BMA – Gaining Truth and Actions from Attribution

full.pngAs usually, BMA presented a very insightful event.  Attribution is a serious, and, sometimes, heated debate between marketing, sales, and even occasional marketing silos 🙂   Blue Jeans uses Full Circle Insights to monitor marketing generated leads and understand channel activity.

blue.PNGInteresting: Blue Jeans start from equal touch attribution, what makes sense.

Innovative analytics point: Blue Jeans used to have a three persons analytics team, which served needs of different case-study.pnggroups, including executive reports.  As the team was struggling to fulfill all demands, a better organization helped to focus the efforts.  Now each member of the team is “embedded” into a functional group and handles all analytics needs of that group (marketing, for example).

Why not make reporting a “self service” for the marketing group?  As operations are busy with the campaign creation, it is highly unlikely they could find time to do deep enough analysis to understand what is happening with the campaign. A dedicated analyst has the time and a skill set to find and share campaign insights.

Marketing fables: “An outdated e-book converts 5 times better than anything else…”  🙂

Beside the topic of the meeting, marketers discussed new Sirius Decisions waterfall – who could resist?  🙂

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Interesting – ABM is migrating into the waterfall and also experiencing an evolution of key concepts.

Demand Unit Waterfall, which starts with a target market containing potential demand units. Demand units are defined as a buying group that has been organized to address a need the organization is challenged with. Demand units – not accounts – are usually the true targets that marketing (and product and sales) should have in mind when thinking about buyers. Buyer, needs and solution must match for a demand unit to exist.

Modern Marketing Experience 2017

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Fantastic conference, as usually!  This year, the emphasis on “people” aspect of the business and organizational alignment, introduced last year, became more clear.

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CMO track was also discussing who are right people for the organization, where they can be found, and how they can be trained and retained.  Modern marketing organizations (and, probably, not only marketing organizations) are working on creating their perfect teams.  Technology is evolving, and new opportunities can fall apart if not supported by human part of the enterprise.

Ron Corbisier (Relationship One), shared an interesting slide during his AI session, where he outlined primary topics of last decade.

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I was fortunate to attend seven of these conferences, and observed a progression of a different dimension – organizational evolution of marketing.

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Starting from 2010 (a year when I attended my first conference), and through 2011, 2012, 2013 “Marketing and Sales” was an important topic, and a few years later, London 2014, the emphasis shifted to “Marketing and IT,” even if challenge of working with sales continued to persist.  Juniper presented it progress as Technology > Process> People…  and, after a thoughtful pause, the presenter mentioned, “we should have started from people.”  Modern Marketing Experience 216 emphasized importance of “people and process” before “technology and data,” what, sometimes, takes a central stage to the detriment of the final outcome.

One more organization, La-Z-Boy, built its leadership team with CIO reporting to CMO.  From another side, one of mar tech vendors noticed that several projects went on-hold as IT was gaining more influence in organizations of his customers.  I guess, next year topic could be the organization itself.  By that time marketing teams will be in place and process within the company will be examined and questioned.

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Building a team: we are observing a usual progress from generalists to specialists, as companies grow and technologies mature.  The new objective of building a team: people who can learn.  We need people who can imagine the possibilities and live them: adaptive, flexible, learning and be open to the change.  Dropping what does not work is important.  Managers are trying to match skills to passion; if people are passionate, they will find a way.  Hiring to the culture is even more important as it was before and and hiring passion is critical.

Building a team of today and tomorrow: team should include partners, coaches, etc., and extend beyond company’s boundary.  CMOs are looking for people who can look ahead and collaborate.  “Your digital transformation brings people and ideas together.”  “We need to breach the silos!”

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Over the years the images of organizational silos persisted, but the number of the silos in the pictures increased – marketers have to interact with more business counterparts to be successful, and companies in general have to work together to innovate.

Innovation was another interesting point of the conference: Oracle presented an “Innovation Journey” wall, with well thought-through steps (from my perspective) of introduction and managing innovation.  The innovation process assessed business in general, rather than marketing or sales – conference attendees.  It was a pleasure to see that marketing “arrived” as an integral part of the business, rather than an independent component with questionable business value 🙂

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The most interesting part of the “innovation wall” was the detailed process steps paper – a list of seemingly ubiquitous points collected in one process.

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Interesting: test is included as part of the innovation, and though test includes agile components, the overall process is a typical example of a waterfall.

Combination of waterfall and agile approaches in project management was also suggested in another session “How Proper Project Management Can Make You a Change Hero.”

