When you can't remember when you started working with someone or a team or first attended an event or discover key concepts that led to “ah hah moments” and epiphanies, you know you have been involved in something or someone special for a while.
These memories become part of a collective memory and are intertwined to your skills, expertise, and relationships. ITSMA is a combination of these three.
Although I can't remember exactly when I began working with ITSMA and leveraging their expertise in B2B services, it was in the mid 2000s that I managed the SAP Services Marketing team for SAP North America Field Marketing.
Looking back, Jeff Winter was our VP for SAP Global Services Marketing. He was a long-time veteran in services marketing like me. Jeff is currently Duck Creek Technologies' CMO. He was a charismatic, vocal advocate for ITSMA's events and work. He was a former employee of DEC, and he had come from IBM.
Jeff was quick to convince me about the importance of services marketing-related research. After all, I had a background as a researcher in this field before joining SAP. As the years passed, ITSMA shifted its focus beyond marketing and services to a wider solution and B2B marketing focus. ITSMA was the first to coin the term “Account Based Marketing” (ABM), in 2004. It has since grown to be a leading authority in ABM.
Shortly thereafter, I attended my first ITSMA Marketing Vision Event. It was easy to travel by MBTA Red Line from Boston, ITSMA's “hometown”, to Cambridge, MA for my first fall Marketing Vision event.
According to my calculations, I have attended every ITSMA Marketing Vision event except one. It has been a great mix of keynotes, breakout sessions and ITSMA's annual Marketing Excellence Awards (MEA) and post-event workshops.
I retired from SAP Marketing in spring 2019, but I was “back at it” in fall 2019. I attended the 2019 ITSMA Marketing Vision conference, which is now held at the MIT Samberg Conference Center. Being a Duke Blue Devil MBA and not a Sloan MBA from MIT, I have come to appreciate and love the great events MIT hosts. I can still remember telling Dave Munn (President and CEO of ITSMA) what a wonderful place the MIT Samberg Conference Center is and how eager I was to attend the 2020 Marketing Vision there.
Then COVID-19 swung the tables and put a wrench in those plans as it did for nearly every other marketing agency on the planet.
ITSMA made 2020 an online virtual event and reduced the duration of the experience. They also ran the Marketing Excellence Awards and conducted the workshops following the close of the core Marketing Vision virtual events. Momentum, a marketing and research consultancy focused on Account-based Marketing (ABM), recently purchased ITSMA.
The 27th annual 2021 Marketing Vision event was a reprise of the virtual format, with a mixture of Momentum, ITSMA, external speakers. After just finishing the Dresner Advisory Services 2021 Real Business Intelligence Conference, which was also a very successful virtual event, I attended the event.
For years, I have emphasized the importance of regularly getting out to see new perspectives, gain new experience, and, perhaps most importantly, to network with your peers. COVID19 was a major obstacle to those plans.
Virtual and online events are gaining popularity. In-person events were virtually extinct in an instant. These experiences have been the source of many “ah hah!” moments that I have shared over the years. In the spirit Steve Jobs, I love the term “Insanely great” to describe my most “ah hah!” moments (also known as “epiphanies”) David Letterman's spirit, the “Top Ten” format is my favorite way to summarize information. It's great (even though it doesn’t suit me personally for grouping things in 3s/5s/7s, etc. ).
Here are my “Top 10 Incrediblely Great” Ah Hah moments from the 2021 ITSMA Marketing Vision Virtual Conference. They draw inspiration from David Letterman’s classic “Top Ten” lists.
- ABM is the new Black, or is it the new Pink.
- The Thought Leadership Journey Is Here to Stay
- Metrics, Measurement and their importance have never been greater
- Sales Enablement is a Core Competency
- Invest in Competitive Intelligence
- MarTech is all about Platform
- It's the Year of Customer Centricity (again).
- Being a trusted advisor is all about executive engagement
- Events are changing. In-person Events will return, and Hybrid/Virtual Events will continue to be important.
- Next-Generation Marketing Analytics will create a “Brave New World of Marketing.”
