Accountability and Finding Your White Space

Every day it seems that a marketing study is published about this or that. Just yesterday I blogged about a senior marketing study that outlined priorities and concerns for 2009.  Well, today I happened to find another couple interesting tidbits from a CMO meeting held in Chicago today.

First and foremost marketing execs want accountability. This is no surprise, and has been the holy grail for marketers since I remember.  The problem is, it’s not so easy.  Having been part of different marketing system implementations, I can tell you that you need a lot of patience, and maintain a trial and error approach.  But the last sentence really connected, we need to understand our customers and their buying cycles, DEEPLY.  Yes, deeply.  If mapping your buying cycle is something that “you’ve been meaning to get to”, then it’s time to get to it.  Time is a wasting.  There are more tools out there to understand your customers, so that’s where the experimenting will come in.

Each of the executives spoke about the need to measure marketing activities—aligned to business goals—while continuing to experiment with new ways of communicating with existing customers and prospects. All emphasized the need to understand customers, and their buying cycles, deeply.

Repeating his oft-used mantra, Phil Clement, global CMO of AON, said, “If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.” He also recommended “doubling down” on creative ideas, media placements and processes that demonstrate returns. While messaging can be measured in “near real time,” the construction of systems to properly take those measurements “literally does take years,” he added.

This other piece in the article talked about “white space”.  Shari and I call it the “low hanging fruit”.  Whatever you call it, it’s finding the area in your business where you can bring real value to an industry segment quickly.  One where there is a high need, and your business has high value.

Mark Gambill, VP-CMO of CDW, said it’s critical to quantify what he called “white space,” or the gap between the company’s current market share and its high-value opportunities. This exercise applies to the analysis of acquisition targets and market penetration goals alike, he said.

It seems that marketing execs are getting back to basics this year.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Let’s be realistic, set proper expectations, and implement programs that are measurable, support business goals, and enhance the relationships of your customers, influencers, and market at large.

Sounds like a plan to me.

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