Showing posts with label research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label research. Show all posts

How Much Should Analyst Surveys Shape Your Marketing Strategies?

I recently reviewed the results of the 2010 Gartner Executive Programs (EXP) survey of CIOs who influence $126bn of IT spending in 41 countries and 27 industries.  Besides the headline that IT budgets in 2010 will be at 2005 levels, there are some interesting changes and trends that B2B IT and business software vendors and marketers should consider.

Enterprise applications (ERP, CRM and others) is not a Top 10 business or technology priority in 2010 – this is a startling finding and dramatic change from previous years.  Enterprise applications were the #2 technology priority since 2007.

After being the #1 technology priority since 2006, business intelligence applications have dropped to #5.

Business process improvement continues to be the #1 business priority – this has been the #1 CIO business priority every year on this survey since 2006 (the earliest edition of this survey I could find).

Virtualization, cloud computing and Web 2.0 are the top 3 technology priorities in 2010 – while this may not be a big surprise to most people in the industry, it is the first time any of these technologies have appeared in this Top 10 survey.

So this got me thinking about the relevance of these surveys for influencing product, marketing and sales strategies:

  • Are vendor marketers paying attention?  Given that ‘business process improvement’ is the #1 business priority for CIOs since 2006, one would expect this to have some prominence for relevant vendor marketers.  Looking through the websites, collateral and marketing campaigns for several business software vendors, there’s scant direct attention to the business process improvement value proposition.  While it is mentioned within other propositions and contexts, it doesn’t have the headline attention or prominence for vendors that one would expect for the #1 business priority of potential buyers.
  • Should vendor marketers pay attention?  Considering the scope of this survey and the influence of the respondents on buying decisions, it would seem logical that marketing and selling to these priorities would yield better results.  Although the reality for actual buyers that transpires during the forecast period may not exactly match what they indicated in a particular survey, the priorities and trends in surveys provide good directional information for connecting with buyers relative to their top-of-mind interests.
  • Which survey(s) do you pay attention to?  While this is a good survey from a reputable source, it is just one of dozens or possibly hundreds of good surveys from many reputable sources published each year.  Relevance to your markets and industry are obviously critical.  Aggregating results across multiple relevant surveys may provide a more balanced perspective.
While these types of surveys do provide valuable insights for market trends and what concerns potential buyers, they should be considered as just one of a number of inputs for shaping marketing plans.

How do you use surveys to shape your marketing strategy, campaigns and programs?  Have you seen beneficial results from paying attention to these surveys?  Your comments are always welcome.
Copyright © 2010 The Marketing Mélange and Ingistics LLC.

You’re Selling What to Whom?

Here’s an interesting bit of low-cost research that could provide valuable insights into whether various people in your organization really understand your value proposition and market position. Ask two simple questions:

  • What are you selling?
  • Who are your buyers?
Start with the marketing and sales organizations. Ask the questions individually and record the answers verbatim. Doing this in person either face-to-face or on a phone call as an interview wherever you can provides additional insights to observe how people respond. A simple online survey can be used for people who can’t be reached personally. IMO, interviews are more effective than surveys for this type of research.

Besides providing the obvious measure of how well the market positioning, messaging and value propositions from marketing are understood, this little research project can yield interesting additional insights.

In response to “what are you selling?” IMO the only valid answers are those that describe what is being sold in the context of the value defined by customer. So, instead of the more typical answer of “I’m selling a world-class inventory management solution”, a customer value oriented answer might be “I’m providing our customers the means to increase their customer service levels by at least 10% without increasing their investment in inventory”.

"In the factory we make cosmetics; in the store we sell hope."
– Charles Revson (founder of Revlon Cosmetics)

The “who are your buyers?” is intended to determine who in your organization really understands the qualification characteristics of the right prospective buyers. Good answers should include the multiple dimensions of industry, market segment, company demographics, psychographics and buyer profiles of the individuals involved in making the buying decisions.

Ask the CEO, COO, CFO and other functional areas these same questions – you might be surprised by some of the answers.

For the only answers that really matter, ask your customers what value they perceived they were buying with your product/service/solution. Ask them who was involved in the decision process and why they made this choice.

You should have a lot of interesting data points and insights to reconcile from this project. Marketing is responsible for ensuring that the company has the right positioning, messaging and customer value propositions, but more importantly that everyone in the organization is in agreement and understands how this applies to their role.

Your comments are always welcome.
Copyright © 2009 The Marketing Mélange and Ingistics LLC.