Most popular blog posts from my Gartner blog during the past month are:
Past top posts:
As a member of the Gartner Technology Go-to-Market Research team, I have several calls each week with clients and prospects explaining what we do and how we help. When I talk about my particular remit, we usually wind up discussing one or two areas that are of particular interest to the person on the other end of the line. The area that seems to be piquing the most interest of late is cross-selling and up-selling existing customers.
I covered this topic in a blog post in February and wrote a couple of research notes. But the focus at that point was around the idea that marketing needed to be much more involved (as opposed to making it the sole responsibility of the account managers) and apply the same amount of rigor and disclipine (around segmentation, data, process and content) as they do with prospects.
But as I’ve spent more time thinking about the topic and talking to clients, it occurred to me that the discussion needs to start at a more strategic level. Keeping the customer happy and building an environment where they want to increase the amount of money they spend with you is really the responsibility of the entire company. Everybody in a customer-facing role needs to not only be thinking about keeping customers happy, but ensuring they get maximum value out of their investments with your organization.
Your customers are already interacting with many people within your organization and a lot of your content. Most of the content and all of the interactions are critically important. In our survey of B2B technology buyers that we conducted over this past summer, with the exception of e-mails and newsletters, a solid majority of respondents said the content and interactions were extremely important (a 6 or 7 on a scale of 1-7) in whether they remained as customers and expanded the existing relationship. See the chart below.
Everyone from the executive team to sales to marketing and product management to support and professional services should consider themselves as bearing responsibility. In the same survey, respondents said that “content and advice to help them get more out of their existing investments” was the most valuable thing they could get from their existing providers. The bad news is that they aren’t receptive to buying more expensive solutions (upsell) or complementary ones (cross-sell) from you until that happens. The good news is that once the condition is met, they are very receptive to doing so. In our survey of buyers from a year ago, 72% said they would like to receive tailored offers that build on their existing investment.
While the latter is certainly good news, most of the providers I talk to aren’t meeting the prerequisite. Whether you are in executive management, sales, product management or product marketing as you finish your planning for next year, I would strongly recommend that you make this a strategic priority.
Here I will add ideas and case examples of how improvisational technique (a non-random, framed approach to eliciting value from ambiguity) is critical in an era of mass-change; in this case due to digitalization of all aspects of organization. As a start, here is a link to a quick set of slides pointing you to several resources that I have found valuable on the subject.
I look forward to discussing this further – especially after results/feedback from the CIOs and other executives attending my Symposium Workshop – “…Preparing for the (Seemingly) Unpreparable“. See you there!
The countdown to Gartner Symposium is on! So for each day over the next month in this space you will see a countdown of my favorite ways actual organizations are transforming business processes and inventing new business models and offerings using available information assets, big data and analytics. Don’t just be impressed, be inspired! How can you adapt and adopt these ideas for your own business?
#05 Since I’m headed to Boston to speak on infonomics at SIBOS, let’s feature how Big Data and analytics are vastly improving how financial ratings and surveillance are being done.
Return again tomorrow for another real world example of the art of the possible with information.
Follow me on Twitter @doug_laney and learn more about Gartner’s Information Innovation research initiative. And if you would like your company’s or customer’s innovative use of information featured in our library of hundreds of examples, contact me via twitter.
I saw an article in Information Management today that reported on an update from Karen DeSalvo, M.D., National Coordinator for HIT, who spoke at a conference this week. She is reported to suggest that the 2011-2015 HIT strategy needs to be updated. Specific reference is made to, ?new data coming in, new devices, new demands, and new needs.? If that is code for big data, I don?t know what it. It also clearly implies a stronger focus on mobile (though I was more interested in the information strategy, and less so the hardware platform. At the same time there is an implication that other services, currently out of the scope of Meaningful Use, might be included ? such as long-term and post-acute care settings.
