A Seat for Marketing at the Revenue Table

IMSAfter speaking at the Integrated Marketing Summit last week, I attended sessions on the burgeoning field of demand generation, marketing automation and CRM, something I’ve been studying for awhile but was brought home for me in a big way during talks by James W. Obermayer and Debbie Qaqish. I’ve been tracking ROI on marketing spend for a long time, but the tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated, allowing marketing professionals to monitor and take action on the “digital body language” of leads we acquire from various marketing and communications programs. By collaborating with sales to score leads and undertaking segmentation and nurturing campaigns to communicate with them effectively through CRM programs, there has never been a more opportune time for marketing to earn its place at the revenue table.

James W. Obermayer, executive director of the Sales Lead Management Association, began his talk with a simple question: “Isn’t it time you take credit for the wealth you’re creating in your corporation?” We as marketing professionals are the most creative minds in our organizations. If we are not accountable to sales, if we do not know the revenue goals of our organizations and the quotas of the sales teams we serve, how in the world can we know the number of inquiries necessary to achieve success?

According to Obermayer, good performance marketing managers know their goals, create demand, count every inquiry (and every dollar), manage data (CRM), qualify and nurture leads (by channel), repeat wins and remove losers, and they read and follow James D. Lenskold’s book “Marketing ROI.”

He also offers four ways to ensure that CRM programs do not fail:

1) Management has to want it

2) Sale mangers must be on board

3) Sales people need to be trained

4) Marketing has to use the system

Debbie Qaqish of The Pedowitz Group was equally inspiring. Her premise: the role of marketing changes radically with marketing automation tools. It will take a few years and maybe even creation of new analytical roles within your organization, but when sales and marketing partner to deliver qualified leads which are scored, nurtured and closed based on reading the digital body language of our prospects, marketing will be better respected and more highly valued among the ranks of sales leadership and executive management.

10 Best Practices for Demand Generation Marketing

1. Map the Buying Process

a. Crosses marketing and sales. Line up assets to meet how people buy. Buyers do research online, long before a sales person is even remotely engaged.

2. Track and report on “metrics that matter”

a. Conversion and revenue

b. Not “cost per lead”

c. Act and sound like a VP sales

3. Build a Marketing Funnel System

a. Similar to a sales funnel

b. See CSO Insights report

4. Build a common language of leads

a. No fuzzy definitions – lead scoring

b. Quantify definition of a high quality lead

5. Build a common lead management process

a. Life of a lead is everybody’s job

i. Each step is a conversion point we’re trying to improve up to closing

b. How does a marketing qualified lead get passed from marketing to sales?

i. Follow up within x hours or it’s going to another sales person

6. Institute Service Level Agreements

a. A seat at the revenue table is not done in isolation. One process, respected by sales through an agreement.

7. Involve Sales

a. Build Sales Champions for the lead management program

b. Build field focused campaigns

c. Are leads qualified? Are they ready to buy?

8. Create a regular communication cycle and feedback loop

9. Trending, Tweaking, Trying

10. Educate, educate, educate

Change the conversation with your executive team. Think marketing operations. You are a lead production house contributing to revenue. The structure of marketing team will change. You need analytical people – somebody thinking about the campaigns and how to improve upon them daily. Testing is key, and like database work, the job is never done. Just keep at it.

Kansas City Star article about the Integrated Marketing Summit

My pictures from the Integrated Marketing Summit

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Bill Clinton’s Win-Win Philosophy

clintonI attended a talk by the 42nd President of the U.S., William Jefferson Clinton last night at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. Packing a wealth of stories, stats and a good sense of humor, he promised and then delivered a framework we can all use to make sense of today’s complex world in which we live. Wondering about what caused the financial meltdown of September 15, 2008? How about our education crisis (according to Clinton we slipped from first to tenth in the past decade)? Or how we’re to “win” in Afghanistan?  For most of us, it takes every bit of our energy to deal with life’s immediate challenges, let alone trying to sort fact from fiction from all the information we’re bombarded with in today’s fragmented and often biased media ecosystem. His talk gave a fresh perspective on how to interpret the world today and some guidance on what we can do to affect change.

