Modern Marketing Experience 2017


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


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.


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


(click image above to enlarge)

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.


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!”


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 🙂


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


(click image above to enlarge)

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.


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)


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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


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
  • 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…”

Modern Marketing Mashup – Content, Personas, Data

mashupThe conversation started from content – generally hot topic in the marketing community.  Though all of us understand the benefit of useful content, the quantity vs. quality question often takes center of the discussion.

An interesting point: even if the same message is sent repeatedly to the same audience, it can be completely acceptable.  The audience is unlikely to be overwhelmed, and we will be lucky if they see the piece at all. Our customers are busy…

Marketing – creativity and content tied together by data

Mark Friedler

The discussion after the panel probed if creativity and content could be exactly the same.  My guess, if the content is defined as a “topic” and creativity is “method of delivery” of the topic, the above definition of marketing would make sense.

Content is typically organized by personas.  3M approaches personas as roles, goals, and then tasks.

  • Roles (could be a dentist, etc.)
  • Goals and pinpoints (price sensitive dentist, dentist that wants to move patients as quickly through his office as possible, dentist “craftsman,” who is interested in the craftsmanship of the work)
  • Tasks (transactional, etc. )

Executives can point out: we do not need personas…  the data will show us on the granular level how to target.  The argument against this position was the need to start from something, even if the ideal targeting is possible…  and personas is an excellent opportunity.

Just because you have the data does not mean you have the answer

Mark Friedler

When data “is not quite there:” purchasing the product and cancelling the order because of changes in the delivery time.  Despite the order was cancelled, the lost customer was added to the “new customer” program, what did not make the person happy 🙂

NAS – not always selling

Travel company testing: if the person is not purchasing travel package to New York…  not to recommend a travel package to another destination, but useful content for the target destination: “What to do in New York in the spring…”

Eloqua Experience 2013 – Modern Marketing

As usually, the conference gave many ideas to try, showed discoveries to ponder, and different perspectives to remember 😉  A few slides from the training sessions were good to save.

Good reference slide with type of campaigns by buying cycle and their goals.


An evolution of campaign map is interesting to watch – this is the best version I have seen 🙂


Lovely slide for the argument to invest more in lead management and communication with sales.


Typical marketing and sales hand-off illustration.


Account-based marketing

A new (for me) emphasis was made on account-based marketing.  The premise of the idea is abundance of leads and need for qualification rather than increasing of the lead number.  Account-based approach can be used as an additional (or primary) qualification method.


Responsive emails

My general perception from the session was “Thou shalt not do responsive emails in-house”  🙂   Eloqua templates make sense and code relatively straightforward.  However, the amount of nuances that has to be considered for the good template and testing needed…  suggests that it is probably better to outsource to experts.

Quarterly Business Review

Kronos does quarterly business review with the SMO, where all marketing activities are evaluated on high level.  The review allows CMO to come to the executive meetings with numbers (similar to the rest of executives).

Quarterly Business Review

  • requires executive support
  • should include insights
  • designed to improve business results

Pre-schedule 2 hour sessions two years in advance to allow executives to attend (an opportunity for decision making).

Executives are overwhelmed with dashboards and reports; share recommendations and results.  During first meetings, CMO will request of of some materials and less of other materials.  Teams are not present during the review – it is easier for CMO to ask questions that might be embarrassing for managers.

Ha! Kronos has GA, WT and Omniture, but most of the insights come from GA 🙂

Recommendation to find existing research and information to “build the case” for anything needed.

The presenter is Director of Marketing Operations (a marketer).

Below are a few of marketing metrics used by the company:A-dashboard



Contact Acquisitions is an interesting metric.  The company was strategically purchasing contacts with derision-making power to enhance its database.


Industry disruptions

This was a “scary” session…   Our marketing industry is disrupted… and in general business is disrupted…  and the changes will be shocking.

Google already wiped out over 10,000 businesses (maps, encyclopedias, etc.) by providing free information.

Businesses need to adapt.  Marketers need to adapt.


We reviewed mega trends and tried to evaluate which will be the most important for our industry.  A few of us in manufacturing tried to identify trends that will impact manufacturing and found that too many trends could be involved.  The oversize was an interesting insight on the changes to come…


Interesting notes from the session: smart is a new green, Seimens is reorganizing around “cities as customers,”  Pampers had flat sales emphasizing features (driest diapers); sales increased when Pampers re-positioned itself as a partner of mothers for long-term health and success of the babies).

Hmmm…. can manufacturing entertain a subscription model? 🙂

mI skipped markies, the collection of best of the best will be an inspiration for the future!  🙂

Reviewing entries would be helpful for ideas how to advance modern marketing in our own organizations. 

Eloqua Experience 2012

Excellent as usually!  The unexpected surprise is availability of most of the presentations right after the conference (actually before the last speakers concluded their presentations).  Thanks to this wonderful organizational approach, I can use great quality screenshots for my own notes.

Joe, thank you for posting your keynote presentation and doing it so quickly – I am sure some of your points will find its way into countless PPTs of the conference attendees 😉  One of the best slides is the changing funnel (below).

