© 2018 by Bill Odell

Articles

Topics

  • Integrated Marketing

  • IT Security Trends

  • Mobility & BYOD

  • IoT Security

  • SaaS Trends

  • Social CRM

Stop Random Acts of Marketing

Published on LinkedIn April 3, 2018

Though much has been written about understanding the customer journey and creating marketing touchpoints and content that naturally connect with target buyers, it seems we still have a long way to go as B2B tech marketing professionals. Witness the incredible number of emails that bombard us daily with new offers, from whitepapers, to e-books, to blog articles or webinars. Or special discounts if we “just act now!”.

Or how about those online re-targeting ads that follow us around – you know the ones that somehow magically appear in the right rail of our browsers, showcasing an offer from a website we recently visited?

How many of us look at the emails or ads we see, or even bother to click through to learn more? I know I rarely do and given benchmark data on open rates and click through rates, I don’t think I am alone.

Benchmark Data is Hard to Ignore

Radicati’s latest research on email marketing highlights one of the biggest challenges B2B marketers face. Consider the following:

·     217 billion emails are sent worldwide every day  

·     Email users receive over 100 emails every day

·     Total emails sent and received are expected to grow to over 257 billion by 2020

And benchmark data from SmartInsights, which pulls email and display ad statistics from several sources, reflects just how few of us pay attention. Consider these benchmarks:

·     Email open rates range from 12% - 25%

·     Email click thru rates range from 6 - 12%

·     Display ad click thru rates (CTRs) range from 0.05% and 0.10%

Clearly a majority of us are not engaging, neither with the emails we receive nor the display ads we are viewing.

Inbound Marketing Alone is Not Enough

Inbound marketing, supported by well-developed content, has helped. I am a huge fan of David Meerman Scott and the Hubspot inbound marketing model. I have painstakingly developed many buyer personas, thinking carefully about how to develop educational content to assist each of them with their buying  journeys. I have created and catalogued thousands of pieces of content, organized them by stage of the buyer journey, date stamped them and ranked them by their popularity or download volume. We executed inbound marketing at Dell KACE and saw very good results, but it was not enough. Despite all of our hard work, the business did not measurably grow. Something was missing.

 

The trouble is that good content alone does not drive marketing performance. Consider all the other marketing investments we make:

·     PR and AR 

·     Corporate and Field Events

·     Channel programs

·     Sales enablement

·     Customer marketing

·     Account based marketing programs

How do these align with and extend our major content marketing campaigns?

“Random Acts of Marketing” Don’t Work

A common issue I come across in B2B tech companies, even in well run marketing teams, is what I refer to as “random acts of marketing.” I see lots of great content being created, carefully mapped to a buyer’s journey, but completely disconnected from other marketing programs. Or worse yet, the assets or programs are not connected to each other or to a common theme. What do we typically see?

·     Multiple white papers or e-Books on various un-related topics

·     Webinars or customer case studies on different use cases

·     Multiple Press releases, seldom with any tie back to prior announcements

·     Advertising campaigns that are not integrated few if any of the above

All good stuff, but it’s hard to drive any real momentum in the market when these components are not integrated . Mike Gospe, author of The Marketing High Ground, penned an excellent article on this very issue in 2016. He called it “Marketing Pop Corn”

Consumer Goods Companies Offer a Compelling Model

I tend to look to consumer goods companies for examples of good marketing. Why? Because unlike high tech companies, marketing in consumer goods drives the business. Product managers own P/Ls. They are ruthless about understanding their buyers, their competitors, and they fight fiercely for shelf space and for share of mind. And they run large scale integrated marketing campaigns over long periods of time.

 

Lululemon is an example of a consumer brand that has executed award winning integrated marketing campaigns, capturing market share from larger incumbents in the highly competitive Athleisure category. The company ties all of their marketing campaigns to a central corporate message and position, which is in turn tied to a current and relevant theme for their target buyers. This in turn cascades across all of their campaign executions. Included is the spectrum of marketing activities from PR, to advertising, to events, to in-store and online programs. And Lulelemon has not only taken market share, they have done so without sacrificing their premium price point.