  • Only 25% of change management initiatives are successful
  • Top reasons for failure:
    • lack of consistent communication
    • overlooked stakeholders (excellent point!)
    • lack of executive support
  • As additional stakeholders and requirements will be revealed during the requirement gathering phase, it is important to re-identify objectives at this stage of the project.  “With a full understanding of requirements from each group, review your initially outlined objectives and adjust if needed.”  Objectives can change, and it is normal!
  • After the project:
    • review the objectives with stakeholders – were they met?
    • schedule “post launch check” a few months after the launch of the project to check if the change has been implemented successfully
      • During the check speak with stakeholders to make sure that the objectives are still met

Mixing waterfall and SCRUM is beneficial: overall project can be handled as waterfall, and development components can be run as scrum.

Interesting example of a project that faced an obstacle: in the beginning stages of lead nurturing project, executives questioned the need for the initiative.  The team suggested to do a 3 months test for a specific product or region and review results.  The result: time to sale has been cut in half for pilot-affected leads.  After the result was clear, the project has been extended to its original scope.

Beyond the Hype – Keys to Achieving ABM Success (Demandbase)

Beside well-known ABM advantages (better performance and increase of ABM benefits over time), and well-established process (sales and marketing alignment on account selection, etc.), the presentation had a few new (from my perspective) insights.

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Interesting : ABM is also considered an evolution started from new technology and merged into organizational approach.

  • When ABM is started, number of leads will go down, what is not comfortable for the organization, and needs to be communicated in advance
  • Many organizations will pilot ABM on a group of sales reps or a region to see results

ABM leadership team now includes operations (lovely!) – and it is not “IT,” but rather marketing operations function itself (highlights – VB)

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Another interesting point: ABM maturity progression also includes operational alignment, and progression beyond digital channels.  (Highlights – VB)

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Changes ABM is bringing to marketing and operations are generally re-orientation of existing (people, process, and, in this case, technology) to ABM – a more efficient business approach.

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A practical example from the session: a company wanted to increase sales in the enterprise sector.  Before a major advertising push, the organization evaluated the data (basic ISP source of site visits).  Result was revealing: enterprise visitors did come to the company’s site, but were more likely to bounce.  The company adjusted site messaging to appeal to enterprise prospects before advertising push.

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The presentation also addressed marketers’ concern that too much content was required for ABM; it is not entirely true.  Image above is an example of using the same asset (the same white paper), with different description targeted to four different companies.

The result: 200% increase in white paper downloads.

Hot topic of the conference – AI.  Ron’s session “Blowing Past the Buzzword of AI” put the topic into perspective.

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AI is not a “rules engine” or an algorithm, though it is a fantastic buzzword and an excellent excuse for funding.

AI is not a “thing” – it is a collection of things – AI is an “enabler.”

However, AI has requirements of constant data feed to be effective.

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Marketers also need to have a strategy how to feed enough data into their AI aps.  Now we are at the day one of a multi-year run.

We need to go to basics:

  • what is our strategy?
  • what are we trying to do?

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One of the AI application (or, rather, Intelligent Augmentation) mentioned during another session of the event was chat bots.

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Though targeted currently to b-to-c marketers, chat bots are “trained” to connect to the database and answer or even anticipate questions from the user.  Oracle representatives demonstrated an interface allowing to “instruct” chat bots to recognize topics accurately by correcting initial topic “guess” done by the system.

A few more curious points from the event:

  • “Content cul-de-sac” – opened PDF… and now what?
  • “Innovation is creating the best possible match between a solution and a problem (context: using analog experience as part of overall customer experience even if “printed brochure” is not as popular in the industry 🙂
  • Medtronic: achieved a significant improvement in lead conversion when samples (or printed materials) were sent to the target audience.  Target audience were nurses, who did not spend their day in front of the computer.
  • Medtronic: experience matters; physical experience matters more.  Sales can say: “What do you think about the […] we sent you?”
  • Video can be used throughout an entire customer journey, and creates lift in engagement and conversion.  However, it is not practical to use video everywhere.
  • Video case study: account managers recorded personal videos for the accounts they support.  “Hi, I am an account manager…  how can I help you get started?”  Videos have been sent to companies – customers of BrightCove; target audience – people who may be unaware that their organization was a BrightCove customer.  Emails used to deliver the video link received 200% total open rate!
  • Starting points for a video: website!  Gated product demos is #1 conversion point.  Then, customer testimonials is a popular and useful application for video content.
  • Video-focused question: what do I already do and can be converted to the video to be used in the future?
  • YouTube channel: “video retirement home.”  Keep viewers on your site!
  • People are more likely to watch 3 one-minute videos rather than one three-minute video.  Chapters help!
  • What is the biggest barrier for adoption in a large corp – not tech!  Make sure stakeholders are OK, understand who all stakeholders are to make progress.  It helps to have a video champion.
  • DXP – digital experience platform
  • New European privacy regulations are coming in 2018 http://info.mimecast.com/gdpr-prepare.html
  • Test and pilot – opportunity cost is too high to wait for perfection!
  • Transformation tips: break down large projects and make them available to somebody to get quick feedback
  • “Customer experience is a journey, not a destination”
  • What we could have been done better?  Would have started digital education of executives earlier…
  • Organizational challenge: how silo’s owners can be motivated to work across silos..
  • “Data is not a department – data needs to be everyone’s job…”
  • If the person “qualifies” to be nurtured in two topics, which one is first?  This is a business decisions – the topic that makes more sense for the company.
  • B-to-c email list grow: “give people something, usually a coupon…”

