Summertime is here! As the pace of work slows a bit and you escape to the beach or the mountains, it can be a great time to catch up on reading.

So, what will you bring with you? Here’s a list of fantastic business reads for the digital and social era. Some are classics. Some are new. Some are edifying. Some are inspiring. All will help shift your perspective and bring new insights to you and your organization.

Enjoy your downtime. You deserve it. And, happy reading!


by Bob Lord & Ray Velez

Over the course of their careers, Bob Lord and Ray Velez have had a front row view of the convergence of marketing and technology. As CEO and CTO of Razorfish, a large, global digital marketing agency, they provide their unique perspective on how to succeed in the digital and social era.

Bob and Ray make the case for close collaboration between marketing and IT departments and provide a blueprint for culture and business process change. They explain the new landscape of customer expectations and dive into technologies such as interactive marketing, cloud computing, omnichannel commerce and ubiquitous computing.

Favorite Quotation:

“The villain throughout this book is the silo.” – tweet this


11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra

by Nilofer Merchant

By now, much has been written about the impact of social media on business. Most of this has focused on opportunities to leverage social media from a marketing or customer service viewpoint. Much less, however, has been written about how social media changes more fundamental aspects of business. How will social media change the way we approach strategy? Will it impact the structure of firms? How will it change how people work together as well as corporate culture? And, how will social media help unlock more of the talent that exists within each individual?

In her book 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra, Nilofer Merchant addresses these topics, exploring emerging themes and raising new questions for us to consider.

Favorite Quotation:

“Anyone can, but not everyone will.” – tweet this


Outside In

by Harley Manning & Kerry Bodine

As two of the most prominent thought-leaders in customer experience, Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine couldn’t have chosen a better time to write their book, Outside In. Businesses across many different industries are recognizing that creating positive, compelling experiences for their customers is more important than ever. Leaders in customer experience have superior financial performance and sustainable success.

However, customer expectations are increasing every year, and the proliferation of digital, social, mobile and physical touch points makes creating consistently great experiences very challenging. Harley and Kerry offer practical advice and share success stories from leading firms.

Favorite Quotation:

“You need your customers more than they need you.” – tweet this


The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence

by Vala Afshar & Brad Martin

Vala Afshar and Brad Martin assert that the digital and social era provides businesses with the tools to extend their values, core beliefs and guiding principles to their employees, customers, and partners. This creates an unprecedented opportunity for social and cultural transformation.

Social collaboration—with mutual benefit for all involved—is the key to true connection and requires the ability to listen, learn, share, engage and add value in a way that’s scaled and amplified like never before.

Vala and Brad argue that the transformation to a social business requires technology, but technology should not be the focus. To truly benefit from the opportunities of the social era, businesses must focus on culture and people first and foremost.

Favorite Quotation:

“A social business simply cares more.” – tweet this



by Jay Baer

Jay Baer is one of the most widely-recognized thought leaders in marketing today, and he’s working to turn traditional marketing upside down. Instead of marketing that’s needed by companies, Youtility is marketing that’s wanted by customers. It is marketing that is useful, helpful, personalized and provided for free. It is the key to building long-term, trust-based relationships and customer loyalty. And, it is very effective in cutting through the clutter of the advertising and marketing that’s bombarding people every day. It is pull marketing, that which is desired by customers, rather than push marketing, that which only interrupts and annoys customers.

To win attention these days, marketers must start with a new question: “How can we help?”

Favorite Quotation:

“The difference between helping and selling is just two letters.” –tweet this


Return on Relationship

by Ted Rubin & Kathryn Rose

Ted Rubin and Kathryn Rose make a very interesting observation in their book, Return on Relationship. The social and digital era has brought focus and attention to developing relationships with customers and nurturing them over time. This, oddly enough, almost takes us back full circle to the “before mass advertising days” of traditional, face-to-face selling.

