Thursday, February 22, 2007

Marketing and IT: Hyatt Proves That A Team Approach Is Doable

For years, marketing has been feeling the short-end of the stick from IT in terms of support and prioritization. IT, on the other hand, has been mopping up after marketing “experiments” with outsourced, on-demand solutions that didn’t work exactly as hoped. So how do you get the CMO and the CIO to work more closely to integrate their efforts to achieve their (presumably) common goals?

Hyatt seems to have solved the problem. They named Tom O’Toole, formerly “just” the CMO, to be CIO, too.

In an interview I did with Tom recently, he offered a few suggestions for ways to solve expectation and delivery gaps that typically form in the Marketing-IT relationship. Now before you read these, keep in mind that they were coming from the mouth of someone who spent the bulk of their career in the brand marketing world…

Tom’s suggestions for CMOs are:

1. Don’t develop and staff your own applications without at least discussing it with IT. If you do, we don’t have the expertise or the staff to support them. Most often, these systems aren’t well-documented.

2. Don’t mess around with the network. There are security concerns, bandwidth concerns, and reliability concerns. You really have no idea how problematic it can be for a network manager whose job depends upon network performance and uptime to all of a sudden have major delays or outages caused by a rogue Web server he didn’t even know was connecting. It can literally bring the entire company to a standstill.

3. Try to stick with packaged solutions. If you can recommend a solution from a vendor who has already built all the interfaces with the software we run our enterprise on and has tested them with dozens of other clients, it takes a tremendous amount of work (and time) out of the assessment process.

For the entire Q&A with Tom O’Toole, go to:

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Predicting The Path of Predictive Analytics

Analytics are increasingly the lifeblood of a CMO’s accountability process. And we’ve seen marked advancements in these tools, as marketers turn up the pressure for more usable insight.

In the aggregate, I see four key trends shaping the analytics space:

1. C-level involvement. The corner office will go from interested to involved to participating in marketing decision making. The analytics underlying resource allocation recommendations will need to more clearly articulate and justify what you need, why you need it, and yes, the payback. They will have to speak for themselves, sans the geek interface.

2. Continuous marketing measurement. The near future of analytics will go beyond one-time, “what’s going on today” metrics to present real-time continuous results. This constant flow is critical to overcoming the challenges of today’s fractured media environment. A new ‘test and learn’ framework is also helping marketers capture feedback and adjust to it more quickly.

3. Cheaper, faster models. Similar to Moore’s Law, the speed of analytics models will continue to increase and the capabilities will improve, while the price will gradually decline. Specifically, we anticipate deeper support for data integration and “what if” scenarios.

4. Software tailored to your needs. You’ve been made to walk the walk. Soon, the analytics vendors will be doing it too. While this may be the trend furthest down the pike, we feel the survival of today’s analytics tools is dependent on their ability to be “componentized” to create relevance and meet the unique needs of individual marketers.

None of these trends will cause a definitive paradigm shift next week, or even next month. Rather, the change will be subtle and incremental. But a look back 12 months from now should show considerable advancements beyond today.

For a deeper analysis of these four predictions, go to: