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By Fred Isbell, Senior Director SAP Digital Business Services Marketing, SAP

Modern marketing is a concept that’s appearing in the circuit of marketing conferences, online events, and Google searches this year. When I hear this term, I am reminded of the old concept from economics -- “take a hundred economists and line them up end to end, and they will all somehow disagree.” While a variety of definitions are floating around, most people can agree on a few common concepts of modern marketing.

First of all, we are in a new world of marketing, especially in the business-to-business (B2B) marketplace. In this arena, marketing, fueled by digital transformation, is undergoing unprecedented change. Marketing is very much impacted by digital technology, specifically in the use of online and electronic formats for marketing, advertising, and much more.

Marketing has always been a mix of tactics of a continuum of many-to-one, one-to-few, and one-to-one approaches. However, increasing reliance on data-driven insights has transformed the way we execute and measure marketing success.

Social media allows one-to-one marketing on a scale never experienced before. There has been a total change from the broad "spray and pray" marketing of the past to more individualized and unique conversations with customers.

Marketing automation has enabled greater scale of execution and more efficient marketing. This principle is critical in this digital era where – despite recent improvements – marketing budgets are still challenged. While still growing in aggregate numbers, marketing technology vendors and solutions offer an incredible degree of automation, which is currently a key arrow in the quiver of the modern marketer.

The chief marketing officer (CMO) sits at the boardroom table in a far more strategic role and as a peer of the CEO and C-suite. Marketing is no longer merely regarded as an event team, steward of branding, and advertising provider. Rather, marketing is experiencing a fundamental shift in the way selling occurs that requires a higher level of alignment and synchronization with sales like never before.

Perhaps most importantly, modern marketing is an art and science. The once-popular concept of the "super marketer" who "does it all" has been replaced by a redefined mix of "left and right brain" skills and analytics mixed with creativity.

Digital marketing becomes marketing

I had the opportunity last fall to be a guest lecturer for an undergraduate marketing course at Northeastern University. Students learned about digital technologies, on-line marketing techniques, social media concepts, and much more. There was also regular cadence of external speakers who shared their unique experiences and best practices.

Besides sharing the reality of the modern marketer and the skills needed to succeed, my interactive talk with the students centered on leveraging key marketing technologies, including cloud, analytics, and Big Data to social media technologies. When asked by one marketing student about the difference between marketing and digital marketing, I noted that the advent of modern marketing has required digital technology to be incorporated into many – and at times, most – elements of marketing.

In retrospect, marketing’s evolution is similar to the rise of the Internet. Years ago, there was a wide array of events specifically focused on this brave new world of promising technology and treating it as its own unique thing. Today, the Internet has “disappeared” as it became embedded in everything we do. Now, most of us take the Internet for granted in what we do in nearly every aspect of life. And the same is happening in real time as the use of digital technology is woven into the very fabric of marketing.

The arrival of the Webcast king

One form of marketing that has evolved with the Internet is the Webinar. Moving from static PowerPoint presentations to interactive, on-demand sessions, this engagement approach has proven to be quite effective.

Recently, I teamed up with Joe Hyland, the CMO of our Webinar partner ON24, to offer advice on modern marketing as part of the ON24 spotlight series. We focused on storytelling and outlined best practices for Webcasts by using thought leadership to support our perspective. After I provided some history and context on this topic, Joe humorously referred me as the "Webcast King of SAP," which is a nod to my pervasive and long-time use of Webcasts to engage with existing and potential customers.

While Joe was joking at the time, it appears that my new title is sticking long after the event. As a follow-up, Joe and his team invited me to talk at the company’s first-ever ON24 Webinar World 2017 Event. While intrigued by speaking at a physical conference about one of my favorite topics, the event also offered a great opportunity engage with nearly 1,000 B2B marketers who represent companies across six continents.

Joe was a great host and introduced my session “The Perfect Storm: Modern Marketing and Thought Leadership for Next-Generation Webcasts,” which was perfectly set up by Forrester analyst Steven Casey and his session “The Future of Digital Marketing.” My colleague Scott Feldman, Global Head SAP HANA Customer Communities, also provided his empowering thoughts and best practices in his session “How SAP Keeps Its HANA Pipeline Flowing with ON24.”

What followed for the next 24 hours was quite extraordinary. There were so many insights that it's difficult to summarize them all in this blog. However, I did manage to capture some “aha moments” in my virtual trip report (based upon my social media/tweets). But don’t worry, all sessions – especially those given by experts from On24, SiriusDecisions, Microsoft, E&Y, and others – will be made available as replays in the spirit of great content marketing. Just go to the ON24 website.

And to stay true to my designation as “Webcast King”, I will surely leverage all of this great content as much as I can.

Fred is a senior marketing director Digital Business Services and SAP HEC Marketing at SAP.

Join Fred online: TwitterFacebookLinkedInsap.comSAP Services Hub

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