Marketers: keep it cool, not creepy

“We are living in the era of the connected customer -
one in which normal customer behavior is to capture moments and share it in near real-time.”

- from "Customer Love - it's All About the Connection" by John Balla

One message does not fit all anymore.

Remember the days when marketing would use one message for all channels? It wasn’t uncommon to see the same brand message in a printed ad, on a billboard, on TV, or on the company website. Consistency was key. Those were the days, some would argue, when marketing actually controlled the message.

Celeste Taylor, VP of Marketing at Thompson's Markets

Celeste Taylor, VP of Marketing at Thompson's Markets

Then in marched the social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and more recently, Pinterest and Instagram. When these new channels arrived on the scene, marketers continued to do what they’ve always done: they extended the same message to these new channels. That is, until they realized that these channels were different. Not only were they 100% digital, they also talked back. They quickly learned that customers didn’t want to be talked at anymore (as in a one-way monologue); they wanted to be talked with (as in a 2-way conversation).

Today, marketing executives like Celeste Taylor (to the left) know that the one-message-for-all approach doesn’t work. Marketers need multiple messages, namely the right message that will work for each channel. Granted, this message will most likely be similar across channels, but how it’s conveyed in a printed ad or email blast will most likely be different than how it’s presented on Facebook or Twitter. Or, at least, it should be. The message now needs to be fine-tuned to the audience each channel pulls in.


How to keep it cool: Engage in the conversation in your social channels. Be approachable, personable and responsive. And now more than ever, it’s important to keep your cool even when your customer has lost his. Everyone’s watching 24x7.

Experience trumps relationship.

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Seeing opportunity in the Internet of Things

There are many reasons for marketers to see opportunity in the Internet of Things, most especially because it entails the interconnection of objects and devices and the data that's generated from these devices. It's not so much that we have to get our geek on, but the devices themselves ultimately connect to individuals that are impacted in some way by the device. Those individuals, of course, are our customers.

The origin of  the term, "The Internet of Things," according to Wikipedia, dates back to 1999 and it references the concept as having been discussed "since at least 1991."  I believe it's even older than that because well before the 1990s we knew the early concept as the "busy signal" when your best friend's sister hung on the telephone all night and you could not get through ("off hook" was the official Bell System term).

No matter the origin of the term, it has now blossomed into a world-wide phenomenon that now has it's own day - April 9 is Global Internet of Things Day.

Solar panels being installed on our roof.

Solar panels being installed on our roof.

To understand the opportunity and its implications, it's worth considering one example - my home. This past summer, my wife and I took the plunge and installed solar panels on the roof or our house. Along with the panels came a monitoring system that reports all sorts of metrics and serves it up to us on demand in an online portal. We can see how much energy our panels are producing, and also which circuits are using what amounts of electricity and at what times.

Since getting our system, we've gotten important information that helps us manage our electricity consumption and make important choices that have enabled us to reduce our carbon footprint and save money. Cases in point include: Read More »

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So marketing, do you do Hadoop?

Some people consider "big data" an "overused" buzzword, almost as if it were a fad or a "trending term" and then in a year, we'll all move on to the next "shiny object." We may very well have a new shiny object soon enough, but the fact remains that big data is a current issue because it's real. Big data presents both challenges and opportunities, and I believe the opportunities will drive its endurance as a business topic more than the challenges. The thought behind that is that great options are emerging to manage the challenges.

A Non-Geeks' Big Data Playbook; Hadoop and the Enterprise Data WarehouseHadoop is a great example of a viable option to meet big data challenges, and marketers need to "do Hadoop" at least a little because customer data streams are driving much of big data. We can't just fling it over the transom for IT to take care of, so I recommend that all marketers "do Hadoop."

Start with this whitepaper, A Non-Geek's Big Data Playbook: Hadoop and the Enterprise Big Data Warehouse. Written by SAS Director of Emerging Technologies Tamara Dull, the paper is very visual and showcases six common “plays” of how Hadoop supports and extends the enterprise data warehouse (EDW) ecosystem.

I hope you'll find this paper gives you perspectives to help you work with your I.T. counterparts to look beyond the big data challenges and focus on realizing all the big data opportunities.

Let me know what you think.

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People skills realize the innovative power of technology

It’s never been more important for marketing to speak the language of technology (IT) and for IT to speak the language of marketing. Why? Because technology is radically changing the world and marketing and IT have the opportunity to radically change the enterprise together. Yes, the stakes are high and so is the potential payoff.

