Changing direction | The difficulty in changing a tiger’s stripes


Had a very interesting conversation with an SVP of Marketing for a $500MM software company this week.

Their challenge? They sell mainly to IT, but want to sell to business leaders. This got me to thinking - What is involved in making a major change like that?

I gave this a lot of thought. The ramifications of such a fundamental change are mind-boggling.

  • Sales messaging needs to change
  • Marketing content needs to change
  • The company value proposition needs to change
  • The buying process will change
  • Every single marketing message needs to change
I hope they realize how difficult this will be and the need for strong, innovative leadership.
To do this successfully, they’ll first need to develop deep buyer personas and then work Outside In - from business leaders back. (Our post defining “Outside In thinking runs on the 10th) That’s the only way, in my opinion, to do this successfully.
What do you think?
Jeff Ogden is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers. We help companies with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.

Ever-Changing Rules: New Era Challenges For CMOs


Lead Generation Companies | New Challenges for CMOs

How to make your company thrive in the new world

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Chief Marketer magazine had an interesting post about the changing world of the Chief Marketing Officer. I liked it because it explores the rapidly changing world of B2B marketing today.

Lots of CMOs read this blog, so I want to share it here, as it does a great job of exploring new roles and challenges. Click the title above to go to the permalink original article.

Here’s the post by Patrick O’Halloran, former chief executive officer of Entiera. Hope you find it helpful.

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The average tenure for a chief marketing officer in the current economic climate is about 24 months. Today’s challenges demand that the CMO be a “test and learn” person relying on a strong infrastructure of data, tools and analytics. By conquering and exploiting these new challenges, CMOs can hopefully beat the averages in terms keeping their jobs and ride the next wave of increasingly complex challenges.

Once, it was enough to meet the following criteria:

Traditional Challenge 1:
Build an integrated and complete view of your customers and prospects.
Building a comprehensive, dedicated marketing database is critical to executing solid marketing programs, plans and campaigns. Also critical is a complete customer interaction history, plus supplemental data to indicate future behavior. Delving into third party data attributes, demographic and psychographic data has allowed companies to drastically improve their view, treatments and interactions.

Traditional Challenge 2: - Truly understand your customers, prospects and suspects.
After assembling the appropriate data about their customers, marketing executives’ next job was to make sense of it all. They employed behavioral segmentation to flush out clusters or segments of similar customers to be appended with third party data and profiled. By creatively naming these segments, CMOs gained momentum increasing or decreasing their various sub-groups of customers.

Traditional Challenge 3: - Move beyond  “socialistic marketing” or “spray and pray.”

Once the segmentation is complete, the goal is primarily to use this data and information to improve interactions: replacing the same message sent to all customers with tailored direct mail, e-mails, phone scripts, etc., to the different segments. Predictive models add another layer of accuracy in matching and finding best customers.

Traditional Challenge 4: - Present a single company face to the customer.

No matter what channel customers emerge from, they should feel valued, with their preferences, interests and total history (including purchases and customer service ) all understood. To collect and store customers’ transaction history at each touchpoint, sales, marketing and customer service executives had to talk periodically so that the right hand knew what the left hand was doing.

Now, marketers need to shift their focus to a new set of increasingly complex challenges, and their success will be a good indicator of their company’s ability to thrive in the upcoming years.

New Challenge 1: - Understand true marketing costs to get more value for your dollar.
At a micro level, understanding the ROI of a single marketing promotion or campaign is important, but it is also essential to see the forest for the trees and understand that the cost of the forest is not the price of each tree added together. A macro view of marketing costs helps CMOs understand the true cost of all the technology needed to run marketing, and then consider new advances such as software as a service (SaaS), which can dramatically reduce costs while providing bundled functionality.

New Challenge 2: - Integrate your off-line data with your on-line data.

It seems like every day there is another new and powerful channel to communicate with customers. First there was the Internet, then texting, and now Twitter - - what next? The challenges these new channels represent are magnified by the fact that things happen in warp speed as opposed to the “boring” traditional channels such as direct mail, outbound telemarketing and even email.  Again, to effectively market to suspects, prospects, and customers, a company has to be able to create a complete view of their constituents.

New Challenge 3: - Supplement batch, outbound campaigns with the new wave of campaigns.
Traditional batch outbound campaigns are still very popular; particularly email campaigns where the costs are extremely low as compared to direct mail. Companies need to master the new wave of campaigns — including inbound driven, event-driven, online, and multi-channel — and combine them for maximum effect.

New Challenge 4: - Use a multi-channel marketing thrust to allocate scarce marketing dollars to the most appropriate, highest return channels.

John Wannamaker’s quote is as relevant today: “I know half of my marketing dollars are wasted … I just don’t know which half!”  Marketers today need to know which channels are more effective or less wasteful in terms of marketing spend. How this is accomplished can dramatically improve an overall marketing program.

New Challenge 5: - Continue on the “Customer Centricity” journey by focusing on relevant and appropriate metrics.
CMOs need to access industry-relevant metrics that provide a compass for future journeys, campaigns, and programs. Metrics need to be stated in terms of the customer, readily accessible at very frequent intervals, or in real time, e.g., “average revenue per customer” and “revenue per customer segment.”  Most metrics can be anchored around three main goals: customer acquisition, customer development (cross sell/up sell), and customer loyalty (churn/retention). By laying out plans based on customer segments, CMOs can use these metrics for course corrections.

The bottom line? If chief marketing officers can move beyond historical, traditional challenges and capitalize on the new wave of challenges, they can change the game with a greater level of precision, measurement and customer access — and take their company to the next level of marketing while claiming greater share of customers’ wallets.

Patrick O’Halloran (pohalloran@entiera.com) is chief executive officer of Entiera.

What do you think? We love your comments and re-Tweets.

Jeff Ogden is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers. We help companies with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.

The Problem with Marketing Data


B2B Lead Generation | The Problem with Marketing Data

updated article with recent data

Trend 5: The Company with the Best Data Wins

Fact: An average marketing database contains 25-30% useless records. In best-in-class, it’s under 5% (SiriusDecisions)

Data quality is a massive problem in B2B marketing companies. Marketing relies on accurate data, but most companies have inaccurate information. In fact, a large portion of in-house data is wrong and due to rapid change, the problem grow progressively worse and worse.

I recently had a conversation with the SVP of Marketing for a $500 million software firm who asked me how they could improve data quality. He said poor data quality was a big problem. He’s not alone.

Here’s what the experts at SiriusDecisions told us:

“The amount of prospect and customer data in the average b-to-b organization typically doubles every 12 to 18 months, so even if data is relatively clean today, it’s usually only a matter of time before things break down.

According to our research, between 10 percent (in strong organizations) and 25 percent (in typical organizations) of customer and prospect records at any given time include critical data errors ranging from incorrect demographic data to a lack of current disposition.”

Ruth Stevens

We also suggest you visit Ruth Stevens, who publishes great white papers on B2B data and sources.

At Find New Customers, we’re working with top vendors to address this very problem. We believe a new partnership between B2B companies and data providers can go a long way to solving this problem.

Marketo uses enterprise offerings from Jigsaw to improve database accuracy. In addition, they use Jigsaw to complete the record for a new name being added. For instance, if the prospect enters an email address, the system can look the person up in Jigsaw and popular company, title, phone number, etc,

We’ll soon share new and innovative ways vendors can help B2B marketers address this problem. Stay tuned.

What do you think? We love your comments and re-Tweets.

Jeff Ogden is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers. We help companies with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.