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BMA 2014: From Storytelling to Data-Driven, and the Rise of ROI

BMA 2014 Conference

Last week I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the Business Marketing Association 2014 Conference. With approximately 1,000 marketers attending, it was a huge success.

The Marketing Spectrum: From Brand to Data-Driven

There was a nice blend of sessions across the marketing spectrum, from classic brand-building and storytelling aspects of marketing, to the more contemporary aspects of data-driven marketing. Beth Comstock of GE did a superb job demonstrating how she handles both sides of the spectrum. She summarized it well with a comment about marketing’s value, which should include the balance between “how to provide more opportunities for the sales force to engage with customers, and how do we keep the GE brand relevant for the future.”


Wizard of Oz Marketing
Jonah Sach’s keynote about classic storytelling was simple yet compelling, in which he advocated: let’s make the customer the hero in our stories and let’s keep the brand as the mediator. His use of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz illustrated his point well.

Insights from EMC, Cisco and Teradata

On my panel, I was pleased to have Michael Foley of EMC leading the charge for heading up their marketing science lab. Joseph Puthussery of Cisco explored how marketing technology should be chosen solely to answer questions from executives, rather than technology for technology sake. And finally, Jim Donovan (formerly) of Teradata Corporation discussing that big data analytics has moved “away from data transactions toward data interactions.”

Marketing and ROI

It was a revelation to discover that marketers are making greater effort to connect their efforts to revenue, which the The Pedowitz Group has been touting for years. This leads me to believe that marketing’s performance and resulting ROI is becoming more central to the acquisition strategy of marketing’s efforts.

Greatest Impediment to ROI: Data Problems

I introduced in my session a timely and relevant excerpt from recent AAAAs study. The study revealed that the most important ways agencies can improve is by measuring performance/ROI, the number one need for both agencies and clients. I used the live audience poll to go a bit deeper and get some insight on how they felt about marketing ROI.

The results were as follows

The greatest impediment to measuring marketing ROI is:

BMA Graph Marketing ROI Impediment

In addition to marketing leaders, measuring marketing ROI is a high priority for:

BMA Graph Measuring Marketing ROI

The most important partnership for marketers to have in place for measuring marketing ROI is with:

BMA Graph Marketing ROI relationship

Future of Marketing ROI

Perhaps next year the BMA can start can further explore the means by which marketers can advance their marketing measurement above tactical metrics, and help empower marketers where the budget battles are won and lost, the office of finance.

I look forward to continue to benefit from the BMA and attending next year’s annual event.

By Jeff Winsper

Jeff is the President of Black Ink and offers more than 20 years of leadership experience in marketing, serving companies ranging from Fortune 500 to start ups.

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