Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A New Year's Fitness Plan for Your CMO (Content Marketing Operations)

 
Over the past few months, IDC has worked to define "Content Marketing" and to espouse its vital role in the execution of marketing campaigns.

If you're not on-board yet as to the necessary role of Content Marketing -- read no further !  But if you are, your next step is to assess your operational readiness for Content Marketing Operations. In a nutshell: does your marketing organization have the people, the tools, the process competency, and the leadership mandate, to roll-out Content Marketing capability across campaigns and product-lines?

 

IDC defines Content Marketing Operations as: "The execution of repeatable and coordinated processes to plan, create, develop, curate and distribute, and maintain the content assets and properties used for content marketing."
 
Using IDC's new MaturityScape framework, here is a 5-step model to help you assess where you are on the arc of "CMO" competency:
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
Stage 1: Ad Hoc — Business as Usual

Description: Business as usual — Content marketing does not exist. Assets are created by marketing, but they are mainly product marketing and corporate marketing assets and very rarely content marketing assets (refer to Figure 2). There is no strategy, governance, or process around asset creation, and most activities exist in silos of execution.

Business impact: Marketing, and in turn the entire company, is misaligned with the buyer. There is a lack of successful engagement with the marketplace, which leads to diminishing bookings and, in marketing's case, defunding.

Stage 2: Opportunistic — Houston, We Have a Problem !

Description: Houston, we have a problem  !  Marketing acknowledges that content marketing as a function must be developed and that it must be differentiated from product marketing. Movement begins around content marketing, mainly focusing on the initial steps to understand and organize around the topic. Efforts are made to assess what assets currently exist within the organization.

Business impact: The marketing organization begins the process of reorganizing around content marketing; this includes new executives, new titles, and new initiatives. Significant "wins" do not occur in this stage, but initial momentum toward change can be observed.

Stage 3: Repeatable — Content Marketing Works!

Description: Content marketing works! — Strategy and governance (rules, tools, and schools) take form. With growing sponsorship and results, content marketing is well on its way to becoming a respected and important part of the marketing organization. Tangible results are being felt and, more importantly, seen from content marketing.

Business impact: The marketing organization and the company as whole begin to see their messaging and voice be accepted in the marketplace. Through data, marketing is able to decipher between effective and ineffective content marketing assets.

Stage 4: Managed — Content Marketing Is Job Number 1

Description: Content marketing is job number 1 — Content marketing is globally accepted as an important part of the marketing organization. The CMO or head of marketing is fully aware and supportive of content marketing operations efforts. Formalized staffing processes and budgets are in place.

Business impact: Marketing is able to use content marketing to show pipeline attribution. The content marketing assets produced are well received by the buyers and influencers in the market. The company has a leading voice.

Stage 5: Optimized — Content-Driven Success

Description: Content-driven success — Content marketing is an integral part of every line of business and each region's marketing activities. The corporate center of excellence (COE) works in harmony with all marketers, and marketers hold the COE in high regard. Content marketing is recognized as one of the most important parts of not only the marketing department but the entire company.
 
Business Impact: Marketing is able to use content marketing to show direct revenue attribution and can utilize content marketing assets to predict business impact prior to the asset going live. Content marketing operations has created efficiencies and cut costs from the overall marketing budget. The company is seen as a thought leader on content marketing.
 
IDC's future outlook is that Content Marketing -- as much as it has been a buzzword of the past few years -- will eventually be so fundamental to marketing execution that it will lose its current "star" status. And, if your marketing organization is not moving up this maturity curve in 2015...you may be putting many other elements and practices of your entire marketing execution at risk.

 
 

Monday, January 19, 2015

The New CMO's First Hundred Day Playbook

In a 2014 study, IDC found that 51% of CMOs at tech companies have held their position for fewer than two years. We predict many new CMOs again this year. How can a new executive start right? IDC interviewed 10 wise, seasoned, CMOs for a glimpse into their first hundred days playbook.

Transitions are vital moments when even the smallest executive actions have a disproportionate effect on outcomes. It's a risky time for a new CMO who starts with neither the knowledge nor the alliances necessary for success. Fail to build momentum during the first hundred days, and a CMO will struggle for the rest of his/her (probably short) tenure. Job loss is not the only blow that may be suffered by a poorly conducted start. Many more CMOs fail to reach their full potential in their current position, thus putting a promising career on a slower track.