Let's start by assembling the band, led by Paul Shaffer.
ABM is the new Black, or the new Pink. It is not surprising that ABM would be a main focus, given that ITSMA in 2004 coined the term Account Based Marketing (ABM). Momentum, a marketing research and advisory firm, acquired them.
- ABM, just like “Digital Marketing”, was once its own area of focus and is now a crucial component of “B2B Marketing”, is now core to sales and the necessary alignment to marketing.
- The workshop “Embedded ABM” demonstrated how ABM isn't an independent activity but is key to go-to market tactics, sales alignment and the customer journey, including the customer experience (CX).
- An analyst by trade, I can see that ABM is clearly in the “plateau” of productivity and has clearly fallen from the hype cycle. It is amazing to see how so much has come together here.
- A few ABMs have expanded. ABM leaders select to implement one-to many and one-to–many ABM programs and campaigns. The best ABM campaigns and programs are built on an insight-driven understanding of the customer and the market.
- The three top ABM priorities are sales enablement/education, tracking/measurement ABM performance, and developing campaigns assets that scale yet allow “mass customization”.
- Marketing Vision 2021's leaders, as well as the MEA ABM award winners and the lessons learned by the “Magnificent Seven”, (pioneers, leaders, and featured in the ITSM “Practitioner’s Guide to ABM”), show that mature ABM programs can yield significant benefits, particularly when they follow the “3R's of ABM: Relationship, Reputation, and Revenue.”
The Thought Leadership Journey Is Here to Stay: There is significant thought leadership content throughout “Marketing Vision 2021”. It is clear that Thought Leadership is not an optional play, but necessary for any successful content marketing, ABM, executive involvement, and many other activities.
- Thought Leadership is essential to ABM's success. The more specific the customer needs are, the better. This was evident in both the MEA and Magnificent 87 ABM best practices.
- To be a solution provider, thought leadership is essential. The content must focus on the key business and technical issues and not sell.
- Thought leadership isn't a destination, it is a journey. The best practices include using a “roster” that includes internal subject matter experts (SMEs), customers who can tell their stories, as well as external experts such Analysts and SMEs. You can find content from Point of Views, benchmark studies and just plain advice based on experience and expertise.
- CMO Panel members emphasized the importance of Thought Leadership content that supports outcomes-based solutions and not product/services features functions. They specifically referred to case studies and points-of-view based on business issues, NOT products and NOT selling.
- Great Thought Leadership provides insights and value. Marketing must be able to do this. Competent intelligence is key to supporting Thought Leadership. It includes analysis and insights, not just information.
- You can expect more from me in future blogs and articles. I am now fully focused at Wolters Kluwer Compliance solutions, both my “day job” as well as my “midnight projects”), upon Thought Leadership.
Metrics and measurement have never been more crucial: As I left my position as a Research Director at Dresner Advisory Services, it was clear that reporting and dashboards are still the highest priority for all organizations in all industries and functions surveyed. Marketing Vision 2021 supported this; it is more crucial than ever to measure and report on the business impact of marketing.
- Without measuring the success or failure of your marketing efforts, insights-driven marketing cannot be delivered. This was something I experienced many times during my time at SAP Global Marketing's BMO. You need to deliver the news, good and bad, using reliable data and easily digestible reporting formats. These insights can be used to tell a story.
- Don't think that just because you can deliver a report or metric or measurement, it doesn't mean you should. You need to satisfy the needs of your stakeholders, not what you can do for analytics and reporting. Reporting and analytics that are successful communicate the results clearly and in the business language of the stakeholder.
- Key is the use of outcomes-based metrics. We must look at the end result and plan backwards, not just the Marketing Contribution to the funnel/waterfall. This is something that we have implicitly understood as we worked in Services Marketing for many years. The rest of the world seems to be asking, “Why should we care about Services Marketing?” It's the “tip” of the spear and crucial to delivering an outcome-based solution. Some of you took a decade to catch up.
