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Tech Marketing Therapy

A few weeks back, I was coerced into spending a few days with 60 CMOs at an inaugural CMO Club session in New York, uniquely dubbed the “You’re Not Alone” Summit. As a marketing executive who works with other marketing peers every day, I was a bit leery about a session that sounded like an indie horror movie. I eventually jumped in for the therapy session and glad I did.

So what were the BIG topics? Not a surprise - Social Media, Viral Marketing, Video as a platform and all things Web 2.0. You can see all the CMO Club session videofrom these sessions to experience some really smart people on these topics. However, the most intense discussion was around Marketing ROI and, right on topic of this site, creating your next customer. Why? Because this is what CEOs, Boards of Directors and stakeholders really care about and what they will fund.

Mitch Bishop, CMO of iRise, and David Scott, CMO of Entellium, led a 75-minute discussion on Marketing ROI - what they are measuring, how they are measuring and what they have learned. For context, these are two rapidly growing software companies. David shared his experience on why simply measuring program success by just cost per lead or cost per click was no longer a valued metric for marketing performance. “Isn’t this Marketing’s job?”, another CMO asked. Emphatically, No.

Most marketers can use general search engine, email marketing and/or white paper programs today to generate a large number of contacts, and “Not that there is anything wrong with that”to quote Jerry Sienfeld of 90’s sitcom fame. This very popular approach looks great on a PowerPoint chart and makes marketers feel good about delivering numbers. It can’t stop there. Our CXOs are more concerned with the outcome −what’s and who’s in the pipeline and how much revenue did we and will we generate from new and existing clients.

For CMOs like David and Mitch, the measurement has shifted to focusing on developing programs that deliver a broad enough universe to reach their target and quality of the leads, and then nurturing the relationships that matter to become customers. To be more specific, the ultimate focus today for David @ Entellium is on Cost per Contract Value to better align marketing and sales investment. As Mitch noted, it is not a perfect science so it is critical to still measure everything - every program, every component, every inquiry – without ever losing sight on the end goal of creating profitable customer relationships.

The second day was on professional development of the CMO. While I should have attended these sessions (and my boss and colleagues I’m sure agree), the next day I proceeded to the MIT CIO Symposium on the MIT campus. My colleague John Soat, executive editor and blogger on InformationWeek’s CIOs Uncensored, and I were there to present an MIT CIO Innovation Award, shoot some video of the CIO elite, and keep digging for what’s on the horizon for CIO types. I’ll share news and observations on my next post, including highlights from InformationWeek’s annual deep dive into the world of the CIO, this year called “Tomorrow’s CIO”.