BMA – Using Customer Data for B2B Growth

Data in business (and human society in general) plays a interesting role.  Kiyoto Tamura started the presentation with a note from his experience in finance: data plays a huge role, but most of money loss is based on emotions.

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In many cases customer data “lives” in different databases.  Traditionally, marketing automation vendors tried to “own” this database, what created limitations on which data can be used.  Marketing automation vendors should not “take marketing data hostage” and work with all available data.

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Kiyoto recommended to make rectangles typically used in PPT slides octagons – the chart will look more “scientific”  🙂

A very interesting point on AI-based predictive lead scoring.  Identification of a correct lead is difficult.  To make predictive lead scoring useful, the company have to have enough of good data, what may not always be the case.  “Don’t get caught in AI craze.”

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Very insightful presentation, as can be expected from BMA events.

 

Modernize or Fail

Just Media sponsored an excellent marketing event at Google campus “Modernize or Fail: How B2B Marketers Should Overhaul Their Digital Presence to Drive More Business Success.”

Curiously, Dick Reed mentioned somewhere at the beginning of his presentation clients who define “awareness” as an objective and measure campaign success by the number of leads generated.  And then surprised by high cost of lead.  Seriously.  He showed a very clear set of metrics by the stage, including ABM, what, I think, is just starting to emerge in marketing community.

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Content can also be sorted into the stages of awareness and demand – one more version of the content approach, which addresses the difference in metrics.

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Another interesting point – evolution of the approach to nurture.  As many of us, marketers, were trying in the past to “lead the prospect through the sales cycle” with our campaigns, the approach changed to what Just Media called “self nurture,” or a “connected experience” across company’s presence in the marketplace.

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  • The term “landing pages” becoming “landing experience”
  • Demand Gen: “If you have a fancy new white paper with the conversion rate 50% of the old one, return the old one!”
  • Mobile vs. desktop: technical decision makers prefer desktop; business decision makers do research on mobile devices after 9:00 pm 😉

Hilarious video from Slack (b-to-b 🙂 ).

 

Buyer thought process applied to the purchase cycle – very clear perspective to organize materials.
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Another interesting point: a different impact of short-term demand-focused programs and long-term brand programs.

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As Google is trying to move to “mobile first” approach, significant emphasis has been given to encouraging marketers to improve usability of their mobile web presence.

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Ah, mobile issues (and possibilities of penalties from search) have been discussed by the industry for a few years.  In many cases, enterprise web sites are not quite there yet.  However, this issue is very common, and as large organizations are struggling to adjust, so do all their competition.  It would be interesting to see how the situation changes in the future.

BMA – Return on Marketing Investment Using a Data Science Approach

10.pngFantastic presentation!  It exposed the audience to the depth of data science in marketing, including unfamiliar terms and concepts.  From one side, the event reminded to some of us in the audience “how much we do not know,” from another side, the presentation reassured us that the entire industry is struggling to understand the new marketing reality.  Scary, but exciting!

The most common conversation thread in data science realm: “This is not the report I wanted…”

Currently, data scientists spend more time “getting the data” than analyzing it.

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Interesting: data scientists typically find something what was not requested and that finding becomes the most important for the business.

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Slide above shows spike in transaction at the point of lowering the price, but not that dramatic impact on revenue.

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Slide above helped to identify a “sweet spot” of customers in about 50K+ range.  These customers purchased faster than customers with lower deal sizes.  The company executed a very successful campaign to target this segment.

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manifesto.pngGrover Righter also recommended The Cluetrain Manifesto to understand fundamental industry changes.

Interesting: email is considered the best medium for A/B testing.

Survey emails are popular: people like answering surveys, as they are perceived as industry experts, they can receive the result of the research, and they have a chance to win a gift certificate.

For “freemium” industry the most popular download is “Why to pay for something that can be available for free?”

The session informed and clearly explained the need for an expert in the filed.

