Understanding Your Customers’ Habits Can Make A Difference

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of hosting a Technology Marketing Council Roundtable for a number of Austin, Texas-based members. Gathered around the table were VPs and senior technology marketers from AMD, IBM, Planview, OpenText, Socialware, Troux Technologies, and a soon to be renamed Austin Ventures startup.

Always with an eye toward seeking out relevant and thought-provoking ways to push the thinking of our members, I invited Art Markman, Ph.D., Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor of Psychology and Marketing from the University of Austin, and Principal Advisor Tyler McDaniel from Forrester to talk about how companies can make themselves into a habit with their customers. While there were a number of great insights and peer conversation, I wanted to share my top two takeaways:

Takeaway No. 1: Getting Your Customers To Act Without Thinking. We all develop habits and rituals that become automatic and instinctive. The marketers in companies like Starbucks and Apple spend a lot of time and treasure examining these habits so that they can seamlessly embed their products and services into the lives of their customers. They’ve learned that utilization happens far easier when there’s instinctive action over contemplative thought.

The lesson for B2B tech marketers - it’s time to break our habit of building campaigns that tell customers to “think of us often” and design a new level of marketing that makes customers instinctively act without thinking. Through careful study (see next takeaway), it’s feasible to start laying down consistent, repetitive messages that over time will trigger customers to instinctively act on our products and services versus actually having to think about them.

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Sneak Peek At 2012 For Tech Marketers And Strategists

Last week at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto, CA, a select group of senior tech marketing and strategy executives from a who’s who list of tech titans joined Forrester analysts Andy Bartels, Chris Mines, Peter Burris, Tim Harmon, Ellen Daley, Manish Bahl and Kim Celestre for our 2012 First Look event to understand the key trends and marketing best practices that they must employ in 2012 and beyond. 

While I can’t deliver 4 hours of content in one blog post, I’ll start by outlining my three key takeaways. Curious about other trends or marketing best practices for 2012 not listed below?  Leave a comment and we’ll do our best to address them.

Takeaway #1: Emerging markets are still emerging (aka small) compared with the largest IT market – the US.

While there has been a lot of excitement (rightfully so) in fast IT spend growth markets such as China (17% year-over-year growth), India (21% year-over-year growth), and Brazil (28% year-over-year growth), the relative size of these markets are still a small percentage compared with the US.  For example, the IT spend in China is only 15% of what it is in the US, while the percentages are even smaller for Brazil at 6% and India at 4% compared with the US.[i]

WIM (what it means): Tech marketers and strategists with a global remit must keep both relative size along with growth in mind as they balance their investment, program activities, and other resources in 2012. 

Takeaway #2: IT consumerization means big changes for marketers.

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Kosten Metreweli, CMO Of Zeus Technology, Talks Demand Management And Lead Nurturing

“If you think demand management and lead nurturing is just automating your process to create, track and passing leads over to sales — you’d be wrong.”

This is an edict from Kosten Metreweli, CMO of Zeus Technology*, during a presentation he gave to a group of CMOs and VPs of marketing in Forrester’s Technology Marketing Council regarding his approach to generating demand and lead nurturing.  For those who don’t know Zeus — the organization is now part of Riverbed Technology and is a cloud-based elastic application solution that helps IT organizations deliver fast, secure, and scalable web applications with the economics of cloud (ex: BBC, Disney, and Domino’s Pizza).

Kosten acknowledges the importance of a solid marketing automation infrastructure, but emphasized that effective technology marketing professionals also need to:

·         Take ownership for ALL revenues (yes, all)

·         Have tight alignment with sales (not just the leadership)

·         Study, define, and evangelize the target personas (don’t admire them just within your office)

·         Map the content strategy to the funnel — from prospect — to deal — to customer success (oh, and by persona too)

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