Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘marketing automation’ Category

Speak Slowly In Your Regular Voice

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Happy Monday.

I just returned from a nice long weekend with my buddies out in West Texas, where we held our annual “South Austin Gun Camp.”

Don’t worry, nobody was hurt…well, save for that Easter Bunny pinata which made too compelling a target for our collective target practice to resist.

Speaking of targets, they were mostly old beer cans and paper zombies, but a good time was had by all and the weather mostly cooperated for our three day camp out.

I include in this post a pic of one of the shooting activities I semi excel at, which is skeet shooting (called “Olympic Skeet” in the Olympic games, the U.S. team for which I will not be selected for anytime soon).

Turbo takes out his pent up frustrations on some harmless clay pigeons in the wilds of West Texas, while also basking in his short-lived technological  disconnectedness.

Turbo takes out his pent up frustrations on some harmless clay pigeons in the wilds of West Texas, while also basking in his short-lived technological disconnectedness.

Today, however, it’s been email catchup and back to work.

Out in West Texas, I had limited access to any technology. My LG Cosmos II scantly picked up a Verizon signal, so every once in a while I would get a data dump so I could scan my personal email.

The lack of data connectivity made it a little difficult to keep up with the Sweet 16 results and the PGA event in Houston, but I was able to play catch up on those once back at Turboville late Sunday afternoon.

In the “While You Were Out” category, I noticed this story about Nuance Communications’ efforts to release “Voice Ads,” a “new mobile advertising format that lets people have a two-way conversation with brands.”

For the record, I’m a big Nuance (and voice dictation/speech recognition, more generally) fan, but the idea of my talking to a brand made me laugh out loud.

What happens when the brand can talk back to me?

“Hello, Budweiser. I’ll have one of you.”

“Could I see your ID, please?”

“Excuse me?”

“You asked for one of me. I’m Budweiser, an adult alcoholic beverage, and you must be 21 or older to speak with me, much less consume me. Could I see your ID, please?”

“Sorry, I left it at home.”

“I’m sorry, too.  You must be 21 or older to talk to this Budweiser.”

Upstart Business Journal has all the details, ‘splainin’ that Nuance has already signed up marketing partners like Digitas, OMD, and Leo Burnett to reach the approximate 100,000 app publishers out there in the world today.

And no question, mobile marketing is a huge market — I’m just not sure how many people are ready to talk to their brands.

If they are, it’s surely to help them get something useful done. I can easily envision this mobile app from JetBlue sometime soon:

Why am I so late, JetBlue Voice?”

“Your plane was delayed.”

“Why was my plane delayed, JetBlue Voice? I need to get to New York. I have a meeting!”

“Could you please enter your confirmation number?”

“It’s in another part of my smartphone, and I can’t find it because I’m talking to you. Don’t you have voice recognition or something?”

“Perhaps you could call back another time when you have your confirmation number. Thank you for calling JetBlue’s advertising.”

No no, NOTHING could go wrong with mobile voice advertising!

CMO Talk: What If Everything You Knew About Marketing Changed?

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Click to enlarge. The practice of marketing is going through a period of unparalleled change, putting CMOs everywhere to the test. However, you can seize the opportunity to transform your marketing function. The combined insights of the 1,734 senior marketing executives participating in IBM’s Global CMO study point to three strategic imperatives that can strengthen your likelihood of success, as outlined in the graphic above.

Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t all know one another at IBM.

I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, considering there’s only 400,000+ plus of us — you’d think we all knew one another, but we don’t.

But the good news is, we’re always making new acquaintances inside IBM.

That was the case at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association Summit I attended last week in Vegas, where I finally got to meet face-to-face my colleague, Carolyn Heller Baird.

Carolyn is situated in IBM’s Global Business Services organization, and for the better part of two years, Carolyn served as the Global Director for our Chief Marketing Officer study, which was released late last year (and for which I wrote an extensive blog post, which you can find here.)

Carolyn was also in attendance at WOMMA, where she presented the CMO findings in some detail before a sizable audience.

I sat down with Carolyn to talk about the study’s findings in more detail, and to also try and better understand the implications for marketers in general, and social media practitioners in specific.

Before I hand you off to our interview below, I want to highlight the fact that the study results are still available via download here.

As the study concluded, half of all CMOs today feel insufficiently prepared to provide hard numbers for marketing ROI, even as they expect that by 2015, return on marketing investment will be the primary measure of the marketing function’s effectiveness.

