Introduction to the New Language of Marketing
- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
- —Thomas Jefferson
What is marketing? For me, it is the heart and soul of every business. Marketing is a game changer for competitive advantage and helps companies make better decisions, create and drive better strategies, and have better execution. In today’s world, in which CEOs are focused on growth and profit, marketing can be one of the winning ingredients that help to propel a company forward. As Peter Drucker, management expert and author, wrote, “Because its purpose is to create a customer, a business has two basic and critical functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; the rest are “‘support.’”
Marketing has evolved, and the Thomas Jefferson quote is applicable today—marketing requires marketers to swim in the “current” of social networking and other new techniques and to focus on some of the basics. The old world is the marketing basics such as customer-requirements management, value-based pricing, segmentation, value propositions, and measurements. The new world brings in new media, new channels, and new markets. In today’s environment, the combination of the two worlds win, and the help of technology strengthens both of those worlds. Throughout this book, we talk about when to adopt new techniques, when to hold firm on the basic principles of marketing, and when to combine the two!
The following introduces you to the ANGELS marketing framework and the key trends that you need to understand before we start on the concepts that combine both worlds.
Focus on the ANGELS Framework
Today’s market is fast, challenging, and energizing. You have to fight for your place in the information overload. As I look at the way to do great marketing that truly adds client value, I find myself working with my team on six steps: Analyzing the market, Nailing the strategy, Go-to-Market execution, Energizing the channel and community, and of course, focusing on the Leads and revenue. Finally, last but not least, leverage technology to Scream your message to the market. (See Figure 0.1.) This ANGELS model allows the combination of traditional and Marketing 2.0 techniques. I believe it is this hybrid approach that leads to success.
Figure 0.1 The ANGELS model—this is the model we use throughout the book!
A = Analyze and Ensure Strong Market Understanding
Analyzing and ensuring market understanding helps in the process of making the best decisions possible by understanding the marketplace and your customers. In the new world, listening and analyzing has become a function of not only market research, but of the online dialogues as well. We can now peek into customers’ conversations, thoughts, and feelings expressed in blogs, wikis, virtual environments, and other new arenas. The more you know about your customer, the more market-focused your strategy.
Obtaining customer insight is best done by combining the proven methodologies with the new-world techniques. The facts are needed, and the process that you use is shown in Chapter 1, “Listening and Analyzing in the Global World.”
In this section, the process of traditional + Marketing 2.0 techniques, or hybrid marketing, is shown through a combination of discussion and case studies on this topic including
- Listening and Analyzing in the Global World and traditional research methods
N = Nail the Relevant Strategy and Story
Innovation-centric marketing is about establishing the right strategy—one with sufficient focus—and then innovatively telling a story that matters. An old Indian proverb states, “Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” Marketing is about affecting the emotions of the buyer. It is about creativity and about connecting powerfully with your customers through value that matters to them. Marketing enables innovation through collaboration and agility. Think of agility as responsiveness to change—the heart of innovation—and the ability to move fast, with all the requisite first-mover advantages.
Business strategy and vision are part of a continuous process that one might call the strategic cycle. The strategy needs to be supported by levels of detail so that the strategy can be executed. Properly managed, the strategic cycle enables communication throughout your company or division about your direction. This, in turn, supports coordination of all the elements needed to be successful, including marketing. You might have multiple strategies depending on your size of business. At IBM, for example, we have business-unit plans, segment-business plans, and offering/solution business plans.
The strategy cycle, of course, is driven by the marketing discipline but cannot be done in isolation. In Figure 0.2, the framework from Oliver Wyman Consulting shows how to view the whole picture, from framing of customer selection and the value proposition, to the value capture and understanding of how marketing can help drive profit. In addition, it enables for a discussion of how your culture and organization structure will support your strategic shifts and advances.
Figure 0.2 Model for business design.
One of the areas I spend a lot of time on is taking the strategy and figuring out how to lay it out in the marketplace. The story is the key. Telling the story is about finding the relevant item that appeals to the buyer’s interest. Here the market must speak; it is an iterative process of testing the waters and aligning the key influencers around the story. However, a story alone is not good enough. The proof the story must be real in your customers, partners, and offerings. (See Figure 0.3.)
Figure 0.3 The storytelling model.
For example, when IBM began to talk about a new business-driven approach called service oriented architecture (service oriented architecture is simply an easier way of doing business and connecting your applications), we introduced the extreme makeover to showcase customer stories that were based on our key messages and storyline. Why? Customers believe other customers. Period. We leveraged easily understood metaphors from current pop culture to communicate the value of our invention, and we leveraged the expertise and strength of the storytelling experience: a beginning, a middle, and an end! Storytelling helps you take the strategy to a place where you can evoke a strong, positive feeling. At times, the right story moves us beyond rational and functional criteria toward a deeper, sustainable connection. The more powerful it is, the more you can make it directly applicable to the customer as a person, based on a role. This concept of person-to-person marketing, not just business-to-business (B2B) marketing is where trust is a key element.
