The Delicate Balance of Digital vs. Traditional Marketing, and Marketing vs. Sales
Our most recent ITAC Think Tank addressed issues facing all technology marketers: balancing new digital marketing techniques with sales lead generation, and balancing the needs of Sales with the mandate of Marketing. Our key conclusions from this event include:
- The trend towards digital marketing continues to evolve. But digital marketing requires more content and back-end systems to track activity, which can take the focus away from traditional lead generation such as call-out and face-to-face event-related activities.
- There is growing interest in traditional direct mail campaigns. The challenge is always to find a channel where you can get a clear message across to your target market, and not get lost in the crowd. Many tech marketers are finding that a direct mail campaign – something that’s unique and three-dimensional – can gain more traction with your audience, rather than trying to compete with the volumes of digital activity that prospects and customers face each day.
- The requirement for evaluating ROI continues to be important. However, the objective of much of digital marketing is to build awareness, not generate leads. Clearly establishing objectives for digital marketing – and measuring its effectiveness – becomes critical.
- Sales and Marketing alignment continues to be a challenge. With digital marketing, the challenge is in getting the sales teams to participate, as well as believe that digital activities will actually generate leads for them. In many organizations, there continues to be a cultural difference between Marketing and Sales, underlining the need for alignment, especially in light of the increase in digital marketing.
This ITAC/SMA Marketing & Sales Executive Think Tank was hosted at SAS Canada in Toronto, Ontario by the SAS Canada Marketing Team. The discussion was moderated by Bob Becker, Principal, SMA.
- Tanya Bosman, Regional Field Marketing, Amdocs
- Jacqueline Davis, Sr. Manager, Global Demand Programs, Amdocs
- Amanda Giuliano, Marketing Manager, Commerx Computer Systems Inc.
- Jeremy Freedman, Global Campaigns, Cloud, EMC
- Chub Letenyei, Consultative Marketing Manager, EMC
- Marina Arnaout, Digital Marketing Manager, SAS Institute (Canada) Inc.
- Andrew Bowden, Field Marketing Manager, SAS Institute (Canada) Inc.
- Marina Jovicic, Team Lead, Marketing Operations, SAS Institute (Canada) Inc.
- Suzanne Sprajcar Beldycki, Head of Content and Communications, SAS Institute (Canada) Inc.
- Rebecca Gill, Field Marketing Manager, Small Medium Business, SAS Institute (Canada) Inc.
- Selda Uzunmehmetoglu, Field Marketing Manager, Public Sector, SAS Institute (Canada) Inc.
- Fern White, Partner Marketing Manager, eSignLive
Comments from our Discussion
Below are participant comments from our think tank. Each event is unique, and the needs of each technology company represented at the event are equally unique. As you will see, there are different opinions and approaches, but also some clear themes. We think you’ll find much food for thought in these comments from our participants.
What we learned
- Marketing continues to be faced with similar struggles. Needs more engagement and more budget.
- Marketing needs to speak Sales language and build on trust. Instead of Marketing patting themselves on back, Marketing should strive to get high fives from Sales.
- Look for ways to improve digital tracking. Continuously try to understand the metrics from all spaces.
- Think more about the buyers’ journey using different approaches.
- Seriously consider a partner channel, including third party alignment for their marketing dollars to lighten weight off your marketing plate.
- Define how Marketing can add value and integrate with Sales team. Ask how Marketing content and communication supports Sales initiatives.
- Focus on your digital footprint and the customer journey, including how to track. Continuously share with Sales.
- Marketing is complex; Sales is marketing’s customer – their buy-in is critical. “Help me, Help you” – Jerry McGuire.
- Certain organizations have good, strong, supportive relationship between Sales and Marketing. It is possible!
If we are moving more into digital marketing, how does that affect the power of personal connection? What connections are being lost with the increase of digital marketing?
- It is quite the opposite. Digital marketing is assisting with the personal touch by doing more targeted messages, under customers’ terms and not sales terms.
- There will always be a need for personal touches; digital marketing is complimentary to online branding. Consumers respond better with a personal touch.
- In the right context, digital marketing allows us to go from instant response to predictive. It’s about the experience. The way you react in your personal life with your friends, etc., will be the way you want to engage in business life. Personal experience with predictive context.
- There is now an expectation that Sales KNOWS their prospect. If Sales does not research properly, then why would a prospect want to engage with that person or organization. If campaigns are not built with this in mind, then it is a wasted opportunity.
- Prospects/customers are 80% decided by the time Sales reaches out. Digital marketing is the research enabler to match relevancy.
- Are you sales driven? Or marketing driven? Data tells the story; it enables and adds value to Sales to move business forward to meet objectives.
- Digital marketing can be all about timing, not just relevance. It’s a science on how you trigger that digital activity to support Sales. Activities need to be integrated; separate them, and you are doomed to fail. Research is helpful but timing is key.
- There is a fine line between personalization, ‘being creepy’ and being tuned out. A balance is needed.
How has Sales and Marketing alignment challenges changed? How often does Sales ask for digital marketing campaigns?
- Sales hasn’t changed much; there continues to be a lot of internal blocking Sales from Marketing. There continues to be struggles to become a good partnership. Get their attention with strong data that Sales didn’t have in the past.
- Account-based marketing strategies work and push relationships together (Sales and Marketing) for improved alignment.
- Marketing needs to look at data like a Sales representative. Marketing needs to attend pipeline Sales meetings.
- Marketing is starting to focus on individual Sales objectives instead of company-wide objectives. Marketing should be an extension of Sales.
- Have clear directives about Sales priorities. This can be achieved with one-on-one Sales relationship.
- Sales complains when competition conducts good digital marketing campaigns; partly in part because Sales assumes that Marketing is working on it.
- Marketing needs to lead by example by continually developing successful campaigns so that Sales can embrace.
- If Marketing develops easy and well-bundled campaigns, Sales will do it. However, Sales needs to take the onus to report back to Marketing on success of activity. Integration is key to success.
Digital ROI? How are you tracking and how are you reporting?
- Digital is a mislabeled broad bucket. Having the right expectation and outcome you are trying to drive from the onset are key. Is it a click-through? Is it helping in the overall plan? All marketing campaigns should have the overall objective to reduce time to revenue.
- Define the objective of each digital channel and identify its goal-awareness. Is it an impression? Increased number of followers? Social activity such as tweets and online messaging – each has their own single metric with a single return on investment.
- Sales doesn’t care for Marketing language. Sales is interested in how Marketing made ‘that’ sale easier. How did Marketing influence that sale? What effect did Marketing have on that sale? This is how Marketing can turn the ‘light on’ with Sales. If marketing can reduce time to revenue (12-month cycle to 9 months), then Sales can reach their goal easier.