BMA – ABM Optimization

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As usually, the event started from lovely networking and proceeded to a very insightful conversation about ABM and everything related to the topic (from a marketer’s perspective, it pretty much everything ūüôā ).

Jamie posted Top 3 Takeaways on ABM Optimization after the event, which gives an excellent overview of the conversation.

…Duns & Bradstreet added that they see a data decline rate of 40% in one year. This tracks on par with my experience…

Other interesting points:

  • An issue to consider: who is the prospect and who is the customer? ¬†Two different people in the same organization can “play both roles.”
  • Micro-campaigns for the same account (a play on “Demand Unit?”) – IBM Analytics or IBM Watson as separate segments to target, for example.
  • Even in a medium size company, the organization can have several operations groups, but nobody responsible for the entire process. ¬†As a result, the database may not be cleaned in a decade…
  • Identification of a champion for the solution within an organization is critical. ¬†However, the champion’s involvement needs to be carefully considered. ¬†For example, a champion might do a webinar only for the company where he/she works, and only BU name can be used in promotion, rather thank the person’s name.
  • If sales are asked to select initial accounts for ABM, they often provide accounts, which they were not able to penetrate. ¬†These accounts would not be the best start for the program; it is important to work with accounts, which already expressed some level of interest.
  • How to find champions? ¬†The best source is a user conference. ¬†Finding a champion on the acquisition side is more difficult, and requires close communication with sales. ¬†When the champion is identified, ask “what do you need?”
  • box.PNGDM is a good way to catch attention in the world of electronic messaging. ¬†One of arguments against the approach is remote work, but most people will eventually come to the office. ¬†It is important to include a premium to get results. ¬†People love receiving boxes ūüôā
  • Successful tactic: Lunch and Learn. ¬†Getting a list of potential attendees is easy by requesting a list with “dietary requirements.”

flip.PNGABM blog with presenter’s contributions ¬†Flip My Funnel¬† Curious: the blog promotes “ABX Webinar series.”

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Book – Winning Them Over

Winning.pngThe book compares management style of the past with current, more collaborative approach.  As we live (and work) in the era of persuasion, the book introduces persuasion techniques and gives insightful examples of the time (published 1998).

Interesting: the same techniques could be very helpful now as persuasion is the only technique available in cross-functional team environment.

Examples in the book are similar in spirit to other examples in business literature: very simple and clear messages, emotional appeal, and direct connection to “what is in it for me.” ¬†Pictures (verbal and literal) and analogies are more effective than data in persuasion, though data is also needed for support.

 

Book – Think Simple: How Smart Leaders Defeat Complexity

simple.pngMany people think that they have a more complex business than they have.  More times than not, they actually create complexity in their mind.

JCPenney: though we remember the outcry of disappointed customers when discounts and coupons were cut, this story is not quite complete. ¬†The company planned to re-create stores and provide a different, simplified and more engaging experience. ¬†This experience would replace existing stores and coupons. ¬†Unfortunately, the “old” value was removed before the “new” value became available. ¬†JCPenney’s customers might have reacted differently if the entire plan was rolled out as designed. ¬†This was, definitely, not that simple…

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Blue Men Group: understanding the need for  simplification (and communication).  The group conducted an interesting research: what do people new to Blue Men expect from the show?  The results were baffling: guesses were very inaccurate, and often strange.  After the first show the same audience claimed that they were surprised by the experience, as the show was significantly different from expectations.   Blue Men Group realized that show promotions need to be clarified.

DirectTV Latin America: simplification of brand and simplification of reporting structure.

Reporting structure: functional heads in each country reported to a manager based in Florida. For example, heads of marketing of Peru, Chile, and Colombia were reporting to a head of marketing in Florida. It created significant overhead in Florida and constant flow of communication.

To tell you how messed up this arrangement could be, I visited Florida shortly after I started this job.  Everyone of those functional heads swore to me that their part of the company was making money.  But when you added it up, they were actually in bankruptcy.  It became convoluted and financial reporting was designed to reflect convoluted structure.  Somehow, they all convinced themselves that they were making money.

Solution: eliminate the entire organization in Florida and empower management in each country to be responsible for its own business.  Each country became its own PNL, and the entire organization became more entrepreneurial and less complicated.

What causes this complexity?  Mostly ego and a desire to control.