Ted and Kathryn encourage business people to drop efforts to tie social investments to traditional Return on Investment (ROI) metrics. Instead, they advocate thinking about the true value of social strategy in terms of Return on Relationship (ROR). ROR is a back-to-basics measurement approach to assessing how well you’re developing true engagement with customers.

* Oh, and one more thing, Ted wears cool socks, which you’re sure to discover if you follow him on Twitter.

Favorite Quotation:

“Relationships are the new currency.” – tweet this


The Epic Collision of Marketing & Data

by Dave Birckhead

I’d like to round out this reading list by humbly adding my own eBook. I wrote The Epic Collision of Marketing & Data to serve as a conversation starter to explore how marketing, technology and data are coming together in rapid and powerful ways. The purpose of the book is to: cut through the clutter and hype surrounding big data and marketing; provide clear, straightforward descriptions; and present ideas and concepts that can immediately be put into practice.

The book is also published on a new platform called Snippet that makes it an ideal beach read. Snippet is available via a browser, iPhone or iPad and has totally re-shaped the reading experience to allow better navigation and social interaction while reading.

I hope you enjoy the book!

Favorite Quotation:

“Marketing is going through the most significant, technology-fueled transformation in its history.” – tweet this

So you’re effectively driving traffic to your website using blogging, SEO and social media. And once you get the traffic, you’re converting visitors into leads through effective lead generation strategies that prompt visitors to take action. But now what?

Driving traffic and generating leads is only half the battle and some might argue it’s the easier half. Because remember, the end goal isn’t a database full of names and email addresses or even hundreds of whitepaper downloads; the end goal is new business and paying customers.

The B2B sales cycle can be a long journey

The reality is, most qualified leads aren’t ready to buy, but they will be at some time in the future. Statistics suggest that somewhere between 30% to 50% of the leads that enter a pipeline represent future opportunities. But, for whatever reason, these leads are not yet ready to buy.

And what about unqualified leads? Research from SiriusDecisions suggests that 80% of prospects deemed “bad leads” by sales teams go on to buy within 24 months.

The sales cycle for B2B buyers is typically extended, especially for major purchase decisions. And along that journey, today’s B2B buyers are doing extensive online research, long before they are ready to speak to a salesperson or make a purchase.

Stay engaged with prospects throughout the journey

With a longer sales cycle and heavy competition, B2B companies need to formalize a digital lead management process in order to take advantage of all the leads they are currently generating from their website. Getting that initial conversion is rarely enough to close the deal. What is needed is consistent, timely and relevant communication and engagement.

According to a study, 66% of buyers indicate that “consistent and relevant communication provided by both sales and marketing organizations” is a key influence in choosing a solution provider.

And what about “hot” leads that request a quote or another sales-related inquiry? found that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.

Lead nurturing helps educate leads and push them closer to the sale

Lead nurturing is the process B2B marketers use to “nurture” relationships with leads who aren’t yet ready to buy, in order to win their business in the future when they are ready to make a purchasing decision.

The idea is to stay engaged with these leads through each stage of the buying cycle, moving them towards a purchase. By providing valuable information that leads need in order to make a purchasing decision, you’ll stay top of mind and be there when they’re finally ready to commit to buying.

One of the primary ways to nurture leads without being intrusive or overbearing is through setting up lead nurturing email campaigns. These “drip” campaigns are set up to be related to the initial topic of interest and send a series of automated emails at scheduled intervals to qualified, but not sales-ready leads. According to a recent SilverPop/DemandGen Report, lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate of standalone email blasts.

Lead and prospect intelligence helps you stay in the know

Basic website analytics provides a lot of valuable information, but not necessarily the kind of information that your sales team needs or can use on a daily basis. Website visitor tracking is a common feature found in marketing automation software and helps you go beyond page views to get real-time marketing and sales intelligence.

Marketing automation software allows you to track the following analytics about leads:

–       Who is visiting your website
–       When they are visiting
–       Pages they are viewing
–       Content they are downloading
–       Campaign response rates (i.e. email opens, clickthroughs, etc.)