The number one definining characteristic of the 21st century is our global interdependence.  The result of our diversity and new technologies like the Internet carry with it both good and bad consequences. Posit for a moment that we know the good things, namely technology. Most of the bad consequences of our interconnectedness are defined by inequality and instability.

Inequalityis presented primarily in education and income. One billion people live on less than $1 per day, one billion people will go hungry tonight and one billion don’t have access to clean water. One quarter of everyone who dies on the planet this year will be due to tuberculosis, malaria, AIDS or dirty water. And of the dirty water victims 80 perent will be under five years old. In the U.S., 90 percent of our growth in recent years has gone to 10 percent of the population.

Instabilityis created by how quickly thing can spread, from terrorism (easy access to information) to Swine Flue (permeability and uprootedness) to the world financial crisis (inter-connectedness of financial systems). Even with $3 trillion in cash, a whopping 2 million factory workers in China are unemployed because the rest of the world is not buying as much of their exports.

In light of the complexities in our interconnected world, we need a framework from which to act. How do we respond to these many challenges? Not more liberally, but in a more “communitarian” fashion — more succinctly put, by focusing on creating win-win situations. For every situation or decision, he asks “will this  bring us closer together or tear us further apart?” 

Prime examples where “win-win” has worked are in Iraq where the people ultimately declared a common enemy in Al Qaeda. In Tanzania where our continued efforts to finance AIDS and Malaria relief have demonstrated our commitment their children. And in Rwanda, where the Tutsi leader insisted his post-genocide successor be a Hutu, and engraining in his people the need for win-win by granting land to those who would live next door to someone from the rival tribe.

Another timely example of searching for win-win was through a clear explanation of health carereform, including the back-story on “death panels,” and distinctions between terms like “public option” and “socialized medicine.”  Every year we spend 17 percent of our income on health care– money consumers aren’t investing in other things, which gives other countries that much more of an advantage over us on the world economic stage.  The bottom line: if you’re not for some kind of change in health care, you are a proponent of win-lose, not win-win.

One of the things that stood out for me most was Clinton’s commentary on the differences between being a sitting president and a former president. “The good news is, you can say anything you like,” he said. “The bad news is that nobody cares about what you have to say…that is, unless your wife happens to be Secretary of Sate.”

While this was met with laughter, it was obvious everyone should care about what this former president has to say. He is using his clout and connections through the William J. Clinton Foundation to make a difference in the lives of millions through several thoughtful initiatives. And while he has raised hundreds of millions from the wealthiest people in the world, he stressed the importance of each individual being called into service in some way. He spoke of the secret of the U.S. economy having always been the strength of our middle class, and how this group must now stand and help the U.S. regain its footing in our inter-connected world. “It’s not enough to work and pay taxes, raise a good family and show up to vote.” There are one million public service groups to which we can donate our time and expertise, over half of which were started in the last year.

While it’s of course possible to donate to the Clinton Foundation, he did not make a direct pitch but rather spoke about Kiva.org, where for $25 you can make the difference in the life of someone anywhere in the world whom the group has already vetted as qualified for needing assistance.

Something else that resonated with me personally, and I don’t think he would have said as president, is how we treat others is dependent upon our own identity and what we think about ourselves. Identity is highly complex, but we need to realize how much we are all alike. In fact, the argument in genomic circles is whether we are genetically 99.5 or 99.9 percent alike. By continually forcing ourselves to communicate with the other side we become more comfortable with one another. When we see how alike we are, we eventually decide that it’s less costly to work with together than to keep killing each other and we collaborate in the interest of finding win-win situations. It is imperative in the modern world that we leave the door open.

