Value Added Marketing Launch

I’ve just returned from a week in NYC, and the announcement of my new business ventures during the Inspiration Festival. It was a whirwind of a week, starting with a weekend at The Gathering, held this year in Brooklyn, with an endless stream of mind-blowing presentations from artists, entrepreneurs, writers, musicians and scientists, and ending with a preview of Wired’s NextFest, complete with intelligent robots, futuristic cars and Branson’s new space ship. In the middle was Juliette Powell’s Inspiration Festival, a 3-day gathering of top creatives from all over the world who converged on New York for Advertising Week. There were a lot of compelling presentations and discussions on marketing, advertising, technology and culture, at venues ranging from an art gallery to a breathtaking former synagogue in Soho–and some of the best art and entertainment imaginable. It was a far cry from the hotel ballroom-and-buffet conferences that put you to sleep before lunch–and a fantastic venue to launch two new ventures…

A_logoFirst up, the Value Added Marketing Association. I launched VAMA to address one of the most persistent shortcomings of marketing today–technology is advancing far faster than marketers are able to adopt or adapt it. Most marketers think they’re on the cutting edge if they’re managing SEM programs or deploying blogs, but there’s a world of technology out there that could help improve the practice of marketing, if only there were marketers who knew how to use it. In the Enterprise IT space, there’s long been a successful channel of Value Added Resellers who bridge the gap between application Vendors and IT managers. VARs keep up with all the latest technology so IT can focus on keeping their systems functioning properly. VARs have become trusted advisors who make product recommendations, assist with installation and integration, and even help with system training and maintenance. The existence of VARs has accelerated the development of new enterprise applications, and helped IT managers keep up with the new technology.

Now we need the same structure for marketing. Marketers simply must get smarter about technology, and the best way to do so is to provide a channel that can help them identify and target relevant technologies that can improve the effectiveness of their programs. VAMA will provide that structure by creating an association that connects marketing technology vendors, marketing agencies, and marketing operations managers. VAMA will spotlight new technologies to keep marketers in the loop; beginning in ’07 we’ll publish an annual list of the VAM100, and host an annual marketing technology conference called VAMX. Check out the VAMAweb site, and let me know if you have any recommendations for the ’07 VAM100 list.


My second venture, MotiveLab, is a parallel concern–a "marketing lab" where marketing fundamentals can be explored in the light of new technologies. I’m already working on my first project–a product roadmap for a publicly traded company, which, instead of being published as a paper brick that will be out of date in 6 months, will be deployed as an internal Wiki, where product managers can keep their roadmaps continually up-to-date and accessible to stakeholders. I’m also exploring a mash-up between social-networking and content management tools to power a customer advisory board.

MotiveLab is essentialy where I’ll have the chance to explore, while VAMA will ensure that I have one ear always to the ground to know what’s up and coming in marketing technology.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead, but now that the seemingly endless incubation has ended, I can focus more on the kind of work I love to do. You should be seeing some more consistency in the Marketonomy posts, and some more penetrating analysis of marketing strategy, finance and technology in the days and weeks ahead. Let me know what you think of the new ventures.

4 thoughts on “Value Added Marketing Launch

  1. Carol

    Your new ventures sounds very promising and timely. While technology to aid marketing has been around for a long time, it is continually improving and has become a pre-requisite. Consumers are adopting new technologies at a dizzying pace – creating both new opportunities for marketers as well as potential risks. It’s great to see more thought leaders participating in the dialog and providing services to help marketers learn about and use technology.

  2. Victor Cook

    Congratulations on the launch of your new enterprises. Seeing the results motivated me to test drive your revised site to better understand the foundation on which these ambitious projects are built. Here’s what I think.

    First, the new logistics make it possible for the first time to appreciate the reach of your ideas and access them conveniently (see “Full List of Essays” organized by topic). This will have a big impact on a viewer’s screen time. I spent two hours browsing from this menu of topics. Second, you have an extraordinarily solid grasp of how enterprise marketing actually should fit in the framework of an organization. For both these reasons, the next time I teach a course on marketing management either to MBAs or executives, I’ll link my syllabus to Marketonomy and make six of your essays required reading. Sample quotes from each of these follow (with the title of the essay):

    1. “What the future CMO really needs to do is roll up his or her sleeves, get down in the trenches and serve sales, engage with customers, listen to engineers, and start playing an active, service-oriented role in the organization at the bottom first. If the future CMO can’t solve real problems on the front lines, their lofty dream of “reaching across” the whole organization to pull together all of the corporate elements and set strategic direction is nothing more than a sales brochure for an expensive marketing MBA.” (The New CMO)

    2. “If you can’t explain where three-quarters of your business’ value originates, someone is going to come along pretty soon and eat your lunch.” (Value Beyond the Balance Sheet)

    3. “It was not the general response to … the question about the purpose of marketing that surprised us (generating leads was at the front of most respondents’ minds), but how the responses broke down among different segments — and more important, how they combined with other segmented responses about the importance of marketing to the success of the company, and the ranking of effective tools and barriers. What we found was fragmentation: zero consensus across department and hierarchical divisions about what marketing is supposed to accomplish, and how its success should be measured.” (Sales and Marketing: Lost in a Thorny Forest)

    4. “… it’s inability to position itself effectively and compete for market share in the boardroom. You might think that marketers who dispense costly strategic advice on how to position businesses and create competitive advantage would be particularly adept at positioning the practice of marketing, locking down its taxonomy, and building the profession’s credibility. Unfortunately the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” (Marketing’s Biggest Challenge)

    5. “Di-do. I found it! It’s under the desk and open on it’s side, the useless video screen casting a soft glow on the floor while draining the life from the phone. Of all the myriad features on the phone, I wonder why, if it’s really so smart, it can’t tell that it’s been sitting open and unused for hours and turn itself off. And I wonder why, in the vast maze of menus and settings that I can navigate on the phone like a Web site, I can’t find the Let It Die For All I Care option.” (Things that go Beep in the Night)

    6. “The clear message is that the necessary reformation of marketing requires more than just reactive measures. While marketers should never retreat from their dedication to innovation, they need to learn the discipline of efficiency in the service of creating value — not just for the customer, but for the company.” (The Value Challenge for Marketers)

    The launch of VAMA and MediaLab will help all of us reach these goals.

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