Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Essential Take-Aways from 17th Annual Digital Marketing: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXChange

By Teresa Caro
Senior Vice President, Marketing
Fortiva (an Atlanticus company)

Top marketers recently gathered in Asheville, North Carolina at the 17th Annual Digital Marketing: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXChange. As you might guess from the event theme, Digital Transformation: Leading Marketing’s Revolution, there is much to learn and much to do as a marketer today. Examples abound. Our favorite new word: SMarketing.  What every event conversation came back to: content marketing. What can help you define your target audience: Personas.

Yet so much of what was discussed at this highly energizing and informative event circled back to remembering your marketing fundamentals:  identifying your target audience, measuring response and optimally integrating sales and marketing. All important to keep in mind no matter what new technology or strategy you are applying.

So, yes, leverage the essential take-aways and technologies below to take your marketing to the next level, to compete in the age of IoT and ultra-empowered and connected customers. But, as you innovate and transform, remember your marketing basics too.

Define Business Objectives
Content, content, content. Every discussion came back to the use of content marketing across the buyer journey. Yet, unless it is direct response content, measuring the impact on the organization remains a struggle for most companies. To make this a bit easier, it is important to start by identifying the ultimate goal of your organization: branding awareness, brand perception, or simply sales. Second, ensure your company understands the difference between KPIs and metrics. KPIs resonate with the CEO: increased sales, decreased costs, as well as indicators of sales such as brand awareness, perception, and net promoter score (NPS). Whereas, metrics help respective departments optimize over time: time spent with the content, content downloads, content shares, etc.

Even though the most common KPI is increased sales, several organizations talked about how they had brand challenges and hoped content could be used to shift perception. One of the groups discussed creating baseline branding surveys or net promoter score (NPS) surveys before the campaign launched in order to show success over time.

Identify Target Audiences
Whether it was called Persona-Based Marketing, Account-Based Marketing, or Addressable Marketing, it all came down to a renewed focus on defining the target audience as specifically as possible. Yet, organizations are also pushing further to align prospect/customer experience with journey maps. As each persona takes a step in the journey, companies are detailing the respective challenges, and devices used (PC, tablet, mobile, 3-ring binder, etc). With this type of visual, it is easy to identify gaps and tailor content to support different parts of the sales and customer retention process.

Key reminders from these discussions included: 1) Remember, customers are always on, always connected, and go everywhere, both digitally and non-digitally. 2) Think “Rocks & Turkey Slices,”  as in you can build a big content piece and then repurpose it in many different ways 3) Be sure to recognize what’s working by audience, by journey step, and what is not, and optimize or re-organize quickly.

Integrate Sales and Marketing Tactics
Our favorite marketing word from the conference: SMarketing. SMarketing is when sales and marketing are aligned strategically and tactically. Why is SMarketing important? Several reasons: 1) Marketing doesn’t have all the answers (although we like to think we do). Instead, marketing needs to be a team sport, and should not occur in a vacuum or silo. It’s better to partner internally and foster strong collaboration. 2) The journey map, if done correctly, should reflect how sales and marketing touch the prospect in different ways and each step in the journey. If you agree with the point one speaker made about marketing effectiveness being directly related to a medium’s ability to tell a story, you will understand why in-person events continue to be the most effective channel:  It is a salesperson’s ability to tell a story which specifically relates to one person (the sales person in this case is the medium). The story cannot end with this medium though and becomes more impactful when it continues after the show through marketing touches, intermingled with sales follow ups. See example below:

Choose the Right Technology
Finally, how does today’s marketer pull it all together? Tools to choose from include salesforce automation, marketing automation, analytics, content marketing solutions, and so on. There was a great deal of brainstorming around how to make the business case for a particular platform and how to do more with the same resources. Many participants voiced issues with how to stay in alignment with sales (and get them to use the technology, oy). Another recurring challenge: how to be more automated and personalized? Everyone had an opinion on their favorite solution and platform and it will likely change again next year. When marketing in a digital world, the most important thing is that you stay in the discussion.

Interested in learning more about 17th Annual Digital Marketing: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXChange and all the great marketing take-aways and insights? They are available in one handy document, the Executive MindXchange Chronicles. To learn more, please contact Matthew McSweegan @ 516-255-3812 or email: matthew.mcsweegan@frost.com. You can also click here.