Understanding the interests of your leads helps you to be more targeted and relevant and offer the right content in the right context.

Lead scoring helps you focus on the best opportunities

MarketingSherpa defines lead scoring as “the process of adding and subtracting points to a lead’s value over time based on various lead attributes or demographics, and behaviors.”

Typically, your ideal customers fit certain profile characteristics such as job title, industry, etc. and also follow similar steps on their buying journey. Lead scoring is the process of determining what those characteristics and steps are and assigning point values for each.

Utilizing marketing automation makes lead scoring not only easy to do, but also incredibly effective. Each lead gets profiled and their actions are tracked and a score value is assigned to each one in real-time. This allows your sales and business development team to determine sales-readiness and know which leads might be the best opportunities to focus on.

CRM integration helps you close the loop between marketing and sales

While marketing automation is a must-have tool for B2B marketers, a solid customer relationship management (CRM) system that integrates with your marketing automation platform is equally important.  There is often a break in communication between marketing and sales teams in many B2B organizations, but when marketing automation and CRM are integrated, the result is a closed-loop between marketing and sales.

This integration allows sales and business development teams to see all of the valuable lead intelligence gathered by the marketing automation platform, send marketing-approved emails and ultimately track every single action and touch point with both leads and customers—without ever having to leave the CRM interface.

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Qualified leads need to be engaged after their initial conversion and nurtured through each stage of the buying cycle. Gartner Research found that companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. While this is no easy task, utilizing marketing automation and CRM software make lead management much more effective (and easier).

I started working at a 60-division, Fortune 500 conglomerate when I was 17. I learned as much as I could about business from real life, on-the-job training. For 8-1/2 years, I learned human resources & executive compensation, corporate accounting & finance, leasing, global trademarks, mergers & acquisitions and investor & stockholder relations. It wasn’t until the end of that time that I was introduced to corporate communications, public relations and advertising.

From there, I worked at a string of agencies from a 12-person ad agency to an in-house direct marketing firm, to a 100-person direct response shop, to a 350+ person ad agency and then another small marketing firm. In the middle of that, I had a short stint at a start-up marketing agency which then led me to opening my own social and digital boutique agency (in early 2009 of all times) and I ran that for 2-1/2 years before launching into non-profits. Now I’m back to having my own business, a brand marketing consultancy focusing solely on brand strategy, innovation and business expansion.

With the rapidly increasing speed of technology and consumer adoption habits, marketing will evolve and marketers will continually have to stay ahead of the game. The pace will move even faster with no let up in sight.

As I look back, however, I’ve learned a few lessons as a marketer that perhaps will be helpful to you. Feel free to share yours in the comments.

1. Yes, advertising and marketing are different.

Some ad agencies are really geared toward traditional or digital advertising no matter how much they say they believe in a more integrated marketing approach. I always felt a bit on the edge of ad agencies because I thought differently and more holistically about solving clients’ brand or product challenges. The answer was not always a TV campaign or whatever cool thing the creative teams had discovered which is now digital this or social that.

There is something about having a truer and more innovative business and marketing mindset that can help a client move forward fast. The same goes for whether you’re the business owner or you work inside a corporation. Marketers seem more naturally to be entrepreneurial creative problem solvers.

2. Joining local AMA chapter board was best thing I ever did.

It wasn’t until I was asked to join the board of our local American Marketing Association chapter that I saw the diversity of marketing agencies and depth of talent that existed right here in Richmond, Virginia. I joined the board in 2009, later accepted the three-year “Presidents” commitment path and am rolling off the board this month (bittersweet for sure).

During that time, I met so many marketing comrades that it was well worth the volunteer effort. I saw them in times of struggle, career transition and success. And we learned together, from each other and helped each other. We grew the chapter together and made it more sustainable every year, which was both a lot of work and fun. I wish all marketers could have this experience.