Sales Enablement: A key core competency for ABM is the alignment of sales and marketing. Since the very first time I was asked about Modern Marketing, years ago, I have been preaching this for years. There has been no change in the past, and discussions about Sales Enablement have influenced many areas of Marketing Vision 2021.
- ITSMA research has shown that ABM education is now the #1 priority. This is in line with ABM's rapid growth and strategic priority. It also reflects the transformation of ABM from a selling program to a core method of selling.
- The McKinsey speaker Liz Harrison spoke about “understanding your customers deeply, what is important to them, and focusing your marketing investments around that.” This is in line with her assertion that marketing should play a crucial role in establishing the foundation for sales enablement.
- Yes, Sales Enablement has a MarTech component. It's not about technology selection, but execution and linkage to sales. You want to make your content “the best” and make it accessible to others.
- As mentioned earlier, ABM's number one priority is sales enablement. This involves educating the field and making sales more efficient. This is a great area to work in.
Invest in Competitive Intelligence. To transform yourself from a “good”, to a “great”, marketer, you must have a deep understanding of your customers, the market, and competitors. This goes hand in hand with Sales Enablement, one of many interrelationships that we witnessed at the Marketing Vision 2021 virtual conference.
- Competitive intelligence is the “data transformed into information and transformed into intelligence”, the “Maslow-like pyramid” of its needs. This was evident at the post-event workshop about competitive intelligence.
- A good process and framework are key to sales and marketing. The workshop was based on a CIA methodology. I enjoyed the competitive intelligence framework. Having chosen my MBA and a career as a marketer over the CIA, I can say that I have used the skills I gained in Langley VA for a long time.
- Competitive Intelligence can have a tremendous impact on sales and marketing. It includes win-loss analysis and the development of playbooks, battle cards and other strategies.
- Yes, the workshop on Competitve Intelligence had so much content that I could spend the rest this blog and many more elaborating on it. See the resources below to see my “real-time Tweet Deck Collection” and my event coverage of the Marketing Vision 2021 virtual conference.
MarTech is all about Platform. Just as Scott Brinker (VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot) and the Editor at chiefmartec.com discussed in recent events and articles, platform solutions are becoming more important than point solutions. Martech solutions are continuing to grow net any “churn”, but the “megatrend” is at the platform level. This is a sign of both the maturing of solutions and a key dynamic in marketing. MarTech is not just riding the hype cycle, it's also becoming an integral part of ALL marketing. Not unlike “Digital Marketing”, which is an essential discipline.
- Yet again, I was struck by the DeJa'Vu feeling that I felt after many decades of experience. Sun Microsystems' great slogan, “The Network is the Computer”, was first created by John Gage while I was at DEC. Sun's Chief Scientist for many years. As we integrate MarTech, financial technology “FinTech”, sales technologies and many other aspects of MarTech, we are now in an era where “The Platform Is the Solution”. Part two of my DeJa’Vu was about “suite or point solutions”. I will be writing more on this topic.
- Instead of rambling on about MarTech (and many who know me know that I do), I urge everyone to read the last year's “Executive Intelsights: a Marketing Technology (MarTech). Conversation with Scott Brinker”, which I affectionately refer to as the “Scott Brinker MarTech manifesto”. Scott and I met at an earlier Marketing Vision event. This was our second meeting. It was published between the 2019 & 2020 events. I urge you to subscribe to his MarTech publications if you haven’t done so already.
- The “Marketing Technologist” era is upon us. Everyone, regardless of their role or technical literacy, must have basic technical literacy and proficiency in MarTech. This includes point solutions as well as Data, Analytics, and Business Intelligence (BI). Yes, this is growing to AI and Machine Learning. You don't have to be an expert, practitioner, or even a marketer. However, as a leader you need to know how to make your marketing teams successful. This also applies to Data Science. You need to know how to use these resources, whether they are available in-house or via outside consultants.
It's the Year of customer Centricity again: Putting the customer at center of everything is key and more crucial than ever. I consider 2021 to be the third year of “THE YEAR of the Customer Experience (CX).” It's a fact that every marketer knows. We have seen the increasing maturity and expansion in our focus on customers and the CX journey. The Marketing Vision 2021 virtual conference was a success.
