5 Ways Marketing Automation is Like the Oscars


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Lionel Logue: [as George “Berty” is lighting up a cigarette] Please don’t do that.
King George VI: I’m sorry?
Lionel Logue: I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you.
King George VI: My physicians say it relaxes the throat.
Lionel Logue: They’re idiots.
King George VI: They’ve all been knighted.
Lionel Logue: Makes it official then.

From The King’s Speech

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards are here. Who will win? Who will do something outrageous? And the most important question of all: What will January Jones be wearing?

While the winners’ names may change each year, the traditions of the Oscars are timeless. The ceremony has honed a pattern over the past four generations. From the red carpet fashion show, through the Best Picture award, to the catty recap shows, there’s a rhythm to the Academy Awards that’s a little like the road map companies follow as they race toward demand generation practices. (How’s that for an unapologetic transition?)

As CMO of Eloqua, I get to see lots of companies deploying marketing automation. Like the Oscars, there is a time-honored predictability to the process successful companies follow. The marketers’ names may changes, but those that win adhere to a similar pattern. Here are five ways marketing automation is like the Oscars:

1. Anticipation leading up to big moment

ABC is building excitement with TV spots featuring co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway (video below). Particularly engaged fans can check out the Academy’s Facebook Fan Page or ask the stars questions via a clever Twitter handle. (Ultra-engaged fans, well, they can play any number of Oscars fantasy games.) The Academy understands that anticipation is half the fun. Whether it’s pajamas in bed or black tie at the Kodak Theatre, each viewer has his or her own vision for the perfect Oscar night. The same holds true for digital marketers who get pumped to implement lead scoring and nurturing programs. The CMO is excited to (finally) get real-time reporting on campaign effectiveness. The sales team can’t wait to start seeing higher quality leads flowing their way. Pajamas, of course, are optional.

2. A well-prepared and amiable host

While the Oscars may have their Billy Crystals and Steve Martins to host the big night, there is usually a capable leader “hosting” the marketing automation initiative. While it has historically been a marketer, it is increasingly a shared responsibility between marketing and sales. It is timely, then, that this year’s Oscar ceremony features co-hosts – James Franco and Anne Hathaway.

So, what does it take to host the Oscars or lead a marketing automation initiative? Very similar qualifications, actually:

  • Clear, effective communication (e.g., “Oprah, meet Uma“)
  • The ability to improvise where necessary, because everything will not go exactly as planned
  • Humor

3. An increasing role for social media

This year, it is not enough to merely watch the Oscars on TV while simultaneously texting your friends and following the #oscars hashtag on Twitter. That was so last year. ABC has created a $0.99 app that offers live camera views from the red carpet, Kodak Theatre and Governor’s Ball for real-time video of – who knows – maybe Natalie Portman talking to Jeff Bridges about landing page optimization. Who knew they were into that?

According to Fanscape, there were more than 100,000 tweets per hour during last year’s awards ceremony – that’s 40% more than the Super Bowl and 60% more than the Grammies! Today, demand generation is no less social than the Academy Awards. Every organization is incorporating social media into their marketing plans – to identify new sales opportunities, quickly remediate service issues, and learn how to improve their products. Budgets for social media are on the rise. Who knows, maybe Radian6 dropped a little subscription card in those big-ticket nominee gift bags?

4. Some very unexpected moments

Despite detailed planning and extensive rehearsals, there is always the unexpected – at the Oscars and with marketing automation. A joke goes bad, a speech fails to adequately praise a studio overlord, a lapse in fashion judgment … these are the memorable, unanticipated moments that inevitably arise on Oscar night. The road to marketing automation gold contains it’s fair share of potholes. A campaign that everyone thought was just “so-so” turns out to be a “winner”; the leads for Europe are mistakenly routed to your rep in Cleveland; a seemingly “successful” trade show has zero revenue attribution.

Perhaps the most surprising moment in Oscar history was in 1974, when British actor David Niven and a streaker shared the stage. There is a lesson for all of us in how Niven handled the situation.

5. It seems to take a long time

The longest Oscar ceremony was in 2002, the year “A Beautiful Mind” won Best Picture and viewers endured a ceremony that lasted four hours and 16 minutes. Similarly, marketers going down the marketing automation path often express impatience with the process. From our experience, the most successful organizations “go slow to go fast”. That means that you must put a strong foundation in place – sound business rules and processes. Once these are in place and working well, you can move fast.

Divya Narendra: Everybody on campus was using it. “Facebook me” was the common expression after two weeks. And Mark was the biggest thing on a campus that included 19 Nobel laureates, 15 Pulitzer prize winners, 2 future Olympians and a movie star.

Sy: Who’s the movie star?

Divya: Does it matter?*

From The Social Network

(*note: The “movie star” at Harvard was Natalie Portman, who graduated in 2003, and is the favorite to win the Best Actress award for The Black Swan at tonight’s ceremony.)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Brian Kardon
Brian is responsible for all of Eloqua's marketing efforts, including brand development, corporate communications, product marketing, as well as on- and offline demand creation campaigns. Brian brings more than 2 years of experience in successfully implementing global marketing strategies for billion-dollar enterprises. Before joining Eloqua, Brian was CMO at Forrester Research, where he helped to significantly improve the company's profitability by more than doubling the business in less than five years


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