Employees in big companies are typically eager to change and quick to embrace the idea of simplification.  It is complexity that sets people running in the opposite direction.

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Book – Reinvention

reinvention.pngJust before our professional association meeting at the company office, we realized that the previous group was still occupying the room. ¬†As a representative of both professional association and the company, I found myself encouraging previous group to leave and cleaning the tables. ¬†A couple of books were left in the auditorium…

A free book on business reinvention?  Absolutely irresistible!

The book has quite interesting approach: a combination of organizational and personal (professional) change in one process, as authors thought that personal and organizational change processes were so similar, that two separate books were not needed.

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The most profound statement of the book is the comparison of the degree of change – external and internal for both an organization and an individual.

To be successful, you and your organization must have the ability to reinvent, pivot, and morph faster than the speed of the external environment that you operate within.  Possessing the ability to not only survive disruption but also accelerate results during turbulent and challenging times is a skill that must be mastered.

A cute video explains “six deadly blindfolds” and an approach to handle inevitable disruptions.

Do you or your organization have “buoys” in place so that you are rarely surprised when powerful shock-waves begin pounding on your shore? ¬†Great organizations and highly adaptive professionals seem to be better at predicting and understanding incoming changes than others.

Elements needed for the reinvention effort to be successful:

  • Dissatisfaction (feeling a need for change)
  • Focus (well-articulated future state)
  • Alignment (available infrastructure, including tools, processes, finances, etc.)
  • Execution (comprehensive game plan with clear milestones)
  • Leadership¬†
  • Cost of Change (reinvention costs: financial, social, physical, mental, etc.)

(D x F x A x E)L > C

A general manager of a major division announced a plan of the division redesign, while the division was still producing better results than other parts of the company. ¬†A push-back from the executive team was overcome by the requirement to conduct an environmental scan. ¬†60 days later, humbled executives reported that they were actually #5 in market share, down from #2 and dropping fast. “They discovered new strategies of the competition. ¬†And customers gave them an earful. ¬†The executive team was now ready for a redesign.”

SweetmanCragun Group offers a collection of templates related to the reinvention steps mentioned in the book.

An interesting (and very relevant quote) from Catherine Fake, a co-founder of Flickr:

work.PNGSo often people are working hard at the wrong thing.  Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.

 

Book – HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across

HBR.pngThe guide is a collection of helpful tips on how to include remote colleagues into projects more effectively, navigate complicated matrix organization, and build helpful networks.  A fantastic resource with very relevant questions to ponder and ideas to explore, which might remind about an issues from a last week meeting or a phone call planned for tomorrow afternoon.

One of the most interesting perspectives of the book is a network analysis.

…high performers have strong ties to

1. network.PNGpeople who offer them new information or expertise, including internal or external clients, who increase their market awareness; peers in other functions, divisions, or geographies, who share best practices; and contacts in other industries, who inspire innovation;

2. formally powerful people, who provide mentoring, sense-making, political support, and resources; and informally powerful people, who offer influence, help coordinating projects, and support among the rank and file; and

3. people who give them developmental feedback, challenge their decisions, and push them to be better. At an early career stage, an employee might get this from a boss or customers; later, it tends to come from coaches, trusted colleagues, or a spouse.

A network can be imbalanced and have unexpected redundancies; active approach to building a network is the most beneficial:

Write down three business results you hope to achieve in the next year, and then list people who could help you with them.

A thought provoking article Make Your Enemies Your Allies, recommends three steps to handle unfortunate situations in the office: redirection, reciprocity, and rationality.  The article provides a couple of successful examples of the approach, including an example of initially unpopular idea, which was eventually supported by an organization.

The book also suggested an interesting approach to relationship with management:¬†your boss can be considered as a brand, and your boss’s boss the ultimate customer.

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 ūüôā ¬† 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…” ¬†ūüôā

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

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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 ‚Äď not accounts ‚Äď 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¬†‚ÄúMarketing and Sales‚ÄĚ was an important topic, and a few years later, London 2014, the emphasis shifted to ‚ÄúMarketing and IT,‚ÄĚ even if challenge of working with sales continued to persist. ¬†Juniper presented it progress as Technology > Process> People‚Ķ ¬†and, after a thoughtful pause, the presenter mentioned, ‚Äúwe should have started from people.‚ÄĚ ¬†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 Рmarketers 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 ūüôā

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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 РVB)

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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 ūüôā
  • 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…”