As Senior Vice President of Marketing for Fortiva (an Atlanticus company), Teresa Caro brings over 20 years of strategic marketing experience in the digital and traditional space, including email, social, and analytics. Teresa plays an instrumental role in defining how Fortiva and its B2B2C and B2C brands can improve sales and customer retention, strengthen loyalty, and increase advocacy through the use of digital marketing and technology.

Prior to joining Fortiva, Teresa held two leadership roles at leading agencies: Senior Vice President of Social and Content Marketing for Engauge (acquired by Publicis and merged with Moxie), as well as the head of strategy for the southeast region of Razorfish. She is also a past-president of the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association (AiMA). @teresacaro

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Managing Brand Consistency across All Channels

Lance Kinerk
Director, Global Digital Practice 
Ingersoll Rand

Navigating home after a long day at the office, you pull into the driveway, jump out of the car, walk through the front door and find your family circling to get ready for the evening in front of the television. Does this sound like you? Probably not, because that is what happened in the 1950’s when you would find 50% of the U.S. population watching the number one television show in the country, “I Love Lucy.” Today, you would be lucky to find anyone in your family in the same room. Instead, they are probably wandering around the house, wirelessly connected to a community that could be halfway around the world, sending media messages through Snapchat, We Chat, Facebook Messaging, Google+, or whatever launched yesterday, as they simultaneously watch something on Netflix, YouTube, Facebook Live, Periscope, Apple TV, Roku, or Youku. 

The fact that people are sharing media on their own, with their own comments, requires brands to be even more diligent about what they put into the market. In fact, brands need to focus on three things to be successful in 2017 and beyond: organizational structure, technology, and standards. 

Organizational Structure

In the digital world there are no geographic boundaries. You need a global team focused on the brand first and the different business lines second. This is very important, because in the digital world the brand leads. This can be demonstrated when you do a search of some of your favorite brands. If the search results in a brand that provides you quick links to their top business lines, you can surmise they are successfully organized around the brand. For example, search Bank of America and you will see checking, home loans, small business banking, and auto loans links, an organized brand presentation. If you find the paid search results in one line of business being highlighted instead of the parent brand, it is likely the organization is decentralized. For example, search Suzuki and most often Suzuki Cycles are presented without mention of autos. One line of business leading the brand conversation leads me to believe the different lines of business are operating to achieve their objectives before the overall objectives of the whole organization. This is neither good for the investors nor the user of the brand.    

Now that we have established the importance of organizing the team around the brand, the next thing to think about are the key tactics in good digital marketing. Therefore, align the organization based on the tactics (SEO, Paid Search, UX, Analytics, and Lead Generation) and make sure there are people assigned to each of the tactics. If the size of your business is bigger than the resources provided to your function, figure out what is most important to your business and own that with your top people while outsourcing the rest. The most important function today is analytics, because it provides insights into the marketplace even before financial results. We are able to see search volumes fluctuate before we see sales volumes fluctuate. The analytics team can therefore provide insight into the market and begin to test ideas for corrective action or increase what is working.  


In relation to setting up a sound organizational structure, developing standards is very important. Yet, standards for marketing professionals can be perceived as a dirty word. It sounds like you are trying to take the art out of marketing. However, I want to explain why that is not the case. If implemented correctly, standards provide guidance and increase creativity. You can focus on the creative and not spend time getting approvals from legal, IT, product engineering, etc. In addition, standards create consistency for the user. 

Always seeing the IBM blue bars on a television commercial gives the viewer context immediately. Follow this same diligence in social channels, on television, in blog posts, in stores, and on manuals. That means engage all senses with standard practices. Make sure your auditory signals, visual signals, scent (yes, scent is the most powerful memory cue) and text are all the same globally. This seems to be so basic, but I continually run into brands that do not maintain this consistency. The problems exist when the standards are too geographically specific and are unable to translate globally.   


Now leverage technology that supports your strategy and extends your reach. There are over 2,000 vendors in the digital marketing space today. The sheer number makes the task of selecting the right partner daunting. However, at the same time it’s extremely likely that there is a technology out there that can do what you need it to do. Therefore, focus on your current organization and standards and connect with a technology partner that will facilitate this. In the digital marketing space it is important to create content once and be able to repurpose it in a multitude of distribution channels; so a partner that begins with this in mind is a good start.  

