Forrester's Marketing Forum 2011 Keynotes


I am at the Forrester's Marketing Forum in San Francisco and today’s keynote presentations included two of Forrester’s Principal Analysts, Chris Stutzman and Emily Riley. Their presentation was provocatively titled, How to Succeed in a Decade of Digital Disruption: ADAPT to the CORE, which tied to the show’s theme, “Innovating Your Marketing for the Next Digital Decade.”

The “ADAPT” and “CORE” are clever acronyms that should aid in recall and adoption, but I wrote them down to be sure I conveyed them to you accurately.

Chris started out by citing research done by Forrester with marketing leaders that point to CMOs being in a “Crisis of Confidence,” and concluded that we need to change the thinking of marketing leadership because after a decade of digital marketing, the “old rules” of marketing leadership no longer apply. The findings that Chris cited were:

  • 84% reported having inadequate budgets for experimentation,
  • 74% do not have enough executive support, and
  • 67% have inadequate marketing technology.

He offered great examples to illustrate the crisis of confidence with a creative analogy to The Wizard of Oz, showing how sometimes the crisis comes about from a lack of brains, or courage or heart. But more importantly, he offered a new digital model (ADAPT) for marketing leaders to use to overcome barriers to success:

Accept Change – how to combat complacency. Marketing leaders should ask tougher questions and not simply accept assumptions as presented. Just as importantly, you should be a catalyst for change in your organization and work across organizational lines to make it happen.
Dare the Status Quo – this is the antidote to conformity. Look for innovation and don’t focus on providing something that’s in line with your competition or what may be accepted practice in your organization.
Act Continuously – what you do instead of succumbing to “analysis paralysis.” Here, you want to seek out the information to make better decisions and act on them, and make sure you are responsive to your customers.
Participate Personally – instead of being a hands-off manager. There is no substitute to experiencing your brand in the same way that your customers do. Leaders should walk in their shoes and interact with customers to get the full benefit of participating, including being active in the social media platforms their customers are on.
Tear Down Boundaries – the best way to keep silos of knowledge being an impediment. Marketers have data that others in the organization want and need and vice-versa. The sooner you share and collaborate internally, the sooner you will drive success.

Emily followed Chris and she addressed the process summarized in the “CORE” acronym as a way for marketing leaders to adapt to the new customer and technology disruptions of the next digital decade. In order to do that, marketers have to:

  • Customize their programs and offers,
  • Optimize their resources to be efficient and profitable,
  • Respond appropriately and when possible in real-time, and
  • Empower their employees to adopt innovative approaches.

Emily also cited research done by Forrester with marketing leaders, and in her numbers the story is that there is very low adoption (low double-digits) of these principles among their respondents.

That’s generally bad news for marketers because there is a long way to go before we have widespread preparedness among marketers to capitalize on the opportunities presented in the next digital decade. The good news side of that is that the path to solve these problems is not a long one, and there are enough examples of successful applications to combat the “crisis of confidence” facing CMOs. At least that’s my take on it. Let me know what you think.


About Author

John Balla

Principal Marketing Strategist

Hi, I'm John Balla - a Digital Marketing Principal here at SAS focused on Content Strategy. I co-founded the SAS Customer Intelligence blog and served as Editor for five years. I like to find and share content and experiences that open doors, answer questions and maybe even challenge assumptions so better questions can be asked. Outside of work I stay busy with my wife and I keeping up with my 2 awesome college-age kids, volunteering for the Boy Scouts, keeping my garden green, striving for green living, expressing myself with puns, and making my own café con leche every morning. I’ve lived and worked on 3 contents and can communicate fluently in Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and passable English. Prior to SAS, my experience in marketing ranges from Fortune 100 companies to co-founding two start ups. I studied economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and got an MBA from Georgetown. Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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