#ArgyleCMO Takeaways: The Future of Marketing Planning

November 17, 2015 James Thomas

#ArgyleCMO Takeaways: The Future of Marketing PlanningLast week, I attended the Argyle fall 2015 Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Forum in San Francisco. It was an excellent opportunity for me and our VP of Sales Shannon Murphy to speak with marketers at the executive level to learn more — and validate what we already know — about the challenges CMOs face today.

The message from the day’s speakers was clear: Customer buying behaviours have changed forever, and our marketing planning has to constantly change to keep up. The old-school construct of annual, quarterly and monthly marketing and sales planning is over. If you’re taking weeks to understand your customers’ behaviour, your customers have already moved on.

As CMO of Allocadia, I attend events for marketers all over the world, and this is a message I’ve certainly heard before. What was striking about Argyle was the volume of that message. The imperative was loud and clear, and CMOs from major companies like Intel and Salesforce were echoing it: You’d better have a handle on marketing investments and returns, not just likes and shares. The pace is faster than ever before. You need a constant, daily pulse on what’s happening with your marketing results. If you don’t, you’ll be left behind.

This was exciting for me, because Allocadia was built based on CMOs’ needs. We’re a company built by marketers for marketers, and as a CMO, I’m facing the same pressures for faster, smarter information. Allocadia is the solution CMOs need to stay current and keep pace with how quickly customers are changing.

What worked five years ago doesn’t work anymore. What worked five months ago barely works. To keep pace with customers, you have to constantly listen, change and adapt. And you have to be able to track your investments in real time to know what’s working.

Here are my highlights from #ArgyleCMO.

T-Mobile: Marketing as the Driver of Transformation

The day kicked off with Jason Young (@tjasonyoung), senior vice president of marketing for T-Mobile. He opened with a line that raised everyone’s eyebrows: “T-Mobile: The fastest-shrinking carrier in the world.”

Thirty minutes later, he closed with “T-Mobile: The fastest-growing carrier in the world.”

He got from point A to point B through innovative marketing. T-Mobile’s marketing team drove transformation — and serious business results. When the company was struggling, marketing looked to their customers and asked what they wanted. The answer: No contracts and unlimited data wherever they traveled. So marketing did everything they could to make that happen. They changed the way they packaged services, how they priced and what they measured. They demanded innovation.

The theme of customer obsession carried throughout the event. Obsessing about what customers want and need is the key to driving revenue and growth.

Oracle: Adaptive Marketing

Chris Lynch (@cglynch), senior director of product marketing at Oracle, focused on adaptive marketing — creating data-driven, individualized customer experiences. I loved his message that it’s not about inbound marketing versus outbound marketing — it’s about connecting with your customer everywhere, all the time. He showed how the digital world is a series of “micro-moments” that you can only manage through flexible, adaptive marketing.

Salesforce: The Idea of the Long-Term Planning Cycle Is Over

Mathew Sweezey (@msweezy), principal of marketing insights at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, delivered an incredible presentation about rethinking the business of marketing and what he calls “the infinite future.” (See his full presentation here.)

His message: We need to rethink how we plan for marketing. It’s no longer useful to think about long-term planning cycles. Instead, we have to continually plan along the way for an “infinite,” always-moving future. The pace and scale of marketing has changed forever, and it’s only going to get faster.

InsideView: Sales and Marketing Alignment

A panel that included my former BusinessObjects colleague Tracy Eiler (@tracyleiler), CMO at InsideView, focused on how sales and marketing can work together better. Many CMOs and sales leaders I’ve met recently have shared that their sales and marketing teams are working through the new reality of the customer buying experience. This panel showed me that everyone’s feeling that struggle.

Here’s what’s happened: Buyers have changed. Buyers don’t decide on a set schedule. But our sales and marketing goals, and the way we compensate salespeople, haven’t changed. We’re still planning based on quarterly goals. The message from the panel: Quarterly sales planning doesn’t work. The job has changed for both sales and marketing, and both groups need to change to keep up with the customer. Some of the recommendations included meeting weekly to talk about shared programs and shared objectives. The key is staying agile in the age of the customer.

Intel: Telling Customers’ Stories

Penny Baldwin (@pennyrbaldwin), vice president of global marketing and communications and brand and reputation marketing at Intel, drove home the themes of the day. She shared Intel’s plan to create a Survivor-like reality TV show (produced by Survivor executive producer Mark Burnett) to highlight how Intel customers use their technology. That’s a pretty incredible display of customer obsession — creating a TV show about your customers.

Someone in the audience asked: How will you justify that ROI? Her answer: I have no idea just yet, but I can’t afford not to try. We will be watching!

At #ArgyleCMO, I heard marketers talking about the very real challenges of responding to customer change, making faster decisions, and leading corporate innovation. I’m excited to work with marketers to help them meet those challenges.

The post #ArgyleCMO Takeaways: The Future of Marketing Planning appeared first on Allocadia.

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