What B2B Companies Can Learn

Does this apply to B2B tech? It sure does. Look at the SonicWall Fear Less campaign. The campaign featured a central core message tied to the buyer persona and tackled three current and very relevant underlying IT Security themes:

1.    Ransomware

2.    Email Malware and

3.    Mobility Threats

Each of these were top of mind for buyers and were backed by SonicWall’s annual security research data. All associated content was tied to these three themes and reinforced by activities and assets that included PR, social, blogs, whitepapers, e-books, webinars, email campaigns, event presentations, banners, promo items, sales tools, channel programs and demos. Before the campaign was launched, SonicWall ensured that it had a breadth of great content that while diverse in the deliverable, still mapped back cohesively to their key program pillars. And each had a tangible pay off for a specific product in the company’s portfolio.

The result? The company has gone from declining revenue and market share losses, to double digit revenue growth and market share gains. So, this brings us back to the inevitable question: What made the difference?

5 Critical Components for Integrated Marketing

Here are 5 critical components that I believe make integrated marketing work:

1)   Close the CEO Up Front

One of the biggest impediments to pulling off an integrated marketing campaign is lack of support from the top. Too often CEOs expect near term results, often out of desperation if the business is not performing to plan. In those environments, CEOs are often looking for low cost quick fixes. But integrated marketing takes commitment, resources and time to build and execute. It’s critical to get the commitment and buy-in from the CEO up front.

2)   Create One Word Messaging

There is no doubt, poor messaging results in poor campaign performance. Why? There are so many messages bombarding us all day, across all channels, it’s almost impossible to remember any one campaign. The best messaging is very, very simple and gets down to a single core concept often reflected in just one word. For the SonicWall Fear Less campaign, that word was “confidence” – we felt strongly, and our research validated, we could deliver the confidence that our solutions would deliver the IT security protection users needed. Make sure that your one word message counts.

3)   Bust Down the Silos

Integrated marketing requires the support of the entire organization. For starters, always include sales. They need to be completely behind the campaign from the start. Ideally, they are part of pulling it all together. But in addition to sales, every functional area and their teams have crucial roles to play. Imagine if every group not only understood the campaign, but could tell the story and share the content. What if every employee changed their email signatures that point to a premium piece of content? How about HR? How could campaign knowledge help with recruitment and retention? Bust down the silos and get every employee involved.

4)   Leverage the Wisdom of the Crowd

You will never know where a great creative idea might come from. Of course, agencies play a critical role, but you will find great ideas from people you otherwise haven’t considered. Seek out staffers that are naturally creative, those always bringing good ideas to the table, and include them in your creative development meetings. If you sell through partners, bring them in too. The creative wisdom of the crowd will expand the ideation process and deliver a much broader set of executable ideas than a limited team.

5)   Have a Tangible Pay-off

It goes without saying, though I find I often have to remind folks, that every campaign’s job is to drive growth for the business. A critical component of any integrated marketing campaign is to be explicit about what the pay-off will be. Whether it’s product or product line specific, or across the entire portfolio, every campaign has to have a tangible growth goal and it must be measurable. If you want to get CEO buy-in, describe what the tangible return will be.

 

Let’s stop the random acts of marketing. Let’s stop bombarding our target buyers with hit and miss content. Instead, let’s do the hard work internally to create end-to-end integrated marketing campaigns that really work. Let’s create campaigns where content neatly fits into a simple core message and delivers against themes buyers care about; campaigns where content works with and is complemented by PR, and online and offline programs; and campaigns that actually help buyers make the right purchase decision, with less effort and with less distraction, and that pay-off on our organization’s growth goals.

We Need to Re-think our Approach to IT Security

Published May 26, 2016 on LinkedIn

Despite the dramatic increase in IT security spending over the last decade, we continue to see a similar increase in the number and the cost of IT security breaches. Consider that Gartner estimates that IT security spending will soar from $75 billion-plus in 2015 to $101 billion in 2018.  And similar research firm Markets and Markets sees the cybersecurity market hitting $170 billion by 2020. 

 

We have all read about the high profile breaches at Sony, Target and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, yet few of us realize there are an order of magnitude more breeches that hit less known and smaller companies every day. Forty-two percent of SMBs said they experienced a cyberattack within the past year according to the Ponemon Institute study.  And the average cost of a breach according to a study by the same firm is $3.8 million. This represents a 23 percent increase since 2013.

What this means is that despite all the money and effort we have put into improving IT Security, something is not working. Or at least not as well as we all would like. 

The obvious reaction to these trends is to remain cautious, to be on alert, to hold back on granting access to internal applications and data that might add the risk of another breach. Curtis Hutcheson, VP and GM of Dell Security Solutions discussed the need for a new approach to IT security in his recent blog.