3. There are a lot of marketers but few really good ones.

When I joined a retail business association, I was invited to a new member mentoring session. Each attendee could ask one question and mine was along the lines of “Why do you need me if you already have several members who are marketers?” Ken Wayland, the chair of the board and an agency head himself, wisely told me that there are a lot of people who call themselves marketers but few really good ones. I took that as great advice and a way to know (in my heart, at least) that I had a definite purpose amongst my supposed competition.

There are a lot of people out there who call themselves marketers or say they’re “in marketing.” Sometimes they are in sales or provide a marketing service such as video production, graphic design, website development, signage, etc. The lesson is don’t just be a marketer, strive to be the best of the best.

4. Marketing’s value is in the eye of the beholder.

Marketing is a profession in which those of us who are practitioners often give too many things away and, therefore, as an industry, the work loses its value. Much of the work we do is in our heads: our ideas, thoughts, strategies, connections, ability to synthesize and plan. It’s often difficult for clients to value what it is we have painstakingly taken so much of our time to learn to do.

I attended a VCU Brandcenter Friday Forum in which the guest speaker, Jim Ferguson, told the audience that we should never give away our ideas for free. He said make a transaction happen, even if you’re helping friends. Charge them a dollar. “We give away too much,” he said. Agreed. Heck, people pay $4 for a Starbucks latte every day of the week and then expect marketing practitioners to give away their advice, their craft, for free. And we are our own worst enemy, sometimes, by not charging enough because we genuinely care about helping others. After years of experience, much of what we do becomes easier and faster for us to do which means it’s even more valuable, not less.

I often equate our marketing craft to Fred Couple’s golf swing. He makes those 300-yard drives look so easy, natural and comfortable – as if anyone can swing like him. Lots of people call themselves golfers as a result. Yet the golfing industry pays Freddie handsomely for his accuracy and consistency; his nice guy image doesn’t hurt either. Those of us who are really good at marketing make it look so easy, and therefore everyone says they’re a marketer. But we need to make sure experienced, value-delivering marketers are well compensated by educating people on what is required for us to be great marketers. For sure, it’s not as easy as it looks and there’s not a day that goes by that we’re not practicing.

5. Strategic business planning and agency account planning are not the same.

Eric Martin of 80amps generously granted me a meeting last week. One of the challenges of agencies, he said, was that they confuse strategic planning with account planning. And he’s right about that. Right or wrong, a fault of agencies is that they supply the services that give them more or better advertising work, and often stop there. Account planning has its place and value to both client and agency, but it is not the same thing as strategic business planning.

Strategic business planning separates marketing from advertising. To do a good job of marketing, and any subsequent advertising, one must look at (or develop) the overall business and product plans. The last thing you want to do is recommend a marketing or advertising plan that goes against the grain or doesn’t fully mesh with where the business is headed or needs to be down the road. I’m not saying that ad agencies or even marketers do this but there’s a myopic tendency for all of us to not look up and see the top of the trees. We need to do both.

6. The ability to truly synthesize big data is rare.

Making sense out of research and big data is a rare talent. There are Fortune 500 companies with tons of big data and market research and even they struggle with the ability to focus on what it means and how to use it. Synthesizing data and making sense of it in terms of drawing out possible concepts, making data connections, and proving out “what if” scenarios is a full time, collaborative process for which many companies aren’t willing to dedicate the resources or hire the right consultant to help them. The tendency is to get to the answers faster, to find the first consumer insight they can find, build a campaign and go.

While I like fast action as much or more than the next person, the part that often doesn’t work is that they don’t continue working to see what else is there, to further make connections, to marry data with future trends or other insights that can expand or take initial findings to a whole new level. This is hard, grinding and complex futurist work for which not many marketers are adept or have the patience or drive. But this is the work I love and what separates me from others because so many just won’t bother with it. “It’s too hard,” I hear them say.

But it’s how you find the diamonds of consumer truths, the novel ideas or the unique and differentiating campaigns. This is truly the best work as it’s a lot like being an investigator and finding money being left on the table. To me, this is sustainability marketing.

