1. From` internet of things’ to `internet of me’, how is technology helping you in doing your business better today?

Technology has a huge impact on the way I work now as compared with 10 years ago. With the advancement of smart phones, mobile apps, 4G networks, information access, and social media, I am more productive, more informed, and more connected than I’ve ever been. Outlook on my laptop and phone keep me organized. GPS helps me from getting lost. Google Alerts and numerous news services keep me on top of what’s happening in our industry and with clients. Social media like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter help me stay current and connected with employees, clients, partners and friends. More importantly social media helps me collaborate and engage with people I work with or want to work with. We have found employees and contractors through Twitter and LinkedIn. We have started meaningful conversations with prospects online that have led to business. We have also debated issues and created new IP using these and other online collaboration tools. We can also track visitor and client behavior on our website to fix problems, spot opportunities, and help personalize offers and predict future behavior.

2. IT Marketing is changing rapidly, what according to you can organizations do today to equip themselves better to adapt to these changes in shorter timelines?

This question comes down to what marketing roles and marketing skills will technology and professional services organizations need to develop to be successful in the coming years. We’re moving very rapidly from a broadcast marketing mentality to one that needs to center around personalized conversation, collaboration, and engagement. In one of our recent briefings (The New Architecture of Marketing Talent) we cited data from an ITSMA survey that found that companies see marketing’s responsibilities changing to include client collaboration programs, customer experience management, client satisfaction & loyalty, customer engagement programs, Account Based Marketing, and even sales and delivery strategy. All of those are a big departure from where most marketing groups are today and they provide a glimpse into the more strategic marketing role that is on the horizon. Then from a skills standpoint, companies see the following skills critical to the future of marketing: leadership and business acumen, customer and market insight, thought leadership & content creation, data and analytics, and marketing technology and tools. Marketing organizations will need to take a balanced approach to developing, hiring, and buying/contracting out for skills that they don’t have today and want to have to remain ahead of the curve. Lastly, marketing will need to become change leaders who help co-create change to be successful in the new world of business. According to Graham Clark, ITSMA Senior Associate, “the challenge is to provide enough sense of direction whilst enabling everyone to own the future.”

3. What is one thing absolutely absolutely critical for the IT marketers who are in business today to be future ready?

Hands down it’s the customer engagement role of marketing. When I joined ITSMA 20 years ago, marketing’s primary role was to build the brand and reputation of the company. If they haven’t heard of you they won’t buy from you. Today, marketing has taken on the role of revenue contributor in addition to being the reputation manager. Marketers are generating leads and moving them from one stage of the pipeline to the next. This has been an important step in the evolution of marketing because it has built credibility for marketing. Marketing can finally demonstrate ROI. However, with slower economic growth, many marketing organizations have over rotated on lead generation, almost to the exclusion of all other marketing activities, including brand and reputation. As a result, marketing is becoming a tactical function with little discussion on market insights, strategy, and portfolio management—which are the building blocks of long term value creation. Now it is time to increase focus on the “3rd R”—relationships. We need to help build deeper relationships with existing customers, new customers, partners, and even our own employees. We need to focus on engaging with customers and instead of focusing on nurturing leads we need to nurture relationships. Customers want you to know them and based on that knowledge provide relevant content, and proactively bring them ideas that will solve their business problems or open opportunities. They want you to facilitate peer networking. And they want open and honest two-way conversations about where you are taking your business. This means that marketing is coordinating in-person and online engagement with your company as the “nerve center” of customer engagement. Marketing will need to take a comprehensive, portfolio approach to customer engagement, using a mix of marketing activities and formal engagement programs to support ongoing conversations that will help deepen relationships. Once marketing embraces this new “relationship” role, in addition to “revenue” and “reputation” role, marketing’s value and impact on the business will grow and so too will marketing’s status as a strategic function in the company.

Profile: Dave has been President & CEO of ITSMA since 2001 and oversees all sales, marketing, strategy, partnerships, and operations for this 18-year-old organization. As a member-based company, ITSMA works with B2B marketing leaders from technology, communications, and professional services organisations.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.