The opportunity is to create great value by realizing the innovative power of technology, and doing it requires agility, resourcefulness and a willingness to collaborate like never before.  The interesting part is that each of those three factors rely heavily on people skills.

SAS Global Forum Executive Conference Keynote Panel Discussion

Keynote Panel Discussion, SAS Global Forum Executive Conference

These themes emerged among the topics covered by the keynote panel at SAS Global Forum Executive Conference and it struck me how much they also resonate in marketing.  The panel was moderated by SAS Vice President of Best Practices Jill Dyché and included these executives:

Jill set up the discussion with the idea that “we’re still victims of the cultural paradigms at our companies” – and she cited examples to underscore her point. There are legacy mind-sets and processes that need to be changed before the possibilities can take place, and that’s why the catalysts are the people skills. It’s natural to have a viewpoint informed by past experience, and getting beyond those predispositions takes work. It’s not too different than going to a family reunion or when visiting your home town – it may take some adjusting for your old neighbors to see beyond your teenage years’ antics and engage with you as the adult you’ve become. Showing up with your wife and kids helps that process, but it still takes time.

Overcoming Legacy Mindets
Peter noted the legacy mindset that evolved because IT has traditionally had control over what happened and why – largely in siloes. Read More »

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What's changing IT is also changing marketing

Jill Dyche moderated a panel at SAS Global Forum Executive Conference.

James Dallas speaking on a panel with Peter Moore and Mary Turner, moderated by Jill Dyche.

Adversarial relationships make for wonderful stories. Why? Because we can relate to them so well. It’s human nature to clash with rivals - cat fights, turf wars, even sibling rivalries reliably sell magazines and fill cinemas and theaters. But are they good for business?

Of course not, especially not if the adversaries have the same logo on their paychecks. The traditional relationship between IT and marketing has been more adversarial than not – especially considering the differences in mind-set, focus and even language spoken by the two enterprise functions. Thankfully that’s changing.

Many of the same dynamics changing IT are also changing marketing and it’s driving the need for those two functions to work together. The role of big data in driving that developing partnership was pretty well described in CMO Council research sponsored by SAS, Big Data’s Biggest Role – Aligning the CMO and CIO.

That evolving partnership was also validated on a panel discussion moderated by Jill Dyché at this year’s SAS Global Forum Executive Conference. Jill posed the question to panelist James Dallas, former CIO at Medtronic Corporation, “How is IT Changing.” Much of the answer he gave could very well apply to the question, “How is Marketing Changing." Here is what he said:

There are three major trends that are transforming IT as we know it: Read More »

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Analysts validate SAS leadership in marketing solutions

Like a lighthouse, analyst validation helps you steer clear of hazards.

Like a lighthouse, analyst validation helps you steer clear of hazards.

As customers have grown more demanding and empowered, the role of marketing as steward of the customer relationship has evolved to be more strategic in the enterprise. And with that evolution comes a greater need to validate vendor claims of superiority.

Analyst firms offer advice and research through their publications, events and consulting projects to companies that are evaluating technology purchases. SAS has been named a leader in several recent analyst reports related to marketing, and we've pulled some excerpts below for you to consider.

Click on the report names to open the reports in a new window:

“SAS Customer Intelligence is once again a leader, and overall scores show SAS as the highest-ranked vendor in this evaluation. SAS also received among the highest scores for optimization, analytics and reporting, application usability, corporate strategy, and financials.”

The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, Q1 2012

 SAS, a "leader" in this Magic Quadrant since the inaugural report in March 2006, is among vendors that Gartner says "consistently do considerably better in overall campaign management performance for basic and advanced campaigns, and for integration with digital marketing.” Gartner further describes leaders as having "high market visibility, high market penetration, strong market momentum and a strategic vision for growing the campaign management business."

       Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Campaign Management

Gartner places SAS among the leading vendors that “demonstrate exemplary performance.” Leaders in this report deliver breadth and depth of integrated MRM functionality on large, enterprisewide and global implementations that extend MRM across the marketing organization.

Magic Quadrant for Marketing Resource Management

Gartner places SAS among the leading vendors. We are cited as delivering breadth and depth of integrated marketing functionality, and successfully articulating business propositions that resonate with marketing buyers, particularly CMOs and marketing executives.