There’s a gap to close there, and Carolyn’s comments in the video provide some actionable insights on to how to start to close it!

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Orlando: The CMO Club’s Pete Krainik On The CMO Agenda

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Pete Krainik is the co-founder of The CMO Club, and brings over 30 years of experience in marketing, sales, IT, and product management within the consumer goods, high tech, digital and software industries.

Earlier this year, the Gartner Group informed us they were projecting that by the year 2017, chief marketing officers would be spending more on information technology than the CIO.

Yes, that turned a few heads, at IBM and elsewhere in the industry.

But Pete Krainik, the co-founder of the CMO Club, an organization which brings CMOs together in an environment “of openness and contribution that enables them to become better at what they do” explained during our interview in Orlando that CMOs face challenges bigger than simply better embracing IT.

Most CMOs are expected to lead the growth agendas of their organizations, Pete suggested, and yet many don’t feel they have the needed credibility or are not viewed with the same authority as other C-level execs.

Moreover, many are still wrestling with the rapid advent of social media, and the need to provide more aggressive outreach and enablement of their key advocates. As Pete explained, “Advocates have juice,” and yet so many organizations are struggling as to how to most effectively create and foster relationships with their brand advocates.

We discussed these issues, as well as the powerful narrative emerging around IBM’s Smarter Commerce play, in a fun and engaging discussion.

IBM Furthers Focus On Marketers

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The Wall Street Journal just posted this article in advance of IBM’s 2Q earnings announcement tomorrow, leading with this sentence: “Technology companies have found a new customer—the marketing department.”

The story goes on to highlight the fact that marketing organizations are increasingly taking the lead in technology acquisition, and that “Companies are deemphasizing traditional productivity tools like PCs and standard business software in favor of advanced programs that help them boost revenue, for example by tracking customers across channels and better targeting offers and advertising.”

The article reminded me of a post I wrote back in May leading up to IBM’s Smarter Commerce Summit in Madrid, Spain – entitled “No More Business As Usual” — which I’ll quote freely from again below:

Today, circa 2012, we find ourselves at another inflection point in the history of commerce, one which begins and ends with the customer. Today’s commerce environment features a customer who is dictating a new set of terms in the dynamic between buyers and sellers, and these are very smart consumers, ones empowered by technology, transparency, and an abundance of information.

Just simply walk through your closest local retailer or your nearest airport, and you’ll see signs of this new and smarter consumer. Via smartphones and other mobile devices, they are connected real-time to an absurd amount of information that empowers them as buyers, and, in turn, requires an accelerated sophistication on the part of sellers, no matter the product or service.

These consumers expect to engage with companies when and how they want, through physical, digital, and mobile means, and they want a consistent experience across all channels.

Because they are empowered and connected, they can compare notes, quickly, and they can champion a brand or sully a reputation with the click of a mouse or the stroke of their tablet computer.

In the Journal article, author Spencer Ante points out that Gartner recently predicted by 2017, the chief marketing officer will control more technology spending than the company CIO.  Gartner estimates that around a third of marketing department expense budgets is devoted to purchases such as systems to manage customer relationships, predict customer behavior, and run online storefronts, and that the global spend on marketing software already rose from $20 billion to $25 billion over the past year.

Yuchun Lee, an IBM vice president who is one of the “Smarter Commerce” strategy’s architects and who was quoted in the article, says that “IBM is making investments in technology that could help clients manage online customer interactions, analyze social media data and craft targeted pitches.”

Specifically, IBM has spent some $3 billion making acquisitions in this growing market over the past several years, including the acquisitions of Coremetrics, DemandTec, TeaLeaf, and Unica.

Following is an interview my compadre, Scott Laningham, conducted with Yuchun in Madrid on the topic of smarter commerce.

IBM Survey: Marketers Face Tech Dilemma

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IBM just got the results in on yet another of its boundless surveys, this one concerning my favorite, the marketing industry.

Click to enlarge. While new social media and mobile devices are vital, the recent IBM “State of Marketing” survey revealed that 41 percent say keeping pace with the growth of these channels and device choices will be their biggest challenge over the next three to five years. This finding follows IBM’s 2011 CMO study where 65 percent of CMOs stated that they are under prepared for the growth of social and online channels such as Facebook and Twitter and new device choices including smart phones and tablets.

The lead: CMOs and CIOs must partner to connect with today’s elusive consumer across new channels (including mobile and social).  

Sounds obvious enough, but fully 60 percent of marketers point to their lack of alignment with the company’s IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching today’s consumers.

