By Peter O' Neill

Our internal deadlines are looming for Forrester’s Marketing And Strategy Forum EMEA 2010, to be held in London on November 18 and 19. Pretty soon, all of our presentations have to be reviewed, content-edited and fact-checked, and then submitted. In case you hadn’t noticed, we have put together a special track at this event for marketing professionals in the tech industry; this runs on the Friday from 11:40 till 15:30. I will kick off and moderate this “conference within a conference,” where we will explore the idea that tech industry marketing should no longer be communicating product differentiation; it should be the difference. As technology becomes commoditized, customers take control of the vendor-user interaction, and social media becomes a standard interaction channel, marketing must move its contribution from just educating customers and persuading them to accept the product to a more strategic role of enabling interactions with customers to solve their problems — an engagement model that Forrester calls "customer enablement."

We will also be talking about community marketing, marketing in a global economy, and aligning sales and marketing. Some of the presentations are based on our previous Marketing Forum held in Los Angeles back in March. But I have cajoled my colleagues into making sure that they illustrate their presentations with EMEA-based case studies and examples. I have been particularly energized to do this in the past few weeks as I have been looking forward to attending the bi-annual Ryder Cup golf contest between the USA and Europe, held this weekend in my home town in Wales. 

I heard from many tech marketer clients who attended last year’s London conference, or the Los Angeles event, that they enjoyed the whole event. Aside from the tech marketer track, they were also able to glean a lot of insight from the other presentations, particularly the Forrester clients from other industries. One of my clients told me: “We marketers in the tech industry have so much to learn about marketing; we are far behind our peers elsewhere.” 

So, I encourage you to come along and attend the conference. I look forward to meeting you in our one-on-ones as well. If you cannot attend, then perhaps you’ll think of inviting me to come in and give you a debrief.  

Always keeping you informed! Peter