The article also brings up that most infamous of words, ?interoperability?. HIT is focused already on electronics health records (a big user of Master Data Management and Information governance tools and practices) and information exchange. This is of course an old nut. If you want to have fun at Symposium next week, gather together two analysts (you can brag me if you want), give them each a beer, then ask them to explain the differences and benefits of ?integration versus interoperability?. It might seem a simple topic, but in truth it is though it has complex implications. Interoperability really does interest me though ? far more than the non-interoperable forms of integration we see mostly today. My latest thinking, yet to be tested, is that process interoperability (or the lack of it) is what causes information asymmetry between process stake-holders. The question then becomes: ?How can we design holistic business processes that support process interoperability, such that information asymmetry does not take place? and thus improve the environment for constructive, real, longer lasting collaboration. That is the way of complex organisms, and discussions of different organization models even turns up. Like I said, 2 analysts and 2 beers. Just give it a try?
A footnote on the article (since I digressed a little): I took away a key point that any and all effective, business relevant information strategies really needs to take account of ?new data coming in, new devices, new demands?. This is not to say that your information strategy should become a big data strategy. The right way to look at this, I think, is that your information strategy needs to take account of big data opportunities, now. The result might be investment. It might equally be re-direction of investment or even disinvestment. You really can?t want to think about it.
If you missed it, Facebook?s relaunch of Atlas, the ad server it bought from Microsoft last year, is big news.
It will enable marketers to apply the targeting capabilities they use in their Facebook campaigns to advertising across devices and publishers. By applying Facebook?s ubiquitous identity system and its wealth of user data to the broader the digital ad market, Facebook has taken its next step in a long-rumored broader strategic move toward offering a full-fledged programmatic media platform that would include its own Demand-Side Platform, or DSP, to automate ad buying across networks and exchanges. This would mean a more-direct challenge to Google?s current programmatic ad platform supremacy.
The announcement kicked off an Advertising Week in NYC dominated by the hype-peaking term ?programmatic.? Interpublic?s Magna Global stoked the frenzy by predicting that programmatic media investments will rise 50% this year, to $21 billion, a number that was picked up by AdAge and The Wall Street Journal. Presenters at Ad Week have been offering a fusillade of staggering growth charts. NBCUniversal jumped on board with the launch of its own private programmatic ad marketplace, NBCUx, that gives preferred advertisers automated access to its digital display, mobile and video inventory. And Rubicon Project promoted a new relationship with Publicis Groupe?s DigitasLBi which will adopt its Buyer Cloud Platform, in which it says its seeing tremendous growth in programmatic premium sales. Programmatic is clearly no longer a back-water for auctioning unsold ads.
Which begs a frequently-asked question: what, exactly, is programmatic? Gartner defines ?programmatic media? as
?Services that automate, optimize and analyze the buying of slots for ad placement, often spanning multiple marketplaces. Programmatic media includes elements such as demand-side platforms, data management platforms and real-time bidding exchanges for display, mobile and video.?
This allows for some leeway to accommodate improvements in transactional automation that do not necessarily require real-time decisions, but the concept has its roots in real-time bidding. This requires that an ad sale and insertion decision is made as close to exposure as possible — in the display world, this means in the 200 milliseconds or so between a page request and its appearance on the screen. Mobile and video have slightly longer lead times, but some of the techniques we now see under the heading of ?programmatic direct? include things like Deal ID, a sort of hybrid direct sales insertion order ID that usually requires considerably more manual processing than you might expect for a ?programmatic? technique.
The bottom line is that whatever “programmatic” becomes, it still has some technical kinks to work out before it reaches its plateau of productivity. What has changed, however, is now everyone, including big publishers, seem to be pulling for it to revolutionize the business. Publishers now see a future where using programmatic to automate direct sales leads to more, rather than less, revenue. They?ve generally gotten over equating ?programmatic? with ?remnant? (and other, even worse, words), and some realize that auctions can even drive up the price of scarce inventory.