On the mobile front: Mobile marketing seems to be working well, according to the findings, but marketers are preparing to move beyond coupons and deliver mobile advertising that reaches customers on smartphones and tablets.

34 percent of respondents stated that in less than 12 months, they intend to deliver mobile ads, the highest rate of new marketing tactic adoption in the five-year history of the study.

Overall, 46 percent of respondents are currently using mobile web sites followed by 45 percent mobile applications, up from 40 percent and 44 percent respectively since last year.

Social Media Growing Pains

While the mobile channel is thriving, marketers lack this same clear consensus on how to best utilize social media, which will result in ongoing experimentation with these channels.

When  looking toward the remainder of the year, 26 percent intend to launch applications on 3rd party social network sites, 24 percent plan to incorporate user-generated content into their social media efforts, and 23 percent are looking to launch social media ads or share links in email and web offers.

Dipping their toes in the water, checking things out, but not necessarily diving in.

IBM digital marketing consultant Todd “Turbo” Watson provides his own response and recommendations concerning the results from IBM’s 2012 “State of Marketing” study.

The State of Marketing 2012

This IBM “State of Marketing 2012” study surveyed more than 350 marketing professionals across a wide range of industries and geographies.

Notably in the study, 51 percent of respondents who identified their companies as high-performing indicated they have good relationships between marketing and IT, 10 percent higher than other companies.

This figure validates the importance of the marketing and IT alliance which gives top performers greater responsibilities for the products and services, price, place and promotion (the 4Ps), and communication across the purchasing cycle.

As a result, marketers from these higher performing companies are nearly three times more likely to be pro-active leaders in driving their organization’s customer experience across all channels.

“This research indicates that as new channels continue to mature and consumer habits evolve, marketing and IT have no alternative but to emerge from their traditional silos and form a strong partnership that puts the business in a position to succeed,” said Yuchun Lee, Vice President, IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Group.

“CMOs and CIOs, an ‘odd couple’ in some respects, will be the catalysts in forging this union and enabling the types of personalized multichannel brand relationships that today’s customers demand.”

Here are some other interesting results found in the survey:

  • Marketing and IT Lack Integration: While 48 percent of respondents believe that improved technology infrastructure or software will enable them to do more, nearly 60 percent indicated that lack of IT alignment and integration are significant barriers to the adoption of technology. This void further reinforces the notion that CMOs and CIOs must forge stronger, more aligned relationships that put the business in a position to succeed.
  • Marketing and IT Lack Unified Vision: While 71 percent believe integration across owned, earned and paid channels is important, only 29 percent are effectively integrating these different channels. When asked why, 59 percent said that existing systems are too disparate to integrate these channels. This is most evident in areas such as mobile and social where only 21 percent and 22 percent of respondents run these tactics as part of integrated campaigns with the remainder conducting them in silos, discretely and on an ad hoc basis, a practice which inhibits their ability to deliver effective cross-channel campaigns.
  • Marketers State Social and Mobile are Biggest Challenges Moving Forward. While new social media and mobile devices are vital, 41 percent stated that keeping pace with the growth of these channels and device choices will be their biggest challenge over the next three to five years. This finding follows IBMs 2011 CMO study where 65 percent of CMOs stated that they are under prepared for the growth of social and online channels such as Facebook and Twitter and new device choices including smart phones and tablets.
  • Marketers Ignore Social Media Insights: While marketers continue to experiment with social media channels, 51 percent are not using this data to inform decisions about marketing offers and messages. This may represent a missed opportunity for marketers looking to best meet the needs of today’s customer.
  • Marketers Fail to Turn Data into Action. When asked how they are using online visitor data, 65 percent of respondents are doing the basics, reporting and analyzing their data. Despite that number, only one third are using this data to target one-to-one offers or messages in digital channels and less than 20 percent are using this online data to make one-to-one offers in traditional channels.

The Recommendations: Let The Customer Lead and Tear Down Those Walls

So, what’s a poor, social-media starved, completely unintegrated, IT-deficient CMO to do?

Lead with the customer experience.  Collaborate with your other business functions and work to expand the role of marketing throughout the purchasing cycle.  Make marketing everybody’s job (because they should all have a stake in its outcome), and use business analytics with agreed on core KPIs that helps convey to everyone your progress (or lack thereof).

