- They want a career that allows them to do interesting work
- Money is important, but so too is flexibility and bonus potential
- When looking at a potential employer the opportunity to develop is the most crucial factor
- They value a coaching style of leadership
- They expect email to be the dominant style of communications for the foreseeable future
Friday, 22 November 2013
Friday, 15 November 2013
I love it when you stumble across something you created a few years ago and, upon re-reading, decide that it still holds up.
This is what we came up with:
Let me clarify just a little:
Friday, 8 November 2013
... But would you really want to?
This was the question I tried to address in a 45 minute webinar for BrightTalk yesterday as part of their Campaign Automation online summit. The proposition was pretty straightforward: before you start to Automate your marketing, you better be pretty clear about what the purpose of your marketing actually is. There's no escape from this - no tool is going to do the thinking for you (at least, not until IBM's Watson computer joins the marketing team), or make your content interesting and engaging.
Marketing Automation and Marketing Transformation are not the same thing - the first is a component of the second.
You can catch the full recording of the webinar below (you may need to register for BrightTalk first)
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
- Commercial Connectedness. Running events and producing brochures is not enough anymore. We need to demonstrate revenue contribution to the business. That means marketing leaders need to be tightly integrated into the commercial fabric of the business so that they can shape the direction and increase the contribution that their department can make.
- Inspiration. Today's marketing department needs to evolve to take account of changes in buyer behaviour and the digital landscape. Leaders need to have a clear vision of where the team is heading that everyone can buy into and contribute towards.
- Operational Focus. Change is exciting and stimulating (most of the time), but you get little credit for it until it's done. Meanwhile if your revenue contribution declines you'll have more "help" than you can handle. So you need to have the operational focus to ensure that you turn all the dials green so that you can get the space to drive the transformations you need.
- Digital Savvy. One day soon we'll stop using the term "digital marketing" and just use the word "marketing" again, as the digital element will be inherently integrated into everything we do. As a leader you don't need to have the departmental expert in all things digital, but you absolutely need to know enough to see how the various elements fit together and add value (to the prospect)
- Customer Strategy & Advocacy. In the rush to become "modern" I have seen many organisations invest in siloed digital skills at the expense of more tradition strategy skills - planning, targeting, value propositions, etc. The reality is you need both - one of the key roles of a leader is to ensure that the activity of the team comes together to add value from the perspective of the customer/prospect.
- Resilience. If you're trying to drive change you need to expect bumps along the journey. A strong vision will go a long way to help keep things in perspective, but you will also need the toughness to pick yourself up and re-engage, and to help others do the same.
- Collaboration. You may think you're smart - but clever people surround themselves with smart people. Fostering a culture that celebrates sharing and teaming creates a buzz and confidence that maximises the effectiveness of the whole team
- Decisiveness. Don't confuse collaboration with abdication! Your are paid to make choices and to do the right thing. Sometimes you just need to make a decision and stand by it, rather than conduct endless research and discussion.
- Perspective. Leading a team is a challenge and a privilege. It's both exhausting and energising. But you need to step away from time to time and, for want of a better word, breathe!
Thursday, 20 June 2013
I use the term "Agency" loosely. These days everybody wants to sell to the Marketing department. As well as media agencies, marketing agencies we now find ourselves increasingly in conversations with various shades of technology supplier, all hoping to relieve us of our marketing budgets with promises of astonishing ROIs (always amusing, since most agencies don't even have the visibility of the sales pipeline in order to even measure the ROI!)
Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with some great agencies and some great people within those agencies. Just to be clear - I do mean YOU. However I've also worked with a number of distinctly average people from both great and average agencies. For clarity - yes, I mean THEM! I also used get approached on a very regular basis by agencies wanting to get 30 minutes in my diary to explore how they might be able to help me.
So let me give you a few personal observations on my experiences in dealing with agencies of various shades over the years. If you are client side and can add some further observations, I'd love to hear from you. If you are in an agency, I'd be delighted if you want to get in touch - perhaps I can help...
One of the only things that kept me sane and fresh was interactions outside of the company - with clients, at conferences, or with agencies. But time was very limited so the default response to any approach had to be - "sorry I can't make a meeting, but if you want to send me something I'll probably ignore it".
