Author: B2B Fusion

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Digital Selling – 2017 MarTech Integration Challenges

In Morgan Stanley’s recent ‘Software Eats the CMO Suite’ survey, the number one business to business challenge for Chief Marketing Officers with their technology purchases is the inability to successfully integrate disparate technologies into a unified platform. This integration issue is also a consistent one we see across our enterprise client base and through informal polling of my professional network – the end result is a disjointed customer experience and an incomplete way to identify what marketing tactics are driving true sales/business results.

As a root cause of the issue, in larger enterprises, these platforms run cross organization – for example, internal IT ‘owns’ the data warehouse, whereas Marketing owns Marketing Automation. This ownership rift exacerbates the challenge of bringing disparate systems together with no one organization owning the integration aspect of systems like these.

There are at least two symptoms of the root cause of not being able to integrate platforms:

  • The inability to have a seamless customer journey so that the journey is one experience, not several disjointed automated experiences. We find this to be the fundamental driver of customer success.
  • Non-reportable, non-actionable data. Can’t correctly answer the question ‘what demand generation / online sales techniques are most effective with disparate islands of data?’  This situation is a sharp pain point for ANY CMO trying to attribute their performance to revenue.

So how does a CMO solve this complex integration situation in 2017? The integrated technology strategy CMOs should involve the following factors:

  1. Start with the end in mind – determine ‘what are you hoping to accomplish with an integrated strategy that drives the right customer experience?’ Get others in the organization to buy into that approach and assign a business owner to the process. This step is sometimes referred to as a ‘needs assessment’.
  2. Select the initial automation platform wisely and not hastily. A specific marketing automation choice dictates a significant part of your go to market strategy and your ability to integrate with partners to drive a seamless customer experience. Switching costs out of platforms are expensive and time consuming. Invest time in really understanding the partner ecosystem and/or hire someone who has that understanding, else risk wasting valuable time.
  3. Understand API capabilities on your chosen marketing automation platform – leveraging APIs is the ‘mortar between the data bricks’. There is a radical difference across each REST API of automation platforms. Some platforms will charge extra for use of the APIs. Be mindful or find a trusted partner who has done these kinds of integrations before as API work is often times non-core to the business.

As a B2B enterprise, what issues are you experiencing in cross platform integration?  What platforms do you most effective to automate your customer experience?   Would love to hear your comments!

Today’s blog contribution comes from Jon Russo, founder of B2B Fusion, a sales and marketing performance firm focused on connecting marketing investment to new revenue.  Enterprise clients include Anthem, Ricoh, Thomson Reuters, and Level 3 among others.  Jon currently serves on the Board of Directors for MOCCA, the leading enterprise association for operational excellence in Digital Marketing.  Prior to founding B2B Fusion, Jon held global CMO roles for 10 years in private and public technology companies in Silicon Valley, NYC, and Luxembourg.

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2016: Where should an organization invest an incremental dollar in marketing?

At a recent New York City gathering of forty senior B2B marketing executives of the Marketing Operations Cross Company Alliance (MOCCA), the hottest 2016 marketing planning topics were people and investing an incremental dollar in data.

People:  Kathleen Schaub, VP of IDC’s Chief Marketing Officer Advisory practice, illustrated new industry research indicating 59% of technology firms having CMOs with tenure of two or fewer years; in addition, 25% of marketing roles today did not exist ten years ago.  With this amount of change on people, it becomes very challenging to find the right skillsets, thus the war on talent.

Yet given the critical importance of marketing tech and the sheer amount of hype that is in the market, IDC found it surprising in its research of nearly 100 technology firms that fewer than 2% of marketing staff are in dedicated technology roles.  IDC also finds that companies’ information technology teams still provide marketing with very little support. As marketing technology becomes a bigger part of marketing operations, some roles become “blurred” or ‘mixed’. In advanced organizations, the use of technology may be greater than strictly found in dedicated roles. IDC believes that the greater part of the growth in marketing technology and corresponding support roles is still in the future – compounding the need for these skills.

As customers move their buying process away from direct and inside sales representatives and towards digital buying patterns, organizations are also making that same shift to cut costs. This trend toward virtual sales is seen as model that blends 75% digital (web properties, digital assets, cognitive computing, analytics, and other automation support), and 25% person vs. what might have been a 100% human-based role ten years ago.