Which brings us back to Facebook and its market-wide targeting play. The most frequent question I heard about the social network?s entry into the fast-moving world of targeted digital advertising is, will the marketplace at large be OK with Facebook adopting a role of universal cross-device identity-based data broker for marketers and publishers? Can anyone stop them? Google built its ad network primarily on contextual targeting ? the use of its search prowess to understand the meaning of content and serve relevant ads accordingly. Facebook?s prowess is its knowledge of people…will that be enough to steal the crown?
Undoubtedly there is a ton of hype around SDN, but last week could be really be an inflection point… While there has been a lot of Gartner client interest around VMware NSX versus Cisco ACI, no third player has emerged on the mainstream radar screen, yet. It has been, to date, a 2-horse race.
However, the last 10 days have been very interesting for SDN and the networking market in general. First of all, Brocade announced their SDN flagship product, which is based on the OpenDaylight (ODL) controller platform. Brocade joins Extreme, Meru and others that are (and/or will be) using ODL code in their products. As more mainstream network vendors provide commercial support for ODL, it exemplifies how ODL is quickly evolving into something formidable with good potential for mainstream relevancy.
In addition, last week HP also officially launched their SDN App Store, for which we published a first take (available to Non-Gartner subscribers also):
HP?s SDN App Store Needs Open Platform to Change the Future of Networking
Summary: HP Networking’s App Store showcases the potential of software-defined networking for network decision makers. But it must move to an open platform based on OpenDaylight to gain the critical mass to alter networking’s future.
HP’s App Store is a fantastic concept and can serve as a platform to foster networking innovation a la what we saw in the mobile phone industry. However, it is the potential combination of these two (ODL + HP) that could ultimately create a powerful 3rd center of gravity to rival Cisco and VMware. It may no longer be just a 2-horse race…
That headline up there? I ain?t too proud to use a totally cheesy, lazy writer?s device: the hyperbolic statement that seems to negate the very point the writer aims to make.
Mobile marketing is increasingly going to be the most dynamic and adaptive path to a customer or prospect. But in the end, it’s about Marketing, not “mobile marketing.”
A growing and significant component of a marketing team’s efforts, absolutely, but we have to think of mobile marketing as less of a ?special? new thing that enables clever campaigns. We really ought to do this because consumers all over, and especially in developed economies, have fully integrated them into their lives. Your motto shouldn’t be “mobile first,” it should be “mobile always.” Mobile is going to help you build a foundation of continuous engagement. If you somehow think you can get by, as a marketer, without having a fully developed mobile component to your digital marketing strategy, I’m willing to bet you won’t have a job by this time next year.
Today, mobile devices and provide the interactive, real-time link marketers and advertisers have dreamed about for years. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, advertisers tried to create a dynamic, two-way link with consumers via “interactive TV.” Didn’t work. Now, consumers, especially in developed economies, are almost never without their smartphones.
Some of my colleagues and I spent last week at the Salesfoce/ExactTarget CONNECTIONS conference in Indianapolis. Virtually every keynote speaker — with the exception of author John Green, and TV actor/producer Mindy Kaling who both gave terrific talks — went out of their way to note the influence of mobile devices and usage have wrought on marketing. Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, and ExactTarget’s Scott McCorkle seemed incapable of making a point during their keynotes that did not include the words “smartphone” or “mobile.”
Beyond the rhetoric, the company announced it was integrating LINE, one of the world’s largest group messaging platforms (492 million global users who send something like 10 billion messages a day). The company is also including free mobile app and mobile web analytics in its Journey Builder product. Executives from Facebook noted that they see more than 400 million daily users via mobile devices. Where the real work is now being done is in pulling together, synthesizing and activating the data required to drive mobile marketing and advertising forward.
Mobile marketing has moved from curio to “channel” to the connective tissue of a marketing organization. Now, it is just marketing.
