Almost four years ago, I began a new journey at Forrester Research when I agreed to take on the B2B marketing research coverage and practice. The first significant research that I conducted and wrote, “B2B Marketing Needs A Makeover – Now,” looked at the challenges B2B marketers face and how they address these issues through marketing programs and technology investment. Little did I know that “Makeover” would become the seminal piece of research in a series that extends across those four years and culminates in an upcoming report next week.
Today, it is with a mix of pride, nostalgia, excitement, and deep appreciation that I announce the next step in that B2B marketing journey, which started in 2006 here at Forrester, but extends back more than a decade earlier through various high-technology marketing positions I held prior to becoming an analyst.
At the end of March, I will leave Forrester to become the Vice President of Industry Marketing for Xerox Global Services, North America.
Very simply, I have been helping many clients face down their marketing challenges, adopt new approaches, and improve the reputation and standing of marketing at their firms for some time. While personally rewarding in so many ways, I longed to return to my roots where I could do more practicing and less preaching. Xerox offers me this opportunity.
Since publishing the market overview for the lead management automation space, I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of current and emerging vendors who got in touch wanting to talk further, learn more about my research, and (well, frankly) “influence” the analyst.
First of all, I’d like to extend a big “Thank You” to my readers and followers who responded to an invitation last month to participate in the 2010 B2B Marketing Budgets and Mix survey that Forrester fielded together with MarketingProfs. Without your responses, the research would not be as broad or relevant — so thank you again!
After closing the survey and digesting some of the results, I was really surprised by one finding. After reviewing our process and validating the data, my researcher, Zack Reiss-Davis, and I believe that the result is not a technical problem with the survey instrument nor its execution. I decided to share what we found and get your thoughts on why B2B marketers may have answered the question as they did.
In January 2010, we found that 65% of the 249 B2B marketers we surveyed at firms with 50 or more employees use inside sales/telesales as part of the marketing mix. This percentage is slightly greater, but not dissimilar, to what we found in early 2009 (62% said they use inside sales).
Of the 65% who use inside sales, 34% said they found it “highly effective” for driving brand awareness. Brand awareness? Really?!? That’s on par with webcasts/webinars and the company Web site for effectively building brand, according to the same survey respondents.
“Cloud computing” is a very hot topic, and like social media, subject to much debate about “what is cloud computing?” and “what does it mean for business?” Simply stated, cloud computing lets your customers and potential buyers take advantage of services and resources delivered as an online utility. Buyers get the benefits of using your technology without worrying about the technical details as much as they would if they implemented software inside their data centers.
Next week I have the pleasure of speaking to several affiliate groups of the Direct Marketing Association about demand management. Please join me Wednesday, January 13, 2010, for a webinar-based panel discusison about: How to Track a Buyer’s Online Purchase Research Behavior: and then send appropriate messages to influence that buyer’s purchase.
Last week, Forrester published my research about how to deepen engagement engagement with programs focused on your best, most active customers. I think social software and activity will play a huge role here in 2010. Why? Because engaging business customers requires contact.
While attending Dreamforce last month, I took a walk around the show floor to see which firms were exhibiting. It wasn’t surprising to see a raft of new companies talking about sales-support additions to the AppExchange family with lead generation and pipeline health hot issues in this economy.
Thanksgiving is next week, and it marks the start of the mad dash to
the end of the year. As I look towards 2010, I see B2B marketers, in
the tech industry and elsewhere, face increasing pressure to reach
decision-makers, justify spending, and deliver high-quality leads to an
increasingly dissatisfied sales organization. Compounding these demands
is a lingering recession and increasing pressure from product
commoditization, new business models, functional outsourcing, and a social groundswell where buyers turn to peers to validate purchase decisions.