Success in the first hundred days, on the other hand, sets the stage for a brilliant performance. The 10 heads of marketing interviewed by IDC collectively recommended these six plays.

Play #1: Understand your real job.

Marketing is very closely tied to business context. A new CMO must assess quickly what work is really needed. Does the company need more awareness, a brand refresh, or a full product portfolio transformation? Each of these strategies requires a radically different approach from marketing.

Peter Isaacson, Demandbase: "What are the business goals of the company and the expectations for marketing? What are the business priorities and where is the company going? Get this straight from the mouth of the CEO. What is expected of you? Are there any unrealistic expectations that you need to set straight [such as] build a new category in the first two months? Get on the same page right from the beginning."

Elisa Steele, Jive Software:  "There is a big opportunity and a big problem. No CMO in any company has exactly the same responsibility [as another CMO]. You know what a CFO does, what sales does, HR, etc. CMOs are different. Are they responsible for communications? Strategy? Product? Customer service? CEOs can create a spec of their own definition. But that requires a very mixed pool of candidates and it's difficult to understand what any candidate's power skill needs to be."

Greg Estes, NVIDIA: "Building an executive team is like building a sports team. Different players are good at different things. [CEOs] might find they hired a great shortstop when they needed a good first baseman."

Play #2: Speed up your learning curve.

The amount of information that needs to be absorbed in the first hundred days is prodigious. It's best to approach learning in a direct and methodical way.

Paul Appleby, BMC: "To remain relevant, our number 1 priority must be to drive a new level of engagement with our customers. We are headquartered in Houston, Texas. However, our customers are based globally. As such, we need to engage with them globally. In my first three months, I travelled the globe and met with over 500 of our largest customers to understand the dynamic impact of digital disruption on their businesses. I also met with our teams in every major city where we operate. We listened and pivoted our engagement model, market positioning, and service delivery model based on what we heard."

Play #3: Get the right people on the bus.

Waste little time in building a crackerjack team. Make tough decisions on whether existing team leaders should stay, go, or be repositioned. Make great hires quickly, too, as leaders will need people to achieve early success.

Christine Heckart, Brocade: "First, get the right people in the right job. I meet everyone on the team if I can. For key people, it's one on one — all direct reports, all top talent, all people in key roles. I meet the rest in group reviews at least once. [In these group reviews] everyone gets two to three hours to present — What are you proud of? What's working, what's not working, what's broken? Think of the future, what does success look like? In parallel, I run a change management process. The result is a new org structure, roles described, a people plan (gaps, promotions, etc.). You would be shocked at how often I've found that attention to the right organization has been ignored."

Jonathan Martin, EMC:  "The first few weeks in any role should be spent assembling a new team and listening. In the first conversations, nothing makes sense, but after a while you see the same challenges. You need to be creative about finding solutions. With a large global team, it's likely that someone somewhere has solved those problems. Use the scale of the organization. Raise up the super capable in the regions. I found a social expert in India and a guy in Italy who used Twitter to set up CEO meetings. Then, overcommunicate. I tweet. I blog internally. I hold a TV town hall once or twice a month."

Play #4: Make a visible difference.

Early wins create momentum. Promote early wins widely and loudly so that the CMO and the marketing team are seen as the heroes.

Andy Cunningham, Avaya: "You need a few small wins. Before you can get the big jobs done, you need to earn your credibility. During the first hundred days, you are mostly focused with getting the organization to a place where they will follow you. The small things must be meaningful. Earn your way into the fold. Then you have a chance to get the big jobs done. The more the organization sees you having an impact, the more likely they are to take you under their wing.

"You have to pick the right initial wins. For example, building the funnel or repositioning might be really important, but it will be months before the company sees the impact. At Avaya, I focused on the corporate narrative first because it was really needed, progress could be made fast, and having it would be transformative. It was and now I can focus on longer-term issues."

Play #5: Expedite key initiatives with operational rigor.

Identify the five-to-eight must-do initiatives that will create the needed business value that the CEO really wants. Institute a culture of operational rigor. Overcommunicate. A mantra, such as "Jive Forward", can to be a container for the change that is coming and will energize the company.

