Archive for marketing

Gilbane Digital Content Conference – last day to get special hotel rate

Today is the last day the hotel will accept reservations at the discounted group rate for the Gilbane Digital Content Conference! Book Today in order to receive the discounted rates! See below for more information:

Hotel Reservations

The Fairmont Copley Plaza is the official conference hotel for the Gilbane Digital Content Conference 2016. The following discounted guest room rates (plus applicable taxes) have been arranged for attendees who book by November 11, 2016.

  • Fairmont Rooms (one queen bed): $249 single/double
  • Deluxe Rooms (two double beds or one king bed): $279 single/double

Please note that the discounted room block is subject to availability and therefore is not guaranteed. So, please book early! As a special consideration for our attendees, the discounted group rate includes complementary in-room WIFI.

Reservations can be made online at https://resweb.passkey.com/go/gilbaneconf2016.

Or, to make a reservation by phone please call the Fairmont Global Reservation Centre at 1-800-441-1414. Be sure to mention you will be attending the Gilbane Conference in Boston so you receive the discounted group rate.

Marketing strategy versus technology – should be a virtuous circle

Scott Brinker has another must-read post. I excerpt parts of his post below so I can expand on it a bit but you should read his full post along with the comments.

In his post Scott explains he is responding to statements made in a podcast by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose. After linking to the podcast and agreeing with much of what they say Scott makes three points:

  1. “Marketing technology is not just about efficiency — it’s about experiences.
  2. The relationship between strategy and technology is circular, not linear.
  3. Marketers cannot abdicate their responsibility to understand technology.”

and mentions the one quote he really disagrees with (emphasis is Scott’s):

“Figure out your process first. And then get aligned with your internal IT guys to figure out what it is you exactly need to facilitate. Because that’s the only thing that technology will ever, ever do. The only thing technology will ever do is facilitate a process that you have more efficiently. That’s all it’s ever going to do.”

That is a pretty strong recommendation for option A in Scott’s illustration below.

strategy technology circular

Scott Brinker – strategy and technology are circular

I want to make three points:

  • The fact that the relationship between technology and strategy is circular – that they have to inform, influence, and advance with each other – is true of all enterprise applications and for all functions and has always been true.
  • If you replace “technology” with “data” or “big data” or “analytics” the points that Scott makes are equally valid. (For a different take on this see Big data and decision making: data vs intuition.)
  • Technology is not just a set of product features. The features are possible because of creative combinations of underlying software concepts, programming languages, data structures, and architectures. Without some understanding of the underlying fundamentals it is natural to think product features define software capabilities and thus to limit insight into strategy possibilities. Marketers (or other professionals) with little to no technical background can compare feature sets and build strategies that match, or build strategies and look for the set of already existing product features to match. Each of these illustrate what we might call the bad kind of circularity (as we mean when we call an argument circular) and they handicap innovation. The good kind of circularity is a strategy/technology dialog of what ifs, informed by what might be possible, not by what is already known.

It is both natural and common for consultants to overemphasize option A, because way too often option B is overemphasized at the expense of option A by both their customers and technology vendors. Good consultants spend a lot of time and effort helping customers overcome an under-appreciation or political deprecation of the importance of strategy. But all of us need to be careful not to suggest either linear false choice.

Integrating External Data & Enhancing Your Prospects

Most companies with IT account teams and account selling strategies have a database in a CRM system and the company records in that database generally have a wide range of data elements and varying degrees of completeness. Beyond the basic demographic information, some records are more complete than others with regard to providing information that can tell the account team more about the drivers of sales potential. In some cases, this additional data may have been collected by internal staff, in other cases, it may be the result of purchased data from organizations like Harte-Hanks, RainKing, HG Data or any number of custom resources/projects.

There are some other data elements that can be added to your database from freely available resources. These data elements can enhance the company records by showing which companies will provide better opportunities. One simple example we use in The Global 5000 database is the number of employees that have a LinkedIn profile. This may be an indicator that companies with a high percentage of social media users are more likely to purchase or use certain online services. That data is free to use. Obviously, that indicator does not work for every organization and each company needs to test the data correlation between customers and the attributes, environment or product usage.