7. Questions are more valuable than answers.

This is nothing new for you if you hold a strategic planning role, but it is human nature to want to solve a problem quickly and move on. Or to look at a situation and take it for face value without diving deeper and exploring more to find out what is going on underneath the surface layers. The truth is, there are few people who are really interested and unafraid of going down the rabbit hole.

Some organizations look good on the surface but when they can no longer move forward or are stuck in some way in terms of growth, they don’t want to really tell you what’s going on underneath. Or maybe they don’t know. Companies often just want to look better with a new logo or a rebranding project and that’s an easy temptation for marketers. It’s often necessary to dig deeper with the right questions, and keep asking them until you can determine real answers.

8. Nothing is more valuable than experience, collaboration and action.

The only way in which you can figure out the right questions and then guide a company through to the best solutions is through depth and breadth of experience, your ability to collaborate and to get things done. There’s no shortcutting. Developing yourself as an IDEO t-shaped versus an i-shaped individual is always going to be more valuable to both you and your clients or the organization in which you work.

For example, my experience includes working with several financial service firms in varying capacities and teams. But I also have experience in a number of other sectors such as automotive, manufacturing, healthcare, non-profit and SMBs (small businesses) and that give me perspective and a different vantage point when I’m working with financial service firms. And my work with highly collaborative non-profit associations helps me work better on the for-profit side and vice versa. The more varied experience you can get, the better.

What real world experience teaches you is not only how to strategize but how to execute a concept or plan. It’s simply invaluable beyond anything you read in a textbook.

9. There’s great value in sharing what you know.

I’ve learned to share my knowledge because the act of sharing is what this economy is made up of today. Thankfully, it is more widely acceptable due to the ease of sharing with online tools and apps, the popularity of B2B content and inbound marketing, as well as the popularity of crowd sourcing or crowd funding. Yet the benefits of sharing what you know is not new either, and certainly not in the world of marketing and advertising.

Back in the late 60s and early 70s, father of advertising David Ogilvy shared his best copywriting and advertising tips in full page, long-copy newspaper ads. It was one of the best ways in which Ogilvy & Mather grew because they established their expert status and prospective companies would call them for advertising and copywriting advice and implementation. Today we fully utilize blogs, whitepapers, tweets, Facebook posts, photos on Instagram or Pinterest and a number of content sharing services like Hootsuite or

There’s always been tremendous value in sharing because you help others and help yourself in the process.

These are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned as a marketer. I’d probably have to write a book to cover the rest and perhaps will someday.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?

Hubspot and Litmus recently released The Science of Email 2014 that presents a report of observations about attitudes towards email marketing. The data includes both observational and self-reported data and gives insight into the science behind successful emails.

Observational and self-reported data were both a part of this report in order to show the difference in what people say they do and what they actually do. For example, two-thirds of respondents said they prefer mostly image-based emails, but according to observational data, the click-through rate decreased as the number of images in an email increased as seen below.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t use images in your email messages, but you should experiment with various images and text content to optimize your emails for the best response.

Here are some of the top takeaways we found in the email report.

Customers are more sophisticated with their emails

It was found that only about 12% of respondents read all of their emails. And 54% say that they use email filters to sort their emails automatically. This means that people are more advanced with inbox management and more sophisticated in how they use email. So it’s even more important for companies to have a strategic way to reach their audience and provide compelling value in order to be successful.

Younger audiences are more skeptical of emails

The survey found that Millennials (ages 18-29) were more likely to have a second email address to avoid unwanted email messages—meaning they are more skeptical of brand messages. It’s important to know that many in your target audience might not be providing an authentic email address. So in order to combat this problem, be sure to provide valuable content to your audience and be sure they know what they will be receiving when they sign up. Give them a reason to give you their real information.

Optimize for all devices

As expected, the younger survey respondents use their phones to read email more than the other users. However, desktop/laptop is still the most used device for all age groups. Surprisingly, people over the age of 30 were also likely to use a tablet to view email, so it is important to optimize for all devices when creating your emails.