Book – Under New Management

new-management.pngAn insightful book encouraging us to challenge established management practices and traditional conventions.  The analogy at the end of the book was particularly interesting: an efficiency of a typical internal combustion engine is about 30%.  We know that the engine is reliable and widely used, but finding a method to increase the efficiency above 30% would create a significant benefit.  As our organizations are a combination of resources and people, increasing engagement of the people with non-traditional management approaches might make significant difference in success of these organizations.

The book mentions several already popular approaches, including sabbaticals and careful hiring, and some of new approaches are better analyzed to question conventional wisdom.

The author  references Service-Profit Chain, which is gaining more attention in recent publications.chain.png

The author also refers to “Employees First, Customers Second,” a book that would seem revolutionary a decade or two ago.  It is a pleasure to see how this approach becoming more main stream.

Interesting concept of “pre-hiring” vacation: an arrangement when the company gives two weeks of paid vacation to a new hire before the start day to assure that the new person enters the company well-rested and eager to learn.

A perspective where “sunk costs” can actually be beneficial: as companies offer “quitting bonuses” to encourage unsatisfied employees to leave, the idea of not taking the offer has an additional benefit.  As people who did not leave the company “lost” the money, they consider the amount an investment into current job and “sunk costs” that are psychologically difficult to ignore.  “If I did not take these money…  I must really like that job…”

Research in office email and productivity – Some Companiess Are Banning Email and Getting More Done.

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The company has reduced overall email by 60 percent, going from an average of 100 email messages per week per employee to less than 40. Atos’s operating margin increased from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent in 2013, earnings per share rose by more than 50 percent, and administrative costs declined from 13 percent to 10 percent. Obviously, not all of these improvements were the result of banning email, but the correlation is certainly strong. So is a growing body of research on the effects of email.

Research suggests that just limiting checking of email to certain time during the day would be helpful.

Another new point of view on a popular approach was a chapter on open office.  Based on research, the main benefit of the open office is real estate cost saving.  That is it.  Open office has its own shortcomings, including noise, what may actually reduce creativity and productivity rather than encourage it.  Open office can be as effective as a traditional one if employees have enough control (and enough space) to use the environment.  Interestingly enough, information of success of open office experiments is more widely known than failures, resulting in return of the company to a more traditional office environment.

Excellent book to ponder “rules of business” that might not be as effective as we believe they are.

Book – The Analytical Marketer

Analytical-marketer.pngAn insightful book describes the process many companies in the industry undertake in some form – marketing transformation.  The book illustrates some aspects that many marketers observed in their organizations and some other changes that marketers expect to see in the future.

It was the first publication that discussed relationship between marketing and IT before discussing an infamous challenge of relationship between marketing and sales.  Our industry truly changed 🙂

The book suggests that modern business requires ‘fundamental shifts in the marketing organization itself: specifically, changes in the marketing mind-set, marketing structure, marketing telnet, and marketing leadership.”

An interesting aspect: customer journey includes acquisition and retention as equal parts.  Very often marketing view on buyer’s journey does not even include retention, or includes it as a little “box” on the right – an afterthought.  Another aspect of the journey – it is relatively simple.  Hopefully, we, as an industry, are moving away from a dozen of steps buyer’s journey that might contribute to over-complication of marketing initiatives.

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SAS had a traditional marketing organization – by channel.  The organization encouraged silos and channel-specific efforts, what was not effective. “There are even times when you can draw the wrong conclusions when you look at the performance of a channel independently.”

SAS reorganized to encourage collaboration between channels and created a new function of “orchestrator” who is “orchestrating” campaigns across all channels – digital, traditional, and emerging.

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New positions were created to help formalize partnership between marketing and IT, and also to strengthen the connection between marketing ans sales.

SAS is hiring more analytically-minded marketers in general.  By doing it, “you are not killing creativity or innovation, just seeking naturally curious employees with updated skills.”

An HBR interview and book overview – webinar.

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A few insights from the book:

  • Segmentation insight: SAS discovered that SMB targets responded better to general messages, rather than specific message for the segment.  Results improved when the SMB-specific campaign was closed and SMB segment added to the enterprise campaign.
  • Based on data (conversion and sales) one of long-standing PPC campaigns targeting expensive keywords was discontinued.
  • “Too often, organizations start chasing the next shiny object like social media before they have optimized everything they already have..”
  • “Data without use is overhead.”
  • “Make data quality everybody’s job.”
  • CXA – customer experience analytics (new for me term)
  • Interesting: in SAS shared services Nurturing is included into “Data Strategy” together with segmentation.

Sometimes our team needs to engage in shameless self-promotion.  We need to tell stories about the interesting things and projects the team is involved in to ensure that the rest of the organization understands our value.  We have to deliberately build credibility for marketing.