- Another variation of the “Maslow Hierarchy” was one of my favourite charts from the Marketing Vision 2021 conference. It highlighted the importance understanding customer expectations and needs. It was literally a confluence between multiple themes from the event that made my head spin – in a good way. Understanding how you can meet customer needs and where you have a “differential edge” (an old Michael Porter concept, that's been revived) and knowing how your competitors do against you is key.
- Yes, Competitive Intelligence is a huge factor. I was once called “sultan SWOT” by my SAP marketing colleagues. I have been preaching for many years. Without a solid grasp of SWOT, you can't market effectively. This is your strengths and weaknesses. It also includes the opportunities available to you.
- As I mentioned a while ago, we may not be able to determine “who really owns the CX” (like “Slapshot” in the movie), but we can know that the CX journey is owned by marketing. It's incumbent on them to partner with sales and lead to maximize their effectiveness. It was evident in the stories and lessons from the “ABM Magnificent 7”, which includes Eric Martin, my long-time friend, and colleague. Our conversation from last year, “Executive Intelligences: Account Based Marketing (ABM), with Eric Martin of SAP Marketing”, has never been more pertinent and timely.
Executive Engagement is Key to Being a “Trusted advisor”: Ok, so I'm a father to three adult children, and sometimes you have a favourite, even though you want to love all of them equally. Marketing Vision 2021 was a great conference. Too many of my favorite sessions to mention. One of my favorite sessions was the Executive Engagement “fireside talk” with Janis Fratamico (now the Global Vice President for Field Marketing at Citrix). These are just a few highlights. For more, check out my “tweetdeck” collection.
- It was just after Thought Leadership's “fireside chat”, which I believe influenced my thinking. What is the best way to interact with, have an impact on and provide value to executives in a sales/engagement cycle. Think Leadership
- It is not enough to have great thought leadership. We need to make sure that the engagement includes it. We must understand the needs of the participants and provide value. This is crucial to build trust and confidence with your executives (and your entire team).
- Engagement with decision makers is crucial. ITSMA research shows that organizations have a median number of three Trusted advisors – for many that's just one or two and there's a lot of competition. It is crucial to identify the right people, the best methods to reach them and to provide the VALUE to decision-makers to help them get promoted (yet another dimension to the Jerry Maguire School for Marketing, classic “help me to you”) It is essential to build trust and confidence.
- Janis's advice was a great one. Innovate 2. Focus on events that have interactive capabilities and great engagement. Do not lower your standards. If you really want to reach executives, do not change the value of the event to “fill the space”. (All marketers should take note! If necessary, you can change the metric. As we use to say in Boston (and Cambridge), “Amen Sister!”
Events have changed. In-person Events are back and Hybrid/Virtual Events will be important. Julie Schwartz, SVP Research and Thought Leadership and “Chief Analyst” for ITSMA included events in her keynote “Executive Buying Behaviour and What B2B Buyers Need to Know”. This was a wonderful update on ongoing ITSMA research about how buyers consume information. It is based on a wave 2 study of how executives engage in research. Highlights include:
- Events are in high demand. Events and conferences are part of my advice to marketers to “get out here”. Yes, COVID-19 was a “monkey wrench”, not just at in-person events but also because of the accelerated digital transformation, there is a tremendous opportunity for on-line and virtual events. However, I was horrified to hear her talk about one CMO talking about 150 webinars per quarter — quality and not quantity will win the hearts and minds our customers and prospects.
- In-person events are slowly returning, but that will be happening more quickly in North America. Large “industry events”, however, are still a “future”. A hybrid approach is needed to deliver high-touch, personal experiences and engagement. The virtual event is here to stay, even though preferences have changed.
- Julie's “Case Study”, about Salesforce Dreamforce, was a great example of how it could be “reimagined” to become a “digitally transformed event” by pivoting and shifting to an “one-to-one” focus/ABM focus/content personalization. Clearly, a well-deserved ITSMA MEA 2021 Award winner with excellent documentation about the business impact.
