Ironies abound. A show devoted to cutting edge marketing developments was undermined in some quarters by silly attitudes:
The behaviour of some exhibition stand personnel was unexpected. Mentioning no names, some stands were manned by sales people who preferred to talk to each other rather than to customers. A product demonstration was mostly hard to get. To be fair, some stands were excellently managed, but many were not.
And do some people have ears?
Finally, the sales follow up. As an analyst, I am not buying. I really am “just looking”. One vendor’s follow up was: a sales email, a tele-sales call, and then 2 resellers rang me. Conversely, some vendors promised to send information and never did. Strangely the show’s organizers followed the former track — bombarding me with email messages “your last chance to register!” when I had done so months before. I got so paranoid I dug out my ticket to reassure myself I was not going mad!
These behaviors are disappointing as the show was about marketing, and marketing is about (amongst other things):
- crafting marketing messages that communicate competitive differentiation and uniqueness.
- engaging customers and stakeholders (which I was) in a positive, helpful, and congenial manner.
- listening to customer requirements and responding in a correct and appropriate manner.
Also curious that for all the current talk of building conversation and relationships:
The main focus at the show was Campaign Management, Email Marketing, CRM, and Digital / e-marketing. These can be perceived as “push” technologies i.e. more campaigns, more marketing messages to more desktops with more sales propositions. This is how the show’s organizers targeted me (see above). Luckily, most suppliers have now clearly recognized that the customer requirements are changing from volume marketing towards intelligent marketing.
And hard to argue with Gerry’s plea for more “intelligent marketing”
Intelligent marketing means using technology to be smarter and slicker at marketing processes. To be better at customer segmentation and targeting, better at marketing messaging delivered via the right mix of media and channels; better at engaging and tracking customers’ decision making processes, and better at delivering products and services via operationally excellent and seamless sales execution.
The Technology for Marketing industry has been too focused on customer acquisition, with too little focus on customer care. The balance is changing. However, marketing technology vendors themselves need to represent ‘best practice’ in marketing behaviors to be credible to potential ‘technology for marketing’ customers. The cobbler needs to ensure his children are well shod with good shoes to send the right message to potential customers. For those vendors that achieve this, there lies a rich vein of opportunity in the marketing marketplace.