Scott Brinker of Chief Marketing Technology, i.e. one of the better blogs on digital (or rather post-digital?) marketing, just published a piece featuring a short interview he ran with one of my favorite clients: Frank Days. Frank is a proponent of Agile Marketing, which is a marketing variation of Agile Development methods.
The main idea is that you replace the old annual marketing plan – you know, that 400 row spreadsheet that a team of 12 marketers develops for 2 months (instead of doing their job, mind you) so that their manager can present it to his management and then completely ignore it for the rest of the year because of all the ad-hoc stuff that marketing managers deal with – with monthly or weekly “sprints”, meetings where a few key marketing themes get to be discussed and short-term action plans hashed out.
What I find appealing about this notion is that it reflects the accelerating pace that B2B marketers need to adapt to. The traditional way of doing B2B marketing matched the way things used to work until just a few years ago. Marketers had their annual event schedule, or product release PR or customer PR plans, perhaps some website redesign project – all things that lend themselves to long term planning and execution. But in the digital, post social media era, that pace no longer matches reality. B2B marketers who still work like this, and I know quite a few of those, are like the turtle racing the rabbit: they win, but only in fables and faery tales.
In reality, marketing must react to shifting customer behavior and interest patterns in weekly or monthly timeframes, certainly not years. Leave your landing page static for a month, and conversion will decline. Tweetups and meetups, places where you can broadcast your messages to select audiences, are organized days or weeks in advance. An event might happen in the real-world that you could leverage for a sweeping content barrage. And there are many more use cases that call for an approach that’s closer to real-time than to spreadsheet-time.
It goes without saying that marketers can’t just work on an ad-hoc basis (a malaise I myself tend to suffer from). It keeps you in constant reaction mode and is generally not advisable as a growth strategy. Just don’t plan something that will become obsolete a minute after it’s approved by your managers.
You can learn a bit more on agile marketing here:
In early 2011, I wrote a blog post about who I thought would be dominant cloud computing players 10 years from then. In that post, I argued that the breadth of offerings from Microsoft (s msft) and Google (s goog) put them in position to own large parts of future IT markets. But much has changed since then. I think two cloud providers -- Amazon Web Services (s amzn) and Salesforce.com (s crm) -- have begun to pull away from the pack, and I'm ready to admit I didn't give these two companies their due.
It’s hard to overstate how intriguing the news about facebook’s new custom audiences feature is. in essence, marketers can now upload csv lists from their business CRM right into the facebook ad machine, and facebook will retarget these users where the email matches. for data marketers it’s no less than paradise, and for a simple reason: the value of their hard-won, clean, quality contact database just doubled itself.
I find it interesting how these news correlate with the new marketing cloud that Salesforce announced this week on Dreamforce. with the new Buddy Media powered marketing cloud, marketers who are also Salesforce users will be able to seamlessly integrate their data with social ads and take full advantage of the new custom audience feature on facebook.
there’s also a somewhat disturbing side effect to this as well. if there were stocks of list providers, I’d buy them, as marketers will now scramble to acquire new lists and feed them to facebook, regardless of quality.
by the way, if you’re concerned about data privacy, as was I upon reading about all this, facebook has a rather calming statement on its feature help page:
Facebook never receives your customer list. The list of emails or phone numbers is hashed on your own computer in power editor, and only the hashed data is sent to Facebook’s servers. The hashes are used to make the match, and then they are all discarded whether they matched or not. Facebook doesn’t use the data for any other purpose.
I think marketers should be thrilled to learn of this feature and I can’t wait to test it myself with a few choice clients.