SiriusDecisions rates Eloqua as ‘number one’ marketing platform

SiriusDecisions rates Eloqua as ‘number one’ marketing platform

In other news, the Manchester United Supporters Club thinks Manchester United are great and the Pope is a big fan of Catholics. Seriously though, even as an Eloqua client and a big fan of the platform, I have to wonder about the neutrality of studies from advisors such as SiriusDecisions (whose summit this year was sponsored by – guess who – Eloqua…).

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Another milestone, but what’s the future of LinkedIn for B2B marketing?

LinkedIn hit another major milestone this week, as the 200 millionth member registered on the site. The network has become a highly potent weapon for most B2B marketeers for three main reasons:

  1. Reach. It sounds obvious, but if you are marketing IT, professional services or telecommunications there are few members of your target audience who can’t be reached through LinkedIn.
  2. Accuracy. Individuals have a huge incentive – there own careers – to keep their personal data on LinkedIn up to date. As a result, LinkedIn is one of the few sites where a B2B marketeer can reach their audience with confidence that there will be minimum wastage. That in turn helps senior client-side marketeers to justify their investments to management teams.
  3. Integration. LinkedIn do a great job of enabling marketeers to use a combination of traditional display, communities and LinkedIn Today to reach their audiences. This integration is now evolving intelligently with social sign on, which should do the same thing for LinkedIn in the business space that it does for Facebook in the consumer world: to make them the ubiquitous social network of choice.

So LinkedIn has done a fantastic job in a browser-based world. The key question for B2B marketeers now is whether they will be able to evolve their offering to B2B advertisers from the browser into mobile environments?

The LinkedIn apps are fantastic for users, but primarily because they don’t include advertising. Unfortunately for LinkedIn sales in traditional PCs are nosediving: according to Gartner, sales were down 4.9% in Q4 2012 compared to Q4 2011. This is similar to IDC numbers last week, which recorded a 6.4% decline. This change is not limited to consumers. Businesses are also buying tablets in large numbers, especially for the very decision makers that B2B marketeers want to reach.

Will LinkedIn enable marketeers to achieve their objectives in an increasingly mobile world? Or will they struggle to achieve this in the same way that Facebook has for consumers? The effectiveness of one of the most important channels for B2B marketeers will depend on the answer to these questions.

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The B2B Content Marketing Cookbook

The B2B Content Marketing Cookbook

I received a copy of the B2B Content Marketing Cookbook from the Manchester agency Marketecture today. It’s a quick read, but is a really nice summary of some of the issues facing B2B marketeers putting together integrated programs today. The book includes some good check lists and pointers for marketeers.

It’s free and is well worth spending a few minutes to request a copy or download the PDF (clicking on the image takes you straight to their site).

Disclaimer: I don’t work with Marketecture, nor have I done in the past!

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The CMO: now with added IT power! Four pointers for dealing with IT from a marketing leader’s perspective.

The one hot topic in B2B marketing last week was the acquisition of Eloqua by Oracle. One of the most interesting aspects of the acquisition from my personal perspective was the reaction within my company. Instead of me asking the IT department what the implications could be for us, this time the questions came to me. The questions that I received reinforced the shift in the relationship between most corporate IT departments and the lines of business that they serve that has taken place over the past few years.

Marketing has been no exception. Many analysts believe that marketing will be one of the core areas of growth for IT spending over the next few years. So marketeers are becoming increasingly knowledgable about their requirements and IT departments often cannot learn about the specialist solutions that we need quickly enough or with sufficient depth, so they are relying on us to tell them what they need.This places many marketing leaders in an unfamiliar position: they have to really engage IT for the first time in order to do their jobs effectively and this requires us all to take a new approach and to develop a new set of competencies.

I have been focused in this area over the past twelve months, as we developed both our marketing automation strategy and our marketing performance reporting and I have identified four main pointers for working more effectively with IT:

  1. IT is not the enemy! Your IT department is not the enemy, but they may have a different agenda to you, whether it be a lack of resources or a concern about the potential impact of what you want on their wider architecture. Marketeers have a habit of oversimplification (it’s our job, after all), but take the time to understand what drives your colleagues and never assume that what may be genuine concerns are simply IT acting in a dogmatic fashion. You are more likely to succeed in convincing them to help you if they believe that you are taking their motivations seriously.
  2. Take the time to explain your agenda and what your IT priorities will deliver to the business. Very often there will be a lack of understanding of the solutions that you are proposing and so you may find that there is a tendency to reduce the understanding of the solution you are proposing to a lowest common denominator. For example, a marketing automation solution is reduced to an email distribution tool: and with this reduction comes cynicism from IT about whether you really need a specialist solution with all the extra cost and effort that it involves. So take the time to build a robust business case and explain the subtle but important differences that underpin your need for specialist marketing technology.
  3. Don’t assume that IT knows more about the technology than you do. Your IT department has to cover the full spectrum of your business, so it’s unrealistic to expect them to understand marketing solutions in any great level of depth. Your responsiblity is to have a wider and deeper understanding of the technology that you need, including its capabilities, competition and whether it is likely to fit into your wider IT architecture. This is a broader challenge than most marketeers have ever faced, but it is necessary to ensure that you get the results that you crave.
  4. Define success together. Last, but certainly not least, define what success looks like together and ensure that you are generous in your praise of your colleagues. Changes in marketing technology are a challenge for both of you, so make sure that you are prepared to succeed – and fail – together. That way you will lay the foundations for what is likely to become an enduring relationship over the next few years.

This approach seems to have worked quite well for us so far, even if changes sometimes takes longer than I would like, but I would be interested to know what ideas you have for working effectively with your IT team?

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BMA Go and Grow London

This is a summary of the recent BMA Go and Grow event in London, where I presented the Atos London 2012 marketing campaign. Most of the debate on the day centred around marketing automation: definitely B2B’s hottest topic at the moment!

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