Break Down Those Walls…And Silos. Think about your customer experience from their perspective, map your engagement with them, and then figure out where the gaps and inconsistencies are. You can have the best TV ads in the world, but if your customer service rep hasn’t been enabled to address that wonderful Facebook campaign you were running, no amount of apologizing can make up for such basic gaps and gaffes.

Embrace a tech marketing platform. Use technology to your advantage. Stop practicing the art of southern engineering (using chewing game and baling wire to build your campaign). Partner with IT to more aggressively eliminate silos and integrate and bring on board those new technologies that will help you automate your marketing. In the process, learn how to speak to your CFO in their terms, and be increasingly prepared to explain the value of your marketing in (numerical) terms they can appreciate.

You can download the full study results on SlideShare.

No More Business As Usual: The Road To Smarter Commerce

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I mentioned in my last post that I must have been dreaming on the way over to Madrid. Or maybe it was just all these thoughts running through my head before I actually drifted off to some semblance of jet-engine-drone-induced slumber.

The English East India Company was an English and later (from 1707) British joint-stock company formed for pursuing trade with the East Indies but which ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent. The Company was granted a Royal Charter in 1600, making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies. Shares of the company were owned by wealthy merchants and aristocrats. The government owned no shares and had only indirect control. The Company operated its own large army with which it controlled major portions of India.

One of those thoughts reminded me of the guy in the YouTube video who reminded us all what an amazing time we live in. That we can climb into what essentially constitutes a rather large beer can and zoom a few thousand miles away in only a matter of hours. In a journey that, once upon a time, would have taken a Benjamin Franklin or a Thomas Jefferson weeks by sea, and likely would have been filled with seasickness, scurvy, or worse, when all they wanted to do was get there.

That was one of my thoughts: Then I fell asleep somewhere near Dallas and woke up somewhere over lovely Spain.

Be Amazed By This Amazing Opportunity

But I also dreamed of commerce. Of its history, and its evolution, and what an amazing time we live in terms of how we conduct business.

I went and looked up “commerce” on Wikipedia, curious as to what the “crowd” out there had to say. That, too, is another relatively new concept, to be able to “crowdsource” information from people around the globe.

Their definition goes something like this: Commerce is the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any country. Thus, commerce is a system or an environment that affects the business prospects of an economy or a nation-state.

First, there were barter economies, where trading was the principal “facility” in which peoples bartered for goods and services from one another.

Then, currency was introduced as a standardized money, which, facilitated a wider exchange of goods and services — everything from coins to lumps of precious metals to, today, even virtualized currency like “Bitcoin.”

But these days, as the Wikipedia entry observes, commere also includes a complex system of companies that try to maximize their profits by offering products and services to the market (consisting of both individuals and other companies) at the lowest production cost.

The Early Road To Smarter Commerce

So what did some of those early commerce scenarios look like? Imagine, for example, how the domestication of camels allowed Arabian nomads to control long distance trade in spices and silk from the Far East.

Or the “Silk Road,” which was established after the diplomatic travels of the Han Dynasty Chinese envoy Zhang Qian to Central Asia, which allowed Chinese goods to make their way to India, Persia, the Roman Empire — and vice versa.

The English East India Company was an English and, later (from 1707), British joint-stock company formed for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but which ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent. Shares of the company were owned by wealthy merchants and aristocrats. The government owned no shares and had only indirect control. The Company operated its own large army with which it controlled major portions of India.

In more recent times, we saw the introduction of 23 countries agreeing to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, in 1947, which attempted to rationalize trade among nations.

Going All In…For Your Customer

Today’s smart consumers expect to engage with companies when and how they want, through physical, digital, and mobile means, and they want a consistent experience across all channels. Because they are empowered and connected, they can compare notes, quickly, and they can champion a brand or sully a reputation with the click of a mouse or the stroke of their tablet computer.

Today, circa 2012, we find ourselves at another inflection point in the history of commerce, one which begins and ends with the customer. Today’s commerce environment features a customer who is dictating a new set of terms in the dynamic between buyers and sellers, and these are very smart consumers, ones empowered by technology, transparency, and an abundance of information.

Just simply walk through your closest local retailer or your nearest airport, and you’ll see signs of this new and smarter consumer. Via smartphones and other mobile devices, they are connected real-time to an absurd amount of information that empowers them as buyers, and, in turn, requires an accelerated sophistication on the part of sellers, no matter the product or service.

These consumers expect to engage with companies when and how they want, through physical, digital, and mobile means, and they want a consistent experience across all channels.

