Friday, 22 November 2013

Gen Y - is Youth Wasted on the Young?

I was recently reading some research from Hays Recruitment on some research they conducted with 1000 GenY individuals on their attitudes to work, what they are looking for in their boss, technology expectations etc.

It's a good read with the main headlines being:
  • 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
I'd recommend reading the full report because there are some interesting nuggets in here. 

However, as I was reading it I confess I kept saying to myself "yep, me too". I want interesting work that will help me grow, rewards beyond cash, and the opportunity to learn from inspirational coaches - however apparently I am 20 years too old to join this club!

While it makes good headlines I'm not a great fan of this approach of lumping any large group together based on an arbitrary segmentation (age, race, star-sign) and saying this is how they think. In fairness I don't think that was really the intention, but that is always the risk - and I would argue that if you removed the age factor from the research you would emerge with broadly similar results. I prefer to take the view that there are people of any age who are curious about the world they live and work in, and those for whom this is not a significant driver. So let's not create artificial differences between groups and generations.

Of course there are many people in senior positions in the workplace who don't think the same way - who believe the pursuit of money is the only measure of success, who only exhibit an autocratic style of leadership, who invest little in helping their staff grow, and who have no interest in considering alternative views to their own. If that describes your boss my advice is simple - find someone else to work for! 

Unfortunately, if you are one of those dinosaur bosses - you're highly unlikely to read this report let alone act upon it...

Friday, 15 November 2013

Remind me - What does marketing actually do?

I love it when you stumble across something you created a few years ago and, upon re-reading, decide that it still holds up.

A few years ago I was part of a small workshop at IBM that was challenged with the question of "What is our strategic vision for demand generation?". Grand terminology that can be translated to "What the **** do you do?". The sentence we came up with was a little dry, but I think it captures pretty well what marketing's role is around demand generation (clearly marketing has other responsibilities beyond DG, but this was the focus here).

This is what we came up with:

"Our purpose is to:

Engage in remarkable conversations...
With the right customer communities...
Through the most relevant method(s)...
Which builds relationships...
And creates value for both parties..."

Let me clarify just a little:

Marketing is about conversations rather than a monologue; those conversations need to be sufficiently interesting (remarkable) such that they make people think, engage, share; we know that the decision making units have grown and so it's essential to engage more broadly in the various communities of influence; What is the most relevant method? Actually it's not for you to say - the relevant method is the vehicle chosen by the client/prospect. Demand generation is not just about today's transaction - it's about a dialogue that builds a deepening relationship and that delivers value to both parties - you are looking for immediate and longer term revenue, and the client is looking to solve a business issue.

I keep coming back to this piece of work as a useful checklist to evaluate whether a set of Demand Generation activities is doing what it needs to do. 

Many thanks to Sarah Chatterton, Tony Whitelaw, Martyn Christian, and several others who made key contributions to this output.

Does this work for you? How would you improve upon it?

Friday, 8 November 2013

Well I guess you COULD automate your marketing....

... 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)