The right strategy told through the right story will have elements of personalization to them. This requires an understanding of the role that your customers play, and recognition that they might play different roles at different times. For instance, a chief information officer (CIO) might play the role of innovation change agent sometimes and cost cutter in other instances. In addition, because telling the story involves your brand, the new world requires that you not just brand, but also lightly brand with customers playing an active role in the shaping of your brand identity. Finally, in today’s world, no story or strategy is complete without discussing and recognizing the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
In this book, we go into more detail on the following strategic elements that are most impacted by the new Marketing 2.0 world:
- Relevance and roles
- Branding and lightly branded
G = Go-to-Market Plan
The go-to-market (GTM) plan is how you plan to take the story and the offerings to the market. Your integrated marketing communications strategy articulates your key benefits, that is, the promise of value for each target audience. The strategy also conveys the reasons why customers should believe your promise. This step involves thinking through what stage of the buying cycle the clients are in and what their key decision criteria are. Major elements include which dimensions of your promise of value most influence the buying decision.
Influencers have been changing over time, and the source and scope of the message after it is released into the marketplace is no longer under your control. Communities and blogs, where companies have no control over the message, have influence over the buying decision, too.
In addition to the content of marketing communication, the GTM plan covers the tactics that are placed in market by segment and agreed to by sales, marketing in both global roles and field marketing, or geography-based roles. The point becomes clear when you see these huge lists of tactics: You need an integrated plan and strategy. One example is shown in Figure 0.4. The secret is two-fold. You must have an end-to-end GTM plan, and you must leverage both new and traditional marketing methods.
Figure 0.4 The GTM plan.
In this book, we go into more detail about the following:
- Word of mouth
E = Energize the Channel and Community
Energizing your channel (both directly and indirectly) and the appropriate communities (universities, online groups, governments, and so on) needs to happen for marketing to succeed. Your plan needs to include the overall distribution strategy and how it will provide effective and efficient coverage. Understanding the specific channel wants and needs, channel objectives, selection criteria, channel mix, and channel costs—especially with the new world of channels you didn’t anticipate—will help drive better results. Such elements of your marketing mix can provide a sustainable advantage against existing and emerging competitors.
Identifying the specific activities, costs, critical dates, and responsibilities that support the overall strategy will require thoughtfulness of when to use the basic blocking and tackling such as sales training and when to supplement with new Marketing 2.0 techniques like enablement “widgets” or wikis. Also, a new critical question is what influencer groups or communities are needed. The discussion will center around when a company should facilitate the community versus using those communities that already exist.
A new area that IBM has been piloting is gaming to enable the education of new ideas or new technology areas. So far, the energy and the results of this use of “serious gaming” has been well worth the time and dollars associated with it. Again, however, it is the way that all these activities are orchestrated and not just across one channel, but the channel and community as an integrated whole. Many marketing organizations ignore this step and do this at their own peril.
In this book, we go into more detail about the following:
- Social networks with virtual environments
- Online communities including Facebook
- Participation with Viral and Serious Gaming
- Collaboration through Widgets and Wikis
- Blogging including Twitter
L = Leads and Revenue
Leads and revenue are usually the key measures of marketing’s success. Tom Rosamila, a general manager with IBM’s WebSphere division, likes to say that marketing is sales one quarter out. The approach to executing, managing, and evaluating marketing’s effectiveness by analyzing results to improve planning capabilities and business results is mandatory in any successful marketing management system. Leads and revenue associated with those leads are the end result. In addition to those metrics, a dashboard of in-process metrics is usually the best way to ensure you are headed in the right direction and taking appropriate corrective actions along the way. For instance, understanding your response rate to your marketing mix while your tactics are in-flight can help you fine-tune your approach and improve results. With Marketing 2.0, there are new metrics you need to evaluate and those metrics you will need to prune.
In this book, we go into more detail about the following:
- In-process metrics
- Leads and validated lead revenue
- Engagement Metrics
S = Scream! Don’t Forget the Technology and Passion!
Marketing is about showing and sharing your passion. That’s what makes the best of everything, so don’t forget to wear your passion on your sleeve and scream your differentiation and value. Companies need to learn how to embrace the energy of a scream in their marketing at the right time to the right people. The essence of screaming is that it needs to be full of energy, leveraging technology applied to today’s customer in an agile fashion but in a personalized way. It is about shifting from broadcast mode to dialogue mode. (See Figure 0.5.)
Figure 0.5 “Screaming” shift from broadcast to dialogue.
In this book, we go into more detail about the following scream accelerators:
- Digital citizen
We then close with a case study about IBM’s WebSphere Brand story and how the brand was revitalized by setting a new agenda in the marketplace.