Christine Heckart, Brocade: "You've got to think big — most companies are looking for a new positioning. But you need to start small. It's hard to get the whole thing done on the first turn of the flywheel. Identify the small number of things that will establish marketing as the growth engine. Establish a rolling two-quarter plan and keep relooking at how it's working."

Play #6: Develop critical alliances.

CMOs will never be successful without forging alliances and coalitions to support initiatives. The CEO is the most important, alliance. His/her support will make or break the CMO's success. Alliances are also needed with the CFO, the head of sales and, especially in this era of digital transformation and data-driven marketing, the CIO.

Lynn Vojvodich, Salesforce.com: "Build relationships with key stakeholders. What are the common objectives? Where is the ROI? These are the areas that need transparency. Everyone feels they don't have enough resources. It's important to be up front about marketing investment and performance so that people understand why necessary trade-offs are made."

More recommendations for the road ahead.
IDC believes that great CMOs will continue to seek, and to be poached, for plum opportunities. These shifts will set in motion a domino effect. Therefore, CMO turbulence will continue. Turbulent environments favor the brave, the persistent, the resilient, and the lucky. While there is no checklist for success, IDC recommends that CMOs and CMO wannabes keep their eyes on the changing landscape and their resumes and networks current.

Kevin Iaquinto, JDA: "The turnover issue is all because of the pace of change. As I look at my own career, I have been in seven different tech firms. I've been acquired four times! This type of change inevitably means change in the management team including the CEO and, following that, other C-suite executives."

Lisa Joy Rosner, Neustar: "This is the golden age of marketing. With the constant innovation of new technology the focus has centered on the CMO. Some CMOs jump to a different company because they want to continue to innovate. 'I've just built out my stack and I want to do it again based on what I learned and with newer/better tools.' This is how they get recruited away. There are very few CMOs who really 'get' digital — so they are in demand. If you are really, really, good, your work is visible and the headhunters call — then each time you move, you get a new opportunity to build a better team and you get 'more tools in the sandbox' to build the perfect marketing machine."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Call for Participation: IDC's 2015 Cloud Marketing Barometer Survey

IDC's CMO Advisory Service is excited to announce that we are breaking new ground with a survey focused on marketing benchmarks within Cloud Software and Digital Services companies. This is brand new research for us, and an opportunity for your company to help IDC define the next set of important marketing KPIs.

 If you are a marketing executive at a cloud software company or within a cloud software business unit, this survey and the corresponding results will help you identify how to set your organization up for success.

What are the benefits?

• A complimentary copy (value of $3,500) of the resulting report, which will define new KPIs for Cloud marketing organizations.

• An invitation to a client-only telebriefing featuring key data and essential guidance from this study.

Who Should Participate?

Marketing executives in a position of responsibility for the worldwide marketing practices related to cloud or digital services at the company-level or these product line(s), or business unit(s).

How Long Should it Take?

Depending on several factors, as quick as 15 minutes!

What's the Deadline?

Tuesday, Feb 13, 2014

How do I Participate?

To assure the highest data quality we carefully screen our participants. Please email Rich Vancil (Rvancil (at) IDC (dot) com for the survey link.

Confidentiality: All answers will be kept confidential within IDC's CMO Advisory Service and all data will be aggregated for the purposes of trend analysis. IDC has executed similar surveys for over 12 years with participation from the largest public tech companies ranging to pre-IPO companies. Confidentiality is of the upmost importance and has never been breached.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

IDC's 10 Predictions for CMOs for 2015

What does IDC predict for tech CMOs and their teams in 2015 and beyond?
Our recent report IDC FutureScape: Worldwide CMO / Customer Experience 2015 Predictions highlights insight and perspective on long-term industry trends along with new themes that may be on the horizon. Here's a summary.

1: 25% of High-Tech CMOs Will Be Replaced Every Year Through 2018
There are two dominant drivers behind the increased CMO turnover over the past two years. One driver centers on the cycle of new product innovations, new companies, and new CMO jobs. The second (but equal) driver centers around the required "fit" for a new CMO in the today's tumultuous environment and the short supply of CMOs with transformational skill sets.