- We are not all Salesforces with large marketing departments, budgets, and many resources. It was a great honor to be able to participate in the Dresner Advisory Services 2021 “Real Business Intelligence Event”. Take a look at “Real Business Intelligence Intelligence Insights”: my Top 12 “Insanely Awesome” Ah Hah Moments For “Data Leaders”, and you will see the great content, thought leaders speakers, and even a “real Martian!” Interactive sessions with speakers and analysts, as well as alumni and sponsors, all made for a successful virtual event. The attendance and registration for Real Business Intelligence events more than doubled from year to year. This is a remarkable feat considering the virtual conference field was much larger and more competitive than it was in 2020. It was also “incredible” and provided great “aha moments”. Great marketers are great at repurposing content and messages.
Next-Generation Marketing Analytics will be driving a “Brave New World of Marketing”. There wasn't a specific workshop or session on this topic. However, I covered it during my time at SAP Marketing and Dresner Advisory Services (see the “Next Generation Marketing Analytics”) Key concepts and “red threads”, which were common to all sessions and workshops, were Data-driven Decision Making and successful use of MarTech platforms and marketing solutions throughout Marketing Vision 2021 Marketing Analytics.
- Julie Schwartz made it clear at the beginning, and it was repeated at the end. Marketing can earn a place at the table by enabling both data-driven and insight-driven decision making. We do this through the combination of BI, Data, and Analytic; Competitive Intelligence; and deep customer and markets insights.
- Marketers need to “skate where the puck's going and not where it's been”. This will be possible with real-time reporting, advanced analytics and predictive analytics. A “brave new world”, AI, Machine Learning, and MarTech, will also help. This will allow marketers to concentrate on higher-value tasks and automate repetitive reporting. We can also leverage key insights and intelligence.
- Marketing Vision 2021 hosted a workshop on “ABM Metrics”, which demonstrated how important this discipline was. This includes data sciences. Marketers need to be “data literate”, understand the mandate, and include Next-Generation Marketing Analytics into their plans, agenda, and executive support.
- Let me conclude with a key point regarding ABM metrics: “Don't report just for the sake of reporting, just because it's possible to do it,” and limit your focus to “curating” outcomes-based metrics which reflect business impact, not activity metrics. This is the vision of Next Generation Marketing Analytics, which is supported by modern BI, Data, Analytics, and MarTech platforms.
As I have done for many years at ITSMA Marketing Vision events I offered “event ambassadorship” during keynotes, sessions and workshops. My madness is not uncontrollable. Instead of writing a lengthy “event report” that won't get read, I created a “living and dynamic” event report that can be easily collected and shared with a “tweetdeck” collection. This tool is great for enabling “great storytelling” to cover all the topics we covered at Marketing Vision 2021. This year's Marketing Vision 2021 tweet coverage was broken into two parts.
- Keynotes and Sessions “tweetdeck” collection
- “Tweetdeck Collection” Post-event Workshops
Don't forget about the 2021 ITSMA Marketing Excellence Award winners (MEA), a collection of top practices that span ABM, Thought leadership, Executive Engagement and many more.
I can't wait to attend ITSMA “Marketing Vision 2020”, and I hope that we will be back in person in Cambridge MA next autumn. But, I think Dave Munn and Momentum have already envisioned a hybrid event that would be both in-person as well as virtual. Marketing Vision is open for you to see the results. See you next year!
Marketing Insider Group's post ITSMA Marketing Vision 2020: My Top 10 “Insanely Awesome” Ah Hah Moments For Marketing Leaders originally appeared on Marketing Insider Group.
By: Fred Isbell
Title: ITSMA Marketing Vision 2021: my Top 10 “Insanely Great” Ah Hah Moments for Marketing Leaders
Sourced From: marketinginsidergroup.com/best-practices/itsma-marketing-vision-2021-my-top-10-insanely-great-ah-hah-moments-for-marketing-leaders/
Published Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2021 14:30:31 +0000