Who, of course, would not react this way? Who could honestly say they aren’t afraid of an attack that would result in lost customers, lost revenue and lost jobs?

But holding back out of fear is not the right answer. Markets are competitive. There is always another company, organization, agency that is ready to take our customers, students, and stakeholders should we slip or fall behind.

Enabling employees, students, and administrators with access to the latest tools and applications is critical to remaining competitive, to innovating, to winning.   Saying “No” might make us feel safer in the short run, but it is likely to cause larger systemic issues that make us irrelevant in today’s fast paced world.

At Dell Security we believe there is a way to say “Yes.”  We believe IT security executives can:

  • Say “Yes” to initiatives that enable innovation and create competitive advantage

AND

  • Say “Yes” and dramatically improve security to keep corporate and organization assets safe from external threats.  

 

We believe it’s time for IT Security leaders to be re-think their approach to IT Security, to be bold and open up their own Department of Yes.  

 

And we can help. Our context-aware security solutions share information which allows It Security departments to Govern Every Identity and Inspect Every Packet on the network. These solutions, working together and not in silos, deliver better overall security with less complexity and at lower total cost. Patrick Sweeny recently discussed how we can help you can open your own Department of Yes.  

We are committed to helping our customers deliver better overall security and driving innovation and competitive advantage.  That is why we have launched a global campaign to help educate customers on how we can help them open their own Department of Yes. We are partnering with a number of large major media partners including RedmondMag, IDG, CSO, NetworkWorld, CNN and CNBC to help drive our message and educate IT Security executives.

Head of Class

Published August, 2014 in EdTech Digest

These days whenstudents get ready for school, they’re as likely to bring their own device as their own lunch. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)/mobility phenomena is transforming education by creating new levels of students’ academic engagement, teacher interaction and learning effectiveness. While mobile technologies and BYOD programs promise great advancements for all educational institutions, they also can create unprecedented challenges for the IT teams responsible for securing and managing these diverse systems, applications and devices.

The key is to embrace the right tools and follow best practices for managing any and all devices securely and reliably without overwhelming IT resources or compromising educational excellence. 

By following in the footsteps of some shining examples, however, K-12 and higher-ed institutions worldwide can embrace the best that BYOD/mobility has to offer.

For example, the Roanoke County Public Schools successfully embraced mobility to provide its high school population with a more personalized learning experience. The Virginia school district is nationally recognized by the Center for Digital Education and National School Boards Association as the 2013 top “digital school system” in the United States among districts with more than 12,000 students.

To create an open, collaborative learning environment, Roanoke County supplies all incoming high-school freshmen with Dell laptops preloaded with learning and productivity applications. The benefits of the 1:1 laptop initiative extend beyond the students. Teachers use their laptops to quickly analyze online test scores as well as recognize and assist students who may be falling behind. Meanwhile, the district’s IT department takes advantage of automated systems management to effectively manage and secure all 6,000 laptops and 13,000 total end-user devices.

At Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School (MICDS), students entering fifth grade are given personal laptops or tablet PCs. At the end of the final semester, all student-assigned devices need to be wiped and reimaged for the upcoming school year. System reimaging is a common back-to-school IT strategy that can overwhelm IT unless an automated solution with multicasting has been deployed to speed the process.

For MICDS, the ability push its reimaging project into overdrive has produced a major increase in IT efficiency as well as teacher and student productivity.

Many educational institutions face major hurdles when it comes to supporting BYOD and ensuring secure access to key educational applications. Such was the dilemma at Sweden’s Södertörn University (pictured above), where the IT department was overburdened trying to respond to user requests and hampered by the lack of automated tools to manage an ever-increasing BYOD trend among students, faculty and staff.

Fortunately, the university was able to improve how they manage downloads of updates to key software. As a result, the school can be more responsive in offering all users access to the programs they need, when they need them. Moreover, Södertörn University now has the tools to rapidly deploy system images campus-wide to hundreds of PCs, laptops and Macs while confidently pushing ahead with BYOD programs and policies.

As laptops, tablets, smartphones and other connected devices become more prevalent and BYOD becomes the norm, mobile technologies will enable the fast delivery of unprecedented amounts of digital content. For some educational institutions the opportunity to bring BYOD into a managed environment is the preferred approach.

BYOD has a long history at Pepperdine University. The school strives to maintain an open network yet secure access for faculty, staff and students.

