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Last week I attended the 2012 SiriusDecisions Summit for the first time. And as usual, I used Twitter as my preferred note-taking device.

The temperature reached 109 degrees in Scottsdale, AZ but “growth through innovation” was the hot topic of the 3-day conference. (Cheesy line? Ok, I’ll stop.)

The event gathered together more than 1,000 sales and marketing professionals from companies of every shape, size and location.

In this article, I will cover some of my major takeaways and top tweets from the show.

To see additional coverage and other perspectives, also check out Eric Wittlake’s (@wittlake) overview of the updated SiriusDecisions Waterfall. Also look at Matt Heinz’s (@HeinzMarketing) 15 highlights and takeaways from the 2012 SiriusDecisions Summit and this Summit recap from Dan McDade (@DanDade).

1. The Battle for Customer Attention: the theme of the show was “growth through innovation” in response to the battle for customer attention that is consuming sales and marketing across the business-to-business landscape.

RT @: attention is marketings currency. how often are you earning it vs. buying it? | Key question! #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner

2. Sales and Marketing Alignment Still #1 Issue: SiriusDecisions mentioned that sales and marketing alignment is still the #1 issue for us, but the Twitter traffic replied: “just get it done.”

@ @ sales and marketing alignment: just get it done! Agree!
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner

3. Content Strategy “creates sales that would never have happened:” Wes Funk and Michael Chertudi from Adobe explained that most companies spend too much time talking about themselves and missing opportunities to speak to customers who don’t already know your company. They said that too much gating is like a marriage proposal to someone you just met. They also explained that content strategy is “hard” but must be followed in order to deliver offers buyers actually want. And they defined the Content Strategist as one central resource responsible for understanding all the needs of buyer audiences and then distributing the content to all the right places.

Content strategy creates sales that would never happen! @ and @ | on education problem of product-oriented content #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner

focus on peers and influencer content needs as primary. starts with search terms and topics. ends w/ cross-formats - @ #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner

4. Dynamic content is key to providing value: The gents from Adobe continued to explain that content “doesn’t provide value for you until it provides value for your audience” and they urged marketers to stop talking about their products and focus on customer needs. Adobe interactively displays content on their website for each keyword and media buy based on context instead of creating separate landing pages for every campaign, message, tactic and media placement. The Adobe Interactive team claimed that their Content Strategy approach delivers 30% of the total demand for Adobe! This session produced what were, in my opinion, some of the top tweetable moments of the conference:


RT @: Content doesnt work for you until it provides value for your audience | pretty good tweetable moment ;-) #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


RT @: DONT TALK ABOUT THE PRODUCT – if you want to ensure value of content for your audience @ #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


whoa! @ interactively displays content on the website for each keyword, media buy based on context. #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner

5. Inbound leads do it better: SiriusDecisions updated their famous Demand Waterfall. The top takeaways for me were when DJ-voiced Jay Gaines (@izjay) said that their research showed that “inbound leads move faster, convert better and close at higher rates and the difference is quantifiable and significant!” Demand creation should be perpetual or “always-on” because buyers are constantly seeking solutions to their key business challenges. Demand never sleeps and neither should content and inbound marketing efforts.


demand needs to look at sources outside of marketing, take shift to #inboundmarketing into account and continue focus on tele #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner

6. Half of companies have no social media training in place: I thought SiriusDecisions was presenting a completely basic social media overview but then we all saw why: Jonathan Block (@jblock) showed us that 88% of b-to-b organizations have no dedicated social staff. Half of the attendees reported that they had no formal social media training or enablement plans in place. And yet, more than half of companies have more than 100 separate social media accounts. They invited executives and sales people to begin using effective social media approaches to reach their audience and to be an example for those who are still left behind. One of the great quotes of the show: “Organizations will never move beyond initial social success without addressing corporate structures.”


RT @: Nearly half of attendees say they have no social media training program in place; time to fix this | NOW! #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


88% have no central social authority. 48% have 100+ social accounts 29% say they have a social strategy. @ and @ #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner

7. Inbound Marketing is approaching half of marketing spend: Strategic approaches to inbound marketing are now required to reflect the new buyer reality. Content strategy is a core component of inbound marketing success and an effective content strategy and inbound marketing approach starts by putting the buyer (content) needs at the center of everything we do. Ona Koehler (@oneldal) told us that Inbound marketing is already 35-50% of marketing spend and will approach 65% by 2015. How much does your organization spend on inbound and content marketing?