Guidance: Everyone in the C-Suite needs to "get" modern marketing to make the CMO successful.

2: By 2017, 25% of Marketing Organizations Will Solve Critical Skill Gaps by Deploying Centers of Excellence
The speed of marketing transformation and the increased expectations on marketing have left every marketing organization in need of updating its skill sets. In the coming years, CMOs will not only have to recruit and train talent but also create organizational structures that amplify and share best practices. Leading marketing organizations will become masters of the centers of excellence (CoE).

Guidance: Get out of your traditional silos and collaborate.

3: By 2017, 15% of B2B Companies Will Use More Than 20 Data Sources to Personalize a High-Value Customer Journey
Personalization requires a lot of data. CMOs do not suffer from a lack of data — quite the contrary. Today's marketer has dozens, if not hundreds, of sources available. However, companies lack the time, expertise, and financial and technical resources to collect data, secure it, integrate it, deliver it, and dig through it to create actionable insights. This situation is poised for dramatic change.

Guidance: One of your new mantras must be – "do it for the data".

4: By 2018, One in Three Marketing Organizations Will Deliver Compelling Content to All Stages of the Buyer's Journey
CMOs reported to IDC that "building out content marketing as an organizational competency" was their #2 priority (ROI was #1). Content marketing is what companies must do when self-sufficient buyers won't talk to sales people. While it's easy to do content marketing; it's hard to do content marketing well. The most progressive marketing organizations leverage marketing technology and data to develop a buyer-centric content strategy.

Guidance: Remember that it’s the buyer's journey – not your journey for the buyer.

5: In 2015, Only One in Five Companies Will Retool to Reach LOB Buyers and Outperform Those Selling Exclusively to IT
IDC research shows that line-of-business (LOB) buyers control an average of 61% of the total IT spend. LOB buyers are harder to market to and are even more self-sufficient than technical buyers. To succeed with this new buyer, tech CMOs must move more quickly to digital, incorporate social, broaden the types of content, and enable the sales team to maximize their limited time in front of the customer.

Guidance: Worry less about how much video is in your plan and worry more about your message.

6: By 2016, 50% of Large High-Tech Marketing Organizations Will Create In-House Agencies
Advertising agencies have been slow to recognize the pervasive nature of digital. While many digital agencies exist and many have been acquired by the global holding companies, these interactive services typically managed as just another part of the portfolio of services the agency offers. Modern marketing practitioners realize that digital is now in the DNA of everything they do and are ahead of their agencies.

Guidance: Don't wait. Take the lead.

7: By 2018, 20% of B2B Sales Teams Will Go "Virtual," Resulting in Improved Pipeline Conversion Rates
Buyers won't talk to sales until late in the game. But for B2B companies, a completely digital solution may not be answer either. Some solutions are so new, so complex, or customized that a human concierge must intervene. Enter the "virtual" sales rep. This emerging hybrid of marketing, sales and tech service is a far cry from the historical "me and my quota" sales rep. Think of them as a B2B Genius Bar. CMOs must equip the virtual sales rep with success tools.

Guidance: Find the fledgling "virtual" reps in your company and make them heroes – and make yourself one in the process.

8: By 2017, 70% of B2B Mobile Customer Apps Will Fail to Achieve ROI Because they Lack Customer Value-Add
Apps are maturing rapidly into utilities that can greatly enhance customers' personal and professional lives. Brand value is being redefined by value-added services such as monitoring, reporting, best practices, communities, and guidance. Nearly every brand has an app today. But not all apps are created equal. Some apps provide tremendous value, and others will end up on the island of mobile misfits. 

Guidance: Allow your competitor's app to be the "go to" resource and you are essentially locked out of that consumer's life.

9: By 2018, 25% of CMOs and CIOs Will Have a Shared Road Map for Marketing Technology
The CMO and CIO relationship will shape the future of both roles. CMOs must accept that their infrastructure is more effective when it is integral to enterprise IT. CIOs must reinvent their missions to support unprecedented innovation in line-of-business IT.  CMOs and CIOs must work together for vendor selection, data governance, backup and recovery, security, and a host of other issues.

Guidance: CMO and CIO should jointly lobby the CEO to overinvest in marketing technology.