 

The increased use of personal devices across different platforms, however, brings security challenges, including “drive-by” malware, which threatened student data and drained IT team resources. Pepperdine also realized that traditional antivirus solutions proved inadequate in stopping malware.So, the university took a proactive stance to stop the vulnerability and streamlines patch management for multiple devices across different operating systems. Through automation and systems management best practices, Pepperdine eliminated its malware threat, reduced security risks and empowered its IT team to focus on strategic IT initiatives, such as assisting faculty with courseware.

It’s clear that mobility/BYOD will play an ever-increasing role in driving the development of next-generation learning environments. The key is to embrace the right tools and follow best practices for managing any and all devices securely and reliably without overwhelming IT resources or compromising educational excellence.

Envisioning Secure Management of the ‘Internet of Things’ with Dell KACE

Published May 13, 2014 on Direct2Dell

We all know that having 20/20 vision is critically important and there’s little room for compromise. So, when it comes to seeing what’s visible across corporate IT infrastructures, why do so many organizations fly blind?

The ability to envision all the devices connected to the corporate network is tied closely to overall IT wellbeing and security. With insufficient visibility, companies are exposed to undue security risks and vulnerabilities, all of which will grow exponentially as we enter the era of the “Internet of Things.”

 

According to IDC, the installed base of the Internet of Things (IoT) will be approximately 212 billion “things” by 2020—and this year alone, shipments of smart-connected devices (e.g., PCs, tablets and smartphones) are expected to surpass 1.7 billion units worldwide. That’s a lot of exposure if companies can’t see and securely manage the deluge of devices entering their environments.

In a recent CMSWire article, Prepping IT for the Internet of Things, Dave Kloba, general manager of Endpoint Systems Management for Dell Software, addressed the increasing need to discover, secure, and manage all our newly connected devices in order to reduce risk and management complexity.

Today, we’re making a major move to help customers securely manage the “Internet of Things” by giving them greater visibility across their infrastructure while laying the foundation for improved endpoint security. The new Dell KACE K1000 v6.0 features agentless technology, which extends our agent-based management to track all connected devices, spanning printers, power, storage and network switches, routers, firewalls and more—all without having to install software directly on those devices. The new release also provides broader cross-platform inventory, automated software blacklisting and a new user interface to further simplify IT administration for a multitude of Windows, Mac OSX, Linux and UNIX systems while helping halt the execution of known malware and harmful freeware.

For Southeast Alabama Medical Center, the new K1000 will play an even bigger role in its 24/7 hospital environment by enabling the tracking and assessing of everything from servers and systems to radiology stations. App blacklisting will permit blocking the use of browsers that are incompatible with specific healthcare software.

Paul Neyman at Waypoint Business Solutions, a Dell Premier partner and member of the Dell GeoPartner program, plans to take advantage of the K1000 v6 to do more in helping customers assess, deploy and manage mission-critical systems. For this Houston-based partner with many customers in the oil and gas industry, this will translate into improved security through better visibility of network-attached assets at drilling rigs and platforms, field offices and wells.

We’re excited about taking our award-winning K1000 to the next level, while giving Dell KACE customers the best view of what’s in their existing environment as well as what’s entering at a rapid pace, thanks to IoT.

We’re equally pleased to be a finalist in two categories for the prestigious American Business Awards. The Dell KACE Systems Management Appliances join a clean sweep of Dell finalists in the Systems Management software category. We’re also proud to provide world-class systems management as part of Dell’s Enterprise Mobility Management solution, which is a finalist in Mobile Operations’ new product or service category.

While industry recognition is rewarding, it’s clear with the new K1000 v6, we’re not resting on our laurels. Rather, we are continuing to push the boundaries of what Dell customers can see and do with leading-edge systems management, so they can enjoy better, more secure ways to manage IoT.

Making Sense of the Cloud for Growing Businesses

Published April 23, 2012 in Cloud Expo Journal

With all the hype around "the cloud," it's difficult not to be skeptical about its value. While cloud computing seems complex, it is possible to understand the building blocks that help make the cloud more tangible for businesses of all sizes. In fact, understanding the innovation the cloud delivers can profoundly impact critical parts of your business and may be the key in providing business growth and scalability. However, before diving into cloud adoption, it's worth doing your homework.

There are many terms in the cloud computing lexicon, including popular terms like IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service). As the owner of a growing business, you will likely have direct experience with SaaS - software applications most often hosted in the cloud. You'll find that the SaaS market is considerably larger than the PaaS or IaaS markets, and SaaS adoption continues to grow.

