Understanding the priorities of fellow tech marketers is a great way to tune one’s own 2012 initiatives.   Over the past two months, my Forrester Technology Council colleagues and I have spent quite a bit of time surveying and talking with members (~ 50 tech CMO’s and VP’s of Marketing) about their priorities for 2012.  Before the champagne pops up here in Boston, I wanted to share a few of the priorities my colleagues and I are hearing most about for 2012:

  • Demand management wins out across the board.   In years past, the top priority for our tech marketing members centered around "driving leads into the funnel."  In 2012, tech marketing execs still care about driving leads, but there is an increased desire to trade lead volume for better lead quality.   Quality that comes from strong nurturing activities to help leads move from the top of funnel into the middle and ultimately into a position where they are "sales-ready."  A vocal number of members expressed commitment to building a more comprehensive demand management process where they would balance their lead nurturing and lead generation initiatives appropriately.  
  • Brand/rebranding comes into vogue.  Many of our members have put brand and/or rebranding at the top of their lists for 2012.  The need to create greater market differentiation against competitors and to build market awareness in new markets (e.g. verticals, geographies) were cited as the top reasons for steering funds, resources and time in brand or rebranding initiatives.     
  • Thought leadership and content marketing rise to support brand efforts.  A major component to demonstrating greater (brand) differentiation in the marketplace is through better thought leadership and content marketing.  Members told us that 2012 would be focused on sourcing their content marketing strategy both internally and externally as well as strengthening their editorial roadmaps with higher quality "position-driven" not product-driven thought leadership.
  • The digital marketing shift continues with community taking the lead.  Members agree that more time and resources are also needed for digital marketing (social) and specifically in better engagement community efforts.  The biggest hurdle they need to overcome is connecting their investment in community with direct revenue.  Not always an easy task in their minds, but for investments in content and resources to continue, they need to produce tangible and quantifiable revenue results. 

What It Means (WIM): Use this to guide your own budget priorities and initiatives for 2012.  The pressure on tech marketing executives to deliver high quality leads isn’t going away, but many realize that in order to drive those leads in the face of industry feature/function commoditization, they must create stronger differentiation and that starts with their brand promise and the company’s ability to provoke the thinking of their target buyers and influencers.   

Happy New Year and stay tuned for more in 2012!  The Tech Marketing Council, our tech marketing research analysts and the advisors within our Tech Marketing Navigator team will have lots more content, data and analysis for you around all these priorities.

Let us know how our Tech Marketing Council member priorities match up with yours.