of Apple to dominate the personal computer market, and more. His book is now offered as a free download.


Email Productivity Tips for Marketers

July 26, 2011

A recent article on LifeHacker talks about tips to get faster email responses. They talk about:

  1. Write shorter emails
  2. Write fewer emails
  3. Ask for a response
  4. Start with a deadline
  5. Only email one person at a time

Those are good, but I’d like to expand a bit on them and also put it in the perspective of a marketing manager.

Five Email Productivity Tips for Marketing Managers

Email Subject Line1. Make subject lines work for you: Use subject lines with deadlines and action verb in order to help people spot your email easily in their inbox and to get them to act. Examples of subject lines might be:

“Webinar Email – Review Copy by Wed 10am”

“eBook Copy Approved with Changes – Finalize by Thursday”

“For review and approval – deadline is Wed 9am”

I like using either a campaign name or something that will help immediately identify the task at hand. If you start showing good use of this tactic and encourage your team to do the same, spotting the useful emails from the junk or from the typical corporate communication will be much easier.

Bonus tip: Transform your email into an action item! If using MS Outlook, just click and drag the email to the Tasks panel to create a task. Or you can also flag the email for later follow up. Other email clients have similar options.

2. Write with a purpose: Short, clear, and action oriented (what do you want to happen?) emails will get faster and better responses. So cut to the chase and get down to what you want as a result of your email. Examples are:

“Here’s the revised copy for the email invitation to the July 16 webinar. Please a) edit copy; b) send to Mark for design by Wed, c) email me the final email for approval”

or

“Jen, I have reviewed the presentation for the webinar and here’s what you need to do: a) add the company logo to the master slide (upper left corner); b) replace slides 3 and 5 with the new ones I mention in my notes; c) review once more for grammar and style; d) send to John for formatting by Tues noon.”

Replace paragraphs with bullet points and you’ll get people to actually do what you asked them to do. Keep each email related to a separate subject, this way is easier for the recipient to focus on one thing at a time and for you to follow up later.

Bonus tip: Need to follow up on an email you just sent a few days later? In MS Outlook you can “flag” the message before sending so it reminds you of the message later (you can also flag the message for the recipient, so if they have Outlook as well, they will be reminded of the message until they clear the flag).

Making deadlines clear3.  Make the deadline clear: If you don’t say when you need it by, usually you won’t get it done. Make sure to add a deadline and action required (eg. Make changes and send back to me by EOD friday) in the beginning of the email. This way the first thing the person sees is the deadline and he or she can plan accordingly. For example, you can start the email like this:

“Jen, I need this by EOD Thursday! See below.”

or

“Edited and approved copy for eBook below. Please finalize by 07/15/11 at 12:00pm ET!”

Avoid using “urgent” and “ASAP” type words. They don’t mean anything. Is ASAP something due today or by tomorrow morning? Also avoid saying “send it back to me tomorrow” without giving some kind of time reference. Otherwise it becomes a debate of what “morning” means (8am or 11am?).

Assigning email to multiple people4. Assign an owner: Send the email to only one person, or make sure each person has an action. You may be tempted to email the whole team after a meeting outlining what was decided. Or, there’s a task involving two people (editing the new banner artwork and sending to the printer, for example) and you want them both to see the same message. OK, but make sure each person listed on the “to” or “cc” lines have some kind of action item associated to their names. It could, for example, be like this:

“Team, I need you all to read and add the following to your to-do lists based on our earlier meeting today:

Jen: Review web analytics and report back to me by Friday 11am;

Bob: Edit the latest spec sheet design as discussed, send reviewed design to Mary by Thursday 9am.. ”

Multiple attachments can cause confusion5. If you attach, then make it clear: At my previous company we had a policy of never attaching a file to an email if the email was being sent internally. This was to avoid two problems, the always precious server space being eaten by files attachments in our Exchange server and to keep the latest files always in the network where it would be easier to find. Whether you have a policy like that or not, if you need to add files to your email then list and describe attachments (and name them appropriately). It could be something like this:

“… and I’m attaching the following files:

7-16-Webinar-Preso.PPT: Final version of the webinar presentation

Alpha-Prod-Whitepaper-CopyV2.doc: Whitepaper draft, please review this copy ”

Especially useful if you have many attachments, it helps ensure all attachments are accounted for when you send out the email and helps the receiver sort through all the files coming towards him/her.