 

According to a recent Techaisle survey on SMB Business Application Cloud Computing, over 70 percent of respondents have already implemented cloud business applications in the past three years and plan to add an average of 2.9 cloud business applications to their current suite in 2012. In any case, let's break down these terms as they relate to the cloud, removing needless complexities and using a language even technophobes can understand.

 

IaaS - Systems, Storage and Processing Delivered from the Cloud
IaaS means delivering a virtual server, desktop computer or remote storage from the cloud. In other words, a hosting provider gives you a remote data center - where it manages the infrastructure, servers and virtualization - and you access your virtual computers and storage from the Internet through a secure virtual private network (VPN) connection. Unlike PaaS, this model does not provide any of the core building blocks or components for developing applications.

 

An IaaS approach to infrastructure can offer:

  • Faster responses to changing business conditions or customer needs, enabled by rapid system provisioning and rapid scalability, without the long-term lock-in of hardware purchases

  • Productivity increases resulting from the ability to access your applications and data anywhere/anytime and the reliability that comes from a distributed computing model

  • Reduced capital outlay for hardware acquisition, maintenance, data center real estate, and power and cooling when using a pay-for-use (public cloud) model

 

PaaS - Core Components for Developing and Hosting Applications from the Cloud
The PaaS delivery models enable you to use a vendor to provide hardware and software - as well as provisioning and hosting capabilities - needed to develop, deliver and maintain applications and other resources in the cloud.

 

A PaaS approach can address key application management and development issues, offering benefits such as:

  • Low barriers to entry by doing away with the need to make upfront investments in new hardware and software resources

  • Innovation without hassle since the PaaS model frees your IT staff to collaboratively develop and test applications outside the constraints of your in-house infrastructure

  • Greater flexibility since PaaS enables automatic, scalable application deployment and greatly simplifies patch and update management

 

SaaS - Applications Delivered from the Cloud
SaaS means delivering a software application from the cloud, often to users' browsers as a Web-based application. You may already use SaaS applications without even knowing it. For example, Salesforce Service Cloud helps you connect with customers faster and become more responsive.

SaaS offerings save you the costs and headaches of deploying new applications in your own environment, whether on premise, or on a PaaS or IaaS environment. SaaS applications are built upon and delivered from the application vendor's own PaaS and IaaS environments. For example, Salesforce.com's Sales Cloud SaaS application is built upon their Force.com PaaS environment. With SaaS you pay only for the resources you use on a subscription model. You can start small, with a minimal investment, yet be able to scale up (or, later, back down) as your needs change. You can even integrate your SaaS applications to your on-premise applications or with other cloud applications to give users a seamless experience.

 

SaaS enables growing businesses to get access to applications that were traditionally only affordable by larger enterprises. SaaS can be seen as an equalizer that levels the playing field with larger competitors, without incurring large investments in technology and resources.

Bottom Line
The fact is, there is no special formula for moving to the cloud. Ask yourself if moving to the cloud makes sense for you. Does it map well to your business processes? Does it give you a competitive advantage? Are your industry peers successfully moving to the cloud?

It's important to define these items to ensure you're using a solution that's customized to your business needs. With a better understanding of cloud computing, you are better prepared to take the next step in your cloud journey.

Making Sense of the Chaos: Social CRM with Bill Odell

Published in 2010 on the Marketo Blog

This next B2B Marketing Thought Leader Interview is with Bill Odell, vice president of marketing at Helpstream, a Social CRM solutions company.  Bill is responsible for the company’s overall marketing and go-to-market strategies and oversees all product marketing, partner marketing and corporate marketing activities.  Bill has 20 years of experience leading marketing for several innovative, category creating technology companies, including Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Compression Labs – the developer of DirectTV – and Interlace Systems.

What is social CRM?

There are many definitions floating around to describe Social CRM, but the one I like the best is one provided by Paul Greenberg, author of CRM at the Speed of Light and arguably the most highly regarded expert on CRM. Paul describes Social CRM as “what we do when the customer controls the conversation.” Many companies today are realizing that the era of command and control, where companies dictate how they want to engage customers, has changed due to the rapid adoption of social software such as Facebook ,Twitter and YouTube. Just think about how one musician drew the attention of every major news network when he posted a homemade music video on YouTube – with 5 million hits in 48 hours – pointing out how United Airlines refused to compensate him for breaking his guitar. Today customers have a much larger say in how they want to engage with vendors and in fact, research has shown that they would prefer to engage socially, with a network of their peers, supported by the vendor. Social CRM enables that type of relationship.

