Monday, July 25, 2011

No Respect. Social Media Marketing Not a Top Executive Priority?

Although social media marketing is popular amongst marketers, with 80% of companies with at least 100 employees using social networks for marketing this year, it’s still not a top strategic priority.

Penn, Schoen & Berland, in a survey of executives who have final say or significant input on social business strategy, found that only 27% listed social business as a top strategic priority. Nearly half (47%) admitted a social plan was necessary but not a strategic priority and 19% said social business strategy was simply not necessary.

The conundrum, although 78% of executives thought a social business strategy was somewhat or very important to the future success of their business and 53% believe they must adopt social or risk falling behind; at this time, social media marketing is just not a top priority.

Comparing the top initiatives, a separate survey by Forbes Insights and Coremetrics indicated that social media marketing was a top priority for a mere 11% of marketing executives, taking a backseat to most traditional marketing initiatives including customer loyalty (52%), branding (28%), direct marketing (19%), on-line marketing (18%), and even print and broadcast (17%).

The Bottom Line
The numbers indicate that to make social more of a priority, marketers must prove the value to frugal and skeptical senior executives. Tying social investments to tangible business benefits and competitive advantage can help raise the priority, and assure that budgets are properly allocated to social initiatives.


More information about the Social Business Index Survey can be found at:

More information about the Bringing 20/20 Foresight to Marketing study can be found at:

Additional Social Marketing ROI Resources and Research can be found at:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Marketing Budgets Rise in Face of Economic Headwinds

It's good news for marketers in 2011, as 57% of senior-level marketers say they are increasing their overall marketing spend in 2011. According to CMO Council's State of Marketing Report, a survey of 700 top marketers, 26% of respondents indicated an increase in spending of 1%-5%., with 23% reporting even higher growth expectations.

The business environment remains tough though, with 51% of marketers citing the recovering economy (or lack there-of) as their number one challenge. New technologies or engagement channels (42%) present the next greatest challange, as marketers must now develop campaigns and content in more formats, and delivered via more channels.

The budget increases are being established to help drive business in spite of economic headwinds, with senior management mandating the marketing investments drive top-line growth (46%), grow or retain market share (45%) and better define brands and value propositions (31%).

A great synposis of the research can be found on MarketingProfs:

The full research report can be found at:

Monday, July 11, 2011

23 Ways to Leverage a Blog Post for Content Marketing Success

The biggest challenge B2B marketers face is producing engaging content (36%), a Content Marketing Institute survey of 1,100 marketers revealed.

One of the best ways to overcome this challenge is to leverage existing content - finding ways to recast and deliver the content via multiple mediums and channels - connecting with buyers where they are, and via the medium they like best.

Click here to read my CMI article, an example of how a single blog post can be leveraged 23 ways to drive content success:

IT Sales & Marketing Grows More Complex: Only 5% of CIOs Can Authorize IT Investments Alone

CFOs and other executives are in more control of IT purchases than ever, this according to recent research by Gartner, Inc., Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) and the Committee of Finance & IT (CFIT) of Financial Executives International (FEI).

The study reveals that CFOs have more influence than many would expect - authorizing 26% of all IT investments. Surprisingly, CIOs alone have authorized only 5% of IT investments, confirming what many IT sales and marketing professionals already know, that the vast majority of IT purchase approvals involve more stakeholders, as well as significant executive scrutiny.

Since the bursting of the technology bubble in 2001, and reinforced by the Great Recession, CFOs have gained more organizational control over IT departments and decision making, driving  more frugal / economic-focused IT purchase decisions – a condition we have coined Frugalnomics.

With the financial executive wielding so much approval power, savvy marketers and sales professionals must understand how CFO's views technology investment decisions, directly influencing, or empowering the champion with the right content to connect, engage and sell these economic-focused gatekeepers. This can help solution providers to“fight” frugalnomics by facilitating the buyer’s journey and ever more complex economic approval process.

What a CFO Wants
CFOs are demanding of CIOs, indicating that they respect their technical skills, but want more project and financial accountability. When asked how to ensure that the relationship between the business and IT is successful and effective, financial executives indicated they would like to see:

·         Clear ownership of the project (38%),
·         The business case for the project (37%),
·         Project management (36%).

CFOs are more focused on IT investment success than technology proficiency, highlighting a significant gap in confidence. In fact, the survey revealed that 70% of CFOs do not believe that IT is currently providing business benefits, and only 32% of CFOs said they see the CIO as a strategic partner.

This “crisis in CIO confidence” presents an opportunity for solution providers to help CIOs be more successful with CFOs by collaborating / delivering the business case / ROI for each proposal, and helping reduce project management risks.

To this end, we recommend the following best practices:

1.       CIOs need to be armed with content to help facilitate the complex change management process which is now the buyer’s journey. Marketers and sales professionals can help arm the CIO for success, providing content to help them sell to executives and business stakeholders.

2.       With more executives doing their own on-line research, it is vital to have content to connect and engage CFOs directly, proving that the proposed solutions have quantified benefits, a business case with significant ROI, fast payback and minimal project management risks.

The Bottom Line
Frugalnomics is in full effect, with CFOs and other business executives exerting more control than ever over IT decisions.  IT solution providers know that to be successful they must “fight” frugalnomics with content to help facilitate the ever more complex buyer’s journey.

Saavy marketers and sales professionals will recognize the continued power shift towards more economic-focused buyers, developing and delivering the right content to empower CIOs / champions to communicate that there is a cost of doing nothing, and quantifying the value of change. This will include working with CIOs to develop tangible business cases to convince CFOs and other stakeholders that the proposed project can deliver significant benefits and ROI, with minimal risks.