That Don't Impress Me Much
Most initial agency meetings went down a familiar path: Initial chit-chat, followed by presentation of the agency's credentials deck, followed by a loose "so how could we help you" conversation.
I rarely felt this was a great use of my time. I wanted more than credentials. I'm not silly. I know that you will put, for instance, the Coca-Cola logo in your credentials even all that you did was design an internal email header 10 years ago. I get that - would probably do the same. That's why I'm not impressed. Oh and by the way - my business is nothing like Coke's, so only focus on relevant client stories.
- What make you any different from every other agency I've seen this month? I'm looking to make a quick decision on whether we will ever have another meeting. No matter how affable I may seem - I've not invited you in for a chat.
- Can you clearly articulate the breadth of your agency's capabilities? I want to have relationships with as few partners as possible. That means I want to see understand what you can do beyond some nice creative. What value can you and your colleageues add to help ease my business pains. Otherwise I think you are just another creative agency, and that you are the only talent there.
- Have you come to the meeting with a provocative point of view on something I really care about? Do you know what the key challenges are for a business marketing leader today? Have you researched to get a sense of my particular challenges and focus areas? Do you have specific capabilities that could help me address my key challenges? Do you share the passions I do?
- Will you disagree with me? I don't want an agency full of yes men. That simply means you will do what I want rather than what is right for the customer/market. If all I wanted was resource, I could have secured it much cheaper than talking to you. I want someone who has opinions and real insight - not just telling me what they learned in a 5 minute Google search.
- Will you educate me? I like to learn about new approaches that I haven't previously considered. Give me a fact or two that I might be able to use into one of my next meetings.
- Can I talk to your clients? I was always keen to engage with other people in a similar position to myself on a peer to peer basis. If you can make some connections for me I have an immediate reason to start building a relationship.
- What are the next steps? I used to be constantly surprised at how many initial meetings ended with a limp "I'll call you again in a few weeks". What are you going to do next? What do you want me to do next?
Don't You Forget About Me
Friday, 5 April 2013
Don't get me wrong - as a Marketing Scientist I am a great fan of using measurements to improve our marketing performance. And certainly measurement will be a key topic at "Engage Me!" - the forthcoming IDM B2B Marketing Annual Conference. But we need to put an appropriate context around our ROI measures if they are to be useful.
Here are three traps that we frequently fall into around the ROI discussion. By understanding the risks and implications of getting it wrong, perhaps we can use these measurements to help guide us to better decisions.
The ROI of What?Measuring the ROI of a marketing department over the course of a year seems perfectly logical to me. There is a set of resources (budget and people) who perform a number of different tasks that collectively should make a difference to the business they are serving. And we can smooth out any discrepancies caused by business that gets closed in the current measurement period that was initiated in the previous period.
But the more "micro" the measurement becomes, the greater the risk of misinterpretation. A campaign may consist of multiple tactics over an extended period of time. My belief is that a campaign really is a series of activities that establish and build relationships that are be nurtured until a some business is generated (and even beyond). In that context, ROI at a campaign level makes sense - because we can take account of all the necessary market conditioning activity as well as the more obvious demand generation work.
But if your definition of a campaign is really only a handful of discrete tactics over a short time period we are getting into dangerous territory. To be meaningful the campaign really needs to be at least as long as the buying cycle. Otherwise you measure the Investment you made in the email campaign, the event and the tele-follow up, but don't get to see the business arising from it. Or else you only measure the return in terms of lead revenue created - which doesn't really count for much unless those leads progress. I used to get so bored when external telemarketing companies would use this approach to claim that my investments with them had created a 2000% ROI. Sorry guys - it didn't; and bandying numbers like this around my business leaders wouldn't gain me any credibility.
Worst of all is when we try to measure the ROI of a discrete tactic. We all know that buyers never purchase as a result of a single tactic so, (despite the fact the many of our measurement tools oversimplify revenue attribution and lump it all against the last touch), so if we make decisions by looking at the calculations alone without considering the context of the related activities, we risk overinvesting in late-touch activities and undervaluing the importance of the activities earlier in the buying cycle.
