Afternoon keynote at #Funnel12

Jake Hird is back on stage introducing the next keynote from Ray Kloss from SAP questioning whether relationships are “so 20th Century”.

Ray Kloss at #funnel12Kloss begins by noting there is an immense set of experiences in this room.  This is a great word of mouth opportunity for B2B – and that makes this event social.  But sometimes marketing is well understood by executives, and at others, marketers have to fight for budget.

The problem is that how people perceive a firm is not necessarily where growth comes from. So when considering how to market a company you need to think about how people are interacting with the firm, and how to facilitate better communications as well as generate demand for services.

Kloss cites a Harvard review suggesting that marketing is dead.  He notes the research shows that audiences are too busy to read marketing messages.  Then CEOs feel that around 70-77% CMOs lack business credibility, can’t convert awareness to clients, they feel that brand equity has no relationship with financial equity, and they feel that marketers are not buyers of products, and have a very limited relationship with audiences of products.

Kloss says we shouldn’t be calling it social media, but digital relationships.  Social capital is based on relationships not technologies.

Kloss says the old ‘rules’ of marketing communication from IBM were that the attention span was considered the same duration of a st com without the ads – 22 mins.  Then this was contracted by the pay tv era to 5-7 minutes.  Then in the age of YouTube the attention span reduced again to 30 seconds.

All the usual estimates of what customers want are usually wrong.  More interaction is not better, more content is not necessarily useful, and regular communications is not necessarily directly aligned to purchase behaviour.  The best alignment for marketing is when the buying decision becomes easy.

The less is more principle is based on three basic features:

  1. Reduce number of screens between buy decision and checkout
  2. Reduce number of information options about the product but increase the quality of advice
  3. Enable ease of repeat buying.

It is not surprising that inbound communications from clients converts three times faster than outbound engagement.  inbound clients tend to have done a lot more research or had prior relationships with the source.

So SAP’s dominant strategy is customer-centric, pull marketing in approach.  Attention is in places where communities are facilitated to solve problems.  Communities are gated and curated, but the result for members is that they are not sold to, and they have access to other professionals who will be able to help them do their job better.

Kloss says that when it comes to technologies and devices, people don’t change when they come to work – they want to use the same tools and the same voice.  Kloss cites Steve Jobs in saying the customer experience has to be the focus of the firm.

Priorities for the business, therefore, are that design thinking and data are crucial for the future of marketing relationships.


We’re now moving to sessions again.  Follow the hashtag at #funnel12 for more insights and the Storify channel for the history of the event.

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