Magic Quadrant for Integrated Marketing Management

We appreciate your interest in SAS and hope that you've found these validation points useful. Thank you for following!

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Why SAS customers get it right for marketing

When you are making a big, important purchase there are few things more helpful than seeing how well things are going somewhere else. It's better than merely "kicking tires" because it's really happening somewhere else and in their own way, that other organization is putting customers at the center of their strategy.

To that end, I've compiled a little list of customer successes that do a great job of telling the story of why SAS customers get it right for marketing. Take a peek at how some of these organizations are leading the way using SAS. They have recognized that the best way to differentiate is by delivering unique customer experiences based on a solid, connected business strategy driven by analytics.

Click on any one of those links below to open the full success story in a new window and read about what may be possible for your organization. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Tripled the success rate of previous campaigns and won lapsed customers back.

Targeted lists yield higher growth rates and lower costs for customer acquisition with immediate results. Read More »

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How to put the customer at the center of your strategy #SASEC14

Leading your organization to faster, better decisions requires skill, agility, resourcefulness and above all -  analytics. In marketing, that combination allows the CMO to put the customer squarely in the center of strategy, and align operational execution around the customer focal-point.

It's no coincidence that leading organizations, such as the world's biggest retailer, media conglomerates and large telecommunications operators, all use SAS for marketing excellence.

Executives from these organizations and from business publications leader Harvard Business Review will be presenting their perspectives at the 2014 SAS Global Forum Executive Conference in the following sessions:

These sessions will provide you with viewpoints that explain how to put your customer at the center of your strategy. If you are not attending SAS Global Forum Executive Conference, you can follow developments on Twitter at the #SASEC14 hashtag.

As always, thank you for following!

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Want to snag attention? Mention cat videos.


Pandora came as a package deal with my wife when we got married.

Pandora came as a package deal with my wife when we got married.

People love to joke about "watching cat videos" as the epitome of wasting time. Or they don't joke, but express amazement at "how you seem to get sucked in so easily watching cat videos.

I am not one of those people that watches cat videos, so you can put me in the camp of people that laugh at cat-video watchers.

Anyway, my colleagues on the marketing operations management team wanted to find a fun way to reach their audience, so naturally their thoughts gravitated to - you guessed it -
cat videos!

This short, catchy video is designed to appeal to marketing project managers and creative teams that need a marketing resource management system.  It shows the viewer what life is like for the marketer that has to suffer through not having SAS Marketing Operations Management. Her colleague using Marketing Operations Management is surrounded by cat figurines in her office, living in a happy world of clarity and control.  And as a result, she has plenty of time for watching cat videos on the internet.

Check it out below and let us know what you think.


Hats off to the stars of this production:

  • Kate Parker as "the poor Marketing Project Manager,"
  • Colleen Cruz as the "project management dashboard user" surrounded by cat figurines.
  • Brian Alfond as the voice-over and originator of the inbox full of funny names of people "demanding to know the status of the projects."
  • Nancy Wilson, owner of the cat figurines without which this would have been another hum-drum corporate vid.

No cats were harmed in the making of this video.  Meow!  :)

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The digitization of everything – its impact on the CMO/CIO relationship

We’ve talked in the first two posts about how the digitization of everything is disrupting marketing and changing the face of commerce. Organizations are having to change the way they operate, and that’s causing roles in the C-suite to evolve.

The digitization of everything is doing three primary things:

  1. Increasing the speed and access for everyone to find and interact with relevant people, information, and products/services.
  2. Creating a fast-paced, never-ending game of “survival of the fittest” among corporations.
  3. Moving more of the customer journey into digital channels.

These three factors are forcing organizations to focus on being found among an ever growing sea of competitors – and also on responding in context to their audience with something that resonates.

This requires an increasing depth of customer understanding. Companies need to understand what customers want to accomplish, the motivations behind their actions – and be able to provide meaningful responses, at scale, across a growing spectrum of channels.

Each time a vendor does this well, it raises the collective bar of customer expectations, until someone does it better. This constantly repeating, ever shortening cycle puts an enormous amount of pressure on every company to relentlessly innovate. Those that don’t, struggle or die.

The increasing reliance of the CMO on technology to help them know and respond to customer needs, coupled with the availability of cloud infrastructure and applications, is forcing both the CMO and CIO to re-evaluate their roles. Read More »

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