10: By 2018, 20% of B2B CMOs Will Drive Budget Increases by Attributing Campaign Results to Revenue Performance
With the sharp lessons of the Great Recession still fresh in their minds, CEOs and CFOs want to make sure every dollar leads to results. If marketing can achieve full revenue attribution promise, this will not only to satisfy demands for accountability but will result in budget increases. But marketing's path to full attribution requires a complex orchestration of technology, data, and marketing skills and can't be accomplished without partnerships with IT, sales, and finance.

Guidance: Start with attribution of individual campaigns and tactics and eventually you'll build this Holy Grail.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Meet the Virtual Sales Rep

Robert sits in an office near Provo, Utah at what looks like the console of an air traffic
controller. But instead of directing jets through the airspace, he's using Twitter to guide a software company's buyer through her decision-journey. Part marketer, part sales, part tech service, Robert is one of an emerging breed of "virtual" sales reps. Could this be the dream team that B2B has been waiting for?

The B2B "Genius Bar"® as a Role Model

The "virtual" sales rep role in its ideal form provides the personalized, anticipatory, service of a five-star hotel. Think of it as the B2B version of an Apple Genius Bar – using virtual tools. The Apple executive team modeled the Genius Bar after Ritz-Carlton's customer service. Hallmarks of this exemplary concierge service include a personal touch; a warm, friendly, attitude; and attention to satisfying customer needs at every step. Sales expert Anneke Seley says the "virtual" sales rep culture is a far-cry from the historical "me and my quota" rep.

Sales teams are finally coming to grips with digital age facts. The culture shift recognizes that engagement must be sensitive to the appropriate stage of the buyer's decision-journey. "Buyers aren't ready to buy until they are ready to buy". Marketers all know by now that buyers prefer self-sufficiency and they avoid talking to sales people until the decision-journey is substantially complete.  IDC research shows that for tech products averages this distance averages about 50%. Now sales is also starting to appreciate that buyers are alienated when by placed prematurely into the arena. At the same time sales leaders don't want to waste an expensive sales resource on someone who isn't ready to buy.

Digital May Not be Enough

Content marketing is what companies must do to fill the gap when buyers won't talk to traditional sales people.  Content marketing is a hugely important communication strategy and companies will not be successful without mastering it.

Yet, for B2B companies, a completely digital engagement solution may not ever be the right answer. For one thing, content marketing capabilities in most companies is still ramping. Even when content marketing becomes excellent, digital may never be personal enough. Some B2B solutions are so complex, customized, or require so much trust that a human must intervene for the buyer to be truly served.  It may also be in the vendor's best interest to involve a good sales person early. One tech CMO told me that although the company could offer eCommerce, a human touch tripled the size of the deal.

The End of One-to-One

Sales must abandon the image of the lone hero acting alone. A distinguishing feature between traditional sales and marketing has been that sales covered one-to-one interactions and marketing covered the one-to-many. The evolving "virtual" sales model is somewhere in-between. Maybe we can call it some-to-one.

Because the Apple's Genius Bar is not just a person. It's a chain of orchestrated interactions constructed not only with people but also with data, technology, knowledge, content, training, and culture. It takes a village to offer five-star concierge service.

This shift means new responsibilities for marketing. To engage in a buyer-sensitive way, marketing must provision "virtual" sales reps, train them, and merge them into new types of campaigns. These new reps will be power users of CRM and marketing automation. They will be adept at social selling. They will depend on behavioral data and pitch-perfect content. Depending on the company business model they may generate leads, qualify them, develop business, close sales, or offer technical buying assistance.

IDC believes that the challenge of aligning with sales and instituting sales enablement will seem like baby steps compared to the full-on role integration of this new function. CMO's should jump on this trend now.

Genius Bar is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.


Friday, November 21, 2014

What is Content Marketing? IDC's Definition of Content Marketing

If you looked away for a split second you may have missed the rise of Content Marketing from "buzz word" to "must have". In fact, at the beginning of 2014 CMOs at the largest technology companies reported that "Building out content marketing as an organizational competency" was the 2nd most important initiative, only behind measuring ROI. Since then, they have responded by putting more budget, staff, and energy into the area, yet there is still confusion around the topic. What exactly is Content Marketing? Is it a type of marketing asset? Is it a process or a technique? Or something else?