Because they are empowered and connected, they can compare notes, quickly, and they can champion a brand or sully a reputation with the click of a mouse or the stroke of their tablet computer.

No More Business As Usual

This ultimately means, of course, that there is no longer such a thing as “business as usual.” Empowered and connected consumers are deeply linked — to their friends, colleagues, and the world at large — and they evaluate and compare the quality of their experiences with those of others. And they are the ones who can reward, or penalize, the businesses that do, or do not, give them what they want.

This is new trading crossroads of the 21st Century, and it is those companies who are interested and compelled to act to enable and encourage this new consumer who are in attendance here at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit here in Madrid this week.

To thrive in this new age of the customer, they recognize they must understand the motivations of each individual purchaser. They must predict, and not merely react to, customers’ needs and preferences.

They must understand not only what they buy and where, but also why and how they choose to buy it.

That’s what this new world demands. That we need not only a better system of doing business.

But, also, a “smarter commerce” environment, one that puts the customer at the center of all operations, and that helps companies better buy, market, sell and service their offerings accordingly.

Forbes Business Leadership Forum @ Impact 2012: Put The Customer At The Center Of Every Action

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Mike Rhodin explains to the IBM Forbes Business Leadership Forum at Impact 2012 Monday morning that the best companies moving forward will put the customer at the center of their every action.

After this morning’s keynote session, I went promptly over to the Forbes Business Leadership Forum to listen for a bit to Mike Perlis, Forbes president and CEO, and Mike Rhodin, IBM’s senior vice president for our Software Solutions group.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m a Forbes magazine subscriber — and apparently I’m hardly alone, even in this alleged age of digital media and publishing. In fact, Perlis took great pains to walk the gathered IBM Impact audience through the evolution of Forbes magazine and its transition into the digital era, as a kind of case study into how one unique traditional media publishing property didn’t succumb to the whims of history.

Perlis outlined some key objectives for Forbes, including keeping its print business on track as it built its digital business, and also by developing its brand extensions and becoming a great technology company.

These days, Forbes has some 100 freelancers, 100 staff editors and reporters, and over 300 posts per day on Forbes.com, the centerpiece of Forbes digital strategy.

But Forbes has also embraced the social media in a huge way, with an aggressive presence on all the major social media properties, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

As Perlis summarized, “it’s about the right mix of quality and quantity of information, driven by great technology.”

Perlis then handed the reins over to IBM senior vice president, Mike Rhodin, who leads our Software Solutions business.

Rhodin picked up the ball and reaffirmed that Forbes business journey was an evolution, and that we live in an “information age like none before, where the complexities are forcing us to take a new approach to technology.”

Rhodin noted that companies like Forbes that successfully navigate these uncharted waters must “deploy solutions that are intelligent, integrated by design, and built atop a tech infrastructure that is inherently more cognitive.”

Rhodin went on to cite some examples of the staggering amounts of data that must be dealt with: That there are 340 million Tweets now per day, that 80% of the new data growth are in images, videos and documents, that there are 5 million trading events occurring every second!

Such astronomical figures are creating some tough new challenges, not only for IT but for the mainstream of a business.  Forty-five percent of CFOs see a need to improve data integration and risk management, Rhodin explained, and 73 percent of CMOs see a need to invest in technology to manage new big data.

Business leaders aren’t just concerned with what product to buy, Rhodin explained, but are focused on garnering better business outcomes, how to improve the efficiency of their online marketing campaigns, how to improve cash flows…business problems needing business solutions enabled by technology.

Rhodin also explained that business leaders need to learn to think differently (a theme brought up time and again in Walter Isaacson’s keynote this morning) about analytics, explaining that a new pattern of automation is emerging that is being driven by the instrumentation of the world around us.

“We’re infusing intelligence into the fabric of the organization,” Rhodin continued, and that organizational leaders of the future will be distinguished by their “ability to make big and small, strategic and tactical, 360 degree-informed decisions.”

“This has become a 24/7 feedback loop where sellers and marketers constantly change roles,” Rhodin concluded, and those who put the consumer at the center of every action would be the new information age’s ultimate victors.

No Bull! IBM Marketing Innovation Summit 2012

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I’m heading back to one of my favorite cities in the world in May, to Madrid.

Turbo during his first visit to Madrid in June 2008, where he visited the world-famous Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, the "home" of bullfighting in Spain.

I first visited Madrid traveling on business in June 2008, an auspicious time to be there, as the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament was quickly winding down to a conclusion.