In addition to devices, you should also optimize your emails for HTML and plain text. 79% of respondents between the ages of 30 and 44 prefer HTML, but only 49% of those over 60 do. Therefore, it’s important to know your audience to be sure you are giving them what they want.

Experiment with timing

Based on the survey, emails sent on Saturdays and Sundays had higher click-through rates (CTRs) than emails sent during the business week. During the business week, the last 3 days performed better than Monday or Tuesday. This is most likely due to people having a higher volume of email in the beginning of the week—meaning there is less of a chance of your email will be read.  Additionally, an email is opened by 50% of recipients within the first 24 hours of sending.

While there are ideal times to send out emails, it mainly depends on your specific audience. The best way to get the most engagement is to perform A/B tests and send out two batches at different times. Then, continue to experiment with your emails until you determine the best times that work for your audience.

Top email platforms

The iOS platform has an overall market share of 39% (iPhone and iPad) in opened marketing emails. This is positive news for marketers as CSS and HTML are well supported in iOS, so your formatting will come through as intended.

However, Outlook took spot #2 at 13% and Gmail took spot #4 at 10% of the market share. Both of these platforms can strip the CSS from your emails and not render as you expect. That’s why it is important to know the email best practices for the top email platforms.

Impact of copy on success rate

A main takeaway from the report is that emails with 300 to 500 total non-HTML characters tended to have the highest CTRs. So marketers should focus on using very direct calls-to-action without a lot of extraneous text.

It was also found that as the length of a subject line increased, the CTR of those emails decreased. Subject lines should be short and to the point. Give enough to catch the attention of your audience, without being lengthy. Thirty to forty characters are a good guideline to follow.

Interestingly, the survey also looked at the CTRs of emails that included the word “newsletter” in the subject line and found that emails that included the word had lower CTRs. The difference was approximately 30%. This is probably due to recipients interpreting it as a “newsletter day” rather than an email that contains important or valuable information for them.

Personalization matters

Emails that include the first name of the recipient in the subject line were found to have higher CTRs than emails that did not. Personalizing your emails makes your content seem even more valuable and relevant to individuals. Also, emails that use the word “you” in the subject line have higher CTRs than emails that do not.

Email marketing is a key component of any online marketing program. The key takeaways are that people want emails that are optimized for mobile and personalized to them. They want content that is valuable and relevant. In doing this, you’ll see your CTRs being to rise.

Too many campaigns are launched without setting clear marketing objectives upfront. In 6 months when you look back, how will you know you were successful if you don’t have clarity on what you were looking to accomplish from the beginning?

Recently, I was asked to be one of the judges for the American Marketing Association-Houston Chapter’s 28th Annual Crystal Awards. The Crystal Awards are Houston’s premier marketing event that honors the vision and strategic direction of the city’s best marketing work. The awards are about results and marketing objectives as much as they are about creativity.

I was impressed with many of the entries and their smart approaches to solving real problems for their organizations. Unfortunately, I was also left scratching my head by others that didn’t have clear marketing objectives or solid analytics to measure whether the campaign had actually delivered on it’s stated goals.

“Build greater visibility in the market” is nice, but it isn’t a measurable goal that is tied to an outcome that will drive bottom line results for the company.

4 questions to ask when building your marketing objectives that will put the campaign on the path to success.

1. What is the problem we are trying to solve?

This one seems obvious but it is the first place many people go wrong. Be very clear about exactly what you are trying to accomplish. For example:

  • Generate 20% more new sales in the 3rd quarter
  • Increase average revenue per sale by 30% over prior year
  • Deliver a 40% increase in repeat sales within the healthcare sector clients

A measurable and quantifiable target in the very beginning will make all the difference in the success of your program, as it will keep you focused on what matters most.

2. How have we tried to solve this challenge in the past?

Everyone wants the breakthrough revolutionary idea that will make all the difference. Truth is most of what we do is more about evolution rather than revolution. In your planning, think about what can you learn from prior mistakes or improve on earlier successes.

