New trends in marketing: a dispatch from this year’s Marketing Nation Summit
The year’s most exciting marketing conference took place ten days ago in San Francisco. Six to seven thousand industry-types attended, coalescing to discuss new trends in marketing. The general consensus among the elites is that traditional approaches to marketing have now been displaced by “engagement marketing,” or creating real relationships with customers to generate demand. In this article, I summarize the insights of two marketers, and attendees to the conference: Carlos Hidalgo of Annuitas and Amrita Mathur of Visioncritical.
Carlos Hidalgo's big takeaway starts with The Economist's study of marketers' top three priorities: increasing digital engagement, customer experience and owning the customer cycle.
Hildago focuses on the customer experience priority. He points out that since up t 70 percent of buying cycles are over before buyers initiate vendor contact, marketers should "engage their buyers in relevant and meaningful dialogue." For Hidalgo, marketing: "is no longer a sales driven buying process, this much is certain, but marketers must heed the call and utilize what is at their disposal to drive customer engagement."
While Hidalgo is optimistic about technology's contributions to marketing he still believes that strategy is more important. "Marketers understand that without a defined buyer-centric strategy as the foundation, they are limiting the value they will get from their Marketo investment," writes Hidalgo.
Lastly, for Hidalgo there is no better time to be a B2B marketer as long as "[As a group they] continue to advance their knowledge and understanding of strategic demand generation including how to apply context to big data, the use of business intelligence to optimize their programs and full utilization of marketing automation solutions like Marketo."
Amrita Mathur was inspired by keynote speaker, Sanjay Dholakia, Chief Marketing Officer for Marketo. Dholakia made his message crystal clear: mass advertising and campaign marketing are out. “To resonate with today’s customers, companies need to embrace a new type of marketing—one that’s based on having a two-way conversation with customers,” reflects Mathur.
It’s called engagement marketing.
“The key to engagement marketing, according to Dholakia, is to stop treating customers as data points and to connect with customers on a human level,” says Mathur.
In addition to creating a relationship with the customer, the engagement marketer must also be concerned with helping her customers achieve their goals. “If you’re useful and helpful, people will embrace you,” said Dholakia, according to Visioncritical.
Staying creative is key for marketers. The Summit brought in pop star John Legend to speak on the subject. Legend’s message is to examine successful people that came before you. Legend stated that he studied Al Green, Stevie Wonder and Billie Holiday to learn his songwriting chops. “To be great you have to study the greats. Stay open to inspiration,” he said, according to Visioncritical.
Finally, Mathur wrote about what Arianna Huffington brought to the Summit. In the eyes of Huffington, it’s futile to nurture creativity if the marketer is not going to take time out to rest.
“In an age when marketers are being asked to do more with less time and fewer resources, taking a break and unplugging might sound like a crazy idea. But it’s necessary,” writes Mathur.
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Giving efficiency the full throttle at NASCAR
The NASCAR organization has long been synonymous with speed, agility and innovation. And so by extension, partnerships at NASCAR hold a similar reputation. One such partner for the organization has been CDW – a leading multi-brand provider of information technology solutions to businesses, government, education and healthcare customers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. CDW provides a broad array of products and services ranging from hardware and software to integrated IT solutions such as security cloud hybrid infrastructure and digital experience. Customer need is the driving force at CDW, and the company helps clients by delivering integrated services solutions that maximize their technology investment. So how does CDW help their customers achieve their business goals? Troy Okerberg, Field Sales Manager - North Florida at CDW adds “We strive to provide our customers with full stack expertise, helping them design, orchestrate and manage technologies that drive their business outcomes.”
NASCAR acquired International Speedway Corporation (ISC) in 2019, merging its operations into one, new company moving forward. The merger represents an important step forward for NASCAR as the sport creates a unified vision to embrace its long history of exciting, family-oriented racing experiences while developing strategic growth initiatives that will drive the passion of core fans and attract the next generation of race fans. CDW has been instrumental in bringing the two technology environments together to enable collaboration and efficiency as one organization. Starting with a comprehensive analysis of all of NASCAR’s vendors, CDW created a uniform data platform for the data center environment across the NASCAR-ISC organization. The IT partner has also successfully merged the two native infrastructure systems together, while analyzing, consulting and providing an opportunity to merge Microsoft software licenses as well.
2020 turned into a tactical year for both organizations with the onset of the pandemic and CDW has had to react quickly to the changing scenario. Most of the initial change included building efficiencies around logistics, like equipment needing to be delivered into the hands of end users who switched to a virtual working environment almost overnight. CDW’s distribution team worked tirelessly to ensure that all customers could still access the products that they were purchasing and needed for their organizations throughout the COVID timeframe. Okerberg adds that today, CDW continues to optimize their offering by hyper-localizing resources as well as providing need-based support based on the size and complexity of their accounts. Although CDW still operates remotely, the company commits to adapting to the changing needs of their clients, NASCAR in particular. Apart from the challenges that COVID-19 brought to the organization, another task that CDW had been handed was to identify gaps and duplicates in vendor agreements that the two former single-entity organizations had in place and align them based on services offered. CDW further helps identify and provide the best solution from a consolidation standpoint of both hardware and software clients so that the new merged organization is equipped with the best of what the industry has to offer.