IDC's CMO Advisory Service, has seen this issue first hand and to help remedy the situation the group has  published a document, What Is Content Marketing? IDC Defines One of Marketing's Most Critical New Competencies. Included within is a formal definition for Content Marketing.

IDC's Definition of Content Marketing

Content marketing is any marketing technique whereby media and published information (content) are used to influence buyer behavior and stimulate action leading to commercial relationships. Optimally executed content marketing delivers useful, relevant information assets that buyers consider a beneficial service rather than an interruption or a "pitch."

What is Included Within Content Marketing?


A definition is a great start, but the question that follows is, "What is, and is not Content Marketing?" To help marketers become more grounded in this definition of content marketing the CMO Advisory Service has also published a guide for "Types of Marketing Assets." In the graphic below you can see the break out of marketing assets into three categories:
  • Content Marketing Assets 
  • Product Marketing Assets
  • Corporate Marketing Assets
Each is important to the company and within the marketing mix, but only content marketing is new in purpose and new in form. Also, key to remember is Content Marketing Assets are not replacements for Product Marketing Assets or Corporate Marketing Assets.


Why Content Marketing, Why Now?


For decades the marketing team produced communication assets about its products, services, and about the company itself.  Before the digital era, sales people were the primary persuaders and these assets were used as sales tools. Marketing conducted some persuasive outreach, primarily through direct mail. However, this little thing called the internet changed everything - as digital technologies have progressed, buyers have become increasingly self-sufficient, the contribution of the sales person has eroded. This erosion leaves a gigantic gap in a vendor's go-to-market capability. How do companies build these relationships with buyers if they won't talk with sales people? Content Marketing fills this gap.

At IDC we believe that marketers must continue work to keep pace with their buyers. To be successful, not only is agility required, but clear guidelines and processes on how to execute new and exciting practices like Content Marketing.

Sam Melnick is Senior Reasearch Analyst with IDC's CMO Advisory Service, follow him on Twitter: @SamMelnick

Friday, October 17, 2014

IDC's Worldwide Marketing Technology 2014-2018 Forecast: $20 Billion and Growing Fast

Organizations worldwide will spend approximately $20.2 billion on software solutions for marketing in 2014. The marketing software market is expected to grow to more than $32.3 billion in 2018. It will be one of the fastest-growing areas in high tech, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4%. Over the five years from 2014 to 2018, organizations cumulatively will spend $130 billion on software for marketing departments. This forecast includes a wide range of solutions in four broad categories: interaction management, content production and management, data and analytics, and marketing management and administration. (For more information see Worldwide Marketing Software Forecast 2014-2018: $20 Billion and Growing Fast, IDC # DOC #251902, October 2014.)

Worldwide Marketing Technology Spending by Category, 2014–2018

                                                                          Source: IDC 2014

The emergence of Marketing as a Service (MaaS)

While innovation continues, the era of consolidation has begun. Many acquisitions have been made by software industry majors to bring together key pieces of the marketing and advertising software landscape. This activity has been coincident with the transformation of the larger IT industry to what IDC calls the 3rd Platform where technology and maintenance services are offered "as a service." This model is a game changer for marketers and marketing software suppliers. Even though almost all current marketing solutions are cloud based, they are just beginning to be integrated enough to provide seamless operations and reporting across the diverse activities of a large marketing organization. Furthermore, newer platform solutions can be leveraged by third parties such as agencies and marketing BPOs to provide value-added services in a bundled offering, which IDC calls "marketing as a service." (For more information on MaaS, see Marketing as a Service (MaaS): A New Route to Market, IDC #247587, March 2014)

5 Action Items for CMOs
  1. Construct a technology road map based on business drivers to guide investment
  2. Consolidate applications into a platform with data and process level integration to improve efficiency and effectiveness
  3. Work to integrate marketing technology with the enterprise infrastructure to reveal deeper insights into customers, partners, and market opportunities
  4. Establish inter-disciplinary teams and processes to combat the silos point solutions can create
  5. Learn to leverage corporate IT to improve vendor management, due diligence, and governance practices
For more information, please contact me at gmurray(at)idc(dot)com.