One night, June 10th to be precise, my IBM cabal and I were looking for a small bar or restaurant to take in the Spain v. Russia match, when we heard a loud cheer go up in unison across the city.

“Spain one, Russia nil,” I announced.

That echo sent chills down my spine, as did the wild celebration later that evening after Spain trounced Russia 4-1.  Spain later went on to win the whole shebang in a 1-0 final over Germany.

Anyhoo, enough reminiscing.

If you’ve never visited Madrid, I’m going to provide you with an excellent raison: The IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2012.

From May 22-24, the IBM Smarter Commerce will be the most significant European gathering of marketing professionals in a single place, one filled with four days of learning, networking, and exploring best practices in the commerce realm.

If you need some convincing with your boss, download the “Top 5 Reasons to Attend.” 

They go like this:

1. You get to network with Turbo.

2. You get to hang at the hotel bar with Turbo.

Oh, wait.  That was a different list.

Anyway, once you preview the sessions  with your boss you won’t have to do much convincing.

Here’s a couple of session titles that jumped right out at me: “Beyond Dashboards: Driving Marketing Returns With Digital Analytics.”

Or how about this one: “Tag Management Zen: Using Tags To Drive Innovation.”

Or even this: “Social Media & Mobile Marketing: Moving From Siloed to Intertwined.”

They’re going to have to drag me away kicking and screaming.

Here’s the bottom line page: Register here.

Before April 1, you only have to pay 895 Euros, at which point it goes up to 1195 Euros.

In the meantime, keep an eye out here on the Turbo blog, as I expect I’ll be passing along some travel tips (including restaurant and sightseeing recommendations) for Madrid.

IBM Global Chief Marketing Officer Study: From Prime Time To Real Time

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As a marketer for IBM who specializes in the digital realm, I was excited to hear about the pending IBM 2011 Global Chief Marketing Officer study, a study of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers from 64 countries and 19 industries, and couldn’t wait to see the results.

The wait is over.

Today, IBM released the results of this important study, one that reveals that the majority of the world’s top marketing executives recognize there’s a critical and permanent shift occurring in the way they engage with their customers, but who also question whether their marketing organizations are prepared to manage the change.

Click to enlarge. The vast majority of CMOs surveyed in the IBM 2011 CMO Study indicated that they are underprepared to manage the impact of key changes in the marketing arena.

Some other initial headlines: The study reveals that the measures used to evaluate marketing are changing. Nearly two-thirds of CMOs think return on marketing investment will be the primary measure of the marketing function’s effectiveness by 2015.

But even among the most successful enterprises, half of all CMOs feel insufficiently prepared to provide hard numbers.

Most of these executives — responsible for the integrated marketing of their organization’s products, services and brand reputations –- say they lack significant influence in key areas such as product development, pricing and selection of sales channels.

The IBM study found that only 26 percent of CMOs are tracking blogs, 42 percent are tracking third party reviews and 48 percent are tracking consumer reviews to help shape their marketing strategies.

“The inflection point created by social media represents a permanent change in the nature of customer relationships,” said Carolyn Heller Baird, CRM research lead for the IBM Institute for Business Value and the global director of the study.  “Approximately 90 percent of all the real-time information being created today is unstructured data. CMO’s who successfully harness this new source of insight will be in  a strong position to increase revenues, reinvent their customer relationships and build new brand value.”

An Ever-Changing Marketing Landscape, An Empowered Consumer

Customers are sharing their experiences widely online, giving them more control and influence over brands.

This shift in the balance of power from organizations to their customers requires new marketing approaches, tools and skills in order to stay competitive.  CMOs are aware of this changing landscape, but are struggling to respond.  Four out of five CMOs expect that they will have to make fundamental changes to traditional methods of brand and product marketing.

Baird likened marketers who underestimate the impact of social media to those who were slow to view the Internet as a new and powerful platform for commerce.

Like the rise of e-business more than a decade ago, the radical embrace of social media by all customer demographic categories represents an opportunity for marketers to drive increased revenue, brand value and to reinvent the nature of the relationship between enterprises and the buyers of their offerings.  Marketers who establish a culture receptive to deriving insight from social media will be far better prepared to anticipate future shifts in markets and technology.

As someone who has been intimately involved in helping IBM make a successful transition into providing enhanced social intelligence for marketers here inside Big Blue, this is music to my ears.

While CMOs identify customer intimacy as a top priority, and recognize the impact of real-time data supplementing traditional methods of channel marketing and gathering market feedback, most CMOs say they remain mired in 20th century approaches.