Data:  Schaub and Maggie Chan Jones, SAP Chief Marketing Officer, agreed that data is the number one area where a marketer should be making incremental discretionary investment.  Jones says that becoming a data-driven organization is one of her top priorities for her team.  “The great thing about big data is, it allows marketers to make smarter decisions in real time. Look at our events strategy. After a multi-year journey to elevate the strategy of our events with analytics and insight, our work was recognized by the ANA.” SAP won the Genius Award in the “Excellence in Analytics Driven Strategy” category, awarded to the brand applying the most advanced approach to allocating investments across marketing.”

The work of the SAP team has evolved to include survey insights and understanding attendee areas of interest through a process called “behavioral fingerprinting”, which uses sensors to understand audience traffic flow and areas of interest going into and out of the event. It also takes into account on-site focus groups and deep social media analysis to add the customer’s voice to the numbers and patterns emerging. The team is now in a position to react to heat mapping at the event – in real time – and redirect the flow of traffic to other sessions or areas of interest for the audience.

2016 is an exciting time to see the dawning of an accountable Marketing function with newer technology and people to drive this accountability.

B2B Fusion is a sales and marketing performance firm focused on generating higher quality leads through optimized technology, process improvement and marketing/sales alignment.  Led by Jon Russo, former technology/information services CMO, B2B Fusion analyzes funnel dynamics, improves revenue business processes and delivers best practice data and nurture strategies for enterprise clients like Anthem, Level(3) Communications, and Thomson Reuters. Jon currently serves on the Board of Directors for MOCCA, the leading enterprise association for operational excellence in Marketing.

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3 Enterprise Lessons Learned from MME16

As part of Oracle’s Modern Marketing Experience (#MME16), over 2200 modern marketers listened to CMOs from Clorox, Sears, and Western Union share their data driven transformation journeys.  Eric Reynolds, CMO of Clorox commented on his digital transformation on how ‘it takes courage to start down a road where you don’t know where it will end.’  In this environment of constant technology innovation and the pressure to perform, many of us could relate to that statement.

Throughout the week, several other enterprise peers presented their digital learnings with an emphasis on the MarTech stack that best enabled their data driven decisions.  While there were several other announcements regarding the B2C Oracle Marketing Cloud, here were three other lessons learned from MME16 that B2B enterprise attendees could use as next steps to execute against.

  1. Speed matters. In his keynote address, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd called out the macro economic trends by framing up the pressure he and his peer CEOs are under to perform, correlating that pressure as to why we as marketers need to respond with tangible results.   With S&P 500 top line revenue growth nearly flat over the last five years and IT global spend down by over 5% in the last year, modern marketers need to move quickly, test, and experiment to achieve measurable results.
  2. Account Based Marketing (ABM) is more than just the new black. In her ABM breakout session, Meagen Eisenberg, CMO of MongoDB leveraged Eloqua and Demandbase among fifteen other marketing technologies for a new account based strategy, targeting and nurturing approach.   Meagen displayed her dashboards and revenue conversion rates on her ABM efforts.  Oracle announced an account based score and account nurturing capability that streamlines a manual Eloqua process; each could be valuable for marketers to consider as they plan their ABM strategy.
  3. Bringing order to data chaos through integration: Allen Wagner, head of Marketing Operations for Deltek, echoed a common theme of other enterprise presenters in finding a ton of value in utilizing the Eloqua API to connect islands of information.  Specifically, having the ability to pull and push data to and from disparate sets of data to Eloqua to personalize, segment, and report effectively was of significant importance in getting a complete view of his customer or prospect interaction.

From an informal attendee poll, several attendees felt the breakout sessions on company use cases of technology led by company spokespeople, not vendor or multiple panel members, provided the most valuable insight, more so than in years past.  Many of us left MME16 with a renewed focus, more urgency, and a clearer picture of where an overall Eloqua and Marketing cloud strategy fits as part of a MarTech cloud strategy stack to drive new digital customer acquisition.

Today’s blog contribution comes from Jon Russo, founder of B2B Fusion, a sales and marketing performance firm focused on connecting marketing investment to new revenue.  Enterprise clients include Anthem, Ricoh, Thomson Reuters, and Level(3) among others.  Jon currently serves on the Board of Directors for MOCCA, the leading enterprise association for operational excellence in Digital Marketing.  Prior to founding B2B Fusion, Jon held global CMO roles for 10 years in private and public technology companies in Silicon Valley, NYC, and Luxembourg.