Impressions from the 2015 Gartner Digital Marketing Summit
Last week I was able to attend the first Gartner Digital Marketing Summit in San Diego. Gartner has obviously been doing events for a long time, and this conference was an example of their high level of professionalism and level of detail for pulling off a first class conference. The attendees—over 600, which I think exceeded even Gartner’s usually aggressive targets—were top-notch; mostly Directors, VPs, and frankly a good percentage of CMOs from a slew of different industries and company sizes. It was difficult to believe it was their first conference in the area of marketing technology—at least from the logistics point of view.
From the content perspective, they still have a ways to go. Don’t get me wrong—the content and the presentations were very good—just not deep enough or forward thinking enough for the audience. I asked fellow attendees and got the same reaction. I mean this with the upmost respect to Gartner and in full disclosure I have been and still am a client; currently as a member of the Gartner for Marketing Leaders services. And, Gartner will take this criticism very seriously as they continually asked for feedback on each session and the conference as a whole. These guys will listen— I have no doubt.
The key message I pulled away was that marketers have to think like a journalist and act like a publisher. It seems with the ever increasing importance of content marketing as a driver of marketing success, the marketing organization has to run with the speed and agility of a newsroom with the analytics and business savvy of a media company. The sessions were overall on the light side—mainly because they were trying to appeal to both a B2B and a B2C audience; while there is certainly evidence of these two marketing disciplines merging (a topic for another day) there is still considerable differences in the ways B2C and B2B marketers can and do measure success.
Overall, I’m glad to see Gartner putting such on emphasis on marketing technology—others, including Forrester – have been there for a while now and Gartner in all honestly has to catch up as well as differentiate. They have listened to their own research which states that the CMO will have a greater tech spend than the CIO by 2017—and they are investing in understanding the needs of this new audience. My only recommendation to them is to remember their roots because it will give them their strength—their background in evaluating, recommending, and helping users leverage the technology offerings available is at their core and should remain so as they address this new market. As much as they have been the near de facto consult for technology for CIOs, they have the opportunity to be the same for the CMO.
Claudine is a highly regarded, battle-tested senior executive with 20+ years of management experience in B2B technology marketing. She has built companies with aggregate exits totally over $600M and averaging 7x return for investors. Bianchi was previously CMO of ViewDo Labs which was acquired by Percussion in 2014. At ViewDo Labs, she spearheaded marketing while defining a new market category—Enterprise Social Network analytics and governance. She also held the position of CMO of Axceler, a leader in Microsoft SharePoint governance and administration which was sold to Metalogix in August, 2013. Prior to Axceler, she was Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Avid, a $1B software company serving the media and entertainment industry. Prior to Avid, she was CMO at NaviSite, a cloud managed service provider, which was sold to Time Warner Cable in 2010. Bianchi has also held senior marketing roles at Forrester Research, eCopy (now part of Nuance), and MetaCarta (acquired by Nokia). Bianchi is a graduate of Dartmouth College.