A guest post by Steve Haase of ThoughtLead.

With so many new marketing opportunities available today, it's hard to know which will be the profitable paths for your company ... and which will be the dead ends.

But one thing is clear about managing today's complex array of marketing tools and processes: To be effective, you need to integrate a solid technological backbone with the softer, more creative side of marketing.

Companies that are leading the way with this are some of the most customer-centric organizations in the world, delighting millions of customers with timely marketing so relevant that it feels like service.

To understand what these organizations have discovered at the leading edge of enterprise marketing management (or EMM), we asked their marketing leaders to share their secrets. In the end, we recorded 60 one-minute insights on EMM, which we will be presenting as a 60-minute webinar this Wednesday, May 25, 2011. You still have time to register for the virtual event.

As a preview, I'd like to share five of the conference's biggest ideas from leading marketers and analysts regarding how to improve your enterprise marketing management.

1. Build Trust With Your Marketing
Rich Smith, chief marketing officer at AIG Bank, points to three ways to build a successful customer-centric organization:  trust, customer experience, and using technology in a human way. The fact is, trust is the new currency of business. Everything your organization does either gains trust with customers or spends it. The more trust you gain, the more self-sustaining your business will be. You only have a very limited supply of trust to spend with each customer before you run out and lose that customer forever.

Keep in mind that the customer experience you create is your brand. Customers have become cynical due to marketers over-promising and under-delivering. Building brand equity is all about delivering on the promise of your brand through the experience you create.

To hold it all together, digital marketing and technology are now the glue that makes a customer-centric organization function effectively. It connects the places where you touch a customer, provides a gapless customer experience, and gives you the automation to deliver your marketing in real time.

2. Speak to a Single Person
Flint McGlaughlin, the director of MECLABS, counsels that people don’t buy from websites or from companies, people buy from people. The critical question that must be answered is this: “If I am the ideal customer, why should I purchase from you rather than any of your competitors?” Until a business can answer that question, it is simply surviving on pockets of ignorance---and eventually the law of natural selection will catch up with it.

In the future, it is going to become more and more difficult to survive with anything less than a targeted, specific value proposition. We are moving from breadth to depth, from the general to the personal. And marketing is going to be about communicating a specific value in a specific way to a specific person.

3. Know Who You Know
Anne Holland, the publisher of WhichTestWon.com, sheds light on one of the biggest problems for modern marketing departments: siloed contact lists. For instance, you might have Twitter followers, Facebook fans, people on your email opt-in lists, people who you have generated as leads, customers, marketing partners, bloggers who write about you, press, etc. To be able to work effectively, it's important that everyone have one common Rolodex or central CRM system where all of these different contacts are noted. That way you can see who's contacted this person last, how you reached them, and what is the best way of reaching them. This stops you from stepping on each other’s toes, and it also makes sure that everyone knows who you actually know as an organization and as a brand.

4. Integrate Your Systems
John Thomson, President and CEO of Saepio, reveals one of the biggest hurdles for today's marketing organizations: managing disconnected systems for each marketing channel (e.g., email, social, mobile, direct mail, etc). To manage and analyze all of those different types of content in an efficient way, you need to adopt a platform approach. Consolidating your marketing under one platform yields powerful business benefits in keeping your brand and offers more connected, increasing your speed to market, and substantially lowering your costs to manage all those different channels.

5. Include Technologists in Creative Ideas Development
Jennifer Rooney, editor of CMO Strategy at Advertising Age, reminds us of the dramatic changes in marketing that have taken place as a result of advances in digital technology. While marketing has always had a technological component to it, never before have the two disciplines been so closely linked. That is because so much of marketing is now enabled by digital, including mobile devices and social networks, such that technology is marketing and that has changed the CMO’s job and responsibilities. Marketing now has to deliver some sort of value, some sort of utility for the consumer. So technologists must be integrated into the process of creative ideas development with marketers and agencies.

The 5 ideas above are just a taste of what the 60 speakers will be exploring at M.Tech 2011 on May 25 at 1 p.m. (Eastern Time). Other topics you will engage with at the conference include:

  • New frontiers of analysis and insight, made possible by technology

  • 12 ways to improve your customer experience

  • Creative ways to integrate new channels

  • How to use and measure new media for real ROI

  • How to uplevel your EMM within your organization and company culture

Again, you can register for the full M.Tech 2011 event on May 25 by visiting here.

So, what are some other questions about marketing and technology that are on your mind? Maybe our speakers will be able to answer them! Let us know with a comment below.

Steve Haase is co-founder of ThoughtLead.

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