8. Marketing is not known for innovation: SAP’s CMO Jonathan Becher (@jbecher) addressed the audience and started by saying that marketing is not really known for innovation because we are focused on tactics. He claimed that “what got us here won’t get us where we need to go” and that gaps in brand awareness or perception is not a marketing problem but a company problem. He said the job of marketing is to focus on the voice of the customer and listen to the conversations in the market. He said we need to marry the art and science of marketing, to use storytelling to humanize the brand and that marketing can be run like a business.


big, large, glass buildings do not buy software. People do. @ on small difference between B2C and B2B #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


The first thing you should do is think about culture because culture eats strategy for lunch (and breakfast, and dinner) @ #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted @ #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner

9. A campaign is not a series of tactics: marketing wastes significant money on sets of tactics that pretend to roll up to campaigns. The source of the problem is that there is no planning framework to drive theme-based programs that deliver real answers and solutions to well-known but critical business challenges and based on buyer needs.


Marketing wastes significant dollars on campaigns that just don’t work – @ #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


Avoid having every marketing manager own their own campaign!!! says @ #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


Drive campaigns from a theme (business need, topics) NOT the target or the product. Must understand search and keywords. #SEO #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


Marketing planning should start with the buyer journey! #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner

10. Focus on the Customer: I was so happy Meg Heuer (@megheuer) closed the summit with this key point. The main problem with marketing today is that we have lost a focus on customers. We spend too much time and resources selling ourselves and our products and not enough time meeting customer needs. My key takeaway from the whole conference was the need to focus on early-stage, non-product, educational content that meets buyer needs.


buyer journey is at the center of the new marketing ecosystem #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


content is the currency of marketing says @ and @ #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


My key takeaway: early stage, non-product, educational content is the greatest gap in marketing today! #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner

11. Closing thoughts from the panel and other tweets:


CXOs are not looking for a relationship. They want insights and deep expertise into their industry. #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


Road to revenue starts with thought leadership – Symantec #Sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


Run the business, not reports. Great advice from @ #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


RT @: Use social Web to identify business drivers, contextual needs to drive early engagement & education w prospects #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


Building a data-driven organization doesn’t mean everyone likes numbers #Sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


RT @: dont forget about sales cycle length when considering requests for short-term stop-gap pipe contribution #realitycheck #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


Marketing ROI is the most important issue driving change in marketing orgs. 2nd is Digital Marketing #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner


social media is biggest investment area for marketing, next is customer marketing, technology, content and digital #sds12
@BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner

Let me know what you think. Are these are the top issues facing B2B Marketing and Sales organizations today?

I welcome your comments below or follow the conversation with me @BrennerMichael.

About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP where he leads content strategy and serves as the managing editor of the company’s award-winning Business Innovation thought leadership blog site. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

11 Comments

  1. Doug Kessler said…

    What a great stream — I feel like I attended.
    Thanks for this.

  2. Michael Brenner said…

    Thanks Doug! It was a great show and I am glad that this was helpful for you!

  3. Wow, YOU really paid attention! Excellent review, MB!

  4. Margaret Molloy said…

    Michael:
    Great summary. It was a powerful event. I’d underline your analysis when a macro theme that struck me as overarching–the interplay of content and context. The need to provide the right content for the customer based on where he/she is in their journey and relationship with your firm is an opportunity facing B2B marketers like never before.
    Great stuff. Keep it up.

    @MargaretMolloy
    PS it was a treat to meet you in person.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Margaret, I have been talking the “balance content and context” meme for a while now myself. They are both important and success is not possible if you forget about one over the other.

  5. Len Herstein said…

    Great stuff Michael. I met some of the folks from Sirius Decisions about a month ago at an event put on by one of our Brand ManageCamp sponsors – MarcomCentral. Was definitely impressed. Looks like you got a ton of great takeaways. Hope all is well with you.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Len, It’s great to hear from you. Sirius did a great job but it’s hard to compare to an amazing event like Brand Manage Camp. I miss them and hope to return soon. Hope all is well!

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