Eighty-percent or more of the CMOs surveyed are still focusing primarily on traditional sources of information such as market research and competitive benchmarking, and 68 percent rely on sales campaign analysis to make strategic decisions.

Click to enlarge. CMOs surveyed in the study indicated they are overwhelmingly underprepared for the data explosion and recognize need to invest in and integrate technology and analytics.

Managing the Four Challenges

Collectively, the study findings point to four key challenges that CMOs everywhere are confronting. The explosion of data, social media, channel and device choices and shifting demographics will be pervasive, universal game changers for their marketing organizations over the next three to five years.  But a large majority of CMOs feel unprepared to manage their impact.

  • Data explosion:  Every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – so much that 90 percent of the world’s data today has been created in the last two years alone.  The increasing volume, variety and velocity of data available from new digital sources like social networks, in addition to traditional sources such as sales data and market research, tops the list of CMO challenges.  The difficulty is how to analyze these vast quantities of data to extract the meaningful insights, and use them effectively to improve products, services and the customer experience.
  • Social platforms:  Social media enables anyone to become a publisher, broadcaster and critic.  Facebook has more than 750 million active users, with the average user posting 90 pieces of content a month.  Twitter users send about 140 million tweets a day.  And YouTube’s 490 million users upload more video content in a 60-day period than the three major U.S. television networks created in 60 years.  Marketers are using social platforms to communicate – with 56 percent of CMOs viewing social media as a key engagement channel – but they still struggle with capturing valuable customer insight from the unstructured data that customers and potential customers produce.
  • Channel and device choices:  The growing number of new marketing channels and devices, from smart phones to tablets, is quickly becoming a priority for CMOs.  Mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016, representing a compound annual growth rate of 39 percent from 2011 to 2016.  Meanwhile, the tablet market is expected to reach nearly 70 million units worldwide by the end of this year, growing to 294 million units by 2015.
  • Shifting demographics:  New global markets and the influx of younger generations with different patterns of information access and consumption are changing the face of the marketplace.  In India, as one example, the middle class is expected to soar from roughly 5 percent of the population to more than 40 percent in the next two decades.  Marketers who have historically focused on affluent Indian consumers must adapt their strategies to market to this emerging middle class.  In the United States, marketing executives must respond to the aging baby boomer generation and growing Hispanic population.

Lack of Influence

Today’s CMOs have to cover more ground than ever before.  They have to manage more data from disparate sources, understand and engage with more empowered customers, adopt and adapt to more sophisticated tools and technologies – while being more financially accountable to their organizations.

Click to enlarge. CMOs surveyed believe that they can expand their personal influence by shifting to new capabilities that focus on technology, social media and ROI.

In fact, 63 percent of CMOs believe return on investment (ROI) on marketing spend will be the most important measure of their success by 2015.  However, only 44 percent feel fully prepared to be held accountable for marketing ROI.

Most CMOs have not traditionally been expected to provide hard financial evidence of their ROI.

But given the current economic volatility and pressure to be profitable, organizations can no longer afford to write a blank check for their marketing initiatives. CMOs recognize they now need to quantify the value they bring to the business, be it from investing in advertising, new technologies or any other activity.

This increasing emphasis on ROI also reflects the scrutiny the marketing function is currently attracting, itself a reflection of the function’s growing prominence.  Today’s CMOs are in much the same position as chief financial officers (CFOs) were a decade ago, when their role was evolving from guardian of the purse strings to strategic business adviser.

If CMOs are to be held responsible for the marketing returns they deliver, they must also have significant influence over all “Four Ps”: promotion, products, place and price.  The study found that this is often not the case.

CMOs say they exert a strong influence over promotional activities such as advertising, external communications and social media initiatives.  But, in general, they play a smaller role in shaping the other three PsLess than half of the CMOs surveyed have much sway over key parts of the pricing process, and less than half have much impact on new product development or channel selection.

To meet these new challenges, CMOs must boost their own digital, technological and financial proficiency –- but many seem surprisingly reticent in this respect.  When asked which attributes they will need to be personally successful over the next three to five years, only 28 percent said technological competence, 25 percent said social media expertise and 16 percent said financial acumen.

About the Global CMO Study

The 2011 IBM Global Chief Marketing Officer Study is IBM’s first study of CMOs — and the fifteenth in the ongoing series of C-suite Studies developed by the IBM Institute for Business Value.