Other free and interesting data can be found in government filings. For example, any firm with benefit and 401k plans must file federal funds and that filing data is available from the US government. A quick scan of the web site data.gov  shows a number of options and data sets available for download and integration into your prospect database. The National Weather Center, for example, provides a number of specific long term contracts which can be helpful for anyone selling to the agriculture market.

There are a number things that need to be considered when importing and appending or modeling external data. Some of the key aspects include:

  • A match code or record identifier whereby external records can be matched to your internal company records. Many systems use the DUNS number from D&B rather than trying to match on company names which can have too many variations to be useful.
  • The CRM record level needs to be established so that the organization is focused on companies at a local entity level or at the corporate HQ level.  For example, if your are selling multi-national network services, having lots of site recrods is probably not helpful when you most likely have to sell at the corporate level.
  • De-dupe your existing customers. When acquiring and integrating an external file — those external sources won’t know your customer set and you will likely be importing data about your existing customers. If you are going to turn around and send this new, enhanced data to your team, it makes sense to identify or remove existing clients from that effort so that your organization is not marketing to them all over again.
  • Identifying the key drivers that turn the vast sea of companies into prospects and then into clients will provide a solid list of key data attributes that can be used to append to existing records.  For example, these drivers may include elements such as revenue growth, productivity measures such as revenue per employee, credit ratings, multiple locations or selected industries.

In this era of marketing sophistication with increasing ‘tons’ of Big Data being available and sophisticated analytical tools coming to market every company has the opportunity to enhance their internal data by integrating external data and going to market armed with more insight than ever before.

Learn more about more the [yellow]Global 5000 database[/yellow]

 

IT Spending in the Financial Industry

In a previous post, we looked at IT spending across the landscape of all major corporate industry verticals of The Global 5000 sized firms and noted that the Financial markets lead the way in terms of spending on IT products and services. Finance covers a wide swath of companies and market niches so we are drilling down a bit further here to look at countries, sub-segments of finance and some specific company examples.

The major powers in the world are naturally where we find the biggest finance spenders. In this case, among Global 5000 companies the largest firms are US, UK, Japan, France, China and Germany.  Finance organizations in these 6 countries represent approximately 60% of the finance IT spending market. While many like to rush into new markets to be present when emerging growth starts to ‘pop’ focusing on the big players can obviously pay dividends.

Withing the finance sector, there are many types of organizations that specialize in various products and services. Looking at the 2 largest – banking and insurance, those verticals represent over 70% of the financial IT services market and banking is 50% larger than the insurance market. These two areas dwarf other niches including brokerage, private equity, holding companies and other investment services firms.

Looking closer at banking, US, France, China, UK and Spain are the countries with the largest IT spending. Drilling down further, we find the top 5 banks by IT spending metrics are:

  • BNP Paribas SA
  • Banco Santander, S.A.
  • Bank of America Corporation
  • HSBC Holdings
  • Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)

In the insurance portion of the financial markets, the major countries leading the way here are: US, Japan, France, Germany and UK. Using the same type of benchmarks applied to insurance company revenues, the Top 5 Global 5000 companies would be:

  • AXA Group
  • Allianz SE
  • Assicurazioni Generali
  • Nippon Life Insurance
  • Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance

As you look at market planning and forecasts for serving the financial sector, lining up these segments, countries and individual companies with your own internal systems will help point you in the direction of some of the big spenders.

 

IT Spending by Industry … a way to estimate market potential

Nearly every organization likes to measure its activity and spending by comparing themselves to other like firms in their peer group.  Over the years,  IT spending has been one area that companies always try to measure this way.

The vendors who supply IT products and solutions have used similar metrics to help define market segments and accounts that may spend more than others and be more attractive candidates.

We took this concept to the companies in The Global 5000 — the 5000 largest companies in the world that are both public and private, across all countries, all industries. Using available research data we find IT spending as a % of revenue that can range from less than 1% for the construction industry to 6% in the financial services industry. The next step was to apply these IT Spending percentages for each industry sector to each company in the database.

