The Markies. 1st the worst – 2nd the best…..

03.02.2015

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For someone whose personal motto is often along Yoda’s lines of ‘Do. Or Do Not. There is no try’ making it through the heats to the Markie finals again is an emotional experience. ‘What happens if I don’t win this time?’ ‘How can I make sure I win it now?’  mixes with commonly dished out paternal advice like ‘ it’s the taking part and having fun that really matters’ (thanks Dad – it’s still ingrained!)

Making it as a Markie finalist twice in successive years for ‘Best Social Campaign’  brings mixed feelings along with an overwhelming sense of pride. Social Media is a relatively new frontier for business, participating in it professionally is a sign that a company – however old – has recognised seismic shifts in the industrial landscape and grappled with the concept of going to market in a different way. Who wouldn’t want to win recognition?

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Modern marketing is digital

Sales, Marketing, Technical Support and IT departments are now brothers in arms – learning new digital skills daily as the increasingly Internet-savvy consumer educates themselves about our products and services. Modern marketers need to work hand in glove with other departments to create content that aligns to buyer journeys. Our inbound engines need to be firing on all eight cylinders to ensure people find that content. Outbound engines must be ‘oiled’ by fresh digital data which offers improved insight into what prospects and customers are interested in, which types of content work best – and when. Attaining that data is an increasingly complicated exchange with suppliers providing assets of increasingly significant value in order to get good email addresses. ‘Content is still king’ is bandied about with annoying frequency – but if that is the case then a digitally savvy consumer is an emperor.

Content and consumers of the content

Talking to customers and prospects in ways and places that they want to be spoken to is business critical, so it follows that digital performance over a variety of channels is fundamental for success. It doesn’t matter how old the product is as long as you can align that value with prospects and customers in an effective way. It’s a fairly sure bet that they are out there on Twitter or LinkedIn or YouTube or Slideshare (this list could almost stretch on forever these days). Investing in engaging with content consumers in the right place is the right thing to do.

The Micro Focus modern marketing journey and Markie hall of fame

Making the short-list twice is a sure sign in my mind that we are now addressing Social Media in a consistently excellent way. Great news for us on our journey to becoming truly modern marketers – a journey we started relatively recently.

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In 2014 it was our Mainframe 50 Campaign which cut the mustard and made the hall of fame, helping IBM celebrate 50 years of the Mainframe  and making some seriously positive waves along the way. This year it’s our COBOL Campaign that’s made the grade. The IT literate among you will realise that there’s nothing new about this technology apart from the ongoing product releases adding value for increasingly demanding modern technicians. It’s the way we are communicating the value that has changed. Now #COBOLRocks with a hashtag, and ‘millennials’ who are engaging with this fundamentally critical technology for the 1st time are no doubt mixing it up with the less youthful on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Is this community first phenomena on Social Media increasingly the key to solving what the industry has known as the Skills Crisis? I have a personal feeling that YouTube ‘how to’ videos are playing a bigger part in this resolution than any formal education or training courses. The proof will be in the pudding – timeless words of wisdom.

I’ve said it before – digital performance matters

What is abundantly clear without the need for formal proof or benchmarks or metrics is that your digital performance seriously matters. Not just the content either – content is vitally important but if your infrastructure is flaky, unreliable or your ‘legacy’ apps don’t go mobile  you may have a difficult ride ahead. To make it through the heats and start to compete against the winners you need to create better software faster and breathe new life into older technology.

In concluding it strikes me that my dad was right all those years ago, winning really isn’t everything,  taking part in ‘the game’ is fun and it does really matter. We won’t stop wanting to win a Markie anytime soon – but at least we know we are holding our own against the best in the industry as a team. A prize in itself. Sometimes words of advice and wisdom, just like technology can continue to add serious value for decades. The vehicles that carry the words will be evolving digitally for years, and modern businesses need to keep up.  If you’d like to learn more about modern marketing, register yourselves for the MME15 event and don’t forget to cheer Micro Focus on during the awards……

champagne

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