I’m at an event in Boston this week for senior marketers–a week long summit of targeted sessions on everything from Competitive Intelligence to CRM optimization. It’s an interesting crowd–maybe 200 or so marketing executives and 30 vendors. The event is hosted by Frost & Sullivan, and I’m actually here to support the marketing and sales team of one of my clients, Leverage Software.
The event is pretty well produced as far as conferences go–the venue is right on the harbor, the networking is well facillitated, the crowd is highly qualified and strategic–nicely done. My only complaint is at a much higher level. When you get a few hundred marketers in the room together and start threading the crowd to network, you get a really good sense of the current position of marketing evolution. There’s certainly a lot of activity out there–busyness–but the signal-to-noise ratio isn’t what I would have hoped by this point.
Here’s the problem: While the activity of marketing is changing, the mentality is too much the same. The activity of marketing today is focused on accountability, metrics, ROI. It’s all about efficiency. If marketing can line 100 ducks up on the fence, sales can shoot 1.5 of them. And the big objective of today’s marketer is to improve that ratio to 1.7.
What few marketers seem to appreciate is that you can be remarkably efficient at serving your market poorly. The mentality needs to change from shooting a fraction of your ducks and calling that success, to gathering those 100 ducks off the fence and cultivating them into a channel that can consistently offer up 1.5 new customers, without making the other 98.5 gun shy. You do that by engaging with your market, cultivating peer connections, collaboration and dialog–not by spouting positioning messages and applying your cookie cutter qualifiers. That, by the way, is why we’re here with Leverage, because they provide software that enables such an approach.
As a blog entry this is oversimplified to the point of being parody. But I just want you to know that I’m milling around this show with a highly concentrated crowd of high-level marketers–and as events go, it’s a decent one–but it feels like there’s not enough octance in the fuel.