Monday, June 25, 2012

Digital Presence?

Frankly, content delivery seems pretty far outside my wheelhouse.  

I am, after all, an infrastructure marketing guy.  Sure, I have created or helped to create my share of new market categories – managed storage services, continuous data protection, file virtualization, application delivery networking, and even multi-vendor storage itself, way back in the early days.  But, my forte’ has always been selling infrastructure to IT-heads.  What the heck do I know about content delivery?

Ah Ha!

As marketing leader, my job is to ensure my companies excel in two critical areas – demand generation and brand awareness. 

I know a hundred CMOs and VPMs who share similar objectives. 

In order to achieve those two objectives, I push my teams to ensure that our online presence – our website, mobile, social, community, email, every touch-point we have with the market – is the coolest.

My marching orders are simple – “Make us cool, dammit!  I don’t care how, just make sure we have the coolest online presence of any company in our market.”

I know a hundred other CMOs and VPMs who’ve demanded the same.

To be fair, I don’t have a good KPI metric for coolness, but nonetheless, I demand it from all my marketing teams. 

And I am often disappointed. 

The website is never dynamic enough.  Social media always feels like a bolt-on.  Our use of video and other ‘cool’ interactive media seems sporadic at best.  We're still writing in white papers and hanging PDFs on our site, rather than writing for online readers. Our community site rocks, but it isn’t unified with the rest of our online presence, and always seems like a distant, albeit very cool, cousin. 


But more than just frustrating, this lack of online cohesion, this lack of digital presence ‘cool’ is a critical business failure that might be a contributing factor to the high rate of turnover at the CMO level. 

Recent research tells us that B2B customers now accomplish 70% of the buying process without ever engaging a salesperson. Customers now vet technology, consider options, make choices, and even make purchase decisions with no direct interaction with a company other than the company’s online digital presence. 

So as a CMO, my first question has to be "How can I quickly create, deliver, and manage a monstrously cool online digital presence spanning all my company’s touch-points across web, mobile, social and living room channels?"  It's not a lack of skill or will on the team - the problem stems from a lack of tools, technology, and process to support the 'cool' objective.

I believe every organization that operates online must address this challenge of managing its Digital Presence, and making it 'cool'.  As consumers and other stakeholders demand their digital interactions move fluidly across those web, mobile, social and living room channels, organizations that want to survive online must project a unified, integrated digital experience.

Users demand performance and consistency in their digital interactions with vendors, suppliers, and other organizations, yet the realities of the market demand that this digital presence be delivered simply and cost-efficiently.

And, I know from personal experience that the problem affects organizational functions well beyond IT, and it is now becoming a strategic top-level issue for the enterprise.

Further, I believe billions of dollars will be invested in the next few years to address this challenge. If fact, I am counting on it.

Digital Presence Management isn’t one function or process.  DPM is not content delivery, but content delivery is a critical component of DPM.   DPM is not video, or content management, or website platforms, or transcoding, or analytics, or acceleration either, but each of those is a critical component of DPM.  

I’ll will be sharing a lot more about what DPM is (and isn’t) over the next weeks and months, but for today, know this…Digital Presence Management is awesome-sauce cool, and it is here-to-stay in a market-making, earth-shaking, stick-a-fork-in-it BIG way.

(Meaning fluorescent green shirts and massive lime-green bouncy-balls can’t be far behind, right?)

Hey Wendy...I’m baaaack! 

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