Conference points that I found interesting:

  • Recommendation to have a cross-functional data quality team. This team could maintain the data dictionary and take care of the data normalization process to assure that the purchased lists are normalized before they are loaded into Eloqua.
  • Idea from the advocates reception: use “forwarded-looking” emails from sales when the white papers or webinars are “forwarded” by the rep to the contact.  For one company it increased the open rate over 3 times.
  • SLA between marketing and sales is different for each company – should the lead go to marketing when the lead has expired?  Maybe 😉
  • Book recommended “Emotional Branding” (though I am not sure when I can read everything I want to read… 😉  )
  • Eloqua seem to create a responsive design email templates…  I would love to learn more.  So far our developers did not find a good approach.  Also, it does not look like Eloqua has a report for who opens emails on which device – we can try Litmus when we ready. I am hoping I can learn more about email design suitable for mobile devices…

Very interesting: new DemandBase targeting method (I would call it “Evolved Remarketing”  😉  )  The new method allows to target only companies desired and offer different ads based on the company.  For example, a prospect receives one ad, and the customer company receives another.

Traditional targeting is not that effective (though more effective as no targeting at all).  Yes, I would love to try it!!  I would love to try remarketing first (easier to do) – we will see how easy it will be 😉

  • New measurement approach. About three years ago Eloqua rolled out 16 recommended measures (and probably all of us understood that it was excessive 😉  ).  However, now Eloqua recommends only 4 (perfect!) “
    • Reach (contact database size)
    • Velocity (technically the length of the sales cycle)
    • Conversion
    • “One view of the truth” for sales and marketing
  • Larry recommended to read Revenue Engine, which I still have not read.
  • Subscription for Eloqua Chart of the Week – great resource!  I particularly love the button – one more example in my library of “proper way” of using “submit” in any form 🙂
  • I received a recommendation from fellow Eloqua user to check out as an organization that can have benchmark information on sales organizations in the same industry to counteract the general perception “oh, our industry does not use modern marketing…” what his organization did rather successfully.
  • How to get sales to surrender their hidden lists and share them with marketing: one organization asked sales reps to send them photocopied business cards to minimize any work reps would need to do.  Marketing hired a company to transcribe the cards and enter them into the database.  First person to complete the task won the iPad.  The company successfully extracted hundreds of contacts from sales “back pocket.”
  • Sales organization success – if 50% of sales reps show up for marketing training, it is good! 🙂

Content marketing.  

Interesting approach – success measure of content is leads generated (I could not agree more! The “Awareness” is just so previous century when we could not measure anything 🙂  ).

Content should focus on how do you solve my problem.
Content is important at the top of the funnel.

“I don’t believe in social media marketing; I believe in content marketing where social media is just a channel.”   Yes!  Hooray!!  Now I can quote it!!

Content is useful in three areas: email, search, social (and I can quote it too!!  )

In general, I personally believe that potential of social media is overrated.  I do not deny the new possibilities that social media presents, but I question their effectiveness compared to the older channels, such as email, search, retargeting, etc.  I know that Eloqua was doing A/B test to see how social sign on compared with the plain old form.  I have not heard about any results…

Social media effectiveness seem to be similar to pharmaceutical research – compared to placebo it works, but cheap previous generation medication is still more effective and has less side effects… and costs less.  Still, we are infatuated with the new medication because it is new…  Social media is similar – yes, it can be used as a tactic, but compared to other tactics in our arsenal, it is less effective and more costly for the goal of lead generation.

Social media has its place… but its importance is generally overrated… I think 😉

Modern Marketing  (and word of mouth is great, but probably a little overstated 😉  )

  1. Understanding buyers
  2. Offer compelling content
  3. Leverage power of word of mouth
  4. Deliver right information to your sales channel
  5. Ensure your action drive results


  • CMOs used to be brand builders; now CMOs are more analytically and tech savvy compared to other people of executive team
  • CMOs believe that market and technology are two powerful forces (great!!  finally!  hopefully the days when CMOs were either terrified of technology or could not care less about the market are passé)
  • Landscape is changing… Customer demographics is changing… Shift from markets to individuals.
  • CMOs must be technology innovators
  • ROI is no longer optional; ROI is top priority, but not all feel they can actually do it
  • Interesting – the “home” of the marketing operations is still undetermined… 🙂  Eloqua pulled marketing operation organization to report to CMO – ability to scale.  Previously marketing operation reported to demand gen.

“Getting back to Why” by Motorola

  • Standardization and normalization are part of the crawl stage (very smart…  it seems to be silly to try to produce more complex campaigns before simple ability to normalize a purchased list…)

  • Lead scoring needs to be reviewed on regular basis
  • Motorola did web site personalization based on their CMS and Eloqua… DemandBase has a solution – though it would require somewhat reasonable CMS
  • Motorola experienced “content explosion” – no wonder everybody is hiring content writers 😉  
  • Lesson learned by Motorola – process.  The system can automate the process, but the process needs to exist or be developed (what is a reoccurring theme in digital marketing during last several years). 

The most inspiring part of the event was probably the keynote by Jeffrey W. Hayzlett – where we all were inspired to “lead the revolution” and not to limit our organizations’ potentials to the least common denominator. In modern marketing – it is very true!  I shall read this book… 

Wonderful conference – as usually.  Hope to be there next year!  

Relationship One – thank you very much for a wonderful dinner for everybody who was able to attend the conference from our organization!