This is my first blog as Chief Revenue Officer of Certain, so I thought I would talk through how I see the future of marketing and how that led me to join Certain. I lead Certain’s marketing, sales and business development efforts. (Read more about my background here.)
So, why did I come to Certain?
The short answer is that Certain has a very disruptive value proposition for modern marketing organizations. Certain also has an amazing team of people who work hard to help our customers deliver amazing events and conferences. Great opportunity. Great team. I’m in!
The longer answer has to do with how I view the future of marketing and the role of events and event technology in this future.
It’s hard to be a great marketer today. In fact, despite all this great marketing technology we’ve acquired, the job seems even less under control, and that’s not a good thing with CFOs breathing down our necks. We digitize and analyze, but are often faced with partial truths and incomplete theories.
The future of enterprise marketing.
I have a vision of the future of enterprise marketing and I want to be a part of making it happen. (Do me a favor, though, and let me know what you think. Reach me on LinkedIn or Twitter @BBailard or leave a comment below.) Here is my view:
I think the future of marketing will bring a significantly better understanding of the customer purchase journey, coupled with predictive analytics driving the best marketing programs with most appropriate messaging at exactly the right time to convert more customers — across all marketing and advertising activities. Doing this will finally connect marketing activities directly to revenue. The marketing department will become a revenue generator rather than a cost center. The CMO will become the CFO’s BFF. Marketers will be the heroes!
Are we there yet?
Much of what’s required to connect marketing to revenue and realize the future of marketing does exist today. But it’s incomplete and that means we’re interacting with prospects and customers in a disjointed way. The right hand isn’t sure what the left hand is doing. The limbs of the marketing body are acting independently of one another and that can cause us to look silly, and then ask ourselves why they aren’t acting as we intended.
Think about this. Why are we putting so much budget into digital marketing programs? The first part of the answer is obvious: the internet and social media have disrupted the way people get information and buy things. The second part of the answer is that it’s far easier to document an ROI for digital marketing programs. Senior marketing executives will quietly confirm that a credible ROI makes getting budget far easier, and since you can’t get good performance metrics for offline media, it’s simply easier to shift budgets towards digital. If you want to fund a particular marketing program, you need credible ROI. Digital marketing has the magic ROI report.
But digital marketing represents just a few limbs of the total body of marketing. And we know that a typical customer will have twenty, thirty, or even more interactions with us before making a purchase decision. (Not all of those interactions are digital!) These prospects and customers expect that the interactions they have with us on ANY channel will reflect what we know (or should know) about them. We need to stop being so two-faced. Marketers must get their programs moving in a coordinated fashion.
Getting in shape.
How will marketing succeed in the modern world?
1. Digitize, digitize, digitize.
First, all marketing programs must deliver digitized information about how prospects and customers are interacting with that program’s specific message, timing, targeting, etc. Digital marketing programs are already connected. The rest need to follow suit.
2. Connect to marketing automation.
Marketing automation systems, like Oracle Eloqua and Marketo, play the role of the central nervous system. A vast array of electrical signals come in from the body’s limbs (web visits, retweets, conference registrations, video downloads, and service calls recorded in the CRM system). These will become critical digitized information about how every prospect interacts with every marketing program. Certain now enables all the rich customer and prospect data from major conferences and regional events to seamlessly flow into Oracle Eloqua and Marketo. Over time, all marketing programs will be digitized and connected in this way. In addition to Certain for events, IPTV and digital OOH will bring even more digitized data in. All these marketing programs will serve as the body’s limbs supported by muscles and bones to take action, communicate, and sense the reaction.
3. Analyze and attribute.
Marketing analytics systems assess everything, including cross-channel attribution, so marketers can understand the relative impact of different programs on different customer segments based on message, timing, and other factors. In my analogy, the role of marketing analytics and attribution is to measure the health indicators of the marketing body. They are the brains of the operation.To realize the bright future of marketing, we need marketing automation as the central nervous system; marketing analytics as the brains; and dozens of digitized inputs from all marketing activities as the limbs of the body. When these three key functions are in place, the marketer can smoothly approach and communicate with customers across channels.
Certain is helping to deliver on the future of marketing!
Circling back to why I joined Certain, I think events in general are going to grow in importance. Why? We’ve become too digitized, too impersonal in our marketing. Yes, our ability to personalize our marketing messages is greater than it’s ever been, but the way we deliver these messages through social, mobile, email, etc. is losing our personal connection. I don’t think digital marketing can ever fully communicate a brand. It can’t allow us to really connect with customers.
Today, events comprise on average about 28% of the marketing budget. I think this will continue to grow as user conferences and large multi-day events continue to become more personalized. Certain’s event management software is at the forefront. It’s connected to the host organization’s marketing automation system so they can leverage all the information they have about attendees to create a customized experience. With Certain, this capability is live and successful right now.
What about the specific sessions people attend? Or the in-person meetings that take place at events? Certain recommends content and connections, measures attendees’ activities and responses, records it, and feeds it back as digitized insight into the marketing ecosystem.
This is huge!
We are in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century. The future is now. Certain connects events to the rest of your marketing activities. And brings you one step closer to realizing the future of marketing.