Why is this relevant to marketers?

There is so much hype today regarding social media for marketing that it’s hard to make sense with all the noise. I attend conferences with marketing professionals that are packed with people trying to understand what to do with social media. I spoke with one marketing person recently who came back from such a conference and complained that she had only become more confused and was searching for something to help her “make sense of the chaos.” Social CRM helps marketers leverage the power of social media by integrating it with existing marketing processes and systems such as CRM platforms and Marketing Automation platforms. The power of this approach makes it easier for marketers to manage and monitor the effectiveness of social media marketing campaigns and understand what’s working and why.

Social CRM is so cutting edge. How did you get involved in this area of marketing?

Actually, I became aware of Social CRM when I had a problem with my iTunes software. I shared my issue with a friend who pointed me to Apple’s customer forum where I could ask for help from other Apple customers. It turned out I got my answer in less than 10 minutes, complete with step-by-step instructions from another Apple customer who had the same problem. After years of trying to shift through company web sites searching for documentation or waiting on hold for some tech support person in India or the Philippines who may or may not know how to solve my problem, I now first look for help from a company’s customer community. So I guess I would say I became a believer by realizing the power of Social CRM first hand. With the ability to leverage Social CRM beyond customer service and into marketing and sales, I see an enormous potential in the market.

I know Helpstream lets community members vote on ideas they have about a product or service. Why is this voting important and is there a benefit here for marketers?

Voting is fantastic example of the power of Social CRM. As a former product manager, I know how difficult and time consuming it is to capture and assimilate customer input on new products and new product features. Often product managers are left with sifting through some long list of customer requests for enhancements and maybe vetting these with a few customers before locking down an MRD or PRD. With Idea Sharing or Voting, it’s very easy and very fast to get ideas for new products from customers and have the customer community vote on those product ideas. There are companies that routinely use this feature of Social CRM to develop new products that are much more aligned with customer needs.

Recently I have seen some debate about whether social media is the responsibility of the marketing team or the customer support team. What do you think?

Yes, the debate about who owns social media has been raging for some time now, in fact the broader debate over who owns the customer relationship has been raging for years. Ironically, I am not sure the rise of social media will force any definitive answers to that question, but I do think that the forward looking companies are asking all functions to figure out how best to leverage social media. Given that social media has given customers more control over their the entire spectrum of their relationships with vendors – from customer service, marketing and to sales – it behooves companies to have a cross functional social media strategy.

What metrics should marketers include when reporting to their C-Suite about the results of a social CRM?

From a marketing perspective, Social CRM enables marketers to:

  • Have a better handle on metrics for their social media investments.

  • Leverage the same reporting systems, their CRM systems and their Marketing Automation systems

  • Track social media marketing campaigns. For example, with an active customer community in place, supported by a robust Social CRM platform, marketers can track the activity of prospects and customers in the community and pass this information over for lead scoring by a Marketing Automation system.

  • In addition, marketers can bring in feeds from public social networks, like Twitter, to their Social CRM system for actionable insights.

The C-Suite wants to know how social media marketing investments translate into business, and this is exactly what Social CRM enables marketers to communicate.

What do you think will be some of the challenges and trends in social CRM for 2010?

There is a lot of noise in the market today around Social CRM. If you do a Google search on Social CRM today, you will get as many hits as you will for Marketing Automation searches. That is a good thing for the industry and it means people are genuinely seeking for more information, and ultimately solutions. One of the challenges for the industry will be making it easier for companies to understand the solutions landscape and how best to think about making investments. I often tell people the question the industry should focus on is “how” not “why.” The days of why Social CRM are largely behind us. It’s time to start educating companies on how to get started.

Bonus Question: Outside of social CRM, what other emerging (or traditional) areas should marketers be focusing their time right now?

I think marketing professionals still struggle on communicating the ROI of their marketing spend. While this is not a new issue, the recent economic downturn only exacerbated the need for marketers to do a better job of developing strategies that drive top line revenue. I did a presentation at a seminar earlier this year entitled “Defending Your Spend.” My opening comment was that the days of ‘spray and pray’ marketing spend were dead. Marketers simply have to do a better job articulating and measuring how their spend translates into sales. If we all do a better job on that issue, we will see an increase in marketing budgets and hopefully more successful businesses leads by marketing.