Oracle OpenWorld has gone Everything-as-a-Service crazy. New service announcements have come thick and fast. Mark Hurd’s keynote and subsequent press session expanded upon the themes laid out by Mr Ellison on Sunday. Oracle’s commitment to price match against Amazon and Microsoft for commodity IaaS is obviously designed to grab attention. Yes… OpenWorld is most definitely an “as-a-Service” friendly zone this week. Regrettably, whilst the message is definitely loud. It isn’t always necessarily clear. Pitching services in the same way that one pitches products is sub-optimal. Don’t get me wrong… Oracle’s cloudy pronouncements aren’t necessarily any more vague than those of their competition. Many providers talk about “as-a-Service” offerings without any reference to the service element at all. The provision of elastic capability in a consumption based contractual model that is accessed via the internet is table stakes. Sorry to burst your bubble folks but as Shania Twain would say / sing… “That don’t impress me much!” Whilst not every capability is as capable as it could be. Most are reasonably comparable. And even when they’re not, many consumers are incapable of telling the difference anyhow. What’s worse, even if they can differentiate the relative merits of seemingly similar capabilities they often don’t care.
Differentiation in a commoditizing market is critical. “Support and Service” is consistently shown to be the most powerful and compelling differentiator in Gartner surveys relating to marketing effectiveness and buyer rationales for purchase. And yet perversely, it is seldom mentioned by “as-a-Service” providers. They think that the provision of technical capability is enough. It isn’t. The service is the sum of everything that touches or affects the customer (irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not). From the clunkiness, or simplicity and elegance, of the configuration dashboard to the valued added content stream the service provider delivers to augment and enhance the contracted capability, every service element matters. Or at least it should…
Service value articulation doesn’t happen by chance. It requires concerted effort and continuous focus. The graphic below shows the inter-relationship between various service elements and how they drive the customer experience.
It is part of a research series that is intended to help providers to go beyond mere descriptions of capability and technical service attributes. I urge every “as-a-Service” provider to take a few moments to review it, internalize it and use it…
Capability is the starting point. Not the end game. How your capabilities impact and affect your customers is critical. The effects of your actions and how they help your customers to overcome their business issues is key. Service benefits are an indicator of your potential to deliver value. We’ll look at how you can contextualize those benefits to demonstrate your value contribution another time…
If you made it to Indianapolis last week for the Connections event, you heard a lot of digital marketing vision in support of the overarching theme that the journey is, indeed, the reward.
This theme, of course, is a clever tie-in to Journey Builder, a capability that?s fast become the center of gravity for the ExactTarget product strategy. But it also had more of a philosophical purpose as something of a rally cry for the hired keynote talent, who each related their own personal journeys.
While such a device could easily devolve into the reductive, melodramatic territory of daytime television, I thought these sessions were the highlight of an otherwise excellent event.
Truthfully, at such events, I often become temporally and spatially disoriented, perhaps through a combination of my own finely minced schedule, the refrigerated air, or the vastness of the venue itself. I?m often half lost.
As a result, I can?t say I was able to hear every spoken remark from these remarkable speakers, but the key message was surely one that I packed for the trip home:
Be true to yourself.
Writer/comedian/actor Mindy Kaling described her ascent from a socially reclusive teen who turned a life in her own head into a bankable career as a keen observer of the absurd. Her advice: be authentic, find your own voice. Oh, and do the work! While others are blinking doe-eyed at some Hollywood see-and-be-seen, skip it. Instead, go home: don your comfy pants, get to work. Amen.
Tween novelist and video blogger John Greene had a similar message. He related his struggle to reconcile a sort of hardwired nerdiness that, once embraced, launched an enviable career as author of megahit The Fault in Our Stars, a book and movie phenomenon that I can attest, through personal experience with my own daughters, will likely become a cultural touchstone for a generation.
As a bit of an odd duck, myself, I naturally related to these speakers. (Judging from the throng of twitchy, star-struck audience members at the question mic, I was hardly alone in this chemistry click).
But more importantly, I related to their messages as foundational wisdom for both marketers and brands:
Speak from the heart.
Know who you are.
Own it, unapologetically.
And never try to be otherwise. Your audience will see right through it.
Oh, and if you made it to Indy, you likely noticed that Kaling and Greene presented in the round, the preferred format of the guy who wrote these words, which I will leave you with today:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
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