Here are a few ideas to think about when selecting a partner: Will they last? Will they provide consultative help to your organization? Is their technology team adept at API development --in case you want to connect into current enterprise systems-- and you will. Will they continue to invest in the software you are buying? 

In summary, focus on the things you can control. This will allow your more relevant messages to beat out any of the noise. Consistently monitor the channels and focus on improving your process. As new channels appear, you will be able to quickly adapt and maintain a consistent brand image.

Lance Kinerk is Director of the Global Digital Practice at Ingersoll Rand. During his career he has been involved in sales, operations, and marketing. Lance has taken his digital experience into diverse projects such as starting a home automation company, building the largest man made whitewater river and outdoor recreation facility, bringing a failing company out of bankruptcy, and leading a diversified manufacturing company into the digital age. He currently sits on the board of Tripstr and is an active investor in several other digital media companies. Lance has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Davidson College and a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Business.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Discussing Digital Marketing with:

Matthew Royse
Director, Marketing Communications
Forsythe Technology 

Part 2

Frost & Sullivan: Energized by his participation at the 17th Annual Digital Marketing: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange event in Asheville, North Carolina this summer, Matthew Royse answered a few more timely questions about digital marketing. 

We began by asking him to share his top two social selling tips from his presentation at the event, The Social Selling Revolution: 10 Tips to a Successful Social Selling Program That Drives Business Results.

Matthew Royse: Start small with a pilot to get C-suite buy-in and have a plan for follow up and reinforcement. 

For examples, to get C-suite buy-in, it is critical that your initiative starts small with a pilot. The pilot should be long enough to collect information but short enough so that it doesn’t take up too many resources. 

There are five ways to get C-suite to buy-in on social selling: 
  1. Set a vision and establish a strategy. 
  2. Find an internal social selling champion who can help you show the value and importance of social selling.
  3. Provide use cases or case studies on how other companies are taking advantage of social selling. 
  4. The C-suite takes notice when competitors are doing something that your company is not doing. Find out what your competitors’ plans are for social selling. 
  5. Build the business case during the pilot with documentation through a charter that explains scope of the initiative, identifying an executive sponsor or sponsors and a timeline to show  what is or what is not working.
To make your social selling program successful, it needs to stick so reinforcement and follow up are critical.  Research shows companies that reinforce post-training activities achieve better business results. Ongoing education and reinforcement is vital to long-term success of your program. 

Your sales team needs a partner like marketing or sales enablement team to keep them up-to-date with the ever-changing landscape of social media and LinkedIn. For example, are we ready for potential LinkedIn changes as a result of the Microsoft buying LinkedIn? 

Establishing a feedback loop with the sales team is critical for marketing and sales enablement teams who are leading this initiative. To help with reinforcement, explore some social selling tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, PeopleLinx, and TrapIt. Also, it is important to provide your team with social selling resources with helpful blogs like Sales for Life and HubSpot. 

Do you think there are any organizations that have successfully figured out how to leverage social media marketing effectively or profitably? Examples?

There are three brands that are using social media marketing effectively: Oreo, Dove and Domino’s.

Oreo is constantly producing fresh, relevant content on their social media websites. Oreo really made its name for itself on social media with the Super Bowl tweet “you can still dunk in the dark.” 

Dove is always creating content aimed at making women feel good about themselves. Dove’s “Speak Beautiful” campaign encouraged women to be more positive when tweeting about beauty and body image. They teamed up with Twitter to measure how positive or negative women’s tweets are. People retweet a post on Dove’s Twitter account that has the hashtag #speakbeautiful and then Dove automatically responds to them with a link to a custom microsite that displays personalized Twitter data as a chart and how their tweets stack up against other women. 

Domino’s  is helping their customers order pizza in an easier way. They are also taking advantage of a trend of emoji’s on social media. Customers just need to tweet a pizza emoji to the Domino’s Twitter account or use the hashtag #easyorder.

Your key take-away(s) from the 17th Annual Digital Marketing: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange event?