There's More than One ReturnOf course revenue (and lifetime value) are the ultimate measures of business success from our marketing. But measuring of the impact of every tactic in revenue terms is fraught with danger - particularly for non-DG activity. If you believe that Marketing is about preparing a marketplace and establishing a favourable selling environment as well as capturing demand, then you'll need to develop a different set of tactic measurements to give you indicators on the effectiveness of your social media, content marketing, advertising, and though leadership activities. Sadly many organisations fail to recognise the value of any marketing tactics that do not have a direct linkage to revenue - and then wonder why their DG is not as effective as they had hoped.
There's More than One InvestmentWhile most of the focus on the Investment side of the equations focuses on financial investment, we should not overlook the impact of the choices we make about where our people invest their time. Creating some content inhouse, or leverage our internal experts in our social media activities, all has costs associated - including the opportunity cost of what they could be doing otherwise. Nothing is free.
So as we all get draw into ROI discussions in our different organisations, let's try to be clear on the following
- What is the real scope and purpose of marketing?
- What is the story beyond the raw numbers?
- What would the client/prospect expect?
Let's not let spreadsheet management overtake our desire to serve our clients better. If you disagree, a happy career awaits you in Finance:)
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
Note: This Post first appeared in the IDM Marketing Blog on April 2nd 2013
Saturday, 23 March 2013
As marketers, we are unleashing increasing amounts of content into the marketplace. And as consumers we know that we do our best to ignore most of it! So how do we ensure that the content that we produce stands out from the crowd, and does so on a consistent and cost-effective basis?
That was the topic for a B2B Marketing panel discussion at the Paramount in Centre Point at the beginning of this week, sponsored by Waggener Edstrom. Other panellists besides myself were Prelini Chiechi from Lithium Technologies, Sue Pryce of Unipart Logistics and Nic Shaw from Waggener Edstrom.
In a lively debate some common themes emerged that thought were worth sharing:
1. Marketing needs to focus on more than just Demand Generation. In order for our DG activities to be landing on fertile ground, marketing needs to invest in market conditioning activity (aka thought leadership). One of the negative impacts of the current obsession with ROI of everything is that important non-DG activities are overlooked. Unless this can be overcome it will be difficult to make a case for the validity of content marketing activities (other than as a direct component of lead generation programmes)
2. It's Not About You! This was the morning's recurring theme. The value of our content is measured by the recipient - period. Consequently anything we create must have the customer/prospect in mind. We should audit the content we have to determine where it would fit in a buyers' journey, and challenge ourselves on whether it really adds value to the customer or actually really only serves our own agenda.
3. Content = Creation + Curation. Given that we are trying to build a relationship on our prospect's terms, it's essential to think about curating and sharing other people's relevant content Not only does this reduce our workload but it increases the potential value to our readers.
4. Be Interesting. We are looking for the sweetspot at the intersection of the buyer's passions and our expertise. Having done so we can take an authoritative and individual stance - one that is not the same as the rest of the crowd. And when it comes to standing out from the crowd, give some thought to visual design - unless we can grab our reader's attention everything else is wasted.
5. Keep Delivering. We can't treat content as a one off tactic - we are trying to build a relatiionship with the reader and that can only happen if we are persistent in the frequency of your delivery, and consistent in the quality
6. Integrate across all channels. Of course we need to ensure that your content is made available in the delivery channels that the consumer prefers - be that mobile, blogs, video, social, podcasts. But also we need to ensure that the experience we offer in our content is replicated across our functions. What a shame if we produce some outstanding, engaging content only for the experience to be ruined by a an over-aggressive telemarketing follow up - "I see you've looked at our video about the challenges that CMOs face around data, now would you like to buy our fancy database software?"...
7. Listen. Listening and measurement shouldn't just occur at the end of the process - we can use it across the spectrum from initial research onwards. Don't plan too far in advance, since our listening exercises will almost certainly make us want to adjust our plans significantly
8. Skills Gap. Creating compelling content - whether text, video, or other vehicles - is not simple. Above all it requires an understanding of the pressing challenges of the intended reader. It's unlikely that this skill will be found in our most junior staff members, yet it's surprising how often that is exactly the individual we ask to take ownership for these tasks.
I'd love to hear from you about your content marketing challenges - perhaps I can help...