Assigning Tasks Marketing Technology for Workflow and Productivity

Unless you have a system like what my company offers [shameless plug!] for Marketing Resource Management or Marketing Project Management, odds are you rely on email to keep your team in check. You use email to exchange files, to communicate, and get things done. That’s ok, and by using some productivity tips I hope you can at least make good use of the tools at your disposal and spend less time chasing down people and deadlines, and more time actually doing marketing.

Additional Outlook Productivity Tips

Additional outlook tipsIf you’re using MS Outlook, then check out additional productivity tips I have for Outlook users in this other blog post.


Reinventing Marketing at GE

July 7, 2011
General Electric Ecomagination Marketing Advertising

GE's Ecomagination Ad Campaign - Result of the Marketing Transformation Process

Who would have thought that General Electric (GE), one of the most admired companies in the world didn’t have a substantial marketing organization up until recently. And I’m not talking in number of people (they had 2,500 marketers a the time), but in its role related to strategic decisions, branding, and overall market direction.

In “Unleashing the Power of Marketing“, Harvard Business Review tells us an interesting tale of how GE transformed its marketing operations and gives us an interesting framework for applying to other businesses. The goal at GE was to transform marketing from a support function to an active player in driving revenue.

“Our framework centered on giving marketing a revenue-generating role in its own right.”

It’s a story worth reading, but since you may not have access to HBR (the article above requires subscription), here’s a summary.

Marketing as a Function

Building products that sell themselves is a neat idea and had worked well for GE for years. But, as the article points out, “The businesses were maturing, and like other companies, GE was learning that it could not win simply by launching increasingly sophisticated technologies or by taking existing technologies to new markets. Some of its best-thought-out new offerings were fast becoming commodities.”

GE then started to create a framework for its marketing group and came up with three core components:

1. Principles
After a thorough assessment of their expertise and functions, GE came up with eight disciplines organized into two groups, go-to-market activities, and commercial essentials. They became the core principles driving their marketing organization.

2. People
Their next step was to understand the roles marketing should play at GE. They came up with four roles: Instigators, Innovators, Integrators, and Implementers.

3. Process
Having identified what they wanted from marketing, GE then started putting together metrics for evaluation of the marketing teams and started a process called Maturity Evaluation.

Principles of Marketing at Work

It started from the top down, with Jeffrey Immelt (the CEO) pushing marketing to have a “line” role instead of the historical “staff” role it had at GE. Marketing started to be held responsible for critical operating mechanisms like pricing and quantifying customer value. Marketing started to play a role in determining not just what the customer needed but also in applying technology to better meet customer needs.

As marketing started to work in new innitiatives, expanding its role, more funding was provided and new offerings were created.

“In all these initiatives marketing gets into the game at the start, sizing “white space” opportunities, meshing unmet needs with new technologies, and moving our brand in new directions.”

A new Marketing Framework was created, comprised of eight disciplines:

  • Strat­egy and innovation
  • Brand­ing and communications
  • Sales force effectiveness
  • “New World” skills
  • Mar­ket knowledge
  • Seg­men­ta­tion and targeting
  • Value cre­ation and pricing
  • Com­mer­cial activation

Throughout the transformation process, this framework was refined and always referred to.

Key Marketing Roles

As they progressed with their marketing transformation, GE also identified a few key marketing roles that would become essential for transforming the organization:

The Instigator
Marketers have to challenge the status quo and look for new and better ways of doing things.

At GE some units had a tendency to develop products because they could, not because the market needed them. Marketing helped business leaders think outside their usual market and started to identify opportunities that weren’t even on the table previously. It’s more than market research, is looking outside and understanding the changes happening in the marketplace, in buying decisions, and in who your target market really is. Armed with data, marketing leaders could then discuss new directions with business leaders and show other approaches to growth.