3. How will we measure if it was a success?

If you want to build ongoing success you need to have clarity on how you will measure that success. The tools you need are dependent on your activities and objectives.

  • Web analytics like Google Analytics will help measure overall traffic
  • Tracking URL’s can compare effectiveness of different activities
  • Webmaster tools will provide insight into keyword impact and SEO
  • Landing page metrics provides the ability to convert traffic to leads
  • Marketing automation measures conversion of leads to sales conversations

Just be sure you work out the reporting requirements you will need before you start your campaign so everything is in place and ready when you launch.

4. Can it be turned into a repeatable, sustainable program?

It’s awesome if you can deliver a successful results oriented campaign once. But the real trick is to do it again and again. Part of your marketing objectives should include how you scale the program into the future.

Answering these simple questions for your campaign will help ensure it is developed in a way that gives you the best opportunity for success.

It’s no secret that marketing is going through a lot of changes these days. It seems like you can leave your desk to grab a cup of coffee and by the time you’re back another social platform has emerged, a must-have technology is promoted, or an acquisition is announced.

Marketing is going through the most significant, technology-fueled transformation in its history.

Consider these recent developments:

Rapid shifts in consumer behavior. In recent years, most people have changed:

  • how they watch television (on-demand; NetFlix)
  • how they communicate (social media; Facebook; Pinterest)
  • their adoption of smartphones and tablets (iPhone; Android; iPad)
  • how they shop in stores (“Showrooming” and buying it cheaper online)
  • what they expect in terms of service and experience (based on experiences with Apple, Amazon, Trader Joes, etc.)

CMOs have increased responsibility for technology and technology decisions

  • Gartner predicts that CMOs will have larger IT budgets than CIOs by 2017
  • CMOs are rapidly hiring “Chief Marketing Technologists” and “Marketing Operations Leader” roles
  • Companies are developing or hiring “pi-shaped” talent—folks with strong collaboration skills, interest in other disciplines, and deep marketing and technology expertise.

Rise in marketing complexity

  • Explosion in marketing technology options from both startups and established players.
  • Advances in lead generation, lead scoring, web analytics, marketing automation, CRM, etc.
  • Massive volumes of data. Google says 90% of the world’s data generated in just the past two years.

Increases in C-Suite expectations

  • CEOs and CFOs are demanding an investment-like discipline in marketing approach.
  • Upside is that many organizations are sitting on volumes of cash. CMOs who use data to tell a compelling story of how to increase revenue are generally rewarded with increased budgets.

Cloud model for marketing technology

  • Many marketing technology offerings are now available as software-as-a-service (SaaS) via the cloud.
  • On-demand model often means little internal IT integration and speeds adoption.
  • SaaS model is disrupting the traditional pricing model for enterprise technology vendors and driving down costs.

Market growth

  • Many companies are investing in upgrades and expansions to the enterprise marketing technology stack.
  • We’re only partially through this phase of growth, with much potential ROI left to realize.

As evidence of this transformation and the growing importance of marketing technology, one need look no further than the markets. Enterprise technology giants are quickly responding to the demand for more integrated marketing technology platforms by acquiring pieces of the puzzle. For example, in the past 18 months, Oracle, IBM, Salesforce and Adobe have acquired over $20 billion of marketing technology companies. The most recent of these was just announced this week. Salesforce is set to acquire Exact Target for $2.5 billion.

As CMOs respond to the transformation of marketing and drive more and more technology decisions, they must also develop deeper partnerships with their CIO counterparts. While many marketing technology services can be set up quickly via SaaS models, a good deal of integration is still required. To upgrade and expand their enterprise marketing technology stacks, CMOs must balance the need to move quickly with the need to improve effectiveness, which will required integration and coordination.

Direct, digital relationships with customers are now more critical to company success than ever before. Responding to this opportunity and challenge will require a new level of leadership to set the vision, listen and learn, execute with discipline, and collaborate across (and beyond) the enterprise.

Buckle your seat belts. This is the new normal, and we’re in for an incredible ride.