As well, empowered executives are using the Internet and social media to do more research and facilitate buying decisions. Therefore, marketers should deliver resources to help CFOs and other stakeholders uncover and prioritize opportunities, make the case for change and prove that the technical team is making the most prudent choices.

CFOs' Priorities for Technology Identified in the 2011 Gartner FEI Technology Study.

Gartner on Demand webinar "Exploring CFO Priorities for 2011."

About the Gartner Survey: The 3rd annual survey of CFOs is designed to gather perceptions from financial executives about technology, key trends and planned improvements to operations. The Gartner/FERF technology study, conducted from October 2010 through January 2011, included 344 respondents who were qualified in providing a perspective on technology deployment within the enterprise. Sixty-six percent of the respondents were CFOs, 9 percent were business unit CFOs, and 95 percent could be considered senior financial executives.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

IT Spending on the Rise, But Frugalnomics Still Reigns

The latest IT spending metrics have been released by Gartner, and the news is good for the second half of this year and 2011 overall.

Worldwide IT spending is estimated to grow by 7.1% in 2011, this despite headwinds from the Japan disaster, Greece debt crisis, high oil / gas prices, and doubts over US spending / debt. Gartner’s forecasts are up significantly from estimates earlier in the year, when 5.6 % growth for 2011 was the prediction, despite the disaster and perceived pause in the global recovery.

Leading the recovery is a resurgence in infrastructure investments, with Computing Hardware expected to grow 11.7%, followed by Enterprise Software (9.5%), Telecommunications (6.9%) and IT Services (6.6%) and IT Services (6.6%).

During the Great Recession, infrastructure investments were put on hold, leading to a postponement in important additions and upgrades. This has led to a snapback in hardware spending in both 2010 (12.1% growth) and now again in 2011.

In prior recoveries, it has been Enterprise Software that has led the way, as organizations sought an edge in productivity to capture recovery revenue opportunities.

The priority of cloud services could be changing the equation, with spending in this area predicted by Gartner to be growing four times faster than spending in overall IT, predicted to grow from $89 billion this year to $177 billion by 2015.

In Enterprise Software, cloud is important as well, with SaaS growing to 10 percent of enterprise applications software spending, estimated to be $10 billion in 2011, growing to 20 billion in annual spending by 2015.

Worldwide IT Spending Forecast (Billions of U.S. Dollars)
Growth (%)
Growth (%)
Computing Hardware
Enterprise Software
IT Services
All IT

Although Gartner’s predictions bode well for IT vendors, IT buyers have fundamentally and permanently changes since the bursting of the tech bubble in 2001. Buyers are now more:  

1)      Empowered -  using the Internet and social networks to, on their own and with little involvement from sales, do research, discover opportunities, select solution options and competitively compare alternatives.

2)      Skeptical – trusting peers and analysts more than vendors for important decision making advice and support

3)      Frugal – even though a recovery might be at hand, buyers remain economic-focused with over 90% requiring a business case on any significant purchase, and 81% expecting vendors to provide formal cost-justification.

We have coined the change in buyer sentiment, Frugalnomics.
Changes to IT sales and marketing strategies have been made to help  fight frugalnomics, but are still not provocative / outcome -focused enough to meet changing buyer demands. Traditional product / solution focused approaches do not resonate with today’s IT buyer, and must be replaced with a more proactive, facilitative and value focused approach, powered by new marketing and sales enablement content and tools.

1) Provocative - IT buyers are spending the majority of their time "keeping the lights on", often lacking resources to fully understand the issues they face and improvement opportunities available. At the same time, budget pre-allocated for new projects is very light, despite the recovery. Likely, budget has not been allocated for your proposed solution, so a proactive / provocative approach is required - early in the cycle to get buyers to understand that the issues you can address are tangible, and a priority.

2) Value / Outcome Focused - Once the issue is a priority, the buyer needs to understand that the solution represents a great economic opportunity for tangible savings, productivity, and business benefits. The project then needs to be made a priority amongst the universe of potential projects. An ROI business case is now a requirement, to prove the benefits to an ever increasing cadre of decision stakeholders. A TCO comparison is also needed to assure that the selected solution represents the best possible selection from the universe of potential products / services.

3) Facilitative - The purchase journey is a complex change management process for the buyer who needs help in navigating the various decision steps. Buyers are seeking content and consultative advice to help them streamline the decision making process and drive the change, providing a great opportunity for vendors to contribute, not by marketing or selling, but by collaborating and facilitating.
The Bottom-Line
Although, according to Gartner, IT spending is expected to continue a sharp recovery through 2011, IT buyers are still driven by Frugalnomics: more empowered, skeptical and frugal than ever before. This is a fundamental and permanent change that began with the bursting of the tech bubble in 2001, and has only been reinforced by the Great Recession.
Savvy IT solution providers realize that a new sales and marketing approach is required to help facilitate the buyer’s journey– migrating from traditional product / solution approach to a more provocative outcome/value-focused and facilitative methodology.

Infographic: White Papers are Influence Kings, But Need Personalization to Retain Crown

Did you know that:
  • White papers are still the content of choice for today's B2B decision maker, used most and viewed as most influential compared to all other content
  • However, campaign overload is making white papers less effective / relevant
  • Research indicates that specific personalization is needed to help restore relevance and influence
Click here to view the Infographic: latest research and best practice recommendations

Infographic: Content Marketing Optimization

Did you know that:
  • Over 26% of total marketing budgets is spent annually on content marketing creation and distribution, and investments are growing
  • However , content marketing is perceived as ineffective by 41% of marketers
Why the crisis in confidence?
  • Is it that today's buyer has changed: more empowered, skeptical and frugal than ever before?
  • Is it the proliferation of channels and the lack of benchmarks / performance measures?

Click here for an Infographic on the latest research and best practice advice