Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘yuchun lee

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.

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: IBM’s Yuchun Lee Doubles Down On Social Marketing

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Remember that team of blackjack-playing cohorts from MIT in the book (and, later, movie) “Bringing Down The House,” who fleeced a number of Vegas casinos before they were invited never to grace their gambling doors again?

IBM’s Yuchun Lee explains to the IBM Smarter Commerce audience in Madrid how the company is doubling down on its investments in enterprise and social marketing management.

Well, IBM executive and Unica co-founder Yuchung Lee was one of those who was asked not to come back. Permanently.

Which is okay by those of us at IBM, as we’re keeping him way too busy to bother with card counting.

Instead, Lee’s mathematical prowess is being applied to help companies improve their marketing capabilities, a key ingredient in the IBM Smarter Commerce soup.

Doubling Down On Enterprise Marketing Management

As Lee explained in his keynote session this afternoon here in Madrid, “this is the first time we’re bringing together Coremetrics and Unica.” He also highlighted the fact that out of the 1,700 participants here at the Summit, over 1,000 are marketeers!

Lee provided a broad overview of the Enterprise Marketing Management portfolio at IBM, explaining that “we’ve shared progress as a group within IBM over the past year,” sharing that also incorporates lessons learned from both the market and IBM customers.

“The pieces of our portfolio are better connected,” Lee explained, but also highlighted the fact that “We now have a more comprehensive suite for relevant and personalized offers across all channels, and social media,” a capability recently introduced in Unica 8.6

The social buildout also incorporates enterprise analytics, tag management, and full mobile and social market capabilities that tie more closely together the marketing automation experience with the social realm.

Acquisitions That Count

Lee also debriefed quickly on two recent acquisitions, DemandTec, which expands IBM’s EMM offerings with pricing, promotion, and product mix optimization, and Tealeaf, which rounds out IBM EMM solutions with customer experience management and analytics.

As Lee explained, “A picture’s worth a thousand words,” and that’s precisely what TeaLeaf provides, the ability to look at snapshots of individual user sessions to help determine where, exactly, it is that you’re driving them crazy with your convoluted web experience!

But where Lee really “hooked” the audience was in his observations about the Generation C customer, who is more connected and in control than ever! Did you know that 4 in 10 smartphone users search for an item in a store? Or that 77 percent of B2B buyers check with their peers before buying?

If you didn’t know that, then this is your reality check and maybe it’s time you get more focused in your own customer centricity.  Marketing, Lee suggested, must “move beyond its silo and focus on business value.”

Which, he expanded, means that it must work more closely with other disciplines and functions, including merchandising, on- and offline sales, customer service, and even with IT.

Marketing must move that customer centricity beyond marketing as well, so that they understand and influence the entire customer experience, as well as “own the operational process to influence social conversations.”

But, Lee indicated, they can’t stop there.  Marketing must also share customer insights with other parts of the business so that all functions can benefit from these insights.

Finally, they must extend that sharing of customer insights with other key stakeholders who can benefit: Partners, agencies, customer communities, and so forth.

Lee also explained that many organizations must adjust their marketing cultures to fully capitalize on the “Generation C” (“C” for “connected”) culture.  They must build organizations that balance analytics and creative talents (easier said than done!), work with IT rather than around IT, and break down marketing siloes — digital and traditional marketing must consolidate and collaborate.

Finally, accept mistakes and learn from them, and be agile enough to iterate and improve upon them. As even Lee can explain, there are only so many opportunities to double down in blackjack, and in business.

The enterprise marketing management opportunity vis-a-vis IBM’s Smarter Commerce strategy is one of those rare opportunities.

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