A New Voice With a Ring of Familiarity

Mypictr_100x100 This is my first blog post as a Principal Analyst at Forrester, but not my first time writing for the company. When I left Forrester in 2002, blogs were just getting on the radar, Facebook was still based in Cambridge (and you needed a .edu email) and Interactive Marketing, eCommerce and Broadband were dirty words as the Internet Economy was in mid-January of a nuclear winter. My cell phone at the time was a pre-RAZR with limited internet access, and Apple had not yet introduced OSX. They were grim times.

We are again in the midst of a recession, this one is caused by issues beyond the domain of the tech industry, which is on relatively solid ground. But I have chosen this as the perfect time to return to Forrester as a Principal Analyst for the Marketing Leadership Role. The reason for my return is the optimism I have, and many share, toward the dynamic changes occurring between marketers and consumers because of technology. Those who have embraced more modern versions of the technologies mentioned above and changed the way marketing functions. This is a great thing for all of us who want to sell more, connect more, and establish a greater awareness in the minds of consumers. But changes to the way marketing operates are not as easy as the tools make them seem, since there are branding, advertising, budget, product and feedback issues that make CMOs and Marketing Leaders grimace.

For example, AdAge’s Meaghan Meehan posed this question last week of how to connect with less predictable market segments that can be reached by a mix of traditional and new-fangled strategies here. She, like me, thinks that the generation that will be moms and dads in the near future need to be embraced by advertisers, not just visible to them, as they make substantial brand choices in their early 20s that stay with them as they build families. But how to reach them involves more activity driven marketing and less commercial spots. But what mix? And what level of effort? And what is the ROI?

I return to Forrester to answer these questions after serving as a CMO myself at the online ad network company Burst Media. In that role, there was a balancing act between enabling our business to sell online ad space to marketers and the agencies that represent them, but also to help the company understand the issues that a brand-owning CMO faces regarding where they place their brand. So the issues that I grappled with – for the company to grow and for our customers to succeed – were similar. Is my audience really seeing the marketing I put in front of them? Is the web site strategic or tactical? Is our agency strong enough to execute our message? Can I get more money from the CFO? Do Sales and our customers value the message we are putting into the market place? Finally, does my marketing intuition and execution mate well with the demands of the rest of the senior team.

So what is my research agenda now that I am looking at the role from the outside? That is the question I want to pose to you as an audience. I have my ideas, having been a public company CMO and a start up exec, as to what I would want Forrester to help me with in those roles. But tell me – what is hard, and what is easy, about the changes occurring in managing marketing in today’s environment? Is it process, or is it mindset, that require change? Is it managing the concept, or getting buy in from senior executive peers that is more frustrating? Do agencies provide the services required to move into this new marketing era?

Email me at dcooperstein@forrester.com, find me on Twitter @minicooper, or post a comment on this blog entry to let me know what issues you grapple with the most.

Comments

re: A New Voice With a Ring of Familiarity

Wow, David... Did not know you'd landed. Good for you, let's catch up offline.In terms of your question... I want to know what the value chain will look like. In a world where "authentic" communication plays a more important role in the communications mix, how much of that communication will come from within "clients" themselves? What will be the agency's role? What kinds of agencies will play it? What technologies will be essential on both sides, and in coordinating the activities of the two?That's the big picture stuff I wrestle with. Nice to have someone corrupted by the real world wrestling with it full time.Best of luck to you, sure we'll talk soon.

re: A New Voice With a Ring of Familiarity

ROI

re: A New Voice With a Ring of Familiarity

How will decreasing message distribution costs impact marketers' abilities to reach let alone connect with their audience?

re: A New Voice With a Ring of Familiarity

I sympathize with agencies that are being ever-pressured by their clients to cut prices while delivering enhanced services. This can have the unintended impact of stymieing the aggressive pursuit of, and investment in, new ways to use digital marketing to improve ROI

re: A New Voice With a Ring of Familiarity

Talk about information overload! Today we're bombarded from every angle print, electronic and otherwise to "buy this" or "do that." I think we've reached the classic flivet saturation point where 10 lbs of dung simply can't fit into a 5 lb bag.Everyone wants to cut costs and achieve an ROI. The problem is that there's too many people aiming at too few targets all of whom are being assaulted by everyone. From the Cisco and HPs targeting the SMB market to the VC-funded start-ups swinging for the fences (Splunk), everyone wants the same results. Whereas money always helps get the message across I don't think, as is the case with love, more money necessarily buys results.The traditional media outlets are falling by the wayside. New media, for the hype, changes the battle field but many doubts remain. Where money can buy lots of visibility a stealth campaign can also garner a lot of attention. Like in nature, when a system has outgrown a sustainable level it fails. So too with our current media giants and PR venues. Bye bye. In their place something else will arise and repeat the process.

re: A New Voice With a Ring of Familiarity

Thanks for the comments so far on this blog (and to those who commented on Twitter and by email). The response has been terrific, and the output will show up here and in the research.If you are still watching this space, what is the issue around ROI? Is it airtight measurement? Or is ROI the key to getting executive buy in from peers on the management team?In terms of media, SmithWill, is your question how to get a return on new media, or is it how to make sense of all the changes in media and marketing that are keeping you awake at night?