There were two big event takeaways for me:
  1. We, as marketers, need to shift toward agile marketing. Agile marketing helps large enterprises more quickly respond to change. It values rapid iterations over big campaigns; uses data and testing to drive modifications in executing the strategy; values small pilots over a few large bets; and encourages collaboration over silos and hierarchy. 
  2. Be remarkable. Do something truly exceptional that stands out in a world of noise. What makes our company different than our competitors?. We need to constantly ask ourselves: Why are creating this piece of content? Why are we posting this to social media? If it doesn’t add value, why are we doing this? It is important that we, as marketers, constantly question things and try new things. It is ok to fail. 
How about a recent digital marketing success story? Anything you would like to share that other marketers can learn from? 

A recent successful digital marketing storys that stands out the most is the creation of our first eBook: Are You Ready for Data Center Facility of the Future. We created it for our new subsidiary, Forsythe Data Centers, a colocation data center outside of Chicago. The goal of the eBook was position Forsythe Technology as a thought leader on how the data center is changing and how to prepare for the future data center. 

To provide well-rounded content, we teamed up with our partners, Emerson Network Power and Anixter. We interviewed their thought leaders. As a result of their participation, they agreed to help promote the eBook. More than 400 people have downloaded it.. It has led to numerous opportunities for our sales team. Our sales team liked it so much they wanted the eBook printed so they could personally hand deliver it to their clients. It helped them have conversations with their clients about how companies can get ready for the future of the data center.

The eBook has helped us refine our content marketing strategy. Our strategy has evolved so we now create heavy weight and strategic content first with an eBook. Then, we repurpose and repackage the content from an eBook into different formats such as articles, infographics, webinars, and SlideShare presentations. We also promote the eBook in our email marketing programs. This strategy has been so successful that we are in the midst of our creating our next eBooks that will follow this similar framework. 

Modern marketing is inextricably linked to technology…any technologies that you are particularly excited about?

Right now there are a lot of new and exciting marketing technologies at our fingertips, but with the never-ending options, it sometimes feels like navigating a transit map. Whether you jump in as an early adopter or ease into new technologies, the key is to understand these marketing technologies personally so you can advise your company on how it can work for you professionally. Right now, I am exploring wearables. It worked out well that I won a Fitbit at the Frost and Sullivan conference.

Any final marketing insights or observations? 

I am seeing a strong shift toward influencer marketing. Developing content with influencers has become a standard best practice for your content marketing and social media efforts. You may be asking: what is influencer marketing? Influence marketing is when a company works with key influencers to co-write content and the influencers would share that content with their networks. A great example is our data center eBook I mentioned earlier and LinkedIn’s Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide. In this series of guides, LinkedIn has created guides for content marketing and thought leadership. The influencers who co-create content for guides share the content online with their communities. Influencer marketing has become a more effective method for reaching a company’s target audiences at a more affordable price than advertising.

Speaking of advertising, advertising is not dead. It has just evolved, in large part because of digital marketing. According to a recent report, social media has capture a quarter of all digital ad spending. 

Matthew Royse is the director of marketing communications for Forsythe Technology, one of the largest independent IT integrators in North America. He has more than 15 years of experience in marketing and communications, working in many different industries, including financial services, technology, media and entertainment.

At Forsythe Technology, Matthew oversees all content marketing and social media initiatives internally and externally, across multiple platforms and formats to drive sales, engagement, retention, leads and positive behavior with clients, partners, analysts and employees. 

Matthew currently teaches a social media class for students in Duke's Event Development Certification program. He has spoken about social media and content marketing at numerous industry and regional events.

Meeting Consumer Demand for Your Brand: The New Playbook for CMOs

Matt Preschern
Executive Vice President,Chief Marketing Officer
HCL Technologies

In this second decade of 21st century marketing, the playing field is changing swiftly. The pace of change accelerates month by month and often week by week. Consumers have upped their game through mobile technology and hyper-connected environments at home, at work and on the road. If you haven’t yet rewritten your own strategic playbook to identify and capitalize on this change, you risk being overrun by consumer demands for your brand to match their own constantly transforming lifestyle. 

