How Would You Define A Customer Outcome?

Executives at large accounts with complex problems want more than your “solution” – and rarely have a line item in their budget for your offering.  Instead, they have an initiative, with a goal, an objective…and a desired outcome.  And they lament that salespeople are often unprepared to have a discussion about the buyer’s issues and where they can help.

A customer’s desire for a business outcome is an important force that’s separating strategic vendors from commodity suppliers. We think that this idea of an outcome — in fact, an emerging Outcome Economy —needs to be clearly understood as being different from simply providing solutions and benefits.  So what is the difference?  Are you selling outcomes for your key customers?  How would you know?  And how can you help account teams have conversations about them?

We’re interested in your thoughts on what qualifies, in the customer’s eyes, as an outcome.  Here are our initial thoughts.  What are we missing?  What would you change?

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Interview with ITSMA about Linking Global Strategy and Field Execution

By Peter O'Neill

The IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) has just published this interview with me to its members to coincide with my presentation on this topic at the Forrester Marketing Forum here in Los Angeles. For those European members of ITSMA, I’d like to point out that I will be hosting and contributing to the ITSMA workshop “Building the Business Case for Social Media in B2B Marketing” in London on May 5th. Perhaps I will see you there  . Anyway, I’m enjoying our conversations, so keep your comments and emails coming.   

Always keeping you informed!

Peter

 

In this Viewpoint, Peter O’Neill, VP & Principal Analyst, Forrester, shares his research on and passion for international technology industry marketing, with a specific emphasis on field marketing strategy and execution, including the dynamics of interactions between headquarters and field marketing organizations.

ITSMA:What challenges do marketers face due to globalization?

O’Neill: Our clients often ask the basic question: What does it mean to "go global"? Well, going global really means having customers in multiple countries—i.e., in local geographic

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Trip Report From Symantec's VISION Conference

By Peter O'Neill (with some comments by colleague Jonathan Penn)

I spent a couple of days with Symantec executives this week in Las Vegas, attending their Worldwide Analyst Summit as well as day 1 of the VISION user group conference. My interest in Symantec is partly based on my research in the service management market - they bought Altiris a few years ago; and also because I watch their partner program work. Anyway, here are my highlights of the briefings.

Symantec has a very subdued style of presenting to analysts, but for users it was all show business

The presentations to us started very gently and modestly. Instead of egoistical VPs showing slides and speaking down to us from the stage, they led with a panel discussion moderated by their major entertainer, Steve Morton, VP of Product Marketing. That was much more pleasant to listen to and the required points were still all made. Also the tone of the questions was often very self-critical (“now Symantec is not renowned for having integrated its acquisitions well, how are we doing on that front now?”) - a good idea. I am sure it was easy to work out what critical questions were going to come and pre-empt those discussions.   

Now Steve is probably the reason they bought Altiris because the “keynote” session at VISION was a 90 minutes Tonight show with Steve performing more like Jay Leno than the man himself. Clearly very talented in this role, he was aptly supported by a band, videos and stage show. From his stage desk he hosted numerous guests on his couch in a humorous, chatty, and loosely-scripted format.  Again, all the points were made without boring anybody.

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The Mathematical Inevitability Of The SMB-led Economic Recovery

[Co-authored with Zachary Reiss-Davis]

Back in February 2009, I wrote a report titled “A New SMB Market Phoenix Is Rising” which examines how small and medium businesses (SMBs) will be the initial source of job growth and creation which leads us out of the current recession, as they have in most previous recessions. The report also examines how SMBs use technology, and how technology vendors can best market to them - this figure highlights my conclusions.The Historic Employment Rate Performance Of Small Businesses And Enterprises

Today, Paul Kedrosky, who has a Ph.D. in the economics of technology and writes extensively on macro-economic trends, wrote a piece I found very insightful about why young firms (small businesses) not only historically account for most of the job growth in the United States, but that their doing so is mathematically inevitable. 

My upcoming report, “Fueling the New SMB: Marketing Services-as-Software” on this topic, will work its way through our editing process in the next week.  In the meantime, I encourage you to read his post and my older report and let me know if they match what your marketing team is seeing today.