Adding up the totals across the database, we find a total of $1.4 trillion is spent on IT products and services by the 5000 largest companies in world. Looking geographically, the countries with the largest amount of IT spend are the 3 largest by GDP as we would expect — US, Japan and China. Those 3 countries represent 52% of the large company spending in the world. Taking this a step further, if you are a provider of IT products or services and participate in markets around the world, a good metric for your business would to have 50% of your revenue coming from these 3 countries.

Looking at this from an industry perspective, the largest spending industries are Financial Services, Oil and Gas companies and the Telecommunications segment. That’s where the money is.

When we look at key industries within various countries the data does show some key differences.  For example, in the US, Health Care and Retailers come up strong in the top industries. In Japan, Autos and Industrial segments rise to the top. All of these metrics are worth considering as companies look to decide what markets, industries and geographies to focus on.

We’ll look to explore more details on IT spending by industry and country in the coming posts.

For more details on The Global 5000 database — click here

 

Making big data analytics accessible to marketers

The recent announcement of SAS Visual Analytics highlights four important characteristics of big data that are key to the ability of marketing organizations to use big analytic data effectively:

  • Visualization is a challenge for big data analysis and we’ll continue to see new approaches to presenting and interacting with it. Better visualization tools are necessary not just because those who aren’t data scientists need to understand and work with the data, but because the increased efficiency and time-to-reaction to the data is critical in many cases – especially for marketers who need to react with lightening speed to current user experiences.
  • In case it isn’t obvious, visualization tools need to work where marketers can access them on web and mobile platforms.
  • In-memory data processing is necessary to support the required speed of analysis. This is still rare.
  • Big data is not only about unstructured data. Relational data and database tools are still important for incorporating structured data.

SAS is far from the only company driving new big data analytic technology, but they are the biggest and seem determined to stay on the front edge.

Why marketing is the next big money sector in technology

Ajay Agarwal from Bain Capital Ventures predicts that because of the confluence of big data and marketing Marketing is the next big money sector in technology and will lead to several new multi-billion dollar companies. His post is succinct and convincing, but there are additional reasons to believe he is correct.

Marketing spending more on IT than IT

Ajay opens his post with a quote from Gartner Group: “By 2017, a CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO”. It is difficult to judge this prediction without evaluating the supporting research, but it doesn’t sound unreasonable and the trend is unmistakable. Our own experience as conference organizers and consultants offers strong support for the trend. We cover the use of web, mobile, and content technologies for enterprise applications, and our audience has historically been 50% IT and 50% line of business or departmental. Since at least 2008 there has been a pronounced and steady increase in the percentage of marketers in our audience, so that 40% or more of attendees are now either in marketing, or in IT but assigned to marketing projects – this is about double what it was in earlier years. While web content management vendors have moved aggressively to incorporate marketing-focused capabilities and are now broadly positioned as hubs for customer engagement, the real driver is the success of the web. Corporate web sites have become the organizations’ new front door; companies have recognized this; and marketers are demanding tools to manage the visitor experience. Even during the peak of the recession spending on web content management, especially for marketing applications, was strong.

“Cloud” computing and workforce demographics have also beefed up marketers’ mojo. The increased ability to experiment and deploy applications without the administrative overhead and cost of IT or of software licenses has encouraged marketers to learn more about the technology tools they need to perform and helped instill the confidence necessary to take more control over technology purchases. A younger more tech-savvy workforce adds additional assertiveness to marketing (and all) departments. Now if only marketers had more data scientists and statisticians to work with…

Big data and big analytics

Big data has not caused, or contributed very much, to the increase in marketing spending to-date. Certainly there are very large companies spending lots of money on analyzing vast amounts of customer data from multiple sources, but most companies still don’t have enough data to warrant the effort of implementing big data technologies and most technology vendors don’t yet support big data technologies at all, or sufficiently. I agree with Ajay though that the “several multi-billion dollar” marketing technology companies that may emerge will have to have core big data processing and analytic strengths.

And not just because of the volume. One of the main reasons for the enterprise software bias for back office applications was that front office applications beyond simple process automation and contact data collection were just too difficult because they required processing unstructured, or semi-structured, data. Big data technologies don’t address all the challenges of processing unstructured data, but they take us a long way as tools to manage it.

The level of investment in this space is much greater than most realize. Ajay is right to invest in it, but he is not alone.