The Innovator
Turning marketplace insights into untested products, services, or solutions.

While in the past marketing was relegated to simply passing information along to the groups responsible for innovation (R&D or engineering), the new marketing team started taking an active role in more than just advertising or market research expanding its reach beyond product features and functionality to include pricing, delivery, customer engagement, and new business models.

For example, in the Aviation market GE used to sell engines on the basis of thrust and other quantitative metrics and has since changed its approach to focus on operational efficiency and resource productivity.

“Innovative marketers use unique marketplace insights to come up with products, services, or solutions based on untested ideas.”

The Integrator
Building bridges across silos and functions and between the company and the market.

At GE it was recognized that marketers sometimes have to be translators. They have to speak product language with R&D and customer language to the sales force. But more than that, marketing has the capability of bringing disparate groups in the organization together to assess market dynamics and help the company cross-sell bundled products. During crisis (like the recent economic downturn), marketing can help bridge the gap between businesses and help them have an integrated view of distribution, pricing, sales, and more.

The Implementer
Executing on ideas.

“Getting things done” is probably the most critical skill of a marketer, even more at GE where those without direct P&L responsibility have a tough time getting resources and driving change.

“Marketing leaders have to build coalitions and persuade others, using functional expertise, insights, and teamwork rather than authority”

At GE, for example, marketing had to gain trust little by little. First, by giving business units competitive information, industry analysis, and the like. With time, and success in the early efforts, other units started to request help with specific projects.

Marketing Maturity and Knowledge Gap

Understanding what needs to be done is only half the battle, the other half is getting people to actually execute. GE started to hire marketers effectively doubling the marketing organization in size from 2,500 people in 2003 to 5,000 today. CMO’s were appointed for each GE business and also at the corporate level, tapping both internal staff as well as hiring from the outside.

They also conducted a Marketing Maturity Evaluation, to better understand what was missing from their marketing toolbox. This evaluation became an annual affair where CMO’s would convene their marketing teams and go through the survey for measuring specific skills, performance results, and understanding possible gaps.

The maturity evaluation surveys had a list of 35 skills and 140 definitions. Each capability had a description of what success looks like. The teams would score their units and review the assessments with business leaders, then they would roll up the score to eight capability areas and see if the scores were aligned across the organization. As marketing teams worked on these self-audits, they created a common language across all marketing staff regardless of business unit. With results in hand, CMOs and CEOs started to see areas that needed improvemeent and could work towards getting the right training or resources needed.

Transforming Your Marketing Organization

Think you have a tough time? Well, if GE can transform its marketing organization and reinvent itself in only a few years, think how much more you could do and how much faster!

Start by looking at what marketing capabilities you need in your team. Then, do a gap analysis (or maturity analysis like GE) and candidly assess where you and your team stand. Put a plan in place to either hire or train people to reach the level you require and also identify what roles marketing should play in your company.

Do you see marketing as Instigator, Innovator, Integrator, or Implementer? Maybe different situations require a different profile, but in that case be ready to get your team members up to speed on what each role requires.

If you have to get different results and don’t know how to start, I hope this story gave you some food for thought.

 

Further Reading

Additional resources related to General Electric’s marketing transformation:


Marketing Automation is More Than Technology

June 1, 2011

A new research study by Sirius Decisions, “Calculating the Return on Marketing Automation“, sponsored by Marketo talks about the different levels of companies implementing marketing automation platforms (or MAP, as they call it).

“Companies using technology alone to solve their demand creation issues may actually experience negative return where it matters most”

The report breaks down companies into three segments:

  1. No Marketing Automation, and no processes
  2. Marketing Automation and wither no or weak processes
  3. Marketing Automation with average processes

Although talking about processes is not new, what I liked is that instead of just stating the obvious (no process won’t make the technology work) they try to quantify and answer the more important question of How much does a well defined process really contribute towards your overall marketing automation efforts?

Increasing Response Rates

From the report, it seems the key critical element that is impacted the most by marketing technology when it comes to automating campaign response, nurturing, and scoring your leads is the increase in response rates.