Between February and June 2011, IBM met face to face with 1,734 CMOs in 19 industries and 64 countries to better understand their goals and the challenges they confront.  The respondents came from a wide variety of organizations, ranging from 48 of the top 100 brands listed in the 2010 Interbrand rankings to enterprises with a primarily local profile.

Click here to register and receive your copy of the IBM 2011 Global Chief Marketing Officer study.

IBM Survey Results: The State of Marketing 2011

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The IBM Unica Marketing Innovation Summit is currently underway in Boston, Massachusetts (and for those of you in Berlin, will be in your fair city June 6-8).

At the event earlier today, IBM released its recent study, “The State of Marketing 2011,” which provided some very interesting and telling findings about that very topic.

As a marketer myself, I find myself eating up this kind of research, particularly in the kind of ever-volatile marketing environment we find ourselves operating in.

This study represents a comprehensive survey of almost 300 online and direct marketers from a mix of companies, revenues, and industries, and all responding companies reported more than $100M in revenue, with the largest block (54%) having over $1B revenue per annum.  All assume responsibilties across the complete spectrum of marketing roles, and over one third (35%) were marketing executives.

Without further adieu, let me provide a few headlines:

  • Marketers Seem Ready to Bridge the Gap Between Analysis and Action. This year, “measurement, analysis and learning” overtook “IT support of marketing needs” as the #1 marketing bottleneck.  After years of analysis paralysis, respondents identified “turning data-into-action” as their #1 org issue.  Can you relate?
  • Marketers Believe Technology Can Ease Their Pain. Over half also cited technology as the key to productivity. Marketers absolutely see technology helping resolve the challenge of meaningful measurement and analysis, and then choosing the next course of action — moreso, gasp, than additional staff or agency support.
  • Demand for An Integrated Marketing Suite Continues to Grow. As marketing’s need for technology grows and adoption matures, there’s a corresponding concern with integration — 87% of marketers express interest in a marketing suite that is better integrated. (And yes, we sell one.)
  • Marketers Believe in Interactive Marketing, But Have More Progress to Make Toward This Vision. While responses suggest that interest in achieving truly integrated cross-channel dialogs with customers is high, nearly half of survey participants report that they are only partially achieving that goal. The key barrier? Organizational structure and internal processes. Yet, 57% report the adoption of inbound marketing methods (personalized targeting/messaging) in their Web channels.
  • Social Media Marketing Experiencing Some Growing Pains. Once again, social media remains the reigning champion among emerging marketing channels, leading the way with 53% current usage. But, marketers’ enthusiasm is burning less brightly than last year, suggesting we have passed the peak of inflated expectations and are focused on finding the value that social channels can yield. (Big sigh of relief!)
  • Web Data is Highly Prized, But Putting it to Work in Campaign Decisioning Still Lags. Here’s a paradox for you: 92% of marketers appreciate the value and importance of Web data, yet half or less apply that data to customer analyses and campaigns. Of those that do, less than a third believe their efforts are very effective.
  • Mobile Marketing Continues to Rise. Consumers are rapidly adopting connected mobile devices and smart marketers are aggressively following their audience. 43$ of respondents say they currently use the tactic, with another 23% planning to do so within a year. Yet, there’s still plenty of room for integration with other marketing efforts.

So, for you marketers in the virtual room, do these all sound familiar? We as marketers are faced with an extraordinary pace of change and new capability, but the rapidity of these changes is outpacing our ability to maximize our embrace of all the new data and opportunity these capabilities create.

Yet, we can’t simply throw people at the problem (internal or agency partners).  We need to find more intelligent ways of utilizing technology to help breakdown barriers in the organization, integrate the view and responses to the consumer, and probably most pointedly, find a way to take all this new data and be able to quickly “action” it to the benefit of our marketing efforts (and, in turn, to our customers).

Those are just the highlights.  Click here to get the full report (in PDF format) to see the full sampling and analysis.

But, as the report itself summarizes, the good news in all this is that the proliferation of electronic channels has opened up many more possibilities for meaningful communications with customers.

The bad news, of course, is that with rapid channel proliferation we get mass confusion. In an environment already suffering from info overload, each new channel, tactic, and tool generates a flood of data that demands attention.

If you are interested in learning more about how intelligence, integration, and interactivity can drive your business results, visit our Interactive Marketing Resource Center.

There, you can get access to a video about the power of integrated marketing solutions and download the Unica Interactive Marketing eBook.

Or, you can continue floundering amidst all that endless trail of new marketing data and endure more analysis paralysis.

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