It’s not just about speed—consumers have always sought faster access to products, greater responsiveness to their questions and faster deliveries. Our challenge as CMOs is to be agile enough to race ahead of the consumer’s expectations while anticipating them. If you don’t respond to a customer email within an hour, a customer call within 30 minutes, or a customer order request within seconds, you’re likely to lose that customer. She can order from your competitor in just seconds with the touch of a graphic button. 

Complicating the challenge is the need to personalize your response with contextually relevant information. If you’re still dumping pre-written answers to frequent questions into your online chat windows, you’re dying or dead. Instead, we can now use data analytics more extensively than ever before to ensure we meet each customer one-to-one and face-to-face, predicting the questions she will ask and the products she will prefer.

The new playbook also requires us to carve new crosslinks to connect channels. For the consumer, it’s all one big channel now. What she finds online she expects to see at the store. When she places an order on her phone, it had better be equally accessible in the aisle and on her front doorstep, whichever she prefers. With ever rarer exceptions, today’s shopping excursion is a single digital experience that runs across all social media and stores (online and off). A single customer may choose different outlets at different times or different points in the sales process--awareness on Facebook, preference on Yelp, selection and questions at the physical store site, purchase on Amazon--so we want to be ready to present a consistently attractive and convenient experience that cuts across all channels.

This new digitally driven destiny for marketers also embraces the sharing economy. Millennials increasingly make their way through the world by sharing data. They expect brands to have their data at hand, through social media and previous online shopping patterns. It’s important that we understand millennial consumers and present product information in the context of their individual preferences as gleaned from their shared data via analytics.

The pace is indeed frantic. Big data, therefore, becomes critical to staying ahead of the consumer, requiring more automated systems that digest consumer data and guide the buying experience. “Big strategies” no longer appear valid. In the months you might spend building a conventional campaign, everything will have changed--technology, social media, market conditions, competitors--and you may find that you never catch up, much less get ahead. And large, complex strategies can’t possibly furnish the agility and personalization that we need now.

Rather than attempting to pull consumers in, CMOs ought to consider adopting the characteristics of the consumer’s shopping style so as to join them in their hither-and-yon shopping journey. Five tenets are especially important to this process:

  1. Understand that the experience is everything. Create an authentic experience that resonates with consumer emotions. When a consumer can connect to a brand’s core values through experiences, engagement shifts from a company effort to a consumer desire. Context, coherency and collaboration within an ecosystem make for outstanding experiences.
  2. Measure outcomes, not opportunities. Consider putting a stop to chasing metrics such as “marketing-qualified leads” and begin working closely with sales to target and convert your best prospects, your most profitable customer segments.  
  3. Stay agile and lean. Build teams that respond quickly to unanticipated market changes. Demolish silos and flatten hierarchies with teams that prioritize small experiments over large bets. Create a culture of experimentation by transforming your workplace from one that values opinions and conventions to one that thrives in testing and data.
  4. Build your marketing operation like you build your IT operation. Trying to assemble all the technologies required for a world-class in-house marketing operation would be as expensive and inefficient as assembling all the software you use in doing your job. You employ software as a service(SaaS); it may be time for you to adopt a marketing-as-a-service approach as well. MaaS lets your marketers choose capabilities on demand to build out their marketing technology architecture. It’s scalable, efficient and fast.
  5. Redefine your partnerships. Today your best partners are your customers, and they can join your suppliers, affiliates and developers in a mutually beneficial ecosystem enabled by APIs. For example, when you search for directions using Google Maps on a mobile device, you’ll see a tab showing estimated pickup times and fares for Uber options available in a particular city, and a click on any airline site will enable you to search for a car and hotel room from hospitality partners. Application program interfaces, commonly known as APIs, make these connections both possible and valuable.  Advances soon will make every business a technology company, racing along the Internet of Things, growing smarter with artificial intelligence systems. Creating ecosystems of partners and developers to produce seamless, engaging customer experiences will be crucial to outrunning the pace of change.

It’s a new game with new formations and a new, much more expansive playing field. CMOs can benefit from rejecting convention. When you become more agile, adaptive and connected, you can build a winning brand that resonates with a vibrant marketplace.

Matt Preschern is Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of HCL Technologies. Matt leads all marketing functions, including global business, strategic marketing, sales enablement and corporate communications to drive demand, growth and value for the HCL Technologies brand. A global citizen, Matt was born and educated in Austria and has an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.