The best way to think about it is to imagine the traditional funnel. As you move from one stage to the next (inquiries, leads, qualified leads, etc.) there are only two ways to impact the outcome, either you get more inquiries or you increase the number going from one stage to the next.

According to Sirius, Marketing Automation technology paired with good processes can yield 4x to 5x the number of closed deals. The magic relies on the higher conversion rates throughout the sales cycle. Is not about getting more leads or more inquiries, is about getting the right ones and improving the odds of closing a deal at each stage.

It’s About Content and Processes

But how are processes helping make sure the system works? Here’s the intersting part, because anyone can implement technology to automate what goes out to customers and prospects. The pairing of processes means more than ensuring emails go out when they should, it takes care of ensuring the right message is sent to the right person at the right time.

And when the process includes both sales and marketing working together on definitions, on content strategy, and qualification criteria companies see higher response rates overall. As the report states:

With a handoff process in place, sales now accepts and processes more than 58percent of MQLs; the higher quality of these leads in turn yield a third conversion rate of roughly 49 percent to opportunity, and an increased close rate of a bit more than 23 percent.

Adding technology without processes may make you feel better at first, but will only serve to highlight the problems you always had. The key is to rethink your approach and use technology to leverage your processes, not the other way around.


The Challenges in Adoption of Marketing Technology

May 3, 2011

A recent webinar hosted by Neolane, “Crack the Code – Getting C-Suite Buy-In for Your Marketing Tech Purchases” had a very interesting presentation by Suresh Vital from Forrester Research.
Based on a recent report on Marketing Technology Adoption for 2011, the findings of their research shed some light on the challenges we face when it comes to marketing technology.

The Goal of Marketing Software

The need for marketing software comes from the necessity to better understand customer behavior across multiple channels. Companies need to be able to track and measure customer interactions from a reliable source and that has driven a lot of the recent interest in Marketing Automation and Customer Intelligence technologies. The goal is to make use of cross channel marketing strategies to target the customer at the right moment and influence purchase decisions.

Not a new trend, but rather a need that has ben greatly amplified by the prevalence of social media channels which in turn is making companies look for technology solutions. Without solid customer data, cross channel strategies become increasingly difficult to implement.

Marketers as Technologists

According to Forrester’s research, data driven marketers are divided about technology investments. 53% of Customer Intelligence professionals (those who own the customer data and are responsible for customer analytics) consider themselves as technology leaders while 47% said they were technology followers.

While personalities play a role, I think corporate policies and the marketing leadership play a big role in shaping up how marketing technology is brought into the company.

Mobile technologies were also a clear trend for 2011, having the majority of marketers saying they are planning on using or increasing the use of mobile marketing technology. Improving customer experience across channels was also top of mind.

Technology and the Marketing Budget

Technology accounts for 10 to 14% of the marketing budget, according to the research. Marketers are starting to play a strong role in defining the needs and in the selection process when it comes to purchasing marketing technology. This is a shift from the traditional back-seat marketers take for software purchases, typically letting the IT department decide.

27% of marketers say they are the final decision makers

Adoption Problems with Marketing Technology

A surprising finding was that the most important criteria for selection of marketing technology is cost, quickly followed by functional alignment.

82% of respondents say cost is number one factor in deciding marketing technology

This means marketers are settling for solutions that are more economical as long as they match most of their needs. Those solutions that praise themselves for being the all encompassing [fill in the blank] for marketing may be surprised to find out that they are losing deals to lesser competitors simply because of pricing, but that’s not all they should focus on.

As part of the adoption issues, the research found out that the top three barriers for using marketing technology are:

  • 49% Cost
  • 47% Uncertain ROI
  • 40% No Budget

This makes sense. With markeeting budgets still being threatened due to economic uncertainty, marketers are pressed to justify their purchases and show ROI. New tools on the block (social media monitoring and others are the likely candidates) may have a tough time showing solid ROI, therefore their purchases being delayed. Vendors should therefore really work with their customers and prospects in trying to justify the purchase. Marketers also need to work on their justifications and their business cases to make senior management understand why a technology can help the company especially when Facebook, Twitter, and other channels are still a mystery for most corporate executives.


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