While everything President Clinton had to say was in line with my own opinions, I hope his thoughtful presentation gave those of every political persuasion a new perspective on tolerance and possibility. It was awe-inspiring for me to hear this brilliant mind, speaking in his familiar and reassuring tone of so many examples of hope and of what is possible if we work together and apply ourselves to overcoming our collective challenges, be they local or global.

Think win-win and dedicate yourself to some form of public service. And when you do, I hope you’ll let me know about it.

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What’s Your Superhero Power?

MOTM logLast night I had the pleasure of dining with 18 fascinating technologists and entrepreneurs, reminding me again of the depth and diversity of the talent pool in Los Angeles and the emergence of our region as a technology center for the world. We were gathered for a “vision-casting” session for MOTM (Meeting of the Minds), a salon made popular over the past two years by its unique format and the ability of its thoughtful founders, Kurt Daradics and Baron Miller, to lead intimate discussions of well-curated groups of individuals gathered around important industry issues of the day.

The hallmarks of MOTM networking events are their spontaneity, unscripted introductions by the hosts of each of the 40 or so invited guests and a speakers whose role is equal parts teacher and moderator — all buttressed by networking made richer by the contextual relevance of the participants.

Last night was different. Gathered around a large dinner table, our commonality was not around an industry sector, but rather our desire to help the founders chart a course for the group in light of two key developments: 1) MOTM is expanding beyond Westlake Village to include events  in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Orange County; and 2) MOTM is partnering with Ben Kuo’s socalTECH.com, bringing a live events component to the venture-focused newsletter and introducing the local financial community to MOTM’s mostly technology and entrepreneurial set.

As often is the case at MOTM, I was impressed by each of the guests in their own right — CIOs, gamers, musicians, programmers, content developers, bloggers, an executive coach, a television personality — and the potential not just of those assembled, but what’s possible if the power of all MOTM’s participants were to be harnessed, either for commerce or for good.

About halfway through introductions, and as an offshoot of a Marvel/Disney discussion, Kurt began asking each person to state their “Superhero power,” obviously intending to call attention to something special about each of his guests. While some were more comfortable joking about fictional powers like X-ray vision and the ability to breathe under water, more thoughtful answers included “guitar shredder” and “social chameleon.”  

Although not called upon to answer this question, my faux answer would have been the transformative Wonder Twins powers my sister and have enjoyed joking about since childhood. My more serious answer would have been “master networker,” for the enjoyment I receive from meeting new people and my desire to connect those who haven’t met yet in order to help each other advance their own agendas.

So, what’s your Superhero Power?

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Boucher’s Plans for Privacy Legislation

last6_iconRep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) has preliminarily outlined legislation he will  introduce to regulate consumer privacy in a thoughtful editorial in The Hill entitled “Behavioral ads: The need for privacy protection.” In a separate interview related to net neutrality, he stated that he hoped the bi-partisan legislation would be introduced before Congress adjourns on October 30.

In the article, Boucher clearly articulates the issues related to how behavioral advertising impacts consumer privacy and he makes a reasonable argument for ways to give consumers assurances  about what data is being collected about them without disrupting the online advertising and e-commerce ecosystem. Particularly encouraging is his recognition of the fact that behavioral targeting tailors ads to consumers’ interests and helps keep Internet content free.  

From the article it sounds like Boucher “gets it,” but there were plenty of details left unstated and the lobbying efforts of industry associations and companies with a stake in the outcome will no-doubt continue up until the deadline. It will be interesting to read the finer points of the legislation and it looks like a bill may now be just weeks away.

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Think.

Think smallFew things possess more Power than a Thought.
Because a Thought has the potential
to become something significant.
To solve something meaningful.
And to inspire us to achieve great things.

What makes a Thought so powerful is that it can be created by anybody.
At anytime.
From anywhere.

That’s why thinking should be encouraged
and nurtured in all its forms.
No matter how small.
Or how impossibly grand. 

Because wherever Thinking happens,
Big Ideas follow.
Minds become enlightened.
Knowledge grows.
And people discover new ways to unlock their Potential.

So start Thinking

View this inspiring spot for Qatar Foundation.

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