2017 Hackies Entry: Conquering Middle Earth with marketing technology
March 2, 2017 by Scott Brinker
This article is a guest post by Anthony Lombardo of Commvault. It was entered into The Hackies essay contest for the upcoming MarTech conference. Like it? You can register your vote in the contest by sharing it on social media, especially LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Since the dawn of time, there’s been a war over Middle Earth. Great leaders through the years have found Middle Earth to be quite valuable, and often measure it in something called “TAM.” These leaders often speak in a language known as TLA, an apt name as it turns out.
Middle Earth is a large and vast place with treasures of many kinds. Those who know where to find these treasures are often found collecting around “watering holes.” To find these watering holes though, you must know where to look. Different watering holes attract different people, so you must first decide the type of person or “persona” you’re looking for, and then find the watering holes they commonly frequent. These descriptions or personas are given to the scouts, also known as marketers, and soldiers, also known as sales persons, as an identification guide.
Now you may think the soldiers are fighting the people of Middle Earth, but that’s not it at all. Soldiers are actually at war with other leaders’ forces who are after the same treasure, and will often times use evil methods to extract the treasure, harming the people of Middle Earth in the process. It is because of this fact that the sales persons are sometimes referred to as the protectors of Middle Earth.
Marketers use a variety of technologies at their disposal to help find treasure, but the most valuable is inarguably the Ring. When worn, the Ring allows marketers to quietly observe others both near and far, without being seen themselves.
A lot can be learned from quiet observation as it turns out. You can learn what one likes (also known as interest indicators), their future desires (also known as intent signals), and even where one works and lives through a bit of magic called IP geolocation.
Elves (a special class of marketers) can use this information to create powerful enchantments which are often called “campaigns.” The elves then cast these campaigns on the people of Middle Earth who were identified using the Ring.
Campaigns are created from many different individual magical pieces called “tactics,” which are literally designed to get treasures to reveal themselves.
Elves draw their power from something called a “MAP,” which when cared for properly can allow elves to reach millions of Middle Earth inhabitants. Long ago, elves over-used a special magical tactic called “email.” In small doses, email proved to be a versatile spell that had healing and nurturing effects.
However, when email was used in large doses, the effects turned negative and harmed the MAP. Some elves ignored the warnings and continued to overuse email to such a degree they actually transformed into something called an orc.
Orcs can use magic to uncover treasure just like elves, but orc magic is weak and harmful by comparison. Because orcs have been so focused on email, they haven’t learned to evolve their magic to perform non-email based nurturing and other tactics that fall into a category called “ABM” — which elves have become quite adept at.
You need more than a bit of magic to uncover treasure though, which is where dwarves come in. Dwarves, also known as data scientists, are skilled at finding treasure which is literally hidden under mountains.
Dwarves are experienced in moving large quantities of material (also known as “data”). They have special tools which they use to help move and analyze the data. One of their favorites lately is called NO-SQL. This is one exception in the TLA language rules, where it is OK to add “NO” in front of a TLA.
Dwarves can take the observed data like intent and interest indicators, combine it with other historic information, and arm sales with the not only the location of the treasure, but the names of the people who can show them where it lies.
Sales persons prepare by planning out their missions by using something called a “CRM” or “SFA.” With the resources mined by the dwarves, and constant updates from the marketing scouts using the power of the Ring, sales persons can head out confident that they have the right location, the right contact, and the best plan to return safely with the treasure.
But sales persons must be prepared for battle, and to do this they must know what the enemy looks like and identify when an enemy is trying to attack. They again turn to the magic of the Ring, and the marketers who hold it. By observing, you can see if a contact is showing a desire to speak to one of the evil forces fighting to steal the treasure.
Competitive intelligence handed to the sales persons at the right time is crucial to winning this battle. It is therefore critical that marketers and sales persons are tightly aligned. The preferred method to do this is through the CRM or SFA, which the sales person has been accustomed to use, but the marketers must send clear messages and be cautious not to include information they are not confident of.
This is where marketers turn to the dwarves. In addition to mining for treasure, dwarves are very skilled at figuring out which information to believe and which not to. With sales persons and marketers working together, with the skillful help of dwarves and elves and their magical elements, there’s an entire world of treasure out there waiting to be uncovered.
There are those who believe in magic, and those who believe in hard work. As a marketing technologist, our job is to make the hard work easier, and give those who believe in magic something to believe in.
If you’re a marketing technologist and you believe in magic, you’re in the wrong field. Ours is one of science and proven repeatable actions. We tie together disparate technologies to give the appearance of magic, much like a magician. And like a magician, we know the secret is based on careful planning and execution.
Managing a marketing technology stack involves understanding the business problems, identifying potential solutions, and then most importantly, tying it all together.
Calling it a technology stack is a disservice to those of us building them. A stack implies a structure that easily fits together, much like Legos. In reality, a marketing technology stack is built with solutions of different sizes and shapes, with overlapping features and missing functionality. We work to fill each hole with another piece, but we must carefully shape it to fit.
The goal of a marketing technologist is to build something that becomes more powerful than the sum of its parts. It’s easy to buy SaaS solutions and let them sit in isolation, each providing you with some metered output with proven ROI.
But take it to the next level — create your vision and then find the technologies to make that vision reality. Use the story above as a roadmap to piece together your marketing technology stack. There will be fights and battles, but there will also be treasure — a lot of it.
What did you think of this article as an entry in The Hackies essay contest for the upcoming MarTech conference? If you liked it, you can register your vote in the contest by sharing it on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Have a marketing/technology/management “hack” that you want to share with the world? Consider entering The Hackies yourself — we’d love to learn from your experience and insight!