April 17, 2013

Aprimo Marketing Summit – What Now?

Maybe it’s because I have been to more than my share of Aprimo Marketing Summits, but I feel like they are running together and the only thing I seem to remember are the keynote speakers and the fun I had with friends. Sessions are becoming too similar, and it seems to me that the executives say similar things each year. Personally I feel this is because of the maturity of the EMM market, but whatever the cause, we the users are no longer hearing what we need to. We no longer need to be told about MPM, we now need to understand how to integrate fractional attribution, regression models, conjoint analysis and real time omni-channel reporting. So how can EMM companies update and innovate to bring utility to their annual user conferences? 

My suggestion is to focus on marketing. We are all there because we own one or several of the EMM modules, but we are also there because we are marketers. Our job is to use our software to enable our efforts to create conversations with our customers. Stop pushing the functionality and instead help me fix the heart of my problem! Two sessions Covalent attended were perfect case studies on how to accomplish this:

What You Need to Know About Responsive Design and Why it’s Now Critical for Email, conducted by Sean Shoffstall: This session focused on the challenge of customers using their phones and tablets more than ever to view emails (often times returning to their computer to follow through on the call to action). If an email is not designed to render on mobile devices, your response rates stay stagnate or decline. Sean then presented the solution and even offered code ideas to accomplish this task. The session presented the problem, actionable solutions and benefits without ever mentioning Teradata functionality.

Advanced User Training Track 1 – Driving Adoption and Value, Using the Portal as a Vehicle for a better User Experience conducted by Sam Horodezky: I admit that the name was functionality based, but the content was not. Sam presented the problem that internal forms are built to gather content to take some sort of marketing action. What we forget is that most users of the form are not Teradata users. They don’t know what classification represents or the difference between a program and activity. The session centered on UX profiles, gathering feedback and how to improve user acceptance. Once again, the session presented the problem, actionable solutions and benefits, only mentioning Teradata functionality when it was relevant.

As consumers become more sophisticated, we as marketers must as well. Truth be told, I don’t want to always be playing catch up! In some of the roadmap sessions, presenters were referencing functionality that was not coming for a year or even longer; Innovation is not about adding more functionality, often times it is about using what we have, just in better ways. Imagine a software conference that was not pushing you to the next version to institute innovation, but helping you be innovative and showing you how to enable that with what you currently have. Believe me, this will in no way detour a marketing technologist from wanting to be on the most recent version. I tend to believe that it will actually increase upgrades.

At this point I have done my part: I submitted my feedback to Teradata and written this blog post. As the Aprimo Marketing Summit is retired and the new Teradata Application Summit emerges in 2014, I will be eager to see if the focus of the summit shifts; even a little shift will provide marketers a better incentive to attend.